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Personal Journey

Healthy Lifestyle, Passion & Purpose, Personal Journey

Running in Circles: a case of identity

The stories and photos are literally at our fingertips, especially in light of social media. People who are making a difference. Organizations that are running effective programs that impact thousands. Problems being solved. Lives being changed. I love reading stuff like this; it’s inspiring. But I’ve also come to realize that, if I’m not careful, it becomes a slippery slope. It’s easy for me to compare myself to others, especially those working with other non-profits or ministries. Not comparing in a way that is judgmental of them, but condemning of myself. “I’m not doing enough” or “they are way more effective than me” run through my head more than I’d like to admit. And so I begin the mental checklist that can basically be summed up in two items: Do more. Be more. And so I strive, oh I strive. I aim to help more people, listen to more sermons, read more inspiring books, learn new skills, pray more, do more things that make me feel like I’m doing more and being more. Check. Check. Check. The list gets marked off. But really, I’m running in circles because checklists don’t get to the root of the issue (shocking, I know). […]

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Personal Journey

Through the eyes of 21-year-old me

I recently came across a journal entry from early 2016 that went something like this:  God, I don’t understand what you are doing in my heart. I don’t understand how all of this is supposed to fit together. Photography, videography, missions, storytelling, kids, church, a lifestyle of love – all of this is welling up in my heart and I don’t know what I’m suppose to do with all of it… Everything seemed like an unknown. I felt like I was holding a million tiny puzzle pieces that didn’t fit together or, if they did, the picture they made was confusing. How in the world were these things suppose to connect? Little more than 2 years later, I’m sitting looking out my window at South African bush; every one of those things I mentioned in the journal entry now a part of my normal life in some way. I don’t share this to declare, “Look how far I’ve come!” I share this as an encouragement. In the moment, it’s often hard to see the bigger picture. Standing with those mismatched puzzle pieces in hand, it’s hard to imagine how they could fit together. In many ways, I’m still discovering it. And, honestly, […]

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Personal Journey, Travel & Adventure

Experiencing Waterfalls

Knowing about something and experiencing it are two completely different things. You can know about ice cream, for example, but knowing about it doesn’t equate to experiencing it’s smooth texture and creamy flavor. I’m all about the experience when it comes to nature. I don’t want to just know about things. I don’t want to just see a picture of it. I don’t want to just view it from afar. I want to experience it. I recently went hiking with some friends. As we hiked along the canyon floor, we came to a place where you could take short trek down an adjoining ravine. You climb up some rocks and into a 20-foot-wide gorge with a stream at the bottom, doggy paddle across a small pool, carefully maneuver the shallow water by balancing against the ever narrowing rock walls, go around a corner, and end up at a waterfall. I didn’t want to just know about the waterfall. I didn’t want to just see it from afar. I wanted to experience it. I wanted to feel it’s mist hitting my face. The pulsing of the water as it rushed from the falls and over my feet and legs. The sunlight […]

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Personal Journey

This is home.

Home is important. I stepped onto the plane excited about the new adventures that laid ahead. I stepped off onto South African soil, and although familiar and exciting, it wasn’t home. And that’s okay. Home doesn’t happen instantaneously. The process of unpacking bags of familiar items into an unfamiliar room was a bit difficult. It was then that reality hit that, “This is home now.” And to be honest, deep down inside I didn’t want to accept that at first. It was hard. It didn’t feel normal. The still, small voice of God whispered, “I am your home.” Peace flooded my heart. I knew that, even when my surroundings don’t feel like home yet, my home is in Him. He is my firm foundation. He is my place of belonging. In Him I have all I need. The weeks have rushed by, and slowly but surely, this ground is becoming home too. This is where life happens. This is where I make my coffee and eat my meals and sit on my favorite rock to have quiet time with God. This is where I slip on my shoes and walk to the office to work on media. This is where […]

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Passion & Purpose, Personal Journey

Open Hands

I didn’t fully realize how many things I was thankful for in this season until it really began to set in that I’m moving. Honestly, I think it usually works like that. Change makes us stop and appreciate the blessings we hold. Each day I look around and see more and more things I absolutely love about this chapter of life. And each day I’m reminded that this chapter is coming to a close – it’s a bittersweet feeling. I love my morning quiet time with God on the front deck. I love that I get to see my family so much. I love the colors of Iowa sunsets over acres of farmland. I love late night talks with sisters. I love the chilly fall mornings that call for scarves and sweaters. I love the precious kids that I’ve had the joy of watching for the past 6 years. I love my amazing church family. I love wonderful talks with dear friends. I want to cherish these things. I want to remember these things. But I want to hold them with open hands. God has blessed me so richly in this season – I don’t deserve any of it. But I’m […]

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