The Church

22 Aug

Inflatable Church!

OK, so now I have some discussion fodder for you all – not because I like arguements, but because I like discussion, and fodder.

Inspired by a Twitter conversation with some dear old friends….

Can churches be too big?

What is the ideal size of a church?

Should church “growth” be a primary indicator of the health of a church?

How does our theology of community and individual “relationship with God” influence our relationship to “the church”?

Should churches plant new churches after a point? What factors are instrumental in deciding to plant new churches?

What is good about bigger churches (1000+ for the sake of discussion)?

What is good about smaller churches?

What can one learn from the other?

I have my very opinionated opinions. 🙂 But I’m more interested in hearing from you.



Excuses, Excuses

21 Aug

"Well, this is awkward."

Here’s the thing. If there’s nothing really going on in my life, I’m all like: “Hey, I have nothing to blog about. I’m just going to work and doing my thing, you know?” And then, if there’s something really big and really personal going on in my life, I think: “Well, that’s too personal to blog about. I mean, why put your whole dirty laundry out there for everyone? Nobody wants that, and they’ll just feel awkward. Or sorry for you. Or they’ll feel like they have to pretend to “pray for you”. (There are some folks out there who really do that, I know, but I’ve been guilty of saying “I’ll pray for you”, when I really just don’t know what else to say.) Then, if there’s stuff going on that is great but not too personal, then I’m all: “I’m too busy to blog right now!” or “Nobody really cares about that anyway….you already screwed your blog by not writing in forEVZ, so you should probably play some more Froggy Jump.

So. I’m not going to do that today. Why, you ask? Because I’m procrastinating! That’s right, I have far too much to do (as you will soon see) and I’d rather sit at my new (to me)  pretty black MacBook, drink coffee and wait til my husband gets home from work to get crankin on the stuff we need to do.
Such as?

OK, so we’re moving in a week. Which reminds me, I should start a Facebook Event because that’s the only thing that seems to work these days. Thanks to Ben, we have a good start on the packing, though he tends to pack a little too much too soon. (“I’m leaving two plates and two forks for us for the next week.” “Um, no.”) But there’s plenty more to pack. Super huge thanks to the Ryans, because it’s really nice to not have to drive all over Indy, sneaking into the fenced-off trash bins of big box stores (there’s a reason they call them that, I guess) to gather boxes. They came over a couple of months ago with a truck full of boxes from their latest move. AWESOME. SO yeah, there’s that.

There’s also the actual house. We’d planned on getting FAR more done this summer (we closed on the house in May), but a lot of stuff was put on hold as we tried to get the previous owners to fulfill their contract (which included some basement work, electrical, etc), which was a tough job. Finally, all that got done (mostly) and then the aircon went out. And then our home warranty company decided to reject our claim for it. Thanks, HWA, you were really helpful!

No, no you were not.

Anyway, we’re still working on that. But it’s been pretty miserable (for us and for some friends who were gracious enough to help us!) trying to get everything painted in the house. I think we might actually be able to get it done, though we probably won’t be done with the trim (there’s a LOT OF TRIM). Eh, whatever. But we WILL have working air conditioning by when we move in (it’s consistently been over 90 degrees here….but isn’t that true everywhere?), even if I have to hire the local garden gnomes to bring ice cubes into our vents and blow on them. That’ll work, right?

So then there’s this one little thing.

I got a new job.

Last week was my last week at Outreach. Next week is my first week as Program Manager (or Program Director, or Program Managing Director, depending on who you ask when) at LifeBridge Community. Yes, the week we’re moving. Great idea, eh?

So THAT has been happening.

Yeah, I’ll be glad when we get through all this.

But it’s exciting, no?

Maybe I’ll post some photos for you. Eventually.

(New) Creation

27 May

Back in 2001ish, I read a couple of John Eldredge books.  Now, say what you want about him and his theology, but this post isn’t really about that. I don’t remember which book it was (either The Sacred Romance or Journey of Desire), but it was the first time I read anything about the concept of “creating things” in Heaven (or, the New Earth). This later  came up again in a conversation with Ben, when he was expressing how excited he was about the idea (I believe this was when he was doing a book study with some guys on Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven”). Ben is a born “creator”, as am I. I suppose we all are, to differing degrees. If God is a creator (and this is a true and good attribute of him), and we are created in his Image (!), then there are all sorts of arguments as to why the “creating” can go on in Eternity. (I’ve heard on more than one occasion that “the only thing that we do now that we will continue to do in Heaven is worship”. Feel free to point out some glaring scripture I’m missing, but I don’t see this in Scripture at all. There are so many good things that will carry on. Though I suppose you can make the argument that in the New Earth, in glory, everything we do will be “all worship”, without tarnish.)

