My God-Sized Dream: A Letter to My Sister

Encouraging words from others help recharge us too. So take this “do what you can” step for your God-sized dream: Write a letter of encouragement to another dreamer in your life.

Honestly, when I saw this week’s challenge, I hit a wall. In so many ways, there were a dozen people I wanted to write to; and in some ways, I felt as if the words were hiding…they just wouldn’t come. But the more I thought about it, the more I was reminded of this woman…my friend and practically-sister.

She may be a dreamer in a different way, but she inspires me every single day. I know she’ll inspire you, too.


Dear Missy,

We are sisters, you and me. You’ve known me every single day of my life…you know it all…and, still, you choose to be my friend.

Do you remember those days? The ones when we chased each other between trees, sometimes climbed them, played Barbies, sang sometimes-off-key-and-always-loudly around the piano, put on plays…and between those things, told each other our dreams?

Always, always…your dreams were this: grow up, get married, have a family.

Absolutely beautiful dreams.

And those dreams? They became reality.

I missed your wedding…you walked down the aisle while I was traipsing through Amazon jungles. But I thought of you.

And I smiled.

A year and a half later, I sat on your couch and held J, just days old. Though she didn’t join your family in the way you may have expected, she was yours from the beginning, beautiful, and belonging in every way.

I smiled again.

And then I got married, and the day before the wedding you told me about L, growing in your tummy. (Do you remember that I jumped and squealed?)

Four more have followed since then…and now there are six amazing blessings who surround you with love.

I smile even bigger.

I didn’t smile the day you told me. I cried buckets for you as you watched the other half of your dream walk away from it all…leaving hurt and confusion and a mess of wondering. But instead of watching you fall apart, I watched you, my brave and beautiful friend, pick up and go on, your faith strengthening with each step.

That made me smile.

Dear friend, the one who has more secrets on me than anyone, the one who knows of deep struggles, the one who has always been there even if the miles keep us apart…you have been a blessing and an inspiration to watch.

You have lived your dream…and lived it with a full embrace, even if it changed along the way.

You inspire me, your life speaks of Grace, you shine Him completely.

And that makes me smile.

Keep shining. Keep loving. Keep dreaming.

I love you, my sweet heart-sister.

In memory of Barbie bathtub fails, hidden tape recorders, and leading each other around blindfolded…




Happy Tuesday, friends! As always, my dreaming sisters and I are linking up at the lovely Holley Gerth’s place…we hope you’ll join us and be encouraged by the words of some incredible, dream-chasing, women.

God-Sized Dreams


(in)RL…Beyond Computer Screens

I’m a friend-girl.

I. Love. My. Friends.

And with this explosive, ENFP personality…well, if I meet you and we strike up a conversation and even heart spill just a little, you are my friend. For life, if you would like. :)

The hard thing about what I just wrote? Is that 99…probably .9…% of the world doesn’t work that way.

Talk about a tough reality check.

And with the different places that life has taken us, it’s no surprise that I have often felt as if my heart was torn to shreds with each goodbye I was forced to say.

And so when we moved to the land of I-don’t-know-a-soul-here (aka: C’ville ;)) in ’10, I was starving for friends. God was so Good (still is!) and He gave…I am so blessed to walk this journey of life with some amazing sisters. I hold them in my heart forever.

And in 2011, I decided to join the blogging world. I did it more as a way to process the b-gillion life changes we had going on at the time, but it turned into so much more.

Early on in my bloggy-journey, I came across (in)courage.

It was exactly what I needed…a place where women come together online to connect and grow and sometimes-laugh-or-cry.

And last year, the incredible Lisa-Jo and her awesome team of women launched the first (in)RL Conference…taking an incredible online community and making it an (in)Real Life one. Women all over the world met up, shared stories, laughed, cried, drank coffee…


In real life, instead of through computer screens.

And so when this year rolled around, I knew I wanted to be part of it again and even (gasp!) signed up to host it.

Because even though I cherish my amazing online friends, I know the value of having those friends in real life, too.

Two days ago, four of us got together in my small living/dining room.

We drank coffee, chatted, made some incredible, small-world connections, laughed…

Took the time to enjoy the kind of friendship that sits on a couch and shares stories from feet away instead of time zones.

It was an amazing morning-turned-afternoon…and four women who came together as strangers…left as friends. (Ok, ok…I knew one of them already. ;))

And as I’ve reflected on (in)RL and the way God is using it, literally, all over the world…it’s a reminder to me that we all need friends.

We all need community.

And we need to have it (in)RealLife.

Preferably with coffee, chatter, and lots of laughter. :)


And mega-props to my awesome friend, L…who accomplished quite the feat in actually getting this picture. Really. :)


Five-Minute Friday: Friend

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Friend

Can I just say that at 11 p.m., even after a long day, seeing today’s topic brought a smile to my face?

You see, I’m not a girl whose roots are planted deeply.


But I hope that the place they are now is where they will stay forever…I hope that with everything in me.

I’ve moved a lot…made friendships, lost some and held on to many.

It always amazes me that He gives…always, wherever I am…the people I need.

The friends I need.

The kind who will cheer loudly for me on the amazing days, hold my hand while my emotions flow rivers on the not-so-amazing ones, and even get the crazies on with me when there is a need to just jump up and down, shrieking a little on the silly days.

These friends…they make up my community.

They are the core, the heart of it.

They each bring something different and they each make me a better person.

I’d do anything for them.

I am blessed to call my friends…just that. Friends.

Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’

‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Five Minute Friday


My God-Sized Dream: The Play(ing)

Not gonna lie. (And if you’ve been reading this space lately, this doesn’t come as a shock.)

It’s been a tough few weeks. Even months.

So when I saw Holley’s challenge for her God-Sized dreamers this week, I knew it was from God.

For next week: take this “do what you can” step for your God-sized dream…

Take some time to play.

Do something creative. Snap a picture. Build a Pinterest board. Make a craft. Read a book. Bake a treat. Wrestle with your kids. Whatever energizes you. It can be related to your God-sized Dream in some way or totally different. Sometimes along the way to our dreams we just need a little time to play. It helps us keep going and reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

I’m a creator.

I’m constantly doing something hands-on. In the last year I’ve painted several canvasses, made jewelry, taught myself to crochet some (in my opinion) adorable hats, figured out how to make glass pendants (thanks, Pinterest!) and baked (and eaten) waaaaay too many desserts.

While it’s fun to create, creating doesn’t exactly energize me. It fills time between chapters and blog posts and general moments, but I knew that to actually energize myself, I needed to play.

Or, actually go to A. Play. (heehee ;))

One of the local high schools was putting on the musical, Grease, this weekend, and I really wanted to go. But…confession: I didn’t want to go alone. I’m an extrovert, most of the time teetering toward the extreme end of it. Being alone doesn’t do a whole lot for me unless I’m really focused on accomplishing something.

So I put that thought to the side and, instead, decided to go with the being alone thing anyway and planned to take Sunday afternoon and grab a coffee, bum around a few stores, pick up some things for the (in)RL conference I’m hosting on Saturday, (local friends, it’s not too late to join!) and probably talk to everyone I see. :)

Kind of spur-of-the-moment, I shot a text to a friend, asking her if she’d like to come along.

She replied and said she already had plans to go to Grease, but would I like to join her and her daughter?

God thing. Completely.

So I did.

And for two plus hours, I got to laugh and sing along (in my head ;)) to some fun music. (Props to the cast, crew, and pit band from D-C. They were really incredible. :))

And after the musical, well…my friend still had some time. So we grabbed a Starbucks, wandered Target, and ate Culver’s.

It was an afternoon my soul needed so badly. I even came home with a smile on my face.

I don’t think focused is a word that too many people would use to describe me. I’m often easily distracted and a bit flighty…but I do have a side of me that gets far too serious about certain things and forgets to have fun, especially when there’s something I’m working for.

It was good for me to play. Or go to one, at least. :)

Happy Tuesday, my sweet friends! We’re linking up at Holley’s place, like we do each week. We’d love for you to join us!

God-Sized Dreams


On Memories and Sarongs…

A few weeks ago, I broke my favorite coffee mug. It was a travel mug I purchased at the Starbucks at BIP in Bandung, my last night in Indonesia. (I looked for a picture and couldn’t find one online…just think cute, batik, brown and blue. :))

I was crushed, no pun intended ;), to the point of tears. I had already been in I-miss-Indonesia-mode like crazy…and it just felt like a crushing blow.

Yes, it was just a coffee mug, but that mug was special.

But breaking it did make me start to think…about the things I hold dear, about the things that have a place in my heart and life, about the things that take priority where they shouldn’t.

And so, yesterday, I did something I’ve been putting off for three-days-shy-of-three-years.

See, in three days I will have been “home” from Indonesia for three years. (It’s strange to see that typed out. Time has truly flown.)

And when I packed my bags and boxed up what I wanted us to ship back to the States, a lot of those things included were little, at-the-time-symbolic-but-generally-just-taking-up-space, trinkets. And for three years, I’ve kept them stored in a few random bags, which were stuffed, mostly-unopened, in one of our closets.

I’ve known for awhile that this kind of clutter needed to go, but it’s hard.

So many of those little things were gifts from students and friends, little oleh-oleh (souvenirs) purchased during trips. They all hold a memory.

And it’s hard to throw away memories.

But, let’s be honest here…a person only needs so many sarongs. :) (Not kidding when I tell you that I came back with more than a dozen. Ahem…can I blame it on my love for going to the beach?) 😉

So I started…smaller. I went through three bags of jewelry and other random “fun”…and I threw out 90% of it. Straight into the garbage can. I pulled out a few things to save for Maelie when she’s older and even found two or three things I’d been wanting but had no clue where they were. 😉

And then I moved on to the sarongs, which were a bit more difficult to part with. Like I said before, there are so many memories tied to them (again, no pun intended…man, I’m on a roll today! ;)) and it’s hard to just toss them aside. I let myself keep three…my two favorites and, again, one for Maelie.

But I honestly felt guilty about throwing those away…and so I didn’t.

Here they are. :)


And here’s the deal. (If you’d like. :)) If you see one you like in the picture, leave me a comment to claim it. (I’ll get your address through email.) I’ll toss it in an envelope and send it your way in the next week or two…and in that way I can get rid of some of the clutter and pass on a little Indo-love at the same time. (I will tell you that I’ve used a few of them once or twice…and I promise to wash them all before I send them out. :))

But if you want a purchased-somewhere-in-Indonesia (most likely, at a beach) sarong, here’s your chance. And it would make me happy to pass them on to friends instead of just tossing them or donating them. :)

The longer we’ve been back in the States, the more I’ve realized that my memories from Indonesia don’t lie in the souvenirs that surround me.

Not in seashell necklaces, not in bright-flower sarongs, not even in the world’s cutest batik coffee mug.

The memories…and, more importantly, the people…are in our hearts. And that’s the way it should be.

:) Blessings, friends.


Five-Minute Friday: Jump

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Jump

I watch her jump Every. Single. Day.

It’s one of her favorite things.

Whether she’s jumping from a chair, jumping on the bed (which she’s technically forbidden to do but still does…) or simply jumping to the next place she’s planning to go, the girl lives to jump.

And there are times I have to ask her, in all of her two year-old non-understanding, to stop, simply for my sanity.

But the truth is, I think it’s adorable…the way she finds so much pleasure in the simple. The way jumping down each back step brings a smile to her face…and, well, it makes me smile, too. Really big.

I get so caught up in the busy of life…things that occupy way too much time, and I forget that sometimes, joy can be found in the simplest of things.

A few days ago we were taking a little walk down the sidewalk in our neighborhood.

She looked at me. Mommy, jump?

I obliged.

We jumped down the sidewalk.

And it was the best part of my day.

You know, I might just spend tomorrow holding her hand…and we’ll jump through our day together.

Five Minute Friday


My God-Sized Dream: For Good

Sometimes we feel alone not because we need to be with others but because God wants to be with us. Our lives are busy–especially when we’re pursuing a dream–and God may want to pull us aside for a bit.

{You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, Chapter Six}.

The most important part of any God-sized dream is the Giver of it. Set aside a particular time this week to be with Him–to pray, journal, take a walk or simply sit quietly and listen. 

I don’t do alone well.

Nor, still.

That is not something I’m proud of; it’s simply a fact.

I feel most energized, physically, when I’m out running around, doing things, surrounded by people.

But this season? Has been very different.

Lonely would be the word I would use to describe it.

Not so much the kind where I am never around people; more, the kind where I’m struggling with things I’m not able to process with those around me…

…thoughts of feeling like my broken past defines my future. ..

…and that it means I can’t be somebody because of where I came from.

Time alone with Him was long overdue.

So, in some ways, taking a set time to be with God was a good assignment for me this week; in other ways, I was dreading it.

And my time with Him didn’t come in a way I would have planned it, but instead in the form of an exhausted, emotional, late-Sunday-night drive. The kind where, the tears were so thick and blinding, I probably shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. 

But I needed to be with Him…in a place where I was sure it was just Him and me.

And maybe it’s where I found honesty and where He spoke…or, maybe, I listened.

I cried out to Him, literally, and somewhere near the McDonald’s on 25, He answered with this.

I’m Tired I’m worn…my heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

I think that maybe…


On this journey to a dream, He is teaching me what it is I truly long for.

Let me see redemption win, let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn,
Cause I’m worn

True, I dream of writing a book. The initial words are on the paper. I’m (slowly) tweaking, starting to research book proposals…moving forward. I’m excited about it. 

But I think I dream of more…the kind that makes a difference, does something positive.

The kind of more that reflects His love, demonstrates His grace, screams of His redemption.

I want to know that He can take someone who is so broken and still use her for His good.

That’s what I dream of.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

It’s Tuesday, and my dreaming sisters and I are linking up at our friend, Holley’s place. We’d love for you to join us!

God-Sized Dreams


A Reminder of His Protection

I don’t love to fly.

Which could actually be shocking to many of you, considering that my life, in general, has deemed traveling by plane very necessary.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that takeoffs and landings, especially, scare the b-geebies out of me. This, coming from a girl, who has endured at least two hundred of them. Yep, I still sweat and grip the armrests so tightly that my knuckles turn white.

So, you can imagine the kind of conversation that ensued when, Saturday morning I trudged out of bed (yes, I usually trudge for the first few minutes…not exactly a morning person), and his first words to me…

This is crazy…a plane coming from Bandung overshot the runway in Bali and landed in the ocean. 

So, like any curious, former-Bandung-Indo-resident, Bali-lovin’, girl would do, I immediately headed to the computer to watch a clip with him.

It kind of shook me up to see it.

We’ve flown all over Indonesia. Once, even with that very airline. We’re also (still) aware of the fact that several of the airlines there don’t meet safety requirements, and runways in several major Indo airports teeter toward the too-short length. There is one, in fact, that has been “officially” deemed too short, but it’s one we never actually landed on.

Seeing the footage sent chills up and down my spine as I recounted the many times we’ve landed on that very runway. (Prayers being uttered during every landing by yours truly. ;))

Once we watched the footage together (and laughed at how one of the announcers pronounced Bandung (friends, its Bon-doong, not Ban-dung ;)) we had to process it out, you know.

Or, at least one of us did. :)

Indonesia and Bali are both on our list for next year. We’ve been wanting to take Maelie there before she gets too much older…plus, if we’re going that far, we have to do Bali so this girl can hit a surfboard for a few hours. 😉 Well, and so we can introduce our girl to this little slice of paradise that is so special to us.

But, true to my personality type, I immediately freaked out. I guess there’s no way Maelie will see Bali now!


It’s moments like that when I’m glad to be married to a rock-solid, albeit-slightly-a-little-too-steady, ISTJ like Tobin. Because his response?

Why not?

He gets it, and it was a short, not too earth-shattering (thought maybe plane-splitting ;)), reminder that my Father has it all figured out. The fact is that if our time to go…and if God chooses a plane crash for that…then there’s not a lot I can do to stop it.

I just have to trust that He’s got it all worked out for good…and I know He does.

I’m posting this video because, praise God, other than some minor injuries, everyone made it off the plane safely, which seems like a miracle when you see the plane. (It is also, in fact, shocking how close to shore that plane is.) We used to hang out at Kuta Beach and watch the planes come and go from just a mile or two away…crazy to think that a plane went down just that distance from where I surfed and boogie boarded. Wild.

Thanking my Father today for His protection of these precious people.

(P.S. My apologies for any potential ads that may precede this video…I tried to find the least-offensive one, but who knows what’s gonna show up. ;))


Five-Minute Friday: Here

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Here

I’m sitting here on the couch. Deep, I know. 😉

It’s that moment of the day that I’ve been looking forward to…a time when I can just hash it all out without (well, almost always without) using the delete key or proofreading or questioning.

Just a time to process five minutes of here and what’s going on in life now.

Honestly, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past few months and the ways that time has felt so up and down, so full of circle-spinning.

So many questions…and, just, wondering.

And the thing He continues to remind me of is the present…of the fact that the blessings, the joys, the sorrows, the ups and downs, the millions of things that make up the past…they all add up to this. The here.

And, I love it.

Despite the fact that in the last month I’ve wept over past loss.

Or the fact that I struggled through days of parenting and prayed with everything in me that I wasn’t screwing it all up.

Or even that, in the pursuit of a dream, there are days when it feels so close, and other days when I feel like I’ve been body slammed fifty miles backwards.

And He reminds me…Here.



Just as it is, just as it comes.

Take what you’ve learned…and live it, along with the blessings all around.

That is here.

And I am blessed.

Five Minute Friday


My God-Sized Dream: Dear Chihuahua,

Dear Chihuahua of Fear,

I have some things I’d like to say to you.

You see, I know what it’s like to be chased by you, oh tiny, insignificant, annoying one.

Most mornings I wake up ready to go. I tie the laces of my running shoes, stretch, crank up my playlist, and get moving.

On my early morning run, I don’t usually notice if you’re there.

It could be that my playlist of praise is vastly overpowering your presence. Or, it could be that I’m simply too tired to notice that you might be trying to run me down.

But as I continue to run throughout my day, that’s when I notice you.

You nip at my heels when I continue dreaming dreams.

You chase me with your little two-inch-long legs if you think I’m moving closer to those dreams.

You bark with a sound that resembles a child’s squeaky toy, far more than a canine, at the very moments I’m finding my voice.

On the occasion that you sink your teeth in…oh, I’m sure you’re pretty proud.

But the thing is, Chihuahua, you’re one swift kick, I can send you to the curb.*

I can outrun you…I’m pretty sure you can’t pull an 8:15 mile with those tiny little legs.

And when you bark? Well, I just turn up the praise a little louder and let my Father speak over the fear.

You may bite, sometimes. You may draw a little blood, make me cry…you may even leave a mark.

But, guess what?

Those emphasis-on-the-word-little marks are going to be nothing more than tiny battle wounds. Scars to remind me of overcoming and victory and the fact that

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

It’s Tuesday, friends! Come on over to Holley’s place to check out how some incredible, God-Sized dreaming sisters are staring down the Chihuahuas of Fear in their own lives.

God-Sized Dreams

*My apologies to all chihuahua lovers; no chihuahuas were harmed in the writing of this post. 😉