At the end of each month, my good friend and favorite author Emily P. Freeman gives her reader friends a chance to write about all the things they learned that month. I figured this was a great month for me to play along because I’ve been so MIA in August, just holed up writing a book, and meanwhile there are some things I learned. (Also. Read to the end to see when I’m coming back to the internet and why. )
Here are five things I learned in August (and one announcement):
This is why I cannot live in New York. My budget won’t support it. I would spend money to see a Broadway show every day. Or see Matthew Morrison every day.
I spent a week in New York this month to work on the book I’m writing and I got to see Finding Neverland with my friend Jonathan.
Y’all. Matthew Morrison, formerly known as Mr. Schuester from Glee, is so good. The whole cast is, but he REALLY is. (I tried to find a video for you, but none that are posted really do justice to his vocal and acting skills.)
And if you’ve seen the Finding Neverland movie, then you know how it ends, so you can understand why Jonathan and I were just an absolute puddle of tears (like. seriously. REALLY CRYING.) for the last 30 minutes of the show.
You’re welcome. It works. I’ve had a few coke icees this summer and so I got to test the theory myself. Success.
You can start with the first one if you want to get an idea of what it’s all about, but #5 is my very favorite so far.
I just like to make sure you know these things.
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As you probably know from earlier this month, I haven’t been on social media much at all this month. There have been a few updates, but mostly I’ve stayed away. In fact, I haven’t had twitter, Facebook, or instagram on my phone for weeks now.
And I feel like a different person. No kidding.
I may know less about what is going on in my friends’ lives, but I’m reading more and praying more and sleeping more and definitely writing more. Meanwhile, I’m comparing myself to others less, I’m obsessively scrolling less, I’m wasting less time, and I’m just all around a better version of me.
Don’t worry. I’m not quitting the world of social media. Because I love the friendships I have thanks to the internet. And I will bring it back to my life, but not yet. At least, not fully. The book I am writing is due on October 1, so until it is finished, my phone will remain social media free and I will remain a bit quieter than what you’ve grown to know.
Starting tomorrow? I’m be back in action for the first week of September because….
WHAT. YES. SERIOUSLY. TOMORROW.
I’m getting to travel with The Israel Collective to see the Holy Land and hear from people involved in the peace making and I am about to jump out of my skin I am so excited.
If you want to keep up with the trip, make sure you are following me…
You can keep up with all the posts from the folks I’m traveling with by following the #israelcollective hashtag.
Tell me about it! Leave a comment below or leave a link to your blog post where you shared your list of things you learned!
The older I get, the more I realize I can’t often just categorize experiences as GOOD or BAD, painful or happy. It seems that events and moments tend to mix together like a casserole.
I had an experience like this recently, and wrote about it over at (in)courage.
It’s important to me to be honest with you about what this single life feels like- the parts that are a joy and the parts that are hard and the time when it is both.
And so that’s what I tried to do here. Hope you like it. <3
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Are you new around these parts? Well welcome!
Hi. I’m Annie.
I love my job and I think it’s awesome.
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I love connecting with new friends, so find me all over the internet:
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I think I had a really unique experience growing up. As in, some of the friends that I was in church choir with when we were four years old are still important people in my life, thirty years later. It’s just kind of the way of my hometown. It’s not that it’s super small, it’s just that you know almost everyone and everyone is connected. Marietta is big enough that everyone isn’t your friend, but small enough that everyone knows the gossip (can I get an amen, Marietta folks?).
As I grew up through my teen years, my church youth group friends were the dearest ones to me. And in the most interesting way, many of us ending up together in Athens as students at the University of Georgia. Isn’t that amazing? There are probably fifteen to twenty of us that traveled life together, walking side by side, for over a decade. Our friendships were real, we knew each other’s families well, we rode home together from school, we studied at Waffle House all night long, we worshipped alongside each other- as elementary kids, at youth group on Sunday nights, as college students at UGA’s Wesley Foundation.
(I’d like to thank my parents, all of our parents, for raising us like this. I didn’t know how valuable it was at the time. But I see it now.)
That crew included two dear friends who grew up down the street from me, Reid and Stacy, a brother and sister combo that were just one grade apart. They were constants in my life- whether we saw each other every day or once a week, they were always an extension of home. I have loved that family my whole life.
I remember when Reid brought Kyra around. I remember thinking how incredibly sweet she was, how genuine her smile, how much I hoped he would marry her. I thought, “this girl is so nice, she is NEVER going to like me, I am WAY too loud for her.” But she did, happily proving me wrong :), and we sat in Bible study together for a year or two. And though it has been a decade, I can quickly call to mind watching her face across the room when she talked about Jesus. It was a face of peace. I felt calmer when I was around her. She believed Him, I could tell. She believed what God said and she rested in that. I liked her a lot. (And Reid did marry her. Good call.)
While I’ve been in Nashville, they’ve been serving as missionaries to Italy with IMB.
Last week, Kyra was killed in the most unbelievable car accident. Reid and their daughters survived.
And her funeral is today.
(Update: Here is the link to Kyra’s funeral. It is such a beautiful service. Please use an hour of your day to watch it.)
And all I’ve been thinking for the last few days, since we learned of the tragedy, is how I wish we could all go back to college, for just a day or two. Our group expanded there, and we had a large community of friends that loved Jesus and loved each other and was pretty dang fun. I feel my soul longing for the simplicity of that life and for all of us to be together. I just keep wanting us to all be cheering at a football game or sitting at Wesley on a Wednesday night or hanging at the intramural fields, shooting the breeze. It was a time when it felt like our worries revolved around dinner plans and homework.
Those aren’t our biggest worries today. Those aren’t the worries of heartbroken people.
Maybe I don’t actually long for college, maybe I’m longing for heaven. Maybe what I want is what Kyra now has- peace, freedom, no more pain or worry or weeping that lasts all night. And Jesus in her sights. Maybe God is giving me a glimpse of what I’m longing for next. Maybe heaven is the simplicity of a worry-free college night in August. Maybe heaven is all my friends who have known me for years being in the same place again, and we don’t run out of time or things to talk about or chicken fingers from Guthrie’s on Baxter Avenue.
I don’t know what heaven is like, all I know is this isn’t heaven.
But I’ll tell you, we are not a people without hope. We have Jesus. We have each other. Distance isn’t a thing when lifelong friendship is. So while our tribe now spans across the globe, from Prague to Omaha and many spots in between, our hearts are together in one place- with Reid, for Reid, and our faith is in a God who promises that at the end of this story, there are no more tears.
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Dear friends, as you think of this family, of Reid and his girls, of Kyra’s parents and sisters, please pray. And if you feel led to donate towards their mission work and family, you can do so here.
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