The Burys

The Burys

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Journey

Last June, I had a dental appointment, needing filling redone. After the procedure, the dentist was going to adjust my bite with the new filling, but since my mouth was still numb, it was difficult for me to tell if it was off. So, I had to wait an hour or so for the anesthetic to wear off. The clinic was nestled among the trees and surrounded by a stream. So on that beautiful day, I took a walk as I waited.

I walked over to the stream and observed its beauty. It was wonderful. I watch the current flow down the stream. It confirmed in me that I prefer rivers and streams then bodies of water. Rivers and streams are always moving, always going somewhere. They turn and twist and you never know what’s around the corner. I ask God to always be moving in my life.

It was a bit chilly as my spot was in the shade, so I continued on.  I followed the stream and continued to admire it as I walked. I found a nice place and stopped again to gaze upon the flow of water. However, I was quickly prodded on once the bugs found me. So I kept walking.

I stopped again as a beautify butterfly flitted around me. I admired its beauty as it danced around me. Then it floated down the trail, in which I naturally took off to follow it. It took one too many turns that I could no longer follow and watched it drift away.

I continued down the trail, in which I found a bridge going over the stream, and it is there where nature revealed its messages to me. The sun shined every so brightly as I stood in warmth looking over the railing at the flowing water down below. I used this time to ponder questions that were going through my mind. I was struggling with the different thoughts on healing. I asked God to teach me something about healing and help sort out the questions in my mind. I did not expect any answers or at least not in the next few moments. 

I turned my focus on the beautiful trees that hugged the stream. It was with those trees, God began to teach me about healing. I sensed him asking me, “What do the trees do?” I thought for a moment and replied, “Grow.” I pondered for awhile about that. “All trees do is grow. They don’t move, they don’t think, they don’t speak. They only thing they do is grow.” God continued to teach me through my thoughts. “They will keep growing as long as they get the right nutrients they need or nothing inhibits their growth.” God reminded me how the human body is very similar. From the moment we were conceived, we constantly have been growing. Even when our body’s frame stops growing, we continue to grow within our bodies. We are constantly growing new cells in our body, replacing old cells with new ones. That is how our bodies heal themselves, given the right environment and nothing impedes it.

Right then it click! Healing is really growing. Growing is really healing. When someone asks to be healed, they are really asking to grow. When someone wants to help heal another, they really want to help that person grow. So, whether I am physically healed or not, my focus should be on growth.

That answer satisfied my inquiries and thanked God for speaking with me. I thought our conversation was over, but He proceeded to discuss the summer’s camp theme – Journey.

God reminded me of the events that took place on this little journey I had walking along the stream. I initially stood at the river bank admiring it’s wonderment; however, several things pushed me along to keep going. First, it was the chilled wind and then the bugs. So, I realized that value of the discomfort; it kept me moving forward on the journey. But then he also reminded me that I was prompted to keep moving by the butterfly. Beauty and wonderment also have the ability to keep us moving forward.

From there, I begin to ponder more about things that keep us moving forward and things that keep us stuck. Fear was the first thing that came to mind. We often are afraid to move forward, not knowing what’s ahead. Fear keeps us locked and frozen where we are. The picture that came to mind was being trapped in a burning house. I could be deathly afraid of jumping out the window or pacing through flames to get out of the house. I may be filled with so much fear that I literally may physically freeze, unable to move to safety. That fear would keep me stuck, unable to escape the inevitable death. On the other hand it could be that very fear that actually drives us! In the same picture of a being trapped in a burning house, a strong fear of death could propel me to move, and move fast.

I thought of another scenario, much like the last. However, instead of a burning house, the picture that came to me was an oncoming bear. Once again, that fear can move us or freeze us. If I see an approaching bear, my fear may cause me not to move, but drop and play dead. Which, is a potential safe option. That fear, once again, could be so overwhelming that I completely freeze, unable to do anything. Now, for some, that fear may also drive someone to move. I may see a nearby building that offered a safe place. So, that fear would push me to move to safety.

That brought up another thing that has the ability to move us, as well as, freeze us; safety. We often think of the concept of safety as something that keeps us from moving. I’m in a safe place, I don’t want to move. However, safety can also drive us. If that bear is behind me and I am able to make it to a safe place, I’m going to move! If the house is on fire, I need to move to a safer place.

I began to think of the many things that move or freeze us. Comfort, love, wonderment, excitement, pain, and the list can go on. My natural tendency was to then ask, “Is moving forward always good? Is freezing bad? In the instant of seeing a bear, dropping to the ground and freezing is probably the best option. Not moving is actually purposeful. However, once the bear is long gone, staying frozen is no longer needed and unproductive. There are definitely moments when we need to move and when we need to stay still.

Most of these thoughts revolved around the concept of safety. What is the safest? My logical response to the good and bad of moving forward was solely based on safety. So, I wanted to ask those questions again without answering them on the basis of safety.

