Saturday, May 31, 2014

whoop whoop! it's the weekend. (kick-off)

Frankly, weekends aren't exactly as different than any other day in the life of Emilee Clemons now that school is out - & I haven't had to do an algebra problem for over two weeks! However, it's definately a reason to party (even though I've never really needed an actual reason). In celebration of the deeper sigh that Friday evening brings, & that lazy Saturday mornings entrust, I'm hoping to start a party every weekend that I'm able to write to you, right here at Peculiar Treasures. After today's kick-off you'll see how it goes. Of course, if you follow me on Pinterest it will just be an extensive (slightly more interesting) viewing.

For starters, let's just think about how fun this looks. 

Also, humor me for a moment & let's pretend my hair looks that beautiful all the time. 

Which, ironically, brings us to our first quote:

As you can see, it's a work in progress, this not comparing. 

10 random facts about a day in the life of Emilee lately:

1. I'm recovering from surgery that I just had on May 21st (which may be the reason why I love Pinterest 10x more than usual). I'm not allowed to do too much, & if you see me out & about - just know I'm exhausted, but sucking it up is a small price to pay when stir crazy is thereby now satisfied. Nothing too scary - I've been here, done this, but I am looking forward to being able to enjoy my summer to the fullest extent as soon as possible - when I can finally go for a walk on my favorite street, all the summer sterotypes, and...

2. Drive! About two or three weeks ago, I got my learner's permit. Turns out, I'm a better driver in town... then, well, ahem, when I've had some other unmentionable practice. Grin. 

3. Speaking of growing up, a few days ago I received the hard copy of my permit and my first personal debit card all in the same day. It's been a trying time around here, y'all.

4. I channeled my inner librarian yesterday 

and added these books to our church library: 

I'm giddy over these stacks. I was just gonna go take them out of their boxes and smell a few, but once I hugged a few of my favorites, I just had to put them where they belonged. 

5. Lunchtime today with dessert first (coffee chocolate chip ice cream) & the Wildwood Chronicles by my side thanks to a dear, fellow-lover-of-words friend. 

Plus, considering the blessed few weeks of my life where I could eat whatever I wanted & it went to healing instead of my hips, I needed to get that ice cream out of the freezer until further notice. 

6. I'll be back to that My Fitness Pal sooner than I'd like to admit. I'm counting calories... anywho. Let's stop talking about calories & keep this list moving. 

7. I GOT AN IPAD! How did I get an iPad, you wonder? *A certain very good friend* of mine purchased a new one & knew that I would appreciate theirs. As you could expect, I was very grateful & have been having lots of fun with it. I found an app called 'Paper' & I've been doodling on that in a lot of my free time. I'm sure this isn't the last masterpiece you'll see. Shout-out to Varsity Donuts for being awesome!

8. My parents celebrated their 20th anniversary this week. Look at those cuties. All of 'em. #heartbreakers #gottaloveem

9. Due to my sickly self, washing my hair & getting dressed is a huge production & accomplishment each morning. On this particular day of catching up on some reality shows we watch, I felt pretty & so I had to take a selfie. Because that's what selfies are for, right?  

10. Last, but not least, I finish this list of randoms with a dream that inspired the "whoop! whoop! it's the weekend" series kick-off. 

A mint green bike with a basket. 

It's my dream to have one of these beauties and a summer when I am physically able. Ah, perfection. 

Maybe next summer, Emilee muttered as she comforted herself. 

Next up, some 'giggles & grins' for your viewing pleasure. 

Adam Levine in 8th grade and now (before the blonde hair). You are most certainly welcome. 


Olan Rogers back in his crouton years and present day. I repeat, you are most certainly welcome. If you happen to not know who this young fellow is, Google him. You'll laugh for days. I know I did. 

Some love advice from my girl, Holly. Or Audrey. Or 'whoever she is'. Go watch Breakfast At Tiffany's if you didn't get that reference. 

A baby giraffe. Makes your heart pop. 

Well, hey there, curious cutie. I like you. 

Amen, anyone? #jkz

This card is the real deal. "For reals, yo. Ever."

Siri & I had a day apart yesterday. Here we are reconnecting. 

Absolutely & positively, this is one of the funniest pins ever. I giggle every time I come across it. 
If you don't get it, I pity you in the highest regard. My sincerest apologies. 

Recently I made a list of bridesmaids I would have if I were to get married tomorrow. Let's just say... this e-card made me laugh, literally, for hours on end. My list was significantly small. 

Which leads me to my next point. That will only make sense to those fellow Grey's friends out there. 

I need a person. 

In other news, Brandon Heath got married this last Sunday. Happiness (once I accepted that he was off the market).

To her many readers excitement, my favorite fictional series is coming out with a new book in June & giddy is the one emotion I could mention. 

I leave you with these parting thoughts. 

Take it day by day. 

Already, I've had to challenge myself with this numerous times. There is a freeing that takes place when you hide a memory in your heart instead of plastering it for all the world to see (although I'm a huge fan of most of your lives so don't stop tweeting altogether. Please.)

Life is good, & we're meant to live it abundantly, but if we don't count it all as loss in the light of Christ, we miss our greatest need & our greatest joy. 

Lastly, I'm falling in love with this little boy. If his Uncle Prince Harry doesn't get his act together, handsome Prince George might win me over entirely. 

I hope you giggled. 

I hope you somewhat will continue viewing this as a party. I know I had fun. 

Happy weekend, 
Princess Emilee 

P.S. My summer goal is to learn how to relax. I'll have to let you know how that goes. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

evangelism: vandalizing our comfort zones

Evangelizing is every Christian's duty.

But what IS evangelism? What does God say about it?

Does He ask us to go & preach it down our neighbor's throats? Or does He tell us to love them?

Lately I've been wondering how influential I am for the kingdom of God. Sure, I can find many ways to serve within the family of Christ, but is that just as influential as helping add to the numbers within our family?

When I was sharing these thoughts with a sweet friend and mentor, she put her thoughts like this: “...and does it matter if we ever know all the seeds we've planted? The lives we have impacted?”

It doesn't. What matters is if we step out in faith with a pure motive of seeing the Gospel go forth and seeing our fellow man come to know the saving grace we have only begun to comprehend.

Have I been fearless in sharing God's love? I've been continually praying for opportunities to reach out to someone who is living in darkness. As I have been praying The Lord has been showing me that one of the best ways to witness is to build up unity in the body of Christ.

 If we don't love each other, certainly those in darkness will not step out & want to be a part of our fellowship when the opportunity arises. They will not know (and therefore seek) Jesus' love, because they haven't seen it demonstrated. The Christian life in this scenario is no different then their own. Ever since the Lord has laid this burning question about evangelism on my heart, He has been giving me opportunites to show His love to people that may not have a deep, personal relationship with Him.

In the past, I have dealt with an insane guilt for taking part in anything that screams "luxurious & American." I have seen black babies with big, empty bellies. I have seen immense poverty. Isn't it selfish to love air conditioning and going to get a massage? Isn't it selfish to spend $5 on a cup of coffee in a beautiful building?

 Isn't it selfish to want to go on safari when you could still be 'on the mission field'?

It could be selfish. Or it could be a God-given opportunity to show His love in every dusty & glamorous corner of your life.

Just because you're treating yourself, doesn't mean you can't find someone to love on in the process. Every place our dusty feet walk is a mission field if we choose to make it one. The Holy Spirit doesn't withdrawal His guidance just because you're spending money versus giving it away. He is interested in where your heart is. If it is with Him and the spending all of your resources reflects that, that's all that really matters.

"God doesn't ask us to change people's lives; He simply asks us to live ours." -Emily P. Freeman, Graceful

If we live our lives well, that in itself is a ministry we cannot imagine.

Ironically with the Lord's tender love and sense of humor, the two recent highlighted opportunities that I've recently had, one of which I'm going to share with you, both happened when I was 'treating myself'.

Sitting in the waiting room, waiting for it to be my turn to get a massage, a middle-aged women comes in my corner of the high-ceiling building that has a smell of perfume, hairspray, and a tiny scent of nail polish everywhere you walk. We made small talk. Talked about dresser drawers and our favorite purses. Nothing spectacular. Soon, her husband calls. He gets mad at her (from my eavesdropping perspective, they simply needed to communicate the day's appointments that morning) and hangs up on her. This blonde women with dress pants and tennis shoes is hurting and I can see it. Of course, if I was choosing to only think about how I forgot to bring something to do in the waiting room or that I was having an absolutely horrible hair day instead of looking across the room at this beautiful woman that God has created, I would have missed her pain entirely. It could have been a selfish moment, because she was disrupting my peace and quiet. In some very inspirational Christian living book, the author would proceed to tell you that they asked the woman to pray with them, she consented, and by the end of the whole waiting period everyone was hugging and crying happy tears. None of that happened. I wish I would have done something so outgoing those weeks ago, but instead I stayed in the corner of that comfy sectional with my feet up praying for her and her husband. Suddenly, I wasn't focused on my little problems, but my attention was turned towards this sweet stranger fighting an awful battle.

When the other opportunity I was recently given came about, I was thankfully bold enough to share my faith verbally. As time goes on, The Lord is faithful to equip me about the hope that I have. Evangelism is very close to my heart and I cringe at the thought that I'm often to comfortable to practice one of my gifts and one of my highest callings.

