My 2015 Goals Wrap-Up

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2015 Goals Wrap-UpOn December 31, 2014, I wrote a relatively short blog post on my 2015 goals.

Here on December 30, 2015, I’m writing my notes-to-self about the success of my goals.

My 2015 Goals:

My one word is: gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is: go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is: to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is: my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at: reading 12 books.

So how did I do?

In August I gave a brief recap in this blog post: August Goals.

The first goal: Go to Hawaii.

  • Check.

The second goal: Organize and simplify my stuff.

  • Not checked off and we’re going to move on from this one….  It’s being added as a more trackable goal in 2016.

The third goal: Share my talents and gifts.

  • This one is hard to put into a check/not checked category.
  • Over the course of the year, I think I did pretty well with using my talents and gifts although I admit that I used up most of my superpower when my mom passed away.  My brother and I threw her a fantastic memorial service, what I believe of “just like she would have wanted” and that time of my life took a toll on my capabilities.
  • My husband and I felt like we survived throughout this past year more than thrived, and again, that’s something I want to change in 2016.  Stuff got done, vacations were taken, children had birthday parties, no body got seriously hurt, and that in itself, takes talent.

The fourth goal, and what I thought was going to be the hardest: read twelve books.

In my previous blog post to this one, I described the eleven (11) books I read throughout the year.  So I didn’t hit the twelve (12) number, but I also didn’t include the five or so small books in that total that I read with my daughter from the Fashion Fairies Series.  They’re cute for her age, but really, I just couldn’t bring myself to count them as part of the total.

I’ve got big dreams for this next year.  Stay tuned for more goals/dreams/aspirations for 2016 and I hope you will join me!

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The Changing of the Times of Life

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The Changes of the Times of LifeAfter I wrote this post, I realized that it might speak to others as it did to me while I wrote it.  Be assured that I wrote this blog post to myself, to get things off my chest, but if it speaks to you, more power to you as well.


“I am who I am.”

The Lord said this to Moses in Exodus 3:14 (NIV).

I’ve been reflecting on this for the last few days.

Moses asked the Lord what he was supposed to tell the Israelite’s when they questioned him about who he spoke to on the mountain.

How was Moses supposed to tell people who haven’t heard the Lord’s call that he was sent by the Lord himself?

I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like.


As you can potentially theorize, I have been questioning who I am lately.

The Lord never questions who He is.  He’s the Lord.  I get that.

I understand and know I am child of His.  I understand that I was placed on this planet to serve Him.

But what about the in-between?

I figured out today that what I have been questioning about myself lately is not “who” but “what.”

What is it that makes up the person that I am?

That, is where I am struggling.

Aside from the truth that I know I am a child of the almighty king and that will never change –

I challenged myself to come up with a general list of things that I enjoy doing and of things that are important to me, that I can refer back to the next time I question what makes up this woman whom the Lord blesses on a daily basis.

  • I am a wife.
  • I am a mom.
  • I am an Engineer.
  • I am a crocheter.
  • I am a crafter/maker.
  • I am a sister.
  • I am a daughter, niece, aunty, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law.
  • I am a sister-in-Christ.

I typed those up just as they came to me.  My therapist would probably tell me that I prioritize my life by this list.

It seems simple right?

But I have been questioning lately what SHOULD BE on that list.

Here’s the things I thought of next –

  • I am a runner.
  • I am blogger.

The second list is more telling of the things I want to be better at.

The first list makes me nervous.  It forces me to analyze what I have been prioritizing in my life.  My husband and I are “those people” who most friends don’t know how we do it all.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how we do it all except that we have more than our share of people who help us daily.

So what does all this mean to me and why am I posting such a random blog post about myself and my life?

Because of the title of this blog post –

The Changing of the Times of Life

My mom passed away this year.

I began a journey of self-discipline and pushing myself to complete running a half-marathon before I turn forty next year.

My “day job” description will be changing soon.

My children are growing up…. And the list could go on and on.

Supervisors have come and gone at work and rules have been set up as well as ideologies that I don’t necessarily agree with.  As I spend about sixty percent (60%) of the waking hours of my day getting ready for work, driving to work and at work itself, it leaves approximately seven (7!) waking hours for everything else.

