Hello 38


January literally flew right by me! I am already 2 days into my 38th year of life and already feel as if this New Year is slipping through my fingers like sand. Winter will be over before we know it, and all the resolutions and goals we set might soon be distant memories.


I am striving to hold onto at least one of my goals- to select a word as a focal point for me and for my current season. Friend, have you ever chosen a word to focus on for a new year?

I have silently chosen words before but not really shared them with anyone outside of my family and close friends. I’ve even walked through experiences where a certain topic or theme kept popping up- only then did I take it to heart and adopt it as my very own. This year is different.

My word for 2018 is (drum roll please)…flourish.

Now, that word comes with a string of other little words. Because when I think of flourish, I think of










Tender shoots






Now, I’m not a horticulturalist or a botanist, nor do I play one on tv, but when I think of “flourish” I think of things that grow and develop under the right conditions; I imagine a tiny seed planted deep in the earth that soaks up nutrients from the good soil around it and begins to have roots that sprawl down and anchor the tender shoot that will soon break though the ground, growing out and stretching up towards the sun. To me, “flourish” sounds a bit more like the words, “work” and “change”.

I wholeheartedly believe that God has relocated our family and planted me in a town that has such rich agricultural roots just for the simple fact that I must learn the beauty of growth, from planting to producing.

I may not know what this new year of life holds for any of us, but one thing I do know is that in order to flourish as a human, in every arena of my life, I have to consistently be soaking up the right nutrients from the resources I’ve been given. I have to be full of patience during the waiting time and must develop deep roots in order to not be tossed around by the wind. Flourishing means I have to stretch myself daily to connect to my source of light and strength-Jesus.

Friend, what is your word for this New Year?

I want to hear all about what your word is for 2018, and what string of words comes along with it. Feel free to comment below with your word, or even a song that resonates with you, and let’s see how we can encourage one another as we move forward and grow in this new year of life together.

I can’t wait to hear about what’s been on your heart and mind friend:).

As we begin to share, let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the lessons that we learned and the paths we walked through in 2017- even the ones that seemed so difficult at first sight. You have been so good to us, and so faithful and we have seen how You’ve been with us just as You promised in Your Word. Lord, as 2018 has already begun, we want to look ahead to all that You have uniquely designed us to do. We dedicate this year to you and these words that have been on our heart and in the forefront of our minds as we start this New Year. Thank You Lord for the firm foundation Your Word gives us as we walk on in pursuit of You. God, our hope and desire is to be closer to You and to draw others to You, that they may know Your love. Let us remember that every action we carry out in this new year affects much more than we realize. Let us live with an internal reminder that we are here for an eternal purpose. May we remember we are here on earth to pour out Your love though the vehicle of our lives. In 2018, we will hope in You Lord and look to You as our guide. We will expectantly wait for You and Your instructions for our lives as we daily choose to trust You and walk with You, Amen.


Go the extra mile:

Check out this amazing song that is currently my favorite on my playlist. Porter’s Gate Worship Project is inspiring & I hope you find it as encouraging as I do!













Your Wonderful Life

Jan2018blogpicEvery holiday season I have to watch my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I just have to, or else it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays. This movie is a sure fire way to remind me that every life has meaning and purpose and every life can impact many others. Today, I feel a lot like the main character Mr. George Bailey at the end of the movie. Caught in a cold snow shower, and begging God to live again, he runs home and suddenly finds himself surrounded by friends and family that have come out to show support for him in his time of need. Men and women who flood into his home in a steady down pour, much like the snow storm he just came in from.

They just kept showing up after hearing of his need.

They were an answered prayer indeed.

This Holiday season marked a new season for our family and I find myself in both awe and unbelief just like good ol’ George Bailey. In awe for the simple fact that God would choose to have us as part of what He is doing here in our new city, and unbelief because of the tremendous amount of blessing we’ve seen around us.

Friends and family have kept us in prayer through this whole transition, they’ve come to help us pack up and move, and have even shown up to help us unpack and settle in.

Our people just keep showing up.

They are an answered prayer in our time of need.

I for one have just been overwhelmed by the loving kindness of those who have known us for years and those who have known us for brief moments.We are deeply humbled by the love that has been demonstrated to us by our crew…it’s been unbelievable.

We are all just average Joe’s; we are every-bodies and nobodies all at the same…

We are George Bailey at the beginning of the movie, who was quick to snap in crisis because he knew not what to do, and we are George Bailey that sits in the chair hugging and squeezing his child because he was afraid for his future and felt helpless. We are George when he decides he doesn’t think his life mattered, and we are George when he realizes that every minute of it did.

We are George Bailey when he was out on that bridge in Bedford Falls asking God to let him live again, and again, after being reminded and realizing that every life and every life-experience mattered.

We are that man.

You and me.

We are just doing what we do every day by God’s grace and with His strength. And God shows up.

Every. Single. Time.

We never realize how every minute mattered until the real people that God has allowed to become our ever-growing community show it to us, in real time.

Today, after feeling like God has shown us our life’s work in an instant, I’m reminded of the scripture in Job:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5NIV)

We’ve seen God through the outpouring of love and care of each friend and family member who helped us through these past few months. We’ve seen God show up in our lives in such unbelievably powerful ways during this transition, and we can honestly say we’ve been blown away by His mercy and provision. We feel so unworthy of these tremendous blessings, but know wholeheartedly that God is asking us to use each blessing to direct honor and glory back to Him. And while we are doing so, God is providing us, yet again, with new life experiences, new moments of His inspiration and more faces to walk through our very vivid-red doorway for coffee:).

So this New Year, in light of God’s provision for our salvation, and because of the life, hope, and joy we have through His Son Jesus, we just wanted to say thank you for showing up in our lives and thank you for your support this year. We pray God blesses each and every one of you today and in the New Year.

May He continue to show up in your wonderful life in ways that surprise you and blow you away.

May His peace and provision flood your home in unimaginable ways.

May you feel the rich blessing of deeply connected community surrounding you as you walk boldly into 2018.

You matter friend.

Your life is truly wonderful and has great impact on those around you.

Let’s pray this simple prayer today:

“Dear God, help us to truly live again in this new year. Show us how to love and serve those around us. Open our eyes to see You and open our hearts to make room for all the new people and places and plans you have set before us. Thank you for helping us live another year, and help us to be good stewards of all that you entrust to us in this new season.” Amen


Go the extra mile: Listen to this beautiful song by my favorite worship artist, Audrey Assad. What a reminder of the goodness of God!


Lasts & Firsts

December2017 blog pic

We are flying through the month of December! It seems like just yesterday our family was writing our New Year’s resolutions and now we are days away from being right at the start of a brand new year. Its exhilarating! It’s unbelievable! It’s A Wonderful Life! (side note: best Christmas movie ever!)

Christmas time usually come with a long list of “lasts”.

Last time to decorate for the last holiday of this year.

Last dance recitals and band concerts of the season.

Last meals with friends and family of 2017.

Last time to see friends before Christmas break.

Last time to visit favorite shops and fun spots around town.

This year, these “lasts” have extra meaning to my family in particular.

December marks one journey ending and a new one beginning. In just a few days, our little family will be moving. Boxes are almost done being packed full of our stuff, and the house we now call home will become a home for others. A big truck will arrive and be filled by some amazing friends and then it will be driven many miles to deliver all that it holds. And once the moving truck is parked in the new location, we will begin a new list. A list of “firsts”.

First time unloading all of our earthly belongings into new home in a new city.

First unpacking party in another city.

First time we get to have neighbors that have children around our children’s ages.

First time to set up Christmas decor (very quickly since Christmas will be days away by that point) in a new home.

First run to a new coffee house to refuel after being surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap.

First time living in the same city with family.

First New Year’s Day in our new city.

First days at school for my 3 courageous kids. Seriously you guys, I’m so inspired by the way they’ve embraced this new adventure and new location. Just had to include that note:)

Firsts…you can’t have them without having some lasts.

Deeply rooted community…you can’t have it unless you are willing to share life, share hugs and share tears. You also can’t start all over again unless you are willing to embrace every step of the journey; creating new connections and beginning new friendships while still maintaining and nurturing the ones you’ve shared life with thus far.

In the words of my dear friend, who regularly checks in on me to make sure I’m still hanging in there, “It will all be ok. “Lasts” just mean “firsts” in new places!”

Timely words from a treasured friend.

Oh dear friends, what a blessing it is to live and move and have our being all while we create memories with others! I’m not sure what “lasts” are on your list right now, but remember, our precious “lasts” come beautifully packaged with incredible “firsts”. Don’t lose hope today and remember to walk through your “lasts” & “firsts” with your friends and family. There is truly no better way:)

Let’s end in prayer today friends:

God, we just want to take time today to thank You Lord. Thank You for every bit of our journey. We thank you for the places You’ve called us to go, but more importantly we thank You for the people that have made each place feel like home. We choose today to be full of gratitude towards You; for the good times and the hard times and every lesson learned in-between. Lord,we are so very grateful for every moment of growth that You placed along our path and we thank You in advance for the times of growth ahead. And Lord, as we finish out 2017, help us to enjoy every last minute as we fix our eyes on You. We are reminded that You promised us that You’d be with us until the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20 NIV). Thank You for being with us through every “last” and every “first”. Lord, we thank You for being our Refuge and Home, whether we find ourselves packing boxes or wrapping presents, You have promised to be Immanuel- God with Us. You Lord are good, and You are the reason we have joy in the midst of the holiday season, as well as the reason we can find hope and the reassurance of Your love in the “in-between” stages of this life. Thank You Lord, Amen.


Go the extra mile: Check out this song and let it encourage you today!

Noticing Our Neighbors

Noticing Our NeighborsThese past few months have been soaked in tears from tragic events both near and far. The news of heinous acts and destructive forces have seemed to flood our news feeds with the images of brokeness and heartache. That’s why I had to put the uplifting picture above. For a reminder that there is still good around us and within us.

In times like these, I’m reminded of a man named Joseph.

Joseph went from being thrown into a pit by his brothers, to being sold to merchants passing by. He was separated from his family, worked as a servant in a palace, and then was wrongfully sent to prison. He was eventually freed and then placed in charge of Pharoah’s entire palace. Not exactly the route many would sign up for in order to experience redemption. Nonetheless, this is his story. Joseph experienced a magnitude of heartache in his lifetime, but the ache never blinded him from noticing the condition of others around him.

You see, Joseph was a dreamer and an interpreter of dreams. His gift of interpretation played a vital role while he spent time in prison. Joseph wasn’t just another prisoner- he was put in charge of other prisoners. Let’s unpack a moment of his life:

“They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them. While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning. When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them. And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.” “Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.”(Genesis 40:4-7 NLT)

Joseph noticed the countenance of each man had fallen and responded to them with wisdom and compassion. He provided the prisoners with the knowledge they needed at that time in order to walk through their own uncertainty. Not only were the lives of these men impacted by Joseph’s awareness, but Joseph’s life was changed as well…all because he took the time to notice his neighbor’s condition.

How many of us could say the same? How have we responded to those around us who are facing uncertainty or suffering? Are we taking time to notice?

All of us have experienced brokenness and walked through difficult seasons. No one is exempt. Whether from recent events, or from traumatic hurts in our past- we have internal reminders of the experiences we have endured through. Those internal gifts give us the ability to notice when others are facing uncertainty or suffering. Friend, I believe that God can do his most beautiful work when we use those reminders, those gifts, to notice our neighbors and walk beside them through their difficulty.

Here is my challenge today:

Notice the neighbors next door who could use an encouraging word.

Notice the family of the child with special needs that could use a reminder that they are all seen and all loved, and not alone.

Notice the new kid at school who wants to sit with someone at lunch and needs a friend.

Notice the man at the bank who could use a genuine smile and a friendly wave.

Notice the homeless man who is only asking for “anything” on his cardboard sign .

Notice the woman who sits in church waiting to be greeted; she may have been waiting all week long to receive a hug.

Notice everyone …in the store, on the street, and around our communities, because everyone in this world is waiting for someone to notice them and take action. No matter the creed or conviction, they are all still our neighbors.

By putting the word our in front of the word neighbors, it signifies that they belong to us. Our neighbors are a part of our daily lives. They are entrusted to our care and we must love them well.

Friend, will you join me in this challenge to be someone who takes notice? Let’s pray:

God, give us eyes to see the neighbors all around us. Our schedules would like to keep us busy, but help us to slow down and look around us for the opportunities for Your love and compassion to be given to others.  Lord, You’ve told us in Your Word,

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)

Lord, We recognize that sometimes laying down our lives looks a lot more like laying down our busyness and our schedules and our pride. You’ve created us for community-for deep and meaningful connectedness with one another. Help us God to remember that everyone around us is our neighbor, whether near or far. Help us to remember that everyone around us is facing something difficult and needs hope. God, may we be people who take care of one another. May we be people who notice the faces around us and who take action. Help us to love everyone the way that You do; help our arms to embrace those in need. Help our feet to walk towards those who are hurting and experiencing pain. Help our resources to be used to love others well; to give water to those that are thirsty and food for the hungry, and hope to the hopeless and peace to the restless. Your love is great God and you have placed it within all of us to administer to everyone unconditionally. Lord, may everyone around us feel Your love through us. Thank You Lord for taking notice of us- whether in the high points or low points of our own lives- You are The God Who Sees Us (Genesis 16:13 NIV). Help us to be people who honor that quality of Your Great Name.



Go the extra mile and check out this amazing song by Danny Gokey:

Bella Photography

Fetal Position


Bella Photography

Daddy’s Shoulder

Crisp colored leaves are falling on my street and the air in Colorado is a little frostier. White snow has even fallen once already in our neighborhood, and even trees have snapped from the weight of the wet and heavy blanket of flakes. The seasons are changing right before my eyes.

Because all of my babies were born in autumn, in just a matter of months our house will be filled with a 6 year old, a 12 year old, and a 16 year old…yep, time just doesn’t stand still. These children are growing and maturing and changing, just like the scenery that surrounds them.

Our family is also undergoing a major change: we are moving.

After 11 years in the Denver Metro area, we find ourselves at the end of one chapter in the story of our life, as well as beginning a new chapter in a new location. Here’s what it looks like…roughly:

Prepping our house for sale.

Coaching our kids through the upcoming changes.

Finding new schools, resources, hang-outs, and health care providers…you name it.

Plus trying to navigate how to finish well where we are currently planted.

We are discovering what a new normal looks like while we are in the “in-between” stage altogether:).

Lots of change. Lots of unknowns.

Now, not all of this is difficult, but my mind hasn’t been able to correctly communicate this to my body. After feeling out-of-wack for a few weeks, I decided to visit a massage therapist. I asked my therapist why I was slouching. Their words haven’t left me:

“When we are experiencing mental, emotional, or physical stress, our bodies naturally will try to revert back to a fetal position to provide us with some sense of comfort.”

Yikes. Fetal Position.

The truth is, we all experience stress. Even the people that look as if they have never had a stressful day in their life deal with it. We may all experience stress, but how do our bodies process through it?

Apparently, my body is trying to fold under the pressure, much like the tightly tucked-in limbs of a baby.

Now, I love to see brand-new babies all bundled up. But I recognize that those precious little limbs were meant to grow, and stretch beyond their original position. It’s even a little funny to see a newborn try to stretch; their body doesn’t gracefully extend out…it jerks and even shivers into new positions. Sometimes I wonder if that is what my season looks like to God:

-While He is allowing my season to change, and while I am figuring out how to process through stress the right way, am I jerking around into new positions or am I gently bending into the form he so desires my heart to have? Am I allowing myself to fold under the pressure or am I allowing my heart to be transformed by His hand?

Now let’s be real, and answer these questions together: Have you ever felt the weight of the unknown on your shoulders? Is anything weighing heavy on your heart today friend? Is your physical body trying sending you clues about the condition of your heart?Me too.

The circumstances around us, the news and media coverage of tragic events, the prayer requests from friends, and the great unknowns of upcoming changes can all weigh on us; pulling and tugging our hearts and minds into positions they weren’t meant to stay in.We may feel distressed – but we don’t have to stay there. I’m a huge believer that many times what is happening in our physical being is just a representation of what is happening in our spiritual being. Our bodies might look weary and bent out of shape because our spirit is crying out to change or shift position. It is a measure used when we want to revert back to feeling secure, known, and fully held. And Who knew us in the womb when we were scrunched up in our mama’s belly?


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:13-18 NIV)

Friend, He knows us and nothing was hidden from Him.

God, Our Father and Creator, saw the entirety of our life before any of the cells formed. God saw every detail; the steps we’d take, the missteps, the dreams, the hard times, and the tragedies that would surround and affect us. His watchful eye saw the decisions we’d make, the adventures we’d go on and the times of obedience we’d walk through. He saw all the stress that would pop up. He also saw how we would choose to let it affect us.

Before we had a heartbeat He saw how we would raise our hands in praise and in surrender. He saw how His strength would rise within us. Before we drew our first breath, He saw how we’d choose to straighten up from our fetal positions and grow and mature and stretch out our hands before him while bowing our hearts in reverence. He beheld how we would not be over come by fear and stress, but how we would overcome fear by the powerful truth of His Word. He saw it all then and He sees us now friend.

Let’s pray:

Lord God, I choose today to evaluate my posture before You. God, my whole being may feel like buckling under the pressure of my current stresses but I choose to remember that my comfort and security comes from You alone. God, change the condition of my heart and make me pliable in Your hands. It was Your hands Lord that formed and fashioned me in the secret place, and it is Your hands that are holding me still. Thank Your Lord for being my strength, and for surrounding me with Your love and mercy and tenderness today just as you did when You created me. I will praise You because You are God and You know exactly what You are doing – no matter the season or position I may find myself in. Let Your will be done Lord. May my posture reflect a heart that trusts You today and everyday. Amen.


