One Year Ago – A Birth Story

It was Sunday night, July 19, 2020, and my husband and I drove to the hospital. We had a scheduled appointment to have our youngest child. Our baby was past his due date, so I was being induced. I had never been induced with any of our 4 older children and labor had always started on it’s own, so I had no idea what to expect with an induction. I was filled with anxiety and tears for the days leading up to this.

If you don’t know the process of being induced, the hospital will give you an IV and put Pitocin in it to start contractions that your body doesn’t start on it’s own. Pitocin basically gives you intense contractions in a much shorter time to help the process of labor. When I say intense, I mean contractions every 3 minutes with not much relief in between them.

So, at 10pm, I was induced, given Pitocin and waited for contractions. By 11:30pm they were pretty rough, but I was waiting it out. I had one labor where I had pain relief at the very end (that labor was a whole mess! and probably deserved some legal attention, but that’s another story). I had one incredibly quick, painful labor without any pain relief, and two with epidurals, so I was determined to go without pain relief again. Not much happened between 11:30 pm and 2:30 am except for contractions every 8 minutes, conversations, social media browsing in between and looking at the picture of my older children for inspiration.

2:30 am and things are really intense! I breathed, watched my contractions, watched baby’s heart rate, talked with my husband as he gave me back rubs for the lower back labor pain, held my hand and gave me ice chips. I wanted to eat so badly, but you can’t in labor! So I tried walking around to help labor progress, but on my side was so much more comfortable and I seemed to be dilating at a good rate, so I rotated sides as I lay there for a while.

By 3:50am, the contractions were so intense, I was breathing, praying, focusing on being dilated at 7 centimeters (out of 10) and almost there! My husband had been awake for more than 24 hours at this point so he went to sleep. It was good for me because I focused for the next 2 1/2 hours with such intense contractions and felt so strong at that point. I kept telling myself I could do it.

5:40-6:10 am and “I need an epidural!” is all I can say at this point. My husband is awake now! I laugh thinking about it! But my nurse and my husband said I was so calm…I don’t remember feeling calm! I hadn’t dilated any further and I had been at 7 cm for about 4 hours at this point and not budging. So, I got the epidural. From about 4-6 am I cried, prayed, and felt the most intense labor pain I never want to feel again, but something about it feels so empowering to know I tried my best to labor on my own, with Pitocin giving me the worst of the worst contractions ever!

6:40-6:45, and relief! I was so exhausted and had also been awake for more than 24 hours. So, I took a nap along with my husband. At about 9:30am, I woke up and said, “I’m sleepy, but I feel pressure.” They called my doctor right away. I was fully dilated and baby was right there waiting to be born! So I pushed for about 11 minutes and our 5th child, second son was born at 9:51 am on 7/20/20, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. I cried tears of joy, just like I had before, every single time!

Today, 7/20/2021, our son Kai is a one year old happy boy! All of the pregnancy scares, the worries, anxiety I felt being pregnant during the pandemic is met with new mom worries. But there’s so much more joy to see who this little guy has become and how he continues to grow! He is such a joy to our lives and I wonder why I ever worried that we wouldn’t be able to handle having 5 children in the first place. All glory goes to God for all that has happened in our lives through these past two years!

I’m sure there may be more details I have not mentioned, but it has taken me a year to go back to relive this memory. I finally felt like it was a good time to share with you on my son’s one year birthday! Thank you for taking the time to go back with me!

My 5 Topics of Discussion

Do you love when something is organized? I know I do!

This is the reason I have taken the time to put this post together for you!

Talking and sharing about multiple topics here can become disorganized and chaotic. So I narrowed it all down and organized it for you here!

Scroll through and let me know what you think!

Quick Hello!

Hey friends! It feels good to be in this space and I had to send out a quick hello!

For my small business launch, I have been working hard on some back end business stuff (still) that no one really enjoys. Okay, maybe someone enjoys it, but I’m now my own admin in my own small business! For those of you who don’t know, almost every job I’ve ever had was in an Administrative role and I just can’t escape it! For now! (No shade to anyone in an administrative role! That’s hard work!)

I will have an official launch date to share with you soon! After playing with some initial ideas, I finally narrowed some down and have created my first sets of handmade ‘Thank You’ cards to be pieced together. I can’t wait to get everything up and running on the site to share with you! It’s almost here!

