Monday, April 29, 2013

Beyond the word...

A really great "check" for me while I was on my retreat...during one of the prayer times, I decided to grab my Bible and do some reading. Somehow I ended up in John...great book, by the way, for getting to know a bit of who Jesus is. It was John 5, specifically...a section where Jesus is speaking to the pharisees who were always out to evaluate (and persecute) Him for being so religiously and spiritually uncouth. #irony

"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." John 5:39-40

Man, oh man...that stopped me in my tracks. Wasn't even looking for something like that but it caught my attention BIG TIME.

Their source of life was scripture (well, that and their pride in following the law)...and not the Son of God that the words pointed to. HE is the source of life beyond the written word. Yep...reminded me of another passage in Scripture that refers to Jesus as the "Word" that "became flesh".

Word vs. word...

It makes me stop and ask the I truly find my life in Christ who is THE Word? I allowing the word to guide me to the Word?...or am I finding my source in the pages...

Not that the Bible is in any way's just that...well...the Word, the Life, Jesus...and the life we can find with MORE. So much more...beyond.


“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt." Hosea 2:14-15

I went on a women's retreat this weekend. It wasn't the typical event with an agenda. It was literally a retreat...a get-away...with only a few others. We talked some, shared challenges and victories, walked in nature, prayed together and did some "soaking prayer". It was for me being "allured"...being lead into the wilderness. My heart was able to disconnect from the messes of life and reach peace with Him. 

Coming hard., I'm reminding myself of the things He said and the ways He ministered to the needs, wants and losses...sometimes with vision, sometimes with silence, sometimes with friendship... He's so good...and He promises that the peace we find with Him doesn't have to depend on anything other than our heart's position in Him. Holding that truth today. :)

Wilderness Fellowship

I want to highlight a unique ministry in Wisconsin...not too far from Grantsburg. Wilderness Fellowship maintains a property designated for getting away to spend time with God. They have a variety of options including rustic cabins, camp sites, a fully equipped retreat center and many prayer cabins. Did I mention trails?? Yep!!! They have a ton of trails. I've been to three retreats there using the beautiful, log Fellowship Center. My next adventure will be a prayer cabin!

Fellowship Center

Prayer Cabins

Friday, April 26, 2013

HIV Teen Testimony

What a wonderful story!!! See???...there is goodness all around. :)


Drama-Free Weekend

Going to a women's retreat! I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to get away this weekend. It's a break I've been praying for...totally unplugging from my life and all the plates I spin. Been running around crazy for the last...goodness...year? Many months for sure. Every area of the "pie" has had challenges lately. Feeling the weight of life and feeling I'm a disappointment. Exhausted. Can you tell? Hehe. ;) 

So...I'm going to get away with God and some great ladies! Hoping to get outside too. Nature and I are in love. ;)

With's a little Mary J. Blige. Yep...go big or go home.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boyd regarding Women

I had the opportunity of having Greg Boyd as a college professor. He impacted my faith greatly. Sometimes showing me the relationship possibilities that exist with the Father...but also through challenge...getting me to "own" my faith by responding to his "devil's advocate" arguments. I don't land the same as he does on some issues (open view of the Bible, vegetarian, pacifist...), but I love how he searches Scripture and wrestles with issues. His heart is towards God...great surrender. Here's a sermon he did on the issue of women in ministry. Interesting thoughts.

I personally wrestle with the issue of women as elders...not a ton, but I can see the argument there. Having male elders hasn't hindered me in ministry because my elders really have a healthy view of authority and release women into ministry. I also respect them and want their covering and insight. Hmm. ;)


Gosnell Thoughts

Conservative circles are passing around a flurry of information about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the doctor accused of murder in a Philadelphia women's clinic. As a pro-life lady (card-carrying member of Fem For Life), I can identify with the sorrow and the desire for justice. What I hesitate at, though, is the return of disrespect for life...regarding his. For me...while utterly awful circumstances...necessitating justice obviously...Jesus was pretty clear on his heart for the lost as much as the found.

Matthew 5:43-48 - Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

So...I'm sorry to say...then again maybe I'm not...I'm praying for this lost man. Pretty sure his life is as precious to God as are the lives of the victims. And...I'm praying for placement of the right people who will...not with hatred and vengeance...but with him meet the God whose kindness leads us to repentance.

Thoughts by Anne Graham Lotz

Wow...I appreciate how she views this as a stepping stone.



For a few weeks now, I've felt the call of "Ever After". of my Cinderella-style favs.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Message of the Discontent

An excerpt from "Captivating" by Stasi Eldredge that came up in my devotional feed this morning.

"A woman's struggle with her sense of worth points to something glorious she was designed to be. The great emptiness we feel points to the great place we were created for. It's true. All those legends and fairy tales of the undiscovered Princess and the Beauty hidden as a maid are more accurate than we thought. There's a reason little girls resonate with them so."

Fr. Gregory Boyle and Homeboy Industries

Wow...Great Challenge!!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Jesus in the Middle

A woman told me a story once...a moment from her life. She had an experience with Jesus during a moment of abuse that impacted her view of her safety and security...something that strengthened her heart and kept her moving in pursuit of relational health.

She and her spouse were in a verbally tense conversation...becoming increasingly abusive...and she was prompted to leave the room to decelerate the situation. Well...that didn't go over too well. He followed her down the hall hurling words aimed right for her heart. As she turned to face him, she realized she was looking right at Jesus. He was between them. She watched her husband's words come out of his mouth and pierce through Jesus' back. The words didn't stop there though...they passed through Him and came out as His words to her heart. Words of love, Her heart was protected...and she was able to respond accordingly. While her marriage did not last, her heart found a new strength and peace...all because Jesus was in the middle. is a story that has been challenging my own heart lately. Looking at the past...applying it to the present. Having Jesus in the middle of my messy moments.

During the singing part of worship on Sunday, the image invaded my mind as I was wrestling with a couple of those "old" scenarios. The kind that push the bitterness buttons. I was telling God that I'd like to be done with having those moments press on my heart the way they do. And without any that moment of my visual prayer...I saw Jesus move between me and my "enemies". He was right in the middle. His position was such that His form completely covered theirs. I could only see Him. His eyes. Bitterness fell away. Peace replaced it.

I have to's a visual I am continuing to use. So unbelievably helpful in focusing solely on Him...and letting anything else that would tear at the heart just fall away. Responding from that place??...powerful.

Wow...Jesus in the Middle.

(The song we were singing in church when my prayer took a turn.) :)


Monday, April 22, 2013

Tough One

Ugh...convictions. Those deeply held beliefs about God, ourselves, morality, roles, responsibilities.... We all have them. We all value them.

And...we all need to respect them in others. (with obvious exceptions in issues of the value of life and justice)

It's God's way...the way of honor.

Sometimes there are issues where a compromise in convictions is actually possible. Appropriate moments to have exceptions to the rule. Other times...they separate us.

Oh,'s so sad when disagreement in convictions has to be the force that alters a course...for a time...for always. So very sad.

But expecting someone to be someone they aren't...that seems somehow worse. A tragedy.

I try to guard my heart pretty closely when I know there's an issue that will relate to...well, the heart of area where I feel a great deal of divine freedom. Way more personal than the average issue. But, all the insulation in the world can't completely brace against the weight of knowing that our heart's "yes" has to be another's "no". Nothing prepares a person for that...on all sides. But...being realistic on the front end...probably way better in the long-run. Honoring who people are...always good.

Subjecting God

Topic aside...there is an awesome challenge in this video of Francis Chan. Wow. Wow. Wow...a good "check" for all of us and our tendency to make God (or our picture of God) subject to our reasoning. Whoa.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Demand Change Event

Wow. A great event on the horizon. Getting serious about sex-trafficking. May 3rd-4th in St. Paul. See Demand Change Website for more information!

Simplicities of Living Outward

I've had this strong impression lately that I need to more actively consider how I can live outwardly...intentionally bring "kingdom" wherever I am. One of the biggest blessings and responsibilities of an Abba's child and an excellent challenge in a culture that so glorifies "self"...the Me-Me-Me way of living. was on my mind when I was running all kinds of errands after church today.

Busy girl...on a mission...noting how easily we forget THE mission. And then it dawned on me...

Simple...and genuine...simplicities of living outward.

