Sunday, December 28, 2008


My goals for 2009-

write meaningfully
run- maybe even race
become 'gainfully' employed
take the GRE and rock it
go on a trip for fun- pure pleasure, nothing else (preferably one that involves a national park)
get one of the two major tattoos I want
live the vows made with Seven
hang out with my mom in San Francisco
Overcome my irrational fear of 'steep' things (yes I know I live in San Francisco and there are a lot of steep things- I am scared a lot)
start saving money to buy property
remember how it feels to be deeply in love with my Creator
spend a weekend in silence
wear lipstick
mail letters using the actual postal service
take pictures on film and develop them
decorate my room
paint something honest
fight human trafficking - invite another community to do their own version of ABOLITION
prepare for ordination, get licensed and become a pastor
meditate on the cross with out forgetting the life of Jesus
meditate on the life of Jesus without neglecting the death and resurrection
paint my nails on a regular basis
visit my senators office in San Francisco
pray more
love more
listen more
ride my bike
walk to work more
be open to the new and adventurous
take daring steps of faith

There are a ton of goals here. Writing them down and sharing them with people increases the likelihood that I will follow through. Thanks for the accountability.


“God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try”
Mother Teresa


I mostly wrote this to reflect. To remember that this year was full and it was successful. It was an adventure. It was surprising and not very much like what I anticipated- but it was a good year.

I moved to San Francisco.
I worked with ReIMAGINE, Soul Shoppe, and Making Waves- all organizations that serve to better the world.
I made my first ever campaign contribution for the presidential election.
I went 40 days on a vegan diet.
I completed my masters degree!!
I paid off my car- then sold it for a 15% of what I paid for it five years ago.
I learned how to use a public transit system- I was late a lot and lost regularly.
I stopped shopping as much and learned to love used clothes.
I went 40 days with out make up or jewelry.
I cried with my sister from half a continent away when she miscarried.
I missed my sisters, my niece and my nephew more than I thought I would.
I called at least one member of my family almost every day.
I enjoyed cold foggy days at the beach, hung out in Dolores Park, relaxed on my roof, and slowed down.
I learned how to cook.
I paid off a student loan.
I spent more time alone than I have ever wanted to - I have loved and hated it.
I saw a dead man on the street as I walked with some friends- he was surrounded by police officers and worried neighbors- our guess was that he was a homeless man- we hope he passed in his sleep.
I called 911 at least 3 times- it was always for someone else.
I started learning to knit.
I lived with 3 random Germans.
I facilitated a workshop to fight human trafficking - and I realized a passion for justice I had hoped I had, and now know that I have.
I committed to only buying fair trade chocolate and coffee.
I went to DC and actually spoke with my senator's office about the TVPRA- I celebrated months later when it passed!!!
I saw the document that gave me as a woman the right to vote in this country.
I finally got a blond streak in my hair (I have wanted one since I was 13.)
I made mistakes that I never want to make again and I was shown grace.
I met some amazing people.
I formed lasting friendships.
I read books for fun.
I voted for the first African American president- he won- I gained HOPE in our country.
I drowned in my insecurity just long enough to realize how much I needed to break free from it.
I stepped out on faith that God is leading me in a new direction and I left my job with ReIMAGINE.
I was in one of my best friends from college's wedding. YAY for Christen and Joe!
I decided that I do want to Pastor- I am a congregationalist- I kinda wish I could be Greek Orthodox- I love my Baptist roots (maybe too much)- I do think the emerging church provides hope for the church- I want to be part of change.
I learned to define myself more as someone in healing than as someone who is wounded.
I lived in 5 apartments- I have roommates for the first time in 2 1/2 years and one of them is just months old- we call her Bella and she is fabulous.

2008 has been a beautiful year, but something tells me 2009 is going to be simply gorgeous!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


waiting for my delayed flight in San Antonio i observed the most inspiring little person.

red pants and a baseball shirt- a foot and a half of energy sped up and down the rows

tiny little feet barely covering more than an inch or two with each swift step- then splat

flat on his face, arms spread, his whole body flew to the ground

expecting tears i held my breath and watched

unphased, as fast as he hit the ground he was up, one little red leg following the other in fast secession, smile as wide as before, head held high, so proud of his ability to move through the world

falling isn't failure- it is part of learning how to move

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Day

December 31, 2008 will be the last day that I am officially on staff with ReIMAGINE. This grad experiment is over.

My heart longs for place to pastor- a congregation to pastor.

I love ReIMAGINE. I love the way ReIMAGINE invites people into a way of life that seeks to follow Jesus' teachings, but I do not pastor here.

To tell the truth my heart hurts a bit. I feel like I am in the midst of a break up; one where everyone knows that it is the best. We were not made for each other.

Still at times my heart is so full of excited anticipation that I can't keep from laughing with the joy of the future.

I am not sure exactly where things will go from here. I am looking for a full time job that will allow me to use all of my gifts.

This has been a beautiful experiment.

Thank you for your prayer and support.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Breathing and finding

I havn't written, mostly because I want to tell people my thought in person these days, and also because my mind has needed rest. To recollect and to find my place more fully.

To be honest there is only so much a soul can handle and yet I know that I have not even come close to capacity. Still I needed to not read about the reality of slavery for a bit. I needed to read a memoir of faith, (Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor). It was refreshing.

Any way I will be writing more soon. But I am finding my center and that sometimes doesn't involve telling a computer about it.

~grace and peace~

Friday, October 24, 2008

The evening was AMAZING!

The art show was amazing! We had between 250-300 people there and raised over $1000 for two wonderful organizations that work with trafficking victims!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As the 6 week of learning to be advocates for those in slavery is now at its end we are having an art show to share what we have learned. We are hoping to have at least 200 people there. We are using the event to both raise awareness and raise some money for organizations that are serving victims of human trafficking.

It is so exciting to see something that we have worked towards for months come in life, and it is also fulfilling to see it coming to its end. It has been beautiful hard work. We learned about the issue together, we investigated a suspected building, we gave up products that feed the slave trade, we created propaganda to raise awareness, and tomorrow we are hosting an art show.

This is what it is to follow in the Way of Jesus- it is a broken and hard road. I am in no way saying that I have done anything perfectly, or even all that well- but with other people beside me, we have sought to live the message of release of captives. We have attempted to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

This has been a beautiful experiment in living.

I am so grateful that I am in a position of freedom so that I can participate with others as we raise our voices and create art to call for an end to slavery.

Maybe I am idealistic, but I believe that we can end this in our lifetime- and people will really be free.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Self Evident

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men were created equal.

Today has been a sobering and powerful day. I hit up the monuments, the Holocaust Museum, and the Archives.

As I stood in the monuments and read the speeches, I was in awe. I am still in awe. I am inspired. I also a little afraid.

Afraid that we are resting on ideals of the past and failing again to take responsibility for the now. We look back at 6 million Jews and say never again. We forget about Darfur and the many other genocides happening today. We focus on the Jews and forget that the Roma were and still are severely mistreated in Europe. We act like the lives of the Jews have been fully restored, but there are villages that are gone forever.

We also, like many of the naive Germans, claim that we don't know what is happening, even as 27 million people are enslaved all around us. We hold on to the idea that once upon a time we said all were created equal, and having said that we feel we have done enough.

Because of the economic crisis we have dropped the ball on slavery issues in the country. The TVPRA has to be reauthorized every 2 years. Time is up. If it is not pushed through in the Lame Duck session it will be dropped and all the positive changes (20 improvements that have been fought hard for) will be lost as legislators have to start over next January. The good news is that Biden is a major champion of this bill, if he is VP that will help it get through. If he is not the VP then he can get back to working on passing it, but in reality it needs to get through now.

Please write your senator and house reps to tell them to get the TVPRA through! Encourage them to push it to the front of the list of issues to deal with in the Lame Duck session. It is a matter of life and death- I am not being dramatic.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all members of humanity are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

If slavery isn't wrong then nothing is wrong- Abraham Lincoln

The Nation's Capitol

A little over 100 of us showed up here on Wednesday to tell our representatives that we cared about the TVPRA.

Not sure why the plan was for us to come talk to them while they were in recess but we are here. I am grateful to have a rep that is a strong supporter of this bill getting through. To bad it is going to rely on a Lame Duck session to move it through- it is a matter of life and death for slaves, but the crashing economy and the election year seem to have trumped the lives of children enslaved all over the world.

They said that 90% of politics is showing up, we did that. Who knows maybe the November session will prove that people do care about this growing crisis.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I went to the premiere of this movie tonight.

The movie is well done, heart breaking and powerful.

The nation wide release it set for October 10th. Go to to see where it is.

For the most part it will only be in major cities. So please, plan the road trip if you need to. It will be worth your time. This is a movie to change history.

At this moment there are 27 million slaves. 1 million of them are trafficked through the US every year. We can end the slave trade. It will take decades, it will take patience, and it will require committed action. We can do it.

We can learn about the companies we purchase from. We can tell our legislators that we care. We can pray. We can fast. We can set people free. We can educate ourselves. We can all be activist. We can use our gifts to raise awareness. We can have less so that others can have more. We can participate in the change that needs to happen.

The movie is as empowering as it is informative. The cast is a crew of rock stars and artist as well as UN workers, victims, journalist, sociologist, politicians, and actors. They have sacrificed so much to make this happen and it is beautiful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We have begun

Tonight is week two of ABOLITION. 

We are going to be walking through China town learning to see the slavery that is hidden in plain sight all around us.

47% of slavery is sex slavery.

53% of slaves are forced to work without pay in restaurants, homes, factories and farms all over the U.S.

People all around us are enslaved and we don't know how to see them. We have to learn how to watch for the signs.

Tonight we are practicing the skill of being attentive observers.    

Monday, September 1, 2008


The workshop starts in just a few weeks! 

September 16th! Check out the reimigine website to learn more! email me to register!

In other news some reviews to come:

Kevin Bales and Free the Slaves just sent me some great resources: one book and three videos! 

Much thanks to them!! I will be reviewing them soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

'Decriminalizing prostitution'= protecting pimps and traffickers

A few months ago I was approached in the park to sign a petition to place a bill that 'decriminalizes prostitution'. My two questions were how will this bill effect trafficking victims? And how will it effect minors (who are also considered trafficking victims, but I am making the distinction nonetheless) The woman said it wouldn't effect them. BUT IT WILL!! 

This will not protect adult consenting women and men from prosecution. It will however prevent the city from prosecuting people who prey on the vulnerable. 

Read the article below.

If you live in San Francisco VOTE!

If you live outside the city PRAY!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Support letter

Dear Friends,


As many of you know I recently completed my Masters of Divinity. I am excited to say I have been invited to work with ReIMAGINE in San Francisco. I would like to extend an invitation to you to join in our work through prayer and financial support.


ReIMAGINE is a Bay Area Center for Life Integration based in San Francisco.  As a Center, we run a 9-month integrative spiritual formation process. Through a variety of hands on workshops, retreats and events, participants learn and practice how to incorporate 7 themes (service, creativity, community, obedience, prayer, simplicity and love) seen in the life and teachings of Jesus.  In addition to the 9-month initiative, we also run weeklong intensives for high school and college students based on the same 7 threads.  As a unique, creative, and inventive ministry, ReIMAGINE is an exciting place to serve. I will be the main facilitator and coordinator for much of our work.


This fall as part of our nine-month formation process ReIMAGINE is participating in Jesus’ call to seek justice. I will be a main facilitator in a workshop designed to train people in educated activism in response to the Illegal Global Slave Trade, focusing on slavery in the San Francisco area.


Modern day slavery/human trafficking is an issue that God has developed a passion for within me over the past year. Last summer I started reading about modern day slavery and human trafficking. I was so horrified by what I read that I was hardly able to finish the book. (Disposable People, Kevin Bales) Since then I have searched out ways that I could be involved in helping the people who are forced into the position of slavery.


Despite all of the things that make San Francisco great, San Francisco is one of the cities in the US to have a known problem with trafficking. Through the summer I have been spending time researching and planning a way for ReIMAGINE to be involved in helping end slavery. This is an answer to prayer for me. I believe that in this day the call to set captives free is not only a metaphor but also an actual call on our lives.


Along with preparing for the workshop I have already spent much of the summer hosting student groups. As many of you are aware I have a deep love for students. My desire is to see them mature in the way they follow after Jesus. Our weeklong intensives create a beautiful environment for them to learn how to live out everything they have been taught about the Gospel.


San Francisco is a beautiful, diverse, and challenging city. Over the past months I have learned so much about how God is moving in this city. I feel very confident that this is the place that God has called me. The greatest affirmation that this is right for me is the fall workshop project I will be helping facilitate.


As I have met people here, I can see that this is a city that is alive with spiritual seekers, and much like most places it is also full of obstacles. I am consistently amazed by the opportunities that I have to speak with people about what it means to follow Jesus; even more, I am excited about the ways I am allowed to live that call out in San Francisco.


The opportunities make it clear to me that this is where God desires to use me over the next year. ReIMAGINE is a small organization and I need you to help as I stay here. In order to live I need to raise a minimum of $30,000 in annual support. I will be working part time to make half of that income.


I have been working with ReIMAGINE as an intern without support this past semester. As I enter this next year of service I need the support of others to make this year successful. You are receiving this invitation to join in supporting me because of the role you have played in my life already. I am very grateful for the prayer and financial support that I have received over the years in other areas of ministry. Please pray about how you can give at this time. Financial support is very much needed and appreciated, but I cannot do this with out your prayers. Attached is an area to mark what information you want to receive and how you would like to participate in supporting the work of ReIMAGINE.


Grace and Peace,

Sarah Rochelle Montoya

I am offering support through:


Prayer                         one time gift                        monthly giving


$10             $20            $50            $100            other_________


I would like to receive:


Mailed out updates                                    Email updates


Please return to:


P.O. Box 411601

San Francisco, CA 94141-1601


Checks payable to ReIMAGINE for Account 114

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

your one wild and precious life...

We had a little poetry slam tonight. I was going to read this poem, mostly because I love the last few lines, but I forgot to print it off. So I am posting it here.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear? 

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-- 

the one who has flung herself out of the grass, 

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, 

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-- 

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. 

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. 

I don't know exactly what a prayer is. 

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down 

into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, 

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, 

which is what I have been doing all day. 

Tell me, what else should I have done? 

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? 

Tell me, what is is you plan to do 

With your one wild and precious life? 

~Mary Oliver 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

the bridge

with friends in town over the past weeks I was able to get some great pics of the amazing city i live in. i played with this one (obviously) and I wanted to share.
more will come in time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

the cost of not being a hypocrite $2

hi how are you
hungry- i need a burger
i am sorry what did you say
i need a burger- will you buy me a burger- from jack in the box
sure, my name is Sarah
hi i am steve- you know what is cheaper than a burger- rice and sweet and sour sauce- can i have that?
sure, i will get it for you
(walk in the building, order food, pay $2, go outside realize that he can't use chop sticks, go back inside get fork and napkin, go back outside)

what do you do for a living
I work with spiritual formation
oh, that is cool, what do you do
I teach people about living in the way of Jesus, you know feed the hungry and stuff
(and I don't feel like a hypocrite because he has rice)

His toothless smile was intense and honest. He asked if he could use my phone to call his mother, reluctantly I dialed the number he gave me. He asked her for money. She didn't even know where he was and he asked her for money. That was hard to watch. Before I left him I told him about Page Street where he could volunteer and get a meal for free, and some groceries. The prospect of food was really exciting for him. The entire time we were talking I was holding my fresh coffee. I had just eaten Indian food, and watched a movie. It was a good day, and even if by some crazy social standard he didn't deserve to have me buy his meal, I have to say that as I told him what I did for a living I was relieved that I knew it was true. I encourage people to live in the Way of Jesus, I host work shops that focus on the teachings of Christ, and sometimes when I am lucky, I get a chance to meet people, ask them how they are, and feed the hungry.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sweet Pain

"... the more I think about loneliness, the more I think that the wound of loneliness is like the Grand Canyon-- a deep incision in the surface of our existence which has become an inexhaustible source of beauty and self-understanding.
Therefore I would like to voice loudly and clearly what might seem unpopular and maybe even disturbing: The Christian way of life does not take away our loneliness; it protects and cherishes it as a precious gift. Sometimes it seems as if we do everything possible to avoid the painful confrontation with our basic human loneliness, and allow ourselves to be trapped by false gods promising immediate satisfaction and quick relief. But perhaps the painful awareness of loneliness is an invitation to transcend our limitations and look beyond the boundaries of our existence. The awareness of loneliness might be a gift we must protect and guard, because our loneliness reveals to us an inner emptiness that can be destructive when misunderstood, but filled with promise for [those] who can tolerate its sweet pain." 

The Wounded Healer, Henri J. M. Nouwen

Going to 7 elementary schools, feeling that I did not fit at my conservative college, and having a spirit set to roam I have dreamed of a day when the ache in my heart will be soothed. Even still, with each year, each adventure, each life changing friendship, each person who deeply loves me, and each person I love, I have learned that loneliness is at the core of life. No matter how busy my day is there will be some brief moment when I know that I am alone. Part of me knows that there is more to this feeling, that nothing will fully take it away, and that I might not want to loose it. It is in the sweet pain that I am most connected with all of humanity, most able to share in the suffering of the world, and most able to participate in the healing process. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Suz and I hit up the DNA Lounge with my friends Leah, Charlyn and Jeff. it is a crazy place, kind of gothish, complete with legal Absinthe (I did not partake in it)- funny that SF seems to have missed the memo that the drink is illegal everywhere else in the US- all kinds of laws don't apply to us San Franciscans. Looking around the dance floor, experiencing the house band, rocking out to the DJ's I feel that I saw a deeper part of my city. Jumping around and singing at the top of my lungs I saw a mix of people whose stories I will never know but I am still sure that they are powerful. I cannot put it into words, but that mashup of people affected my experience as much as the music did. It was as if everything in the world separated us and nothing did at the same time.
here is a photo of the after effects of dancing:

we are all sweaty and my hair is messed up...
maybe this is why baptist think dancing is a sin? it has to be a sin to look this good!!!

btw: I am excited about hosting another Texas friend this week! I am overwhelmed by how much I am loved, and by the opportunity I have to share wild my city!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

But I'm still glad that I came

i wasn't even thinking of moving to San Francisco when i got this CD, and although I love this town i often feel this way about my new home so here are some lyrics that describe my life:

Ballad Of San Francisco


So I'm walking down the street somewhere outside of San Francisco 
But, I don't really know my way around 
And I'd love to stay a day or two and get into some trouble
But tomorrow I'll be in another town 
There's at least one coffee bar for every single couple 
And there's at least a couple in this place 
Strange the things you notice when the walls are closing in 
And the walls are closing in on me today 

So where, oh where, can I find someone, anyone 
'Cause there's no way outta here 
Well, here is where I live and so I guess that means 
The carrot's gonna dangle for at least another year 

I love anonymity and I love being noticed 
Just the same as anybody else 
Years ago I told you how I loved to be alone 
These days I'd be perjuring myself 

It's like you gave me up like I gave up drinking coffee 
So I guess I would have done the same 
Now I know I'm lost somewhere outside of San Francisco 
But I'm still glad that I came

Monday, July 7, 2008

Green Slavery? and Independence Day...

Thursday morning before I ran to catch the bus for work, and with the best of intentions, I set up out to make arrangements to rent a Prius. Christen's flight was scheduled to arrive at 11 pm and we were journeying to the mountains for a Independence Day getaway at Adam's family cabin. The computer flashed an error message; I called the rental company; I was appalled by how much the rental was going to cost me; I decided that doing something good for the environment was worth the extra $12; I busted out the plastic (because that is all they take); and everything was set. 

Enter Leah to save the day- she decided to come along and drive her car. With the fabulously cheaper change in plans, and a superb addition to the road crew, midmorning on Friday we left the fog behind and hit the road. 

So did I mention the best of intentions? Because what I meant by that is that I almost supported slavery. This afternoon I read on the Not For Sale website about forced labor in Japan on the Toyota Prius: taking away passports, forcing workers to live in overpriced apartments (so they end up owing all their money to their employers and cannot actually make any for themselves), deporting workers who try to leave the apartments or transfer factories, paying them less than a third of minimum wage, forcing them to work 16 hour days- 7 days a week.

Not For Sale said it on their site and I have to say here: concern for the environment has to include concerns for humanity and human rights. 

By the way the weekend was glorious! Thanks Adam and the Klein family for hosting us! 


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Memories in the making!

The pictures scrolling across my laptop screen remind me of the adventurous life I have had.
The photos of arms linked, glasses raised, candles lit in prayer, exposed ruins, sunsets, beaches, mountains, and most of all friends- these images remind me that I posses the gift of life.
Still as I reflect on those moments I know that in those moments I was so completely unaware of how miraculous those moments were. I was often thinking of the next phase, the next place, or the people who were not there. BUT those were glorious moments. As Lela drank her first legal glasses of wine. As I hugged friends at an outdoor concert waring a shirt declaring that I was willing to be displaced for a night in honor of those that have been abandoned for years. As my niece hunted for her first Easter eggs. My life was happening all around me. It is all the little moments that are often the most extraordinary. 
I am posting the lyrics of one of my favorite songs because it reminds me of this truth so often.

Her name was written on the photograph,
right next to her red, sunburnt face,
it all had happened in that long tall grass,
about a mile from her old place,
I can't remember how it started and if it lasted that day in the sun.

We said that we were going to study hard,
we held our books instead of hands,
she held a blanket over cans of beer,
I can't deny I was so full of fear.

It's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.
and it seems like another person lived that life a great many years ago from now,

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
when I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

And there's the first time that I tried that stuff,
I think I look a little green,
I remember throwing up behind a bush,
and I found it hard to use my feet,
and who's that easily led little boy who's really off his head?

It was the same night that I kissed that girl,
the tall one with the auburn hair,
I remember laughing coz to kiss me,
she had to sit down on a chair!
she tasted like the schnapps she'd drunk,
and the cigarette she'd stolen from her mum.

And it's just another story caught up in another photograph I found.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.

~Jamie Cullum~

I just wanted to take a moment to remember the importance of being present. Being here and being now.

I am waiting in eager anticipation for a visit from a college friend. We are heading to the mountains. Memories are in the making! 

Sunday, June 29, 2008


So in the journey to live more simply, to be more connected to the world as a whole, to purchase food that is more likely just (it is estimated that 7% of slavery in the US is farm based), to have a more positive impact on the global economy, and to generally live a more holistic life, I have started to work on cooking more, and buying locally. 

Also in the goal of connectedness I want to offer hospitality when I can. So I invited a bunch of friends over yesterday for some great food! (plus I have a hard time motivating myself to cook great food for just me, but I am working on that; being single and living alone seems an even better excuse to make great food cause i has to cost less to make great food for one, but anyway.)

It was a great day. I went to the farmers market at the ferry building (too expensive but super cute). I bought my produce and then went to trader joes and rainbow for the rest. When I was cooking I was inspired to take some photos of my amazing meal as it was being prepared. (this post is really just an excuse to post these pics so enjoy!)

these are the amazing black berries (which by the way taste so much better from the farmers market then they do from the store) on the cheese clothe, just before I squeezed all the juice out of them. It was so messy! I had purple all over my hands, SO FUN!

These are the tortilla strips I made myself!! They were super yummy! And that is not grease it is olive oil (EVOO is the best! it adds great flavor to everything!) Also making the chips myself seems like it was way cheaper then buying chips and they tasted better hot out of the oven. You should try it!

These really were to inspiration for the photo shoot. OMG! I used to think I did not like tomatoes, I was wrong! I just don't like tomatoes that have traveled 1500 miles to the grocery store (most food in the US travels at least that far to make it to our tables! crazy!). So yeah, fresh local tomatoes are so much better! And look at all the colors! They all have their own flavor. I never knew tomatoes came in such wonderful varieties! They were so good in the soup, and they were delicious as I popped some in my mouth as I was preparing the soup!

So this is my post on food, amazing, wonderful, local, homemade food! The dinner party was a blast! We ate, drank, sucked helium (thanks to Adam and his randomness!). It was a fabulous night!

FYI: I got the recipes from 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

trying again...

so i posted that we were in the news a few weeks ago, but the link isn't working... oopsy!

I can't decide!!

So my amazing friend Melody Gates is an fabulous photographer (you should hire her if you ever need photos). I needed a bio pic for my job at ReIMAGINE and I might need one for my job at Soul Shoppe. So we did a photo day... now I have to pic a picture!!! 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I walked into the park to see this sign:
the music is loud but not oppressive
the band is decent but not good 
the band members are all older
they do not see the park the way I do

Dolores Park makes me feel connected in this great city
I can go there and lay on a blanket alone for hours 
when I am there I feel welcomed 
I watch the people around me 
I am astonished by the freedom they feel
They express themselves with their clothes or lack there of
Silver hot pants with a black bra and nothing more
Children's animal masks
Vintage 1970s dresses and swim suits
Total freedom of expression 

And today freedom includes a Christian Evangelism Band complete with signs

Their gospel message is the condensed version:
Jesus died so that you wouldn't go to Hell
I am not going to Hell
You don't have to go to Hell

I am not sure if they know about the part where Jesus taught a new way to be human
I feel like the message centers around the after life and how we were all going to Hell
I know their hearts are in the right place
but for all the time they spend preaching in a park they could serve along side people in need, feed the hungry, develop a life giving friendship
They could live the way of Jesus 
Instead of trying to explain to me why my salvation experience might not be valid, they could live the life more abundant we have been called to
I am not trying to hate on them, when they are not singing or preaching their music isn't too bad, and I am sure they have good intentions, even if they do make a great many people angry

I am sometimes still torn on the issue of direct evangelism
I believe in Hell (although I am not sure what I think it looks like, and the ideas I lean towards were deemed heretical by some council over a thousand years ago)
I do not want anyone to have to suffer the reality of Hell
I do not think Hell is the point
The point seems to me to be more about life, about abundant life
Abundant life cannot be thrown at people in a park- it comes from following the teachings of Jesus and engaging in the life we are called into as God's creation

Further IF salvation from Hell is our only goal, I am not sure that it is at all possible to achieve that goal. God knows our hearts. Jesus called for repentance. Jesus taught us to think of others before ourselves. Salvation for the sake of avoiding Hell doesn't sound at all like taking up one's cross to follow. In fact it sounds just selfish enough to be the same sin that we are called to repent from. It is almost as if in seeking fire insurance we have set ourselves on fire, and we are inviting others to jump in the flame under the guise that we will eventually be able to get ourselves out. What if in all of the evangelistic talk about avoiding Hell we are actually causing genuine seekers to be pushed further away from a relationship with God? In Hell based evangelism we create a lie that says that on judgment day all God wants to know if you were scared of Hell. In Hell based evangelism we are robing people of the revolutionary challenge Jesus calls us all into.

In truth I believe that at this moment what God wants to know is if you are willing to love, to follow, to give mercy, and to help those in need. Right now, not in some distant future, God desires the bride, a bride that is pure and holy, a bride that has chosen the beloved because of who God is, not because the alternative is too scary. I mean really everyone who believes in heaven wants to go there. So I don't think God cares if we want to go to heaven. I think God cares about how we live a life of love. 

I took a picture of one of their signs. I am going to post it as soon as I figure out how to get photos off my camera. 

I am not opposed to people hearing the message of Jesus, but I want them to hear the actual message.


So I want to write

Okay so I have started it. 
I am writing a short article/story/rant about my experiment without makeup or jewelry. I am excited about it. I am hoping it will be inspiring to insecure people everywhere. (by everywhere i mean within the small circle of people who get to read it).

So if you are a writer and you have a source of writing tips please send them my way. 

Also soon I will be posting some updates on the amazing student groups that just left.

I am excited to say that they are helping spread awareness about Slavery. They are wearing their orange. They have agreed that they will participate in the change that must happen for all of us to end modern day slavery.


Thursday, June 5, 2008


so for a few weeks i was freaking out. i wasn't sure if i could or should live here. and like the blabber mouth i am i told all my friends about how i was freaking out, lonely, and poor.

then it started. these repeating voices. coming from different places, but all saying the same thing in various ways. they all reminded me of the same 2 things.

1) God told me to come here with a purpose for me here- there is a task for me in this city

2) God told me to come here to teach me- most lessons worth learning are usually hard

it might be possible that the second of the two was the greater reason for God bringing me to this city.

i moved out here knowing that this was going to be challenging. i was going to have to give stuff up. i was going to have to trust God to provide. i was changing cultures and that is always work. yet, i believed this city was a teacher and i thought i was ready to learn.

i have lived here for 5 months now and it is very true: the city is a teacher. it teaches you to be humble and accept help. it teaches you to work hard and want it bad enough to keep going. it teaches you to live simply, because if you don't save every penny you can you will never make rent. it teaches you that God will provide for the calling that has brought you here.

it teaches you to push into life.

these lessons come in all forms. the city is loosing its shock value. today i saw someone pull a knife on another person and a dead body on the street where i live. i also saw a performance put on by an after school program that reflected hard work, dedication, love, and hope for the future. i had a conversation with a woman who believes that her mother was probably brought to this country as a domestic slave. her mother lived in silence in this country, no one seems to have cared, it happened before caring about trafficking was sexy. STILL i have hope because i also spoke with a friend over breakfast about how we have to do something about slavery and there was an energy there that can only lead to action. 

the city is a paradox. in this place there is peace and violence. celebration and mourning. freedom of expression and inhumane slavery. the city is all of life crammed unto 7x7. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Counted among the just...

I just left a Coalition meeting about trafficking hosted by the Not For Sale Campaign, there is real momentum to get something done. This is the time and place that I have been asking God for. People are getting together to do something.

I was reading Not For Sale, by David Batstone, and he asks multiple times as he recounts history: "Would we have stood up and been counted among the just?" 

I have read history and wished I could be part of the great movements. As a teenager I selfishly wished there was some great evil in the world I could fight. Sadly some wishes do come true. There is a great evil. There are more slaves now then there were in all of the days of the African slave trade combined. Someday history will tell of this grave injustice. People will either be shocked by our apathy, or inspired by our action. There is no middle ground. We are either going to be counted among the just, or we will be spectators.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What would you die for?

Mark asked a question the other day that was basically what would you die for? or something like that...

We started casting the vision for the fall project today. I am excited.
It is going to be a crash course in activism and we are taking on the slave trade.

Also I signed up to go to some Advocacy days in DC in october. I will get to advocate for improvement on the T Visa. 

In short at this point people who have been trafficked in illegally can get up to a 3 year visa, if they help the prosecution. So basically our government thinks that people who have been severely abused, raped, and psychologically manipulated, should go to court and then get shipped home. They are being treated like accomplices to the crime that has been committed against them. It is like they are being offered a really bad plea agreement. They have already been imprisoned, they need to be set free.

One of the biggest holes in the trafficking problem is aftercare. There is no where for these people to go once released where they will be safe, where they can heal emotionally and physically, where they will be cared for as they recreate their lives. They have already been traumatized enough without. They should not be treated like criminals. Forcing them to relive their experiences in front of a court is immoral. Yes we need them to testify so their captors can be stopped, but we need to care for them. This is our shared humanity we are talking about here, the only way we can end slavery is if we can live the belief that all people are equal and all of us are loved.

This is going to be a long journey. To end trafficking we must deal with poverty, globalization, the sex industry, human rights, women's rights, children's rights, we will have to take on cultures and be willing to say that some elements of culture are evil. People will need to open their homes to former slaves. We will need to take on our government and tell them their laws are unjust. 

As we talked about this in the staff meeting today Adam threw out some ideas that would get him killed. Most of them required that we have more money than we have and again they would get us killed. Oddly it was the fact that we simply don't have the money for this idea that held me back in my head more than the getting killed. 

What if we bought people? I think old time abolitionist used to do, right? but we don't have the funds or the network inside the trade, and plus the government might not know that we want to free them so that is a problem, cause buying people is illegal (which is a good thing). So we can't do that. 

But still I wonder. What if we were as brave of the underground railroad? What if we were willing to get ourselves killed to save others? What if we had the type of love that would lay down one's life?

I want to be like Paul able to say that I do not fear death. He said it when he was in prison on his way to his execution. It wasn't just a figure of speak. It death was right before him. Still he did not fear death. Right now I am so safe that I don't even know what it would mean to not fear death, but I know that I need that kind of courage. 

I feel like I am speaking of lofty ideals, I hope I am spreading a vision, I hope that I have the courage to find a way to enact change. I think that activism is the first place to start. Rescue work is glamorous, and necessary; but we need to get to the root of the problem, and we need to offer hope to survivors before they are trafficked again. There is so much to be done.

If you know anything about how people can help please leave a comment. I want to know. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

the work

A few weeks ago when I was in Texas I wrote a few entries about not wanting to leave, but the idea of faith being an action of obedience and following. Faith cannot simply be a thought it has to be an active following after and seeking after God. So there was the tension- I love my home but I feel this push to someplace else, a push that I feel is from God.

So I have been reading about trafficking for a few days. The first time I read about it was last year and I knew then that someday somehow I was going to have to join the fight to end slavery.

I am more sure than ever that I need to be in this city at this time. Something is going to happen. I am not sure what and I beg you to pray with me for whatever it is. But something must happen and I believe that it will.

There are multiple cities in the US that are known to be high trafficking areas. San Francisco, Houston, LA, New York City, Atlanta, and more. I am in one of those cities at a time when awareness is on the rise. 

Trafficking thrives off the fact that people know so little about it. Most of us believe that slavery has been abolished. It has not. There is a new wave of abolitionists that have already laid the ground work for all of us to join the cause. Now that we know more we need to do the work to end slavery.

please check out:
Also if you read this talk to someone about it. Make it a goal of yours this week to talk to a friend about modern day slavery. 

27 million people- mostly women and children. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Proclaim release of the Captives

Check out the website.

Also check out this one

27 million people are enslaved in our world today.

Because slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world slave holders are crueler than ever in the methods they use to control the people they keep in bondage. In the book Disposable People:New slavery in our Global Economy, Kevin Bales breaks down the comparison between old slavery and new slavery. If slavery its self wasn't bad enough, the new slavery is worse. 

Most people have no idea that is happening, or that we can do about it.

Everytime I think about this problem my mind goes to this passage:

Luke 4:17-20
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was writen,
"The spirit o the Lord is upon me,
Because the Lord anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.
The Lord has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." 
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed on Him.
And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fullfilled in your hearing."

This is one of the first things Jesus said publicly according to Luke. He came to proclaim the release of the captives... to set free those who are oppressed. We are his followers; we are called to do the same.

This summer I will be spending time trying to figure out more about what I can do here in San Francisco. You should find out what you can do where you are. Check out the website, get hold of some books, do whatever you can. I am commiting to only eat fair trade chocolate and drink only fair trade coffee. (these are my two favorite foods in the world, but children should not be enslaved in Africa so that I can eat cheap chocolate).

27 million people. many of them children. we have to do something.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Be a force of nature.

I cannot get this little speach from Grey's out of my head. It might be some of the best and worst advice I have ever heard.

"Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don't give a damn waht anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You're on your own. Be on your own." ~Christina~

When I think of how much I want to be part of major change in the world I am aware of how much of my self image I am going to have to give up. You can't change the world and worry about how others see you. There isn't time for that. You can't fight the issues of poverty and modern day slavery and still have time to worry about all the other little things. I am bombarded by the little things. I don't have the nerve or the time to fight all the issues I know about, but I know that I want to be a force of nature. I believe in the power of relationships to change the world. 

Friday, May 23, 2008

you should go to this thing.
Find it in your area and go. 
it is that simple.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where you treasure is your heart will be also???

For months as I lived half a continent away from my glorious storage unit in small town texas I have missed my beloved summer shoes. I did my best to purge my closet of most of my clothes before catching my flight. However I did have a strong attachment to some of my favorite possessions; I was not ready to bid farewell. So I filled a bag with shoes and threw it in the storage unit at the last minute. Now these were some great shoes. Grey heals that are HOT, some flip flops, hiking sandals (because I hike so much, okay maybe I have never worn them hiking, but someday, maybe), an assortment of casual flats, and my favorite pair of brown wedges. I have thought about these wedges and all the great outfits they coordinate with. 

Side Note:
Proverbs remind us to store up wisdom, and encourages us to have just enough of what we need.

Jesus references the birds of the air that do not store things in store houses and yet they are fed, the flowers are clothed more beautifully than the great King in all his glory.

Back to the story:
As soon as I got to texas two weeks ago, just after dinner with my parents I went to my storage unit to get some of my summer clothes I had stored there. I went straight for the bag with the shoes, and it was all green with mold!! Embarrassingly I almost cried. My mother and I scrubbed all of the shoes, bleached the ones we could, threw some in the washing machine, all but one pair were saved, the wedges didn't make it.

I knew as I put them in storage that it made more sense to give them away. I was not planning to wear them for 5 months, someone should enjoy them. But selfishly I feared that if I loaned them out I wouldn't get them back. And if I gave them away, they wouldn't be mine. So Instead of letting someone else sport these great shoes I threw them into a storage unit, and now they are in a garbage can. 

I feel like I might have learned something, but the truth is I still have stuff in that unit. 

Friday, May 16, 2008

This Diva is officially a Master!

I graduated! I am divine!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned
and those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned
~sara groves~

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"and Aunt Sarah?"

for the past 5 months as  I have lived in San Francisco every time my older sister told her precious 2 year old daughter that she was going to see someone from the family Emory would ask "and Aunt Sarah?"

Seriously!?  break my heart! 

My nephew doesn't ask about me, I am not even sure that he knows who I am. I was in Alabama when he was born. I saw him 3 times between August and January when I moved. He doesn't even know me.

I hate that part of chasing after something requires leaving other things behind. I have loved the feeling of looking back and knowing that I was going somewhere new and the things of the past could not tie me down, but I am hating that choosing one future means not choosing another. I will be adventurous Aunt Sarah from a distance. If things stay as they are they will see me a few times a year. That kills me!

I have realized over the past few days that I do in fact love Texas. I will mock it and complain about it to no end for all the days of my life, but I love this place. I love the wide open road. I love the people here. I love Baylor. (in fact I think I am going to come back for homecoming) 

So yeah old habits die hard and my bank account is sadly reflecting that it is challenging for me to maintain a simple lifestyle here. I am frustrated every time I throw food scraps in the trash instead of compost, I hate that I can only recycle paper. I have driven my car enough in the past week to melt the polar ice caps single handedly. I am definitely not loving the environment the way I would like. 

BUT I get to see my niece as she lunges for me from my sisters arms. I get to watch her consume her first ice cream cone. I get to hold her hand as she walks down the street. I get to hold my nephew and throw him in the air. I get to look into the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen and know that someday he will recognize me. 

So yeah there is this huge part of me that wants to be here, and this other part that needs to be there. 

I just wrote a paper about faith being the obedience lived out. Faith is how we follow God in the journey that we are being directed towards. Sometimes faith requires that we leave, and other times it requires that we stay.  In all of this and above all I pray that I am faithful. My older sister has trusted me to be a spiritual mentor for her daughter as she grows up, as hard as that will be from a distance it will be even harder if I fail to live in faith. 

Friday, May 9, 2008

die hard

old habits die hard

so i tried. i picked up snacks at the grocery store so that would waist less money on empty calorie foods (eating simply while traveling is challenging and fruit cost more here)... i bought a regular coffee not a latte... but OMG!! I want a double shot expresso coffee drink. there is just something about coming back that makes it easier to slip into old ways. plus there just isn't a place for me to get a 1.5o coffee and if i am spending 2.50 why not spend 3.50 to get the latte? for reals!

some things never change, I have plans to eat out like every meal while I am in town. but i did try to order the cheapest thing on the menu yesterday... i did get called granola today (whatever that means)

but other than feeling like there is no way for me to stick to my 'simple' lifestyle... it is officially true- I LOVE WACO and I MISS TEXAS! it is good to be home for a bit.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sleep? What?

So this is how crazy my life is: I didn't even make sleeping arrangements in Waco tonight because I knew I would be at the library working ALL NIGHT!

My little sister said she admired my free spirit when I told her. Really it is just my procrastination kicking my tail.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I have make up on and an amazing necklace

So I need to be working on my mentoring notebook. It is after all the main reason for my failure to blog for the past few days. But really quick I must say that on day 3 post the makeup/jewelry fast I am wearing one of my favorite necklaces purchased on a trip to Houston to see my wonderful friend Rachel this past summer, a ring given to me when I was in the 6th grade by a generous church member who wanted his late wife's jewelry to be given to his pastors family because he was aware of our lack of financial means to purchase fun costume jewelry and having the pastor's family wear the jewelry would honor her, along with simple black mascara and eyeliner. 
My very kind roommate told me I looked like a model, she was so shocked to see me with jewelry and makeup on. It was nice to be looked at like I was beautiful, but it was also nice to have these things be accessories, and only accessories. They accent who I am, they do not define who I am.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easter and Passover

Yesterday was a beautiful day.

In the evening I went to a Passover Seder meal hosted by a new dear friend. She is Jewish Christian. The evening was beautiful. We sat on the floor, ate the bitter herb till we cried, read the story of Exodus, repeated traditional blessings, and sang traditional songs. 

There was one song that stood out as particularly beautiful. The chorus is simple repetition of the phrase it would have been enough. 

Dahy-dahyenu, dahy-dahyenu, dahy-dahyenu, dahyenu, dahyenu, dahyenu.

The song goes through in 3 traditional verses with one added for the Jewish Christian people. The verses state that it would have been enough had God taken the Jews out of Egypt. IT would have been enough had God only given the Torah. It would have been enough had God only given the Sabbath.  Then lastly we sang it would have been enough had God only sent Messiah. God has done so much more than enough for us.

From the meal I went to an Orthodox Pascha service. It was beautiful. We lit candles at midnight, in reflection of the light that has come into the world. (John 1) It was a beautiful night. Honestly I could hardly keep my eyes open (service began at 11pm and went until 2) but it was still beautiful. 

Christ is Risen!! and it would have been enough even had He never come, but not only did Messiah come, but in coming He gave us redemption. 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Palm Sunday (Orthodox)

There is too much to be said and my vocabulary lacks the power to put this all into words, but I will try.

He entered the city in triumph. She washed his feet unaware that she was anointing him for burial. She knew the need to be forgiven and He knew our need for redemption. 

This is the story that began with the called out ones. This is the story that was foretold by the prophets. This is hope and renewal. This is the call for repentance and a promise of forgiveness. Christ came. He heard the shouts of rejoicing that would soon turn against him. He chose his fate, knowing that we could not bear it. On a donkey like a prophet of old, greeted like a King, he ushered in the Kingdom. He brought us grace.

I cannot express my need for grace. I have nothing to wash the Lord's feet with, no garments to place on his path. All I can do is be mournfully grateful as I await the day of Celebration.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

over whelmed - and maybe I should not put this out for the world to see

So I just talked to my sister about my life...

See I am hoping to work for ReIMAGINE full time next year. The thing is that I have to raise support. (Yes, get ready, if you are my friend I will be asking you to give me money.) 

My thing is part of me really feels like the conversation I have been having with God is about how God will provide. It is also about how God wants to teach me simplicity. What better motivation to live simply than living on the generosity of others to provide for the work God has brought me into?

But then she thinks that I need to get a job that pays actual money, and the hard part is I do feel like she has a valid voice in my life. I mean her suggestion that I look for a job as an administrative assistant seems like a bad plan, but the point that I could get a job with an actual salary might be valid.

I believe I need to have faith that God will provide, but what if I am expecting the wrong form of provision? 

So yeah please pray for me. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the Diva thing

looking through photos of me in India, it was like I could smell the air, and feel the heat, and i was there again, my life changing with every exhausting moment, with the photos to prove it.
my eyes were tiered, my face was swollen (it is odd to look back on it now because the swelling was a result of the gluten and i didn't even know it) i looked wretched, and yet these pictures are so full of life that i love them, I would display them any where, it is possible that these are some of the most beautiful pictures of me that i know of, and i look exactly how i feel in them, tiered, no makeup, i have been traveling for days and weeks, by all standards of beauty i look bad, but those where the moments that changed my life forever and in each one of the photos I can see a moment when I was alive, moody and sloppy, but alive

just after looking at those pictures i came across others from just after that trip, it was a night out with the girls, again i could remember every bit of that night, decadent food, great wine, goofing off for hours, i spent enough money on food that night to have fed a family in India for at least a month, to have fed me on my current grocery budget for at least two weeks, my make up is perfect, my smile is great, it was a really fun evening, no bags under my eyes, I was with really good friends, i was laughing, it was easy, it was living.

i guess i am just surprised sometimes by how easy it is to miss the moments that shape us and then move back into old habits, and old rules of beauty. it is so easy to move from simplicity into being a diva, after all didn't i earn it, i was so tiered for so long as i traveled i earned a night out with the girls... but if that is the case then how is it that when i see the pictures of me tiered I see so much more beauty in that moment?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

God saw what God had created and it was very good

I often forget how much I love working out.

In fact I forget to a point where I don't do it for months on end. Then something jump starts me and I am back in the gym.

As anyone has ever seen me knows I am not thin or even really muscular. I am a cute- almost short- curvy type- that loves songs about 'thick' women cause I am one. So I don't work out to look hot. When I do get into that groove I end up never going and hating it. I love working out because I love how tiny muscles start to hurt just a bit. I love how you start feeling connected to your self. With each step you feel the body that God created just for you to live in. Even hours later your nerves are more aware that they are part of this whole fabulous intricate machine that is God's creation. 

"So God created human beings in God's own image,
in the image of God God created them;
male and female God created them." Gen 1:27

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

pounding in my chest
tears sneaking to the surface
my veins carry hurt through every part of my being

there is nothing inside me but the overpowering frustration
and then- I breath

the next morning it is gone
laugher is echoing in my mind reminding me of the joys all around me

the air is light 
i am free

my heart pounds with excitement of all that the new day brings
everything is new
everything is an adventure

the bright sun reminds me
this is a hopeful day

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