Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

With so much hype leading up to December 25th, it's always a let-down when the holiday festivities come to a rapid end. No more tinsel or bon bons, no more lights or "hustle and bustle", no more carols or mistletoe (boo).

The eve of the new year always brings a wave of nostalgia as we reminisce about the year gone by. For me, 2008 was an emotional one! This year I was in 3 weddings, sang at another, and positively sobbed my way through my BFFs "surprise" wedding in June. Standing beside some of my closest friends as they tied the knot was an amazing thing. One of them (Rachel) is now expecting a baby! In July I knew it was time to leave Fargo, but where to go? A long road trip in August brought me through Colorado Springs, where I met Steve! Four months have already gone by, and I'm positively crazy about this man.

Since it's been so long since I posted, here's a December recap. After finishing my nursing contract in Billings mid-December, I high-tailed it back to Fargo so I could spend the night with Sarah and Justin. The next day brought the first of many family Christmas celebrations, and the holidays were off to a great start. Two days were then spent snowed in with my family on the farm, enjoying the worst blizzard since 1997. We spent the day in our pajamas, playing games and making massive amounts of Christmas cookies. Even my dad got in on the frosting fun!! Then there was a flurry of lunches and sleep-overs with friends, seeing new babies and catching up. Somewhere during that week I got in a car accident... my "2nd annual". Hopefully the tradition will end there. Stupid ice!!! Steve FINALLY arrived on the 19th. We spent several days with my family and friends, then headed to Illinois (where he is from) on Christmas Eve. A candlelight service at his home church that night was a moment of peace amidst all of the hubbub. During the service the Lord reminded me of the reason we celebrate. So often I sing Christmas carols and neglect to actually ponder the words. But this year 'O Holy Night' caused tears to stream down my face.

"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
'til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth
A THRILL of HOPE, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night, when Christ was born

Truly He taught us to love on another
His law is LOVE and His Gospel is PEACE
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease"

These are not all the words, of course, but what beauty and wonder is captured in this song! Think of the thrill of the shepherds, who knew that the Savior of the world had just been born. Think of the hope of Mary and Joseph, as they held God's son in their arms. Here was the One to deliver them from sin!!! How rarely I fall on my knees in worship. Here is found the true reason for Christmas. It isn't Santa Claus, or buying things or even all of the time with family (though that is wonderful). The reason is Jesus! He was and continues to be the greatest gift the world will ever know.

Meeting Steve's family and playing with his nieces and nephews... Autumn, Caden, Kenzie and Nathaniel... was just awesome! Time passed too quickly and we didn't want to leave. But as quickly as it began, "poof", Christmas was gone. A highlight of our time in Illinois was when Steve took me to see the Broadway musical "Wicked" in Chicago. It was INCREDIBLE!!! If you ever get the chance to see it, you really must.

Anyway, as of a few days ago I am comfortably moved to Colorado Springs and have two roommates... Alecia and her dog, Opie. I'm enjoying time off and job hunting. I'll enjoy my time off a little bit more once I have a job nailed down... I think it will be soon, but time will tell.

At the brink of year's end, I am most thankful for the mercy of God in all things. Though I neglect Him, He continues to pursue me. Though I put my own needs before the needs of others far too often, He speaks gently to do better. He reminds me that He came not to be served, but to serve. My only "resolution" for 2009 is to fight for more of Him every single day.

"Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yeah Team World Vision!

In only 3 short years, Team World Vision has grown from 50 participants in 2006, 500 in 2007 and over 1000 in 2008!

Photo from the Death Run :)

Chicago Marathon 2008, originally uploaded by Team World Vision.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Steve turned 28 on the 24th, and I got to be in Colorado Springs to celebrate with him! It was fantastic (of course). Besides the obvious reason being in Colorado is so enjoyable, I also have loved getting to know Steve's friends. They are GREAT! I am planning to take a travel nursing position in Colorado Springs starting in January, and will move in with Alecia... with whom there is never a dull moment (right up my alley)! Being separated from family and friends for the last couple of months has taught me a lot about the beauty of fellowship. I need relationship. I need to love and be loved. I can't wait to have a roommate again and also a group of friends that gets together to watch football on Sundays, make meals for each other, encourage one another, laugh together and build each other up. And Steve and I will be in the same city at last!! It really can't come soon enough.