Two easy things today. :)

First...a smile. It dawned on Wal-Mart of all places...that a smile from you and me might be the ONLY smile some people see in a day. A smile from the heart. A smile that says you see him or her.

So...get smiling! :) encouragement. Give a put-up to a total stranger??...YEP! That's what I'm saying. If you see someone do something or be something that's a gift or a blessing...TELL THEM. You don't even have to say anything about Jesus or God or the H.S...but you can if that's what you are sensing. If it's not, why not have it come from you??? Blessing and calling out the image of God in others.

So...get talking! :)

Unbelievably simple...unfathomably powerful.

My smile for you today??.... :) :) :) And my encouragement??...You are a beautiful, unrepeatable, never-seen-before, NECESSARY miracle. Thanks for being you!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Thick Skin...How Long?

No sooner do I think about having thick skin than I consider pride. So...ya...don't worry. I have a dialogue going with myself while lamenting the need to insulate against others that reactions out of pride are never good. Checking self right alongside the frustration.

What in the world am I talking about?

Well, for whatever reason I've put myself in two circles...working in a school and helping at a church...that tend to have intensely involved stakeholders and strict confidentiality requirements. When issues arise...oh, can sometimes be this massively one-sided scenario where some get to express opinions without restraint, comprehensive information and broader perspective and I...get to have my mouth gagged and hands tied...and sometimes just plain have to make a tough call.

Totally unfair.

So...I occasionally find myself having to maintain a thick insulation...because it's not always appropriate to defend myself and my decisions...and sometimes we all just can't agree. And along with that can come...the chosen path of knowing I'm thought less of...and being judged.

You have no idea how hard that can be for me. Quite lonely. It's so hard to take that protection down sometimes. Sigh. And, it's hard to not let my pride react to theirs...

I think it's why I value SO MUCH the places where I don't have to have that insulation...that thick skin...and just have sanctuary with others.

Oh, for the day when thick skin isn't required any longer. How long?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

IN The Story

I woke up the other morning thinking about Brennan Manning and a teaching he gave once that centered around the story of the prodigal son. He invited us beyond giving mental assent to the passage and into a "stepping into the story" moment. Because I tend to be more visual with an active imagination, it was a meaningful exercise for me, and it has continued to unlock my experience with the Trinity. So very thankful...from mind to heart.

So...what's the exercise? :)

Before we begin, here are some pre-exercise thoughts and tips. First, for way too long the church has discounted the many ways we learn and interact with the truth around us. Perhaps from ignorance or even control, we've limited ourselves to the "read it and think about it" approach. This approach DOES work (more for some than others), so we don't want to discount it. A good discipline. However, we have so many more tools in our many ways of wiring. This realization has liberated the educational world as well. We aren't just auditory learners. We are visual, kinesthetic, musical, natural, spatial, imaginative...and while some traditionalists will bite my head off...God interacts with us in those avenues as much as the way it's always been done. So...honor your design and interact with God in it! Second, no pressure! Sometimes this exercise is just a simple devotional, and there's nothing wrong with that. If so, keep with it. You'll find there are occasions where it is more experiential than others. Third, don't go too quickly! Some places will seem to invite you to stay. Do so! Fourth, God might give you a moment that's not "biblically-bound" with Him. He's not found solely within the covers of the good book. You might find there's a song singing in your heart...sing or play along!! You might have a picture of something in your mind...draw it! You might have a desire to sleep or build or move or journal...Do it! He is "God with Us" in that moment. goes. :)

Pray before you begin. Ask God to share this moment with you. In fact, give the moment to Him. Ask Him to help you hear only what comes from His heart. Renounce anything inconsistent with truth. (God doesn't speak "shame"!!!) Read through the prodigal son story (or other passage for another time). Put your Bible down, and sit back and relax. Picture the story unfolding with YOU being the prodigal (ask the Father for your inheritance, leave for the far away land and squander it, find yourself impoverished in the pig pen wrestling with coming home, make the journey back with the weight of the past heavy on your heart, stop at the bottom of the driveway and look up at the house, see the Father seeing you, see Him coming your way, be embraced and blessed by Him..). Pay attention to the details in your story...the things you are seeing, what you are feeling...focus on the Father's face. Allow yourself to "let the story go"...let it play out...let it "color outside the lines". Does the Father say anything unique to you, ask you anything, give or take anything...? It may become very specific to you.

