Opportunity is Everything 

As a little girl growing up in The City of Brotherly Love, I remember being content with my surroundings. Brick buildings, cement yards, fire hydrant water play. I mean, I knew there were such things as open fields of grass and birds chirping sweetly in the morning sunrise. But those existed in the books I read that would take my imagination to new places. Or on the TV screen where the privileged families lived cheerfully. The city was my world and it was all I knew. That was until my father decided to take us on a trip. 

We went camping. In the woods. Wild animals surrounded us. Leaves rustled and crickets chirped as we listened to a different sound of night from within our tents. It was surreal. But it was amazing. Never would I have imagined our lives would be forever changed from that point on. After our first trip, we wanted more. So Daddy did his best to make it happen. It would be on weekends as our getaway from the concrete jungle. Hah. From jungle to jungle. Get it? 😉 

Anyway, eventually Daddy bought a trailer and we spent a whole summer in our new safe haven. We hiked. We swam. We sang songs and roasted marshmallows around the campfire. By the end of summer, I remember my parents decision to make a move. Daddy searched anywhere and everywhere for a home that would be fitting for all 6 of us. We left everything behind. This was a new start.

Today, I live even further out in a more rural area with my blended family of 7. Amish ride by in their horse and buggy on a regular basis and the smell of mulch on a summer day is the norm. This is my children’s world, and like myself as a little girl in the city, they know no different. This is their safe haven. 

I share all this to say, opportunity is everything. Had my father and mother not taken the opportunity to get our family out of the city, who knows what the outcome would have been. I’m not saying it’s bad to be in the city. I love where I’m from and take pride in being a country lovin’ city girl. 😉 I enjoy visiting all my family that still live there and reminiscing on my childhood memories. 

It’s just amazing how opportunity opened up so much more possibility for our family, then and even now as I have a family of my own.

What opportunity have you had to make changes in your life? 
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Question Authority

I started getting the Sunday paper about a month ago. My main reason was to have my children, especially my sixth grader, do current events reports like I remember doing in sixth grade. Reviewing his schoolwork and homework I felt like the education system has eliminated a lot of useful areas for children. It confuses me but instead of bashing the system I proudly embrace my role in being my children’s first teacher. I have homeschooled for about two years before but more on that some other time.

My second reason for buying the Sunday paper is to cut coupons. I remember happily clipping away with my scissors as a youngster while Mom told me which coupons she wanted. I followed suit and my daughter proudly organized them by type. I plan on getting into Couponing to cut back on expenses. I’m not sure yet how extreme I’ll take it but any little bit helps until I get better at it.

One bonus to the Sunday paper that I forgot about is the comics! I loved reading through the comics as a kid and I learned to draw with comics, among other things. I still get a good kick out of the simple humor found in the comics section. And if there’s one thing that’s needed after reading through a mix of local, national, international, business, political news is a good laugh, no matter how brief.

So while skimming through I saw this comic which perfectly depicts my thoughts as a mother at times:

question authority

No I’m not raising my children to be defiant of authority. I emphasize respect at all times. What I don’t want them to do is settle for less than their potential because some “authority” says they can’t. I want them to question the restrictions placed on their dreams by statistics. I want them to reach for The Authority that has a plan for them, now and in the future. (Jeremiah 29:11) And if there is a question I want them to ask of Him is “Lord, what will You have me do?”

Just the other day, my 11 year old frustratingly asked “why was I even born?” Part of it was due to me saying “No” to a request of his. {He doesn’t like that word very much.} As the oldest child, he likes things his way or…his way. That may be why we butt heads often…the apple doesn’t fall far! 😉 But hearing his questioning and realizing it could be deeper than a come-back response to My authority, I had a talk with him. 

I explained that it’s okay to not know what our purpose is until we’ve experienced life. I’m a grown up {most times…more of a Big Kid at heart} and even though I’m a wife, mom and cosmetologist I still question what my purpose is. He agreed that spending time reading God’s Word and praying would help him get to know God better while learning God’s purpose for him. 