Steve loves superheroes:).

Pikes Peak at sunset!

Being swept away into a giant dust pan in front of the Denver Art Museum

Steve and Matthew's birthday party at Rock Bottom

Birthday cupcakes!

Oh Matthew:).

My soon-to-be roomie, Alecia

About to get ice cream...

Steve thinks he looks like Casper the ghost in this picture:)...

Josh and John's ice cream is the BEST!!!

Drawing me a picture with crayons...


Monday, October 27, 2008


I've been tagged by both Cassie and Liesl, so it's time for me to participate! I'm supposed to list seven random tidbits about myself. Hmm... here it goes!

1. Both of my thumbs are double jointed in two places. Truly! The result of this is that I can bend them both back in a very awkward way. This is my one and only stupid human trick.

2. I have been known to laugh, talk and yes... even walk... in my sleep.

3. I played the flute for 7 years when I was younger, and can still pick it up and play a decent tune. I noticed that Jen Price is a fellow flautist. Jen, we should really perform a duet at some point:)!!!

4. Though I hail from North Dakota, I've NEVER been to Canada. How is this possible?

5. When I was a little girl I was absolutely convinced that someday I would be an Olympic gymnast. The problem was, I was completely uncoordinated. Beth, Emma and Cassie can all affirm this. My gymnastics career lasted all of 6 months... but I must admit, I've secretly hoped since then that the needed skill would suddenly just arrive. Maybe 2012?!?

6. I've eaten worms, termites and many other "delicacies".

7. I love to climb trees!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Train yourself..."

I ran it for Chelsea. It was, after all, her first marathon and my fourth. When the going got tough she would need me to reassure her that she could do it. Right??? 26.2 miles later, Chelsea was dragging my dehydrated and completely shattered body across the finish line. I learned hard lessons on Sunday. That 4 hours and 48 minutes was the most excruciating of my life.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not train very well for this marathon. Oh, I had plenty of excuses for that. I just moved. I don't have time. I don't know where the good trails are. It's too hot. It's too cold. The air is too thin. I'm tired of running! My joints hurt. On and on. I also had plenty of reasons why, regardless of my lack of preparedness, I would run splendidly on race day. It's all mental. I'm still in pretty good shape. I just ran a half marathon in a good time. I know what to expect now. I'm skinnier than last year. I eat the right foods. On and on. Anything to keep from admitting that I just had not put in enough training runs.

What I was lacking in actual preparedness I was certainly not lacking in confidence! Oh brother. At the starting line I felt great and breezed through the first couple of miles only concerned about pacing ourselves so we could pick up speed at the end of the race. Around mile 3 my stomach started letting me know that all was not well, and by mile 5 I was just plain miserable. Thus began the battle. I had never experienced this before! Where was the runner's high? The feel of floating along with the cheering of the crowds? Today the throngs of people on the sidewalks were just plain irritating. Why was I running and they were watching? Why, oh why, wasn't I with them instead of with the crazy runners? At mile 6 I told Chelsea the truth: I felt completely horrible and frankly there was no way in the world I was going to be able to finish that race! I told her to run ahead and she said no. I told her again to go and run her best, but again she said no. She said we would make it, one mile at a time. By mile 10 I was dry heaving on the side of the road as we ran. This continued for about two miles, with nothing to show for it. I had felt so sick the first few miles that I wasn't drinking very much at the water stations. By the half-way point the sun was baking us, the temperature was in the mid-80s, and I was in big trouble. I realized that I had stopped sweating and was starting to feel very dizzy. At the next water station I forced myself to drink water and Gatorade to avoid collapsing, but damage had already been done. I had to hold on to Chelsea at one point and she was consistently asking me questions. "Do you need to sit? How are you feeling? I don't want to have to find a stretcher for you!" Sometimes she just continued on in a determined silence. I knew she had made up her mind that she was not only going to get herself to the end, but she was bringing me with her. What selflessness! We passed a med tent and I looked longingly inside at the several runners getting iced and being treated for dehydration. It looked like heaven and I wanted to join them. "We're going to finish," Chelsea said. I wanted to ask how she was doing but I just didn't have it in me. All I had was the occasional moan and grunt of... "AH, HOT." What a day.

