Like, seriously. You have no idea how grateful I am to have met you here in this little corner of the internet world. Community and hospitality are my heart and I genuinely enjoy connecting with people from all walks of life and learning about each person’s unique experience navigating this crazy world we live in.
So get comfy and take a seat – everyone is welcome at my table!
Before we get too settled, let me disclose I’m a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve and who likes to go deep quick. Why? Because I’ve learned there is no time to putz around when there is so much life to be lived and work to be done!
i'm so glad you're here!
er – “recovering” perfectionist.
Alright, I’m going to give you a lot of info about my “why” so you can understand who I am, what I’ve experienced, how it impacted me and where God is leading me. (Don’t hold it against me but I used to be a journalist. Trust me, the details and specs matter!)
I start with that admission because perfectionism is where it all began for me. It is my deepest bent toward sin, the place where all of my “issues” stem from and is the initial reason I began my blog, Seeking Grace & Gratitude, back in 2015. I consider myself in “recovery” now, which basically means I can leave my house without vacuuming it clean or washing a sink full of dirty dishes (I was guilty of having to do both prior to my “recovery”).
I’ve often been asked how I got to the place I am currently as a recovering perfectionist and the answer is simple – I took off my rose-colored glasses and realized the world filters perfection to appear realistic and attainable. The truth is, perfection is impossible in a world that is imperfect. When I acknowledged I will never be perfect, I will never measure up nor will I ever be enough, it was like chains releasing me from years of bondage. I’ve been in recovery for four years now and while I still battle perfectionism today, it is nowhere near as extreme as it once was. Praise Jesus for that!
Speaking of Jesus, I accepted the gift of salvation in October 2006. I will always give credit where credit is due and my journey to the cross would have never occurred if it weren’t for the faithful perseverance of my now-husband, Doug. He trusted that God had a better life for me than the one I was ruining. By God’s grace, Doug chose to stick with me when all of the logic in the world was telling him to leave me in the hole I had dug myself into.
Yet, God’s timing is perfect, as always, and I became a follower of Christ just months prior to graduating from college, marrying Doug and relocating across the country. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” This verse is very significant to me because I was literally able to start a new life with my new married surname in a physical place that was far away from my home state. It was the ultimate reset that led me to become the woman I am today.
My life with Christ is drastically different than it was B.C. But don’t be fooled, both have come with their own challenges, as is the standard in this broken world we live in. Life is beautiful, but it is rarely packaged neat, tidy and wrapped up with a bow. Still, God’s message can be found within life’s messiness and I definitely have experience digging through messes.
Each time my faith was tested, I acquired wisdom and spiritual growth. Since 2006, I have relocated across the country (MI to TX to GA back to MI then to AZ and finally, back to MI again…8 physical moves over an 11 year period), reconciled with a family member after 3+ years of a strained relationship, survived skin cancer, fought a medical battle against breast cancer, and detected an incurable eye disorder in one of my children and myself. I don’t know how the most challenging situations I’ve encountered would have played out if it weren’t for my unwavering faith and trust in the Almighty. The trials I faced [as a follower of Christ] taught me that faith doesn’t make things easy, but it certainly makes things possible.
But that wasn’t always the case.
In my life B.C., I fell victim to many sins of false identity, deeply rooted insecurity and negative body image. I believe this stemmed from my bent toward perfectionism and my “need” to attain and maintain a perfect life. As a result, I fought a bully in my prepubescent years (uh…I was the bully…like full on Regina George), survived an eating disorder, endured an abusive relationship as a teenager, and continuously pursued artificial love and worldly approval. I placed unrealistic expectations on myself, was incredibly selfish and insecure, and don’t have many relationships or friendships to speak of from my life B.C.
To add fuel to the fire of my deepest insecurities, I was heavily influenced by the media and entertainment industry. As a naïve and vulnerable tween and teen, I absorbed the false “wisdom” portrayed in magazines such as Teen Beat and Cosmo, lusted after 90s/00s celebrity teenage heartthrobs, admired the characters I’d watch in teen-driven movies and was inspired by those I’d read about in trashy teen novels. Each of these circumstances shaped what I thought, felt and believed about the world, other people and myself. These negative influences encouraged a lifestyle that was toxic and unfulfilling.
For the first 20 years of my life, I travelled down a road that was driven by culture and it brought me nowhere good. Well, actually, it brought me to the end of my self and to the foot of the cross. I woke up one day and I discovered I was trapped in a cycle of lies disguised as truth and was living a lifestyle that boasted of freedom but felt more like prison. It took me several years to understand the severity these wounds inflicted on me but now they are the pull that pushes me forward.
They push me forward because I want to experience more in this world as it prepares me for the next. I want to the leave the world better than how I found it and I want to positively impact the next generation of image bearers. As a mom of five, I don’t want my children to mindlessly stumble down the same paths I ventured on. In fact, I believe I experienced certain hardships and struggles so as to parent in a way that provides real-life wisdom, guidance, and direction for each one of my children.
