Category Archives: 30 Before 30

40 Things Before 40

You may remember my list of 30 Things Before 30 that I compiled before my 30th birthday last year. Now that I’m nearly 31, I decided it was time to compile my list of 40 Things Before 40. Here it is:

1. Sew a dress (and wear it!)

2. Hold a conversation in a different language.

3. Visit Taiwan

4. Milk a cow

5. Raise $10,000 for (You can help here!) – $112.47 raised

6. Visit City Museum

7. Ski

8. Read Madeleine L’Engle’s completed works

9. Take a cake-decorating class

10. Run 5k in less than 30 minutes

11. Take a dance class with Allyn

12. Participate in a flash mob

13. Bike the Katy Trail

14. Go whale watching

15. Complete 40 pinterest projects

16. Make everything in the More-With-Less cookbook

17. Can food that I grow

18. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes

19. Send a care package to a stranger

20. Go on a cruise

21. Visit all 50 states

22. See a shooting star

23. Build a kitchen table

24. Go on a Segway tour of St. Louis

25. Become homeowners

26. Officiate a wedding

27. Participate in a color run

28. Make cake pops

29. Go to a drive-in movie

30. Ride in a hot air balloon

31. Complete 40 new items from this list of 100 things to do in St. Louis.

32. Attend the Wild Goose Festival

33. Visit Ha Ha Tonka

34. Take an art class

35. Have themed months for a year (vegan month, buy nothing but food month, random act of kindness month, etc)

36. Retreat with create cohort at Conception Abbey

37. Attend a hockey game

38. Run through the fountains of City Garden wearing everyday clothes

39. Find the best fried chicken in St. Louis

40. Break the record for the world’s largest potluck, currently at 805 people.



Filed under 30 Before 30

Moving from “B” to “b”

Today I ended my internship with St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship. I stood outside, looking into the faces of dear friends who were sitting on log benches that made a semi-circle around an empty fire pit. I read the Mennonite communion litany and spoke words of institution over ciabatta bread and grape juice while a dog begged at the base of the table. I then proceeded to speak “God bless you” over lots of children while offering them ranch crackers and grapes. Ciabatta and ranch crackers are not exactly the typical makings of communion in the Fellowship, but on church retreat communion supplies can be difficult to separate from the bread at dinner and crackers available for snacking. I felt a little like St. Francis as I offered the leftover communion crumbles to the birds and wildlife of the forest. “May God bless you, too.”

The night before, we had arrived to the camp grounds around 8:30 following class in Kansas City. I was promptly presented with a Snapple to toast the progress of my book. At lunch today, another friend handed me watermelon pickles which she brought for me to add another new food to my “30 before 30” list.

The summer has passed quickly, but with the sort of connection that takes years to build at many places. I’ve quizzed these new Mennonite friends, trying to figure out just who they are, and if this congregation is rare or part of a larger group that looks very similar. In the process, I’ve felt my grip on Baptist life opening.

Before this retreat, I spent time with my ministry mentor. I confessed to her that I had fallen in love with the Mennonites. As I described St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, she begged me to tell her something bad. She confessed that I may have converted her, as well. We talked about what this might mean for me, for my heritage and life as a Baptist. I said that I feared affiliating with the Mennonites might mean an end–goodbyes that I do not want to make. She asked if I could imagine another way. I offered that my mental image is one of holding hands with both the Baptists and the Mennonites.

As I talked to Mary, a Mennonite missionary to Ukraine, she offered a similar story. She works with many Baptists in Ukraine, and we shared tales of our desire to live in a wider world.

The Baptists came from the Mennonites, after all. A group of separatists stumbled across the Mennonites, came to accept believer’s baptism and worshiped with the Mennonites for a while. Part of them simply joined the church, the others left as the first Baptists.

Today, I’m embracing a new life as a little “b” baptist, a term many have used to refer to a larger tradition that joins the Baptists with the anabaptists. In doing a web search for the term, I realized that my friend Leroy has written a very similiar blog post, called “Baptist with a Small ‘b.’” This summer I learned about another friend with a deep love for Baptists who has joined a Mennonite church.

Madeleine L’Engle and Anne Lamott both talk about being every age you have ever been. The idea that here at 29 I am every bit as much my 3-year-old self, my 17-year-old self, my 24-year-old self. I think the same applies. As I embrace the “small b” title, I don’t give up my Baptist tradition, I expand it. I am always my Baptist self, even as I am my baptist self.


Filed under 30 Before 30, book project, mennonite, ministry, reflection

Like Coffee for Water

Some of you may remember from my 30 Things Before 30 post that one of my list items is to get 10 people to purchase Three Avocados Coffee. I first found out about Three Avocados in a contest to take over the twitter feed of For awhile we were the two top folks — and when I realized we were both in St. Louis, I knew I needed to find out more about this company.

Three Avocados is a fair trade company, meaning that the farmers are paid a fair, livable wage for their work. All of their proceeds go to fund clean water projects in Uganda. By purchasing their coffee you are providing a livelihood for farmers and helping people have access to clean water. Win-win!

And have I mentioned how tasty their coffee is? Seriously. I am picky. If I am paying for coffee, it needs to meet certain standards. Number 1: it must taste good. When we bought our first pack of Three Avocados, I was afraid. A do-good coffee company was likely not too concerned with the coffee side of things, right? Wrong. It met all of my requirements. The days that we have run out of coffee and have to resort to something else (which tends to still be fair trade quality coffee), I get sad. It is never as good.

I recognize not everyone has my taste in coffee, but it is good stuff.

So I’m asking you to try it. Those who live in St. Louis, I’d be glad to brew some up so you can taste-test before purchase. Or, if you are local, I’d also be glad to buy the coffee back from you if you don’t like it. But I think you will. You can order from the website or those of you in St. Louis can purchase in a number of local stores, including Dierbergs.

Please let me know if you order — and let me know what you think!


Filed under 30 Before 30, water

30 Things Before 30

I turn 30 on September 27. Like plenty of other people, I want a way to welcome my 30s, so I created this “30 Things To Do Before 30” list. If you would like to help me accomplish one of them, please let me know!

1. Complete Book. (Sept. 8 — WOOHOO!)
2. Go fruit picking.
3. Lose 10 pounds.
4. Order wedding photo books.
5. Visit Botanical Gardens  (accomplished on June 16)
6. Read Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journal series
7. Pay for person behind me in drive thru (I hate typing “thru”) (Sept. 8 — Taco Bell)
8. Stay up all night with Allyn watching movies.
9. Send at least 1 story to EthicsDaily  (This ran June 13)
10. Make pretzels. (Completed June 29)
11. Perfect salsa recipe.
12. Visit City Museum.
13. Give away 30 things.
14. Complete a sewing project.
15. Throw a party for strangers (plan is to invite friends to bring food and portable grills to one of the downtown parks, allowing anyone who requests food to eat). (Sept. 3)
16. Get 600+ in Skeeball.
17. Learn a dance with Allyn.
18. Guest post for a blog.
19. Try 30 new foods.
20. Create and sell 30 cards to raise funds for
21. Have jalapeno eating contest with Brittany (my sister).
22. Send something fun in the mail. (sent June 27)
23.Visit Museum of Contemporary Religious Art.
24. Volunteer at The Bridge.
25. See a Muny show (Saw “Thoroughly Modern Millie” on June 20).
26. Reach 100 blog posts.
27. Spend a day in silence.
28. Milk a cow.
29. Use at least 5 Entertainment Book coupons to explore St. Louis.
30. Get 10 people to purchase Three Avocados Coffee.


Filed under 30 Before 30, Uncategorized