Work is a big part of my day.

Exercise and meal prep is a big part of my day.

Reading to my children, getting the next day prepped and hanging out with my husband (to do whatever grownups get to do together) are a big part of my day/evenings.

As I write this, I’ve convinced myself that it’s no wonder why I feel like I’m just-barely-making-it on a daily basis.

But is it really any different for anyone else?

I’ve made the choice to be in a high-stress job, that comes with the income and benefits as well as potential job ideologies that I don’t agree with.  I know I can get another job and am choosing not too.

I’ve made the choice to live a healthy lifestyle (especially compared to how I used to eat) and to do meal prep and include exercise.

I choose to read to my children in the evenings rather than sit and crochet/craft or blog, and I choose to be with and talk with my husband about life after my children go to bed.

I choose to sleep for at least seven hours.

I watch one show a week for one hour a week and try to crochet when I get the chance literally midst making dinners, prepping lunches and cleaning up the tornadoes that happen with toys and clothes on a daily basis in my home.

I may not be in control of everything I’m involved in, but I’m in control of some things and this post is to help me remember what those things are despite the changing of the times in my life.

I also am who I am.  I know because of the Lord I can handle it.

Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Onward!


How Hawaii has changed me….

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Hawaii SunsetWhat is it about going on vacation that can change how you look at things?

How do you explain something to someone if they haven’t experienced it?

I’m going to attempt to do just that.

Hopefully at the end of this post I have described how going on vacation to Hawaii made me a better person.

Did it have to be Hawaii?  The answer is of course “no,” but it’s my experience and this is my blog and maybe somewhere in my words you can feel the undeniable reality that I have experienced by going on a vacation of a lifetime.


One of the hardest things I struggled with on this trip was trying to deal with the obvious entitlement issues my children displayed.

There were multiple meltdowns by the oldest, who has an empathy gene that I can’t even fathom and at times, can’t deal with, which leads to lots of crying for a boy at the age of nine because his mom doesn’t know what to do for him except try to ‘hug-it-out’ and talk about it.

My youngest was surprisingly the easiest to deal with, and I suppose at four years old he really had no choices but to go along with whatever mom and dad were doing.

And then there’s my little girl, who is, well, a little girly-girl.  She cries almost every time she doesn’t get her way, and that happened often when plans were made without her consent and she didn’t like what we were doing including going out to posh restaurants with menus that had to rival any French establishment.  Thank God they had white rice for her at those amazing places to eat.

In the end, my children literally told me that their favorite things about the trip were things we could have experienced closer to home, (visiting family, going to the beach and swimming in the pool) and although that was disappointing, I can’t expect a child (or perhaps my children) to understand how amazing and wonderful this trip was or what a privilege it was.

With all that said, the poor-raised child inside of me was screaming with joy almost the entire trip.

My uncle made reference to that when other friends came and said multiple times D’Andra “has a joy that’s always there no matter what we’re doing.  I love hanging out with her.”

Those words will stick with me forever.  It’s a compliment my mother received throughout her life and as far as I’m concerned, I’m doing something right if someone else can see that in me.

We went on this trip with my husband’s uncle, aunt and children, who have kids similar in age as ours, but who have completely different personalities.  I won’t go into details, but I’ll just remind you that I recognize more now than ever how entitled my children seem to be.  We’re going to start working on that.

The next thing that really changed me was how I felt about mid-vacation about my place of employment.

Notable author Jon Acuff wrote a book called “Do Over” and I follow his blog posts.  One of his recent Facebook posts stuck with me as the caption in the meme said:

Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/authorjonacuff

In my bosses defense, it wasn’t him that I’ve heard this from.  (I’ve just heard it before by other ‘in charge’ people.)

In fact, as he is new to the specific governmental agency I work for, he said he makes less money here (than his last governmental agency job) and has way more work.

When he said that statement out loud to his employees, I thought to myself, “How is that supposed to motivate us?”

I’m just going to come out and say it: Some people are not meant to be in charge.  Take that statement for what it is (or read into it more) but it’s just the truth about the reality I live in, and lately I have been very disappointed in decisions made by people in charge.

BUT –

And that’s a really big but….

