THIS Is Happening Right Now

I have found myself crying two times in the last 12 hours. And my weekend has consisted of nothing but family parties, time at the beach with my husband, eating good food, and painting my home. Perhaps, I am crying BECAUSE of these good things.

The first time tears brimmed was this morning in church, which I can understand as I thought about my barely tenable connection to brothers and sisters suffering unspeakable losses in Iraq right now. What did my four walls of safety and communion have in common with theirs? Just Jesus, and a prayer He is not far from them right now.

The second time I gave way to tears coursing in gentle waves was watching the end of Hotel Rwanda with my husband. I’ve seen it many times, he had not, and so we began watching the sober film about the 1994 Rwandan genocide a few weeks ago, and concluded it today. My husband looked over at me, crying, and tried to console me as I simply said, “It’s just, that it’s happening right now. This. THIS. Is happening right now.”

And I am angry and saddened and frustrated by my helplessness, my powerlessness, my lack of ability to move. Me, one of the world’s richest persons because I live in America, hold a master’s degree, and have a combined annual income of triple digits.

All of those factors should make me one of the most influential people and yet they are nothing, or they feel like nothing to stem the slaughter of northern Iraqi’s who claim Christ as Lord, or who belong to other faiths and simply will not convert to Islam.

I know many people are posting on Facebook, are changing profile pictures, are tweeting, I among them. And yet, I also know that fleeing, suffering Iraqi’s are asking, “Where is our help?” Do they see us trying to raise awareness? Do they know, that if we could, we would call down more than just meager airstrikes ourselves? We would pick them up, carry them into our homes, lay them down in a bed, and whisper, “You are safe now” until kingdom come?

I fear they do not know. I fear they think we have abandoned them, forgotten about them, considered them someone else’s problem, or worse yet, never heard about them at all. I fear it’s Rwanda all over again and only after it’s over will people read of it, will they travel like I did to the memorial sites, indignant and righteously angry that such senseless atrocities ever occurred. I fear they will become REAL to us one day, when we hear their survivor stories ,or visit their graves or watch a Hollywoodized movie. And then, it will be too late.

And I can’t have that on my conscious. I’ve been to Rwanda. I’ve seen the walls where babies’ heads were shattered like clay pots on bricks. I’ve befriended a boy who hid in bushes at the age of 5, watched his family get chopped down, and lived to tell. I’ve read the stories; I’ve heard the politics behind labeling something a “genocide” and I’ve met the people to whom that term applied. I was 11 when the Rwandan genocide occurred. I am 30 now. Youth and helplessness may have been my excuse then, but by God, it will NOT be my excuse now. Not ever.

And so, I will pray down heaven’s armies, and I will teach American school children that there are children their age whose heads are on spikes in a park because they remained true to what they believe. And I will write, and I will find ways to give, and I may come at the end and still wonder if people in Iraq knew I loved them. But, I will get to heaven, and I will see them, and we will worship our Savior together, and I will not wish I had spent my time differently on earth. I will not waste my helplessness on them.

Here, Lord, have my Pinterest project

This is NOT the blog I intended on writing today, or the blog I intended upon writing this past week.

But, God interrupted my life today, and I can’t say no.

In fact, that was the whole point of today. Being a missionary is being someone who lets God interrupt your life. And I want to be a missionary.

Oh, not your classic outdated jumper-wearing, braided-hair, frumpy missionary wife in need of a pedicure, or the iconic Victorian era outpost with the white folk who went out to “save the natives from uncivilized behavior,” carrying with them equal portions of the white man’s burden and their larger than life Bible.

I want to be on mission with God. I want to be an active part of building His Kingdom. I don’t want to come to the end of my days and find that what I show up to the pearly white gates with is a really neat Pinterest project worthy of a DIY blog, or some really rock hard abs from my days as a gym rat or Crossfit chick.

So, allow me to explain what I mean. Today was just a whole heaping, steaming, helping of conviction. It started with me realizing what a crappy wife I am. I didn’t want to go the “Go Conference” my church was holding today from 9am til 1pm for a variety of reasons. Number one being my semi-arrogant assumption that it would be a bunch of “Misisons” information I’ve heard before in my trainings for my many previous “missions trips.” I also wanted to sleep in, spread a blanket out in the back yard, and enjoy some sun for a few hours on my Saturday. I wanted no agenda but mine. I think you see where this is going.

My sweet, godly husband, who most times only asks to do things because he perceives, and knows, they will benefit us, REALLY, really wanted to attend this conference. God has been increasingly growing his heart for the nations, and I, like an idiot, was poo-pooing this. I, who ironically, for many, many years prayed and beseeched the Lord for a man with a heart for missions was discouraging my brand-new, fresh out of the oven husband, from leading our family into doing something that would enable us to engage in undertakings much larger than ourselves. Being a part of God’s story, not just our own, is something we prayed for at our wedding, something so many people prayed for for me faithfully for a long, LONG time. Shame on me.

