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Friday, December 7, 2012

Aaanndd break!

Hello, friends!

I'd really like to post wonderful pictures of my bachelorette weekend or the delicious chairs I purchased at an antique store or the wonderful needlepoint stockings I got in the mail today, but I'm out of picture space on Blogger. Dumb.

So instead, I'll just tell you about my life, in no particular order, a la coffee shop conversation:

1. I'm getting married in FOUR.TEEN.DAYS.! What?! Madness.

2. I have three exams to take next week and have done virtually no studying for them. #senioritis

3. My mom & I are meeting with our wedding planner and catering assistant today to go through all the final details of the wedding. *Commence freak out because I'm meeting with said individuals and don't know where in the world time has gone.*

4. Last night my father & practiced our daddy-daughter dance. It's going to be so awesome! In addition to practicing aforementioned dance, my dad also took it upon himself to teach me the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble. He and my mom have been taking dance lessons. I am kicking myself for not capturing this on video for all the interwebs to see.

5. I got in to grad school. Kindaaaa crazy. But exciting! And best of all I'll be starting next semester (pending this semester's grades - see #2 re: exam studying above - yikes).

6. I've decided what I'm getting Miles for Christmas, which, ya know, is kind of a big deal since we'll be on our honeymoon in Mexico during Christmas!! Eeeeekkkk so excited!

7. And to wrap it all up, I've decided to take a break from blogging until after all the exam/wedding planning/actual wedding/honeymoon craziness dies down.

Sooo next time you read something from me, it won't be Life with Liz anymore! It will be life as a Farthing :)

Merry Christmas / good luck with exams / Happy Festivus / Happy New Year!

Monday, December 3, 2012

In the mean time...

Hi, friends. While I'm writing pages upon pages of academic goodness and trying to edit bachelorette weekend pictures, you should listen to this spoken word from Matt Papa called "The Story of God." It goes from Genesis to Revelation and tells (surprise!) the story of God. It is SO wonderful and will make you worship. It's 10 minutes but its worth every second to listen to it. So take a study break or watch this during lunch, you won't be disappointed!

I'll soon give updates on life/my bachelorette weekend/tell you how I'm FREAKING OUT because I'm getting married in 18 days! Woohoooooo!!

P.S. Kate Middleton & Prince William are having a baby! It's going to be the most beautiful baby ever. Except for my future kids of course (only because they will have squishy, kissable, Miles cheeks).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Really Weird No-Face Groom

For years, I've had dreams of my wedding. While my dress or hairstyle may have been different in each one, one thing was the same in all of them: I would eagerly await the moment my groom would turn around at the end of the aisle, slowly approaching him step-by-step, and as soon as he turned around my dream would end. Oh, yeah, and he WOULDN'T HAVE A FACE. That's just disappointing on all sorts of levels. Every detail of the wedding was perfectly styled and vivid, except for the most important part: my groom's face.

While those dreams were perpetually annoying, I think it reveals a lot about how we as the Church think about our ultimate bridegroom, Jesus. I think we *usually* get the big picture of this gospel message, but we seem to neglect the sweetest, most intimate part. Allow me to explain...

When I imagine Jesus sacrificing himself for sin, absorbing God's wrath and defeating death, ultimately betrothing himself to the Church, I kind of image the bride (the Church) as a generic, no-faced silhouette. I don't imagine my face, my sin, my shame, and my condemnation marring the face of Jesus' bride. How unseemly and unattractive! No way would that be kosher!

Except for the fact that it is.

Jesus didn't arbitrarily die for a concept of sin, he died for every sin I've ever committed. And he didn't absorb simply some random amount of God's wrath, he absorbed every ounce of God's wrath that corresponded justly to the sins I have and will commit. Jesus was humiliated, mocked, and shamed on my behalf. Fully being human, Jesus knew what it was like to live in confining, imperfect skin, to be embarrassed, to physically know pain. Yet fully being God, he had the ability to change all those crappy things about human nature by reconciling me to my Father, affecting my life now and for all of eternity. He did all of this for me, to present me as a blameless, perfect, righteous bride who deserves to wear white because of HIS record, not mine.

Thinking of Jesus in these terms engenders love and thankfulness. But not some arbitrary love and vague thankfulness - the sacrifice was costly in order to redeem an unsightly, unworthy bride. A bride who despite her depravity, was known in the most intimate way imaginable and loved in the deepest way possible. And that bride is you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Better Grab a Kleenex

Here in Durham we've all been learning a lot about race lately. I'm pretty sure its a topic that I'll never master, but a topic I need to revisit often in order to see and repent of my own sin and run to Jesus.

