Life Update / Living Good Stories

I try to only blog when I feel that I really have something worthwhile to say. Then I become hyper-critical and never want to post anything for fear that it might only be rambling. If anything gives me the motivation and courage to write it’s a Donald Miller book. (or blog entry) I just finished A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and it inspired me. Not just to write more freely and more often but to live more intentionally.

There will probably come a time later when I will post an excerpt or quote from him. I am still chewing on what I read. The tagline of the book is “how I learned to live a better story.” Beautiful. The name of my blog, Add to the Beauty, comes from a Sara Groves song that says, “Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are. And I want to add to the beauty. I want to tell a better story.”

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Right now I am sitting in my friends’ house in East Tennessee. Summer has come early and we have no AC. (along with a handful of other minuscule household crises… enough to make me feel like I am in a third world country again) Last night, as the three of us girls all sat on the floor, (of the bedroom that will soon hold my bed) melting from the heat of this oven-house, we found ourselves reflecting through giggles and welled-up tears on how fortunate we are for the opportunity to be living such a magnificent story.

I’ve never blogged in detail about the ministry in which I got involved during college but you can read about it in two specific past entries: Josh & Laura and my friend’s graduation speech. Those who are close to me know how drastically my life, or “story” if you will, has been forever altered by the relationships I have formed through my involvement with the mentoring/tutoring program, Backyard Ministry. Even while I was living in Panamá doing missions work, I longed to be back in this tiny little Southeast U.S. town with the kids, families and friends I loved.

* In short, about a year ago, my friends moved into the neighborhood where we had been investing a lot of time and prayer during our college years – mentoring kids, helping with homework, ESL classes, etc. Over the last three months I have spent a pretty good amount of time here as I worked doing freelance video editing. After confirming consistent work through the summer, I made the (semi-) permanent move back. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, my roommates and I will often just stop and smile and say things to each other like, “this is the best life,” or “there’s nothing better than this.” These acknowledgements usually come after moments like pulling into the driveway and being greeted at our car door by a group of children calling our names. Or receiving hugs and handmade cards on our birthdays. Or when we overhear a child refer to us as their “best friend” when talking to someone.

Despite some of the uncomfortable or inconvenient conditions in which we occasionally find ourselves living… we are living a better story than we could possibly imagine living anywhere else. I wouldn’t trade this for the best central air conditioning system or fully functioning bathtub drain in the world.

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