Walking along Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee you get to see pursuit of a dream. As we meandered about what I call night clubs and what they call Honky Tonks, I listened to the music streaming from each door until we found a sound we liked.

We stepped inside this place and listened to the music. It was about 3 pm and the band was wrapping it up as the new band was arriving. I became fascinated with what happened next and to be honest paid more attention to people watching than to the music itself.

The band came in each carrying their equipment. They set their equipment down by the stage and grabbed some bottled water the establishment had for them. It was hot. Over 100 and in Nashville there is extreme humidity as well. They walked back and forth to their cars hauling all of their equipment including a seat for the drummer. They were happy and talking and in full roadie mode. Only they weren’t roadies, they were the musicians.

As the band that was playing wound down to their final song I wanted to see the transition. A bucket was passed around for donations for the band. I was told it was how they get paid. The band quickly went into wrap up mode, grabbing their cords and instruments and walking them off of the stage. Their audience who I guess knew the drill, were asking each of them, “Where are you going to next?”, to which the bassist replied pointing, “I’ll be at such and such in about an hour playing with so and so.”, and so on. These musicians were in pursuit of a dream.

I looked at my husband and said, “Do you see that? They left everything behind and are hauling their own equipment and playing wherever they can find a gig for whatever amount is in that bucket in the hopes of a bed, food, and the chance to be discovered for their talent.” My husband smiled, ever the Pastor, and said, “I know how that works. I left a business making just over $200,000 a year to go to a place I had never heard of called Los Banos, CA, to reach the lost for whatever was in that bucket each week. When you have a calling you pursue it no matter the cost. I left my parents, my comfort, my home and went to preach the gospel. The Lord provided for us. Once I didn’t have enough money for groceries and diapers and a stranger at Walmart paid the bill for me. I will never forget those early days.”

The band finished loading their equipment then came back in and sat behind us at a table and divided up the money in that bucket and rushed off to their next gig. The new band set up and began to play and I discovered a new admiration for those who are willing to go the distance and do whatever it takes in pursuit of their callings trusting that somehow things of the world will work out. It was humbling to say the least.


Nailed The Landing

Because sometimes I realize that we’ve been walking through some very stressful issues, taking one step at a time, thanking God he got us through another day and promising that tomorrow we’ll pick it up again. In the midst of things we know our love stands and that we each can be counted on to be there for each other steady and strong and unshaken. How do couples in ministry do this work without each other? How do couples in any situation do life without being able to count on each other?

Then a day like yesterday wakes me up suddenly to find that:

“I am not scared of the elements, I am under-prepared,but I am willing and even better I get to be the other half of you.” ~Sara Barellies

Today as I sat and had lunch with a friend she reminds me of how blessed I am to have you and I have to agree it’s more than I dreamed it could be. She says it’s a once in a lifetime relationship. I know this first hand.

Maybe when life feels like I’m walking on a balance beam I need to look ahead and know that I have already nailed the landing and scored the gold! Love you Baby. I choose you every day I have breath to breathe.





Maybe only some really feel regret for the hell they gave their mother (and father) and maybe that’s because only a few ever really rebel.

ME: “Geez Mom, just think if someone would have told you when I was 16 that I’d turn out to be your good kid.”

Mom: Laughing, “I’d have said, ‘Just shoot me now’.”

We had a great laugh over that one. Her heart has been restored towards me. Not that she ever turned from me, just that I deeply disappointed her in those, “I know more than you do years”.

On Mother’s Day as my kids checked in, I was happy to hear from them. We went to church in the morning, my oldest child preached a great word where his sermon confessed to the whole church that I spanked him with a shoe when he was six,( it’s a Latina thing, don’t judge).  We came home had lunch, watched TV and dozed and then the kids were on their way home.

I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that Eminem had released an apology to his mother in a new video called Headlights. I don’t know why I clicked but I did, not sure what to expect. When I watched it and listened to the words, I wept. Wept for the times I disappointed my mother, wept for the times I disappointed my children, wept for children who are estranged from their family and who are wasting valuable time being angry. I wept for the single moms who have to work so super hard to be a mother and a father. Her children carry hero worship of a father who vanishes, takes no responsibility, but steps up to take credit, and whose love and acceptance her children desperately yearn for. It’s easy to beat up the one who is your constant, she’s usually a safe bet. She’ll love you anyway. I wept because her children don’t know her pain. They don’t understand the mistakes she’s made and the way she beats herself up. I don’t judge those women who turn to drugs and drinking really. They are masking their pain and sometimes there are things so deeply painful that they don’t always recover. I do understand the pain it causes her children.

I watched the video as his mother tried to drive up to his house to see him and how she was refused and how deeply saddened she must have felt, and although I don’t pretend to know their history or story that prompted that video, I heard the regret of a son. I’ve never seen the movie 8 Mile, I have heard the song Cleaning Out My Closet. I felt their pain in that scene. In our youth we say such foolish things that we often regret later, we do such crazy things that sometimes we don’t get to recover from. Imperfect parents create that.

So tonight as I pray, I pray for recovery. I pray for reconciliation. I pray for sooner rather than later. I pray for time, that it not be too late. I pray for parents everywhere and their children. It seems according to the video I saw today that Eminem was loved as best as a mother who couldn’t fully love. I saw his realization of that. It wasn’t enough then. It isn’t enough now, I only hope they are able to reconcile and that they can build a beautiful life together with what is left. I won’t post the video here, nor the lyrics, it has very strong language which may offend some readers, so I warn you of that in advance. I overlooked that to hear his heart and it broke mine. Sometimes lessons and blog posts come from unexpected places.


Doug and Susan 2013


Last night, Doug and I went to see Rob Thomas. It was a fantastic acoustic set. I mean seriously, in our time, he is a master of his craft and I would have expected no less but it was even more than I thought it would be. Doug, my sheltered pastor husband, who has a limited knowledge of secular music didn’t know who we were going to see. “Rob who?”, he asked. I laughed, “Remember last year on The Voice, he helped Ceelo?” “I can’t remember last week.”

So in the middle of the set Rob Thomas plays and sings, Lonely No More. I don’t even know what happened honestly but I had a flashback that was actually a God moment in which he wanted to reveal something to me. A healing. I rarely have these types of moments, but I was taken back to the moment in which it happened.

I don’t wanna be lonely no more
I don’t wanna have to pay for this
I don’t want to know the lover at my door
Is just another heartache on my list

I don’t wanna be angry no more
You know I could never stand for this
So when you tell me that you love me know for sure
I don’t want to be lonely anymore

In that moment, I remember being very unsure of my relationship with Doug. There were parts of it that seemed unbelievable. The level of love I felt and I wasn’t sure I could trust it. There were so many complications to our relationship and I wasn’t sure I was up to it. He sensed it, or maybe he knew because after all he studies people for a living. In the middle of the doubt he looked me square in the eye and said so seriously,

“Your problem is that you’ve never been adored before. I am going to spend my life showing you what that feels like.” 

That was the flashback moment. I was my dad’s favorite kid. I was loved by my family, but adored? I don’t think I even understood the word.


verb – to regard with utmost esteem, love, and respect; honor.


No, I had never been adored. I had never had a relationship in which even in the troubles, there was utmost esteem, love and respect. I had loved and I had been loved, but I had never been able to fully trust, until now. I had never had a man trip over himself to make me his, to work so hard to take every single trouble away and honor me the way he does. I was having a moment, a revelation, holding my husband’s hand at a concert last night. Then it happened:

Rob Thomas’ guitar began the intro to Smooth his collaboration with Santana. Suddenly Doug sits up, “Hey! I know a song.” Then Rob tells a story that brings me  back to reality.

