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,
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”.
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,
The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
The influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
A virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
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.”
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.
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>
I know today isn’t Tuesday, it isn’t Saturday either… (I woke up thinking today was Saturday – sad when I found out because I was looking forward to the Christmas event at our apartment complex), BUT I will share this very simple recipe I found for cooking ham in a crockpot. You will have to excuse me as I wasn’t prepared at all and this is my first time both cooking ham and using a crockpot! Nevertheless, ONWARD MY FRIENDS! So I bought a ham from walmart pre-sliced and fully cooked and cured. The ham was a little less than 4.5 lbs. Thankfully I saw the recipe called for brown sugar and pineapple slices ahead of time. I say thankfully because of course I would lose the recipe before cooking. And if you check out the details of my photo you will notice that we bought chunks instead of slices of pineapples – another fail! but I didn’t let that stop me from cooking this ham. So this is composed of two random recipes put together. Talk about improvisation. Anyway, so I measured out 1 cup of brown sugar and used 1/4 of it to cover the bottom of the crockpot. I layered the ham slices with pineapple chunks in between. The other 3/4s of the brown sugar were mixed with the pineapple juice from the pineapple can and check this… I also needed ground cloves. Yeahh did I mentioned I didn’t even realize that was part of the new recipe? Also that I don’t have ground cloves in my pantry? So what is a girl to do with two small children and when a run to the supermarket is out of the question? That’s right! Google!
Fun Fact: Did you know? If you don’t have ground cloves readily available, you can use a 50/50 ratio blend of cinnamon and nutmeg powders as a substitute.
The Spruce Eats
Both of which I have in my pantry, cinnamon for my coffee and nutmeg for seasonal coquito. YAY! So now we can move on. I drizzled the mixture onto the ham and set the cooker for 2.5 hours on low heat. (The second recipe I saw had used an 8lb ham and it cooked for 4 hours so I figured 2.5 hours should do the trick).
< Insert three breastfeedings, eight baby spit-ups, showering and some tv time >
Ladies and gents! this ham came out so delicious and sweet!! I surprised myself HA! and I had to control myself since the hubby isn’t home yet and I now have to cook up the rest of the sides that we will eat with the yummy ham. I have to say, I really liked that I was able to get the ham pre-sliced and boneless. So much simpler!
Tip: If you do decide to add pineapple to your ham, go for two small cans to add a tiny bit more sweetness. Also adding actual honey might help with making the sauce thicker. That will have to be experimented on another day.
Well, thank you for reading and for letting us share a little of our night with you.
Today everyone was up and ready to start the day early. Start the day in our living room that is. Cleared up the many pillows we like having on our couch, swept the floors, kissed the hubby goodbye and organized a few boxes still left to unpack. We have been in our new home since mid-January this year. And many might say Sheesh! It is almost a year and still, you have boxes? Why, yessir! We do! As the theme of this blog goes, we are learning to enjoy LIFE one day at a time. Sometimes that means leaving off certain boxes to the very end lol. So with bowls filled with cereal and Christmas carols blasting through the tv, I decided that I will finally decorate one of the walls in our apartment. It stands right behind our dining table, it’s big and it’s plain!
See what I mean? Now, I have debated whether to just add photos to this wall or to decorate it like some moms I know have done. But as crafty as I am, I hate to admit I am not so creative or knowledgeable of different decorating styles. Yikes! So now what to do? Well, the Christmas season is here YAY! and I had an idea for the wall. About two years ago I started making personalized Christmas stockings for every member of our extended family. Yes… you read right, all of them! Even their PETS! Hey! I was bored… cut me some slack. Plus it had to do with a little tradition I wanted to start with my own family just as my mom had done with us (Awwwww mushy face)
So I have about 20 of these adorable Christmas stockings and have a few more to make as the family just keeps growing. Now since this year, we won’t be putting up a big tree, I thought “Why not put these stockings up?” on the aforementioned wall. I am thinking of hanging them on gold crochet thread with golden or silver jiggle bells in between the stockings. Pinning up the thread to form a cute design on the wall and calling it a day. Maybe later add some battery powered lights to make it a warm ambiance. An updated picture of that mini project will be posted next week.
I’m off to washing dishes and trying out my new crockpot (honey ham here I come!)
Let me know below what ideas you have for empty walls in your home. ♥️