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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

Attention Please (can also be referred to as “A ‘TENSION’ Please”)

How’d we all do with the Thanksgiving festivities (or lack thereof)? This year, like all years (and like most people, I’m pretty sure) looked different. How do you do when different isn’t necessarily what you wanted? Do you resist the change, lament over the past, resent the new normal? I have so many questions this Black Friday morning. I am sans coffee as I type so that’s my disclaimer before I go any further in my post! Read on, if you dare.

I’ll be honest here, my changes for this holiday were not what I wanted. Without going into all the private family details, I will share that key people were missing for me. There was a void – a big one, and amidst all the food prep and sweet moments that did take place, this void loomed so largely that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else for most of the day. It felt like I was in a strange dream scape that I would wake up from at some point, but instead, the whole day passed with this uneasiness and tension in my soul that camped out for good.

By the time the dishes were washed, the clock showed near midnight, I was looking forward to one thing: that tomorrow wouldn’t be today. Before turning out the light I opened up my phone and found this insta post from Jackie Hill Perry (if you don’t know who she is – Google her!!)

This was a profound reminder to me that the tension in our lives demands attention – not for nothing – but, so that we can choose. That’s when I looked up this verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Right there at the end of the day with the new day dawning was this BIG truth: THIS was God’s will for me. He has something going on behind the scenes that I know nothing about, but He does and that’s what matters. I can choose to be thankful in all that I can see is happening, at the same time I can choose to have faith for everything else.

In The Chosen series Mary Magdalene says this line, “I was one way, and now I am completely different, and the thing that happened in between was Him.”

We are in the “in between” and the tension along the way is His will for our lives. The outcome of all of this is that we will be changed, more into the image He created. That’s the sweet spot of tension, CHANGE.

We can be thankful for the GREAT CHANGE. Thanksgiving 2022 taught me so so much, and I am truly grateful because God allowed the tension that got my attention in the very best way. For those of you with those voids too, I am praying for you this morning. Whatever healing you need, God is waiting to bind up. Thank you for reading today. Have a super thankful Black Friday!

With all my heart, Sonia

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Uncategorized

Why Your Outfit Matters

Hi Everyone, it has been a minute since I have written anything, but I just needed to today. I was in my morning reading and studying through Priscilla Shirer’s He Speaks to Me Bible study and came across this section about the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) and the explanation of the Romans soldier’s shield:

“Heavy and cumbersome, the shields caused them discomfort but often proved necessary to save their lives. Like those shields, faith in Christ can cause discomfort. In a world that does not believe in the validity of God or His Word, faith will often demand difficult choices.”

The question listed after that was, “How does our faith function like the Roman soldier’s shield?”To which I wrote in my study book: it protects, absorbs things intended to kill me, it saves and gives the perspective to me and those around me that I am a WARRIOR.

So the topic to think about on this first of November has to do with that saying, “Dress for the job you want…” Are you tired of getting beat down by the same issues over and over? Are you tired of feeling powerless in the recurring themes of your life? Are you tired of the battle inside your head with the thoughts that you are just not enough or you are too much? Are you tired of feeling and thinking and living like things will never change? Are you tired? I’ll answer for myself… YES!

I have been dealing with a recurring theme in my life and went to bed with heaviness in my heart, the kind that makes you tired in a whole different way. So when I sat down this morning with coffee in hand and read this part of the study, it struck me. I wasn’t dressing for the job I want. I wasn’t dressing like the victorious woman of God, I am. I wasn’t dressing like the woman who was saved by a King thirteen years ago. I wasn’t dressing like I have a Wonderful Counselor who gives me all the wisdom I will ever want or need. I wasn’t dressing like I know that I have the victory because Jesus loves me. And I certainly wasn’t dressing like the woman that God created in His image.

I’ll tell you what outfit I had on….doubt, insecurities, fear and a sense that my old self had creeped in to say, “Remember me, the girl you were?”

I wish we could sit down together so I could tell you why this contrast is so very real to me, the old Sonia up until the age of 35 versus the born-again Sonia from 35 on, but I will say this to you today: God gives us the perfect outfit to put on each and every day to ensure our safety and our ability to be in this fight called life so I pray I don’t miss that. I pray you don’t miss it.

Happy November, friends. Time to put on those outfits, hand picked and crafted by the One who loves us most and best. With all my heart, Sonia

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-19

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight

Happy International Women’s Day ~ 2022

Dedicated to those fighting the good fight, you have been given the gift of setting the world entire on fire with a passionate love that only God could give. Keep fighting.

