Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gua, Gua, Guatemala

Oh where to begin…

It was this time exactly 5 years ago that I was preparing to leave for 2 months in Costa Rica and here I am.


I may be 'freaking out' because I lack many details to this whole plan, but the reality is I'm certain of it.  God keeps freaking me out with the way He quietly answers my 'thoughts barely turned prayers' in the midst of December chaos.


Spanish has eerily been infiltrating my life and seemingly with some ease (the little I know) thanks to the Mexican and Guatemalan men I work with.  "Como se dice…?" (Translated, "How do you say…")

Or maybe…

I'm slowly checking off the list of things keeping me from crossing borders:
  • Appointment for the Travel Clinic (looking like 3-4 shots)
  • Canceling car insurance
  • Quitting my job
  • Prepping nursing school applications so I can hit the send button from Guatemala
  • Formulating thoughts of how YOU can be involved in a project I'm praying will encourage and make those girls at the orphanage experience LOVE.

Here, I'll start here…

I sat with my Gospel Community last night and shared much of what I've been feeling.  I'm over the whole "what am I thinking, I quit my job" and onto how vulnerable I feel going to a place where I am unknown.  I DO NOT FEAR FOR MY SAFETY.  Not that kind of vulnerable.  The kind of vulnerable you feel when you sit in the middle of the room unable to fully communicate or operate according to your former ability!  I find great value in being known and knowing how to operate among my peers, family, friends, co-workers.  It's safe- knowing how and where you fit, but I'm heading into a situation where I have no idea.  And that's where I'm going to stop.  I'm deciding to recognize that which God has orchestrated and deciding to sit back in awe of His ability to provide EVERYTHING.  For all I knew, I had plans to be on my way to Haiti…Guatemala City, here I come.

I'm so excited too!  It may not always seem that way, but when I lift my head from the list and the pile of December distractions, I catch myself imagining life with these girls.  Loving on them, learning from them, and my nurturing soul cannot wait to dote on them.  It brings tears to my eyes to write this.  

I realize many of you are in the dark with many of the details.  Let me share a bit!  In Guatemala City, I will be at an orphanage which houses 62 girls from the age of 6 up to 20.  These girls have been abused, abandoned, and orphaned.  From my understanding, the older girls live in independent housing while the younger ones live in houses with house mothers.  The younger girls, up to grade 9, are educated on the property until they reach a certain age and make their way to public school.  They also have a clinic on the property which serves both the girls and the surrounding community.  (I was super excited to learn this AND to learn that they also have English language classes for the girls…possible opportunities???)  I wish I could share more, but I myself am lacking details.  Rest assured, this blog will provide those along the way.  My hope and prayer, God would stretch both my life and your life in this.  Think BIG!  Maybe a group of my family and friends should spend a week serving some young ladies in Guatemala. 

And one more thing to check off the list…I just purchased my plane ticket in the midst of writing this.  Wanted to be able to share that in this post! ;)

Certainly, MORE TO COME!

San Jose, Costa Rica- March 2006

Friday, December 10, 2010

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come and we've finally put up a few decorations to help usher in the Christmas Spirit.  Currently, I just stare, smile and enjoy our beautiful bouquets of fir, holly, and pine.  (No tree this year.) Despite the busy December calendar, my prayer (as I write this) is that these bouquets and lights and glass balls and candles and Christmas treats will serve as reminders of what this season means to me and why I celebrate.

             MERRY CHRISTMAS          

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Some love...

…from our Thanksgiving day celebration.  Thanks to Nik and David for being such phenomenal hosts year after year!  And this year Auntie (pronounced "annie") Trish declared what has become tradition, the girls stuffing the bird in our p-jays.  I think we all filled up on the delicious hors d'oeuvres, but somehow we managed to nosh on the main dish.  A little collage and a little video for your viewing pleasure!  We sure missed those of you who weren't able to join us this year.

A lot to be thankful for.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 29, 2010

The "W.T.H.D.I.G.M.I.?" Post

Please, when you understand the title of this post, pardon the expression.

It goes something like this…

The day I arrived to Costa Rica, nearly 5 years ago, I was sleep deprived, anxious, and excited.  My host family gathered me from the airport and eventually showed me to my temporary home and room.  Once I settled in, I really didn't know what else to do given that I had no idea where the school I was planning to attend classes was located and I couldn't just call someone and make a plan to meet for coffee.  So, as was needed, I took a nap.  It wasn't exactly the best idea.  You know those moments you're caught in the middle, between sleep and wakefulness?  I was caught in one of those moments and had a pretty awful feeling fall over me.  "W.T.H.D.I.G.M.I.?!!?!!!!!!!!"  Yep, there it is- WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO?"  I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach for the rest of the day.  I think it finally began to fade when I met my friend Anita from Switzerland (she's been in many previous blog posts).

Well, I promised in a previous post to share those small steps forward and here is a bit of a clue (though I think most of you already know where I'm headed).  I woke up this morning with that same feeling of "What am I about to do?"  It's a bit different this time around because I have an awareness that I lacked the last time around.  It's really not that crazy, but it still causes me to question.  I KNOW, KNOW, KNOW that this stint away is what I want and where I need to be heading, but it still causes my head to freak out.  And then I thank God that He knows and will fulfill His promises to me as I walk forward.

In four words:     Prince of Peace, Guatemala

More to come!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunshine in November

I have to say, I think we've had a pretty nice fall here in Oregon.  The colors have been amazing, as expected, and I've enjoyed the changing of the seasons.  It's not uncommon for those of us who live in the Pacific NW to complain about the winters here, long-gray-wet etc.  It's true, it can be a little disappointing when you look at your watch and feel like you've been tricked!  How can in be 4:35 in the afternoon and mostly dark?!  Even so, consider this, that very long summer day, driving into the sunset and still having a hint of light at 9:45pm.  That makes the long-gray-wet-& dark winters worth it for me!

