The Perfect Wedding

I’ve always loved weddings. I mean, what girl doesn’t? Growing up, I loved the movie The Wedding Planer. The opening scene of JLo in the headset (a la Britney Spears) effortlessly executing that gorgeous wedding had me nodding and smiling and bouncing on the edge of my seat. That part where she’s planning a pretend wedding for her barbie dolls? Precious.

My love of weddings continued into my teenage years when I helped out at a family friend’s wedding venue. I worked there for four or five summers helping set up, clean up, park cars, prepare snacks, cut flowers, and divert wedding crises (well, maybe not, but in my head I was totally irreplaceable and starring in The Wedding Planner 2).

Ever since Pinterest came along I have joined the thousands (millions?) of other girls planning their imaginary weddings, full of DIY projects that will turn out nothing like the pictures and $20,000 dresses no one actually buys. Except now, I AM planning my actual wedding. My real life, not pretend, it’s actually going to happen wedding. Um, what. Excuse me while I pinch myself a little bit and scream into a pillow.

Okay, I’m back. I’ve dreamed about marrying J for almost seven years now. That’s a lot of time to plan, dream, and scheme. But now that it’s become a reality and not just a pretend event happening sometime in the future, I’m a little bit…overwhelmed? Too excited? Not excited enough? Making way too many spreadsheets than any sane person should?

Since you mentioned spreadsheets (oh wait that was me) I should probably say that I love excel, and lists, and charts, and organizational apps…and since we got engaged last month I have gone a little bit crazy with all of the awesome tools out there to help plan THE perfect event.

But as much as I want our wedding to be perfect, I know it won’t be, and I also know that somehow that will make it even more perfect. Imperfectly perfect. Because I’m not perfect. J’s not perfect. We’re not perfect. And I’m sure that some auntie will get way too drunk and say something ridiculous, that we won’t order enough chairs for everyone, that we’ll lose some important RSVPs, and that a table will collapse just when all of the food has been put on it. But that’s okay. Because that won’t make our day any less special. Because when it comes down to it, aren’t weddings simply about joining together with the one you love, surrounded by loved ones? Yes, all the stuff that comes with a wedding is pretty awesome, but I know that when the day comes (and no, we don’t have a date yet, so stop asking) all that will matter is that I’m finally marrying the man of my dreams.

Also, will you please help remind me of all of this (with a few slaps if needed) when I’m worrying about using sunshine yellow versus sunflower yellow in a few months?


“Love can’t always be perfect. Love is just love.”
[The Wedding Planner]

Our ‘Hood

As you know, J and I recently moved to NC! The neighborhood we are living in is seriously gorgeous. I mean buy a rocking chair pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and sit on the front porch smiling at all of the neighbors as they stroll on by gorgeous.

Forest Hills is one of the oldest and prettiest neighborhoods in Wilmington, just east of downtown. Most of the homes were built in the 1920’s-1950’s and are colonial style, with large lots and huge, green, sprawling front lawns. There is a relatively small amount of traffic-probably because there are speed humps every 20 yards. And yes, they do blend in with the road, and yes, I have gone over them a wee bit fast once or twice. There’s even an elementary school a block from our home, with a playground we may or may not swing at on a regular basis.

I still can’t believe that we get the privilege of walking around this quaint and friendly neighborhood every evening. During tonight’s power walk (everything feels like a power walk in this humidity) I sneaked in some pictures of my favorite homes.



IMG_7616Yall. Beautiful, right? There’s one house that’s my favorite, just a block over from our townhouse. It’s a newer brick house, with a huge front lawn, an even bigger back yard, a front porch with a swing and rockers, wooden shutters, and quaint landscaping, directly next door to the elementary school. It’s the kind of house that triggers daydreams of drinking homemade lemonade with your friends on the porch while your kids play tag in the yard. The house that just has to have a big, open kitchen inside with an island, where your family sits on stools and samples freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, while the old yellow lab drools nearby. It’s the place that stirs up thoughts of cozy movie nights, with all of your loved ones piled on big overstuffed couches, snacking on extra buttery popcorn and laughing at whatever film is on. It’s the home that makes you smile as you think of tucking in your family, kissing your other half goodnight, and drifting off to dreamland without a worry in the world.

Every time we jog past this house (or sluggishly walk by, depending on the weather that day) we look at each other and say “someday”.

“Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Road Trip

I LOVE taking trips. Weekend trips or long vacations; drives to the beach or flights to Europe. There’s something so exciting about going new places. That being said, I was never that fond of road trips. I don’t exactly enjoy sitting still, so being stuck in a seat for hours seems pretty awful.

And all that being said, I just finished a 10 day (yes, TEN day) road trip-and loved it.

J and I recently moved to North Carolina. And by recently, I mean a few days ago. Since we needed to bring my car over anyway we decided to make the drive across the country ourselves. If you look at a map, Washington State and North Carolina are basically at opposite ends of the US. It takes about 3,000 miles to get from here to there if you take it in a straight shot, but of course that’s not what we did. We are blessed to have family and friends scattered across the country, so we decided that this road trip was the perfect opportunity to see a bunch of them. So, the 3,000 mile trip quickly became 4,000, and the 4 days became 10 days long, bringing us through 14 states (!!!) until we reached our new home.

 IMG_7321||We stopped in San Francisco to see my auntie and uncle and toured the Redwoods||IMG_7346||We stopped at Disney and took cheesy pictures in Minnie Mouse ears||


||We made the obligatory stop at In N Out for burgers||IMG_7381||We swam through waterfalls and tubed the lazy river in Phoenix||


||We drove through thunder storms, then reveled in the beautiful aftermath in Texas||


||And we took A LOT of selfies||

Finally, last Friday, we ended up at our new HOME! We are living in the gorgeous neighborhood of Forest Hills in Wilmington. The houses around us are absolutely gorgeous-brick, pillars, shutters, sprawling lawns, and covered front porches. Our adorable townhouse is also brick, with a bay window, fenced in back patio, new flooring, and updated cabinetry. I am in love!


Since we made the trip in just my little Kia, we were limited on space and therefore limited in what we brought with us. We were basically starting fresh-all new furniture, new dishes, new pots and pans, new rugs, new sheets-you name it, we needed it. The first night we blew up our air mattress, set out our Costco beach chairs, and ate dinner on a moving box.


In the past few days things have come together remarkably fast, and we already have almost everything we need! It has been so fun being able to pick out everything for this exciting new chapter in our lives.

Speaking of new chapter-did I mention that we got ENGAGED?! Yes, after seven years together we decided to make it official! But more about that in another post.


For the next two weeks before I start school (I am starting the MSW program here in North Carolina) we will continue getting settled, start applying for jobs, get new licenses, and orient ourselves in our new surroundings (which really just means going to the beach). I can’t wait to update y’all on all of our new adventures as #teamcharrointakesnc!

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
[The Wizard of Oz]


Well, the week has arrived-it’s moving week! It’s a little bit misleading when I say ‘moving week’ because really we have two-the week we moved from The Burg and the week we move to NC. Today is the second one, but I’m reflecting on the first. 

I’ve known for over a year now that I would be moving to NC for grad school at this time of the year. What I didn’t know was the exact date, if J would be coming with me, what our future home would look like, and how hard it would be to say goodbye to this place that has become comfortable and familiar over the years.

It’s not exactly a secret that I wasn’t a fan of The Burg when we first moved here. I was coming from the heart of Waikiki, where I was living with my best friend, working at an awesome job with amazing coworkers, pouring myself into an incredible church, and soaking up the sunshine every single day. The Burg, on the other hand, is…not exactly that. But over the past three years I’ve come to enjoy the small town feel, the big, open, sprawling hayfields, the expansive view that comes after the murder that is the Manastash ridge hike, the oodles of fresh veggies and fruits at the Farmer’s Market, and the genuine love of the people that live there.

Because that’s what it all comes down to in the end, isn’t it? It’s the people that make a place a nice place to live. It’s the people that make a town inviting, a morning drive pleasant, and a grocery trip not feel like a chore. It’s the people that make a place home.

Yes, I miss the cornfields and beautiful mountains of my hometown. Yes, I miss the breathtaking beaches on Oahu. Yes, I miss the sunsets in The Burg. But mostly, I miss the family that comes with where I’m from. The friends that turned into family in Hawaii. And now, I will miss the wonderful people I have been able to call my friends and surrogate family here in The Middle of Washington.

Moving is a bittersweet thing. On one hand, it’s an adventure-and there’s nothing I love more than a grand adventure. But on the other hand it’s a bit shocking-you leave behind the familiar and the routine, you leave the people you love, and you just start all over.

