For Such a Time as This…

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief
for the Jews will arise from some other place…
Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?

– Esther 4:14

I began my collegiate experience at Azusa Pacific University fourteen years ago next month, pursuing a degree in vocal performance with a Spanish minor.

I realized only one semester into the program that majoring in music would be a terrible thing for me to do – not because I wasn’t talented enough to make it, but because I was already extremely critical of music and musicians, and I knew that studying it intensely would likely take the joy of music away from me. This probably isn’t true for most music majors, but I knew it would be true for me.

My passion for politics was instilled within me by my family – namely my dad and his dad – and by the movie The American President. It was that movie that introduced me to the idea of lobbying.

My passion was further reinforced the summer after high school by the self-arranged internship with a Christian/family values lobbying firm I had the privilege of having, as well as an amazing mock legislature camp I attended called City on The Hill.

Those six weeks in Sacramento were eye-opening and provided me amazing opportunities, such as testifying on a bill in front of a committee. I was able to actually lobby for/against bills and I loved it.


So, after I dropped my music major and Spanish minor, I decided to change my major to political science and my minor to history. I don’t remember the specifics of how I chose them – it just made sense at the time.

During college I worked on – and even ran – campaigns, I studied in D.C. for a semester and interned for Newt Gingrich, and I excelled in all my studies.


American Studies Program, Class of Fall 2003


My internship boss, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

While at campaign training at Ronald Reagan’s Ranch,in 2004, reporters from TIME Magazine were there and the photo of our group on Reagan’s helipad ended up in the magazine​ (though the article is not about us or what we were doing at all).

Stuart and me at Ronald Reagan's Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA

Stuart and me at Ronald Reagan’s Ranch in Santa Barbara, CA

I was known by my friends and family as the future Governor of California. I had plans to run for vice-president with a friend of mine in 2028 (we even had a website!). This seemed like the path I was meant to take.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2005 and was ready to take on the world.


During my senior year at APU, I had the opportunity to take the StrengthsFinder test and was amazed at how well it described me.

My number one strength? Belief – I must be passionate about what I am doing.

I have learned that if I am not passionate about something I will lose interest and be ineffective. This is why I play seven instruments – I would get to a certain level, get bored, and move on. StrengthsFinder explained so much about who I am and I use the results to this day.

When I made the decision to move to Harrisburg in March 2008 (after six months of prayer), I began making connections with lobbying firms and eventually landed a job with one. I was so excited – finally on the way to doing my dream job!

Except it wasn’t my dream job.

My boss was difficult and seemed to be impossible to please. The subject matter of our lobbying was not something about which I could even force myself to be passionate. And I never got the opportunity to try actual lobbying.

I tried to do my best in my position, but I struggled. I was forced to quit less than a year later and I felt so relieved!

But, that year in politics showed me something else, too: I didn’t want to do it anymore.

As a conservative Republican (who is becoming more Libertarian as time passes), the political climate has become brutal in many ways. I began to feel almost persecuted for my beliefs and it made me tired. Since then, I have largely ignored the political arena except for glancing over headlines to know a little about what is going on. I just don’t have the energy, especially now with Tori being sick.

I am a completely different person than I was fourteen years ago. Those who knew me then have been surprised to see me almost running away from politics when all I wanted back then was to be in office.

In the past few years, I have often wondered if I studied the wrong subjects in college, if I wasted my time getting a degree I would never use – a degree for which we are still paying. My time at APU was well-spent, though, as it made me who I am today in so many ways, and I still love my alma mater, even if I don’t use my degree.

Fast forward to February 13, 2015:

  • Tori is diagnosed with Krabbe; our baby is dying of a disease that could have been treated if they had found it at birth.
  • We find out that only two states actually test currently (NY and MO) and only a handful more have legislation in place to eventually test.
  • We learn that it comes down to money for most states and they won’t add the test because it is such a rare disease…it would “only save a few lives.”

Rare shouldn’t mean ignored. Rare shouldn’t be tossed aside because it isn’t common. Every life matters. 

A few months ago it occurred to me that maybe this is why I have the degree that I have; that maybe everything has prepared me to lobby for lysosomal storage disorders like Krabbe to be screened for at birth.

It just makes sense.

I don’t have any plans to jump in yet – Tori is my first priority.

I don’t even know what it will look like if this is my calling. I am certainly not the only one fighting for this and I won’t be the last. Most Krabbe families are very active in pursuing legislation in their respective states, and Hunter’s Hope works fervently for this cause.

But, I can’t let my education, career experience, and my own personal connection to this go to waste if it can all be used for a greater good and ultimately save lives.

I am passionate about Tori. I am passionate about how much I hate Krabbe. I hate what Krabbe has taken from our daughter, and I hate that it will likely take her from us. So, fighting for Newborn Screening would come naturally to me – the passion and fire are there and they will never be extinguished.

Do I want to re-enter politics? No way. Do I know the game? Yes, I do. Do I think I could be effective? With God’s help, yes.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

– Romans 8:28

I don’t know what God has planned, but I do know that He doesn’t waste experiences. Everything can be used for His greater plan.

And if this is what He has in store for me, then so be it. I’m all in.

When Life is Uncomfortable: My Greatest “Kingdom Journey” Thus Far…

Through discomfort, I’ve learned to depend on God when my natural instinct is to rely on my own skills and talents.” — Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

My greatest lessons in life have been learned through discomfort. This is an example that we see throughout the Bible : no one grows as much during periods of comfort and prosperity, but they grow exponentially through times of adversity and trials. Look at Moses, Abraham, Joseph and David, to name a few. The lives of these men did not go as they had anticipated, but they ended up being used by God in extraordinary ways because of their obedience and willingness to journey without a map in front of them.

In the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine–and before we know it, our lives are gone.” — Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

In 2007 I began to pray what many considered to be a “crazy” prayer but it is the prayer that has shaped me to this day in ways I could not have imagined. I prayed that God would make me uncomfortable. I was in a spiritual valley/rut and I saw no escape. I began to see a pattern in the Bible of growth following discomfort, so I boldly asked God for the same blessing. Had I known what was to come I might not have prayed so boldly.

You can’t be remade until you first allow yourself to be unmade.” — Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

2007-2008 brought so much change in my life. On top of the external change, I also developed pneumonia that I unknowingly (I was told it was just severe allergies at first) battled for 13 weeks. I was so sick and lost the ability to sing during that time because my throat was so raw and my lungs were so weak. Singing is possibly my greatest God-given talent, so to have it taken away was most definitely uncomfortable. In addition to sickness, He also began to shift relationships in my life and began paving the way for a greater future than I had imagined. In many ways, I felt broken inside. But I was open to whatever He had for me.

God began to break me so that I could be remade, and it came in ways I never would have anticipated…like moving across the country with no job, only two friends in the area, and a lot of unknowns.

The move began to take shape in October 2007, during a two-week visit to Pennsylvania. I flew out to sing at a friend’s wedding and to attend another friend’s wedding the week after. I decided to take a road trip around Pennsylvania to see some of the “kids” who were in my youth group in Williamsport (when I served as a summer missionary in 2002-2003) at their respective colleges. As I drove back to Williamsport after spending a few days in Pittsburgh, I was enamored with the fall foliage and the beauty that surrounded me. It hit me that I did not want to return to Southern California.

I’m a California Girl, through and through: I lived in Northern California until I turned 18, and I then moved to Southern California for college at Azusa Pacific University. By this point, I had already been there two years longer than I had expected (i.e. I had planned to move right after college) and I felt dread at the thought of returning. So, on that beautiful fall day in Central Pennsylvania, I began to pray that God would let me move to Pennsylvania. I prayed and prayed…and during the next six months I watched God in amazement as He prepared the way for the biggest move of my life.

