Friday, July 22, 2011

Mark 9:24

Looking back now I can see that it was more than anything a failure to believe in the story of who God is and what he is doing in this world. Instead of living that story – one of sacrifice and purpose and character – I began to live a much smaller story, and that story was only about me. I wanted an answer, a timeline and a map. I didn’t want to have trust in God or anything I couldn’t see. I didn’t want to wait or follow. I wanted my old life back, and even while I read the mystics and the prophets, even while I prayed fervently, even while I sat in church and begged for God to direct my life, those things didn’t have a chance to transform me, because under all those actions and intentions was a rocky layer of faithlessness, fear and selfishness.
-Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

There are a lot of these sorts of feelings in my life. You maybe wouldn’t know it if you talked to me, and I try to ignore it because I hate it, but the truths are that it’s hard to work at a job I don’t love in a town I don’t like without a community or a plan. I don’t want those things to be true but they are and I am a poor handler of my own emotions. I pray for rescue, not redemption. I pray for direction, but not to be able to trust. I have been throwing a nearly year-long tantrum. I know these practices aren’t what are best for me, and I know that I am failing, like Shauna, to believe in the ultimate story and character of God. I know. And now you know too. Please pray for me, for the right things.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quiet Steps

I don’t remember one jump or one leap,
Just quiet steps away from your lead
-Nickel Creek, Reasons Why

I have not been a wonderful person recently. I have not been kind, patient or content. I have been mean, I have been selfish, and I have failed to believe things that God has promised: that He is sovereign, that He is powerful, and that He loves me. I have been bitter about being lonely and homesick and have forgotten (of course) the Truth about who I am, and whose I am. I have slowly forgotten the best way to live, and have failed to pray, be still, or love well. I have discovered these things under the veil of self-pitying justification I have been hiding behind, and I am bringing them out to air.

I’ve restarted this next paragraph a dozen times already, because I’m not sure how to go on from here. I can at least report that my heart is softening. Tampa and I have reached a peaceful alliance, and Kyle and I have begun to make friends, small in number but great in significance as we readjust to living life alongside other people. We are confident that we have found a church where we will find a loving, available community. Our life feels to be normalizing in spite of my kicking and screaming, and it seems that God is making something beautiful after all.

Our God is full of grace, especially for me, especially in this season. He is scooping me up and brushing me off and looking me in the face to tell me some things I desperately need to hear.  I am not angry, but I am aware of my own helplessness. I am humbled by the forgiveness He has shown me and sure of His faithfulness. I wrote the following things in my journal tonight:
“Thank You for making saints out of the ashes. Thank You that You have chosen to redeem Your children. Thank You for being a good Father. I love you. I am just small and hopeless and I love you. I think that you are glad to hear it.”

(from here)

Love to all of you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

But He Gives More Grace

Since the last post I have been to North Carolina.

I was most emotional on the drive from Raleigh into Wilmington, but not for the reasons I expected. I was preparing to feel like I was finally going home, and had practiced all the things I would have to tell myself to keep from stubbornly refusing to get back on any plane to go away from there. I was almost looking forward to that feeling, as I think that at some point my hostility towards Tampa had become spiteful. I was mad at Tampa. I didn’t want to give it any more chances. I wanted it to be easier, and I didn’t want to have to try. This was an easy resentment to keep up – everyone sympathized with my loneliness and nobody was telling me to get over myself already.

But I did not feel any of those angry things on the 1,000 miles of I-40 between Raleigh and the coast. I instead was overcome with an intense and unexpected feeling of relief, not because I was escaping something terrible but because I was reminded of something very good. Perhaps sometime in my fight against Tampa, Wilmington had become unreal. It had become a dream or an oasis, and I had forgotten that it was not a romantic ideal, but a real place with streets and people and smells. I think the road signs did me in. I suddenly realized that Wilmington still existed and was surprised to feel, more than anything else, remarkably reassured.

People still love each other in Wilmington. God is still moving there. There are churches there that are telling people the Truth. The gospel is alive, and if it is alive in Wilmington then it is still alive in me and I am not as alone or as unlucky as I falsely believe. I am weary of this lie and I am anxious to learn to trust in the sovereignty of a God who knows more than me. What I am realizing, slowly and reluctantly, is that I tend to not believe in His good intentions. This is dumb.

“But he gives more grace.” James 4:6

There is hope for me yet.

Our weekend was extraordinarily refreshing. I am most grateful for familiar faces, conversations about life instead of work, and being surrounded by people who love and know each other. Also, agnolotti at Osteria Cicchetti.

The week we got home I sat down to unwind and finally prayed for peace with Tampa.  I wrote in my journal, “I feel empty, but it feels like spring is coming.”

I am so thankful for you, friends. Please go hug someone you love. 

