Pace

redd-angelo-14423We’re closing in toward the end of the first quarter of the year.

Seriously? Where has time gone?

I’m looking back at my last post truly wondering. But here we are.  Smack in the middle of Lent. Still looking back at the remnants of a 1st Birthday party held in early February that still make their presence known in our dining room. I’m right in the middle of my busy time at work. And JP is just busy–into everything.

And what I’m craving is slow.

I’ve been paying attention to my pace.  I’m not as in shape as I’d like to be so when I walk fast, I’m short of breath. But also when I walk fast, my mind is also tracking at that same pace. When I slow down my walk, I’m able to catch my breath, pay more attention to it and I’m more aware of my surroundings.  The flowers starting to bud. The shape of the clouds.

We’ve had a few conversations lately about being connected and what that really means.  To be honest, many of my connections are online and through the apps on my phone.  But I want to be most connected with my people–the ones who live in my house and I see every single day. I don’t want to be distracted by an Instagram post and miss staring into my daughter’s blue eyes.

So I’ve cleaned up my phone.  Deleted some apps.  Installed a few others that I hope to be my primary focus.  Found that some of my goals and Lenten observances were too far reaching or ill-willed in their motives so I’m adjusting.  And giving myself grace in that adjustment.

I want to pay attention. I want to be focused on others words and stories. I want to leave space for my soul and heart to breathe, to not feel overwhelmed and to be connected with things and people that matter and willing to walk away from that that brings stress and overwhelm and comparison.

I want to invite people into our home for a meal again.  Sit across the table at coffee and be able to give people a warm hug rather than scroll, scroll, scroll on my phone.

I’ve got some ideas on how to put this into practice but I’d love to hear yours.

And don’t be surprised if things are a little quieter on the scrolling place but you’re hearing more from me here.

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IF: Gathering 2015

It’s been almost two weeks since the IF: Gathering 2015 took place.  I’ve been swirling for what to say in this space and hope to do some justice to the work God has been doing in my head and heart since.

IF: Georgetown, KY

My gal Shannon and I weren’t sure what our IF: Local event in Georgetown, KY would look like. Our group of women from our church who journeyed through Jennie Allen’s Restless study were still Restless at the close of the study. Folks seemed too busy and intimadated to open up their homes to their neighbors, co-workers and friends for a local gathering in their own place. The “Her Knight” event was taking place that same weekend which meant a lot of folks would be preoccupied getting their daughters dolled up for a date with dad right smack dab in the middle of the event. I was doubting that we’d made the right call back in September when I quickly decided that we needed to have our own event in our community rather than partner up with IF: Lexington. Even though it was a mere 30 minute drive–the point was to have a conversation with women in your own community–THIS was our community. So why did we feel so Restless ourselves in our planning efforts? We were still asking this question when we decided in early December to drive to Cincinnati to meet up with other IF: Local leaders and hear from Jennie Allen. Our planning seemed in vain. We couldn’t settle on what to do.

It was in that meeting of introducing ourselves and hearing what other folks had done previously or were planning to do that the answer came. We were sitting right next to sweet Robin from Cincinnati who said last year, they simply opened the doors of their church and invited folks to come and go as their schedules allowed.

IF: Local Leader Meeting-Cincinnati (Sweet Robin in the front to the far left beside Jennie Allen)

IF: Local Leader Meeting-Cincinnati (Sweet Robin in the front to the far left beside Jennie Allen)

That was our answer.

Shannon and I began to work on creating this environment. We invited folks in our own church community and beyond. I shared on social media the beautiful graphics the folks at IF provided. I sent emails to and had conversations with friends whom I felt God was tugging for me to invite. We had an incredibly supportive church staff and community that showed up–from printing programs, allowing for space in the service to announce, men showing up to move chairs and make coffee–they showed up. We created a community on Facebook of registered folks to get to know one another prior to the gathering and share about the speakers and IF leaders as many were unfamiliar all-together with IF. We set up a soup potluck for Friday night so folks who had to work or wouldn’t have time to feed themselves as well as their families could eat (another idea from Robin). I have a supportive spouse who cheered me on and bought me beautiful flowers that reminded him of all the IF graphics he’d been seeing.

flowers from the beau

Thursday night we decorated and tested the live-stream.

Friday I left work early, Shannon’s husband made it home early and we met at the church to finish our prep. It’s come and go so we have no idea how many will come. Around 50 had registered. We were starting at 6pm on the dot. At 5:30, not a soul was there to share a meal.

