To my Daughter

You started your first day of pre-school last week, and I had a vision of you turning into a young woman. An overly dramatic reaction, I’m sure, but it felt like your first step away into becoming your own person. It has been such a delight to watch you growing up, to see your imagination explode and watch your personality come to life. It makes my heart swell with happiness to see the little person you are becoming.

Every day, I’m amazed by the things you say. I’m trying to keep a journal of all your cute, clever, and funny comments, but there are just too many now! For instance, today you were walking along the edge of an open drawer on our built-in, and I asked you to be careful. You replied: “I’m walking over to the wild side, Mom!” (I hate that you call me MOM, what happened to Mama??) I hope that you always feel confident using your voice, inserting your opinions into any conversation while knowing that your contribution to this world matters deeply. You will learn that listening is usually more powerful than talking, but I hope that you are comfortable speaking up and speaking out.

I love playing make believe with you. We have been astronauts in outer space, squids in the ocean, cheetahs and dinosaurs, switched roles between mommy and daughter and daddy and baby. Our house is full of caves, oceans, mountains, offices, and dance floors. I hope that your imagination continues to thrive and isn’t destroyed by the “real world.” I hope that you continue to come up with wild scenarios for us to make-believe that have no limitations from the laws of science, nature, gender or time.

I love that you are so into monsters, skeletons, bats and ghosts. You love dinosaurs, your construction book and watching neighborhood construction projects from your stroller. You love being outside and playing in the dirt. You love my make-up, nail polish, taking care of your baby dolls, being Mommy’s helper and loving on your baby brother (you were VERY excited to help me sweep this evening). You love swinging high and fast, spinning around in circles, and flying with Daddy. I love that one day you want to wear pretty, sparkly dresses and shoes, and the next day you’re rocking a dinosaur or Cubs shirt. I hope you never lose the ability to express yourself however you choose.

Physically, I hope you can express yourself however you please – whether being gentle and calm or wild and raucous. Fashionistcally, I hope you can express yourself however you please – wearing any color, style, trend or accessory that floats your boat. Emotionally, I hope you can express yourself however you please – smiling, crying, anger, courage, gentleness, the whole gamut. Mentally, I hope you can express yourself however you please – not shying away from acting smart or nerdy, not feeling bad when you don’t know something, maintaining mental curiosity and exploring any interesting topics that you stumble across. Spiritually, I hope you can express yourself however you please – whether in your Mom and Dad’s tradition or not, whether you connect best with God/Creator/Spirit through church, through nature, through music, through art, through reading or writing.

Today you told me that you don’t like mints any more (you are usually obsessed with Altoids and I use them to bribe you frequently). You said you changed your mind. I hope you know that you can ALWAYS change your mind about any variety of topics. You can change your thoughts and opinions based on new knowledge and information learned. You can change your mind on whether you are ok with what is happening at any moment in time. You can change your plans for the future. You can change your boundaries to make yourself and your relationships healthier.

I love to squeeze you tight and force cuddles upon you (I’m trying to start practicing giving you bodily autonomy, I promise!). I love staring at your profile from an inch away, memorizing the curves of your baby nose and lips, the orbs of your big, blue eyes, and the velvety roundness of your cheeks. I hope and pray that the world doesn’t wear you down. There are a lot of terrible, horrible, ugly things out there, sweet girl. Things that your sensitive heart will see and will want to break over. Things that will make you question the goodness of humanity and the sanity of God for making any of this happen. Know this: for every horrific, evil thing you learn about, there is a counterpart. Every human is capable of good and evil. All of us will make the right/good/healthy choice at times, that lead us and others into a better, fuller life. And all of us will choose evil at times – selfishness, self-centeredness, apathy and violence. Keep seeking the good. It’s out there, all the time. And it can be equally heart-breaking with its sweetness. Do your part to bring Heaven down to earth and to make this a better place for all of us. I’m so confident that you will.

I see you; I know you; I love you.

Original Blessing by Danielle Shroyer; a book report

I’m going to try to keep this brief, because this book BLEW MY MIND and I want to quote the entire thing here. Every page (honestly) felt like a mic-drop, and I highlighted a major portion of it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who grew up religious in a Western Christian denomination with the concept of “original sin.”

Ms. Shroyer is making the argument that the entire Gospel message is not one of humanity’s depraved sin nature separating us from God, and requiring a bloody sacrifice in order to assuage God’s vicious anger against us in order to make things right. Instead, it’s the story of God who wants to be in a relationship with us so badly and is on our side so much that God became human to help us see how we can live into our true, blessed nature and live our life to the fullest, certain in the knowledge of our profound worth from God’s unconditional love.

Original sin is the concept (that only exists in the Western Church by the way, the Eastern orthodox branch never went down this path, nor is the concept seen in Judaism or Islam), that when Adam and Eve sinned, they changed human nature itself to be an inherently sinful, depraved resting state. That now all of humanity has a broken relationship with God, and are separated from God by our sin, and need Jesus’ death on the cross to restore our relationship to God. This idea did not arise until 500 yrs after Christianity was established, and isn’t mentioned in the two early creeds that most Christians still point at to clarify our beliefs (the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed).

It was interesting to go back and read the Genesis story and see what is actually said and not said (and I did read it again in my own Bible and didn’t just take her word for it). The fruit isn’t an apple. Satan is never mentioned in the story (only “the serpent”), the man and woman are never cursed (the serpent and the ground are), and never does God say that because of their sin, sin will now be passed down through birth to all generations. Immediately after doling out their consequences, God provided them with better clothing than they had made themselves, sticking to God’s end of the deal to always be on our side, even when we screw up.

In the story, when God made mankind, God called Creation “so good, so very good,” and that blessing has never been taken away. We are created, both men and women, in God’s image and with God’s blessing. God desires to be in a relationship with us, and loves us at the maximum possible level before we ever do a thing.

I think of my own children, and of the love I felt for them while they were still just little chubby blobs of soft baby flesh. Before they could voluntarily move their own limbs, let alone speak or act or “do” anything to earn my love, I was maxed out. My heart threatens to burst with love from the simple fact of their existence. THAT is God’s love for us. God loves us as-is from day one and never takes that love away.

That doesn’t mean we get a free pass to just do whatever we want. God can be disappointed in us and love us at the same time, as any parent knows. We can chose to walk far, far away from God and commit evil acts that break God’s heart. God wants us to live our best lives, again, like a good parent. The book says, goodness is our origin, but it’s also a goal. We are free to grow in love and maturity from a safe, healthy place of already being loved, and not out of a fear of hell, or striving to earn love or approval.

The concept of original sin functioned as a nice cop out, a way to blame poor choices or evil and suffering. If we are all truly depraved, well then of course I screw up sometimes. It’s harder to own our choices, and admit that, as humans, sometimes we’re good and sometimes we’re bad. Yes, we have all sinned, but because we are all imperfect humans, not because we are flawed from birth. We don’t have a sin nature, simply a human nature.

People’s greatest motivation is to be seen, known, and loved. We are motivated by connection and community, not by punishment. When we rest in God’s blessing, knowing we are loved, we become motivated to do better with our lives. We realize more the interconnectedness of humanity, because if God loves me this much just for existing, that means God loves everyone else just as much. And how I treat my neighbor becomes much more important. So I practice being kind, loving, generous, forgiving, less judgmental, less anxious. The Bible pits life vs death way more than good vs evil. Christianity is about bringing life and fuller life to the world, and to ourselves. Death goes beyond physical death – separation from God (at our own doing), broken relationships, violence, injustice etc is all death of our humanity. Life is living into our goodness, our blessed nature and calling, is being the purest, truest version of ourselves.

She talked a lot about the question she often gets – without a sin nature or being separated from God by our sin, then why do we need Jesus? I love this quote:

“God doesn’t need to humiliate us before giving us grace just to ensure the grace is effective and appreciated…If we are told we have to feel bad before we can appreciate feeling loved, it isn’t love we’ve found.” BOOM.

Jesus is so much more than a ticket out of hell. Jesus lived a whole life and did and said a lot of things besides dying on the cross. Jesus’ life and actions show us how to live (humbly, modestly, selflessly), how to interact with our fellow humans (spoiler alert: love them ALL!), how to uproot the norms and challenge the establishments (religious, political, societal), and how to usher in God’s Kingdom to this world. God’s Kingdom, which cares nothing for human power, nothing for political influence, nothing for borders and hierarchies; which cares to make every human living on this planet know that they are seen, are known, are worthy and are loved beyond belief.

“[Jesus came] not to fix our sin problem, but to fix our blessing problem, which is that we are in the terrifying and tragic habit of forgetting we have one, and that it comes from a God who will do anything and everything to be with us.”

I highly recommend this book to practicing Christians, to former Christians who have been turned off by…well, there are a lot of reasons I could list that could have soured someone to Christianity. To anyone wondering why anyone would believe in this ancient book, these old stories and fables, this poor, middle eastern, brown-skinned, homeless refugee who has nothing in common with a white American (sorry to break it to you, but we’re the Romans if you didn’t know), check this book out. It might open your eyes and melt your heart with the Goodness of God’s love.

The Hill

This summer I’ve been riding my bike to work for the most part. It’s a 3-mile trip, and it barely takes me longer to bike than it does to drive (it’s fun blowing past cars lined up at the stop signs). I rarely get the chance to work out these days with having two small kids at home, so it’s a nice opportunity for some exercise, and I get to feel like I’m being helpful for the environment. But every night before a work day, and even the morning of, I find myself starting to look for excuses. Is it supposed to rain today? Don’t I have errands to run I need the car for?

I’m looking for a way out of riding up this one hill. It is fairly steep, lasts for several blocks, and just sucks. I dread it every time, and nearly skip biking to work because of it. And yet, every morning that I make the decision to go ahead and ride, and I conquer the hill again, I feel such a sense of accomplishment! It feels great to have it behind me, and to have done something hard and succeeded. And then, of course, I get the prize of getting to fly DOWN the hill on the way home at the end of the day.

I think it is important that we do hard things in life for practice. Little, simple things like biking up a long hill when you could just drive instead. Because, at least for me, it seems like there’s a natural tendency to avoid discomfort, to look for the easy way out or the comfortable path in life. I am an Enneagram 7, so avoiding pain is pretty much my mojo. But there are important things that we need to deal with in life that are painful, difficult, or uncomfortable.

It is difficult to truly listen to someone else talk when all I want to do is break in with my own point or idea. It is difficult to be fully present in the moment with my little kids at all times. It is difficult to keep caring about social injustice when we see it ALL. THE. TIME. and it’s easier to turn a blind eye. It is difficult to consistently make the healthy choice with regards to food / drink / screen time. It’s difficult to confront that family member, friend, or coworker who says something racist, sexist, etc-ist. It’s difficult to keep taking the initiative and reaching out to friends who don’t always reciprocate. It is difficult to acknowledge that something I’ve believed all my life may be wrong, or at least missing the point. It is difficult to realize that that person I cannot stand or that group of people I find easy to write off contain some goodness and nuance.

Our character is like a muscle, and the more practice we get at doing the difficult thing, at sticking to something hard, at showing up when we want to go home and chill, the easier it does become. We create some muscle memory; we build some endurance. And then when the TRULY difficult thing comes around – caring for a sick family member, dealing with a scary diagnosis yourself, losing a job, struggling in a relationship – we’re a little bit stronger and more prepared.

Let’s conquer the hill, folks. Let’s keep doing hard things, knowing that we are better for it and, hopefully, that we are making the world better because of it.

Why my Christian faith compels me to vote Blue

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49-50

I grew up thinking that Republicans were Christians, and deserved my vote across the board. As I’ve grown and learned about life and society and politics, my view has certainly changed. I now vote for issues over party, however my votes tend to always go Democrat. Although I’m hardly a poli-sci expert, I would like to explain why, as a practicing Christian, I vote the way I do.

#1 Care for the poor and needy

The Bible is ABUNDANTLY clear on how we, as a society, are supposed to handle the poor in our midst. As there are nearly 100 verses on caring for the poor in the Bible, I’ll spare you and just list a few:

  • “Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” – James 1:27 (The Message)
  • “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17
  • “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” – Psalm 72:12-14

I could go on, but you get the point. While one could say that there are private services, and even churches, doing this work, I would argue that our society is too large and the need too great to rely on the selfless goodness of others. Using the government, which is already taking in taxes and providing far-reaching social programs, is practical.

As a Christian, I am told not to value money or store up personal wealth. The Bible is also ABUNDANTLY clear on that topic, with over 2,000 verses on money and possessions. So I am honestly OK with the thought of my money going toward keeping food on someone’s table, medical bills in check, etc etc. Democrats promote social programs and use public resources (taxes) for the greater good.

#2 Protecting the rights of all people

As a Christian, I believe that everyone is born a child of God, and that God loves that person with reckless abandon from day one, before they even open their eyes. Therefore, it makes me sad and angry to see the basic rights of children of God – when they identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer – stripped away. Democrats do a far better job at protecting our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the political sphere than the Republicans.

Romans 12:9-10 says “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” And John 13:34-35 instructs us, “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The church has grossly failed the LGBTQ community as a whole, at least from my Evangelical background, and there’s a whole entire post I could write about that. Suffice it to say, to demonstrate my love for God’s children, LGBTQ included, I vote for equal rights.

We still live in a racialized society, with racism even more public and widespread in the era of Trump. People of color are more likely to face police brutality, are more likely to be profiled, more likely to suffer at the hands of systemic racism that is currently built into the fabric of this country. Democrats are more likely to be concerned with racial equality, and have far greater minority representation within the party. I vote because Black Lives Matter.

3# Environmental Protection and Regulation

As a Christian, I believe that we are called to be good stewards of the Earth. “Steward” feels like an old-fashioned word these days, but essentially God tasked us to care for and protect his Creation.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” – Psalm 24:1

Billy Graham once said “of all people, Christians should be the most concerned for the environment.” However we see Republicans more concerned about protecting Big Industry and their bottom line than they are in looking after our planet. With the climate crisis upon us, I vote blue to protect this planet for my children.

#4 Valuing economic equality

Again, as a Christian, I have strong views on how we are to value money. The love of money is the root of all evil, according to the Bible. Not money itself, and I do believe that a person can be wealthy in a healthy, God-honoring way. But Democrats are more likely than Republicans to regulate Wall Street and to try to close the economic gap between the super wealthy and the lower class, thereby looking after the poor and the “least of these.”

#5 Pro life

  • Pro refugee lives
  • Pro immigrant lives
  • Pro black lives
  • Pro LGBTQ lives
  • Pro gender equality
  • Pro prisoner lives
  • Ending the school to prison pipeline
  • Stricter gun control measures to stop the epidemic of mass shootings
  • Anti death penalty
  • Anti abortion. However, I believe that making abortion illegal only makes it illegal, and hardly stops them from happening. I believe a better way to actually lower the amount of abortions happening is to focus on birth control, relevant sex-ed in school (states with abstinence only programs have higher teen pregnancies), and programs for low-income or single mothers.

All of this is to say why I, as a Christian, vote the way I do. I do not want to villianize Republicans or anyone who thinks differently than I do. Many of my close friends fall on the moderate-conservative end of the scale. My husband and I are friends with a woman who works in politics, sometimes at the national level, for Republicans. She is one of the most intelligent people I know, and I deeply respect her and her political views. People have different reasons for voting, or not voting, the way they do, and I don’t condemn anyone who doesn’t agree with me. I know politics are complicated, and the Democrats are hardly a shining, moral example of perfectly looking out for the downtrodden. I’m sure there are just as many corrupt Dems as there are Republicans. These are simply my main concerns, as an American Christian, and I think the Democratic platform as a whole aligns more closely with my Christian values.

God has a heart for justice, a love for ALL of God’s creation (whether they know and love God back or not), and the desire to bring us all into the best life possible. We live in a society where our vote and our actions and our words matter. While I do ultimately believe that God and goodness will preside over evil, it is still on us to actively work at bringing Heaven down to Earth.

As it says in the Psalms, “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”

If I have offended you, or you strongly disagree with me, PLEASE speak up in the comments or message me personally if we are friends IRL. I don’t hold onto any of my opinions with an iron fist and I’m always up for (healthy) debate. I think we’re all trying to figure out this beautiful, joyful, messy life together and we’re doing our best, even when we reach different conclusions.

Smiling through Tears

This year has been a year of tragic surprises. I have witnessed close friends get divorced, had dear friends put their child into surgeon’s hands, had friends suffer both infertility and pregnancy complications, watched the mother of a dear friend suffer a life-altering stroke, have faced a rare and scary diagnosis that affects several dear family members.

On a larger scale, I’ve been horribly depressed watching the current events in this country. I get a physically ill feeling anytime I listen to Trump open his mouth. Seeing racism wide out in the open again, watching our country separate children from families like they are pawns in a game of political chess, knowing those families and children are suffering life-altering trauma as a result.

It can be hard to turn around and giggle with my kids. To post a silly picture of my daughter being cute on Instagram. I feel insensitive. How dare I act happy when there are people, close to me and world-wide, suffering on such large scales? How am I supposed to go on living my daily (fairly happy and easy) life when I’m so acutely aware of the deep pain that people I love are living in?

I am often reminded of a trip I took while at Marquette to Belize. It was run by our University Ministries group. Those Jesuits got it right. We showed up to observe and learn. We were not “white saviors” coming to paint a church building that didn’t need painting. We met with many local, grassroots social justice warriers who were already in the middle of doing awesome things in Belize. We traveled around with an itinerant priest as he visited remote churches in little villages almost to the Guatemalan border. We did do some physical work on building a new church building for one of those remote villages, working for and with a local, Belizean contractor. So we learned about and saw the extreme poverty up close. We met people fighting to improve their lives and the lives around them. We got to go cliff jumping and explored Mayan ruins as well. The whole trip was just amazing.

Afterwards, we had time to decompress with Ann Mulgrew, a UMin Staff member who had been on this trip many times. A lot of us were struggling with how to integrate our new awareness of poverty, suffering, and generally of the fact of people living such different lives elsewhere than our secluded, American upbringings back home with us. One of the other members of the trip wondered out loud if he should give up all his belongings when we got back home, as we saw entire families living in simple structures with very little in the way of belongings. Ann wisely asked, “Do you think they (the actual people you’ve met on this trip) would want you to give up all your things? Would that make their lives better?”

That question has stuck with me for over a decade now. We can’t take away the suffering of others. The world is chock full of it. People, ourselves include, have suffered, are suffering and will continue to suffer. That is simply a fact of life. Instead of covering our heads with ash and dirt, of throwing away all our possessions to live on the floor, of avoiding posting happy, smiley pictures to social media, it would be more honoring to this crazy, messy life we live to choose joy. To embrace the silly giggles with our kids, even while we are intensely aware of children being kept in cages and sleeping on cement floors. To go outside and play in the streets, even when we’re painfully aware of the fact that Black men and children continue to get gunned down in the streets at the hands of our own police forces.

If we let all the bad news wear us down, then evil wins. I think there is a balance to find of staying sensitive, aware, empathetic and compassionate. Personally, I try to keep up with current events, constantly signing petitions and writing letters to my elected officials, and give money to organizations that try to help those in need. We don’t ignore the suffering of others, gloss over it or bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. But we don’t let it put out our spark either.

Choosing joy can be hard. But I truly believe that our lives are given meaning by the amount of love and joy we pull out of them. It is important to celebrate life, to flirt with our spouses and giggle with our friends, to be silly and to travel and to stay up too late solving the world’s problems over a bottle of wine. It is deeply important to enjoy one another’s company, maybe one of the most important things we can really do in this life. To see each other, to acknowledge each other’s beauty and flaws, and to celebrate the light and life we see in those around us. We can’t take the suffering away, but we can hold each others hands and walk through it together.

Diving in Deep

Love Others

— Jesus.

This past Sunday, as we celebrated music and the life and unity and emotion it brings to our lives, I had a thought.

A lot of the songs we sing in church talk about God’s love for us. These lyrics to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury are so beautiful:

” Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me “

These are beautiful, true, and wonderful words. But the whole time we were singing, I was crying. I KNOW God loves me this much; I know it deep in my bones. I know God would do anything for me to live the life God has envisioned for me, to live in a relationship with God, my Creator. I was crying because I know that God also loves the children currently caged up at the border this much. God loves the Hispanic people were shot in Walmart this past weekend for the offense of being brown this much. I know that God loves the approx 128 Black, Transgender women that have been murdered in the US since 2013 this much. And, most difficult of all, I know God also somehow loves the ones holding the guns just as much.

I think God’s biggest miracle is God’s ability to keep loving humanity, even when we break God’s heart every day. I believe that God grieves with us when these things happen. God has a much better, more expansive, more inclusive, more joyful and loving vision for humanity than the life we are currently living.

It’s good for us to know, individually, that God loves us. That’s necessary and important, and a lot of people have a hard time truly believing that for a variety of ugly reasons. It is true though: God, the Creator of the Universe, loves YOU. It is also true that God, the Creator of the Universe, loves everyone you can’t stand.

If we can start looking at EVERYONE through God’s eyes, and seeing each person as a beloved (however lost and hurting) child of God, then maybe, just maybe, we can all be a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more forgiving and slow to anger, a little more loving. We don’t have to like people to love them. Or agree with them. Or
support their lifestyle. However, it is our sacred duty and calling, if you identify as Christian, to love. It is the #1 commandment, the entire Bible as summed up by Jesus:

“‘So love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

There is enough love to go around. It is an unlimited resource. And the more we practice and extend love, the more it actually grows and comes back to us exponentially. Christians, let us rest deeply in the knowledge of our worth and value in Christ, that just as we are, we are DEEPLY and PROFOUNDLY seen and known and loved. And let us then MOVE ON and spread that love around extravagantly and joyous and unconditionally.

Hi, I’m Sarah.

Welcome to my blog!

A quick intro: I am a midwestern expat, living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and two young kids. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs with loving parents and a younger brother. I attended a Christian K-8 private school, and then the local public high school. I was an active member of my church’s youth group, and was involved in lots of different sports. My favorite memories of my childhood are the many camping trips we took in our pop-up, and of youth group retreats and mass sleepovers, and of the general mischief I would get into with my friends. Nothing serious, but street signs were stolen 😉

I moved on to attend Marquette University for my undergrad and graduate school years in their Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. I LOVED my time at Marquette. The Jesuits got under my skin with their strongly held values of social justice and volunteerism. I learned about the world at large and my small role in it as a privileged American. I got to spend a semester abroad at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. That time exploded my world view even more, as I was exposed to friends from nearly every continent and of a wide diversity of religious and social backgrounds.

After graduating with my DPT, I moved West with two friends of mine for the sheer adventure of it. We practically threw a dart at the map and chose Spokane, WA. It’s been 9 years and I never plan to leave! I met my husband, Dan, a few months after moving here. We got married in 2012 and have been faithful attendees of New Community church. We enjoy annual camping trips to Priest Lake, and we try to get out and adventure in the PNW playground as much as possible. Our pace has recently slowed as we are in the rhythm of life with a 2 1/2 yr old and 9-month baby.

There have been a lot of things going on lately, personally and in the culture at large. It can be overwhelming to think about everything at once, so I wanted to get words on paper as a way to help process life. I usually like to journal, but honestly I haven’t been great about making time for that lately. I think having a blog, even if no one ever reads it, will be a way to hold myself accountable to actually make the time to think things through.

There is power in our stories. It may seem like our voices don’t matter, but stories do have a way of moving us and inspiring us and challenging us to grow. Perhaps my stories will inspire even one person to seek out love and joy and live a life closer to the dream that God has for us.

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