Crossing the finish line I didn't have tears to cry. But Chelsea put her arm around me, a huge smile on her face and said, "We did it." Not only had we done it, but we only finished 18 minutes slower than our goal time! Not too bad considering the conditions. I thanked her over and over again for staying with me, and promised her a faster marathon next year. I promised I would train hard for that one, and I will keep that promise as long as my body allows me to do so!

Looking back from where I sit now I can see God's hand everywhere. He used that miserable Sunday to teach me some valuable lessons. Marathons are not the only thing that require training.

"Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Sometimes I hit the streets in life like I hit the streets of Chicago. I haven't been training. I'm overconfident in my "spirituality" and think I can follow God with excellence, even when He is far from my first priority. But that is a deception of the mind which allows me to grow sluggish in my pursuit of Him. Godliness does not come easily, and drawing near to God absolutely must be a priority that I simply cannot afford to brush away. The results of training to be godly are too valuable to miss.

Another lesson. At times in the past several years when I have faced crises of life and of faith, I've needed "Chelseas" to drag me along even when I've felt defeated. Even when I've wanted to throw in the towel. Friends and family have faithfully stood by me and said, "You're going to make it. Look to Jesus. I'm right here with you." Again I find myself in awe of this deep love, shown to me by so many, and wanting desperately to be that voice of loving endurance for others. That is, after all, what following Jesus is all about: loving Him and loving others selflessly.

After 48 hours the many blisters on my toes are starting to heal and my legs are not quite as sore. Steve came to see me yesterday during my short layover in Denver (so sweet!) and I managed to run from my gate to where he was with no problem:). I also met his sister, Cathleen, this weekend! She met me for the World Vision banquet on Saturday night, and it was fantastic getting to know her a little bit. What a sweetheart! It was SO nice that Josh and Sarah drove down from North Dakota as well. The final blessing of Chicago was getting to see a dear college friend, Sarah Johnson, for several hours before going to the airport. She and her husband moved to Chicago not long before I moved to Africa and it has been well over two years since I saw them. What true gifts from the Lord they have been to me over the years! The whole weekend was a blast and will be remembered fondly...

...all except Sunday morning. But from it I have learned.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's New?

Autumn is without question my favorite time of the year. When autumn comes around I will go more than a little out of my way to jump on crunchy-looking leaves, and I have been doing just that as much as possible for the past two weeks. This is the time when the trees radiate beauty and originality. They are tired of being green and instead burst into unique combinations of golds, yellows, oranges, browns, and reds. There is a crispness and a joy about autumn that is simply captivating. Thank You, God, for this. Another blissful reason to celebrate the arrival of fall is, of course, football season.

To this I raise the purple and gold and say with gusto, "GO VIKINGS". They may only be 2-3 thus far, but it's still early.

Tonight brings the arrival of a not-so-beloved season, winter. Tonight the wind is howling, a blizzard is forecasted, and I'm wondering if my flight to Chicago tomorrow will be delayed or not. Somehow marathon time is back! This time I will sheepishly admit that I have not trained as hard as I should have, but running with two friends will definitely keep me from stopping. Really I am only nervous about how much pain I will be in come Sunday afternoon. "Why do I keep putting myself through this?" I wonder. I can't explain it completely, but the rush of finishing is just so entirely worth the agony of getting there. I find many spiritual parallels while I run, and experience God in a very deep way. I simply cannot give that up. My brother and sister-in-law are driving down for the weekend thanks to some rain that is keeping them out of the fields. I know I should not be happy about the rain which slows harvest, but I will admit I am a selfish creature... so thankful for the rain I am. I can't wait to see my sibbys!!

Sarah Irish is now Sarah Moline!!! Two nights before the long-awaited event we lay in bed as we had done so many times before... talking. I read to Sarah one of our favorite Psalms and we rejoiced. We prayed. I cried (of course). We talked of this beautiful and mysterious thing called love. And finally we dozed off, delighted. God had heard our prayers and had blessed Sarah with Justin. Pictures from the wedding can be found by clicking the 'My Snappies' link. As for a newlywed update... it is wonderful to hear the joy in my friend's voice as she speaks about her new husband. All is well for the new Molines! For me one of the best parts of the weekend was having a very special someone fly in from Colorado to be my date for the wedding. More on that later in the post... :)

I am adjusting to life in Billings, although I must say that I'm still learning how to cope with days off.
They really can be incredibly lonely! My solution for this is simply to work as much as possible. St. Vincents NICU is really fantastic (yes, those really are light-up trees over the isolettes!!) and I just plain love being a NICU nurse.

For me it is a perfect combination of the tense, the calm, the chaotic and the humorous. One minute I can be rocking a baby to sleep and the next minute an alarm will send me running down the hall to a delivery. That is always a nice adrenaline rush at 3:45am! A few nights ago while I was changing her diaper a sweet little girl shot a stream of poo so far that it soiled a curtain 2 feet from her bed:). Nice shot!! She got a swift dunk in the tub and the rest of us got a good laugh. I love my coworkers. I love seeing babies grow from under a pound to 8 pound, healthy newborns who are going home. It's awesome getting to know the families of our babies, and helping them feel comfortable and bond with their premie. Yes, I love my job. It's not Africa but it's where God has me and I am thankful. He knows what He is doing and everything He does is good. There is so much peace in knowing that!

Hmm, while on the subject of God's sweet goodness, I think this would be a good time to introduce Steve:). Steve is... well... fantastic. I hesitate to try to explain him too much because I just wouldn't be able to do him justice. He is sweet, hilarious and loves Jesus to put it simply... and I could go on and on about the strength of his character and the way he embraces life. He makes me feel like the most special girl in the world. I don't deserve it, but you won't hear me complaining:)! Here are a few photos. Guaranteed he will be included in stories in future posts, so now you can get an idea of how adorable he is in advance:).

I don't know about anyone else, but this election business is really starting to drive me crazy. Still, I can't help but glue myself to the news and the debates and wonder what the decision will be come November. I watch as the rest of the world watches us... knowing full well that the person we elect will directly affect them too. It makes me sad the the #1 issue at the front of our minds is our own economy. The fact that we are having to tighten our belts a little bit is absolutely unthinkable to us as Americans, even to many of us who follow Christ. Yet we still are so slow to see the rest of the world who struggles... not with making mortgage payments or putting gas in their car because those things are unfathomable to most of our brothers and sisters around the globe. No, what many are thinking about his how they will feed their starving children. So I watch in the debates for signs that the candidates care about poverty. I listen to rally speeches where the chant is a resounding, "USA, USA, USA..." and think, hmm. As a citizen of the Kingdom of God that is not my chant. Indeed it cannot be if I truly want to follow Him. His chant is for the world... for the poor.

My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD ? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them." Psalm 35:10

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

I realize it is idealistic of me to expect a presidential candidate to seek good for all the countries of the world rather than just one country. But it is not idealistic to expect and pursue that as Christ's body. There is no time to lose, and it delights me straight to my bones as I watch so many of my brothers and sisters pursue that very thing. Take the Shervheims for example, who with 5 young children of their own recently adopted two eastern European little girls with Down Syndrome. Or the Kellers, on the road to adopting a child from Ethiopia and with the vision of helping 100+ families in the Fargo area to do the same. Or Collette, who recently stepped out in faith and purchased a home to be used as a haven for international students on the NDSU campus. Alone in a foreign country, at her home they find love and acceptance. And of course there are our brothers and sisters abroad, in countries of desperate need but full of people with incomprehensible resolve and endurance... and faith. I learned recently that Carlos and the team in Mozambique is expanding to two new, very needy communities. My heart swelled with joy at this news! I am so proud of my Mozambiquan brothers and sisters, as well as my Canadian, Irish, South African, English, Dutch, Zambian and American brothers and sisters who continue so diligently to love their neighbor as they love themselves throughout southern Africa. I am humbled and often shamed by their servant-hood... their selflessness. God bless you all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Folks, we are at T minus THREE days until Sarah-ki and Justin's wedding. I can't believe it. Yes, the tears are already flowing. Oh boy... someone hand me some tissues! I'm on my way to Fargo!!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lovely Colorado and New Home Montana

