FAVORITE PLACE

Every morning the pups and I have a routine, it goes a little like this:

From the moment my foot extends out of the covers and is placed on the old-crackling hardwood floors, Sophia immediately sticks her head up and looks directly at me.

She knows it is time for the day to start.

Since its been cold, Sophia has took the liberty to not shadow me around but to, instead, stay in the warm comfy blankets. I don’t blame her. But that doesn’t mean she’s gone back to sleep. Nope. She is wide awake and attentive. Listening to every footstep made. Waiting patiently for me to open the backdoor and say, “Maestro and Sophia, lets go outside!”

Maestro, on the other hand, stays cozy under the covers. Instead of being wide awake and attentive, like Sophia, he could care less. Every morning Maestro lives his best life by sleeping in as long as possible. The bed truly is his favorite place to be. Sometimes, I have to rub his tummy, give him a little morning chat and carry him off the bed. Other times, he slowly crawls out of bed, followed with one good body-stretch, and outside he goes.

Immediately, I make the bed and close the door. The room is instantly off limits from that point on. However, every now and then, if he hears me going to the room, he’ll swiftly go right past me soon as the door opens and plops right on the bed. There are times I’ll intentionally leave the door open to the room, for the sake of him wanting a little peace and quiet all to himself, in his favorite room.

Recently, there was one busy afternoon and the house got too quiet. Sophia was shadowing me everywhere, nothing unusual, but where was Maestro? I called out for him. Nothing. I knew he wasn’t outside, the door was shut, so I walked throughout the house and eventually went to my room (aka, his favorite room). There he was. Laying ever so peaceful on the bed. His back facing the door. No care in the world. After all, he was in his favorite room.

As much as I wanted to cuddle or rub his belly, because I thought it was the sweetest site. I just couldn’t let myself interrupt his precious moment.

Maestro will take any chance he can get to be in his favorite room.

He even looks forward to the evenings when I say, “lets go to bed.”

The peaceful visual of him had me thinking.

Maestro’s yearn to be in his favorite room is kind of like our yearn and desire for Him. There is no other place, nor person, that can give me the comfort and peace that He does. And in all of my moments, everything from uncertainty to joy, I want to dwell in His holiness and presence.

While the leftover scent of Jimmy and I might be sweet aroma to Maestro, and the ever so comfy bed. God’s love, peace and comfort is a beautiful and sweet aroma to me. He is my resting place. Where my soul can be at peace.

• • •

Matthew 11:28-30

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

FOR EVEN...

My daughter and I were driving, our daily commute to school, and the song Not Afraid by Mosaic began to play. I’ve loved this song, even downloaded it, and have sung along to it many times. However, this morning a few of the lyrics struck me, as if they were just added in the song - obviously not, but thats how new the words felt to me.

The lyrics go:

For even my weakness is strong.

Let those words simmer and digest a bit.

Read them again.

Drop mic moment, right?

How awesome is God that even in our weakness, we are strong

Many of us have heard to have child-like faith and how true that is indeed. When I heard the words “for even my weakness is strong” it reminded me so much of hearing my mother sharing, all throughout my child and youth years, how powerful the name of Jesus is. Since becoming a mom, theres been many moments I have found myself sharing my mothers exact words, “just whisper the name Jesus and fear will flee.”

In life, no matter the age (child to adult), we face moments of struggle, trials and tribulation. During those moments we have two options.

  1. We can let it take us down. Claiming victory over us.

  2. We can conquer it. Claiming victory of it!

However, the neat thing with God is that when we call out to Him, it doesn’t matter what our strength level is at. We can be very timid, quivering at the knees, fearful beyond belief. We can be the total opposite, we can insert ourselves at the frontline. Yelling at our tribulation to come at us with all they got (think Braveheart movie)!

With God, it doesn’t matter because even in our weakness, we are S-T-R-O-N-G. Isn’t that powerful?

As you can tell, this song totally moved and touched me. So, after dropping my daughter off at school, I pressed replay for the drive back home - well, a quick stop at the market and then home. And just let the lyrics deeply marinate in my heart. I hope and pray this song —and the words I pointed out— marinate in your heart as it did with me. Let it speak to you, encourage and motivate you.

• • • •

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

THE VALENTINE'S DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

Just fresh out of my teen years, a baby adult. Learning about life and adulthood but not being studious as I should have been.

Before you know it there's a baby in my arms, I'm married with a mortgage, and then BAM now a divorcee.

After that and for about the next eight years I celebrated every holiday and Valentine's Day with the most adorable little girl, my daughter.  Wouldn't have it any other way. Though, it would have been nice to experience all the feels, like, being surprised by a special someone with flowers and chocolates, a dinner or hike and picnic, or lets be honest, valentine donuts would have been amazing! Nevertheless, I let God's plan lead the way, pushing back all that my heart thirsted for. It was not easy. Much easier said than lived. I knew the heartbreak and pain that would come should I not be smart in who I let next in my heart.

2012 came around...and feeling all thirty-two years young.  Little did I know that was the year my life would change. 

An unplanned, super casual and friendly dinner at Outback Steakhouse led to many other outings with an old friend. Those outings eventually led to a Valentine's dinner and before the stars could make their sparkle in the sky, I officially had a boyfriend and became someone's girlfriend.

My friend of fourteen years became my boyfriend. That boyfriend then became my fiancé and we celebrated our four year anniversary sick with a cold, this last November.

It has been six years since that one Valentine's Day that changed everything. 

• • • •

Ladies and gentlemen, know your worth.

Valentine's day can be the sweetest day filled with all things pink and red, heart shaped cakes and donuts, and nothing less than love being sprinkled around like confetti. Valentine's can also be the worst day ever invented on planet Earth. 

Whatever your feels or thoughts are of February 14th, ALWAYS know your worth. Never ever settle. You are so worthy of the best and know, there is so much beauty during the season of waiting. Don't ever think He's forgotten about you. Trust me, your Boaz (or Ruth) is out there (and please read about Boaz in the Bible). 

It took one very sad divorce, many years of being in the season of waiting, lots of growth, lots and lots of God, and finally the fog in my eyes cleared. My Boaz was there all along. 

But had we dated earlier, we wouldn't have been ready for one another. Timing is everything. Timing is essential. And His timing is always perfect.

Never loose sight of His beautiful Will for your life.