However, I've been extra spoiled and had a little more sunshine this month than most of you PacNWerners.  I made a quick trip south and east to the sunshiny state of Florida to attend the beautiful wedding of Colin and Cayla.  It was many things…fun, restful, encouraging, connecting, loving, gourmet eating, & drinking Dunkin Donuts's coffee.  (YUM on the right!) 

It was a grand opportunity to see SO MANY (missed the Roman crew!) of those people who were strong figures during my Florida life.  The whole weekend was packed with good things, a special wedding and lots of running around.

Colin&Cayla's wedding-Erin, Greg, C&C, Mary Kay, Jaime, & Jordan.

 And here are my newest Oregon recruits, Mike and Judy!  Judy asked me about the 'Stephanie Inn' @ Cannon Beach and I spouted off the other 100 reasons they've got to make a trip to OR (including free tour guide!).  Mike and I worked at FL Church of God offices together.  We were separated by a measly 6' wall.  Sometimes things would just drop out of the sky and onto my desk and other times I'd walk around the wall, grab a handful of M&Ms from his candy dispenser and then kick my feet up while we considered the lyrics of Leeland or Shane & Shane's newest and greatest song.


Mother of the groom, Mary Kay, and I after the ceremony.  The venue was about 40 minutes outside of Orlando at a beautiful Italian style villa, Bella Collina.  I've never been to Tuscany, I felt like I was in Tuscany---reflecting pools, arches, fountains, stone, stone, stone-everywhere--- a gorgeous setting for C&C to exchange vows.
This picture just puts a big smile on my face.  These people
 have inspired me, counseled me, challenged me,
encouraged me, and loved me.

Beautiful setting, beautiful wedding=ALL DRESSED UP!

Tuesday Night Starbucks crew (minus Shelly)-Janann, Liz, Randee, and I.

Mary Kay, Greg, Payton and I took off early Monday morning (a few hours before my flight back to PDX) and dined at one of my favorites, Cracker Barrel.  It capped off a very fine long weekend.

***Hey 'Florida', I'm pretty thankful for you!  Thx to C&C for a great reason to skip out of the rain and catch a few winter rays.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Echoes and Whispers

Looking ahead…

Take just a few minutes and be reminded, we do not merely exist in this world alone.  I follow a blog of a family who are (partially) from the US and have been living in Haiti for the past several years.  They recently posted this from Boston Globe Photos

Looking beyond...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Erin in PDX

Erin came to Portland for a visit.  Seven months pregnant and all, we added miles to my car, pictures to the camera, yummy food to our bellies, and fun memories in all.  It was such a treat to have her out west for a few days.  She is one of those people who is 9 million percent positive and a straight shooter at the same time.  We talked A LOT…and made our way around to some really ESSENTIAL Oregon faves.
We dined at my favorite breakfast spot, Helser's on Alberta.

This is a Cannon Beach must, fish&chips @ Bill's next to a
toasty fire.

It was moving to FL and living near warm beaches that led
me to appreciate and love the OR coast.  

"O" for Oregon and Haystack rock.

We also made our way up to the Hood River Fruit Loop.  So
very many apples to sample and beautiful weather.

Dear friend.
From the east coast of Florida...
to Kansas city...
to the coast of Oregon.

We have covered a distance from one side of the country ALL THE WAY to the other!  Thanks for making the trip west, Erin.  It's time to meet up in FL again;).

Friday, October 29, 2010


If we've ever talked about personality tests and learning about how we are each wired, then you've most likely heard me talk about the "DISC" test.  It is one (of many) of those tests giving insight into our personalities and used by many employers to find employees who best fit the needs they are searching for.

Back in 2006, when I was in Costa Rica (and just a few days before my return to the states) I showed up at the church, where I had been working with Costa Rican women in the kitchen, only to find a gentleman waiting for me to give him a tour of San Jose.  The previous night, I'd been out in one of the rural parts of the city staying with one of the aforementioned women and her three daughters.  I'd grown close to them in my short time there and found it a privilege and welcome experience to spend a few nights in their home while the other family I stayed with hosted out of town pastors visiting for the conference.

The man waiting for me at the church is the same man I went to work for in Florida, Greg.  I showed up to the church with a plan.  Plan A- Take the bus to the church with Virginia and the girls, walk back to the house where the rest of my belongings were, brush my teeth, shower, spend time reading, writing, documenting before returning to Oregon and then go back to the church for the afternoon/evening events.  What actually happened?  Well, clearly not that!

I walked in the doors and Greg (who I had met one previous time) said to me, "I hear you're my tour guide today!"  Now, remember this, I had a plan.  "Plan A" and I don't tend to be too spontaneous.  I knew Greg was going to be at this conference and I also knew Alejandro (a coworker of Greg's in FL) was supposed to be on this particular trip with Greg.  Come to find out, Alejandro was ill and unable to make this trip.  The night I spent with Virginia and the girls is also the same night I was volunteered (without my knowledge) to show Greg around San Jose.  I was caught off guard and without having even brushed my teeth yet that morning!  I stumbled for an answer and finally uttered, "Uhh, ok.  Uhh, yeah, give me 5 minutes."

Our first stop was an internet cafe so Greg could email Mary Kay and let her know he'd arrived safely.  On our way to this cafe Greg did exactly as he is infamous for…he asked me a million questions all pertaining to, "What is your life about?"  So, not surprisingly, he gave me a link to the DISC test and told me to answers the questions while he wrote his emails.  Guess what, I'm an I-C. (Influence-Conscientiousness)  The short end to the story=I went to work for Greg in Florida and learned so much more.