While I may have a temporary authority over them now, God has entrusted me with their care to point them in His direction, The Authority of all. The most amazing thing is that God does not abuse his authority, as we humans so easily do. Instead He lets us make the choice whether we will follow His guidance or not. What a blessing it is to ask of Him and receive. (Matthew 7:7, John 15:7, James 4:3)

So while sometimes I have to lay down the law and not give in to the questioning of My authority, I go to The One who has the ultimate authority knowing that I can ask anything of Him and He will lovingly answer. (James 1:5)

Do you feel questioning authority is acceptable? Necessary at times? Have you ever questioned authority? What was the outcome?

Share your answers in the comments below.

Be blessed!

Supporting Adoption with Style

November is always filled with thankfulness all around, especially because of my birthday 😉 & of course Thanksgiving. I learned of a great company that makes adoption possible for families by easing the financial burden.



Founded by Melissa Mugar to help fund their second adoption, Subsidy Shades sells fashionably stylish and protective sunglasses. I selected* a pair of Crystal Aviators as a treat for myself in honor of my birthday. I deserve it, right?


One of my favorite things about this particular pair of sunglasses is their lightweight feel. There was no uncomfortable pressure on my nose or behind my ears like some frames do. I also really like the lenses being dark enough to protect my eyes from the sun but light enough to see clearly and not feel as though it’s always night.


As I browsed the site I noticed there are fun kids frames including the increasingly popular Minecraft (that I know my boys will love!). I’m already planning birthday gifts for my children. 😉 I’m sure they’d be happy to receive a stylish pair of sunglasses, and even happier knowing their gift helped a family with the gift of adoption and love.

All prices are very affordable and there’s something for everyone. Not only will these be on my gift lifts for the family but there is enough variety for everyone to switch up looks each season, or more often! Backup pair, maybe? 😉


Head on over to Subsidy Shades to check out a pair for yourself!

Which will you choose?


Please follow Subsidy Shades on any and all of the following social networks you’re part of to show your support:





*I selected and received a complimentary item in exchange for my review. Read my full disclosure.

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

(This should have been posted last week but remained a draft thanks to my ignorance of options via mobile device. =/ Thanks for your patience and understanding!)

Here I am again, nearly the end of May and sooo much has been keeping me on my toes lately, but I guess that’s nothing new. While I wanted to attempt my first Wordless Wednesday post, I had to be realistic and let it all out. I literally had a list of posts that I’ve been meaning to write since last month. Because  procrastination is the greatest thief of time, I decided it was best to not let myself be robbed any more. So I’ll go ahead and get right to sharing! {Depending on how much rambling I do, I may cut it short to not bore you. ;-)}

April flew right by, and while I wished for warmer weather, I’m very happy with the gradual transition of the seasons this year, although winter did seem to drag on endlessly.  We even had snowfall well into spring.

With Memorial Day less than a week away, the temps in these parts have still been up and down.  But no complaints on my end. I’m enjoying life as it comes, one day at a time.

We enjoyed quite a few birthdays in April. My middle son turned the big 1-0 on the 8th. Because of my absent-mindedness, I thought I had all the ingredients for baking a cake, but I didn’t. My husband with his quick thinking suggested using the glazed donuts we had on hand {not a regular thing around here} and stacking them into a cake. I believe my son enjoyed that more than I expected!

For 12 days I had two 10 year olds. As they get older they get a kick out of it, fooling the unknowing by saying they’re twins. We get asked that regularly anyway which baffles me, but hey I guess Irish twins counts for something.

With my oldest son turning 11 on the 20th of April, reality struck and I was feeling bittersweet…my babies are growing but I appreciate their childhood innocence.

Mostly unaffected by the over-saturation of electronics and technology in this age, my son wanted nothing more than a science set {microscope/telescope, etc.} I bask in my children’s easy-to-please contentment whenever possible.

I say this all the time but while I enjoy watching them all develop and learn and become more independent, I do miss their need of, and total dependence on, me when they were infants, toddlers, etc. I do feel their need of me is different at this age. I do my best to guide them in the right direction and set a good example. The difficult part is watching them make decisions that are against everything they’ve been taught, and letting them suffer the consequences. That’s life, though: a learning experience. And it’s not always easy. *sigh*

Well, with my little ones growing, weather changing and me making every effort to enjoy my blessings while being a blessing, I must say my family has been favored beyond measure. I thank God for being so gracious and merciful.  Even though my days seem long and hectic I can always start and end my day with a heartfelt “Thank You, Lord”. Those are words I need to express every day.

