Saturday, September 19, 2015

the milky way

I took a trip home to Missouri last weekend, and it may be cliche to say this, but it was a breath of fresh air. I hadn't been home (or even out of Nashville) for months. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of the city, I grew up in a much quieter place, and I desperately needed the respite of the country. I needed rolling hills, fields full of round hay bales and coreopsis, and cotton candy sunsets. I needed the brilliant night sky, free of light pollution. And I was not disappointed.

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 I have never seen a sky so bright in my life. My dad lives out in the country, so there were no other lights around to dim the sky. I also got lucky that night, because there was a new moon. Obviously, you couldn't quite see this many stars just looking at the sky (these are 30-second exposures), but you really could see the Milky Way with your naked eyes. I did some research later, and was able to identify the constellation Sagittarius, as well as locate the Galactic Center (which is the supermassive black hole at the center of our universe).

After I was satisfied with the pictures I had gotten, I took a minute to just stand outside and look at the sky. And in that moment I truly understood why David said "The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1). I felt so small, but so loved by our creative and wonderful Father.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

faith in the small things.

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I totally forgot that I even took this photo. This was the view from my bedroom window on one of my last nights and my first apartment. 

I'm finally in a new place! That's why I've been MIA from blogging for a while--I was desperately searching for and then finally moving into my new condo. Can I share that story? Okay, cool. 

First, some background: the Nashville housing market is ridiculous. While I love that Nashville is currently an it city, that status has made the price of living here a bit ridiculous. I'm sure it's nothing like what you all on the east and west coasts deal with, but comparatively, it's getting expensive. (Of course, this could all be my own perception since I grew up in the Ozarks where you could get a really nice house and some land for what you'd pay for a shabby apartment in the bad part of town here.) I started looking for a new place a few months before my lease at my old place was up. It was rent controlled housing, and frankly, I couldn't live there anymore. While the apartment looked decent, there were a lot of issues with it. And while I was close to an okay part of town, I never felt totally safe there. (I stayed at my sister's house when my roommate was out of town because I was so paranoid and uncomfortable.) So, I had to move. I started looking for a place in May, and there was nothing. Nothing. Everything was too expensive, too sketchy, too far from work for my future and me. I started checking my resources obsessively and ended up having a massive panic attack one day in a Ruby Tuesday's parking lot. Not my finest moment. I left for Northern Ireland without a clue where I'd live when I got back. God dealt with my heart a lot while I was there. He had been telling me over and over: Don't worry! I've got this. I finally started to listen. I stopped worrying and stopped looking. I waited for Him to provide. And of course He did. Two weeks before my lease was up, we found the perfect place. The rent was totally reasonable, it was in a good part of town, and it was actually cute inside. We moved all our stuff in last week. Most everything is still in boxes and we have no internet, but it's perfect. 

I say all of this to make this point: why is it easier to trust God with the big things than the little? God has been faithful to me through some truly difficult and life-shattering situations. He's carried me through things I never thought I'd have to go through. And through all of that--despite my anger with Him--He provided, and I learned to trust. Yet, when something much less significant--like the lack of an apartment--happens, I freak out. I don't think He'll come through. I don't trust Him like I should. Perhaps it's because in those truly awful moments, we have no choice but to trust Him. And in the small things, we still think we can and should have control. Sometimes it's harder to trust God with the small things than the big. Sometimes, it takes just as much faith. But He always provides. Sometimes not in the way we'd expect or prefer, but He still provides. And it always ends up being something better than we can ask or imagine. 

Anyway, these are just some of the thoughts that have made tracks in my mind these past few weeks.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Northern Ireland 2015

Bangor, Northern Ireland photo 10989487_10153408395627086_6465076141836505344_o_zpsercprfhe.jpg

 I had the honor of spending ten days in the beautiful and amazing country of Northern Ireland. (For those who don't know, that's the part of of the island of Ireland that is part of the UK.) I went on a music-centered mission trip with my church, The Donelson Fellowship. It's hard to sum up my time there, because so many incredible things happened, and I'm still in the throes of processing everything.

