It’s been a long time since I’ve written on this blog.  I’ve wanted to.  I’ve had exams, I’ve graduated, I’ve travelled, I’ve sung in an opera or two.   But what it all comes down to is that I just created a habit of not writing, and it snowballed.  But today, people from all over the globe are writing five-minute Friday posts in honor of Sara Frankl, and I saw no greater way to start writing here again than this.

I’ve always considered myself to be a person lacking in strength and courage.  I have many times pictured myself in tragic or painfully difficult situations, and I can easily see myself as the type of person who would sink into a deep depression or wallow in sadness or grief, with hope and strength as distant ideas to wish for, not courage-giving companions.

And then I started reading Sara’s blog.  Though it was just off and on, every time I read something she wrote, I felt the strength and the courage with which she lives each and every day.  I saw through her words on my screen the JOY that she chose and continues to choose.  There was such peace in her, even when she wrote about the hard stuff.  Through pain and dissapointment and the reworking and rewriting of dreams and hopes and goals, her one mantra, her one goal:

Choose Joy.

Through reading her blog, through seeing the lives she has touched, through soaking up the responses surrounding her going home, I am changed.  Sara, a person I’ve never met, a person who I will never meet, has changed me in so many unique ways that it’s hard to put words to it.

All I know to say is that I see now that there is a strength of the greatest kind that can be found, regardless of how tragic or unfair a situation may seem.  It is not a strength that comes from me, but from Him.  I can look ahead to any day–good, bad, or worse, and know that because it is not about me, but about Him, I can face anything.  I can choose Joy.  I will choose Joy.

I. Choose. Joy.

Thank you, Sara.  Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you in my life and in the lives of so many others.  I will cherish your words and all that mean, always.


learning to rest.

A few months ago, Landry and I made the decision to do an experiment.  For 365 days, we are keeping, as best as we can, the feasts and customs laid out by God in the Old Testament. Since then, we’ve kept a Biblically Kosher menu, and honored (or tried to honor) the Sabbath every Saturday.  We’re also committed to keeping the feasts, and we’ve had a blast.  I’ll share all the whys, whats, and hows for another post, but know that a LOT of thought went into our decision, and so far it’s been a really cool ride. One that’s free of condemnation and legalism, but full of joy and freedom.

But for now, let’s talk Sabbath.

It’s the 4th commandment, but the one that (for me) is the easiest to ignore.  Trying to live out a weekly Sabbath (or Shabbat) in a culture that seems to be ever going is truly one of the hardest things about this decision. Landry and I are busy people.  I’m in grad school and holding down the fort with our (awesome) youth group, while Landry works 3 jobs and is Associate Pastor at our church.  I feel like we’ve never had a “normal” week since we got married 5 years ago.  We have never had a time where we could come home from our day jobs, eat dinner, and be done for the rest of the evening.  At least 3-4 nights a week we are out of the house, at work, at church, at a required recital, at something that’s keeping us from striking a more healthy balance.  But for now, there aren’t really many options. It’s a lifestyle that’s as hard to live as it is to let go of.

And I’ll be honest. I’m a Martha. Big time.  I think I’ve been this way since birth. I try to do too many things, I’m too particular about certain things, and I can get myself worked up into such a tizzy that I feel overwhelmed by everything on my task list and eventually just shut down.

But God has asked me for one day. Just one day a week where I would stop. Be still. Listen. Honor. Know. Wait.

But Friday evening comes and I just can’t seem to get everything done in time, I get stressed out by the 24 hour period in which my school work, house work and errands will be ignored, and I then consider doing them all anyway.  I don’t yet know how to just rest.

But every week, it gets a little bit simpler.  Every Friday evening that we make the commitment to seek the Lord together for one whole day, literally laying aside everything else, I start to get it.  I don’t have words for this yet, but my spirit, if nothing else, is starting to grasp why this commandment was so important…is so important.

Shabbat Shalom, everyone.



It’s kind of a boring word.  No spark.  No “grabbing” power.  But it’s my one word for the new year.

I’ve been slow in putting it up because, well, it’s hard to come up with a word that fits a whole year’s worth of days I haven’t even seen.  And when this one word started stewing around in my brain, I was actually a little embarrassed that I didn’t come up with something more profound.  But I know it’s the word for me, so hear me out, friends:

I am a person who has a tendency to stagnate.  I sit.  I wait.  I am idle.  I do love activity…once I’m doing it…but I am easily contented to sit on my rear and do something less than or equal to absolutely nothing.  And this is not just in the physical sense.  My spiritual and emotional parts are pretty much mirror-images of this kind of nature.

And when it comes to taking action in my career and future, I’m stuck again.  I let fear of failure, fear of greatness, fear of the unknown step in and take their claim on territory that should be mine…if I’d only make my move.  I start things and I don’t finish them.  I grab hold of something I like and want to try, only to trade that out for another thing that I like and want to try…

I do a lot of dreaming.  A lot of goal-setting.  A lot of  wishing.  A lot of  hoping.  And amidst all the finger-crossing and breath-holding and thoughts of “one of these days”, I forget to take action on those things.

I want to do more planned activities with/for my youth group.  But I don’t.

I hope I’ll find success as a classical singer.  But I do nothing to get me there.

I dream of stepping out in my faith and doing the things that Jesus did.  But I sit in the boat.

If I don’t move, one day I’m going to look back and see a life full of “what ifs”.

And I’m not okay with that.  So over the next year, I’m going to move. I’m going to step out.  I’m going to do something.  Because no matter the hand that is dealt to me over the next 12 months, the responsibility to live abundantly is on me.

When I started this blog, I confessed to you that I had (have) a story to tell.  And ever since that moment, I’ve been working up the courage to tell it.

I don’t have that courage yet.

But what I do have–determination–might make a pretty good substitute.

You see, I’m naturally a guarded person.  Maybe a less-than-desirable childhood can do that to a person.  Over the years, however unintentionally, I began a habit of hiding thoughts, feelings, parts of me that were hard to face.  In plain terms, I put my heart on lock-down.

It has affected every relationship I have ever had.  And I never even knew. Until recently.  God has begun asking for the keys to my heart–all the little compartments, even the ones I’m not sure I understand.  Even the ones that are filthy.  And the ones whose contents make me wince in shame and heartache.

But God’s not phased by my filthy parts.

Or my ugly or confusing parts.  Or any of my parts.  And He has promised me that He will turn my darkness into light.  And I believe Him.

I have my eye on freedom.  And I surrender my story, my life to be used by Him. By finally opening up, I know that two things will happen:

  1. Light will fill the spaces where darkness once hid.
  2. It will be known to the world that what the enemy meant for my destruction, God will (and has) turned around and worked out for my good.

Though I am painfully lacking in courage, it is this intense determination–to be used by God, no matter what–that spurs me on.  The story I have to tell may belong to my history, but it does not define my future.  Nor is it who I am. Because I am not my story.  No, I am HIS.

I have an urgent prayer request.  I know I’ve been semi-vacant recently, but I am humbly asking you to lift up two hurting people.  The facts aren’t pretty and are often brutal, but still I ask you because I have seen this community rise up to pray for others, and I am confident that you will pray for this situation as well.

My older brother Sean is currently in a mental hospital, and, upon his release, will go to jail.  He does not know the Lord.

A little background:
For as long as I can remember, my brother has suffered from emotional issues that, like a cancer, have taken over almost every area of his life.  He was abandoned twice by his biological father, and my dad (not the same man) chose not to adopt my brother, only pouring salt in an already open wound.  When he was 5, he was sexually abused by a babysitter, and no amount of counseling or hospitalization has ever been able to truly help him.  I have personally seen the hurt in his eyes in response to various people in society who have disregarded him as “white-trash” or “a waste of human life”.  He has, on more than one occasion, made semi-superficial attempts to take his life.  He is intelligent, but tormented. Utterly tormented.

Here is where it gets (more) brutal.  As I said, the facts are far less than pretty, but I beg you to open your heart.

After my brother beat his pregnant girlfriend (badly), he attempted suicide by slicing through the main artery/vain in his wrists, and (after being treated by the ER) ripped the stitches out himself.

I don’t know many of the lesser details, but I know that he was sent to a mental hospital, and that both his girlfriend and their baby are doing fine.

Please pray for both of them (all three of them, really).  I know that there will be many of you who will find no reason to pray for someone who has it in them to beat a pregnant woman, but I beg you to see him not as a sick human being, but as a soul for whom the Lord died.  From what I understand his girlfriend is also not a Christian.  Pray for both of them to be filled with the love and peace of the Lord, that they will turn their hearts to Him, that they will seek His face, that He will have mercy on both of them, and remove the sickness that at this moment is winning out over their lives.  Pray for their safety.

Please pray.

my isaac

I’ve had voice trouble on and off for quite some time now.  About a year and a  half ago, it got worse.  Then it got better.  Then it got worse, and then better again.  And recently…worse.  Much worse.  And try as I might, I cannot fix it.  Not on my own.  I am (painfully) learning just how not in control I am.  If God will not heal me, then I am lost.

I get it that this may seem like small nuggets to you.  But to me it is huge.  As much as I’ve invested (physically, emotionally, monetarily) into this art of mine, fighting this battle for this long has proven to be one of the most emotionally trying things I have faced to date.  It’s hard even to put it into words.

I feel as if my dreams–the dreams I have always thought were God-breathed–are being stolen from me.  But not just once. Over and over again, until my heart is heavy and my spirit is weary.

I so wish I had half the faith of Abraham.  Despite how old his body was, he focused only on the promise God had given Him to be the father of many.  He ignored so many things that were against him, and chose to focus only on God and His word.

No distrust made him waiver concerning the promise of God.

No distrust.  He had his heart set on God and His promise.  And eventually he had Isaac, just as he hoped and expected.  But then God told him to sacrifice Isaac.  (Are you kidding me?!) And still, Abraham obeyed. (Again, I say…are you kidding me?!)

But Abraham trusted God’s heart.

He knew that God’s plans were far better than any dream He could have.

This gift that I have from God, I am now realizing, is not my god.  Like Abraham with Isaac, I must sacrifice my voice, my life, my livelihood on the altar. I don’t yet know exactly how to make a bonfire of my previous plans (as Alece’s heart-convicting post challenges me to do).

But when I have nothing tangible to set aflame, my heart struggles with the fullness of that decision.

Building my altar would mean building it to burn everything I have felt that God has built inside of me, that He, himself, has given me. I can only hope that what I think of as a “bonfire” altar will turn out to be more of an “Isaac” altar. But, if in the end, it’s still only a bonfire, I choose to love God more than my sacrifice.

If there’s one thing we can all bet on, it’s that I’m a terribly inconsistent blogger.  But I will tell you– though I haven’t been posting, I have been writing. A lot.  There’s a story that needs to be told, but I want to have all of my thoughts together before I let you see it. ;)

In other news, summer is here.


It’s my favorite time of year.  And it’s the one time of year where I get to eat watermelon in excess (or at all, really).  Seriously, I could eat a whole one.  Not those little sissy ones, either.  I’m talkin’ ’bout the hurt-your-back-from-carrying-it-out-the-store size.  Oh yeah.  So tasty.

[Insert terrible segue in 5, 4, 3, 2…]

Ya know, I bet Chuck Norris could eat a lot of watermelon!  [Told ya. Terrible.]

Speaking of good ol’ Chuck, some friends and I were sitting around telling some of our favorite Chuck Norrisisms.  Here are a few we came up with:

Chuck Norris covers his slip n’ slide with gravel.

Chuck Norris is the only person in the world who can win a game of Connect Four in only 3 moves.

Chuck Norris can blow bubbles with beef jerky.  (This one makes me laugh for sheer randomness)!

When the boogie man goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

What are some of your fave Chuck Norrisisms?  I need me a laugh today…or a “chuckle”.  HA! :)


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