• • • •

His love for us is the greatest love story ever told.

MERCY

Life, it is full of moments. Some are great and small. Some come and go quickly, other's last a bit longer. And as wise people share, it is those moments that make you and I stronger -- if we let ourselves grow through it, that is.

But what about going through moments and getting that extra chatter, the kind that isn't necessary. The kind of chatter that is done behind our backs or if they have the courage to say it to our face. Essentially, kicking us when we are already down.  I've been there, we've all been there, and as thick as our skin can be, it still hurts.  Maybe that is why I felt called to write a bit about mercy today. My heart feels so compelled to be far from the opposite of hate, to the point of going so out of my way at times. 

Many preach about persevering and rising from the dark ashes.  I'm here to preach to the crowd about having mercy, my attempt to hush the chatter.

"If God can give us mercy, why can't we have mercy on each other." -Mary J Blige

We are already our own worst critic.  We don't need outsiders confirming or cheering the criticism we give ourselves. We don't need to see others get dragged through the dirt, and then maybe dragged for a second round because the first time wasn't enough. 

Instead, we should practice mercy. 

MERCY: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.

It is far more work, in my opinion, to give someone anything other than love and mercy. It is nice to be nice, and it is definitely nice to feel love and compassion - especially in those moments when we are totally feeling down in the dumps.

I was searching online for meanings about mercy and I came across a good little sentence, it said, "mercy is a quality intrinsic to the nature of God. It is for this reason that in some situations "merciful" was a sufficient description of God."  When we act and show mercy to another, we are displaying God's love.  There is nothing sweeter than sharing a glimpse of what we receive from God himself, with another. 

The next time we see someone having a moment, great or small, let us practice compassion, mercy, and love. It is easier to jump on the bandwagon of hate and chit-chatter, but it is greater to stand, pray, give hope and encouragement, a hug or pat on the back. Simply loving the person.

• • • •

“Teach me to feel another's woe, to hide the fault I see, that mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.”
ALexander pope

HOPE + PEACE > FEAR

Earlier this morning, I was at Sprouts (love that market!) getting a couple things to make dinner, thinking about today's agenda, and minding my own business. Until I came to the register, that is. I went to the checkout lane mid-conversation between the cashier and bagger, all I heard was something in reference to September 23rd and unless you're living under a rock, there's been tons of talk about the world ending on that day. Needless to say, it didn't take a rocket scientist to understand what they were chatting about. As I reached for my wallet I ask myself, do I intervene and try to give some sort of peace or do I stay quiet?  I felt led to sprinkle a little bit of peace in their conversation because I'm tired of the fear that is being poured out everywhere these days.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, acid attacks, rumors of the world ending and so much more are filling the headlines everywhere we turn. From weather conditions to government topics, the list can go on. Many will say that with the help of technology it has prompted us to be more aware of our world and that these natural disasters have gone on for many years. Many others will agree or disagree with climate control. We all have our thoughts and opinions.  However, along with those thoughts and opinions, and all the heartbreaking catastrophes is F-E-A-R.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
— John 16:33 (NIV)

While I refuse to live in a state of fear, I'll admit having my fair share of restless nights when my thoughts become bigger and bigger to where my heartbeat is heard loud and clear because of anxiety and fear. But once I begin to pray an immense amount of peace fills every ounce of my being, almost as if I'm wrapped in a soft warm blanket on a cold and rainy day and that is exactly the peace that only God can give. He is not a God of fear, even when there is much uncertainty in this world, we have hope and faith in Him. Relying on His Word and promises to us. Knowing that come what may, He has the final say and we will overcome through Him.

• • •

John 16:33 it says "take heart" with an exclamation point, that is a definite order. Literally, take heart and don't take it any other way but that.

John 14:27 it says that God does not give to you as the world gives. He gives and leaves peace. He doesn't want us to have troubled hearTs or live in fear.  Let us meditate on these verses when those thoughts come trickling in.

• • •

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27 (NIV)

BLESSING BLOCKER

The other week, my husband and I were watching a dating show, it was all about people going on their first date, which also happens to be a blind-date. This one particular woman on the show caught my attention, though. Initially, it appeared she might of had a bit too much to drink and had some sort of liquor-confidence going on. This girl then started saying rude and mean comments towards her date, and was a bit judgmental. I don't think she was intentionally trying to be mean, it may have been coming from a place of hurt or bad experience. Her guard could have been up or it was some sort of a mechanism to deflect from what is going on internally. I don't know but what I do know is, she wasn't an easy person to have a conversation with. The girl put her date through the fire! He held his own though and took the verbal punches she threw.  He even tried to turn those punches into a positive and was persistent in trying to make the best of the date. Mid date the girl went to the ladies room, called a friend and the conversation went from bashing the guy to sharing how she made a big mistake by being too hard on the guy. She came back to her date and apologized for the way she was acting, asking if they can start the date over. He accepted and she stood-up, shook his hand and re-introduced herself.

During the tv show one-on-one interview, she emotionally shared:

"Sometimes, I'm a blessing blocker and I need to stop blocking my blessings."

The second half of their date went great but in the end her date thought it's best to be friends. To which she understood and was quite sad about it but she left with the realization that she needs to stop blocking her blessings - even when it is in the form of a wonderful man, that could have potentially turned into something long lasting.

• • • •

Many times there are moments where we are unaware of a blessing being poured down upon us. Many times, we become aware of a blessing mid-way, like this woman who realized she was robbing herself from a blessing. Even though she apologized and tried to salvage or do whatever she could to turn it around, to intercept the blessing. It was too late. Many other times, we become aware of a blessing coming our way but we intentionally and purposely block it. It could be because we feel we aren't worthy of receiving it or a variety of other factors that cause us to reject it. Many times we are blinded of the blessing and don't even know a blessing passed us by. And then, many times we are oblivious of a blessing but our hearts and minds are open, we unintentionally receive the blessing.

When God sprinkles or rains those blessings upon us, let us not question him and feel we are so unworthy of them that we reject it. It is, like, saying to God: "Nah, I'm good."

Let us not be a child on Christmas morning rejecting gifts (aka blessings) from those who love us dearly.

God is a God of purpose and intention. He is a good-good father. Let us not block blessings but instead learn to receive and embrace them, wholeheartdedly. 

• • • •

He blesses us so that we may be a blessing + bless others.

