Friday, June 3, 2022

The Beauty of Easter to a Dry and Weary Soul

     I have been in a drier season personally in my walk with God the last year or so. Since being back, and not having the constant distraction of serving, and having responsibilities during church, or other places, I have had time to really reflect and think about what is happening inside of me. What is God doing? During one church service here in Colorado Springs, I was hearing the lies we can so easily believe, “Your a poser”, “do you actually believe this?” “You don’t look like you do..” etc…

 Then I was reminded of something I heard a pastor say, about how one of the the beautiful things about the body of Christ, is that when your faith is overflowing people can lean on you for their faith feels weak, and when yours feels weak you can lean on the body of Christ to embolden your faith. As I was reminded of this reminder I suddenly felt so grateful for the body of Christ, and the beauty and power of being in it. The church is a beautiful thing. I thought of when people feel like they lose their faith, and run from the church, when what is needed is this truth, and to run towards it. Following that service, each time in church I was so thankful for the body of Christ, the church, the people of God. 

As we visited Durango, and our home church, I was overwhelmed by the love of God, and the way He displays this love through His people. The conversations, the services, the love was so powerful. That church knows how to love well, and we are so incredibly blessed by the over and over again.

Then as we entered Holy Week, we decided to attended all the Holy Week services at a church here in Colorado Springs. As we attended we were tired from traveling, we all had colds and it felt almost silly. But something in us felt like we needed to make this a priority for our family. It reaped huge dividends. This was the first time in a long time I stopped to think about what followers of Jesus must of been feeling and thinking during that week. As we moved through Maundy Thursday, that feels like a “normal” service, with feet washing into darkness, Good Friday, which almost felt like a funeral, and Easter Vigil, where we were watching and waiting for the light. Attending these services made my heart so soft and expectant for the light. As we anticipated Easter morning, my heart was yearning for the light… I was a little sad when we arrived at church the lights were still off, the candles still lit from vigil, and it seemed as though the light had not come yet.

 Then, service started, we had our things for the great noise, lights came on, and tears rolled down my cheeks. Easter had come, the light had come because He was risen, indeed. He walked out of that grave, and is alive. 

The dryness the funk I had been in for a few months, broke as the light broke through. I could feel it in my heart, I am not sure what it was all about, but I knew I needed to stay consistent, and keep watching. It felt almost like as the darkness, and waiting of lent and Holy Week came to an end with Easter, so did this dry season, this somewhat dark night of the soul I had been walking through. I knew it was coming, the light always comes when we keep chasing Jesus. He never leaves us. He has come through before and and He has never failed us, abandoned us, or left us behind. I cried on and off through our Easter morning, so grateful for the light, so grateful He is alive. And often thinking of the relief, fear and confusion the followers of Jesus must have had when the light finally broke through and the saw that Jesus was indeed alive. He is Risen! 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Schooling choices, and encouragement for parents.

This crazy year of 2020 I want to empower many of you who are parents. This is a time where families are evaluating what their family needs, what will work best for them, and even maybe who they are as a family.
As most of you know I am a teacher. I have been most of my life, and I taught public school for 6 years, in America. I have taught swim lessons before that, and taught Sunday school forever as well.

I want to empower you the parents, of your children, that you can do it. You can make the decisions that are best for you and your children, you can encourage your children in what you believe is best for them, and your family, and if you choose to you can teach your children.

Online schooling, and homeschooling are not the same thing. As I watch a lot of the world switch to online education I cringed because I could see the wear happening on many families of young children, and even the lack of learning happening. This is not a discredit to teachers, or parents or students, but to the sudden change. I felt for everyone involved, the teachers, and the students and the parents. It was hard for everyone. Now as you head into preparing for the new school year I see parents questioning what education should look like for their children. They don't want to do distance learning again, because it was hard and exhausting, they don't want their children to go to school because they fear it might not be safe, and could also be so hard on their children and teachers. They feel stuck, some are considering homeschooling, but are terrified, they worry they will screw up their children, and their child's education.

As a teacher, an now a homeschool mom/teacher I want to encourage and empower you.

1) Think and pray about what is best for your family. What does your family need to thrive?

2) If you choose to send your kids to school, feel empowered that you are making the right choice for you and your children. They will be ok, and so will you. Your school in your community is going to do the best they can do, because that is what great schools do. They love and care for kids, and they will love and care for yours the best they can. Be ok trusting that. Stay involved and know what is happening.

3) If you choose do online learning/distance learning know that it has to be better than when everyone was thrown into it overnight. Teachers have thought long and hard about how to do this better and well, and you are on all on the same team. You can all do it, and if this fits your family, you can do it! And you will do great. You know some of what you are getting into, and it will be ok. Think of how great it is to be so in touch with what they are learning!

4) If you choose to homeschool, you can do it! You can teacher your kids! This is more about a family culture of learning, and engaging in your world in new ways. It is not the same as online schooling. The beauty of this is you are in control, you control the schedule to fit your family, you go at the pace of your child, and you can learn things they are interested in. It is a lot of work, and there are definitely hard days, and days that fail. But the flexibility to let your kids play, to read an extra book or chapter, to do some online drawing courses on youtube, or build that fort in the backyard, is the gift.

Finally, remember God gave you your kids, He trusted you as their parents, to raise them, teach them, and nurture them. You are your child's first and most important teacher. They are learning from you all day everyday, and will take your cue for whatever educational situation is best for them, and your family. Don't ride the guilt bus stressing over your decisions, and don't make things harder than they have to be. Just like you do with decisions everyday, focus on what you need, your child needs, and what works for your family. All of you. Simplify your life, simplify what is important and needed, and focus on those things.

Whatever you chose for your family will be great. Feel free to message me for ideas, encouragement, and love.

I have resources, and ideas I am happy to share. And happy to listen and love on you in this hard, stressful time!

Monday, February 10, 2020

We did it!

Yesterday marked a milestone for me and the girls. We road the moto (scooter) outside of our neighborhood for the first time since the end of October. It was great too!

Amirah said something so sweet after getting home, (she was very nervous about doing this) she told me that she kind of liked it because she felt like herself. I also noticed everywhere we went she walked a little taller and she was as anxious.

I have thought about that a lot in the last 12 hours. Fears make us be less ourselves. Fears hold us back from who we fully are. There is something about facing fears that changes us, facing an anxiety and it can give us power over other anxieties. Feeling more like ourselves is a wonderful side affect of following Jesus, and obeying the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that yesterday was the right timing to take this big step, and do it, it was the right day for the girls and for me. Especially after Amirah saying she felt more like herself now. Following the Holy Spirit for the right timing, the right words, the right whatever it might be I am learning is a big key in how we raise our kids.

If you have a fear you need to face, do it! If you have a new parenting obstacle pray about it, ask the Holy Spirit to intervene, and to give you wisdom. If you aren't feeling like yourself, ask the Holy Spirit to show you why. God wants you to be fully you, to be all of who He made you to be. Find out what you need to walk in that.

(All this is said with full understanding that there are lots of tools to use for working through these things, and God also gives great wisdom on which tools are best for each person in each situation.)

Sunday, January 12, 2020


I have been contemplating community lately. Usually community forms from like circumstances, like personalities, like proximity....

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Right now Chris is in America, and things here are going well for the most part. We had a rough day yesterday but otherwise things are going well. I keep finding myself feeling so thankful.

I am so thankful for awesome community here,
I am so thankful for a place that feels like home, and where my girls play with the neighbors, where we get to live in a community here.
I am so thankful for wonderful team making sure we have what we need and asking for ways to help out with Chris gone.
I am so thankful for friends who are doing the same, and are just generally supportive.

Last night the girls's and I had a somewhat formative experience, we laid our scooter down. We were only going just fast enough to have to stop hard, when a man pulled out in front of us and then we slid on the sand and fell over. We then proceeded to a gas station near by to assess damages, and clean up and calm down. Amirah's toe was hurt, and that was about it as far as injuries. We were all shaking and in a bit of shock. I proceed to go inside and buy some water. I stuck my keys in my purse, but left my scooter seat open. I came out, did a little first aid on Amirah's toe, and we got ready to go. I put my purse in my seat and closed it. We got helmets back on, and realized I had no keys...
they were in the seat. You can only open the seat with the keys. Thankfully there was a tuk tuk driver near by I asked if he could help me. He was confused why I needed help at first and the he helped me pry my seat open so I could reach my keys (this took at least 30mins, if not a bit longer). Once our keys were in hand we said goodbye and thank you, and I was overwhelmed with how thankful I was.

I am so thankful that we were all mostly ok.
I am so thankful no one hit us when we fell, but instead a few nice women stopped to help us get up, and make sure we had all our things.
I am so thankful that I speak Khmer and was able to ask for help, and work with the nice tuk tuk driver to help me.
I am so thankful for how brave my girls were wanting to get back on and continue our journey to our teammates and friends' house.

When we got to dinner at our friends house, they were great as we downloaded and processed, and then the girls were almost too tired to eat.
My teammate offered to get my mirror on my moto fixed for me, and bring my moto back to me.

Again I was so thankful we were headed to their house where dinner was already made.
I was also thankful to not have to navigate fixing my mirror, fixing things wiht my moto is always stressful for me.

The formative part of this experience was that I saw even more value in my ability to speak khmer, my amazing khmer teachers and my resiliant girls. I am even more thankful for community, I didn't feel alone, I knew there was people I could call. I thought about how much more scary the situation would of been with out my language skills, and without community, and I am so glad that wasn't the case.

I always drive carefully, but still accidents can happen, I am so thankful this was an easy small one.

To end this post, I am so incredible thankful for the people around the world who pray for us who specifically pray for our safety as we drive around and go from place to place. Thank you.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Being More You

Recently I have been blown away by how the more we know Jesus, the more we seek and find Him the more us we become. We live in a time and a worldly culture where people are trying to be "their best selves" or "true to their selves" people are trying to find "me time" and employ "self-care". So much of this new fad is good. Even useful and purposeful in our lives. It can also be so selfish, and feed our selfishness that we already have in us. Telling ourselves things like "I deserve this..."

However what I have been learning recently, and leaning into is the truth that we become who we were made to be as we get to know our Creator more. I mean He made you. We become more of us, our real selves as we trust, follow and obey Jesus. If you want to see who you really are follow Jesus. If you want to see the good and the bad of your true character follow Jesus, and walk with people who follow Him also. If you want to be true to your true self, follow Jesus. This is not as glamorous, glorious, or always fun, but I promise you it is more effective for finding your true self. I love how as we follow Him we discover who we are. 

I think this is even true with finding time to do things you love and enjoy, but do them as worship to the Creator who created you to love and enjoy that. Do it as a child enjoying their gifts from their Heavenly Father. Enjoy. Enjoy what He created you to do and to enjoy. As we do these things, as we worship, I have recently noticed how much more us we are. One example is I have recently seen some friends who lead worship and are very skilled at it, begin to let more of themselves, and even their personal culture out as they lead others in worship, and it is so beautiful! They are confident and reflect who God made them to be, by the way they lead others in worship, and if you know them well, you can see how they are just being more them, as they lead worship. They are reflecting the part of God they represent back to God. It is beautiful. 

For me this means I am letting God continue to soften my heart. To love others where they are at, and where I am at. I am letting Him lead me, in His grace and mercy. Taking steps of faith, in the face of fear and discomfort, I want to be fully who He created me to be.

My prayer is to be an encouragement to those around me to be all of who God created each of them to be as well, to embrace it, and run with it. To change into who they were always meant to become. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The bucket

So a few months ago now,  we were having power cuts and water issues like many people in our city. I set out to find some large bowls to hand-wash laundry in, in case it got worse, and we wouldn't be able to use our washing machine, and on my way out the door Chris asked me to try to get a big bucket (think larger trash can) to fill up with water in one of our bathrooms so we would have water if we lost most of our water pressure as things got worse. Then we would have water for bucket showers and toilet flushing etc. So I ran to the supermarket because I didn't really know where else to go. I found the tubs for hand-washing clothes I was looking for, but no bucket.

On my way to the super market I had a very friendly tuk tuk driver, who was so happy to have an American customer that spoke Khmer, we chatted all the way there, and I paid him and said good bye. Then when I called a tuk tuk on my app to come get me, it was him! (this rarely if ever happens) He laughed at me for getting a tuk tuk to go so close to my house and the fact that I didn't buy very much, telling me I could have driven my moto (scooter). I explained that I had planned to buy this big bucket for water, but they didn't have any. He then exclaimed that he knew where to get one and it wasn't very far away. He would take me! (Now the thing about wonderful, helpful tuk tuk drivers like him, is it is hard to tell them no, and it is hard to convince them that you can do it later.) So I obliged and off we went to a small local market nearby that I don't know very well. He stopped at one shop asked if they had any of these buckets, and they did not. Stopped at another and they had them! Yay! So I jumped out and talked with the shop owner. She only had the second to biggest buckets and the largest lids. So I could get a bucket and  come back later for the lid... I agreed, and the price was probably double what it would normally be, but I knew we needed it, I knew everyone was buying them, and that this might just be THE price now. So I paid it and brought it home. The tuk tuk driver was proud of himself for helping me, but shocked it was so expensive, and told me all the way home. I paid him, and thanked him.

I brought my new found bucket with no lid into the house, with my washing tubs, and Chris asked me what I had bought. He was surprised by the price, and that it didn't have a lid. I confidently told him that I would go back the next week and pick up the lid as she assured me they would have them next week. Now these kind of errands are hard. She doesn't speak any English and I don't quite have the vocabulary for this area of life. So even buying the bucket is like I want one of these (pointing at  a small bucket) but bigger. She asking me in Khmer, that I only understand about half of, and me saying yes, assuming it is what I meant. Then her bringing out the bucket but no lid. Me asking where is the thing that goes on top? (because I don't know the word for lid) Her saying the word for lid and asking if that is what I mean, me shrugging and nodding because I think so. Then her telling me about the lids, and me guessing she means she doesn't have them but will. She gives me her number to call her in a few days to see if she has them yet, which I take knowing full well I will not be calling it, because phone conversations in a second language are hard,but maybe I can get Chris to do it. I leave wondering if I will ever get a lid for the bucket.

So for a week I put this trip back to this little shop off. Chris presses me a bit that I really should go back. I assure him that he could go, I could tell where. (Obviously he doesn't want to either) Clearly I know I don't have all the language skills I need to do this easily, and if she isn't there, or doesn't remember me, I have to start all over with talking like a 3 year old and pointing and trying to explain what I am looking for. I work up the courage, and I head back on my moto this time. I get there and my biggest fear is coming true, she isn't there her husband is, and the shop is busy. (Sellers are much more patient when with my Khmer when they are not busy naturally) So I wait a bit, and summon the courage to head in. I tell the husband that I bought one of those (pointing at the bucket) the week before but didn't get one of the things that goes on top, because they didn't have them, and the lady had told me I could come get one this week. He looks at me confused. I wonder if what I said made any sense at all. Then he smiles and says oh yeah, not yet. You have to wait. However the way he said it was unsure if I needed to wait like 5-10 mins and his wife would be back. Or if they hadn't received any yet and I needed to wait like another week. So confused I let him get to other customers and headed out to my moto, where I then sit for 5-10 mins replaying the conversation in my head trying to decide do I stay? Or do I go? What does he expect me to do? His shop quiets down, and he walks out to the front to see me still sitting there. He asks me if I need something else. I then ask him, so do you have the thing or not? He then explains to me again (much more patiently) that they haven't come in yet, and I needed to come back another day. Also offers to take my name and phone number and call me when they come. So we stumble through me spelling my name in Khmer, and giving my phone number, and I leave. I buy a few fruit and veggies on the way and go home.

I walk in the door and Chris says no lid huh? I say yup, and I don't think we will get one. We both laugh, and are still waiting for him to call me. Have I gone back to ask about my lid again? Nope. Why, because it feels overwhelming, I don't want them to feel bad for not having it, and if it is someone different I may have the same exhausting experience again. So we have a bucket for water with no lid, and it has been working just fine. It is also a great reminder of all the things we still have learn living in a country, language, and  culture different than the one we grew up in. 

You may be thinking oh that's just one thing, and you would be so wrong. It is many things, and these things happen daily. Sometimes they are worth pushing through, and sometimes like this lid they are not. To be honest that is ok too.