Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Madison Bucket List

What we have to accomplish before we leave Madison at the end of the summer:

-eat our favorite pies at Pizza Bruta (already did this on Wednesday, but it needs to happen at least 5 more times)
-continue our weekly walks to the library
-get lunch at Med Cafe
-buy tomatoes and fresh bread at the farmer's market
-drink beer at the Great Dane
-go to Dairy Queen then take a walk through Shorewood Hills
-sit on our balcony and read
-hike at Devil's Lake
-have picnics at Concert on the Square
-watch the sun set at the terrace
-fill up our Barriques punch card
-run through the Arboretum
-go to the zoo
-stock up on anything and everything that will fit in my suitcase at Trader Joe's
-enjoy and evening at the Capital Bier Garten

Anything to add?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I respect and look up to my dad for so many reasons.

I have seen him as a teacher- year after year staying incredibly dedicated to students that desperately needed his gentle and patient guidance.  

I have seen him as a coach- giving freely of his time, and treating each girl on the team the same, regardless of her talent or ability, believing in them and encouraging them.

I have seen him as a father to my brothers- supporting them, loving them, and giving them an awesome example of what a strong, generous, and family-oriented man looks like.  

I have seen him as a husband- loving and caring for my mom in the most selfless and passionate way.  My dad showed me what marriage and commitment looks like, even in the midst of the most difficult trials.  

And I have been blessed to see my dad as a father to me, his only daughter.  I never have to doubt my dad's love for me.  Thanks dad.  For all the afternoons in the backyard playing softball, for making me practice my math flashcards (even though I always cried), for teaching me how to drive in the high school parking lot, for sitting through all the band concerts and piano recitals, for allowing me to have a great education, for everything.  I love you, Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This would be pretty high up on my list of things I would buy if I had a million dollars:

Process: Woodgrain Bike Frames from Etsy on Vimeo.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Where you invest your love, you invest your life."

What do I love?

Yes, I love chocolate ice cream cones, watching kitten videos on youtube, running, yellow daisies, yoga, putting spinach in my smoothies, and window shopping at Williams Sonoma.

But I also have so many deeper loves.  My husband, my family, my church, caring for and listening to others, writing... oh, and Jesus.  

As I was listening to the song that the above lyrics came from this morning (Awake My Soul, Mumford and Sons), I started to think about what my life is showing to others about what I love.  How am I living my life?  Ultimately, what do I love the most?  Jesus should always be my first love.  Yet, I know my life doesn't always reflect that.

Things get in the way.  I forget my first love.  Success, the approval of others, selfishness, wanting to prove myself, the pressures of our society, the want for comfort... all of these things push against me and draw my heart away from God.  John Piper wrote that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."  So that is what I strive for.  That Jesus comes first, day after day.  That my satisfaction comes only from God.  That my love for God is the most noticeable thing about me.  That the way I spend my time, the career choices I make, my relationships with others, and the words that come out of my mouth all point toward God.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reading Lauren Chandler's post on Psalm 121 perfectly summed up how I am feeling in relation to my post from yesterday.  Read it.

"Though the doubts linger, they are drowned out by His beckoning.  Her toes dangle.  Her knees bend. 

She jumps."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Am I krumping?

I have watched this at least ten times this afternoon.

I feel like I am at the edge of something.

Well, I am at the edge of something.

Mike and I just celebrated our first year of marriage.  It was awesome, perfect even.  We spent the weekend at a small inn in Door County, where we honeymooned a year ago.  We did absolutely nothing.  Absolutely nothing besides take naps in the ridiculously comfy bed, go for walks along the shores of foggy Lake Michigan, drink wine and eat our frozen wedding cake, read in the hammock, drive to get pizza in a crazy thunderstorm, and eat popcorn and watch movies in bed.  We didn't want to leave.
We had a lot to celebrate.  Our first year of marriage was amazing.  Mike and I have been blessed in innumerable ways.  We love marriage.  We feel like we have skipped over a lot of the challenges that many newly married couples face.  It has been the best year of my life.
We were celebrating the great year that we had.  And we were also celebrating the fact that the Lord has called us to not be content with where we are at, and that we are about to embark on something big this year.  We are at the edge of a great adventure.  Year number two of marriage means moving to a foreign country.  It means transitioning to full-time ministry.  It means together leading a team of six other missionaries.  It means new, exciting, and scarey things are in the future.  In August we leave to spend a year as missionaries in the Middle East.  We feel so blessed that the Lord has led us to where we are.  We are all called to the Great Commission, every one of us.  But that doesn't mean that we are all called to get on a plane and go.  Mike and I are some of the lucky ones that actually are.  We have heard the call, specifically to the Middle East, and we are responding to it.  And we are so excited.

