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Have you seen moving and surprising transformations in the lives of the people you love? What was that like? 
Ricardo and I became roommates after he graduated high school. Believing in God was something we both held in common but following Jesus was another we had yet to touch. One Christmas, while gathered at my Mom's house, my Aunt Pam was among the celebration. It had been years since we had been in the same room, a time I could not remember if I had to.
She was always so fun to be around growing up. Laughter was a constant and toys guaranteed but her presence never was. She would cancel last minute when we were hoping to see her. Disappointed once again, my mom told her over the phone that she was going to stop telling us when she was coming to visit, so we would not get our hopes us, as I listened from outside the door.

What I lacked in knowledge then, I understood later. My aunt lived a different life style and always came to visit with her friend, a friend that was a girl and shared a bed with her. Her friends were always sweet, playing with us and braiding our hair and I never thought anything of it. As I got older, it became common knowledge that my aunt was a lesbian and she liked to party, have her drugs and smoke them, too.

When we met again that Christmas, I had a hard time believing the stories that she told about Jesus and how he had saved her and how she was no longer a lesbian after all these years and her concern about us living together before we were married. I stood next to Ricardo, listening to these words and wondering what she was smoking now, in disbelief, while she sat on the edge of the fireplace ledge looking up at us. Ricardo had never met her and I had to catch him up on her background and such as we left.

It was a while before we saw her again but she still claimed her same salvation through Jesus and denied any claims of being a lesbian. During this time God starting revealing himself to us and we found him, too as we started attending the college group at my aunt's church.

And as we saw her more frequently, her claims become more apparent in her personality and her transformation was solid. She spoke encouraging words to us as learned the ropes of what it meant to follow Jesus, always supporting us in any way possible like being our last minute babysitter and getting certified for respite care once we became foster parents.

God has used her to teach me lessons, like how to get used to people stopping by unannounced, even though I always thought I welcomed it, and how to let go of my children a bit more as they enjoyed time with her in her blue Ford truck. She has taken pleasure in being an aunt a second time around and we have been blessed to have her. She has traded alcohol for Dr. Pepper and zeal for the world in to boldness for Jesus. These days she is serving in prison ministry and helping out friends whose husbands have passed and taking care of her Chihuahua.


What I love about God is his relentless pursuit for us since the fall in the garden of Eden. No matter how far lost we think someone is, there is always an encounter with Jesus that can change everything. Even the family member we have deemed unable to be saved. Nothing is impossible with the Lord. 

Here's to surprises and transformation. 
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.

How have your feelings about your body changed over the years? Do you ever think of it as a friend? Do you have compassion toward it? What would that look like for you?

I have to say I was a little bummed when I read over this prompt; once again talking about my body. I touched on these questions on this post and some on this one and even a bit here.  I think it may be making me a little self conscious with all the attention it has been getting lately.

It seems like I will have to inevitably move on to describing my body in detail, like its pear shape that my sweet fashion teacher surprisingly pointed out to the class, as I stood next to the cutting table lining up my pattern to cut during our lecture on body shapes and outfits that flatter them.

Naturally, I will then move on to scars, like the one on my right pinky where the sharper than normal butter knife slipped and cut to the bone. And the shiny rectangle one on my left leg, on the bottom of my knee where several layers of skin were scratched off by the corner of the TV in my shared room, after my sister in her anger threw it on the ground in front of the door and my unsuspecting self knew nothing about it when I entered.

All that to say, yes I like my body and I am ever grateful for it. It is a sweet friend, who has put up with a lot and thankfully still works as it should, even when I indulge in too much chocolate.

I do not think I can squeeze out anymore about it at this point and will bow out of this, a little shorter than usual, as is my height. And hoping you are loving the skin you are in, too because it is quite fabulous, friend.


Here's to more stuff about bodies.  
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.


How does shame haunt you? What would it look like to let God's love be your shield against the voice of shame? How might your life change? How might you change?

I sat in the front row teetering my pencil between my fingers as I listened to my fifth grade teacher lecture. She stood in front of the white board, nearly directly in front of me, moving her hands as she spoke and her shoulder length dark hair following. I listened and the pencil danced to its own rhythm between my index and middle fingers until somewhere between the to and fro, it projected forward. Straight at my teacher.

Shocked by what just happened I sunk in to my desk. My teacher, shocked as well, asked for whom ever threw the pencil to come pick it up. I did not throw it, I thought. There was no intentionality. No fore thought. No aim could have made it maneuver the way it did. It just happened. Some mandatory part of physics with the object in motion and the moving. It happened so fast.

I could not move. For the life of me I could not look at her or get my body to move out of my seat. I was glued. My face red and hot. My heart pounding in my chest. All eleven years of brain activity shutting down.

And she waited.

She waited for the perpetrator to gather the weapon, announcing she would sit at her desk until it was picked up.

After what seemed like an eternity, my feet moved, though my body still felt paralyzed and I could not think clearly, I managed to pick it up and return to my desk.

I was humiliated. The class knew it was me. She knew it was me. I felt awful. Full of shame and regret and vowed never to tweedle my pencil or any other object again in class after this freak accident, playing it over in my head.

Shame has its way of replaying worst parts, whether as bad as we felt or otherwise, over and over. Shame makes us the culprit and the one who messed up, making everything our fault; even circumstances out of our control or unplanned.

Since listening to God and following his leading, shame is a little easier to spot and usually sounds silly once it is said aloud. Things that are playing around in our heads tend to sound not so daunting when they are spoken and can been seen as they truly are - lies and life taking. Shame cannot hide in the face of God's love and or stand in the face of his truth, which is why knowing truth is so important, as well as believing it.

Living a life believing truth is freeing and allows for growth and new perspective. And it is a constant reminder. Not something that comes naturally, for me anyway. It is a continual process of seeing the bigger picture and not letting silly things like pencils flying bring me down and allowing God to 
speak and move and beginning to grasp his love through it all.  


Here's to less shame and God's love prevailing. 
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.

Our bodies are amazing gifts from a loving God. What would it take for you to live well in your body this season?
It is a wonder at just how much our bodies are a gift from God because it has been ours from the day we were born. It is a constant, though it may change with each year, as the numbers on the scale fluctuate and lines form across the skin, it is still ours and still holding us together. It is full of functions and protocols and systems that I cannot name but God knows. He knows what needs to do what and he created them to be so.

I cannot pretend to know the body or biology because I do not. Biology was one of my least favorite subjects in school, though now I find interesting in new light with God as the creator of it all. But it is still systems and more functions than I can comprehend and have long forgotten since my freshman high school class, where we dissected a worm and then frog and culminated with a rat that we cut the toe nails off, one accidentally landing in the hair of the girl in front of us. So many parts, teeny and seemingly useless but each part playing an important role.

I once heard of a man being so engrossed in thanksgiving to God that he named each system in his body, thanking God for each part. Each part that made up his body, that allowed it to move and flow and inhale and exhale and be alive. It sounds so grandiose to be able to do such a thing, to know each inner part and thank God for each one and it is but for me, I am perfectly content with naming the things I can see and remember; he knows that is not my area of expertise but thankfulness is developed none the less.

And I think that is what loving my body this season looks like.

Loving my body this season is taking it in for all its worth, thanking God for mobility and for each limbs working properly. It is taking the time to thank God for my feet that walk effortlessly around the house picking up toys for the eighty second time today and for my hands that scrub dish after dish, colored in each shade of the rainbow and for my eyes that have witnessed each season of growth and maturity in my children. Thanksgiving for ears that hear them call my name in the middle of the night when I am sound asleep and thanksgiving for arms to hug and comfort.

It is about remembering to love the skin I have been created in.

Here's to bodies and living well.
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.

Embrace the joys of summer by dancing, swimming, sailing, wriggling your toes in the sand, or even just feeling the sun on your face.

I love summer. California summer to be exact because it is not the same everywhere. It has its own smell that draws out memories and curates new ones, like long summer nights and the smell of water running from a sun heated hose on to plants and toes. 

Oceans and lakes and rivers and pools have always been some of my favorite things.The beach is my favorite with its salty air and almost always guaranteeing a breeze. In high school Santa Cruz and its famous boardwalk became an essential part of summer.  

It started with a trip with Kristina and Matt and their dad and my then boyfriend Dave and Ricardo and his little brother, Chris, all picked in their Astro van. Kristina's dad entertained us on the way there with sing alongs and funny stories and allowing us to decide which route to take, through the city or ocean view. We played mini golf, where I somehow managed to get a hole in one and lose my ball in the same game.  We swam in the ocean and laid in the sun and posed for silly pictures of fake shark attacks and riding on kiddie toys.We stopped on our way home and ate at Onos, a local sea food restaurant. After much resistance, I hesitantly tried raw fish for the first time and was not a fan like I was sure I would not be.

The following summer Ricardo and I and Chris and Manny and Senia and Maria, embarked on our own adventure piling in to his parent's suburban and started the two and a half hour drive, my sister and her boyfriend following along in his truck.

We played more mini golf and took up the arcade, watching the boys work up a sweat over Dance Dance Revolution. We ate strawberry funnel cakes, over flowing with powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream and walked up and down the boardwalk, taking in the overcast weather.

We stopped at Onos on the way home, trying to remember how to get there before GPS was on available on our smart phones. As we attempted to navigate, we wound our way down highway one during its reconstruction, with my sister leading the way. They entered a do not enter zone; their truck disappearing as we looked at each other in the suburban hoping there was not a cliff of the other side of the signs. We stopped to turn around as the sun set and hoped their car would return unharmed.

