Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankful for a Home

 Given the season, I've thought quite a bit about what I am thankful for. Let me tell you I could continually praise God for the rest of my life and never run out of things to thank him for. But if I were to pick one thing in particular to share, it would be this:

I am thankful for a home.

Now, I don't mean the physical house that I sleep and live in, although I am incredibly thankful for that too. The home I'm talking about is the nonphysical place of belonging. A place where unconditional love and acceptance is given and taken. A place to rest easy in, a place to feel comfortable in your own self and in those around you. You know the home I'm talking about?

I spent most of last year begging God to take me home. I thought I was "stuck" in Missouri. I was 17 hours away from my family, going to a school that I didn't enjoy, working in a field I had no passion for. I was extremely discontent and all I wanted to do was go home - and by home I meant West Virginia. Looking back, I see that most of that was my own perception, my own lack of thankfulness for the current stage of my life. At that time, I didn't see God working in my schooling or in my job, all I saw was my own discontentment and displeasure at where He had placed me.

So, I continually asked Him to take me home. All I wanted was to be back near my family, in the state I loved, fulfilling my calling to pastor. So that is what I prayed for each and every day. "Lord, give me and Adam a job near our families. Let us go home." But little did I know that He was preparing a better home than I ever could have asked for. I've already shared about how we got our current positions and how we ended up in South Dakota, so I won't go through that again. If you'd like, you can read about that here. But even when we moved and I knew that God's hands were all over it, I never imagined that any other place  in the world could really feel like "home." I am so very thankful that I was wrong. We may be farther away from our families then we ever have before, we may be in "the middle of nowhere South Dakota," but this beautiful place feels like home. Of course I still miss my family, I always will. But I know that they are just as thankful for our current placement as we are. They too are thankful that we have found a home, a place we love.

You hear the saying all the time, "Home is where the heart is." Well, part of my heart will always be in West Viriginia, because that's where my family is. But you know, I think our hearts are big enough for more than one home. I think our hearts expand, as our families do. And I have found family here, in South Dakota. I don't think my heart is split between the two, it's just wide enough to cover the distance.

So thank you, Lord. Thank you for having better plans for me. Thank you for not taking me where I thought I needed to be, but leading me to the place You prepared for me. Thank you for taking me to Watertown, South Dakota. Thank you for all the wonderful people you have introduced me to. Thank you for the amazing kids I get to hang out with and work with each week. Thank you for providing me with more family then I know what to do with.
 Thank you for expanding my heart, and for giving me a place to call home. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Once Was Blind...

I have had 20/20 vision for a week. That is seven full days that I have not needed glasses or contacts in order to see the world around me. And it has simply been AMAZING!

As a gift from my parents, I was able to get lasik eye surgery last Thursday morning, and I can say it has been life changing. In different ways, I am still trying to adjust to it. I still find myself reflexively reaching for my glasses in the morning, or having that last minute thought to take my contacts out at night. But I don't need to anymore, I am glasses and contacts free!

It was way less scary then you'd think it would be, and I didn't experience hardly any pain. Maybe some slight discomfort later in the day, but overall it was pretty much painless. My eyes are a little bit more sensitive to the light, but I expected that. Plus we've been bombarded by snow up here in South Dakota, so everything is a little bit brighter than usual. I've had two great post-op appointments, so now I just get to enjoy my new eye sight! The only two negatives I can think to mention are the silly looking goggles I get to wear to bed for a little while longer, and the slight insecurity I feel walking out of the house with no eye makeup on. But those are both pretty small things in comparison to the fact that I can now see.

If you've ever considered getting lasik done, I'd highly recommended it. It's pretty sweet! I can even recommend a pretty great doctor :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Goals

Hello November! Can you believe it's November already!? I feel like summer just started and here we are quickly approaching a new year. Time really flies when you're having fun doesn't it? :)

So, I've got several blogs that I absolutely love to read - some for their content, some because they are dear friends, and some simply because I love the way they write. One such blog is Walking In Between. While we have met several times and she is married to a friend, I don't personally know the writer. However, I just love the way she writes - I find it inspiring.

