Integrated – Adjective – combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole:
an integrated plot; an integrated course of study.
2.organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively:an integrated economy.
3.having, including, or serving members of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups as equals:

I was sitting with my Godmother who is 89 years old. She was born in a time of segregation and being a Latina I am acutely aware of these circumstances on some levels and acutely oblivious on other levels. Meaning my heart hurts at the stories but to say I have experienced this level of treatment in my lifetime would be a lie.

My Godmother told her story with quiet assuredness,

“My mother wanted us to attend Cecil Avenue School. It was the white school and some of us our parents sent us to that school for a better education. Back in those days it was much different than it is today. We were not allowed to eat in the cafeteria because we were Mexican. Instead we had to eat outside. In the rain, in the heat, whatever the weather was, but we were kids and we made the best of it. Huddled under trees we stuck together.”

I sit and listen to her story and wonder if this is the reason she became a school secretary? She certainly never hesitated to give a student a what for. “You’re here to get an education make yourself a better person. You’re here so that if you desire you can go to college. You have been given more opportunities than we ever had. Don’t waste them.”

This is why segregation in any form is abhorrent to me. This ideal that it’s us against them regardless of the excuses for the behavior is ignorant. Studies show integration pulls people up not down. So why do we so quickly abandon the notion of equality? Because it requires we set our mindsets and our idea of who they, whichever they we are prejudice about, are aside for the truth. The truth being that we are all more alike than we care to think. That regardless of where we came from we are now here, wherever here is for you, and therefore should be working together to make here better.

On my way to see my Godmother I listened a podcast on This American Life. I have posted the link at the end of this post and I would ask you to listen to it by clicking on it please. I cried because here we are still squawking about equality by being separatists. It’s no better in the church. We elevate the segregation to doctrinal issues to make it holy.

Yet, I have hope. I see millennials who are crossing lines, untethered by pants, raised hands, and a tone of a voice which makes it male or female, and instead making an effort to make the world a better place in the name of Jesus. While CNN and FOX scream about Jihadists 24/7 there is terrorism of a different kind going on, in our neighborhoods and in the church. Let’s make a difference where we can. I think Jesus would be pleased if we extended our hands regardless of the color of our skin.

Click Here for This American Life Podcast

Published in: on November 20, 2015 at 8:16 am  Leave a Comment  

This Heart Of Mine



Free people.

Free people.

Free people.

I don’t get to control how free people behave. I don’t get to control how free people respond. I don’t get to judge whether their response is reasonable or not. I don’t live in their head. I live in mine. They get to tell their truth. I get to tell my truth. We don’t always have to agree. We don’t always have to walk together. The response we have to free people shows our heart. It also shows our respect for others and ourselves.

That being said, it doesn’t give someone the right to trample on you. I’ve seen some pretty crazy relationships in the name of respect. Different doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, it could be bad only you get to line it up with the word of God and decide. Where the line is drawn however is when we march off backbiting because the person didn’t agree with us or didn’t allow us to emotionally hijack them. Taking our ball and going home mad is fine when we’re 12, but it’s immature at 20, and looks ridiculous at 40.

Will we decide to keep score or will we forgive? One looks like flesh and one looks like Jesus. Our choice. Our account.



Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)  

The Art of Bouncing Back

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

As a woman in ministry there is a big target on your back and you can fall prey to the haters if you aren’t careful. I want to speak to the wife of a Pastor today because she is especially vulnerable to the arrows that hit her blindside.

It’s not about going around trying to stir up trouble. As long as you are honest and you articulate what you believe to be true, somebody somewhere will become your enemy whether you like it or not. ~Criss Jami

I am watching two very different women in ministry. A young Pastor’s wife, we’ll name her Jane, with a heart for the Lord who is being torn apart by unrealistic expectations, and a Pastor’s wife, Chris, who is being slaughtered by those who profess to wear the banner of love. It’s painful even from a distance.

In both cases you have women who love the Lord and are actively involved in their church. They are there at every event and they are there to serve. They pray. They seek the Lord. They speak words of revelation and life and yet they are lonely. They want to be a part of something that they have not been invited to.

So what’s the problem? Young Pastor’s wife Jane is an intercessor. She’s friendly but introverted. She will be at the church praying on any given day once her children are off to school, however Jane doesn’t lead a ministry. Jane has prayed over me powerfully but if I ask her to speak at our women’s conference Jane politely declines and says, “but I’ll help you serve food and I’ll help you at the altar”. Her church feels she needs to step it up. Only who decides that? I read the bible and there is this ministry called Helps and it is very necessary in the church.

Then there is Chris she is prophetic and a powerhouse speaker. Her church would like for her to stand down based on a misconception of a biblical view of women that are to be seen and not heard. Man! If only we could switch churches for them maybe their congregations would be happy. Unfortunately, their husbands were called to their place.