Shannon and I stepped into the parking lot to clear our heads and pray. We closed our eyes and spoke out-loud prayers of faith–pushing away the doubt that had entered in months before and for me were still present. We believed that God was up to something and had invited us not to be spectators but participants. We opened our eyes to see cars rolling in. My co-worker whom I had invited. Women from our church community. A mentor of mine who showed up with her teenage daughters. More crock-pots of soup and bread and veggies than our tables could handle.

All these seats were filled and then some.

There were barely any seats remaining. We had a few glitches with the Livestream as Austin ended and we had to readjust our feed. It took some time to warm up to worship not being live, but we got there. I stalked the IF: Local tumblr page where the time-stamp lived like a hawk. Conversation breaks were rich and loud. This was our call to believe. I was encouraged when we closed the night at the end of the first session to hear Shauna speak about their meal break and Susie speak so passionately about IF: Table which is right near this hospitality gal’s heart. We left after 9 that night hopeful that folks would return but knowing that Saturday was a such busy day for so many folks, I have to admit that doubt crept back in. I just wasn’t sure how many would make it back.

That night, I stayed at Shannon’s and her girls let me have their room as they slept on an air-mattress in the next room. Saturday morning I cuddled up watching cartoons next to her middle daughter (I’d slept in the eldest’s bed, so I knew that EJ deserved some extra attention–I might be an only child, but I do know a thing or two). We scarfed down eggs, threw on some mascara and ran through Starbucks to arrive only 30 minutes or so before the gathering was to begin. We had barely gotten the technology up and in walked a couple men from our church to assist with coffee and whatever else we needed. A box of donuts from a favored donut shop arrived. Fruit.Trail Mix. More boxes of Kashi granola bars that I’d ever seen (Thank you Kroger for putting them on sale!). And bearing all these treats? Women. Women who said they’d be there the entire weekend. Women who said they’d only be there Friday night. Women who had JUST registered on Thursday. My doubting was in vain. Why don’t we believe?

2015-02-07 12.10.22

Saturday was beautiful. Women came and went. I saw more and more faces of women who said they would only be there Friday and stayed for most of or in some cases the entire day. They left to do little girls hair and were back ASAP. They went home for a bit and ended up watching the Livestream while and home and came back sooner than expected. They jetted off to a little league game and came rushing back. We sang loudly even when there was another glitch with the Livestream. They heard some of their favorite speakers and soaked up truth from women new to them.

For our dinner break, around 15 of us gathered around the table at a local Mexican restaurant and had great conversation. It was an IF: Table. There were no cards present but we talked about the topics that had stirred our hearts. Racial Reconciliation. Why it can be so hard to connect with other women. Breaking down generational walls regarding these topics. What are our thoughts about the uproar regarding yoga pants these days. How do we model our faith to our own daughters? How to we be a light in our workplace that can be quite dark? What is next? How do we believe?

Our "impromptu" IF: Table over Mexican

The last session brought us to our knees and allowed us to think about our next step of faith. Shannon had rocks in glass jars at the front of our space and we each took one and thought about how we would mark this day. What would be our statement of faith? What could happen if we believe?

What could happen for our community if we believed?

This was not the question I was to answer.

No Faith–what could happen for YOU if YOU believed.  

journal

I’ve been rolling around some big prayers in my life lately. I’ve allowed a state of busy-ness to mask dealing with my response to these prayers  A “sabbatical” of sorts was my response. I had the answer to my next step of Faith after IF weeks before the gathering actually occurred. For me to be able to respond in obedience, I needed to be quiet. God had been stirring my heart that I needed to listen. I spent the week between the IF: Gathering and when the Hebrews IF: Equip study began reviewing all the notes I’d taken in my journal. I refused to just write a bunch of heart piercing truths in my cute journal and not apply any of it. Here’s what jumped off the page for me from my notes:

Am I going to live by Faith or by sight? –Jennie Allen

Do I stop valuing the gifts God has given me because they don’t look like others? –Angie Smith

He has no intention of letting me go. His hold on me is stronger than my hold on Him. –Jo Saxton

“How about we start with you?’ -God’s question to Rebekah Lyons

Faith is a struggle.  Am I confident in God or my understanding of God? –Jen Hatmaker

What is the next humblest version of me?Bob Goff

We are only looking at a small portion of our life. God is creating it–even in the parts that do not make sense–all apart of the big picture. –Shelley Giglio

He will prune away things that are getting in the way -Debbie Eaton

My freedom is not just for me but for other people.  “Help my Unbelief!”Margaret Feinberg

Convict me for my full plate.  Do I desire a calling bigger than my character? We have fallen into perfectionism instead of Grace.  HE is the holy restorer. –Ann Voskamp

At the threshold of every transition, we (in our human nature) will have a spirit of fear. The believing life is not about us. Service prepares you for the battle. The call of God is inconvenient. Pursue character. Key to a believing life? Faith which comes by hearing the Word of God.–Hang on to the TRUTH of the word of God.  Don’t waste time on a fight that’s not worth fighting. –Christine Caine

Suffering is a channel of grace into the world. –Laura Sobeich

It’s okay to struggle with faith and show it. Reclaim your true self. Some woman is watching me. They need to see me struggle. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. –Shauna Niequest

I absolutely love Shauna and her mom Lynne.  Her words were soothing ointment to my weary soul.

