I’m Not a Runner…

I’ve always said, “I’m not a runner.” 

I’ve always said, “I hate running.” 

In fact, for many years I lived by the joke: if you see me running, you better run too, because something is probably chasing me. 

But, here’s the irony, I’ve always envied runners

You know the people I’m talking about. They’re the people who can seemingly run for days without ever slowing down, or even taking a break. They can be in a full out sprint and make it look like they are taking a leisurely morning stroll. As they pump their legs, it seems like they’re almost flying as their feet barely touch the ground before the next step.

I would see these people and wish that I could run like they do. Because the truth is, even though I was an athlete all my life growing up, I could never run like that. Running was always a struggle for me, and so I avoided it as much as I could. And once I became an adult, I all but gave up on the idea of being a runner. 

So you can imagine my surprise when, a little over two months ago, I decided to go for a run. It was nothing serious, just a couple times around the track—and it was really just to try something new. 

But something surprising happened. I actually…kind of…enjoyed it. And after going a couple more times, I even decided to go out and buy a pair of running shoes. 

Then it happened. 

My first time out with my new shoes I strained a muscle in my calf. 

Immediately I thought, “Well, there it is, that’s why I don’t run. I’m not built for running. My body wasn’t designed for running.”

“I’m not a runner.” 

But despite my initial, negative reaction, I didn’t want to give up. So after giving myself a couple of days to rest and heal, I tried again… 

…And bam! Same thing, but whereas the first time I had gone about a mile before it happened, this time, I didn’t even make it to the end of my block. 

“That’s it, I’m done,” I thought. 

But after hobbling back to my house, I had to remind myself that I was just starting something that I hadn’t done regularly in over 15 years. My body was bound to have trouble adjusting. 

So, this time I gave myself over a week to heal. I wanted to make sure my legs were ready to go. And the next time out, I made it to the end of my block without any pain. I made it around the first corner, then the second, then the third. But as I came up on my first mile, I felt it. It wasn’t quite as severe as the first two times, but I knew it would be if I didn’t stop. 

This time, though, instead of blaming myself, or my body, I wondered if it could be the shoes. Afterall, the problems really only started after I got the new shoes. And, long story short, it was. 

I got fitted for some new shoes, and after giving myself a few days to get my legs back to normal, I set out on a run. This time I made it almost two miles before calling it quits (not because I was hurt, just because that’s all the farther I could go). 

That was about a month and a half ago. And in that time, I’ve been thinking a lot about running (usually while I’m running), and how many similarities it has to life. How we look at the “runners” around us, and we see these people who seem to have it all together, who seem to be so far ahead of us, who seem to make things look so easy.

And, we get down on ourselves because, maybe, we aren’t where we want to be. We aren’t as successful as we think we should be. Our finances aren’t where we want them to be. Life, in general, just seems to be more difficult for us. And we look around and we wish that we could be like those “runners.” 

And if you’re anything like me, maybe you’ve thought, I’ll never get there. I’ve dug myself too deep of a hole. I got started too late. I’m just not cut out for this. 

Today I want to offer you some encouragement. 

Three months ago, it had been over 15 years since I had run for at least one mile consistently. 

Two months ago, I was having trouble even running down my block without hurting myself. 

One month ago, I had finally found a good pair of running shoes and was able to run for about two miles. 

Just a few days ago, I ran 9 miles in just under two hours. That might not seem like a lot to some people. But that’s farther, and longer, than I have EVER run, or expected to run, in my entire life. 

Whatever challenges you are facing, I want you to know, you’ve got more in you than you know. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easy… In fact, it might be the hardest thing you ever do. But I believe you have what it takes. 

And if nothing else, remember this: You might not be where you want to be, but you aren’t where you used to be. 

I’m not a runner… But I want to be. So, I’m going to be.

-Ben Larsen

Being Married and Quarantined (God Has a Sense of Humor)–Guest Blog Post by Gena Duran

Oh my gosh! This has been an interesting week, to say the least. It has undoubtedly been a challenge. You would think that after thirty years of being with each other, my husband and I would know how to live together during this time in quarantine. Well, I am here to say that we have so far completely failed to be our best versions of ourselves. genablog

We have managed to throw all of our knives and daggers at each other. It has not been pretty in la casa de Duran. I am not proud of this. Is there anyone else out there that is struggling to be a better partner with their significant other or is it just me? 

