Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saying see you later!!!

When I look back on the last seven years as much as I am crying because my friends are leaving, I can't help but smile a million smiles.

I've loved a love that is incomparable to anything I ever thought possible. I've made a million memories. I thought about some of my favorite memories, how postcards in the mail make me smile. How three little boys grabbed a hold of my heart and stole it forever. How kids so broken by the world were healed by Jesus! Families were made whole.

Yes, it's hard to see my friends go to Colorado but it just means that we will have a great place to visit. One trip planned and another about to be booked :) it means reading over Facetime and making videos.

I can say that because of my friendship with two amazing people who turned into 5, I'm braver than I ever thought I'd be, closer to God than I ever knew possible, blessed beyond any human measurement. 

Yes it's hard... But it's not goodbye, it's see you later... 65 days and counting... 

Everyday no matter what.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What an amazing week!!

I've met a lot of amazing people here this week! 

So I love this neighborhood, though it might be possible that I have a false sense of security here this week ;)

I've been thinking about how hard it must be to take care of these houses. Sure, they are pretty inexpensive to buy, so even if someone could afford to buy them, if they were living on a fixed income it might be hard to fix them up or take care of the upkeep. 

So let's say you're someone living in one of these houses making $18 per hour (which equates to about $36k per year) that's really not that much. Before taxes that's $3000 per month, estimated $2000 per month after taxes. House payment even if it's only $500/month, food, utilities, phone bill, car, gasoline... It wouldn't take much to burn through that. And now you've got to put money aside to "someday" put on roof. Which by the way most people haven't been taught to put away for someday because they've been living hand to mouth their whole lives. And they need to take care of things now.

And that's where people who carry Jesus with them, step in. Bill hybel says "excellence honors God and inspires people" and I'll tell you, it's done just that. This community (not all of it but a lot of it) has gotten out with the volunteers and stepped alongside, we have served each other.  I have a friend I've known for a long time that lives over here and he's so happy with how things are cleaned up. He's volunteering himself.  My new friend Miss Ernestine has been out here everyday. Loving and inspiring, those around here and me. She's love in the flesh. She calls me "baby". She inspires me. And I hope one day to walk with her into church. 

This has been one of the best experiences of my life. Tomorrow is the last day and I have so much to write. 

I'll tell you, all my days, I'm thankful to be chosen by love. 

This girl, right here, she's the one God loves.

He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:27

Look at this school

How 5 people can impact my life and now I am doing

So the cat is now out of the bag as they say, my friend’s, the Dorband 5 are moving to Colorado.  I’ve known for a little while, 3 weeks or so, and I’ve held tight to this secret and now it seems a lot more real as people started to find out.

People called me as they found out, I think mainly because they knew I loved those 5. They would cry, and I’d put on a stupid brave face sometimes and sometimes I’d cry right along with them.  And sometimes they’d speak “Christianese” to me. They’d say some really stupid corny stuff that Christians tend to say when they don’t know what else to say but they want to sound Holy and trusting.  I don’t know, it’s dumb. I hate Christianese, especially if someone is talking to me. I just want to tell them to SHUT THE HELL UP.  Yesterday, someone who doesn’t even know me started that whole “it’s gonna be ok, God has a plan” stuff, and I just said “I’m sorry, this sucks, and I don’t speak Christianese”.

Everyone keeps asking me how I am doing.  I don’t know, I take each minute as it comes, and some of them I barely make it through, and some I joyfully sob through because I think I’m the luckiest girl on the planet because I got to be Auntie to 3 little boys who stole my heart at first thought. And I got to be friends with two people who truly are the most like Jesus I’ve ever met.  They have taught me how to love and to accept it. They have taught me how to give grace because I learned how to receive it. 

I’m thankful for years of serving with them.

When thinking about my favorite moments in Youth Ministry, the list is so long, I couldn’t pick just one.  And I can barely remember any yucky ones.  Isn’t that amazing?! 

Two people who believed in God’s love and grace who came to Downriver (I have no idea why anyone would come to the arm pit of Michigan – unless God called them) and changed lives, impacted them with love, these two are world changers and certainly changed my world.

By the time I get back from Haiti, they will be gone.  And I am sad.  That’s how I am doing. There might be moments when I just stand there and cry because my heart is completely broken, and moments when I laugh so hard thinking about these 5. They have touched my heart in ways I never thought possible.

So I’d like to end with this…

Yes, I know it’s going to be ok
Yes, I know God has a plan
Yes, I know I can go visit (my first plane ticket is already booked)
And yes, this sucks

I was the luckiest person on the planet to have loved them, and that won’t ever changed.

Dorband5, I loveyou every day, no matter what or where.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Its possible to make a difference!

It's been a crazy week so far! It's been down and it's been up! As I've been driving around, my heart is spinning. (I'm the runner for the groups)

I drove past St. Suzanne's church yesterday and thought about my gram. We used to go to church there when I was young. Funny how it seemed so big but it really wasn't as big as I remembered (I'm gonna see if I can go in there today or tomorrow).  I found the greatest school (ok so it doesn't have windows- but they say I'm a dreamer - but I'm not the only one). I've seen tons of houses that went from blight to beautiful. I've seen beautiful houses that id even move into. I've seen some id like to level and start over. 

This project is crazy amazing.  There is strength in numbers, the hearts of the people who are working and who are living there.

I gotta problem though. 

Don't I always?

I don't want to just come in and leave. And they have a one year plan. Which is so awesome! So what do I do? How do i plug into that? Logistically that is not easy. I live downriver and work in Troy. I felt so strongly in the last couple days that God has been saying "I know you love the waterfront but don't forget about here"

What does that mean?

I have no idea.

Like really.


That drives me crazy!

So as I drive around today, I'll pray.

I'm in love. I'm in love with Haiti and I'm in love with Detroit and I feel like it's an obtainable love.

But I don't believe that God gives us unattainable love. A cross, it joins the obtainable love in our hearts.

Not sure what God's got planned but I'm thankful He loves me and is a light to my path.

All things are possible with God. Matthew 19:26

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


It's a crazy thing.

I went to bed tired and crabby!!! Why? Because I was wet and cold and I let people steal my joy. And I might have been dehydrated.

It's true. I came home made one of my favorite things in the whole world. Roasted broccoli. Seriously it is one of my favorites. I relaxed and watched a movie and took a really hot bath, and felt better. I think I would have been way better had I had some ice cream.

It crazy rained last night. My heart is breaking for those with flooded basements. Finished or not it sucks. Even if it's clear water, it sucks. If it's raw sewage it sucks even worse.  And it's happening to everyone and there isn't anything anyone could have done to stop it. I woke up and normally the first thing i do is pee, but today I check my basement. Praise The Lord the basement is dry.

Thankful for food, friends, a warm, dry safe place to lay my head, thankful for a Savior who loves me.

I'm thankful for so much.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

That's hope

So tomorrow is the kick off of the Life Remodeled my second Detroit mission trip this year! I'm super pumped!!! 

Typically I spend most of my time in Detroit in southwest Detroit, though I really do love it all (I see the beauty) and hear the never dying heartbeat. And it's easy to love the waterfront and midtown but I challenge myself to look past the weeds and overgrown everything, in the fire ravaged homes, to the faces. To the faces of those who have been left abandoned, to the children who have been left to fend for themselves.  For those who have been victims to abuse and the cycle continues and they become the perpetrator, because they never see anything different.  I see the hope in the eyes of those left to fight for this city, fighting first on their knees in prayer. Oh Jesus, please come to them, all of them.

I drove down Joy Road today, a road I have traveled a lot of my life. My gram lived on West Chicago and Joy Road so that is the way we took to see her and my grampa. (I felt this crazy overwhelming desire to bring the fire station that I've driven by 6000 times ice cream, so I brought 3 half gallons, caramel, and waffle bowls)

It looks different and in some ways the same. The Dairy Queen is now a BBQ place. Herman gardens (the projects) is now torn down. You can see some history here:

The houses are smaller and some of them are sooooo cute. 

Shhhh.... Can you hear that? That's the sound of children playing in that park that's being cleaned. It's safe for them, and they are free to giggle and put down guard for just a minute to be free.  That's hope. 

Close your eyes.  See that teen who wants to be a nurse? She wants to care for those in her community. Her heart has compassion, and it hasn't been stripped by this ugly cruel world. That's hope.

See him? He's smart! He's gonna be an engineer. His mind never turns off, he wants to know how everything works. He's gonna do it!  Education and people breathing life into that young man. That's hope.

Remember the day when the fire truck visited the school and that little boy was Enamored by the shiny red fire truck? And the smile of the fire fighter who protects him? He's going  to do that someday.  That's hope.

And that beauty over there? She's gonna be a momma.  She's gonna be the safe place in the neighborhood for all the kids. She will be a great momma, the kind she always wanted.  That's hope.

That's hope. 

And this week, it's my small part in it. It's not much, but it's my offering. 

And dad, when you wonder why I want to move here, or why I love this city, it's because you gave me a safe place, and taught me to serve. So you, and Jesus, it's all your fault ;)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

It's important to brush your teeth

What do you think of when I mention toothpaste?

