Sunday Letters- Things That Make Me Brave

Generally our Sunday letters will be to one another, but today I’m rather inspired by some others. My family came to town last night which is almost as rare as my husband eating sushi. That is to say, it doesn’t happen very often. Neither activity is disliked by the participator, but unfortunately for me, they only come along every so often. We took the opportunity to visit the Dallas Gift Market (thanks, Mom!), eat dinner, and see True Grit. I must admit that this was mostly decided based on my dad’s pleas, but knowing that the only movie we’d ever seen as a family in theaters was Seabiscuit, I knew we needed to go.

The movie itself is pretty inspiring- I love the idea of being out on the open range, outlaws abounding, gun in tow. Maybe it’s because I’m from Oklahoma. But watching a 14 year old girl avenge her father’s death with a fierce heart and a sharp tongue? All the better.

As she sets out to find her father’s killer- against the will of the marshall and behind her mother’s back- she writes this letter to her mother:

Dearest Mother- I am about to embark on a great adventure. Or dare I call it a mission, lest any of us rest easy ere Papa’s death is avenged? My investigations in Fort Smith lead me to believe that Tom Chaney can be found and brought to justice, and I have made arrangements to that end. I will return to you once I have seen them properly carried through. But do not worry on my account. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. The author of all things watches over me. And I have a fine horse. Kiss little Frankie for me and pinch Violet’s cheek. I am off for the Choctaw Nation.

From here, greatness ensues and she is more brave than I would ever be unless I were fighting in hand-to-hand combat for my family or my God. Those things would make me instantly brave.

And a copy of a letter that has long been posted on my inspiration board at home:

Dear Pastor,
You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward. The missionary heart cares more than some think is wise, risks more than some think is safe, dreams more than some think is practical, expects more than some think is possible. I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving him. I love you and my church family.

In His care,

-Karen Watson, 1973-2004, Mission worker killed by terrorists in Iraq

Yes, these things make me brave.


A Memory and Peppermint Tea

Perhaps it’s the chill in the air or the fact that it happened almost a year ago to date, but as I was cooking dinner last night (another round of our favorite Corn Chowder) I was overcome with the memory of the first time I knew Kyle had asked my dad to marry me. I’m not talking anything obvious like accidentally finding the ring or an email he’d sent about flying his family down here for the engagement, but something so subtle that no one else would have seen it if it hit them in the face.

We were visiting my family and arrived to an unusual scene in our house: no one had prepared dinner. We rarely ate out when I was growing up, but this night we arrived to find my dad and sister headed out the door to pick up dinner at one of the three main eateries in our small town. Actually we went to two of the three main eateries because my sister chose grilled chicken over rotting her body from the inside out with fried okra and butter. Whatever.

We were in the truck -my sister and I in the back seat, my dad and Kyle in the front- when I heard it. Kyle had said something hilarious to the male species, probably something about Mike Gundy or Gisele Bundchen, and my dad laughed. The laugh wasn’t the abnormal thing- my dad’s generally a jolly fellow- but it was a genuine, relaxed, whole-hearted laugh. Like he actually thought Kyle was funny.

I know my husband and his sense of humor- it’s pretty solid. But I also know the laugh he usually got from my dad; a smile with no teeth and a nose that scrunched a little too much to be genuine. Almost a pity, “I’m being nice to you because you’re with my daughter, but my shotgun is in the next room and I know how to use it.” This night, something was different.

Turns out Kyle had asked him for my hand in marriage a few weeks before. As I sit here and think about all that’s happened in the last year- the engagement, the wedding, the move to Dallas, two new jobs- I can’t believe how blessed we are. But I also sit here next to our Christmas tree sipping peppermint tea and soaking up all the greatness and I know that Kyle doesn’t complete me. That if there hadn’t been the ring or the secret wedding or the telltale laugh, my life would still be full and I would still be joyful and my tree would still be glowing in the corner. It would only be a different corner and might taste of blackberry tea instead of peppermint, but my joy would be ever present. This year, I just get to share in it.


Saturday Stories

Interesting article on why renting is superior to owning in 2010 and beyond. Not sure we agree with it but it’s worth a discussion…as long as that discussion is over coffee or Blue Moons.

Some brilliance from Tony Steward (husband of Messy Canvas) on why not having TV is just as dangerous to your time as having TV.

Jen’s new favorite store just opened. In a seemingly related story, we’re looking into getting her an inhaler.

Photo Attribution: Apartment | TV | Red Velvet


Saturday Stories

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Really selfless, great blog by a Texas couple dodging earthquakes and cholera to teach kids English in Haiti.

Really insightful post by Ben Arment about being good at what you complain about. Brilliant.

Fascinating interview with the founder of Etsy (he’s 28!) about how the crafting website my that makes my wife weep got started.

Photo Attribution: Haiti | Head | Etsy


Saturday Linkage

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From a newfound favorite, the Messy Canvas blog. A story that hits especially close to home for women in leadership, written eloquently on another Jen Porter favorite, Virginia Woolf.

A less emotional, much more practical view on the financial perks of marriage as a contrast to my post on finances in marriage this week.

Good ol’ Dave gets a new house. Check out Dave Ramsey’s new $5 million home. Total money makeover seems to be working! Any thoughts on this one?

Photo Attribution: Autumn Walk | Messy | Dave


Saturday Reads

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Great post on what it takes to follow your dreams.

Fun new blog we came across about families, photography, and handmade crafting.

For the boys, why minimalism is manly.

And just for fun, here’s your Tweet of the week.

Photo Attribution: Sailboat | Fly | Manliness


Saturday Links

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I do not understand this man who writes best-seller after best-seller and rock-climbs in the dark. Nor do I understand the level of discipline he exudes, but this article tries to explain all of it.

This short article offers so many questions about the future of education in America…and not so many answers. Just how we like it.

Are you following this blog? You should be.

Photo Attribution: Capitol | Dream | Watch


Long Lost Linkage

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Malcolm Gladwell’s newest article about the historical impact of social media. Stick with it, the end is phenomenal. If Gladwell’s writing it, there’s a good chance we’re reading it.

Interesting Washington Post article about our future. We don’t necessarily subscribe to all of the conclusions, the premise, though, is intriguing.

A guy we’ve been following for quite a while just started a new blog about how to build your own blog. It’s worth your time.

Photo Attribution: Riots | Future


Link Love

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A great new e-book from somebody creating art. Who doesn’t love a blog called ‘messy canvas’? Isn’t that kind of the point of this whole thing? Have at it…

Some of our best friends have a blog (yes, they’re awesome, thanks for asking). If you haven’t checked it out, this was one of my favorite posts of September.

A pretty intense story about an entrepreneur who thinks he’s a cross between Zuckerburg and Jobs. He’s trying to take over the world (maybe literally) and he’s really bizarre.

We’re headed to see Big Tex today. Major fist pumpage going on in the Porter household. Fried margaritas for everyone! You guys have a good weekend.

Photo Attribution: Canvas | NYT