I’m being serious! This is not a joke.

“Could you possibly chew any louder?!” or how about, “Can you crunch on that ice a little more quieter? It sounds like you are chewing on rocks?!”. I will be the first to admit that those questions have been asked to a couple of people in my life one too many times. And while it may sound ridiculous, there is something about these kinds of things that really get under my skin, I mean really, really get under my skin. But why you might ask? Well, it goes way deeper than you think.

For as long as I can remember, there were things that other’s would do, that a normal person might not even pay attention to, but as for me, it would drive me nuts. Specifically, certain noises. For instance, lip smacking, slurping, gulping, chewing with your mouth open, teeth grinding, nail clipping, snoring, snifling, and so many others, that it’s too many to count. Anytime my ears would tune into those things, something emotionally was triggered that set me internally cringing immediately.

To this day, those same exact things still bother me and not until recently did I even know it had a name. That was until my husband came home one day and said you know I read an article and it has a name, you should look it up. At that moment, I was kind of caught off guard because I really didn’t have any idea about what he was talking about, so I kind of just went along with it. Then he said there is a name for why you get easily irritated with certain sounds, look it up and later that night I googled it and my mouth dropped instantaneously. My husband was right! (Yeah, I know, we wives don’t usually admit to them being right, but he was!)

Have you ever heard about Misophonia? If not, please google it. Because it is real. Now the funny thing about this whole thing is that a couple weeks after, I was having a conversation with my sister in law about my older brother and I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. She was telling me a story about how easily my brother got irritated at certain sounds, like the ones I mentioned above. As I was laughing, and with a look of uncertainty on her face, I continued to tell her that I also react the same way and ironically, never knew it was a “real” phobia until my husband brought it to my attention. From there, the stories kept coming. And more laughs followed.

Although I have researched this phobia and believe it holds some kind of validity, I will continue to take it with a grain of salt and yield to those internal emotions. But in the mean time, I thought it would be funny to open up about something I have never really shared with anyone. Because quite frankly, I know there are many others out there who have the same feelings when it comes to the annoying sounds that sends chills down our spines!

I firmly believe vulnerability is the ice breaker to oneself fully opening up, putting down the exterior barriers and doing so without fear or an apprehensive dread of rejection but instead with a humbling heart and a peaceful mind.

Grace & Peace

 

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The pursuit of happiness when lost in transition

In my very first blog, I wrote about going from a working career woman to a stay at home mommy, something I have always wanted to do but never could because the opportunity never arose. That all changed September 14, 2015. While starting this new journey, I thought it would be a great idea to video journal, because 1) It was much easier and faster to do than physically writing and 2) I could go back at any moment and actually view my expressions while speaking about what that day might of held.

For the first couple of weeks, I would go back and view the videos I had done and visually see the excitement all over my face. Even when talking about cleaning the entire house, there was me, grinning ear to ear. I actually enjoyed cleaning the house from top to bottom everyday, and probably because that was the first time in a while where I could do that and not have all my energy and focus strictly on the other daily issues of “work” and it’s demands, physically and emotionally. My time spent was 100% concentrated on the duties of being a Mother and Wife and I loved it.

Going on almost 3 months, I still love it, however, I feel like while I am on this journey to my personal pursuit of happiness, I have, in a way become lost in the transition. My mind and heart are in two different places. I am too critical on myself and that comes from my internal thoughts while at the same time, my heart is telling me to be patient. I have always been an inpatient person, but through experiences, I know that when enduring certain struggles or circumstances, patience leads to a greater hope and most importantly, stronger faith.

Somehow this once extroverted person has become an introverted mommy. Is that even possible? All I know is that finding peace in that internal change has become more of a challenge than reassurance. The last video I did was a couple weeks ago, the last time I watched it was a week after I took it. From that day, I have not watched it since nor have I recorded another one. I can remember watching the tears fall down my face as I openly recorded my thoughts and questioned the reasons why something could happen like it did. A moment that has slightly set me back emotionally but I have chosen to not let it overcome me, because my faith is deeper, the hope I have is well secured and the foundation it’s built on is solid and unbreakable.

