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Jumbo Raisins and Doing Good



I discovered the Jumbo Raisin Medley at Trader Joe’s a few years ago. I love every kind of fruit, including raisins. These raisins are colorful, plump, and delicious.

I shared my discovery with my friend Anne. I remember sitting in her apartment, talking and eating jumbo raisins. A very random memory indeed.

Last week, I picked up a bag of Jumbo Raisins during my shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. It has been a year or two since I have bought a bag. I thought of my friend Anne as I ate my Jumbo Raisins this week. And I took a moment to pray for her.

I love how God reminds us to pray for others. How He can put a certain person on our heart and mind at different times.

Sometimes I am too busy or distracted to follow God’s prompting.  This time, I took a moment to pray for my friend. If God intentionally put my friend on my mind, I can take the time to reach out. A quick email of encouragement.

I recently heard a message about not putting off doing good. When God speaks to us, do it immediately. Don’t delay following God in doing good.

I can procrastinate on doing good. I think “that’s a great idea, I will do it later”.  Somehow later never happens. The good deed ends up being a good intention. I miss out on what God is doing. When I take time to do a random act of kindness, God uses me to encourage and bless someone else. Yet the beauty is that God also blesses and encourages me.

It can be easy to excuse or question God’s prompting. “Really God, jumbo raisins? You are using jumbo raisins to tell me to pray for my friend?” I can easily dismiss the thought. Or I can thank God that He uses  anything to remind us to pray for one another, even Jumbo Raisins!

How is God prompting you today? 

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Congratulations dear husband!


I am one proud wife! A week ago my husband graduated from Emerson College with a Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism.

When I told my second graders that Mr. Nyakairu was graduating on Sunday, one little girl said with great surprise “your husband hasn’t graduated yet?!” Her surprised reaction changed to an impressed “wow” after I explained that it was in fact my husband’s fifth graduation.

1. Shoreline Community College

2. Bachelors degree in Religious Studies at Seattle Pacific University

3. Masters of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

4. Masters of Theology in Preaching from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

5. Masters of Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College

My husband loves to study, learn, and grow. He is constantly listening to podcasts and books to grow as a leader.

When Stephen was in seminary, he would get up early in the morning to eat breakfast in the cafeteria. He knew that Haddon Robinson, a professor of preaching and interim president of Gordon Conwell, would be there. Stephen would join Dr. Robinson for breakfast. My husband surrounds himself with great leaders. Dr. Robinson would give Stephen tapes of his sermons. Stephen would listen to these tapes to learn and grow from a great preacher and leader.

My husband is a pastor. Why did he get a degree in Broadcast Journalism? Dr. Robinson was actually the one who suggested this degree to Stephen. One logical step after the seminary degrees would be to continue on for a PhD. Yet another option that Dr. Robinson suggested was to pursue a degree in communications. Stephen learned Greek, Hebrew, and studied the Bible in great detail in seminary. Even after graduation, he continued to go back  to seminary each semester for one free class.

My husband’s passion is for people to experience a changed life through knowing God and His Word. His desire is to preach and teach in a clear, compelling manner. This Broadcast Journalism degree allowed my husband to grow as a communicator in his speaking and writing.

Graduating from Gordon Conwell and Emerson College allowed my husband to have strong credentials in both the secular and christian world.

I am proud of my husband. I am proud of who he is as a pastor and leader. I am proud of his accomplishment in graduating from Emerson.

What I love most about my husband is his heart. His prayer and desire is that God uses all of his life experiences, education, and knowledge for His glory and to further His kingdom. I look forward to seeing how God continues to use my husband!


Side Note: Now that my husband has graduated, he will have more time to write on his blog. You can check him out at

A big thank you to all of our family and friends who joined us for this celebration! I am grateful that Stephen continued to go back to school so I could finally be at one of his graduations as his wife!


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spring cleaning!


I recently spring cleaned our home. I was pretty amazed at all that I found to clean considering that I clean our place each week. As I was cleaning the baseboards, vacuuming under the coach, and scrubbing the inside of our fridge I started to think about how these places aren’t cleaned every week. The little bit of dirt or dust slowly starts to accumulate until months later, some serious cleaning is needed.

As I was cleaning away, God spoke to me. In the same way, if we let little things accumulate over time in our heart some serious cleaning needs to be done in our life.

Little things. A poor attitude. Unforgiveness.  Doubt. The little lies that feel like truth. Distraction. It’s easy to rationalize the little things away.