Do not get me wrong, I love my husband very much. I want us to be better. I want to be the best version of myself for him. However, it seems that I have a lot of garbage tucked away in my thoughts that have decided to be revealed right now. Perhaps it is because we have been forced to be in small quarters with one another, or maybe it is the stressors of this pandemic. It could be that after thirty years, we must acknowledge that we have gotten away with never actually dealing with our issues because we were too busy with work, kids, finances, and all the things that we have allowed to overshadow our relationship. 

The other day, I was livid with Dion, as I am sure he was fed up with me too. I was outside on the balcony watching the traffic go by, kids playing, people chatting, and the sun on my face. I was thinking about our marriage and wondering why I have put up with all the junk that we put each other through. I was so angry at him and kept finding more reasons to leave. I was putting all the blame on him because of course, it was all his fault. LOL. 

Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was not even upset with Dion, rather, I have consumed myself with the insecurity of rejection. 

The idea of rejection, to be left, drives me to be irrational at times. For thirty years, I have focused my energy on not being left or abandoned. I have not truly focused on my marriage for the joy of having a partner for life and all the goodness that God created for our matrimony.  Up until now, I had an unconscious desire to sabotage my marriage and relationship with my husband.

Stay with me- I know this sounds just horrible, but I think it is important. 

I watched a movie and the character was a professor playing a game of chess with a student. She said something that came to mind the other day. She said that she won because of her opponent’s mindset of “playing to not lose.” There is a difference in playing to win and playing to not lose- that is exactly what I have been doing for thirty years! I was motivated in my marriage to not get a divorce and all the while, I should have had a mindset to be married. I need to play to win not to lose my marriage. I hope this makes sense to someone reading this. I will elaborate more if not. 

My mindset and my behavior regarding my marriage were subconsciously fighting for my marriage to not end, and that is not what God wants for me or anyone. He wants us to embrace love, forgiveness, and grace so that our marriages will be strong and intimate. He wants us to be focused on Him so that through Him, we experience unconditional love with our spouses and focus on being married. He wants us to thrive in our marriages, not just survive through it. 

I realize now that I was playing to not lose in my marriage (and by the way, I know marriage is not a game.) If we play games in our marriages that means that someone has to lose, and in a marriage, if you do what I have done for the last thirty years, you’ve already lost. 

The good news is that God is forgiving and if we listen well enough, we can restore and reset our mindset to make our marriages better. Be in it to win it with no other options. Do not be in your marriage with a mindset to lose it. 

gena2Some say that the longest sentence in the world is “I do.” This is an implicit testament of society’s view of what marriage is- a jail sentence for life. There is a negative connotation of loss of freedom or an option for parole or something. We joke about marriage quite often, but the truth is that marriage should not be taken lightly and we should all seek God’s guidance and adhere to His model of love and the sanctity of marriage as a covenant.

When I got married at the age of nineteen, I did not understand that it was a covenant, not a contract. Contracts can be broken, come with terms, and eventually expire. So all these years, I functioned within my marriage with an expectancy of expiration and my insecurities of rejection drove this idea that I would be rejected eventually. Then, my stubborn self fought to not lose. Aye chihuahua. I do not know how we got this far with that kind of mindset. Praise God that He did not give up on our marriage and has shown us that He is the center of marriage.

Since my realization, I actually feel lighter. The burden of not losing has been lifted and God has shown me a better way to navigate through this pandemic with my spouse. My lens has been wiped clean and I see all the goodness of my partner and I have been able to appreciate him and the fact that we will recover from our old ways of thinking in terms of our marriage. 

gena3It is my hope that all the married people in our church community can stop and reflect on our marriages and see how we can take advantage of the stay-at-home orders. If you are struggling or need resources to sustain in your marriage (Mosaic Church understands that we all need support, tools, and resources to work on ourselves and our marriages), we have a marriage coach available and she is awesome! I recommend that you connect with her soon! 

Do not waste time being angry, trying to have the last word, or live with an expectation to NOT LOSE your marriage. Instead, expect to be champions within your marriage. It really is a simple shift to your mindset. The journey won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. Focus on the things that your spouse does right, consider what you can do better, offer more grace than you receive, reach out to God to give you wisdom, and remember that our marriages are a covenant that will withstand the storm (or in this case, the pandemic). 

Love and light to you all. We will get through this. God is with us and is using these unprecedented times to redirect our priorities, relationships, and our lives for the better! Faith, family, and then everything else should be our priorities and in that exact order. God did not put the coronavirus in our place, but He will be glorified and He will use the circumstance to make us all better people and to have better marriages! 



Rest Assured–Guest Blog Post by Patty Schulz


These are indeed troubled times.

For the past few weeks I feel like I am living in the place between what I remember as my “normal” life and what feels like the zombie apocalypse. 

A couple of weeks ago I was at work. Just another normal day. Well, almost normal. We knew about COVID-19 and that it was a threat – in China. Not here, in Colorado! Around lunch time we were informed that we were to grab what we needed to work remotely and that starting at 5 p.m. we would no longer be allowed back to our place of work. Ok. Well what does this mean? How long will we be working remotely? Will it be a couple of days? Till the end of next week?

I am a planner…

I need a plan…

I need details…

I grabbed what I could but as each day passes I realize that I didn’t understand the severity of the situation. Every week it seems like the stay at home order is being extended and there is more uncertainty instead of answers. 

Families with school age children are having to adjust to homeschooling and having their kids home .. ALL OF THE TIME. College students expecting to finish up the semester have so many questions. Couples are spending all of their time together and it is putting a strain on relationships. Many good people have lost their jobs and our economy is impacted. Cases of COVID-19 are soaring and the death toll rises. As someone who suffers from anxiety and PTSD I have to admit that I was struggling. What is happening? What is the truth? When will this end and when will we be allowed to go back to our normal lives? Stories on the news and social media only serve to make me feel more anxious as there seems to be no end in sight. 

Thankfully I know the secret to all of this:  trust in the Lord and rest, assured.

Proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6 give us a simple instruction for every situation:

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Along with Proverbs 3:5 & 6, the two word phrase “rest assured” has been on my heart. 

  • The definition of the word “rest” is to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. 
  • The word “assured” means confident, certain, secure and guaranteed.rest-assured-logo

Many of us have been forced to cease work … or at least cease work as we know it. Maybe God wants us to refresh ourselves, recover our strength in Him?

Today as I was looking out the window and reflecting on God’s power and His many names I felt assured. Confident, certain, secure and guaranteed that God is in control, He is my provider, and He will see us through this historical time. So maybe we don’t need to understand it, just trust. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Pray about everything and He will give you peace in this storm. 

Stay strong family. Rest, assured that God is still in control and that He loves you!

What To Do?—Guest Blog Post by Kathy Staley

Today is Day 9 of Greg’s Corona Virus. Our doctor/friend said if he can make it to Day 10 FB_IMG_1585592477765without worsening, he is probably safe…Today is also roughly Day 15 of this crisis, from the day it began affecting our daily lives. President Trump has now announced that wehave at least another month of this incarceration, self-isolation–of this stay-at-home routine.

My spirits lag. I am not sick. I don’t have kids to educate or keep entertained. I can’t work. But, I get it. Who wants a home health provider married to a Corona-infected husband going to homes and spreading the fun? I miss the structure. I miss my family, friends, and church. I miss Rancho Allegre.

My dilemma is; how do I fill the hours of the day? How do I use this Day 15 productively? Let me tell you what I have already done. I’ve already made bread and cookies, sent games to neighbor kids, and written cards to elderly friends isolated in nursing facilities. Now what? I can’t very well keep baking the neighbors bread and, as much as I love to cook,  there are only two of us here and one of us is already eating too much. (Wonder how the neighbors would like ribs in a Crockpot?).
IMG_3160I walk.
I pray.
I text.
I call.
I encourage when I can.
And I cry out to the Lord to make my days fruitful for His kingdom.
What else can I do? I pray that I not waste these days. Am I doing enough?Every day is one day closer to the pandemic being over, but it is also one day closer to our lives being over.
Psalm 90:12 “God, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Teach us how short our life is so we use each day well.”
I look at Jesus.
He made bread too, so I figure that is valuable.
He tended the sick.
He interacted with friends and hurting people.
He did it up close up whereas other than my husband I need to use phone and the postal service.
Surely, the point is loving connection, regardless of the mode used.
But even Jesus wasn’t busy all the time. He took off by Himself to pray and recharge. 
Could it be that there is just as much value in the quiet as there is in the busy?
This must be true. So my prayer is God’s leading in things I can do to be productive. Ways to show His love to others,  but also that He will show me how to use the quiet productively as well…ways to love on Him and be loved in return.  Quiet and boredom need not be the same thing. I think I will change my thinking to “what new adventures can I find, what joys can I see in the quiet moments of my days? What gentle whispers might I catch wind of?” Clearly, experiencing the Presence of Jesus and hearing His voice has to be on the very top of the Valuable list.
I want that.

Finding God in All of This–Guest Blog Post by Gena Duran

With all the chaos going on in the world, it can become overwhelming, especially if your heart and mind are filled with fear. It is hard to ignore all of the news, social media, and conversations about all of this. Every which way we look, there is fear lingering in all corners of every space. But it does not have to be that way. Considering all the talent that walks through the doors of our church, there are many that have reached out to try to find a way to bring comfort and to remind us all that God will be glorified through all of this. We, at Greeley Mosaic Church, want to offer you space of calm, humor and God’s word, as we all (as a family) navigate through the current situation. 

We understand that it is hectic, to say the least. It is easy to succumb to the spirit of fear concerning the pandemic we are facing. There is uncertainty in the air that is literally making it hard to breathe. We want to support you in any way we can and offer too, our prayers, our resources, and our ability to see the light of God in all of this.  

One of the ways we will offer a space of calm is to share our own journeys -utilizing words of encouragement and God’s goodness.  We offer messages that we hope are relatable and inspiring to change the view to which many of us are looking, and remove the spirit of fear.  

Hello! I am Gena Duran. I am excited to participate in the effort of bringing us all tempFileForShare_20200329-164352_75446125039342together through blogging and online conversation.  For those of you that know me, you know that I have a lot to say…basically about anything- so I thought that I would use this time of quarantine to focus on the things that God has been pushing me to do-like writing more and sharing with you the experiences, experiments, and entertainment that I will take on while in this stay-at-home time. 

We anticipate there will continue to be an uncertainty of so many things; however, it is my hope that while I share my own vulnerability through this, that we can connect and realize God’s grace more so than anything. 

The last couple of weeks, when the news of the COV-19 was unfolding on the news and basically all social media outlets, it was was very overwhelming and frightening. Everywhere we turn, there is more discouraging news and uncertainty than ever. I admit that at first, I too felt anxiety in the first couple of days. Then, I was reminded of a recent church service that Pastor Angel shared the spirit of fear and how the spirit of fear is not of God. We learned how the spirit of fear is meant to bring harm to us, to take us away from God’s blessings and the purpose that we all have given by God. Plain and simple- fear is a liar! If you have not watched or heard the message that Pastor Angel spoke about the spirit of fear, I highly recommend you do so soon! 

Thinking about this, I started to focus on God’s design for us all-He designed our bodies to heal naturally by creating the very touch of another person, like a warm embrace to send messages to our brain to help us heal from pain and sadness, creating a joyous element of peace and calm-even if for that one minute that someone embraces us. We are designed to interact with and touch one another. There is more to the scientific wording, but I am not equipped to use the terminology, but you get my point. 

The pandemic is real, the guidelines set in place because of the virus are real-there is no doubt about that; however, this virus is a deterrent. It is causing fear all over the world, it is literally making us all remove ourselves from touch and interaction with one another-so what it is, is a spirit of fear. The good news is that God will be glorified through all of this. He will show us all the way to come closer to Him.

For example, I have made excuses for many years to not do the things that I know God has nudged me to do. My excuses include not having time, not have the energy, not enough money, and not enough of worldly expectations. Because of the current situation that we are all facing, my excuses have been removed. 

With that said, I have decided to take advantage of being self quarantined and not working at this time. Some of the ways that I am going to utilize the cards we have been dealt with include me starting to do and see through some of those things that God has asked me to do. For starters, I am going to write, workout, and spend time with my family-real quality time. You know what I am talking about- actually to be present, participating and praying. What God wants for all of us, is to go back to the basics: FAITH, FAMILY, and then, everything else. 


In the next few weeks, I hope to share with you short videos of what we are doing here in la casa de Duran. I will post spirit-lifting thoughts and how I am growing in my relationship with the Lord.  Our intent is to make this time fun, a place to grow spiritually, and an opportunity to connect to you all during this time. 

