Today a Dam Broke

I am overwhelmed lately.  I don’t even know how to get this out right now.  So ridiculous.  My husband (bless him) calls me “passionate,” and I do love him for that.  I love the fact that he’s chosen that single word instead of “emotional” or whatever else could come with a negative connotation.  Insert your worst word there because “emotional” would probably be mine.  Today a dam broke inside me.

I am devastated and heartbroken over this mass killing in Orlando.  I’m sad for every single person involved and I’m sad for the LGBT community as a whole.  I’ve read blog posts with people describing Pulse as the place where their people were.  That strikes right to my core.  Every single one of us longs for that place.  The place where we can be ourselves without worrying how we will be received.  For some of us, that’s church.  I pray that’s what you feel at church, but can I be totally honest?  That’s not how I feel at church.  For some of us, that’s work.  I’m so happy for you if that’s you.  It’s hard to find a job that you love going to day in and day out.  My work friends have become my people, but that’s where it ends usually.  I don’t see them when we aren’t at work. My place is the table.  For these people, that nightclub was that place.  Now that safe place isn’t safe and I doubt it will ever exist for them in the same way.  It may never reopen.  What now?

My next reason for devastation is that I’m passing out my truly heartfelt sympathy to an unfamiliar people group and I feel like I’m coming up short.  That’s because I am.  As a Christian and member of a church, I have failed the LGBT population by not loving them well.  I read a post by Jen Hatmaker (she’s my spirit animal clearly) on Facebook that talks about our honoring these people in their death means nothing if we didn’t honor them in their life.  That’s so true.  That is usually my go-to feeling when something happens and suddenly people are coming out of the woodwork to be “helpful.”  Bye!  If you aren’t around in my every day, I don’t want you around during my time of need.  I see exactly where they’re coming from.

So now what?  I live in Tiny Town, USA.  I don’t know any LGBT family members very well (my family spans the country and there are a lot of odd age gaps).  I don’t come into contact with a whole bunch of LGBT people on a day to day basis, but I want to love this people group well.  What can I do?  If you’ve seen a “10 ways to love the LGBT population” blog post, link it here.  I want to hear from real people who love other real people well.  My Bible never once says that I have to agree with everyone around me, but it does call me to love every person alike.  It calls me to love with abandon–wholly and without limitation.  Love is a verb.  It calls to action.

I have these same sentiments toward the black and Hispanic communities in my area.  I’ve failed miserably in loving them too.  What’s my first step?  There’s tons more on this to come as I wade through this very awkward and unfamiliar territory.  There are some great people who have more of a platform than I do that are leading the way.  I plan to look to them and get some wheels turning.  This is not a topic that I’m willing to sit back and watch pass by.  If you’re joining me on this, please feel free to contact me and let’s do it together. Let’s lock arms and make change in ourselves so we can love others better.  And if you are LGBT, please hear my heart in this.  I’m sorry.  I suck at this.  Tell me how I can do better.

True Community

After reading SEVERAL books that stress the importance of community, I have decided that I want to wade into an unknown world for myself and my family.  I want to have people around our table, A LOT.

Bread & Wine by Shauna Neiquist was probably the book that put that idea into true motion for me.  It’s her thing, people around her table.  I am a little jealous of that.  Then I listened to her on Jamie Ivey’s The Happy Hour and realized that she means, like, every night.  I’m sorry, what?!?!  Every night?!?  A different group or family over for dinner all the time.  They’re sharing stories and growing and sharing life.

Every night does not work for our family at all because I work three nights a week.  Because of this, we value our quiet family time.  I’m an introvert, I need some quiet to refuel.  However, last week, we had families in our home twice, three times if you count Spencer’s friend that ate dinner on his birthday (my baby’s 5!).  I loved every minute of it!  The first family was one for which our college small group had done a fundraiser.  They came and sat and we heard their stories.  I loved every minute of that only regretting that we didn’t eat together.  Food brings people closer.  There’s something about a table.  Friday night, we hosted a local family that is much like us in that they aren’t from this tiny town.  Making friends here is hard and you are often only close to the people that you work with everyday.  They’ve lived all over, and it was good to get to know them and all their life experiences.  We have a lot of the same views, and turns out, she’s a big reader, so we were basically born to be friends.

So now, I’m looking at this calendar and I need baseball and softball season to hurry up and end so that more days in my week can open up for more people to come over.  This week, we are hosting our church small group.  I’m stoked.  I’ll be talking about this more and more as it progresses.  I hope that I can encourage someone somewhere out there to open up to a community of people.  Let them in, let them love you, love them back.  It really does feel good.  Especially if you’re anything like me and social media has given you a false sense of community for a long time.  Moving to new places is hard.  It takes time to settle in.  You have to find your people and that’s no small task.  A little hint, they won’t come to you most of the time.  You have to go find them.  That sucks, and I’m sorry if I’m the one not coming to you.  I’ve been there.  But this is your encouragement post.  Get out there and be the one to make the first move.  Welcome some new folks into your home.  I highly doubt you’ll regret it.