My children are a big piece of my “why,” but I cannot assist them in pursuing the life God intends for them if I am not intentionally pursuing God’s best for my own life. As you know, this world is a loud and crazy place that seems to be getting louder and crazier by the day. It is nearly impossible to silence the noise and the chaos that distracts us from living a joyous life. I believe intentionality is the key that opens the door to purpose.
take care, friends!
I learned this the hard way during my life B.C. but was also enlightened during a “fast” from secular influences a few years ago. This opened my eyes to a correlation I never considered before and inspired me to redirect my ministry to provide content that fills the body with resources that nourish the soul.
That initial fast from secular influences has inspired me to partake in fasting again whenever I feel the noise deafening or the world closing in. Each time I’ve fasted, I’ve found myself cultivating and indulging in the goodness of spiritual fruit. For me, this is proof in the cause and effect of the “things” we are using to fill our bodies. Are they nourishing our souls or are they depleting us of our potential?
This is where I will leave you in my story because it is where I am today. Whether you realize it or not, the content you consume matters. The people and influences surrounding you matters. You matter, I matter and God matters. The way to change this world is to change the way we live – in the world but not of the world, modeling our lives after the counter-cultural life of Jesus Christ.
Oh friend, I am so glad you are here! I cannot say that enough because I want you to know, deep down in the marrow of your bones, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We’re in this life together and together I hope to dig through the messiness of life to discover the message that speaks life.
I’m just a girl from the Midwest who has walked through many valleys, wandered through the desert (quite literally, remember I lived in AZ for several years!), climbed some pretty high mountains, fell off of some dangerous cliffs, and stumbled down some wide and bumpy roads. But none of it, NONE OF IT, has impacted me more than experiencing God’s sovereignty and complete faithfulness on the other side of whatever it was I was facing.
It is my prayer for you to be encouraged through the Holy Spirit’s work within my ministry of making the most of mundane moments. May these words and the content on this site reflect the gospel and illuminate God’s glory.
“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
Acts 20:24 (NLT)
• My name means “to baptize”
• My Birthday is January 21
• Ethnicity: ½ Mexican, ¼ Irish, ¼ Polish
• Wife to Doug since 2007
• Mom of 5
• Hometown & Current Place of Residency: Grand Rapids, MI
• Former Places of Residency: Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Atlanta, GA; Scottsdale, AZ
• Education: Grand Valley State University; B.A. in Communications, emphasis in journalism & broadcasting; Minor in Spanish
• Once Upon A Time: I was a dancer for 18 years (competitively, collegiately, & professionally), a journalist, a morning radio show co-host, certified nutritionist & group fitness instructor, & former owner of a pre/post-natal wellness company
(let's be real, i know you do...)
WHAT MAKES ME "ME"
• Follower of Christ since October 2006; Baptized in October 2009 at The Village Church in Highland Village, TX
• My Spiritual Gifts: Leadership, discernment, hospitality
• My Sin Struggles: Selfishness, impatience, anger (Every time I’ve prayed for the strength to overcome these weaknesses, God has answered by giving me more children! Gotta love His sense of humor!)
• My Love Language: Acts of service (& music!)
• My Go-To Bible Verse: “God is the One who began this good work in you, and I am certain that He won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” ~ Philippians 1:6 (CEV)
• My Personality: Extroverted introvert; I love to dress up and be social but also enjoy being alone or cozied up in sweats at home
• My Style: 1920s meets 70/80s vibe
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:
• Fave Color: animal print (I’m pretty sure my obsession classifies it as a color)
• Fave Emoji (because it’s the 21st century & who doesn’t have a fave emoji?): Jazz hands
• Fave Season: Fall
• Fave Hobbies: Reading, cooking, mixology, fitness, event planning, mentoring
• Fave Interests: Books, food, animal print, performing arts, music (I have a pretty eclectic taste, but especially love anything I can dance to!)
• My Fave Ways to Stay Fit: Ballet barre, yoga, spin, hiking
• My Fave Musical Artists: (Christian) TobyMac, Jordan Feliz, Hollyn, Sarah Reeves, Hillsong Y&F; (Secular) Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, DMB, KC & The Sunshine Band, Blue Six, & pretty much anything from the best musical decades that IMHO were the 70s/80s/90s
• Fave Authors: Lysa Terkeurst, Jennie Allen, Arlene Pellicane
• Fave Speakers: Christine Caine, Bianca Juarez Olthoff, Liz Curtis Higgs
• Fave Podcasts: Jennie Allen’s Made for This & Relatable with Allie Beth
• Fave Pastor: Matt Chandler (I’m forever grateful to have been a member of The Village Church from 2007-2010)
• Fave Foods: Anything Mexican, pizza loaded with toppings, a big bowl of kale salad, Michigan cherries & carrot cake as big as my face
• Fave Drinks: Bubly sparkling water, Café Miel, the French 75, & red wine
• My Happy Place: Wandering the aisles of Barnes & Noble, lingering at a local coffee shop or browsing Whole Foods, the local farmer’s market, or Central Market in TX. I’m realizing all of these places involve me loitering with no sense of time or agenda…
• My Fave Place to Visit: Depends on my mood & who I am with, but some of my favorite places to travel to are Napa Valley, the Gulf of Mexico, the mountains of AZ, & NYC