Apple Seeds

 

It’s almost 2018! What?! How?! It is crazy how much time just passes us by in the blink of an eye.

What a year this has been! It’s been great for my family and me and I’m excited for what 2018 will bring.

Bearing Fruit, Growth, Flourishing, Motivation, Growing, Blogging,

The other day, I was eating an apple. It was so delicious, that  I ate another one. As I was cutting up my second apple, I noticed the seed; this small little seed. I looked at it, observed it and went about getting the rest of that apple in my belly.

It wasn’t until later, as I was doing things around the house, that I remembered how good that apple was. Then, the seed popped back into my head. I thought, wow, it is crazy how from that tiny little seed, came something so pretty and delicious.

I also thought about how crazy it is, that I’ve birthed two beautiful girls. I am fascinated by the fact that one small little organ inside of my body, can stretch and accommodate and house a tiny human being! God really didn’t leave out any details when He created us and molded us; to be able to do and create amazing things.

As I thought about the seed, I realized how we are very much like that apple seed. Many times in life, we undervalue and underestimate our talents and abilities. We think of our goals and we dream up dreams, but soon squash them because we tell ourselves, “I’ll never make it.” or “I can’t do that.” or “I’m not good enough.” or (insert your own excuse here).

We come up with excuse after excuse and we fail to see ourselves the way God sees us. When He thought us up and began to mold us, we were just tiny little seeds inside of our mother’s womb. However, He didn’t stop there, He knew that that tiny little seed would grow into something bigger, more beautiful, full of life and full of purpose.

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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As we grow up and learn the world and hear the whispers and lies of the enemy, of our “haters,” of the media, of growing up without a mother or father, we lose sight of who we were created to be. We begin to fall victim to the lies and start to conform to the shape of the box instead of thinking and growing outside of the box.

Imagine if someone saw that apple seed and just threw it away? They would have never known that out of something so small, would come a huge tree that bore these beautiful fruits. Someone saw those apple seeds and saw past their size. They had faith when they planted them, that something much better would come out.

They took the time to plant the seeds, and watered them daily. They were persistent and never gave up. It took time and effort, but the fruit…the end result, was worth it.

It takes nine months for us to go from an embryo to a fully developed baby. It takes 13 years for us to go through school. It takes 20+ years for us to become adults. It takes 4+ years to obtain a professional degree and it takes an apple tree 8+ years to grow and bear fruit from a seed.

And so, our own personal seeds (passions, goals, dreams) also need the persistence, the patience, the time and the right tools to grow. Because of the world we live in, it’s so easy for us to give up. It’s so easy for us to think we’ll never make it. It’s easy to quit and move on to what we think will make us happier; or we just settle for mediocrity.

As we grew up, school took effort. Growing up under our parents authority took effort; being obedient to them, their discipline, their advice etc. College took LOTS of effort but when we walked across that stage, it was worth all of those papers, midterms, finals and late nights of studying. We had something to show for ourselves and were proud that we did it, we made it, despite all of the obstacles and aggravations of college life. All of the seasons and ages and things we go through in life, take effort, persistence, tears, sweat, sleepless nights, but the fruits of our labor make it worth all the effort.

Going through 9 hours of labor for both of my kids… that’s what you call a “labor of love.” It wasn’t easy, but man holding them was worth all of, not just the hours of labor, but the months of holding them inside of me.

What I’m trying to get at is, if you have seeds in your hands, plant them. Cultivate them, water them, be persistent and patient and watch them sprout, bloom and grow. Don’t let fear or negative influences, self-doubt or lies stop you from flourishing.

Over time I have planted seeds, dreams and goals of mine, but have failed to water them daily, have failed at being persistent. One goal of Sam and mine that has finally bore fruit, is getting our songs out there. We did it, we’re being obedient to the Lord and have put them out there for the world to hear. It’s very vulnerable and scary, but seeing the fruits of our labor and walking in obedience has given us that extra push that we needed; a sense of accomplishment and the fear of what people might think or say is wearing off, bc those opinions don’t matter… God’s does!

In 2018, my resolution is to pick up that watering can and water my seeds (two of those seeds are my precious daughters), because I know that one day they’re going to bear many fruit. God has called us for so much more, but it’s up to us to put in the effort and water our God-sized dreams and goals.

