Monday, June 25, 2012


this is my camp post...listen to this song...its our camp anthem (lyrics below)!!

Furious by Jeremy Riddle
Nothing can tear us from
The grip of His mighty love
We’ve only glimpsed, His vast affection
Heard whispers of, His heart and passion
It’s pouring down…

His love is deep, His love is wide
And it covers us
His love is fierce, His love is strong
It's furious
His love is sweet, His love is wild
And it's waking hearts to life

The Father loves and sends His son
The Son lays down His life for all
He lavishes His love upon us
He calls us now, His sons and daughters
He’s reaching out…

… and its waking hearts to life
He is waking hearts to life
He is waking hearts to life

Your love is deep, Your love is wide
And it covers us
Your love is fierce, Your love is strong
It's furious
Your love is sweet, Your love is wild
And it's waking hearts to life

by definition, furious means acting with or marked by or resulting from great force or energy or emotional intensity. doesnt knowing that make the song so awesome??!!? God's love for us is furious! it has force, energy, and intensity. our overall theme for both camps was FLIPPED. we took things that we think as normal and show how God FLIPs that (ie in order to have life, you must loose it. in order to be first, you must be last). this song was perfect for that theme. so often we think of God as this old man in a chair that we have to treat like an elderly grandpa, or as meek and mild devoid of much emotion and drive. when the students started understanding this thinking, their worship and daily bible study became deeper, more meaningful, and sometimes emotional. we saw so many changed lives through teaching about God's furious love for them. 

if you read my post about middle school camp, then you know some of what God was teaching me. before leaving for high school camp, i asked God to continue working in my heart and in my thoughts. part of me was really looking forward to going back to high school camp, becuase i had "already been there, done that" kind of thing. i was going to get to sit back and relax a whole lot more than middle school week. a few things changed just 2 days before camp started! we knew that satan was really trying to put up some major road blocks of discouragement...we knew that some big God things were going to happen! the friday before camp on sunday, we found out our speaker was going to miss a day and a half due to a mandatory work meeting in chicago...!!! we also had two adult leaders back out the day before camp...!! that meant we had to do some quick thinking and some specific praying! our amazing team came together and worked it all out! God led us into an amazing night of worship while our speaker was gone, and myself and our awesome rec leader became adult leaders for condos full of young ladies!

to say that the night of worship softened hearts would be a huge understatement! God used something that we had never planned prior to camp to change the hearts of our students and bring them so much closer to Him. that night set the tone for bryan, our high school speaker, to urge students to go from being a simple fan of Jesus to a full blown follower of Jesus. stories and encouragement from our worship band and leaders helped show students that this life has its ups and downs, but God is always consistent and has walked the road ahead of us. we saw several accept Christ for the first time. we saw most of our students stand wanting to become different...a follower. it was amazing!!!

God had some awesome encouragement for me too. when we had two female leaders back at the last minute, i became a leader for 6 upcoming freshman and co-leader for 4 upcoming sophomores. i was a little bummed. not that i dont like being a leader, i do! i just felt unprepared and super self conscious. i usually like to make matching tshirts, bring decked out water bottles, and team themed headbands/bracelets/etc. i didnt get to be the cool leader. i was self conscious about hanging with "super cool" kids (at least most high schoolers think they are!)...i though i may not be cool enough to hang with them. i will be 30 years old in a few months!! but once i met the girls and we got settled in our awesome condo, God quickly started revealing how much these girls needed or not! one of my sweet girls revealed in our first group time that her mom had just had a miscarriage the week before camp. she was broken hearted. one of the sweet girls shared how she is trying to overcome self mutilation. one young lady told us that it was her first ever camp and she had never even owned a Bible before. by the end of the week, each of the 10 girls had made some amazing decisions for Christ! they grew together as a group to encourage each other and keep each other accountable. by the end of the week, i was so protective of each of them. i couldnt wait to get back and be a part of their growth in their FLIPPED relationship with God. and...they are all now following me on all my social media and several have said how much they miss me! ;) so cute!

this week restored my calling to be a part of high school youth ministry. not just the admin and event planning, but the small group leading, relationship building, Godly encouraging parts of high school ministry. that restoration will change my student interaction, my worship, my speaking style, my approach to my job...i was FLIPPED. 

this song was one of my camp favorites. my awesome friend amos sang it. it rocked!!! read the lyrics...they are awesome. you will see why it means so much to me! 

With Us by hillsong
Before the world
You knew the plans for me
Before my heart believed
You came to my rescue
And now I'm found in love
There's nowhere else to run
You keep my life within
Your mighty hand
Oh God
There's no end to Your love
There's no end to Your love
You're with us
You're with us
There's nothing in this world
That could take You away
You're with us
You're with us

Before I call
I know You'll answer me
You'll make a way
Beyond what I could imagine
What could separate
From the love You give
I put my hope in everything
That You are
Oh God


You reign in our hearts
You reign above all
Be lifted on high
You reign in our hearts
You reign above all
Be lifted on high
You reign in our hearts
You reign above all
Be lifted on high
You reign in our hearts
You reign above all
Be lifted on high


if you have never been a part of a youth camp, you should!! God will change your heart. and you will get to be a part of Him changing the hearts of everyone around you!

God's love is furious for you!!! 

blessings, ALo

Friday, June 22, 2012

Maybe Just a Shadow

well, today was fairly pain free. mostly, because they decided not to do the injection today.

i had the ultrasound to check my ovaries and uterus and to search for good follicles. the tech didnt know much, so i sat in an exam room for 40 minutes waiting for my doctor. good thing i really like him...guess i will have to get used to that...doctors seem to always make you wait. doctor todd told me that based on me being on day 16 (rather than 13 or 14) it was a little late to administer the shot. he could do it if i really wanted, but he suggested i save it for next month or return it if i end up pregnant this month. the one injection is $31 after my insurance covers their portion...yikes!! i am thankful that he was honest and not quick to make me spend unnecessary money! he told us to continue "trying" the next few days. dr. todd was pretty sure that i did ovulate in the last few days (while at camp) due to a fluid sack where the follicles and eggs are. he did mention the small fibroid that they saw initially, but said that it was small enough it may be just a shadow. he then gave me the next course of action:

this week peter will go for a semen analysis just to be sure again. he has been taking all of vitamins like a champ! if i do start my period in a little over a week, i will go in to have my cervix dilated again on day 3, start a higher dose of clomid/serophene, have an ultrasound and follicle search on day 13 and possible IUI on day 14.

IUI: intrauterine insemination- IUI is a fertility treatment that uses a catheter to place a number of washed sperm directly into the uterus. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. IUI is a fertility treatment often selected by couples who have been trying to conceive for at least one year with no success. IUI may be selected as a fertility treatment with any of the following conditions:
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Low sperm count
  • Decreased sperm mobility
  • Requirement of donor sperm
  • A hostile cervical condition, such as cervical mucus that is too thick
  • Cervical scar tissue from past procedures or endometriosis
  • Ejaculation dysfunction

i came away from todays appointment with hope. i could clearly see that God has been working in my heart and with my anxiety. i was glad to be able to sit down with dr. todd and ask lots of questions. he was great and helped me not get too overwhelmed, but encouraged me to enjoy "hanging out" with my husband. if we get to next month, then we will go from there. yes, there could be a lot to think about and stress over, but tonight i am enjoying being at home. we made cinnamon vanilla pancakes for dinner, im doing laundry, and catching up on tv i missed last week.

please pray that God would continue to give us both peace about each step in the journey. please pray that we would have clarity if we are not pregnant this month about what to do next month. we are praying specifically about whether or not we are ready for an IUI. 

on a side note: last night i had several strange dreams about camp (of course, camp has been all i could think of for the past 3 weeks and it was all over yesterday!). but just before waking up, i had two of the sweetest dreams about Charlotte. in one of them we were in heaven together singing Hosanna (one of my favs and one we sang at camp). they both seemed so real that i texted peter to tell him about it. i missed her a lot this morning! 

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

blessings, ALo

Follicle Schmollice

hey guys!

i got home from high school camp last night and i cant wait to give you an update. God did so many amazing things in the lives of our leaders and students!

today, i need some prayer. i am going in for a follicle search this afternoon. depending on what they find, we will begin hcg injections. i am a little anxious about what they will find. i know that the timing is a few days beyond what they prefer for this, but we are praying that everything will work out just right. if they do not find any good follicles, we will have to wait until next month. i am, honestly, feeling much more calm about this than i would have a few weeks ago. i know it has a lot to do with what God has been teaching me while at camp the last few weeks.

please pray that we will find some good follicles...that will GREATLY increase our chances of getting pregnant. please pray that i will go in with confidence in what God is doing with and for peter and me. i want the doctors and nurses to see God's glory through us.

i will post an update tonight.

blessings, ALo

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What I Am Learning

i didnt really know how to prepare myself for camp. i mean, within my job, i was ready! and as far as belongings go...i always pack more than i really need to. but spiritually, i was a little unsure. the few weeks leading up to camp, i had really let some things slip in my walk with God. i blamed it on being busy, and not home, and preparing for camp. fact of the matter is, i had been letting myself run my own life and when things didnt happen the way i wanted to, i was getting upset with God. you would think that because i spend most of my days teaching students how to live God filled lives, that i would have this all figured out. well, i still struggle. and the few weeks before camp were a big struggle.

the day we left for camp, i started my cycle...3 days early!! what??? i was so upset! partly because that i meant i had to deal with all of that stuff at BEACH camp, partly because that meant my medicines did not work they way we wanted (my cycle was way too short) and partly because i knew that was going to mess everything up for this month. i will now be at high school beach camp (without peter) the days we are supposed to be trying. so, i went to camp being a little frustrated, wondering why God did not answer my prayer again.

my the time i actually got to camp, i did not have to even think much about my cycle and all that goes with that. i was too busy helping students with all the crazy things that happen at camp (with parents 4 hours away). one of those said things happened saturday afternoon, day 3 of camp. one of our students ALMOST severed his finger when it got slammed in a metal door. for 6 hours, i was hanging out with matthew as we tried to find a place to help him. eventually the ER was the right choice. two broken places in his index finger and 7 stitches later, we were on our way back to camp. before getting to the ER, matthew and i were both disappointed that we were missing our free time. free time is the time when i get to hang with students with no agenda other than getting to know them and encourage them. missing that at camp is huge! so, 6 hours in the ER is not helpful! but wouldnt you know God had a much bigger plan for us that day.

after about 4 hours together, matthew started asking me some very pointed questions about the difference between religion and a true relationship with Christ. we talked about what it means to dedicate you life to Christ, about what it means to have pride, but not be prideful. so many good questions, seemingly out of left field. when we go back to camp, we were just in time for the message. our camp speaker talked that night about truly living for God, about having a true relationship with God and really knowing Him. at the end he invited students to accept Christ and those that had done that for the first time to stand up. MATTHEW STOOD UP!!! i just started crying. i knew that our time together that day was all planned out. that God knew exactly what He was doing by having us miss our free time that day. by far, the best time spent at camp last week, was the time i spent with matthew in the ER.

i still felt like God was trying to teach me something, as i continued to process things over the last few days at home i have come to a few realizations. i realized that God is asking me to stop being so caught up in the future and what is or isnt going to happen next month. God is asking me to be thankful and pay attention to what He has for me in the here and now. conversations with students, dates with my husband, emails with parents, laughs with my co-workers. when i am more pre occupied with tomorrow, i miss what God has for me today. i know that this may sound so easy for some of you, but for me, this is a huge deal!

while driving yesterday with my friend, christie, i was talking about camp and what i was learning when another realization hit me. God made it very clear to me, that He does have a plan. i may not still know exactly what that is, but i have so much peace today about it. if i had found out i was pregnant at camp, i would have been so distracted by myself that i would never have been able to be a part of camp. most likely i would also not feel that great. God has placed me at COF and with these students. camp is a HUGE part of what i love about my job. it is not the right time for me to be pregnant. i still want it so badly, but i know God is telling me to wait. to be patient. to be thankful. to enjoy what i have with my husband, and these students, and my co workers. when the time is perfect, it will happen. so, i am praying that God continues to give me this peace!!

i was reading this morning (if you are on facebook with me, you already saw this) and was so encouraged by this little bit from larry crabb's book, shattered dreams (if you are on facebook with me, you already saw this):

  "There's never a moment in all our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him, when God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He is blessing us right now, in and through those troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He thinks is good."

i pray, no matter where you are, peaks or valleys, that you see God's blessings in your life. i pray that you are stopping to look around and not jumping too far ahead. please pray that i can continue to do the same!!! please pray that God continues to teach me as i go back to camp this weekend with the high school students! thanks for reading and caring enough to pray with me!!

blessings, ALo

Wednesday, June 13, 2012



that is how i feel tonight. i am physically and mentally drained from a week of camp with middle schoolers and high school service tonight, and i am drained emotionally today after Thatcher's beautiful memorial service.

i wanted to say thanks for the prayers today. i really did ok, it is just a lot for anyone to process. it was an amazing time of celebrating all that God has been doing in and through Thatcher's life here. to hear the testimonies from nurses, people in response to the blog, family member's hearts...all heavily impacted by Thatcher's 2 months and 29 days.

there were two parts of this service that will always stand out to me.

1. at the beginning of the service, my friends robin and blake (aunt and uncle to Thatcher) along with nate (Thatcher's uncle, robin's brother) and a family friend got up to sing Holy Spirit. i have added a version to listen to. how awesome to say that they were welcoming the Holy Spirit in this time. to say that what they (Thatcher's family) longed for was His presence. it was so awesome to see the family get up and lead the whole place in worship. i am not sure how they did it, but it was amazing!

holy spirit by bryan and katie torwalt

2. eric, Thatcher's daddy, got up to speak. towards the end of his speech, he encouraged us to sing praises to God so that our voices would join Thatcher's in praise. i teared up because that is how i often think of Charlotte, singing and worshipping God, and since saying good bye to her, my worship and praise has been so much more meaningful. what an awesome thing to think about...our now perfect children singing and worshipping with us! i cant wait to actually be in Heaven!!!

i was invited to the private burial and luncheon after the memorial. the family did an amazing job making the whole day a celebration. even though i was on an emotional roller coaster today, i was blessed to be there and be encouraged by eric and whitney and their families. Thatcher has changed so many lives and i cant wait to see how God continues to use this little guy to further His kingdom.

Scripture from today:
Psalm 42:2-11 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

please continue to pray for this sweet family. i remember how hard the first few days (after everything was over) were for me. please continue to prayer for peace and comfort!!!

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not Ok

why are some of asked to endure trials that seem insurmountable? its not ok!

tomorrow i will be attending Thatcher's memorial service. why? why does this keep happening to families? it makes me so sad!!! i feel terrible for eric and whitney! please pray for eric and whitney and for their family and friends tomorrow! it is a horrible thing to have to say good bye to a baby! its not ok!

as i have been praying and asking for preparation for tomorrow, i have been thinking about Jaxton all day. i will never forget the amazing moments i spent with Jaxton and his sweet mom, lisa, while he was here on earth. i miss him so much!!! my life and my heart will be forever changed because of that little boy! now it will be the same with Thatcher. even though i only spent about 10 hours total with him, he will always hold a tender spot in my heart. i am praying that i can be strong, loving, and encouraging to whitney over the next few days, weeks and months. i pray that God will give her peace that passes all understanding!

please pray this family. please pray for me.

Me and Thatcher the first time I met him, back in April.

I was at Thatcher's house the day this was taken, last Monday. We had family hair cut day!

blessings, ALo

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kickin and Screamin

i am just about to go to bed, but i wanted to let you know that everything is fine. i have been off the radar for a little bit...i just wanted to see what it was like to process some things with out blogging. the verdict is in...i dont like it! i really dont care how many people read this, it is helpful for me just to type it out sometimes.

the last few weeks have been busy and this week is going to be the most crazy, busy, tiring week for months to come! this week we are going to beach camp!!!!! this is the week that i have been working towards since i started my job at the church. i am excited, nervous, apprehensive, ready, blessed, praying, and believing. we are taking 166 people to camp...135 of those are middle school students. AHHHH!!! we are staying at a beach resort with furnished condos, we have planned out rec time and free time and best of all we are expecting God to do some awesome things in the hearts of our students through our times of worship. my job (other than putting together a few things tomorrow and getting everyone to camp on thursday) is done. now, i have to hope and pray that everything that we have planned is going to happen (the food, the buses, the bon fires, etc.). please be praying for me this week! we leave thursday morning and come back monday afternoon. peter is going too! he will be with a condo full of 8th graders and he is also in charge of all the tech for our worship times. God bless my husband...willing to use 3 vacation days to minister to middle schoolers!! God bless all of our volunteer leaders! so awesome!!

so, all i need to do now is pack! i did go bathing suit shopping again today..ugh! i tweeted earlier today that bathing suit shopping is one of those things that does NOT get better with age. i hate it more and more each time i have to do it! if you know me, then you know (regardless of how much i weigh) i have huge "girls". im not kidding! bathing suits are not made for my girls to be covered appropriately for me to be going to beach camp as a leader with students. so, i have been looking online, i have lost more weight, and even resigned myself to getting a "grandma" bathing suit if needed. well, today was the last day i could actually go shopping before camp. i came home after a few hot flashes, a couple (almost) curse words in the dressing rooms, and a face that is all broken out (just like my middle school students) with a bathing suit in hand! no, it is not my first choice, but i will get great use out of it for both middle school and high school camp (that is 6 days after we get back from this camp!!) and maybe even a few trips to the pool this summer.

i didnt end up getting all the way to my weight loss goal before camp, but considering i was on vacation last week (not good for a diet) and been running myself ragged with home hair and work, i am ok with where i am this week, even after bathing suit shopping. i have set a new goal of an additional 12 pounds by our anniversary (8/12). that will put me very close to where i want to be over all. i keep praying that by loosing all this weight, we are getting more prepared to have a baby. i guess we will find out at camp if we are pregnant or not. if not, i have an appointment on 6/22 for a follicle search and will begin hcg injections. praying so hard we do not have to do that, but we are trusting God to lead us where He wants us!

ok, i know this was long. this is why i need to blog regularly!! :)

blessings, ALo

ps. i got to see Thatcher today! man is he ever a cute little guy!! please continue to pray for him and for his parents! if you are friends with them on facebook, please send them some love and encouragement!!