Monday, December 31, 2007


In the Christian community the phrase is thrown around usually only in reference to abortion. Christians say, “we are pro-life” which to most just means “we are anti-abortion.” But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time…and I’m thinking heavy on it tonight. To be pro-life means so much more than being only anti-abortion (though it most certainly includes it).

To be pro-life is, I believe, to carry the light of life, the hope, redemption in Christ, belief in the quality of life, to all individuals everywhere. Being “pro-life” demands that we fight for life on all fronts. It means that we must consider what our response is to people, institutions, ideas, laws, and beliefs that do not value life. To be pro-life means that we must look to the issues of abortion, adoption, human trafficking, poverty, genocide, murder, and injustice with incredible conviction and fight for the livelihood of those who suffer. We cannot be silent. We must not be silent.

I think being pro-life requires faith, hope, and love. I’m finding more and more that I don’t want to toss this phrase around lightly. I want to believe in it, definitely. I want to be pro-life…but I want to recognize deep within myself that when I say it, I am really believing and fighting for life; that I won’t simply vote “pro-life,” but that I will act “pro-life” and if I really think about it, it will affect every area of my life. It will (or ought) to change everything about the way I think, act, feel, and live in this broken world that is in such desperate need of a Savior.

Being pro-life ought to affect the way I relate to everyone…saint, sinner; poor, rich; educated, uneducated; dirty, clean; religious, non-religious…

Mother Teresa said “the more disfigured the image of God is in that person, the greater will be our faith and devotion in seeking Jesus’ face and lovingly ministering to him.” I think she identifies the difficulty of standing true to the claim of being pro-life: seeking to uphold and redeem the image of Christ in one another. It requires faith. It requires hope. It requires love. It is so hard…It requires grace.

Sometimes I think we go about our days living as if this were it. Actually, I know we do. We struggle to live with eternity in mind. C. S. Lewis once wrote that “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” For me, this puts a whole new spin on being “pro-life.” Maybe this doesn’t really make sense to anyone else. If not, that’s ok. These are the tired but heartfelt ramblings of a simple girl who, now on the other side of new experiences, finds herself faced with some good but tough thoughts.

There’s a whole lot happening in this world, my friends. Sometimes I shudder to find that I know so little of it. I wish we would fight to know more. I wish we would seek to be deeply affected, that God might use us more effectively in this world. A good friend shared a Tozer quote with me shortly after my return from Africa. It hasn’t been far from my mind since: “It is doubtful that God can use any man greatly until He’s hurt him deeply.” I ask that God would stir His people deeply—break our hearts for the things that break His. I pray that He would make us heart-sick over the injustice in this world. I also pray that He would give His people everywhere a transfusion of HOPE, because I believe that Hope is essential. I believe hope is reality. Too many people have lost sight of reality…we have to help them find it again (or maybe find it for the first time).

Sometimes looking into the face of incredible sin and suffering paralyzes. I say this from personal struggle and experience. I am finding, however, that the first step—indeed, the decisive step—is prayer. It is much more powerful than we really seem to think. We must stay awake in a world where many are numb and asleep. We must keep each other awake! What is the hope we affirm? We must build our lives on it!

Many of you have heard me say or write this before but it just gets to me…so I have to say it again. I think its one of those things that, as I say it “out there,” I say it to myself… and I have to: over and over again.

The Church is dripping with grace in a world that hurts and hungers for it. So how then will we live?

Friday, December 28, 2007


I miss it! I miss it. I miss it. i MISS it!

I have that weird, empty, hollow feeling inside. It's the same brokenness and sense of loss I felt when my plane took off on the Joberg runway.

it's funny how i can have such a peaceful day and all of a sudden WHAM. I just miss it. And I feel like part of me is missing. And it hurts. Sigh...

I hate headaches

what the heck is going on!!!?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Several Years Too Late

It's is official. I am about to start the Harry Potter series. I bought books one and two at Bookman's for $3 each. Good deal. I figured it was about time...even though I am already a million years later than everyone else. The "craze" is sort of over, and yet I begin :) I'm looking forward to an easy, fun read. I'll let you know...

Merry Christmas, all! Check out Luke 1:78, 79. It's my "favorite" verse for right now...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feeling like I tripped and fell down the mountain...I can explain more in person if you want to hear...

This song "means" more to me right now than ever before...or, rather, it makes more sense to me now...

Bebo's "Walk Down This Mountain." It's a fabulous song.

It's a better place
Standing high upon this mountain
I've seen your face
Full of the light that only this height can show
A blistered hand is what you've given
But you've been given all you'll ever need to know

So walk down this mountain
With your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your make
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life

It's a common ground
And I see we're all still standing
Just look around and you'll find
The very face of God
He's walking down into the distance
He's walking down to where the masses are

We're standing in a place of peace
But this is how the world should be
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with your heart held high)
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with you heart held high)
How the world should be
(Walk down this mountain with your heart held high)
How the world should be

Friday, December 21, 2007

He is not safe

"So often we try to make it our job to make the Gospel easier for us to preach and easier for other people to hear--in order to not get into trouble and in order to not be confrontational. But here's the truth. You just can't preach the Gospel and not get into trouble. You just can't do it, hard as you might try. You can dress it up any way you want. But if you're really preaching the Gospel you are going to get yourself into trouble, you are going to be in trouble as well. Because the cross is both beautiful and offensive and it must be both. It is both. There is no other Gospel for you to preach...It's not safe to boldly preach the Gospel. it is dangerous work we are in as believers, perilous work that we have before us to preach the gospel not only to each other but to the outside world, the unbelieving world. Not safe work. Safe is not a word that I would believe characterizes Christians or Jesus or the Gospel. It shouldn't. If it is then it might not be the Gospel we are preaching. Jesus is not safe. He is not manageable. He is a wild lion. You cannot tame Him. He is not safe. But He is good. He is king. You can trust Him. the Gospel that we carry is not safe. It is not manageable, not efficient. Loving people is not efficient. But the Gospel is good, it is true, but it is not safe."

We are called into community together. If you divorce the people of God, if you divorce local community from the Gospel, then it ceases to be the Gospel. There is no other context for your faith as a christian than to be in community with other people. I've heard a lot of people say to me over the years "Its just me and Jesus and that's all i need." Well that's not the Gospel in Scripture. If you are going to be those who claim to love Jesus, you will be compelled to love also the things that he loved. And he not only loved, but came and gave himself up for the church, and that makes it our concern as well. And if that's not hard enough--that we live in community together--we are also called with a mandate that we preach the Gospel to each other. We mistake the Gospel for the thing only that we preach to non believers. It certainly is that, but much more than that, the Gospel must have, necessarily has, a primary place in the life of believers. We've got to heard it every week, if not every day.

-Derek Webb

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My uncle told me something today that he heard somewhere recently...

"a good journalist comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."

i kinda like that. hmmm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pushing Aside Angels

I stepped out of the beat up old Venture and put my feet onto the dusty red road. This was it. I felt excited deep inside but feelings of nervous fear were all that seemed to surface. What will today bring, Lord? I thought. What will I see? Walk with me through it all.
I was about to go out to do home-based care in Masoyi Community (South Africa) with one of the volunteers, Sandy. Her role was to visit the sick and dying with the hope of the Lord in her pocket and the weapons of prayer and encouragement in both hands. I followed her down the dirt road, leaving a trail of red dust hanging in the air behind me.
We wandered the dry paths up and over hills, behind decaying mud houses, between make-shift fences, until we rounded a corner and found ourselves in an immaculate front yard--the dirt packed and swept in front of a small house. At the open door, I saw a young woman on hands and knees, working. (I later found out she was waxing the cement floor of her small living room).
I met her. I met Gladys. I held her thin, boney little hand in mine. She was skinny as a rail and had lost all her hair. She was beautiful. She smiled constantly, a deep hope radiating from her face. I was reminded of Psalm 34:5: "Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."
Gladys motioned for us to sit on her couch while she sat across from us in a chair. Before arriving, Sandy had told me that this young, single mom has AIDS. She had been very sick the week before and Gladys was not expected to live much longer. Sandy expected Gladys to be very sick, possibly in bed. To the surprise of both of us, she was not. She had green hands from her meticulous work of waxing the floor.
Sandy shared a few verses that seemed to be common between them. To be honest, I do not remember what they were. I was too deeply inthralled by the beauty of this small, decaying young woman. Her face was full of light. "Is she supposed to be so happy?" I thought. It was a breath of fresh air in a land of "hopeless conditions." She was holding onto something; living for something.
It is a common practice with Sandy to sing with her patients. Sometimes she lets the patient choose, other times she chooses. On this particular day we sang "Gladys' song." It was one of those rare moments you encounter when you whisper the promise "I will never forget today" and you know immediately that everything about the moment is burned in your mind and heart forever. The soft notes were started by Sandy but I heard them coming out strong from Gladys. Simple words with a rich store of meaning for her: "I will never give up." Throughout the song the words are repeated over and over.
Gladys sang. It was obvious she was singing for someone. I wish I could have seen who it was, though I knew beyond a doubt who it was. It was as if she saw Him seated before her. Her frail yet rich voice was raised and her arms outstretched. It looked as if she knew He was calling her home and she was anxious to meet him, arms open.
"How can we pray for you, Gladys?" Sandy asked. Her reply startled me: "I'm happy to be living!" That's it? I thought. Nothing more? That wasn't even a request! Her face was full of light. I could see a little fear in her eyes but it had not gotten the better of her. She was holding onto hope. There was no denial; she knew she was dying. She also knew that there is hope for eternity. The hope we have for eternity is just as much a hope for every day we are living here on earth.

* * * * * * * * * *

I wrote these words in my journal that night:
September 17, 2007
We must anchor our lives on the hope we have in Christ. Future grace. Joy in our ultimate sanctification--our glorification; the new heavens and the new earth; new bodies, new selves. Hope is in the resurrection of Christ--and hope is in His return! Where there is vision there is hope; where there is hope there is life.
There is joy in the midst of suffering. It is rich. It is, perhaps, the "truest" experience of joy: real, full joy. A smile through tears...a hug through pain...a new day to live...the enjoyment of little pleasures: a sunrise, birds singing, little children playing...
Life is a good gift. Today I was actually able to see this to be true for a beautiful young woman infected with HIV. How can this be? By the grace of God...because of hope and because He is the source of all joy--even in the midst of great suffering.
"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!' the Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him."
-Lamentations 3:21-25
These verses are very "real" to me tonight, as I remember Gladys, sitting in her chair, gaunt and thin yet illuminated by her striking smile, arms outstretched, singing quietly and confidently "I will never give up."

* * * * * * * * * *

Walking through those neighborhoods was incredible. As we kicked up red dirt, making our way through alleys, around small gardens, and under mango trees, angels were around. I don't know if I've sensed their presence so much in all my life. It was as if we had to push our way through them to get by. "Excuse me, pardon me." All the while, I walked with a big smile on my face because I knew God had not forgotten these people. Psalm 121 says that He who watches over us does not sleep. In that place, in the Masoyi Community of South Africa, God is not sleeping. He is sending His Spirit out into the neighborhoods and into homes to whisper to His hurting children, "Never never never give up."

(below: Masoyi Community, South Africa)

Death Penalty Bust

New Jersey abolished the death penalty. The first state to do so in over 40 years.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Big Smile

I love my friends. I feel like I am constantly, every day, in awe of the people God has placed in my life. I am so blessed! It is really neat, too, because I feel like this break is different than all the other ones...there's something about it that is sort of a quiet sweetness. It's hard to explain. I will try...
I think it is, in large part, due to the fact that we are older now. We've grown up a lot in recent months. God has brought each of us through unique experiences to grow and mature us. Through it all, we have maintained our friendship(s). I feel like this is it. We've passed some "test" and now we have reached a new level in our friendship. Does this make sense? I feel like it sounds mixed up and silly. I guess what i mean is that we really are friends for life (cheesy, maybe, but true). Maybe we won't always be AS close or in as close of contact, but are hearts are knit in a way that won't ever really be undone. God has joined us deeply together. I am grateful.
They say you meet your "life friends" in college. I believe it. In the case of tonight's group, I am especially excited (blessed? grateful?) because we are high school friends that have maintained friendship through college. I think its something special. It is a unique bond.
Tonight was the same dear friends I spent my last birthday with...and we even ended up at the same place! Oregano's (Me, Allie, Hannah, Mark, Kyle, Isaac, Eric). We went over to Eric's for a while after. It was so wonderful. I am honored to call each of these people FRIEND.

I can't even slightly express my love for each of you. I just have a big smile :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I have had such a hard time sleeping lately. It takes at least an hour for me to finally fall asleep. This is so unusual for me. I am finding that my mind is running wild with thoughts, dreams, doubts, longing, memories, questions, etc. Lot's of questions in my heart lately. It's a little hard. Mostly just frustrating. I find myself praying simple prayers often like "help me calm my mind," "help me make sense of this," or just "help!"

For the past two days the truths that I am finding the need to CLING to are found in Psalms. Chapter 18 has been a challenge and comfort. Also, Psalm 131 daily challenges me to pick myself up, entrust my weak self to the One who is strong and true, and not ask too many questions that are so "high above" me or trouble myself with thoughts "too lofty" for me...because I tend to put myself in a paralized state simply because I am bombarding myself with so many "hard issues." So much so that I can't very easily distinguish between them in a way that promotes healthy ACTION.
Does this make sense?

I guess I am just trying to say that I am trying desperately to quiet my heart but am having a hard time of it.

This morning I was feeling like I'm drowning. Splashing around but unable to save myself from anything--or move myself to "higher ground." I've been functioning out of my flesh, not in the Spirit. No wonder I am feeling weak, sick, and exhausted. For a moment, I took my eyes off the One who saves. I need Him. I need Him so badly. I am reminded of Paul's words in Colossians: "set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Walking around in this stormy, raging, wild world requires a definite FOCUS. Where is your hope? Do you have any? If so, what is it in?

I've learned (and learn daily) that hope is a reality. Hope is (or ought to be) the mark of the Christian. So, I ask you, where is our hope? If we don't live it and understand it, how will we offer it to a world that cries for it?

I was hit by this reality a few months ago while I was in Mozambique: The Church (Christ-followers) is dripping with grace while the world is thirsty for it. HOW THEN WILL WE LIVE?

I'm rediscovering grace. What a gift. Jonathan Edwards once said that the whole of the Gospel is captured in and between the words, "Grace, grace!" Incredible. Really. Grace has changed me eternally and continues to change me daily. It is not simply "over and done." No, no. He loves us too much. It was done once and for all but is done always and forever. He is that deep. He is that rich. His ways are that unsearchable.

And now...I quiet myself :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It's been a good week overall. Not too many "exciting" things happening, just some small, good things. It's been nice to catch up with people. I cherish these long conversations with friends whose hearts I've missed sharing!!

Hannah and I went to 4th Ave. on Sunday. It was so much fun. We each got a red rose from a guy...because we were "matching" (same necklace I gave her). The guy after him wanted to take our picture because of the matching necklaces AND matching red roses. Ha. slightly weird and awkward...we really didn't realize we "stood out." After all, a blonde white girl and a brunette asian don't usually get compared like that.
We enjoyed looked through beautiful skirts from Nepal in a tent full of Hippie smells and colors. I loved it.

I've been having headaches rather frequently. I'm trying not to get a little bit alarmed. Is this normal?? Sometimes it sort of makes me uneasy. I've had them off and on for a long time...I'm officially going to rule out some possibilities by drinking LOTS (make sure its not dehydration), watching my coffee drinking (make sure its not the caffeine), and keeping a watch on some of the foods I eat (mom wants to make sure its not an allergy or low blood sugar). Anyhow, I would appreciate your prayers. I am praying it isn't serious. I won't alarm any of you with thoughts I've had because I tend to have a wild imagination sometimes. So I won't speak :) But I would greatly like prayer.

Luke gets home tonight! We're picking him up at 11:30 and the Sommitz boys are coming with. I'm so excited to see him!!

It's been nice just being home with mom and dad but I look forward to Luker's return. Friends start coming back tonight also...yay!

I turn 21 on Saturday. It's sort of hard to believe. the big 21. ha.

Talked with Hallie today for well over an hour. It was wonderful. Tried to study for OT but couldn't focus on the pages. My headache made me feel like I was going cross-eyed. Oh. which reminds me of another possibility for headaches I need to rule out--I should start being more diligent about wearing my glasses when I read.

Here's my new and improved schedule for next semester...I'm getting quite excited.

Cultural Anthropology
Intro to Disciple-making
Bible Intro.
Intro. to Mass Communication
Christian Missions
and (get this!) Violence and Grace in the Novel (with an uh-mazing prof!! I am SO excited).

17 credits. Lots of work. Lots of writing :) We're reading Cry, The Beloved Country and I can't even begin to explain to you how thrilled that makes me! woohoo.

I went into my high school today to say hello to a teacher/friend who lived for years in Kenya. It was wonderful to see her. We're going to plan a lunch date. I can't wait :)

I think i might go take a nap before we leave for the airport to get Luke. my head hurts so bad.

Derek Webb is back...

...somedays its overwhelming to have my music back. Too many options. Much too much...

But today I am encouraged to be listening to Derek Webb--and understanding it (or seeing it) in a new light.

(Remembering Pastor Peter's words last spring...we must be kingdom workers: with a radical sense and awareness of future judgement)

“This Too Shall Be Made Right” by Derek Webb

people love you most for the things you hate
and hate you for loving the things you can’t keep straight
people judge you on a curve
and tell you you’re getting what you deserve
and this, too, shall be made right

children cannot learn, children cannot eat
stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
children dream of wishing wells
whose waters quench all the fires of hell
and this, too, shall be made right

the earth and the sky and sea are all holding their breath
wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
we say we’re just trying to stay alive
but it looks so much more like a way to die
and this, too, shall be made right

yes there’s a time for peace, there is a time for war
there’s a time to forgive and a time to settle the score
a time for babies to lose their lives
a time for hunger and genocide
and this, too, shall be made right

oh I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
and I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder, it’s suicide
and this, too, shall be made right

oh this, too, shall be made right

Friday, December 07, 2007

Soul Swelling

In the midst of all "this," I feel the expectation and excitement rising inside. Don't you feel the wonder growing in your soul? It's the Savior...COME.

As I grow older, Christmas is less of a "holiday" and more of an expectation and celebration. I appreciate this. It's because Christ is progressively more and more my true Treasure. I am understanding more and more my NEED for a Savior...and I am discovering more and more my great SAVIOR for that need. It is beautiful.

This is one of my favorite "christmas" verses...such incredible and exciting Messianic expectation. Hear the joy and wonder--the complete PLEASURE and HOPE--in Zechariah's words: "Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace" (Luke 1:78, 79).

Reading these words makes my soul swell. I smile deep, my heart beats a little faster...there is some inexpressible emotion that comes out only in a whisper "He has come!"

Breath of Heaven. A thrill of Hope. Quiet Joy. Sweet wonder. Desire of Nations.

.Soul Swelling.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seeing Faces

A few things hit me in the face today.

1. Holiday bath confetti. Small green and red christmas trees to sprinkle in your bath water. $3.99.

2. Premium pet beds.

I've been seeing so many faces in my head...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pray for the Broken Places

So much heartache and uproar in the Congo right now...

a little history

key figure(s)

Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees

Christ is enough.

The sky is grey and the light is far
The sea is a rage within my heart
I turn my sight to the crashing waves
I cry in the night just to be saved

I need eyes to be my guide
I need a voice that’s louder than mine
I need hope I need You
Cause I can’t do this alone

Grace I call Your name
Oh won’t Your smile fall over me
I’m cracked and dry on hands and knees
Oh sweet grace rain down on me I need You grace

I pray for dawn a new day to live
I pray for mercy only Jesus gives
Though darkness falls and a million cry
I believe over all there’s a greater light shining for us

Monday, December 03, 2007


Email me your skype. I am not going to be getting a new cell phone. I'll have a tracphone for emergencies and "can you pick this up at the store" kind of calls. Otherwise, skype and the room (or home) phone. This will make expenses much less, also, which is fabulous.
I have faith. Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifeerence, the most insidious danger of all.

--Elie Weisel

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What is Consumerism?

...and is it a sin?...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tanzania (by Alli Rogers)

It's eight hours later in Tanzania
When Jen lays down
Mary's just opening her eyes
Her child's feet land on the ground
And dirt scatters
And she feels left out in the open
Always left out in the open
She says, "son, wear my shoes to school today"
He turns and smiles and walks away
And she thinks to herself...

Someday I will wake
Where the earth is clean and safe
My children have a place to play
Not here in Tanzania
And someday I will live
In a house that's built by
Hands that hold the world

It's eight hours earlier in Chattanooga
Mary sits down and Jen's just put the coffee on
Katie Couric is talking news and fashion
And Jen feels pushed into a corner
Always pushed into a corner, she says
"Baby I know what girls at school are like"
And her daughter rides off on her bike
And Jen thinks to herself...

Someday I will wake
Where my children get a break
And there are chances that they'll take
Not here in Chattanooga
Someday I will live
In a house that's built by
Hands that hold the world

Well it's hard to be mother
And it's hard to be a woman
And it's hard to live in Africa sometimes
It's hard to be mother
And it's hard to be a woman
And it's hard to live in America sometimes

But someday I will wake
In a body that won't break
On ground that doesn't shake, not here
And someday I will live
In a house that's built by hands that hold the world

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Taste of Africa...

ROOIBOS TEA (soooo good...and good for you!!)

Pronounced "roy-boss" and means "red bush" in Afrikaans. Studies have shown this tea is comparable to green tea in the amounts of polyphenols it contains. It shows anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity.

Rooibos is totally pure and natural. It contains no colorants or preservatives.

Rooibos helps delay the aging process! The aging of our bodies is caused by toxic compounds called free radicals which are produced as a by-product of normal cell function. These free radicals attack our healthy cells. Over our lifetime this damage contributes to aging and our immune system weakens. Recently, Japanese scientists have found that Rooibos tea contains a mimic of the enzyme Super Oxide Dismutase ( S.O.D.), an antioxidant which attacks the free radicals and limits their damaging effects.

Rooibos helps to relieve stomach ulcers, nausea, constipation, and heartburn.

Rooibos has been found to help with insomnia, disturbed sleeping patterns and headaches. It contains no caffeine and has a relaxing effect on the central nervous system.

Rooibos helps to give you strong bones and teeth because of its calcium, manganese and fluoride content.

Rooibos helps pacify infants with colic, stomach cramps and sleeping problems.

Rooibos contains alpha hydroxy acid and zinc for healthy, smooth skin. This wonder tea is especially useful when applied to skin irritations like itchy skin, eczema, sunburns, diaper rash and acne.

Rooibos contains magnesium which is necessary for a healthy nervous system.

Rooibos increases the absorption of iron in the body.

Rooibos contains potassium and copper minerals that are necessary for several metabolic functions.

Rooibos is often prescribed for nervous tension and mild depression as it makes a relaxing sedative.

Rooibos contains no oxalic acid and can therefore be enjoyed by persons suffering from kidney stones.

Rooibos makes a great thirst-quencher and sport drink. Because of its mineral content of iron, potassium, zinc, manganese and sodium, it restores the body's equilibrium after strenuous exercise.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This has been long in the works...

FINALLY I have started something I have wanted to do for a very long time...a book blog!! I wanted a place where I can just write about books--thoughts, ideas, reviews, etc. So I've done it! Here's the link :) Happy reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Edwards' Stomping Grounds

Just got back from Northampton, Mass. today. We were visiting my aunt for Thanksgiving. Right in Jonathan Edwards' backyard! We saw his Church and though it doesn't look anything like you would expect, the surrounding landscape/town are beautiful. It is a wonderful piece of this country. It was refreshing to spend time out in hills and woods turned yellow, orange, and red with color...slowly becoming cold and grey as winter progresses. It's beautiful. Driving through that part of the country always puts me in a "mood." I tried to explain it to Jay, Kristen, Mom, and Dad today in the car but I don't think they really understood what I was trying to say. All I know is, I get in "the mood." Something about driving across the plains in a car with crisp, cold air blowing outside and the trees dropping their leaves for the winter...listening to David Wilcox or Peter Mulvey on the headset and thinking to myself about any number of things.... I like it.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent the "actual" holiday at Jay and Kristen's in Philly but were able to visit with Dad's side of the family out east. We haven't all been together like that since kristen's senior year of high school (but we were missing luke this time. sad.)

It was so much fun to see Jonathan after so long. He's all grown up--and a good little 4 1/2 year old! Nan's new house is beautiful. The light in it is warm and beautiful--making the colors so rich.

We are here until Wednesday when we fly back to the West. I am getting anxious to feel a little more "settled" again. It's hard to believe I've only been back in the States for a week (one week today!). So much has happened already and I am still not unpacked...I look forward to getting back into my room again soon. I have to start scheduling myself so I can get things done--especially this OT course from Moody. I have 2 papers and 2 exams to write. Not bad at all, but I just need to be disciplined!

Luke gets home on the 12th! woohoo. I turn 21 on the 15th!! Don't know yet what I am going to do...I'm excited, though! It will be nice to be with friends and family.

Hmmm. I think that's all. I'll post a few pictures so you can enjoy my family a little bit too :) Can you tell we're related?? haha.
Hope you all had a good thanksgiving. For those of you back at school, push hard and finish strong! I'll be praying for renewed energy and revived spirits as you make the last push before Christmas!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Finally the picture

For those of you that wanted "proof" that I did indeed slaughter a chicken :) Here it is! In all honesty, though, I did have my eyes closed the whole time...and I probably almost cut Justin's finger off b/c he was helping me hold the chickens neck. He was squirming around so much I knew that if i held him by myself I would probably let go--so he helped me. What a friend :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

dance without me

feel heavy with discouragement.

lots of conflicting thoughts and emotions...lots of doubts and frustrations.

i just want to curl up in bed. I want it to rain. I love rain. do you ever just want to be held? It doesn't really matter by who...well, yeah it does. By someone who cares. But young, old, friend, family--whoever. I think i will go journal.

Listening to over the rhine. I love it. I missed listening to it.

He knows just what I need.

In a moment of weakness and heavy discouragement He raised my face with Psalm 16:8.

Figuring out my major...

I will have to pick 6 of the following...tough choice :)

Special Topics in Writing
Feature Writing
Editing of Print Media Material
Print Media Design and Production
Writing for Electronic Media
Introduction to Photography/
Web Page Design and Production
Print Practicum: Newspaper
Print Practicum: Yearbook
Publicity and Public Relations
Fiction Writing I
Fiction Writing II
Poetry Writing
Advanced Writing Seminar
Advanced Media Production Seminar
Biblical Perspectives of Media and Culture
Media Laws and Ethics
Directed Study in Communications
Curriculum Development

My schedule for next semester is coming will be my last semester of "intro" classes which is nice. I will probably stay at Moody for a few weeks this summer to take Christianity and Western Thought I & II. Oh! And I found out that the school IS going to give me credit for both College and Research writing from my Hillsdale credits....which means, after Intro to Mass Communication this spring, I will be able to jump into all my "true major" classes as well as have time for other Bible electives (uppermost in my thoughts are 1. Psalms 2. Genesis 3. Hebrews 4. Minor Prophets 5.Pauline Epistles). God's giving me such a peace and excitement about school as He helps me figure out all these sometimes "frustrating" details. I'm trying to get into a PCM called World Relief Tutoring. Apparently a lot of the students are refugees from Africa and other countries. It sounds amazing. Next fall I am hoping to get into one of two PCM ministries that work with children with HIV/AIDS (its an extensive application process). Man can make many plans but the Lord determines His steps :) I lay my life at the feet of the Almighty, trusting that He has my best in mind and eager to find out what that is!

Spring '08 Classes:
Introduction to Disciplemaking (Not all that excited EXCEPT that I have a great in the urban ministry dpt!)
Bible Introduction (Should be super easy and definitely review...)
Introduction to Music (With the best professor in the dept! An asian guy who is a phenomenal pianist!!)
Christian Missions (Was "supposed" to get credit for this by taking my DTS. bleh. Will def. be review and easy but good prof.)
Introduction to Mass Communication (So excited to get this out of the way so I can start taking all my writing classes!!)
Cultural Anthropology (probably most excited about this class for its content. Dad's thrilled that I;m taking it, too. It was this or contemporary Islam but I am going to wait on that one until I can find the best professor for it! :))

Altogether 17 credits but it shouldn't be that hard. Lot's will be review and probably just more busy-work. I might try to get a job, too, depending on where PCM falls. I really want to work at Trader Joe's and it IS in walking distance so that would be easy...and cheap. We'll see.

Please keep me in your prayers as I step back into school. I have so many conflicting thoughts and emotions sometimes. I want to walk close to God's heart--seeking His wisdom and will each step. I so desire to live with an ongoing, moment-by-moment awareness of His work and presence in my life. Not only in me, but around me...that my life might be a constant boasting in the cross and Christ crucified...and a constant delighting in His person and character!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm Back

Hopefully I'll be able to post more soon...and put up some pictures. For now, just wanted to let you know I am back. I flew into Phoenix yesterday after two looong days of travel and emotional exhaustion. Tomorrow we leave at 5AM for Philly to spend Thanksgiving with Jay and Kristen. woohoo!

I am ridiculously exhausted. I have a headache right now that makes my head want to explode. I've got to go to bed.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Hills Sing!

"...These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it."
- Cry, the Beloved Country

Yesterday we were out in one of the villages at a visitation/vigil for the death of a young man...he was the brother of Elisabeth, a lady in our school. It was an incredible experience. I don't have time to relate it all right now.

After it was over I walked outside the small house and looked out over the valley. The house sat atop a hill and had the most spectacular view. Stormy winds were blowing the red dust across my face and into my eyes. As I looked out across the valley I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. Shafts of yellow and orange sunlight poked through the storm clouds, casting a soft glow on the homesteads scattered across the fields. I could see the rain moving in and dark clouds threatening the earth with much needed water!! The hills sang. As I stood there I was so in awe of the beauty of this place--and the power of God moving across the land.

"Something deep is touched here, something that is good and deep."
- Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I finally finished Red Moon Rising (by Pete Greig). Please, please, read it!! It is amazing. Here is just one small little excerpt that I liked and wanted to share...enjoy!

“ ‘Whether we think of, or speak of, God, whether we act or suffer for Him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than His love, and the desire of pleasing Him. All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God…In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is a continual prayer.’ -John Wesley

What does it mean to pray 24-7? It means living our whole lives, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, in the grateful awareness of God’s presence and with a desire to please Him always. Prayer is not just about the contemplative moments or the moments when I’m consciously firing words at God. The call to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) is a call to remember Christ’s presence continually in the subconscious as well as the conscious realms of my life. But how am I to do this? How am I to keep Christ in my subconscious, in my reflex-reactions even I’m sleeping or working or watching a movie? How am I to be Christian by default as well as determination?

The key is to maintain a rhythm, a heartbeat of disciplined prayer, in which I encounter Christ regularly, deliberately, and consciously. The spinoff of these times, as you will see in the character of any older person who has spent a great deal of their lives contemplating Jesus, is that His presence thereby moves by a process of osmosis from the conscious into the subconscious mind. As we open the door, again and again, to Christ, he comes in day by day and eats with us, laughs with us, shares with us, until we acquire His mannerisms and know His very thoughts. A season of 24-7 prayer can be a useful tool for bringing Christ consciously back into the midst of our ongoing lives as individuals and as communities. And prayer rooms are an interesting expression of God’s intention, which has always been to walk in continual communion with His people….”

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Favorite Song...

Jesus, life and hope to heal our land
Saviour, reaching out with your mighty hand

Sing for joy O Africa
The Lord your God is risen upon you
Sing for joy O Africa
The Lord your God is risen upon you now

Jabulani, Jabulani Africa
Jabulani, Jabulani Africa

Jesus, river of life to our thirsty land
Saviour, meeting our needs with your mighty hand

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man has to seek Him to find her. -unknown

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Just for Fun

Some things you learn when you live in Africa...

-The phrase "This is Africa" takes on a whole new meaning
-Is the smoke supposed to go up the chimney? Or is that just some strange idea from my past???!!
-Determining whether clothes are dirty or not is completely relative :)
-Real mail is the best gift...and lives you smiling for hours
-It's really quite normal for the lights to flicker on and off throughout the day...and its no big deal to run out of water for a few hours--that's what empty rice buckets are for! Store it!!
-Rice is so good (to others this might not be true but I am still a believer :))

I am currently reading:
Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig
The Cost of Discipleship (Bonhoeffer...sp?)
Both of these books are INCREDIBLE!!
and for school: Friendship with God by Ross Tooley...its ok. really easy reading, not spectacularly well written.

Languages I am wanting to learn:
(and Gladness is teaching me some Swahili!)

My Swahili Song :) I love it!!

Mambo Sawa Sawa (x2)
(things are really better)
Yesu Akiwa Enzini
(when the Lord is on the throne)
Mambo Sawa Sawa (x3)

Last weekend we went to a game park in South Africa...another stamp in the passport!! It was incredible. I was the only one (beside Hlengiwe) who saw the leopard! We saw elephants, zebras, giraffes, a RHINO (Just for you, Josh!!))...and many other things (the head of a lion through the tall grass). I got the most amazing picture of an African sunset I've gotten yet. Absolutely breathtaking. THe African sun is SO big and SO red. It is beautiful.

Alright. Until next time! Love to you all :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Greetings from Africa

Just a quick update. I just finished a week of class on discipleship. This coming week is going to be taught by a YWAM couple. The topic is "The Father Heart of God." I'm excited--I've heard its one of the best weeks. It will be followed by a week on the Holy Spirit (this is going to be an interesting week, I'm sure. good, but different :)).
On wednesday for the 4th we are making pizza!! woohoo. We're all very excited (even the Swazi's...they want to know what its all about!)

I have been excited about the food--we eat lots of fruit. We have bananas galore, apples, oranges, PINEAPPLE (fresh all the time!!), and HUGE avocados (almost the size of cantelope!). MmmmMmmm. Gladness (our Tanzanian "house mom") makes the BEST beans. I am going to copy the recipe to make them at home! She also make an incredible tomato and onion salad called "Kachumbari" to go with them. Amazing.

OH! I've been given a Swazi name! Hlengiwe gave me my name. It is Thandeka ("tan-dega") and means "lovely." Haha. I love it.

Today we got the morning off from class so we all came into town. It's nice to get out and see people!

Hmmm. What else. There's so much to share but so little time. I don't even know where to start. I've written out a lot of experiences in my journal but it takes time and money to type them up here. Someday I'll try to transfer a few stories...i have a few really incredible ones from our time at the hospital last week.

Church is great. We've been going to one about 30 minuts away in a village called Moshane. It's Hlengiwe's Church. It's call "Moshane Hope House." It's so neat. I LOVE the worship...lots of Swazi songs...and the pastors (there are three) are all SO encouraging ans very hospitable. Two of them are young (late 20's, early 30's) and are from Zimbabwe. They are really funny and call me "woman of God" or "sister of God." haha. We take the "Combie" (public transport) out to the village...i love riding in these things! 15 passenger mini-buses with 19-20 crammed in. During times like that I feel most like I'm in Africa! I love it...its usually hot and sweaty but ALWAYS an adventure!
I have to go!
Love to you all!! Thank you for encouraging me and praying for me!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This is it!!

I'm leaving for Africa!! woohoo. I can't wait to see all that the Lord has in store.

Hopefully I'll be able to update this a bit. I'll try my best!

Read Haggai 1. Read Eph. 3:14-21.

Dream BIG for the Kingdom. Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and He will give you EVERYTHING you need (Lk. 12:31).

Sunday, June 03, 2007

This too shall be made right

people love you the most for the things you hate
and hate you for loving the things that you cannot keep straight
people judge you on a curve
and tell you you’re getting what you deserve
this too shall be made right

children cannot learn when children cannot eat
stack them like lumber when children cannot sleep
children dream of wishing wells
whose waters quench all the fires of Hell
this too shall be made right

the earth and the sky and the sea are all holding their breath
wars and abuses have nature groaning with death
we say we’re just trying to stay alive
but it looks so much more like a way to die
this too shall be made right

there’s a time for peace and there is a time for war
a time to forgive and a time to settle the score
a time for babies to lose their lives
a time for hunger and genocide
this too shall be made right

I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder it’s suicide
this too shall be made right
(Derek Webb)

Lots to think about in these words...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

give war a chance?

I saw this on a bumper sticker the other day: "Give War a Chance." Interesting. I don't understand....

Thursday, May 31, 2007

He who lives without prayer, he who lives with little prayer, he who seldom reads the Word, and he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high -he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren.
-Charles Spurgeon

Monday, May 28, 2007

Please pick me up again!

A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains And should I stumble again
I'm caught in Your grace
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out
Lord let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mason Jennings-Black Panther

Black panther defy the power
Fight the violence with nonviolence
What good is justice if the scales are bent
By a criminal government
Think of the dead in vietnam
Think of the dead in birmingham
Think of the freedom we don't understand
Asleep in bed in a stolen land
Responsibility to understand
Responsibility to take a stand
Responsibility to know your place
In the struggle of the human race

Monday, May 21, 2007

two weeks two days

...and I will be in Africa. I got an email from my base director. I will be picked up from the airport to make it back to the base in time for the "opening celebration." There are 8 confirmed students and 2 unconfirmed. aaaaah. i can't wait to meet everyone!

I don't have much else to say. I just watched Catch a Fire. It was really good. I recommend stirs up some thoughts about forgiveness, violence, war, peace, etc. Good things to think about.

I'm going rock climbing tomorrow. woohoo. That's exciting...I haven't been in quite a long while.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I think "sister" is code for "adventure."

Every time we get together, something exciting happens! Or we just happen to be together in interesting situations. The best one was the bead shoplifter that turned into a felony and we got interviewed and recorded by the investigator. I am sorry to say that yesterday was not as exciting. However, it is a story worth telling. We both wanted to get our hair cut and, being the cheapo's we usually are, found an ad for $6.99 haircuts down at great clips. We usually go to cost cutters anyway...

Well, because it was "sale day," everyone was there and they only had 3 hairstylists--middle-aged women with awful haircuts and cheesy makeup....not to mention smokers coughs/laughs and smokers breath. gross. They were insane. The lady that cut my hair kept looking AWAY and the lady cutting kristen's hair went SO fast! We were both pretty petrified by the whole experience. Kristen says it felt like walking into back woods Oklahoma. I can agree. It was quite the experience. Both of us were scared to look in the mirror after. Luckily we only wanted trims so there wasn't much room for major mistakes. All is well and our haircuts look fine--plus we have a great story.

This account doesn't give it justice. It will have to do.

I got my typhoid shot this morning. so far so good, my arm is just a little sore. I am cleaning and organizing this afternoon--I also have to finish unpacking. Hannah and I are picking Zach up from the airport in Phoenix tonight--and then going to In-N-Out! yummm.

Today is also dedicated to writing thank-you's to my supporters and figuring out my email list, etc. I need to send out an update soon. I paid my parents off for my plane ticket! Now the money coming in is for school. I haven't yet gotten enough (2,000) for the first three months--the school. I am going, though. I am trusting that God will provide and as things stand now, I am walking onto that airplane on June 7th in faith. I woke up on Wednesday morning and screamed. I'll be in Africa in a month!!! whoa.

Ok. i need to get going. Hope you all are well and that your summers are taking shape. Keep me updated! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


...which means this: you need to read :) I know you're "busy" (some more than others), but I recommend choosing at least three books to read. Set a few afternoons aside (or a few mornings...or maybe even evenings :)). Here's a list of books I suggest:

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (SO good)
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot (one of my top 5)
Confessions by Augustine
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Cry,The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne (please read!!)
The New Friars by Scott Bessenecker (please, please, read!!)
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
(read through the psalms this summer!)

Here's what I have on my list. So obviously I recommend them but not because I've read them--because I am planning to :)
A long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus
A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McClaren

yay for summer reading! I'm pretty excited :)

I fly home tonight. that's crazy. I'll see my family!!! woohoo. I can't wait.

ok. I'm going to go do some reading and some writing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We're dying to be safe

Goodbyes are hard but there can also be great joy...for example, it is so exciting for me to watch as a close-knit group of friends has challenged, encouraged, grown, and loved one another this semester and is now being "sent out" to the far corners of the world. For a time we have built one another up in the Lord, we have grown together and loved together. We have "sharpened" one another. We have shared God's heart and His vision for the world--the borders beyond--and now He's sending us out. There are many uncertainties: Who will return and when? What is God going to show us? How is He going to lead? What wonders will we witness? What atrocities?

We long to see the heart of God. We offer up our lives in simple obedience. Father, give us more!! We live for revival. We seek to dance the Kingdom down.

The road is dangerous and hard. I am learning that faith is trusting in God's faithfulness (things unseen) and this produces hope (faith in future grace; for the joy set before...). Without faith; without hope--it is impossible to please God.

He has called us out. Jesus demands action. There is too much sitting still. So we go.

Yesterday was our last sunday together. We've grown to be like-minded and single-passioned by the Spirit's work through Pastor Peter. It's been incredible and so encouraging. He prayed with us after the service. As we stood there, hands joined and hearts knit, I felt the Spirit's presence and sensed a bit of the wonder and awe that must have been present at some of the early church gatherings. What joy. The Lord sends us off; we send each other off.
Pastor Peter prayed for us--just what we've all been thinking and feeling--"God, we ask not for protection (that just doesn't seem right). You did not say we would be safe and so I ask you to send these young people to the dark, dangerous corners of the world to be a light of your love and to bring the kingdom down. Stretch the borders of the church to the dark corners of the world." I've been talking a lot about "safety" and the call of Christ with Zach. It's been really good. We're learning a lot about the soveriegnty of God. The other night Mariah, Melissa, and I had a great conversation about what it means to leave the comfort behind--to deny oneself of the empty "American dream" and to dream a new dream...The reality we all feel and love is this: we don't want the "white picket fence" dream. We don't want the comfortable, safe career. There is a work to be done and we're dying to do it. Heartsickness is what I've prayed for this semester. I asked God to make my heart hurt like Nehemiah's did for the condition of Israels and Jerusalem's ruin. He's growing this sickness in me. He's giving me a burden for lost, sick, hurting, dirty, broken people and it is growing into a passion that I can't explain. I feel like I'm on the edge of something. I am eager to see how He will use me and what He will teach me. Lead on! I follow not with fear!

We dropped Mariah off at the airport later in the evening yesterday. Melissa, Sarah, Erin and I all went to the airport to see her off. It was a tearful goodbye. It was full od wonder, I could feel it--wonder at what God is going to do--but it was a little painful becuase our hearts have been knit. I won't see Mariah for six months. The reality started to hit. I won't see Zach for six months. I won't see Melissa for a year. We're all going overseas. Other dear friends say behind at Moody--praying and working for revival. Lord, we ask for revival!!
My peace lies in Christ's kingdom work. My hope is in His faithfulness...and I eagerly anticipate word of how God will use each life for His glory. Our lives our not our own! As Jim Elliot said, my blood has no worth but to be poured out before His throne.

I seek a spirit of surrender and obedience. Disobedience dulls our ears to his voice. Tune my ears, Father! Teach me to obey and help my unbelief!!
Following Jesus is not safe no matter where it leads me. Jesus' voice will always lead us out of self. I'm reading The New Friars right now (incredible book by Scott Bessenecker) and he writes in it that seeking and building the kingdom of God "leads you out of the cocoons of familiarity." In other words, it leads you OUT OF comfort OUT OF ease OUT OF safety. He also challenges followers to "give the dark places of the world no rest." That's what we've been talking about!! Give evil no rest. Light the candles he gives you to light! It might be something "small"--do it! Ask the Spirit to lead, and seek to obey!

I can't believe I leave for Africa in about three weeks. What wonders lie ahead? I am eager to learn more about the heart of my Savior and to see more of God.

We seek safety because we fear death...? Actually, we are dying in order to be safe. We are existing until eternity while the world goes to hell. Who is Jesus? What did he say?

Are we LIVING?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Home for the next three months

You know what? 6 months is actually quite short. Sometimes I feel like it is soooo when I think about being apart from people. But when I think of it more in regards to my time spent IN Africa, it seems so very short.

I am getting SO excited. God it providing money in extraordinary ways. I am quieted as I consider how He is using other in my life and for His kingdom work. It's thrilling!!

I received an email today from the base director. It was really good to hear from him. It made all my thinking, wondering, and excitement come alive in a real way...and it grounded me :)

All the students will be staying in a house together (4-7 students per room). He said it was a fixer-upper with all the furniture donated but you can tell from the picture that it is really nice (a 20 minute walk from town). It is upscale what you'd see in the larger towns in Mexico. This will be my home for the first three months. Our weekdays will be full (6:30am-8:30pm: worship/intercession, classes, lunch, work-duties, dinner, and group activities) but our weekends will be free. We will attend a local Church of our choice...we'll also have homework...but enough time to explore and experience true Africa. I can't wait. I wish I could get across to you how eager I am. oh man!

The location of the outreach remains unknown until we've completed most of our lecture phase. So I'll keep you posted!!

Please keep praying!!

Here's a picture of our home. (P.S. I'm excited to experience "communal living" in a way I never have before...with all its challenges and pleasures. I pray God knits our hearts).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Friday they put him in the ground

I've been thinking a lot about papa lately. As I pack up my room I
come across lots of little things that remind me of him...notes and
letters, his obituary...and I've been thinking about the burial. I
miss him so much. He is going to be buried on friday. I've been listening to this Bebo song a lot lately.
I believe when they put her in the ground
I think they buried part of me
Because I've been searching, I've been looking all around
But I cannot find the heart of me, the heart of me

So I'll put my fingers in this soil upon her grave
And I will plant for her a garden
And every flower, a reminder of her face
Will grow up graceful as a pardon

And all that grows is her story told
As life unfolds here before us
The peace I've found in this broken ground
I can see her in the harvest...of all that I have sown

Long before I was covered up in gray
Before the old had bent my bones
We grew our children in the red Georgia clay
They were our garden and our home

And all that grows is our story told
As life unfolds here before
The peace we found in that broken ground
I can see them in the harvest...of all that I have sown

And when my life is done
I pray the kingdom come
And take me to Glory
It's living inside me
It was planted like a seed
All to tell a story

I believe when they put me in the ground
There will remain a part of me
Because I've been seraching and the joy that I have found
Is living in my's all that I have sown
So much of Papa is a part of me. As I think about the burial I feel like a little part of me is going with him. I also feel a gentle hope and happiness as I think about all that he has "sown." All the little pieces of himself that he has left behind in all of us. I eagerly await the day when I will see him again in glory. In the meantime, I am proud to carry a part of him in me and to tell his story. It hurts though. It hurts so bad.

Monday, May 07, 2007

lead us out of darkness

Lead us out of darkness and into your marvelous light

When we wander into valleys far from home
Where shadows hover over our souls
Find us in your mercy
Savior of the world

You are the light of the world
(Jesus is the light)
You are the way, the truth and the life
(you are the life)
You are the light of the world
(Jesus is the light)
Lead us out of darkness
And into your marvelous light

Sanctify our spirits
Purify our minds
As we look to you, eyes open wide
Give us understanding
Set our hearts on fire

Give us understanding
Set our hearts on fire
Fill us with desire

You are the light of the world...

