Dedicated to the Best of the Best: Happy Nurses Day!

Over six years ago I started working at a community college in their health services department as their admin. I went into the job having had several years of experience with healthcare providers already so please believe me when I say I work with the best of the best. Unfortunately I do not have the time (nor the HIPAA clearance LOL) to share the countless stories of selfless care, courage, strength, phenomenal care and help this team has offered students and the community, but let me tell you this – they are the epitome of grit and grace. On many days, these nurses remind me that there are angels in our midst, heroes always present and sacrificial help always available because they are ready and willing to help in every situation they are called upon for assistance.So this post is dedicated to them, for the many seen and unseen ways they help change lives.

This excerpt of the Bible in Exodus 1:15-20 is an incredible example of how nurses protect their patients:

15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver.[a] If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.

18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?”

19 “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”

20 So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful.

Clever, capable, courageous….Nurses 🙂 Thank you to the amazing nurses I work with, have worked with and to nurses everywhere. So grateful you chose the vocation of nursing and the calling on your life to help people in need. May continue God bless the work of your hands. Enjoy being celebrated this week! You deserve all that and more!

With all my heart, Sonia

“Be The Reason Another Woman Feels Sunshine, Not Shade”

Good morning! How are you this morning? I’m doing a “sister check-in” right now 🙂 I am tired, another four hour of sleep night. It happens from time to time. I’m on the downside of mid-forties and all the “changes” that comes with, sleep issues being one of them. But I am here and so are you, so I am grateful. The title of this blog is from a post I found on one of the social media sites. I just loved it – so much truth in that statement. We, women, can be shady to each other! God, give us grace!

Mario and I were in the backyard after work yesterday, and I looked up at the trees we planted a year ago along the fence line . I noticed how much the landscape on the embankment behind it has become more vibrant and thick, and I asked if it was because of the trees we planted. There’s a concrete divide between our fence and the embankment behind so they don’t share the drip irrigation we put in for the trees, but I told Mario that I thought they must share something in order to improve so much this past year. Mario mentioned a Radio Lab podcast that he’d heard a while back about that very thing. He sent me the link, and I listened to part of it and was excited to learn there was something to my theory. Here’s that podcast if you want to give it a listen

It got me thinking about this sunshine/shade thing between us women. Maybe it’s because we feel so much, our passion and emotions out in front – whatever it is I hope we learn a thing or two from these trees. Here’s a quote from ecologist Suzanne Simard, “It’s this network, sort of like a below-ground pipeline, that connects one tree root system to another tree root system, so that nutrients and carbon and water can exchange between the trees. In a natural forest of British Columbia, paper birch and Douglas fir grow together in early successional forest communities. They compete with each other, but our work shows that they also cooperate with each other by sending nutrients and carbon back and forth through their mycorrhizal networks.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with competition. I think it’s necessary to push us further in our potential, but it can get tricky with insecurities, fears, jealousy and the like so we’ve got to keep ourselves in check to not throw shade. If you’re in my age group or above here is the definition of throwing shade according to it’s “a subtle way of disrespecting someone verbally or nonverbally.” That’s why I was so intrigued to read about these trees and their cooperation and competition. I think that is a perfect balance of challenging and encouraging each other. Something to think about this Wednesday morning. I have to leave this post here just like this because I have to get ready for work now, but I have two videos that I hope you take the time to watch. The first one is a Tiny Desk concert I’m listening to as I type. It’s really good! The second is a scene from the movie Seabiscuit and what competition should look like (notice riders 7 and 9 at about the minute and a half mark of the video clip). That is my hope and prayer for all of us ladies, that we would help and root for one another – win, lose or draw.

Thanks for reading today! With all my heart, Sonia

The Story of “I Stayed Up Way Too Late Again”

Good morning! I have about ten minutes because I could not will myself out of bed when I should have. I kept resetting my timer for ten minutes, then ten minutes more, then five minutes and five minutes more. You get it, right? I will get to the point. Last night Mario and I were FaceTiming with our friends and one of them said something to the effect of “Why do we push away what we need?” We were talking about different situations in life where we want what we want but it just isn’t that way. Our “ideals” in our occupation, family relationships, home, church, health are not what we would want them to be, and that’s the point this morning. We push back so often against the change God wants to bring into our lives for no other reason then we want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. As I am typing this out I realize how childish and immature this sounds. It’s true though. It is childish and immature (aka selfish) to push against those things that God wants for us because He knows best!

I have to wrap it up here with this: Last night I knew I should have gone to sleep earlier, much earlier. I was tired. But NO, I had to stay downstairs watching TV way too late (I can’t even remember what I was watching), then on my phone in bed (a no-no, I know!) and next thing I know Mario’s watch was making the “it’s midnight” chirp. I didn’t even fall asleep at that time! I was now consternated because it was past midnight, and I wasn’t yet asleep. I may have gotten four hours of sleep tops last night. My fault, totally my fault. I know that is a small example of this theme, but what’s your thing(s)? What change has God brought to your life that you’re just pushing against or flat out ignoring? Whatever it is, my hope and prayer is that we surrender. We lay down our ideals and are open to His plan, His way, His will for us because it is good because He is good! That’s all I’ve got today. As I was writing this, this verse popped in my head:

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

That verse wraps this up. It is time to grow up. God has more for us!

P.S. Please enjoy this song called, “Count Me In” because we are all in this together!

Outfit of the Day

My friend and I are in stressful seasons for different reasons (didn’t mean to rhyme here lol), and we were texting yesterday and decided to do an early morning call to pray this morning to start off our weeks. 5:58am I get this text. “Good morning Sonia! I am finally awake. Lol.” Props to her! I am usually out of bed by 5:30am, but this morning it was hard not to keep resetting my timer. I don’t have snooze as an option on my phone alarms so if I ever want to get more time in bed I have to set the timer for ten minute increments. That’s what happened today – timer city 😦

Anyway…back to the topic of the day (I haven’t had coffee yet so please bear with me!), the phone call lasted ten minutes. It felt so much longer – in the very best way. She prayed first, and it was powerful, heartfelt and so full of love. Then I prayed to end us out asking for God’s filter for all that we will encounter this week. The filter being this verse in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (from The Message)

Before we hung up I said, ” Ok, well we’re armored up, ready for the week!” She agreed – we both knew what that meant. That ten minute phone call full of prayer gave us the proper outfit of the day (look up the verses in Ephesians 6:10-18 for the breakdown of The Whole Armor of God). Whatever comes our way, we are suited up for it! Nothing like that feeling of assurance, knowing that God is with us in all things great and small this week.

My encouragment for us this week and the weeks to come is to get together with your praying friend(s) on whatever day/time of the week you’d like. Connect with each other and our Father in heaven & let His Spirit fill you up! It took ten minutes this morning and totally changed how the week ahead looked. If you want to pray with me, I’m here and ready in the morning. Just let me know 🙂 I’m down!!!

Lastly, enjoy this arrangement of “How Deep Is Your Love” because it starts out with “I know your eyes in the morning sun“. Thank you for reading. I am praying for our hearts and minds to be fixed on prayer. I am praying for friends to unite in prayer like never before. I am praying for our outfits of the day!

With all my heart, Sonia

Time to Finish What You Started

Happy Friday! We made it 🙂 Please bear with me as I take a walk down memory lane with some blog post image highlights starting from 2014 when I started writing.

Thank you for coming along with me on my trip down memory lane with these photos above. These are a few of the images used for the John4Four Blog over the last seven years. So much life happened over that time. In looking at all the posts I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. The reason for the title image today is that I have a situation in my life where I need to pray and move on and this is my life verse. I know, I know, easier said than done. But it’s what I am supposed to do if I am going to finish what I started. I have to, as one friend put it last night over FaceTime, “Pick up my mat and walk.” One foot in front of the other – don’t have to have it all figured out. I’m tired of the futility and anxiousness over the what if’s, aren’t you? It’s time, dear reader friend. Time to finish what we started. For me, it’s going back to school to finish this thing out. What is it for you? I will be praying for you and me as we pick up where we left off, dust ourselves off and run after that dream we pushed aside. Move on, courageous one! Pray and move on.

Happy, blessed and glorious Friday!

With all my heart, Sonia


I received a text yesterday that had this quote, “Beware of people who benefit from your self-neglect, prefer your silence over your truth, liked you better before you started setting boundaries and are intimidated by your growth.” – nakeia homer

A lot to ponder in that little quote. I’ll get back to that later. We live in a time where we scroll through these quotes and the words prompt something from us, some emotion or memory – in all kinds of ways. The words we read strike a chord somewhere, somehow and why is this?

I’ve been reading a book Redeeming Power, Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church by Diane Langberg. So good! Anyone serving or ever interested in ministry in any capacity should be reading this! I’m in the chapter titled “The Power of Culture and the Influence of Words.” Words. Influence. There it is! The reason these little Instagram/Facebook quotes grab us like that is that they’re meant to.

I don’t have much time this morning but I am going to cite two excerpts from pages 54 and 55: “The words we say to ourselves and the words we say aloud to others need to be true and good, or we damage others and ourselves. Our words, both spoken and thought, must always be submitted to the Word made flesh and to God’s written Word. Apart from an ongoing study of God’s Word written and lived, we will have no true way of assessing our own words or the words of others.”

Here’s the next excerpt, “When others label us, we respond by catching the disease and labeling and dismissing them in return. There are many things in our culture that we as Christians must disagree with in both word and deed. But in disagreeing, we must never dismiss or dehumanize another, or we become ungodly.”

Ok, I have got to wrap this up here, but I just wanted to share the warning about words. It’s important for us. They are powerful so like any power – we have to be responsible with what we say and how we live.

So back to the quote. I was glad to receive it – makes sense. And yes, I need to beware of these situations for sure. But one other thing is that I can’t insulate myself against all pain. I have to continue to take the leap of faith in certain relationships, asking God for wisdom every step of the way. God will reveal who stays, who goes and work it all out while I trust Him. He has a plan for it all. We will grow if we let the Lord teach us through these things so when we speak, we speak from a place of more maturity and love. That’s the whole point of us having the gift of words, anyways – to share God’s love and truth.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful Thursday – almost Friday, hang in there!!

With all my heart,


Hey, You! You’re Flawless

Photo by Mu00e1ximo on

Good morning! I have about 15 minutes to put these thoughts in this here blog. I wish I had more time, but I wanted to remind us all of something. Yesterday I was talking with a friend after work and made this comment, “I know I’m not perfect.” She stopped what she was doing and looked right at the computer screen (this was on Zoom) and asked, “You do know how God sees you, right?” That question caught me off guard. I know God loves me, but I also know who I can be in my worst moments. I must have just made a face without answering because she continued, “He sees you as perfect because of Jesus living inside of you.” There. There it was – this truth that I set aside, and maybe all of us set this truth aside as we go about our day. She continued to speak of how God already knows everything, absolutely everything about us and sees us as flawless. So I wanted to write about that today. Walk in that truth today. Yes, we still have our skin and all the blemishes that we know about but bigger than that is His perspective and truth about us. Let’s live that out! Live that loud!

Here’s some truth from God’s Word:

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

Here are some lyrics from Flawless by Mercy Me: (I encourage you to look this song up on YouTube and let the words flow over you and SING ALONG)

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do. Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing graceNo matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
. Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

Well, it is 6:56am! I made it! I will wrap this up letting you know that I have gotten knocked down more times than I can count so far this year, and it’s just April LOL! Guess what, I keep getting back up. By God’s grace I keep pressing on. I just want you to know that, that this is hard, and we will make mistakes, but we are who God says we are! We are flawless.

Last thing before I hit the Publish button on this thing….as I write I put on music in the background. This morning I chose Respond by Travis Greene on YouTube and this song here came on right after. SO GOOD!! Put this on blast and have a beautiful Wednesday, my flawless friend!

As always, I sign off with “All my heart” because it is with all my heart that I write these words to you this morning, Sonia

Playlist for a Bad Day

To my handful of readers, I hope this blesses you whether or not you’ve had a bad day (week/month…) recently or are right in the middle of one. I was at the tail end of my bad day recently when I finally sat down on the couch to watch tv and just try to forget all of it. I couldn’t shake the heaviness that just felt like it was sitting on me – holding me stuck. The replaying of the day and emotions were showing no signs of leaving my mind. I was just flipping through channels on the remote hoping to land on something like The Office or whatever to lighten things up, when I came across the channel that was going to show the movie, I Can Only Imagine next. If you haven’t seen it yet – find it, watch it! Watch it today, please! I was reminded once again about God’s redemptive power no matter what. I can relate to that movie in so many ways so the tears kept falling after I watched it last night, partly because of the movie, partly because of the day and mostly because God is so so good. Afterward Mario and I were talking about the band Mercy Me (since the movie is based on the life of the lead singer and how his song, “I Can Only Imagine” came to be). We looked up their song list on YouTube and were listening to a few of them when I came across this gem:

This testimony was so honest and made sense why this song rocks me to the core every time I hear it. It’s amazing what worship can do to a heavy heart. The tears turn into joy right then and there. It’s literally miraculous.

We listened to this song last night too, just sat and listened and let these words, the beautiful melodies, harmonies lift our hearts up:

We heard this one too, reminding us to press through and remember how His grace has got us:

And to end this playlist out, listen to this one as loud as you can and remember that He made us flawless:

I’m so thankful this morning that everything, everything, everything heartbreaking, soul crushing, aggravating, gut-punching will be used to mend, mold, shape, transform and bring value and ultimate good for my life and point to the glory to God. If you’re having a bad day (or not), I hope you know how much you are loved and seen right there in the heartbreak. God hasn’t turned away and won’t leave you there. I will end out this blog post with my life verse:

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Oh yes, He does rejoices over us with singing.

With all my love,


Do You Suffer From “Spinning Plate Syndrome”?

It’s 5:30am on a dark Monday morning, and although I am trying to switch to tea, I confess I desperately need coffee this morning. For those of you who know me, you know that the better part of this past year I have struggled with insomnia, but thankfully the past few months it subsided quite a bit – until last night. I struggled getting to sleep while this topic of “spinning plates” literally spun around in my mind. I’ve been up since 3:30 this morning praying, reading, avoiding, flat out reasoning myself out of writing this blog post. I’m laughing now because my alarm just went off on my phone, startling me in the middle of typing. It is quite comical that I even had an alarm set today. I am seriously NOT going to get rest until I write, and that is really ok. I think we all need those “motivations” – whatever God uses to put attention on something.

That’s what happened to me and my husband this past year during the Covid pandemic shut down – God got our attention. We didn’t even know it but we were seriously stuck in a spinning plate situation that had only one way out. Looking back on the last year we can see it now, but while we were in it we just kept going. I will seriously spare you all the hints from God that we were not supposed to keep at it like that. We worked tirelessly at all the tasks/demands/jobs/relationships with little regard to how this was affecting our ability to truly connect with God and each other. Let’s face it, it was easier that way, at least for a while. It’s easier to look outward, perform outwardly, get validated from outside sources than to work on intimacy and healthy living within the walls of your home. At least that’s how it was for us – until about two and a half months ago.

After the beginning of 2021 we had lots of talks, prayer and soul searching to make some big changes that ultimately led to stop spinning the plates, sitting down and seeing things for how they really are. And see, did we. We saw once again, like we did at the beginning of our journey with the Lord, His order for our lives. His order, meaning God first and then each other and then everything else. We were out of order, hence the spinning of the plates, and we were in situations and environments that made it all too easy to keep that pace going.

So, we stopped. We made the difficult and scary decision to say no to living out of control. We made the decision to be okay with being misunderstood. We made the choice to rest and trust in the Lord’s faithfulness. We made the choice to choose each other again.

Like any big life change, it will be stepping into the vast unknown. Changes in all areas of your life are pretty much guaranteed. When you let go of all of those plates you were never meant to be spinning, your hands are freed up to receive everything that God has. Don’t get me wrong, it is messy, not perfect and heart wrenching at times since your muscles were so used to working at warp speed to keep everything afloat for so long. Life, as you know it will never be the same, but that is the life giving process of letting go of that control and letting God have His perfect way in your life and mine.

And just know….this is a process. When you stop spinning the plates, things will crash down. Be certain of that. Try, as you may, to avoid the crashing plates, you can’t. You will cringe at the sound. You will agonize over the people staring at the pile of mess. You will cry over the “silence.” But then, God will be right there. You will find He hasn’t gone anywhere, and He will not leave you confused. He will give you wisdom, strength, joy and everything you need to flex the courageous muscles needed for finding joy in the uncertain.

I am encouraged by this Facebook post from Beth Moore on March 17 this year: ‘It’s not too late for a new start. It may be scary as heck. But it’s not too late. I find that, over and over in this pilgrimage home, Jesus finds one way or another to scribble a question in the dirt: Do you trust Me? Then follow Me.” But where are You going, Lord? “Come & see.”‘

I could write and write about shattered plates, mosaics and the like but I’ll stop here and ask for you to listen to this song on blast about our Waymaker but because I am half Mexican, half Puerto Rican, I had to post the salsa version for you all (found at the top of this post). Have a blessed week!

With all my heart,


“Hard Sunday” Chicken Recipe

Disclaimer: This isn’t the photo of my chicken dish but it was a legit recipe

This past Sunday was a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. The day consisted of virtual church in the morning, brunch at home with our daughters, a nasty argument with my husband, a three-hour conversation with friends, a continuation of the nasty argument and finally a home cooked chicken dinner with peace as the main dish. I will spare you all the details of said ugly argument and just tell you that we are dealing with a big change in our lives. I am processing all the emotions of it one way, and he is processing his emotions another way. The difference of how we are dealing with the emotions led to the nasty argument. I read somewhere recently that when someone is sharing their feelings, simply asking the question, “Do you need comfort or solutions?” has solved most of all arguments. I looked up who coined this phrase to give proper credit but just found social media posts about it. A friend of mine said she’d read it or something like it in the book ‘Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs’ by Emerson Eggerichs, which is probably where this came from.

So getting back to Sunday’s events…at the tail end of the second part of the nasty argument, we realized we were both hungry. It was around 8pm, and we hadn’t eaten since midday. I had wanted to make chicken before meeting up with our friends, but we had spent all our time on the first part of the nasty argument that I didn’t get it done. I pulled out my phone and searched “Chicken Thigh Recipe” and just clicked on the first one that popped up. Here it is:

Seriously sooooo good! I thought it was going to come out tasting as exhausted and angry as I felt, but it was amazing! Mario and I ate our dinner, still feeling the effects of the day, but thankful that we pushed through it all TOGETHER. We received the comfort we both needed right then and, I’m sure, it helped our blood sugar levels come back to normal and gave us a sense of comfort, warmth and the sustenance we needed to put the day to rest. What we both needed was comfort. The solutions will come when they’re supposed to, but it was comfort we were after, and we just blew it in communicating and focusing in on our pain. We forgot that we are in this process together. We are so different, but the need for comfort during this time is the same.

I wanted to write this blog for any and all of us having a few hard days to say, hang in there! God will provide everything we need even when we can’t articulate it or come up with what we need in that very moment. He will provide your very own “Hard Sunday Chicken Recipe” moment, tailored specifically for your heart and what it so needs…comfort from His hand.

Thank you for reading, and special thank you to for that recipe. I will be making this again and maybe next time the blog will be called “Supremely Peaceful Sunday – Chicken Recipe.”

One last thing before I end this: here’s the song Surrender by Natalie Taylor that someone sent me yesterday. I think it goes with this blog theme. Please listen and enjoy 🙂

With all my heart,


It’s the Heart of the Matter

#valentinesday2021 I just searched this hashtag on Instagram and there are 446,000 posts already and we haven’t even gotten to the day yet! We are an obsessed people with all things love, love, love. I am glad for that. I, too, love love.

Do you remember that book that was turned into a movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo? Here’s the summary from Wikipedia, ‘The book is a “self-help” guide aimed for single women. The premise of the book, as stated in the title, tells women readers that if a man in whom you are interested in is not making the effort to pursue you, he is simply “just not that into you.”’

Then there’s the quote from Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Basically stating that people will show you how they feel about you. We tend to ignore red flags, signs, warnings and that gut-feeling all in the name of getting love from that person(s). We all make these mistakes so this is NOT an, “I’ve got this! Let me tell you all the answers” blog post. (Well, spoiler alert, there is an answer but please just read ‘til the end). And I believe you don’t even reach adulthood before having this type of scenario with at least one, if not a few, relationships.

Side note: I’m sorry for the downer Intro on Presidents’ Day/Valentine’s weekend! Hang in there…I’m going somewhere with this.

We all search for love, long for that special love, the unconditional, never going to leave you, no matter what, thick or thin, “I’m amazed by you“ love. Totally normal! What isn’t normal is what we sacrifice & compromise to get it from those who never intended to love us in the first place. (Cue the Johnny Lee song “Looking for Love in all The Wrong Places”).

So, I’ve been married to the love of my life, by God’s grace, almost 16 years now, and I put that Johnny Lee song to rest quite some time ago – but even now, all that love Mario has to give doesn’t cut it because we are just plain human and fail each other and, at times, flat out break each other’s hearts.

But still , we all need that perfect love and we tend to spend our lives trying to attain it in all sorts of ways, when it exists and is free and readily available if you want to accept it: JESUS, God’s only Son. ❤️

I’m serious! I spent 35 years of my life without accepting His love in my heart because I thought I was too damaged, not good enough and certainly not holy enough. But I’ve been in that relationship with Him for 11 years now, and He has NEVER EVER let me down.

Don’t sell yourself short & believe the hype that love like that doesn’t exist or that it’s for other people, the “put together, well-behaved” people! And don’t miss out because you think you are “a good person” and don’t need “religion.” We all have that longing for the perfect love and the answer is the one and only, the Savior of the World, Jesus.

My Valentine’s prayer for all of us is that no matter where we are, we look up & let that love fill us to overflowing knowing that God sees every part of us and chose us as His own. Most amazing of all, He died for us. He literally laid down His life us to give us something we could never get on our own…everlasting life, everlasting love. Grab your Bible or type in Google, John 3:16 and read it, and then put your hand on your heart. That’s the heart He died for.

Thanks for reading!

With all my ❤️,


P.S. Happy Birthday, Madds 🎈

“NMWBYBD” – A Super Bowl Sunday Blog Post

N M W B Y B D. This is the tattoo I would get if I ever got one (or maybe I already have one 😉), just those initials listed and in that order. I’ll tell you why and what they stand for in a moment.

On a day when we tend to gather around TVs and food trays and all the like, I think of winning – who will win? Who will be victorious? Who will get that trophy, the ring, the interviews, the hype and the glory that comes with it?

For the last few days, weeks really…I’ll be honest, probably longer (all year!) I’ve been in a mental, spiritual and sometimes even physical wrestling match with none other that yours truly. There is a laundry list of things that are not going my way ,or the way I think they should go, in pretty much every area of my life right now. Before I go any further I will tell you that I am aware that I have so much to be thankful for & I am. This post is about the other things, the estranged relationships, the dreams that haven’t come to pass, the painful memories of the past hurts that don’t seem to go away, the health issues that keep creeping in and so on and so forth. It can get me down, and I mean down 😩!

So in my funk God kept bringing me to this verse: Luke 22:42

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Did you catch it?


It’s the “not My will, but Yours, be done” part of that verse. That’s my tattoo because that is what true victory looks like. That’s winning!

Here are the facts: God loves us. God has a perfect plan for our lives. When we surrender to Him (accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior) we get to experience the great exchange of our will (which is mostly, if not all, limited and selfish) for His will (which is perfect and glorious). We get to have those moments where life gets hard and we shift our focus to sit in the “hard” and let God lead us through to the other side.

On a day when we look at winning through the lens of a tv screen may we also remember a garden scene where the real victory took place when Jesus uttered those words ‘saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

My prayer today is that we look at the hard stuff in our lives and turn to God uttering those very same words. The garden didn’t look like victory at the time, but you and I know the truth – that garden, those words, our Jesus, made the impossible possible. He won so we could live victoriously.

Have a blessed Super Bowl Sunday!! Thank you for reading!

With all my heart,


Are You Okay With Being Weak?


Screen-Shot-2019-10-19-at-2.39.08-PM-1.pngFirst of all, it’s okay not to be okay. Let me lead this blog post stating that fact. We can all take a collective sigh of relief to stop trying to fight the obvious in our lives. I had a thought the other morning – or several thoughts actually – it was like a list that wouldn’t end, and it consisted of all that is wrong with me. All my weaknesses were flooding my mind: i eat too much, i cuss too much, i fight too much, i don’t fight enough, i clean too much, i clean too little, i talk too much, i don’t listen enough, i am gullible, i am cynical, i am emotional, i am cold, i am wishy-washy, i don’t have healthy boundaries, i am withdrawn, i am too much, i am not enough no matter what i do…and the list went on. I’d like to say this was an isolated event, but it wasn’t. So I spent the day trying to prove myself wrong. It was exhausting. It is exhausting. Anyone else do this? Then later that night I had another thought about this whole thought process. It was this: all day I spend fighting the fact that I am weak. I spend my day trying to overcompensate for my weaknesses and prove myself wrong about what I know about Sonia. Each day I am just growing weaker and more defeated. It is a vicious and futile fight. Why is that?

I was never made to be strong in the way I understand strong to be. That is why. Simple, really (but hard for me to comprehend!). I was never made to shoulder these weaknesses and magically nor forcefully turn them into something the world can nod their approval at.

So this morning I want us all to give ourselves a break. We are weak. Let’s just admit it, embrace it, own it. And just before you think this couldn’t be true about you, or true about that person with the perfect instagram – let me tell you, we are all weak. All of us. Different weaknesses – yes, but weak, we are, nonetheless. But guess what? Here’s the good part of that confession. We don’t have to stay like that – just a mess of a person. Let this equation roll around in your mind and believe it – this may the bravest thing you have ever done: your weakness = God’s strength in your life on display.

He will do miracles with those weaknesses! You just have to engage in the exchange. It is hard, let me tell you – that daily struggle is tougher than we imagine sometimes, but when you catch that stride and just let go and let God, something amazing happens. Freedom. Freedom from the thoughts of your limitations and freedom from fears that everything depends on you being strong. You don’t have to hold up all the spinning plates knowing you never learned how to juggle. Let the plates fall – and don’t care if the world laughs at the broken plates because God will pick those pieces up and make something incredible out of all the brokenness. He will put that masterpiece (made from your broken pieces put in their proper place) on blast for your good and His Glory!

Here’s a passage on that topic out of The Message (2 Corinthians 12:7-10):

“7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

Let’s respond to those weaknesses today with God’s divine plan to give us His strength. Let’s stop bullying ourselves. We don’t have to worry about what He is going to do with our weaknesses. Just run to Him. Call out to Him. Let His love lift your head. He loves us.

With all my heart,



My Morning Walk Playlist

It’s 7:15am on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, and we are in the midst of a global pandemic with mask orders, (partial) beach closures and for some of us, in a remote working world. Amidst all of this there is pressure, stress, all kinds of relationship issues, financial problems, addictions, obsessions and loads and loads of self-medicating mechanisms. So this morning I woke up not looking forward to what the news will say or what awaited me in my email box for work. I have too much laundry to do and I’ve been working from home so I have no excuse. Dishes are in the sink and it’s just me and my husband here. I have relationship issues with some family members and friends and all of this was beating down on me this morning with the overarching theme that my life is a mess. I got out of bed and had to clear my head so I got dressed to go on a run in my neighborhood. God had other plans, and I’m so glad. Let me walk you through my morning walk (not run) with God, if you will 🙂

First it started off with my Apple Music not working on my phone. It wouldn’t load any song so I put on my Beats on and just looked for songs on YouTube the whole walk. Here are those songs. Please Enjoy!

Since I felt so defeated and down it is no wonder that the first song that popped in my head was something completely opposite: Kirk Franklin’s, Love Theory.

Next up as I started on an incline I thought of this song and typed it in, here it is…NF’s, I’ll Keep On.  (I love, love, love the words on this. It’s like someone looked in my heart and mind and put this song together!)

Then I went onto this song called Symphony by Switch. My favorite line of this one says, “Even in the madness, there is peace, drowning out the voices all around me. Through all of this chaos, You are writing a symphony.” YES! Amen!!

Next song that popped in my head was Riley Clemmon’s, Fighting For Me. Oh man, does He fight for us. Give this a listen and let those words sink in. He fights for us when we can’t fight for ourselves!!!

And then probably because I still had quite a way to go when I started to head back I pulled up for King and Country’s, It’s Not Over Yet. Like the song says, “Hope is rising! Never give in and never give up. It’s not over.” (I may or may not have been shadowboxing as I was heading home and listening to this one:)

As I rounded the corner onto my street I pulled up this song, Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells, and let me tell you, my hands were up in the air, full on praising God and full of fresh perspective. “In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there.”

Last song for my morning walk was also by Tauren Wells called Known. I walked up to the front door and turned the handle and walked in a different person than when I had left just a half hour earlier, all because I went on this little walk with God and literally let Him sing over me.

I can’t know what you’re going through this morning, maybe you woke up feeling great, maybe, like me, you didn’t. Either way, I know I was supposed to share this with you. I literally asked God, “if you don’t want me to write anything this morning I won’t.”  I’m totally content just having this moment with Him and relishing that, but here I am sharing my morning playlist with you and the literal journey God took me on – all because my apple Music wouldn’t work. I think that’s one of the big takeaway’s for me right now. When things aren’t working, GOOD, because God has something better.

Have a beautiful Wednesday and know that if thing’s aren’t working out the way you think they should, hang in there, with God all things are possible! Matthew 19:26

With all my heart,


13 Pounds Lighter (Give or Take)

My HIIT Machine from Costco 🙂

I had to go to a doctor’s appointment yesterday and had to step onto the scale. Disclaimer: I am not all caught up in fitness, but I would put myself into the category of people I have heard described as “Fit-ish.” At times I am more motivated than others, but I have purposed to do cardio at least four times a week along with some other at home exercises sprinkled in here and there – nothing too drastic, but I did commit to this. Some weeks are better than others. More often than not I have kept my commitment and got up on that machine. Now add that to some GI problems in the last year that “inspired” me to make some much-needed diet changes and, “voila!” I have kept some weight off. After I was weighed by the medical assistant I asked her what my weight was. She said that I was ten pounds lighter than last year at this time and thirteen pounds lighter than May 2018! Now I know weight is just a number and muscle weighs more than fat etc., and I believe that, but my clothes fit better, my left knee has stopped hurting me and some of my joints that ached a little before hardly ache at all now, so I know it’s a good thing. This is not a”quick fix -lose weight fast thing” because it’s just been little tweaks to my routine over time. I now have proof that little decisions towards my health when no one is looking & when I am tired and would rather not, are making a world of difference. Taking care of my body is not selfish act – as a matter of fact – I’m called to this, and not just in the way of my physical health, but in every aspect of life. I need to show up for myself & so do you! Whatever little tweaks God has been tugging on your heart to do, do it! Push through the obstacles of old patterns, old ways of thinking and just downright laziness. Invest in yourself! I say this to myself right now as I get ready for the upcoming year and all that God has. I know there will be all kinds of changes and unknowns, but I want to be going in the right direction.

This past year I pushed aside my Bible more often than I care to admit and chose doing things my way in many areas. I still pressed forward – picking up where I left off. God doesn’t leave us behind when we have a cheat day (or cheat week/month/year). He just lets us get up, dust ourselves off and keep walking. That’s what He showed me with this weight thing – He is pressing in perseverance not perfection. Although I want the perfection so badly, perseverance is where the victory is. I want to be more committed to “being” rather than “doing” because I know it’s in the “being” that the doing will be done the right way.  Here’s the “being” list: BEING God’s daughter. That’s it. That’s all I am called to do – the rest is up to Him. He just wants me to get out of the way, be ready for Him to lead me and then trust. Will I fail sometimes – yes! Will I get it right sometimes – yes! Will I mature through all this – yes! Will I grow more into the woman God created – yes, and not because it’s up to Sonia, but because it is up to My Lord and My God. He won me over ten years ago, and I look back on that ten year landscape and know I have lost more than these 13 pounds. I’m much lighter in the truest sense of the word. And just so you don’t get it twisted, I am not boasting in my abilities – I am boasting in God’s faithfulness.

The Race of Faith

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thanks for reading & thanks for running your race!

With all my heart,


The Physical vs. The Virtual

Yesterday I had an experience that I will never forget. It was a busy Friday afternoon, like any other busy Friday afternoon. I was rushing after work to pick something up from TJ Maxx before heading home to get ready to attend a couples costume event our church was putting on for the Couples/Marriage Group. I had received a text earlier that day that said, “Dress warm!” My costume was warm enough, but I knew my husband’s wouldn’t be so I made it a point to go pick up a long sleeved sweatshirt that would go with his outfit. Before I go on let me back up to Tuesday night – this very past Tuesday night, three days before this story takes place. For weeks now our Pastor’s wife has been making the announcement for donations of small canned goods (the easy-to-open kind, no can opener needed), protein bars, toiletries, socks, blankets and other items to go into big Ziploc bags to hand out to the homeless during these cold months. This is something our church does every year around this time. For the past month or so people have donated items and this past Tuesday night bags were made. Tuesday night is a church night for Refuge, the church I attend. We have services on Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights. Sometimes it is hard to get there after a hard day at work or just a plain hard day, but when I show up my heart, my mind gets recalibrated – I see people, they see me. It’s just connection. It’s just God. This particular Tuesday night, our Pastor’s wife gave me two of these bags to have on hand in my car in case I came across someone in need. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would even get the opportunity because I rush around so much and don’t really stop any one place long enough. My life feels like I go straight to work, home, groceries or to church and that’s it. So yesterday as I drove up to park in front of TJ Maxx  I could see a rather large man, who looked to be homeless, crouched down in front of the trash can outside the entrance of the store. I got out of my car and as I got closer to the front door I got a better look at him. We locked eyes for a moment. He had piercing blue eyes that kind of shocked me because it was such a contrast to his dirt stained face and brown clothing. I saw a look in his eyes that I will never forget. The only way I could describe it was that he looked as if he felt bad for me that I had to see him doing that, picking through the trash. His face haunted me as I made my way through the store. As I stood in line to buy the sweatshirt, I knew I was going to give him a bag if I saw him outside again. I walked out of the store and saw him down in front of the Rite Aid pharmacy a few stores down. I walked quickly to the car and grabbed one of the ziploc bags seeing socks and other items that I know he could use along with the food. As I walked over he looked frightened that I was making a bee line for him so he grabbed his bags and started walking away fast. As I quickened my pace, I yelled out, “Sir!” He stopped and turned around as I caught up to him holding out the bag. I said, “This is for you. God bless you.” He reached out his hand which looked mangled with arthritis and looked up and said, “God bless you.” He looked relieved and thankful. My heart broke in a million pieces right then. I walked back to my car, called my husband and just sobbed as I told him what just happened. This leads me to the title of my blog post tonight. All this happened in the physical – from the people showing up to church and bringing items, to our Pastor and his wife opening the doors and putting this effort into motion, to all kinds of people taking bags and handing them out all over the surrounding cities. All of this was shared by people who showed up to do their part. In a virtual world, this is what is missed. Now I know there are seasons when you just can’t get to a church, that’s not what I am speaking to right now. This message is for all of us who think online experiences “check the box” and fulfill that “requirement”. Guess what!? We don’t have to go to church, we GET TO! We don’t have to donate items, we GET TO! We don’t have to pass out bags, we GET TO! And to the man out there with the brilliant blue eyes, you are being prayed for and thank you for accepting that bag. God used you in my life more than you’ll ever know.

With all my heart,


Been Lied To? Have You Lied Before?


So, here it is, the ugly truth. I have lied before, and I have been lied to. I am typing this right now because someone just lied to me, and instead of heading into the direction I always do, which is to exact revenge in some manner, I need to sit. Sit and write. Sit and write and pray. Sit and write and pray and confess. Confess this, lying to me makes me want to rip your face off. Sorry, it’s the truth. Even though when I lie or have lied – I want/wanted all the grace in the world – I am out for blood when it happens to me. I may not act out all the things that happen in my mind when I am confronted with this, but rest assured I have thought really bad thoughts about how justice could be delivered in the way I think most fitting for my shattered feelings.

So now what? What do I do as my breathing is still faster than I’d like it to be and my mind is still recalling the recent interaction? I’ve confessed my (MUCH) less than godly thoughts, and I’ve had some time to sit. I’ve prayed, “God help me not rip their face off.” So now what…

Maybe you are not like me and don’t have an anger management problem to contend with so you think you’re better than me with this – good for you. Really, I am not saying this in a mean tone as I type. I sincerely mean it: GOOD FOR YOU. I wouldn’t wish my temper on anyone.

I will say this though. In this weakness of mine, I am growing stronger in God’s grace. Just the fact that I am willing to sit here and type and not give full vent to my feelings towards the person who lied, is growth for me. Just the fact that tears are stinging my eyes instead of bad words being hurled out of my mouth at breakneck speed, is a miracle.

So this awful moment – when lies were flung at me, is just a moment in time where I can see God’s hand steady me as I wait. I don’t have to take the bait this time and walk away a villain once again because of my temper. I can remember that I, too, have lied, and I, too, need grace. All this is possible, even if this person doesn’t apologize and make it right. I can be free. I can honor the Lord.

So here it is…the TRUTH, I need God’s grace. You need God’s grace. We need grace from each other. Grace and grace and grace again and tons of truth – and not just a version of it, but the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us God.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

That’s all for today. Thank you for reading (and praying for me!).

With all my heart,



45 & Showing Up

This from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Priscilla Shirer! Perfect insta post for this day!

To say I am blown away to wake up and celebrate this 45th trip around the sun is an understatement. I could fill a book and then some with scenarios that were not the safest nor sanest of things to do in my teens, twenties, thirties. With all of those memories comes this realization, “God kept me alive for a reason, and I don’t want to take that lightly.” I write in a prayer journal every day and this is what I wrote today at 8:45am: 

Dear Father God, Thank you for this beautiful day full of birth and identity in You! I pray I please You even more this year, respect and love my husband more this year and let go of the need of validation from others. Thank you for sustaining, growing me, teaching me and molding me. Steady as I go, Lord. No holding back now. I am brave, bold, beautiful and best of all, Yours. Make me even more effective for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

There’s that part in my prayer – that secret part, the “Let go of the need of validation from others,” part – that makes me slightly terrified because I know it means that I have asked God to put me in the process of changing this, and He is faithful to do it. So why did I ask Him for this birthday gift? Because the people-pleasing part is killing me…as I know it is a killer for anyone. I just got off the phone with a friend of mine, and we were talking about the people-pleasing starts young partly because of not fitting in, like anywhere or with any particular group. She said, “It’s everybody’s story.” I agree. It’s not just my story. We don’t quite fit, and that is a good thing. So this year that is what I am going to do with God’s help: stop making it everyone’s job around me to make me feel accepted, valued and whole. That’s what God has already given me so I can open that up every day and launch out from there and SHOW UP!

To those who have been patient with me through all of these years, “Thank you and forgive me.” To those who will be put off by me putting up some new boundaries #sorrynotsorry, and to those that are in this same boat, “Let’s cheer each other on and point to Jesus!”

That’s all for today, with my whole heart, thank you for reading my b-day post!


Insecurities. They’re a Killer.

Good morning. Happy Summer. It’s been awhile. It’s about 5:22am on Monday morning, June 24. I have been awake since 4am with a thought in my mind about insecurities – probably because I struggle so much with them. Let me give some insight to what goes in to these blog posts on here. What goes on in my head and heart is like a steady pressing in of a topic – a lingering theme that will keep popping up. When that happens there may be a few discussions with friends, prayer, more ideas and then I will try to talk myself out of writing. This has happened about 40 times with this topic until 4am today came around, and it was like, “That’s it. I really can’t take this anymore. I will write already!”

So here it is. Insecurities…they’re a killer. They kill everything in their path: identity, relationships, families, health, careers, hopes, dreams…everything. I think we know all of that firsthand, but how do we battle this? How do we not let this thing win? Disclaimer: I don’t have the answers for you. This isn’t a self-help blog post. Think of this more as a challenge for us. I, like many of us, love the instagram positive affirmation posts and quick 3 minute videos about how to be an overcomer. All of that is great and has its place but it doesn’t last, I mean, really it’s a 3 minute video, LOL!!

I’ll tell you what…it’s been almost ten years ago now that I started a journey – more like I was invited on a journey. Jesus literally met me in my lowest state of self-esteem and said, “Come follow Me.” And I did. Not knowing anything about anything, really. I knew the God of the Bible in the catechetical sense but thought He gave up on me a long time ago for a laundry list of ungodly acts and unrighteous living. That one act of believing what God says about me every day for the last 3,616 days has led me here to a place where I can say “publicly” that I tremble inside sometimes when I look completely in control on the outside – that I battle negative self-talk and sometimes believe it when I hear that old message in my head, “See, you will never get anything right.” I can admit that I struggle, sometimes greatly, with close relationships – that it’s a battle just to show up.

All that struggle isn’t for just nothing – it leads to amazing change and growth and new life and discovery of who God is and what He created us for. Believe it when I say that the struggle isn’t the killer – letting the insecurities win, however, is. The practical ways I battle this are to not to isolate. I heard somewhere recently that people die from choking sometimes because they’re too embarrassed for people to see them struggle so they find a private place and by the time it’s very serious and they need help, they can’t get it in time. Morbid thought, I know, but it’s true. Hiding and isolation are killers. I also start my day with God’s word most days. I need His words in my head a whole lot more than I need mine. I also serve at my local church where it is safe to have those struggles as people are open about their own. It really is a healing community. Lastly, I pray for perseverance. I pray to hang in there and not run from the hard stuff on the hard days.

