Patiently Ponder

I’ve never been good at pondering, until this summer. I have such a deep need to share my life with those close to me, while I can seem unmoved to those that aren’t. My closest friends know how to pray for me most of the time for I love to share stories of what is happening in my world.

This summer, however, I begin to store up treasures in my heart. I began to ponder. I held closely the stories and memories from my time at Lummi. As a result, they have become somewhat sacred to me. They are safely wrapped in my heart, the beautiful gifts that I unwrap and rewrap every day in prayer.

Mary, right after Jesus was born, did this very thing. It’s always been mysterious, the thought of pondering something only in my heart. Because I tend to verbally process things, I don’t always know how wonderful it is until I’ve talked it through, but there was something in me this summer that couldn’t do it. The fear that sharing something so deeply important to me to people who would not or could not understand seemed too painful of a place to go. I couldn’t bear to have these treasures cast quickly aside. So, I held onto the stories and tucked them deep inside my heart. They have become the very treasures that I cast before Jesus every day in prayer. For, He alone can fully protect, care for and love these people. He alone has made them precious to me.

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

That is, until today. Today, I took the risk and shared my greatest treasures with a group of friends. I told the stories that have impacted me the most from my Washington trip. I shared the depths of depravity and the reality of brokenness I see in this world. I shared the hope I have stored up in this earthen vessel.  I cried as my heartstrings begged to keep these treasures close and begged that they not be quickly cast aside, but they did not become less sacred. They multiplied.

When I look into the faces of my photographs, I see that they have been laid on other hearts now too. They can be brought to mind and more prayers can be ushered to the throne on their behalf and I’m grateful.

“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1Corinthians 9:23

I have been blessed this summer. My path has been redirected. I didn’t choose it, but it has chosen me. To be chosen and changed is a real treasure.

There are a handful plus people that better understand the ways in which my life has been affected and changed and I’m thankful to have shared the stories. I would share them again, but only if God asks it of me. For they have already been tucked back down into my heart where I will ponder them, to only freely opening them every day in prayer for they are sacred gifts to me.

Love God & Whoever He Puts In Front Of You.

” The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘Thank you.’ In between, the leader is a servant.” Max Depree

Beautiful Places

We lived in Washington state for almost three years. When it was time to get out of the Navy, I didn’t want to leave, ever. Jason completed his five years of active duty in July. We had some transition time as we settled in back home in Bloomington, Indiana. We left for South America that December. We hadn’t had children yet. I was excited to be back in full-time ministry and Jason was deciding that if he never saw another airplane in his life, he’d be happy. So, we went to serve others.

I bought this vase 16 years ago in Chile. It was the first and last mission trip that Jason and I did together. We were gone for 21 days encouraging a church plant in La Serena and then traveling 18 hours south to Pucon. It was a beautiful trip, beautiful people and a beautiful time together serving for Jason and me. 

Jason worked on a construction crew and I helped with worship and children’s ministry. We still throw our heads back in laughter from the stories of that trip. Most are related to poor language skills; especially on Jason’s part. The people there loved him even more for it. Those are precious memories that I hold very dear to my heart. 

I smiled as I pulled the vase out today. There are so many beautiful things that we would have missed had we stayed in Washington like I wanted. As I filled the vase with zinnias from Grandad’s seeds my gratitude deepened. We’ve got a lot of great stories, but it’s the people that have made this season of life back at home great, especially the years with our grandparents.

Next summer, Jason is hoping to travel with me back to Washington to help run the kids camp on the Lummi Nation Reservation. We’re trying to take our entire family. Once again, we will find ourselves serving beautiful people in a beautiful place making beautiful memories of serving together. I can hardly wait.

Love God & Whoever He Puts In Front Of You


Your limits shall set you free

When my girls were little, I would sneak into their rooms after they were fast asleep and promise to do better tomorrow. With tears streaming down my face, all the love, care, energy and sacrifice that I had given weren’t enough. I was never enough.

My entire life I’ve never felt like I was enough. Trying to leave the Lummi Nation this year after camp was excruciating for me. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay, forever. It’s a place where not being enough is as big as the mountains that surround it.

The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”: Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.” Proverbs 30:15-16 ESV

I sat on the back porch of the team house our last morning and was paralyzed.  I asked one of the team members to come out and talk to me. Through waves of emotion and exhaustion, I worked to put words to my desperation.  After lots of tears, we arrived at my root , “I need someone to tell me that I did all I could because that is the only way this is going to feel like enough.”

There’s that old adage, “Tell me to create something and I’ll stand still. Hand me a book of matches, string and tweezers and I’ll build you a shopping mall!”

The secret to being enough is boundaries.

One of my greatest breakthroughs in counseling was the truth that I have limits. How paradoxical that having limits and setting boundaries is what sets you free.

As a Christian, I struggle in serving this limitless God. I want to be available for all that He has for me. I don’t want to set limits because of Him, but setting limits because of me is actually quite different. Never feeling like I’m enough is constantly pushing me into a place of trying to be God.

Yesterday, I turned around, extended a hand with the “not enough menace” and we shook on it.

That constant whisper in my ear is telling a truth and an untruth. I will never be enough, not for my salvation or for anyone else’s salvation. I’ll never have enough clarity to rightly judge. I’ll never… and so on and so on.. What is not true is that I’m expected to be enough. For the love, that’s why Jesus came, right? His entire purpose was to be enough.

So, I sat down last night and I set limits. It was beautiful. All of a sudden, believing that I wasn’t enough turned into believing that my part in the power of Love is being enough.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28 ESV)

Set your boundaries! Explore within your limits! Believe! Always Love God And Whoever He Puts In Front Of You! Freedom awaits!

I Need You

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

I’ve been wrestling to find my words for a month now. I want to ask for your grace in advance, for they haven’t softened enough over the last four weeks. However, if I try to hold them back any longer, I truly fear falling apart, and it would be ugly.

There has been a rainbow in my sky for the last two days. God continues to remind me that He has a good plan and that He keeps His promises. I’ve needed these reminders for many reasons.

Our work truck needs to go in the shop. It has a blown head gasket and the estimate is $3,500 for the repairs. This is on the heels of the truck and tractor breaking down while I was away at Lummi. We had just started to recover financially from those repairs when the truck broke down again. We need this truck for Jason to be able to work. So, I started a prayer board with the girls listing the amount of money that we were short at the top. I told them, “Girls, we’ve got two weeks to see God provide the money we need for this truck.” Take 2/3 of your monthly income, that’s equal to how much extra we needed to see God provide. We watched as $10 came, then $20 and then another $10…

It’s been just over a week and the money is all here.

Our middle child exhaled tonight, “Wow, God really does provide.” What graces to see a great purpose in our trials.

I’ve been listening and watching people’s “needs” for the last month. “I need to get my nails done again this week because we’re going to ___ and they need to match.”, “I needed a Starbucks today because their new drink was irresistible.”  and today’s favorite, “I need to return my book because the cover is creased and it arrived a day after the release date.”

We have known need over the last six weeks. I haven’t sweated it too much. Do you want to know my secret?

There are people that I love that are hungry right now.

Can I please repeat that: There are people that I love that are hungry right now.

I hear these petty needs and my stomach drops. I cook my own family a healthy wonderful meal and I stare at my plate wishing that I could give it to… and I name their names and I see their faces and my heart breaks a little more for there are people I love who know need like I have never known.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18 ESV)

The last four weeks I have been learning to love in deed and in truth. My personal truth has been changed and I won’t ever be the same, at least I pray I won’t. I too have enjoyed trips to the spa, Starbucks and perfect books, but not anymore. They make me sad and they make the 2,300 miles between me and the Lummi feel like a million miles because there are people that I love there that are hungry tonight.

We’ve been saving our nickles and our dimes because we have a truck that needs repair. We’ve stayed faithful to tithing to the church and to our personal missions account. God has provided enough birthday cards to send to the camp kids this year. I have half the stamps, but it’s enough for today.

In this place, I feel the gap of need and see the weakness of my own faith, for He really does provide! I’m asking you to walk into this with me. You may not know their names or recognize their faces, but you know me. I feel the deep need to step in and help these children and families more than I can do on my own.

I have real opportunities to love who God has put in front of me, but I need your help. Please consider joining me. I have the details of needs listed on my go fund me page.

“I have received full payment and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:18-20 ESV)

Love God And Whoever He Puts In Front Of You

Sweet Sleep

Sweet Sleep

Today marks two weeks since I’ve been home from Washington. I had to grab the calendar and double check that because it seems like a lifetime ago. It’s actually a relief that it has not been so long. It’s easier to give myself grace and understanding for the heartache I’m still battling.

I’ve confided in a few friends that I’m waking up really sad every day. I literally wake up with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart. This morning I realized why.

I dream of Washington, the team and the Lummi people every single night.

We are at camp and in the mountains together. We’re having conversations about kids and life and the connections are so strong and seem so real.

I start every day with a new goodbye.

The truth is, I’m not sure I want it to stop.

This living in two places gig is something else. I put my head on the pillow and my sub-conscience begins to process the ideas that I still can’t seem to put into words. My longings take shape and I am there. Then I open my eyes to a different set of people that I love with all my heart. They are beautiful too.

I’ve read that the misery of the Christian life is to have 1 foot planted here on Earth and the other planted in heaven. I couldn’t agree more for I have yet to learn how to hold sorrow and joy at the same time. If life is a good teacher, then I’m a slow learner because this continues to be the demands of my days back here in Indiana.

I miss him. I really miss all of them.

I made the birthday cards today to send to the Lummi kids back in Washington. I actually ordered enough to use for all my birthday cards this year. I used the word CHOSEN as the theme for the cards. I have always referred to Colossians 3 as the “holy clothes” verses. So, I’m waking up from these dreams and trying to get dressed in these holy clothes.

I’m not sure how this works out. I just know that my capacity to love and my gratitude has deepened. I’m so thankful when I get to talk to one of the Lummi kids during the day or spend time with a team member. I’m thankful for the many blessings of my life here in Indiana and am looking for ways to send those blessings west any chance I get. I have no idea what God’s plan is, but I have today and the opportunity has not changed:

Love God And Whoever He Puts In Front Of You.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12-17 ESV)

Inspiring Isolation

Inspiring Isolation

I still have the text messages from a year ago. It’s all sorts of medical test results that I still don’t understand. Then comes the weeks leading up to my 40th birthday party that she helped coordinate from her sickbed. Finally, that dreaded last text. Her room number to the hospital where I would see her for the last time. I walked out knowing that was it.


We left on our out west adventure and she was on my mind. I sent her photos of the highlight of the day, but she never responded. I don’t know exactly when she started sleeping and not waking, but I wonder if those pictures caused her pain. Here I was out living life to the fullest and she was dying.


I too have felt the sting of the healthy and strong lately. It’s probably the only way I could look at those texts with my dying friend and see past the desire to just share my life with her. What I was also doing was not considering her. It’s isolating and hurtful to share one’s highs with someone who is in the depths of their lows. We do this all the time, one facebook status, one Instagram post, and one text at a time.
In fact, in our social media driven world, I think we’ve become numb to the other side of the screen. We’re used to throwing around our opinions and successes with a take it or leave it attitude. So when it comes to the one who is hurting, we’re so used to putting our best foot forward, we don’t realize the toes we’re stepping on, adding insult to pain.

In our places of pain, we too hurt those around us. In that hospital room, I brought my photo book from my recent mission trip and had all sorts of hilarious stories that I wanted to share. She didn’t want to hear it. Maybe she had the right.


Maybe pain and dying don’t make you perfect.

I know in those moments I wanted to share my life with her. I wanted her to share hers with me. Now, from a place of pain, I’ve begun to dig in a little more to the struggle of sharing our lives with one another. It’s true, there will be some unintended pain, but maybe we need to open our eyes to our own inconsideration.

A friend shared a painful story with me this week. She was unemployed and taking some time to really work on her life. During this time, her roomate became friends with her circle of friends and began going out to eat every weekend and some weekdays with everyone else. This left my friend at home alone, only to be met with all the great stories of the evening. Inconsiderate.

Then there’s competition. I’m all about inspiring others and being inspired, but there’s a fat line between inspiring someone and having someone run with your ideas in fear that you may become better than them in an area or fear that you might gain the affections of those around them. These friends are all about asking lots of questions with their measuring stick in one hand and their low self-esteem in the other. It’s painful to be left alone in the wake of your own ideas and relationships.

Invitations are a good place to start. An invitation goes a long way. We’ve stopped asking permission to share our lives with one another. Which has made us great talkers and poor listeners. It even feels awkward to roll play. “Can I tell you about my trip?” What if they say no? What if they give an artificial yes? It’s way more comfortable to just bulldoze our way through relationships. After all being heard is more rewarding than being considerate.

In the art of loving others well, we need to push through the awkward and become more aware of where people really are in their lives. Invite them to join you and ask for permission to join them. Considering others better than ourselves will help eliminate unnecessary pain. Self-care and listening for one’s own path will help minimize competitiveness. Let’s inspire togetherness and not isolation.

I wish I could ask my friend if I hurt her with my highlights. I would apologize and work to do better. I can honor her now, by working to do better with others.

Love God And Whoever He Puts In Front Of You.


Bury The Silence

Frannie Mae is dead. She was my great-aunt’s daughter. A dear sweet lady who had a bit of a juvenile mind. She was the one who sat by while her husband abused me day after day. I imagine that he was abusive towards her in some way. He probably preyed upon her childlike mind, but how would I know, I was only five.
What I do know is what Frannie Mae was supposed to be. She was supposed to be watching me, but she watched my parents walk out. Then watched me walk down the hallway to the last door on the left. The routine. She was supposed to protect me, but she had my handicap sister to care for and my brother to put in front of a tv set.
For twenty years, I lived with the thoughts that my parents knew about my abuse. One day, minutes after dropping me off, my mother had a bad feeling and turned the car around and busted through Fannie Mae’s front door yelling, “Where is Missy?” Frannie Mae pointed to the hallway and before she finished her directions, my mother was kicking in the door to find me sitting alone on the bed. She grabbed me and then my siblings and we never came back. My abuser never came back either. He disappeared into the night, never to be heard from again. My mom thought she had caught things in time. My dad did too.
Frannie Mae knew.
Twenty-five years later, I stood completely devastated and heartbroken at my Mamaw’s funeral. This precious woman who had loved me well was in heaven. There was nobody praying for me twice a day anymore. The place I had felt most seen was gone and I can’t remember when I’ve ever felt so alone in my life. A group of her close friends were talking when I walked by, they stopped me and began telling me everything about my life. They knew all sorts of things. “Your Mamaw talked about you all the time, the daughter she never had.” Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt the loss deepen. Then, Frannie Mae walked up to me and said, “Gary wasn’t very nice to you, was he?”
I was completely stunned. A whimpered, “No, he wasn’t.” was all I could get out.
Frannie Mae knew.
So, this weekend they will bury the only voice to twenty years of silence in my life. I would discuss counseling sessions with my parents in my mid-twenties, only to discover that they never knew about my abuse. A reality that I’ve never wrapped my mind around. All those years alone in a destructive pain with nobody to help me.
This is my Joseph story. Years of trial, mishap and hardship in my life with no power to change anything. Then, one day opportunity for freedom comes. You arise with a great capacity to love, a deep longing for community and an acute sensitivity to children as they struggle or suffer. Children are my Egyptians and God has stored up compassion, love and understanding for them here. Frannie Mae is the brothers who sold me into slavery. Tonight, I look at her and say, “What was meant for evil, God used for good.”
I forgive you.
I don’t know why she didn’t help me. I don’t need to know. I have the choice to live out of fear and condemnation, but I choose to live out of love and gratitude.
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6 ESV
My backyard is full of the laughter of my children this evening. I might be a little over protective of them, but better over than under. I vividly remember when my oldest turned six. I thought to myself, so this is what normal looks like. I’ve cherished all these years with them, they have helped heal that lonely child inside me. Tonight, it seems a little sweeter than normal. The generations of abuse that have happened to the women in my family stop here.
May the silence be buried in peace.
Love God & Whoever He Puts In Front Of You.