While it is clearly taking some time, more than I originally thought, to get fully adjusted from a full time career woman to a stay at home mommy, the pursuit to happiness is still focused right where it should be, on my family. As far as what lies ahead, I leaving that up to God, for he is faithful!

As a graceful mommy, I will be the first to admit, I always need reminders and in my room, on my wall, is this verse below. It is the first thing I see in the morning and the last one I see at night. It gives me encouragement, and most especially , strength in times of uncertainty.

*She is clothed with STRENGTH and DIGNITY and she laughs without FEAR of the FUTURE* Proverbs 31:25

Grace & Peace

Finding Peace During The Holiday Seasons

It’s here. The HOLIDAYS! Thanksgiving has already come and gone, which is quite remarkable, seeing we, as humans, kind of wait all year for this time of year. And as everyone knows, one of the biggest holiday’s, if not, the BIGGEST, is only a couple weeks away. Yes, Christmas!! From putting up all the decorations, to shopping for loved ones and hopefully, gathering family around the table to enjoy one another’s company and best of all, the food. It just sounds like a joyous celebration! 

However, when I personally think about these two special holiday’s, the first emotions that are felt are not normally what you would think a graceful mommy usually experiences. Unfortunately, when it comes to being honest and open, I am not ashamed to admit it. To be truthful, I get anxious and overwhelmed immediately following Halloween. It happens every year and for reasons that are mainly based on my past experiences. 

In my 20’s, as many young people do, we make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can cost you. Whether those costs come as personal setbacks or even in the aspect of broken relationships, they at one time, held some kind of value and usually, as times passes, once what was, will never be the same again. (No matter how much effort is placed into finding resolution) 

Before I had my son, 2 years ago, my heart was wired a little different, it was to say the least, not so graceful. In a matter of 8 years, I let the circumstances and relational difficulties get the best of me and to the point where my heart was so hardened, it was full of bitterness and resentment. Forgiving was not an option. To make it worse, when the Holiday’s would come near, it was even more difficult to put on a “front”. It came to a point that I had to do that, just so I could get through a couple of hours spent with outside members of our family. (Reading that, it sounds pretty bad, but I’m sorry, it was the honest truth!)

Like I mentioned above, that all changed once my son was born. I knew I was pregnant before I even tested positive and I can remember looking in the mirror at work and just holding my tummy full of smiles. From the point, I thought everything would change for the better. Family would come together, etc. but that wasn’t the whole case. A couple months after his birth, and probably one of the worst holiday’s ever, I told myself something has to change, I can’t keep enduring these feelings anymore. Now, it had nothing to do with my Husband nor my children, but it was years and years of the same old repetitive nonsense. At one of my weakest moments, I got on my knees, waved my white flag like a mad man and surrendered. I had finally had enough. 

A couple weeks later, a life changing event happened and I met the person of Jesus Christ and to this day, I wouldn’t change it for anything!

Everything changed that amazing Sunday; personally, emotionally, and spiritually. Those feelings I used to have that were engraved in my heart, were wiped away, as if they never existed. That once hardened heart was now more soft spoken, tender, loving, humbling and forgiving. Imagine a vase being thrown on the ground and broken into a thousand pieces and knowing there is no way it can be fixed, it’s damaged goods. That is what how I envisioned myself but thankfully, I have been gracefully put back together. And that’s a gift that was definitely not earned nor was I even worthy of it.

I know there will be days, especially around the holiday’s, where I will automatically, in nature, try to withdraw and seclude myself. That has been a habit of mine for almost 8 years and it will take more than these 2 years to move past this natural instinct that has become so accustomed to me. I can’t force outside family members to engage with me, when their heart is not there, and I have finally come to peace with those emotions and have moved past that. But what I can do, is pray and continue to pray. Prayer is powerful.

