Once upon a time, I went to Africa to work on a big white ship. I used my skills as an OR nurse to help hundreds of people who needed their physical brokenness to be healed. 

What lead me to this big white ship? I found the blog of a lady who served on that same ship. She had been there for years. She’s a pediatric ICU nurse by profession. Her blog grabbed me and made me feel things I didn’t even know I could feel. I ate up her words and prayed to God to make a way for me to go serve on that ship too. 

In 2011, I sent in my application and was accepted! In 2012, I joined the ship with a great group of folks I trained with. Ali was not on the ship when we arrived. She was on maternity leave with her first baby. But in the spring of 2013, after going home to Florida and coming back to the ship, she was back on board. 

One day, we were both at the pool on the top deck of the ship (yes, a pool, made from an old shipping container). I was sitting right next to her when I sheepishly said, ” hello Ali, my name is Michelle. I’ve been following you on your blog for years. You’re one of the reasons I’m on this ship. ” And she replied, “hi Michelle, I’ve been following your blog too.” Haha! We had a laugh and a nice conversation after that. It was so great to meet her in real life and thank her for her words. 

When I came home from the ship that fall, Ali learned she was having a second baby. Babies aren’t allowed to be born on the ship because of weird citizenship issues. So in the spring, she went home to NJ. At 25 weeks, she had a routine ultrasound that turned her family’s world upside down. Her new baby was diagnosed with Heterotaxy syndrome. Which is a very complex syndrome that cause internal organs to be mirror imaged. 

Her dream of living on the big white ship for the rest of her life was ended. And the new chapter was filled with terrifying possibilities. But the grace of God, has carried her family through!

I still follow Ali here in the USA. Now the adventure is all about her family and her boy, Ethan. And can I just tell you, she still inspires me. Her faith is stronger than ever. Her words inspire millions of people around the world. Best of all, her Ethan has lived and thrived through 4 open heart surgeries as a brilliant surgeon in Boston has built him a real, normal heart from Ethan’s own heart with a few extra bits thrown in there. I am in awe of how God has brought this child through! I can only imagine the plans God has for this family. And they’re huge!

I recently completed the Heterotaxy Anyway 5k in support of my friend. All the proceeds go to research for this syndrome so more kids like Ethan can have a chance for life! This is dedicated to my friend Ali for Ethan. 😊


Saturday, I did a hike that got me into the mountains outside of Tucson. Move2Ranges took place in the Tortolita Mountains and the Catalina Mountains. 

The weather was perfect. Not too hot. Not too cold. I had a hiking buddy all day which makes the distance disappear. 

Since the event was supported, there were plenty of snacks and water provided. I ate bananas and oranges and fruit snacks and power bars. I love to eat and one of the benefits of hiking far is burning lots of calories so I can stuff my face to my heart’s content. 😜

The best part of the hike came on the Romero Pools Trail in the Catalinas. When we got to the top of a 2000 foot elevation gain, there were pools of water! Crystal clear. Deep. Running water. It was simply amazing! Made that climb totally worth it as I took off my trail runners and sank my aching feet into the cold cold water. So very thankful for that. And since I wore a long sleeve swimming shirt, I took it off and soaked it in the ice cold water, wrung it out, and put it back on. It was like wearing air conditioning for a whole 30 minutes until the wind and sun dried it off. 30 minutes of Arctic refreshment!

The not best part of the day came in the miscalculated mileage (it was supposed to be 20.5 miles, but was really 18.5) and the early breakdown of trail support. I don’t know who thought people could hike 20.5 miles in less than 8 hours? 

In the end, it was a great day and it was great preparation for this coming weekend when I will kick off my section hike of the Arizona Trail in the Huachuca Mountains. Stay tuned for that story. 

Distance hiked :: 18.61miles :: the farthest yet!

Total distance hiked this year :: 162.14miles

Total distance to go :: 837.86

$19 donated to MercyShips. I’m donating $1 for every mile I walk. Would you consider matching me dollar for dollar? They are an amazing organization who does free surgery for the poorest nations in Africa. I spent a year with them as a volunteer. It was one of the very best years of my life. Check them out at MercyShips.

Happy Tuesday!

Advent_December 15


If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m a wee bit slow, thick headed, not the sharpest tool in the shed. Up until a year ago, I was on a performance hamster wheel. Why? Because Jesus Saved me from such an enormous, disastrous life! I wanted to show my appreciation! I chased hard after serving. Real hard. Exhausting hard.

A year ago, I was sitting in an office on a ship being told I had to go home. I had been miserable for weeks in the middle of the best ministry I had ever done! I should have been filled with joy. Instead, I was crying all the time.

I really thought I was meant to be a long term missionary. But Jesus said to me, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

So I jumped off the hamster wheel. Over the last year I’ve discovered God just wants me. I don’t have to prove myself to Him. I don’t have to work for His love. When I said yes to Jesus 9 years ago I was in!

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Sharing ~ Unforced Rhythms, Monday Musings