Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today is Thanksgiving. Basically the easiest day to say thank you and talk about the things we are thankful for. Its "easy" to say thank you for our family, friends, health, job and so on.  This month in my kindergarten Sunday School class (@ San Diego First Church of the Nazarene), our "word for the month" was GRATITUDE. First thing I always do when presented with a new word to teach my class, is I look it up in the dictionary.

GRATITUDE ::the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

I love that. 

I love that I got to share with my class that gratitude is all about having an attitude of saying thank you. Each week, there is a bible story to go along with the theme of each week. The second week, we talked about "taking the time to say thank you." Our bible story was Luke 17:11-19; The Man Who Said Thank You. 

read it here: 
Luke 17:11-19
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The man in this story came back to Jesus after being healed to say THANK YOU. 
My kids in my class, LOVED this story. They couldnt understand why only one person said thank you, when Jesus did such a great thing! I loved sharing this story with my kids because it was a tangible example. Jesus healed these 10 men, from a disease that prevented them from living with their families, having a job, or going to church (this created questions like, could they go to the zoo? could they celebrate Christmas? could they see their mom? could they eat pizza?). But we talked about how Jesus came and saved them and made them better, but then after all of that only one person took to the time say thank you. 
Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, and the act of giving thanks. Let us thank Jesus for each thing in our life; from the smallest thing to the biggest thing, from the easiest thing to the hard thing. 
Today I am thankful for:
my mom
my dad
my sister
my brother
my 4 grandpas
my 4 grandmas
my 5 aunts
my 3 uncles
my 17 cousins
my family in Kenya
Faith Mackenzie
Pauline Mwende
my family in Mexico (Pastor Jose and Marta)
my  3 roommates
my house
my best friend
my job
my sunday school class
the children's pastor and her assistant at SDFCN
most of all, 
I am thankful for Jesus and his power to save of from a life of pain; I am so thankful for his love that wraps me in His comfort when I feel completely alone. 

Thank you Jesus, for who You are.  

Happy Thanksgiving, to you and your family! Have a wonderful day! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"You Make Me Brave"

If you know me, then you know that I absolutely LOVE crime fighting shows. Like, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods...etc. I love the idea that someone CHOOSES for their whole life to save people. I know it's just a tv show but you get what I am saying. (I have two uncles who are/were FBI agents and one uncle who is a polica officer)

To call someone or to be called BRAVE is just a beautiful adjective to describe a person. 

I looked up BRAVE in the dictionary: 

//possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. (adjective)
then I looked up courage:
//the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

I figured that upon looking up the word brave would give me the word courageous and in turn I would need to look up courage. "The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain without fear". Wow! I absolutely love this definition. 

I know that its been awhile since I have posted anything on here. Honestly, I dont feel like many people even read this unless I am talking about the joy and trials of living in Kenya, which is completely ok. But the past few months have been...different. I have felt like I have been pushed and swayed in so many different ways in which the Lord has allowed me to grow. But some days are harder than others. I have really worked towards really wanting to center my life on Jesus and limit my doubt and fear in my life over things I cannot change or control. 


are just some of the words that I have really thought about the past few months. 

I have been trying to learn and see what it means to be fearless and brave in situations where you feel small and unimportant. I don't think Jesus ever asked us to be fearless per say but he does say "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand". He does promise to be there for us forever. Bravery is a beautiful thing. 

The Disney movie called BRAVE is "determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse" (taken from IMDB). When this movie first came out in 2012, I was was skeptical, mostly because I love the "original" Disney princesses and I don't think any should be "added to the pack" without much scrutiny. Anyways, I ended up loving the movie BRAVE. I love that Merida takes her life into her own hands and understands her worth as a person and as a princess. I love that in one scene she rips her dress and her hair is a complete mess, proving that princesses can even have "rough beauty days".  "There comes a day when I don't have to be a princess. No rules, no expectations. A day where anything can happen. A day where I can change my fate"

I don't LOVE the idea about fate and all that stuff in the movie. But the idea that when we stand up for ourselves we can be supported by those who live in truth. (After Marida stood up for herself and how she can CHOOSE who she marries, her father supports her because he realizes that she is telling the truth and being brave". 

There have been many events in the last 10-ish months that have made me want to stand up for myself or my family. Situations that I have not done anything because in those moments, the bravest thing I can do is nothing. The hardest thing to do is recognize when our bravery and strength is best used by repsecting those around us (even when we may not agree). 

In the past 10 months, I have finished college, gotten my BA in Liberal Studies, I spent the summer at home, I officially moved to San Diego full time, I got a part time job as a nanny, I have learned to fall in love with Jesus every day. 

There is no huge epiphany to be talked about here...

But what I do want to say is that, every day I am thankful that Jesus has made me BRAVE through my obediance to him. I am thankful that Jesus had given me hope, strength, and courage in every part of my life. 

THIS song is my heart and mind today. 


I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

Monday, February 17, 2014


As I sit here in my special education class, I am thoroughly distracted, more so then I have been in awhile. This morning in my pe for teachers class, my professor handed me a brochure for teaching school in Ghana, and getting school credit for it. Honestly, I sort of brushed it away cause I was nervous for my lesson I was to teach to my class today. Then I come to my special education class, and Dr. J hands me the same brochure. I am in awe. This brochure is the same one except this one is in color, and you can see the real beauty of living in a place in Africa. I am struck with heartbreak. So many people have asked me if it will be hard for me not to go back to Kenya this summer, after going to 3 years in a row. Will be hard? It already is. This idea that I'm going to spend this summer (in a way) going to the beach, soaking up the sun, and sleeping in. It's hard to even imagine at this point. At some point, it'll sink I'm right? This idea that I have "chosen" (rather I listen to The Lord) that this summer instead of going to Kenya, I am graduating from point Loma, finishing my last undergrad class, and (hopefully) taking some credential classes. Seems funny, that at this point in the semester for the last two years I have had my plane ticket bought, my bags 1/2 packed, and my heart already too excited. It's weird to think that I won't be going this semester, simply because I am going to the next step of my life. I love that comfort of knowing that I will always go back because that's where my heart lies and where Jesus has called me. It's unnerving to think about all the munchkins who will continue to grow up and move on with their lives. It's crazy to think that the next time I go to Kenya (presumably), baby Jessica will be 2 and walking and talking, Keziah will be 6 and in 1st grade, Faith will be 11 and in grade6 (HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!), and Mwende will be 11 and in class 5. This is insane to me! But on my end, I will (again, presumably) be 24 (almost 25) graduated from college and have my teaching credential, HOLY MOLY! In a way, I help but move on with my life, I can't help but live my days in a way that the only way my heart knows to not be broken by not being in Kenya, its the only way I know how to honor the Lord in the here and the now.

(I wrote all the above part in my class, dont worrry I was paying attention)

Now, I am home and have more work to get done in the next 9 hours then I feel like is even humanly possible. Yet, I came home and watched 4 videos which included the beautiful singing voices of different children in Masii. For those of you who really know me, well you obviously know that I am bawling my eyes out. Totally overwhelming, "can't even see the screen" sort of crying, but I am not heart broken, rather I am thankful. Thankful that I was able to go so many times, and hopefully will be able to in the future. As I continue to go on with my life, my school work, my jobs, and church stuff because THIS is where the Lord has me. Which is a hard thing to grasp as I attempt to really live in the presence of the Lord in every instance of my life.

As I continue in school and graduate in 2 months 3 weeks and 1 day, I am learning to remember the big picture and not just stress over todays homework. God plan is bigger than this silly assignment I can't figure out, and bigger than what I can figure out. Thankfully THAT is one of many joys of following Jesus, I dont have to have it all figured out.

"Your heart will take you places your head can't comprehend. In God you can experience things that are impossible to explain." Kris Vallotton

Friday, January 17, 2014

Praising in all circumstances

I can get so caught up in days when there is so much to be thankful for, that I forget to actually thank the one who is worthy to be thanked! Its so easy on bad or hard days to yearn to look upon the face of Jesus and rest in His peace. I think for me, its hard to live through the same time. On Sunday, I moved back to San Diego and Tuesday I started my last semester of undergrad at Point Loma. WOW, I have been feeling so good and so positive and excited for this semester. 

On Saturday night, one of my professors son died and then I find out a family I am close are going through a horrible legal thing, that honestly definitely should NOT be happening. And all I can think is, WHAT THE HECK! I can't even begin to explain the heartache that I feel for those who are going through so much. Its incredible that throughout this whole week, different things have come up that have caused me to really take a step back and to look at what is happening to those around me. 

At some point, I believe that we (hopefully) can grow out of our selfishness and begin to see and treat others the way God sees and treats them. Its hard to stand by and watch as so many people around you in such a hard place. For me, its weird to be on the opposite side of it all. I have had a rough few years, and I honestly never thought I would come out of it. Every day I lived in a place of hurt, pain, and loneliness and just very recently have I come to see the light and hope in my own life that I have only found through the grace of Jesus. 

As I watch those around me go through things, that I can only imagine, dont even feel real. Today, I had lunch with my friend Leslie, who is close to the family of my professor (whose son passed away) and she was also friends with my friend Raegan who also passed away almost two years ago. Its incredible to sit with Leslie as she expresses to me how the family is really doing and how different it is than so many stories and rumors I've heard through the bubble of Point Loma about everything. As I sat with my dear friend and we talked about Raegan and how it's still SO hard because so many things remind us of her, about working with kids and the joys and challenges of that, and about how life is so precious and can be over in an instant. 

Today I was listening to the radio and someone came on the radio about how a very HIGH percentage of people were diagnosed with cancer in 2013. I usually don't listen to the commercials but this caught my attention simply because it was really true. I heard the statistics and then began to sink into my own thoughts as I began to think about how being diagnosed with cancer is so shocking and usually the person really has no idea they have it and then they become sick and weak and have to (usually) depend on others to take care of them. I thought about how just today Leslie and I were talking about how Raegan was always preparing those around her for her passing because she always knew she wasn't going to live very long, and expressed to me how as much as losing Raegan was almost too hard, losing her younger brothers best friend (my professors son) was almost more hard because it was instant and a complete surprise. When she first said that, my (selfish) initial thought was "oh well are you saying that you don't miss Ragean?" Well I KNEW that wasn't true but as I listened to my friend who has been too close to the heartbreak of death in the last few years, I see her face soften (even more) as she shares with me how her brother is doing and how this is hard for her because it has taught her how quickly life can be taken away and in turn she taught me of the same thing.

As I think back on where I was 10 years ago, I realize that I was 14 and I had no idea that in 1 year I would deal with real depression and that two years after that I would go through a horrible trauma that would almost take over my life. Thankfully by the overwhelming grace of Jesus, I was able to go to counseling and was blessed to have my family stand by me as I worked on becoming the person Jesus created me to be. (and no this isn't an "I'm all better post", but I do feel a WHOLE lot better!) I was talking with someone today, and she was telling me about how she is really praying that everything I have gone through will help me to see the world differently, not with naiveness but with genuine grace and compassion. 

"Why do bad things happen to good people?" this question has ALWAYS bugged me and I am positive I have never written a blog post about it. It's bugged me because I have had alot of people ask me that and I never ever know what to say. I usually follow it up with a compassionate "I don't know". I don't think I will ever know the answer, and I honestly don't want to. I don't want to know the reason why my professors son passed away, or why my dear friend Raegan passed away before she could get married and have kids, or why my grandpa Bill wont be able to come to my college graduation, all I know (and all I can understand) is that it was time for them to go to heaven, because Jesus really wanted them there. 

As I think about this past week, the two chunks of bad news I was told, the fresh start of my last semester of undergrad, the start of my new nanny job, attending my first grad class (which I totally cried after because it seemed so unreal), and the reuniting with friends I made last semester, its easy to be thankful for the good things. It becomes all too easy pray to God in the heartache to pray for Him to save you in a time of hopelessness. I think, that that is ok though. Jesus' heart does yearn for us to call on Him and lean on Him when we need Him (isnt he depicted as the hubsand of the church?). Yet, I know for me, life becomes crazy and busy and school work load gets heavier and heavier and I seem to forget to praise Him on my "easy" days. I forget that joy and peace comes from Jesus alone and through what He has given to us on THAT day. 

It's interesting that this week, I have faulted to not writing in my journal or taking the normal time to write this blogpost (instead of a few hours, it took 3 days). It's funny how I had a harder time praising Jesus for the good, yet when I felt heartbroken or weak, I called out to Jesus and begged for his comfort. 

What if I/we learned to be praising Him in all circumstances with no limitation on anything? What if we praise Him for His holiness and worthiness. I think that no one will ever do this perfectly but what if every day, we worked on saying something positive, something loving, something thankful, and something your struggling with, and bringing it to the Lord every day? What if we learned that God is the ultimate being and that everything good comes from Him and that He makes all things new in His name, whether or not we know it, understand it, or like it. I am thankful that we serve a God who knows that we are human and faulty (He made us! He knows!). As I continue to lift those who are in pain and give it to Jesus, I pray that they may know that this is a season of life and that they are still here because God is not finished with them yet. 

Thank you, Jesus for loving us despite our brokenness, hopelessness, and flakiness. Thank you for sending your son to die for us, so that we may find our hope in you. Thank you for NOT giving up on us.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY 2014!!!!!

I honestly cannot even believe that it is already 2014.

2013 was an incredible year. I was honored to be able to go back to Kenya for the 3rd time in a row. I was able to sponsor a little girl through Tumaini. I was honored to go back to go back to Point Loma to finish up my senior year (only 4 more classes!). I made so many new and wonderful friends!

The last few days, I have been really....deep in thought, I guess you could say. I haven't been sleeping well, and three nights ago, I woke up and wrote 5 pages in my journal with all the thoughts and ideas flowing around in my head. Two nights ago, I woke up bawling because of something sorta silly that I have been struggling with. And today, I have really just wanted to spend time alone and read and journal and sink deep within my own thoughts and the words that Jesus shared with us in the Bible.

As, I tried to think about what I wanted this post to be about, its a funny thing because things that come to mind are similar to things I have written about so many times before; patience, gratefulness, thankfulness, hope, joy and being in love with Jesus. yet, shouldn't our wholes lives be a living these aspects because THAT'S who Jesus created us to be? I have learned that I have to be gracious with myself as, so often I want to write about something that is so obvious to me yet coming to an understanding that this is all simply my point of view and making it anything more or less than that, is wrong.

Going into 2014, there are VERY few things I am certain of. I know that I am going to graduate from Point Loma on May 10. I KNOW that I will turn 24 (yikes!) on September 30. Apart from that, there are very few things that I am sure will happen. I am usually ok with not knowing, not fully understanding what the Lord has planned, I know that I definitely don't need to know or understand any of it.

It's moments like this, moments of unrest and uncertainty that I am so thankful that I serve a Jesus who (without hesitation) understands who I am and all my worries and impatient waiting. I am thankful that as many sleepless nights I may have, over this "silly" struggle with I am having I KNOW in my heart that Jesus is the ultimate conqueror of my heart, no matter what.

Some days, that idea makes it easier and some days it doesn't.

But I am thankful that no matter which kind of day it is, that Jesus is still with me even on the worst days.

I am sort of forcing this blog of me, more than most because writing really does help me to see deeper into who I am, as a way to further help those around me understand who I am.