Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Baggage Claim


Baggage and luggage are not the same thing and understanding the difference is crucial to our growth and freedom. This concept was brought to my attention listening to Mark DeJesus recently. He didn’t go into great detail but the thoughts lingered long after he stopped speaking.

Baggage is something that hinders someone’s freedom, growth and development, and luggage is something that carries one’s belongings.

As I sat at the kitchen table today I saw a picture of a baggage claim carousel in front of me and the Lord asked me, “Would you pick up someone else’s bag?” “No! Of course not!,” I responded, but yet I do it all the time. Picking up someone else’s battle, argument, or struggle that is not mine to carry. I’ve been doing it my whole life, I was groomed for it, but now I have a choice. I see it!

Don’t get me wrong I have my own baggage, but I’ve never dealt with baggage that someone else was willing to carry for me, nor would anyone else. If I carry it for someone else, they can keep it. It doesn’t cost them anything, it’s not even heavy because I’m bearing the weight.

Luggage on the other hand is where I carry my “belongings” the things that make me uniquely me. Even those things that might free me of my own baggage or be the catalyst for change for someone else. If I’m carrying around excessive baggage, mine or someone else’s I don’t have the capacity to carry my own luggage. I may set it down, forget about it or lose track of it altogether.

In the past, I’ve seen this play out seemingly on repeat in my life. For the last five years or so, since I’ve been aware of my propensity to carry baggage, mine or other’s, it’s made me quicker to return baggage to its rightful owner. I’m still learning and growing in this, but since the initial revelation, I’ve come a long way. 

Baggage is heavy and weighs us down. When I was willing to carry other’s bags I couldn’t hold onto my luggage and struggled to be myself. When I made the exchange, kindly handed baggage back and picked up my own - I could handle the weight. I’ve never done this alone, the Lord is always by my side illuminating, healing and comforting. He ultimately bears the weight of the baggage as I work through it.  When I give up baggage, He always has something better. 

As humans, we are incredibly resourceful and will find ways to manage this way for a long time through addictions, codependency or other numbing mechanisms. They can even be good things we use as a means to check out like work or church. It only delays the inevitable moment of awakening. The moment we realize the baggage belongs to us, no one else can carry it and bring lasting change. We have to deal with it. Dealing with it is simply opening it, acknowledging what we find inside, being willing to face it and address it.

My luggage, now that it’s been in my possession, has been opened and explored and I’m fully becoming who I was meant to be. It has been the catalyst to securing my identity. It is a crucial step in self-awareness and what is and isn’t working in my life.

We’ve probably all done this, carried something that isn’t ours, at one time or another, but once you realize it, the weight becomes too much. We were never meant to carry other’s baggage and Jesus came so I wouldn’t have to even carry my own. He carried it and now I apply that to any piece of baggage that’s been in my hand too long. I just simply hand it over and He overs love, grace, mercy and a solution. There is always a solution.

If we are not willing to bear the own weight of our baggage it will never be too heavy for us to let go. Read that again. It’s the weight that brings about transformation. So, when we carry someone else’s we bear their weight. Yikes!

Baggage is a relationship killer! Baggage will interfere in relationships with God, yourself and others. Baggage stunts your growth!

If any of this resonates with you, take a moment, send up a prayer with a question, “Lord, what am I carrying that is not mine?” and if needed, “How do I let it go?” Follow it up with, “What’s in my luggage that will help me deal with this and be fully who you created me to be?”

I don’t know about you, but I have some unpacking to do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

These are a Few of my Favorite (Tea) Things

In my new Ebook, The Eclectic Tea Party, I share a wealth of information about tea. Today I would like to share my favorite tools and books. Click the highlighted link or picture to purchase. The links in this post are affiliate links.


An electric kettle is great to have and Black & Decker is my favorite. They are reasonably priced and last forever, I still have mine from 2009. In my house, we use this to heat up water for everything including pasta and Ramen noodles.

This is a perfect measure and measures the perfect cup of tea every time.

The ingenuiTEA by Adagio Teas is one of the easiest and most entertaining ways to brew tea. You steep the tea in the plastic cup-like container and when it is finished you place it over a mug and press down and tea is released from the bottom.

A metal tea infuser is a simple way to steep tea in any mug (and some pots), this one by OXO Brew is made of stainless steel and a great choice for beginners.
Another favorite infuser is a mesh infuser, this one by Finum is lightweight and easy to clean.

