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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Next Step

Well many people have been asking me this question for awhile now and until last week really, I didn't have a good answer for them. But now I do!

Let me explain a bit what's been going through my head... so, for the past 4 years I have studied Elementary Education at EMU. Halfway through my sophomore year I started to have doubts about me wanting to be an educator. There were so many other classes and topics that I could be learning about but just couldn't because I was "stuck" on the education track. However, after many conversations with professors, family, and mentors, I decided to keep on keeping on in this program. Come junior year, I was lukewarm about the idea still and after my cross cultural experience in the spring of that year, I was convinced I was meant for a different path. Unfortunately, it was my senior year by this time and it was too late to change. I went through Literacy Block in the fall, intrigued about how to teach children how to read and then completed my Student Teaching in the spring. This semester was the biggest rollercoaster of emotions that I have ever experienced. I loved the students and my colleagues that I was working with but absolutely despised the lesson plans, the rigidity, and how discipline was being managed in the schools. I was expecting Student Teaching to tell me one way or another whether I was meant to teach, but alas, I was again left with mixed opinions.

Throughout my senior year I was constantly exploring job options, volunteer programs, just upping and leaving the country to travel, or simply learning to become a bartender. However, nothing felt right. And let me tell you, this is a disconcerting feeling when every one of your friends has a life plan laid out, they already have positions at excellent places, and everything is written out for the next few years. It felt like I was falling behind, that I was failing, and that I wasn't going to amount to anything. Even though I knew this simply wasn't true, it felt this way a large part of the year.

This isn't to say that I regretted/regret my decision to attend EMU, because this is simply not the case. The relationships I have built here have formed and shaped me to be the better person I am today and even though perhaps the traditional classroom isn't my calling, I feel very confident that the education program at EMU prepared me to relate to others in compassionate and unique ways that I will carry with me wherever I go in the future.

I walked across the stage in May with my fellow classmates still not having a plan. I've been in Harrisonburg for the past month and a half now enjoying life and finishing up online classes. Also, trying to figure out my (immediate) future for real. This is all to say that it's been a long path, but I have finally decided what I'm doing next year.

I wanted something where I would be living intentionally, preferably in a community of people because the prospect of moving to a new city by myself and knowing nobody was rather daunting. I also was interested in something that was completely different than what I have been doing these past four years and something that would be giving back to others while learning along the way myself. So, I was looking at a number of different volunteering/teaching organizations and I came across one that sounded like an exciting opportunity. I completed all the interviews and it all worked out!

I'm going to be volunteering with the DOOR/DWELL program in Denver, Colorado! If you're interested you can check out more about the overall program here: .

I'm super excited about this and let me tell you, it feels good to finally feel passionate and excited about something after feeling uncertain and unsure for about a year. I know in my gut that this is the right decision for me as I will be spending the upcoming year serving others while discerning what the next chapter of my life will look like.

I'll be living in an intentional community house with other "Dwellers" (year-long volunteers), learning about social justice issues, working at a placement 4 days a week (I'll know soon where I'll be working), and then on the 5th day of the week will be doing volunteer work with other participants in our community.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the years through conversation, letters, emails, financial support, and more. I'll have more info soon on how you can support me financially if you so desire.

I'll hopefully be posting semi-regular updates here on this blog as the year progresses so if you're interested in hearing/seeing what I'll be doing, feel free to stop by occasionally and check our what I'm up to!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bridge Haus (Part 2)

BRIDGE HAUS PIE! Crafted expertly by Brooke

Minnesota Onions

Thyme tea (courtesy of Brooke)

Yet another delicious 50th anniversary pie

Vegetarian lasagna created by the lovely Wendy and Andy


Canned tomatoes for ze winter

Wedgie the (soon-to-be Swallowtail) butterfly

Beautiful garlic bread with rosemary

Rosemary in everything!

Lori's pumpkin cookies

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bridge Haus

This year, I'm sharing Bridge House with 5 other lovely ladies. Thus far, it truly has been wonderful to learn how to live with one another. However, the house we moved into hasn't been lived in for a number of years and wasn't really renovated when we moved in, so we wanted to share with you some of the idiosyncrasies of the place we call home.

Our upstairs bathroom requires a little bit of diligence, because when you turn off the water, it turns right back on unannounced; hence the sticky note reminder.

We do our best to clean up and to keep the kitchen tidy, but sometimes our windowsills become cluttered with vegetables, thread, pens, and coupon cards for free turkeys. 

Ahhh the gnats. We have had a number of different gnat infestations thus far. Sometimes we forget about produce, other times we forget to bring out the compost, other times they are just in your bedroom for no reason. However, here is our ingenious gnat trap (and a few dead ones too..).

We tend to either go thru soap too quickly or at an abnormally slow rate. The bottle on the left lasted for a week, but the bottle on the right lasted for a month and a half. 

Who doesn't want a good old fire extinguisher clipped up in the middle of the kitchen! Also a handy-dandy exit plan located directly above, in case we forget where our doors are in an emergency.

Our beautiful wires outside our bathroom.

The dingy single light bulb.


Haphazard tea hutch. 

Who doesn't want to see an empty crockpot the first thing when they walk home?

Ah an off-white light switch holder juxtaposed nicely by a white inspirational track poster!

What better way to block off a door than putting lights over it?

So glad we have all of those shelves!

Windowsill decoration.

Multiply this by 50 and you've got approximately how many holes are in our walls on the main floor.

Unknown yellow-orange stain on purple couch.

Pinecone for kicks and giggles.

Rusty radiators.

Beautifully colored wires crack peer thru encasements.

Lotion for everyone!

Located outside of our upstairs bathroom. Safety first!

This post was mostly kidding, we love Bridge House and all its little quirks. Stay tuned for part 2!

Monday, September 7, 2015


"Silence precedes, undergirds, and grounds everything. Unless we learn how to live there, go there, and abide in this different phenomenon, everything--words, events, relationships, identities--becomes rather superficial, without depth or context. We are left to search for meaning in a life of events and situations which need to increasingly contain ever higher stimulation, more excitement, and more color, to add vital signs to our inherently bored and boring existence. This need for stimulations is the character of America. We are in danger of becoming just a shell with less and less inside, and less contact with the depth and reality of things-- where all the lasting vitality is found. This is what Jesus calls "a spring inside us-- welling up unto eternal life" (John 4: 14). God is always found at the depths of things, even the depths of our sin and brokenness. And in the depths, it is always silent."  

-- Richard Rohr

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Snapshots from Mexico

While these pictures perhaps aren't the most picturesque places of our trip, they show the dreariness, desperation, and bleakness of the immigration issue that is plaguing countries around the world.

Looking out at the pueblo of Nogales, Mexico from an organization called HEPAC. 

Looking out at Nogales, Mexico from the trash dump at the top of the mountain.

Houses people create from the rubble others throw away in the dump. Families live here and earn more money on average than the typical maquilla worker.

Memorial for Jose Antonio who was killed on the Mexican side of the border by border patrol agents on the side of the United States. 

Beautiful street art next to the memorial. 

The wall from the Mexican side at Nogales, Mexico. 

More street art at the wall in Nogales, Mexico. 

Candles painted on the wall. 

Art near the wall. 

We spoke to this woman at a shelter on the Mexican side of the border our first day. Then, we picked up the paper the next day in the United States and saw that she had been interviewed by the press regarding her situation. 

Sonoran desert beauty. 

More desert beauty. 

While the desert is beautiful, it is unforgiving and is deadly for many migrants.


Hiked to the top!

Attempting to hold the sunset in my hand. 

Walking thru paths migrants take to get across the border.

Empty water bottles that migrants had left on the trails. 

The wall from the Mexican side. 

Bible study at the wall.

With the help of members of C.R.R.E.D.A. we refilled these water containers for migrants who might be passing through.

Chiricahua National Park in Arizona, famous for balancing rock formations.

Small park near a Quaker settlement, about an hour away from Tucson, where cranes gather by the hundreds for the night. The night air was filled with their calls to one another at sunset.

Community garden project in Agua Prieta, Mexico.

More community gardens. 

Mountain climbing with the best!