In Time

In time they will thank you, with an understanding beyond their current capacity.

In time they will see what you sacrificed. Who you sacrificed. And how often you sacrificed.

In time they will slowly start to comprehend the magnitude of the job. The tears that come with it. The sleepless nights. The endless task lists. The worldly criticisms. The constant mental and physical motion. The fatigue of the heart, mind, body and soul, quickly followed by the nourishment of blind faith and God’s yolk.

In time they’ll sing your praises. The ones far past due. And they’ll realize the older they get, the wiser you were.

In time it’ll come full circle. And they’ll wish they had your strength, your wisdom, your abilities.

And in that time, you’ll remind them they have exactly what the need, through Him, who strengthens all. You’ll smile. And trust that your time, those really really hard times, will now serve as a beacon of hope that they, too, can persevere, serve and still be fulfilled by the only supreme Being that matters.

Motherhood knows no time. It’s endless. Sometimes thankless. Often criticized, overlooked. But never, never marginalized to One who allowed you to obtain the title.

An Open Letter from a Christ-serving Sinner

It doesn’t matter that I’m white. It doesn’t matter that my husband is black. Or that he, his parents and my father have spent their entire careers in the public service sector – on the streets and in the prisons – serving others at their not-so-finest hours with dignity. It doesn’t matter that my three young children are biracial.

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

Right now, what matters is that each one of us, as Christians, regardless of the color of our skin or our native language, remain committed to regular self-heart examinations.

How easy it has been to put my hands on my ears and silently scream ENOUGH over the last 10 days. Enough killing. Enough violence. Enough assuming. Enough criticizing. Enough sensationalizing. Enough generalizing. Enough screaming. Enough cursing. Enough looting. Enough politic’ing.

E-NOUGH.

In times of crisis, I tend to watch, listen and soak in information, conversations and reactions. My mind quickly moves to a root-cause analysis exercise, often looking past the first hot topic making headlines and deeper into what and why something sparked. I think it’s the former reporter in me.

Then, I talk. Mostly to my husband and then to others. I’m always optimistic, early on, of an easy solution. But then reality settles in that, often times, there isn’t one when it involves the complex creatures known as humans, born into sin.

These last 10 days have been a rollercoaster of thoughts, emotions, reactions and desires. There is no doubt the devil is alive and well. And oh, how I know he is loving the destruction he has spun up in our great country.

Speak up. Get criticized. Don’t speak. Get criticized. Have a different perspective, get criticized. Have a lifetime of actions showing you support people that don’t look like you and say one wrong thing, get criticized. But isn’t that what happened to the single, perfect person who walked this earth – who also likely had dark-colored skin? No matter what He said, how He said it or in what context His message was given, He got criticized. And He never let the critics derail His mission.

As a wife and mother of three bi-racial children, I spend hours every day investing in their hearts. Talking about and showing them what being strong, tough and brave look like while still being compassionate, kind-hearted, hoping to mold them into a servant leader.

At four, six and eight years old, my two oldest identified that their skin looks different than mine several years ago, and at times different than others around them. And it doesn’t bother them, so why should it bother others? I’m not too sure there’s a black and white answer.

There are so many layers and topics of conversation about a deeply-rooted issue that predates anyone speaking out right now. So here’s where my mind settles, not just at this time with the latest news cycle of injustices, but all the time.

It starts from the heart. And then in the home.

Every day, I fall short of glorifying the God my family serves. There is a reason God put it on my heart to re-read the New Testament in a year starting January 1, 2020. I’ve ignored that calling some days, and my actions those days showed it. When I fall short and it affects others, I often times – not always – fess up publicly. There is something so freeing to talk about how imperfect I am to another person and seek forgiveness.

As we get better about self examining our heart, we can identify blind spots and work to improve them. I look at the heart like the foundation of a home. You can dress it up with the best Instagram post you want in a time of crisis, but, if there are cracks in the heart, in time, it will garner an examiner’s attention and, if not fixed, destruction is inevitable.