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

Intentional Living

I N T E N T I O N A L

adjective

done on purpose; deliberate.

L I V I N G

adjective

alive.

• • • • 

Last night, as my husband and I were at a local coffee shop while my daughter was at rowing practice, my eyes caught a beautiful moment of a father and son having coffee and conversation over a game of chess. I wanted to interrupt their quality time, for a quick second, just to say how I admire the intentional moment, instead, I held back.

Why does this moment stand out to me so much?

Well, in my opinion (which means NADA!), many have made the phone a member of the family because thats how much time is spent on them. Spending far more time on a phone than the person or people who are physically present. Isn't that sad? I'll admit that phones are indeed a necessity, nowadays, especially when you're a parent needing to get a hold of your teen or for job related reasons. Trust me, I get it. There are times when an un-expected work email is received and an immediate reply is needed. But the guilty feeling that comes as soon as my daughter makes a shift in her body language in response to me being on the phone is the worst! And then there are times when my husband is on the phone and my body language shifts, too.

There is a time and place for everything. In our house, phones are a no-no during our mealtime, moments spent together, when we're with others, and times when it is just not appropriate. Phones should not substitute the people in our lives.

In a nutshell, I guess this is why watching a father and son have actual quality time and applying intentional living, made this girl very happy.

Let us challenge ourselves to practice intentional living for 2017. Let us not allow the phones to be a replacement of actual conversation. Let our children learn the proper way of communication, instead of text slang and abbreviations.

Let us, more importantly, connect with one another because life is short and let us not regret the missed opportunities of spending quality time with those we love. 

#IntentionalLiving

Connectedness leaves my soul reeling. Not random chemistry on a spiritless grid.
— Tom Quigley

BECAUSE PINK

because [wearing] pink is my public support for all the fighters

. . . .

WE HAVE THIS HOPE AS AN ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL. - HEBREWS 6:19

It is the month of October and, naturally, many are in their own state-of-mind, as they should be, which could be focused on work, family things, figuring out halloween costumes, planning festivities, and the list can go on.

However, for others, the world shuts down by one single, life impacting and horrible, word:           C A N C E R

Two years ago, this month, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. We've shared (and blogged) with many of this moment. By the grace of God, and with tons and tons of prayers from all over the world, I am SO happy to continuously share she is cancer FREE! A definite Praise the Lord feeling and moment.

If you are so blessed and fortunate to not have been impacted by cancer, be ever so thankful. My family was blessed and fortunate of not being personally impacted, till my mothers prognosis.

Our life got rocked but our faith stayed solid.

Was it easy? Most certainly not. I have "before & after" prognosis photos of myself to prove it. My weight sky-rocketed due to stress and ultimately letting myself go, because I put family first. Even though I had faith and prayer, it didn't stop me in my quest to find solutions, researching non-stop, and seeing what I can do to help prevent my daughter and I from the deadly disease. The computer, or internet for that matter, is the devil. But this is just the impact on myself. My dad and brothers were hugely impacted as well. The fact of not knowing if your mother will survive or not can make any sane person feel a bit crazy, but again thankful for our God - the master of peace.

How is my mother doing now? She is doing SO good! She is a survivor! Is she 100% yet? No, but I have hope she will be one day. What many don't realize is those who survive cancer still have a long road ahead. It's, like, why? She went from looking like death in the beginning, to being healed, and after several surgeries - she should be good now! We really want to close this chapter of our families life and start a new one, more than ever. I have hope that one day that new chapter, in our life, will happen. My mother is facing yet another, possible, surgery next month, so hopefully next year will be the start of the 'new chapter'.

But, may I ask a favor from you?

I'm not going to ask you to donate money to a charity that benefits breast cancer. My ask is that you say a prayer (and if you can, make it daily) for all the families impacted by cancer, and most importantly for our warriors fighting the fight to be healthy and for their lives. Pray that their spouse has the strength and faith to be all they can be at this time. Lord knows it takes a toll on the spouses. Pray for the parents who have children with cancer because the worst thing a parent can do is bury their child, and seeing their child sick, being and feeling helpless is a feeling that is unexplainable. Pray for the children (however old they may be) with cancer, that they be healed because we know there is a purpose in each and every one of them! Pray for children impacted by their parents having cancer, pray that they would have peace in them and be the pillars that their family so needs at the moment. Most importantly, pray for healing and for a miracle. God says, where two or more are gathered He is there. He hears our every prayer. So you see, your prayer won't go in vain and it will be heard and not wasted. (Even if you don't believe in God)

My second ask, if you have been impacted by cancer (wether it be you yourself, spouse, parent, sibling, relative, friend, neighbor, co-worker OR anyone you know) wear the color that represents that cancer. If you haven't been impacted, thank the Lord....and maybe still wear a color that represents a cancer? Let us be a community, supporting one another, even if it is just a verbal encouragement, prayer or hug. I will be the first to tell you how it means so much to those who are going through the fight - regardless of the circumstance. It makes us feel we aren't alone in this great big world. A little surprise of coffee or tea (or their favorite treat) won't hurt, too :) 

Life is short. We don't know what tomorrow brings. But we do know their is community, and when the water gets deep, we are assured to know we won't drown because of community.

. . . .

p r a y e r

Dear God, May every cancer cell be wiped out by Your powerful hands.

Amen and Amen. Shalom and Shalom.

. . . .

 

Life is simple. Let's not complicate it.

Earlier today, Cass was in the process of writing an email to her coach. Per normal, I tend to give her a little direction with writing. Cass wrote the email and proceeded to read it out-loud, proofreading. I assisted with a simple edit and emphasized keeping the email short and sweet. Cassy rewrote the email, and read it out-loud. Again, I gave her some direction and emphasized keeping it simple and sweet. It was, literally, ONE simple question Cass had. This time, I was direct and told her what to write. I also found myself saying, "Keep it simple. Life is simple, we don't need to complicate it."

As I uttered, "Keep it simple. Life is simple, we don't need to complicate it," I found myself instantly eating those words. #humbled #Guilty

How many times have I complicated something, when I could have kept it completely simple?  M A N Y !

I could brush it off and instantly blame it on my indecisiveness OR others could jokingly blame it on being a female. Truth is, we all have had moments where we made life far more complicated than it should have been.

Why is it though? Why do we opt for the headache?

This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated. Ecclesiastes 7:29

We are our own worst enemy! 

When Jimmy and I were newly married, buying take-out food was not an option [my rule]. I was set on home cooked meals (gluten-free, organic, free range, nonGMO - yes, I'm that girl). I complicated our little life, amidst us working full-time jobs, Cass' sports & school schedule, and all other life things. I was stubborn and didn't want to take the easy route, I didn't want take-out. I didn't want that quick pizza from Trader Joe's where you simply throw-it-in-the oven. I wanted to complicate our life, even though I meant good by wanting to cook healthy homemade meals. Comparing my current self to back then, I have tamed it down. We keep easy-to-do meals on hand, like turkey meatballs in the freezer, pasta and pre-made sauce in the pantry. Being prepared in advance, gives us the opportunity and breathing-room to simplify life in any given moment.

God knows, we don't need an extra gray hair, raise our stress levels OR gain that extra pound of stress-weight.

However, complications aren't always tiny moments, like writing a simple email. Sometimes, it's marriage or family strains, financial or job issues, and mortgage or rent. It can also be things, like deciding which dress looks best on us or at the makeup counter deciding on that certain pink or red lipstick shade, and matching it with our skin complexion. #Struggles

Regardless of which complicated moment, we always know there IS opportunity to turn the moment into a simple, easy, breezy moment. Let us simply life. God wants that for us and we should want that for ourselves too.

TO DO

What can you do, in advance, to simplify life during moments of confusion? And, for those unexpected but definitely 'could be' complicated moments, what habit can you create that will let you react and opt to simplify it instead?

Genuineness + Trader Joe's

Almost daily, it seems, there is a need to stop by the local Trader Joe's and this afternoon's visit wasn't the usual.

The morning started with dropping off and picking up my daughter from volleyball, then rushing over to my OBGYN appointment, and, lastly, making a quick stop downstairs for some blood work. As we headed home, dinner popped into mind and we needed to make a stop at the market, thus making a Trader Joe's visit. Again, nothing unusual.

What was also not unusual, the warm greetings and smiles received by the staff of TJ's, especially from the ones that remember me, from our frequent visits lol Only this time, there was gauze wrapped around my arm, from the blood work. Totally forgot to take it off, maybe because we were running around or maybe because my thoughts were distracting me, and then DINNER, gotta think what to make for dinner. Nonetheless, the little strip of gauze, that blended with the color of my skin, was noticed by one of the store employees and as we walked towards the check-out lanes, the same store employee quickly said he would help us. While scanning our food, one-by-one, he proceeds to ask how I'm doing. Nothing unusual, because every Trader Joe's staff members are always so friendly and nice. He then follows up by politely and casually asking, in a non direct way, about the the blood work I had done. My initial response was vague, only because my daughter was present and it's Trader Joe's, who gets deep into convo there? Well, second thought, I have! From conversations of hearing one tell me of their date at Disneyland, yummy food recipes, about cars, and all while having the food scanned. This also includes my husband, we tend to be quite the social butterflies :)

Today's visit was different. There was genuine concern in his eyes, and so I answered a little more in depth, without going too into detail because my daughter was there. Long story short, the moment was very heartwarming. Seeing his concern and hearing him ask questions, and then making sure to tell me to keep up in what I'm doing, to stay healthy.

I left Trader Joe's smiling. For many reasons, mainly because it was nice hearing concern from someone other than my husband, parents and my own circle of friends and family. See, sometimes or many times, I don't like expressing or sharing my feelings or whatever is currently going on. Many of us can go to our mothers, but with my mom being a recent breast cancer survivor (and will be having surgery next week), expressing my concerns to her is not something I'd consider doing. My moms health is enough for the plate, I just want her to focus on herself and not waste a thought on me. Also, I'm pretty private. Sounds ironic, considering I've shared so much on this site, right? Well, in person, I am private and very selective with who I share things with and also, who wants to bother another with their in-the-moment anxious thoughts and worries? Not I.

LESSON

Take a moment, even if you are in a rush and don't have the time, to ask someone how they are doing. I know we hear this said all the time, but truly do it. Countless times, I see moments taken for granted. What could have been a highlight of the day for one, was instead a missed opportunity. We, as citizens of humanity, are to be the light in what is now a world filled with so much sorrow. Let us be the love, the happy and the hope. Many are counting on moments like I experienced. Many are going through far worse situations that my little stint of health concern, which is completely fixable. I know there are friends and family members, that I can call or text if I need someone to chat with and of course, there's my husband to go to, too. But many do not have the luxury that I and so many have, with having people to go to. I ask for you to simply give another a moment by listening to them or giving an honest minute of genuine concern and thoughtfulness. It is very heartwarming to have a stranger, someone who hardly knows you, be sincere in their conversation with you.

Take a moment, just like our friend at Trader Joe's did with me. It can change a life.

___

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

___

Milestones

From the second a baby is born, two people not only turn into parents but they become gatekeepers, protecters, a life guide, counselors, teachers, nurses, coaches, cheerleaders, taxi drivers, a bank with free-flowing money, and the list can go on.  There are countless books to prepare parents for the role they are about to take on, but I truly feel nothing can possibly prepare like real life a experience can. Once the baby arrives and you're like, "whoa, it's here!" You're now gazing into the beautiful babies eyes. Its a magical instant pure love, where you become obsessed with this tiny human being you created. From the moment of the first buckle and fasten of the carseat, on that slow and long drive home, getting upset at cars driving fast around you because "how dare they! Don't they know there is a baby in the car?" Finally, you are home and thats when it gets real. No nurses or doctors checking up on you and the baby. No one assisting with diaper changes, you are completely exhausted. Feeling like grown-up kids but with a baby. Who would trust us with a baby and where are the instructions? Unless, you're blessed with a mother who lives close, she comes by everyday to help you transition into parent life and also cooks and cleans (a true God sent!).

This whole transition into parenthood causes us to document and celebrate every single milestone the baby successfully accomplishes.

Guess what! Our baby burped! Guess what?! Our baby just smiled, though it didn't intentionally smile but nonetheless it was a smile.

Oh the joys of parenthood. And it doesn't matter if this is a parents first or fifth baby, milestones are forever celebrated and always an exciting and treasured thing to watch. 

