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Liam Rivera…

Three years ago today, I gave birth to my son Liam. Just writing that, I can’t even believe how much time has gone by. I remember feeling so ready for him to come out to meet the world. Now I can’t even call him, “Chulo” or “Babe” because he corrects me stating, “I am not Chulo, I am Liam Rivera.” A person of his own now and I can’t take it, stop growing! ☺️

I will never forget the day Liam blessed us with his presence. The night before Liam’s big day I went for a walk with my husband to get through the contractions – these had been going on for a week now. I remember feeling exhausted when we made it back to the house knowing when I laid down I was done for the day. Sure enough, after laying down all of 10 minutes I felt that, uh ooh – It’s time! As an experienced mama the first thing I did was take myself straight to the bathroom. Usually this is the moment you try to convince yourself maybe I just need to “go” but surely deep down you know that’s -not entirely- the case. After several bolts of lighting through my body I was convinced we needed to go to the hospital. This was strange. On our way to the hospital I had flash backs of the night I went into labor with my daughter and remembered I was able to sit in the car with manageable pain. This was different. I didn’t even get a chance to work my way up with these contractions. They were hitting me back to back, no rest time. I chalked it up to the food I ate prior and endured. Once we got to the hospital I wanted to stand up and walk around like I had with Aaliyah. I thought it would all be potentially a similar delivery but I was completely wrong. I remember the nurse telling my husband and I there was no time and I was put straight into the hot seat. Sweet baby Jesus! The contractions were insane, and I could not continue without some kind of medication. As a typical mama bear, I looked over to my husband and asked if he’d be upset with me doing an epidural. This was so not me to ask permission from him but I just couldn’t believe I needed one and deep down probably wanted him to say no lol. I remember him saying to the nurse, “What do you guys have back there?, bring her everything.” Looking back we always laugh at that. Once I received the epidural, of course it didn’t want to work and I felt half my body getting hit with bolts of lightening while the other half was numb – why?? -skipping ahead, eventually, I was all kinds of relaxed and thankful I did it. A little after I started pushing, Liam ended up stuck! I was panicking!! It took a bit but the doctor finally got him out and I felt immediate relief, until I realized I was not handed my son like the nurse explained he would be after delivery. The doctor was yelling at the nurses demanding them to hustle she needed something now! I looked over to my husband and remember his face was white. I was severely hemorrhaging and Liam wasn’t breathing. It all happened so fast I couldn’t even formulate an understanding when the doctor took a syringe and slammed it right into my leg, another into my female parts and the third, well I don’t even think it’s worth mentioning… By this point I just wanted my son in my arms as I watched the nurse pump air into his mouth to fill his lungs with air, “come on baby breath I shouted in my head!” What felt like hours was only minutes as everyone finally calmed down and the doctor explained what happened.

Just like that the doctor and the nurses started cleared out. I remember looking over to my husband and he was completely passed out in the chair – Men. I was finally holding my son. I remember as I glanced down at Liam I pulled him so close to me asking him why he had to be such a difficult child not even an hour into introducing himself to the world. As though nothing had happened, the first thing he wanted was boob! I mean after all that and he was worried about boob! Unbelievable – who could eat at a time like this. 🙂 some things never change though, Liam wakes up uttering the words, “cereal, please mommy?” That is not an exaggeration I promise you lol!

3 years later and I wouldn’t take a thing about this day back. My son and I made it through together. I can’t imagine where we would be today if it weren’t for those nurses at Griffin Hospital, or my doctor for thinking so fast and saving both our lives. So Today I don’t just celebrate Liam’s birthday I celebrate life! I know that was you God, and I thank you eveyday! Happy birthday hijo mío you truly are a blessing. Excuse me, Liam Rivera ☺️

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Weekly Reflection… Be in the Moment

Have you ever experienced one of those days where you’re certain nothing else could go wrong… and yet it does? I was thinking about this yesterday as I finished up the week grateful for a much smoother flow.

