Tuesday, November 29, 2011

an apology and a promise.


Dear Blog Readers,
I must apologize to you, for my unexpected absence over the past week, and for letting you down.
I would like to say that I won’t let it happen again.

But in all actuality, I kind of hope it will.
In relationships we always let one another down at some time or other.
And I hope your reading and my writing becomes a relationship.

What I can promise is that I will try with all my might to not have any pre-meditated any absences or let downs.

I wish I had something important as an excuse for why I was gone for this past week of blogging, but I don’t. Everyday life was trudging along at what felt like breakneck speed. And by the time I would get to thinking I needed to blog, I just couldn’t bring myself to muster the energy to do a post worthy of you all.

The week was filled with great joys, including Eleonore’s first Thanksgiving, and my Grandmother Molloy’s 81st Birthday (more on both of these later in the week).

I don’t have much energy right now either if I am honest with all of you. My bundle of bubbly energy is going to turn one soon, and all her developmental advances are causing sleep patterns to be WACKY!

 I will leave you with a few photos that were taken while celebrating Thanksgiving with part of Nate’s family!

 It is so good to be back in the blogging saddle, and I look forward to sharing more exciting and (hopefully) insightful posts with you on a regular basis.

peace to you,
meredith



                                  


                                       




Friday, November 18, 2011

Wedding Week Day 5-"Theology" of a Marriage

After six years if there is one thing I have learned, it is that you cannot label your marriage, and you can't define it.

You might have an understanding of your Faith, that there are non-negotiables, and the rest is up for discussion. I think Marriage (as we are told it should be) when modeled after our relationship with God has to look like that.

When we were married we had our good friend Miles (also the man who hired us both that fateful first summer at East Bay, pretty integral person!) read an excerpt from who else? Madeleine L'Engle!

This was it:
"Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling."


We still aspire to this vision of a marriage today, EVERY day. It's a choice. The choice isn't always easy, the choice isn't always fun. But you choose, because you have made a commitment before God to that other person. And when you don't make the right decision, you look to that person, and are amazed when they have the strength to give you the grace you don't deserve, and equally amazed when you have grace to give to them. There is so much freedom, as Madeleine says, in those choices. 


For freedom Christ has set us free. 


Such a responsibility in this freedom. And not just in the confines of a marriage or romantic relationship. In each friendship, each family member, each stranger, each enemy. 


It's exhausting, but we are called to be in community for a reason.
Because it's still going to be exhausting, but when others can help hold up our hands it makes it easier to love others as we start to get tired.

I love you Nathanial Ryan Hopping, and look forward to six-TY more years of holding each others hands up to love each other and the world around us.

peace to you,
meredith














Thursday, November 17, 2011

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










Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding Week Day 2-The Proposal

It was Valentine's Day 2004. I was soooo excited because I had never been "dating" anyone on Valentine's day and this would be my chance to grasp the Hallmark holiday in full glory!

Nate had other plans, or so he led me to believe.

At the time we were both undergrads majoring in Theatre. Nate was at WIU and I was at ISU. We saw each other EVERY single weekend during our dating/engagement, which can now admittedly be chalked up to some OCD on my part. 

He was in a production of Phaedre as Theseus. 

Right off I was ticked. 

I have waited 20 years to have a date on Valentine's Day and I HAVE TO GO SEE A TRAGEDY ON VALENTINE'S DAY!?!?

This seems really fair. . .

and it just kept getting worse. 

My family was going to see the show that night, Nate's Mom was coming that night, Nate's brother and childhood friends were coming that night.

Fabulous. Perfect setup for a romantic night. Exactly what I was picturing. 

To try to make up for this Nate asked me to come early to his dorm room, so we could exchange gifts. 
I had been meticulous about his gift. It had numerous parts, with numerous nuances and meanings.
When I got to his dorm room, he handed me a card made of notebook paper and suggested we watch Edward Scissorhands. 


No words. I was fuming on the inside. 

I got to the play. I was greeted by my family, Nate's family & friends, and other students I knew. The play was pretty packed and I looked around for a seat. Quickly the director Stephen came and ushered me to a seat they had saved for me, which was weird. 

I watched the play. My man was amazing, because he is an amazing actor! 