1. Twins 2. The Zoo 3. Friends & Burritos 4.The Sky

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let The Bones You Have Broken Rejoice

I think I post so infrequently because I am unsatisfied with what I have to report. There is so much happening in my life that no one knows about, but it feels like so little as I’m living it, and so normal. People’s lives are really crowded, always, and when you live around them and know them and share with them, all of the crowdedness gets overlapped and understood and lifted up. Since I am gone, it feels like the crowdedness is just contained here, like Kyle and I are changing and growing and no one knows, and it’s hard for us to measure.

I’m different than I was when I left Wilmington. I wear flats now, not sandals. I have a lot of cardigans. I own a bedside lamp and I plan meals for the week so we can go to the grocery store just once. I have a designer handbag. I wake up earlier. I’m lonelier. I cry a lot more, not because I am depressed but because I am fighting and I am changing. I am more aware of my selfishness. I am more thankful for my friends. I am more amazed at Kyle’s patience and contentment and more grateful for his calmness in the face of all of my emotion.

I think that I am mostly homesick. I sometimes indulge myself in pretending that the tree branches outside our bedroom window belong to the tree that stood in front of our apartment on Ann Street. It’s nice to imagine that there are familiar faces down the block or that if we go out we might run into someone we know and be glad to see them. I am often sad about this, but also really pleased with my time in Wilmington, and proud of how much I learned to love, and how much I learned at all. It is hard to be gone but it is sweet to remember. I sometimes feel like an old person at the end of a movie who has lived a blockbuster life of adventures and montages and the credits are about to roll and the old person is just so sweet for living such a feature film sort of life. I know that this is ridiculous, since I am not an old person and I am not nearing the credits, but I think I feel this way because I am having a hard time looking forward or letting go.

I don’t know where we will be in six months, or a year, or five. I have hoped to be in Austin, or anywhere but here, but the truth is that we don’t know. The prospect of going to Austin with the company is a carrot that keeps getting pulled away, and I am tired of putting my hope there. There is a better place for it.

Thanks to those of you who have visited, called, and otherwise reminded me that I am not alone or forgotten. I love you more than you could know.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore me to the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:7-12

via onedayIsaw

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rainy Week

It has been a rainy week. I have spent more time than usual in a snuggled position. I have felt small and sleepy and sad and lost and found. I want to be content here. It is hard. I am thankful for Kyle and prayers and friends that visit.

(Caleb, Eleanor, Grant, Jason, Hannah and Chandler: thank you for coming to us.)

1. AnnaMoan 2. Back to the Future Project 3. Brookish

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have a lot to share about my what has been happening in my brain, heart, and life over the past few weeks, but I will put off telling you all about it for a few more days. I will blame the fact that it is Sunday.

In the meantime, here is something I am currently excited about:

Today, Kyle and I went frolicking through the shelves at the Borders going-out-of-business sale. We have bought nine books this week. Right now, our book shelf looks like this, not including a row of textbooks on the bottom:

Today we grew our collection by this much:

I think we are headed down a path that ends up looking something like this:

via design is mine

Bring it on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calm Between the Storms

I am so very sunburned. I am embarrassed about this, because I feel like I am smarter than the sun. Unfortunately, Saturday got the best of me and I was asleep before I was SPF protected and here I am, three days later, my face slowly peeling away in layers of skin.

On the inside I am less irritated, at least for this week. I say that in a tone of celebration, since it’s been a jerky ride so far, but not with any expectation of permanence, since I can feel that the Lord is shaping me and He is not close to being done.  I have felt like a mine field especially recently, exploding unexpectedly, unfortunately for Kyle. I am not adjusting well to being a business woman and I fluctuate significantly between “fine” and “disaster.” I feel like I am growing, and that is good. I haven’t been able to identify why I am so unpredictable, or why I feel so unstable. I think it has a lot to do with learning how to practice unfamiliar habits.

As a leader, my sensitivity was a good thing. I was allowed to empathize and love freely. In an office, I am encouraged to do things like improve processes and be on time. It’s not that processes and checklists aren’t satisfying for me (let’s be honest…) but under the surface I am searching for something that is beautiful instead of something that is a machine. Instead of being told I am loved, I am being told I am a valuable asset. Instead of being encouraged, I am being praised. Instead of being poured into, I am being utilized.

The gospel isn’t a machine or a process. Faith is not a philosophical ascent. It is more important to know God than to know about God. So I am focusing in this season on remembering His character, and believing that He is who He says He is. He is more sovereign than I understand, and more Good than I give Him credit for. He is planning things I couldn’t dream of, and He is not holding back. He is relentless in His pursuit of me. He Loves me. He has rescued me. It is Good News, and I don’t want to ever grow out of it.

Also, I bought these shoes.

For work, of course!