On a previous post I mentioned a warm day recently – yet seemingly distant with this cold weather- my daughter went out to practice her dance moves. Well with any day spent outside she needed to take a shower when she came back in. To her surprise as she was getting dressed she felt a tug on her back. Her pants had rubbed against a tick! A couple years ago I witnessed my husband experience excruciating pain as a direct result of contracting Lyme disease from a deer tick. After antibiotics, he was cleared but to imagine my daughter going through that was an unbearable thought. The first day back to work after this incident I immediately took the tick to a facility to be sent out for testing. I am sharing this day with you because I have to be honest I was beside myself with the amount of issues I kept running into. I stepped out during my lunch hour to head home. As I opened my front door there at the first few steps inside the house was my furry daughter’s aftermath of what later we found to be a stomach virus. Here I was, pressed for time and I was instantly stopped in my tracks. I quickly grabbed cleaning supplies and got rid of the mess thinking to myself, thank god I came home. With a few checks – as though I knew what I was checking for – I hugged my furry girl and reassured her I was going to take care of her. But first, with a tick-in-a-bag in hand I headed towards the facility, dropped off the specimen and dashed back towards work. After I settled back into my desk I gave the Vet a call to set up an appointment for Priscilla. Everything seemed to be taken care of when not even a minute passed I was receiving a call from the daycare. My son had come down with a fever.  All my kids – furry daughter too- had something going on. What was happening? Thankfully, my husband took one for the team and finished work early to pick up our son. In the meantime, I was calling another doctor’s office. I came to the conclusion, mind you, there is a ginormous difference between receptionists for Vet hospitals versus receptionists for a pediatric office. I was pulling teeth to set something up for Liam. Why!? I was beyond irritated with this as I remember zoning back in to repeat my question to the pediatric office, “Do you have anything today after we pick up Liam?” I am guessing this receptionist was busy today and maybe wanted to leave but at the end of the day I am a mother trying to take care of my son and the office was open until 7pm, come on now! Although, it’s hard not to take that sort of thing personal I did my best not to be a raged mama bear and take this moment with a grain of salt. Lord only knows what kind of day the receptionist was having and after all customer service isn’t easy. The very next day I stayed home with my son and, honestly, I was grateful to spend so much time with him.

So yes, it was an exhausting, irritating, nerve-wrecking kind of day, but we all got through it and here I am over a week later still going strong. Sometimes I say to myself why must we have these kind of moments in life but then I realize how much I grow each time. Sometimes we are forced to slow down and focus on what matters in our lives. Work and school have been the center of attention lately and I needed my focus redirected. I was reminded my children need their mama more and I was doing them a great disservice with such limited time to them. Being at home less I neglect to sit down and really look at my children, take in their features and subtle changes or unique mannerisms that make up who they are. This time with my children here and now won’t be the same as life goes on and it’s important to me to enjoy every moment I can to guide my children as they continue to grow into the person God will mold them to be. I hope everyone’s week went well but if for whatever reason it didn’t, and you’re a person with a lot on your plate let me be the first to say, “You’ve got this!” My advice to you is BE in the moment because it is there within the complete chaos you will find the underlying message God is trying to unfold for you. Life isn’t meant to be rushed through let each day be savored one at a time…

Please keep in mind there have been many incidents of Tick bites in CT. Below is a link to Facilities open to the public for tick testing.

Information on Submitting Ticks

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Dance…

It was finally warm about a week ago on a Friday evening when my daughter asked me if she could go outside to practice her dance moves. To see her working hard to master her craft is enough to make me proud but watching her dance her heart out in the midst of nature was breath taking. She looked like she was on God’s stage with the sun just behind the hill illuminating the sky with shades of pink and purple. All I could think about was how much I admired her passion and focus. She reminded me how much I love the art of dance.

By her age I was already 5 years into dance. Dance was/is life. While dance class was fun it was controlled and technical. It was the “real-life” dance moments I remember enjoying most. Saturday mornings were designated cleaning days with my Mom. The true Latina that she was, cleaning was done in the company of singers like Marc Anthony, La India – she was my favorite –  Tito Puente or Celia Cruz. Singers like Marc and Celia would move my body but La India would move my soul. Each style of latin music had it’s own unique outcome. Merengue had this drop in the bass that filled the room instructing me to move my hips and stomp my feet. Now with salsa, depending on the singer, you could embrace different flavors of different countries. Like a true Cubana Celia made me feel like I was on an island with drums and trumpets playing all around me. Tito was smooth and would let me slow down my pace to build the energy I would need for Marc. Now Marc new how to pull it all out of you. I would go to work in the living room. I owed all my good naps to him after a Saturday morning clean.

