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Shake it off!

“Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off.”

Yes, I just quoted Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” lyrics!

It’s New Year’s Day and I just spent my early afternoon watching her “Reputation” tour with my eldest daughter Bianca, a somewhat reluctant fan. Despite her issues with T-Swift, she still cannot help but like her! I could understand why. (My apologies to all you “Swifties.”)

This morning, as we watched the concert and Taylor sang “Shake it off,” I was reminded of a time last year when feuds stirred up at my work place. During that season a coworker sent me an email. “Rosa, like Taylor Swift, you need to shake it off!” The email made me laugh, but in all seriousness, at that moment it was the exact sentiment I needed.

“Shake it off!”

You see, I had major work business to attend to, and I couldn’t allow simple disagreements or misunderstandings to keep me from getting my job done.

I am a thick-skinned, let-it-roll-off-me, resilient kind of south side Chi girl! But still, there are moments when the daggers cut just a little too deep. I get all up in my feels, and forget to– rise above, shake it off, and focus on what God says of me!

Last New Year, I set out to not allow unhealthy relationships or boundaries to consume my 2018. “I want to remain focused,” I wrote. “There is no need to be involved in everything, no need to defend or explain myself, no need to feel accepted or understood. This year I am standing on the ROCK, and I am not leaving it. No more detours! It’s a year of completion! No more stepping away! It’s time for some GREAT WORK, or what I like to call GOD’s WORK!  #Nehemiah6”

Did I completely accomplish this goal? I would like to say, “why yes, I sure did.” But, I didn’t. Did I improve at all? I think so.

A few days ago, I wrote, “Sometimes we have to CHOOSE to be above reproach, mature, & better than our flesh wants us be. God’s word should be the measuring stick we use to measure our choices. Regardless of the unfairness in life and the shade it throws at us (even when it comes from the people we love), we must choose to be obedient, and not let circumstances keep us from God’s plans… #toriseabove #nehemiah” 

Without planning, I made a full circle on my Facebook page.

I am NOWHERE near perfect! But God is doing a mighty work in me, and I am welcoming His pruning in my life. At times it hasn’t been easy, but I am finding that the more I keep my eyes on my creator, the more I vividly see His promises for me! So, like Taylor, I am going to continue to “Shake it OFF!”

“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 62:6

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

 PS: As I post this on New Year’s Day, I feel it necessary to add while I like Taylor’s song “New Year’s Day”, I much prefer U2’s song of the same name.


To say this was a year of extreme loss, sadness, and emptiness is an understatement.

After 13 years of prolonged mourning, my beautiful mother finally was able to meet her creator. Though for years she was in a vegetative state, after she passed it hit me, that I can no longer touch or see her. I wonder often, how wonderfully different life would be, if she was here with me.

Unexpectedly, my sweet dog of 10 years had to be put down in June due to a rare disease. I took her for granted. After she left, I realized how much joy she brought into my life. Now, every morning, I walk into my living room, look at the couch, and wish she was there. I miss our mornings together, I would give her morning breakfast as I made my coffee.

The 7 years of my long commutes to the north side of Chicago with my two older daughters – my best friends – came to end. In the fall, I found myself getting them ready to enter new seasons in life, without me. Bianca left for Washington D.C. for an internship, Naomi left to college, and I was now traveling alone. The loss was sometimes unbearable. I am not much of crier. Yet, during this season, the tears would flow.

Then, there were the attacks I endured from my inner-circle that were unmerited and at times hurtful. My people. My tribe. My family. Who would have thought? Not me. I trusted these people. I thought they were for me and knew my heart, but they ended up coming against me. I knew that many of these attacks weren’t intentional and at the end of the day I don’t battle against flesh and blood, so I choose to pray and forgive.

All things considered, 2018 wasn’t gentle. It wanted to crush me! But what the enemy didn’t know is that he can’t crush an Oak tree. Now, I am getting ahead of myself.

On October 13th I attended an anniversary celebration for a ministry at my church.  At the time, I wasn’t defeated, but I was a bit undone. I needed assurance from my God that He saw me and was going to get me through this year. That day, He reminded me of His love and grace in the midst of it all! He gave me 3 memories to remember.

As I sat in the café of the church, God reminded me how one of the speakers (at the event) had previously messaged me about two years prior saying she wanted to leave her husband. Now, that same woman was sharing her testimony of how God miraculously moved in her life and marriage.

Later, as I continued worshiping at church on October 13th, God again placed me in a state of remembrance. Remembrance of his faithfulness and blessing. For a while I counted planning my mother’s wake among my greatest fears. I didn’t want to face everyone and experience that moment of immense grief.

But in his timing, God provided a place to host the wake, the very church, I lead and attend. With the help of many people, we were able to give her a beautiful memorial, full with live worship music and a message that ministered to many including a large group of unbelievers who were in attendance.

But God didn’t stop there.

After the church celebration on October 13th, Juan and I were able to take a newly married couple from our church out to dinner. As we sat in the restaurant, we poured into the couple’s marriage and ministry. And, once more that night, God jogged my memory, and put me in remembrance of His blessings.

Previously, 18 years ago, Juan and I had sat in that same restaurant. Our marriage was at its worse. Divorce seemed a likely option. But within months, God had supernaturally turned our marriage around. We renewed our vows, and even today, we’re still involved in leading the marriage ministry at our church.

Remembrance is a powerful thing! When you’re a believer, God does that for you. He not only loves us with an agape love, but He meets us where we are, so we can experience His mercy and grace when we feel undone.

Today was the last Sunday church service of 2018. As I worshipped this faithful God, thinking of the new year approaching, He put me in remembrance of the day I prayed the prayer of salvation. And gave me a prophetic word to share.

You see 20 years ago I surrendered my life to God. A precious seed of faith was planted that day. Now, today I am like a 20-year-old oak tree. And, it’s because of that decision, I was able to weather the storms of 2018.

There is a saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today. If you haven’t surrendered your life to God, don’t let today go by without planting that seed of faith in your heart. If you are saved, don’t stop watering that seed! It takes a consistent pursuit of God to have your roots settle, grow and become an Oak tree.

An Oak tree is a symbol of power and strength. It can withstand the strongest of storms. If you desire to live in this cruel world, and still have love, peace, and joy, you need FAITH!

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Psalm 77:11

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted , but not abandoned; struck down, but now destroyed.” 2Corinthians 4:8-9

She Hears Me…


April 17th, 2018.

Exactly one week since I received the phone call from my dad.

“Mimi, she passed away!”

 For the last 10 years of her life, my mom was in a vegetative/comatose state. At one time, even the thought of hearing the words my dad spoke that morning would haunt me.

They hung over my head like a massive black cloud that, especially at the beginning of her illness, would drench me with unbelievable SADNESS.

During those dark times, when the deep sadness would come over me, I often felt like I couldn’t breathe.

After so many years of seeing someone you love more than words can express, experience such suffering, you start to pray the prayer you never thought you would.

Lord, deliver her from this suffering; please take her home with you.

 But, my mom hung on.

Back in February, we thought we were going to lose her. I sat in the hospital praying that the Lord would take her so that finally she could be at peace.

But, my mom pulled through again.

Some would say it’s because she is a fighter. My mom was definitely a fierce woman, but in my heart, I knew there was more to this story.

On April 5th, I sat with some 7th-grade students during circle time at school. I asked them this question, “What is your greatest fear?”

As I sat there overwhelmed with my own emotions, one student after another shared how their greatest fear was losing their mom, some with tears in their eyes.

I shared how this fear was okay to have, but that our fears should never overtake us. And also how their mom wouldn’t want them to lose sleep over this fear, but rather to just live every day loving on her, until the end of time- the best gift they can give their mom.

Looking back, that circle time was as much for me- as it was for the students.

On April 7th, I was invited to speak at a women’s breakfast for a local church. I shared the story of how the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins for 140 years. In the book of Nehemiah, God gave Nehemiah His eyes towards the ruins. Nehemiah wept. He had a burden in his heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.

I challenged the ladies to look around them, and ask the question, “What are the ruins in your life that you need to have a new burden for?”

As I shared, my mom’s family came to mind. I knew that they had been in ruins for many years and how that hurt my mom greatly.

And for the first time after so many years, it hurt me. I had a burden in my heart for them!

After I spoke, I was presented (as a gift) with red roses, my mom’s favorite flower.

The next day, Sunday, April 8th, was my mom’s 61st birthday.

That Sunday morning it was hard for me to go to church. However, I knew I had to go. During worship I stood by the alter listening, the Lord clearly told me to place the red roses by my mom’s bedside.

I wanted to go visit her at 3 pm, but my oldest daughter Bianca who had to work that day also wanted to see “mom” (that’s what she called her, as well) on her birthday.

So, I waited for her and we went later that night. When I arrived placed the red roses in her room.

The next day, I received a text from my dad that my mom wasn’t doing good.

I prayed.

That night I attended a meeting, and the video session we studied happened to be about death and how we’ll all have to face it one day. But, how it’s not the end of our journey, but rather the beginning.

We worshipped to the song- “Do it again.”

I wept in that room publicly, as I’ve never wept publicly before.

The next day, I received a phone call from my dad that my mom had passed away that night.

I went to the nursing home and I brought the red roses home.

I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to our story. The last time Bianca and I saw my mom was on her birthday. And, I gave her red roses. Now, I had 5 days to plan the memorial and funeral.

I wanted to make the wake and funeral extra special for her, my family, and her family.

On Sunday, April 15th a week after her birthday, my church played “Do It Again” for the first time, and I had never shared with anyone how that song made me weep!

But, my God knew.

That evening was the memorial. We had it at my church, New Life Cicero. Over 300 people attended.

As people arrived, salsa and merengue music played in the background. It was like a Garfield Blvd. reunion. Friends that hadn’t seen each other in years were gathered together in a church building. Hugs, smiles, and laughter filled the room.

As far as the ambiance, no words can clearly express how beautiful the sanctuary and chapel looked, so I’ll share pictures below.

I gifted each of my mom’s siblings with an envelope filled with pictures of them, her, my grandparents, and their children.

I called this table- “Say Cheese!” Pictures by Goddy!” She loved to say the words “say cheese” before taking the pictures.

She was the photographer of her family and friend groups. I have boxes of pictures taken by her.

By far, the most beautiful part of the memorial was the service.

I arranged for the worship team to sing, I had my husband Juan share a few words, my cousin Nicole, and I, as well.

I thanked my sister, brother, and father for being so good to my mom and me!

I shared how my mom loved birthday parties and cake!

I shared my mom’s love for Marc Anthony. How she had a huge picture of him in our living room like he was family.

We don’t know how it happened, but ever since I wrote that blog about her love for Marc Anthony, if you Google “Marc Anthony’s sister” my mom’s picture with him shows up.