What desires has God placed on your heart? Chase after them. Pray and seek Him and wait patiently for the fruits.

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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And take delight in knowing that there’s beauty and joy in the journey; in growing; in learning, succeeding and failing.

The hood called parent

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetThere’s a fine line as parents, that we teeter when it comes to giving our kids the things we wish we had as children. At least, my husband and I have that struggle. Growing up, my parents worked hard just to provide the basic things for my siblings and I, and while we weren’t on government assistance like my husband and his siblings, it was still a struggle for my parents to make sure a meal wasn’t missed.

I still remember the different places we lived, starting when I was five years old, and back then in my innocence, I didn’t know that we were “poor” in US standards. You don’t know you’re “poor” until you’re old enough to understand why you need a job and how money works… at least not back when we were kids. I think kids today know way too much, way too young but that’s a story for another day!

While I wished to have all the Barbie’s and the accessories that come along with them, my parents would simply say, “maybe one day, but not today.” My parents were stern and strict parents, however, I know that they really did wish to give my siblings and me certain things that we’d ask for; be it for our birthdays or holidays, and there were times that we would get one special wish list item and it’d light up our year!

I remember one year my mom told us that we could start a savings jar for a trip to Disney one day, and for years we’d put any and all spare change into that jar. However, every time it filled up, something needed fixing and there went that dream. We’d start over and over and over. In the meantime, we’d go on weekend trips to the beach and that made us so happy, it still does lol. I love the beach and I hold lots of great memories of vacations there as a kid! (I just wish Sam loved it as much as me and we’d be there more than just 2 days a year! lol)

Finally, when I was 15 years old, my parents surprised me with a trip to Disney World (at this point my brother had gone off to the Navy), so it was a special birthday trip for me. I know how much hard work and saving up my parents had to do to take me and for that I am so thankful!

Fast forward  13 years and my husband and I have taken our girls to Disney World since they were infants. We will be there in a month from now and I just can’t help but think that they won’t feel the same excitement that I felt when they’re 15 years old… or maybe they will, who knows? time will tell…When what felt like my whole life, that was one of the things I wanted the most… of course what so many kids dream of, meeting those two cute big-eared mice!

That’s our struggle, we want them to know and appreciate what hard work looks like and that they are blessed to have the life they have. The fact that they won’t know the struggle we knew; I am so thankful for that! I’m thankful that they will not grow up in a house with financial struggle, not very many people get to see that or know that. I’m thankful that God blesses us day after day, year after year and I know that we are only where we are by His grace, love and mercy over us!

My prayer is that we teach our girls to be thankful for everything. To not be spoiled, though I want to spoil them. I put into practice telling them “no” already when they ask for things. I tell them that they can’t always get what they want, but will always have what they need…even at their little ages of 3 and 1. I don’t want to give them everything just because we can spare the extra expense, it’s a struggle, but important.

One of the things that God constantly reminds me of is being a good steward. A good steward financially, spiritually, physically and a good steward of the two most precious little lives He’s entrusted us with! Oh, they are my heart and even through the ups and downs of parenting, I know that God’s purpose and plan for their lives is something out of this world! I know that they will be world changers and a light. They’re forces to be reckoned with and He’s given us the task to make sure that they’re led through the right path.

I’m constantly praying for God to give me the wisdom and knowledge to be the mother  that they need me to be and I don’t want to let Him down and I don’t want to let them down. I know that at times I will, however, through God and with God we can move mountains!

Daily, I pray for Him to be my portion, to give me patience, to give me wisdom in disciplining them, in teaching them and loving them. Parenting isn’t easy, it isn’t always fun, but in teaching them we also learn and grow along with them. Hopefully, that line becomes easier to balance as we continue in the journey of parenthood!

Lost Baggage

“Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love…”

Micah 7:19-20

Does anyone besides me have a suitcase filled with things that may look like: anxiety, depression, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, jealousy, etc.?

Despite knowing that Jesus paid the ultimate price, forgave our sins and even blots them out of his mind, never to be remembered again (Is. 43:25), why do we still carry around our baggage?

Inside of my suitcase, you’ll find anxiety, not feeling “good enough” and uncared for.  Those are the main things in my life that are a constant struggle to let go of. I carry them around like a purse, and honestly, I didn’t start to feel the weight of them until recently.

I want to say that it all started one or two weeks ago while working out at the gym.  When I go into the gym, the only thing I take with me is my water bottle, keys and my phone for the music. I jump on the treadmill, elliptical or the stair master and I begin my workout. Now, I’m a wife and a mom, so I’m always busy cleaning up, cooking, and running after the girls and I rarely get time to myself, and the gym is one of the few times where I am alone and can de-stress and rid my mind of whatever.

On my recent trips to the gym, I have started to feel like there is a bag at the foot of whatever machine I’m on. It may sound weird or crazy, but I literally look behind me and check to see if maybe I did bring my purse with me, somehow, and just dropped it on the floor. Obviously, nothing is there and it bothers me, because the whole time I’m working out I feel the weight of it. I get the urge to pick up this invisible bag and throw it across the gym… like leave me alone!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but a lot of times, the gym is where I can let out frustration and any stresses of the day. The last thing I need or want is the feeling of a lingering bag full of stress that is right behind me!

Finally, last night I was like “Ok, God. What is this? What’s going on? What are you trying to tell me?” I said this all in my head because I didn’t want to look like a crazy person talking to myself in a gym packed with people… don’t judge me! Then I clearly felt Him shine a light on the fact that it was my baggage… my anxiety, my feeling of unworthiness and feeling of being uncared for.

This week has been kind of a rough one on me. There have been many things that have caused a great deal of anxiety in me.

Philippians 4:6 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 

And, I haven’t done either of those things… I’ve been carrying the weight of my own sins, struggles and strongholds and once again, have not gone to Him. I haven’t laid down my burdens before Jesus, because I sometimes feel like I might burden Him with my silly little issues… isn’t that funny?

Yet, time and time again, He reminds me who He is and just how much He L O V E S me! He does not want me to walk around with a bag full of stress and burdens, he wants to take it from me and I have not allowed him to. Instead, they’ve been sitting at my feet, weighing me down. And boy, the devil loves that! He wants me to be weighed down by sins and make me forget that Jesus already won that battle, he already forgot them and he indeed DOES care about me, love me, cherish me… and YOU!

I… you… we need to stop carrying around that baggage and allow God to take it from us every day! He wants nothing more than to see us live in the freedom of knowing that we don’t have to walk through life being weighed down by our sins and strongholds. He’s already tossed them into the deepest parts of the ocean where they will never be found again… like lost baggage at the airport!

Just. Give. It. All. To. Him!

Happy FIRST Birthday my princess!

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in shock. We weren’t planning on trying to get pregnant for another year. I wasn’t so sure how Sam would react, because he wanted to wait as long as possible, but I’ve always been a “mom” and have always been nurturing, so I wanted a baby as soon as we got married, ha! I began googling/pinterest-ing cute ideas to tell your husband you’re expecting. That day he just so happened to stop by the house to pick something up, and I freaked out and he looked at me as if I had done something wrong, which I probably had a guilty look on my face. He was also on the phone, so he couldn’t really talk to me, but I showed him the positive test and he thought I was joking, but he still hugged me and smiled. Shortly after, he called me asking if that was for real, I said yes, and he was so happy ( I didn’t doubt he would be)! That was not the ideal way I wanted it to go, but that’s how it happened! So many emotions went through our minds, but at the same time, nothing else mattered but this new little life that was growing inside of me. My heart was so overwhelmed with joy, and all I could do was praise God for this miracle. A few days after finding out, I had gone to the bathroom and noticed I was bleeding. I got so scared and I went to the ER. The whole time I was praying that I wasn’t having a miscarriage. The worst feeling was not knowing, because after being examined, they told me only time could tell if it indeed was a miscarriage, because it was still so early. That was a Friday, and I had to wait until Monday to go to my doctor and get more blood work done to determine whether my numbers increased or decreased. We were so uneasy, and we decided to let our family know what was going on and for them to keep us in prayer. It felt like the longest weekend! Sam, met me at the doctor and thankfully, the numbers had doubled!! To make a long story longer… just kidding… short, fast forward TEN, NOT NINE, (women, someone lied to us because pregnancy lasts 10 looong months just so you know) months later, on November 5, 2013 at 8:52 AM, I gave birth to my absolutely beautiful little girl, Ava! Oh the joy, the unexplainable joy that we felt when we laid eyes on you… Tears stream down my face as I type this, because you changed our world for the better. I knew the love of God in a completely different way. The way we see you is the way he sees us, but even more HIS love for us can’t compare! As I reflect on our life this past year, you have taught us so much, we’ve grown as adults, you’ve taught us patience, selflessness, to love better… and YOU have grown! You are so smart, sweet, and silly. Every day you make us laugh with something new that you do. Your laugh and smile is contagious, we could be sick or having a crummy day, and you put the biggest smile on our face! God has huge plans for your life, and daddy and I pray for wisdom to lead you and guide you in HIS path. That you grow to be a strong woman, not swayed by the things of this world and fulfill God’s will and purpose for your life! We are excited to keep watching you grow and pray to be the best parents we can be! We love you princess!! HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY BABY GIRL!!IMG_0564IMG_0832