I absolutely love Shauna and her mom Lynne. Her words were soothing ointment to my weary soul.

Walk it out even though it’s not working out. Just because your progress isn’t obvious doesn’t mean your faith isn’t working. There is no white flag; don’t quit when you are so close to the finish line. You don’t have to feel it or like it to do it. Results are God’s responsibility. Response and obedience are mine. –Bianca Olthoff

God calls us to the scary and uncomfortable. –Esther Havens

Faith without works is dead.  At the end of my life, do I want to see a slideshow of what I missed? Jennie Allen

Grateful for my teammate Shannon who has welcomed me into her life and this woman who so richly invests in her people.

My next step?  I’m heeding to the words of 1 Timothy 6:6-8: “The devout life…is the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

God is calling me back to the rich simplicity of being me.  The one He so delicately and carefully created. My “devout life” is cozying up in His word and camping out for a while. I want to be confident in God alone. I don’t want anything of my hands to get in the way of what God is doing in me or in others. Yes, Faith without works is dead. But complete reliance on works is paralyzing.

I want the women who came to our Gathering to walk away astounded and drawn to God for no other reason but that they feel the yearning to believe.

A piece of my gifting of hospitality is grounded in the ability to create environments and spaces that are welcoming and allow for people to be their true selves. I believe that is one reason I was so drawn to what the the IF: Gathering is about. IF: Equip, IF: Table and the gathering itself creates an environment. And while creating these environments might be apart of the work I am to do in my own place and in my own home, no amount of creating can substitute for the tug of the Holy Spirit on one’s heart.

So with that, the day after the gathering ended, my sabbatical commenced. No more creating. No more doing. No more facilitating conversation in the Facebook group. Resting. Believing. Listening. Getting cozy in the word. Responding with scripture rather than frustration or fear or hurt.

My next step…

Trust and Obey that the Lord is Good.

Trust and Obey that the Lord is Good.

I hear the chains falling…

#honesty-day 1

I had several conversations about vulnerability today.  In work, marriage, friendship, the church.  With our parents.  Why is it so scary to be honest?

Because the truth hurts, friends.

But when we are prepared for vulnerable moments, the truth sets us free.

When we have invested in the relationship it’s easier to be vulnerable.  When time is laid on the line, we can be ourselves.

How did we arrive here though?  How did our investment begin? It was small. Responding to that email.  Picking up the phone.  Showing up for the 7am run, not knowing a soul.

And that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Of course not.  We were not alone.  We knew there would be the friendly face in the Gold Altima waiting.  The hand of that reached across the table to grab yours.  The reassuring voice on the other side of the line.

Because we all desire to belong.  To be validated.  To be apart of community.

And what, you ask, makes that community thrive?  Goals.  Morning Runs.  30 minute writing sessions.

Accountability.

Be well friends,

Faith

This post is apart of a writing series affectionately named, LoAnyWriMo.  Join me, Krissie and Lydia as we tackle our creative demons and write for 30 minutes a day in August.  

Community follow-up

Just read this little quote in my current read and had to share after yesterday’s post about community.

If we are honest about life in human community, we must admit that the people closest to us are not only our connection points in a support system that we depend on for our very lives.  They are that, for sure, but they are also mirrors who reflect the hidden shadows of our souls.  ~Wisdom of Stability p. 94

I hope that there are folks in your life–some community in your day to day–that will help you see those hidden shadows.  It is in those times of discovery, we are continually shaped into the men and women Christ longs for us to become.  Thanks to not only my small group, but the other folks and mentors who have allowed me to look back at my reflection, see those shadows and have the courage to change.

Best,


A new life to our little community…

Mom and the little guy

Our small group welcomed our newest addition this week, Caedmon Michael Rossine.  Caedmon and Mom (as well as Dad, Michael) are doing great hopefully coming home today.  It’s so neat to see what community and a life intentionally lived with others can bring.  Last night standing in the hospital room, I distinctly recall some memories with this precious family–meeting Michael and singing together at Crossroads, getting to know one another better through our small group meetings, celebrating at their wedding last June, supporting one another through tough times, hearing the news of the little one on the way at our Christmas feast…just a few of the many memories.

