Welcoming Erin Burkhardt and Jan VanKooten!

Welcoming Erin Burkhardt and Jan VanKooten!



This month, we’re delighted to re-introduce you to Erin Burkhardt and Jan VanKooten. You’ve likely seen their names around Chronic Joy as a Contributing Writer, a Voice of Chronic Joy, and Editor. We are now pleased to introduce them in their newest volunteer roles: Erin as Content Coordinator and Collaborator, and Jan as a Chronic Joy Board Member.

Please join us in celebrating Erin and Jan in their newest volunteer positions! We are so grateful for their time, talents, hearts, and grace-filled God-given gifts!



Erin is a passionate and grateful follower of Jesus. She, along with her husband and two children, strives to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a high-crime and low-income neighborhood in Ontario, Canada. They choose to live intentionally with those around them, following God’s command to practically and purposely love your neighbor as yourself.

From day one, Erin has battled crippling illnesses and faced disability in numerous forms. She has various diagnoses such as lupus, POTS, hemiplegic migraines, cataracts, glaucoma, and other autoimmune conditions. Erin has faced seasons of severe illness and has been blessed with times of relief. Yet she still lives and manages each day with the effects of her illness. Over the years, she has learned to lean on Christ in the good and the bad. She trusts that despite difficult circumstances, God always has a plan. Erin fully believes that with God’s hand guiding our lives, we can do more than just survive, we can thrive!




Despite her limitations (including ailments, surgeries and struggles), Erin lives her life to the fullest. Happily married to her high school sweetheart, she enjoys motherhood. She also finds joy serving as a leading member in her church community and in working with underprivileged children. Erin is also a book lover, fisherwoman, and loom-knitting addict. However, her biggest passion is writing. She loves using her gifts to encourage others walking with chronic illness through the various stages of life.

Erin has been writing for many years both for pleasure and publication, and hopes to grow more as a professional writer in the years to come.

Though her daily life may have challenges, she has seen God do incredible things in and through her chronic illness. She desires that everyone will come to know and experience the freedom found in Christ, no matter their circumstances.



Jan grew up on a North Dakota family farm where everyday encounters with God’s amazing creation inspired wonder and creativity. From the time she could read and write, Jan used words and music to respond to God’s presence in and around her.

Trained as a music educator, Jan has spent delightful years making music with folks of all ages. There are many exhortations and commands in God’s Word to praise Him (through singing, shouting, writing/speaking, playing instruments, and moving to music).  This provides the foundation for her personal and professional philosophy.

Through the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, Jan delights in being faithfully reminded, gently taught, powerfully enabled, and constantly guided in the process of becoming:  becoming holy, becoming Christ-like, becoming what she was originally created to be – a true worshipper, adorer, companion, friend, lover, and knower of God. To own this life-long process gives inspiration and direction to each day. Sharing God’s gifts gained through this process makes life fulfilling and interesting

Now retired, Jan and her geologist husband Gerry divide their time between Sterling, Alaska and Sedona, Arizona (where she is a choir director at Sedona United Methodist Church). Jan’s love of words fills the spaces in between being a wife, mom, grandmother, avid hiker, and sometime uke player. Being part of the Chronic Joy community as a “Voice” and editor has enriched her retirement a thousand-fold!



Would you like to Get Involved? Check out Service in a Box, #ConnectByText, #PenToPaper, Pass It On, Creative Ways to Serve, and Friend-Raising.

Opportunities to make a difference and Be the Body of Christ abound!

Why not stop by the Prayer Pond today to #PrayItForward?  Maybe you could explore our Printables page and share great resources with a friend or loved one.

Do you knit or crochet? Hop on over to our Prayer Shawls page and create a beautiful gift for someone who is struggling.

Or print one of our free coloring pages and invite a friend to join you for a creative afternoon.

Together, we are always better!

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