To the woman at the well: Keep telling people to come see a man who told you everything you ever did and loves you still. (John 4:29,39)

To the single mom/widow/single woman: Keep following Jesus. He’s got you. (Judges 4:9)

To the businesswoman living out your faith: Keep your hand to that plow. He is multiplying all you do. (Acts 16:14)

To the woman in the process of healing: Keep accepting His grace. Go and sin no more. (John 8:1-12)

To the woman making courageous decisions to help her family: Keep breaking those unhealthy cycles. God honors your brave. (Joshua 2)

To the woman working side by side with your husband in ministry: Keep living out that unity. It’s a good, good thing. (1 Corinthians 16:3-4)

To the woman standing up to tyrants all over the world: Keep resisting. Your courage saves. (Exodus 1:17-18)

To the woman stuck in an impossible situation: Keep using the wisdom God gave you. Your voice matters. “And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

To the women who wake up tired and go to sleep exhausted, He sees us and He gives us the strength we need to set the world on fire (Proverbs 31:10-31)

Happy Day, Ladies!

With all my heart, Sonia

P.S. (And for those of us married or coupled up – thank you to the godly men (Shout out to mine! MARIO!) who help us become all we are meant to be).

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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race Seasons

A Dream 12 Years in the Making

TGIF, my friends! We made it! It has been a month since my last blog post and so much has happened. I wish I could tell you every single detail so I will do my best to give you as much of the good stuff as I can remember. First of all, Fiona (our pit bull), is all healed up from her New Years Eve mishap. Thank you for praying for her healing! Secondly, I must start this blog post in saying that I, once again, am in awe of God’s perfect timing.

To kick this off I will share that this past year has been all about seasons ending and huge change. I wonder if anyone else had a 2021 like that? After ten years of serving and attending a certain church we made the difficult decision to head in another direction as God led. After working at my job for almost seven years, I felt the shift and understood it was time to leave that position. So in one year I had two major life changes within months of each other. My whole world felt upside down. In my quiet time with God and on walks with Mario I would be honest about how scared I was and how my identity was so intertwined with those two parts of my life so much so that I didn’t know how to be. I would be encouraged and affirmed during these walks and talks that God was doing something new, I just needed to be patient. Believe me when I say that it was a soul-searching, soul-baring, gut-wrenching process – one in which I will forever be grateful for. I had no other safety net than the Lord and that’s just how He wanted it. I mean, I had my husband and friends and family, for sure – but this was a letting go of all that I thought I was in control of and trusting God for what was next.

At the end of last year I received an email with a job opportunity announcement for an organization that I have admired for years! Back up to twelve years ago when I got saved. I kept saying “I need to work there (at this organization). I know I’m supposed to! I don’t care if it’s just to volunteer, I need to be there.” Instead, the last twelve years I was serving at churches, working full-time and going to school. There just wasn’t time. And, I bet you…I wasn’t ready.

Well, I emailed back about the job opportunity regarding qualifications, minimum requirements and the like. The holidays came and went, and I was still emailing back and forth with the hiring person for the organization. It was a slow process and with each step I would ask Mario to pray that if God didn’t want this for me that the door would be shut, and that I would be okay with it. I was so excited with each step forward. I know you can picture it: sent application (wait), letter/references (wait), phone interview (wait), in-person interview, (wait) tour of facility (wait) and then the wait for their decision. I waited, and they finally called me with the news of the job offer three weeks ago. I started work two weeks ago and my feet still feel like I haven’t touched the ground – I am so stunned, in awe that God put something like this in my heart and here I am living it! I am working in my dream job! This morning I literally cried over my cup of coffee with my heart overflowing with thankfulness for His timing.

I am honored for this opportunity to serve and work in a unique way that gives homage to the road I traveled and the faithful God who has prepared me for such a time as this. I want to encourage you with this: if you are in a season of what seems like mundane, thankless, heartbreaking work – I know how that feels. I think we all have had that in our lives at some point and some are even living it now. Hang in there! God knows what He is doing. I promise you, I finally feel like my feet are locked in place on the path the Lord has prepared for me…my heart and mind are free to fly like never before. It’s like all this time God has been saying, “Hold. Hold. Hold. Wait. Wait. Wait. Ok, now! Time to soar!” So hang in there!

If you are in a Hold/Wait season right now let me be a witness that the Mark Twain saying is true, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The seasons of being in a holding pattern and waiting is such perfect preparation for all He has for you and me. It is a beautiful thing to be protected that much against our own ambitions. We all need it. We need Him and His timing.

I can’t wait to see all that the Lord is going to accomplish in and through this new job – please pray for me that I honor and glorify Him and that revival is birthed from this place. I am praying that for you as well. I can’t wait to hear from you how faithful He has shown Himself to be in your life.

Since it’s Friday, here’s a Friday song for you. Put this on blast and drink in the joy, for we are loved. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s weekend! I hope your heart is overflowing with all the love He gives.

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race

Cats & Dogs

Fiona, pretty in pink
The wonderful team at Vet Emergency Group in Encinitas

Happy First Blog Post of 2022! I’m sitting in the car waiting for Mario while he’s at the chiropractor’s office so I decided there’s no time like the present to write this blog post that has been swirling around in my mind since New Year’s Eve!

For any new readers out there my name is Sonia. My husband and I have had a pitbull rescue, Fiona (the Fawn), for three years. This is our second rescue. We previously had a pitbull named Luna for over 10 years before adopting Fiona. Fiona is a special case. The humane society told us that she had probably escaped from an illegal puppy mill where she was bred too young and too often. In her little life she’s had lots of health issues and behavioral problems, but we love her.

Rewind to New Year’s Eve six days ago when Mario and I decided to visit some friends for the evening. Upon returning home I had this sinking feeling that Fiona may have had an issue with her anxiety because the fireworks that were going off in nearby neighborhoods were Fourth of July level fireworks.

Sure enough, upon entering the house I found pieces of wood from our door trim and blood all over the floor but no sign of Fiona. I waited downstairs while Mario followed the trail of blood up the stairs and found her at the top of the stairs standing there with what looked like a huge gash in her abdomen. I am not kidding when I say it looked like a crime scene! I broke down crying while Mario put an old sheet around her and carried her into the car.

We drove to Veterinary Emergency Group in Encinitas, one of the few emergency vet hospitals open on New Years night. I cannot stress enough how amazing they were there! After imaging and testing the vet said that Fiona’s wound was superficial so they would be able to stitch her up and send us home with meds. We were there until 10:30am since they were so busy.

During that time we saw cats and dogs – some in the lobby and some in kennels recuperating, and it struck me that none of them were fighting with each other. While we sat there waiting I told Mario that they weren’t fighting with each other because they were all sick and just trying to get well and that’s the problem with the church right now.

I feel like we have forgotten that we are all sick and just trying to get well. The church is supposed to be a healing place for those needing help and in most cases it has become something else, a system of our own making where infighting is the norm. As the world gets more polarized, the church seems to do the same.

For this year Mario and I made the decision to continue in the direction that God has us going and that means pushing against any religious man made system, against our own destructive perceptions/habits and pushing against any fear of moving forward in faith. We are purposing to be intentional in the little things God wants us to be obedient in and to keep at it!

Okay, quick update…after I started writing this Mario and I had a hard day together. We fought after going to Costco! We fought like cats and dogs, literally. I’ll spare you the details..this post is long enough, but we did talk it over and got on the same page. That’s the thing about healing, you want to do it alone, but you really can’t. We need each other, and we need God’s grace for that healing. So we pray for revival and that starts with us, and it starts with you.

To end this post I just want to say that this is a year of continuing what you started! Get healthier in every way. Keep going! In order to get better we need to see what God has been showing us about healing. We are all sick in some way and need to be focused on getting well. Focus on the Healer. Focus on the healing that only God can give & then share it with a world in desperate need of it.

Happy 2022, friends! The best is yet to come!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Uncategorized

Merry Christmas 🎄

Dear Readers, It’s a little after 9am here, and I just wanted to share a quick Christmas blog to highlight a weekend trip I took with a friend a few weeks back. She invited me along on a trip with the organization Corazon de Vida to visit an orphanage in Baja California and attend a benefit concert. It was a life changing, heart blessing weekend that embodied the Christmas spirit because when I looked around at the children I saw joy, peace, hope in a simple & humble setting. There was a contentment in the children, staff and volunteers that you simply could not manufacture. It was God given, and they were definitely receiving it with open arms. I wanted to share some photos from that weekend and ask that you join with me in praying for the children and the staff and Corazon de Vida as they support these Baja California orphanages. The need is great! If you need more info please visit their website: https://www.corazondevida.org

Merry Christmas and thank you for reading along this journey of the blog.

With all my heart,

Sonia

Categories
Christmas Encouragement for Women Seasons

Dedicated to the Last Month of 2021

Shout out to my sweet niece’s photography from Thanksgiving last week ❤ Tia loves you!

Hi, my friends and handful of readers! I have been busy working on my second to last semester of school & focused in, simplifying everything – which, if I am honest, has been kind of hard. I am not on social media anymore and although it’s been refreshing in a lot of ways, it’s also been difficult to realize how much of that I have used for connection with people. I am here to tell you that it is good to look at those things in our lives that get in the way of real connection. It is the bravest thing to take inventory and let God highlight that which He wants to change in us. This is a perfect time to do it! The Christmas season should feel like a birth of many things in our lives as believers and my prayer is that we would quiet everything and spend the next 30 days in the Word. Get quiet with the world and connected to God like never before – every day. It is Jesus’ birth month, after all! It will be the best gift you could give Him and yourself. Here is a Psalm to start you off. I pray you are blessed this Christmas season. I am seeking Him with you. With all my heart, Sonia

Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!

Many are rising against me;

many are saying of my soul,

“There is no salvation for him in God.”

Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,

my glory, and the lifter of my head.

I cried aloud to the Lord,

and he answered me from his holy hill.

Selah

I lay down and slept;

I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

I will not be afraid of many thousands of people

who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!

Save me, O my God!

For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;

you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people!

Selah

May you draw nearer to God this month and may you find comfort in the one who sustains you, who hears your cries, and is a shield about you.

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Seasons Uncategorized

All things PINK

Happy Tuesday, one day closer to Friday. Just a reminder that there are 10 Tuesdays left this year so some quick math will tell you 2022 will be here before we know it. I took the day off from writing yesterday to get to the truly adult task of cleaning out desk drawers and organizing them. We let it go a little too long this time and the necessary mail got mixed in with the junk mail so it was a bigger job than it needed to be. It feels therapeutic to get rid of junk & since there’s no school for me this week I am committed to getting rid of junk. I’ll let you know on Friday how it went 🙂 Stay tuned…

Today’s blog post was going to be called, “The Girl in the Pink Pajamas” because of a story I told a group of friends about getting my first Bible in catechism and how I thought I had to look my most best and most perfect self so I took a shower, put on the fanciest, silk-like pink pajamas I had and opened up to the book of Genesis and got as far as the genealogies and that was it. I couldn’t go on – just didn’t understand it and thought even my fanciest pink pajamas couldn’t do the trick so that was that. My worst seven-year old fears came true in that moment, “I am just not good enough to read the Word of God.” I believed that for almost 35 years until 2009 when everything changed.

Fast forward to my 47 year old self this year, struggling with hormones, insomnia and all the fun things this time of life throws at women, and I was up in the middle of another sleepless night. I decided, instead of tossing and turning for hours on end, I would be productive and go downstairs and do some Bible study homework. It was right in the middle of reading when I looked at my legs underneath the Bible and study book on my lap.

I WAS WEARING PINK PAJAMAS!

It was like a light bulb moment in the middle of the night with God. He made good on that desire in my seven-year old heart to make the words of the Bible come alive. My insomnia moment turned into one of the sweetest moments of my life (insert all the pink heart emojis here ❤ ).

Then today I was reading in Lisa Harper’s book, “LIFE: An Obsessively Grateful, Undone by Jesus, Genuinely Happy, and Not Faking it Through the Hard Stuff Kind of 100- Day Devotional”, when I came to Day 46 called Hurling Love Right Back, a powerful read. Please do yourself a wonderful favor and buy it as a gift to you & then buy a copy for someone else https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Harper-Book-2/dp/1433691957/ref=sr_1_2?crid=11X8IJV2UJEQ0&dchild=1&keywords=life+lisa+harper+devotional&qid=1634671402&sprefix=life+lisa+har%2Caps%2C234&sr=8-2

How does this tie in? Well the book is PINK ❤ and it reminded me of the lovely grace of God and His faithfulness. The powerful words from today’s devotional based on 1 John 2:9-11 reminding us how to treat one another – the purpose of forgiving and giving grace, to live in the light (and if God colors the light pink for you, all the better):

9-11 Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness

My prayer for you today is to have a gentle day, gentle with yourself and with others (as much as it is possible) gentleness, for His gentleness has made you great (Psalm 18:35)

Gentle as we go,

Sonia

Categories
Fight the Good Fight

Hope is Dope

Happy Friday, friends! I don’t have much time to write this morning and maybe that’s a good thing since I have been long-winded this week.

I woke up and checked my emails and had one from I Am Second Films so I watched some of the films. I’ve some before and they’re truly inspiring so I wanted to share one here this morning:

That’s part 2 of his story. There is a part 1 on the site if you care to watch that as well. I wanted to share this because I know we all struggle against something – whatever your “something” is & I wanted to say that there is hope. Shame doesn’t need to define you or hold you down. There are people walking around today FREE from their chains of addictions and destructive behaviors, like Jason Castro, like me, like many others I know. One thing I know: hope in Jesus is the only way to truly live.

