Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Deserve

So Zach hasn't released any new music of his own since November, but he did co-write a song on After Edmund's new album Art & Commerce with lead singer Mitch Parks.
This song was birthed in February of 2012 from Mitch's home studio and I actually posted photos from the writing session in this blog entry last year. To our delight, AE selected it for their album and with the help of producer Scotty Wilbanks, it turned out great! You can check it out (and the full album) on itunes and let us know what you think. :)

Download Deserve today!

And stay tuned for more music coming from our talented friends!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Overgrown

Last week when Zach and I were in Charleston we stumbled across the most lovely cemetery I've ever seen. I don't really... like cemeteries. They've always seemed creepy, but this one was different. A lush alleyway from King street lured us away from the high-end shops and galleries only to reveal this hidden garden beyond the storefronts.



Outside the Unitarian Church in downtown Charleston, this overgrown churchyard is over 200 years old. Many of the headstones are so old the engravings have practically washed away over time. The tranquil beauty of this place was rather breath-taking and the contrast between this place and every other cemetery I've ever seen overwhelmed me. Most cemeteries feel like...well... death. There's acres of 1/2" scorched grass topped with rows of headstones and fake flowers. It's so depressing. But this churchyard was so... alive and the juxtaposition between the graves and sprawling plant-life was so severe. And I loved it. I loved how this place of rest for the dead was vibrant with new life through nature. It almost felt wild! To me, this landscape spoke of hope, it spoke of Jesus. And it encourages me to believe that real life, true life, is after the one we are in now.

The symbolism of this cemetery has been engrained on my mind ever since we walked it's narrow paths last week. Not only has it been a symbol of hope for me, but also a symbol of purpose. At the end of my life, I want the seeds I've sown in the lives of others to keep on living, keep on thriving- be overgrown even so that the love of Christ God has revealed through my life can sprawl outwards for His glory long after I'm gone.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ups and Downs

Our life has been a whirlwind lately and I am trying to catch my breath. In April, Zach flew to Alabama to be Allie's escort at an Acteens Coronation ceremony. I am so thankful he got the opportunity to do this and be by Allie's side for such a special event. Sadly, I was not there to take a gazillion photos, but here's one I squeezed out of the traveling Superdad -
In a little over 24 hours, Zach was back in Charlotte and packing up to drive to Florida to lead worship for a 3-day student weekend at my home church in DeLand. Mega weird to see my husband standing on the same stage I stood on for youth choir. Ha! But it was a great weekend nonetheless and I am so honored we could be a part of it.
On Sunday, Zach and I made a last minute trip to Jacksonville to stay with my sister for 3 days. My BIL was traveling for work and so my sis needed some companions. As many of you know, Lindsay has been battling brain cancer for over a year. It's still so surreal that she has this disease and that it is so... ugly. I've written about Lindsay before and currently she is facing a new obstacle, a new tumor growing in a new part of her brain. I'm not gonna lie... watching the impact this disease (and the treatment of the disease) has had on her is hard. It's stealing her personality, her independence, her mobility, and has already put a gap between her and many things she loves and loves to do. It's hard to see her suffer, to see her captive to such a vicious thief. And even though I know her soul is free because of Christ Jesus, her body is still at war and it shows. A lot.

As I've helped her do things and watched her be diligently cared for by my mom and BIL, it's made me explore more closely what God says about suffering. He never says we will be free of it, in fact he says to expect it. Our world is broken and even though we often turn a blind eye to the severity of it, there is no escaping it. Death is eminent for us all, no matter what our current age or health status. The children's ministry I work for is currently doing a 7 week series on Paul and honestly, it couldn't be more timely. When I think about what God says about suffering, the first person who comes to mind is Paul. He went through so much, yet he almost doesn't seem to notice. He is so fixated on reaching the lost with the message of Jesus that everything else seems unimportant. Wow. So often I find myself in self-preservation mode, wanting to protect myself for pain or injury of anything kind, but really that's just a distraction from my greater purpose. Paul challenges me to focus on Jesus and the freedom that comes from knowing him and forget the rest - all of it! No matter what you have to go through, Jesus is there to help you overcome it all. He wants our eyes to be so focused on him that we can view our trials as blessings because they make us more dependent on him and give us more opportunity to show others how he has transformed our heart into something beautiful and different.

My sister's journey has really challenged me on how I handle difficulties. I know I won't be free of ups and downs, but I hope that in the end, I can really learn to embrace this truth and let the life-changing gospel of Jesus shine through all areas of my life.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Zero George

Zach and I recently had the pleasure of stumbling across a delightful new hotel in Charleston called the Zero George Street. I am hesitant to blog about it because:

• it is new and a little unknown
• it only has 16 rooms (2 are suites)
• it is awesome
• and we don't want it unaccessible to us because it's constantly booked by other people! Ha!

However, it's just too good to keep a secret. And it's no secret that we are boutique hotel snobs so our impromptu trip to Charleston put me at a disadvantage. Most of the places I knew of that were "worth the trip" were already fully booked. Lucky for us I randomly came across this new 16-room little gem and it is now our home away from home when we are in Charleston.
The hotel is an incredible blend of traditional, historic architecture and modern luxury. Set in a private courtyard, the hotel is actually a collection of 5 restored historic residences still boasting their weathered facades, old wood floors, and airy piazzas. 

That, paired with new innovative bathrooms and fine furniture and finishes make this place feel like a high end vacation rental with hotel service. Even though it is along the northern fringe of the downtown attractions, it is easily within walking distance of almost everything you'd want to visit on a trip to Charleston. 

The Zero George has a lot of extra little details we really appreciated. Things like:

• complimentary breakfast, evening wine & cheese, and drinks (in the guest room refrigerators)

• lovely outdoor living space 

• a quaint indoor cafe and seating area upstairs 



• and a Miele coffee system in the cafe so Zach could make cappuccinos and lattes at his convenience 

In the guest rooms:
• dimmers on all the lighting
• outlets everywhere 
• thoughtful built-in storage (with mini frig)
• decorative fireplaces
• original (ish) door hardware and old key (instead of a card reader)
• a lovely array of fabrics, furniture, and finishes


• and lets not forget those open-air piazzas :)

I would love for Zach and I to be able to return for our anniversary next year. If we do, I look forward to taking one of their gourmet cooking classes (held on the grounds in their state-of-the-art kitchen) and also taking a ride around town in a London cab! The perfect, celebratory getaway if I do say so myself!