Nothing I Expected

Growing up, I had an image of how my life was going to go. How my marriage would look.

I would get up in the morning in the city, kiss my 5'10" husband good-bye as he headed to the office, briefcase in hand. We'd come home from work and he'd tell me about his day, with clients or business partners or the board or something to do with architecture... something "office-y." We'd have a pleasant life.

Well, it's sort of like a briefcase, right?

To put it simply, none of that happened.

My marriage looks completely different than I expected.

I get up in the morning to the sound of wild turkeys in the woods near my house. I kiss my 6'5" husband good-bye as he heads to the shop, and then we see each other again about 5 minutes later at morning prayer... because we work together. He tells me about his day, with Roto-Rooters and sockets and wrenches and boat hoists that needed a new cable.

And I don't have a pleasant life. I have an amazing, vibrant life.

See, I had expectations. Nothing about my marriage meets my old expectations. My marriage is nothing that I expected; it's more than I could ever have dreamed. 

God had more in store for me.

I think that's something that I need to hold on to more often. I have these expectations, not about my marriage, anymore, but about how life is supposed to go. I have a mental checklist of the way I want my life to be.

Sometimes, that checklist is helpful and keeps me focused, especially when I can actually control the things I've inscribed there.

And sometimes, it makes me sad or frustrated, because I don't have control over so much of it.

God's already shown me once, though. He's shown me that my expectations are often far too limited. He's got a bigger plan for me. Not what I expected, no, but more than I could even dream.


Blessings this Week: 07.25.2014


We got a chance to spend some time with good friends and their great kids when they came up to the area this past weekend. And we both got these lovely "accessories." (She said we could have them to keep. And "accessories" is a fancy word for "jewelry.") 


I took the time this week to get the camper cleaned up a bit, but of course it threatened to rain the day I washed the cushion covers. Good thing I have a helpful husband...


For family campers who inspire and encourage me. We have some truly amazing families who join us for camp- their strength and joy in the face of difficult situations can only be from God. 


A walk down to the lake is a solution for any and every long day. 

I can't take credit for this gorgeous picture. But seriously, I am blessed.


In the face of the bad news about the Malaysian air plane and the losses of so many lives, I'm blessed to know two special ladies who headed to Ukraine this week to serve the Ukrainian people and share the love of Christ. Please join me in prayer for Jess and Stacy, and for their families while they're gone! 


I'm also reminded this week of how blessed I am to have a husband who sees a need and tries to meet it. Hopefully our church steeple won't be so squeaky this Sunday!


How have you been blessed this week? 

Have a great weekend! 



The Right Shoes

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Stand firm then, ... with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." -Ephesians 6:11, 14-15

I like to pack light.

I think part of it came from childhood- the days of road trips with four little girls and you can only choose two toys to bring in the van and "Mom, she's looking at me!" and if you can't carry it, it doesn't come.

It's served me well thus far- I'm the girl at the retreat with one small duffel bag for a long weekend, I'm the girl who once spent ten days traveling along the coast of Lake Superior with only the things we could fit on the motorcycle (and that included the tent and sleeping bags).

The trick is to bring things that are versatile. The top that can be worn to a nice restaurant or in a tent in the woods. The pair of shoes that is dressy enough for a skirt, but still comfortable enough to wear hiking, and work great on the beach, too.

And isn't that what the Gospel offers us?

We've been given readiness through the gospel of peace- we can go anywhere, do anything. We're good to go- to the fancy benefit and to serve at the homeless shelter. As Christians, we fit nowhere in this world, but simultaneously, we know who we are and whose we are. And that peace, that Gospel, means we're ready for wherever we're called.

 We've got the right shoes for it.


Blessings this Week: 07.18.2014


My marigolds started blooming! 


Open windows- the cool weather made even my AC-lovin' hubby throw open all the windows in the house to let in the fresh breeze.


Chats and beef jerky and lookin' at the lake with my mom and sister.


I'm so thankful that 27 years ago this week, this guy was born....

and that his big brother celebrated with us with dinner, putt putt, and pie.