Hawaii changed me from being “disappointed.”

I stood on one of the many beaches we visited, looking at some of the most beautiful water I have ever seen (only Cancun, Mexico rivals it in beauty so far,) and I realized that this trip would not have been possible if I had given up on the job when things started going downhill.

And I’ve considered it going downhill for years now so that’s saying a lot.

I prayed on that beach in Hawaii as I watched the sun set.

I prayed for my children, my bosses, I was thankful for my mother and the Lord spoke to me on that beach as I prayed.

Whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, I do and I heard His whisper loud and clear: I will take care of you.

I gave any and all self-proclaimed “control” of the insane job situation to the Lord that day.

Yes, finally.

It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it, but it’s another thing completely to actually feel it leaving your shoulders and neck and back and heart.

I go back to work on Monday after taking my kiddos to their first day of school for the new year.  I’m looking forward to the day.  Very much.  Which includes going back to work.

I haven’t said that in a while.

Come check out some of our pics from Hawaii by following me on Instagram, or just searching for the hashtag: #BSinHawaii.

Mahalo!

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The blog post that never was….

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Hi!

How are you all doing?

Me – I am uh, dealing.

This post is to commemorate “the blog post that never was.”

Here’s a couple screen shots of it.

Blog post that wasn't1 Blog post that wasn't2
The reason it didn’t get finished or published was because my mom passed away in Week Three of January, on January 16, 2015 to be exact.

In that blog post, I explain how emotionally exhausted I am.

I go over my thoughts on how I was terrified when my mom fell for the second time in a week, and wasn’t able to pick herself up off the floor or get to a phone for hours.  I wasn’t even in town to pick her up off the floor myself.

The week was crazy, there’s no doubt about that.

My brother and I were able to be there on Friday morning when my mom passed.  It was – dare I say it in writing – almost beautiful.


See, when you are a believer, there is nothing in this world that can save you.  It’s all from another place.  It’s all from the spiritual world that our souls go to as we pass through this world.  This is what I know and feel with all my being.

I will see my mom again.

Her not here on this planet to suffer any longer is her reward for a lifetime of service to the Most High.  She gets to hang out with her mom, her mother-in-law, her sister, her brothers, and so many others that have come before us who believed in Jesus Christ.

I’m actually kind-of jealous, but I know I have work here to do and I certainly don’t want my time to come yet.

But you know what else –

It’s really sucks to not have her here too.

My brother and I can agree on that every time we see each other.

I wanted to start to blog again.  I spoke with the doctor yesterday and he said the more times I tell my story, the easier it will get to move on.

With that, I’d like to say that I’m back.  Not to normal, because that’s not possible anymore, but hopefully I’ll get used to my new normal.

I’ll be seeing you. <Big virtual hug.>


A Day In My Life – Lately

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010715-ADayIntheLife This year I am trying my hardest to document my life, life with my children, with my mother and with family in friends in general.

As I treat this blog as an autobiography of sorts, I started what I hope to be a weekly summary post of things that happen in my life, and for the lives of so many others that I meet, I know, I’m acquainted with, that I live with and spend time with.

I gave it a catchy title and a tab of it’s own on the blog, called Weekly Round-Up of Fun and Crazy.

My life is ordinary to me, but as I’ve grown to realize in the past two years, it really isn’t ordinary to other people.

Don’t ask me why it took me so long to figure this out.

Doesn’t every intelligent, math loving Hispanic girl from the poor side of town become a Civil Engineer in the job of her dreams, marry the man of her dreams and end up taking care of her parents with a beautiful family?

No?

Yeah, I just figured this out recently.  Don’t judge.

I feel ordinary and here’s a day in my life to prove it!


I got to work at 730 AM this morning.  I went to the parking lot (yard) where the vehicle I am assigned to was parked and got out my safety jacket and hardhat to go into the field to do one of my favorite things, review a roadway.

(Now before I go on, this is no longer a normal thing, as I go down to an office now, but I am talking about today.)

I met my co-worker at the yard and after we got our paperwork, we drove almost 30-miles to get to the road we were reviewing today.20150106_100048_resized

We spent the next three hours reviewing the road. It’s not very glamorous, but I get to take cool photos like the one to the right.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an asphalt dike with a curve like the one along the side of the roadway in the photo.  Sometimes thing have to get noted.

