Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ann tagged me. she did it. so i am forced to write something other than about the continent of africa folks, so there. i promise no crying.

my job is to think of 6 words or phrases that best describe me.

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six-word memoir.

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.

4. Tag five more blogs with links.

5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

so here we go..
Here are six words/phrases that best depict who I am:

1. dorky

2. intrigued

3. passionate

wow this is harder than it seems...

4. freedom seeker

5. adventurous

6. compassionate (i copied you on that one ann!)

seriously, how do you do this one?? i like quizzes better, by telling them that you prefer m&ms to mounds, they tell you that you are more likely to become a televangelist than to marry bob hope or something.'s hard to think of things about yourself..!

so don't you think that these girls should give it a whirl: natalie, shell, and cute pregnant girl, crazy cat girl, and beefy?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bourbon Street

Sometimes God takes me outside of my box to show me what is inside my heart. He never ceases to show me that He is so much bigger than I could ever think I am.
New Orleans is filled with His people.
Magicians, Fortune Tellers, Mimes, Artists, The Snake Man, The Religious Freak,
The Micheal Jackson Man, Dancers, Musicians, Young, Old, Black, White, Muslim

As a kid I was so very intimidated.
And yet, there is some weird sense of acceptance and community.
People weaving in and out, seeking, searching, being.
It's funny, in a city that is so very poor and in so many ways so very dark, there is some sense of freedom.

As a storm came, and the rain pounded down, I ran through the streets looking for our car.
Barefoot, through puddles, lost, yet so close to God.
Blinded as it beat down, my heart went out to this city.
I can not fathom clinging to my children, and the fear these people encountered. I can not imagine the winds and the rain. The hopelessness. The forgotten.

And yet, good, poor, rich, ugly, toothless, He knows each of them inside and out, not one insignificant to Him.
The beggars, the desperate, the players. Am I so different?
Do I love this crazy? Do I love His people? Do I live in Freedom?
Do I truly live?

Monday, April 28, 2008


after being gone, i have a billion posts to read and you would think that i would have something different to post about. but this one rips my heart out, i can't get past it.

i can't imagine saying good-bye. a mother so young, sons that needed their momma. could i ever be so strong? honestly, i feel as though i owe her something. i owe her my arms to wrap around her babies and say "she loved you, she adored you, you matter, you are a son of the Most High God."

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pearl of Africa

So our oldest daughter hijacked my blog and decided to become my comment posting fan. Nerd. Yesterday on our way home her nose was running and after many miles of the annoyance, and digging through my purse she said, "can't i just stick a tampon up it?" Oh child.

And so we had a good weekend. Beautiful weather. We visited a church in Independence MO, the pastor is a really great guy. He talked about the Jewish heritage that we as believers have been grafted into. Good stuff. Did you know that if you graft an apple tree branch onto an olive tree, the branch will bare both olives and apples. Cool eh? We met the pastor years ago at a retreat. He has really taught me that in order to live fully where God has intended you to, you have to be yourself. And so, he is really transparent and passionate.

The church was in an old warehouse. Which was really interesting in itself because it had a million or so garage doors down the side. But as i sat there, I found myself again, in Africa.
It occurred to me that Uganda is called the pearl of Africa.

From Wikipedia:
Natural pearls are nearly 100% nacre. It is thought that natural pearls form under a set of accidental conditions when a microscopic intruder or parasite enters a bivalve mollusk, and settles inside the shell. The mollusk, being irritated by the intruder, secretes the calcium carbonate substance called nacre to cover the irritant. This secretion process is repeated many times, thus producing a pearl. Natural pearls come in many shapes, with round ones being comparatively rare.

In other words, outwardly you have no idea that hidden in this shell. Something beautiful is formed from nothing, something that is priceless. Something this world in all it's power can not replicate.

I have wore a little fake pearl since a girls retreat last summer. We made them to symbolized the value and worth which we hold in God's eyes. How we so often sell ourselves out for things so much less than that value. How God takes our hurts and turns them into something glorious. The process is so much greater than the process.

