John 3:8

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Typhoon Yolanda

"It was like a tsunami"
"Philippines Typhoon leaves up to 10,000 dead in Tacloban City"
"Typhoon Haiyan's death toll rises"

These are just some of the headlines on news reports today about Typhoon Haiyan(called Yolanda in the Philippines). Yesterday the death toll was estimated at 1,200 by the Philippines Red Cross, but shot up by almost 900% in just one day. CNN said Haiyan "was 3.5 times more forceful than Hurricane Katrina, which hit the United States [in] 2005." {{where I lived, and where many friends of mine still reside, was not in the direct path of the storm, and received only rains. So, while I am very grateful for this, my heart breaks for the thousands upon thousands who were physically affected.}}

Being on the other side of the world, it's hard to imagine what life is like in the aftermath of such a horrific disaster. Footage and photographs can only display so much. The Chicago Tribune described the scene: "Some sat and stared, covering their faces with rags to keep out the smell of the dead." Smells stay with you, and the smell of death is not one that is easily covered. pray for the survivors. Pray for strength, the will to live, to rescue, to rebuild--not just physically, but to rebuild lives. Sandra Bulling, the International Communications officer for CARE, commented on the loss of boats and crops on the affected islands. "This is really the basic income of many people," she said, and she is so right.

Lest I forget, the Tribune also talked about Vietnam, as they were next to be hit by this monstrous storm. "Vietnam authorities have moved 883,000 people in 11 central provinces to safe zones, according to the government's website." Let's not forget the people of Vietnam, either.

Though I do want to ask you to continue to pray for the Philippines and Vietnam, I do not want to leave you with just another reminder of the outrageous numbers and searing loss. I want to exhort you; find some way to be involved in helping with the relief efforts. There are plenty of places that are doing something hands-on with the survivors and with rescuing.

Here are just a few to get you started looking:

World Vision has started an emergency relief fund for the Philippines- donate here.
You can give to UNICEF's emergency fund here.

SEND International has a fund they are collecting to help 5 partner churches in the affected area.

Previously mentioned, CARE is also helping on the ground in the Philippines.

For even more places to give, Fox News has listed a number of reccommended organizations to partner with,

and so did CNN.

Grace and peace,

Thursday, October 31, 2013


What is Hutchmoot?
If you like art (in the broad sense of the term) and creating, then this Hutchmoot thing has probably grabbed your attention. And if, after visiting the site and watching the video, you still find yourself asking the question, what is Hutchmoot?, I want you to be assured, you are not alone. Most Hutchmoot attendees have asked it themselves. I was asking that question up until the day after I left Hutchmoot.
So, if your ear's been pricked and you want to know what it's like to be at Hutchmoot, I'll tell you. Being there has a certain atmosphere about it, an ambiance, as if creativity were a thing that you could touch. It fills the air like a thick morning fog...


Saturday, October 26, 2013


Thank you for bearing with me while I've been...not necessarily gathering my thoughts; rather, gathering my brain. To be honest, I can't remember being so tired for such a long time. Mental and emotional exhaustion have drawn me to bed and to mindless TV-watching instead of writing. And although NBC's The Voice is entertaining and instructional for me as a secretly-aspiring singer(shh--did I say that?), it's not a replacement for the accomplished feeling of having successfully communicated thoughts that have rattled around my head, looking for the escape route marked by the red 'EXIT' sign.

With my first Hutchmoot experience under my belt, I feel as though I must push through the fatigue and crank out something--anything. At the same time, I dont want it to be just anything. I want it to be quality. Well, I suppose it will have to be whatever I have in me.

Tonight, that's this: telling you that my summary of what Hutchmoot was for me will be coming soon. A lot happened. In me. A lot that I'm not sure I fully understand yet. I did a lot of searching, listening, questioning, praying, and watching...

So bear with me, if you will, just a bit longer. I'm slow in this writing and learning-to-write process, but it's coming. soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cultivating Contagious Creativity

Recently, a friend of mine began a life-coaching job. She is training for it and needed to practice on some people she knows, so she asked me. I was thrilled--any chance I get to brainstorm with someone else, I'll take it. She showed me some questions that she'd give her clients to help them prepare for the coaching session, and I was hooked. Questions like "what gifts do you have that you'd like to make available to the world?" and "When in your life did you feel most creative?" sucked me in like quicksand.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where, in all the world, IS God?

"I’ve curled up in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and tried to pray to a God I felt I’d left behind on another continent." -Shaun Groves, in a blog on the vast experiences of re-entry.

A couple months ago, my eyes read those words then almost began the next sentence; but didn't. After one second of ingesting that statement, I began to sob. But not the kind where you're wailing loudly for the neighbors to hear. It was a silent sob--where you exhale strongly and seem to be caught there for 10 seconds, as the tears flood your eyes. You hyperventilate, choking on air as your chest jolts a few times. tears stream down your face. I continued in this state for a good 5 minutes, intensely whispering, where are you God?? Jesus, I need you! Where are you?? 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Foster Belonging

By the end of my first day working in Foster Care, I found myself staring at my notes, straining to remember the details of my next tasks. I had spent 5 hours in court for two of my cases, about which I knew minimal information. It made me thankful for God's grace, and the purpose He gives to these tasks. Foster care is definitely a deeply impactful work and I pray that God continues to sustain me to carry it out so that families may be strengthened. So, needless to say, I have a lot of respect for people who have done this job for years.

Now I've been at my job for 4 weeks and I'm beginning to understand some things that were mysteries at first. Still, I know there is so much to learn. I am constantly asking other people for the answers to questions that I don't know. Some days I just look down at my papers and think "what am I supposed to do next?" I am thinking that 80% of the job is learning to ask the right questions--at homes, with clients, everywhere. The other 20% is a mixture of time management/prioritizing skills. Above these things, I am praying for compassion with discernment to cover it all.

Speaking of compassion, as I sat here typing these words, I heard a song I haven't heard for probably years. It's by Chris Rice, a thoughtful lyricist. The words hit me this time, not in relation to myself, but to the children I see each day in foster care. Their world is quite different than mine has ever been. Their path may be long and hard, but I pray they hear this song being sung over them.

So this drives me to a question--how can we foster a sense of belonging in children's lives, regardless of where they live?


Fading memories ignored, I crawl across the forest floor.
Pool reflects an orphan child; dirty, lost, alone and wild.
Fatherless and nameless still, fallen heart and broken will
there ever be a place where I belong?

I cower 'neath the monster trees, and try to stand on tired feet.
But gravity knocks me to the ground, where I give up and tears roll down.
I claw the dust and beg the end, and curse the day that I began
to hope there'd be a place where I'd belong.

I hear a sound I recognize. You lift my chin and seek my eyes.
Song of Love you sing to me; I ache to sing it back to thee.
Father Love prepares a place, and brother Jesus leads the way.
Follow to the place where you belong.

How did I miss this wondrous song? The forest sang it all along:
"River rinses all your shame, and Father offers you his name.
Father Love prepares a home, brother Jesus leads you on.
Follow to the place where you belong.

Father Love prepares a place; brother Jesus leads the way--
Follow to the place where you belong.
Follow to the place where you belong."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

top spinning

Spinning Top
Spinning like a top
where I sat still and calm
just yesterday.
Resting in the assurance
that taking a risk
will help me find my footing.
May even help me fly.
But You only know
what the straight path looks like.
In silence I wait,
I worry, tremble at every step.
Where can I go from your presence?
Any road is fine
I step into boat, on uneasy surface,
to make the journey to the other side.
Aim and row, let the wind take me
It’s at my back.
Calm, now
another light shines;
waves come with force
Throw me off course
Rowing is of no use
so I wait
for the wave-calmer
this is not for confusion’s sake
maybe not even for Pete’s
but for his, I wish I could see
Your heart
it's about transformation and glory

Waves don’t come steady
as a wave pool
out in these open seas
We follow into the boat
only to be swamped--
It’s the perfect storm
These waves would have died
But today is here
spinning, dizzy as
A top; in a whirlpool.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Wind is a funny thing.

It whips around us, indifferent to the changes it causes. It may bring relief from oppressive heat, or it may tear down a house, but whip along it does. We are left to interpret the "goodness" of its actions (or perhaps the results).

Sometimes life happens and there is nothing we could have done to control it one way or the other. We acquire a job and call it good; or are met with the death of a friend and call it, at best, a catalyst. And so life's wind whips around us and we're left to our interpretive systems.

But we're never left alone.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Dengue Remembered

At this time last year, I was recovering from a tropical, mosquito-borne disease on the opposite side of the world. It was not a pretty or fun couple weeks of being sick, but God's grace was all over it. I've never wanted to complain about this experience, and I am not starting now. I was, however, compelled to document it as I recalled the experience in recent days. I was inspired to write a bit of unconventional poetry...well, I think it explains itself.
Dengue Remembered

              get sick
              get sick
           head imploding                
                                                          eyes stab like a shish-ka-bob
    joints aching             
                  bones breaking     
                                              heat rises
                   sweat falls
                     “HAVE FAITH IN GOD” sticks                             
                                                                              like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth.
                                       in the cauldron
             liquids in, liquids out                         
         pills popping
                                            friends stopping
                                                  faces like a whack-a-mole
                                                                         cool rag to the skin
                      and muscle-kneading
(needed more than they know)
           a rocky road to become the specimen.

short, small breaths
heart racing in my chest
room spins
head hangs, light
try to force a little bite
‘nother ride, to the ward.
                                                  needles pricking, sticking
                                           into my veins
                  chair glides
    I slide
 in and out of sleep                               
pills popping                                                                 
friends stopping                                                                                       
faces like a whack-a-mole                                         
joints aching                         
bones breaking   
thirst-slaking all day long.
Night has come.
Rear is numb
from bed-inhabiting.
strange sounds from the tube invade my ears;
Attempt to prevent my brain to hear.
awake once again--                                                                     
what hour on the clock?
                                                                                      a pump, a prick, bandage applied.
     always waking,
waking to a nurse by my side.                                                           
--a surge of angst whirls—PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.
daylight comes; type out an email.
out my window, a beautiful day.
Forced nutrition:
Sip and nibble
just to please...
liquids in, liquids out.
Rising is slow; steady now, steady.
for all I’m not eating, my body is heavy.
friends become family--measuring liquid gold.
measure, discard.
measure, discard.
days and nights
meld together;
stream of people,
ebb and flow.

moment of calm--
Jesus speaks through a father’s placid voice
He walks on the water, He calms the sea.
tears escape, push their way through
the veil that’s been closed too tight to undo.

Pills still popping
friends still stopping in to say hi,
raise a prayer.
Joints release aching
fever breaking
spots appear
claw at the surface
for what’s deep within;
looks like the circus
is under my skin.
Platelets dropped; need some extra.
people talk
come and go;
faces like a whack-a-mole
here’s the bag
white liquid first.
feels cold;
--my wrist could burst!
long smooth strokes
repeat and knead.
drifting off--
what slurred speech??
Another sun
cold food on a tray.
Red meat I can’t eat
nor do I want.
doc says good, it’s going up.
I’m ready to bathe
it’s been ten days.
I’m flaky
as we ride,                 
I’ll close my eyes.                                                
sun burns bright                                                                                     
steps falter, I grasp any arm I can find.                                                                                     
Weeks pass and hours are filled with words on pages,
shows on TV I haven’t seen for ages.
coffee-smoothies, mango, ice cream.
second family was formed, thankful prayers are said.
Savory dishes, dogs, bed.
Rest and repeat.

but please,
don’t repeat.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What do you want me to do for you?

"We are not the initiators of our experience of God, we are the responders."

It's a Wednesday morning at our women's study on prayer. We're looking at stories of how God had answered specific people's prayers in the past, when it hits me--

1 Kings 3:5 "At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, 'Ask what I shall give you.'"

--Boom. the Lord appeared to Solomon. I just have to stop right there. Don't we go to God because there's something we already want or feel we need? I thought that's what prayer was--us approaching God, asking for the things we think we need. Is this telling me that God comes to us and asks us what we want?? Could this really be the case? If so, why?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wrecked: Part II

Thank you for your overwhelming support and kindness to me after my last post, my dear cyber supporters (and those of you I actually get to see face-to-face, too!) ;)

I have been affirmed time and time again for posting that. It's a conscious decision of letting yourself be seen by anyone and everyone by posting something like that and NO, I am not sorry I did, nor ashamed that people know that about me now. It's actually quite freeing.

Look, I know that to some it may have been a shock, and to others, a sigh of relief: she IS real. Yes. I am human. I do struggle with doubts, fears, insecurities, just like everyone else. And sometimes I need to remind myself of the last part of that sentence, "just like everyone else." My friend Amber said it really well yesterday:

Sunday, April 7, 2013


**This post is long, yes, and it's raw. I didn't go back and take out the ugly things, the not-so-put-together things. I am not looking for pity. Prayers, yes. But mostly, I feel like I need to just get real with the world. No more hiding. Read if you dare. if you care to.**

Nowadays, the term wrecked is used to denote many types of situations--a sweater that has a large stain in the center, a car smashed into a pole, a person that sees traumatic, emotionally damaging scenes and is left emotionally distraught (with empathy.)

I'm sure at some point I've seen the first two, whether in person or on the news. And I've definitely been in the position of the latter description. I've been to developing countries, seen a lack of hope, and my heart has cried for those people.

But today, I find myself in a different "wrecked" situation. In my case, "wrecked" is a person emotionally distraught with self-pity.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rachel loves Ruth

For 4 1/2 years, I've been sponsoring a beautiful girl in Rwanda named Ruth.

I've not been the ideal, perfect sponsor, but I am learning a lot about what it means to sponsor someone in another part of the world, whom I've never met. It is one of the most challenging things in my life. I feel restrained. I want to do more for her. But what? I want to just hug her and love on her and give her lots of smiles. But I'm so far away.

I love looking up at Ruth's picture on my wall and trying to imagine what she's doing right now. I think, "is she in school, or helping carry water, gather wood, or playing jump rope with her siblings? What is she wearing today? her pretty pink skirt, like the one in her picture?"

I pray that God keeps Ruth and her family healthy. I pray that he blesses their crops. I pray most of all that she comes to know Jesus personally and love him dearly. I pray that my sponsorship of Ruth can help make that possible. I also pray that God would change me through this process of sponsorship. I want my heart to be more and more like Jesus'. I want to love people without hesitation.

Do you want to help make it possible for a child somewhere in this world to be provided for and to be taught about the living hope possible through Jesus? Maybe you have some money, and have been asking God where He wants you to give it. Maybe you have just a little time, but would love to write to a child, send him stickers and cards, just to make his day.

Don't just think the nice thoughts, cry a couple tears, and never move.
You can change a child's life.
Do something.
Sponsor a child.
You can do this a couple ways:
1. There's a child on my Compassion blog page that you can sponsor right now.
2. You can always go to

The day I chose to sponsor Ruth, her life changed. You'll never know the joy that brings me unless you sponsor a child. Knowing that I am impacting another person whom I've never met--that's amazing. my heart is being transformed because of it.

follow the link. click your mouse, and change a life. (maybe two).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Throwback Thursday

It all started with a box of Barbie cards my sister and I found in our room. We used to use them for a game, years ago. We wanted to play it again, so we decided to set aside a day; a day on which to do things that we enjoyed as kids but haven't done for years.

This day became known as "Retro Day".

Today we got up and asked "when should we do Retro Day?"
--How about today?
"sure, why not?"

But if you're gonna do Retro Day right, you can't just pull out the game and play. You have to eat foods we ate as kids--snacks and drinks included.


you have to put on music from back in the day (say, Amy Grant). Then you have to get your game face on, and play!

After two rounds of Barbie cards it was time for some bubble-blowing. and not that soapy stuff. I started off with a pretty wimpy attempt and then it was Krissy's turn.

She didn't do much better.
gettin' bigger...
We were both pretty messy.
We finally got a good one of Krissy!
But I think I get the prize.. (not braggin or anything)
Well, I would say Retro Day was a success!! Makes me thankful to have a sister. (Who else would be a complete goof with me for a day?)
So, this got me thinkin.. what do YOU miss doing as a kid? I'd love to hear some funny stories, or just good ol fond memories. Any takers?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Life in Limbo

"So what are you doing now?"

That's the question I've gotten most in recent weeks. Answer: Not a tons. But a lot, at the same time.

Here's the thing--there's lots of pressure to find a job, make money, etc. But I'm not dying. I'll be ok for a bit. I have money saved. It's real strange to come back to your home after making your home in a foriegn country for a year, and well, I think my heart needs a rest.

Part of me wants to jump right into somethinganything, to know that I'm doing something of importance. But the other part just reminds me that I'm not quite done letting go of (not sure if that's the best term. maybe processing, greiving the end of...etc) last year. I know I need to be fully where I am, but my heart is lagging behind on this one.

Don't get me wrong--I LOVE being home. I love seeing good friends, family (my little nephew and niece, who we just sent off yesterday to visit Korea for 5 weeks!), and spiritual family; I love meeting new people and sharing about what God's doing in other parts of the world. But I guess the uncertainty of what's next is pulling me into a state of longing for the "good ol' days." Those being, of course, ones when I was busy doing something that I deemed worthy of doing. And I guess I've been trying to figure out--what is worthy of doing now, here? What does my heart crave to be a part of?

But the real question is, what does God want me to do today? What does HE say is worthy of doing?
Would you pray with me for God to show up in real ways and direct my attention, my desires, my path? My friend and mentor, Denise, shared with me that, as "cliche" or "sunday school-ish" as it may sound, going back to Proverbs 3:5-6 has been so helpful in the midst of the limbo-like life. I am deciding right now to pray that verse every day, as I begin my morning.

See, there are a number of things that I am considering right now. I am looking into Social Work jobs in my area, things with international organizations, other ministries, and I am just not quite sure where I should be focusing. Right now I am learning to focus on today. my family. my time spent talking with Jesus. And that's ok.

In addition to these things, I have begun to read through a book with my friend Evette, and I am loving the process of reading something together. I would encourage all of you to do it. Choose a book to go through with a friend or family member. Start reading it and discuss it every so often. :) I think you'll love it, too. With that in mind, I put up a page on this blog called "Recently Reading". Click on the link on the right side to see a list of books that I am currently, or have recently, read. You may find something interesting.

With that, I will sign off and get back to reading and dreaming big. Thanks for the prayers. I am grateful for you. Peace and joy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Birthday Bash

So I admit-I'm the worste ever at maintining a blog. If you actually read this, please let me know and get on me if it's been a while. I need some friendly reminders every so often.
Before I get to life back in the States (as I did return in the end of January), I do want to tell you all the amazing story of my birthday last year, which happened to fall on 12-12-12!! (did I ever mention my favorite number is 12? (btw, Favorite Bible verse = Romans 12:12. Check it out).
Birthday Bash(es!):
About a week before my birthday, I was asked to have breakfast with one of my girlfriends at her house before a meeting. special breakfast? of course! Breakfast is my favorite meal! I noticed that morning my housemate was rushing a little (ok a lot) more than usual to get to class. Why was she in such a hurry? oh well..
I show up for breakfast at my friend's house, and she tells me to sit down while she gets something in the other room. The next thing I know, I'm being sung to in a round by other friends, who are appearing from the surrounding rooms! The first thing out of my mouth was "are you serious?"
I laughed so hard to see everyone popping out.
[Funny, that phrase "are you serious?" Has since become a favorite line, encompassing many events in my life, good and bad. In ten years, you just might see a book published with that title, cataloging those humorous incidents.]
Here are some pictures from that morning's breakfast 

The actual morning of my birthday, I was laying in bed, when i receive a text; "are you awake?"
"where are you?"
-(it's 6am) "I'm in my room."
[one minute later] music begins to play and voices are heard beside my window! The guys are there to wake me!! I leave my bedroom to find this!

some of the guys who came to sing to me:

Did you know Google sends you birthday greetings?!

Did I mention, my birthday fell on a cool day-- 12-12-12. This is at 12:12pm

Went to lunch with a couple good friends. We ordered pasta with eggplant...except, we couldn't find the eggplant in it.. the chef graciously pointed out to us that the fleck on the rim of the plate was the eggplant. umm.. right. It took all I had not to laugh in her face. she was serious.

I invited students to come hang out at our center and have snacks. A few girls came, and we had fun ;)

After the center closed, the girls decided to walk me back to my house. before we got there, we were met by another girlfriend, who blindfolded me and led me into my yard. I opened my eyes to see lots of people, singing Hapy birthday to me!! It was nightime and they had decorated the yard with handmade hanging papre lanterns.. hand.made. seriously incredible. 


As you can see from the pictures, we had a good time and lots of good food. They also prepared a native pinyata and other games for the party. I had lots of friends there, and there were definitely lots of smiles. I have never felt more loved. :) Thank you everyone who made it such a special day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Giving Thanks in a Foreign Land

Yes, it's now January. But this was in the works and due to the fact that December cameright after Thanksgiving, (and you know December is always crazy!) and I am already lazy with this blog thing.. well, you're getting a lot of over-due posts soon. So get ready. hahaha

This is what our Thanksgiving looked like in SE Asia this year!!! :) (photo blog) I wanted to uploas more photos but blogspot is not workin properly in that area.. c'est la vie.

all the traditional side dishes....

The Bird.
Squash. The closest thing to pumpkins here.

pilgrim decor

some good old-fashioned two-hand touch American football


I actually scored a touchdown during the game!

After this, we actually did have some Pumpkin pie, apple pie, and lemon meringue pie. It was too good to stop and take a picture. sorry.