What words can’t you help but share?


Attend The Mom Conference…From Home…For FREE!

Have you ever wondered how you could be {more} amazing at this thing called motherhood? Most times we feel we want to do and be more yet don’t have the time to research or are not sure where to start.


This week The Mom Conference is taking place, all online, all FREE! Starting Monday, April 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM EST, you can attend from any computer or mobile device that supports video. Register now to learn from 30+ speakers as they share information on a variety of topics related to being a mom.

For more info watch the video below.

What do you think? Are you planning on attending? If so, be sure to register now to reserve your spot! And get ready to be inspired, network with other amazing moms, and have fun!

Keep Your Romance Fresh and Sexy with #FreshNSexy

One of life’s greatest joys is being married to your best friend. I can proudly say my husband and I have a great relationship. We talk, laugh and listen to one another and enjoy spending quality time together. When I say quality time, I mean as few distractions as possible. Completely uninterrupted isn’t always possible but we do our best. When we’re together we love to make each other feel fresh and sexy.


Good hygiene has always been a top priority for each of us, as that improves our confidence and self-image. So whether it’s a fresh haircut for him or a trendy makeup look for me, we enjoy complimenting one another’s personal hygiene and individual tastes. One of my favorite things is my husband’s scent. The chemistry of his body with his cologne and deodorant are so seductive! So I guess it goes without saying that I want to be as appealing to my husband as he is to me.


This is where Fresh + Sexy wipes come into play. I find them very easy to incorporate into my routine when freshening up. I save time and energy and build anticipation to set the mood. {enter Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”}
My husband knows me well enough to understand that if I’ve had a long busy day with managing work, children’s activities and household tasks, that I certainly want to freshen up before engaging in any type of intimate activity. I can say that’s pretty much every day. But sometimes the time it takes to get ready for our play time, as we have code-named our moments of sexual activity, can be just as exhausting as the long day’s activities. And who wants to take the fun out of sex at any time? Yeah, me either.

Keeping a stash in the bathroom medicine cabinet makes preparation convenient, and after sex cleanup quick. I really like the light and fresh scent of the Fresh + Sexy wipes. They surely do leave me feeling freshly confident for my husband. Even better, they are easy to pack along for use during vacation sex. Now to plan a trip…

What helps you feel fresh and sexy?


Back to School in Style


As a member of the MamásLatinas community, I was chosen as an Influencer to do Back to School shopping with Kmart. I was given a $50 gift card to purchase supplies and clothes to prepare my children for going back to school. We got backpacks and supplies before I knew I would be getting a gift card. So what was left was buying clothes.
My children are very easy to please and don’t necessarily follow trends. My daughter likes girly things so anything pink and frilly will make her happy, lol. The boys especially go through their clothes and shoes quickly not only because they’re adventurous but because they’re growing so fast!
Our list was simple and consisted of jeans, long sleeve shirts and shoes/sneakers.
I am already a Shop Your Way Rewards member and know the benefits of the deals, discounts and points so I was looking forward to great deals offered by Kmart.

After browsing kmart.com I came up with a few ideas for outfits for each of my children. My husband kindly helped by sharing his opinion and helping make decisions. The children were already in bed but as I mentioned previously, they are not picky and are easy to please. So we didn’t doubt that they would like our selections.

Because the boys go through their clothes so easily, we decided they needed jeans. And knowing that they have enough short sleeve shirts, we thought they could use sweaters or something with long sleeves. We browsed the button up shirts, but the sizes were either too small or too big. We ended up choosing two long sleeve t-shirts/henley type shirts, one with a graphic and another with colorblock.

The shoes were also on promo, buy one get one 50% off so that was a great deal. And the boys definitely go through their shoes quickly regardless of what style, brand or whatever. So I saw two nice ones that I liked, a little different from what they normally wear. They have plenty that are either plain black or high top. These had nice touches of color and an athletic running shoe design.