And that "so much more" is actually what I want to get to in this post!  The D part of the DISC, Dominance, is also (from my understanding) a representation for decision making!  I went on to learn, I am a low, low, low, LOW  D.  Hello, I'm not fond of making decisions and actually find myself bound and extremely distraught when forced to decide.  Not always, of course, but it's been haunting me and the conscientious part of my personality!

So, I've learned other tactics as a crutch to this handicap.  Here it is:  Look long term, plan long term goals and then work backwards on short term goals.  Take those short term goals and make decisions that allow you to meet those goals.  Easy right?!  Well, sort of, but the other hang up of mine- accommodating.  I'm worried about what others will think of me (hello people pleaser) and accommodate for their approval.  Again, this is not always the case.  Sometimes I just DO WHAT I WANT! and that often feels good and hard and wrong.  I think there's context in all of this.

My big-bang-point is this:

I've determined long term goals:

  • I want to work with underserved populations in my city and around the world.  I think being a nurse is a great avenue to making this a reality in the way that I can actually use my hands and help people as a way of living.  
  • I want to be fluent in Spanish.  Yep, that's a mighty goal.
  • I want to work in a hospital setting-acute care/ICU nursing.
  • I want the opportunity to use a nursing degree and my love for other cultures to intertwine and make a beautiful, meaningful difference.
And so the struggle, with prerequisites out of the way, is making small goals and decisions that will set me along this journey.  As well as praying for the provision of actually getting into a program!

The last few months have been a spiral down to here.  Feeling lost, frustrated, finding bandaids to put off and ignore those small decisions which in the short are a pain in my butt and painful in general, but necessary to rise up and move forward.  Well, what do you know.  There it is again.  The title of this blog is always quite fitting, "Journey Forth."

P.S. Details on those small forward steps coming soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Isaiah 64:4

"For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!"

Isaiah 1:17

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The B-I-B-L-E

I added two new favorite books to my profile page.  I guess I don't have a lot of favorites, I've listed all of three, but I try to read and have tried to read more fiction in the last few years.  I tend to lean toward books that are heavy in thought or analysis of life…much to the influence of my personality (a bend toward intentional development) and nice people (with a bend toward intentional development!).

One time in my life, beginning in January 1998 through about March/April 1999, I did the "read through the Bible in a year" venture.  (Yes, you did the math right.  It took me more than a year, but I did finish!) Admittedly, I don't remember much and tended to read to check it off. It was difficult to balance with Jr./Sr. year obligations and a college social life and calendar.  More recently, after reading about a friend who has summoned the courage to continuously reread the ENTIRE Bible year after year (and upon remembering others who do the same), my appetite was roused and I committed to the adventure.  I have a little paperback Bible (which I decorated with stickers of things I like; see photo on the left) so I can take it with me and I'm more inclined to read (more aesthetically pleasing than the original cover).  It's great!  It's already set up for me to flip open to the day and read something from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm and a verse from Proverbs.  Some days I miss and make up along the way.  Some days I read and it hits a good spot in my soul and resounds deep.  Many days I read and think, "Huh?  Boy I wish I had a Bible professor here to explain."  Ultimately, I believe it is good and restorative to read scripture.  The Word is alive and active.  In the midst of confusion in just living, I grapple with walking faithfully and purposefully.  I'm trusting that if I commit to reading and seeking God's wisdom and guiding Hand, I'm doing a part in being faithful and purposeful.  Consequently, just getting to know Him and spend time with Him and in doing so, finding His true character amidst the ramming of lies and life and small thinking is where I want to find my treasure. 

The reading can take anywhere from 15 minutes to and hour…all depending on me! and how thoughtful I am while reading.:)  The more inquisitive/thoughtful, the longer it takes.  This usually happens on my days off.  And with a cup of coffee.

One last thing, one of the leaders at the church I attend, bread&wine, recently posted this video.  If you have three minutes, have a watch…such sweet perspective and what a reminder.  Reading the Bible- it's about Jesus, it's about getting to know Him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Time to Laugh and a Time to Dance

Micky John and I warmin' up the dance floor!

Beth and Tate sang to each other during the ceremony.
It was beautiful.
Nothing says Powers quite like hanging out with old pals!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Post from a Month ago...Raccoons live here

Two nights ago, I was startled out of a deep sleep by the sounds of two wild animals eating each other. That lasted for about 10 seconds, fine. The (presumably) raccoon took off and the dog, a mere 20 feet from my bedroom window, barked through the rest of the night. A yappy kind of bark. Lovely.

In the hour between 3:30am and 4:30am, I tried to cover my head with my pillow. It didn't work. So, at about 4:30am I took off downstairs to find my ear buds in hopes that a little music and turning my fan on would shut out the barking. It sort of worked and then I guess I was tired enough to fall back into sleep.

In those awakened moments, I had one thought that continues to come to mind. I'm moving. Yes, again.
2006-WA to FL. Total moves=3 (Only a few months in my first apartment due to mold.)
2007-FL Total moves=0
2008-FL to OR. Total moves=3
2009 OR Total moves=1
2010 OR Total moves=1?

And you wonder why I pare down every moment I get?

That thought admittedly caused a bit of dread and panic. Moving, regardless of cross-country or across the street, is just plain hard. I'm praying God will surprise me with the ease of this one and I have no room to panic, I'm surrounded by friends who are more than willing to help, THANKFULLY.