This whole idea excites me, especially on the days and weeks that I just want to stay home and create. I want to wake up and write a book and paint and take photos and rehab furniture and make things. Surely I’m not the only one?

One day I can do that without having to worry about getting paid. Or sleep, for that matter.

All Things New

26 May

Whew. What a week. Can we move into our house yet?

It’s been almost a week since we became homeowners….by which I mean “we pay a bank to live in their house instead of a landlord”. (OK, that’s the more pessimistic side, I know.) We aren’t moving into it til August, because 1) our lease isn’t up at our apartment til August, which is good because 2) we have a list several pages long of things to do before we want to move in. But that part I’m excited about! I’m sure you’ll eventually have to remind me that I was once excited about all these projects, because at some point I’m sure I’m going to start crying and complaining and heading over to the Steer-In for a huge plate of fries. (Or maybe Stoney’s is more likely.) But right now, I’d love to get to work on it. We have a couple weeks though, before we can get started on the big stuff when our tax refund comes in. In the meantime, I’ll be working on refinishing/painting some good furniture I picked up (an antique desk for $15 from Goodwill! and a chest of drawers that doubles as a bench seat for FREE!). I’ll keep you updated.

You didn’t know this was gonna turn into one of those house blogs did you? Sorry. 🙂 I’ve become more and more enthralled with the idea of renewal and “making all things new”, including our little house (built in 1925)  on the eastside of Indy and the things we put in it.  I like seeing old things repurposed and rehabbed, and I like seeing the beauty even in things that have a little “history”.

Part of it may have to do with growing up in what now feels like a pretty sterilized suburban environment, which I was ready to move away from. (As a side note, I’ve come to learn that those newer houses seems to fall apart a lot more easily than our older homes. They really don’t make them like they used to!) But part of it too comes with my changing understanding of what my theology means to everyday life. I love that (in my understanding of Scripture, and that of my tradition), God isn’t just going to throw everything out and start all over. He’s using what we’re doing now to make all things new. What we do here, on earth, in this life, really does matter. We’re not just trudging through to get to this celestial home in the sky, we’re working on a  project (Creation) deemed worthy by God to  be brought back into right relationship with him, and wholeness. In the “new earth”, we will have new bodies, but we will still recognize them – they will still be ours. This earth will be here, but it will be made new, and right, and whole. No more death, no more decay. What can be more worthy of our time and attention that participating with God in moving toward something that amazing?

And so, we garden and we clean and we help and love and mend and remake and redo and reform and bring wholeness. Because nothing is wasted, all of it matters, both now and forever. And yes, until our “new earth”, we will all still need mending and remending and more help and more growth. But it’s worth it because it is good and right and it’s part of our calling. And all that is broken won’t just be mended: it will be redeemed. It will all make sense, and it will be whole and good.

In my big dreams of “redemption” (and my smaller ones of simply redecorating the bathroom), I’ve run across all sorts of amazing home and life blogs that I’ve grown to love (and lurk around!). Just a few to introduce to you all, if you are interested in that sort of thing (you know….redemption…. ;))

Young House Love: I can’t go to this site too much because I get crazy jealous about the awesome goodness they manage to pull off to their little abode. (Also, I just recently got MORE jealous of them when they both quit their jobs to be full time blogger/renovators!) I actually first found out about them through their cover story on The Nest magazine and became a regular reader after we started looking at houses. They also have a great “how-to” page with links on all sorts of stuff to do to your stuff. And things.

We Can Make That!: OK, I’ll admit, these are two close friends of ours Chris and Amy. (Well, Amy does the blog, but they both do the work!). They bought their house a year ago and have been injecting their DIY excitement into the air around us ever since. They’ve done stuff like tear down walls and tile pretty much their whole house. And Amy painted their toilet. No, really. Also, they have a truck, so they help us out. They’re pretty excited about our new house projects too! And we love them lots.

Fly Through Our Window: Darby’s blog has become my New Favorite. She is truly inspirational in practically every way – she’s a brilliant photographer (it helps that her family is SO beautiful!), fantastic woman-of-the-house and a mom who truly gets what the “mission of motherhood” is.  Her blog is a joy to read, largely because she “gets” what redemption and “all things new” truly means. And I love her recipe ideas! (Check out “renovations” for the awesome stuff they’ve done to their house!) Also, she loves Indelible Grace so I’m pretty sure we could totally be friends in real life.

