The Boring Wife.

Dearest bloggers (and facebook posters),

It has been brought to my attention (by no less than 5 articles I saw on my newsfeed in the last week) that by getting married at 24, I missed out on:

1. Traveling the world (like Costa Rica, Uganda, and Haiti)
2. Going out with friends
3. Finding out who I am
4. Dating people
5. Having a great job I loved (like working for TED or getting to spend time mentoring teen girls)
6. Going on road trips
7. Binge-watching a guilty pleasure TV show
8. Spontaneously moving to a new place
9. Getting into good shape for myself and no-one else
10. Diving headfirst into the art of fine coffee (Guess I'm throwing out my books on espresso, huh?)
11. Starting my own business (Again, guess I'm throwing out those espresso books)
12. Adopting a pet and loving it whole-heartedly
13. Eating an entire jar of nutella or ice-cream in one sitting
14. Getting a college degree
14. Having any fun whatsoever.

Writers: I get it. There are plenty of amazing things you can do while you're single. There are also plenty of amazing things that can still be done when you're married. Instead of throwing us under the bus as lame, unadventurous, or, in the case of one article, flat out saying that most young marrieds don't have higher education or career goals, can we just agree that we chose different paths? I could have pointed out the road trips I've taken, the ice-cream eating sessions, and the binge-watching my hubby and I do together and apart. I could post photos of my sweet pup, tell stories of hilarious bad dates before Travis, and talk of the nights out with friends I'm *still* able to enjoy. However, that might make this a bit too long. I found out who I was, and am still learning that alongside my husband. And I know I'm not the only young 20-something who is doing the same.

I don't think you're any less exciting or "full" because you aren't married. I don't think my friends with kids have lost their spunk. I think we're all at our own stages in life. LOVE the stage you're in. Support others who are in it. Support others who aren't. Revel in all it's glory because that's where you're at. But please respect that there are plenty of us living a life just as full and exciting as yours- some married, some not. Please recognize the negative stereotypes on display in writing articles about how we are all going to get "knocked up and fat soon", or how we got married because we needed a security blanket. I'm proud to be a wife. I was proud to be a single. I was proud to be those things because I'm proud of who I am as a person.

And so. With that. I present to you my own list.


1. Be kind to everyone you meet, even if you
don't understand them or their lifestyle.

2. Go on dates. Strangers, Boyfriends,
Girlfriends, Spouses.

3. Love fiercely and plant your roots
in rich community.

4. Speak truth into the souls of those
you love- remind them they are
beautiful, smart, creative, and a delight.

5. Never lose your sense of adventure- whether that means jumping out of an airplane or taking walks alongside a river.

6. Make it a point to love your life,
whatever stage you're in.
Live it and enjoy it for all it's worth.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go bake a cake and eat it. Because life is short and cake sounds good at 10am.

The Boring Wife


honesty comes through tears.

When I sat down to start this, I have to admit I just typed in the first title that made sense. I'm not sure how you read it- but I meant "tears" as in crying. Then legitimately had to look up to make sure the word I wanted was spelled that way, because I kept reading it as the word for rips. Now I'm not sure which one my mind meant in the first place.

But I digress.

Let's just get this out of the way, shall we? I'm a weeper. There. Said it. If you know me in person, you have probably seen me cry. It could be a proposal of a complete stranger, a card from a dear friend, a sad memory, a story of triumph or a Hallmark commercial. Happy, sad, overwhelmed, angry, tired tears-- I know them all, and my eyes seem to be incapable of holding them back. And somehow, in the midst of these tears, the Lord tends to reveal things in my heart. Unfortunately, those aren't always good things that I want brought to light. No, this isn't my heart being shown off as being burdened for the lost or something super spiritual and pure. It's more that when I'm sitting there weeping over something out of frustration or brokenness, it's so easy to see my idols:

These idols look SO beautiful in the dark. They shimmer and lure me in with their siren songs and metallic hues. Everyone knows I can't resist glitter. But suddenly, in the light, they are revealed for how hideous they truly are; how hideous they are in my heart. They glare at me and laugh at my shortcomings. I see them in the reflection of every single tear.

