Reflecting on the Future: Northern Ireland Part 3

Since the first time I left Northern Ireland in 2009, I have been scheming to find ways to return. At first, I planned a vacation in 2010, then after that I began applying to work for a Christian-based conflict and reconciliation center for peace. That opportunity, which I had really had my heart set on, quickly closed its door. Discouraged, I began to think about graduate school and started pursuing options to study in Northern Ireland again. The last time I was over in Northern Ireland, I met with a recruiter from a well-known university. Being a college recruiter myself, I wanted her to tell me how to make my dreams come true and move back to Northern Ireland. Much to my dismay, she told me exactly the opposite:

“With your interests and career goals, we just don’t have any degree programs to match that.” 

I nodded my head in silence as I watched my dreams fly away. I asked the recruiter what she suggested. She told me to pursue a degree in the States that more closely match my career aspirations. “If you’re meant to return back to Northern Ireland, Kari, you will.”

Those words both stung and encouraged me. They sting because I think I know what I want, and I don’t want anyone to tell me about what I’m “meant to do”. They encourage because I am not in control and sometimes that’s a huge relief.

I’ve recently been struggling through the question: how do I look forward and plan without worshipping the future?

I’m really good at creating idols. Most recently, my idols come in the form of decision making, future plans, and the all-power “What’s next?” I feel like I’m currently in a season of life where my “what’s next” is totally up in the air. I still have the desire to move back to Northern Ireland one day, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards. I want to get my master’s degree, I’m just not sure when or where.

I’ve come to realize that I have a choice in whether to worship the future or worship God. It’s a matter of me continually learning to trust the Lord with my plans and realizing that the things that I think I want maybe aren’t as good as the things that He has for me. It’s a tough place for me to be in as I’m a planning and want to know what my future holds. However, it’s a beautiful thing when I am willing to submit to the Lord and allow him to sanctify me through the waiting.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your path straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6


LDI Recap: Utah Spring Break

In March, we were blessed with a week-long spring break where there were no LDI classes or ministry events. During this time three friends and I headed to Utah to go hiking and just chill out. This trip was instrumental in my faith as I got to see God is such a different way. I was hiking rock formations that God created, basking in the glorious stars He formed, and delighting in the fellowship He’s given me. It was such a beautiful trip, and it came at the perfect time. Praise God for always knowing exactly what I need when I need it. Thank you Jesus, for allowing me to wake up for views like the one above for the week. It’s given me a bigger view of who you are and how much you love to create beautiful things, not only in nature, but also in us.

A Utah Spring Break.

He who forms the mountains,
and creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth-
the Lord God almighty is his name.
-Amos 4:13

Arches National Park

Mesa Sunrise

Overlook to the Colorado River

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God out Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
Psalm 65:5-7

the crew.

we finally made it to Utah!

marta & kari

Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;

burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Isaiah 49:13



God's creation is amazing.

Needless to say, God’s might hand was at work from the very beginning creating these formations.
Praise be to our Creator, the most amazing artist I have ever known.

Sprrrrrring Break.

In just 2 days, I will be on my way to Moab, Utah, reveling in God’s creation.

I will get to see some of the most beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and skies.

And I will get to hike through some of the sweetest rock formations ever.

I am soooooo looking forward to this.

Adventure Awesome: Zip-lining

I know you’ve been waiting for about a month for this moment, but wait no longer. Here is the story of my zip-lining adventure!! Get excited.

Once upon a time, about a month ago, a wee girl named Kari was in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. She stayed at a beautiful resort, ate some amazing food, met some friendly Puerto Vallertans, and saw her beautiful aunt and [new, awesome] uncle get married.

the beautiful couple 🙂

The day after the wedding, Kari’s cousin Rob, [new, awesome] cousin Andrew, and her aunt’s friend, Kimberly wanted to go risk their lives. They decided the best possible option would be to go zip-lining in the mountains of Puerto Vallerta. While Kari was pretty nervous to go, she said a quick prayer and Jesus didn’t tell her to not go, so off they went.

getting our harnesses on.

Kari and co. arrived at Canopy River’s Zip-lining Expedition site. Low and behold, they were the only 4 going on the zip-lining expedition course, consisting of zip-lining, repelling down a mountain, free-falling down a mountain, doing some high ropes course activities, tubing down the river, and finally taking a mule back up the mountain.

