Sunday, December 21, 2008


i've recently become a huge fan of Lauryn Hill. she did mtv unplugged in 2002 with an album that is really raw and honest and worshipful (thanks to my friend Wendy who introduced me). i'm still looking for the words to describe it, but its really good. i think you should check it out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


today's lesson is about sin and saddness. it starts with a lie, and we've all believed it at one point or another. the lie is that my story (the sin that's been done against me, to me...that i've done to others) or your story or the heart-wrenching story that we see on the news or the tragic story of the girl sold to monsters for sex or even the story of the starving child that sits alone on the side of a dirt street in Africa...i could go on and on, but here's the lie - the lie is that one of those stories is bigger than another. we spend so much time comparing and emphasizing and bloating these stories that we're blind to this truth - sin doesn't have levels in God's eyes. God sees sin and it breaks His heart! and it breaks His heart EQUALLY. i needed to know this...i needed to know that it was ok for me to mourn over sin, all of it no matter how small i thought it was...God's tears flow over all of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


One of my favorite things about our Triennial conference was the amount of hugs and snuggling that happened. It happened because we just pretty much have a snuggly group who cares about each other. So, here are a few of my favorite people. I hope that you can see the beauty in doing life together with friends and with an occasional snuggle with friends. It helps with the really rough times, too!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


So, I've decided that sinus medication is designed to trick you into believing that you're getting better so you'll get up and go and then fall back into bed once you realize that you're not really better, you just thought you were. Ok, maybe not, but the idea in my head is that I'm feeling better, and when i get out of bed, it's as if there is a button on the bottom of my feet that trigger my coughing reflex. As long as I lay or sit for long periods of time, these fits don't happen, but once I move, its mayhem at its finest. I used to tell people that I would prefer a fever over a cold, and I'm seconding that emotion. At least with fever, you know your body is working for you. Coughing just feels like my body is rejecting air. Don't I need air? Does blogging about coughing constitute as complaining? I hope not...I just needed to get it out (without upseting my lungs). :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

travel weary

I guess I knew when I signed up for 32 days of travel that I would come back to the U.S. weary and exhausted, but I don't think I imagined it to be this difficult. Sure, the weariness could have something to do with taking care of 250 missionaries at our Triennial conference, or maybe the 8 days of Istanbul or even the 4 days of checking out Germany. Or, ok, it could have something to do with finishing my biggest project of my NMSI career and wondering what on earth I'm going to do next. Or, maybe, it's just the jet-lag and the sinus infection. Whatever it might be, I'm exhausted! As I sit here thinking about it, it really is no wonder. Sometimes I believe that I can take on the entire world. Ok, so I know how silly that sounds, but admit it, you've thought about it, too. You've probably even tried like I have. And, of course, as it is now hitting me square between the eyes...I do not have the strength to even last a month. Yes, if you haven't already guessed it, I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I'm very aware that I haven't blogged in a long while and this is quite a silly way to get back into it. So, there ya, all I have to do is catch you up. I'll save that for a day when I have some energy back! Later. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


There have been so many things going on lately that I have put off writing here. The conference that I've been coordinating and planning for the past year begins at the end of next month. That leaves me with a bunch of last minute things to take care of, and it leaves me little time to write. I heard something today that I want to unpack a little. The preacher at the church that I've been attending was talking about life issues that distract us from our relationship from God and from encouraging others. He was talking about hurts and pains and he compared them to a piece of yarn with a bunch of knots in it...Before that piece of yarn can be used to its fullest, the knots have to be untied. In most cases, this takes special care and often times a pin of some sort. The process is meticulous and the pin is sharp. It made me think about my life. I know that I've been hanging onto some knots that keep me from being fully available for use by God. I need some untying. Its something to think about...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

in Bulgaria

Michelle (one of our missionaries) and I at one of the oldest Roman gates in Bulgaria.
Phil and I working on the menu for Triennial in the lobby of our hotel.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I feel like I’m sitting in the midst of chaos, but in reality, I’m sitting in the midst of organized chaos. My bags are almost packed and I’ve already received the notice from Delta Airlines prompting me to check-in online. I’m just about ready to go. I’m traveling with Gwen, who is one of the most amazing people I know, so I know that it’s going to be a good time.

