• My Life

    The One in Which I Killed a Bird

    The other day I killed a bird. On purpose. It was a mercy killing but still. I killed Antoine. (I don’t know if it the bird was a boy or if his name was Antoine but it looked like an Antoine.) This is a big deal. It’s a big deal because I don’t kill. Really. I’m the girl who picks up the worms off the driveway after the rains. I’m the girl who gently catches the moth or fly and ushers them out the door with blessings and well wishes. I’m the girl who tries to get the wax off the June Bug’s legs after he kamikazes into my candles on the deck and becomes ‘grounded’.  I’m the girl who cried (real tears) in Lithuania when a team member raised a fist in front of me to squash an innocent bug just trying to make his way home across the kitchen table. So to purposefully kill a beautiful bird is completely out…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Dancing with Papa

    On the last Sunday of April, my dad took my 5 year old niece on a date. Every year our local public school district puts on two dances for girls in grades kindergarten through fifth and a man in her life. Sometimes it is a dad or a grandpa or an uncle. Sometimes it is a friend of the family or a caring adult from church. The girls get dressed up and they spend a few hours one afternoon being treated like a “princess”. They dance. They paint fingernails. They make crafts. They eat. They feel special. They feel important. They feel beautiful. They feel loved. I love that the schools do this event. It isn’t the princess part of it. My niece is incredibly girly but I’m not and never was. So getting dressed up and being a princess isn’t what I find beautiful. What I find beautiful is that a moment is being created for a little girl…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Embracing the Adventure

    It is unfortunate that it often takes bad times or painful experiences to sometimes wake us up to beautiful things around us. Like an extra long winter makes us euphoric for the sun and a little warmth. Or like a crazy busy season of work leads us to crash and slowly remember the joy and necessity of rest or spending time with family. It is unfortunate but it is also good. Because I don’t know that many of us would ever voluntarily shout “ENOUGH” and jump off the crazy train in order to frolic in green pastures and to smell roses and lilacs. To take of our shoes and let the cold grass squish through our toes while we make memories and moments with people that we love and people that we will come to love. And perhaps that last paragraph was a little flowery than normal because I have narcotics in my system but I find I’m speaking more honestly these…

  • My Life

    Morning Light

    My weekend took a serious nose dive on Friday due to a pain in the butt. Some of you had the same thing happen on Friday but you are thinking of a co-worker or boss or date or family member. But I mean a literal pain in the butt. Long story very short: I’m suffering from a dislocated/sprained tailbone. And by suffering I mean SUFFERING. And by short story I mean I have no idea how it happened. But it did. It has been a long, emotional weekend. Despite what you might think, that is actually different than most of my weekends. I’m tired from constant pain. I’m angry about missing out on big moments with my youth. I’m exhausted from never finding a comfortable position. I’m agitated about being stuck indoors and not being able to be active. I’m frustrated at my whining. I’m worried about how long the healing will take and plans I have made that are potential…

  • My Life

    Get Back Up

    Since Monday afternoon at 2:45 pm, a steady stream of pictures, videos, and stories have poured out of Boston in the aftermath of two explosions that rocked our world. Some pictures are horrific. Some videos are chaotic. Some stories are false. But … Some pictures are inspirational. Some videos are courageous. Some stories are true. The odds are good that you’ve seen the video or this iconic image of 78-yr-old marathoner, Bill Iffrig, who is a few feet away from completing his third Boston Marathon. With the finish line in view, Iffrig is rocked by the first explosion. His legs buckle and he crumples to the ground. The chaos begins and the smoke pours in. But he gets back up. He doesn’t stay down. He gets his bearings. A race official helps him to his feet and walks beside him for a bit. Someone offers him a wheelchair but he refuses. It is Iffrig who wills himself to walk the remaining…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Scooting on Your Backside

    Missouri is known for caves. Seriously. We are best known as the “Show-Me State” but we are also known as “The Cave State”. There are over 6,400 known caves in MO and we have a Missouri Cave Association. There is also this beautiful six-page brochure. You are welcome. Caves are buried treasures. Underneath the earth are these huge caverns of beauty and life. You can walk over a hill and never know that underneath is a natural room grander than any cathedral. I love that. Caves are like the introverts of nature. There is a ton of depth and beauty under the surface. It is worth exploring. Both caves and introverts. When I was in college, I went spelunking (cave exploring) with a small group of college friends. We were in southwest Missouri (the mother load of caves) maybe an hour from Bolivar, MO, but that is all I could tell you. We drove out to a large field area with a creek bed near…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Stubborn Love

    I attended East Elementary School growing up. Go, EAGLES!  Around my sixth grade year they built this amazing jungle gym structure.  The base was 10 ft high and you climbed up a chain wall to the first level. There was a fireman’s pole and monkey bars and all of it was surrounded by a giant moat of little rock pebbles. During my sixth grade year, I was dared by some guys in my class to jump off the top. I may not come off as stubborn or fiercly independent when you first meet me but if you get to know me, you’ll learn that I am very stubborn. And very independent. I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like people thinking or saying I can’t do something. So there was no way for me to not take this dare. I climbed up the chain link wall that was 10 ft. high (but seemed 20 ft. if…

  • My Life

    Love Me Tender

    I’m not comfortable talking about myself. I like to keep things light and close to the surface when it comes to me. I’ve always joked that one of the reasons I do well with youth ministry is that I never have to worry about personal questions. Teenagers are at the stage of life where they are naturally egocentric. It is what it is and I love it as far as our relationship goes (I want them to be more thoughtful of others, of course, but it works perfectly for me.) It is incredibly rare for one of my youth to ask me how I am doing and if they do, I can easily deflect the question without too much risk and get it back to them. And I like that. I like hearing their stories, their fears, their wonderings. And I also like the safety of it not being about me. The same with adults and friends. I truly love…

  • My Life

    Don't Quit

    I’ve recently taken up running. I’ve always liked the idea of being a runner but I never took the risk to be a runner until a few months ago. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be running four miles and enjoying it, I would have backed slowly away from you and your craziness. Someone recently told me that if you enjoy running and you have the need to run then you are a runner. These things have come true for me and although I may not run fast or run far, I am a runner. I’ve noticed that nearly every time I run there is a point about halfway through where I want to quit. For a variety of reasons, I just want to stop and walk. I think some people enjoy that moment and they get adrenaline from the challenge and push on through. I don’t know if it is just the joy of the struggle…

  • My Life

    Just Around the Bend

    I recently watched this great little film called The Giant Mechanical Man. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprising since it opened in only one theatre in May 2012 and grossed just over $5,000 opening weekend. Definitely not a blockbuster but I like little, quirky films and this one has a fantastic story about life and love and risk. Stories are simply this: a character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. Donald Miller taught me that.  If you think about your favorite character in a movie or book, most likely, he or she wanted something really bad and overcame conflict to get it. One of the most frustrating things in movies or books for me is when a character faces a conflict and starts to give up. As the audience, usually you are privy to the bigger picture. You have a front row seat to what is really happening and can see just around the bend. Nothing pains…