Weekly Rundown.

A lovely Friday to you!

Covid has obviously not cramped Princess Beatrice’s style at all. Who needs thousands of wedding guests when you can have thousands of flowers? Still daydreaming about this pretty scene.
  1. For those in need of a fool-proof summer recipe, look no further than this: turky + feta meatballs with lemon orzo salad (c/o Hello Adams Family Blog). It’s easy, summer-y, and consistently good. Honestly, I’ve never been much of a meatball fan, but I do like these (and Creighton says these are top-notch, while still feeling light). What really gets me is the lemon orzo salad. If dinner parties were a thing in 2020, I’d be making a side of that all the time!
Image c/o Hello Adams Family Blog

2. Creighton sent this article from Apartment Therapy my way last week, and it’s too cool a story not to share. The article features the home of a woman who has a rare disease called Grapheme-Color Synesthesia, or in other words, her “brain “sees” letters and numbers as having specific colors.” So, her brain associates specific colors with words. For example, here are some color schemes associated with the words that best correlate to each room in her house…

Image c/o apartment therapy

Check out the article to see how the homeowner decorated each room of her house with colors that “meant something.” My favorite of her rooms was the sweet little sunroom below.

Image c/o apartment therapy

3. My beloved sister Sarah is moving home to Texas after an 8 year detour in Birmingham, Alabama. She’s set to arrive in her new home of Austin tomorrow, and believe me when I say that I’ve been counting down the days. Here’s to you and your new adventure, Sarah!

4. I’ve worn this cute new headband every day this week. How much do I love it? Let me count the ways: it is not too big or bulky; it covers quarantine hair; and it looks like the Mi Golondrina ones that fancy girls wear, but it’s cheaper. win, win, win.

5. This last Sunday night, we experienced the most beautiful, full double-rainbow while grabbing some ice cream at Andy’s frozen custard. Just a small, but timely reminder of hope.

KAT
Currently listening to “Seven” by T-Swift

Weekly Rundown.

It’s Friday, friends! Here are some highlights from this week…

Photo from aloral.com
  1. It’s no secret that the band formally known as The Dixie Chicks has been a love of mine since the single-digit years of my life. Well, the girls are back with their brand spankin’ new album “Gaslighter,” and I’m here to tell you it’s good. Even if you’re not a fan of country music, you should give it a listen. The song “My Best Friend’s Weddings” is so sad and wonderful all at the same time.

2. A few weeks back I took a stroll around my favorite Marshall’s in Dallas (which also happens to be sketchy as heck) and found these whitewashed wicker ottomans for only $50. I love a good deal, so they made their way back to the Dryden home (though I still haven’t decided if I’m keeping them for good). Currently they’re living at the end of our bed, but I think they’d be cute under an acrylic console table too.

3. It’s been a minute since I’ve loved anything I’ve read, but I am definitely intrigued by “The Guest List,” a thriller written from five different perspectives. Only 30 pages in, but so far I’m hooked. That Reese Witherspoon really knows what she’s doing, huh?

4. Not much else is going on here in Dallas, Texas. Our city’s Covid numbers are shamefully high, so Creighton and I are hanging at home a lot and enjoying time together. It’s such a funny season of life (and let’s be honest: we’re talking “strange funny,” not “haha funny”), but I keep seeing glimpses of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness during this time. I am confident that He is loving us well through this.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33

These are the glory days, folks!

KAT
Currently listening to “My Best Friend’s Weddings” by The Chicks

And So, We Go.

Below is a devotional I wrote to coordinate with this sermon from Park Cities Presbyterian Church. The article is a part of their “Every Thought Captive” weekly devo, which you can subscribe to here. Enjoy.

<Photo from Farrow & Ball>

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Today my boss at PCPC asked me to answer the following prompt: What would you ask God about, concerning youth ministry, if you knew He would answer you immediately?

My honest answer was: “How, Lord?”

  • How do we reach students with the Gospel when we can’t meet them through Sunday school or youth events?
  • How do we disciple students when we can’t meet in person for Bible studies?
  • How do we send students into the world when it’s not safe to go anywhere?

Perhaps you can relate to such “how” questions in your life or personal areas of ministry as well.

It is not that God has not left us without any guidance. We know many things to be true:

  • As Pastor Mark said on Sunday, we know that our nature and mission does not change with our circumstances.
  • We know that wilderness seasons are a part of God’s glorious design.
  • We have learned to trust Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s guiding as we navigate uncertainty.

And yet in our sinful flesh, we still may not be satisfied. We desire to know the “hows” behind our mission as His followers. And those holes in our understanding can lead to doubt, frustration, and apathy (this one is especially prevalent for me).

So, how do we face our unchanging mission when we don’t understand the “hows” that accompany our situation?

The words from our closing hymn on Sunday brought a lot of comfort to me:

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

We first go to our knees in prayer, and in those moments, our faith that God knows the answer to all of our “hows” is renewed. And so, we go—praying for faithfulness this day as we face the many uncertainties in our lives. God’s Spirit and Word will lead.   

KAT
(Currently listening to “Facing A Task Unfinished” by Getty Music)

Faithfulness in the Boring.

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Tish Harrison Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary recounts a shocking study from The University of Virginia on boredom. In this study, participants sat alone in a room without technology or additional distractions, with the exception of a button that claimed it would shock them if pushed. The study showed that 2/3 of male participants and ¼ of female participants willingly decided to shock themselves rather than sit in silence during the fifteen-minute study.

I was appalled at the stupidity of the participants upon hearing about the study a few years ago; now, well over a month into quarantine, I’m starting to get it. I, like so many of you, have recently become well acquainted with the feeling of boredom.

Our days have begun to look more mundane. We’re confined to our homes. We are yearning for connection in what feels like “lesser ways,” such as Zoom and phone calls, while busying ourselves with what feels like “lesser tasks,” such as doing the laundry or making a meal for our family. We are bored over the ordinary of our daily lives, and if we are being honest with ourselves, we are also discontent.

But then I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, which says: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

I receive from that passage that my mission as a follower of God has not changed, even if my “toils” have. Through diligence in a strange work-from-home schedule, through the way I treat my family and neighbors, and yes, even through menial tasks such as the laundry, I can find joy in God when I recognize Him as the Giver of the gifts in my life. In other words, my mission to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” remains constant, regardless of the season of life. As 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

It is in these moments of boredom and discontent we can take comfort in looking to the life of Jesus. Jesus chose a life of humility during His 33 earthly years by having an ordinary job, in an ordinary town, while being surrounded by ordinary people. Friends, there is nothing wrong with God calling you to the ordinary. Take heart in remembering that God is teaching you, refining you, and making you more into His image through your faithfulness in these small, ordinary moments.

KAT
Currently listening to “Fields of Gold” by Drew + Ellie Holcomb

God of the Seasons

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[The following essay was written by your’s truly for my church’s daily email devotional, but was inspired from an old Champ post. Enjoy.]

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Spring has never been my favorite season. Growing up in south Texas, spring simply felt like an add-on to summer and attending college in Nebraska, an add-on to winter.

But the other day while on a walk, I noticed the green buds on the trees and felt such delight—and not just in the beauty of the freshly sprouted leaves, but in the fact that Spring once again did come. It’s something that we humans have no control over, yet we can trust that year after year plants will produce new growth. Winter won’t last forever; spring will come.

It’s an elementary truth, and yet it somehow felt profound this year. Yes, the meteorological seasons have changed, but so has the “season” in our lives. We as a world have found ourselves in a “season” of struggle—a season of fear, uncertainty, and unrest. A “season” where we see deep sickness, sorrow, and fear around us and can’t help but wonder when God will relieve us of these pains.

But then we see the budding trees and freshly sprouting flowers, and remember the truth: God is at work. He is bringing new life, even in the midst of sorrow in our world. Isn’t that the beautiful juxtaposition of it all? We are in a literal season of newness and growth and a “season of life” that contains sickness and pain.

In these times, we look to His Word for assurance. It is there that we are reminded of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. We’re reminded of His love and compassion for us. We’re reminded that we have a Savior who can sympathize with our sorrows. And finally, we are reminded that He is producing in us something new—a “new” faith; a “new” perseverance; a “new” perspective; a “new” hope. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

We can trust God with the uncertainties of life because He’s the same God who allows spring to come each year. Surely the God who is in charge of the seasons—of the redemption of fruitless plants after the cold and harsh winter months—will oversee the “seasons” of struggle in our lives as well. We can trust the God of the seasons.

KAT
Currently listening to “Every Season” by Nichole Nordeman