Monday, October 31, 2011


Times of Transition always bring me back to good ole fashioned goal setting... but now how do you choose which goals to pursue?
Goal: Get my masters degree in Nursing at USD with GI Bill
Goal: Get married and have kids
Goal: Go home for 6 months and go with Word Made Flesh to Thailand or India or ??
Goal: Go to Bethel and get MFT
Goal: Work in Pediatric Oncology

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What is the only thing we can bring to Heaven?

1 Peter 1: 24-25 offers incredible insight to the one thing that is eternal and he references Isaiah 40:6

"All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever."

I'm in a time of intense transition... my time with the Navy is coming to an end and with that comes opportunities that make me want to jump up and down for sheer JOY and other times make me want to hide under the covers in fear of the tremendous responsibility and inevitable consequences of every choice and sadness at the closing of a wonderful season.

As I consider my purpose, my giftings, my passions, the work of God in my life, I ask God "What do you want me to do? How can I serve you? What really matters?"

So for now, the answer he's given me is what really matters is His Word. I can't bring my family to heaven, my nursing skills, the patients I've met, the coworkers I've grown to love, my car, my books... all I can bring is the Word of the Lord. So that is where I will begin as I continue to seek him and ask him for direction, for peace, for purpose, for obedience, for adventure, for my dreams, for his will, for his love....influenced by the greats... Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Mary, Paul, Peter, and Jesus himself in the form of man... my mentors are incredible people to learn about how God works in our lives.

And hopefully in focusing on his Word, my seeking will turn away from asking for things but rather just being.... being with the Father who knows me perfectly and intimately and has the whole world in his hands:)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Birthday Blessing

Psalm 139 is a Birthday Tradition for me... It's like looking through a keyhole into something beautiful and treasured...something you can't fully understand... that fills your mind with sweet dreams and absolute security. Best Birthday present ever... is a relationship with an Almighty, Gracious Father.

The Lord is so good to me. He has blessed me so tremendously.
He searches me and he knows me--->He is active in his relationship with me... I am known.

He knows when I sit and rise---> He's into the details

He perceives my thoughts from afar--->He knows what is coming long before I do. He sees the heart of where my thoughts come from.

He discerns my going out and my lying down. He's familiar with all my ways--->like with my new niece Lane... I know she'll open her mouth expecting food when I kiss her lips or she will let out a wail after a few cries and be comforted immediately by her pacifier... He knows my tendencies, my habits, my expectations.

He knows the word on my tongue before it gets there--->He knows my thoughts... my heart...what my words really mean even if they don't come out right or they aren't perceived correctly

He hems me in and his hand is upon me---> He cares about me...He doesn't allow me to fall apart. He knows all of the pieces of me. There is no where/nothing I can go or do that he doesn't know or won't see.
He created the whole universe...I cannot flee from his spirit or presence. Even in the heavens, the depths of the sea, the early morning or in a far off country---> even there... his hand will guide me... his right hand will hold me fast.

Darkness cannot hide me... there is no darkness in Christ. Only light.

He created my inner being---> my personality, my brain... he KNIT me together in my mothers womb---> knitting is a tedious, intricate, deliberate process/action. Each knot is planned and knit with thought and detail.

I am made so wonderfully that it fills me with holy fear of this God who creates so intricately and intimately.

All I know is that his works are wonderful. Though I was made in a secret place to all humans where they have a limited understanding of what occurs... nothing was hidden from Him.
I was woven in the depths of the earth... woven---similar to being knit... and the depths of the earth?? Before time- his eyes saw my unformed body. Before time... before there were birds, sin, hues of color...

All my days were ordained for me and written in his book before they even occurred---> He's not making this up one day at a time. My days are numbered, planned and known.
God's thoughts about me are precious. They are vast. If I tried to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Then I would fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion and still God would be with me. Safe in the shelter of His wing. Completely known, understood and loved without measure.

There are wicked people who do not consider my God. Their ways are offensive... especially in light of your perfect knowledge of who I am as well as who they are.

Oh Father, search me and know me... test me and know my anxiety... see that there is no offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lessons from a fallen rose

When I was home in Iowa, I was driving when I saw a yellow rose lying in the middle the road.

I thought how sad that rose lying there... someone missing the chance to breath in it's wonderful fragrance, brighten a kitchen room, or stir the curiosity of a child as to how or when it would blossom, or puzzle the thinker on how a small seed can grow into such a beautiful flower.