Other books that speak to community:

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker–another life changer, HIGHLY recommend this!

Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson–haven’t actually read this yet, but dying to do so.

Women are Scary by Melanie Dale–again, haven’t read it, but it’s ON THE LIST

Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs– the last few chapters

The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak–a friend has read this and recommended it

I want to hear more.  I want to hear your stories and experiences.  It’s my new and old favorite thing.  I want to know how you did it when you moved somewhere new.  I want to know how you welcome the newbies.  I want to know what works and what fails.  And mostly, I want to know how this has affected you and how you do life.  I can’t wait to hear!

 

 

Books I’ve Read in May

This is a better way to do books, I think.  Since I read so many, it’s just better to cover them all in one post.

I should preface this by saying that I got a Kindle for my birthday.  This may well be the best thing that has ever happened to my reading.  I have gone full on competition with my reading speed.  You say 24 minutes to the end of the chapter?  I say I can do better than that!  You say I’ve read 86% of this book.  I will not sleep until it’s finished!  You say 10 minutes until the end of whatever?  I’ve got 10 minutes to knock that out.  Previously, I would look at how many pages were left in a chapter and then just put my bookmark there not realizing I could finish that in five minutes and then move on to laundry, dishes, life.

I did not, however, realize that ebooks can be just as expensive (if not more!) as print books.  Come on, Amazon!  You’re killing me!  If I’m going to spend $9.99 on a book, I want to be able to feel the pages.  So, I’ve found a couple of places to find and watch for cheaper ebooks.  Amazon shows daily and monthly specials, and I was told by a gracious friend about BookBub.  Where else?  Y’all help a cheap girl out here!  Comment here or on Instagram or Facebook with your favorite places to get ebooks for less than, say, $5.00 each.

So we all remember that I read The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson.  You can see that post here.  I enjoyed it greatly as did my friends.

imageAfter that review, a friend suggested Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.  My library had a copy that I picked up the very next day.  Knocked it out in no time and was able to mark off “murder mystery” from my reading checklist.  Thank goodness!  I was dreading a James Patterson.  Let me say that I have read TONS of James Patterson and have truly enjoyed many of them, but that’s not what I’m in to right now, I was glad to have a different murder mystery to get that checked off.  This book was big on character development and low on story development in my opinion.  I could pretty much tell what was going to be the outcome from early on, and the only true twist or turn was a personal matter for the characters.  Very predictable.  A fast read, though, and I like that.

imageYes, Please by Amy Poehler.  Got this one for $2.99 somehow.  This book didn’t change my life, but it was a good fast read.  It made me want to go back and watch Parks and Recreation since she devoted her longest chapter to that show.  That’s sort of disappointing to me as most of my memories of her were on SNL.  This marked off “memoir or biography” from the RC.

 

 

 

 

imageChasing God by Angie Smith.  This is my first Angie Smith book. I bought it for like $.99 on Kindle.  I think it would be a GREAT book for someone who is having trouble seeing themselves as God sees them.  That’s not a struggle that I have at this time, but she has some awesome things to say and has had some real life struggles that many of us can relate with well.  Her style of writing is a little different than what I’m used to reading, so this one moved very slow for me.  In all  honesty, that little % number at the bottom of my Kindle screen and my competitive spirit may have been the only thing keeping me going at times.  A friend revealed to me that she doesn’t think she’s ever finished an Angie Smith book, and I know why.  I would recommend it to anyone who feels like God is mad at them or that His love is conditional.  I checked off “a book that will help you grow” from the RC even though I don’t know how much I grew.

The last one that I finished was Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs.  This one has had a lotimage of hoopla regarding its release in the Christian book world.  It was a good, fast read.  I don’t think it really challenged or changed me, but I see how it could be a HUGE encouragement for someone going through some of the things that she faces.  She speaks to the importance of community and looking for beautiful things in everyday circumstances and places including sushi.  God shows up everywhere.  We’ve just got to be willing and take the time to see HIM.  I highly recommend this one.  I couldn’t mark anything off my list for this one.  Chalk it up as another “book of your choice.”

A coworker once made the comment, “You’ll read anything, won’t you, Emily.”  True story.  I will read ALMOST anything.  I’ve got a few lines drawn when it comes to some books (mainly 50 Shades of Grey, and I don’t need your judgement on that), but otherwise, I’m up for most anything.  I’d love to hear your suggestions.  I listen to Jamie Ivey’s podcast The Happy Hour (free on iTunes) on the regular, and she always asks her guests what they’re reading.  I love that, and I get lots of ideas from all of them.  I can’t figure out how to follow normal people on Good Reads, so if you’ve got pointers on that, I’m all ears.

Thanks for stopping by!