We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Youth Pastor's world!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The First Day vs. The Last Day

Who would have thought the last day of Mom's Day Out Drop Off would be as hard for this mommy as the first day? Well it was, all of the things that are about to change are hardest because Adah has an incredible group of people here who love her and want to be a part of her life. If you haven't heard, we are moving again. I know, we seem to do that a lot! In January I start my dream job of working full time at Camp Horizon. This dream will also provide us housing and a life on camp! It really was a no brainer decision, but uprooting my child is still really hard. I don't know how people do this on a regular basis. I want to root her down and so she can grow in a community and feel like she belongs. So I'm going to actually dedicate this blog to all the incredible ways Mom's Day Out of Derby and Mulvane have been a huge God send for us this year.

Adah has learned:

  • How to nap on a nap mat
  • How to eat lunch or be hungry but deal with whatever is put in front of her.
  • How to hold a pencil
  • How to sit in a chair at a table and wait
  • That adults can love her and take care of her and not give her 100% of their time
  • How to play with other children her age
  • How to only take one nap
  • Words, so, so many words
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Dancing lots of dancing
  • And so much more!
Each week I wonder where did she learn that, and then think it had to be Mom's Day Out because I didn't teach her that. She has grown and changed so much this past year, and Mom's Day Out has been a vital part of this process. She loves her teachers, she loves going to school, and I love that they love her!

So here is to so many more firsts and lasts and vital relationships for my daughter. Change is hard, even when it is incredibly good change!

Thanks MDO for loving my baby who has turned into my toddler!!!


Each morning of MDO in Derby she has to stop in to talk to Lois and "help" her work. This was the first day and the last day of MDO in Derby!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mommy, Mommy I Need You

Mommy, Mommy I need you. If you are ever around my mother and I call her, that is what you'll hear. I remember rolling my eyes in college when she made me record that on her, I had done it on a previous phone as a joke. Now I scare her every single time I call her.

Today is my second Mother's Day as a mother. I have learned more about myself in this time as mommy than in any other role of my life. One thing I have realized is that there nothing in life that makes you feel more genuinely needed than parenthood, and obviously for me, motherhood. 

From conception until about seven months old Adah needed me solely for life. She refused a bottle so it was on me, and as stressful and painful as it was at times, she needed me. She needed me on my good days and my bad, rested or exhausted, healthy or struggling. There were months that Adam would be jealous because she needed me, and my sleep deprived self just wanted a break. 

Even now she needs me, I have more freedom now to let her stay the night somewhere else and she is fine, but the moment I return you can see it on her face she needs me. The first time I left her for a long period of time I walked in, and she looked up from playing, saw me, and fell apart. She collapsed into my arms and wanted only me for awhile. She needs me, and that is so beautiful because we are designed to need to be needed. Her need for me is incredibly fulfilling.

The other thing I have learned about motherhood, is it makes you incredibly needy. This independent, I can do it myself, woman has completely crumbled and I know without a doubt I cannot do it alone. I have a need for Adam that I didn't have before, I need him as a partner in raising our daughter, there are moments I literally can't handle one more scream or tantrum, and I need him to let me walk away. I need my mother, I don't know what I'm doing and she did a good job twice, so I call her often for help. I need "Nanny" Nicole, for her friendship and selfless ways of helping me mother are incredible and like no other. I need the village that loves my child like their own. I need God to guide me in raising His child to be the God-fearing woman she is supposed to be.

So to the little girl who kind of looks like me, thank you for needing me, and most of all, thank you for reminding me to rely on other people and not to try to do it on my own. Thank you for blessing me each and every day. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spirit Lead Me

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders." - Oceans by Hillsong

What happens when our trust is confined by our own desires and comfort zones? God calls us out onto the water in the moments when we are just getting comfortable in the boat.

We are not called to comfortable. We are called to move and breathe the Gospel to the world. The boat was meant to be a way to transport us to share God's grace, not the place we plant ourselves expecting others to come to us. Jesus never planted himself and expected people to come, he went and set among those he was trying to reach. We often allow the walls of our boat to become our home and our comfort. We allow those walls to separate us from the people we don't want to associate with. The very people God has called us to be present with.

Every now and then we might get brave and venture out on the water like Peter, and then we see just how scary and not safe it is, and fear starts to pull us under, and we lose that tiny faith we had moments ago. Jesus reaches down, and reminds us that there is no where we can go that He hasn't already been. Our faith may have limits but Christ's love does not. He isn't going to call us anywhere He isn't willing to go. He is calling us beyond the walls of our comfortable boat, out onto the waves to save His people from the storms of life.

Where is God calling your trust to go? Are you willing to leave the boat, or are you turning your row boat into a comfortable yacht? God has called you, are you willing to go where He sends? Let go of comfortable and get out of your boat, it's time to walk on water and go and make disciples!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Thanks For the Reminder, Adah!

Dear Adah,
 Last night you didn't want to sleep. At all. I had youth group in Derby so you stayed home with Daddy. When I left you were napping, when I got home you were awake. You typically go to bed at 6;30pm this sounds miraculous to most people until they realize that you are again awake between 9 & 10 to nurse, and 1 & 2, and 4 & 5, and then you are awake around 6:30am. So last night when I got home at 10pm and heard you giggling in our bedroom with Daddy I knew it was going to be a long night. I went and grabbed you to see if I could nurse you back to sleep, since Daddy had tried to get you to go back to bed and it hadn't worked. Well I tried......




After all of these shenanigans I had to just put you in your crib and walk away at 11pm. You screamed for a minute and then you were out. Silly child of mine, I wish I understood you. I prayed that you would miraculously sleep until it was time to get up. But alas 1am came with your bloodcurdling screams. I went and nursed you like normal but then you thought it was time to play again, so back to your bed you went and you screamed yourself to sleep. Then we repeated this charade at 4am.

You ended up sleeping until 7:40am and I found myself wishing I had known so I could have slept in as well. You so unpredictable, you definitely keep me on my toes. I heard you moving and looked at the monitor and got up to go get you ready for you day at Grandma's. And this is how I found you....


Through all of this I couldn't help but laugh at you, I wanted to sleep so badly, I've been incredibly exhausted lately but watching your little face so full of life snapped me out of my sleepy trance and into the blessed life we live. I just wanted to say thank you for reminding me that life is about more than getting things done, and getting enough rest, but finding the joy of God's grace in all the little moments, even if it is 4 in the morning!!! :)

I love you sweet pea! Never stop reminding me, please, and thank you! Although you can sleep tonight, that would be great!!! :)

Love,
Mommy

Friday, January 20, 2017

Through All of It!

I have decided that life is a time of transition, so to say that I am in a time of transition is true, but not just for me, for everyone. I think there are times that the transitions seem bigger than others, but it is always changing and each day is a new journey.

January first I changed jobs, something I thought I would never do again. In 2012 when I joined the ministry team at Hesston UMC I had no intentions of leaving, I intended to make that my church home. And I did. I started there as a single young woman in youth ministry. They saw me through dating, engagement, marriage, and my first child. To say that I fell in love with the congregation and the town is an understatement. There have been so many times over the past year that I have looked around and thought I am so blessed to raise my daughter here, I want her to always know these people, I am so blessed to call this my home. So when it became evident to my soul that God was turning the page on my Hesston chapter of life, I was hurt and angry. Not really angry at God but at the people in Hesston who were not holding on to me but were letting me go. I was mad because there is this incredible group of students that call Hesston UMC home and they have challenged me, encouraged me, and enriched my soul in so many ways over the past 5 years. The current group of high schoolers are so near and dear to my heart and my husbands that even editing my resume to move on was heartbreaking and done through so many tears. The idea of not raising Adah to be a Swather was so overwhelming at times I couldn't help but break down. How was it that I was so loudly called to go to Hesston and yet when it came time to leave my heart wasn't ready to go? The past couple of months I have lived in between being excited about what God is leading me to and so incredibly sad that all I can do is cry.

Well I have been in Derby now for 20 days. This has flown by, so fast. The first week I would drive down and be incredibly excited to be here and have an awesome day and then I would drive home and by the time I got back to Hesston the tears were flowing and the heartache was all I could see again. That first week I had to go back to the church in Hesston to a dinner so the church could have a chance to tell me bye. This was the most awkward, rewarding, heartbreaking thing I have ever done. I was angry with this congregation for not fighting for me, and then someone said, "I'm mad at you for leaving," I wanted to scream, "YOU'RE MAD????" Then I turned around and someone would embrace me in tears with a thank you and you're such a blessing and I bit my tongue and my cheeks because I was NOT going to cry again. Then I turned around again as Adah giggled and ran around chasing and playing with the kids and youth that have become her normal. And I would let out a sigh through tear filled eyes, and make eye contact with my husband who gave a reassuring hand squeeze, and we pushed through the night. I got home, put Adah to bed, and then I cried. I mean I wept. My soul screamed out to God in pain and anger and sadness. Then I fell asleep and woke up the next day basically a shell of who I have been and I went to a youth worker meeting. By the time I got home, I was breaking down again. But somewhere in all the tears on Wednesday and Thursday, I went from being the Youth & Discipleship Minister at Hesston UMC to being the Director of Youth Ministries at Woodlawn UMC in Derby. 

I never wanted to leave, but I am so incredibly happy to be here. Here in Derby I have found a new home for my wounded soul. I have healed and am already falling in love with this church and the souls who call it home. I am greeted each day with excited faces to see what God is going to do with me and the youth ministry here. Adah is one, she will fall in love with the people here faster than I am, and her little soul will be nurtured here in ways that Hesston couldn't provide. Through all of this experience (so this school year) there is one verse that has become my new mantra. 

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." - Hebrews 6:19a

I am forever grateful for my time in Hesston and all the beautiful souls that will always be near and dear to my heart. I am also thankful to them for letting me go and find a new home. I am thankful for Derby for welcoming me in so openly and kindly that part of me feels like I have always been here. I'm so excited for the things that God is doing here.

Our lives here on Earth may always be changing but no matter what Jesus is here as our anchor holding us in place, through the winds and rains and the waves we can't see past. We have to remember that an anchor does it's best work when it is under the water where we cannot see it. If you find yourself today in the middle of a storm hold on, if your hope is in the Lord and your Faith is in Him then your anchor is right where it needs to be. Even if you can't see past the waves, God can!

Through All of It - Colton Dixon


I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin

As long as Jesus is my anchor, it will always be well with my soul! How goes it with Your soul?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor #WoodlawnAlive

This afternoon a very controversial church in Kansas is choosing to spend their God given time to protest with a message of hate to the students at Derby High School. We chose to respond with love. As a church that is part of the Derby community we wanted our students to know that we love them and care about them and support them, no matter what their stance is on a very political issue. In the hope to share even an ounce of God's Unconditional Agape Love, we are having a Celebration of God's Love Event. Inviting students and adults to come together and share in the love of Christ that flows from Calvary.













God does not call us to pick and choose who we want to love but to love everyone unconditionally. That was His greatest commandment. To Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sermon Notes 1/8/17 #WoodlawnAlive

What Happens When the Spirit Comes - Dr. Paul Wilke

Baptism of our Lord Sunday
 - It was a scandal!                Matthew 3:13-17
      - The Son of God submitted Himself to being baptized by crazy John in the dirty Jordan river.

God inserts Himself into our lives where we are, to call us to Him.

Isaiah 42:1-9
   Our God tells us of His purpose and His character, Jesus.

Do you remember your baptism?

  • The Jordan is no great and mighty stream, and yet that is part of it's power.
  • In baptism we haven't gained God's favor because of our power and might but because we have submitted ourselves to the Spirit of God.
What name is to be given to this child?
  • In baptism you are christened into the body of Christ. This is a name that does not change through the tides of life.
  • In Christian baptism you are named a child of God: loved, valued, worthy, and called.
  • In baptism we throw off the shackles of doubt and fear.
I'm a child of God. Today I can make a difference in the world.

We have the most amazing calling in the world, those of us who have surrendered to the will of the Holy Spirit.

Is there part of your life you won't give over to Christ?
  • He surrendered His (whole) self for you.
  • God can't bless what you won't let Him bless.
  • You can't stop Him from loving you but you can stop Him from blessing you.
Love is spelled T-I-M-E
  - We are called to love the world, so we have to take the time to engage with others.

We are called to submission to Christ in every way. Time, service, talents, money, work, family, life, etc.

The promise of Christ is He is always with us, to speak a word of justice, hope, and love.