Somewhere Between Donuts and Blueberries

Enjoying and Sharing the Goodness of God

Who are you really?

Who are you? How do you define yourself?

What’s the most important thing about you? What are you about?

What or where is your identity? Is it given, earned or are you born with it? Does it or can it change depending on the circumstance? 

I find myself contemplating these questions often. I’ve never thought about identity in my life as much as I have in the last few years. It’s a constant talking point in the news and it is often the most obvious way to group people. 

This morning I was praying for our country. I thanked God that no matter what happens this November, He is my ultimate leader and authority. I want my primary identity to be Child of God. I asked Him to continue to teach me what it looks like to make my Christlikeness shine bigger and brighter than my gender, my titles, my nationality or race. I want all that defines me to be filtered through Jesus. 

It made me think that when I get to heaven, I get to be with Jesus and alongside people of every tribe and nation. The only thing that will matter will be our unity in Christ, not one other identifier will be noticed. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am super thankful for all the things that make me, well, me. Thankful that I get to be a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother, an American, a person of Mexican heritage, a Christian, a runner, an eater and a sleeper. There are so many qualities from these identities that I love and cherish, but more than anything I want my Jesus-ness to be the one that shines brightest. I want everything I am and everything I hold dear to be filtered by Jesus. 

Maybe it was the sermon at church on Sunday about how diverse the early Church was or maybe the USA women’s gymnastics team or a combination of the two, but I am loving the diversity I’m seeing. I love that though they look different and come from different places they unite for one purpose and one goal. They decide which one piece of them will define them in this moment. 

I feel that sometimes we, the body of Christ, hold tight to some identity or other and forget that it is our Christlikeness that must be most pronounced. 

Even this afternoon as I was picking up a shattered lamp (thank you child who thought they needed more light during quiet time — insert eye roll and exasperated sigh) I realized that my “mom” identity was taking over. Make sure he’s safe, make sure everyone’s out of the room, clean, lecture, discipline, resume quiet time. And that is right and good, unless I forget to overlay my Christlikeness, which I totally did. 

Instead of having some compassion and gentleness, I was short and made it apparent by my tone and grunts that I was upset with him. I made sure with my words to tell him it wasn’t the broken lamp that upset me, but the disobedience in trying to turn on the lamp again when he’s been repeatedly asked and told not to. But who hears words when they pale in comparison to the contradictory tone. 

I am always trying to teach him that people are more important than things, i.e. Brother is more important than the toy they want to fight over. But today I’m afraid I let my momness trump my Jesusness and in the process likely coveyed that I cared more about that lamp than him. (When I went to apologize but he was asleep. Praise the Lord, grace for all of us! I repented to God and got to apologize for my tone when he woke up.)

Jesus was always teaching that people, and more specifically the condition of one’s heart, are more important than things, traditions, systems, race or nationality. 

I love that in my devotional this morning I read Acts 10. It was the first time the message of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus was shared with anyone non Jewish and they received it. 

Acts 10:34-35 says, “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’ ”

My fellow Christian Americans, we have so many rights and freedoms and are super blessed to be here, but let us not forget where our more important citizenship lies IN HEAVEN!!

We’re just sojourners! We can appreciate and respect our differences, but let’s focus more on what unifies us. It reminds me of what Paul told the Galatians.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

Let us be thankful for the things that make us precious and unique for they are gifts that God has given us to reach people in our spheres of influence. But let all the good qualities that we have be overwhelmed by the spirit of God- in our hearts, in our homes, in our work and in every part of our world. 

Taste and See


I love to eat. Be it sweet or savory, I am no critic. I am a lover of all food. I do have a special place in my heart for bread and I’ll gladly admit, donuts are my love language.

And because I can easily go from one extreme to another I happily eat healthy food too. I like fruits and vegetables, quinoa and kale. As long as it’s yummy I’m thankful to eat! It helps that I married into a farming family so I’ve learned to appreciate good produce, blueberries especially.

The problem comes when my lack of self control over rides my diligent discipline. It’s crazy to think how I can go from one extreme to the next with barely a blink.

I’ve found that in a lot of ways food is a metaphor for my life. It feels like I’m always trying to find the balance, but appreciate the goodness on both ends of the spectrum. And more than I love delicious food, I love Jesus. He is the constant when things are uncertain. He is the giver of all good things. Whether I’m enjoying the carefree pleasure of a donut or the responsible goodness of some blueberries I am most content when I am full of Jesus.

Wanting to do the right and healthy thing, I can only do it for so long before the pendulum swings to the other side. I’m sometimes boggled by the way I can be hot then cold, fast or slow, yes or no. A recent personality test said it’s because my underpinning quality of “turbulent” overwhelms the rest of me. What does that even mean!?!

It means that left to my own devices I’m out of control, and have difficulty making decisions and assertively going with them. And that’s especially hard for someone who likes control and everyone’s approval. It means that I need help. And this is where God comes in. He is the steady rock when I’m waffling (Mmmmmmm, waffles). He is the wisdom I need when I’m unsure and the discernment I need in every decision.

He is the middle of the road when I feel like I’m zigzagging back and forth into the guardrails. No matter where I find myself in any part of the continuum, i.e. Self pity vs pride, loneliness vs overwhelmed with people, super happy vs really sad; God is my anchor. He is my purpose and my joy. And I want to share that.

Just like any good meal is better shared with friends I want to share his goodness.