That brought me back to the concept of growth. Moving forward is good if it grows us closer to God and, likewise, staying still is good if that grows us closer to God. In essence, that is how we should judge whether anything is good or bad. Does it make us grow closer to God? Are we growing? Are we being healed? I believe God gives us each a different Journey, moving us forward, keeping us still, taking steps backwards with the use of discomfort or pleasure... whatever we need to help us grow closer to him.

(Thanks Dr. Cook for such a beautiful place to be!)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New step

Here we are at the onset of the new year. Thought that some things would be different but pretty much everything happened just the way the sponsor always says "people get pretty much what they sign up for" maybe that's the wisdom that I have been looking for, maybe that's the big break that I have been looking. That's just the softer version of saying that we are manufactures of our own misery. I think somewhere out in information land someone said something like such as a man thinks so is he. With that said I think that I may need more help this year than I thought because those patterns of thought are hard to break. I thing I like what Oswald Chambers says in today's devotion. "Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ." Thanks for being with me for the year may this next year bring more "Bury wisdom".

Friday, April 10, 2015


The formation of community is the intricate, patient, painful work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot buy or make community; we can only offer ourselves to become community.
                            -Larry Crabb-

Just participating in relationship and connection I become a gift. Just "suiting up and showing up" is the hard part for me today.  The messy part of spiritual relationship is enough to make me minimize risk or play it safe. The messy spiritual life, the unknown, the powerless situations the sudden disturbance of all that I thought was going good in my life. The crazy intent that lashes forth when things are not going how I thought they should. That same resentment that never goes away no matter how much prayer is given for that person  place or thing. That person  you really don't care for and you don't understand why but there they are and suddenly the gift of gab has left. Even though I experience the messy spiritual life being a part of community I become that needed and valuable asset to others the only requirement is my participation and connection.   

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Friday, March 20, 2015


"To be so much in contact with God that you never need to ask Him to show you His will, is to be nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you are rightly related to God, it is a life of freedom and liberty and delight, you are God’s will, and all your commonsense decisions are His will for you. The point of asking is that you may get to know God better."
                        Oswald Chambers, (1927). My Utmost for His Highest

The greatest thing to have in life is a good friend. One that has been with you in good times and bad. The hard work for me today is to keep working at those relationships even just the thought will go a long ways. Its hard for me to understand that God wants to be that for me. Today is one of those days when I have understood how happy that makes me.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015


What a privilege it has been to be able to quiet the self and mind. I think of the busyness that causes me to live in silence to those that I love.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Hard of Hearing

How does one just hear well? They used to say get the cotton out of your ears. Listening is an active skill for me. I do plenty of hearing but sometimes I choose to not listen. I think my wife  is the first person to experience life with me when I have do not listen. Our ability to connect and sometimes just accomplish daily tasks is hard when I do not have my listening ears on. My travels in the Holy Scripture this week have brought me to  (Proverbs 6:22, KJV ). It instructs me how to give God the night key to my heart. That night key is the Word of God. Solomon states, “When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee” (Proverbs 6:22, kjv). This is a summary of the relationship between conscious meditation and subconscious meditation, and of its relation to our daily walk.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Joni & Friends Has Impacted My Life!

             I thought I was going to serve, but I ended up being served. I thought I was going to help the needy, but I realized I was the needy one and was helped. I realized that people with disabilities have value and many gifts that most of society overlooks. These are some of the thoughts I learned from my involvement with Joni & Friends (JAF). In so many ways, JAF has impacted my life.
 Let me give you a brief history of events that has lead to these life-changing moments in my life. When I was a junior in high school, the infamous question was, “What are you going to go to college for?” I really didn’t know and often replied, “Maybe Accounting?” I realized I didn’t have a clue and asked God to help me figure it out since he created me and knew me best.
Shortly after asking God to help me out, I had a strong urge to read a book. This was very unlike me, as I was not a book reader and hated reading unless I had to. However, for some reason, I had this strong urge that brought me to my parents’ bookshelf, looking for a book to read. I came across one titled Joni that had a picture of a gal with a paintbrush in her mouth. It looked interesting. I pulled it out and asked my mom if it was a good book. She told me it was, so I took it to my room and began reading.
Joni’s story captivated me and I could not put the book down. She wrote about her diving accident and her newly found life with quadriplegia. She wrote about her long road in rehab and the many challenges she faced. She wrote about her therapists that helped her regain function and retrained her how to do daily, as well as recreational, activities again.  One of those recreational activities included drawing and painting. Joni learned to draw with her mouth since she could no longer use her hands like she did before. At that point in the book, I said to myself, “Now that would be a cool job!”
From that moment, I pursued a degree in Occupational Therapy. I went to college for 6 years to obtain my Master’s at Concordia University Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee. In 2001, I found out that Joni was going to speak at a conference in Wheaton IL. I had to go!
That conference changed my life. There were hundreds of people there with and without disabilities. I never have been in a place with so many people with disabilities before. It was powerful, especially as we sang. I saw people singing with all their hearts, uninhibited, and genuinely real. No fakeness, no facades.  I saw people full of joy and happiness even though their lives were full of struggles.  I felt a joy and a love fill the room that I never felt before. Joni spoke and also sang beautifully. I was able to meet Joni after the conference. I had her sign my book and told her that her story inspired me to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy.  She was excited for me and praised the therapists that helped in rehab.
Also at the conference, there was a recruiter (Jon Ebersole) at a booth recruiting people for their Family Retreats and Wheels for The World programs. I was very interested and took the information. However, being in college and working, I was unable to get to a retreat until after I graduated. 
In college however, pursued working in the disability community as a secretary of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. There I made several friends with disabilities and began learning what life was like for people with disabilities.  I also had my student fieldwork experience in a hospital with a spinal cord injury rehab unit.
In 2004, I finally made it to my first Family Retreat at The Oakwood Inn in Syracuse, IN.  It was one of the most life-changing weeks of my life. I was matched with a girl close to my age with Cerebral Palsy named Lauren. We hit it off well from the start. I learned she was a lot like me, with similar interests and struggles in life. She ended up teaching me more than I think I taught her. For the first time, I experienced first hand that people with disabilities had a lot to offer and value overlooked by most. From that moment, I would forever seek to surround myself with people with disabilities. Lauren and I grew our friendship over the years to come and we are still friends today.  JAF became a family to me right away and continued to grow stronger every year.
I would drive 8 hours from Green Bay, WI to JAF Retreats the every summer, being the highlight of my year.  I searched for opportunities in my hometown and home church to connect with people with disabilities. At the time, I struggled finding them. Eventually, my brother gave me a brochure for a camp for people with disabilities asking, “Have you ever heard of Camp Daniel?” I said, “No,” taking the brochure and seeing the address was in Athelstane, WI. Just an hour north of where I was living! This was in my own backyard! It was in during the winter months, so it was a long ways off until their summer camps. However, I looked on their website and saw that they met in Green Bay once a month for a church service called The Able Fellowship. It was a church service for and run by people with disabilities. That concept never crossed my mind before and it intrigued me.  I anxiously awaited their next meeting January of 2007.
My first time at The Able Fellowship was amazing. Two people with disabilities happily greeted me at the door.  Others with disabilities helped lead the prayer and singing. It was truly nothing like I’ve experienced before. It was most real and genuine church service I’ve ever been to. 
I continued to attend The Able Fellowship each month until finally the summer camp season began. That June, I served two weeks with Joni & Friends Retreat once again. It was amazing as always and so good to see my JAF family. When I returned, I couldn’t wait to serve at and see Camp Daniel’s summer camp.
That year, Camp Daniel’s camp theme was “Family”. It was a very fitting theme as it was during that summer that God led me to join the Camp Daniel family.  I joined their missionary staff, where I have been serving as a fulltime missionary within the disability community ever since.
            Camp Daniel was named after a boy named Daniel who had a form of muscular dystrophy and was called in to ministry at a young age. Daniel was friends with Joni and impacted the disability community in many ways, just like her.
After Daniel passed away in his young 20s, Camp Daniel was developed in 1996 with summer camps and Christian family group homes.  The Able Fellowship transpired after several years of having campers come to camp, beginning a relationship with God, and have no spiritual connection or church family to connect with when returning home. Summer camp ended up being most of the camper’s only church connection all year long. The Able Fellowship eventually evolved into a weekly church service called, The Able Church, in which I played a vital role in its formation. Its leadership of its members with disabilities continues to grow. It even has a pastor with an intellectual disability, naturally teaching the Bible simplistically so its members can understand.

Today, my husband and two-year-old son join me as fulltime missionaries in disability ministry. We run a group home and help run the summer camps with Camp Daniel. We are currently in the process of starting The Able Church in another community near by. We speak at churches, colleges, schools, and Bible studies about the value of people with disabilities and their importance within the church. Special Olympics have also been a huge part of our lives. We continue to serve with Joni & Friends retreats as leaders for the young adult group. Joni & Friends retreats have been a dear family for us with the relationships we’ve made with other volunteers and attending families.  We hope to someday serve on a Wheels for the World trip and also at a Warrior Getaway (my husband served in the Marines).

Joni & Friends has guided my life in so many ways. It has guided my jobs, my mission, my thoughts and most importantly, my relationships.  Without JAF, I would not have realized the value of people with disabilities, much less sought them out as friends. I would not have sought disability ministry as a full-time, life-long commitment. It would not be my mission to see churches filled with people with disabilities. JAF has played a huge role in who and where I am today, and I will be forever grateful!