"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." -- St. Augustine

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Faith Like a Child

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien
Faith. My pastor gave an amazing message yesterday morning on that subject. Based on Hebrews 11, he noted that the definition of faith today is vastly different than the definition 200 years ago. Faith today is all about feeling, all about emotion. Our faith is flimsy, dependent on the events and people that surround us. Faith according to Hebrews is "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." In that context, one can argue the idea that faith is not about feeling or emotion, because with this kind of faith we have no attachment or connection to the object of our faith outside of trusting and believing the God of the universe cares. As Jason Ostrander put it, "We serve the God who spins galaxies on one hand, but on the other, is intimately concerned about our afternoon." It is incredible how much faith it takes to believe that the God who created the universe, who molded the stars and put the planets in motion, is so concerned about our small problems.

I read a book titled, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Frank Turek. It was one of the most challenging reads of my life and really spoke on how much more faith it requires to believe in the non-existence of God than it takes for us to believe in the existence of God. Do we really exercise that faith though? Jesus constantly referenced faith in the Bible as childlike. Children constantly have faith in their parents that they will do what's best for them, that they'll give them the food they need. Children also have amazing faith in the Lord. I've heard countless stories of the most impossible situations imaginable and a child giving the most profound, trusting and believing answer that God will heal or provide. We practice faith everyday in the world around us. We exercise faith that when we turn on a light switch, the light will come on. We exercise faith when we sit down in the chair to eat dinner, it will support us. We exercise faith that when the stoplight turns red, the other cars will stop as you proceed through the intersection. All small amounts of faith required for the littlest things in our lives.

As we proceed into 2011, I find myself asking the question -- do I have childlike faith? Do I have that kind of faith that says even when the road darkens, I will not abandon my course? Entering 2011, I pray that I have the kind of faith that always believes, always hopes, and always trusts. "Hope does not disappoint us." We may doubt, but when doubt gets in the way of our faith and hope, it is then the problem arises.

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." --Oswald Chambers

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Opportunities, and a New Roller Coaster

It's January 1, 2011. This new year brings new opportunities as well as new chances to better myself in keeping this blog up to date. I must admit, I am not the best at staying on top of this little technological journal of sorts, but one of my New Years resolutions is to be better at it.

I found myself last night mulling over the past year. I shook my head as I realized how different this year is starting than last year. If I could describe this past year using some sort of metaphor, I would have to use the idea of a roller coaster. I love roller coasters. I love the ominous click, click, click as the cars climb higher and higher up the track drawing closer and closer to the top before the seemingly endless free-fall from the top. The plummet from the top always leaves me breathless, heart-racing, but screaming for more. Terrified does not even cover the emotion as I feel my body pushing against the straps and bars which are the only thing keeping me inside the little metal box I'm flying around the track on. However, along with that terror, I must admit I'm a little bit of a thrill junkie. I love the roller coasters that throw its victims in all sorts of directions and then start them on the slow climb to the top. Once at the top, it drops a short drop before evening out only to psych the riders out throwing down a total almost 90 degree free-fall. As the riders look around them, everything is a blur except for what is ahead.

I sat last night considering the past year. A year ago, I was packing up ready to head back to Minnesota to see my boyfriend. I had strapped myself into the 2010 roller coaster and little did I know the ominous click, click, click had started. I didn't see the free-fall ahead, but only focused on the view from the climb up. I believe John Mayer said it best in his song "Heartbreak Warfare" -- "How come the only way to know how high you get me is to see how far I fall." I reached the top only a short month into 2010, and plummeted into a death-defying free-fall. Looking back, I don't think I thought the plummet would ever end, but just as I reached the bottom, things evened out for a while. I spent the end of my semester enjoying friends and trying to see what was ahead for me, trying to forget what was behind. Granted I had a few ups and downs in between, but I survived my freshman year of college.

I spent the summer living in Minnesota (see "It Became Home") and loved every minute of it. It was during the first month living away from home the second set of click, click, click started, only this time I was some-what prepared. I hopped on a plane and jetted off to Sibiu, Romania for two weeks with my best friend. The first part of the inevitable free-fall left me breathless. Things I hadn't dealt with came screaming back at me as I plummeted toward the bottom which came sooner than I thought. After spending the first week of the trip letting God deal with me, I climbed to the top once again and then actually enjoyed the third major plunge to the bottom, loving on dozens of orphans and under-privileged girls. As I pulled out of the free-fall, I found myself laughing with a smile plastered on my face as I screamed, "again! again!"

The summer finished with no major incidents, it just flew by with a few ups and downs to keep things interesting. I arrived back on my beloved campus of Crown for Welcome Weekend, which was a joy. It was during that time I also decided to go back out for soccer. Click, click, click -- the sound I failed to hear as I jumped head first into the semester. POP -- the sound will forever be ingrained in my memory. On September 1, my competitive soccer career was laid to rest as I tore my ACL in my first soccer game, 12 seconds in (my only competition to better that record might be Chad Greenway of the Vikings his first season, but that's another story...). I spent the season on the bench and on crutches. I had surgery on October 14 and since then, it's been a slow climb to the top. Rehab, homework, work and other assorted things have kept me busy and anticipating the next God-filled free-fall.

No matter what happened. God seemed to be right there with me during the free-fall. He sat next to me, laughing, crying, holding my hand as I wished for the end of the ride. Every part of this past year has been a blessing. The friends I made, the relationships I built, the love and loss I felt, it was all part of His grand plan. As I strap myself into the 2011 roller coaster, I am looking forward to the first plummet, knowing He'll stand right by me as I take the plunge into His will again and again.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It Became Home

I must admit. I never thought Minnesota would feel like home. I'm a South Dakota girl at heart and I never thought I'd see Minnesota as anything more than a place to live. The place where my school was located. A place to be nine months (which turned this year into about eleven months) out of the year. As I reflect, Minnesota has become my home. I meander into St. Boni or Waconia and I usually will see people I recognize. I typically have the towns surrounding Crown memorized so I know where to meet people which has become especially nice. I have the geography of the area mapped out pretty well in my head. I can differentiate between the multiple 94s (394, 494, 694) and I-94. :) I have no qualms about city driving... if only I had known I would be doing rush hour in Minneapolis without blinking when I first started driving in high school. I would've laughed at myself. Granted, I still am terrible at parallel parking but that's what they invented parking ramps for. ;) Walmart became Target with Walmart being in the "ghetto" part of town. I traded my job as a waitress and a tour guide to be a full-time nanny and full-time housekeeper. I traded my huge room at home for a dorm room (for the school year) and a smaller room in a home with 4 other kids under the age of 11 (for the summer). Somewhere between the traffic jams, quaint little towns like Excelsior, and the community of Crown and Westwood Community Church, I fell in love with Minnesota.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


So apparently, I'm terrible at keeping a blog. Sigh. I just promised myself I would be better at it... because I am away from home for the summer and this is a good link to home. I really should summarize my year at Crown.

  • Lifelight - went home after a soccer game to go for one day of concerts. Epicness x 10.
  • Classes - took Dr. Ratledge's Critical Thinking and Writing class and got owned. Every. Single. Morning. Took a variety of other classes as well.
  • Friends - made lots of new friends and reconnected with old ones
  • Injury - got hurt during the beginning of the season. Had to have an MRI (not a cheap thing I might add) and found out there was apparently nothing wrong. Frustrating to say the least when the pain was apparently unexplainable. In short... I sat like almost a month out. Coming back was NOT easy. But the joy of the Lord was my strength and I pushed through.
  • Boy - started hanging out with a guy who I had actually met last year. He was hurt during the soccer season as was I (see above) so it was fun having someone to relate with.
  • Parents Visit - first time I had seen my family since Lifelight. They came up for a soccer game in the freeeeeeezing cold.
  • Soccer in the Snow - October saw lots of early snow. Actually played a couple games where they had to shovel the lines. It was fabulous. Ha. :)
  • First Boyfriend - well... that boy I hung out with became a little more than just a boy. Insert friend after and that's what it was. I was pretty excited about life in general.
  • MELTDOWN - I had an emotional meltdown towards the end of October... sigh. Homework had piled up, I was frustrated with being hurt and no answer found, I was stressed beyond compare. Thank goodness for friends to stick by me through and through.
  • END of Soccer Season - I learned so much playing soccer this year. I don't think I regret playing at all. I learned a lot about friends, soccer and life. I'm gonna miss the girls next year so much. I know I'll still get to see them but it's still a little hard.
  • Thanksgiving - got to go home for Thanksgiving. Best time ever. So fun. Drove a friend of a friend from back home back to SD so that was a challenge too.... airport on the day before Thanksgiving = INSANITY.
  • Papers - I had a monstrocity of papers due this year. My largest one was due in early December for Dr. Ratledge's class.... I had decided I wanted to write on Leo Tolstoy one of my favorite authors. However, what I did not know is that his seemingly bi-polarness (swinging in his view on something from one extreme to the other every other year it seemed) was going to cause me fits. However, two months of slaving over that paper later and my first 15 page college paper was complete.
  • Finals - Finished my first round of college finals :)
  • No Longer a Freshman - I brought in 12 credits which meant that at the end of first semester I had enough credits to be a Sophomore with all the rights and privileges (sooner times to sign up for classes, more class options and who can forget the "better" meal plan)
  • Headed Home - brought Austin home for a few days which was so much fun. I enjoyed getting to have him around my family and just spend a few days at the place I called home.
January (A Month of Extremes):
  • Sub-zero - The temps in early January were sub-zero. I went back early to MN to see Austin and his family and on the day I returned, I'm pretty sure the temps were -25 when I left home.
  • Ice Skating - I swore I would never learn to skate. EVER. Ha. Was I ever wrong. Within a couple days of me being back in MN, Austin had me in skates and on the ice in his backyard. And I must admit... I love it. I skate so much now. Bought a pair of skates in late January and skated every night the entire month of February.
  • Classes - started with a full 18 credit load. Lots to do. Very very busy.
  • Broken Wrist - played hockey with Austin's family and fell on my wrist. Didn't think I did too much to it but went in for x-rays anyway after it still wasn't feeling well. Found out I had chipped the bone in my wrist and had to wear a cast/splint for four weeks.
  • Heartbreak - dealt with my first breakup at the end of January. Not easy but looking back, I can see God walked with me through it.
  • Blur - under a lot of emotional, spiritual, and physical stress, February was a little bit of a blur.
  • Deeper Life Conference - sometimes it becomes more obvious that God knows what we need. Deeper Life was amazing this year and at the time I needed to hear from God the most.
  • Westwood BOOST - started working with Laura (another Crownie) with her small group of 8th grade girls at Westwood. God used these girls to help fill a needed gap for ministry in my life. I love these girls and I cannot wait for next fall!
  • ROMANIA - started planning for my mission trip this summer to Romania. I'm so excited to go and I am thrilled that I am able to return to Eastern Europe again!
  • Reawakening - my passion and zeal for the Lord was reawakened in March through a series of events that just helped me fall even more in love with Jesus Christ
  • Spring Break - much needed mental vacation. Went home and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. Sydney came home on the weekend before I was leaving and we had an awesome time hanging out together.
  • Easter Break - went home for Easter and helped backstage with the Easter Cantata at church. Great mental break to recharge before the final weeks of school.
  • Last weeks of classes - the weather warmed up and many classes were spent outside (particularly my Honors Lit class which was notorious for going outside even if the ground was a little damp). Got burned/tan a few times sitting in the warm April sun. :)
  • Honors Math Component - for the last few weeks of April, I slaved over a 15 page paper on Math. Yes. Math. :) But it's done so that makes me very happy. :) Taught me a bit of endurance.
  • End of BOOST - sadly, BOOST ended for the school year. I learned so much from my girls in the short few months I got to spend with them. Rachel (who sometimes was the only one there) taught me so much about life in general and we spent many nights when it was just the two of us just talking about the things of the Lord or about nothing at all :) The other girls were just as much of a blessing. I miss them so much already.
  • Finals - finished my finals for my Freshman/Sophomore year.
  • Moving Out/Moving In - moved in with a family from Westwood after moving out of my dorm at Crown. I'm working in MN for the summer and this family was gracious enough to open their home to me.
  • Summer Classes - I'm taking two summer classes, Apologetics and Honors Ethics, which are simply two weeks of class each. Its stressful and a lot of work but I've been enjoying it so far. :)
  • Countdown for Romania - just bought tickets to officially go to Romania leaving June 18. I'm so excited!
Well... that was a snapshot of my Freshman year at Crown. Hope that caught you up and that you learned something you may not have known. Now I can write about the here and now from here on out. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roomies = Laughter, Love, Friendship

As I reflect on these past two weeks, I am SO BLESSED. I have three of the most amazing roommates a girl could ask for. ONE... we all go to sleep at around the same time. If one is still studying, she's respectful of the rest falling asleep. This is a good thing. I DO NOT function well on little sleep so it's a blessing not having a roommate who is incredibly loud walking in at 3 AM. TWO... my roommates and I have the funniest conversations at the most random times. We got into a theological discussion the other night about the Old Testament at like 11:30. It was so funny. We all ended up in fits of laughter. Tonight, Christina and I were talking about our love for Jane Austen and how much we love her books, the movies, and of course who could forget James McAvoy in Becoming Jane. :) And then we started getting goofy.... strange things come out of my mouth when I'm tired and with good friends.

Tomorrow morning I have a doctor appointment for my ankle. Jess, my trainer, isn't happy with how it hasn't been getting better. So hopefully we'll get this figured out and I can play ASAP. I miss playing. I haven't played soccer in over a week so I'm ready to start again. All in all, I love Crown College. I love everything about this school. I love the people. I love the profs. I love my friends. :) God has truly blessed me not only with my roommates but also with my team.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The College Experience.... Begins

Well, hello all from Crown College in the itty bitty town of St. Bonifacius, MN. It's 10:43 at night as I begin typing this. Two of my roommates are in the room but soon to be leaving to finish a movie. My third roommate is off celebrating a four month anniversary with her boyfriend.... so I probably won't see her til tomorrow morning. These past few weeks have FLOWN by. It seems like ages ago that I was in Wyoming with Jake and Sydney. It seems like forever ago that I got to spend a night in Minneapolis with my girls, learning a little more swing. It seems like a while ago that soccer training camp started. It seems like just yesterday that classes started. I'm already a week into my classes. I'm loving the challenge of college - Critical Thinking is by far the greatest and most stressful challenge. Dr. Ratledge (my prof for Critical Thinking... an honors class) is a brilliant man... almost to the level of Doc from Summit.... buuuuttt not quite.

I must say.... it was amazing getting to campus and seeing a few familiar faces and by the time training camp was over having a few amazing friends already! By the time all the freshmen came, my roommate Jenna (who was also in pre-season sports training) and I felt like pros. Neither of us got to do welcome weekend stuff but frankly I'm kinda glad. We really felt like it wasn't for us. We had been there almost a week alredy and had learned the ropes.... by ourselves. It was kind of amusing watching some of the freshmen wander around like lost puppies with very dazed and confused looks on their faces. I am proud to admit I have NOT taken the wrong staircase up to the freshman guys wing in Main yet which is VERY easy to do if you aren't paying attention.

I am currently taking the following classes:

Consumer Math on Mondays..... 8 AM
- This class is death by math every Monday morning ridiculously early. Too early to be doing math in my opinion.
Mission in Perspective on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.... 1 PM
- This is my personal favorite. I LOVE this class. It makes me excited for what God has in store for me!! I love my prof as well.
Critical Thinking on Tuesday and Thursday.... 8 AM
- Yet another class which is death by brain overuse far too early in the morning. If you walk by E113 during this class period, there probably is smoke coming out from under the door from all the brain activity within the room.
Psychology on Tuesday and Thursday.... 10:50 AM
- My prof for this class is CRRRRRAAAAAZZZYYY. But really.. crazy cool. She's amazing. Retired missionary who turned prof. Fabulous insights. Easy to remember and fun to learn with.
New Testament History on Tuesday and Thursday.... 1 PM
- Pretty fun class actually. An easy 'A' but still fun.

Soccer has been challenging. VERY challenging. I had monster punishment for not making the times for the fitness testing which was slightly frustrating as I busted my butt all summer prepping for these tests. BUT I made it through training camp week which was full of two physical practices a day and one class time at night. It was WET and humid but thankfully not too hot. Near the tail end of the week, my ankle started to bother me. Kind of a dull ache. Nothing I was too concerned about - I figured I had just twisted it wrong or something. WRONG. What I thought was nothing has now turned into something painful and annoying. Something that has not allowed me to play in one single game yet. A tendon in my foot I didn't even know existed has flared up.... very painful and sore. I can't run on it. I ice it every night. It still isn't getting better. I know I need to be patient but it's so hard. Be praying for me.

Well.... it's after 11 and I've been doing well on getting to bed at a decent time every night. My roommates are all back so I'm thinking it's time for me to hit the sack as well. G'night all from Minnesota.

BTW..... www.crown.edu

Sunday, August 9, 2009


As I sat tonight flipping through my best friend's photos from her recent mission trip to Ukraine, I suddenly realized how much I truly missed Russia. How much I missed culture. How much I missed outreach. How much I missed the life God has called me to. I honestly started to cry as I was simply reflecting and wishing I could have been over there with her.... ministering, loving on, and interacting with the Europeans yet again. In a conversation I had tonight with a friend, I said simply that Europe has always had a special place in my heart. When talking about missions and where to go, people often mention China or the Middle East... because they assume since Christianity began on European soil that Europe is completely Christian. This presupposition is incredibly false... while yes, Christianity did begin in Europe..... Europe today is VERY post-modern and VERY post-Christian. Agnosticism and Atheism rates are incredibly high as people search out for the truth or simply live with the truth there is no God. This thought breaks my heart.

In 2007, I went to Russia with a broken heart and as my youth pastor told me, "If you go somewhere with a broken heart, more likely than not you'll come back with no heart at all." He was completely true. I gave away every piece of my heart to the young girls that stole it from day one there. Missions is my call and I am excited to pursue it full-time.

Thank you Liz.... for bringing back memories. And thank you to those of you who encourage me to continue to chase after my dreams. I am forever indebted to you.