Gone will be the days of relaxing in the comfort of The Yellow House. No longer will the local sandwich shop know my order (turkey on wheat with cranberry and cream cheese and extra onion, if you’re wondering). And no longer will I feel completely comfortable at work and feel like I’ve finally gotten into the groove of things.

When we move, all of those things will change. We’ll have to find a new favorite restaurant and a new favorite coffee shop to study at. We’ll begin the terrifying process of applying for jobs and going through interviews, and eventually have to learn the routine of whatever work place we end up at. I’ll have to put up with piles of boxes and unfinished rooms, of unorganized cupboards and too many junk drawers.

But that also means we GET to try a bunch of new cafes and eateries. We GET to find new opportunities and meet new people. We GET to start from scratch and turn an empty house into our home.

Moving is weird. It’s new. It’s exciting. It’s sad. It’s adventurous. It’s stressful. And although it means leaving precious things behind, it also means there’s a new opportunity coming to discover new precious things, experiences, and people.


“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.”
[Carl Sandburg]

Holding Out for Something Better

When I first moved to The Burg I couldn’t find a job to save my life. I’m talking application after application. Job search after job search. A lot of money spent printing resumes and cover letters. I mean…even Taco Bell didn’t want to hire me. Taco Bell!! (I love me some 7 Layer Burritos, but that’s beside the point). I never realized how much worth we (or at least I) put into having a job. It seems to be the ‘American Way’ to have a ‘good job’ and be able to ‘provide’ for yourself and your family. When I couldn’t even get an interview at a fast food restaurant, I felt my morale hit a low. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t anyone want to hire me?

I’ve always been blessed with work in the sense of having nice, comfortable, supportive jobs. Growing up I had a network of family and friends that enabled me to work at different places that I enjoyed. When I moved to Hawaii I got hired at Starbucks right after applying, and I grew to absolutely love it there. I was promoted to a shift lead at my six month review (I say this not as a brag but to illustrate a point). I’m not the most business savvy or incredible butt buster (is that a term?), but I work hard and I like to think I have a good head on my shoulders.

That being said, for the first year in The Burg, I was jobless. When summer rolled around and I had no new job prospects, I bit the bullet and called the lady who my friend had been cleaning for. Needless to say, cleaning disgusting college apartments in the 100 degree heat of summer was not a high point for me.

As I kneeled on linoleum floors and scrubbed toilet after toilet (seriously, the number was high. Maybe triple digits. I don’t really want to think about it) I felt my ‘job morale’ sink even lower. I joked that the cleaning job was a good example to ‘stay in school, kids!’ (I was about to enter my last year of college) but really, I felt ashamed and worthless.

During those months of cleaning I would listen to a variety of music, radio stations, and podcasts. I started subscribing to some awesome sermons, including ones from my old church in Hawaii. One evening in the middle of this joblessness/cleaning despair, K told me something along the lines of “God must have something really awesome saved up for you if He’s keeping you from every other job”. I think I laughingly agreed and another topic came up, but later that night, her words really hit me deep in my heart

So, the next day, as I scrubbed toilets and bathtubs and kitchen sinks, I listened to a sermon, and I said a simple prayer. Basically, I asked God to show me where He wanted to put me. And yes, I asked Him to show me NOW.

Now, we know God works on His own schedule. He has His own timing. And yes, His timing is always WAY better than our own, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. And this is no exception.

As part of my undergrad degree, I needed an internship revolving around something social work-y. In my countless scours of the internet I found a job posting for an AmeriCorps position at a place in my town. Upon further website investigation, I found that there was a volunteer application WITH a spot to check if you wanted to intern. So, I filled out yet another job application, dressed up, dropped it off at the office, and…nothing.

A think a week or two went by, and I stopped by again. Yes, they had received it. No, they didn’t have any further questions. Then, I stopped by again. Or maybe I called. I don’t remember the exact details-I think my brain blocked out this soul sucking time of my life. Just kidding. But really.

Long story short, the HR manager finally called me and set up an interview. Not hours after the interview, she let me know that they wanted me! I could practically hear the angels singing. SOMEONE WANTED ME! No, they weren’t paying me, and no, I didn’t really know exactly what I would be doing, but still! Someone actually wanted me.

A month and a half into my internship they wanted to hire me. Yes, with pay! And awhile after that, I shifted roles again. And now, after almost two years at the glorious place that said yes to me, I am fully reflecting at the goodness God had in mind making me wait and placing me there.

The experiences I have had are priceless. I have no doubt that they and the learning I was able to write about in my narrative got me into my #1 choice grad school. The interactions I have had with clients have reaffirmed that I am in the right field. The people I met there have become near and dear to my heart. My first manager and his family have become huge sources of joy, and their little ones have lit up my life each week. The man I used to share an office with has become like an uncle; the girls I work with became confidants. That HR manager that finally gave me the time of day has become a positive role model of both a girl boss and a woman of God-and her precious daughter makes my heart smile time and time again.

And you know why? Because God made me wait. He looked over my begging and rolled eyes and pleads of getting hired at Taco Bell, and saved my time for a place that needed me-and more importantly, that I needed.

And it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life so far.

“When God tells you no, tell Him thank you. He’s holding out for something better.”

The End of an Era

Sooo it’s mid-June. CWU graduation is tomorrow. Which means that I’ve already been graduated (from COLLEGE nonetheless) for an entire YEAR! Holy moly. Where did the time go?! I still feel like I should be in middle school. But here I am, twenty-two years old, a year after undergrad and two months away from starting grad school.

Tomorrow I will watch J and K (that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?), two people whom I hold extremely close to my heart, say goodbye to the past 17 years of school and hello to real life. Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but still. It’s the end of an era.

It’s the end of nights spent drinking Big Gulps and watching bad Netflix movies. It’s the end of family dinners and How I Met Your Mother marathons. It’s the end of Taco Tuesdays, Wednesday Wine Nights, Friday Happy Hours, and Cartoon Saturdays. It’s the end of an era that was spent stretched out on the carpet, chatting and laughing while getting ready for a night out. The end of having to walk only ten feet through the house to get an outfit opinion or gossip update; the end of having twice the closet and clothing options. The end of sharing the belief that the most important thing to always have stocked in the kitchen is k-cups and creamer. It’s the end of The Yellow House.

But it’s also the beginning of an era. An era of risks and big moves, of leaps of faith and putting our trust in ourselves. The start of stepping out of our comfort zones and beginning a life that doesn’t revolve around happy hours and homework deadlines (well, maybe half of that is true ;)) with new jobs and new homes. This is the start of something new.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of a tickle in my throat as I wrote this. Okay, it’s more of a lump. Okay, I’m crying. But I think what makes it special is that they’re not sad tears, although it will be hard to be so far apart from those we love and each other. They’re happy tears. Proud tears. Thankful tears. Blessed tears.

I didn’t realize how special it was as an adult to still be close to the people you loved growing up until I moved away. I didn’t realize that usually your high school ‘BFF’ isn’t really forever. That usually your high school sweetheart isn’t ‘the one’. I am forever grateful for having shared my home for the past two years with two of the people I love most in the world. As J and I move to North Carolina next month and K moves to Australia (!!!!) the month after that, I feel confident that our relationships won’t waver but will only get stronger. They say that a true friend is someone you may not see for months, but when you meet again, you pick up right where you left off, drinking mojitos and eating nachos (okay yes I added in that last part).

Congratulations, J and K, for conquering this huge milestone. And thank you, Lord, for giving me two amazing people to share my life with from day one.


“When you’re young, everything things seems like the end of the world. It’s not. It’s just the beginning.”
[17 Again]

April Showers Bring May…Showers?

Eastern Washington has been oddly rainy the past couple of days. For those of you who aren’t from Washington, you may be surprised to find out that we actually have two very different sides of the state with drastically different weather. The weather over here is actually dry and desert-y and not at all like the Seattle rain depicted in every Washington movie ever (I’m looking at you, Sleepless in Seattle). While I love the occasional rainy day when I can bundle up on the couch with blankets and hot soup, I’m not a fan of it when I have to try and be an actual functioning adult. However, one thing makes it much more bearable-which brings me to my first favorite!

The North Face

Like every PNWer, I live in North Face attire for three quarters of the year. One of my favorite two pieces is the women’s ‘Venture’ jacket. It fits over a sweatshirt and is super lightweight (I literally stuff it up and put it in my purse) and works great to keep out wind and rain. I am currently coveting the yellow one, but due to my funds (or lack of) I am making myself stick with the plain black version I have had for the past three years or so. Let me tell ya-best $100 I’ve ever spent on clothing. Ever!

My other NF favorite (do the cool people call North Face NF? Probably not…) is the puffy vest they have (I think it’s the ‘Nupsete’) in black. In the winter I wear it literally every day-over sweatshirts, long sleeve shirts, jerseys, sweaters, flannels…the list goes on and on. At $150 or so it’s definitely an investment, but considering I wear it at least four times a week fall through spring it is money well spent. See below pics if you don’t believe me about it’s versatility!

Vest Pic


Okay, so remember last week I told you about how much I adore Nordstrom’s free shipping? Well…I have another shopping confession. I LOVE freebies. I mean who doesn’t, right? But it can be a serious problem. I will pop onto a website with no intention of buying something and end up with $50 of it in my cart because, FREE GIFT! This may or may not have happened recently. I can neither confirm nor deny that if you spend $32 on Clinique at Nordstrom you get an awesome make up bag stuffed with goodies. Okay, it’s true. And okay, I did it. I am actually stoked because the bag contains a few travel size products I’ve really been wanting to try. But honestly (you have to believe me!) I’ve been working on restraint when it comes to impulse purchase just because it’s on sale or because you get a free gift with it. Yes, the item may be on sale and you’re saving $20, but if you weren’t going to spend that $20 in the first place, is it really saving money?

Jesus Calling

My last favorite for now (because you’re probably already sick of hearing about my latest shopping escapades) is the devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It’s not new by any means (I think it was published in 2004) but it’s new to me-I got it in the fall of last year. And seriously, if you get just one devotional book in your life, make it this one!

Basically, the book contains a short devotion for each day of the year along with corresponding Bible verses. What I love the most is that I can spend as much or as little time I have reading it and still get something out of it. On the Saturday mornings when I wake up early and do my devos on the porch while drinking coffee (ahh, can it be the weekend yet?) I can easily spend 45 minutes reading and writing and praying. And on the flip side, on the mornings that I wake up late or have trouble getting out of bed, I can spend 5 minutes reading through the day and saying a quick prayer. Now, I’m not proud of the fact that I don’t regularly carve an hour out of each day to spend doing my devos, but the reality is that some days I will spend more time and some days I will spend less-and this book works for both.

I can’t even begin to tell you how dang relevant they are either-a few weeks ago I had several meetings for work that I was particularly anxious over, and the devo for the day was “Do not be afraid for I am with you…No matter what happens, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Let this assurance soak into your mind and heart, until you overflow with Joy. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, you need not fear!” Um, what. It was like God handpicked that just for me. Anyway, long story short is that if you are a person just starting to test out your faith and need a good devo book-this is for you. And if you have been a Christian for 45 years and want something to read every day-this is for you. No matter where you are at in your journey of faith, I think you’ll love this book!


Well, that’s it for now! Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments, or if you have a devo book that you love, please share a recommendation with me! And PS, all of the pictures in this post are from my Instagram-follow along with me at @coteatracy (or don’t-let’s be honest, I usually just post pictures of my coffee and fat cat). And PPS, I’m not sponsored in any way by Nordstrom/North Face/Jesus Calling/etc.-the stuff I ramble on about is actually what I’m loving. Although, if someone were to want to give me free stuff, I wouldn’t be opposed. Wait, no-that’s supposed to be something I’m working on! Life is hard, friends. Happy Tuesday!

“Friday Favorites”

I’ve recently been subscribing to some style blogs-because obviously my style needs some serious work. I’ve noticed that the current theme with all of them is “Friday Favorites” in which the blogger highlights their favorite…stuff. Clothes, shops, gifts, jewelry, other bloggers, etc. In an effort to be more blogger-y, I thought, maybe I should do this! But then I remembered I suck at sticking to regular posts. Don’t even remind me about the time I tried to complete the Month of Thankfulness-you can see I turned it into a Year of Thankfulness, which should actually be YearS of Thankfulness because it’s been like two years and I still haven’t completed a month’s worth of posts.

But I digress. In an effort to join in on this awesome trend (actually, I don’t even know if I can call it a trend since I’m pretty sure everyone has been doing this for years) I decided I will make a “Current Loves” section. If you read between the lines, yes, that is a Friday Favorites without time constraints. Sneaky, I know.

To start off with I thought I would share with y’all three of my current favorites:

House Hunting

As you might know, J and I are moving to North Carolina this summer so that I can attend grad school. We have been searching for houses and apartments through various websites for the past few months but have really gotten serious the past six weeks or so. Later this month we are flying over for a quick trip to (hopefully!) find our next home! I am SO stoked and have loved looking at everything from falling down little bungalows to huge mansions (that are a bit out of our price range ;) ) and everything in between. We obviously won’t be buying our dream home-because, let’s face it, we’re poor and have a lot of student loans-but it’s always fun to look. Never stop dreaming-because if you’re not dreaming, you’re just sleeping.

HouseBut really-how adorable is this house right in Wilmington?! I love the shutters and pillars. All I want to do is add a rocking chair and start drinking sweet tea!

Nordstrom’s Free Shipping

Okay, so I know that I’m super late hopping on this free shipping bandwagon, but seriously…Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns on everything. EVERYTHING! One of my biggest pet peeves is having to pay shipping on online orders (I know, I know-first world problems) and especially on returns. Nordstrom offers free shipping both ways all the time with no minimum order! They also offer price matching. Um, what. Needless to say, I have spent a bit more than usual in the shopping department the past month. Oops.

Boyfriend Jeans

As much as I want to be stylish and adultish, comfort trumps everything in my book. I LOVE that boyfriend jeans are not as tight as normal jeans, look cute with basically every shoe (seriously-flats, sandals, heels, Toms…the list goes on and on) and are super versatile. I have a couple of distressed pairs that can be dressed up or down with a tee-shirt or sweater and a light pair that is one of my office staples. I’m usually not a fan of light jeans (the darker the better) but they’re super comfy and have enough stretch to make me look like I kind of have a figure. It’s a win win!

Jeans3Don’t laugh at the above awkward photos-I’m obviously not a fashion blogger. Okay, you can laugh, but just a little.

Great Friday

Today at work we had a chocolate fountain to enjoy, complete with lots of goodies to dip-strawberries, bananas, graham crackers, pound cake, and of course, plenty of fingers. One of my coworkers jokingly made the comment that it seemed a bit morbid to celebrate Good Friday with a chocolate party. I laughed and agreed, then made the comment “well it all turned out okay in the end, right?”

Isn’t that the truth? By all means, Good Friday should be kind of a terrible day. Jesus suffered and died. That doesn’t seem very good, does it?

But of course, He was resurrected, and three days later we get to celebrate this goodness on Easter Sunday. So, it seems as though the good ending (Jesus rising) makes the beginning good as well.

But what if Jesus hadn’t been resurrected? I still think Good Friday would be good.

I know that seems like a bold statement. But can we remember why He died? He died for you. For me. For our parents. For our grandparents. For our future children. For our terrible, broken, sinning world. Jesus chose to die for us.

I always get chicken skin when I think of this. Imagine being dragged through town, beaten and flogged, nailed on some boards, and slowly dying. Who would you do this for? Probably a few people come to mind. Maybe your kiddos, or your spouse. Maybe a niece or nephew, or a little sibling. Those are all people you love deeply and without conditions.

But Jesus died for strangers. He died for people he had never really met before, for people who had sinned again and again and again. He died without knowing when he would rise. He sacrificed himself and submitted to the will of God.

I find this hard to wrap my head around because half of the time I struggle to sacrifice 30 minutes of extra sleep to do my Bible study in the morning. Doesn’t that seem crazy when it’s compared with Jesus’ sacrifice? He willingly gave up His life and I don’t even want to roll out of bed a little early so I can do my devos. Ugh, Cote.

I am grateful for God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice every single day. Because of it I am loved and joyful, forgiven and blessed, and headed to eternal life with our Father. But every year on Good Friday I am grateful just a little bit more, when I think of the extreme sacrifice that was made for me and my unworthy self. To me, that makes Good Friday good on its own, even without the promise of the upcoming Sunday.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
[Philippians 2:5-11]

Read, Breathe, Pray, Like

Social media is everywhere in our world. We have it book marked on our computers and its apps are installed on our phones. I read somewhere that the average person checks Facebook twenty times a day. Twenty! That’s like ten times more than we brush our teeth (if you have good dental hygiene, that is)! However, dental hygiene is not the real issue here (I trust you regularly brush and floss yo’ teeth). The issue is that we are spending increasing amounts of time on social media, and as a consequence are spending less and less time doing other things. The other issue-which I have realized more and more the past few months or so-is that we let what happens on social media have a huge effect on us.

We all have that annoying second cousin that won’t stop posting intense political articles, that old coworker who shares every cat meme ever, or that acquaintance from high school that feels like they must update you on every aspect of their life during every single minute (“I’m brushing my hair! Now I’m driving to work! Sad face, I just saw a dead raccoon on my way to work! Ugh, it’s 10 am and I already need a nap!” …you get the picture). Social media can serve as a source of annoyance for things like that.

It can also serve as a source of anger when people share things that you strongly disagree with, post opinions that drastically differ from your own, or say things that you believe are just wrong. It can also serve as a source of hurt, as people can be downright mean. I’m talking about those people that take advantage of their anonymity or use their keyboard as a shield, typing extraordinarily cruel things about people they have never met in real life or really know anything about. “Trolls” I am told they’re called (although I still think of trolls as those cute pink haired dolls with the gemstone bellybuttons I had as a little kid).

This morning as I was having my coffee and scrolling through my Facebook feed I was struck by a conversation that was going on between some people I vaguely know about someone else I also vaguely know. I would have kept scrolling without a second thought except I recognized the screenshot that was posted as something I had just seen somewhere else on my newsfeed. Upon further investigation, because I am a nosy curious person, I read the series of comments about someone who was selling something that they had won. The comments proceeded to express opinions about how wrong this was, about the awful choice this person was making by for doing this, about how bad their true colors were…

I immediately was upset, but brushed it off and continued on with my morning routine. However, throughout breakfast, more coffee, getting dressed, more coffee, starting my car, and more coffee-I just couldn’t get the conversation out of my head. Because I know the person that they were talking about I obviously have a biased opinion on the subject. However, I haven’t seen that person in years-at least six or seven. But from what I know about the person, they are one of the sweetest and nicest souls around. Yes, they could have changed drastically in the past few years. Sure, maybe they did wrongfully accept the gift with the intent to sell it later. Maybe their true colors are not so great. Or…maybe they are a great person. I don’t know. The point is, the people making all of these comments don’t really know either. They publicly were ‘talking trash’ about another living, breathing person (regardless of whether that person’s intent was bad or good) who likely would be very hurt to see their comments.

Jesus constantly calls us to be examples to others. In fact, Sunday’s sermon at church was how to handle conflicts in a Godly manor (seriously, one of the best sermons I have heard in a long time!). How we as Christians handle situations (whatever those situations may be) reflects on our religion, our beliefs, our Bible, and our God.

I am not claiming to be good at this-at all. In fact, I just ordered the book our pastor referenced in his sermon about conflict, because I am so dang bad at it. We are all human. We are imperfect, drawn to gossip, quick to jump to conclusions, and slow to listen-exactly the opposite of what we are told to do (James 1:19 says “Understand this: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”).

I was upset by this conversation I saw, upset at people’s quickness to judge, upset that as adults we still haven’t grown out of gossiping and tattling on people. This upset-ness (that’s not really a word but we can pretend) faded as I got to work and was immersed in Monday morning tasks.

Then, as usual, God intervened.

I was checking my junk email to make sure I didn’t miss any important ones (no one important really ever emails me, but you can’t be too sure ;)) when I came across one of Stewardship’s 40 Acts. It was Act 23: Share, Pray, Like. And what it said was this: dedicate some time to pray for the things you see in your newsfeed. Small or large, personal or global-whatever it is, just take a second to pray about it.

I felt like I had been slapped in the face. Here I was, thinking about how upset I was at something, being a Judgy McJudgster about their Christian-ness, remembering Sunday’s sermon…and I didn’t even think to pray about it! Facepalm, Cote.

What a great reminder Act 23 serves for us. Before being quick to judge and point our finger, or get angered, or saddened, or whatever it is-why don’t we take a moment to pray about it? We all make mistakes. We all have opinions. We all have Facebook (or so it seems this day). And thus, this month I am making it my priority to pray for the world of social media and for the souls sitting behind their monitors and smartphones and iPads. Will you join me?

Act 23

Find Stewardship’s 40 Acts here: