Friday, March 20, 2015

6 months ago...still relevant today

excerpt from my journal, six months ago:
Friday, September 19th, 2014
somewhere on the road to recovery - Olathe, KS

"Lord, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on You. It took a couple of hours to get out of bed this morning, even though I was hungry and knew I needed to take care of myself by eating breakfast and taking my morning meds. I don't want to be too hard on myself and say that I'm failing - the truth is that I'm scared. I'm scared of trying to move back home, of not being ready for work, of falling back into my old ways of being too busy/without margin. [...]

Dad says that I just need to trust now. Yes. How do I keep struggling with the same thing over and over and over again? [...]

Lord, I choose to trust You even in difficult times like this. It seemed so simple to trust You with the surgery. I obviously had not really considered how difficult the recovery could be for me. It almost seems ridiculous to me that I'm struggling so much with recovery. You got me through this summer somehow and through the surgery and through almost 5 weeks of recovery, so why am I freaking out now? You will not drop me now. [...]

Lord, please help me. I want to be able to 'not worry about tomorrow.' But I'm so weak and prone to worry. Michael came by and reminded me to be thankful. So let me choose to praise You, even when I don't feel like it.

Lord, thank You for my family who is putting up with me during this difficult time. Thank You for my brothers who are also my friends. Thank You for all the people who prayed and are praying for me. Thank You for all the encouraging cards and balloons. Thank You for how accommodating Donnelly has been. Thank You for showing Donnelly favor with enrollment this fall. Thank You for the significant progress that I've seen since the surgery. Thank You for the healing work that You are performing in my skull and in my brain. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for never leaving my side."

checking in with 2015 goals

Some goals (in no particular order): [written on January 3rd]:

Revive this blog [working on it!]
Read at least one book per month (goodreads) [no progress with this]
Do more art [check]
Finish reading Bible (last year I got more than halfway through the ESV) [basically no progress]
Continue learning French and planning for France trip (April 2016!) [haven't worked on this in a while]
Teach ESL [hoping to do this in the summer]
Learn Nepali [Ashish is sending me the Nepali word of the day]
Help my mom launch a blog and youtube channel [I've had a lot of health issues preventing me from spending time with my mom]
Sundays: family, friends, church. No errands, chores, or work. [check-mostly]
Go to Guatemala for mission trip & vacation (October 2015) [planning on it!]
Make new friends [check!]
Learn how to dance [working on this]
Work on personal projects [kind of...]
Go on at least one date (any takers? haha) [check!]
Get involved with Young Latino Professionals and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce [check!]
Exercise at least three times per week [does walking to work count?]
Switch to organic, natural food & other products (makeup, household cleaners, etc.) [check]
Run at least one race this year [planning on the GCI 5K in May...]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

new life

I was just thinking, I wish everyone could experience this gift of new life that I've been given...and then I realized, everyone can! So much of life is about how we react to situations and the attitude that we choose. Each new day is a gift. Each moment, each breath. When we start to view life as a gift, we start to practice gratitude. And gratitude has the power to change our lives. It colors our life and our experiences. Challenges and trials become opportunities. And these opportunities, no matter how painful in the moment, can become catalysts for lasting transformation.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


In preparation for the New Year update card that I'm sending out, I've been spending quite a bit of time reflecting upon this past year. 2014 was an intense year: intensely challenging & painful, but also intensely rewarding & liberating.

This year I hope to challenge everyone to join me in making a conscious effort to practice gratitude. Tag your pics and posts: #practicegratitude 

Gratitude is contagious and meant to be shared.

Monday, January 5, 2015

two thousand fifteen

Some goals (in no particular order):

  • Revive this blog
  • Read at least one book per month (goodreads)
  • Do more art
  • Finish reading Bible (last year I got more than halfway through the ESV)
  • Continue learning French and planning for France trip (April 2016!)
  • Teach ESL
  • Learn Nepali
  • Help my mom launch a blog and youtube channel
  • Sundays: family, friends, church. No errands, chores, or work.
  • Go to Guatemala for mission trip & vacation (October 2015)
  • Make new friends
  • Learn how to dance
  • Work on personal projects 
  • Go on at least one date (any takers? haha)
  • Get involved with Young Latino Professionals and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Exercise at least three times per week
  • Switch to organic, natural food & other products (makeup, household cleaners, etc.)
  • Run at least one race this year

Friday, January 2, 2015

I'm lost without Your creative spark in me.

--Rend Collective Experiment, "Dry Bones"

Monday, October 8, 2012

a reflection on two years

[This post was written in July 2012]

A little over two years ago, I was commuting from JoCo to KCMO everyday for work.  Through my job, I had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful Latino families on both sides of the state line.  I remember a conversation I had with one Latina mom that would end up becoming a turning point for me.  I asked her how long her family had lived in Kansas City.  She answered and asked me if I lived in KCK or KCMO...I hesitated before admitting that I lived in JoCo.  I could feel a wall begin to form between us.  Despite my Mexican heritage and years of studying Spanish, I could not relate to her.  We lived in different worlds.

Around the same time,  I began volunteering at LIT (Leaders in Training, Mission Adelante's after-school program).  It didn't take long for my heart to grow fond of the children and community.  On February 15th, 2010, I wrote:
I am a passionate person. If I commit to doing something, I will do it whole-heartedly. I will give every ounce of energy I have to do the best that I can do with the given situation.
I have recently committed to spending 2.5 hours a week with a great group of kids. Just 2.5 hours. During these 2.5 hours, I try to make myself completely available. But when the time is up, I struggle to walk out the door and leave the neighborhood behind. 
These kids have my heart and they don't even know it.
Within days of writing this, I had coffee with Megan, the director of children's ministry at Mission Adelante, and I shared my heart and some tears with her.  She told me about a great place to live and promised she would try to find me a roommate.  A few months later, I had moved to KCK with Molly, my new roommate and friend!

Today--just two years later--I live, work, go to church, and volunteer all within a one mile radius.  This community is no longer a volunteer opportunity or work assignment.  It is my home.  These are my people.  I may still lead a very different life from that Latina mom, but now I'm just down the street. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012


  1. to remain, abide
    1. in reference to place
      1. to sojourn, tarry
      2. not to depart 1a
    2. to continue to be present 1a
    3. to be held, kept, continually
    4. in reference to time
      1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure 1b
    5. of persons, to survive, live
    6. in reference to state or condition
      1. to remain as one, not to become another or different
"If, in our orthodox Churches, the abiding in Christ, the living union with Him, the experience of His daily and hourly presence and keeping, were preached with the same distinctness and urgency as His atonement and pardon through His blood, I am confident that many would be found to accept with gladness the invitation to such a life, and that its influence would be manifest in their experience of the purity and the power, the love and the joy, the fruit-bearing, and the blessedness which the Savior connected with abiding in Him."

-Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Feelings should inform our actions or emphasize them, not direct or power them. Feelings are like 3-year-olds. It's okay to have them in the car, good or bad, loud or quiet, nice or nasty as dog's breath. JUST DON'T LET THEM DRIVE."

-Michelle Jones

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

reflections on reconciliation

I just came back from a conference about Christian community development. This year’s theme was “Reconcilliation.” I left with a heavy heart. Our world is so broken.

Although I’ve been exposed to many different cultures in my life, I realized that I’ve allowed my upbringing to shape my view on church. What does a multicultural church really look like? How do we really allow others to come as they are instead of asking them to fit our mold?

What does justice look like? For the immigrant? In education? In health care? In politics? What is my role in all of this?

How do I reconcile my calling with my skin color? Am I always going to be viewed as an arrogant white/American person who is trying to save “the under-privileged?” How can I serve while truly showing the love of Christ and protecting the dignity of those served?

We live in the tension of the now and not yet. But I want to see the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

“We see in the homies what they don’t see in themselves, until they do.”

This quote by Mark Torres, S.J., could sum up the book Tattoos on the Heart. I believe that God has blessed me with a similar opportunity to be involved in the lives of youth who are full of creativity and potential and insight. They usually dismiss my compliments, but I hope that they are allowing truth to take root in their hearts, the truth of who God has created them to be and how He looks upon them with so much affection.

Although I don’t agree with all the theology of the book, I would definitely recommend Tattoos on the Heart. The stories are a testament to the transformative power of God’s love. I laughed and cried through each chapter, and I am challenged by the longevity Gregory Boyle’s commitment to the people of East L.A.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Jesus was not a man for others. He was one with others. There is a world of difference in that. Jesus didn’t seek the rights of lepers. He touched the leper even before he got around to curing him. He didn’t champion the cause of the outcast. He was the outcast. He didn’t fight for improved conditions for the prisoner. He simply said, 'I was in prison.'"

Gregory Boyle (p. 72, Tattoos on the Heart)
"Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it."

Gregory Boyle (p. 67, Tattoos on the Heart)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

panza llena, corazón contento

Several years ago, I spent a summer in Mexico living with my aunt and uncle. I was trying to master the Spanish language and to get to know my Mexican family better. After every meal, my Tío Toño would always say, "Panza llena; corazón contento." This roughly translates to: "full stomach, happy heart." Tonight I realized that it isn't just the eating that makes his heart happy; it's the act of bringing la familia (more than just relatives) together and conviviendo (sharing life).

Tonight, Mission Adelante launched three different house churches. My group had the privilege of meeting in the home of one of the Latina moms who is relatively new in her faith. Her 11 year old son has a sweet and joyful heart and is one of my favorite kids to hang out with at LIT (Leaders in Training, Mission Adelante's after-school program).

This evening, for the first time since that summer I spent with my tío, I tasted the sweetness of what sharing life could look like in my neighborhood, in my life. My senses were awakened; the room was full of laughter, spices, color, and warmth. Everyone who came had a chance to speak and contribute; everyone brought something to the table (literally). We worshipped together and dug into the Word together. I felt alive again. We were doing church, being the church, and it had nothing to do with a program or a building.