Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Monday, September 29, 2014


My basement looks like an episode of Hoarders (ok maybe not that bad).   It’s awful.  I am blessed beyond belief by people who believe in the two “causes” I love the most, Detroit and Haiti.  And unfortunatly I can’t take everything, every time to go to either places. I literally pray about what I should bring when I go to Haiti or to the places I serve in Detroit.

Right now, it’s a cluttered mess.  Which is a direct reflection of what has been my cluttered heart.  In the last few months I have been searching and studying God’s word, listening to the still strong voice that guides my life.  But prior to this time that I have spent with Him, I have taken things that I didn’t want to deal with or just didn’t seem to have the time and I tucked them away.  And in the last few months, I have unpacked those things and filed them deep in my heart where they go, or gotten rid of the pain that they have caused.  It’s a time of simplifying my heart, so there is more room for the One who it should it contain.  When there is a bunch of garbage, there isn’t enough room for all the places only He should occupy.

My basement has become a dumping ground for things, lots of things.  And to be honest, there are things that still need to be put away from the Detroit Mission Trip in June.  Bins and boxes scattered about.  And it’s been driving me crazy, and it’s time to deal with it all.  Time to purge the things that are in that basement that need to go, things that there is no reason to hang on to any longer.  It’s time to simplify.  I am not moving any time soon, but if I did…  would I want/need to bring this with me?  Those are the questions I will be asking myself tonight.  I will also start putting things in bins and labeling so that they are ready to go to Haiti or Detroit in the coming months.

It’s time to unclutter my life and my heart.  I thought I’d had this time of quiet and slowing down, and dreaming and reading, and cleaning and decluttering.  It seems I am finding more of the me that God created me to be.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's all part of the territory

My heart is so heavy. It's sad.

They don't tell you when you start youth ministry that if you love the kids with all your heart that when you lose one it might feel like you're gonna die.

I've seen them walk away from God and my heart hurts, I've seen them come to Him for the first time and 16 times and each time my heart rejoices.

Last week one my kids passed away. He was one of my favorites.  Today was his memorial service. Ok I'll just come out and say it, while it was beautiful, and I know he's with Jesus, it sucked and it was hard, and at moments my heart felt like it was going to explode.  

I don't believe in fair. Fair is for sports leagues where everyone gets a trophy bull crap... And I don't know how but God will use this. "God is good, and He has a plan" -Isaac Perez 

I loved the kid, he reminded me of King David. He would wonder and make mistakes but he loved God. His life pointed people that way.  I want my life to point people to Jesus. 

You know Isaac, he taught me a lot. How to give grace and accept it. I love him. So much. My heart is sad because he isn't here to hug me or tell me what he did wrong to see if I'd still love him. He always knew I would. I'm so thankful for the few years I got to love him. And I'm sure my mom was in heaven waiting to hug him because I can't anymore. 

As much as my heart hurts so much right now, I wouldn't trade it for anything, because loving him, it was a joy, and an honor. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fruitful lessons

Do you ever have just one of those moments when you are like "Ohmyword, I am such a idiot!!!"?

So I am doing this amazing study by Beth Moore called "Living Beyond Yourself" which is a study based on fruit of the spirit.

In my life the fruit of the spirit has really changed my life. I've held onto my fruit instead of chucking it at people when I am frustrated with someone. Whether they act like an idiot or not is no excuse for me to be a jerk. Repeating love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF CONTROL has really calmed me down and helped me to keep my fruit. 

So I've been doing this study and I love the way Beth Moore breaks it down, last week was the part of the study about the Holy Spirit. Now, this is where the "I'm an idiot" part comes in... The "spirit" part of the fruit of the spirit is the HOLY SPIRIT!!  this never occurred to me prior to the study. Ok seriously... What an idiot! Like what spirit was I thinking it came from? Lol!

I guess I learn something new every day. And even though I've always thought the Holy Spirit was part of the trinity/God... It just gave me this renewed thankfulness for the Holy Spirit!! 

Starting this week it's a detailed study of each of the fruit which is really interesting and fun! (What has happened  to me that I think a study is fun?lol) this week is love and I can't wait to hear Beth teach each of the fruit!!

