Showing posts with label Inspirational. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspirational. Show all posts

September 26, 2017

When You're Letting Go of a Piece of Your Heart {Motherhood}

I opened the white, front door of our family home and stepped outside. Cold morning air hit my face and I remembered that it's not summer anymore. September is here with a hint of fall and changes with it. Down the stairs and a few steps onto the street, I was trying to remember the shopping list that was his first school year's necessities. Lunch box, sneakers, uniform, light jacket, and snacks. I reached for the handle of the car door and reminded myself that I wasn't going to cry when I will be dropping him off in a few days. I will smile, wish him a good day and tell him that I will be back soon. I won't make it a huge deal and inflate this out of proportion but at the same time, I will make this milestone a little bit special. I reminded myself to add another thing to the list and drove off.
My big boy, my first born baby is going to school, pre-k to be exact. To some it may be just another trip down the road but for me it was an end of an era. It's the beginning of the end of innocence, carefree childhood and flexible bedtimes in the middle of the week. It is what so many mothers experience this time of year. 
It's a time to embrace the new and remember the old. 
It's a time to give yourself a pat on the back that you've made it so far but to roll up your sleeves and get to work on their homework. 
It's a time to clean out their room and help them settle in their dorm room, while leaving a twenty dollar bill under the rug for a rainy day. 
It's a time to give yourself a break when your last one boards the bus and waves you good bye, leaving you home alone not sure what to do with yourself.
It's a time to give yourself permission to have a good cry and watch a sappy chick flick in the middle of the day, then throw some pizza in the oven and call everyone for dinner. 
It's a time to make homemade cookies when they come back from their first day. 
It's a time to settle down and buckle up, to face the reality of your kids' abilities and push them harder to reach for more. 
It's a time to let go of the extra curricular activities that break up your family time, make your head spin and your hands reach for fast food more times then you should.
It's a time to plan family meals and listen to their conversations.
It's a time to invite the Lord into your morning devotions with your kids before they board the bus.
It's a time to encourage them and uplift them
It's a time to pray for them while they're away 
It's a huge change that brings painful and joyous moments with enormous challenges.
It's an adjustment of routines, bedtimes, shopping lists and budgets. 
It's an expansion of our hearts to find the space and strength to forgive those who will hurt our babies, those who won't understand them and those who will reject them. 
It's an appreciation of those who take the extra time and put extra effort in their success because let's face it, we can't do it alone. 
When you are letting go of a piece of your heart, let God take over. Trust Him to take you through this uncharted territory of firsts - first unaided written letter, first A for enormous effort, first totally failed exam, first oppositional college professor and even first love.
As moms we go through a lot and we all go through similar situations. We all need each other to learn from, to share with and to uplift. It's a tough job and we shouldn't be going at it solo. Find friends who will encourage you, who have gone through similar situations and those who will uplift you in their prayers.
Mama, you are strong, persevering, tough,  unbreakable and courageous. One who wants her child to not just follow the rules, but follow God Himself.
Let me take your hand. And stand with you.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