Why am I moving AGAIN, you might ask. Many factors leading to this very simple ending. Our landlords want to sell the house we are currently occupying and Annie is walking through the process of purchasing a house. We are all packing up our residence and moving together.

Now that you have context, I went through a few more boxes in the basement today and then I decided to go through an old trunk that holds pictures from as far back as high school...and beyond. And I came across some gems I thought would be fun to put on here, since I told you last time I'd try to post more pics;)!

Nikki Tylene and I before the shop, and fence, and sidewalk etc. I'm not sure how old we are, but I thought of Gracie and her now annual summer week in Powers (I'm lovin' my short shorts here too!).

I was just talking about "housecoats" and how my mom used to wear them. Oddly, they cause a surge of home to run through my soul.


And this picture made me laugh out loud...I look mad and bossy. I told one of my co-workers last week, "I feel like the older I get the more bossy I'm becoming." Watch out world! I actually wrote on the back of the picture, "We (our family) are headed to CB and Nathan wanted to take a picture of me. So I let him, but we were in a hurry. I'm not mad!"

Finally, a good ol' pic from Baker City 1995-Powers Girls' Basketball State Champs. WE HAD THE BEST FANS! I recognize a most of the bald heads. What precious memories these are and what a place to grow from…in some weird way, this photo makes me feel so loved! Thanks to all those "old geezers" for cheering on the ladies and pushing us to the top. Hats off to you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I realize...Shortcuts

I haven't posted many pictures on here recently. I'll try to change that, I think. When I'm off reading other blogs, I expect to see pictures along with the stories and I have realized, I stopped doing that. I'll work on that.

The latest thoughts swirling around in my conscience have to do with shortcuts and freedom. I know. I don't know if they actually fit together or if I've had separate experiences with each yet at parallel times.

Are you like me? Do you look for the fastest, easiest way to do, get, or finish something? Are you expectant that it's not so much about the getting there, as it is the FINALLY being there? "Are we there yet?" Is this not ingrained in us as children? Who taught us that the theme park is more fun than the ride getting there? Why do we dread the ride? Maybe we're in too much of a hurry, maybe.

This is just what I've been thinking about. And realizing that it's taken me this long to go back to school because I wanted the easy way to...happiness, I think? Imagining that this "happiness" or rather purpose and feelings of purpose would come once I had arrived. Time is a powerful, wise teacher. Time has taught me otherwise. Along the journey forth, I'm going to make decisions that others question. I'm going to be crippled by the direction I feel God, my Savior, leading me because I'm looking for the shortcut, the easiest, the fastest (and therefore best) way instead of the long way, which changes and challenges me. I'm always on the lookout for EVERYTHING to work out cohesively, in every single decision and movement. It does not. Again, it does not. Though this is often how my actions play out in strategizing the most direct method, this is NOT how or what I truly believe. I don't think the well-groomed path is the best. I believe it when the Bible says the way to God is narrow. I believe it is filled with sorrow and desperation (as well as joy and delight, but somehow the first two are often discarded) causing us to cry out and cling to the Man who is greater than all we are or face.

I often listen to music on repeat. I think it reflects the part of my personality that is trying to squeeze every little bit of life and wisdom out of something that catches my attention. I've learned, time has taught me, to pay attention to those details. The song on repeat? This new artist I discovered? The lyrics? Desert Father, Josh Garrels, "The Lord's Spirit calls, He's singing, Follow my road to sorrow and joy, Be intertwined". And that's precisely IT, intertwined.

So, shortcuts. I'm starting to think they're a drag! I'll take the long way and gather every bit of the morsels of wisdom kept there for me. After all, isn't it how we finish so much of want we learn? "In the long run, I discovered.............."

This, this might be where freedom fits in. If I'm taking the long way, I'm gonna have to learn to live under freedom. Freedom to live by faith. Faith-not knowing the exactness of something and still stepping into action. Stepping into action and trusting that the freedom I live in is for me grace, the grace, which was so costly for Jesus and a gift for me. (And you.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pray without Ceasing 1 Thess. 5:17

Praying without ceasing. Pray continually. Instructions from Paul. Instructions I long to heed day in and out. He is mighty to work in me and through me. Oh! how I long to be conscious of how GOOD He is to me, at all times. Pray all the time. For me, sometimes it looks and feels like this.

(I wrote this, at some point, in my journey through the Florida chapter.)

Look at You, looking at me.

I'm wondering why Your looking at me...

I've turned, tired.

Why do Your eyes follow me,

Your thoughts,

Your hand?

You wrote it, against any of my conscience or willingness.

I've looked back,

I've asked,

I’ve wondered,

I'm troubled.

You wrote it.

I feel it and feel how deeply ingrained it is,


a branding I’ll never lose.

It sits, I sit with it, but I don’t know it.

Though I know it’s there, I don’t know it.

You wrote it.

The only hope I have is You.

You wrote it,

…tell me about it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

down with the old

I've been having several really great, ongoing conversations both in my head and with people. One of those ongoing conversations has been in regards to Sabbath. It is so easy to be consumed with things around me, especially 'good' things and I often find myself loosing steam in the midst of these things. I have less to genuinely offer when it comes to this and I find that I am not present with the Lord as I desire to be. Present in the sense and confidence of moving forward boldly because I've been washing my mind with the Truth of scripture.

So, today, I'm sitting in Cannon Beach at a cafe writing this post and about to head out to the sand to spend the afternoon listening and not feeling the necessity to do anything in particular. I know as you read this you might find it a waste of time to simply be, but it comes back to that desire within my heart to honor God and our relationship in observing a Sabbath. I have much to learn in resting and the many ways this looks for each of us individually-day to day, chapter by chapter.

