living for others

TeaI’ve been thinking a lot lately about living for others. I know that’s what we are taught in Sunday School, this sweet “share your toy” sort of living for others, but I’m realizing that it (obviously) looks much different. It’s a ferocious kind of lifestyle that fights for others, a generous sacrificial one that gives all he has, an intentional one that listens well and so much more. This isn’t a new concept for me but I think it’s becoming more true in me. I journeyed into YWAM (youth with a mission) to do missions a few years ago, but looking back– in a lot of ways it was more for me. More so I could see Iceland, or have an experience. Which none of that is wrong necessarily, but when that becomes our sole motivation it’s a bit dangerous — but more on that maybe another time.

So what does it look like to lead a lifestyle dedicated to loving those around us? “Simply put: love does.” says Bob Goff. This implies action. Love is moving, fluid, with arms outstretched.

I’ve been inspired to take action. I don’t only want live this sort of lifestyle, but  to take note and display those around who already are. I have a friend who works for an organization that gives free psychiatric care  to veterans suffering from PTSD. I have another friend who has recently sold everything and moved to a tiny village in Uganda to serve at an orphanage. And another who recently set out to visit safe homes harboring women rescued from sex trafficking in six or so different countries. I could go on and on. These aren’t just people I’ve heard of from others, but people I know.

Now, in order to display love or “live for others” (although incredible and necessary) I don’t believe you must move over seas to an under-developed country and help the destitute. I was having dinner with my friend who works for the non-profit helping veterans, Keri, and we were mulling this topic over. So often “doing good for others” creates this category of people in desperate need, those suffering from starvation, needing clothes, shelter, water, etc. These are basic needs that absolutely need to met. But do you ever wonder, just like in any system, the people in-between? Someone may not be dying of starvation, but they could be suffering from the emotional trauma of never being accepted, or maybe a child has food, water and shelter but needs a bike. They may not need a bike for survival but something of the sort to restore to them their childhood. This is still something I’m still mulling over, but I do believe it’s an area that needs attention.

This thought process is much too long for a simple blog post which is why I wanted to kickstart a journey to tell others stories and inspire people to live for others.

Until then, I (double dog) dare you to love on one person today. Not just your spouse, friend or family, but a stranger. Compliment someone, help someone carry their drinks to their table at Frothy, buy the person behind you in line’s meal/drink–heck, buy their groceries!

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How To Make A Smoothie

Our love started out like this:

And grew to be this:

The best day of my life, thus far. We were surrounded by everyone we love and who love and support us. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for all the speeches, gifts, kind words, services, and just everyone who made the day happen. Especially to my incredible mom who with help pulled the whole thing off.

It’s been such a blast being married to my best friend in the past week we’ve uncovered a new depth to our relationship and the love that we have for one another. And it’s going to grow even deeper, I mean it’s only been 2 weeks! Our honey moon was so relaxing. We stayed at the Grand Hotel in Fairhope right on the bay! It was beautiful. We took bike-rides, went sailing, kayaking and relaxing by the pool. Sigh. In some ways I think “I wish I was there, on the water, relaxing for days” but in others, I love real life. Not that vacation isn’t real life, but it’s slightly strange to get married and while trying to get used to the idea that you actually got married be in a non-real place. Obviously Fairhope is a real place, but you know it’s not the day in day out realities of living life together—-which is so much fun! It’s like having sleep-overs with your best friend forever.

Granite we’ve had to adjust. Our first moment of realizing each others “normals” came when we were running late for school and I asked him to make a smoothie. “We don’t have time” he said from the kitchen. “It takes like two seconds,” I said back (typical influencer response). So I come in the kitchen and he’s cracking eggs, girding flax seeds—-“what are you doing?!” I asked. “Makin’ a smoothie.” This is where we both got frustrated. You see, I make my smoothie easy—-frozen fruit, spinach, yogurt and juice——that’s why it takes “two seconds.”

It was a funny little moment and we had a good laugh about it when we got in the car; but we found that this is a nice picture of what this new season we just walked into is like. Learning how to blend our lives together, what goes, what’s the norms etc. All the good stuff we learned in marriage prep class and got to go “ooohhh this is what they were talking about!” Haha

A friend of ours thought “How To Make A Smoothie” would make a good book for newly weds…to talk about our experiences of what it was like trying to “blend our lives together.” For now it’s just a blog post, but who knows….

