Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hustle & Grind

A dear, dear friend of mine always reminds me to "Get on your grind" when it comes to making things happen for myself and stepping out of my fears and just taking that first step, one at a time until you can begin to look back and realize how far you've come.

Train for the life you want. 

I see so many brave men and women making things happen and I wonder if I will ever get to the point where I can inspire someone like they inspire me. I am fearful of taking this journey alone.

I am at yet another transition point in my life where I am in a new job, new home, new people around me yet this time I find myself with some room to breathe and dream again. The last three years of my life has been so stifling to my spirit. I had reached a level of exhaustion and empty that I had not experienced in a while and frantically worked to maintain enough balance to ward off another major depression cycle. Thanks to some very special people in my life I stayed connected, hopeful, and was able to be myself among them to a level I have never before thought possible. It is such an incredible thing!

I have learned so much about myself in my most natural state... I mean the me that I am when I am not worried about what the other person may think and without fear of any shred of judgement. They say a friend's eye is the best mirror and this mirror has been especially kind, forgiving, and most importantly, honest. The level of belief in me makes even me believe that I can do what I have in my heart to accomplish. Yes, what I want to do has been done before and I have a fear of my work just looking like someone else's, but as I learn more and more about my own uniqueness and value I find more of myself to pour into my work, eventually making my own authentic footprint.

I would love to hear some of your experiences about fear and finding your wings...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Love or Leave

My latest piece I'm working on! I want to do a series of these as prints and incorporate inner thoughts and empowering messages. Comment and let me know what you think or a message you would love to see! Blessings!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sparkle & Shine

My favorite pastime is taking pictures at antique shops and flea markets - anything old and especially anything with a bit of graphics or typography to it! Wish I could have afforded this incredible vintage arrow sign found at Uncommon Objects in Austin, TX! I actually love that some of the bulbs are missing but the remaining ones still give it its Sparkle & Shine element!

In the spirit of the Holiday, here are a few more of my favorite Sparkly and Shiny things found on Pinterest!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Artistic Crush...


A few years back I discovered an artist by the name of Anahata Katkin whose art and life I positively go childish for. I have such high level of respect for her body of work, her story, her business and the way its developed, what she has shared about her personal life.... ALL of it. 

I found her piece titled "Fearless" on the cover of the July/August 2010 Somerset Studio magazine (Publication of Stampington & Co) and have continued to follow her since. This woman INSPIRES me to create, to paint, to travel, to basically live life to the fullest. Here is a photo from her blog of one of her latest paintings that I'm also drooling over. 

Please visit her sites I've linked above, buy her products (I could break the bank buying up her artwork and products with her art!) and tell her about how her art speaks to you! I know you'll love her!

Who inspires you? Share about them and any links in the comments!

much love,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Authenticity and Focus

Should be easy right? Yea... its not. I want to do more of what I love so I began to start taking steps to make it happen. I signed up for a couple classes online to learn the ways of the blogging and internet marketing world, how to take advantage of social media to promote business and very specific ways to turn my art hobby into a productive, creative business.

One of these classes is called Blogging Your Way Boot Camp by Holly Becker of Decor8. This class so far has been incredibly detailed and informative, from very simple things such as building a great "About" page (yes, I still need to update mine now that I have the scoop of how to make it great!) to much more technical aspects of blogging and being successful at it. Two very important things that she has talked about so far is about being authentic and focused.

Authentic I can do, despite my many flaws. I'm ok with letting them show because I can guarantee there are many of you that could relate. One of the things I'm finding out is that there are so many like-minded people out there and they are willing to encourage and support my dreams and goals, even though they seem odd or irrational to my current circle of friends.

Focus is harder for me! In sitting down and writing out my list of topics that I could blog on, then narrowing it down to topics that are nearest to my heart, at first it was overwhelming and I could see quickly how lack of focus could trip up my chances of being successful. However what I began to do was categorize them into categories, then pick what I felt most strongly about. What I came up with was #1 Art&Design, #2 Life/Sharing my Creative Journey, and #3 Inspiration. So with all the best intentions to focus, you may occasionally see a short rabbit trail here and there, but the #1 reason I'm blogging is because I want to fully dive into and share my journey of starting my creative biz, while sharing my art and inspirations along the way. #2 I want to encourage others to be just as brave and dive into their journeys as well. Oh dear, I hope that makes sense to you as well! The important thing is that its much more focused than when I started and it is truest to my heart whispers.

Much love,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Deposits and Returns...

Have you ever heard the analogy that describes your soul as a gas tank, and when you run around doing for others and going about the daily business of life, you have to stop once in a while and fill up your tank again? You fill up your tank with good things for yourself, like a day off, a hot bath, doing something you love, encouragement from a friend or partner, spending time with people you love, etc. Another way of describing it could be that with all of the expenditures throughout your day, you have to be sure to continue making deposits into your "bank account" to keep a positive balance at all times.

I posted a deeply personal question, about gifting my art, on my class forum page. After only a few minutes there were already many responses and they continued to pour in. I was overwhelmed with this outpouring of support, encouragement and advice I received from a community of women, none of whom I have actually met. How powerful is it that a group of people with a common goal can meet up online, and automatically be so incredibly encouraging and insightful with each other, unafraid to share struggles and soul questions, and to ask for help? This makes such a huge "deposit" into my soul and I want to thank those ladies of the class that respond to anything that is posted with all the love and encouragement that they can give.

I wanted to mention that a Lovely lady named Karrlin Bain took the time out of her evening to post a link to my blog along with her encouragement. Please check her sweet blog out as she has some very heartfelt poems that will help fill your "bank account" as well.

Much love to you all!

Oh! And ps...
We FINALLY have cool fall temps down here in Houston! Its so beautiful and just makes me want to be outside all day long. Many people I hear from don't like the cold weather but my heart literally SINGS each time a feel a cool breeze across my face or hear the rain pitter-pattering on the roof. Anyone else like that?

Friday, October 5, 2012

The superhero in me

The beauty of age..... photo (c) kathrinepatterson

I'm gradually learning to ignore the doubts. Do you remember being a child and KNOWING that you could conquer the world? I'm not even talking about feeling like the world revolves around us... but the deep belief that we can literally accomplish anything. That superhero complex that allows us to learn and explore our world without fear or other's opinions getting in the way of our new journey.

I'm doing my best to tap into that childhood belief. To reconnect with my internal belief that if you work hard enough and your heart is in it 100%, that you can exceed even your own expectations. I have always been artistic and loved photography and old things, seeing the potential in things rather than simply seeing their scars and dings.

Perhaps some of you creatives can understand my viewpoint here... In my tight circle of friends and family I don't know anyone who really blogs or does creative stuff for a living. Especially anyone who sells things online or creates an online business or anything of the sort. Most of me is scared. However, the more and more I read other's blogs and find new artists to drool over and read their stories, I find that they were feeling the same isolation and discomfort. my heart is laid open. My soul is exposed and the most vulnerable places inside of me have a huge red target marked on them.

But that superhero inside of me knows that this is possible. That if others have accomplished this monumental and life altering task than I can do the same and be supremely happy with it. I want to make it possible to do what I love anytime, all the time. I want it to allow me to invest in people and show others that their dreams are possible too.

So here's to your inner superhero. Give her a voice. Give her a chance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

Oh Dearheart, Lets go on an adventure!  photo © kathrinepatterson
The momentum that is carrying my life right now is unbelievable! There are so many goals I'm working towards simultaneously that its a wonder I haven't lost it yet. So many good things to look forward to and I'm praying that my new found burst of bravery will carry me further than I could imagine. I'm so energized by everything that I am learning. I feel more OPEN than I really ever had. Being closed off is so much more safe and no one notices when you fall down. Have you ever felt this way? I feel like I'm caught up in this world of I CAN and I AM and I WILL and I WILL BE HAPPY. Its a powerful place to be and quite intimidating, yet the sense of wonder that goes along with it is like a dream I don't want to wake up from. The doorway (like the wardrobe of Narnia) of possibility has opened and I have caught not only a glimpse of what could be but also the smell and the sounds and the tastes of it! 

Practice courage...

Practice courage Daily.  photo © kathrinepatterson

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For the Birds...

Have you ever just sat and watched birds and wondered at their intelligence? What do they know? Can you imagine the views they have seen? They have such natural stamina to fly as hard and strong as they do, yet they do it with SO MUCH JOY! My e-class (that I can't stop talking about) with Kelly Rae has given me a taste of that feeling that I'm sure any of you also enrolled in the class can relate to. There is so much ahead to look forward to and I can only imagine the views I will see and the perspective I will have on all this a couple of years down the road as my business truly is starting to soar. Right now it seems a bunch of to-do lists and obstacles... but I'm starting to feel the wind in my hair and the breeze smells like the fresh rain has just swept over it! Can't you feel it?
Love Birds -  all photos © kathrinepatterson

I wanted to share these photos I took of our feathered friends at an outdoor market over the summer. How does their color inspire you? If you have some words, art, or thoughts that you would like to share please leave us a note! Blessings dearies!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Junk Finds and Simple Serenity

I just wanted to share a couple things from my run tonight...too good to keep to myself. First off I snapped a  few Instagram pics while on my run tonight. Did I mention I live in Texas? I don't always enjoy it but sometimes the views can be so beautiful!
I also found some fabulous junk I'm about to turn into art and feature the process on the blog in future posts so stay tuned! The desk has these amazing drawers in it that I want to use as the backdrop for some mixed media assemblage pieces I've been wanting to do. The metal things I have yet to figure out what they are but they have SO much potential! I know most of you creatives and Pinterest lovers understand :) #upcycleyourheartout

Much Love,

New Paths

To this point my blog has been primarily a place to record my travels and musings. However I want to begin to share more about what I love, things that captivate me, things that I would spend all day doing, things that stir up emotions and maybe even that break my heart. My interests are a little extravagant at times but at the bottom of them, I'm looking to spend this one precious lifetime that I have being brave, happy, healthy, and in the process give others permission, inspiration and the tools to do the same in theirs.

I'm a mixed media artist. Yes, I said it. I AM AN ARTIST. Art has been an important part of my life since I can remember but in the last 5 years or so I have found so much healing and strength in it. Its always been something I have done for me. Only in the last year has anyone really seen anything I've created and with a little bit of encouragement from those people, I have come to understand that my creativity is not only God's gift to me, but that He gave it to me to share with others. As a gift to them as well. My story is not glamorous, or book worthy. I make no pretenses that I have been through more than anyone else in this journey of life. But I have learned to not let my story define who I am or prevent me from being who I want to me. I have learned many things about myself in the process of art. I am learning to LOVE myself and LOVE others, and to see their potential in ways that maybe they don't even see it. My goal is to inspire others to break out of their own traps or obstacles to find freedom in who they were created to be.

I have dreams! Some of my dreams include finding my own style in my art and opening my heart to what it will bring. I dream of owning my own creative business that will allow me to work full time for myself and have freedom to be creative and inspire others. I dream of getting my masters and license in Art Therapy so that I can work with men, women, teens and children through art, to break through the barriers that stand in their way of a healthy, happy life. I dream of one day knowing enough and being successful enough to do some public speaking and share at seminars or training. I dream of being able to travel wherever and whenever I want. I dream of a husband and family and so much JOY that I don't know what to do with it all but to give it away.

Guess what? I'm finally working on my dreams! I'm taking small steps to expand myself. To put myself out there. This blog is one of those steps. I never thought I had anything to say that people would want to read on a blog. I know now that I'm not the only one out there in this big world that is excited about life and the opportunities it holds, but has been fearful of failing for a very long time. I'm just putting one foot in front of the other. I'm learning a ton and soaking up everything I can. Last Spring I took Flora Bowley's "Brave Intuitive You" e-course found here: This was a wonderful opportunity for me and really taught me to loosen up and free myself from the little thoughts that told me my art had to "look like something" or be perfect. I still struggle with it sometimes and get blocked and spend too much time away from my tiny stolen studio space, but I am more at home with my paints being all over the place and loving how beauty comes out of the mess.

Here are some of my works that came during and after the class!
This one now resides at my Momma's house :) I gave it to her in May and everyone thought it should be hung a different direction. Nearly every time I would walk into the living room it would be hanging a different direction as someone would sneak by and switch it. Who knew it could be so interactive??? 

This one is still in the works. I love the dynamics of it but am stuck about the direction it wants to go. I'm peacefully giving it its own time to grow and decide what it wants to be when it grows up! 

This one was the largest piece I had done up to that point. I finished this in July 2012 and it was actually my first commissioned piece (of sorts) A dear friend a co-worker of mine reimbursed me for the supplies and asked me to paint this for our teen girls home that we both work in at the residential children's home I work at. We had just finished painting God's promises to the orphan above the doorways of the house to remind them that they will never be left alone. We wanted this to serve as a reminder to the young girls that they are treasured and sought out by a very loving God and that their identity is the child of a King!

Whats your story? What is your dream?

I'm also currently busy, busy, busy taking Kelly Rae Roberts' e-course, "Flying Lessons: Tips + Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Sour!" This is actually the last session she will be offering so now is the time to start your journey too!

Have a blessed day!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Journeying into FEAR

I'm learning so much about that scary word...FEAR. We all have it and most days its good enough to push it to the back burner and take a big step forward, pretending it isn't there at all. However...Some days... It won't be ignored. Some days, it makes you want to stay in bed all day. Some days, it even makes you wonder if others can see it on your face. Some days... I really just feels like there is a giant troll with his big, ugly, smelly boot on your face taunting you and keeping you from rising up out of it.

There are several things I have done recently that have been those big steps out into unknown territory, A few include taking some e-courses in areas that I want to grow in to improve my art and my desire to eventually go full time into my art work and live a free, creative, adventurous life. I'm also pushing through an aerial silks class that is very challenging for me physically and mentally, but is something that I've always wanted to do. 


I'm finding more often than not, the adventure is waiting just on the other side of the door and you have only to politely, or even not-so-politely move your fear out of the way in order to let it in. 

I want to live a BRAVE, CREATIVE LIFE as a mixed media artist, and in doing so and sharing my heart along the way, I want to give others permission to live bravely in their own lives. 

SO silks class kicked my butt yesterday morning....REALLY. I'm beginner level 1 and my Monday morning class is geared towards Level 1&2, while on the other end of the gym, the intermediate/advanced class is going on. Well today, after having sat in morning traffic for an 1.5 hours trying to get downtown to the warehouse where the classes are held, I arrive late and have missed almost the entire warm-up routine which is VERY important. Then I find out that the teacher who leads my class isn't there today and I'm merged in with the intermediate/advanced class. Result of this discovery = FEAR

Once our workout commenced, this fear was actualized because not only was I not strong enough yet to do what they were doing, but I look around (mistake) to see that all the women participating in the class have dance or gymnastics backgrounds! Second observation (mistake) was that all the women were approximately 1/2 my current body weight and size. END RESULT: as they twist and contort their bodies to do all of these beautiful and graceful moves in the air on the silks, looking like something out of a dream....I'm on the floor. I'm working on what I know of the basics and strength building moves that will EVENTUALLY allow me to hold to the fabrics and lift my body up and over my head like they are doing at the START of their routines and the drops that they are learning. 