Music and Dance in my house didn’t stop there. When my mother would work weeknights my father knew how to keep my focus elsewhere. My nights were spent listening to records. He would play artists like Michael & Janet Jackson, Gloria Estefan to Pink Floyd or Otis Redding. You name it he played it all. Looking back now I realize I owe my ecelectic love of music to him. Above all the singers I stand firm when I say I learned how to dance thanks to Michael Jackson. I would lose all control immersing myself into any rhythm and emotion I could find in the song when suddenly the record would skip from all the shaking in the house. I remember my father’s face. The creases by his lips would pull back revealing a smile and then he would burst out laughing. I think its safe to say back then I was a less coordinated but vibrant dancer.

Each child has a unique talent waiting to be discovered. It isn’t our job to force them into a particular activity it is our job to assist by introducing them to a variety of activities and help guide them to find their own way. It’s humbling to me after many attempts this is the one thing she felt most at home with. So here I anxiously wait for my daughter to finish her dance class tonight. After every class she has requested I practice with her to help her with her “moves.” It’s a beautiful thing when our children find their voice. It’s an even grander milestone when it is a passion she and I both share and can connect through.

The most important part of dancing for me was the confidence I gained and the sense of purpose I felt. Dance created a connection with God for me. “Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3). Being in touch with self and pouring your heart out into the craft can generate such powerful energy. Ironically, I compare it to an out of body experience as the shell that holds you becomes the tool that unleashes you. The moment I came into my own with dancing I knew I would never be the same. It was the moment I knew I had found my purpose in life.

Can you remember the moment you fell in love with something and truly found your voice?

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Mama Bears

Becoming a Mother – in itself – is life changing but, more specifically, it creates change within your friendships. Your obligations and priorities shift, which overtime place a wedge in some of your relationships. Simply put, you are not always able to connect or relate to those that were once closest to you and that is ok because it is during this amazing journey of becoming a mom you also discover the friendships that will last forever. I am blessed to have a small handful of friendships that provide the support and guidance we all need as moms and as women. Today, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge two of those special mama bears in my life who have shown me love and strength helping me grow into the woman I am today.

If you can imagine a powerful force carefully packaged inside a tiny woman, this is Jada. Her size fools many at first glance but she carries herself with a poise and confidence that can only be perfected through life experience. What I find so profound about Jada is her drive. She is a woman who stands before you always ready to lend a helping hand although she carries with her a life’s journey of battle scars through experiences many of us couldn’t fathom.  Everything she’s experienced she’s done so with only her own two hands to hold her. She has reminded me life is not about where we have been but where we are going. Your experiences good or bad are what shape you into the person you are today and to look back with regret only prevents you from growing out of those experiences positively. Her warmth is contagious and her strength as a mother is my motivation.

Now Carmen, she is a little firecracker! This mama bear is not only a strength but a constant reminder to be cautious of who I allow into my life. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” (2 Corinthians 11:14). She is tough at first but once you gain her love and trust there isn’t a single thing this woman wouldn’t do for you. What I find most inspiring is her ability to stand above. Her journey through life wasn’t easy but she was able to endure untainted and turn her experiences into a positive force for herself. I have to tell you this is a friend I needed in my life. I was always a person way too open and giving. It is ok to be kind and give but we have to be mindful that there is a balance to maintain for our own sanity. Carmen reminds me as a woman and especially as a mother we must reserve our energy and our love so that we can give our very best to those in our life that mean the most.

