Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Power of a Name

I am in love with name meanings.  Do you know what your name means?  Both Mark and I have talked about how crazy our name meanings are - we've totally lived into them.

I like the idea of giving babies names that can be prayed into.  My name means, "consecrated to God", so my mama prayed that I would dedicate my life to the Lord.  I am praying for our friend's baby, Liam Isaac (see above), that he would grow to be a strong protector of the weak and less-fortunate, a protector of his family...that he would be full of joy and laughter, even in the midst of trials.

See how that works?  So wonderful.  

Think of how many times your name has been spoken over you throughout your lifetime.  How many times has truth and blessing been spoken over you, just by uttering your name?  I love how symbolic and prophetic names can be.  May we all be empowered in the knowledge of our names!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Pretty Sunny Party

Mom and Dad just finished spending some time vacaying in Florida.  For her party, I decided to bring some sunshine back to Iowa, yes, even in February.  Who says parties need to be seasonally appropriate?  It was delightful.  Well, the lemonade was a little too sour (see top left photo), but the REST was delightful. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Mom's Birthday

Yesterday, my mama turned 57.

Just kidding.  She is only 51.  

I'm spending time at home celebrating.  I think I've mentioned that birthdays are a big deal in my family, right?  

My mom is the craziest mom I know.  Some highlights include: 

  • Watching her try to wakeboard last summer.  Let's just say that even getting out of the boat and into the water was quite the adventure.
  • Skipping school to stay at home and have fun together.  Mom would tell the office we were "out of town" because we technically were.  We lived in the country.
  • Her grounding me from the curling iron when I sassed her.  It is awfully embarrassing to go to school with ugly hair in junior high.
  • Her reading Foxes Book of Martyrs to us around the dinner table for devotions.
  • Some crazy awesome theme parties.  She is queen of decorating for parties!
  • Feeding my college friends and I pop-tarts, all while reading the book I'll Love You Forever to us all.
  • Countless days digging through garage sales, thrift stores and garbage cans for cheap treasures.
  • Even more countless emergency bathroom stops (or should I say "squats"?).  When she has to "go", she HAS to GO.
  • Making up songs in the car about driving to grandma's house.  Ask me about our top hit "I've Got My Hand on My Buckle".
  • Decorating every apartment I've ever lived in with nickles and dimes.
  • Setting up tents in our living room and making "nests".
She is funny and silly and gets the giggles often.  She is always up for a dare and will probably never act her age.  She loves Jesus and made sure we all knew about Him at an early age.  She made being a stay-at-home mom seem cool.  She is artsy and creative and the life of the party.

Happy 58 years, Mom!

...oh, I mean 51.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Snow and Leadership

Sand and sun.  They're long gone.  We're in the middle of a snowstorm, folks.  I am not mad about the snow.  I have waited the whole season for a storm like this.  So, even though my wonderful prayer meeting is cancelled, and even though I had to drive an hour and a half through ice and slush and crazy semi trucks, I am loving the cozy and snuggly feeling that comes with big snow flakes, warm blankets and a cup of hot tea. After a day like today, I needed some down time.

In leading a ministry, there are many days that are joy-filled and delightful...full of the Lord's presence in a tangible and electric sort of way.  Today, though, was a day that felt heavy and confusing and a little overwhelming.  Am I really leading in the right direction?  Am I really hearing the Lord's voice?  Sometimes it is tough to have so many people looking at you for direction and for answers when you're not even sure of yourself some days.

Though my leadership is inconsistent and messy and full of mistakes, the Lord's leadership is perfect and good and right.  When I've veered off course, He's been so good about pulling me back onto the right path.  And, when I've messed up, the community I work with in ministry has been gracious and loving.  Praise God for His faithfulness.  Praise Him for instilling so much mercy in my ministry family.  I am blessed!

Thanks, Sara D., for a wonderful chat!  You were a bright spot in my day!  Thanks, Tawni, for your happy Facebook message.  You are the sweetest.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cute Packages

More ELLE JAY packages are on their way!  Did you know that everything from the shop comes in pretty packaging?  Presentation is important, folks.  

Join us in supporting Young Life Camp by purchasing some pretties from the ELLE JAY store!  Don't forget to message me before ordering if you live near me.  I delete all shipping costs!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Islands of Adventure

Another adventurous day began at Universal's Islands of Adventure..

My first taste of Butterbeer outside of the Hog's Head.  FYI - It's awesome.  Imagine Root Beer with butterscotch foam on the top!

Hogwarts as the sun started to go down.

Dr. Seuss!  I had One Fish memorized as a kid.  They even had Trufulla Trees and a Green Eggs and Ham food shop. 

Jurassic Park was kind of a let down.

Islandy scenery was delightful.

Lunch in an underwater cave. 

Our favorite ride with Poseidon! 

I did not take any decent pictures at the Super Hero Island.  I blame the Hulk roller coaster.  I almost lost my underwater cave lunch.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sea World

Mark and I were ready to attend a night of Young Life All Staff Conference general sessions on Wednesday.  Denny Ryberg, the YL president, took the stage and opened with four words: "We've got Sea World."  The park closed to the public, and we, with all of the Young Life staff from across the world had Sea World to ourselves.  It was awesome.  We saw the dolphins, Shamu, and Jeff Foxworthy came for the night's entertainment.  They even topped the night off with fireworks.  Only in Young Life!


Hollywood Studios

Young Life gave us a free day while we were at the conference in Florida.  We spent the day at Hollywood Studios!  We cruised through the Tower of Terror, Space Tours, the Little Mermaid musical, the Studio Backlot Tours, saw some car stunts, and met some Toy Story friends.  

Boba Fett and I.  

Toy Story friends!

Speeding through the forest moon of Endor.

An AT-AT almost stepped on me.

Mark had a Godzilla moment.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cute Earrings & Young Life Camp!

  Serenity Earrings

My wonderful friend, Kristin, at Treasures Untold made some beautiful earrings to donate to Young Life camp!  They are so cute.

100% of the money you spend on the earrings will go towards supporting high school kids in Sioux Falls going to a Young Life camp this summer.  We're set to go from July 17-24...this week will likely be the best week of their lives.  There's so much adventure and fun, and they will hear the message of God's love for them in terms they can understand.

Adults from Sioux Falls will attend camp with the high school students, so that they are able to deepen relationships that have started over this past year.  They'll experience the same things together, side-by-side, and then come home and continue to "do life" side-by-side in the future.  The high school students will come home having heard about Jesus in powerful ways and they will have a caring adult (or two!) ready to support, bless and encourage the kids through their years of adolescence.

Many of our kids won't be able to afford the cost of camp.  That's where you come in!  My friends and I are crafting for this special purpose, and YOU can spend a little extra cash for a special purpose.  Buy something pretty for yourself or for a friend and know that you've helped make it possible for one of our high school friends to experience the best week of their life.

Click on my Etsy shop on the right hand sidebar of this blog to view and purchase some pretties!  You can also view the shop here: 

Visit Timberwolf Lake Camp's website here:

PS - If you live in Sioux Center or Sioux Falls, message me at BEFORE you purchase anything.  I will set up a custom listing MINUS all postage costs!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Florida was great!  We joined about 4,000 other full-time Young Life staff from across the world at the Young Life All-Staff Conference in Orlando.  We traded in a foot of snow for palm trees, sun and 78 degree weather.

Our hotel.  Most of the staff stayed at the Marriot World Center, but we were part of the overflow in the Caribe.  It worked out well for us.  The Caribe was way less busy and chill.  And I liked their font.  So, I'm happen to be obsessed with fonts.  Oh well.

Mark showing off in the hotel lobby.  Hel-LO palm trees!

On the way to the Marriot to attend General Sessions.  We loved hearing from our buddies Francis Chan and Tim Keller.  

Every afternoon, we had free time.  We decided to be lazy losers and hang out by the pool every day.  I made a pretty big dent in Ted Dekker's book Green.  Heart.

 We were the obvious South Dakotans by the pool.  Fluorescent white skin and toenails UNpainted.  We rocked it.  I decided to edit the last couple of photos a bit to spare you from the fluorescent-ness.  You are so welcome!

 Mark is naturally crazy good looking.  I married up.  Praise the Lord!

More pics to come!


Friday, February 3, 2012

My Dad's Aeropuerto ...that means airport.

Did you know that I fly spray planes in my spare time?

Just kidding.

My dad is a pilot and airplane mechanic and runs his own aviation business.  He is a pretty cool guy.  

We grew up bringing our friends home for airplane rides, visiting aircraft museums, baking pilots cookies, watching huge National Guard Chinook helicopters land in our backyard, flying home from college, begging dad to turn really sharp in the airplane to give our tummies the roller-coaster feelings, quizzing each other on the Military Alphabet, and mowing around big yellow cones on our grass runway.  ...Not to mention all the fun times we had riding junk yard ATVs and duct taped cars and snowmobiles.  He is so handy.  We are proud of him.

Anyway, I have always wanted to fly with a fighter or aerobatics pilot to do barrel rolls and other fun things, but haven't had the guts or the willingness to shuck out the money yet...  I would have settled for flying with a spray plane, since they do exciting things, but they only have one seat.  Dang.

While I was home for a week, we visited my dad's airport and shop and, what do you know, he was fixing a spray plane.  I took the opportunity to snoop a bit.  Unfortunately, my dad would not clear me for takeoff.

I also realized that I wore my yellow scarf that day, which just happens to match the yellow plane.  Who knew I could be so accidentally stylish?
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