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Sunday, 14 December 2014

The third Sunday of Advent

December 14th, 
is the 3rd Sunday of this 2014 Advent Season. 
Here is the link to the our reFresh reflections:  3rd Sunday of Advent

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Advent Reflections

Each Advent season we at reFresh offer some reflections to help ourselves and others enter this time of the year with intentional hope, joy, faith and peace.

I began celebrating the Advent season more consistently when I was in Europe. It is very normal for those countries to intentionally celebrate the Advent season. Some do not know the meanings and some experience the deep meanings... and of course there is every variance in between.

Here I am posting the first two reflections we are sending out. We are offering them free as a gift this year. I hope and pray that you find them useful and a blessing.

I will post the others as they come.
If you would like to discover other ways to UnhurryUp! Your life visit the reFresh website. :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Time is precious...continued from FB

On Facebook I wrote the following....

"Time is so precious because there is a finite amount of it. There are only 24 hours in a day. We need to sleep and eat and drink water to survive. We work to provide for the food we eat and the places we sleep etc... We each need different amounts of sleep and different people take longer to eat than others. Introverts need time alone to recharge. Many other things pull at our allotted time.

The gift of our presence to others is so precious because we are giving them our time. I have been thinking about the quality of that time. Is it exhausted, depleted time i give to the ones I love? That does not seem right to me. I want to give the best of myself to those I love.  ... this is becoming longer than I intended... read on at"

So here we are.

I remember a former roommate who would give her best self to the customers she served during the day at work. Upon returning to our home, she was the depleted and most unkind version of herself. We are dear friends and we worked through that years ago... but it has left me thinking of what I offer to those I love the most.

It does not seem loving or kind for me to give my best to everyone else in the day and then the left overs to my roommate, my boyfriend, my mom, etc...

What do you think? I know I am not alone in this challenge. How do you give quality time, patience and kindness to those you love? ...especially when you have had a long day at work?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Supporting non profits with your holiday shopping

Holiday shopping or any online shopping actually...

So if you read my last musings you know that I am working part time for a non profit called the Media Foundation.Click here: Media Foundation for their website.

They help non-profits to meet their operating costs by the donations of DVDs, Video Games, CDs and Books.


As you probably have seen before, When you make a purchase on Amazon through this link Amazon (same as the one on the right of this page)  a small percentage of your purchase is sent to reFresh which helps us do ministry.

I had an idea the other day... If you use the Amazon link... and you are looking for DVDs, Video Games, CDs or Books... you could come across the Media Foundation seller Broadband Era. Purchasing through them gives the rest of your purchase price to help other non profits (those listed on the Media Foundation site.

I personally am inspecting, improving, listing, packaging and sending items for the Media Foundation. It would be so joyful to me to see I am sending you a package! :)

Just a thought... your online shopping money could all go to help non profits. Amazing!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

some writings

I found some writing I did over 10 years ago. I am amazed at the consistency of my soul's longing for God. Back then, I found myself looking at how much my desire to do for God did not always make me feel close to God. I think this poem/song reflects that struggle.. from 2004. .. maybe earlier.

My desire Lord, is to be like You
I want to serve You in all I do
I want my life to be a testimony of Your love
I desire Lord, to be like You

You have made it all so simple
All I have to do is pursue You
My Creator and my King
All I have to do is follow after You

I don’t understand why I turn from Your truth
Why I live my life in tears
But I know that if I only ask 
You will forgive my doubts and my fears

So I raise my hands up to You and I pray
Make my life worthy of You
Be in control of everything I do
Walk beside me and always guide me
Keep me always in Your hand

When I fall, help me stand
Raise my eyes to You again
Fasten my heart on Your mercy
Permeate my soul with Your joy
Walk beside me and always guide me

Keep me always in Your hand

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Birthdays and Intentional living

This month there are at least 5 significant people in my life who have birthdays. 
Adopted Dad Barry-Oct 3
Boyfriend Robert-Oct 5
Dear friend Bekah-Oct 12
My Uncle Bill-mid Oct...
Brother Matthew-Oct 19
Dear Friends Tori and Cindy-Oct 23

and the list goes on...  

This month of October and the month of May hold the most birthdays. 
I tend to ponder on birthdays how amazing it is that we have life.

Each year brings with it new challenges and new opportunities to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. 
I find myself grateful for life and the the people still celebrating birthdays here on earth. 

I have been pondering life a lot these days and the challenge it can be to live intentionally. 
To intentionally use my time and talents to be who God has called me to be. 

This means I need to spend intentional time discovering who God is and who he is calling me to be. 

One thing that is beautiful to me is that God is God the same always and forever. And we are all unique although human. Whom He is calling each of us to be is unique.

Do you marvel at this gift of life and seek how to live intentionally? 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

7th Year Rhythm of Rest

reFresh is in the middle of our 7th year of ministry and we have been practicing some Rhythms of Rest. You read about it when I wrote about our Mondays. You read about when I wrote about the Grotto... you can read more here: 

Now, it is easy to assume that we are taking a sabbath or that we are just not working for this year. Quite the contrary actually. :)

In following the instructions of Exodus 23...
We have taken a rest from the normal (the fields) of day retreats, one on one appointments, starting new ACT Journey retreats, etc... and have taken up (building the barns), practicing what we preach (developing rhythms of rest) developing resources and developing funding for us to do the ministry of reFresh.

We are seeing God poise us for exciting things in the coming year as we seek to remain faithful to where and how He calls us.

I have to admit, It is a challenge to practice what we are preaching and to keep a rhythm of rest. But we are committed to it. And I love seeing how God leads in these times.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Time with the Lord

When I spend time with Jesus, I find that I can focus if I am in a beautiful space. 

So if I am not able to be outside, or in an an architecturally or artistically beautiful space, I have a folder of pictures I have taken over the years of these spaces. 

Here are some of them. 
 My grandparents hands about six months before grandma died. The history and love displayed in their hands... 

 Lemon trees!!!
 friend Claudia's wedding flowers in the UK
 Amazing flooring in Italy
 Budapest, Hungary
 St. Andrews, Scotland
South Wales... Dr. Who fans... this is an important beach 
 I don't remember... but they are stunning
 Mt. Hood, Oregon
Coventry, UK

Saturday, 9 August 2014

This then is how you should pray:

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him...

This then is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.

    Give us this day our daily bread.

 And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    And do not bring us to the time of trial,
        but rescue us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:8-13
I am reading a book by Matthew Kelly. In quoting C.S. Lewis's Screwtape letters he leads the readers into the need for silence in our lives. The diabolical plan of the senior devil is to help the junior devil learn that just creating so much noise in the world that man can no longer hear the voice of God in his life will do the trick. (I love when authors and writings I love are used in newer materials)

"This diabolical plan to fill our lives with noise is pure genius for its simplicity. And countering it requires the same simplicity. The more time you spend in silence, the more clearly you will hear the voice of God in your life."

Kelly then goes on to encourage us to ask this question. "Does this lead me closer to God or further from God? We can ask this question after we hear a song, watch a show, have a conversation...

I learned to ask  these types of questions from childhood... but the need for silence and solitude to listen to the Lord is something that has become of paramount importance in my life over the past 10 years.

When I first began practicing times of silence and quiet... it was painful. my mind wandered. I would read words on a page even such as the Lord's prayer and they would not sink in. But over the years of practice... I am learning to just be with the Lord in the silence. To hear His still small voice that calls me to be the me He is creating me to be. It is quite a journey!

And so when I pray ...Our Father... who is in HEAVEN!  oh how holy is your name!... I connect with these words more deeply.

But it is work to quiet the noise around me. To quiet the music, tv, words of others... takes practice and effort. I am continuing to learn.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Giving and Receiving

I had an experience this past week that has given me pause to ponder my reactions.

The situation:

A service that I am using has an option for low income clients to pay a lower price (with some stipulations, of course)
I knew this from reading their materials.

As I have watched my financial support dwindle since my return to the USA, I also watched my modest savings account dwindle as I am committed to paying bills and not going into debt. Now, I have enough life experience and training to know that a savings account is very important... especially when life throws you a curve ball. I have been grateful for that savings account.

So this past week I found that I could pay my bills, but I did not have the funds to put gas in my car or to purchase groceries. I am watching God work that out as He always does... and I also knew I needed to ask this service about the option for low income clients.

As the service ended on Monday, I wrote a check and asked that it not be cashed until after the 5th. The provider asked me if that was difficult and if I had read all the material provided? Did I see the part about low income?

yes. I did see it. yes. I meant to ask. yes. with tears in my eyes I realised that my being able to have enough to also give to others has brought me great joy! and I am facing the reality that I may not be able to do that for a while. that breaks my heart!

The provider helped me walk through this and I left pondering how my pride in being able to DO is being knocked down. Yes it is more blessed to give than to receive but if pride keeps me from receiving... that is not from the Lord.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Monday, Monday, Monday

From a post on Yahoo:

"The average person will see about 4,040 Mondays in their lifetime. And outside of the few short years before you start school and the time you spend on vacation, or retired, Mondays are the most hated days on the planet. Of course, if you love your job, this doesn't have to be the case, but unfortunately, a sizable chunk of the workforce does in fact, hate their job. This simple truth has given rise to a plethora of Monday songs, most of which speak negatively about the day."

The author then goes on to list the top 10 Mondays are bad songs. 

As a reFresh team, we have committed to taking 1 day a week, 1 week/weekend a month and 1 month a year to be reFreshed in order to minister more fully the rest of the time. You can read more about it here:

So, Mondays are the days I have been trying to set aside each week. I don't dread Mondays. I look forward to extended times with the Lord, I look forward to rest. And as the year goes on, I am discovering that no Monday looks alike. As I begin the day giving it to the Lord and committing to follow where He leads, it is an adventure. Sometimes with tears, but always with a deepening rest for my soul. As the day unfolds, I call whomever comes to mind and I have been so blessed to see how God is leading me. 

So today is Monday and I am looking at what the day could hold. 

Do you take a day/half a day/an hour even? To intentionally settle your heart before the Lord and rest in Him, to be with Him? If you want help knowing how to do this, please ask me or look at our reFresh site. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

blog changes

I have made some changes to the tabs above. Check them out! :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

All is Yours

One of the books we at reFresh recommend is called "Pilgrimage of a Soul" I am reading it and loving it. 

This quote from St. Ignatious of Loyola is in chapter 3. 

"Take O Lord and receive
All my liberty, my memory,
My understanding and my entire will
All that I have and possess
You have given all to me
To you O Lord I return it
All is yours
Dispose of it all according to your will
Give me your love and grace
For this is sufficient for me" 
-St. Ignatius of Loyola

I love the writings of St Ignatious. During some of my darkest times in life, his writings and the Psalms helped me lean into Jesus. There is something so beautiful about the writings/thoughts of someone who has walked through the lowest valleys and came out loving God more deeply. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Peace be with you.

The Disciples were locked away for fear of what the Jews would do to them... and Jesus appeared in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."  (John 20) 

Can you imagine? 
As I listened to this yesterday, I found myself imagining what it would be like to be one of those disciples- fearful and huddled together.  And then to see Jesus in the midst and the words He says are "Peace be with you." 

We are promised His peace throughout scriptures. 
Peace that is not understandable by the world. 

This is the kind of peace that empowers me to leave the locked rooms of my fears. 
It is the kind of peace that empowers you to leave the locked rooms of your fears. 


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

don't be a duck if you are a frog

I am reading a book by Matthew Kelly called, Rediscover Catholicism.  Many things have struck me as I read it. I find myself saying "yes" and "amen" a lot as he helps catholics learn what it means to live with passion and purpose.

This was in what I read today:

"God calls each of us to holiness. He invites us to be truly ourselves. This call to holiness is in response to our deep desire for happiness. We cry out to God, saying show us how to find the happiness our hearts are hungry for, and God replies, Walk with me, be all I created you to be, become the best version of yourself. It is a natural and logical conclusion that we will never find happiness if we are not ourselves. Imagine if a bird tried to be a fish, or if a tree tried to be a cloud. No matter how hard a bird tried to be a fish, it would never succeed. The challenge life presents to each of us is to become truly ourselves--not the self we have imagined or fantasized about, not the self that our friends want us to be, not the self our ego would have us be, but the self God has ordained us to be from before we were in our mother's womb."

how many of us are comfortable being the us that God ordained us to be from the beginning of time? I am finding myself continually seeking to come back to who God has made me to be in the midst of the changes and transitions in my life.

God is good.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Grotto

 A day with the Lord at the Grotto.
The last time I was at the Grotto (on Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR) was while I was in choir during high school. It was many years ago. 

I am continually amazed at what happens when I deliberately spend time with the Lord. I wrote about it in my latest Musings, but here are some photos. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My Roommate Tiana

As some of you know, my roommate is Tiana Weaver. 
I met Tiana over 10 years ago when she came to the college group at Good Shepherd. 

Since then, she has done extensive missions work in Lithuania, North Africa and... well... you can ask her about her experiences. :) 

Anyway, She is amazing and since her two years in Lithuania.. over five years ago... She has had a heart to return there long term. 

She joined staff with Cru and is currently searching for ministry partners to give financially and to pray fervently for her.  She is eager to continue relationships with Lithuanians she already knows and to dive into new relationships as she shares the hope that Christ brings. 

Please, would you pray about joining her ministry team? If you have questions, want to set up a time to meet her, or want to tell her you want to join her team: tiana.weaver at  

Here you can go to here online giving page: 

Here is a link to her most recent prayer update: Traversing Tales with Tiana

Saturday, 12 April 2014

relationships are hard work

I realise that for most of you reading this, the post title is a "duh" statement. But I feel the need to ponder it for this post.

Every type of relationship with another human being is hard work.

With my siblings, I know we come from the same place... the same environment... mostly the same really emotionally and physically and mentally hard things. We learned together about how to be in a variety of situations.

Since we have not lived together for over 20 years now, we have adopted ways of doing things and ways of living that are not always how we were raised. And because we are each unique... even the basics of me being female and them being male... and the birth order of me being youngest, one being middle and one being youngest... there are a myriad of life experiences that are unique to each of us and a plethora of relationships with others that have shaped us to be who we are today.

With my friends, some of us were raised very similarly (values, church, free time, etc...) and some of us were not raised similarly at all. But we have found common bonds and common hearts to keep us connected as friends even over thousands of miles.

With all these relationships, I find myself looking for the balance of interdependency. A healthy dependence and independence. knowing I am needed and knowing I need the other. But also knowing I am quite complete in myself with the Lord.  It is not an easy balance. It takes hard work.

As seasons come and go with friendships and as my siblings and I grow and shift and change, and as I enter into deeper romantic relationship, I am finding it imperative to give selflessly, to love unconditionally, to speak truth boldly, to walk confidently in who God has made me to be but not at the expense of others.

It is hard work to admit I am wrong and it is hard work to draw into relationships when things are challenging, but if that relationship is important enough, I will work through the the hard stuff. I will not run away and I will not cling. I will strive to stand firm in love and truth.

relationships are hard work. but so worth that work.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

another step in the process

Sometimes this adjustment back to my home culture is harder than it seems it "should" be. 
I arrived back in the USA feeling like a foreigner. 

I have figured out how to: 
  • get a working mobile phone
  • set up my home utilities
  • given up my German driving license (which allowed me to drive anywhere in the EU) for my Oregon driving license
  • drive more slowly on highways
  • drive to the shops
  • buy groceries for more than 2 days
  • tip wait staff
  • get around Portland.. well... somewhat
  • get exercise 
  • change the way I eat since what I ate overseas is the expensive stuff here

I just today canceled the VOIP phone service I used overseas. Another step in the process of feeling like the USA is "home"
... but in reality... 
Nowhere in this world is my home. My home is Heaven. I long for that kind of home where belonging is easy. 

Friday, 28 March 2014

40 days

Lent is 40 days long. I say it again... loooooong. If you have chosen to abstain from something for Lent this year, or have done so in the past, you probably understand why I say this.

I can maintain anything for a couple weeks. It is a challenge to continue being intentional about this observance of Lent for 40 days plus the Sabbath days. March 5-April 20.

I have been pondering how long 40 days feels. I am pondering how 40 days played out in the Scriptures

Noah and the Ark-40 days and 40 nights
Moses when he was getting the 10 commandments-40 days and 40 nights
The 12 who went down to spy on Canaan- 40 days
Goliath went and took his stand for 40 days before David came along
After being strengthened by the Lord, Elijah went 40 days to Horeb (the Mountain of the Lord)
Nineveh had 40 days to repent after Jonah talked to them.
Jesus himself was 40 days in the wilderness
After His resurrection Jesus appeared for 40 days speaking of the Kingdom of God

I have only given up watching TV shows at home. But I am learned how long 40 days really is. Big changes happen in 40 days. Massively important aha moments with God happen in 40 days.

Today is day 21 of the Lenten time. In our reFresh UnHurry Up into Easter, Lenten Pilgrimage we are asked to spend time with this verse: O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts... Ps. 95:7-8

hmmm... listening to His voice. Each of the 40 days listed above have something to do with listening to the Lord's voice. Oh may I really listen during this Lenten season.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Try as I might, I can't make it right

Yesterday I gave myself about 45 mins to get to an Ash Wednesday service in Vancouver, WA. I was departing from a place that in normal conditions would take 13 mins for the trip. 

I thought I had made provisions and I thought I would even be early. 

As I sat in traffic, with no foreseeable out, (1.5hours to go 70 blocks) I began to tear up with the frustration of it all. 

I don't like being late
I don't want my boyfriend to worry about me
I don't want to seem disrespectful to the church or the service

All that time gave me space to think and pray, along with good reminders from my boyfriend to relax and that God still loves me...

I realized that try as I may to make things work last night, the circumstances were out of my hands. I could do nothing to change the rain, wind, traffic. 

Oh to remember, especially in this Lent season, how amazing that God sent His Son to die for our sins. Nothing we could do, would make it right. God had to make it right. 

The service ended at 6:30 and I arrived at 6:15 and was blessed by those 15 mins. 

So grateful for God's grace and sacrifice. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Unhurryup!™ into Easter

Easter seems to sneak up on me most years. 
Suddenly the shops are full of plastic eggs and stuffed rabbits, pastel colours and fake grass
Outside the trees are showing blossoms and the spring flowers are showing their colours

All of creation seems to point towards the most amazing thing that God has done for us

On the 3rd day He rose again from the grave! 

Oh glorious day!!!!

In the time leading up to Easter, I want to walk with intention. 
I want to ponder the amazingness of God's love and the sacrifice for our sins. 

I am excited to join in the 
Unhurryup!™ into Easter Lenten Pilgrimage
which Paula Gamble, my boss, has put together.

Last year, about 300 people from all over the world joined in this pilgrimage together.
You can read their responses and more about the email or pdf versions of this pilgrimage at

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Ordinary Time

In the churches that follow the traditional church calendar.. The time between Christmas Time and the time of Lent is called Ordinary Time. 

I find this interesting... so I have done some looking into it...

Wikipedia states: "In this context, the English name "Ordinary" translates the Latin termordinalis and is used because the weeks are numbered in a series"

Ordinary Time is celebrated in two segments: 

From the Monday following the Baptism of Our Lord (about January 12th) up to Ash Wednesday (March 5th this year); 
From Pentecost Monday (early June) to the First Sunday of Advent (Nov 30th this year).

The thing is... there is nothing ordinary about life when we are following Jesus Christ. 

I love the distinct seasons to reflect, remember and ponder the amazing gift it was for God the Father to send His only Son to earth to experience the life of a human being and to die for our sins on the cross thereby ending the need for animal sacrifices and securing our ability to spend eternity in heaven. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

common sense

I am listening/watching the breaking news about the snow in Oregon right now. A phrase that is said over and over is to "use common sense". 

The problem with common sense is when it is not common. 

Common Sense for one person varies from Common Sense for another person 
based on their culture and experience.

Common Sense tells me that our bodies are not made to 
go, go, go, go, go, go, go... 
but that rather we need to stop and rest from time to time. 

God created a Sabbath day for us because we need to rest. 
We need to stop in the going and just be for a time. 

I guess there is a difference between having common sense and using common sense.... 

How often do you use common sense? 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Day reFresh

Matthew 11:28-30 (Amp)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
Do you feel a need to have your soul eased and refreshed? That is what a Day reFresh retreat is like. We vary the scripture and the methods, but the focus is to come to the Lord whose yoke is wholesome and whose burden is light.
It was delightful today to spend time with others who invested in themselves today by coming away for time with the Lord.
the next two Day reFresh retreats:
March 19th
May 7th
Sign up on the reFresh website:
I LOVE my job! 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Day of reFresh

Next Wednesday, I am excited to co-lead a day reFresh retreat. 
It brings my heart delight to help others be free to listen to the Lord. 

I find myself wondering how many people who follow Christ would be comfortable spending a day with Him. 
Would you? 
Would you find it peaceful to intentionally spend a whole day with the Lord? 

  • listen to worship music
  • read your Bible
  • sit in quiet after asking the Lord if He wants to show you something
  • follow a guided meditation
  • walk or run without headphones and see what you hear
  • eat a meal being very conscious of how God provides nourishment for your body.

When I was on staff with Cru, we were given a day with the Lord each month. 
A day out of the noise and battle of ministry to recharge with Jesus. 

Now I get to help others learn how to listen to the Lord and have time with Him to refresh their souls. Oh how blessed am I? 
and how much more do I need those days to keep my eyes on Jesus 
who is the author and perfecter of my faith. 
...and the author and perfecter of your faith.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Pondering this quote today

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  
I do not know the road ahead of me.... 
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following you does not mean that I am actually doing so.  
But I believe that the desire to please does in fact please you.  
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  
And I know if I do this, you will lead me by the right road.  
Therefore, I will trust you always though I seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  
I will not fear, for you are ever with me."    

--Thomas Merton

As I trust in the Lord to provide for the places in which He guides me.  I will not fear, or be overcome by anxiety.. He is pleased with my desires to trust and to please Him.

Monday, 6 January 2014

looking back...

Today I have had some time to go through some more boxes. I found old journals and writings.

I posted one on Facebook if you want to look at it.

I find that the beating of my heart is the same after almost 15 years.

"when all I can do is look up
when all I want to do is give up
when I can't see and end to my pain
I call on Your Holy Name."

"You pick me up when I fall
You hear my voice when I call
You are my life
You are my my all."

"On my knees or in my car
You are praised for who You are.
In a crowd or all alone
You are my joy, my peace, my home"

"My hands I raise to lift Your name
My lips I use to speak Your praise
because I want my soul to know that You are forever the same."