Let me reiterate again, I don’t have the answers for you, but I know God does. I just want to share how my journey has been so far. To truly overcome insecurities or at least work past them on our really bad days, we need to have faith in something/Someone bigger than our fear and that is Jesus. He isn’t a bandaid or quick fix. He is a relationship, the one relationship that will truly lead you on a journey of freedom.

To end let me share the verse of my life from Zephaniah 3:17:


With all my heart,


This (insert struggle here) is God’s Love Too

09da8585526a8d8d6938dab0d81eab0b.jpgTonight I have a confession to make here. I’m struggling with change all around me, and I do not like it. Relationships, jobs, schools, finances, family…things look very different than even a few months ago. Not all of it is bad, but it definitely feels like I’m on shaky ground, and I’m gingerly walking each step, holding my breath. I am questioning myself, doubting things I once found solidness in and have this sense that things are completely out of control. I wonder, “Am I just blowing it here?” or “Is everyone heading one direction, and I’m veering off the road?” That’s where I am right now. No concrete answers. No one saying, “Go this way or don’t go that way!” Just sitting here in my struggle against, CHANGE.

Last night Mario and I had a conversation about failure and one of the things we brought up was what real failure looked like. I said, “I think if you’re not growing and changing, you’re failing. If you unplug and disconnect from the hard stuff then you’re failing.” Little did I know how those words would play out real time in my mind the very next night as I sit here in this uncertainty.

This is all I know tonight…this is the only truth I can hang my hat on, “This, too, is God’s love.” Whatever all this is…the feelings, the wonderings, the angst, the worry…God’s love has not gone anywhere. That’s all I’ve got.  That He loves me, and He’s letting me have this time to process and grow out of fear and into faith. I’m a Christian so I do go through that process of trying to pinpoint what I’m doing that is sin so I can just confess it and be done with it. I have to just wait on God to see what He shows me. I have to cry out to Him and let Him know I am afraid and uncertain. I have to open up my heart to whatever truth He wants to reveal. Right now, it’s the “I have to” time because it’s part of growing up. I have to wait until He walks me through this to the other side. I can’t move. I can’t change friends. I can’t change jobs. I can’t change families. I can’t change churches. I can’t change anything, but I can wait for God to change me – because if you’re not growing and changing, you’re failing.

If you’re like me tonight, trust God and His timing. Don’t trust your feelings.

Also tonight in our Women’s Bible study we started “Steadfast Love – A Study of Psalm 107” by Lauren Chandler, and I have to tell you, as hard as it is to just “be” right now, these words we studied tonight really drove it home,

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:29-30”

God will get us to that desired haven – we can be sure of that. He loves us – we can be sure of that. He will deliver us – we can be sure of that. He is faithful – we can be sure of that.

With all my heart,


Dirty Laundry Redefined


Here are some of the titles I have written down for this blog:

“Fighting & Fixation”

“I Don’t Know Everything and Neither Do You So Let’s Relax Already!”

“OH NO! ‘Ruin is the Road to Transformation’ ”

“God, please help me”

Ummm can you sense a theme? It’s called being at the end of your rope, end of your self, end of the situation…whatever it is, it’s the end, YOU’RE TIRED!”

(Quick side note) About this image, just an FYI, I did try to find out who this “” person is to ask if I could use this image, but the website just goes to some GoDaddy account so props to for creating this image.

Ok, now onto business, this blog format is way to inappropriate of a platform to give you all the nitty gritty details of the last two weeks of my life behind closed doors so let me say this, it was UGLY. Yes, ugly and Terrible. Horrible. Tragic. Unbelievable and yet, here I am wanting to tell you, that, yes I can say this, “God is here!”

You want to know why? Because if you knew me, I mean really knew me, you would know that I wouldn’t be sitting here at the computer, typing away, telling you that it’s gonna be okay. Okay, it might get worse before it gets better, but it is going to be okay God’s way. That’s the motto right now, folks, it’s gonna be okay – God’s way. What I would be doing if this was the old me….you don’t want to know. I promise you. You don’t!

There are messages that can play out in our minds about ourselves, our history and our destiny that just aren’t true anymore. I mean, I became a Christian at 35 years of age and that means 35 years of doing life in complete darkness and sick toxicity. 35 years! That means my elementary school years, teenage years, 20’s and half of my 30’s just jacked up from the floor up, literally. The history lesson that plays out in my head is so strong sometimes that I think this new life with God is just a hoax or a trick being played on me that I can be a new creation. Yet, here I sit in a home that is safe and pretty, with a sweet dog that is sleeping peacefully in her dog bed, with a husband that is working hard right now & we’re still married (!!!), with a daughter who loves to talk with me and see me, with friends a phone call away who will pray with me, with a church family that has real people in it who know God’s power and with a mind that is fixed on God’s promises, pushing through the pain and muscle memory of destructive habits.

I wish we would scream our deficiencies and let people see the ugly sometimes. Social media is so not reality a lot of the time. I know my accounts are too pretty at times. Social media is a good way to PR the heck out of your life when it’s in the toilet, let me tell you, so don’t believe the hype sometimes. I mean, there are times it’s just a good photo, capturing a real moment. But when the angles are consistently on point, the color and background are flawless and the plastered smiles are perfect in photo after photo, it’s okay to ask the question, “What about your bad days?” We all have them, and they all suck! Doesn’t matter what filter you choose – it’s a freaking bad day!!

I was talking with a friend Monday night, and she’s struggling too. During that conversation I was reminded of the story in Matthew 16 where Jesus was talking to Peter at Caesarea Phillipi and said to him,

18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),[a] and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell[b] will not conquer it.” 

I got to go to that very spot (Caesarea Phillipi) a few years back on an Israel trip with our church. As our pastor taught there my heart just came alive to witness firsthand that this place that Jesus chose to have this conversation with Peter represented such death and darkness. I could relate to that! He was telling Peter that not even that evil would prevail against the work He was going to do.

That inspires me right now, and I hope it inspires you too. Whatever darkness or death you are experiencing, just breathe and get up tomorrow and scream or whisper to yourself, “God’s got this! God’s got me! God’s got them!” The gates of hell will not prevail against it, against you, against what God is doing in your life.

Air that dirty laundry – it’s time! You can be fragile…like a beautiful vase that God guards with His very life. You don’t have to be a ticking time bomb anymore. Let God bring the beauty from those ashes of your own destructive bombs, and let Him hold your fragile heart. Stand in His safety. I’m standing there with you. From one broken spirit to another, it is well tonight and tomorrow and always. It is well, my friend.

With all my heart,


Patience, Grasshopper!

New Years Day I woke up with a title in my mind, and it was this, “The Lost Arts of Subtlety, Discovery and Patience.” Don’t ask me why this title. I don’t know what’s it’s for yet. I’ll just have to be…patient (I know, corny – but true).

So do we talk about resolutions for the year or big plans or great changes for this year? I’m all for that but there are two themes that have been pressing on my heart and swirling around in this mind – and it’s these: bravery and patience. That’s it.

I don’t know what to say about those two words, but I did look up in the back of my Bible verses on patience just now and got stuck on Romans chapter 12 with these verses:

(Starting at verse 9 and going all the way to verse 21):

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. In honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

On the top of that page of my Bible I wrote this (from chapter 12), “I AM TO BE A LIVING SACRIFICE.” That is really tough given all the junk around this world, the brokenness of my past, my control freak ways (sometimes – wink wink), and the overwhelming odds, really.  But I think that’s where these two themes come into play…the bravery & the patience. Both of those things only come through unselfishness. They only come by sacrifice. Do you want to live your best life? I know I do. Well, it can be found right there. God tells us and shows us, it’s in the giving and the sacrificing. Our pastor mentioned that at church yesterday in the first message of the new year: to give. That reminder, along with the first movie I watched this year (“Second Act” – starring JLo and Leah Remini) Leah Remini says to JLo’s character, “No one likes a selfish girl!” I agree. The world around us isn’t inspired by selfishness. It is inspired by those willing to sacrifice.

I think for me this year, I want to take to heart all that Romans 12 lays before me and seek God like never before. I want to let Him blow the lid off of all that is holding me back, and I just want to give in private, unseen ways and also in big ways that shout “FREEDOM” to a world full of people looking to live their best lives.

Thank you for reading, and I pray this year brings you even closer to living the best life that God intended you to live.

With all my heart,


Thank you to Gina G. for this Bible she gave me in 2010!



“I Like Big But’s, and I Cannot Lie”

Hi again, I know it’s been a while. So much happens in a day, week, month, year. Life changes in a heartbeat. Well, I am ending out our Fall women’s Bible study through Job by Lisa Harper. AMAZING, if you haven’t done it, please do. It’ll rock your world, in the very best way. I know, you’re thinking…JOB, really? But seriously, do it, if you can.

I was looking for something to read this morning and turned to Proverbs to start reading through it for the month of November so I started with Proverbs chapter one, and it’s heavy. I was reading through it thinking, woah, I am a little scared here and not sure if I want to do this for a month and then I came to the last verse in the chapter, verse 33, which says,

“But whoever listens to me will dwell safely. And they will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Which is when I thought, “I love the BUT’S in the Bible!” They are full of such promise! They say, “It’s not over yet,” even when you think it is.

Let me get personal for a minute. There are young people in our lives that have chosen very hard paths, definitely riddled with pain and struggle and death too. They are doing life on their terms and to look at them, it is SO not freedom. Even though that’s what they thought their choices would bring them. It’s hard to sit back and watch that destruction. It is dark and heavy. I get anxiety just thinking about where these paths lead. Especially with one of our young friends who is so steeped in addiction that I don’t know if they will make it through this week. All around we can see such heartbreaking situations all over the place, in our families, friends, workplaces, schools, country, world. It is dark, but then there’s the BUT.


So whatever’s happening in your life and  mine, we can know that God has the final say on everything on earth and in the heavens. He has the final say for today and for eternity. We turn from our anxiety, from our pain and we TRUST. We BREATHE. We LIVE.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

With all my heart,



Difficult Relationships & Toxic Relationships

Hi! It’s been awhile. Please forgive me for this lapse. I am back in school & back to work so life is pretty full. However, I am writing today because of my daughter. She asked me to, and I’m so glad. She is  one of my biggest “why’s” for this blog. Since she is 25 years old , and doesn’t live at home anymore, this blog is sometimes my way of having a “virtual cup of coffee” with her and sharing thoughts & stories, ones that she and I can look back on and read and discuss. So here it is, Gabbie, some reading material for you – hopefully before you start this day.

I am not an expert on relationships. I don’t really know anyone who is. I firmly believe we are all trying to figure it out, but one theme keeps rolling around in my head, and it’s the title of today’s blog: Difficult Relationships versus Toxic Relationships. I know for me I can hang in there with the toxic ones so easily because it’s what I “know”. Those are the ones I feel I have control in, but the difficult ones, the ones wrought with struggle and change, those are hard to hang in there with.

I have people in my life that are just difficult at times. I know I am difficult at times too (probably more often than I care to know!). I think those difficult ones where you are challenged just might be those that are meant for you (and them) for monumental (HEALTHY) change in life. Yet it’s easy to run from those relationships because they’re just so uncomfortable and not fun at times. The toxic ones though, those you can find tons of reasons to hang in there and keep at it – at least that’s what I’ve found to be my tendency.

When I look back at certain relationships I think, “Thank God I’m not in that anymore!” But it took circumstances beyond my control to drive a wedge to even see that. Not to say that people can’t grow & change together and establish new depth to the relationship, but I’m referring to the ones that keep you STUCK. So I guess that’s it…that’s the real question. Are you stuck in a pattern of toxicity or are you in a pattern of uncomfortable, yet necessary, growth?

My answer to myself in this regard is this:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

To sum this up, I’ll say this to anyone who needs it (me), “Don’t trust yourself and your fickle emotions, trust God.”

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

With all my heart,








Do You Need A Lawyer?

Good morning! Okay so the question on the table today is, “Are you okay with being misunderstood?” My answer, in a word, “NO!” Recently I have found myself in a situation where I have put myself out there, done the right thing – only to have it come back to bite me in the butt. Really, it’s a “no good deed goes unpunished” kind of situation here. But before I get too far into this pity party, let me say that this conundrum I find myself in is about something greater. No one likes having their reputation slaughtered or their name tossed about without being able to defend yourself. It’s a terrible feeling, so what do we do when we are faced with being misunderstood? We could take matters into our own hands and scream the facts at anyone who would listen. We could get so fixated in clearing our name that we are riddled with anxiety. We could get bitter and brood…or we could wait and see what happens. We could wait on God. There’s a verse in Exodus that I am thinking about right now, and it’s this one:

“The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

That is easier said than done for me because I can be a fighter. Through this season God is teaching me to sit down, and let Him fight for me. It is tough. Tougher than fighting! In order to do this I need to trust God. Trust that this time of being misunderstood will pass and trust that God is my perfect defense here. Through this, He is teaching me to pray, to love more and to not be consumed with all the “noise.” Oh, and my reputation, that’s in His hands too. He is in charge of that. So in the meantime, while this whole mess swirls around me, I will cling to verses like the ones I read just before I started typing this morning:

Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 62:2 Truly my soul waits silently for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

So, until further notice, I will stay silent on this subject and keep moving forward looking outward past my own emotions and opinions. I will pray – that’s how I can fight best anyway, and I will keep my mouth shut. It’s better this way, that way it’s not all about me. It’s all about Him.

Have a great day knowing God is fighting for us!

With all my heart,


P.S. Please, please listen to this song & enjoy:

Nine Years and Counting…

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My journal excerpt from 2009…my first day as a Christian

Today is July 30th, and I want to say thank you to God for my ninth spiritual birthday. Despite all that held me back from thinking I could ever have a life full of hope, He pursued me and picked me up and set my feet on safe and solid ground. He’s given me so much, so much. I cannot even come up with the words for the miracles He’s done. I just know this, I love Jesus with my whole heart, and I want to serve Him with my life forever. The part in this journal page that says, “Please help me on my walk and on my journey..” I want you to know He’s done that and more. Well, I don’t have much time to write because I took the time this morning to read all my journal excerpts from July 30 for the past eight years, and let me tell you, it’s been quite a journey. And I’m glad to tell you a life with God is SO worth it. My life is proof of that, that He is faithful and we can trust Him with everything.