So yeah, I am at the edge of something.  My first year of living in Madison and being married and working as a nurse is ending.  And my first year in full time ministry, living overseas, and leading others is about to start.  It is all really bittersweet.  At times I have a lot of doubts.  But then I think back to how I was feeling heading in to last year, graduating college, jobless, about to get married and move to a new city.  It is was all really bittersweet, and I had a lot of doubts.  But God had such good things in store for me.  His plan for this past year was better then I could have hoped for.  And so all I have to do is continue to trust in that.

On to greater things!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

a tribute

My mom was the epitome of what the term "mother" means to me.  My heart tugs and swells and sings and breaks when I think of my mom.  My mom was the best.  I know everyone says that, especially this time of year.  But in my case, it is true.  What my mom was to me can't be topped.

My mom was quiet strength.  My mom was grace and beauty.  My mom was humble and a servant to her core. My mom was compassion and undeserved grace.  My mom was a fierce fighter and warrior in a tiny package.  My mom was a safe and comfortable place to land.  My mom  was what home meant.  My mom was compassion and kindness.

She gave birth to me.  She loved me before I was born.  She cherished me.  She always came when I called out in the night.  She kissed band-aids and combed hair.  There was a home cooked meal every night.  She was at the sideline of every softball game and at the finish line of every cross country meet.  She saved the day when a lunch was forgotten or homework left at home.  We said our prayers together every night.  She wiped away tears.  She rubbed backs when sleep wouldn't come.  She protected my childhood, held me back from growing up too fast.  She fiercely protected me.  She believed in me, encouraged me, stood behind me.  She showed me how to courageously fight.  She sent me off to college, and answered the phone when I called crying every night.  She taught me how to be a woman.  She gave me everything I needed to keep growing, learning, and succeeding after she was gone.  She taught me how to live life, live it with joy, and to live it well.

She was a lover.  She loved others so well, better then almost anyone I know.  The people and stories came pouring forth at her funeral.  How many people did I shake hands with and hug that shared how my mom had touched their life?  Countless people told me how my mom had impacted their life, how my mom was a bright spot in their day, how my my changed the world through small actions.

Mother's Day is hard.  It has been for the last three years.  I am missing out on so much.  I know my mom would be my best friend and biggest supporter, if she were still here.  I miss her love, and I miss loving her.  I grieve deeply.  But amongst the pain that stands out a little stronger on Mother's Day, I can also rejoice and praise God that I got 19 years and 7 months with Ann Dobbins as my mom.  I am so blessed by that.

So here is to you, mom!  I'm going to go for a walk and enjoy a plain dish of Dairy Queen vanilla soft serve, in your honor!

Friday, April 29, 2011

kitchen lust

Click on the above link to see what I have been drooling over this afternoon. Pretty please, can my kitchen look like this some day?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Here is a little something to get you in the holiday mood:

Nothing like pink bunny ears and cheese and crackers to get you excited about Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal.  Wrap it carefully around with hobbies, and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. 
C.S. Lewis

One night, a month or so ago, the above realities about love became suddenly real to me.  I was lying in bed, happy and content, thanking the Lord for the incredible amount of blessings in my life, when I was gripped by the overwhelming fear of losing Mike.  That fear of losing my husband and best friend was followed by more dark thoughts of losing others that I love, which then flowed into grief over losing my mom.  I rolled over and spoke those fears out loud to Mike.  We talked through those fears, and what they mean.

Loving is a risk.  It takes courage.  It takes stepping out.  It often means heartache.  Love is a scary thing.  But is what we were made to do.  It is what God calls us to do.  In Jesus' own words:

"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you."

Jesus took the ultimate risk in love.  He loves so deeply that he was willing to face humiliation and die on a cross, only then to have so many of those he loved turn his back on him.  And he asks us to do the same.  To love, regardless of the consequences.  

