Nov 11 2016

Alone At Auschwitz


Every now and then I think back to the day Rob and I walked through Auschwitz in Poland. I will never forget the feeling as we drove into the dreaded town. At one point the road is parallel with several sets of railroad tracks, many of them leading directly into the former concentration camp. I had read countless stories of people that had lived and died in that place. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself walking through it myself.

Strange as it may sound, we had Maddie and Whitney with us, who were 4 and 2 at the time. We were traveling with a mission team to Slovakia, so one of the members that lived in Slovakia agreed to occupy the girls while we toured the museum side of the grounds.

At one point, we were able to walk around with the girls through the barracks. They had no idea where we were or what we were doing. I am certain they are not scarred from the experience. I had to go change Whitney’s diaper, and when I came back, our group had moved on. I was alone. In Auschwitz. Not a soul to be seen. I dare say it was one of the eeriest moments of my entire life.

Barracks surrounded me on either side. The tree branches were bare against the blue winter sky, and I could hear birds softly chirping. Beyond that, I could hear whispers and screams and shouts of the innocent victims suffering and dying in ages past around me. I know that sounds creepy, and very Ghost-Hunter-ish. I’m not talking about ghosts. I’m talking about memories that are so real that they are alive in the air and etched into every inch of that place. It was a moment God knew about before I was born, and one he had prepared me for my whole life.

I am forever changed because of those few moments alone at Auschwitz.

Today I am reminded on this Veteran’s Day of the men and women that died to set those people free. I am so honored to live in a country that believes in freedom and values life so much that we are willing to lay our lives down so others can know what it is to be free. I am thankful for our nation, and every nation on earth that lives to set others free.


Nov 9 2016

A Chat From My Hammock

Jan 18 2016

Dream Again


What if Martin Luther King Jr. Had a Dream, came off of the Mountaintop
And went home?
What if he caved to the pressure of self doubt
And journaled his thoughts instead in some quiet quaint safe place, smiled deeply, closed the front cover, put down his pen, and tucked his journal neatly in his bottom left drawer under some papers?

What if Martin Luther King Jr. stayed away from crowds because of the noise and lounged long evenings on his chair in front of the television, his dream kicking up air somewhere in the back of his mind, but settling there as he drifted off to sleep?

What if he knew he was right, but was just too tired to try fighting Goliath?

The horizon of passion kindled in his blood when he said yes to every dream. His vision grew clearer, the passion brighter, his following stronger.

*Unbury your journal. Wipe the sleep from your eyes and worry from your quivering chin. Dream again. I dare you.

Dec 28 2014

David and Joseph


David and Joseph

Joseph was royalty.
He had the blood of kings in his veins.
A chosen king.
As improbable David’s anointing
Was Joseph becoming the Father of the King of Kings.

Carpenters and shepherds. Shepherds and carpenters. Blue collar workers with royalty in their veins because the God of the universe knew

No one
Could achieve true Greatness with their own strength

No one

could earn status in God’s kingdom without His secret ways, His blessings, His miracles

No one is wise enough, powerful enough, perfect enough

To end up the King of Israel
Or the unintended Father to the King

God smiled,
moved some impossible
parts and pieces together
And blew divinity into the line of David. Knocked him to His knees
And to Joseph
He Whispered a similar task
To be the shepherd to the king of kings
David fell, Joseph nodded, God smiled
and a King was born.

Oct 25 2014

Beside The Still Waters And The War of the Worlds



Most of us know or have heard reference at some point in our lives to Psalm 23.  Bits and pieces come to us when we are feeling afraid, alone, or like we are being attacked by alien spaceships in War of the Worlds.  Ha–I am not joking that part of my subconscious sees the Priest in the old War of the Worlds movie walking toward the evil-eyed spaceship quoting the 23rd psalm. Then he gets zapped and turns to dust.   It scared me to death as a kid.  I always wondered why he was not using his brain and kept walking toward the ship instead of away.  At that point in the movie, I think the behavior of the aliens pretty consistently proved they were bad guys…so, while all of you are reading through psalm 23 with floating streams and quiet places and vivid images of gentle shepherds leading their sheep through grassy knolls, I’m thinking about the poor priest who got turned to dust.


I’m thinking that alien space ships were not on King David’s radar when he wrote his prayer to God, but maybe something like it.  A deeply distressing time that brought him to his knees, seeking the comfort his true Shepherd could bring.

So, however we get to Psalm 23 and whatever makes us think about it, the truth is the same.  God, our good, good God, will lead us in quiet places and walk with us in silence while the peace of the streams bring life back into our weary souls.  Nowhere in Psalm 23 does it say “Then God shouted at me because I’ve been such an idiot”, or “God threw me into the quiet stream and held my head under until I gurggled” I give up!”

IMG_5824 IMG_5794 IMG_5803

What this Psalm DOES say, all our own vivid imagery and associations with this familiar passage aside, is:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Take a deep breath, breath in the Hope of a loving God who will walk quietly with you wherever you are on your path.  Know He’s with you.  Breathe and Hope.


*Grace and Peace*

Nov 4 2013

Art and Soul

Red and BlueOprah reminded us all a few years ago to “Remember our Spirits.”  Remember when she took the last five minutes of her show and lit candles and got all warm and fuzzy and talked about her “Spirit”.  It sounded a bit freaky, but really, everyone has a soul, a spirit, a body Each part of us equally important. I’m glad Oprah reminded everyone about it. Because you know what? We all forget. Every single one of us, myself included forgets that we have a very soul-ish self that is longing to speak. We each have a unique soul; each soul expresses her voice differently to the world.

Art is a way I unleash my soul, take a minute to breathe, let all the business, deadlines, carpool schedules and carpool schedule conflicts go. It’s when I go to my “Happy Place”. Where I try to connect with my soul again.

I’m a proud Mommy to three up and coming leadership-minded, feisty, strong-willed but very artsy young women. Our home is full of art in all shapes and sizes in literally every corner, oozing out onto our front porch, sidewalk drawings spilling into our neighborhood. It’s not just art. It’s art with intentionality and purpose.  Art that brings life into our home. Art that captures life around us.

Life as art.  is about being a Noticer. It’s about showing others around us what we see and how we see the world uniquely. Every star in the universe is different, every snowflake is different, every human being bears a different fingerprint, and I think that’s on purpose. We have a unique fingerprint on our perception of the world around us.

At two years old, our Whitney was an artist. She’s 13 now and expresses herself differently, but the sharpie smiley face that covered most of our dining room wooden floor was her first artistic endeavor. We were so proud as parents that she finally learned to draw a smiley face on her own. And found a way to make it permanent and beautiful, leaving her creative mark of artistry on our wood floors.

She was so proud. She should have been. Making your mark in the world is important.  Yes, yes, I went to the sharpie website and found out that this magic lanolin oil takes sharpie marker out of almost anything (you’re welcome) and we did eventually remove the sharpie smiley face from our wooden floors.  We didn’t think the person who bought our house would appreciate the art and beauty of this young forward thinking artist’s expression.

Madeline, our 15 year old is a phenomenal photographer. When she was 10, a family friend of ours saw she had a gift for taking amazing pictures. He is a professional photographer and gave her one of his best, most costly cameras to take pictures of our time in India. If you ever want to get an American child’s perspective on children’s lives in third world countries, go to my blog, and type India, Maddie in the search box. You will be astounded at what that child sees through her camera lens.

Our Isabelle.  Her whole life is art. Everything about her. Everything she lives and breathes is artistic. She sings constantly, decorates our mirrors with positive quotes and ideas. She has journals filled with story ideas and cartoons to go with her stories.

For myself, I live and breathe art. But if you want to know a secret, I’ll let you in on it.  I really stink at lots of artsy stuff.  I’m sort of allergic to paint, so I had to give up my painting career about a year in. I am not a very good sketcher. My doodles resemble a Kindergartner’s, and teachers really never asked me back to help cut and paste stuff for my kids’ classes because I cannot cut a straight line. But I notice stuff. I notice everything. Like an orange leaf laying in the grass, or the way the clouds are drifting over my house. I see beauty in spiders and ants and bugs and birds and trees and wind. So I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.  Photography for me is a sort of prayer.  A thank you to the Creator of it all. To let Creator know I’ve noticed.  That I’m opening my soul to the beauty around me. Photogtaphy fills my soul and helps me breathe.

Every person is different. Every creative expression is different. For women like us in Michiana, there are a ton of ways to find your own soul’s unique expression. Most are very affordable, and some even free! Here are some fun and very do-able ideas even for non-artsy type people:

Wine and Canvas:  A lot of my friends have tried Wine & canvas, an evening or event you can attend with friends or coworkers, drink some wine and receive instruction on how to paint an incredible painting, walk away with a masterpiece that very night!

Flourish Boutique hosted a night like this for women to get together, drink some wine, paint some pretty stuff, and do a little shopping. Flourish plans on doing an event like this again soon, so keep your eyes open!

Snoop around Pinterest.  There are amazing and easy ideas for any kind of artist you want to be.

Ask a friend Are your friends artsy?  Ask them to teach you what they love to do. Do they knit, crochet? Sew? Cook? Paint? Ask them to instruct you in the basics next time you get together. I guarantee they would love to share their passion for their art with you.

Art journaling Get a journal preferably with no lines and doodle away.  Fill every page with a word, though, idea or poem. There are no rules, no time limits. Express yourself without judgment.

And  some final advice:

  • Start simple
  • Start easy
  • Don’t be discouraged
  • Don’t be bashful
  • Try and try and try until you find something that calms your soul renews your mind and stretches your imagination.

Every soul is an artist, a Noticer. Notice what you do and share it first with you, and then with the rest of us. The beauty you bring into the world will inspire us.


This article was published in the November 2013 edition of SASSY Magazine