Saturday, April 26, 2014


with joy and tears i share the news that our family will be moving to new brunswick, new jersey this summer to start young life college and young life in the surrounding areas. if you are reading this and just finding out i am sorry i wasn't able to share this personally. it has been quick. so here we are...

what a spring it has been. we were asked to pray through the possibility of this job back around christmas. we talked and we prayed and without clarity or peace we turned it down. not because we are not mobile, up for change, into adventures, and above all completely and utterly willing to follow the Lord wherever He leads our family. we will go. every time. anywhere. wow i just wrote that. so even though that terrifies me i know that is where we stand.

side bar. i have been thinking a lot about calling and discerning the Lord's voice and direction. not an easy thing to navigate in my opinion. but i do believe the Lord is far clearer than maybe we want to acknowledge. mostly because change is hard. i am not sure i have met many people who say...."i love change. i hope my life is full of change and change and more change." mostly it sounds a little more like this..."i have a really hard time with change. can't i just get a break from it all." i think that is ok. i think change can bring fear, hardships, and trials. i know they do. i've lived it. but i have also experienced growth, intimacy with the Lord, depth with my husband, new relationships, joy, and memories that i would not trade. in my own life i can not think of many things i would trade. because i do believe that what we walk through is making us into who we are going to be forever. i am less fearful about new jersey not because i am strong and i handle change well. but because i have seen in tangible ways the Lord take care of me and provide me what i have needed in every major life transition thus far. graduating from calvin and moving to lexington, ky for a boy and a MSW. big move and best move. some of my closets friendships have come from that year. then we headed to chesapeake, va. i only ever had a couple friends my own age in a similar season of life. that was not always easy. i longed for my college roommates, my sisters, and just a few woman to really do life with. but the Lord provided for me in ways i would not even know to ask for. friendships with high schools girls through young life that now...a few years down the road we do life together. from all over the state we celebrate marriages, births, heartaches, and joys. the age gap doesn't matter. thank goodness i was not too ignorant to think we all have to be the same age to be friends. in addition were woman on our yl committee and community around us that literally made the chemo road feasible. meals, child-care, house cleaning, healthy smoothies, talks on the porch, prayer, gifts, cards, and tears. since my own mom was across the country the Lord gave me with other "moms" to care for us on a daily basis. for that i am grateful and for that i know that change and moves do not have to be as paralyzingly scary as i thought them once to be.

then harrisonburg. a few months post cancer we left a place where i think i experienced the most growth and change to date. newlyweds, a baby, cancer...those are just the big things. i became a wife and a mother and a fighter and a survivor and a hundred other things in that place. my heart is now scattered all over grand rapids, mi and lexington, ky and chesapeake, va and harrisonburg, va. some parts of that are hard. i often dream about living on the same street as my sisters and my parents and our kids growing up together. there may still be a season where that exists but not right now. oh, harrisonburg. i arrived here tired and depressed and scared. fighting to be happy and serve and smile and care for others. i like relationships and doing life with people. but it was coming from a place where i had nothing to offer. so in that first year i tried. i tried my best. but i know for a fact a lot slipped through the cracks and that is okay. we can't do it all. we were never meant to. but after some healing i built friendships, entered into the lives of college young life leaders, and we had lyla. this place now has my heart as well. i love that. this place has taught me yet again...that the Lord will give me what i need even if it looks different or feels different than i thought. i happy to admit i am usually wrong and that is fine with me.

in chesapeake and harrisonburg i have never seen people genuinely love our daughters simply because they want to. no obligation. but because they want to serve our family and love out girls. even if ava and lyla wont remember everyone (i hate that and i am sorry) but i know that my girls have seen community and fellowship and love and investment and joy from those of you, our dearest friends who have gone above and beyond for them. thank you.

this move is emotional. i often think emotion just means sadness and tears. not sure why i narrowed it down to those two emotions. but i did. i am experiencing daily and sometimes hourly the range of emotions that come with leaving a place and people you love. like really love. sell your first home, buy a new home, and all the details that can sometimes feel really paralyzing. justin is way better at managing things than me or maybe we just manage different things so it looks different. we are a team in that way and support each other in the areas we serve and work out of and i am beyond thankful for that. this move brings me to tears in two ways. sadness to leave and sadness that for nearly half a millions students in new jersey that don't have a young life leader to walk through life with. or hear about jesus from and experience a far grander life that the Lord has for them than ever could create for themselves. but there is joy. i love that we will be close to nyc. we love that city. i love the adventure, culture, diversity, and opportunities that await us and our girls. i am looking forward to what is ahead while also grieving for who and what we will leave. my husband shared in his last leadership meeting with our 80+ leaders that our eyes set on an eternal life far grander and far more real and right than this place. our eyes are on heaven. that is not to minimize or ignore how difficult this move will be but to rejoice in that this is far bigger than any little earthly move. someone told me that they think i am strong.  i think strength is viewed highly in our culture and that is not necessarily bad at all. strength and perseverance are essential in life. along with humbleness and patience and grace. it is ok to be a mess. i think we need to hear that more. IT IS OKAY TO BE A BIG OL' MESS. you can stay there for a bit or a lot a bit. but i do believe there is danger is staying in the mess indefinitely. we can do hard things. you see it written everywhere. believe it. we can. we can do things we never imagined we could. believe that truth. and with God? well there is no ceiling on Him. get ready. its real and its big and its major and He wants you. all of you. believe that He will do whatever, whenever, however He wants to bring Himself glory and bring you to himself. that is the life i want. so am i strong? sure i am. you are too. but i know that a lot of where my heart is right now about heading to place i had never been before last month is experiencing more confidence than any other move because HE TOOK CARE ME THEN AND HE WILL TAKE CARE OF ME NOW. that is in caps and you know how i feel about capitalization so clearly i am passionate. the confidence and direction and call we are experiencing about rutgers university in new jeresey is because He hasn't failed me yet. not in leaving my hometown, leaving ky, leaving chesapeake, and now leaving harrisonburg. i know it wont be easy. not many things are easy. except turning on the tv for your kids to watch indefinitely while you nap. but other than that most of life takes drive, energy, time, willingness, and an hourly belief that because of Christ we can live.

i know it will be hard. big bad new jersey is going to be different and that is alright with me. justin says all the time..."do you think when we die we will say...why did i take so many risks for Jesus?" we personally doubt that. so we are taking a risk and we are on board and we are united and we feel sent and care for and we are seeing the Lord go before us in countless ways. thankful He is beside us and behind us and we are covered in prayer and support. i want that. we need that.

more to come this week on moving and calling and when to go and when to stay. i don't know much about staying but i do a lot about going and both are good and right and necessary. the Lord has us where we are for a season or a lifetime and i LOVE that. risk doesn't have to mean moving or new cities or new countries. it certainly can be that but it can be digging deep in a place for 60 years and you know what...those are the people that have made our moves and transitions possible.

i am not sure where we will end up and right now i do not really care. new jersey is what is next. we are thankful for the support and encouragement from young life as a whole as they send us to this new mission field.

if you have any connections in the area of new brunswick near rutgers or live there and i want to be my friend or want to move there and start young life in the nearly 500 high school and middle schools around me at

this is big for us. it is good for us. we want it. we are in. we are sad. we are joyful. we are scared or at least i am a little. but my husband is a man of vision and training and he is a dreamer. i will follow him anywhere and i am good with that. especially when we are united in the way that we are about new jersey. the Lord moved in me at a meeting 7 weeks ago and i was so overwhelmed with emotion and the holy spirit that i could not stop crying. my head was flooded with this..."move. move your family. go. adventure. risk. it might not go smoothly. but move. move. move. move." so after prayer and counsel and the Lord showing us in very clear ways we will go.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

hope spoken

last march when tickets were released for hope spoken i had no idea what it was. i kept seeing the picture/logo show up all over instagram. the ladies organizing the event were not blogs i had read but now i do and i only recognized a few of the speakers. however, one of the key note speakers was going to be shauna niequst who wrote bittersweet and bread & wine. two books i recommend and bittersweet was sent to me by five different people when i had cancer. i am drawn to her writing and wanted to hear her in person. a few girlfriends from ky whom i know through justin (and have become dear friends) were also going so i tagged along. cory, jen (she blogged the details of this weekend) and rachel our woman that i respect immensely and love and barely see. so a few days in dallas, with some girlfriends, no babies, worship, sharing, and hearing about all different aspects of life and hardships and joy that all...i mean all...point back and directly to Christ.

