Widening the Margins

Thursday, September 26, 2019

My last season of life, I was choosing margin. 

Choosing to have few connections, few responsibilities, so that my heart could feel at peace. So I wasn't over working. Or over performing. Or over doing everything. I wrote about it HERE in February.

But after every quiet season - usually comes the season of what you've been preparing for.

And I have felt that in every minute of the day. It's the season I am in now. AND IT IS SO FULL I MISS HAVING A BORING LIFE. It’s a cycle, inhale and exhale years…and I swear they alternate every other year.

This Summer meant widening the margins back in my life. Opening the curtain, getting back to reality from my soul/mind/heart vacation. 

And LOL…Actually nervous laughing…

It's been an adjustment, and that adjustment came into full effect this Summer. Starting off with officiating a friend's wedding who I met at Church Camp from 2000, getting to room with my other friend from camp who I also met 19 years ago, and then getting to meet Aaron's sweet relatives in Southern California on this same trip.



I finally got to go to a new city – Toronto, for a conference and it was one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever visited. My heart felt so full there, and maybe my stomach too ;)

Because this year has been so different for me, not familiar, completely new territory, that I am glad I got to keep some sacred traditions like going back to South Dakota for the 4th of July. There is nothing like the 4th in small town South Dakota. Rodeo, fireworks, bar life, carnival, four wheeling, gravel roads, starry skies...it’s everything a Summer has always been to me. Aaron got to meet my parents, my family, and friends I’ve had since grade school.

We were also lucky this year to have my niece come back and live with us for a month! Living away from my family, the worst part is being a long distance Aunt. So, having her come with us for an entire month made me so happy, and we finished Summer with my brother, his wife, and kids visiting…the first time in 12 years that my brother came to visit me where I lived – Ike, I know you love me :D


Then, came August…Notoriously known in higher ed / Housing that I don’t exist until SEPT. DigiPen has been such a blessing in multiple ways, but I appreciate working there because of the students and people. I also feel heard and advocated for. Enough so that I was promoted.

I feel like I am typing a Holiday Card recapping my year, but I am just reiterating that if life seems slow, quiet, and forcing you to calm down…Maybe you should listen to it. Normally, I’d ignore it. I’d busy my life up so much to the point I’d be exhausted before I got started.

Now? I am so happy I listened to my gut for the first time, and took the calm season to actually relax. It helped regulate my pace for this season of busy and full. I arrived in WA last year, unsure if I made the right move, sad from a break up, never thought I’d be a Mom or a Wife because I was so over relationships and people, didn’t want to take any risks, or talk ever again to anyone….and a year later….this is where I am.

Planning a wedding in Mexico, learning Spanish to speak with my Significant Other’s family, converting to Catholicism, making new connections, and y’all…even keeping some plants alive!


Even though I’ve widened the margins, and allowed life to surprise me - I couldn’t widen the margins without choosing margin first. I am content that I took my unsure season as a time to train, rest, and believe whatever I’m training for, was to widen the margins of life – to gain what I’d been praying and throwing out to the universe. I hope if you are in that season, you do too. It’s not easy living in a culture where we are told to do MORE, be MORE, learn MORE, MORE MORE MORE. And just step back and say no, this is what I need and this is what I don’t need. To prepare intentionally, to break unproductive habits, and bad cycles.


Converting to Catholicism

Thursday, August 8, 2019


A trip to Mexico City to Our Lady Guadalupe in April 2018

Oh my Lord, help me, guide me, why am I such a mess hahaha?

Has been a quick prayer to God in the last 7 mos of my life. I knew early on of dating Aaron, that at some point we would need to talk about our same views of God and faith, but different ways in which we practice, what I refer to as religion.

Aaron is Catholic and I am Christian, and although in the way I was raised, I was taught we are both Christian, but Aaron belongs to a denomination of Christianity. He was taught that Catholicism is its own religion.

But this isn't the place to debate that.

We already have so many beautiful, but definitely differences - country of origin, language, cultural norms, flour vs corn tortillas - you know, the important stuff! The last thing we need going into marriage with the plan to have kids one day is to be different in practice of how we love God, aka our religion.

It boiled down to the fact that it was easier for me to convert to Catholicism in the sense that being a non-denominational Christian, I have more fluidity in how I practice. But Aaron does not, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I think it gives me an opportunity to grow and learn through study, practice, and connection.