August 18, 2017

Contentment is a Great Gain in the Eyes of Jesus

Have you ever thought that you got it? Have you ever felt like there is one area in your life where, really, you are on top of things? You are doing the thing you are supposed to be doing and it's going great. You know God has you in His this exact place and time and it feels so good. Then, just as you were settling into your comfy spot and petting yourself on the back for a job well done, you get the wind knocked out of you. You wonder, what just happened? Everything was going so well.
I was in that spot. I never had an issue with jealousy. Yes, others may have had better, bigger things but it was them. I was in a different place. I may have felt covetous but never jealous. I haven't felt the need to show that I want something others have. 
We bought a small house a few years and have been very happy in it since. I love the lay out, the fact that we live on a quiet street inside the city, all grocery stores are close by, both sides of the family live nearby too. I've loved decorating and making this home ours. We have a large family room which has come handy with having little children and containing the mess. We have a large, private master bedroom downstairs (currently undergoing a major renovation). We have a small but private backyard. We have large kitchen and a nice open floor plan. I've loved living in our home since the day one.
Then came the wind.
The other day I visited a friend who bought a new house. They have lived renting an apartment for a while and this was a huge blessing for them. Having multiple children, they were in real need for a backyard, more space and privacy. The home was beautiful. It had a unique floor plan and large backyard, updated kitchen and other awesome features. I felt a sprig of jealousy rise up. I tried to hide it, praising and admiring the new residence.
On the way home, I felt like a huge lump was stuck in my throat and I just couldn't shake off the feeling of not being satisfied with what I have.
I was so grateful.
I was so content. 
I was in a good place.
I had to work on this all over again.
You see, being content is not something you can just have and never work on. At one point in your life you will come along someone with something better then yours. Unless you keep the focus eternal and fix your eyes on Jesus, you will fall into the trap of wanting more. 
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:6-12)
Fighting a good fight means, it's an ongoing action which you have to keep up your entire life. It does not mean if you won one battle, you may rest. The scriptures teach us that 'the love of money is root of [all kinds of] evil'. That evil may be something you see on the inside or something that grows on the inside. Don't give discontent any space. Don't let the seed get root and destroy your whole life with poor choice, wrong priorities and shift in thinking. 
We are called into a life where the 'righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness' are main possessions we should boast about. Unfortunately we all fall into the trap and temptation to seek more earthly desires. 
Having good things isn't necessarily wrong but the love of them will take you onto the path of evil. If we desire to be rich and seek possessions with all our might, that path will lead us "into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction".
Lastly, we are in the presence of many witnesses. Whether it's our neighbors, our friends or the people we pass by on the street, we are made witnesses to the Lord. With are grateful attitudes and content hearts, we can either draw people to the Lord or push them away. We are also standing before Jesus and serving Him. If as Christians we still have to work on contentment, the Lord will have to take us through some trials before we learn to have a grateful heart and serve others. In His eyes, we are living the life He wants us to live, He supplies all our needs and gives us necessary things for life. To Jesus our soul is far more precious then any earthly possessions, or fulfillment of our temporary desires. Jesus brought us to this place and He will sustain us, our part is just be thankful and content with the life He chose for us. After all, He knows best and delights in our contentment. 

August 7, 2017

Setting Right Priorities Will Make Your Life Blessed

I recently read some discouraging news about a public figure I admired for years. It simply hurts reading that people you thought were strong and faithful, fall prey, yet again, to the age-old attacks from Satan. It's just so discouraging. If they couldn't make it, what are the chances of me making it in the long haul? Slim to none. Yet, I have the Lord on my side, He is the one who guides and leads me through the valley of the shadows. 

After I read about yet that couple getting a divorce, I started thinking what went wrong. Why did something that God destined to serve as an eternal example of His love ended up breaking into pieces? Why are they not sticking with it? Why are they not putting more effort? Why quit? Why?

I know I am not perfect. Far from it. I have to constantly remind myself of what's more important and why I'm doing what I'm doing because there plenty reasons to quit. Yet, one of the important things I learned in my life is that priorities are what separates people from successes and failures. The way you set your priorities is what makes you, who you are. Basically, whatever is the most important to you, you will love, cherish, spend time with and invest energy in.

Question: What are the most important things in your life?
I was recently reading a few articles about habits and routines of highly successful people and one thing stood out among all of them. They all make something a priority, make a plan and set out to pursue that goal. They narrow down the most important things and only focus on those, while ignoring the distractions and developing themselves in that direction.
Successful people focus on something and make that a huge priority in their life, then work very, very at getting to the point of achievement. Whatever it may be, emotional, spiritual, financial or social prosperity is a matter of priority. It doesn't necessarily make those priorities right, because people pursue all kinds of things that aren't worth the time. But one thing remains the same - setting priorities in correct order will make your life blessed.
God is looking for people who will put Him first, and I don't mean going to church. Making the Lord a priority, means that everything else will follow only after the relationship with Him is fulfilled. It means you don't start a job, build a family or get a new friend without consulting with the Father. He ultimately is your source of strength and wisdom for all decisions. He is the number one priority in your life.
Priorities are what drives us to pursue the life we will eventually live, blessed or completely destroyed. The choice is up to us.

Managing your time wisely and employing personal discipline to pursue the correct priorities will make all the difference in your life. Putting action into your life towards the goal you set out to pursue will release the blessings God has promised to those who love Him. When we make our relationship with Him a priority, the Lord will bless and prosper us in a way we haven't even imagined. The relationship with Him is absolutely worth it all.

Nobody is too busy, it's just a matter of priorities.

May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Inspiration {Anna :: Happy Medley}

Happy Friday! I thought that the ladies did a great job with their posts this week and I hope you check out their blogs. I'm always interested in how other women balance motherhood and other responsibilities in life. I admire their ability to stay true to who they are and not loose identity after they had children. Here are couple of my thoughts on motherhood and my role as one.

Introduce yourself and describe your motherhood situation I'm a stay-at-home mom to a toddler with another on the way. My husband and I waited a few years (5 to be exact) to start a family but now we can't imagine our life without that energetic and funny boy. We are expecting a girl this summer and I think it will be an interesting adjustment!

What does motherhood mean to you? Before I became a mother, motherhood meant lots of sacrifice and little reward. I didn't know how much joy motherhood brings and in what awesome way it would change my life. I think motherhood is complete and unconditional love to your child. It's patience when you are at the whits end and constant care to the person who can give nothing back except an innocent smile. 

What's your favorite part about being a mother? My favorite part is witnessing the changes that come with growth of a child. To see him hit those milestone, change and become a fully functioning member of our family is so much fun. Oh and the things he says are pure comedy! 

What is the hardest part about motherhood? Seeing my child hurt and not being able to take away that hurt. Also, knowing how evil and dark the world can be and that I will have to let him go one day.

What is your number one goal for your children? I want them to know God and have a relationship with Him. When the religion is being squished and pushed out of our society, I want my children to know the God I know and that He loves them. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? A lot of times, we as mothers put so much guilt on ourselves (partially from too much social media filtering) thinking we aren't doing enough. I know that we all have pressures of life and doing our best. My advice to mothers and myself is to be yourself, do your best and it will be enough!

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Mother's Day lovelies!
You are doing an amazing job and enjoy your day!

December 19, 2014

Why We Don't Have an Elf on The Shelf

I may rain on your parade. You may not agree with me. This isn't about right or wrong but about what we chose to do as a family and why. You may even stop following me after this post but this is somethings that's been on my mind for a while. It has been bothering and eating me up and because I'm very opinionated and vocal about what I think.

I do not like the Elf on The Shelf idea and we don't have one in our house,

At first when I saw the idea take the Facebook posts by storm I though it would be fun to do when Jonathan gets a little bigger. But I could not justify buying the thing, making sure to move it from place to place every day,  make up the whole thing which is surrounded by a bigger lie - it's all about Santa, presents and being good or bad just to get stuff.

First it seems like a lot of work for a silly and almost cruel character who messes up a lot of things (which we parents have to clean up), doesn't obey rules (but expects children to follow), spies on the children (horrible telltale) and wants you to work for your gifts (you have to be good enough to receive presents).

The message of Christmas is that Jesus came to this earth and gave us the biggest gift of all. We don't have to work for the gift. All we have to do is accept Him.

The elf idea promotes the persona of santa and makes children believe that he will end up knowing everything they do. While including santa into holiday celebration is not horrible, it takes away from the character of God who actually knows everything and see everything. But you don't have to be afraid of Him because He will not take the gifts away just because you misbehave.

It also justifies mischief while promoting fear. Maybe it doesn't seem very obvious but the elf is constantly looking over you, checking on your every deed to make sure you are 'good enough'. Some kids don't care about the elf but some maybe afraid that they can never measure up to the standard for good boys and girls. That's completely opposite of what Jesus teaches us.

Last children have so much trust for the adults in their lives so when we make up lies and fake characters, they believe it as truth (up to the age of 10). When we include santa, elf and other cartoon-like characters and make them real, we blur the lines between fantasy and reality. So after we tell them how the elf works they believe that it's true. Then we go on and teach them the Christmas story in the Sunday school, they sing Christmas carols believing that it's true also. When the time comes to tell them that santa, rudolf and the elf are not real they are confused. Maybe that Jesus character is not real either?

Christmas is about Jesus not about any other name.

We treat the characters of santa, the elf and others as any persona from a cartoon. Yes it's there. Yes some people make it a part of their celebration. There are songs about them but the holiday is not about them.

Santa doesn't bring presents. Parents love their children and give them the gifts, doesn't matter how bad or good behaved they are. We love them unconditionally.

Elf on the Shelf is not going to spy on you or tell on you. He isn't much more than any other cartoon character (if they happen to see it at someone's house). They don't have to be afraid of anything or ever be good enough to receive things. God loves them unconditionally.

That's the message of Christmas and that's what I want my children to remember. The love, the joy and merry spirit of the season without any ill-behaved, mass-produced, popular character which no one will even remember in a few years when they will come with something new to sell.

They won't miss out on Christmas tradition because we will make our own, doing kind things for our neighbors and loving each other. They won't be spoiled with presents for being good or robbed of them for misbehaving because we love them no matter what. They will play and get mischievous without being afraid of being told on.

And they will have a great Christmas.
Hope you will too!

October 29, 2014

School of Life {God Thoughts}

image source

A lot of times, we forget how much time and work it takes to get anything good come out of us. No, seriously! The bad habits, awful language and nasty attitude are easy to come by but the good habits, edifying words and sweet attitude are something we have to work on. Work very hard and very long - a life time.