Neither one has looked back upon their experiences in hopes to gain the world’s sympathy. In fact, I don’t believe I would have ever known about their hardships if I didn’t ask. This to me is a quality, in general, most humans do not possess. We look to be understood and we look for acknowledgement. These mama bears are motivated by their family and their purpose not the world. They are beautiful inside and out and as I have observed there is a force within them both that is so moving it inspires me everyday to be the best I can be with the tools God has given me. We are all different and it is within those differences we can learn from one another what our strengths are and also what our weaknesses are. What requires growth and what requires correcting. Although, becoming a mother can create distance in certain friendships it also moves more meaningful friendships front and center. I am blessed and privileged to know such amazing women who motivate me and to have experienced this journey called Motherhood along side them.

I hope this post provides you with the reassurance and strength you may need to move forward and embrace the journey God has set forth for you. Motherhood is not to be experienced alone we must be a community of women who stand together and support one another.

Special thanks to Fish Food Tees for making such a fitting tee shirt that conveniently went with my post “Motherhood needs grace and coffee”

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Milestones…

My Husband and I have been through quite a bit as do many couples during the course of their relationship/marriage. Life’s tendency to present us with a glorious struggle, did so, right in the middle of our wedding planning. It was emotionally difficult but everything happens for a reason.

As you may have gathered my daughter is from a previous marriage. My husband Dino came into our lives right as my daughter was turning 2. I wasn’t exactly looking for love after a failed marriage. I wasn’t looking for anything to be honest. By this point, shamefully, I had turned my back on God feeling abandoned and angry. It was a very difficult time in my life. Despite where I stood, Dino was persistent. It was the way he loved my daughter as though she was his own. My husband never had any kids before and he kept busy exercising and always working. I found him to be a stand up guy and when you’ve experienced a toxic relationship, at first, it builds a wall but it also allows you to appreciate when you’ve found someone who treats you and your child with kindness and respect. I remember one day I allowed him to come into my apartment. I opened the fridge when he noticed it was stocked with mostly child essentials and milk. He immediately took my daughter and I straight to the grocery store to stock up on food. I hadn’t felt so taken care of like this since I was a kid living at home. There was this weight lifted from my shoulders. A weight my husband has never allowed me to feel again.

So getting back on track here, I had already bought my dress when I was hit with a letter from the “Ex.” Years had gone by without a word and here was a letter looking for trouble – The devil is a resourceful one. I was never one to cause a fight with my ex-husband I had always tried to move forward with my life. Well this year was not the year to come looking for trouble. No more delays! I looked at my husband and decided enough, It was time for Dino to gain guardianship of Aaliyah and we needed to act now. Soon we found ourselves dishing out our savings for a lawyer and cancelling our wedding plans, yet again. It was frustrating but we knew this was something we needed to take a stand on. Our first day in court was difficult. We didn’t really understand the process and as quickly as we got there we were already setting another date to come back. By the second or third time back I felt angry that we were in court rather than getting ready for a wedding. I looked at Dino and I said, “Do you want to get married, today?” Without a flinch he looked at me and said “let’s do it!, but wait how and where?” Looking back I almost get the feeling he thought he was off the hook and we weren’t going to need “the works”… Oh no, no, no, we are still having the works 🙂

So we headed down to City Hall December 9, 2015, walked into the clerk’s office and said, “we want to get married, what do we need to do?” After a bit of confusion for the ladies, and some reiteration that we wanted to get married here-now-today, everyone in the office smiled in amazement and began to hustle grabbing papers and calling a JOP down to marry us. I totally broke out in tears when we exchanged vows because I was finally marrying the love of my life! I won’t sell you a dream we are stubborn and we argue but we continuously learn from our mistakes and re-build. Relationships aren’t easy it takes work and we work on our relationship every single day!

My husband was awarded guardianship of my daughter by the end of the summer last year. It was the most wonderful day of our lives. It was a day we were rewarded for standing up and fighting for our family and our stability. So two amazing things happened; we finally got married (God knows that day was overdue) and my husband is now able to “officially” carry out the roles he’d already taken several years ago for my daughter. Life is interesting like that, you think it is going to go one way and then, suddenly, it takes a left turn. Certain times you have to just role with the punches other times you have to stand up and say enough! I don’t regret any of the obstacles I have endured because it always seems to open a door to something greater. Even during my lowest times God had a plan for me and even when I couldn’t look him in the eye he never lost sight of me! So, here we are a new year and we are finally planning a wedding to be held June 4, 2017. So if you could take anything from this post, I hope it’s to never give up and keep pressing forward because -as the saying goes- when one door closes another one opens…