Just me and you daddy…

I find it so hard to start a blog post, entering into what’s on my heart. I blank. Looking back I always seem to begin with “its been a long week, so much has happened,” because so much has; but then I get overwhelmed because I want to write about it all! So much revelation! And God is just moving daily on my heart–I’m so thankful!
So I’m done with trying to write about everything and just share what I feel the Lord wants me to share that would encourage someone who is reading :) Yay. No pressure..
I’ve been journaling a lot lately, which isn’t new; I fill up journals almost every other month. But I used to journal with God, kind of writing out my prayers to him, in that sharing my day and documenting life around me. Somewhere within the last month though, my journaling has turned into a bit of a one-way conversation. I’d say what I needed to pray or share with God and then I’d be done. I wouldn’t wait for his response to my rambling. It’s funny how being in a school and listening to teaching that feels “basic” reminds you of how far you strayed from the basics.
From the teaching of Mark Verkler, Alyn taught us how to hear God’s voice. Which seems simple enough, right? I feel like I hear God’s voice throughout my day and when I spend time with him, but its amazing how much more he has to say if we just listen. We went over four keys (based from Habakkuk 2v:1-2) —we even had hand motions to them! Ha.
1. Quiet yourself in the Lords presence. Learn how to be still and rest.
2. Look for vision as you pray & focus your eyes on Jesus. Habakkuk said, “I will keep watch to see,” and God said, “Record the vision.” Habakkuk was actually looking for vision as he prayed. He opened the eyes of his heart, and looked into the spirit world to see what God wanted to show him.
3. Tune to spontaneity. Often God’s voice is like a spontaneous flow of thoughts.
4. Write it down. Write down the spontaneous thoughts and visions that the Lord gives to you.
So this is what I’ve been doing. I’ve been journaling with God again, listening for what he has to say to me. Alyn says “I hear God as often as I choose to listen.” Which is really profound. It is rather amazing how much Papa wants to say to us when we quiet ourselves down enough to listen. Pages and pages, I’ve been writing. A lot of it is just Papa telling me how much he loves and adores me. It’s rather refreshing and encouraging.


Having being reminded to journal with God instead of to him was very helpful with the topic this week on the Father Heart. As always, every time, God has something new to show me, another layer to go deeper into understanding his big papa bear heart. He desires to simply hold us, hug us, He can’t wait to spend time with us, and lavish good things over us; blessings upon blessings. This is what I’ve been feeling him speaking over me…

“Yes, come for rest. But stay for rest, too. Stop all feverish haste and be calm and untroubled. Come unto Me, not only for petitions to be granted but for nearness to Me. Be sure of My Help, be conscious of My Presence, and wait until My Rest fills your soul. Rest knows no fear. Rest knows no want. Rest is strong, sure. The rest of soft glades and peacefully flowing rivers, of strong, immovable hills. Rest, and all you need to gain this rest is to come to Me. So come.” –God Calling, Sep 23

I’ve felt him asking me to give up to-do lists and planning for a short time or just coming to him first and not adding him to a checklist of things to do. In that I have a tendency to start to control my life instead of resting and trusting him. It’s been a great realization and was even confirmed by Alyn’s message at Emanate on Monday. This is what the Lord has been saying to him…

“So much of what you want to achieve I will just give you if you will trade doing for resting. If you will sow me your busyness, you will reap my fruitfulness.”
Yes. And Amen.

I encourage you, rest, spend some time with Papa, sit in his lap and be loved. It’s well worth your time.

Faithful, Extravagant, Papa.

These past 2 weeks the Lord has been teaching me about his faithfulness and provision (not just money, and man is he so good!

It all started when Tyler and I were driving in Brentwood near some extremely large houses. I started ranting about the size of these houses, and how absurd they were, how much money they probably cost etc etc. Basically judging the people inside of them based upon the outside of their house. Tyler cut in and basically suggested that maybe I’m not able to receive the wealth that God has for me because I’m judging those around me that carry wealth. I sunk down into my seat real quick.

The following Monday we were at Emanate when Ryan & Katie Wegenast shared an incredible testimony. In short, they wanted to learn about favor and what it looked like to follow and walk in the Lords favor. They gave what they didn’t have and received what they couldn’t afford. At first they didn’t feel like they were seeing any return on their giving or walking in the favor they were desperate to know about. After a hard week their landlord calls to ask them to move out of their house. So Ryan posts a tweet just to see if anyone had a place they could stay.

They get a tweet back from a couple that attend Grace Center saying they have a house they could stay in for free. After Ryan explains how he expected for the house to be a fixer-upper they show a photo….and the house is huge. It’s remarkably similar to the houses I was unwisely judging just a few days prior.

I couldn’t help but cry and just laugh at the goodness of our God. It didn’t stop there. A few more times that week God used little things here and there to simply teach me about his goodness.

On top of God showing me the extravagant things he loves to give to his children. I was overwhelmed with joy just thinking about all my close brothers and sisters who are being given their hearts desires! From moving to Iceland to attending a sailing dts to being accepted into the school of supernatural life! Oh it’s so wonderful!

I don’t have much else to share and I feel like this blog has not stuck to one train-of-thought but I just want to remind you to think about all the things for which you are thankful. Even the small things like ice cream or sunshine. Write ’em down and praise Jesus for them. It’s been said a few times this week: if you’re busy being thankful it will download supernatural joy into your hearts and you wont have time to complain about what isn’t happening. Rejoice in what is!

Life is wonderful.

Sweet Home Franklin, TN.

I started crying a bit as my plane was landing in Nashville. Excited, nervous, happy, exhausted, joyful & nostalgic were a few of the emotions I was feeling–or those that I could decipher. Mom picked me up with 3 surprise guests with her: Faith, Shannon & Jason. Shannon has grown so much, and doesn’t remember me :( but it was so good to see their faces. Faith even brought me beautiful roses!

Jason & Shannon @ The Airport

Then it was off to a surprise brunch with Mark W., Rafi, and Scotty (Who I hadn’t seen since he left for Indonesia April ’09!) at the Pfunky Griddle—the cutest little restaurant off Thompson Ln. in Nashville. There you order the type of batter and toppings you would like on your pancakes, then they bring it out and you cook the pancakes right on the griddle at your table!–How fun!

Today I attended Grace Center where Heidi Baker was guest speaking, and it was beautiful, really. Worship alone was so life-giving. I am so thankful to be able to come home and go to a service where Chris McClarney & Michaela McLaird are leading worship. God was just pouring into me like I’ve been crying out for since I landed in the states. Heidi spoke the Lords heart for most of the service and everything was spot on—for this city, the Bride, and personally. I could have sat there and soaked all day. Then a nice Tennessee-backroad drive to Grace Chapel–beautiful. It’s been wonderful to see familiar faces and hearts these past two days. 

Rich and Full.

“I don’t feel like a human,” I told Tyler last Monday  as we were walking in the compound here in Kapenguria. It seems like a strange statement, but it was the only way I could think to express how I felt inside. The night before our team had a memorial service for what happened to Laura & Ebel—maybe that’s what sparked this weird feeling of non-humanness. Later that night I went into the tiny kitchen we get to use here. Ari and Ty were cooking, listening to lovely folky music. As I stood there watching them cook & laughing with them over something seemingly insignificant, I’m sure…I realized what I had been feeling all day: nostalgia. I felt nostalgic over nothing specific. I imagined that this night, cooking, listening to good music, the cool African night and having the privilege to eat dinner again with my “forever family”—-this was something, one day I was going to feel nostalgic over.  After dinner we all stood around the kitchen and porch area while the dishes were being done, listening to music and simply enjoying each others company. I had the overwhelming urge to twirl like a little girl in a pretty dress. It all felt like a nostalgic movie scene from a Cameron Crowe film. Like when Penny Lane & the gang sang Tiny Dancer in Almost Famous, or Orlando Bloom jumping in with one hand in the air in Elizabethtown. I almost felt as though I could cry, I wanted to stop time.  My twirling led to the boys seeing how many spins they could go with their forehead on the broomstick & then walk straight. It was absolutely hilarious. At one point Nicholaus was spinning when all of a sudden the power went out. We all screamed in laughter–especially when the lights came back on and Nick was just laying on the ground against the wall of the house. “I thought it was the end of the world,” he got out in between laughs.  To add the movie-esqueness of the night; Tyler, Nick, Michelle and I listened to The Album Leaf as we stared at the Milky Way that shined so bright in the African sky. We talked about nothing much at all, just soaked up the beauty of it all.  While we were laying there Tyler whispered “better pay attention in life, or it’ll pass you by,” after I missed a shooting star. It was a joke, but it hit a nerve. I realized in all my revelation that Lord has been downloading about His gift of FULLNESS—a fear had crept in. I’ve become fearful in every decision I think I might make–scared that I’m making the wrong one and I’m missing the fullness–which in turn paralyzes me.  The next morning Nick played the song in my previous post —“Train song” by Josh Garrels, God started working and damaging that fear:

“And I’m steppin’ out the door,
I’m doin what feels right,
followin’ my Lord through the darkest night,
And when the path gets narrow,
I follow Him…
He said “sing it on the mountain high,or in the valley low
‘He’s my God and He never let me go.”

The fear of missing out on the fullness will in turn guarantee it. I’ll come back to this in a moment….There’s only 2 short weeks left here in Kenya and as we were praying over this time here in Kapenguria we received words of fullness–that each day would be RICH and FULL of LIFE and that’s exactly my heart’s cry. On this past Sunday we had the privilege to attend the opening of church in the Pokot Tribe area, about an hour away from where we are staying. Please read up on the Pokot Tribe if you are curious…but some of the basic culture…The Pokot are polygamous normally having four to five wives.

Although it is against the law (which isn’t enforced properly) they still practice female circumcision (FGM). Boys are circumcised at age 15 and then there is a celebration called “sapana” for them in which they are then declared “real” men.The culture is under such strongholds of tradition and witch-craft so you can imagine the joy it was to see the freedom the Lord had brought to so many of them. It was such a joyous celebration that I am not sure how to put into words. To be part of a church being planted in an unreached people-group area was so surreal. The service was packed full of all kinds of dancing and fellowship–my heart was just “boiling” as Ari would say to express the feeling of peace and “this is right” you get when you know there’s no where else in the world that you should be except right there in that moment.

“This day couldn’t get much better, ” I said. Boy did I not even know what was coming….  On the jam-packed jeep ride home I had an “If This Were A Dream, What Would It Mean?” moment. All four of us girls were sitting on the middle bench, while the two Icelanders, were sitting up front and the boys were in the back packed with way to many Kenyans than should ever fit in a car. Ariel and I were listening to Jonsi in one ear while the sound of the Kenyan girls singing streamed in the other. It was as if Iceland was in one ear, and Kenya in the other. To top it off it started raining, really raining. Which is quite a big deal because they’ve been in a drought here. I smiled and thought about the day getting better and better.

When we arrived back at the compound Fanney had been busy making us french-press coffee and delicious coffee desert! Wow!

We spent some incredible time at their house and then headed back to ours for some rest. All four of us girls were just sitting in the living room enjoying each others company; it was only when Nick called us to dinner that I realized we hadn’t seen the boys all afternoon.  As we walked up to the table we realized that there were only four place-settings. There was a bright-burning candle and flowers all over the table. We sat down only soon to be crowned with princess crowns and African celebration necklaces. The boys proceeded to serve us salad and delicious pasta Milano, we just sat in awe. With every song that came on the playlist we said “awww..” The reality that this time, this season would soon be over hit us all this night. I was holding back my tears but then lost it when the boys surrounded us individually to pray and speak life into us! It was such a sacred time and the spirit was heavily there with us.

We were then guided into the living room for warmth and served chocolate cake and coffee! Oh it was so beautiful. The night came to a close with a movie and letters on our pillows :) A night (and day!) I’ll never forget.

So, going back to my fear of missing out on fullness…as soon as I laid it down to the Lord and let him take my cares, worries and fears…I’ve been able to enjoy this fullness that he’s been pouring into each day!

We head to Mombasa in a week…we’ll get to see the Indian Ocean!! I love my life.