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. 

sunday times, vol. 2

I was focusing the lens on my camera on 14th Street and 6th Avenue when I accidentally took this picture. When I saw it pop up on the viewfinder, I decided it was the most beautiful accident I'd ever seen.

summer gardens

What's better than growing tomatoes in a summer garden? Not much in my opinion. (Unless you count actually eating them.)

I don't have much of a green thumb. I've never tried gardening but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be my cup of tea. (I don't like getting my hands dirty which I think is a key element.) However, a few weeks ago when my brother and niece were visiting New Jersey, we walked over to my sister-in-law's rented garden plot and watered her veggies on a beautiful summer evening. It was pretty great, and made me want a garden all for my own. Too bad I don't even have space for an outdoor seat. Maybe one day. For now, I'll add it to the bucket list.

Or, jaunt to New Jersey to water my family's garden again.

sunday times, vol. 1

When I was in Europe, I spent the majority of my time being as inconspicuous and sneaky as possible while taking photos of everyone & everything interesting that I laid eyes on. (I found that people—outside of the US—are much more skeptical to having their picture taken.)

During an afternoon meeting in a coffee shop in Berlin, I captured the scene of this German gentleman reading his newspaper while having an afternoon latte.

It's one of my favorites from the whole trip.

a throwback

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But, not a throwback because it's Thursday. (It's thanks to my Timehop app.)

My nephew Tate is almost 7 now. This picture was taken 4 years ago when I was home for the 4th of July, and it seems that even back then he held the same sentiment for my picture-taking craze: annoyance!

The first thing he says to me these days when he see me is, "Aunt Perryn, are you going to take another picture of me?!" I guess I've made my mark.

For better or worse.

a story from Brussels

If I were fluent in French, I'd pack my bags and be on the next plane out to Brussels. I loved my time there—the food, the delicacies, and, most of all, the people at this church. They hosted us with warm generosity and kindness and were incredibly fun to spend a few days with. 

Now, we're so happy to tell the story of their church plant, Église Protestante de la Cambre. I bet after watching this, you wouldn't mind moving there either.

(ps, hear the jazz piano at the beginning? That's Matthieu, the church planter, at a casual dinner party they had while we were visiting. Impressive, huh!)

what to wear on the 4th

If you're anything like me, you've been asking yourself this question for a while: "What should I wear this year on the 4th of July?"

i get excited about any holiday, but especially those with a well-known color theme involved. I'm always thinking about how I can color coordinate myself with the upcoming festivity without feeling overly cheesy. Although sometimes—most times?—there's definitely a lot of overlap, it's fun to be a little predictable and cheesy sometimes, amiright?

Here's what I picked out for the 4th of July this year—on my imaginary wish list:

white ruffle tee / blue & white striped shorts / essie clambake / essie marshmallow / essie butler please / red sunnies / red & white scarf / blue tie dye dress / red saltwater sandals / america the beautiful tee / denim shorts / red & blue kate spade keds

brooklyn, brooklyn take me in

Many moons ago I met a girl during the meet-and-greet time at church and actually became friends with her. I know, it's unheard of. And it's something that had never happened to me before—or since, for that matter. But the one time it happened, I met a rare jewel of a friend.

It was the summer of 2007 and I was an intern, trying to find my way in a big city where I knew no one. Suddenly, within a period of two weeks, there were 5 of us interns attached at the hip for 12 weeks. All of us ended up back in New York, except one.

Thankfully Amy makes it to visit as often as she can. And she keeps us entertained through stories and photos of her grand life in North Carolina. It just so happens (lucky for us) that she made a pit-stop in Brooklyn on Sunday night on her way to Berlin. So we gathered at LeeAnne's house and enjoyed our beloved and way-too-far-away AmyJ with the best memories and stories a group of girls could possibly ask for. Until next time...

like (free) polaroid prints?

If the answer is yes, I have just the thing for you. It's called Printic.

Printic is an app that lets you print instagram pictures (or any picture from your camera roll or Facebook) in the form of an adorable polaroid-esque type photo. They're cute, small, and very affordable—especially right now. They're having a special sale, if you use this referral code: 754EDB, you can get $7 worth of prints for free! (You put the referral code in on the checkout screen.)

Let me know what you think. I think you'll be glad you tried it.

summer colors

Summer is nothing if it's not all about the brightest and cheeriest nail polishes. That's what I say anyway, which is just one reason that I change mine up almost weekly (if not, er, daily). Through extensive trial and error research—and some collaboration with friends—I've found the perfect way to give myself an at-home manicure and pedicure with the fastest drying top coat you'll ever find. I did all the grunt work on this, just take my word for it.

So what's the color du jour? Be my guest.

nails: Essie Bikini So Teeny
toes: Essie Come Here (on sale for $0.13 right now!?)

The best top coat known to man? Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat

Enjoy your new beautiful, cheery nails!

it's that time.

It's that time of year again.  Big Apple BBQ Festival. It was one of the first summer events I went to in June of 2007 during my internship summer. And one of the first events I truly thought, "Ok, I think I could get used to living here."

And then there was the summer of 2008 when I happened to wear my Big Bob Gibson's t-shirt to the Big Bob Gibson's BBQ tent. And I was the lucky guest who got to have my picture made with Mr. Big Bob's successor. I'm still waiting for them to hang it in their Decatur restaurant, but so far, no such luck.

But as you can tell, this BBQ festival holds a special place in my heart & for obvious reasons. I'm even more excited to enjoy it again this weekend.