A new mosaic…

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

—Danny Gokey

I have been there before. Broken. Sitting on the floor. My head in my hands. Thousands of shards of shattered dream scattered around me. I honestly thought I would never recover, but somehow I always seemed to be okay after a while. I picked up every shattered piece and carried the burden of those shards everywhere I went. I was afraid to let go, so I just kept them tucked away for later. I thought if I discarded even the tiniest piece, I would be admitting failure. I carried around a lot of hurt and sadness, and my faith was slowly slipping through my fingers. The burden became too big for me. I’m sure we all have had times like these in our lives. I can tell you from experience that it is no way to live. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

I remember trying to piece my shattered dreams/life back together. I would always end up cutting my hands on the shards. Those dreams weren’t meant for me. I was forcing something that wasn’t supposed to happen yet, and I only ended up hurt and defeated. I failed to see the big picture. I didn’t understand that these dreams needed to shatter. Those dreams needed to fall apart so something better could fall into place. It’s so easy for me to see it now, but it was very hard for me to picture when I was going through it.

I would say the biggest battle for me was my infertility. I watched my dream shatter month after month, year after year, and I still kept forcing it. Then one day I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. I let go of the hurt and pain infertility was causing me, and I moved on with life believing I was not meant to be a mommy. Looking back on it now, I can see that it just wasn’t the right time to become a mom. My husband and I just weren’t ready, and our finances weren’t ready either. If we had gotten our miracle at that time, it would have been a huge strain on us, and I’m so glad God spared us from that. The time wasn’t right, and God knew it. He always has my best interest in his heart, even if it rips my heart into shreds sometimes. I always believe He is sparing me from something negative. It’s the reason I have held on so tightly to my faith.

Right now, I’m looking down at my swollen belly and smiling. I got my miracle, and the timing is just perfect. Every time I feel her kick or flip, or whatever she’s doing in there, I know that I was meant for this miracle at this particular time. All those shattered dreams fell into a new mosaic that is my life now, and it’s a more beautiful picture than I could have ever dreamed up myself.

So I say this to you. The you who is struggling right now. The you who can’t see past the big picture. The you who is sitting on the floor surrounded by the shards of your shattered dreams. Your life is not over. This is not the end. There are some things in this life that have to fall apart so that better things can fall into place. God is creating a new mosaic for you, and it’s going to be beautiful. Don’t cut yourself on the shards trying to piece things back together. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving on. Find the happiness within yourself and use that to keep going. You’ll find that things are falling into place without you even realizing it. This life is beautiful. Don’t miss out because things didn’t turn out the way you planned. Just live, and leave the rest to God.

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The good, the bad and the not so ugly….

I have a friend who has been through some tough times lately. Through it all, he’s decided to be happy. His outlook is so inspirational to me. Bad moments in life are going to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s how we choose to learn from the bad that shapes us into who we are as people. There are moments when I tend to reflect back on my own life. I love to see where I’ve been and where I am now. And every time I go over my hardest moments in my life, I can always see God’s hand pushing and guiding me. It’s really amazing to me. He has always been there through the good and bad, molding me in to the person He created me to become. There’s just no way I could be where I am without Him and the people He has carefully placed in my life.

One particularly bad moment in my life was the time I taught public school 5th grade for three years. It was my biggest dream to be a teacher. I thought I wanted to teach upper elementary. I always thought the little guys were too overwhelming and clingy. I accepted the 5th grade position with very high hopes. After all, it was my dream. My first year went so well. I thought I had found my place. My second year was not so great. We had a tough group of students as a whole 5th grade that year, and I found myself desperately trying to stay afloat. I didn’t fare so well that year, and the principals knew it. My third year, I was under the microscope of two administrators on a witch hunt. I was micromanaged in everything I did that year, and I felt like I was in prison. I dreaded coming to school every day that year. One day during my planning hour (first thing in the morning), I was called into the office. I found out I wouldn’t be offered a contract for the following year. It broke my heart. That whole day was a blur. I failed at my dream. I still can’t talk about it to this day without a few tears. It was a horrible situation, but I don’t look at it that way anymore.

I didn’t share my slightly embarrassing story for sympathy. I shared it because that particular moment set off a whole chain of events that would change my life forever. Due to my loss of a job, we couldn’t afford our apartment anymore. We had to move back to our home town to live with my parents for a bit. I immediately got a job working at as an assistant teacher at a preschool. I didn’t think I would like it, but i figured I could try anything for a year. I fell in love with my job. I loved every single thing about it. I truly found my calling. To this day, I’m so glad I resigned from that prison. It wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

Not only did I find my calling, but my husband and I were back home, close to family. We were close when my father-in-law’s health quickly declined from the cancer that had returned to his body. My husband was able to say goodbye to his father. That was important, and would not have happened if we were still living in our apartment. Now he can frequently check on his mother, and we can visit her often. It’s way better than the occasional weekend we would come home. I love being surrounded by my family. We are lucky our families live in the same vicinity.

We were able to purchase our very own house shortly after moving back. It’s the first place we have actually owned. What a great feeling! And finally, I left my preschool job because I had landed a job as a lead teacher at our local Catholic school. It all seemed to just fall together, and that’s when I realized God’s hands were all over this. He was showing me He had better plans for me. My life was not meant for the prison I was in during those three years of teaching. He was pushing me to see that I belonged in a more loving place. Our school is a very tight-knit, loving school. I feel appreciated, loved, and wanted. I have finally found my home.

So yes, bad things happen. But what are the bad things trying to teach you? You can choose to be miserable about them, or you can choose to learn from them. You can choose to be happy in spite of the bad things. I bet if you go back over the bad moments in your life, you’ll find they have brought you to a much better place. I know mine have. That’s why I am so grateful to God. I thank Him every single day for everything. Good and bad. I know He is guiding me do the things for which I was created. Just take the bad with the good. Learn from it. Grow from it. And live a very grateful, happy, and loving life. I promise it is all worth it.

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Infertility: Crossing over…

There comes a time in your life when everything seems to just fall together, and the timing is perfect. In May, my life did just that. I found out I am expecting our first child, and my husband and I are thrilled. After eight years of trying and trying, heartache after heartache, we finally got our miracle. I can tell you she is so loved and so wanted. I have a lucky little girl in my womb. My husband and I will sacrifice everything to give her the love and attention she needs from us. Yes, I have my miracle, but I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be on the other side. I haven’t forgotten those who are still waiting, hoping, and praying.

I know how easy it is to forget all the pain once your little miracle shows up. I’ve seen it happen in real life. It’s like you get amnesia all of a sudden, forgetting all the suffering you had before, and you are part of the “in crowd” again. For me, it’s hard to forget all my pain. I know I had to suffer and wait a while for my little miracle to show up. It’s part of my story, and I’m not ready to just let all of that go. I won’t let it go knowing there are so many people out there who are still trying and waiting. I want my story to inspire them to keep their faith through their trials.

Going through infertility has opened my eyes and given me a new perspective on how to treat people. In general conversations, I never ask if a person has children. I just don’t. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s because that question used to make my skin crawl. I would answer politely with a no, but I would flinch. I knew the next question would be, “Well, when are you going to start?” I had to hold back tears. I’m not putting anyone through that anguish. I’m not going to oust anyone in a conversation for being infertile. The days of “Oh, you are so lucky you don’t have kids” or “You don’t have to worry about….(insert child problem here)” are out. Those words are hurtful. You don’t know how long that person has prayed for a child of their own. They would give anything to have that worry. I know that people mean well, but you can only flash a fake smile and hold back tears for so long before you finally break.

I have family members going through the same hurt I went through. It’s tough to watch them suffer while I have my miracle growing in my womb. My infertility has taught me to be compassionate and understanding with everyone struggling with the inability to become pregnant. I’m not throwing my pregnancy in anyone’s face. Yes, I’m ecstatic about it, but I’m not going to expect everyone to feel the same about my baby. Sometimes I find that I hold back my excitement a lot. It’s an awkward line to walk sometimes. You just have to remember that they have to deal with it on their own terms, just like you had to when you were going through the same thing.