Friday, May 04, 2007


I packed up a lot of my room yesterday. sad. really sad. Just a lot of weird emotions...LOTS of them. sigh.

I think God is teaching me something: DON'T BRING SO MUCH AROUND WITH YOU IN LIFE. When I went to Hillsdale I thought I'd be staying there so I brought a lot to keep some in storage. When I came here, we drove (which means...lots of books!) and so I brought a lot, thinking I would just store it. Now I'm going to Africa for 6 months and the school won't let me keep anything here while I'm on intermission status. bleh. So I'm leaving some under Lacy's name but still...I have to figure out what to do with the rest of it.

One more week! I can't believe it. Semester one at Moody is over. SO MUCH has changed in my life since I got here. Wow. God has brought be a long way...and taught me so much...and given me so much. I'm astounded by His goodness. He is faithful.

Tonight I'm going on Zach's bachelor auction date to Medieval Times for dinner and a show. From what I can tell, its a lot like the Gaslight in tucson. I'm super excited about it.

Next week is finals and then next weekend is the dunes in Michigan!! Wooohoo I can't wait. Pictures to come!

Oh. Last night was my last pcm. I will never see those kids again. ever. that was a weird feeling. I love them so much. I prayed that God would walk with them through life--and with their mom. They are such a neat family. I hope they get out of the shelter soon and into an apt.!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Damned Goats

The sheep at His right hand, the goats at His left. Matthew 25.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'" vs. 34-36.

when you did it to one of the least of these, YOU DID IT DO ME. vs. 40.

"Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me." vs. 41-43.

when you refused to help the least of these, YOU WERE REFUSING TO HELP ME. vs. 45.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

He is Faithful!

This is were I am resting. In His faithfulness. He is good. He is faithful. What does this mean for me? It's something to build my life upon...standing in the promises of God.

I panic sometimes about money for Africa. I've almost paid off my plane ticket--I have gotten in about $1700. I need another $4000. I trust the God of the impossible.

I will probably be trying to make some Luminarias when I get back and before I go...if I have time. Things are going to be crazy busy. I have SO many details to figure out, errands to run, people to see...ack!

Zach and Melissa are coming to visit me before i leave!! Zach comes a little after I get home and Melissa comes just before I leave. I am SO EXCITED for their visits!! oh man...

Please pray for me--and that God would continue to prepare my heart to GO.

Monday, April 30, 2007

double date

Bruce wanted to go on a double date last night--bruce and alyse, me and zach. It was a lot of fun. We were going to go out for dinner but couldn't decide on a place. So we went to the grocery store and bought really good bread and fixings for sandwiches. Yum. We took it all down to the lake and had a picnic! It was lots of fun. So fun.

Lacy insisted on taking a picture before we left :) I don't have pictures of the night but Alyse took some...perhaps I'll get some up soon.

P.S. Spring has sprung in Chicago! I'll post pictures soon...the flowers are BEAUTIFUL! Tulips all over. Oh man...and trees blooming like crazy. I love it.

I leave for Africa in barely over a month. That's insane. aaaaahhhhhhhhh

Friday, April 27, 2007


God gives good gifts. I am in awe. I am excited. I am learning a lot. Wow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A little bit of an update...

I haven't felt this way in a while. Yesterday was hard. Really hard. I needed to get off campus so badly--away from everyone...everything. So I decided to go to the Chicago Public Library for the first time. I found my new favorite spot. The place is 10 floors. The ninth floor is the "Winter Garden"--a room of windows and skylights with trees growing inside and tables and chairs. I sat for two hours, wrote seven pages in my journal, and read 1, 2 Peter and 1, 2, 3 John. I was thinking a lot about love. 1 Corinthians 13:7 kept coming into my mind. What does it mean that love believes all things? What about hopes all things? And, perhaps harder still, never gives up?

I've been asking God for months to "please, teach me to love people well!" And now, when He is taking me through that process of growth and purification, I freak out and wonder what on earth He's doing. "Why is this so hard and why do I feel overwhelmed...I just want to learn to love. I want the faith that's needed." And His reply is surely "I am teaching you love, you've just closed your eyes."
Please help my unbelief, Lord, and forgive my forgetful heart. I'm learning what a broken lover I am...and how grace swallows my life. Loving people is not efficient--Derek Webb is right. I have found rest in the truth that God takes my cracked, weak, broken love offering and by grace makes it pure and whole. It's a beautiful picture if you think about it. Dare to imagine what it LOOKS like.

I've been asking God to teach me the scandalous work of the Holy Spirit in my life. He's taught me so much about the Holy Spirit already this semester but I pray that He would take me deeper still. Would you encourage me, Spirit? Lead me? Please--guide me in humble obedience...

Obedience. What a word. Obey Me and I get glory. Obey me and you are satisfied. Incredible, isn't He? I am overwhelmed by His deep, deep love. I fall to my knees...He is so faithful.

I pray Ephesians 3:14-19 for you, friends!

Exciting things are happening in my life. Really exciting things. Please pray that in the midst of it all, Christ would be my single passion. Pray for discernment and for an eager and willing heart to do His kingdom work. Please pray for motivation and death to cynicism. Please pray He would continue to prepare my life for Africa...just over a month away! I can't believe it.

Wake up! LIVE.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

God gives good gifts :)

"Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." -C.S. Lewis

Friday, April 20, 2007

Love is different...

Well, it looks like five thousand miles broke the camel's back
But it's not as though i had a plan to win you back
Because i don't know what i want
But at least i know that much
Now I'm afraid love came right up
And it slapped me in the face, but i did not know

'Cause love is different than you'd think
It's never in a song or on a TV screen
And love is harder than a word
Said at the right time and everything's alright
Love is different than you think

So I won't expect a postcard from Trafalgar Square
But I'd be lying if i said I didn't care
Because you can't just turn it off
And put a blindfold on your heart
But i'm off to a good start
A continent away, but i do not know

But maybe you're the dream i'm waking from
'Cause I see you everywhere I go
Darlin' you are such a mystery to me, you know

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

1 John 4:18, 19

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." -Lewis

"...if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." 1 John 4:12

" we live in God, our love grows more perfect." 1 John 4:17

"Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." Hosea 6:3

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This is an emergency

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We’re crying for them come back home
We’re crying for them come back home

✦An estimated 40 million children will be or-
phaned by 2010, one every 14 seconds.*
✦In 11 countries in sub-Saharan African, more
than 15% of all children were orphans in
✦2010, sub-Saharan Africa will be home to an
estimated 50 million orphaned children, and
more than a third will have lost one or both
parents to AIDS.
✦Eight out of every 10 children who have lost
parents to AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa,
and the number is expected to increase over
the next two decades at least.
✦In 2004, an estimated 3.1 million people in
Sub-Saharan Africa became newly infected. By
comparison, there are 40,000 new HIV/AIDS
infections in the U.S. every year. **
✦Each day, an estimated 1,600 children are
born with HIV; 1,500 of them in sub-Saharan
✦Nine in every 10 newly-infected children live
in sub-Saharan Africa, as do nearly eight out
of every 10 women living with HIV/AIDS.
✦Overall HIV prevalence for pregnant women
in South Africa in 2003 was 27.9%.
✦More than two out of three newly-infected
15 to 24-year olds are female. For adoles-
cents between the ages of 15 and 19, five or
six girls are infected for every boy in worst-
affected areas.
✦South Africa has the highest number of peo-
ple living with AIDS in the world: an esti-
mated 5.3 million people were living with HIV
at the end of 2003.
Source: UN & UNICEF
*Save the Children
**American International AIDS Foundation

And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Saturday, April 14, 2007

God has started a revival in my soul...and it hurts

Yesterday was hard. Really hard. I didn't want to be here anymore. Not even necessarily here, Moody, but here, America. I felt for the first time in a long time, not guilty about my desire to be overseas. Could it be that He is preparing my heart? In 54 days I will be on a plane to Africa.