All Bower Power: Amy got me hooked on Katie Bower’s blog. They have a beautiful house and Katie is really funny. Also, I don’t hate her nearly as much for being super cute and having an adorbs house, mostly because she’s hella funny and totally normal. (If I must read blogs about beautiful people, I also want to read about their imperfections!)

Knock-Off Wood: Another blog I found via Amy. This girl makes me more confident about actually making stuff! (Also, we’re going to benefiting from Ben’s dad’s woodshop items in our basement, so I’m hoping to learn how to do some of my own woodworking soon.) Outdoor patio set anyone?

Apartment Therapy: Classic design group that has great ideas for small spaces

Junkmarket Style:  Junkmarket books inspired me to go on a hunt for antique ladders (which I found for $15 each) and then some old hardback books to hang on them for decoration. And they look awesome. But you’ll have to trust me because I’m too lazy to post a photo  of them right now. (Also, they were originally intended to go in the new house…they’ll be far more exciting to look at there than her in our apartment!) GREAT idea to be found here.

Humble Ablog, Tearing Up Houses, This Fresh Fossil: More fun blogs focused on taking old houses and making them new.

Anyway, I have others, but it’s bedtime for me. Click around some of the above links and tell me what you think. And then follow some of their links too…I love discovering new stuff!


(The Beginning.)

21 May

Hi again.

Welcome to the third installment of my blogging adventures.

I began blogging back in January of 2003, over seven years ago, during my first year in college in Scotland. It seemed like the thing to do, given that a) it was what everyone was doing and b) it allowed me to keep people up to date with my life in Scotland. In truth, I’m afraid to go back and read what I had to say back in my college years, but if you’re interested, you can find it here from the awful beginning: . (As a side note, my friend Paul from Wiseacre Design designed my first blog from scratch. It was lovely, though the design aspects are gone, so you’ll just have to trust me. Nearly six years later, Paul would be the photographer at my wedding.)

A few years later, I got bored with that one, and Paul set me up with another one, and my own domain:, which would later become, which would later get hijacked by internet terrorists. And by “internet terrorists” I mean “spammers”. So, sorry if that confused some of you. That was then, this is now.

I’ve floundered in the last few years, with the blog issue, because it’s hard to know what to write about. I felt like living in an apartment in Indiana was far less exciting to the general public than living in a flat in Edinburgh. I wasn’t  the crazy American-in-Scotland anymore, I was just another midwestern girl. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t loved my life after Edinburgh, but simply that I didn’t know how to write about it anymore. (Additionally, I took on a job that was-is-incredibly exciting and original, but is also bound by confidentiality issues that do not allow me to blog much about it. Given that it’s such a huge part of my life, it seems it’s made it even more difficult to know what to say to you all.)

And sometimes, I just don’t know what to say. I’ve complained before that the times in which it probably would have been the most fruitful to blog proved to be the most difficult to blog through. Like anyone else with a Facebook page these days, it’s hard to know what should be fair game for the wider world. In that sense, Facebook and Twitter have made it far easier to not blog about anything of importance.  I’ll tell you about what I’m eating for lunch, but don’t you dare ask me about how my marriage is going or what I’m truly fearful of, or where I think I may have failed.  Is much as we talk about privacy, it feels to me that Facebook and Twitter make us more likely to be less like ourselves online.

But no matter.

In truth, here on this blog, I still decide what you know and what you don’t know. I feel like I’m gaining some sense of my writing voice back. I don’t feel the pressure that I did to blog anymore, mostly because the majority of my former “hardcore” readers have vanished. (Though some of you are still around, and have been waiting patiently. You know who you are, and I thank you.) I will try again here, but I can’t lie and pretend my ultimate daily goal is to blog anymore. If I look back to when I blogged nearly daily, I think my intentions lay mostly in my loneliness. It was hard to find deep soul friends in Scotland (though, in the end, I found a few), and so my thoughts were puked out onto the world instead. For better or for worse, there it was.

Since then, I moved to Indiana, and found a family of friends at my church that have taught me how to love and mature and grow. And so, I find less need to get my thoughts out to “the world” in order to be heard (and, sadly, I probably thought  my college years were about being heard, rather than listening well).  I am not who I was 7.5 years ago, thank God, but anyone who writes (or creates anything at all), knows that that desire to write and create and string words together never really goes away. And I’d like to reclaim that little part of me that I feel like I lost.

So let’s try again, shall we?


P.S. This week, we bought a house. So that should be fun, too:

(Thanks for coming back. And welcome. And leave a comment to let me know who is out there!)