Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Andy introduced me a few years back to a guy named David Taylor, who was the Arts Pastor at Hope Chapel here in Austin. We have stayed abreast of what’s going on in David’s life mostly through a mutual friend and had heard that this summer was marking some major changes in his life—he is ending his season of service to Hope Chapel and, after taking 3 months off for sabbatical, he and his wife are moving to Europe for some more schooling. Anyway, today I stumbled across his blog and read the notes he posted from his “final” sermon at Hope (from June 1, 2008), the subject of which was “A Disciple of Jesus Is Mature and Fully Assured” (from Colossians 4:12).

The three disciplines he suggests mark a mature disciple are (if he had to narrow it down to just three):
1) A mature disciple is teachable—his whole life.
2) A mature disciple talks to Jesus—about everything, all the time, on all occasions, no matter how silly, embarrassing, difficult, or small it may be.
3) A mature disciple chooses a few people to be his kindred traveling companions.
As he expanded on each of those three disciplines, some of his thoughts on teachability stood out to me and I thought I’d share them here. (the following excerpt is from David’s website )

“If I had to choose between the word ‘humility’ and ‘teachability’, I would choose teachable. It’s a vibrant, muscular word. To be teachable is not to have your act together all the time, but it is to have the grace to acknowledge simply, freely, graciously when you don’t. To be teachable is to be humble enough to say, whether at 15 or 65 years old, ‘You know what? I think I need some more counsel in my life.’ To be teachable is to be confident in who I am, but to recognize that I am still learning and am open to be surprised by God if He wants to do something new in me. To be teachable is to recognize that I can learn from any of the people God puts around me—even from the people that I don’t expect or want to learn from. To be teachable is to abandon your self-defense mechanisms in favor of an open, vulnerable posture from which you can really be loved and love the people around you.”

At the close of his sermon, he challenged the congregation with these questions, which I also thought useful to share:

1) Would you say you are teachable? Would the people around you say that about you?
2) Are you talking to Jesus about everything? Is there anything you’re afraid to talk to or ask Him about?
3) Who are your kindred traveling companions? Do they know they are your traveling companions? Do they feel invited as such?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

11 Days, 11 Sunsets

When I was growing up, my mom instilled in me a love of nature. On a family vacation when I was ten she made us pull the car over so many times so that she could take picutres of and drink in the scenery that she earned the nickname "Scenic B". Silly, I know. But for the rest of her life, every time she paused our adventures to stop and marvel at something, we would affectionately remind her, "Scenic B has come out for a spin, mom!"

My personal love of nature is a little more focused than my mom's was. She would stop to eewwww and ahhhhh over just about anything-- farms, oceans, sunsets, sunrises, big trees, little bugs, wildflowers, you name it. But I am mostly drawn to the last hour of the day. As a kid, we would spend a lot of our summers at my grandparents' lakehouse. At the close of each day, the family would circle up in the backyard, sitting in little yellow yard chairs, barefeet snuggled in the cool grass, listening to the water, and wait to see what magical colors combined to make up the sunset that evening. It is my strongest memory as a kid... sitting in that place, waiting, watching, celebrating.

In recent years, I have noticed that 98% of the pictures I take are of these last precious moments of daylight. Even when I travel to the other side of the world and back, most of the photos I end up with are of sunsets, not famous monuments, or street scenes of people. I sense I have picked up my mom's nickname and am carrying it on in her honor. After all, her love of nature was transferred to me at birth.

For the past month, Andy and I have spent a lot of our vacation time on Lake LBJ. Each night, I have sat in the same spot, in the same chair, recreating my childhood memories from my grandparents'. I have my barefeet in the grass, I listen to the water, Andy and I talk about life, and we watch... The diversity of scenes has been awe-inspiring. It is an experience of worship for me: God is the one who turns day into night, and night into day... The Lord is in name! His pallete far exceeds what I could ever imagine. The pictures below are just a sampling of what we've seen... 11 Sunsets in 11 Days. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Counting in 8’s

So, I have known for quite some time that my precious husband marches to a different beat. He is a musician, an artist, and that means he is “a creative.” I’ve been aware of differences between us before. Like when I spend time with the Lord, I like to journal and write… when he does, he likes to compose music and write poetry in songs. When I listen to music, its background noise… when he does, it’s an experience in “active listening.” He spends long periods of time contemplating tones… I prefer to read books for hours at a time. You get the point.

But today, I learned something about him that I find positively weird… but is part of that different beat I mentioned. He counts in 8’s. Not in multiples of 10, like the rest of the world, but in multiples of 8. Let me explain.

We’ve been on vacation this week and have managed to waste a lot of hours playing the card game “Nertz!” Object of the game: to play the most cards, the fastest, on little community piles of cards in the middle of the table. Each player has an individual hand, and they all play on the community piles. When someone finishes playing all their cards, they yell “Nertz!” and the game comes to a halt. Then you count out all the cards played in the community piles and see who wins. When I count the cards, I make little piles of 10 and then count how many multiples of 10 there are. But Andy on the other hand makes little piles of 8 and then counts how many multiples of 8 there are. It just makes sense to him. He thinks in 8’s. 8’s are musical rhythmic phrasings-- duh! It’s so interesting to be reminded by simple things, like playing cards, that artists’ just think differently. How beautiful!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pressure's On

My friend Angela has been on my case for weeks now to start a blog. She’s recently become addicted and looking for a partner in crime, I’m sure. But all the typical (I’m guessing) insecurities about starting a blog kept me at bay. Who on earth would read it? What is the point? What do I talk about? Why in the world does anyone care what I have to say (in this case, write)?

Regardless of my inner fight, I found myself a week ago trying to set one up and ran into my first dilemma. Name chosen, background selected, done… but first post, ahhhh, no. Not ready for that. So another week goes by (with frequent reminders from Angela to “start posting already!”), and I realized I’m suffering from some strange, internet airwaves form of Writer’s Block. The dreaded FIRST POST! How do I start out? What is the most important thing to say, so much so, that it merits the coveted position of first post? Answer: nothing. There is nothing more valuable about the first post than any other post (hence my concern over why the heck would anyone read this to begin with?!). So, perhaps a snapshot of me is in order.

I am Anna. I am a follower of Jesus. I am a wife. I am a former agnostic turned Christian, and not just that, but a pastor’s wife (God’s irony is priceless). And the cherry on top is that I am also the wife of an artist and musician (it’s a lovely, kind of Neapolitan role I play to him). I am a daughter, a sister, and a step-sister. I am a writer, a world traveler, and pray-er. I am a learner. I am that freaky girl who doesn’t want to have kids. I laugh at my own humor more than other people do. And I am ready to start this blog, already! Pressure off.