Have you weeded your garden lately?

This past Sunday, I decided that I was tired of looking at the ugly weeds that began to take over our garden. They had grown so tall; they were such an eyesore. So, after our busy day, I told Sam I was going to weed the garden. He kind of looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I was sure… (If you know me, then you know that I think bugs and dirt are gross and icky, and I’m such a girly girl). I don’t know what got into me. I think it was the fact that I wanted to do something active and sweat off some fat! However, from the moment I pulled out that first weed, I regretted it immediately! The texture of the roots and dirt with moisture, YUCK! Anyway, I just kept going, and the more weeds I pulled, the more I started thinking about my life and how many times “weeds” have grown in my heart that I’ve had to ask God to yank, and sometimes I’ve even tried to do it on my own. I was reminded about how as Christians, we must constantly be on our guard to make sure that weeds aren’t growing over the godly seeds and plants that we have sowed and watered over time.
The thing about weeds is that they creep up, and sometimes we don’t notice them, sometimes a flower may even bloom and look so pretty, that we mistake it for a flower that we planted and watered ourselves. It’s not! It’s a weed. I almost didn’t pull one out because it was a pretty white little flower, then I realized it was an imposter, so I yanked it! I don’t want it messing up my pretty garden in the literal or hypothetical sense. As I was weeding, I came across three different types of weeds.
The first, are weeds that are easier to uproot than others. In the spiritual sense, these may look like selfishness, lying, jealousy, cursing, gossip, etc. (I know that sins are all equal, but because we’re human, we tend to categorize them on a “not so bad” to “extremely horrible” scale. So, for that reason, I’m categorizing them). These weeds may not seem so bad, but weeds are weeds and they will destroy the beautiful flowers one way or another. I was able to completely uproot some, and others I could only pull from the surface. That brings me to the second type of weeds I came across. These weeds were so deeply embedded in the ground, that there was no way I could uproot them. I knew that for those, I needed someone stronger than me to pull them out completely. I was only able to pull what was on the surface. They were so challenging and I got so aggravated because I knew that those would come back within a few days. I feel like that’s how it is when we have “weeds” in our hearts. Some are easier to get rid of and some are not so easy. We can pull some out on our own, or so we think, but no matter what, they still grow back some time after. Some we just pull from the top, but they grow back because the root is still there. We might only give God the “small” or “not so bad” weeds to get rid of, but what good will that do in the long run?

The last kind of weed I came across were the ones that disguise themselves or try to hide in between the pretty flowers that I mentioned earlier. Here’s a picture of some trying to hide in between the agapanthus.

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I looked at these and just knew that they were going to be a challenge. These are the worst kind because they are deeply rooted and they’re trying to pretend they aren’t weeds. So, I tried to muster all of the strength I could, and began pulling them like a mad woman! I was even talking to them, telling them, “Yeah, I see you! I’m not gunna let you think you belong here, because you don’t! Come here!” I’m not lying either hahaha. I eventually gave up. My hands, fingers and arms hurt from trying so hard. That’s exactly what happens in our lives, many times we give up, because it starts to hurt. The thing is, the pain won’t last forever and we’ll be better off anyway. The next day, my fingers still burned a little, but by the end of the day, that sensation was gone. So many times in my walk, I’ve tried to pull weeds out on my own, hesitant to give them to God, because I doubted that they’d really be uprooted. I’ve grown weeds of resentment, bitterness, low self-esteem, jealousy, and they kept my godly seeds from growing into the beautiful flowers they were intended to be. I couldn’t really enjoy God and all of the ways He would or could bless me. There was always something that would immediately shoot down anything that seemed nice. Weeds tend to stick/grow together. I would pull one out on one end and there would be a trail that led to more roots a few feet away. The same goes for the weeds in our lives that we think aren’t so bad. Bitterness can lead to anger, anger to hate, hate to actually hurting the person that caused us to be bitter, which can all lead up to the weeds that disguise themselves as flowers that are supposed to be there. This happens whether we have just begun our walk with God, or if we’ve been walking with God for years. We are never exempt from weeds growing, so we must be cautious. Daily, we must renew our hearts and minds and the moment we feel a weed growing, give it to God so that it won’t stand a chance. We must constantly work out our salvation. (Phil. 2:12)

