Coming Clean.



I haven’t been blogging much in recent months. There are a few reasons for that. But primarily, I’ve been processing. I’m a processor by nature–usually I need to think things over and come to place of peace and understanding before speaking about them. There are also situations where I need to process things verbally and discuss things with people before I can come to that place of peace and understanding in my spirit. Sometimes, I need to WRITE in order to make sense of something and reach that settled place. But I resist it…for a secondary reason.

A secondary reason that I haven’t been blogging is out of fear. Fear of being judged. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of being too unfiltered. Fear of stirring all the pots. I’m in a pot-stirring kind of mental place, these days. I end most interactions with people lately by asking myself, “Have I said too much? Am I being too honest?” So I’ve started hiding a little bit. Just until I figure out how I feel. And how I want to present myself. Blogging is a weird thing. The internet is a weird place. Friends and family have come to enjoy my writing and perspective and I want to continue to exercise this gift God has given me. But sometimes, the spotlight is a little frightening.

Here’s what’s up, friends.

Since I was 16, I’ve been following Jesus. I experienced salvation and then I fell in line. I followed and imitated what I saw other Christians do and what Christian writers told me was the right thing to do, but I wasn’t spiritually mature enough to know to question the scriptural basis for these things. I just gave a salute to the local Family Christian Store/Northwestern Bookstore and Brio magazine and moved along. By the grace of God and the influence of Christian people in my life, my relationship with God deepened and became more genuine as the years progressed. I leaned into my faith during college when new brands of hardship fell on my heart that I’d never experienced before, and He loved me back to life. After college, I befriended and led a group of high school girls for four years with my friend Juli. I tried to share wisdom and knowledge from my own life as we worked through the inevitable challenges that come with growing up. But in the last couple of years, since losing my friend Christie to cancer, since being disappointed by the Church in a few different ways (that’s another post altogether), I’ve become confused and jaded. And it’s heartbreaking. But I haven’t quit.

God and I? We’re eternal. Nothing is ever going to change the fact that we’re besties, he loves me, I love him, it goes deeper than anything else. We’re blood. Literally. There’s no budging on that. I’m nothing without God in my life. NOTHING. I know this, because until 16, what I had with God was inauthentic, ritualistic, forced and fake. I remember what it felt like to be without hope. I’m never going back there. He’s legit. He’s real. He’s alive. I’ve seen it and I can’t deny it.

However. Certain topics continually have been brought to the surface in my mind and in my heart over the last year that I suddenly have a million reservations about. What it looks like to live out my faith has become difficult and murky. A few examples:

  • What happens when we die? What is the real definition of heaven?
  • Are certain things really sinful or is their perceived sinfulness something the Church created long ago?
  • Is X a cultural belief or a God-influenced command? Is X a cultural mandate of the time in which a biblical passage was written, and should we still abide by it now–or is it something God commands of all people in all times?
  • If I don’t have the on-fire desire to be evangelistic, does that make me an inauthentic Christ follower?
  • Do I HAVE to do X, X and X to grow in my faith? Or are there other ways?
  • Can Christians really make blanket rules that are “best for everyone” in the long run, or is there wiggle room for redefinition and grey space?
  • Are we really all SO BAD? Aren’t we beautiful and broken simultaneously?
  • If I have a spirit of critical-thinking that often borders on cynicism, does that mean I’m not currently connected to God enough to be part of a body of Christ-followers that are expected to be unified and on the same page about everything pertaining to our savior and what it means to live out our faith?
  • If what I decide about a topic of faith differs from how the majority of Christ-followers around me feel about it, does that mean I’m getting it ‘wrong’?

Oy. You guys, it’s exhausting. It’s scary.



In Philippians in the NIV, we’re told:

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”

That sounds like exploration and working through doubt and questioning, doesn’t it?

But in the NLT, we’re told:

“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”


And what is the RIGHT way to obey? Is it just acting like everyone else in my faith community? Or do I have the freedom for it to look different for me?

Maybe I’m not interpreting these verses as accurately as I could be. But it’s confusing, right?! No matter where I look, I’m required to unravel, redefine, to translate–to WORK at getting to a place of peace and understanding in my spirit when it comes to living my life as a Christ-follower. And I’m starting to think this painful, crazy, scary work of pulling it all apart in order to put it back together again MIGHT just be what it’s all about. Because without it–how strong is my faith?

I worry that for some people in the Church, this type of thinking isn’t acceptable. Or that they say it’s acceptable, but really actually doing it is too dangerous to talk about much less actually embark upon. Or, that until I’ve reached peace and understanding about ALL of my doubts and questions and redefining of topics–I shouldn’t be working in a place of ministry. After all, shouldn’t everyone in ministry be in agreement about most topics of following Christ as we lead others to do the same?

All I can say is that I still believe that reaching people with the message of Christ’s love for them is not only paramount to what I want to do with my career for as long as I’m given the opportunity to, but it’s the core of what I hope I can accomplish through my life. And lately, I’ve felt like maybe I’m being a little clunky about it. But my hope is that by coming clean about the faith challenges I’ve been facing, I am doing the best thing–which is to show people that following Jesus is not the easy path, and if it is? Maybe it shouldn’t be so easy.

In wrapping this up, I want to reiterate:

I still love Jesus. He still loves me. I hope you still love me, too. 😉




Found at Church

I recently worked on the strategy side of a really exciting new campaign for Eagle Brook Church–and I just want to share about it! It’s so fun when every once in a great while, a project comes along where you feel like you’re using all of your talents, you’re getting to work with some of the coolest and most skilled thinkers and doers you’ve ever come across, and the end product turns out to be something you’re really proud of. Found at Church was just that!

Like most churches, we typically we do some external advertising around Easter. But as we sat around a table talking about how to reach our target audience, we realized something pretty key. People already know that Easter is coming. We’re a church. No one needs us to let them know that we’re having Easter services. It’s the world’s biggest no-brainer.

Here’s where we started:

AUDIENCE: The somewhat-churched, the open-to-church, the desperate seekers, the two-timers (Easter and Christmas), the casual churchgoers. Anyone who is a little bit familiar with Christianity and what this time of year means.

DEMOGRAPHIC: 25-55 years old. Male and female. culturally diverse. Tech-savvy. Baby Busters (1965-1980), Gen X (1975-1985), Gen Y/Millennials (1978-1990). Suburban and first-ring urban commuters. Public transit users.

METHOD: Focus on public transportation advertising opportunities. Engage current attenders in all-church, “I Found ______” invitation initiative that aligns with external ads and will continue past the Easter season. Website at generates content from attender social media engagement with #foundatchurch. External ads promote

So instead of blabbing on billboards and direct mail pieces about how fantastic our Easter services will be (and they will be…) we made the decision to simply ask people who’ve experienced God change their life through attending church to tell others–What have you found at church?

We launched with this video and caption on Instagram and Facebook:

“What have you found at church? Wisdom? Friendship? Acceptance? Whatever you’ve found, post it from your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts using #foundatchurch. Your stories tell the stories of Eagle Brook Church and show others what they can find here, too!

Throughout the month of March, your #foundatchurch posts will show up at Take a look, share your story and, together, let’s tell others of Jesus’ incredible love.”

Last weekend, we passed out Found at Church cards after services at every campus, and aired this video before services–specifically, at :41 in. (Yeah, that just so happens to be me yammering on about stuff. Again.)

Attenders have been posting what they’ve found at church for one week–and we’re already seeing great engagement. It’s very exciting!

(By the way…I love making Flipagrams. Pairing music with imagery is one of my favorite things in the world!)

My lovely friend (and EBC graphic designer) Kellie Cornell designed an incredible range of ads for us to use on social media and in external channels.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 1.39.24 PM

We have seen great ROI when advertising through public transit channels over the last year or so. This time, we decided to focus more heavily than we previously have on targeting suburban and first-ring urban commuters.

By targeting suburban and first-ring urban commuters who utilize public transit, we have the unique ability to specifically speak to people who live near our campuses without using direct mail which has historically proven to have a very poor ROI, or digital billboards, which are very expensive with very low impressions.

Buses with EBC advertisements are specifically assigned to run through our campus communities, through both Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns, back to suburban park-and-rides and neighborhood stops. Riders become familiar with the ads as they see them repeatedly for five weeks on their buses. Pedestrians, many of whom are suburban car-commuters, become familiar with the ads as buses pass by downtown.

Those waiting at bus shelters will become familiar with the poster ads, connecting them visually with the bus tails and the interior bus ads.(I LOVE CONNECTEDNESS!!!)

Ten transit shelter ads will also rotate throughout downtown Minneapolis over the course of the four weeks leading up to Easter.

I’m really excited to watch this campaign evolve past the Easter season. Melissa Therrien, Kellie Cornell, Eva Zellmer, Mike Hadley, Andrew Broshat, Amy Overgaard, Shannon Nelson–it was so much fun collaborating!

For Grandma


Hi Everyone.

In case we’ve never met, my name is Andrea. I’m Diane’s eldest granddaughter.

Diane had a heck of a time with her health over the last forty years, didn’t she? There’s no question—she was dealt a rough hand. But she also had a heck of a time making the most of those years with family and friends. I bet that if you close your eyes and picture my grandma, you see her smiling or laughing. You probably hear her answering the phone with a cheerful, “Yello,” or eating a late-night bowl of ice cream or popcorn with her eyes rolled back in her head, filled with glee; or maybe you hear her retelling a story with more animation and gusto than Lucille Ball, or maybe she’s beaming happily at her great-grandkids as they run around her living room. Time and time again, as years went on and her body continued to fail her in new and miserable ways, I think we can all agree that her shining personality remained intact. Diane was always still Diane.

She was a mother to two and a surrogate mother to many who crossed the threshold of the Schellenberg home over the years. She was a friend to hundreds and I swear she must’ve been cousins with millions. Second, third, fourth cousins, in Wisconsin, Georgia and Germany—she was in touch with them all! And she was a grandmother to four and a great-grandmother to two.

On a personal note, something I always appreciated about my Grandma is how she always made an effort to understand me as I grew up. When I was in elementary school, I remember her sitting down next to me while I browsed through some kind of teen magazine. She started pointing at pictures of boys saying, “Oh he’s cute.” I was SO embarrassed. But I knew she was just trying to connect with me.

When I was in middle school, Grandma Diane and Grandpa Wayne stayed with my brother and I at our house in Alabama while our parents were out of town. Unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl at the time, I entered a biological rite of passage that every girl must endure when my parents were gone. I called my mom to tell her what was happening and she told Grandma. I ran into the kitchen and started painting my nails, weeping from humiliation, praying she wouldn’t come upstairs and talk to me about it. I heard her coming up the stairs and I was filled with dread. She simply and casually strolled up to the kitchen table, sat down, grabbed a bottle of nail polish and started painting her nails and said, “This is a pretty color.” She couldn’t have approached it more perfectly. I made her promise not to tell grandpa, and she let me stay home from school with her for the rest of the week. We watched movies together and ate lots of junk food. At a time when I know my mom really wished she could’ve been there with me, I know she was thankful it was Grandma Diane who was there to go through it with me.

One Summer in college, I spent two weeks working on the hobby farm my grandparents shared with my Uncle Mike. I treasure the time I spent painting birdhouses and sheds with my Grandpa Wayne, gathering chicken eggs and chasing ducks underneath the car. But most of all, I treasure the memories of driving around Hector, Glencoe, and Hutchinson with Grandma Diane, the summertime sun beating into the car, windows down. She let me play all of my CDs because she wanted to hear what I liked. I mean, we listened to Mariah Carey, old NSync and other pop music, as well as some not-quite-as-terrible stuff like John Mayer and Jason Mraz. She hummed along even though she didn’t know the songs and tapped her hands on the steering wheel no matter how ridiculous or obscene the lyrics got. I made sure to play some old songs I knew she’d like too, like The Andrews Sisters, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. She oohed and aahed over the nostalgia those songs drew up in her mind of her teenage years and early years of marriage to Grandpa.

To me, she was a warm, loving, relentlessly caring grandma. To you, I hope she was just as warm, loving, and relentlessly caring in whatever role she played in your life. Or maybe she was basically just your primary contact for fine knit afghans, scarves and sweaters in a jiffy. If that’s true, that’s ok. She loved doing it.

Whoever my grandma was to you, one thing’s for sure—I know you’re really going to miss her. The world just won’t be as bright without her in it. But out of all the people in this room, there’s only one person who will miss her more than the rest of us combined. And that’s my grandpa.

My grandparents were married for nearly 60 years. In my lifetime, I’ve seldom come across another couple more interconnected at such a deep level. Grandma’s family truly became Grandpa’s closest of kin when they got married. Meeting Grandma changed everything for him. And really—it changed everything for her, too. I’ll let her tell the story in her own words:

“Schellie and I met around November 1956 at the YMCA in St. Paul at a club called, ‘The Club With No Name,’ which I was a member of. On Sunday nights we held dances. My friend Bunice had talked to some guys from her hometown of Fulda and told them about the dances. Well, Schellie, Bill and Buzz came to the dance that Sunday night. As the story goes, Bill and Schellie walked across the dance floor to ask Bunice to dance. Bill got there first so Schellie asked me. That was the start of something wonderful. He brought me back to my home that night and we have been together ever since. It has been a marriage with a lot of things happening.

First, Schellie did not ever propose to me. It went something like this: Schellie told me he loved me one night as we were parked in the country someplace. I told him I loved him and his reply was, ‘Well I better get you a ring.’ How romantic! But that is about as romantic as Schellie gets. On valentine’s Day I received my beautiful diamond ring. We were at a restaurant in St. Paul in Highland Park. We hadn’t known each other long but knew it was right.

We were married on August 25, 1957 on one of the hottest days. My sister Joy was my maid of honor, three of my girlfriends were bridesmaids: Bev, Carol and Gloria. Chuck Draeger flew home from the Navy to be Schellie’s best man. Schellie’s groomsmen were Buzz, Ron and Bill. Reverend Wolff married us at St. Matthews Lutheran Church on Lexington Avenue in St. Paul. Reverend Wolff said it was the prettiest wedding he’d seen at the church. It really was.”

…fast forward 50 years…through the births of two children, four grandkids, multiple health crises and challenges…Here’s what Grandma had to say about 50 years of marriage to Grandpa:

“This brings us to our 50th year of marriage. We are still as much or more in love than when we met that night at the YWCA. Yes, I guess it was love at first sight or very soon after. I will never be able to understand how Schellie keeps going like he does. Schellie is never without pain in his leg. Some nights become very difficult for him with the pain. Schellie is one in a million and I am so lucky that we found each other. We have gone through some difficult times in the past 50 years, with operations, sicknesses and normal aches and pains but we are dealing with it all.”

Grandpa was Grandma’s strength. He was her physical strength when she couldn’t do things on her own anymore and he was her mental and emotional example of strength when she encountered health challenges of her own later on in her life. We all heard her say many times, “I’ve got my marine. He can take care of me just fine.”

Grandma and Grandpa slept in a tiny double bed for their entire marriage. A DOUBLE BED. Some nights, I don’t even like to share my double bed with my yorkie. But they liked to be close. All the time. Right until the end. Two chairs side-by-side facing a TV, a room full of rambunctious grandkids tearing presents open on Christmas, a hospital bed, an open road with two kids in the backseat, and…the end of life. Together.

So if Grandpa and Grandma drew strength from each other—what was the source of their individual strength? Their faith in God sustained them through challenge after challenge. They continuously turned to their church and their pastor for guidance and comfort. Last Spring, when Grandma got sick with gout in all of her joints and the decision was made to transition into assisted living, I made her a booklet of index cards and wrote a Bible verse about hope on each one. She kept it on her bedside table and told me she read it every night. She held onto hope in Jesus. And because of that hope—I know I’ll see her again.

Isaiah 46:4 (NLT) says:
I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

I may not know what it looks like where she is. I may have trouble really believing she’s actually there in heaven. I mean, what is Heaven, really? It’s so beyond what the human mind can fathom—it’s often difficult to have faith in its existence, isn’t it? But faith is the belief in what can’t be seen. So I pray for faith to believe. I pray for faith to believe that God will lovingly and mercifully carry me to my grave in the same way he carried my Grandma Diane. And until that day, I pray for the ability to have an attitude like Grandma’s. Bright. Shining. Positive. No matter how much I miss her. Not only would she want it that way, but it’s what God calls us to do.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (MSG) says:
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.

My prayer is for all of us to truly find hope in Jesus and the ability to carry on without Diane—the evidence of his incredible love lies in the creation of her spirit, the life she was blessed to lead, and the merciful end she met with her Savior.

I’m going to wrap this up exactly how grandma would simply by saying, “Talk atcha later.”