Thursday, December 17, 2015

Oh yeah, those family pictures we took back in October...

Much to the chagrin of my darling husband, I asked a friend of ours to take some 
family pictures for us back in October. Then I hid them on my computer to save for a Christmas card. 

But now that I've sent out my cards (and hopefully, everyone has received them...I may have forgotten to put a stamp on one or two) and my parents are asking bugging me to see more, here we go.

How cute are our pups? I mean really!?

Yay for cute family photos! We took all of these right in our very own backyard and I think they turned out lovely! (Thanks Kristin!) 

All the wonderful Christmas wishes to you & yours!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wishing you joy & peace

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace 
because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope 
through the power of the Holy Spirit."
-Romans 15:13 NLT

I've really been clinging to this verse over the last few weeks. Seriously, I'm talking gripping for dear life as though hanging on the side of a cliff by my fingertips kind of clinging. 

It's just been that kind of season in our lives. A season of cliff hanging and clinging. 

But I'm so thankful that I have such firm truth to cling to. 

And I've found that as I cling, even when I feel as though I can't trust anymore, He provides the power and the strength. And with His strength comes the hope, joy, and the deep peace I so desperately need. 

So sure, maybe I am hanging off the side of that cliff by my fingertips. 

But His wonderful hands are reaching down from Heaven to firmly grasp my arms and give me the help I need to climb back up. 

He won't let me fall. 

Maybe you find yourself in a similar season? Start clinging, man. Grab ahold of God's truth and don't let it go. He won't let you fall either. 

In the meantime, I pray that God would completely fill you with joy and peace and that you would begin to overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What verses have you clung to during different seasons of your life?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

When did you stop...

A friend of mine shared a quick devotion with a group of us the other day. It was just a 10 minute portion of a ladies crafting event, something simple and light. I didn't quiet expect it to rock my world the way it did.

She began with this illustration:
There's an old story about a man, sick in soul, who visited a monk in the desert.
The monk asked him 3 things:

  1. When in your life did you stop singing?
  2. When in your life did you stop dancing?
  3. When in your life did you stop telling stories and finding enchantment in your own life's story? 

My internal answer? I don't remember.

When did I stop singing? - Well, never. I still sing to myself all the time. I've always got a song stuck in my head.
When did I stop dancing? - I don't know that I ever started. Now don't go thinking that's so sad. I'm just not a dancer. Maybe a little swing of the hips every once in awhile but I'm not one to blare the music and dance in my underwear (Grey's Anatomy reference anyone? No? Okay...)

But when did I stop telling stories and finding enchantment in my own life's story? Now that one got me.

I've always loved stories. I'm a bit of a book nerd, fiction being my favorite with biographies in a close second. I love to delve into someone else's experiences. But my all-time favorite stories have always been my dad's. He tells the best ones. I've always found so much joy just sitting next to him and listening to him retell all his adventures and the crazy situations he got himself into. He always has the best accompanying facial expressions, sound effects, and hand motions. I may have heard the one about the three wheeled volkswagon bug driving through the middle of the desert a hundred times before, I could probably tell you that same story in the same exact way he does, but I'll patiently listen again and again because I cherish hearing his stories from him.

And I've always wanted to tell stories like he does. To remember the pieces of my life and recount them to others in all the vivid details. To share the life lessons, to speak some wisdom, even just to get a little laugh. I've always wanted my stories to mean something to someone else like my dad's have meant to me.

But somewhere in the last few months, maybe it's even been slowly happening over the last few years, I've lost the enchantment in my life's story. In some way, I stopped noticing the beauty, the wonder of my own days. I've written them off as unimportant, less than, and unnoticeable.

I stopped telling my stories because I stopped believing that they meant anything.

The friend who shared the devotion led us to the book of Zephaniah, a small two page record of one of God's prophets. At the closing of his book he prophecies the restoration of Israel and in chapter 3 verse 17 he says this,

"For the Lord your God is living among you. 
He is a mighty savior. 
He will take delight in you with gladness. 
With his love, he will calm all your fears. 
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

I've returned to this verse over and over in the last few days.

God takes delight in me. He rejoices over me with joyful songs. My stories, my life, mean something to Him - He is enchanted by my stories! 

If the Almighty God, Creator of the world, Savior of men, the all-knowing Lord is enchanted by my story, how can I not be? If He rejoices over my life, how can I not find joy in my days?

My stories mean something to God. Even if He is the only one who ever cares, isn't that enough!? 

Yes, His delight in me is more than enough.

Like the man in the illustration, my soul has been sick. But I'm so thankful God intervenes to heal and restore even at the most unexpected times. So this is me, striving to rediscover the enchantment, delight, and love for my own story. Meanwhile, I'm finding rest in the Lord's joyful song and His wondrous presence.

Picture by Greg Rakozy/

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Life is hard

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't, I haven't been here since August. 
I have no other explanation then to say -

"Life is hard. Then you die." 

Ha. Can you relate with that statement? 
No? Well, good for you. 
Yes? Yeah, me too. 

Life is hard.
But I'm so thankful that God sits with me right in the midst of the hard. 
I don't have to rely on my wisdom, my strength, or my fortitude. I can rely on His. 
I'm so thankful that God's shoulders are so much wider and stronger.
He holds my burdens way better than I ever could. 
Life may be hard, but my God is good.
And I'll be back soon enough.

"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus,
God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand.
And this peace will control the way you think and feel."
Philippians 4:6-7

Want some more thoughts on dealing with the hard?
 Check out this awesome post from The Pearl Press.

...and you can thank my OT professor for that wonderful saying there.
I quote him all the time :) 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Four on Friday | Life-Giving Verses

It's Friday! Hallelujah! Can I get an "Amen?!"

Well, I'm joining in on the "Five on Friday" hype but with a little twist. Today it's Four on Friday because I like even numbers and it's my blog, so I say so. How's that for sure, logical reasoning?

My Four on Friday is living-giving verses. I just want to take a quick moment to share some verses that have been on my mind and getting me through the week. They've encouraged me, challenged me, and driven me to my knees in prayer. I hope they might do the same for you.

1. "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my hearts delight." 
- Jeremiah 15:16
Jeremiah makes this statement in the midst of the darkest prophecies. The Lord has been speaking destruction over Judah and as his prophet, Jeremiah must share this terrible fate with his people. And yet, despite the famine, death, and threatening exile, Jeremiah takes joy in the words of the Lord. He loved EVERY word God spoke, with no exception. He took the good with the bad, trusting the Lord for deliverance.
I was so challenged by these words of Jeremiah's. Do I hunger for God's Words? Do I crave them like food and devour them? Do I take joy and find delight in them? Shesh. Probs not. I'm sure working on it though; how about you?

2. "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, 
for you have been with me from the beginning." 
- John 15:26-27
This was a double whammy - both an encouragement and a challenge. Jesus is promising the disciples that He will send the Holy Spirit to take up residence in His followers after He is gone. The disciples have been charged to testify concerning Christ - to tell the world of all He has done (the challenge), yet they we don't do it alone. The Holy Spirit also, and even more, so testifies about Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts and changes hearts (Jn 16:8), not us. That is the encouragement. We don't bear witness to Christ alone. All we need to do is tell the world about Him; the Holy Spirit will do all the heavy lifting. Doesn't that take off some of the pressure? It should! 

3. "For you are all children of the light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober." 
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6
This one is still challenging me from camp a few weeks ago. God continues to "awaken" me to the areas of my life where I have been spiritually asleep. And I hope and pray that He won't stop waking me up. I need it all day, every day. Anyone with me? 

4. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 
- John 16:33
This is one of my all-time favorite verses. These are some of Jesus' last words to His disciples before He is taken and crucified. He doesn't sugarcoat their future. He doesn't promise that everything will be easy and that they will live long, happy lives. In fact, He tells them that they will face persecution because of Him. Yet, He promises that they will have peace because He has already overcome it all. Praise Jesus for that!

I am so very thankful for those words! All of them. 
How has God's Word been challenging or encouraging you this week? 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July according to my camera roll

Just got her first lake swim under her belt then off she goes to hunting school.
They grow up so fast.

Adventurous family vacations? Yes, please!

Cabin 8. We may have lost cabin inspections, but we rocked our consequences.

How did July treat you? 

Monday, July 27, 2015


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I'm not sure that there are enough words to wholly and completely describe this past week of camp.

Adam and I, as well as our entire church staff, had been planning and praying for this week for months now. As our first solo week-long camp endeavor, this past week has been a big deal for all of us and for our church. Not only is it both the climax of our summer and the kick-off into the rest of the year, but it was also our first go as camp directors (yikes!). It has been the somewhat terrifying mountain looming in the distance all year. This camp was a shift in routine. We changed things up. Of course, we wanted it to go well - you always want camp to go well, but there was a bit of (positive) pressure for it to be spectacular.

And it was more than any of us could have ever dreamed. All of it, from the activities to the food, the students to the services, it was all unimaginably wonderful.

Our biggest and most repeated prayer was that our students would meet with God this past week - that He would speak and they would listen, that their lives would be radically altered and shaped by a one on one encounter with their Almighty Father. Let me tell you, that prayer was answered. God showed up and our amazing students were ready.

It was beautiful to watch. I stood in the back, completely overcome by their worship. Every day, they lifted their hands until they couldn't any longer, they sang until their voices were hoarse. They prayed with each other, they prophesied over each other, and they waited in the Lord's presence to hear from Him. He called them deeper and they dove right in.

It was nothing we did. It was all God. He showed up, He made camp what it was this year. And I am so thankful! So, if you prayed for us this week, thank you. We felt those prayers every step of the way. Our God is so good, is He not?

Friday, July 10, 2015


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And we're on our way back home to SD. Right now I'm rushing to type this before I run out of complimentary wifi. Thanks for the 30 minutes O'Hare - I can totally download a movie and write a blog post in that extensive amount of time.

As we were leaving bright and early this morning (4:45am ugh!), we had to say goodbye to our families last night. Even after doing this for so long it doesn't get any easier. Adam and I haven't lived closer than 17 hours away from our families for the last three years and still I cry every time I have to leave. Embarrassingly enough, I lost it in front of my poor brother as he was driving me to Adam's parent's house. Thankfully he's a trooper and let me just sit there and leak quietly while we listened to the radio. What would I do without him?

It's certainly not easy living so far away, but I love the time we do get to spend with our people. We have two families that love us so much and cherish the time we get to spend with them. They all go out of their way to make every moment special. I feel so blessed getting to have two sets of parents, three grandparents, three brothers, and a number of aunts and uncles who constantly uplift and encourage us.

Thank you for loving us you guys. We miss you already and can't wait to see you again soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

From where I stand | Vol. 2

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The calendar is full.
The to do list goes on and on.
The days speed by and the lists only get longer.
I'm a little anxious and a whole lot forgetful.

It seems overwhelming.

And yet, I know I'll make it through.
The burdens that seem so heavy are not only my own.
I'm surrounded by a wonderful team, and I am uplifted by a wonderful God.
I'm a little comforted and a whole lot encouraged.

It's not so overwhelming after all.

So, I'll continue moving forward, checking off the lists.
Victory and freedom are mine for the taking,
so I'll grasp hold of them tightly
and never let go of the God who makes it all possible.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekend Adventures | Palisades State Park

Last weekend Adam and I took a quick trip to Palisades State Park. I've been wanting to share some pictures, but I came home with a nasty little cold that's been kicking my butt all week. So this post has been a bit postponed. 

We didn't do too much, just a little bit of hiking and whole lot of sitting by the campfire. I really forgot how much I love the sound of leaves rustling in the wind with a river running by. So relaxing. For any of you who don't know, South Dakota is quite beautiful. 

We also stopped by Devil's Gulch to check out the canyon Jesse James jumped to outrun the law. I think he could have done it. 

So hopping back to a week ago, here we are. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Currently // v.4

A Waking Adventure
Playing // Ultimate frisbee each week - It's counting toward my goal of exercise but three hours of running up and down a field might just kill me. At least it's fun (sorta).

Going // Camping this weekend at Palisades State Park! I'm looking forward to some adventuring, hiking, picture taking, biking, river swimming, hammocking, and some great uninterrupted conversations with my husband by the campfire.

Wearing // My chacos. Everyday. Even in all the chill and rain. Maybe it's my way of trying to convince South Dakota that it is now summer time? Bring on the warm sunny days! Please!

Sipping // Lots and lots of water. Basically because every time I drink something else I get a headache. Anyone know what's up with that? So yeah, just water.

Reading // Building a Discipling Culture. It's the best book on discipleship I have ever read...and I've read a few. But really, pick it up and give it a read. It is so challenging!

What are you up to? Have any summer plans?

Link-up with Jenna & Anne

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Here's to three years

A Waking Adventure
He's always been the pursuer, the risk-taker. He was the one to say, "hey, I like you." Plain and simple. He's always been the unashamedly honest one.

Me? I'm the hesitater. The one who blushes and quietly refuses to like him back.

But there he is again. The forever jokester, making me laugh and offering me car rides. The deep thinker, taking me out for coffee just to sit and talk about Jesus and our dreams.

Okay, maybe I like him a little. But there I am again, the one who says, "yeah, but should we really start dating two weeks before we graduate high school?" Forever lost in the details. Caught up in the what-ifs,, thinking it will never work.

But just knowing him makes me want to risk it, to give it a try, to go all in.
"Let's be adventurers," he says. Okay!

Each day he makes me fall more in love with him. Before the end of the summer, I am saying words I never expected, "I love you." Naturally. Gracefully. This hesitater didn't pause. I didn't need to analyze every little detail, I knew.

He's the dreamer, a true visionary. He's always two steps ahead of me, but he's also patient. He's willing to wait, offer me his hand and help me catch up.

He says, "I want to marry you."

And I'm back to day one. Hesitating. Blushing. Refusing.

But there he is, pursuing. Dreaming for both of us. Answering all my unasked questions. Loving me through it all. Forgiving me for my lack of vision. Giving me time to catch up.

Just knowing him makes me want to risk it, to give it a try, to go all in.
"Let's get married," he says. Okay!

And each day he has continued to make me fall more and more in love with him. He continues to be my pursuer. He continues to dream for two. And he continues to be two steps ahead but helping me all along the way.

I am so blessed to call him husband.

Adam, I love you. Thank you for loving me and never giving up on me.
Here's to three years, babe.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June Goals

A Waking Adventure

Sunny days, dog walks, gardening, bike riding, ice cream eating, swimming, beach days, camping trips, barbecue, traveling, grilling, and bon fires. June is a great time of year.

I'm already looking forward to evenings spent in my backyard and weekend adventures.

Adam and I have an anniversary camping trip planned for next weekend and I cannot wait!

I've also got some goals on my mind for this wonderful month.

  • Say "hello" to one new person each day. God's been continually stirring my heart lately about entering into community here, where I am. He's been challenging me in so many ways to step out of where I'm comfortable and to really begin to bring His love to those around me. Saturday I was listening to the Around the Table podcast and they were talking about things we should say more often. Saying "hello" was one. And I thought that would be an excellent way to begin to intentionally step into my community. Given my shy, introverted nature this will certainly be a challenge, but I'm really looking forward to it! And hey, listen to the podcast - it's excellent!

  • Invite friends or students over at least one night each week for the purpose of sharing our lives. This goals stems from the same reasoning as the last. I really want to make a habit of being purposeful in building community with the people I surround myself with. I don't want my life to be hidden or secret, I want to intentionally share it. I want my home to be a place where others can find peace, insight, and most of all, God's love. 

  • Plan at least five meals each week. This has been a goal before and will continue to be. I want to eat healthier and more consistently. 

  • Work out three times a week. Even if it just means riding my bike around town, I need to get out and be more active. And I'll probably count our weekly game of ultimate frisbee as a workout session - so. much. running. 

What are you planning for June? Have any goals set?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thoughts | Not called to easy

Don't you love it when God uses less than ideal circumstances to teach you some Kingdom lessons?

This week I'm learning that being the hands and feet of Christ is hard work. So often I say "God, please use me" but then I'm unwilling to be challenged or stretched. I want my service to be comfortable, simple, easy. I don't want it to cost me anything - literally. Come on Lord, I'm on a budget here.

Yes, the Gospel is wonderfully and beautifully free, but it costs to spread it. It'll cost time, energy, and money. It takes work. It takes building intentional relationships. It takes lots and lots of prayer. It takes a car ride on a busy Wednesday night when I have so much to get done. It takes being willing to listen for sometimes long periods of time. It takes making myself available. And I'm finding that it will probably always take more time than I think.

Yesterday I spent my car rides audibly venting my frustrations to God (the people driving around me probably thought I was crazy). I just wanted Him to tell me when enough was enough. How many times was I going to have to go through the same cycle over and over before I saw some results?When is the time to wipe the dust off my sandals and move on? When am I allows to call it quits? It hurts. It's costing me money. It's costing me time. What do I do?

I remember saying that I wish He would respond audibly because I really wanted to know. I needed some answers.

Funny thing, prayer - it actually works.

No, I didn't hear the audible booming voice of God. Instead, He planned for my husband to share the perfect message with the youth. He planted some wonderfully challenging words in Adam's mouth that I desperately needed to hear. And I have my answers.

I would have loved to hear that I should throw in the towel and give up. That would have been easy. But you know, we aren't called to live easy lives. Christ was our example and He was willing to die. With that in mind, how hard is it really for me to spend a few bucks a week in gas if it means one person realizing who He is and all that He did for them?

So, I'll continue. It won't be easy or comfortable and I may never see the results, but I'll continue to ask Him to use me. And I sure hope that He continues to teach me what it truly looks like to imitate Christ. Shew, I've got a long way to go.

Who wants to be my accountability partner? I really need someone to smack some sense into me when I start complaining. But really.

Picture by Wyman H /

Monday, May 25, 2015

For the love of puppies

I love my pups. But sometimes...sometimes. Sheesh.

I finished planting some beautiful deep purple petunias in that pot there. 10 minutes later, this is all that's left.

I suppose that is what you get when you leave a six month old puppy who hasn't eaten breakfast yet alone with some tasty looking flowers within reach. Too much of a bad Ginny. My bad.

Next time I'll know better.

Done any gardening lately? How's it going for you?