 

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Communication

I strive to be a positive person and to remind myself not to dwell on what I can’t control– God is in control– however, despite my efforts I am not always successful. Recently, I noticed a change in my attitude. I was seeing things with a negative outlook. It could be my nerves starting a new semester, the stresses of wedding planning, work, or maybe a combination of everything. Either way, I couldn’t seem to shake it…

I would pull in the driveway and I could feel that negative energy all over me. I would see all of the things I had to get done the moment I stepped foot in the door before I could even enjoy being home. My husband is always full of spirit. I have never seen this man upset with his day without a legitimate reason and he’s delivered oil in the pouring rain, snow up to his waist, cold weather, hot weather, and constant interaction with people– of all personalities 😁. So when he asked me how my day was I answered –abruptly– ugh I don’t even want to talk about it. What a snot right? You know it’s easy to get “into yourself” and forget you’re not the only person in the world but when you take a step back and look at yourself –as I did– sometimes you find ugly! Boy was I ashamed with myself. Here is a man always smiling and I was almost angry at his joy, this wasn’t me!

Meanwhile, Aaliyah has been somewhat anxious. Every so often we have moments where she becomes introverted when reminiscing about a traumatic experience of her past. It is constant work to maintain a sense of balance and security for her. So here I am on the phone with Michelle, a great friend and psychologist discussing different efforts my husband and I could make to help my daughter engage more and express her feelings, when it hits me — I was demonstrating terrible behavior for my family. Unhappy is just as contagious as Happy! Well Michelle gave me some great advice that I would love to share with you all. She says to me why not try each night sitting at the table and taking turns discussing your day. Discuss what we liked about our day, what we didn’t like, and what we would change if we could? Something so simple can make all the difference…

I asked my daughter, first, giving her a chance to express herself and wouldn’t you know she was very positive with her answers. She was able to pick out a pretty awesome part of her day, effortlessly, and when she explained what she didn’t like we talked about how we could learn from that experience. Once we talked about one thing we would change if we could I took lead and expressed my concern for my attitude and how I would like to change this to be more patient and understanding. My daughter followed suit and agreed she would also like to change her attitude to be more open and less frustrated. My 2 year old son Liam–like his father–was just talking away happy go lucky about his day… I don’t think there was anything he wanted to change 🙂

After about 4 days of this practice I’d say we’ve adopted it as a routine. You can see us all excited to sit down and talk. It feels good and my husband and I feel more relaxed knowing Aaliyah is communicating with us, slowly getting out of the shell she crawled into.

It’s important to remind our kids we all get a little down or upset sometimes, it’s normal, but we need to stop, think about our behavior, recognize it requires some changing and get ourselves back on track. What I found so profound about this exercise is that Aaliyah was optimistic and positive when she answered. If someone were to have asked me these questions I probably would have been pretty negative a week ago. She taught me to see the good in each day even when you’re down. As we grow as a family new routines will need to be introduced, but the point is to never stop trying to keep the communication open. To parents of all shapes and sizes, I hope this reaches you and encourages you to recognize any areas you may need some help with in order change it in a positive and meaningful way.

Here are some great communication ideas on pinterest Michelle mentioned during our conversation:

Family Dinner Conversation Starters

After School Question Cards

 

 

