We Have a Pretend Podcast!

Ben and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this fall! We decided to try something fun and different, and we recorded a pretend podcast episode! I have dreamed of doing a podcast with Ben for years, so we thought it would be fun to put together this little interview. And it was just as much fun as I thought it would be! 🙂

We talk about our marriage and Strengthsfinder, and we share what we love most about each other’s strengths, as well as what can drive us a little bit crazy sometimes. Ben also shares a fantastic offer at the end, for anyone who would like to learn more about Strengthsfinder!

How Ben Really Won My Heart

I’ve been trying to think up something to write about for Valentine’s Day, and just kept coming up empty. No ideas. I’ve already shared the story of how Ben and I met, and apparently I had nothing else romantic to say for Valentine’s Day.

But then last night, a memory popped into my mind of a part of the story that I haven’t shared before, and it has to do with one of the things I love most about Ben.

So that is what I will share with you today on Valentine’s Day:

As I’ve written about before, Ben and I met at summer camp, and became good friends. Because he had a girlfriend, I wasn’t really terribly interested in pursuing a friendship after the summer was over, however. I wasn’t all that good at friendships with boys. I’ve always preferred deep relationships, which usually got complicated with boys, so it was an “all or nothing” deal for me. If he already had a girlfriend, then our relationship wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway.

However, after a few months back at Bible school, I heard that Ben was no longer dating anyone, and we happened to meet up at a volley ball game (which sounds so casual, but really I changed my plans for the evening last minute totally because I knew Ben would be there!). Suddenly it seemed like there was a point to being friends again!

Especially since he was so much better-looking than I had remembered from the summer…

We hung out a bunch of times that winter, but Ben definitely took his time. And my dad had given me strict instructions to play “hard to get”, and not let on how interested I was. (Ben was always his favorite, right from the start, and he really didn’t want me to mess anything up!)

So things dragged on far longer than I thought necessary, and I did my best to be mysterious and all that, although Ben let me know later on that it hadn’t really worked, and he always knew I was interested. Sigh.

Well, I did my best.

Anyway, after a few months of “just being good friends”, I was getting extremely impatient. Around that time, another boy entered the scene. To this day, I’m still not really sure what he wanted, as I wasn’t his type at all. He had dated millions of other girls, so maybe he’d just run out of new material, but for whatever reason, I became the object of his attention for a few weeks.

It was extremely annoying, since I had no desire to be that object. He was very forward and smooth, obviously from all the practice, and it always made me feel suspicious.

On one particular weekend, the Bible school I attended was holding a large event, and I was volunteering in the registration booth. Although Ben attended a different college nearby, he came out one evening for part of the event. I played my little “cool and calm” role, but really inside, I was outrageously excited to see him. He very casually mentioned that we should get together sometime, and I very casually agreed that sounded like a good idea.

Then he sauntered off, and I was completely frustrated with him for being totally unreadable and so annoyingly friendly and unflirtatious.

Shortly after that, along came Boy #2 to my booth, where he proceeded to fling himself over the counter and landed right in front of me, practically in my lap. He said he had come to “help” me, and then hung around, whispering in my ear and other annoying things like that.

When he finally left, and I was done working in the registration booth, I went in search of my best friend to tell her everything that had happened.

I ended it all off by wailing to her, “Why can’t BEN be the one throwing himself over counters for me???!!!”

To which she responded, “Because then you wouldn’t like him as much as you do.”

I chewed that one over for the rest of the night, and for a long time to come.

Ben never flirted with me or tried to manipulate my feelings.

Ben treated me with the utmost respect.

Ben was always kind and gentle, and would never stoop to making our friendship into some kind of silly “game”.

Ben was not “smooth”. He was sincere, and his good, good heart showed all the time. Sometimes he wasn’t exactly sure of how to express himself in the best way, but it made him even more enduring.

Ben was patient and took his time, but was definitely, without a question…worth the wait.

Boy #2 soon got tired of me, and moved on.