I always urge people to share their story. The more people who are open with their infertility, the more people become aware and change their behaviors. Gone are the days that we have to be ashamed of our infertility. We no longer need to keep it quiet. In fact, sharing your story will help the other side understand your pain. You will give hope and comfort to those who are going through the same obstacles. And always be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding to those who are struggling. Don’t take it personally when they are not elated to hear your news. Put yourself in their shoes, and just give out love. Everything will work out.

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Life lessons….

We all have a past. Some people have better pasts than others, but we all have one. I’ve shared a little about my past in previous blogs, but I haven’t shared everything. I leave a lot of it private because I reserve that privilege to my closest friends. I’m not ashamed of my past at all. It has made me who I am today. I am a better and stronger person because of it, and it keeps me from making the same mistakes over and over. I’ve learned quite a bit in my 35-years of life on this planet, so I thought I would share some of my life lessons with you.  I hope you can find some inspiration tucked away in my words.

  • People will not live within the tiny box of your expectations. Everyone is different. They will treat you differently according to their experience with people. The best thing you can do is love them as they are. Look past the exterior. You will find beauty within each person you meet. Oh, and toss your expectation box. It only makes you miserable.
  • Some people are meant to stay in your life forever, others are not. As much as you want to hold on to them, you need to let go. God places the people in your life you need. Some stay a lifetime, others a brief moment. If a person walks out of your life, let them go. God is sending them away for a purpose. The people that are there for your lifetime are special. Treat them that way. They are the ones who will catch you when you fall.
  • Always believe in miracles. I have always believed in the impossible. I’ve seen and read about so many miracles in my 35 years not to believe. Miracles are here to give us hope, to remind us not to give up, and to let us know that anything is possible.
  • Life is too short to be serious all the time. Life is full of funny moments. It’s okay to be silly and laugh. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
  • Love unconditionally. There’s no reason to put conditions on love. Give it freely. Love people as they are. They are giving you the best version of themselves in that moment. Don’t ever make people guess whether you love them or not, and don’t take away love because they made a mistake. Remember, we all make mistakes.
  • Always tell people you love them. We are never  promised tomorrow. Heck, we aren’t promised the next five minutes. Make sure the people surrounding you know how you feel about them.
  • People will change if they want to. You can hope, pray, wish, and nag all you want, but a person will not change if they don’t want to change. It is our job to love them no matter what. Support them. Encourage them. Pray for them. But don’t keep nagging them. They are trying their best in the present moment. Give them time.
  • Put your faith in God. Okay, maybe this one isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s mine. God is important to me, so I include Him. I have found if I lay my problems in God’s hands, He will take care of me. He has blessed me far more than I deserve.
  • Forgive yourself and forgive others. We all make mistakes in this life. A lot of us carry those burdens around. It’s time to forgive yourself and let those burdens go. Carrying them around is not good for your happiness. And forgive the people who have wronged you. It’s time to bury the hatchet and get on with your life. Forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it’s about your happiness.
  • Always be kind. We are different. We have different beliefs, different customs, different ideas. Come from a place of kindness and understanding. We all are fighting demons in private. It’s important to be kind and understanding. You don’t know the storm they are walking through in the present moment.
  • Life life in the present. We are so worried about what’s happening tomorrow, or next week, or next year that we often forget to just live in the moment. I have taught myself to slow down and enjoy life one little moment at a time. Slow down, see the beauty around you, and enjoy every bit.

That’s my list for now. I’ve learned a lot in my time here on Earth, and, God willing, I still have lots of years of learning left. We all have a chapter in our lives that we don’t want published. Embrace your past. It is what made you the person you are today. I hope you can say you learned from it. I definitely have learned from mine. Just keep your eyes on your happiness. Everything else will fall into place.

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All things in His time….

