In 2003, I lived in Chicago. My dad in Colorado told me about this place he thought I’d like called Shuga’s (click here to see the beginnings of Shuga’s, opened 2001).

He told me about a plucky young gal named Alexis who opened this establishment with recipes she and her mom had collected.

He was right. This restaurant has a permanent place in my heart. In 2018, Shuga’s is going on 17 years. Thanks for being so consistently quirky and fun and full of life! Way to go, Alexis! Dad passed away in 2010, but he would be proud!

Almond Butter Cake

On a day when Dad called me at work and told me to stop by and meet him at Shuga’s on my way home

The origami cranes

On this lovely October day with my sister, reminiscing and wishing dad were here to meet us

Keep Your Love ON!

Things said in a social setting recently were inappropriate and made me feel uneasy. Keeping silent seemed as deceitful as straight out lying. So, I sucked it up and offered my feedback.

We can either cultivate connection or create distance in relationships.

It occurs to me that guardedness and self-protection (two things I might admit to on a good day!) are distancing behaviors too. My job is to not bury feedback out of fear of rejection or embarrassment but to be honest with myself and possibly others out of love…and the desire for wholeness and healing.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:9-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

Empty Words

A man can say he considers women to be equal in dignity and worth/value in one breath. This statement gathers no support from his rating and ranking women by their looks, his failing to be present to the women in the room, or his inability to see how women are or are not wonderful in a range of ways. The attractiveness of women to men is a curious thing. On one hand, it can draw men and women together. On the other hand, it can drive them apart.

And, all the while, a man can speak words that appear hollow and empty compared to his actions. Lord, have mercy on us. Forgive us our sins and give us grace to move out of patterns of isolation.

Live Local

Be a person. Yes. A living, breathing, flesh & blood, whole person. But be a conscious consumer, too. Tonight, I made a tough decision to do whatever I can to shop & buy locally. Why is this hard? Well—it is 102 degrees. To shop local and support local business, I opted to walk around Chandler AZ historic district, my local downtown. I opted to reconnect with the gal who gave me a sample last week. I chose to look and see what construction and businesses are going up and coming down in my neighborhood. It may be a small contribution to the local economy, but my just-under-$4 watermelon mint lemonade tonight was intentional and pre-meditated. The alternative, of course, was the air conditioned mall.


We live in a society that thrives on hunger and desire. Countless times a day we find ourselves wanting this or that thing. Wanting what we don’t have is not new to the human race.In the ten commandments for right living given by God to the ancient Hebrews, the tenth one says: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife (or husband), servants (or staff or followers), livestock (or means of making a living), or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Exodus 20:17 in my words). But I am going to tell you what my neighbor has that I desire. I am envious of those who always have someone to go halfsies with when eating out.

  • First, sharing a meal with someone is an opportunity for blessing in and of itself.
  • Second, eating out is expensive (it’s tricky being a single gal on a budget. I need to watch my expenses, but I also love being with others!).
  • Third, chatting and connecting really satisfies much of the real hunger, and folks who split eat half as much!

It’s important that none of the above take a place in front of God in my heart. I also sense this is a moment for guarding and reserving space in my heart for that person to go halfsies with. So, here’s what this single gal on a budget is going to do–go halfsies with myself, for now. No need to be envious of others. Better to make a plan, and, when given the opportunity, welcome others to the sacred table to be, eat, and drink deeply. And, I will always have great leftovers for lunch!