So, now we’ve reached the installment of Journey to Motherhood, at least in the miscarriage chapter anyway, that I’ve been looking forward to: the Silver Lining(s).

I’ve always heard the term, as I’m sure we all have, but I wanted to Google it to see what the “official” meaning is.  According to Google, the phrase comes from a proverb, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, and is defined as “a consoling aspect of a difficult situation”.

Miscarriage is difficult, for sure.  But, let me tell you, there have been silver linings all over the place.  And not just grayish linings that are reminiscent of something beautiful, but shiny, silver, glistening linings.  The kind that make you stop and take a deep breath in, and see the world as a bright and beautiful place again.

And that’s what I want Ellie’s short life to have been about.  Beauty, love, meaning, impact.

So, Josh and I decided that we wanted to start a YouTube channel to tell our story.  We wanted to talk through and process going through a miscarriage, and to be encouragement for others who have gone through the same thing.  We want to celebrate Ellie’s life by telling her story and remembering her, but we also want to celebrate life itself-and the everyday adventures that make it beautiful.

Here is the video in which I talk through a lot of the things that I was struggling to write about here.  I hope that you will enjoy it, and if you do, please subscribe so you can follow along on our journey to becoming parents.




A Year Ago I Was a Missionary in Honduras…Today I Served Chicken Sandwiches in Suburbia

I’ve been needing to write for awhile.  And not like the I-feel-obligated-to-blog-every-so-often needing to write, but really needing to write.  But for some reason, I just haven’t really been able to do it.  Every time I sit down at my computer, motivated and ready to write, I close the WordPress tab just as quickly as I opened it.

The problem is, this Great Story I’ve been trying to live hasn’t felt, well, quite so great anymore.

By that, I mean that it is not as exciting as my life was several months ago.  This time last year, I was living with Josh and the rest of our team in a small concrete room in the back of a church in Tablon, Honduras.  Our days were filled with walking around the rural mountain town with Pastor Jesus, meeting with and praying for people in the community, gathering at Duma’s house with her family as they prepared corn tortillas, rice and beans for us, bathing in the river (in swimsuits of course), hand washing our laundry and hanging it to dry (for days and days as they got extra rinse cycles from the rain), and going to bed on our sleeping mats on the floor and in our sleeping bags at 8:30 because it was dark and there was just nothing else to do.


Today, I woke up, ate a bowl of cereal and said a quick good morning to my nephew Henry, went to work at Chick-fil-A, hung out with Henry a bit, ate dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s church, and hung out with Josh at a coffee shop.

My life is SO different than it was a year ago.  But, I’m realizing that different is okay. 

My sister has been doing a 31 day blog challenge, and every day, she writes about a particular lesson learned.  Today, she wrote about cultivating gratitude, no matter what your situation is. 

I’ve been thinking about this topic for the last few weeks, and even though my life after the World Race is definitely different than I thought it was going to be, even just a few months ago, here are some things that I know I am grateful for.

I am thankful that I get to spend this season with my sister who is my best friend, my brother-in-law who always makes me laugh, and my sweet nephew Henry who I am convinced can do no wrong.  The best part(s) of my day is when his face lights up and he says, “Aunt Jen!” when I enter the room or get home from work.


I am thankful that Josh and I have been welcomed into the Central Baptist Church Kansas City family.  This church is an amazing body of believers who love to love you.  They are incredibly diverse, and almost if not every person has been an international missionary or involved in international and domestic missions in some way.  Cheers to having people who understand what it’s like to choke on Cambodian dust while riding in a tuk tuk, or to hear, “Mzungu! Mzungu!  How are you?” every day in Africa.  🙂

I am thankful that the wonderful people at Chick-fil-A Liberty decided to take a chance on me, even knowing that I might not be around in a few months when we (hopefully) move to Georgia to start a new chapter working for Adventures in Missions.  It’s been awesome, humbling, tiring, and an adventure every day.  Not to mention that it’s very nice to have a paycheck after more than a year of not getting those exciting pieces of paper every two weeks.


