the Emily

I want to start out by saying that I just simply can’t put this woman into words…I have truly never met anyone else like her…but I will attempt to capture a bit of who she is and share her with you.

Emily and I lived together in Thailand…we shared a great little apartment high up above the city with an amazing view that almost made you forget you were in the middle of a red light district…those years we lived together had an incalculable impact on my life. I learned so much from her, I grew so much through her, and I found so much laughter in our friendship.

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Wedding photos…I don’t think we’ve ever looked better

When I first moved to Thailand I moved into a room in a crazy house full of women who were constantly transitioning through…it was pretty exhausting…well, in this room was this homemade sign with Micah 6:8 written on it…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

For the three months I lived in that room I would find myself staring at that sign, just meditating on those words, remembering why I’d moved across the world, what it truly was that the Lord wanted from me in Thailand…do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…That truth got me through a lot those first couple of months…they were HARD!

Then, I met Emily!

She had been home in England for a few months, and I discovered I had been living in her room, and the sign that brought me such encouragement was her handy work.

Within a few hours of meeting we were looking for our own apartment and a few days later we moved into our sanctuary in the sky.

We had so much fun in that apartment, there are so many stories from those years…sometimes my son will ask me to tell him an Emily story, his favorite being the time she brought home bunnies in dresses from the market…we found lots of entertainment in our differences as an American and Englishwoman, escape in “24” marathons…why don’t they ever believe Jack!?! And adventure in just wandering the massive city together.

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We just went out to get supplies for milkshakes!!!

But, the most incredible thing I have taken away from my time with this woman is watching her live out Micah 6:8.

Seeing her selflessness when woken in the middle of the night by a drunk and hysterical woman ringing our bell…I was irritated by being woken and inconvenienced but not Em, she just cared about this woman…watching her stop and take the time to talk with broken and hurting people as she encounters them. Once, she passed a woman on the street who was obviously not Thai, homeless, covered in dirt, and smelled of poo, so she brought her to our place, cleaned her up…also one of my boy’s favorite stories because there was quite a bit of hilariousness that ensued…and then worked to get her back to her home country.

Today, I live in a home where things change constantly, where more people live with me than share my name, where people come to visit and stay for weeks and months, and where everyone is welcome. The Lord used this incredible woman to open my heart to this…to prepare me for setting aside my comforts and expectations and instead having a deep desire to love others with every part of my life.

I have never known anyone else even close to like her. Who so fiercely loves justice, who seeks it out on behalf of others. Who seems to walk around surrounded by a cloud of mercy. And who desires to live simply, humbly, and innocent of evil…I don’t know how she manages to spend so much of her life surrounded by evil and yet remain so beautifully innocent, but she does, it’s a beautiful gift God has given her! 

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Trying to design a piece of jewelry that captures all of this was difficult! I knew I wanted to use red because she had these great red jeans that were so cool…this was way before colored jeans were even a thing… and I knew I wanted them to capture the intensity, the fierceness of who she is…because she is FIERCE! But I also wanted them to be fun, and to sparkle a bit…because that’s who she is, this fierce, sparkly, fun woman! So I went with deep, rich colors, labradorite which has a bit of flash to it, and a unique wire wrapped look. They don’t do her justice…but I think they’re pretty cool.

It’s been six years since we’ve lived together…since we’ve lived on the same continent…I moved back to Colorado, she moved back to England. I have been so blessed to go to England twice in the last couple of years, so I’ve gotten to see her and spend some time with her. She’s doing amazing things there as she continues to live a just, merciful, and humble life…Check out Ella’s Home or message me if you want to find out more about what she’s currently doing in England to live out justice and mercy in the lives of women in England…and pray for her, for the women she works with, and pray about supporting this work.

Sometimes I sit back and think…I can’t believe I know this woman, I can’t believe she’s my friend…I am so grateful for her in my life, for who she encourages me to be, who she inspires me to be…When I look at her life, when I see who she is all I can think is…if anything is going to change the world it’s going to be people like her who love the Lord and live out His love!

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To purchase the Emily click HERE

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the Lindsy

I am not in the habit of walking up to people asking them “hi, will you be my friend”…at least not since I was in 2nd grade…but with Lindsy that’s exactly what I did…well, not exactly, I really made a case for why we needed to be friends…we had been hanging out with the same group of friends for a while and I really enjoyed her, but she travelled a lot which made really becoming more than just acquaintances difficult.

So, one Saturday afternoon at a women’s retreat me and two other of my incredible friends practically stalked her until we were able to talk with her. When we finally got some time with her we made our case for why she needed girl friends…and why we were exactly those girls…instead of backing away slowly and issuing a restraining order, she delightfully agreed with us…and we’ve been friends ever since!

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*While editing this post I noticed that I never once mentioned how amazingly talented she is…MAJOR oversight…she has an absolutely incredible voice and heart for worship and writes incredibly vulnerable and beautiful songs*

10 years later, I never see her often enough or for long enough but it is such a treat when I get to spend time with her…we are still very much bosom buddies. There are so many things I enjoy about her, so many things that make her a great friend. She is so kind and genuine, her faith and her heart are so pure, and she is wonderfully silly…we’ve definitely stayed up all night giggling like teenagers well into our 20s, and we once toilet papered a friend’s house when we were WAY too old to do something like that.