I am not perfect; I am human. I will make mistakes and probably more than I would like, but as long I am focused on the true purpose of these Holiday’s and their meanings, I shouldn’t fear what lies ahead, instead embrace each moment with hugs, kisses and “I Love You’s”. 

As Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas soon approaches, I hope each of you are filled with laughter, hugs, kisses, and TONS of “I Love You’s”. Most of importantly, I pray each of you are surrounded with those whom you love and cherish! 

Oh, I almost forgot, last but not least, don’t forget to gather up all your kiddo’s, light the Christmas Tree, pop some popcorn, cuddle up and watch lots and lots of Christmas Movie Classics. (Because you are never too old for this perfect timeless tradition)

Some of my personal favorite’s are listed below…

The Christmas Story

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

ELF

Home Alone 1 & 2

Shrek the halls

Polar Express

Grace and Peace 🙂

 

 

No one ever said it was going to be easy!

As a child, I grew up in a family surrounded by a mindset of hard work pays off, an idea that with persistent dedication, hard work and motivation, success and accomplishments would soon follow. I started working at the age of 15. Now mind you, I grew up with 3 brothers and being the only “girl” in the family, I had more testosterone than estrogen, which kind of worked in my favor and surely used to my advantage in certain circumstances. But what I gained out of those relationships with my brothers would come into play later in life.

Being taught and surrounded by men most of my life, I became more aggressive and assertive in the career field. I knew that with that mindset that was so deeply embedded in my brain that if I wanted something, I would have to work harder, longer hours and practically, dedicate my entire self to successfully achieve my goals. Approximately, 7 1/2 years ago, I started a career that I knew would take me to where I ultimately wanted to be. Even with prior experience, I took a demotion and from the bottom worked myself up the career ladder. I used what I knew best to climb from one step to the next, knowing that with each step, It was paying off. Was it easy? By no means! It was exhausting, stressful, and extremely physically demanding; the idea of walking out to your car and you being the only one left in the building or parking lots spoke volumes to me. But it didn’t stop me! I kept going.

After 5 years of dedicated work, I finally achieved my goal. I was in charge of a multi-specialty medical office and loved every moment of it. As I said before, it still wasn’t easy, it was quite the opposite. However, something about the pressure to succeed made me even more motivated to work harder, to please as many people as I could, to show others that there are people out there that truly care! It came to a point where I started to realize that all the hard work that I had done for 7 1/2 years was so heart driven, I often placed 95% of my hard work and dedication on my career and not on my family!

The moment of realization weighed heavy on me for a couple months. I am a very detailed organized person and always working with the intent to satisfy other’s, however, as the months passed by the heaviness grew more and more with each passing day. The thoughts of the people whom I grew to think of as my family for 7 1/2 years crossed my mind numerous time throughout the day. How much I would miss them if I left, or how much I would miss the people who I got to see every 3,6 or 12 months that I became attached to. Those emotions played a huge role in my decision and what probably kept me there longer than expected.

When so much heaviness is weighing on one’s shoulders, it hard to ignore, which finally brought me to the decision that would change my life forever. Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who has worked and continues to work so hard to allow me to do what I have always dreamed. That is to be a stay at home mom. His support was the final factor in this decision. I probably won’t ever forget my last day of work because it was as if I was leaving my 2nd family behind. Relationships that will stay with me forever. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done because I was taking what I knew best and stepping into a world of the unknown. It just sounds frightening!

It has been 2 months since I left the career world and started this journey as a stay at home mommy, I often (sometimes too much) question if I did the right thing. No one ever said being a stay at home mommy would be easy, because I know I have said this before, It’s NOT! But, what I fight too often inside emotionally, is with the fact, that I don’t get to see the people whom I’ve spent the last 7 1/2 years with on a daily basis, because too many times, they cross my mind numerous amounts of times a day!

Is it bad that after 2 months, I still think about my fellow co-workers constantly? Even the one’s whom I never would of even thought about before. I often ponder the thought, If they themselves are managing well, if they are doing okay? It is odd and strange to admit that even after this long period of time, I still have my whole office sitting in a box in the back of my car trunk, as if I am just on a leave of absence, or mini vacation?  To this day, I can’t help but to wonder if all the work that I used to do is being completed in a timely, efficient and effective manner, or is it piling up day after day? It is so bad that first thing in the morning, my brain is preparing for a phone call from someone who is about to call out before I am even awake and yet I left that all behind more than 60 days ago. For whatever reason, it’s as though, my mind and heart have not detached from the old way of life.

I struggle with the fact that because I have worked since I was 15 years old and that’s what I know best, I question if I’m even doing this whole new stay at home mommy thing right! When those thoughts start to cross my mind, it brings me back emotionally to the all the questions above. But why? Is it because it became so familiar to me? Or is it because, in my heart, I know those 7 1/2 years, I put endless amounts of time, dedication and practically my sweat and tears into every moment of every day.

There was passion behind what I was doing and accomplishing. It brought me happiness in a way that could be seen by a smile on someone’s face or even a simple appreciation voiced by a “Thank You”. In those moments, all the sacrifices I made on a daily basis, made sense. That was the motivation behind the driving force and most likely, is still the cause of the inability to detached myself from what I loved to do. This is what I would call a heart and mind issue, and it doesn’t change in my new career field either, as a stay at home mommy, it is probably even more intense now than ever.

I know I can’t be the only one who fights internally with these emotions because I think that is the basis of being a mother in general, career working or stay at home mom, it is clearly the thought process of a woman. We are always second guessing ourselves and for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out why. My husband tells me all the time how great of a job I am doing, while I am expressing to him, the total opposite. Isn’t that simply profound. You can be told your doing the greatest job but if you, yourself, don’t feel it then something is off, whether that is a heart issue or a mind issue, there has to be some kind of adjustment.

I think that while I struggle with these inner emotions, deep inside I know I have made the right decision, which was primarily focused and intended for the sake of my families best interest, it might take a couple more months to get physically and emotionally settled with this life changing decision. Just because being a stay at home mommy might seem quite easy and less stressful, it is not, it is actually more work and much more demanding.

When I started this off, I mentioned I grew up with the mindset of hard work pays off. I firmly believe, this applies to any situation. So, on that note, I am going to take the knowledge that has been embedded into my mind since I was a child and gracefully use it to the fullest of my abilities as my job is no longer in the career world but now 100% focused on my family. Because no one ever said this was going to be easy!

When actions speak louder than words

It has been a couple days since I have written a blog and the more I think about it, the last post was the day after the horrific Paris Attacks. The blog, which was geared towards opening the doors of communication with honesty and answering those tough questions our children are bound to ask at some point in their lives, was a genuine heart driven piece. However, after publishing this latest post and then reading it over and over again, I found myself needing to take a couple days off, to think, and quite frankly soak in all the chaos that has been occurring around the world.

At this moment, my mind still can’t and probably won’t ever be able to even partially comprehend any of these unfathomable acts of hate. All my mind and my heart can consume, think and feel are focused on the lives of those injured and lost and then of course their families; the pain they must be enduring and or feeling right now. It’s unimaginable.

When we become parents, our own selfishness disappears and all of our focus is placed on the one or ones that we literally just brought into this world. As I have said before, the love that is instantaneously placed in our hearts once our child is born is indescribable, a gift that is so graciously given to us. It never changes or grows old, this love is permanent and ever lasting.