Genesis 2:1-3
"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

I was recently listening to a podcast which caused me to consider the ways in which God initiates in my life. First, it was by His initiative through Christ that He came down to us. And, in consideration of His history, His beginning before me and continuation after me, I am beginning to seek, pray for, and find balance in waiting for Him to initiate. I believe there are heart murmurs (not necessarily the medical condition) in which He is initiating, but it's in silence, surrender, and prayer that I must become confident of these whispers. Confident so when I'm in the thick of it I don't come to an end and decide that when the struggles are heavy, God's not in it. I've never felt this way, I don't believe the path is always smooth, but I know for myself-I must be convinced. Not convinced of my own desire, but knowing those desires have stemmed from my relationship with God, not from my own will or desire to please or desire for a particular life.

On my drive over this morning, I listened to one of my faves-Shane and Shane. Their most recent song I've heard on the radio (which caused me to buy the whole album)=Turn Down the Music:

Turn down the music
turn down the noise
turn up your voice, oh God
and let us hear the sound
of people broken
willing to love
Give us your heart, oh God
a new song rising up

This is my prayer today, turn up Your voice, Oh God!

There's so much white noise in our lives...please please please...take time to tune in. It's never too late. Quickly, one of those conversations I recently had with the mom of some dear friends...we were reflecting on life and faith and how we spend ourselves and the desire to be spent on the things that matter in the long run. The part of the conversation that I loved, that I find so so so, almost soothing...she is 50. Her and her husband are beginning to look at and think about retiring and in the last few years God has shaken all those thoughts and is beginning to re-map what that might look like. There are no definitive plans, but my heart rejoiced in this---it is not only the youthful that are zealous. Radical faith is not for the young or the 20 or 30 0r 40 or 50 somethings---RADICAL, BIBLICAL FAITH is for us in each moment of life. Whatever our stage or age-single, with kids, empty-nesters, retirees etc. And the day after our conversation, I read this in Hebrews 11, the chapter about all those who lived by faith:

"All these people were still living by faith when they died."

The title of this blog, "down with the old" is just that- putting down the old thoughts and being renewed, coming up with and walking in the resurrected life! And this is what I continue to unravel and learn...

Friday, June 25, 2010

"I delight greatly in the Lord;

my soul rejoices in my God."

This is one of my favorite verses, from one of my favorite chapters-Isaiah 61.

I often catch myself saying this repeatedly throughout the day...all I can say is that it is my security both for my soul and for my personal life.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Digging in my closet...

Resounding gong here...I've said it before, I'll say it again- I like to get rid of stuff! I honestly don't know how I can continue to get rid of things other than the possibility that each time dig through the same things and each time I'm able to let go of a little more. Mostly I'm referring to old journals here. Yesterday, I finished my anatomy and physiology class, working toward nursing! I usually get the sudden urge, once something is completed, to get rid of all unnecessary leftovers that simply become extra boxes in moving. (Sidenote: Yes, I will be moving, eventually. Our current home is going on the market.) So, I began to dig in my closet and through some piles of journals and old books trying to decide their fates. And in this task, I ALWAYS GET CAUGHT sneaking into the old journals and reading my thoughts. It is most often painful, but it is also really incredible to see God's transformative work in my life. I have long wanted to toss these old books out, they carry angst and worry and too---WAY TOO MUCH analyzing. It actually wears me out to reread them. {sigh} However, I can't seem to let them go just yet. In 1999, I wrote a prayer wondering if nursing would be a good direction for me to go. Really? It is affirming to see that thought "documented" as though I have this need to know it's not a new thought or theme. Throughout these journals, I am able to see the threads and themes of desires that keep whispering to my heart. I do find this comforting, and I find this to be a push in becoming active toward those whispers. To stop analyzing and questioning and just act. To make decisions that might be mistakes and come back with, "It's never a wrong decision if you are a learner in it."

Yes, these journals are repetivite. Yes, this blog is repetivite. Some things are worth repeating, some things are not. At Christmas, I'll repeat the sounding joy. The scriptures repeat, "Holy, Holy, Holy!" -Rev. 4:8 Life too, seems to repeat. Our behavior patterns, good and bad seem to be repetitive. By default we repeat. In action, we can choose to repeat or change. Again, not all repitition is bad.

Below is from a notebook I carry in my bag with me. I keep quotes, addresses, lists of books, thoughts etc. in it. This is from NYC, 12-13-2009, with my roommates-Annie, Karin, and Gretchen. I got up early one morning, left for a coffee shop (ending up at Starbucks) and watched out the window...

"No matter what city I travel to, no matter the history, grandeur, uniqueness, brilliance-whatever...we are souls walking through time.

I keep seeing the same lady making circles or rather laps around Union Square...analogous to life lived in fear. Walking the same circle seeing the same things, maybe even walking in a different direction to see a different angle, but still the same square. How often do we live our lives this way? Never crossing the street to leave the comfort of familiarity , never risking, never having faith-believing and trusting it's safe to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar--safe in YOUR security, safe in YOUR promises."

I recently spent an evening with some leaders from my gospel community having dessert and praying (such a great combo!). Tonight as I prepared to publish this post, I came across a notecard from that evening. As we prayed I wrote different thoughts that struck me and in light of the NYC thought above, this little prayer card carried a little more weight. "I want to live wrecklessly." That's all. Fear vs. wrecklessness or maybe a better word would be abandonment. I don't know, it just strikes me and I'm worn out trying to analyze the many possible paths. In my terms, wreckless living does not mean living without intention, but living without fear. From the Chronicles of Narnia, "He's not safe, but He's good.

