Letter #670: Summer 2014


Dear summer,

I have no idea how you fly by so quickly, but here we are and you’re over yet again.

You are absolute madness in my life. Madness in the best way possible.

For three and a half months I live in a cabin on a lake surrounded by college students and middle school campers.

It’s absolutely insane.

12 teenagers combined to live under one roof with a couple of college students serving as mom, dad, friend, coach, counselor, disciplinarian, pastor and so much more.

Kampers learning new and improving in old sports and activities, conquering fears at the ropes course and blob tower, developing confidence in self and the ability to make friends all while having the time of their lives just getting to be kids.

Staff living life selflessly, most of which for the first time life’s not all about them, as they try to love, protect and help restore 13 years of damage all while wrestling with their own confidence and identity issues.

And somehow somebody thought it was a good idea for me to oversee this operation.

I can’t even begin to put summer into words. What the Lord does in hearts at kamp is impossible to fully explain. The world is secondary, distractions are few, people are priority and truth and the Gospel are king.

God is no different on the pea gravel of Lampe, MO than He is anywhere else, but life is just simple there. Space is created for people to hear and see the Lord do what only He can do because we are expectant and believe He will.

And He does and lives are changed for eternity. Not because of Kanakuk. Not because of the people. Lives are changed because people run smack into the truth of Jesus.

Every year you end, I look back blown away by how the Lord chose to show up. This year I may be more thankful than ever.

The Lord did more than I could have ever even imagined at every level. Kampers. Staff. My own heart. Thankful that He alone deserves the glory because I can’t even begin to take credit for the stories I watched happen and the lessons I learned.

Are you insane? Of course. Are you hard? YES. Are you worth it? Absolutely.

Cheers to another great one of you,


Letter #669: The Real MVP

Dear MVP,

The glasses. The suit. The bus carrying the team. The individual recognition of every teammate and coach. The commercial worthy tribute to mom. The genuine fight through tears. The moment.

You couldn’t have written a better moment than this.

The humility. “I’m usually good at talking, but I’m a little nervous today.”

The rawness. “I don’t know why I’m crying so much man.” Through tears to his mom: “You’re the real MVP.”

The authenticity and perspective. “First off, I’d like to thank God for changing my life. Basketball’s just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that.”

The vulnerability and admission of failure. “We disappoint you guys sometimes, but we try our best every single night. You love us as we are. We’re all a work in progress as men.”

I cannot get over what happened last Tuesday afternoon as Kevin Durant accepted his first NBA MVP award.

In a very me-centered industry and world, the moment quickly became about everybody else. The Thunder wouldn’t be the Thunder without KD. Everyone knows that. But what could have been the Durant Show turned into something so special people are still talking about it”…KD acknowledging, praising and thanking every person who’s been part of his journey to be named the best basketball player this season.

Kevin Durant took a moment that could have, and in the world’s eyes should have, been all about him and made it about something greater than himself.

Leadership. That’s what we were all privileged to watch.

He isn’t perfect. In fact, he’s no different than any of us: a work in progress. I’m extremely cautious to elevating him, but it seems evident he’s striving. And according to his speech, he’s found his something greater. “Last I’d like to thank God again. He’s the first and the last, Alpha and Omega. Thanks for saving my life.”

KD, your platform is vast. Thanks for and keep using it to point to something greater.

Cheering you on from afar,


If you haven’t watched this, it’s a must. Full 26 minutes…SO worth it. 7 minutes of highlights.

And on this Mother’s Day, shout out to my real MVP, Mama Roth! The only fitting card for Mother’s Day 2014!


Letter #668: Lessons from Jimmy Fallon

Dear funny videos,

You’re the best. You have the ability to make a person’s day in an instant.

Yesterday, I came across this Jimmy Fallon video. I’ve never seen a video of his that wasn’t funny, but this one was genius for so many reasons.

Major League Baseball player leaves the Yankees for A LOT of money. Makes his return to Yankee Stadium. Fallon takes advantage of a great opportunity. Hilarity ensues. [Seriously, go watch here, then finish reading.]

As I was watching, I had a few thoughts I think are worth noting.

1)    Take risks and make the most of an opportunity most wouldn’t begin to try. 99.9% of folks would’ve been scared to ask Robinson Cano to mock himself. Jimmy wasn’t. Opportunity often involves risk. Take a few.

2)    People can be jerks. And aren’t afraid to make complete fools out of themselves. And can change their demeanor in a nanosecond.

3)    The reaction of the “fans’ when it’s just the cutout versus when Cano steps out as himself is the epitome of how we operate behind our computer screens at times. We say whatever we want when there are no real consequences. People say bullying has increased. I’m not sure it’s increased as much as people can’t get away from it. Shoot a text. Post a status. Snap a chat (I hate SnapChat). There’s not immediate consequence.

Social media is exactly like this video. Cano’s not there, and the “fans’ say whatever they want. The second he walks out, everything changes. Smiles, handshakes, embarrassment, hugs. People realize how big of a jerk they were. They realize he’s a person.

This is a valuable lesson. Let’s think about who’s setting on the other side of that screen before we hit send. Words are powerful. Social media and technology have changed their power. Expanded it. It may not be Robinson Cano standing on the other side of a cutout to make a Jimmy Fallon spoof, but somebody is receiving everything we say from behind a screen. Would you say the same thing if they were standing right in front of you? If not, rethink it.

The guys yelling and booing at Cano changed their demeanor immediately when he showed up. I think most people in our world would say a little less, think a little more and be a little more kind if they couldn’t hide behind a screen.

This segment on Jimmy Fallon is hilarious. Laugh. Enjoy. But take two seconds to think about how we probably look like fools on our social platforms, in our texts or in emails daily. Learn from it too.

Love taking lessons away from things that make me laugh,

Appreciator of Jimmy Fallon’s humor

Letter #667: Choose Discipline



Dear running,

A year ago today I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. Today, I’m not really sure I could run a 5K.

What a clear picture of what our bodies are capable of but also of how quickly they change.

I was thinking about last year today and what the difference was. The only thing I can come up with is choice.

I chose and committed to running 13.1 miles. Because of that, I put in the training it took to accomplish it. Discipline.

Today, I haven’t chosen. I’m not aiming to run multiple miles. Could I do it again? Sure. [I think!] But it starts with a choice.

This isn’t only true of running. We must choose. Choose to pursue. Choose to love. Choose joy. Choose our attitudes. Choose selflessness. Choose discipline.

When I think back to a year ago, my life was disciplined. Far more so than it is now. I’ve learned discipline breeds discipline. If I’m running/exercising regularly, I eat better. If I’m going to bed at the right time, I wake up easier. If I abide by my social media boundaries, I am more productive.

Discipline breeds discipline. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a half again. I do know running one helped me understand the need for choice, commitment and discipline in order to live with purpose.

Reflecting on what once was,

Out of shape

Letter #666: Easter…Then What?

Dear Easter,

Bunnies and chicks and eggs, oh my. Like most holidays when we really step back and think about how we celebrate you, it’s pretty random. What do hunting eggs and sitting on a creepy bunny’s lap have to do with anything?!

I’m all for making memories in life so I honestly don’t care, but it’s still funny to me.

Mimi, Popo and Grammy sharing the real meaning of Easter via Resurrection Eggs.
My newest nephew, Turner, and I celebrating his first Easter!

So one day a year we dress in our pastels, eat more boiled eggs than the entire year combined because somehow food coloring makes them awesome and lots more people than a typical Sunday go to church. Then what?

Let me tell you about the what that happens after the then”…

You know what the best thing about Easter is………..the fact that it’s all still true Monday morning. And the following Thursday. And on Halloween, President’s Day and every other day of the year.

Jesus lived a perfect life but was crucified on a cross as if He was a criminal. In perfection He took on the sins, wrongs and mistakes of the entire world to give the entire world a chance to have a relationship with a holy God. You see, God is perfect and can’t be in the presence of anything short of that. So we were all screwed.

But He loved that same world filled with screw ups so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and die a brutal death, the death that we all actually deserve because of our disobedience and lack of perfection.

And He did. The cross is real. Not just the Bible, but history records it. But had Jesus just died a horrific death, He would have been no different than any other person who’s ever died. The only reason Good Friday can remotely be called good is because of what happens three days later. You see, Jesus is Jesus because He didn’t just die. He defeated death. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people.

I fear we celebrate you each year out of obligation. The reality is you are one day set apart to remember the most important and selfless act in history. Christ took on the sins of the entire world through a brutal death but defeated the grave three days later so that we may have life. So the “then what’ really is a simple question. Do you know Christ? Have you found true life in Him? Don’t settle for acknowledging a holiday but never knowing the Savior.

May we remember Christ’s sacrifice daily and live differently because we truly know Him.

Celebrating Easter daily,


Letter #665: Swing for the Fences

Dear life,

Sometimes you happen exactly how we envision you. Then there’s the other 23 hours of the day.

We expect things to happen one way, but the reality is you are full of curveballs.

What happens when curveballs come your way? You keep swinging. You learn how to recognize them, and you embrace. You can’t control what the pitcher throws your way. You can control how you approach your at bat.

About a month ago I turned 27. Does my life look anything like I thought it would? Not one bit. Do I care? Sure, sometimes it’s hard. How do I handle it? Work through it, move on and get over it. I don’t know about you, but I’m not riding the bench. The unexpected will not paralyze me. I have many more at bats to take, and I’m making the most of each one. I’m swinging for the fences!

Embrace the unexpected,

Fence swinger

Letter #664: Practical Palm Sunday


Dear Palm Sunday,

I grew up Catholic, so we were always very aware of when the things leading up to Easter were happening. You are today. It’s the day observing when Jesus road in on a donkey/colt and the people laid palms (branches) and coats over the road shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” This happens in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 12.

The thing I can’t shake today is how quick they turned. The people went from praising Jesus as a king to yelling, “crucify Him” less than a week later. A matter of days. These people went from laying branches and clothes on Jesus’ path in worship to keep Him from touching the ground to screaming for His brutal death.

If it can happen to them, it can happen to me. My heart is easily hardened. I can quickly lose sight of what is right. I can’t shake this and am longing and praying for a continually soft heart. May I never get swept up in the crowd and join in disowning the One I know to be true.

Praying for my own heart to remain soft but also for the hearts of those around me.

Hard by nature, softened by God’s grace,

Appreciator of Palm Sunday

***Photo cred: my dear friend Morgan brought what God’s teaching me to life. You can read her here!

Letter #663: Idea Central

Dear ideas,

The average person comes up with lots of you each day. I think my mind comes up with double.

Sometimes it’s like I can’t shut it off. Some are awful. Some are pretty good. Some I think of and forget before I have time to ever even flesh them out. Others I write down and come back to later on. Some I write down and never come back to because I forget where I put them! Others could be really good ideas but I don’t have enough time, knowledge or resources to invest in them to find out. And sometimes something in your gut just tells you to pump the brakes before you ever even start

I had what I thought was a brilliant idea last week. It would have been SO fun, given people incentive to participate in something they are likely already participating in all while allowing them to do it with a purpose that would help a great cause.

I mentioned my “brilliant idea’ to a couple people I trust, and they thought it would work. But something in my gut just felt uneasy.

I did a little bit of research on how I could make it happen and even took a very small initial step, but I couldn’t dive head in. The caution flag within me was yelling at me.

I sat down for one more reading and research session and learned my fun and exciting plan could actually be illegal.

All plans immediately stopped. I won’t stop dreaming, but in the words of Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time” to be illegal. The idea could still pan out one day, but it’s going to take thinking in a new direction.

Moral of the story: dream big. Think bigger than you think is possible. It’s ok to have bad ideas. It’s ok to have good ones that don’t work. There will never be a good one of you if there aren’t bad ones, failing ones. And always, always, always pay attention to that check in your spirit.

Here’s to more ideas,


Letter #662: Birthday Blog “Match.com”

**In the beginning of Letters for Lindsay, I blogged daily. Writing on my own birthday just seemed a little strange. This is the 4th year a family member has guest blogged. It was my oldest sister Jamie’s turn. Not the angle I expected, and WAY too kind, but this is hilarious. My family never ceases to amaze me! Enjoy!!!**

Dear tall, Christian, single guys,

I’d like to tell you about a pretty special person we’re celebrating today, my baby sister, Lindsay! Lindsay is one of the most incredible people you will ever meet, and here are some of the qualities that make her so special:

  • Patience: She handles 4 nephews (soon to be 5!) like a pro. This also applies to God’s plan for her life.  She trusts it and is willing to wait patiently for what He has planned for her.
  • Hardworking: She works ALL summer long in Branson for Kanakuk summer camps with MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS and NO air conditioning”…that qualifies her for sainthood in my book!
  • Generous: She volunteered her time after Christmas to work at an orphanage in Africa helping bring joy to some pretty amazing kids.
  • Caring and Supportive: She FLEW to Dallas when my son was in the Children’s ICU to keep me company and provide support.
Jamie and I with Emerson in Dallas after his open heart surgery last February. I watched miracles happen before my eyes in this boy!
  • Hilarious: You will often find Lindsay in costume singing out of tune for a laugh.  She even did this in the hospital to Emerson while he was sedated”…poor kid probably had nightmares! Nevertheless, the nurses all got a good laugh.
  • Confident: Lindsay is the most secure person I know.  Her confidence is something I aspire to achieve.
  • Faithful: Her love of God and her faith is admirable and unquestionable.
  • Loyal: She’s the best friend and sister you could ask for.  Did I say she’ll make you laugh? J
  • Tall: Height is a “big” deal”…pun intended J  (She didn’t get all the humor genes.)
  • Athletic: Growing up as a tomboy and 3rd girl, Lindsay is pretty proficient in most sports (except running- she’d be the turtle who won the race)”…she could probably take you on in a game of one-on-one and win!
  • Honest:  Need someone to bounce ideas off of? She’s your girl. She’s honest but won’t be hurtful. Yes, there’s a difference.

Although those are only a few of the wonderful attributes we all love about Lindsay, I must wrap up her “match.com” application for now.  If you think you would like to meet Lindsay, you must know that you will be “interviewed” by a father, mother, 2 sisters, 2 brother-in-laws, 5 nephews, and countless others to see if you meet all of our approval”…she IS the baby sister after all.

Did Jamie take it too far on the caption?!?! Probably, but this boy is to darn cute not to post this!!!! Remember those miracles I mentioned above?!

Happy Birthday, Lindsay! We love you!!!

Your oldest, non-writer, protective, and well-intentioned shorter sister,


Letter #661: Chicago Spontaneity


Dear spontaneity,

Deciding to go on a “spring break’ trip 48 hours before departure is the epitome of you.

My life is typically very planned. I thrive with consistency and discipline.

But everyone needs you in their life. Everyone.

I don’t care how disciplined you are, we all need to have some unplanned fun. Everyone.

That’s why 48 hours before departure, my friends and I decided to go to Chicago! Somehow we always seem to land on our feet, find great deals and have a blast in the process. Our Chigaco adventure was no different.

Roadtrip to Quincy, IL…Home of THE Brooke Ledawn! Road my first train from there to Chicago! Fun couple of days with Brooke and Laine!
Happy St. Party’s Day from the “green” Chicago River!


My favorite picture from the trip…thanks Asian tourists for capturing this!
Oh hey Chitown!!! Kicking on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower!
The Gardens at the Navy Pier…finally a picture without coats! And I had real Chicago pizza today!!
Navy Pier, Chicago skyline and friends that don’t miss a beat!

Here’s to making mems,

Lover of adventure

Where’s the most spontaneous place you’ve traveled?!