Comfort Zone

As things begin to open back up here in Las Vegas, I noticed how many things I have taken for granted. I am someone who loves to be inside, at home, away from the crowds. It has been easy to be at home during the pandemic, until we slowly started doing more outside of our home.

I never thought that standing outside in my garage or walking to the mailbox was a big deal, but those very few times I’ve done them helped me get through this season. Taking walks in the mall, driving to and from California in a day, and going bowling as a family has been huge for us. We probably wouldn’t have gone out as regularly as we do now because we took these things for granted.

As I sat with my family, enjoying the arcade and bowling, I realized how much my comfort zone has limited me. As you know I’ve been praying for something personally and it feels like God is showing me that I can step out of my comfort zone, into the unknown and into probably the most exciting parts of life that I’ve been missing. I’ll never know if I don’t give it a try, but slowly, I’m getting there.

𝙄𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙣 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣?

In the Waiting

As I have continued to pray about something very personal, I have been in this place of waiting. Waiting to hear from God on what’s next. Should I stay in the familiar place, with the comfort I’m used to or is God saying move into the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable? I think I know. But thinking I know and fully knowing is very different. So I continue seeking Him and taking my prayers to Him daily.

In this season, things have changed drastically. I shouldn’t be surprised at how drastic the changes have been. But, I am the person who likes to hold onto hope that “things will get better” and “people will change” which then leads me to where I am now. Drowning in what once was, who people used to be, and fading slowly into a pattern of habit instead of intention. Not a place I want to be.

As I was sitting in my living room, about to take a short nap, I kept reading the words in this picture over and over until I started singing it in my head. In the waiting, I should be singing and knowing that “it is well with my soul”. A song, written in grief, meets me so many years later as I grieve all of what once was. It gave me peace to know that throughout all of the changes, God still remains the same. That He is my answer. That I shall continue to look to Him and continue singing “It is well…” through this season and into the next.

A Welcome and an Update

I see that I have some new followers, both on my blog and on Instagram. First I want to say WELCOME and THANK YOU for being here! I love to share some of the things going on in my life in hopes that it will encourage you! I also wanted to post an update for those of you who have been following me for a while!

As I have been praying, I have felt a shift in my focus on my blog, Instagram, and my business. As a wife, mom and woman of color, I think it’s important for me to continue sharing about my faith, my parenting wins and struggles, my heart on embracing and celebrating our racial differences as people (did you know May is Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage month?), and giving you updates on my creative journey with starting my own business.

Creating has given me the space to calm my racing thoughts. At times I will randomly doodle on the Procreate app, but I never share my creations. I’m not an artist by any means, but I had no idea, until a few days ago, that you can purchase some amazing pre-created stamps (on Etsy) and put them together to create your own artwork. This is something that I hope to share here for fun.

I love gifts. It’s my love language to receive gifts. Someone can give me a ‘thank you’ card and I am so giddy. Even more, I love it when others feel the same way. That’s why I started my business, Heartening Forward. I wanted to help people encourage and send a thoughtful card to their friends, family, employees, clients, and anyone else they can think of. I have been working hard and I am hoping to launch my online store by my birthday, June 2, which is in less than a month!

I am so grateful for all of you! Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Which of these things are you most excited about me sharing here? I’d love to hear about it!

Pretending

It’s been a tough couple of weeks parenting. Right now, I am typing this out wishing I was somewhere sleeping with no interruptions, on a soft, comfy, larger than the largest bed, for about a whole week, alone (ahem, Mother’s Day anyone?). I have not been able to accomplish a ton around the house, yet I decided to learn how to start a new business in the busiest, most trying time of my life. Isn’t it funny how life happens? Maybe you’re reading that line thinking “It’s really not funny.” If so, I can relate.

About 15 minutes before writing this, I was trying to get my youngest baby down for a nap and by the end of it I was in full on tears. He’s 9 months old and he’s my fifth child, so it seems we should have this down by now, right? WRONG! He does not want to sleep in his crib. I have not been getting any sleep because we share a room with him, AND he will only sleep in our bed (which is not ideal for us because he can roll out of the bed or wake as I’m asleep and crawl off the bed). I have not kept a great schedule and have not been consistent, which has not helped with the situation at all. He’s a baby who likes a routine and consistency (all of my kids were not this way as babies), so I’m sure most of the problems we’re having with his sleep schedule is related to that in some ways.

I first thought to write this out as a way to only express my feelings, and go on with my day. However, I took my first class with Monique Melton this week called “Breaking Up with Perfectionism”. In this class, she talks about perfectionism and how it’s violent and damaging to who we are as people. Monique Melton is an Author, Speaker, and Anti-racism Educator and I found her through posts on Instagram. I encourage you to check out her work on Instagram at @moemotivate, and I invite you to also support her work. (This is NOT a sponsored post and I do not collect any payment or commission for any links that you click in this blog post).

Perfectionism is often pretending. Many times over the course of my life, I have pretended to be something I’m not. I have pretended that my house was spotless all the time, I am the perfect parent who cooks every meal at the exact same time every day, has perfect snacks laid out for all of the kids, all of our conversations are roses and butterflies, I’m always caught up on laundry, my husband and I never disagree, I am always smiling, praising Jesus at every moment, reading my Bible multiple times a day AND every day, all of my children have perfect sleep schedules (haha!), and I never shed any tears because my life is “perfect”. There is nothing wrong with this person, if they exist…”Jesus, is that you?” But let me tell you today, I am not them!

So, with all of my tears that I cried, I had to remember, I can only do what I can and it doesn’t make me a bad parent or a bad person. I want to encourage you to BE WHO YOU ARE! It’s okay if:

  • you don’t parent like someone else
  • you don’t have a job title like someone else
  • you don’t speak like someone else
  • you don’t look like someone else
  • you don’t act like someone else
  • you don’t think like someone else

It’s okay to have a tough day and say it. It’s okay to have a good day and say it. It’s okay to be yourself, no excuses. If you’re always trying to explain your reasons why, is it because you’re trying to fit into someone else’s idea of who/what/when/where/why/how you should be? If so, stop the excuses and STOP PRETENDING.

Have you ever found yourself pretending to have it all together for the purpose of people pleasing or to feel validated?

Sharing A Small Business Resource

This past week has been a good one with some challenges as I have been learning the ins and outs of owning my own business. I have so many ideas for the creative process, but I am also focusing on building a strong foundation.

I have come across a great resource that I want to share with you. SCORE. On SCORE’s website, they describe themselves as “the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals.” (Score, 2020) I have watched webinars, read articles, and have a mentor through SCORE. Whether you already have a business or are just starting out, you will definitely benefit from their resources. A friend of mine referred me to them and the best part is that it’s all FREE.

When I found out we were going to have 5 children, I had anxiety about how I would still be able to work and be with my children. I had just started a business without a ton of knowledge and was a little uncertain. I never thought that owning my business could even be a reality. Learning daily from SCORE’s resources and from a mentor has motivated me to keep going. If you are looking into starting your own business or are a small business owner looking for resources, I encourage you to visit their website.

I am excited to share more details about my business with you soon! THANK YOU for being on this journey with me!

SOURCES

Business Consulting

As a small business owner just starting out and learning new things in the business field, I was so excited that my friend Jay Parsons (pictured here), launched his consulting business Hayah Consulting this week! At Hayah Consulting, individuals and businesses can benefit from Life Plans, Life and Leadership Coaching, and Organizational Development.

I met Jay back in 2016 when he became the Men’s Pastor at our church where I was also on staff. As I worked with him as an assistant, I was able to experience how Jay leads with integrity, could take on any leadership role, and had the most organized teams. I saw how his leadership and passion for helping others be the best version of themselves impacted many lives, including my family’s, while also mentoring students and young adults.

When I heard that Jay would be starting his own consulting business, Hayah Consulting, I was so excited! Now that it has officially launched, I am excited for others to experience the wisdom, compassion, and leadership that comes so naturally to him.

If you or your business are looking for someone to help you build your Life Plan, Life and Leadership Coaching, or Organizational Development, check out Hayah Consulting on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and at HayahConsulting.com. Pass along this info to anyone you think would benefit from Hayah Consulting.

My Dear Sons

I had a few posts planned this week, but today’s post isn’t one of them. With the most recent mass shootings, officer involved shootings, and tragedies around the world, I just wanted to share some of the things I pray over all of my children, with today’s focus being more specific in how I pray for my sons…

To my dear sons: I pray for you daily. As I see the officer involved shootings, the crimes being committed daily, the hatred of others because of their skin color, the retaliation, anger and jealousy resulting in death, the hatred and murders of others because of their religion, their sexuality, and so many other things in this world, I pray extremely hard.

I pray that you live out the calling that God has over your lives. I pray for God to help me do everything I can as a mother to show you how to be honest, caring, young men who love and respect others no matter how different their beliefs or life path has been from yours. I pray that you both grow up to encourage others, pray with and for others, help the sick, poor, broken, widowed. I pray that you will never be so angry that you would want to do physical harm and end a life. I pray that you will be strong enough to seek help when needed, take care of yourselves spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I pray that you both will love who you are. I pray that others will love who you are. I pray that you will have friends who rally around you and support you. I pray that you will learn valuable lessons in life and grow in wisdom. I pray that you will both be amazing fathers if you choose to have children. I pray that you will teach these same things to my future grandchildren. I pray that you will be protected and that you will live long and healthy lives. I pray, every single day, that as you walk out the door, or when I walk out the door that it won’t be our last time seeing each other. I pray that no one sees either of you as a threat and that no one would be so angry or fearful of you that they would want to end your lives. I pray that I will never have to bury my children due to senseless acts of violence.

Lord I pray that you would lead us to trust you through all things. I pray that we will be people who love others and live our lives alongside others. Please help us. We need you in these desperate times. Thank you for the protection and covering you have had over our lives. Thank you for family, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who we can join with in community and stand together in unity. Thank you for your love and the example of how we should love others through your son Jesus. I pray for peace and comfort for all who are reading this. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:8

Happy Resurrection Day

Happy Resurrection Day from my family to yours! Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!

Trying to get a “perfect” family picture just doesn’t happen these days, but I had to share anyway. Thankfully we don’t have to be perfect, and thank God that Jesus is so we can live in eternity with him!

We celebrated this day with a surprise baptism of our youngest daughter after our church service (socially distant and masks required). After a year of wanting to be baptized, she made the decision today!

Now it’s time for rest, dinner, and reflecting on the goodness of today. What a beautiful way to celebrate Jesus!

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙛𝙪𝙡 𝙎𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙮?

Create

Hi friends! It’s been a few days and I haven’t been posting as often for a couple of reasons. One, my husband has been home on paternity leave for 6 weeks! It has been amazing so far! The second reason is because I have been speaking with a business mentor.

If you read my blog post on February 28th, 2021, I talked about how I took the steps to make Heartening Forward a business. I had no idea how I would do any of this with very limited resources, but I trusted that God would provide, and He did.

My mentor volunteers her time to mentor business owners. What I thought was really awesome is that my mentor specializes in helping people startup businesses and guides them through the process. It was exactly what I needed at the right time.

I know that there is someone out there who may read this and be where I was a year ago; unsure if you should start your business or take that step of faith. But I’m here to tell you, keep praying. Keep asking God to show you what He has for you in your life. He will show you.

Have your friends pray for you too. I admit that this whole process has been scary and I have procrastinated in some areas, but praying and having friends pray for me too has been helpful. One of my best friends and I ask each other “What are you avoiding today?” This helps us hold each other accountable and is something that has encouraged me to start my business.

Maybe you are the friend/family member who sees this in someone in your life. If this is you, encourage them today. Let’s lift one another up together. Let’s help one another see what God has for each of our lives. Let’s build up and experience the awesome things that people around us are doing. That’s what I’m excited to do through Heartening Forward. I’m going to encourage as I create.

It Will Be Okay

As I was rocking my 8 month old son Kai back to sleep early Thursday morning, I saw both my rented hospital grade and my Spectra breast pump over in the corner of my room. As I quickly glanced at them, tears started flowing.

Long story short, I was not able to breast feed any of my five children. I had so many difficulties and it just never happened. This last time, I tried to relactate with the hopes of exclusively pumping. But then I was diagnosed with ADHD along with PTSD and anxiety (mine is what they formerly called ADD if you go with the most recent guidelines, I’m told). Because of the medications that I take now, I cannot breastfeed or pump.

So I cried. I had so many tears because what I’d hoped for just didn’t happen. But then Thursday night I had something so beautiful happen. As I was rocking my son to sleep, he just kept fussing. So I tried shushing him gently and rocking more, but it didn’t work. So, I began singing to him, the same 5 songs that I sang to all of my children. He stopped fussing and calmed down immediately. Within 5 minutes, he was asleep. These are the same 5 songs that my older kids couldn’t fall asleep without. I ended up having to make a CD of me singing those songs so they could play them on repeat nightly.

God showed me something through this. Even though I was not able to breastfeed my children, God let me hold onto something so special that only I could give them as a mother. All of this was God’s reminder to me that it will be okay. So moms, if this is you, if this has been your struggle, look at the things that only you could give your children. It may not change the thing you would have liked to do, but it can help you to embrace and focus on the things that God has given you to do.

𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙮𝙤𝙪’𝙧𝙚 𝙖 𝙢𝙤𝙢 𝙤𝙧 𝙣𝙤𝙩, 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩? 𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙖𝙣’𝙩 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙮𝙗𝙚 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙃𝙞𝙢 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙃𝙞𝙢 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝? 𝙋𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙚 𝙨𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙢𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨. 𝙄’𝙙 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩.