“I feel bad.”


It’s late and I should be sleeping, but there are just moments in life that ask to be written about.

Tonight was a Brighter Tomorrows night. Those who know me know this is my favorite night of life, every single time it happens. Those who don’t know me now know that it’s my favorite. Moving on.

We had 37 kids RSVP. That’s amazing to me. I don’t want kids to have cancer, but if they do have cancer, I do want them to come to Brighter Tomorrows to play games with us, to laugh with us, and to have summer camp with us once every month.

One conversation (among the many that are seriously the most inspirational things in life) tonight struck me and just keeps playing over and over again in my head. That’s why I am writing and not sleeping.

There is a 7 year old boy with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. I know most of his story because I’ve read it, met his family, talked with others who know him. But he doesn’t know that. He just thinks I know him for him. So we’re making some crafts and I mention that he still has his port accessed (most of the time kids don’t leave with a line in if they are just going for chemo) and I ask him why that is. He tells me that it’s for radiation and goes on to explain the burns that he has from it.

He rolls down the edge of his comfy pants, and I see the red line where that burn starts. I ask him casually if it hurts (because to him, cancer is casual and a part of life…I remember) and he says “Nope, not at all.” I’m sure at some points it does because his skin is all a deep, deep red and has a rough look to it, but he gave me the right now answer which is technically what I asked for. (Kids are amazing and I love them.) Then I go on to explain to him that I had cancer as well. I explain my leg and why I didn’t need any radiation and why he does but how we are similar. And then he listens and he and his brother start asking questions.

“Do you have a scar?”
“Yes, one here and here and here.”
“How did they hook it back on?”
“With a plate and screws.”
“So you have metal on you?”
“Well, sort of. Technically I have metal in me.”
“Does that hurt?”
“Nope, not at all, and it keeps my leg on there safely.”

We giggle.

He persists…

“Does it hurt to wear your leg?”
“Nope, it’s made just for me.”
“So your foot is just in there like that, huh?”
“Yes, just like you’re doing it!”
“Wait, so you lost your hair!?”
“I sure did.”

He stops.

“I feel so bad,” he says.

I tell him not to. He tells me he feels bad for me. I tell him I’m okay and everything is good and life is great. He insists that he feels bad for me.

Life is about perspective, my friends. Look without yourself.

…because love wins.

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Every day is wedding day.


Today, I want to make mention of these people – who have stood by us in great times, bizarre times, and hard times. Who make us laugh, bring purpose to our lives, and who we could not be ourselves without. These are words for them:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

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…because love wins.

Christmas – when there’s no peace in your world.


I plenty of Christmas shopping this year. I had a great time, filling my cart with gifts for some of my closest and best friends and relatives. I also spent a lot of time in between my shopping watching other people. People were sad, or crabby. Or looked so stressed. And so I thought I would write a little about that.

The Christmas that I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy probably was the best Christmas my family has ever had. It probably should have been the worst one, but I was blessed with parents who knew how to make us a family no matter where we are. We didn’t have a lot of presents because our money went into medical bills. And we didn’t have a way to make a Christmas dinner, because we were in a hospital. But we had each other.

For many years from my teens through college, I was depressed. I guess I didn’t know that I was – I was just so tired all the time. But there were quite a few Christmas days when I was not the happiest camper. In fact, plenty where I was just sad – there wasn’t a reason. But those weren’t bad holiday memories either. Because I had my family.

This year, I’m not depressed, I have bouncing, happy kids in my family. Everyone is alive. And we’re together. And that matters. Yeah, there are gifts, but no one ever remembers what they unwrapped – they remember how they felt.

As a Christian, it’s really easy to remember our family and friends in our Christmas celebrations. But what about the people who don’t feel like celebrating? What about the people who just lost a child to cancer? What about the person who is mentally ill who’s been abandoned? Can we take our peace to those places, or do we close our eyes and look away, because there’s no joy on earth where there’s deep sorrow and grief? What about the people who aren’t together with anyone? Christmas for blog

Maybe you’re that person – who isn’t feeling the peace on earth this Christmas and you don’t feel comfortable just showing up to church. It’s okay. You don’t have to be anything more than you are. Just like Love came to the earth to bring us all peace, I hope that you know that there are people who think of you – and who may just show up on  your doorstep with cookies and ask if they can stay awhile.

Maybe you’re the person stressed buying gifts. Maybe it’s time to get rid of gifts, and start being the gift. I promise your stress will quickly become peace. Because no matter what, peace did come to earth. And because of that, we’ll never have to be without someone who loves us so.

Merry Christmas, dear friends. Merry Christmas.

…because love wins.

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Why you need to call your mom and dad.


I spend a lot of time thinking about the end of early life compared to those around me.

Stubbed my toe? I’ll be in Heaven someday. This is okay.
Someone isn’t kind to me? They probably need a hug. Life is short.
Family needs help? Yes. Just yes. Life is short.
Someone picks on me? Doesn’t matter – the earth won’t matter at some point.
I’m tired? Still need to call my mom and dad.

When I was in the second grade, I heard three words that changed everything about me. “You have cancer.”

We weren’t a super exceptional family. We played together and argued and laughed. We ate dinner together and tried to give each other the space we needed to function. My sister and I were little – growing. Needing love. Mom and dad were older, but still needing love. We were by no means perfect.

Then cancer happened. And I changed. But so did the other three people who fought alongside me. My sister was my best friend, and she knows that, because she still is. But my mom and dad were my brain, and my comfort, and my hope.

I weighed somewhere around 50 lbs when I started my 49 weeks of chemotherapy. I was always so exhausted from the treatment that I often had a hard time waking up in the middle of the night. That paired with having fluids pumped into me all day every day made a lot of room for wet beds.

I would roll over, “Mommy, (who was sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable couch) I had an accident.” She was exhausted, but she loved me. And these are the moments when someone knows what real love is. She changed my clothes and moved my IV pole over to her bed where I went back to sleep. The nurses could have changed the bedding, but my mom always insisted upon doing it.

My dad spent the night with me on the weekends. He was strong enough to carry me, so every night he would set an alarm to wake me up to take me to the bathroom to prevent having an accident. I was frail, and sick, and he would gently wake me up, carry me into the bathroom which he kept dimly lit, and take care of me. Then he would carry me back and we’d drift back to our hospital sleep.

And that’s why you need to call your mom and dad. Because no matter what you think they did wrong, they did stuff. They took care of you, changed your diapers, worked to feed you, and honestly, kept you alive this long. That’s a lot of work.

I hate seeing my parents grow older. Cancer taught us to call each other. I talk to my mom at least 3 times each day. Because you know what? Life is supposed to be like that. We’re supposed to be obsessed with each other and want to talk to each other. Someone should know what we’re eating for lunch and it shouldn’t have to be on facebook.

And I hate seeing them grow older because I know that unlike most people my age, I won’t have to worry about if we were close enough. I’ll know that we were, because I won’t know how to move forward without my best of best friends to share each day with.

Think about it next time you’re worried about yourself before your parents. Then pick up the phone and ask them how they are.

…because love wins.

I’m a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome.


Ask my parents who my closest friends have been my entire life, and they’ll tell you it has always been them, my sister, and boys. Not in a weird always-crushing-and-being-a-hopeless-romantic kind of way, but in a hiking and biking and dancing and building and drama-isn’t-really-my-thing, and never has been kind of way.

Enter the year 2013. My best friend is a guy. Here we are.

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And, I’m a Christian.

Scandal.

Haha. I’m just kidding. But, only a little bit. I cannot even begin to express how hounded I have been by others in the church who were quick to ask me if my friend and I were dating, and when I said that we weren’t, be sure to tell me that it looked like we were. Duh. Hanging out with anyone can look like that these days. And they have always been sure to make sure they can make me feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, and that being best friends with the opposite sex is basically the seed of Satan. I wish I was exaggerating. No matter how good the “intention” may be, it’s not always good.

This entire post will make a point, but let’s start here. Gossip is gossip, even if you’re asking someone about their personal life and you’re a Christian. Is it your place to know? Are you even a close enough friend to ask? Should you respond with any sort of opinion without listening? Have you been in this place before, and do you know the deep hearts of the parties involved? Those are pretty important questions to ask. Because I assure you, if you don’t listen to me, nor seek to understand, I won’t be coming to you to speak anymore. And I’m not the only one.

The point is, be careful. And the other point is, don’t assume that others are always living in sin. It is possible that two people enjoy the same hobbies, and seek the same Lord, and have been able to live true siblingship in Christ. And it’s also possible that we could all learn a thing or 12 from that.

Now, moving on. I do know that opposite sex friendships are kind of a scary thing for most Christians, because we’ve all been (at least if we’re past our teens), in a place to be hurt by someone of the opposite sex. But this is where I take a stand. I don’t think that Jesus said that the girls were to stand on one side of the room and the boys were to stand in another room, just to make sure we don’t slip into adultery. No, just like every other sin, Jesus tells us to be alert. But He also tells us He’s overcome. So, if you’re wondering how exactly you can have a best friend who you don’t intend to marry, check out these helpful points.

There are definitely challenges that come with opposite sex friendships.

1) Hormones. Hello, I’m 23. And my best friend is 24. We’re basically hormonal animals. We never know when we’re going to be attracted to someone and we rarely know if we should actually act on what we feel. It’s likely that, if spending enough time with someone in a place, the idea of connecting on a romantic level will cross your mind 1 or 50 times. And, that’s normal. What matters then, is what you do with that. We’ll get to how to manage that further down.

2) Later relationships. Yup, if you’re best friends with someone, it’s not okay to later date them because they are about to like someone else and that might leave you with less time with them. Jesus is in control of that, and you’re not meant to marry everyone. Sit tight and be siblings. It’s actually a lot of fun, and if you continue to listen to Jesus, it’ll probably be more incredible as the years go on.

3) Society. Have you listened to pop music lately? If you have, and it’s the only thing you’d ever heard, you would assume that everyone is drunk, high, and having sex always. If you have only heard Miley Cyrus, you would assume that it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE to stop doing things that are bad for your person. Cuz that’s what the song says, and it must be true, right? Wrong. That’s not real life. We’ll get to that too.

Now, how do we deal with those?

1) Seek the Lord with a pure and open heart on your own. There is nothing quite like needing to have a pure heart that will continually push you to Christ. I love my best friend. He’s a big brother to me, and as 1 Corinthians says, love protects. If I really am seeking Christ in our relationship, I would always aim to protect his heart. I wouldn’t do things that I know will cause him to stumble, and he would protect me, doing the same. That’s love. And that leads to us knowing Christ more fully.

2) Communicate. I know, this seems simple, but that’s most of Satan’s hold in our lives. If he can keep us from speaking with each other and holding our lives out in the light, then we are going to be fumbling around in the dark with each other. And I can promise you, that’ll lead to a mess in more ways than one. Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. If you’re nervous about something, talk about it. Read the Bible. Apply truth. Don’t listen to your fear, and trust that in Christ, we actually can speak about all things.

3) Seek Christ together. I know that we can have non-Christian relationships like this, but I also know that without something to seek together, people run out of hobbies and make one another their hobbies really, really fast. Do not do that. If you’re not seeking Christ together, there’s a serious problem (in any relationship really). Do you care about this person? Then point them to Christ. And the reality is that they probably will do the same. My best friend and I worship and pray and encourage our friends together. We speak honestly and openly, and point out each other’s sin. And we feel so alive in that.

Now, why are these relationships worth it?

1) The Bible says so. Galatians 6:10 – “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. “That means boys and girls. And we’re in the same family, under the same Father. Brother and sister. And that means that there must be some value in having fellowship with another in the body of Christ, no matter what gender they are.

2) There is a lot to learn from the opposite sex. A ton, in fact. Have questions about how you should be treated? Need to know if you should or shouldn’t date someone? There’s a good chance that the opposite sex (if they’re using their Biblical wisdom), will be able to guide you in that. And there’s an even better chance that they can help you heal from pain from that past. They shouldn’t fill a void, but they should be able to help you make sense of pain.

3) It’s a lot of fun. To find someone who understands you, and who is understood by you, is a wonderful thing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have other friends (Most healthy relationships do have many other sources of energy…even if you’re married to your best friend.) but that doesn’t mean that you have to only have friends who are of the same sex because you’re afraid of the stumbling that it could lead to. I laugh a lot. And so does he. Because there are things that, as a female, I can think more solidly about than my friend can, and he himself can think more solidly about than I.

Of course, these relationships take some awareness, but so do friends who are of the same gender. Anyone can cause others to stumble. Even in sexual ways. The point is, eyes on Christ. Soak up Christ. Let Christ love you, and protect each other’s hearts. Maybe you’ll get married someday, but you were meant to be brother and sister before anything else. And for now, that’s all you have to be. At worst case, you and your future spouse have another best friend in the body of Christ forever.

Oh, and Jesus uses love. Always, and forever. Don’t stop Him.

And that’s awesome. 🙂

…because love wins.

PS: Join us in our newest ministry together: http://www.Facebook.com/LivingLikeJesus7

Say what you need to say.


ImageSome of the greatest mistakes that I have ever seen others make come from being silent when they need to speak. Today, I went on a drive by myself. I watched a deer jump around and then the sunset after that. I thought through the richness of my most recent conversations: 

“He just got his feeding tube. He’s not a big fan of it.” 
“Can I hold your hand?” 
“I always dreamed of something like this.” 
“I cannot believe this is happening.” 
“Will you be my best friend?” 

And then I thought about what would have happened in the lives of these people had we not spoken. They wouldn’t know me, and I wouldn’t know them. When they or I leave the earth, we wouldn’t have last words to share. We wouldn’t have changed each other’s hearts. 

I’ve lost quite a few friends. And the things that were most important (and remain the most important) are the moments of rawness. The tears, the Gospel, the serious ache. The “I’m sorry.” and “I forgive you.” The “That’s annoying.” and “That’s funny.” And the teary eyed conversations that end in prayer and laughter. 

The gist is this. Fear is easy. Love is hard. 

Let yourself always say the kind things that you need to say. You’ll be so happy you did. And so will everyone else. 

…because love wins. 

Let yourself be loved.


Today, after a long day at work, a busy day of non-profit work, and just general exhaustion, I had a crabby conversation with a new friend. I wasn’t rational, really. Just exhausted and you know, doing that “the sky is falling” stuff that we do when we’re tired. (It’s clear in moments like these why babies have such a hard time without naps, but that’s another matter all in itself.) And what did he do? Just stopped me, listened, and then reminded me to breathe. 

Then, another friend popped up and did the same thing. And it was really quite refreshing. Nothing catastrophic was happening, and that’s the thing. It’s most important to see what one’s friends will do when there is something non-earth shattering that needs helping. Will they attend to your scrape, or will they let it go uncovered? 

My friends notice. They help. They are beautiful, wonderful, people, even if I’m not always the best friend and I’m still a human. And I would trust them in a major situation when I was really hurt, because they do a great job taking care of my scrapes. 

So blessed. 

….because love wins.

Don’t ever let go.



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There are things in this life that were never meant to be gone. Sunsets. Ice cream cones. Funny pictures. Green grass. Lemonade. Sprinklers. Softball games. People. And apparently the show Survivor, but we won’t go there right now.

As I sit in my room in what still feels like a new city to me, I remember things to which I am not willing to say goodbye. They replay like I think they should on nights like this. Not sad, just…not here. Giggles in the solarium. Bike gangs. Sunsets on Garvin. Prayer. Deep, real, feeling. Sore hearts and many amateur photographers becoming famous. Laughing about how we have no idea what’s going on. (Like we do now…but we’re just not laughing in the same room.) The sunrise. Breathe. Maid of Honor wedding time. Walking into a house and knowing everyone…all over the city. Tears and laughter. And moments of divorce with parents and the way we were all together all the time.

It’s not that I can’t let go or move on or love what I have here, but it’s that I do not believe we were meant to say goodbye to things which once gave us such joy. Stay together. Make phone calls. Cry if you have to. Go to your new jobs and be “adults”. Laugh with new people and cry with new people and talk about the old ones forever.

But just don’t ever let go.

…because love wins.