We left Nashville Thursday afternoon, and arrived in Dublin very early Friday morning. We spent most of the day at the camp center in Portadown, resting and getting settled in for the week ahead. On Saturday, we drove an hour and a half to Bangor, where we put on an conference to help train children's ministry workers. It was our first day working together as a team, and it went really, really well. After the conference, we spent some time walking around the port at Bangor, then drove into Belfast for supper and a bit of sightseeing.

 photo 11221738_10153408395472086_1268650927558344993_o_zpsg8xlp7pr.jpg photo 11537228_10153408395432086_873481924771755948_o_zpsjhmqsubj.jpg photo 11212112_10153408396072086_8389621938134756289_o_zpsziyfngxw.jpgQueen's University, Belfast photo 11225096_10153408395882086_2938699327619931208_o_zps95dzmtbn.jpg photo 11217983_10153408397202086_6712926193619723485_o_zps0ffbwcws.jpg photo 11224611_10153408396592086_2985349862415695270_o_zps9lurmnmf.jpg photo 11016961_10153408396967086_490916721049322690_o_zpsgpmy1y8f.jpg 

 On Sunday we led worship in a local church (that was absolutely gorgeous), and our discipleship pastor Tommy preached. After church, we spent the afternoon out on a farm in the gorgeous Irish countryside. The food was amazing, and the family we spent time with was incredibly sweet, and outstandingly hospitable. (You'd have to be to cook for 14 crazy and obnoxious Americans.) I seriously can't tell you how wonderful the people of Northern Ireland are. Their hospitality and selflessness had such an impact on me.

 photo 11537609_10153408397177086_5036737116875668081_o_zps676s5hun.jpg photo 11538975_10153408397727086_3882727400893069620_o_zpsbg7spef8.jpgThis is for you, Jessica. photo 10994061_10153408397677086_5035972551198659321_o_zpsnfsf4b23.jpg
^ Our fearless pastor, Tommy. 
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On Monday, we visited our first school. We did a music camp, teaching the kids songs, stories, and verses about Jesus. We even did a craft with them. I actually enjoyed this part of the trip more than I thought I would! Even though I work in children's ministry as my job, I don't really get to interact with kids on a personal basis very often. It was so much fun getting to talk with the kids (in their adorable accents!) and share why Jesus is the greatest superhero. :) It was also incredible to me that even though we were in public schools, we were able to openly share the gospel and pray for the kids. Northern Ireland is a very religious country, but many people there don't have a personal relationship with Christ. We can only pray that God allowed our time there in the schools to help the kids see why knowing Jesus on a personal level is so important and vital. 

Monday night was--by far--my favorite night of the trip. We had an outreach service in a community center. A good 75% percent of the people who attended weren't Christians. We billed the service as a night of stories and songs, and I was absolutely humbled to be able to give my testimony. I was incredibly nervous, and felt like the words I said were jumbled and insufficient. Somehow, God took those measly words of mine and made them something that several people there needed to hear. I have never been so humbled to be a part of what God is doing. It's incredible to me that He took me all the way to Northern Ireland just so a few people could hear about what He did in my life. It's so easy to forget sometimes just how much God truly does love us. 

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On Tuesday, we presented the gospel in another school, did some sightseeing at Scrabo Tower, and hung out a coffee shop with some of our new friends.

 photo 11700627_10153408398632086_5873899962869793506_o_zpsyq43ma5u.jpg photo 11011181_10153408399237086_8871315133285366309_o_zpsdrfq1a07.jpgScrabo Tower! photo 11698964_10153408399627086_7965486464548130941_o_zpscinkdtx2.jpg photo 11537892_10153408400232086_5148338958181841082_o_zpsuzro0imv.jpg photo 11703274_10153408400017086_6700541611064981819_o_zps5aavp1sz.jpg photo 10835125_10153408400772086_6657541524939544517_o_zpsazrcc4ns.jpg photo 11713827_10153408400742086_4997254831348286605_o_zpsxjbpajjq.jpg photo 11705443_10153408401472086_2350759041654461392_o_zps1nfbjr02.jpg photo 11174660_10153408401602086_3152643226658828614_o_zpsqzglkppl.jpg photo 11223711_10153408401777086_8051768442654217708_o_zpsw41ajizr.jpg photo 11430384_10153408403477086_3635704250101887249_o_zps2ygf8zmo.jpg photo 11699034_10153408403617086_7261381511499873356_o_zpswr1wkmz4.jpg

