Thursday, December 12, 2013


Life tends to happen to us when we're not paying attention.  Sometimes it goes okay, and sometimes when we wake back up we realize how much we've missed. So many opportunities that we let slip through our fingers without using them to their full potential. So many decisions we just didn't make and just let things happen - later we realize that not choosing - is still choosing, its just a poor choice usually.

So much has happened this year - and as i look back on it i realize how much i wish i had done. I don't like this feeling.

but, being engaged every single day and choosing to live fully every single day is hard. It's tiring, sometimes it hurts, sometimes its easy, sometimes your too tired from living the day before, and sometimes you just don't want to.

self doubt and fear control so much of our lives - it's really annoying actually. and this is probably one of the hardest things to choose not to believe. It has a strange way of just creeping up on us, we don't realize we're agreeing with it until it has grown into a huge monster that is eating us alive - pulling us down with it, and tear us apart from the inside out. and then, it's a full out war to get it back under control and into its cave. but, then we're so tired from waging war that we don't seal up the cave fully, we leave loose stones, or small cracks - and eventually, the monster finds his way back out and back into our lives - and it continues - over and over.

i can't decide whether the monster gets stronger or weaker each time. that's still up for debate.

how can we learn to keep up the fight - to not get lazy. how many battles does it take for us to realize the benefit of staying on our guard and not sitting down. yeah, it may be tiring to always be ready to fight - but, its easier to wage small battles than to win a war against a giant smelly ugly monster.

when will we decide to choose to live a fully engaged life everyday?

and, if we do that - what will it change?

how different will our lives be. will they be happier? will we have more friends? will we have more life changing conversations? will they hurt more because we're doing real life with others? will we see the reality of the world around us? will we see the joy in the small things? will we spend our time on different things? how will it change us?

so, don't wait till you wake up one day and realize how much life you have missed - choose to engage now. start fighting,and start living. experience life to the fullest - look up from your phone and breath in the life and beauty around you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

don't let me forget...

here it is. I'm telling the world - well, i might not be telling anybody actually - but, it's out in the world for someone to read... and you have to promise to hold me to this.

I'm going to write a book.

there. i said it.

so far this summer things have just been brought to life for me - i've been renewed and made alive again. I MUST share this new life that i have. I MUST stop living like the old me, i've been redeemed and made new! why waste time boo-hoo-ing over what i use to be and holding myself back because i "shouldn't" be able to do something.

I CAN! and I WILL!

because God is on my side and i don't care if all my circumstances say i shouldn't be able to do it. God is my rock and my redeemer and I WILL NEVER BE SHAKEN.

so, to life - and all that it has to throw at me while i'm pressing on towards truth and life...


Sunday, June 23, 2013

a new day - a new problem

seems like recently each day when the sun rises it brings with it it's own new adventures, problems, and revelations of new parts of my heart... Some i'm okay with, some however, have been causing problems.

is it really possible for something you've been doing for years to all of a sudden catch up with you and have the reality of it hit you like a oncoming train going full speed? I feel like there should have been some warning signs - the faint whisper of the horn, the rumble of the train tracks - the lights... those dumb blinking barricades that fall down in front of your car to block the road LONG before the train actually comes...

yeah, somehow i missed all of those - and


(it's like BOOM, ROASTED! only, in the negative sorta sense)

i was texting a friend and her only 2 responses were:

1. we'll talk about it in a week when we're together because it's too complicated to text
2. i kinda thought this would have happened a while ago...

Hey - what about warning me about the approaching train?

her response -

"I'll explain that later too"

in writing this - it kind of reminds me of a almost unfortunate event that happened while i was in serbia.

We were on the train on our way to Serbia, from Slovenia - we needed to get off at this small little train station in the middle of nowhere and transfer to a different train. Well - nobody spoke serbian - and the workers on the train were, well, less than helpful. We were trying to decipher the horrible audio of the train PA system and not miss our stop... (15 people with all their luggage exiting a train in less than 3 minutes is a task unto itself). The train was slowing down, the PA system was crackling to life with what we thought was the announcement of the train station, we were all shoved into the sauna of the train car, our gear in tow, waiting to exit... The train stopped moving and i opened the door and started to step out as the screams of a frantic serbia train worker rang out only slightly above the roar of the oncoming train (that i hadn't noticed yet) time slowed as i looked into the eyes of the train worker - somehow understood him saying stop! hanging out his window frantically waving his arms trying to get me to get back into the train - i turned my head to look the opposite direction as somebody pulled me back inside and another train went speeding past only a foot or so away from the train door - and me.

I had no clue we weren't at the station yet - only slowing down so that the other train could pass (there was a junction up ahead and they got to go first apparently). I couldn't understand the muffle crackling think serbian accent of the train car operator - i wasn't sure where we were or what we were actually doing there - my heart was still reeling from leaving the students we had met in Slovenia - trying to take in the sights and feelings of worshipping together in a train car as we left one country - singing that "our God is mighty to save" and knowing that we were heading into another country to fall in love and break out hearts all over again - unknowing how our impact would affect those we met with.

How does this relate?

These last few years i've been on the train ride from Slovenia (my old church/friends/community/life) to Serbia (my new season of life) - and apparently, i just started to open the door onto what i thought was the correct platform - only to be pulled back in - overwhelmed by the noise, wind, and adrenaline of almost getting hit by a speeding train.

I don't know what Serbia is - maybe my church/my job is Serbia - maybe it's only the train ride - the transition between one thing and another... but all of a sudden the reality of the last few years has caught up with me and my heart and ears are pounding as i'm laying on the floor feeling the hot wind from the passing train wash over me as i listen to the yells of the Serbian train worker trying to warn me start to drown out and the chaos of my fellow train mates start to get louder in shock and awe and the telling of the story to those who didn't see what happened - only felt the effects of me being pulled back in.

Do i read a bunch into this - and begin to believe that i'm currently on the train and need to be preparing to go to my next season soon, that this is all just preparing me to be able to move on - giving me room - but not letting me get too comfortable...


do i sit back and just remember that i wasn't alone in serbia and i'm not alone now. i have friends around to pull me back in so i don't get hit by a the oncoming train... and keep pushing forward with my mission here, where i am.

afterall - we did end up sitting in someones yard for almost 8 hours before we actually got to our new homes... maybe it's time to sit in the metaphorical serbian yard and build new, lasting memories with those who were on the train with me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

roadtrip conversations

some friends from my past life came out to visit on their tour of the country road trip... it was super fun to catch up with them (cause i havn't seen them since highschool - and they were 4 yrs younger than me). They're all grown up and graduated from college now and about to start real jobs - it's so crazy.

But even through all the change - somethings have stayed the same.

We spend many hours sitting around and talking about life, experiences, relationships, God, and beer. It was fun. But the main thread that ran through it all was a reminder that it's not about trying to outdo one another with the places you've been or the things you've got to see - it's about letting the journey change and transform you into a better - stronger - deeper - more loving - more understanding person.

it was refreshing to talk to other people (close to my own age) that have a desire for relationships and experiences that are real and authentic - rather than just trying to posture yourself to be better than others... or check things off a list.

The difference was subtle - but the conversations were rich and moving.

A friendly reminder to enjoy the journey, soak in life, drink deeply of the world around you - and let it change you. Feel it, sit in it, learn from it - don't try to control it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

through a new window

I recently got a new CD. It is truth set to a solid beat - it connects deeply with my soul. I LOVE it. It's like no CD i've ever heard - and there is one simple reason why...

This particular CD is written from a new persepective than most christian CD's. Instead of the artists writing about their brokenness and their need for Jesus to meet them and comfort them (don't get me wrong - those songs are powerful and needed and have changed me) they write as forgiven and redeemed children of God striving to live out their new lives boldly.

The CD is looking out the front window, rather than the back door.

The songs are anthems of grace, mercy, love, freedom, and passion. Passion to live out your life boldly because you have been forgiven - to get up and live your new life. To stop running in a circle of sin and repentance that you can never get out of - but to realize the truth, that we are forgiven for good - and to start living as a forgiven child of God.