Ben kept his slow and steady pace. When he finally asked me out on a date, it was wonderful.

And he has always continued to be genuine, sincere, gentle and patient. With me, and with everyone else.

His good, good heart continues to show, and I love him for it.


photo credit: Morgan Braun

The Gift of Second Chances

This last weekend, my friend Kelly gave me a gift.

Well, she gave me a few gifts, actually. She gave me the gift of her time, her presence, her sweetness, her heart, and her cooking.

Oh, her cooking.

I was in food heaven. She came over for the afternoon, and we talked for hours, and then we cooked. She called it “cooking together”, but really, I just watched her, and tried to remember everything she did so that I can make the same meal on my own.

She brought over a big box of fresh vegetables and salmon, and introduced me to celery root. (Who knew my new favorite food has been waiting for me at Superstore all this time?)

And while her food was amazing, there was something even more significant about the time spent with Kelly.

You see, I’ve known Kelly for two and a half years, and yet I’ve never hung out with her before, one on one. For whatever reason, we’ve never truly connected during those two and a half years.

She worked at camp for a few summers, and then she left. It could easily have worked out that I wouldn’t have seen her again.

But some stuff happened, we were able to connect through email, and before I knew it, there she was at my door with her celery root. And when she left, I was completely baffled as to why, in those two and a half years, we had never done this before.

Why did we keep missing this connecting point? Why did I get the impression that we wouldn’t have much in common? How did I manage to miss out on this for all that time?

I have to say that I really don’t know. But I am so, so thankful that Kelly gave me the gift of a second chance. If she had never emailed me, we would have missed each other completely.

Has this ever happened to you before? I ask, because it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. And it makes me wonder…

Do we allow first impressions to get in the way? Are we blinded to some of the good things (people!) that are right in front of us? Or is it because we’re not ready yet, and we reach the point of connection when God has finally brought our hearts to the right place?

I don’t know. But I do know that when someone has the courage to reach out in a vulnerable attempt to connect, it can result in beautiful things.

And when we listen to lies like, “That person will think I’m strange for emailing!” or “What if they don’t really want to talk with me?”, we could be running the risk of missing out on something really amazing.

Like celery root!

Or someone like Kelly…

Is there someone in your life whom you long to connect with, but have been too afraid to reach out to?

Same Blog, New Name

Once upon a time, I started a blog. I didn’t really know where things were going to go with it. I didn’t have a clue what to call it, so Ben just labeled it “Kendra’s Blog” when he was getting everything set up for me.

I always thought I would change it, but it never happened. Until now.

A few months ago, I was reading My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, and came across a quote in which he wrote about learning to sing on ordinary days, in ordinary ways. Since then, it’s become a thought I’ve gone back to many times throughout each day. When things are chaotic, the house is a mess, it feels like my patience was used up few hours ago, and there’s pee on my pants that isn’t mine, those words come back to me – learn to sing on ordinary days, in ordinary ways.

And that is what this blog is about. I write about all of the little things that I’m learning in my little life. We do family, and we do camp life and ordinary life, and we try to love Jesus more all the time, and we figure out how to follow Him better each day. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and sometimes that feels small. But as I am faithful in the little things, as I follow Jesus on the ordinary days, when there’s nothing especially dramatic or triumphant happening, I know that He is teaching me to “sing”, no matter what circumstances are surrounding me.

I hope that this new name will continue to sum up the things that I write about – loving Jesus and my family, and trying to live an ordinary life that is becoming extraordinary as I strive to serve Jesus in all that I do.

Mentor Me (Conclusion): The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I cannot count the times I have heard wonderful, wise words from a mentor, and then found myself passing those same words on to someone I’m mentoring, a short time later.

My mentor has a mentor. She is learning and growing and being challenged. Then she meets with me and challenges me. And then I meet with a few girls, and try to do the same.

Isn’t that fantastic? I love it. I’m part of a chain. We all have a role, and we keep the good stuff going.

Now, I do have to put in here that there is also a ton of value in those great, comfortable, peer type of friendships when you can connect and just live life in a similar way. Yesterday afternoon, I spent an hour talking with one of my dear friends, and it has left me with the same kind of feeling I get from putting on a comfy pair of sweats and drinking hot tea after a long day. You know that feeling? Letting your hair down. Being yourself.

We need those kinds of relationships, too. But I think they happen more naturally, and are a bit easier to come by than the mentor-type of relationships.

I have no idea where you’re at in your life. I don’t know if anything in any of these posts on mentoring has rung true with you.

I hope so. I hope you have a mentor. I hope you are a mentor. And if you’re not, I hope that you have that chance at some point in your life.

I hope you know how much you have to offer the people around you. I hope that you’re open to all of the wonderful, crazy, unexpected opportunities and relationships that God has up His sleeve for you.

I hope you can be part of a chain, too! I hope you receive that gift, and that you have the chance to pass it on.

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 5): What Do We Talk About Now?

I didn’t really want to include this post in my series on mentoring. I told Ben I couldn’t write it, because I don’t really know the answer to that question.

And Ben said something like, “Good. You have a week to figure it out.”

Well, I don’t have it figured out. I’m not sure that it’s completely possible to figure it out.

See, mentoring is a relationship. Every relationship is different, and is constantly changing and growing. And a mentoring relationship should be specifically about changing and growing.

So what you talk about will always be changing.

That being said, I think (and have read) that the most important thing in a mentoring relationship is asking questions.

The mentor’s job is to ask questions. And then ask more questions. Pray hard, listen hard, and find little clues as to what areas might need some extra thought and consideration, and then ask even more questions.

But it’s not all up to the mentor. The person being mentored should also be asking questions. The relationship is there so that the younger one can gain wisdom from the older one.

So ask questions.

When my mentor and I are arranging a time to talk, she has sometimes told me, “Write down any questions you might have.”

I find that hard. But usually, if I pray about it, and keep a list nearby over the next few days, I’m surprised by the thoughts that come to mind.

Really, I think that all of us should continually be asking God questions like, “What do I need to learn? What do you want to show me? What area of my life needs to change? Is there anything that’s holding me back from growing closer to You?”

As we ask Him those questions, I think it’s very helpful to have someone come alongside us who can share what they experienced when they asked those same questions.

And then you talk about anything and everything. You pray like crazy, and you allow God to lead you to places that you would never have thought of going on your own. Or with someone else.

You live life in a very real, deep, and vulnerable way together, and you talk about all of it.

For more information: I’m reading Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership, by Walter Wright, in my efforts to learn more about mentoring. And I’ve got my eye on Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life, by Chuck Lawless. Doesn’t that sound good?

Now you know what to get me for Christmas.

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 3): So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Maybe you are already completely sold on the idea of mentoring. Maybe you’ve seen that great need in your life for accountability, words of challenge and wisdom spoken into you, someone to guide  you along as you grow.

All of that sounds great, but…you have no idea where to find it.

Ben and I have both gone through that at different times in our lives. For years, Ben really wanted to have a mentor, but there just wasn’t anyone whom he really connected with in that kind of a way. When he started working on his Masters through Trinity Western University, getting a mentor was part of the program. He was paired up with a man whom he clicked with immediately, and felt comfortable talking to his mentor about anything, right from the start.

It has been a huge blessing for him. There is something so incredibly comforting in knowing that at any time, you can call up someone older, wiser, more experienced, and totally removed from the situations you are facing, which enables them to pray and offer advice in a godly way while being more emotionally removed.

So….you could pay for a mentor. If you wanted to get your Masters.

I know. That’s not the most practical way of getting one. And I don’t know what happens when Ben is finished his program. Does the mentorship expire?

Maybe there are better options here…

I’ve come up with a list of three different steps to finding a mentor, but I believe each step should be preceded by lots of prayer. Your Father knows your needs, He cares about the longings of your heart, and He desires to work in your life through different people. He also desires to work in others through you.

1) Be willing to let go of your “mentor stereo-type”.

It’s easy to get this idea in your head of what a mentor should look like, or who that person should be. And all this time while you’re praying and trying to find a relationship that will meet your expectations, you could already be in a relationship where mentoring is happening.

Piano teachers, for example, can make fantastic mentors. I’ve spent so many hours talking with my music teachers, it was probably hard to tell if my parents were paying for music lessons or counseling. I don’t know which was more beneficial!

I think there are many different ways the mentor relationship can look. Long-distance mentoring totally works – Ben’s mentor lives a few provinces away. And I recently watched an interview with Tony Dungy in which he talked about the possibility of being mentored from a distance by someone you’ve never met! He said that there were some well-known men whom he really admired, but didn’t know. He read a number of books written by them, and felt that he was mentored through their written words.

Dungy also talked about how he’s been mentored through five-minute conversations. Sometimes someone can change your life  dramatically with only one encounter. Grab it and go! No, it’s not a relationship that will continue to grow for years and years, but it’s still God working in your life through other people. Appreciate it for the gift it is, even if it doesn’t “look” like mentoring in your mind.

2) Be willing to go out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes when we ask God for things, He answers our prayers in strange and unexpected ways. Be prepared!

When Ben and I had been married for a year, we moved to a new town and started attending a new church. I had been without a mentor for a few years, and was really missing it. I felt that I needed that type of relationship to help me grow in my spiritual life, so I started praying for one. And there she was, in our new church. The very first time I met her, I knew that she was “the one”! She is one of those amazing, godly women who just spills joy and the love of Jesus on everyone she meets. I could tell she was a true prayer warrior, and she was the kind of woman I wanted to learn from.

But I barely knew her. I prayed about it, and talked with Ben about it. He said, “You should call her.” It took a long time for me to work up my nerve. One evening, I just grabbed the phone and called before I had too much time to think myself out of it. I got their answering machine, so I left a message, and….she never called back! I was so sad!

A few months later, I somehow worked up the courage to ask again, and she said she would gladly be my mentor. I mentioned leaving a message, and she laughed and said their answering machine hadn’t been working for months! She had never heard my message.

If you’ve prayed about it, and you feel like God is leading you to take action, do it, even if it scares you so much you feel like you’ll puke.

It will all be worth it in the end!

3) Just keep trusting God to provide.

We moved away from that wonderful place, and my mentor moved on to a different stage of her life, and once again, I was without a mentor. The problem was, we had moved away from civilization to a camp in the middle of a forest. I was praying for a mentor, but I really, really wondered how in the world God was going to produce one. Would a godly woman come randomly wandering out of the bush one day and knock on my door?

Oh, ye of little faith! She was the speaker at a retreat we were having here at camp. We connected right away, and I had the most powerful prayer experience with her that I’d ever had. The next year, she came again, and when she left, I knew that I wanted to ask her to be my mentor.

But the problem was that she was so amazing. I was far too chicken to call her, because I was sure that she would have no time. I was sure that she probably had hundreds of women calling her up, begging her to mentor them. (The best ones are always the most busy, right?!) Ben kept telling me to call her, and I kept praying about it.

Finally, I took the pukey plunge again, and wrote her an email. And she said she’d do it! She also said she had never actually mentored anyone before, which shocked me completely.

And now, she blesses my life in very deep and rich ways. We live far apart, and are both very busy, so it’s not the kind of relationship where I have coffee with her once a week or something like that. But for this season of my life, God has provided, and He is so good.

*********

I know that at times, it seems impossible to find the real, deep, life-changing kinds of relationships that we crave. But I really believe that God cares, and that He provides. Ask Him. Ask Him to send you somebody amazing.

If He can send someone to me, way out here in the bush, I’m guessing that He can figure something out for you, too. Wait for it, watch for it, and then go for it.

Go get mentored!

**************

Series Summary:

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving