An Open Letter on World Refugee Day

Dear Friend, 

Some may call you by the name "refugee," others "asylum-seeker" and as for me, I wish I knew your real name. 

Today, I remember you and the harsh reality where you find yourself. Today, I want to apologize.

I’m sorry for any time I called you “the other.”

You have a name and a story with it, I’m sure.


I’m sorry for using fear as an excuse not to hear your voice.

Because your cries weren’t just drowned out by me, they were drowned out by many.


I’m sorry for the times I let one narrative define you.

Because I could have sought the truth and instead settled for the words of someone like me, not someone who knows you.


I’m sorry that I ever assumed that you were a certain age, a certain demeanor, a certain ugly stereotype.

You are unique, beautifully and intricately so.


I’m sorry for questioning whether you were deserving of safety.

Because you are fully human and fully deserve human rights.


I’m sorry for staying silent instead of standing with you.

Because silence screams and instead I spoke freely of careless things.


I’m so, so sorry my brother, my sister, because the hands that formed you formed me too. My own false pretenses made you out to be something to be feared. But there is no fear in love.


Most of all, I am sorry that I did not love you when I should have.

I am sorry because you are infinitely worthy of love and instead received closed hearts barricaded by fear.


 We’ve probably not met face-to-face.

You probably weren’t given the chance.


But if we do meet (and I hope we do).

I want to know you–your story, your hopes, your dreams and the quirky things that make you who you are.


Because you’re not just a refugee.

That’s your current state and one that I hope you find is temporary.


Because we all need “home.”

That safe place where walls come down and we are irrevocably ourselves, quirks and all.


You’re not just a refugee, you’re a human with loves and fears, who laughs and cries, who thinks and creates and admires beauty.


You probably have songs that make you want to get up and dance.


Maybe there’s a food that when you smell it, you remember your favorite meals as a child.


You know the streets where you grew up–the shops, the cafes, the smells wafting in the air.


You know the voices of those you love and what each tone means.


You know the feeling of sunshine on your face and the dark of nightfall.


You have stories that form your identity, a different set than me.


I want to hear you, I want to hear your stories, I want to grieve with you for that home which you left behind.


Because you’re not just a refugee.

 You're fully human and so brave. 

Now, I stand with you.

The Garden

I’ve been thinking a lot about gardening lately. Maybe it’s because I miss watching HGTV–a ritual I haven’t kept since coming to college. Maybe it’s the love I’ve had for The Secret Garden since elementary school. Or maybe it’s memories of my grandpa, affectionately known as “Pal,” who would take me in the emerald wagon across the mossy backyard to his garden–a jungle of pumpkins, peonies and the occasional strawberry patch.

Read More

What I've Learned Thus Far

     About thirty days remain until I cram my car full of everything needed to conquer no-sleep nights and no-work days and everything in-between. Upland, I’m coming home. 

A summer thinking spot (Nashville, IN) 


     A former teacher recently remarked (and wisely so):

 You grow so much throughout your senior year of high school. You grow much more the summer between graduation and college. During your Freshman year, you grow exponentially. Between your Freshman and Sophomore year, you change in ways that often mean returning to campus an entirely different person - still you, but changed.

      I’m certainly no judge of my growth, but when I look back at photos from one year ago and remember the things I’ve said, the ways I’ve reacted, the patterns of thought I’ve slipped into and the ways in which all of those have changed in the deepest sense, I laugh. “Did I really say that? do that? react that way?”  Wisdom shames pride. 

A summer thinking spot (Nashville, IN) 

     I recently found a crate of weathered papers and journals, dating back to 3rd grade, but mostly filled with middle school and high school ramblings. If I could write an ode that would properly praise all of my English teachers, I would. Any such ode would fall short of the gratitude deserved of these educators who saw glimmers of brilliance in my tenth grade writer’s notebooks which were scatter-brained at best. 

     Comical as the writings were, they captured well the person I was in each season. Yet in each, (underneath the layers of verbiage) I found a common thread.  Each writing gave me a glimpse of the new Creation that Christ was creating in me, both during those seasons and in the present. 

A summer thinking spot (Nashville, IN) 

     Praise God for His perfect timing and perfect love. I feel as though in many ways, I am relearning this summer some of the most fundamental truths of Christianity. I’ve found myself asking, “This truth is so basic - how has it taken me this long to grasp it?” Praise God for His perfect timing. 

     Another thing I’ve learned is that sleep is underrated. So instead of writing a host of paragraphs regarding growth and change, I’ve included bullet-points to satisfy the list-maker and keep myself awake as the caffeine wears off and the peach pie sets in. Some are little things, some are big lessons, all are worth considering. 


  1. “Comparison,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, “is the thief of joy.” I’m learning and relearning and forgetting and remembering Eleanor’s wise words frequently. Each time I allow the latter quip to steep, the rich truth of a creativity embraced, quirks and all, floods my soul again. 
  2. When you find a spot where you experience God best, become a regular. For me, it’s outdoors. When the Created enter Creation to praise the Creator, the result is worship. 
  3. Never withhold love. Never withhold kind words. Never withhold encouragement. Never withhold the character of Christ. 
  4. Listen without interjecting. Listen without judging. Listen with your full attention. 
  5. Find those who make you laugh until your stomach hurts and your eyes tear and the room spins. Laugh with them often. 
  6. If you make eye contact with someone, smile. Always. No excuses. 
  7. Two of the most surprising and rewarding friend-finders: music and prayer. Spotify messaging and collaborative playlists have become a gem.
  8. Always keep extra coffee mugs and coffee on hand. 
  9. If at a coffee shop, always strike up a conversation with your barista. 
  10. Make space in your life for solitude. 
  11. A good cry is a necessity. For fellow college students, the shower, the car and the prayer chapel bathroom are excellent, because sometimes the tears just need to flow. 
  12. The best conversations are often spontaneous and after midnight. If cookie dough is involved, it’s frosting on the cake of intentional community. 
  13. Make Sunday a Sabbath. For me, that means a slow morning, church, a late brunch, an afternoon of Bible study and this playlist, sitting out on Olson beach on blankets and small groups before preparing for a week of classes. Whatever that means for you, it is well worth it. 
  14. Write letters. Send some, keep others, never throw them away. 
  15. Take photos of the things that make you feel something, any little thing more than your usual existence. 
  16. Look for the beautiful unfolding of God’s glory in others. Spiritual friendships are the richest blessings and are found when one sees in another glimpses of who Christ is making them into and they journey together toward ultimate completeness in eternity. Find those friends; be those friends. 
  17. Dream a little. Dream a lot
  18. Pray.
  19. Learn how to ask the great questions. Don’t settle for quick answers - dig deep, care deeper. 
  20. Give yourself room to fail. 

A summer thinking spot (Nashville, IN) 

I've learned much and I'm learning more. I'm learning more of how broken I am and how whole Christ is. I'm learning how my need for Him is great and His desire for me is greater. I'm learning that I have the power to wound and He has the power to heal. Praise God for a lifetime of growing, a lifetime of learning and a never-ending supply of underserved grace. 

Hello from the Upland side.

     Hi Friends! Thank you for entering into a little bit of the journey the Lord is leading me on over the next days, weeks, years, and lifetime. I have been blessed with many wonderful memories in my Indiana home. This leg of my adventure is primarily based in the cornfields of Upland as I study and stay up late at Taylor University over the next few years. 

     This site will include the memorable, the mundane, and the messiness of my life in Christ. But I'd like to include a lot of other stories too. The Lord has a way of leading relationships and situations in my life at the perfect time. I'll highlight a few of those people and a few of those moments on this site. 

    Sheldon Vanauken once said:

My prayers are answered. No: a glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon. And there must perhaps always be just enough lack of demonstrative certainty to make free choice possible: for what could we do but accept if the faith were like the multiplication table?

Oh that I would lack "demonstrative certainty" and in faith, confidently rest secure in Christ's love. 

I am so glad to have you share in these moments and memories with me.