That’s what today was about for me.

It’s about doing life, being real.

A dividing line from what I was to who I am.

I desperately needed new perspective.

Dang, did I get it.

For so long I’d felt trapped.

Nobody to blame but myself.

I wasn’t held back by anyone or anything in particular.

I just felt… Stuck.

But then, today.

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

No, wait.

I PAID to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

I wanted to see exactly what I was made of.

I needed to be reminded of Who my Creator is.

I needed to feel alive again.

My eyes are open and I feel a bubbling over in my spirit.


Today I went skydiving.


Whenever we are faced with great loss in our lives, inevitably there will be pain. Our hearts crack open like the dried, sun-scorched earth in the middle of summer. The dirt cries out for rain and just the same, our souls beg for a balm to heal the fractures. But then comes the fall. Autumn is my favorite season. It’s nature’s way of preparing for the season of rest, followed by the season of renewal. I have lived through the fall; winter is nearing its end. Those same painful wounds are now sprinkled with dormant seeds waiting for the warmth and the rains to come. Growth and change. The blossoms are eager to emerge. The sun is rising and spills out over the horizon. The cold of night will soon just be a distant memory.

I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned through the pain. Faith, Family, and Friends. Even when I want to withdraw and disappear into myself to lick my wounds and shut out the world, those three things are always there. They nudge me out of myself.

We are dandelions. We all come from somewhere. We all come from pain. And yet, we bloom. The wind picks us up and carries our legacy to new beginnings. Wild and untamable, we do the best that we can with what we’ve been given. Nothing in this life is guaranteed. We can only choose the impact we have on others. You never know what season a person is in. Maybe they’ll be your zephyr; warm and soothing. Perhaps they are in the coldest nights of their winter. Plant the seeds in others. The rains will come. The pain and uncertainty won’t last forever. Nothing in this lifetime does.

Her Eyes


One has green eyes, the other has blue.

She is the reflection of my youth. She carries an innocent heart. She sees the world through sparkling lavender colored glasses. She is my daughter. The one with blue eyes.

I am her crystal ball into the future. I am proof to her that love bears all things. I am responsible for teaching her to cultivate this life to be one of kindness and joy. I am her mother. The one with green eyes.

Bloom where you are planted.

Busy. Busy. Very Dizzy.

Hey You!

Slow down. It’s ok to say “no” when your plate is already overflowing. Chasing after the wind is utter madness.

For whatever reason, our society has created an amendment to the Golden Rule. It sounds something like: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but if you want a star by your name you’d better make sure to add glitter and a neon sign to that doing. More is more, baby.

Lie. We buy it every single time. Hook, line, and sinker. “But if I don’t do it, no one will.” Maybe that’s the case, maybe it’s not. The only prisoner in that scenario is you.

Leave some room for grace in your life, my friend.

I bounce my insanity off of a dear sister-friend of mine. She’s a couple of years older than me and will lay my sorry self out when I’m out of line in life. I expect her to do this for me. I hold her to be truthful with me, even when it’s hard. Countless times she has reminded me to not be too busy. She nudges me when my priorities are out of whack. She challenges me to be more than I am. Every single time we talk. I love her to the moon and back.

We all need these relationships in our life. We need foghorns and guard rails.

Bestie and I had a conversation the other day about priorities. My priorities, to be exact. I clearly don’t have life figured out but I know when I follow my list of importances, things just seem to run better. I’m pretty sure I saw his eyebrows raise as I rattled off my list.

  1. My faith, hope, and love for my awesome Abba Father. He is my nucleus. He is my oxygen.
  2. Myself. Namely, my health and well-being. I’m a vessel. If I’m broken or cracked, nothing else in life will line up. When this happens, see Item 1.
  3. My Husband. My Bestie. The other half of my headphones. (This is crucial for harmony at home.)
  4. The Littles. Yup. That’s right. They come AFTER God, and AFTER my man. One day, they will move out. I don’t want to eat dinner every night for the rest of my life with a stranger. True story.
  5. My home. The day to day grocery lists, laundry piles, and bags of cut grass.

