They dream, she writes. 

Teenagers sat in stoic rows with willing adherence to classroom norms.  Faces held the weathering of late nights, deep stories, eager learning, and self-becoming.  I sprung from my swiveling chair after punching in attendance across the flickering monitor. 

“Good morning, Creatives!” 

The voice of experience enough to know wherever my energy lands, the students rise to it and maintain inquiry if I stay curious of them.  So I charged the day with enthusiasm and sincere belief in each of them.  My smile beamed and my silly red cowboy boots clicked more loudly than expected. I was weary from physical illness, but the students would not know so until the conditions were right to speak of me.  This was their stage: a place to speak their lives and words, to own their stories and to communicate with new focus.  

Creative Writing class, much like classes early in my decade+ long teaching tenure, became a place of expression, safety, and exploration for students.  

Great are the dreams of those already tried in life by hurdles, but continually invited to make their future good.  For all the teens I have watched become positive community members, active pursuants of their convictions, and  adults I am proud to know, I add this gal to the list of the thousands of teens who inspire me. Well-done, Molly Fennig! (Click name to link to her book.)  You embody the aspirations of students I have seen in the Mounds View Public School system.

For the numerous authors and aspiring writers I have worked with over the last few years, for the many manuscripts I have read and contributed feedback on, this writer (Molly Fenning)  joins Ty Jansma, in being one of my students who have published their own work. I have enjoyed both of their books and hope they keep writing! 

They dream.

They do.

They inspire. 

Like them, dear former students everywhere, from private schools in Michigan, to the collegiate level, to community forums, and now the Mustangs and Knights–keep finding ways to bring your goodness, dreams, and hard work to the world. 

It matters! 

Today I die: The Love Strong Chronicles Part VI

Sweat poured from my forehead.  I felt my shirt stick to my back. The chill inside and the heat of the body slammed in anger toward one another.  I was awake now.  Surely I wouldn’t sleep again for hours.  Not with that startle of my body getting rifled through. Somehow the words, the actions, the abandonment, the hate, the ugly of life that had shamed me found metal.  Metal formed into bullets and they seared through me. My last thought before waking. “Today I die.”

A movie.

A mixing of reality.

A mind wandering from sacred space I nto the pits of human dysfunction and injustice.  Both the fictitious cinematic tale and unspoken truths found residence in my dream in the same stream of thought.  Not a dream to be had once, but one that stomped through my years.

There was no tortured soul in it, but starkly a deep trauma finding escape in picturesque form in my subconscious and then likened in my nightmares.

But not there.  Not at the convent.  The nightmare had no air in the home of peace, the place of joy.

The nun who told me to come soon, she said the same words.  She told me she took little babies, took forgotten women, took her extra time and loved.  Simply loved with all her life so that none would have to say “Today I die.” 

Some did die though. 

As I spoke of the circles hanging from a chain around my neck, as I spoke of the little ones who never breathed this side of heaven after hours of smiling as she asked of my three little boys who romp and race around my days, she remembered.  She remembered in that moment, a conversation chased away by the ding of the elevator and the turn of the hall.  The moment where she started to tell us of the babies who did not make it, whose life could not be secured by human love alone.  I would ask her again later, I would ask of death and what she saw. 

The nun. The Catholic Sister who held those who lived and those who died.

The mother. Her child gone too soon.

The widow. The tears and trials that will not let up.

The son. No manual of how to grieve and yet gripped by the tragedy.

The afflicted.  Feeling alone with life, but a chore and curse.

Our love, no matter how strong.

The hate, no matter how sordid.

Is human.


Today I die.  Not from nightmares or famine.  Not by choice or by calamity.

I die to that which defeats. 

Love will win.

It already has.

Save not the victory for Heaven alone, but for the now, the today, the present.

For the all that you endure, the ways your body has been rifled by pain and for all that you enjoy, as the light of Heaven shimmers through the gaping wounds, chase hope, chose to die to darkness and live where Love wins.

Life abundant.

Heal. Breathe. Live. Invest. Stay.

Easter is coming.


When South Carolina calls and Allume is on the phone line.

South Carolina called last week. It showed up on my caller ID. I missed the call because I was talking to Nebraska. Yep. I identify people by the states they live in. I don’t know anyone in North Dakota yet, so give me a call if you live there. 🙂

I knew who it was before I even listened to the voicemail. It was the person I had literally just blogged about that very morning. Logan Wolfram. Logan wrote words in January 2013 that tied me to my birth country of Bangladesh. She blogged about her trip with Food for the Hungry and my longings to love the people of Bangladesh multiplied. But now. Now she is in the States. She is at the helm of a wonderful conference called Allume. Allume is a conference for the blogger, the storyteller, and the writer who is trying to actively live in the light of Christ while bringing words to those around them. Words, art, life, love. Logan has a beautiful vision for the conference of encouraging, equipping, empowering and releasing those who attend. The sponsors are fabulous. The speakers are extremely solid. The attendees are excited. Allume takes place in South Carolina. And she called.

But I was talking to Nebraska. Deidra Riggs lives in Nebraska. Remember Nebraska? It rippled some Bangladeshi courage. Didn’t read that? That’s fine, feel free to now, click HERE. Deidra and I were talking a bit about Allume, a bit about Logan, and an overwhelming amount about me. The me that has been awakened by people like David Kinnaman and Holley Gerth. The me that feels like this dreaming and hoping is risky business. The me that blogs on Tuesdays for Holley and needs to address the topics of risk and being misunderstood today for her God-sized Dreamers team assignment.

Risk and being misunderstood is really an ocean of an idea to write about.


So I reflected. And my phone call from South Carolina keep permeating my thoughts.

See, by some accounts, here is my track record lately.
Write honestly.
Opportunities come.

Seems like a dream come true. And you know what?

It is.

South Carolina called to offer me a production management position on their leadership staff. I now get to work at one of the premier Christian blogging conferences in the nation. It’s a big conference.  The sponsors, speakers, leadership staff, and attendees work tirelessly in the wrestle and worship of life. I admire all of them in one way or another.

But here is the account people don’t see.

Be ignored.
Connections not made.
Hold back.
Chances not given. (And household slacking…)

I am not saying there is a bad side to every good side. I am not stating a formula that for every yes there is a slew of nos. I can’t make sweeping statements like that, even if they hold a little truth.

What I can say is this.

Life is risky.

Fear is always present.

Boldness and courage to be the hope chaser I claim to be means I am often misunderstood (missed that one too? Still fine! Read it HERE) .

But, when South Carolina calls and Allume is on the phone line … I say YES.


Risky business? You bet! Acclimating to the larger venue, working for a new boss, communicating effectively with all those gearing up for Allume, learning to balance our family life, remaining faithful to other writing projects, finding time to practice my speaking skills, trying to increase my running mileage, it all may be near the edge of the cliff walking for a bit.

But here’s the deal, I will walk and with an AMAZING man by my side, travel this road. When it is time to jump in October, you better believe I am going to do it with a smile on my face and an exclamation of joy in my soul. I was created for a reason. Part of this reason is to be to others what their needs necessitate that my strengths can meet.

I don’t know who your South Carolina is and who is on the other line, but know, for all that you endure and for that which you enjoy, I am cheering for you and I hope you answer the call.

Nasreen Fynewever

Thanks for cheering for me as I answered this one, check it out —> ALLUME 2013

Team members from Holley’s book launch group (You Were Made for a God-sized Dream) share stories of where their risk lies and who misunderstands them over at her site today.


(I didn’t write about a running analogy for Holley’s like I thought I was going to, since running has risks and those who run can easily be misunderstood. South Carolina became the tune of my heart this week. But I still want to link to a friend of mine who is the Race Director for the Grand Rapids Marathon in Michigan. Read what you wish, but note his personal article at the very bottom which talks about keeping the music going. If you have been following this blog, you know that music has been a theme in the death of my colleague to Lisa-Jo’s 5 minute Friday post. Read Don Kern’s words HERE)