what went on during this weekend you can't fake. thank you danielle, emily, and casey for that. you can't fake genuine and raw. i love that. i love that it felt nothing like a conference where you feel more like you are observing all these really cool people who get to be the speakers and share about their lives. but instead it felt like i was a part of it all. like my presence mattered. not in a self-centered kind of way but more of that it didn't matter if you were "blog famous" or had lots of instagram followers or wrote books or sold cool stuff. we are all woman trying to make our way. but i would be lying if i wasn't a little intimated by the well of knowledge, life, humbleness, and really amazing woman that filled that room.

the weekend felt humble. not fancy. although the decor was impressive and creative. if we had all been in our pajamas it would have really been my perfect dream. i am drawn to humbleness because i was struck with how prideful i am. how much i want to matter. be important. be asked to speak. share my story. when i realized the woman who shared this weekend were nervous, intimated, shy, hated public speaking (which i totally do so i am not sure why i want to speak at stuff). my pride. i see it everywhere.

i not only watched and listened but i experienced other woman's lives as they shared on abuse, infertility, adultery, depression, anxiety, adoption, death, broken relationships, mounds of deep and dark pain. but the game changer was that in all of that. every ounce of the stories shared you saw surrender, joy, contentment, birth, forgiveness, life, adventure, risk, hope & life. this place was my jam. i am saying that a lot these days to work with me. i felt like i was with woman who were like-minded. no matter the age, state, story, or all pointed to the gospel and the ocean of grace we can all experience everyday from the Lord. i thrive in thinking and processing and rejoicing and crying in the midst of hard freaking stuff and then...when you can't take it anymore you see a glimpse of joy, sovereignty, forgiveness, life, purpose...a story. our story. my story. your story. the one that He is writing everyday for us. i love that. this weekend was about sharing those stories. no matter where you're at or where you're headed or what was behind you. the Lord is writing your story and the way i believe we honor Him the most is by sharing them. allowing others to enter into them. all of it. the messy stuff and the easy joyful stuff. i think woman have the ability to speak into one each other's life with encouragement and scripture when we share where we've been and where we might be going.

although i would love to give you all little nuggets of truth from the speakers...i cant find my notes and if i don't press publish now this post wont happen since i currently am not sure what lyla is doing. so instead here are the links to the blogs of the ladies who were real, humble, shy, hilarious, truth tellers. i love that. i want to give more of it and i sure want to experience that more with the woman i live life with...both near and far. to take off the masks and the fear and pretending that it's all ok. but man when it is all ok we need to praise the Lord and live out of a place of gratitude. the unique thing about the Lord is that He can provide us with that place of gratitude in the midst of wherever we find ourselves.

danielle & hannah && emily (one of the first blog i ever read and we ate most meals together. love her.) jami & leslie & casey & emily

in life i think we often find ourselves at a point where we can either choose fear or faith. i want to be a woman who chooses faith. i want to be convicted and broken and vulnerable when i know Jesus is the prize. His truth and grace. everyday. everyday single say until eternity.

this weekend showed me that so much of my life is bound up in this earth and my stuff and my family and my hopes and my dreams and my story and what i want. between seminar one and seminar two my heart flipped. i want more of Jesus on this earth. i want my eyes to be kept on Him no matter the season. i want more us to live like that. to talk about why it's scary and what we are holding onto on the inside and where we fail and where we thrive and that no matter how it all unfolds...Jesus is the one thing.

leslie passed photo cards out to those that attended her session and this has been written on my heart.

Monday, April 7, 2014


 I RALLY for Libby. I RALLY because Ava needs her Mom. And Justin needs his wife. Because while every blog post was emotional, none made me cry as much as this one...

February 9th: we are home. we made it. we made it through 12 chemotherapy treatments. it was joyful and emotional. hard to celebrate because i really do not feel very well at all. but either way its over and i never have to get chemo again. i can not explain what this means to me. i have cried more today than i have since this all began. i had no idea i would feel like this. but i am so thankful its over. and i did it. we did it. we freakin' did it. its done. i could scream. justin did scream in the car when we drove home. i will scream when i feel less exhausted.

thanks for loving us. and for the texts, emails, mail, and flowers that arrived today. it helps that so many people are celebrating right along with us.

i am in bed. ava is sleeping. and we are watching top chef. our favorite. my husband is beside me working on his lap top. its so nice to be together. to celebrate how far we have come together. i thought we were a strong team before...but man...cancer does something crazy and special and deep to a marriage.

or this one...

February 18th: Final Test Results - i woke up early this morning. i could not sleep. i emailed my doctor and within minutes he called me. he said immediately, "I am calling with good news, Libby!" that was all i needed to hear. but then i asked to be sure, "So i am cancer free?" and he said, "yes, congratulations Libby!"

i hung up and just sat in my bed. i did not react. almost like when we heard i had cancer. i know i have emotion but for some reason i felt nothing. so i text justin asking him to call me asap and that it was good news. he asked, "how do you feel?" and i thought for a second and said, "good. i mean i knew it. i knew it inside that it was gone but this is the confirmation i needed. i feel relieved." he said me too. but i know myself and the emotion will come. its not usually immediate. its like i need a second. well its been over an hour and its sinking in. ava woke up and we got her dressed and justin made breakfast and we really did not talk. we ate on the porch and then my heart began to open up. not with tears but i am beginning to process that i do not have cancer anymore. I DO NOT HAVE CANCER ANYMORE.

i often think that our story is not that unique or special. people get cancer all the time. and people live and people die. and i found myself feeling guilty that our story of cancer was maybe not as tough as other people's. justin said that was dumb and not to think that. so i will try not too. but we changed. forever we are changed. and i would not trade that for the world. my heart is new. and i am still broken and sinful and clearly imperfect but cancer did something big to me. and to justin. and even though ava is so young i know our family's story will change her too. oh, i pray it does.

I RALLY because almost four years after her diagnosis, Libby is alive and healthy. Because Ava now has a baby sister. I RALLY so more families can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and first steps. And fewer families have to sit through chemo. I RALLY for the families who had to say goodbye too soon. I RALLY so future families don't have to. But mostly, I RALLY with the hope that one day, we won't need to RALLY anymore.

(all the above was shared by grace ng on the website)

i have been trying to write this for a few days but i didn't want to just share a link and a story and ask people to just enter into this campaign. i want to articulate in the best way i can that this is way bigger than raising awareness or money. it is about dreaming of a day when cancer isn't a part of any of our stories anymore. because enough research has been done to obliterate this disease. but since that day is not today i want to share about our friend grace. her family has been long time supports of the ministry of Young Life and our family. justin and i have had the honor of walking alongside grace's two younger siblings, abigail and jon while living in chesapeake.

Grace Ng graduated from the University of Virginia in 2009 and took a job at Barclays in New York City where she currently works as an Assistant Vice President in Institutional Equity Sales, responsible for covering institutional asset managers with respect to their equity market investments.

After moving to NYC in 2009, Grace discovered the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through their endurance sports training program, Team in Training. Team in Training trains individuals to compete in marathons, triathlons, and cycle events while they raise funds to support LLS. In the past four years, Grace completed 5 marathons and half marathons with Team in Training, and is currently training for a half marathon in June!

In addition to her own training, since 2012 Grace has served as a captain for Team Barclays, a Team in Training corporate team that has supported more than 350 employees in endurance events and raised over $1 million for LLS. At the invitation of LLS’s NYC Chapter, Grace also serves as a member of the Team in Training Executive Leadership Committee, an entity tasked with growing and developing the Corporate Team Division of the program. (this and more about grace can be found at

Grace has accepted the nomination for the LLS 2014 WOMEN OF YEAR rally campaign. the rally campaign is a 10 week push to raise $150,000 for the LLS.The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. Founded in 1949, LLS is relentless in the pursuit of its mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. When I was sick we were given a $5,000 check from the LLS to help with our medical bills, medication, and treatment. That significant contribution alleviated the financial burden that cancer treatment brings to so many people. 

will you rally?
no matter the amount it makes a difference. all those $25 donations add up.

follow them on twitter @RALLYFORLLS
connect on facebook

mostly this whole thing is very humbling. humbling that people continue to rally around our story, cancer, and finding a cure. when we were walking through cancer i share all the time that the reason we even made it through that time without going insane was because people rallied around us in every capacity possible. but it begins with a cure. 

email me if you have questions or want to get involved.

thankful that LLS had done enough research by the time i was diagnosed so we had treatment plan designed specifically for hodgkin's lymphoma. i was stage 4 when my cancer was discovered and i feel confident that because of the 4 drugs i was given at chemo in addition to the Lord's grace i was healed. today i am healthy wife and momma to little girls. i can feel how close we were to that not being our story.
 because campaigns like this exist i was able to be treated and healed.