Monday, December 27, 2010

What a Silly Question

So I was sitting here, playing some solitaire (vegas scoring of course)...and contemplating life. I found myself asking myself if the root of some of the struggles in my life were spiritual...and then I thought...what a silly question to ask.

It can be so tempting to compartmentalize life...and life's struggles. It can be easy to think this is a relationship problem...that is a personal problem...this is a spiritual problem...and so on. But I realized as I was doing this with my own life that this does not accurately portray what I really believe. I believe in a holistic that encompasses all areas of life. This means not only that my spiritual life effects all other areas of life...but also that every area of life effects my spiritual's one, interconnected life.

Take relationships for example. I believe one of the greatest ways to experience God is through relationship with other people. So, if we have no deep connections with others...if we have broken relationships with others...if we put walls up to keep others out...our relationship with God will undoubtedly take a hit (even if we are praying and reading our Bibles every day...) Somewhere in our history (recent history, might I add) we made Christianity a very individualistic religion...we made the personal aspect of our relationship with Jesus into an individualism it's just me and Him thing. But God tells us to love Him and love one breath.

Our spiritual lives are not disconnected from the rest of our matter how much we act like it or want it to be so.

Getting Started...Again

Just over six months ago, I wrote on here a few goals for myself. Seeing as it has been quite some time since I have updated this here blog, I thought a good way to get started writing again would be to write a little update on those goals. It seems especially appropriate as we are approaching the new year.

one. This has definitely been an up and down thing, but overall I do believe I am heading in the right direction. Still have a ways to go, but I am making progress.

two. Has not happened as I hoped it would. Need to get my bum in gear with this one.

three. Also up and down, but for sure heading in the right direction. I received Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals for Christmas and have already begun that. Excited to continue this and invite more people to join me on this journey of praying together daily.

four. Meh. Introversion and fear have definitely been holding me back, but pushing through...

five. Making great progress with this one...its exciting to see those numbers going down!

six. If my count is correct...three down (Freakanomics by Levitt and Dubner, Why Evolution is True by Coyne, and Relationships Unfiltered by Root)...two half down (Of the Imitation of Christ by A Kempis and An Emergent Manifesto of Hope by Pagitt and Jones)...that leaves seven to go. A little behind, but it will get done.

seven. Have not done nearly as much as I would have liked as seen by my lack of posts since August. However, I have been doing a bit of journaling which has been good for me. Still...must do more writing.

eight. I think we have done a decent job of this. To better evaluate this I should ask the people who spend time in our home.

nine. A daily struggle. Just because we have more does not mean we need more. This Christmas season has definitely been a reminder to me to continue this pursuit...

More stretching. More growth. On the way. We'll see where I'm at in June...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Deodorant Enlightenment Experience

I hate consumerism…to my core. I hate spending my money on non essentials. I hate convincing myself that something is an essential. I hate the small (or sometimes rather large) high I get when I buy something I’ve really wanted. I hate wanting more when I already have more than enough. I hate the “you deserve it” mindset along with the “embrace the culture to you can be relevant” mantra. I hate that churches have embraced consumerism in the name of Jesus. I hate how easily I forget that what I purchase actually impacts others. I hate that me having more often means others have less. I hate consumerism. And I hate feeling trapped by consumerism.

I find it all too easy to convince myself that I need something. That if I buy this I will be more relevant. If I acquire that I can make my home more hospitable. If I purchase this I will be more comfortable. If I can just somehow obtain that my life will be better.

And it’s in those times that I have convinced myself of the need for more that God always seems to find a way to remind me that I’m an idiot.

Recently Jeff and I have constructed something we like to refer to as “The List.” The List contains a number of items which we have wanted to buy for quite some time, but have not due to a lack of income (at least we were smart enough to not rack up more debt in the pursuit of acquiring these items). Some of the items on The List are things that we need…or will need in the near future (i.e. tires and truck alignment). However, the majority of the items on The List are things we could do without, but I have somehow convinced us that we need for one reason or another. With our first few paychecks, we have started purchasing a few items on The List…pacing ourselves, of course, so that we do not blow the entirety of our checks on these items.

There have been many times when either adding something to The List or crossing an obtained item off The List that I have had to push back thoughts of “What are you doing?” and replaced them with other thoughts. Thoughts such as “We could really use these things” and “It’s okay, we’re being responsible and only spending our ‘extra’ cash on this stuff.”

Last night we were at Wal-Mart doing some true essentials shopping. We were standing in front of the men’s deodorant section and I couldn’t believe how many different options of deodorant are available. Not just the number of different brands, but how many options each brand had to offer. There had to be at least 15 different options (possibly more) of Degree brand deodorant for men. There are many different things I could write about concerning this whole deodorant enlightenment experience (and maybe I will later), but for now, this experience turned my mind to the idea of how consumerism was impacting my life…the idea (more accurately, conviction) which I was suppressing in order to continue adding and crossing items off of The List. To add to the deodorant enlightenment experience, God seemed to keep bringing this up in other ways as well (to make sure I got the point)…the sharing on stewardship last night as well as a in a book I was reading earlier today to name a few.

I think God speaks differently to each of us. For me, I know God is calling me away from consumerism into a life of simplicity. And when I do purchase, to make I sure am being a responsible consumer. I need constant reminders to keep me from being sucked into the trap of consumerism. Thanks God…for sending me those reminders.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dancing in the Minefields

I came across this song on Donald Miller's blog a few days before our anniversary. Reading Miller's books and blog has inspired me to want to live a better story. If you have read anything he has written, you know what I mean. So it was quite fitting that I learned of this song from his blog. This song brings tears to me eyes every time I listen to it because it makes me think of the beautiful story that Jeff and I have lived, are living, and will continue to live for many years. I know it's cheesy, but it's true. So thank babe...I love living our amazing story together :)

Not sure why the whole video won't show up...but at least you get to hear the song.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mini Garden

It's so exciting to see our tomatoes and peppers growing! We thought for a bit that our tomatoes were ruined (most of the early growth developed black bottoms and stopped growing). Thankfully, we have PLENTY of tomatoes that are not affected by what we found out is called blossom end-rot. Hopefully we will be making some salsa in the next week or so!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Evolution of Love

Yesterday we celebrated our 5 year anniversary. It's crazy to think how much has changed in the time we have been married. I think we would both agree that we are different people now than we were on this day five years ago. We have both changed and grown dramatically as individuals and together. I am so thankful for where God has brought us, and I can't wait to see what's in store for the next 5 years! I love you babe!

Year 5...celebrated by going out to Joe's Crab Shack and then grabbing some ice cream at Sebastian Joe's

Year 4...time at the cabin

Year 1...weekend in Minneapolis

Was hoping to post pictures from every year, but they're not all on this computer so I guess that's not happening. Year 2 was spent on the Oregon coast and year 3 was spent fishing on the Rainy River.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I've been thinking about this whole concept of Jesus as our cornerstone for quite some time now. It stems from my earlier thoughts on the Pursuit of Rightness. If Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, will all our "houses" look the same? If Jesus is the cornerstone, the rock, the foundation...if everything boils down to Him, will every person's faith look the same? Will all of our beliefs, biblical interpretations, practices, convictions, and so on be clones? I don't think so.

And I think that is the beauty of the Christian faith...diversity. In my own life I have built up, torn down, and started reconstructing the framework of my belief system. The house is still in the process of being built. I don't know if it will ever be complete. I'm sure there will be plenty of remodeling and possibly more demolition in the future. I used to hold firm to every little detail...from the structure, to the paint color, to the moldings, down to the placement of the furniture...nothing could change. Now I hold firm to the what started it all...the cornerstone...Jesus. I may like the way my house is looking and prefer things a certain way, but I am also willing to let those things change with time.

An event that really triggered this thought process for me was the passing of my Grandpa. As I was staring out the passenger window at the stars over eastern Washington on our trip back to Minnesota, I was thinking about my Grandpa. I was thinking about how much he loved Jesus. I was thinking about how different our houses looked, yet we had the same cornerstone. I could get so frustrated with my Grandpa because he viewed things so differently than me. I could never understand why he was so stubborn. As I sat there that night in the car with tears in my eyes, God taught me a valuable lesson...our houses may have looked different, but our cornerstone was the same.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


For those who don't know, Sonshine is a big annual Christian music festival held in Willmar, MN. It's a pretty big deal in these parts. To kick off the festival, they have a free concert the first night. We went with the youth and young adults to this free concert last night. Remedy Drive and Family Force 5 put on a great show. It was a fun day of traveling and hanging out in some beautiful weather listening to some good music.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Starting Small

Someday, Jeff and I would love to have a big garden. Over the past two years or so we have become more conscious consumers. Part of that has been trying to pay closer attention to what's in the food we eat as well as where the food is grown and by who. We by no means are perfect with this and still have SO MUCH to learn, but we are trying to be better at it little by little every day. One way to be certain bout the growing conditions of our food is to grow it ourselves, so to be able to produce our own food (at least some of it) is a goal of ours. We are excited for the day when we will no longer have to buy veggies at the grocery store. But...that's not going to be possible for a while. Living in a parsonage connected to the church means we do not have the land to have a garden (not even a small one). Thankfully a friend of ours here, Tim, was incredibly generous and made us a cedar planter for out little porch. We were able to fit two pepper and two tomato plants in it (it was too late in the season to start from seed). It's an exciting part of my day to check on the progress of our plants, and recently I found one little tomato starting to grow. Today we found a few more. I can already taste the salsa...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Quick Update

We have been crazy busy the last week or so with moving, church events, job hunting and painting. I will be updating soon...I have not forgotten goal number seven :) Until then, have a great day everyone.

proof that im not just making excuses :)

my puppy while we were packing the sad :(

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Phase

Yesterday we received the official word that we are done with our schooling at Bethany! Our entire married life thus far has revolved around school. We are about to enter into our fifth year of marriage as we enter into a new phase of life. The last five years have been great, but I cannot wait to see what's in store. One week ago today, we moved to Anoka, MN which is a suburb of Minneapolis. We are working part time at Anoka Wesleyan Church with the youth and young adults. Housing is our compensation, so we are currently job hunting to pay the bills and eat.

I have been thinking quite a bit about what I want to see happen in my life over the next year here in Anoka. It can be too easy for me to slip into a very inactive, introverted daily routine. In order to avoid this, I am sharing my goals for the next year on this here blog in hopes that this will keep me accountable.

one. create a healthier lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, excercising on a regular basis, and not oversleeping. I do a fairly decent job with all of these things on occasion, but not consistently.

two. read bible more. Not out of obligation.

three. pray more. Especially with people.

four. build significant relationships. Put myself out there. Be open. Be honest. Love. Push myself out of my comfort zone of introversion.

five. pay of all non-school debt. Debt sucks.

six. read twelve books. By authors other than the usuals (McLaren, Miller, Claiborne, Wright, etc) List thus far...Freakanomics by Levitt and Dubner, Jesus Manifesto by Sweet, Why Evolution is True by Coyne, Sustainable Youth Ministry by DeVries, and Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible by van der Toorn. If you have any other suggestions, let me know!

seven. write. Most likely to be done via blog. Writing forces me to more thoroughly think through the crazy ideas in my head...and we all know those ideas need more thinking through. Writing on here gives others the opportunity to challenge those thoughts which makes me think through them even more. This includes more thoughts on the Pursuit of Rightness.

eight. create a space of hospitality. I always want our home to be warm and inviting...and for people to always feel welcomed and loved here.

nine. continue in the pursuit to live simply. Over our internship we learned that we can live on very little. Why live on more just because we can? "What if we began to see our spending, not just our giving, as a matter of discipleship?" --The Justice Project

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I'm taking a little break from my thoughts on the pursuit of rightness to write a little update on our lives. Our internship was supposed to end on May 15th. Our original plans were to leave Salem on the 16th, spend a few days with my sister in Medford, go to Oklahoma for a bit, head up to Austin, MN for a wedding, and then come see my parents in Warroad, MN. From there we would figure out what to do next. That all changed last week when we found out my grandpa had cancer. They found out last week and it progressed very quickly. We left last Sunday in hopes of making it back in time to say goodbye. We were less than an hour away when we got the call that he had passed away. We've spent the last few days helping my parents out around the house as they spend time with family, making funeral arrangements. It's been hard on everyone because it happened so fast. My grandpa was an amazing man who loved Jesus very much. He will be missed.

His funeral is on Sunday. We plan on spending another week or so in Warroad before we go down to Austin for the wedding. Hopefully we will get a trip to Oklahoma in as well. The next few weeks will be busy for us as we travel, finish up internship homework, look for a new car (ours went down to 3 cylinders on our way out here), and figure out what the next step in this journey is going to look like.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Defining Moment

I do not want anyone to mistake what I am saying about the pursuit of rightness as the pursuit of truth. I think there is a difference between seeking truth and seeking everyone’s approval of my opinions. Before I go further into this, let me first make a little disclaimer…although I have been thinking through these ideas lately, I am still thinking. These are not my final conclusions on this subject...just where I am at now.

Truth. When I refer to truth, essentially I am referring to God. God is truth. God has revealed himself to us in the Bible, thus revealing truth to us in the Bible. I believe the clearest revelation of God (and once again, the clearest revelation of truth) is found in Jesus. Because Jesus is the clearest revelation of God, everything we read in the Bible should be read through the life of Jesus. I also believe that God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit which helps us to (among other things) interpret Scripture.

The Pursuit of Truth = Seeking to know God more fully everyday.

Rightness. Now, this is no dictionary definition of the term, but rather what I am referring to when I use it (same goes for the above “definition” of truth). Rightness is the assumption that all my opinions, ideas, interpretations, etc are the only “right” way of viewing things. It is the arrogance that my understanding of Scripture is superior to your understanding. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in this process, but is one way of understanding right while the other is wrong, or does the Holy Spirit guide us into different understandings?

The Pursuit of Rightness = Seeking my interpretations to be superior to all others.

Let me close with this…Arminians and Calvinists disagree on the interpretation of many different passages of Scripture leading to two very different (if you stick with the strictest of each branch) views of God. Is one right? Is one wrong? Is one guided by the Holy Spirit while the other is lacking? Or, has the Holy Spirit guided each of these two branches into two different understandings of Scripture? If the latter option is true, then how else may the Holy Spirit guide different groups in different understandings of Scripture? If this is the case, does this nullify God and the pursuit of truth or our arrogance in the pursuit of rightness?

In my pursuit of truth I am throwing off the pursuit of rightness in favor of asking more questions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pursuit of Rightness

Why do we always feel the need to be right? Why are we so afraid of questions? Of asking questions and exploring responses without necessarily having to come up with the one correct answer? I think this is something just about every human struggles with, but the “we” I am specifically referring to is Christians. We have this insatiable drive to have the one correct answer to every question asked of us. Sometimes our response should be “I don’t know.” Sometimes our response should be there are many possible answers. But, rather than admitting to this, we typically feel the need to join one side of the debate…and argue that side of the debate to no end. Whether it’s environmental issues, Arminian vs Calvinist, women in ministry, homosexuality, young vs old earth, liberal vs conservative, war…and the list goes on and on...and on. I’m not saying it is wrong to have opinions on these matters. I know I do…some stronger than others. What I am questioning is our seemingly incurable complex to be right about everything.

This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. What I have written above is just a brief introduction to the many thoughts I have been having regarding this thing I am calling the pursuit of rightness. Many times when I write on here, it is merely quickly thrown together, incoherent thoughts. This time, I am trying to put something together that is a little easier understand. This means I actually need to take some time to think through this and organize my thoughts in a way that can be clearly communicated. So here's the deal...I am going to be writing my thoughts on this matter in segments. The above is a brief introduction on more to come. As I figure out how to clearly communicate other thoughts surrounding this idea, I will write more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Almost There

Along with our internship, we are required to take a directive course to bump us up to full time status. Yesterday, I turned in my final assignment for that course. We have less than four weeks left on our internship. While I am going to miss the people at Northgate, I cannot wait to be done with school. Only a few more journals, reflection papers, etc to go before I can finally say I'm done. The past 5 months have flown by. We're still not sure what's next for us, but I am just glad school is almost completed! FINALLY!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I keep wanting to write on here...really, I do. The problem is...I am trying to be responsible...which means I write my journals, reflection papers, etc before moving onto this here blog. However, by the time I am finished writing these things, the last thing I want to do is write more. O the rough life of a North American college student...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"I'm Not a Reader" Challenge

Just within the last two or three years, Jeff and I have started reading for enjoyment. I never thought the day would come when I would rather pick up a book then turn on the TV, but that day has come, and thankfully it has stayed. I cannot begin to explain the new world of thought we have entered into since we have begun this love for reading. I never thought reading could impact my life so much. To those who say, "I'm not a reader"...I challenge that notion. Stretch yourself to pick up a book...or read some blogs...I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find. It is not just about the experience of reading...but about the ideas presented which will challenge the way you think. Whether those challenges solidify your current belief system or open new doors to new ways of thinking...reading will benefit you.

Right now, I am taking a brief break from A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren to write this blog. He is one author who has challenged my thinking like no other. So there's my thought for the day...back to my book...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

New Look

Well, now that I have a slightly new look to this thing, I thought maybe I should write a little something. Who knows, maybe this new look will keep me coming back to keep you updated on our lives...because I know you want to know everything about us...we are just that cool :)

We are about six weeks from finishing up our internship. While we are excited to finally be done with school, we will be sad to leave the people at Northgate. They have been great to us and we have developed some amazing friendships. Some of the things we have recently done with the church...

Jeff had the chance to preach on March 14th. He shared what God's been teaching him about the story of the Rich Young Ruler. He did an amazing job. I'm very proud of him :)

A few weeks ago, I did a special night at youth group on poverty. It was a time for students to interact with different material on poverty, justice, and God's heart for the poor and broken in the world.

We spent spring break on a work trip with the youth group. The week consisted of trimming hedges and rose bushes, chopping down ivy, clearing out blackberry bushes, and a whole lot of fun stuff like that. I had the opportnity to share with the teens about what breaks God's heart. At the end of the week, they decided to start a blanket drive for the homeless in Salem It was cool to see the teens get excited about putting their faith into action.

This am the church hosted a community Easter Egg Hunt at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. Around 400 people showed up despite the rain and cold. It was fun to see all the little kids get excited about their candy.

Other than church activities, this is what we have been up to...

My sister and her husband moved back from New Zealand at the end of February, but will soon be moving down to Medford. We've have been spending as much time as possible hanging out with them while they're so close. It has been great having my sister around :)

About two months ago, we discovered this great little coffee house called IKE Box. We go there a few times a week and spend hours doing homework and reading. Through this we have met some great people who live in community and have started a house church...reconciliation. This is something Jeff and I would like to do in the future so it has been great to see how they do things.

Our friends, Mark and Jess, taught us how to play Settlers of Catan. We can't get enough. Besides getting together to play Settlers, we also had the opportunity to check out a Leonard Sweet seminar with them. He had a lot of good stuff to say and definitely made me think.

Sorry so brief on everything, but now that you're all updated as to the happenings of the Poes, more in depth posts shall follow. I'm all blogged out for now so have a great day everyone. much love

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visit from the Poes

Jeff's parents have been here the last few days. Since they have been here, we have kept very busy showing them around Oregon. On Sunday we went to Multnomah Falls and hiked to the top...this was a first even for me. Yesterday we spent the day at the coast. I know this wasn't much of a post, but I'm just trying to get back in the blogging groove. Here are a few pics from our time together...

...well pictures to come when i have a better internet connection...

Monday, March 08, 2010

long time

so it has been an incredibly long time since i have done anything on here. it may continue that may not. but i had an itch to update this thing tonight...mostly because i am looking for any excuse to avoid doing my I Peter inductive...and i have nothing left to check on facebook. so here's my lame attempt to start back up in the blogging world...lets see what happens...