Sounds good, here I go...

Monday, May 17, 2010

I used to pray that God would do it my way. Now, I pray that He'd move me His is both adventure and obscurity. It's letting go of the perception of control I believe is mine and turning to an unmarked path toward an unknown yet hauntingly enticing Way with a Guide who knows and who is both constant and consistent. I am safe with Him in the midst of ashes and controversy-heart ache-joy-loss-anger-fear-peace-anxiety-love-hatred-celebration-beauty-gladness.

Psalm 125:1-2 The Message
"Those who trust in God are like Zion Mountain: nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain you can always depend on. Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles his people-always has and always will."

I came across the above scripture earlier today as I stumbled upon a journal from a few years ago. I flipped open to the middle and read a prayer referencing a relationship I was currently in and asking God to deepen it if it was to His honor and would bring the two of us into a deeper place with Him. That relationship ended weeks later. An answer to prayer. Anyway, this post is not about that relationship.

The Psalm 125:1-2 reference reminds me Who is my Security. (However, in reference to said boy-those relationships are still not my security as much as they lure me into believing my life will be secure with another. This does not negate relationships, only where they find there right place.) I've been going through a great study with a few other gals discussing idols of the heart. You see, in our culture, it has been easy for me to believe that idols are something of other religions in which I do not participate. Upon further reflection, it has become evident that there are what seem to be more "subtle" idols in my life. I call them subtle because they are accepted by the mainstream of Christianity in our western society. These are many and varied depending on the person. In my particular reflections lately, it has been in regard to money and the false sense of security it provides me. Psalm 125 reminded me where my security comes from...God encircles His people! Think about that, being encircled by God-I can't think of a safer, more comfortable place to be. Yet, this does not say easy. It does not guarantee only the joyful, peaceful blessed life we have come to associate with Christian faith. No, it just promises God being and surrounding my life. I believe hardship is as much a part of the faith, we just forget it.

In Mark 10 (for context Jesus says to His disciples, "I tell you the on who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." My point here, why is it we tend to leave off persecutions in our message of the gospel? I'm learning that walking with Jesus is enough and necessary to make it through this life. Deep, deep down, I fear being comfortable. It means I'm trusting in my own ability to make it through life, lacking faith to let go of the unimportant things and cleave to the necessary thing-God Himself! There is a stirring happening to act in faith, to move outside of my own ability to make my life neat and perfectly situated to lead a comfortable life toward an abandonment for the stuff that will pass away in the end.

So, I am striving to find more in less. To practice giving my life away, both in a matter of time and presence as well as physical possession. I don't have a formula, only that this is what I want to practice though, admittedly, I am still stubborn holding on with fear. These possessions, which often assume to provide comfort and security, do less than that. They are for me often an anchor which holds. And the one thing that nags at me most, missing out on relationship, mission, and purpose because of my stuff. If I let go of my need for security, I become a vagabond ready and willing to roam wherever He may lead. My one precaution, I do not want to roam out of my own lust for adventure, but out of a responsibility to stand in the gap when necessary. (And I'm getting ahead of myself, it's that stirring that's going on. There will be more to share...)

My journal entry for 5.13.10

"Father- You are doing something and I don't want to ignore it!"

and for 5.17.10

"My security and trust-let it rest on and in God, who encircles me-always."

Leaving you with two final words that continue to be present in my daily thoughts, Nursing and Haiti. Pray He gives me wisdom.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Come with Me...

***A note before you read this, it is merely a reflection of what I see when looking back and not meant to come to the end with any answers. In this place as I sit on the couch and type, after having had a few days of being keenly aware of His presence, I am able to-want to-write how I saw things as I walked in them. I am unhinged by the awareness of His gentle patience in walking the road with me, thoroughly, so as not to skip ahead and miss the fullness of learning to seek Him alone.
Now, Come with me...

To a place I was before this began. It's 2004 and I'm outwardly living a live that makes sense to everyone around me. I'm working with an incredible group of people, in a small office, with my own office, a secure paycheck, a great one-bedroom apartment in a perfect old apartment building, surrounded by great neighbors who I share Saturday morning breakfasts with in the U-shaped courtyard outside my living room window, attending a good church, volunteering at a thriving youth group, and gathering with friends for fun and time together learning the Truths of the Gospel. I'm also beginning a journey of pain, solitude (though that would be disguised given my cirlce of friends and acquaintances), and inward darkness. I am about to enter a very trying-lonely time that NO ONE will be able to talk me out of or through and that I become increasingly convinced is for my ultimate good as I go "down and in" to dig at what my Heavenly Father has settled on my heart and my soul. I am ultimately optimistic as I trust His word-" all things God works for the good of those who love Him..."-Rom. 8:28 yet in my optimism I am confident that this will be a quick fix-fast lesson-getting on to the good, more important things. I am doing-performing-my best in all the roles that I feel have been assigned to me or that I taken hold of myself for furthering my own pride, self advancement, and works for His Kingdom though beneath this beautiful veneer is a girl pushing to get her own way. And in getting my own way, I am seeking to find the non-existing balance between pleasing others, their expectations, myself, my expectations, and the God of the universe. AS IF HE IS SOMETHING TO BE BALANCED AMONG OTHER THINGS IN MY LIFE! I'm questioning so many things, right or wrong roads I've taken, careers I've sought, things I've participated in or bowed out of. And I'm living with a heart that is raging inside because outwardly I'm afraid to LIVE my fullest life possible. I wake up in the mornings and make my bed, yet at every turn of the sheet and fold of the blanket, I am haunted by my thoughts and reliving events that may seem trite to others, but are mind boggling-painful to the confusion that seems to be teeming around me. No, you would not see depression around me, I would not allow you to see it. I do not believe it to be, just a saddness at the life experiences that come with growth of all kinds. In my "get it done" fashion, I begin to make plans for things that seem ultimately sacrificial (mission trips to foreign lands) still hoping that in my checklist fashion-if I do something, God will return to me with something. I end up on a team of fantastic people on my way to the forbidden island-Cuba. And upon returning from Cuba, I begin to plan another trip back to Cuba which ultimately lands me in Costa Rica. (Much of that story and all that ensued lies within these many posts!) All along I miss the importance of the TIME it takes for a heart to be transformed. The time it takes in being LONG with God in a prayer closet, just being with Him, not seeking a checklist of things to do and get done so that He might give me the next list of lessons to learn. I am beginning to see how dynamic relationship with God is, but am slow at learning and good at keeping my list handy. I continue to look for the places in life where I missed what God was doing and I lament on feeling my life will end without seeing a purpose, a driven force of being used for the good of others that they might now His life. But, I am not the most pleasant example nor do I feel confident to let you see my inside life and the struggles that come with the aforementioned balance. I am also aware, at these very moments I am not alltogether sure in my own life what really allowing Him to live through a life looks like. I know I want it, but can't seem to find the right checklist in order to tackle the dilemma. So, I keep searching and changing and trusting that at some point in time I will gather myself and realize I have arrived. At the same time I'm working to arrive, I'm beginning to learn and witness and dive into the fibers of my being. It is now 2006 and I'm living in Florida. As painful as it is, due to the unbelievable hurdles that accompanied me moving cross-country, I am simultaneously soothed and spurred. Soothed as God begins to unveil the order of my being- the things I'm good at because I was wired that way and the things I've learned to do because I thought them an expectation of my life. Spurred because my heart, though I try to tame and numb it, is still raging to LIVE! To live without concern for the reactions of others. To say I'm moving across the country and not be challenged in my pursuit. I am, after all, a warrior princess. I'm disgusted by the injustices in my own city and country, and baffled to tears by those injustices that I am only beginning to learn about because my countrymen (or at least those I associate with) do not like to talk about how we don't pass the bread-basket around to the rest of the world, how in our greed and gluttony we have created our own kinds of ailments-diabetes, obesity, etc., that we look the other way when a massive genocide takes place on another continent for fear of what, our own safety? For me, fear of losing my security in the stuff I've worked to gather around me. I have, afterall, finally purchased a sofa, and dining room set, and I'm working hard to look the part-fashion/fitness-that is the American Christian. Though at these same moments, I remember Cuba and how upon returning from the sights-smells-tastes-feelings-people-I used every last bit of toothpaste before buying another tube because I realized what a privelege it was to have this commodity. I think back to my time staying at the home of a Costa Rican friend, out in the countryside where the girls give up there bed so that I might be comfortable and we feast for breakfast over coffee and a small loaf of fresh baked 'pan' (better known to us as bread). Thinking of the humidity I knew and experienced as I crank up the A/C on my condo thermostat. I work to justify these differences, but come up short. I live in the land of plenty, I partake in the plenty and do a few "self-less" acts to feel better. Here again, living by works. I continue to live, experience, strive, change, and yes grow. I hear Him speak to me in a few very critical points in my life. When I plead and beg and ask why?! why?! why?!---I am suddenly struck with the very awareness of the Holy Spirit in my life and His words to my audible questioning and crying. His answer, "I KNEW YOU FIRST." I am suddenly silenced and pacified. I respond with thankful, grateful, desire to be on mission for Him.

***I am sufficiently drained! It is good to look back and see growth, it also causes me to stumble through some of those trips and pictures (these from Cuba'04)...especially as I watch Haiti and remember my own experiences in other cultures. It fuels a desire I do not yet know what to do with, but Father I trust that you are thoroughly in this. I believe You desire me to know You and to take part in loving others as You have loved me. I confess, I continue to have my plans and trust Your work and Your word, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

Friday, February 19, 2010


"I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” –Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

I’m exploding with blog posts! So, maybe this one is best to do highlights.


Haiti: Since January 15th, yes a few days after the actual earthquake in Haiti, I have been on my computer reading all I can about what’s happening. On January 15th @ Uncle Rog’s 60th surprise party, Aunt Trish hugged me good-bye saying every time she reads about Haiti she thinks about me. “I know you’d be there if you could.” Translated for the general public- if I had my nursing degree, I’d be there helping with disaster relief. This has surely caused a swell in my focus with nursing and even just beginning to look into disaster relief through the Red Cross, PREPAREDNESS! I’m not “plugged in” as far as following the news goes. I get bits and pieces, my home page is (British Broadcasting Corporation) so the headlines that pop up sometimes coerce a click on the link. I also get a 20 minute break at work in which I usually read USA Today if one of our regulars happened to be in that morning (yes, we have people who come in virtually EVERY morning for breakfast!!!) and left his newspaper for us. Consequently, it took me a few days to actually hear, in the midst of class-studying-work, the enormity of the earthquake’s effects. I have since been moved on a nearly daily basis.

Lent: Fat Tuesday came and went, Ash Wednesday too. I received an email newsletter from a friend a few weeks back. It contained a challenge to drink only water (and eat) for the 40 days of lent and use the money saved to support clean water ministries. I was intrigued, of course, “What a great idea!” And then I followed with a number of reasons why this was a bad idea for me…all of them selfish! It dawned on me, why WOULDN’T I do this? These are the things which strike a cord in my fibers. So, I have been drinking water, hot water-room temp water-ice water etc. I realize how easy it is for me to walk into the kitchen, grab a big ol’glass, turn on the facet and raise the cup to my lips for a clean drink of water. I want to be reminded, mindful, grateful of this and to act responsibly on a global level. I don’t have that figured out, but I know it starts with living simply.

