A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

Here we are, January 18, 2013. I survived the holidays and due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, the winter season seems to be quickly passing. Nothing like three years ago, when we experienced record-breaking snowfalls and it was declared the coldest winter ever. Three years ago today, I learned how literal the “coldest winter ever” was and how the quoted scripture applies to everyday life.

Maybe that day three years ago wasn’t a good time. Or maybe something more tragic would have happened down the line that would have been more painful. Either way, His plans were above my own. Yet still He has never failed me.

While I look back and think of how much time has passed, the feelings are the same. I lost our daughter, and part of me went with her. Each day that passes, she is on my mind. I’m making it solely by God’s grace and my family’s love. I anticipate the day when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ will rise, and those that remain will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

I have learned to put my plans in God’s hands, praying constantly to be in accordance with His will for my life. Through the evidence of the changing of seasons, from winter to spring, He makes all things beautiful in His time. I hold onto the hope of Christ’s return, to be reunited with our daughter, and other loved ones we have lost.

At the right time. At the right season. Until then…


Life Changes

Although I was not excitedly looking forward to turning 30 years old, I did have a countdown for my final thirty days. I wanted to make the most of it, before the turning of another decade. I guess I wasn’t thrilled because there are changes in a woman’s life that begin around 30 years old and I was not quite sure if I was ready to face that, yet.

However, I remembered a quote I once read that life is just beginning at 30. So I sat and thought about all that I have accomplished in my life so far and all that I still look forward to. I was able to re-evaluate my life as it is and set short-term and long-term goals for myself.

My life may not have taken the path I imagined as a little girl or teenager. Some things happened a bit backwards. But each experience has shaped me into the woman I am now. My husband and children have added unconditional love and purpose into my life. And even in the midst of loss I learned to hope, trusting God’s plan for me.

So while some sit and ponder what is one thing they could change about their lives, I have nothing I would want to change. Yes, I’ve made choices that I have not been proud of, but they have allowed me to learn and grow. I can proudly say, I am not perfect. I am constantly learning to embrace my weaknesses and flaws along with my strengths.  As this milestone birthday marks a turning of age, I also embrace the idea, as my loving niece reminded me, that I’m not getting older, only wiser.

Here’s to life, and all its changes, this new year of mine and for as long as God allows.


Love What You Do

I have such a variety of background work experience that I often wonder how I settled on my current career. But I realize that each subsequent position built upon the previous, and I have experienced growth personally and professionally.

If I could have any job and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it, I would keep my current career as a cosmetologist and beauty consultant. I sometimes wish I didn’t go through so much to get to this point, but without it all I would have never developed the people skills necessary to be successful. I still feel I’m growing I that area.

What I feel is so rewarding when someone has had a bad day and my work helps them feel better when they leave my chair. My desire is to improve the lives of others. While some consider the beauty industry to be vain, I find it to be one of inner beauty. Self-esteem, confidence and positivity are all improved when I complete a service on any client, whether male or female.

Regardless of my background experience and how skilled I was, I love what I do and look forward to influencing at least one person in a positive way each day. It’s God’s way of working through me, and that is a privilege I am thankful for.

What would you do if you could instantly have the education and training to get started?


A Sincere Compliment

Have you ever wondered how powerful words can be? Regardless of the old adage

sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me

we know words have the power to tear a person down or build her/him up.

Think of the last compliment you received. How good did you feel afterwards?

Let me share a compliment I received. Although quite simple, it certainly made me feel good about myself as a wife, mother and woman overall.

When was the last time you received, or gave someone, a compliment?


Liberty and a Smile

Tomorrow is election day in the United States, where citizens will either give our current President, Barack Obama, a second term in office, or give Governor Mitt Romney a chance at his first term in office. While many are still undecided, we all at least have the privilege to practice our freedom to vote.

In watching this presidential race, there are several important issues that are concern for everyone. These include: unemployment, education, taxes, economic conditions, healthcare and more. Regardless of political affiliation, Democrat, Republican or other, opefully everyone who can, will get to the polls to make sure their voices are heard.

I have kept an eye on the women involved in the presidential race. Current First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Mrs. Romney are both influential in their fashion and style sense. I also notice that as supportive women, they always wear the most beautiful accessory a woman naturally has: a radiant smile.

As we take part in yet another historical moment in our time, let’s be thankful for the liberties we have. Share a smile with someone, regardless of whether or not you know them. It may just make their day.


Words to Live By

I enjoy reading. It’s like food for my mind. Because I’ve read such a wide genre of books, there are several authors, styles and words that leave an impression.

However, the most influential in my personal life has been and continues to be God’s Word, the Holy Bible. While I have bookmarked so many favorite verses of scripture, one that I apply every day is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1. It says

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Because of life experiences, especially the loss of my daughter, I am learning that God’s plans are beyond my understanding. This quote helps me remember that everything happens according to God’s timing, and according to His will.

So I put my trust, my life, in His hands daily. And I live out the current season of my life the way He would have it be.

The Power of Prayer

I started October with a focused approach on my priorities. The autumn season is known for bringing forth a warm beauty in nature, despite the drop in temperatures: flowers and foliage transforming color before our very eyes, masterpiece horizons on the canvas of sky as the sun rises and sets, the fragrance of cinnamon and pumpkin wafting through the air as traditional comfort foods are lovingly prepared in homes everywhere. Along with that comes the reality of another year coming to a close. Whether you started the year with certain expectations or goals, this is the time many re-evaluate how far they’ve come and how close they are to their desired result.

I wanted to firmly strengthen my spiritual foundation, keeping in my mind the special words my grandmother has always lovingly shared with me (translated from Spanish): Keep God first in all you do. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing.
My grandmother’s life has always shown me that God will bless abundantly when He is given His proper place in our lives. I remember as a teenager, a dear pastor speaking on how we prioritize our relationship with God. To sum it up, his words still ring clear in my mind “He is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

As a wife, mother and aspiring business woman, I am constantly seeking ways I can be my best: an appreciative and understanding wife, a loving and nurturing mother, a woman who uses her work to allow God to work through her, serving others and leaving a positive influence. I wanted a change for the better and decided the way to do that was to improve my prayer experience. I reached out to friends, family and acquaintances, maybe 40+ in all, by email and text message to seek special petitions if they had any. I received a response from about 10, with general concerns as well as health and family requests.

To begin my journey, I listed all the special requests from these responses, and I listed petitions from church prayer sessions, and finally I listed my own prayer concerns. Starting my days early in the morning, I would take quiet time, before the family rising and life interrupting, to read a daily scripture and express my heart, wrapping my family, friends and associates in the power of intercessory prayer. If you haven’t know what starting a busy day in peace feels like, this is an experience you must try.

I consider myself to be an easy-going person overall, but the closeness I felt to my heavenly father seemed to fill me with a peace that nothing could shake. God’s promises are proven over and over, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” http://bible.us/Phil4.6.NIV

When life knocks you down to your knees, you are in the perfect position to pray. Leave it all at Jesus’ feet. Only He can speak stars into existence and calm the winds with His voice. When you feel your problems are towering over you, take a stand and tell your problems how big God is.

On your knees… get set… Pray!

The Beauty of a Woman

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
“Beauty is only skin deep.”
These are just a couple of many well-known beauty quotes.

When I consider what beauty means to me, I realize there is more to a woman’s beauty than her waist size, hair color, & lip shape. Neither is a woman’s beauty found in the brands of clothing and textures of fabric she chooses.

The beauty of a woman is not seen through what she wears.

Making Connections

As I am learning and growing in my blogging experience, I have been making connections with other bloggers, women, mothers, entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life throughout the world.

I find it empowering when one can find such positive support while venturing into such a vast network.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog to stay current on my newest posts. Feel free to find and follow me on social networks as well. You will find my Social Media buttons at the footer of my blog, or simply search for me: ReflxnsOfGrace.

If you’re a member of the BlogLovin’ community, Follow my blog with Bloglovin. If you haven’t joined, it’s never too late!

I look forward to making new connections.

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.

October 15th Wave of Light.jpg

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.

October 15th Remembering Our Babies.jpg