Chilé Party

I’m convinced…chilé brings people together. The age-old tradition of roasting, peeling, and prepping chilé is a sacred tradition in our family. It’s not the actual food itself that makes the process sacred- it’s the people and the time we share that is so special. 

Every age, every kind of background, every type of creed, every kind of life experience and we can all gather to enjoy time together and share life together. Complete strangers can leave as friends and neighbors can walk right into aromas and conversations that are welcoming and inviting.

There’s just something powerful to me about this experience. I’m so thankful for the chilé that we get to cook and consume at future meals with loved ones, but even more so, I’m thankful for the life that was shared by those who went through the process with us.

Do yourself a favor this weekend, make time to surround yourself with people to truly share life with. Whether you are peeling chilé, playing some music, taking a walk, or whatever you wish- do it. You’ll seriously be glad you did:).


P.S.- Huge shout-out to our family at Casa Montoya for hosting today! It’s always a blast to hang it with y’all! Much love family!

Count Me In

Grandma Sara Praying

FYI: I’m blown away and thankful for the obedience of Mary- the Mother of Jesus. Young, engaged, highly favored by God, and she was still given an opportunity to choose to obey the Lord by doing what He asked of her: to carry, give birth to, and raise The Son of God.

Check out this part of her story: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”And then the angel left her.(Luke 1:26-38 NLT)

Mary began the scene feeling unsure and disturbed by the angel Gabriel’s appearance to her but she didn’t stay in that mindset. She thoughtfully considered all that the angel had told her, and willingly accepted the role, and said yes to Lord with no delay.

That’s a challenging phrase to say aloud: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”(v.38)

In essence, Mary said, “Ok, whatever this adventure entails – count me in.” By doing so, she became the vessel through which Jesus The Messiah was brought into this world. And He came to seek and save that which was lost, including you and me.

I think many times in our lives we might be presented with an opportunity to serve others or give of ourselves and we end up staying in the initial shock that Mary herself experienced. We might even feel shaken to our core or scared to death of going on the adventures God gives us on our journey of faith. The idea of adventure is appealing but the work, the labor, the pain of it, frightens us away. I was catching up with some friends recently and shared this idea with them too.

When did we loose our sense of adventure?

I think a better question is: When did we stop trusting God?

Now, Mary had no clue the entirety of what God was asking of her. But her heart was so yielded to Him and His plans that her response was “yes” to what had been said to her and about her.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of adventures or season you find yourself in today. I can’t see all the questions about your future that are racing around in your head and possibly overwhelming your heart. But I do know this: we can trust God.

We can place every question and obstacle in His very capable hands and allow Him to give us wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. We can carefully consider all that God may be speaking to our hearts as we run to Him in prayer. We can demonstrate faith in action to those around us (especially to our kids!) by choosing His plans and not our own today, knowing He will be our source and hope as we move toward whatever He is asking of us. Be it a very simple task or an overwhelmingly large request, we can choose to trust Him. We can walk firmly in obedience because of Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

I love how this Proverb commands us to trust. It doesn’t say “Try to trust God”, it begins by saying, “Trust”. God knew our human nature would feel like its impossible or daunting, but this verse speaks to our Spirit, encouraging us to trust God. He is God- he can see right now and 10 years from now. He knows what the journey will require of us and He promised to be with us the whole way. That’s the best company we could ever ask for! He will make our paths straight friend- even if they seem crooked or invisible right now. When we seek Him and place all of our trust in Him, He will make the way clear and straight. The path marked out ahead will not be filled with easy days, but it will be filled with the presence of The Lord and His peace to rest on us as we yield ourselves to Him and say, “Ok Lord, count me in.”

Let’s pray friend: Dear Heavenly Father, I choose today to trust you. I choose to say “Yes” to Your plans for my life. Whatever the task or opportunity that comes my way today, help my heart to be yielded to You. I trust that You will be my strength and You will be with me. I don’t have to be scared or overwhelmed by the adventures You want to take me on. Lord, help my thoughts to line up with the truth of Your Word and help my mind not to be derailed by fear of the unknown. You know and see all things Lord. Help me to make Your love and hope known as I follow Your leading. Thank you for the examples of obedience and faith in action throughout Your Word that inspire and challenge me. God, I place all my gifts and resources in Your mighty hands and remind myself that I am Your servant. Count me in Lord,on whatever Your plans for me. Amen.

Go the extra mile: Check out the new song from Plumb entitled, “God Help Me”! Seriously folks, it sums up the post today!