Sunday, October 18, 2015

One year and a couple months happened...

... and all I did was write a blog post.

Let's call it a hiatus. (It sounds better than sometimes too busy and sometimes too busy being lazy.)
Now, I'm still hanging out in Iowa working and going to school. But a year has gone past, and I've done some things in that time! 
I worked at the State Fair serving food and whatnot. It paid tuition, and I had fun! Sis was named State Fair Queen. She's gorgeous and smart and talented, so of course. I also attended the Salt Company Leaders' Retreat. It's awesome.
September and October: 
All I can think of is football and volleyball seeing as I worked a lot during the fall. I also spent time with Bible study ladies at an apple orchard and we had so much fun!
Photo stolen from the beauty on the left!
The group of gals below hold a special place in my heart, and we had a reunion for a short evening. It was the greatest. (And it should happen again, even though it's significantly harder now) Thanksgiving is always the best. I actually spent most of my Thanksgiving break with family and some friends, so it was a good time.
Photo stolen from the beauty in stripes!
The semester ended, and I said goodbye to my sweet, kind, and loving coleader and roomie. She graduated and moved not too far away, so I still see her but not often enough! 
New semester and classes along with a trip with friends over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. We had so much fun!
I turned 21 and that same weekend got really sick! (Seriously, no correlation!!) Thankfully, my mom was around the area with my sis, and they were able to pick me up and take me home, since I was out of town. If you want a humbling experience, go to a large college ministry event and have your mom pick you up. (Thanks mom!! You're the real MVP!)
I went to NYC for Spring Break! I went as a part of a mission trip focusing on social justice. We worked with Let My People Go, a ministry within the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association. A huge thank you goes out to my home church for supporting me financially and prayerfully!
Photo stolen from the tall guy on the right.
Thanks for showing us a great and heartbreaking time in NYC!
Nothing super crazy happened here, other than organizing a baking party. I love baking for others, so it was fun to bake with others. In a class, a team and I edited and published our first book! I really loved doing it, and it was a huge learning experience.
The beginning of May, I had the honor to baptize three wonderful friends and sisters in ChristThe semester ended, and Sis graduated high school. I went home for about 10 days, including going to the Tulip Festival to celebrate my Dutch heritage, cousin's grad party, cleaning and organizing, attend a 2.5 hour long band and choir concert, a one-hour long athletic awards banquet, seeing Sis's team win District Champs for girl's soccer, hang out with Bro as well as friends, clean more with Grandma and Aunt, set up and take pictures during the party. It was fun and exhausting, physically and emotionally.
One beauty I baptized with our pastor supervising!
Stolen from KJoy Photography.

Photo stolen from the beauty in the middle

I slowed down and took one class while working and leading a new group of gals in Bible study with a strong, gracious woman of God. I got to see my sister compete at the IHSSA soccer tournament. I went home and got to say goodbye to our foreign exchange student (Miss you!!) and go to my town's parade. I tend to steal candy from the kids around me. I also got to visit my friend for her birthday!! Her mom saved some raspberries and rhubarb for me to help make into jelly and jam. It's so good, and it was easy and fun! I definitely want to do that for my own pantry someday.
She's the best. Hands down.

We loved our night in Boji!

Going even slower now that my class is over. I worked at the State Fairgrounds over the Fourth. That was an adventure. I also hung out with most of the fam at the State Fair's Corndog Kickoff. It was so fun! I took a tiny trip to visit family in Minneapolis area. Their new home is lovely, and the people are incredibly gracious hosts! It was so restful.
Um, why is there a gas pump
in the Mall of America?
This corgi is the bomb.
She lives with my awesome extended fam.

August 2015:
I went home for a weekend. And all in one weekend I: picked up my brother, celebrated Grandma's 80th birthday, went to the Okoboji Bible and Missionary Conference to hear Mark Lowry and The Martins (of Gaither Vocal Band fame and they performed this! *not my recording, nor the actual performance), and heard Jimmy Needham perform too. It was pretty rad. I also worked at the Iowa State Fair while sis finished her year as Iowa State Fair Queen and crowned the next incredible woman. In the middle of that, I went to the Salt Company Leaders' Retreat. It was a great time of pause, worship, and friendship. And then school started! I'm in my last semester at Iowa State. FINALLY. 
Stolen from the beauty on the left.
She was in my group 3 years ago and leads, loves, and serves international students now!
September 2015:
School and work kept me busy and often feeling like I'm under water. Thankfully, I got the chance to go home and watch one of my sister's soccer game, hang out with my parents a little, and take my favorite kiddos to the county fair. I laughed so hard that weekend!
October 2015:
October has been fun! Weekend 1: A cousin married and the reception was so much fun! They're such a fun couple, and it was fun to see all the people, especially family, that came to celebrate. Weekend 2: A great group of girls that I have the honor of leading, serving, and loving went to Center Grove Orchard and had so much fun! I love each moment and every silly picture we took! Weekend 3: My sister has a fall break, so she took the first part to come see me! We had fun giggling at 1 a.m. and taking ridiculous pictures at Reiman Gardens. We ended this weekend with peach cobbler made by her. She's the best sister anyone could have. (yes, I'm a sappy older sister. no shame.)
Corn mazed and confused. We made it though!
We have so much fun together!
The Salt Company Fall Retreat is coming up this next weekend! Please pray that all of us will take this weekend as the gift it is to rest and recharge in Christ to be fulfilled for the rest of the semester.

Well, I suppose I should write more often, so you don't have to suffer through long posts like this. Thanks for reading, no matter how far you got!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Home is...

I've been home more throughout the summer than I have for much of the past school year. I love it! I enjoy going home almost every time. I had the chance to celebrate Mother's and Father's days and see the show my sister was in. I even had a chance to spend time with my grandparents. It's the best. I am so thankful that I have a family that lives nearby as well as gets along really well. But here's what happens when I'm home:

Home is...
... early mornings
... granola bars
... Skyping my brother
... mowing the lawn
... sister time
... TV and/or yard work with dad
... snacking and movie watching with mom
... slow wi-fi
... home church smiles, hugs, and handshakes
... hanging out with my best gals
... laughing so much that I'm crying
... hugs

I haven't taken tons of pictures while I'm home, but it's only because I'm having so much fun!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Are my parents crazy?

In case I haven't told you, sometimes I think my parents are strange. Or ridiculous. Or hilarious. Or inappropriate. Or wise. Or silly. Or sometimes, awesome.

A while ago, I heard a gal say she had never been on a plane or out of the Midwest, much less the nation. To some, this is their norm. However, I was surprised. While I understand many people have not had the same opportunities I have had or share my love for travel, her remark made me reflect.

  • I flew in a plane for the first time at age 9.
  • With my family, I've traveled to various places within the nation.
  • I left the country without my parents at age 13. And again at 14 and 15.
  • I flew and left the continent with five people my parents didn't really know at age 19.

WHAT were my parents thinking?!?!?
That they were not going to stand in God's way. 

When I first left the country, I went with my youth group on a week-long mission trip. I was a freshman in high school, the youngest person on the trip.
Let's not judge the fashion, okay?

Again, when I went to West Africa last summer, I was the youngest person on the trip.
Six years later and I'm still pale. Good.
When I told my parents that I was thinking of going on a mission trip for the summer, they were behind me. Sure, they had questions, but they were in step. My dad said that it helped that many things were in order and organized (Shout out to Missions Staff) as well as the fact that I wasn't going to a super dangerous part of the world.

But he also said that he knows God is doing big things with or without you. If God "invites" you do get on board with something, you can say yes or no, but saying yes will take you on a wild ride full of "turbulence." He'll get you through it, and it might not be easy. It will be crazy, and you might even see great, wild "God things."

As my dad and I parted ways before my trip, he told me, "I can't wait for you to go because I can't wait to hear the stories you'll have when you come back."

So mostly, this post is not to brag about my rockstar parents, but to encourage other parents to let your kids go and do great things for God. Your kid and you won't regret it. (And your kid might recognize how cool you are.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blessings and birthdays

I made it to 20! How crazy is that?

This past weekend, the fam came down to visit! Our foreign exchange student made it to the Large Group All State Speech Festival!! (I'm so proud of her!) But Friday, sis came and we hung out at an ISU gymnastics meet. It was so fun to have sister time! We haven't gotten to spend a ton of time together, so that was super special.
Saturday we made chocolate chip pancakes (a favorite!) and met up with the parents to watch all the cool acts. We loved watching everyone; they were fabulous! Then Mom and Dad spoiled me! Mom and I bargain shopped. After a while, I went to work. From the play-by-play via text, I'm sure they had fun. They also brought down a few presents and baked goods. My apartment is still in no short supply of sweets! Grandma baked cookies, Dad baked a cake (complete with frosting and funfetti sprinkles!), and Mom baked a pie. I had made brownies Friday night with sis, so we were stocked!
Sunday church was wonderful, and we had plenty of time to eat and clean a bit before I had to be at choir rehearsal before the concert, which went wonderfully!
They fed me again before leaving. It was the best weekend I could have had! :) Thanks fam!!

This coming weekend is the Salt Company Spring Retreat! We'll have almost 700 people there!!! Pray for us as we talk about the Glory of Christ. Everyone is super pumped! (I would say I'll get pictures, but I try to make promises I can't keep)

Birthdays are so fun! Can't wait for spring to come!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Encouraging encouragement

Well, that's all folks. The title gave me away.

Every Tuesday morning, I have the extreme pleasure of waking up before dawn (thanks winter) to see six wonderful, mostly smiling faces! There's always Jesus and usually some coffee involved. I love these ladies so so so much! And today, our fearless leader charged us with writing out ways we've seen God working in one another's lives.

"But encourage one another daily as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 NIV 

Aside from hearing things other people see in me (which is always welcome,) I loved sharing ways that God works in others! Reflecting on all that God is doing allows you to broaden your outward look. I don't know about you, but I love to see how God is moving around me! And He's moving in really big ways!

Also, make sure to tell that person verbally or even in writing! I love looking back and seeing how I've grown and how God has been faithful!

How will you encourage someone today?

Friday, September 6, 2013

And thus begins my return

Today is Friday. The last time I blogged was a Thursday, so think of it like a continuation. (just tons of months later)

I returned once again to Iowa State!
I came back from Africa! God is doing crazy powerful things there. Can't wait to go back and see the fruit He produces!

Sights I love:
*image taken from
1. Campus. I love being here and seeing people I know!

2. This book I borrowed from my grandparents! (Thank you!!) So much truth in a short read. I recommend it with a cup of tea or coffee. :)

3. My church filled with college students. They said it well last night. It feels like coming home. :)

*image taken from @ISUSalt twitter page

*image taken from

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Connection group adventures!

Well, what a semester it has been! Today I got some shots for my trip overseas. Much to my surprise, I survived. There may have been cute bandaids involved. Here's how my past however long has been:

 In April, one of my connection group girls got baptized! My church has baptized so many people within the past month; it's so wonderful to see each time!

 This past week, most of my group and I went to a super park in Ames!! It doesn't look like Ames at all, so it's fun to sneak away! We walked down the crick, traversed a path, hunted for mushrooms, probably got a little sun, and enjoyed the nature all around us!
A cute elderly man walks his dog on this path.

 We all want to return in the fall and enjoy the leaves! These ladies have been a huge blessing to me this year.  I can't even write all their fabulousness in words! I love each and every one of them!! They've grown so much this year; it's been fun to see!

This year has been so wonderful co-leading with this wonderful lady!! It's been so much fun, we're going to do it again! Can't wait to see Mia after we each have a great adventure ahead of us this summer!
Somehow, I don't think we'll both come back this pale. Oh well!