Enjoy...repeat...and take it to other passages. :)

We often don't realize two things. Thanks to some of the limitations of the English language, our picture of the Father meeting the son on the road can be less than it really was. The fullness of the words say this..."and the Father embraced him and kissed him and couldn't stop kissing him". Nothing stoic in this scene...wonderful!! The other important realization...perhaps most important for our faith is that "home" in this story isn't simply the Father's farm property. The older son was living with the Father and doing everything "right", but he was absolutely NOT experiencing "home". (Boy, is that a sad picture of those lost in religion or what??) No...right at the point of the Father's embrace...THAT was "home". And that's the life we are called in the from the embrace.'s so good to spend some time right there. Certainly, the Father would like that too! :) Start every day in the embrace...come back to it throughout the day...end the day there. The position of the heart...critical!!!

Below are some "additionals" that have helped me along the way too. :)


The Father RUNNING!!

Meeting Father on the road.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Whales and Stars

Yep...I felt like singing with whales and stars today. :) (Song after 9 minutes but build-up is incredible.)


Abuse Your Life

We had a really interesting speaker today at chapel. He talked about the fact that our lives have purpose. We aren't accidents...we are intentionally made. A fantastic challenge was issued to the that I think could fit all of us...

As long as we choose to not own the truth that God has a purpose and a plan for our lives, we will abuse our lives.

Whoa. And. Wow.

So...I don't want to abuse my life for lack of purpose. I want to wash up on heaven's shores abused by an abundance of it. Yep. That's the plan. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Wow!! A powerful look at women and their view of their own beauty.


"In the World..."

"...but not of it."

It strikes me how much Christians can tend to focus on the second half of that saying without really challenging themselves with the first. "Separate, separate, separate...and let the "world" come to me...on my terms." I guess that seems to be the motto of many. Or "go out and force the terms"...yep, that motto shows up too.

Don't get me wrong...perhaps in some way that's the call of some. I don't believe all though...trapped in a box of "safety". And I know I'm not one of the few.

The notion of the saying "Be in the world but not of it." could come from many places in the Bible, but John 17:15-18 seems to be the best representation.

John 17:15-18

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

So...we need to be the "sent" ones.

But what does "sent" look like? How should we do "in"? For someone like me who isn't necessarily "modern" or "post-modern"...someone likely in the middle of all that tension...I feel a great deal of freedom to be prayerfully considerate of the Holy Spirit's leading. I don't think there's pressure to have to say certain words...the rules of "good" evangelism...nor do I think there's the pressure to have to say nothing at all to meet a sub-standard definition of tolerance. We let God inspire the heart...and absolutely follow it...trusting that He knows the "world" better than we do.

More than anything I experience the great weight of being more fully present. Bringing the full impact of who we are in Christ. Granted, I'm not sure how "fully" we can become on this side of death, but I know it's more than we've accepted. There is certainly something more identity-related that He seeks to birth and nurture in us and have us present wherever we are. Something more "being" than the typical Christian "doing". Authentic mission born of and infused with sonship. That does NOT mean bringing the picture/definition required by certain groups...the presentable and "acceptable". No, no, no. And it doesn't mean forcing the bulletpoints either.

Yep...sounds foggy, messy and wonderful. ;) But I think it opens the door to being "in the world" with powerful descriptors like "build", "create", "inspire", "invest"..."relate".

For me...and I guess, unfortunately for those who'd like to be less in the world who have to deal with me...this means engaging culture. Not stepping back from it. I feel the desire to be actively present...out there. And, in fact, I enjoy bringing "out there" in here! In my home, in my relationships, in my life. I don't want to be an evangelist or a missionary...I want to be a daughter who loves madly just like her good Father does.

And...isn't it so amazing what we learn from others? Oh beautiful.

How to do that more? Hmm...we shall see!

Anyway...My brain has been thinking about living more intentionally outward...some personal questions, some sermon-related questions. So I'm on a mission. :)

The Thinking Challenge

Oh you ever find yourself in a situation where you are offered a TON to think about?? It can be like a candy shop for this girl. Though sometimes stressful...and sometimes realizing great is very fruitful for all kinds of reasons. So, so good.

