Education: John Brown University (Siloam Springs, Arkansas), BS in Psychology; Azusa Pacific, MA in College Student Development; Talbot, PhD in Christian Education.
At Biola since: 1987 (’87-’94, Asst RD/RD; ’94-’04, Director of Leadership Development; ’04-present, Director of Commuter Life).
My StrengthsFinder top five: Connectedness, Strategic, Includer, Developer, Ideation.
1. What do you do in your job (briefly)? I work with an incredible team of people to develop community and services for the students who live off campus. This involves management of the Collegium, commuter lockers, Good Morning Off Campus Community (GMOCC or G-Mock as the locals pronounce it!) and other events. My Associate Director, Jenny Matthes, and I also invest a good deal of time in leadership development, mentoring, accountability and support for off-campus students.
2. The five (or so) most influential books you've read:
- Sacred Rhythms– Haley-Barton;
- Out of the Black Shadows– Lungu;
- In the Name of Jesus – Nouwen;
- Practicing His Presence – Brother Lawrence;
- Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World – Pippert.
3. Your best example of love? My husband. He was the first person in my life to love me just because I was me. Over the 3+ years we dated, I was continually amazed that I did not have to perform, wear a mask, or pretend I was or was not a certain way. I just landed with all my baggage and he was willing to make long-term travel plans. During the time we dated, I kept thinking that sooner or later he would get tired of the real me. It took me a long time of testing to realize this was genuine. We celebrated our 23rd anniversary last June. There are a lot more details I would be willing to share over coffee, if you are interested.
4. Why are you at Biola? I am at Biola because God called me here and He seems to want me to stay. I am so thankful to be able to use my gifts here
5. Your testimony (in 200 words or less): I did not grow up in a Christian home. When I was around 8, my mom took me to Sunday school just long enough to learn about most of the famous Old Testament stories. She stopped taking me just before we got to the part about Jesus! I did not hear the whole Gospel message until I was a freshman in high school, when my choir director invited me to a Bible study with some other students. The whole thing was on the down low, since I was at a public school. I went to the Bible study for about two months before receiving Christ.
6. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? I would only agree to this if He handed over the blueprints and gave me a legion of angelic hosts to help! I would hope there would be some new colors that we have never seen yet, gardens and waterfalls everywhere. You know as a kid you wanted to pet every animal, but your mom said, “Honey, you can’t touch that, it’s a wild animal. It would eat you up!” Well, I would want everyone to experience petting a lion or maybe riding a zebra. Wow – I just can’t wait to see how limited my perspective really is.
7. What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? What made it difficult? What factors helped you make that choice? Getting married was by far the most difficult decision I have ever made. Having never seen a quality marriage, coupled with my desire to have a guaranteed positive outcome, made the decision extremely difficult. The decision to get married was, I believe, the greatest leap of faith toward God I have ever made. I have never regretted the decision and it is hard to imagine what kind of person I would be today without the defining and refining relationships I have with my husband and my children. God really uses people in our lives to sharpen, challenge, and encourage us, as well as to keep us humble and dependent on Him.
8. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now?
- God’s Grace and Healing
- My husband
- My kids – Annika, Evan & William
- The gifts and strengths that God has given me
- The incredible community of grace here at Biola and within my church small group
9. What job do you fantasize about having? My current job without any paperwork! I love what I do! The most energizing part of my work is meeting one-on-one with students to facilitate support, referral to valuable resources, discovery of gifts & strengths, problem solving, and personal and spiritual growth.
10. Last book you read?Sacred Rhythms – Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton – Incredible book with deep spiritual insights and highly practical exercises.
11. Brush with fame/celebrity? As a music major my freshman year in college, a classmate and I were given tickets for a concert by a children’s choir from Finland. What we did not realize was that the tickets were donated by the former Governor of the state and I sat 4 seats from the Prime Minister of Finland and her delegates. There were roses pinned to our seats and guards with sizeable guns.
12. Favorite electronic device? My computer. But I do love my new electronic sewing machine!
13. What do your friends say is your best quality? Inclusivity and welcome. God has given me the gift of hospitality – the ability to help others feel welcome, heard, and known in whatever place or state they find themselves. I don’t take this gift lightly. It is not about me entertaining or being friendly, but rather about my opportunity to extend the grace and unconditional love of God in tangible ways in real time as God calls me to.
14. What natural talent do you wish you had? The ability to always answer all of my email every day!
15. Do you believe in love at first sight? Not really. Infatuation at first sight, yes. True love takes time to grow and may need a few thunderstorms. Love involves sacrifice, commitment, patience, and endurance. These are not momentary qualities, but borne through time.
16. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? Yes – God’s mercies are new every morning. I have been forgiven and in turn have been given the power to forgive others. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that I am only responsible for keeping my side of the street clean. I can offer help, kindness, forgiveness, etc. to others, but cannot force them to accept, engage or participate. God’s grace is large enough to carry me through these times.
17. What is your definition of success? Do you consider yourself to be successful? Living with integrity; Being a genuine person; Using my gifts and resources in ways that honor God. In general, I feel that I am successful, but thank God that He is gracious. Every day I need to grow in these things.
18. How much is your self-worth and identity determined by your job and your success at it? I tend to have the greatest sense of satisfaction and self-worth when I feel that I have really used my gifts well. When I can use gifts of hospitality, generosity, mercy or strategic problem solving to help someone, I feel most fulfilled and useful.
19. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? Each of my children the day they were born.
20. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? I have a firm “head-belief” that God gives me only what I can handle with His grace, but in the thick of stressful situations, I often feel like I have to think, work or fight MY way out. In hindsight, I frequently ask myself, “So why did I not pray more about that?”