I shared a small preview on my Instagram stories, so don’t forget to check those out so you don’t miss anything AND the few surprises I have coming up!

Thanks for spending some time with me here today! I look forward to sharing more with you soon! You’re awesome!

Mental Health Self-Advocacy

This past weekend I had to call my pharmacy for my new ADHD medications. Long story short, I ran out of meds and went a day without them when I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t complete chaos, but I definitely noticed the difference. One area the meds help in is time management. I struggled pre-medication days, but with each new medication, I noticed a slight difference. Overall, I still hadn’t found the medication that is the perfect balance.

As I was out today, a vivid memory popped in my head. I was 20 and had a job interview across town. Traffic was busy and I had done everything I thought I could to be on time. My anxiety was high, I was lost, and so frustrated. Cell phones and navigation apps weren’t like they are today, so I was relying on directions online or over the phone. I never made it to the interview. I would have been 30+ minutes late and didn’t want to embarrass myself any further.

I’ve lived my entire life like this. Always late, forgetting how I arrived somewhere without directions, full anxiety around people, driving in traffic, not understanding jokes, slow comebacks because I didn’t “get it”, and wanting to stay isolated so I wouldn’t have to explain or help people understand the inner turmoil I live with daily.

Fast forward to today and I started my new medication. I saw a difference in my focus within the first 3 hours. I’ve completed multiple tasks, was far less distracted, and didn’t procrastinate. Tasks that raise my anxiety, overwhelm or frustrate me didn’t seem to be “life altering.” I still need to see how my body reacts, but for the first day, compared to other first days, this one is the best.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you may remember me mentioning that mental health was far less talked about in the Black community when I was growing up. Add this within some parts of the Christian community and it was something that could be healed away or was “just a demon”. I’m confident this is one of the many reasons people are being diagnosed with ADHD or other mental health issues as adults.

As someone who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, a Christian, and woman of color, I know now more than ever that advocating for my own mental health is so important. It’s something that I want to teach my children to know about, to know how to be their own self-advocate, and to encourage others who may be struggling in their own journey to seek out good mental health with their mental disorder/illness.

Happy Juneteenth Weekend!

Growing up, I would hear some say that to celebrate Juneteenth was to be racist. Both my husband and I grew up in the same school system and weren’t taught the meaning of Juneteenth.

A few years ago, I joined with some amazing women who discussed racism; a racial reconciliation group with women from our church. The more conversations I had with white people and people of color, I realized how much I had allowed other’s opinions or hurtful words silence my voice.

As I continued to learn through reading, talking with close friends and family, and the more racism I experienced from people in and outside the church, I knew I could no longer be silent.

As we celebrate Juneteenth & Father’s Day this weekend, and even though we still have so much work to do, we have so much to be grateful for! Our family (one of our children is not pictured here) is having conversations with one another continually. Conversations to not hate, and to love all with God’s love.

This weekend, we celebrate Juneteenth along with so many of our brothers and sisters, friends of all races, family, and thanking God for always being here through every season we face! So very grateful today!

Happy Juneteenth weekend friends! ♥️🖤💚

Self-Righteousness is at an all time high…

I have a lot on my mind lately…I’ve cringed as I’ve had conversations or read posts online shared by people, including myself.

I sit in my bubble, consuming God’s word and am in my daily routine while people around me are hurting. I believe I must look outside my little bubble to see how I can pray for and truly love others.

Learning about political, racial, and cultural issues is important. I also believe it’s important to God. How can I effectively apply God’s word to my life and “be the church” to those around me if I have no clue what people are even going through?

Jesus related to those around him. He didn’t change God’s word, but loved, cared for and listened to what people experienced. It’s how I should lead by example daily. I’ve been torn while seeing how “the church” (𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣, 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛) has gone without extending grace, love and compassion to others.

So many are walking away from their faith because of the toxicity and exclusion I see, I’ve played my part in, and have also experienced in and from “the church”. It’s so important for me to unlearn the bad habits of self-righteousness as a Christ follower.

My prayer is that I’ll do better. It’s why I share in my stories (on Instagram and Facebook) or blog posts from my perspective as a woman of color, a black woman, or a multi-racial woman (𝙨𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙪𝙨 “𝙢𝙞𝙭𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙗𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙚“, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙩, 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙚𝙭𝙝𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙄’𝙢 “𝙘𝙤𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙“ 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙖, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙬𝙚 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧.) I truly believe we can learn from each other.

