Movie Monday-Sort of. . .

Hi everyone!

I thought I would share what I was doing exactly a year ago today.
Eleonore was overdue and I decided I should try to “dance her out”.
I started doing this on December 10th, 2011 since her official due date was the 9th.

Since I don’t normally post on Sundays I am revisiting two of the videos!

More to come in the week ahead.

peace to you,
meredith

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"before we turn to stone"

Well, I feel exhausted.


I did a video last night with my cat Madeleine L’Engle.
I have a mild allergy to Madeleine L’Engle (the cat).
When I hold her next to my face while singing a song, I apparently end up looking like this:





In my Benadryl induced haze, I am having a little trouble thinking theologically, so please bear with me.


Last night we had an amazing Bible Study/Prayer Service.
Generally the focus in the first week of Advent is Hope and the second week it is Peace. It is in this perspective we came to our Gospel lesson, Mark 1:1-8.


 1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a]the Son of God,[b] 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

   “I will send my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way”[c]
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
   make straight paths for him.’”[d]
 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”



We were struck that the whole Judean countryside came because they heard his message of repentance and therefore came to confess. We started talking about repentance and how that is a part of waiting actively in anticipation.

This has resonated with me so deeply in this season of Advent and the times of transition I find myself in. It would seem that the Gospel on a whole, and Mark in part, makes it clear that repentance, the willingness to say “I was wrong, I’m sorry” is essential for a life of peace. 

I see this over and over again in my life. If I am unwilling to  humble myself and ask for forgiveness for the wrongs I have done, it is impossible for me to have peace. Completely impossible. It happens quickly. When I have done something that has caused offense to someone the immediate reaction more often than not is to find a way to defend myself and my decisions. And if I don’t get myself in check, it becomes defending myself at all costs, causing further offense and hurt. But that isn’t even the beginning. 

It begins to eat at your insides. Eat them and at the same time disable them. It makes them hard so that the next time you hurt someone, and don’t humble yourself and ask for forgiveness, you don’t feel it as much. It becomes duller, so it can happen more and more and more.

I’ve found (by trial and error) that most of the “instructions” in the Bible aren’t just for the heck of it.
Not just for kicks, because God “can”.


It really is in our best interest for ourselves and our relationships to freely give and seek forgiveness. It’s the only way we can truly have peace.


It’s hard to humble yourself. It’s like dying to yourself. A little death that comes before a whole lot of life. There is so much freedom when you humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. A huge weight is lifted off of you and you can feel again. I’m not going to try and fool you, that it doesn’t open you up again and again to the possibility to be hurt again and again. But that is the danger with truly living isn’t it? The danger when we choose to fully participate in humanity.


In my short experience on this earth, the peace that can be experienced is far greater than the turmoil.  The possibility of deepening relationship, of showing true love, it can be amazing.


I couldn’t get this song out of my head with the Gospel lesson from yesterday.







To me it speaks beautifully about looking beyond ourselves at the world around us, and the importance of taking responsibility for our actions “and not waiting for someone else’s hand”. The specific line that keeps speaking to my soul is:


“but brother how we must atone, before we turn to stone”


It is a simple truth.


If we aren’t vulnerable to one another, and are incapable of humbling ourselves, we will turn to stone.


The further we separate ourselves from humanity the less human we become.


Let us all take this Advent season as an opportunity to seek forgiveness where it is needed and to freely give forgiveness as it is asked of us. Not many better ways I can think of to honor the coming of Christ who came to us in a humble vulnerable human form so that he could grant us ultimate forgiveness and redemption.


peace to you,
meredith










Wedding Week Day 4-The Wedding (Continued)

Our wedding ceremony was probably my favorite part of the whole wedding.

We were so blessed by the community that came together to make it happen and to support us in our commitment to God and one another.
One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the “soundtrack”.
First we had a full praise service-
1.) Come Thou Fount
2.) Great is Your Name
3.) Be Thou My Vision
4.) Though I may speak
5.) Memorial Candles were lit/Grandparents were seated to Motion Picture Soundtrack by Radiohead played by a string quartet.
6.) Mothers were seated to Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach.
7.) Bridesmaids/My processional to Only Hope by Switchfoot
8.) Nate sings an original song I hadn’t heard yet!
9.) We recess to what started as The Bridal March but morphed into “Good Love”
It was so randomly and perfectly us. 


I look back at the words of “Though I may speak”:


Though I may speak with bravest fire
And have the gift to all inspire
And have not love, my words are vain —
As sounding brass — and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess
And, striving so, my love profess
But not be giv’n by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come; our hearts control.
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide ev’ry deed;
By this we worship and are freed.


it is a hymn I haven’t sung since our wedding day six years ago, and I find myself struck by what little that 21 year old girl/woman (still feel like a girl/woman, but that is for another post, at another time!) knew of what true, real, hard, life, love looked like and would look like. And yet I/she knew enough that there was truth to these words, that something resonated with what this marriage thing was supposed to look like. What a gift. what joy, what bliss, this deep true friendship and community I have been given in my husband is!
I am so aware of how “lucky” I am. So grateful.


And often times when I laugh so hard that I fart in bed, because of the hilarious things he says, I half expect a parent to come in and tell us to be quiet, that it’s time to go to sleep, because I don’t know how I got to have a sleepover with my best friend every night, I feel like I must be doing something wrong to have so much fun and get to spend every waking moment with my best friend.