During the curtain call Nate began to take off part of his costume. I turned to my future sister in law and said:

"Why is he taking off his costume? This is sooo unprofessional, it's embarrassing."

Someone brought out a stool and a guitar. 

Nate sat down and said:

"I didn't want everyone to celebrate Valentine's Day with a tragedy, so I wrote a song for the love of my life Meredith Joy Owens".

A collective awwww went through the crowd. I too awed. 

But then came the last line of the song. . .

"You have changed my life, may I have the honor of making you my wife?"

The audience was hushed, other than the one guy who apparently wasn't in on the plan. 

He yelled out:

"OH SHIT!"

That snapped me back to reality, Nate came down the aisle, got on one knee, and officially proposed. 

I of course said yes, and we all went out to pizza. 

Despite the less than intimate circumstances, it was the most romantic Valentine's Day anyone could imagine!

peace to you,
meredith
I don't have any pictures of the engagment on this computer, 
but this was right around the same time!
True. Young. Love.
meredith

Monday, November 14, 2011

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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photo Friday-Tattoo Inspiration


I have been debating for so many years now about getting a tattoo. My husband has a few :), and I have been itching lately for some ink.  These pictures are some inspiring ones to me, and you can also find them on my Pinterest!

The problem is, ever since I met him, and ever since I have seen his amazing artwork on Nate, I have only wanted one person to do my tattoos, if I ever got them.

That person is Jimmy.  He now lives in Eugene, Oregon. And that makes a tattoo REALLY expensive. Although a total bonus would be visiting Mindy Rawlins and The Blair Family.

Trying to justify, trying to justify, trying to justify.

Do these images inspire you as they do me?


Really want this on my body and on everything I own (with even more labels added in!). 

What a vital reminder in a walk with Christ about loving everyone, 
because we so DO NOT deserve the love we have been given. 

But maybe my forehead would be too much? :)


 What do you see when you look at this?
 If you don't see a hat, you know why this is so lovely and meaningful. 
If you do see a hat, go read Le Petit Prince, and have your spirit lifted and outlook changed. 


I have always been incredibly drawn to shepherd/sheep imagery when it comes to my relationship with Christ. 
This image is a visual representation of something far more amazing, 
but it grants a little understanding for my feeble mind. 

Mother and Child, Mother Mary and Christ, Father God and His Children. 
This sculpture is so beautiful to me, 
it encompasses such intimate, passionate, nurturing relationships.





These are just a few inspiring images. Don't worry, you won't see all of them on my person any time soon (ferociously types in search engine "Cheapest Way to get to Oregon").

peace to you,
meredith





Thursday, November 10, 2011

Did I give birth to Mike Tyson's Vampire Spawn?

It happened.

Eleonore bit someone.

REALLY hard.

And she drew blood.

And it was traumatizing.

Probably the most for me.

I knew it was coming. Like a snarky little shadow that lingers a few feet behind Eleonore and I wherever we go, tiptoeing along is "The Possibility My Child Will Do Something Out of MY Control That Can Upset and/or Hurt Someone Else".

If you aren't familiar with the TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE (pronounced tee-pee-mick-wood-soom-mic-tic-wah-o-see) Monster, thank your lucky stars. It is a nasty little booger, and it will get you when you least expect it.

Perhaps I was getting too prideful. Eleonore loves other people. She loves to smile at them, and wave, and brighten their days. She is quite adorable, biased or not, it's true.

But. . .

there are these teeth that most of her peers don't have yet, or if they do, not as many.

A woman from my father's church said it was a sign of intelligence that she has so many teeth, probably COMPLETELY false, but at the same time, like all of you Mother's and Father's out there, I decided in my head, "well yeah, probably, makes sense. makes sense to me". It's just what you do when someone validates what you think about your child, you decide it's true. 


In retrospect, if the TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monster feeds on pride and a puffed up Mother's chest like I think it does, it was getting to be a chubby TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monster, and had more than enough energy built up to attack.

It had taken a little trial run a week ago, when Eleonore bit my good friend Kelly's baby Kinley. Luckily no blood was drawn, and Kelly and Kinley both took it in stride.

The next time it went full fledged and it was poor Wolfie as Eleonore got her first taste of blood. With a little "milkies", his blankie, and some snuggles with his Mama Deb, he was up and playing with Eleonore once again.

Deb was EXTREMELY gracious. It didn't phase her at all. I was in awe, and shocked that I wasn't getting yelled at, or cursed at, or thrown out by my collar.

Wolfie was fine, Eleonore was fine, Deb was fine.

I wasn't.

I felt completely, and utterly, powerless.

Seeking others advice on the matter for the most part made it worse, and I went to bed feeling like my baby had major psychological issues that I had spurned on by some sort of majorly inadequate parenting technique that had been put into place by my "style" of parenting.

I didn't sleep a lot. Visions of being "the biters" Mom kept dancing through my dreams.

The next morning, Nate, Eleonore and I were sitting on the couch laughing and playing. Nate was tickling Eleonore and we were all giggling, then he started to nibble on her ear. . .
he looked up and we had both made the connection at the same time.

He nibbles on Eleonore's ear when they are playing, she equates this with happiness, and love, so she OBVIOUSLY WANTS TO BITE EVERYONE'S EAR.

I felt such a sense of freedom in that moment, but at the same time my heart was filled with an extreme weight of responsibility.We learn how to love. There is no question. We can't know how to love, unless we see how to love. It's pretty straightforward and simple.If we learn to love from those who love abusively, we abuse, if gracefully, then gracefully, if passively then passively, and the list goes on and on.

This time it will be a relatively easy fix and the TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monster will be thwarted by no more ear nibbles for Dad! It is not always so easy, for many children, the way they have learned to love has done irrevocable damage to themselves, and to the world around them. The vicious cycle continues, because no one gave them grace. Because no one thought fit to name them, like I talk about in this previous post.

I myself am learning to live with the TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monster. They are always there, and always will be. I invite the TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monster to walk alongside me. I am not afraid. I will learn to handle each situation they throw at me with grace. Grace is what slays TPMCWDSOOMCTCUAOHSE Monsters, didn't you know?

It gets most of the other Monsters out there too.

Try it, and you'll see.

Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.



peace to you,
meredith

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



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

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

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




Monday, November 7, 2011

music to the heart and soul



This Saturday will be  a dream come true for me.

One of my favorite musical groups of all time will be playing a show in Bloomington, at a childhood friends apartment.

I have been dubbed a "Superfan" along with my dear friend Lindsay who will be absent this concert since she currently lives in Arkansas.

Lindsay and I first saw Rue Royale in 2007 at Uncommon Grounds in Wrigleyville. We didn't pay much attention or realize what amazing food was there. We were there strictly for the music.

Our fates were sealed, and since then we have tried to make it to every show that has been accessible to us.
Our 3rd concert at Subterranean Winter 2007! 



There isn't really much to say about their music, it is better to listen, and feel.
Cornerstone 2008. I had an appendectomy,
 so I wasn't there.
 There was an empty seat in my honor.
At Schubas, end of Summer 2008! 


Fall 2010 in Macomb
Spring 2009
Their Moving to England show at the Hideout








I can't describe their music and even begin to do it justice. 
Listen, and if you like what you hear, contact me for the concert details!


peace to you,
meredith

Sunday, November 6, 2011

a bosom friend.

Tonight we had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with my lovely friend Liesl and her mother Susan who was in from out of town. 

Liesl is one of my oldest and dearest friends (since the summer before 7th grade, when I first saw her in her Chuck Taylors, and Bogie's Diner Jersey), and she was one of the reasons (other than God of course. . .DUH) that moving back to Bloomington even seemed slightly tangible to me. 

There is such enormous beauty in friendship. In tried and true friendship. It's the stuff that Jane Austen writes of, and what Lucy Maud Montgomery describes as having  a "bosom friend". 

You might as well just see a picture of Liesl when you look for the definition of the term, because she is mine. 

Look up "Bosom Friend" in the dictionary,
and this is what you'll see!


She has been with me through so much. And has become a great friend to Nate and a wonderful Auntie to Eleonore. 

Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming to see all the beauty she puts into the world, to see how big her heart is, and how free her spirit.

Overwhelming, and at the same time utterly inspiring. 

During Liesl's time in Belgium working for Young Life I had the AMAZING opportunity to travel there to assist her with moving back. We attempted to chronicle the adventure with this blog. I think we could easily get paid for traveling together and writing about it. Or maybe I just think we are funny and no one else does. . .nope, we're pretty funny.
Liesl and I enjoying a good "brew" on our German Day Trip!

Life has lots of ups and downs, but there is so much joy to be had in friendship and fellowship. 

It is truly one of God's gifts to us.

I hope you all have a Liesl in your life. I can't imagine how empty mine would be without her. 

peace to you,
meredith

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back to Do. . .


I haven't had a lot of time today to muse or ruminate on anything in particular. But as I was singing Do Re Mi with Eleonore today in the car, I was remembering this video.

Nate and I at the beginning
 of our time at Streams of Hope
In itself it is an amazing thing to behold. I first saw it in 2009. We were in the process of closing a church while Nate was in seminary. It was an amazingly beautiful, painful, and growth inducing experience which I am sure I will write more about in the future.

The Sunday the church closed I stood to give some of my thoughts. I wanted the congregation to know that we had to decide if our journey as Christians stopped there, or if we were going to go out into the world and be the church, join new existing bodies of believers and evolve as Christians to share the joy & hope we have in the Risen Christ.

This video had spoken immensely to my heart and soul during that period.
God used something as simple as a song from The Sound of Music and a bunch of people dancing to speak to me, that joy still existed & that hope was still alive, even in the midst of mourning.


And, that ultimately, it starts with one person, making a decision. 

So I shared this video on that Sunday with the congregation, and I share it with you now, because it still holds so much truth and beauty.


peace to you,
meredith



Friday, November 4, 2011

What on earth am I(we) doing here?-Part 2

Soon after moving to Bloomington, we were confirmed in the Anglican Mission. It was a wonderful day, and it happened immediately prior to our friend Fr. Greg Lynn's ordination to the priesthood.

We have a wonderful long-distance community in Peoria's AMiA plant, Epiphany. Chris and Elisa Marchand, dear friends from the Chicago area are co-planting a missional community there with Greg and his wife Alicia.

What a wonderful gift to have kindred spirits embarking upon the same journey so close!

Chris, Elisa, Father Greg, Alicia, Nate & Me
at our confirmation/Greg's ordination!


Nate and I with a lot of prayer have wanted to take a VERY slow approach to this whole church planting-thing. We want to be able to give the community what they need and what can bring them closer to Christ, not impose our idea of what the church plant will look like on a community that we have been detached from for five years. This is a problem I think the Christian church gets stuck in a lot. Telling a community what they need before hearing what that community has to say/where they are.

(Before I get bombarded by Christians telling me the community needs Christ, let's have that just be a given. We all do, or Nate and I wouldn't be giving our life to this calling).

So right now what this looks like is a foundational group of people meeting twice a month, (soon to move to every week) at our apartment, discussing the word, our relationships with Christ, uplifting each other, and brainstorming on how we can bring Christ to this community and be Christ to this community. Very soon we will be embarking upon community outreach and eventually we will start meeting at a space, (as we are growing out of our dining room quite quickly. Intimacy is great within a missional community, but I don't want anybody to be able to tell that I wasn't able to shower that day, as being a Mommy doesn't always warrant a shower! :o) ) and having a full service as well as a weekly community group/bible study.

Exciting, scary, and an impossible environment to not be completely dependent upon Christ.

One thing we are praying for is that God would put on someone's heart to come alongside us in ministry here in Bloomington-Normal, in a co-leadership role. It is exciting to be patiently waiting for that, not knowing who that person will be or what specific gifts they will offer. But as God has proven so clearly over and over again, He will be faithful.

This church thing if you have never been a part of it (or if you have), is intended to be this beautiful, messy group of people, growing together, leaning on each other and loving each other so much that they can't let each other stay where they are at, they must propel each other further on in betterment, in hope and beauty and love, to become what we were created to be.

In propelling each other it should catch onto someone else, and someone else, and someone else.

And then our world theoretically shouldn't look the way it does.

But there is something in me that won't allow me to stop looking at what this world can be if we allow the Hope of the Risen Christ to permeate itself through us and to others.

I think the Church (which I claim to be a part of, I still believe in the Christian Church despite it's faults and it's NUMEROUS injustices, I apologize for these, and for the part I may play in them, but I still identify myself with it) forgets about this leaning, and dependence on one another, that we were created to be in community, to need one another, to change the world together.

