Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

up all night

So... my back only slightly hurt yesterday morning at 6:30 when we were officially awakened and encouraged to get moving. Saturday night was the Global Night Commute, a little thing that over 54,000 people participated in here in the United States to raise awareness to the situation in Uganda. Yep, I've talked about it before. Well, anyway, it was amazing. Situated right in downtown GR, over 1,000 people gathered at Rosa Parks to write letters, make art projects, and sleep. Right there on the hilly grass around the small cement ampi-theatre. I met new people, spent time with old friends, sang worship songs, danced, laughed, and thought about this sweet cause.

There were a lot of car honks, screams, and sometimes a kick from an annhebriated downtown partier, but it was a great event. There is something about gathering with other people under the same cause of justice that builds such a community. It was interesting for sure, but I loved every bit of it. It didn't really rain, it more sprinkled all night. I was thankful for my sleeping bag, liner, and umbrella, all donated by friends to the cause.

I do have to say that starting out a letter to the President of the United States is an awkward task. I guess I wondered why I'd never done it before. I mean, for all the things I've believed in, argued about, and questioned, I guess it just never occurred to me that I'd have any effect. Well, anyway, I decided to start out "Dear Mr. President," because I thought that was formal enough. Yet, I wroted in a familiar tone, as I would a friend. I also wrote to Debbie Stabenow, a representative from Michigan. I figured she would never know that I was actually from Iowa :).

I talked to my sister, who was at the Commute in NYC, which is much scarier than Grand Rapids. I definitely give her props for even going, and she stuck it out until she realized she would have to stand all night. I don't know if I would have made it that long.

Well, it's Monday now and I just sent my support letter. With prayers and blessings, I just sighed as I sent them. This week is exams, so I'll be busy mostly with projects and papers. I do have an exam later on tonight, but I don't think it will be that bad. I'm looking forward to my friend's wedding this Saturday and my move to Samuel and Bethany's house on Saturday/Sunday.

I will work at Ruby Tuesday's on Sunday, then start on paint crew Monday morning at 6:50. Welcome Summer!
More updates to come!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


so...I realized today that I officially have 6 jobs.
1. Resident Assistant
2. Hope College Career Services
3. Library - TechLab
4. Babysit
5. Ruby Tuesday's
6. Paint crew

Yikes! I know it's just like this because of the change over to summer and I just happen to be employed at all of them for a couple weeks, but whew that's quite a list! I just thought of another list that I should jot down because it makes me smile:
package from my mom with wonderful things like a book, pictures, pen, and 10 bucks
this new computer i'm typing on right now i think fell straight from heaven - by way of Samuel's good friend Mike
my friends - we celebrated Ann's 22nd birthday and once again had time to treasure friends and smiles
family!! not only is my mom great, but my brother and sister-in-law have opened their home to me this summer.
There are so many things I could add to this list!
shout OUT to my sister in NYC who is on my mind so much - and it's always great.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

beautiful feet

Hmm.. I became quite reflective today, as I was writing my support letter for Poland. I realized as I wrote Romans 10:14-15 how much it was part of my past. I remember one summer working at Bethany Camp during missionary time, Treva talked about how the feet of those who bring the Good News were beautiful. At the time, I silently hoped that my feet would be beautiful someday, almost dismissing it out of fear and unbelief. But, oh did God ever plant the seed. I think it was also there that I raised my hand with a few campers as ones who could feel God's calling on them to missions. Praise the Lord for the work that people like Bill and Treva are doing. They would persevere through brick walls if they felt the Lord's leading. I have many times hoped in my deepest heart for a future much like theirs, knowing that is such a difficult thing to hope for.

But, yes, I wrote the first draft of my support letter today. These are funny things, well maybe just slightly awkward. I was reading the materials that International Messengers sent me and an article entitled, "Are Missionaries Beggars?" caught my eye. The author used both Old and New Testament to show that giving to missionaries is biblical... remember when Jesus comissioned the 70 without purse, script, or shoe? It's all right there in Scripture. Paul writes about it beautifully when he praises the Philippian church for their support.

YET, this still feels awkward. I won't lie, it's hard to send the letters. Several of my friends feel the same way. It might be our society or just our unbelief that God really will work through his people. A big part of me wants to say, I'll just work really hard this summer and save. It seems like on every end there's a downfall. If I saved all the money myself, I know I would somehow twist it to think that I was sending myself instead of God. And if I go from support then I may not value the experience as much as if I'd worked for it. It doesn't help matters any that my culture teaches me that I have to earn my keep. Those who are going anywhere in the world have to forge the way for themselves, instead of taking hand-outs.

With all these mixed messages, what will cut through the clutter? I've been learning about the clutter of advertising... you know the ultimate picture is Times Square where you become on sensory overload before you can take in everything demanding your attention. Well, with all those ads, commercials, and shiny things, what really speaks?

Hmm.. I'm unsure of what to write here. I mean, I know what I should write - that God's Word is alive and active in me, sharper than a two-edged sword and our only offensive weapon against the enemies of this world. Yes, I do believe it! Yet, my spirit is literally rocked each day when I come to actual intersections where my faith is tested. I do believe it, but I would never say I understand it or have attained it.

I guess I just want to say that I try to understand God's perfect, sovereign plan, but I can't say that I completely follow it. I am struggling, but pushing forward to reach the goal, which is in Christ Jesus.

Whoa. My apologies for this being somewhat abstract and deep. Maybe I'm just adding to the clutter. Regardless, may God be praised. May HIS name be raised on earth today as it is in heaven around His throne!

Grace and Peace.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I was a little sad yesterday. Blame it on emotions or that I'm a female, I don't know. As we sang "In Christ alone,"I just cried.
I think I'll just post the lyrics because they are an amazing reminder of the love of Jesus.

In Christ alone my hope is found He is my light, my strength, my song This Cornerstone, this solid ground Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace When fears are stilled, when strivings cease My Comforter, my All in All Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh Fullness of God in helpless babe This gift of love and righteousness Scorned by the ones He came to save ‘Til on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay Light of the world by darkness slain Then bursting forth in glorious Day Up from the grave He rose again And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me For I am His and He is mine Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death This is the power of Christ in me From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny No power of hell, no scheme of man Can ever pluck me from His hand ‘til He returns or calls me home Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Mmmm. Amen and amen. Praise God! The Easter service I attended with my family was a bit unconventional, but then again I guess the events of those days were far from convention. How normal was it such a man to die and then be raised?
And then when my family was about to leave I fought back tears again. I love them so much. William and James are such wonderful brothers. I guess I'm realizing how much I treasure their friendship. I hugged them tighter this time, because there's something about their embrace that reminds me that their friendship is unbreakable.

Wow..that was mushy:). Well, anyway...I'm working on projects and finals right now. The end is in sight, but my day planner is packed for the next three weeks. I haven't even started to think about this summer, which is looming over my head.

I am excited that my grandparents are coming up here on April 12. My list of things to do is growing and a smile appears whenever I get a chance to think of it.

Praise God for family.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

an explanation and rejoicing

So...I guess it's about time I explain why I have a foreign heart. I have been realizing some things that make me so thankful that this land is not my home. I believe that, being created in the image of God, my deepest part always longs for Him and my true home in heaven.

Oh boy am I glad I long for heaven and not here, although I admit sometimes I am distracted by the fake shine of the things on earth. But, I want to share with you a story of God's glory and work right now... it has to do with Invisible Children. I know - the reaction I got from some people is that children aren't invisible...But just hold on!

So, there's a civil war in Uganda. Northern Uganda is especially suffering from a certain deception that started with a woman named Alice. Alice was possessed by a spirit named Lakwena and was convinced she was called to overthrow the Ugandan government. Her connection with the spirit world gained many followers and a man named Joseph Kony claimed to be her cousin. For the last 17 years he has been plotting this overthrow, but as the Ugandan people grow tired of war, he has started to expand his army by abducting children. Villages and schools are ambushed to kidnap recruits, who are taken to the bush (deserted land) and forced into desensitization. They watch weak and uncompliant children die horrendous death by knife or guns...and the children are forced to make these kills. Their lives are full of blood, one child even said that he gets a headache if he doesn't see blood.
The army targets 5-12 year olds because they are moldable, big enough to hold a gun, but small enough that they will obey. These children have no choice...To escape abduction, children from the villages will travel miles every night to sleep in a town where they can lay safe under a hospital or veranda. These night commuters sleep packed like goods, with no space in between. They wake up early in the morning to make the trek back to their village. Many children make this journey alone.

This is a TRUE STORY! IT is documented in a movie called "Invisible Children." Please check out more at www.invisiblechildren.com - you will see that this is happening in Uganda and is going unnoticed in the world! In a period of three months, 640 died and 2,000 were abducted. Children are being senselessly slaughtered by their peers, who are learning a harsh way of life..

My foreign heart longs for heaven where there will be shalom, but I know also in my heart that God's heart is for the poor, oppressed, orphans and widows. These are the people of his heart and if I am a true follower I will know that when God's heart hurts, so too should mine. Please check out the website, write senators, and take part in the global night commute on April 29.

We recently held screenings for the movie at my college and had almost 700 people show up. Praise the Lord and we expect more.. because if anyone should be responding to the call of the oppressed it is GOd's children.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

here are more pictures

These pictures are with the beautiful children my sister nannies for!

This picture is an attempt at art from my friend Allie's apartment.
These pictures are back in DC with Ann getting crazy with her cousin and Katy spotting a sweet picture with her namesake!

Ann...well she just hung out on the floor for awhile with the dog. I guess they're pretty good friends or something. I think this picture looks like its from HS..tehe... This one below is of the beautiful girls I road tripped with!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

another paradox...and another

I am blessed. I truly am. I know it's something people say all the time, but I don't think all the time is enough. PTL (as my mom would say) because for some reason I am blessed.
Today I called my grandpa to wish him a happy 83rd birthday. He talked about how time changed, my travels and studies, and family. He talked for awhile about his 83 years and his children, their spouses and children, and a great grandchild. His tone was reflective, but beautifully thankful for the grace our family has received.

I also talked to my other set of grandparents tonight, because they are coming to VISIT! I am wonderfully excited and am constantly making mental notes about what they'd most like to see. The weekend will be marvelous, for sure, just because we'll be together!

So... another paradox that made my list (and I should note that I could never fully explain these because they are somewhat unclear to me and also would probably bore whoever does read this) was the interesting subject of food and American culture. I know this might have already been tackled in a documentary, but I'm not sure that the ideology has been discussed.

We are told, through advertisements and feel good promotions that we can be what we want, do what we want, and (of course) eat what we want. Celebrities are known for saying their favorite meal is a cheeseburger or a delicious dessert. Our food is showcased in front of us behind glass cases with signs that say "treat yourself" and "you've earned it." The idea that after a long day or week we've earned the right to these delicacies is interesting to me. Actually, it doesn't really have to be earned, we just need to believe that the treat should be coming to us. Anyway, on the other side is our obsession with appearances. By no means deny yourself the treats, but somehow get your body to look dangerously thin and toned. The drug is NOWHERE to be found, but the prescription is ALL over the place! So, we end up quite confused when we are searching to merely eat what we've earned, but then are confronted with these images.

I think this may sound a little drastic, but remember, I don't claim to know. I just claim to think. and it helps to write it out.

I've got to finish up a presentation on behavioral genetics - linking science, biology, culture, and religion. Yep, it's interesting!

also... Tomorrow Hope for the Nations (org. on Hope's campus) is having a Missions Fair and Panel, so if you're into praying, it'd be great if you'd ask the Lord to bless the day. As well as next week, when the justice group will be showing the documentary, Invisible Children (www.invisiblechildren.com). The story is about children in Uganda that are being abducted and forced to fight in a rebel army made up almost completely of their peers. Lift up prayers!

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

a paradox

So...interesting is an odd way to explain the past couple days, but I'll do my best.
Last Saturday, I had a bad day. It wasn't your run-of-the-mill my hair looks bad and I can't find my homework kind of day. No, sadly I couldn't pin it on something quite so simple.
I was not in a good mood and for the most part didn't know why. There were some things that happened that frustrated me, but nothing big enough to warrant a whole day of bad moodiness. I was emotional, sad, and had more than one cry-session during the day. I didn't want to be at my house, but didn't really have a place to go, so I drove. Forgot to mention that I also don't have any money...so I realized really fast that you basically can do nothing for free. Seriously! I was driving - money. Coffeeshop - money. I'm not the kind of person who can go into a business and just chill out without being a customer. So... I went to visit my friend who works at Gap. She had been having a rough day with our washing machine.
I called my sister around 5/6 and she did her best to scrounge up a solution. After a few failed attempts, she suggested I go to Barnes and Noble and just read for a while...in fact, she said buy yourself something and I'm going to send you $10 in the mail. .."We don't need circumstances to be happy, but sometimes God works through them." GOD BLESS YOU SISTER!
So, I luckily brought along a book I'd been meaning to start for awhile, the first of the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. From that point, I was hooked! I finished it early afternoon yesterday, after staying up until 6:30 am to read it! (That's even late for the college clock!)

After I finished yesterday, everything else seemed so boring! I jumped right into the book and all the emotions I was feeling seem to come out in one way or another in the characters. It made me remember the times I would sit and read with my grandparents last summer. Oh what glorious times we had. I can't wait for some more spare time for reading!

But, it must wait as I have looming projects, papers, and presentations that come with the end of the year. I have been (as always) doing a lot of thinking. Sometimes my thinking is related to subjects and sometimes it's hard to find where it originated. But, anyway, lately my thoughts are towards the paradoxes we see in society, culture, and religion. It came from my realization of constantly being told/taught one thing, expected another, and encouraged to do yet another, and they all seem to be in conflict. What would we do, then? If we choose one do we fail another? Let me try to give an example...I actually have a running list, but I don't want to be too overwhelming:
Okay, let's take the ever-controversial topic of feminism. The ideas of feminism, as they developed over three waves, are generally good. They encourage women to be free-thinkers and not dependent on a system. Instead of being held captive in titles of 'homemaker' or 'wife,' feminism allows women to choose their career or life path freely. However, in the same name of feminism, women are voluntarily subjecting themselves to objectification. They fight against the box, but then put themselves in it - how does that make sense?

There are other examples, and I actually even found some in the lives of the characters of Voice in the Wind.

I know this can also be a picture of our spiritual life. We can fight against sin as Christians (through God's grace), yet with our freedom we choose to trap ourselves in the box from which we were trying to be free. Why is this? I don't know.

I think the questions, wonderings, and confusion I have is all balled up in my brain like the yarn at the end of my grandmother's crochet. It's full of color and tightly bound together. Every time I try to take a piece out I get more confused.

sidenote: I went to an art show the other day and it was so peaceful. I really enjoyed the serenity and pieces using all types of media. It made me want to be an artist. I do pretend, but sometimes I think I really want to be an artist.

i send my love to my grandparents, who I didn't even know read this! and my mom - she spurs great thought without even knowing it!
Oh, and I am going to post my pictures soon from DC/NY - I promise!

Grace and peace.


These are some of the pictures from my time with Christina! aren't we good looking!

These are pictures from DC. The first one is in a vintage clothing store in Georgetown and the second is a tunnel on our long road trip.

This picture is in front of the pizzeria paradiso in
Georgetown. .... and then Shyle standing next to some sort of airplane engine in the Air and Space Museum.

These are just a few of the pictures!