Posted by: Emma Myrick | January 20, 2013

Three months

Today is our three-month wedding anniversary.

Woah.

Crazy to think that we’ve been married for three months! It has flown. Between the wedding, the honeymoon, beginning to understand a new normal, the holidays, and two work trips for me, it feels like a blur.

Three months ago today, I woke up at 6:30 am to a congratulations text. I fumbled downstairs in our hotel and ate two bites of eggs sitting next to an family friend. As she excitedly asked me questions, I had to think hard to make sentences. My friend staying with whisked me back upstairs to get ready to go.

The church, where we found our classroom/staging area. I took a peek into the reception area, where some dear friends were handling all the set up and decor for my mom & I. A great friend graciously did my hair and makeup before anyone else arrived. She even thought ahead enough to bring some music, and Jack Johnson joined the party. My bridesmaids trickled in, each of them excited and joking about how they didn’t sleep at all last night; how I magically transferred any nerves onto them instead of me.

That morning everything seemed to fit together just so. Right as Erin finished my hair, my dad came in. Now photos outside. Now the ceremony.

It was a beautiful day. The ceremony was so special. I barely remembered the things that Alex said (later on I had to ask him to send me his notes  to remember!) but I remember the moments. Dad and I trying to pull ourselves together right before we walked down the aisle. Seeing my bridesmaids, as happy for me as I was, standing up there to support us. Logan, holding my hand. The sight of the auditorium full of people we love from around the world. Catching the eyes of the groomsmen, full of a calmer, steadier sort of excitement than us ladies. Walking back down the aisle with Logan, thinking, now we’re married. Now we’re married. Now we’re married. 

That thought had played in repeat the past three months. As we danced and laughed with friends and family at the reception. As we waited for our plane to arrive at 6 am. When we would come home from work to find the other waiting for us. Waking up next to each other. Spending Christmas morning together, just the two of us.

It’s been a good three months, y’all.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | December 21, 2012

Right… I have a blog.

It’s been about 3 months since I’ve embraced the curiosity that is my blog. Initially I stopped posting because there was too much going on, and the goal of updating a blog regularly seemed like just the thing to tip me into insanity. So I put it on pause.

In the months since, I’ve thought about posting a lot. Like Barney Stinson, there’ve been tons of blog-worthy moments. Stories from the honeymoon, thoughts on the early stages of marriage, advice about weddings, reflections about UNC IV, or even just excitement over the Christmas season. I’ve gone as far as photographing projects I’ve made – gifts, foods, etc – as if I’m going to introduce a DIY component here. Yet I never seemed to be able to post. I’ve half-written several posts, then never concluded them. This fall has been so full that I haven’t known where to start.
I realized this morning that I just have to start. Not with fireworks, but with something.
So without further ado, this is reboot of the blog! Stay tuned!
Posted by: Emma Myrick | September 26, 2012

Prioitization

As many of you know, life right now is busy. Busier than I’ve ever been in my whole life. (That sounds silly, I know, but I’m serious.) I’m going through lots of transitions, which means that I’m living in the tension of having more things that demand my time but having less mental/emotional/physical capacity to deal with them. Like I said in my last post, I’ve been learning a lot about what it means to give myself grace. But the fact remains that I have more to do and less ability to do them.

That means prioritizing. I’m not great at this: things that seem small and quick seem to jump to the front of the line, but often I spend way more time on those ‘easy’ tasks than I mean to. Even as I prioritize, I’m realized that equally helpful is to temporarily de-prioritize some things. Which is hard, because some of the things I really enjoy doing. But right at this moment I don’t need to add “cook three things I’ve never made before per week” to the to-do list.

So I’ve decided a couple things that need to go by the wayside for a couple weeks. Things like trying new complicated recipes or reading 7 books at one time (yes I’m currently in the middle of 7 books). Another one that I’m going to step away from for a couple weeks is blogging. I’m having trouble keeping up with my flesh-and-blood friends so I want to put more effort on that. So I don’t need to spend time on my relationship with the Internet right now.