A French press is a great addition to your tea-making collection. This one by IKEA is the one I have used for years. 

As long as I have been making tea, I admit I still use a timer, because for the perfect cup, timing is everything. This is a great deal on a kitchen timer two pack.
I love an infuser mug and the Mora Ceramics Large Tea Mug with Loose Leaf Infuser and Ceramic Lid is one of the best in my opinion because it has an 18-ounce capacity which is three whole cups of tea. If you only bought one thing on this list, this should be it!


This book came at the perfect time for me, just months before I opened my online tea business and it gave me the confidence I needed to easily and effortlessly welcome people into my home. Karen Ehman's A Life That Says Welcome will always be a favorite.

Bri McKoy "shows us that healing begins when we say, "Come in. I may not know you, but I know your maker. And so I offer you my heart." in Come & Eat. This book embodies my passion for hospitality.

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Eclectic Tea Party

The name says it all! A tea party using a mix or variety of ideas, inspiration, and traditions. While I love my China and silverware, I like to add the unexpected to my parties and table. Using 15+ years of tea experience, I will encourage you to host your own “eclectic” tea party in your home or anywhere else, with friends and loved ones.

Until 2006 all I knew about tea was the storebought, straight black tea bag, so imagine my surprise when I sipped my first taste of Whitlock Afternoon - a hearty combination of black tea, peach, cinnamon and cardamon. I added milk and sugar and to create a perfect melody for my taste buds. I think I had six cups and I didn’t sleep that night. Partly because of all the caffeine I ingested, but also because I was so excited about this whole new world opened up to me, the world of tea!

Since then I have enjoyed hosting people in my home serving tea and finger foods. It has become a tradition in our family and my children have been known to surprise babysitters with afternoon tea.

A year after that first sip in 2006 I embarked on a journey to open my own online tea shop and it was a life-changing and humbling experience. Within a year I was not only filling online orders but had a booth at a local antique store with faithful customers. I was also speaking to groups of women at homeschool meetings and women’s events. I loved sharing my passion for hospitality and tea with others.

Fast forward to 2020, March to be exact when I pulled out teacups for friends at my first Zoom tea party. The world was already on lockdown due to COVID-19. I chose cups for each woman based on what I knew about her and how each cup represented their personality or gifts. I posted a picture of the cups on Facebook and people loved them, which inspired me to post my entire teacup collection, daily, for over two months. It was a hard time for many, confined to their own four walls without outside connection and their usual routines. Sharing teacups was my way of brightening someone’s day and keeping myself active. While sharing my varied collection I was reminded of all the information stored on my computer about tea and felt stirred to compile that into an Ebook, which is how The Eclectic Tea Party was born.

It’s now the beginning of 2021 and we are still not back to “life as usual,” but it’s time to release this treasured collection of tea knowledge I’ve obtained over the years. I not only love to host people at home, but love to share information, so this is a perfect marriage of my passions.

Many have told me it changes you to release a book and I believed that, but I didn’t expect it to feel quite like this. Many days I feel like I’m having a baby in the town square in the middle of the afternoon. My hope is that this book brings excitement to the gift of hospitality and people will use it to bless others as they invite them into their hearts and homes.

The Ebook will be released on Tuesday, February 9th for $9.95. I will post a link on Facebook and the blog to purchase download. Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How to Start a Creative Community


Creative community is water for the artist's well. It is important for artists to stay in a thriving community for support, encouragement, growth, and accountability. In 2016 I entered into my first creative community and it was life-changing. I met people there that were an important part of my artistic journey, some for friendship, some for coaching, some for creating, and some just for love. It was an incredible time of growth. I drove four hours once a month to glean from and sit with these women. It was worth every traffic jam!

It took me three years to start my own creative community, but when the time was right I knew it and I couldn’t reason it away or make excuses why I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t do it. The moment I knew I was supposed to start a creative community I launched my group. I mean seriously, I created a Facebook event immediately although our first meeting was three months away. It was important to get the word out, hold myself and accountable, and start seeking the Lord for direction.

As soon as I announced it, the Lord was not slow in giving me instructions for the group. My group is called Creative Collective and we meet once a month. Our first order of business was to discuss the Lord’s desire to restore us fully to the creativity He saw in us from the beginning of time. It was a powerful message and gave us a solid foundation. One of our members was ready to give up his art career and get rid of all his stuff before he found our group. I am so grateful he didn’t!

I’d love to share what I’ve learned along the way and encourage you to seek the Lord about starting your own creative community. I had a Zoom meeting today and these are the points we discussed to begin the process of starting your own community:

WHO will you invite?

This is important! Will you invite friends, put it on Facebook and ask people to share, your neighbors, church members? You might already have a sense of who you’d like to include, but don’t limit yourself in any way, be open for the unexpected. I’ve had people blindly message me on Facebook, I’ve met people getting car work done and a host of other ways. 

WHAT kind of group will it be?

The Creative Collective launched as a Christian group because my goal was to encourage believers in their creativity and relationship with God with identity at the heart of it all. I would not turn someone away, but I want them to understand our relationship with God is at the heart of what we do and discuss.

WHEN will you meet?

Decide if you want morning or afternoon, weekday or weekend. I always found it best to have a set day such as the second Tuesday of the month, that way people can plan in advance and block out that time.

WHY are we meeting?

My vision was clear, yours will be personal to your area, your giftings, and your current assignment.

The Creative Collective meets for the purpose of:


Supporting and encouraging each other when we hear from the Lord. Being surrounded by people who will not let us walk away easily when the going gets tough and to confess our faults, so that we may be healed.


Equipping ourselves to do the creative things God has called us to do in an environment where we can give and receive feedback. A place to take hold of the truth of what God says about us and a place to begin practicing who we really are.


Participating in activities where our spirits are being activated in our calling whether through art, prayer, or teaching.


Celebrating ourselves and each other. Many don’t have a safe place or even a group of people for support, we can be this for each other.

WHERE will you meet?

Choose a location! It can be as simple as a coffee shop, your studio, home, church, yard, park, etc. Again, do not limit yourself or God. This is a great time to get creative, don’t give up on a dream of creative community because you don’t have a place to meet. God will provide.

HOW long will you meet?

It is helpful for people to plan if they have a set schedule. When I started I didn’t do this, so we met for three months and then did a book study which had a time limit, which was four months. It gave people an opportunity to commit to the time or not. Sometimes it helps people to say, “I can do this for three months.” Getting people to show up is not your responsibility. Now you can relax and have fun. You do what God shows you and let Him do the rest. If you have a book study you can cut off new members after the first month or so, just to establish a safe and trusting environment for people to share.

Each meeting should have a standard meeting time. I schedule for two hours. It gives us time for one worship song, discussion, and prayer/ministry time.

Reevaluating the group every few months or after a book study is a good idea, get input and listen to what people need and what they are looking to get out of the community. Do not let that be your only deciding factor, as it is important to continually seek the Lord.

HOW many people?

You want to be able to give time and attention to each person, so know yourself. What you can handle depends on your other responsibilities and many other factors. The size of the group is not important. I knew I would have my group each month even if one person showed up.

HOW do we communicate?

I’ve done this two ways. I had one group in my town and we have a private Facebook group where only people who attend can join. Again that is for trust and security. The other group I led was in another town and we had a Facebook messenger group. It was a smaller group and that worked well.

This is not a cookie-cutter process. I share my experience as a guide and not a to-do list. As you take steps in faith toward starting your community God will meet you and exceed your expectations. My prayer is that this is an encouragement for you and gives you a jumping-off point toward your dream of meeting with other creatives on a regular basis to advance creativity in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Truth Matters

Truth is a building block, without truth I usually can't survive any type of adversity. I've spent years discovering my own truth, but more importantly the truth that God says about me. It has given me fierce confidence and tenacious endurance. It is my weapon against struggles, difficult circumstances, and naysayers. Without the truth, I stumbled around trying to figure out and discern, "What is the truth?" Truth helps me grow and mature into the woman I was created to be, instead of the one I had become because I didn't know the truth.
I've created a simple tool to not only help you hear and receive the truth but to keep it ever before you. Essentially this is a weapon, your sword of the Spirit to fight the fiery darts of the enemy. It's your scrapbook of sorts about who God says you are that you can pull out when you are doubting, struggling or confused.
Truth Badge Book Kit
We all have a deep desire for freedom, God designed us that way. He made provision for our freedom and wants us to walk fully in that revelation. Truth is the best way to be and stay free. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 NIV I've named this the Truth Badge Book because as I sat one day and created pages of truth statements I could feel myself growing in confidence and faith. As I dialogued with the Lord about it He reminded me that a badge represents identity, our connection, and authority. Wow! I couldn't have said it better myself. Typically I teach this class in person, but by creating this DIY kit, no one is limited by distance. Anyone, anywhere can purchase it and begin utilizing this valuable tool. All you need is a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a willing heart.
One day as I prepared to teach this class the Lord gave me another revelation about a badge, it gives us access. When I was 18 I worked for a relative of the President. He was a close enough relative that he required four United States Secret Service Agents with him at all times. Our office was on the 15th floor of a high-rise office building in downtown Miami. We had badges to get into our office. Without that badge and an elevator code, no one could get on our floor or in our office before 8:30 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. My badge gave me access. This is another powerful truth about a badge representing our identity. We can get places other people can't! 

