SEVEN WORDS TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY TODAY

Last week on Instagram, I wrote about SEVEN WORDS over SEVEN DAYS with Hopewriters all over the world.

Before I share my seven day journey with you, take a few minutes to think about each of these words. You don’t have to write about them, but think about what memories, thoughts or stories form in your mind for each word. If you are having a hard time with this exercise, skip down below for a few helpful thoughts.

  • Many of you are so busy that you haven’t given your mind a moment to freely swim through a thought that isn’t part of your daily tasks or responsibilities. Will you challenge yourself to take two minutes per word to freely welcome creative thoughts?
  • Some of you are holding trauma, loss and grief in your heart and on your shoulders; so much so, that you may need an outlet to let it all drip out through a few tangible words. Will you grab a scrap of paper and write the first thought the comes to mind with each word?
  • Some of you drown out the notion that your story, the good parts and the embarrassing, shameful parts, makes up the beauty of who you are. Perhaps a few words are the starting place you need to gracefully tell your story. Will you talk through each word transparently with a trustworthy friend?
  • A few of you may even be physically ill. You are suffering. When health doesn’t carry you, not much else matters. Even in this weak state, embrace a few words of life. You will not be here forever. It’s okay to gently embrace dreams of the future and memories of the past. Will you draw an emoji or write a name or place next to each word as a reminder that life will be full again?

Below is my seven day journey. I choose transparency because I have learned that vulnerable community is the path to growth, freedom and healing. You can also check out the series on IG where I initially posted it.


Do you remember when you first found your VOICE?

During my senior year of HS, we watched a documentary on Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who was a lawyer and civil rights activist. He was key in overturning laws that enforced racial segregation.

As I watched, justice rung loudly through me. I wanted to be whatever Justice Marshall was. That’s how I decided to become a lawyer.

So many years later, justice is a thread that runs through my life. Trafficking, poverty, foster care and at risk women and girls have been my causes. Thanks to the day I found my VOICE.

When did you first find yours?


Today’s @hopewriters writing challenge word is REFRESH & that was France 2018 for me.

10 days of cycling through the Valley of Loir & driving through Switzerland with no cell phones or a worry in the world (minus Eric’s monumental bike wipe out on the countryside).

It’s hard to unplug, even from the stuff we love the most. I’m not sure if it’s really possible without being half around the world without a phone! But, truly, I will continue to seek it out on the lounge chair in the backyard with my blanket and my books!

What REFRESHES you?


Today’s @hopewriters writing challenge word is STORY.

The STORY of this picture is a reunion of three women destined to be lawyers and best friends through two decades and counting.

This is our first reunion in 2014 after these two besties left me in Florida while they ventured off to new places with their families. Their leaving gifted me with the challenge of making brand new friends as a 30 something.

I often write and talk about friendship. Their leaving allowed me to share with new friends who they helped me become. These two taught me so much about loyalty, confidentiality, forgiveness and trusting your gut when your friend can’t verbalize her own needs.

Here’s to my STORY of friendship! I love you @natswitzerland & @chris_vargh@lifesations


Day 4: @hopewriters writing challenge word is REMEMBER

Unlike the other days, this caused a pause in my heart.

REMEMBER brings me to the things God has shown me that I’ll never forget.

🌸 I’ll be growing up for the rest of my life. Welcome with love the person I become as the seasons change.

🌸 Tears do stop. I just need some help with that sometimes.

🌸 Lay down the idol. Follow the path. Don’t look back.

🌸 Nothing is actually, really forever lost. Redemption is a promise. Graciously wait for it.

🌸 Whatever I can’t understand belongs in the hands of God, not mine. It’s better that way.

🌸 A mustard seed of hope is all we need. This little truth has carried me through my darkest days. Keep hope alive.


The beginning is exhilarating and scary. The end is bittersweet but exudes with confidence and closure.

But the MIDDLE.

Can’t go back. Can’t speed forward. Sometimes feels like quicksand. Sometimes like speed skating. Most of life is here. Many times over.

IN THE MIDDLE: May we embrace uncertainty with our best next step. May we settle into the still and move with the wind. May we not give up in the middle.

To all my sisters who know the MIDDLE all too well. Keep going, for the end of a thing is better than the beginning.


It’s never too late to ask yourself the QUESTION

What are you grateful for?

#aprilgratitude

🌸 strength of my body to hold my mind and spirit
🌸 grace for when family get togethers go south
🌸 advice when I can’t make a decision
🌸 my son‘s recovery from shoulder surgery
🌸 transparency of my Bible study girls
🌸 leadership and kindness of Priya and Reuben
🌸 new friends like Diana
🌸 seeing my daughter find her voice
🌸 growing huge mushrooms in the wine fridge
🌸 gatherings at my home
🌸 reminders on my vision board to keep growing!
🌸 The joy of cooking for my family
🌸 the word of God pointing me forward
🌸 meeting wise women who care and love deeply
🌸 God’s creation of both day and night
🌸 learning how to sacrifice like my mom
🌸 learning to welcome changes
🌸 learning to let go instead of be stuck
🌸 loving God‘s path for me and nothing else
🌸 pouring out what I have been given


Last Day of @hopewriters writing challenge: PURPOSE

A few years ago, when I taught my first class in @kristingreep beautiful living room, my mom shared a vision with me.

A circle of women living in peace with their eyes set on their calling filled with assurance of who they are in Christ.

There have been some ups and downs the last few years when it comes to pursuing God’s purposes for my life.

I’ve learned wholeheartedly that the circle of women in my mom’s vision are the women right in front of me, all around me.

We don’t have to go far and wide to live out our purpose. We aren’t required to make a living from our purpose. But we do have to give it our all.

Purpose is a lot less about measuring success and outcome. Purpose is a lot more about knowing how much you are loved and then passing on that love in only the way you can.

May each of us follow our calling in only the way we can. 🙏🏼


Join 365 other subscribers

Continue Reading

Hospitality: How to be Radical with Food and Friends

My purpose in sharing parts of my life with you is to encourage you to do the same. More openness among women. More authenticity. This is the road to personal change and freedom. Authenticity is part of the path for wounds to find healing. Eventually, this same road leads to action and service in the name of love.

I did something fun this week.

I led a book review with an amazing, welcoming group of women called the Salt Book Club. I reviewed a book called The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield. (My husband says every book I read is the same. Whatever.)

My friend Melissa came along with me to the book club. She has an open front door and is an all are welcome kind of girl. Covid slapped her in the face when it came to one of her spiritual giftings – hospitality.

At the book review, she openly shared her reasons for bunkering down for almost a full year. She shared her conversations with her teen about how doing what’s right isn’t something you can see the full picture of when making the sacrifice. And, she shared how God gave her the opportunity to share her home with her brother, wife and two kids after he was furloughed from his job in Texas.

God always provides a way for us to share our giftings and live out our callings.

The author Rosaria leads a pretty radical life in the way of hospitality. She has an open door policy for dinner every single night. She wakes up at dawn for her devotion. She puts on beans, soup and rice and bakes bread. She homeschools and does all the stuff moms do throughout the day.

Around 5:30pm, her “stakeholders” (i.e., girlfriends, soul sisters . . .) plus their families and dogs come over with more food and welcome whomever shows up that night. They invite people who would not step foot into a church and the neighborhood families through the Next Door app.

This is radical to me – plainly because it’s Every.Single.Night.

This book has a few stories running through it. You will learn that Rosaria was previously a professor at Syracuse University, a feminist, intellectual and outspoken lesbian in a committed relationship. You’ll meet her neighbor Hank and his pit bull Tank, whose home is raided for the manufacturing of crystal meth. You’ll get to know Rosaria’s birth family with themes of mental illness and alcohol. You will hear Rosaria’s view on gender roles and how safety should not be the aspiration of believers.

It sounds like a good book, right? It is.

After reading her book and listening to her bible study on Right Now Media, here are five tips on hospitality that you can glean from this book – – and you don’t even have to read it! Nice!

  1. Find your own rhythm of hospitality. God gives us the grace we need for his commands.
  2. You are needed. God uses us in our mess. Be hospitable, even in your weakness.
  3. If you are hiding sin, you won’t practice hospitality. Check yourself! Ouch!
  4. What idols are holding you back from hospitality? Social media? TV? Alcohol? Middle class ease?
  5. Learn to be a host and a guest. We need both to form relationships.

Love you girls!

Continue Reading

Happy Mother’s Day: My Tribute & Your Challenge

60 Minutes with an Old Friend

A few months ago, I sat with an old friend at my office conference room table. There is a lot I did not know about my old friend until recently. Having worked with a wholesale fine foods company for years, he has made many friends with chefs and restaurant owners. He has access to organic, artisan ingredients. You should see his IG posts of his creations that he makes from scratch at home. The colors are gorgeous, and his organization and creativity are impeccable.

From there, our conversation moved to his loss of 40+ pounds through 4am work outs and changing his overall mindset. He talked about some of his closest friends who he is there for and who are there for him. He admitted that he was a really good friend but has been a terrible husband, twice. That brought us to his single dad status and the parenting of his curly red-haired spitfire.

My Friend’s Great Question

He asked me a great question about parenting. He asked me to tell him my core values when it came to parenting. He knows my 17-year-old boy pretty well and he asked how we helped him turn out so well. I gladly would have accepted the Quinn compliment alone. But he gave me a platform right there in my conference room to talk about my parenting style.  I didn’t know I had such strong core values.  They started flying out of my mouth one by one over the next fifteen or twenty minutes.

The rest of this post is about the values I shared with my friend. It’s also about reflecting upon your values this Mother’s Day week. It’s about challenging you to talk to your people about your values and how they are blooming (or maybe hiding) in your own life.

This Post is a Tribute to Mothers, Biological, Spiritual and Adoptive Alike.

To clarify, if you don’t have biological or adopted kids, I am sure that you are a mentor or an auntie to some chubby toddler or awkward tween that needs you. You too are a mother, and this post belongs to you.

We each have our core values and varying parenting style, whether we are mentoring biological, spiritual or adoptive kids. I suspect that much of what we bring into this role comes from our own mothers, aunties and female mentors. Much of what I am going to say comes from my mom (and dad) and the rest comes toppling out of my own life experience.

My Intention is to Help You Reflect this Mother’s Day.

Before I lay out what I shared with my friend, I will tell you in advance my intention. It is my hope that you will take the next few days leading to Mother’s Day to think about your core parenting values. Jot a few of your core values down. Let them swim in your mind. Maybe write down another one or two or revise one of your earlier thoughts. You will eventually be satisfied with what your have reduced to writing. I am confident of that.

Challenge No. 1

Once you have that part done, I challenge and encourage to reach out to one of your mother figures or mother. Share with her the parts of your parenting that you graciously account to her blood, sweat and tears. This is a gift to her in and of itself.

Challenge No. 2

Next, I challenge and encourage you to share with your biological, adoptive or spiritual kids what matters to you and ask them if they can see that in your life. This could be a bit risky on a day where you are not really hoping for any surprising feedback. Nonetheless, this conversation will bless you and help you grow (one way or another).

Here goes, soul sisters.

Value #1 – Follow Your Dreams

My mom cheered each of us as if we were the most likely person to succeed. She helped us try lots of new things and provided the best tools within her reach. She let us go as far as we desired when it came succeeding. The world does a good job of knocking you down and chipping at your self-esteem. But I’ve always had just enough faith to keep going because of my mom. Even at the rock bottom, dark night of the soul, my mom has been there to encourage me towards hope.

Part of the Follow Your Dreams value is that race, ethnicity, economics or gender is not a reality strong enough to limit our dreams. I was the first on my mom’s side to go to college. Her parents were the kid’s of first generation immigrants. I was one of the few girls in the DECA business club in high school. I made it through college and law school, often times, by counting change.  

In my own experience, I understand the hardship of being a woman and not having a lot of financial resources to work with. I also acknowledge the privileges I was afforded. But that wasn’t what my mom’s value was all about. It was about not allowing limits to define your future.

The last part of this value was that it was not just for us. My mom and dad taught us to see and treat others with the same limitless value. Of course, I didn’t grow up colorless or genderless or classless. But we were taught that dreams are limitless for ourselves and dreams are limitless for others. This value had a direct impact on how we viewed and treated others – with respect and value as a person who had limitless dreams too.

Value #2 – Help Others Right Where You Are

My family had a strong ethic to help others. Back in the day, the Sun Sentinel ran an annual article around Easter time with a list of local families you could help. Clearly, privacy laws were not intact thirty/forty years ago. My mom would pick a family from the list. She would contact them directly and ask them what they needed. We would bring gift cards (or whatever it was back then) and Easter baskets and visit the family most of that year.

It was awkward going into neighborhoods and homes we weren’t familiar with. The food looked and smelled different. The little kids pulled at and played with my hair. But my mom always had a connection with the mother or grandmother. We all, the family and us, smiled and laughed through the awkwardness.

This is just one example. My mom has mentored neighborhood kids. Hired women just out of jail. Helped women educate themselves. Poured into countless homeless men and women. She took us along with her for the ride and hoped we would do the same in our own lives.

