Tuesday, February 4, 2014


As I look at this picture of my daughter and I, I am reminded of God's grace in my life. I see joy when I look at this picture. I see light and legacy. I am so thankful to be a mother. Partly because I have one of the greatest mothers to look up to. Her character is sought after and hard to find in this world that we live in today. Meek, kind, selfless. She has these qualities and so many more. Today, is National Cancer Awareness Day. As much as I want to bring awareness to this disease and help people realize that it's real and it happens, I also want you to know that we can just be still. We can know that God has everything planned and has a purpose for everything. Even in the darkest suffering sides of cancer. We need only be still.
Romans 12:12 says Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer. In the midst of this tribulation of Cancer (Which it is! It is pure tribulation! It WRECKS your world!) I can rejoice because whatever the outcome I know I will spend eternity dancing and worshiping my savior alongside of my mom. (which is a pretty cool thing to imagine because I have never seen her dance, but I know she will in heaven!) He has given me this awesome thing called prayer where I can constantly go before his throne and lay all of my burdens down. I can cry and yell and tell him how horrible this disease is! I can ask him for strength, I can ask him to heal her and give me more time with her. I am really not sure how you get through this life without a hope and assurance like that. I started trucking along on my journey of rediscovering who God is making me to be 15 days ago. A journey of becoming a healthier woman. A journey of showing my kids that life is hard, but you have to keep trying to push through the hard parts of life even though it seems like there is no point sometimes. There is so much more life to live when you are pouring out into others and making their lives better. Take time to pray today for those who are fighting. For those who have lost a loved one to this disease, I pray that you would be comforted by the ultimate comforter today. For the ones that are watching someone suffer and you are walking beside them, be still and know that He is able. If you are in the trenches and fighting this battle, I pray that you would find a strength that is beyond this world's comprehension and that you know He has you in the palm of his hands. Peace and God's grace to you. ~Joelle

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shane's Article: It's easy to hate from afar.....