Aren't they the best?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Those Days That Feel Like Friday But Aren't

My job description is changing soon, which only matters to this quick post because it is the reason that Kyle, Stuart, Dan and I sat in a conference room today from 10:30-4:00 to brainstorm how to improve customer experience. 

This has been a hard week for my brain. I am trying to compile a training guide for someone to fill my position and it turns out that I know and do a lot more than I think I do. I have been chugging away at it, headphones in, listening mostly to the Weepies and thinking that it was probably raining outside. I am looking forward to a peaceful weekend to rest, write and recline in the leather sofa with the porch door open.

I hope you all are wonderful on the inside. It would be lovely to hear from you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Summer in February

It is almost summer in Florida. Today we are going to the beach with some friends. I hope the day feels like this.


I have high hopes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Kyle and I drove to Birmingham last Saturday for the best weekend of life. This was the third year in a row we’ve gone to Alabama to visit Kyle’s best friend Grant and see Step Sing, an annual song and dance show that Samford University puts on that rocks my world. We expected to have a great time, but we didn’t expect that Grant had sneakily invited Caleb and Scott to crash the party, and so we were totally blown away by seeing some of our favorite people on top of all the rest of the adventure. Birmingham is a small pocket of sweetness in our life. We love the city, the people that we know there, the show, and the thrill of being on the road and being somewhere different.  We sat around the campfire at Grant’s, explored parks in downtown Birmingham, frequented our favorite local coffee shops and had a few impromptu dance parties in the backseats of cars. It was a drastically fabulous break from the routine of our regular life and an encouraging reminder of the richness of friendship and community.

It is refreshing to sit with people who know and love me; who say my name because they want to hear about my life or want to tell me something about theirs.  I have a lot of thoughts simmering right now about communities and thankfulness and the way that I am changing so quickly and that my life is so different now than it was even a few months ago and what that means for my heart. I am wrestling with my identity and finding that if I define myself as anything other than the rescued daughter of a mighty King then I am deceiving myself.

I am so thankful for this weekend and for my life. I believe that the Lord is orchestrating something monstrous and wonderful for us. I believe that He loves us. His mercy is long and His purpose is Good.

1. Welcome to Alabama! 2. So excited that our friends are here. 3. Kyle and Grant enjoying some franks at Tip Top Grill. 4. A little Sunday caffeine from Urban Standard. 5. Rock stars 6.You are beautiful in downtown Birmingham 7. Troubadours serenading us with Wagon Wheel at Railroad Park. 8. Kyle finds a friend backstage 9. Group hug

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gray Day

I feel like I stared out a window all day, except that there aren't any windows in our office. It was gray and chilly all day. It's really a shame that I couldn't be here, in this cozy corner of someone's dream attic:

But I came across this pocket of chairs in this home and I suddenly felt so thankful for all the people in my life who I would invite to sit here with me. I miss you. I miss talking and laughing and wasting time and filling time with just sitting around and being together. Thank you all for being people who have shown me grace and friendship. I am grateful for you. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Wednesday!

Quick thoughts for Wednesday night:

1. Kyle's giant shmiant promotion means that we work regular 8-5 hours again! Hooray!

2. It also means that Kyle has a work iPhone. I won't post his new number but if you don't hear from him soon, get up in his business.

3. I saw this post today and for the 700th time wished that I had never cut my hair. It can't grow fast enough! 

4. This weekend, Kyle and I are driving to Birmingham for our third annual Samford Step Sing! Last year, Kyle stole me away to a rooftop and asked me to marry him. Only good things happen to us in Alabama. I can't even wait to get there.

5. Speaking of being married, a few weeks ago I bought these rings. Now I can look official even though I'm allergic to the white gold engagement ring I have. Another hooray!

available here

Three cheers for today. We love you all. Please call us. We miss you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

From Kyle

I have been decidedly lazy about putting up my first post, much to the chagrin of Brittany. So now it's evening and I've got The Tallest Man on Earth in my headphones, and I will try to write about something someone might want to read. I wouldn't hold my breath.

My experience is very different from Brittany's here, not because we actually do anything separately, but because we are just so different. I'm thankful for that. I am more solitary, I think. Or maybe it's just that during college, I got used to only being around one other person for most of the time and this is pretty similar even though it's completely different. Having Brittany around all the time is so much better than being by myself, and I remember Graham saying one time that you become such a weenie so fast about sleeping by yourself. My sanity is closely tied to Brittany. I enjoying having someone to rely on. There's a verse about a man who works in a field by himself. Who will pick him up if he falls?

Then there's work. Work is an adventure. I swore up and down for a very long time that I would never work in healthcare. Being the son of a doctor has a funny way of eliminating one career path very quickly. My appraisal was always that I didn't want to be a doctor because they work too hard. That (and a loathing of biology or freshman year or something) were what steered me early toward some other applied scientific pursuit. Engineering is clearly a good place to go if you're trying to work less hard than a doctor. Fortunately the engineering industry sucks and here I am. At least once a day I try to figure out how the monster that is healthcare even exists without imploding. I've still never found any good indications except that it somehow continues to work.

