Seeds and Hydrangeas

I asked my amazing and wise friend Steph to write a blog for Single Christian Girls. If you enjoy this post, you should check out her blog Everyday Awe. It’s beautiful. Also, if you’re close to Minnesota, and like digging into the bible, Steph leads Socratic Scripture Studies that you should absolutely check out!


The early chapters of Genesis have gotten trapped in scientific arguments and children’s stories. It’s not often the place we turn when looking for some inspirational Bible reading. Yet, the poetry and images contained within these earliest chapters paint some stunning portraits of God and humanity, if we have the eyes to see them.

One of my favorites comes in Genesis 1:11,

“Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.”

How easy it is to jump to what God created, without pausing to notice how God created. Both the product and the process reveal things about the Lord’s character.

The anticipation had been building. God called light from darkness, and crafted space between the waters. Creation had begun, but yet life had not yet become part of it. Hydrangeas and roses, oak trees and pines, cacti and fruit trees were all resting in the imagination of the Creator, waiting to be birthed.

Yet when day three came, when the time for vegetation arrived, God did not thrust full grown vegetation onto the scene. The Creator shared with the creation the role of bringing life. Did you catch it? God did not say, “Let there be plants.” God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.”

God did not create plants. God created seeds.

God planted underground the seeds of future life and beauty, and allowed the earth to partner in the act of creation.

“The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.” – Genesis 1:12-13

Then, the Creator waited. God let the earth break open the seeds, nurture the sprouts, and grow the flowers, vines, and trees into full grown beauties. Once those mature plants carried fruit with seeds in them, ready to start the process all over again, the Creator’s work and the earth’s work was done, and God called the day good.


Ephesians 2:10 is an oft quoted verse for good reason. We are God’s masterpieces, created intentionally, carefully, and beautifully. The second half of this verse adds to the first, saying we were also created “to do good works.”

Though the word “good” is often trapped in realms of “moral,” let us not forget that the first use of the word good is in that creation narrative of Genesis.

We, like the earth, were created to create. There are seeds of future life within us, waiting to be broken open, seeds we are called to nurture and water and grow into something that will make this world a deeper reflection of its good Creator.

Those seeds are what make us unique, and can come in many forms. Poems, paintings, and more traditional forms of art are surely among them. But so are well-ordered meetings that honor the gifts of those participating in them, or great meals that satisfy hunger and companionship, or helpful spreadsheets that bring order to a problem, or deep questions that bring life and purpose to conversations.

Too often, we don’t let what we have grow into something that we share with others. We are afraid that what we can bring isn’t good enough, or are waiting for a job that’s better before we really let ourselves dig in, or have had seedlings squashed in the past and are nervous to try again. Pretty soon, we think there aren’t any seeds there at all.

Don’t let your circumstances fool you. The seeds are plentiful. Sometimes, they rest dormant for a season, like the bulbs lying in wait below the winter snows, but they are there.


One of my favorite flowers is the hydrangea. I love the burst of blooms at the end of each stem. I also have an affinity for potted flowers whose blooms last longer than the cut variety.


I also love the variety of colors from true blue to deep purple to bright pink.

In the seed, the hydrangea has the potential to be any of those colors. It is the pH of the soil that determines the hydrangea’s final hue.

Our hurts and fears and history, if we let them, can actually weave their way into the beauty of the life that comes forth. They have not destroyed the seeds, but have only changed the soil. Even if we carry a similar seed to someone else, it will not be the same. Our unique stories will make our flowers pink and theirs blue, which makes neither better nor worse, but works together to make this creation shine.


The Creator is inviting you to bring new life and beauty to this world. Will you let what is within you come forth?


Things We Learn About Being Single on Tax Day.

The older I get the more I realize the government is stupid.

However, I would also like to run for public office one day so can we say hypocritical?

I think it’s because I’m an idealist and like every young American, I expect the government to be perfect and then it does something just super dumb and you sit there wondering if they have an even basic understanding of modern economic theory…

But I digress.

Bringing it back, yesterday was Tax Day!


via Pinterest.
via Pinterest.

Or not if you had to pay in and then I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m sort of like an ostrich when it comes to taxes. My head is in the sand. Don’t tell me what I’m paying, I don’t want to know.

However, I hit up ye ol’ google machine yesterday which solves a lot of the world’s problems and I typed in a fated string of text, “difference in tax rates among married and single people.”

Don’t do it friends.

Don’t do it.

In the wise words of Bon Jovi, it was indeed a “shot to the heart.”

Because as far as salt in a wound goes, this is a big one. Right behind how no one ever buys me jewelry.

Basically, single people pay more. And the government is doing this intentionally to encourage marriage. To which I want to say to the government, “would you get off my back?! I’m TRYING ok?!?!?!”

But am I really trying?

Uh oh. I’m about to drop bombs.

I’m not really trying. Not at all.

I’m reading this great book by Mark Batterson called Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge it’s a follow up to his book The Circle Maker which I highly recommend ESPECIALLY if you’re in a season of not knowing what the heck to do with your life. Which has been most of my 20’s so far … so basically if you’re in your 20’s you should buy it.

Anyway, in Draw the Circle Mark talks over and over again about how we need to “work like it depends on us, but we also need to pray like it depends on God.” In most areas of my life I would say I’m pretty good at the working part and need to do more in the prayer area part, but when it comes to a future spouse I’m zero for two. I don’t do anything (big issue) and I don’t pray about it (arguably bigger issue).

Let’s sideline the praying about it deal because you people are like toddlers and I can only hold your attention for about 100 more words (true story – it’s science).

But we, as single christian women, DON’T DO ANYTHING.

UPS isn’t going to drop off a guy at your house. They just won’t. And not only because the packaging is expensive and it’s really hard to ship live things but, apparently, if you’re trying to ship a person there is some nonsense about them needing “air” because they could “suffocate.” I don’t know – the government made it up.

Anyway, you, (and by you I mean we) have to get off our butts, stop watching Netflix on Friday nights and get out into the world!

I feel like a mother wood duck about to push my little ducklings out of the nest.

wood duck

We can’t complain about being single, but also refuse to go out on dates.

We’ve got to put forth a little bit of effort ladies. Like signing up for one of those dumb dating sites I’ve talk about before. Yeah, they’re stupid, but people get married because of all of the time! Or sign up for the Bachelor! Just kidding, don’t do that. Volunteer! Be nice to random men who have fantastic socks (sign of a winner – just FYI). Go outside! Or my favorite, join singles BSF! Because we all KNOW the people who sign up for BSF are NOT 100% there to study the bible.

“Oh, I’m just here to learn about God and his word!”

“Yes – and I’m here for the amazing coffee.”


Anyway, you can do it! You’re powerful, confident, capable and beautiful. And in case you need to hear this too – you’re good at relationships.

Fly my little wood ducks! Fly!


I hardcore failed this morning.

I was at a party last night and therefore didn’t get out of bed until 10:25 am.

Church starts at 10:30.

I was going to try to make it, until suddenly, shortly after I had looked in the mirror, realized church probably wasn’t going to happen.

Side note, when you have short hair, it is possible for them to stick straight up.

New discovery.

To spare the good people of the world my #IWokeUpLikeThis face, because lets be honest, it makes children cry and there are a lot of children at my church, I made myself coffee and oatmeal and sunk down to … rest.


I guess rest is the best word to describe what I’m doing right now, and it feels awesome, but it also feels like I don’t deserve it.

My friend Gabby wrote the most beautiful post on rest the other day and she basically said even though God commands us to rest, we often fight against it because we either don’t trust God will provide, or don’t believe we deserve it.

I think about the first one a lot. I worry ALL. THE. TIME. The worst part is I know it’s a sin. I know we’re not supposed to worry, but I can’t help myself. It’s sort of like it’s the sin that I was born with, my personality is predisposed to worry.

And it sucks.

But I don’t think about the last one, the “I don’t deserve it” one, but as soon as she put it on paper I immediately thought, “yup, I totally believe that.”

