Dear Nathalie, You Inspire Me

I have a bright, determined best friend named Nathalie. I have known her since we were 1Ls in law school. We both signed up to be on University of Miami’s roommate list. As fate would have it, we found each other.  Loyalty runs through her blood, so we have been best friends ever since.  It’s been a lifelong friendship of good and bad, up and down; all erupting with hilarious laughter; because after all, life really is that funny.

I mentioned that she’s bright, and also witty.  I mean that.  No matter what the table conversation begins or ends with, she lays down questions about world politics, sex and marriage, life’s hits and misses.  In the midst of conversation, she reminds her closest friends how good it is to have each other, after all this time.

When you have been friends this long, you can blame each other for stuff from time to time.  Nathalie still blames me for her divorce. She says that, since I didn’t show up to her wedding, I cursed the whole thing.  Lucky for both of us, she has two beautiful children that proves her marriage was necessary. How could we live without her sweet babies C and R?

Using one of her phrases, all this to say, she has an awesome annual reading habit.  For as long as I’ve known her, she reads 12 darn books per year. She picks them out and gets them read, one per month.  That would explain her ability to lead interesting conversation anywhere with anyone. Something I will strive for, probably, for the rest of my life.

In honor of her, and because of my admiration for her, I am inching towards 12 books per year.  In 2015, I covered approximately 9 books.  I didn’t finish two and I can’t count bible study guides.  I revisted some of the books I read and chose a quote to share with you.  Whether you are well read or not, or even whether you aspire to be, enjoy these literary patches that made up my reading quilt for 2015.

That’s how we get to know each other – we tell each other our struggles and victories. We talk about our past and how those pasts have shaped us and changed us into who we are today. We talk about the experiences in our lives that affect us, and we talk about the ways other people throughout our lives have changed as too. We speak.  Speak, by Nish Weiseth

If you are worried that your art is a waste of time, perhaps you need to redefine success in art. Are you becoming more fully yourself? Is there someone else who believes in you or has been inspired because you were living life more fully alive? Are you learning what it means to depend on God in ways you’ve never had to depend on him before?  A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman

Could it be possible we have it wrong? Maybe success isn’t in believing I can do anything but in knowing I can do nothing. My limits – those things I wish were different about myself – are perhaps not holding me back but are pointing me forward to pay attention to my small, eight-foot assignment.  Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman

I am of the opinion that the thoughtful arrangement of your daily and weekly calendars is one of the holiest endeavors you can undertake. Drafting a new, proactive, holistic schedule is tantamount to writing a whole new script for the next season of your life. Your calendar plays a critical role in determining who you will become as a person, as a Christ follower, as a family member, and as a friend.  Simplify, by Bill Hybels

I once heard somebody say that God had closed the door on an opportunity he’d hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him.  Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.  Love Does, by Bob Goff

Listen to what God keeps bringing to your attention, what he interrupts your thoughts and your days with. In those things you will recognize his leading.  Undaunted, by Christine Caine

Realizing our inability to earn righteousness isn’t meant to be a rat wheel to run on. The depravity of man is only the realization of the hollow, the need. Depravity should only imply that we can be filled with God. I wish I had known.  Wild in the Hollow, by Amber C Haines

You gotta cue the eagle. I discovered that, in moments when I was stumbling, if I called on the Lord and strengthened myself in the name that’s above every name – the name of Jesus- I could arise from a heap on the floor with renewed power. The Holy Spirit would energize me and give me what it took to keep peddling through the pain.  Through the Eyes of Lion, by Levi Lusko

By Sasha Katz



What I LOVE About Myself

This time of year, you can’t help but calculate if you are exercising enough, eating clean enough, spiritual enough, saving enough. Calculate and resolve. All by January first-ish. I usually find this process pretty exhilarating. Yes, I like lists and goals and plans and bucket lists. I like to think about what is better and best. I like to make plans and stick with them. But, it appears there is another way to do this new year thing.

Sitting on a school bus on its way to St. Augustine, I ran across a list of non-goals by Erin Loechner. Her list came just as the slew of resolutions of millions came through on commercials, articles, wish lists and blog posts. Her list appeared as my own thoughts of resolution were working their way through my heart and soul.

Erin says this . . . I think there is inherent worth in change, and I think there is inherent worth in the decision not to change . . . And this is why – year after year – I pen my own non-goals. The non-improvements, the non-betterments, the non-upgrades. The habits I want to stay the same because I once fought really hard for them. The ones I won’t allow to fall quietly by the wayside simply because I caught myself reading an article titled 20 Things To Change In 2016 . . . The ones – dare I say it? – I love about myself.

I had a mini revolution in my soul when I read these words. There are some good things about myself? Things I do well? I can think about those things and write a list? The non-upgrades have a place. And, according to Erin, this list can live in harmony with the calculated resolutions. I love this!

Today, I am sharing with you my non-goals. And, as a side note, I am going to be plainly honest. I am half way though Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love. And, if I have imputed anything from her brilliant words, it is to let honesty and truth run free! So, for those of you who know me well and for those of you who don’t, here goes!

  1. I am ending my struggle with the traditional definition of rest. Yes, my optimal physical rest looks like eight hours, but I am energized by the books God has placed in my hands. By following the delicious recipes from the cookbooks I continue to collect, like good memories. My rest is those minutes before I fall to sleep sinking under covers; receiving the peace and gratefulness I have for a cushiony place to rest my head/but remembering the many who have no place tonight. I don’t have to embrace rest in its traditional form. My rest is a way for me to worship Him. The more I understand how He defines rest for me, the more I value rest.
  1. I am melting off anything that is not authentically me. I’m done checking boxes and gathering stock for the image I hope to be. Maybe it has some to do with 40 or maybe it takes decades for God to bring you to yourself. This is not a personal announcement of an arrival. This is just me claiming what God has made and going with it. I don’t mind that I quiver with fear sometimes or push against the change He calls me to. It’s how I grow and I am thankful He just keeps convincing me to be me. I’ll just keep melting and I like it that way.
  1. I’m not a great acquaintance. Let’s be friends and connect. I don’t like shallow conversation. I’m not good at small talk because I don’t see the point. I like hearing a heart over coffee/tea. I like to hold a hand and remind a soul that He promises this season will pass and end in victory. I believe that truth is best with love. I believe that from glory to glory, all things come together for good. I believe that hope makes practical sense. And, after all, don’t fret, the God of love wins over darkness.
  1. The truth is I like peace the most. I know this begs the question of why I became a lawyer. But the reason for that is I love justice and equality. I imagined my lawyer life being more of like the civil rights movement than who owes money to whom. So, I smile because God made me to love peace. I also smile because life does not always pan out to your attributes. But in the same way I understand His love, I also understand the imperfections of our lives.

So, there you have it. A list inspired by someone I would like to know more about – – Erin Loechner. Honesty inspired by someone I am just getting to know – – Jen Hatmaker. Wrapped up in encouragement by two more people. My mom and Emily Freeman. And, in the spirit of writing this list, please do be inspired by me and write your own short or long list of non-goals. We spend far too much time getting there and far too little time documenting the good progress of God in us. Sisters, can I hear an Amen?

By Sasha Katz

Love Letters

February is the month of love.  I remember being about 17 with so much going on in February.  It was my then boyfriend, now husband, Eric’s 19th birthday on February 12th. Valentine’s Day on the 14th and our six month dating anniversary on the 16th.  I can’t remember all of the details of our plans, but I am pretty sure I decorated his white Explorer with balloons and signs in the wee hours of the morning before school.  His parents used to look forward to waking up to see what I had come up with.  I am sure we both planned to bring balloons, love notes and teddy bears and all of the good stuff you walked around school with all day.  Who knows what else.  But February.  The month of love.

This February, it’s still Eric birthday and still Valentine’s Day.  Although I don’t yet know all of the details, I am sure there will be love notes and dinners and all of the good stuff.  As I ponder love in February.  As I ponder its meanings and ways.  I am compelled to write of love today.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been sharing my love beyond the walls of our little blog Femmefuel.  No longer under an anonymous nickname.  Sharing out in the open.  Or at least the wide open of Facebook.  There have been so many comments rooted in love.  Lots of likes.  Many of you tell me what you think when you see me.  It feels good to be seen and read.

At the same time, some of you are surprised to hear me talk about my faith, my thoughts on God.  Some of you are not fully comfortable with my newfound openness.  Some of you feel that I have abandoned my roots or turned my back on my heritage.  Since this is the month of love.  I have to tell you.  That I love you the same I have always loved you.  In fact, the more I grow in God’s love, the more I truly love you.

For me, there isn’t a line that I have passed over.  I haven’t crossed any lines of us and them.  I haven’t chosen to set aside one theology for another.  The best explanation I can give you is that the more I have read of the old and new, the more the two have become one.  The more thoroughly two have become one, the more real my God experience has become.  It isn’t meant to be fully explained in words.  It is meant to be lived.  Out in the light.  In love.

There will be many love letters written this month.  Some of new love.  Some of old.  Some of loss.  Some of love never realized.  Others taking a chance on love.  Over this month, Femmefuel will continue to write our letters of love to share with our sisters and brothers.  You will continue to hear my voice.  Bindu’s beautiful, wise voice.  Jenette’s volumes of psalms flowing from her heart.  And, if she can squeeze out some time, you will also continue to hear from our California sister Chris Sweet.  Our love flows from our heart, hopefully, straight into yours.  February.  The month of love.

Thinking Through January – Defining Yourself

By Sasha Katz

Defining yourself is complicated. Drafting a few sentence bio is torture to me. I know exactly who I am, but it is near impossible for me to get it down in a handful of words. I look at other bios. I see things like mother to 4, wife to a hottie, truth seeker, Jesus follower. Some use quotes, some create mantras, some ask you to buy their books, all in a line or two. Frankly, I don’t know what makes sense.

The idea of you coming across me somewhere on the web or social media sounds like an opportunity for community. The idea of us knowing one another through words and similar cares and concerns is a good thing. I like transparency, friendship and being spoken into – – as much as I like to share what God has tucked into my heart and soul.

But then I think, what do you really want to know about me? I think about my hats, my identities. Do I name them for you to describe me? Mom, wife, writer, lawyer, friend, daughter, sister. I suppose that is literally how I could define me. But, I am finding, as I get grown up, that the hats don’t do much except define. I am way beyond the hats and I am tired of square boxes. Scratch the mom, lawyer, writer, friend chant.

I’m scratching writer because I mostly find pleasure in sharing my thoughts in a way that keeps my insides feeling free. I’m not publishing books or looking for editors. Writer doesn’t seem to fit. I don’t think I can stick with wife either. The term leaves out the whole experience of being a wife. Those four words are just so limited and leave far too many questions in the margins. What kind of wife am I? What kind of marriage do I have? What exactly do I want you to know when I say wife? Other than I am not single? Scratch it.

In as much as I am a lawyer, my crazy days are mainly due to the fact that I am a business owner and mother at the same time. Lawyer sometimes actually feels irrelevant as I navigate these two repelling magnets. On top of that, I’m not the average mold lawyer. I hate disputes (unless there is real injustice involved). I sweat through the battles I fight for my clients. And, while I really do love a lot of the lawyer work I do, I will be forever questioning the time I lose with my children every day. Lawyer is off my list.

Rather than list the things that define me, I think I am or hope to be the following: I like listening, looking into the eyes of a soul, seeing what is on the inside. Offering what I can. Helping the water wash over, leading to pure, peaceful places. The place where there is the serenity of winter, but the atmosphere makes you warm. Like the covering of a soft down comforter. Like a rest that lasts a thousand years. And, when you start to move again, the warmth and the peace and the serenity move with you.

That is no bio. But I leave it with you anyway. I pray that you travel sweet today. That the wind moves with you and that you are warm on the inside.

The Invisible World Book Series (December ’15)

Join me as I share my thoughts on Louie Giglio’s book Passion.  For now, this is the final book in the Invisible World series.  I hope your week is filled with the peace of knowing today is a good day and that God can do anything, even bring to life our dry bones.


The Invisible World Book Series (December ’15)

Join me for more thoughts on the Invisible World following by a reading from The Boy and His Horse – – where the invisible forces are portrayed so well.

I wish I had one video for you, but until I master this process, here are three (Intro, Reading and Conclusion)