I have loved journeying with Melissa through her pregnancy as she updated family and friends far away.  I love their sweet spirit, the love and energy they have for life and how they embraced the start of their family so openly and with great enthusiasm. Little Caedmon has so many wonderful traits and qualities he’ll gain from Mom and Dad.

It’s so great to be in community with others.  We’ve realized over the past year and a half that summers are always a little challenging to keep a small group together with vacations and home renovations and babies.  🙂 We have enjoyed a few outings and a random night getting Cobbler a few weeks ago before the little man arrived (Mel had a cobbler craving so we had to go so she could get the craving fix!)

By the way.  If YOU are having a cobbler craving and live in central Kentucky,  Darlin’ Jeans Cobbler Cafe in Midway is THE place to be.  I’m just sayin’.

The best small group EVER--minus the rileys! 😦

It’s wonderful to have friends in the same phase of life that you can connect with and support (as well as have fun with!)  The beau and I are so thankful for these couples, the exciting things we’ve already been able to celebrate with one another and the tough times in which life has given us a great safety net to fall into when needed.

So again, welcome little Caedmon!  We can’t wait to have you around at smallies once we resume back to normal in the fall!  (And we promise Rossines we’ll make sure in our reno of our house it is safe for the little guy!)

The Rossine Family

Best,

I’m on the fence…

So, I’m really enjoying this blogging gig.  I mean, I read today on a fellow blogger’s site something that really inspired me.  I realized that I’ve really been doing this for 10 years it just wasn’t known as blogging back then.  And I wasn’t sharing it with anyone, much less perfect strangers (and those lovely friends and family  making their visits)!

Today, I added my site to Picket Fence Blogs.  I had honestly never heard of this site until today, but they are a directory of lifestyle blogs. If you ever want to vote for my blog and increase my popularity because who DOESN’T want to be more popular?!  Just click on the link below and vote.

And hopefully you know me well enough to know I’m totally just kidding about the popularity thing.

Why did I add my blog to this site?  I think it’s a great way to connect folks who have similar passions as well as get some great information.  It’s funny how our means of connecting have changed.  The beau and I were talking last night about the intensity of technology and how much it has changed our lives.  I attended my first twitter party last night hosted by the lovely gals over at iBloom.  They  have launched this great, new, FREE 40-day challenge and it was really fun to get to meet some of the other gals out there who are already participating in the challenge.  I will say though, this little introvert was a little overwhelmed at times with all the tweets going on at once.  Shewwweee….I couldn’t keep up.  Anyway, the challenge IS great and you should definitely check it out.

So back to this convo the beau and I were having, technology has increased so much in the past 10-15 years!  Just like this journal going public and becoming a blog, so many things keep transitioning SO fast.  I mean, I know we’re getting older, but we both distinctly recall sitting in our library in the 8th or 9th grade and getting permission to use the ONE computer that had internet access.  Having to specifically type in the http:// and wondering what in the HECK that was!

With this increased technology, there is a constant debate about how much is too much and at what point it affects our ability to personally connect with someone versus being their twitter friend, keeping up on facebook, or getting to know someone through the personal diary entries of their blog.  I will say that I feel the relationships I already  have in existence (face to face, that is) are nothing but enhanced by this lovely little technology jump.

So what am I debating (if it’s really even to be considered a debate):

  • Facebook: Reconnecting (in person) with a college friend this weekend whom I’d spend the past six years wondering how she was doing–Facebook: CHECK
  • Twitter: Brought an acquaintance from church as well as a good friend together over a shared love for the same Panera Bagels & Cream Cheese. Yes, as a foodie, it tends to come up quite often in the tweets. After that meeting, she invited us over to her house to give us a lesson in making our own Pad Thai–Twitter: Check PLUS!
  • The Blog: When I did the “jump start” on the blog a few weeks ago, I knew that one thing I needed to step up was my PR.  I have learned some incredibly valuable things lately from friends who have journeyed into blogging (check out my links) and although I’m not saying I’m the wise sage with much wisdom to impart, sharing the wisdom I’m learning from others to any of my readers who happen to follow along is very important to me.  Blog: CHECK (based solely on my own inspiration from my college friend,  Naturally Chic Mama)

So needless to say, although the wallflower in me was definitely coming out last night at the twitter party, I know that good things come from these online communities that exist and I’m not going anywhere.