I’m pretty Type A, and by pretty Type A, I actually mean psycho crazy all the way Type A. If a day goes by without me achieving anything it’s a waste. So resting is REALLY hard, if not impossible. I’m also studying for a test, applying to grad school, working and honestly failing at making this blog a real thing. So basically, there is always something in the back of my mind going, “why are you reading? You should be doing XYZ instead!”

Because at some point when I was younger, I decided if I didn’t do XYZ, if I didn’t perform, if I didn’t accomplish, I didn’t matter.

So resting is hard, because when you rest, you don’t do anything.

You just rest.

You take a nap.

You read a book, and not even an impressive book, but something kind of stupid. (and by stupid, I mean awesome, because I pounded this book called Rose Daughter yesterday and it was great).

You go see a movie.

I’ve been going to see a therapist lately and it’s kind of great.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. Like I said before, I worry, but sometimes it gets really bad and becomes full-blown anxiety.

One of the things I’m learning, is my anxiety is really bad when I’m not taking care of myself. My therapist and I were talking the other day and she asked me what I was doing to “fill my bucket.”

I couldn’t tell her anything.

It was actually pretty sad.

So this weekend I’ve been filling my bucket. I had brunch with friends, I just read all day, I skipped church to write, and I saw the new Cinderella movie by myself because I just really wanted to see it (glorious by the way, so, so amazingly good).

And I think it’s all working.

I’m feeling rested and I’m feeling at peace.

I’m feeling like it’s ok to not have to achieve all the time.

It’s ok to take it slow and to not have to do everything.

God’s going to provide.

Happy Sabbath friends.

Engaged Christian Girl

No, not me. My wonderful frequent Guest Blogger … Miss Casey soon-not-to-be Nordman!

On January 16th, on the Guthrie Endless Bridge in Minneapolis, fully exposed to the cold of a Minnesota winter, at approximately 7:53 pm, a handsome, hilarious, brilliant, blue-eyed masterpiece of a man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes because, on top of all those dazzling qualities, he’s also my favorite human.

I know I’ve lost some of you. Some are in the middle of an eye roll so violent you may require an ophthalmologist’s attention. Some are already checking the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s. Some are plotting ways to send me hate mail for writing a post about being engaged on the Single Christian Girls blog. This is supposed to be a safe place!

First, let the record show I was asked to write this post, so we can all just calm down. Second, let it comfort you that you’re not alone. Third, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I am not far removed from SCG life. I have some things to say, and I promise not one of them is, “SUCK IT, I WIN!” I also intend to keep the gushing to a minimum, but look at this man! Gushing is inevitable.

Casey and her Man!

The day I am writing this post marks one month and one day of being engaged to the hottest software engineer/drummer you’ll ever meet, and I absolutely love wedding planning. I love spreadsheets. I love color coding. I love binders. Understandably, this is not everyone’s experience. Not everyone is a Type A poster child who spent twenty minutes at Target deciding between two planners. Not everyone is excited to plan a wedding because people go out of their way to confirm appointments with brides. I get that. But for me, wedding planning is pretty much the most fun I can have while still having to think about money. It also helps that my fiancé has Olympic status in the following events: calming me down, listening to my rants, and making things fun. (I know, the gushing. I’ll try to stifle ever so slightly.)

Wedding planning is easy for me. It’s fun for me. What isn’t easy? What isn’t fun?

Engagement. Engagement is neither easy nor fun for a grand majority of the time.

I was prepared for physical temptations to increase. That doesn’t make it simple to deny them, but at least I knew what we were in for.  A light at the end of the proverbial tunnel makes not thinking about sex one iota easier and about 10,000,000 iotas more difficult. But, again, that’s the one I was ready for.

Engagement is the most emotionally taxing time I have experienced. Incandescent happiness is there, of course. The sheer joy of knowing I’m going to marry the best man I know is definitely present: the recognition of his presence in my life, much less his choosing me, as one of my highest blessings from God. But then it’s time for him to leave on a Saturday night. We’ve spent some time out for drinks and in watching Parks and Rec. We’ve spent some time on wedding stuff. It doesn’t feel like he should leave. It feels ridiculous that he should leave. Why? Because we’re a unit, dagnabbit. We just made 80 decisions for our wedding DJ’s must play and never play lists (should you be at our reception, please note there will be no Black Eyed Peas). We just discussed when we should look for apartments and rehashed my unwillingness to move to St. Paul. Ever. We had another conversation about paying off our student debt. And now he has to go back to where he lives right now, completely separate. It feels stupid, and it makes me sad and confused.

(If there happen to be men who read this, it’s okay that you don’t understand. Just be nice to your fiancée when you have one. If you’re a woman reading this who doesn’t understand, teach me your ways.)

The point I have reached, through several conversations, is this: It’s okay that I love my fiancé and want to spend time with him. We’d have other problems if I didn’t. It’s okay to feel tension between having to act as a married unit at times and not getting to act as one in all respects. This tension draws me to consider the fact that this is the current state of the Church. We’re redeemed, but not restored. We’re waiting for what the Bible describes as a wedding, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – unity with Christ, everything made new! What’s more, God has appointed this time for a purpose. The Church has work to do. My fiancé and I have work to do. Actual planning, yes, and growth in love for and knowledge of God and each other. We’re going to learn things during engagement we couldn’t learn any other way.

Let me be clear here: this perspective does not automatically make it easier. It needs to affect my heart, though, and, however slowly, that change of heart will affect my emotional reactions.

I could’ve written a lot of things about engagement, like how life doesn’t stop like you thought it should (the day after I got a ring on my finger, my front passenger tire exploded on 35W), or like how expensive weddings are no matter how big of a cheapskate the bride is. But this is the most important word I have for you, SCG: Engagement isn’t the end-all be-all. It’s really hard. Marriage will solve two of these problems and create 53 of its own. I haven’t arrived. I’ve barely begun. But I get to walk through engagement and marriage with Jesus and my favorite human, and the only thing I can expect for certain is immeasurably more than I could imagine.

Donald Miller’s Scary Close

Reading this right now, and it is hands down, the BEST book I have ever read on relationships. EVER. Throw away all of your stupid single books, this is it. Just read this now and am freaking out a bit:

I was afraid of change. On the dock I was warm and dry and in control. I knew once I jumped I’d be fine, I’d enjoy swimming around. But it was still a change. I thought about Betsy, likely about to land in DC. I knew in my heart I’d be happier with her. I knew she’d take me places that were healthier, more fun, more challenging than I’d ever been. I thought also about how content and comfortable I was being single, how much control I had in my life, how I could go out and get applause anytime I wanted and then retreat to the green room of my life, eating Oreos and waiting for my next performance.

To Tinder or Not To Tinder: Part 2

To Tinder or Not to Tinder, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to swipe left

Or to swipe right and open up a whole can of worms …

Claire Shakespeare

Tinder part 2

A really long time ago I wrote about how I was trying Tinder and that I’d eventually give you a follow up. Well, since then, a few things have happened. I deleted tinder, then I got it again and then I deleted it, again.

Long story short: it got really creepy really fast.

So I got Hinge instead.

Which is basically just like Tinder and only slightly less creepy.

So there you go.

Anyway, if you’re like me and have been kicked off of, are sick of eHarmony, think Christian Mingle is a joke and don’t mind using an app to help you make important life choices, try Hinge. You’ll make worse life decisions and remember – we’re in this together.

Also, to guide you on your journey here are my:

Helpful Hinge Hints for the Single Christian Girl (how’d you like that alliteration?!)