I love Psalm 34:8 that says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

My heart for this blog is to whet your appetite by giving a taste of the best I’ve tasted and a glimpse of the best I’ve seen.

I’ll be sharing my life lessons – the good, the bad, the hard and lighthearted. There will be sweet victories and humbling failure, but in it all there is Jesus and I hope and pray that as we take refuge in him we will be very blessed.

So here’s to living and learning, loving and eating. May we cling to Jesus, enjoying a donut, or blueberries, or something in between.

Occasions to Remember




1. compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).

2. gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

My children are as opposite as they look. One has brown hair and brown eyes with olive skin, the other is blonde, blue eyed with white skin. One is a night owl who has yet to have a cheery morning in his 4.5 years of life, the other usually wakes up smiling and sometimes even singing. We are constantly trying to get one to finish a meal and the other is literally whining for more at the same time (we often wait for the older to take his necessary bites and hand the rest over to brother who has been shouting for more for the last 5 minutes).

I wish I could say I have no idea where they get their personalities, but it’s all too obvious that the older, dramatic one is a lot like me and the other like their father, bless all their hearts. 

This week was Avery’s second birthday and as I do at every birthday I reflect on our life and family. I remember the details of their births and I thank God for his goodness and faithfulness. 
I love looking back, it so much easier to see the good and put the bad in perspective. The retrospect gives me lenses to view the future and it always brings hope because in looking back it’s easier to see the things God was doing all along the way. His past faithfulness makes it easier to believe that for the future. 

For those of you who know Evan’s story you remember the trauma and drama of the emergency c-section, the 15 day NICU stay and the next seven months of tests and medication. It was the beginning of the hardest year of my life with lots of tears and unknowns, a big move, job changes, and with all of those stressors a loneliness and depression that rocked me. It was also a year of growing – in faith, in love, in joy and hope. It was the best lessons I never want to go through again. It was sanctification that I will forever be thankful for and do not look forward to repeating any time soon. It was also seeds of doubt, fear and insecurity that I allowed to be planted and grow and that I didn’t even realize were there until I was pregnant with Avery two years later. 

I’m not good at being pregnant. I’m not one to suffer quietly, so try as I might (or not try) the complaints of discomfort, nausea, and fatigue quickly escaped my lips. These complaints were an obvious cry for help. And praise God for the people who not only put up with me but also loved and helped me along the way. 

But where I needed the most help was in the fear. I was so afraid. Afraid that there would be complications, that there would be another NICU stay, that this one would be worse than before, that it wouldn’t end in life but in death. And if there was life that it would be just as hard or harder. Sleep deprivation, depression, desperation. And this time with a two year old in tow. 

And because hormones and pregnancy were not enough stress on the body and mind I also started this ugly game of 101 ways Gunnar might die before this baby was born. It was hard to sleep and hard to function with all these make believe problems I had to solve. Being crazy is exhausting! 

But oh, how sweet is the love of God and his people. Through much prayer and conversations with Gunn and friends, I got to put words to the fears, and for the first time really address them. Only then was I able to confess and repent for not believing in God’s goodness. For believing that he was able, but not willing to take care of me. For the first time in months I actually started living in the reality that God is bigger than even my worst fears. I didn’t have to be held captive to fear but could instead proclaim truth in the face of it. It felt like this giant wound of faith in my heart had been excised and healing came. 

It was the beginning of so much healing. Healing in places I didn’t even know were hurt. The rest of the pregnancy was still physically uncomfortable, but I felt mentally and spiritually strong again. I was able to fight for truth and stand firm and able to ask for help and prayer whenever the lies flooded in again. 

Avery was due September 1 so we scheduled our c-section for August 29. But my water broke at 12 am on August 12th so we got to have our baby in our arms by 4:45am. 

It was weird to be awake for it. It was even weirder when we got to our room and they left him in there with us. He was so calm and he slept soundly. There were no wires or monitors and it all felt so surreal. A healthy baby boy who ate and slept right away. And then they sent us home with him a day later and we were like freaked out, first-time parents because we didn’t know what to do with a brand new baby at home! 

Our God is the God of redemption. He regains possession of everything the world claims as its own. What sin destroys God rebuilds- be it hearts, lives or circumstances. 

In so many ways Avery’s arrival and even first year of life were practically opposite to Evan’s. It feels that every hurt and fear planted by my first experience God has redeemed in the second. 

I love that it reminds me of the comparison made in 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.”

God made man in his image, but sin ruined it. So God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, to die and take the punishment we deserved, to redeem man to himself. He fixed it and made something beautiful out of the mess we made. 

He saved us, he’s sanctifying us and praise God we are redeemed!

I will forever be grateful for these boys. Evan, my sanctification baby and Avery, my redemption baby. God is so, so good to me! He is so good to us!

And so we celebrated. We gave him gifts and a donut cake aside his eggs and blueberries. We thanked God and we prayed over him. Our hope and dreams for these boys are that they know that no matter what life has or what the world throws at them, that God is good and that He loves them. We pray that they know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that Jesus died to pay the price for our sins so that we can live and learn and give our lives for the glory of God. 

I want to teach them to look at the hard things in life and search for the good in them, for there we see Jesus. What stories do you look back on to remember the goodness of God in your life? In the remembering and retelling, we get the chance to proclaim the faithfulness of God that we are so prone to forget. 

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