Oh, the intimidation and temptations of a vast amount of space for which to talk about myself.  Who am I?  I can only say a few things with certainty.  I am an inspired defeatist, I am methodically organic, I am a skeptical optimist, and a self-deprecating narcissist.  In a word, I am confused.

If there can be any encouragement found in my confusion, it is that the one great Truth I seek appears to be a confusing paradox, too.  Its underlying directive is that we must fight to surrender.  The so-called pearl of great price is held by those who profess utter poverty, and this priceless reward is offered in each extraordinary moment of our ordinary day.  I believe the Truth to include this: the life of peace, fulfillment, joy, purposefulness, and wholeness was designed with the intent to be fully lived NOW, with one requisite: that we leave our perceived requisites behind.

I’m compelled to be transparent in my quest for this life and in the subsequent transformations (or sometimes, lack thereof).  How can the nature of Truth be seen in me if I spend my time nervously hiding all the insecurities that I am being rescued from, and not confessing the reality that I am being rescued to?  With that in mind, I offer my best shot at expressing what it means to seek the Eternal reality while living amidst decay, by using accounts of my failures, trials, needs, helps and triumphs.  After all, what harm does revealing that list of shortfalls do to my eternal spirit, even if it were in the hands of my worst enemies?

There is a Greek word mentioned in the scriptures: “Photizo”.  It means to enlighten, to bring light to, to make aware, to teach, to illuminate, to shine, to render evident, to make seen.  Through divine Love, we are enabled to illuminate the truth of God’s current presence, as the light from that bright star illuminated the face of that Baby in the manger.

My name is Natalie Pagel, and I was a C-Average student.  I am a sweaty, inadequate-feeling, but deeply fortunate mother.  My assorted bouquet of life experience includes a Bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly SLO, NCAA Volleyball, Interior Design, compassionate travel to Cambodia, a brief experience in wine education, lots of experience in wine consumption, and small-business ownership.  There was a short stint of vocational ministry in there somewhere, but it turns out I make a terrible pastor’s wife.  I am a mediocre keyboardist and background vocalist in an otherwise fantastically fun band.  I am an equal-opportunist-appreciator, which is entirely different from being indecisive.  I think.

Of course aside from God, my family and friends, I love to eat and drink good things, I love mountains and lakes, and I love philosophizing.  I love being around people who love what they do.  I love authenticity.  I love cooking and writing and creating pretty things and foot rubs, if any of this even matters to you at all.  Some of my guilty pleasures are watching dumb-humored movies, shopping at a certain eclectic retailer, and an occasional cuss word.  I wouldn’t want you to think I was a finished, polished work.

I struggle with my vanity, selfishness, control, my own mind, and writing things that are too long (this is not an exhaustive list of faults).

I am a mother of four girls; two of whom don’t live on this earth anymore, but are being tended to first-hand by the One I seek to know more of.  My other two girls, ages 3 and 5 as of 2012, are being nurtured by myself and my husband, who is my strong, encouraging warrior—my counterpart who is like-minded in faith yet drastically opposite in most other ways.

Both of our professional industries and both of our incomes were stripped down to a relative bare-minimum, beginning in 2005; and currently, our family of four is enjoying abundant life in our home which happens to be a four-hundred square-foot, two-car garage in the suburbs of Northern California.

But let’s not get hung up on all that stuff.  Instead, let’s set our minds on seeking the Eternal life, and let’s Illuminate The Truth!

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