This week has been one of tears and tears. Everything seemed to rip at the seams, destroying the idols I trusted and held onto for dear life. I've felt angry, lost, hurt, confused, purposeless, and angry some more. Angry at God, at Travis, at myself, at anyone and everyone who stands in the way of what I want.

You see, a couple months ago, Travis and I began this journey of support raising. In a matter of days, the Lord swung open several doors for Travis to take a residency at The Austin Stone- a church we both respected and were (still are) excited to work alongside. They told us we had until September 1 to raise 80% of the funds- so we made our plans and lists of people we knew. We made awkward phone calls and wrote letters. And money started coming in! We got to 50% in a matter of weeks, and finally reached that glorious 80% just a few days after moving to Austin two weeks ago. We celebrated that 80% and the friends and family who had made it possible. We'd been practically sailing along, riding this boat of self-sufficiency, all the while flying a flag claiming "THE LORD PROVIDES!" See, it's easy to say "The Lord Provides," but still depend on your own means. We had the support system; had people we knew and networks to work through. Our Mighty God didn't really have to do that much work to keep the boat afloat. But this week, the bottom fell out.

Tuesday was an HR and orientation day for Travis. I sent him off to work with a sleepy kiss and then went about my tedious day of sending out resumes for jobs that don't seem to be out there. At 5:00, I got a text from my hubby that I was completely unprepared for: "With taxes and fees, we aren't at 80%. We are at 51%"

No more info than that. Almost two painstaking hours later, when he was home, he turned on his computer to show me the errors in our budget- we were missing taxes, tithing, social security- and his computer crashed. Ka-put. Blue screen of death.

I just cried. We had exhausted our resources just to get to 80%, and here we are- barely halfway, AND in need of a new computer?? I mean, really. Is this some sort of massive joke?
 (Hint: It's not.)

I'm reminded of a sermon that Brandon Barker gave in my last week at the Village. He was talking about support raising for the Chicago church plant and how it had forced him to look at the sin behind the sin behind the sin.

I cried for hours because we are only halfway there after pulling all the strings we thought we had and that makes me so terrified.
My anxiety that we'll never make our support raising goal if they don't come from connections I already knew of reveals that I don't trust that God will provide for us.
My lack of trust that God will provide for us reveals that I don't believe He loves us in the way He says He does.
If God doesn't love us in the way scripture says He does, if He does not long to take care of His children as scripture says He does-- what kind of God is He in my heart? Not much of one.

Those tears and tears. I wanted this to be easy. I wanted this to be in our control. Tuesday night, I called my parents and couldn't even make it through the phone call. I felt powerless. Between the lack of jobs I'm qualified for and the blow about support raising, I was undone. And it would be a lie to say I'm better now.

Travis and I talked on Saturday about it all, and he reminded me that repentance of sin isn't merely saying "okay, I won't be anxious about this." Repentance of sin is honest worship. Praising the Lord for being enough and for being one who we cast that anxiety on. It's a worship that only comes from believing that He will provide- and I'm just not there yet. But at least I know I'm not there yet.

I'm probably committing some sort of blogosphere faux-pas by stealing from my own husband's blog. But he's better at wording things than I am.
"Does God answer prayers? Yes. But too often I fall into this trap that if He answers my prayers then it’s going to be a comfortable thing. But our God sits as a refiner’s fire, to mold us and shape us into the image of Christ that we may come to know Him in fullness in glory. Every time I pray one of these dangerous prayers — prayers where I ask God to shape and mold me — He answers. And it hurts. Sometimes it hurts because your ankle gets broken (that’s another story entirely), and sometimes it hurts because you’ve just packed up your wife to move to a new city where, unless He raises up supporters in a very short amount of time, you’re going to be eating nothing but Ramen for a while. This isn’t because He’s some 9-year-old boy frying ants with a microscope, but because He purges sin from us like venom from a wound"

My tears this week are understandable on the surface level. Joblessness, hopelessness, a string of bad things or let downs- we understand these and we empathize with them. But they stem from a much more sinful place in my heart; a place of disbelief and reluctance. And if I'm honest with myself, with you, with God- until I let go and allow Him to purify my heart of them, I'll never know the freedom of worshiping a God who is a God and not a shadow of an idea.