So I won’t be posting for at least the next month. Post-wedding, post-October, I’ll get back in the groove. Until then, talk to me in person! While I’m much cleverer online, I’m still me. :)

Posted by: Emma Myrick | September 12, 2012

Got grace?

Hi. my name is Emma, and I struggle with busyness.

I’m in a busy phase of life. I didn’t believe people when they said planning a wedding takes over your life. I thought, I’m a pretty organized and pretty laid-back person. Planning a wedding will be a lot of work, but nothing too crazy. Oh, silly Emma, how naive you are.

Wedding planning is like having a part-time job. There are hundreds of decisions to be made. The ironic part is that the more I researched, the more paralyzed I became. The more beautiful options I saw, the more I questioned the decisions I made. Luckily, with the wedding just over a month away, I’ve moved out of that phase and into the “I-don’t-care-about-any-details-I-just-want-it-to-be-here” phase.

But the wedding isn’t the only thing in my life. I’ve also moved this summer and started a new role in my job. Again, I naively thought that the jump from intern to campus staff would be a minor one: after all, I know how staff life goes day-to-day. But turns out there was a lot I didn’t have to do or think about, so I’m learning how to do all that.

I say none of this to complain! I LOVE my job. I have a job that lets me do different things every day, spend my days getting to know students and talking about who God is, and this weekend I get to go to the beach. For work. I am also pumped about getting married. I get to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams, and we are blessed enough to get to have a big party to celebrate the covenant between us.

It’s just that all of that at once is hectic. 

It means that sometimes I burst into tears over relatively small things. It means that the size of my to do list is the determining factor in whether I will do things like cook a healthy dinner, or spend time in silence with God, or initiate a hang out with friends. It means that when I do turn off the light and go to bed, the never-ending to do list surfaces and runs laps in my brain for a while before letting me sleep.

The best part of it all is that this weekend, I’m giving a talk on how constant striving for success and productivity isn’t healthy and isn’t what God intends for us. (In case you aren’t sure, I’m giving it as a testimony of someone who struggles, not as an expert on the subject.)

With that in mind, I’ve been reading and praying a lot about my own schedule and expectations on myself. Without repeating my talk or posting it up here before I give it, a big conclusion I’ve reached is that I don’t give myself enough grace. I have always been my own toughest critic. But its ridiculous for me to tell myself that I will have that elusive effortless perfection when it comes to starting a new job or planning a wedding or preparing to start my life together with my fiance.

Maybe you as you’re reading this can resonate. For you, I offer this:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God.   Ephesians 2:8-9

There’s a ton more to say on grace, but we’ll save that for another time. But the conclusion I came to, when it comes to myself and grace, is this: if God has already given me grace, who am I to withhold it from myself?

Posted by: Emma Myrick | September 2, 2012

A year ago today…

Today was nothing too exciting. Went to church, read a bit, bounced around the house, cooked dinner and watched some TV.

A year ago today was much more of a landmark day. 365 days ago I moved up to Charlottesville, Virginia. I remember so many little things about day.

My beautiful Charlottesville home!

The morning was exciting: it felt something like the first day embarking on a new trip. My parents and I had breakfast with my then-boyfriend, now-fiance. He didn’t kiss me goodbye because my parents were there (he’s not into PDA in front of the in-laws, can you blame him?). On the drive up, my dad made me lead in my car but kept calling from his car to tell me different directions. My mom and I listened to showtunes and Disney songs all the way up.

Arriving felt more real. We finally got to my new house, which I’d never actually seen. I got to meet one of my roommates, Emily, for the first time. She graciously helped us unload my stuff up the stairs and into my new room. It was hot as mess outside, so it made for a sweaty afternoon. Lunch was at a local favorite that Emily took us to, Bodo’s Bagels, which of
course I’d never heard of before. Talking to Emily, a fellow UVa campus minister, was such a relief: hearing about her life made things feel a little more real, a little more doable.

After we ate, I sent my parents out to explore C-ville while I unpacked a bit. Unpacking all your belongings is a special breed of overwhelming. That quintessential college experience of moving all your belongings in one trip that most students experience never hit me: I was local enough to make several trips over a couple days to move every year. But what I missed in college, I was getting full force now.