How often do we live our lives missing the opportunity to fulfill what we were created to do. Maybe we are stuck in a career that seems foolish to leave, we think pursuing our passion is impossible, we can't wait for the next stage in life, we can't wait to move on from people that continually irritate us...

I wish that I had stopped and picked that rose up and brought it home to grace our table, but I didn't. Funny that the rose couldn't pick itself up and walk itself to our kitchen table or wave to a weary mother and say breathe deeply and be refreshed by my scent. It needed someone to recognize that it was not where it was supposed to be. Aren't we the same? We need someone to stop in the middle of the road, pick us up and walk beside us as we figure out how to fulfill the purpose that God has destined and created uniquely for each of us. Someone to breath life into us, to encourage us, to challenge us... it's funny how influenced we are by the people around us. We are privileged with the responsibility of speaking into the people around us. It's a beautiful responsibility... especially when we take it and dive deep into the lives of the people around us.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tsunami Escape Route

The other day I was driving along a main road in Pacific Beach and a sign caught my eye. "Tsunami Evacuation Route" is what it said.

I thought to myself, "To heck with the escape route via a motor vehicle! I'm ditching this old dodge stratus and gonna run on my own two feet!"

How quickly a disaster puts material things into perspective. They are but shadows of security, efficiency, safety, and protection. How quickly I would leave my car to seek safety via the two feet God gave me. It made me think about what I put my trust in. What do I get a sense of security, efficiency, safety and protection? Is it my job, my career, my retirement, my friends, my home, my bank account, my relationships?

In life, there is an escape route that is 100% secure. That is Jesus. He is the way, He is the life. If I want to escape the shadows and hints of security... knowing deep within my heart that they are deceptive, I must run to the truest escape route there is.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hello Love

The theme of my sister's season of life right now...."Hello Love". 2 weeks from today my beautiful sister Lucy will be a married woman and have the opportunity and privilege of loving one man for the rest of her life. The undertaking is incredible... the responsibility immeasurable... the rewards unimaginable.

When I tell friends about my younger sister Lucy I tell them, "She's the coolest girl you'll ever meet. She is absolutely selfless, she rides a Kawasaki, she plays guitar, she goes dirt biking, she loves the Packers, loves the Cardinals, can follow the game and doesn't fall asleep during them, played hockey most of her life, loves adventure..." Those are just her interests and the things she can do... her inner person? She is so loyal, so thoughtful, so witty, so funny, so confident, so innocent, so selfless, so generous, so pure, so full of life. She can make friends and strike up conversation with anyone. Whenever she wasn't dating a guy, I sure couldn't figure out why her many friends hadn't swept her off her feet already. The man who wins Lucy heart will have her whole heart, she'll be absolutely faithful, sacrificial, fun, thoughtful, and the greatest friend he could ever have.

The man who won Lucy's heart? Mr. Kyle Kerns. Now to be perfectly honest... this man was my arch enemy for a bit as I struggled with hearing Lucy talk of falling in love with a man that I had never met and didn't trust. Here my sister is 1000's of miles away from my protective questions, discernment and influence over the guys she's dating! But with time, visits to San Diego by him, visits home by me, texts and phone calls... I am ready to call him brother. He is a man who has shown me that he has one thing down: He loves Lucy. He loves her by opening the door for her, complimenting her on her beauty, holding her hand, he spends time with her, he shares his interests with her, he is patient with her, he lets her live her dreams, he lasted through a rough summer of separation as Lucy lived her dream of working at camp, he's prepared to provide for her, he has studied book after book about preparing to be a prayerful and faithful husband, he's not afraid to ask hard questions.... He's a man that I have learned to trust. He rides dirt bikes and rides fast on ice during winter!!!

Together, they get to walk hand in hand through life....I can't even imagine the struggles and joys that they will go through together, but I can imagine the blanket of protection and covering they have as they enter into this relationship as a man and woman of faith. A man and woman who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, who have faithfully prayed over one another and their marriage, who have sought advice and wisdom from other couples who have stood the test of time, who have had to work through difficult separations, and miscommunications already.

Next week, we will hold up a big "Welcome Love" sign to the Love of Lucy and Kyle and we will cheer for them as they walk under it and into a life together. And then we will join together and pray and celebrate the miracle of God bringing two sinful souls together to join into a holy relationship reflecting an incredible relationship that beckons every person on Earth to say "Hello", sit down and invest in something miraculous and unfathomable.

Did I mention she's the coolest girl ever? And Kyle... well he's just a Rockstar on those bikes...

Fun Love:)

Hello Love:)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Addiction

I believe that thankfulness is addictive. Once I start thanking God... I can't stop.

Lately I have felt a restlessness, discontentment, sadness, confusion, discouragement, doubt, etc etc for no conscious reason that I can figure out. Feelings that do not promote a thankful attitude. So one day walking a long ways home from parking a long ways away after a long day at work, I started complaining and hosting a pity party for myself. Then I remembered where that gets me: Nowhere FAST.

So looking down at my feet that were taking me home, I thanked God for them, then for my toes that feel soft or course sand, and my toenails that protect my toes, then the tiny bones in my foot and the ligaments and the vessels that carry blood all over my body, then the four chambers of my heart that pump without a single bit of instruction from me, and my lungs that stimulate me to take deep breaths and yawn and give me air to laugh with and speak with... that's not even scratching the surface. Then I think about my parents and their parents and their ambitions, and values, and lessons, and punishments, and gifts, and lessons. And then my sisters and their beauty and influence and love and laughter and thoughts and insights and suggestions... and I could go one FOREVER... Really... I didn't even touch on the beautiful gifts that God gave us... a legacy of miracles and commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, mercy, forgiveness, courage, creativity, mystery...

So whether we live in a hut in the middle of the bush in Africa where we are surrounded by wide open spaces of green fields/forests and blue skies with incredible shapes of clouds or we're in downtown NYC looking at the creativity of man inspired by the creativity of our Creator and the millions of people with different eyes, personalities, thoughts, hair color, cell dna... We have something to be thankful for... an infinate number of things:)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Katie and Luke

"A wedding calls us to our highest and best--in fact, to almost impossible---ideals. It's the way we want to live. But marriage reminds us of the daily reality of living as sinful human beings in a radically broken world." -Gary Thomas "Sacred Marriage"

As I reflect on the gigantic step of faith that my sister Katie and soon to be brother-in-law Luke are about to take in one week, I am amazed at their courage. Courage to commit to one person for the rest of their lives, to commit to walking through life's mountains and valleys, endure sickness and health, wealth and poverty, love and contempt... all in pursuit of working through the one type of relationship that Satan has targeted to destroy.

"We must never be naïve enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall... The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the Fall: marriage." -Dan Allender & Tremper Longman III

I look at Luke Patterson and see a man who is passionate about God's work. He has a desire to walk in obedience to God. From his commitment to volunteering at church to committing a year of discipleship training and missions... he loves the Lord. He has pursued Katie since her sophomore year of high school(that I can remember). Even when their friendship hit rocks, he remained a loyal friend who walked through difficulties of life with her despite an 8 hour distance when she went to school in Indiana. He is a man with many friends... good friends... true friends because he is a true friend...willing to drop everything to help someone out. He is not afraid of differences between people, not afraid to question a person, or call someone out. He's kind and thoughtful. He listens well and is considerate. He is courageous and I completely trust him to love Katie, work through differences, forgive her, help her, teach her, learn from her, respect her, and have fun with her.

Katie... when I think about what I'm thankful for about her, I am at a loss for words. She is the most beautiful girl. She's such a thoughtful sister. I remember when she was little, I told mom "You need to talk to Katie... she is the most selfish girl in the whole world." I laugh thinking about that. Katie has shown me so much about selflessness, humility, and service. She is so loving to people who are difficult to love. She has an ability to look past their shortcomings and have incredible empathy for them. She is always looking for her purpose in life... not wanting to waste the gifts God has given her. She is always up to have fun... sledding in snow, going to the humane society and walking puppies, going shopping, line dancing, shopping at Von Maur, dressing up, playing with make up, laughing at old videos, playing games... she is just someone that you would always want to have around.

Combining the two... fun, spontaneity, adventure, and adaptability are just a few words I can think of that might describe their marriage. They have a love that has already stood the test of difficulties, surprises and a fair amount of time. I see them raising wonderful kids who love Jesus and love adventure, I see them camping together, having friends and family over, leading mission trips, opening up their marriage to other young couples, counseling and mentoring, and most of all: honoring God through this gift of a relationship that he has given them.

I see both of them denying themselves for the other. Listening when they don't feel like it, loving when it's easier to hate, serving when they're on empty, laughing even when it's hard... and through so much denial of self in order to love the other, they will discover they are not only in an intimate loving relationship with one another but also and most importantly, an intimate and loving relationship with their Father in Heaven.

This picture = Katie and Luke perfectly:)

Special Gifts for one another

One of my favorites of these two:) Night of engagement!