Value #3 – Give Them Wings and Let Them Go

Part of the freedom of growing up as my mom’s kid was that she was clear that her job was to give us wings so that we could fly on our own. She poured into us deeply but not in such a way that exhibited control or dependency on either part. We knew well that we were revving up to go out into the world. That created a sense of ownership and drive to move forward even if we were a little scared. She provided a foundation of care that created confidence to take steps in our own direction.

Value #4 – Maintain your Character at any Cost

By no means did I learn this on my own, but it could not feel more personal. As I reflect on business ownership over the last 16 years. As I reflect on friendships over a lifetime. As I reflect on marriage. As I reflect, Matthew 16:26 comes to mind.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

In a very competitive business field, where kickbacks and shady incentives are all around me, I’ve had to lean into this verse. It’s not so much that it’s been difficult not to make such an offer in exchange for business. It’s that others ask it of me. It has been fairly easy for me to say no. However, a few years ago I lost 30% of my business because I clung to Matthew 16:26. It was a very scary day when that happened. But it has never been clearer to me that character is worth the loss when and if that happens. I hope my kids see that in my life.

Value #5 – A Spark of Hope is Enough – Just Keep it Lit

My mom says that panic, anxiety and depression were never part of my personality or who I am. It was circumstances that ushered in and cracked the joy and freedom inside of me. In the years leading up to 2016 (when I crashed), I knew that from time to time, I felt a sadness; a lack of control of tears; and an endless feeling that “everything was lost.”

When friends, family and others think of me, I hate to think that this part of my story rises above the beauty that God has made from the dark times. That’s what parenting value #5 is about.

A spark of hope is enough.

The light does become dim sometimes. There isn’t necessarily an hourglass to tell you when the sun will reach noon again. But I do know that during these times, just a spark of hope is enough. It’s the mustard seed or yeast effect. If you can place your speck of hope in the hands of the Trinity, they will keep the light lit just long enough for the sun to come out again.

In these dim times, I ask the Holy Spirit to come in to break down walls and throw the enemy in the lake of fire for a swim. I let myself feel the cheek of the Father next to mine as I allow Him to give me rest in the night. I trust that my brother and savior Jesus – who has a full understanding of who I am and streets I walk – will lead and teach me through all that I lack.

This is what it means that a spark of hope is enough. This is how I’ve learned to keep it lit. This is what I hope my kids see and turn to when the full sun is hidden from them.

Biological, Spiritual and Adoptive Mothers alike. This post is for you.

Mothers, it will have been a miracle for you to have finished this piece in one sitting. I hope you’ve read it in pieces at red lights, as you dosed off to sleep, as you’ve waited at the doc’s office with your aging parents, at lunch or on coffee break. I hope that you’ve taken just enough time to read for your own core values in parenting to spark.

I am including the challenges below again for you. What a pain to scroll up to find them!

My Intention is to Help You Reflect this Mother’s Day.

It is my hope that you will take the next few days leading to Mother’s Day to think about your core parenting values. Jot a few of your core values down. Let them swim in your mind. Maybe write down another one or two or revise one of your earlier thoughts. You will eventually be satisfied with what you have reduced to writing. I am confident of that.

Challenge No. 1

Once you have that part done, I challenge and encourage to reach out to one of your mother figures or mother. Share with her the parts of your parenting that you graciously account to her blood, sweat and tears. This is a gift to her in and of itself.

Challenge No. 2

Next, I challenge and encourage you to share with your biological, adoptive or spiritual kids what matters to you and ask them if they can see that in your life. This could be a bit risky on a day where you are not really hoping for any surprising feedback. Nonetheless, this conversation will bless you and help you grow (one way or another).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Join 365 other subscribers

Continue Reading

Spring Collaboration with my Mom!

This is my beautiful mom. Over her life, she’s baked to make a living, baked to make others feel special, baked for charity, baked to express her poema. She’s an artist and the hardest working person I know.

We collaborated for Spring!

SPRING COLLECTION INCLUDES

  • 2 pounds of her handmade cookies in a box
  • Recipe for Shortbread Dipped in White Chocolate
  • Spring Bucket List
  • Spring Tips to help you love and grow this Spring!
  • $59.99, Including Hand delivery to Broward, Dade and Palm Beach
  • Order by March 31
Continue Reading

I Answered, Who Am I? It’s Your Turn!

Ever have the thought that you wished you met your expectations of yourself?

Not in a depressive kind of way. Just in a super candid kind of way.

I pretty much always wish I could do more.

Big ideas. Big plans. Lots of details. And the décor of it all looks beautiful.

That what lives in my mind anyway.

I will leave some big open space for you to think about that and make a few observations of yourself. This will all make sense in a few paragraphs.

Here are two thoughts for you today.

The first thought comes from the new book I am reading. The book is called Share Your Stuff, I’ll Go First, by Laura Tremaine. I am going to ask you the question she asks in the first chapter. I’ll give you my answer first (as she also does) and then I will lovingly encourage and challenge you to answer also. To a friend. In person. Over the Phone. By Text. By commenting to this post. Whatever. Take time to know and be known.

Let yourself answer despite the insurmountable problems or people you are facing today. Despite the long list of adult things that need your attention, skill and time. Because, really, you can’t tell me you don’t have twenty minutes. You may think you don’t, but you do. Believe me, I have been there, on both sides of this claim. I know the time lives in your twenty-four hours, you must claim it as your own.

Did that sound harsh? I meant it to be a tad stern. Claiming twenty minutes is a version of self-care. I want that for both of us.

The question is

Who are you?

Don’t run just yet. I did say I would go first (as the author also does).

But still don’t run just yet. It may be a deep question, but it can be expressed in a few simple ways. The author says, I am asking how you see yourself . . . where you’re from, what your family looks like, what your passionate about. She says to come up with three to five things you would tell a potential new friend over coffee.

What Does My Family Look Like?

I’m me.

I’m a mom to Quinn and Leila. My first born is gentle, mighty, present, humorous and witty, pure hearted and resilient. My daughter is a diamond, physically and mentally strong. She shines and gets me every time with her contagious laughter. I describe them because their qualities, in part, describe me.

I was recently asked by an old friend who is now a single dad – What are your core values when it comes to parenting? I spontaneously shared four things.

  • No matter how much money you have, no matter the color of your skin, you can do anything. Treat yourself and treat others just like that.
  • Serve others. Go out into the community and find a way to love others.
  • No matter the cost, choose integrity.
  • Be humble. Offer yourself to God. Offer yourself to others. Choose mercy and grace for yourself and others.

I share my core values because they describe who I am.

I learned the first two from my mom and dad. My mom was a young woman in love with my dad who was a few years older (who was equally in love with her). They are both intensely idealist. I believe their strong commitment to equality comes from their vision of idealism.

They both believe the best and are greatly disappointed and maybe even wounded when others choose a path of darkness or harm. Because, as idealists, there is always a path to freedom, light and peace. They both served their community with their gifts and, as kids, we were part of that intentional effort. I am who I am in my everyday life and as a parent because of them.

No Matter the Cost, Choose Integrity

I learned the third from owning a business and being the practice of real estate law for the last twenty years. If you want to know how questionable my field can be, ask Anna’s mom Suzanne D. We both are real estate veterans, and she tells the narrative better than I do.

The bottom line is that we all have opportunities to take short cuts with our work or take or give unlawful kickbacks/favors. Nothing is won in dark or murky waters. And, I have found that, even when I expected to suffer great loss for choosing integrity, the worst never happened, and God paved a way.

Be Humble

The last I learned from my brother Cameron’s observations of me. He told me years ago, after I was enraged about a movie I had just seen, that it was obvious why I was so upset. I hate the quality of arrogance and that was a character trait of the lead role in the movie. I then realized that I value humility. Hence, be humble.

I have told you about my family of origin, a little bit about my kids. (Never too much because they have asked that of me). My words have told you how I see myself. My core values shape what I am passionate about, which is the last element of the question. Here goes.

What Am I Passionate About?

My passions play out in my LOVE OF SHARING. Emphasis necessary because I love it so much. I love to share through writing, teaching, talking, making friends and encouraging people to become who God created them to be.

I am currently passionate about being in the moment. I have become very excellent at doing in the moment. But I am shifting with great intention to being in the moment. In fact, that will be the topic of my next class. You can do me the great favor of praying for that for me.

Okay, I did it. In twenty minutes or less. I answered, Who am I? Your turn!

Answer with a friend. In person. Over the Phone. By Text. By commenting to this post. Whatever. Just do it!

I mentioned that I had two thoughts for you. The second thought is a verse.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:2

Do this favor for me. Take twenty minutes to answer Who Am I? and then take twenty more before you fall asleep tonight. The second twenty is for your rest. Acknowledge all the work you have done this day. Know that, to God, even if no one else in your life acknowledges it, your rest is holy ground. Take the speckled outcome of the day and give it to Him. And, then my dear sisters, go to bed in peace.

Love,

Sasha

Continue Reading