Here We Are…Again

Friends, I am here with a heart full of tears. If you have been following me for a while, you know that this isn’t the first time I have talked about racial issues here on my blog. You also know that I am multiracial and two of those races are Filipino and Black. In this picture, you see my mom as a baby (her birthday is tomorrow!) and my grandmother, Emeteria, who I’m named after. So yes, the most current events with hate toward Asians hurts my heart.

My mom is Filipino, Mexican and Native American. To me, I never viewed my mom and her siblings as having a “look” that would immediately describe them as Asian-American. To others, they would “look” Asian-American. I remember when I worked with my mom and some people would describe her as “The little Asian lady”. With the most recent violence happening toward Asians here in America, I think of her and how closely she works with the public. I think of my Asian-American family. I think of my Asian-American friends. I think of Asians around the world who have faced this racism daily. It hurts my heart that we are here once again not being able to escape the pain of racism, oppression, and violence all because people have this idea that one race or the other is superior. And I have to say it. Stop Asian hate. It’s ugly.

I am tired, angry, disappointed. I am most disappointed that we have not taken the time to really listen to and care for our friends. I am disappointed that those of us who are Christians (myself included), we can only say “Pray and God will take care of the rest” when we all know that God gave us the commandment to love one another. We (should) show love by our actions to everyone, not just Christians. Simply praying for a job to fall in our lap doesn’t happen. You still have to apply for the job, show up to the interview, and show up to the job. We can’t pray and then sit back. God will give us the words to say and show us what to do. Didn’t he do that for Moses? Moses didn’t know what to say, but God did. Moses had to move with action, then God did what only He can do. Why can’t we take action by standing up for those we say we love? Why do we sit still and do nothing or do something for a time and then when it gets to be too much, we ignore the issues? I am including myself in all of this.

I may never have the answers to those questions, but I am going to continue to share the things I learn to help others be more aware and mindful of those we say we love. I am going to continue to stand up for those who are being persecuted, no matter what their race, skin color, gender, religious beliefs, etc. This is not a post to come down on one group. This is not a post to spread hatred. This is not a post to incite violence. This, my friends, is a cry for help. Help your friends of different races, skin color, gender, and religious beliefs. When we don’t understand, let’s ask questions. If we don’t know what to do, let’s ask our friends how we can help. Let’s be honest. Love. Truly. Can’t we at least try to stop saying “here we are…again”? I hope to.

I Know It’s Tough, But Hold On

Over the last few days I have been feeling a heaviness on my heart. I keep hearing stories of so many people struggling through times right now and committing suicide. There are so many who are struggling financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, relationally, and so many more ways.

I struggle with reaching out whenever I feel different things. Most of my family would never know that I had struggled so hard with anxiety and sometimes depression to the point where I was not sleeping or was thinking crazy thoughts. This struggle is so real! But just like some people may not have known, thankfully I had a very small amount of people who were concerned enough to reach out to me and I was able to seek help.

So I am thinking of all of you who are going through this alone or are surrounded by many but still feel alone. Those of you who need someone to just reach out because you’re maybe afraid to. Or maybe you feel that no one would believe you? I believe you. I know that in the moments you just want someone to care. I care. I am sharing this hoping that it reaches you. I am praying for you. We may not even know each other, but I pray specifically for you as someone who may be feeling what I’m also feeling or struggling through the things I listed above.

My plea is that you will seek help. If you would like emotional support or would like to talk through some of those thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You don’t have to be thinking about suicide to call them. They will connect you to someone who is trained and able to help walk you through this. I will also have a link to their website in my bio (Instagram) at all times.

National Suicide Prevention Logo

I know it’s tough, just please, hold on a little longer. Long enough to seek help. Long enough for those feelings and thoughts to pass. I love you and I care! 🤍

International Women’s Day

“She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. Proverbs 31:17 NLT

“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20 NLT

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” Proverbs 31:25-26 NLT

The verses above are in reference to a “Wife with Noble Character”. I know that not every woman is a wife or a mother, but I definitely see these characteristics in the most influential women in my life. They are all beautiful, loving, caring, intelligent, selfless, kind, honest, fun, and adventurous; I could go on.

As we honor ALL women on International Women’s Day, I encourage you to honor those women in your life too. Not just today or this month (March is National Women’s Month), but every day. Send a text, make a phone call, or send them a card or gift to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Is ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴀ ᴡᴏᴍᴀɴ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴄᴇʟᴇʙʀᴀᴛᴇ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ ɪɴғʟᴜᴇɴᴄᴇ ɪɴ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʟɪғᴇ?

Making Progress Part 2

If you read my first blog post titled “Making Progress”, you will know that today I finished the T25 workout of 60 days! This is the first time I’ve completed a whole program! I am so proud of myself today. It was not easy! Every day I focused on that day only! After every workout, I said “Thank you Jesus!” because I could not do this without thanking him!

For month two I still stuck with the person who modified each exercise to make it easier on myself. I did not follow a nutrition plan for a few reasons, although I’m sure I would have gotten even better results if I did. But I am loving my progress and current results in the pictures!

My body is still healing after 7 months postpartum, so I didn’t want to push myself too much. In my 20’s when I had my first 3 kids, I had no problem with my body “bouncing back”. After 5 kids, being closer to 40, and trying to find gluten-free meals (I have an allergy to gluten), it has never been more difficult to lose weight. So instead, I focused more on establishing a habit of exercise instead of weight loss.

I share this to encourage you. You do NOT have to do a Beach Body program or hit the gym 7 days a week! Some people do and that’s okay too! Being a healthier version of myself was the goal and that looks different for everyone. I focused on what worked and stayed away from what didn’t. Sometimes you have to try multiple times. If that’s you, don’t give up!

Several things helped me to stay motivated. Feel free to use these to motivate and encourage yourself on your journey too!

Sᴏ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋᴇʏ ᴛʜɪɴɢs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʜᴇʟᴘᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ sᴛᴀʏ ᴍᴏᴛɪᴠᴀᴛᴇᴅ? (ᴄʜᴀɴɢᴇ ᴀɴʏᴛʜɪɴɢ ʟɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ғɪᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʟɪғᴇsᴛʏʟᴇ)

1. Spending time with God first thing every morning, reading my Bible, doing my devotional, and listening to worship.

2. Picked one good post workout meal and stuck with it.

3. Paid attention to what my body could do physically and gave it my all.

4. Pushed myself on days when I felt my body was capable.

5. Gave myself grace when I could barely get through the workout.

6. Still ate some of the things I love, in moderation.

7. Treated myself to something small when I completed another week (played my video game an extra hour–yes, I love gaming!– or ate a really good dessert!)

8. Said “Thank You Jesus” after every workout, even if I was on the floor feeling defeated that day lol!

Wʜᴀᴛ ɪs ᴏɴᴇ ᴘʜʏsɪᴄᴀʟ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴛʀʏ?

Excited and Nervous!

As I fed my baby the last bottle Tuesday night, he looked up at me, smiled and reached up with one hand to touch my face. In that moment it felt like a sweet, perfect ending to my day. That moment ended quickly, as I sat him up to burp him. As you can see in the picture, it didn’t go so well!

This is life. Everything’s going great, then life’s hiccups jump in, out, then in again. This is why I started Heartening Forward. I wanted a space to share my experiences and encourage others. I feel I have done that in some ways, but also feel that I’ve shared some experiences without offering an encouraging word.

Because of this, I had been wrestling with the idea of working from home and procrastinating on ideas. In October of 2020, I pursued making Heartening Forward a business. It wasn’t until last week that I made the major decision after much prayer with God and conversations with my husband. Heartening Forward is now my very own home-based business.

I’m SO excited to use my creativity! I remember as a child always creating things to gift to my family. I made cards and wrote poems. As I was talking with my husband about this, he reminded me of a whole book of poems I wrote for him as a gift when I was 17. He still has it to this day.

I look forward to creating items of encouragement for all walks of life, but especially for those who are often overlooked. My hope is that others will use these creations to encourage and gift them to their friends and family.

This is all new to me and I am relying solely on God for the next steps to take. I look forward to sharing everything here with you all. I’m both nervous and excited for what God will do through Heartening Forward!

Below is the verse that kept showing up for me during my devotional time over the last few weeks as I continued praying on this decision. Such a good reminder that I need to do this with God. I need Him every step of the way!

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NLT

Brighter Days Ahead

This is usually what it looks like when I am enjoying a meal. Holding my 6 month old, who I tried to feed first, and he doesn’t want to eat. So I sit down with him and my food and he wants everything in sight (except his bottle of course). Most days it’s my water bottle he’s after because he smiles so big every time he sees me drink from it. Other times he just wants to be held. My life has felt like a juggling act for the most part.

I didn’t understand why my life seemed to be so difficult to manage until about 4 months ago. I have been going to therapy and so has my daughter. She was not officially diagnosed with ADHD when she was about 12, but the doctor said she “might” have it. So with this round of therapy (almost 5 years later), we both were officially diagnosed, finally!

I never thought I had ADHD until I started to see myself in my daughter. I also had no idea that I would be someone who had ADHD because I wasn’t really educated on what it really is. I had no idea that there are 3 types of ADHD: Hyperactive and Impulsive, Inattentive (formerly known as ADD), and Combined. I have the Inattentive kind of ADHD. I am easily distracted, have a hard time keeping focus in meetings, am horrible with my time management, keeping up with deadlines, doctor appointments and unorganized in some things.

I’ve kept most of this “hidden” for fear of judgment and lack of understanding. I was against medication until my daughter came to me out of frustration with school and said she really thinks she needs more help than the therapy she was seeking. Then looking into it and seeing that we had options and could start with non-stimulant medications, it gave me some relief.

So today we are on day two of medications. For my daughter, she noticed immediately that she is sleeping better at night and her moods have been exceptional. She’s usually very down and moody (more than your average teenager), but the past two days have already been a night and day difference. For myself, I have noticed I have more patience with reading and focusing on one thing without a million other things coming to cloud my mind. Both of us have also seen a great decrease in our anxiety levels. We still have a ways to go to see how the medication will really work after taking it for some time, but overall, it’s been a blessing so far.

Mental health is so important and I never realized just how important until my child came to me in despair. Now that I know how much more I can accomplish with the things I am doing so far, I hope to share all that I learn with you. I really hope that this encourages you to share your story or to learn more about ADHD and I really am looking forward to the brighter days ahead.

Valentine’s Day Challenge

My husband and I dislike celebrating Valentines Day out with all of the crowds! So we celebrate before or after or at home.

I usually don’t participate in these things, but I decided to join in on this challenge I’ve been seeing…and I shared more than one pic of us on my Instagram here.

Who asked who out?
He did, and I was 17!

How did you start dating?
He and his friends would record songs at our house, same room where our homework computer was. My mom told him I liked him while I was doing “homework” and I was unaware!

Who said I love you first?
He did!

How did you meet?
I met his mom first. I told her I was going to be her daughter in law the same day we met… then she said she had sons lol!

Who is the most sensitive?
I am.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Wherever there’s gluten-free food because I have a gluten allergy.

Who’s older?
He’s 4 years older.

Who is more social?
Me on social media, him in person.

Who is the neat freak?
Me. But he’s a really clean guy, I’m just obsessive about it!

Who is the most stubborn?
This is a tie! 🤣

Who’s the funniest?
He would say I am.

What was your first date?
A scary movie! I don’t watch them anymore! 🤣

Where was your first kiss?
Outside the front door 🤣

Who initiated your first kiss?
He did.

Do you get flowers often?
No. I prefer snacks and candy! 🤣

How long did it take to get serious?
Right away.

Plans date night?
He does.

Who was interested first?
We both were the first day we met!

Who picks where you go to dinner?
We both decide together so I can have options.

Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong?
Him!

Who cries more?
Me for sure.

Married?
In August, 18 years…which will also be 21 years together.

More Sarcastic?
Me.

Who makes the most mess?
Him.

Who has more tattoos?
He does. I have none.

Who sings better?
Oh me for sure! 🤣

Hogs the remote?
He does.

Better driver?
Hands down I do! 🤣

Did you go to the same school?
No.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together?
Utah lol.

Who drives when you are together?
He does.

Identity

If you have been reading my blog posts, you know that I have been sharing a lot about my own experiences with racism. My hope is to bring awareness to what me and my family face daily along with many families around the world. I realize, too, that with being a fair-skinned multiracial black woman, I do not experience the same things as someone who has darker skin, aka privilege. I can talk and expand more on that later. This is NOT to spread hate.

I have paused on this more recently because it is exhausting trying to explain and educate. It’s just as exhausting to live with. I realize that my identity is not in who people say I am and what they may say about me and my family. Those things are just lies from the devil himself.

It is also still Black History Month and I don’t want to continue spreading the negative stories. We see and hear enough of that on the news every day. So I am going to share with you some of the things we have learned as a family and our own joyful experiences for the rest of this month, including some of the other topics I’ve been discussing here on my blog too.

I am going to leave you with a few verses that have been helpful for me on this journey through topics of racism and in my identity in Christ. I hope this helps you too.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!…”
1 John‬ ‭3:1‬a NLT‬‬

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:26 NLT

“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:28 MSG

The Struggle Is Real

If I said I was nailing this life thing, I would be lying. Being home in a pandemic brought up some real things for us as a family. A few things we are learning is that maybe more than one of our children have ADHD. I have been recently diagnosed, our oldest daughter has been diagnosed and my husband is next on getting an official diagnosis.

So what does that mean for our family? I can’t tell you. I have never heard of a family with both parents that have ADHD (different types) and trying to also raise multiple children with it as well. I’m sure they’re out there, but in this area, I have never felt so alone. Not because I don’t have friends or family to lean into, but because it’s very difficult to explain ADHD to someone who doesn’t have it. Most people, when they think of ADHD, they think of someone with behavior and hyperactivity issues only. I used to think this way too.

ADHD is always something I’m trying to learn more about because I know so little. As we go through the process, I plan to share all that we learn. I do know though, as a mom raising 5 kids, I always wondered why I could never finish anything I start, stick to a schedule, stay consistent with anything, and am always late to everything, even when I get up 3-4 hours early. I am so easily distracted getting off track and by then end of the day, I’m exhausted and feel defeated because I have been trying to complete at least one task. The crazy thing is, when I was a teen in school and before children, this was my exact life, same struggles without children, but I thought it was normal to be all over the place because I was just “young and ambitious”.

I share all of this to tell you that mental health is so important. Don’t wait to be evaluated because others are telling you that it’s normal to live in complete chaos with or without multiple children (because it’s not). Don’t wait because you’re afraid that someone will judge you or make fun of you or tell you that “we all have some form of ADHD” because not everyone does. In fact 90-95% of people do not have ADHD (adhdawarenessmonth.org). Don’t wait because you’re afraid to be medicated. You have options to explore.

Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover some of the cost for mental health. Our insurance provider does and it has been so helpful. If you’re feeling like you have been going through this alone and need someone to talk to, reach out, even here. I will share all that I learn and I really hope this helps someone out there to get the help they need and to feel seen and heard too.

Curly Girl

I remember before starting school I loved my hair. I even remember as a little girl saying that I hoped that I had girls one day so I could do their hair. Then I went to school and those feelings changed.

I was picked on daily by white girls for my hair and how I looked. Comments like “Oreo!” Or “Puff the magic dragon” because my hair was “too poofy”. “Get out of here you half breed”, “your mom is a n—— lover”, and “you’re so confused and dumb, you don’t even know who you are” as they laughed in my face and ran from me as if I was some kind of a disease.

Thankfully I had and continue to have white friends throughout the years who don’t think this way of me. I had mostly black friends in school because even in my fair skin, they saw and knew I was mixed with black. Today, I love the diversity in my group of friends. It’s so important to me!

I have 3 girls who absolutely love their natural hair. Sure we will all wear it straight on occasion and get comments like “I love your hair better straight” or get asked “Why don’t you wear it straight more often?”, or “Is that really all of your hair?” Yes, I sometimes find these comments offensive, but also find hilarity in the way it would sound if I made the same comments to someone who is white with straight hair.

So naturally when my 8 year old daughter asked to do her own hair, knowing the correct products to use, I felt so proud. See, with natural curly hair it takes time to learn and perfect the process of finding what works for our hair textures and what doesn’t. For the past year we have been loving and using @emerge hair products. (If you’re following me on Instagram, you can see 3 short videos of my daughter doing her hair) My daughters are so proud of their hair and it’s a beautiful thing! So today we are celebrating our natural hair that God gave us! We celebrate the diversity in our textures and the beauty we see in our friend’s hair too! Just in case you were wondering, black hair IS beautiful!!