I have felt so challenged in this lately.  To love despite not receiving the same love in return.  To continuing loving despite the fear of losing it.  To love through pain and frustration.  To love simply because it is what Jesus is asking me to do.  And I think Mr. Lewis is so right; when we avoid love we are putting ourselves in a coffin.  Yes, it is safe, but there is no light, no air.  We have to embrace the vulnerability of love to really experience what God intended life to be like for us.  

This post was even difficult for me to write.  Just thinking about the relationships in my life, what they mean to me, and those that I love pulls on my heart.  Despite the pain or vulnerability that comes from those relationship, when I think about them not being a part of my life...  well, my life just looks empty.  So daily I decide that the risks of love are worth it.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

friday night

How I spent my Friday night: wearing my husband's sweatpants, listening to Norah Jones, and baking.

The end result: banana bran muffins!

And let me be perfectly clear, I am 100% okay with my wild Friday night plans.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

porch swing

Mike and I like to dream about what our future home might look like.  It has been the recent topic of many dinner conversations.  While out for a walk, or driving through neighborhoods, we will point out houses that we like/don't like, and what features we want in our dream home.  One of our biggest dream house features is a front porch.

Big.  Old wooden floor boards.  A swing.  A small table and chairs in the corner perfect for breakfast.  Potted plants.  Summer nights. Early mornings.  Iced tea.  Good conversation.  Watching the storm roll in.  Friends.  Food.  Rocking chairs.  Kids playing in the yard.  A good book.  Watching the leaves change.  Checkers and backgammon.  Listening to the birds.  Morning cup of coffee and the newspaper.  Simple. Lovely.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An All-American Girl

Remember American Girl dolls?

I will admit now that the above picture totally creeps me out (especially the dolls that are waving at me...), but go back 15 years and I loved anything American Girl related.  I had all the originals:

Samantha, the generous and loyal orphan growing up at the turn of the century:

Molly, the odd one out with glasses, during the midst of World War 2:

Felicity, the spunky colonial girl, full of independence:

Addy, the determined slave girl striving towards freedom during the Civil War:

And Kirsten, the spunky pioneer girl:

My parents, relatives, and godparents spoiled me and fueled my love for American Girls.  I had it all, the dolls, the books, the clothes, the accessories.  I distinctly remember the Christmas Eve when I opened up the big box and saw Molly.  Best Christmas ever!  But it was pretty simple way back in the early 1990's.  Just your handful of dolls, their books and clothes.  

When I started thinking about my childhood love for the dolls, I started doing a little research into where American Girl is now.  

Whoa, they are in a whole new realm now.  New dolls I have never even heard of, "Bitty Baby" baby dolls, and get this, dolls you can design to look however you want, or to even look just like you.  

I decided to design my own doll in my likeness:

Yup, my very own Sarah Hughes inspired American Girl doll.  Complete with glasses to match mine, and even a yoga outfit!

And to leave you with just one more creepy and haunting image... Bitty Baby Twins!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

first dance

i'll be your mirror
reflect what you are, in case you don't know
i'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
the light on the door to show that you're home

Friday, March 25, 2011


I have a new love for NPR.  I can't stop listening to podcasts.  This American Life, The Moth, Radio Lab.  During my run a few days ago I was literally laughing out loud one minute, and crying the next.

Check out NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts.  They are live mini-concerts recorded at the desk of Bob Boilen, host of All Songs Considered.

Two of my recent favorites:
Adele (she can do no wrong)

The Local Natives (sweet 'stache dudes!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We have a winner!

And the winner of the Day Spring discount code is Liz Langhoff!  Yay Liz!  Thanks for participating everyone!  Have a restful Sunday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

(photo credit:

I came across this photo today (, go check her blog out) and instantly saw myself at five or six years old again.  Swap out the blond hair and blue eyes for brown on brown, add a little (okay, a lot) more baby fat, and this little girl is me.  In my bedroom, sunlight streaming in the big picture window, laying on my pink quilt, surrounded by books, still in my dance outfit, with dirty feet.  

I was so happy.  Content.  Loved.  I would lay on my bed for hours like that, reading, dreaming.  Totally unaware of all the sad, scary, and hard things the world has to offer.  At that point, all I was concerned about was what mom was making for dinner, if Shawn and Andy would let me play night games with them this time, and deciding if pink or yellow was my favorite color.  It brought back such sweet and simple memories.      