Billy Joel wrote a song about it. Slow down, you crazy child… Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while…

You can be certain that stress and worry will always be around, so I urge everyone to take time to make sure that you’re living a life WORTH living.

Haggai 2:5-7 “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.

Take the time to actually listen for His whisper.

Bloom where you are planted.

Post Script – I love you, Caridad. Thank you.

So Much Excess

So tell me, how would one go about explaining Walmart to a person in a third world country? Well I’ll have you know I tried. Mainly for the point of explaining my consumer based lifestyle, but also to justify and/or rationalize the abundance we have here in the States. Yeah. That went over like a lead balloon.

For a week now I’ve carried this guilt with me. Maybe Walmart is a bad example, and I do believe that when it boils down to our society as a whole, gluttony is certainly an issue. Besides all that, why was I feeling so self-conscious all of a sudden?  

I firmly believe that if you come to Christ and ask Him for clarity when something in life seems topsy-turvy and (here’s the kicker) you want Him to turn you right side up, He will always be there for you. Now it may not be how or when you expect it to be, but He truly knows what is best for you. I drudgingly brought to Him my bruised, fractured heart and have continued to ask “Please just show me. What am I supposed to do with this?! What now? What is the point?!”

Toward the end of Christ’s time here on Earth, Mary washed His feet with expensive perfumes. Judas the thief and soon-to-be traitor came thundering in declaring that she was wasteful, and that she was excessive. Apparently it was something similar to Vintage Chanel No. 19. VERY expensive and the amount it would take to wash a grown man’s feet… Well, you get the idea. Equivalent to a working man’s salary for an entire year. But why did she do that? She offered the very best of what she had as an offering to Him. It could have been saved, ensuring her well-being for a great amount of time. In John Chapter 12 Jesus simply said to Judas “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” Okay. I get where you’re going with this God. Ouch and amen.

The ache that I’ve experienced is simply Him saying to me “Get it together girlfriend! It’s only excess if you aren’t sharing it with others, for My sake.”

Sooooooo, I’m ready. My door is always open. Wanna join us for dinner? Coffee? Popcorn? Just send me a text. I’ll set another plate aside.  

By saying “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours” was apparently an open invitation for heartache, but in a good way. I have plenty. More than enough. What good does it do me if I don’t share it with others?? I’m done being just another Walmart shopper. 

Bloom where you are planted, my friends.

Oh, the children…

Two of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss are:

1. A person’s a person, no matter how small.

2. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

One simple thing I know to be absolutely true is that ALL children speak the same language, regardless of race, or economic status. That language is love, the love of a kind heart embracing their small stories. Love can show its face in many forms; star stickers worn as earrings, doodlings of sidewalk chalk, singing loudly and in five different keys at once, dancing in the rain, wrestling like a ten-car pileup, sharing cookies and goldfish crackers, reading while snuggled up close together, piggy-back rides, and bottle after bottle of nail polish. These are joys that I share with my own three Littles, but they’re also joys that I was blessed to share with the newest Littles in my life that stole my heart in that beautiful country.

I cannot stop thinking about them. I wish that my birth Littles could meet my adopted Littles. I wish that we could live in a beautiful blended city. I don’t know if my heart could keep from exploding though, with all that joy.

These precious babies, I firmly believe are going to change the heart (at its deepest chamber) of the world. I know it. The ghetto of Belize City has many dark and shady corners. It also has the most amazing beacons of light in the hearts of the children that want more, that seek more for their lives. They want up, but not necessarily out of what they have where they are. Imagine living in that kind of peace. Whoa.

Children are worth fighting for. Every child. In every nation. They are worth the fight.

I will fervently continue to pray for them from where I am until God makes a way for me to get back to them. I desperately want to get back to them. I want to introduce them to my Sadertot, G-Moose and Smash.

Children need to be loved. Genuinely and deeply.

Please pray with me for the 60+ children I’d like to scoop up and squeeze tight again in my arms.

My heart planted a garden that week. I can’t wait to see what will bloom from there.

I’m a Belizer!


In an attempt to process all that I’ve been a part of after a week-long mission trip to Belize City, Belize, I’ve been encouraged to write again. I hope this makes at least a smidgen of sense.