In my early years of walking with the Lord Lindsy showed me how to love others, how to engage everyone with graciousness and love. I don’t know if Lindsy has any idea how much I admire her, how much I look up to her, how much she inspires me. I have observed how she treats people over the years and I have watched how they are drawn to her…like flies to honey.

Once she gave our waiter in the restaurant her personal bible with all her notes, because he had shared with us some struggles and expressed a desire to read the Bible and to know God…so she just handed it to him. I don’t know if she knows how much of an impact that had on me.

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But the thing that has kept our friendship strong and grown her into one of my closest and most trusted friends over the years is how likeminded we are. There are a lot of people on this earth, a lot of people I love and enjoy, a lot of people I call friends, some who just come into my life for a season, but very VERY few who I have found myself so likeminded with.

I have always been able to be open with her…to share my heart…she has always listened, encouraged, comforted, and exhorted me. She has been present during some of the most amazing, and the most difficult times in my life, we started our friendships as single ladies…I got engaged days before her wedding, she was a bridesmaid in mine…and now we are moms…we have grown and changed so much, along side each other.

The icing on top is that we married men who were friends…yay!!!

Basically…I love this lady! She is kindness, beauty, joy, strength, comfort, a bit of sparkle, and a whole lot of grace all bundled up into one lovely package. I don’t know if I could ever truly capture who she is in a piece of jewelry, but I gave it a shot.

I used amazonite, because it is one of my favorite stones. It has this very natural and calming feel to it, and the color is neutral but not boring. The quartz gives it sparkle…gotta love some sparkle. There is something comfortable yet so special about this necklace. It makes me happy to wear it, it brings me comfort, and it makes me feel beautiful.

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Being around Lindsy does the same thing…it makes me feel so comfortable, and loved, and beautiful…I admire her so much, and just being in her presence reminds me how loved I am by God…what an incredible…and inspiring…friend she is to have. I’m glad I was brave/silly/foolish enough to ask her to be my friend all those years ago.

The Lindsy is available here…Frippery House…and here…Etsy

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Say hello…

As promised I’m finally blogging about this summer’s EPIC trip…6 countries, tons of people, and 30 days is definitely once in a life time. I am going to start with the most unexpected experience of the trip…PARIS.

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I know this is totally abnormal, but I’ve never really had any desire to go to Paris. I’ve had opportunity to go to France a few times, but have always chosen to go somewhere else instead…I ended up in Scotland the first time and the Netherlands the secondI think it’s partially because I until I lived in Bangkok I never liked big cities…I had never really lived in one, so I think I was just scared…and Paris is a BIG city.

When planning for this summer, Andrew and I decided that it would be much more exciting to take the train back to England at the end of our cruise instead of flying, which meant ending up in Paris…which he was excited about. We shared our plans with my mom, and she decided to join us, then my sister-in-law and niece got on board with it, and even one of my brothers.

So, after a long and exhausting cruise…plus a couple extra days at the beginning and the end enjoying new and exciting places…6 of us boarded a train in Barcelona and headed for Paris.

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The six of us in front of la tour Eiffel

I feel I need to have a disclaimer here that I had very low expectations mostly based on stereotypes…it’s dirty, people are rude, it’s too crowded…but I had been given one small piece of advice, and that piece of advice may have completely altered my whole experience.

Say hello

Every time you walk in a store or restaurant, wether you think people can hear you or are paying attention or not…just say bonjour…that’s the advice I received from friends a few days before we headed to Paris.

So, I did.

I said bonjour to every person I encountered. Every store and restaurant we walked into, every counter I walked up to, every bus I got on…I said bonjour. And, you know what happened…I found Parisians to be some of the kindest and most friendly people…it didn’t get rid of the crowds or the trash but did I mention that Paris is a BIG city…I think that’s just part of big city life…

People were eager to help us speak French, helpful and patient with us when we didn’t understand. People were kind to us on the Metro, offering up their seats to weary travelers. When I was walking around looking lost, people stopped to ask if I was ok and if they could help. There was so much life in Paris…all those people sitting in parks talking and laughing and drinking…I was only there for a few days, so I am not any sort of expert on Paris or the people of that incredible city, but it seemed to me a wonderful place.

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This was one of my favorite things…sitting around ponds talking and laughing and watching ducks!

My experience there has had me thinking a lot about kindness. About how I engage strangers, and how I interact with the people I encounter in my daily life.

Do I say hello?

When I walk into a coffee shop is my first priority greeting the people there…both employees and customers…or do I walk in and say my order. I don’t think I am rude by any means…I don’t walk in and bark orders…and I’m very polite within what this culture says is acceptable…honestly people may find it very weird for someone to walk into a coffee shop and say hello to the room…but what if I took this advice and applied it to life here?

Would life change around me if I started saying hello? And not just when the cashier says it to me first, but initiated it, made eye contact, allowed it to lead into conversation…meant it the way I mean it when I see a friend.

Would I find just as much kindness and life here if I engaged people around me with this simple gesture? Because I think it’s more than just a gesture, more than just politeness. I think it shows a bit of humility, it demonstrates respect for the other person, an acknowledgment that life is about more than just me. And, maybe, in our culture of me, the simple act of saying hello is the kind of thing that Christ meant when he called us to be salt, to be light, to be in the world but not of it.

Oh, there was another piece of advice…to say au revoir…until next time my friend.

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Street performer tuning his piano…he just rolled down the street…in preparation for his performance in front of Notre Dame…LOVE this