I made it! After putting 5500 miles on my trusty Impala and visiting 14 states, I am finally settled in Billings and working at St. Vincents Hospital. Colorado was amazing... I will refrain from elaborating at this point but I met some really great people there and had a fabulous time! A definite highlight was when Emma flew down for the weekend so that we could go to a LIVE taping of Adventures in Odyssey. We have both been fans of this radio show since we were kids, and you would have thought we were meeting the most famous people on the planet considering how excited we were about getting autographs!! Emma got to give Jimmy Barclay a hug, and I got to hear Eugene say "Greetings and salutations" face to face. Yes, it was a perfect day.

Ah Billings. The NICU here is great! I enjoy the nurses I will be working with and love my job as much as ever. The most difficult thing to get used to has been their computerized charting, but now that I'm adjusting it's really nice! As a travel nurse a fully-furnished apartment is provided by the company. Mine is much nicer than I would ever need, so I am very thankful for this blessing even while I feel guilty for living in such extravagance. Instead of focusing on the latter, I am praying that God would help me to use my little home to bless others. I'm reading 'The City of Joy' currently, and it will most definitely end up on my list of all-time favorites. The setting is Calcutta and it is a beautiful book.

Being in a new city has its pros and cons. My adventure-loving side is having a blast exploring and learning about my new stomping grounds. My people-loving side is just needing a hug. It's strange being in a place where not one single face is familiar! Struggling with this, I brought it to the Lord this morning. Isn't it crazy and wonderful how no matter where we are we can go into God's presence and find that we are... home. So, all is well.

Less than two weeks until Sarah and Justin's wedding! I plan on collecting as many hugs as I can from as many people as possible:).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This lone road-tripping is interesting to say the least. I'm used to having something to do and plenty of people to see every day and now I find myself... alone. It's good for me. Keith, AJ and Tyler were my three adventure pals the last couple of days, and they just left to head back to Texas. We had a great time! I did manage to do a face plant off my mountain bike yesterday and injure my arm. It hurts a lot... but considering I'm between health insurance I'm not too keen on the idea of going in for xrays. No bones are sticking out so I think it should heal nicely. Some nurse, right:)?!? The plan was to go white water kayaking today, but we were all too beat up and exhausted for that. Maybe next summer. I swung by the Grand Canyon on my way up here and it was GORGEOUS! I'll post some pictures of that soon. It's quite a hole in the ground.

With the boys gone, I'm feeling the silence. My job in Montana doesn't start until the 25th, and I can't move up there until the 22nd (the apartment opens for me then). Needless to say, I've still got a good amount of time to hang out in Colorado. Please send me any prayer requests that you may have... I'd be delighted to pray for you!

The midwifery school in the Philippines continues to excite me, and I've begun to think in that direction. Since it starts in August, it would give me another year to work and save money before making a two year move. If you want to check it out, the website it

I'll be on the road again today, so give me a call!

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Travels - Arizona

The drive to Phoenix was beautiful. I had purchased the soundtrack from my all-time favorite movie, "Once", and sat back to enjoy the view. Wandering along the Old West Scenic Highway I found myself gasping and blurting out "WAY TO GO GOD!!!" as mountains of rock and colors of sky converged solely to take my breath away. The most stunning places were always strategically located so that there was no place to pull over and take a picture, but I'm quite sure it couldn't have been captured on film anyway. Stepping out of the car at the end of the road I was blasted with heat that reminded me of Africa, and I was immediately thankful for air conditioning. Seeing Megan again is amazing. She has a depth, humor and honesty about her that both refreshes and challenges me. We made each other laugh late into the night until I, of course, fell asleep first. It's always special to be able to see a dear friend's home, meet their family and friends, and put images to stories that I've been hearing since we've known each other.

Today we talked again about future plans, about what "God's will" actually means, how to make our love for Him translate into more than an hour spent with Him in the mornings, and how fear so often prevents us from following Him recklessly. I mentioned midwifery school again and the resulting intense conflict between that desire and my longing to be back overseas. She calmly asked why I wasn't looking into midwifery schools abroad. Third world midwifery schools. That touched one of those deep fears I hold. I've always assumed that when I went back overseas for any length of time it would be with someone. That someone can't be Sarah, since she is getting married next month. To be perfectly and painfully honest, I've been holding onto a need to be in the States, even though I don't want to be. I've felt that it would be helpful if I gave God time to introduce me to someone fabulous who wants to follow God recklessly... together. But I can't hold that expectation, so I'll stop.

Already I've discovered a midwifery program in the Philippines that makes my heart beat faster. How will I know if it's right? Maybe I won't. But I can look at the passions and talents that God has given me and get clues. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the story of a master who entrusted his servants with talents of silver. Two of the servants took risks and the amount of talents they received were doubled. But a third servant was filled with fear. He didn't want to risk losing his talent, so he buried it and the master was very displeased. He took the third servant's talent away and gave it to the one who had risked the most. So should I sit around waiting for God to reveal His "perfect" location and school for me, or maybe what He wants for me more than anything is to take a risk. Stick my neck out a little bit. I'll be praying about that during my long drive to Durango, Colorado tomorrow!

A sign we saw in downtown Phoenix. AWESOME!!!

Megan at work!

Stuck in the boot.

Didn't quite make it in time!! :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Travels - North Dakota to New Mexico and everything in between.

I am seated at a tune-up shop in El Paso, Texas, just miles from the Mexico border. The past week has been full of randomness and wonder, and I am amazed by God. The interviews for California nursing jobs never did happen, since both positions were filled before I could even compete with them. No matter. When my siblings and I left for vacation in Texas, I had no idea where I'd end up. We made it to Kerrville just in time for Sarah's dad's 50th birthday party. It was such a raucous event that we secretly hoped the police would show up! I was delighted. After a day of rest (and a good amount of belly flops in the pool), eight of us "younger" people piled into two cars and headed to Big Bend for an overnight camping trip. Who knew such rugged beauty lived in Texas? We saw three tiny baby bears and their mama as we drove that night, and the most stunning starry sky I've seen in the Northern hemisphere. An obnoxious snorer in a nearby tent thwarted our sleeping efforts late into the night. This, however, was a very good thing as our bag of coal caught fire and we were still awake to put it out before things got ugly. During a long hike the next morning we met a different baby bear and its mama... directly in front of us on the trail! A strange mix of excitement and fear tingled all over me and I was thankful for the four men in our company all being 6'4 or taller. I could hide:) We also had the privilege of spotting a snake, a roadrunner, a jackrabbit (HUGE ears), and a deer. Not to mention a "mountain lion" that turned out to be a squirrel. It looked scary from a distance, trust me:).

It was time to go west even farther to Bloys Camp Meeting... an odd, once a year tradition that has been taking place since 1890. Sarah's descendants helped start it, and today 1200 people pack out tin cabins for a week of family time and rich tradition. The rules have been in place since the start and include such gems as "hold all applause during church services" (optional chapel was held three times a day) and "no taking photos on Sundays". I was thrilled with the whole rustic affair, from chasing the spiders out of our cabin at the beginning of the week to wiggling through hardly touched caves to hours of volleyball to sitting on the front porch watching my mom learn how to knit and listening to the men debate politics and religion. With hardly any cell phone service, the job search continued, and I was offered positions in Denver Colorado and Billings, Montana. I accepted Billings and start on August 25th. Yesterday my siblings flew home with my parents and I was left with my car, two weeks before starting my new position, and lots of country to be explored. While falling asleep last night with fiddlers in the background imploring Ol' Dan Tucker to "git oudda the way" I excitedly planned. Today I'm making my way to Phoenix to see my dear friend Megan. Just as soon as the kind mechanics here are finished prodding, filling, balancing and rotating, I'll be back on the road. 2500 miles and 6 states down, LOTS more to come!