Last night there was a screening of the Invisible Children documentary here at school. After it was over I felt sick at the thought of staying here--on campus, in my room, anywhere. So I left. I went to the chicago/state mcdonald's for almost two hours to read, write, and think. And to get away. It felt good to get away.

I read a lot about hope. I went through the concordance in my Bible and read every entry on hope. Hope is so important. Do we live with hope? Do we live IN hope?

I read through old journal entries. I need to make a better practice of this. I forget things I've been thinking about over the past months. I forget things I've cried out to God for. He is working so much. My hope is revived when I see how he is moving. I forget so easily. What little faith!

I noticed two things in particular while reading. One--I have been asking God an awful lot to give me a sickness of heart that matches that of Nehemiah's for the broken condition of Jerusalem/Israel. I have asked Him to break my heart over the things that break his. Could it be that THAT is the reason I feel so torn up? Or why I feel suffocated when I'm around so much triviality? I wrote in early March that "the things of the world will grow strangely dim..." I think its happening. Wow. Some of this confusion and tension--the disconnect--is because God is dimming the things of the world right before my eyes. He's dimming them in my life as He begins to shine brighter the things that are of lasting importance. I see the light on the horizon. It's on the brink of things. I am waiting. It's hard to wait.

Hebrews 12 has been incredibly powerful right now. I'm running a race. I must have faith, hope, love, peace...Christ initiates and perfects this faith. Wow. Verses 25-29 remind that God is purifying. Verse 11 reminds that this process of disciple is painful. I could have told you that :) Not really...its just a frustrating process sometimes. I think this is because I don't like to think of it as a process. I like to think that soon I will "arrive" at that perfected state. psh. Nope. I think if I had it my way and I did "arrive" I would lose a lot of joy and pleasure. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE Christ endured the cross. Such hope. Faith in future grace. Work in me for this kind of faith, Jesus!

I had two great conversations last night after my time alone. God gives such good gifts. I am in awe of those He has placed in my life. I am encouraged, challenged, shaken, questioned, loved...toward God. I pray that God would be the center. He is working in so many lives around me. I am astounded.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Our young men are going into the professional fields because they don't 'feel called' to the mission field. We don't need a call; we need a kick in the pants. We must begin thinking in terms of 'going out,' and stop weeping because 'they won't come in.' Who wants to step into an igloo? The tombs themselves are not colder than the churches. May God send us forth."
-Jim Elliot

I am going to be honest. I was going to type "I'm sorry ahead of time" but I don't think I actually am. Here it is. I am so sick of hearing these things in response to my decision to go over. And remember, I'm going for 6 months. This really is nothing. People need to MOVE there.

"It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work. I'm blessed to see God has made you to be that special kind of person."

"God knows I could never do that, but I'm glad you feel called to it."

"Wow. It's neat that this is what you feel God has called you to."

It just makes me feel sort of sick inside.

I know these sorts of things are said by well-meaning people but please, think about these statements. WE ARE ALL CALLED. You either GO and be very serious about it or you stay and SEND and be very serious about it. what else is there and what are we doing about it??

Why are we here? Why are you there, where you are...doing what you're doing? Think about it. This world matters.

I am failing every day at this. I ask the Spirit to hold me up because I am so ridiculously weak. And he reminds me of this: the power that RAISED Christ FROM the DEAD lives in me. Lives in you. What does this MEAN?

The Kingdom of God. What a novel idea. Do I know what it is? Not really. I so desperately want to learn more! It IS the Gospel. Christ's work on earth...the inauguration of the Kingdom. Bring the Kingdom down!! What does it mean?

It means I am a Kingdom worker. It means Christ didn't come simply to die so that I'd be saved and spend eternity with him. He didn't die so that we could exist happily, safely, comfortably, on earth until he comes back (by the way, have you thought about how purposeless this mentality makes life on earth?? No wonder the Church is bored. Where's the excitement, the call the drive the passion the love the ministry?). Why did he die? Who was this Jesus? What work did he leave? What is the Kingdom? What is my job? What is my responsibility? How ought I live? What is my purpose?

Perhaps sometime soon I will post a blog about my thoughts on the Kingdom. I am still learning so much and looking for more...but we've been studying it in Church and that has been incredible. I challenge you to look at it. I challenge you to read the Gospels. Swim in them!
Here's a cool new Piper quote for you: "Don't stop strokes of love, of faith, of joy..." He also said:
Loving Christ is experiencing Christ as precious for all of his character and virtue. Trusting Christ is experiencing him as reliable for all that He has promised and for all his counsel. Joy, then, is the deep, strong, and good feeling of believing in him as reliable and loving him as precious.

This has been a bunch of crazy thoughts....but I haven't really posted any original thoughts lately anyway, so maybe it will be a good change. Maybe they don't make much sense. It has been the ramblings of a learning heart...a weak and broken learner, so there you have it! I love you guys. I pray God challenges you today, and every day, to desire more of him and to seek hard after him. I pray Romans 15:13 for YOU. Go and read it. I ask him to use you. That's a scary thing to requires obedience. Simple obedience (I could write a whole other blog on THIS. oh man. I am thinking way too much :)).

I love you and look forward to seeing some of you soon when I'm back in tucson! Yay. Or maybe for others not for a while. I rest in God's sovereignty. He knows the next time we will meet and I am always eager to hear what is going on in your lives.
God gathers the corners of the earth and gives a wild, shuddering shake.
Fling the dust off!
Send a wild, reviving wind.
Shake to pieces all that is of no substance.
Only the unshakable remains. Ah.
Bright hope.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace...and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
-Martin Luther King (A Time to Break Silence)

Monday, April 09, 2007

God gives good gifts.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Dawn has broken

He is risen!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Man I love them!!

Today was a wonderful day, homework, laughing (a lot), fellowshipping....aaah. It was great. Zach, Melissa and I went off campus to do homework since everything on campus is shut down for the holiday weekend. We tried a few starbucks' but everything was so crowded. We even tried Barnes and Noble--no room. Sad. So we ended up at Einstein Bagel. It was amazing. We had so much fun. I love these friends SO much. I can't even explain is. I'm going to miss you guys so much this fall! oh man, oh man. Here are some of the pictures. We got some great ones...and there are lots. haha

Thursday, April 05, 2007

If you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all!

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come ye needy, come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you,
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood.
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus, none but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Suddenly its all so final...and 20x more exciting! Wow.

I received an email from my flight agent guy...with the following words:

"E Ticket has been issued.

Will be in the mail .

Have a safe trip."

I'M GOING TO AFRICA IN 64 DAYS! Is this happening??? yep. What does God have in store for me?! I know not what but I am eager to find out. Almighty, love me wildly and challenge me deeply! Use me. This life is not my own!

oh my goodness. I feel like running around or climbing to the top of a mountain or shouting really loud or hugging anyone and everyone. I am freaking out inside!!!!

Wow. now that that is out of my system. whew.

Grace fills my thoughts

...and oh how its tied to everything! Joy, faith, These are sweet. God, teach me more! Give me eyes to see and ears to hear! Oh, I want more!!

GRACE (phil wickham)
The sky is grey and the light is far
The sea is a rage within my heart
I turn my sight to the crashing waves
I cry in the night just to be saved

I need eyes to be my guide
I need a voice that’s louder than mine
I need hope I need You
Cause I can’t do this alone

Grace I call Your name
Oh won’t Your smile fall over me
I’m cracked and dry on hands and knees
Oh sweet grace rain down on me I need You grace

I pray for dawn a new day to live
I pray for mercy only Jesus gives
Though darkness falls and a million cry
I believe over all there’s a greater light shining for us

Come down and save me

Monday, April 02, 2007

Leave to His sovereign way

It's hard to be silent and trust. It's hard to give it up...

But that's the only answer. Besides, He holds ALL circumstances--whether or not I worry. Job 37 has been a good read for me encouraging reminder of the HEIGHT and DEPTH and WONDER of this God I serve. He is sovereign. Leave it to Him. Trust. How? Look at what He's done. Look at what He's doing. Read Job 37. He commands the intricate goings-on of nature. He is in control of the tiniest detail--how much more does he control the affairs of man!

Praise Him. He is glorious!