I got to church, we got to church, because the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my selfishness, even though I was still battling my cheerfulness at being up and at it by 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Instantly, the convictions rose higher and higher, like the description in the super trendy “Oceans” song by Hillsong right now. I almost cried, tears welled up at how good God is to me for giving me a man who leads me into days that are just what my heart needs, and how utterly gallingly human I am for almost dismissing and discarding them, and him. I leaned over, whispered to him, and apologized deeply.

And then I leaned into the rest of today’s message, and it was just what I needed. The statistics on the number of people who need Jesus, shoot, who just need to have a word in their own tongue for God Himself, are staggering. I’d heard them before, and the many biblical reasons why “Missions” is THE pivotal role of the Church, but today things rang clearer than they have for awhile, and today, my desire was renewed to be on “Mission.”

Today, I came face to face with the opportunity to begin seeking out relationships with the many nations who live right here in my hometown and attend our local universities. It would take merely a few hours out of my week to spend time building a friendship with some of these folks, helping them with their language acquisition, and providing them with places to go for the holidays, or when they just need a friend. The reality that so many international students arrive to America every year and do not ever get invited into American homes is sobering, challenging, and downright heart-breaking.

So, of course, in light of this great need, here’s where my mind goes:

“But, uh, what about the time I spend at the gym. I don’t want to get chubby or flabby.”

“And what about all the house projects we have going. I just need some time to establish our home.”

“And what about the fact that I already feel like I don’t have any extra time and we don’t even have kids yet, just two retrievers.”

Ahem, interruption.

That’s what it means to live a life for the Kingdom, for others, for the glory of His name. Because here’s the thing. Am I really going to show up, at the end of my days, and be satisfied to present to Jesus some super nifty craft I made with letters and decoupage? Or, flex my biceps and impress Jesus with my incredibly ripped body? Hey, Lord, yeah, so while I was doing my time down there, these things were pretty important. And then He points to me and asks, “Where are they now?” [Those things that rust and fade, or sag and age?] And meanwhile, he steps aside, and as the nations walk past me, He asks, “Where were you when they…[needed a meal, a friend, the Gospel]?

Am I really going to have the audacity to present that those “accomplishments” to my Lord? No, I am not. I am sometimes foolhardy, and stubborn, and selfish, but I just can’t be that disobedient. I can’t be that unwilling to be interrupted.

So, here, Lord, have my Pinterest project, and my body, and my time, and my money too. It is yours. Interrupt me, please.

Songs I Would Record on My Album

So, story of my life: I think in song lyrics. I sing them. People say, I don’t recognize that song. Someone else sings it immediately after. Ohhhhh, says the audience.

Yeah. That’s why I’ll NEVER actually record an album. But, it’s fun to dream. And so, here are the songs I would record in this dreamworld where I can carry a tune in a bucket, and clap at the same time too.

1.) Ordinary People by John Legend. Just cuz it’s my fave.

2.) Bartender by TPain. Pretty much, my dear friend and I sang this song, duet style, on the way to the beach every time. And every road trip too.

3.) When the Doves cry by Prince. Because, why not?!

4.) Fancy by Drake. Das ma jam.

5.) California Girls by Katy Perry. I am one, through and through.

6.) If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys. What red blooded American girl HASN’T belted this one at some point driving alone in the car?

7.) I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T by Webbie. This is the song I was singing, spastically, when I met a new roommate. It remains one of her favorites to this day.

8.) Church by TPain. Man, me and TPain. I just like singing this one cuz he says “Ima take your a*& to church!”

Then, there are also a ton of bastardized hip hop songs I’ve manipulated to teach literature lessons with. They are to many to count, certainly to many to “list.”

Best Ways to Show Love

I found myself driving down my old street today. It was on the way to my destination, and I hadn’t driven by in about a month, which really isn’t very long, but sentimentality seemed to compel me onward. I think about this house, and it’s occupants, often. It was my last permanent residence as a single girl. It was the home of my last permanent single roommates, my last first kiss and hand holding, and where Becka and Zac began. Where he brought me oranges when I was sick, and asked me to be his girlfriend. Where I prepared for Lizzy’s wedding day with her, and fought off bugs, and shower fiends with Sarah. It was where I last lived with my best friend, Alicia, and where, for three years, my pooch HermioneFancy first made her home. It was the bedroom I brought her home to at 8 weeks old, and well, I just love that house. And so, I guess I just wanted to check up on it, make sure it was being treated alright, make sure its new occupants, who I’m sure are great, are showing it some love.