I have set forth some goals to work on and I am sharing with you so that you can hold me accountable and to perhaps, inspire you to create some goals too. 

  • Workout every day-this This can be anything, like walking, 30 minutes of exercise using videos and other apps available.   
  • Spending more time reading the Bible-development and application of learning
  • Cook healthy meals for my family-try new recipes and share 
  • Find a location in the community to volunteer my time or talent- food banks or homeless shelter-if it is an option
  • Do lots of crafts from Pinterest – I have lots of fun pins to try out that have built up for about two years
  • Restore my marriage- actually engage in better communication and give him my full attention
  • WRITE- God has instilled in me the desire to write a book- I will write for at least an hour a day about what God has placed in my heart
  • FAMILY-engage in conversation and play with my grand babies as well as be more present in my children’s lives, and be a better daughter and sister too
  • FRIENDS-connect via social media with friends that I keep putting on the back burner

Now, my list of goals may change as something more meaningful may emerge through my quest to find the beauty of all of this; however, I will share what I am learning, what Iphoto-1490676174569-1fa40080e712 have accomplished, and whatever else comes from using the time at home. 

I know that I will be inspired by you all-if you choose to share your goals to help you navigate through all of this and how God is working in your life too.  I am excited to be a part of this journey with you and will definitely be a better person because of it. 

Make Sure to Watch Greeley Mosaic Live On Sundays! 


The Parable of the Raspberry-Guest Blog by Patty Schulz

One of the things I most enjoy in life is gardening. Although I do enjoy my rose bushes, peonies, dahlias, lilies, hydrangeas and the plethora of house plants I have, including at least 8 – 10 African violets at any given time, the gardening the most feeds my soul is growing food. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of a rural area and growing a garden for food wasn’t just a hobby it was a way of life.

A couple of summers ago the daughter of a friend of mine was working on a bee conservation project. Part of the project was to find people who would grow certain plants in their yard that would attract bees. Of course, I was all over helping out. I received an oregano plant and one very lush raspberry bush. I do know from my history of gardening that raspberries spread over time and in order to keep them from taking over your yard you need to plant them in an enclosed bed. I just happened to have a 4 x 6 bed of dirt just waiting for the right plant.

Over the past 2 growing seasons I have watched the raspberries spread and produce delicious fruit. Every day when I get home from work I go out to my little berry patch and have my snack of fresh berries. A few weeks ago, I was actually struck with amazement at how every day when I get home there is a new fresh batch of yumminess waiting for me.

It was at that moment that I saw the comparison … aka parable … of the raspberry to the Grace of God. Every day His grace, mercy and love is new. It is abundant and fresh and waiting for us to taste it.

But what about winter? When the berries stop coming and the leaves of the plant shrivel and fall off? That is just another reminder of God’s unfailing and unending goodness.

Even though we see the season as cold and harsh those canes are still full of life. Insects that help plants grow crawl inside the canes and hibernate. When Spring comes and warms the earth, new life emerges from the canes and from the ground. Every year that the plants live through these hard seasons they come back stronger and full of more flowers and even more, sweeter fruit. My little 4 x 6 bed is overflowing with plants and they are even sprouting outside the walls that were meant to hold them in.

We all know that in the Bible, Jesus used parables to teach His followers. In the past (probably 8 years or so) Jesus has been teaching me with parables. It’s always such an amazing revelation, and I only realized lately that this is what was happening.

Unlike the fruit of the earth, God’s abundance cannot be contained… if we just plant it in our hearts, water it with His Word, and let the sunshine of His Light flood our lives.


Turning 45 with 50 Pounds Less of Me-Blog Post by Angel Flores


About four years ago I weighed 257 pounds (although I carried it well :-).  I didn’t hate myself, but I knew I wanted to live a long life so I set a goal for myself: I want to dance at my grandkids weddings.  This meant I would have to live a long time and arrive there in good shape.

This started me on a path toward working out and changing how I look at food.  Like most people, I like to eat.  On second thought: I LOVE TO EAT.  It’s so central to who we are as people and since I love hanging out with people, enjoying company over a great meal makes the experience even better.  So in all of that hanging out, I packed on some pounds.

Sometimes the thing you want MOST will require you to give up something you like A LOT.  

Thankfully I didn’t have to give up social eating, I just had to change the way I did it.  I started doing Weight Watchers on my phone, got serious about working out and learned what it meant to stop eating when I was full.  That might sound funny to some, but I regularly ate until I was stuffed (hey I’m competitive). Now I haven’t been in full fitness mode for the whole last four years.  It’s been a journey and sometimes I get serious about it, other times I slack off and plateau.  In January I was 223 pounds.  I had plateaued there for a while between 218 and 222.

So in January at my church, we each chose “one word” for the year.  A single word to provide focus and direction for the year and mine was “press”. Part of that “press” for me was to choose a physical goal for myself so I chose to enter a jiu-jitsu tournament in May. I had never done jiu-jitsu before but that’s another story.  I decided to enter in the 200 pound weight class so I had about 4 ½ months to drop 22 pounds.

The reason I’m boring you with all of this is because yesterday was a milestone for me in a couple of ways:

1.     I turned 45 years old. Man, I have had a blessed life, I have a beautiful wife and some amazing kids.  I am surrounded by great friends and family, I pastor a great church and I have more than I’ve ever deserved.  I also have many friends who didn’t make it 45 times around the sun so I don’t take a single day for granted.  I’m happy to turn 45.

2.     I weighed in at 207 pounds.  That puts me at 50 pounds lost since I began this journey.  I know I still have a way to go, but I’m glad to be where I’m at today.

This whole fitness thing is a journey.  For what it’s worth, here are a couple of things I’ve learned:

1.     This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Make small changes that you can sustain over time.  Next time you go to the grocery store, buy a few healthy things you can munch on when you watch TV.  Start out with some kind of exercise you enjoy.  Don’t kill yourself, just focus on a small sustainable change.  If you change a little everyday, over time that equals a lot.

2.     Don’t beat yourself up.  You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made.  Just accept it and move on, don’t dwell on it.  Don’t revisit it.  From here on out, you will make better choices, not just for you but for your spouse, for your kids.  Decide you will dance at your grandkids weddings (maybe even on the bar!)

3.     You’re probably not exhausted, you’re just uncomfortable.  If you’re not used to exercising at all, one walk around the block will seem exhausting. But chances are: you’re not exhausted, you’re just uncomfortable.  When you’re uncomfortable, you have a choice to make: will I quit or will I push past this, even just a little?  Exhaustion is rare, but being uncomfortable is going to happen, EVERY WORKOUT.  So learn what that feels like and push a little past it every time.  Over time you will find that line moves as you get in better shape.

I hope this encourages somebody.  Thanks for reading, talk to you soon.

When It “Pains” It Pours-Dealing With Grief Overload–Guest Blog Post by Patty Schulz

In the time frame between December 2015 until just last week, (August 2018) the amount of loss in my world has been totally overwhelming.

It started with two of my elderly uncles who passed away within a week of each other between Christmas and New Year’s. They were both in nursing homes and it wasn’t a shock, but it was certainly stressful for my dad who lost his last two living brothers within a week of each other. Dad is the youngest of nine children and is now down to only one sister and himself living from his family.

A little over two months later, in the beginning of March 2016, my younger brother passed away after struggling with alcoholism for many years. He was only 47 years old at the time and left behind three children, all in their 20’s, to grieve the loss of their father. Not to mention my mom losing her son, my dad losing his son (while he was still grieving the loss of his brothers and my brother), and myself losing our baby brother and third musketeer.

In November of 2016 my husband’s cousin, who was only 21, passed away after a battle with cancer. It was a tragic loss for this young lady to be taken from us so soon. She was a kind, beautiful girl who had so much to live for.

Then, a few months later, I don’t remember the exact date…almost a blur at this point… my husband’s grandpa passed away after a short battle with cancer. Grandpa was in his 90’s but had been healthy as a horse until only a short time before he passed. I remember going to the grocery store and there was grandpa at the self-check-out trying to figure it out. So, his funeral was sometime in 2017 but, like I said, the barrage of death and grieving had become such a blur I don’t actually remember the month.

I’m sorry grandpa.

Last Christmas, my husband’s brother was in the hospital again, after four and a half years of fighting multiple myeloma. Cancer, again. He was in the hospital for a few days and while we were visiting him he let us know that the doctors told him there was nothing else they could do. He would be starting hospice when he got home. He went home a couple of days later and that day we met with a funeral director and made his final arrangements. He was feeling alright and was with us to make all of the decisions. He cried a lot and told us that he didn’t want to die.

We prayed, we cried, we tried to laugh. The next day he passed.

Through all of this I’ve had my girlfriends to talk to, to cry with, and I don’t know what I would have done without them. Unfortunately, I now have to find out what I will do without one of them. Last Friday, August 17, 2018, one of my dear friends and the girl I could talk to about anything, passed away. As I write this I am waiting for her memorial service in a few days.

I don’t know when, or if, this season of grief will end. I know there are some days that seem normal but most do not. But, I do know that through it all God is sovereign. When my brother-in-law passed, the family was there with him and I can’t describe the feeling of peace that was in the house. God was there. God was in control.

One of the people we lost was not saved, and this one hurts the most.

Genesis 18:25 “Will not the Judge of the earth do right?” is my comfort, but I also have a new conviction to share the good news of my Savior…I hope that you will too.

Didn’t Know I’d Find You Here-Guest Post by Caiti Mondragon

It’s not easy leaving my Dad. The visit part has gotten much easier, and although I hate to say it, pretty routine.  But, leaving? I don’t think that will ever get easier.

This weekend we went to see him and on the way home I had some time to think as everyone else was fast asleep.  I was thinking of the excitement that we all experience when we visit…and then it’s time to leave and so many of the original emotions flood my mind. I get angry wondering why this happened. I get sad and feel sorry for everyone involved. I want to shut down.

I never knew I’d find myself here. I never knew I’d be the daughter of an inmate. I never knew that my kids would know what it’s like to go through security to visit a prison. I never knew I would sit in a room full of families, just like mine, visiting their loved ones. I never knew the hurt that could fill a room. I never knew the pain I would feel to hear my youngest ask why Grandpa never comes to visit us. It hurts. And, although leaving will never get any easier, there is now a peace in my heart. There are many things that I never knew I would experience in my life, but…

What I do know, is God has met me here. Every single feeling, God has felt with me. Every tear I have cried, God has wiped away. Throughout every part of this chapter of my life, He has been there right alongside me as each page has turned. It was in the darkest and saddest point in my life that I felt God more than ever. The part of my life where I found it difficult to get out of bed because I was so sad. The part of my life where I didn’t want to answer the phone because I was embarrassed. The part of my life where I was so afraid of what was going to happen to my family. He was there, and I know that now.

As I was driving and thinking, a song called “Find You Here” came on the radio and I couldn’t help but just cry and be thankful for everything He has done in my life. My Dad being sent to prison was never about me, and I’m not trying to make it be…but, going through this, God has shown me things about myself that I never even knew existed. The part of my life where I realized the importance of grace? Again, he met me there.

So, whatever storm you are going through, He is with you. It might be the last place that you’d ever think He’d be…but He’s there. You just have to look…and listen.

“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It’s not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead

And I didn’t know I’d find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace
So I’ll lift my voice and sing
You’re gonna carry us through everything
You are drawing near
You’re overwhelming all my fears, with peace

You say that I should come to You with everything I need
You’re asking me to thank You even when the pain is deep
You promise that You’ll come and meet us on the road ahead
And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad.”

Greetings to everyone.  My name is David Flores, Jr., and my wife Jana and I are members of Mosaic Church.  We have been attending Mosaic for the last 9 years.  When Jana and I met, we were both attending different churches in the Greeley area.  Then, we got married and decided to find a church together.  We thought had we found a church home that we attended for about a year, but then my brother Angel started Mosaic, and soon we found ourselves visiting on several occasions.

While still attending our home church, I knew in the bottom of my heart that one day we would be a part of my brother’s church.  While I was careful to never voice this feeling to Jana, as I was not wanting to tilt the scales in Mosaic’s favor, I decided to let Angel’s unique style be the deciding factor.  One Sunday afternoon while driving home after a service at our then home church, Jana mentioned something.  She said that while she rather enjoyed our then home church, she was beginning to prefer my brother’s services.  We spoke at length because I didn’t want the fact that he was my brother to muddy the waters because I know how important a church is to the structure of a home environment.  Soon after this discussion, we were attending Mosaic on a regular basis.  Not only is my brother a true man of God, he is a powerful and engaging speaker.