John Piper wrote a book about race called Bloodlines. I've heard its amazing and its on my reading list, but I have yet to get to it. Here's a documentary/intro into the book that he wrote. This short (18 minutes) documentary shows Piper's own journey through racism, starting with his childhood in the segregated South and ending with the sweet, sweet decision to adopt an African-American daughter.

Race is an issue that we often overlook or don't recognize the full weight of. I know that's definitely true of my own life. May we recognize God as a creator of diversity and treat all peoples as image-bearers of our Father.

Friday, November 16, 2012

High Five for Friday: Is This Real Life?

This week has hosted some crazy/exciting/unbelievable/ridiculous things in my life. Here they are:

1. This. dress.
I can't believe this exists. Luckily I will not be taking bridal portraits in this masterpiece today. I'll be in my beautiful, fancy schmancy, vintage dress! I. can't. wait.

2. Cutest kid on the block.
Our neighbors come over to our house approximately 2.4 times a day. One of our favorite activities is coloring. This week C and I decided to color (here he's drawing me a monster picture to keep :)). I looked away for 5 seconds and then I see odd markings on Buddy, our dog. Normally this would be ordinary but these markings looked pretty dang intentional. When I asked C if he knew what happened to Buddy he just looked at me sheepishly with his big brown eyes. I couldn't handle it. I bust out laughing and couldn't even compose myself long enough to tell him he can't draw on Buddy. Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come for my parenting skills.

3. "Mrs."
 Somehow this seems like it should be Miles' mom's hanger, not mine. I can't believe I'll be a "Mrs." in THIRTY FIVE days! Whaaaatttt?!

4. Quite the catch.
My garter also arrived this week and it's so cute! With flowers and pearls and buttons, it's hard to go wrong. Whatever guy catches this bad boy better appreciate the pomegranate color and pearl accents :)

5. Chubby cheeks and a bowl cut.
Miles' mom sent my mom some pictures of Miles when he was little. I can't even handle it. Between the cheeks and bowl cut, I'm a goner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

High Five for Friday: Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I'm linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for this H54F post!

Somehow my weeks lately have been flying by. Maybe its the whole school/wedding/relationship trifecta going on in my life right now. Regardless, it's Friday and I'm high fivin':

1. Who loves orange soda?
There's the cutest restaurant/coffee shop/store near my house called Parker and Otis. If you're in the Durham area you need to go there a-sap. On my most recent trip there, I found out they have my favorite soda of all time: Stewart's orange 'n cream. It's basically a creamsicle in a bottle. So delish.

2. Mystery magazine.
Image found here.
Somehow this gem showed up at my house yesterday. I've seriously always wanted a magazine subscription. I mean, sure, I got Highlights circa 1997 so when I say "I've always wanted a magazine subscription" I mean a real magazine that doesn't have word searches and personality quizzes. Yay for recipes and decorating Martha style!

3. The Meaning of Marriage
I love this quote! Tim & Kathy Keller's book The Meaning of Marriage is SO wonderful. Do yourself a favor (whether you're single, dating, engaged, married) and read it!

4. Chuckie? Is that you?
My roommate, Kaylee, goes on these crazy decorating sprees and makes our house look so cute and homey. Her latest project was a chalkboard wall. The kids in our neighborhood were so so excited about getting to draw on a wall (and subsequently drew kinda creepy pictures).

5. A real date!

Miles entered the 21st century & got a smart phone! So exciting!

This Wednesday Miles took me on a real date! We went to see Argo - it was so good! I would recommend it barring you don't have a tendency towards heart attacks (and can bleep out some of the language). We grabbed dinner at Only Burger and then headed to TCBY for waffle cone Wednesday! I love love love going on dates that are planned out! Good job, babe :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How Welfare Came About

While everyone's recovering from electoral madness (be that excitement or disappointment), I thought I'd write on welfare. Obvi everyone's favorite topic!

This funny image is from this website.

Moving to Durham has been a reality check in how I relate to and think about welfare. Before moving here, I thought (or maybe more realistically I was told) that people who are on welfare just need to get off their lazy butts, get a job, provide for themselves and their family, and have some pride in themselves. While parts of that statement undoubtedly are true, I've come to realize that welfare isn't the only big bad wolf that's sucking our government and economy dry. On the other hand, I've also realized that there are well-bodied, able people who could work but choose not to because they're on welfare. Welfare as a system seems to help people, but ends up making them feel overbenefitted and incapable in the long-run.