Our cabin

Porch sitters!!!

Preparing myself to squeeze through a tiny hole into a very dark unknown.

If Keith can do it, I can do it!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


With bags nearly packed, possessions disbursed, and feeling chock-full of great memories from THREE going away parties thrown by my amazingly stunning friends... I'm ready to hit the road. The question is, where to? First to Texas for a week of vacation with my family. After that, I'm rather unsure. There is a high likelihood that I will be going to some city in California, but applying for travel nursing positions has not been nearly as seamless or simple as I thought it would be. Most hospitals want 2 years of NICU experience, which I don't have. Regardless, tomorrow I will have a phone interview that could land me a 13-week position either in San Diego or Modesto. If the interview doesn't go well, perhaps I'll just point the car in a direction and see where I end up. HA:). This is fun. I've been asked about a thousand times if I feel nervous at all, and I suppose I really should. But there's none of that. I have such a peace about leaving that even though I don't know where I'm going, it's ok. God knows where I will end up, and that's enough. But I would appreciate your prayers! I'll keep you posted as I travel.

"For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8-9

Monday, July 28, 2008


Something deep within me screams for beauty
Its appearance in the oddest of places
Suddenly with the coming of sun after rain
In Charlie's face... Charlie with down syndrome
Discovered today: a scrap of paper loaded with memories
Of a year past.
In church with a best friend on either side
Fighting tears at the safety of such a thing.
Her eleventh week of a longed-for pregnancy
The fear of it
The joy
Imagine little fingers and toes.
We need rain God!
Please send rain.
Leaving the grocery store:
"Can you spare some change?"
Startled. Rare here.
An empty wallet save for $3 and some change
Hardly anything
"Every little bit helps"... the response
What can anyone do except
Every little bit
As hard as possible
For Jesus.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tingly with Excitement!!!

The last week has been a crazy one... I put in my two weeks' notice at Meritcare (which was very difficult... I LOVE my coworkers) and began making preparations to leave Fargo. God has been challenging me in many ways regarding the 'stuff' I have accumulated, and teaching me to hold possessions very loosely. He is definitely asking me to "put my money where my mouth is" to borrow the phrase. I am trying earnestly to be obedient and the more I am, the more freedom and joy that I feel. All I really need is HIM! In early August my family is going camping in Texas, and I'll fly directly from there to California to take my first travel nursing assignment. It will be 8 weeks and a lot of work, but I'm excited!! Since travel nursing assignments are only 8 weeks, there will be plenty of amazing opportunities to travel... like the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in Africa in October!!! I'm seriously praying about doing that. The thought of being in Africa again gives me so many excited butterflies in my stomach that I've hardly been able to eat anything the past couple of days. I've kept in touch with several friends in South Africa who are part of an organization called Ten Thousand Homes ( and God is doing some amazingly sa-weet stuff. I'd like to visit them for a few days to check it out, then head up to Mozambique... where I am quite sure I left my heart. Maybe I'll find it and if I do, I'll let you know:).

Though I am excited about the news things on the horizon, the biggest challenge of leaving is saying goodbye to the amazing friendships I have here. God has blessed my socks off, that is for sure. I'll miss the coziness of having such dear friends so close at hand. The other day Isaac's babysitter was sick, so I got to hang out with him while Tiffany was at work. I'll miss things like that. We had a GREAT time! Here are some pics...

Does Jazz like Reeses Puffs?! Yup.

Isaac wanted to make sure that I got a picture with Jazz too:).

Here he wanted me to take a picture of Jazz's butt:). We laughed about that for a while.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Just moments ago, the news flashed onto CNN that Morgan Tsvangirai has formally withdrawn from Zimbabwe's race for President. The implications of this for the people of Zimbabwe cannot be fathomed. There will continue to be violence, especially towards the brave Zimbabweans who stuck out their necks to vote against current president Robert Mugabe's evil regime. There will continue to be hunger, with store shelves empty and inflation so out of control that residents remain unable to pay for anything that may be available. And I complain about the price of gas. Meanwhile, the rising price of oil affects so much more than those of us who are now forced to think twice about driving to Minneapolis for the weekend to do a little shopping (feeling sorry for me?). The world food shortage continues to increase, drastically affecting millions of lives. It is completely unacceptable that countless across the globe are starving. But what do I care? My stomach is pleasantly full.

Lately I have noticed the ease with which I can get swept up into materialism and the love of money. I see again and again that the cares of the world impact me at a much more alarming rate than the love of Christ in me seeks to impact the world. It's a simple thing for the radical love that blesses the poor, the meek, the merciful, and the peacemaker to be forgotten because it's completely unnatural apart from walking daily with Jesus. With a renewed understanding of my own selfishness and an intense desire for a holiness that sends this ugliness packing, I've been falling back down on my knees and asking God for ears that hear the cries of the hungry and the groans of the oppressed. I want to hear those voices more than the voices everywhere screaming that I "deserve" more... better... more... better... more... better. You get the idea. We all hear them.

So, I'm working on a new budgeting system that perhaps I could hold a little bit closer to Scripture without squirming as violently. I will soon be taking my first travel nursing position... destination currently unknown. Oh, and the Air Force? What was I thinking? As the date to sign the contract grew closer, the reservations began to well up in me to a boiling point. I was reminded by my wise dad what joining the Air Force would entail, and the gentle advice that even if the money looked good, perhaps this wasn't for me. He is so right. For one thing, how could I sign a contract that would own me completely for the next several years? There are more reasons, and ones closer to my heart... but I'll leave it at that. I'm excited to see how God will provide for graduate school. He will... I know it. And I also know that He will use those of us who have bread to provide it for others who need some. We are His hands and feet after all! I, for one, could stand to get a lot more concerned about feeding hungry crowds of 5000. Before performing a miracle, didn't Jesus first say to his disciples... "You give them something to eat." And what they had they gave to Him. Something to think about.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

No More...

"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." Psalm 10:17-18

At this time last year I was getting ready to go back to South Africa after several days in Nigeria. I have often considered that trip over the past year, and it continues to hold my heart firmly. On four different occasions I sat in brothels and listened to the stories of the women who live and work there. It left me feeling an urgent desire to do something, and a deep frustration at my limitations. That trip was definitely more for my benefit than the benefit of anyone in Nigeria. It certainly got me reading... I've researched sex trafficking, been shocked by its thriving existence all over the world, read books on the subject (I highly recommend 'Terrify No More' by Gary Haugen), prayed for the young girls and young women who are forced either physically or out of necessity to sell their bodies. The horror of this business... the darkness... the evil... cannot be fathomed by my limited mind. But I want to know. I've read about blank looks on the faces of 5-year-olds as undercover investigators are offered their services for a small fee. HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!? The idea haunts me. It keeps me awake at night. It makes me cry, but not enough. This is the kind of evil that must not make us simply pause and comment that it is a shame. This is the kind of evil that must make us stop in our tracks, evaluate the present course of our lives, and ask God if there is a cause greater than our own success and comfort that He would have us live and fight for. There must be hope for the poor. There must be hope for the orphan, the slave, the widow, the sex worker. There IS hope. Jesus brought hope, and said that if we believe in Him we must follow His example. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12
My friend, Andrew Ulasich, is currently living among the poor in Kathmandu, Nepal. I highly recommend his blog,
His writing is raw and real. Please pray for him.


Look closely at my Sarah-ki's left hand. Is that... could it be... maybe... YES!!!! This woman who I have shared incomparable amounts of time with... we have had our fingers up each other's noses (long story), shared wardrobes, slept side by side on a single mattress under a mosquito net, chased bugs with frying pans, laughed, cried, and everything in between. There are times when I think we share the same heart beat. And now, I have to give her to another!! Fortunately, Justin is amazing. He even took me ring shopping with him!!! Smart man. September 13th is the big day! I can't write too much about this one... it's such a strange mix of unbelievable joy and deep pain at needing to let Sarah take this next step without me. I can't experience this with her and that, for me, is hard. But I rejoice at this blessing from God! I have been praying for Sarah's future husband for a very long time, and am glad that he is (finally) here:).