Time to Fly

19 Aug

grad

Dear Son, you are about to leave for college and I can barely speak without tearing up and choking on my words. I am so happy for you but sad at the same time. I am proud of you and the young man you have become. How do I tell you all that I’m feeling? The emotions a parent, a mother, feels? I remember sitting at your kindergarten orientation, that first goodbye was gut wrenching but I’m not sure it can compare to this one. With this goodbye comes the knowledge that I am saying goodbye to an adult, to my firstborn, to my boy who AJbday1I won’t see for longer and longer gaps of time. I will no longer be able to peek in your room to make sure you’re sleeping well, I won’t be able to give you that mamma bear hug when you’ve had a bad day. This year has been filled with so many ‘lasts’ but also many firsts like not being with you on your birthday for the first timeūüė¶ Now, washing sheets, college shopping, packing, all these things bring floods of memories; watching you play t-ball, learning how to ride a bike, your daring 7 year old self riding a motorcycle, you¬†helping with your brother and sister when I had babyAJcancer, all these years that I’ve had the privilege of being your mom and watching you grow have been amazing. I’ve always heard people say that our kids are a gift from God and that they are not really ours, well here it is, every year older¬†has been¬†practice of letting you¬†fly away. I saw this quote,’There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.’ ~B Behunin¬†

So here I am. Packing you up and letting you go to dream your own dreams and break through the clouds on your own. I dread the ride home after dropping you off but I’ll be ok. I will miss you because you are a piece of my heart that I will be forced to leave behind. I will worry about you but I know you have a good head on your shoulders. I will call and text you, please respond, I’ll try not to do it too much. I am truly excited for you, these are really tears of joy! I am always here for you no matter what and I’ll be praying for you every day. AJgoofThank you for being a great son. From the book I read to you every night when you were young…’I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.’~R. Munsch

I love you baby boy,

Momma

How We Live?

7 Aug

FullSizeRender

I have a super talented brother, he’s a singer/dancer/actor who was¬†on Broadway for years and has been in the cast of shows like Rent, Mamma Mia, and Miss Saigon among other things. Currently he travels the world as a choreographer, teaching master classes¬†in dance and theater, and judging and emceeing national dance competitions across the country.¬† A couple weeks ago my brother was hired to teach a master class in theater arts at a theater on the east coast. During one of the breaks he had to return phone calls so he left the theater for a short bit and was walking around in the nearby park/neighborhood. He was in a t-shirt and khaki shorts and was not carrying anything except his cell phone which he was on. I say all of this because within that half an hour he was approached by the local police. Apparently someone had seen him and called them about ‘a mysterious brown skinned man walking around the neighborhood.’ For. Real. He said that the minute the policeman came up to him the officer put his hands in his face and said,’oh damn, I’m so embarrassed.’ Yes, even the cop couldn’t believe it. To follow up on the complaint the police had to go to the theater to verify his story about being there to teach and of course it was the truth.

kOY1

Does he look scary?

This is now the world in which we live. It’s sad and it’s unfortunate and at a time when America is probably the most diverse, we feel the most segregated. We are scared of each other, scared of who the next president will be, scared of our neighbor, scared to cross the city line. We talk big but talk from our comfortable little squares about how things should change. How will they change? Martin Luther King said, ‘Love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.’ Easier said than done. Are we losing our capacity to love others? The bible talks about faith, hope, and love with the greatest being love. I recently read in another blog that many think that there can be no faith or hope without love but the author believed that there can be no faith and love without hope. I think that is where we stand today. With all the tragedies, terrorism, senseless shootings, etc, we are starting to lose hope in our futures which then creates cynicism and less faith then eventually less ‘love thy neighbor.’ This attitude then moves down to our kids who really haven’t yet experienced the world but now have the same attitudes and opinions we do regarding politics and maybe even race. It’s a vicious cycle. How do we stop it? I don’t know but how about starting with kindness and respect of others and their opinions. We all have our little circles of influence-start there, we don’t all have to win an argument, sometimes it has to end with agree to disagree. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control’ Gal 5:22-23.

Today I wear Laura Mercier Lip Glace’ in Blush which is a rose brown. I love how these glosses feel and the color is decent for a gloss. I have been using this for years and my absolute favorite color is Brownberry which has been a little hard to find but this comes pretty close. It’s always a great time to just throw on some gloss! Cheers!

 

Fear

30 Jul

pier Are there only 2 sides? Is there really only fear and love? One or the other? Does perfect love cast out all fear?

I admit, I have many fears ranging from the typical spiders and snakes to the large catastrophic events like earthquakes, fire, and of course cancer coming back yet again. Many of my fears are inconsequential and not really debilitating. In fact, since having cancer, I still feel afraid of things but most of the time I overcome by thinking either ‘who cares’ or really ‘what control do I actually have over the situation/thing.’ If I can be totally transparent I have been struggling for a few years with a specific fear which for me has at times been a little debilitating. It is the fear of a person. I won’t be specific but because of events from my past and how they have shaped me, along with actual events that have happened, this fear to me was warranted. Fear has had me looking over my shoulder, looking out my windows at night, locking my doors (which I do anyway), not going to certain places ‘just in case’, adjusting my schedule…you get the gist. Fear changed how I lived. It is a work in progress but now alongside of that shrinking feeling of fear is anger. Anger that I am still making certain adjustments and anger because I still have that fear (vicious cycle) because just when I think I’m about to overcome the whole thing, something else happens. I am finding¬†that anger is starting to take over that fear and maybe that’s a good thing.

When exactly does perfect love cast all that out? I’m honestly not sure. Yes, I believe God is in control. Yes, I trust God has my back but in between fear and love there’s a whole lot of anger, frustration, forgiveness and exhaustion. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. What I do know is that fear steals joy, peace, fun, and takes parts of your life that you may not even be aware of. It’s the thorn in your side day to day. Fear turns life into the what if; what if I get cancer back, what if I really am not good enough, what if my child gets in an accident, what if those threats are real, what if, what if, what if? Here is where I have to land…‚ÄúSo do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.¬† I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.‚Ä̬†Isaiah 41:10. ¬†A daily active faith and trust in God. Our lives can be made dark by many things but fear takes away the freedom to really live. There is a song we sing at church with the words ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.’ Every time we sing it, I cry because I need that truth every single day. Fear> worry> anger> faith> trust> breathe> peace> free>repeat.bird

I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.’~¬†Yann Martel¬†

Today I wear Bare Minerals Gen Nude Radiant lipstick in Panko. Did you know yesterday was National Lipstick Day? Uh yeah, my friend Adrienne had to tell me (thank you)! Anyhow, I picked this one up and I have to say I like it! All of the colors in this line are supposed to be ‘nude’ with just a hint of color. They are creamy but more on the glossy side, not the one to choose if you’re looking for hard core color. I chose this color because it has a coral undertone but it’s not too orange. Thank you for doing life with me! Cheers!

Letting Go

17 Jul

bus stop

My 16 year old daughter just came back from Africa a few weeks ago. She had a fantastic opportunity with our church to go to an area where a school is being built for 600 children. Daily they were there to play, teach, sing, and just love these kids. When she came home she had a certain glow about her; she has been more open, appreciative, loving, and as an aside is more willing to use public restrooms because of the ‘not so nice’ bathroom situation where she stayed in Kenya. She’s always been pretty stubborn and staunch about her future plans in regards to college and career (especially lately), but this trip has changed her a little and I see (and hear) some uncertainty now. It’s been great listening to her and what’s on her heart and I’m excited. I’m praying that she will remember this trip, the people she met, and that her heart remains soft to those in need.¬†I think it’s amazing how just leaving your comfort zone for a bit can change your perspective, your opinions, and maybe even some of your goals and worldview.¬†IMG_2574

This summer has¬†been a little difficult for me. Not only has it been jam packed with just stuff to do but most of that ‘stuff’ has had to do with letting my kids go and that reminder that they’re growing and ‘going’. My oldest child graduated high school and will be leaving in a month for college, my daughter went to Kenya then came home and got her driver’s license, and my youngest finished his first year of Jr High, went to a weeklong camp, and grew 6 inches somewhere along the way making him almost 6 foot tall. Parenting is hard and as I watch them become more and more independent I realize that it’s just a process of teaching them some of the lessons you’ve learned, loving them, then letting them go and be who God created them to be. As much as I want to hold them captive and continue telling them what to do (I mean offer them guidance), my time is nearly up and now I watch, pray, and support. It. Is. Not. Easy. But change and growth is inevitable.grad

‘Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.’~K. Gibran

Today I wear Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescue in Rose. I chose this because my lips seem to be perpetually dry right now so I’m wearing lots of colored balms and lipgloss. It’s super sheer and not bad in terms of moisturizing but I was hoping for a little more color. I know the job of mom or parent never stops, just changes; it’s a privilege and a blessing. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged so thank you for bearing with me! Cheers!

 

 

Dad

19 Jun

dadbaby

When I was 2 my dad came by himself to the United States leaving my mom and me in the Philippines. My parents decided to immigrate to the US in hopes of a better life and more opportunities for their children, and to achieve that American dream. My dad came first to look for a job, save up some money, find a place to live, and essentially ‘set up shop’ for my mom and I so we could be comfortable and set when we arrived. I was told by my mom that I stopped talking the day my dad left because I was heartbroken he was gone. I’m not sure how long I decided not to speak but I know it was quite awhile.

My dad is an introvert like myself. He is a man of few words but he is also a man you can count on to be there for you when you need him, no questions asked. Throughout my youth there were times my dad had two jobs to help support us but he never missed a dance recital, piano recital, parent/teacher conference, athletic event, school play, etc. I grew up confident that he and my mom (who was also a working mom) loved me and supported my every endeavor. I don’t remember a time when I wondered if one or the other or both would be there, it was never even a question. In college, my dad would come visit once a month or once every other month for an afternoon to eat and shop with me, just to hang out. When I got cancer, all three times my dad was the one driving the car to take me to the hospital for my surgery with my mom in the passenger seat. Now my dad dadalexdoes the same for my kids. He tries to be at most of the games and he drives them around too. Yes, a man of few words, but his actions speak volumes of his love and support.

What makes a great dad? Someone who loves not just through words, but through actions. He lifts his kids up with support along with sacrifice. He makes sure his kids know they can lean on him and not question whether he will show up or not. He disciplines when necessary but also makes his child feel protected and safe. He does not compete with his kids for attention or accolades, no, he mostly takes the back seat. A dad is someone who is supposed to give us a glimpse of what our Father in Heaven is like. I know there are many situations out there out of our control. There are moms having to be both mom and dad, step dads, grand dads, uncles, and even friends ¬†who have stepped up to be that ‘fatherly’ role necessary for some. God bless you and thank you, we all need you. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad (quote from somewhere I heard). Thanks dad for being an example of love, commitment, and sacrifice.¬†dadkoy

No lipstick today, just Chapstick because my dad usually has one close by. Cheers and Happy Father’s Day!

Church

18 May

church

I have been going to church my entire life. My parents did not exactly make church optional. This was not a bad thing really, I didn’t know any different and my parents didn’t make church look like a chore, it was a place they enjoyed going to. I grew up taking Sunday school classes, singing in the choir, working in the nursery, and really having community while learning about God. Although as a teen it wasn’t great fun and maybe I rolled my eyes those early Sunday mornings but we never missed. I have to say when I went away to college church was not on my mind but eventually I was drawn back. I missed the stability and the community and honestly the peace I felt listening to God’s Word so again in my 20’s I became a regular attender and volunteer.

I recently read another blog which said ‘the church is a beautiful and broken place..it can heal and restore and it can hurt and turn away.’ The author also says regarding current hot button issues, ‘…it’s a lot harder to just swallow what scripture says when there’s a face on the other side.’ Good stuff. So, last weekend I had a bit of an epiphany while sitting in church. The topic was ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ a loaded question which they unpacked beautifully. I have to say I have had a few not so fun things happen in my life in recent years and I did turn to my church and the people there for love, support, advice, etc. and have felt both loved and restored but also hurt. Awhile back I felt completely supported after months of asking questions and seeking prayer during an extremely tough time but after a single conversation about me with someone else who could speak more ‘bible-language’ the tune changed from supported to maybe more questioned and judged. It was hurt compounding hurt and I felt myself become guarded, distrustful, and distant. It became increasingly difficult to go to services and engage and to even look some people in the eye. The institution I had relied on my entire life, poured into, and loved did not feel like home anymore and I could feel my heart harden a little. Was the church really a SAFE place for ALL the broken; broken hearted, broken families, troubled kids, abused, blended families, those with more complicated life stories? Are those just empty words and invitations that can turn on a dime when a truly difficult situation happens? Is a person more religious and believable if they have more bible verses memorized? All questions running through my mind.2012-07-08 16.33.59

So what happened last Sunday? I let it all go. Forgiveness. I looked at everyone around me and even the pastor speaking at the pulpit and realized the church is just a bunch of broken people gathered in a building doing the best they can while seeking God. We’re all human, we all make judgement calls and sometimes they’re not always right (and that includes pastors because they’re human too).One thing I know for sure, that question, ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ He is right there with you. Whatever I felt toward ‘the church’ through the difficult times with cancer or family issues I never doubted that God was right there holding my hand and that He had a plan. Last Sunday despite the questions in my mind and heart, I realized the church and its imperfections were just part of my journey to continue drawing closer to God. People always say they feel judged or not accepted or maybe that they don’t have a place or feel welcomed but should that be the burden of the church or the person or maybe both? The true burden lies with us, the people professing to be Christians. We are the church. Why does someone feel judged, because we judge. Why does someone feel left out, because we place ourselves in our cliques or comfort zones and stay there. Last Sunday I felt my shoulders relax a little and as they closed out with a song near and dear to me, the song I heard in my head before fully waking up after my first cancer surgery, the words rang true for me, ‘It is well with my soul.’

‘The kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men, but by men in our churches becoming filled with God~D. Campbell’

Today I wear my old standby Dior Addict Lip Glow. I ALWAYS have this in my purse. It is like a lipbalm but it brings out the natural berry of your lips. It is the only lip thing I buy consistently. I chose it today because of the topic and what this product does. Glow brings out the natural color of your lips and adds a hint of berry, being a Christian we glow from the Holy Spirit inside us. Let’s work harder to be a little nicer to each other showing less judgement and more mercy and grace. Cheers!

 

The Perfect Mom

8 May

 

babies

There’s this woman I see on Facebook, always perfectly coiffed. She’s always smiling, she’s at all her kids’ events, and when she’s not in her work out clothes (because she still has time to work out despite also having a successful career), she’s hosting a party or looking great out with her friends. Sometimes she’s at the school helping in a classroom or out volunteering for some charitable organization. Her kids love her and are all accomplished. She looks like the perfect mom, the woman who can do it all with grace and charm. Don’t you wish sometimes you could be like her? Of course you do because you are a woman and we do a good job of comparing ourselves to each other. So who is she? It’s you, it’s me, it’s all of us who post those perfect pictures and status updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Here’s the truth, life is hard and it’s messy and no one is put together and perfect, thank goodness. It’s ok to post the awesome things in our lives and the kids’ activities we can actually get to. We should all celebrate with each other and for each other but let’s stop believing that all the social media posts are accurate of a daily 24/7 life. Behind the smileskids15 are the struggles with our kids, the days when no amount of hair products or make up can camouflage a bad night’s sleep, the arguments with a boss or spouse, you know, real life. So on this Mother’s Day, I choose to let go of the constant struggle to keep up with the perfection I see on social media because the daily struggles of life, a job, and keeping up with teens is hard enough. The flowers, the candy, breakfast…all beautiful but for me the kids are a special gift from God and what I want most of all this mother’s day and really every day is for them to know without a doubt that they are loved from the depths of my heart and that I will always love them through~through pain, through struggles, through the good stuff and the bad. How can we expect to have perfect kids when we ourselves are imperfect?

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.~Washington Irving 

‘Still will she cling to us..’, what a beautiful line! Today I wear Lancome Juicy Shaker lipgloss in Piece of Cake. I just got this and I have to say it’s pretty awesome. They call it a lip oil so it’s not exactly a gloss. It feels super silky and actually nourishing with a hint of color. LOVE IT! Cheers!!

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