I shared how I didn’t want anyone to feel guilty. That she knew they loved her, and she loved them all very much!

But most importantly, I had Pastor John Palmieri share the gospel!

And some people responded by giving their life to Christ for the first time!

And, many of my mom’s family expressed how much it ministered to them.

I know my mom was smiling in heaven.

Her illness was a tragedy.

But, like Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…

It’s because of my mom that many of her friends and family members heard the good news of the gospel for the first time.

I shared this before in another blog, but it’s so appropriate to share again…

“Death is inevitable. We all know that is what lies in waiting. (Sorry for my being blunt, but there is joy at the end of this post!)

Yet, when we lose a loved one, it causes such excruciating pain.

Life will never be the same. It will always be different. Even Christians that believe in eternity struggle when they lose a loved one.

Life will keep going on, day by day, we will get better at catching up to it.  But, a piece of your life’s puzzle will be gone, and nothing could take its place.

The puzzle will have to continue to evolve without that missing piece.  And, all you could do is hope and pray, it will be good. But, you know in your heart, it will never be better.”

Last night, as I was cleaning the church, it hit me! A realization dawned on me.

She can hear my voice now!

For so many years, I don’t think she knew I was there when I visited her.

She was no longer in a nursing home. She is with me!

This feeling overwhelmed me!

Now, as I write this, I feel a sense of joy and peace. Yes, I am crying, but she is more with me today than she has been in the last 10 years of her illness.

And, she is finally home with the Savior.  She is dancing again, and words can’t express how happy I am for her.

I’ll never forget her, she will always be my mom, and I’ll always be her Mimi.

Until we see each other again, I’ll continue to carry my memories of her close in my heart!

The “Good Old Days” with Florecitas!

Goddy and her friends!

Where speakers shared their memories!

Pictures from Goddy to her family!

My mom’s last goodbye at New Life Cicero!

Her birthday cake!


Tribute to Marisa- Made Me Glad!

Everyone deals with grief differently.

I write.

So, here’s to you, my sweet cousin, Marisa.

Growing up, besides having my crazy attitude sister- Gorda, I had my cousins- Melinda, Nicole, and Marisa. We hung out a lot together, especially in our teens.

Like many Chicago teens in the 90s, we spent our leisure time, going to the mall, dancing at teen clubs, and swimming in pools.

Just a few of our fun times…

Going to Ford City mall, taking pictures in photo booths. I still have some of those pictures.  And, I still remember the time you met your future husband, Armando.

Going to Prime -N- Tender and St. Rita’s dances. I think you went a couple of times with us, but I don’t recall you really being a dancer. It just wasn’t your thing. On the other hand, Melinda, Nicole, and I thought we were the stuff on the dance floor.

***Side note, Melinda remember our times at Alcatraz. Fun times! I still remember the bomb you dropped on me in the bathroom at Alcatraz- you were pregnant.

Going to Worth swimming pool and meeting the freestyle group, Legacy. 

***Nicole, not sure how that group ended up at Fan’s Choice in Evergreen Plaza were we worked. Crazy and goofy times!

Those were fun times, and I am thankful for them. But, nothing compares to these childhood memories.

Auntie Cathy, this memory is for you…

Words can’t express my gratitude to you for the many years, you took us to downtown. Thank you so much for the lunches in the Walnut room, for the window shopping, and for the parades.

This back of the yards’ girl will forever cherish those memories.

Godfather, Roldan,

When I think about you, I think about how special I felt that I was the ONLY girl cousin that had you as a godfather.

I still remember the Cabbage Patch doll you gave me. I was in shock that you gave me such a beautiful gift that every girl wanted for Christmas that year.

I still remember the beautiful wooden rocking chair you bought me. I had already left abuela’s house that Christmas Eve, but you really wanted for me to have it, so you brought it to our apartment.

I never really thanked you for being so unbelievably generous and loving to me. And, today when I saw you, I knew that I needed to write this to express my appreciation.

Back to Marissa.

Around 15 years ago, you showed up at my house in a pick-up truck unannounced. I was surprised, but happy you were visiting me. Before this visit, we had drifted a part, which unfortunately seems to be the norm in big families.

I was on my way to visit my grandmother, Francesca, who was in the hospital. Being the kind- hearted person you were, you accompanied me to Christ Hospital. You shared your heart with me that day, and I till this day I kept our conversation to myself. I asked you to attend church with me the next day.

You see, I had been attending a nondenominational church for about 3 years.  And, all I wanted to do for you was to give you the love and joy that only Jesus can provide.

I clearly remember the day I stood next to Marisa during service. The worship group was singing a song by Hillsong called “Made be Glad.” I saw the tears well up in your eyes, and at that moment, I knew your heart was open to receive.

During the alter call. I asked if you would like for me to accompany you to the alter. You agreed. Together we prayed the prayer of Salvation.

Even though you didn’t return to church with me again, and we didn’t really talk much after that, I am truly thankful for that precious weekend with you. I am thankful that my God gave me those two days with you.

Marisa, I don’t know what happened! I don’t know what I could have done to have made things better for you, but I want to tell you -I love you! I am sorry that I never told you that!

Today, I am reminded once again, that life is SO SHORT, and I don’t want to keep missing opportunities to tell the people around me how much I love them.

So, friends out there, please grab, hold, hug, and tell YOUR people, that they matter, that you love them, and that life is so much better with them in it.

I Am From

I’m from clear plastic couch covers that stick to your skin on hot summer days

from sofrito and Sazon as necessities in meals.

I am from wicker fan chairs and clown figuras on the glass coffee table and Abuela’s cinnamon apple tea con leche filled the cold winter night while novelas played on the TV. Read More

Unclogging Our Hearts

A clogged bathtub is the worst, especially for a family of six living in a one bathroom house.

To make matters worse it happened in the evening hours.

As usual, my Latina-ness kicked in, and I started trying some home remedies, that my mama so graciously modeled for me when I was a child.

On side note, once my kitchen sink was clogged. After so many attempts to fix it, I got really frustrated, and I grabbed the leaf blower.

Bare with me for a second.

I thought I could force the gunk in the drain through with the power of the air. In a previous clogged situation, I had witnessed a plumber use a device to blow air though the drain to fix the clog.

Needless to say, the water in the drain splashed all over me. Lesson learned!

Back to my bathtub.

This time around, I poured bleach down the drain.

I poured boiling hot water down it.

I poured laundry detergent down it. Okay, I got desperate.

I even caved in, and bought the Drano, and I poured the whole container down the drain.

Nothing worked!

Finally, my husband got a clothes hanger and shoved it down the drain. He started pulling out the gunk and hair that had accumulated. It was absolutely disgusting, but eventually the drain was fixed.

Our hearts can often be like that clogged drain.

Some of us, can definitely use a little cleaning of our hearts. And, some of us, need some major unclogging.

If someone were to shove a clothes hanger into our hearts they would find that a bunch of accumulated gunk resides there.

It would most likely be all tangled together like the gunk from the bathtub drain.


And, what is closely connected to our hearts?  ~~~our~mouth

The bible says, “a good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

The mouth is neutral. It can easily bless or curse the people it encounters, especially it’s owner.

Like the scripture says, the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. If our hearts are full of gunk, then what is going to come out of our mouths?

Certainly, not good things. If anything, the gunk will provoke us to sin.

We are more likely doing a whole lot of over talking or unwholesome talk. Instead of building up others, it’s tearing them down with unkind words, slander, and gossip.


None of us is doing it, but it sure is happening.

I can easily recall the first time I heard gossip, because it was about my mother.

I was playing with my Barbie dolls when I overheard “them” talking.

I didn’t know the depths of what was shared, but I did remember them saying “Goddy thinks she is better than us.”

They saw me look their way, and they immediately told me to mind my own business.

I remember how much it hurt me to hear negative words spoken about my mother, and then to be told, ‘don’t you dare tell your mother about what we are talking about.’

My mother wasn’t perfect. But, she wasn’t the type to think of herself to be better than anyone. No doubt about it, she was confident and strong. She also was the type of person that would give someone the shirt off her back. She was always giving to others! I loved and admired that about her.

Years later, gossip is still prevalent in my little world.

Yes, Christians gossip!

It’s more subtle. It’s usually attached with Christian lingo words, like prayer or guidance.

Now, don’t think, as I write this blog, I am sitting in an ivory tower with a halo over my head. This blog is speaking directly to me, as well, like it usually does.

Like the scripture says, “do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you- for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

Like the majority of us, I have sinned in this area. But, I have to say, I never been the type to be malicious or catty about it. Most of you know what kind of girl I am describing, and I am sure none of my readers are like that. Haha!

However, we have all witnessed them in action, or have been the recipient of their meanness.

But, no amount of gossip is good, not even, a little bit.

Words have power, and they can hurt! “The tongue has the power of life and death…’ Proverbs 18:21

I want to challenge us to set a higher standard and hold each other accountable when it comes to our words. I am not saying for us to police each other, but rather to encourage one another to monitor our mouths.

Back to the clogged heart.

Besides the gunk having to be pulled out, so we can refrain from speaking badly about others, the clog also makes it difficult for the Lord’s words and goodness to penetrate our hearts.

We can’t be teachable or moldable, if we have a clogged heart. Let’s stop making excuses for the gunk.

You might say, “So and so, really hurt me, so I can’t move on, not quite yet”. But, what you are ultimately saying is that I am going to stay angry, and allow this bitterness and unforgiveness to take root in my heart.

The best thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones is to habitually examine our heart. 

We should also closely examine what we let into your heart. Like the tub has a strainer, we need have one for our hearts also.

If we do this, we’ll have to deal with less clogs, and thus, less drama.

It’s not easy to tame our mouths, but next time we feel like sharing something that is not beneficial to the other person, we need to immediately shut our mouths.

And, if someone comes to you with junk about someone else, nicely remove yourself from the conversation.

We have enough of us bad mouthing others, instead let’s strive to be women that encourage and uplift others, speak the truth in love, and breathe life into the dead situations around us.

In essence, an unclogged heart makes it easier to love others, so grab that clothes hanger and start pulling out that gunk.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Leaving the Sand, so I Can Swim…

Naomi Anais Sanchez, age 16

There’s always been something about the ocean that intrigues me. Maybe it’s the way the waves move: free and unpredictable. Or maybe it’s the feeling I get when I inhale the smell and let it flow through my nose and down to my toes. Or perhaps it’s the feeling I get when my feet move from the familiar territories of sand into a ceaseless sea of the unknown.

Maybe it’s all of things and more. Regardless, the ocean has always been a motif in my life.

It all started the day I was born, February 18th, the last day of the Aquarius, the water carrier. If you follow or know a small amount about astrology, you might know that the Aquarius symbol is two waves. I am not the biggest follower of astrology, but I sort of see my being an Aquarius is the beginning of my connection the ocean.

