Tuesday, January 10, 2017

new year, same Jesus

   For me (and quite possibly for you), 2017 comes with a lot of anticipation, a lot of uncertainty, and, for lack of a better word, a lot of  "???!?!?!!!?!?!" I am in the midst of a lot of decision-making and planning. I know this year will be full of great things; I'm just not sure what those great things will be.
   As humans, uncertainty is not generally our favorite place to be. It scares us, stresses us out, gives us angst and apprehension. I totally totally totally understand this, but God has been encouraging me that uncertainty is not always as terrible as I think it is. It seemed relevant to share this encouragement with y'all, so here are three ways uncertainty can be *gasp* a good thing.
   1.) Uncertainty is an opportunity for personal growth. I cannot expect any change in myself if what I do, where I go, or who I meet and spend time with never changes. I cannot grow inside my comfort zone. Uncertainty gets me outside of my comfort zone right off the bat, and changing circumstances allow me to learn and grow and become better. Technically it is also an opportunity to become more fearful, guarded, and skeptical, but God is teaching me to choose courage, love, and faith instead. He is teaching me to focus on Him instead of on myself. This is how I become more like Christ. This is how I grow.
   2.) Uncertainty is an opportunity for an adventure. Merriam-Webster defines an adventure as "an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks" or "an exciting or remarkable experience." By this standard, every single instance in which I encounter uncertainty can be considered an adventure. As someone who has quite vocally proclaimed herself a fan and even a pursuer of adventures, what can I do? I have to at least pretend to be excited about the unknown.
   3.) Uncertainty is an opportunity for God to prove Himself. This is certainly the most important item on the list because the most important lesson I can learn, the most important adventure I could ever go on, is the one where I find out more of who God is. When I feel like I don't know anything, God shows He knows everything. When I can't figure out what's gonna happen or where I should go, God shows me He's already there. When I come to end of myself, I find the beginning of Him. His power is made perfect in weakness.
   Check out 2 Corinthians 12, and you'll see I'm learning the same things Paul learned 2,000 years ago. God never changes, y'all. He is good. He has always been good, and He always will be good. When I don't know what to do, when I don't know what's gonna happen next, He is good. As long as I know God is good, I don't actually need to know anything else.
   So I'm learning to embrace the "???!?!?!!!?!?!" I'm learning to look at uncertainty as an opportunity. And I am learning, over and over, more and more, that God is good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

stuck on Christmas

"a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices"

   It's December 27th, but I am still stuck on these words from "O Holy Night." My goal for this season was to really focus on the gift that God gave me, the reason for that thrill of hope. The more I focus on it, the more overwhelmed I am by it. The more I am overwhelmed by it, the more my weary soul rejoices. 
   Now, I know, I know, I know, that most of you have heard everything there is to hear and know everything there is to know about the Christmas story. When I was four I corrected my grandma's pastor because he got the timeline wrong, so believe me, I feel you. And I don't have anything new or different to say about Christmas. In fact, I'm just gonna repeat a lot of what you've probably heard before. (Now is a good time to casually slip out the back if redundancy really irks you.) I feel very strongly, though, that some of us need to take a moment to listen to what we already we know. We need to take a moment, a pause, a timeout, to focus in on what we already know. 
   I mean, think about it. The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - left Heaven to become a baby - a literal human baby. The one true God, the God who knows no bounds and who created and maintains everything - literally everything - took leave of His throne and the incessant worship given Him there. The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - humbled Himself and came down to our level. He came to our puny little Earth, and He took on puny little human flesh. He dwelt among us. He grew up with parents and siblings, he experienced hunger and temptation and sadness, and he put up with our ignorance.
   The king of the universe - the literal king of the literal universe - walked around for 33 years and never once threw a fit when He wasn't given the respect He deserved. He didn't demand a throne. He never forced anyone to serve Him or to worship Him. He healed people, taught people, and was in relationship with people. Everything He did was for our benefit. Everything He did was out of His crazy, ridiculous love for us.
   Out of the His love for us, the king of the universe - I'm sorry, but we are literally talking about the literal King of the literal universe here - allowed Himself to be scorned, rejected, and mocked. He was beaten and bruised and torn. He died - He literally died. Not in a nice way, either. He was nailed to a cross designed for torture, and He hung there until He suffocated.
   He didn't have to. He could've changed His mind at any moment. He could have chosen to transport Himself back to Heaven. He could have chosen to have a legion of angels come fight an epic battle with the Romans. He could have done whatever He wanted.
   But He wanted us. He chose us. At the beginning of time, He chose us. 2,000 years ago, at that first Christmas, He chose us. Over and over and over again, He chose us and is choosing us, and for the rest of eternity He will choose us.
   He chose me. And that's why I'm kind of stuck on Christmas. That is why I feel this thrill of hope. That is why my weary soul rejoices.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


   I made it. I survived the first leg(s) of my trip, and I am with my family in Missouri for Christmas and the foreseeable future. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings I need to work through, but I'm not sure I'm ready for all that just yet. It's coming, I promise, but until then, here are some lovely lists to hold you over and further enlighten you about my time at Naomi House.

names and titles I responded to at Naomi House:
  • Charlotte
  • Sarah
  • Genevieve
  • Mom
  • Matilda
  • Mckenzie
  • the intern
  • Multiplication
  • Hey, what's your name again? 
  • Ma
  • Michaela
  • (also various grunts, yells, and sobs)
shows and movies I watched a lot of at Naomi House:
  • PJ Masks
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
  • Leap Frog 
  • The Lion Guard
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Teen Titans Go (recommend)
  • Friends (on my own time)
games I played a lot at Naomi House:
  • Knockout
  • Jelly (the kids had to teach me)
  • Foursquare (I had to teach the kids)
  • Mock Everything Ivan Says and Does
  • Push Summer On the Swing Until My Arms Fall Off
  • Try To Decipher What In the Heck Ferrah Is Saying
  • Monkey In the Middle
actual things I said at Naomi House:
  • Stop eating your brother.
  • Put the chair down. This is not the WWE.
  • I live at Naomi House. I don't actually have a life.
  • You're an unrealistic whale.
  • Yes, you are very cute, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.
  • I miss corn.
  • I broke your shower this morning.
  • It's okay to say it if zombies are chasing you.
  • Holy cannoli
  • Please stop saying "booty."
  • Be chill. (approximately 29 times a day)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

let's go on an adventure

   I hear a lot of people complaining that their life is boring, or that they're so tired of doing the same things over and over, or that they need someone to spice up their life. More recently, they've been telling me they wish their life was as exciting as mine, or they wish they could go on an adventure like mine.
   I want to encourage these people. There many parts of our live we cannot control, but this is one that we can. They say "life is what you make it," and this is one way it's true. If we choose to have an adventurous life, we will. If we refuse to live in monotony, we won't. If we insist upon learning and growing and laughing pushing the limits, that's what we're gonna do.
   You don't have to drive across the country to make your life an adventure. You don't have to have lots of money to make your life an adventure. You don't have to quit your job or stop going to school or abandon all your responsibilities. Making one's life an adventure does require a bit of spontaneity and a dash of courage, but it is so, so doable. It doesn't even require any huge or drastic actions. Small choices, small actions lead to small adventures, and a series of small adventures will turn your week - month - year - life into one big adventure.
   Anyway. If you want to make your life more of an adventure but are not sure how to start, read the following list. It has at least a month's worth of small adventures.

  1. Try a new food
  2. Watch the sunset
  3. Mail a hand-written letter
  4. Do something different with your hair 
  5. Pick a road and drive down it as far as you can
  6. Visit someone in the nursing home
  7. Go on a picnic
  8. Stargaze
  9. Make prints of the photos on your phone
  10. Play at the park 
  11. Wave at people
  12. Bake cookies or brownies or cake or something 
  13. Throw a party
  14. Walk or bike instead of drive
  15. Bring food to someone at work or school
  16. Learn - and use - a new word 
  17. Celebrate a holiday you've never celebrated or maybe never heard of before
  18. Make a new friend - or at least a new acquaintance 
  19. Share your testimony
  20. Play hide and seek in Walmart
  21. Listen to classical music for a week
  22. Invite someone over for dinner
  23. Pay for the person behind you at Taco Bell (or wherever you spend your money I guess)
  24. Give lots of compliments 
  25. Blow bubbles
  26. Wear fuzzy socks in public 
  27. Sing and dance whenever and wherever a good song comes on the radio
  28. Go for a run - as long as you can
  29. Read a novel
  30. Watch "try not laugh" videos on YouTube 
  31. Call someone - just to talk
  32. Play in the snow
  33. Listen to the Holy Spirit
   That last one will get you every time, y'all. Good luck and have fun! Let me know all about your adventures on Facebook or in the comments. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

land of the living

   I have made it to the land of the living (AKA the land of wifi)! I have two hours, people. Two hours. Living in isolation is hard for an extrovert, but I have escaped to civilization for the afternoon, and I am making the most of each lovely moment.
   While I'm here I'll try to share a few things that may or may not be of interest to y'all.

