About Me

Hey there! I'm a twenty-three year old Jesus follower, and this blog is to record all of the goings-on in my life within the next months. I recently broke both of my legs, and feel God leading me to tell my story - a story of redemption and grace, of hope and pain, of excitment and fear. May you be deeply blessed as you read. Shalom!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New beginnings.

Unexpected Adventures.

This is from last October, by the little guy (6) that I got to hang out with this past summer.  
He has a special place in my heart.
And, he still doesn't understand how I broke my leg bones & talus bone.  : )

Holy cow.  It's been a year.  I can't believe that I am here in the this place, drug-free (ahem...ITCH free), cast-less, and walking.  Singing, cooking, laughing, remembering, living.  What a journey it has been, and what a journey it continues to be.

I have been thinking for weeks and weeks about how to say good-bye in this blog, but instead realized that I am not going to perpetuate the legacy of a Disney movie.  There are never really endings, but rather new beginnings.  I realized after a phone convo with the 'rents that today is the one year anniversary of my fall, and that goodbye would be lame.  So instead it's the cheesy this-is-really-the-beginning line.

The best part of it is that somehow, God arranged it that my accidental discovery would be the same weekend I got to do everything I love - cook, sleeping in, going for a walk, eating with kids and friends, and leading worship.  And, the girl who was with me when I fell is over for an impromptu sleepover.  He knows what we need, I tell you.

I was reading through the back half of Romans tonight for the class I talked about in an earlier post, and I came to the end of Paul's letter.  It was so humbling - he loves and shepherds the early church so well.  Here's what his letter says, to the church in Rome, to you, and to me:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Ahhhh!  I just love it!  This is exactly how I felt when I fell.  I pray for you, that the "as" in this sentence would not be lost. 

"I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.  Yet I have written quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me...the duty of proclaiming the gospel the of God..."

You are filled with goodness in Jesus.  Hope truly is found in him.  And for those of you who found offensive words in this blog, I pray that one day you might come to find their true meaning.  May God redeem anything that I have misspoken or communicated in an incomplete way.

"Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus - I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the people to obey Him by what I have said and done - by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God."

I am alive, I tell you.  This is a sign and wonder in and of itself.  To Him be the glory.

"But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions....I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while..."

Hence, the ending of this blog.  There really are no more words to be said.  I've actually said that a lot in recent posts, but I think it's because, deep down, I am sad to say goodbye to this blog.  It has been a refreshing, filling place for me, a place where I have found comfort, solitce, and...well...myself.  Really.  I am so thankful for this space.  And I really do long to see each of you soon.

"I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.  Pray that I may be kept safe, and that my conributions may be favorably recieved, so that I may come to you with joy, by God's will, and in your company be refreshed."

It sounds selfish, but I would enjoy company for the rest of my life.  I would also like for you to be mutually refreshed.  : )  And, please let me know how I can pray for you as well.

"The God of peace be with you all.  Amen."

And not just the peace that we talk about at rallies, or hippie gatherings.  Shalom.  Completeness. Wholeness.  Health.  Soundness.  Prosperity.  Fullness.  Rest.  The absence of agitation or discord.  Hebrew words pack so much meaning.  And I mean Shalom.  (I think Paul does too... : )

Today's quote on my "friendship calendar" (that got from an elderly lady that I dearly love) says this: "I want to forge my strongest friendships with fellow "limpers" - ordinary people who, though a little bruised and battered, hobble forward on their spiritual journey.  We can hold each other up along the way."  - Janis Long Harris

Thank you for your encouragement in my life - even if I don't know your name, thank you for being here in this space right now.  Thank you to the many who came to see me in all my puffy glory when I was at the hospital, who cried tears for me, and with me, and laughed at my colored tongue.  Thank you to those of you who came to visit me when I was laying in bed for three months, excited about my new-found future.  Thank you to those of you who were with me when I was learning how to walk again, and didn't laugh at me when I fell down walking out of church.  Thank you to those of you who have posted encouraging blurbs along the way, small, but oh-so-big words of encouragement.  Thank you to those of you who have offered prayers on my behalf, and listened to me when I needed an ear.