The songs are a challenge to make a difference - to live a new life. They are like cold water to a thirsty soul.

stop going through the motions and truly start living.

You are loved. You are forgiven. You have been redeemed.

Go love. Go forgive. Go invite others to redemption.

a new day... a new view.

Once again - i feel a small identity crisis approaching. Maybe not identity - but belief... a belief crisis.. is that a thing yet? cause if it's not it will be soon!

At various points in life - I stumble upon something that forces me to take a step back and look at things differently. To stop running through life like a chicken with my head cut off - and to really drink deep of what is truly happening.  I have a love/hate relationship with these situations.

Recently A LOT has been happening in my life... a lot of new and crazy situations...  that have mostly all been anxiety producing - so i've taken a few deep breaths and just pushed through...

but, i focused so much on the goal that i missed the journey.

the journey is so important - taking a moment to stop and look around, breath in the aromas, memorize the details, drink deep the beauty. It's wonderful when we take the time to enjoy the journey - we can learn so much - and we miss so much when we focus solely on the end.

Good stories aren't about the person, they're about the story and the outcome.

I play dumb too often, i miss out on opportunitites to truly use my gifts.

People generally don't set you up for failure - if they ask you to do something, they are confident in your abilities - so you (i) should be too. So, spend your energy on getting better/stronger/faster/more confident rahter than spending your energy trying to find confidence and battle doubt.

don't completely abandon everything about your old self - things maybe painful - but they may be useful.

Don't underestimate your ability to be a catalyst for change because you are young.

Don't be afriad of hugs or people who ask the tough questions.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 2.

Well - i exercised again today.

Day 2 of 2 - getting out and working out... and, today was harder than i anticipated too...

my leg - it feels like it's going to fall off... just one though. Not really sure about that.

And - tomorrow i go back to work.

I think i should probably try and make it a goal to take one day a week and get outside and dream and plan and spend time with the Lord planning out ministry and such... maybe hanging out in the woods at Silver Falls...

we'll see how that goes.

Back to the grind and having fun! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

someone to learn from

I was driving back from yakima tonight and spending some quality time with Jesus listening to some of my favorite music (which happens to be recorded by one of my friends in yakima) and had a few moments of just crying to myself a mixture of joy, loss, fear, and contentment (or something like that).

At one point this weekend i had a very strange conversation. Well - i had a couple.

The first one: we were talking about our ex-church. me and four others (two of which had been on staff, and the other two had been "kicked out" long before anyone else). I didn't really add much to this conversation but i listened intently to all the things they discussed. It was relieving and traumatic - all at the same time. When we all get together it's like a unit that has been to war together - we can talk about things that have happened and those who were there with us totally understand... there's a level of understanding that nobody else has - unless you were there. But, at the same time - it opened up wounds that i thought were healed up... at least to a manageable point.  The main thing that was weird about this conversation was once again realizing that I don't actually know my part of that story. The way things played out, I actually ended up saving myself a little bit of pain (at the moment at least) but it left this whole. a feeling i'm all to familiar with regarding my family - a whole that i can't explain and that i don't understand how to fill in... a black hole of knowledge that would help me piece together the broken parts of my heart... however painful it may be to find those parts and possibly break them a little more along the way - you can't heal unless you have all the parts back.  But, i know the ones who have the information that can fill that hole... now it's a matter of timing...