*If any parent who may be reading this, who has lost, for whatever reason, their child, my deepest condolences. I know as a mother, the love we have for our child is and will always be there in our hearts. As their parent(s), it’s an eternal love that never fades, it’s stays embedded in our mind, heart and soul, for eternity.*

As I have watched the news for the past 30 hours, (Yes, I am going on 30 hours now due to the inability to sleep) I have seen nothing but countless scenes, interviews and descriptions of all these heinous acts of hate, abomination, bitterness, anger, and rage. I can’t help but to shake my head with disbelief and having this heavy feeling of disconnect.

I am not just talking about the Paris Attacks, but also the countless police shootings, racial protesting, religious discrimination and so many others that I finally gave up and lost count. I can visibly see some of the reasons behind some of these actions but when you step back and take a more detailed look at the overall, it is quite clear to see the division. Ultimately, this widely seen division is going to cause and lead to more vicious conflicts and disunity, not only in our own country but the entire world.

I have my own beliefs and views concerning many things, especially the things listed above, however, my beliefs are not what holds value when it comes to my interactions with one another. I do not care about your background, the color of your skin, what religion you follow, if any, and I definitely could care less of what political view you have. The one thing I do believe holds worth, is the appearance, condition and character of the other person’s heart.

There will always be disagreement’s, conflicts and strife between one another, that’s the atmosphere of the world we live in, but, on the other hand, we are all given the choice of free will. You can choose to a have a bitter, selfish, harsh, cruel, hardened heart or you can choose to forgive, be merciful, humbling, kind, compassionate and most of all, have a responsive, soft tendered and loving heart.

If anything, take a look at what happened on November 13, 2015 in Paris, then watch how the people of Paris interacted with one another in those days following those unfathomable acts of hate. There was no division, rather, the aftermath was nothing more than Parisians filled with of course grief, sorrow but also love. And, most importantly, they stood in solidarity.

Always remember, our actions speak louder than words and our children are the ones watching our every single move and usually watching when we least expect it.

You have a choice.

That’s the beauty of free will.

Love not Hate, Unity not Division.

 

Are tough moments knocking at the door? Open it up with honesty!

Becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful and incredible life changing moments that one can ever experience. Most likely, in that moment, when our child takes their first breath and we can hear their first cry, everything changes. The love is indescribable. something I had never experienced until I had my beautiful twin daughters and my son. I know the love my parents have for me, but now being a mommy to three, I can understand it on a deeper level.

With love, comes so many other emotions, especially protection. It is like a Mommy Lion protecting her cubs, nothing is getting past her and definitely not without a fight. As my children get older with each passing year, so does the world and all the senseless acts of hate, rage, and bitterness. Now, my son is too young to fully understand anything except what is going on with Mommy, Daddy and Sissies, but my daughter’s are at a vital age. What they see in today’s society can ultimately change who they are, but as their parent, it is my responsibility to teach and guide them with wise advise and with a loving heart.

I often wonder to myself, what they will face in the next 5, 10, even 15 years, and can’t help to be weighed down by worry and fear. As an adult, the things I see not only in our own society but the entire world has me questioning a multitude of things and sometimes I am left with leaving it all in God’s hands to work out. But, that doesn’t mean I, myself, still don’t feel burdened by worry, that’s human nature, I guess. The one thing I do know is that when I am faced with these emotions, the Lioness comes out. I can feel it. The overwhelming instinct to protect my own is strong and fierce but allowing my children to see this is sometimes difficult. Remember, I want my children to see me as a Graceful Mommy not a crazy overprotective looney tune Mommy.

There will come a time when your child will ask you some tough questions, and out of instinct you might want to be brutally honest but at the same time, don’t want our child to be afraid, so you hesitate. And I think that is a good thing. Hesitation shows awareness and even brings a moment to gather your thoughts to answer these tough questions with a wiser approach. I believe, open communication and honesty are two vital keys to a healthy parent and child relationship. We often fight with our own parental roles and emotions, are we too protective? Am I sheltering them too much? Or should I guide them as much as I can, and pray really hard that they actually listen?

I have come to learn, we will never be able to always protect our children. If your a parent, you know that too. All you have to do is watch the news, whether it’s a bullying incident, a school shooting or one of the many other horrific things that happen now a days, it is impossible to protect them every moment of the day. We have to leave that up to God. But, the one thing we can do as their parent is to open the lines of communication, make them aware of things to pay close attention to, how to be “street smart” and to always be alert of their surroundings. In the right way, this can be done without placing fear into their hearts.

I won’t always get everything right but when it comes to the tough moments in parenting, being honest with my children is vital. You are given a choice on how you approach these questions (that will come sooner or later) and the answer or even reaction you give to your children will usually stay embedded in their minds and hearts forever. So the next time your child asks you a hard question, hesitate and think before answering. A graceful, loving and honest answer will keep the door open for further conversations. So when the tough moments start knocking at your front door, don’t ignore it, instead, open it up with honesty!

“Turn on your listening ears!!!! Can you hear me now?!!”

Have you ever noticed that if you’ve implemented the “Time Out” rule, if done correctly, it actually works! Yes, it can be a pain in the butt in the beginning and being consistent with the follow through is tedious and kind of like a broken record, but when successfully accomplished, it’s a positive tool for re-correction and discipline. Especially, when it comes to our little one’s.

When my twin daughters were growing up, I was in my early 20’s and being a first time parent, my intentions as their mother was good in the sense that I loved them so much, I became a pushover! When it came to disciplining, I had soft skin and rather than enforcing the rules with what I thought at the time as “strict” parenting, I would try to explain to them what they did wrong and how to correct the problem in a gentle, soft spoken voice. When that did’t work, I would quickly find another technique and try that, if that didn’t work, it was on to the next one, and so on and so on. As you can see, as a young parent, even though I was trying to discipline the best way that I thought I knew how, I was like one of those gerbel’s you see in the pet store going around and around in circle’s and never getting anywhere!

Because of the lack of knowledge on how to properly discipline, I would give in and let things go because I was beyond exhausted. In those moments where it seemed like things were spinning out of control, all I wanted was 5 minutes of peace and quiet. A chance to regroup, but having twins, that’s impossible, because not only do you have two children, you have two children who are the same age, who are into the same exact things and who are constantly fighting each other for your attention.

Now let’s fast forward 10 years. I now have a 2 year old. And as the saying goes, “With age, comes wisdom” and let’s just say I have learned a whole lot in these past 10 years. For instance, things NOT to do, things that are valuable, worth my time and effort as a parent, and more so, things that simply aren’t even worth the stress and or headache. That doesn’t mean, everyday is perfect and filled with rainbows and butterflies. There are days where I find myself frantically trying to remind myself to stay calm. Like when my daughter’s are literally running around the house trying to get ALL of their stuff together to make it to school on time while I am trying to help them and at the same time, chasing after my 2-year-old, because he thinks that is the most funniest thing ever!

One of the technique’s that has been a big help when it comes to positive disciplining with my 2-year-old is the “Time Out” chair. I kind of went above and beyond for this chair, I painted it, decorated it with symbols and even put words of encouragement for him to see when mommy has to send him there for misbehaving. After a few times, he caught on, he knew what the chair was and he did not like it one bit; he would even try to turn his listening ears on to make sure he could hear me. (Which is the cutest thing EVER! I even ask him once they are on, “Can you hear me now?”) But, it wasn’t the chair that made him aware, it was the effort, time and follow through that I took to ensure he understood the purpose and meaning behind the chair!

As a parent, one of our goals should be to teach our children respect and morals. There are a lot of methods and technique’s out there and what has worked for me (The”Time Out” Chair) may not work for you, and that’s okay. The key to successful disciplining is taking the time to find out what technique(s) fits your family and apply it with lots of love, grace, patience and most importantly, consistent follow through.

-Grace & Peace