“I have been praying for more patience and to be more selfless”

E’s not even 16 yet she teaches me. Yesterday we spent hours sharing a table at a local restaurant and caught up on each other’s life. It had been weeks since I had spent real, quality time with her and she was full of updates. The first update she had for me was what she and Jesus were working on – “I have been praying for more patience and to be more selfless”

SERIOUSLY?! what ย teenage girl says that on their own accord?

It’s amazing to hear E speak about people. Her passion and desire for people to be loved is exquisite. 90% of sticky situations she gets into are because she cares about people to the point that she frequently sacrifices herself and comfort to make sure others experience love. Which is great, most of the time. And it’s a lesson we are learning together.

E is such an encouragement to me without even knowing it. Because each time we sit down and talk she is teaching me.

She’s not perfect. She’s almost 16 :0) but she is well on her way to a beautiful life.

And I am so very thankful that I get the chance to learn from her.

Who teaches you?



One of the great things about spending a summer (or a week) with CSM is the awareness you gain from the experiences.

Luke 14:12-14

12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.ย 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,ย 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

To be able to invite someone to a banquet you have to know where they are. You have to know their address to send them an invitation or their e-mail for the e-vite or where they hang out so you can tell them when to meet. An invitation requires interaction of some sort.

Today on our way home from church my friend Jenn and I stopped at Wal-Mart on the poorer side of town. I spotted a man walking along the street with a duffel that was dirty and packed full. We went inside and a dirty man with worn clothes and long hair was using change to buy a 24 pack. We went outside to see a guy packing his meager groceries in a worn, torn suitcase while he hunkered in the shade. We pulled out of the parking lot and watched a guy rummage through the garbage for cans (he had a whole wagon full).

These men may not have been homeless. There is not a tell tale sign to spotting the homeless population. But they visible had less than I did. They visible looked worn and tired. And I hate to admit it, but I’m not sure I would have noticed them all the way I did today this time last year.

I felt conflicted when I saw them. Partly because I should have noticed them last year. Partly because I wanted to talk to them. Partly because I didn’t want to talk to them with my church clothes on. Partly because there was no smooth way to approach any of them without it looking like I had pegged them for a homeless person.

This summer can’t just be this summer. It has to make me aware and active where I am now, and talking to these guys whether they are homeless or not is a big part of that. I came into the summer desiring to love a forgotten demographic and I need to go into this school year loving that demographic and inviting others to join me.

So I think Jenn and I are going to go hang out downtown some evening. Have some conversations, find a new Daniel, love the way Jesus would.

I want to invite them to a banquet….even if it’s just a banquet of pb&j.



Back when I was a little tiny two year old with eyes too big for my head and little curls, God had a plan.

He had this summer planned. He knew what He had in store for me serving with CSM this summer and what it would take to get me there. He knew I would be in Nashville and not Chicago. He knew I would struggle with leaving and fall in love with this job. He knew the lessons and healing that I had to learn this summer. He knew that others would have to be obedient to His voice.

And I am so thankful that my youth pastor was obedient to God’s call. He knew back when I was only two that he was to take a group to CSM, not just any urban mission but specifically a CSM trip. Due to churches and locations he was never able to go until he came to our church. I was still too young to be in youth group when they took their first trip to Chicago. Then they went to Nashville. And finally when I was in 7th or 8th grade I went on my first CSM trip to Chicago.

It shaped me in ways I didn’t even realize back then. It broke my heart for a population that I felt was forgotten and overlooked. It opened my eyes to things I just didn’t see in my tiny town. And that trip continued to replay and those lessons relearned throughout the years. I knew after that trip that I wanted to do this type of work on day, but I lost sight of that for awhile and left it for others to do. I went on a second CSM trip to Washington D.C. and was reminded of feelings and lessons from Chicago.

This last October my friend Jessica was telling me her heart for inner city kids and ministry and I told her about CSM. We decided to pray and then we applied. And after a period of waiting and relying on God I entered the most beautifully wrecked summer of my life (thus far) :-).

This summer taught me more than I can express right now. God is continuing to mold and shape me. He has a work in me that is not yet complete, but I know he is faithful and will one day complete it. He broke my heart for what breaks His. He took me back to my foundation of faith and strengthened it; not always in easy or pleasant ways but always in love. He gave me glimpses at growth and was there as seeds were sown, watered, and harvested. He showed His sovereignty. He brought people into my life that made a deep impact on me, the way I think, and my heart. He showed up in big ways.

And it’s not that CSM makes God magically appear. It’s that while serving with CSM we are put in situations that require obedience to God’s Word. We are given schedules and days that are modeled after what the Bible says we are to do as Christians. We feed the hungry, we clothe the naked, we visit the orphans and widows, we love. And when we are in obedience with what God says Big things happen and our worlds are rocked ultimately for the better.

So I am thankful for this summer of growth and tears and service.

I am thankful for CSM as an organization and what they stand for as a ministry.

I am thankful for my bosses, Jes and Kristin who pushed me and required that I step up.

I am thankful for my fellow hosts who became my good friends and blessed my life immensely.

And I am thankful for Jerry Bush, my youth pastor, who with patience was obedient in the call God had for Him so that I may be where I am today.


Picture Post

Just a little review of the summer…part one


All six of us at the beginning of the summer


Us girls (well minus heather and plus bree) getting our line dance face on


on our way to staff retreat = loveless cafe and canoeing


Prepping the hair for 80’s night Kristin’s b-day bash


real life.

And just a few randoms I have forgotten to share…..

*Homeless people compliment you and increase the ole self esteem

*Kids at the boys and girls club tear that right down

*We got in a hit and run the other day (everyone was fine and so was Kristin’s car but still a first for me)

*I really like food that is unhealthy like fried chicken fingers and fat moe burgers and spicy fries

*I have officially worn out a pair of tennis shoes

*With fully scheduled days for 3 months straight I feel a little lost now with nothing to do

*I’m terrible with goodbyes

*I had dreds for a few days. They may come back some day for real.

Picture Post

Saturday Night

Our church just launched their new Saturday service time which means that we have also added another Jr. High service. I got “selected” (as in the other two leaders said no and that left me) ๐Ÿ™‚ to the be the Sat. 7th grade leader. And…I actually really like it.

Partly becuse 4 of the girls that I’m closest to all come on Saturday nights now. This last Saturday I took 3 of the girls to go see a movie after youth group. They have decided that we need to hang out every week after youth group and I agree! They are hilarious. And fun.


This is them. And yes we are in the middle of a parking garage because they wanted to sit in the “window” and take a picture ๐Ÿ™‚

We went to see 17 Again because it had Zac Efron in it. I was just glad that Zac beat out Hannah Montana! It was funny and cute and even though we had to sit in the very front row it was still a good time.

Hailey…the middle one brings the funny. The theater we went to is the kind with the box office outside the theater (it’s how they all are here in springy) and by the time we got inside she had already lost her ticket ๐Ÿ™‚ So after making her look for it I went and asked the boy what happens if she lost her ticket. He said we could just go in this time. So the girls want to know how I did it.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Well how did you get him to say yes…did you smile at him?”

“Uh no. No smiling. You will never smile at boys to get your way. Just be polite”

“Ok. So you smiled”

“well only politely”

then they go skipping…literally…into the theater laughing. They are a handful.

Then Hailey forgot her retainer container and didn’t know what to do with it so we put it in the pocket of my purse. I felt like I had reached a new level of “mom”…ick.


I am so thankful that God is giving me opportunities to really establish relationships with these girls. I’m thankful for unlimited text so I can get my morning wake up text from Sarena and I know how her day is. I’m thankful that Hailey’s mom is another leader who helped me with my homework the other day giving me an excuse to hang out with the girls for a little bit. I am thankful that God knows my heart and my love for this age group and that He is making things happen in these girls. They are going to be amazing women of faith and I’m thankful to get to watch it unfold.

When I went over to Hailey’s to work on my photoshop project the 3 girls (they are presh) were playing outside and we could hear them practicing a “song” and dance on the trampoline. They came inside and waiting impatiently for me to finish so I could go outside and jump with them and watch their “performance”. I wish I had my camera and could record it for you. Basically it is them acting as robots spelling out my name and then randomly spasming out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glorious.

Saturday Night

More North Shore

So I’m waiting to post a few pictures from Ocean Lawn that I want to touch up before posting. But I left my PhotoShop book at school so I will play with them when I get home.

A few other randoms…

After I finished my help system, I found my missing flash drive…such is life.

I still have not heard about this summer. What once was patience no longer exists in my body.

It’s almost April and I’m sitting inside listening to ice hit the windows.

I’m ready for a change this summer and a new adventure.

Ok so here are some more pictures from the No Sho


There were lots of street performers throughout Quincy Market. We watched this guy, a yo-yo champion, and the last stunt from a break dance crew.


The culture there is so diverse and amazing! You walk along the streets and here different languages and accents and dialects. There are not a lot of chain restaurants within the cities; but McDonalds and the staple ones are on the highway in between the cities. Most of the eateries are little mom and pop shops or New England chains. Dunkin Donuts is on every corner! We ate some really amazing food there and had the best chicken kabob sub. We also went to a little Italian pastry shop, Modern Pastries and got cannoli, chocolate covered cheesecake and a rumbumba. The cannoli and cheesecake were amazing! I loved the cheesecake. The rumbumba and my gag reflexes went hand in hand and I will never try that again…o sick.


The ducks in the Common are real cute. There were two little kids riding the little ducks like cowboys and a man touring from somewhere cool (I know this by his thick accent and the telltale signs of tourism) that did a hand stand on two of the ducks.ย  Behind me you can see a film crew tearing down set….


This was their star! Mandy and Christine decided they wanted to take a picture. I told them they were an amature film crew and not the real stars whose trailers were parked outside the Common. But we didn’t really care, a guy in a space suit in the middle of the Common is always a good picture. When Mandy asked what kind of movie they were making he responded….

“Uh a dirty one. You girls want to be in it?”

No thank you. So I took the picture and as we are leaving Space Man tries to hang out with us. We remembered our “very important dinner meeting with friends” and declined his offer to hang out with him and his crew.

The adventures never end.

More North Shore

The North Shore

The North Shore is a gorgeous place. I like it there and if not for the bitter winds and dreary cold…I could live there.


Cold can’t stop me from loving and enjoying ice cream though! And Captain Dusty sure does know his cookie dough ice cream…delish!


This is the picture I will submit with my application to work with Hookers for Jesus


๐Ÿ™‚ the OSCKIN!


This is the famous Gloucester fisherman. Gloucester is the oldest sea port in America!!! And by default I am now famous as well.


And this is a sneakpeak of a post to come. I don’t mean sneakpeak by the skanky strip of epidermis showing. I mean sneak peak at Ocean Lawn, the prettiest place I have ever been.

The North Shore