The biggest difference between leaders of large organizations and small organizations isn’t their location, the size of their building, the scope of their vision, the number of staff members, or their talent. In fact, some of the best leaders I’ve met have small organizations. But in all of my consulting and conferences, I’ve seen a single factor: leaders of larger organizations have proven they can handle more pain. ~ Sam Chand

So let’s do away with the expectation of a pastor’s wife. She may be called to lead a ministry or support it. She may be called to be a pastor or not. I can promise you one thing is for sure, she will fail someone at some point because no one is perfect. From a biblical view I don’t think the church gets to decide who she is to be. I think God does and I think he’s pretty sure about his expectations, and I would bet money on the fact that we’re supposed to trust Him. Let’s show a little mercy. The art of bouncing back becomes a little more difficult each time.

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

A Season Ahead


Those of you who follow this blog must have thought I had fallen away during the move to our new home. It is almost complete. July and August just ran together and by September there was a little headway. I’ve missed writing, there are so many things swirling around in my brain that are wanting to come out but I will tackle it, as I have learned to tackle many things these days, in bite sized pieces.

As believers we’re called to mentor. That seems like a daunting task. You may ask yourself what do I know about mentoring or about anything in general? Well, although you might not be an expert on most things, the question to ask is:

Am I a season ahead?

In other words, do I have something to teach the person who is asking me? Am I  a little bit ahead on this topic and could my knowledge benefit this person? Am I teachable? Do I have a mentor to go to if I get stuck? No one does mentorship alone. We all have those a season ahead to help us.

Most leaders don’t mind sharing what they know with you as long as you don’t abuse their time. True leaders are happy to meet with you and tell you what they know. What a leader won’t do is waste their time or allow their time to be abused.

If I want to know what a leader knows, I will invite them to lunch or ask for an appointment. I will go to them for advice and counsel on a topic then I’m going to begin to apply the knowledge they gave to my life to get ahead. If they give me a book to read, then I’m going to read it. If they give me counsel on an area of my life that I need to improve to get to that next level then I’m going to do it. Why would I do anything else?

It’s the same when you begin to mentor others. You mentor those who are following you. Many will come to you with pretty or flattering words and thank you but won’t move off of the couch to get ahead. Some will blame you when you didn’t pursue them only that isn’t mentoring, that’s parenting, or something like that. They failed to realize that many are leaning on you and that you don’t have time to chase someone down who says they want to be mentored. Teachers stand before a class of students and teach those who showed up.

Next  make sure you study and make sure you are learning.  Be patient. Not everyone who comes to you is ready to learn and it’s fine, just pray that they find that person who will be a blessing to them. Don’t beat your head on the wall over someone who isn’t ready.

Teach, with all of your heart. Teach them about love and the pursuit of this destiny that lasts eternally. Teach them practically and teach them well and teach them that we’re all just human and need grace. Mark them with the banner of Jesus and then go home knowing your job is done for the day and get out the bible and read it for yourself.

Plenty are the worries of the day but for you, you are a student and a teacher and you will be comforted. Do your best and then rest well in the knowledge that you helped those who wanted your help with your best effort and you have put your best effort forward to learn as much as you can.

Published in: on September 30, 2015 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  


Breathe Flyer

Published in: on June 26, 2015 at 8:35 am  Leave a Comment  

You’re Supposed To Be The Church


Here are some things I am thinking about today as I was told I am not a Christian and I am a liar because I chose to believe in our staff and our store policy.

Sometimes love say no.

Sometimes love has discipline.

Sometimes love has boundaries.

Sometimes love doesn’t allow the trampling of a soul.

Sometimes love points out wrongs.

People have this misconception about church that we are supposed to do everything anyone asks because we’re supposed to love. So we get these crazy asks sometimes. Take for example our thrift store. The conversation goes something like this:

“I’m sorry we won’t be able to take your couch, it has to be usable and without the cushions it isn’t usable.”

“Well, don’t you people help poor people? Beggars can’t be choosy. My dogs tore up the cushions but it’s still good for the homeless.”

Alright so at this point in the conversation I’m not thinking nice things, in fact my thoughts are quite sarcastic and this I realize is why I will never hold political office. My thoughts are going in the direction of why would we donate a couch to a homeless person? Sleeping bags, clothes, food, blankets, tents, yes but a couch? Not so much buddy. Not even on my radar. I know, I can’t say these things and maintain customer service as much as I would like to. These are thoughts though and I gather myself together and get back on track.

“Yes we do help people in need but this couch doesn’t help them. They can’t sit on it like this.”

“Well what I am supposed to do with it?”

“Well you can take it to the local dump.”


“I understand the dump is expensive. It would cost us $20 to take the couch to the dump. We don’t get a Christian break or anything and we run on a very tight margin here. If you’d like us to take it to the dump for you, we can but you’ll have to pay the $20.”

He elects not to do that.

Whenever I hear the phrase, “I thought you were supposed to be the church.” or “I thought you were Christians.”, what I hear is, “You’re not doing what I want.”

I know your next question. What are some things we’ve been asked to do because we are the church? Mostly things that are wrong or unwise to us.

Cashing checks for people we’ve never seen before. 

Making exceptions to policy when it will ultimately hurt us. 

Writing letters of reference for people we don’t know. 

Loaning our vehicles to people without a license. 

Doing things that compromise our moral belief. 

Where do we get this idea that Christians are weenies who should do everything that is asked even when it’s contrary to their belief system thus saying no means they are hateful or not Christian? Jesus didn’t do everything asked of him and he asked people to make some very tough choices for the betterment of their life. Yet he was Christ. Not everything goes our way nor should it.

Oh and by the way, the guy came by and dumped the couch on our property after hours. Guess he showed us! So pray for me as I work through the nonsense of a thought process that I don’t understand and learn to let it go and move on.


Published in: on May 6, 2015 at 8:11 am  Comments (2)  

The Hireling and The Called

The Shepherd by Julien Dupre (1851-1910)

The Shepherd by Julien Dupre (1851-1910)

Sitting in the hot tub after a long day of ministry my husband and I were laughing and talking about a 4 year-old who was discussing the state of the world with me. Then it got quiet.

My husband quietly said, “You really shocked me a few days ago.”

Not knowing at all what he was referring to my mind began to think of what could be so shocking? I couldn’t put my finger on a single thing and yet I knew this statement was important as he’d been mulling it over, so I said, “What did I say that shocked you?”

“Well, when we began to budget for Project X you said we could take your salary and put it towards it and you didn’t hesitate.”

Trying to make this moment lighter, and being sarcastic by nature I replied, “Hey, there was a time when I had to pay to be in ministry, giving up a salary is a new level.”

We laughed and then it got quiet again and I felt I had to explain myself.

“Look, it’s not as self-sacrificing as you’re making it seem. I walk in the realm of big faith. I believe that God will take care of my needs and provide for them. I don’t doubt that for a minute. He has never let me down.”

My husband just smiled at me and said, “That’s why we’re here. We’re called. It’s not about what we can get, it’s about what we can give. Others might have given up if it was about a paycheck but because it’s a mission it becomes a lifestyle.”

John 10:12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. ESV

I thought on this conversation over the last couple of days. What makes one shift from the money aspect, which let’s face it, is a real issue and one that needs to be discussed, to the aspect of the calling? The calling is a place where you could take your education and experience and turn it into a money making proposition and sell it to the highest bidder only you wouldn’t be comfortable with yourself. It wouldn’t sit right. You’d feel a missed opportunity, you’d long for the day when you’d be called back to the ministry. Honestly, there is that space between God and reality where the bills come in and the hesitation starts. Only for me, and I don’t profess to know what it is for others, the faith that while I may not have it all, I have all I need, is the sustaining force that keeps me steady when the waves of doubt come crashing in. When the promise of being all in when the stress of ministry and the expectations of what we are called to do are overwhelming, I stop and tell myself that I promised, and more importantly, I trust my Lord.

I pray that wherever you are sitting and reading this post right now, that you are sitting under a pastor who is called and not a hireling. You will know the difference when life hits. I pray that pastors who are truly called never give up.


Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fasting and Fun



Fasting and fun sort of don’t go together except they do when it works. We’re coming to an end of our 21 days of fasting and this time our church let us decide what we’d be fasting. I chose to fast Social Media, Sugar, and Shopping. Honestly, I thought shopping would be the hardest. It wasn’t. I thought of myself as a shopper but my husband kept saying I was a selective shopper meaning I’d go in spurts where I’d want to go shopping then I’d get it out of my system and not shop at all for long periods of time. I guess so. I didn’t miss it except once when I wanted a new eye shadow but I abstained and it didn’t even matter.

I had a much harder time with sugar. Sugar has me. I am not even going to lie, I miss it still. Everyone says you lose your taste for it. I can’t say it’s so for me. I dreamed of going to the Mexican bakery and buying a star cookie, which is a cinnamon sugar concoction, to go with my coffee. I can taste it as I write. One day I was so on edge I was trying to justify how if I just did shopping and social media it would be more than most people did. I’m glad I let that thought go and stayed in my own lane minding my own business, keeping my word, and doing what I know to do. But it was close. Temptation is such a slippery slope, take one lazy side step and you’re there.

Social Media, now here’s a kicker, not reading FB was like a vacation. I didn’t read all the negative stuff. I know I will definitely limit my time on FB from now on. It was refreshing.

When you fast and pray to set the oppressed free the devil gets really mad. So anything that could go wrong did. I caught a cold that turned into a sinus infection and has lasted three weeks. Some unresolved issues began to blow up with serious attitude, but here’s the kicker; Doug and I remained firm, praying, and together. The power of prayer and unity kept us tight, in love and in each other’s corner, and advancing the Kingdom. We saw people receive salvation, we saw people set free, we saw people prosper, and all it cost me was sugar, shopping, and social media. Not a bad trade off.

And as far as the Fresh Eyes post, and taking a new look around my life, here is what I see:

We ended our bible study on James and I do really love the book of James now and I miss it. We started a new bible study on Prayer last week. It’s so necessary in the church.

We hosted a luncheon for pastors from 5 different churches. It is possible to fix a feast, enjoy a meal, and not indulge in the forbidden parts of the meal during a fast. I didn’t feel like Esther or anything but I didn’t have to announce it either. No one paid attention. We just had fun with friends.

We spent a sick day at home wrapped in blankets and watching season 5 of Downton Abbey. Life wasn’t any less complicated in the 1920’s.



Published in: on January 23, 2015 at 8:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Fresh Eyes


As we put away all of the Christmas decorations and hauled the tree out to the old faithful Dodge Ram I am closing out a old year and ringing in a new one. What will this year have for us? 2014 was pretty good to us. I am expecting 2015 to be even better. I have a few secret desires in my heart for this year but not ones I am willing to share just yet. I hope it’s the same for you.

I am preparing the house for a pastoral luncheon this weekend. Pastors from several churches in our city will meet to celebrate the New Year, pray for one another, and enjoy my husband’s BBQ brisket. It’s always a great time of fellowship and friendship and when we are all together I always take a moment to take a step back and view the body of Christ as it was intended to be. Isn’t it wonderful when we can break bread together knowing that each have a differing view on the method but not the intention? While some of us may speak in tongues and others not we still love Jesus and food! This year will be more about hospitality than perfection.

This year, I plan to do a lot more of that looking at life with fresh eyes business. Rather than nose to the grindstone living I am going to be intentionally taking a step back to take it all in before I miss another moment.  This year I am going to continually remind myself of things that were missed while I was plowing and be more intentional about breaks.

I’m turning 50 this year. I have lived a very blessed life, even in the hardest times, I learned forever lessons that will hold me until the end of my life here on earth and I think I have a genuine gratitude for my life. I have made real friendships, lasting loves, beautiful children, and memories that make me smile. I am married to the most amazing man ever too so that is icing! Somehow though, day to day stuff tries to come in and taints the happiness I have found.

So what does this year hold for you? I pray it’s filled with plenty of good things. I hope that life keeps you busy in serving others and not just yourself. I hope that life brings to you fresh eyes in which to see the beauty of the holiness of a life well lived and not squandered on the minutia that fills a brain and does nothing to fill a heart.

This year I plan to learn from Lulu The Wonder Dog who plays for awhile, takes deep naps, comes and demands attention when needed, is pleased to see everyone anytime, enjoys her food, and takes deep naps, wags her tail vigorously to show her approval, puts her ears down at the things she hates but moves towards it anyhow, takes deep naps, long walks, romps with her friends, never worries about her weight, or whether she took a bath today or not, sighs deeply, shares always, and loves wholeheartedly. I think she has in her seven short years of life learned what it took me 49 years to learn. So maybe this post should be titled, I’m not smarter than my dog.

Flesh Eaters


picture from

There is the word Gheebah in the Muslim faith that means backbiter but even more so they translate it flesh eater. There is an interesting teaching on it that was shared with me and I’d like to share it with you.

“If what you say is true about your brother then you have backbitten him. If what you say is not true about your brother than you have slandered him.”

Have you ever thought about the word backbiter? It describes someone who eats the flesh of a friend or family member. Muslim or Christian I doubt it’s worthy of our faith. In reading books on psychology, backbiting is said to be a trait of young people, only I disagree. I know women who are in their 30’s who are professional flesh eaters. The bible says backbiters soothe their own appetite. Flesh eaters. What a horrible description of a person of faith. It actually made me shudder.

Galatians 5:15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Is eating live flesh something you’d like to be a part of? You can’t stop the flesh eater’s insatiable appetite but you can stop them from eating others in your presence by not participating in the flesh eating frenzy. The bible says when we have an issue with someone there is a way to handle it. It’s taught in Matthew 18. If the flesh eater continues to devour then ask yourself if the person is a believer? Even the devil knows the word of God.

Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

What causes a person to continually backbite? Honestly, they are bored people who have nothing else to do. They look for things to be critical of and people whom they are jealous of to tear apart. Think about the picture of a person who bites someone in the back. They are biting the back of a person. They are behind that person, not in their own lane guided by the Holy Spirit, handling their own business. These are hopefully not the people we wish to be nor is it the people who we call friends because can I be honest with you? It’s all fine until they begin to eat you alive.



Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 8:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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