What does God value? Can I pretend to know all the ways that he works within each of us, when even a simple clam is really a mystery? And yet I don't believe it coincidence that this invisible country is called the pearl of Africa.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It starts with One Life, Charles Mulli- This guy rocks.

uganda compassion child

Everyone laughs at their families right? Cause if you didn't laugh you'd go bananas. What's that book- Everyone's normal, until you get to know them.. I don't think it would take much more than a mere observation with my family.

This weekend we are going on a road trip to my aunt's. Which is kinda a sad trip cause she has her house on the market. Good memories there, watching my first Fredy Kreuger movie in my cousin's room, next to his pyramid of chew cans. And the kitchen; my aunt is a great cook. She always wears an apron. I don't even own an apron. (Maybe I wouldn't spill on my jammies.) Everyone else stays away when she and my mom cook together. They've called one anther "Skinny" for the past 60 years. Apparently, after seven children and lots of fried chicken, the childhood name has a sweet ring to it. So, from a distance you hear, "Skinny, would yah hand me that plate." "Skinny what are you doing with them..." "Skinny, Skinny...!" "Skinny" Well you understand. My aunt, odd duck, but I love her to pieces.

So guess it is going to be road trip month. Cause next week I am going to be headed 17 hours with my fam to Mississippi to my other aunt's. I really love the state. I remember stopping with my dad at a roadside stand for my first boiled peanuts. ((gag!!)) I love the fresh seafood, the sweet smiles, and the drawl, ya all. I have stair step photos of me in some really old tree at the gulf, and now my kids will to. But I haven' t been there since Katrina.

My aunt is celebrating her 80th birthday. When I was little, I thought she was mother Theresa. She went into the convent with missions on her heart. But somehow became a missionary in southern miss, as a teacher and social worker. When I was a kid she still wore a habit and she would take me along when she delivered meals to small shack like homes.

A handful of my cousins and aunts and uncles are all going to have big old party, mass included. Some of them I haven't seen for seven years, since our last family reunion. Lots of funny: funny haha, and funny peculiar.

And I am going to have to deal with my brother's stinky socks all weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


When I was 17, I accepted Jesus into my life. It was at a Billy Graham Crusade. DC Talk was there. I thought they were stupid. Mainly because I really didn't want to be there. Everything was stupid. Yet somehow I felt overcome by something way bigger than my messed up mind could comprehend. And I bawled and bawled and.. well you get it. I was in an even bigger mess than when I entered, but in such a cool way.

When I came home I listened to the tracks they had gave me and that encouraged me to start reading my bible. I had one. The benefit of living in America, I probably had a few copies. Yet I had only looked at the maps and looked up in the index weird and stupid stuff. So, I read John. And read it again. And again. And made lots of weird paintings about it, but that is something I'll have to go into another day. And then I put it down. Soon it was buried under piles of clothes.

Wait.. I am getting really long winded and I haven't even got close to the point of this whole thing.
Shorter version: I have always had a hard time being in the word of God. Even though I know that Jesus is the Word and hanging out and hearing from the God of all creation is really incredible. I struggle with discipline vs legalism. But I love the reading plan that our pastor introduced to our church. It's called soap journaling. It's simple, do-able, unites our church, and yet is directly mine. It's like God speaking directly to you each day of the week, vs through your pastor just once a week. Which is pretty cool really. And well I have found that I am just a whole bigger mess without it.

Anyhum, I am finally getting to my point. Here is what God showed me today:

S~ (Scripture)
Matthew 4:19 "Come, Follow me, " Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

O~ (Observation)
At this moment these two men were doing what they commonly did everyday. No one looked twice at their actions. Being a fisherman was a noble trade. It was predictable and stable. They could provide for their family. They lived the Jewish dream to some degree. They had freedom in worshiping their God and spending time with their loved ones. Aside from health insurance and a 410K, not much different than today. But very suddenly their entire lives changed. What made them go? From predictability to the uncertain and unplanned. From the ordinary to the unknown. From logical to illogical. They went from independence to trust and dependence. From fishing for this world to fishing for the kingdom of God. What type of glances did they get from the town folks as they walked away, conversing with their new friend?

A~ (Application)
What does this mean to me, in my life? It didn't say the men followed, yet packed their nets in their backpacks to catch them if this crazy idea didn't pan out. They didn't know what obstacles they would face or how safe their travels would be. They didn't know what land they would be traveling to or the things that God would lay before them. How scary is that? But they didn't even take a breathe to question Jesus. What did they really know of His path? Were they prepared? They had to abandon themselves fully. It was the life they had chosen or His. And yet they seemed anxious to go. They couldn't box in their new relationship into just a certain part of their lives. Is He God of my life or not?

P~ (Prayer)
Teach me how to be an authentic fisher of men, throwing away all my nets. Allowing only You to take over.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


You Are Clogs
You are a solid and down to earth person.
You seek – and almost always achieve – a really sound balance in your life.

You are stylish yet comfortable. Mellow but driven. Excited yet calm.
You are the perfect mesh of contradictions.

No matter what happens, you have the ability to stay well grounded in your life.
People know that they can truly depend on you.

You should live: In Europe

You should work: At a company dedicated to helping the world

See what you are!! Who writes these things anyway???? I don't know what those do-daddys are up top, sorry!

Monday, April 14, 2008

inside out.

In August, we normally go here. The kids frantically chase chickens and bunnies until they catch one, grasp onto it with all they have, until they are scratched to the point of drawing blood, leaving the poor animal plunging onto it's head. As another 50 children chase after the eye boggling thing. If one of our children happen to be successful in their pursuit, the new family member usually lives only a few days, our home means certain death.

In June, it will be our ten year anniversary. We have always talked about celebrating it here:

But basically God has spent the last year of our lives turning our hearts inside out. Literally.

Instead of chicken poop and warm ocean breezes, we are going to find ourselves HERE.

and perhaps soon after H

Which means lots of these:

Just when we think we have a road map, God takes us swerving off road.
No better place to be.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


This is Josh writing, so first of all a disclaimer: my beautiful wife is a much better writer than I. Here are seven random things about myself, many of them definitely wierd.

1. I hate lettuce. Whether it be in a salad or on a chicken sandwich, it just tastes like grass to me(yes, when I was about four I tried grass once).

2. I have dreamed of living a very different life for most of my life. When I was in third grade I wanted to be Amish. Fifth grade I dreamed of living in South America. By age 21 I figured I needed a barn and some cattle. Lately I find myself dreaming of traveling to remote churches in East Africa.

3. I love Nebraska football. I know, who doesn't, right? My grandparents were from there and my grandfather made sure I was brainwashed at a very young age. In fact, this was probably one of the only subjects my grandpa talked about. When he made his yearly trips to Lincoln, he would always bring back either a cap or a sweatshirt for me. I literally grew up watching the Power I and the Option run to perfection in Big Red's glory days. Long live Herbie the Husker!

4. I love nature. Trees, flowers, grass, creeks, mountains, animals, just all of God's creation. I love it especially when it is touched very little by man. The funny thing is that I like it untouched by man, but I want to be in it and touch it myself.

5. I enjoy public speaking. It gives me a great feeling, kind of like the feeling you get before a big sporting event that you are competing in. Strange, yes I know.

6. I used to have pet snakes. This does not seem strange to me, because snakes do not scare me, but the gross part is that I also had to keep and breed rats and mice to feed the snakes. One time the heater that heated the rats and mice went psycho and cranked up to like 140 degrees. You can about imagine the smell after a day of that. I also had to cut the teeth of the rats before feeding them to my snakes so they would not bite the snake while being strangled to death. Mmmm makes me hungry.

7. I like American Motors cars. I have owned a wide array of vehicles in my life, but none have been as fun and reliable as my AMC vehicles. I have owned several Javelins, three Gremlins, a Pacer, several Jeeps, and a slew of others. Melanie's favorite was my 1973 Ambassador four door-bronze with bronze interior.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hey guys! Andrea tagged me a meme, so here we go guys!!

1) link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog

2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird

3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by linking their names as well as links to their blog

4) let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

1. I love gravel roads. Love em. They are even better if I am barefoot and the grass is tall enough to pick and chew on. And then spit... like John Wayne. Well, I don't know if John Wayne spit a lot, but I guess spit like any good cowboy in any good old cowboy film. There is nothing like the sweet taste of green spit.

2. For the last few months almost every time I close my eyes I see black children. Some old, some young. Sometimes dancing. Mostly just their eyes starting back at me.

3. In high school everyone thought I was a druggie. I wore vintage clothes before it was normal and most of them had paint or clay on them from art class. More than once, I was called into the guidance counselor's office and nurse's office. I think they thought I was a mental case. Wait...

4. Really I was a tomboy. I grew up swimming in the cedar river (ew!) when I was way too little to do so! I would tube 12 hours to Waverly and be red with blisters for days. I rode horses, but didn't really know anything about them, except to hold on really really tight. Once I got bucked off when the horse was tied to a propane tank. Not good. In the summer (( instead of The W)) I swam in a green slimy cow tank. A few times I rode on cows, my favorite was number 5. It's still my favorite number. I have been "bit" by an electric fence dozens of times. It is lots of fun jumping from round bale to round bale. And not lots of fun falling through the ice when ice skating. The only elevator in my life had a wasp nest at the top. I got my first concussion when I accidentally rode my bike in the river. I tied myself to the trees across the road once, my protest lasted less than an hour.

5. Part of my childhood I spent at Pete & Shortys. ((where?, you ask..)) My dad would go to visit his family (smile) and he would buy me a soda, fruit stripes gum, and pull tabs to play. Usually I was lucky. The floors were dirt, so I would leave with black covered toes and stale smoke. There is nothing like the eyes of the people my dad invested in there. He never went to theological training, but yet loved people fully right where they were.

6. I hate the dentist. I know... I know strong mean words. I am sweating just typing the word....

7. Someday I know that I will be able to fly. I used to jump off my mailbox, rolling down the ditch, yet knowing one day my gifting would come. It will.

So I think that I am about the last person on this go around. Ok, so really I don't have any friends. But I will tag Josh, because he really wanted to do this blog thing with me, and hasn't!! And everyone else out there reading.. who doesn't blog!! Come on, you can' t be as crazy as me, so this would be a great first post. Or, first post in the past decade. We know who you are...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Gaurd Dog.

No worries here.

"i am fully equipped to handle lions and tigers and bears."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hands& Feet

I am seriously having one of those mental breakdown days. (( I am even using my shift button!)) I could very well be having a midlife crisis. Seriously folks. My dad died at 59, so this is very possible. I could be pregnant. Well, not really. But that would be fun. It could be from childhood suppressed memories. My brothers used to lock me in the broom closet. That left me pretty damaged. Wow, I feel like I am at a therapy session.

But, it's all about this folks.

And here.

And them.

Audio Adrenaline- Hands & Feet:
" We as the Church need to realize that we are supposed to be a part of the solution. God is not calling us to sit in a church building and pray that something might happen. He wants us to get out of the building and personally do something about the needs. As the people of God, we desperately need to re-imagine how we can mobilize our faith. We need to learn how to serve those around us and those in need. It is about putting ourselves out there and letting God show us where we need to be."
"It may sound trite, but it's profoundly true: As Christians we are the hands and feet of Jesus. We need to live what the Scriptures tell us to do- to love the lease and the helpless, to do something about he rampant poverty in this world. How many verses are there about taking care of those who are poor? How many verses are there about about standing up for justice in this world? Poverty is a moral issue."
"Much like the disciples, it would be easy for us to stand on the side of the impossible. It would be easy to see the needs and be overwhelmed with all that we are not able to do. But if anything is clear from the life of Jesus, it is this: The world of the impossible has been overthrown, and in its place a Kingdom of possibilities has invaded."