When I got to Matrix, I started as a customer service rep [CSR] and first entered data, then called insurance companies to get medical equipment authorized, then eventually played cleanup for all the orders that had passed those two steps. I got doctor information, located suppliers, and made sure packages got to their desired destinations. Chuck also enjoyed giving me tasks like reading long laws and figuring out problems in the computer system. Finally someone figured out I am good at math and very careful and made me review invoices for A/P and A/R. I liked all these things. I take a lot of pride in my work and always apply myself to whatever is given to me. I'm also an analytical thinker and take careful inventories about processes, operations, and procedures in my brain all the time (it's either wonderful or horrible). When Stuart realized I knew exactly how long each process department took, he locked me in a room painted with whiteboards, and two days later we had a streamlined operations plan.

Meanwhile, I applied to be Team Lead for the Ancillary department and won the promotion and tried to play defense for my supervisor; I handled routine questions so she could focus on other things. In early December I presented the Ancillary Operations proposal to my manager, the VP of my department, and the CFO. The CEO had a soft copy the next day, and quickly everyone was in favor of implementing the new plan. On Friday that was put into effect, and I was promoted to Supervisor of Ancillary Support.  Basically, Stuart and I figured out that there is a Customer Service side and a Logistics side of the process which occurs in my department. I am the head of the Logistics side. (See illustration)

I realized that funny niche industries are a little confusing. This is basically what happens. Brittany works in Provider Relations making sure everyone stays in line.

Conclusions are not my strong suit. I don't have any good ending like Brittany always does (and I apologize for bringing the quality of the writing on this blog down by posting). That is a recap of some parts of my life in the last 6 months.

I hope all who read this are well. I hope you see beauty in difficulty and hope in dark stormy nights.
"Oh sister in our darkness a light shines. And all I want to say for the rest of my life is how that light is God. And though I've been mistaken on this or that point, that light is God."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

Kyle has something to say to you all this weekend! I won't spoil the surprise.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot Sauce

It’s hard to catch up after nearly a month of putting it off. You might think I would have learned something about that in college, yet here we are. It’s also hard to step far enough back from our life to see enough of it to lay it out flat. There are countless facets in our fairly solitary life that we don’t share with anyone, so it seems to me to be more filled with detail than substance. Tampa is the sun shining straight through our bedroom windows every morning and melting me straight into the sheets. It is the Narnian lampposts in our courtyard and the escalators inching down into the aisles at the two-story grocery store. It is the sound of our toilet running intermittently, broken, and the voice of Pam on the phone in the cubicle next to mine all day. It is the familiar faces of the panhandlers, stooped and sunburned on their usual corners.

On the inside:
The Lord is doing some serious boulder shifting in me. I am anxious for the day when the rocks start to give, even though it might mean that I have something tangible to say about it. I am tired of being friendless and restless. I miss standing on a floor without cracks, and am growing increasingly frustrated at this feeling of falling through. I’m not mad at Tampa, or at anyone. I am exhausted. This season is long and empty, and my sin is creeping out, loud in the silence. I am aware of my selfishness, greed, laziness, unwillingness to be known. I am repenting. I am finding more Grace for me and more Truth for my tantrum-prone heart. Jesus is calling me to eat with Him, and I am the only one in the room.

“I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners.” Mark 2:17

On the outside:
There are technically plenty of updates to satisfy any practical curiosity. Three weeks ago Kyle was promoted to Team Lead for our department. This really means that he handles the bombs that explode every day so that our supervisor can do other things; namely, assign him more tasks. I think officially he is responsible for a lot of details, team management, and communication between our department and IT. Contrary to common assumption, the promotion has not made him my boss. It has, however, dropped a few extra pennies into our pockets.

Soon after his promotion, Kyle and Stuart put together a proposal for a new operations process for the department, which they presented to the officers for approval. The new process will probably launch in the next few months. Feel free to give Kyle a call and congratulate him for being hot sauce. Or call me, and I will answer on my new company iPhone, which I weaseled my way into getting. I will let you talk to Kyle on it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I Love

I've been collecting things that I love. Unfortunately, I have not been keeping track of where they come from. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011


We are ordering real internet tomorrow, which we will actually pay for instead of steal, which means we will have it all the time. This means you'll be hearing more from us, which is exciting because we have a lot to say about Christmas, Kyle's promotion, and my first pair of chinos. 

Until then, and since we're at Starbucks right now, I thought I'd take a minute to finally share a few pictures of our house, which is finding it's way to being furnished. There are more pictures in this facebook album.

We're working on getting a print for that big one there.

Sam Kennedy, this one's for you.

Love to you from us.