"And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than the known way.'" (Minnie Haskins)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Safer than a Known Way: August Letter

It amazes me how while God continues to keep me in Atlanta – and I am fast approaching 8 years here – He still finds ways to dramatically change my world. The newest change in my life was brought by a small present given to me a couple of weeks ago. And while this present may have been the smallest one I have received to date, it brings the biggest change.

Three little diamonds on my finger and suddenly my world has been filled to the brim with phone calls, endless details, and sweet visits. That’s right, people, God brought into my life an amazing man who has so gently and patiently pursued my heart.

I met Jeremy – yes, he has the same name as my brother – Taylor at East Point Church two years ago. He proposed late June 23rd in the sanctuary of our church. He told me he had forgotten his Sunday school book at church and wanted to go and get it. I almost gave him a hard time about abusing his deacon privileges, but when I saw the Bible on our normal pew with ‘Christy Anne Taylor’ inscribed on the cover I was thankful I hadn’t. We plan on marrying at East Point Church on November 12.

The upcoming wedding also means an upcoming move, as a year ago Jeremy bought his first house in the one of the neighborhoods surrounding our church. One of the things I love about East Point Church is its parish type mentality and desire to encourage its members to move into the neighborhood. I LOVE this, but am a little sad that it will mean saying goodbye to my home in South Atlanta. I know the relationships I have developed over the past 6 years though will continue… and I always knew when it was time for my ministry to partner with a new neighborhood I probably would be leaving to set up residency there. Selfishly I am praying that neighborhood is in East Point. I would love to have my church become a direct partner with my work. But even it if it is not… I trust God to make a way for me to build relationships in the new community, and thankfully Jeremy is very open to living in inner city some day.

Other personal happenings:
·         I chopped at least 5 inches off my hair – shortest it has been in 5 or 6 years. Loving it. Enjoying the ease of wearing it waving. Feels good in the hot summer months.
·         Drove up to Chattanooga to help my grandmother move her collection of holiday decorations out of a 10 by 10 storage unit. Drove back to Atlanta with a car load of decorations for a friend at church. My grandmother kept me laughing the whole entire time.
·         My beloved big sis drove all the way from Nashville with her friend – Melba Anne – to do a little shopping with me. I hate shopping, so it was really nice to have her with me and meant the world to me.
·         In July I wore one dress for a month, so that I might spend some intentional time learning about sex trafficking in Atlanta. A co-worker and I started a blog to share what we learned - http://one-dress.blogspot.com. A friend of my mine in North Carolina has taken the blog over for the month of August. We hope to keep passing it along and might even have an Atlanta charter school taking it on for a month.

Safer than the Known Way: September Letter

One of the favorite parts of my job is walking the streets. Around here I get one or two raised eyebrows when I say that, as well as an occasional crack about ‘my other job.’
Generally everyone knows what I mean, though in the neighborhood there occasionally arises some slight confusion, such as this morning when the man in the black sedan with Pennsylvania tags asked me – with the sun beaming and birds chirping – if I needed a ride. When I said, ‘No, I live here,’ he in turn said, ‘I can still give you a ride if you know what I mean.’
Yes, I knew what he meant. And no, I am not looking for a way to earn a few extra dollars to support my drug habit. Are my eyes yellow and blood shot? No. Drug free thank you very much.
Despite occasional run-in’s like that, I do enjoy walking the streets.
I love walking the hilly streets lined with historic bungalows. I love soaking in the sun and listening to the hum of birds singing. I love not sitting behind a desk on a beautiful day.
But walking the streets is not my way of escaping from work. Walking the streets enables me to know my neighborhood. I walk with a folded 8 by 10 map of South Atlanta, pen and small notebook. I jot down changes to the infrastructure, mark code issues, and note the presence of new neighbors. By walking the streets I can tell you which areas have neighbors looking after neighbors and which are so marred by vacancies that the few remaining residents are vulnerable to break-ins and other criminal activity. And I can tell you where the drug dealers have set up shop.
Probably what I love most about walking the streets are all the random, unplanned opportunities it provides to interact with my neighbors – from the older man sitting on the front porch eating Ritz Crackers to Ms. Mary who keeps a bird like eye on her street. I love old Eddie Simons calling me up to his porch to tell me he is keeping watch over me. And lately I have loved all the concerned inquiries about the rumors they hear of me moving now that I am engaged; and I love the sighs of relief when they learn my new home is just a short 3 miles outside of the community. I love all these little interruptions – the moments of listening, laughing, encouraging and praying.
And by walking the neighborhood I am known. If people in South Atlanta do not recognize my name, I have been told that all one has to do is say ‘she’s the short white girl with the camera’ and folks will nod that they do indeed know me.
It is good to be known.

blast from the past

Friday, September 16, 2011

picture update

me and my current roommie - Carrie

Elise Duncason - Jeremy & I had a 'date' with her one day after church.

me, carrie, jennifer, and joy - hanging out on the steps of my future home after joy & i hosted women's fellowship there a couple of saturdays ago. we took lots of funny photos and giggled so much... don't think the current Orr drive guys do that. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

the Pecan

Checking out the Pecan restaurant where the rehearsal dinner will be...