It’s easy to hate from afar, and it’s so common for us as human beings to be critical and closed off to what we do not know, what we haven’t experienced, and things we haven’t entered into. As a leader, I have the frequent privilege to serve and influence on several different platforms. I have learned, and I am certainly still in the process of learning how to value and appreciate those things I do not ‘know’. The older I get the more I realize how guilty I have been through the years of ‘hating from afar’ and being critically judgmental of what I do not know. As a part of development as a leader I constantly try to put myself around new people, into new environments and trying, as much as possible; to take on new challenges. This has an amazing way of broadening our perspective, and it certainly reinforces the truth that life is about relationships – and the quality of a person’s relationships is the determining factor in the quality of their leadership. I wanted to take a few minutes to share one of those recent challenges, joining CrossFit. Growing up I was a wrestler, in college I got into strength training and more recently I dabbled in high-intensity strength training. I remember vividly a few years back speaking negatively of CrossFit based on articles I had read, people who did it, and the primary fact being, I was ‘far’ from it. So, through a series of events I challenged myself to enter in, hesitantly, I signed up for one month of CrossFit. I stepped into this new environment, an environment outside my element, and one that, quite frankly intimidated me. I’ve met new people, people outside of my normal sphere of influence, people who were, as it seemed, very different from me. Very quickly my reluctant, hesitant perspective was transformed into excitement and anticipation of the possibilities of what could be. Yet, the most infectious component of my change in perspective was the dynamic community of people. Despite these great things, I also knew from past experience that the ‘honeymoon effect’ would eventually wear off……right? Well, I’m approaching my 1 year mark and I’m all in, but why? There are a lot of reasons, but 2 things in particular jump out at me, and both reasons are wrapped around the leaders, the owners….the coaches. The first is the deep appreciation and respect our coaches have for the robust community of health and fitness and the second is the environment they create, an environment of continuous learning, growth and development. A Deep Appreciation for the Robust Community of Health & Fitness The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. It optimizes fitness through constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. So by nature CrossFit is going to span across many training regimens and will attract all types of athletes. Therefore by its very design it embraces or ‘enters into’ just about every kind of quality fitness program…and the foundation of everything is proper nutrition. All of this combined is where a true sense of appreciation derives from and is propounded upon every day. In my first year I have been privy to a running clinic, Yoga instruction, nutrition seminars, Olympic lifting training, classes focus specifically on mobility, counsel from certified chiropractors, leadership development breakouts and several community outreach events collaborating around health, fitness and caring for people. The CrossFit leaders I know spend the bulk of their time finding ways to create a synergistic community in order to promote personal wellness not trying to tear down other workout routines in an effort to claim superiority. That’s what great leaders do! An Environment of Continuous Learning, Growth & Development. Great leaders are who they say they are. Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of authentic leaders and they always manage to create a positive, attractive energy. What has been astounding to me as much as anything is how humble the leadership team is. Humility is the most attractive quality in human beings. Humility is best displayed when people, especially leaders take the role of student or learner. These coaches are constantly surveying and studying the fitness world, networking with specialists locally and abroad in specific areas (Olympic Lifting, Yoga, Running, etc.) and of course, CrossFit itself is constantly offering regional training seminars to enhance the quality of their brand and the knowledge of their coaches. It’s impressive! I actually read something recently where someone said the problem with CrossFit is that trainers are certified in a weekend and then given the power to run classes. That’s certainly one perspective and one that I have not been able to solidify anywhere I’ve been. The culture of CrossFit is to always be learning, growing, developing – this is what keeps a person sharp and energized about what they do. As I close in on the completion of my first year I have constantly listened to outsiders speak of the safety of CrossFit. I have really grown to appreciate those who show concern here and mean well by speaking of poor technique, lack of oversight, or pushing people beyond their capabilities. They are correct, when you go this hard and push your body to this level of intensity these are legitimate concerns for sure. I have been injury free through my first year and almost everything I learned through this year was new to me. I thought to myself, maybe I just have great coaches where I attend, certainly that is true, but I have found ingrained into the culture of CrossFit something else equally as powerful. Safety. Technique is paramount and performing particularly skilled lifts is especially overseen. New members, regardless of their fitness background receive a three hour introduction class and are offered modified workouts every single day while they learn the more advanced movements or movements that could, if done improperly, cause injury. This notion of ‘going to hard’ or ‘going beyond what your body can handle’ or ‘being pushed too hard’ – I cannot speak generally or for anyone on this. For me, as I think about my life it’s in the midst of these types of settings that I grow the most, that I push aside obstacles and overcome my prior failures. This challenging environment is absolutely necessary for me, and is most of the reason why I get up at 5am and feel awesome taking on the day ahead. I don’t think I’m alone here but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t imagine working out any other way, I’m also certain I wouldn’t have made the strength/speed/mobility/conditioning gains I’ve made either. Are there CrossFit gyms out there that fail the safety test? Absolutely. Are there CrossFit gyms led by weak leaders? Absolutely. Are there videos of members or groups of members using poor technique? Absolutely. Don’t go to these gyms! When you’ve grown as fast as CrossFit has, and established over 7,000 gyms, there will undoubtedly be ‘bad apples’ – the good news is, you don’t have to settle for that. Those few gyms do not represent CrossFit, unless of course YOU want them to represent CrossFit. Remember, it’s easy to hate from afar. If we want to, we can view CrossFit in light of its weak points (‘those gyms’) or we could turn on ESPN, the ‘World Wide Leader in Sports’ and enjoy the fittest athletes on earth. I didn’t intend to write this to persuade people’s perspective about CrossFit but as you can see experience plays such a profound part in how you see the world around you. We’re all influence by things every day, primarily we’re changed most by the relationships we’re engaged in. Life is all about relationships. I used CrossFit because I was guilty initially before I joined it of criticizing it and I found myself guilty again of seeing it as superior to something else. I realized this when I actually got emotionally high-jacked from reading an article that deeply criticized CrossFit. I immediately started to think in my mind of ways to defend, to strike back, to return the ‘blow’. But thankfully, I quickly caught myself and remembered how easy it is to hate from afar. I realized people will see what they want to see and not only that I needed to find it within me to seek to understand the position others are coming from. In most cases, there is something there to value and appreciate; there is usually always something there to learn from. The best leaders are the best learners; they admit humbly that they don’t know everything. As a matter of fact they admit that there’s a lot they do not know, even in their area of expertise. I want to strive to lead this way, to influence others this way. I am by nature a critical person so I need to be internally optimistic and the best way to exude that is to be a servant leader who is aggressively learning and seeking to understand the best ways to grow the relationships around me. ~Shane

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 1: Clinging

Day 1-Clinging to this promise: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 Today marks my highest weight ever. Don't know how it got out of control so fast. I guess it was the the holiday parties and getting used to eating out. Going to Starbucks to get my favorite coffee whenever I felt the need quickly became the norm and my body and healthy eating habits became a memory. In the winter, you can hide a lot under your layers of clothes. You talk yourself into whatever you want with the same darn excuses day after day. I was still working out, but I was telling myself that I was doing enough to eat how I wanted, but it just didn't work. So, today I started a new journey in so many ways. One that will push me to the limits and test my courage and strength. I will see my mom endure treatment for the ravenous disease called cancer. Radiation. I say endure because I just can't think about her having to go through anything so harsh. She shouldn't have to do this. I will ask my Savior to help me be strong for her. She is the strongest yet most gentle woman I have ever known. I will eat better and use my knowledge of nutrition to try and fight it in my own life. I'm not doing this to look good anymore. I'm not staying fit for "bikini season." I need to fight for my life and my families life. My goal in this is to build others up and encourage them as they find their way to a healthier life. This is day 1.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Thoughts from a scatterbrained Mom

ATTENTION: Please do not read this if you are a grammatical genius and base my intelligence on my grammar skills. I will tell you right now you will find numerous flaws. :) Blogging, journaling, jotting down crazy thoughts that run through my brain on a daily basis is good for this scatterbrained mommy. It gets my perspective right and keeps me focused. Lately, I have really been wanting to get back into this because I know the people that really care will read and pray for me accordingly. It is also a way that I get my feelings out and on paper so to speak and maybe help others realize that life is not perfect. Life is full of joy at times and sometimes there is going to be pain. Although one might look like they have it all together the answer is.... they just don't! No one does! You can't will yourself to have it all together. I don't care how many quotes from Ghandi about being centered and being positive you post sometimes it is just not going to happen. Cancer happens, death happens, disabilities happen. We live in a fallen world and we are broken people. If we were left there in that brokenness though it would be a sad and depressing world. We aren't left there! Praise God! We don't have to question God. When I do find myself crying out to him and asking the Holy Spirit always points me back to the hope that I have in Christ. I have a hope that will not fade. When Cancer or the suffering comes and I know it will I know that Christ has conquered it all for me and I can live out of that hope. I don't have to be in despair that my child is slower than the average 8 year old or that he will need special help with the simplest of tasks. No, I can have hope that that before the foundations of the world he knew my Caleb and knew I would be his mommy. He knew I would be patient and "just right" for him. :) So when the questions come about why did you put him on medication or why this or why that? I know that I can have confidence that I am doing what is best for Caleb and God has given Shane and I authority to act in his best interest. Just an FYI....It's annoying when people think they are giving helpful advice and ends up being very hurtful...if you have never had a child that is suffering from ADHD, ADD or on any form of Autism spectrum I don't need to know what you "think" about the medication aspect. Praying and listening is the best form of advice anyone can give. I will praise you, O lord with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1&2

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Even as a 5 year old I wanted to be perfect. I can vividly remember sitting on the schoolbus and thinking to myself "I'm going to be really good today...I want to be perfect...I dont want to be bad." I wish I could sit down next to that curly haired-crazy girl put my arm around her and whisper in her ear..."Oh but you are. You're are His princess..his prized possesion because of His son Jesus."

But even today I am still competing with those thoughts of perfection. "if I go to church today will he love me more?" "if I teach this study I am far better off than that person" "I read my bible today I can check that box off." Those thoughts are so common yet so wrong. It is is not far fetched to say that we are all built this way..."If I do this I can get this"..."If I walk down this aisle and write my name on a card I can receive my get out of hell free card" I grew up with this way of thinking. I am so thankful for the church I grew up in. I love the fact that I learned the name Jesus from that church. I took away beautiful friendships from that church, but what I didn't take away from that church is that I couldn't earn my salvation.
As a 32 year old woman looking back on my life so far I wouldn't change a thing because it is my story. God's sovereign plan for me. His plan for me continues... The first thing revealed to me was that the ten commandments were not just a bunch of rules that YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW... He lived the life we couldnt live, died the death we should have died, and arose defeating death so that when the Father looks at us He sees perfection! I'm perfect in Christ and declared righteous because of His work on the cross. Romans 3:21-30. That makes me take a deep breath and let out a BIG sigh of relief. It isn't about me...never was. As humans it is so hard for us to let go of the mindset of working and giving God a big list of things we did on the day we stand before him. Matthew 7:22
When we live in accordance to His will we will in fact do those things and not even know it. Matthew 25:35.
Does this mean we are sinless once we understand the fullness of what Christ did for us? No! Does this mean that we can just sin because God will always see us as perfect and forgive us? Paul says may it never be! The ten commandments-the law of God reveals our sin and shows us our need for a savior. It magnifies the life of Christ and our need for relationship with Him.
Romans 7:7-25 We still live in the flesh, but come to God confessing/realizing the depth and darkness of our sin in turn asking God to mortify that sin. This is called repentance. Turning away from our sin and looking to Christ for strength to overcome it.
More good news...therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Paul goes on to say while here on planet earth we will always be confronted with our sinful nature-God promises here that we can overcome our sinful nature because of the spirit of Christ in us! How awesome is that?? So I can say with confidence to that 5 year old little girl on the schoolbus... yes, there are going to be some bumps in the road and some heartache. You will not make wise decisions, but always remember that you are constantly being perfected in Him. You are his treasure.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maple Syrup Kisses

As my 6 year old, Caleb, swung his arms around me this morning and planted a giant maple syrup kiss on my cheek I was quickly reminded that I am blessed right where I am.
When I was 20 and three months into my beautiful new marriage I found out that I wouldn't be having drinks on my 21st Birthday like all my other friends. Instead, my hunky new husband and I would be indeed picking out names for the arrival of my firstborn. While all of my friends were off at college I remember thinking OK this is it. This is what I have waited my whole life for. Not to get a degree in fill in the blank....No, I was going to become a mommy. As a little girl I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. These were the choices I would make on career day...Nurse and Teacher. As I think back to those days it brings me so much JOY to know that God was designing me to be the VERY thing He created me for...Mother. I get grumpy sometimes (a lot) and get in the ruts of life where I just want to complain about everything. But today when Caleb put his arms around me and I smelled the aroma of the maple syrup it made me giggle and smile. No, I do not have a college degree and I am not the most eloquent writer or speaker, but I am very thankful that my God would love me so much to give me a husband who takes care of me and guides me in the Truth; that He loves me and gives me these three blessings to teach and be a nurse to everyday. Treasuring these special moments and tucking them away to bring out on a rainy day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Pilgrims Journey

Every year during the thanksgiving season I am amazed and in awe of the Pilgrims and their journey to the New World. It was hard, rough and there was great loss. I often wonder if I would have been on that boat if I had been born in the 1600's. Their vision was clear and distinct. They wanted to be able to carry out the first commandment with freedom. To love their God with their whole heart. Being told when and where to do so just wasn't working for them. I hope I would be so bold.
As I was teaching the kids this week about their journey I asked them to draw what they would have taken on the boat. They drew things such as their doggies, water, blankets, pillows. As I looked at their drawing it really didn't dawn on me till later that they left one key item off of their drawings. The Bible. It made me realize our depravity and that we missed the point on the lesson of the Pilgrims. I can't blame the kids or even get mad at them for forgetting the Bible. They learn by example so somewhere I have fallen short, but God is good and gracious and is constantly TEACHING Shane and I. Do I treasure the Word of God like my life depended on it? I need to remind them (and me) that it is not just a book of rules that a mean and high pompous being created to make us mad. It is LIFE. And in it are the treasures and jewels of breathing in this life. I need to be on my knees asking the Lord to show me the way to teach my children the necessity of scripture. In this day and age it is very hard to disconnect from the distractions of life. Computers, Wii's, ipods, etc, but I am learning that in each era there was some type of distraction it is just going to get harder and harder to keep the eye on the prize. How do we as parents today do this? I know two things are key. I just need help reminding myself to put it into practice...Prayer and the Word. As John Piper says "the breath of the Christians life is prayer without it we will suffocate." I am going to be asking the Lord to help me and my family be pilgrims. To be able to stand up for what we believe and always seek the Cross for refuge and strength.
Praise God the pilgrims had focus. They also had the Holy spirit guiding them and they trusted the Word of God. Pilgrims were not perfect by any means, but they had great determination because they were constantly seeking His righteousness and knew they could not live under such a rule any longer. So, when I reteach the story of the Pilgrims and Indians today it is not going to be about a "happy peaceful feast." I will be teaching that their was sorrow, pain, and loss, but they trusted God remembered why they left England in the first place.
The word of God, prayer, and the spirit kept their eye on the prize as it should us today. I pray that you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving and that you will be amazed by our High and Holy King who loves us and adores us because of Christ! This is the greatest gift to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Be blessed!