Paradise Found

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For as long as I can remember, my mind has been captive to negative thoughts.

I wasn’t necessarily aware of it, but I was definitely not a “glass half full” person if you were to ask me. I knew that I longed for joy – but I really believed my circumstances just weren’t allowing for it. Whether it was cranky kids, sheer exhaustion, or a season of sickness, I always felt the odds were stacked against me in my search for happiness.

I so badly wanted to find this ‘paradise’ in my life – that time and place where everything would finally go my way. I was so caught up in the “if/then” game: “If only the kids were a little bit older, then things would be easier.” Or: “If I could just get a solid night of sleep, then I wouldn’t be so irritable all the time.”

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Thoughts on Lent

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{photo c/o: Unsplash}

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent. It is meant to be a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance for Catholics and many Christians. I don’t know why, but for me, Lent has never had much of an impact on my life. I was born and raised Catholic and went through the rituals just like everyone around me did. But as an adult, I see the season as such a dark time. And it’s hard for me to grasp this darkness, since I’m very much aware of how the story unfolds. I agree that we should definitely acknowledge what Jesus went through for us, but Jesus is alive today because the ultimate redemption was gifted to us. Continue reading “Thoughts on Lent”

Seeking Sunshine

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My spiritual journey has definitely changed over the past few years.  Before I was a parent, I had the luxury of attending weekend retreats away and being a part of regular prayer and meditation nights.  I also made space for connecting with God through journaling and solitude days.  Since becoming a parent, I don’t have the time for most of these practices in this season of life.  I’m lucky to squeeze in a prayer night once in awhile with my girlfriends or an hour of quiet time here and there. Continue reading “Seeking Sunshine”

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person professes to be an expert on a subject and all of a sudden you start feeling a bit insecure about your own feelings or beliefs on the matter?  About an issue you’ve never even thought twice about?  I walk away from these moments questioning my belief even though I know I felt firm in my conviction prior to the conversation.

They say comparison is the thief of joy.  Once I became a mother, this rang even more true.  There are countless ways to compare babies.  There are all of the early milestones, of course, (that they do in their own time!) and also how good (or bad) of an eater they are.  Then there’s the sleep issue – oh, the sleep issue.  I remember my midwife telling me in my first pregnancy that all anyone will ever ask me once the baby comes is “how is she sleeping” or “is she sleeping through the night?”  I had no idea!  She was exactly right.  I have always thought it’s the strangest thing people ask me.

One of my good friends shared with me she felt robbed of a whole week of her 7-week-old baby’s life because she kept comparing him to other babies who were smiling when he wasn’t yet.  She couldn’t stop googling to see at what age babies typically smiled.  She knew her son was even sensing her dismay and as a result, probably wasn’t smiling because Mom wasn’t relaxed and happy.  Talk about comparison robbing us of joy!

We compare everything from income level to job title to material possessions to skills – you name it.  None of it really matters – it’s all wasted energy.  Because, guess what – even if you have all of that, there will always be someone with “more” than you in that department.  Besides, everyone has a unique set of skills and life experience, which is a beautiful thing.

Oftentimes, we are comparing to something that is not reality anyway.  We may see a snapshot on Facebook or Instagram but we have to remember it is just a sliver of that person’s life.  Everyone is human and has their share of bad days.  It’s so hard to remind ourselves when we see a picture, it is just that – a simple moment in time.

The birth of my first child didn’t go anywhere near how I had planned it out in my head.  I know many women who have had their babies exactly how their birth plan dictated.  It’s easy to compare and think why didn’t things go my way?  But I’m a firm believer that there is a learning experience in every season and experience of life.  Plus, the way things unfold is what makes it my story.  Over time, I have started to appreciate the details that make my journey unique.

I’ve realized nothing positive can come from comparing myself to others.  There is a danger in not only feeling inferior but also, maybe a tad superior.  Besides that, it’s exhausting – and isn’t life tiring enough as it is?

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 Amen!