Granted, I'm pretty much having panic attacks...hahahaha...I like a good challenge. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013


I love how the Holy Spirit works. So very faithful to direct my confirm or re-direct.

I've been really wrestling with something that I feel is core to my "beautiful"...those designed desires and delights. Without any fore-knowledge of my struggle, He led another person to give me a message. A validation. Completely out of left field...but totally aimed at my question.

When the chips are down...the "WE" (the whole trinity) is trustworthy. They are a culture of honor...and they extend it to us.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brennan Manning

Wow...I heard some sad news today. Probably one of the most influential authors and teachers in my life...Brennan Manning...passed away yesterday. I'm so very glad that his suffering is over. It's just that I'm so enormously grateful for every good gift he gave that I'm a sad girl today.

Brennan was a ragamuffin who opened up the world of being an Abba's child. Not just a believer, a follower or even a "sinner saved by grace". He invited us all into...sonship. His books were powerfully challenging, but somehow it was his teaching (and his life story) that impacted me more. His experience and honesty told me it was ok to be me...the girl who knew God loved her...and that there was so much more to life than I ever dreamed. He showed me Jesus...and a grace that calls us all forth into identity and holiness.

He used to always quote a beautiful passage from Song of Songs...and invitation to a powerful love..."Come, my love. My lovely one, come. For see the winter has passed. The snows are over and gone. The flowers appear in the land. The season of joyful songs has come. The cooing of turtle doves is heard in our land. Come now, my love." A precious picture of the heart of God. It ruined me forever...and I'll love him for it always.


Friday, April 12, 2013

"Nessun Dorma" Dream Come True

Next week...another Life List item will be crossed off!!!! One of my dreams is to hear the song "Nessun Dorma" performed live. It's from the opera Turandot. The first recording I heard was of Pavarotti...oh, the end of the song!!! I read the translation and the background from the opera. It stole my heart! So...the Minnesota Opera Company is performing the entire production at the Ordway next week, and my family is going. I'm not sure how I'll do with an entire opera, but hearing that song...A dream come true! :)


Proof is in the Pudding

Speak Life

Man, I've been thinking A TON about how we can live a bit more intentionally...purposefully...outwardly...bringing kingdom life wherever we are. We are children of the good Father with wonderful responsibilities in His kingdom AND access to all of the resources of heaven. This song popped up on my Pandora this morning, and I thought it was an awesome confirmation to keep on keeping on. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Love Somebody

What a great song...a reminder to live intentionally...looking out at the sea of people who need love...and engaging in kingdom living. We aren't asked to make sure they match our "must have's" and "can't stand's" beforehand. Nope, we just might have to love the "different", the "weird", the "whoa"... ;) Umm, and awkwardly...we might find that we aren't much different!!! Haha! Jesus was doing this all the time, by the way. His love list was pretty sketchy...and He wouldn't have had it any other way.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do You See ME?'s a girlie blog. Haha! If you are one...or know one...hope it's a little more info. ;)

Now, I do have to say before writing much more that there is so much mystery to the feminine heart that general descriptors MUST be left open to expression. From the girl who loves to slog through mud to the one who prefers glitter and eye shadow...there is a ton of variety. And...all of it is beautiful.

A book by John and Stasi Eldredge (Captivating) opened a whole world of understanding myself...or extending myself grace. It highlighted some of the ways that the feminine heart displays the image of God and identified Satan's special hatred for our kind. (There are male counterpart books by Eldredge as well.) I so wish they would have done more with what it means to be a daughter of God, but it is a great start and invitation to more.

One of the concepts highlighted is the heart's core question. Something the answering...affirms or attacks our identity. Bringing the question to God first and good-hearted others after that is the ideal. The question answered by the wrong people and situations...terrible implications. For all girls, it is..."Do you see me?" It asks if we are invisible, fading into the background of life, conforming to a copy of someone else's definition...or if we are visible, stepping onto the dance floor in all our loveliness, living our authentic story.

Other desires???...1. To have a beauty to unveil. Something uniquely our own. Not limited to physical appearance...whole person expression. It's soulful...strengths, delights, passions, loves... 2. To have an irreplaceable role in an adventure. Largely alongside others because we tend to be relational to the core, but uniquely tailored as well. 3. To be pursued. It is action consistent with "Do you see me?". Having someone step towards and call out...both generally and specifically...but more about the heart's intentions than the details.

Boy...what a way to bless another, right? Affirming the feminine heart from birth to the beyond. Great reminders for this girl. For self...and for the ladies in my life...being a gift to each other. :)

(Oh and don't worry...I won't leave the boys out. Wild At Heart 101 is on its way.)


Monday, April 8, 2013

Inverted Living

We were deep in discussion in our "Helping Teens Become Adults" class at church...the awesomeness of the masculine and feminine expressions and how we can affirm identity in our kids. We were talking about the ideal of living from the inside-out when it dawned on me how easily we live backwards. Inverted living.

Ideally, we live from the truest things about ourselves. The core identity...the "who" of who we are. In terms of our position and relationship to God, concepts like "Abba's Child" reside here. Being the "beloved son" or the "precious daughter"...and all of the beautiful and uniquely human elements of "being" that the Father placed there in our designing. Hopefully, we live in such a way that our identity is something we bring TO our roles, responsibilities and relationships. That our identity brings definition to those places instead of those places defining us.

The problem is...the less-than-human tendency is to live inverted. To live from the outside-in. We can tend to use roles, relationships, jobs, etc. to meet core needs and hopefully give ourselves a sense of identity. I think of boy- or girl-crazy teens who are absolutely convinced that a relationship will mean they are "wanted", "loved", "important", etc. Certainly, positive experiences in those lesser realms (places where our passions can be expressed) can affirm things about who we are...but they should never breathe life to our identity. They should celebrate...not authenticate.

** Addition since first posting...Not all "outside-in" approaches are negative, by the way. We often use discipline and challenge to bring forth identity. But that's exactly the point...the purpose is to create a scenario that allows more of an inside-out way of living. To keep it as the sole pattern of living, not good. has me thinking. Evaluating inverted patterns to unleash true identity in terms of my own design. It also has me thinking about faith...and the sadness of inverted living that haunts people trapped in "religion" versus "relationship" with the Trinity. It's a far more limited life...outside of the wide open spaces of grace. Such a backwards flow makes people forget or never discover who God really made them to be...who God truly is too!

Oh, the joy...that could be.

International Day

I love other cultures. I think having a multi-cultural family has helped grow that appreciation. The history, the customs, traditions and values...the food!! Well, my job is also an outlet for my need for cultural exposure...many kids from all over the place (Kenya, Liberia, Ethiopia, Korea, Philippines, China, Russia, Mexico...). I love to celebrate them...and they love to be celebrated. Hence...they bring us food sometimes. YUM!!! Today, there's Liberian food on the menu. Spicey yumminess...and I ain't sharing. ;)

As a side...I notice some people who haven't had a ton of exposure to "people from other places" really have no idea how to react to the foods/customs of others. They tend to do the "EWW!" thing when they try their food, or they comment on how "WEIRD!" things are. Oh my...that's so offensive. Degrading something they love...who they are!!! aware and be polite! If you don't like it...don't broadcast it. In fact, if you have to communicate something, make it about how YOU can't handle spice or something like that. They have a reaction to our food by the way...way outside their "normal". My nieces (who come from Ethiopia) thought pizza was the most disgusting thing they'd ever seen...hehe.

Day Off's time. I was trying to figure out why I just can't get on top of everything lately. Am I sick? Am I stressed? Hmm...

My desk is a pile of to-do's, my home is like a bomb has gone off between church stuff, school stuff and spring cleaning in "halt" mode (why did I start that now??), my weekends have had more responsibilities than normal...and I still have a list a mile long of things to get done to run my life. Haha!...Now, I see why!!, I work like mad. Tomorrow...I pause and focus on me. :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013


“Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What's happened to the world?"

A great Shadow has departed," said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count.”  

