Moving from Scarcity to Abundance

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Last month I wrote about how Scarcity is a Shame Conversation and it generated a lot of feedback and "me too" confessions. It seems like a lot of us struggle with that conversation but don't know how to change it. The time is now to start a new conversation in our minds and out loud to change the conversation to one of abundance. While I am still on a journey to being a person of abundance, I want to extend ideas of how I've moved toward abundance in my life. These practices (and I'm sure others) have propelled me toward an abundance mentality. What are your practices?


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I remember a season several years ago that caused some deep, deep pain in my life. The ache the loss caused was visceral and palpable. My spiritual director advised me that my prescription was radical self-care and that I needed to surround myself with beauty so I could see the potential of what was beyond me. Scarcity is about lack, not enough. Beauty calls out that there is so much life all around us. Nature is where I see it most clearly. 

Today I was battling that old scarcity mentality, so I took a walk. Before I would've let the "not enough" take me out for the day. No more! I walked around our neighborhood for over an hour, capturing images of beauty that reminded me of this great big world and all that's available for me, with me, and toward me. Beauty redirects my perspective to what's more for me, around me, within me, and beyond me.


Beauty leads me to gratitude, too! Beauty compels gratitude. When I want to drown my worries in "not enough", worst-case-scenario thinking, I've disciplined my soul to express gratitude. Saying "thank you" for gifts and acts of service has been a value for ages, but the discipline of gratitude is re-wiring my brain for abundance. Everyday I rehearse what I'm grateful for...

  • I'm grateful for my man who loves me and is committed to partnership in every area of life.
  • I'm thankful for the growth and wellness of 3 miracle babies.
  • I'm thankful for work that I love.
  • I'm grateful for a home in a neighborhood that's absolutely stunning.
  • I'm grateful we live in our dream location.
  • I'm grateful for natural solutions for my body, mind, and spirit.
  • I'm thankful for the view outside my living room and kitchen.
  • I'm grateful for friends who reach out and ask how I'm doing. 
  • I'm thankful for my home team and that they know the best and worst of who I am.
  • I'm grateful for coffee in the morning and wine at night.

...and the gratitude list goes on and on. I will speak my gratitude list for as long as I need until my mentality shifts from lack to fullness. I will practice thankfulness until my anxiety and anger are transformed into an overflowing heart.  


Gratitude moves me into contentment for what I have right now. The secret of being content is knowing you have all you need in this moment to be sustained. The crazy thing about scarcity is that it causes you to acquire more, even when you can't afford it. Debt is often about scarcity in my experience. Hurriedness is about a lack of time instead of doing what you can do with the time and energy given to you. Contentment flips the conversation. It moves me into "I'm ok with what I have right now." It doesn't remove the longing for more and it certainly doesn't cause you to settle, but it doesn't force what can't be afforded in time, money, or energy right now. Contentment believes it will come at the right time and there's work you need to do before you get there. Shame sinisterly says, "You are not enough. You are not worthy. You do not have enough and you should get more." Contentment whispers, "You are enough just as you are." Breathe.

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I noticed a pattern in my life of being attracted to others who have a scarcity mentality. Scarcity attracts scarcity. I began paying attention to their language and posture. It usually revealed itself in their language of there not being enough (business, money, opportunities, time, whatever!) for everyone. They needed to hold on to what was "theirs" (and some of what wasn't!) in an almost possessive and compulsive way. They had to collect and preserve what had been given to them out of fear that it may be taken away.

Re-training my mentality has required me listening to, following, and learning from those who are abundantly full in their lives. This doesn't mean rich people only in a financial capacity. Abundant people are rich in their souls. They don't see a law of diminishing returns, but of grace creating more life. I've committed myself to posturing myself to run toward those voices and cut out voices that reinforce the dangerous perspective of "what's mine is mine". Abundance attracts abundance.


When you are free, you can be generous in your whole life. Money is a tool to bless others and make the world a better place. The best way through financial scarcity is to give away what's only yours to steward anyway! Your time is to be stewarded to invest in another's life. Don't believe you have enough time in your day? Prioritize what you must do and watch it get done. The gifts that have been given to you are to be shared with the world and multiplied beyond what they could be on their own. Generosity opens your hands and allows you to let go. 


This is a new one for me! Living full of abundance means honoring the vision and dreams in my bones and letting them out. For too long I've held back in life and leadership. I've contained what I dream as possible within me and lived too safe. Scarcity has lied to me that it's not possible. Creating my vision board reminds me what's possible and calls it out of me. 

My Current Vision Board (as of April 2018)

My Current Vision Board (as of April 2018)


I've realized that some of my scarcity thinking is because of hurt others have caused me. It's caused me to hunker down, defend what's mine, protect what I have, instead of run for what's possible. My lack of forgiveness for offenders has been like drinking poison and expecting them to die. Forgiveness is more for me than it is for them. Forgiveness is about letting go of what was so I'm open to receive what can be. Forgiving another's offenses offers fullness of life because I have also been forgiven beyond what I deserve.


What was true yesterday doesn't have to repeat itself tomorrow - bad relationships, debt, unsatisfying jobs, tyranny of the urgent. Way too often we look back in our lives as the way forward, instead of learning from the past and using it as a catalyst to create the life we want to life today and tomorrow. Being a person of abundance means that we look to the future with all the trust and faith we can muster. It means telling the past that it doesn't have to repeat itself in the future.

A while back I posted a meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr about this subject. You can find it HERE.

May all these words serve you well in your own journey toward abundance. May you find yourself full of all that is and letting go of the restraints and self-limitations of the past.

May you know you are loved by a very good God who desires to give you all the goodness you are able to receive. 


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!!