Kindness is one of the most powerful tools in God’s kingdom.  It has the ability to pierce even the darkest places with bright light and cross any cultural or language barrier.  It is the tangible manifestation of love.  If any other expression of love is given to you, but this is one thing is withheld, do you believe it?

My only regrets in life are when some inner judgement of another or an offense by them has caused me to justifiably (so I thought) withhold kindness from someone or some group of people.  And continually I am humbled and shown God’s love for those very people and again my heart humbles itself to agree with heaven towards them.

Random acts of kindness towards strangers are beautiful and powerful, but what about also choosing to be kind even when we are being yelled at by someone we love, or have been misjudged by friends, or are being shunned by those closest to our hearts?  What if we never forsook kindness in our marriages?  Or our parenting?

Kindness is the only thing that matters.  This is what lingers with people, this is what hearts recognize from eternity when they experience it.  Sometimes kind people are also not given a lot of recognition.  For instance, cold and aloof people appear can appear more powerful or popular.  Sometimes kind people don’t demand or command attention.  But these people, the kind ones, are the wealthiest people on the planet.  They posses a self-love that is genuine and therefore have an undiminished supply of love to share, whether others appreciate it or not, or whether it is reciprocated or not.

True kindness is never earned.  Kindness is only kindness when it is unconditional.  It especially shines the brightest when the recipient of it is underserving.  These moments are our greatest opportunities in life to shine.  You possess something that changes lives.  You possess something humans were made to experience daily and that heaven never forsakes.

Never let kindness leave you…   proverbs 3:3

Some of the most encouraging instances in my life were when I was hard on myself and someone, despite myself being unpleasant, was relentlessly kind to me causing me to dare to believe again that I was worthy of the love they were showing me.  True kindness, I believe, is one of the most attractive features of any human being.  It exudes inner peace, confidence, and grace, whose impact is often beyond description.

Choose to be kind today.  Any arguments of reason in our minds placing ourselves in a position of withholding kindness from someone are false and we are compromising our own inner dignity and strength when we do this.  Choose kindness while you still can, you will not regret it.  It is the very nature of the king of this kingdom. This is the very expression of himself. Jesus, the Kind One. Where you find kindness, there you have found him.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love


You make this…

This is heaven’s secret weapon on earth, and it is my secret weapon.  Even though I have it tattooed on my arm, I didn’t realize it until later.  I’m not talking about a religious stream of words engulfing eternity aimed at a distant enthroned God either.  I’m also not talking about dancing in white dresses in the front of a church with prophetically painted flags.

Heaven is whimsical and mysterious, but also entirely practical.  What is the good of any of those above forms if when you walk out relationship you are critical of the people you live or work with, if you berate yourself, or are pessimistically ‘real’ when it comes to life.

Whatever you do unto other people, you do unto God; basic heaven 101 stuff right there.  Well, have you praised him lately?… in other people?  One of the windows of life I entirely love and adore is really seeing an experience or event or circumstance in another person’s life and getting to celebrate it with them, even if they haven’t begun to celebrate it themselves yet.  I have concluded that this is praise.

I could dance on top of mountains and high buildings, but I love cheering someone on as they take their first step at the bottom of the mountain; often it’s the hardest one.  I love laughing in the face of other people’s self doubt when they surprise themselves about what they’re capable of.  I love celebrating who people are, even when they’re forgotten to see their divine shine.  It really is there all the time.  This is my joy in life and it will not be taken from me.

Praise is the water that freedom and life grows in.  And I’m not talking about lying to people either.  Or puffing them up.  The glorious part about praise is that it’s all true.  Love never sets honesty aside, they’re completely compatible.  Do you know you will be surrounded by praise in heaven?  Not just of God, but all of culture will celebrate and not condemn?  No one will remember or bring up the bad stuff, ever, to you again.  No one will accuse your heart of evil, but your goodness will be known to yourself and others, just as He is good?  Rest in knowing he has no end in celebrating with you, about you, and is excited about what’s to come.

…and I see this. Not even that you would make a perfect piece of pottery one day, but that you have already begun a beautiful journey of process that involved risk of failure and therefore required courage.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love



We serve a god not of contract but a god of covenant. The idea of covenant is largely lost on the modern western world.  Nothing is forever. There is always a loophole, fine print, an agreement that’s been arranged, an appeal. Prenuptial marriage arrangements, abortions, and a world of child support regulations, etc.,we swim in a world prepared for escape, a way out, an exit.