Whenever I make a mistake, say the wrong thing or simply disobey God, I feel like a failure. I feel like there is nothing to be done and I'm a lost cause. I strive for perfection and can't reach it. I look to achieve fault-free character but fail every time.

Perfection is an unattainable illusion because I'm a (forgiven by Jesus Christ) sinner.

I do (and will always) make mistakes but it's how I deal with them that God really looks at. God knows that we are still sinful as His children. He (almost) expects us to fail and that is why He says that we CANNOT do it alone.

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Phillipians 4:13)

Every mistake, every wrong deed and thought is a learning process that the Lord wants us to participate in. God gives us hard times and puts
 us in difficult circumstances because He wants us to learn something and move on.

As forgiven children of God, we should never stop learning.

God is always willing to take us to new heights in wisdom and understanding of Him if we would only chose to open up our hearts to Him. Most of the time, if we don't, He has to give us those lessons over and over again because, as stubborn children, we refuse to obey.

It may hurt and be difficult but because He LOVES His children, He wants the best for us.

God does everything out of love, never out of anger or impatience. He doesn't punish us because He's tired of our disobedience - He chastises those who he loves the most.

Life is a series of lessons.

Those of us who chose to learn and participate in God's school of life, will be rich in wisdom and understanding, which definitely makes life a lot more joyous. It may hurt sometimes, it may seem difficult or even unfair but God knows the future. Trust Him to take you through those lessons safely and learn from every mistake. 

Is God teaching you a valuable lesson? Have you gone through difficulties without an understanding of why? Now that you've gone through trials, can you see why God put you through them?

Join the conversation on my FACEBOOK page!

September 24, 2014

Things You Don't Appreciate Until You Have a Toddler

Time is flying way too fast around these parts. With fall in full swing  and Jonathan entering toddlerhood, I catch myself wishing for this stage to never end. On the other hand, I can't wait until he is a little more independent and we are over the potty training (oh the joys of potty training). I'm definitely learning to enjoy my time with him more and just take in every moment with this curious, smart and energetic boy. Also, looking at life through eyes of the toddler makes me appreciate the simple, every day things that I would've taken for granted otherwise.

The wonder of an open book. Jonathan loves reading, and every time I have a minute to sit down he brings me a book (or asks for one). The pages come alive in his eyes as he learns and explores the familiar stories. It's the excitement and wonder in his eyes that make me stop and enjoy the story with him. He never tires of it and is always ready to listen while intently studying the pictures. He will sit down and imitate reading while flipping through the pages by himself. It's the most adorable thing ever.

The beauty of nature. There are things that he finds in our yard that I didn't even know were there. Being outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine is his other favorite thing to do. Either it's taking a walk through his grandmother's garden or swinging in the park, it's always so joyful and exciting. He doesn't care if it's sunshine or rain, there is plenty to  discover and learn. The outside world is always exciting and never boring.

Unconditional love. No one loves as unconditionally and freely like toddlers. They don't hold grudges, they don't remind of old mistakes and forgive very fast. They really put the meaning of unconditional love in our lives and undeniably receive it in return. Children (and especially toddlers) love us with all our faults and mistakes, they accept us for who we are and perhaps that's why they are the most fun bunch around.

Our own parents. Living with a child and experiencing all the day-to-day difficulties and joys makes us appreciate our own parents  even more. All the cooking, cleaning and teaching our mothers did for years now seem so real and personal. It takes a lot of effort to keep a toddler out of harm's way, and at the end of the day, I am exhausted just by doing simple household tasks. After I had Jonathan, I understood all the work my mother put into me and appreciate it a lot more.

The value of a family. Children really bring life to a family and make the home come alive. Sure we were happy and satisfied as a couple before but now, it's just a lot of fun. Every single day. It brings my husband and I closer knowing that we are in this together and that we are a family. Life without children seems dull, and with addition of just one (so far) in our lives, we have experienced so much joy and fulfillment it's hard to describe it. Children bring extended family closer, they make us drop our guard and open our hearts to each other, because, really, nothing out there is more valuable than family.

August 11, 2014

Leaving a Child

As we were planning our vacation, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted it to be just the two of us. We haven't been away from Jonathan for more than a day in the last two years and it was something we needed as a couple, as parents, as adults. 

So we booked our vacation and arranged babysitters for Jonathan but as the day to leave him behind approached, my heart dropped. I was worried and besides myself. Honestly, I could hardly sleep the night before thinking about the worst possible scenarios happening while we are gone.

How could I do this? How could I leave my baby behind (with family, mind you) and just enjoy a week without him? How will he be without my constant care and attention? How am going to survive without his flamboyant personality and happy giggles? 
And to be honest, I don't know how.

Just to paint you a fuller picture of how much of control freak I am, here is exactly what I did before leaving. I scrubbed my house from top to bottom and washed all the laundry, changed all the bed sheets and stocked fridge with milk. Then I packed Jonathan's bag which included pretty much everything from ten spare shirts to fever medication and bibs. I wrote out a detailed list of his every day routine and gave to family members (yes, I know). 

Let's just say that packing for this vacation was heck of a lot more work than it would have been staying home. But I had to make sure that people who were able to raise a few children of their own would be well equipped looking after mine (oh the irony). 

In the end, I know he's in safe hands and that this time away from every day life is so good for our marriage and relationship. I know it in my mind and I know it in my heart. So I'm putting my dear baby in The Father's care and praying for him to be safe and content while we are gone. 

No matter how much we love out children, relationship with our spouse should always come first. I know sometimes it's hard to get away but it's absolutely needed to renew, refresh and rekindle the love. After all, children thrive in a loving and caring atmosphere and  benefit from a happy marriage.

July 31, 2014

Judge Not

Summer is our favorite time of the year. Jonathan loves all the outdoor activities and spends most of his time running. The shoes take a beating every time he's outside and don't last very long. So, long story short, I found myself at the mall the other day walking from store to store, searching for toddler sandals. Notice that Jonathan hates flip flops. Every time I would try to put them on his feet he would say that they hurt. Apparently retailers forgot how to make regular boy sandals because I could not find even one pair.

Jonathan was completely tired after about an hour of walking around. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't find what I was looking for, he didn't want to sit in the stroller but I couldn't let him walk as he would run away. So after another attempt to calm him with a toy and some snacks, I did what I have judged others for - I searched the YouTube for cartoons. The connection in the mall wasn't so great and it was taking a while to load one 15 minute video but it kept him occupied. He was watching a cute Russian cartoon that I have watched as a little girl and being somewhat cooperative. Target came to the rescue with only the very last pair of sandals in his size, and we were on our way home.

It's taking me a while to realize that there are many ways to parent. Some parents let their kids go to bed late and then sleep in the morning, other parents have a bed time and stick with it. Some parents don't have food guidelines and others have strict instructions what their child can and cannot eat. No matter what your parenting style is and no matter how paranoid or laid back you are, I don't judge you. I'm doing the best I can and you are doing the best you can, so we are in the same boat. People come from all sorts of economical and societal backgrounds, having gained the knowledge of what's normal from their parents. If someone has been less fortunate or simply disadvantaged in some areas, it's not my job to criticize their skills and abilities. We, as parents, need to encourage and help each other along because this job is hard enough without someone criticizing me for doing my best.

xo, Anna

July 2, 2014

Being a Baby Mama


My little boy and I are quite close. I mean it's just him and I day in and day out. We wake up together. We eat breakfast together. We read books together. We go outside together. We take naps together. We do life hand in hand every day. I never thought I would enjoy being a stay-at-home mama so much but everyday my heart is filled with joy watching my son grow.

I got asked what I do for a living and after answering that I only stay home, I've changed my answer. It may seem trivial or unnecessary, but my answer now is that I work a full time job without vacation, overtime pay and sick days. Full time raising a little human being. Life as a mother is non stop and there is always someone who needs me. There is always plenty of learning, playing, exploring and having fun together. 

Jonathan is such a chatter box right now with occasional moments of silence which usually means he's getting himself in trouble. He knows what he can and cannot do, and will turn on the charm if realizes he got caught in action. If I'm scolding him, he will come to me and lay his head on my shoulder while giving a sweet little peck right on the lips. It melts my heart.

Being a mother to a toddler every minute of the day without leaving the house for work outside is harder than one might think. Doing the same thing over and over again sometimes gets tedious and frustrating. But the moments when I see him discover a new toy, learn  a new word and open a new book are the brightest and happiest moments of my life. His giggles and little quirky things he does, that happy grin and fast little hands, the way he lays his head on my shoulder and says first words are the things that I cherish right now. 

Finding joy in the small things, having patience for the tough things, remembering the good things, never-minding the hurtful things, discovering the new things, keeping the old things dear to my heart every single day. That's what being a baby mama is all about. 

June 2, 2014

Fear {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Motherhood is a challenging task. It makes you take an honest look at yourself and evaluate who you are as a person. Of course, none of us can reach a point where we have corrected out bad habits to the point of perfection. In addition, every child needs to learn from his parents how to grow, learn from and deal with difficult parts life.
Fear is one of the biggest motherhood challenges. It's not the fear of my son getting hurt physically (nothing can stand in a way of a toddler) but the emotional pain that I may cause, or who he may grow up to be, or the future that expects him. 
A lot of times, I fear what I'm doing isn't enough or wrong, and I start doubting my own abilities as a mother. I fear he will grow up to make some awful mistakes or will hurt other people. I fear that I'm not patient and tender enough to show God's love everyday. I fear that he doesn't see the loving and ever-bearing parent I want to be. I fear that something I do or say will impact him forever and he won't recover from the consequences.
As mothers we face the reality of life every day and want to protect our children so much more but we cannot. What we can do is ask God to cover all our inabilities and insecurities with his love. It's not that we won't make mistakes, but we know that God keeps our children in His hand and in whatever we're lacking, He will fill up. Whatever we can't do, God will finish and whenever we mess up, He will give mercy.
Fear disables us from moving on and cripples our ability to love fully, give our all and do great things. God doesn't want us living in a constant state of desperation and tragedy, better yet he has a plan. We just need to trust Him and let go. He knows the present, he has been in the past and every child has a future. When we do our part, he will take care of the rest.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (John 4:18)

May 14, 2014

Thoughts On Parenting

I set down to write this post three times, and have deleted every single draft. It's hard to put thoughts into words when you have ideas coming together in haphazard manner. So here it goes.
I think about what it means to be a parent. A lot. And how it changes me as a human being.
Few weeks ago, hubby and I had a night off (sorta) from being parents. We dropped Jonathan off at my mom's for the night and headed out. Although we were physically away from our child, we were still very presently parenting. After exchanging pleasantries we talked about that little guy that occupies most of our lives. 
We talked about his cute little quirks and the annoying-us-to-death things he does. We talked about life and how much joy that energetic boy has brought into our lives. At the end of the evening, the house felt awkwardly silent without the bubbling toddler running around. It felt a little weird not going into his room to make sure he isn't too hot, or not checking his diaper. His room was empty and it felt as if I never been to that place of just us two. Like we always had him in our lives.   
I thought, I would feel free. I thought, I was craving to relinquish the responsibility of parenthood for just one night. I thought, I missed the freedom.
But the only thing that missed that night was our boy.
Ones you become a parent, you never ever stop being one. No matter what happens in life, no matter the choices that child makes, no matter how geographically disconnected you are, no matter what he/she does, no matter what, you don't ever stop loving.
It was awesome to have a night out on the town with just the two of us, reminiscing about the good ole days. It felt so special to hold hands and not worry about third mouth to feed or the diaper duty. We needed that breath of romance and sweet time alone, and loved every minute of it.
But the next day it was all right with the world again - there were three of us. Hearing that cute babble first thing in the morning, goofing around in bed, chasing around the house, reading books and gathering around the table together. 
As much as I loved the dating and the newlywed stage, and miss being able not to think about nap schedule, I love this new stage in my life. I'm learning to embrace it and savoir every moment of adorable cuteness and naughty mischievousness. I'm learning to have more patience, to let go of the things that bother me and to live in the moment. I'm learning to hit pause for a minute to just sit down and play with Jonathan and remember the moments that brought me so much happiness.
When you hold that precious little baby in your hands, you give up the power and right to act, speak, or think as you want without consideration for another human being that depends on you for everything. That's what it means to be a parent. 

April 8, 2014

The Gentle Reminder

When everything is going well, we do not appreciate or take the time to enjoy what we have. We brush things off, ignore people and pass by our children being busy with who knows what. We just keep on living without realizing how much we have, how fragile life is and how it only takes a second for everything to come crushing down. 

We had a health-related scare with our little guy. As first time parents, we were freaked out and frightened. We didn't know what was going on and at the time, everything seemed possible and scary. After a short visit to the E.R. we were relieved with a mild diagnosis and went home with a thankful heart.

As we put the little guy to sleep and the house turned into silence, we realized that everything could have gone much worse, that really, we have so much. With a tearful prayer and a thankful heart we were locked in the most intimate and lovable embrace. We were so so glad. We were happy.  It was the bittersweet realization that it's so good to have each other, that we really are amazing together, that we didn't crack under stress, that we didn't blow up or shout at each other. Also, a gentle reminder from the Lord to always be thankful, to live every day to the fullest, to be kinder to each other, to spend more time with our son, to make memories, to be happy in the moment, to be mindful of our hearts, to be sincere in our walk, to love the Lord our God with all our hearts. 

I believe God puts us through difficult things for a very specific reason. We may not know it at the time but among one of them is to make us appreciate the good times. We go through testing and trials to understand God's grace, to know that His love sustains and His mercy endures forever. It's the gentle reminders we all need. 

January 10, 2014

Thoughts On Feeling Like a Failure

I have been thinking a lot about what have I accomplished. Not just in the last year but in my entire life. Looking at other women my age and those even younger, at those with, what seems like, better marriages and celebrity-worthy closets I got jealous. I started feeling pity for myself because I don't have a thousand people following after two years of blogging, every item in my closet does not have a J.Crew label on it, my husband is not a freelance photographer who takes pictures of me for living and my baby's outfits are not Instargam-worthy.

I'm just a married girl with baby in tow who has a blog. I write half legible sentences of incoherent thoughts and post pictures of simple outfits. That's it. I'm not sensational or original. In most cases I look to Pinterest and other blogs for inspiration. I carefully plan out all of my blog outfits and take a million pictures of baby for that one cute grin.

And so I've been feeling sorry for myself just a little bit for a couple of reasons. I don't have a career and I'm not rising to the top of corporate ladder. I haven't made a huge following for my blog and I don't have very inspirational thoughts. I don't have a 'wow factor' with every outfit and I cannot afford Valentino rockstuds. (Google it if you must). Feeling like I don't have anything to show for my life, like I haven't accomplished much has taken over me.

It's easy to feel inferior and like a looser by looking at other people's blogs, families, business, children or what have you, through the prism of social media. Most of the time we do not see the whole picture. We get caught up in the covetous state of mind because let's face it, our culture pushes for it. I see a lot of 'currently coveting' posts and none 'look I'm happy with what I've got' posts because we are always looking for more. That makes us compare our lives with others' and when it doesn't line up with a tiny snapshot of reality, we feet like we failed.

That is absolutely not true.

Behind heavily edited pictures, polished looks, staged family photos and perfect lighting there are people. People who have faults, who fail and who don't have it all together because I surely don't. And that's OK. It's OK to be ordinary and just myself. It's OK to be living an ordinary life, raising babies, loving my husband and growing old. It's OK to be grateful for what I have and do the best I can with the life that God gave me.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise
 (2 Corinthians 10:12)

November 18, 2013

Patience {Motherhood Challenges Series}


Would you believe me if I said that I get frustrated with this cute little face and run out of patience? 
Well, it happens more than I like to admit. 
Patience is not my virtue and I will be the first one to admit it, but motherhood has brought a whole different perspective on it.
Having patience and practicing it is not an option anymore. It's simply something I have to do on a daily basis or I will loose my mind. 

As a mother, the primary caregiver and teacher, I become frustrated and impatient.
I know deep inside that he's still very little, he doesn't understand what 'no' means, or that he needs to wait 15 seconds for me to make his bottle. 
Yet it's still hard not to loose my cool. 

It's hard to be patient and still have discipline, to understand his little mind and not get frustrated at his inexperience, to teach him everyday tasks without getting annoyed with his forgetfulness.
Sure, he's cute, and sweet, and adorable, and fun but he still has his moments and it takes a lot of motherly patience and discernment on how to react and what to do when his mood strikes.
I ask the Lord to give me patience but then find myself frustrated and angry with the next situation if something doesn't go the way I planned or envisioned. 

We ask God for patience, but really it isn't something God can just pour on us. Patience is learned with time and age, it's something we conscientiously have to choose and act with, something we have to practice everyday. 

Therefore my prayer is not for God to give me patience. My prayer is to know God, and how He loves us, to show Him in my everyday life. He has so much patience and long-suffering with us, where many times we don't deserve it. 
God really knows us, yet has enough patience to let us come to Him, and let us learn and grow, without force or constrain. 
Learning to love like God does is what going to give me strength to have enough patience for my everyday life.  No matter what life brings.

November 11, 2013

Thoughts On Turning Twenty Five + Inspiration Monday

 Whenever you pass a big milestone in life, it makes you stop and think. You are either satisfied and happy with what you see your life becoming or completely disappointed.
Turning twenty five isn't that big of a deal but still, it's a number that shows I'm approaching thirty (it's a dirty word in vocabulary). It is a milestone and a turning point that certainly got me thinking.

Am I doing something with my life to serve God? 
What have I achieved?
Am I in the center of God's will?
What are my goals and dreams? 
Am I headed in the right direction spiritually, emotionally and socially? 
What kind of memory and legacy will I leave behind?
I mean, there is a lot to consider. 

One thing that I'm sure of is I'm blessed. I have more than I deserve and ever would've of dreamed of to have. In the petty little every day problems, I seem to loose the sight of the big picture, of God's enormous blessings in my life. 

Life is good when it's shared with the ones you love. It's even better when you invest your life into others and help make some one's life better. I do not want to live for me and mine, just doing what's necessary for my family. I want to help others beyond my front door, to love people and serve any way I can. 

If I say I have no regrets, I would be lying. There are things I wish I would have done differently, and advice I would've have listened to, but it's not what's important. Important thing is to move on, to grow, to change things that I can and to accept things that I can't.

I want my life to matter. I want it to leave an imprint on someone else's life, to show others what love of God really means. 

Do I fail? Sure... I burn out, I struggle with things, I don't have enough faith and I get discouraged. Doing the right thing isn't easy. Sometimes it feels lonely and sometimes I don't want to do it at all - I want to throw in the towel and quit. 

Life isn't all roses and pretty pictures. Life is hard and behind every face there is story, there is hurt, there is pain and there are those who help us go through it all. I want to be that person. I want to help people, to leave a lasting impression on life, to do something that matters, to leave a legacy that's worth mentioning in a eulogy. 

I want to...
learn to love people like God does.
forgive and truly let go
move passed disappointments
inspire others to do the right thing
be thankful
have mercy with people
serve God with my talents (as little or much as I have)
help people through the storms of life.
be soft spoken
being able to admit that I'm wrong and change 
raise responsible and God-fearing child(ren)

I don't want to... 
quit because it's hard.
get bitter
forget God's blessings and mercy
worry about tomorrow
be judgmental 
live carelessly
be angry
lose sight of what's important 

Life is a gift so we need to start living like you are only given today because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow.
Thank you for reading and God bless!
Join the link-up party below and spread inspirational words and encouragement!

July 22, 2013

It's a Heart Issue

top: Joe Fresh (sold out)
skirt: NY&Co (similar)
shoes: ALDO 
clutch: old
As a Christian woman, mother and a wife right kind of clothing is very important to me. How others see me, how I portray Christianity and how I feel about what I wear, are all parts of one issue - modesty. 

Growing up, I was forced by my parents to dress conservative and mom would never buy us anything she thought we should not wear (i.e. mini skirts, halter tops).
Then I went all the way off balance and wore only skirts and dresses for couple of years, thinking that I will win 'points' from God by doing so. (That's a blog post in itself)
When I got married, I rebelled a little, because my parents couldn't tell me what to wear. Not that I looked sleazy or anything, but some cuts were lower and hems were higher. I definitely wanted to show some skin.

Now I'm finally starting to find the delicate balance, while being comfortable with who I am as a woman and a Christian.

You see, I grew up with this preconceived ultra conservative notion that Christian people put a bag over their heads and read Bible all day long. Although, no one around ever did that, it was still wrong to put on make up, color your hair or wear jewelry (not even wedding band). 
Having a heart for God and looking good was impossible, because apparently all Godly people were ugly. Wrong.
There are many accounts in the Bible of women dressed in beautiful clothing, Godly men exchanging gold jewelry and God describing His Bride as a beautiful lady. Also, check out the book Songs of Solomon - that woman is smoking hot. Somehow they've missed that.

The most important thing in any Christian person's life is his/her heart. God doesn't care if we do something out of duty or because we were told we are supposed to. 
He wants us do it from the heart or rather not do it at all.
If I'm putting on a maxi skirt and a long sleeve turtle neck and hating it, God knows what's going on inside and really doesn't care for the outfit. But that does not mean I can put on a mini skirt and a halter top and claim that I'm a spiritual person either. 
There has to be a balance to life. Balance between looking groomed and attractive, and becoming vain and abscessed with labels and latest trend. 
Balance is hard to come by because that is a heart issue.

P.S. Happy birthday to my wonderful hubby! Love you! Muah.

Linking up with Molly for Monday Fun Day

July 15, 2013

My Lover Is Mine, And I Am His

'So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday.'

The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that's what you've given me. That's what I hope to give to you forever. 

Friday we celebrated our 5th weeding anniversary.
 I honestly can't believe it's been five years but it has been truly amazing! We weren't able to go away (kid troubles) but still took a full day off to relax and pamper ourselves. 
Fancy shmancy lunch to start the day (insta), then massage and spa relaxation, finishing off with delicious dinner. We did have plans to go see a movie but baby Jonathan didn't think so.
He refused to be put to sleep by grandma and was demanding his daddy (he usually puts him to sleep).

We came home early and instead of watching a screen and not looking at each other, we were able to spent some quality time together.
It was great to just get away for a day and focus on each other.

Happy Anniversary Love!

still being [molly]