It continued on to when I was in kindergarten and realized that I’m half Puerto Rican, and that Puerto Rico was a small Island, and that an Island was a small piece of land surrounded by the ocean. Although, I was stuck in my little house, I always dreamt about being by the ocean by my little beautiful island; Puerto Rico.

Somewhere around the 2nd grade, I learned to swim. Although the chlorine pool wasn’t exactly the ocean, I couldn’t get enough of it, I would stay in there for hours and hours. Going back and forth swimming in a 20 by 40 box of water, contained and closed in.

Then around the 7th grade, I learned to canoe in a lake. I’d travel the current until everything behind me got a little blurry. And then once everything behind me disappeared, I’d try to stop the canoe by sticking my hand in water. I would feel the water push my hand, fighting to try and get me to keep going, until it gave up and let me win, and the canoe would stop and I’d go back home. Although larger than the pool, the lake never satisfied me.

Around 10th grade, I went to the actual ocean. I ran to it once I caught a glimpse of it. As I ran, the hot sand tried to grab my feet and bury them, to try to prevent me from going into the water, but I kept going. I ran and ran and ran, until my feet met the water and it was a part of me. I went farther into the ocean until I my body became a part of it. I didn’t want to leave that day, I just wanted to go as far as the ocean can take me, and keep riding the waves until they were no more. I wanted to just melt into it and forever be apart of it. But, I left that day and I all I can think about was how I wanted to go back.

Now, in present times, the ocean is all around me. Recently, I watched the beautiful movie, “Moana.” Although this movie had thousands of beautiful attributes; the wonderful musical work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the beautiful voices of Chris Jackson, Auli’I Cravalho and Phillipa Soo, the amazing animations, the impeccable plot line and character development, but the most outstanding part, was Moana, herself. I never related to a character on that level before, until her.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I promise I won’t spoil it, but here is a small summarization of the plotline; Moana is the 16-year-old daughter of the Chief of her people on their island. Her father expects her to take on the role of being the next chief, but Moana is struggling to live up to that, due to her fascination with exploring the ocean. This becomes an obstacle for Moana, because her father has strictly prohibited her from the ocean, because of the danger it presents. But, when the fate of her people is in jeopardy and the ocean “calls” her, Moana disobeys her father commands, and travels across the sea to help her people by finding Maui (a demi-god) and returning the heart of Te Fiti.

Moana and I are a lot alike. We both love the ocean. We both got those natural curls. We are both non-white teenage girls. We both have parents with high expectations. We both love being free and independent. We both have influential fathers. We both love our family and home.

But above all, We both long to explore the unknown.

Some see this as a bad thing. But, I would argue that those who say that exploring the unknown is bad are actually just afraid. They want to stay on the sand, where there’s comfort, familiarity, and safety, because they’re too afraid to go into the ocean, which is foreign and unfamiliar. But, if we are constantly in the sand, how will we know if we are living our lives to the fullest? Maybe the ocean is where we are meant to be. Yeah the ocean is unsafe, with it’s thunderstorms and mysterious creatures that lurk in he deep, but it is also beautiful, with it’s waves that have a mind of it’s own and the beautiful creatures and the smell. You have to go through the storms and the fear, in order to truly see the beauty it beholds.

It’s like life; we have to fall down, in order to get back up. The world is an ugly and terrifying place, but it’s also beautiful and full of amazing opportunities that are calling you, that are calling me. And I refuse to ignore that call and live my life in fear of what is ahead of me. I will go head first and know that as long as I know who I am and have the Lord by my side, I will be ALRIGHT and I WON’T BE AFRAID. I know I will probably get hurt down the line and go through some storms and come across mysterious creatures, but in the end, it would have been worth it.

One difference between Moana and I, is her father wanted to keep her from going into the ocean, and my father pushes me to go towards the ocean. My father knows my future is too promising to keep me in the sand. But, sometimes fathers want to keep their daughters in the sand, and are afraid to let them into the ocean. And I will forever be grateful that my father didn’t do that.

Ever since I was younger the ocean called me, and it’s still calling. From dreaming of my island, to swimming in a contained pool, to canoeing in a lake, to finally putting my feet into the actual ocean. And it won’t stop there, because I will go as far as the waves can take me, and go deeper and deeper into the ocean, for it calls me.

I’ll leave you with this question, is the ocean calling you? Are you going to go chase it, even though you don’t know what’s ahead of you? Or are you going to stay in the sand, because you’re afraid of what might happen?

If you feel like God is calling you to step into the water and leave the sand, are you going to do it?


Breaking Barriers: A Mother’s Advice and a Daughter’s Dream

Rosabel Sanchez

Slow down. Men don’t like women who are smarter than them. And if you want to one day find a husband- you better slow down.”

A few days ago, as I walked the halls of my alma mater – DePaul University – those words rung in my head. A little over twenty years ago, my mother had spoken them to me.

Before jumping to conclusions and judging my mom, who loved me dearly, allow me to explain.

After serving in WW2, my mother’s father returned to the pueblos of Puerto Rico. There he met my grandmother – who at age 14 was eighteen years younger than him. He married her shortly thereafter. After their second child was born, they moved to Chicago and settled in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

My mother was the fourth child of seven in her family.  She had three older siblings –…

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Boldness Through Bitterness

It’s a winter night in Chicago. The first snowfall this season has visited.

The first snowfall is always a beautiful sight, especially when it happens at night, when you are all snuggled up in your home with no where to go the next day.

A white Christmas is always an added plus to this magical, yet sacred day.

But, now the holidays have come and gone, and I am wishing it would have taken the winter season with it. One would think that this Chicago native would be used to it’s bitter cold and windy winters. But, I’m not, and I don’t think I ever will.

You see, my indigenous roots long for its isla– Puerto Rico, especially during nights like tonight.

To say I miss the brightness and warmth of the sun is an understatement. It’s a struggle for me to experience this season, without feeling somber, melancholy, and a bit bitter.

My attempt to make the best of this season is to snuggle under my quilted throw blanket, sip a cup of cinnamon apple tea, and savor the bittersweet taste of a cherry pie, as I write.

For a few weeks, I have been reflecting on how life can be bittersweet. Certainly, we can all agree that we have no problem embracing all the sweetness it gives us…

Walking across the stage to receive your degree

Receiving the key to your first car or home

Marrying the love of your life

Giving birth to your child- no matter how many children you have, that never gets old

Receiving an unexpected job promotion

These unforgettable memories that we cherish in our hearts, most likely have been captured in pictures and videos. Although, we can all vividly recall them in our minds.

Then, there are those bitter moments…

Our loved one is ill, and all you want to do is take away their pain

Our house is always in need of repaired

Our husband has an affair and is no longer wanting to keep his vow

Our child is rebellious and causing harm to himself and/or others around him

And, now those unforgettable memories on your Instagram or Facebook, seem so far away, and new ones just seem unattainable.

There is no going around it, life will bring us moments of pure happiness and moments of devastating despair.

Life is bittersweet!

On a side note, it will be dismissive and insensitive of me to minimize losing a loved one, especially if it was a tragic loss. I will not categorize this as bitter, but heart wrenching.

I truly believe that the bitter moments in our lives want to break us. And, some of us, let it.

We soak in our despair by sleeping too much, binging on Netflix, and eating everything in sight.

It also wants us to cling to temporary, meaningless gratifications, such as, drinking, partying, and sleeping around.

Like, any of these things will ever satisfy our hearts, or solve our problems. Don’t be fooled by the worldly ways of coping or striving in life.

The hurt or emptiness you are feeling will continue, because you haven’t done anything to address it. All you’ve done was ignore the problem by keeping yourself busy with satisfying the flesh.

In the meantime your soul and spirit continues to grieve. And so, the bitterness of life, has you where it wants you- defeated, and I am here to proclaim that is not where God wants you.

He wants you to take that brokenness and bitterness, and step out in the BOLDNESS, He has already equipped you with.

Within you there is a spirit of a lioness.

It has courage and strength to take on any circumstance that comes your way. But, you have to surrender to your spirit, and let it lead you.

During these bitter times, it is imperative that you walk in faith, listen closely to the voice of God, read your bible, spend time in worship, be a fervent prayer warrior, and seek godly counsel.

In other words, feed your spirit, and not your flesh.

And, even in the bitter moments, if you look closely, you will find God’s goodness. Things can always be worse. You don’t know how much God’s hand has spared you.

It is through the bitter times, that you will be stretched and challenged, and thus, you will experience growth in ways you never thought can be possible.

After the dust settles, it’s with admiration and an astonishment on your face, that you will look in the mirror, and wonder, who is that woman?

Perhaps, you’ll still see the scars and scratches that you had to endure through the battle, but you’ll also see a woman “clothed in strength and dignity”. Things may not turn out the way you hoped, but you will still “laugh without fear of the future” because you will have the victory.

At the end of day, it’s about our eternal life and pleasing our God. And, that my dear is perspective!

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

On Trump and the Election: A Young Latina’s Perspective

Guest Writer: Naomi Sanchez, Age 16/An Opinion Piece

Authors Note:

Have you ever had thousands of words just flying in your head, but you just can’t place them together in a coherent stream of thought?

If you know the feeling, then you can relate with how I am feeling writing this.

Writing this is on my list of the top 10 hardest things I’ve ever done; I’ve spent hours meditating and pondering how to start this, I’ve spent hours crying over this, I’ve spent hours writing rough drafts, I’ve spent hours discussing and asking advice for this, I’ve devoted a part of myself to this, and I hope that’s enough to get some respect.


This week at school, my crazy APUSH (AP US History) teacher, had my classmates and I do an activity called, Speed Dating. Don’t worry, it’s not actual speed dating, it was an activity were he had each us portray and research a famous reformer during the First Industrial Revolution, and then we had to get to know all of the other reformers everyone else was portraying, but we had only 2 minutes per reformer and the objective was to find a perfect match for your person. I was honored to portray: Lucy Stone.

When I portrayed Lucy Stone, I had to tell people who she was.

“Lucy Stone was an abolitionist and suffragist. She was the first woman to graduate college in Massachusetts, she went on strike for equal pay for men and women, she was apart of the first National Women’s Rights Convention, she was a lecturer on Women’s Rights and Slavery, and she loved debating and public speaking about slavery and women’s rights.”

I came to realize that I am a lot like her, and she inspired me to evaluate who I am and what I would list myself as.  

I am a Woman

I am a Follower of Christ

I am a Vegetarian

I am a Feminist

I am a Debater

I am a Teenager

I am a Latina

I am a Daughter

I am a Sister

I am a Friend

I am a Cousin

I am a granddaughter

I am a Niece

I am a Pastor’s daughter

I am a Teacher’s daughter

I am a Pet Owner

I am an Animal Lover

I am a Democrat

I am an Environmentalist

I am a Student

I am an Activist

I am a Poet

I am a Writer

These things are just a few of the things that make me; Me.

I am proud to be each and every one of these things, they come together and make me who I am and my parents taught me to never be ashamed of who I am.

This is a list of who I am, I challenge you to make a list of who you are and post it in the comments. Your list is going to be different from mine, your spouse, your siblings, your best friend. The point is; no one’s list is going to be the same. This isn’t a bad thing, we should celebrate our differences and respect them.

The same goes for our opinions, a lot of times it’s the things that make us who we are that shape our opinions.

It is close to impossible to find someone who is going to agree with everything you believe in. I think sometimes we forget that and we let our differences in opinions bring out the ugly in us.

When you read this, don’t let it bring out the ugly in you, but don’t let it silence you. If you disagree with me, then go ahead, challenge my thinking. If you agree with me, then go ahead, say something of agreement. BUT, be wise and respectful with your comments and opinions.

Keep in mind, we are all different and think differently and that’s okay.

The Blog:

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that a lot has been happening in our country.

For those people who are like Patrick the Star, and have been living under a rock, here’s what happened: Drake and Rihanna Broke up!

No, I’m just kidding. You can’t expect to read my blog post without it containing some humor.

On a serious note, I am actually referring to the recent 2016 presidential election, in which, Donald J. Trump won (alongside his VP, Mike Pence.)

If you know me personally, you probably know that I have no problem voicing my opinions (even when it comes to politics.) From that, you should gather that I’m very honest and straightforward. I will try my absolute best not to offend anyone, and if I do offend anyone, I apologize in advance. I have been offended by many, but this doesn’t mean that I have the right to offend anyone back, I consider myself too mature to do so. But, if you take it a step further and offend my family, that’s where I draw the line. That’s when my fingers start to hit the keyboard. And that’s what I am doing right now.

So here’s what I have to say and I am going to say it straight-up

Donald Trump is our next president:

A man who is currently charged for child rape on young girl, a man who says he “grabs women by the pussy”, a man who accuses Mexicans of being “murders and rapists who steal American’s jobs”, a man who ignores the hard-working middle class who are trying to advance, a man who is a borderline fascist, a man who uses western expansionism to exploit and appropriate cultures, a man who justifies the hegemonic patriarchy and their misogynistic words to women, a man who ignores the potential environmental catastrophes that gravely affect the poor and marginalized, a man who is living proof that neoliberalism, colonialism, and imperialism exists in today’s society, a man who pushes an islamophobic and homophobic agenda, a man who some of the people- I know and trust- think will be a great president just, because he has the label “pro-life” on his back.

First thing, He is charged for child rape on young girls.

Think about your daughters, your sisters, your nieces, all the young girls in your life. I cannot fathom how you can be okay and comfortable with the idea that our national leader is charged with child rape. What if it was your daughter, or your sister who was raped, would you still be a Trump supporter or okay with the idea of him running our country?

Second thing, He says he “grabs woman by the pussy” and justifies the hegemonic patriarchy and their misogynistic words to women.

Anyone out there who identifies as a woman, and is a Trump supporter should be ashamed. You see, writing this section alone, brings tears to my eyes. How am I, a 16-year-old woman, supposed to be okay, with a man who says such vulgar and misogynistic words to be our president? I don’t understand how people can even support and respect such a pig.

For the men out there who support Trump, you don’t understand what being a woman and living in this society is like. You don’t understand how it feels to be acknowledged as a lower form. Every day I have to fight to be heard and every day I am challenging the patriarchal system that oppresses me and wants me to conform to their idea of what a woman should be like. I have to fight for respect, because there are people out there who think that your anatomy defines whether you should be in the workplace or not, that your anatomy defines if your voice is heard or not, that your anatomy defines how much you should be getting paid, that your anatomy defines your social value. I think otherwise, I am an independent, strong, and intelligent woman. I am NOT going to settle and I am NOT going to depend on a man to show me my value and I am NOT going to allow the patriarchy and misogyny to define who I am and I am NOT okay with Trump as my president.

Third thing, He accuses Mexicans  to being “murders and rapists who steal American’s jobs” and uses western expansionism to exploit and appropriate cultures.

I am a Latina (half Mexican and half Puerto Rican), and I am an activist on racism and cultural exploitation/appropriation. When Trump speaks on minority races (such as, latinos and blacks), my mouth gets the best of me (a trait I get from my mother), but I’ll do my best to not lash out. I love philosophy and discussing things like anti-blackness, colonialism, cultural exploitation, binary opposition, cultural imperialism, and heroism, but for the sake of this blog post I will not be talking about these things too much. Trump and white nationalists see Latinos and Blacks as a lower form of human, you can see this throughout history. Even though we have had advancements, such as the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil Rights Movement, we still see white supremacy and racism in our society today. We should be aiming for progression, and when I think about Trump as our President, I don’t see any signs of progression, instead I see hate speech and racism. The idea of this scares me, but what scares and saddens me more, is that fellow Latinos/as voted for him and support him.

Fourth Thing, He ignores the hard-working middle class who are trying to advance and he is a borderline fascist. He is also living proof that neoliberalism and imperialism exists in today’s society

If you actually research his tax plan, you can see that it is inherently flawed. The flaws in his tax plan and economic stances will destroy any hope for the middle (and lower) class, because it mainly gives benefits to the wealthy (which is majority white.) This division is economic class, can dramatically affect the economy and resembles fascism and neoliberalism.

Fifth Thing, He ignores the potential environmental catastrophes that gravely affect the poor and marginalized.

God created this Earth for us, and it is our job to protect it. If we are polluting it with carbon emissions and damaging it, then it is our job to fix these problems. Global warming is real, and if we don’t do something about, our future generations are going to be the ones weeping over the consequences.

Sixth Thing, He pushes an islamophobic and homophobic agenda.

A girl I know didn’t wear a hijab to school the day that Trump was elected, because her father was afraid of what would happen to her. This breaks my heart, how people are afraid to be persecuted because of their religion. When it comes to homophobia, we need to keep the word Love in mind. Jesus loves all people, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality. He loves everyone. Pence said, “We in Indiana, are following the message of scripture. Jesus would never have welcomed a sinner into his workplace.” Did he forget about all of scriptures that says how we are all sinners? We all have things about us that make us sinners, so don’t act like you are better than a LGBTQIA+ person, because you are a heterosexual. Learn to love everyone, no matter their sexuality.

Seventh Thing, He got Christians to think he will be a great president because he has the label “pro-life” on his back.

I don’t understand how people can assume Republican equals Christian, or that anyone who is Pro-Life equals Christian. These are logical fallacies.

Here’s the proof, if Trump would have announced that he is pro-choice, he would have lost millions of votes. As Christians (although I don’t like that word, because I think Jesus is greater than Religion, watch that spoken word to understand what I mean), we tend to distance ourselves from politics and allow ourselves to be easily manipulated. Guess who’s a master at manipulation; Trump. He knows that labeling himself as pro-life, allows him to get Christian votes. But the thing is, it’s a lie to adhere to the Republican party platform and get votes. Even if it were true he wouldn’t change anything once he gets to the oval office due to the court case Roe vs. Wade, that made the decision that it was unconstitutional to disallow women to make decision. Sorry to burst the bubble, but abortion is not Trump’s top priority.

I am personally against abortion, but I’m pro-choice and will defend a woman’s right to choose. We were made by God and given the ability to choose. We were given Freedom. What we do with our freedom is on us, and no one can make decisions and choices for us. You can look at it through the lens of religion, although you might not agree with Buddhism, you still defend the First Amendment that allows you to have freedom to practice any religion, which allows Buddhism. You are not agreeing to the religion, but you are agreeing that a person has the right to choose. The same goes for Abortion.

Also, abortion and gay marriage aren’t the only things that make up politics. Don’t align yourself with a party just because they are pro-life and anti-gay marriage.

Another flaw, although republicans are (typically) pro-life, they are also pro-death penalty. In the bible, it says talks about the sanctity of all life. Does this not include an adult criminal’s life?

For those Christians out there who say that the republican party represents Christian faith, ask yourself: What is the overall theme and purpose of the Bible? I’d say it’s Love. Now ask yourself, Does Trump represent love? Does the republican party represent love? When Trump says misogynistic, racist, islamophobic, and homophobic hate speech- is that love? Are any of these things love? I’d say no, they aren’t. So, what does Trump represent? In my opinion, Trump represents the opposite of the Christian faith. He represents; homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, colonialism, neoliberalism, sexism, misogyny and racism.

Like I said in the Author’s note, this was a hard thing for me to write and open up about, I hope you respect that. I also challenge you to comment something, but please if you disagree with me, don’t link to my arguments by spreading hate. If you spread hate, you are proving that everything I have said is true. I also challenge you to post a list of who you are, so you can see how you too are different from the comment before you and the comment after you. Our differences are good, don’t let them separate us.

We are stronger together!

Wonderfully Made…

This is clearly the selfie era.

Don’t worry, all you, self- proclaimed selfie queens, the purpose of this blog is to not come against you.

Shoot! This last year, I’ve dabbled in the world of selfies, and I am unquestionably not good at it.

I have come to the conclusion, certainly after many fails, that it -undeniably- takes some skills to take a picture that is worthy of posting on Facebook and/or Instagram.

I applaud selfie experts and their ability to get that “just right” angle, and selecting a fitting filter that captures that flawless face look.

It just doesn’t work for me.

Perhaps, it has to do with my distinct Puerto Rican features- my bitty eyes, my narrow, long nose, or my pointed chin. But, I wouldn’t trade them.

Combined they give me a “look”.  A look that I actually love and appreciate.

Together It says that I am stern, confident, strong and determined. My “look” has won wars for me. I didn’t need to say a word, all it took was my “look.”

Now, my smile. It is a dead give away.

My smile reveals my caring, sensitive, compassionate, and sympathetic heart, that loves to minister to the broken-hearted.

I know many feel that those that take selfies are self-centered, self-absorbed, self- admiring, or just plain vain.

I wouldn’t consider myself vain.  My appearance is something I do take pride in.

It is true, that I rarely walk out of my house without applying my “True Red”  lipstick, drawing my much needed eyebrows, and wearing something fashionable (at least to me).

I love clothes, especially fall clothes- long, fluffy sweaters, colorful scarfs, & all types of boots.

Is that vain of me? I don’t think so.

But recently, I had to face this awful, appalling, animal in the mirror.

And, so the story goes…

This summer I had to pay a visit to the doctor. I had a HUGE blister on my lip, and I needed medicine.

My PCP has been my doctor since I was 12 years old. Back in the day, I was a skinny, bony girl that weighed a whopping 85 pounds (seriously- like dripping wet.)

I can recall the one visit when my mom begged my doctor to prescribe me a vitamin. One that would help me gain some weight.

Now fast forward to almost 30 years later, and my doc. tells me-

“Rosabel, you’re getting up on that scale.”

Unbelievable. Here I was with a fat lip, and he is nicely telling me that I am FAT.

Talk about kicking me when I’m down.

I left the office with my fat lip dragging on the floor.

When I got home, I took my medicine and went straight to bed.

When the alarm from my iPhone went off the following morning, I quickly remembered my blister on my lip.

I grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand. I tapped the camera app, and I tapped the reversal icon. From the looks of it, it appeared like I was going to take a selfie, but on the contrary, I was merely using my phone as a mirror (you know you’ve done it.)

The blister on my lip was still huge. I felt so bummed and disappointed. I was hoping it would have shrunken overnight. I didn’t like being seen in public like this.

As I laid in the bed, I thought about my eighth grade students, especially one in peculiar, Robert.

Since the first week of summer school, Robert had been announcing to the class that he was going to “roast”* me on the last day of summer school (* that’s kid speak for to poke fun at) .

Robert was the designated class clown. He was quick and witty with his words. A few times, I had to refrain myself from laughing at his untimely, yet amusing remarks in class.

As I looked at myself, I knew that this fat lip was great ammo for Robert. I could hear him- “Why wait until next week. Mrs. Sanchez, I am going to roast you now.”

Yeah, I am staying home- I thought. The school could get a substitute teacher to cover my class.

But then, I recalled the book we were reading in class. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

The book was about a boy named August, who was born with a deformed face. And, all he wanted was for everyone to treat him like an ordinary kid.

For weeks, as a class, we had been discussing how shallow and unkind the world could be. How quick we are to notice when others look different. And, at times, respond rudely or insensitively towards them by staring, pointing, and whispering.

If I really believed in what I have been teaching, than I needed to model it. So, I did what I knew I had to do.

I went to work with my fat lip, covered with Blistex … not my “True Red” lipstick.

I explained to the class, that I had a fat lip because of my fever. To my pleasant surprise, the students were quite empathetic. Not one of them commented on my lip. Yes, not even the class clown, Robert.

And, for some reason, Robert decided to not roast me on the last day of summer school. Instead, he asked me to attend his summer school graduation. I think he actually was fond of my as his teacher.

Growing up, I didn’t really like how I looked. I struggled with my appearance. Obviously, all of the bullying I endured didn’t help. I also struggled in believing I was well able to accomplish the things I set my mind to.

My tough upbringing cultivated a resilient attitude. Regardless of the obstacles, I learned to persevere and accomplish my dreams.

But, I still was a broken and wounded woman.

It took me years, to love/accept all of me and to believe that I was more than capable and deserving of great things. 

You see, the world around us is fixated in setting the bar. It wants to determine what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

Don’t be fooled.

Life isn’t about looking a certain way, having certain things, or accomplishing certain things.

It’s not about making comparisons or competitions.

Life is about loving the skin your in and embracing God’s plan for your life.

It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing what the creator sees. Like the scripture says, we are “wonderfully made, and his works are wonderful!”

It’s wrong of us to ever see less than wonderful.

So, next time you look in the mirror, or line up that selfie, please take off the worldly glasses and it’s standard of beautiful.

And, I pray you will see what He sees, and embrace the body He gave you. Not because it’s perfect, but because it’s yours.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139.14

Finding Joy In All Things…

It’s was looking to be a splendid Sunday morning this summer.

The sun rays were piercing right through the sheer curtains of my charming cocinita.

As a working mom, I look forward to my weekend mornings!

It always feels wonderful to not have to rush out of the house.

I especially enjoy waking up before everyone, and have the house all to myself.


Oh! The little things you look forward to when you are a mom of four children.

My husband loves to say that I am an “old soul.”

When I am home, I tend to embrace a slower pace of living.

Apple cinnamon tea, with milk, and a good read.

Cafe con leche mixed with some raw writing.

Throw in a knitted blanket, a scented candle, and freshly cut flowers to the mix, and now your talking my language.

So, there I was sitting on my kitchen table preparing my brief tithe & offering message for church service.

I had decided the day before that I was going to focus on Malachi 3:8- “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”

As I sat on my table, listening to worship music and reflecting on the scripture, I felt peaceful and thankful for the journey God was taking my family.

As I was doing my hair, my husband asked me where I parked my car.

I told him how I had to block the drive away, since there was no parking.

A few minutes later, he said, “Rosa, your car is not out there.”

Yep, my car was stolen.

I was robbed!

I spent my morning meditating on Malachi 3:8- would a man rob God, and little did I know, I was the one that had been robbed.

I went into full gear! There was no time to throw a temper tantrum about the unfairness of my car being stolen. My husband, the pastor of our church had to preach in a couple of hours.

I went outside to my driveway, and to my surprise there was no glass on the street.

To my unpleasant surprise, my daughter, Naomi and I had left BOTH sets of car keys in the car.

Yes, you read that correctly! Both sets of keys were in the car, plus my daughter’s iPhone. 

My husband used the “Find my iPhone” app to attempt to locate her phone and car.

The app picked up the last location, which was about 2 miles away from our home.

I called the police station, and gave them the address where the “Find my iPhone” had pinged. In the city, you file a report via phone, no officers respond to a report of a stolen vehicle.

My husband and the kids went off to church, while I stood at my house with my dad. Yes, I called my daddy to come stay with me, since the thieves had my house keys.

There I was sitting in the living room with my dad waiting for Rudy- a wonderful friend of our family- to come and change the door locks, my flesh wanted me to be furious!

I know we were leaving for vacation in two days, and the timing of this unfortunate incident wasn’t the best. But, then again, when is it a good time to have your car stolen.

I wanted to throw an all out pity party. My thoughts were…

Why me?!

Don’t I do so much for you, Lord?! 

How can you let this pass your hand?!

I am your child, not them!

They messed with the wrong child of God. I know vengeance isn’t mine, but yours. You’ll take care of them for me!

I am sure my fellow sisters in Christ, can relate to the last statement! How much comfort does it brings us to say that- my daddy will avenge you! You messed with the wrong daddy!

And then it hit me, are these the thoughts God would like for me to have, or act upon?

Absolutely not!

I knew it was time to change my thinking. I needed to be thankful! Even when times are rough, we need to find the silver lining. We need to find God’s grace and mercy!

Thank you God that the thieves didn’t come into our house. They did have the keys.

Thank you God that I have insurance on my car. It will not only be fixed, but it provides me with a rental.

That afternoon, I decided to go about our regular schedule. I didn’t want this unfortunate incident to take away from our plans.

At around 4pm, we were at the park watching my husband’s softball game when my phone rang.

It was a detective. He needed me to send a pic of my husband’s  iPhone with the last pinged location from the Find my iPhone app.

I told the detective that I would feel more comfortable if he came to my house. Shortly afterwards, I received another phone call from a different detective wanting additional information.

My husband became quite suspicious.

For hours, I didn’t hear from the police station. No one cared that my car was stolen, and now, my stolen car was of importance.

Sure enough, as my husband began to piece things together, he found an article about a crime that had taken place near the area were my car was last located.

A drive-by shooting- one more lost life.

When my family and I arrived home, there were three detectives waiting for us.

Here I was concerned about my car being stolen, and an innocent life had been taken away, and my car was being connected to the crime. Can you say- perspective?

They caught the thieves that evening, in the car. They fled and damaged my car.

It’s been two months since then, I would like to say everything is all settled, but that is unfortunately not the case.

It took a month for my car to be released from the police pound. The police department kept my  keys for evidence.

It was an absolute mess trying to get the car out of the pound to the body shop.

It was also a long strenuous process for the insurance company to send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage.

My car is still in the body shop. I have had to make two payments on a car that I just want to get rid of.

I even received a red-light traffic ticket in the mail that was caused from the fleeing thieves. I had to contest it.

It has been a long, exhausting process.

But, I know I need to find joy in all of this.

The bible says-

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

And so, I will continue to fight the good fight of faith. I will continue to praise God because He knows all things, and no matter what, I fully trust in His plans for my life!

At end of the day, are we going to continue to worship him regardless of the trials we face, or are we going to fold over and let the enemy declare victory over us! 

It’s our choice to stand firm on His promises, or to be shaken by life’s unfair, unfortunate circumstances that come your way.

It ’s a guarantee that life will bring trouble, but take courage that our God will always have the victory!

If you read this blog, all I ask is that you PLEASE pray for the family that loss the young man to this senseless crime.

The Missing Piece of My Puzzle…

Death is inevitable.

We all know that is what lays in waiting. (Sorry for my being blunt, but there is joy at the end of this post!)

Yet, when we lose a loved one, it causes such excruciating pain.

Life will never be the same. It will always be different. Even for Christians that believe in eternity struggle when they lose a loved one.

Life will keep going on, day by day, we will get better in catching up to it.  But, a piece of your life’s puzzle will be gone, and nothing could take its place.

The puzzle will have to continue to evolve without that missing piece.  And, all you could do is hope and pray, it will be good. But, you know in your heart, it will never be better.

Milly’s story…

For many years, my cousin, Milly, and I didn’t keep in touch.  (Sadly, that is the situation for many of my family members.)

Last year, I was leading a women’s bible study group for my church, and Milly showed up out of the blue with a mutual friend of ours.  I had heard that she had been diagnosed with the same cancer that took her mom’s life when we were teenagers.

That evening the bible study group prayed for God’s healing to come over Milly.

On my way home, I cried.

My tears were tears of sadness, but yet of hope and thankfulness.  You see, I was sad that my cousin had to face the giant, cancer.

But yet, I was hopeful and thankful that I was able to pray for her, and no matter what, she had Jesus to carry her through this undeserving storm.

While going through chemotherapy Milly would continue to attend bible study group, and church on Sundays.

About three weeks ago, I got word that there was nothing else the doctors could do for her. She was being sent home from the hospital. She would receive hospice care at home.

On her Facebook page, her sisters were asking for no visitors.  Milly was extremely tired, and needed her rest.

I continued to pray for her.

On Friday, October 7th, I arrived at work, and my thoughts quickly went to Milly. I wanted to see her, and pray for her, but I wanted to respect the family’s request.  But, I knew if I didn’t see her one last time, I would feel absolutely devastated.

So, I prayed.

On my way home from work, I received a phone call from our mutual friend that Milly wanted us to come over that night.

I knew that was it. God was calling her home.

Although I really wanted to see her, my head started pounding, and my stomach started turning.  I hadn’t seen my other cousins, Milly’s sisters in years, and I was nervous.

My mom’s side of the family isn’t on good terms, but it had nothing to do with Milly’s family.

To be raw and real, family encounters aren’t easy for me. It’s a reminder of all the hurts that have divided us.  (That was terrifying, yet liberating to write.)

Milly’s husband, daughter, and sisters graciously welcomed me with open arms.

When I walked into the bedroom, Milly looked beautiful.  The peace she had in her heart permeated throughout her. She didn’t need me to comfort or assure her of God’s goodness.

Milly loved God, and she knew His goodness regardless of her illness.

She was going home to her Father.

So, with tears running down my face, I prayed for her!  After I prayed, I asked her “so what do you want me to do for you?”

And, the words easily came out of her mouth.  Please keep your eyes on my daughter.

The next day, Milly passed away.

Once again, I cried tears of sadness and thankfulness.

I miss her, and my heart breaks for her family!  But, I am so extremely thankful that our lives crossed paths before she left us.

I am thankful that my Lord heard my prayer, and I was able to see her one last time, and pray peace over her.

But, since then, I’ve been crying often.

The loss of my cousin has me thinking about my mom.  My mother is not dead, but as many of you know, she is in a vegetative state.

I miss my mom immensely.

There is an emptiness in my heart that no amount of busyness can fill.
Trust me, I have tried.

The other day I cried myself to sleep, because I couldn’t recall her voice, and I so badly wanted to hear it.

Not the sweet, “Mimi (my nickname), I got you something.”  She loved buying me stuff.

More like, her scolding voice.

“You think I was born yesterday! I know what you are going to do before you even think it.”

I loved her spicy attitude! I know she loved me so much that she would kick my butt, before she stood by and let me make a stupid decision.

They say, time heals all wounds.  I think it’s more like time helps you learn how to maneuver in life, without that essential piece of your puzzle.

Today, I am trying to fill my mom’s piece with the memories I have with her…

  • how she couldn’t hear music without dancing, especially Salsa music.
  • how she mixed her words up. She never got sayings correct.
  • how emotional and passionate she would get over the minuscular things.

As I wrote those things, I can literally look in the mirror and see her. I am so much like her.

Her blood runs through me, and all I have to do is listen carefully to my voice and I could hear her voice.

I know we all have pieces missing from our lives, but don’t run from it, and don’t try to fill it with unhealthy things.

I am learning more to embrace my hurt, so I can live freely.

One day, I’ll get to sit beside my mom, and share all my stories with her.

Until then, I’ll continue to write …

Summer School Shenanigans

This summer of 2016, I decided to do the unthinkable, at least in my mind.

I taught summer school.

It had been years, since I did.

With all the political, dark clouds looming over CPS (the forever “broke” line and a possible fall strike), I felt it would be wise to take the opportunity and increase my rainy day fund. I was actually excited for the chance to connect with the students and be part of their summer.

I have to admit that when I thought about summer school, I couldn’t help but to conjure up images of Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley. Or, the two fun-loving horror movie fanatics who – yeah, you get the point.  Any product of the 80’s knows what I’m referring to (millennials- feel free to Google it).

In case you were wondering, (spoiler alert!) my summer school experience was nothing like the one in the movie- thank God!

I can handle my own with the kids, and teaching is my passion. Overall, my 5 weeks of summer school were fun and informative. Learning is reciprocal, and the group I had did teach me some things.

You see, summer school (at least at CPS) is reserved for “low performing” students in grades 3rd, 6th, and 8th. Since they performed “low” on certain assessments or had poor attendance, the district mandates that they complete a summer program. If they do, they can pass to the next grade.

I drew a mix of 6 and 8th grade students.  I know what you might be thinking. “Oh, wow! That’s a tough one!” Or, “Ouch! 5 weeks with teens and tweens!”  But, I must say the grand majority of the kids were respectful, worked hard and were pleasant to work with.

But, (stories like these usually have a but moment) I did have to deal with some “shenanigans” that got me thinking.

I am a true believer that the apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree, and so this summer school’s experience exposed me to some parenting decisions that had me shaking my head.

Let me start by saying that raising good kids starts in the home- with parents (or guardians).

Point Blank.

As much as some might say extended family members, schools, churches, and neighborhood programs, aren’t responsible for “home training” our children.

We brought them (our children) into this world, so it’s our responsibility to point them in the right direction.

Now, all those things I listed above can “assist” in the laying of a solid foundation for a young person to build off of.

However, it is specifically the parent’s foot that has the privilege of giving a child the necessary swift kick in the rear and get them back in the right direction.

OK. Rant over, back to summer school. But, I think you’ll see a connection.

Six days into the program, I was called down during my morning planning time, to address a mother that was insisting that her daughter had missed 2 days of school, and not 3 days. Indeed, she was correct, there was a clerical error made. But, shouldn’t she be more concerned that her daughter missed 2 of the first 6 days, than protesting a typo.

Later, I received a letter from a student’s mother. The mother expressed concerns that her daughter was being bullied by three kids in the classroom.  This was news to me, since the daughter had been agitating students throughout the program.

But, here is the crazy part. The irony of the incident is, in the letter, the mother threatened to come up to the school and tell both the principal and me off, if nothing was done about the situation. She even wrote- “don’t make me go up there.”

Hmmmm, I wonder where the daughter got her aggressive nature from.

The last week of the program, a mere 4 days before finishing- six of my 8th grade boys decide they are going to hang out in the park and ditch school.

Upon noticing that I had six boys missing from my class, I called the attendance office. I also informed a school security guard who responded “They’re at the park. They do that sometimes.”

Needless to say, after a quick prompting- Mr. Security guard was on his way to retrieving the six.  All the parents were notified before the six were allowed to enter the class. They all walked in with heads hung low.

Over 24 days of summer school, my 22 students racked up 52 tardies. There was little regard for being to school on time.

Recently, I received a phone call from the person in charge of the summer school program for the area where I worked. They wanted information on a particular student. I’ll call him Albert (to protect his true identity).

Here is a brief background on Albert. He threw a chair at a teacher at his prior school. During summer school, he was sent to the office twice for cursing, was one of the six who ditched school, and missed 4 days (out of the 24). I must disclaim that three days worth of absences, were because his own mother pulled him out of the program. She was fed up with his behavior. She knew his missing those days would cause him to fail 8th grade. 

But, (here we go again!) his mother now had called the school and was advocating for him to pass! The district called me and wanted to know what would have been his final grade, so they can determine if he could graduate!

My response to all of this.

Parents need to start being parents. Like I’ve told parents in the past, I/we teachers have your children for a year, but you, you have them for life. There is only so much I/we can pour into them, but you, it’s your responsibility to point them in the way they should go.

A few suggestions-

1. Stop looking the other way, or protecting your child when they make mistakes. He or she, will never take responsibility for their actions, if you are always making excuses for them. Sadly, one day their consequence – being aimless with no future, serving time in prison, or regrettably death- is going be more then you can shield them from, and by that time, its too late.

2. When another adult shares their concerns about your child, like a teacher, hone in and listen up. Be respective to the information. Try not to be so quick to defend. These are not personal attacks on your parenting.

3. Look at the situation objectively. It is better to fix mistaken behavior when they are young, then allow it to escalate.

4. Stop trying to be your child’s friend. Either you are asking your child to grow up too fast, by allowing them to do things that is not appropriate for their age. Or, you are not acting your age, and trying to be a teenager. Either way, the outcome will not benefit you or them.

It’s okay to have fun with your child, but there has to be explicit boundaries and expectations.

5. Stop giving your child everything they want. We are creating a generation of “entitlement” children, who feel they are owed something.

I don’t understand why kids under 14 need phones.

When I taught summer school, every student in my class had phones with wifi. Why? They were sixth and eighth graders. The things that electronic device will expose them to, and yet, parents don’t monitor them.

Girls will show up to class with no chip nails, pedicure, and weave in their hair.

Boys will have the latest shoes costing $200 bucks, Beats (headphones) and all the latest video games.

Yep, these things just maybe what Albert gets after walking the stage as an 8th grade graduate, this summer.

Whitewashing in the Theatre


This morning, I sent this email to Porchlight Theatre, a Chicago theatre that cast a white man as a Latino in their production of the musical In the Heights. If you agree with my sentiment, use your voice too.


I am a young Latina, born and raised in Chicago, who was thrilled to find out Porchlight was putting on In the Heights. Now, for obvious reasons, I am not.

In the Heights is not a silly romance, or universal comedy. You cannot swap out ethnicities in a story that inherently argues for the promotion of the Latino narrative as told by Latinos. Porchlight is roughly 3 miles away from the city’s epicenter of Puerto Rican culture, Humboldt Park, a community grappling with gentrification as I type. You see, the plot of In the Heights is playing out in the theatre’s own backyard, and yet it still cannot grasp the overarching theme of the musical.

It is a shame that the casting decision has not backtracked. No matter how you spin it, Porchlight passed on an opportunity to further the reach of an important story in a honest way. With the hateful rhetoric being spread by one trollish presidential candidate, the telling of genuine and positive Latino stories is more important than ever. I thought that was happening at Porchilght.

But alas it is not. As Usnavi stands to fight the whitewashing of a city and, Lin stands to fight the whitewashing of the theatre, I stand with them.

– Bianca Sanchez

In Response to an Anonymous Comment: Feminism and the Wage Gap Revisited

Back in May, I wrote a guest blog for this website. In the blog I discussed feminism. A comment was made on the blog, calling out the legitimacy of my arguments. I, along with the help of my sister Bianca, have decided to kindly refute the assertions of the comment and better explain our own beliefs.


  • The Wage Gap is REAL, and partly caused by discrimination

                  Bianca, 18

                  ( Note: This video, and all sources listed in the description, are the basis of all my evidence

While some people refuse to acknowledge the existence of a pay gap between men and women, research has found that it exists. The size of the pay gap depends largely on what is being calculated. The pay gap by hourly wage is 16% – by weekly take home pay between 18 and 19% – and by annual earnings around 20%. This does not account for differences in education, skills, and experience. However, when that is all accounted for the wage gap drops to between 4 and 8%. This disparity is the “Unexplained Pay Gap”. There is no economic explanation for it. It is gender discrimination. Due to this, women lose, over 241 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR TO DIRECT DISCRIMINATION.

Now, several sources refuting the existence of a wage gap note legitimate issues surrounding career choices, paid hours, and children. It is true women, on average, work less PAID (keyword) hours than men, and choose less lucrative professions. Women work on average 167 minutes of unpaid routine housework, while men work 101.

As far as the impact children have on the wage gap, studies have shown with each child brought into the home a woman’s average income compared to men drop. It drops about 7.5% after the first kid. Also, a Stanford study using fictitious resumes, showed mothers were less likely to be offered positions and when offered a position where offered lower starting salaries and lower level positions. Fathers, conversely, faired better in both employment opportunities and wages. Which explains why the wage gap worsens as women age.

This wage gap isn’t expected to close until 2058. I have no doubt that it exists. And given the evidence you should to.

  • Just because gender discrimination is illegal, doesn’t mean it is gone forever

                  Naomi, 16

There are a lot of laws and amendments in this country. In a perfect utopia, everyone will obey these laws. Unfortunately, it is very naive to assume that just because something is “illegal” that it doesn’t occur regularly.

For instance, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. This means that it is currently illegal to be discriminatory to people based on race. Does this mean that people don’t discriminate against different races and people of color? Does this mean that racism ceases to exist? If you answered yes, then I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. It is empirically proven that discrimination and racism still exist. If you don’t believe me, turn on the news, and you’ll see. But, isn’t racism and discrimination illegal?

The same goes for sexism. It is illegal to discriminate based on sex. That doesn’t mean that sexism doesn’t exist anymore. The Wikipedia page on The Equal Pay Act, towards the bottom it reads, “…the EPA’s equal pay for equal work goals have not been completely achieved, as demonstrated by the BLS data and Congressional Findings within the text of the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.” So I guess the whole, “ Cause u kno, we’re already equal.” isn’t true. We are not “already equal”.


  • Miniscule?!?!

                  Naomi, 16

What chilled me the most about the comment left on my last post was the phrase, “you should be grateful that as a woman, you have a two times less of a chance to get violently assaulted by that man.” It is unfortunate that I had to type that. It is extremely sexist, and disrespectful to women experiencing any types of abuse at the hands of men. In addition to that, Women are 6.5 times more likely to be raped than a man, and 1 in every 6 women will be a victim of an attempted or completed rape.

Also, catcalling is not a “minuscule” problem, in a random sample survey []  of 811 women, 99% of the women reported having been street harassed. 95% were a target of staring, 94-95% of whistling and honking, 87% of a sexist comment, 82% of a vulgar gesture, 81% of a sexually explicit comment, 77% of kissing noises, 75% of following, 62% of a man blocking their path, 57% of sexual touching or grabbing, 37% of a man masturbating in front of them, and 27% of assault. None of these numbers are minuscule. Justifying catcalling and saying that is useless to fight against these things is completely ludicrous. Does this mean, I should just stay silent? Does this mean, that when a man explicitly checks me out and whistles at me in a public setting, I’m suppose to just let it slide? Does this mean, that it is meaningless for a woman to talk about her daily struggles of being women? Does this mean, that we are suppose to just stay silent??? Justifying catcalling creates more and more justifications, it’s a domino effect. One justification leads to another.

If catcalling doesn’t warrant an entire movement of female justice, then what does warrant an entire movement? Do we need to wait until the casualties grow bigger? How many more women need to be raped? How many more women need to be street harassed? How many more women need to be discriminated against in the workplace? How many more women need to be left out of politics? These are questions you should think about before jumping to conclusions.

  • Career is not always the ideal

                  Bianca, 18

Even in western society different sub groups have different ideals. Some homes encourage the idea of a working women, while some discourage it. I am not here to say that either women staying at home or working is best. But, I refuse to be narrow minded in thinking that the way my little slice of life views female roles is the way all western people do. As expressed in this blog. Women should do what they want. Feminism isn’t about telling women what to do. It is about making sure that women have other equal opportunities.


Submission: One Hard Step…

The word submission conjures up many connotations. The world has warped this word by associating it with words like weak, passive, and doormat.

I personally don’t think those words accurately represent what the bible has to say about submission.

I would argue that it is possible for a strong, independent, self-sufficient, woman can learn to submit willingly and happily to her husband.

Here is my story.

Growing up in the 80s, on the southwest side of Chicago, I pretty much lived on the streets, or more like the sidewalks.

The sidewalk is such an innovative idea. It’s something common and overlooked by adults, but for a child, it’s more than a means to an end.

Partly due to the fact that the sidewalk never really took us anywhere but to the end of our block. In which we would turn back around, most likely, on our bikes, big wheels, or roller-skates, and head back to the other side of the block.

Sidewalks were our stomping grounds.  But, no one would dare step on the cracks of the sidewalk, so not to break their mother’s back (some of you will get that).

We would play hopscotch, Chinese jump rope, and double Dutch on them. As well as, recite chants using our hands, feet, a bit of hip action, and of course, a whole lot of silly sassiness.

However, even back then, the hood- with their stopping grounds weren’t all fun and games.

It exposed me to unfortunate experiences which instilled some wrong thinking within me. I am sure you can identify with some of the sentences below, and/or even question why I feel it’s wrong to think this way.

Wrong thinking:

  • I need to be independent and strong. Weakness is not something to admit or accept.
  • I need to always be on guard, and not trust too easily.
  • I need to have tough skin, and not let them see me hurt.
  • I need to protect myself, or better yet, fight back whenever it’s necessary.

Yes, those sidewalks were also our proving grounds. If someone hits you, you better hit them back twice as hard.

Back then, teasing and bullying were done right to your face. There was no such thing as cyberbullying.

I can recall a number of times that I was a recipient of bullying. Shoot! I was even bullied when I was a cute, little Brownie for the Girls Scouts- by a girl twice my size.

One particular fight that comes to mind was when I confronted a bully.

My little sister and a couple of her friends were playing outside. From inside the house, I could hear her calling me. “Mimi, Get out here!”

As I got closer, I recognized the boy and I told him, “leave my sister alone.” He pushed me, and said something along the lines as “what are you going to do about it?”

I have no idea what got over me, but I started punching him. Before I knew it, my dad was pulling me off of him. My lip was busted, but the champion was clearly me.

That night my dad and my Tia’s were watching the Mike Tyson fight, and my dad declared to everyone that I was the real Mike Tyson.

Thinking back, it truly wasn’t anything to be proud of. But that is how it was growing up in my hood.  Either you fought back, or you were a coward. And, being a coward attracted more bullies. It’s important to mention that kids back then used their fists, they didn’t have access to weapons like they do today.

As I got older, this type of wrong thinking crossed over into other areas of my life.

My dad would give me consejos, pieces of advice. And, majority of the time, they were right on point.

One consejo was to make sure you wear the pants in the house when you get married. This one wasn’t so much on point, but he had good reason to share this advice with me.

My dad came from an abusive home. My grandfather demanded respect and submission with his fist. My dad also witnessed plenty of husbands, cheating on their wives, and leaving them high and dry.

He didn’t want me to be dependent on anyone, including my husband.  I was his daughter and he wanted me to be able to stand on my own. Just in case_______.  You can fill in the blank.

Then, I grew up, went away to college, and I met the love of my life, and married him. Even back then, Juan was a kind and wonderful man.

But I brought this mindset to my marriage, and I didn’t know what damage I was causing until my marriage almost fell apart.

I sought godly counsel from the assistant pastor. A snapshot of the conversation is below…

Rosa, you seem like a strong, independent woman. I proudly nodded my head in agreement.

That can be a blessing for the right circumstances, but within a marriage relationship were “two become one” it can be detrimental. Then, he asked me the following questions:  Do you think your husband feels needed by you? Do you lovingly submit to your husband?

I had to respond “no” to both questions.

After much peeling of the onion (getting to the root of my issues), It turned out, I was scared to need, and submit to my husband. My wrong thinking became the walls that guarded my heart and mind from truly giving myself to him.

During that season of restoring our marriage, I learned the importance of applying biblical principles to my marriage, like the one below.

“Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-23

How do I, an independent. strong, self-sustained woman start this process of submission?

One thing I knew I needed to do was, to surround myself with godly women. I did just that.

These ladies showed me what it was like to love unconditionally with plenty of grace and mercy.

But, unintentionally, some of these good-hearted women of God exposed me to some misconceptions about submission. Their traditions and customs leaked into their thinking, thus influencing their guidance, and tainting what the word of God had to say about submission.

Below are a few misconceptions:

  • A wife is the husband’s helpmate. He is not supposed to help the wife, rather, the wife is supposed to help make his life easier.
  • The wife’s role is minimized to doing chores- cooking and cleaning. And, the raising of the children is more of her responsibility, than the husband.
  • A wife compromising what she thinks is the godly choice, so she can win her unsaved husband over to the Lord. Pretty much being a “yes” man, without expressing her opinion.

Webster’s Dictionary defines submission: the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.

What do you do when you see a yield sign while driving?

As a driver, you should stop or slow down to let another vehicle through. And, when you do this, you are yielding your right of way to that vehicle.

God is asking us, wives to yield to our husbands, not to get off the road, or allow them to run us over.

I am well aware of the fact that some of you are more qualified to lead, so you can easily take the wheel, and do it all yourself, and probably better than your husband.

But that is why you are his helpmate, or what I like to say copilot.

Your husband needs your input, and he should ask for it. As wives, we aren’t supposed to be passive, or bystanders in our homes.

We aren’t inferior, or of less worth, than our husbands. Christ submitted Himself to the will of the Father, without giving up an iota of His worth.

Helpmate is not about the house chores or picking up his socks from the bedroom floor. You aren’t his mama, or his slave. However, if you like doing those things as a token of your love for him, by all means keep doing it.

But, please don’t spiritualize it.

It’s always astonishes me how unsaved, or for that matter saved husbands don’t know many scriptures, but they love to wield the submission verse like a judge would a gavel.

But, if only they understood the type of leader God was calling them to be.

First and foremost, we are all called to submit to God, our Father, and to one another out of reverence to God. Romans 13:1 and Ephesians 5:21

As the spiritual leader of the home, the husband shouldn’t lead with an iron fist.  A wife’s submission should be a natural response to his loving leadership.

Jesus is the epitome of servant leadership. He came to serve, and not be served.

Jesus didn’t need a wife to pick up his sandals, or belongings.  On the contrary, Jesus even cleans the disciples’ feet to demonstrate humbleness. John 13

If your husband is not saved, or backslidden, he can be won over without words by your behavior, when he sees the purity and reverence of your life.” I Peter 3:1

If you are knowingly sinning right alongside of him, I am not sure how your actions will draw him to God.

It’s when you strive to put God first, not your husband, walk accordingly to God’s word, and embrace holiness, that is when your behavior will be most impactful.

Today, I willingly and lovingly submit/yield to my husband.

I am still very much a strong woman.

I would argue that it truly takes a strong woman to submit to their husband the way God has called them to.

However, I don’t feel the need to be independent, or self-sufficient.

As I become more dependent on God, I am experiencing more liberation. I am no longer afraid to need and give all of me to my husband.

I can jump off the cliff knowing that my God has me. He is the rope tied around my waist that will keep me from hitting the ground below me


Just Be…

The sunshine lit up the room as its rays glistened through the sheer, white curtains. The soft spring breeze came through the slightly opened window creating a whimsical waltz with the curtains.

The faint smell of freshly mowed grass filled the air, and birds were heard chirping.

A bouquet of blossomed bright orange tulips adorned the table, and sliced; sweet strawberries were waiting for me.

Once again, spring was graciously embracing me with its presence.

And, it had me thinking.

Had I changed much since last spring?

I am definitely older. Regrettably, I have spotted additional gray hair, appearing like wires peeking through my dark brown hair.

But, what I am wondering, or more like hoping to discover is; am I wiser?

I am always striving for better, and not the same. For some reason being the same scares me.

Adjectives like stagnant, apathy, and complacency come to the forefront of my mind.

I know, that is not me.

I tend to gravitate towards words like growth, change, and transformation.

Those words exemplify spring.

In spring the grass, plants, and flowers are growing.

The weather is changing from coolness to warmth.

And, the lifeless, leafless trees are transforming to trees that are budding with life, the squirrels and birds, and first hints of future green leaves clothe the branches.


For me, spring is also a time for new beginnings.

It’s a time for planting, purging, and pruning.

The planting of seeds of kindness, encouragement, and mercy, so I can harvest a heart more like Christ.

The purging of all the excess things in my life, so that I can make space for what needs to come to life.

The pruning of all the ugly things, like jealousy, bitterness, and unforgiveness, so that I could flow in the gifts of the spirit.

The outcome of the planting, purging, and pruning is like the spring rose that blooms in the summer.

Just like others are drawn to the pretty rose, they become drawn to you. They want to smell, touch, and admire the beauty you exude.

And, that is when you point them to your creator, the one that takes you from glory, to glory.

Let’s go back to my kitchen.

Today, something simple, yet profound hit me.

It’s okay to just be.  Yup. That’s it.

Recently, I heard a brief message about embracing your place.

Sometimes, I struggle with embracing the place where God has me, when it comes to my career and ministry.

I find myself wanting to do more for God’s kingdom, that thoughts of working less become a desire of mine.  But, that is not God’s plan for me, yet.

So, I need to remain thankful for my job and embrace the ministries I am blessed to be in.

Sometimes, I also struggle to enjoy the seasons of my life- a mother of two teenagers and two little children can be challenging.

But, I want to enjoy it, because one day my nest will be empty.

I consider myself to be a thankful person. However, I do experience occasions when I want more.

More isn’t all bad, but it can lead us to a place of being discontent.

It’s easy to get caught up in wanting more for yourself- striving to be a better you, and accomplishing your dreams- that you don’t enjoy the present blessings.


How many times have you prayed fervently for something, and once you finally get it, you find yourself merely content for a brief season before your thinking shifts to your next endeavor or desire?

What I am learning is the present is the best.

Go ahead and plant, purge and prune away. Certainly, in due time,  you will reap a harvest of growth, change, and transformation.

But, my challenge for you is to embrace the present place and season God has you in.

If it’s being single or married, embrace it.


If it is being a stay at home mom, or a working mom, embrace it.

If it is raising teenagers and/or little ones, embrace it.

If it is the season of the empty nest, embrace it.

And, whenever possible, please take time to enjoy a good book, watch the sunset, smell the roses, let the breeze take you, and just be… yup, that’s it.

Why God?

It is inevitable that we will face trials and tribulations in life. The bible even tells us to “count it all joy,” when we experience these seasons.  (James 1:2)

Certainly, joy can be the last thing we are feeling when tragedy hits close to home, when the storms of life are raging all around us, or when the black clouds gather over us. It is a struggle to see the light of hope.

I am no stranger to these difficult times.

Unbearable grief, undeserved brokenness, unexpected disappointment, and downright unfair circumstances, have shown their face in my mirror.

My heart has experienced such unbearable heaviness.

I know what it is like to quietly weep, as I tried to fall asleep.

And unfortunately, I have had my share of the uncontrollable, “I can’t breathe”, ugly cry. When right words have very little impact, and all that could comfort my heart and soul was a good cry.

I had let it all out!

And, then I would ask the question –  “Why God?”

Recently, while listening to worship music on YouTube, I was introduced to the song, “It is Well” by Bethel.

I was not familiar with the original hymn,“It is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. My sister-in-law kindly shared his story.

Horatio Spafford experienced many traumatic events in his life. He lost his two-year-old son. Shortly after the 1871 Chicago Fire ruined him financially, he lost four daughters when a ship collided with a sea vessel and sunk.

His wife survived the shipwreck, and sent Horatio Stafford the famous telegram- “Saved alone.” Horatio had to cross the same sea that his daughters drowned in. And, as he did, he wrote “It is Well With My Soul.”

One would think, that his heartbreak would be too much for anyone to bear. But, a few years later, tragedy struck again.  After having three more children, he lost another son.

After having endured all this, Horatio, his wife, and two surviving daughters still moved to Jerusalem and faithfully served God in ministry. 

After hearing this all to similar Job story, I had a whole different appreciation for the words “It is Well With My Soul.”

When I went through my darkest days, the song, “Held,” by Natalie Grant ministered to me. Some of the lyrics are below.

Who told us we’d be rescued

What has changed and

Why should we be saved from nightmares

Were asking why this happens to us

Who have died to live, it’s unfair

This is what it means to be held

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell

We’d be held

What I learned from that season is that God doesn’t promise that everything is going to turn out okay, or that my prayers are going to be answered.

My mom wasn’t healed. If anything, things got worse for her.

Thankfully, God does promise his love for us,

He will wrap his loving arms around us, and he will get us through it.

He is our hope during the hopeless times.

He is the light that shines on our path, so we can wake up and do life regardless of the heartbreak.

Trials and tribulations are going to happen. The unthinkable things are going to occur at the worst moments.

Is there really a good time for bad times?!

And, during these moments, you are going to ask the question: “Why God?”

But, let me make something crystal clear, our God didn’t bring the trial or tribulations. It’s the enemy that “steals, kills and destroys.”

However, our comfort is that everything passes through God’s hand. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. He’ll take our pain, and makes something good out of it.  (Romans 8:28)

What I have been trying to wrap around my little human mind is that the life we live here on earth is short, compared to a life with him in eternity.

Regardless of my bad times, I can see God’s goodness, and I am extremely thankful for the life I live.  But to hold on to this life like it is everything is to not understand God’s plan for us, and that is eternal life with him.

It’s absolutely okay to ask and wonder why things happen. It is especially okay to mourn those that we have lost along the way. Hopefully, you know him as your Prince of Peace, Strong Tower, and Comforter.

Breaking Free

Visiting my mom and little sister in the nursing home hasn’t gotten any easier for me.

To be transparent, I pretty much dread the visits. There have been times that I have avoided visiting them at all costs.

There is no denying that I have quite a hectic schedule with four children, work, and ministry. I have used my busyness as excuses.

I am not saying that I haven’t visited them in the past. But, it hasn’t been as often as I should, or would like to.

I know- strikingly horrible, and blatantly shameful of me.

Please do bare with me, as I share my struggle with you. At first, I was hesitant to write this, not sure of what people would say or think.

But, then I am reminded, that my imperfections, my struggles, my shortcomings, and my failures, can be someone else’s hope. 

It can easily be the assurance they need that despite their mess, there is a God that loves them, and only wants to wrap them in his loving arms of acceptance and forgiveness.

I know there are others out there that can relate to this, and so that is why I will share my story in hopes that the chains that have held me in shackles would finally be broken.

Not only would I be set free, but, so will others.

Seeing your love ones living a life in captivity isn’t easy. Yes, my mother and sister are in a nursing home. However, the quality of life they are living is of captivity.

Point blank.

My mother is in a vegetative state. A feeding tube and an oxygen tank are keeping her alive.

My sister whose mind is operating somewhat normally is practically immobile. She barely can form sentences because her muscles are deteriorating.

They are trapped in their sickness.

Their present state brings me just as much sadness as the days they were both admitted. 

Over the years, God has helped me deal with sadness.

He has become my joy!

It’s the guilt that is overtaking me.

Why do I feel guilty, especially when their sicknesses are completely out of my control?

The guilt I feel is simple. 

I am healthy, and they aren’t.

I am living a life outside of that nursing home, and they are trapped in there.

Time and again, the guilt has kept me from experiencing true, blissful happiness.

Something good, great, or even downright amazing happens in my life, and yes, I feel happy about it. But, what usually happens is that the guilt I feel, stops me in my tracks.

Immediately I am reminded that I can’t call them to share the good news, and they can’t join me in the celebration.

But, the dagger that pierces through my heart is that they don’t get to have something good, great, or even downright amazing happen in their life!

That hurts.

That hurts like no other.

To know that someone you love will not have those experiences is extremely unsettling.

For many years, I have felt guilty about that.

This morning something happened.

Before, I went to visit them, I prayed and worshipped while doing my make-up and extremely, encumbrance hair.

***On a side note, my hair is a gift from God. When I am styling my hair, usually it’s before the kids and life are at full speed. There is a quiet that I experience. What I’ve found is that during this quietness, I’m able to connect and hear from God. No, it’s not a lightning bolt, splitting the dark clouds kind of encounter. Rather, in the peace and tranquility of the moment, that allow His presence and guidance to become clear. I know some of you feel me.***

In my bathroom mirror, one could see a women doing her hair and makeup, and all may seem well. Oh, how the outer appearance can be so deceiving.

But, internally, there was a battle taking place.

I didn’t want to go visit them.

I wanted to see my sister and mother, but I didn’t want to see them in the state they were in.

What I wanted to see was my mom dancing Salsa with my dad, or my sister walking across the kitchen floor with her coffee cup filled to top, and always managing to spill some of it.

As I stood before that mirror, God spoke.

I have allowed my mother and sister’s sickness to hold me in captivity. And, not visiting them often wasn’t making things better for me or them. Instead, it was increasing my guilt and sadness.

The enemy did this to them, and now, he was using their sickness to keep me away from them and in bondage of guilt.

He doesn’t want for me, or you to live an abundant life. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. John 10:10

But like the rest of the scripture says, our God comes that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.

He also tells us to resist the enemy and he will flee from us. James 4:7

Friends, the battle is real. We need to capture every thought that doesn’t come from God.

My guilt of being healthy and happy doesn’t come from God.

My mom and sister don’t want me feeling guilty.

My sister just wants me to visit her. She is lonely.

My mom wants me to visit her for my sake. She wants me to have peace, when her time comes to leave us.

It hurts for me to confess this, but I made this all about me. My guilt and sadness have made me selfish. I have allowed these struggles to keep me from being a good daughter and sister to them.

I know in my heart that God has forgiven me, and today, I will start that process of forgiving myself.

If you have a loved one that you haven’t loved the way you should, please don’t let another day go by without telling them you love them. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.