Wednesday was our day off, which we spent exploring the north coast and Giant's Causeway.  This was also the day I decided not to wear my rain jacket, got drenched in the pouring rain, and got into a bunch of nettles (OUCH!) It was still an incredible day.

 photo 11707812_10153408404167086_9196445660311387594_o_zpszobbock3.jpg photo 11313021_10153408404202086_3196833497555621275_o_zpsejr8y3ug.jpg photo 11058789_10153408404887086_1178095066024743175_o_zpsx9k3n7ik.jpg photo 1519924_10153408404837086_2622154776591162896_o_zpssnrykdjf.jpg photo 11696552_10153408405222086_3951777575450787443_o_zpsp0bwjs0d.jpgSenior picture. Haha. photo 11226201_10153408408042086_9017126094623065332_o_zps7hvhlgop.jpg photo 11246982_10153408409227086_8949865476966237570_o_zpsuemf3zkv.jpg photo 11705382_10153408410227086_9014881983699461761_o_zpsnvprfqjd.jpg photo 11698944_10153408410712086_5289565815285039546_o_zpsn6sml420.jpg photo 11698881_10153408411387086_112623201540301918_o_zpshkimcue3.jpg photo 887376_10153408411722086_7150878259557918339_o_zpsp35funnr.jpg photo 11539055_10153408411767086_5933579505050274118_o_zpsid7qzeoo.jpg photo 11411819_10153408412257086_8522794723522286825_o_zpsszxzrnxj.jpg photo 11163439_10153408412512086_1250132110048270863_o_zpsrzavcepz.jpg photo 11411603_10153408413097086_8291638185605143360_o_zpsxjel8qei.jpg photo 10012780_10153408413042086_222812846126884273_o_zpselat6qu4.jpgThat tiny person on top of the mountain is Evan McDonald. photo 11713768_10153408412942086_6807849435585272802_o_zps7atlb6o1.jpg photo 11411790_10153408413677086_2568192652619480834_o_zpsqu1ppl8l.jpg photo 11538138_10153408413477086_8814777079024173516_o_zpsymwlae9i.jpg photo 11709724_10153408413802086_879644910717097379_o_zpso2p6v4no.jpgDunlace Castle photo 11117274_10153408414052086_4665436796439349642_o_zpsmanjg9yz.jpg photo 10486554_10153408414057086_2127811092189688404_o_zpsir0he60a.jpg photo 11709869_10153408415387086_225856267034058669_o_zpsaobmd0t9.jpg photo 11705116_10153408415847086_6572052331206377370_o_zpsy6amvn5g.jpg photo 11037080_10153408415922086_7497521935006845740_o_zpsxl6ehyym.jpg photo 11709800_10153408403667086_5461172091815713815_o_zps4aenh6er.jpg

On Thursday and Friday we worked in two more schools, and had two Mosaic services (worship services specifically geared towards young adults.) Our Thursday night service was on a barge in Belfast, which was really stinking cool. On Saturday, we went to Belfast and did some souvenir shopping and more sightseeing before we made the long trek home on Sunday. I don't have many pictures from these days, other than what I took on my phone. By that point, I was really into the trip and didn't feel like lugging my camera round anymore. (Does that make me a bad photographer?)

There's so much more I could say, but a lot of it is more personal (or full of inside jokes.) I can't tell you how thankful I am that God allowed me to be a part of the this amazing trip, with this amazing team, in this amazing country. I'll be reflecting on it all for a very long time.


P.S., if you want to see more pictures, following me on instragram @katherinevfry. 
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