Monday, December 31, 2012

Do You Hear The People Sing?

Yep, I'm putting this on my Life Anthem List. It's a very "now" song for me. :)

Here comes JANUARY!!!

...which involves a LOT of awesome challenges.'s my month of no spending. Seriously, if you've never tried it, you should! There are definitely some unique challenges to face, but it actually gets a little fun figuring out how to...actually do truly homemade meals, give gifts from the heart, find free avenues of entertainment... Yep, good times. Of course, I do allow for things like bills, gas and emergencies, and I added fresh produce to this month's permissions. OTHER spending.'s my month to get back in shape!! Serious holiday gluttony and no sand volleyball tend to catch up with a girl. Time for trimming!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Year of the Fresh Start

2012 was the Year of Completion. I've blogged about that before...getting fed up with a life of waiting...all because of some serious stewardship issues...thus, making 2012 the year to get a grip. And I did!!!! Well, we did!! All of those door-closings happened with my "With-God" and a fantastic community.

So...what does that make 2013? Yep, it's the Year of the Fresh Start.

I have to be honest. Living for quite some time in a holding pattern has left me with some wonderings about which directions to take, what delights to step into, what challenges to take on... Tons of possibility can be a little overwhelming for this girl. I feel great permission to take it slow though, and that feels good.

So far...some plans. (Because I like to set some goals for the year ahead...hehe.)

I want to start on a writing project that I've been tossing around in my head. Very excited about that.

I'm going to go to Rwanda at the end of July with Our Response (World Vision) on a trip designed to allow educators to help schools there. A personal highlight will be visiting a community of individuals with HIV who have been given an opportunity to support themselves through a mushroom-growing business. (If you'd like to help sponsor me for the trip, let me know!!) :)

I want to get my sewing machine running and start making some things. Wow, it's been ages since I've done that.

And...of course...doing more dreaming...which is completely a "Sarah" thing to do. :)

Here's to 2013: The Year of the Fresh Start

Hoping your year is fabulous too!!! Much love! :)

Spa Night!!

What a FABULOUS time!!! A friend was able to get some time at a spa in Stillwater for her, my sister and myself. A day of massages and pedicures and an overnight in a wonderful cottage. Sushi, wine, treats and a movie. A huge king-sized bed. Wonderful fellowship.

This girl needed it!!!!

Wonderful relaxation for body and soul.

The Spa

The Cottage

Being You

I heard it said somewhere that it is far better to be a messy but authentic "you" than a perfect copy of someone else. I totally agree!! Here's to you!!! Now, go set the world on fire! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Les Mis

Ohhhhhh my. The making of one of the greatest plays I've ever seen into a musical movie was A HUGE RISK. One well worth it!!!!! I was so wonderful. Oh, to be a grace-giver!! :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I feel the same way...hehe

Another World Vision Christmas

One of my favorite family traditions for Christmas is our donation to World Vision. Instead of doing tons of gifts, we pool our resources and order different services/gifts for the poor in the US and all over the world. All of the kiddos in the family are the "ordering committee". This year, they chose life-saving meds, newborn survival kits, soccer balls, art and music supplies, fast-growing seeds and Bibles. What a great year!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Wow...what a tough story! I have to say though...I'm so challenged by her response to her suffering. "...but I knew who [I] was...and I would have victory over violence..."

That's so the heart of the good Father regardless of the situation...He bestows true identity...and true identity (anchored and empowered in Him) unleashes kingdom life. Is it challenging and painful sometimes?...Absolutely!! But in Him there's ALWAYS the promise of life and hope and peace and healing and good. All in His time. Amazing.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be Kind

We are all formed. So...don't contribute to the poor choices of another through ill-treatment.

Christmas Break - SPA TIME!!!

Oh my...I'm so excited!! I was invited to an overnight at a spa during my Christmas break. Time to rest and relax with fabulous friends!!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

One Thing Remains

Who Is Left Behind?

So...some straight-shootin'... :)

The issue...I've had a few run-ins with people who, to be honest, have been not so good with relationships. To me and to some people I love.

** Let me clarify that I'm not referring to any current relationships and not anything of a romantic nature. This is about old hurts...wounds I've allowed to fester...and then overflow into my approach to "new" opportunities. That "guarding" we do to prematurely protect against pain.**

It's really not an uncommon thing in this culture. Our consumerism and our entitlement have isolated us more than drawn us together. More relationally immature, we've become more focused on self-needs at the exclusion of an entirely valid and necessary part of relationship...our design to connect and invest in others. Unfortunately, "Me-Me's" can't be "We-We's". (Hmm...that sounds weird. Haha!) You know...can't see passed self enough to value what a blessing they are (and a good need they are) to others in meaningful relationship.

So, they tend to "poof" in and out of people's lives...

They likely don't see the harm in it because they aren't experiencing anything that conflicts with their own expectations of relationship. They are satisfied because they are actively hunting what makes them happy in the moment. That or they are dismayed enough with what didn't make them happy that they will withdraw to smaller circles. Unfortunately, though, when they dart off to greener pastures, there is hurt left behind...experienced by those that valued their friendship. A sense of loss, a sense of rejection, a loneliness ..a hole where a great and delightful gift once dwelt.

I've been here before, folks. And honestly...I've done it before too. For some reason, though, a couple of *poofs* struck a deeper blow, and my choice was not to bring my pain to my "With-God". It was to embrace resentment. I think it was my way of defending myself and others who were way of saying that it wasn't ok to do that. Unexpectedly, it only hurt me...and made me more suspicious of new people.


God is so good though. He's good to reveal and then heal if we are willing to let Him. And's time.

I don't expect the specific situations to change much. Goodness, trust is something that takes time to earn back, and boundaries are sometimes necessary. I do expect an "unhooking" though. An outpouring of forgiveness...the kind that sets the prisoner free. It has already started...and I'm feeling relieved...

A friend reminded me today that I'm love...not hate. That my identity in Christ is one of love, and it can be in this place of wounding too. So...his path of healing is headed back to the core. I'll take it. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Authentic Mystic

"In our technological world the word mystic has fallen on hard times. Used mostly in a pejorative sense, mystic has come to mean someone who is spaced out in a dreamy metaphysical fog. An authentic mystic, however, is not a person who engages in unusual forms of prayers accomplished by visions, ecstasies, and levitations. A mystic, in the words of German theologian Karl Rahner, is someone who has experienced something. A mystic is aglow with passionate longing for Jesus Christ, who is sought, loved, and worshiped for himself alone. A mystic is a person whose life is ruled by thirst. That thirst is slaked in prayer, in the knowing-loving-and-delighting in a person. "This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).

The contemplative at Christmas grows quiet before "the light [that] shines in the darkness" (John 1:5). He stills his soul and becomes tranquil like a child in its mother's arms. He interiorizes and appropriates to himself the mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and love that are embodied in the Child of Bethlehem. He surrenders to the grace of the Word made flesh. He accepts acceptance."


This is an excerpt from a devotional by Brennan Manning..."Reflections for Ragamuffins". I opened it to my birth date and found myself blessed beyond measure...words that are so close to my heart. A mystic...well, it's what I am...and am becoming more and more. The experience of the Godhead...the

What a special confirmation in a wonderful birthday present!! (Thanks, Melody!)

Looking Back...Looking Ahead

Wow! 2012 was truly what I set out to make it!!

 The Year of CHANGE!!

I was so unfathomably restless at the end of 2011. I absolutely had to have a change. I knew I wasn't taking the steps necessary to "become" more of who I'm made to be, and I was finally fed up enough!! I set out to close some of the doors to projects and challenges that I had started long ago. It was so hard, but we did it!! I had to wave the white flag of surrender on some relationships. It was so, so, so very hard, but we did it! I took on some new opportunities and began that grand adventure of exploration into the next chapter of "Sarah".

I'll tell ya what. It was all worth it!! Still looking ahead to more...hopes, dreams, goals, fresh starts...but right now, this girl knows a completion and fullness I didn't know a year ago. It's pretty much...wonderful.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wise Leaders

I've been noticing something about leadership. A trait that contributes to a greater effectiveness. An indication of maturity...

Listening to other perspectives.

Asking questions about why those other opinions exist.

