showerz.

my sister, mary, threw me an amazing bridal shower this weekend at la patisserie, complete with lavender macarons and champagne, yum! here are a few pics. :)


my amazing bridesmaids!


the entire bridal party! so glad everyone could come!


i felt like i had been built into a crate and barrel fort!


serving ware! yesssss.


amy made me a picture book of the day we found my dress. :)

i went to africa and i’m getting married!

wow it has been forever since i have posted. things have been just a little bit busy around here in the life of the plastic cupcake!

in october i made my treck to africa with help end local poverty. i’m still processing a way to eloquently describe what i experienced. i’m so excited to being our storytelling process from africa–and roll out our 2011 campaign, for the orphan. i will be posting more blogs (pinky swear!) from africa in the next few weeks about some of our kiddos. stay tuned.

ALSO, i am SO EXCITED to announce that i’m getting married!!!! dan and i are tying the knot here in austin, this coming february 5th! we are having a small morning wedding and then heading to greece for 8 days. i can not wait and i know this will be an exciting time. we created a cheesy wedding website, if you’re so inclined, to follow our story: http://www.emilyanddan.wordpress.com.

our dear friend, and my discipler, jana, took us all around town last sunday for an engagement shoot. more to come, but until then here’s one for you to enjoy!

joy and rest.

i have some really great neighbors who have been teaching me a lot lately about hospitality and the gospel. i believe that having an open-door policy is the way God wants me to live my life now, and in the future. to do that, requires a lot of work–keeping the house cleaned, being mindful of my schedule, and i like to have snacks for guests, so making sure i’m organized in that regard is a huge deal.

the past few weekends i’ve entertained a lot of people. international travelers, a tea party…lots of home cooked meals for friends, etc. last saturday i was cleaning my house for what seemed like the umpteenth time, and i sat down and began to dwell on how tired i was. “it’s just not fair. i work so hard.” ha! such junk.

in the middle of my pity party, God began to tell me some things. He told me that i wasn’t finding joy in the things i was doing. He told me that if i really valued this idea of hospitality and the gospel, and having people in my home to love on, then there was SO much infinite joy in mopping and scrubbing the bathtub.

whaaat?

i admit i didn’t completely take this lesson to heart at first and ended up taking a fat nap saturday afternoon, rather than completing the task before me of a clean house…but last night when i finished up, i asked God to help me honestly find joy in organizing the closet and folding my remaining laundry. and you know what? i was completely energized. so much so, that i tackled the reorganization of my pantry. it was awesome!

sunday at soma, jacob preached on rest. i can’t help but recognize how these things go hand in hand. joy and rest. the truth is most of us ARE consumed with our own weariness and rest. just like i was thinking, ‘woe is me…i have to do more dishes because i’ve had twenty million people over…” i loved the example of…we work 40 hours a week an come home tired, so we then veg out on the couch and watch a tv show about work for two hours. ha! it’s so true!! we try to find rest in the wrong thing.

he went on to talk about how if we took a poll on, ‘what would you do if you knew it was your last day on earth?’ that most of us…maybe ALL of us would choose to do created things. going to six flags, eating a steak dinner. those things aren’t bad—but invite your heart to consider what Jesus did. He spent time praying in the garden with his Father, putting the task at hand into perspective, and getting courage to do what He was called to. i believe he had rest and joy by not participating in creation, but relying upon and spending time with the Creator.

we are too often reliant upon broken things to fix us. jesus says, “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest.” every time i read those words, a wave of relief washes over me. it’s not about me. it’s not about a seven step plan, or a magic pill that’s going to fix me and make me better. it’s about sufficiency in only Christ. true rest comes from Him.

in his next breath, jesus goes on to say, ‘take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for i am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” i know this is absolutley where i miss the mark. i try to keep my yoke on, or carry both of them, meaning that i try and find strength and might in only myself. and man…it sure is tiring carrying around this yoke. really tiring. (why do i do this, when i don’t have to?)

let us change our perspective from an earthly one to a heavenly one. and even while we are still doing the same things, the same job, the same chores…we find rest and joy when we seek the kingdom first.

Kristy and Caleb.

kristy is one of my dearest friends here in austin. i was totally honored to be able to shoot her engagement pictures with her ever-amazing fiancee, caleb. huere are a few from the laundromat on 29th street. i realize that there are lots of kissy-pictures, but they were my favorite! :)

my plans are aweseome.

me: do you still have a headache?
dan: yes :(
me: how about i hit you in the foot with a hammer so you focus on that instead? i feel this is a hood plan. and also a good plan. also–it will really take your mind off your headache…
dan: emily…honesty in 2010. your plan sucks.
me: ok ok. maybe you’re right. well plan b involves a vile of holy water i keep at my desk…
dan: …and doing what with it? i feel with the average person i could assume correctly, but with you dear emily, i fear my assumptions could be grossly wrong.
me: we just need some duct tape, a bucket of ice and a nine iron.
dan: apparently i was correct in my previous logic.
me: you are wise beyond your years.
dan: must be why i have this headache.
me: clearly there’s a demon inside your head and we must excersize it.
dan: can’t there be a plan c that involves more love, less pain?
me: i don’t understand…

pause.

me: …ok how about you eat some chocolate?
dan: that i can work with.

“To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God…”

this is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite stories, les miserables.

so good!

i can’t really think of a better way to describe the condition of my heart today. but let me back up a month or two. or eight?

last summer, i began discipling my friend kelly after a fairly lengthy pursuit. it was awesome though because once kelly realised she wanted to be discipled, she REALLY–wanted to BE a disciple and she asked for accountability. the whole ‘asking for it’ part doesn’t happen very often. when it does, it creates space for some real life-on-life to happen.

days pushed into weeks, that pushed into months, of really digging in, giving up old habits, picking back up old habits, laying down old habits, learning to make good choices, unlearning the old way of living. it has been a literal roller coaster…that i wouldn’t trade for anything. God has pushed me and challenged me through kelly in not just knowing Him, but believing Him.

in about december of ’09, things progressed in a less than ideal direction, and about six weeks ago we had to check her husband into a mental health clinic in dallas for treatment. kelly came to live with me, and our church community just raised up around us coming forward doing and saying things like, ‘i’ll help you with your bills!’ ‘i’ll drive your husband to the clinic!’ ‘ i will buy you a plane ticket to see him while he’s away!’ it was like a little village of awesomeness appeared out of nowhere to be the hands and feet of our Jesus, loving and serving this family unconditionally. indescribable.

her hubs has made, so far, an incredible recovery. he’s on great meds now and is just blossoming in our community. of course there have been road bumps along the way, and with mine and kelly’s relationship some real joy and some real heartache. dying to everything that you have known for the past 30 years is a lot of work that can not be expected to happen overnight.

in the past week, we have chosen to also enroll kelly in the clinic her husband went to, starting this wednesday. as a community we believe this will help both kelly’s condition and their marriage as a whole.

we know this is only the beginning to the road for recovery, for both, and i want to share what i’ve been learning personally through this process.

first of all, God has shown me His beauty. we ALL…and i mean ALL of us, have ugly junk that we choose over Life. we just do. we are a depraved people. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, so that we could be made pure and blameless before God. this is real life for me right now. it is overwhelming to think that a love that deep exists. but it does, and it is life giving.

the second thing comes from a prayer. a man in my small group prayed over me one particular thursday, when i showed up to group in pieces. he prayed that i would be weak. little did he know that that’s exactly what God had worn me down to. i don’t know if i have a beautiful enough word to describe what it’s like to be in a place, so desparate for someone, that all you can rely on is the fact that God is who He says He is. mighty. merciful. one who extends grace. healer. lover. creator. majestic.

thirdly, God has shown me His great power through truly having a heart for someone. i hear a lot of missionaries talk about how they have a heart for a people group. this is not by mistake. i sincerely believe and have now witnessed in my own life, what it looks like when you intentionally talk to God about something every. single. day. you do things, you extend compassion, you have energy, you have love that is supernatural. if God didn’t love me first, i would never be able to love kelly the way i do.

love. now we come to number four. a few months ago i attended a conference with the austin stone called, ‘verge.’ the major thing i walked away with, besides just loving Jesus more, is that perhaps there is no 6-step process on how to love someone. there’s no devotional or sermon series podcast that’s a fix-all for our problems. we need to go back to the Word. God left us this amazing love letter, on how to live and how to have life, bring life and be life to others. love has become probably the most complex word in my vocabulary. i had no idea what it meant to love someone, and after this experience, i feel even now i’m only on the cusp. i can not wait to see what’s next.

i can’t complete this blog without talking about my so-called partner in crime during this process; my friend, dan. dan has been co-ministering with me to kelly and her husband since the end of january. it’s funny because preceeding these events, God began to minister to me in a really powerful way about being led in ministry and life by the men in my church, and used dan as a major catalyst for this. dan will tell you that for a long time, i bowed up to him, fought him, pushed back on advice he tried to give, and by the grace of God and thankfulness in obedience, i began to choose to let dan lead me. it’s funny how we push back and push back on something God is being very clear on and when we finally give in, it’s way more awesome than we ever could have imagined and then you ask yourself, ‘why did that take so long??’ dan has been there to talk me down, to be the calm in the storm and just point me back to the gospel. watching him pursue Jesus in this, has changed me. and so explains my fifth and final (for now) lesson.

i’m just praying that these ‘lessons’ (for lack of a better word) are something i continue to learn and grown in. and that it doesn’t stop—ever. you can never grow too much. the gospel and truth of God is infinite. i am so grateful and humble to those who have been a part of this process–that’s really just beginning.

there’s something very rich and meaningful in pursuing Jesus with someone…and not to mention LIVING with someone! kelly has become such a dear, dear friend to me. God is so good to me through this gift of friendship.

thanks for reading.