Have our lives been full of bliss since we made this decision? No. We are normal people who have normal problems just like anyone in our situation.  To make matters worse, we are a true example of the new American family.  We are a blended family of his, hers and ours together. Between the two of us, we have 7 children.  Our lives are full of trials and tribulations which at times can create an organized chaos that has become our new normal.

Growing up in a Christian home, I was more accustomed to this “Mosaic” style of church.  Jana on the other hand did not grow up in the church.  Her family attended church once a year on Easter Sunday.  When we met, she was Catholic, which was a fulfilment of her first marriage which obviously ended in divorce.  So, finding a church was somewhat challenging.  Switching after only a year together proved to be quite another animal.

While I do not consider myself a social butterfly, I do find it rather easy to engage in conversation at Mosaic. Whether that person is a friend or a stranger, walking up to someone and striking up a conversation is easy.  Jana always teases me when I get done making rounds at church by saying, “Are you done shaking hands and kissing babies?” Deep down inside, I don’t do it for me. I do it to find that one person who finds it difficult to do this on their own.  In my humble opinion, this (in a way) forces other people to come out of their shyness shell.

In 2016, I decided that we needed to get more involved in the Mosaic family.  I wanted Jana to feel at home in our new church.  Typically, when service was over, we mingled just a bit.  What I began to realize was that we were mingling with just the members of my family. Why? Because Jana found it difficult to make new friends.  She needed to come out of her own shell.  What better way to get involved than to sign up for a Connect Group?  Once again, I didn’t do this for my sake, I did it purposely to get Jana to meet other people.  We signed up for our first Connect group which met on Monday nights at a couple’s home.  They opened their home to couples as well as their children for a weekly potluck and a few hours of games and light conversation.

Jana began making new acquaintances and more importantly, friends within the Mosaic circle.  This proved to be so successful that we agreed to open our own home and offered the same thing for couples and their children the following semester.  Jana is not only finding her “friend” circle growing, she also decided to begin using her natural talents (she is a teacher) to begin helping in the children’s church area as a Sunday School Teacher.  You can call me the ultimate Puppet Master.

DavidfloresChances are, your story is much different than ours, but that doesn’t matter. We want you to become a part of this as well.  I’d like to invite you to attend a service and look around.  We are a unique community of believers.  Are we perfect? The simple answer to that question is a resounding NO.  We are a body of people looking for that small fulfillment that is missing from each one of our lives.  In the coming weeks, we will begin our signups for our Fall Connect Groups.  Look around at what each table is offering.  Maybe you’d like to join a group that, like us, is offering a potluck dinner and an evening of conversation.  Someone may be offering a bible study group to have coffee and getting into God’s word.  Perhaps you might even enjoy joining a group of men AND or women who enjoy watching mixed martial arts-Wings, pizza, and combat fighting.  You never know what each table has to offer.  Take a chance and sign up.  You never know… you may end up enjoying it so much that like Jana and I, you may open your home for the next semester.

We are a people of doubters and we have struggles just like everyone else.  While it may appear that we have everything in order, we don’t.  We fall short each day.  The truth about the human condition is that nobody is perfect.  Nobody is flawless.  Nobody is faultless.  We are all sinners who continue to sin and fall victim to this insane world that we live in.  So, don’t let the smoke and mirrors of our lives fool you that we are perfect and untouchable.  We are nobody special. We just wear good makeup (well not really because I don’t, but you get my drift).  Once again, who are we?

We are people who try to make this community better each day.  We are retail workers, teachers, electricians, principals, administrators, plumbers, painters, bankers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, roofers, cementers, brick layers, housewives, househusbands, full-time students, cake makers, musicians, business owners, probation officers, leaders of the community, city employees, county employees, state employees, insurance agents, estimators, farmers, fence builders, welders, bull riders, car salesmen, oil workers, gas workers, retired persons and plenty other occupations that are too numerous to mention.  In other words, we are you. Your spouse. Your children. Your parents. Your family.  Come be a part of a growing community with the one goal of making each other a better person.

While I may not make a hole in one every time I play golf, if I can land on the green, I know I am close.  Once again, my name is David Flores, Jr.  Come visit us and make sure to come shake my hand and tell me your name.  Oh, and feel free to invite me to lunch!!

We Found a Church