When thinking about welfare, I've often talked about the need for the Church to help their impoverished brothers and sisters, not the government. It wasn't until I read When Helping Hurts: How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor... and yourself that I realized the Church's large role in the beginning of the welfare state. Allow me to explain...

Apparently there's this period of time called "The Great Reversal." It took place in the twentieth century. Prior to this time, "evangelical Christians played a large role in ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the poor" (When Helping Hurts, page 43). At the beginning of the twentieth century, a movement called the social gospel movement started cropping up. Basically evangelicals saw this movement as liberal and unbiblical, when, in reality, it was biblical as it sought to further God's Kingdom on earth*. Evangelicals started separating themselves from this movement, which "ended... in a large-scale retreat from the front lines of poverty alleviation" (page 44).

This Great Reversal happened during the early 1900s (1900-1930ish), which was BEFORE the rise of the welfare state in the 1960s. This retreat from poverty alleviation "was fundamentally due to shifts in theology and not-as many have asserted-to government programs that drove the church away from ministry to the poor" (page 44).

Interestingly, this same Great Reversal thinking is something I have to constantly battle against. Although I never knew why I equated Christian based social justice with political liberality and theological wavering, I did. And to some degree still do, despite knowing its not right (and honestly sinful).

May we, as the Church, long for God's Kingdom to be established on earth. May we lay aside politics and untrue theological doctrine and pursue people in the name of Jesus, not a politician. May we repent of sinful thinking that has been ill-justified for decades in order to bring His glory on earth.

*This being said, the social gospel movement didn't necessarily seek to share the gospel in word, but simply in deed (which obviously isn't okay). I'm not saying their theology was super solid and we should all go by it, but I am saying that this theological shift caused many Christians to retreat from poverty alleviation (rather than combating this movement in a positive way - without neglecting the poor).

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm Not Dead! (And 10 Things to Prove It.)

Oh, hello.

I don't know if you know me or not. I'm Liz. I used to blog around these here parts. But then I took a seriously long (and unintentional) break.

I was commuting to school, working, trying to stay involved in the community, plan a wedding, see my family, hang out with my fiance, and find time somewhere in there to spend with friends. Apparently life sometimes gets really really crazy. Who knew?

So what have I been up to? Here's what (in no particular order):

That's right. This lil guy is where Miles and I are going to live after December 21st! He's holding down the fort now with some of the guys on our team, but come December I'm kicking them out so I can make the place all Pinteresty and homey-like.

2. Sad pennies all across America...
Apparently iTunes cards no longer require a coin to scratch off the silver shield hiding the magical codes. Somehow peeling off a sticker is just not as satisfying as slowly etching away pesky flakes.

3. Babysitting (per yoush) ridiculously cute kiddos.
I love these girls so much. Every night I get to babysit them is a blessing. They're so sweet and fun!

4. Wedding stuff because ya know, I'm, like, getting married in FORTY-SIX DAYS!
I found my dream wedding shoes at DSW! After going multiple times to scout out their shoe selection in order to find wedding shoes, I finally stumbled upon some. Guess the third time's the charm.
My mom and I, with the help of my awesome Maid of Honor, decorated virtually all of the centerpieces for the reception, took pictures of them, labeled them, and put them in individual boxes. It was a mess to do and wasn't my fave thing ever, but I'm SO excited for our centerpieces. It's probably one of the most anticipated facets of the wedding. (And if you're at the reception, you better look at all of 'em, dang it.)
I've been able to get lots of detaily things taken care of too. Like napkins. Somehow when these little things get taken care of the whole I'm-getting-married thing seems a little more real. (AHH!)

5. This. (aka I like big cheeks)
Having to go to mine and Miles' home for various events/wedding showers means looking at lots of baby pictures. If there's one thing I love more than a cute baby, its looking at cute pictures of what my babies might look like.

6. The state fair!
Miles and I got to go to the fair with some of our friends from GoUrban. It was (obvi) awesome! We ate awesome  food, rode one ride, and walked through all the baked goods/clothing exhibits. So basically it was the best trip to the fair ever. 
I got an apple covered in caramel, oreos, and sour gummy worms. I intended to share with Miles but that may or may not have actually happened. But, hey, an apple is fruit so I'm pretty sure its healthy.

7. A taste of Durham
We had our first experience with Only Burger at Durham's food truck rally last weekend. Durham is known for its food trucks (who would've thought?!) and for good reason. We had heard about Only Burger a ton, and boy did it live up to the hype. Best burger ever. Events like these are just one more reason we love living in Durham!

8. Fwiends.
It has been such a blessing to live with 6 other girls since August. We all get along and have so much fun laughing (a.lot.) and hanging out together. Plus, we're always praying or studying scripture together, which makes for deep, but fun relationships. It'll be sad to move out next month (eeek!) and to only have one "roommate" after living with these amazing women. Luckily I'll only be 3 minutes down the road :)

9. My hand is still attached to my body.
In the past couple weeks I've addressed a ridiculous amount of wedding invitations and written so many thank you cards. Much to my surprise, my hand is still attached to my body. However, I think my chances for getting carpal tunnel have increased tenfold. But, at least we have pretty invitations!

10.  Jesus is awesome. 
Seriously. I've been learning so much during this transitional time in my life. Since things have died down a smidgen I'll hopefully be able to share what the Lord has been teaching me personally and what he's been doing in Durham!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Being "Colorblind"

Being a student at UNC and living in a highly educated area of the country, I feel like I'm constantly bombarded with political correctness. There's usually lots of talk of being accepting and open-minded and being "colorblind," or not being cognizant of racial differences.

Quite frankly, I think this is a load of crap.

I used to feel defected or in the wrong because I couldn't ever not notice racial differences. That's when I realized maybe I wasn't supposed to.

This semester I'm in an anthropology class and we've discussed how colorblindness is harmful, not helpful, to white people and people of color. Socially, ignoring race creates problems because race itself does in fact exist. From a Christian standpoint, ignoring race denies God's creativity and robs humans, who are made in God's likeness, of dignity.

"Colorblindness" assumes that differences are inherently negative. However, as Christians, we know that not to be true. Non-moral differences are meant to be celebrated since they reflect a good, diverse, and loving Creator who made each individual in his image.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Musings: Retreating

This weekend Miles and I went to Georgia for the Winshape Preparing to Last retreat, which was basically a long weekend of preparing for marriage!

We drove what seemed like forever (aka 8 hours) to get there and stopped at some quality joints along the way...

We kept swapping off so the driving wasn't as bad - although Miles' expression wraps up how we felt about spending 8+ hours in a car together: glad to be together but more than ready to get out of a itty bitty Civic.

About 30 minutes from our destination we decided to roll down the windows. Miles felt a massive bug hit his hand so we rolled them back up and kept driving. Much to my horror, a few minutes later I saw something drop from the interior roof of the car. I'm still uncertain what type of bug it was but it looked like a combination of the biggest fly I've ever seen and an imminent-death-inducing Japanese hornet. Being minutes away, seeing as I was keeping my cool FREAKING OUT, we pulled over and Miles trapped it in a cup! Such a hero :)

Victorious fist pump.
The retreat grounds were in the mountains near Berry College and it. was. beautiful.! The staff had thought of everything. We pulled up and they unloaded all our bags and had special treats waiting for us in our (respective) rooms.

My room: Pretty sure I could live with this decor the rest of my life and be happy. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Plus the fact that there was a personalized note, a chocolate truffle, and music playing in my room upon my arrival didn't hurt!

Another perk: free CFA mints all weekend long everywhere we went. I think this is like what heaven will be like.

All the architecture was inspired from Normandy, France. Every small detail was taken care of and it really felt like we were in the French countryside. 

Obvi pumped. 

They gave us these cute little Winshape picnic kits to keep and go on picnics in the future :)

We had to take a couples inventory before we went and on the retreat we got to discuss it and decipher it to figure out what it meant. We found out we're a vitalized couple, which is the highest level - pretty exciting considering that vitalized couples who continue to work on their relationship have the happiest marriages and the lowest divorce rates!

After hearing our results - despite Miles' scared face we were excited :)
It was such a relaxing weekend (barring the travel) of getting to know Miles better and work on our present and future relationship. I'm just ready to get married to this man already!