(And yes, the birthday boy won.)

There are lots of exciting Camp events coming up in August. There's a lot to do, but it's fun to see everything come together!


And this week, we had a little lost visitor...

apparently he heard how awesome Senior High Camp is and decided to join.

What blessings did you see this week? 

Have a great Friday!



Quiet Spirit

Trevor and I have officially been married for over two years now.

I know that I've changed quite a bit in those two years. I think that's supposed to happen, isn't it? Something about marriage helping us to aspire to greater holiness? I know I read somewhere that marriage is a great way to smooth the rough edges in our personalities. I know that's been true for me, anyway.

I think the biggest change I recognize in my own life is that I have a much quieter spirit than I once did. I'm less... dramatic.

It used to be that I'd hear bad news, or a not-great situation, and I'd get all worked up. My genuine concern about a person or circumstance would get whipped up into drama.

In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that we're not to get involved in unrighteousness, in darkness. Our culture has so much of that darkness. If we're not exposed to people living life in the darkness of sin, then we see it on the news, on billboards, in comments on Facebook. It's all around us.

But we're to live differently.

Not only are we not supposed to be caught up in that, but even talking about it is shameful.

It's one thing to express a concern, to ask for prayer, or to genuinely seek advice. It's another to share information for the drama of it. The trouble with drama is that it takes the sins we're concerned about and makes them interesting and appealing.

And then we start to seek the drama, not realizing that the things that are most flashy and exciting are often the things that pull us away from God and toward sin.

I think that may be one of the biggest things I've learned. A life and attitude that are quiet, undramatic, simple... it may not look very exciting from the outside. But I'm not trying to impress people, anyway.

I'm living an obedient life, trusting that God knows what's best for me (whether it's missions a world away, or serving my community, or even just touching the life of one person), and fixing my eyes on Him- living abundantly and joyfully. That's more than enough for me. And drama? It just gets in the way.


Blessings this Week: 07.11.2014


After work on Sunday afternoon, I came home to a tidy living room, a clean entryway, and empty garbage cans. I have the best husband.

We've officially crossed over to the part of the summer when Trevor wears 3+ outfits a day. (Do men have "outfits?" What do you call 'em for a guy? Anyway.) 

I'm so thankful for a washer and dryer in my house. I just can't imagine taking loads and loads of laundry to a laundromat every week. 


Lots of pounding feet running through hallways, a very stinky gym, and giggles and blushing ... and the hundred middle school kids who go along with it... here learning about God and friendship and themselves and how this whole "being a Christian" thing works.

They're a stinky bunch.

Quiet moments after a busy and noisy day.


Date nights. Even when date nights include a trip to Menards and necessitate tie downs.


This guy. I'm pretty sure he's the flower-eating culprit, but the fact that I could get so close to him was kind of cool. He's a fearless little garden eater. 

What blessings have you seen this week?

Have a great weekend!



Summertime is crazy busy here.

We live at a Bible Camp, after all.

June typically brings long hours, late nights, sore bodies (well, for Trevor, not me), and frantic preparations. We never have enough time to get everything done before campers come.

It's stressful, to be sure.

And sometimes? Sometimes my attitude isn't where it should be. I'm not in the right mindset. I forget the purpose.

Even when the campers arrive, it can be hard to get past the paperwork and credit card payments and phone calls and balances and name tags and e-mails and remember what it really is that we're doing here.

But every once in a while, you come across something like this...

This. This is why we do what we do.

This is our purpose.


Potter's Hands

Trevor found me plenty of pots for next spring! Now I suppose he'll just have to build me a potting shed...

"We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us." - Romans 6:7-10
I like to be in control.

I think my sisters have called me "bossy" more often than I'd like to admit- of course, looking back on my childhood, "bossy" seems more than kind given some of the things I forced upon them!

And unfortunately, I didn't really grow out of it... I'm just bossy in more socially acceptable ways (let's hope).

It steals my peace and pulls me further from Him. I struggle against trusting God, shouting "No! I can do it!" like a two-year-old trying to put on her own shoes. And, like that two-year-old, I eventually learn that giving up and letting my heavenly Father take care of me is what I should have done all along.

Well, I learn it until next time, anyway.

I'm breakable and fragile and yet I hold this amazing gift- the life and salvation of Jesus. I can't understand why Jesus would want to make a home in me. I'm limited and weak. My body doesn't always do what I would like it to do. My mind doesn't hold on to things for very long. I can only handle so much.

But glory, glory- He's with me always! Patiently waiting for me to get frustrated, broken down, and disappointed because doing it my way doesn't work. And when I'm ready to finally surrender to Him, to trust Him to know what's best for me, He's there to shape me and guide me.

I find such peace when I stop fighting, and simply enjoy the safety and love in the Potter's hands.


Blessings this Week: 7.4.2014

 Because a grateful heart is the first step toward contentment and peace, and because we are so very blessed!

-A new camper! We're very excited. Can't wait to try it out!-

-Jobs that keep us (very!) busy and give us the opportunity to share God's love in small ways.-

The "bunny"

-Great cousins (who are also lifelong friends) who come to visit, and shoot arrows at "bunnies" with us.-

-Coffee with vanilla creamer, just steps away from my office (mmmm).-

-Great friends finishing up Ephesians, celebrating a birthday, and enjoying a girls' night out! We're so blessed to have a vibrant and wonderful church family!-

-The first "harvest" from our container garden.-

-The sounds of running little feet in camp hallways.- 

-Trevor's sense of humor, and his willingness to serve others (even when it means taking a half hour to go with me to pick up campers on the other side of the lake- they got lost in their canoes!)-

 -Our country's independence, and for camp friends who stop by with flowers just because.-

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Have a great Friday!!



Well, I Went and Did It... (or, When You Lose Your Password, Start a New Blog!)

I have this bad habit. 

I start new projects. 

My mom could give a perfect example of this. 

Right in the throes of planning my wedding (one that I decided to turn into a giant DIY project by making many of the decorations, right down to my bouquet), I started making a wreath with a foam wreath form and copious amounts of yarn. My mom looked at me in disbelief. 

I finished the wreath, and the wedding, and lived to tell the tale. But that's beside the point. The point is, sometimes I start a project without really doing a lot of planning.

(My husband would concur... especially after the "Let's Tear The Wallpaper Down!" debacle in a spare bedroom- which is still an ongoing project... seven months later. <Cough, cough>) 

But this- I think this has the potential to be different. 

You see, I started doing a little writing on a little blog to keep family members updated on our lives... and then let it "go to seed" for a couple months. Or a year. Whatever. And in the span of that year... I forgot the password... as well as the back-up password.

But! Despite my good-intentions-turned-to-naught, I did learn some things with that little lost, neglected, forgotten blog. (#1 being to write down the password.) 

I learned about blogging, about myself, and about how I want to share our journey. 

Some blogging tip out there suggested that bloggers should write the way they talk. Which I wasn't very good at doing on the forgotten blog. I felt like my writing was... stiff, fake, plastic. I gave some quick updates in very formal tones. It was boring. And not me. (Well, boring may be me. But the blog wasn't me. You get it.)

So, in the interest of full disclosure, we're going to just start over. And I'll do some writing. About the things I care about, things I'm thinking, what's actually going on here. Authentic and honest. 

There are moments in my days that I find a little peace. Even if it's only for a second, I'm overwhelmed with the security of salvation, with the peace that passes understanding.

I've found myself waiting for those moments, longing for those seconds. See, in a world that tells us that rest and stillness are wasteful, I need the quiet. In a culture that values go-go-going and energetic productivity, I need to be still. When so many people around me strive for more and for better, I long to be content and grateful.

And I think that if I just took some time and focused, if I actively sought out the contentment, the peace, the wholeness, I might just fill my life with more of it.

And that's my hope. We'll call it a grand experiment- to find the contentment in everyday life, to find the majestic in the ordinary. Let's get started.