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life to the full

One of my favorite websites is (in)courage.  It's a collaborative blog of Christian women that puts out multiple posts a day to help women connect with each other and draw them closer to Jesus.  Every day I am encouraged and challenged by the women who share their hearts on this website.  It is also much more then just a blog.  They offer and online book club, which I am currently participating in, as well as an online store, DaySpring, which offers a wide variety of products from cards, to dishes, to home decor.

With as much as I love this site and admire the women who write there, I was so excited to get the chance to review some DaySpring products for you, and also offer a 20$ gift card to the store for one lucky reader!

The theme for this month over at (in)courage is "Life to the full", based off of John 10:10.

"I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full."

Jesus brings life.  And not only life, but the best life, a full life, an overflowing life.  

DaySpring sent me a set of four fun plates that revolve around the John verse of Jesus bringing us a full life.  I love the plates, each on their own, but especially as a set.  I wouldn't use them for every day use, but they are great for entertaining, or even just for display in your home.  Bright colors, fun shapes, and a unique reminder of the joy God brings into our life if we allow Him.

The set includes the largest plate, with a floral design, and the John 10:10 verse with "life" in various languages:

The red plate with black floral design, John 10:10 on the rim:

The black plate with floral design, and "life" in multiple languages:

And the smallest plate, simply with "life" written in script:

I love them all!  The very day I got them in the mail I used the largest plate to serve my homemade Carmel Delight knock-offs to our small group.  I have left them out sitting on my yellow cabinet as a unique way to add some color to our living room.

And the most exciting part: you can score some DaySpring goods of your own!  Just leave me a comment on this post by Saturday, 3/19, and I will chose one random winner to receive a $20 coupon code for DaySpring!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

summer, hurry up please

I am getting so anxious for the summer months and warmer weather.  Here is what I am day dreaming about today at work, while it is still 38 degrees outside and snow on the ground:

-having all the windows open, falling asleep to outside noises
-concerts on the square
-the beer garden being open again
-eating dinner (from the grill) on our balcony
-the Brewers
-ice cream
-going for walks after dinner
-not wearing 12,000 layers to run outside
-the 4th of July in Neenah
-riding my bike
-seeing U2 in July
-driving with the windows down
-flip flops and skirts without tights underneath
-going to the terrace
-no more snow
-the Tour de Bago
-corn on the cob
-going to the farmer's market
-being tan
-kids playing outside
-green grass and leaves on trees
-running through the point in Neenah
-Dairy Queen
-hiking at Devil's Lake
-road trips
-fresh homegrown tomatoes
-birds singing in the morning
-the sun gets up early and goes to bed late

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lucy and Aslan

I was thinking this morning about how my faith has grown through out the years.  Gained wisdom and life experiences have changed my view of God, for the better.  The more I try to know and understand about God, the larger and more complicated He becomes.  God isn't changing, but my view of Him does.

My thoughts took me to a passage that I remember from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis where Lucy sees Aslan after a long time apart and exclaims,

“Aslan! You’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one, ” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow you will find me bigger.”

It is so cool that God meets us where we are at on our journey.  When we have faith like a child, He meets us in the appropriate way.  As long as we are pursuing growth, our faith can never become old and stale.  God will always become larger, there will always be a new facet to explore and discover. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The ABC's of SAH

A. Age: Newly 23!

B. Bed size: Queen, an abnormally high in height queen.  Late night trips to the bathroom are particularly hazardous, especially when you are under 5'4''. 

C. Chore you dislike: Taking out the garbage.  But I am blessed by an expert garbage man of a husband.

D. Dogs: Only imaginary :o)  Mike and I both desperately want a mangy mutt or a huge St. Bernard named Mom, but Mike is allergic.

E. Essential start to your day:  Sweat.  I love working out in the morning, enough to wake up at 5AM in order to fit it in.  There is nothing better then watching the sun rise while finishing a run.

F. Favorite color: Yellow.

G. Gold or silver: Silver, except for my mom's gold wedding band and gold monogram necklace. 

H. Height: 5'4", which is tall compared to the women in my family.  My grandma didn't pass five feet!

I. Instruments you play(ed): I took piano lessons for 12-13 years.  And then there was the painful stint as a cymbal player in my high school marching band...

J. Job title: Sarah Hughes, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist (ha!)

K. Kids: None... but Mike and I pray and hope for a house full someday!

L. Live: Madison, WI.  I love living in Madison.  So much.  Good restraunts, live music, family friendly, awesome running and biking trails, college town.

M. Mom’s name: Ann.  Her full name was Ann Louise Adelmann/Dobbins, and her nickname was Wheeze, or Wheezie, as my grandpa would call her.

N. Nicknames: In high school I was known as Dobbins, or just Dobbs, which I think was just passed down from my two older brothers.  Mike has quite the rotating list of nicknames, ranging from Little One, to Pumpkin Head.  I know, I am a lucky girl.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None.  Knock on wood.

P. Pet peeves: Sniffling.  There is nothing worse then sitting in a quiet room with someone who won't just blow their nose and keeps sniffling.  Kleenex was made for a reason, people.  Also, how impossible it is to keep our black stove top clean.  No matter what, there are always crumbs on it.

Q. Quote from a movie: "No! No.  You may only call me Mrs. Darcy when you are completely, perfectly, and incandescently happy."       -Pride and Prejudice

R. Righty or lefty:  Righty

S. Siblings: Andy and Shawn, both older!  As much as I have always longed for a sister, I feel incredibly blessed to have such awesome older brothers.

T. Time you wake up: 5AM during the week.  On the weekends I can sleep as late at 10, but I have a strange quirk.  I always wake up hungry, usually by 6:30, so I will eat breakfast, then go back to bed and sleep the morning away.

U. Underwear: I'm in favor of it.

V. Vegetables you don't like: Eggplant and canned green beans.

W. What makes you run late: Emptying the dishwasher before going into work, trying to find my other mitten in the mess that is our winter basket, deciding what to wear.  And it seems like, no matter how much extra time we plan into our morning, Mike and I are always at least a few minutes late to church.  I don't know the last time we were there before the music started.  Something always stands in our way, despite our best intentions to be early church goers.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth? 

Y. Yummy food you make: Soup and chili.  Curry and stir fry.  Veggie lasagna.  Cookies. 

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Elephants!

Monday, February 28, 2011


“When God moves us out of our comfort zone, into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful, even hurt, this is a gift.  We are being given a gift.  These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”
-Ann Voskamp

So often lately,  I have felt ready to tell God "Ok, enough already.  You have pushed my limits for long enough.  Put me back in my comfort zone."  I am a woman who longs for comfort.  I always have, and I think I always will.  I love being home, the places I know, the people I love.  I love seeing new places and meeting new people, but traveling often wears me down.  I just want what I know is safe, predictable, secure.  But God knows better, and pushes those limits.  It feels like God has continuously been pushing me out of my comfort zone for the past four years.  First, the move to college.  I was terribly homesick, even at my small private school not far from home.  I called my mom every day, and cried each morning, dreading the day of new faces and challenges.  And then my mom died.  I was forced to grow up over night.  Grief matured me and challenged every belief I ever thought true.  My mom, my ultimate source of earthly comfort, was gone.  Then a trip to the Middle East.  My comfort zone was completely smashed to pieces.  My worldview and thoughts on God's plan for the world were challenged.  Then I graduated college, and got married, and moved to a new city, and got my first "grown up" job, all in the matter of one month.  Whew...  It feels like since I was 18 years old God has constantly been pushing me forward, nudging me, urging me to take a step into the next unknown.  As soon as I have gotten comfortable in a situation, the next change has been right around the corner.  Most of these changes, I have wrestled with God and fought him tooth and nail along the way.  Some have come more easily than others.  But looking back now, through the struggling, wrestling, tears, frustrations, and fears, I can see how the Lord was shaping me through each experience more into the woman he made me to be.  I don't even feel like the same girl that left home for her first semester of college over four years ago.  Who is that girl who stood grieving at her mother's fresh grave?  Who is that woman who left on a plane, headed for a country that was the epitome of unknown to her?  Yes, I am longing for a period of comfort, of safety, of knowing what is coming next, of predictability.  Yet I also know that it isn't coming, at least not for awhile.  As scared as I am for these upcoming comfort-zone-pushing experiences, I can look back on what God has done in the past, and know that I am going to come out of them refined and matured.  I am beginning to be able to approach the hard places as a gift; a gift of intimacy with God that wouldn't be possible any other way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why I Cook