With all my heart,


Couch Potato No More

Halfway through reading as of 7.28.18 🙂

Good morning and Happy Saturday! Thank you for taking the time to read this short blog post today. I picked up a book last night that I started a while ago but forgot (literally forgot) to continue. I got the urge to start reading it again because I love the story of this couple and how they’re bold about their faith in a very public way.

So after a low-key evening of about four hours of Mario and I on the couch watching TV, I started to read and got to the point in the book where Joanna tells a story about a couple who helped guide them before they got married. This couple challenged them to go without TV for the first few weeks of their marriage because, they explained, “that being in the same house and actually interacting with each other are two different things. Sometimes its easy for couples to get lost in their own little worlds at home – to be so focused on other things that they aren’t really together, even when they’re in the same room.” That stuck with me because there was a time when Mario and I didn’t have cable. We had a TV but we opted not to get cable because of finances, and we were just wasting time. We did this for six years, and we did not miss a thing!

The thing about distractions is that once you get rid of them, you have more freedom. And freedom is definitely that ideal that we are always chasing. Yet, it’s right there in the day to day choices of not being a slave to things. I know I’ve gotten very distracted by tv, social media, binge watching, binge eating etc. and I’m kind of over it. I want more. I want my husband and my family to get more of me – the “not distracted” version of me.

So Mario and I discussed this last night after I read him that portion of the book out loud, and we agreed that we are going to cut the chord on the cable again. Not just because the book mentioned it, but because we already knew we had to. That just confirmed it 🙂

Truthfully, half the time we aren’t even watching TV anyway…we are looking at our dang phones. So that’s probably next on the list – boundaries with that too. Not because we want to live these lives in a bubble, but because we want to get out of the bubble.

Well, that’s it for today! Have a great weekend & maybe shut off the TV and/or phone and see what happens.

With all my heart,


This was literally us from 8pm until about midnight last night!

How Deep Is Your Love?

For today’s blog post I wanted to share a song I listened to last week. It was on Wednesday, and I had taken the day off from work to celebrate my birthday. Mario and I were headed back to the house after eating breakfast at our favorite French bakery. The sun was shining, and I was just happy to be with my husband in the middle of a work day. He put the song on, and I listened to the words and voices. I love the line that says, “How deep is your love, I really mean to learn…”

That part that says, “I really mean to learn.” I do. I think as we start to really learn how much God loves us, it drives out the dark in our lives. How do we start to learn how God loves us? For me, I have to take my eyes off of people, opinions, situations, the world, my bank account, my lack….and I have to purpose to believe something other than all of those things.

I really mean to learn all these things:

Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west – Isaiah 43:4-5


Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand – Isaiah 41:10


The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

I’m on a journey and so are you. I’m on a journey to discover, every day, even more of this love that crashed into my hopeless life nine years ago and picked me up out of a pit and washed my soul clean from the shame of the life I led. I’m on a journey to learn more about this very love God put in my heart and to discover, every day, even more of the truth that His perfect love casts out fear (1John 4:18).

So this is my TGIF post today, and I wanted to give my husband a shout out for introducing me to this song and for being my music man. I love you!

Thanks for reading.

With all my heart,





Your Faith Can Demolish Your Fear

Good morning. So today started out with fresh worries. How about you? Earlier this week someone suggested that I start out the day writing things down that I am grateful for and today I am grateful for that suggestion because it set my mind right just now. What are you grateful for today? There really are so many things, but the world screams at us to be afraid of everything. Fear of the unknown creeps around decisions and situations that causes anxiety. I am well acquainted with fear based decisions. They always end up badly, by the way, and they should. Faith is solid, and when I choose to go in the direction of faith I step out of fear.

This past Tuesday night I was sitting in church and a situation happened that I feared I had failed in. I wanted to run out of the room, literally. I was sitting in my seat fighting the overwhelming physical and emotional pull to flee the scene. My skin was crawling and my heart was racing. I couldn’t hear what the pastor was saying – all other sounds around me were muffled. I could only hear the words in my head. I was physically manifesting this fear that I was exposed for what I really think in my head- that I am just a failure and all my attempts otherwise will end up in the same place…failure. I know – that’s some negative thinking right there, but it’s true. My mind goes there. I hung in there, though. By some amazing miracle of God I stayed put and little by little the feelings washed away, and I was able to hear words coming from the pastor. The moment passed, and I survived it. Better yet, I was stronger for it.

No one saw this battle. No one knew this victory. I think even my husband sitting next to me wouldn’t have known this had gone on had I not told him later that night. And here I am two days later writing about something so private, but it was HUGE! I know now that I exercised faith sitting there, and it literally dispelled and demolished the fear I felt in that moment. I hated being that uncomfortable, but let me tell you this: I am better for it. So I guess that’s what I want to leave on this page today, exercise your faith. Let it happen and don’t shrink back! We are not alone in this, look what David wrote in Psalm 56:

“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

We are free to exercise our faith, so let’s do it!

With all my heart,


The Headlines That Shock Us

I was having lunch yesterday when the news notification came through on my Iphone that Demi Lovato had been rushed to the hospital due to a suspected drug overdose My heart just sank. I don’t know her personally, but still the news shocked me. My heart broke for her.

I follow her Instagram account so I decided to send her a message that said, “I’m praying for you as you battle. Keep hoping. This is so tough, I know. I attend a recovery meeting on Tuesday’s – it streams live on Facebook from Refuge Christian Fellowship North County Refuge Christian Fellowship North County. Take good care. You are loved.” I think it especially hits home right now because of the movie, “Whitney,” and the revelation that she was severely addicted at a young age and her life ended in tragedy.

Many of us that attend churches and meetings – like the one I do on Tuesday nights – know firsthand that it doesn’t have to end tragically. I don’t struggle with addiction to substances – I do need recovery in other areas, and there is a better way. There is a way out that’s paved with hope. Recovery does look different for everyone, but the truly successful ones all have one thing in common – living for a higher purpose. They discover that purpose as they discover that Jesus died for their sins. The shame, the sickness, the brokenness takes on a different meaning and doesn’t just keep us in a dark pit.

Any kind of addiction is rooted in deep pain. I don’t fault any addict for wanting the pain to stop. Excruciating pain is overwhelming. The problem is that the addiction will never fix what caused the pain, and it will eventually cost us our very lives.

Deep pain needs something more powerful to combat it. We need something more powerful to battle the physical, spiritual and emotional tendencies to destruction. We need someone/something to believe in – other than our broken selves or other broken people.

If you’ve tried all sorts of things to deal with the pain – drugs, sex, abuse, alcohol, work, shopping, gambling, food, control, etc. Maybe it’s time to stop and reach out for something/someone else. Try this – try the courageous thing of doing something you’ve never done: Trust the true, living God with your life. Don’t trust yourself anymore. It didn’t work. Trust God. Take it from me. He can do anything.

I celebrated my 44th birthday last week, and my mom wrote this in my card:

“You have conquered adversity with grace and resolve. God has given you the strength to strive for better things. He has given you many talents and wisdom. Eres muy admirable, mi hija, and I will always love you! ~ Mom”

Take it from me – God can do anything.

With all my heart,



Rut or Roots?

Israel, March 2016

One of the most powerful scenes on my trip to Israel a few years back was the time spent in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:41-42 New Living Translation). The trees in the garden were different than other trees I had ever seen. I love trees. Their different leaves, colors and sizes just captivate me – but these trees. This was something else. They had been witness to the greatest decision in history. They stood in company with Jesus as He agonized, in His humanity, over what He was about to do. That account in the Bible has always gripped me, and these trees were present then.

Here’s the story behind the blog title: I am a woman who has been known to run away from all sorts of things in life. I have quit jobs, relationships, school, diets, apartment rentals, gyms, house projects, you name it – once it gets hard, I’m out! And that’s the way it’s been for a long time. This is what I’ve been used to.

The other day Mario and I were driving back to our house, and we were talking about how I doubted we would get this house we live in now or the rental before. To which he replied, “That’s because you’re used to ruts not roots.” That phrase rolled around in my head. He wasn’t being mean. He was telling the truth. The minute I sense depth and change through any type of uncomfortable situation, alarms go off, and I think I must be in a rut. I then proceed to change everything I can to maintain some semblance of control. This pattern, like I said, has led to a lifetime of running. The thing about running is you miss it. You miss being there for the miracle. You miss experiencing the garden moments.

Marriage is a prime environment for miracle moments, but it’s also a place that can be riddled with “ruts”. Since the beginning of the month my husband and I have met more than a few people who have been recently divorced. They all have something in common, deep sadness. We even talked to someone last night at our favorite sushi spot which was good timing because we have been struggling in our marriage recently, and sometimes it can get so exhausting that I think I should just quit. Before you get in my face about how wrong that is. Let me tell you, I know. I’m not going anywhere and neither is Mario, but there are seasons that will just wear you down. The temptation is there to run from the hard stuff.

Last night we went out to eat because we were too exhausted to cook anything. We hadn’t been to our sushi spot in a while and a young man who always helps us there greeted us excitedly. Mario and I both noticed something different about him. He had lost some weight, but there was a sadness to him as well. Finally Mario asked him how he’s doing, and he proceeded to tell us that he is recently divorced and has moved into an apartment. It broke our hearts to hear him say these words. We don’t even know him that well, but that sadness is overwhelming.

When the waiter walked away from our table Mario and I just looked at each other and knew. We can never give up. We will see this thing through no matter what because God wants us to witness something miraculous. We have already been part of miracles in our marriage so it’s not like we aren’t aware of that, but we sure can forget. We forget how much God loves us and loves our marriage.

I pray with all my heart we don’t give up.  Jesus gave us the garden scene so we would know it is going to be hard, but that’s not the end. The trees in the garden have roots that tell a different story. They stood in witness to the greatest victory in humanity and divinity.

So this woman, this former runner, is committed to getting some roots. I want some victory because God’s not done with me yet.

Thank you for reading, and let’s choose to get some roots.

With all my heart,


“You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets”

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The text from yesterday

Good morning and happy Monday! I use this blog for many reasons – one of them being a form of an online journal – so I will at times use it as a platform for confessing. This is one of those times. At church I often hear our Pastor say the words, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Over time I have found this to be completely true in my life and the life of others. The times I’ve held things in or kept them hidden are the times I’ve made the biggest mess out of things. I know I’m not the only one so that’s why I am writing this. This story I am to share is recent – as recent as yesterday. Here it goes…after church my husband and I were in the car and started talking about the weekend’s events and it quickly turned into an argument. I did most of the talking (yelling) unfortunately and when we got home a little later I noticed that my phone had dialed a close relative’s phone number by accident, and it looked like it was on for four minutes. I was mortified. I quickly texted this person and asked if they had received a call from us that was “weird.” They said that they hadn’t (HUGE sigh of relief). Instead of just saying, “Ok good,” and moving on, I replied, “I asked because we were arguing…it wasn’t our “cleanest” argument. That’ll teach us.” The text reply was sweet and just said, “We’ve all been there.” Now to some people arguments aren’t a secret but for a lot of us they are. They’re not our proudest moment. If people were to have an inside look at our lives 24/7 it would be shocking, I think.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not to say everyone is living hypocritical lives, but I think the things we keep hidden are those things that God is trying to free us from so He will allow circumstances to put us in a direction to face them and bring them out in the open. So as I sat down this morning to read the Bible and then pray about this post, I opened up to Psalm 32 (NLT) and the first two lines were:

Oh, what joy for those    whose disobedience is forgiven,    whose sin is put out of sight!Yes, what joy for those    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!When I refused to confess my sin,    my body wasted away,    and I groaned all day long.Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.    My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. 

So I hope we all come out with it this week and start to get some freedom here! We are not alone, that’s for sure and if there’s any doubt, read Psalm 32. Have a blessed week enjoying the freedom found in Christ!

Thank you for reading.

With all my heart,


Dear Younger Sonia

I wrote this letter to my “15-year-old self” as part of a project I worked on four years ago. Mario and I were talking with family recently about the MercyMe song, “Dear Younger Me,” and it made me go back and reread what I had written. I decided I would share it here today:

Dear 15-year-old Sonia,

Oh, sweet girl! There is so much you want to see and do. There are so many songs swirling around in your heart. I know that you just want to be accepted, loved, appreciated, and you just want to “fit”. I know you feel like you have no footing. I know you’re scared of everything. I know you feel so different from everyone else. There’s so much I wish I could share with you so you don’t go down the path that you will choose, but instead, this 39-year-old woman is writing this letter to share a bit about what will happen since you walked through most of your life your way. You will choose wrong pursuits, and you will compromise on all levels even though you have been given a special gift of music – and the gift of loving others and the gift of compassion. You will chase the wrong guys, the wrong activites and the wrong identity just to feel whole. You will come up empty each time. You will get pregnant at 18, and your daughter will suffer alongside you with all the broken situations and relationships you dragged her through. Instead of remembering a loving childhood, she will remember the fear, heartbreak, and deep suffering. You will look back and want the chance to do it all over again. Jesus was calling you but you never listened. He wanted you to choose life then…to choose the life you were created to live. Instead, you will run the other way for quite some time – twenty more years to be exact. You will have many tears and shame piled up sky high until the age of 35 when you finally accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your life. Everything will change from that moment on. You will be alive! For the first time ever, you will have peace in your heart and mind. You will know the love of God like nothing else. You will feel protected and cherished. You will feel valuable. You will know you were created with purpose and care, and that you are needed in this world. He will take all the broken parts of your heart and put them in their proper place. He will open your eyes to the truth of this life – that nothing matters except living a life in His perfect LOVE AND GRACE because you are safe there. You are free there. You know you love freedom. You always have. That’s what you were always chasing, and it was always right there in the arms of God. Oh, how I would love to whisper in your ear, you beautiful 15-year old! You are special! Live for Him! You will not regret that – but you will have lots of regrets for all the things you did instead. I would love to scream at you, “Sing your heart out! Sing for joy! Sing because God loves you!” I am looking back at that life and my heart breaks for you. It aches to tell you how much pain you will endure at your own hand. You will love your daughter, that’s for sure. She is so precious. But it will take you quite some time to actually be a “mom” and by then she will be an adult and out on her own journey…and you will not have the chance to go back. You missed her childhood. You missed her adolescence. You missed seeing her life. You missed out on yours and hers. God will redeem the time, dear girl, but you will have scars. Just grab His Hand. He will be your Everything. He has everything you will ever need. He has the perfect husband for you. He plays trumpet and will make you laugh like never before. It would have been nice to go into this relationship without all the baggage you will have accumulated. It may sound outrageous coming from me, but it is so true – patience is a virtue. Being virtuous is a good thing. Being godly is a good thing! That’s all I have to say to you. I sit here as an almost 40-year-old woman now – the tears still flow down my cheeks for the life that could have been and the mom you could have been, but Jesus saved you and He has and is healing you. LIVE, young girl! LIVE!                 