Laughter – As the week carried on, my laughter not only became more frequent, but deeper – from my gut, and louder… Soooooo much louder. Usually to the point of tears. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed like that.

Lenisha – My soul’s little sister. It physically hurt to see her walk home on the last day. We traded ”people”. I hope I can hug her again one day. She is proof to me that all little girls share the same joys. We worked on a plastic zipper pull craft that she’d brought with her. I had made those same exact toggles over two decades ago. Mind = Blown. Such a beautiful, bright, fun-loving girl. I miss her so much.

Motherhood – Oh did I mother those children. I held babies, kissed sweaty foreheads, wiped booboos, pretend swatted a few hineys, chased them, washed hands, played “red light, green light” with them, jumped rope, colored the sidewalks a bright pastel of easter egg goodness with sidewalk chalk, painted fingernails about 50 times, shared candy, talked stearnly, hugged, hugged, and hugged some more. I cried (and still cry) over them, have continually prayed over them, shared dreams with them, and did my best to encourage them. I read the Bible with them, talked about family with them, talked about school.

Jaheim – His light is so bright that I’m fairly certain I will know him by his shine when we meet again. God has a great many things planned for this young man’s life. I do believe inside of him is the heart of a world changer. So proud to call him my friend.

David & Dupe – If ever there were a couple whose faith I would like to emulate, it would be theirs. David prays like few people pray, with power and conviction that come straight from the Spirit. Dupe has a heart for others that most would overlook, simply because she does not work for her own glory. She has no flag, no banner that she parades for her efforts. She follows Christ obediently, graciously. She is passionate and vibrant. She has a quiet strength that she uses to encourage and empower others. I’m thankful and blessed to know we are part of the same family. The presence of God is all around these two. David prayed over one of our teammates and the hairs on my arms stood straight up. I knew that at that very moment God was most certainly in the room.

Yolanda – I don’t think she saw me coming. I hugged her every chance I got. Crazy American Girl!!! By the end of the week her smile was wide, her heart was filled, and I hope that God blesses her family abundantly. She taught me how to make tortillas. So much patience. (I may have dropped one on the floor…) She told me about her family, her culture, life there in Belize. We talked about our lifestyle differences, about Jesus, about beans. She serves with her whole heart. Not simply as a means to provide for her family. There’s a difference. She serves out of love. I gave her my email address. I hope to hear from her one day.

Rita – How can I even begin to describe Rita? She is maybe 5 feet tall and 80 pounds, thin and frail but feisty. She’s 73 years young. She rides her bicycle through the ghetto of Belize City and it seems as though EVERYONE knows who she is. She’s the pastor of Alpha & Omega Children’s Church we worked in all week. I think she liked the way I mothered her flock. She has a lion-sized heart and even in the midst of that kind of poverty, she still finds a way to make each child feel rich, to feel like they’re important. I couldn’t agree with her more. She makes me want to learn to speak Creole. Creole is a beautifully tropical, assertive, shortened slang version of English. It’s so neat to listen to. Rita has seen the grass on both sides of the fence, and she’s chosen a life on the side most would rather give up. I have to say I actually agree with her. The ghetto was beautiful. I’ve never felt more like my true self, and never been more in tune with the Holy Spirit than in that city.

Structural Beauty – Chipped paint in bright hues of azul and coral, broken bottles of lime green and cinnamon colored glass line the tops of concrete walls as an added security measure. Rusted galvanized sheet metal hammered against 4×4 fence posts and concrete blocks for fences around yards of homes that house chickens and skinny dogs. Puddled dirt and rock streets stretch in every direction as far as the eye can see. Even homes that appear abandoned still surprisingly bring some sort of support to the neighborhood. There is evidence everywhere of a storm that had come through once upon a time and had taken family homes, only leaving the cinder block pillars as proof. At the beginning of the week I admit that my initial knee-jerk reaction was one more of shock, but on our last day of work and Bible School I looked up and down Raccoon Street with different eyes. Beautiful color, so much story.

Our Family – Kelli Lynn, Mama Karen, Dezi, Jessica, Roly Poly Andrew, his roommate Caleb :o), Tay-Tay, Maddie, Baby Carlos, Apple Jack, my brother from another mother Jonathon, and who could forget Black Karl from Atlanta – he’s an albino. (No, not really.) I came into this group with very little expectation. The dynamic of 13 people from all different backgrounds piled into one (yes, one) Astro van is probably what surprised me the most. With that many personalities, something was bound to go wrong – right? Wrong. Now I don’t know how I’ve ever lived my life without each of them. Their same love and conviction for Christ, their encouragement, their friendship. They are all now a part of my story. I love you all.

My Husband – Even on the home front while Mommy was off trotting Central America, the enemy was attacking. Robert is an amazing man, y’all. The cherry on top is that he’s also my bestie. Can’t beat that with a stick! What happened? In summation, kids are gross. My poor hubby was sick in bed almost the entire time I was gone. Thank the Lord for grandparents! I tried explaining to him during my absence, over Skype, that my heart was breaking, literally into pieces, that I felt different, that it was a spiritual struggle that I was not familiar with. He knew it was hard for me, and always lended a sympathetic ear and encouraging word when we got the opportunity to talk. I called him from the airport in Belize. Away from anyone that knew my name and definitely not within earshot – I poured my heart out to him once again, pleading my case. I told him I didn’t want to come home, that I felt like God wasn’t done with me in that ghetto, and that I belonged there. Oh yeah. That’s exactly what every man wants to hear from his bride. Mmhmm. But, do you know what his response was to all my blubbering? He said to me (and I will never forget this) “I’m sorry that you can’t stay longer.” FOR REAL. I’m not sure if he knows what he’s signed up for. He’s told me countless times that he married me for my thirst for life. Time to put da rubba to da road.

I am not a fan of ketchup and spam sandwiches. But for more of this life, I would gladly eat it.

I have never felt more like my true self. Apparently my heart is Belizean. I belong in that city.

Love is a verb. Bloom where you are planted.

Gearing up for what is next – Belize!

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

This year is flying by! I have been praying about an opportunity to participate in a short term mission project and have really felt God tugging at my heart to take a step of faith forward. I will be traveling to the country of Belize October 4-11, 2014, to participate in a week long mission trip with Harborside Christian Church. This is an amazing opportunity for me to share the love of Christ with those that wouldn’t know Him otherwise.
The purpose of our trip is threefold:
• First, we will ask God to work in our lives through the personal enrichment that comes from this type of mission work.
• Second, we will pray for the people of Belize that God may open their eyes and hearts to the message of Jesus.
• Third, we will encourage local Christians and help the people of Belize City. Our team will organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS), visit a local orphanage, and do some light construction for the local church and its community center. Our presence will bolster their spirits and support their ongoing ministries.
I know ultimately that it will be my heart that is changed because of these amazing people and not the other way around. I’ve never been on a mission trip outside of the country or been away from my family for any length of time. I know that to be able to do ministry for the Kingdom like this is something that not everybody gets to do, and I am beyond blessed to have such an opportunity.
I’m excited about the blessings, relationships, and experiences that lie ahead. I hope you see the value in what we will accomplish. As you can imagine, a trip like this requires financial support from a number of people. I need to raise $1,500. If you can support me in a financial way, I would be very grateful. I especially need your prayers. I know that God can supply my needs through His people, so your prayers are the greatest need I have. Prayer is the breath and life of missions. Where He leads, I will follow.
If you would like to be a financial sponsor for my trip you may write a check payable to Harborside Christian Church, 2200 Marshall Street, Safety Harbor, FL, 34695 – then please include my name and Belize on the Memo Line of the check. You may also sponsor me financially through http://www.harborsidechurch.org/belize in a few easy steps. Contributions are needed by August 31st and are tax deductible. Any amount is greatly appreciated! Thank you for your love and encouragement!

Many Blessings!

