I Did Not Speak Out

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps

April 28, 2014; Yom HaShoah

Never forget.


Story Worth Telling

Part of my job working for CTV North Suburbs included making a short video about anything I wanted. Instantly I knew I wanted to make a video about my high school’s star project. We started the project spring of 2013, and my teacher asked me if I would be willing to put together a short video so that we could get the word out about the project.

Through CTV I was able to combine my passion for making media with my passion for this project. I am blown away and so thankful by how receptive my audience has been to this short documentary. I never pictured entering it into competitions or anything like that. My goal for the video was simply to spread the word about the project and gain help for completing it.

I’m so thankful for people in my life like my supervisors at CTV and my teachers from high school that taught me that my story is important. Each star drawn through this project is a reminder to me that everyone has a story, and everyone can make a difference. May we never forget the injustices of the Holocaust, and may each of us go out and live a story worth telling.

Acceptance speech for Best of the Fest award in the
youth category for the Best of the Midwest Fest


Inbetween Friday and Sunday

It’s been an emotional couple of days, as this time of year is. Saturday is a tough place to sit on Easter weekend. I’m torn between the sorrow and struggle of Good Friday and the joy and salvation found on Easter.

I’ve loved this song since I heard it two years ago around Easter time. I feel that it properly balances Friday and Sunday.

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

I Think I’m in Love

This isn’t something that I’d usually post on the internet . . . but it’s something that’s on my mind that I need to get off my chest . . .  I think I’m in love. I wasn’t sure if this really is love, so I decided to Google how you know if you’re in love.

How to know if you’re in love:

  • If you’re really in love, then you shouldn’t be able to picture a future without your loved one in it.
  • If you’re in love, then the one you love should bring out the best in you.
  • If you’re really in love, then you should be able to see that they are not perfect, but they have their flaws too

Well, that confirms it. I am in love with Sioux Center, Iowa. It certainly isn’t something I expected, but it happened nonetheless. Last August when I was packing up my things to head to college, so many of my friends asked “What on Earth are you doing? You are moving from the big city to a teeny, tiny town in northwest Iowa!” And that was an excellent question — what on Earth was I thinking? But you fall in love when you least expect it, right?

I’ve fallen for Sioux Center’s sunsets that paint the sky with more colors than I knew existed.

I love the neighbors that smoke their pipes on their porch and wave to me as I walk to the coffee shop.

I can’t get enough of the smell of cows (which is different than the smell of pigs. That I can live without.)

Although I could do without the snow at the en d of March, I actually really like the fact that the weather is unpredictable; it keeps me on my toes.

I’ve fallen for every last crack in each and every sidewalk.

It’s not something I would have ever chosen for myself. For crying out loud, the number two college on my list was in Los Angeles! I worked all summer just a few miles away from St. Paul. I should not love being in a small town in Northwest Iowa . . . but I do.

They say love is blind, but I really feel like I love Sioux Center for what it is. I know it’s not the big city, and it certainly doesn’t have everything . . . but I love it all. I love the pros and the cons, benefits and drawbacks, ups and downs . . . it’s what love is, right?

It’s crazy, but I really, really like it here. I’m really thankful that I get to live here this summer while working for Dordt, but I’m even more thankful  that this will be my home for the next three years.

Blackberry Vanilla Tea

It was almost a year ago to this very day.

We were all incredibly stressed for very different reasons.

Some of us still were unsure about plans for the next few months. Some of us were going through breakups. Some of our family members were sick.

We all were tired. We all were weary. We all were hurt in some way, shape or form. But we all put on a mask. If you had asked anyone of us, we all would have said “I’m fine.”

But this day was different.

She asked us to stop working on our assignment and told us to come sit in a circle in the middle of the room. I know you all are going through a lot of different things, she said. So, we’re just going to take time to pray about it.

And we did.

We prayed for all of it. Before I knew it, tears started rolling down my eyes as I took off my mask and stopped being “fine.” I opened my eyes, expecting them to be judging me, but instead, I saw seven pairs of eyes looking at me lovingly as if they were saying It’s okay not to be okay right now.

I wiped my eyes and took three deep breaths. After the prayer was over we all looked around at each other wondering what to do next. My friend looked up and asked Do you guys want tea?  We looked at each other and smiled. Our teacher said That sounds like a really good idea.

Our class kept a box of tea and coffee to make during some of our classes. We pulled out the blackberry vanilla tea and each of us had at least one cup of it.

That day I felt more at peace than I ever have in my entire life. Jesus said Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest. That day I felt a peace that could only come from the Lord.

The other day, I had a cup of blackberry vanilla tea, and a warm feeling filled my heart. The taste on my tongue reminded me of the love I experienced that day. Last year I went through some of the hardest things I’ve been through, but I’m so thankful I had such a strong support system behind me. I had wonderful teachers, six amazing men of the Lord, and a God of peace all there for me.

This week I was stressed and overwhelmed, but with a simple thing like a cup of tea, I was reminded of the joy, peace, and strength that the Lord promises his people.