Thursday, December 27, 2007

Go Ahead - Google Yourself.

Something really funny happened to me today.

This afternoon I began working on an application for the Colondar - a calendar modeled by young colon cancer survivors created to raise money for colorectal cancer awareness. All year I've had my heart set on applying, and so today, with only four days left in the year, I decided to apply.

One of the questions asked if I had ever shared my story with anyone, especially the public. I wrote a nice paragraph about how I have done several media interviews. Then it asked if my story was anywhere on the Internet.

I didn't think my story was - it used to be after I did an interview my Freshman year of college, but I was sure it wouldn't be popping up anymore, it was so long ago. But much to my surprise, after a nice Google search of myself - or the old me, Danielle Ripley - I found that I am indeed on WebMD! Crazy! Check it out:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The New Adventure

So I've been in a whirlwind the past few months. Some of you have known bits and pieces along the way, and some of you I haven't had the chance to share with you about what's going on in our lives!!!

Mike and I joined a church plant team at our home church, LSCC, almost two years ago. We had checked out a church plant in LA and were prepared to move out there to help with that. But upon our return home, we realized that we were being called to stay around home and be a part of this church plant.

The core team has been meeting for a couple of years, without a lot of activity going on. We've been patient and waiting for God's perfect timing in all of this.

This summer, some movement began when Nick Kendall (my youth minister for years, the pastor at our wedding, a close friend mine) began praying and seeking out God's will if he was being called to launch out and be the lead pastor of the church. After several weeks of praying, he and wife Leslie said they were being called and would lead the plant.

In the meantime, throughout the year, the tug on my heart to be doing full-time ministry continued to grow. While I LOVED my job, the people at work, and so much about it, I knew God was asking me to leave it in order to pursue what he *kept* me here to do. As the church plant team began to meet more and more this summer, I felt very confident that this was the right opportunity, and the right timing to dive in.

I began to talk to Nick about what this looked like for us. It's been a perfect fit for me to dive in now, and at this timing, because now is the time to start thinking about what we want the church to be, how we want to project who we are, and how to go about that. The marketing experience I've received after working at the advertising agency will really help with this. I'll also get to use a lot of my PR knowledge from college as I help produce our newsletters, weekly bulletins and other things like that.

So that's what's up with us. My last day at the agency was this past Friday,and I'll begin working the first of January. Mike and I are in place where we've begun to raise my support in order to do this. My dad has been an incredible blessing and has hired me to work some hours at his State Farm agency and help him with marketing as I raise the full-time funds I need to work at the church. It's a scary time, but also very exciting. And I am sure that God will provide.

Thanks to you all for your support and encouragement already. I would have loved to have lunch or coffee with you all and tell you about all of this in person but that just wasn't possible. But now, give me a call or an email and we'll get together and have coffee or something like that - and we'll keep talking about what God's going in our lives, and yours!!

Bless you all, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Oh going to the desert is so much fun, especially when your home is getting hit with cold weather and snow.

Our New Mexico getaway was very fun.

We did some hiking (okay, so it was about an hour or so our last day, but it still counts and it was way fun!);

eating New Mexican food - green chili please (they say green is milder, but it's still HOT!);

shopping along the street;

touring the town and the stadiums;

browsing the gallaries and churches in Santa Fe;

checking off the state capital from our "lets see all of the US State Capitals" initiative;

and rooting - for the Scorps, the hockey team;

There were a few of the photo highlights, Mike has the rest of them on his facebook.

In other news, I have less than TWO WEEKS left at the advertising agency. Man how time has flown! I've been working on writing a letter to send out to everyone as a Merry Christmas/Here's what's happening with us greeting. If I get all of this done in a couple of weeks, it really will be a Christmas miracle!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Not Greys...


To several of my lady friends' disappointment, yet to a lot of our other twenty-something friends' delight, Mike and I were from the show Scrubs, not Greys Anatomy, for Halloween this year.

Here were some other rocking costumes we encountered.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Debut

So I thought it was time to make my debut on the Burgess blog. My hope is that the overarching theme of Corner of Monroe is Mike and I living radically for God, following his call, and sharing with you about where that leads us.

