Saturday, August 25, 2012

Finding God in Unexpected Places

Today Travis and I went to a Food Truck Festival here in Charlotte. If  you know me, you're probably not surprised because I love food, food trucks, and festivals. I was bursting with excitement. One of the great, and slightly terrifying, aspects of the fest was the seating. There were several tables and benches, but it typically meant that you would be eating with strangers. The New Yorker in me has absolutely no issue with sitting down next to people I don't know and being in my own world. I guess it's from so many years of riding public buses and subways. However, I married someone who loves nothing more than striking up a conversation with strangers, and they can spot him a mile away. While I went to pick up my turkey ribs and sweet potato fries, I left Travis with a stranger. When I came back it was clear he had made a new friend.

It turns out the other half that couple had also been waiting on food right next to me so the four of us enjoyed great conversation over our delicious turkey treats and fancy tacos. Later my friend arrived and at one point we were discussing churches and faith and other wonderful uplifting topics. It turned out to  be one of those magical Friday nights were the humidity forgets to stop by and you're stomach is hurting from good food and laughter. At one point the conversation shifted to music and while some people were talk about the changing landscape of music and the true definition of R&B, some others (not naming names) became overjoyed while discussing the Justin Bieber Boyfriend/NSYNC Girlfriend mash up. All in all, a quality discussion. When things became serious we talked of moments of injustice we've faced and Nicole, our new friend, said that because of who she is and who is in control she cannot get upset with people who try to harm her.She says she has her beliefs and she has to respect the beliefs of others because she knows that they probably think that they are doing what is right in their heart. She is from love and should be love. That's the light she wants to put out in this world. She has read the Bible many times and that is the lesson that she carries with her. She knows that she was once in a low place but in her lowest of lows God was there. That is her testimony and she shared it while wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen. It was love being shared and poured out onto us. And I was so thankful to have met her.

Before I started seminary maybe I would have missed out on this opportunity to hear another beautiful child of God share their story. It's possible I would not have been as open to learn from Nicole. It's possible that even it if was open, I would not have understood the points she was trying to share with us. The beauty of their 9 year relationship would have drifted over my head and I would have missed experiencing love and companionship and respect. Maybe without the help of beginning to understand God's character and instructions for us all I would have seen was their sexual preference. Maybe I would have allowed the fact that they are lesbians blind me to the truth of their testimony and love of Christ. Maybe I would have felt obligated to lecture instead of listen; to condemn instead of care and, quite frankly, to leave instead of love.

I don't know where you stand on the issue, and I don't plan to ask. I know where I stand and that's what I'm going to concern myself with. While I'm doing so, I will also concern myself with the challenge put before me several times in Scripture. To act justly and with mercy, to love my neighbors and do good to those who seek to harm me, to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, to be slow to speak and slow to anger, to stop judging because everyday I awake a sinner and go to bed the same, to be light in darkness, and to remember above all to put on love. I think if I focus on this list, and this alone, I won't have time to worry myself with much else. Loving others is a long, hard job but it must be done, and done well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

We Interrupt this break for Fashion

I'm a huge fan of style blogs because they provide both entertainment and useful tips. I like to learn bits of fun information about people and see their clothes so most style blogs are a win-win. Unfortunately, most style blogs seem to be filled with beautiful maybe models, you know the girls who look so perfect they could model, except they;re just a touch too short or have a fear or runways or are brilliant at investment banking. Meanwhile. me and 5"4' frame is swallowed up in the world fashion and fashion blogging. However, every once and while I stumble across a gem that reminds me of the beauty of owning and wearing beautiful things no matter much or little they cost. These women stir up my secret dream to start my own style blog showing my own attempts at doing at 30 for 30; how I wore an outfit I found on Pinterest, or how I make myself look casual, girly. cute, business-y, or anything else just by exploring my closet. My biggest accomplishment has to be pulling off all of these looks with a non existent shopping budget (due to being retired and on Social Security) and numerous body landmines that must be addressed before I decide which super cute outfit I plan to wear.

What I love seeing is all of us, all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, all of what we bring. I want to see it. I don't want to be a mom, but I would to hear and see your story. I won't ever live in NYC but please bring me into your world. I don't see there being a chance of me moving to Iowa, but if it's fun and fulling to you, I will listen to anything you have to say and wonder how I could recreate some of the amazing outfits you wear. And if we really want ethnic groups to learn each other; then get their women a laptop and one of those fancy camera. The clothes and women who wear them well will tell them most of what they're wondering.

Below I've linked to four blogs that I love because they were brave enough to do what I think I can't or shouldn't:

Snappy Casual She loves her style and isn't defined by finances or trends. Most importantly she dresses for her body and doesn't attempt something that doesn't fit with who is as a woman.

Consider Me Lovely Her "Your Body is Fabulous" serious is amazing. In my fantasy world I'm submitting a post that she shares with her readers.

Fabulously Average  She understands that with out her diversity her life wouldn't be a fabulous! What a great lesson.

10thirteen Just a fun girl. I mean she makes animal print professional. I want to hang with her and borrow some of that confidence.