In far too short a time (in my opinion), my parents reappeared, wanting to take me to Walmart before heading back to NC. Another traditional undergrad experience that I missed at UNC. They loaded my empty luggage back in the car (which, let’s be honest, was mostly dumped on my floor rather than actually put away, seeing as I was still a few furniture pieces short) and off we went. We bought a box fan – surprise! No A/C in my house, which I didn’t realize until moving in – duct tape, odds and ends, and a couple groceries. Dad tried to be generous and tell me to get whatever I wanted to, but in the whir of moving I wasn’t ready to think about packing my lunch next week.

The parents took the cheesy pictures of us outside the house and I waved goodbye from the front porch. The summer of praying, fundraising, and planning had come together here. Now, there were bigger milestones to come: my first large group worship service. First coffee with a student. First beach retreat. First time a student confided in me. First year that I watched a group of 200 students mature in their understanding of who God is and what their relationship with Him can be.

But that day one year ago was the day my year began. My first week of life in Virginia, and my first week on InterVarsity staff. In hindsight, that first week felt like my first week of adulthood. So this week I’ll remember that one 52 weeks ago that started this crazy adventure we call adult life.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | August 28, 2012

Book Review: Spiritual Direction

Name & author:  Spiritual Direction, Henri Nouwen

Why are you reading this book? 

I’ll read just about anything by Henri Nouwen. He was a theologian, professor, and counselor, and he’s one of those writers whose words speak straight to my soul. His style is simple but articulate and easily speaks into both emotional and rational aspects of faith. He’s one of the people I would love to get coffee with and just listen to whatever he wanted to talk about. This particular book is actually a collection of his course material and unpublished writings, although it flows together so well that I would never have guessed if the preface didn’t say so.

What’s the first line of the first chapter?

As we begin this journey together in spiritual direction, I want to invite you to create space for God in your life.

So, what did you think?

I posted a quote from it in my last blog post if that’s any indication. Each chapter is title a basic question that everyone asks themselves: Who will answer my questions? Who is God for me? Where do I belong? Where do I go from here? Using a lot of his own story, he addresses the ways to go about responding to these questions. It was humbling for me to read about this well-respected writer & professor of theology and psychology share his vulnerabilities, doubts, and struggles in faith. In the later part of his life he served in L’Arche Daybreak, a community for people with disabilities and their assistants, and he says this of working and living with the disabled:

We can’t fix their problems or even answer their questions. We dare to be with others in mutual vulnerability and ministry precisely because God is a God who suffers with us and calls us to gratitude and compassion in the midst of pain. You cannot solve all the world’s problems, but you can be with people in their problems and questions with your simple presence, trusting that joy also will be found there. As Mother Teresa was fond of saying, “Jesus does not call you to be successful, but to be faithful.

Is it worth …. 

__  collecting dust on the bookshelf

__  reading again and again

X   recommending to friends

__   trashing

Anything else to add?

This is a great book to read with someone else, especially in a mentoring or discipleship format. Each chapter ends with some devotional material and questions to think about, which would be great to then go through with a friend or mentor. I would definitely recommend this.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | August 14, 2012

Who am I?

Although the weather doesn’t think so, the fall semester is nearly upon us. College students are moving back to campuses as we speak. UNC starts classes next week, and between now and then over 4000 freshmen will arrive on campus, calling it home for the first time.

One of the great things about a new academic year is the chance to redefine yourself. Whether they’re a freshman or returning student, the new year offers a fresh beginning. College life is the perfect place to play out reinventions of yourself: there are millions of opportunities to try new things, and the fact that classes (and majors, for some) change every semester means that change is pretty unsurprising in the university setting.

The opportunity to redefine ourselves, student or not, has an allure to almost all of us.  Deep down, we’re all trying to answer that most basic of questions. Who am I? Its something that everyone must answer for themselves. The easiest answer is often wrong. It’s so easy to define myself by my job, by what other people think of me, by my abilities, or by some demographic status (white/female/engaged/college educated/American).

Yet none of these actually answer the question of who I am. So no matter how many times introduce myself as a campus minister, or hear others’ praises or criticisms of me, those aren’t defining characteristics. Those answers don’t satisfy. Thus the appeal of reinventing.

