Tag Archives: charlotte

5 Things I Learned in June

1. Just listening to this girl share stories from her recent experience on the World Race was life changing. And when she challenged us by asking the question, “What if we would just be the Church?” Um, yes and amen! You can’t NOT see Jesus all over that!

2. Apparently, drivers in Charlotte are unaware that when traffic lights are out due to a power outage, it is proper to treat the intersection as a four way stop. Or at least approach with caution – it is just plain not wise to barrel through said intersection at 60mph. For the record, the lights went out twice in one week this month.

3. Packing to move is hard work. And overwhelming. And takes up mental space and energy. No lie. But my mama can pack more in two hours than I can wrap my brain around packing in two weeks. Thanks, Mom!

4. Two introverts who have only ever spent a handful of days together can get together for frozen yogurt on a Saturday afternoon and have it turn into a ridiculously wonderful four hours together of pretty much non-stop conversation bouncing from one topic to the next and back again.

5 things i learned in june

5. Wendy’s Frosty in a waffle cone. Y’all. Pure genius. So good!

What have you learned this month?

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*linking up today with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky as we all share different things we learned in June*

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Graffiti Summer: Introduction

**note: for the next six weeks, my Tuesday posts will be dedicated to the Graffiti Summer Study and Do challenge (see my intro post here or go check out Alene’s blog for more info). Fridays will still be a little bit of everything.**

DO Assignment: Drive to “the other side” of town with eyes and heart intentionally open to your surroundings and open to what God reveals.

Graffiti Summer Introduction

I so badly wanted this to be a neat and tidy post.

If I’m being really honest, while I most certainly spent time praying with all sincerity that the Lord would open my eyes and my mind and my heart to whatever He wanted to reveal, I think I had several preconceived ideas of how that might look.

I didn’t want to go into this assignment with certain expectations, but I did find myself hoping that this would be a holy and beautiful experience that left me broken for people and filled with God’s love for them.

And although technically I drive through what could be considered “the other side” of town whenever I go the non-interstate way home from church (it’s where I rejected Jesus on that street corner. not my proudest moment.), for this assignment, I knew I needed to see something different. Something a little less familiar.

Charlotte is big. There are several “sides” to choose from. And I don’t have to go very far from home to get to them. So less than 25 minutes from my own neighborhood, I began my 25-ish mile circles through some rough and impoverished areas of town.

As I started out on my semi-planned route (I did have a couple of specific spots I knew I wanted to see, but other than that, I pretty much just drove), I found myself unexpectedly filled with the following:

1. Hesitation – It was nearing dusk and quite frankly, these were parts of town I’d just rather not be after dark. It didn’t feel so much like actual fear (though maybe it was headed that direction), just hesitation. And bonus, my gas tank was sitting a little too close to empty for comfort.

2. Juxtaposition – On the one hand, everywhere I looked there were people and homes and lifestyles that didn’t really look all  that different from mine. But on the other hand, everything was different, and the differences threatened to be insurmountable.

But then it struck me. I went to high school (for one year) on the West side of town and this first area wasn’t so unfamiliar after all. This was my old bus route. These were my old classmates. These were my one-time friends. These were their stomping grounds.

And I couldn’t help but think … did I miss an opportunity to love them then? And am I now sitting in judgment of them? What changed? What hasn’t?

I was uncomfortable there. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t belong. I felt on display with every passing glance and stare. I wanted my windows rolled up and my doors locked. I didn’t want to linger in these areas because that just didn’t seem wise. But they live there. This is home.

From there, I headed in the direction of the one of the local men’s shelters on the outskirts of uptown. Although again a more-or-less familiar area, it’s not one I ever pay much attention to as I drive through it to wherever my destination happens to be for an evening out with friends.

It was around this time that my thoughts became far less organized (not that they started out in great shape…). I was simply lost in the act of driving and watching and observing:

The apartments known for their multiple drug busts.

The motels known for prostitution.

