Sunday, December 28, 2008


It appears every time I turn around I am hitting a roadblock! Literally. In the form of winter storms.

I ended up coming back to my home state for Christmas and then had plans to journey further on between Christmas and New Years. For a couple of reasons. Namely, to visit my dear dear friend Jenny. Who worked at camp for one summer and then ditched us. Something about God having other plans for her life.

My other reason is a bit more ..... non concrete. I have been very bored and restless with the ordinary lately. I am crying out for adventure and it isn't happening! I think I place too much emphasis on what I imagine adventure to be and then when my expectations are not met I end up throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old. The only difference is that I do mine internally. For the most part. At least most of what I externalize is coherent. Most of.

Anyways. I was all set to leave bright and early this morning. So I come home last night (pretty late ... after spending 6 hours at Perkins .... but it was lovely!) and check the weather. What do I see? Michigan is covered in a winter storm warning. No where else. Just Michigan. Exactly where I want to go. Roadblock.

After discussing it with my family and listening to their wise and sage advice (and not what I wanted to hear!!) and trying to make other situations work to our advantage I had to give up on the dream to see my Jenny. Sigh.

So, now what? Well, since my home state is Minnesota (are you noticing a trend with the M's in my life? Cause I sure am!) and I have been east, west, and south of here, there is only one direction to go.

Canada here I come! One of my brothers has graciously given up his plans (well .... he didn't really have any so I didn't have to twist his arm too hard) to come with me. So, Lord willing we're going to head out on the road in the morning. If, ya know, the winter storm that we are supposed to get doesn't hit. Roadblock!

On a cheery note for the day - since I didn't leave at o'dark thirty this morning I was able to go to my home church. My lovely, fun, growing, full of people I love church. It was great!

I felt like I was in high school again. My best friend ended up sitting with me and my mom and we laughed and giggled and poked each other and told secrets through the whole service. While paying the utmost attention of course!! Mom gave us dirty looks and passed us notes. What fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ya'll came to my blog today to see my smiling face right? RIGHT?

Well, why else would you come?

So to oblige, here are some pictures from the past few weeks.

(Oh and the ya'll comes from me reading a highly entertaining blog from down south. However, I can't lie to you. I have started to throw it into the mix of my own vocabulary. Slowly. Just a few here and there. And it's not from reading her blog either. Its just something that feels normal. I like to build things up naturally so it's not a huge shock. Obviously. Cause I'm just like that. I mean I started mentioning moving to Montana a loooong time before I did ... err .... does 3 weeks count?)

Picture #1 of my smiling, face ::

Whoops! Well .... it is of my face! That counts right? Plus it's not just my face. You can also see the faces of some of the fabulous Christian people that I share my town with.

Picture #2 ::
See, smiles all around! This my friend who teaches at a country school close to where I go to church. Yes, a country school. As in, 1 room, 3 kids of varying grades, and in the middle of nowhere. My hero! We were at THE annual event for Christians to be at. Imagine us all getting together and eating food and listening to singing. And guess what! I was part of the singing. No really. I was. STOP IT! I can hear ya'll from here! It wasn't a solo or anything. Just a group song. And I sang softly. So there!

Picture #3 ::
I have this habit of taking pictures of myself. Almost everywhere I go. Mostly it's for one of two reasons ::
#1. I travel alone a lot. Therefore, there is no one to take a picture of me in a cool place. And that's just sad! So my skills as a self photographer have much improved!
#2. I get bored and antsy very easily. Especially in group settings where I don't have a role. It is just a hard situation for me so I must entertain myself. Especially when I am not involved in a conversation. So I take lots and lots of pictures of myself. To the amusement of those around me. Hey. I just like giving people something to talk about!

Anyways. This picture was taken at our staff Christmas party last week. It is one of three variations. I chose this one for several reasons. None of which are important, so I'll just move along.

Picture #4 ::
This isn't of me. (Did I ever mention that people around here call me Captain Obvious? Still a little fuzzy on that one ... ) This is one of my good friends, with whom I spend lots and lots of time. He was anxiously waiting for his turn in the gift exchange.

Picture #5::
Here is my other good friend with whom I spent lots and lots of time. I say spent because he is leaving us today. Something about family obligations and the Army sending him overseas. To which I say whatever! Well, actually I don't. Cause it's cool that he is willing to serve. And I am honored to be a friend to a serviceman. But he's still going to be missed! There is just going to be something weird about having only two of us. Sad.

I would like you to compare his picture with the one of our other friend. Cause he had already taken part in the gift exchange and received what he had been wanting for awhile. As in a long time. And so he was content. Content enough to ignore everything else that was happening around him and take a nap. Apparently he didn't want to share in our joy!

Picture #6::
These two darling, funny, Southern (there's that ya'll again!) packed up a U-Haul and left us to go back to the warmth. Coincidentally enough they left right when it got below zero. Coincidence ... right? They will be missed!

Picture #7 ::
Those two guys in the back are part of the coaching staff at our local high school. Which means they get volunteered for stuff. Like playing in charity volleyball games. So, we made them signs and went and cheered them on. Loudly. It was glorious! (oh and it's cause I work with them that I did this. just sayin'!)

Picture #8 ::
Now, for this, you need some explanation. Let's be honest. Ya'll(that's #3 and I think my quota has been reached!) are looking at this and thinking "hmmmm .... that's a lot of snow blocks ya got there." And the response to that is "yup!".

Now for the story. So, on Sunday morning I go to let my precious puppy outside at approximately 5:45. Now, thats sleeping in for her, so I was ecstatic! Anyways. I look out my door before I unlock it and I see this guy staring at my fence. AND THEN - I see another guy join him. Now, I know I live in small town and all that, but that's just creepy!! So I stare for awhile longer and I realize that I do indeed know them. WHEW!

Remember the guy taking a nap while wearing a Santa hat? Well, he had a brilliant idea involving my fence and lots of snow blocks. And he wanted it to be a surprise. I was supposed to go out of town last weekend but because of the storm decided to stay home, cuddled up in blankets, reading books and watching movies. That threw his plan off and so he had to do it in the middle of the night. Apparently they got to my house around 2 AM and worked until I caught them at 6. It was a mere -20 outside, so why not right?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a picture is worth .....

This picture was taken at approximately 4:53 AM Thursday, November 28.

There are several things of note about this picture:

1. It was very early to be taking pictures of Rachel

2. There are other people in the picture, which means I was in civilization.(see them? right there! no, not there. over there!! don't you see them?? really they are there!!)

3.We left at the lovely hour of 2:10 AM to be where we were when we were photographed.

4. Apparently I am a morning person. A very bright, gregarious, cheerful (insert obnoxious) morning person. Especially on two hours of sleep. I'm a joy to be around!

5.Also, apparently the people that I choose to go shopping with at o'dark thirty are not as much of morning people as I am. As evidenced by the "I will smile and give thumbs up with you, but only to placate you and really I just want to be sleeping or drinking a HUGE cup of coffee" smile my friend has going on.

6.I would just like to take the opportunity to point out that this trip was not my idea, I was just tagging along. Oh, and also that I did not have any caffeine. Nope. Not one sip of coffee, pop, cappuccino, chocolate or anything else that carries that deadly substance. This is all natural baby!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Identity Crisis

Once again I am stuck. Do I want to do this? Do I want to follow through on what I have started?

No, I am not talking about leaving my job. While I definitely do have those days (there is that honesty thing!), right now is not one of them. This fall I struggled with moving on from Trail's End for awhile, but one day God just got me over it. And since then, I am content. Whenever God takes me somewhere else I will go. Until then, well, here I stay.

But I digress. Back to the original point of this post. School. Specifically do I continue the course that I have set for myself (and that I felt God leading me on?). This fall I signed up to finish my Bachelor's Degree (I have my A.A. in Liberal Arts - which means "generals") and started taking my first class. However, I am not sold on my degree choice. At all.

This fall I have been doing as much thinking as time allows and I have decided that I really am more of a people person. Which is not exactly a shocking revelation coming from a secretary. But right now I am working on a degree in Business. Yes, I know business deals with people. Yes, I know business is practical. Yes, I know that one of the reasons that I followed this was to have a degree that would be flexible.

But, shouldn't I enjoy some part of school? Shouldn't I be understanding more of what I am learning and why it is important? Since I am going back to school after time off, shouldn't I be more excited? Shouldn't I not hate it with almost every fiber of my being? Shouldn't I be following a course that doesn't make me a constant whiner?

Or should I just grow up? Should I just realize that college is hard and it is stretching me for a reason?

The other thing that I am struggling with is finances. I really really really REALLY wanted to do these two years without student loans. (oh and by two years, I meant eight. apparently, at the rate I am working through my classes, I will finish my B.S. in 2016. now that's something to look forward to!!) But that is not possible. So, what do I do? Find a cheaper school? Perhaps consider that God is calling me into traditional school where I would be eligible for more financial aid and scholarship? But, that would involve leaving Trail's End.

Oh, I don't know what to do!! My first class ends in a couple of weeks, but the good news is that my next class wouldn't start until January. So I have a couple of weeks to make a decisions.


Friday, November 21, 2008

I am a huge blog addict. My Google Reader is filled with subscription after subscription - many of people I don't know. I love the willingness of people to be real, to be vulnerable, to let others in.

A lesson I myself perhaps need to learn.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My trip to here, there and a little bit of everywhere!

On the morning of October 10th I packed up and headed home (to Minnesota) for a bit of a sabbatical. About 3 1/2 weeks worth. It was a time of sharing, seeing people, rejuvenation, traveling and exhaustion.

I started out by speaking on Sunday the12th at the Naz in Fergus Falls. It was good to be back!

The next day(Monday) Mom and I took off and flew to Colorado. The main reason I came home when I did was so that we could celebrate mom's birthday. So, to make it special, we headed off to see my oldest big brother and family in Colorado.

On Tuesday we went to Colorado Springs and played tourist.(the kids stayed with their other grandma). We went to Garden of the Gods, the top of Pikes Peak and toured Focus on the Family. We ended with a delicious supper at Sonic.

(Can I even tell you how much I love their Cherry Limeades? They are AMAZING. Mind-blowing really.)

(the four of us at the Garden of the Gods)

(me and the birthday girl!)

Mom had to leave on Wednesday but I was able to stay until Friday. It was a time of chilling out and relaxing with the fam. We played the Wii, went shopping, watched cartoons and played a lot of Uno Spin. Before I headed home, Julie and the kids and I went to the park and got some shots of Aunt Rachel with her favoritist niece and nephew.

(Aunt Rachel, Nephew Joshua and Niece Sarah)

The next Sunday I shared my ministry at Good Shepherd, which is the church I grew up in. Every time I come home I love this church more and more. It is so comforting to come home!

Right after church I headed down to the Twin Cities for a recruiting/seeing as many people as I possibly could trip. I started out with hanging out with these guys:

(Phil and Travis love Lamposts!)

(the city view from the Witch's Hat)

The next morning I did my first ever recruiting for Trail's End. I went to AFLBS and did a lot of sitting. There was some interest, which is always encouraging. Even if we get one more staff member it's worth it!

From Plymouth I headed down to Mankato to see my Michelle. I hadn't seen her since her wedding in December so it was great to catch up! We had an old-fashioned sleepover and it was a lot of fun!

The next morning she headed to class and I head back to the Twin Cities. I met my friend Phil for breakfast at IHOP and then we wandered around the Mall of America for awhile. We soon found our favorite place in the WHOLE WORLD : Legoland!

(Phil and Rachel at Legoland)

Then I headed over to my friend Lisa's. It had been Christmas since I had seen her and her adorable family and we had a lot of fun playing Scrabble, going thrift store shopping, watching a movie, and playing with her little boy.
Sadly, this was a pictureless visit.

After spending the night with her and enjoying breakfast bagels with her and her father, I went over to Roseville and had coffee with my friend Dan. From there I camped out at coffee shops and did some homework before meeting up with my dear Lindsay. We had a yummy supper at Chipotle (it's a good thing I don't live near one - I would be there WAY too much!) and then I did more homework while she led a Bible Study. The night was finished by watching Step Up and chatting the night away.

My trip to the Cities finished with breakfast with my childhood friend Schyler and then more homework! After taking advantage of free Wi-Fi and lots of coffee I headed back to Fergus and life there.

That weekend was Crony Weekend. I adore these three girls and so enjoy our time we spend together. With jobs, living in Montana, husbands, boyfriends and children (the first two apply to me ... the last three are more their scene) we don't get a chance to have the typical girl's weekend like we used to do in high school. But we were able to work it out for the most part and were able to spend the majority of the whole weekend together. It was glorious!!

Friday night was traditional junk food, movies, talking, and giggling. Saturday there was some shopping, more eating, more hanging out and then an adventure for three of us. In high school we stumbled upon a sign that pointed us in the direction of Doran. It took us two tries, but we finally succeeded. Since then, for nostalgias sake, we head back that way now and then. Oddly enough, this is the first time we have taken any pictures!

(Rachel, Bethany and Karla in Doran)

After we got back to Fergus (via the looooong way around and some detours), we did some person changes and settled down for another movie. This time Karla's boyfriend joined us and we conned him into doing a photo shoot. Sadly enough we didn't get one of all four of us.

(Karla, Rondi and Rachel)

The next morning I shared the ministry of Trail's End at Woodland Baptist. It was the first time I had been to that church and really enjoyed the friendliness of the people.

That week was a week of seeing people. I was able to connect with almost everyone I wanted to see and it was so good to see who I got to see!!

One night I met up with these three girls:

(Ashley, Tia and Rachel)

These girls were my childhood best friends and we had a blast catching up! We commandeered a table at Applebees for 4 1/2 hours and spent a lot of time laughing. I'm excited to come home again in January for Ashley's wedding!

My last big trip was that weekend. Through recruiting, deputizing and seeing friends, I was able to see a lot of Northern Minnesota I had never seen before. It's so gorgeous up there!

I started out my time in Bemidji at Oak Hills Christian college. There was one guy who was very interested and even started to fill out his application. Hopefully I will see that come across my desk soon!!

From Bemidji I headed west to Fosston. My friend Nickie recently moved up there and I loved the chance to spend time with her! It was so fun! We did what all normal 24 yr olds do on Halloween - went trick or treating. Ok, maybe not all normal ones. Or even most of them. But we were all dressed up and had no place to go and I had never been. So we scored some sweet candy and got some great exercise!

(The Tooth Fairy and The Pirate)

(Rachel and Nickie)

After turning back into normal people we curled up with some movies and junk food. What a great night! The next morning we headed over to the Fosston craft show and scored some sweet stuff. We had a great afternoon of hanging out and talking.

From there I headed up the road to International Falls. I met up with two couples I met through camp(they come out for our 50 mile trail ride every fall) and had supper. It was a lot of fun to catch up with them and hear about their news. One of them is the author of the 2009 American Girl series, which I find very cool. Those were some of my favorite books when I was young!

After staying with one of the couples, I headed back down the road and spoke at my last church of the group, Little Fork Baptist. One of my friends from Montana is the one who connected me with this church and I was glad she did! I had a great time sharing the ministry of Trail's End at the youth Sunday school and again in church.

Once the potluck was over, I packed up and got back into my faithful traveling companion, Walter (mom's car). The road was beckoning and we were ready! We had an engagement back in Fergus and were not willing to let it slide! That night Good Shepherd was hosting "A Day Around the World", where they were focusing on different mission activities. I was honored to be asked to represent the US. It was a lot of fun to see everyone's display and learn more about the different ministries and eat yummy food!

That just left one last day in Fergus Falls before packing up Petunia (Elisha's car) and heading back to Montana on Tuesday. We had a nice trip back, taking some time to do some shopping in Bismarck and Dickinson, before getting back in time for me to vote.

Since then, I have been settling back into life in Montana and enjoyed catching up with everyone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


(shadow of myself)

One day I will no longer be a shadow of myself. One day God will make me into a whole person and my potential as His will be realized.

What does that look like? Who will I be? I have to honest and say that I have no idea. Who am I to tell God who I should be? I am on a journey to realize who He has me to be now.

But the future? That is up to Him. And I am happy with it being that way.

The adventure of life is found in the journey, not in the end result. And so I am happy letting God direct the path of my adventure, adding some detail here, some detail there. Part of me might be in shadow, but another part of me is illuminated.

Slowly His light moves across the scope of who I am. Slowly, slowly, He brings me into focus. And it all makes sense. The true version of me emerges and the shadowy me melts away.

What a day that will be!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grateful Friday

My list of thankfulness today:

*the sound of my puppy snoring on the couch

* a great song that makes my homework easier to bear

*the fact that I can do my homework and learn once again

*great conversations with dear friends whom the Lord has blessed me with

*adventures, whether large or small

*meeting new people and making new friends


*clean clothing

*a long hot shower

*being reminded that the ministry in which I have found myself is one of lives changed and blessed

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where In The US Am I?

That is an excellent question! I am currently sitting in the living room that I grew up in. So, I am at home in Dalton. For now. Until the next thing comes up!

I just got back from a 4 day tour of the Twin Cities/Mankato. It was so wonderful to be able to most of my dear dear dear friends from down there. I wasn't able to see a couple of people that I wanted to, but God knows what needed to happen while I was there.

I would love to post some pictures for you, but my camera cord is in Montana. So, I guess such things will have to wait. But anticipation is part of the fun right??

I am now back in Fergus for a couple of days. I hope! I found out today that I will be adding another stop to this marathon of mine so the days just got a bit longer. But I will have plenty of time to rest this winter!

Anyways, I will be in Fergus until late next week. I will take advantage of this time to see people and spend more time with those I love so very much. Then I will be recruiting at Oak Hills in Bemidji and heading up to Littlefork (by International Falls) to speak at a church. From there I will come back to take part in a Missions day at Good Shepherd. The next morning I recruit at my alma mater (Hillcrest) and then head back to Montana.

Am I mistaken or did I not JUST come home?? Wow. My head is spinning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What do I want from life?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gratification Thursdays

i am a girl who likes alliteration. quite a bit in fact. but i do not like to feed into trends or cliches unless they fit my mood. therefore, i did not want to necessarily have a thankful thursday. but i feel that taking time out of your week to thank God is important. for the big and the little things.

my friend jeremiah sent me his cd last year and the first song on there has been running through my head these past few days. i believe the title is "the little things". i would check it for sure, but its in montana and i am in colorado and i am not willing to make that commute. sorry miah!

back to the point of this. in this song it talks about how it is the little things in life. new guitar strings and a cup of coffee. it is the little things that add up to the big things.

so here is my list for today. whether they be big things or little things, these are my things:

*playing nursemaid to a dramatic and beloved 4 year old niece and being the magical cure for what ails her

*playing Wii with my nephew because he asked me to and cause he knows he will win

*racing around my brother's mother in law's basement on wiggle racers. (do you know what these are? if not, find out now! these are amazingly fun things that i have not taken enough advantage of)

*watching a great movie on the big screen with an amazing sister in law. (fireproof is excellent. a bit cheesy perhaps and probably not an oscar contender and while it was about marriage it still had a great message that God had for me today)

*taking time out of life to spend with God (which is something that i do not do enough - and yet i feel that any break out of the ordinary is a great chance for God to really speak and for me to really listen)

*hot drinks, great talks and beloved friendships

*generosity of friends

*the comfort of knowing you have come home

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Appearances - Fact or Fiction?

Life does not always look like what I think it should. In fact, it often does not turn out the way I think it should. I know this is nothing new or earth shattering to think about but this is what is striking me tonight as I sit here in my pj's, hanging out with my sister in law and musing upon life these past few weeks.

Often I look at the appearances of what is and think I have the facts all figured out. Life is black and white and this is just the way things are. But then I take a step back and figure out that what I have been seeing is simply fiction. The fact of the matter is something completely different.

I am not even sure that what I will write about in these next few paragraphs will even come close to tying in with what I have just written, but at least that is a thought for the day!

Another little look into the psyche of Rachel (just beware the journey ...)

To give a little life update for all those wondering about my car: well, it definitely is not with me at the moment. I kept having more and more problems with it while I was in Montana. One day I was driving down the road at a good clip (the speed limit IS 70 after all) and it just died. Totally and completely died. It lost all the RPMs and my powering steering locked up. Needless to say, I was not the most happy person at the moment. I pulled over to the side and put it in park and then shut everything off. (which normally is the magical fix!) But alas, not so much. It kept cranking and cranking but not running.

So I hung up on my best friend and called Ted (thank goodness my family talked me into getting a cell phone and that I was actually on part of the road that has service ... welcome to montana!).

He came to look at it and found nothing wrong (of course). He was just going to help me push it to the side of the road but when I went to turn it to on and put it in neutral it started right up (of course). So, we drove into town and took it to the repair shop. The mechanic does not have a computer that is up to date enough to work on my car but he did do a couple of tests. He found nothing wrong (of course). So I drove off and prayed hard that my car would stay strong.

The more and more I talked with people and prayed about it the less and less comfortable I felt taking my car on the long long journey across North Dakota and all around the state of Minnesota. And also, after much hemming, hawing, and other thinking, it was decided that the most likely culprit of my car problems is my fuel pump. It was a bit stressful to think of coming up with the $300 plus needed for that along with getting ready for my trip. Since I didn't have the funds and Ted didn't have the time an alternate solution was needed!

But the Lord provides and takes care of us. This fall my friend Elisha has been out at camp off and on and it just so turns out that his off time coincides with my off time. Coincidentally his off time was going to take place in Minnesota, which is where my off time was going to take place. Voila! God provides a way where there seems to be no way (have fun singing that song all night - you know it's in your head now!).

Not only was he nice enough to give me a ride home (and cleaning out some of his stuff so I could bring all my junk!) BUT he was nice enough to let me use his car while I'm home as he will not have a need for it. Once again God blows me away with His foresight and generosity (and of course Eli's generosity! it took an extra level of trust with him as his car is a stick shift and while of course I have learned to drive a stick shift as any good farm girl should, it is not my, shall we say, most developed skill).

So here I am, in Colorado. (bet you didn't expect me to say that state did you??) Life is coming at me from the left and the right and the up and the down. But the journey is always the most fun isn't it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

He Will Take Care Of Us

The other morning I was struggling with trust. My car had died (again). A couple of weeks ago my car died and we figured out that I needed a new battery. So $88 later my car was working again and I breathed a sigh of relief. Much rather spend that rather than the several hundred it would be to replace my alternator or starter!

Well, unfortunately it did not end there. The other day I was slowing down for an intersection and my car died. It has done that before, but not for awhile. I thought the fuel filter I had replaced a month ago would take care of that! Also, when it does that it normally just starts up right again.
Well, a couple of tense moments later it started again and I went on my merry way.

My driving life went fine for awhile but then on Wednesday I went out to start my car so I could go home for lunch and get to AWANA early to set up everything I needed. Not so much. My car cranked and cranked and turned over and turned over but nothing happened. To say the least I was a little stressed! (But I was proud of myself that I didn't cry. For those of you who don't know me that well ... that is a major accomplishment!) I did what I always do in a car emergency and called upon the trusty skills of Ted, our resident mechanic. He couldn't do anything for me so he loaned me a vehicle and sent me on my way. He went out on Thursday morning to look at it again and it started right up. Of course. And today my pastor, Tim (Ted's son coincidentally), came up to help out at camp and hooked my car up to his code reader and found nothing. It runs perfectly.

So the question is, is my car a female hater (how is that only I hear the noises or feel the weird vibrations but as soon as a guy who knows what he is doing gets in there it runs perfectly?) or is it an answer to all the prayers that have been said (I know I was sending up a few frantic prayers and one of my friends sent me a message telling me that he and his family had taken time the night before to pray for my car)?

Before it started working again, I was really struggling with doubts and worries and wondering what in the world I was going to do. After all, I am about to head off on a month long excursion that heavily involves the use of my car. It may be silly, but I would really prefer to have all the bugs worked out of my car before I take off! And let's be honest, I'm a missionary. I don't exactly have several hundred dollars sitting around to spend on my car. Its a little strange but I do like to eat occasionally!

However, on Thursday morning God brought a timely message to me. Every morning most of the staff (the married men and the singles) get together to share a time of devotions and prayer. That morning Kevin spoke on trusting God. He had been reading in Kings, where it talks about the widow who didn't have enough food to keep her and her son alive, let alone any extra people. Then Elisha comes waltzing in and tells her that she needs to make him some food too. Oh and give him his portion first please! I'm sure it was a huge step of faith for her to do that, but she listened to what God said to do. Because of her faith and trust they had enough food to live upon. It doesn't say that God overflowed their food, but they never ran out.

So my question was, could I trust God? Could I trust that He would provide for me with what I need? And obviously the answer is yes. I don't know how often He teaches me this lesson, but it's quite often. However, honestly I like lessons likes these. It shows me the reality of the God that I serve and the power that He has. Is my car fixed? I don't know! I just know that He has things under control and He's going to take care of me. Chances are I won't be driving a Lamborgini around anytime soon, but I can trust that He knows where I need to go and when.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A couple weeks ago I read Isaiah 6 where it talks about Isaiah's encounter with God. It was such a holy sanctuary that the Seraphim covered their eyes and their feet and Isaiah knew automatically that he was not worthy of being in the presence of God. For God is Holiness.

How often do we forget that? I think that we often approach God as if He is just another guy. Just another friend to listen to our woes. But He's not "just" anything! He is all that is Good, True and Pure.

Are we? Not even close! In our American brand of Christianity God is just another part of our faith instead of being what our faith is built upon and dependent upon. Maybe our access to Him is too easy?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is Life

The other night I was sitting in my chair, in my living room, looking around and was struck with the realization that this is my life. This is not what I thought 24 was going to look like, and that is ok!

When I was younger I loved to read L.M Montgomery and in her novels about Emily, her heroine wrote a letter to herself, from 12 to 24 (or some ages close to that). That made me think about what I would have written to myself, imagining myself doing.

I would have included something about the kids (obviously by 24 I would have been a mother several times over because I was destined to marry my high school sweetheart!). I am sure I also would have asked several questions about my amazing career. Lets see, when I was 12 I would have been in the 6th grade. I believe those were my Marine Biology years - I was going to spend my life devoted to Orca Whales. Besides being an amazing mother and getting all A's in college!

Instead, I am living in Ekalaka, Montana. Since I didn't even know this town existed until just over 2 years ago this wasn't my plan when I was 12. Also, I'm not quite sure where exactly my high school sweetheart went to high school, but it definitely wasn't Hillcrest! My job is not quite the same as living on an ocean, working with whales, but it is so much better. I could have spent my life working with animals that didn't know I existed, but instead, God in His Mercy, is allowing me to serve at a place where I get to have an impact on lives for eternity. What an overwhelming privilege!

So looking back, did I think about things like scrubbing down the toilet and doing never ending laundry? Did I imagine vacumming and sweeping and shoveling the sidewalk? Did I imagine having to fix the internet and pray that Satan would leave my technology alone? Did I imagine crying with people as they mourned the loss of a loved one? Did I imagine telling a mother that her daughter was not a pleasure to have in my cabin? Did I imagine crying myself to sleep some nights because of the overwhelmingness of life? Did I imagine living by myself? Well, no.

But I also didn't imagine working with AWANA and getting to know the sweetest kids in Ekalaka. I didn't imagine getting the privilege of getting to know 50 college students who came to Trail's End to serve God. I didn't imagine spending six weeks of my summer counseling girls and loving it! I didn't imagine getting the privilege of relying fully on God for my support and source of income and getting to see Him provide! I didn't imagine how He would use this time to strengthen my relationships with those that I love back home and to bring new ones in. I didn't imagine how much I have changed and been impacted by these glorious events that I could never have thought or dreamed up.

So yes, this is my life. Lucky lucky girl that I am!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Images of Life

My brother and nephew came to visit me this spring and we got to go explore the Montana countryside by 4-wheeler. It was a bunch of fun!

I am very blessed by the family that God has given me and the support that they have shown me about moving to the middle of nowhere Montana. All except for my niece have been out to visit me.
(and she is 4 so I don't think she really notices)

Family Affair
This my brother Peter and I on top of an observation tower. I was able to sneak home in June for a couple of days and as a family we went to Sisseton, SD for a day.

My dear Ginny.
Definitely one of the highlights of my summer was that she was able to come out for a week of camp!

The following pictures are from a wedding of two staff members. Kevin and Jen met at camp several summers ago and were married on August 16. The wedding was really sweet (this bride glowed!) and it was a lot of fun to hang out with some great friends.

Elisha and I
Elisha is a fellow Minnesotan - he actually grew up about an hour away from Fergus and lived in Fergus for awhile. We also have some friends in common. However, we met at camp and have never actually seen each other in Minnesota :-)


What happens when you leave your camera unattended

Futile Effort
I was under strict orders NOT to catch the bouquet.
However, I decided that it just didn't look right if I didn't put any effort into it so this is me trying
(while knowing that I really had no chance)
Better luck next time?

Sittin & Gazin
We finished up the fun-filled friend extravaganza with a foray into a local state park for some grilling (which was super super yummy!) and some great friend time.

Restless Heart

Tonight my heart is restless. It is a feeling that I get quite frequently, but it is more so tonight. When is it my time? When is it my time to move on? When is it my time to do something big with my life? When is it my time to have that person to love? When is it my time for the rest of everything to begin?

I always say that God is in control and is the one to tell me when to leave. And He is. Otherwise I might have gone off on a bunny trail quite awhile ago. But it doesn't always make it easy. Patience is an important life skill, but not always an easy one to develop. But such is life.

There are times in my life where I want to strive towards things. Getting a Bachelors degree, being a great friend, finding a great book, posting an interesting blog, seeking to know people and being a person of faith. And all of these things are important I believe. Because if we aren't working towards something, how are we growing?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Floating or Rapids?

Tonight at the last evening meeting of the summer (which was definitely bittersweet!), our camp director Jim spoke on apathy. He used Revelation 3:14-22 as his scripture reference, which talks about the church in Laodicia. Probably the most quoted verse from that passage is verse 16, which says "'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." There are so many Christians today who have simply gotten their fire insurance and stayed there. They are not willing to engage and God is so disgusted with their behavior that He wants to puke. I don't know about you, but I do NOT want God to puke at the thought of my behavior. I would much rather make Him proud and have Him greet me with "well done good and faithful servant."

However, the pull of the world is strong. The world seems to be so important. It is the here and now. We can feel it, touch it, smell it, taste it and hear it. But what is the world? What is our life here on earth? It is a blink of an eye. It is the merest of a second. But what is eternity? Eternity is forever. Eternity is where we spend our time. However, no matter how brief our time here on earth is, it is what determines how the rest of time is spent.

In one of His parables, Jesus talks about the master who gives his servants talents, and then goes away. When He comes back, He asks for an accounting. With those who risked much and gained much He trusted with more. With the servant who buried it and gave no return, nothing was trusted. God has given all us something. He has given us all Spiritual gifts and we are to use them. We are not to bury them.

In his sermon tonight, Jim gave an illustration of a football game. In the stand are 10,000 people who need exercise and 22 people who need a rest. In the game of Christianity are those Saints who are pushing. Those who are going full bore for the sake of the Lord. In the stands are those who are cheering them on, but who are not willing to get up and help. These are the ones who tend to "talk the talk" but not to walk the walk. They may talk about being a Christian and say how they depend upon God for their everything, but in all reality do not.

After the sermon was over and the call had been made and the people came forward I visualized life as a two rivers, side by side. One side was nice, calm and peaceful. The people getting into this river got on their tube and just soaked in the life. They spent their time chatting and floating. By the end of ride they are relaxed and leisurely get off the river. They enjoyed it, but nothing in their life changed. The other river was not so nice. This one was bumpy, full of rapids and dangerous. The people strapped themselves in to save their life. They fought their way, wave by wave. They worked together and came out on the end full of life. They knew what they had done to get where they were going and they were fulfilled. They knew that their journey was one worth going on.

I want to live the adventerous life. I want to live a life that is worth fighting for. I want to live a life that brings me out on the end bruised, battered and rejoicing in every moment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Give And Take Away

What does God take away from us?

God can take our hopes, our dreams, and our expectations. He can take away our material things. He can take away friendships and relationships. He can take our very lives.

But what can God give us?

God does not take away these things and leave us empty. Instead He gives us replacements we never could have come up with on our own. He fills our hearts and minds with new dreams that we cold never have imagined before. He blesses us in ways that we never saw coming.
As a missionary I see this on a regular basis. God blesses me on a monetary basis quite regularly. From month to month I never know where my money is coming from. But it is through that I have learned trust, as I never come up short. I have what I need, when I need it. How can I argue with that?
God does not just bless me monetarily. When I need encouragement there is a card or a phone call or an email or a Facebook post that comes at the right time. When I think of something that might be nice to have (something as trivial as Ziploc bags), God will often times put it on peoples hearts to supply. I don't tell anyone a thing but it still shows up. How can I say that is coincidence? When God cares enough to supply me with the small things how can I doubt that He will give me the big things??

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Out of Control

Certain days I am bombarded with questions. Unfortunately, they are not friendly questions. They are more the type that just bring me down more than lift me up. However, today I really felt the need to express them and I figured that if nothing else, my blog needs to be honest. Don't get me wrong - it's great being a Montana Missionary, but overall I am still human. So, here are some of my questions.

Why??? Why do I feel so out of control some times? Why do I not say what I think? Why do I take things personally? Why do things not work out the way I had planned them to? Why don't scenarios play out the way I imagine? Why do things come out of my mouth way harsher than they sounded in my mind? Why can't people always understand what the other person means? Why can't I be all things for all people????

Monday, June 30, 2008


As I come off of a week of counseling 7 amazing girls, I am struck by responsibility. Parents trusted me with their children - to teach them, counsel them and take care of them. For 6 days I was to be their main caretaker. It's a great way to test out parenting :-) But what a responsibility! What if I told them the wrong thing? What if I wasn't there when I needed to be? What if I couldn't find the words to say? What if, what if, what if.

If we let the what ifs run our life, we will be severely hindered from doing what it is that God wants us to do. Yes, we run into situations where we are over our heads. Yes, we run out of words to say. But God works through that. And it is when God works that we make an impact.

When I start getting myself ready for counseling, I am pumped. I know it is going to be a great week and that everything is going to go smoothly and perfectly. I pack my bag with everything I need and try to anticipate what my girls are going to be like. I plan how the week is going to go. And then as time gets closer and closer the knot in my stomach grows. Last Sunday I was sitting on the Snak Shak porch, waiting to receive my campers. A large part of my was psyched up and ready to go. A small part of me was praying that for some reason none of my campers could come to camp so I could step back into my comfort zone. And then my name comes over the loudspeaker and I go to meet my first camper. There is no turning back!

As I met my girls I tried to get a feel for who they were and what they needed from me. Some just needed love. Lots and lots of love. Others needed questions answered. Others needed a fun person who they felt comfortable being themselves with. Others needed a little more direction. They were all different. They all came from different homes with different problems. Everyone's story is unique onto them and so they need to be met where they are at that time, not where I want them to be or where society thinks they should be. Throughout the week I spent time with them, talking with them, and just being there for them. I was there to make sure they took their vitamins and took showers. I was there to cheer them on when they were nervous about doing an activity or acting in the drama. I was to answer any questions they might have about God. I was there.

Which brings me to the word impact. How exactly do we impact people? What can we do that makes a difference in peoples lives? Can we preach a great sermon and change their lives? Absolutely! Can we run a camp where the fun never stops and lives get changed? Absolutely! But what is it that people remember the most?

When campers come back year after year the first thing they ask is where their counselor from the past years are. When Trail's End staff go to churches to promote camp they are met by excited kids who are expecting their counselor to be there. We get letters throughout the year addressed to counselors from their campers. Kids spell love T-I-M-E. And it's the counselors that put in the time. It's the counselors (for the most part) who have the chance to make the biggest impact on the kids.

So I guess what I'm trying to express is that if we are looking to make an impact for God (which quite honestly should be every Christian's goal) we need to be willing to invest in people. We need to be willing to spend time with them and love them. We need to get our hands dirty. We need to be open to doing what it is that God wants us to do! So, what does God want you to do?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sounds of Summer

I am sitting out on the front porch of my office right now, enjoying a little break from being inside (someone donated a very nice rebuilt laptop with wireless so I can sit outside and do work, which is lovely of course) listening to the sounds of camp. The thing that strikes me over and over again the difference a month makes.

A month ago there was quiet. Occasionally you would hear a turkey call or a cat meow, but that was about it. The silence was lovely. You could sit outside and watch the branches sway with the wind and soak in the solitude. There would be perhaps two people a day who would come into my office needing something from me.

Now today I am overwhelmed with what is around. The weed eaters are going at full blast and the kids are yelling and the loudspeaker is announcing and the trucks are driving by. People are constantly tramping in and out of my office, needing this form printed or this question answered or just someone to listen to them vent. Kids are walking from the climbing tower to the big swing and back again.

Then comes a brief moment of silence. The weed eaters take a break, the kids stop their game, and the silence gets soaked in. All the questions are answered, all the forms are printed. It is then that I get to take a step back and soak in what is around. Soak in the atmosphere that is camp. When things are going a million miles an hour it is crazy fun, but it is hard to understand what is happening.

When things slow down, I can take a step back and realize what is going on. Kids are having fun, kids are learning about God and kids are being loved. They get a week to get away from the pressure of this world - a week to take a break from the media and from bad influences. A week to enjoy physical activity and to try new things. A week to be truly a kid. For here is a safe haven. Here we ask tough questions, but we do not expect them take care of things that are beyond their levels. Here we push them forward in different aspects and have them try rapelling down a cliff, but we do not ask them to be adults.

Because soon enough the ball gets thrown back into play, the weedeaters get more fuel and people drive by on important business. Soon enough we send the kids back to the world, where they are once again bombarded by life. Knowing that we have them only for a week makes the time with them just a bit more precious. Knowing that we only have one week to share the love of Jesus makes it more of a priority.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


com·mun·ion - noun
interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication

On Friday we had a very special time as a staff. The last Friday of staff training we meet together as a staff and share a delicious meal. Following the meal we share what God has done in our life during staff training and how He met us during the time of "solo" that everyone just got done having. We end the evening with a special Communion service and singing.

This is only my second summer, but that Communion service (along with the one at the very end of summer) is quickly growing to be one of my favorite experiences. It is amazing how God brings all of these strangers together and we leave as family. We come from all over the country and all sorts of different backgrounds. There are couples who have been married for 45 years and in camping for 50 and high school students. There are college students who had never heard of Trail's End until a month ago and staff who grew up coming here as a camper, just counting the years until they could come on staff. By the end of that night we are forever bonded.

It started out slow (like always). One person would go, and then there would be a lull. Then it started to pick up and we had staff after staff member sharing their heart. Some shared how God worked it out for them to come against all odds. He was willing and able to work miracles! Others shared how they had been struggling for days (or even years) with an issue and God had met them that day with a truth about Him that is infallible. He is love and strength and acceptance. To some He sent a bird, to others flies and ticks. He meets us where we are with what we need.

What an amazing way to start out the summer! When we as a staff are willing to become vulnerable, to become true brothers and sisters in the Lord, it is then that the Lord can truly work through us as a staff. When we feel free to share with one another where we truly are, then we can feel free to share with one another our struggles. And there are many. As each person looks different, each person also struggles with different things. We are struggling with homesickness, with relying on God, with knowing what to tell that camper who just lost a mother, with where in the world we will be in 3 months.

It comes to the point where we have to surrender. It is not possible to get through a summer on our strength. God is our rock and is there for us to lean on. When we get tired, we can rest in Him. He also blesses us with one another. Who better to understand what we are going through than people who are going through the same thing? God puts us into community for a reason. We as humans are meant to fellowship with another and be a part of the body. And what better way to strengthen the body than share our thoughts and emotions?

Friday, June 13, 2008

For Such A Time As This

It seems that I come back to the book of Esther over and over again. Of course there is a part of me that loves the fact that she goes from a regular girl to a queen. But there's more to it than that. It's just part of one verse, but that simple phrase impacts my soul.

"And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

And with that Esther is thrust forward into the next part of her life. She has a choice to make. It will either end badly or just the way it was meant to. All of us face moments like that. It is up to us what we do with them.

When new and scary (or different) things start happening, what is the typical response? There is some fear, some doubt, some stressing. Finally it reaches the point that a choice needs to be made. Either we deny the working of God or square our shoulders and push forward, resting in the knowledge that we serve a mighty God who loves us.

It is then our job to pray. We must pray that God will give us the willing spirit and discernment. We must pray that God will give us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. We must pray that God will give us a supernatural love for the people surrounding us. And we must pray that God will give us the strength to say, as Esther said, "If I perish, I perish." Service takes sacrifice, whether that be our lives or just the dreams we hold dear.

Oftentimes, once we are past a situation, we look back and see a more complete picture. While something seems to have come and broadsided us, often that is not the case. Instead, God had been working in us for days, months or even years previous. He was getting us ready for the moment when we would say "for such a time as this."

I was contemplating these thoughts today as I was on my solo. On the last Friday of staff training, we send the summer staff off to spend 6 hours alone with God. It is a time of rest, conversation and silence. As a full time staff, I was only able to take about 1 1/2 hours because of other commitments, but it was still a great time. This summer we are facing many challenges. There are not enough staff and too many campers! Because of this, my job description will most likely expand. I will either be spending most of my time down in the barn or with campers as a counselor. Part of me screams in silent terror - trying to convince God that I was not called out here to do that. I was called to answer phones and balance checkbooks remember?? But another part of me has peace. For God has called me to Trail's End to be His servant. Not only to Trail's End, but to this world. If I cannot step forth and get out of my "job" than what is the point?

So please, join me as I enter into this next phase. As I learn that I was placed here for "such a time as this."