It's only fitting that my first post be about the vision God's put before our heart, and where that's leading us right now. As our small group could attest, for several months now I've been asking for prayers about my vision. Mike began listening to Mark Driscoll's sermons on Nehemiah, and soon I began listening too. The book of Nehemiah is about a man who gave up everything, moved back home, began to rally people under one purpose (which happened to be a wall), underwent a lot of criticism, and led God's people to the place where He intended for them to be. He was gutsy, he was bold, and he's become a huge influence in our lives.

Following his lead, Mike and I too began a season of praying about our mission and God's begun to show us many things. One of the largest being that I was not kept here on this earth to work in the advertising business.

As much as I love my job and especially my co-workers, God has very much revealed to me that I need to follow the nagging feeling inside of me that I was made for ministry. While theoretically staying at my job would not be "wrong," deep inside I know I need to give it up in order to keep growing and become who I was made to be.

I planned to tell my boss I would not be returning in January on a Tuesday morning, which happened to be the morning of our staff meeting. I received an interesting curve ball when in the middle of our staff meeting - I was promoted. I wasn't expecting that, and soon feelings of guilt and fear for leaving sank in. I felt so horrible about telling them I was going to leave, but in the end, I'd rather have Jesus, so I went through with it and told my boss the next day. Everything went smoothly and the peace that came afterward was worth every bit of worry.

God is so big, and I've learned that he can't wait to show us how big he is. He's already worked out a new job for me - at Dan Ripley State Farm! My dad had a staff member leave this fall, and needs someone to do marketing and communications for him. So, soon I will complete the circle and all four of my immediate family members will have worked for State Farm. And honestly - I cannot wait to work with my dad. The daddy's girl inside of me is jumping up and down that I'll be able to spend more time with him again. Plus, he has really good mints at his office.

And for those of you that are still like now wait Danielle, what about the ministry thing ... stay tuned! There are some things in the works that are too early to communicate, and I have an exciting feeling there are even more things in the horizon that I don't even see yet.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Time of Nick

Early Tuesday morning we got a call from Emily Loving. At 6:00 am. Nick Martin was in an accident on 470 at Raytown Road coming home at about 1:30am from his girlfriends house in KS. It is speculated

that he fell asleep at the wheel, his car swerved into the ditch and flipped end over end. Nick's been at Research Medical Hospital since in a coma.

When Emily initially called she said it was bad and they didn't think he was going to make it. Well, now it is Saturday and he's still with us. He has some brain activity, like when people talk to him, but he has not been breathing on his own.

The initial swelling in his brain has gone down and he had a temperature that broke on Wednesday.

This has been very hard. At first I was sad from the call cause all day Tuesday I thought we might hear that we would lose him. But Tuesday night B and I visited the hospital and I was full of great hope and faith after the visit.

I went back on Wednesday. And on Wednesday I went back, to see him. At first I walked right by his room, because when I looked in I didn't see Nick. It was definitely someone else. His face was largely swollen, but everyone told me he looked better than he did the day before. I just sat in the chair in his room and looked at him and prayed. Several people had been in and talked to him. Gary (his dad) and another lady came in while I was in there so the lady could say bye before she left the hospital. I just sat. That was good for me. I typically don't do well in hospitals, especially ICUs.

On Wednesday, when I first arrived I did a lot of sitting around and talking with Derek (Nick's brother) and others. Especially with Josh Sliffe. We went down to the Cafeteria in the Hospital to eat. He told me that he and Nick had been hanging out a lot for the last six months. He shared with me his dreams basically and how much he wants to do music. He said that he was working on some songs and hoped to record them come December. Then he mentioned me when he was talking about people who would be involved. I was thrilled, though I didn't show it. All I can think about is how I want that, but it would be hard to do it without Nick because he has been so involved with Josh recently that it would just be hard. I have also always thought that Nick would be a part of my musical future. It sounds so right, but I have to hold on to God and to faith in this time.