The truck headlights returned, after what seemed like forever and we gave up on our search for dinner, just as we passed it on the high way. We turned around and enjoyed some food, no fish for me this time around, accompanied by horrible service. We paid the bill leaving no tip and started walking to our cars, when the waiter approached us in his apron, stating because there was so many of us, we had to leave a mandatory tip, though it was not disclosed anywhere on the receipt or menu. We stood in disbelief, refusing to pay, when I gave in and paid what he said was owed to stop all the awkwardness of it all and vowing not to come back.

We laughed and drove home, almost getting crushed on our way in to San Francisco through the tunnel bridge.


And each year we have returned, Ricardo and I, a little older and a little more lured by its magic and fun and its symbol of summer and our youth. It is where we eventually said I do and ran in to its waves, wedding rings fresh on our fingers and my lips turning blue from its cold afternoon wind. It is a little spot in our story filled with sand and sun and enchantment. 

Here's to all things summer. 
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.

God has given us this season to enjoy. What fear or anxiety is keeping you from full life? What would it look like to lay it down?
It is incredible how subtlety insecurity can creep in without fully seeing it. It seems like when I feel I am trusting God, I turn around and see another hole where it is lacking and no matter how small the hole, there is still water seeping in and raising and I am left to pick up the buckets and pour more of myself out. 

Ever since God started giving me glimpses and guidance towards starting a business and somehow binding it up with Pocket Blessings and bringing it out in to the community, anxiety started bubbling up too. The thought of it sounded great but the execution and day to day kept me hesitant and doubting a bit, as it is when I try to figure out everything. The down side of being analytical. 

For me, starting a business means time away from my kiddos, which is hard but I also enjoy the entire creative process. Two fold, right. And then there is the selling and buying of products, something I have never liked to do. Giving is always my favorite and I would much rather give everything away than get a dollar. I do not have sales personality, not even in my left pinky toe.

The more I thought about it, as with anything, the more I questioned if this was really what God was calling us to. The more I wondered if this could really be right. The more I allowed doubt to win and trust to trail off in the distance.

It made me think back to Moses. He had bigger quests to accomplish but there is the sending and the call that always bring me back to obedience.

Did he try to figure it out before they left? Did Moses talk it over with his wife before he went to Egypt and make a plan about the way he would get to the palace? Or did he just throw caution to the wind, trusting the very words God had spoken and run towards the doors with Aaron? Did he go over the situation numerous times, seeing it played out in his head? These are the details I would love to hear the account of.  

In the figuring it out, anxiety takes its best form as questions and solutions bring on more questions needing more answers. Perhaps that is my way of thinking.

When I started peeling back the layers and realizing the thoughts and insecurities that surrounded the endeavor, it turned me even more to listening to God and praying and reminding me to take each step as it comes. Trusting God above my own worries and knowing whatever this looks like, it is a stepping out in faith and making a way where there has not yet been foot prints.

It is an opportunity to be obedient and pray and fast and clearly seek God and allow my children to be a part of the ride, as they pray for those who will hear the Gospel for perhaps the first time and for those who will be inspired by the products.

It has been an opportunity to have friends pray for me and choose to lean on God, not my own understanding and insecurity, as getting things out in the open tends to do that. It is another opportunity for God to work in ways only he can and for me to watch it unfold before my eyes. 

Here's to less anxiety and more trust. 
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.

Honesty gives others the freedom to be honest, as well, opening up the possibility of deeper connection and friendship.

Telling the truth was always instilled in me growing up and I did not like to lie. Until eight grade when it seemed like all I could tell was false things. It was easy and I did not care and the words seemed to roll off the tongue naturally that I hardly had time to think about what I was saying but it sounded good and feasible and I could keep straight faces and believable tones.

It was a season of being places I should not been and hanging out with people I should not have, which inevitably, why the lies were instilled and put in to place and had to be told. We were going to the library, though just the first stop. We were going to bed, only to sneak out our window. It was these sorts of half truths that my younger sister and I took on and found code words for and our own identity wrapped up in it because we were naive and it was fun and exciting and because of course we knew what was best for us.

After everything unraveled and the fun was over and the police escorted us home one night and other dominoes fell in to their proper place and we answered questions, while they were being recorded on police tapes, the lies were done. Sure, some of my questions on tape were not the full truth but that was the end.

I was over it, though the scars from the lies were ever infused in my parents; I could not be trusted and rightly so.

But I knew the truth and was determined from there on out to live it. To only say those things which were planned on occurring and had occurred. And that is how I base my life and relationships. Brimming with honesty, sometimes perhaps a little too honest at times.

Honesty has a way of pushing itself to the surface, whether now or later, and feels that much better when it is said, which is why I like it that much better.

Honesty has a way of keeping things open and vulnerable and in a spot allowing others see you for who you are. It gives them the opportunity to rally for or against you and possibly a reason to dislike you or dig their heels in with yours.

Honesty is relief and live giving and freeing on so many levels, one of them being the fact the story does not change, details may be forgotten and a little skewed the further as time passes but the bones are there, bare and in full view for other eyes to see. It gives power and cultivates unity and weaves threads of understanding between those who hear and receive it.

Here's to honesty and living like it matters.
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This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.