Scoff if you must, but I adore So You Think You Can Dance (this is not as much of a change of subject as you might think, stick with me). This dance to Coldplay's Fix You really hits home for me, especially where I am at in my Faith journey right now.

*I am not about to get into what the words to that song mean, I have my thoughts, but that isn't really what this is about.

I think this is how we are supposed to look in the church relationally.

We move in sync at certain times, and at others we show our individual gifts for the community.

And sometimes we are utterly unable to move, unless we are lifted by one another.

I am quite fond of the 45 second mark where the "jumping" begins.

Sometimes it feels like in the church or in our relationship with Christ that we are doing such futile things in a season of waiting, that we might as well just be jumping up and down.

But that jumping up and down is leading to something amazing, and may we all jump with such vigor and intensity. . .

watch and see what I mean.

peace to you,
meredith

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What on earth am I (we) doing here?-Part 1




I thought it might be a good idea to share with everyone what we are doing "Back in Bloomington".

In simple terms, we are "planting a church".

There are different ways I like to describe it.

I prefer "starting a Missional Community".

But I do like the imagery of planting. Of nurturing something, of sustaining something, of having responsibility for it. But normally you don't see the planter burrow down into the soil with the seed, and get their fingernails dirty, almost drown when there is too much water, and feel the seed break from its casing to take root, becoming entangled in them, becoming one.

So perhaps we should go with "Planting a Missional Community".

We knew from the beginning of our relationship that there would come a time in our lives when God would call us to be a part of a new church start/plant/missional community. We were just waiting for the when and where.

It finally became clear to us this Spring that we were to plant a church with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA). Nate had done an internship at an AMiA church his last semester of sminary, and that is where our connection was first fostered.

Through a series of events God made it clear that we were to plant a church in Bloomington, Illinois.

This was not what I or Nate had expected.

In fact it was on my list of "I will never's".

When you realize that your three main "I will never's" were:

1.) Never marry a pastor (Being a pastor's daughter and grandaughter, I wasn't interested in "the family business".

2.) Never marry anyone shorter than me ( I am 6 feet tall)

We know how those two turned out, as I have been married to a 5'8 (he says 5'9) pastor for 6 years on the 19th of this month!

3.) Never move back to Bloomington-Normal

I wasn't doing to well with my "I will never's", but I was still being stubborn enough to claim that last one.

Have I learned to "never say never"?
In some capacity. . .not completely though :o).

So we packed up, and moved from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment,

and we were officially "Back in Bloomington".

And what happened next?

Find out tomorrow!

peace to you,
meredith

P.S.
Our amazing photographer Eliza Morris of Eliza & Liz Photography took some new pictures of Eleonore and some family pics for some church planting stuff and we got a few back today!
Here is a peak at one of the pics!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back in Bloomington #7-Hopping Halloween History!



In my quest to do a post a day, I have to apologize, that this one isn't especially wordy or introspective, but hopefully enjoyable nonetheless!

Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays. It's dramatic, it's fun, it can be educational, mostly it's fun.

Nate and I first committed to Halloween as a couple his first year of Seminary at Trinity. We had met an amazing hip and funny couple, The Blairs, and somehow we all decided to get dressed up and go out to dinner. It was History in the making. Since that first year we haven't missed one Halloween until last year when it was our first year apart from the Blairs (they live in the Portland area now, they are THAT cool and hip). It seemed like an appropriate mourning period. But with Eleonore being here we figured it was time to "get back in the saddle".

The following pictures show our History with the Blairs as well as our first Halloween with Eleonore!
Enjoy, I know we did!
Halloween 2006-Sonny & Cher
Halloween 2006-Lucy & Ricky with Sonny & Cher

Halloween 2007-The Flinstones!
Halloween 2007-Barney & Betty


Halloween 2008-Linus, Luci, Charlie Brown & Sally
Halloween 2009-The Wizard of Oz


Halloween 2010-In Mourning 




















Halloween 2011-Olive Oyl



Our Sweet Pea!




Popeye, Olive Oyl & Sweet Pea!



The beginning of a beautiful tradition with the Kocourek family!

And many more to come!

peace to you,
meredith