I am openly sharing this because I get so many opinions, probably 3-4 messages a day and maybe a phone call a week about all the different opinions of Aaron's and my race, nationality, citizenship, age difference, and all the other things people seem to be experts in our relationship. Also, stop asking me if he is an American citizen; he is a dual citizen of the USA and Mexico, and it's none of your business. Let's not forget that I am the naturalized citizen, NOT born on this soil due to my adoption. I also get "you're so happy", "you're glowing", "you're so in love"...all of which are very true, but all of it has come like anything, with compromise, negotiating, identity forming and reforming...and everything else that goes into both an intercultural and interracial marriage.

So many people I know struggle with these, and I am so grateful they've reached out to me, I have felt less alone in this journey than the beginning.

We discussed at length of what we do agree on in terms of our different religious practices:
We pray to the same God.
We love people and believe and try as much as we can to practice the same scripture, from the same Bible.
We love our faith in God and what God has planned for our life.
We believe in the communion, baptism, and belonging.

So, becoming Catholic, will not change how much I love people. How much I value scripture/literature/devotions/journaling/praying and so forth in my roots as a non denominational Christian. It will not change the way I see the importance of Church in my life or in my future family's life.

If anything, it just enhances it. Academically and socially, I've always aligned with Jesuit values. I believe in assisting those in need, and I believe Jesus would want us to take care of those around us. I believe in heaven and hell...and guess what? Becoming Catholic doesn't change my beliefs in any of that.

Will it change the type of Sunday service I experience? Yes. Will it teach me about rituals, steadiness, and more structured learning? Yes. Will it give me the opportunity to understand the history Jesus has on this earth more? Yes.

I will never understand that in a stereotypical Christian world, Catholicism isn't deemed as "real Christianity", and I do not understand in a stereotypical Catholic world, that Christians are deemed as "Not real believers of Christ".

Me, and others, and probably people you know are living proof that we are tired of this vs them. If we are all of God, our denominations serve God, and speak, teach, and practice love because of God...you think when we get to heaven, God is going to care if I stay non-denominational or Catholic? ...

I believe God is so big that God doesn't put limits on how people worship, but has given people ideas in how to organize it so people can connect to it in modern time. I have found God in a multitude of ways, and it never had a denomination of Christianity tied to it.

Whether it was in college attending mass with a best friend and she would come to Sunday service with me later or post college and I'd attend another mass with another best friend and she would come to church with me later...it was just proof that our Sunday services and day to day practices are different - but our hearts, intent, and love for our Lord was the same.

I am so excited to start my journey here soon. Love may be a motivator for why I am converting, but anyone that truly knows me, my free spirit, and my extreme hard headedness, I don't do anything I don't want to do. No one is forcing me to do anything.

I am choosing to learn. I am choosing to be open for what God has for me. I am choosing to stay true to my values while understanding that a marriage is more than just my free spirit and liberty.

What an honor to live in a country where I can pursue a religion, the freedom to marry someone of a different race and culture, and freedom to marry for love and not for convenience or security.

Cathedral of Aguascalientes - Where we hope to get married!



Engagement Photos: Alki Beach

Monday, August 5, 2019

Aaron and I took our engagement photos this past July with my friend Melissa – Melissa Herold Photography + Design Studio. Melissa was a former student for me who has turned into such a good friend. She has worked for places like Lemonbug, lived abroad, and is an avid traveler. She understands moments and curating happiness. She was the best person to do an engagement shoot with for several reasons – She knew us, knew we weren’t the photoshoot type. But she created moments that made us look like we knew how to hit poses. She also made sure that we had a mix of traditional engagement photos and ones that were authentically us.

Things Aaron and I love to do – Eat, explore parks and nature such as the water, skyline views, and spontaneity. This was very true for our photoshoot with my niece, Gordo (Future brother in law), and my friend V in tow. We were laughing the entire time. We love hosting people and touring them around our city. So the first stop being Alki Beach in West Seattle was such an ideal place. It was gorgeous out that day, and we were able to walk along the coast, breathe in some ocean air, and make a fake engagement where people legit thought we were getting engaged and of course, me being embarrassed, had to yell - I AM ALREADY ENGAGED IT'S JUST FOR PHOTOS. Sweet, I know.

But what makes Alki so special and some of our other photos later on is that one day back in March, Aaron and I had a bad day…just one thing after the next kept piling up, and it became so much that we didn’t get to do anything fun like we had planned. So, as we were headed back to his place in South Seattle, all of a sudden we were on a road that was not familiar. I asked where we were going, and he said it was a surprise. Apparently he told his brother, Gordo, that he promised me an adventure that day, so he was going to keep that promise, even if it was 8pm. A couple hours later, we explored some of the most beautiful view point’s Seattle has to offer of the skyline. We ended up going to Alki at night to walk along the sidewalk and see the bright city lights shimmer on the waterfront. 

Enjoy our first set along the coast! 

Contact Melissa HERE.

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan