living for others

TeaI’ve been thinking a lot lately about living for others. I know that’s what we are taught in Sunday School, this sweet “share your toy” sort of living for others, but I’m realizing that it (obviously) looks much different. It’s a ferocious kind of lifestyle that fights for others, a generous sacrificial one that gives all he has, an intentional one that listens well and so much more. This isn’t a new concept for me but I think it’s becoming more true in me. I journeyed into YWAM (youth with a mission) to do missions a few years ago, but looking back– in a lot of ways it was more for me. More so I could see Iceland, or have an experience. Which none of that is wrong necessarily, but when that becomes our sole motivation it’s a bit dangerous — but more on that maybe another time.

So what does it look like to lead a lifestyle dedicated to loving those around us? “Simply put: love does.” says Bob Goff. This implies action. Love is moving, fluid, with arms outstretched.

I’ve been inspired to take action. I don’t only want live this sort of lifestyle, but  to take note and display those around who already are. I have a friend who works for an organization that gives free psychiatric care  to veterans suffering from PTSD. I have another friend who has recently sold everything and moved to a tiny village in Uganda to serve at an orphanage. And another who recently set out to visit safe homes harboring women rescued from sex trafficking in six or so different countries. I could go on and on. These aren’t just people I’ve heard of from others, but people I know.

Now, in order to display love or “live for others” (although incredible and necessary) I don’t believe you must move over seas to an under-developed country and help the destitute. I was having dinner with my friend who works for the non-profit helping veterans, Keri, and we were mulling this topic over. So often “doing good for others” creates this category of people in desperate need, those suffering from starvation, needing clothes, shelter, water, etc. These are basic needs that absolutely need to met. But do you ever wonder, just like in any system, the people in-between? Someone may not be dying of starvation, but they could be suffering from the emotional trauma of never being accepted, or maybe a child has food, water and shelter but needs a bike. They may not need a bike for survival but something of the sort to restore to them their childhood. This is still something I’m still mulling over, but I do believe it’s an area that needs attention.

This thought process is much too long for a simple blog post which is why I wanted to kickstart a journey to tell others stories and inspire people to live for others.

Until then, I (double dog) dare you to love on one person today. Not just your spouse, friend or family, but a stranger. Compliment someone, help someone carry their drinks to their table at Frothy, buy the person behind you in line’s meal/drink–heck, buy their groceries!

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Icelandic Cold

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As the days get somewhat colder here in Nashville I’m reminded of our recent trip to Iceland. By somewhat I mean 40 degrees here which isn’t much compared to Reykjavik’s “feels like 15 degrees” weather. But still, the cold reminds me of time spent there. Shivering to the bone as I would walk to meet a friend at a coffeehouse. You have to dress in layers though because as soon as you walk into any shop or home it’s about 80 degrees or warmer with the fireplaces going and sipping on heitt sukkulaði (hot chocolate).

This was especially true on this last trip we took at the end of October. It was during Iceland Airwaves–we didn’t get tickets, but we planned on attending many off-venue shows. Which meant we’d walk to a venue a few blocks away, wait to get in, freeze, then be in the venue pressed up to someone you don’t know as your craning your head around to see the artist and be burning up in your winter parka. It’s a blast, really!

I’ve yet to post about this adventure, it was so beautiful to be back where Tyler and I met. Back in the crisp air, remembering the first days we felt sparks, wondering if the other was thinking the same. Not to mention reuniting with old friends we hadn’t seen in a year or so. God spoke so clearly and favorably over us and we came home feeling completely refreshed.

Please enjoy some of the photos I took while listening to  Ólafur Arnalds , an Icelandic artist I saw three times. Yeah, I kinda like him…Image

The Reykjavik Harbour.

Image2012-11-05 23.46.512012-10-31 07.44.28Spending time with good friends.
2012-10-31 07.44.472012-11-03 10.45.222012-11-01 14.08.16Olafur performing at The Rex

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This year has been one for the books. Looking forward to 2013. Hope you had a merry christmas and have a happy new year!!

Bless,

Felicia Marie

Details: The Proposal

Tyler and I are officially engaged! Friday morning I woke up really early to take a friend who had spent the night to work. My mom texts me and says “Tyler is here and he’s fixing you breakfast so you better get home.” So I rushed home only to find that nobody was there, weird. I found at the kitchen table was a plate with scrambled eggs (in the shape of a heart), toast, fresh-cut strawberries, juice, basically the breakfast works and a letter. I was so blessed and thankful! What a pleasant surprise! I texted Tyler to thank him and tell him how wonderful the breakfast was. He told me to stay put because there was a surprise coming at 9:30.

Sure enough at 9:30 there’s a ring at the door bell and I open it to see a friend of ours that he works with, Debbie. I blankly stared at her and said “what?” I had totally spaced on the fact that she’s a massage therapist! She was there to give me a massage! Yesssss.

After the massage I thought the surprises were over, I texted Ty once again, thanking him for the wonderful morning. But he had yet another surprise, he had hidden a bag full of The Body Shop products so I could enjoy a bath after my massage! Honestly by this point I still had no idea anything was going on. He does sweet things for me quite often, sure this was a bit over the top, but I was still not thinking proposal!

After my wonderful morning I went on a previously planned shopping date with my girlfriend, Goodwin. And the rest of the day was supposed to be girls day… after shopping we met up with our friend Ellis to get our nails done.

While getting our nails done we decided to have a cuddly girls night, stay in, watch a movie and eat pizza. In addition to all the above Ellis suggested that we take Goodwin to this mini-lake she had never seen before, in cool springs (It’s been a sort of tradition for Ellis and I to do this, so it wasn’t weird).

When we got to the lake parking lot, all of us got out of the car. Ellis handed me a letter and then they both ran to the car and drove away. Now I knew something was up. In addition to a wonderful poem, the letter had instructions to “meet me at the dock.”

To get to the dock you have to walk up over a hill, so I couldn’t see the dock from the parking lot. As I walked up over the hill I could see the dock covered in candles! It is about a 2 minute walk to the dock and I knew what was coming, I just wanted to scream “Yes!” from where I was walking!! But I waited. He met me at the end of the dock with a bouquet of flowers, sat me down on a bench, got down on one knee, said a beautiful speech that I can’t remember because I was crying and too emotional and in the process of being proposed to!!

I said yes (of course), but it doesn’t stop there! He took me out to a really nice dinner and then suggested we go to Kim & John Chandlers house to celebrate with them and show them the ring.  We walk in and 40 of my favorite people were in their house to celebrate! Tyler (and friends) had planned a surprise engagement party following the proposal! Woohoo!!

So. Much. Fun.

*All photos by Madi Flournoy