Close Encounters with A Smile

Check out the recent Talk Amongst Ourselves Podcast on this topic:


They say when you are having a stressful day to put a pen or pencil in you mouth horizontally because it makes your brain think you are smiling and alleviates stress.  I know it works because I have used this tactic during my college years when I would be studying for a test and I could feel a stress headache coming on.  

From what I understand, the messages a smile sends to the brain activates the pleasure & reward mechanisms and produces feelings of happiness, tranquility and comfort. Your body feels like it just won the lottery and ready to face what ever comes your way with positivity and focus.


I have noticed over the course of my 41 years on this earth that the simplest kindest thing you could do for another person especially a stranger in passing is gaining eye contact with them then say hello (acknowledging their existence) with a smile (a gift with no expectations).

When I was in college at what is now known as University of Northwestern... This was part of the campus culture, an unspoken one, but whenever you'd pass by someone especially walking to and from class to the dorms you'd always say "Hey, how's it Going..." Or "Hello" with a smile, wether you knew that person or not. When I attended there we had under 2000 students attending so it was small enough to be close knit but yet as large as the small town in Texas I grew up in.

In the back roads of small country towns of Texas like I grew up in, there was a thing I noticed even at a 10 year old that was different from the east coast where I was born.  My father who grew up outside of Philadelphia, moved us to Texas so he could fulfill his life long dream of owning a farm in the southwest and become a cowboy.  seriously though.  My dad was the kind of guy that could talk to anyone anywhere at any time, there were no such things as strangers for Bill Martin.  I mean even wrong number calls my dad would engage with them and get to know them.

So as a little girl, my dad would take my mom, brother and I on Saturday drives and we would just drive drive drive all over the back roads between Azle, Decator, Weatherford, Peaster and Springtown just sightseeing listening to oldies music as we drove around in my Dad's pick up truck.  The thing I noticed is in Texas you would signal a driver that was coming from the opposite direction and you would raise your hand and wave with a smile.  When ever I go visit my family who still live in the area the drivers still do the same thing as they did 30 years ago.


A few weeks ago, I was walking inside a local QT to grab a drink and as an older black gentleman was walking out and I said, "Hello" and smiled at him. He immediately stopped dead in his tracks looked at me, Smiled and went back and grabbed the door.

It was a kewl moment where two strangers who will probably never cross paths again intersected for a moment and kindness was shared.  Smiles transcend cultural, religious, economic and racial differences and if more of us, Especially those who are believers in Jesus this should be part of the great commission. Smiling shares the Love of God, Smile offers compassion and understanding, Smiling offers Hope. A Smile doesn't judge it just lightens up a room.  And you really don't even need to say a word... Just Smile... The words will come as you step out in do it more.

The thing about smiling at a perfect stranger is that more often than not they will smile back at you.  I only once had someone give me a scowl when I smiled at him. It was an elderly man on a train in Germany. 

We were traveling to the airport with a huge group (36) of friends from church.  We Americans are a little more rambunctious than our German counter parts. We were singing and laughing and having a good time. 

Then I could feel these eyes staring at us and I looked at this Man right in the eyes and smiled.  You know this man who had a sour face just tightened up his scowl even more then when it was time for him to get off the train he got us shook his head and mumbled "AĆ¼slander" which means foreigner and got off the train. 

So even if your smile gets rejected its still better to give one as you never know how that may impact on the person.  A Smile is the perfect gift we can give the world and it doesn't even cost us anything.  Yeah it might feel awkward at first, but just like with anything you have to step out and take the first step and the more you do it it becomes more natural and you don't even think about it.

Yesterday was World Smile Day, but I think everyday should be World Smile Day! Try to make an effort to smile at those you encounter you never know how profound that moment could be!

Principles of Sowing & Reaping - Walking in the Fruits of Spirit


2 Corinthians 9:6

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously

The biblical principle of reaping & sowing is so much bigger than just the financial benefits of giving and tithing then receiving supernatural financial blessings. Most of the time when we hear this message it's about giving your tithes and offerings but I believe that we can apply this to how we walk out the fruits of the Spirit in our everyday life.

The principle says that if you sow or plant something you will reap something.  There are lots of other factors that contribute to the growth of the thing you plant. It has to be good soil and you have to cultivate it by taking all the rocks out and taking the weeds out and watering regularly and it will grow.  While I may not have a green thumb when it comes to plants, I try to apply the principle in my life by how I respond to circumstances or people that may come my way.

I was thinking the other day about with the Help of the Holy Spirit I am able to walk in the fruits of the Spirit and when I do that there are supernatural benefits to it:  

For every deposit of love I sow, I will reap supernatural love
For every deposit of peace I sow, I will reap supernatural peace
For every deposit of joy I sow, I will reap supernatural joy

That means, when I make those deposits I have the ability to supernaturally cash in and cancel out any hate, anxiety, fears, poor thinking... and the reason is because of  how I have sowed the fruits of the Spirit in the past. 