I would definitely recommend the Winshape Preparing to Last retreat for any seriously dating or engaged couple! They also have some pretty awesome retreats (including sailing cruises!) for married couples. We learned lots of practical things and are excited to apply them now and in the future!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Being an Emotional Basket Case

Freshman year in my Psychology 101 class we discussed the "Big Five" personality traits. If you've ever taken a psych class you're likely familiar with the five traits that comprise personality: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

We had to complete a self-report survey on each trait and my score for neuroticism was extremely low (the fact that I completed this my hellacious freshman year is, in hindsight, hysterical). I vividly remember one of my friends having a very high score for this trait and feeling super sorry for her. forward a few years:

This is a screenshot from a survey Miles and I just had to take for a pre-marriage retreat we're going to. Guess which bar is mine and which is his.

I'm the green itty bitty bar on the right side. Hah. (To give you some perspective the lightest shade of purpleish grey means I scored in the low range.)

All that to say, in the past few years, specifically this year, I've realized how emotional I truly am. For a while I think I was in denial because as a society, even within the church, emotional control is valued. Nobody wants to be best friends with an emotional roller coaster of a person (aka a girl who pops in A Walk to Remember to let a good cry out. ...Not that I've ever done that or anything. Especially not while eating raw cookie dough.)

My friends and family are wonderful but if I were to share every emotional twist throughout my day with them, they're probs going to feel (1) emotionally drained, (2) avoid me, (3) think I'm crazy, or some combination of the three.

So, who can I confide in?

(drumrollll... *Sunday School answer*) Jesus! I know it sounds cliche, really I do, but it couldn't be more true. Why? Jesus know the fullest extent to every emotion because in some way every emotion is a reflection either of him or the need for him.

Just take the cross for example: Jesus was abandoned by his earthly followers and his heavenly Father. Jesus is the only person in the history of the world that has ever experienced loneliness in its most true and raw form. The weight of the world's sin was on him - he felt burdened to the point of sweating drops of blood. This burden was so extreme, yet so necessary in order to reconcile man back to God once and for all.

Aside from the cross, while Jesus was on earth he not only read people's minds (literally), he saw into the depths of their heart. One of the reasons Jesus' answers to people's questions are often so random is that he was looking into their soul and talking to them about the heart issues that were behind their questions.

So, real talk. What does this mean? Jesus is worthy of trusting with everything - even (and especially) our emotions. I struggle daily to trust him with everything; but, knowing he sees and is full aware of all my craziness and loves me still is unbearably wonderful - to whom and where else could I go?

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.
-Psalm 73-

Friday, September 7, 2012

High Five for Friday + Giveaway Winner!

Per yoush, I'm linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk blog for this H54F post.

I'm so excited for this Friday specifically because its full of wedding things! And better yet, I get to spend it doing wedding things with my mom because she is coming into town! Yay!

1. First wedding dress fitting

My real mock wedding dress
*Fingers crossed* I hope it fits and doesn't need more alterations because, let's be real, I want to randomly wear it as much as possible.

2. First cake tasting!

Bless you, Pinterest.

Miles is going with me on this wedding venture to try out some cake flavors. It's our first taste test for cake and I am super excited. I know exactly what kind of cake I want - white design a top of white buttercream icing with a monochromatic monogram.

3. "Matron of Honor"

My former roommate and maid of honor Emilie lovingly asked me to be her matron of honor for her upcoming May wedding! (Doesn't the word "matron" just make me sound like I'm 41 and making jean jumpers for my 18 children? Yes? Glad we agree.) This is kinda old news, but I'm still just as excited as the day she asked me. I love that girl and our sweet relationship. Plus, I love the fact that she picked supacute J.Crew dresses that were on sale. Score.

4.  Pre-marriage retreat! 

Next weekend we're going on a pre-marriage retreat in Georgia! Miles' boss is graciously sending us on this and we couldn't be more excited! There's supposedly a masseuse, freshly popped popcorn, and a pottery class, not to mention amazing food. I can't wait! 

5. Shopping
So, real talk, this isn't really much of a high five, its kinda a big giant thumb down. For some reason, when it comes to accessories like a veil, shoes, etc., I can envision exactly what I want, but for some reason, designers can't. Then I shop and don't find anything I like because it doesn't match up with the precise and perfect vision in my mind. Its a curse. Here's to hoping I find some things like these pretties:

Blue Nile freshwater pearl bracelet

Super fun sparkly earrings from Etsy!

I love a good sparkly heel.

Aaaand last but not least, the winner from the Wind Blown giveaway!
Entry #9, which is Heather S.! Congrats, Heather! Just shoot me an email to claim your prize!

Happy Friday, y'all!