I tried something the instructor suggested (She not knowing how "beginner" I am) and I failed miserably and it hurt like heck! Needless to say I left class with bruised body and total lack of confidence to the point I was sick to my stomach and wanted to cry..... and I only share this because I know there are other people who can agree that they have experienced the same feeling. BUT I'm going back to class again next week and I'm going to try again...and again... and again.

I'm learning a LOT right now about fear and the things it keeps us from accomplishing. I'm also learning that without fear, A) we are actually abnormal, and B) without fear we cannot be COURAGEOUS. 

SO 2 questions....What is it that you fear that is holding you back from the life you dream and know in your heart is possible?.....WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...the testing of your faith

Have you ever seen someone that when you look at them, I mean really look into them, you see someone who appears to barely be holding onto their composure? Someone to whom life has thrown so many lies and false hopes that they are almost visibly skittish? This is how I feel these days.

I have heard it said so many times that it is precisely when you are doing as you should, that things come along to make the journey that much harder. This is meant to be encouragement, but in the midst of the proverbial "truck" hitting you; rolling you over; it feels like a load of bricks has been added to the incident. I have found time and time again that when you step out in faith that God has something to accomplish in and through you, that Satan no doubt will attack full force and take advantage of every ounce of vulnerability that you have stepped out with. This violation is Satan's way of training those who would be faithful, to never step out into the street again...never to wonder what adventures and promises the other side holds.

Ok, this is getting quite metaphorical, but the point being, is the more experience I have in dealing with the ups and downs of life, the harder it is to trust that God really has our best interests at heart. As I learn to wait on His timing to provide for what He has promised, it is so difficult not to worry that the money won't be there when it is needed, worry that no one will be there on the day I just need to fall apart, worry that all that I have done at the expense of my own health and sanity will never be appreciated or count for anything, or that each step of bravery and strength only serves to put me in another, bigger hole. 

To some of you who don't know me well, the very act of sharing this is quite unsettling, yet I am not so much a fool to think that some of you have not dealt with or are currently dealing with the very same trap. Perhaps my favorite quote is: "Embrace the Struggle". In the times that I wrestle with maintaining normalacy in life, versus daring to believe and live as though life is precious, and every second is only lived once. That there is a Grand Adventure with my name on it that thrives only outside of comfort, outside of "normal", outside of every expectation that people might have of me, or limit that reason could set. The Adventure that is written only for me, the one that whispers my name in the times that I am quiet, or shouts to me when I am furthest from the Path. The one that nags and nags at my soul when I look around and see so many people living life for no other reason besides that they are stuck in it. When I look into the eyes of a woman who is trapped in a life far from what she imagined, with no view of the person she wanted to be. In the eyes of the man on the street who has been slapped down so many times that he lacks the strength to continue to rise, all dignity and honor wiped clean from his once respected stature.

This is why I continue my journey. It is in the times that seem so lonely that God speaks my story so very loudly and I have but to train my ears to hear it. Who knew that renewal can come in the wilderness? Who knew that it is only my God that can make the Water rush forth from the barren land of rocks and sand? It is only through his continued love and tender care that I know, in the end, I will rise up and look every one of my demons in the face and denounce their influence in my life by the protection of the God who created the very mountains I will be looking down from.

Patience....Trust....Willingness....Letting Go...................these are the monuments I hope to construct along the way.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

the waiting place...

There are so many things that God promises to us, yet asks us to wait for. As a child in Christ, it is SO hard to do this sometimes! It is so much easier to make things happen on my own and get the ball rolling on things that I think should happen. Don't get me wrong...we can't simply wait around all our lives for God to bless us, yet not fulfill our part in doing the work he has called us to do in the mean times. My dearly loved pastor from Kansas City, Dr. Charles Geoffrey Adams, said, "God cannot steer a parked car". How true! In order for God to direct you through life you have to be moving! Dr. Adams would go on to say, "If you don't know what He wants you to do, keep doing the last that He asked of you. Be faithful in that which He has already called you to."

Two weeks ago...God asked two things of me. He asked me to GO (Jos, Nigeria, October 21st) and He asked me to WAIT (waiting for Him to provide the needed funds).

The going is the easy part. I love to travel, to get outside my comfort zone and learn other cultures, to serve people, to be challenged daily to become a better person. The waiting, however, is the hardest thing for me to do. I believe that this is one of the biggest reasons He has asked it of me. See, my heavenly Father KNOWS that I enjoy my independence, logical reasoning and problem solving, and that when I get an idea I just want to jump in with both feet and get going. Knowing such, He has called me to something that I cannot possibly accomplish on my own. Something SO BIG and extravagant that only He, through his provision and daily miracles, can achieve.

I have done the best I can in getting the information out there about the trip and two days into it, a woman that I had only just met while in Mexico, was the first to give. This was only one of the many little confirmations that God was still calling and that He promised to provide.

So now I wait.........

The trip coordinator is speaking with the travel agent this coming week and once the plane tickets are found, we only have 2-3 days to pay for them through the agent in order to guarantee that we get the best deal and are good stewards of the support we raise. The plane ticket is the majority of the cost and the remaining trip fees will be due August 22nd. There are also quite a few vaccinations (over $600 worth) that I have to get before going, most of which my insurance doesn't cover and will have to be out of pocket. As time races towards these deadlines...I struggle....I doubt...I WORRY.

I know deep down, that God always fulfills His promises. This is evidenced time and time again both in scripture, in testimonies of other's lives, and in my own experiences as a child of God. While in Mexico, numerous times in talking with the staff of Back2Back, he reinforced his provision and care in every painstaking detail. See, these staff members aren't paid through Back2Back. They don't receive any sort of compensation for picking up their lives and their families and relocating to a foreign environment. They have to raise their living and travel expenses every year. They were gracious enough to share their experiences in how God provided in some quite miraculous ways. One told me how God had moved a business associate to come to him and offer $30,000 out of the blue. God is into details!

So as I struggle through this waiting period, I remember the words to another song that speaks so clearly the words I wouldn't know how to express:

I will wait for You there
Down on my knees where I met You
Give You all of my cares
Find a Grace to hold onto now
I'm calling for You
I will wait for You there
far from the world and it's violence
It left me broken and bare
I need to hear You in the silence now
I'm calling for You
And with outstretched arms
I will sing out melodies
And my beating heart
Will pour out a symphony
Hallelujah's in the morning
Hallelujah's in the night
I will wait for you as long as I have life
I will wait for You there
Down On my knees where I met you
Cause life is a war fought with tears
But You are the strength I hold onto now
I'm calling for you.
(Phil Wickham)

PS> As I finish writing this, I notice a message in my inbox... another dear friend that I met in Mexico has left the second donation!

Thank you Lord for knowing and hearing the heart of a child who wants to follow your leading! Thank you for the plans you have in place that I don't know about yet. Thank you for the provision you have pre-arranged. Keep me close and keep me faithful.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh sweet grace...

The sky is grey and the light is far
The sea is a rage within my heart
I turn my sight to the crashing waves
I cry in the night just to be saved
Cause I need eyes to be my guide
I need a voice that's louder than mine
I need hope and I need You
Cause I can't do this alone
Grace I call Your name
Oh won't Your smile fall over me
I'm cracked and dry on hands and knees
Oh sweet grace rain down on me I need You grace
I pray for dawn a new day to live
I pray for mercy only Jesus gives
Though darkness falls and a million cry
I believe over all there's a greater light shining for us
-Phil Wickham

This song touches some of the most vulnerable places in my heart. Somehow when the words and tears run out, I know that God sees what is in my heart and hears what I don't know how to say.

What song touches you? I would love to hear. You can post to my facebook or in the comments :)

First batch of support letters will go in the mail tomorrow so be checking your boxes! If I don't have your address, send it to me and I will get you one too!



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

raging tides...

God my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs you now.
God be near, calm my fears,
And take my doubt...

I will lift mine eyes to the Maker
Of the mountains I cannot climb.
I will lift my eyes to the cover,
Of the oceans raging wild.

Another busy day of scheduling vaccinations, working on support letters and address labels and emails and paperwork... I've always believed that when God asks you to do something, that you do as much as you are able to do. Once you have come to the end of yourself, He will make up for your deficiencies. This is my focus in these next few weeks. The only issue is that I sometimes forget that I'm not going to be the one to accomplish it all. These tides are not for me to conquer!

Father God, please keep me focused on the miracle that YOU want to accomplish on this journey. Thank you that you are already fulfilling your promises to orphans to care for them and provide. Thank you for asking me to be a part of your promise to them!

Monday, July 25, 2011

the first steps...

The first steps of a journey are sometimes the hardest. The way is not clear and surprises are waiting along the road. At some point you reach a place where you realize that there is no turning back and the sole focus becomes what lies ahead. However, before reaching this point, there seem to be so many things that try to prevent your journey from beginning. Doubts, fears, and criticism, all crouch around like hungry hyenas waiting for their opportunity to end all hope.

I set up this blog a while ago, but I want to use it to document my journey of faith. God took me to Mexico to send me to Nigeria and I have no way to get there on my own. Therein lies the power of what he wants to accomplish.

As there are less than three months until the trip begins, with most of the $3,600 in fees and expenses due within the next few weeks. This truly going to have to be a miracle to raise so much in so little time. Please help me pray for provision to meet all the due dates! Please visit the following link if you would like to make a donation via PayPal:

Blessings to you all!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Defining Moments...

For starters, this will be a very long narrative. There is no way I can leave out so many important, life changing details, so get your coffee or tea and sit back to read about what God is accomplishing with a small group of people in Monterrey. Mexico is beautiful and its people are even more precious...I'm so humbled by the whole place and its can you come to such a special place and not go away changed? If you have the stamina, read it all the way through to the end to find out what has changed and the shift that has taken place in my life....

Chapter 1, Day 1 – Friday, 7/15, 2011
My dear friend Heidi and I set out for Monterrey after a brief coffee stop in the airport (sadly no Starbucks in our departing terminal!) The flight was quick and in no time we were waiting in line for Customs on the Mexico side. They let us in the country and shortly afterward we were exchanging money and getting a taxi to the hotel in downtown Monterrey, a city of 8 million people! The driver quickly learned that we knew very little of the language but was patient as he pointed out landmarks, mountains, and places to visit, telling us the names and allowing us time to figure out what he was saying.
We arrived at the hotel and left our bags behind the desk with the clerk as they didn't have a room ready for us yet. We took off on foot to explore downtown. We ate some amazingly tasty Tortas (sandwich with chicken, tomatoes, and avocado spread), walked around some of the downtown sculptures and park, and explored the contemporary art museum and two history museums. We went back to the hotel, cleaned up and then went out to eat dinner and see the market area at night. That night we crashed at the hotel and got plenty of sleep in preparation for the next day.

Chapter 2 – Saturday, 7/16
Walked down to the market again to pick up some breakfast at the bakery. Had a yummy whole wheat roll with a cinnamon glaze on top, Checked out of the hotel and took a taxi back to the airport to meet up with the Back2Back crew and group members. The driver stayed fairly quiet for most of the long drive, but towards the end began trying to communicate with us with his little bit of English, telling us he learned from the streets :) He was helpful in getting us to the right terminal, although a bit confused as to why two americana senoritas with all their luggage wanted to be taken to the arrivals and baggage claim area instead of departures. We found our B2B contacts, Lonnie Clouse and Oscar Hernandez, almost as soon as we walked in and surprised them. They were only given the current day's flights and didn't expect that two more would be joining them from a previous day's flight. They welcomed us warmly and we soon boarded the chartered bus with the rest of the arriving team to make the trip out to the Back2Back campus.
The campus was beautiful and situated between two mountain ranges that hedged us in from either side. We put the luggage up in the dormitory that the women in our group would be staying in, ate some lunch and had our orientation meeting, headed by Beth Guckenberger, one of the founders of the ministry and an anointed woman of faith. Throughout the rest of the day, we played with group of children visiting from the neighboring orphanage for a birthday celebration, went swimming with them, painted nails, and had a time of community worship in the evening.
Something I read today resounded in my mind and soul for the entire day:
“When I can no more stir my soul to move,
And life is but the ashes of a fire;
When I can but remember that my heart
Once used to live and love, long and aspire--
Oh, be thou then the first, the one thou art;
Be thou the calling, before all answering love,
And in me wake hope, fear, boundless desire.”
(Diary of an Old Soul, George McDonald)

Chapter 3 – Sunday, 7/17
If you could drink in an entire mountain, I would. The majestic beauty of the jagged, tree covered silhouettes against the sunrise were unbelievable! They are so resolute in their purpose and identity and I have an even greater reverence for their Maker. My heart has been so thirsty for beauty like this and hungry for a peaceful rest. I have heard it said that when you have lost your way that you should stay where you are until help comes to find you...Help will find me in these mountains!
We had our first small group meeting in the morning, and then loaded up on the buses and went to the neighboring orphanage, Casa Hogar Douglas, where we attended their church service. Even thought the service was almost entirely in Spanish, the passion and love of God was extremely evident in the faces of these precious people. They were so welcoming and patient with us as we did our best to understand what was being said and participate with them.
We then drove to Casa Hogar del Norte where we met mama Martha Rojas, one of the most dedicated and visionary women I have ever met. This is the woman who visited the government offices in Mexico daily for almost two years until they gave her the abandoned lot which she started the orphanage on. She said that God told her to start a home for orphans and that this was the land she was to start the home on. Her faith and persistence paid off and with Back2Back supporting her in whatever way possible she has continued to raise children who would otherwise have been in the streets and victims of the rampant sex trade of Mexico. We assisted in clearing the playground area of the overgrown weeds and rocks, and digging post holes for the new play houses. I was able to use both a machete and a jackhammer during the course of our work day! When we finished our work, we interacted with the kids of the home, playing games and cuddling the little ones.
View from the unfinished portion of Casa Hogar del Norte
When we arrived back on campus, there was a Quinceañera going on for one of the young girls who was turning 15. I had heard quite a bit about this customary birthday celebration, but was amazed to see that it was much like a wedding without the groom! It was fun to watch the salsa dancing and interaction amongst staff, residents, staff kids, and guests.

Chapter 4 – Monday, 7/18
Outside the gates at Manatial de Amor
Departed for Casa Hogar Manatial de Amor where we painted, cleared lots, sealed the roof, and since we didn't have a concrete mixer, they mixed it right on the sidewalk! It was fascinating to watch and even the little kids picked up their shovels to help. My “picture of the day” was a little girl named Ruby that I had met the day before who skipped over to where I was painting the window guards and said, “¡Mirar!”. She began drawing on the sidewalk with chalk and wanted me to play with her. She drew the words, “te amo dios” and looked at me with a peaceful smile. She gave me the chalk and I drew a little girl with a crown and beautiful little dress and wrote her name out beside it. She looked confused and I explained in the little Spanish that I know that she was a princess of God. Her face broke into the biggest smile smile and gestured towards herself, “¿Yo?” I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world.
Tonight before our worship time, some of the kids from the Hope program (high school and college kids that had grown up in the orphanages) gave their testimonies through a translator. One young man named Mario came up, expressed his nervousness, but began to tell his story. There were many times where he cried silently, struggling to get the words out. He told us that his mother left him at Casa Hogar Douglas when he was 6 years old and he never understood why God would allow him to grow up in a children's home. He is struggling to find his purpose and will be graduating high school in the next month, something that most teens in Mexico can't claim. Through the Hope program he will go on to college in the fall. As he finished his testimony, he walked over to the side and grabbed up his houseparent in a huge hug and hung on for the next 5-10 minutes as he continued to cry. Please pray for this young man's heart as he continues to grow in God and heal from his broken past!

Girls dormitory at Manatial de Amor
Chapter 5 – Tuesday, 7/19
We returned again to Casa Hogar Manatial de Amor. It was great to see the same kids and finish up the work we started the day before. After the work was done, we play games with the kids. They taught us their version of duck, duck, goose.... “Pato, Pato, Gonso” and avidly chased us around shrieking and laughing as we would slip, find the wrong spot or at our funny antics. They also taught us their version of the nursery rhyme, “the farmer and in the dell” dancing around in the circle and pulling in the americanos to be the gato, perro, or queso.

Chapter 6 – Wednesday, 7/20
We started our day as usual, 8o'clock breakfast and devotion time, 9am quiet time, 9:30am small groups time, 10am loading up on the bus for the day's trip to a supported site.
Today we were going to one of the squatter's villages called “Cadereyta”, to where hurricane victims had been relocated by the government. They were living in unfinished cinder block homes, some only made of trash and whatever scraps they could find. Back2Back has partnered with the pastor in the community to help build a church and feed meals to those living in the community, most of whom are single mothers and their children. The mothers have to leave to go to work during the day, usually leaving their children in the care of the oldest child or a neighbor.
We arrived and I worked with part of the construction team to frame the roof so that a temporary roof could be placed on it in preparation for the bible school that would be held the next week and the 200+ women and children who were expected to attend would be out of the hot sun. Without any power tools we measured and cut all the boards and nailed them in place over one corner of the second level. After working for a few hours, we were asked to walk around the community to invite people to come to the church to eat. We were taught a simple phrase, “Vamos comer en la iglecia de tres” and with our new phrase, we set out with a few of the children that had already gathered to see the Americans and their bus. The kids wanted to ride on our shoulders and play ball and hold hands as we made our way down the little streets separating the “homes” more joined us along the way. Our little parade made quite the noise moving around the community. Some people hid in their houses and others came out to speak with us. Some graciously thanked us for the invitation, promising to come, and others seemed to not want us around.
Once we were back at the church and began serving food it seemed as though the people never stopped coming! We served hot dogs and chips and cold water to so many women and kids it was unbelievable! They were so thankful though and the kids were well behaved. I got my turn to hold the babies, learned to say the words, “mostaza, mayonesa, and catsup” very well. Afterward we played in the street in front of the church until time to leave. As I was leaving, one of the women sitting with her children in the back of the church began chattering away in Spanish. She spoke so fast and I couldn't understand her...She then burst out with... “I LOVE YOU!” in English. She pulled me in and gave me a huge hug and kissed my cheek with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. Her little girl who was no more than three feet tall, in a little dress and bare feet, gave me a big kiss too. It was so hard to leave!
That evening, the entire group, staff and the kids from El Limon were taken to Pollo Loco (yes, the crazy chicken) to eat for dinner. It was great food and good fun to socialize a bit with B2B people off campus and away from the work.

Chapter 7 – Thursday, 7/21
Today was quite a different, but very fun day. Heidi and I were invited to go to breakfast off campus with two of the house dads, Juan and Gabo. They are also in director positions for the Hope Program and had so many questions to ask about our jobs as house parents, what we struggle with, and about our program at Boys and Girls Country. We asked just as many questions about what they do and were blessed and encouraged to share some of the same experiences and challenges in working with kids and teens. They would like to come visit Houston soon to see what we do and to see if they can implement any of our ideas into their programing. We had nacho's for breakfast! Although they said it wasn't the same thing as nachos, it was tortillas cut into small squares, topped with chicken, salsa and Mexican cheese, and served with beans and rice. It was so delicious!

A group of kids and houseparents from a partnering orphanage 6 hours away called El Limon, had traveled to the Back2Back campus that week to visit and interact with the teams that were there. They don't get as much interaction as the other local orphanages do because they are so far away. They were the best behaved kids all week and got to go on day trips out in the city, swim in the pool and have tons of people pouring into their little lives.
Maria (right) and her friend
We picked them up from Casa Hogar Douglas, along with the Douglas kids, and took them with us on the bus to Plaza Seasamo. This was a big theme park / water park with a Seasame Street theme. I was pair up with Maria, a little 8 yr old girl with big beautiful eyes and a smile that would win the world. We chatted as much as my Spanish would allow, she sang songs and played clapping games with me on the bus ride. We didn't have much luck with our buses that day, the first we tried to get on was blowing hot air and smoke out of the AC, the second broke down once we were almost to the theme park. We sat on the hot bus until another bus had dropped of the kids and staff and came to rescue us. It was fun though as group members provided entertainment (Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson impersonations) and we all sang songs and chatted with the kids.
Once finally there, Heidi and I took the girls we had to go ride some of the rides that the girls begged to go on. (Maria with me and Betti who was 10 and was Maria's best friend). Maria had the biggest ambitions and wanted to ride the really big ones...thankfully she backed out of some of them and I didn't have to go! We did ride one however that spun in all directions and upside down. I wasn't sure if I would make it off that one with all my organs intact, but after a little time to get my bearings afterwards, I was fine. We moved on to the water park and went down a huge slide and then slashed around in the smaller pools for the rest of the time. After changing into dry clothes, we took the kids to the “Deli Seasamo” where they all got big hamburgers, chips and soda's. This may not sound like much, but to these kids who rarely get such a meal, it was a BIG deal! Maria's face when she saw how big the hamburger was is something I won't easily forget!
That evening, we had the last of our nightly debriefs and share our thoughts, thankfulness, and memories from the week. The group that we had been paired up with called Next Chapter Church, was a phenomenal group of people. Each one of them touched my life in so many ways. The men of the group took Heidi and I in as sisters and daughters, watching after us throughout the week, and the women accepted us into their circle with open arms. I have been SO blessed with all these new friendships. It is so hard to find positive influences and during this week, God had me stumble upon a whole nest of them! I truly left a huge piece of my heart in Monterrey! That night, they presented a group of Hope program residents with $470 dollars that they had raised in excess for their trip costs, so that they could go on a mission trip themselves, their first ever time on an airplane or out of the country! They were so excited and made us all smoothies. The cost per student is around $400.

Chapter 8, Saturday 7/22
Woke up early to see the sun rise to paint the mountains one last time. We finished the last of the packing and cleaning and spent the rest of the morning on the porch of the LDM having amazing conversations, and saying our last goodbye's to the group and staff. We loaded the buses and sadly headed off to the aeropuerto. The bus long bus ride was surprisingly very quiet as we all processed the events and experiences of the week.

God has made so many promises to orphans and he is fulfilling these through the people at Back2Back.
There are so many things that I learned this week and I want to share a few of them.
1) God is faithful, forgiving, and very detailed oriented. He provides hope when no hope is left, and provides a way out when we have become so lost that there is no where left to run. He has brought me into and through some very dark times and very deep valleys, yet continues to maintain me. 2) I learned that all too often I try to create my own way and its little wonder that I fail so much. I work myself into the deepest places and seem to wait until the last possible moment to cry out for help from my Maker and the One who loves me beyond measure. Once I have realized my surroundings, I blame and can't forgive myself for getting into such a place, thereby stepping into the way of allowing God to rescue me from it! WHY??? If I just learn to listen more often than talking or planning, I would not miss out on so much that God has in store for me. 3) I learned that people who struggle with the very same issues as myself exist and are living very full, joy filled lives serving God in the ways that he has asked of them. Such a surprise and encouragement! Beth said it so well when she stated, “Too many times we get stuck on the same page and can only read the words right in front of us! The story is never over! Don't think for a minute that God has given up on you because he is just waiting for you to turn the page.”

The Next Chapter:
What I haven't yet told you is that Wednesday, on the bus ride to Cadereyta, Heidi and I had talked with Brian Bertke, who is a B2B staff member from the home office in Mason, Ohio. He had been with us all during the week and worked along side of us as well. He answered all sorts of questions from us about B2B, shared his testimony and some of his experiences at the different B2B locations around the world. He began to talk about their location in Jos, Nigeria, about their Oasis Education center and the orphanages that they are partnered with, some of the culture and obstacles that they face.
He mentioned a trip that would be October 21 to Jos, Nigeria. As he spoke about it, God broke my heart open and asked me to go. I have never before experienced such a direct calling in the deepest part of my soul. Throughout the rest of the day I struggled with being very willing to go, but feeling very inadequate and wondering why God would choose me to go when I still have so many areas in my heart and mind that need healing. By the end of the day the call had not only become stronger, but God had also provided reassurance to my heart that He can use whatever vessel he wishes. The cost of the trip will be enormous, but one of the things that God has taught me this week is that he will always provide a way to do what he has asked of you.

Want to be a part of the story?
Pray for the people and the locations that I have mentioned. Intercede on their behalf!
Pray for the Staff, interns and houseparents and pastors that have given up their entire lives to do the work that God has for them in Monterrey.
Pray for my next chapter as I make preparations and fund raise for my trip to Jos, Nigeria in October.
Go to to find out more how you can get involved or give to the cause of widow and orphan care.
Pray about helping to sponsor my trip costs. The trip will be around $3,500 with most of the cost being airfare.  My email is

Thanks for hanging in there and reading through to the end. I know it was like a mini novel but I hope that it has blessed you in some small way.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Love the life you the live you Love

"I have a really beautiful life... sometimes I get caught up in whatever the current situation is, but when considering the scope and range of my life thus far and everything that is still to come, I find a place of deep contentment. Contentment fuels curiosity though, and curiosity seeks a journey, and journeys lead to adventures which turn to excitement and expansion of who you are as a person and........yes, I have a Beautiful Life." - Kathrine Patterson, 5.19.11
-In loving honor of my Momma, the Bravest woman I know-