My coworker and I took a late lunch, where I left work to install a raised toilet seat for my mother.  It wouldn’t fit.  That was annoying and I had to leave because lunch was over.

raised toilet seatI’ll spare you the photo of the seat not fitting….

It’s weird, but it’s my life. photo 3

Anyway, after work, I had a scheduled appointment with my Personal Trainer. I haven’t been to the gym since July.

(Search #myviewtoday to see the progress of my #knee recovery on Instagram.)

I had to go get my mini poodle from the groomers after the gym.

I finally got home and thank God my husband braved the store with three kids to get us food because that was the last thing I wanted to do today.

I wrote a blog post while watching Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC.

There were many things I didn’t get to do today.  But that’s not the point of this blog post.

I want to inspire you to say to yourself – “Look at all the awesome things I did today!”

You know you did even “ordinary” stuff that makes the world more amazing right?  Hopefully you think of the people whose lives you influenced today.  Maybe you think of the kids that you are raising and helping to grow into the next generation of game-changers and world builders.

Maybe you’re like me and just did your job of reviewing a road for the public with a great co-worker.

Whatever it was, I hope you know that you are awesome. Have a great day tomorrow friends!


The Most Important Things in Life

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2Corinthians 1:13-14I’m not a very good theologian.

I’m not sure I even spelled that word right or even using it right for that matter.

I do the whole praying thing, go to church thing, try to find the positive thing in every situation, love making bible verse media, and truly believe that if Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior then I got the ticket to heaven because of grace.

But every once in a while, like today, are those moments where I feel like spilling my guts on my blog about what I think the most important things are in life.

If you haven’t been reading my blog and don’t want to check out some previous personal posts, let me give you a summary:

My mom is dying of diabetes, congestive heart failure and is on dialysis three times a week.

For the past year, the doctor’s have been keeping her alive (thank you Lord for modern technology) and in May 2014 we were told that there is not much more they can do but keep her comfortable.

She’s had a total of seven heart attacks (that we know of) small, but as the doctor described to us, every single one of them damaged her heart just a little bit more, and two of them (TWO OF THEM) happened yesterday morning.

She’s at home now and is planning on going to see my kids (three of her grandchildren) this afternoon – just like a regular Tuesday.

I have been putting off many of the tasks as the eldest of two children that involve getting things ready for my mother’s eventual funeral.  It’s been challenging to say the least to do this, as the human side of me doesn’t want to face death.

The believer side of me knows where she’s going, so what am I afraid of?

Yesterday’s phone call from my mother woke me up from my silent denial.  My amazing & awesome husband is going to go with me to the funeral home I have picked out to talk to a funeral director and hopefully walk out with a plan.  We’re doing that this week.

I’ve put this off long enough.

The reality is, the more I get done now, the more grieving I can do later.

So what’s the most important things in life right now?

My answer is this: Keep having the same awesome, perfect days.

“What’s a perfect day?” you ask.

For me, it’s enjoying the sweet faces of youth I am blessed to be called mommy by.  It’s the ability to call my mother and check-in-on-her.  It’s the positive & encouraging Facebook post someone posted that spoke to me or tagged me in a photo.  It’s the fact I have a job, healthy children, an amazing husband, a terrific family, a wonderful church and the cutest nephews and niece any auntie would ask for.

It’s my life I’ve been given for as long as I’ve got.

My life is perfect - just for meIt’s perfect for just for me.

It’s the crazy, dependent parents.  It’s the guy who cut me off in traffic that I said a little prayer for so he doesn’t hurt somebody.  It’s my four-year old’s tears because she didn’t get the happy meal she asked for.

I got picked to do this job of wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend in this world, here and now.

It’s all perfect.  It’s routine, normal, peaceful, perfection that I always dreamed of.

I know the time is coming for the drama.  I know the time is coming when I’m going to have to deal with death for both my parents and so many others – if I make it that long.

But to me, that’s all a part of this perfect life – so I can get to heaven and be with all the others that have become before me and we can talk about the perfect lives we had.

I’m alive.

It’s all I need to make the most of every day.