Happy 4th of July!

In honor of our wonderful country's birth and (two of) my adorable nieces 6 years ago (!), please enjoy the best rendition of You're A Grand Old Flag I've personally ever seen. Happy birthday, America!

On This Election Day

Something to Ponder...

Dear Wormwood, 

Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration, and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure the patient continues to believe that the problem is "out there" in the "broken system" rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself. Keep up the good work.

Uncle Screwtape

-C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

**BTW, I've read in online forums that this isn't an actual excerpt from Screwtape Letters, and, frankly, it's been so long since I've read Screwtape Letters that I can't remember either. Nevertheless, it certainly captures the spirit of what C.S. Lewis was trying to portray. In my humble opinion.**

History's Biggest Scam

"If you received an official letter in the mail on company letterhead saying that a relative you never knew about had died and left you several million dollars inheritance, you would be skeptical. You would probably think it was a scam. Especially if you're a New Yorker, there are more scams in New York than anywhere else. But, at the end of the day, I bet you'd probably still call the number on the letter... just to be sure.

The Resurrection sounds a lot like a scam. In fact most New Yorkers believe it is a scam. But the offer is simply too great not to at least look into it... just to be sure."

-Tim Keller, today's Easter sermon

minimalism (or not)

Maybe one day I will let my husband help me decorate our apartment. But today is not that day.

He's a minimalist. And I'm... well, I'm not a minimalist. So things like gallery walls and collections of memories aren't his thing.... but they are SOO my thing. 

Enter: gallery wall. And the oohs and the ahhs. (Believe me, Brendan, you'll learn to love it!) I'm sure of it.

*heart eyes*

I've been moving. A LOT. And honestly, the only redeeming factor involved in a move is the after-move decorating. So I've been in perpetual search for the perfect gallery wall items for quite some time now. 

Knowing me, are you the least bit surprised that this one caught my eye when I was in West Elm over the holidays? (I'm not.)

The best thing is, it looks even brighter and rainbow-ier in person. And because of it, Hartland Brooklyn has become one of my favorite paper goods retailers. They're so simple and elegant with the most beautiful, vibrant colors.

Yeah, so, this one... is a must for the gallery wall since it instantly makes me go all googly-eyed. Don't you think?

(Mic tap)

(Tap. Tap.)

Testing 1, 2. Hello? Is this thing on?

Well, well, well...look who decided to show up again.


I've sprung a wild hair, and decided I might give this blogging thing a go again. Might is the operative word, but still, it's an effort. A lot has changed since I last saw you folks—most notably, I got a new last name! A lot more has changed, too, but I can't possibly share all the good news at once, can I?

I'll see where this wild hair leads me, and you're welcomed to do the same. (That is, if you care to do so.) But, hey, I say why not. Let's see what happens...we might both be surprised!

hello, darby smart

Remember that time you thought it would be super fun and easy to take on an Anthro hack with a simple DIY project? But instead it turned out to be twice as expensive, took up your entire weekend, your fingers ended up glued together, and it looked like a cheap, homespun version of the real thing.

Yea, me too.

In addition, I must confess, I'm also a little lazy when it comes to DIY and crafts. I love a good crafting party as much as the next girl, but when it comes to gathering all the supplies, tools, and materials, it can so quickly become a drag.


Luckily, I recently came across this brilliant website: Darby Smart. I love it because everything is curated by DIY-ers, for DIY-ers. So it's a few simple steps and a few simple supplies, and, voila, there you have it! 

I didn't need much convincing. Now, a vintage button necklace? Yes, please. 

                                                                                  [photo from Darby Smart]

                                                                                  [photo from Darby Smart]

Shake It Off

You know what they say. Once a teenie bopper, always a teenie bopper.