Speaking of showing love, I think I’ve learned this the best from all my roommates these last 10-12 years, from college, and on into the single years of my 20’s. There’s nothing like living with someone day in and day out to learn their idiosyncrasies and know their ins and outs. This kind of knowledge best equips you to love them well. And so, thank you to all the ladies I’ve lived with these past 12ish years. Here’s how you’ve shown me to show love.

1.) Always be ready for damage control. Know your roommate well, and know just what will make a poopy day better. For some, it’s a meandering around Target, for others, it’s making a batch of brownies, for yet others it’s a run together, and for me, well, it was when my taco salad bowl got picked up after I threw it across the kitchen, or when I came home late to find a cake I’d made frosted for me.

2.) Be spontaneous. Love each other by adventuring together. If that means putting away your studies, putting on your sweatpants, and driving to the beach at 10pm at night just to find yourself maybe perhaps skinny dipping in October foggy night waves, well so be it. These are the moments we were born for. Love them.

3.) Pray with each other. Some of the ways I’ve best been shown love are those moments sitting on my floor crying, when my roommate drops me a note, sits and cries with me, and prays. Or those blissful days of happiness on a sandy beach on Cancun, sitting, praying for each other watching the night surf bring giant sea tortoises to shore.

4.) Share your day. Take turns talking about the stuff that happened and who’s coworker went bezerk. Everyone’s job is different, and days are not the same, that’s why they’re meant to be shared. Some may engineer landfills and need to talk about the process of putting liners in trash dumps, while others teach small children and need to talk about the kid who only has one pair of pants and they got dirty today, and he is sad. Others are studying to be nurses and they see crazy things and they clear out bedpans, and well, they just need to share their grossness with someone who they don’t have to put a heart monitor on.

5.) Create routines together. Could be “weekend duty,” a house-wide rule to sleep in the buff to celebrate the coming of Friday. Could be ordering Little Green Onions and watching Grey’s Anatomy together. Could be deciding that for once, when you all watch a movie together, no one will have their laptop turned on. Could be just the opposite, and everyone face books each other messages while in the same room, maybe even on the same couch.

Life is hard. Days can get messy. But one thing my single years taught me, is how to love in the good and the bad. I am, now, on the other end of some bad ones, and thankful for the ones who showed me love throughout our college apartments, our first place on our own apartment, our 611swag, and our kat house days. Thank you, girls for showing me so much love. It’s now my turn to take those love lessons, and show love to the man who becomes my permanent roommate in 5 days.

It’s Time for…

I want to just live the simple life and say that after waiting many long blue moons for this season in my life, It’s time for ALL THE GOOD STUFF… But, I suppose, in the name of list making, that “All the good stuff” probably doesn’t really qualify. Let me delineate this for you…

It’s time for marrying my best friend (one week from today).

It’s time for celebrating my last few single days with my very best girlfriends in the world, 3 of whom have flown overseas and out of state to be with me.

It’s time for creating a home with my love. There will be lots of antique shopping, yard saling, DIY-ing, and gift card applying for this to happen.

It’s time for watching my good friends have their first babies this year.

It’s time for FINALLY taking that dream honeymoon to France and Italy (being booked as I write).

This means it’s also time for seeing Michaelangelo’s David, eating REAL Italian gelato, riding in trains around Europe like Harry Potter, taking a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower, walking under the ruins of the Coliseum, sunbathing in the south of France, ambling on cobblestone streets with a crepe in my hand, taking a moonlit gondola ride, and viewing the Mona Lisa, in person.

It’s time for kissing the 2014 school year goodbye and kissing summer hello.

It’s time for my husband to teach me how to surf.

It’s time for celebrating my Dad, my Brother, and my chocolate lab Hermione Fancy’s birthday today.

It’s time for riding off into the sunset.

It’s time for singing praises of thanksgiving to the Lord.

It’s time for writing more.

It’s time for dreaming of becoming a book editor, and then one day, a book author.

It might be even time for a new tattoo soon.

It’s time for me to catch up on all the books I have to read because, praise the Lord, wedding planning is over.

 

This week’s playlist

You would think picking your songs would be one of the easiest parts of planning a wedding, right?

Wrong.

At least, wrong when the groom’s pick of tunes includes hardcore, punk, and Dashboard Confessional, and the bride’s includes soul, R&B, and Usher. The typical compromise is folk music, the likes of Mumford, the Avett Brothers, and the Civil Wars. But, angsty, slow, banjo playing really just isn’t the business for wedding music.

And so, after some blood, sweat, and tears, Zac and I landed on the following songs to be played at our wedding this Sunday, March 30. For those of you in attendance, make your guesses now as to when these jams will make their appearance! They are NOT listed in their ceremonial or receptional order ;).

1.) Ho! Hey!, The Lumineers

2.) Come Thou Fount, old hymn

3.) Party Rock Anthem, LMFAO

4.) Sexy and I Know It, LMFAO

5.) Be Thou My Vision, old hymn

6.) Beautiful Things, Gungor

7.) In My Life, The Beatles

8.) She Is Love, Parachute

9.) Here Comes the Bride, Jonathan Cain’s rendition

10.) All of Me, John Legend

11.) Drop in the Ocean, Ron Pope

12.) In Christ Alone, Owl City

13.) Fancy, Drake

14.) Welcome to the Jungle, Guns N Roses

15.) I’ll Follow You into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie

16.) Harlem Shake, ????

 

Of course, there’s also all the requests TextRSVP’d in by guests, but we’ll let this list suffice for now. Weigh in on what song you think we selected for which of the many bridal traditions!

The perfect ________ involves _______

I love mad libs. I suppose this makes sense as I am a logophile. I also like systems, equations, and plugging things. Hence, I was way better at Algebra than Geometry.

All that to say, today’s list prompt makes me extremely happy.

The perfect day involves the beach, iced coffee, and good music.

The perfect coffee involves whipped cream and coffee cake.

The perfect house involves a soft color palette, open windows, old books, and lots of photos.

The perfect classroom involves the classics, artistic projects, lots of student work, and bright colors.

The perfect night involves candles, a luminescent moon, and an outdoor patio.

The perfect book involves mystery, character development, philosophical ideas, and rich vocabulary.

The perfect morning involves anything after 10am.

The perfect list involves the ability to get it all done :).

The perfect man involves integrity, godliness, tenderness, strength, and humilty (Zac).

When I was your age…

This is such a classic list idea for a teacher. I feel like just saying the phrase, “When I was your age” immediately places me in some old krohn category, but well, I am 30 so…

Ok, kids (age 16-17), when I was your age…

I didn’t even carry a cell phone on me, much less own one

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter were at least 5 years away from existence

Did not yet have my license

Was starting to work my first job, at McDonald’s (yup)

Did not spell personal pronouns as “u” or “ur”

4.0 megapixels on a camera (yes, a real point and shoot) was a big deal

DVD’s were the new thing

911 hadn’t happened yet

The symbol # still stood for pound

If I wanted to record a show, I had to use VHS

I played outside, not a virtual screen

I still got in trouble for chewing gum in class

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were still together

Jim Carey was a big deal

Cars still had cassette players (do you even know what that is?)

I had to print off directions from Mapquest on the computer

I still saved work on a floppy disk (another probably very foreign term to you)

I knew how to use the library card catalogue system (you should wikipedia that)

The biggest scandal was President Clinton’s lie, “I did not have sex relations with that woman”

 

 

 

 

Pins I’m Excited To Try…

Bahhhh… Pinterest. Such a paradoxical conundrum for me. Pinterest has single handedly inspired my wedding, and just as single handedly robbed me of sleep. Pinterest gives me the hope to believe I too can become a crafting goddess, and the assurance that I’ll never quite match up. It teaches me of creativity, all the while learning to copy others’ talents and genius.

Nonetheless, for as often as I curse it as a continually unsatisfied trainer, and as often as I run to it like a guiding light in the dark, I have to admit, there are a few pins I’m REALLY excited for once wedding is over and Zac and I can play house.

1.) Reclaimed wood headboard (maybe Chevron style)?

2.) Walls and walls of frame designs

3.) Crafts with maps for decor

4.) 101 things to do with mason jars (I’ll have at least 35 leftover from the wedding)

5.) A window seat for the reading room

6.) Scrapbook ideas for wedding mementos (cards, invitations, card stock, ticket stubs, etc).

7.) All kinds of cookies (healthy and unhealthy)

8.) New vegetarian meals

9.) Old dresser turned bookcase

10.) One day (STILL FAR AWAY) nursery ideas for future Applegate Littles

Places I Take Visitors

Being a Southern California native, I believe I have this list pretty easy. Where do I take guests or friends who are visiting from out of town? Easy…

1.) In-N-Out (This list would be complete if this was the only answer)

2.) The beach (which one? Don’t matter; take your pick of the many iconic ones 30 miles away)

3.) The Rainbows outlet (conveniently located near #s 1 and 2)

4.) The Magic Kingdom (i.e. Disneyland)

5.) Hollywood (with a stop at Diddy Riese’s Ice Cream sandwich shop on the way home)