  • This job is hard. It is so so so good, but it is hard. Any and all prayers for the staff, the kids, and myself are appreciated and so valuable.
  • I'm growing plants! I have rosemary, snapdragons, a pansy, and some weird cactus thing growing in pots right outside the door to my apartment. They bring me joy every day.
  • I have set an official departure date. On December 13th I will be getting my car and heading back to good ole Missouri.
  • I adore mail. Shoutout to everyone who has sent me notes and letters. Special shoutout to Pastor Brad, who sent me flat, plastic flowers in an effort to "give Arizona some life and color, for goodness sake!" They are beautiful. 
  • For privacy reasons, I cannot post any pictures of the children anywhere on  the web. I can, however, send pictures directly to people. If you would to see the faces of these beautiful people I am spending my time with, please contact me directly.
  • The other day, I found out that Sarah, a new house parent at Naomi House, was at Onething last year! We spent the best part of four days in the same room together, and we never would have known. This story is not exactly relevant, but we did squeal and scream like little girls when we made the connection. Just so you know. Also, this is my personal plug for the Onething conference, which is coming up in less than two months! I would strongly encourage you to look it up and consider buying tickets.
  • I have been here for three weeks, and the kids still fight over who gets to sit by me at dinner.
  • I wish I had time to tell you all the stories, to describe every child's personality, to go on and on about the fabulous things God is doing here. I do not have adequate time right now, but I would love to talk to anyone who is interested in hearing me ramble. Please contact me directly via email, Facebook messenger, or a phone call or text if you are one of those people. 
  • For all you Midwesterners - there is a Naomi House in Kansas City! This is a recent development, but they have jumped right and are doing God's work in Missouri. Read more about what they are doing and how to help on the Naomi House website.
  • I am attached. So very attached to each of the 21 kids and everyone else who is here. I am praising God for this opportunity.
  • If you want to know more about Naomi House and what we do here, check out the website at thenaomihouse.org. There is also an email update that you can read and sign up for under the "News" tab.
   Thank you so much for reading, praying, and being involved in this adventure! God bless y'all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


   Hey, y'all. The craziness of the last week or two has made it nearly impossible to post anything on here, but today I found a library, and here I am! I promise I have some deep shiz to say, but today is all about updating the lovely people who would like to know where in the world I am and what the heck I'm doing there.
   For three weeks, I was at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Oregon. If you would like to know more about who they are and what their purpose is, check out crystalpeaksyouthranch.org, find them on Facebook, or look for Hope Rising by Kim Meeder at the library or bookstore. Anyway, these three weeks were absolutely fabulous. I hiked a lot of trails, scooped a lot of poop, ate a lot of smores, formed a lot of priceless friendships, took in a lot of mountain views, met a lot of horses, and had a lot of encouraging conversations. I am so glad I made Oregon one of the first stops on my adventure this year.
   From Oregon, I drove to Arizona. That is where I am right now. I am living in the middle of nowhere at a place called Naomi House. Please look them up at thenaomihouse.org. Naomi House provides a safe and loving home for Native American children. It is ministry run on compassion and the Holy Spirit, and I am beyond excited to be here. I am planning to stay here until early December, at which point I will come home to Missouri. At Naomi House, I am "the helper." Most of my time is spent babysitting and simply spending time with the kids. If you would like a more detailed description of Noami House and how I am spending my days here, feel free to contact me. I would love to talk about it.
   I will admit the desert terrain and the high elevation of Arizona are not my favorite. Also it's mid-October and still eighty degrees outside every day - I guess Fall is not a thing here? My cell phone provider is not a thing here either, so service is sketchy at best, and we don't really have wifi. 
   Even with all these things I could complain about, I think I could stay here forever. I love the staff, and I love the kids. My mom asked on my third day here if I was growing attached to any of the kids. I think it's more like I took a bath in superglue and then gave them all a hug.
   My time here is short, but I am determined to make the most of it. This means wiping snotty noses and playing "just one more" game of Jelly. This means being flexible and willing. This means watching the same Leap Frog movie 9,264 times. Making the most of the time means getting up early to spend time in prayer and waiting half an hour for a snapchat to load. It means nap time and diapers and patience and swingsets and smiles and wagon rides and not being offended when an 8-year-old tells me I should wear my hat forever and never take it off because I look much better with it on. Making the most of the time means loving like Jesus loves.
   It also means investing in some containers, soil, and plants. If you're interested in donating to the "give Arizona some color and life, for goodness' sake" fund, hit me up.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


   It's true. God doesn't need you. He didn't have to create you. Nothing required Him to form you and mold you and make you the person you are, but He did. He chose to. You exist by a deliberate decision by God.
   It's true. God doesn't need you to love Him. He doesn't need your approval. He doesn't need you to boost His self-esteem, not does He need the validation of your affection. Yet He chose to make the ultimate sacrifice so that you would be saved, so that you could spend eternity with Him. He chooses to pursue you wherever you go and to wait for you however long it takes. He chooses to bless you no matter how many times you deny Him or ignore Him or dishonor Him. He loves to spend time with you. He desires a deep relationship with you.
   It's true. God doesn't need your help to accomplish His plans. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. Whatever He wants done, He could do it for Himself in a heartbeat. Yet He chooses to incorporate you in His plans, and He chooses to use you to accomplish them. He chooses, in spite of your bad habits, your ineloquence, your laziness, your fear, and all of your flaws, to use you.
   God has chosen you.
   Over and over again God chooses you.
   What choice will you make?