Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

Team Building

This past Tuesday, the Staff Team met at Pastor Mark’s home for our weekly staff meeting over a fantastic breakfast.  After our regular meeting we went on to our next event… 4 wheeling.

What a fantastic time!  How great was it to see a team of The Journey North Pastors and myself go flying down trails into Pillager to a great coffee shop called Shante.  I highly recommend this stop, great atmosphere, gift items, and coffee and treat selections.  We enjoyed a little time there and then back on the trail again. 

I really enjoyed seeing us all out of our regular day to day roles.  I am a big believer in doing things like this to get to know each other better as a team, as well as friends.  We then went back to Mark’s house to conclude our event.  The weather was perfect!  It was a lot of fun (even my minor wipe out…) 


November 14, 2007 Posted by | TJN kibbles and bits | 1 Comment

Monday Monday Morning Mind Dump

  • I am still pumped up about the Revolve Tour from this past weekend (see previous Blog for the details of that event and pictures!)
  • Last Wednesday I won (I WON!!!) a game of cribbage against Al. Do the dance, do the dance… I hear Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ song in my head… Al of course now says the game is stupid and won’t play anymore… ha ha (just kidding we played again last night and I lost , just like old times…)
  • The Warriors won on Friday night! They will be playing this Thursday evening at the Metrodome. Now I have to figure our how to get Justin there and back safely. (Always the Mom…)
  • I am currently reading 4 books at one time – my Fiction Book Club read, The Power of the Spirit for our staff discussion, 9 Things You Must do by Henry Cloud, and Sharing a Laugh by The Women of Faith Team. There is a method to my madness… I read 9 Things You Must Do in the morning while I am getting ready to go, Sharing a Laugh I keep in the car for times I am trapped in traffic, waiting in the bank/fast food line, and the other two depends on my mood – learning or light reading…
  • This week will be a smorgasboard of activities that I will try to participate in
  • I am trying to have lunch or coffee with at least one person a week I need to catch up with. For the last two week I have been able to do this, I am prayerful that I can continue this
  • Brett and I will do our second Podcast for the e newsletter today.
  • This Sunday we will be serving a noon meal at the Soup Kitchen. Chance and I are helping out.
  • This week 2 families that we love dearly are having going away parties as they are moving. This could be a tough week of bittersweet moments.
  • Looks as though I may be 4 wheeling this week. more on that in the days to follow (you will need to check back)
  • The ARK is working!  Tasks are being completed for those in our community!  My heart soars!

November 12, 2007 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Monday Morning Mind Dump


We are back! Ten of us from The Journey North drove to Minneapolis on Friday afternoon to be part of the Revolve Conference. Revolve is the Teenage Girl version of Women of Faith.

So our five youth: Mari, Johanna, Asha, Jackie, and Rebecca… and 5 adults: Elizabeth, Suzette, Karen, Jennifer, and myself had the privledge of listening to great music live from Hawk Nelson, KJ 52, Natalie Grant and Ayeisha Woods. We also listened to Chad Eastham talk about The Truth About Guys’. The girls taught us that with Orbit gum, you can eat the wrapper on the gum. At least, I hope that is true… because they told me it was… and I did it. (The peer pressure was ENORMOUS!)

The event was fantastic starting at 7 pm on Friday evening and ending Saturday at 4 pm. I have to smile to myself when I think about learning Hip Hop moves not only with the youth girls but with the adult girls – Suzette, Elizabeth, Karen, and Jennifer.

Thank you Jennifer for lining up this event for our girls! High five!!!

November 11, 2007 Posted by | TJN kibbles and bits | Comments Off on Revolve!


b.jpgThere it was this morning… on my back deck.  All white and trying to look cute, but I was not fooled.  I blinked.  Blinked again.  Rubbed my eyes and peaked through the cracks in my fingers.  Snow.  My arch enemy.  My cryptonite that weakens me and draws me into my home for a season… the winter season. 

I know it is inevitable… I mean, we do live in Minnesota after all… home of the snowmobiling frenzy and the yearly Ice Fishing Extravaganza.  It is shoveling and slippery roads.  It is dig out my coat and find my mittens cold.  It is windows up in the car and heat blasting me in the face cold. 

But to me… a green Christmas would be ideal. (After all isn’t green the new pink?)  Picture it… grilling the turkey on the deck while family and friends play yard games like horse shoes and volleyball.  We would open gifts that evening around a campfire, singing Christmas songs while we roasted marshmallows and sucked on candy canes.  Chestnuts roasting on an open grill….

Ok… I’ll let it go.  There are a lot more snow fans in this area then there are the anti-snow people like me.  So once again I will put on a happy face, a strong outward appearance, and big boots.  My attitude will be positively delightful as I look for my window scraper.  Yay… snow.

November 9, 2007 Posted by | Insane Moments | 5 Comments

God’s House

I was recently reading a book by Luci Swindoll and she was speaking about a home that she built recently and dedicated that home to God. What an idea – and even more, what an awesome way to look at our homes.

Creating an “open door policy” when it comes to sharing our lives, and our homes, intrigues me. This is like a shift in how we think about the blessings that God has given us. Those blessings include our home. I know people who live this out. They amaze me. Their door is always open to stop by to talk, laugh, or cry. They always have on a fresh pot of coffee and some sort of goodie to go with it. I am more the “home is my down time girl”… relaxing with a book, popcorn and a movie…

Then I take this thought of God’s House, and apply it to small groups. By saying yes to open your home to a small group of people to share your life, isn’t that yes to the God’s House idea? Think of the possibilities – a neighbor over for coffee, offering your home for a meeting, get togethers, potlucks… God’s House.

You know…. I really like the sound of that.

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on God’s House

Thursday Thumbs Up

a1.jpgThis weeks tribute is a real winner. Probably one of the best movies of all time for me. Shawshank Redemption.

Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940’s, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner.

This movie really spoke volumes to me. Andy is a great character who truly is not a bad guy, just in a bad situation. Andy is a great example of making the best out of what you have. With Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as Redd… this is a movie you can watch again and again. I highly recommend if you have not seen this movie to rent it one of these cool pre-winter evenings.

  • Best quote: Andy Dufresne: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they’re gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.

  • Red: Well, I’ll be … Did I say you were good? You’re a Rembrandt!

  • Andy Dufresne: Yeah. The funny thing is – on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

November 8, 2007 Posted by | movies and popcorn and candy ... oh my! | 1 Comment

Do Not Miss The Dance

The Dance

This song really speaks to me. The first time I heard it was on June 6th, 1997. I remember this because it was a year to the day of the accident that took my mom and step dad’s life.
This song was dedicated to them on the radio as a memory. I had never heard it before and it touched my heart. Still does.
This song reminds me that no matter what each of us is carrying in the loss of a friendship, a loved one…God has a plan.
Listen to the words. Really listen: I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.
If we had known what was coming – the loss, the pain, would we have treated these people in our lives differently? Would we have handled our relationships with kid gloves – afraid of offending?
Each moment – each person is precious. Our time with them – we just never know how much we have been given. Be thankful for what we have and never miss a moment to let someone know that we care.
If that song would have been given to me to listen to around the time of the accident I would have been upset – what did they know? Of course if I would have known this was going to be the end result I would have chosen my time with them differently, spent more time, done more together, arranged my life so I wouldn’t have to be hurt… (think of the joy I would have also missed out on.)
Truth is – we have the time that God has given us and we, I, am thankful for having these precious people in my life for the time I did. What a gift. The memories are mine. Your memories are yours.
Live. Bring joy to those you have in your life – this my friends, is the Dance.

November 6, 2007 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on Do Not Miss The Dance

Monday Morning Mind Dump

  • Last week was a pretty good week… laughter and tears all in a 7 day package
  • I was able to have lunch with my friend Sarah, we hadn’t had this time to talk in months! It was so great to catch up!
  • Talked to Brad a bit on the phone – he cracks me up!
  • Justin’s 2nd newspaper came out for the school – he has three articles in it!
  • Had time to catch up with my Aunt Jackie
  • Coffee with Cathy on Friday of this past week was good quality catch up.
  • Saturday evening Al and I played cribbage over milk and cookies. (I still have not won…)
  • I had a “no commitment” weekend. They are so rare! I loved it! Read, slept, cleaned a bit, played a word game on the internet, watched a little Survivor (how funny was that!)
  • Chance and I had a “Top Secret Mission” Sunday afternoon. We went on a search for wings in the wild and quickly assassinated them. After that he had to decipher if we were going to pursue a martian or bees. The bees were selected so we were off to the Bee Movie. Good times, good times.
  • Payroll was captured and delivered to the accountant by email Sunday to take a little off of me on Monday.
  • The ARK is in motion… Tuesday evening the big plan will be revealed and go into action – yay Team Sarah and Json!
  • Sunday evening I planned chicken fajitas but for some odd reason really wanted steak…  guess fajitas will be on for Monday.
  • I am excited for Tuesdays Banquet recap meeting! What an incredible team we had this year!
  • Friday we leave for Revolve! I am pumped! (Oh you know there will be pictures!)
  • Brett and I tried a live podcast… we will see how that turns out. 
  • I missed last Thursdays “Thumbs Up Thursday” movie review. I felt maybe I had blogged enough already for the week…. like I have “Blogitis” or “Blog Pox” and thought maybe I should pace myself so I do not sprang a finger on my keyboard.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Just me | 1 Comment

The Last Day

Due to recent events in my life I have been thinking about my mom a lot.  This morning as I prepped for my day and I was about to hustle out of the bathroom, I noticed the sink should be wiped down.  I can do it later, I thought.  Then I thought, what if this is my last day and I am not coming back?

This is not the first time I have went through this scenario and I am almost a little hesitant to share this, yet I wonder if others think this too.

I remember coming into this house, mom’s house, for the first time after she had passed away.  I was the first one. The normalcy of the home… scattered magazines on the table, her favorite blanket on the couch.  A new lasagna in the refrigerator, probably for dinner that night.  Clothes on the line.  This was not the look of a home of someone who was not planning to come back.  Yet, I wonder what that morning was like for her as she prepared to go to work.  Did she hesitate before she left the house?  Did she give it one last look?  Was there an inkling of what was to come?

Then I come to the present and think of what would be found in my home if this was my last day.  Does it matter that I should have dusted this week?  Or thrown out that leftover pizza?  Could you analize my life by being that first one in my house?

God has told us that there will not be a last day – but a new begining.  I don’t believe He cares what my house looks like, but instead, what my soul looks like.  Perhaps lingering over a devotion or my Bible is more important than the shinyness of my counters.

I can pull up that memory of mom’s house that last day like it was yesterday.  I like remembering for whatever reason it brings me comfort. 

 I have definately been broken, but I know God has made me whole again.  I am who I am because of where I have been.  The valley has been dark, and at times the tears errupt out of the cracks on my once brokeness, but God has been with me every step of the way.

What if this was your last day… what is the current condition of your soul?  Are you ready?

November 3, 2007 Posted by | Devotion in motion | 5 Comments

Intentional Sleeping in Churches

Last night my dear friend Sandi and I once again had the unique opportunity to sleep in a church.  Previously, about three months ago, we stayed over at First Lutheran in Brainerd.  This time, we were at First Prespyterian. 

No, we are not church hopping looking for the ultimate nights sleep, nor are we planning our own reality show… nope – we were once again a part of the incredible Interfaith Hospitality Network for the homeless in Crow Wing County. 

This time we were with 5 families.  What a great blessing to get to know these people.  Kristi came over at 7 p.m. and offered haircuts to whoever wanted them and she wound up doing three cuts, a mom, a 3 year old, and a teenage girl. 

As I spent time witnessing this great program work, all all the amazing volunteers that are truly being Jesus’ hands and feet.. I have to pause and catch my breath.  Isn’t this the way it was meant to be? 

Overall, great night.  Sandi and I were both really tired when we went to our room at 10 p.m. yet giggled and talked until 12:30 a.m.  (You would think we would outgrow that…)

With permission from the mom, I was able to take this picture.


November 2, 2007 Posted by | Life thoughts | Comments Off on Intentional Sleeping in Churches