This is my day to day; my reality. Most likely it’s a reality for you and some of your friends of color too. Learning, unlearning, and talking with people, (𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙨𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙄 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙖𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜) I can do my part in being the church…

𝘼𝙨 𝙄 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙪𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙬𝙚, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙪𝙧𝙘𝙝, 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙙𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧?

Free To Be…

Hi friends! The past two weeks have been eventful to say the least! I celebrated my birthday, got some faux locs in my hair (𝙖𝙨 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙞𝙘), and much more.

This week I’m back at it! I’ve been watching webinars, taking anti-racism classes, creative planning, and creating a more realistic timeline to fit my family’s schedule as I prepare for an official business launch. (𝙄𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪’𝙧𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙬 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚, 𝙄’𝙫𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙮 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙗𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨.)

I’ve also been focusing on my faith, family, and self-care. As a fair-skinned Black woman, who is also Filipino, Mexican, Native American, and White, taking anti-racism classes may seem odd. I find that I am having more conversations with my white friends who are asking questions. It‘s helped me to answer without anger. It also encourages me to know people want to be anti-racist.

I don’t claim to have the same experiences as my friends and family whose skin was/is darker than mine. Experiencing it was and is tough. Seeing and hearing the racism toward my friends, family and other Black people is sad and painful. It’s why I will continue to learn daily, help educate others, and support Black businesses. (𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙧𝙩 𝙄’𝙢 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 @joliexnoireapparel 𝙤𝙣 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙢)

Since getting the faux locs, my daughter asked me if she could get them in her hair too. She doesn’t have the same hesitations or doubts of being Black that I once had as a young girl. So, this coming week, I will be doing her hair and she is so excited. I will share more about this experience here.

I set a birthday goal to stop hesitating; to be myself, authentically. My husband reminded me of times I held this confidence and encouraged me to get my hair done again. It’s all been liberating, interesting, and so beautiful. To see that my girls are not where I once was gives me so much joy and motivates me to keep going! I enjoy sharing it here with you all.

Memorial Day 2021

Let us honor and remember those who lost their lives during military service.

Let us come alongside those who are grieving the loss of their friends and loved ones today and everyday.

My family and I will be observing the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00pm (local time). We will pause for one minute as a way to honor and remember those who have lost their lives during military service.

𝙒𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙗𝙚 𝙤𝙗𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙉𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙈𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙍𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙈𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝘿𝙖𝙮?

Singing My Heart Out

This past week has been a good one! We celebrated our niece’s birthday. Then we celebrated with one of our children’s friends and her family. They are moving from middle school to high school. Our time out was something I missed this past year. I had such a deep time of reflection once we were home. Over the last few years, I let interactions and circumstances affect a part of me and felt like I stuffed a part of myself away.

After last weekend’s reflection, I see where there has been some growth and areas I have only allowed to slightly come to the surface. I know I won’t be the same person I was 5 years ago, and at the same time am so grateful for it. I took for granted the opportunity to learn from the “surfacy” parts of my life. I am letting myself accept the parts of me that I have been at odds with.

Whenever I stumble, God always reminds me I belong to Him and not to my own desires. His will for my life is far greater than the lies I could ever believe about myself. I am not that same broken little girl who stuffed everything inside. I can be confident in how God has used my story and has used it for good. He gets all the glory.

This weekend, I get to serve at my church with some really cool people. As I have been preparing, and although it has been an overall good week, I have walked through some tough things too (more on how God used this later) and the songs we will be singing this weekend are exactly for me! I’m so grateful for the good, the not so good, and especially the in-between. I look forward to singing out knowing that these same songs will be for someone else too and we’ll be singing them, feeling this together!

Preparing For An Official Launch

As some of you know, I’m preparing for an official launch for my small business. I have continued to work on creating items and I have been enjoying the creative process. The date I originally anticipated for my launch will be here in less than two weeks. However, I am new to this and can make adjustments as needed.

I love the process of learning and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. I am slowly seeing a very clear direction of what items I will be adding to my site. The pictured image is a set of business card-sized scripture cards that I created for my husband to give to the young men he helps lead. Their cards will be different every week. This gave me an idea for more items like this that I can’t wait to share along with my greeting/thank you card sets.

I will have a few more creations to share here as the days go by. I will update you all on the official launch day once my items are created and ready to go! So grateful for your support!

𝗜’𝗺 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗽𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀?