I know I already described the day of my engagement to all of you guys a little while back, but after Zach’s friend Morgan did such an amazing job filming our special day, I thought it’d only be right to share this with you all. (: Enjoy!
Chatting, sleeping, and belting song after song characterized the ten-hour car drive. The ten of us ladies had finally arrived. There we were, up in the mountains, staring at the Kenyon Cabin once again. This same time last year we had made the trip to the cabin for the first time and we were so excited to be able to come again. Katie Kenyon, a good friend of mine, invited us to a week’s stay at her family’s beautiful cabin in nothing less than beautiful Colorado. And this cabin is not located just anywhere in Colorado, but sits in the mountains right outside of Vail—the cream of the crop. Needless to say, we were ESTATIC.
The trip originated with a group of us that had all met working together at Youthfront a few summers ago, which is a Christian youth camp located near the Kansas City area. Ever since we have continued to stay a part of each other’s lives and the trip was eventually created as a way to all spend time together during our Christmas break. Friends were brought along as well and the week together was spent making new friendships just as much as it was spent deepening old ones. It was such a success that the cabin simply had to be revisited again.
You can imagine the sort of giddiness and slap-happiness that accrued as a result of the endless amounts of estrogen in house. The mornings were very slow in which some slept in, some read by the fire, and others made headway on coffee and breakfast. Once noon rolled around, most everyone was ready to conquer the day outside of the house and we would often venture into town and explore or decide on some sort of outdoor excursion. One afternoon we got some ice skates together and drove to a little frozen lake up in the mountains where we skated for hours in awe of the view. Another afternoon, after dressing up like abominable snowmen, we trekked out in the snow and found the absolute perfect sledding location. We flew down time and time again until some part of us was completely frozen and we retreated inside to thaw by the fire. On evenings when we just wanted to relax we would often play different card or board games or would pop in some kind of movie. One of my favorite days on the trip was spent with three of the other gals, including Kai my roommate who I brought along, in which we spent the day exploring Vail Village while a couple others went skiing on the mountain close by. We found a wonderful coffee shop where we talked for a while, went and looked through various art galleries, and eventually ate at an adorable German restaurant. Another highlight was of course all of us going to see Les Miserables together, in which there were many, many tears shed, and the many times following where we would listen to the soundtrack over and over again. Needless to say, there was quite an obsession.
However, above all else, my favorite part was simply catching up with one another and talking about things that matter to us. There is nothing that quite compares to spending such good quality time with some of the most wonderful ladies who never fail to challenge and impact me whenever we get together. I hope you all enjoy the pictures above and that each of you had an amazing Christmas break as well!
A couple weekends ago I joined the ministry majors and Professor Mark Hays on a trip to Dallas, Texas, for the National Youth Workers Convention. We all got up at the crack of dawn, piled into the MNU van, and made our way to the conference where we would be joining thousands of other college students, youth pastors, and youth volunteers. In going I was hoping for some more insight and wisdom into what it looks like to be a pastor’s wife and what all to expect in being involved in full-time ministry. My fiance is a youth pastor and throughout the past year and a half I have become increasingly involved in his youth ministry, loving the relationships I have been able to establish with the junior and senior high gals. In preparation for the time ahead I want to make sure I am soaking up all I am able to now during this stage in my life so that I may be better equipped for ministry in the future.
Our retreat to Dallas was great in so many ways. I loved being able to simply explore the convention center on my own and go to whichever sessions peaked my interest. There was space for silence and solitude in our schedule, allowing for time to process and be still, and of course there were all kinds of speakers covering a wide range of topics. Some of my favorite speakers included Doug & Cathy Fields, Bob Goff, and Tony Campolo. I loved hearing Doug and Cathy’s take on how they have developed and maintained a healthy marriage in the midst of ministry–something that, in looking at those involved in full-time ministry, is seemingly quite rare. Bob Goff, the author of Love Does, was extremely inspirational, having experienced the most amazing adventures all across the globe. Tony Campolo, who is a speaker, author, pastor, social activist, and professor of sociology, was so intriguing to listen to. His phenomenal, world-reknown book, Red Letter Christians, simply focuses on taking seriously the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus and, more specifically, embracing the lifestyle Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount. This man who speaks in countries all throughout the world is coming to MNU this spring and I am so unbelievably stoked to hear him speak again! When Campolo spoke at the conference, it was so neat seeing just how humble this man is in how he speaks of others and himself. His book is extremely challenging to believers and is very intentional in making us re-evaluate our lives and our hearts. However, at the same time, he was completely honest and transparent in that many of those who have studied under him, such as Shane Claiborne, have far outdone him in living the life that Jesus spoke of in the Scriptures. I love how self-aware he was in talking about his own life and how honest and genuine he was so share that with all of us. How quickly people want to follow someone who admits his own failure in following the call God has placed on his heart. It is then that we are able to believe, if only for a moment, that perhaps our imperfections and brokenness could actually be used for God’s glory.
After Campolo spoke and the masses surrounded him for questions, pictures, and signatures I noticed his wife sitting in a row to the side on her own, making small-talk with a couple people as they left. There is something so intriguing to me about leaders’ wives. I often wonder what it looks like to be in these ladies’ shoes, being married to and supporting a husband whom is responsible for leading countless people. So often these women fade into the background despite the prominent role they have in the life of their husband and thus in the people he’s leading. In seeing Campolo‘s wife I had to go talk to her and hear her story. In doing so, I got to sit with this lovely lady, Peggy, for 30 minutes before they had to take off for their flight, and got to hear her journey from accepting Christ in her young adult years all the way to now. It was so neat getting to hear her perspective on her and Tony’s life together in which she was extremely honest and transparent about. I am so thankful for having experienced this moment with her and getting to peek into her life story.
All in all, I loved the opportunity to join the ministry majors in going to this conference and am so thankful for all the insight gained through such amazing people. That’s all folks!
As wonderful as Thanksgiving is, little did I know that this particular Thanksgiving would be above and beyond what I was expecting for the turkey holiday. After finishing all my classes on Tuesday, November 20, I was preparing myself for a friends-giving celebration that my roommate Kai and her twin Marshall had prepared for that day. The night before they had given both my friend Clair and I flowers, a handkerchief, and a beautiful poem they had written explaining that the following day would be a celebration of our friendships in which the whole day would be a surprise (hence the handkerchief). When the time came for our celebration, we got in our best attire and took off, ending up at Cheesecake Factory at the Plaza and then spent some good time walking down by the river after a trip to Latteland. It was beautiful out, the weather being perfect, and it was such a refreshing time getting to simply be with these good, good people. After spending some time in the Word and talking about God’s faithfulness through our community, we took off for the final destination, blindfolds on. However, unbeknownced to me, I was truly the only one without a clue.
The car stopped and Kai came around and helped me out. We began walking, her hands in mine as she led me forward, and she began talking to me about how thankful she is to God for our friendship and all that He has revealed to the both of us through us becoming so close. She then said, “But, the rest of today we are going to celebrate another relationship…”, and this was when I first realized that this day would look far different than what I could have ever hoped. She took off my blindfold and I was standing in front of two of my good friends right outside of my grandparents lovely little church where my parents had gotten married years ago. The setting was absolutely beautiful. We were standing in this beautiful garden area which was decorated with twinkling lights, picutres of Zach and I together, and mason jars with flowers hanging all around. They explained that before me was a timeline of Zach and I’s relationship separated into chapters that represented our growth together as a couple throughout time. Twine took me from chapter to chapter where there were adorable signs and pictures of us during that time dangling down from the twine. Friends and family who shared life with us during that specific chapter stood at the different stops, and upon reaching them, spent some time reminding me of that particular time in our relationship, sharing stories and talking about their experiences of us together. It was so beautiful getting to talk with some of my favorite people and reflect back on our experiences together that had brought us to this point. The twine eventually lead me inside where I found my sister and Kai, and after spending some beautiful moments with them, I followed it on through the sanctuary doors. Even though I thought that I was out of tears by this point, the waterfall came upon seeing him. I walked down the aisle of candles, finally making it to him, and he showed me a video that he had put together for me which included many of our close friends and family. He took me to the final chapter and read to me from Scripture, reminding me of his commitment to choose to love me every day throughout our lives together and that he knows my worth in the Lord. We spent some moments together there and he eventually walked me to a ring of candles, where he said some final words and got down on one knee. The rest was a blur, most likely because I said yes so fast, and before I knew it I had one amazing rock on my finger–SO SURREAL! We ran out the side door where friends and family were gathered and waiting. It so good getting to celebrate with people afterwards and be able to share those moments together.
It was wonderful having Thanksgiving that week and getting to spend good time with family celebrating all of God’s blessings. All in all, I shall never forget the day of November 20 in remembrance of the love God has revealed to me through this man. THE LORD IS GOOD!
The craziness of the semester has come to a hilt for me. This week has been the very essence of scrambling around trying to get everything done, turned in, and checked off my list. However, despite the stress, God has been making his blessings yet again evident to me and is continuing to give me his peace. So thankful for what he allowed me to experience and be a part of this week.
This last weekend there was a Nazarene youth conference called Breakaway here on campus. Nazarene youth groups from the Kansas City area joined together in College Church for a night of worship, speaking, and fellowship, as well as activities that lasted on throughout the night. My roommate Kai was a part of a MNU worship band a couple years ago called Sounds and Silences. Kai, her twin Marshall, and five other MNU students traveled to different Nazarene camps throughout the summer leading worship and participating as camp counselors and also lead worship for our chapels every week throughout the school year. Sounds and Silences was reunited to lead worship for Breakaway and asked me to join and sing with them. It was so refreshing getting to make music with these amazing people. Needless to say, we had a blast and this night was such an encouragement.
Don’t know if you’ve heard the buzz about this wonderful lady, but Miss Kylee Pearson is the newest addition to the Residential Life family, being the new Residential Educator in Spindle as of this semester. It has been so very good getting to know her heart because this gal is absolutely amazing. She brings a good conversation with her wherever she goes and always has a bright smile on her face, possessing the vibrant personality that makes every interaction with her most definitely worth-while. I have loved her genuineness and transparency, which is so refreshing, and her eagerness to hear others’ stories. What a blessing this woman has been and will continue to be to this community.
Yet another encouragement that God provided this week was getting to skype with a dear dear friend who lives in New York City. It was so crazy hearing about the chaos and havoc that has been so present in the city since Hurricane Sandy and all the damage that was caused. Yet, even though she has been immersed in parts of the city that have been completely devastated, helping clean out houses that are no more, she told me of the immense trust that she has in her Father. She explained that she has been experiencing such peace in him and is so rooted in the fact that he is in control. How intriguing and peace-giving it was for me to hear her heart and her deep trust in what God was doing in response to what was going on around her.
This all brings to mind a quote by C.S. Lewis that I’ll close out with.
“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
Homecoming week is one of those weeks that is filled to the brim with all kinds of events. Two of my wonderful roomies are on ASG this year and worked their buns off trying to make homecoming week enjoyable for everyone. Every day was themed something different, including blast from the past day, reppin’ yo team day, and country swag day which lead up to our annual carbash and hoedown. Land gym soon became a sweat fest mixed with hay, cowboy boots, donuts, and cider. Everyone line danced until we were all completely drenched. The following evening was the homecoming banquet which was located downtown at the Uptown Theatre. Us ladies got all dolled up and primped ourselves until we could primp no more and met up with our men to take off. The venue was so fun and my dearest Lauren did such an amazing job getting all the details together so that we could enjoy the beautiful night. There was dancing this time around (pretty bawler for a Nazarene school) and we had a great time making fools of ourselves and looking absolutely ridiculous. The following night, after our pioneers crushed the yellow jackets (woot woot!), everyone went to Emerald City Gym which is basically a huge play place for the big kids. This place is filled with trampolines, rock-climbing walls, gymnastic equipment, ropes, and has a huge foam pit. It was basically a night where we revisited the good ol’ childhood days, which was just perfect. All in all, this past weekend was a riot. Thanks to all who made it possible!
I am convinced that the kind of people you surround yourself with shape who you become more than anything else in life. In coming to college, I knew that I needed to find a community of people who could not only support and encourage me, but also challenge me through speaking truth into my life. It is beautiful looking back on the past few years and seeing how the Father has taken me on this journey of provision in allowing me to share life with such good, good people.
I currently reside in Draper 2 on campus, otherwise known as the Honeybee Hive. I live with 5 beautiful ladies who have been super great to share an apartment with. I contemplated giving you all a sneak peek into our home, but after surveying the premises I thought it best to wait until it actually looked half decent. There have been so many good memories within these walls already, and I’m so thankful for each of us making each other a priority amongst the chaos. Just the other night my suitemates and I met up with a group of gals downtown at this adorable little restaurant called Chez Elle to celebrate my suitemate Lauren’s birthday. They specialize in making the most delicious crepes you can imagine and was a perfect spot for the occasion. We did what girls do best—we got all dolled up, took tons of pictures, and came back for a late night of slap-happiness.
Draper is great, not just because of the home-like feel and the amazing roommates, but because we have the dearest Patti as our RE. The other night she got out the fire pit and some hot cocoa, and invited whoever was around to join her and her wonderful hubby for a night of s’mores and sitting around the fire. She loves being involved in our lives and is always up for time spent together. It feels so good living on a campus where you are able to be in relationship with your residential staff and actually get to share life with them.
