My Kids Teach Me…

I am an extrovert. Talking to people has never been a struggle. Getting to know other people hasn’t ever really scared me. Sure there is the hesitant hiccup of the unknown but for the most part, I like people. I like talking to new people. Sometimes, just shutting me up is the problem…if you wanna call it a problem 🙂

I am learning something. I’ve said my kids grow me daily. They challenge me. My kids have a little trait that I hope they never outgrow. There is a part of me that is rather inspired by it.

My kids do not know a stranger. I could attest it to the years Ray and I spent in youth ministry. They were surrounded by loud teenagers who loved them. While they may have a little bit to do with it, my kids are who they are…and they love people (we are working on stranger-danger). I love this about them.

This post was inspired by a day at the pool. There have been many days like this but this particular day, I got a picture.

I laugh as my kids greet new faces with “hey friend, what’s you name”, or my favorite “hey little guy”. That is what Cephas says to kids 5 yrs older than him…and it’s awesome. He also calls every person under the age of 15 “friend”. Things like age, gender, race, amount of toys and personality don’t matter. Cephas starts kindergarten in less than a month…this could get really interesting 🙂

I love that they let nothing get in there way. I love that they are constantly genuine. They love people and this makes me happy.

Verse Stop – Psalm 10

I just may have to add this as a regular to my blog. When I am reading my bible, some verses stop me in my tracks. I have to go back, reread, check out different translations and pray about why it has so caught my attention. I love these. Sometimes they are passages I have read many times before. I love how that happens. Something old becomes so new, fresh, and takes a new place of understanding.  I decided I should start sharing some of these…

I have been reading Psalms in the Message.

This verse stopped me.

Psalm 10:17 (the message translation)

The victim’s faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips.

This first time I read this verse, I immediately felt responsibility. It got me and all my attention in that moment. The image that it produces in my mind is one I can’t shake. Other translations read “You will cause your ear to hear”. I love the wording of the Message…

I know that God is who heals, restores…He puts His ear to their lips.


He has called us to be His hands and feet. He has set us on mission.

Those are my thoughts…not all of them but these are the ones that propel me to act…

With God…

I am not a fan of quotes on facebook or twitter that make no sense. You know the ones that sound wise but when you take a second, not so much. I’ve seen a few (cough cough) that kind of sort of bug me. We take two words or titles that mean the exact same thing, make one of them negative, the other positive and say be the positive. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this off and on for a good part of my adult life. I preface with this before I go into what I am about to say. I couldn’t just put it on twitter, risk having other people roll their eyes like I have done a time or two in the past. God help me, I may have issues.

Moving on…

My husband was texting a former youth leader who is making some big life decisions, knowing what she is supposed to do yet fear of the unknown makes the obvious seem like an impossibility (you know who you are…and you have a cheering section).

Ray said this “it’s not impossible but even if it is…impossible is just an excuse”.

I know that I can’t make this a blanket statement, at least not without an explanation. Responsibilities and circumstances are real however, they are not a limit but an opportunity to see God do outside of our realm of possibility. We say we believe “with God all things are possible”. Its scripture, its God character and it is true. Doesn’t that mean that things are going to be seemingly impossible? Isn’t that what makes the “with God” part of that verse stick out. The “with God” is the part we put on cards to encourage or we remind ourselves in an overwhelming spot. With man…not so much but with God, well, with God all things are possible.

With every thought and drop in my gut – I’m gonna continue to pray and wrestle with it. With every dream – I’m gonna keep on dreaming. With every opportunity – Oh God how you overwhelm me…and we will do as You lead. All this because – with God, impossible is just an excuse.

Crazy Little Thing Called…Rest?

My husband has a blog post that he calls his “Monday Mind Dump”. I told him I loved the idea, wish I had thought of it first, I then realized there is no way I would post something called a “mind dump”. It doesn’t sounds very pretty. My friend Katie Moore would call it something referring to pink and sparkles (and it would be awesome…).

Call it what you will…I think that his weekly post is a healthy thing. He has the ability to be way more succinct than I. Call it a gift. Some have it, the rest of us work at it.

I laugh a little because the content is all over the place from Church (Revive and the Church as a whole), family, marriage, friends, differing topics of discussion. The posts are short but full…kind of like a wide coffee cup. They hold a lot but they are still user friendly.

I say it’s healthy because I see it as a way to unwind. I journal, there are some things that I need write out…and not for the world to see.

Unwinding is important. This time in our lives keeps our brains and hearts in what feels like constant motion…and at warp speed. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. In fact, I see how God is using it and I am grateful, excited…and so dependent on Him! It is indeed our present reality.

It is nearly impossible for me to completely gather my thoughts or not be thinking about something. Yes, men, if you ask her what’s on her mind and she says “nothing”, there is a good chance that that is a half truth (or whole lie). When it comes to a constant mind, you could say women and church planters have a lot in common. If you are a woman who is planting a church….good Lord, help us all!

However, that moment of physical and mental rest is so important.

Sometimes I just need a moment of quiet. Whether it is some time in prayer or reading my bible or a good run (no, I’m not joking, try it!). Sometimes I can get lost in a good book. The books I have read lately have contributed to my active brain, another reason why I write. If it is a movie, I better be able to relax. I don’t do “stress entertainment”.

I have learned that I can relax physically and not be rested mentally…

I’m working on it. I’ve considered getting this verse as a tattooed as a reminder – calm down Mom, it’s just a thought 🙂

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

What do you do to chill/unwind/decompress?

My Current Prayer…

It goes like this –  “Oh God”.

I wish there were more words to muster but there are times as of lately where this seems to be it. Sometimes I have a lot more words but sometimes, this about sums it up.

This season is one full of joy and excitement…and moments of wanting to cry and/or throw up. I suppose laughter should be included because sometimes you want to laugh at yourself for feeling like crying or throwing up. I do often…laugh, not throw up.

God continues to stretch and show himself faithful in amazing and unexpected ways. I love the texts/emails/phone calls and actual conversations that we have with our launch team. We are not in this crazy boat alone. We are surrounded by some unbelievable crazy people who have uprooted and moved (or are in the process of moving) their lives and families to Austin to launch Revive Church. Watching what God is doing in their lives has me a bit in awe. That right there is God showing up in a way we dared to dream but barely dared to speak. Maybe I need to dare to dream and speak a bit more often.

In the midst of my “oh God” prayers, I wonder…

I see where we all are right now and I wonder…

I wonder what we will be saying a couple of years down the road. I dream of that and the things that God has done and is doing. I wonder what the present plays in this grand story.

I am encouraged as I read and study. I am challenged reading the bible, knowing the end while reading the beginning of someone’s story. Keep in mind my word-nerd brain. I love the details. There was purpose in every step of the journey.

Does all of this feel overwhelming…psh…yeah it does! Do I know that when God calls, it’s bigger than us? More than ever! I am constantly reminded. Do I know that it is worth it? Yes! In the meantime, my prayers may be short in wording but they are constant.

Ortiz Family Update

I do not go this long without blogging. These last two weeks were a little bit of an exception. Between work, a trip to Dallas, a trip to Atlanta and back, I’ve been a tad busy. I am left with much writing to do and much to write about. So before I get to actual posts, here is a bit of an update.

Revive Church

We have final approval on our location. We also have our approval for our 501c3. I chuckle at God’s timing. We had been waiting on both of these things for what felt like an eternity. So much was on hold as we waited. The responses for both came within the same hour in the same afternoon. We are thrilled! Ready…set…go!

We were still waiting on two different couples who are a part of our launch team to move to Austin. The Vogt’s moved this past weekend and the Moore’s will be here the first week of August! Seeing God work in the lives of our launch team is amazing. There are many more stories there. That is another post for another day.

Travels –

We took a 3 day trip to Dallas to go to YFN. A youth camp out of Christ for the Nations Institute. Going there always feels like going back home. It is where Ray and I met, graduated from, some of our dearest friendships and some of life’s most profound, life changing and teachable moments happened there. So grateful!

Our longest trip is the one we just got back from. All of my family lives in the Atlanta area. With the arrival of my sister’s first baby, we drove east. You couldn’t have kept me away any longer than the week between Wyatt’s birth and our arrival. I am so grateful for the chance to have gone. I am so beyond grateful for the time with my family. Once again, so much more to say…and I will 🙂

On the way back, we decided to take a little detour. The beach is by far one of my favorite places. I half-jokingly say that God hears you better. I say half-jokingly because there is something about the beauty and the bigness of the ocean that makes me stand in awe. My husband in his brilliance thought the detour and a few hours of white sand (that my kids originally thought was snow) and crystal clear sea water was a good idea. He was right! It was worth the sand that we had to strategically rinse off before hitting the road again.

We are glad to be back in Austin! Once again, we hit the ground running. Excited for what lies ahead.

I promise more posts in the very near future…


Here are a few pictures from the last two weeks – confession – didn’t get as many pics as I would have liked. In a moment of blondeness, I left my camera charger at home…here are a few that I did get.