Friday, September 30, 2011

this is it

today's the day. i'm running my first 5k.

sometimes i wonder how i got here. in june i attempted to run a mile with my brother at the beach and it was pure torture. i somehow managed to do it but i thought i was gonna die. i wanted to give up so many times, but my brother's constant "you can do it" and "just a little farther" managed to keep me going. when i finished i felt exhausted, but on top of the world. by God's grace i had completed something that seemed so ominous, so impossible. i loved that feeling. i wanted more of that. so when my neighbor told me about a local 5k and asked me to run with her i told her yes. i finally put that couch to 5k app on my phone to good use and started training. i love how it eases you into running. it kept me motivated and feeling like i accomplished something each time. love that.

last week i ran the longest i had yet. 20 minutes of non-stop running and i felt great. in fact i even cried when i finished. i was just overwhelmed with how far i have come physically and the things my body is capable of doing now and so very grateful for the pounds that i've been able to shed this year (54 baby- oh yeah!). on sunday i pushed myself and made it to 25 minutes- just over 2 miles. i was excited, but nervous for today. so on tuesday i decided i was going to go for 3 miles. i set my phone to a distance run of 3 miles and off i went. when the app notified me i had completed 1 mile i had to chuckle to myself because i thought back to that first mile at the beach with my brother. i remembered how hard that was and here i was about to run 2 more miles. about halfway through my 2nd mile i started to get nervous. it was hot. i was tired. i wanted to stop. it was such a mind game for me. if only you could have been in my head at the time hearing the pep talks i was giving myself. when i run i literally have to tell myself over and over again- "YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU ARE STRONG! DON'T STOP!" somehow it works. but that last mile was tough. i was so close to stopping but then the biebster came on with "never say never" and there was no way i was gonna let myself stop with that song blasting in my ears. thank you justin for your quirky pop music that somehow keeps my butt in gear.

i'm not gonna lie- when i finished i thought i was gonna hurl. i was exhausted. i had pushed myself to the limit. i thought i was gonna pass out. i didn't. i chugged some water and shared the good news with my neighbors. i sent text messages to my family that pretty much said, "holy crap i just ran 3 miles." haha. they encouraged me. they cheered me on. i tweeted it and got so much support. it's just so crazy to me that i'm here. that i am capable of doing this. wow.

so all that to say i think i'm ready for tonight. i'm nervous as heck but that's typical for me. whenever i get myself in a new situation and i have no idea how things are gonna turn out i go all type A and freak out. so a lot of that is happening today but it's all good. when the race starts i'm just gonna run and hopefully keep running until i cross that finish line. will i be crying? it's quite possible. just the thought of that finish line has set me into tears the last couple days. this is such an emotional experience for me... it's hard to explain. with everything that has happened this year- to be here... doing this... it's just nuts. and a testimony to God's grace and goodness. that he's managed to bring me through all the pain and struggle the past 6-7 months and produce a stronger, healthier person... it's humbling.

i could probably ramble on an on about this especially in my nervous state so i'll stop now. thanks for all the cheers and prayers. send them my way this evening around 6:30.  :)

much love,


Thursday, September 15, 2011


today i want to tell you about an amazing kid named moses.

moses just turned 12 years old but i've been blessed to know him since he was 8. i met moses the first time i traveled to zambia, africa in 2007. from the moment i met him i knew this kid was special. he had the most infectious smile and bright eyes and gave the best hugs. he was obviously loved by all those around him in the community and thankfully so because moses lost both of his parents when he was very young. his grandmother and older siblings looked after him, as well as countless others in the village. after my first visit to his village i didn't know how much my life would be changed by that experience and how many times i would end up traveling back there.

when i returned in 2008 moses was still there, albeit a little taller than the year before, but still moses. we had a joyous reunion and within minutes of arriving he was on my lap with his arms wrapped around my neck. oh what a glorious welcome that was. i'd never met a child whose heart was so open to love others. it challenged me on my own walls i kept around my heart. he had experienced so much loss in his short life but yet was able to give love so freely, without hesitation or fear. i got to see moses a lot that year because i stayed in the village for 3 months. i usually caught up with him after school when he was playing chingalungalo (i'm sure i just butchered that spelling). basically it's where they take an old bicycle rim and roll it using a stick to keep it balanced... i failed miserably at that game, but moses was a pro.

in 2009 i stayed for a month and was there with a friend for 2 weeks after our large team left. at this time moses had moved in with a good friend of mine who was able to really give him the attention and time he needed. i was staying in a tent right outside that hut so naturally i was with moses a lot, too. i'd make lunch for him every day... we ate tuna fish on crackers a lot cause that was his favorite. i took him into town with me so i could treat him to chicken, fries and an iced cold fanta. i let him come with us on the 8 hour ride back to the capital when we were headed home. he loved going to lusaka because that meant one-on-one time and lots of ice cream and coke dates. we cried at the airport that year when i headed home. you see, moses had been in the process of being adopted by a family in the US pretty much since i had known him. it was a long, up and down process that i know at times left him feeling discouraged and sad. he wanted to come to america so bad and start his life with his new family. goodbyes were never easy.

fast forward another year and i once again found myself in the village with little moses who was beginning to seem not so little anymore. this time there was excitement in the air because the adoption seemed to be wrapping up. his new mom would be arriving in the village just after we departed to stay and foster moses for at least 3 months. even though she had been supporting him financially from afar for YEARS the government required her to stay in the village and take care of him as her own for 3 months before they would finalize the adoption. our friends built her a house to stay in and while i was there we helped with the construction and even sewed curtains for all the windows. can you imagine traveling halfway around the world, leaving everyone you know and staying in a remote village for 3 months all so you can adopt a child? talk about LOVE.

we all prayed a lot last year that all the details would fall into place and by God's grace they did. they traveled home during Christmas... getting delayed because of crazy weather... but they made it. moses made it. he was finally here. his adoptive family only lives about 30 minutes from my house so we saw him right after he got home. it was crazy to see him here. to know that after all those years of praying, of hoping, of waiting, he was right where he belonged.

i'm no expert in the area of adoption and i'm sure the transition is different for every child, but moses has really done well. and that same sweet, special little boy that i knew in zambia is the same here. my parents take moses sometimes on the weekend (they came with me to zambia in 2009 & 2010 so they got to know him as well) if his mom has to go out of town or just to give him a change of pace and we all enjoy the time we get to spend with him. he even joined my family on our vacation to the beach this summer and we got to be with him as he saw the ocean for the first time. he has this uncanny ability to just adapt to his surroundings and be at home wherever he is. my family loves him as if he's our own and he loves us all right back. my nieces absolutely ADORE him. he taught them some african dancing and my niece kylie proudly shakes her little booty and declares to everyone that she's doing the moses dance. it's precious.

i know this post is getting long, but i just had to share some of moses' story with you. he really is the most incredible kid and just last month he invited jesus into his heart and couldn't wait to share the good news with all of us. it fills my heart with such joy to know that his needs are being met... physically, emotionally and spiritually. and this probably won't be the last time you hear me talk about moses. he's already made it clear that whenever i go back to zambia i have to take him with me, which is fine by me. he makes a great travel buddy.

thanks for taking time to read this. if you can, say a prayer for moses. that his transition would continue to go well. for his family that's still back in zambia and missing him dearly. for all the people out there making incredible sacrifices to bring their children home.

much love,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

reflecting on my 20s

i'm 29 today. all week i've been asking myself where my twenties went, but then tonight i started to really think about it and i know exactly where they went...

i spent some of it working for my family's business, alongside my best friends. long days, but fun days. traveling around the east coast and getting paid to sleep in nice hotels and eat at fancy restaurants. oh those were the days. and i thought life was so hard back then... oh if i only knew, right lyryn?

i spent almost a year of it with ywam... meeting new people... learning that i could survive away from home. tragedy struck that year, but God brought me through and i realized the value of living life in community with others.

i jumped into the life of full-time ministry after leaving my 9-5 job. although there are days i miss the structure of a 9-5 i wouldn't trade what i'm doing for the world. i have grown and been stretched in so many ways because of it and i think God knew that's exactly what i needed.

i spent time seeing the world. i went to 7 countries... mexico, chile, costa rica, panama, england, romania and zambia... heck i even lived in zambia for 3 months... the time spent in those countries has greatly shaped the person i am today and i'm so blessed to have had those experiences.

i've watched as those i love the most made lifelong commitments... then babies started arriving (and i have a feeling will continue to arrive for quite some time)... and i became an aunt to 3 beautiful little girls and 1 handsome little guy.

i bought a house and spent lots of time turning it into my home. i feel like this home was such a special gift and i'm doing what i can to take the best care of it possible. i love that when people come here they always remark on how calm and peaceful it is. it's definitely my little safe haven so i love that other people feel that way, too.

i could go on and on about the beautiful and painful things i've experienced so far but that would take far too long. all i know is that i am grateful for this life that i get to live and i'm doing my best to embrace this season that i'm in. i'm gonna milk my 20s for all it's worth... even if that's only 1 more year.  :)


Friday, September 2, 2011

he has arrived

oh my goodness it has been a crazy, busy week- but thankfully a good one!

last night my sil kesh gave birth to a beautiful (and big) baby boy! i finally have a nephew after my 3 nieces. he weighed in at 10lbs 5oz! he now holds the record for highest birth weight in the family- not me! haha! he crushed my 9lb 11oz record and i gladly pass the title over to him.

oh paxton james you have already captured our hearts. we are so excited to have you join our family. we're a crazy bunch but i think you're gonna like us. i pray that like your name, you live a life full of peace and bring joy to all you meet.

ahhhh i just love me some squishy newborns! thank you God for this precious little life!

have a great weekend!