For those of you who know me, or have been following my blogs, you know I have had a long struggle with infertility. I let it define who I am for a long time. Then I decided to finally put it all behind me. Infertility was just a small part of my life. It doesn’t define who I am at all. I put out my “Life After Infertility” blogs to help others going through the same heartbreak I had suffered. It was at that time, I placed this mommy dream into the hands of God, and I left it there. Earlier in my infertility journey, I would place my dream into His hands only to take it back a few moments later. I found that once I placed my dream into His hands for good, I no longer felt the heartbreak. I was finally happy, and I was ready to live the life God had planned for me. He always told me I am destined for great things, and I never believed Him until now.

Well, as the title of my blog says, all things come in His time. On Memorial Day weekend, I realized I was late. Just out of curiosity, the hubby and I bought a test over the weekend. I decided to take it on Memorial Day morning. I awoke very early that day, so I decided to take the test while visiting the bathroom. And let me tell you, peeing on a stick when you are still trying to wake up is no easy task! I placed it on my sink, and crawled back into bed for the three minute waiting period. When the waiting time was up, I got nervous. I’d been in this situation numerous times, and the results have always been the same. Negative. I held my breath, and walked toward the bathroom. I peaked in and saw the test looming on the sink. I wasn’t sure I wanted to look, but I took a deep breath and went for it. I saw two lines. Two lines!!!! I wanted to scream right then and there, but I didn’t want to wake my sleeping husband. I crawled back into bed, softly woke up my husband, and let him know the amazing news. We both were excited!

There was a short time when I thought I was losing the baby, but I just kept praying that this was finally it. I kept my faith that God had provided us with this little miracle. I had numerous blood tests at my doctor’s office, confirming that my hormone levels were rising. I couldn’t believe it! I’m really pregnant! Last week, I was finally able to see my baby. As I looked on the monitor, I saw that little heart beating. I saw my baby move. It became so real to me. I am going to be a mommy! I’m growing this tiny human in my body, and I am already so in love with him or her. It finally happened in His time.

I am a firm believer that God gives us these amazing dreams to follow. I always believed that He wouldn’t have put this mommy dream in my heart if it wasn’t meant to be someday. He was waiting for me to put my faith in Him. And here I am, pregnant with our little miracle. And now it’s hitting me so hard. God was waiting for the perfect time to give us our miracle. We are in a great place in our lives right now. We have a house, full-time jobs, and means to upkeep our household. This is what He was waiting for. We are finally ready to start this new chapter in our lives.

All things come at the time they are supposed to come. It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. All things take time. For me, I believe that God has an amazing plan for my life, and I need to trust Him. He has been so good to me this year. Now I believe fully in the phrase, “let go and let God.” He made me wait for a reason, and He’s making you wait for a reason too. Don’t get all caught up in the way you think things should be in your life. You’ll end up with sadness and anger. Just let go of things, and live life in the present. Don’t miss a single moment because you are pouting about things that didn’t go your way. It wasn’t until I finally let go, that I got everything I ever wanted.

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Showing compassion….

I was reading through my Facebook posts this morning, and I came across a few memes that triggered my thinking. They were something along the lines of if you talk to me, I’ll talk to you, and you get the amount of attention you give to me. It troubled me to see a post like that. It doesn’t seem very compassionate. Society seems to be shifting into this “I’m going to get mine, and I don’t care about anyone else” attitude, and it’s scary. What ever happened to the golden rule? It seems to be thrown out the window these days.

I see the world a little differently than most people. I often find beauty in the littlest things. I have a very big heart, and I hold a lot of people in there at times. I’m not perfect. I stumble, but for the most part I like to show compassion. I admit that sometimes I feel like what the meme said. I would like to treat people the way they treat me, but that is not what Jesus teaches me. He teaches me to love everyone as he loves me, and that is what I strive to do every day. If someone hurts my feelings, I try not to take it so personally. That is one of the hardest things I have to work through. I used to take everything so personally. The truth is, most of the time it has nothing to do with me. I still have a hard time with it. I have to stop myself and ask if this will be important to me a year from now. Most of the time I can say no, so I pray for the person and move on.

The truth is, we don’t know everyone’s situation. We like to think we do, but we absolutely do not. Put yourself in the person’s shoes. Maybe they aren’t talking to you because they are dealing with a major issue. They may be embarrassed to reach out to anyone. A lot of us fight our monsters on our own because we prefer not to drag other people into our problems. Maybe that person is an introvert. I, myself, am an introvert. I don’t always just start up a conversation. Most of the time, I wait for someone else to start it. Many introverts are the same way. They aren’t selfish. That’s just the way they are made. Maybe that person is super busy with life. They may not have time for a full conversation. They may be taking care of kids, taking rigorous online courses, or just taking time to be alone. We don’t know, and we don’t take the time to ask. We just assume they don’t want to talk to us, and we go on the defense to keep ourselves from getting hurt. We fail to show compassion when it may be needed the most.

I’m asking you to be compassionate. I know it’s hard to do in this crazy world, but it’s needed. Reach out to people. If they have been silent, make sure you check in on them. They may be going through a tough time. I’m guilty of keeping things inside myself, and I may not always talk to people. It doesn’t mean I don’t like my friends, or I’m trying to hurt them. Most of the time, I’m just trying to fight my demons on my own. Don’t take their actions so personally. It may have nothing to do with you at all. And always remember the golden rule. Treat others the way you wish to be treated, not how they treat you. Compassion is running low in this world, and it’s sad. Compassion should be given freely. And most of the time, you have to give it to receive it.

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No time for mourning….

Monsters

I found this quote today, and it instantly put me in thought mode. It’s so true, isn’t it? We all have monsters inside of us. We fight them on a daily basis. It’s so easy to let that monster out once in a while to get some fresh air. For most people, the monster only hurts the individual, but sometimes that monster lashes out and hurts others. I can never understand how some people just let rage and hate run their entire lives. I can’t understand how you can have such hatred for a particular group of people just because you don’t believe the same things they believe. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

We have all been watching the horrible events unfold about the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando. When I first heard about it, my heart was broken. It was such senseless killing. Of course, the media is searching for a group to blame for this tragedy. They barely focus on the victims, just stating the number of people who died or were injured. Instead, they plaster the killer’s pictures all over the place. That’s the last thing I want to see. And the political candidates are using this tragedy as part of their platform. And now, people are fighting about the gun laws. It seems like this tragedy is bringing more hate into the equation. The whole thing just makes me sick.  Why aren’t we taking time to mourn these innocent people? There never seems to be any time to mourn anymore.

I guess I do get it in some way. When tragedy happens, we want answers. The thing is, sometimes there are no answers. Some people are just ruled by their hate and anger, and they do bad things. It’s called free will. If you continually focus on the negative, you will go crazy. You will lose sight of what’s really important. The people who died were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and so on. They were part of a family, and now they are gone in an act of pure rage. They are gone because someone thought the way they live their life is wrong. My heart just hurts. America deserves some time to mourn this terrible loss. We shouldn’t be inundated with pictures of the killer, or presidential candidates’ platforms, or blame games.

We should be focused on helping and praying for those who lost their lives and their families. We should be showering them with love and compassion. Do you know why? Because love is the only thing that can defeat hate. The only thing. Have you ever gotten to know anyone in the LGBT community? I have, and I’ll tell you that some of the most amazing people in my life are part of that community. They have the biggest hearts I have ever seen, and they are so passionate about life. Many of them inspire me on a daily basis. And it’s not just LGBT, it’s all groups. People let their hatred of beliefs get in the way of seeing the actual individual. Those individuals have beating hearts, they have emotions, they are part of a family, they are important. It’s not for you to decide if they are right or wrong. We are called to love people as Jesus did, and that’s what we should do.

Life is fleeting. It’s so precious. No one is ever promised tomorrow, so you better tell those you love how you feel every single day. There is no place for hate in this life. And when a tragedy happens, we need time to mourn. This blog is in memory of all the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. May you rest in peace now. No one can hurt you anymore.

  • Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
  • Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
  • Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
  • Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
  • Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
  • Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
  • Cory James Connell, 21 years old
  • Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
  • Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
  • Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
  • Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
  • Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
  • Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
  • Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
  • Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
  • Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
  • Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
  • Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
  • Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
  • Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
  • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
  • Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
  • Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
  • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
  • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
  • Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
  • Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
  • Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
  • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
  • Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
  • Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
  • Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
  • Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
  • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
  • Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
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