  1. Make sure you enjoy men with aquatic creatures. If you don’t, why are you on a dating website at all? They all fish, and they all take pictures of it. It’s like the man version of a selfie – a fishy.
  2. When in doubt, swipe right. Otherwise your soul mate could be gone forever. That’s probably not real, but just in case.
  3. Don’t ever swipe right to a guy with his shirt off taking a mirror selfie. Why is he doing that? Why? Where did your shirt go? Can you not afford shirts? Why are you taking a selfie, do you not have friends? I’m concerned. Are you cold? Did you take your shirt off, slip into a semi hypothermic state and then in your delirium think it was a good idea to take a picture of yourself before you drifted off into a coma? Are you even alive right now?
  4. Say you love Jesus. Just do it. It’ll weed out some people, but you don’t want to date them in the first place. Trust me. Trust your Mom, she’d probably say the same thing if she 1) knew what Hinge was and 2) was okay with you using Hinge … so there’s that.
  5. It’s ok to not respond to a message. They get creepy. They just do. Even if you swiped right with what you thought was amazing knowledge and foresight, peoples pictures sometimes don’t match their personality.
  6. Use the block option liberally. If they’re creepy and persistent you just block that sucker. Do it.
  7. If his profile makes you laugh, just say yes. I’m fully convinced that finding someone who makes you laugh matters a thousand times more then a good looking picture. When you’re both 105 and in the nursing home with wrinkles upon wrinkles and no teeth, you’ll still be able to make each other laugh as long as you don’t choke on your prune juice.

So best of luck friends. Have fun swiping!

Work, Calling and Faith

Via Pinterest.
Via Pinterest.

Over a month ago a friend asked me how I share my faith in the workplace. That was the gist of her email anyway, and I looked at it for a while, somewhat dumbfounded, and finally said, “Who the heck knows!”

Out loud, at work.

I didn’t respond to her email, but I’m counting this as my response. So, fair warning to all of you, if you send me a message, be careful! It could be used as blog fodder.

My spiritual journey weaves in and out of periods of legalism. I was in spaces that felt incredibly inauthentic. I tried to force myself to fit in and confronted the pain of realizing it wasn’t going to happen. My spiritual journey has led me to a place full of deep questions, many without answers, meaningful relationships, and lots, and lots of vulnerability. I’ve learned that God loves me in spite of what I believe.

Long story short, life is grey, faith is grey. It’s just about Jesus.

So now work, and how to share your faith.

Just don’t pull out a track and you’ll probably be fine.

Just kidding.

But actually, don’t do that.

The best way to share your faith at work is to do the work that God has called you to do and do it well.


That’s it.

You could spout the gospel message all day long at your job, but if you do crappy work no one is going to give a rats ass about what you have to say. They’re just going to get annoyed because you suck at your job.

The best book on work that I know of is “Every Good Endeavor” by Timothy Keller. In it, he creates a beautiful picture of God’s purpose for work. At a high level, work is about calling. It’s about doing the job that God created and planned for you to do. It’s about leaning into your talents, strengths and gifts and not wasting them. It’s about making sacred the secular and offering up your 9-to-5, or sometimes 6-to-6 plus weekends to God.

I’m not saying you won’t have the chance to share the Gospel, because you probably will. But the Gospel is best delivered in the midst of a trusting relationship where the person who is bringing the Gospel message has done more than their fair share of listening well. That can take months if not years, especially in Minnesota where stoic Sweds litter the frozen tundra.

Calling isn’t easy.

Not at all.

It’s terrifying. Stepping into who God truly created you to be means giving up complete control.

My friend Lee just started working for this company called “Branded by J. Otto.” As a future (hopefully) entrepreneur, I’m obsessed with people who start their own businesses. Branded by J. Otto’s CEO and founder, Jessie, felt called to start a business that allowed people to show up at decisive moments in their friends lives. She wanted to create something that was an alternative to sending flowers or an edible arrangement. What she came up with was at its essence, a clothing company that has a greater purpose.

Hop on Branded by J. Otto's our website and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.
Hop on Branded by J. Otto’s our website and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.

Branded by J. Otto is just at the beginning of its journey, but I’m assuming that we’re finding Jessie somewhere in the middle of God’s plan for her.

Would you help me support Branded by J. Otto and its new employees live out their calling? I’m donating and would love if you would join with me in partnering with them.

Check out their Kickstarter page here.

For more on the Story of Branded by J. Otto watch the video below.