Well, several months ago, she started posting her goals for each month, and I loved the idea! While I always have things that I plan to accomplish, I never really write them down. Then of course, some are forgotten or I lose my drive to complete them, and they never end up done. So, here goes my first public attempt at documenting and hopefully achieving some monthly goals.

  1. Bake at least one pie this month. With all the Thanksgiving festivities, I know I can find a reason to bake one! I've been dying to try some new recipes for months now, but seeing as Adam doesn't really ever eat sweets and I'd rather not eat a whole pie by myself, it just hasn't seemed like a great idea. I'm thinking something with pears.
  2. Get a haircut. It's time for change folks - I know that I say that all time, but I really need it and so does my hair. Seriously, every time I wash and style it, it just screams "please, put me out of my misery." (...okay, so maybe not "seriously.") But for real, I think I know what I want, so now I just need to make plans to make it happen.
  3. Finish one non-fiction book. I'm a fiction freak, so this can be really difficult unless I'm totally into it. I can devour a fictional story in less than a day, but anything else takes me FOREVER. My bookmark is currently in Kisses For Katie, so let's see if I can finish it off before we start singing Christmas carols.
  4. Grab coffee with at least one of our youth girls. I've made plans with a few, but something always gets in the way on either end. I really want to get to know these sweet girls personally, so whether it's coffee or just some other form of hang out time, I've got to make it happen. This is easier said then done. 
  5. Drink less soda and more water. I used to refuse to drink the stuff, but recently I've had a few Mt. Dews, and now it's something that I crave almost every day. That is no good. So for starters, my goal is one 24oz cup of water a day. I know that's less than half of what I should be drinking, but that's why that sentence began with "for starters." 
So there we go, five pretty simple, totally accomplishable goals. What do you have planned this month? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This is my Father's World

A few months ago, Adam and I ended up sitting in on an old fashioned hymn sing. Now, I really do love hymns. I don't want to sing all hymns and only hymns every Sunday morning, but I do really enjoy singing them every once in awhile. They are so full of depth and eternal truths. Sometimes you just need to be reminded how Amazing Grace is, right? 
One of the final hymns we sang that day was "This Is My Father's World." That week and the several before it had been somewhat overwhelming. Not in my own personal life, but in the lives of some friends and family members. I had loved ones in very tough situations, and my heart was burdened by the pain and hurt and despair that I knew they were facing. It was one of those weeks where it was difficult to pray without shedding tears because of how desperately I needed God to intercede and work some miracles. But you know, we serve a great God. Throughout the week He continued to send me Scriptural reminders and friend's encouragements. Despite what we and others may face, God is still God. When the world seems overwhelming, He is still good. He is still faithful. He still reigns. 
This hymn was one of those reminders. 

"This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world; why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King, let the heavens ring; 
God reigns, let the earth be glad."

Mmmm, that last verse in particular just makes my heart sigh in relief. "...though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world; why should my heart be sad?"
I am so very thankful that my God reigns.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Today has been rather productive. I guess that can happen when you wake up at a decent hour on your day off. By the way, have I ever mentioned that I love Mondays? You see, on Mondays, our church staff takes the day off. So Mondays are pretty great around the Ridgeway household! Especially after the last few days. We stayed pretty busy in the youth department this week. Yesterday we had the first annual Lip Sync Battle with our middle school students - which was a total blast. Seriously, I laughed so hard that I cried - several times! We had some work cut out for us prepping everything for that event, but it was so worth every minute! Hopefully Adam can get a recap video done soon so we can show everyone some highlights. These kids did so good, and I'm pretty sure they had just as much fun as we did. Have I mentioned that I love those kiddos? They are just the best.

Core68's Lip Sync Battle

Anyway, back to my productivity. We woke up pretty early this morning (for us...really 6:30 isn't that early) and headed over to the Christian school. We have some friends that teach there, and they invited me to speak in their chapel services today and I had a great time. I especially loved watching the little ones. These little first graders came into the chapel as Rend Collective's Let Your Kingdom Come was playing. They immediately started bouncing around and singing as loud as they could. Some raised their hands and just praised Jesus the best they knew how. It was absolutely adorable. Isn't that amazing, how such young kids can get so excited about Jesus!? Why don't I praise Him like that? It was beautiful and humbling. So, thanks kids, you thought I was there to teach you, but really you had some lessons to teach me too!

