Rising Strong

Rising strong, 

He holds me still –
Like the sand,
The Ocean fills.
I’ve swum to shore,
I’ve drifted to sea –
And all the while,
He has asked me to Be.
Still in His Love,
Still in His Strength –
Even when I,
Cannot go the Length –
The length of great Faith,
The width of Love –
The depth of His wealth,
Hope’s Height from above.
And when I am weary,
With the length of this Way,
He speaks to me,
At the break of Day.
The hallways of Time,
Echo so bright –
The good and the bad,
Shine forth in His Light –
What has been, and
All that is Past –
I hand off to Him,
To hold what will last.
Last for my Future,
Endure for Tomorrow –
And, smiling I wave,
Goodbye to my Sorrows.
The scars remain,
And I’ll always recall –
The loves that changed me,
Their rise and their fall.
The fall of mistakes,
The rise to what’s Real –
The fall into Love,
The rising to Heal.
Into a person,
Seasoned and sown –
Wiser, today,
More vulnerable and known.
I look in the mirror,
And wonder just how,
These years have all passed,
And who I am now.
So much has changed,
And much more to come –
But He will remain,
Steadfast like the Sun.
And when others move on,
And my life feels behind –
I look back to remember,
His Goodness, I find.
People have asked,
Why I believe,
Why I have faith,
In this life, He has weaved –
Drawing these shades,
Sketching these stories –
Of love braving pain,
Of heartache to glory.
How could one ever,
Deny such a Gift?
That offers such bounty,
Not a finger, we lift.
To pay or to earn,
This freedom of Peace,
In His Arms, all our
Strivings, simply cease.
Outlandish it seems,
Too good to be true –
And yet it’s more real,
Than all that I knew.
Knew in my head,
Felt in my heart –
It doesn’t make sense,
Being whole, yet apart.
But walking this road,
Between faith and sense,
At some point, we must –
Jump off of the Fence.
To taste and to see,
The mystery of Good –
Beyond this one side,
Past where I’ve stood.
Our logic must go,
When hearing His voice,
Suddenly we realize,
He offers a Choice –
The choice to embrace,
More than we hold,
From our own making,
From all this world told.
And beyond the science,
Told by our books,
The story fits perfect,
When I dared to look.
To look and to savor,
Peace from my fears –
A Shepherd to guide me,
Through all of these years.
Someone I found,
At rock bottom, of Hell,
Empty of Hope,
My Soul, found this Well.
Deep as the ocean,
Full as the sky,
Quenching forever,
Past how and why.
He opened my hands,
He carried my Loss,
He showed me His heart,
Broke at the Cross.
So when I am weak,
And all words are lost –
I remember the One,
Who counted the cost.
To love me, forever,
To love me, in pain-
To love me, so boldly,
His death, my gain.
Still, I will wait,
Still, I will go –
Still, I will sing,
Through all these unknowns.


Rising strong, 

He holds me fast –
He whispers to me,
The first shall be last.
The first shall be last,
And finally the Day,
Will break through the dark,
And show me the Way.
The Way He has planned,
Up out of this Well,
And Glory, we’ll speak,
Of His Love, we will tell.
Our children will dance,
Our children we’ll Hold –
And someday these words,
To them will be Told.
So hold onto Hope,
For all that we long,
Falling too weak,
We’ll rise so strong.
Rising strong,
Into His glory –

Rising strong, 

He’ll tell the story.
The story He planned,
Down in the deep,
The things He reveals,
And the details He keeps.
And whatever He shines,
And whatever He shields –
I’ll trust His Hand,
His best to yield.


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The shadows of my fear,
Creep under the door –
I’ve felt them for so long,
Like cracks across the floor.

Phantoms of the night,
Companions of the day,
Sometimes I push back,
Sometimes I give way.

It dances round my soul,
I cannot catch my breath –
Teasing me too long,
It pulls me down, like death.

Then time stands still, my world –
My life and soul on hold,
I’m broken by these dreams,
That wrinkle and grow old.

The Sun, it rises,
But clouds still loom inside –
These Rays of faith are hidden,
By storms of love, that died.

But back behind the light,
This rock is cleft for me!
Strange treasures of the darkness,
I hide myself in Thee.

