• Faith Reflections,  Random Reflections

    Thanksgiving Prayers

    Best wishes to each of you on this day of thanksgiving. May we feast on satisfying time with family and friends and remember those who no longer sit at the table. May we taste the love, mercy, and presence of our Triune God and remember those who are starving for the Bread of Life. May we gather around the table in spirit with the family of God around the world and remember those whose tables are empty.

  • My Life,  Random Reflections

    The Fifth Face on Mt. Rushmore

    When I went to Mount Rushmore this summer, I took a lot of pictures. It is an amazing place and truly fascinating how these guys managed to carve out these massive monuments to four presidents. Or, wait. Maybe there were five. I think they gave us four definite faces – Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson and Lincoln. But then they carved a fifth one and left it optional. Or maybe the crew was just monkeying around. So, who would you tag as the president on the far right of the monument?

  • Church Ministry,  Random Reflections

    Thoughts on Dominican

    I returned Saturday evening after eight days in the Dominican Republic working with Servant’s Heart Ministries. I led a team of six others from our church.  It was an amazing week of ministry, of relationship-building, of warmth! (literally since it is snowy here and sunny there). I love to travel, to immerse myself in other cultures, to meet the large family of God. I find joy in bringing a team along – especially newbies who remind me of the first-time awe and joy of a mission trip. I’m grateful for the physical reminders of what daily life is like for the majority of the world.  Did you know that if…

  • Church Ministry,  Random Reflections

    Hope for Haiti

    Since Tuesday afternoon, our hearts and thoughts have been held captive by the aftermath of the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti to its core. As stories are told and media is shared, we are seeing the awful reality of the death and destruction that is the reality now for the millions that call the area around Port au Prince home. It is so heartbreaking to imagine what these men, women, and children are going through. It is unfathomable for most US citizens. And it is just one more thing to happen to a country that has endured disaster after disaster and years of abject poverty. Each evening as I head…

  • Faith Reflections,  Random Reflections

    Focus on the Person

    There are many ways to protect the dignity of individuals whose dignity is threatened by life situations. One of the challenges that we face when caring for a neighbor is the challenge to honor and respect him. Sometimes we are so focused on doing a deed or seeing a result that we trample on the very person we are trying to help. It isn’t about the cup of water, the plate of food, or the warm coat. It is about each individual deserving a cup of water, a plate of food, or the warm coat. When we focus on the things, we forget about the person. When we focus on…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life,  Random Reflections

    Driving in Kampala Stirred Up More Than Dust

    Has it really been almost two months since I posted last?  Sorry about that. It hasn’t been for a lack of things to blog about but rather from an abundance of living.  November was a blur but a wonderful blur. I spent two weeks in Kenya and Uganda on vacation.  I have an amazing amount of different thoughts and feelings to blog about from the trip. I think about them and ponder them yet struggle to restrict them to letters on a page.  Returning to life here has also been a return to massive amounts of distractions and clutter in my head and heart.  Is it any wonder that you…

  • Faith Reflections,  Random Reflections

    Elizabeth Olten and Forgiveness

    Being home sick today gave me a lot of time to think about what today was going to be like for my youth. I was praying last night and today for you. Praying especially about the ramifications of Elizabeth Olten’s murder, for the things that would be said about the accused, for the many rumors and harsh words that would be said. That was before I even learned about the death this morning of Bill Currie, a teacher at JCHS. I hurt that you have to face such difficult life issues ever – but especially at this age. But I can’t protect you from things that happen because the world…

  • Church Ministry,  Faith Reflections,  Random Reflections

    Giving Jesus a Ride

    Last Sunday, I gave Jesus a ride.  He was a middle-aged woman with a yellow backpack and a cane walking north on Highway 63. I almost missed him.   After finishing the second service at church, I was running late for a meeting in Ashland, a little town 15 minutes away.  Speeding up the highway, I was on him before I knew it.  I quickly recognized the woman walking with her thumb outstretched as the woman who had visited our church earlier in the day looking for help. She was passing through mid-Missouri on her way from Portland, Oregon, to wherever the road took her.  After one night at our…

  • My Life,  Random Reflections

    It's My Birthday

    Today is my 36th birthday.  It has been a great 36 years and I hope for another 36 at least.   I’ve been blessed in so many, many ways. I’ve had the best family anyone could dream of having.  My parents are my heros in so many ways and truly my friends, my advisors, my confidants.  My sister is so dear to me and I love her and her dear family.  My niece and my nephew are my inspiration for making the moments in life count by investing in what is important and saying “no” to what isn’t. I’m blessed with countless friends who are there for me through all…

  • Random Reflections

    Rural Poverty

    On Monday, I traveled three hours south of Jefferson City, Missouri, to Shannon County.  Shannon County is a county located in South Central Missouri and is the poorest county in the state.  It is also one of the most beautiful areas of the state as it is home to the Mark Twain National Forest and Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  Many people travel to this area for camping, floating, and trail riding.  One of the towns in that county, Timber, is home to Schwagstock, an regular music and drug festival in the style of Woodstock. But for all of it’s rich beauty and culture, it is home to some of Missouri’s poorest…