Which is why I pretty much flipped out yesterday over this video by Taylor Swift, after she announced her new album release, 1989

It's been a long time coming, but I guess she has finally made the jump from country to pop. I like Taylor for various reasons, and her genre of choice is the least of those. To be such a young star in the spotlight—going on 10 years now, calculating that the start of her fame came around the age of 15 or 16—she seems incredibly grounded and (er, dare I say?) normal.

This new song "Shake It Off" isn't just catchy and fun—although it definitely is both of those things, too. It's a message to girls that life isn't easy, growing up with the naysayers and heartbreakers is a reality. There will always be those around you that try to bring you down. But what is she suggesting in return? Shake it off. And I like that message, especially from a millennial.

She got my $12.99 for pre-order of this album. And I'm not ashamed to say it.

a story from Paris

What's so great about Paris? Ah, I think the better question is, what's not so great about Paris? And the answer is probably nothing. Paris is beautiful and charming and has a quaint vibe despite being a huge city. It's also richly historical with a lot of deeply rooted French living there. 

But my favorite things happening in Paris are the things this little church plant is doing to make a big difference in their neighborhood. As Samy said, If you can reach the deeply rooted French population in Paris, you can reach anyone. But if you reach only the others, you'll never reach the French.

city lights

Have you heard about Print All Over Me? I just discovered it last week, and I have to say, it's one of the most amazing business ideas I've ever seen.

You upload your very own photographs to serve as the print on the blank clothing items & accessories they have available. I uploaded this photo I took in Berlin onto a simple sundress, and I have to say, I'm kind of in love with it. This isn't a cheap investment, but just another expression of that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Or a thousand dresses. Or tank tops. Or shorts.

The best part? Anyone can buy and wear your design! A fast track to fashion designer fame.

the past ten years

Ten years ago I had just graduated high school and was packing my bags for the loveliest village on the plains. I had no idea what the next year would hold, much less the next ten.

I imagine if you had asked me ten years ago what I would be doing today, I probably would have said anything (and everything) besides what I'm actually doing. It's funny how that happens so often. It seems that while so much can change in a time period—at the same time—so very little actually changes

Earlier this month I went home for my ten year high school reunion. It was great to pick up with old friends right where we left off ten years ago. Of course, a lot of things have, in fact, changed. But my friends are still the same wonderful people with the same qualities that brought us together as friends in high school. It was so nice to catch up in a different stage of life and enjoy each other's stories from the past decade. Cheers to the class of 2004!

Community for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This post was originally posted on Redeemer City to City's blog.

Good community is hard to find. And, it's even harder in a large international city like Brussels where the Christian population is so small.

Despite this reality, I found my time in Brussels to be quite the opposite. The community that Matthieu and Olivier are cultivating through their new church plant is rich and deep. It's full of diversity, open hearts, and friendship.

Laura and I were guests in Matthieu's home during our short stay in Brussels and this is where I experienced community the most; he and his lovely wife, Christella, were such gracious hosts. They fed us delicious food, told us wonderful stories, and shared their lives with us. But what made the stay even more grand was the constant influx of community and friends.

We would wake up each morning and hear beautiful hymns being sung by Matt, Christella, and ... three or four other core group members. Each morning. Before work! (Did I mention Laura and I weren't even out of bed yet?) It was a sight to behold. We would all sit down at the table together for breakfast. We would pray, we would chat, and we would enjoy life together. The bonds were so strong that I felt a part of it after having been there only one day.

This breakfast experience only scratched the surface of the community there. Members from the core group met us for lunch. They hosted us at their office cafeteria. They toured us around the city in the evening and gave us a crash course in Brussels history.

So, why does any of this matter? I'm glad you asked. Since there hasn't been an evangelical church planted by Brusselites, for Brusselites in this neighborhood in the last 13 years, having an approachable, friendly, deep community is quite important. Église Protestante de la Cambre is blessing their neighborhood already. They're displaying the love of Christ to those around them in the way they love each other so well.

You can partner with Matthieu and Église Protestante de la Cambre and help them reach their goal of $5,000. 100% of your gift goes to this project.