Unveiled, He see me clearly –
fully known and loved;
Unseen to all the world,
My tears, to Him, still shown.

Surely He has felt,
The fears, my heart, have beat –
My grief upon His shoulders,
I weep down at His feet.

There’s nothing left to lose,
For He lost all for me –
Resting in His love,
From my doubts, I’m freed.

Should my heart and flesh,
Fail to beat again,
In heaven they’ll be healed,
Redeemed, at journey’s end.

I dare not trust Earth’s frame,
Its portion never lasts;
But Christ, my solid anchor,
For future, present, past.

I’m finding now, in loss,
How sweet your hand in mine,
The breaks within my heart,
He’ll heal again in time.

Though the waves they crash,
And with them, former hopes –
I cry out and you throw,
More of faiths long rope.

Your thoughts just like the sand,
Much more than of my own –
Oh, the depth and riches,
This God, by whom I’m known.

Greater glories still,
Ahead, than I can see –
And what is left behind,
Will one day be redeemed.

Empty, Lord, I come,
Make me whole, today –
With eyes fixed firm on you,
Courage will make a way.

Your love is all I need,
To make my life complete –
The gospel is my story,
Faith, my greatest feat.

So fearing nothing now,
Nothing do I lack —
For we are not of those,
Who ever will shrink back.

We are those who live,
Believing in the God,
Who conquered Fear our foe,
Through Christ, His very Son.

If you are afraid,
Of what is yet to come –
Trust, my friend, forever,
In the life, for you, He’s won.

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Not in Vain

My title is not single,
My status is Redeemed.
Once bound to expectation,
I walk forward, Free.

Free to journey forward,
With open hands, I go.
Wherever He will call me,
The road, He’s already known.

Life so vastly different,
Than anything I’ve dreamed.
At times, so deeply lonely,
Too much to bear, it seemed.

I’ve loved and lived and lost,
Strove to be enough,
And over time I’ve found,
Perfection’s race is rough.

More than I can give,
Impossible to be,
And the less that I control,
The more Beauty that I see…

…in people and in life,
In giving, I cannot fake —
The blessing of forgetting,
Myself, however high the stakes.

Time has aged me, true,
And still, my Heart, it waits –
For the Best to come,
I know it won’t be late.

For the pieces I have lost,
Of self, in love, its wars –
They never were for nought,
They’ve always opened doors.

Love is never wasted,
My soul, my heart, its taught –
It marks us, yes, forever –
A gift, that can’t be bought.

So come now friends, believe –
That good still lies ahead,
Within His kingdom come,
To greater things we’re Wed.

I write for you my brothers –
I voice my cry, my friends –
His Call is the beginning,
Marriage, not the end.

The end of life’s long battle,
To feel complete and whole –
In Christ, we find our answers,
Security of soul.

Faith we daily seek,
His goodness, we must claim,
The Gospel is our proof –
That Love is not in vain.

Nothing here replaces,
His presence on our roads,
All we want and need,
He’s proven through unknowns.

And all I once held dear,
Must count as earthly loss,
For the sake of knowing,
My Savior at the Cross.

They say that all in time,
Proves beautiful and true –
Yes, my Savior, Jesus,
Is making all things new.

This pen I put to paper,
How can I not speak?
We each are reaching out,
For strength, when hopes are weak.

I can’t say all my dreams,
Will drop into my hands –
Yet with His promised presence,
Forever firm, I’ll stand.

If the surpassing worth,
Is knowing Him in glory,
We must count all as loss,
To advance God’s greater story.

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment


I saw him walking,
Down the road,
light shone ’round him,
Like an Angel’s glow.

The dawn had broken,
Night was gone –
And Jacob, my Brother,
Was limping along.

This man, had taken,
A blessing, you see,
Blind to my Father,
And stolen from me.

Jacob I loved,
His deed, Oh, I hated,
An inheritance lost,
For which I had waited.

How shrewd and persistent,
His brazen ambition;
Now again, I sensed,
A claim, He had won…

Indeed, he had wrestled,
Through night’s lonely hours,
A messenger from heaven,
gripped with God’s power.

Withdrawn, from all others,
Away in that place,
Jacob, strove,
With God, face to face.

The One who had said,
I will surely do you good —
Now tested His heart,
To believe that He would.

How audacious to claim,
From One’s very foe;
“Until you bless me,
I will not let you go!”

Yet in the struggle,
Brave through the fight,
Jacob prevailed,
Through the dark, into Light.

I don’t think he knew,
The pain that would come,
I don’t think he knew,
Great Faith, would be won.

Like Broken hips,
Limping, our souls,
In the battles,
We fight, the pain, and the pull.

The pull of Fear,
Upon our lives,
Will blessing come?
For hope, we strive.

Grip, grows weak,
The pain seems too great –
Yet, Clinging like Jacob,
For the blessing, we wait.

Morning will come,
The battle will break –
Don’t let go,
Great strength, it will take.

Hold onto hope,
Promises true –
Grace means,
He’s holding you, too.

More broken, you’ll leave,
But not having failed –
Victorious like Jacob,
Blessings will prevail.

Wrestle, then, my friend –
Shrink back, not, to fear –
The morning will come,
Your place, will be clear.

Good things come,
To those who wait –
Onward, He’ll move you,
It won’t be too late.

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Hello again, Africa

This is my story. A bit re-told. Perhaps, redundant. But mostly, re-ignited.


It’s been so long so I’ve written on my blog. My inbox shows thousands of deleted and sent e-mails after four years of work and development of relationships and efforts achieved, and yet, I haven’t really said anything – about Africa. My vision. This hope sparked five years ago in the heart of a girl who just wanted to make a difference and LIVE.  And, so I take a moment to ponder and write.


5 years ago, I moved to Kenya. I lived and served there for a year, and was changed more than I changed anything.  I packed and moved and lived and worked and served and loved and cleaned and prayed and wept and laughed and cooked and got sick and cared for 17 surrogate daughters and taught music to little kids.



I ran long runs and wrote poetry at night and practiced piano and went to the IDP camps and to the slums and saw eyes glazed over by hopelessness and sickness and despair.

I danced in the rain and learned Swahili and sat still and soaked up the Sun and baked bread and shooed monkeys out of my kitchen and picked rhubarb and flowers from my backyard and got my hands and feet dirty and learned how to play Rugby and took Pottery and warded off the H1N1 Swine Flu and killed bugs (a lot of them) and drudged through the Rainy season and fought with teenagers.


I climbed mountains – physically and spiritually – and ached for home during the holidays and made life-long friends and wrestled with God like Jacob and learned from others and grew up – and then I packed, said goodbye and moved home for a variety of reasons.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me in my early twenties, and the decision to go was easier than the decision to return home.

Now, it is almost 2015.  I do what I do today, and have a strong and happy vision for my life, a future family, service, career, and relationships. But, there is a repeat to be played on this old song, an African beat too catchy to miss, and so I go back.  I saw what I saw, and couldn’t forget. I heard what I heard, and it has bounced off the wall of the globe and echoed back in my ears, too loud to ignore. I know what I know, and can’t ignore this deep conviction that calls me back. And so, this Friday, I’ll fly around the world to South Africa for vacation, and then to Kenya to work with the women of Threads of Hope and help figure out how to get a deed for some land and map out our plan to build an early childhood development center, and see dear friends and reflect and make connections. Three weeks will fly by, and Time will be precious, limited and fast. In many ways, I will have to “meet” an old friend again – after all, Africa has greatly changed, and so have I.

I’d like to think that I return to Africa older and wiser. At 24, I thought that I was going to Africa to be the heroic philanthropic servant. After spending 20+ years of my life in the same county, I felt a healthy discontent stirring within me to go, explore, do good, and help others outside of my own comfort zone and circle. And, yet, I was proud – American hat on, Western habits in hand, I brought my own ideology and agenda with me, more than I realized. How quickly did I see that I was a minnow in a pond of amazing other missionaries and teachers and photographers and musicians and doctors and athletes and professors and entrepreneurs.  And, I was just there to serve others like everyone else. Ego and identity aside, I ate many a slice of humble pie, and slowly but surely, shifted my thinking. I wasn’t there to accomplish – I was there to love, listen, and learn from others.

And, so, I go back, eagerly and gratefully, with a humble watchfulness for the unexpected. When I decided to make this return trip early this year, there were so many questions in my mind. How will I afford it? How am I going to get enough time off work? Who will I go with? How am I going to secure key meetings that will help bolster Threads of Hope’s efforts? When exactly should I go? And, now, a few days away from leaving, I thank God for the ways in which He has literally paved the way for me to do this.

Psalm 126 says: “The LORD has done great things for us; and we are filled with joy. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! She who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing her sheaves with her.”

When I left Africa in 2010, I left sowing in tears. I wanted to stay a second year, but a family member was battling an intense season of depression, unemployment, and mental sickness, and I would return home to a dark shadow that had cast itself over him, and with it, our entire family.  Little did I know then how difficult that fog of years would be for all of us – the best year of my life in Kenya was followed by the hardest year of my life.  But, I left Africa in faith knowing that He had a good plan and purpose, and would show me exactly when and where and why I needed to go back someday.

While I went out “weeping”, bearing seed for the sowing God had back in DC for me, and with my family, I can now confidently say that I am going “home” with shouts of joy, bringing sheaves of bounty with me.  In some ways, I feel as though I’ve had a spiritual awakening, watching God work and weave His blessings over this trip from Day 1.

The list is endless.  Receiving a book on South Africa from my Uncle last December, planting a small seed of curiosity to travel there. A former supporter e-mailing me in early 2014 asking what was holding me back from making a return trip, and offering a hefty amount of funding to help me get there? Seed-funding pouring in for Threads of Hope, through my Fundly campaign.  God holding me back from returning in August – and, instead, giving me the opportunity to engage in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington, DC in August, opening doors with local Kenyan government officials and private sector leaders that I would never have met if I had been abroad around that time. A colleague from the South African Embassy inviting me to attend his wedding in November, and my friend Jessica commenting that exact week that we should take a trip together this fall to South Africa.  My friend from South African Airways (SAA) then offering to coordinate discounts/flight deals, bookings, and activities.  Key business meetings falling into place with my work clients in both Johannesburg and Nairobi. Attending a brunch in Austin, TX over Labor Day, only to discover that two friends of my brother’s were going to be in SA at the exact same time that we were!  Discovering that the “random” people we are going to spend Thanksgiving dinner with in Cape Town are mutual friends of some church friends.  Skyping with a representative from Banking without Borders for the Grameen Foundation last week, only to find out that her husband grew up in Malewa, the very town where Threads of Hope exists, and that he has a robust knowledge of the village.  Meeting with Kate Spade’s corporate philanthropy team in NYC in October, leading to an introduction to a girl who works in clothing design in Nairobi and understands the wholesale fabric business in the city – something I need to understand and learn in the days ahead.  Meeting my friend and Barre instructor, who helps hosts a successful fundraiser workout class for Threads of Hope.  Scoping out Air BnB, with many spots falling through, only to eventually land on a 160-year old church-turned into a BnB spot, hosted by a woman who is Dutch and a gardener, just like my Oma. And, even this past weekend, bummed that my own Air BnB booking fell through for my apartment, laughing out loud at God’s ways as I see a notification pop up from a girl would like to book my place because she and her friend will be in DC to renew her South African three-year Visa, and that they are involved in Non Profit and mission work on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  On and on, it goes.

Coincidences? Perhaps, but I think not.  There is a sovereign, intelligent God ruling over the heavens and earth, who is not far away from us, but is actually quite close to our lives and hearts. Psalm 68 says, “Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.” This has been my prayer from the beginning. Strengthen, God, – shape, frame, mold, craft, weave, thread – this trip together into a tapestry of grace that glorifies and magnifies your name and worth.

Indeed, He has done this, and I am filled with joy. I’ve been reading in Acts lately – 2:23 says, “And, Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, was crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held down by it. Therefore, David says concerning him (Jesus), “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my flesh will also dwell in hope – for He will not abandon my soul to the grave, or let His Holy One see decay. He has made known to me the paths of life – He will make me full of gladness with His presence.”

I cannot GO to Africa without acknowledging the One who has equipped me for this journey. Just as there was a definite plan for Jesus Christ to die for us, be raised to life, conquering death and sin forever, there too is a definite plan for my next three weeks, and our lives at large. Through all of these ‘serendipitous happenings,’ these divine interruptions to my life and schedule, I see the Lord before me, at my right hand, and I am not shaken, because His ways are good and perfect. My heart is glad, I rejoice, and my flesh dwells in hope – because He will not abandon His own.  He has paved the way.

I’m not afraid. Of Ebola, sickness, of getting lost, of losing luggage, of ‘unplugging,’ of crying, of doing a lot of listening, of reflecting, of not checking X, Y and Z off my lists, of resting, of my plan being interrupted, of navigating complex situations.  God will be with me. He will help me. He will strengthen that which He has wrought for me.

I don’t tell this story to showcase anything that I have done, hope to do, or wish to accomplish. I have my ambitions to help take Threads of Hope to scale and to the next level of success, but I go with tempered expectations.  In America, Time is money, Time is tasks, Time is accomplishments.  In Africa, Time is relationships.  Time is listening.  Time is just, being.  And, so, I don’t tell this story to sugarcoat my trip with noble motives.  I don’t share this story to ask for your financial support for Threads of Hope (although, I welcome it!)  I don’t share this story to be dramatic. I simply share these thoughts before I go, because simple reflection leads to thankfulness.

When we pause to reflect on our lives and relationships and chapters, extraordinary or ordinary, it doesn’t take long to realize that in each of our lives, the Author of our stories is at work.  Something beautiful is unfolding. Something eternal is shining. Something taking root is growing. Something scabbed is healing. Something waiting is coming. Something dry will be quenched. Something shadowed will take the spotlight. Something watched for is on the horizon. Something unknown will be known. Something torn will be sewn. Something lost will be found. Something confusing will be clear. Something let go will be replaced with what is best. Something hum will be sung. Something played will resound. Something emptied will be filled. Something painful will be redeemed.  Something dim will reflect back clearly.

DSC_0048 Something frail, perhaps just a mustard seed of faith, will be strengthened into something Real and True by the Strength which He himself has wrought for us.

Posted in Africa, Daily Thoughts | Leave a comment

Let Down Your Anchor

Let down your anchor,
Wayfaring soul,
Rest your Trust, and be Still;
For with the Winds,
We give way,
To currents of our own will.

On great waters,
Or close to shore,
Our souls grow weathered like a sail;
We lose our mark,
Tossed by storms,
The compass’s needle tends to flail.

The waves of the world,
Then pull us out,
Lift us high, above the deep;
With a crash,
We ride down,
From heights we cannot keep.

For, when did the Tide,
Ever guide,
The dreams that take us to Sea;
We tac from the stern,
We wait from the bow,
The wind, to move, we plea.

But, then the Captain,
Commands His crew,
To toss our maps aside;
Our own way,
Thrown overboard,
And we are along for the ride.

Strange channel unknown,
How narrow it seems,
With such a wide ocean ahead;
Yet I know,
That with our Guide,
To safe havens, He’ll lead.

Let down your Anchor,
Whenever he says,
He knows when the wind is at bay;
If it seems slow,
Wait for it,
It will come, not a moment delayed.

Based on Habakkuk 2:1-3, 2 Kings 18, Psalm 107, and Acts 28

Posted in Daily Thoughts, Poetry | Leave a comment

A Feather of Courage for the New Year

In November, my sister, Nora, gave me this gold feather Etsy necklace for my 28th birthday.  She said it was my Courage for 2014.


My Courage…

The Quakers have historically used white feathers as symbols of Peace.  In Downtown Abbey, we watch as women (members of the Order of the White Feather) interrupt a benefit concert to hand out white feathers to men who have refrained from enlisting — hence, the antithesis of Courage, being Cowardice.


In the Masaii tribe of Kenya, warriors wear head dresses of birds’ feathers (ostrich plumes and eagle feathers) as highly prized symbols of Bravery.  Even their youth will wear a bird’s nest with feathers on their heads as a symbol of Rebirth: inside the nest will grow not only the new hair/feathers of the emerging man, but also the dreams and ambitions of adulthood…

I’ve been wearing my feather necklace for the past several weeks…do I believe that by wearing it, I am somehow made into a more courageous and brave woman, simply by having it on?  Of course not.

But, admittedly, the simple act of wearing this physical symbol has brought daily reminders to me to be Courageous.

The other day, I was swimming laps preparing for my next Triathlon, and was thinking, “This is HARD.  I am so out of shape!”  But, all those summers of my parents making us do swim team, waking up for 5:30a practices, competing against others and being a team-player, cheering for us to swim just one more lap…were instrumental in teaching us to do hard things.  And, this is how Courage demonstrates itself – by doing hard things.

Doing hard things means being a Fighter and Survivor.  Doing hard things means doing the right thing, even when we don’t want to.  Doing hard things means not giving up.  Doing hard things means stepping up to the plate and not being afraid to fail or speak your mind or stand up for yourself.  Doing hard things means investing, inventing, and investigating.  Doing hard things means letting a door that wants to close, close.  Doing hard things means sacrificing, and swearing to our own hurt.  Doing hard things means keeping your word.  Doing hard things means walking through doors that open, even when we are afraid to test it. Doing hard things means claiming Reality and Truth, amidst fleeting feelings.  And, these are basic examples of  Courage, among so many others…

But, in an age where success is driven by what we DO, and how we are DOING at our careers, and if we are DOING enough, and when we can DO this or that, I am made exhausted.  If my 2014 becomes all about DOING things (hard or not), and those hard things define my Courage, I’m already spent.

When was the last time we congratulated Courage as simply Believing…?

Believing, in a world that demands facts and figures.  Believing, in a culture that seeks to control our own fates.  Believing, in a city where you can only trust yourself and watch your own back.  Believing, in a generation that is too impatient to wait.  Believing, in an age where Faith has been Forgotten.  Believing IN God, instead of ourselves.  Believing that God really is alive, and eager to enter into relationship with His creation.  Believing that the Bible isn’t just fables and records, but the very words of an Eternal Father.

There is this saying…Good things come to those who Wait.  Is it not Courageous to wait – all the while believing – that God really does offer all that is good, pleasing, and perfect?  Is it not Courageous to perhaps believe that better things lie ahead, beyond this Life?

I looked up Feather in the Bible.  The only thing I could find was this, in Psalm 91:

“He will cover you with his Feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

…He will cover you with his Courage, and under his wings you will find refuge…

…i want to be covered by His Courage this year…i want to find the refuge and solace of God’s faithfulness – a testimony of 28 years during which He has pursued, loved, spoken, and proved to me that He is real and a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Perhaps the greatest Courage comes in the belief that God offers true freedom, apart from works and my performance.  Yes, I must continue to DO the right thing in this life, which can be hard.  And, DOING these hard things come with courageous costs.

But, DOING these hard things don’t earn His love for me.  Doing these hard things aren’t the ticket to blessing.  Doing these hard things don’t suffocate me…they don’t disappoint me…they don’t tie me down…they don’t limit my hopes and dreams…they don’t keep me from having fun…they don’t pull me away from joy and laughter and happiness.

Doing the hard thing of believing Him, and all of His promises, quite simply, Free me.

And this is Courage.

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Fall’s Fresh Flavors

Fall is here…and with it, fresh flavors and spices to refresh your palate.

This season, I’m supporting local vendors affiliated with Washington’s Green Grocer by receiving a bi-monthly box of seasonal fruits and veggies to my door, which has challenged me to cook creatively and simply.



A few simple ideas for your week…both for snacks and substance.

Spicy Chicken Sausage with Quinoa, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower, and Kale-Pear Salad


Fresh Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Pecorino Cheese, Roasted Almonds & Apple


Smoky Indian Lentils with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce and Fresh Carrot Slaw


Ginger-Cashew Granola with Raisins


Peanut Butter & Jelly-inspired Protein Bars


Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon,  Jalepeno, and Potatoes


Posted in Creative Juice, Food | Leave a comment

A Summer Swept By…

 Kisses Goodbye, to a Summer Swept By…


For whatever reason, this past summer was one of the fastest of my life.  Remember the days when Street Lamps turning on at dusk were the only thing we watched as a measure of keeping time and tempo on our daily lives?  We would play with friends in the streets until we couldn’t see each other anymore, and that’s how we knew it was time to go home.