Currently, I have two Truth Badge Books of my own and I can't tell you how many times I've flipped through the pages to be encouraged all over again about who God says I am and His truth about me. I hope you will take advantage of this valuable resource. 

You will receive one Truth Badge Book - A DIY kit to assemble and design at home. Kit includes: 6 cardboard pages 12 pre-cut decorative papers (designs will vary) 2 binder rings 4 pages of truth statements for $30 (shipping included).
Truth Badge Book Kit

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Love Wins...Still

Love Wins! - 24"x24"x1 5/8" mixed media on birch wood panel

Art isn't something I do, it is who I am! It is an overflow of how I'm evolving as a human, how I'm learning, changing, and growing. It often symbolizes deep truths that I convey to the world in word or abstract form. 

This piece is no different!

Love Wins has been forming in my heart for over five years and I believe my heart is finally catching up to the revelation.

I am most proud and humbled to share this piece:

This piece tells a story, a story of broken hearts, lost dreams, hopelessness, and restoration of all things! It's my story of fully submitting myself to the love of Jesus to heal all the broken places and triumph.

He has been whispering "love wins" to me most of my life and I am finally starting to get it. Love always wins! Bad doesn't win, hate doesn't win, abuse doesn't win, only LOVE, because that's the way He planned it.

My earliest revelations of this truth came in the form of art too. You can read about my first glimpse into the fruit this would produce here. Then only two months later I would be gifted a piece of art, untitled at the time, but later called, "Love Wins." 

I've said this before, but I will say it again, "When God really wants you to hear something, you are NOT gonna miss it!" Sometimes we are preoccupied trying to hear Him, but we need not be, His heart is set on us hearing His voice.

So this message, "love wins" is one He really wanted me to hear and it has echoed in my heart for five years, now I share it with the world at a time where we need love to win more than ever. **Spoiler alert**It does, that's how the story ends, love wins.

I have sat with this, I have sketched it, I have conceived it and now birthed it. Welcome to the world "Love Wins!" - we've been waiting for you.

Love Wins is available for purchase, message me for details.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Rewriting the Narrative

There is a running narrative that plays in my mind. It’s the story my psyche has developed over the course of my life. It tells the story of the good, the bad, and the ugly. But sometimes, it tells stories that aren’t redemptive, that aren’t hopeful, that don’t speak love, stories that would keep me believing that I am stuck and nothing will ever change. Sometimes these stories have kept anxiety at bay and given me space to do the hard things in life, but that doesn’t sound like a story I want to tell. In hearing these narratives for almost half a century now, I have changed the way I listen, so I can hear Him, the author and finisher of my faith. Listening to Him, I can rewrite the story with truth.

The definition of rewrite is essentially to write it again, with a better ending. God has been rewriting the narrative of my life, so I’m going hand over the pen.

He says the story isn’t over
He says I’m not stuck
He says it’s all for His glory
He says I have a purpose
He says I am His
He says I am redeemed
He says I am forgiven

And you know what? His story is better.

It’s a story of Love that pursued through abuse, struggle, and pain. It’s a story that gives choices even in the worst of circumstances. It’s a story that trumps darkness and brings light. It’s a story of hope and redemption. It’s a story that says all is never lost, only rerouted.

In the middle of the mess, the Author whispers, “I’m right here and I will never leave you alone. You are mine and I have inscribed you on the palm of my hand.” And with faith even the size of a mustard seed, I say, “I believe you and I want Your story to be told through my life, even if it means rewriting the narrative.”

And though your beginning was small, 
your latter days will be very great. Job 8:7