Thank you, mom, for wiping my butt when I couldn't, and for holding me when I just needed to cry.  Thank you, dad, for putting holes in our wall so that I would have privacy when she was doing so, and for teaching me to appreciate her, long before I really did.  Thank you, girls, for letting me crash your nest, stink up the house, and bring your level of coolness waaaaay down when we were in public places.

Thank you, Abba, for redeeming my life, for calling me yours.  For your protection, and your plan.  Thank you that we can trust you when things are confusing and when they make a lot of sense.  Thank you for walking alongside of us on our journey, even when we aren't able to walk.  Thank you most of all for your never-ending love.

Thank you that, in you, we find new beginnings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I attended a banquet on Friday night that was focused on inner-city ministry in Milwaukee.  It was a time to celebrate so many of the cool things that a group called "Here's Life Inner City" have been seeing God do in the last year (check it out here: http://www.hlicmke.org/).  I was so thankful to have been there.  The theme is what caught my eye, and perked up me ears...

Hope changes everything.  

I'm taking a class this semester in Romans, and in one of the dictionaries I had to read this past week, I stumbled across this blurb by Colin Brown.  It blew me away.  (And the "for the moment" part is IN the quote...)

"New Testament hope is patient, disciplined, confident waiting for and expectation of the Lord as our Savior.  To hope is to be set in motion by the goal ahead, awaiting in the movement towards the goal.  It demonstrates its living character by the steadfastness with which it waits, by hypomone (Greek for patience, art), by the patient bearing of the tension between the now, as we walk (for the moment) dia pisteos, (by faith), and our future manner of life.

This waiting is something active, for it involves overcoming.  Although the waiting may be painful, this too is recognized positively as travail which announces "rebirth".

Therefore those who hope are comforted and confident.

Hoping is disciplined waiting."

Tension.  Motion.  Walking.  God's living character...these words all struck me this week in such a deep way.  

I'm two days away from my one-year anniversary.  I decided not to have a party on the 31st because it's Halloween, which I always forget.  The anticipation is not as bad as I thought it was going to be - this week was not difficult to get through, and I don't think next week will be either.  I'm such a roller coaster.  I did a lot, and my foot was able to keep up (this time around). 

But, you know, even if it hadn't, I am still clinging to that promise.  Even if my arthritis continues to progress, and even if I can't run anymore, and even when I have to give up all of my cute shoes so I can wear an orthodic, and even if I will always feel the pain I feel, I will cling to God's promise of hope.  His hope is bigger than I can imagine, and I am ready to move on to a new chapter in my life.  I'm getting more and more excited about what God is going to do in the next year, and I excited about the forward motion that I feel.  Even if there is tension.  Truly, truly, truly:

Hope changes everything.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It is pouring rain outside as I type this.  It seems a tad surreal - this may quite possibly be the last rainstorm of 2011.  From here on out, it is more than likely to be white fluffy stuff that mysteriously falls from the sky.

I was just microwaving my Sweet and Spicy tea (Good Earth - if you haven't tried it before, let me know and I'll personally deliver some to you.  Oh.  It's joy in a cup.)  There are these little sayings that come on the back of every tag, similar to the bottom of a Snapple cap.  (Who comes up with this stuff anyway?  I would LOVE to be a random fact spewer for a living.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!)  The saying tonight was,  "He who is drowned is not troubled by the rain."  Apparently, someone wise from the Orient said this many years ago.  "Orient" feels like a culturally insensitive word, so I'm not going to type it again.

At first I was like, "What the heck is that supposed to mean?  If I die, I don't have to worry about anything ever again?"  (I can't believe how much time I waste in my life trying to figure out stupid phrases that come in/on/with stupid things like tea.)  The more I thought about it though, the more I think I understood what it's trying to say.  When you go through a large ordeal in your life, (such as drowning, heaven forbid), when "smaller" things like rain come your way, they don't bother you as much.

I can see where this might be considered a wise saying, but I disagree.  Sometimes it may be true, but I think that it is the littler things in our lives which trouble us the most.  The day to day stresses (TRAFFIC), the seemingly menial things that trip us up oh so easily, the small glaces and snickers, the thoughts that we never seem to catch.  And, if you look at it from a positive point of view, it is also the littlest things which bring us joy.  A warm comforting touch, a smile from someone you don't know, a cup of tea on a deliciously stormy night.  There are so many joys to be found in our day to day lives.

It was this thought that I kept bumping into this morning while I was at church.  A song called "The Stand" was one that we sang this morning (if you've never heard it go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6suBrSFaiM), and I totally lost control of all emotions.  It's the song I was most excited to sing once I could actually stand, and it was the song that I sung when I did.  It was the song that we sung this morning, and it will be the one I sing all week.

Eventually I ended up in the bathroom, which you may think is a strange place to go during a church service (and a place I talk a lot about), but the bathroom is the place I go to to be alone with God in public places.  If you think about it, it is the only place one can go, shut a door, and have complete privacy.  So I'm sitting there after singing about actually STANDING before a God who gave everything, and how I surrender everything to him, and I'm just sobbing.  I couldn't stop!  It was so humiliating!  But there I was, puffy-eyed, my bright splotchy face and brightened pimples in all their glory. 

The first thing I thought about was how I forgot that I wasn't standing up six months ago.  The second thing I thought about was how sad I am that I can't run anymore.  Then I was frustrated with myself for crying about myself.  Then I was weeping because I can't believe how faithful God has been to me throughout my life, and throughout the last year, and how I have been able to cling to him through so much.

To make my eyeballs worse, the sermon this morning was about how a gardener tends a grapevine.  I feel like the last year has been a HUGE pruning process for me, and as such, I was overflowing with joy this morning.  And pain.  Chapter 15 of the book of John is a section of the Bible where Jesus is speaking about a farmer's pruning process.  He starts off by simply saying that he is real.

"I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken."

I used to be really freaked out by this passage because 1)  I tend to live in shame, and still suffer from paranoia from time to time, afraid that God will cut me out of his family.  And, 2) I do not like the idea of a farmer stepping into his vineyard, crunching the limestone with each step as he comes my way to cut me off.  His heavy boots squish the rocks down into the mushy soil as he eyes my vine up, and starts hacking away at it with a machete.

This is seriously what I used to think of when I read this passage.  Mind you, nothing in Jesus' voice depicts this image, but this was the image I had of the "Farmer".  Of God.

One of the things I have learned in the last year is how tender God is.  (This is not to say that I had not seen the gentleness of God beforehand; it is a constant theme in my journey)  I just can't get over how tender he is with me.  With us.  Jesus is not speaking these things because he wants us to dwell in a fearful place; he speaks these things because he longs to tenderly come and show us what life can really be like, as a joyful farmer awaits with hope that as he gently (and still painfully) cuts back parts of the vine, as though he knows of the juicy, plump fruit that will come in the next season.

"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples."

I challenge you this evening - a real, honest, down to earth challenge.  (And no, I'm not going to talk about the bonfire in this challenge - don't be scared.  : ) 

In what ways do you fear God pruning parts of your life? 
In what ways do you draw back as he tenderly reaches to prune back your deadwood? 
How do you view the farmer as he reaches out to you? 
Do you recognize his face? 
Do you want to?

Jesus brings it all home in the end of the passage:

 "I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.

I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends."

 I'm so thankful that Jesus put his life on the line for me, and for you.  That he loves us that much.  That his joy can be our joy.  As we step into this week together, may we cling to the promise of his hope for our lives - may he increase our understanding of who he is, who he wants us to be, and how he wants to shape us in becoming those people.  And may we be flexible and giving like soft vines, excited by his touch, and clinging to him as the pain comes.  And as it goes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's hammer time.  MC Hammer, that is.

I was out for tea tonight (and now I'm WIRED at 10:44pm - I forgot tea has caffeine!) with an amazing lady from a really special season (mid-college) in my life.  It was such an encouraging conversation.  I find myself thanking God for a lot of friends in my life that have been such a blessing to me over the last year.  I kept thinking the whole night about the verse along the lines of, "Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing."  Oh how I forget the importance of community, sharing one anothers burdens, and praying for other people on a regular basis. 

Thank you, Milwaukee, for Alterra on the Lake, and for the sanctuary that you provide.  I pray that as you read this, you are surrounded by friends that encourage you and build you up - God is faithful in this area, and has taught me much about what it means (and how hard it is) to rely on other people.  It's SO worth it!  I never really had a "best friend" growing up.  I had so many friends that were faithful to me though, even when I wasn't faithful to them.  It is by the grace of God that I have any at this point in my life, as they show grace to me on pretty much a daily basis. 