After two chapel services we headed back home and did some resting. We chilled on the couch and finished off the last season of The Office. Yes, I am counting that as something productive. How often do you finish a whole TV series? What I'm not going to tell you is how quickly (or slowly - don't judge) we achieved that great feat. I did some recipe planning - now I just have to do the shopping portion of that chore, but that might wait till tomorrow. I also scheduled some consultation appointments for lasik eye surgery. Okay, again, don't judge, I am indecisive and will pick where I'll be going by the end of the week. And I finally put some loads of laundry into the washer. Quick honesty talk, I am THE WORST at doing laundry. It's not that I hate it, I just forget about it. Adam just gives me those not so gentle reminders of "hey, I'm out of underwear..." or t-shirts...or pants. My poor husband puts up with so much from me.

So now, here I am. Rambling to the world about my productive day. Well, probably not to the world considering that only about 3 people will read this - my mom (I love you!), my dear friend Heather because she promised to, and that one random person who accidentally entered the wrong web address (hey there fella, hope you enjoyed it!).

My future plans for the rest of my Monday include

  • finishing up a this great book
  • finishing all the loads of laundry (I think I have two more)
  • making dinner
  • and making signs for the upcoming Pure 5K.  

Oh and here is a shameless plug. If you are in or around Watertown, SD, Family Worship Center is hosting the Pure 5K on October 5th. It is to raise support and awareness to stop human trafficking here in the state of South Dakota. So if you live nearby, register at pure5k.com and join us as we run/walk to pierce the evil of human trafficking.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On continuing education

We've had one full summer of youth pastoring. I can't believe it's been that long already and yet I can. It still feels like we just got here, and yet we've experienced so many things and met so many people and really settled in. It's a strange feeling, but I absolutely love it!
I have learned so much in the past few months. Man, you really find out quick that college can't teach you everything; that experience truly is the best teacher. You think you're set and then you are quickly proved wrong. But I have some very gracious teachers. They are between the ages of 11 and 18 and full of vibrant energy and personality. And they have grown very near and dear to my heart, every single one of them with their quirks and craziness. And I know that they aren't done teaching me. I have so much more to learn! But here are a few things I have learned so far from these kids:

  • Don't take yourself too seriously, because they surely won't. 
  • Prepare to laugh uncontrollably and often.
  • Have Plan A set, but make sure you know your Plan B, C, and D. This is especially true when working with middle schoolers. They are so unpredictable, you never know what is going to happen - but they are so much fun!
  • Stories are your best friend. Preaching and teaching youth requires a lot of attention getting, so make sure anything you prepare is chocked full of stories - narrative passages, personal experiences, funny/crazy illustrations, etc. 
  • Set ending times for events. This will help you stay on track and focused and will also tell parents when they need to get their children. Who knew they needed to know that? 
  • On that note, you have to communicate well with parents. Make sure you very clearly articulate what is going on, when, where, why, and how. Tell them what their kids need to wear, what they need to bring, and if there will be food. Try to answer every question you could possibly think they might ask. And then repeat that information several weeks in advance, several times through several different avenues - service announcement, email, text, flyer, postcard, etc. Adam and I are still working on this, but I like to think we are getting better at it. This seems like a no brainer, but it is actually a lot harder than it sounds. 
  • Somehow you will never have the right amount of food. Either you don't bring enough and it is all gone in a matter of seconds or you prepare way to much and end up eating six cobs of corn all by yourself. Hopefully this is one of those things I'll learn in the future, because seriously, it's a struggle. 
  • If you are having an event in the morning, make sure everything is prepared and set up the night before because something will probably go wrong in the morning causing you to forget things that you need. 
  • When things do go wrong, because they will, don't panic. Work through it, apologize if needed, and remember for next time. And hey, this is why I suggest having Plans B, C, and D ready. 
  • When you are plagued with any of the negativity, set backs, and failures you will face in youth ministry, always remember why you do what you do. There is nothing like watching kids experience God, grow in their relationship with Him, and impact their worlds. 
  • Praying in the Spirit is a must. I don't know about all of the things that these kids are facing or will face in the future. But I'll continue to pray as hard as I can for them, and continue to ask God to show me how to pray for them. 
  • Prepare to be amazed - the ways these kids worship, pray, and experience God will blow your mind.
  • Set high spiritual expectations. They've already amazed you, so set higher expectations and watch them sail right past those and on to even greater things. 
  • God moves in His time. All you can do is prepare these kids for when He does. And teach them to expect it! 
And you know, these are just a few things off the top of my head. I'm sure that the longer I sit and think, the longer this list will become. And I am sure that the list will grow, I really hope it does. I want to learn as much as I can! And who better to learn from then these kids that I love so much? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend review: adorable

Nothing has the power to melt my heart quite as quickly as watching my husband play with small children. That being said, my heart was a continual pile of mush throughout this past weekend. 
Laughs and giggles were had by all. 

What did I tell you? Pile. of. mush. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thoughts on lesson planning

I don't know how your brain works. Sometimes I wish I did, just to get a bit of perspective. But here is some insight into mine.

My brain operates in short, quick spurts of pure genius (ok, maybe not genius...) followed by literally mind numbing blankness. Seriously. I'll have a great idea and everything will come together and make sense. The trick is writing it down before the emptiness overtakes it. If I don't get it all out on paper before the wall comes shooting up, it's just gone and I am back to staring at a blank page.

I'm currently working on a lesson for our middle schoolers for Sunday. I have a curriculum to work with and spark ideas from (thank goodness!), but I've been reading it over and thinking about it for three days. I was just struggling to tie it all together and make a solid message out of it. Finally, yesterday morning, my epiphany came. It actually hit me while I was in the shower. I find I do quite a bit of quality thinking in the shower. Anyway, I kept rehearsing it over and over in my head until I got to the office so I could write it all down. Now, I have a mostly planned lesson. I'm still working on a conclusion, I'll just have to wait for the next spark of genius. ((As far as the genius goes, I'm totally kidding...I don't know how well sarcasm is read over the internet...))

But you know what really does the thinking and planning process a lot of good? Solid prayer. I believe that God has great things for these kids, and that it is His Word that will impact their hearts and minds. So, I'll put a whole bunch of prayer into this lesson and into those kiddos. Because you know, they deserve it. They deserve the best that I can give them, and I'll trust that God has the perfect words for them to hear.

And hey, to you pastors (like my husband) who put in all the effort to write and prepare sermons every week, cuddos to you! I applaud you and I am inspired by your hard work and dedication to bring forth God's Word. Thank you for all that you do!

And if you are reading this and have some wisdom to share as far as that prep work goes, please share. I'd love to hear some of your insight!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A full house and heart

They left for home today. My house will no longer be full to the brim, busting at the seems. It is back to being just us, a small family of two. For goodness sakes, we are even missing our dog. Now don't think I'm discontent with my little family, because I am perfectly content. I truly enjoy us. But it was nice having some more bodies around for a bit, especially ones that we love so dearly.

You see, our wonderful families have been in town for the past two weeks. It began with a visit from Adam's family. We enjoyed a long weekend chatting, eating, and "sight-seeing" around Watertown with his parents, grandparents, and brother.

Then, once they left, we had only a day to wait until more family arrived. My parents and brother came in to stay for the week, and what a great week we had! We were able to spend a few days on the western side of South Dakota. That meant getting to visit Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Devil's Tower,  and driving through the Badlands and the Needles Highway. Now we were really only there for a day and a half, so we truly accomplished quite a bit. Oh, and we got to stop by and see some of the craziness in Sturgis with the Sturgis Bike Rally. Seriously, I've never seen so many motorcycles in my entire life. But it was wonderful! I'm so happy they decided to take their vacation to come see us.
I loved being able to share a bit of our lives here in South Dakota with them! We got to introduce them to our church family and show them just how much we love our jobs.

Adam and I are truly blessed. While we miss our families every day, we know that we are where we are supposed to be. And that, my friends, is wonderful to know. I may miss my family a little bit more now, but I know they are only a phone call or two flights away. And knowing that they are happy to see us flourishing and enjoying ourselves within God's calling is just pure bliss.

Now my house is quiet, and recovering from a constant flow of feet. It's just us again.

I miss them, but it won't be long until we are all together again.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Celebrating the American way!

I do have to say, Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. What can be better than celebrating American freedom with cookouts and fireworks? I would challenge, nothing. Plus, it is always an adventure! I can't think of one Fourth of July that wasn't memorable in some way. I mean, really, the combination of men (and some of you ladies) and things that go "boom!" - how can it not be eventful? It is always a good time spent with family and friends!

Yesterday, Adam and I had our first South Dakota Fourth, and believe me, they did not disappoint us! Not that we thought they would in any way. We were actually really looking forward to it. If you spend just one  day walking around town and talking to the locals, you just feel the umption, the need to satisfy your patriotic pride by uttering a deep, belly rumbling, "'merica!" And that is on any regular, normal day. It is great! So, naturally, we knew that when it came to taking a day to celebrate the establishment of our great nation and our freedom, they might just step it up.

And boy did they ever! The amount of fireworks that were lit off last night was simply astounding. Not only by our party hosts, but by the town at large. Where we sat on the lake, you could see fireworks going off all around. And I'm not just talking about firecrackers and bottle rockets. I'm talking large, stadium style firework shows. It was great!

But I do have to say, our party hosts had quite the show! I was thoroughly impressed! They just know how to throw a good party in general though. I'd say they are definitely gifted when it comes to hospitality. Quite a number of the guests were people from our church, so we got the chance to hang out and fellowship, getting to know some of them a little bit better. And the food - let's just say I probably won't need to eat for the next week. Double thumbs up!

Wanna know what topped it all off? We got to take a helicopter ride. A helicopter ride! Yep, I'd say we had a great Fourth of July. Thank you to all who made it possible!

Happy birthday America! You're pretty great!

Getting this man to just smile is nearly impossible. So horray for goofy faces. And how do you like that shirt!? :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Beautiful Things Like Friendship

This past weekend, Adam and I got the chance to journey back to Springfield. Our good friends were getting married and we were lucky enough to get to stand beside them as they said "I do." We had one long day of set up and a rather tiring "morning of," but by the time four o'clock rolled around, we were all ready and everything was beautiful - especially the bride! And let me tell you about that bride, oh man did she impress me! Now I'm not gonna lie, I sort of expected her to completely freak out at some point, but she didn't. And there were enough hang-ups in those two days, that no one would have blamed her if she did. There's a good chance that I would have been found in the fetal position rocking back and forth in a corner if it had been me. But no, she stayed relatively calm. And the wedding turned out beautiful and now they are married and enjoying their tropical honeymoon.

Did I not tell you she was beautiful?
The best part of the whole weekend was getting to see some of our favorite people! Jeffrey was in town for the wedding as well! And we spent nearly all of Sunday hanging out with some couple friends who are very near and dear to our hearts. We got the chance to catch each other up on the last month of our lives. It is quite amazing what can happen in just one month in the lives of seven different people. Each one of us is now in ministry in some capacity, and it was great to just sit and hear how God was moving and shaping us all. I'm so proud of all of them. These are wonderful, amazing people; I wish you could meet them. They would change your life, I know they changed mine.

And that's the thing about friendships. They do change your life. Before you realize it, you are wiser, or more hopeful. Maybe you are a little bit more adventurous, all because of who you surround yourself with. In the category of friendship, I have definitely been blessed.

That's right ladies, he's all mine.

Not pictured: our terrifying trip back to Watertown including torrential downpours, tornado warnings, and flash flooding - which is actually a thing, flash flooding. And not only when you live near a lake or river. Out here the fields just start to fill up and pretty soon you have no highway to drive on because it is UNDERWATER! No joke. Scary.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two years

Monday was our second wedding anniversary. Adam and I have been married for two full years now. People kept telling us that the first few years would be the hardest, but that hasn't been our experience. If these are the difficult years then we have quite a future ahead of us. Of course, I'm not assuming that it won't get hard ahead or that we won't face trials. I know we will - we haven't had children yet! I'm just thankful for the marriage we've had so far and how much more we will grow in the future.

We were able to spend that day surrounded by our families, and we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than with the people that showed us what marriage was truly about. Both Adam and I were blessed with generations of strong marriages. We had not only our parents to look to as examples, but also our grandparents. Without even realizing it at the time, they displayed dedication, perseverance, and genuine care and love. They taught us what it meant to be selfless and to truly put another person before ourselves. Now of course their marriages weren't perfect, but they kept trying. They made mistakes and corrected them. All in all, we had amazing models of marital faithfulness and love to follow, and for that I am sincerely grateful. I fully believe that it has shaped our marriage and given us a very strong foundation to build upon.

So, thank you! Thank you to our parents and grandparents for  giving us such a great example to follow. Hopefully we've learned from your mistakes, because I know we will have plenty of our own :)  We love you and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

...and sadly I did not get any pictures to document our second anniversary. I know, I'm terrible, but we were just so busy soaking up time with our families and friends back in WV that I just didn't think about it. I guess there is always next year!

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's the simple things

We have a washer and a dryer. In our house.

It is simply wonderful! I haven't even washed any clothes in them yet, and I'm already in love with them! Does having feelings for clothe-cleaning machines seem silly? Well, if so, then I know you've never had to use a laundromat. You've never had to plan out your wardrobe for the week to ensure that you have the needed attire for a specific event before taking a trip to that laundromat. You've never had to wrap your dogs bed in several layers of plastic bags to keep any smell of urine from seeping out before you have a chance to venture to the west side of town to wash it. You never had the privilege of carting all of your baskets down the stairs and out to the car knowing that whatever you do, no matter how deep you bury them, a pair of your panties are just destined to fall out on the sidewalk as strangers walk by. You've never had to set aside three hours in your week just to do a few loads of laundry. 

That is what we have been doing for the last year or so. Now, I know, that I am not the only one who has lived like this. So those of you who understand, celebrate with me! For those of you who don't, just smile and pretend like you know what I'm talking about. 

So, let me restate that. 

We have a washer and a dryer. IN OUR HOUSE! 

Where I can use them. WHENEVER I WANT! 

It is pretty amazing. ((and a total blessing!!!))

Monday, May 12, 2014

Taking big steps

Phew! So, it has been a busy two weeks - sorry not to update you sooner, but ya know, we had quite a bit going on. I'll give you a quick run down. Let's see, we started by packing up all our belongings into our cars. This task was much more stressful than I originally thought it would be, but thankfully we found out we had an extra day to move, so our families were able to help us pack up and move out. Essentially we packed everything up and moved it out on Thursday night with the exception of some essentials. Then Adam and I woke up bright and early on Friday morning (5:30am!) to vacuum and wipe everything down before we locked up and turned in the keys by 7am.

Next on the agenda was running the truck and trailer over to my parent's hotel, where I would get ready for graduation. Meanwhile, Adam dropped Buck off at a friend's house then went to save everyone seats for the big event. I was able to do my hair in record time (curling my hair is no simple task - if you know of any easier way, help a sister out!) then speed on down the road to line up with 500+ other kids. We filed in with all the necessary pomp and circumstance and did the whole ceremony thing. My whole goal that day was to not fall/trip/make a fool of myself in any way. So, I smiled, walked *gently,* shook the (ex)President's hand, and sat back down.

 Side note here, in case you didn't know: I attended Central Bible College, which merged with Evangel University last fall. So while I was attending Evangel's graduation, I actually graduated from Central Bible College. Therefore, I shook CBC's last President's hand rather than Evangel's. Make sense? 

Anyway, graduation wasn't too bad. It was actually shorter than I thought it would be - props to the guy calling all the names and his incredible pace, nice job! And some of those names were not easy. Of course we celebrated afterward. Did I mention that not only did my parents come, but also my grandmother as well as Adam's parents, brother, and grandparents. I am truly blessed with wonderfully supportive family who are willing to drive/fly nearly half way across the country to watch me walk across a stage. They are pretty stinkin' awesome!

Okay, so we packed, then I graduated. Next step in our crazy weekend was moving to South Dakota. My mom was actually able to drive up there with us, which was a total blessing considering I did not want to drive 10 hours by myself. So we left Springfield on Sunday morning around 8:30am which put us in Watertown by 7ish. When we arrived, we had a great crew of people there to help us unload all of our stuff. Seriously, I think it took us maybe 20-30 minutes tops to unload everything that took us two days to pack. We spent Monday unpacking and setting up our new home, then had our first day at the church on Tuesday. So far, we have loved every minute of it! We are truly blessed to be here! We haven't seen the sun much since arriving, but everyone promises that it will show up sooner or later :) Well, that's my update. Of course, a lot more happened in between everything, but I just don't feel like writing anymore, and you probably don't feel like reading anymore anyway. Now enjoy more pictures.

Yes, that is my grandmother shooting an AR-15. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Recharged and ready

The past few weeks we have just been going and going and going. Nonstop. Now don't get me wrong, I like being on the go, it means things are happening. However, every once in a while it is nice to just stop and take a breath...and maybe sleep in! Well, this weekend we did just that and it was WONDERFUL.

We didn't have anywhere to go, we could just stay home (if we wanted to). We did have things to do - it's finals week and we have to be out of our apartment by Wednesday - yikes! But instead, we just relaxed and caught up with friends that we hadn't seen in awhile. We may have been procrastinating a little, but come on, it's our last full weekend in Springfield. We cut ourselves some slack. Plus we still don't have any boxes, so packing may have been a tad difficult. We are getting those today though. And as today is my last day at my morning job, I'll have this afternoon and the next two days to pack up everything we own. Thankfully, we really don't have that much stuff (for living on our own for two years). - Like how I qualified that statement? Yeah, it makes me feel better too.

Well, today we are back to it. Like I said, today is my last day at my morning job and tomorrow is my last night at the gym. I have two finals to study for and take by Wednesday. Our apartment will be all packed up and in a trailer by Wednesday night. My family is all coming into town on Thursday morning. Graduation is on Friday (oh my goodness!) and we move to South Dakota on Sunday. So much is happening this week, and I am so excited for all of it! I say, BRING IT ON!

Happy Monday folks!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An announcement and a testimony

This past weekend, Adam and I traveled home to West Virginia for Easter. We got to visit family and spend some time at our home church. Since we've officially made the announcement to our families, I guess we can tell the big wide world.

We have accepted ministry positions at Family Worship Center in Watertown, South Dakota! 

Beginning in May, Adam will be serving as full time youth pastor and I will be acting as ministry assistant/office coordinator. I can not even begin to describe to you how excited we are! Throughout this whole process, we have seen God working, and it is completely by His hand that this opportunity was made available to us. It has simply been amazing to sit back and watch Him work. 

Now, if you had asked me a month ago how I was feeling about life after graduation/ministry opportunities/moving forward, I would have told you it was terrible. A month ago, we didn't know what we were going to do. We had a few leads, but all the doors we thought were open just kept closing. One after another, it seemed that I was watching my hopes die. Let me tell you, it was frustrating. And honestly, I was angry. I was angry that we had spent the last four years training for ministry only to find that God didn't have anything for us. I had been praying for so many agonizing months that God would lead us to the right church, but God just wasn't answering. I was trying not to lose hope, but let me tell you, it was hard.

You see, I thought I had been trusting the Lord to lead us the whole time, but really I was doing everything in my power to make a position happen. I kept trying to release control over the situation, but then I would turn around and grab the reins and have another go at it. It wasn't until the last connection we had fell through that I was done. That day was awful; I was angry and upset and I just didn't understand. The water works were on full blast all day (thankfully, I have a wonderfully understanding husband who puts up with me despite my periodic hysteria). There was absolutely nothing else that Adam or I could do. Nothing in our power had worked.

It was that very day, that an answer came. And we didn't even recognize it for what it was. I received an email from the Commuter Director at Evangel. He said that his cousin would be in town conducting interviews for a youth pastor position. If we were interested, we should email him for contact information. I told Adam about it and we decided to talk to the guy. Now, we weren't expecting anything to come of it. Seriously, we walked into that meeting thinking that it would be good interview practice for the future. We had already decided that after graduation we would just stay in Springfield and continue working our jobs until something came along. We did not expect God to move in that interview.

But boy, were we ever wrong! And I am so happy that we were. We sat down on Friday evening to chat with Wes and Cindy. That is what it was too, a "chat." It didn't feel at all like an interview. It just felt like we were talking to friends. An hour or so later, we all knew that God was up to something. We went home with plans to fly to South Dakota the next morning, and we were in Watertown by 3pm on Saturday. We spent that whole weekend with some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Everyone was so welcoming, by the time we left on Monday morning, I felt as though I had known them for years. We fell in love with the staff and the church, with their vision and dreams for the future.

We left on Monday morning knowing where we were supposed to be. We continued to pray, but felt completely at peace. I have never experienced anything like it. By Wednesday we had been offered the positions, and we accepted on Thursday. In just one week, God had turned our world completely upside down. He provided more than we could have ever even hoped for. He answered prayers that we never prayed. I am still in awe of the ways in which he worked this all out. Of course, there is so much more to the story. So many things happened along the way, all we could do was just stand amazed.

Now I believe that there is power in a testimony. And this is mine. In the midst of what feels like a hopeless situation, God is at work. You might not see an end, but that is because He sees a beginning. His power is so much greater than our own. So, if you are finding yourself in a similar situation, I would like to encourage you. Keep pushing through, don't lose hope. Our God is faithful.

Psalm 43: 5
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Calling all standby passengers

Thanks to Adam’s dad, we have some spectacular flight benefits. You see, he works for an airline, so we have the privilege of flying standby with that airline for free - at least almost free. Sometime you have to pay taxes. I don’t really always understand the details. Anyway, as we currently live half way across the country and are moving a bit farther westward, this perk definitely comes in handy!

 {It’s okay, I think you can be slightly jealous. But only for a second. Okay, time to be done coveting. Move on. } 

Check out that beautiful carpet

So standby. It can be a blessing and a curse - well, not really a curse, it is free. Let’s say it comes with its challenges. You see, you book a ticket for a flight but you don’t have a guaranteed seat on that flight. You have to wait and see what happens. The challenge is that flights can fill up quickly and leave you stranded. This requires some quick thinking and creative maneuvering. I’m not the quick thinking, creative maneuver, but both Adam and his dad have the covered - thank goodness! However, sometimes you’re just out of luck and you get stuck.

 So was the case for Adam and I last night. We made it to Chicago from Sioux Falls, but due to the weather, we weren’t able to make it all the way back to Springfield. Instead we got to search for a cheap hotel (with a shuttle service), walk through all that brilliant weather that Chicago was having (seriously Chicago! Snow and ice!? It’s April, get it together!), and get up bright and early (5:30am!) to try again. Hey, at least we didn’t have to spend the night in the airport. Although a very nice lady did give us several blankets just in case.

Look at that. Just no. Gross.

 We finally made it back to the 417 around ten this morning, just in time for Adam to be late to work - awesome! But we had a great weekend! We flew up to South Dakota on Saturday morning to look for some housing. We had a few options to choose from, so we spent some time looking around and we got to know our new town a little bit better. We had a chance to sit down and chat with some new friends and even meet some more great people. Seriously, we’ve loved everyone! The people in South Dakota are just wonderful, at least everyone we’ve met so far. Adam’s mom, Dawn, was able to join us for the weekend as well, so we loved getting to introduce her to everyone. We just had a lovely weekend! We were even able to find ourselves a duplex to rent (we didn't really do any of the searching, we had some great help with that part)!

 We are now all set to move in a few weeks! Except for the whole packing part of course. We haven’t even started. Oh dear, I hate packing. But I’ll give you some more details about our move and the whole story/reason behind it later - possibly next week. It’s a good one, so stay tuned!

South Dakota is just gorgeous! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I am a strong believer in purposefulness. So, naturally, this blog will exist to serve a purpose. And if you're anything like me, you want to know the reason behind what you are reading, why it was written. So, I feel obligated to begin by sharing this blog's purpose with you.

I am a lover of adventure, travel being my favorite. Though I fully believe that adventures can be found each and every day, even in seemingly mundane tasks. They can be found in learning a new skill, meeting new people, even trying a new restaurant. As long as there is a desire for adventure, I think it can be found, even if you aren't traveling half way across the world [though I'll take any excuse to do so!]. As long as you are awake and alert, adventure awaits!

As college graduation is approaching, I know some great adventures are just around the corner. This may require moving away from family and friends, so this blog will serve a two-fold purpose.
1. To document all of the everyday adventures to look back on in the future
2. To keep family and friends in the know about what is happening in our lives

Sound simple enough?

I hope to keep things interesting and share pictures whenever possible. I'll also try to keep things short, I know you all live busy lives!