The other motels known for murders and violence.

The street name shared with a high profile gang.

The pimped out cars that made me wonder how and where the expensive parts were acquired. Or what month they went without electricity to afford the stereo system.

The two old men engaged in friendly conversation sitting at the bus stop.

The gas stations where, although my gas gauge was inching closer to “E”, I would never dream of stopping for gas because it just wasn’t that safe.

The mom walking down the busy street with her two children … one who looked about 7, the other who was probably around 2 (the same age as the preschoolers I work with at church on Sunday mornings).

The homeless man dressed in clothes that seemed far too heavy for such a warm evening with the beard that should have been white if only the red dirt and ruddiness were washed away.

The strip shopping malls with very few store fronts that were in my language.

The countless places to buy lottery tickets.

The heightened police presence.

The high school that required increased security to keep students safe … from the outside and from each other.

The greasy fried chicken joints seemingly on every corner.

And the longer I drove and observed, the more I just couldn’t seem to get over myself.

In general, none of the areas that I drove around were completely unfamiliar. I may not spend a lot of time there, and I certainly went down some roads and through some neighborhoods that were brand new to me, but I’ve lived in Charlotte a long time. At some point or another, I’ve driven through most of these areas. Sometimes with a certain degree of frequency.

But that’s just it. I’m typically just driving through to get somewhere else. These areas are very rarely my destination. For many reasons.

So as I was driving around to be in these areas intentionally, I found myself becoming so judgmental, so guarded, so uncertain at every turn.

It felt ugly and piercing and convicting and not at all what I expected.

So yes, I wanted neat and tidy. And instead, I got raw and real.

But maybe this is better. Maybe this is right where God wants me. Maybe He’s got something in store for me – to show me, to grow me, to use me – that I can’t begin to predict or imagine. Maybe He needs to break me and strip me of this part of myself, so that He can reveal just where and how He’s moving and just where and how I can join Him.

I don’t know exactly. And honestly, I don’t want to try to make too much sense of it just yet.

But I’m still committed to stick with it and find out.

How about you?

5 Things

5things

1. I may have more stories of Holy Spirit moments from Guatemala to share at some point (because trust me, it was such a Holy Spirit led and filled trip that there are still many of them!), but my heart needed a break from sharing in this space. So because it’s Friday, a catch-all 5 things post seemed in order.

2. But speaking of Guatemala, have you read this post yet? You should. Seriously. The message is so far beyond me and the story is so worth hearing.

3. Have you noticed there’s a new schedule around here? The goal is new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays with the occasional third post thrown in if necessary. It’s a recent shift, but I like the rhythm of it so far. Tuesdays will be for devo thoughts and Fridays will be for anything goes.

4. It snowed last weekend, y’all! In typical Charlotte style, it snowed on Saturday afternoon and was pretty much completely melted by Sunday afternoon, but it was beautiful while it lasted. The photo is the view out my kitchen window.

5. This verse has been extremely close to my heart all week…

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Photo of the Week: Forty Eight & Forty Nine

photo of the week 48 & 49

It may not be the greatest photo, but it was such a fun night seeing “The Nutcracker” with my roommate and one of her brothers last week and uptown Charlotte was so festive that it’s joining the ranks of photo of the week anyway.

Merry Christmas!

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“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

Photo of the Week: Twenty Six

I went out to dinner with friends last night and took this photo while we were stopped at a red light in uptown Charlotte on the way to try out a new dessert spot (Amelie’s French Bakery in NoDa … why have I never been there before?). I don’t do many conversions to black & white, but I liked the feel of this one.

And it totally makes me want to take more city shots and experiment with street photography!

Photo of the Week: Nineteen

{click photo to enlarge}

I went on a crazy fun photo adventure in uptown Charlotte, NC late Sunday afternoon with an awesome friend. We drove around in search of a good location for skyline photos, and I think we found a pretty decent one. My city shots could use some technical improvement, but I love the Charlotte skyline and had a blast!