Posted in Mommy & Me Mondays

Survival Mode

Hello Everyone!

Boy has it been a tough five months! Since New Year’s Eve, I can assure you I have been the test subject in some divine scientific experiment on how long a human can go without decent sleep hours. My youngest child has definitely pushed me to my parenting limits in ways my oldest never did. I have been struggling with reoccurring double ear infections, cluster feeding, sleep regression, a growth spurt and four new teeth (a total of six now). And that’s just one kiddo!

My first one also has had his share of pushing buttons, as of late. Between trying to keep him active, maintaining my daily schedule and keeping up with preschool, I have become a steaming hot mess. Thank God for Netflix. Oh, yes, go ahead and judge me, I dare you! I am just so happy that my little one has finally started to pay attention too so I can leave them both watching funny kid movies while cleaning up my seemingly, never-ceasing, ever-growing mess I call home.

Not all is bad news, I mean there’s always something negative to focus on, right? Remember that fitness journey I said I wouldn’t be documenting every step of the way? Well, back in January, I was given a free two-week trial to an online workout program. After the trial and a lot of thought, I decided to give it a real chance and start giving myself the care I deserved. Although it was hard because it had been a long while since the last time I exercised (about a year), I managed to make it 40 days into my first program, lost three pounds and imagined myself skinnier. However, this was not encouragement enough to keep me going. In fact, I had given up about three times the last two weeks until I finally convinced myself that my kids were on a mission to keep me fat. One hour sessions were turning into two hours of trying to work out with a fussy baby who demanded nursing when he was supposed to be sleeping. For those skeptics, I had tried working out at 9:30 am after Ethan went off to school, at 5pm while making dinner and the most realistic timing 11:45pm after the baby finally stopped chewing on my ( . ) ( . ) … ugh, seriously I was just plain miserable.

Wait! I thought this was a positive reflection?

Oh! Yes, right. UMMM so where was I? Miserable… yes, I was completely miserable and even tried to sacrifice working out for a few hours of sleep but that too was a complete failure. It seemed like anytime my head touched the pillow and imagined a beautiful night of blissful sleep, my angelic infant sensed it in his soul to fuss and make me more depressed and sleep deprived. All until a few friends suggested a popular gym nearby that offers childcare. Although only four weeks long and three weeks in, I can positively say I have died in every single workout, have felt the motivation to show up every time and can happily say I am down a little over ten pounds from the original weigh in. I feel weaker every time I walk in through those doors, but surprise myself with how much I actually accomplish in just 45 minutes of an intense workout. It’s true I don’t feel stronger at all, but I also cannot deny the progress I have made in such a short time (no matter how small). At the end of next week, I have another focus meeting to determine how much body fat I have lost (if any) and if I have to tweak my nutrition, which I am sure will need assistance.

As fun and amazing as this gym is, however, I feel ready to tackle the home workouts again, mainly so I don’t have to bribe my kids to get dressed and leave this house every day. Though, when we do have the chance to go outside to a park, they have been filled with pure sunshine and calm fun. Check out this photo of the boys on this amazing circular rope swing that I will totally be getting for our future home…

That was just a slice of what I have been dealing with and the reason why I have not been able to post with the desired frequency. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to post again once this kid settles again into a decent sleep schedule. I have read two more books and plan to leave reviews for them along with two more exciting pieces I will like to post sooner than later.

As always have a beautiful day ❤️

Posted in Saturday Projects

Pantry Clean-up

A year’s worth of messes, recipes ingredients, snack boxes, food cans, opened cereal bags and lots of unhealthy choices can drive a mom bonkers.

How I managed to fit an oversized box filled with baking supplies, a few cleaning solutions, an overload of protein powders, a stash of bounty towels and a whole lot of tomato sauce is completely beyond me.

Looking back at this photo, honestly, I cannot understand how things got so bad. I am usually a very clean and highly organized person and moments like this one reminds me that my OCD is only partial.

However, I was determined to fix this problem and didn’t want it to overwhelm me in the future. After long consideration on how to reorganize my pantry, I finally watched a few episodes of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up in hopes of finding an easy way to clean up the mess my pantry had become.