For more information on partnering with us, why we're in Austin in the first place, and what we hope to do after the program- check out traviswhitehead.wordpress.com or email me and we'll be in touch.


An Open Letter to an Inspirational Leader

Jason Russell,

I’m calling on you. 

Because I need help getting to Fourth Estate. We’ve never met, but you follow me on Instagram, and I stalk the heck out of you and your adorable family. I have, however, met and formed solid friendships with half of the people you know. How? Because I’ve been involved in Invisible Children since the rough cut came out- Global Night Commute, “Big Ideas,” the Rescue, state-wide events, Kony 2012, the whole shebang.
I was just 17 when I learned about IC. I watched a video and my life as I knew it was over. The impact it had on me would cause me to add a non-profit management degree and I never looked back. Global Night Commute was my first event, and not even the sprinklers coming on in the middle of the night could convince us to leave. When I started college at OU in 2006, I immediately joined our chapter of IC and helped coordinate events and screenings. In 2009, I helped plan the OKC rescue, and jumped in the car with friends I had met an hour before to drive to Little Rock to help their team get rescued (We may or may not have called the local representatives at their homes…), and from there we drove to Wichita for the next couple of days. To this day, I have a piece of the rope that we held as we walked tied around my wrist as a reminder to pray for peace. I have lobbied with my representatives- both local and nationally- through events with Resolve and by attending Lobby Days: How it Ends. At lobby days, I literally went toe-to-toe with Senator Inhofe for saying he loved Africa, but not being on board with the legislation because it might take away from *unused* military funding. You see, I’m not afraid to do hard things or risk someone not liking me, if it furthers justice in the end. In 2010, I slept outside for almost two weeks with the Coburn Say Yes campaign, leading teams through OKC to get outside support, making daily phone calls, skipping classes and birthdays (and showers), and you can bet that I rejoiced and laughed and cried the moment we got the call saying he would allow the bill through. That strange little group of us who came together those long days and nights became an odd sort of family that can never be replaced. I’ve housed countless roadies, made care packages, and learned how to make vegan meals so that they feel at home. And once, at SXSW in 2010, I ended up working the Invisible Children merch table simply because no one else was there when I walked in. My husband and I had our first date in silence- using a pen and paper to communicate- because he happened to ask me out on April 24th, 2011, and I refused to break my commitment to 25 hours of silence. When we got engaged a year later, he even included the 25 card as part of the proposal. I celebrated the release of Kony 2012, defended IC whole-heartedly against the uninformed and the relentless critics, and I cried with the IC family as the attacks on you took its toll. We never gave up on you, and never gave up on our mission.
We are a team.

               We are a family.
I joined in with strangers to clean up a park and post flyers all around downtown Dallas. And the only reason I didn’t attend Move:DC was because I was on my honeymoon. My closet is most likely around 60% Invisible Children gear, and my heart is overflowing with the friendships I have made with roadies, Ugandans, and other IC family.

None of this would have meant anything if there had not been thousands of others

that were standing up for the same thing. 

The interns and roadies who give up semesters or years of their life to devote to ending this war inspire me to do so much more. We will never do anything if we don’t do it together.

So, Jason, I’m asking you to partner with me in this. I want to change the world: but I need help doing it. I work for a small non-profit in Dallas, and my husband works as a contractor until he finds a full time job with a church or ministry. Most likely, it won’t be long before we transition to a support-raised income. Needless to say, budget is tight. The summit would be so helpful for me, I just can’t afford to go, and we are trying to ask our friends for as little as possible, due to the potential upcoming change in income. I have sent out emails and posted it on Facebook, but I am still about $500 short. Would you consider sponsoring me for $100, or getting together with a couple other staff and supporting me for more? It would be monumental in helping me pay for the conference and the flight to LA!

Now, we’re getting to the end of this little ramble, but I want you to know why this summit is so important to me. Jason, my life changed after watching the Rough Cut. I never felt so much like I had a purpose as I did the minute I began fighting for a life not my own. It has pushed me to join the non-profit world, to start an anti-trafficking organization at OU, and to donate time and money to other organizations that are in it to end suffering and promote justice for all. And I want to join in, too. I’d like to start a non-profit coffee shop that helps refugees find work, and partners with a resettlement program to help provide counseling or fund education fees so they can provide for their families in a sustainable way. The summit would really help me learn how to develop effective programs, and it would give me a chance to pick up tips from men and women I admire for their leadership in the global social sector. I can’t miss such an incredible opportunity to grow and meet other young visionaries who I may be able to stand with in this fight for life and peace and justice. 

(And hey! Maybe you’ll even get a chance to meet me. You don’t want to miss that chance.

Jokes. I got ‘em for days.)

So won’t you help me? Will you be willing to partner with me for $100, $200, or heck- all $500? In a crazy world full of brokenness and suffering, we stand together to bring liberty to all- no matter the color of their skin, their place of birth, or their religious background. “We are shaping human history by closing the divide between resources and responsibility, distance and disinterest, awareness and action.”

 Help me continue to stand on the front lines.
 Get me to Fourth Estate.


The 20%

Call it fauxtivism and call it a fad.
Call us bandwagoners and call us naive.
Tell us to look at both sides of an issue and tell us to solve problems in our own country first.
That's okay. I really do understand. 
                      And honestly, you may be right about a lot of it.

I'm willing to bet that 50% of the people posting about Kony 2012 had either never heard or never cared about the 26 year central African conflict before. And 80% of them won't stay involved. It happens every year with every big event. But my excitement is for the 20%:
The 20% who, like me, stayed hooked after watching the Rough Cut almost 7 years ago.
The 20% who joined in after the Global Night Commute and Displace Me.
The 20% who found their voice at The Rescue and took that voice to DC for lobby days.
The 20% who have taken their role in Schools for Schools, fighting for better education for the future leaders of Uganda.
The 20% for whom OKC is not just the city who stole the Sonics, but a turning point in their lives.
And the 20% who will continue to fight for peace long after 2012 is over.
That is what we are about.

Am I so much of an idealist to believe that Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian will be speakers for justice rallies ten years from now just because they tweeted about the Kony 2012 video? Not at all. But I do believe that there are some who will watch it from their tweets and become one of the 20%. And all of those 20%ers? Well add us all together and it equals a lot. Hundreds, if not thousands of youth and young adults who do their research. Who pay attention to non profit financial statements and the effectiveness of the programs they support.

I have personally seen dozens who have changed career paths to promote justice for all, as Invisible Children was merely the open door, allowing them to see that there are things going on outside of suburbia that need to be addressed. I have seen former roadies and office personnel come off their time with IC hungry for more. Some continue with IC/Resolve, others have gotten involved with non-profits dedicated to poverty and trafficking, both domestic and international. For me, being involved in invisible children helped me get past myself. It pushed me to get involved in community development projects and sex trafficking awareness programs. It made me add a non-profit management focus to my degree plan, along with some extra time in school. My heart is burdened for the broken, the neglected, the abused. And for over 6 Years, the primary avenue I have taken is through invisible children and resolve. I have still been involved in homeless ministry and my dream job would be working internationally with women pulled out of sex trafficking. But it all started with a 50 minute video when I was a senior in high school, made by three guys who had no idea what they were doing.