Bet you didn’t expect me to talk about farting, but that’s how I roll. 
Or better yet, how WE roll!




peace to you,
meredith








Wedding Week-Day 3 The Wedding

We got done with Bible Study and it is late so I am posting pictures now, and more on the wedding tomorrow!

My favorite individual pic of my love. 
He still rocks a newsboy cap like nobody’s business.
My favorite individual pic of myself.
Tres dramatique, no?
Right after the ceremony, so excited!
Leaving the church! 
Our First Dance to “The Luckiest”.
More to come tomorrow!
peace to you,
meredith

Wedding Week Day 1-How we met

This Saturday (November 19th) will mark the 6th year Nate and I have been married.

WHOA!

To try to grasp how long this is, it would be like making it in the same relationship for all of Junior High and High School. . .

I realize that this isn’t the point, but it does give you a tangible way to grasp the length of time.

I have dubbed this wedding week, where I will take time to highlight different aspects of our relationship so far!

Monday-How we met
Tuesday-The Proposal
Wednesday-The Wedding (worked out well alliteration wise eh?)
Thursday-Where we have been
Friday-Where we are going

It was the Summer of 2003. I had come home from my freshman year at Millikin University and had already made plans to transfer to Illinois State University, switching from Music to Theatre. It had been a wonderful year of finding myself thanks to so many wonderful people, and an asset was that many of those wonderful people introduced me to wonderful music. I needed a job, and had slacked off in those efforts. My wonderful friend (and future Maid of Honor) Michelle, suggested that I should work at East Bay Camp on Lake Bloomington. I had been to EBC many times as a child and adolescent, but something about being stuck at camp for weeks at a time seemed suffocating, and I was hesitant. I wasn’t working hard at finding anything else, so EBC it was. Miles Price (an amazing friend and future reader at our wedding) hired me to be in charge of implementing a new daily day camp.

So I begrudgingly took my dyed black hair, blunt cut banged, industrial ear pierced, vintage track jacket wearing, Norma Jean/Flaming Lips listening self to the first day of orientation and training.

It was June 6, 2003

All the counselors had assembled, except for one.

In came this tornado with a sideways cap, hoop earrings, thick black glasses, tattoos and a soul patch. He didn’t seem phased by being late, and just jumped right into the conversation.

I just thought COCKY,COCKY,COCKY, cute, but, COCKY, COCKY, COCKY.

Well, thinking the cute boy was cocky wore off pretty quick.

We flirted (a lot).

We prayed together (a lot).

We read the Bible together (a lot).

And by the end of the Summer, we were already talking about marriage.

This was overwhelming for me in so many ways. I had a list of I never’s that I have talked about before. This was when I knocked the first two out of the park. Nate was the first guy I had ever dated that was shorter than me, and he had experienced a call to pastoral ministry.

1.) I will never marry a guy who is shorter than me
2.) I will never marry a minister
3.) I will never live in Bloomington-Normal permanently after school

2 out of 3. . .for a time.

I had never been serious enough about a guy to have the “meeting of the family”.
I was terrified. A twin brother who was the president of his Christian Fraternity who was engaged to a beautiful petite art major, and a Mother who was a music teacher, but also a ridiculous composer and musician.

The first time I met Jake and Kenz was in Peoria at Ruby Tuesday’s. I think I cried most of the way there begging Nate to take me back because I was so petrified.

When I met them, they were great and so nice. But I did notice they looked at me a little odd when we first walked in. I was already PLENTY self conscious about our height difference. I am 6ft. he is 5’8, and figured they just thought we looked funny together. Later that evening we went to meet his Mom and stay the weekend. She too gave me an odd look.

What I found out years later is that Nate said this to his family right after we met.

“Mom, Jake, I think God wants me to marry a big girl.”

So why the odd looks? They weren’t expecting someone tall, they were expecting someone overweight. They thought I was a new girl, and they were obviously perplexed since he had talked about marrying the “big girl”.

He hasn’t ever lived that one down, probably never will.

I’m glad God wanted him to marry this “Big Girl”. Very glad.

peace to you,
meredith

Can you spot the two love birds? 
A staff picture our first summer together.



Tonight we had our Wednesday night Bible Study. 


It was a wonderful time of fellowship, study & food. 


Some of our community is still around and it is 12:22 AM. What an inexplicable joy. 


So my post will just be a quote by my favorite author “on community”.

 A community, to be truly community, must have a quality of unselfconsciousness about it.-Madeleine L’Engle


You will be hearing much more about her in days to come. She is utterly lovely.


peace to you,
meredith

A photo shoot sneak peek!

You have already had a sneak peak of one of our photo shoots with Eliza Morris of Eliza & Liz Photography


I thought I would share the highlights from our last ridiculously fun shoot. 


We are so blessed to have found such a talented photographer to capture Eleonore as she grows so quickly!

I am smitten, and done in for all of eternity, 
I get to have these two in my life EVERYDAY!

The little details are something that you don’t want to forget, 
and they pass by, just as quickly as everyone says!
We are a motley crew, but wherever we go, 
and whatever we do, we’re gonna go through it together!
Every photo shoot we have had so far, 
I make sure to get pictures of her in this red hat, 
with a white onesie on, and her Deer Ugly Dolly.
It will be so fun to see all the changes but in the same “get-up”.
I seriously can’t gush enough about Eliza and her work. The capturing of my family, and my memories and these fleeting moments in time are so valuable, and I will be forever thankful.
I am a blessed woman, I know it, and I am completely unworthy of it.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” 
– Thornton Wilder

peace to you,
meredith