Happy 5th Birthday, Alexandra

I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year’s letter to Alex.


Dear Alex,

Five years ago we were surprised by your arrival. Born three weeks ahead of your due date, you were a tiny little thing.

And now you’re five years old. Full time preschooler and warrior girl. You are a wonder. You jump into life with such energy and exuberance. I love how you challenge me to enjoy life more freely.

This year was full of new things for you – a home in a new city, a new preschool that you love, getting a puppy, getting better at swimming and reading, learning hula. You also ate a live cricket, which your dad (NOT ME) fed to you.

You love making art and doing your morning pages. You enjoy helping with house chores, listening to stories, playing with friends, and making people laugh. Your personality is full of strength and zeal. I love seeing you grow and explore.

Happy birthday, Alex! Here’s to a wonderful year, my beloved daughter.

Love, Mom


Happy 8th Birthday, Aaron

I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year’s letter to Aaron.





Dear Aaron,

Eeee! You’re 8 years old!

Happy birthday to you, son. You are very excited to celebrate your birthday this year with an ice cream sundae party with friends and family.

Some memories from this year…

  • Our family went on a cruise in the Carribbean.
  • You and Dad did your annual camping trip together.
  • You dressed up as Steve from Minecraft for Halloween. The box on your head wasn’t very comfortable, so Grandpa carried it around while you were trick-or-treating.
  • Your aunts and uncles taught you how to fish at the beach.
  • I coached your soccer team, and you scored your first goal in our final game of the season.
  • You opened a bank account.
  • We moved to a new house in a new neighborhood. You changed schools, and made new friends immediately.
  • You got to watch Star Wars for the first time.
  • You got your own bedroom, and you love having your own space.
  • You started playing the ukulele. Now we have family ukulele lessons every two days.

You love playing games and working out math problems. Your current favorite books are Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dog Man. You enjoy playing outdoors, swimming, and riding your Razor scooter through our neighborhood. You are flexible with changes, and are growing into a thoughtful, kind, and strong person.

I hope that this year is filled with joy for you. I love the gift of being your mother, and am grateful for who you are.

I love you always.


Reflections On 2016


Happy 2017, dear friends!

Near the end of the year, I take time to reflect on the past year. It helps me to remember what I learned, consider the greater context of my life, and embrace the coming of a new year.

1. What was the best thing that happened this year?

Getting to live with lots of purpose and passion through spiritual direction, ministry, writing, and other creative venues.

2. What was the most challenging thing that happened?

This year felt like a horrible earthquake with never-ending aftershocks, so it’s hard to boil it down to one thing. Maybe a good way to sum it up is “all the people treating other people like crap.”

3. What was an unexpected joy?

Creating a really awesome community in my Facebook group The Spiritual Journeyers.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Hopelessness. I’ve been battling hopelessness, particularly with racial injustice and the U.S. political climate, and trying hard to remain engaged and hopeful in God’s redemptive power.

5. Pick three words to describe 2016.

Tumultuous. God-driven. Listening.

6. What were the best books you read this year?

The Listening Life by Adam McHugh
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Americanah by Chimamada Ngozi Adichie
The Invitation by Tony Stoltzfus

7. What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

My husband and I were on a performing arts team for an international audience of about 1,000 people. It was exhilarating. I also became a contributing writer for The Huffington Post.

8. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My 2016 was characterized by two aims:

  1. Follow the joy – build life around what is fueled by joy.
  2. Listen and obey – make space to hear God’s voice and follow his lead.

Those two guidelines seemed to lead me to good places. I think I’ll continue in that direction in 2017.

9. For what are you most grateful?

There are so many things to be grateful for…

  • a rich friendship with God
  • my husband and our three kids
  • living on Oahu
  • being near my parents
  • community with courageous people

10. How did you change this year?

I am more confident than ever before. This year I did things that normally would have made me feel insecure, but instead were exhilarating. I’m not sure if this confidence comes from years of pressing into my belovedness with God, or simply because I’m now in my mid-thirties. In any case, I’m glad to be here.

11. What moments were most memorable?

Performing theatre in Indonesia for 1,000 people. Going on a cruise in the Carribbean with Steve’s family. Hearing God give us direction for 2017.

12. What were your greatest discoveries?

  • Disney’s Moana filled me with joy
  • Everlane shirts are all I want to wear
  • Classes at my gym
  • Canva for designing graphics

13. What are you looking forward to this coming year?

I am excited to extend God’s love and presence to people around me, launch a monthly creatives gathering, and publish a book.

14. What was the most significant thing you learned this year?

We become our truest selves in the presence of God.