Coffee in Heaven: Living This First Life Well

I just bought plane tickets for a funeral this weekend. Friday morning at 4 am I’ll hop on the train to the airport and fly to California to celebrate the life of my Aunt Sharon, who I am sure is now sipping coffee with Jesus at some corner cafe in heaven.  Sharon Runner was an incredible human being whosharon made a beautiful and lasting impact on her community. She spoke out against injustice and stood up on behalf of the weak and vulnerable. She spent her life working in both the private and public sectors, serving as a California State Senator from 2011 till she passed away this month. She was unashamed of her faith and was so much like Jesus in how she proclaimed truth in love, without passing judgment. She loved her husband and children and grandchildren well, and she loved Jesus the most. Her resume was as lengthy as it was impressive and her voice was important. I am honored to call myself her niece and I am so grateful for the legacy of love and boldness and service that she left for the women in our family to walk in. Hers was a life well lived.

This morning I saw an ad on social media that read, “Stop acting like you live twice. Make your days count.” The fancy, bold script sat in the middle of a beautiful, coastal scene with a long, winding road following the edge of the green cliffs. Beautiful. Inspirational, even. I used to subscribe to this way of thinking.  This fear of wasting what little time we might have on earth hung over me like a cloud. What if I miss something? What if there is this great opportunity that God puts in front of me and I didn’t see it or I said no because I was too busy with something else? Read More

Defining “White Privilege” and Why We MUST Care.

I’m just going to jump right in. This was a hard post to write and I’m sure, for many, it will be hard to read. I don’t have all the right words and phrases and I know there will be many posts this week that are much more eloquent and thoughtful than mine but I can not stay silent. It has been an ugly week in social media land and it will continue to get worse. So read this post, or don’t. But please, read something.

I was ignorant and had unknown racist tendencies until beginning the adoption process. It wasn’t until I began to really listen to the comments people were making towards our adoption of a child of color that I began to wake up. Read More

This Is A War, Not A Competition.

“No one is pushing her. There is no doubt she could do more, and that’s frightening.” The announcers words bounced around in my head all night. I had just watched Simone Biles dominate with her floor routine at the US Gymnastic Olympic Trials. If you haven’t watched the video of awesomeness, here you go. The woman is untouchable. Her skills and strength are unlike anything the sport has seen before.  She even has her own signature move (that no one else has been able to duplicate) and she executes it with such finesse, she makes it look as simple as a somersault.  She clearly has had amazing coaching and I don’t think the announcers were implying that her trainers are in some way “slacking off” when he said she isn’t being pushed. I think he meant that Simone’s current best is the best and, yet, she could do even more, and that’s insane.

It’s going to seem like I’m jumping ship with this next paragraph but stick with me. I couldn’t figure out a smooth transition so, hang tight, and I promise I’ll link it all together soon.

I wonder what the enemy says to his demons about us? Read More

His “Yes” Legacy: Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Much like that piercing I got my freshman year of college, I probably should have asked my parents permission to write this post before going through with it. Oops.

Also, much like my post on the time I took on my school’s uniform policy, there are a few people who will read this post and want to make it about the “uniform policy” rather then the lessons learned from the risk I took to take it on. Please, please, please, I beg you. Let my words, dedicated to my father on Father’s Day, be about the lessons I’ve learned from my dad and not about your defense of a “policy.” Trust me, you don’t want to go there with me.

Deep breath. Here we go. Read More

Risking Home: Deborah Avinelis

My longtime and very dear friend, Deborah, graciously agreed to be my first “guest contributor” and what she has to say will not disappoint. There is so much goodness to be had in listening to and learning from one another. Our stories are important and need to be shared. So, without further ado, please enjoy and be blessed by my friend’s tale of risk. 


They say home is where the heart is. Sure, but I’ll tell you where home really is. It’s where you can wear your stretchy pants and make a mess and feel totally ok doing it. Home is where you feel comfortable and secure and you don’t have to worry about impressing people; that is home. I love home. I love the people in my home and I like the safety, security and familiarity of home. And I love when I have friends and family in my home because when my house is full, my heart is full. Ah home, what is there not to love? It’s hard to love when you have to move to a new city. It’s especially hard to love when you didn’t want to go to that city in the first place. And it’s always hard when you are in that new place and you have to make a new house, home.

I am not a risk taker. I like safe and familiar and I like to call it living wisely so I don’t have to face the reality that I’m a sissy.

The most adventurous thing I’ve ever done was work for a white water rafting company…as the nanny. I was not a river guide. I watched the owners kids. I was living in a tent for 4 days a week those two summers. It was pretty rough for this non-outdoorsy girl, but it hardly qualifies for risk and adventure.

It’s probably my fear of failure that drives my reluctance to step out, to try new things and to be the risk taker I admire in the women around me. Oh,perhaps it’s my worship of comfort? Either way, God in his goodness pushes me to places I would not willingly go on my own, for my good and his glory; and that is how I found myself as the new girl in town a few years ago.

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