This excerpt from "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenberg perfectly summed up why I love being in the kitchen:

When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone.  Whether we know it or not, none of us is.  We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten.  Food is never just food.  It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be...  When I walk into my kitchen today, I bring all of this with me.  Like most people who love to cook, I like the tangible things.  I like the way the knife claps when it meets the cutting board.  I like the haze of sweet air that hovers over a hot cake as it sits, cooling, on the counter.  I like the way a strip of orange peel looks on an empty plate.  But what I like even more are the intangible things: the familiar voices that fall out of the folds of an old cookbook, or the scenes that replay like a film reel across my kitchen wall.  When we fall in love with a certain dish, I think that's what we're often responding to: that something else behind the fork or spoon, the familiar story that food tells.  

I love being in the kitchen because I love to create, I love to eat what I create, and I love cooking for family and friends.  But more than that, I love where cooking takes me.  It takes me back to my Gram A's kitchen, spreading soft butter on fresh white bread for an afternoon snack.  Back to learning how to slide hot cookies off the pan onto old paper bags to cool.  To hearing my mom tell me the right proportions of butter, milk, and salt to put into the mashed potatoes.  Back to family dinners every Sunday.  Cooking always reminds me of the love I grew up with, and the love I continue to be blessed with.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


In the Bible study I am currently leading for college women (hi girls!), we are studying the book of Luke.  Last night, in between lots of girly giggling and eating of scotcheroo's, we read and discussed prayer, focusing on Luke 11.  In comparison to other aspects of my faith, I often find prayer to be the "easiest".  A lot of the time I struggle to consistently open my Bible and diligently study the Word.  It is hard for me to intellectually connect with the Lord on my own.  But prayer clicks with me, it comes more naturally.  Regardless of the fact that prayer is my favorite way to connect with the Lord, I learned so much last night.  The wise women in my study had such great observations about prayer that really challenged me to deepen my prayer life. 

Luke 11 focuses on the Lord's Prayer, and how Jesus instructs us to pray:

"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.  When he was finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."  He said to them: "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive those who have sinned against us.
And lead us not into temptation."
Then Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend and you go to him at midnight and say 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine has come to me on a journey and I have no food to offer him.'  And suppose the one inside answers 'Dont bother me.  The door is already locked, and my children and I are already in bed.  I can't get up and give you anything.'  I tell you even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Why am I so fearful of asking God for things?  Like any father, he longs to give us what we desire, as long as it is in his will.  I think of my own dad, who would give me, out of love, his last penny if the situation arose.  I know my dad loves me and longs to see me happy.  And this is also true, to an even greater extent, of my Heavenly Father.  Yet, I hesitate in prayer.  I stop myself.  Why would God want to hear me ask for such insignificant and unimportant things that relate to my life?  But then I read Luke 11.  Jesus clearly states that If I ask, it will be given.  We are comanded to, acutally.  So today I approached prayer in a fresh way.  I came before God and clearly asked him for the desires of my heart, just as he instructed me to.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Look what handsome man chose me as their Valentine! I am one lucky lady!

Mike, I feel so blessed to be able to call you husband.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My goal for the rest of the week is to be unapologetically myself...  To genuinely be who I was created to be, to live unafraid of being my true self.  Those words are harder to live out than to say, but so worth striving towards.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I am currently reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, which is opening up my heart and bringing me before the Lord in new and awesome ways.  I am humbled by what I am learning.  I can't help but share with you part of what I learned today.

"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:23

Jesus, on the night he was betrayed by a dear friend, offers thanksgiving to God.  Jesus, on the night before his Father allows him to be humiliated andhang on a cross to die, offers thanksgiving.  Jesus gives thanksgiving for even the very thing that will break him, crush him, wound him... and ultimately bring joy.

I need to let that sink in for awhile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finding Purpose in His Plan

A great article about Matt Chandler and his fight to honor and serve the Lord through his trials:

“I don’t think God gave me cancer … but He knew it was coming. He certainly didn’t stop it, and He’s certainly able to. The whole Scripture is: bad things happen in a fallen world, and God is enough in those things and uses those things to the Glory of His own name.”

I pray that I can cling to that truth as well, no matter what the trial: that God is enough in all things, and will use them to His glory.

Monday, January 10, 2011


"The letters of the name of God in Hebrew are infrequently prononced Yahweh.  But in truth they are inutterable...  This word {YHWY} is the sound of breathing.  The holiest name in the world, the name of the Creator, is the sound of your own breathing.  That these letters are unpronouncable is no accident.  Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb "to be".  God's name is the name of Being itself."
-Rabbi Lawrence Kushner


Today, I am focusing on breathing...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scars and Sad Words

An excerpt from the novel "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave:

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars.  I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress?  I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly.  That is what the scar makers want us to think.  But you and I , we must make an agreement to defy them.  We must see all scars as beauty.  Okay?  This will be our secret.  Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means, I survived. 
In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you.  But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now.  Sad words are just another beauty.  A sad story means, this storyteller is alive.  The next thing you know, something fine will happened to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile."

This passage tugged at my heart.  Think of how different our world would be if we all viewed scars as things of beauty, and sad words as stories of strength and resilience.  I know how hard it is to see God's goodness in the midst of pain and trials.  I know how easy it is to look at your scars and think of your challenging and difficult life stories and wonder where God was in the midst of it all.  Believe me, I am often filled with doubt.  But God's story for our lives is one of redemption.  As I continue to walk through life, growing older and wiser, I am learning to see the beauty in the pain.  Yes, it is still hard, and it still hurts.  But the more I let God in, the more I see the larger picture.  God's plan is so much larger and so much greater then we can understand.  Your scars and your sad stories can be made into something wonderful; I truly believe that.   

What I am loving right now..

Lululemon yoga pants

I have been lusting after Lululemon's yoga and running apparel forever.  Mike got me a pair of their crops for Christmas!  I can now say, after owning a pair, that they are worth the high price.  I could live in my pair.  They fit perfectly, and are incredibly flattering.

Jonsi's Animal Arithmetic

I have to give credit to my husband for 90% of my taste in music.  He is the true music lover and connoisseur in our family, and is really good at finding new music that fits my tastes.  I will admit, when Mike first introduced me to Jonsi, I wasn't a fan.  But, the more I listen to him, the more I want to listen to him.  Jonsi is the guitarist and vocalist for the Icelandic band Sigor Ros.  Take a listen to his song Animal Arithmetic.  You might just get hooked like I did.

Julia Child

How could you not love a large, boisterous, American woman swinging a mallet and cooking French food?  Last year over winter break I checked out a few of Julia's cookbooks from the library, and also watched the movie Julie and Julia.  My admiration was then sparked, and it was renewed this month now that I finally own my own copy of Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I love her story, her sense of humor, her wit, her simple style of cooking, and her passion for good food.

Spin Class

Biking is new to me.  When my brother Shawn kicked off the first annual Tour de' Bago, an 80 mile bike ride around Lake Winnebago, I opted out and served as the team nurse and water station.  Being on a bike for six hours did not sound fun at all.  I much preferred to pass out sandwhiches and water bottles.  But this fall, while cutting back on running and looking for other ways to get in some cardio, I hopped on my bike a few times, and I tried my first spin class.  It was SO HARD.  Ten minutes into the class I was ready for the cool down.  But I loved it.  It was challenging, and something new that I had to work at.  It is such a great workout, and I feel so hard core when I walk out of class!

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

My yellow Le Creuset dutch oven might be my favorite wedding gift that we received.  I wish I had an excuse to cook with it everyday.  Soup has now become my favorite food staple, mainly because it means I get to break out my most loved kitchen appliance.  Mike benefits as well, because when the dutch oven comes out, there is a good possibility his favorite chili is going to be made (which, by the way, I am starting to get embarrased by how much he talks up my chili!).  Enameled cast iron, lasts a life time, and is pretty to look at to boot!

The Middleton Public Library

Ok, so this is something I love all the time, since birth really.  And not just specifically the Middleton Library, but reading in general.  And books.  And free books from the library.  Whoever thought of the idea of a library, and a community sharing books, is a smart man.  I go through a lot of books.  I read two novels last week.  The library is awesome in that it feeds my need for books without having to run to Barnes and Noble and shell out 30 dollars.

Chobani Pineapple Greek Yogurt

I could eat it everyday.  Last week while traveling and staying in Minneapolis, I think I might have.  Real chunks of pineapple, 18 grams of protein, 200mg of calcium!