So, have you weeded your garden lately?

 

 

 

Moving Forward

So I started reading a book called So Long Insecurity, by Beth Moore. I’ve actually been having this book for a while now with intent to read, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. So far, it has been right on point in the way I feel at times. This book caught my attention, because I’ve always dealt with insecurities, as a young teenager and sometimes even now as an adult.

As a teenager, I never felt like I was pretty enough and I dealt with this insecurity for so long.  I would pray and ask God to give me the confidence to know that he made me in his image. Beautiful. It was a word that I couldn’t believe to be true about myself. However, one day I had enough of it. I didn’t want to keep buying into the lies of the devil, I wanted to move forward and live in true freedom. I began writing words of affirmation on my mirror, so that every time I’d look at myself I would see who God saw. Fast forward and today I know that I’m beautiful, smart, the daughter of the Most High who sees me and has called me his own!

As a kid, you would think that as an adult, you don’t deal with insecurities, you’re mature and nothing can bring you down. Wrong. I find that now as an adult, I still have insecurities. Beth Moore talks about different types of insecurities, one is insecurity when it comes to relationships. I realized that I currently struggle with that insecurity. Sam has actually mentioned it to me before, but because I can sometimes be prideful and stubborn I deny it. As a result of my insecurities in my relationships, I tend to put all of my hope for the perfect relationship in Sam. He is my best friend aside from being my husband. He knows everything about me, all of my fears, my flaws and all of the good things about me. I rely on Sam to meet all of my needs, which is unrealistic. Beth mentioned that at one point in her life, she had been hurt by a friend and it broke their friendship. Because of that broken friendship, she told her husband that from that point on, he’d be the only person she’d ever trust again. However, her husband told her that she couldn’t do that, because at some point, he too would let her down… because he’s human and no one is perfect. That turned the light bulb on in my head. I have subconsciously placed all of my trust in Sam to be my only friend who will never purposely hurt me and who I can trust wholeheartedly! But like I said a few sentences earlier, that’s unrealistic. There have been times when we’ve gotten in an argument and I can’t help but feel so disappointed in him, that he let me down. How could he? He’s not supposed to let me down. Little did I realize until now, that it’s an insecurity of mine because of other relationships. I too, like Beth, have been hurt by friends that I sadly no longer have a relationship with. It is hurtful when friendships end, unexpectedly, unwillingly. This hurt is what has brought on this insecurity. I know that I can always count on Sam and trust him, because he is my husband. However, I cannot let the fear of hurt and being let down cripple my other relationships with people. I realized that because of this, I have been closed off to everyone else but Sam in my life. It’s time to move forward. I cannot continue to let the fear of being hurt or let down by others to feed this insecurity. After all, that’s life. You get hurt. You forgive. You move forward. And at the end of the day we can always rely, trust and lean on God.

Time is flying by

I’m at a loss when it comes to really knowing how to blog. Should I write as if I’m writing a paper for school? I have no idea, so I guess until I get a better hang at this, I’ll just start however seems right.

This past weekend went by too quick! I feel like time is just flying by! In two weeks Ava will already be THREE months old!! It seems like just yesterday I was lying on that hospital bed waiting till I was completely dilated in order to push and meet my little miracle. I’ve always heard that their first year goes by the quickest and it really does seem that way.

I’m excited, each day that I wake up to her beautiful smile is a blessing! She and Sam are my world! I decided to title my blog the “Mommy Diaries” because I already feel like so much has happened in this new journey of parenthood. I feel like Sam and I have grown so much in these last 2 1/2 months. As she continues to grow and reach milestones, I know that we will also grow with her and I’m excited to chronicle this journey.