Monday, April 7, 2008

where's that easy button??

each year we've decided to evaluate our schooling decision. when our oldest was in kindergarten, this was such a huge debate in our minds. should we send her to school or home school her? we struggled back and forth with making a decision. .. to a point that the school system grew annoyed!!.. not to mention our families odd questions and critiques.

if only there could be a logical black and white answer. instructing your children in the way that they should go consists of this process: a) b) c) d)

we gathered advice, opinions, prayed. it seemed that everything circled around what God was calling specifically our family to do, even though it had been modeled incredibly each way in other's lives around us. sometimes there isn't a right or a wrong answer. both paths have difficulties and rewards to them.

i think it felt so good to just make a decision for first grade and to roll with it. and so we have found ourselves the past three years with a dining room full of books, papers and projects pasted to our walls, and fridays are labeled as spelling test day.

this spring God has prompted me to question why again that i have made the choice that i have. what is my purpose behind it and what is best for each of my children. i have grown comfortable in my decision, and changing from that scares the wits out of me!!

i have enjoyed these days so much. watching each of my children learn, the next moment passing their knowledge on to their younger siblings. i have enjoyed breaking the structure our culture often demands. of seeing first hand their weaknesses and strengths and experiencing them with them. but it has had it's struggles and sacrifices.

what does it mean though to be in the world and not of it? why can i so easily envision bringing my children into the center of another country but not in a school system in my little hometown? can i trust Him or is it what He has called us to do? what are God's purposes for them individually and what is He trying to show them?

ahh... does anyone else find themselves burdened with crazy questions??

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


in church on sunday new parents held their sweet little guy before the church and dedicated him back to the Lord. as the church prayed over the the precious little boy, one of our pastor reminded our congregation of their role in this little one's life. the privilege of being part of his family.

after coming to Jesus, at this is the same alter we held our third child before the Lord. God knowing that we knew so very little about this child in our arms. the little precious blond angel, the fiery little bundle she would become. how in her twos she would cut her hair every time it started to grow, how her heart pounded with each lipstick she found unattended. how she would cause me to question what i was made of, what was truly in my heart as i pour myself out on her. oh... and what is yet to come. what dreams He has instilled in her. what passions He will lay upon her strong mind and heart.

the commitment the congregation made as they raised their hands praying over her...they didn't know what they were in for!! this morning that commitment was tested. (i swear they wanted to scream, i take it back!!!) kicking her out of the nursery?? i think this morning they really wanted to. i would have.

but something came to me this afternoon as i cleaned up yellow modeling clay. in the crib, in the carpet. ((boredom during toddler nap time.)) i sucked up josh' wedding ring in the vac.. opps. then dug though the clay mixed with dirt, beads, cherrios, to find it. it was somewhere during this time that i realized what a dork i am.

i don't know what she'll do in her life. i don't know what mr. modeling clay will do. or about mr. toilet paper roll artist. or miss. burden for north korea. or even miss. i want to stay my baby forever. what does it mean to dedicate them, surrender them to the Lord? does it mean they will say the right things ((anything nice)) to the nursery workers? does it mean i can harbor them beside me in my safe little town? does it mean that i have any clue what God is doing in their hearts, in their lives? does it mean i know why she is the way she is? or really what a gift she is? or who she truly is? for it is God alone that knit her together.

there are so many approaches to parenting. but our kids don't seem to fit into a seven step formula to great children. and i don't even know if that's what our goal is. a friend of mine has a little boy who is autistic and she has shared with me her frustrations of when he has difficult moments in public. people don't realize the emotions and reasons why he behaves as he does.

but don't each of our children have their own moments of strengths and weaknesses? i sure do myself. so i guess i am in total surrender and dependence on Jesus. no matter where God calls this crazy family to on this round globe, in His arms is the only place i want to be. the only Father i seek, dedicating her and each of them to Him alone. for they are His alone.

i wanted to do an april fool's post:
"we are moving to africa."
..but i am still explaining the des moines situation. so i thought i better be all adult like and leave it alone.