Ideas and Bantering. Mostly.

I'm an ideas person.  And for those who know me just a bit, you're already well aware and have probably been pulled into some scheme or concept of mine before (carnival, anyone?!).  I can't get from my bed to the coffee pot without 3 things rolling through my mind that I've got to do.  I mean Got. To. Do.  It's like that all day long.  Poor Nathan, he hears all the word vomit that rolls out all day long.  Idea after idea.  And I've found the ideas are directly correlated to the amount of time I spend with the Lord.  And the repeat of ideas are directly correlated to the amount of time I spend with the Lord. We spent three days at Catalyst in Atlanta, Georgia this past week.  Three days that included driving to and from and three days that included more ideas that my head can handle and a fair share of the 'usual' ideas that circulate on repeat in my mind.  We listened to incredible speakers that included Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Francis Chan, sweet Katie Davis and Jim Collins.  Hours and hours of words that I'm still absorbing and processing, but the whole time two ideas were on replay.  The first, seems more real and legitimate to me, while the second makes me mostly queasy.

You see, for several years, I've felt a still, small voice chatting to me about writing.  About writing about my life and the things I learn and the things I see.  So I have been mostly unfaithful in keeping this blog as an effort to shut the voice up.  Well.  It's not working.  Most mornings, I sit on my couch, drink my coffee, run through email, do a little bible study or reading and have my quiet time.  Every single morning I take a quick stop by Jamie Delaine's blog.  And I spend a few seconds thinking about her writing and how I should be doing the same.  About how flawlessly she pulls off transparent.  You see, there's not much that makes my stomach ache more than fake.  Nothing I embrace more than stories of real life, told with real words and real emotion.  Yet, I spend many of my days on quiet, though I have much to share that could change the path of someone else or better yet, make their life more seamless or full.  And since my ideas are awesome (hah!) they'll at least make one or two minds begin to churn.  But not if they're kept inside.

Most days, the idea machine in my head starts to work about the time I become still enough to write after reading her words and off I go, doing other things.  And then there's the whole controversy in my mind about what this blog is meant to be.  Yes, this is my business.  But my business is my heart.  It's my vehicle for loving and serving.  It's a sweet gift the Lord has given me.  And so is writing.  I don't enjoy sitting down and making my 'Elizabeth-ese' into real language; easy to understand by most folks.  It's tricky work.  But I enjoy reading what pours out of me.  And I get the most kind of notes when I share and spend the time writing.  And once I begin, it really does pour out.  I enjoy reflecting and generating ideas for improvement, serving and loving others.  One day, I believe teaching and speaking and writing will be a large part of my life, that is if I listen.  Listening over singing Webbie's 'I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, DO YA KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?  SHE GOT HER OWN HOUSE AND SHE GOT HER OWN CAR...' with my friends can be a little tricky.  Oh my.

So all of these words to say, I feel called to write.  To make this blog more an extension of who I am and the work I get to create.  But it needs to include the lessons I learn, the things I'm called to, the people I meet and the weird experiences I have every day.  And for now, that's all I'm gonna write.  Because I enjoy my stubbornness a little too much.  I'm certain one day I'll write something bigger.  But I'm going to keep pretending like that part isn't around, whispering in my ear.  Something about bible studies for women and girls - I'm going to pretend like I don't hear that part.

Now the second idea.  A minute around this place, and you can find much about my love for orphans.  My obsession with adoption.  The stories I've been lucky enough to tell through my camera.  The way I love people and am completely fascinated by their relationships and behaviors.  The way I can step into bad situations and never spend a second feeling uneasy.  Especially if there are children around.  I fancy myself a child, most days.  I'm most comfortable there, spending time with kids.  The stories I spent the most time on during college took me to the worst parts of town for weeks on end.  Weeks spent with the most beautiful children.  I stayed the night in homes with no food in their cabinets.  I watched a group of parents take drugs as their children came home from school.  And felt safe for every minute of it.  I fell in love with the simplicity of building relationships in an environment where people sincerely have nothing to loose.  I was fascinated by the gems I found in the form of adults giving their lives away to grow those children up.  Like Coach Danny.  And Mr. Burnam.  And Miss Judy.

All this bantering brings to me to my second idea.  For a long time, I've been very obsessed with the old Northside Elementary school.  Last week Nathan and I photographed a senior there and my mind was spinning the whole time.  I often run around the streets that border it, thinking about how sweet the space could be.  To have my business, a studio and a little family mixed of adopted orphans and neighborhood children there.  To live in a place where people live with lives open, because they don't have things and pride and stuff to protect.  To walk out on the sidewalk and chat with my neighbors.  To let my kids play in the giant yard with the antique basketball goals.  And maybe it won't be Northside and maybe it would push my clients and visitors out of their comfort zone.  But maybe it would change the way we think a little.  And it may just change the way I live a lot.  And maybe it would bring more folks into the same place I love so very much.  And maybe it would be dumb.  And mostly it might not be be the place I spend my life.  But maybe it will be.  But either way, I know that I'll be living somewhere shady with all my little folks one day.  Because I was certainly made to be comfortable there.  And so.  That's all I've got today on my little trek of writing post-catalyst.  These two ideas.  One I'm committing to by writing aimlessly here amongst the photographs.  And the second idea that screams in my mind all hours of the day with no real clarity.

Our time in Atlanta was incredible.  We made some sweet friends in the car rides and Nathan made these sweet pictures I've included.  I'm sure you'll hear much more about my Catalyst experience, since I've got much more writing to do.  So says the Lord in my ear.