Last were the jeans, which we decided on each having a different color. Straight leg in style, I like that the waist bands are adjustable because my oldest grows more quickly in height than in width.

My daughter loves anything girly: pink, animal print, sparkly, frilly, whatever, lol. Hey who can blame her, it all looks so cute, right?! 😉

Well, I browsed a few different scooters (skirts w/shorts underneath). A lot weren’t in her size. I moved on to shirts. The same problem, either too small or too big. I decided to just browse the shoes since I knew they were on sale and I found a cute pair of slip on casual shoes in multicolor animal print. I thought she would love those especially because they’re different for her. She has sneakers which are lace-up and dressy type shoes with strap and buckle. These are simple slip on AND stylish.

After finding the shoes I browsed the clothing again to see what would look nice with them. I saw a set that had an animal print top with a pair of pink leggings, $10 for the set. I thought that wasn’t a bad deal and I knew she would like the color and design of the outfit because it had ruffles and is girly but still fun and fashionable.

One of the last items I needed for their supplies was antibacterial wipes so I searched and found a container of WetOnes. Very convenient and portable with its plastic container.

I was going to wait to order and for the shipment to arrive before showing the children so it would be a surprise. But they were curious on when we were going school shopping so I told them I was doing online shopping this year. I showed them the list of items hubby & I were deciding on and they all really like everything and were looking forward to getting new clothes and shoes.

I really feel getting Back to School shopping on Kmart made things a lot easier this year. No rummaging through what’s left at the stores after mobs of families take their pickings. While it took time to get it right by browsing and selecting online, it was worth it when all that was left was waiting for the UPS delivery truck, which the children did eagerly.

What’s your favorite part of Back to School shopping?







*I was selected as Influencer and provided with a gift card to purchase these items. The opinions stated are honest based on my personal experience.


Remembering Wynter

October 15th is recognized as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7:00pm, no matter what time zone, if everyone lights a candle in remembrance of a lost infant, and keeps it burning for one hour, an international wave of light will sweep across the globe.

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Until my experience of infant loss due to stillbirth, I thought our time’s advanced technology and medical practices helped prevent these occurrences.

I still remember being in the hospital thinking “why did no one warn me of the possibility of stillbirth?” I hadn’t heard of anyone experiencing stillbirth except for in the old days, and it was most likely something I read in a book.
I had three healthy pregnancies and deliveries. I carried full term, to 4 days before my due date. If I was going to lose her wouldn’t that have happened in the early weeks? What could have been different this time?

We made sure we did everything right: seeking early prenatal care, taking prenatal vitamins daily, drinking plenty of water, getting rest. We waited until after our first trimester was over to even announce our pregnancy to family and friends, just to be sure we were in the clear. It was challenging to contain the excitement all that time. We had no idea the real challenge was still to come.

For 9 months, the anticipation of our new addition grew within me, literally and figuratively. We went back and forth through the process of selecting a name until we even had a loving nickname for her. We would talk to her, feel her kick, had our own idea of what personality she would have and how she would interact with her siblings.

We noticed a change one night as we lay for bed. She would usually move most at night and we would joke that she was preparing us for plenty of sleepless nights ahead. This particular night we didn’t feel the usual animated movement. As I prepared for work the next morning we agreed I would consciously pay attention and contact the doctor.

What happened the next few days seem to have gone by like a blur yet it all replays so vividly each time I think of it. To go for an ultrasound when I was just a few days shy of delivering, and not hear our daughter’s heartbeat was the most deafening silence I had ever heard.

As I mentioned previously, the challenge was not containing the excitement as we waited to share our good news with family. I was now answering to people who knew we were expecting but hadn’t learned of our loss. When I returned to work, some of my regular clients whom I hadn’t seen since before delivering, would unknowingly ask about the baby in excitement. I couldn’t be mad at them it wasn’t their fault. But I felt anger. I also felt sadness, pain and emptiness. Those sleepless nights we were expecting came not from exchanging diaper duty shifts as we cared for our child, but from all of these emotions and the process of grief.

