Today's My Birthday

My happy place. Perhaps where I see and hear God better than anywhere else.

My happy place. Perhaps where I see and hear God better than anywhere else.

Today I turn 38 years old. I love my birthday. I love the grace of another year of life lived. I love the messages and phone calls from dear friends, presents, fancy dinners, and champagne. I love being celebrated. I love celebrating the life I get to live.

Celebrating 16 years as a team!

Celebrating 16 years as a team!

This year, in particular, I'm bubbled over with gratitude. I have an adoring husband and our love seems to get better with every year (just celebrated 16 years of marriage!). Our three kids are more fun than ever before. They are real little people who can shower themselves (praise Jesus!), help carry in groceries, and say the sweetest things - unprompted! I am the luckiest girl in the world with my circle of friends - women and men who know me deeply and love me toward my best self. I have a unfair number of mentors who see me, push me, call out the truth in me. I want to be like them when I grow up and they want me to be the best version of myself. #winning I have work that I LOVE to do. Even today, on my birthday when I'm away from my Fav Four, I'm traveling doing work that matters, that I'm good at, that I love. 

And just this last month our family went #backtothefuture in a #socalorbust move to our beloved Southern California. We've settled in our miracle home (still need to hang pictures to make this home truly cozy) and are playing at the pool nearly every day. We're reconnecting with friends who feel like family, sharing meals, watching our kids play like no time has passed, telling stories, drinking wine, laughing and hugging with the deepest gratitude.

In the words of one of my mentors, "CA has never let me down one day." Nancy and I met for an obscenely early breakfast exactly a year ago, when moving to CA wasn't even on the radar. Since she shared my story of feeling like a stranger in a foreign land, I asked her if she was happy to live in CA after her exile. She blurted out between sips of tea, "CA has never let me down one day!" I burst into tears. Me neither. Since we entered the state on I-40 something deep and important clicked back into place in our souls. We've come home. 

Someone pinch me! HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY?!?!

I'm grateful for life and breath. I'm grateful for CA sun and water. I'm grateful to be known and loved. I'm grateful for the sale of our IN home which enabled us to move here. I'm grateful for family who supports us even in the midst of their loss. I'm grateful for coffee in the morning and wine at night. I'm grateful for Anthropology and Korean food and the beach and the Spectrum and doTERRA essential oils and cultural diversity.

I'm grateful for all the growth in my life this last year. I pushed myself to grow this year more than most others. And I feel the benefits today. I have some really tired muscles that need to be rested, but I'm also re-invigorated to rock the world.

  • I've learned to listen to my body and honor what she's telling me.
  • I've immersed myself in non-white, non-male voices this last year to better understand the cries, passions, and perspectives of those who are different from the American majority.
  • I've grown in vulnerability, especially when it comes to expressing my desires, longings, and hopes.
  • I've grown in skill and confidence in my teaching, preaching, and training. I know my value as a female preacher who has a unique voice of God.
  • I grown in my ability to be present with my Fav Four, putting the phone down more often, and looking at them in the eyes when they talk to me. 
  • I've become a better coach, walking with people to achieve what they want.

This next year I will live with greater intention, vision, hope, and contentment than ever before. I'm more committed than ever to use my voice and gifts on behalf the outcast and marginalized. My heart is set in learning about things I don't understand and didn't fit into my previous worldview or theology. I'm creating some business goals to create some freedom for our family. I will write Book #2. I will persist. 

If you’ve never had a God-sized dream that scared you half to death, then you haven’t really come to life.

If you’ve never been overwhelmed by the impossibility of your plans, then your God is too small.

If your vision isn’t perplexingly impossible, then you need to expand the radiuses of your prayer circles.

Here's to the next year of life, of being a strong warrior (EZER), of relaxing into our home, of becoming a better version of who I was created to be!

Thanks for being a part of the journey. It's an honor to share life with you. XOOX


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Adios 2016: Blessings as New Year's Comes

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 

That about sums up many of my thoughts for this past year. I've been very honest about my struggles and challenges with this year. But with every "hard" there are buckets of amazing, wonderful, and little lights. Life seems to be about holding the tensions of it all and remaining true to who you are and tenaciously contributing for the betterment of the world.

As I gleefully say ADIOS to 2016, I'm mindful of the goodness that this year also held. In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Blessings in 2016...

  1. My Man. Life together is the sweetest, safest, and sassiest part of my life. Brian is the yin to my yang and so very good for me. Even when we fight and disagree, he's my safety net and challenger to move forward. Celebrating 15 years of marriage with him this year was the ultimate sweetness. He really is the best man I've ever known.
  2. Our Babes. As they get older I find myself a better mom. Babies and toddlers are super cute but older kiddos are more my jam. Conversations that can include jokes and multisyllabic  words are more life-giving for me. Less naps and more energy makes for more fun as we get to play, discover, and explore a little more together. 
  3. Glimmers of Neighborhood Diversity. We've struck friendships with neighbors who are Vietnamese, Indian, and Rwandan. Their culture, accents, and global perspectives have been water to our parched souls. Asher's closest buddy is Muadh and their home smells like a slice of curried heaven. Huy stopped over on Christmas with a gift, card, and a list of "decent" Asian restaurants in town. Our Rwandan neighbors have shared just a bit of African connection with our Ethiopians and their teenage daughter has offered to babysit. Heaven on earth. This past year has deepened my commitment and desire to build relationships with those who are different from me. These friends help me see God, the world, and myself so much better. 
  4. Being a Volunteer in Youth Ministry. For nearly 20 years I was a paid leader in the church, but for the last year I've been a volunteer small group leader to a group of 8th grade girls at our church and it has been surprisingly freeing. Even on the Sunday afternoons when I'd rather take a nap on the couch, I come home from being with my girls energized and inspired. Volunteering has been a breath of fresh air for my soul.
  5. Neighbors of Color. We've sparked friendships with a few neighbors with different accents, traditions, cultures, and foods and my heart has been crazy grateful. God knew that we needed our Vietnamese, Rwandan, and Indian neighbors so very much. 
  6. The "No's". There were a lot of "no's" - or at least "not yet's" - this past year. And while every one stung or broke our hearts, we can see some of the WHY NOT. The "no's" are teaching us steadfastness when we want to run or fight. I'm re-learning the blessing of actively waiting and finding contentment even when my heart is restless.
  7. doTERRA Essential Oils. This may sound crazy but as I've been digging into the healing and wholeness benefits of nature's medicine, I've been awed by the complexity of creation. Almost 6 years we were gifted with our first diffuser and set of oils and there's been no going back. This past I intensified my learning journey and we've been using a bunch of oils for health, mood, focus, energy, relaxation and anything else in between this past year. I'm ridiculously grateful for how they've improved our family's quality of life!!
  8. The Best Friends. From the divine gift of a couple new local girlfriends who feel like lifelong friends to friends who've known me my entire adult life to friends who faithfully pray for our family to friends who are more like family, this year has been filled with trips and times to be together. Tears and belly laughter, secrets and hopes, vulnerable confessions and bold proclamations, working hard and playing hard together...these describe the sanctity of my friends. They are the best.
  9. Gift of Travel. It's been an absolute gift to travel as much as I did this year ... and get paid for it! Being able to hop on a plane and see a different climate, culture, and community has fueled me like I can hardly explain. This year has affirmed a hunch that travel is actually a deeply held value in my bones. I have fallen more in love with my Father's world and being able to be a local in another city reminds me that "home" really is where meaningful relationships are. 
  10. Hope. In the midst of all the hard, I hold on to hope in Jesus. What would we do without hope? Some days I collapse and am desperate for a do over. Hope reminds me that there are new mercies available to me. Hope pulls me toward what's not yet so I don't settle with the reality of today. Hope taps on my shoulder and begs me not to stay where I am today but to move to a better place tomorrow. Hope has challenged me this year not to give up.

As 2016 comes to a close, what blessings can you capture and savor? Especially when life has sucker punched you, it's important to cultivate gratitude. I'd rather be a grateful person carrying a hard load than an ungrateful person with loads of unappreciated gifts. 

As 2017 knocks on our door this evening, make some decisions about who you want to become this year and what you'll contribute to the world around you. God knows, we could all use kinder, more generous, wildly courageous, deeper loving, freely themselves, and more peaceful people in our world. Let's make 2017 that kind of year.

May it begin with me. Happy New Year!!


As the late Harry Caray might have said,
"It might be ... It could be ... IT IS!"

I can hardly believe it!
The Chicago Cubs are the World Series Champions!!!!!!!

It was unquestionably the best baseball game in history! Brian and I stifled screams and yelps as the kiddos slept. For nearly 4 hours our hearts skipped enough beats to kill us. Our stomach was in knots and we felt like we might throw up at times. We stayed up until nearly 1am, through a myriad of pitching changes (Hendricks and Lester were confusing ones), a 17-minute rain delay at the end of the 9th inning, and a yo-yo of scoring changes to see the Cubs break the 108 year old curse and win the World Series in game 7 in Cleveland! The alarm went off less than 5 hours later to get our kiddos off to school on time. We are exhausted and it was totally worth it.



This morning I called my 85 year-old Gramps, a lifelong Cubs fan. He was on Cloud 9. I asked him, "Did you ever think you'd see the day when the Cubs won the world series?!?" Immediately he bursted out, "NO!" He went on to tell me how grateful he was to see the game AND watch it with 3 generations of his family. Just a few hours before the game, he expected to watch the game alone. My Uncle Doug (a Cards fan, boo!) and Granny were supposed to be on a plane and their flight was cancelled last minute due to Chicago weather! Then, my cousin, Casey, (also a Cards fan...we have a family breakdown in baseball) drove hours to surprise my Gramps so he wouldn't have to watch the game alone. AND YET, Gramps was able to share the best sports night of his long life with his wife, son, and grandson.

Divine. Epic. 

The whole thing is epic.

We've waited a long time, friends. Time to buy all the newspapers and World Series gear and share all the memes and celebrate for the next year. For now, I need a third cup of coffee!

Don’t curse the rain—it might just be a divine delay!
— Keith Robinson, my Slingshot co-worker

April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.