I loved catching up with my friend Christy last week! She wanted to interview me for her blog, and let people know what I am up to. You can check out her post here:
I loved catching up with my friend Christy last week! She wanted to interview me for her blog, and let people know what I am up to. You can check out her post here:
This month marks three years since Michael and I began the adoption process. As you may be able to tell from the lack of an Instagram feed filled with photos of a sweet little boy, we still have not completed our adoption.
It is a strange journey, adoption is. No two experiences are the same. The process is full of unknown. It may happen in a few weeks, or it may take a few years. I also have friends who have started the process and never actually complete an adoption because of so many road blocks that came up during the journey. But for those that do complete the adoption process, once a family brings a child into the home, the adventure is just beginning.
At a time when I needed a little encouragement with our adoption experience, I had the opportunity to hear from a few different families who have all gone through adoption. Hearing the stories from families that have walked through the long and difficult process of adoption was encouraging because in each instance, I could see God’s perfect timing in every situation.
So, to those of you pursuing an adoption or maybe even those that have completed an adoption and feel weary from the unique struggles that come with it, take heart: God is for you.
For the family that has just started the process and feel overwhelmed by the mass amounts of paperwork, approvals, interviews, meetings, expenses and unknowns- be encouraged, God is in the details and takes care of His children.
For the family that has been waiting for a child for months and months or years and years, don’t lose hope. God knows your child and will bring your family together at the right time.
For the family that may be praying about whether or not to pursue adoption, it is a hard but rewarding journey. Adopting is not for everyone. Although, I do believe that as part of the church, everyone should play a role in caring for the fatherless (James 1:27). While it is scary to consider providing a forever home to a child that has experienced trauma through whatever the circumstances were that brought them to adoption, every child deserves to be in a forever family and be loved. We need families that say “yes” to the calling of adoption.
A quick update on our adoption: The African country that we are adopting through has decided to reform their international adoption policies. While they reform the policies, they are not approving families for adoption. Our adoption is on “hold” for now while we wait to see if the country opens back up in the coming year. This is not where I expected to be three years into the process, but anyone that has gone through the adoption process knows that it never is quite what you expect.
Additional reading: Here are some reasons why you should consider adoption.
A few days ago we took our Christmas tree to the trash pick-up on the curb outside our apartment. It was time. All the needles were falling onto the floor and it was beginning to smell more like swine than pine. Like that tree, 2015 has come and gone. And with the clearing out of the old there is room for the new. The incomparable Taylor Swift said, “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”
I had no idea how true that quote was until last year when “change” became my thing. I am a girl who enjoys change as much as this kid enjoys the snow.
But when change comes and you cannot control it, you either embrace the new or you struggle to make the new fit into an outdated mold.
At the beginning of 2015, I worked as Collections Manager at Museum of the Bible and lived in Oklahoma City with my husband Michael. He was serving on staff at the church where we met at age seven. It was all either of us ever dreamed of having. Today, one year later, we both work at new jobs for Museum of the Bible while living in a New York City high-rise with no weekly church duties. We are surrounded by new people, a new church community, and new daily routines. Everything has changed.
Change is hard.
I know people who thrive in change. I know others who struggle with the smallest change. Change causes discomfort as we get outside of the known and beyond the routine. The beauty in the difficulty of change is that it can cause us to grow, to move forward, and to learn something new.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H. P. Lovecraft
Here are three things I learned in what I’ve dubbed “The Year of Change”:
Fear is inherent anytime we consider significant change. When we are fearing the fear of change, though, we can confront it with the hope of the result we are striving toward. This hope for the future can give us the courage to change today. Take fear for what it is: Our routine hoping to remain untouched.
We all know the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While a computer with dial-up internet might not be “broke” that does not mean it is operating at its highest capacity. We often settle for ordinary or what we know because it is comfortable. While change for the sake of change is not always healthy, change does give us the opportunity to grow.
One of the hardest parts about change is the way our personal change can affect others. Personal autonomy is so widely celebrated we often forget the reality that everything we do affects other people. This includes changes that comes into our lives.
When I moved away from home, this did not just affect my ability to see my friends, they can no longer see me. Leaving my church meant my voice is no longer present in our Bible studies there. Change is difficult because it not only costs me, but it often costs the people I love. This realization should cause us to communicate well with those we love, in order to help them move through our change with us. Being sensitive and reassuring to those affected by my change will go a long way in the relationship.