Made some mistakes? Not proud of some parts of your story – maybe all of your story? Good! There’s hope for that!

I absolutely love this quote from Lysa Terkeurst’s book Trustworthy, “Learning deeper trust in God doesn’t often happen in straight lines of obedience. It’s when we cycle through trials, tripping and sometimes falling, that we realize our desperate need for Him. Knowing our need for Him leads us to putting our trust in Him.”

See what I mean? Hope is dope.

Have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading, sharing, liking and commenting. I appreciate you so much! Looking forward to meeting up here on Monday.

Hoping with you,

Sonia

Categories
Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race

Problem with Authority

Happy Friday Eve 🙂 This post is inspired by the most recent assignment in my psychology class. To quote from the ABC News special, A Touch of Evil, “In 1961 Dr. Stanley Milgram came up with this experiment to test whether people would blindly follow the order of an authority figure. He found that 2/3 of his subjects were willing to give the most dangerous shock on the machine.” Fascinating but chilling study information – you can read about here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

In 2009 ABC News worked with Dr. Jerry Burger, a social psychologist at UC Santa Clara, to recreate the study to see if people had changed 45 years later.

Watch ABC’s findings here & then please come back to this blogpost to see where this is going: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=HwqNP9HRy7Y

Authority & those that blindly follow…ok, deep breath for me as I keep writing and make this personal. I confess I have a problem with authority. At times, it can be a very detrimental thing in my life, but at others it has saved me and helped those around me. So what’s the difference? How do we obey when we’re supposed to – who we’re supposed to? When do we say no and stand up to authority?

Now, more than ever, we need to be looking at who we obey and why. We cannot afford to be blind. The scary thing about the most recent experiment is that they found that people obeyed at the same rate they did 45 years ago. Which brings to mind that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Many of us Christians have recently studied or are studying the life of Elijah. Prime example of someone who did not blindly follow and stood up to authority. You can read all about him in the Bible in 1 Kings (here’s another resource as well: https://www.gotquestions.org/life-Elijah.html )

The Bible is full of men and women who stood up to authority and led people out of oppression and saved others at great cost to them physically, socially, economically but they were compelled to do the right thing in the face of the wrong kind of authority. Just look up the lives of Moses, Rahab, David, Deborah, Esther, all the prophets, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter. The list is long but there’s one thing they all had in common, a higher calling. In James 5:17 he states, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours..” Let’s read that last part again, …”with a nature like ours.”

We know that these people were flawed like us. For example Elijah got spooked by Jezebel. Peter denied Jesus three times. The disciples fled the scene when Jesus got arrested and the list goes on and on with that too but they persevered. They figured out how to walk in the full power, boldness and confidence of the living God. They made the choice to lay down their lives for the greater good and that starts with thinking – thinking for yourself, asking God, listening to God, reading the Word, praying for wisdom, prayer with others for direction & confirmation, believing and having faith in the unseen and listening for the Lord’s guidance, denying your tendencies towards comfort, humbling yourself – swallowing your pride and going through the sometimes agonizing spiritual bootcamp of victories and defeats.

It means stepping out from the crowd, separating yourself. It means giving up your quest for popularity and recognizing our higher calling, the higher purpose and Who our true authority is. Jesus Christ.

Right now the lyrics from the song “Popular” from the musical Wicked popped into my head, “

When I see depressing creatures
With unprepossessing features
I remind them on their own behalf to think of
Celebrated heads of state

Or ‘specially great communicators
Did they have brains or knowledge?
Don’t make me laugh!They were popular!
Please, it’s all about popular!
It’s not about aptitude
It’s the way you’re viewed
So it’s very shrewd to be
Very, very popular like me!

Unlike “Glinda” in Wicked, I want to have brains and knowledge, and I believe you do too. So let’s think and follow God and lead. Let’s not be people pleasers, but God pleasers. If you battle, like I do, your tendencies towards having a problem with authority just know that’s not a bad thing. We just have to be motivated by the right reasons and then focused in the right way. God is not looking for perfect. He is looking for willing and that I am, and if you’re on this journey too, than that you are as well.

That’s why the phrase, “Don’t drink the kool aid” exists! Let’s not drink the kool aid!!

If you need some musical inspiration today, have listen to Moriah Peters “Brave“: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xWBuWtC8MY

Thanks for reading today and let’s end this week being brave!

Thinking and questioning with you,

Sonia