I went ahead and changed the title of this blog... again. What? I can't help it! Titles are important. For those of you who haven't been to New Orleans before, the neutral ground is basically a large area of grass (think median but way fatter) that separates one side of the road from the other. The street car (not a trolley, do NOT call it that!) runs back and forth on the neutral ground. Also, people like to hang out there and visit. Where I live  a lot of runners use it (seriously, everyone in uptown goes on evening jogs). As for the "not so" part of the title, while neutral ground in New orleans is a place where you meet in the middle, neutral in any other context suggests inactivity. You don't hate it, you don't love it, therefore you are neutral. Let me tell you, I won't be doing many neutral things this year. Nothing about living in community jives with inactivity, however it does look a lot like meeting in the middle. So, I think I will be sticking with this new title, it works on multiple levels, which I know my creative writing professor would deeply appreciate.

On to the real juicy stuff! I got back from orientation yesterday and here are some phrases to chew on:

  • critical cultural competency
  • simple living
  • living in an intentional community
  • multigenerational worship
  • closely examining systemic injustice
  • the importance of being
  • triggers, ticks and tools
...and the list goes on and on. Ya'll, I learned SO MUCH this past week, way more than I could possibly boil down into a post (or even 10). Pretty much every day we all ate breakfast, went to a series of discussions including workshops, bible study, small group led by YAV alumni and worship. So my days were seriously packed. Sometimes my brain felt like mush, but I learned so much! For example, I get stress dreams. Seriously weird dreams that usually bump up close enough to reality that they freak me out. At orientation I had a dream that I was asked to leave because a person I knew who I am not particularly fond of  (in real life) had come to take my spot. See? Stress dreams are the worst!

Orientation at Stony Point pushed me in all kinds of directions. During worship on Thursday night I was pretty much drowning in emotion. Unlike other people I deal with emotion by placing it in a nice little bottle that I can crush later when I'm alone. Unfortunately this wasn't really an option, we were asked to get into groups of three and share some of our personal prayer concerns for the coming year. So much for that nice little bottling technique. As the three of us talked about of concerns for the coming year it dawned on me, I was drowning because I am equally terrified and excited. I was completely drained from the schedule, but energized knowing that I would be going back to New Orleans to do something helpful. I was frustrated because I wanted to know all the answers, but I was also invested in creating my own answers. It's amazing how a human can hold two completely different emotions in the same hand and not squish either of them. I realized I can be happy and totally terrified at the same time, there's no need to pick one or the other. More importantly, I think I'm finally beginning to understand that my year as a YAV will involve a lot of dichotomies and you know what, that sounds pretty great to me.


  1. God is so good - and you are great because of Him. I love you, I can't wait to hear about your journey. Be still, and know Him.


  2. You will learn so much about yourself and life during this year long journey of service. It is true that fear AND excitement are both essential emotions of great change. God has endowed us with feelings of fear to sharpen our senses to new environments and the excitement is the reward for responding to his call. He will always be with you as will your family and your church family. We are all so proud of you and your commitment to Him and all his Children.

  3. Thanks for that post. And I am glad that you got so much out of orientation!


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