For more thoughts on this point, I enjoyed this perspective by Donald Miller on how our changes or growth can affect others.
Despite all the pain it causes us and others, change is worth it. Truly, it is inevitable. Whether or not we try to change, we will change. If any of us consider ourselves leaders, then it is especially important for us to learn to embrace change not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of those we are leading.
If we are a believers in Jesus Christ, we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love him. So change is good because God is working it out for our good! Even in tragic, unexpected, ugly change, God can use it for his purposes. Be encouraged. Change is worth it!
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. -Winston Churchill
With all of this change, I have found comfort in two things that I know will never change: the Bible, and the God of the Bible. As J.I. Packer said in his book Knowing God: (p. 78)
“The words of human beings are unstable. But not so the words of God. They stand forever, as abidingly valid expressions of his mind and thought… Isaiah writes, ‘All flesh is grass… The grass withers… But the word of our God will stand forever’. (Isaiah 40:6-8 RSV)”
I would love to hear from you. How do you handle change? What material have you found helpful?
I love hearing Taylor Swift welcome me home to NYC every time I land. Maybe someday I’ll even get to meet her. After all, we do live in the same city now – as well as 8.5 million other people (but at least there’s a chance?)
Now that I have lived in Manhattan for a month, here are the top 5 things I have learned about life here:
On a more personal note, here is one thing I have learned about myself so far:
I’ve learned to appreciate my relationships and community more. For the first time in my life, I am living in a place where I can count on my two hands the number of people that know my name. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, and never living further than a 45-minute radius from where I was born, I have always been surrounded by family and long-standing friendships. New York is such a different experience since I don’t have quick, easy availability to those friends and family members.
A few highlights of our time in the city so far are definitely our Museum of the Bible (MOTB) events. During our first few weeks, MOTB hosted two events. This provided a great opportunity to introduce the vision of the museum with some wonderful people. Michael and I were also excited about the timing of the events, because it meant we got to meet people, hoping that we could make a few new friends!
As always, the museum events were fabulous. Our events planning team members always do an amazing job at making each event special. Here are a few photos of the evening:
We also loved going to our new friend Scott Harrison’s event – a charity ball for Charity: Water at the Met. It was spectacular.
One month in, and, New York, you do not disappoint.
It’s a new soundtrack, I can dance to this beat forevermore. The lights are so bright, but they never blind me. (“Welcome to New York” – Taylor Swift, 1989)
“What is the best use of our growing collection?” – This was a question for the Green Collection leadership five years ago when we were just a few months into collecting artifacts. More specifically, we were asking, “If we were to begin programs around it, what would be among those with the most significance?”
In my previous post “More than a Museum,” I gave a high-level view of the Museum of the Bible and our four main initiatives. Here, I want to share a more in-depth look at one of those: our research initiatives.
Perhaps these seem like simple questions we were asking with a significant collection already in place when it was just a few thousand items, long before the current count of 40,000 plus items related to the biblical text and its transmission. During this early stage in forming the Green Collection, we realized that our answers could possibly impact lives in the future. When there were only four of us—another curator, two scholars, and me—a dream began to form:
“We could have an important role in helping to train the next generation of biblical text scholars.”
Although we didn’t know this collection’s future, and certainly didn’t fully anticipate the explosive years ahead developing into plans for the Washington, DC, site for the museum, we had glimpses of major things ahead. Throughout those early months, we had the conviction that scholarly research would be an important part of our programs, and the fulcrum of all that was ahead.
This is when conversations about a program called the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI) began. Dr. Jerry Pattengale developed and eventually executed this new research program. Its central idea remains in place: assigning various collection pieces to scholars (all with terminal degrees) and their students for high-level research. A team of over twenty senior and distinguished scholars came to this initiative, and provided assistance in their areas of expertise. These scholars also were the core lecturers among more than 100 videotaped presentations in various cities, with some at the Vatican, Israeli museums, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and in Cuba.
Establishing GSI has been an amazing and fast-paced journey, with the program starting only five years ago with just an idea and a few scholars. Today GSI is a robust network of over 60 scholars and dozens of projects. We have also successfully completed four summer institute conferences, and are looking to expand the program next summer. Publications are in process, students are being mentored, and GSI scholarship opportunities are being highlighted on many participating university campuses. We’ve also made some major discoveries, including the earliest Jewish proto-prayer book and some of the earliest astronomical sketches and texts, and a few of the earliest attestations to biblical passages and classical texts. The GSI program provides a substantial foundation for many of the things we do at Museum of the Bible. For this reason, we will have a research hub in the new DC facility called the Green Scholars Institute.
Of the many projects we have going on in GSI, my favorite is the work on the Codex Climaci Rescriptus (CCR). This is not only a fascinating piece, but I got to be involved (in a small way!) with part of the project early on. CCR is a palimpsest, and I got to take part in imaging the manuscript with multispectral imaging (MSI) a few years ago before the research got underway. In studying this manuscript, one of the incredible discoveries so far has been the identification of some early astronomical drawings. With greater access to the underlying layers of text through MSI, scholars found 1,500-year-old drawings of constellations on this manuscript. Ongoing research is being done on the CCR text at Tyndale House, Cambridge.
The Bible touches millions of people in different ways, and the vast majority of people are not Bible scholars. Against this backdrop, someone might ask, “Why does research matter?” or “Why should Museum of the Bible make scholarship one of its top priorities?” If you don’t consider yourself a scholar, or haven’t spent much or any of your life and money working toward a master’s degree or PhD, you may question why research is such an important part of Museum of the Bible. In an effort to connect the thoughts of the scholars to the public, I conducted an office survey.
I daily rub shoulders with a host of scholars from a wide variety of fields among the staff at our home base in OKC, which has grown to nearly seventy. In addition, we regularly host research teams and visiting scholars. With such access to these brilliant minds, I figured I would informally inquire about their views on biblical research and scholarship. With the help of our Director of the Green Collection, Dr. David Trobisch, and his efficient summary of the points I found in my survey, here are the common responses.
Three things: Scholars are blind, scholars learn through comparison, and scholars create consensus by communicating with each other.
Perhaps there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but this little exercise proved affirming. For these reasons, and more, I am excited about the Green Scholars Initiative. It is important, the program has grown quickly, and it is continuing to develop and grow with Dr. Michael Holmes‘ current leadership.
To keep up with the Green Scholars Initiative, check into our Museum of the Bible newsroom for updated press releases like this exciting announcement: Green Scholars Initiative Honors Young Biblical Scholars. You can also find free lectures on our Museum of the Bible You Tube Channel.
This year my travel schedule has really ramped up. I love getting to meet people all over the country and world, and telling them about what is going on with Museum of the Bible. As I have taken on more frequent flyer miles, I have found that it’s helpful to have a good pre-travel routine. Before I get on my flight, here is my must-do routine:
I like to be well-prepared for a trip. But I hate packing. I always feel like I’m forgetting something. I usually remember all of the important things, but I’m still prone to forget the obvious things every once in a while! Just last week I forgot to bring any makeup on a trip to NYC! Yikes!
In planning for the airport, I like to make sure I know what’s in my carry-on. Here are some questions I always ask myself:
These questions are helpful as I am packing and figuring out what to wear before heading to the airport.
I like to have my record locator at hand for a swift check-in, and I often have to check a bag. Helpful tip: Try to lock the bag with a TSA approved lock. I’ve learned this the hard way through a bad experience of having jewelry stolen out of my bag. 🙁
Then it is time for security. With these easy steps, I’m ready to go!
I always like to have a water bottle handy when traveling. Being in airplanes can dehydrate you, so I recommend carrying a bottle of H2O. The first thing I do after going through security is to buy a water bottle! You won’t be sorry about this. If you don’t want to purchase one, bring an empty bottle through security, and fill it at a fountain on the other side. It’s that easy!
After all of this, I head to my gate, check for any last emails or text messages I might need to respond to, and wait to board! I always carry a book or something to read, too.
What are your travel tips? Anything I should consider adding or changing to my routine? I would love to hear from you, even if it’s a horror story of one of your bad travel experiences. 😉
“Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you…” –Taylor Swift
It was a gorgeous Sunday morning in the upper west side of Manhattan. I was in the city to visit a few friends. We had just gotten out of a Sunday morning service and needed a place to brunch. That is when we discovered Jacob’s Pickles.
Walking in, I immediately fell in love with the adorable atmosphere. It is a mix of modern warehouse and urban farmhouse décor. (Does that even make sense?…oh well.)
It was quiet that first day we visited, which is rare. This place has become even more popular since I first discovered it. Every time that I have gone back during normal meal hours, it is pretty busy. If you’re worried about getting in without a wait, you might want to make a reservation.
We ordered our coffees and started sipping. It was so nice to be able to catch up with my squad. These women became some of my closest friends at college. We were in the same sorority, and have a lot of shared memories. These are the women that were my roomies, that tried to teach me how to dance (sorry C and J, I’m still working on it), and were there to listen to me when I was going through a hard season. Now that we have gone our separate ways, it is a treasure when we get together. (To get to know this group of my friends, you can check out one of my first blog posts, which I wrote about them the week we graduated.)
It makes me smile just thinking of that sweet time.
I ordered the French toast the first time. And, yes, I have ordered that exact same dish every time I have gone back. I’ve even gone twice in one week, and ordered the French toast both times. I know there are so many places in NYC that are amazing that I should try, but goodness, it’s hard to pass up Jacob’s Pickles. Yum.
Their French toast is unique. Jacob’s Pickles has amazing biscuits, and they use their biscuits for the toast. I guess the “toast” in French toast should actually be “biscuit,” but whatever. The flaky biscuits are savory and crumbly. With some of Jacob’s Pickles sweet, dark syrup on top, it is truly a delight to eat.
One thing about their French toast I love, is the amount of strawberries they put on top. Often when I order something with berries on top, I get two strawberries, or five blueberries total. Not this place. They are not skimpy with the fresh strawberries they pile on their heavenly French toast style biscuits.
Their orange juice is fresh-squeezed and tasty. It is good if you are looking to load up on vitamin C and are willing to dish out a few bucks for it. Jacob’s coffee is not the world’s best cup of coffee, but it is a solid cup of coffee.
I guess this shop still holds the title to “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”.
If you are looking for the world’s best coffee and can’t find Buddy’s shop, you may consider checking out some of these recommendations of the best coffee in NYC. (I digress… But I personally love Stumptown!)
If you’re in Manhattan, I am telling you to check out Jacob’s Pickles. I hear their pickles are actually good, too. If you try them, let me know what you think.
Where should I go next time I am in NYC? As loyal as my little heart is to Jacob’s Pickles, I do like trying new places. Let me know what you suggest in the city that never sleeps.
Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? I just went for the first time, and LOVED it!
Michael and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary at the beginning of August. To celebrate, we decided to take a trip over the long Labor Day weekend, and we chose Lake Tahoe as our destination.
Our schedule included some sleeping in, taking naps, sitting on the beach, getting in the water via paddle boarding and kayaking, going up the mountain for the scenery and hiking, and checking out some of the cute local restaurants and coffee spots. It was ideal.
Taking the time to reflect on the many transitions this year has held for us so far was just what we needed.
With that being said, let me show you the memories we made while in Lake Tahoe.
The first was only a half day, but we made the most of it by checking out the beach, catching a nice dinner, and enjoying the fire pit.
We wanted to check out South Lake Tahoe, so we got up early and went down to Emerald Bay to see the sunrise. It. Was. Amazing.
Then we went over to the Heavenly Gondola and went up to the highest peak in the area. The altitude was killer for this Oklahoma girl. I was already out of breath just from walking, so we kept our “hike” pretty mild.
Taking a break from hiking, we also enjoyed playing corn hole. (Michael won.)
We also had the chance to witness a proposal at the top of the mountain! (She said yes!)
We finished off the day with a nice lunch by the beach, some reading at a coffee shop, an early dinner, and then we were asleep before 9:00pm!
A number of people recommended a restaurant called The Log Cabin, so we got up and enjoyed a delicious breakfast before heading to a river for some fly fishing. This breakfast was good! And their coffee was the best I had while in Tahoe.
The rest of the day was spent at the hotel. We had fun paddle boarding and kayaking before dinner.
It ended with s’mores and sweatpants by the fire. A perfect way to end the day!
By day four we had explored as much as we wanted to, and were ready to just sit at the hotel all day! We got breakfast at the resort, did more reading on the beach, kayaking again, and just hanging out until going back down to South Lake for dinner at the restaurant with my FAVORITE view: Edgewood.
I should take some time here to tell you my most embarrassing moment of the trip. It of course happened at Edgewood, which was the nicest restaurant we ate at.
Michael and I were seated in a one-sided semi-circle booth, so we could cuddle up next to each other and not be accused of being a “same-side-sitting” couple. It was just the only way.
During the appetizer, I accidentally pulled on the table cloth, and ALMOST spilled both of my drinks. (This place was the kind of place that gave you your iced tea AND a water.) Thankfully, it was a close call, but I didn’t actually spill.
Five minutes later though, somehow I managed to do the exact same thing, but this time I wasn’t as lucky. Two full glasses of water and tea actually flew all over the table, seat, and me. Oops.
I guess I did it so gracefully that our waiter didn’t even notice. Unfortunately, the tables around defiantly heard the crash, and were giving side glances to check out the disaster while I cleaned up.
Because half of the booth was wet, I had to scoot way over to Michael’s side. (Maybe I actually spilled the drinks on purpose for the excuse to be closer to my hubby.) Thankfully the rest of the meal was less eventful, and we enjoyed watching the sunset together cuddle up rather close in that half wet, half dry booth.
Watching the sun set over that lake was one of my favorite memories. It was beautiful.
Lake Tahoe, I like you. I hope I will be seeing you again some day.
What are some of your favorite vacations spots? Any suggestions I should add to me dream list of places to visit? I would love to hear from you!
P.S. If you are ready to start planning your own vacation, consider planning ahead for Washington D.C. in 2017. You can have your chance to win a free trip to our Museum of the Bible grand opening by entering in our sweepstakes! Good luck!
I think social media is really cool. I use it a lot. I think there are many benefits with social media. One thing I think is a downfall with social, though, is the ability for people to show what their life is really like. It is so easy to let your Facebook timeline to present the kind of life you want people to think you have. It is definitely tempting for me to put out the best image about my life and how I want people to see me. It’s human nature. Most of us want others to think well of us, and many of us are afraid of being really known in fear of being found out as uninteresting, broken, imperfect, etc.
I have to say, my feed is often filled with posts about the exciting adventures, cool travels, and the interesting people I get to meet. I am very grateful for the path God has brought me on, and grateful for his grace in my life. Nevertheless, I definitely am showing the highlights. We don’t always post the unappealing or ugly things that happen in our lives. We also don’t (usually) make posts about the average, everyday mundane things going on (unless it’s another picture of my coffee—which you know I love!).
So, I’ll just go ahead and let you know that I am without a doubt imperfect, broken, often uninteresting, and more (or so much less). I am impatient with people when I am in LA traffic. I struggle with feeling entitled when boarding an airplane and I don’t get priority because I’m on an airline that I don’t have status with. I snap at my husband when I am stressed prior to going on stage or TV. I think more about myself than I should and not enough about others. I don’t look put together all of the time as much as I wish I did. And on and on and on.
What I love is the beautiful gift of grace from God that allows me to have peace in the midst of my mess. Anything I’ve done well, I can only credit to my heavenly Father. I am forever grateful that the Bible tells me that I am completely loved by him. This is one of the ways the Bible has impacted me. I love the Bible, and love that for a living I get to invite others to engage with this book.
When you are getting heat warnings on your weather app, but still spending 12 hours outside in the heat, you know you must be at Rock the Desert.
It is quite an event to behold. Thousands of people coming out to the desert in 100+ degree weather to watch Christian artists perform all throughout the day.
Museum of the Bible had the chance to be there as one of the sponsors, and we had a great time.
Some of the highlights of being a part of this event are pictured below.
First, we had to get our tent all set up, and it looked awesome:
Our team did NOT like the dangerous fire ants. Three of us experienced fire ant attacks, and it was not fun. But all in all, we dominated those ants. #AntsWontWin #KristineisaBoss
We had to try very hard to stay hydrated. We gave out a ton of water to everyone that came through out tent. I personally drank about 50 bottles of Museum of the Bible water. The Museum has good water.
After all the work, we got to sit and enjoy hearing Lecrae close out the weekend. It was very American. He sang “Welcome to America”, with fireworks going off in the background, a big american flag as the backdrop to the stage, and security officers listening from their horses. #Merica
Thanks for having us, Rock the Desert! It was quite a memorable weekend. #LovetheBible