However, above all, the person who has really shaped this last semester for me has been my wonderful roommate, Miss Kailene Cloud. This gal is a gem, always thinking of others before herself regardless of circumstances. She has been such a rock for me and what a good, good journey it’s been getting to know her heart more and more over the past year and a half. She has such a refreshing spirit and has challenged me in countless ways through watching her work through life and follow the Spirit. In times of doubt and confusion her life has been a testimony to me that God is truly at work and actively involved in our lives. I thank the Lord everyday for providing her in my life.
There’s something about moving away from home that makes you appreciate it all the more. It suddenly becomes a place that you begin to long for. I am so thankful to have had fall break this past weekend in which I was able to go home and simply be with my family. If you ever get the chance, be sure to make a little road trip out to the good ol’ town of Manhattan, KS, because visiting the little apple is quite the treat.
Being a college town, Manhattan is just a tad livelier than your average town of 53,000. My all time favorite place to spend time (other than my home of course) is the greatest coffee shop, Bluestem, which is located in the heart of Aggieville near K-State campus. Its orange-tiled floors, funky art, and, of course, amazing coffee is where so many good, intentional conversations have taken place throughout my high school and college years. Whenever I’m reconnecting with friends when I’m in town, it never fails to be the go-to spot. If I’m ever in need of a funky gift and/or the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen, Acme Gift is the solution. Just a few doors down, this place does not disappoint. Just this last weekend my family and I were celebrating my younger sister’s last home volleyball game and got her some gorgeous flowers there—a tad expensive, but definitely worth it. As you can tell by the unicorn picture above, Acme has the most unique and random gifts all packed into one little shop. I also love getting to be around K-State and seeing what life is like for students there. This last weekend I was able to check out one of my good friends’ ceramics studio and help her sell pottery at the student union, which was a blast because I was able to have yet another peek into the campus life of a state university. (I love people watching).
In regards to my home, I love that I have had the experience of growing up just a little ways into the country. I’ve always been one to love to go on walks, runs, and bike rides through the countryside. Especially with this fall season, it was just beautiful walking around and exploring. The leaves were a multitude of colors ranging from bright green to deep red and the weather was perfect. Our neighbors have always raised horses and it was so refreshing to visit them again and just soak up the beauty around me. Spending time with my family was so extremely refreshing as well and it felt so good to be in their presence and spend some good time with them. My parents are the best, always welcoming me with open arms but always purposeful in giving me any freedom and space I may need. I could go on and on about how well they love me, for they are some of the most selfless people I know. All in all, Manhattan brings such sweet, sweet memories to mind. So thankful I had the opportunity to revisit this hometown glory.
This last weekend my paradigm was shifted from cool, fall weather consisting of scarves, boots, and pumpkins to a distant land far, far away filled with sunshine, shades, and desert. I was ready for a mental break, for a shift of gears. I was ready to set aside the college chaos for a weekend and allow my mind to take in something fresh and new.
Arizona is quite different from the epic state of Kansas. It contains a beauty that is quite unique, consisting of cacti, palm trees, red rock, and mountains. My man and I took off for this spectacular place for his daddio’s wedding. We were stoked, not only just to hang out with the Anderson clan, but also to show our support and excitement of a union between a wonderful man and a wonderful woman, both whom honor and love the Lord. The entire weekend was a laugh fest as people simply enjoyed each other’s company, and I was welcomed with open arms to be a part of this family and their celebration as if I had always been. Let’s just say, it was most definitely worth the trip. #realtalk
If we look hard enough, there are examples of redemption all over the place. As fall begins, I am reminded that the leaves will begin to turn and fall, plants will begin to wither and fade, and the cold will soon begin. Snow and the long winter will eventually set in and before we know it all green will cease. Yet, spring will surely come as it has always come, and the new will spring up and flourish. This weekend, as well as this season, is yet another reminder to me of how beautiful it is that God allows us to shed off the old and take on the new. Time and time again the opportunity is provided to become something new, something fresh—a redeemed being. We are never to a point where this opportunity is taken away because it is something not based upon our performance or character, but is something based completely on the character of our Lord—SOLID. We are not bound by our former selves unless we so choose to be bound. This freedom we crave is ours so long as we simply accept it. How beautiful it was to witness a picture of this as I saw a man so filled with love and joy as he awaited his beautiful bride, and as I saw a couple stand before us and commit their lives to each other before the Lord.