It has been almost three years since losing our precious daughter. I think of her daily, and wonder what her milestones would have been like: sitting up, crawling, first steps, first words; which one of our looks she would favor and how unique her personality would have been.

Though I never considered myself one to take life for granted, our daughter brought new meaning and purpose to my life. I am learning to live one day at a time, appreciating all I have however small. I do my best to live each day with intention, as I have experienced personally, tomorrow is never promised. I hold on to the hope of holding her in my arms again, one sweet day.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)

Until then, I will keep her in my heart, her memory living on inside me, inspiring me to live one day at a time.

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Stillborn, Yet Still Born: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

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Being a survivor to domestic violence and witness to the experience of breast cancer taught me tomorrow is never guaranteed. However, I never imagined I would go through such an awakening through the lives of any of my children.

Every mother who has ever had a child goes through imagining and planning what her ideal birth experience will be like. Having had three healthy, full term and natural deliveries, I found myself expecting my fourth. I had been a bit of an age gap this time around. My first three children were born within three years and were already 6, 5 and 3 years old when I learned I was pregnant with my fourth child.

Doctors treated me as an “expert baby maker” which I felt was disrespectful and very unprofessional. I followed routine prenatal care, maintained a healthy diet and worked up until the end of my pregnancy. The excitement and anticipation grew for my husband, children and myself as the months passed.

January 18, 2010 I went in for a checkup. We went as a family this time since the children had a day off from school and my husband wasn’t scheduled to go to work until later that afternoon. We were excited. With only four days left till my due date we were sure we would be welcoming our little bundle of joy at any moment.

I was called back to have my weight and blood pressure checked as usual, then the doctor started checking the baby’s heartbeat. Yet this time, the doctor shuffled about a bit longer as silence filled the air. I could not believe what was happening and I was even more shocked at how cold the attending doctor reacted when he shared the news that my child was no longer living.

How could that be possible? I was full term, due in four days and I was just in the week before and everything was fine. What was he telling me?!

What should have been a day of celebration ended up being more like a slow-motion nightmare. My world was turned upside down and shattered at the same time. We had to say goodbye to our daughter before even saying hello. We planned for a funeral instead when we had been planning for months on how we would welcome her home.

My daughter may not be presently physically, and is considered to have been stillborn in medical terms. I like to think of her as born sleeping, in a peaceful state, awaiting Christ’s second return. But I also agree that she was still born, as her memory lives on within and I think of her daily.

While I lost something most precious to me, I gained a new sense of an outlook on life. I’ve heard “tomorrow is never promised” quoted repeatedly, I never realized how much it truly applies.

I have come a long way thanks to love and support from my husband, children, and other mothers who have survived the loss of a child. I learned loss is not something you get over but something you learn to live with. I live life one day at a time, remembering the inspirational scripture found in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:” (KJV)

For pregnancy and infant loss support visit Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope


God bless,


Not All Scars Are Visible: Domestic Violence Awareness

During my very early years of motherhood, I was the victim of domestic violence, although I didn’t immediately think I was. Though not physically abused, I hadn’t realized I was experiencing other forms of abuse: mental & emotional. During that time of my life I was a social worker, helping pregnant women obtain health insurance and prenatal care. I noticed similarities between the abusive relationships some of the women were in, & my own. Honestly there were times I felt helpless, wondering how I could be in a career helping women improve their situations yet failing to help myself.

As my eyes were opened, and confrontations escalated, I knew there was a choice to be made, not only for my own safety and well-being but for the sake of my children and their futures. Thankfully I had the support of family and friends. When I made my decision to break free from such a negative person, I was amazed at how much positivity embraced me all around. I had to work at re-building my self-esteem, getting back to the young woman that once overflowed with confidence and ambition.

From that point onward I wanted to truly help women overcome and find confidence and beauty within themselves. That is true beauty. I transitioned careers and studied cosmetology. For many people, especially women, positive self esteem begins with our mirror reflection. When we look good we feel better about ourselves. I am now happily married to a real man, who loves me just the way I am, and is a loving father and positive role model to my children.

I am proud to be part of an organization that supports women and children worldwide and makes an effort to bring an end to domestic violence. For more information about The Mary Kay Foundation visit marykay.com today!