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Mental Space

At the time, I had two small daughters. My husband and I were directors of a campus ministry and our schedules were so busy that we often high-fived each other as we swapped duties both at home and on campus. My daughters were born 19 months apart, so between October 2005 to sometime in the spring of 2007, I was carrying a baby in my womb, breastfeeding a baby, or carrying one or both on my hips. My heart and arms were full and life never stopped moving. I was tired but I loved it. 
I was relentless with my schedule. My girls and I had our days super planned so that we had an idea of how things might go, but be willing to shift plans when something else came up. I also knew that if I got behind in my day, I would have to scurry to catch up, so I rarely let time slip. It was impossible to be still. 
The schedule kept my attention. The schedule was intentional.  The schedule was necessary. 
Soon after my younger daughter was big enough to be left with a relative for a weekend, Gil and I went…
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New Campus Missionary's Survival Kit

You’ll need to following items to survive your first few semesters in Chi Alpha. Prep well and gather these essential items:
New XA Shirt- Promoting your new logo is a secondary benefit of new Chi Alpha shirts. You need to make sure you have many of these around because you won’t be able to do laundry for a solid three weeks. Use the wear & air method; wear it once, air it out, wear it again. When in Rome, right? 
Name tags- People think you need name tags to learn names. This rarely works, but we do it anyway. However, the pack of 500 name tags you’ll burn through is more there to remind you that this mission will begin to show you who the real you truly is, and more importantly, who God really is. Call on His name. We can’t do this gig without him, don’t try. 
Duct tape- Every seasoned campus missionary stashes a role of duct tape in their supply bag for ministry events because you never know what you will need to repair. This also comes in handy to tape your berks back together an…

Twinkling Cedar Log Moments: a lesson in treasuring children

Whenever I smell cedar logs burning in a fire place, I am immediately brought back to sweet moments in my childhood. You see, my sister and I were lavishly loved by our pastor and his wife, something that we deeply needed. The church was huge and broadcasted live on TV each Sunday, but they made time for two little girls that they knew needed some extra loving. They even let us ‘adopt’ them as grandparents.
I remember the days we would go to their house for a few hours. We got to play in their pantry and pretend it was a grocery store. We went on walks in their woods and he struggled to button my denim jacket because it was a little too cold to be outside with my jacket open. I remember their big, antique looking bathroom with a clawfoot tub and the big windows upstairs in his Study. I remember all the pretty things around the house. But I mostly remember the smell of cedar logs burning in the fireplace. 
Maybe it’s just my own understanding of how heating with a fireplace works, but in…

Washing

I listened to Philippians today. It’s a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi. One theme stuck out to me: servanthood. Paul reminds the body of believers to serve others, to be humble, to work hard with your body and to take note of others doing the same, to become like Jesus even to the point of death. This seems to run perpendicular to the idea that “every knee shall bow at Jesus’ name”, but this is what we are called to do. 
My mind wandered to the stage of life I am in currently and the tasks required of me to serve, tending to the needs of those that can’t quite take care of those needs all on their own yet. I wash bodies, clothes, sheets and towels, dishes, food, counters, floors, windows, myself, the dog, the sinks and tubs all these things are washed in, and even the car. I go through a lot of dish soap, vinegar and baking soda. I am beginning to realize that there is a lot of washing that happens in the Bible, too. 
You see, we are cleaned by the washing of the water with …

Under the Pew

Since my youngest has been old enough to wiggle, I have continually found him laying down beneath the church pew. I have tried my best to silently wrestle markers, crayons, pens and pencils out of his hands before he left an everlasting impression upon the seats, but I am certain he scribbled on the bottom of the pew at least once already. One day, I just might get down there and take a look for myself. 
Last Sunday, I snapped a picture of his view during service. We sit on the last row, so it showed all the rows ahead of us and it’s quite an interesting view. A low view. An unimpressive view. A quiet view. A grounded view. 
Ben’s view made me think of how young children see people. They can’t tell the quality of our clothes or the status that we try to portray to other people. Kids can’t determine our value based on the cute shoes we wear, the loud voices we turn on, or the smart sounding words we employ. Kids are straightforward and honest. Their view is grounded. 
We should, like alwa…

This Rocking Chair

While pregnant with my first child, my sweet in-laws bought me a rocking chair for the nursery. I picked this one because it was tall and strong. It had the perfect height arm rests for my tallness and I could rest my head back on it without breaking my neck. It also came from my favorite Amish furniture store in my hometown. It’s solid oak. Or is it solid cherry? I can’t remember, but it is solid something. 
This rocking chair is the place that I sat and nursed my babies every night. I remember watching countless sunrises or waking up from a sore neck after falling asleep holding one of them. I dealt with big feelings while sitting in that chair. I wrestled with loneliness, feeling like I was the only person in the whole planet awake, again. I sat in that chair and dug through emotions that come with pure exhaustion.I spent so much time in that chair that I learned the perfect launch sequence to somehow get myself to a standing position with a sleeping baby and carefully put her back …

The most embarrassing thing I have ever googled

I have recently decided that not only do I not like to cook or do dishes, I also have started to dislike grocery shopping. My poor family. This comes at a rather inopportune time also, since we are trying to continue down the path of eating healthy. However, avocados and protein balls don’t come in packages ready to eat, nor do they arrive on my doorstep prepared. This food we all want to eat just seems to require attention I’d rather give to other things and my personal assistant hasn’t show up yet. 
However, I think I have hit an all time low. I googled the most embarrassing thing this afternoon. You see, there wasn’t much left in the fridge or freezer because I avoid grocery shopping. But, being the good mom I am, I couldn’t let the kids go hungry. So I looked at the random foods we did have and asked google for help. 
Did you know there are about four dozen websites that give you ideas on what to do with frozen chicken nuggets? Now you do. And now I know 11 different ways to use the…