Associate Dean, Spiritual Development
Education: Grove City College, B.A. in English Literature and Christian Thought; Azusa Pacific University, M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Talbot, M.Div. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care (in process).
At Biola since: 2009
My StrengthsFinder top five: Responsibility, Achiever, Empathy, Learner, Intellection.
1. What do you do in your job (briefly)? I get to help think and talk about how the Lord transforms our hearts and minds. I also get to help my colleagues provide opportunities that give space for students to notice the Spirit’s work in their hearts and minds, and I am usually surprised at the unique ways he interacts with each one of us as he continually makes us in his image.
2. The five (or so) most influential books you've read:
Superlatives are hard for me, so I’m breaking the rules on this one:
• Childhood: Spotty by Margret Rey
• Elementary School: Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis; The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
• High School: Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead; Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis; Christy by Catherine Marshall
• College: Moby Dick by Herman Melville; Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris; Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
• Since then: The Life of Pi by Yann Martel; Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard; The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen.
3. An influential person in your life/A hero/Your best example of love? My first boss was an antique shop owner in downtown Orange, CA. She saw the value of each person who walked into her shop – not as a customer, but as a person in God’s image, taking time to talk with them and get to know them. She is a gentle, loving, and generous soul.
4. Why are you at Biola? I came to Biola because I saw and experienced firsthand that those in ministry also need to be ministered to (often desperately so). This, coupled with my desire to teach, led me to enroll in the Master of Divinity in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care program at Talbot. I stayed at Biola because the university emphasizes training in mind and character; I believe that learning to rest in Jesus’ love is crucial to our ministry of loving and serving others. I wish I’d understood this as I dove into ministry right after college.
5. Your testimony (in 200 words or less): I grew up in a less-than-perfect Christian home, church and school. My faith became my own as I moved across the country to attend college, and then across the world to teach English. Jesus has led me on an incredible adventure at home and abroad that consistently brings me back to learning to be dependent on Him for the things he is calling me to do. I am continually learning that He does not have a high and unknowable or unknown expectation for me to reach, but that His love for me is wide, and high, and deep... especially in my messiness.
6. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? My little corner of heaven would be on a quiet lavender farm overlooking the ocean, and I’d live in walking distance of my friends and family. There would always be deliciously homemade, homegrown things to eat, and we’d have regular community meals on a long, rustic picnic table under a large willow tree. And Jesus would help me do the dishes.
7. What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? What made it difficult? What factors helped you make that choice? Letting go of a broken relationship. It was difficult because I had come to feel so identified with my role in it. It was the love of family and friends that walked me through it.
8. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now? In no particular order: my home (and patio garden), experiences of loving and being loved in community, being able to have such a spiffy job, hand-roasted coffee, and dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt.
9. What job do you fantasize about having? Opening a bed and breakfast on a lavender farm overlooking the ocean (see question #6). In my imagination, the B&B would be so popular among the rich and famous that revenue would easily support regular patronage of ministers and missionaries who are in need of a place of rest, for free of course.
10. Last book you read? I am in the middle of both The Way of a Pilgrim, and the Pilgrim Continues His Way, by an anonymous Russian-Orthodox peasant and Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle.
11. A brush with fame/celebrity? I was in a Chrysler minivan commercial when I was five. My sister and I ran around a field picking artificial wildflowers while my mom told the camera that her minivan was “like a teddy bear.”
12. Who plays you in your bio-pic? Keri Russell.
13. What’s your ringtone? I don’t like the intrusion; I usually have my phone on vibrate.
14. Favorite electronic device? Hard to say… they sometimes become my favorite when I get to turn them off.
15. What natural talent do you wish you had? I wish I was good at sports. Getting the “Most Improved” award 3 years in a row in junior high/high school athletics was clearly a mercy prize.
16. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes… when this involves mothers first seeing their newborn babies. Otherwise, no. It takes time and incredible amounts of grace to truly love.
17. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? I don’t know about others, but it’s not for me. As I consider my life, it is clear to me that having regrets has been formative for my character – decisions and experiences I regret have been essential turning points toward greater dependence on God.
18. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? I have seen so many beautiful things in life, and have travelled to so many beautiful places. The first things that come to mind: sunsets from my senior-year dorm-room window, hearing my friend sing a lullaby, watching international student athletes run around an American soccer field with their country’s flags waving behind them, and the majestic mountain views of Tiger-Leaping-Gorge in Yunnan, China.
19. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? Ultimately, it is most difficult for me to trust God that, at my core, regardless of what I do or how I feel, I really am ok.