What if that wasn’t the way things weren’t meant to be. What if there was glory in taking responsibility for our choices. What if there was honor in being faithful, in following through, even when everything’s gone to shit. Even when convenience is lost and it seems as if all hope is gone. Welcome to covenant.  The essence of covenant is something unbreakable.

Covenant = Freedom

That’s where the idea of blood came into covenant. As long as my blood is coursing through my veins, as long as there is life in me, our agreement between one another stands and is alive too.  Covenant is an irrevocable thing. This can seem a suffocating concept, but when its in your favor, covenant is the one thing that causes the breathe of relief and the removal of all fear. This thing is unchangeable and isn’t going anywhere.

I could’ve researched covenant but I don’t think one understands it until they’ve experienced it. I am in covenant relationship with some people. No matter my mistakes, no matter my failure, no matter my performance, love and connection is still the standard of the relationship. Understanding is something enjoyed as life experience is shared within covenant.

Good always overcomes evil. My experience of covenant in this life was the recipe for the uprooting of rejection within me.  Someone’s commitment over the period of years was the only thing that eventually quieted that voice in my mind that whispered, “You better perform right, or relationship will end.” The fear that would haunt, “If you fail too much, you will be abandoned and justifiably so.  Rejection will be what you’ve earned and deserve.”

When people won’t be distanced, won’t be pushed away, won’t believe the worst of you, the barriers for the needed self-protection of independence dissolve. Covenant between people in regards to union is the antithesis of abandonment and rejection.

Covenant Anyone?

In Jewish culture, marriage is a covenant. The terms of covenant would be laid out in a dinner with both families present. The groom-to-be would lay what conditions he would fulfill if the covenant was received. After finishing stating his end of the deal he would offer a glass of wine to the bride-to-be. If she drank, the covenant terms were accepted and the covenant locked in place but not consummated yet. It was a the beginning of a covenant that was soon to come.

At the last supper, Jesus was proposing to humanity as a lover right before their eyes. He said the terms of this covenant was the laying down of his life – his very blood – in exchange for redemption of all loss, union, and fulfillment of design. He offers us still the cup of his blood and the brokenness of his body in the vulnerable offer of our inclusion in himself and righteousness unto peace that is a free gift. He says drink of me. You must drink my blood and eat my flesh he said.

It was his invitation of union. God doesn’t half ass anything. He’s an all-in kinda guy. This is the indestructible union of spirit with no fine print clauses underlying our relationship with him. Covenant is the only way he presents himself to us.  I will never leave you or forsake you, he says. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. All this extreme and dramatic language starts to taste like candy when it leaves no room for a draft of rejection to seep through, no room for the whispers of the coldness of a contract relationship to rear its head.


God is not into contract relationships, and his relationship towards you was set in blood, his blood and nothing in heaven or hell can legally undermine this spiritually, and eternally binding contract that God has made with humanity—with you. Nothing. Breathe. The nature of your relationship with God is indestructible and unthwartable by any force. This is the environment of safety meant to provide any child of God with the limitless freedom his secure love provides. This covenant is the foundation of joy.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love