So what’s your take?  Any great stories to share about reconnecting with folks via these means?  Anyone develop a NEW relationship with someone you met via a blog?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Best,

It’s good to be loved.

Sometimes I think life has a funny way of teaching us those valuable lessons that could very easily go “unnoticed” if we weren’t  being open to listening to what life (and God) is trying to say to us through the seemingly mundane.

I also have realized that sometimes the “mundane” lessons in life come through the people God places in our lives.  Now, I know this isn’t rocket science, but just hear me out for a second.

I’m confident that there is an interweaving of paths that cross your life–some of those paths are more prominent at differing times, others have a consistent presence.  If you think about what that would look like as a woven fabric, some colors will be very dominant.  Your family.  Mom and Dad.  The life-long friends that you can go months without REAL communication, but the minute you pick up the phone, or walk into your favorite restaurant for lunch, nothing has changed.

There are also those folks who are in life for a season.  Good Lord, how I hated hearing about this growing up.  “Now those friends may not last.”  “Your college friends, they’ll be the ones that you have good memories with, but don’t count on keeping in touch.” Ugh.  How my heart ached at those statements.  Partially because I just wanted to beat the odds and prove someone wrong (is that a red-head tendency I see rearing it’s head?) but moreover, because my heart has always longed for that true lasting connection with others (and that tendency, I believe we all share).  Now sure, it’s a little impossible to think that you’ll keep in touch with all your friends throughout the years.  But chalk it up to being an only child or what have you, I’ve always taken friendships seriously, invested a lot in them, and often have had my heart broken by them.

God has designed us to crave connection, community, and communion with others.  We aren’t meant to live this life alone.  The next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some stories of how community and people have rocked my world lately. As I mentioned, we have had a lot of exciting things happening, but also, honestly, the past month has been hard. I have had more than a few breakdowns (thankfully I have a wonderful hubs who calms me instantly just by being near). I’ve needed people.  I’ve seen what it does to walk into a hospital room with someone by your side, versus alone.  I’ve also had the fortune of being able to bless others lives with that community. That is an even greater feeling–to know you are standing in the gap when someone needs it.  What a beautiful way to be used by our Creator.

I hope that you’ll share some of your own stories of how people have changed you, your circumstances and what your fabric is looking like these days.  Mine is a beautiful mixed tapestry with lots of colors and honestly, it looks a little disheveled, but it is beautiful nonetheless (my affinity for the disheveled is not a new thing).  My prayer today is that you have someone to walk with into the dark rooms of your life.

Best,

Smallies

Small Group

Pumpkin Patch 2009

We are so blessed to have such an amazing small group!  I’ve really been longing for more community–especially in Georgetown–and this definitely foots the bill.  It’s a great group of couples all married 5 years or less.  We have really had a great opportunity to get to know one another better over the last few months.  We’ve had a lot of fun studying some of the series Crossroads is going through, enjoying meals, celebrating, sharing heartache and serving others together.

Last night we finished up a marriage series that Crossroads did for three weeks back in September  (yes…we recognize that it’s now November).  Yes, it was ONLY a three week series, but with life and Lew and I tying the knot mixed in there, it just didn’t get finished until now.  It was a great study and was really good for all of us to ponder the questions posed.  The final question last night was “What can I do to improve our marriage?”  It really got me thinking a lot about two points I included in my vows I wrote to Lew…

  1. to figure out a way to have fun each day
  2. to consider each action with this thought–“How will this grow our marriage and our family?”

I do think about those most every day, but there are days I definitely fail.

We ended with a portion of 1 Corinthians 13 from the Message version.  In addition to having post-it’s of those two items above as reminders, we all agreed we needed this posted as well.  I pray that we can all take some time this weekend to think through this passage–married or not–and figure out how to love those in your life better.  This passage of scripture is so often quoted, but not nearly as often lived out.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Girls Nite!!!

About once a month, I get together for a great girls night with some friends from Vocal Team at Crossroads.  We all are around the same age, are all married (yay!  I can finally be added to that group!) and we share a passion for music and singing.

We rarely get to sing together, but this week, we all were at rehearsal last night and enjoyed dinner afterward.  It’s so great to have fun with these girls every month or so and catch up on the craziness of our lives.

Although we are in the same season of life, we are all at different points at the same time.  Akin to yesterday’s post, change happens–be it in the form of a new job, a new marriage, a vacation, etc.  It’s nice to come together and share stories, laughs, heartaches and know that at the end of the day, we’re just four girls who need some girl time every few weeks.

Oh–and the best part–they all sang at my wedding and it was B-E-A-utiful!

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