So every deposit we make, it is put in an account for us ready and waiting for us to get it when we need it. and it just gets added to our account everytime we walk in the fruits of the Spirit. And it is waiting ready for the taking in our time of need! No when we have sown the fruits of the Spirit, when a challenge comes - we get to make a withdrawal to help us walk in the fruits of the Spirit even when every evil thing comes against us.

It's because it's supernatural and only thru the Holy Spirit can we walk in the fruits of the Spirit in the face of crisis and destruction.


A few months ago when there were some questionable things that popped up on my mammogram and the doctors wanted to do a biopsy. I struggled with so many emotions and I felt old fears and anxieties creep in.. That I had thought I dealt with 8 years ago. I walked through it trusting in the promise that I am an overcomer and that I would not be a victim of cancer!

I had a choice in this instance... Was I gonna let my mind kill and destroy every good thing... every dream... every vision the Lord has put in my heart for the last 8 years or was I going rise above this and trust that God would indeed show me how I am an overcomer again.

When I got the news I was with my husband... We were both in shock... Confused and at a loss for words. He had to go back to work.. And I didn't want to go home and be alone with my thoughts. So I immediately went to one of my BFF's Rhonda's house told her what was going on and her family rallied around me and prayed for me. The heaviness I felt creeping in dissipated. My fear turned to faith, my sorrow into Gladness.

I honestly believe if I had not spent the last few years sowing faith, joy, peace, love... I would have been an nervous wreck which wouldn't have helped anything...

But instead when I stood on God's promises then I stared at fear and anxiety in the face I said my strength comes from the Lord... And I know God is not finished with me yet.

So how much so would the Lord provide supernatural peace when a great devastation or turbulence come into your life?  Or provide Supernatural Love when your husband isn't being nice to you or you've been dealing with disrespectful and condescending people, or some stranger judges you because of you are Hispanic, Asian or Black and mistreats you because of their own prejudices and bigotry. 

My dear friend Amy Coello and I were discussing this today and she said, 

"It's easy to love some one and walk in the Spirit when they are nice to you, it's supernatural when you have to choose to do it in faith and love them anyway."

With that I conclude with this... start applying this principle into every area of your life and see how your perspective, your reactions, your perceptions completely change! That's how the economy of Heaven works!

Galatians 5:22-23 

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

We aren't promised that we won't go through trials and tribulations but we are promised that he will help us get through it. Walking in the fruits of the Spirit is how we have strength to overcome it all!

What's in a Name?

Most of the time when I first meet people I get asked if I have a nickname. Infact like 3 people asked me that just this weekend. I totally understand I have a unique name and for some it may be difficult to pronounce at first, but over time people usually get it.

I usually say it first with the Spanish r's then tell people "if you can't roll your R's its Es-TRAY-ee-TAH like a Tray that you Eat on" then I see the light go on and they get it.

I don't get offended if people don't say my name correctly Infact I worked with a pastor for 3 years and it took him 3 years to pronounce it correctly. But is it wrong of me that I get annoyed when people ask me if I have a nickname?

When I was 21, the Lord convicted me that I was ashamed of my Hispanic heritage because of the prejudices others had towards those of latino descent especially in Texas and I accepted those prejudices. As a result, over the years I introduced myself to others to call me variations of my name: E, Est, Streets, Streeda, Estrayda, Estreeda.

All just so I could fit in and be more accepted... i realized assimilated and instead of embracing my heritage I fled as far from it and even though my skin color and features revealed i was of Hispanic decent... In all reality I wanted to be considered white... i even brought my baby pictures to school to show them that I was born white.

When I realized what I had allowed into my own heart, I repented and asked the Lord to help me embrace my culture. I began to advocate and communicate about the plight of people of color and the effects of assimilation has on our society.

I remember the Lord saying to me "Estreitta, 'Estreeda' doesnt mean anything but Estreitta means Little Star in Spanish and I have called you to be a bright light in a big darkness, so when people say your name they are Speaking out (prophesying) what I have called you to!"

That changed everything for me and It has lead me over the last 20 years of discovering and embracing my Hispanic heritage. When I got my DNA Test last year it has been an amazing journey of discovery as well and now that I know that I also have Native American 25% and West African 11% heritage as well and I am looking forward to #findingmyroots

My Reality Roller Coaster

Last week was a really emotional week for me.   The reality of another month going by and I am not pregnant is so incredibly challenging.  Almost 14 years on this roller coaster. It is nauseating and frustrating, I want to get off of it and I don't want to ride any longer. 

The reality of  only having a few more "fertile" years left brings me to tears. 

The reality that I have friends have children ready to go to college and I have still have none breaks my heart. 

