• Uncategorized

    Patience is a virtue- and a virtue can’t hurt you

    Years ago I heard a preacher say these words: “Patience is a virtue, and a virtue can’t hurt you.” That little rhyming phrase has stuck with me for at least a decade, especially when I’m prone to be impatient about something. And there has been a lot to be impatient about in the last decade of my life: waiting to hear if an offer on a house went through, being pregnant and waiting for each of my two sons to arrive, waiting to hear if I got into graduate school, waiting for my husband, Dave, to fix the hole in the wall that he accidentally made while working on a house…

  • friendship,  jesus,  marriage

    Visit

    Whether it is planned or unexpected I love to host people in my home, particularly if people need a place to stay for the night or a couple of days. Dave and I decided early on that we wanted to have the kind of home where we would always have a bed for someone if they needed it.  Over the years we have enjoyed friends crashing for the night, family staying for a couple days, students who lived with us for a few months and strangers we’ve never met.  Yes, I said we let strangers stay in our home. Working for InterVarsity is like being connected to a big global family-…

  • inner world,  leadership,  self-awareness

    God grant me the serenity to accept the ideas I cannot execute

    Recently I led a seminar with my colleague Doug at InterVarsity‘s national staff conference. When we were debriefing how it went he told me frankly “your creativity stresses me out.” This is something coming from one of the most creative people in our movement who has literally helped create a program called “start something new.” Then my friend Adam posted this blog that I totally stole the title, idea and the picture from. I left such a long comment on his post I thought, “what the heck, I should just post this on my own blog!” This is an area of growth for me. I have so many ideas that I can…

  • friendship,  kids,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  work

    Care, Questions, & Creativity- sharing Jesus after college

    Jesus tells us to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), but some days it feels like a lot just to make dinner. Now that you’re navigating traffic on your morning commute, toting young kids to soccer practice, or traveling 20 days a month for work,how do you talk to neighbors, friends, and colleagues about Jesus without sounding like a robotic salesperson? One of the best ways to do so is to be present to others and express interest in their lives…. To continue reading my post, click on over to InterVarsity’s evangelism blog….thanks-a-rooney neighbor! What have been ways you’ve reached out to colleges, neighbors, friends or other people in…

  • friendship,  inner world,  jesus,  kids,  mom blogs,  MOPS,  parenting,  spirituality,  Uncategorized,  working moms

    MOMcon 2013- Amazing happens here

    This past month I flew to Kansas City to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) MOMcon. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, or at least picturing….something like this…. Frumpy Mom- who has gone un-showered, forgotten that she is a woman and is still wearing her clothes from high school because, well, her kids wipe their ranch dressing covered fingers on her sleeves and there is spit up on her shoulders from carrying the baby around. Why buy new clothes when that Alanis Morrisette t-shirt from 1997 still fits? or you picture this….. Perfectly coiffed moms who look like they bounced back postpartum like 2 hours after giving birth… like the ones from…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Tell me about your friend

    “You talk differently about God now.” Curious, I asked him what he meant- “you used to talk about Jesus, now you just say “the LORD” like you have to use his professional name now that you’re a campus minister.  My husband Dave made this comment about six months into my ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We laughed about it but it also made me wonder what had changed.  I had been learning all kinds of cool things about the Bible, theology, relationships and prayer but I realized that it made me think about God in a professional way rather than as a friend.  God had become knowledge to attain rather…

  • inner world,  jesus,  marriage,  mom blogs,  parenting,  prayer,  spirituality

    Marriage is Just Too Loud for Me

    I could hear him throwing up in the bathroom though I was at the end of the hallway, at least 30 feet from the disgusting retching sounds.  Dave had food poisoning from a late night Denny’s run with some friends at a weekend retreat. We were there with his parents  a few months before he proposed to me in 2001 so I could experience one of his family traditions.  I stood with his mom in the musty church basement, a worried look crossing her face as she listed to her heaving son. Mom Fick, seeing my grossed out face which she must have interpreted as worry as well commented “Ohhhhh.…

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    How Do You Preach the Gospel and Breastfeed?

    I pulled into the McDonalds parking lot with my 5-month old son Oswald crying in the backseat because he was hungry. On a cold November afternoon I was driving to Detroit to help the InterVarsity chapter Oakland University chapter with an evangelistic outreach.  A colleague Nicole who had flown in from California was traveling with me to see an example of a female evangelist with a family and I was grateful for her company to give Ozzy his pacifier if it fell out and have someone to talk with on the three-hour drive from Cleveland…. To continue reading this post check it out at Jenny Rae Armstrong’s blog who graciously invited me…

  • Uncategorized

    Why don’t more people know about this?

    We had been keeping a hawk eye on the tables in the bar for at least 20 minutes.  Though we had our buzzer in hand there were at least four other groups of people keeping the same hawk eye out for a table on a busy friday night at the Cheesecake Factory.  Though it wasn’t exactly the quiet atmosphere to catch up with each other the 30 flavors of Cheesecake glistening with carmel, strawberries and Oreos were too irresistible to pass up.  So, Joey and I caught up about Christmas and New Years as people savored their enormous slices of cheesecake seated at the tables around us.  Joey and I…

  • Uncategorized

    My heart is so easily trampled

    Demons make people do crazy things. Things like trample a man to death to get a good deal on a plasma screen TV at Walmart on black friday. Things like make people go into crazy amounts of consumer debt to buy gifts and keep the illusion that they aren’t financially strapped this Christmas. Things like stealing to provide Christmas presents for young kids, things going poorly and getting the death sentence for accidentally killing a man. Recently, I read an article by Christian activist Shane Claiborne that actually had me in tears. Citing the reality that there are dark forces in this world that are working to enslave, depress and deceive us,…

  • baking,  inner world,  jesus,  working moms,  writing

    DDIY

    Don’t Do It Yourself. This is my motto for December. Amongst the amazing Pinterest ideas floating around about making your own DIY decorative Christmas trees out of recycled materials, cookie baking, and connecting with people whether through our work of year end fund development or holiday get-togethers and the the pressure of working on my book I just. can’t. do. it. this year.  After a helpful conversation with our respective supervisors about the tricky dynamics and scheduling of both serving on staff with InterVarsity Christian fellowship I realized I was still stressed about the stuff I felt like I should be doing this Christmas. Our plans changed for the holiday…

  • Uncategorized

    Why Urbana and Smoking are dangerous for your health

    Standing outside of the vomitorium (yes, that is what the indoor stadium at University of Illinois is called) leaning against a cold concrete wall, I felt like I was in a daze by what I heard and saw that night of the Urbana missions convention in 2000.  With snow swirling around me as busses pulled up to collect conference attendees and shuttle them back to the dormitories I caught a whiff of tobacco from nearby.  “Hey” I wandered up to the hippie guy who had lit up “can I bum one of those?” “Sure, no problem” he answered as he handed me a cigarette and lit it for me, cupped hands to…

  • Uncategorized

    when work and play collide

    I look forward to going to work every day. Granted, going to work often looks like taking my laptop to a coffeeshop to return emails, write a talk or prepare for meetings. But on the wonderful days I get to go to meetings I’m able to work with colleagues I love and respect and do work that brings my life joy, excitement and purpose. Recently I got to train a bunch of noobs with InterVarsity- 25 first & second year staff eager to help students meet Jesus, work to renew the campus and participate in God’s work of developing world changers. It really is one of my favorite parts of my…

  • Uncategorized

    boob jail

    Nursing a baby is a little like being on a tether- you can never be too far away from the child lest they get hungry. This makes me feel like I’m in boob jail. Every 2.5-3 hours the hungry squawks cause me to leave the talk I’m writing on my laptop, the bathroom I’m trying to clean or the 4-year old who I’m playing Legos with. The boobs are on lockdown. When Oz was first born, the delight of having a new baby was coupled with remembering the days of an infant and what that entails. Deciding to stay at the coffee shop to work for another hour, running out…

  • Uncategorized

    dear college self,

    If you could pull a Marty McFly and travel back to give your college self some advice, what would you say? Here are my reflections in a blog I wrote for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. To my college roommates Katie & Tara who are also pictured in this photo- here is a dose of some 1990’s nostalgia. shiny pants! leather pants! What’s the best piece of advice you received while you were in college? What about afterwards that you wish you had known?

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    God can use me in spite of myself; staff lesson #9

    “I have had enough Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Have you ever prayed a prayer like this? More than I’d care to admit during my 10 years with InterVarsity I’ve found myself echoing Elijah’s prayer from 1 Kings 19. Early on in my staff career I wondered why, if I was doing what God called me to do, I still felt so depressed. Why, though there were student leaders eager to receive training, mentoring and prayer to be missionaries on their campus, I felt like a failure. Granted there were some days that were genuinely painful- feeling the sting of students gossiping against my…

  • Uncategorized

    blog break

    Off to the wild U.P.! I’ll be on a blog hiatus for the next two weeks as I spend time teaching students about multi-ethnic witnessing communities from Acts 6-10. Spending a week with 450 InterVarsity college students from across the midwest, among acres of cedar forests, along the shores of lake huron is pretty amazing. If you’re the praying type, pray that God would meet students during this week, that Dave & I would have energy and love to care for students, and that Reuben would have an awesome time with his grandma who is taking care of him during the week.

  • Uncategorized

    God knows you need to look good

    In public speaking, presenters are encouraged to picture their venues, audience and themselves delivering their message. In addition to imagining these things, I also picture my accessories, shoes and what I’ll be wearing when I deliver a message.  Actually, it’s the first thing I imagine when I’ve accepted a speaking invitation.  Call me shallow, but knowing what to wear as a preacher who is also a woman can be tricky and fraught with criticism. In two weeks I’ll be making the annual pilgrimage to Cedar Campus, InterVarsity’s training center in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Along the gorgeous shores of Lake Huron hundreds of students across the midwest come each Spring to meet…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    I’m not the girl I used to be

    Twigs + logs + matches + newspaper = fire. At least for a girl who spent the first 17 years of her life growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I’d wager that many kids learned the skill of how to build a fire amongst other skills like ice fishing, downhill & cross-country skiing and how to swim in Lake Superior just long enough until your toes feel numb. Recently my friend and colleague Grace spent a weekend in a lovely log cabin, tucked in the back of a generous person’s property, overlooking a stream and surrounded by woods. Though the two of us usually run the gamut conversationally from…

  • food,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

    Though the chocolate may melt in my mouth, I still have blood on my hands. A few weeks ago I was supposed to give a talk at Oakland University on Everyday Justice drawing from themes from Julie Clawson’s book by the same name. As I did research, read her book and scoured online articles and websites I thought about themes on everyday justice that would connect most with students living in the affluent suburbs that border derelict Detroit; While cars and clothing might have been good choices for a school where students sport coach tennis shoes & drive Escalades but chocolate seemed like an easier thing to tackle in a 30 minute talk on…

  • Uncategorized

    help, and other words I dislike using.

    I really dislike asking for help.  Though I have asked hundreds of people for the last 10 years to help provide thousands of dollars for my work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to help college students know and live out their faith in Jesus, it feels different than asking for help in ordinary ways. If I’m short a cup of sugar mid-bake, I’ll ask Dave to go next door to ask for some sugar or just go to the store to buy it myself.  I still feel like I’m inconveniencing people asking for a ride somewhere now that we have decided to be a one-car family. I mentally stack up what…

  • jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    out of the boat living

    While I’d rather be like Andy Samburg sporting a nautical themed pashmina afghan on a boat, life has felt much more like the disciple Peter- half-sinking, half-having faith that Jesus is able to grasp ahold of me and keep me from drowning. Our move to Cleveland was in many ways been an experience of stepping out of our own comfortable nautical vessel- being near family, having a secure funding network in a job that requires us to raise 100% of our support (Grand Rapids consistently ranks high among charitible giving across U.S. cities), and all the other comforts that living in one place for 10 years affords.  It took us…