Friday, October 20, 2017

In God's arms

It was circled in dark blue pen on my calendar months ago: "bebe born???". October 18th. That blessed day was to be the one in which Paul Rene would be born. I remember the specific emotions that coursed through my body as I flipped to the October month on my calendar and penned those words. Anticipation. Excitement. Worry. Wonder. Fear. Joy. Trying to imagine how much our lives would change in October felt like stepping into an alternate reality. I couldn't imagine it all in my head and was grateful we would have 9 months to prepare ourselves. 

......

It's strange to think about then and now. So much has changed. Little Paul Rene is resting in God's arms rather than my own.. and this stark reality and reminder on my calendar make me reflect on what could have been. I wonder, what kind of baby would he have been? a fussy one or a mellow one? Would he have looked more like Xavi, more like me, or a combination of the both of us? Would he be an extrovert or an introvert?.. I wonder about the little details and the big ones. 

A miscarriage is an experience that turns your world upside down. Nothing can prepare you for it and healing is a long and slow process. I believe that I am still healing in some sense, though grateful that the pain is no longer a searing one. 

Not having my baby here right now serves to remind me of something I often forget. I am not in control of my life. I desperately try to be, yes. But loosing Paul Rene is a lesson for me that God will always have His way - He is the one calling all the shots. And I need to give thanks for this. It's hard to surrender my life to God. Honestly, sometimes it makes me scared of what is to come. God, please not another miscarriage.. but I know that He has the best plan and aligning my life to His plan has only brought me peace. 

Paul Rene, pray for me! Help me to keep giving over my life to God's will. 
Your mama sends you muchos besos. 

xo.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

snapshots

I am not the best at remembering to take pictures. Don't get me wrong - I love pictures and flipping through photo albums yet tend to forget to take out my phone and capture the moment. I was recently scrolling through the pictures on my phone, and I realized that I have a collection of pictures with no rhyme or reason. I like that each has a significance and, though random, is a snapshot of my life and ideas at that time. Here are a few of them..

                                                            Taking in the stillness at the lake


                              A pumpkin spice latte and a notebook.  Nourishment for the soul.


                                Inspired by the colorful (and cheap!) plates at the Dollar Store.


   Convincing the hubs to take a selfie with me. He relented, but his expression says it all! haha!


             Loving this pattern.. and thinking of all that I can do with the yarn I have on hand. 


Here's to hoping that I capture more special (and random) moments, ideas, and inspirations :)
XO!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cooking seasonally

I have always liked the idea of making a weekly trip to the local farmers market to buy fresh produce. The advantages of doing this are obvious, but just the experience of shopping weekly at the farmers market slows time down and is an immediate lesson as to what kind of fruits and vegetables are in season.

Of course, the reality is that most of my grocery shopping trips are done at a big box store, rushed through begrudgingly, with no second thought about what produce is at its peak. The shopping trip ends up just being one more chore to check off my to-do list...

and I want this to change. 

My goal for this fall is to cook "seasonally" - sticking to ingredients that are truly in season and avoiding the ones that are not. Will this always consist of going to the farmers market? Probably not. But I want to at least make some sort of effort towards thinking about which produce is in season. 

To help me, I printed out a list with all the vegetables and fruits divided up by their season and I posted it up on my refrigerator. I hope this will serve as a daily reminder as I plan the meals. I feel that cooking and eating seasonally is a wonderful way to be thoughtful of the season at hand and intentional about the food I am making. Not only that, but it will taste so much better!

I just went through all my recipes and pulled out the ones that I plan to make.. carrot and almond soup, apple upside-down cake, sweet potato fries, pear and chestnut cake..

By spending a little more time thinking about what I cook, my hope is that my home-life will also be enriched. I want memories to be created around the food I serve and even better if those memories are tied to the season.


XO.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Farewell summer - Dates 9 & 10


I had a really hard time thinking of what to do for my last planned summer date.

I thought long and hard about what Xavi would like to do and tried to avoid anything similar to what we had already done in previous weeks. I had to get all my creative juices flowing in a short amount of time. Finally, I had a great idea! We would fly a kite! Xavi told me earlier in the summer that he had never flown one growing up in El Salvador and that he always wanted to do that. I searched Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Walmart -- no kites were to be found! I asked the store clerk and they said they just got rid of all their summer merchandise. Clearly not everyone holds on to summer until September 22nd like I do. I was disheartened. I even asked Xavi - "What do you want to do for my last planned summer date?" and he said "No, it's something you need to decide, not me."

At last, the idea came to me. We would do our own, personalized salsa dance class.. through YouTube! Why pay a pretty penny for a class when you can take one for free from the comfort of your own home? In fact, Xavi and I had started learning salsa online in June, right before a wedding we were attending. We enjoyed it but didn't get past the basic step and never finished the lesson.

So, for date #9 we did just that! Xavi is not the dancing type, but not knowing how to dance salsa and being from Latin America puts a little pressure on him to learn it. We finally got the basic step mastered and were even able to learn how to do right turn! Our self-lead lesson was actually a lot of fun and stress-free as we could stop the video whenever we needed to practice more. Multiple times Xavi and I ended up in laughter, as I stepped on his foot, or we got the turn wrong. Silly mistakes that we made light of. I hope we can get comfortable enough to where we can dance salsa quickly and effortlessly.

Annnnddd... our last date, date #10 - planned by Xavi - was his favorite: Taco Bell. He spent the $5 on a Big Box for the both of us. It was really nice not to make dinner that night and break from routine. And of course, eat a dorito taco! :)

The summer date challenge is over but I think going on little dates throughout the month is something that we are going to keep doing. It's so easy to get caught up in schedules and routines, but mini dates carved out time to focus on our relationship. As I look back on these past 10 weeks, I am grateful for the special memories and moments created with Xavi.

Hello fall!!! 🍁  🍂

XO

Friday, September 15, 2017

Our Lady of Sorrows


Today at Mass, the priest reminded us that today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. I have been so bad about remembering the feast days that occur, as I often don't get the chance to attend daily Mass anymore and I am not using a Catholic calendar this year :( so it was a wake-up call for me to start marking down these special feasts days. 

The priest gave a very thoughtful and beautiful homily about the 7 sorrows of Our Blessed Mother. I had heard about these sorrows before, but this priest brought them into a new light. It made me see how truly relatable Mary is in this modern age, and more specifically, to me. I can personally relate to many of her sorrows - as a woman, as a friend, and as a mother who has lost a child. The priest's eloquent words helped me to realize that Mary understands...

when we receive bad news that has the power to break us down and question God ( The prophecy of Simeon).

the plight of so many of our brothers and sisters who need to flee their countries in order to save their lives (The flight into Egypt).

what it's like to console a loved one who needs our presence (The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross).

the pain, worry, and suffering that is caused when loosing someone we love dearly, whether that be temporarily (The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple) or in this lifetime (the Crucifixion).

what it is like to see the remains of your most precious child that once lived (the taking down of the Body Jesus from the Cross)

the effort to provide a proper place to lay those remains and have a way to remember them (The burial of Jesus).

At this moment in my life, I look up to Mary more than ever before. With all the challenges, questions, and difficulties that have come my way this past year, I feel that she is a woman I can lean on for consolation, sisterhood, and sympathy. I aspire to be like her... like a little daughter that tries to mimic her own mamma. I am far from her simplicity, grace, and peace - but I know she will be patient with this little daughter of hers.

Mamma Mary, Mater Dolorosa, pray for us and make us more and more like you!

XO.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dates 7 & 8

I am still in shock that September is here.. where did August go? I can already feel fall in the air - cooler evenings, more leaves changing colors, and less sunlight. Being that summer is my favorite season of the year, I am one of the few that continue calling it summer until September 22nd rolls around. I want to maximize every day because I know how much I am going to miss it when it starts to get cold and rainy.

Our summer dates challenge is drawing to a close, but we still have two more left! I am out of ideas, but I want to make my last date the best! Still thinking.. 

Dates 7 and 8 were perfect dates for this warm weather we've been having. For date 7, I had the idea to go stargazing. It's something I love to do but have made little time for. I think I first fell in love with stargazing during my summers in high school. 

I spent those summers driving to the outskirts of town with my friends and sisters to see the annual meteor showers - staying up until the middle of the morning to catch a glimpse of these beautiful shooting stars. Those moments were so much fun, and created such great memories. I was sad that I missed seeing them this year. And though our stargazing was nowhere near the meteor shower, it was still wonderful to see the Big Dipper and other constellations strewn across the sky. The night was so still and quiet - we could hear the crickets chirping loud and clear. I want to make more time for stargazing in the future! 

Date 8 was planned by Xavi. We loaded up our bikes on the back of our car and drove off to some unknown destination. He didn't want to tell me where we were headed but I guessed it on the way there - a hiking area with bike paths and nature all around! I had actually mentioned to Xaxi that I wanted to take our bikes out there a few weeks back - so of course, I loved the date! There were so few people out in the park, so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! I think the picture does more justice to any words I could write about the bike ride - simply beautiful. 



The bike ride was so needed. My afternoon was filled with lesson planning and emails, so it felt wonderful to spend time in God's creation. It made time slow down and instantly relaxed and rejuvenated me. I told Xavi that we need to plan a monthly nature day, just to get out of the normal "busy" mode. On our way back, rather than do a Jamba Juice run, we decided to get the ingredients to make our own! I found a recipe online, so we attempted our hand at making Xavi's and my favorite "Mango-A-Go-Go." It actually turned out pretty good, but we still plan to perfect the recipe. :)

Happy Sunday everyone!


XO.