Yes, I know God has a plan, purpose and a season...I know God's timing is perfect, I know he is a miracle working God. I know this deep in my heart. But then reality comes in and tells me a completely different story.

I feel like I have prayed all I can pray about it.  I seek his face ask for confirmation that I am to continue to stand and believe for this miracle of life to happen to me and I receive it.

But then when the reality that I am not pregnant, the dream comes to a screeching halt and seems so out of reach and unattainable, I just want to stop standing and just curl up in a ball.

7 Years ago When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was told I needed to go for atleast 3 years before trying to get pregnant. So we waited.  Then when we decided to go to a fertility specialist i was hopeful but then   I did feel like i was trying to make it happen in my time rather than the Lord's timing  - just decided to give up and Trust that he would make it happen when it was the right time.

Just in case you were wondering...The adoption plan has been on hold indefinitely...partly because of us being procrastinators, being in transition, and partly because I was hoping, standing and believing for me to conceive, carry and bear a child by now the last official year of my 30's.  Yes We still want to adopt... And plan on it in near future... But I wanted to "try" one last time before we focused on adoption again.  

I have experienced my fair share  of comments and "encouragements" from well meaning people that don't make me feel any better and can even make me feel worse.  

Feeling isolated or a social pariah because I'm not a mom and can't do play dates... Rarely do I get invited to baby showers even some friends scared to tell me they are pregnant, or invite me to their kids birthday parties because people "don't want to hurt my feelings"... It really sucks to be me sometimes. 

Every month that goes by I grieve  year after year of this.  I go through seasons where I don't even want to think about it, talk about it or acknowledged it because facing the reality is the most painful part of this... So if I don't look or think about it I won't be reminded how real this truly is.

I do think of Sarah, Hannah and  Elizabeth from the bible, being "older in years" & barren... 

Then God did a miracle and Sarah birthed a nation, Hannah the nation's prophet and Elizabeth a forerunner prophet & evangelist of the coming Messiah.  I want to be a bearer of life of someone who will do many exploits for the Lord.

With God I do believe in the impossible being possible. But right now I feel as though I am walking on water towards Jesus see the storm and start to drown...

having faith in the unseen and yet reality is saying another.  

What do you do when you start to question everything you thought you heard from the Lord and at the same time reality is telling you its not happening its never going to happen? 

I see and hear all these awesome testimonies from friends or in church of people trying to conceive and getting pregnant even when doctors said it isn't possible. 

I know people in the church  like to talk about the miracles & testimonies but what about those still believing for a miracle with the reality of barrenness.

Its so hard when I thought I heard the Lord clearly give me confirmations, signs, and promptings when I least expected it yet it hasn't happened...  

I've prayed, begged, pleaded, made deals with God to have just one child.... and almost 14 years later nothing has come to fruition.

Lord,please help me to get through this...

I haven't given up I just need to unload, and get it out there. I know I do have several friends that have been praying for us and have been faithful to do so for a long time... this is probably the area I am most vulnerable the most emotional about and I am all over the place about this.  I do believe in God's ability, in his word, in his promises to me... I just struggle a bit every now and then in this area.


God Bless America > Happy Birthday USA

I speak blessings over my nation the United States of America. 

The country in which I was born, was raised and I have a deep burden for.  

Many are called to the nations but this is the nation I am called to. I will speak life & destiny & share the Love of God With all of those I meet.

 I am grateful that this country was a country that opened its arms to my & my husbands forefathers & foremothers that immigrated to the United States with little to no means to create their own American Dream.

God I ask that you pour out your sprit I on all that dwell her. Reveal your purpose and plan.

Raise up more innercessors that will pray blessings over our country, pray for our leaders and our President. Those that will pray for breakthru, revival & and healing to our land. 

Raise up more worshippers that will sing your praises and worship your majesty that will bring your presence to destroy the tactics of the enemy. Let the fragrance of your presence thru worship permeate the churches in America that those who call on your name will repent and unite as the body of Christ. Lord make it so that your anointing will flow in the live's of every true Christ follower an that we would lives that are holy and acceptable to you that will be a testimony to those that do not now you and that they will repent, turn from ungodliness and live a life wholly and acceptabl to you!

Raise up more prophets to prophesy this nations destiny. They will speak life & truth that will lead o the setting free of the captives,  bring healing and revival to thi this nation.

God I ask for forgiveness on behalf of my country. I repent for the wickedness and selfishness that permeates through our society.  I ask that you remove the cultural  blight that has swept across this nation. I ask that you would heal this country and its people Lord. Only you can do what needs to be done! In Jesus Name I pray!

God Bless America, 
Land that I love. 
Stand beside her, and guide her 
Thru the night with a light from above. 
From the mountains, to the prairies, 
To the oceans, white with foam 
God bless America, My home sweet home.