The little things can build up in our hearts. Slowly our hearts can become harden. How God loves us.  He can examine our hearts and do a little “spring cleaning” in our lives.

I don’t want to miss His voice. I don’t want to miss all that He has in store for my life. I want my heart to be sensitive to His Spirit.

How God loves us! He is quick to forgive. Our sins are completely forgotten. He remembers them no more! God can cleanse our hearts and lives by His mighty power at work within us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”



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Stillness in the midst of busyness


Today was one of those days. I woke up with a million things I wanted to get done. I knew my to-do list was unrealistic yet I still tried to tackle it. When I noticed the sunshine and warm weather, I also wanted to be outdoors. 

As the day went on, I found myself frustrated because time was slipping away. There was just not enough time to enjoy the day and get everything done.

Later in the evening, I went for a run. The sun began to set over the ocean. It was a warm, beautiful spring evening. I stopped running and sat looking out at the ocean.

I allowed myself to be still. 

I had read my devotional this morning. My husband and I prayed together. Yet the busyness of my day had distracted me from simply being in God’s Presence.

In the beauty of nature, my heart became quiet. As I enjoyed the loveliness of the evening, I sat listening to God speak to my heart

Refreshment to my soul. 

I looked at the vastness of the ocean and I remembered how very small I am. I gained a larger perspective on what is truly important in my day.  I remembered God’s goodness in my life. How great is His love for me!

How do you find stillness in midst of busy days? 


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Good Friday: beauty of diversity


SAveI have travel around the world. I have experienced different cultures.

I have heard God worshipped in different languages. 

I have visited a wide variety of churches in the United States.

What is the point of unity in all I have experienced in different churches around the world? Jesus Christ.

Today is Good Friday. A day that holds special meaning to two billion Christians around the world. A day to remember the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s death, we have access to God the Father. We can have a very real and personal relationship with God.

I absolutely love the beauty of the diversity of Christ followers. How I can experience God in different ways through the uniqueness of each church.

God has created each of us different. Different personalities, appearances, talents and abilities. Each one of us are unique. Shouldn’t the way we worship God reflect this beauty and diversity?

There are many differences in churches. Differences in worship, traditions, and how things are done. Differences can divide or differences can be celebrated.

I see the differences but I also see the bigger picture. I see how we are all united together through the blood of Christ Jesus.

How do we come to the Father? Through His Son Jesus Christ.

Thank you Lord God for today. Thank you for the chance to remember how much you love us! That You loved us enough to rescue us through Christ Jesus. Thank you for Christ’s sacrifice and death. Thank you Abba Father for how Jesus allows us to come to You. Thank you that Jesus is the One who unites us together. You have built Your church upon Christ Jesus. Thank you for the beauty of variety seen among Your people. May Christ Jesus continue to united us together. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Spring is here!


Spring is finally here. Which means I have officially survived my first Boston winter!

I quickly fell in love with Boston when I moved here in August. I loved the city of Boston. I loved our home near the ocean. I loved working in Boston near the Charles River and the Public Garden. I loved the beautiful fall weather. I loved celebrating the Red Sox winning the World Series.

And then winter came.

The hardest part of the winter for me wasn’t the snow or the cold temperatures. It was all the cloudy days. And the shorter hours of daylight. How I missed the sun!

I learned a few new things this winter…

A proper winter coat has down feathers. Any other coat leaves you very cold.

Schools in the north do not close often for snow. We had just two snow days all winter long.

Snow boots are not just for sledding but for every day use when walking around Boston in freezing temperatures.

Schools do close for a week in February for “February Vacation”.

It gets darker earlier in the evenings.

A sunny Saturday in March is the perfect reason for ice cream at the local ice cream shop. It doesn’t matter that it’s still cold enough to be winter. The sun is actually out!

The ocean is gray most of the winter as it reflects the cloudy skies.

AND Spring does eventually come.


I always love Spring but this year I am especially excited for this wonderful season. I am falling in love with Boston again!

I love walking through Boston Public Garden and seeing people, kids, babies, and dogs out and about. People sitting on park benches, reading books, enjoying the outdoors.

The ocean is stunningly blue . Summer and beach days are around the corner.

Boston Red Sox season has begun.

Towns like Rockport have the cutest little shops and great ocean views.

I can venture out of the gym and enjoy running outdoors near the ocean and the Charles River.

Saturday evenings are now perfect for sitting outdoors with good friends eating fish and chips while enjoying the ocean views.

I am suddenly aware of all the places I want to explore, discover, and enjoy. And I anticipate discovering more reasons to love this great city.

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Daylight Savings Craziness

IMG_1196I love Daylight Savings in the spring as it means longer daylight hours. I am so happy. I have more energy. I can run outdoors again. The days are getting longer.

Now, Daylight Savings can provide a little craziness in people’s schedule. For instance, if you forget to turn back your clock you could find yourself an hour late to church that Sunday morning.

One year, I was getting ready for work thinking I had plenty of time. This was several days after Daylight Savings. When I realized that I was an hour off. School was actually starting in 10- 15 minutes. Thankfully at that time, I lived 5 minutes away from work. I managed to throw on some clothes and arrive as students were walking into school from the buses.

This year, Monday morning is when the Daylight Savings Craziness struck me. It was dark when my husband and I were leaving for work. The one downside to Daylight Savings in the spring. Yet, nothing else was out of the ordinary. It was a normal Monday morning and a typical day of teaching.

Until right before lunch. While I was teaching, one of my students politely raised her hand to ask a question. However, her question was completely unrelated to the phonics lesson. This sweet girl’s question was “Mrs. Nyakairu, do you know that you are wearing two different shoes?” 

I looked down at my feet and was stunned to find out that she was right. I was wearing two different brown boots.


The amazing part was that I hadn’t noticed. Even though I had been wearing them for five hours that morning. Another teacher had been teaching with me that morning. My students had been with me for four hours. I had interacted with adults throughout the school building.

Did anyone notice my mismatch shoes? Not a single person!

Now, I realize that both of the boots are brown and very similar. This past fall, I was very sad to find that I had lost my favorite pair of boots while moving to Boston. All the outfits I wanted to wear with the chilly fall weather were incomplete without my brown boots. So, I eventually bought a new pair of brown boots. I later discovered the original pair, strangely packed with my hiking gear.

After I got over the shock of wearing mismatch shoes, I realized there wasn’t anything I could do about it but go throughout the rest of my day.

Normally my husband picks me up from work. He also drives me to work every morning, saving me an hour commute (one way) on public transportation. I really love my husband.

However, this was the one day that Stephen had late meetings at work. The one day that I was going to be taking the T (train) home. The one day that I had a dentist appointment and would be waiting in the dentist office. The one day that I would be walking around Boston. I had a feeling that someone may wonder why I was wearing mismatch shoes.

My solution. To wear the snow boots I had at work. Yes, I keep snow boots at work. Only in Boston. To wear at recess time when we walk our students to the public playground. In the snow, in the ice, and in the cold. I learned quickly that snow boots keep my feet much warmer.

And that was the end of my Daylight Savings Craziness. What will next year hold for me?


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Unexpected Challenges


Unexpected challenges. Challenges that come suddenly, without warning. That appear to have no immediate end. Ones that require God’s grace daily, moment by moment. Full of days that are exhausting, draining, and leave you feeling empty.

It has been two month since I have written a blog post. I felt like I had nothing left to give at the end of the day.
And this particular challenge ended just as it had begun. Unexpectedly, Suddenly, Intensely. 
I was left with immense relief along with lingering questions. Questions that I do not have answers to. Questions that I will never know the answers to. Questions that leave me without a sense of closure.
In the midst of these questions, I chose to rest in God’s grace and sovereignty. I trust that He sees the much larger picture. I trust that He can and will work all things together for good. I trust that He is bigger and He is able.
I choose to remember who God is. In the midst of this challenge, did I do everything perfectly? No, but I remember that God’s grace and forgiveness is there for me. I remember that He can work all things together for good. I remember that He is able to do more. so much more than I could ever imagine. When I see the limitations, the brokenness, the past… I wonder. I worry. I fear. When I look to God. I remember that He is ABLE. He is Love. He is Grace.
“Never ending, unstoppable, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.”
I choose to lay down my burdens and worries. I choose trust Him. I choose not to feel guilty by the relief that I feel but trust God. I trust that He is proud of me. That I was faithful for the season He gave me.
I choose to be grateful for the lessons during this challenge.
I am grateful for how I saw my husband supported me in amazing ways. I am so grateful for the gift of my husband. For moments when he truly stepped up as my hero.
I am grateful for how God changed my heart in the midst of this challenge. For in the midst of feeling empty and drained, my heart started changing. Bitter. Angry. Discontent. Grumbling. Discouraged. A very negative attitude started to emerge. I cried out to Him to do a work in my heart that I was unable to do. In the midst of the challenge, He changed my heart. To dependency on Him. A heart of gratitude. Receiving His grace. Praising Him.
He opened my eyes and gave me fresh perspective. He encouraged me as I choose to trust Him one day at a time.
My husband warned me one particular Sunday that he was not preaching at me. The big idea of his message “Challenges are an opportunity for God to grow our character and develop our confidence in Him”. While he may not have been preaching at me, God knew exactly the reminder I needed. My Abba Father loves me enough to convict me, challenge me, and encourage me. All at the same time.
I know my tendency. To take on another’s burdens. The desire to rescue.
My Abba Father gently reminds me that I can lay it all down at His feet. Those burdens are too heavy for me to carry. They are not meant for me. HE is the Rescuer. HE is the Healer. HE is the Restorer and Redeemer. HE is ABLE. HE is Powerful. HE is Love. 
The compassion, love, concern my heart feels is a small glimmer of God’s heart.
So I choose to trust Him. 

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my soul longs for rest


How do you live a balanced life? I have found myself recently trying to balance it all. All the schoolwork… lesson plans, weekly newsletters, endless papers to grade. All the housework… cleaning, laundry (praise God we are finally able to do laundry in our home!), and occasionally cooking a meal. Time with God. Time with my husband. Time with friends. Time to work out. And this is all without children.

When I get in this mode of trying to balance it all, my focus becomes on my to-do list. On setting goals, on getting things done, on how much there is still left to do. While I love checking off my to-do list, it starts to feel empty. My soul longs for more than this. More than a perfectly balanced life. More than getting things done. More than trying to live up to my own expectations. More than trying to be like others. My soul longs for rest.

Rest found in the boundless love of God. Time to be still before my Beloved King. To hear Him whisper, “You are enough. You are my beloved daughter. You are loved. You are treasured. I am pleased in You. I delight in You. Simply because You are mine.”

There is such rest, freedom, and restoration in those words. Freedom from my own expectations. Freedom to rest, to be still, to go deeper. There is restoration for my tired soul. Tired from busyness. Tired from grief and the brokenness of this world.

His love brings life, restoration, renewal. His love alone satisfies. 

May His love satisfy me each and every morning. May the most important thing to me be His love. Learning how to truly dwell in His love. To allow His love to fill me, satisfy me, and define me.

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” Psalm 90:14

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Goodness in the midst of Sorrow

I never cease to be amazed at how intimate God is with His children. My Abba Father meets me where I am at and He speaks to my heart.

I recently started a daily Bible reading plan that takes you through the entire Bible in a year. The Psalm yesterday captured my heart and emotions.

“Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak… save me because of your unfailing love… I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief…for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.”

The night before I had found myself sobbing, my heart breaking for the brokenness in this world. For how I unexpectedly encountered brokenness, sadness, and sorrow earlier this week.

God has given me a sensitive heart which allows me to feel deeply. My time of weeping was my heart feeling deeply another’s pain.

As I wept for this one’s hurt, I found myself also weeping for the sorrow of unexpectedly losing my cousin Joshua this past September. I wept for how unfair life is at times, how broken this life is, and for all the hurt and pain in this world.

God is big enough to handle our grief. The next morning, He compassionately reminded me through Psalm 6 of how He hears our weeping. He understands when we are worn out from sobbing and our vision is blurred by grief. He is there with us. He is there holding us tightly in His loving, strong, everlasting arms. He does not let go of us. We are free to cry, to grieve and to feel sadness.

The very next day, I stumbled upon this song which spoke right to my heart. God showing me His love and goodness.

“Good to Me” by Audrey Assad

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

These words spoke right to my heart… “I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness…When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift Your name. I will lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found…Because You are good to Me…Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life and I will trust in Your promise.”

In the midst of sorrow, God’s goodness does not change. I will choose to steady my heart on God’s goodness. I will choose to lift up God’s name. I will lift my head up from the sorrow around me and look upon His goodness. For He is good. God never changes. His goodness and mercy follows me all of the days of my life. I will choose to trust His promises. For He is good.

One day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more brokenness, no more hurt. Until that day, I will continue to look to my God. For He is good.