When Josh and I went back to the waiting room, Bryce Anderson, Ben Campbell and Adam Chiarelli were there, among others. I hugged Adam and we talked a little bit. Then Bryce asked if there was a chapel and I told him there was and how I had been waiting for someone to go with. I grabbed Josh and the three of us went down. We started praying aloud. Slowly others joined us. Ben, Derek, Ben and Alyssa Bricker, Leah and Luke LoChiano, Brandon Loving and Aaron Bickell.

I was very encouraged when Derek started praying. Derek is always very quiet with his opinions and such but he just opened up and asked God to bring back his brother. He said, "We want to see him breaking cymbals like glass, again." I guess when the accident had happened Derek had said, "Its going to take more than this to kill Nick." Who knows a single man better than his own brother?

We spent a good long time praying for healing, glory, peace, patience and understanding. The patience has been the hardest part for me in this.

It was after the prayer that I went in to see Nick. Then I left.

I blame seeing Nick for the hardest day yet, Thursday. It was just very difficult. I went back up to the hospital after work. There were family and older people, but no one I was really close with, but Adam. It was good. We got to talking about a lot of things. I was glad when he asked me what I thought about this whole thing. I told him that I think Nick is strong, but that I didn't understand any of God's plan in this. He said that he was thinking about how all day Monday God must have just been with Nick. Even when he was in the car and it was flipping, God was just there with him. And then we talked about how Nick must be kickin' it on the beach with Jesus. Just sitting and hanging out.

Adam said he is moving to Seattle soon to do some work with some music folks, and that he is going to be a road manager for Demon Hunter. Danielle was there at this time and we both encouraged him to visit Mars Hill.

Thursday I went up after work, Danielle arrived later. I went straight to the chapel to pray. Brandon and Brandan Deason showed up while I was in there. We talked a bit and Brandon told me about how earlier that day when he arrived he went to see Nick with Derek and Debbie (Nick's mom). They were telling Nick to "Wake up, Brandon's here." And how they were encouraging him to wave, shake hands and even give him "the bird," (God would forgive him this one time.) Well, they left without any sign. But I guess later when a friend of the family went back to see him with one of Nick's parents the lady said, "Is he flipping me off?" His fingers were actually shaped as if he were. Some people think it was a ploy, that someone had messed with his hands. But Brandon and I were choosing to believe that he did it on his own.

There were no new updates on Friday. They have slowly started lowering his sedative.

There is a group on Facebook called, "Pray for Nick". Over 500 people have joined.

There is a lot of support at the hospital because of how Nick was involved as a kid at FBC Lee's Summit, and now he plays drums at LSCC's 316 and goes to Life Church, in Olathe, on Sunday's.

I have no idea what God is trying to do in this. I told Brandon that it makes since that it's Nick because God's trying to get the rest of us to shape up, Nick didn't need it.

I know this is true for me. I am trying to focus on this situation so much, even when I want a break from it, that I am praying and reading my Bible more. Danielle told me the other night that "God is going to take care of Nick." I couldn't believe it. I mean I can, but just her saying that, we've never said that about anyone but ourselves. I'm not trying to sound self-righteous, but I just had to stop and think, "She's right." It obviously makes sense. That has been our slogan for so long, that it was just hard to think about it for someone else. I told Danielle that this has been even harder on my faith than when she was sick, because when she was sick she could still talk and tell us how she felt. I have no idea what is happening with Nick, I think that is the hardest part.

Some thoughts I've had over the week:

+I've said before, and Josh confirmed it the other day, it's hard to find a drummer, so why might God take one away from us?

+Never leave someone with bitter feelings towards them; you never know if you will see them (conscious) again.

+For every one person that falls asleep (at the wheel), how many people will wake up?

+Sometimes we don’t know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

+Nick has been involved recently in three churches, just in the Kansas City area. There are people from these three churches plus more at the hospital. God is calling his family, his body to unite under the head. (Four if you count the year he was living in L.A.).

+All things happen for a reason. Small things happen to bring about small changes. Big things happen to bring about big changes. Extreme, Dramatic things happen to bring about extreme, dramatic changes. This was only meant to happen to Nick, one of the most extreme people I know.

+Why would God want to take a lover? A dreamer?

+It's obviously not my plan.