Water

Our bodies are made up of 80 percent water. We [should] drink about 8 glasses of water a day. We use it to shower, wash clothes, clean dishes, water plants, wash hands. And don’t think twice about our access or supply.

Until … its unavailable.

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At noon, today, I got word that water supply was cut off to our neighborhood, and others nearby. As I type, access has yet to be restored. You never know how much you depend on something until it’s gone.

Thankfully, we have a car that took us to HEB to purchase five gallons of water, money to pay for it, and live in walking distance of a SAWS water supply truck to refill the containers when we ran out tonight. Which we did. In just a few hours, we used nearly all five gallons for drinking, bathing, rinsing [dishes], washing [hands] and brushing teeth.

After a few short Google searches, I found these eye-opening stats …

  • The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day [source]
  • More than 1/4 of the world’s population lacks access to clean water [source]
  • Nearly 40 percent of people in Uganda have to travel 30 minutes to access clean water [source]
  • The average household can waste 180 gallons per week from household leaks [source]
  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day [source]
    • Letting your faucet run for five minutes while washing dishes can waste 10 gallons of water [source]

What are some ways you actively save water?

Raw

Filters. They. Are. Everywhere. In the boardroom, in Roomba’s, on social media. Disguising something. Something … raw. Unembellished. Bare. Undisguised. When did filters become the new black?

Photo filters change the appearance of a moment we desired to capture in its most natural state. Filtered responses often create ambiguity, requiring unwanted, additional effort to clear the air.

Is our reality so demoralizing that we can no longer strive for authenticity? Or do we lack grace in our response in the midst of rawness, driving fear into the depths of the individual with good intentions?

Sure, filters are incredibly beneficial for things like swimming pools, cars, air conditioners and water purifiers, to name a few. But when it comes to human emotion, I much prefer a raw state. Strong and undisguised. A wear you heart on your sleeve type. Not to be confused with rude or brash. Rather, self-aware, humble, genuine.

Many of my friends kick off each new year with the one word exercise – deciding on a single word to focus on for the next 365 days. I’ve attempted the exercise for a few years now. Often times, by Spring, my word fizzles into the background as I get consumed with the day-to-day grind. But, I’m not giving up on the intent of the exercise.

I started to think of that one word for 2019 back in early December. And here we are, approaching the eve of February and I’m just now settling on it. Raw.

For me, there’s never been a more important day than today to be raw: (adj.) (of an emotion or quality) strong and undisguised. 

 

2018 | A Grinding Year in Review

Here’s one thing that didn’t happen in 2018 … consistent, personal blogging. However, in typical late-December fashion, as I think [and look] back at the many memories made this year, we accomplished what needed to be accomplished. And that’s what matters most.

You won’t find any fancy, extravagant trips or big ‘milestones’, like a new baby [thank you Lord, says Anthony] or house or car or pet, as you scroll through this blog post. This year was a grind, and it made us better, together.

The first few months of the year were filled with work, school, and youth sports – basketball, track and t-ball to be exact.

Jeremiah and Pepe [his great grandfather] enjoyed a night out at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in February. And before we knew it Spring was over and we had a first-grader and another kiddo heading into Pre-K.

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Summertime brought a few Texas-coast beach trips, Mila’s first theater camp, a basketball summer league, church camp and too many pool days to count.

In the late summer, Anthony completed a 10-month police academy – an adventure that, once again, reminded me of how unique he is. You don’t find many people in our generation willing to take a night job while going to school full time during the day without complaining. I think he averaged about 4 hours of sleep a day most of the year.

The August heat was a sure sign it was time for school to resume. Mila joined her big brother at her new school while the little one became the Lone Ranger in her small school.

Soccer season kicked off and the two bigs did fantastic. In Mila’s first season, her team came in 2nd place and Jeremiah’s team finished in the top four out of the entire city for his division (which included nearly 40 teams!).

The holidays were spent with friends and family – most memorable events included a Kevin Hart comedy show, the Nutcracker Ballet, feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving, the girls’ first manicure and pedicure, a campfire dinner with s’mores and trips to Austin’s dinosaur park for Jeremiah’s birthday, Boerne’s Town Square and Austin’s Trail of Lights.