Now, that I have a soon-to-be fourteen year old, who's entering ninth grade soon, I want life to slow down. Now more than ever. When she was young, I aways pondered and was excited to see her bloom, watching milestone after milestone fly by. College life always seemed very far away, an eternity away. I savor every moment of Cass' life, like many parents do. We all want our children to grow at a slower pace. I mean, can we have the toddler phase extended? Please? Those were the best years. They don't care how much love is displayed toward them publicly. Everything is magical in their eyes. Literally, it's as if you see that glimmer and sparkler in their eyes whenever they are in awe of something. That was Cass' hook on me.

Those were the years, until one drive home and the discussion of 8th grade graduation came up. For a while I was trying to see how I could persuade my tomboy daughter to wear something other than jeans, a tee, plaid shirt and vans. Cass took me by surprise though, she said the five letter word I've longed to hear - D R E S S ! Not just a casual, skater-skirt style but an actual dress. I was beside myself in excitement but stayed cool, calm and collected. What I didn't see coming was the shoe part, she wants to wear heels! Internally, I was sad and frantic, all at the same time. We have been living the life of Converse and Vans, her choice, for quite a long time. I'm not mad about it. I love Converse but I also love some ballet flats on her, maybe an ankle boot as well. I was so happy she was considering something other than tennis shoes but I wasn't prepared to hear the word 'heels'. We've been raising her to stay true to herself. Stay modest in clothing, nothing revealing and what is appropriate for her age and it has never been a problem. Thank the LORD! But this 'heels and dress' thing is pulling an emotional number on me. I wanted to halt life. Especially, when she tried on little heels for the first time. I even recorded it. She grew in a matter of seconds at that moment. This whole thing is not quite that big of a deal but emotionally, I didn't see this coming. It caused me to countdown the days to high school graduation, then off to college and the real world comes next. Yes, I am being that mom - life was flashing before my eyes in a matter of seconds.

Being a parent is not easy. It can be exhausting, mentally and emotionally draining. It is also wrapped in many beautiful and exciting moments. Being on the sideline watching her grow from 21.5 inches long to now, where she is taller than me. It has all been a beautiful experience but I was reminded in an article last week: Instead of feeling like life is one big countdown, enjoy it and be glad for what tomorrow (next month, year or ten years) will bring. I need to simmer my motherly anxious heart and embrace my daughters growth these next few years. Help her prepare as much as I can for college life and the world. Continue pouring His word and His love into her heart, ears, mind and soul. Letting her know she is loved, beautiful and smart. Instilling that boldness and confidence in her. Letting her know she can conquer the world and whatever her heart is after. 

In life, when it comes to viewing time, we have two options. We can chase time, be anxious and never feel we are ready or we can own time, by embracing and seeing it come to you - instead it leaving you.

Many of us take a look back at life or our kids, we think how quickly time goes by. How many of us look ahead though? Looking ahead not in an anxious view but in a view of loving it and celebrating what is coming your way. 

With my family, particularly with Cassy, high school is coming our way and after that comes college. Those are two certain and factual things time is going to bring us. We can be stressed, feel not ready or whatever the case may be OR we can switch it. We can love what time has in store for us and love on my daughter more than ever. We will never have her in these stages of life again. The only way to relive the past will be through photos and videos. It is actually beautiful to look ahead. These next few years will go by quick, just as the last 13 years have. These are my last years with her under my wing. These are my last years preparing her before she enters college and the real life. Only God knows what will come her way. Until then, I will be cheerleading and doing whatever I can on the sideline until the next graduation comes. Once we get to that season of life, we will embrace what lies ahead, college and for all the milestones and accomplishments she will achieve and pursue.

Time will continue to pass for the rest of our lives. Take advantage of it. Be responsible with it. Use it wisely. Don't chase it but love and embrace it.

The First Grader + A One Dollar State Of Mind

Earlier this week, I volunteered at my daughters school book-fair. The short time helping out was very typical and similar to the many other volunteer opportunities - lots of chatting, meeting parents and students, helping the little ones out with selecting books, answering questions, etc... the norm.

However, there were two very unique conversations I had, which happened at two different times and with two different students. The first conversation was quite meaningless and just made me smile. When I had the second conversation with another student, my mind zoomed in on PERSPECTIVE, as I compared both conversations with the two students.

You see, there was this little girl who came up to me, she was very excited and had her money tight in her hand. The first grader, without hesitation and ready to make a purchase, asked, "I have one dollar! What can I get?!" As she pointed to a section of cute little toys and knickknacks, I smiled back and showed her the awesome things she can buy. The girl was happy from the moment she entered the book-fair, all the way up to paying for her scented eraser - which she was SO happy to get - and her bookmark. I would label her as, one very happy customer!

Then, there was the moment when a ten year old came up to me.  Initially, the boy was glancing at books, posters and a few other things in the fair.  He asked me, "what can I get with just ten dollars?" "You can get so much with ten dollars, that is an awesome amount of money you have," I replied, with a smile. His straight faced expression read something that said, "are you serious?" "We have an awesome 'buy 1, get 1 FREE' promotion and you can get anything," I shared, with the unimpressed ten year old.  The ten year old asked, "can the free item be anything or ?" I showed him books that he was interested in and replied, "It can be anything and it needs to be less in price, than the item you are purchasing." Eventually, the boy made a purchase of a book and chose to get a poster, as the free item.

Like many moms, I try to spin things into a teaching and sharing moment with Cassy (as she rolled her eyes, thinking "here she goes again"...haha!), so I told her of the conversation with both students, then began to talk about perspective and state-of-mind.

You see, we all have choices in life.

We can be like the first grader - excited and feeling that one whole dollar, is as much as having one hundred dollars.

OR

We can be like the ten year old - asking ourselves (or others), "what can I get with JUST ten dollars?"

In reality, we all know, ten dollar is far more than one dollar. The first grader was not concerned with who had more than her, all she knew was that she had one dollar to spend and that one dollar was more than enough for her. She knew, she could still walk out the fair, with something in her hand, that she had bought. The boy was concerned with only having ten dollars, feeling he was limited and unsure if he was going to walk out the fair with something.

What it comes down to is, perspective and state of mind.