He says he had flown to San Francisco to meet with Carlos Santana and possibly work on the song he’d written for him, Smooth. He says Carlos Santana walked into the room and said, “You’re married to a Latina aren’t you?” Rob Thomas said, “Yes, I’m married to a Puerto Rican.” Carlos Santana replied, “I knew it, no man writes a lyric, ‘I would change my life to better suit your mood’, if he wasn’t married to a Latina.” To which my husband snickered and squeezed my knee.

Really? We had to go there?

The Comedy of My Panic Attack


Thursday we flew out to Las Vegas to celebrate our wedding anniversary. My son and beautiful daughter-in-love were flying in to meet us there as well. We boarded the prop plane and sat down. I had my ipad with books loaded and a magazine for the few moments that you can’t have it powered on. I was excited because I was going to see Donny and Marie that evening. I think I’ve confessed several times that I had a major crush on him as a little girl.

Then it happened. The door of the plane closed and I heard the pilot’s voice. “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to have a bumpy flight about 25 minutes into our flight due to the heat and the clouds over the Sierra Nevada. Please make sure  your seatbelt is securely fastened and we’ll try to get above the clouds and make your ride as smooth as possible.” I don’t have a clue as to what happened within me but I had a panic attack. I looked at Doug and said, “Should we get out? We can drive.” He laughed and said, “Noooo, we’ll be fine.”

There were maybe 30 people on the flight. We take off and it’s smooth so I begin to breathe. We have some maybe normal dips but in my head, in that moment they are huge. My heart is beating so hard. So I begin to self talk:

Ok, just breathe, you don’t want to be on the news as the lady who made the flight turn around. Just breathe.

Susan seriously! Your dad piloted a four seater in the desert of Tucson. You’ve sat in the back seat eating snacks when it felt like a roller coaster.

Yes but you were a kid. Children don’t think in terms of death.

What if I never get to see Donny Osmond?

Wait! Pray! You know how to pray! Dear Heavenly Father, please don’t let anyone be on this flight whose time is up. Okay, and if by chance I’m on a plane with someone whose time is up, don’t let me feel the crash. Knock me out or whatever you have to do. Or better yet, send Jesus to catch me, that would be cool, but whatever you do, if it’s my time, let me wake up in your arms secure in knowing you are with me. But yeah, if I get a choice, I want to land in Vegas and go to the show tonight. In Jesus Name!

He’s coming on the clouds, so lift your head up, lift your head up, lift your head up. (This is a Deluge song, don’t ask I have no idea!)

Dr. Myles Munroe says you should take authority. You’re an ambassador, a daughter of the King. Take authority of the birds of the air. Yes, that’s it, it’s a modern day bird. I’ll take authority over it.

Why can’t we just be in the Millennial Reign already? Paul says these are tents we live in, that’s why we need airplanes. Once Jesus died he got his mansion body and he could transport himself. I’d never have to worry about falling out of the sky. Plus, I would KNOW Donny Osmond because he believes in Jesus.

Okay, we are not only bouncing we are fish tailing.

Wait! Who am I kidding? The bible says “Lo, I am with you.” I shouldn’t even be on an airplane. It’s anything but low.

All of this was going on in my head and then right about then, we landed.

Life is a ride my friend, don’t take it so seriously. The flight home was probably more bumpy. I had seen Donny Osmond, spent time with my kids, and Doug was snoring so loud people were turning to look at him. There were other cares to pray about but we won’t go there!

For So Long


For so long 
You and me been finding each other for so long 
And the feeling that I feel for you is more then strong, girl 
Take it from me 
If you give a little more then you’re asking for 
Your love will turn the key ~ Lyrics to I Just Want To Be Your Everything by Andy Gibb circa 1977ish

When I was 12 I was in love with Andy Gibb, the younger brother of the Bee Gees. I wanted to marry him when I grew up and this song was one day going to be sung to me by Andy himself. Of course Andy Gibb was quite a bit older than I was and didn’t know I existed but those were minor details. I had posters of him and Rob Lowe plastered on my wall. Andy Gibb was my teen crush. Before that, when I was in elementary school, I was going to marry Donny Osmond. I guess I’ve always had a thing for musicians and Mormons.

Life has a way of moving forward and Andy Gibb married Victoria Principal who I saw in an infomercial years later as she urged me to put cream on my neck because “you may forget but no one else will”, and I never did. She later divorced Andy Gibb because of his heavy cocaine addiction. Andy eventually died in 1988 at the age of 30. By then I had moved on in my life and mourned my teenage crush by reading about it in People magazine and thinking it was so sad. So where am I getting at?

Only that while on vacation in Kauai this spring, Doug and I rented a jeep and were cruising down the coast as I scanned the radio for a station. I found one and settled back when suddenly the intro for I Just Want To Be Your Everything came  on. I sucked in my breath, turned the volume up, and sang to my heart’s content. Suddenly the words meant so much more to me! I was truly with the absolute love of my life, and that dream of a guy who would love me like the words to that song were real. Gone were the relationships of teen fantasy,  it had all fallen into place when the timing was right realizing that before that I was only trying to rush the for so long part of the song.

I wish I could show all of you young girls, who are reading this, my life in snapshots and how if I had just waited for correct timing I would have made that teen girl’s fantasy come true. In that moment on that road in Kauai, I reached over and grabbed Doug’s hand. I squeezed it, smiled big at him and said, “Baby, I love you and guess what? We’re in Hawaii on a beautiful day, having fun, with not a care in the world. Do you know that when this song was popular I was in Junior High?” He drove on, smiled and said, “Umm hmm”, having no clue of my revelation, and looking for a place to pull over at the beach he continued, “Bet you didn’t know you’d be here with me”.  No, I didn’t but I’m super glad I am!



I was sent this article written by musician, singer/songwriter, Jason Gray. I thought it was profound and wanted to share it with all of you!

The Sound of Our Breathing
Jason Gray

Take a breath and breathe it out. Do it again, slowly, and try to mean it. Breathing – of all things maybe we take it most for granted. Do we ever wonder why we are built this way, this soft machine of ours always pumping oxygen in and out?

In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs. In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst. In fear, we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down. When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage. When I think about it, breathing looks almost like a kind of praying.

I heard a teaching not long ago about the moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what His name is. God was gracious enough to answer, and the name He gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH.

Over time, we’ve arbitrarily added an “a” and an “e” in there to get YaHWeH, presumably because we have a preference for vowels. But scholars have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, aspirated consonants that in the Hebrew alphabet would be transliterated like this:
Yod, rhymes with “rode,” which we transliterate “Y”
He, rhymes with “say,” which we transliterate “H”
Vav, like “lava,” which we transliterate “V” or “W”
He rhymes with “say,” which we transliterate “H”.

A wonderful question rises to excite the imagination: what if the name of God is the sound of breathing?

This is a beautiful thought to me, especially considering that for centuries there have been those who have insisted that the name of God is so holy that we dare not speak it because of how unworthy we are. How generous of God to choose to give Himself a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive. All of us, always, everywhere, waking, sleeping, with the name of God on our lips.

In his Nooma video, Breathe, Rob Bell (a pastor whose obvious gifts of curiosity and a knack for asking provocative questions can get him into trouble) wonders what this means in key moments like when a baby is born – newly arrived on planet Earth, must they take their first breath, or rather speak the name of God, if they are to be alive here? On our deathbed, do we breathe our last breath? Or is it that we cease to be alive when the name of God is no longer on our lips?
The most ironic of his questions is also the most beautiful: he wonders about the moment when an atheist friend looks across the table at you and says, “There. is. no. God.” And of course, what you hear is “Yod. He. Vav. He.”

There are few better illustrations of both God’s largesse as well as his humility, his omnipresence as well as his singular intimate presence within each of us.

Breathe in. Breathe out. “He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs…the word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth…” (Romans 8:28, 10:8 The Message)