Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Inventory

This year was a big one. And it just seemed right to create some sort of memory inventory of the ways God showed up, how I grew, what went down. This will likely become an annual tradition, so prepare yourself. Here's a glimpse of how these things were displayed in my life in 2012:
- joy: our wedding day :)
- peace: the feeling we got when we decided to move to SLO - grace: Jarred's love for me, I never knew human grace so deep before I had a spouse
- mercy: the rescue over and over and over of a sweet friend and colleague, Marina, who was ALL God's mercy poured out on me over the course of moving, engagement, wedding chaos. so. much. mercy.
- discipline: the physical discipline for training for the wedding, really great, but really tough to stay that committed - strength: through the transition of moving and everything changing
- growth: holy smokes, the whole year? marriage, moving, a program we tried in Haiti - answered prayer: my husband and faith that changed the lives of my little brother & his wife
- friendship: my best friend of 21 years whose weekly honest phone calls and emails keep me going and who absolutely blew me away by her generosity and love as my matron of honor
- beauty: living this SLO life, pinch me, for reals
- rest: 4-day weekends away with my love are making for a delightful first year of marriage
- perseverance: it's hard to be new in town... making friends is hard, finding a church is hard, starting over is hard - still working on this - pura vida (true, full life): our Young Life community (namely my Thursday night college gals) and speaking at a high school camp breathed full life into me this year
- love: Jarred's ridiculous love for me and the way our parents have showered blessings and pure love on us this year
- the Gospel: my husband has been a gospel of truth & grace for me as well as the insane amount of unconditional love & support we received from SO many in this year of celebration and newness - it's been a tangible showing of Jesus in our lives
Honestly, I re-read this list as my eyes well up with tears. I am deeply moved because God is SO good. Truly. Why me? No one deserves this much grace, this much life, this much joy in one year. But that's the gospel - over and over and over again, He gives what we don't deserve and in return I can just humbly say, "Thank you, please use my life to draw people to Jesus." Cheers to a life of overwhelming grace and a year of overwhelming joy!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our First Christmas Card

MERRY CHRISTMAS - from our little family to yours. 3 days late - that's what happens when you go home to Texas and spend 8 days with incredible nieces and nephews and then come home stuffy-nosed and sore-throated. You need a few days to recover.
This is the first Minefee Christmas card!!! Well, if I'm totally honest, we sent ONE card last year because some of our best friends in Peru were feeling lonely. :) But it was a weird thing to make a decision on which Christmas card to send. I remember 2 years ago being at Lesley's house and talking to her about how Christmas cards can send you off your rocker and I got a little stressed trying to make the "right decision." One great wedding picture with an elegant background? Pictures of our lives and not just our wedding? A collage? How do you choose just one? What do you write? I was honestly overwhelmed.
So I quit trying.
I came back to it a few days later and in 30 minutes I had completed our card. I chose to be very decisive and not look back. I don't regret it. I may have seen a few other people's cards and said, "Dang it. I wish I'd have done __________." But no regrets. I'm happy with it. And there's always next year... and the year after that... and the year after that... So here's to Christmas cards - one of my favorite parts of this season. I'm thankful for the time friends and family take to share life and photos with each other. It matters.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Come Lord Jesus, Come.
In this season of "Here comes Santa Claus," Santa Baby" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," I've decided I want our lives to be about so much more. I've always felt that way about Christmas but somehow it means more now that I'm married. Somehow it's been this turn of events that makes me want to revolt against the American Dream all together and make "our life" one that's defined by things other than what the world tells us is important. We tried to do alot of our shopping in a way that gives back - through organizations that friends of ours run - like Krochet Kids and 31 Bits. We don't want it to be about us.
We are mid-way through Advent. If you're unfamiliar with Advent, it's simply a tradition that's been in Christian churches for hundreds of years and it literally means "coming" or "arrival." It is during this four-week period that Christians everywhere dedicate themselves to remembering what Christmas is about and celebrating that with anticipation and intent. You may have seen an Advent calendar at some time in your life. I made one with my college girls this year and we are LOVING it. Basically, you turn the card over each day and read something that reminds you of Jesus coming to earth and how it changed everything.
During this season, we look at four different pillars of what Jesus coming to earth means for us: peace, hope, love and joy. We look back and remember how his life changed everything while at the same time we look forward to the fact that his kingdom will come and sin/death/evil will win no more.
I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now and had a little bit of time today. Ironically, this morning there was a tragic event that happened in Connecticut where the innocent lives of children and faculty were taken at a school - the most intense evil imaginable. So today I say, "come Lord Jesus, come." Come in this Advent season and invade our world in a different way. Turn the evil upside down and bring peace, bring hope, bring love, bring joy. Make us your instruments of those things in our own communities and lives that are so broken.
"Christmas is Your light breaking into the darkness. We confess that we are sometimes blinded, not by Your glory, but by consumerism, greed and the oppression of packed schedules. Help us this year to see and respond to Christmas differently. Strengthen us to resist the lure of getting more in a world where so many have so little. Equip us to use this time to remember Your birth and think about how we do Your will here on earth, as it is done in heaven. Break into human history, You showed us a different way - the way of reconciliation, redemption and resurrection. As we celebrate how You came, help us remember why You came - and live differently because of it. Amen."
(taken from the World Vision Advent Study Guide)

Thursday, December 6, 2012


So today's post is a tribute to my dear friend Cindy. Her most recent post is about red lipstick - about the experience of wearing it, giving back to an AIDS organization and giving girls the permission to have their own "Movember" or "No Shave November" of sorts. I'm into that... and Cindy's writing. Here's my experience with it: I chose today to wear it because I didn't want to cheat. Many days I work from home in my pajamas and I didn't want to wear it on one of those days because that's a total cop out. I'm going to share 3 different thoughts on the day. I did this before, with a friend, but this time felt different.
1) I felt weird. I was self-conscious about it altogether and I was so not into going out in public. I assumed people were going to be wondering who the heck I was thinking I could sport red lipstick. I thought it was on my teeth so I used my phone obsessively to double check. I don't like red lipstick. 2) The reactions were polar opposite/hilarious. I work in the same building as a coffee shop on a large college campus. I know many of the students and call them friends. One of the 20 year old guys walked into my office and stared at me. I smirked and said, "I'm doing a red lipstick experiment." Taylor responded with, "I can see that." Awesome... clearly I pull it off really well in the eyes of a 20 year old male. Disclaimer: my husband has not yet seen me in it yet, will post a P.S. 3) The women in my life were totally into it. No lie. I hung out with a few friends this morning who first thought my hair looked darker because of it (little did they know, I'd recently died my hair). And then the college gals I regularly chill with were TOTALLY into it. They thought it contributed to the overall "fall look" I was going for with boots & a scarf. They liked it with my hair. They were overall complimentary which gave me a confidence I didn't anticipate. Thanks chicas...
It doesn't change me being me. I'm thankful for that about this red lipstick experiment. Sure, I didn't feel like myself, but it also gave me a greater feeling of contentment knowing that I am who I am - with or without the lipstick. In my pajamas, at a coffee shop, on a date night or in the office. I like me. And I think I'll stick with the the non-red lipstick version. Cindy - thanks for the challenge. Would I do it again? Ask me tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

blog facelift

Can we talk about how I LOATHE giving my blog a facelift? Anyone else? You feel like nothing you do looks good... like it's not going to help no matter what little widget you fix or how wide you make your right hand column. So. Over. It. You may be living with this business. Sorry I'm not sorry bout it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

.reflecting on thanks.

here's my post-thanksgiving day reflection on unconventional gratitude:
that i don't have to worry about going hungry... the weekly trash pick-up... hot water... unlimited electricity... protection and safety... the absence of disease...
golden retriever colored carpet... cars that run... opportunities to serve... apple computers... a mom that taught me how to cook... a dad that taught me that giving is better than receiving...
the chance for our first year of marriage to be in a brand new town... vulnerable and authentic friendships... not having tv our first year of marriage... grace, upon grace, upon grace... that Jesus sees me worthy of being used to bring his kingdom on earth...
so. very. grateful.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

.dominican things.

Four days of "drinking through the Dominican Republic fire hose" is leaving me wanting more & ready to be home all at the same time. The wanting more side of me is loving the culture, clearly loving the language, the people and the 12 different ministries here. It's a ridiculously beautiful country with people characterized by the dichotomy of hardship and joy.
Having spent a decent amount of time on the other side of Hispaniola has presented me with the reality that these people share an island and a climate but not much else. Truly. The stark contrast between here and Haiti and the evident distaste for the other country's culture and people is almost alarming. Then best way I can describe it is that the DR feels like Puerto Rico or places in South America while Haiti feels like the jungles of Africa.
These people have sub-par education systems, their unemployment rate is high and chance of upward mobility, low. Yet the darkness and spiritual oppression that are tangibly experienced in Haiti are not nearly as present here. There is a sense of joy in these people - with strong religious backgrounds (both Catholic and Protestant) and a high value on family and relationships, they seem to have more hope, more life, more joy. I can't help but attribute that to the presence of Christ and community in their lives.
I wrestle with the tension of not being ready to leave tomorrow because I am wanting to be with these people, pick the brains of those who run this ministry and see more of this crazy beautiful island. But I'm wanting to go home because ministry and missions aren't the same without my husband and I don't want to experience any more of this place without him. Our call to missions and to loving those without hope ans helping those without resources is a joint call and it's honestly hard to be here without him. I've been struck by what a travel buddy will do for your sense of belonging and your will to get up each morning and serve. Without Katy this trip, I'd have been one sad girl.
I am grateful for the 4 days of redemption this place and Students International have brought me through both their long term and short term missions philosophies and their staff. It is a joy to have new partners in ministry and I am incredibly confident that we'll be back :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

.week two.

october photo of the day continued... october 9 - "red" - i deleted this one before i got it to my computer, on accident, i promise. it was at a gas station, really not that exciting...
october 10 - "emotion" - ridiculous amounts of excitement over getting to see my best friend in the universe this weekend!!!!
october 11 - "something close up" - my Krochet Kids hat, i love that it's cold enough to wear beanies this week
october 12 - "on the table" - fall is on my table, duh...
october 13 - "landscape" - adios california, hello las vegas!
october 14 - "makes you laugh" - these signs at red rock state park - awesome!
october 15 - "dinnertime" - last vegas date night with my love, such a GREAT weekend week 2, complete.

Monday, October 8, 2012

.week one.

i needed a little creative outlet this month and so i mentally signed on to do the "photo of the day" on instagram. glad i did. i'll post all 4 weeks of october's photos. here's week one!
- october 1 - "where i stood" - with the hubs, tasting wine, beer & getting a 24 respite :)
- october 2 - "lunchtime" - uh-oh em... a little "spice" in our training day
- october 3 - "this happened today" - i found AMAZING mexican food on the central coast...
- october 4 - "what you're reading" - what am i not reading is more like it
- october 5 - "shadows" - of my two favorites
- october 6 - "what i'm thankful for" - ridiculously awesome conversation & friendship over this yummy goodness - thankful for april
- october 7 - "light" - <3 fall
- october 8 - "angle" - do i live in italy or california?!?!! - amazing hike today

Sunday, September 23, 2012

.our love story part 3 - our "first date".

just friends, right? until... our respective airplanes touched down in california and texas and he started texting me ridiculously frequently. and i started checking my phone ridiculously frequently. who could blame me really? so in perfect timing (as God is oh-so-famous for), i headed off for a few days of solitude sans cell phone. i needed to process my time in haiti- what i'd learned there, how God had changed me, what i was being asked to do out of that time. it's another story for another blog, but some incredible things came out of those 3 days listening to the still, small voice of God. crazy what happens when we stop and seek.
i turned my phone on monday morning only to find a voicemail from jarred asking me to call him back. so i did and we talked for my entire one and a half hour drive home. 40 minutes into the conversation, he tells me he'd ended his relationship. in girl speak, to me, this meant "he's totally into me and wants to date me." in his mind - i learned later - it meant "he made a hard choice to end something unhealthy and he needs a break from dating, but he wants to build a relationship with me because there's something about me..." oh men & women and their brains :)
throughout the next 2 weeks i learned two things 1) that there was a "haiti reunion" party/debrief at my parents' house two weeks later and 2) that Jarred was going back to haiti for 5 weeks. i'm no fool. i knew that if i didn't see him before he went back to haiti, the chances of us actually developing any sort of relationship would be decreased because of the lack of communication in haiti. i also needed to at some point talk to the organization we went to haiti with about future plans there, so i decided there was no time like the present & i missed a great friend's wedding and booked a plane ticket to texas.
i told him i was coming and he said he'd come too and stay the whole time with me at my parents' house (the perk of having spent 8 days with my parents in haiti). excitedly nervous didn't even begin to describe how i felt getting off that plane. i actually don't remember much about him picking me up from the airport and what i can assure you was an awkward conversation all the way to my parents' house. that night we'd planned to have dinner with a few of his friends and my cousin and then go out two-stepping. dinner was great, but i wasn't sure how to read him because he paid for my dinner as well as his friend's (a girl) because he owed her for something, or maybe because he's just nice that way, but it confused me. were we on a date? i still don't know. but we had a great time dancing and went home to my parents house. we were getting water and a midnight snack in the kitchen and he kissed me. in my parents' kitchen, am i 12 or 30? who knows, but that was the point where i knew this was our first date, he was into me and it was totally worth coming home to figure that out.
the rest of the weekend was an awesome blur with our haiti team, the medical missions board of directors and some time spent with my brothers and their wives. we met the guy that infamous "texas friend" said she was going to marry while lamenting over relationships in the ft lauderdale airport - they are married now :)
we even made a lunchtime stop at my niece's class to hang out with my favorite girl. he was a champ and won her over right away.
he took me to the airport and then 10 days later left for a month in haiti - absence makes the heart grow...