Now, summer feels like the few-and-far between cool breezes that hit the humid streets of DC and give you that momentary relief, and then dances away.  Where it goes?  I know not.  Perhaps it’s the timeless pulse of city life.  Perhaps it’s the ebb and flow of bearing greater responsibilities, and not having enough time to accomplish everything we believe in and want to do.  Perhaps it’s as simple as learning the lesson of rest, which is ironically a discipline in itself. Regardless, September has flown by too, and here we are on the brink of the fall season in all its glory.  So, I thought I would finally wrap up summer.

Between May and August, my activities and travels serendipitously bore the theme of ‘South-Western’.  I kicked off May with a Cinco de Mayo freak accident in the kitchen, resulting in 12 stitches on my right wrist due to a Cuisinart Food processor blade cut | in June, I headed out to Austin, TX in June to visit my brother, Peter, for a long weekend of great food, music, and outdoor activities | in July, I flew out to Santa Fe, New Mexico on a business trip with members of Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership to attend the 10th International Folk Art Market, where hundreds of women entrepreneurs showcase their goods and learn practical business skills during the weekend |  in early August, I hosted a special event for my corporate members with the Ambassador of Peru  | and, for the finale, flew down to Costa Rica in August with my best friend, Britt, for a week of surf and turf and hiking and rest, before ringing in the last days of summer at the Outer Banks with my family for a week at our favorite rental house, Gift by the Sea, in Corolla, NC.

Away from my tiny apartment, and in wider, open spaces, it was refreshing to get away and unplug from the intensity – and urgency – of DC.  It is easy to feel like connectivity equals productivity.  But, full calendars, while they increase quantity of tasks and activities, don’t always produce better quality in our lives…relationships do.  I know I’m not saying anything that profound or new — but, it’s always amazing to me how easy it is to forget how it is our faith, family and friendships that enrich our lives the most, and reap the best rewards.


Peter and I at Mumford & Sons

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Good times with old and new friends


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Downtown Austin…growing at rapid speed.


Downtown view of Lake Austin1148888_10151834782146411_1526377272_n

THE original Whole Foods
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Our mountain home at Tres Rios in Coronado, about 3 hours outside San Jose to the South-East side.  Being here was like being back in Kijabe, Kenya.  From the ocean to the mountains to the rainforest to the afternoon thunderstorms, it uncannily felt like being back home at RVA…




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Zipline Canopy Tour through the RainforestIMG_1152

About to watch a lightening storm roll in…IMG_1177 IMG_1205 IMG_1203 Surfing Lessons at CoronadoIMG_1265 IMG_1262 IMG_1308 IMG_1303 IMG_1301 IMG_1300

It doesn’t get much better than fresh Fish Taco’s




Have I really been coming here 25+ summers in a row?

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Two of my many great, vacation reads – Transatlantic and Every Good Endeavor



30 mile ride with Dad in preparation for my third Triathlon!

IMG_1419Teaching little kids to not be afraid of the ocean is such an amazing feat
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The epic, Outer Banks-record Fishing Trip – 42 Tuna and 12 Dolphin in one day


Kate the Great


The Gals

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Every Jansen family vacation includes daily exercise – even human body pyramids.



My amazing family




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Fully Known

I don’t know why I’m single,
like I don’t know why I’m saved;
Grace lives in the desert,
And Grace pours down like rain.

It’s not that I’m not Found,
It’s that I’m fully Known;
And mysteries in the dark?
As safe as miracles shown.

Still, Wrest’ling to believe,
The promises unseen;
I question “I Am’s” Mind,
And the Best that He will deem.

Shan’t we trust the One?
Whose Cross trumps every doubt?
Of Love eternally etched,
In every year I count.

And what if we believed,
as simply as a Child;
That Hopes unseen exist,
Truer than this World’s Wiles.


Sweeter still, the days,
I believe do lie ahead —
When silver dreams are tossed,
For golden joys instead.

I dont know who You are,
But I know the great I AM,
Who’s shaping us for glory,
A woman and a man.

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