July 31st, A NEW Day


One of the things that has helped keep my head clear and healthy is to journal every morning before I start the day. I figured I’d try blogging this year of my life and journal here instead. The ferris wheel photo at the top was taken by my husband, Mario, a few weeks ago at the Orange County Fair. I did not ride this ferris wheel, but I rode another one later in the day that was higher and had these pods (that were magnificently air conditioned). I rode that tall (so. very. tall) ferris wheel with my nieces and their cousin. I was terrified inside but did it anyway just to be with them. It was a glorious experience. I conquered a fear and got to experience their joy and excitement. My heart soared in that moment and when it was over I knew it was worth it. So yesterday afternoon as I was struggling through an afternoon of homework, texting and social medial (and countless emotions and insecurities) my husband showed up with those four nieces lined up on our staircase and they met me with smiles and a “Happy Birthday” song because it was my spiritual birthday. Eight years ago on July 30th I had said the “Sinners Prayer” and accepted Jesus into my heart. Needless to say, it is a big day for me. Hearing those voices sing and seeing their smiles was the sweetest way to mark the day, a true gift from God. That moment snapped me right out of a bad attitude and set my heart right. That Happy Birthday meant more to me than I could ever explain. It was a simple truth that it was a true happy birthday and that my heart is full with family and friends but most importantly God’s love. He will pull me out of whatever sinkhole I’ve fallen into. So this year’s theme of my life is about conquering fears and experiencing joy. Take the steps and open your heart because you are not alone. God is right there with you.

With God all things are possible ~ Matthew 19:26

Happy Monday, July 31st

With all my heart,



The Past, my present


Photo at the Sea of Galilee. March 2016

You know how people say, “Stop living in the past!”?

I often want to answer back, “Ok. Show me how.”

Because as a woman in my forties I have just started to realize that I live my life combating, strategizing and manipulating against this pit in my stomach that tells me I am in trouble (or going to get in trouble) for something.

It’s like I am always flinching or ready to flinch at something.

I finally noticed it today. I received a text from my husband that was short and curt to which I responded in frantic texting fashion, “Are you mad at me?”

It took him a while to respond which did not help my anxious heart rate.

Finally he replied, “no, no, no baby.” This was the second time in 24 hours that I thought someone was mad at me, and it terrified me.

Why do I think this way? And why should it matter if they were mad at me?

I think it’s because I often got in trouble growing up and it often meant devastating consequences. I was conditioned at a young age that getting in trouble meant swift, unthinking, extreme physical consequences.

During those times I saw hatred in eyes that were supposed to love me and hands that were supposed to protect me, strike me with a ferociousness I did not yet know existed in the world. It didn’t happen all the time, but it happened enough to shape me into something other than what I was created to be.

Kids get hit for “being bad”, right? This was something I was being taught, that this was normal and expected. So why didn’t it seem normal? Because it was not supposed to be that way.

Everyone is flawed, parents included. I have forgiven and thankfully I am forgiven as well in my parenting. As you can tell by reading this, I am flawed. And I am a parent of a 24 year old daughter who is now also flawed. I am not here to blame anyone for their flaws. Their flaws came by way of the flaws of the generations before them as well.

So I was a shattered child who grew up with those pieces put back together the wrong way and, as an adult, had to hold those pieces together and not let anyone get too close and hurt me or it would all come crumbling down again.

I felt that if someone was mad at me that meant I was in for it somehow, someway. Since the time I was five years old this was what I knew to be true. I am now 43 and still strive to make sure no one is mad at me.

But oh, I could be mad at you. I needed to be mad at you because if I beat you to the punch you could not have that control.

I needed that control or else all would crumble, I thought.

When I stand next to people I unconsciously move the shoulder closest to them away so I’m lopsided just shying away from the closeness. I notice it in pictures sometimes too. It is obvious my past is still with me.

These parts of our past are probably with all of us to some degree. So now what? We have these strange ways about us, just trying to cope – trying to manage and survive the only way we knew how.

Maybe someone asks you, “I’ve noticed ______________ (insert strange coping mechanism here) about you. Why do you do that?” And it causes you to think about what you do and why you do it. Suppose you can answer the “why”. But now what? What can you do with just…information?

Because you have to stop living in the past at some point.

You have to acknowledge the hurt, right? You have to forgive, right? You have to move on and heal. So the big question of my adult life has been “HOW”? Because I want to. And you probably do to.

That’s been the journey I’ve been on for eight years now. Since July 30, 2009 when I gave my broken pieces to Jesus, and He took them. And I peeked around the corner to a different life.

I didn’t even know a different life was possible, but I wanted one. He delivered.

I have been writing this blog for three years now. My heart is still mending, getting stronger and more mature.

The recipe? The HOW:

God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit…and me. That’s the only recipe that will work to stop living in the past because God gives a future. He gave me one even before I was born and then it came alive to me when I was born again.

On this born again birthday I celebrate the freedom from my past and the gift of the present and hope for a future bigger than my imagination as my heart continues to heal to love people like God created me to.

With all my heart,


Zephaniah 3:17 .



No More Bubble Wrap Please.


This attractive outfit right here has been my go-to for quite some time, probably close to 43 years. That’s a long time to get used to something, don’t you think? So imagine my surprise when a week ago something happened and my go-to wasn’t cutting it anymore, and I was ready to bust out of that thing! So here’s the story. At the beginning of last week I helped with something at my church right after work and was dreading seeing someone there. I have an ongoing struggle with this person because they don’t like me that much. At least that’s how I feel. I know, it sounds so petty for a woman my age, but I’m being honest here.  I serve in a small church so things are pretty out in the open. It’s not like in a large church setting where you just blend in and float somewhere in the back. Things are front and center here. It is one of the most beautiful yet agonizing things about our intimate church. Anyways, here I was driving along to church where I was going to see this person, and I was trying to figure this thing out. Why doesn’t this person like me? Is it me or them or both? What could I do better at? How can I just fake the funk? How do I do this? I am tired of this? FORGET THIS?!!! (Those were the thoughts in my head). Then, all of a sudden, I started this dialogue in my heart and mind with God. At the end of the dialogue, I said to Him, “You know what I always do in these situations (the bubble wrap thing). I clam up and hide and avoid and retreat and just act strange. Please help me to not do this. Maybe I am in this person’s life to grow them in loving someone like me and maybe I am in their life to learn how to not be hung up on how someone views me – whatever the reason, I trust You, God. I want to trust You, so show me how.” I kid you not, almost as soon as I was about to pull into the church parking lot to face this person, I felt like my hand burst forth from my go-to bubble wrap outfit and I grabbed God’s hand and He said to me (not audibly – but this is the only way I know how to explain it in words), “I will show you. Let’s go. You can do this with Me.” I cannot begin to explain the power of that experience that day. I felt so alive and so different, so free. I saw the person and was not hung up on how they spoke to me or how I was feeling. I was totally consumed with the fact that God was with me. It was like my feet were planted on some kind of different soil and my old bubble wrap outfit ? Well, it was nowhere to be found, and I was totally fine without it – more than fine. For the first time, I was free. Free to love and be loved and free to move and breathe without my restricting and strange bubble wrap suit. Later on I was explaining all of this to my husband, and he said, “You did look different when I saw you there. It blessed me to see you like that.” All this is not to say I haven’t reached for that go-to outfit since then. I do feel that pull. I felt it last night even, but the funny thing is that I am aware of it now. I never was before, and that, in and of itself, is a miracle. So, let’s have the courage to face even the things we call petty and push our hand through our go-to outfits or habits and grab hold of God’s hand for

“…With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b


Thank you, Jesus. You have made a way for us to do the impossible.

Thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to stop and read.