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An Uphill Walk…

Today I decided to try something new on the treadmill. My co-worker Chris — a fellow awesome mama bear herself– mentioned she’d been walking on the days she wasn’t in the mood to run by setting a high incline coupled with a lower speed. I thought about this for a bit… you see I ran on the track team in high school as a sprinter so walking wasn’t really my thing. It takes too long, it feels like forever and I cringed at the idea. But, why not right? Considering she’s “Ripped like Jesus” I was easily persuaded so I took her advice. After lunch I grabbed my bag, logged off the computer and headed downstairs to the gym in our building. As I walked in I noticed the whole place was mine… best feeling ever! I quickly changed, set up my favorite playlist and made my way to the treadmill. I set the incline to 9 and the speed at 3. It was all good… until I looked at the time around 5 minutes in noticing my buns were burning, my legs felt tight and I was hot. I couldn’t believe it had only been 5 minutes in, uff! Nevertheless, I kept it going. That tight feeling in my legs was beginning to feel unbearable. I could feel myself hitting a wall but I pressed on telling myself, “you got this! Your not even running, get it together.” Soon I was in the clear passed the “wall” walking straight ahead and it felt like I could have gone for miles. By 15 minutes in I was cranking this baby up to 10.5 and sweating, taking it all the way through until my cool down after 25 minutes. I felt so good! I highly recommend you try this workout at an incline and speed your comfortable with because it definitely works! “Turtle wins the race,” as they say.

Once I finished my walk I started to think how much this was relatable to life. You go through life thinking you don’t want to take it slow you have your heart set on something and you want it now! But life isn’t that simple. Most of us aren’t handed a golden pacifier at birth. The majority of us start out with “nada.” So we role our sleeves up and bare the struggle knowing we are headed in the right direction –forward. My father made it a point to teach me that, in life, there are no rewards without a bit of hard work. This kind of struggle is bearable though and you can press on. After a while you have a nice stride, things are going your way and then of course you hit an obstacle throwing you back. It can either break your stride or it can motivate you. It may take everything in you to push forward but when you finally break through, nothing is going to stop you! Have you ever had this feeling? I think I could say I feel this as a mother the beginning of every semester. Each class I begin I am filled with anxiety about how my husband and I are going to juggle the kids and my absence a couple nights out of the week. I struggle with mommy guilt and stress about all the catching up I have to do on the weekends. No matter my worries, God always has a way of reminding me he is bigger than the mountain I form in my mind. Eventually, I get into a nice flow. Then school starts rocking and I feel the pressure in the last stretch. Before you know it you are at the finish line feeling good and feeling accomplished.

This moment outweighs the entire process of discomfort. The struggle, the setbacks and the temporary pain become a distant memory as you hold in your hands all that you’ve been working so hard to achieve. I owe my focus and drive to my family. They give me purpose. I want to succeed so I can make my husband and my children proud. So moms, what sort of uphill battles have you experienced and what gave you the drive to press forward?

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Snowed in Sunday Mornings…

There is something about a fresh layer of powdery snow outside that calls for an early morning rise. Today my husband and I decided to have some much needed, just the two of us, time. We quietly snuck out of bed—not to wake our little ones—tiptoed towards the kitchen to make coffee and nestled down on the dining table to read. Around the time my son was born we picked up a habit of reading more. From world religion, or biographies to self-help books, we were engrossed in bettering ourselves by expanding our knowledge. Once I returned to school each course I would take sparked this need to go beyond the class to better understand that particular subject. Now it has become second nature that once we discover something new we read up on it, take notes and share our knowledge with each other. Usually we do this at night before bed which is a wonderful way to focus the mind, however, this morning we woke up with a desire to change things up a bit.

I share this with you because as parents we need to remember to take time out for ourselves. Between working, running around for school drop off/pick up and managing to find time for afterschool activities it’s hard to have “Adult time.” When the mood strikes, like it did for us today, go with it—embrace it—and I promise you it will be beneficial. Yes it was early but I was able to spend time with my husband and we engaged intellectually. As you better yourself you are also setting an example for your children. Everything we do is being carefully watched. Children retain and repeat our habits and actions not our verbal instruction. About an hour into our reading session we heard the sound of stumbling little feet approaching from the hallway. I turned to Dino and said, “here they come,” with a smile. One after the other they strolled right into the dining room finding us with a couple books and notebooks scattered across the table. Sure enough our 2-year-old was the first to go get a book of his own to read alongside us. Our 9-year-old followed suit grabbing a book she recently received for Christmas and requested a little help from Dad to read with her. It was an effortless moment of engagement with one another. No T.V, no iPhone or iPad just us and our books.

It’s moments like these that I hold dearest to my heart and I can only hope become powerful memories that stick with my children as they grow into their own. I hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday and if you haven’t gotten out of bed yet, start stretching, get motivated and seize the day!

links to the books in today’s photo are below:

The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Rela…

Heads Up Philosophy

Mo Tzu

The Grouchy Ladybug

 

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Mommy/Philosopher…For a Moment

Happy New Year! Can’t believe it is already 2017…

Recently, I took a mandated course which encompassed the concept, “A Meaningful Life.” Mind you I was completely overwhelmed on the idea that I had to take a course consisting of papers due every week. ROFL! What’s more, as personal as the topic sounded I was not prepared to share my ideas of a meaningful life with complete strangers who could easily challenge my opinions face to face. It is considerably easier to write my thoughts down within the safety of my own home then risk exposing my most vulnerable parts to people who, in real time, can quickly make me feel ridiculous if they wanted to. However, I have to confess this was the most impactful course I have ever embarked on during my scholastic experience. I feel like a philosopher! Certainly, my confidence is a bit overreaching but, truly I feel a sense of change in me. From just one course I was reminded of my ability to express myself freely with reason and critical thinking. Something I believe most people— myself included—take for granted. It was refreshing to be amongst my peers of all different walks of life and come together to express ourselves in the most meaningful way.

I don’t want to get all philosophical on you but if we can see each other as an extension of ourselves rather than opposition can you imagine what a wonderful world we would live in? We have the ability to see our world and everyone in it with reason however, we resort to fear, anger, anxiety and hate to channel our thoughts and opinions. Our mind is a powerful thing. For example, if you do not believe in your ability to complete a difficult task chances are you will not because your mind will do everything in its power to hold you back based on that one negative inkling. Think about this idea and apply it to your everyday snags. Have you thought about how many times you’ve come across a circumstance where you alone have stopped yourself from accomplishing something? Moms I am talking to you specifically! Take a step back and first remind yourself of how much you have accomplished in 10 years. Yes, I said 10. Our biggest problem in life is we want everything NOW! –Supply and demand— We want results yesterday so much so that we aren’t willing to see, maybe our world hasn’t changed in a year but if we look at the bigger picture surely you will find you have accomplished many goals within the last 5-10 years.

Take for example my world. I have expressed, in short, my journey as a mother was one in my mind of failure at one point. My first marriage in 2007 was under the pressure that it was morally the right thing to do. My ex-husband left my daughter and I when she was only 6 months old. My life went from stable to rock-bottom pretty quickly. As a first time Mom I felt defeated. I completely beat myself up as though my husband leaving was somehow my fault. This was my mentality over 7 years ago. I remember one day I woke up and said “stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Life happens! I had a roof over my head, a healthy child, a job and some food in the fridge. I knew if I just kept going and I kept my head up I would make it! And guess what, I did! Here I stand in 2017 and I went from being a single mom renting a small apartment making the bare minimum, to a home owner with a great job, a loving husband, two beautiful kids, and a graduation to attend in May for my B.A. Whoop whoop! Yes, I am taking this moment to take in all I was able to accomplish! Most importantly, it didn’t happen overnight. No goal is accomplished without a bit of struggle and work! I believe if we take the time to look into our own life and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing we can learn to love ourselves and accept our journey will be different but worth it. Maybe then we can stop envying others and support one another.

So what did I conclude about the meaning of life? Well here goes; I realized in order to create a life that is meaningful one must first understand what kind of life he/she would like to live. A person must distinguish what is important to them in creating a life that is plentiful and fulfilling to their dreams and goals and then work towards achieving those set goals. Consequently, when challenged with the question, “what is a meaningful life,” there are many intricate parts that come to mind. In this case it’s difficult to describe without it deriving from a personal perspective. Life for me is like a ticket to uncertainty, a gift unjustifiable. Life is a large educational institute where our ability to learn never ends. It is a beautiful experience filled with different stages and moments of significant growth as a person. A meaningful life is the ability to build dreams and give rise to my ideas. An opportunity to leave my mark on those who have been in my life and those who will only know my story. Life to me is creating a family where my house vibrates with laughter and noise. A meaningful life is to find someone with whom I can share happiness. Life that gives me purpose and meaning is as simple as looking into innocent eyes that call me “mama.” A meaningful life is one that makes me give thanks every day.I am grateful to be alive.

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I was so inspired by this course I thought why not share with you some of the books/youtube video I found helpful in discovering my meaningful life. I hope if anything it encourages you to keep searching and ask questions about life and your journey. As cliché the saying, “Life is what you make it.” So go on and make it great not for the on seers but for yourself!

What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933

Brave New World

Music and Life – Alan Watts – YouTube

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The Stomach Bug’s Attempt to Defeat Our Household…

I have to say these passed two weeks have been a time stamp for the books. As a mother it’s difficult to admit to yourself, no matter all your “experience,” there is always something new in store for you that you aren’t prepared for. After parting ways from an unstable marriage, I ventured into the single mothers group where I brought up my daughter Aaliyah alone for quite some time. Dealing with many obstacles in my journey I felt I could say I was a pretty tough cookie. Well, lets just say this tough cookie crumbled very quickly after the Stomach bug swept through my household. The first round knocked me and my daughter off our feet last week but like most Moms you press the superwoman button get it together and hold down the fort. After we were both better I was happy to say it didn’t effect anyone else in the house and I felt Victorious having kept my Fiancé Dino and son Liam unaffected, despite my need for a year of sleep.

Well, it came back with vengeance! Liam is 10 months now and there isn’t a thing in this world that causes him to cry other than hunger and a poopy diaper, yes I am pretty lucky in that aspect— knock on wood! With that said, he doesn’t show much concern for discomfort. Wednesday afternoon this week after setting up his bottle getting ready to wake him up from his nap I found him with a pool of vomit right beside him. I had never experienced this with Aaliyah so young and—in a panic—I picked him up and took him into the bathroom for his first of 3 total baths that night. It was only the beginning of a very long, exhausting process before he finally stopped the vomiting and with tears of exhaustion he went to sleep. My heart was certainly broken watching my little guy go through such a traumatic event. Of course, out of fear he could choke through the night, I half slept jolting awake at any sound coming from the monitor mounted right next to my ear. Note to self: I really need to get a camera monitor system. 

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By Friday Afternoon Aaliyah had been quickly knocked on her feet again! I rushed out of work dashed to the Daycare for Liam and swooped to my fathers to pick up Aaliyah taking them both home where my evening into the wee hours was spent at my daughter’s side. By Saturday morning, yes Valentine’s Day, I escaped into the Kitchen not to be heard by the kids. I immediately broke right down hoping I would find an EASY button somewhere to press and get me out of this nightmare! Between my daughter’s cries for help each time she felt sick and my newborn’s need for attention I was at my wits end. Unfortunately, Dino works 7 days a week as an oil truck driver, so you can say help is not readily available at my beck and call. Once I relieved myself of this much needed cry I regained the strength I needed to get it together and take care of my cubs like a Mama Bear would. By Saturday night a glass of Sauvignon Blanc was calling my name!

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It is now Sunday the kids are finally healthy and almost 100%. Today was the day Dino finally took off and I was going to get things done but of course Dino early this morning came down with the bug. If there was a prize to go to the biggest baby of them all in this household it would certainly go to Dino (sorry Honey but it’s true). To most of our mom readers you probably know men can be pretty bad when it comes to dealing with being sick and it seems the stomach bug just had to have its last laugh to ruin any chance of a salvaged weekend. So here I am once again playing mama bear but hey what can I say I love my family and I wouldn’t change my role for anything else.

The stomach bug may have knocked us all down for a brief period, but it strengthened me as a mother in more ways than one! Another experience under my belt and another lesson learned. I may hold the role as a strong mom in this household but I am allowed my moments of being human and breaking down every now and then. I have to say if nothing else breaking down gave me the recharge I had been looking for to get me out of the defeat I was feeling.

It’s a cold but sunny Sunday afternoon outside now and I plan to catch up with some assignments I didn’t get to this week since everyone is winding down and feeling better. Hopefully when I am done I can sneak in a much needed nap, if not I will settle for a coffee, light roast with brown sugar and milk….