I feel when we have the mindset of that first grader, the world and life seems limitless. Our dreams, visions, goals and aspirations seem that much more attainable.  When we have the limited mindset, as the ten year old did, we immediately short change our selves (no pun intended). This mindset can easily build walls that divide us from our goals and dreams. It can also often create a narrow point of view, not letting us see the immense amount of possibilities all around us. The confusion, drama, negativity and whatever is going in our circumstances and in life, can expand into further negativity with that type of mindset.

Let us be first graders.

Let us have that state of mind.

Under Construction

Currently, our master bath is being worked on, a somewhat remodel -- new floors, throne (󾔇), shower, paint, etc... 

While working away downstairs, I hear the demolition upstairs; sounds of pounding on the wall, noises of tile breaking and crashing onto the ground. 

Immediate thoughts are a sigh of relief and ready to get this checked off our list but then I glimpse outside and see our neighbor. Feeling kinda bad and hoping the noise isn't annoying or too loud for her. (I'm also jotting a note to get her a nice gift card, for tolerating us) 

This moment of under construction + possibly annoying my neighbor or making her feel uncomfortable, makes me think about our own time(s) of being under construction. 

Many times we have moments where we want change and many of us have made resolutions or committed to some sort of positive change for 2016. With change comes not only commitment, work, blood, sweat and tears on our end but it also affects those around us and some might not be able to handle it. 

Do NOT let the loudness of your demolition and reconstruction stop you from what your heart and soul desire to do, and your propose.

Construction and demolition on a home or any project is never quiet. Think about it. Our master bath for an example, it's old and we tried to revive it but it just wouldn't work. The paint was horrible, the toilet didn't work, the floor chipped and broken needed to go, the shower was horrendous - we haven't used it since we moved in. Now what do you think is going on in our own body, mind, heart and soul? Some have deep and unresolved healing, some need to be healthy (mentally and physically), some need to quit bad habits, and the list can go on. Don't let the loudness of your construction hinder or stop you to be better.

Under Construction

Under Construction

LA BODEGA GALLERY

La Bodega Gallery

Owners & Artists: Sonia Lopez-Chavez & Chris Zertuche

Through social media, we heard about an amazing Frida show that was going to take place at the two year old gallery, La Bodega, and knew it was going to be quite a spectacular show that we could not miss. Little did we know, we would be getting a lot more than we could have ever imagined, just by attending the event. When we arrived at the Frida Kahlo art show we were very excited and didn't know what to expect. Our first experience of the event was seeing a beautiful black matte oldie car parked in front and as we made our way into the gallery we saw many women and children dressed as Frida's - it was beautiful, funny and very cute, all at the same time. We were instantly blown away at first sight from the artwork and then seeing the endless amounts of beautiful work, one-by-one of Frida, it was all so very amazing.  However, when we walked out and back to our car, we were walking out with an immense amount of energy and were excited, motivated and inspired! We knew we had to meet the creators of the gallery, Sonia and Chris, and we wanted to hear how this gallery the vision and heart behind La Bodega. After an email and a phone call, we were blessed with the opportunity to sit down and chat with them.

WHY LA BODEGA

We wanted to create an outlet for ourselves and the community.  When we do artist call-outs we get many artist from all over the country and the world. We want to give artists the opportunity to share their work and not limit the shows to just a few artists. For every show we need to cut it off at a certain point because we get hundreds of artists that want to participate and our space was big but not that big. With that, we knew what we wanted and needed- a big space. He's [Chris] been working super hard with this space, it looked nothing like it looks right now.  When I [Sonia] first came here I was like, "no, we can't do this. I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel" but he did it and it looks great. We do everything ourselves, the pluming, electrical, painting and we try to keep everything in-house, it means more to us that way.

INSPIRATION

[Sonia] I've always had the talent and it was my dad who pushed me when I was really young, he always wanted me to paint and to draw and I didn't want to.  It wasn't till after he passed that I thought, "I'm going to try it, if not for me than for him." Once I took it seriously, I started to sell work and I thought, "you know what, I am good at this, why not take advantage and do it full-time" and so I've been doing it since.

WHY FRIDA?

Frida is an inspiration and muse to so many people, and of course being in Barrio Logan and being Chicano we wanted to give that artsy side of a Frida Kahlo show. We've been wanting to do a Frida show for a very long time but we wanted to do it in the right space and with working really hard on details, we thought it was the right time we could present a professional and fun gallery for the community, families and everyone. Also, we wanted it to be around her birthday and it just so happened to be when she is super popular. NOTE: Sonia is the creator of the beautiful Frida mural outside their building.

BEING CHICANO

It comes down to our ancestors, [Chris] my family is a second generation being here (San Diego), she's [Sonia] born and raised in Guanajuato.  It's having that connection, being next to the border, growing up here, being a San Diego native and always living that lifestyle. It is so important to keep the festivities and traditions alive because it is very easy to lose that, especially in the art scene here in San Diego. We have to remind ourselves because that is who we are and that's our focus here [La Bodega], and of course we allow any race and age to participate, but we're Mexican, it's in us, its our family, that's what we want to represent and its why we wanted to make sure the gallery was a beautiful space. We want people to come in here and be awed by it.

ENCOURAGEMENT

I would honestly say, come here, come to one of our shows and just vibe out, on not only on the artists but the supporters that come here.  Every single time, I kid you not, for any show that we have all you see is smiles. People are just astonished by the different kind of work that is here and all the talent that is here.  As an artist, for me [Sonia], that's what I want to feel, I want to feel the energy of people that enjoy art.  All the different ethnicities that are here; there will be everyone from punker kids, hipsters, sociales and everyone is all in here, they're all talking and having fun and its weird to see them all in one spot. It's not just artsy people, its a little bit of everybody. Every different artist brings different friends and different personalities. And beside the art, they're looking at the building.

ART

It doesn't matter how old you are, we need to have a form and a way to release (feelings) and art allows that for us.  We are not taught on how to communicate anger, frustrations or stress but through art we are able to do that. When we are happy and feel joy or sadness, we are able to release that through art or photography or music. We have to have it [art].

NEXT SHOW

"A Galaxy Far Far Away"

STAR WARS GROUP ART SHOW

50+ Artists will be displaying their own unique interpretation of all the Star Wars classic films AND everyone is encouraged to wear their favorite Star Wars attire!

WHEN: Saturday, December 12th - 5PM-10PM

ADDRESS: 2196 Logan Ave, San Diego CA 92113

 

SUPPORT

Support the San Diego community, its artists and artists from all over the world. Also, support La Bodega by attending one of their many shows. People come from all over the world to visit this beautiful gallery and its in our own city of San Diego. They are an active and fun gallery, with DJ's playing, food and refreshments.

*Follow them on social media to be up to date with their events:  FB & Instagram @LaBodegaGallery

GUARANTEE

We guarantee you will leave the gallery filling inspired, connected with the community, encouraged and motivated to pursue your passion and dreams.

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Private Club

I didn't know how I would feel entering this specific month.  It is the month of many things.  In our family, it is the month we celebrate my dad's birthday. This year this month represents an exact year of my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer and being cancer FREE. These two amazing milestones calls for our family to celebrate, because our parents are healthy and we have another year of being blessed with them in our lives.

The debby-downer of this month though, that day was yesterday.  October 15th is marked for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  To husband and I, October 15 of last year was the exact day we had a miscarriage.  It has been one year.  One year that my heart felt broken.  That we were surprised with a blessing, but a temporary one.  This still and quiet brokenness then makes a quick left turn to anger at what I personally and spiritually feel was the cause and root.  To not let this anger control or consume me, I quickly whisper asking God to remove that anger, soften my heart and give me peace.  It is all I can do.  The morning started off at the gym, it is the perfect remedy to let out all the feelings and boy did I let them out at in my cycle class.  

While I wanted to just have quiet time, read, write, sip tea, etc... The day was anything but that. Then throw in The Dodgers huge playoff game last night, I guess the day was a helpful distraction to my heart and mind.  My husband and I didn't say much about the topic, and I was thankful for the stress and feelings of disappointment he had over the game because I'd rather he have those feelings than of the brokenness from last year.

Overall I would say we are very positive and optimistic.  The sadness that pops up throughout the year.  The brokenness and hurt we feel knowing we would have had a child to carry and stroll, our home filled a little extra, accidentally stepping on musical baby toys in the middle of the night when the baby is finally sound asleep, the dogs having an extra loved one to protect, and being able to make the coming holidays more special...aside from the many experiences we could be sharing, we have hope through and through. And I'm thankful for humor and laughter, because we've had many moments of pure laughter, smiles and happiness - little sprinkles to mend the wound and heal.

While we have faith it makes me sad to read and hear from other women (moms) in this special club who lost faith.  Some hate God.  Some are going through a very tough time, tougher than what my husband and I experienced in mourning and grieving.  And then there are women, like me, who question ourselves if it is okay to morn or if we are done mourning and are we really better, if not will it ever get better?  My heart hurts specifically for those who lash out in anger because I felt that, too.  My anger was not at God but at certain people.

Today, I write to the moms who have baby angels looking over you and who are waiting to meet you one day.  Let us build each other up.  Let us support one another.  Let us not grow bitter nor angry.  Let us soak in each and every feeling because there will be new members of this special and intimate club as each day goes by.  Let us embrace them and give them that giant bear hug, the one we all wanted to collapse into during our moment of brokenness.  Let us teach them to ignore the comments of, "miscarriages happen all the time" "some don't even know they were pregnant and had a miscarriage" and the comments can go on because they do not understand and will never understand.  Let us also feel that it is OK to grieve and to own each feeling that goes through our heart.  We are not sensitive.  We are not over-emotional.  We are moms who simply miss their child, we lost a part of our future before it even began and we have a piece of our heart in heaven.  We may hold a secret remembrance on the day of each year of the childs birth (or estimated birth date).  We might even light a candle the evening of October 15th to be one with moms all across the world.  We might do many other things.  And it is all OKAY.  

To the moms who lost faith.  I simply pray you regain that faith and that anger towards God diminishes. God is a God of good.  He is a loving God.  A God who sees every tear and every pain we endure.  He knows how many hairs on our head.  Now for one to know how many hairs I have on my head, must be from someone who thinks I'm so important to him that He knows every single detail about me.  God uses pain, hurt, brokenness and turns it around for the good. This pain and heartache has turned into a beautiful blessing for my husband and I, we are able to share, cope, cry, grieve, mourn and sympathize with so many.  Being able to share the hope and to love on others through their time in sorrow is more than I could have imagined from God.  It is a complete blessing.  October 15th of 2014, when we faced our sorrow, one of my dearest friends was there to help pick me-up and told me it is okay to feel every emotion.  I thank her.  For what she herself experienced, she in turn helped me cope. Nothing ever goes in vain, even the most saddest and hurtful ones.

There is and will always be hope.

To all the moms in the world, I love you and I am completely blessed to be in this special club with you.

I AM BONITA. I AM CALM.

I find myself in Little Italy, at Cafe Gratitude.  Before I walk in, I see the windows covered with words that speak positivity, love and encouragement and I think, YES, this is so awesome!  I walk in and a lovely man approaches to seat me and he see's my macbook in hand -- code word for: I am going to be here for a good hour (or two or three).  He was kind and considerate in making sure my table had access to an outlet, to charge my computer while working.

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F I G H T E R

It was Saturday, October 18, 2014, the day of my dad's BIG 60th birthday party, and my husband and I had an unexpected week that went from joyful to sorrow.  On Wednesday, October 15th we experienced a miscarriage and unbeknownst to us, that day is the National Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day.  Ironic? Yes, it was but it instantly made be feel not alone and a sense of community of support and encouragement, not to mention having the support of one of my dearest friends who also suffered a miscarriage and was able to help me through with her experience.

Fast forward to my dads birthday, my husband and I felt the desire to stay home as difficult of a decision that was.  We told my parents the news and yet again, unbeknownst to my husband and I, that same day my mother received her diagnoses of breast cancer.

After I try to come to senses over my moms health, I felt God was shedding some light as to why we had a miscarriage.  What daughter could be calm, stress-free and remain positive when their mother's health has taken a huge turn? Immediately, I become somewhat thankful.  Thankful that God will only give me what I can handle and surely that must have been a circumstance that my health and the baby could not.  My energy and focus shifted towards helping my mom. Non-stop researching on-line, making holistic cancer-fighting smoothies for her, educating myself and so forth.  The process went rather quickly.  The following month she had her invasive surgery and glory to God she has been declared CANCER FREE!

Earlier in the year I finally followed up with my doctor, it was seen in my blood-work from the miscarriage that my platelets were off and there was concern.  I was then scheduled for more blood-work, after being asked a significant amount of health questions and having the appointment end with, "I'm also scheduling you to see an oncologist but do not be scared, you do not have cancer." My eyes enlarged and every part of my body could have just collapsed to the ground. Who ends a sentence with, "do not be scared, you do not have cancer"??? Then throw in the fact of what my family is going through with my mom.  If you know me well, you most certainly know my mind raced and I could not get to Google any quicker -- yes, Google is very very bad in times as this.  I quickly went to the computer then slowly made my way to bed with more fears and staying up all night praying...I had a lack of sleep every night from that point.

I'm now in the oncologists office waiting and the first glimpse of the doctor walking-in my emotions internally freak-out.  She introduces herself, I reply with, "hello, I believe your my mothers doctor."  See during one of my moms doctor visits my dad took a photo of my mom and the oncologist holding up a paper that read "cancer-free," my dad then texted me that photo. If it hadn't been for that, I would not have known.  I asked God what is His purpose in this and to more than anything, give me the strength.  The oncologist replies, "oh yes! She is my patient! Please tell her hello." I tell her that my mom doesn't know and the oncologist quickly completes my sentence, "you do not want her to stress." Yes, exactly.

After numerous questions that led my thoughts run wild and growing impatient with wanting direct answers right then and there, I leave the office only to go for more blood-work and with a stack of papers to read about this chronic disorder I am diagnosed with. My blood platelets are low.  We all need platelets.  Then I think back to the miscarriage and relate it to c-sections because I had one with my daughter and will need to have a c-section if we have children. C-sections are surgeries and blood platelets are hugely involved.  After me and my bad habit of a friend (AKA Google), I become thankful yet again as God sheds light over the miscarriage.  I asked both of my doctors how can I increase my platelets, about pregnancy and many other questions I had.  The one answer that stuck out the most was when my doctor said, there isn't a way to increase them. I was so confused and thought, so this is it? My shoulders shrugged and thats kind of how they stayed for sometime.

I was mentally, emotionally and physically drained -- then throw in life, work, staying positive so my daughter has somewhat of a sane mother.  I am not a quitter and I was not made to just let things be. I wanted to fight this through and was not going to be a factor of where this disorder could take me. More than anything else, I believe in miracles and had faith.

After doing lots of research, taking action and PRAYING... I go to the doctors office in May for a follow-up and blood-work.  I asked God that even if my platelets went up by ONE number, it would be tremendous encouragement for me.  My results showed that not only did it go up one number but it went up a total of FIVE! I was so encouraged to continue pressing on. Last week I went in again for blood-work and prayed that God would speak loud and clear with my results.  He not only spoke, He yelled!  My platelets went up FORTY points!!!  Happy and astonished are understated words to how I felt hearing my results, my tears were so in shock that they froze and did not come bursting out of my eyes!  Not only did my platelets increase by forty but my results rank me in the last lowest number in the bracket of what is considered healthy and normal.  My goal is to continue to climb that number up till I am 100% in the TOP healthy and normal bracket, surpassing where I am right now.

There is so much more to this story and so much more that has yet to unfold - like of my mothers surgery that is coming up, but God has proven even in these challenging and unexpected times that greater is He.

I have always been known as being positive and optimistic but this season was very trying.  Leaning on God for me to keep the positive, the faith, the good and His purpose was my only hope.  When I felt I was losing it and faith, I leaned harder on Him that he would help me find hope, faith, the good and energy to press-on.  

...

Psalm 23:4

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

...

LESSON: "Life" will always throw us unexpected curveballs but it is what you do with it.  When it comes down to it, we have two options:

ONE - Give in and give up on life.  Roll-in all the negative thoughts and let it consume you. Let life dwindle away and sink into that little black hole.

TWO - Fight, even if you're on your knees swinging. Have faith and stay positive, especially during the times those little whispers enter your ear to give up and how it is so impossible.  Press and lean wholeheartedly on Him and I promise you will make it through.  You will see the shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, and that light will have you sprinting and throwing huge punches at life till the final bell rings, leaving you jumping with your arms in the air - declaring victory and you the champion!

YOU RECOGNIZE A SURVIVOR WHEN YOU SEE ONE. YOU RECOGNIZE A FIGHTER WHEN YOU SEE ONE.

Let us all not only be a survivor but a FIGHTER.

 

PUPPY-LOVE.

From the day we brought Sophia and her brother, Maestro, home we noticed a significant difference in their personalities. Maestro was (and still is) very cuddly and lovable, he will instantly jump on the couch for affection and tummy rubs.

Sophia had a different take on life though and was a bit of a different pup.  While Maestro was all about playtime and being loved, Sophia would just sit and observe from a distance. Many times we all would call her over, go to pick her up, and would even just sit or lay wherever she was and just love on her. Sometimes she would walk away. Sometimes she would stay and in those times I would look in her eyes and whisper in her ear that she's loved and speak light into her little heart that seemed hard. It made me sad thinking what on earth could have happened in her first few weeks of life that caused her to be this way.  That thought then turned into thinking of us humans. Sophia was a puppy when we got her, just a couple months old in this world and she was already hurt (from what it seemed). Sometimes we are the same way - hurt human beings and deep inside all we want is to be loved and that is what I saw in Sophia. 

Eventually, with lots of invested time and loving on her, her heart did change. It makes me laugh because when we would carry or hug her, she would make this groaning sound and push with all fours to be let down.  She wasn't having it at times - kinda like how us humans can be, we give the "hand" or give the Heisman (trophy) type body language.  We respected Sophia's wishes and never forced it on her but we also kept loving her along the way. In her own time, she progressed for the good.

Currently, Sophia is a spunky little girl who not only accepts love but also loves BACK, and many times she will come up and request cuddle time or tummy rubs (by giving us a gentle nudge of her nose).  It is almost day and night with how opposite she is now compared to a year ago! She has her little setbacks here and there, just as us human beings have but everyday she grows sweeter and we see her heart and spirit blossom.

Love does wonders, in not only puppies but in us (humans) as well.

Love is the greatest thing we can ever give someone.

. . .

If you know someone who is in need of love, love them and speak light into them.  Even if they are challenging and resist it, know that they may not know how to react or there may be so many reasons to explain why they are challenging. I promise you, in due time their heart will change and they will not only receive love but will also give love.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 

LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

LOVE NEVER FAILS.