The second one: was when i was talking to mel about something that somebody at work had said to me - the conversation morphed and transformed into mel telling me that she needed to learn from me - that i had an ability to live life that she didnt, and that her heart desperately longed for. it was shocking and weird - and made me all warm and tingly inside. I'm the baby of the group - everyone (especially S&M) have been mentors/big borther/sisters to me... i learn from them. They are the strong ones, the ones that have it figured out - the ones that challenge me... Well - apparently the tides have turned somewhat. Throughout this whole ex-church mess and our struggles with spirituality and "the church", trying to decipher what those things should look like in our lives, and how to live in a world where biblical truths are being used and abused i have somehow come out with a strong character trait. Secretly i'd call it a survival mechanism, but it's one that just happens to not be all bad. My story before ex-church morphed me in such a way that i can work in a church, "ignoring" the brokenness and unbiblical ways that the body is behaving, and choose to love the kids God has placed before me.
           I had never really known that was such a weird trait to have, actually. but mel assured me it wasn't normal. My entire childhood was a system that was severely broken, that broke and wounded me in the process - and was totally out of my control - yet i survived it. I found ways to live and grow and become who i am today despite the world around me. You learn to read people quickly, work the system, and adapt to ever changing and possibly volatile situations. Because of my childhood - i can work in a system that every fiber of my being currently hates.

I hate the church. I hate how it hurts the people it's suppose to love. How it pushes away those that need it's truth the most. How it labels and judges before getting to know people. How it doesn't follow the one thing it was founded on - love. I hate how the family of God is disjointed and waging war against each other. I hate how so many people give Jesus a bad name. I hate that so many others hate Christians.  and there's so many more...  ex-church really did a doosey on me.

But - i LOVE the truth of the gospel. I LOVE my father.  i can't see life without JESUS. but my life with Jesus looks so much different that most other peoples.

I'm not saying that i know exactly how we're suppose to live - or that i know everything about the bible or about God. Quite opposite really. But i know that God wants us to LOVE others - and frankly - we suck at that big time.

But anyhow - back to me being someone to learn from... (sorry about that little rant)

(apparently, my blogger failed to save the last few paragraphs i wrote the other night - so i'm gonna re-finish this post... though it may be different than the origional - nobody will know but me)

I'm the baby of the group - and the friend i was talking to has been my boss, a mentor, a spiritual leader, and also a very close friend to me for many years now... so to hear her say that she needed to learn from me - it was shocking and cool.   It also prompted that little desire inside me to want to share my life with the greater world, possibly in book form... who knows... we'll just see where the Lord leads me this year.

take that 2013

Well - this year i'm determined to get into shape.... being healthy and active and able to do any task at any time (hiking, rappeling, climbing, running) those are not only essential to the dream job i have - but also essential in case zombies attack (haha)

So - this year, i stop being lazy and out of shape and kick my butt into gear. Yeah, i had that idea last year, and the year before... and i sometimes started out okay - but i noramlly just found myself looking up various workouts and healthy recipes online. Well - last night i found one of those "workout for each day of the week" things and wrote them down in a new journal i got for christmas... then i wrote down the military diet (which i'll be doing thurs,fri,sat) and another workout i found today... and as i was sitting there looking up the last few exercises that i didn't know i decided to get up and go work out...

so, i found some socks (which was harder than it should be - my bedroom has become the staging area for everything that noramlly lives in our living room since we're painting it) worked my way back across the obstacle course that is my bedroom, grabbed my workout list, my phone and headed to the garage.

i didn't make excuses cause it was cold
i didn't make excuses about there not being space (which, there really wasn't)
and i didn't make excuses about not having the right equipment

i used a pile of logs to do tricep dips (which left my hands a little sappy)
i used a garden bench to do incline pushups
i used a deck chair cushion as a workout mat
and i used out work bench to help me do situps (to hold my feet)

tomorrow i'll be using a log to do russian twists and probably a brick to do calf raises :)

being creative can be fun sometimes :)

take that 2013. I'm not being lazy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


vacation time again... and oh it has been a WHOLE lot of fun!

this week i froze myself into an ashley popsicle shooting out with the guys - which was amazing. I bought my first rifle - a wicked 10-22.

We hung out, watched loads of youtube videos, went on a long walk in the snow through the orchards, and rang in the new year by lighting up a christmas tree...

and once again - our rambling times of hanging out have taught me something.

so here are my new years thoughts.

1. just chill
2. yakima in the winter - is freezing cold.
3. friends are the most important thing
4. always check your safety
5. relationships trump technology
6. be yourself