I know that seems like a "no-brainer", but truly...there are a TON of leaders (myself included) who find it easier to believe that their own way is THE way. How they see it is how it they dismiss disagreement pretty easily.

Turns out...not so wise.

I'm becoming more and more convinced of it all the time. Greater impact...influence...comes from a more thorough understanding of varying perspectives...ESPECIALLY those that differ from your leanings. offers an indication of honor...respect for others. provides the leader with a greater depth of comprehension for wiser decisions.

Man...I wish I was more willing to learn this in my early years of leading. Water under the bridge, I guess. And wow...there are some "youngins" I wish I could impress upon...but alas...we all have our life lessons. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Own

I must admit...when I look back on my the days when I tried to be someone else because I had no idea who I was...I shudder to think about the reality I could have created for myself had God not thwarted my plans.

It causes me to pause in gratitude.

We all are mysteries. Goodness...I think we are constantly discovering more about who we really are and will probably do so forever. My self-discovery goes hand-in-hand with my God-discovery. The more I experience His essence, the more my true self is handed to me. The difference is...I'm more honest, more real...and thus more my "own".

Less posing...more authenticity.

That's a girl worth knowing. :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Women and the Church

So...I'm pretty sure it's not a secret. My church lets me be a part of the sermon prep team which means that I occasionally do the Sunday teaching. Now...I have no aspirations to be a pastor, but I love hearts and teaching/speaking. Hence, it's a great opportunity for me to invest in others and grow personally.

My church doesn't have many qualms about releasing women into whatever gifting they have (as they would men), so it hasn't seemed all that odd to me. Every now and then, though, I'm reminded that not everyone in the church at large agrees. Hence...I've been looking into the issue of women in leadership and what the Bible has to say. Goodness...way more "grey" than I ever dreamed...and I love it!! I've stumbled across a few interesting articles, and I decided to post them here.

Notable Female Leaders In The Bible

Why Women Are The Key To The Church's Future

Going To Hell With...

‎"then he (atheist friend) uttered words that left me reeling, 'you Christians, you always eat your own'"

Whoa. Seeing that quote on a Facebook post (thanks, Ann!) this morning stopped me dead in my tracks.

We always eat our own...

Do I have a "chew toy" right now? Am I my own target?

Check out this challenging article in Christianity Today.

Going to Hell with Ted Haggard

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stein on the Holidays

This is from a CBS interview some years ago. I checked's real. I love the part about mutual appreciation. It's a sign of maturity in my book. Respect is a two-way street. 


My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Going to Church

Ok...I have to blog about one of my convictions. Something I'm pretty passionate about. Along the lines of eating cheesecake, I find church to be a "must" for me.

I should clarify...

    By "going to church", I don't mean simply "attending" in a specific building. I mean "involvement".

    By "involvement", I don't simply mean getting on a committee, joining the worship team, teaching a class... I mean "engaging".

    By "engaging", I mean...sharing your life with a larger group of people. Not just people who think exactly like you, that's not usually healthy. I'm referring to a group that shares a similar foundational love for Jesus but is diverse in the lesser interpretations, passions, giftings, etc. Holding on to humility...such things are beautifully possible.

It's entering into community life.

No, not the weird cult type of thing.

A connection thing. A culture of honor. One that has the free space of grace that challenges the "ick" without shame and more so calls forth the "wow" in each of us.

So, so, so much growth comes out of that. Not the kind that keeps you focused solely on the group...the kind that inspires you to share what God has put in you wherever you go from there. A launching pad.

Relationship. Growth. Mission.

Yep, it involves stepping out of my introverted, comfort zone, but it's worth it. Pursuing relationship with others...eek, initiating...and finding yourself being pursued right back. Lovely.

It's seriously fantastic...and I don't want to miss out on that for one second.

Side note: Now, don't freak out...just because it's my belief and my utter delight doesn't mean I somehow think the Christian non-church-goers are idiots. I respect the convictions of others and know we can agree to disagree. I feel for people who aren't simply standing on a belief though...the ones who withdraw because of hurts or even a judgment of pride or bitterness. Sometimes I wish there was a way to push through that to call them out of "reaction" and into "response", but that's not my job...and it's not something you force.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zombie 101

My students like to talk about the zombie apocalypse...a lot. Haha! Some of it is my fault...on one of the student retreats a couple of years ago, we developed a comprehensive survival plan. ;) Every now and then, it comes up again, and I've been finding that it helps narrow my list of survival tips...improve the chances. Here are the current thoughts. (Yes, nerd.)

1. Zombies aren't savable. If you knew them when they were "living", it's not that person anymore. Don't keep one locked in a "safe" room just in case it all shakes out someday. While you have your sentiments, they want to eat you, and if they do get out, they are GOING to eat you. Nope. Shoot on sight.

2. In combat there's no point going for any zombie part other than the head. People, this is like rabies on steroids. The brain is the source. Take out the noggin. Done.

3. Don't use weapons that draw attention. Seriously...a gun??? You'll draw a herd from the noise. Stupid. Dead. Instead, use something like a bow/arrow or machete or club...

4. Structures with many levels should be avoided. There are fewer routes of escape the higher you flee, so only go as high as you can jump and not break your leg(s). Broken leg means "chew toy". In other words, stay away from cities.

5. Travel in a small group, but DON'T include lazy and/or irritating people! Note: If you are one of those types in the warned. At some point, the group is planning to use you as a distraction...i.e. bait.

6. Stock up on essentials...but make sure you can also transport them. You will likely have to be a bit nomadic. If not constantly, be prepared for the emergency run. Essentials include water, gas, meds, food, weapons...and NOT your technology addictables, Barbie collection or One Direction CDs. Lordy, if we are carting all that crap...see #5.

7. Don't. Make. Noise. Seriously, people...when you suspect they are passing by, shut up!! Noise-makers become snacky-snacks.

8. For crying out loud...don't build fires at night! get the point.

9. Smell bad. Hey, if you end up somewhere they are (total emergency situation), it can't hurt to blend in. Behaving like one is sort of helpful, but it's a sure thing that zombies won't nibble on a zombie smell-alike. Gosh, I know I wouldn't.


I'm an Eden-obsessed girl. :)


Monday, December 3, 2012

Wonder Woman

OF COURSE I love Wonder Woman!!! Like Super Man, "normal" is her costume. Who she really is...that's her super hero identity. There's something in that notion that I find appealing. :)


Messy Beautiful

* Based solely on a couple of interactions of late. In most of my circles, the negative aspects of this blog aren't the norm...and I thank God for that CONSTANTLY.

It's really striking how some approach the sin of others. Striking because it's like they think they have none of their own OR clearly put all sin on a scale of "least to greatest" (with their own being "least").

Don't get me wrong. Obviously, sin is a serious thing. ALL sin. We all need accountability and need to grieve the losses that come with it...both in our own perpetration and the assaults by others. God is good to bring repentance and healing.

But...for some...well, reactions betray real beliefs about sin. I find it so sad!


Well...the truth is...God's not running a behavior modification program where all of his "followers" are most importantly noted for being prim and proper. Give me a break!!! That belief system produces shame-based legalists and ginormous hypocrites. You can't ever measure up...not unless you are bathed in pride.

Appearances first. Hearts later.

Bandaids over bullet holes.

The power of the Gospel is seen in what is called the "messy beautiful". People in that imperfect journey that exposes the broken places and unleashes true identity and destiny...all at the same time! It's disturbing AND breath-taking to behold.

The former beats the crap out of you until your dying day and in so doing reminds self how much more superior he or she really is as compared to the "sinner".

The other?? He or she grieves...with you, for you, sometimes because of you...but in the right time helps you stand once again...with surer footing and more authentic strength. That's grace...and...that's JESUS.

The Messy Beautiful are REAL people. They have real problems and real strengths. They have desires and delights...and struggles and sins. But they are open, and they are honest. And because of that...they are MOVING! They are actively becoming more fully Jesus when He had skin on...and in that grand unveiling, they are realizing that they aren't simply being pressed into the molds of "followers". They are being set free to be the sons and daughters of the God of the embrace.

Man, that's where I hope God is taking me! That's the kind of girl I plan to be for others. AND...that's what I'm so thankful for in my community. Yep...Messy Beautiful. :)