Equal Sight & Value

Every year during the month of January, schools everywhere shift their social studies and history lessons to include that of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Before COVID, there were special school-wide assemblies and songs and even speech contests for children to proclaim the famous words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last!”

Because we all know that Rev. King was a minister and Bible scholar, it should be no surprise to us that a lot of his thoughts and actions are based on Biblical principles. From non-violence to pursuing peace to seeking knowledge and wisdom, it’s safe to say that this man knew Scripture.

And he knew it well. Continue reading

Right Now I’m In-Between Places

Right now, I’m in-between places.

Wait. I’m always in-between places.

In my childhood, my in-between places happened from one birthday until the next.
As a teenager, it was between the time I got my driver’s permit until I got my license.
When I graduated from high school, it was between graduation night and the day I left for college.
As a young adult, it was between the job I took that I hated at age 22 because the world said I needed a job and the job I found at age 24 that lead to a meaningful career in higher education.
As a mom, it’s been the day I discovered I was pregnant until the day I got to meet each one of my little bundles of joy.
Right now, my in-between places look like the week between Christmas and the New Year.
It’s from the moment my eldest graduated from high school three ago until the youngest graduates this spring.
It’s from the ending of my marriage and the date stamped on the divorce decree until I marry again.
It’s from March of 2020 until whenever COVID is no longer a thing. 
Continue reading

Worshipping Online All of a Sudden? Here’s Who You Should Watch

When I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, one of the things people asked me was whether or not I was really okay. I blogged about it, I shared my story with others as I was living through it, and I took advantage of the opportunity to spend more quality with the people I loved.

In this day and time, I find myself asking the people more and more whether are not they are okay…really okay. Continue reading

It Doesn’t Have the Last Say

Fear. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Worry. Despair. Isolation. Loneliness.

At any point on any given day, that’s pretty much what we’re feeling. We feel it as a nation. on our jobs, in our families…and it doesn’t feel good. When we turn on the television we’re faced with images of politicians who are ranting, people who are hoarding, and communities that are suffering as a result of a worldwide pandemic.

Yet and still, COVID-19 doesn’t have the last say. Continue reading

Hey, I’m Toni.

I’m Twilli. Or Toni. Or simply, friend.

I strive to live a life that I don’t need a vacation from. 

I first heard that quote by Rob Hill, Sr. a while ago and it has resonated with me ever since. As I look back on my life, it is true. No one should live a life they need a vacation from.

Once upon a time, I was married. We thought we were happy. On a cool spring evening more than two decades ago, we stood before God, our parents, and 175 of our closest friends to pledge our love to one another forever.

We had three children in four years. Our jobs become more and more stressful. Life happened. Eventually, we wanted to escape from our real lives and turned to people and things that we thought could make our lives better. But as with most things that begin with lies, addiction, infidelity, and distrust, the temporary pleasures only made our situation worse.

Eventually, after eight years of marriage,  our union ended. In the beginning of our separation, I thought the time apart would be brief and allow me to figure out where we were failing and re-commit to our relationship. He thought that the separation would allow him to find a woman who could love him better than I did. And he did. So we divorced.

I was devastated.

In the first year after our divorce, I quit my job, put all of our furniture in storage, and embarked on a 6-week road trip across the U.S. with the kids in order to think things through.

That road trip taught me to abandon the life that I thought I should have and embrace the life that God has planned for me.

When we returned to Texas, I decided not to work full-time, instead opting to pursue part-time opportunities that would allow me to be more available to kids — who were 5, 6, and 7 at the time. Depending on the season we were in, I’ve worked part-time and I’ve worked full-time. The kids have attended private school, public school, charter school, and homeschool. We’ve dealt with epilepsy, cancer, sprained ankles, allergic reactions, numerous colds, the flu, and Covid-19.

Through it all, God’s unchanging hand and fingerprints are visible in our story even when I didn’t think He was there.

Years later, our family found ourselves in the midst of another transition. The three kids who were once small children entered the cusp of adulthood. My ex-husband and I survived our divorce, more romantic ups and downs of our own with other people, and are content with our current lives as friends. If you were to ask any of us what got us through the years of financial crises, broken hearts, devastating illnesses, and job stress, the only answer we could give is Jesus. For all five of us, our lives didn’t change for the better until our relationships with Him changed for the better. Ironically — and this goes for all of us — when we each invited the Holy Spirit to lead our lives and committed to following His guidance, God gave us access to better people and better opportunities.

He has made and continues to make our lives better overall. 

As the kids have gotten older and I’m spending more and more time with Jesus, I have returned to my original loves of reading, writing, and managing social media. I try to make sure that every part of my life touches one of those three things, and oftentimes I can’t rest until they do.

An important part of how and what  I write is to encourage others… through inspirational social media posts, my blog, or as a writing coach for emerging authors. 

If you’re looking for encouragement with an extra dose of Jesus, you’re definitely in the right place! I’d love it if we make this connection blog official and you subscribe to receive updates in your email inbox. You can also find me on social media on TwitterInstagram, & Pinterest.

Of course, if you want to chat, you can always drop me a line at twillisbestshot@gmail.com.