So hear me out:
Not all of us are just along for the ride and plan on jumping off as soon as we hit a stop sign or a bump in the road-- or as soon as Facebook and Twitter shut up about it. And yes, we do have problems here. Huge ones. Homelessness and disease, abuse and neglect. But I pass the reigns to you on that one. This is the biggest issue that has been laid on my life for the time being, so I ask you to go out and start something for the issue on yours. But please don't be upset that my campaign stays true to the burden of my heart. I will gladly help you fight for peace and justice and will support you in campaigns you may start, and I don't see them as conflicting just because one is international and one is domestic. We are all humans, no matter where we were born, and we all have lives that deserve protecting. 

We all have a voice to use. Are you going to use yours to complain about me using mine? 
              Or will you stand up, and use yours to fight for freedom? 

This isn't the issue that pulls your heart and that's fine.                
                But what is? And what are you going to do about it?

                 "You don't have to support #kony2012. But don't hinder the world,
           especially the youth, from realizing the power of their voice." -Megan Duhon


because a dream without action is simply that.

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, ...for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.” - T. E. Lawrence

So, my last post was a bit nostalgic. And for good reason. The Hold-Out was a life-changing experience for me. So much so that my first tattoo was based off of it. (I promise, I'll blog that soon. I need to make a list of what I'm blogging next.)
BUT I'm a firm believer in T.E. Lawrence's words up there. If all we do is dream while asleep, or reflect on sweet moments in the past, we will accomplish nothing. We will have beautiful visions of a world filled with peace and harmony... but when we open our eyes, the world is the same as it always has been: broken.

So how do we take action?

If you haven't heard, this semester, Invisible Children is focusing on their newest initiative: The Congo Tour. Get excited, friends. This is their biggest project yet. The goal is a rehabilitation center in the DRC for former child soldiers as well as.... wait for it...

Did you read that? No seriously. I'm not joking.
Ladies and Gents, this a protection plan like nothing IC has done before. And I, for one, am ready to see it put into action.

So make sure you make it out to a screening of Tony, the newest update video. If you're in my region (which covers some Central & East Texas/Central OK, I think), we are so lucky as to have Tony himself speaking after the film. Find a screening near you, sign up for TRI (if you aren't a member already), and lets build some radio towers.

All of that being said:

As you know, IC is so good at putting together nation-wide events. And this year, it's huge. So huge... that even I'm going silent.

On April 25, IC is asking everyone to go silent for 25 hours. "Speak out... without speaking." Each participant with also try to raise $25 to go toward the Congo initiative.
25 Hours.
25 Years of War.
25 Years too long.

Sign up here: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/25
You can order a sweet 25 Action Kit so that you'll be prepared for the event. And it gives you the opportunity to set up your very own fundraising page!
Show it off to your friends, ask them to donate, leave the URL on slips of paper at the food court, whatever you have to do.

And if you can't participate due to work or something, please donate to friends who are!

You know... I'm participating... so you can always donate to me!
http://bit.ly/e1wWpE I have no shame. But you're the one reading my blog. So surely you like me a little. I set a high goal of $500, but I believe that it is not impossible by any means. 

So get to a screening (and bring tissues). Think about committing $25 a month with TRI. Sign up for the 25 event. Donate to someone who is.

Open your eyes. Dare to dream while awake. Dare to take action.


What a difference a day makes.

 One. Whole. Year. 

My gosh it seems like last week. I still have to remind myself that it wasn't "last semester" or "a couple months ago." It's been an entire year since the Hold Out ended and my life has been so blessed since then.
March 9, 2010 was full of laughter, screaming, tears, excitement, dancing, jumping, running, reflecting, bittersweet goodbyes, and the most incredible hugs I've ever known. I could give you a play by play of the day because I can recall almost every glance and every sweet moment of joy. But I'll spare you most of those details... because unless you were there, it would just seem like a bunch of jumbled emotion. And if you were there... you don't need my account of the chaos anyhow.
That being said, I would like to take this space to quote some good friends of mine regarding the experience:
"It is difficult to pinpoint the most humbling moment in the course of the 11 days, or rather, the instance of time in which I realized that with these people beside me, there was no chance of failure.From the moment local community members began risking their livelihoods to provide us with shelter, showers, and food; to the scene of 50 people waking at six in morning outside in 30 degree weather, without a word of complaining; to the map that showed the distances traveled by all; to the nights shared in music and laughter; or to the final night, when nobody left, and we slept one more time in a row of sleeping bags on the concrete.
That last night was the final confirmation that the people who had gathered under the shadow of the Chase skyscraper were a force to be reckoned with. The relentless cold, the hardness of the ground, the sacrifice of time had faded to the background as the sense of purpose and community trumped all concerns." - Kenneth Transier
“The holdout was more than just convincing Senator Coburn to say yes, it was when a lot of us woke up to how much we still had to learn. In Oklahoma, I watched the effects of a father telling his son he was proud of him for the first time, a deli worker spend his hard earned money on feeding the crazy young people outside the building, a hungry demonstrator give his lunch to the homeless man down the street, and the list goes on. I learned how powerful a community can be, how passion can carry you through the most frustrating times, and that I’ve gained the best friends I could ask for.” – Abby Freeman
 "Remember that time when a group of total strangers came together and fought for something bigger than ourselves, and how we became family in just 11 days?
Remember that time when we thought we were helping change the lives of others for the better, but in reality it was us who had been changed?

Remember that time when we made the impossible possible just by pursing & fighting for justice, stubbornly persevering under trial, and loving the hell out of people?
Remember how a small group of people with no political power or authority changed the heart of the most stubborn senator, and now a bill was signed into L-A-W?

...Ya, me too."

(And this is just the beginning)."  - Jessica Walizer

 -Mark Nehrenz
Know that it was unbelievable. That time stood still for us as we ran and held on to each other amidst the tears of utter joy and disbelief. And then, it died down and we stood together once again as a family dedicated to peace. Knowing that this wasn't the end of our fight, but that this was a huge step. And that was breathtaking. I remember looking over and seeing Kenneth just laying on the concrete, staring up at the building, or at the sky, or perhaps just looking. It made me think of the distance we'd come; of the way we'd grown together; of the hundreds of people who supported us even if they couldn't be there; of the 24 years of war that still raged on, but that there was a small glimmer of hope for an end. It was so humbling to look around and know that I was surrounded by some of the most insanely dedicated activists, but that our job was not even close to done.
I slept under the stars in downtown Oklahoma City for one last time that night, and with the blanket of night came the heaviness of reality. Yes, we had gotten the hold lifted. And yes, we had become a family. And yes, that bill went on to be signed into law on May 24, 2010. But until the war is completely over, we have to continue to remember the lives lost by thousands of Central Africans. That this is not a game of "who can sleep out the longest" or "how many phone calls to a Senator's office can I make today?" This is real. This is life. So many families live in fear even still. We still have work to do. The Holdout represented the drive and love embedded in the hearts of young people across the nation by bringing together a small portion of those who have been involved in the peace efforts. And Kenneth's blog on Resolve today was a reminder that those 12 days outside also represent the actions taken to hold our government accountable for the human rights violations all across the world; that we will not sleep comfortably until they take a stand with us; that we will persevere through the roadblocks that try to knock us off the beaten path we have chosen.
We will stand in solidarity. We will not back down. We will see this through to the end. And you better believe that you'll see 50 familiar faces rejoicing together when at last the peace comes.
"Someday, the light
 will shine like a sun
 through my skin
 & they will say,
 What have you done
 with your life?

 & though there are
 many moments i think
 i will remember,
 in the end,
 i will be proud to say,
     i was one of us."
Did I mention there was screaming and jumping? There was.