Church became uncomfortable in many ways. I had been serving as the “Missions Coordinator” at my church and had been met with road blocks to a few projects that God had laid on my heart–and the road block was the pastor. No church is perfect, and no person is perfect, but this pastor in particular seemed to fight any idea that was new or that would change things at the church at all. The church council loved my idea: I had proposed a detailed plan to have it ready and operating before I moved, AND I had ways to have it completely funded. Road block. This only furthered my frustration and cemented the realization that it was time to pray about leaving the church (and the people I so dearly loved) to find a place to further God’s Kingdom in our community and to be obedient to Him and the ideas He had given me.

Our housing situation became uncomfortable. Very long story short, there were five girls altogether renting a house in a “gated community”, and the self-proclaimed leaders of the Home-Owners Association didn’t want us there. They wouldn’t even let us use the pool. The battle was long and so irrational, as we were quiet, respectful tenants who truly did not deserve this treatment.

Work became uncomfortable. I had been interviewing for a promotion and it seemed like it was “in the bag”–we all knew I was going to get it. But, I didn’t. Someone opted to take a step down (including a pay cut) from a supervisor position to the team leader position that I had worked so hard to achieve. That doesn’t just happen. I kept praying.

People need pain to grow. So much of spiritual maturity has to do with how we process pain. Discipline entails embracing the painful or unpleasant in the short-term in order to realize long-term gains.”– Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

I was preparing to spend a month in New Orleans with the mission team that I was co-leading from Azusa Pacific University, and my company informed me in early March that I would not be allowed to take the time off (even though they had previously approved it). I kept praying, but I knew that this was a CLEAR sign. He had led me to co-lead this team and He had orchestrated everything (including all of our funding). I knew New Orleans had to happen, and I knew that I would have to quit my job in order to go. And quitting my job meant that I was free to leave Southern California.

On March 18th, 2008, God gave me permission to move to Pennsylvania. I was praying as I walked around my neighborhood and I finally got my “verbal” (as opposed to circumstantial) answer: go or stay. He made it clear that He would use me in Southern California and He would use me in Pennsylvania–it was my decision to make.

We can’t be fully transformed in our own backyard. We need to journey.” — Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

Not only did the summer of 2008 involve a move across the country, it also involved a month-long “Kingdom Journey” in New Orleans, Louisiana, assisting with the continued clean-up in the city. I am still learning lessons from that trip–ones that are uncomfortable. God revealed so much to me about myself during that trip, and I still have a lot of growing to do.

Two weeks after we returned to Southern California from New Orleans, I set out on the biggest adventure of my life thus far. On July 15th, 2008, my mom and I left Glendora, CA and began our drive eastward, having no idea what God really had in store. And the adventure continues, five years later.

A Kingdom Journey is most effective when we abandon what we think we cannot abandon. With less, we discover the core of who we are.” — Seth Barnes, Kingdom Journeys

Anything BUT Ordinary…

I had an interview this past week for a potential part-time job, and during the interview the woman commented about my resume saying that I have had a very interesting life thus far. She noted the various types of jobs I have had (so diverse), the numerous skills and talents that I possess (also diverse), and, of course, noted the fact that I moved to Pennsylvania from California (that always surprises people).

As I was journaling this morning for my “Start Experiment” task, it got me thinking about my life and how I ended up the way that I am with the skills/talents/passions and experiences that I have; so, I started journaling it out because I remembered that Donald Miller emphasizes the importance of knowing your own story. I’ve never done anything like this before, but it was a really great exercise as I’m trying to figure out what specifically He has in store for me next.

As I wrote, I realized that I really have had an incredible, adventurous, unpredictable and blessed life. I decided that I should start blogging short segments of it because I also think that it can be encouraging (and entertaining) to others, as well as a way for me to reflect on the blessings God has so richly bestowed upon me.

I will try to start this process in the next week, so stay tuned!