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Probably one of the best quotes I've read...a perfect picture of the Gospel..."Everything sad is coming untrue." 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Clue to Who We Really Are

The Clue to Who We Really Are

We all share the same dilemma—we long for life and we're not sure where to find it. We wonder if we ever do find it, can we make it last? The longing for life within us seems incongruent with the life we find around us. What is available seems at times close to what we want, but never quite a fit. Our days come to us as a riddle, and the answers aren't handed out with our birth certificates. We must journey to find the life we prize. And the guide we have been given is the desire set deep within, the desire we often overlook or mistake for something else or even choose to ignore.
The greatest human tragedy is simply to give up the search. There is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life's journey, we simply must not, we cannot, abandon this desire. Gerald May writes in The Awakened Heart,
There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake . . . Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.
The clue as to who we really are and why we are here comes to us through our heart's desire.
An excerpt from

Mattingly's Moment

My physics class has been watching Apollo 13 this week...some "spy the physics" watching. I find myself so struck by the story of Ken Mattingly, the astronaut who was supposed to be on that mission but was cut because of a possible measles diagnosis. The exclusion was a horrible disappointment for him, and it turned out he never developed the illness. often do we stop our own stories right that moment where disappointment is consuming...?

When the catastrophe occurred with the Apollo mission, it was Ken his "grounded" state...who developed the plan to save the others. Without his disappointment, the others would have died.

The limitation led to heroism.

How many missed opportunities happen because we often choose to get lost in our losses??

Perhaps those disappointments are divine appointments...Hmm.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


Oh wow. Yet again...qualifier...I know not everyone loves what Bell thinks about faith and all that...but this clip on "wonder" is breath-taking. Oh my. So much hope...for so much more.

Clear the Noise

I found this on youtube (Focus) today along with some instruction to read 1 Kings 19. What a great reminder to stop and clear all the noise away to focus on God and the things He wants to share with you.


1 Kings 19

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I know, I know, I know. Not everyone enjoys Rob Bell. I love how he makes me think even if I'm not always on the same page. His Nooma videos are so well done. This particular topic comes up sometimes with my high school many questions, temptations, pressures. Bell's video is such a great reminder of how God's call to a life of standards is NOT because He's holding out on us...setting out to make life miserable!! Nooooo, He has His best of the best in mind for us!

 Hence...Flame. :)


To Do's vs. To Be's

Wow. This is a great article for so much more than the publishing issue. So good.

Temptations of Modern Christian Publishing

The Three "Feels" Of Sarah

I get a lot of heat from the intellectuals that I tend to use the word "feel" instead of "think". ;) It's not my fault!! Haha! I can't help my wiring...couldn't be more real for this girl! The bummer with the English language is that one word can have so many meanings...ex. "love" (I love my Mom, I love ice cream...?) So...because of the linguistic ambiguity (yep, big words), I think I should clarify my "feels".

#1...Physical "Feeling"

I'm extremely tactile. I literally could touch everything. 100% sensory. Sometimes I have to restrain myself because I could go off the deep end into "touchy". As such...must wait for right times. Haha! Give me satin, give me flower petals, give me sand...sigh...fabulous. Silk, backwards velvet, chalk...they'll elicit nausea. I can't help it!

#2...Emotional "Feeling"

I have powerful emotions. If I'm feeling's all the way...and then some. I pretty much cry daily...for happiness, sadness, anger, adorableness (new word). Oh times. ;) I blame my Dad...genetics. Haha! I've actually learned to love my emotions. I'm not driven by them, but I absolutely pay attention to them. Following them to where they are rooted in my heart...the deeper things...profoundly helpful to me.

#3...Spiritual "Feeling"

Seriously...this is as equally real as the other two. Sometimes, I experience it with one of the other two feelings. An emotion that's not mine...something of God's heart for someone...perhaps an intercessory expression. Hearing a sound, seeing a sight...that might not physically be there. (Haha!...Don't freak out!!...Yet.) It's like I bump into the eternity that truly envelopes our reality. The realer real. Other times, I've noticed a spiritual "feeling" that can be distinct from the others too. You know what it's like to feel like you are in someone's then look up...and see that it's true? I "feel" that way sometimes with God's gaze. I get the sense that He's looking at something, and I try to pay attention to His focus...on me, on someone or something else, a truth, a confirmation... It's a soulful "thickness"...sweet like chocolate, smooth like butter, tingly like goose's swimming in the deep waters. Definitely not perfect, yet...but like anything else, it's improving! :)

Before you go crazy with "she's nuts!"'s not just me!!! Haha! It's just a few of the many ways He interacts with us. Yep...even the intellectuals can be "feeling" Him too...just in their particular "booky" way. ;)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Women and Church

* First things first. I know this can be a hot topic in the church, so bringing it up will likely push some buttons. This blog is NOT a space to be rude with comments though. Nope, nope, nope. We discuss with respect. To not do so will trigger my inner tiger...won't be pretty. ;)

Women in leadership/ministry in the church. There you go...the issue I'm studying and praying about. Two reasons for the evaluation...a personal question and a focus for church as we look at who we want to be in the future. Good stuff.

To be honest, I haven't really felt the need to do much "defending", so I haven't done a ton of personal research. The discussion is great though, so I should probably brush up. Well, and it's always good to check in with God to see if I'm headed where He's leading. Beyond that, though, I'm convinced that I will never force the issue on profit in causing another to stumble.

Just for background...I've more fallen into my situation than set out to make it happen. Or, perhaps I should say that I really feel that I've been following God here...and my journey hasn't been wrought with much argument. It's really been "normal" from the beginning, I think. My Dad's notion of authority growing up was one of being a covering or protection so that my sister and I could become who God made us to be. He was our umbrella in the rain. (And I'm pretty sure Mom had her hand on that umbrella too...) :) He and my Mom showed us the world, provided us with relationship and discipline...and the rest is history. Several men also pushed me to be more than a Uncle John, my Uncle Tim, Mr. Sundstrom (Sunny, my science teacher) and my ragamuffin pastor Ryan. Similarly, that's been the approach to church by my Dad and the other elders...provided there's a sense of a particular gifting or "call" and there's no issue of integrity that could inhibit growth or perpetrate harm. As such, I like to think I've been given great investment in the context of community...for my whole life!!

** I know I'm going to hear it from some that I haven't mentioned notable women in my journey. Don't worry! I have tons of those too! It just seems the issue tends to revolve around the opposite genders a bit more. (Major kudos to my Mom, my sisters Joy, Debbie and Shell, Martha, Kitty, Coach Kelly, Ms. Bonnema (another science teacher) and on and on and on...)

Today...I speak at women's events and some kids' programs in other churches, in my church as a member of the sermon prep team and an occasional teacher/co-teacher for adult and teen classes, and in my job in a variety of capacities. I never set out to be in authority over anyone...and I still don't. In fact, I don't view my speaking as having authority over others. More like a sister speaking to my brothers and sisters. Some on the sermon prep team say that I have authority but that I'm also under authority...God's and theirs...thus permitting me my current opportunities. Others don't see the need for authority "over me" other than God's and instead expect a solid, humble partnership with others in leadership. Regardless...they keep mentoring me and releasing me.

I feel so grateful...and I want to be that kind of encourager to others. :)'s time to study up. I found this blog last night. I'm not sure that I'll agree with everything he proposes, but I love all of the Scripture he refers to. Now, I can dive into my Bible...and ask God for wisdom in interpretation.

Supporting Women in Ministry

Monday, April 1, 2013

One Breath...

Learning but Living

Lots to ponder these days. Great and challenging topics. God knows I certainly love to there's no topic I won't consider. Wow, it gets a bit more difficult when the topic at hand is related to something my heart values though. Not just "value" actually. More like...something that is a part of me. A passion. Whew!!! means a lot more is on the table than just a concept. It feels like my design and my dreams are laid out bare. Vulnerability 101.

Not that I'm upset by any means. The discussions are all very honorable. It's just pushing on deeper "buttons" for this girl...

So...God and I are taking some walks. Haha. It's a thing we do (and hopefully MN weather will start being more supportive of the ventures). He reminds me of who He is, and I can rest there. As a result, I fall more in love with Him every day. I am learning to recognize His delight more and more, and I don't want to be anywhere but in it.

Everyone has their Bibles out and is prayerfully considering position...myself included...but wow, I'm loving my identity time with Him. Helps steady the boat while God inevitably puts His glory on display.

Here's to open hearts and clearer vision.

And...hehe...I can't forget one of my life theme songs. :) I jump around to this on occasion...replacing "sun" with "Son"...powerful for me in the story God is writing in my life. Enjoy!