I am on my way to Bulgaria tomorrow and am excited about wrapping up a lot of the details for our mission-wide conference in October. I’m writing to ask you to pray for this time. Here are my requests…

1 – Safe travels for me and Gwen. I’d love to be able to sleep on the airplanes, too, and not have any motion sickness.

2 – That I would be an encouragement to our missionaries and interns in Bulgaria.

3 – That all of the details that need to be worked out get worked out smoothly without any bumps in the road.

4 – That I would rest knowing that God is carrying us in His perfect hands.

Thanks so much for praying…I look forward to sharing some great stories when I return.

God bless you,


Monday, June 16, 2008

why i might want to be an alcoholic

I recently read an article in Christianity Today and the title of this post is the subtitle of the article. Its about brokenness and how its easier to see Christ and accept His grace from the bottom of the barrel than it is from the rooftops or even in the everyday mundane. It talked about how self-righteousness is one of the most difficult sins to overcome because the simple act of raising open palms to God is so hard for those of us who are white-knuckle clutching on to our own pride. So, that got me thinking about hand-raising. One of my non-Christian friends asked me once why I raised my hands when I worshiped. I don't believe that anyone has to raise their hands in worship all of the time, your heart is what God sees anyway. Trust is what He wants, that involves all of who you are...that's what He wants. I do, though, still think about the reasons that I gave my friend. Here's my thoughts... 1 - When you are in total-surrender mode, where are your hands? This shows the other person that you've got nothing up your sleeve and you're helpless. 2 - When a child wants to be held, how does he come to his parents? When he can't take care of things on his own, how does he present himself to them? 3 - When you're in trouble and the police are at your door, what is the first thing that they yell? Why do they want your hands in the air? It's called surrender. You can't lift your hands up and feel anything but vulnerable. I admit that I'm struggling with surrender, total surrender. It scares me! I want to fly and let God navigate, but that's my game. Pray for me, if you will, and tell me what you think.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


So, I've just been reading a little bit of the military brat blog (its in my link list to the right), and it made me think of a couple things. First of all, if you ever have a desire to know a little more about me, many of these posts mimic my life. Sure, they aren't exactly my life, but without having to rehash all of the drama of moving around as a dependent, reading some of these posts helps me gain perspective. You might also see perspective from reading there. Another thing that it reminded me of was that I do have some stories. My life is made up of so many stories that are separated in sections. Each section changing with each move. I have a Germany section and a Colorado section, etc. I think I'm starting to understand just a very-little bit of how it might feel to write these down. I do have some funny stories and some hard ones. Maybe I'll find some good ones and post them here. One last thing...I have this movie about brats...if you are one or would like to learn a little more about us nomads, you are welcome to borrow my copy. I'd probably like to watch it with you, too. Hey, and by the way, thanks for reading this blog. I don't know who is and who isn't, but it's fun to know that someone is out there listening.

Monday, June 02, 2008

i don't wanna have to work so hard for my food

We went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner tonight. It was a bunch of fun for Renee's birthday. Several of the girls were eating crab legs, and I made the comment about how this is just too much work for my food. I completely spoke that out of not wanting to pull meat out of a shell, but what would it mean in other contexts. As an average Westerner, I'm lazy. I don't have to catch anything in the lake over the hill. I don't have to hunt for my food. I don't even have to cook my own food if I don't want to. What is that? I am spoiled by everyone around me doing all of the work. Sure, I know that this isn't a new topic that is profound or new...I just wish that I could stop myself from saying such apathetic things before they blurt out of my mouth. I feel like a sloth. Somebody teach me to cook!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i hate goodbyes