At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, God verbally speaks as he’s baptized, saying “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (For more on this story, check out Luke 3 or Mark 1.) That  was how Jesus defined himself. Not by what others said about him, not by how many he healed (or didn’t heal), but by the fact that God loved him.

The thing is, though, that God doesn’t just feel that way about Jesus. He loves us that way too. He says, “You are my child whom I love; I’m so happy with you” about each and every one of us. Y’all, this is crazy, ridiculous good news.

So what does this mean for us? In the words of Henri Nouwen,

We are the Beloved. We were intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, “You are my Beloved.”

So as the fall begins, don’t lose sight of what does – and does not – define you.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | August 1, 2012

Book review: Julie & Julia

Name & author: Julie & Julia, Julie Powell

Why are you reading this book?

I saw the movie several years ago and enjoyed it, as I tend to do with almost any Meryl Streep movie. I love reading books that movies are based on, but I always prefer to read them after I see the movie (we’ll save a further exposition of that theory for a future post).  I also have a thing for semi-real stories: the ones ‘based on real events.’ You know the authors are taking some creative license, but I could picture Julie wrestling in tears with live lobsters. Also, I could see myself taking on a project like cooking a whole recipe book for no reason other than the accomplishment of doing it.

What’s the first line of the first chapter?

As far as I know, the only evidence supporting the theory that Julia Child first made Potage Parmentier during a bad bout of ennui is her own recipe for it.

So, what did you think?

I liked it. High entertainment value.  A perfect vacation read, and contains the added bonus of making me want to cook more.

Though a bit overdramatic, Julie is a really likeable character, and it’s easy to sympathize with her. Some of her fears are easy to identify with as a twentysomething: is my job going to be the defining characteristic about me? What if it’s a short-term solution that I’ve been in for far too long? What if I’m on my own and still don’t know what I want to do with my life? Julie responds by deciding to cook through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 524 recipes, in one year, dubbing it the Julie/Julia Project. She also blogs about it as she goes, in the early days of blogging.

One of my favorite parts of the book, though, are the views into the imagined life of Julia Child. I loved the way the movie expanded that aspects and showed their lives in parallel, rather than just a few pages in the novel.

Was the ending satisfying? (Without spoiling it, please!) 

Yes, in the sense that it felt realistic. She hadn’t answered all those questions above by recipe 524, and didn’t even after she was done. It wasn’t as if after the year was over, she had achieved inner peace. Life went on. She still had her job she didn’t love, and a book deal (the result of which I just read) didn’t come until later. But her life kept going.

Is it worth …. 

X   collecting dust on the bookshelf

__  reading again and again

__   recommending to friends

__   trashing

Anything else to add?

The inevitable question of “which is better, book or movie?” still hovers, and I’m not sure. It’s no great work of prose, but I enjoyed it. That being said, I think I liked the movie better because it had more of Julia Child’s life. She is crazy, y’all. I think she would’ve been one of those great, slightly-crazy-in-a-good-way friends everyone needs to have.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | July 26, 2012

Book Review: More than Enchanting

Name & author: More than Enchanting, by Jo Saxton

Why are you reading this book?

I got it from InterVarsity Press – every semester, they send staff a couple books they recommend. More than Enchanting is about being a woman, being a leader, and being a Christian.

What’s the first line of the first chapter?

Do you know an influential woman – a woman who, by her character and actions, changes people’s lives?

So, what did you think?

I loved it. There are tons of books out there about being a woman, and books about leadership, and books about Christianity. This one combined the three in a way that I hadn’t come across before. She talks about them in terms of finding a healthy balance between our leadership, our ministries (whether professional or relational), our relationships, and our own health.

I really appreciated the way that Saxton is not trying to argue with anyone from her book. She shares some pinions, but never in an abrasive way. She more wants to open eyes to possibilities than start a fight about where women should and shouldn’t be leading. Furthermore, she recognizes that leadership and responsibility encompass all parts of life: in the church, in secular positions, in a home, and in relationships. She speaks of being a stay-at-home-mom with the same respect as being CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Furthermore, she roots all of these discussions on calling in Scripture: looking at women in the Bible on which to base her encouragements.

One thing that struck me was that she regularly mentioned the importance of taking care of ourselves: making time to work out, to rest, to do things that are life-giving to us. While she never got on a soapbox around it, the fact that she kept bringing it up made me realize how little you see that in other leadership books, or sometimes even in other Christian books (unless they’re specifically on resting).

She also speaks to people in different stages of life. College, post college, in the midst of a career, raising kids. She speaks to the ways that singleness can affect things, and how marriage can. As an engaged girl, I could really related to both the chapter on singleness (recognizing myself in many of the shortcomings she mentions) and the one on marriage (as things I have wondered about, or know that I will face soon).

Was the ending satisfying? (Without spoiling it, please!) 

As nonfiction, there’s not really an ending to spoil. In case you can’t tell by the previous paragraph, I would definitely recommend this to women in my life, no matter where they are in figuring out their calling.

Is it worth …. 

__  collecting dust on the bookshelf

__  reading again and again

X   recommending to friends

__   trashing

Anything else to add?

One of my favorite quotes: “Sometimes the stuff of life can consume us all, and we are much the poorer for it.” What a good reminder to not be consumed by the things that do not (and should not) define us. It gave me a lot of things to think about in terms of what I let consume my time/thoughts/energy.

Posted by: Emma Myrick | July 6, 2012

Magic Mike: to see or not to see

Everyone knows about Magic Mike hitting theaters. Tons of my girlfriends have been talking up a storm about it. At first I reacted negatively to it: after all, its a movie about male strippers. I have no interest in going to a strip club, and wouldn’t be okay with going for a friend’s bachelorette/birthday party. I wouldn’t judge them for going, but I would choose not to.

Then two things happened in my head. The first is a reaction many women had: its socially acceptable for men to enjoy this kind of thing, so why can’t I? Not really in Christian circles, but it’s generally more recognized by general population that men go to strip clubs. Some of my favorite shows have scenes that take place in strip clubs (How I Met Your Mother, anyone?). I also have an underlying fear of coming across as a prude/’good kid’/holier-than-thou kind of person. I’m a Christ-follower, and that 100% affects the decisions I make. But I never want to make decisions in such a way that alienates the people around me who don’t follow Christ, or makes them feel judged for acting differently than me. I also know that sometimes Christians can condemn actions that Jesus probably wouldn’t condemn.  Maybe that’s have a beer with friends, or hanging out with people who reject Jesus, or a hundred other things. But that’s another soap box. Basically, whether I decided to see or not see this movie, I wanted to make the decision with purpose. Part of me wanted to go, just because it would be the unexpected thing for me to do. I like surprising people.

Then I came across this blog:  melissajenna.com/2012/06/30/50-shades-of-magic-mike-in-which-i-am-very-uncool/. I don’t know the woman who wrote it, but her thoughts really helped me process. It’s definitely from a Christian perspective, but I would encourage anyone to read it and think about it. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus’ existence or deism, I really appreciated how she talks about the things we put into our bodies and our minds matter. If I’m seeing a movie about the stripping industry (while I don’t know how the plot ends, the preview certainly glorifies it), how does that affect my relationship with my fiance or my expectations about what our married relationship will look like? Or if I wasn’t engaged, how will that influence the way I think about expectations from my (current or future) boyfriend or what our dating relationship should look like?

But the biggest thing that hit me what her paragraph about looking at it from a guy’s perspective. If the roles were reversed and my fiance went to a movie centering around female strippers doing what they do, it would really bother me. If my brother and his friends were raving over the latest Playboy spread, I would want to have some serious conversations with him. How then do I justify seeing Magic Mike?

I can already think of some people (both women and men) that will be ticked off with this post, in one way or another. This is not meant to rain judgement or condemnation on anyone who’s seen it already, or anyone who hasn’t and is planning to. This post is more meant for the women out there who find themselves in the place I was: they want to make a thoughtful decision about whether they see this movie or not, but don’t really know how to go about making that decision. This woman’s post summed it up better than I ever could, so hopefully that helps some of you.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.