So, life might not be traveling-the-world-exciting-Facebook-status-worthy right now, but I am grateful for what it is-a season full of love, rest, expectancy, and of course, pumpkin spice chai.  🙂



Revelations of a Missionary Wife

I just finished reading a book called In the Presence of My Enemies, written by Gracia Burnham about she and her husband Martin’s year of captivity in 2001 in the jungles of the Philippines.  They had been missionaries there for fifteen years, and Martin was a pilot to several of the islands, flying goods and supplies out to missionaries working with tribes in remote areas.


Martin and Gracia decided to celebrate their eighteenth wedding anniversary by staying at a resort for one night, but they ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  That night, members of an extremist Muslim group called the Abu Sayyaf broke into the resort, and took several people hostage, including Martin and Gracia.

They spent the next year in the jungle, being forced to move from place to place as the Filipino army tried to attack the Abu Sayyaf and release the hostages.  They were exhausted, starving, and sometimes their faith faltered.

I picked up the book at my friend Edith’s house, here in Uganda.  We were over for lunch, and I was checking out her books.  After reading the back, I realized that I had briefly heard their story several years ago, and started reading the beginning of the book.  As I read about how they met in college in Kansas City, decided to pursue missions, and trained and moved to the Philippines, I was hooked.  I asked if I could borrow the book, and over the next week and a half, read the entire thing.

I got really excited when she wrote about how she and Martin, on their way down to Arkansas to see Gracia’s family, stopped in Springfield and ate at the Battlefield McDonalds.  Later in the book, she tells one of the other hostages about Silver Dollar City.  Whenever something about the Springfield area would come up, I would excitedly tell my teammates about it.  It was so cool to get a little taste of home, even all the way in Uganda.

I happened to read the end of the book when Angela, Rachel, Cheyanne and I had left the boys, including Josh, at home to join another team who is close by for a girls’ night.  We did the classic (but not too stereotypical) girls’ night activities-a delicious dinner, fresh baked cookies, played a game, and watched a movie.  I was getting tired, so I left the movie early to go to bed. 

As I laid on my sleeping pad, trying not to wake the other girls with the light of my headlamp, I read about (SPOILER ALERT) the Filipino army’s botched attempt at rescuing them, and Martin’s death.  Although I already knew the outcome, it was still hard to read, especially on a night that I was spending away from Josh.

I realize that spending a night away from your husband is nothing to actually losing him, but in that moment, as I read Gracia’s account of losing her best friend to senseless violence, it hit me in a way that I didn’t expect.  I cried as I read about how she was loaded in the helicopter, and had to leave Martin’s body in the jungle because of the severity of the wounds she sustained.

The next morning, I could not wait to get back to Josh.  As I read about one woman’s loss of her husband, I remembered how thankful I am for mine.

Many people ask me, “What is the hardest part about being married on the World Race?”  My honest answer is being around your spouse 24/7.  That’s just not what we were used to in the States, so sometimes it is hard.  Sometimes we need time apart to make our time together better.

Even though it is challenging, I hadn’t realized how dependent I had become on being around each other so much.  When the men and women separated for the month in Thailand, leaving Josh at the airport was one of the hardest things I’ve done.  We spent the month in opposite sides of the country, more than 25 hours of travel apart.

All month, I felt like a piece of myself was missing.  I know that’s so cliche, but it really was true.  I just didn’t feel like myself.  It’s interesting that just myself no longer feels like myself.  It’s that whole two become one flesh thing, like Jesus said.

I highly recommend reading In the Presence of My Enemies.  It’s a story about faith through trials, and how the love of two people for each other, as well as the love of the Lord, kept them going through difficult times.  It’s also a wonderful tribute to Martin, and it is inspiring to read about how they both live(d) their lives.

Gracia now lives in the States, and travels for speaking arrangements, and has also written another book To Fly Again.  She has made telling their story her ministry, and encourages countless people around the world through it. 

Of course I love this, since I believe in the power of story.  Jesus can take something as horrible as a year in captivity, and the loss of a spouse, and turn it into something beautiful.  In my case, it was remembering how much I cherish and admire Josh, and how I am so thankful to be living this life alongside him.

Image(Josh and I at the Great Rift Valley in Kenya)