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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why me?

Why? Why me, Lord? Is a question that most, if not all, of us have found ourselves asking at some time in our lives. 'I'm a good person, I worship you, I don't deserve this, Lord. Why?' Are the common pleas that follow our prayers in these occasions.
Although I believe our trails are for different reasons, I also believe that they all have the same motives behind each of them. And that simply is, for His glory. Follow me on this:
Everyone walks a different path to the Cross. Along the way, we meet people who help us in our journey. The ones who influence us the most, are the ones that can relate to our situations. I am going to call them the 'Why me' Christians.
Here is my perspective. God has commanded his followers to disciple. By allowing some to have a challenging life is His way of equipping us; fishers of men. Even though difficult, it really is a blessing.
I came to this conclusion when I accepted Christ. If I had not been through what I have in my life, how could I help or counsel those with similar predicaments? Those who are hurting; searching for hope and peace. How could I assure them that these things are really tangible? Ah yes, through my own experiences!
Advice given without relation usually falls upon deaf ears. Words of comfort are almost meaningless. So in these moments, these 'why me' moments, consider it a blessing that He has personally chosen you to lead and bring His children back home.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Inspired by a conversation with my sister, who is also a sister in Christ.
By: Melissa Reyes

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I'm taking a different path

I started this blog mainly for an outlet. My plan was to write about children and family stuff; being a mom. But lately the only time I have a desire to write is when it has to do with the Christian life. So going forward, the tone of this blog will change. My goal is to reach out and encourage others, using an environment centered around faith.

Believe me, I am just as shocked! I do not consider myself a leader and most certainly not a know it all. It is just something that has been impressed upon my heart. With that said, let me introduce my new objective for this blog.

I want to expose the Christian life. Hoping to give unbelievers a different perspective of what it is, and what it means to follow Christ. Also, to foster and help revive the hearts of those who are already followers, but need to be uplifted; rejuvenated.

I have learned many things in my short life, most were learned from mistakes I have made. So I will only speak from experience. Honest and true. One element that I love about the journey of my being, is that we never should cease the acquisition of knowledge. Only a fool believes that are too old, or have lived through too much to acquire any more. The need for knowledge will never dissipate.

So in conclusion, I hope this will reach and encourage you. Giving you someone, and some material to relate to. The agenda here is to inspire and to be inspired.  

By: Melissa Reyes

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The heart of my distractions

I have come to notice, that when things start to fall apart and there is much controversy in my life, are the times where I am not as focused on God as I should be.
Satan will use anything that he can to distract us. Busy schedules, hectic deadlines. Leaving us feeling run down and exhausted.
I also believe that these things happen to shift our attention back on the relationship that we are privileged to have with the Lord. He loves us so, even when we are the most undeserving, and still calls to each one. Wanting to help and guide. Reminding us that He is our strength and none other is more powerful.
Here is my prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am troubled and I am worried. This is my fault, for you have asked me not to do so. If I had not been so caught up in the things of this world, so busy, that I forgot to look up, I know I wouldn't feel this way. Day to day, I would had remembered the promises you have made to me, therefore not worrying. Please forgive me.
Lord I ask that you slow down my mind and restore my heart. Helping me to put on the necklace of your word and suit of armor. I pray for wisdom in my actions and words. Make me your light to shine once again.
I pray for the people reading this. May they seek you and feel the peacefulness that only you can give. Cause them to be still, Lord. I lift them up to you so that they can too, receive your blessings. Be even closer to the brokenhearted at this moment. Wiping the tears from each of them today. Give them the awareness of your presence and merciful, unending grace. It's in Jesus name I pray this, Amen.
By: Melissa Reyes

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Lady on the Corner

An incident that occurred at the beginning of last week, which had left me exceedingly upset, was still lingering. Leading me to look deep inside myself, provoking feelings of inadequacy and a discontentment with certain aspects of my life.

I got dressed quickly, gathered the baby, and headed to the store to pick him up some much needed items. While inside the store he fell asleep. So I decided to slowly cruise the aisles and let him grab a quick nap. Even the smallest of sounds seem to magnify when your child is sleeping, so I became ridiculously annoyed of any and every activity in the store. How dare you stock your shelves, can’t you see I have a sleeping baby here!!

I paid for my things and headed home. As I came to the entrance for the highway, up ahead I seen a pregnant woman on the corner holding a sign. I tried to read her sign, but passed too quickly and wasn’t able to read every word. I caught a glimpse of the words ‘kids and food’.

Remembering I had 5.00 in cash, I immediately turned my car around and handed her the money. As she approached the car, I was able to fully read her sign, ‘I have no job, I need food for two kids, and have no money for rent.’ I did not feel satisfied in giving her such a small amount. I went home rapidly gathering anything I could give her.

I returned and pulled into a parking space beside her car that most certainly had seen better days. I gave her a few bags of food, medicine, personal items, diapers, and formula. I had never met such a thankful soul. She strongly embraced me and whispered, ‘Jesus loves you, you know.’
I shook my head and replied with a smile, ‘Yes, I know.’ We parted ways and the happy feeling that comes from helping someone was not there. Although glad to help, I didn’t give her anything that wasn’t already given to me by the Lord. I was merely a vessel for his service.

What I did take from her was an invaluable lesson. The words spoken to my heart was not the usual tone of comfort and understanding. It was a resonance of reprehension and scolding. These are the words that filled my mind:

How dare you be so selfish. Rolling about in your self pity, losing sight of things I have provided for you. I give you a life of comfort and sufficiency, lacking of nothing and you are feeling dissatisfied? I bless you with two healthy children and a husband who is capable of providing for you all. I allow you to work at home, raising a family, where I assigned you the most important occupation a woman can have, and you feel there is greater job for you elsewhere? There is no better contribution you can give them. Have you forgotten of times past where there was no food or shelter? I give you all these things and you have the audacity to think you need something more. Do you not see this woman, seven months pregnant standing in the hot sun begging for food so that her children may eat?

I have to tell you, I felt ashamed. How could I forget a life of such struggle and strife? How could I forget the very essence of what it means to have a thankful heart? As I sat in the Church pew that following Sunday, my pastor quoted a verse. ‘Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.’ Philippians 4:11. He went on, “Learned. Being content is something that is learned. Sometimes, we have to learn it again and again.” He made the point about how having too many distractions can take our eyes off of what’s really important. He is right. I didn’t need anymore distractions that life can already throw at us. Clouding my vision of God’s everyday presence, and ignoring the purpose for which we were truly created for.

After service, my husband and I drove by to see if she would be there. But the only thing left was an empty water bottle situated on the curb where she had stood the day before. Regretfully, I didn’t get her name. I will probably never see her again. She will never know that in my eyes, she wasn’t the only one gaining something that day. We both fulfilled a need of one another. Watching someone in such a situation and still praising the Lord was truly a magnificent sight. I am thankful to have met such a grateful spirit. I am thankful to have met the lady on the corner.   

Written by: Melissa Reyes

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Personal Matter

“Be still, and know that I am God” are the words that kept repeating itself over and over in my head, as I sat silent in the dark rocking the baby to sleep. Then it hit me all at once, my revelation. Let me explain:

I am a very private person about personal matters. My hair could be on fire and when asked if I’m alright, I’ll say ‘I’m just fine.’ But I am going to share with you, about what I have been dealing with these past several weeks. At the end, I will state the reason why I am opening up so publicly. Let’s begin.

Inside myself, I have been battling a war. I have been stressed to the max, irrational, angry, and impatient. I have had feelings of jealousy, depression, and resentment. But Melissa, you are a Christian, you’re supposed to be perfect in Christ at all times, some may think. Almost as if becoming a Christian is a drug you take. Dissolving all of your problems, leaving you floating on one big, white, puffy, smiling cloud. Christian? Yes. Human and fallible? Most certainly! My dad’s words to me ring true, ‘You have just entered the fight of your life.’

Every since I have came to the cross, almost two years ago, I speak with God daily. I think about Him constantly and love Him ever so dearly. I do not call on Him only when I am in need. This is an ongoing relationship.  

Knowing that these thoughts were an impure and ungodly way of dealing with my situation, I still struggled. Here is how I dealt with and overcame it. I prayed. I knocked on His door so many times a day, for several weeks. Confessing my sinful ways, asking for forgiveness. Asking to guide me, begging for Him to protect and take this away from me. Day after day, it stayed the same. I felt the same. No relief, nothing.

Now, I sat here in awe and peace, coming to the realization as to why this had all taken place. You see, through all this, I never wondered if my prayers were heard. I never thought for a second, that He wasn’t going to deliver me. I didn’t question if He was really there. I never doubted His faithfulness or the promises He has made to me.

Here are the two reasons I am sharing this:

The importance of Faith-  Let us start with an understanding that nothing evil comes from God. The fall of man introduced sin into this world, but sometimes God allows things to happen to us. One of these reasons, is to test our faith. It isn’t to prove our faith to Him, being that he knows all, it is to prove the strength of faith to ourselves. Scripture explains what faith means and the importance of faith.

”Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’’ Hebrews 11:1
What does this mean, exactly? I want to examine this passage. When we go to the Lord in prayer, we know (assurance) that he hears us and will give us the things we ask (hoped) for, even though we cannot see (conviction) it yet. We believe this, because we know that our God is a faithful and trusting God. He has made these promises to us.  Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. Matthew 7:7 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

To glorify God-  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13. I am thankful to have received this test. It most certainly was not fun, but the outcome is one to treasure. I know that such things are for my own good. I grew more spiritually. I was made to remember, just how much power our God has and how He controls all things. Drawing myself nearer to him and the feeling of awe struck wonder, as I stood in his presence. Which brings me to why I am so compelled to share this.

Although this test was meant for me and serves a great purpose, I know this is something ultimately bigger than I am. The objective is to glorify Him. Sharing with you my experience, to show His sovereignty, grace, and mercy. His reliability, patience, the absolute righteousness that our God possesses. That among all the afflictions and uncertainty this world has to offer, He is the one who is always certain, unwavering, and never changes. The only one, who never fails to fulfill His promises. A steady ground to rest upon. I want so desperately, for you to feel a peace that surpasses all understanding. He is calling to you, please hear your name.  

By: Melissa Reyes   


Monday, May 20, 2013

My Thirty Lessons

As I am quickly approaching thirty, I have taken the time out to do some reflecting. Looking back on the things I have overcome, the woman I have become,  and awaiting what is to come. I have always been told that life really begins when you’re thirty. I am starting to understand the meaning of this statement.

Life is a gigantic classroom and we are the students. You never cease learning. So, in tribute, I decided to list thirty lessons I have been taught so far in this incredible, awe-inspiring, and often hysterical life of mine.

  1. There can be much noise in silence. Over Thinking can be deafening, destroying the healing that is to be found in its stillness.
  2. Sometimes people do not need to hear the words. They only just need to be hugged.
  3. Pulling the positive out of negative situations, can make you a more grateful person.
  4. Having a sense of humor can get you through most anything.
  5. When you find a man, make sure he is one, in every sense of the definition.
  6. Becoming a mom qualifies you to make one mean grilled cheese sandwich!
  7. It also teaches you how to juggle, carrying ten things at once and a baby. Truly an astonishing circus act that can rival the Ringling brothers.
  8. Forgive. Yourself and others.
  9. Take a deep breath. 1...2...3..OK
  10. Be nice. Be kind, even when it kills you.
  11. It doesn’t matter what they did or how it happened, just do the right thing.
  12. Admit your wrongs and do not choose to be blind to your own faults.
  13. In one way or another, you will reap the actions and words you used out of anger.
  14. You’re never better than anyone, you are just better than what they may choose to do.
  15. Learning to let go of resentment is difficult, but it must be done.
  16. Accept the fact that some things will never change and just change your attitude towards it.
  17. Life has its seasons and this too shall pass.
  18. There is no room for pride in any kind of relationship.
  19. Listen more than you speak.
  20. Be humble when approaching a situation, doing so will most likely result in your favor.
  21. Tell the people you love what your favorite qualities in them are.
  22. Be mindful of how you can make someone feel.
  23. When having an issue or bad day and have to be present in a social setting, smile when you arrive. Do not air your dirty laundry, keep personal matters private.
  24. Regardless of your feelings, never wish someone an ill wellbeing.
  25. Chocolate can solve a lot of problems.
  26. Prayer can solve all problems.
  27. Everyone deserves to be loved.
  28. It’s fine to cry sometimes and let your emotions out. But afterwards, pull yourself together and find a solution or learn to deal the best you can.
  29. Strive to be content and do not put expectations on others.
  30. Life. Take it all in. The people you love, your marriage, children. Cherish it because it is fragile, everyday fleeting, and a gift.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mommy Bootcamp Update

Here are the results so far on Mommy Bootcamp. In case you missed the original post, you can read about it here.

I have stuck to my word and have had some pleasing results. She has tested me a few times but I stood my ground. Having a consequence for every action and following through. It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of cooking, cleaning, feeding the baby, etc.. I stop what I’m doing and correct the behavior. She is definitely catching on that I mean business.

This past Sunday was a rainy day. I handed her a bag and told her to pick the foam stickers up off the floor. She started being difficult and wanted to play around. I walked over to her toy bin, grabbed her spider man lunch box and told her I was going to throw it out in the yard if she didn’t pick up the stickers. This gave her some motivation and started to pick up as I asked. Soon, she was playing around again. “If you do not pick up these stickers, you can kiss this lunch box goodbye.” She turned and said, “No, you pick it up!” I walked over to the sliding glass door, opened it, and threw the lunch box over the balcony into the yard. I walked over to her toy bin, picked up another toy and told her if she didn’t pick up like I said, the lunch box will soon have company. Needless to say, she picked up everything in the floor!

Boom! Mom one, toddler zero! I don’t care how many times you tell me ‘I’m not your friend’ little girl! I do not want you to be my friend right now, I want you to be my friend when you’re thirty. Oh yes, I’m pulling out all the mommy classic phrases and also have my very own original ones. ‘Do it because I said so, if I tell you a chicken can pull a train, you better hook him up!’ Another
favorite lately is ‘If you can’t hear me, you can feel me!’ Feel free to use these also. Even if they are not effective, they're fun to say.

So there you have it. I am relieved to finally feel the shift of authority in the house.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I do and do not understand

I guess you could call this a rant. This has really been bugging me for the longest time and I just want to say what I do not understand and what I do understand.

I do not understand, when I go onto Facebook and I see these picture ‘quotes’ where every other word is a curse word. Statuses giving account to viscous or unseemly behavior, then the same people who post such things, their next update proclaims how much they praise and love God.

This is what I do understand. Actions such as these, contribute to the opinion that the church is full of hypocrites. Declaring to be a follower and believer of the Lord, but do not accept the responsibility of inserting Christian principles in day to day living. Making faith to seem as if it is a joke and something that doesn’t have to be taken seriously.This is a direct insult to Christ and everything He stands for. This is disrespectful to the church and a stumbling block for those who want and deserve to know our true God.

A study administered by Lifeway of unchurched Americans in 2008, revealed that even those turned off by the church, 78 percent were willing to listen to someone who wanted to talk about their Christian beliefs. 89 percent of adults, from 18-29 years of age, were also willing. On the same note, 72 percent thought that the church was ‘full of hypocrites’ and 79 percent believed
that Christianity was more about organized religion than loving God and loving people. What an advantage and disadvantage this is for evangelical Christianity.

What I need you to understand, is that I am not standing on my ‘soap box’ so to speak, with a self righteous attitude. I am far from perfect. I need His guidance everyday to stay on the straight and narrow. Somedays, I do not do as well as I should and I fall short of His glory everyday. The difference, is that I want to bear fruit. I want the Lord to change me from the inside and take control of my life, because when it is left only in my hands, it has been proven to be out of control.

I know that when Christians are mocked and persecuted for His name, we should rejoice. The opinions of this sort, are more than fine by me. But when people have this opinion because of the conduct of a Christian, that is not fine. We are called to set an example and to lead others to Him. I want other people that I come in contact with, to know the joy and the kind of peace you receive through serving him. I want them to know, that this is not something you say or just show up for. Confessing to be a Christian, is a way of life.

This is my defense, to someone who believes we are all a bunch of hypocrites. Before making this statement, please grasp what a Christian can look like. It doesn’t mean that we do no wrong doing, ever. We make mistakes, get angry sometimes, and can be in a bad mood. We are human, fallible. But if you need us, we are there. I am willing to accept and love you. Come as you are, your transgressions and all. It just makes for a more powerful testimony, as was my case. Remember to not hold me to the standard that I am to be Jesus Christ, instead of trying to be Christ like. Even on my best days, I will never come close.    

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mommy Bootcamp

I have had it! My three year old's behavior, has been completely out of control lately. She has been testing my husband and I for quite sometime, (as children most often do) and we have dealt with it accordingly.

But she has been taking it to a whole different level. We thought the reason for her acting out, was because of the baby. So we made sure to include her in everything, and have been spending lots of one on one time with her. She doesn't seem to be jealous of the baby. She is loving, gentle, and even down right protective over him. So, I have came to the conclusion, that she wants to see how much she can control. How much she can get away with.

She defies everything we say, screams and yells at us, spits, kicks, hits, and is destructive. I would fight a grizzly bear, rather than dress her in the mornings. Either she's running off in between each item of clothing you put on her, or it includes twenty intermissions for a solo performance of Ring Around the Rosie!

I have exercised the patience of Job, I've done the whole, bend down and talk to them at eye level thing. I tried a reward chart with stickers, which I still have a million stickers left! I have asked other moms for advice, time-outs, and even lost my temper. I have cried out of frustration and going constantly, to the Lord in prayer . After an episode last night, I prayed even harder, to the point of pleading.

This morning I woke up and decided, that I am going to take a different approach. My interaction with her this week, will be direct, short, and firm. There will be no, pick up your toys, please. Don't do that sweetie, listen to mom, please! Oh no, none of that, operation Mommy Bootcamp is in full effect!

So, hide your husbands, wives, and grandparents eyes. A day of reckoning is upon the Reyes household, and I'm about to turn it up. There will be no need for Nanny 911. Instead, it's Mommy 411 up in this mug, and I'm going to give you the business! Mommy Bootcamp has initiated, as of this morning.

She came downstairs wanting chocolate. Instead of trying to explain, for the umpteenth time, why she can't have chocolate for breakfast, I said no once, then proceeded to fix her cereal and a cup of milk, ignoring her repeated request. She eventually gave up.

I fed the baby, while she ate her cereal and afterwards, headed upstairs to dress her. Along the way, I grabbed a belt for a more visual precursor. If you must know, I didn't use it. Please do not lecture or send me links of research or studies, claiming how this kind of punishment will raise a violent child, that hates my guts, and eventually try to kill me. It should be used correctly, with an understanding, that inflicting pain is not the objective. Besides, I participated in such a study called, ''Step out of line, I'll beat your behind'' while growing up. I turned out fine, my parents are alive, I love and most importantly, respect them. Anyways, moving along.

She began whining and demanding that she wear her blue church dress, and how she didn't, want to wear her other clothes! I calmly and firmly told her to get dressed. No!, she shouted, then ran to her room. I followed behind, and told her calmly again, to get dressed. No!, she shouted again. I turned and slapped the belt on the bed, with more force than that mattress has seen in a long time! I turned back around and told her once more, calmly but firmly, ''Get dressed.'' Needless to say, she complied. I was even able to fix her hair immediately afterwards. ''Let's go'' I said, instead of, ''Alllll done!'' She came downstairs and got in the car without giving me any static.

This may seem a bit harsh, but I have tried all the nice talk, the explaining, the requesting. I have had patience beyond what I should, and most days felt defeated. So, if it is wrong to be more unyielding and stern with my child, to reclaim parental authority. I don't want to be right. I refuse to raise her with a perverse sense of self entitlement and disregard for proper authority.

I never wanted to feel like a ''mean mom.'' But I do, want to feel the joy that a parent/child relationship can have, living it up to it's full potential.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

I have completely lost it!

I came to the realization today, that I have completely lost it. Slowly, it has been creeping up on me the past few years. Now, I can no longer avoid the undeniable.

What's that you ask, that is so deserving of such a dramatic opening? My ''Cool Card.'' Yes, my licenses have been permanently revoked! I am officially no longer considered cool.

Here is a list of the crimes I have committed, in the past couple of years, that has caused this legitimate action to take place.

  • I have done the Mom Dance. In case you are wondering what awesome moves this consist of or secretly wondering, if you are guilty of busting out into it. I can teach it to you really fast. Ready? Ok. Now clap hands, then snap fingers, and repeat. All the while, shuffling your feet from side to side. If you are doing this or have done this, you are on your way to being an ultimate cheese ball. The upside, is that you now possess the power to embarrass the crap out of your kid. You're welcome!
  • Googling slang terms. Google is a great friend of mine. I use it to find information of all sorts. Including the meaning of TBHLMS, and DDT. These are just to name a few, of the very many, abbreviations that are used online these days. I still haven't moved past LOL!
  • It takes me five minutes to read and understand a text that resembles this: gr8 2 c u 2day! Btw be bk soon. I hv sum1 u need to c.. K?! TTYL:) 
  • The thought of even staying out past 10:00, causes me great anxiety. It interrupts my boring routine of mindless internet surfing and cuts into my "me" time. Besides, anything past 8:30 a.m. is considered sleeping in!
  •  Running away the neighborhood children for being too loud. Yes, I became THAT woman one night. My daughter was trying to sleep and they were disturbing my Bible study. Here is my cool choice of words, " You guys need to quiet it down out here! Where do you live?!? Who is your momma and daddy?!?"
  • At a redlight, I am listening to the news radio. While finding out the weather forecast of the week, so I'll know how to dress my kids in the morning, the guy next to me is blasting a song, about how he ''Woke up in a new bugatti!'' BTW, if you have to google this song, you need to turn in your licenses immediately, because of it's absurd popularity.   
If you also, find yourself doing one or more of the following above, it is safe to assume, that you have or are in serious danger of losing your ''Cool Card.''

It's ''Cool'' with me though, I'm right where I want to be!   

Friday, April 26, 2013

I am a Real Housewife of Atlanta

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are familiar with the reality t.v. show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

Although dangerous, I've been doing some thinking. Why is it called the "Real Housewives?" None of the woman are actual housewives.

Being that I am a housewife, that lives in Atlanta, I decided to list ten differences between myself and the woman who are cast on the show, just for fun.

  1. Instead of carrying the latest Chanel bag, I'm all over here like, ''Check out this purse I found at  Goodwill and it's never been used!!''
  2. Rather than having lunch at a swanky restaurant with my girlfriends, mine consist of a pack of peanut butter crackers, while on the phone with my sister.
  3. The only kandi I know, is the kind I tell my toddler she can't have for breakfast.
  4. The "Gone with the Wind Fabulous" twirls I see, are that of the agitator inside my washing machine. This I'm thankful for!
  5. I do not drive a 70,000.00 car, but I've got seat warmers... Woot!
  6. My hairstylist, are a bunch of Youtube videos.
  7. While they, upon greeting, are kissing each others cheeks, I'm wiping buttcheeks.
  8. They are pictured holding fresh peaches, and I pour mine out of the can.
  9. They argue about a '' Donkey Booty'' video, while I'm trying to keep my three year old's hand out of hers!!
  10. Instead of worrying about being tardy for the party, I just hope my child isn't tardy for the potty.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I live every woman's dream! (apparently)

Cruising through facebook the other day, I seen something that made me a bit irritated. It was an e-card that said the following "I hear you. Raising a kid and running a household keeps me busy, too. I also have this gig on the side called a full time job."

Now, what I consider to be ignorant remarks, usually does not offend me. But since I have been a stay at home mom for the majority of the time I have been a mother, I'm really getting annoyed at the stereotypes that are placed on myself and other women who have this way of life. My counter arguments have always been a soft "it's not as easy as you think" or the famous "I do work!"

There seems to be this battle, of the moms who work outside of the home (I don't use the term "working" mom, because both work) and the stay at home mom. Who has the upper hand? Who is superior and more ambitious? Who does more? My opinion on the matter is, neither! Being a parent in general is hard. Both endeavors have their perks. I do not believe that one trumps the other and each of these worlds, needs to be respected.

I stay at home because financially, it makes more sense for our household. It would cost us more money for me to have a job outside of the home. Between gas and daycare alone, would be my whole paycheck. Not to mention, that we would eat out more often and other expenses.

I do not stay home because I am a spoiled, kept woman. We are extremely frugal and modest when it comes to money. We have a budget each month. Planning for emergencies and rainy days are our top priorities. I have learned how to be resourceful and I have learned to distinguish a want, from a necessary need, yes, the word necessary is very important here.

Work, yes, I do work. I work ALL day long. I do not take breaks, watch t.v., and most days I don't even eat a decent meal. Lazy? Some days, I wish.

I've heard, ''when I get home, I do the same thing you do.'' Yes, it's a stressful part of the day, isn't it? Well, thats what we do all day. I find it almost funny, when people think I don't need a break from my chores or children, because I do not work outside of the home.

It is estimated that a stay at home mom's work, is worth a salary of 112,962 a year. Putting in around 94.7 hours a week.

Working outside of the home allows a break from motherhood, and studies have shown, that mothers  have less worry, depression, stress, and anger. Also, women that return to the workforce shortly after childbirth, report better physical and mental health.

The grass isn't greener on this side ladies. Don't believe me? There are countless stories, like the ones herehere, and here, of women who have done both, and chose to go back to work.

Listen moms, what I'm trying to say, is that we are both exhausted and in desperate need of a vacation. One path is not harder than the other. We both have to make these sacrifices for our families. We each, have things to cross off our to-do list at the end of the day.

I see what you do, using your sick and vacation days to take care of a sick child. Feeling guilty because you make it home just in time to put your little ones to bed. Heartbroken, because you had to miss another milestone. I see you, I just want you to see me too.

I want you to see how we long for some adult interaction, to drive in the car by ourselves, blasting our favorite song, which we may sing horribly to. I want you to see my puked on shirt I am currently wearing, while patting a baby on the behind that I'm trying to get to sleep on my chest, because he is fighting it. All the while, typing this article with one hand. I want you to see, how it pains me that our work is underappreciated and how staying at home, to raise my children, is not considered an honorable job. 



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How I became a better wife

Four years is not a very long time to be married. But, during these years, I have learned an awful lot about what it takes to make my marriage work. That's right, I said it, learned.

See, I thought that being a wife, was something I was going to be naturally good at. I mean, I can cook, clean, do laundry, and I truly love this man that is standing at the altar before me. That's enough right? Love. 

Little did I know, I was about to understand the meaning of the phrase "sometimes, love just isn't enough." 
I was about to understand what the true meaning of the altar (any structure upon which offerings, such as sacrifices are made) really meant.

These are a few of the many things I learned:

Contentment-  I had to learn to love and embrace my life the way it is. I found myself always wanting more or something different out of my life and was sure that whatever "this" was that I longed for would make me happy. I was looking to my husband to fulfil all my needs to be happy, which is an unrealistic expectation to put on anyone. I had to understand that happiness comes from within, learning to be thankful and content with what I had and who I was. Happiness, is not a person. Someone can make you happy for a moment, but happiness, in my opinion, is your view of life. It is a way you choose to see the world and your circumstances.

Say you're sorry- I cannot express the power of these two words "I'm sorry." We all have bad days, overreact to things, are out of line and are in the wrong. Letting your partner know that you recognize your faults and bad conduct, can heal what otherwise would have been a wound that festered into resentment or more controversy between each other. The whole "I speak before I think" is something we all have been guilty of at times. It is nothing to be boastful about. It is not only damaging, but foolish behavior. Learn some self-control. It can be hard, for some more than others, to apologize. If you are on the receiving end, this is not a time to lecture. Accept, forgive, and move on.

Respect- Respect one another and each others wishes. If they ask something of you, it is not the time to be rebellious and have a don't tell me what to do attitude. Usually, it is something within reason that is making them uncomfortable or to feel disregarded. Even though at times I felt I wasn't treated with respect, I swallowed my pride and gave nothing but respect, that's when I found, it is true, you have to give respect to get it. Sometimes you have to take a humble approach and be the first to give it. Lead by example. Stop waiting on the other to make the first move, you both will be waiting together and miss out on the opportunity to strengthen your bond.

Seek wise counsel- We all have well meaning people around, at least I hope, family and friends are. But sometimes, they do not give the best advice. They see us hurting and can't help but to ridicule our spouse and take our side. This can be detrimental for a marriage. Then, when you guys work it out, they can be left with hard feelings toward your other half, that may always linger.  For me, I value the advice from someone who can see the situation for what it is and can tell me when I'm wrong. Someone who reveres marriage and knows that I cherish mine as well. This is not the time to post it on facebook and see how many "likes" or comments you can get, dropping subtle hints of what it's about (clearly everyone knows) just for your own self-pity. No matter how much you say things like,"I'm strong, I can make it through this" It's a pity party. Got it! Good. This is a private matter, that should be handled maturely and with care.

Prayer- I always save the best for last, although it shouldn't be the last thing you do. This is everyday life. Ask the Lord for you to find contentment with what He has blessed you with, give you the right words to say when you want to say all the wrong ones, help you to be humble and show you how to respect your partner.

Ask for guidance on what to do when you feel as if everything is spiraling out of control. Do not pray that He changes your partner, you pray that he changes you. You see, who are we to ask Him to change someone else, someone who He created for His purpose? Do pray FOR him though. Trust that I know from experience, it will happen in the Lord's perfect timing. He may not be the early you're searching for, but he is never late. Be patient.                      

Monday, April 22, 2013

A day in my toddler's shoes

" I want to go outside!" shouted my three year old. It was a beautiful spring day and my husband volunteered to watch the baby. So I thought to myself, I could use the fresh air, sit down, relax, and surf the internet while she played "OK, let's go!"

We went through the laundry room and headed for the backdoor. On the way, she saw one of her favorite stuffed animals Clifford, and a ''magic wand.'' She grabbed them up and off we went. Once outside, I quickly tried to set up post with my computer and phone. But she kept coming over, wanting her shoes off, her shoes on, back and forth. Then I realized, that she just wanted my attention and for me to play with her. Something I haven't done much of since the baby had been born two months before.

She approached me again, I closed my laptop and looked at her. ''mommy, will you take me to the forest?" Mind you, we leave in a townhome and far from any forest. But I stood up, brushed off my behind and said, "Sure, come on!"

Riding her trusty steed Clifford, we came upon a gate that led to the forest. Using her magical wand, we unlocked the gate and off we went.

What a beautiful place, this forest. The trees were so tall, almost blocking out the sun! We picked up boulders as big as rocks and watched eagles soar as if they were just regular birds. We battled creatures that  resembled bugs and saw a lion that looked like a dog, he saw us also, but the princess assured me he was just there to potty.

It wasn't long before she spoke of her prince charming, "I want to go see daddy." I smiled, and we headed back to the castle hand in hand.

I needed to be reminded that a child views this world much differently than we do. I needed to remember that, what's just a walk around the neighborhood to me, is an adventure for her. The innocence of a child's mind. I didn't even get mad later that evening when she dumped a pack of crackers over the balcony into the yard and told me it was for the doggies. I am thankful for this day, I am thankful I decided to take a walk in my toddler's shoes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5 Things I remembered but forgot about having a newborn

When I found out I was pregnant with my second, I felt the same flood of emotions that I felt with my first. Scared, excited, anxious, and happy to have a second go at motherhood. I also felt a sense of calm because I already knew what to expect such as, doctor appointments, test, and also that labor can go many ways, but hey!, at least I had given birth once before.

I also started to remember how tough it can be at times and the inevitable challenges that lie ahead. My daughter is now three, so it was still a bit fresh in my mind. The difference, is that I remembered, but forgot how it feels to be in that present moment.

Here are 5 things that I remembered but forgot:

  1. Sleep deprivation: I forgot how it was to feel as though you had been drinking all night and had the worst hangover that could never rival your early twenties. Trying to plug your phone charger into their pacifier (true story!) Taking everything your spouse says to you out of context, "Yes! I would like some freaking butter on my toast!! How dare you?!?"
  2. Feeling sexy: I already felt the sting of how my stomach would look after giving birth, as a friend of mine describes the feeling, "Looks like a deflated balloon!" I forgot how it really felt to feel so fat and unattractive. I want to wear a t-shirt in the grocery store that says, "Yeah well, I just had a baby a few weeks ago! What's your excuse!" Hiding my naked body from my husband better than Osama bin laden hid from the U.S. Which both were eventually found.
  3. House in a mess: It looks like a tornado came through my home, forgot something and came right back through. Sitting here in this spot, just turning my head left to right, I see shoes on the floor alongside a bottle, shoes on the stairs, Easter basket, napkins on the couch, hair brush, diapers, a play mat, and Oh! My sleeping baby. Yes, I know, he's sleeping. Start picking up!! But being that this is my second time around, I'm not only more insane but wiser. It is truly Murphy's law when children are involved. As soon as I reach for the napkins, laying on the couch beside me and walk to the trashcan, Bam!! he's wide awake and crying. If I sit here, getting nothing accomplished, he will sleep for two hours. Sigh...
  4. Showers: Ah! You mean that thing you used to get under and water comes down on you out of that silver thingy? Where you took one every day just after a night of uninterrupted sleep, so you could get yourself sexy, right before you get started on your housework? Right.... They still make those?
  5. Soak it all in: What I forgot with my first and remembered with my second. All too soon these days will be a distant memory. Gaze longer at the wonderful blessing you received from our heavenly Father. Take in all the baby's firsts. The first and every time he coos, those gummy smiles he flashes at just the sound of my voice. The way his head snuggles in between my shoulder and neck, like the perfect missing puzzle piece. The way he looks with wonder at the beauty this world has to offer, eyes full of curiosity at the things that you and I have seen millions of times, taking for granted the magnificent view that the Lord has created for us. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Art of Placenta Printing

The other night, while feeding the baby, I was browsing online and found myself in the weird part of the internet. I came across an article about Placenta Printing. I have never heard of this, so I decided to check it out.

Basically, you take the placenta after giving birth and cover it with ink. Place it on a flat surface and press a piece of art paper on top of it. Carefully pull it up and you have a print of your placenta that resembles a tree! Some moms paint it and place it in a frame. Personally, I will stick to the traditional baby book.

Intrigued by this, I went just a bit further into my research. Boy did I open up a whole new world that I didn't even know existed. Turns out, there are a number of people who offer to do this service ( I tell ya, you can make a business out of anything ) and more! Yep, for a price of about $250.00, you can also have what is known as Placenta Encapsulation. Say what! That's right, you put the placenta in a dehydrator, grind it up, and fill capsules to be taken orally ( take two of these and call me in the morning! ) It doesn't just stop there folks, some women do everything from consuming Placenta smoothies, Placenta tea, cooking it, and Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn.... eating it raw!

The theory, I repeat, theory behind this, is that it can replenish depleted iron, increase energy, increase milk production, promote a faster postpartum recovery, fight off the baby blues, postpartum depression, and much more. For me, I'll stick with the coffee and zoloft ah thank you! I was aware that this is practiced in other parts of the world, such as China. For centuries, many cultures have buried the placenta as a way to honor it. I was ignorant to the fact that it has become a growing trend in today's western culture.

I'm not here to put down anyone who makes the decision to practice this. I just had no idea of the so many things people do with the afterbirth. I have posted a couple of links for you guys to check out if this peaks your interest the way it did mine.

Placenta ServicesHuman Placentophagy

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letter to a Mom

When someone has a baby in our church or surgery, we have what we call a Care Calender. It is a Calender that is sent to the members of the Church via email. We sign up and take meals to the family that can use some extra help.

This past Saturday we signed up and took a meal to a couple who just had their first baby. My husband had to take the meal inside because I was in the car feeding the baby. He came back out and said they were asking for tips and advice. My heart went out to them because I remember my first year as a mom all to well.
I sent her an email and I wanted to share the letter that I wrote.

Dear _____________,

I know how it feels to be a bit lost when it comes to your first born. I used to think that being a wife and a mother would be something I was great at and something that would come naturally. Some of it does come naturally, but for me, most was something I had to learn to do.

I can't tell you how to exactly do things because you have to do what works for you and your baby. What I can do, is tell you what I learned and give you some encouraging words,

First, I learned that babies, especially newborns, are moody little creatures. Only content for a short period of time. Don't take it personal. Your doing the best you can. You are both still learning each other. 

Also, at least for the first three few weeks, sleep when he does. It sounds really cliche but you have to remember that you are still recovering. Please do not put yourself at risk for the baby blues, postpartum depression, or severe bleeding. All three happened to me and it was horrible. It's simply not worth it. I took it very easy with my second born and had none of thee above happen.

As far as his sleeping, it could be a number of things. Gas, a touch of colic(our son has colic, but starting to get better) He may want to suck on a passy, walk around some, or simply be hungry. I do not have my son on a feeding schedule. I feed when he is hungry and however much he wants to eat. I had my first one on, every two hours, every three hours, etc... I still check the time to see when his last meal was so I can see if he may be fussing because he's hungry. I know that for my newborns, the first few weeks really was every two hours and that goes by so fast. It's already been two hours!! Haha..

I am no text book mom. I found that when I looked in text books, they would tend to make me feel inadequate as a mom. I'm not saying that they don't have some good tips to try, but at the end of the day, it's about what works for you and your baby and that takes time. The first few months, you can't put them on a schedule. We are on their time. A schedule will soon develop and you guys will set that tone together. Trust me. Some days it will feel like there is no end in sight. It can be frustrating and that's ok also, but know that all to soon, it will be a distant memory:) We live our lives faster than we realize, a baby truly makes you stop and smell the roses.

I am not afraid to tell you, that I cried my eyes out this past week. I was frustrated. I hadn't had a shower in a couple of days, washed my hair in three, my house was a mess. All I wanted was to brush my teeth, wash my face, and put on some deodorant! My husband was gracious enough to watch the baby for most of the day yesterday so I could get some things accomplished. 
I know it is ok to have those days and there will be many more to come, but that is all part of being a mom. Always remember that you are never alone in your struggle to get it right. I have to tell you, most times, I don't get it right. When the day has come and gone, I'm all over here like, supper is not cooked, my hair is a mess, I could fall asleep on rocks, but guess what honey!?!? The kids are alive!! Haha..

I have lots more to say on this topic and I wouldn't mind discussing it with you. Maybe I can come over one day or you can send me an email.

I saved the best for last because this is most important. Pray. Asked the Lord to help you, to sustain you. He will send you rest. This is a great time to draw him near to you. I found myself on my knees the other day, begging for him to guide me. He is most faithful and always pulls me through. 

I am real, raw, and nothing surprises me, so if you have any questions or need to talk about anything, just let me know. If you need anything at all, just let me know!