I think of many things... Like how I really only like one kind. Colgate. The plain kind. Not whitening, not brightening. The kind my gram used. As soon as i was in charge of buying toothpaste (I moved out), that's the kind I started buying.

Toothpaste also reminds me of a day on Pom mountain in Haiti. If I had to pick one of the best and worst days in my life, I would choose that day.  Truly it was a Romans 8:28 day in my life. 

You might have read or heard me tell this story. After a very long day. A long day of praising and giggling day, a day of seeing God's provision and in the same moment seeing there not being enough. I prayed that one pot of rice that in my mind wasn't enough to feed 50 needed to fill over 100 people. I prayed and pleaded with God for fishes and loaves (Luke 9:10-17). I'll tell you, it didn't look like enough. And we were one plate short and if you know me, you know I about lost my mind, my heart broke, and then this little boy shared his plate and then everyone ate.

Now I see God's provision, I see it but it made me so angry!!! I tried really hard not to cry. Somehow I made it to the truck but as soon as we started moving in the truck I started to cry. Big fat tears. If you've seen me, you know what I'm talking about. The poor translators, they kept saying "it's going to be ok" and I kept saying "no it won't". 

And then it happened. 

A little boy ate toothpaste. 

Yes, that's right.

He was hungry and he ate toothpaste.

That's it.

The ugly UGLY tears. The kind that Jesus uses. I tried to contain it, but that just wasn't going to happen. 

We finally got to the compound and I was able to get out of that truck.  And I got out. I walked. Me and Jude. And I just cried and talked about what I saw. And it wasn't ok. 

That day will never be ok in my life. It never will.

I was soooooooo mad at God.  I didn't understand and I'll never understand it. I know God let me witness it for some reason but it made me SO angry. In my life I've never shouted at God. I waited until the morning. In our quiet time together it was not quiet.

In that week, my life was forever changed. In that time God said to me "I'm sending you". Oh wait, me? Oh come on. 

But I'll tell you, I know I'm called to Haiti. For how long I don't know. But I know I'm called to care for those in Haiti. Maybe it's clothes, or relationships, maybe it's peanut butter and jelly. Maybe it's rice and beans, and maybe it's school and English. Maybe it's jump ropes and hugs, and smooches, and water.

This is what I know about Haiti and it's people 

Mwen toujou Renmen ou

I'll loveyou always 

I don't know the timing or what I'll do, because let's face it, I'M OUT OF MY ELEMENT!!!! It causes me to stay close, under the wings of the God of universe! 

Toothpaste reminds me that God sends us people in our lives who come along side us to walk with us, to pray for us, to support us.

It reminds me that God loves the beautiful people of Haiti and He loves me. 

I doubt I'll ever do something ginormous in my life, I'm called to small things for a big God. And I love that, may you never see me, may You always see Him.

In all things.

Even toothpaste.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Running and a favorite song!

I am going to train for a 5k, it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to doing, I actually really love running.  Going to start slow, and build up.  I’d love to do the ½ marathon in 2015.  I have a favorite playlist even though it’s kind of old because it’s been a while since I really ran seriously (stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, I’m lazy, and busy).  When I run, I have a few songs that I really LOVE, that totally get me pumped.
And some of my favorite songs are understandable you’d probably think “oh yeah that makes perfect sense” but there are probably songs that you might be surprised about.  And for the most part, I do listen to Christian music.   When I would run years ago, it was Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and Christina Aguilera and I’d love it, but when I started the Biggest Loser at church, I found that I could not run to it anymore, it was weird, I couldn’t find my groove in running.  So… I deleted a lot of songs off, and recruited help with some running songs.
So…  this song it’s my favorite…  it makes me crazy excited to run…

This song gets my pumped because even though I have to get past some of the language, it reminds me that the strength within me (from Jesus) can’t be stopped. That no matter what people say about me, I will keep going.  Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

I have participated in a half marathon (I did not run the whole thing!!) and have run up to 10 miles without stopping and all that training made me to believe I could do anything… but then I stopped… and then that takes me to a whole new mess of tornado of yuck I think about myself. And if I am honest a 5k doesn’t seem like much for me because I’ve run more than that.  And I never think that when other people run 5ks, so I am giving myself a little slack, and I am going to focus on doing 5ks well, and just taking small steps to make myself better, and to not beat myself up.

I love running and one of my goals was to complete a 5k (My goal was by May, but better late than never).  I might walk it with friends or run it, who knows, but the goal will be completed, and I will begin training tonight.  With my favorite song J