I can't wait for Saturday, January 22, 2011. It is going to be so joyous!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Baby Herm/Kuke/Danucy

My sister is having a baby. My baby sister is having a baby.

As I sleep, work, play, live, God is forming... knitting together... creating... loving... knowing this little precious life. A life that I don't yet know... but my heart swells and flutters at the thought of Herm:)

When Lucy and I found out that a little life was growing in Katie's belly, we jumped up and down on the bed and started talking to Katie's belly button.... telling the little babe how much we love her/him, how excited we are to meet him/her. Then we got tired of calling him/her... "him/her". So we named him/her Danucy... combining Danielle and Lucy. And then we also named Danucy "Herm"... a mix of her/him. Then Luke's genius sisters named Herm/Danucy "Kuke" a mix of Katie and Luke. This little babe is so loved...

I lay in bed thinking of the little life... praying for "Herm" to know Jesus... praying that "Danucy" obeys Jesus... praying that "Kuke" is healthy... praying that "Herm" is courageous... I'm dreaming of Kuke's future... dreaming beautiful things for Kuke.... and if I being a human... not even Kuke's mamma... just Kuke's Aunt am dreaming up beautiful things and having my heart feel uncomfortably and overwhelmingly expanded with love for Herm....

I just wonder what it is like for God when he is forming these little babes. At the moment of conception... he said "This is the one I have chosen. This is the one I have created. This is the time for this one. I have great/grand plans for this one." It sends chills all over my body. And he did that for each and every person on the Earth. He chose each of us. We are no accident.

What does that do for how you live life today?

Check in with God... first thing.

The first night I was home from the Philippines as I laid down to go to sleep and began to worry about getting everything done on my checklist... I wished to go back to the Philippines where I didn't worry about the next day. As I examined why that was, I realized that I didn't need to worry about tomorrow b/c someone else had that figured out. All I had to do was go to sleep and then check in with one of my leaders when I woke up and I would get my assignment for the day.

I had the simple realization that life here is the same! I don't need to worry about tomorrow. I just lay my head down and make sure I check in with My Savior and Father when I wake up. He'll make sure he gives me my assignment and he had the entire day figured out.

When I woke up and began to go about my day... a day that began with a dead car battery and a saint of a woman who jumped it for me... I remembered to check in with God. Everything got done and more... It was sweet.

Teens in the Philippines

We went to a Catholic school and had one hour to share testimonies, play games, sing or just encourage the students. After singing and testimonies, my teammate and I had the students write down questions. It could be about God, America, teenage life, school, etc.... anything! Here were some of the questions:

1. Who is Jesus to you?

2. If you wronged someone and apologized but they didn't accept it, who committed the sin?

3. How do you know God deeply?

4. Give me one situation that strengthened your faith in God.

5. Do the Americans love Filipino people like they love Jesus?

6. What makes you think that God really loves us?

7. How would you show love to Jesus to other people?

8. Is there a time when you get angry with God?

Do you hear the curiosity? The hunger for something more? The desire for a deeper relationship? The longing for love, acceptance and assurance?

These students were ready to be discipled... ready to be brought into a small group and learn about the relationship they can each have with Jesus. We could only bring them encouragement for an hour, pray with them and guide them to scriptures to read... our time was short.

What they need is mentors who are willing to discuss hard questions, Scripture explained and revealed to them, and a filling of the Holy Spirit. We can pray that someone would go and begin to harvest... or we can say "I'll go, send me." Which one will you be?

A Story from the Philippines

During our bus ride to the island from the airport in the Philippines, we stopped at a rest stop frequented by tourists. Out of the corner of our eyes we saw some children reaching their little hands through the holes of a fence with big eyes that begged for attention. Moving closer we found two chickens and a make shift 3 walled shelter about the size of a bathroom and the height of 3 feet positioned under a tree.

Their clothes were tattered and I kept looking for parents to come and protect them from the strange foreigners. They didn't speak a bit of English and so we pulled Sherlyn (our team leader and a Filipina herself) into the conversation and she shared the Gospel with them. They prayed with Sherlyn and their smiles may have been a bit brighter. Sherlyn explained to us that they don't have parents and they are living off of begging from the tourists at the rest stop. There were 9 kids and the oldest didn't look 11.

That hurts. But it should. And so ask yourself if your heart hurts at the thought of 9 kids fending for themselves... with no parents to give them hugs, reassure them that the monster under the bed is not bigger than daddy, tuck them in at night, make sure they shower, have clean clothes, read to them, teach them, affirm them... the list could go on and on. Does it hurt your heart?