that sense of pride

Sometimes I forget that my grandparents fought for me. Literally.

They lived through the Second World War. My grandpa served. I guess I forget sometimes because I don't hear as many of those stories as I do so many others. But tonight, for some reason, as I drove my grandparents to dinner, they started sharing stories. Of what happened, of people they knew, of how history should be taught differently to kids today (which I totally agree with) and of how proud we should all be of our country.

And yet, I still sat there in the car not quite proud of America. They seem so sure of their country. I'm not there yet. I'm not sure if I'm going to get there. I've seen too much of what America does, of what I as an American do to the rest of the world. I can't be 100% proud right now.

This is the global generation. A guy I met last night told me that this generation is more interested in missions than any previous generation. I wonder why. Is it the easy access? The ability to communicate home so frequently? Is it the internet?

I won't say my generation is the same as my grandparents. They've gone through so many hard things. I've seen so many hard things.

Is it wrong to not be wholly proud of my country?

I'm not sure.

But I think for now, I'll side with Derek Webb when he says that he serves a King and a Kingdom. I know that I am proud of that.



I can’t help thinking about Easter this year at Christmastime.

Sidenote - I’ve been crazy emotional lately and I have no clue why. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried every day for the past week. Granted, I have seen a sad movie (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), I have heard Chris Rayis sing his heart out at church, and it is Christmas. But I still don’t understand the emotions I’m feeling. Maybe it’s because two weeks from Christmas day, I’ll board a plane for the first of four flights to Zambia for three months. Maybe it’s because I just graduated from college and know I’ll most likely never live at IWU with those people again. I have no clue what’s going on, but I have a feeling it’s contributing to this thing I have with Easter at Christmastime this year.
(that was a long sidenote… sorry)

My favorite season used to be Christmas. That has changed. It is now Easter. Easter is a wonderful celebration for everyone. It marks the coming of summer. So the common theme running through my head this season as I listen to Christmas sermons and go to Candlelight services is that Christmas was the beginning. Christmas exists because it was the beginning of Jesus here on Earth. I understand the importance, but it’s just the beginning and Easter is the ultimate goal.

So here’s to Christmas. Here’s to the birth of my Savior, who was born in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes and died on a cross and then rose again 33 years after his birth at Easter for me and you and everyone. We go through Christmas to get to Easter. Here’s to Christmas.


blessed to be here

how blessed am i to have people that have been through this three and a half year journey with me...


the stoop down challenge

I just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. There’s no doubt it tops my Most Influential Books list, which I’ve been meaning to post for a while. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It plays into so many aspects of my life, with leadership and missions and preparing to live in Africa for three months next year. Maybe it’s good I can’t stop thinking about it.

Nathan Price never cared enough about the people of Kilanga to stoop down and meet them on their level. He wanted to implement “American Christianity” on this culture that was so different. It would never have worked. He didn’t bother to learn that the water scared them. He didn’t care enough to pronounce the word bangala so that it would mean “precious” instead of “poisonwood.”

He NEVER stooped down, and he never even realized that some of his girls did, and that they had a more effective ministry than he could even dream of having in this jungle of Africa.

Isn’t that the same danger with me? I carry “American Christianity” around in my pocket. I will soon be carrying a bachelors degree in Intercultural Studies and Leadership around in my pocket. But it’s all worthless unless I stoop down and meet people where they are. They could be Africans next semester or the girls I live with right now. It could be my family or my closest friends. When I hold an air of superiority because I have this degree buried somewhere in my house, my credibility shrinks to nothing. If I don’t stoop down and care about people first, my message will be lost.

So here’s the stoop down challenge for everyone. May we seek first to understand, and then to be understood. May we listen instead of saying, “you’re wrong” right off the bat. May we stoop down like Ruth May, and Paul and Jesus, and all the other great servants. May we forget our education for a second and appreciate the people around us for who they are, and where they’ve come from.

May we love.


still standing

Dear Father,
Thank you for forgiveness in the form of an unexpected hug. Thank you for people that mean more to me than I ever realized.

*when the world is falling out from under me
i'll be found in you
still standing*


grandma susie

I’m thinking about saying goodbye, or hagone (see you later) in Navajo. You see, there’s not many days left here, in this place I’ve called home for three and a half years. And now it’s time to move on, go forward, make my own way, leave my own trail.

In Arizona, they are deliberate with goodbyes. I remember the last day of church. They had all four of us stand up and talk, say thank you to the congregation, tell about what we learned, and then say hagone.

And we went to every single person, shook their hand or gave them a hug and said thank you. And I got to Grandma Susie, and she hugged me and started crying. And so I started crying. And she thanked me for cooking all summer, told me how much she loved to cook, and prayed for me. It was one of the most special hugs I ever received. And after the service, she gave me her frybread recipe. Grandma Susie’s frybread recipe. It was probably one of the most special gifts I’d ever received.

Someday, I hope I get to tell Grandma Susie thank you. Not just thanks for the recipe or the hug, but thanks for letting me be a part of the family, thanks for teaching me more than just how to cook, thanks for letting me stand right next to her and hold down the sheep while she cuts the throat, thanks for the love she poured into everything.

I also wish that I could show the family how many times I’ve cooked frybread. I wish they knew that not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I wish I could tell them that this Christmas, we’re having Navajo tacos, and that I will constantly be thinking of them.

Thank you, Grandma Susie.