I don't think I'm going to say anything profound here. Maybe I'll just tell you about my day. I left our pre-field orientation one day early. I really don't like saying goodbye, and I had about 50 to say. Many of those were to new friends, but the worst ones were the ones of friends I hate being without. I know that its awesome that these friends are spending the next two months overseas and doing great things for the Kingdom, I just wish that I could be with them all! I miss them already. And, the reason that I left a day early was to share in the memorial service of a friend who recently died of cancer ( So, basically, I think I'll go to bed now and cry myself to sleep. The least I can do is gift these friends with my tears.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

flying lessons

I was flying again on Friday, and lately, flying has caused me all kinds of anxieties. My fear flies into my face as I get closer to departure time and then while I'm on the aircraft itself. I was flying from Ft Myers to Houston with a layover in Atlanta. The flight from RSW to ATL was interesting. The gentleman next to me was gracious enough to let me talk his ear off. The second flight, though, was much more quiet. And, the woman in the seat next to me was unapproachable. I was discouraged, but I didn't panic and run off of the airplane. I thought about it, of course, but I wanted to see my friend Roxanne and attend another friend's wedding. And, I didn't want to spend the night in Atlanta. So, I hung in there, and here's what came of it. The flight was miserable...summer air can be so turbulent, and I was smack in the middle of it. I cringed every time we bumped. It was awful. The funny part was, though, that each time I cringed and screamed God's name in my head, this thought would come to mind. It would say "Hang in there, I've got you." That helped. No, I didn't miraculously feel at peace, but I think that my blood pressure dropped. Out of that thought and another one ("Reality is always my friend."), I started making a list of truths. The thing that hit me the hardest was that God can not drop me. His hands do not falter. He doesn't trip over bumps in the carpet and drop me on the ground accidentally. If God is holding me, I can't be dropped. He's too perfect. Does this help my faith...yeah, some. I've seen people hurt in His hands, and that I'm still grappling with, but I'm in His big, strong, perfect hands, and that keeps my airplane flying in the bumpy air.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I was just sitting here strumming on "my" guitar. I put quotes around the "my" because technically the guitar is not mine, but the person who I am borrowing it from is most assuredly out of the country and won't be back to get the guitar for another 2 1/2 years at least, maybe more. I'm excited to be able to use the guitar, because as you can imagine, I can't afford one of my own. I'm not the best guitarist, of course, I'm just learning, but in my learning, I've decided that there are a few things I love about playing guitar and a few things I DON'T. One of the things that I don't love is the Bminor chord. Bar chords in general are a huge pain to me. I hope that over time and practice, these will get easier to play. Please tell me that they'll get easier. Otherwise, I think I'll make up some new chords and play them instead. Maybe, I just need to begin to look at frustration as my friend. Maybe??

Sunday, May 04, 2008

new picture was a fun day. I've been thinking about coloring my hair dark brown for a long time. Today, my friend Laura helped me go through with it. It was fun and felt awesomely rebellious. I decided to straighten it today for maximum surprise. I used to be a person who loved shock. Most of the shock value that I showed was via my big mouth. I could say almost anything and it would usually get the rise that I desired. I look like such a kind, sweet person, right? I wasn't! I'm not sure that much has changed within my thoughts (or maybe it has?), but thankfully my out-loud words have gotten a bit more encouraging over the years. So now, I'll just stick to shocking people with my hair. I love it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

thought patterns

I am so torn between two thought patterns. Sure, I know that's normal. I know that everyone experiences the tug between good and evil within themselves. I know that what I experience minute by minute is not something that you can't relate to. This week's battle puts relationship against independence. As a human being, it is built into me to desire relationship. In the deepest part of me, I want it. But (and I weigh that word heavily), I REALLY want safety. Safety for someone like me, who comes from a plethora of broken relationships, does not encompass relationships. My safe place is locked away in a room with no one else around. You know as well as I do that a person could die there, I could die there and if I'm not intentional, I will. I'm not stupid, I know the consequences of isolating and alienating myself. I keep thinking that a rock-bottom experience might knock me out of this rut, but God would rather I just choose good in the middle of the regular everyday mix-up. I think this is probably the first time that I've been this honest on this blog. I don't like it, but it's easier to blog it than it is to talk with someone about it face-to-face. Maybe I'll find healing here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

home again?

I've been back in Florida for a couple of days now. Its been great to rest from so much running amuck (as my friend Jen says) in Texas. It was, of course, good and productive running. And, it was also pretty exhausting. I'm grateful for exhaustion as opposed to sickness (which I'm pretty sure that my body is fighting at the moment). I really wanted to readdress this 'home' thing. Here's why...I've been so-called 'back home' so many times in my life. I don't like calling a place home just because that's where all of my stuff is, but the reality of life is that there is comfort in being in that place. Its nice to be able to unpack everything in a place, no matter where that place is located. Does this make sense? I'm thankful for a place to lay my head and a room of my own, but I'm still not sure what this really means. If you know, please tell me. I guess its good that I mostly feel like an alien here, huh?

Friday, April 18, 2008


I'm astounded at the cool things that God has been blessing me with this time in Houston. On the support front...God provided a big ole fat one time gift and another monthly supporter is increasing their support a bunch. How awesome is that? I guess I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing, eh? WOW!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

my favorite


I love the Houston skyline, and this is my favorite building. Its so geometrical and orderly. Maybe its my mathmatical brain or maybe its just I like elementary shapes. Either way, I love this building. I've always loved this building. Its been my favorite to see when I fly into Houston and my favorite to drive by. I marvel at this building. It helps me to know that I am somewhere that I've been before. It welcomed me this past Friday and it will wave goodbye as I leave on Sunday. This skyline is special and amazing (and, that's not even talking about the people who are special and amazing). I know that God is here, I can even see Him in the buildings. What is your favorite skyline? or favorite picture you've taken with your eyes and heart and mind?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

i don't wanna be normal...

I was just thinking that I want to explain the choice I made of "i don't wanna be normal." Here's the deal. Growing up as an Army kid, I hardly ever got the chance to be normal, unless we were on a base, and that was rare for us. So, in high school, I think, when we were "settled" for a little while, I changed my view. I'd fought so long to be normal, and it didn't work. Now, I just wanna be. Unfortunately, that means that when anyone tries to tell me that I'm normal now it evokes the bottom lip. Needless to say...I don't wanna be normal anymore.


To those of you who know me, you know that I'm about as rootless as they come. Growing up as an army brat, I went to 8 different schools. In my opinion, thats a bunch. And, I don't remember any, but maybe one, of those places feeling like home. When I came back to Houston this time, that changed somewhat. Landing at IAH, driving south on I45, stopping at Starbucks on Bay Area...all of this seemed normal and right and good. I'm only guessing that this is what people feel like when they come home from being away for a long time. Its been very surreal. This has never happened to me before. I don't really know a place called "home". Houston has surprised me. I won't stay here, but I am already thinking of when I'll come back again. I like this feeling comfortable in a place. (I'm sure the restlessness would settle back in again if I were here a few years, but I'm not talking about that on right now.) I wanna hear about home for you guys. Is it comfortable there for you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a new blogger

I love Panera. I'm sitting here watching a beautiful, warm-but-not-too-warm, Houston day outside and enjoying just watching the traffic. Watching other people go about their "everyday" is so interesting to me. What is the woman in the white shirt thinking as she rushes out of the restaurant and into her white SUV? How fulfilled is the manager of this place? He's been walking around with a smile, but is it genuine or just plastered on because the GM is around today? The guy at the computer across from me has left his seat several times in the past couple of hours. Is he here just to get out of the office or (like me) is he from out of town and just here because of the free internet? Sometimes its fun look outside myself and see how normal everyday can be without trying to super-impose myself into it. Normal isn't something I see a whole lot of at NMSI. The community takes such great care of each other that being outside of it feels like walking into Grand Central Station without having any idea how to get to the train you need. Uncomfortable, but strangely fitting into this world is I guess is where we're supposed to be. Its a trust issue, right? I feel completely random in this first post, but I guess that's kinda where I am. I'm full of random thoughts that just keep coming into my head with no invitation at all. Random keeps me entertained, if nothing else. Hope your day is full of random, too. Who knows what this brain will come up with next. Have a good day! Jen