In Christ’s Love,



Tension and Bridges


There are some people I know who can deal with tension in life as if it’s another day at the beach. I am not one of those people. I don’t like the idea of confronting people (well, I do, but only if I am in a blood-boiling fit of anger – but then it’s not confronting, that’s called something else). I don’t like enduring a tough situation for days on end nor managing the pressure that comes with all sorts of scenarios in life that bring tension. I happen to be in one of those seasons where I can’t quite put my finger on what’s changed in certain relationships, but there’s this under current of tension. Everything in me wants to get to the bottom of it, figure it out and control it. “CONTROL” screams my brain several times a day. “GET OUT OF THIS FEELING” screams my heart more times than I care to admit. So yesterday I walked up to the fridge at work (stress eating, I don’t recommend it) when I noticed the new image for the month of November on the calendar. It was hanging perfectly centered within my line of sight. It was a picture of a bridge. The image was stunning with its impressive display of perfectly engineered steel rods and beams and concrete parts. I took a moment to study the photo and then read the little blurb at the bottom of the page where it explained tension’s essential ingredient for the suspension bridge. I knew this meant something because of what I’ve been experiencing so I thought about this throughout the rest of the day, last night and this morning. I even pulled up an article from “How Stuff Works” to read about these bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are a few of the more famous suspension bridges. They’re simply breathtaking! Here’s what I read in that article in talking about compression and tension: “The supporting cables, on the other hand, receive the bridge’s tension forces. These cables run horizontally between the two far-flung anchorages. Bridge anchorages are essentially solid rock or massive concrete blocks in which the bridge is grounded. Tensional force passes to the anchorages and into the ground.” Confession time: I have prayed within the last few weeks for God to change certain things about the way I operate and think, and He is a faithful God to hear and do the impossible so He is allowing the scenarios needed for this change, I think. I want to wiggle out of them and run for the hills or just bury my head under the covers and come out when it’s all over and the world is bright and cheery again. BUT THAT’S NOT HOW WE GROW! We grow through these things. So here it goes, my prayer in my journal this morning was for me not to wiggle out of this. My prayer was that I would wait on the Lord and allow the tension and look to Him for guidance. The other essential in the bridge is that it’s anchored into the ground. That’s comforting to know. As we are anchored into the solid Rock we, too, can be those magnificent displays of His handiwork so people will take note and stop and marvel at how good God is and how wonderful His works.

Have a blessed Friday and weekend!

In His Grip, Sonia


To just dance to this today 💞

Sometimes you wake up with a song rolling around you, inside of you. Today was one of those days for me, and I want to share it with you.

So take a moment, hit play on this here video and let Jesus lead you in this divine romance.

Today is no ordinary day. He has made everything extraordinary.

With all my heart,



6438586_orig.jpgI am going to write this and try make sense of it while keeping it as brief as possible . Here it goes. A few weeks back Mario, my husband, came home late from work. Usually I like to stay up until he gets home. On this particular day I was wiped out and by 9 o’clock my eyelids felt like they had paper weights on them. I went upstairs and soon I was in a deep sleep. The next thing I know is I’m sitting straight up in bed, gasping like I’d seen a ghost and terrified. Mario had come in the room without me knowing and had been standing by the doorway of our bedroom trying to figure out if I was really sleeping or playing a joke on him. I must have felt someone staring at me because I sat straight up without even realizing it and gasped being choked by the shock of the jolt of waking up like that. With Mario’s permission I’m going to share what happened next. He starts yelling at me, “Why are you freaking out! What’s wrong with you? Why do you always freak out like this?” And then he says, “You scared me!” After coming to my senses I yell back, “I scared you!?” The argument escalates to name calling, and I am literally shocked that I went from a dead sleep right into a shouting match with my husband. The whole time I’m thinking, “How do you get to be mad at me for scaring you when I was the one sleeping, doing nothing, completely innocent here?!” Mario’s trying to make a case for himself, and I’m doing the same. Round and round we go until we end up in separate rooms. I can’t even be around him by this point. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, I have an awareness that something else is going on here. Yes, this is a fight. I am familiar with that, but somewhere in my mind there’s a window, a doorway to something else…I shout out into that space, the window- if you will, and ask God, “What is going on here? Why is this happening, God?” During this time, there’s a ping-pong match going off  in my thoughts and emotions between my furious anger at Mario and my questions to God. The questions to God start to override my anger, and I tell Mario that we need to talk this out. And as late it was, and as tired as we were, we did just that. We began by picking up where we left off, yelling, and stating our cases. And then Mario asks me the question, “Why did you get THIS angry about all of this?” To which I respond with an answer from somewhere deep inside me, not the obvious one, but the layer underneath it. As soon as I said why, I was shocked by my own answer. I had not known that these emotions were tied to something else deep in my history. As soon as I had answered him, I felt a relief. Then the stinging angry/sad tears came. I was mad I was crying about this now, but relieved I had an answer to a question I had asked. Upon hearing my explanation, Mario’s tone changed, his face softened, and he said, “You’ve never told me that story before. It makes sense now.” I learned something about Him and about me that night. I always thought that God wasn’t near me when I got angry or when Mario and I had an argument. I thought how could He want to be near me when it’s like that..when I’m like that. But He was. He was there with me and not only was He there, He heard my cry. He heard and He answered. He gave me insight about myself and why I do the things I do and He showed me that He is always there, waiting for me to acknowledge Him. Our Pastor often references the phrase, “factoring God into the equation of your thinking.” That moment that concept made sense to me like never before. So on that night, that seemed like an utter failure, God turned it into something supernatural. During that whole argument I thought my world was going along as I understood it, but there was this other thing happening, a supernatural thing, a parallel thing. That space – the window – in the argument where I called out to God was right next to what was going on in the natural. It’s been said, “There’s more to this than meets the eye,” and that is true about most everything, but when emotions are running at full speed how can you put the brakes on and “factor God in”? I don’t have the answer for how that looks in your life, but I know that He says to call on Him in the midst of the situation – to seek Him in the moments that are hardest. As I was thinking about this blog post and how to communicate what had taken place this is the verse that came to my mind over and over again:

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Thank you for reading this post. I pray we call out to Him like never before. He, alone, has all the right answers to every question (even in the middle of the night in a heated argument with your spouse)!

In His Love,




Yes, this post is about armadillos.


It was the week before Easter this year when I had this reoccurring feeling gnawing away at me. I should back up a bit. At the beginning of March – a few weeks before Easter – I had gone on a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. Even though I love words, there are not any profound enough to describe what happened in my soul on that trip. The thing I came away from that trip with was this moment in the Garden of Gethsemane when I came face to face with some BIG truths about myself and God and life and how I’d lived it up until that point. In that place of olive trees it was a cataclysmic moment where all my questions crashed into the garden of God to be sorted out. All I know is, I would never be the same.

So getting back to that week before Easter. I’d had this gnawing feeling that the measures I took all my life to ensure I would not get hurt at all emotionally – or at least not too deeply wounded in relationships – would no longer be effective. They did not fit, but I could sense that I wasn’t okay with this. I wasn’t okay with not being able to protect myself against pain and suffering. I’d been doing it for so long. “How was I going to survive now,” my soul cried out. So this is where the armadillo comes in. One morning I woke up with an image in my head of an armadillo. In my mind I could see it’s strange “armor” and how weird they look. As I thought about this animal, I thought about myself looking like that when I try to put on my own protective shield, the one I’ve fashioned and perfected over the years. I could clearly see this ugly attempt at protecting myself.

I couldn’t stop there. I looked up armadillos on the internet and learned something startling. Armadillos can get leprosy. I was shocked! That’s when it hit me. God was saying to me, “Keep this up, and you will be like a leper in your soul, slowly dying off piece by piece!” The message didn’t stop there. Later that day, I’d watched a tv show on Netflix that had nothing to do with nature. It’s a guilty pleasure kind of show. Anyway, the main character is a small town doctor. She was examining one of her patients when she concluded that he may have acquired leprosy. When she asked him what he had been doing that day he said he was helping his friend catch his pet ARMADILLO!

Alright, that was enough for me. Change had to be made. So that’s when I just asked God to show me how to stop doing what I’ve been doing all along, self-protecting. I was never made for that role. That’s God’s job. So if you’re anything like me and you wear some weird armor you’ve created over the years, maybe it’s time to stop. I know there are many reasons that armor was even there in the first place, but there comes a time when you’ve got to exchange the substitute for the real thing. It’s a courageous thing to just be willing to change. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen because that’s what God promises. He says His truth is our shield (Psalm 91).

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

In Christ’s Love,


“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6



Last Tuesday I got a phone call that shook me up. It was around 6:30p.m. I answered the call and heard the sobbing sounds of a loved one on the other end. My heart stood still and my mind started racing as I began to listen to the heartbreaking cry of a young woman in a devastating situation. Things had gotten really ugly for her in her latest relationship. My heart broke for her. I wanted to shake her and pick her up and set her on the path of wholeness and health and safety. She is too far deep in this to see her way out.

That’s not how this works though. I know because I’ve been in the same place she is now. It is her choice and no one else’s. I know what she is looking for (dying for, really)


I went about my week – checking in on her periodically through texts and calls. It’s obvious she’s not done with this toxic cycle. She would be going back for more. My heart was heavy and tired, but I also know that no matter how hard she looks in the wrong places for the romance she so desperately craves, she will not find it there. I know because I never found it there either.

So Saturday rolls around, and I’m in CVS and this song is playing in the store as I’m standing at the check out counter:


A smile broke out on my face because I remember when this song first came out and how I felt about the words. I looked at the cashier and said, “I love this song. It’s so romantic.” She nodded a knowing a smile and said, “Yeah, I know.” I said, “I remember when I first heard this song. I thought to myself ,’I can’t wait ’til someone feels that way about me’.” I paused, looked down and smiled wistfully listening to this beautiful song. She must have looked at my wedding ring, because she then said, “Then you met your husband and he was that person, right?” I looked up at her straight in her eyes and said, “No. Don’t get me wrong…my husband is amazing. But it wasn’t him.”  I then said,

“It was Jesus. He’s the One.”

She smiled back at me, handed me my receipt, and I walked out feeling loved by the Lover of my Soul, knowing that I’m loved in a way that not even my husband could do and Mario (my man) can love me in so many ways, but the romance I’ve always sought is Divine. 

It’s designed and delivered by heaven and not ever to be found elsewhere.

For anyone reading this, if you are love starved in any way, I know this feeling all too well. I think we can all relate. I pray for the courage to reach out your hand and heart to the One who can hold it perfectly in every season of your life. Jesus Christ.

He is and has promised  and proved to be Savior, Deliverer, Protector, Restorer, Comforter, Counselor, King…the One who did the most romantic thing ever. He laid down His life to give you and me the opportunity to live in His never ending love.

Take His hand. He won’t disappoint.

In His Love, Sonia

Hosea 2:14-15 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.






First things first…I dedicate this blog post to my coworker, Judy. Thank you for allowing me to bend your ear these past 48-72 hours (wink, wink).

It was on Tuesday, July 11th at approximately 3:30pm when I got a call from someone close to me. I answered my cell right there in the front lobby of our office because of the incessant calling. The conversation lasted a total of one minute. I know it lasted only one minute because I just checked my phone. That’s all it took to break my heart a little…ONE MINUTE. It wasn’t earth shattering news I had received, but it was a shattered hope. Just the day before I had swallowed my pride and said yes to something I would have historically said no to. A day later, this caller, this “someone close to me” was on the phone explaining that there had been a mistake and they weren’t going to be able to see me as originally planned. I was angry with myself for letting my guard down with this person and trusting that they actually wanted to spend time together. I thought to myself, “I should have known better. I should have said no in the first place.” I hung up the phone embarrassed, shocked, confused and slightly numb and had the feeling that I wanted to hurl that phone as far away from my ear as possible. I mumbled, “Okay, fine. I have to go. I’m at work.”In the midst of trying to move on from that conversation, there was an epiphany. Almost immediately after hanging up the phone, I could feel the sadness start to work its way up from the bottom of my heart, like a paintbrush and watercolor, just seeping its way up, up. That’s when it happened. The epiphany moment. Just as quick as the sadness sprung up, this hardness closed in around it like vault doors. I started thinking things like “Suck it up!’. “This is nothing to be sad about!”. “You are not going to let her get to you this time!” It struck me right then and there that there was this automatic response system that usually takes place when these things occur, the “vault doors around the heart” thing. But this time it was different. I could feel the sadness come up before the hardened anger. That’s never happened before. This was definitely new.

On Sunday our pastor spoke on a number of issues relating to our emotions. He referenced the analogy of someone driving along with a tumbler full of grape soda on their dashboard when they hit a bump in the road. The bump initiates the cup falling and causes the grape soda to spill out and make a mess everywhere. He explained that the cup of soda had been there all along – the bump just exposed what was inside. He also said that we shouldn’t blame the bump, the cup nor the driver. Those things just exposed what was already in there.

Well, that phone call was the “bump”, and I now had to deal with my mess of emotions. I went on with the rest of my day, wrestling with wounds that were screaming to be attended to. I prayed. I prayed silently in my heart for God to show me how to feel the right emotions here, the ones I am supposed to – not the ones I’ve allowed to give me a false sense of control and “protection”.

God heard my prayer. 

I felt the sting of the hurt, letting it hurt as pain like that should, and then this morning I prayed some more, for others, for myself, and then scrolled through Facebook and Instagram where I saw this verse over and over:

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, & forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

I heard the message loud and clear. Unforgiveness was my grape soda. I have harbored a ton of it towards this person for many years, and it is time I deal with it. Has the hurt magically disappeared? No. Not yet anyway, but I am willing to let God show me how to do the very thing I know He is calling me to.

So tonight stop blaming the driver, the cup and the bump and ask yourself this question, “What’s my grape soda?”

Don’t worry about the mess. God makes miracles out of them!  (P.S. I want to hug whoever said this first!)

Love,  Sonia





All work and no play.


I literally just hit submit on my English homework assignment – deadline was four minutes from when I’m writing this…8:59pm. This Monday holiday off was marked by an entire day spent crawling through, what felt like quicksand of reading, webinars, PowerPoints, quizzes and outlines. No one’s fault but my own. My original plan? Get it all done by Friday night so I could focus on fun activities all weekend, maybe even get some relaxation. Reality? I had a mental set back Friday night when I logged into my online account for school and discovered I got a zero out of 50 points on an assignment from last week.  It turns out that it was a simple formatting error, but I had to redo the entire assignment which ended up taking me five hours to do because all I kept thinking about was that zero. Has this ever happened to you? You get thrown by a perceived failure and aren’t able to move past it, even if no one knows about it? When I saw the workload of the assignments I still needed to turn in after the five hour detour I thought there’s no way I can catch up. I was ready to quit and get zeros on everything else. I wouldn’t quit school, but I was willing to take zeros this week.

Thankfully that is not how this blog ends. There were a series of things today that kept the wind in my sails to go just a little bit farther with each assignment: a phone call from a friend who said to keep going because if I can do it then she knows she can do it too, a perfectly timed In-N-Out run by my husband so I could stress-eat and read at the same time, a phone call from friends to just check in right around the final home stretch and then my husband confiscating my phone with just an hour left to turn in my work so I wouldn’t be distracted by texts and social media. As soon as I hit submit, I felt like I had climbed a mountain. God orchestrated all the help I needed along the way, but I had to do the work.

Instead of going into this week with a bunch of zeros, I have a huge sense of accomplishment and gratitude. I don’t know what my grades are, but I know they’re higher than zeros.

It takes a village. It really does.