Remembering Our First Year

All God’s Done for Us in a Year



My first anniversary ever is coming up next week and I wanted to take the time to remember what God’s done for me in a year.  Our Anniversary is April 15th.  Just a little over one year ago I was living on the island of Malta and Joel was headed my direction after us not seeing each other for a month and half, after we had known each other for just one month prior to that.  I was getting married in a week from now.  Joel had brought wedding clothes and a ring and I had bought my dress online in one day for a hundred dollars, his ring that same day, and two $5 veils online from the U.S. depending on the color matching and length.  I think it was this week that I picked up a pair of shoes for my dress for nine Euros in the Tuesday market outside our front door.
On a moment’s notice, wonderful people on the island helped make Joel and I’s wedding a reality.  That day we went to high cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in front of a chapel older than the U.S. and said our extemporaneous vows, shared communion, and were wed.   The wind can be harsh on the cliff and although it was prior to the ceremony, afterwards it was light and playful and a Tasmanian man I had asked to play a song he had written at our wedding, took our camera and also happened to be a wonderful photographer, capturing our once in a lifetime moments.
Within the first month of our marriage, I participated in an art gathering in Morocco and Joel participated in a ministry event in England.  After that first month, my mother and sister joined Joel and I on the island and met my husband for the first time in person, ever.  They stayed a month and got to behold the breathtaking beauty of Malta and the surrounding waters.  Soon after they left, a couple on the island gifted Joel and I their waterfront apartment while they were away traveling for our remaining forty days on the island before a visa ending initiated our departure.
During the time in that apartment was when a door opened to our next adventure: the Middle East.  Flying through Turkey we arrived in Amman, Jordan, which would be our home in a desert land for the next three months.  We were extended an invitation by a wonderful German young woman that had come to the Middle East from Mexico, where she had been serving a church the year prior.  We stayed in the guest home of a church and got introduced to the Arab world, sharing our living space with young adults, and refugees, ministers, and all sorts of local people.
After getting to share life and visiting refugee communities and other churches, we made our departure at the end of November through the neighboring country of Israel.  Staying in a hostel in the old city, I got to revisit some favorites in the area with Joel beholding the sites for the first time, which after living on an island with thousand year old fortresses and then living in the Arab world, no longer seemed that spectacular to him.  But what was spectacular was meeting a new friend, who had already encouraged us along our way in taking risks.
Thanksgiving morning, we connected with a man named Andrew White from England who has been working in the Middle East for close to twenty years.  He invited us to come join him as he was moving some of his base out of Iraq and into Jordan.  We said yes.  And then we were off to England and Wales again for the transition back into the western world.  Fortunately our first host was Egyptian, understanding some of the cultural dynamics we were coming out of.  Then off to Wales for wonderful times with friends and then back to South Carolina.
We were just in South Carolina for about a week, where we connected with family, and new and old friends, before heading to Florida for a few days to connect with more family and friends.  Puerto Rico was wonderful in beauty and weather and surroundings.  I walked down Joel’s memory lanes and connected with his friends that now have become mine.  I experienced the holidays on this beautiful island place that truly has its own culture and with the wonderful people there.
After three weeks into the New Year we came back to South Carolina where Joel and I would depart across country, from coast to coast in a vehicle gifted to us by Joel’s amazing parents.  We drove into the wintry tundra of Ohio and remained with friends there for a time before departing again across the southern half of the United States in a snowy weather pattern that did not lift until we arrived at the sunny coast of southern California.
After staying with friends, attending fun ministry gatherings, and traveling up the coast we arrived to our final destination for our first year: Redding, California, where I have since finished the first-draft of my rewrite of my novel.
In the midst of all of this movement were spontaneous paintings, costly lessons, character growth, seeing the miraculous, lots of affection, new horizons coming into view, new lifelong friends being made and old friends being appreciated.  I forgot who I was and then remembered again.  I’ve experienced and enjoyed the process of sharing my life with someone who made it all too easy to do.  I’ve had to tolerate being celebrated and affirmed every day by my husband (note the sarcasm), who is tangible ministry of the holy spirit to my heart and mind.
Joel and I’s first year spanned seven countries, staying in thirty different homes, multiple hotels, visiting something like twenty different churches and connecting with so many amazing people.  The most fun for me, in addition, to experiencing life with my husband Joel is being around those courageous people who are redefining reality and breaking down boxes they’ve found their identity too confining to remain in; whether it’s church structures, business ideas, educational positions, or just people remaining faithful to be their authentic selves despite demands the world sometimes tries to put on them that would damper their passion or creativity or dreams.
I’ve felt so privileged to watch people turn great corners in their lives that require faith and risk great failure; where if God doesn’t show up, this is not going to be good.  But I’ve found when, it’s him that has placed that desire in people’s hearts, he always shows up.  He’s waiting to reveal himself through the areas in people’s lives where they’ve risked trusting him.
Another thing I’ve loved is kitchen table church.  Some of our most profound and encouraging conversations that feel like they are altering reality just because you’re having them—whether it’s that person’s life or country or culture—have happened over meals shared at a dining table.  Whether in a restaurant, bar, pub, café, airport, kiddie table, or card table, you name it, I have felt the joy of life being exchanged there and have loved it.
God promised me years ago, that he would always take care of me and he always has, no matter where he’s invited me to go.  This is also a thank you.   Thank you to those wonderful people who shared their food, their homes, their guest beds or couches, but most of all shared their hearts with us.  You are celebrated in the completion of our first year too.