Milk + M&Ms

I’ve just had one of those days where I’m trying to get out the door, in a hurry. Isn’t that every day? Yesterday we spent the day at home because the day before we had been out and about running errands all day. We did so much running around that my reserve light came on, and I was going to ask Bestie to fill my tank… but I forgot. No surprise there. On my way to a meeting, and I’m late, with the kids. Always a fun combination. We live far enough out that there are cows and there’s not a gas station really close down the main strip, a good several miles out. I’m on my way into town down this strip when I glance at my dash and see that my reserve light is still on. Oh good googly moogly! I had completely forgotten that it had been “On” the entire way home the previous day. It occurred to me that I was probably running on fumes at this point and more than likely didn’t have but a couple more miles before I’d be pushing my car down the road. I was completely stressed out. Definitely having one of my less-than-perfect moments. Snapping and glaring beady eyed laser beams at my Littles, we finally got to the closest gas station. I started the pump, grabbed the boys, and ran in to the convenience store to grab a sad little attempt at lunch: chocolate milk, Cheezits, gummy worms, peanut butter crackers, M&Ms, and the only healthy option they had in stock – one lonely banana. It would have to do.

Back in the car, everybody buckled. About 15 minutes late, flying down the road when I hear this strange sound coming from the back seat. I looked over at the built-in child view mirror and then, out of nowhere it happened… “God, please!!! PLEASE!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Why?!?!?!?!” In all fairness, he had given me the warning sounds, but I glanced back just in time to see G-Moose puke chocolate milk out (and through his nose I might add) all over the back seat of my car.

At that very moment the bag of M&Ms that I bought for myself (because I’m a lush and I don’t like to share my chocolate) spilled out like marbles down a flight of stairs underneath the two front seats. Awesome. There goes Mommy’s lunch.

Way too many things happen in my life while driving my car, I wonder if that’s a sign?

We came up to a red light and I grabbed a wad of drive-thru napkins out of the glove box and sadly attempted to blot up the curdling pools of milk. I wiped his clothes and seatbelt off as best I could, but the smell had already taken over. Trying to be ‘Cheerleader Mommy’ I pepped up and said “See?! Good as new! Good as new! Everything is going to be wonderful now! No big deal!”

It’s eighty-eight degrees. The M&Ms will surely melt. I do not have time to pick them up. The stench of sourness is now making my eyes water. I’m late for my meeting. Perfect start to a perfect day.

I turned the volume up on my radio because honestly, I had lost all hope and needed a sense of renewal… The first lyrics that blast at level 28 through my speakers? “My heart will choose to say ‘blessed be Your name.’” Really? REALLY?!

It’s a choice. Every day, it’s a choice. Attitude check. I will deal with the M&Ms later.

I’m sure eventually I’ll look back on this day and laugh.

Bloom where you are planted, even in stinky filthy cars of puking kids and soured chocolate milk.


Daniel 2:20-21 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

Just in case you were interested in listening to that jam with me:

Growing Grass

Sunday evening as the sun was setting over the tree line, Bestie and I were out in our yard doing some fine tuning to what has become a MAJOR undertaking. Our yard. All brand new. Complete makeover. My muscles ache just thinking about it. The hours, the effort, the sweat, the dirt. If you asked me right this very second if I thought it was going to take this much commitment, if I thought it would be such a gigantic endeavor, I would’ve said “No.” Hahaha! Silly girl. In that moment, with my favorite person by my side I plopped on the freshly mowed carpet of St. Augustine and ushered him to plop as well. I’m pretty sure I saw him roll his eyes at the idea, but then heard a sigh as he leaned over and kissed me on the temple. We were both witnessing God’s glory. It wasn’t a formal celebration. There were no dancing animals. The soundtrack of the wind and leaves blowing reminded me of this:

Luke 12:23 “For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 29“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.


In that moment, I was reminded of what we both already know to be truth. God has got this. I shall not worry, I shall not want. I shall not be weary. Go searching for Him. You’ll find Him every time. Jehovah Jireh, My Provider.


My heart fluttered as we sat watching the bees buzzing around our newly planted purple orchid tree. We sat for a good ten minutes, taking joy in the beauty of all God’s creation. The colors of hibiscus, the scent of gardenias, the texture of palms. All Him, all His voice. If nothing else, in that moment I knew that we were in His Whisper.

Bloom where you are planted.