Anyway, lady suggested that I have a party on October 31st.  It feels a smidge selfish because my parents' TWENTY SIXTH wedding anniversary is tomorrow...  Food for thought...  I kind of think it is a fabulous idea.  It's is my one-year anniversary, and I think it may be time to celebrate some Unexpected Adventures in all of our lives.

Who's in?  : )

Thursday, October 13, 2011


One of the many beautiful things about a storm is that once you have spent an entire day underneath a blanket of dark clouds, when the sun does peak out (which it always will), it is that much more beautiful.

The five-year-old ballerinas agree with me.

I was on my way into class (where, not so coincidentally, we talked about "the faithfulness of God", ha ha) and they were on their way out.  It was so cool to hear all of them step outside, and collectively say, "Oh man!  Look at the sun, mom!",  "Dad, dad, look!  It's so beautiful!"  Inside, it was exactly what I was thinking....I couldn't have expressed it better myself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Bike riding is one of my absolute most favorite things in the world.  Bike riding when it's 70 degrees out, with a water bottle in my pack, three hours to spare, while all the trees are in all their glory is the absolute best thing in the world. 

It was funny, on my ride I saw this mob of crows (the bird) flying overhead.  My initials are C.A.W., which has always been super-annoying because I thought it was cool to have initials that spelled an actual word until that word was "caw".  The most obnoxious noise ever.

Anyway.  Crows.  I'm not exaggerating when I say mob.  There were a lot.  Then a few more...then even more.  They were flying with me, in the direction I was heading, until I came upon this entire flock of crows.  I mean, like at least 60 or 70 of them, with dozens more flying in.  Mafia style.  Crows are really dramatic, in case you don't know.  And Italian?  They can apparently hear each others calls from miles and miles away - who knows how they determine who they're going to help, and who they're going to hurt, but when one starts freaking out, they all come flying in to help it.  In fact, there's a whole array of calls that this dude has figured out:  http://www.crowbusters.com/begtechn_dc.htm

(That link made me laugh a lot.  I really want to give my Brewer's the "Rally" call, but I think it may be too late.  They need a "Distress" one...)

Anyway, these stupid crows had me thinking about how God has designed us to be in community with one another.  It's so random, but sometimes one of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for help.  It's amazing to me that an obnoxious bird has it down better than I do.  It's also amazing how many people are willing to help when you do ask.  They come in from miles and miles.  What is also amazing is how much joy I receive when I allow others to help me.  And how much joy I receive when others ask me to help them, and I am able to.  The littlest things make such a big difference in others lives. 

Leave it to birds to remind me of something so simple.

: )

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


You know, I usually don't like the word "take" because, generally, it implies selfishness.  Tonight I am being selfish; though difficult, I need to take it.  I need to take heart.

Thank you, oh Lord, that we can worship you.  Thank you that you cast no shadow.  Thank you that you heal.  Thank you that we have hope because of you.  Thank you that you love us even when we fail.  Thank you for being with us in the midst of all of our feelings, through joy and pain.  Thank you for being patient with us when we lose courage, when we lose heart.

It's seven minutes long, but I would really encourage you to watch this video.  It's sort of cheesy, and seven whole minutes long, but you can watch it while you make and eat breakfast, brush your teeth, during commercials, or while you fold laundry.  For seven minutes.  It's worth it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MfBQ30Ta9w  Or, take three and read the lyrics.

Take Heart  
by: Hillsong United

There is a light
It burns brighter than the sun
He steals the night
And casts no shadow
There is hope
Should oceans rise and mountains fall
He never fails

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again

In death by love
The fallen world was overcome
He wears the scars of our freedom
In His Name
All our fears are swept away
He never fails

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again
All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failure
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome
All our heartache
And all our pain
God our healer
He has overcome

All our burdens
And all our shame
God our freedom
He has overcome

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failures
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome

God our justice
God our grace
God our freedom
He has overcome

God our refuge
God our strength
God is with us
He has overcome

Jesus' skin wasn't white, but you get the idea.
You're the plant.  ; )