Isn't that picture amazing?! 
I drooled a little when my friend, Katie, sent it to me, but I'm pretty sure Chris will crap when he sees it.  You know, because we are trying to take on this minimalist lifestyle.  I just can't help it how my heart lurches when I see a beautiful display of shoe perfection!  Maybe it's withdrawal.
I was inspired to write about youth leader shoes when my friend, Mike, took note of the TOMS flag sprawled across one of the pictures in my post about being old.  Over the years, I have become more aware of the youth leader look.  When youth leaders are together, there are a few brands of shoes that you will probably see a lot of.  From people I know and input I've gained, I have put together the 5 most common youth leader shoes.  Here is what I think different styles of shoes have to say.  (This is for fun, only.  I am not seriously judging you.  I love you.)

5. The Neon Running Shoe-dynamic!
This shoe says that you are active and not afraid to be bold.  You probably have lots of fun energy and get a kick out of posting your exercises on social media.  You are probably a dymanic person.

4. Sperry's-responsible!

Wearing Sperry's is an impressive way for a youth leader to be taken seriously by adults in the church and community while being respected by the youth population at the same time.  It's really an all-in-one choice, but would probably scuff the gym floor during dodgeball, so it should proabaly be save for the office, sanctuary, and coffee stops. 

3. Knock-Offs-cheap!

Unfortunatley, the youth leader salary isn't the highest out there.  We are so blessed by being in service that we don't need a lot of money.  So blessed!  Thankfully, there are stores that carry footwear at a low price.  They may look like one of the other 4 on this list, but they just aren't the same.  That's ok though, we appreciate your service!

2. TOMS-hippie!

TOMS have been a huge hit over the past few years.  There is much less buyers remorse when you know that you've done some charity at the same time.  Maybe we could even consider shopping for TOMS as work...or not.  TOMS are great, in my opinion, because they can be dressed up or down and are totally comfy.  Downside: they make my feet rank.  Oh well.

1. Converse-carefree!

Converse All Stars are a tried and true shoe.  They are for the grown up who never grew up, perfect for the youth leader.  They give a nod to athleticism without having to actually be athletic.  They last for so long-  The rubber toe keeps these babies running for years. 

My personal favorites are the Converse and TOMS.  I think I could get away with just wearing those two for pretty much any occasion.  I currently have 2 pairs of Converse, 1 to be donated soon.  The grey pair are absolute perfection.  I have 3 pairs of TOMS that I've accumulated as gifts over the past 3 years.  I love them all, but my grey pair has seen better days and is no longer Sunday morning appropriate.  They are more like gardening appropriate since my toes practically stick out...and I don't garden so maybe they need a new home.  I'm not too concerned about what my shoes say about me, and you shouldn't be long as you like them!  But it's fun to think about, right?

So, please share your comments and what kinds of shoes you like and what you think they say, youth leader, or not!

Here are some real life youth worker shoes!  Wow! Ooooo! Ahhhhhh! Amazing!!
I love a bargain and I really like a 2nd hand bargain. My mom raised me to hunt for deals and for that, I am so grateful. Whether you already know the joy of 2nd hand, or not, I hope this post encourages you in your thrifting pursuits.
10 Reasons to Shop Second Hand

1. You won't look like everyone else.
Face it, showing up somewhere in the same outfit as someone else is not a comfortable situation. No one wants to deal with that...unless you're a 10 year old going to the mall with your bestie. Twinkies!! 2nd Hand stores have the best selection of items, hands down.
2. You will get more for your money.
This is not an endorsement for hoarding thrift store crap. This is me telling you that a quality brand tshirt from a 2nd hand shop is way better than a shirt that costs the same (or more) from a low quality store.

3. Your items could last longer.
This ties into #2, referring to picking quality items. Clothing that is second hand has most likely already been through the shrinking and/or fading process. If it looks good and is in good condition in the store, you shouldn't be surprised by weak seams or anything else unfortunate when you pull it out of the dryer at home.
4. If it is torn or breaks-no biggie.    
Your toddler wiped her muddy hands on you? Stain stick didn't work? You can cry because you loved that shirt--which would be weird--but not because of the loads of cash you spent on the shirt. Woot woot!!

5. You will be helping someone out.
Thrift stores often use proceeds to help people with education and employment.  People who sell their stuff through yard sales or consignment are making some money for themselves or their family. You're such a do-gooder.

6. You will be helping the environment.
2nd hand shopping & donating/selling my families stuff is my most favorite form of recycling. Go green!

7. You won't be buying into consumerism.
Our culture produces, consumes, and trashes stuff at a very fast rate. The media warps us into thinking we aren't good enough as we are and that we need to buy crap to be better. When we aren't spending our hard earned money on the latest fad, gadget, or potion, we free our money up for more important things...& we start to feel a lot better about ourselves.

8. Your partner/parent/whoever will be grateful.        
From experience, I can say that it rocks my husbands world when I score a deal on something we need. Last spring, our blender broke. A few weeks later, I found a Ninja blender for 10 bucks at a yard sale. It has 2 sizes of container and blade and I really love it for making my green smoothies.

9. It's fun.                                           
Scoring that blender deal was definitely fun. I kind of get a high when I score a deal. It's super fun to do an internet search for the product you scored and find out you saved 100's of dollars. It happens more than you would think.

10. You will be a total thrifster
...& I say that's a good thing. Here is how defines thriftster: "An off-shoot (or sub-culture) of the general hipster trend, but while most contemporary hipsters attempt to buy indie flavor by frequenting Urban Outfitters or American Apparel, a "thriftster" alternatively obtains said style by frequenting thrift stores or through general use of hand-me-downs. While shopping at the Salvation Army may have been included in the original definition of a "hipster," now that mainstream commercialism has caught onto the hipster fashion trends, the term "thriftster" must be adopted to differentiate those who appreciate used clothing and the ideals that come along with it from the ever-increasing group of trendy 20 and 30-somethings who are content to buy the massed-produced version of this clothing without asking how it got to be there in the first place."
I would love to hear about the awesome deals that you have scored!!
Well, actually, I am 32, but who's counting?
When I was 20 years old, I was a junior at ONU, lived in a house with 3 other girls, and fell head over heels for at least 4 guys.  I married my favorite, the 4th. Hi, Chris!

For some reason, I still feel like I'm in my 20's...and apparently I'm not the only one since someone made an ecard about it.  The fact is, I am so deep into my 30's that I wouldn't be able to fool the guy who guesses your age at Cedar Point.  I take pride in looking younger than my age, but the fact is...when I buy booze, I rarely get asked for my i.d....and when they do ask...the lack of surprise on their faces is almost offensive.  Why do I feel like I'm getting away with something when I buy it?  It's a time warp, I tell ya!
Reality struck this week. 
It was a typical 7am run to the store for some basics to make the morning happen at the Burns house. I was ready for work but far from perfect since these days I do my make up in the minivan-if makeup happens.  I stood in the check out line with my milk and bread and had a battle in my mind while I gazed at the M&M's. 

Then, I saw her.  She was tiny and had perfectly styled dark hair.  "She looks like me," I thought. "We could be friends!," I imagined. Then I remembered the M&M battle and the layer of dry shampoo on my hair.  Oh.
The milk jug was making my hand very cold as I waited in line.  She wasn't buying milk.  She had a case of Red Bull.  She wasn't buying bread.  She was requesting a pack of Marlboro Lights.  OMG!

What is that hanging from her wrist?! A tiny Coach wristlet.  I had trouble finding my wallet in my bag full of school papers, hot wheels, and M&M wrappers.
What is going on here?!  Time warp...woooooeeeeeeoooooooeeeeee!!!!

She probably didn't see me climb into my caravan, but I saw her light up in her little red civic.  I envied her for a minute-she was a lovely young professional woman. 

As I drove the milk and bread back to my family, I thought about how grateful I am to be where I am in life.  I know that coffee is better than Red Bull.  I also know that M&M's are better than cigarettes.  But, what I love most about being in my 30's is the amazing sense of love and security I feel as I'm surrounded by my family.  I look back on 20 years old with a smile, but I wouldn't choose to return there.
Enjoy each year as it comes, friends.  Hold on to the loves and wonders that make this time in your life beautiful. 

I'd like to hug all of the 20 year olds and tell them they're cute, but that would probably creep them out. 

This past year has been full of adventures, challenges, and new discoveries.  One thing that has held true for Chris and me, but that we only recently have come to understand, is our natural tendency towards doing life together.  By doing life together, I mean sharing everyday and special activities with other people.  We really like being with people!  We enjoy sharing what's going on, supporting each other with prayer, celebrating triumphs, leading events, and just being in the open company of authentic friends.
Our church is currently building Core Groups which have the same goal: Doing life together.  One Sunday afternoon, Chris and I were discussing the sermon and were like, "Yes! That's what we love to do...and we already do it!" 

This blog is my attempt to do life with you. 
You may know that Chris and I also have another tendency, and that is to move around a bit.  This seems to be an extension of my childhood as a PK (Preacher's Kid).  I'm not sure whether Chris and I have a twisted sense of adventure or if habits die hard...or if our pursuit to follow God's call is actually working.  I hope that we are following God's call.  As much as I would love to, I can't have a campfire and roast s'mores with all of you, because all of you are everywhere....and I seem to be everywhere, as well!

So, whether I am in Lima, Lakewood, or LaLa Land, you can find me here.  This blog is not a sermon or a Bible Study.  It is real life with sitting by the fire or at the coffee shop.  I plan to be unfiltered because I'm not here to impress anyone.  If you are offended or annoyed, just find something else to read.  The internet is awesome like that.
I hope you enjoy sharing life with me and I hope to hear from you soon.