Kari and co. had two awesome canopy guides and a photographer. While the expedition was beautiful in itself, they added so much to the adventure, making jokes when Kari got scared and asking her to be their girlfriend. It’s just to bad that she was heading back to Minneapolis the following day.

Following their 3 hour zip-lining canopy expedition, they went on a tequila tour and learned how tequila was made. It was actually pretty neat. Did you know that “tequila” made in only 4 different parts of Mexico can actually be considered tequila, the rest are ‘knock-offs’? Kari didn’t.

this is a blue agave plant.

this is another blue agave plant.

Overall, this was probably one of the best decisions Kari made while she was in Mexico. She had a great time and can’t wait to go back and do it again. And by the looks of the smiles below, it looks like they can’t wait either.

The end.

el amor de MĂ©xico

Exactly 3 weeks ago, I was so blessed to be able to head down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with some of my family to witness my aunt Becky and her soon-to-be now husband Dana. While the wedding was the highlight of the trip, I was able to spend some time in the sun, lounging around, and relaxing.

Here I am lounging by one of the pools at our resort.

I spent some quality time with my mom (especially on the airplane when she was focusing on breathing and I got to use my gift of encouragement to keep her calm), went zip-lining with my cousins-both new and old (more about that later) and bargaining for an amazing necklace. Such a lovely time spent without any access to the internets and my phone.

Here was our schedule of events from the moment I left Minneapolis until I arrived back to Minneapolis. It’s a whirlwind, so hold on tight. Ready, go.

Wednesday: So to Systematic Theology class, take car to Hilary’s house, Kim picks me up, drive to Milwaukee, arrive there around 11pm, mom picks me up at 11:15pm, drive to Chicago airport, arrive around 2:15am, get on a bus, get on a tram, try to rest for 1 hour before checking in for flight…

Thursday: check in for flight at 4am, get through security, find the nearest Starbucks ASAP,meet my new cousin, fly to Dallas, get to Puerto Vallarta around 12:30pm, get ushered into VIP services at the airport, get in van to resort, lay down on bed, get up and get ready for dinner, go to Pipi’s for dinner (ah-maz-ing), mariachi band plays love song to my aunt and new uncle, mariachi band plays happy birthday to my mom, entire family make a ruckus in restaurant, make waiters fall in like with us (done so, so well the entire trip), go back to resort, BED.

Mom getting serenaded by the mariachi band 🙂

Friday: Happy birthday, Mom!! Get up, poolside all-day with our friend and waiter Joaquin, say “yes, I’ll have one more” multiple times, lose cousin, find cousin sleeping under a beach umbrella, help cousin get ready for rehearsal dinner, rehearsal dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant, celebrate my awesome Mom’s 29th (again) birthday, walk around downtown Puerto Vallarta, hang out with my new uncle, two new cousins, and old (but no less fabulous) cousin, BED.

The whole family at the rehearsal dinner.

Saturday: Get up, ladies’ luncheon with all the women attending the wedding with my aunt, poolside all afternoon, get ready for wedding, wedding (cry, cry some more, oh, than cry some more), wedding dinner, go to the top of a mountain, watch the rain pour, almost die in the taxi coming back from the mountain, steal umbrella with my mom, BED.

Luncheon Table. Beautiful!

Delicious food!

Lovely women at the Ladies' luncheon

Isn't my aunt lovely? So happy for you two!!

Sunday: Get up, book zip-lining expedition, go shopping downtown with mom and aunt, go on zip-awesome-lining expedition, ask to be someone’s girlfriend (bahaha..yes!), hang out in the canopy’s for the afternoon, learn how tequila is made, dinner, pack, BED.

Our Zip-lining Expedition. This will be getting it's own blog post 🙂

Monday: Get up, breakfast, taxi, airport, America, Chicago, Milwaukee, BED.

Tuesday: Get up, drive to Minneapolis, go to Competing with Horses class. BED.

Yes, we did do that much in our 4 days in Mexico and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Thanks for the hospitality, Puerto Vallarta. I’ll definitely be back 🙂

Boy ‘o Boy, do I have things to tell you.

I know, I know, I’ve been super MIA lately. Sorry! Life has gotten quite busy over the last 3 weeks, but I wanted to give you a sneak preview of the awesomeness that has happen.


Southwest Marching Band


Birthday celebration!!


My Mexican adventure!


My Mexican Zip-lining Adventure

Thank you for your patience, my friends, as I catch you up on my whereabouts. Ciao!