The bottom line in all of this is: I have to be fully present. It doesn't have to be in the depths of an African village or in an Ecuadorian street - although I will be doing so very soon. For me, The Lord sent two different people to me & both in luxurious, stereotypical American environments. I pray that in the future I will be able to be more present in these moments & that I will continue to be bold, upfront, loving. However, until I continue in these relationships, or have the chance to intentionally show Jesus to several altogether different people, I will press on nurturing the kingdom of God by loving on my brothers & sisters already here - & for my fellow men still winding down the wide road that leads to destruction.

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.” —Hebrews 11:13-16, The Message

ponder this:
How can I show Jesus without words? With words?
Am I wanting to share Christ because I want to see the kingdom enhanced & bring glory to my Lord's name? Or do I want to feel better about myself & my legacy?
How can I nurture the body of Christ today?
How can I fight against lukewarmness in my community, & in my very own heart, this month?


Sunday, May 4, 2014

season by season, year by year

Summer 2013 had a lot of ups and downs. Every season has its own troubles, but last Summer was one different from anything I had experienced before.

As you may already know, I worked on staff at Living Water Christian Farms for four weeks.

There were countless days within those weeks where I would call home, sobbing. I missed home. I was feeling left out. I was searching for my purpose in the place I was in.

Yet, no matter what discouragements I faced during the day - when nine o' clock came around, my world came into perspective.

Suddenly, I'm jealous of my favorite camp nights that I had with my crazy staff.

Everything was right in my world when I took this picture.

That one weekend, I was the only person on that side of the pond - the only person in our whole machine shed cabin. It was bliss.

No social media. No sad text messages. Just me, my dirty laundry trekking back and forth from home base, and my books.

Those times weren't meant to last forever, though, and Monday came again.

When Sunday night rolled around and staff starting piling in again, my heart was a little happier than before, but I knew a long week lay ahead.

One thing got me through each day. 

The excitement to have quality time with my dear friend, Leah. Every night that we could keep our eyes open past ten o' clock, we would sit outside, not wanting to stir the rest of our sleeping cabin.

Leah and I met when we were in 3rd grade. No matter how much time passes between us, we pick right up where we left off.

We'd sit on that small space of patio, swatting mosquitos, and solving the world's deepest issues.

This weekend, I'm reminded of those nights spent stargazing with old friends, hashing life with this girl, or sitting by the pond listening to crickets.

Flash forward to this weekend and I whisper to my parents, "I just want Leah to come over tonight."
To be fully loved and accepted within community is a powerful thing in the kingdom of God.

This year so far? It's been one for the record books.

Bad news. Bad news. Hope. Bad news.

Coming home crying, because loneliness takes the most out of you when you're in a group of people that don't even notice you're hurting.

The word itself - loneliness - was on my heart a few weeks ago. As I was cleaning my room, I found an old beloved devotional book that I've worn down. As I flipped through the pages of funky font and breathtaking verses, my bookmark feel to the ground. I looked over at the page I had marked.

The title? Loneliness. I was ten years old when I placed that bookmark with handwritten Scripture on that page. I was ten years old, at least, when the serpent was already trying to win me over through the temptations that comes through the window of my loneliness.

This is what my bookmark read: "I, Emilee, do not fear, for God is with me; I am not dismayed, for He is my God. This girl is going to be strengthened by Him and He will help me. He will hold me up at His righteous right hand."

Loneliness isn't a state created by circumstance - it's a heart disease that acts up in hyperventilation when circumstance pushes it too far.

I can't become discouraged because some of these troubles linger. From those several years ago, to last summer, and flash forward to this summer - a lot of my troubles might look the same, but I'm held by a God that is simply delighted that I'm willing to stumble through every bit of messiness with Him.

I don't know what's going to happen in my life in between now and August, but I do know that August will bring Lake Victoria:

 Lake Victoria means some of my absolute favorite people in the world will be by my side and we'll be praising the One that has made our paths cross so intricately. When night falls, I hope the men will be fishing on the lake and it will be transformed into a city illusion form the light coming from the canoes. It's a sight that I wish you could all see for yourselves. Whatever messy season I'm in, whatever messy season my friends will be in alongside of me, it will all come into perspective through those tiny lights piercing the darkness.

In my heart, I'll echo the meaning of my Ebenezer family in thankfulness: Thus far the Lord has helped us.

When I think about God embracing me in this season of life that I'm in - in between so many unknowns, I think about the picture of friendship with Leah and I sitting on that patio.

I would rub her shoulders. She would rub mine. We laughed hard and tried to whisper. We talked about seasons of life, future plans, and staff interactions. Leah didn't pressure me to say anything I wasn't ready to, and when I did she met me with open arms. She deeply cared about what I was saying - she wasn't in a hurry to make her point known.

I don't know what season you're in, but I do know that the Lord embraces us just like our best friend would.

Whatever happens, He will never let me go.

Season by season, year by year, and struggle after struggle, the Lord is still faithful enough to lead us every step of the way.

Because of this truth, I can make it from in between unknowns, stepping out in faith, with comfort and courage.

No weapon formed against me shall remain. 

I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,