Jeremiah was diagnosed with scoliosis this winter – a condition my family is far too familiar with. We’re waiting to receive his nighttime back brace, praying daily and exploring different therapies to help him along the way.

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Looking back, day after day felt like a grind. Cooking, cleaning, shuttling, sorting through opposite work schedules, serving in the children’s ministry at church, running off minimal sleep, teaching Mila how to swim in the deep end [with success], teaching Sierra how to ride a bike, getting Sierra potty trained [easiest.child.ever], helping with homework, attending field trips, logging reading hours, building fiesta floats, hosting birthday parties, attending birthday parties, exercising, coaching the kids in sports, taking Mila to tennis lessons, preparing for and surviving the holidays. Phew!

What I can say Anthony and I have both been reminded of this year, maybe in a louder way than ever before, is the importance of keeping God first and center in our lives, and the dedication it takes to pour into a marriage, and one’s self, for continued growth. Through His grace, we’re learning, growing, and picking each other up after each fall.

Cheers to enjoying the twists and turns of 2019, embracing the struggles and finding joy in every task, every day.

10 Reasons your Mom is a Super Hero

Be warned, this will not be a mushy blog post about the 100 reasons why it’s lovely and beautiful to be a mother. Because, let’s be honest. There aren’t 100 reasons. There are 100 times 100 reasons and we don’t have time to be reading all of that. Just saying.

No, no. Instead, this post is a list of just a few reasons why moms are nothing short of superheros. Enjoy.

TEN | Only a mom’s body can create liquid gold. Seriously. That stuff will go for some major cash on the black market! So dads, the next time you think a new mom isn’t doing anything when she’s nursing, just remember her entire body is develpoping a specialized product that, by itself, can develop every single part of your newborn’s body – brain included. Good luck cooking a five-star meal after that nugget of truth.

NINE | Only a mom can be nursing a newborn with a cradle hold in one hand and cooking dinner for a family of five with the other, and still catch the older children hitting each other with the eyes strategically placed in the back of her head [special thank’s goes out to the microwave’s reflection].

EIGHT | Only a mom can smell a poppy diaper from a toddler napping in his/her room upstairs, with the door closed, while she’s downstairs, alongside a room full of healthy adults with full-functioning senses.

SEVEN | Only a mom can be holding an adult conversation, with eye contact, while anticipating every dangerous outcome that could develop from her children playing nearby.

SIX | Only a mom can increase her life productivity ratio with every child she bears.

FIVE | Only  moms can be the sole reason a company stays in business. You’re welcome, every company who develops life planners.

FOUR |Only a mom can turn a home where a toy-filled tornado ripped through it to an HGTV-ready set with 10-minutes notice.

THREE |Only a mom can put an air traffic control team in the busiest city to shame in her natural setting of kid chaos.

TWO |Only a mom can put a First Lieutenant to shame as she learns how to Army crawl on the spot out of a nursery with the utmost precision to avoid waking the, never-napping, napping newborn.

ONE | Only a mom can provide a kiss that heals all wounds, a hug that cures sadness and a heart that offers safety, comfort and encouragement for her children.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my hard-working mamas out there. It’s a 27/7/365 day gig that we love, are exhausted by yet wouldn’t trade in for the world.

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JP+ LIVE Day 2 Recap: Get Inspired

A former NFL player and coach, a Bronx-based global teacher nominee and viral video sensations Danny and Kristen Adams summed up day two in Phoenix! Here are my top three highlights from day two – all of which involve people who have found their passion and calling, and aren’t taking the world’s NOs for an answer …

  1. Danny & Kristen Adams … If you use social media of any sort, you’ve likely seen a Danny and Kristen Adams video shared by a friend. The lip synching comical couple were guest speakers at the Juice Plus+ (JP) prayer breakfast, sharing their journey of obedience to Christ in a comfort-driven world. A few of my favorite messages were …
    • When you obey God, your choices may look like the end to some, but it’s actually just the beginning.
    • Distraction is good for your destiny.
    • Arguments are heated fellowship.

These two were a hoot. You’ll definitely want to subscribe to their YouTube channel for some comic relief! What was even more inspiring was 2,300 men and women kicking off day two at 7 a.m. praising our Lord. This was special!

2. The Green Bronx Machine … Want to be inspired by someone who is doing good for the WORLD? Google/YouTube Stephen Ritz and get ready to watch video after video, because you just can’t get enough of this bow tie-wearing, Bronx-based teacher traveling the world to bring communities together through plants. Where are my teachers at? Let’s get Tower Gardens in your schools NOW!

3. Ricky Proehl at JP LIVE! Former NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl gave his National Marketing Director speech today, sharing some inspiriting words as to why he left the NFL after 17 years and values the incredibly unique business model that JP has to offer. This is a MUST WATCH!

It wouldn’t be a JP conference without some post-session fun. We went to the hippest restaurant in downtown Phoenix for a team dinner called The Duce. Here are a few fun pics from last night …

Time to head out to the third and final day of conference where I’ll get to see my sweet friend Stephanie give her National Marketing Director speech in front of 8,000 people! Go get um Coach Steph!

JP+ LIVE PHOENIX! Day 1 Recap

Today kicked off the semiannual Juice Plus+ (JP) Live National Conference in Phoenix. This is the second time I’ve attended this event and, like the first, hasn’t disappointed.

Whole food nutrition has been a part of my life from birth, thanks to my naturalist parents. But it’s now become a part of my family’s day-to-day life in a much more intentional manner.

Almost two years ago, I was introduced to JP by a dear friend of mine who invited me to a nutrition lecture from a Florida-based Pediatrician. The lecture rocked my world. We ordered these powerful plant-based capsules and chewables immediately and have never looked back. For more about this 25-year product, click here. In the mean time, here my top five takeaways from day one.

  1. Capsule Product Update – This debt free, multi-billion dollar company has developed only six products in 25 years. Talk about quality over quantity. Here are a few updates coming to their products …
  • Out with papaya, in with mango. Non-Genetically Modified (GMO) papaya is scarce around the world, and JP wants to maintain its Non GMO status. So, IMG_3171there’re swapping out the fruits. Plus, mango has similar properties as papaya but even more vitamins A and C, protein, potassium, fiber and B6!
  • Bye bye oat, hello more rice bran. Despite using a Gluten Free (GF) oat, some countries around the world deem anything with oat in it as a gluten product. So, for consistency, JP is removing the oat and increasing the rice brand to maintain the GF status.
  • Additive folic acid is going away and being replaced with lemon peel. Lemon peel is naturally high in folate – so it’s a plant WIN!
  1. Research galore! JP is up to 38 published research studies with more on the way! Check out this unbelievable video on study #36 showing how taking just one capsule of the fruit, vegetable and berry capsules are helping produce other phytonutriants that aren’t even in the capsules!

  2. How do you Omega? Fish Oil is a billion dollar industry with little to no positive results, according to this Washing Post article. We still need omegas – but we need them from original omega sources, which are not fish. It’s algea, and plant oils. God news, JP has the only plant-based omega on the market. BOOM!
  3. Black thumb, green thumb or anything in between, you’ll want to hear this one. Within the next 25 years, at our current growth rate, the U.S. will not have enough land to grow food for it’s population. Not so fun of a fact, I know. But, we can become our own farmer, save money and increase the quality of our food all while skipping the soil, weeds, backyard space and gardening hassle with a vertical aeroponic system like the JP Tower Garden.

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  4. JP always gives back. Representatives and the JP+ Corporate Office collectively contribute $15 million annually to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Children’s Hunger Fund, Volunteers of America and Boys and Girls Club. Know that this is a company of great integrity.

BONUS TAKEAWAY … because this is just too good not to share. Later this fall, what’s currently in conception stage will become formal. JP+ is developing a Global Science Institute which will be a separate noncommercial entity designed to gather scientists around the world to further understand and share knowledge of whole food nutrition.

Ok, that’s it for now. Off to Day Two of learning!

 

 

Thank you, Sandwich Man

After church today, I took the crew to Whole Foods to grab some lunch and pick up a few items while my husband studied for an upcoming test. We arrived right around 11 a.m. and the pizza gal was tossing the made-from-scratch dough while informing me she already had several orders in and it would be 20+ minutes before a pizza came out to buy by the slice.

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It was more of a sandwich kind of day anyways, so we patiently waited in line, behind two other people, for the sandwich-making team to come out. A young man, likely in his 20s, came out with a beanie on and started serving the customers. I watched as he took his time, slowly placing each ingredient on the bread of choice with so much care. He never got rattled that a line was forming. When it was our turn, he maintained his careful, methodical methods, spreading the mustard, doubling up the oven roasted fresh turkey meat and perfectly placing each pickle, tomato and spinach leaf. I couldn’t help but think WOW, he really takes pride in his job. It was like watching someone paint. And while my kids were running in circles, begging for a cookie off the cookie wagon right behind us, I was honestly mesmerized by how much pride this young man took in his job.

After we thanked him for serving us and paid for our lunch, we stepped outside of the doors to eat on the front patio. Ironically enough, I had engaged in a long, difficult discussion with Jeremiah, age 6, earlier this morning about gratitude. Specifically noticing how much adults do for him and being in a constant state of gratitude instead of pouting when the answer is no or not right now.

Right as we were finishing our lunch, Mila says, “Hey, there’s the man who made our yummy sandwiches!” He must have been on a short break. I encouraged Jeremiah and her to go up to him and thank him again, and tell him how much they loved their sandwiches. And so they did. He came over to our table and we had a brief exchange around what it meant to slow down to go fast and taking pride in everything you do.

That young man reminded me of a lesson that’s been on paper for over 2,000 years The Bible is filled with lessons that tells us to give 100 percent at everything we do. Not to be lazy. To serve with a smile, genuinely caring for others regardless of what they look like, how much money they have or what language they speak.

Whether it’s cleaning the toilet at home making the fourth meal of the day for the family, or in the office, cranking away at a report, I think we can all use a little bit more of the Sandwich man inside of us.

 

 

A Blink of an Eye

WOWZERS. It’s been a WHOLE YEAR since I’ve last written in the blog. At the beginning of 2018, my prayer to God was for guidance on how to spend my time during the day. Sometimes the world, my mind or body will tell me I should make more time for things like sewing, reading and yoga, but truth be told, I can’t trust those resources.

So, as He does every so often, I’ve heard the Lord speaking to me a little bit louder – or maybe I’m just paying more attention – to get back to writing.

What’s happened in a year? Well, everyone’s turned a year older for starters. No one in our house wears diapers – ok except for when Sierra naps/sleeps because I just can’t handle one more extra load of laundry in case of an accident – it snowed again in San Antonio (that’s magical, people), the older kids ran track for the first time [so fun!] and we experienced our first death within my immediate family. My Meme (grandmother) passed away in early December after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Oddly, illnesses and death seem to be occurring a lot around me to friends and acquaintances – maybe that’s why I’m being led back to these keys. There’s something about writing that allows for a few minutes of peace. The transfer of thoughts to fingers in quietness. Helps perspective come to life. Which we can all use a whole lot of [hello road rage, social bullying and hate talk!].

In brighter news, vegetables are planted outside and slowly sprouting, we’re nearing the end of our first official school year as Jeremiah gets ready to finish Kinder, T-ball is in full swing and we’re still on our health journey and kicking tail with only ONE sick doc visit for a family of 5 over the past year! THANK YOU JUICE PLUS!

Spring is one of my favorite times of year for many reasons – the weather, spring cleaning and vegetation blooming all around. On deck is a [semi] bathroom remodel. I’ll be sure to share pics!

What fun things are you doing this time of year?