                                    Love, 39 year old Sonia


Thank you for reading this. I hope you have a nice weekend!

With all my heart,






The Recovery

Good morning! This is an older blog post that I’m reposting because I needed to read it again!

Mario and I come from a families of musicians. It’s a beautiful thing. The younger generations are making their own way in their musical journeys now. Recently our nieces had a performance and their drummer, their ten year old sister – insert shameless proud “Titi Sonia” plug here  – was receiving a pep talk from her dad and Tio Mario about mistakes and how to recover from them. They were explaining that you will make mistakes, mistakes aren’t the issue. It’s all about the recovery.

How do you recover from a mistake? Mistakes are a guarantee in life so what do we do with them? They are obviously meant to teach us something about ourselves and life, but they are awful. Mistakes stink! There’s that sinking feeling in your stomach that you get when you realize you’ve messed up, and then there’s that voice in your head reminding you over and over about it.

What about when someone makes a mistake and you get hurt because of it? Would you agree that it’s about the recovery then too – that it’s about what they do after the mistake? I think that’s what matters when you mess up, the recovery.

Here’s the Google dictionary definition of recovery: A RETURN TO A NORMAL STATE OF HEALTH, MIND, OR STRENGTH.

Today is a challenge to be freed up to admit our mistakes and then to learn how to recover from them. God calls us to be humble and admit wrongs so we can grow and get up and keep going. If you’re like me and you’ve beaten yourself up for mistakes and then run from the recovery part of it, guess what? We have a better way to handle it now with God.  It is going to feel uncomfortable and strange, but we get to grow. We get to learn how to live this life more fully, more abundant and more free.

Here’s a verse from Ephesians about growth:

 Ephesians 4:14-16  (NLT)

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.


So hang in there with the real relationships. Don’t jump ship because you think there’s a better ship – there isn’t, and as hard as it may be, be patient with yourself and others.

Have a blessed day!

With all my heart,


Enjoy this video from my nieces…G Girls Music 🙂

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy…think

In Spring of 2010 my husband, Mario, was in a near fatal accident. It was at night in the backroads between Vista and San Marcos. A drunk driver had hit an electrical support pole about a few minutes before my husband drove up at full speed, and it hovered slightly above the road with the cable attached to the electrical pole. Mario came upon that part of the road and didn’t see it in time. He hit it full force in our Jeep Liberty and the vehicle ended up being catapulted into the air. He says at one point the Jeep was pointing straight up in the air and the headlights were pointing straight up and fading into the dark sky. At the same time that was happening our daughter and I were waiting for him to join us for dinner at a pizza place in Vista. When I got a call from him as we were sitting there waiting to order our pizza, I thought he would be giving me his dinner order, but when I answered I knew instantly something was wrong. I had never heard his voice sound like that.

As soon as he began to say the words, “I’ve been in an accident…” I grabbed my purse and began to walk toward the exit. The next thing I remember is driving up to the scene where there were police cars, firetrucks and first responders swarming both sides of the street with it blocked off. I pulled to the side of the road and told my daughter to stay in the car because I didn’t know what I was going to see. I frantically ran past police who were trying to shout something at me. I kept yelling, “My husband! Where’s my husband?!” Finally a fireman says, “Ma’am he’s fine,” as I see the Jeep turned over on its side, looking like a mangled mess. As soon as I saw it I thought that Mario was dead and everyone was lying to me. Then I look over at the side of the road where he was speaking to a crowd gathered around him saying, “Jesus Christ saved me today, and if you don’t believe in Him, you should. He saved me.” As he was speaking he saw me and came over to me. I was crying uncontrollably, and he grabbed my shoulders and said that God had saved him, but if He hadn’t he would be in heaven so I shouldn’t worry.

When one of the firemen heard him speaking about Jesus saving him, he said sarcastically to another firemen standing there, “Well, I believe the car manufacturer had something to do with it also,” to which his colleague responded, “Oh no, the airbag didn’t work.” I was stunned.

I write about this because we were talking about it with family last night, and I woke up this morning once again reminded that God did a miracle that day. He can do anything, and I need to remember that. I had planned a completely different blog post for today, but when I woke up this morning this was on my mind, and it caused me to remember that God can do anything. Believe and trust. Our God is the God of miracles,

Thank you for reading!

With all my heart,


Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Mario’s favorite song:


Happy “Longest Day of the Year”

Welcome to the first day of Summer 2018! Here we are – the day with the most daylight. I love summer for a lot of reasons but most of all because of how much daylight there is, and if you live near the coast, the possibility of going to the beach at any time. What are your plans this summer? Well for me, I would like to try stand up paddle boarding Whatever your plans are, let’s commit to doing something brave and stepping out of our comfort zones like the young girl in this video below. There’s no better time than the present. Have a great first day of summer & let’s ring in Summer 2018!

With all my heart,


The Value in Facing It

Good morning (or afternoon/evening) dear reader, it is 6:02 a.m., and I am coming fresh off a few good days of soul searching. I don’t have time to give you all the background, but safe to say that there is a reoccurring theme in my life that will rear its ugly head to remind me that it’s still there (here). Let’s call it…a scar.

Do you have a scar? I think if you live on this planet, you have a scar (or many scars). Anyway, I don’t want this to be a pity party for us but hey, sometimes you gotta go there.  You’ve got to look that ugly thing in the face, call it what it is, breathe, look up and get ready to learn about YOU.

My recent angst about this particular scar hit me hard and add in a few days of poor sleep and let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t handle it well. I was angry. I was mean. I was unforgiving. I was bitter. And this just happened recently so even as I type those emotions are seething underneath the surface chomping at the bit to take center stage. But I read this just now in a devotional called My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:


Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self-assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? It is a great thing to tell yourself the truth. 

So this morning I had to tell myself some truth. This scar that’s left isn’t the issue. The way I’m handling it is the real issue. The fact is that I’m still looking at the people who caused the scar and want them to pay for the damages. I don’t want to forgive. I want to judge, and that is not about them. That, unfortunately, is about me.

So this morning as I get ready to put on my headphones and run my heart out, I am leaning on God and wanting to focus on those scars…Jesus’ scars that paid the price for all the things we would ALL do on this planet to cause each other scars.

It’s an ugly process, but there’s beauty at the end. There is immeasurable value in facing it. So let’s face it today. We have scars, but we also have miracle stories because of them. The scars have value. We are valuable. Jesus’ scars tell us that.


With all my heart,


Whitney Houston

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.” states that the etymology of this saying is, “Allegedly from a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution…

I grew up singing and in Junior High wanted to be just like Whitney Houston. I even got a spiral perm so I could copy her look from the video, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” I would write “Whitney Morales (my maiden name)” at the top of homework I would turn in. So imagine my delight when I found out she was pregnant at the same time I was (only I was 18 at the time and she was 28)! For the record, I did not plan to get pregnant just because she was pregnant. I was a huge fan, for sure, but definitely knew to draw the line on that one. Well, lo and behold, she has her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in March of ’93, and I had my daughter, Gabbie, in March of ’93 as well. The similarities did not end there. She was in a troubled relationship, and so was I. She had demons to battle, and so did I. The difference…me and my daughter are alive today, and she and her daughter are not. This, too, could have been my fate. There, but for the grace of God, go I. I cannot explain this. Whitney Houston achieved so much in her career, and I didn’t even scratch the surface of my singing aspirations. She had limos and a glam squad, and I had a barely working Ford Ranger and a fistful of Sav-On cosmetics. I start this blog post with this story not because I have achieved all the success I have ever wanted in my own eyes but because I have not and just maybe that was my saving grace.

It’s not like I made some big decision along the way to get right with God and get my act together – that’s what gets me. I didn’t do anything. I’m sitting here thinking, “How did this all happen? How did this almost 44 year old woman escape the self-sabotage and self-destructive ways of her past to live to see this day?” All these thoughts came flooding to my mind when I was driving to Sprouts and a Whitney Houston song came on. I started crying and thanked God for His mercy  to not only save me from myself but to give me purpose and a hope.

Each day I battle things. Things that could have killed me and still could kill me. Things like: deep insecurities, painful memories, self-centeredness, control-freakiness, gossip-girl tendencies, cynicism, naivety, foolishness, anger…just to name a few. There are days I look at those things in me and think there is no way I am ever going to be anything other than what I am today – a mess. I know that in those very weak spots God shows me His power. Only His power can make me get out of bed, and with faith, put one foot in front of the other believing I have a purpose.

Because I want to live the life God has laid out for me, I wrestle now. I know I mess up every day, but the thing is I know there is nowhere else to turn. I have to turn to God. Turning to God means having the courage to do something you’ve never done before like text someone and say, “Hey I just did this stupid thing, pray for me,” or “Hey, I’m about to do this stupid thing, pray for me.” Or it could mean walking into a church for the first time or finally going to see a counselor or simply being honest with someone when they ask you how you’re doing. For me it means and has meant all these things, but it also means asking God every day to give me what I need to push against this destructive current in my life that tries to pull me back into old habits and toxic ways of thinking. There are moments when the wrestling is fierce, and there are moments when there’s a break in the action, but I want to continue to hope in Jesus – The Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

I might be thinking of Whitney’s life so much right now because her movie is coming out this July. I do plan to see it, and I’ll be taking a box of tissues as I know I’ll be bawling my eyes out. Thank you for reading all of this.

With all my heart,


My makeup education 101

Well I was going to post earlier because I had some time to write since I was going to be on the train for about an hour and a half, but I met a really nice couple in the cafe and talked with them for most of the ride (they recommended my new favorite train ride beverage – so thank you for that also!). Her name was Sonja (like my name) also, so this was just meant to be! SIDENOTE: If you’re reading this, Sonja, I really thank the Lord I got to sit with you guys.

Here’s the update to my makeup class as a follow up to my last post. I walked into my appointment ready for anything. I knew it was gong to be a pretty penny for all the products that were being used, but I just wanted to find out about the must-haves and learn about what will work best for daily application.

My beauty teacher’s name was Chama, and she was just the right blend of maturity, relevance, legit-ness and hip-ness (not sure of how many of those are actual words but hey, this is a blog – please give me a break)!  Here are some photos from my time there:

So today was my first day using it all and I’d only remembered a fraction of what Chama said to do, and I’m sure I didn’t do a lot of it right, but just like everything else in life, there’s a learning curve so l will be patient with myself.

Thank you for reading my Friday blog post! I do so enjoy putting these words together. God knows I need this outlet.

With all my heart,



A Break from the Norm

I am taking a break from writing about the heavy issues that go on in my life to let you in on some of the not-so-heavy things. So here goes! This summer I will be 44, and I have to say, I think I’m losing touch with the latest trends in all kinds of things – one of those things being makeup. In my makeup bag right now several things I don’t use but have been told by various advertisements that I must have them in order to look my very best. So I took the bait and now have two things I don’t really know how to use, but have tried, only to have failed miserably. Here are some of those things: #1 a Loreal Total Cover pallet thing that I thought was a contouring pallet and #2 a Loreal Illuminating Stick.IMG_0720.jpgIMG_0721.jpg

Both things sound wonderful and if they were in the right hands they would be performing beautifully and living up to their name, but sadly, I am the current owner of these two items and they have sat at the bottom of my makeup bag without so much as a thought UNTIL I see another commercial with a model that has flawless makeup using the items I have but don’t use. I admit I haven’t done the YouTube thing where I’m supposed to learn how to make these looks possible, but I have looked at some Instagram videos and follow a few makeup artists, but I am coming to grips with the fact that I am losing touch with these trends. The thing is I used to love makeup. I loved applying it and learning about it, but it’s just not the same anymore. There are SO MANY PRODUCTS out there, and I feel like you have to be a professional makeup artist to even go to the makeup aisles at Target. I don’t want to look 25, but I don’t want to look like a 44 year old stuck in times past with dated makeup and visible bags under her eyes.

So I made an appointment at one of those legit makeup places for a makeup lesson. I am sure whoever the makeup teacher is, she is going to try to sell me $1,000 or more of makeup, but I at least want some first-hand knowledge on what this contouring stuff is all about, and how I’m supposed to do it. And highlighting – let’s not forget the highlighting! If you have any tips for me I am a willing and motivated student, and I will keep you posted on what I learned.

Thank you for allowing me to vent a little tonight about a light-hearted topic. I like that I am going into my mid-forties, I just want to do it with the highlights and contours in the right places 🙂

With all my heart,


Don’t believe the hype…believe God

Confession time. I don’t know about you, but the moment I open my eyes in the morning there’s a war going on in my thoughts. A flood of negative reminders and fears come flooding in such as my weight gain, a nagging issue in my marriage, that friend that just isn’t communicating, that person who lied to me, debts that need to be paid off, that family member who just isn’t getting it, the mundane tasks that need to be tended to but are just so UGH, that friend’s scary health issue, and the list goes on and on until I have to literally just tell my mind to stop and then focus in on one truth, and it’s this one: GOD SAVED ME.

Then I can move on and get out of bed and face the day. Some days are better than others, but today was tough. I am running behind already. I don’t have an outfit picked out for work, and I am pretty sure I am going to have a bad hair day. All that to say that I confess I am a mess, but I believe God when He says, “I know the plans I have for you I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. He has a divine plan for this day. I don’t know what it is yet, but I am trusting Him. Lord knows I can’t control it so I will believe.

I pray that today is another day of believing God for me and you so we can live and move and breathe in the freedom despite the barrage of thoughts and situations that we face today. We are His, and that makes believing Him possible. Thank you for reading today, and away we go…

With all my heart,


The F Words, Part 2


To continue the story about my friend I would have to say that she had her own stuff. She had her own junk pile that she had heaped on her husband as well. The kind of junk that destroys a marriage: deceit, unfaithfulness, insecurities, unrealistic expectations, abuse. All things that absolutely obliterate anything good in marriage. But that’s the thing about personal pain and hurt in a relationship…you only see what’s been done to you. So that’s all that she could see. It was hard for her to see that she had a choice because self-inflicted pain and self-sabotage had become a habit.

Well one day she decided not to live that way anymore. Habits had to change. Her mind had to change and most of all her FAITH had to change. Oh she had faith all right, it was just enough to get her to the scary part of really having faith and then she would run the other way and shrink back. FEAR would set in and  coarse through her veins and almost had her convinced not to trust in the Lord. All of this was a vicious cycle that kept its grip on her life until she’d found that she had just gone in circles for five, six, seven, eight years.

If her marriage was going to survive, if she was going to survive, her fear had to go. So she started on that path to deal with her own junk pile and exchange it for the life God created her for. Her faith needed to come to the forefront and blaze the trail for where her heart had never been before. Change is possible. God says so. She is willing, and He is faithful. That is the most important thing.

Sometime down the road on this blog I will post an update of this couple riddled with the ugly F word called failure, and I will let you know where FAITH took them. All I know is, it’s going to be a miracle. Just you wait. Hang in there!

With all my heart,


The F Words


For this blog post I will share a story about a friend of mine:

“For years I was married to a ghost. I knew that going in. This was a man who never fessed up to anything. He kept secrets and had a mind that he rarely let anyone really see. On the outside he was perfectly outgoing and fun loving. Everyone wanted to be around him – a real people person. I loved that about him. His confidence in social settings stood in stark contrast to my “faking it ’til I make it” shakiness. The first time I knew he had an issue with pornography was within the first month of dating. I was on his computer and being the nosy, control freak that I can be I hit the history button and there was a massive list of those sites. I confronted him. He assured me it was a thing of his past, part of his bachelor days and that now that we were together he wouldn’t be doing that anymore. I was no saint either so I just chalked it up to one of those “in the past things” we could move on from. Fast forward a few years into the relationship. Things were progressing in our couplehood. We bought a house, moved in together. Our sex life changed. His desire for me grew cold, and he didn’t care if I walked around naked or fully clothed. I felt ugly and rejected and not at all like my other friends who were complaining that their husbands/boyfriends wouldn’t leave them alone. I would laugh and say, “Gosh, me too.” But inside I was dying as I lied. I asked him what was wrong with us and if he was up to his old habits looking at porn or if there was something else going on. He assured me that there was nothing going on, worse than that he called me crazy. And then one day I came home from work, and he wasn’t home (he’d had to leave in a hurry to take care of a work emergency). I had a strange feeling and started to go check the computer and notice that everything was unplugged. I was confused by this and plugged everything in and up on the screen was an image of a naked woman. My heart sank. I didn’t watch to see what came next. I went into a rage. I threw all of his clothes outside and called him. We were done in my mind. Finished. He had led me to believe that our sex issues and my suspicions were all my fault and here it was that it was his obsession with other women in a virtual reality that was really killing us. My broken heart didn’t allow for sorrow at that time, it only allowed for anger and rage. I’ve forgotten what took place in the months that followed, but we ended up getting passed that, and we got married. Like I said, I knew what I was getting into. I thought, “We are married now. Surely we will have a better sex life and things will change between us!” Not exactly. During our marriage we had seasons where our intimacy was better but mostly the bad was more prevalent. Then a few years into our marriage we started going to a Christian church, and I thought, “For sure now we will be blessed in this area. We will have a passion like never before and things will be right!” Wrong. I began to get more and more bitter while he began to go deeper and deeper into his own mind. We both started serving at our church and going to a marriage group, attending couples counseling. You name it, we were doing it. All the outside stuff looked great. People would look at us and want a marriage like ours – called us “so cute” and “so adorable”. Yet, we were dying inside. Both of us. Fast forward another six years, and things are now so off. I am thinking I am just the most terrible, undesirable wife there ever was. I become more and more demeaning and disrespectful. And then one morning I’d had enough. I prayed for wisdom and for gentleness, I prayed specifically the verse, Matthew 10:16 that says, ” …Therefore be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” I knew my husband would be home all day while I was at work so I hid a recording device and left it recording. He’d dropped me off at work and as per our usual routine we prayed before I got out of the car. I prayed to God that we would both honor Him in all our ways at work and at home. That prayer was an appeal to my husband, I know that now. God was calling him to purity and wholeness and all he had to do was be honest – if not with me, with someone else. We attend a church that makes it safe to come out with our junk so we were in the safest place where he could confess and confront his addiction. I came home from work and asked if he would go and pick up some groceries for dinner while I stayed behind to work on a computer project. As soon as I heard the car back out of the driveway I grabbed the recorder and began the process of fast forwarding and rewinding to discover what I already knew to be true. He was back into pornography again. But this time as a Christian man, a Christian man that people looked up to and respected. The ghost was no longer a ghost. I saw him for what he was. A porn addict. At first he tried to blame me. My complaints, my ways. I wasn’t having it. This thing in him existed long before I ever came along. This was him, but he was playing on my insecurities, “Maybe it is me. If I wasn’t so nagging. If I wasn’t so old. If my butt was in better shape.” I kicked him out of our bedroom and threatened divorce and meant it. I researched Brazilian Butt Lifts and resolved to put it on his credit card too! The next few days I was walking around with a weight lifted because now I knew the truth, but my heart was completely broken. That old message from long ago raised its banner high once again with these old ugly words, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH. YOU NEVER WILL BE”. My dad had done the same thing to my mom and our family, addicted to porn and dating other women. So here I was thinking if I don’t leave my husband I am just like my mom. I pushed back with the word of God, desperate to have Him use my pain for building instead of destroying. After a few days of my own soul searching I started to ask him questions. Not the ones I’d asked the times before but ones that were,  I know now, from God. The real questions and this time I got real answers. Ones that broke my heart for him. I saw him for what he was, not a ghost, not a villain but a precious and broken man. Compassion welled up in me and gratitude for this mess we found ourselves in. We are in one of those “for worse” seasons in the “better of for worse” commitment we signed up for. God has us and the “F Words” are definitely at the forefront with the choice being will we move forward in fear or in faith? I pray it’s faith because I have had enough of fear. This is the road by which we discover the couple God designed us to be. I have to remember that with God the end is never the end, it is a beginning. So please pray for us and for all Christian marriages because we are not perfect. We just need to be honest and that’s going to take faith. Pray for that.”

Thank you for reading this blog post today. Next blog post is part two of “The F Words”.

With all my heart,


The Toughest Day of 2017

Photo taken June 29, 2017 Carlsbad, CA


I just googled the most middle day of the year, and it is July 2nd. So almost smack dab in the middle of last year my world got rocked. I read a description somewhere about traumatic events and how you start to describe things as before “that” or after “that”.  On New Year’s Eve a few nights ago I glanced over the year of photos in my phone and found that to be true, this photo marks the point of the “after”.  I wrote about it last September in one of the blog posts so I won’t go into the details here. But here’s the thing about 2018 and beyond, we are guaranteed a tough day – maybe even the toughest day ever. My prayer, a resolution if you will, is for the toughest day to drive us to our Great Savior – the  only one equipped to bring answers, healing, restoration, strength, forgiveness, love and grace through the excrutiating process of rebuilding after heartbreak. Let your heart break when it’s supposed to and then trust God to put it back together the way it was intended to be in the first place.

The Snapchat photo here on this page says it all. In the midst of my greatest pain, sitting there at the beach with my heart in shreds and my mind trying to make sense out of everything, God presented me with a command, “Trust Him.” Everything in me wanted to run and handle life with bitterness, revenge even. But I got up from that bench at the beach and took a step and then another one towards my car, and even though I didn’t how to proceed from there, I did. The power that I needed to forgive and forge a new path was there from God. And that event, that toughest day, opened up me up to a new life. A life of more honesty, more depth and more grace.

So here’s the theme for 2018: GRACE and more grace. Your toughest day can be your greatest day.

Thank you for reading!

With all my heart, Sonia

We will overcome

Mario & me. July 2003

Thank you for reading the next part of “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife.” With all my heart, Sonia 

My husband and I were sitting at the stoplight to turn onto our street when it struck me how far we have come from the couple we used to be. Things are far from perfect, but I thought about how much we have experienced in our 14 years together and how easy it would have been for either of us to walk away. I looked over at him in the car and said, “You know, our marriage is like the stories we see on TV of people who overcame incredible obstacles, like that man who was born without arms who now works as a Nascar racing engineer.” I went on to tell him that if our marriage was put on display in physical terms like that it would be the same kind of impact, incredible odds being overcome to achieve what looks to be impossible! If I were to read the story of my marriage on paper I would think, “There is no way these two people are going to make it!” I wouldn’t bet on us, just us. But here’s the thing, it’s not just us. My husband and I started living our lives with God a little over halfway through our marriage. Through a series of gut wrenching life events, we came to a place where we were ready to stop doing things our way. We walked into a church in June of 2009 and started to listen and things started to change.

My husband is a trumpet player and started playing when he was 12 years old. He was a very good player so after high school he toured with a band. In his early twenties he decided to go to school and get his degree in music. When he showed up for the first lesson with his college music professor (one of the best classical trumpet players in LA) he was told that he had to relearn how to play the trumpet. He had been playing his instrument for ten years thinking he was great at it, and now he was being told that he learned bad habits along the way. He had to start from the bottom – like he had never played trumpet before. He said he wanted to quit. He had to relearn all the mechanics of breathing and a whole new technique. If he did not go through this process of being broken down, he wouldn’t have survived as a musician but his success depended on it.

That is the story of great change… and it means believing God through the process of being torn down to be built up again the right way. Our marriage is in that process and sometimes we soar and sometimes we crawl inch by inch through another day, another learning experience. If it was just up to us, we would have been done. It is hard. Thankfully we look to God and believe Him when He says, “Behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Mario reminds me often that it takes two people committed to making it work. Sometimes one or the other is stronger and pulls the other along but we are both in it for the change God wants to bring. Our story is not the fairy tale like the ones we have read about before. Our story is riddled with brokenness, but that’s where we have found His greatest miracles of redemption. The Nascar engineer story reminds us that the world sits up and takes notice when people overcome. So in these fierce marriages of ours, we too can overcome and be a testimony of our great God with a great plan far beyond what we ever imagined possible.

Here are the verses to meditate on today:

Ephesians 3:17-21 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Day 4 Themes:

1) Believe God & trust Him!

2) Stop looking at our inability & look to God for He is able.


Dear Father God,

Thank you that, no matter what, You don’t give up on me. Thank you for the numerous do-over’s and the countless reminders that You are for me and my marriage. I pray for my husband and me to heal from the past hurts we have inflicted on each other and to keep our focus on You. I pray that we see each other with new eyes and that we embrace an even greater passion for each other. I pray we pray together. Only You can remake our lives. We trust in Your power to bring beauty from these ashes. It’s for Your glory we continue on. I love you. In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen!!!





“Sonia, you have to start acting like…”

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Thanksgiving 2017

Next excerpt from “Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife”

I found myself on a cold winter evening last year seated at a dining table, my husband next to me, staring across the table at our pastor and his wife. This was no casual meeting for coffee. This was an intense discussion about our marriage and deep issues we were dealing with at the time. If ever I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, this was one of those times. But before I go into that – let me back up. How did we get here? The few months that had led up to this evening meeting were the hardest my husband and I had encountered in a while. We were dealing with the loss of a family member due to cancer, the purchase of a new home and the end of my husband’s first (grueling) semester teaching full time…all of this in the span of eight weeks. We were emotional, sleep-deprived, disconnected and disgusted with one another by the time we found ourselves at that table each explaining our “side of the story”. My husband recounted, verbatim, some horrible words I had shouted at him during one of our recent fights. I was shocked to hear what I had said to him. I mean, I know I had said them, but to hear them that way caused me such embarrassment and shame – partly because of who we were meeting with and also because they were just so wrong. I’m sure at the time I said them, I felt justified and maybe even proud of myself for having such cutting things to say, but here they were on display for the four of us to behold, and I wanted to run out of there. Our pastor and his wife were patient, offered insight and prayed for us, but there was one thing in that conversation that stuck out to me and pierced my heart. Toward the end of the conversation, our pastor turned to my husband and gave some guidance and direction and then he turned to me and said, “And you, Sonia, you have to start acting like a Christian woman.” He said some other things after that to offer encouragement, but that phrase played out over and over in my head, “start acting like a Christian woman”. Things didn’t magically get easier the days that followed, but I was thinking more and more about what it means to be a Christian woman. I am often so worried about me, consumed with me and want to make sure I am okay that I forget all else. I forget that to be a Christian is to live a life in service of others, and if you’re married, first and foremost, in service to your husband (and lest I forget to add this disclaimer, husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives so it’s a mutually giving situation when done the way God intends it to be). My husband is not without fault in our conflict, but a hot-tempered wife is not just hot-tempered for the sake of being difficult, there have been things along the way in life that molded us into a “I will never be hurt again. You will not hurt me. This will not hurt me” kind of person. All that to say, living sacrificially is the exact opposite of everything I know instinctively. So here’s the good part, the part where we get some answers, some of the “how to be a Christian woman” part. Here’s a verse to start thinking about:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

There are a few things going on that are key, one of them being to give (stop being so selfish) and the other is to be changed by the renewing of your mind (humble yourself – you aren’t right all the time, you know).

This journey I am on feels so foreign to me that sometimes I feel like I’ll never get it right, but I know that God says with Him all things are possible. If He says it’s possible to get my mind right, to get control of my emotions, to live selflessly and to have a thriving marriage, then I’ll believe Him.

Day 3 Themes:

1) Get over ourselves. I know, but really, we need to! It’s time.

2) Let’s change our minds to have our minds changed by God’s love and His Word. Enough with the negative self-talk!

Thank you so much for reading & thank you for your patience.

With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. Another extremely HUGE key part of this story is that we let 
people in to help keep us accountable! It is so humbling to deal withyour dirt with others, but it is healthy when done in a safe 
environment! Let’s not give up but instead give in to God’s way of 
doing things (and let others in!).

The unexpected is the best part

Happy Tuesday! Here’s the next part of “Holy Duct for the Hot-Tempered Wife”. Thank you for reading.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My husband and I went on a road trip up the coast for Valentine’s weekend in 2016. We ended up not making good time that first day because we argued badly just trying to get on the road. I almost ended up not going.  We had to stay overnight in a hotel off of the 101 in Morro Bay because we were so late in leaving. I’d wanted to see some of the highway stretch before Big Sur during the day so we made the decision to stay at that particular hotel. We’d never stayed there before but we were definitely led there. Every time I think of this story I want to cry. Here’s why. We pulled into the hotel a little after sundown. Mario and I were in a battle just getting to that place, like I said we’d had a pretty ugly argument right when we were to begin the road trip. It was tough getting into the car and onto the road in North County, San Diego so by the time we were 290 miles north in Morro Bay we were still walking on thin ice, on edge with nerves frayed. The woman at the check in desk was helpful, efficient and there was an ease and a lightness to her that was in stark contrast to my own heavy heart. I did my best to be the sweetest version of myself and said the appropriate polite things while we paid and got keys to our room. I had already made the decision to hit the continental breakfast the next morning for coffee and some sort of inviting carb loaded treat (I felt I’d earned it!). The next morning I did some of a Bible study from Beth Moore called, “Children of the Day, 1 & 2 Thessalonians”. I was on 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” In the study Beth Moore asked, “Do you have a similar example from someone you know or have read about (or perhaps seen in the mirror this morning) who seemed to have learned some biblical truth straight from God without textbook, training, or human teacher?” My answer was YES. I did have a personal experience myself where I felt God taught me something straight from His Word a few years back when I read the account of the ten lepers cleansed in Luke 17:11-19. What I learned from God in that story was that the least likely to be thankful, the Samaritan leper, was the only one who came back to say thank you to Jesus and because of this he gained insight when Jesus said to him, “…your faith has made you well” (vs. 19).  What I learned was since the leper was the only one who was thankful and acted on it, he was the only one who got this piece of information straight from Jesus about how powerful faith was. So, getting back to that morning in the Morro Bay hotel. I recalled the thankful leper and set about to get us packed up and ready to get back on the road. I was still somewhat rocked from the day before because of the big argument, but I was thankful too. I was thankful that God got us this far into the trip even though it was so tough! Mario packed up the car and then we found our way to where the continental breakfast was. In that little breakfast place there was the attendant from last night to greet us with a sweet smile and a quick introduction about how to use the waffle maker (that was the BEST!!). We were her only breakfast customers so far – so it was the three of us there in that room. As I was trying my hand at the waffles I looked over and saw the woman sitting there staring out. She was looking out the window toward the shoreline of Morro Bay at a big rock. I started talking with her asking her questions about where she’d lived before coming here (she was of East Indian descent, and I was curious about her story). She explained that she had come out here from North Carolina last May. She then said something that caught my attention even further. She said, “Every morning I sit here and look outside and thank the Good Lord for bringing me here.” She went on to say that she had been a Hindu and converted to Christianity 15 years ago. She had left an abusive marriage last May which is what brought her out to Morro Bay. I knew then that this was a divine moment. We were supposed to be at that hotel, and I was supposed to hear this reinforced message of thankfulness as a key to my walk – even in my most angriest, most painful moments – and our new friend was supposed to know that God sees her and sends her brothers and sisters to remind her that she is not alone. We took the opportunity to pray together, and then my husband and I drove away with completely different attitudes – in awe of God’s power in spite of our biggest mistakes! That day was such a gift. I cannot explain the sweet scenery that played out before our eyes as we traversed the magnificent Highway 1. I can only say this, there was a moment when I saw these huge trees, fierce and brave meet the shoreline that held back this equally powerful and mesmerizingly bright blue ocean, and I thought, “This is where the forest and the ocean shake hands and decide to be friends forever.” That’s the story of my marriage. We are both so strong, so different, fighting for that shoreline, but God uses that force to change us into a vision of His glory. So hang in there, sister. Be brave, whether you are the ocean or the trees, this fight is a good one. Be thankful for the process.

Day 2 Themes:

1) Thankfulness is key. (Don’t worry if you’re not thankful right now. Hang in there!)

2) Be brave, and don’t be afraid that you’re too strong. There is a purpose!


Dear Father God, Thank you for giving me so much, even in my biggest defeats. Thank you that You never give up on me, and that You are always ready to teach me a life giving lesson. Please help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit and to obey You. Please help me to hang in there and to not be afraid of how it looks and feels right now. Please help me to not see my husband as an enemy ,and I pray the same for him to not see me as his enemy. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

With all my heart,





The Merry-Go-Round – A story about (not) loving my enemies

I’m going to tell you a story this morning about eight year old Sonia. I am the oldest of three girls. My sister, Lorena, is the middle child with a heart of gold. We grew up moving around more than others because my dad was in the military. My sister and I were both in a school in Mountain View, California where she was in first grade and I was in fourth. At this particular school they had two separate playgrounds – one for kinder and first graders and another for second through fifth graders. There was a chain link fence dividing the playgrounds. I’d told my sister to go to the fence and stand there if she ever needed me and sure enough one day she was standing on her side of the fence crying. I ran over there and she proceeded to tell me that a girl in her class was making fun of her because of her lisp. Well, I was good friends with a rather large fourth grade Samoan girl so we went over to where the bully was sitting on the merry-go-round. My friend and I proceeded to spin that merry go round until that little girl got the message that she should never again pick on my sister. It was always like that growing up. If anyone picked on my sisters or my family I saw red and went after them with everything in me.

Fast forward to 43 year old Sonia. Recently a good friend of mine was the recipient of a woman’s petty behavior, and it broke my friend down. I found her in a room crying. Well I saw red and since that day I’ve had a few encounters with this woman and my ice cold attitude coupled with an obvious disgust for her very presence any time she was  near me led up to an encounter yesterday that reminded me of that merry-go-round scenario years ago. I think it’s called “icing someone out.” I ignored this woman when she was talking, passively aggressively speaking to her in condescending tones and just begging her to engage. In my mind I kept thinking, “Say one thing wrong – just one thing. I’m ready.” I was poised to unleash my every opinion of her to make her cry. That was my goal, really, to make her cry – to make her pay for what she did to my friend. Different weapons (no Samoan friend, no merry-go- round) but definitely same goal. At some point this woman did walk away from me unhinged and thankfully I had another thing to attend to or I would have followed her and really let her have it.

This thing in me never bothered me until now. I was fine with it, I liked it about myself until yesterday. I think God has been putting His finger on this thing and saying it’s time to grow up and trust Him to defend. I called my husband and then a good friend yesterday to talk about this, and they both prayed for me. And then last night in church somewhere towards the end of the Bible study I hear these verses: Romans 12:17-19 (NIV) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I am not perfect and neither are my enemies. I am put in these situations to highlight and expose what’s going on inside me. It still doesn’t make it right what these people did, but I’m not God. It’s His job to teach them just like He’s teaching me. It’s my job to obey God when I hear Him speak and I do hear Him on this…loud and clear: “Love your enemies.”

Luke 6:27-31 (NIV)

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Yikes! I could NEVER do this if left up to me, but thankfully the Spirit of the Living God lives in me and says I can do all things through Him because He loves me. Have a great day, my friend, knowing that our ugliest parts can be the best parts when we turn them over and commit them to our Loving God.

With all my heart,




Dear Little Miss Control Freak

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

My need to control my environment is strong. That sentence is an understatement. Let me rephrase that. My need to control my environment – if left unchecked – is catastrophic and devastating. Maybe it’s the same for you, and that is why you are reading this. Let me assure you right out of the gate here – we are not alone. In preparing to write “Day 1” I thought of several of my  friends and family who have these same issues with control and overwhelming emotions when either a perceived threat or a very real fear has swept in. Just because we are not alone does not make us a part of some exclusive “Bad Christian Ladies Club” nor it does not exclude us from the “Good Christian Ladies Club” either. It just puts us in a category of women who no longer want to be ruled nor defined by the raging emotions that cause damage and dishonor the Lord. When I was praying about writing this and the topic of my rage and anger, I felt a wave of shame and condemnation come over me. It was almost like I couldn’t pray about this part of me. Even though I know God knows all about this fiery girl of His, I felt like I couldn’t admit the severity of it to God. I wanted to call it a “struggle” and label it something mild and non-threatening, but the fact is that it IS life-threatening.  I knew I didn’t need to hide from God, but somewhere down deep came these thoughts of shame because I felt like it’s just so unladylike to have this harsh and vicious way about me.  It can “feel” exhilarating and powerful when you rage and take back your (false sense of) control, but that feeling of control is a big lie. We have been deceived. This can no longer be my first and last line of defense. If I want to have any shot at the abundant life Jesus talks about then I need to learn how to be a strong woman without the clawing, fighting and hissing of mean words and threats. The enemy of my soul does not want me getting victory in this. My intense anger and explosive emotions have made his job all too easy.

So getting back to that moment of prayer where I felt that shame come over me…I decided right then and there to be honest with myself and God. In the silence of my heart and mind I called it what it was. And then an unexpected thing happened. I felt God say to me, “I love you.” I didn’t hear a voice fall out of the sky, but He said it in a way that felt like it was right from His heart to mine. In my ugliness I felt His love right there. He was there with me in the true confession. I don’t know if it was because I was appropriately convicted over this for once or if it was because God knows how hard this is for me. I don’t quite know how to articulate it, but if I could try to explain what took place, I’d have to say that He was pleased that I would come to Him like that…humbly.  And pleased that I would be willing to deal with this finally. So if there’s any encouragement I can give right here at the starting line, it would be this: He loves you. He loves me.

As difficult as things are right now and as difficult a breed of women we can be, we are created in God’s image to love with power and to have self-control and solidness when we let go of our warped sense of control. God wants us to see His power displayed all over our lives and that happens when we admit our greatest weaknesses – the root ones, the real ones. And if we don’t know yet what those roots are, then at the very least we’d be willing to go through the process to allow Him to discover why we do what we do. I don’t know if there’s a formula, and I doubt there’s a “one-size fits all remedy”, but He guarantees this: HE IS FAITHFUL. His Word says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “His grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in weakness”. Our weakness in exchange for His strength – now there’s a formula I want to learn about. Which brings takes me to our meditation verse at the top of the page: Matthew 16:24-25. In order for us to find our lives – the lives we have always wanted, we have to lose our life – the old one- the “control freak” one – the one that rages to protect herself like an injured animal. Time to open up that cracked heart and let Him in to do life-saving and life-giving surgery. Let’s hang in there! It’s worth it.

In summary, Day 1 themes:

1) That He loves us.

2) That it’s time to lose that old life (let go of control) and be willing to live the new one (embrace the weakness).


Dear Father God, Thank you that you love me so much that You want me to exchange the lies of my own control for the truth of the power of Your Spirit at work in my life. Please help me to be honest with You and others and to stop trying to hold everything together myself. Please give me a willing spirit, heart and mind for the change You want to bring to my life. I want to honor You in every area. I have kept this pressed down and covered up for so long, and I am exhausted. Please show me how to exchange my weakness for Your strength, for my good and Your glory, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

So this is Day 1 of the Holy Duct Tape Devotional. The fact that I’m doing this right now is no accident. Thank you for reading!

With all my heart,



There’s our little Luna watching me type 🙂

Project: Holy Duct Tape for the Hot Tempered Wife

I’ve been working on a little writing project near and dear to my heart, and tonight I want share it with you. This is the first draft of the forward to “Holy Duct Tape – A Devotional for the Hot Tempered Wife.”


Full disclosure: I know I am a tough wife. I know that my expectations can border on the impossible. I know I can have quite the double-standard when it comes to letting each other down in my marriage. All that to say that I am acutely aware that as I go into writing this, God wants to deal with the lady typing on this laptop right now. Do you ever find yourself praying things like, “God, please send an army of angels to harness this mouth of mine.” I know I have, and that’s on a good day. Sometimes I just say things so quick and fierce that there’s no time for a hint of any kind of prayer or even a thought, for that matter. I know there are other wives/fiånces/girlfriends who aren’t quite capable yet of saying sweetly (after a major “husband blow it moment”), ‘It’s okay, my love. I understand. Let’s move past this shall we?’ I have nothing against these patient and demure women, I just haven’t known how to respond in a truly honest and healthy way. I will share a story at the onset of this to give some light to the beginning of my journey. I remember being a brand-new Christian and trying to explain to the Pastor’s wife my intense reactions and the behavior that seemed impossible for me to get a handle on when I’m in an argument with my husband. She seemed ill-equipped to deal with my particular issue. She acted as if I was someone to be quickly dealt with and then avoided because I didn’t have it all together as a wife. To her defense, maybe she was just not used to my kind of attitude problem. I don’t know what her reasons were, but all I knew at the time is that I felt more strange and more alone and well, more evil, than other Christian ladies by the time I left. The one thing the Pastor’s wife left me with was one verse and it was this one:

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)  A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

I never went to her for guidance again because she simply pointed out that I was broken but didn’t offer any hope or direction in how I could be rebuilt. I knew I had some broken walls. I just didn’t know how those walls were to be repaired. God wants us to be healthy, strong women. My walls have been broken down for far too long and maybe they have for you too. It’s time to carve out a new way of dealing with our emotions so let’s do some business with God. The repairs can happen, and He is faithful to do it. He says to follow Him. Let’s learn to do that, and watch what He does with our junk. All God wants is for us to be willing and if you are reading this, then that means you are! Get ready for some great change.

So to end tonight’s blog post…I’d like to say thank you for reading this. I plan to post more excerpts here and there. Good night and God bless. 

With all my heart,