#menaremorethan | STEVE

Whenever I think of men who make me feelScreen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.46.36 AM safe, Steve is always the first to come to mind.  He runs a construction business and is massively tall, so by all rights he ought to be intimidating and hyper-masculine.  Instead, he absolutely radiates gentleness.

I had the pleasure of co-teaching junior high Sunday School with Steve, and I was constantly impressed by how respectful he was of me, a woman half his age.  He was always complimentary of my lessons, and he went out of his way to make sure I felt happy with the way we divided our work.

I also got to see his love for middle schoolers, arguably the most trying age group of any.  Steve chose to work with this group for years and years, not out of obligation but out of genuine love.  He brought tools and live-demonstations into class to illustrate a point, and he somehow managed to convey the fact that he would both teach you how to use a soldering gun AND listen to you complain about your math teacher at the same time.

Steve smiles often and laughs easily.  He is one of the nicest people to be around, and he is definitely a man who is #morethan a gender stereotype.

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#womenaremorethan | MICHAL ANN

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.18.38 PMMichal Ann is the woman who started #womenaremorethan, which should be enough to put her in this series (she’s thoughtful, innovative, and good with words).  But she’s so much more than that.  She’s a world traveler who has participated in archeological digs in Alaska, Greece, Dubai, and Ireland.  She’s a blogger who writes passionately and articulately about theological feminism.  She’s a survivor – she has the confidence of a woman who has never experienced hardship, but she’s honest about the ways life has gone very hard for her.  She’s written a children’s book, she’s spent a month driving around Iceland, and she is so damn cool.

She’s one of my best friends.  I admire her drive and ambition, her ferocious beliefs, and the way that she lets herself fall apart when necessary.  She is my favorite person to travel with, she encourages my creativity and inspires me to do more, and she lets me be as awful as I need to be without ever condemning me.

Michal Ann is a powerhouse of a woman, and I am grateful to know her.  She’s already changing the world, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when she’s done.

#menaremorethan | MIKE

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 5.15.09 PMMike is Libby‘s husband, and their early inclusion in this series showcases how much I love them as individuals and as a couple (and why I spent so many Sundays crashing their family time).  Mike was one of my favorite people in Dallas, since we shared a love of theological conversations, video games, and writing stories.  He is a pastor whose sermons are always my favorite, he is a small group leader who values group unity and loving debate over arguing someone into the ground, he is a talented fiction writer, and he is a devoted husband and father.

In a day and age where women want to “have it all” we forget that men might want that too!  In pursuit of career success, too many men fall into a trap of believing that work is their primary identity (just as women forget that they are more than a wife or mother).  I so admire Mike for creating intentional space to be with his children and for supporting his wife’s professional aspirations.  Both Mike and Libby have roles in the home and out of it, and their co-leadership of our small group demonstrated for me just how beautiful a marriage of partnership can be.

Although he is incredibly intelligent, Mike always made me feel like my opinions were worth considering.  We occasionally disagreed about things pretty significantly, but he always valued me enough to listen and to subtly alter his opinions, just as his thoughtful critiques altered mine.  And sometimes!  Sometimes he really latched onto something that I value highly, and I will forever scream about how he is the ONLY pastor I know to preach about singleness from the pulpit in a way that actually appreciated and uplifted singleness as its own thing, and not as a stepping stone to marriage.

Someday he’s going to be a husband/father/pastor/YA author, the combination of which definitely makes him a man who is #morethan.

#womenaremorethan | LINDSAY

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 1.27.08 PMIs it cheating to write about my best friend?  Well, no, I don’t think so!  I wouldn’t be best friends with anyone other than someone who deserves the label #womenaremorethan!

Lindsay is one of those people who have so many talents, you’d want to punch them in the face if they weren’t so darn NICE, too.  She currently runs two small businesses (Mary Kay and Country Feed and Supplies) while also volunteering at her church AND mothering two small children.  She loves to travel, she’s passionate about sharing her life authentically (check out her blog, which covers everything from devastating emotional losses to choosing cute clothes), and she is insanely creative.

A quick story to demonstrate how amazing Lindsay is, both as a human being and as a friend.  When I was fundraising to move to Greece, she got on board 100%.  Her family didn’t have a lot of money to donate, but she has more to offer the world (and me) than money.  She organized an amazing event: she got a local coffee shop to host us, got a friend to set up her clothing store with a percentage of proceedings going to me, arranged book donations so that we could sell them, AND put together a raffle of baskets and luxury items.  At the end of the night, she had raised $700 for me…which was EXACTLY what I needed to meet my goal and officially buy tickets to move to Greece.

She’s a superhero, basically.  She loves deeply, and from that love she serves with everything she has.  Ah!  And she’s a really talented graphic designer, too!  She has so many talents I’m forgetting some!  Lindsay is so much #morethan, and I’m so grateful to have her in my life as my encourager and inspiration.

#menaremorethan | DR.KREIDER

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.50.25 PMThe first man I want to celebrate in this #menaremorethan series is the guy I bring up in conversation at least twice a week as, “my favorite professor from seminary.”  He would probably be half horrified/half proud to know just how completely he shaped my theology and the way I interact with the world, but he will just have to deal with those conflicting emotions.

Dr. Kreider taught theology classes at DTS, and at a roommate’s strong suggestion (shout out to Jessica, who deserves to star in #womenaremorethan someday!), I took his introductory course, and then…every other class that he taught.  The first day he said something profound that I still repeat (literally just shared this with my roommate a week ago and some friends a few days ago):

“When I came to seminary, I had a list of 300 theological truths that I would fight and die for.  When I left, I had just three:  God is triune, the Bible is inerrent, and Jesus saves us through his life, death, and resurrection.  I have opinions about everything else, but I will no longer die for them, and more importantly, I will not break up the body of Christ for them.”

The man is clearly a good professor, but he’s also a good…friend?  I don’t know what term to use, but I do know that after a particularly personal topic, I went to his office and accidentally burst into tears.  Another time he asked about my love life, then sighed and admitted, “I don’t think you’re going to find someone at seminary.  There are too many strong, opinionated, smart women, and not enough men who deserve them.”  I cannot emphasize how encouraging it was to hear this seemingly discouraging opinion.  Yet another time, we talked passionately about our favorite characters on Scandal and why couldn’t Olivia, who is so strong in every other way, get over her unhealthy obsession with the emotional abusive president!?

Even though I can no longer drop by his office or ask if we can grab coffee, I still get to stalk Dr. Kreider on Facebook.  (Fun fact, the first time we interacted online was when I wrote a status that said: “After my sex therapy class, I cannot watch sex scenes in movies without pointing out how unrealistic they are,” and he responded, “You must be fun to watch movies with,” thus solidifying my intense admiration for the man.)  I so admire his ability to bring up controversial topics online, to state his opinions with logic and emotion, and to let people disagree with him.  I try to emulate both his grace and his resolve in my own online writings, though I have far to go when engaging in productive conversations with people who believe differently from me.

For being himself, for publicly admitting his doubts and insecurities, for welcoming me into his office, for getting to know me, and for teaching me to think deeply about truth, Dr. Kreider is definitely #morethan.

#womenaremorethan | LIBBY

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.17.48 PMI want to talk about Libby. She was one of my best friends in Dallas, and she constantly amazed me with how intentionally she addressed problems whenever she saw them, whether that was dealing with her past, befriending and caring for her neighbors, or making sure our connection group was loved and unified. She’s crazy smart, and she can see to the heart of a problem before anyone else. She is one of the most hospitable people I know, and I felt so loved every time she let me borrow pajama pants and hang out with her family. I will always cherish the time she told me, “Sounds like you’re trying to earn a gift” and with a single sentence taught me what grace is all about.

She is strong like no one’s business.  While pregnant with her third child, her house burned down, and she and her family had to relocate and start over.  She did this without going insane, which is just about the most impressive thing in the universe.

On top of all that, she is an amazing mother AND a successful entrepreneur. She has two adorable boys and a new baby girl! She started a business all on her own reselling used high-end clothes, purses, and jewelry. She’s a creative businesswoman, a fantastic photographer, and a wonderful friend.

She is definitely #morethan, and I’m so grateful I got to spend three years with her.


Share your own stories about amazing women in your life with the hashtag #womenaremorethan!

Adventurous, Not Dangerous

When I die, I want this video playing on my holographic tombstone.

Hahahahaa, I imagine that very few people will find this as hilarious as I do, but one of those people is Mallory, my amazing friend who shares my dumb sense of humor.  I’m so glad she visited and agreed that THIS was the best way to document our adventures.

Enjoy 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the dumbest jokes in the history of idiocy!