Living Simply: I live in a gorgeous house with lovely roommates and we live in a hip, gritty, weird Portland neighborhood-Alberta Arts district. The neighborhoods around this area of NE Portland are spectacular- everything is perfect. I drive down 15th Ave. at night, gazing in the windows of these homes, and I am struck on two sides of the spectrum-they are perfect-neat and tidy (and you know how drawn I am to order) and they are devastating-it reminds me of the “haves and have nots.” The sum of these two causing a weight, an awareness that I am all too familiar with and which I have spent time tending to as a way of finding peace and reconciliation within. I no longer believe finding the balance is necessary and have accepted that these are to me reminders of the place I am to call home and initiators in continuing to move forward in living my life in a way that reflects where my priorities are-His Kingdom.

His Kingdom: On many levels, moving from my own apartment into a house with roommates was to continue to learn how to be in relationship with others, as well as to keep myself from building my own little perfect kingdom here on earth. In this act, so many things have followed. Community/family dinners, putting our pjs on at 7:30 and hanging out in the hall where all our doors meet (which at a later point in the evening usually turns to me grabbing my tooth brush and Annie getting upset over the fact that I’m brushing my teeth and still talking to her at the same time!:) ), witnessing Gretchen truly make strides in walking faithfully as she unquestionably simplifies life and packs up to move to Cambodia chasing her call (a phenomenal process for me to watch so personally), and turning up at home after work only to get caught up in a conversation in the kitchen about life and faith with Liz, who is in the process of seeking a Ph. D. What a house, I do believe! These women, gifted in photography, words, wisdom, creativity- a common rhythm of faith throughout.

Faith Throughout: And this leads me back to the beginning, “Surrender.” This has been a BIG area for me-to believe that in walking out my faith, day by day, surrender is my best play. It is so difficult for me to trust that in ALL things He is working out my journey. Some times are easier than others. It does seem obscure to me that in the times I feel I should be laying down deeper roots I am actually loosening the grip of my culture. No, I’m not going anywhere right now, but in making loose the stuff of my life, I feel a great ability to care about the deeper things of life.

I've emptied the thoughts which have been brewing for a while. I do believe that is all for now, save for a few end notes...

***I have been listening to Kari Jobe sing “Revelation Song” while writing this post. Google it or go to YouTube and give it a listen. Don’t watch the video, you’ll be distracted! Listen to the words. “Jesus your name is power, breath, and living water, such a marvelous mystery.”

***This blog is about me, but I truly don’t want it to be ABOUT ME. I hope in your reading, you might find yourself moved or challenged, tempted to view life through the scope- “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”-James 4:14- and finding purpose in viewing life from this place.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

there's just not enough of it...i'm not referring to love here

One of my biggest frustrations is time. Yes, I frequently waste it on unimportant things and often I'm frustrated at the trap of time, being stuck in a classroom, in a car, at work...all the while my head is spinning with a to do list. (Can you tell I just got out of sitting in my car for 4.5 hours?) Very much worth the time to drive to Powers for some family time, but as I left I felt I hadn't had enought time there. Another day, maybe 2, would have been fantastic. I was able to see everyone (mostly and at least briefly), but when I think of going home, I also dream about sitting in the downstairs room, surrounded by mounted animal heads (aka dad's trophies), reading for half the day followed by opportunity to sit with my thoughts and write a few things down. I really can't complain, I'm being quite selfish, I know I have so much time in my life that many others don't. It just feels so fragmented and that is so unfulfilling. So, as I drove the the road-12 miles into my drive back to Portland-I realized my need/desire for more time to "just be" will ONLY be satisfied by Eternity. "Well, Lord, for all the books that pile up and don't get finished because I have other priorities, maybe I could just speak to the authors some day." I think I remember having that thought. Anyway, just gets to me all to often. In many Latin American countries they say "manana" (translation-tomorrow). We will take care of it tomorrow, no problem, no worries, pura vida, manana. I need more of that in my life!

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I set some new goals for this year...some of them are still being worked out, some of them are set. It's good to have something to focus on and move intentionally toward. However, I find that if I do not look over these goals frequently, they mean nothing to helping me on my way! My employer in Florida, who I learned so much from just watching, was accountable to a board of individuals who reviewed his work quarterly. It seems like such a tedious way to live, especially for a big dreamer like me who thinks running off to another country sounds like a good idea 3/4 of the time, but I've found even that is possible to put in place as a goal! Learning Spanish continues to be on my agenda and as I move in the vein of becoming a nurse, this seems even more essential and useful. I'm praying for opportunities.

It's also a goal of mine to be on here once a week this year. I used to love getting on here to spill my thoughts and was always encouraged by the support I received in sharing some of what I thought were my inner stirrings. I feel it's a good habit to let others into my process, especially my family who it seems I often lack the right way to say just what I want to say.

I'm thankful for last year, so many things. Last night on my run, I realized how blessed I am to be working where I am. I work at a breakfast-lunch place in PDX that has been around for 20 years and has a very SOLID base of regulars. God provided much in this job and I love the physical work on my feet moving around all day. It's very tiring and people can drive me crazy hollering their orders at me while I make pear mimosas (especially on holidays), but I am oh so thankful to have work. And I'm thankful for God's faithfulness to continue to reveal the path before me, piece by piece. Applications are being sent this month for nursing school and I'm hopeful/prayerful about the possibilities. OHSU is top on the list!

Moving forward in 2010...