I was not completely impressed at first because I didn’t want to understand the way she chose to help others clean up. I was expecting her to come into the person’s home and just torch the place. Fresh, clean slate. But, that was not the point of her method. Several episodes in, I realized her intentions were to instill habits of long-term cleanliness, not just temporary solutions.

In a few of her episodes, I noticed she would bring empty boxes to the person’s home. I thought, “Humm, this is weird. The last thing I want to do while getting rid of stuff is to find more places to store things into.” But you guys! It was all about having a place to put the items you decide to keep. Almost like giving it a rightful home within your home.

So with the help of a few Pinterest pins, I realized this project was a lot smaller than I expected and much easier to complete as well. A quick trip to the dollar store and two days later I was able to see my pantry be transformed. Having separate bins for my toddler’s snacks and baby’s food definitely improved the look, along with taking my pasta shells out of the boxes and putting them into matching plastic containers.

Ex: Instead of hanging the baby food from a plastic bag off the door handle, I used the square bins to keep them readily avilable.

I am proud not only of the way things turned out at the end but that even after weeks of shopping and adding to the pantry, it has remained fairly organized. Additionally, I was able to set up a large white basket with pre-assembled snack bags for my son to grab on his own before we head out. I removed the big box of baking supplies and I am still fussing over how to store it properly, but at least it’s not on the pantry floor disturbing my peace.

Still not the most healthy looking pantry but at least we have food to eat and it’s pretty to look at 🙂

I’ve pretty much been able to do this kind of organizing to my personal closet, my dresser, and the boys’ playroom. Now if I could manage a way to organize my craft corner and keep my kitchen counter from overflowing with junk that would be divine and would remove unnecessary stresses in my life.

But one can only dream 🙇🏽‍♀️💭

Posted in Sunday Reads

Book Review: Investing QuickStart Guide

I was given the opportunity to review a book titled Investing QuickStart Guide written by Ted D. Snow. I want to thank Ben for making it possible for me to receive a copy of this book.

I will start with being completely honest… investing? ehh thanks but no thanks. A whole chapter book on investing?? NO WAY! That was my mentality for most of my teen years and young adult life. Anything that had to do with money, business, economics, in general, was the greatest of bores for me. I figured if I just ignored it long enough, it would disappear… just like everything else in life AM I RIGHT??? WRONG!!

Until one day not too long ago, the hubby started a conversation about his interest in investing. We were already preparing to dive deeper into real estate which I faintly understood to be some form of investment, but knew absolutely nothing about. Then it came to me… I am usually really good at knowing a little about everything and I am the type of person that once something grabs my attention, I throw myself at it. But, see, investing was a topic I knew absolutely NOTHING about because I have been avoiding it for so long.

I came across the opportunity to receive a book on investing and I thought wow! This is my chance to learn about this GREAT GET RICH QUICK IDEA everyone keeps yapping about. A week later I have this book in my mailbox and I am thinking… what did I get myself into?

Let me just tell you right now if you were avoiding learning about this “extremely, confusing and complicated topic” and found yourself completely (let me just say it…) ignorant on anything investment, go grab this book and read it now!

loving all this note taking space!

When you read the front cover, it says “The Simplified Beginner’s Guide …” and I cannot stress how important it was for me that the inside actually matched the information provided on the cover. Whether you are totally new to investing or a seasoned investor, I trust this book will be a great resource for understanding not only the basics but seeing how they translate into real-life scenarios. I appreciate that it was written with the fresh learner in mind without being condescending. Even though the writer is clearly experienced in the topic, he does not rush through nor does he bombard the reader with unnecessary information. The introduction has a simply stated thesis and each point is developed clearly throughout the book.

One of the things I really enjoyed was seeing the dictionary definition of special terms (for learning specifically what it means) and reading a suggested way to see the definition in action. For example, when we are given the definition of what a stock is – a representation of your share of ownership in a corporation – we are also told to think about stocks as a “kind of corporate currency that reflects the belief that its issuing entity will perpetuate itself and justify its value.” (pg.3) It is an out-of-the-dictionary approach to understanding what is being taught.

The writer makes me comfortable with the flow of information given and nothing I don’t completely understand is far from a quick google search (for example, famous people or what do stock splits look like). There are many helpful charts, specific examples, the writer’s notes and takes on the topic at hand and a few words of caution sprinkled throughout the book to further help the reader fully understand what is being explained. The writer smoothly goes from simple points like the several types of treasuries (pg.15) to more complex factors that make up mutual funds (pg.68). He touches on several market indexes along with his take on types of financial advisors. The writer doesn’t shy away from giving some beneficial investment strategies (pg.115) and briefly goes over a few portions on trading (pg. 129). Although there are specific sections in the book dedicated to advising against making fast, impulsive decisions (pg.146) and the importance of keeping a balanced portfolio (pg.144) they are themes that are stressed throughout the entirety of the book. Probably the best part is the free digital resources included in the book, providing lifetime access to investment guides and more.

All in all – this was a great read! It is definitely a book I highly recommend to anyone, both starters, and experienced investors, looking to gain knowledge on investing for a secure financial future. I can now open my 401K mail and information update letters without fear of not understanding where my money is being invested. I can read and comprehend the decisions being explained to me and now can take proper actions if need be. If someone like me, previously completely ignorant and indifferent to the topic, can be fully and correctly informed to the point to flip my interest and actually make me want to invest, you know it is worth the read.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review. You can find more information about the book and order your copy from Amazon using this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945051868

As always have a wonderful day ❤︎

Posted in Mommy & Me Mondays

Sleep will come

As I rock my baby boy to sleep in his bassinet 15 mins to 1 am, all I can think about is how difficult it will be adjusting to a five day schedule for my toddler’s new school year. How hard it will be to plan a schedule AND actually stick to it. As I rock my baby boy to sleep I dream of sleep myself; so foreign and unobtainable is dear sleep to me. And yet with fewer hours of sleep each night, I am still required to function as a mother, as a wife, as a human being.

What’s worse is when I feel like giving up nursing because he’s using me for comfort (awww cute sleepy face 😑)

When I start to question my life wondering if I’m doing it right,

I don’t mean to pry, but

Why can’t you stay sleeping through the night?

Why must you awaken every ten mins for hours on end?

Why are your cries for me, consoled only by my scent, so endearing?

How do you draw me in with your soft, tiny, baby hands?

How can such little human fingers grasp my heart and squeeze so tight?

Then it all comes flooding back…

It’s only for a moment.

A moment that might be our last,

In our life, in this world.

So I take a deep breath and take you in,

Into my lungs so deep and let you

Onto my side.

I cuddle and embrace you knowing This will only be but a moment

Of need and comfort

Because soon you’ll be a big boy,

A teen and then a man

And though you might never remember

Know I will never forget,

How much you wanted me and how I needed you,

All these restless nights ♥️

Sleep will come, maybe in bits now and later in full but I will continue to love on you little baby until I am no more.

Posted in Sunday Reads

Book Review: Choosing Me

I was given the opportunity to review a book titled Choosing Me: Love Letters from a Poet, Vol 1 authored by @billweberauthor. I want to say thank you for allowing me to receive an advanced copy of your book.

I was a bit skeptical about reading a book on sex and love from a man’s point of view, but I will admit this has been one of the best books (of this topic) I have ever read. Weber has touched on a topic that was once taboo but is now so common among this generation, that there is no reverence for it anymore. He has, in my opinion, opened up a beautiful and detailed way for spouses to communicate and has brought back the meaningful connection scared love-making has on the souls involved. Reading his poems brought a feeling of amazement over me, I couldn’t believe that someone was able to truly encapsulate the emotions that overcome a person when in love. If you feel as if love has died out in your relationship, I will recommend reading this book and share it with your spouse. I believe it may even be able to reignite a hidden or suppressed passion within. Totally worth reading and sharing.

To get your copy of this beautiful book, you can search on Amazon.com

Details below:

Choosing Me: Love Letters from a Poet, Volume 1 by Amazon.com
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/099713173X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_FipoCbVVK1WP3

Posted in Funday Fridays

Poinsettias

Hello everyone!

I have a poinsettia that I took on our 16-hour U-Haul trip from New York to North Carolina. It surprisingly survived the awful journey with just one broken branch out of the three it had. I said to myself I wasn’t going to quit this plant mama thing I had going on and was determined to have this plant survive. I quickly taped up the broken branch and to my surprise…

IT ACTUALLY MADE IT!!

Well, it didn’t die, it starting growing and began sprouting new leaves. My heart was full. ❤️

Long story short, I believe it has been a little over a year I’ve had the plant and I was so eager to show off its beautiful red flowers for Christmas. Unfortunately, those bright red leaves never came in. 💔

I have been watering my plant and watching it grow vertically but it seems like the stems just keep on growing and leaves keep falling.

The leaves are a beautiful green but under my kitchen light they look yellow.

I am wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to fix or help my poor little baby stop growing just to die. See, the stems are growing fairly quickly but as the second photo displays, as soon as the leaves fall off, I am left with this long stem with little knobs. The only leaves are the ones up on top of each stem and still no flowers. Just this morning, I was cleaning up the plants, I found that this one had milky latex sap leaking out of the part where the leaves fell off. It broke my heart to read that the sap means the plant has suffered an injury. WHAT!? HOW!!?? Leaves falling off while still green I can only assume is what this plant considered an injury. Regardless, I would love to find out what am I doing wrong and how to help this plant thrive. An article I read said to cut below the flowering stems and replant but I am afraid of killing my plant after having it survive all this time.

Please share any tips you may have on keeping poinsettias alive and happy.

As always, don’t forget to enjoy your life today.

Posted in Thankful Thursdays

We Are NOT Alone!

The hardest thing about becoming a mother wasn’t deciding on our pregnancy announcement or growing a tiny human being inside me. It was not fear of what labour would feel like and it was not even childbirth. It was the life changes that came after and the fact that I felt I was going through them all alone: the sudden surge of hormones, the unrequested bodily changes, the uncontrollable bleeding and constant cramping, the postpartum depression, the regulation of nursing on demand, the countless sleepless nights, the learning to not be an angry parent and the lost of many friendships. Lord knows that there is so much more women deal with that goes unmentioned. 

I always questioned why is it that young ladies are constantly forced into relationships and sometimes indirectly pressured into having children yet no one takes the time to tell us about the downside of this equation of life we later find ourselves in. Where are the non-enforced pre-marital counselors to check for partner compatibility? Where are the elderly, experienced women to tell you the ugly truth of what child-bearing does to the body, and to warn but also prepare new mothers of the baby blues with positive ways to bounce back into life? Where are the mature, tough-love kind of women that will reach out a hand without waiting to be asked, because they know that new moms feel asking for help proves we are inadequate mothers? Where are the husbands that make vows to be there for their wives through thick and thin, yet once the going gets tough, the “tough” gets going? Why do we lose close friends instead of gaining soul sisters while growing a family? Why is so easy to point fingers and shame a struggling mother instead of lending a hand and reassuring them that everything will be okay? 

I tell you the hardest part of motherhood was going through it all and believing I did not have someone to share it with. Someone that would not judge me for “saying too much” and actually be a supporting pillar while keeping it real with me. A “Proverbs 31” kind of woman to guide me through the journey of motherhood. A “Mother To Son” kind of friend to teach me the truths of this so-called “crystal stair” life. The kind of person that would instill accountability for my actions, both intentional and not. 