I love to learn and I'm so thankful that God just keeps teaching me and teaching me!


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Monday, September 22, 2014


When I was a little kid (like really little still in a crib) I had a braces for my feet.  Apparently I walked with penguin feet (they were pointed out). I don’t even remember, someone just told me.  I am quite sure I hated wearing those dumb braces, I mean I HATE wearing shoes in general.  And I am sure my dad didn't like doing it.  We all know how I can be...

About a year and a half ago, I had some hard work ahead of me, I needed some correction.  And some poor REALLY brave soul told me so.  And I wasn’t really happy but it was really really true.  And I buckled down and did some hard work on myself, uncovered some super destructive behavior, some walls I had built up, and I had to put aside my selfish ways to become more of who God created me to be (and let me tell you, God is NOT done with me yet!!).

Do you ever wonder (my friends and I were talking about this) why we don’t say hard things to people in order to help them to grow?  I mean, don’t we want our friends to be the best they can be?  I know I want to be the best I can be, I won’t be perfect ever, but I always want to be better than I was the day before, and sometimes that means my friends need to say some really hard things to me. One of my friends a while ago said “we are always on your side… but….” And they were right. I knew it, and I needed truth in my life.  

I don’t want someone to scream at me or shake their finger at me, but I do want them to say in love “please do this” or “stop that”.  I remember when I asked people to say to me “foot” if I was sitting on my foot because it’s not good for me.  I didn’t want anyone to yell at me, just a gentle reminder… Don’t make me sorry I told you I needed help.  No one wants their weaknesses thrown in their faces.  Sometimes we don't even realize we are doing something destructive to ourselves because it's just become a habit.

I’ve really been challenged in my own growth (I’ve got a really hard lesson ahead of me) and in loving others to help them to grow too and encourage people who are doing great and making efforts to be their best them!  It means I need to listen more, pray more, I need to pay attention, and love more.  And sometimes say things that are uncomfortable for both of us for a minute, and sometimes be a cheerleader (just call me PomPina).  And if you feel lead to help me grow, pray about it, and help me too!  We can grow together.  Let’s all just make sure we’ve earned the right be heard in each other’s lives.  Only love can do that.

1 John 2:15-17 15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

All circumstances

Ok so the truth is that I HATE the song "blessed be Your name". Ok there I said it. Every time I hear that I have to sing that song my heart sighs.

I think it's the dumbest song!  I know that I need to praise Him in the greatest times in my life and in the darkest time because I know God is always good and always sovereign. 

Today we sang the song in the church, and when I heard we were singing it, I tried to smile but really I thought "ugh" but i know that worship is nothing about me, it is all about Jesus. So when the music started I sang. Because God is a God that is worthy to be praised. HE IS WORTHY!!

So as I sung I thought about my present circumstances, I have so many blessings, I mean really, I am beyond blessed. I won't list all my blessings to you because let's face it, you probably don't want to read them all but a relationship with Jesus (HE CHOSE ME!!!) and a home and a daughter to just to name a few. 

But I thought about my present circumstances. Adam and Katie and the three loves of my life seem to be on the other side of the world even though I know I'll hug them in 32 days. And I know I can call and Facetime but last week all I wanted to do was hug them last week and here them scream "auntie margie" as I walked in the house "saying heellllooooo". 

Last week we lost one of our own... And people are hurting, I'm hurting, I'm sad, I'm angry, and I'm ashamed that sometimes I just don't do enough.  We celebrate and praise God when people meet The Lord right where they are and they let Him in their hearts. We say "there is a party in heaven" but it's sorrowful when someone who is young dies a death that we determine is far too young. And even though i hope and believe God met Isaac at the gates of heaven but I'm still sad. 

There's other things that I can't reveal here.

I'm being quiet now. I'm spending time in a study, spending time learning, loving, and soaking up God like a sponge wherever I can find Him. 

People assume a lot of things. What I'm doing, where I'm going. The truth is I have little idea of where God is leading me with the exception of a time of being obedient, doing things like paperwork, business plans. 

But during this time, I see a lot of things a lot more clearly than I do when I'm crazy busy. I see all that God gives and takes away. And I feel through them all.  Which is a lot different for me. Normally I get busier and busier so I feel less and less, because sometimes it hurts, and that sucks. But all this feeling is breaking me and making me closer to Jesus and I LOVE THIS much more than I thought because the more of this feeling makes more room for
Him and less room for me. More of His Spirit, less of my flesh.  Which is good.

Maybe I sang the song today to recognize Him more, maybe to break my heart a little more... Or maybe the song was for someone else's heart. 

But nonetheless....

Blessed be Your name. 

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent GOD ’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that GOD corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this. (Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG)

My Buckley friend

I didn't know much about her when I "met" her. We started working on something together but we lived 4 hours away from each other.

Then she had to take care of some family things so we didn't talk much (hardly ever) until a very cold day in January when I needed help figuring some things out. I remember standing outside in New York talking to her on the phone, I almost didn't call her but I needed her. She almost didn't answer.

That was probably the beginning of our friendship. Crazy things (awesome) are born out of crappy moments, i like to refer to those as Romans 8:28 moments.

Last October she told me about a spot on a Haiti trip she was leading, I wanted to go but didn't have the money. In January God directed me to go and it was life changing and friendship bonding. We knew each other but didn't know each other. I was a complete mess after hearing of child eating toothpaste. She let me be, because I needed to work it out. After all the craziness that we've been through, that was the moment I knew I could really trust her with my heart, she just let me be. Seems kind of odd, but she's my Carly now.

It's been a crazy 6 weeks or so and I'm thankful we had this weekend on the calendar for months. Mexican fiesta. We are having tamales, chorizo, beans, rice, garlic dip, whatever else we make... And girl talk and celebrating birthdays of people we love. I needed to get here. My daughter says "they love you there". Buckley. It's a cute little town with ice cream, a great church, a dollar general, and my Carly. 

I woke up this morning so glad to be here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm a crier!

When I was in first grade my teacher didn't like me. I cried almost everyday.  

 You'll never believe this but in first grade I was a phenomenon.

Back when I was a kid, there were not really single parents, and certainly not very many single dads. So everyday kids would ask me "you don't have a mom??? Where is she? How did she die?" Then someone in a different grade would ask...  It went on and on... Or at least it seemed.

I cried almost everyday.

And for a lot of my life I have apologized for crying. If you know me... You know, I cry a lot. Happy sad angry glad. I cry 

I have had a very emotional 4-6 weeks and I'll tell you the last couple days have been a complete waste of eye makeup. COMPLETE.

Today I went to serve at My Brothers Keeper and I just prayed and spent time with God while it cooked. 

I was thinking about Ms. Krafcheck today and how she couldn't undo how God created me. God made me a feeling person. I've learned over the last few years (and I tell people ALL THE TIME!!) it's ok to feel!! It's not always ok to act on those feelings but emotions are good! (Look at David in the bible) 

I'm a crier. I can't help it.

Pass the Kleenex! And give me a hug!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My homemade sauce!

I’m not a canner like some people.  My friend Cathy cans like crazy and I have lots of other friends who do too, however, there are somethings that I love about canning, but it’s a lot of work.  I am making homemade sauce for a soup kitchen I am serving at on Tuesday.  I am pretty excited and pretty nervous.

Now I am pretty sure you are supposed to drink wine while making sauce (I think I heard that once) so I opened my favorite bottle of red wine…  Sterling Meritage.  Now, I don’t know if this is necessary but it’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m over 21 and not getting drunk…  but it certainly sounds like a nice idea now doesn’t it? (and if you don’t agree, write your own blog about it).

So it’s a lot of work to make all this sauce…  especially if I decide to do it from raw tomatoes…
So Nikki….  This is how I did it…

I rinsed all the tomatoes (I bought a ginormous box from Blocks).  Then I blanched them (poke them and then drop them in boiling water (be careful if you get the hot water on you it burns!) for like 5-10 minutes, you’ll know it’s time because the skin starts peeling.  Then take them out and when they are cool enough to handle, and peel them and cut the stem part out.  

I put half of them in the blender on the liquefy setting so they were really smooth and the other half on the “grind” setting so they were a little chunkier.  

That’s the tomato part of my sauce.

To make spaghetti sauce…  

I chopped two really big Spanish onions (remember how crazy oniony it was in my house that one day when no one could breathe?  Yeap, that happened again).

I ran about 15 garlic cloves through the garlic press and sauted all that.  Added dried basil, dried oregano, a bunch (literally a bunch of fresh) parsley, salt, and pepper and then added all the tomatoes.  

It’s going to cook for at least 6 hours…  Hopefully it’s yummy!!

Good things come to those who wait!!


This morning I was walking downstairs to do laundry... And as I listened quietly the dishwasher was humming along cleaning the newly acquired (free!!!) canning jars. 

I couldn't help but smile. God is so good to me.

Last night I blanched one ginormous box of tomatoes last night and today I will make sauce with those glorious beauties for my friends at My Brothers Keeper this week. A simple meal. God is also funny!

I was thinking how my Sundays used to be so very different. It was like a project on a Microsoft timeline. Be up by 6am and it didn't stop from there. I multi-tasked until I was at capacity and I could barely hold a conversation because my brain was spinning 100mph mostly in circles. 

Now I spend my day getting my house in order for the week, getting ready for church. It might just feel perfect. Making food, praying for people, looking around grasping the millions of ways God has provided. 

My heart seems at peace, my life full of gratitude. My heart holds even more love than I thought possible. 

I am thankful this Sunday morning for more reasons than I can count. 

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. But you, Lord, are forever exalted. (Psalm 92:1-8 NIV)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Confessions of a do-gooder

Ok so would you like some insight into my crazy mind and heart?

Sometimes I am so scared of being held accountable to God for the things I didn’t do that I should have, it scares me so much that I could possibly put myself into a dangerous situation.

Like that one time (and I’ve told this story a million times) I had a friend who relapsed that I went to Cass Corridor to go looking for him.  By.myself.  I was asked later “what were you going to do if you found him?”  My answer was simple (and DUMB) “I don’t know I didn’t think that far ahead”. 
Oh rescue syndrome.  You cause me to do some really stupid things.

I actually got yelled at by a Pastor. I mean yelled at.  I will tell you, I will never do such a dumb thing again… I’ll have a plan, and I will take someone with me… 

So yesterday, I am driving in SW Detroit because I was avoiding a huge traffic back up and saw a guy lying on the ground who looked… well… dead.

And so my thoughts start to go crazy….
But what if he wasn’t.
Is that blood on the sidewalk?
Oh gosh, should I call the police?
Maybe I should go help him?
Oh jeez, what if he’s faking and kills me?
What if he’s not, and needs help?
What if Jesus is watching?
How will I answer to God about this man, who surely God loves?

Yes, those were my thoughts.

Ok.  Stop for a minute, or at least think this through (as I am driving through a neighborhood to turn around – AND WITNESSED A DRUG DEAL – oh this is my life. Can’t even make this stuff up.
Ok. There’s a barber shop. There’s men in there (I bet they are cute – oh wait get back on track) maybe they can help him.  Park far from the guy (that way he can’t steal your keys and take your car).  Stay on the phone with your friend in case something happens (his suggestion). 

I went into the barbershop and asked if they knew that guy was lying out there. 

 “what guy?”

“There’s a guy out there, he looks… dead.  Can you check on him? “

So they go check on him, and I leave.  I have no idea what happened, but hopefully the situation was addressed.  Whatever it was.  I just know I did my best while being careful (maybe I should be more dangerous, but I do have a daughter who loves me and would be really sad if I got stabbed by a crazy guy). 

I will pray for him now, I don’t know his name, but God knows him.  I don’t always know if I handled it correctly, but I do know that I tried to help that man to the best of my abilities.  So maybe I will get a “good job my good and faithful servant” or maybe I’ll get a “you could have done better” but either way, I can only hope that everyday, I move to be more like Him.  

And maybe next time I will stick around to find out his name.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.