That is why I am so grateful for the many women that I have met since we packed everything up and made the long haul from New York City. More importantly, I am grateful for the church we joined that facilitated these groups of people to connect. Two weeks into the move, I started volunteering for the church to keep myself from being completely isolated in a new neighborhood, alone with my toddler at home while four months pregnant, seemingly sinking into pre-depression. By joining the outreach program I was able to meet new friends and help people while having fun with my little boy. The best part was being able to bring him with me to embed in him the importance of taking time to volunteer for the community. While attending a regular service, my husband and I were introduced to a couple that was opening their home to young couples with small children to gather for bible study and to develop lasting friendships. It was wonderful to know that being a young family didn’t have to keep us from socializing with other people. It was a welcoming place where kids can be kids and everyone would understand because we all have little ones. It was there that I was informed of the “stay at home moms” group for mothers who you guessed it… stay at home with their young children. That was when faces at church became familiar and eye contact with smiles became “Hey! I remember you!” and tight hugs. This group enabled me to socialize with other women going through the same phase of raising little humans in the best way possible while not losing myself in the process. It was the place where the kids can run around having fun, building their own social group while the mommies could relax and enjoy adult interaction outside of the home. It was through this group, that one of the moms had it in her heart to invite me to her women’s group. A group of women all on different paths in the journey of life, looking to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Lord while “building friendships that fit” with each other. And my most recently joined group, a group of amazing ladies that have decided to meet with each other despite initially starting on facebook, to motivate ourselves to be “the best me” we can be. A group where we become the community of supporting women we desperately need and crave, addition to having a safe place to talk about overcoming the anxieties of this life. 

They say, “It takes a village to raise a child” and I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for having these groups of women surrounding me as they have all become my village. Additionally, I have learned to make an effort at being social, to not coop myself up because we do not have to go through life alone. God didn’t create us to go through life without friends and without relationships. It is okay to allow oneself to be vulnerable and take risks opening your heart to building new friendships. Leaving New York meant leaving behind two families, siblings, cousins, nieces and 10+ years friendships from school and church. It meant facing new problems in a new home in a new state with a new baby. I thought it was a new phase in life that was meant to be walked in isolation but instead what I found was a circle of caring soul sisters that will walk life with me, and whose kids will grow with my kids. I am blessed to have found good, honest women to develop “best friends-ships” with and be able to open up to and know that I am not alone. They help me to understand that God’s love for me includes having people to share my life with. And soon enough, we are sharing tips and tricks for surviving our children, advice for our marriages to thrive and for our families to flourish. 

You too! You are not alone in this life! 

{As crazy as this will sound I kid you not! I am listening to The Light FM Network radio station as I write this post and the song “I am not alone” by Kari Jobe came up}

Even if you don’t join a bunch of groups like I did, just know that when you allow the Lord to enter your heart, you are never alone. He walks with you. His Word assures you of this truth – “though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me…” (Psalms 23:4) and He “gives His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalms 91:11). He’s God of the hills and of the valleys, and you are not alone! 

Loneliness is a growing epidemic in this age of advancing technology; but, when you learn to surround yourself with the right group of faithful, loving people know that you, too, will have gained a village. More importantly, rooting your thoughts on foundational truths found in the Living Word of God will help you to combat the negative emotions that are so keen on keeping us isolated and from experiencing God’s love for us.  

There is an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

I don’t want to go through this life alone and I definitely don’t want you to go through it alone either. If you feel like you have no one to go through life with, do not hesitate to write to me and I will be your new friend. I pray that you gain the courage to say to the loneliness, depression and anxiety that want to take over “there is no room for you here in my mind! You need to leave now!” and proclaim victorious truths over your life.

Below I have added biblical truths you can read and declare over your life. Feel free to print them and keep them with you so you may be reminded that God walks with you. You are not alone and He “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, [and has] plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 I have also included a section of Proverbs 31, the poem Mother To Son by Langston Hughes and the lyrics to “I am not alone” by Kari Jobe so you’re not in the dark about my earlier references.

Biblical Truths to trust and declare over your life:

• I am a child of God.

But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children … (John 1:12).

• I am a friend of Jesus.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).

• I have been justified and redeemed.

But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).

• I will not be condemned by God.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

• I have been set free from the law of sin and death.

For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

• The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ.

But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14).

• I am a new creature in Christ.

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

• I am no longer a slave, but a child and an heir.

So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God (Galatians 4:7).

• I have been set free in Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).

• I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

• I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.

For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love (Ephesians 1:4).

• I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).

• I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.

In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

• I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

• Because of God’s mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you are saved (Ephesians 2:4-5)!

• I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them (Ephesians 2:10).

• I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.

… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness (Ephesians 3:12).

• My new self is righteous and holy.

… Put on the new man who has been created in God’s image–in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth (Ephesians 4:24).

• I was formerly darkness, but now I am light in the Lord.

… For you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8).

• I am a citizen of heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven–and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ … (Philippians 3:20).

• The peace of God guards my heart and mind.

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

• God supplies all my needs.

And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

• I have been made complete in Christ.

… You have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Colossians 2:10).

• God loves me and has chosen me.

We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you … (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

Proverbs 31:10-31

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?

For her worth is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;

So he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil

All the days of her life.

13 She seeks wool and flax,

And willingly works with her hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,

She brings her food from afar.

15 She also rises while it is yet night,

And provides food for her household,

And a portion for her maidservants.

16 She considers a field and buys it;

From her profits she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength,

And strengthens her arms.

18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,

And her lamp does not go out by night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,

And her hand holds the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,

Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,

For all her household is clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes tapestry for herself;

Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,

When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,

And supplies sashes for the merchants.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;

She shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many daughters have done well,

But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,

But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,

And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

But all the time 

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So, boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps.

‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

I am not alone by Kari Jobe

When I walk through deep waters

I know that You will be with me

When I’m standing in the fire

I will not be overcome

Through the valley of the shadow

I will not fear, I am not alone

I am not alone

You will go before me

You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow

I see Your light is breaking through

The dark of night will not overtake me

I am pressing into You

Lord, You fight my every battle

And I will not fear

I am not alone

You’re my strength

You’re my defender

You’re my refuge in the storm

Through these trials

You’ve always been faithful

You bring healing to my soul

You will go before me

You will never leave me

I am not alone

Posted in Uncategorized

HAPPY 2019!

Hello everybody!

We just want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Years! Looking forward to growing this blog with you and posting with frequency. I might change Workout Wednesdays to Whatever Wednesdays in order to be able to blog off-topic posts there as I don’t intend in documenting every single step of my weight-loss journey.

I have been working on a new post (kinda lengthy) for weeks now (as I’ve been overwhelmed with the holidays) and started reading a book that I will be reviewing and posting about as well. Additionally, I have some ideas about setting goals and sticking to them throughout the year that I would like to eventually share with you before the month is up along with some random crafty activities for the kids.

Little Emmanuel was not feeling so great since the 31st which didn’t allow Mama Bear to have more than 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night the first week of the year. It’s hard to function, let alone blog when one is extremely sleep-deprived. However, the baby’s health is greatly improving and I’m slowly making my way back up to 6 to 7 hours of sleep at night. Fingers crossed, I’ll be blogging and posting mini stories on IG soon enough.

Don’t forget if you like something you read, do not hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comment section of the posts to engage with us.

Thank you for joining us in this wonderful journey of life,

The Cabello Family

Posted in Thankful Thursdays

The Power of Words

Last year at end of the #waymakerseries in @ElevationChurch, we were asked to choose a word to proclaim over ourselves and our household. 

I chose the word “Commitment”. 

<Post It! while at work quickly jotted down what I wanted in regards to commitment > 

I was determined to get re-committed to the Lord and was extra pumped to go back to the way things used to be in my life before it got crazy. Little did I know that the plans the Lord had over my life were not to take me back to how things were, but to bring me forth to a better essence of life, much more developed than how it used to be. 

I had become so disappointed about a month ago thinking out loud how I had failed to be as committed as I had dreamt to be back in Dec 2017, when I decided that I wanted to read my Bible more often and pray more often and study His word more often. Not because He desired this from me but because I felt I could never measure up and so I was constantly chasing after trying to fulfill this spiritual emptiness my way. But what I learned during the course of this year was that God’s not looking for religious people. He is searching for those who are broken and in need of saving. 

Now I didn’t know I needed saving for I grew up “born and raised” in a Pentecostal church and my grandpa and my mom (even I) were always leaders in the church. I had already professed the Lord as my Savior and had gotten baptized in the waters. But deep inside my heart was always a sense of loneliness, fear, and depression. Several factors contributed to those feelings, <feelings of neglect, separation, abuse, rejection, guilt, low self-esteem, being bullied, belittlement, libido, indifference, worldly attractions> factors I will not discuss nor focus on as they no longer effect me, however, it was important for me to acknowledge them and leave them at the foot of the cross. I realized I kept carrying a heavier load than I was meant to bear. 

“Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows but empties today of its strength”

Corrie Ten Boom

I was carrying the troubles, worries, anxieties and stressors of tomorrow on yesterday’s strength which was leaving me empty and lacking on a daily basis. 

I thought that if I could just force myself to wake up earlier, maybe go to sleep a little later, force the Word into my life-maybe, just maybe! The Holy Spirit would have no choice but to show up in my life. 

Sure the Lord spoke to me. Not because I did those things and eventually fell short, as at the end, I was looking to pay back the Lord for all He had done when nothing I have done or could do will ever measure up to the forgiveness and the wonderful grace I’ve received from God. He spoked to me because He needed to tell me I was doing it all wrong. He was going to help me incorporate His word in my life through other means… by having an authentic relationship with Him and NOT through religious rituals. 

If there is anything I have learned and have deeply understood for some time since being on my own-is that repetitive religious rituals were not and are not going to get me the real relational reverence required to live out grace. (This is not to say do not pray or read the Word. We need those tools in our lives more than ever, but what I’m trying to convey was that my motive behind doing such things in mindless repetitions were not aligned with His purpose). 

Grace is, according to Webster dictionary: in reference to Theology,

  1. The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. 
  2. The influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. 
  3. A virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
  4. Also called state of grace, the condition of being in God’s favor or one of the elect. 

Plainly stated: grace is undeserved favor, yet it’s what the Lord gives us when we give ourselves to Him. In exchange for our temporary sorrows He gives us eternal joy. For our earthly chaos He gives His divine peace. And for all our anxieties He gives us everlasting love. His blood washes away all of our sins-past, present, future! No sin too great that can keep us from receiving His abounding grace. And with the help of some of my favorite preaching and teaching podcasts, the Lord was able to open my mind to a greater and much deeper understanding of His love for me and for everyone around me. When you learn to live life knowing you are loved by an eternal Father, nothing on this earth can take away your peace or purpose. In the mist of earthly troubles that are real and want to choke you out, shake your faith and make you question your beliefs, you get a sense that the Lord is in total control and makes everything work for the good of those who love and fear Him. 

Once I gave the Holy Spirit the room to work within me, I was able to see the fruits of His labor upon me. Looking back to how much I had changed this year for the better good, to see how far the Lord had brought me from the depression that held me captive for so many years into His merciful and abundant love; the many beautiful souls embodied in the groups of people that have become my support system and seeing how devoted I became, not just to His word but to my church and my community through volunteering, I had become the commitment I had so longed for. 

For the new #gamechangerseries this end of year at church, I have decided on the word “Courage” because I plan to grow my faith and take the leap into something more beautiful, wonderful and amazing this 2019, not just for me but for my family as well. ♥️

What words will you declare over your life for the new year? Let us know in the comments below 🙌🏽

“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”

ROMANS 8:28 AMP

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:26-28 MSG

“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right–the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”

MATTHEW 6:33 AMP

Posted in Mommy & Me Mondays

Focus On Your Target

Parenting doesn’t come with a guide book. But, even if you did have a guide book, would it really help? Having a parenting guide book made by someone else might show you how to change to a diaper or how to cook baby food but it might not prepare you on how deal with your child’s character. I have also learned from other moms that having a previous child won’t prepare you for the next one either. 

Each kid is his or her own person. What worked with my mother for me didn’t work the same way for my little sister. And what my mom learned with us both, she couldn’t use on my youngest brother. What worked for my mother isn’t working for me with my own toddler now. So what are we to do beside cross our fingers and pray to God we get it right? 

I can tell you what’s working (and still a work in progress) for me SO FAR… 

Instead of focusing on the CHILD, I have learned to focus on MYSELF. 

Yes, I know it’s our kid doing the yelling, the screaming, the kicking and the nonsense behavior. Sometimes you wonder deeply if maybe you bumped your pregnant belly too hard once before. This is not to say that kids wont be kids but kids can be testy! I  worked about a year in a daycare and I can guarantee you that your kid is smarter than you already. They are simply looking to see what reaction they will get from you whenever something happens. She spilled the milk you just pumped? Did he poop on the bathroom floor even though he’s supposed to be potty-trained for a year? Did she throw a tantrum at the store? Did he poke his little brother in the eye and lied about it? Okay, I get it. All those things can be frustrating to deal with especially when they come grouped all together (can I get an Amen)? But let me let you in on this great secret I discovered, your child(ren) look to you to see how you react to any situation. 

You spilled your drink? Are you cursing up a storm and frustrated at having to clean it up or are you simply upset but can clean it up with a good attitude? 

So, your kid is yelling at you. What is your reaction? Yell back? They yell back again. You yell back louder. Or do you calmly answer them, explaining that if they want to be heard they must communicate properly? And I get it, it doesn’t work 100% of the time but it will help you to not grow old so quickly. #facts. 

It’s so comical to me because it took way too long to realize focusing on yourself can be applied generally with anyone not just parents dealing with their kids. Take it from someone who found it difficult to like people, even though considered a people-person with great people-skills. There was a time that every word out of my mouth was laced with pure sarcasm (pun intended). I had to learn that sarcasm was actually a hypocritical way to express my true feelings and to teach myself to just speak the truth straight forward. Sarcasm had become a way to deal with people that I found frustrating. So much so that it started negatively effecting my good relationships and causing people to not want to speak to me because of it. I was letting other people’s behavior determine the way I reacted or responded and that was the point. No one should determine my behavior, instead my behavior should be determined my values and in turn, that will reflect in the way I respond: calm and collective. 

Restrain yourself. 

Take a whoooosaaaa moment to relax your mind. 

Stop to think about what is important at the present time and if this were your last moment with that person, how would that effect you? Would you have any regrets? Or two years from now would you look back and think, “Ha, ha, ha! I’m so proud of myself for keeping up that unnecessary argument flowing”. Would you have to give an apology to someone you felt didn’t deserve it? Or would you be accepting an apology that was never spoken? We just might never know. And this is not for us to live in constant fear of the unknown but to learn to cherish life for what it is-a gift, more often then not, given to many. And what is more are the very children we struggle to understand. They are our borrowed treasures from heaven. We should re-train ourselves to be patient, loving and compassionate knowing that we too were once that little and had our own struggles with communication and understanding our emotions. 

Even dinosaurs, or should I say, “DinoTrux,” have to learn to refocus their energy so they don’t blow a gasket! Ethan is currently obsessed with this new dinosaur/mechanical truck show on #Netflix called #DinoTrux and they have pretty good life lessons on their episodes. In one episode, the “trux” named Dozer clearly has some anger issues to resolve. Throughout the entire episode, we see him literally causing his own destruction because he’s allowing others to annoy him to the point of breaking down. He gets so frustrated that he is left with just one functioning “tread” rendering him immobile. Dozer had to learn what super-chilled “trux” named George had discovered many years before, the power of the downshift. Harvesting the ability to maintain inner peace in the mist of external chaos. Dozer takes George’s advice to remain calm and pushes pass the commotion brought about to distract him from staying relaxed. At the end of the scene, Dozer is able to get to the mineral baths that will fix the pressure problem caused by the previous frustrating moments allowing him to rejoin the team against the bad guys.

Sounds funny to get life lessons from a kids show, but it’s what we want our children to acquire and it is what we must learn to remember: When you learn to focus on your yourself, you focus on the right target. 

<For those of you mildly interested in the episode mentioned above, here is a clip of Dozer learning the power of his downshift> 

https://youtu.be/D4-G4ibL1Fg?t=100