I have had a lot of time the past few days to reflect on the first three months of motherhood. If I could sum them up into one word, it would be “purposeful.” My young adult years have been full of championing others to fulfill their kingdom purpose instead of their earthly potential, yet I never knew exactly how much that would impact my view of God and motherhood.
I didn’t consider the sacrifice my body would have to make to give another person life, and it opened my eyes to the purpose of Jesus’ life (and Mary’s role in mothering him).
I didn’t consider that my spending habbits were unhealthy. How could I hold a baby wearing a sequenced PINK top? My belongings have been minimized to comfortable and purposeful.
I didn’t consider the value of fatherhood. The teamwork and communication that has to happen between two people raising a little is a part time job in itsself, but we keep eachother educated and at peace with prayer.
I didn’t consider the hope in tradition. That the making if tamales, lighting of a tree, or setting up the nativity would silence what was beyond our walls.
I didn’t consider the change in work flow. That when a new mom would reach out to me, I’d feel the same giddiness I feel with brides.
My body, habbits, marriage, traditions, and work have served a much greater purpose in the past three months. The heart behind motherhood can’t help but spill into every aspect of life, and I adore it. But even if I lost it all, being “Anakin’s Mom” is all I ever want to be.
Okay. I have no idea what I’m most happy about:
- I’m off work the next two days.
- Elf is playing on the TV right now.
- I’m on my second beer.
- I applied for a house this week.
- My Christmas packages arrived safely to the middle east!
I am so excited to FINALLY be sharing the mother of all care package ideas, CHRISTMAS! *Praise break* In this post, I’ll show you not one, not two, but THREE packages I put together for my husband, troops, and my family! If you have a loved one deployed, in school, or just far away, I hope this helps inspire you to send love via care packages!
- Instant soups
- Mac n cheese
- Oatmeal (instant)
- Peanut Butter
- Beef Jerky
- Almonds & Walnuts
- Breakfast Teas & Stress Relief Teas
- Hot Coco
- Candy Canes
- & 150 + Homemade cookies (Chocolate chip, sugar, mint chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, and snicker doodle)
Total weight: 40 lbs.
Thank you to everyone who helped with this package, and to my beautiful mom, sister, and niece (along with her girl scout troop) for sending their own packages with just as much, if not more to our troops!
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
As for my family’s package, I sent two packages to California. One to “mom’s side” and one to “dad’s side.” Instead of ordering online, or sending gift cards, I wanted to personally wrap each gift with a photo that comes to mind when I think of them.
Okay, and maybe all of my gifts are from Nordstrom… Sorry hunny!
I hope this inspires you to spoil those you love, and spoil them well. We never know when our last day will be, so don’t hold love back from anyone ❤ Happy Holiday and may our troops, you, and your loved ones be blessed in the name of Jesus!
Xoxo – Angel
Thanksgiving Care Package Post: Click here.
Halloween Care Package Post: Click here.
I know that there’s a fine line between “introvert” and asshole. I also know there’s a fine line between “extrovert” and asshole. So before I begin to step on your toes, and ruffle your perfect image you have of yourself, let me start off by saying: we’ve all been terrible friends. We’ve all committed (as I quote Mean Girls), “some girl on girl crime.” For different reasons, but never the less, we have ALL done something wrong by someone else’s standards.
I’m nearly twenty three, and I like to believe I can see the three different stages of my friendships and their cures. Call me Dr. Obvious.
1) Always The New Kid: I have the same best friend from Kindergarten. Not because I’m ever so faithful, or because best friends last forever. We’re still best friends because SHE did all the hard work over the years. I simply moved from city to city to city. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized she deserved better, so I grew into being a better friend for her. As an introvert, I bond over one on one time. So me moving around, I never felt close to her (leading to the feeling of not needing to send a postcard,) resulting in a one way friendship for years.
Cure: talk about her behind her back. Not in a evil way, in the way where other would learn why I love her. Just because a friend is not there physically to bond with, doesn’t mean they can’t be your friend anymore. Brag about your friends, even when you don’t need to! They have victories in their life that deserve to be celebrated around the world. And one day, when you walk down the isle, she’s be there, and everyone will know the queen she is…
2) The Wannabe. Oh this makes me want to rip my hair out, but it happened, and it’s over. To make up for the lack of friends, I went through a phase where everyone and their mom should be my friend. No, literally, moms were my homies too. Although in this period I had the most friends, I was also the most lonely. Being an intro* (does shortening it make me cool?), I re-energized by reading, listening to music, anything that does not require a bra on, etc. So what mistakes did I make? I joined the drama club, the dance team, the basketball team, the softball team (all I quit and/ or got kicked off). I spent all my energy trying to portray a party girl/ girl with many friends/ anything but someone who stays at home and enjoys a Harry Potter marathon.
Cure: Just be yourself. If you are feeling social, then choose something you love, not just anything. If you want to meditate over Ron Weasley, do it.
3. Being a friend like a friend should be. I don’t know where the standards of friends came from, but I do know everyone has different ones. For example, some expectations I’ve encountered:
- You can’t be friends with anyone they don’t like.
- If you don’t make them feel comfortable in their own home, then you must not like them.
- Text at least once a day reassuring they’re still your friend.
- Don’t acknowledge that they’re single.
- Don’t ever bring up their ex.
- Don’t express concerns about their soon to be ex.
- Be a puppet.
Some expectations I have had:
- Offer me food.
- Like coffee.
- Don’t bother me when I’m on the Internet.
None of these are wrong (okay maybe some, but don’t share this post with them.) I’m a firm believer that expectations are setting a roof of limits. If you have expectations of a friendship, it will only go so far. If you have expectations on a church, it will never be good enough. If you have expectations on your body, you’ll always be one step behind. The only things we should have high (if any) expectations is potential lifelong partners and a coffee maker. Even then, mostly just coffee. Off track, okay, here we go.
Cure: Be a friend like Jesus. I know what you’re thinking, “really, you just said asshole, now you’re pulling the Christian card?” Well, first off, that’s an expectation of how you think I should be. Second off, Jesus is always the answer, duh.
Christian or not, look at the Bible as a story. That’s what it is, a very long love story. And like any story, there’s characters. So lets take this character Jesus, and see how he is a friend.
Jesus began calling His disciples friends rather than servants because He had entrusted them with everything He had heard from His Father (John 15:15). He trusted people “below” him. They didn’t have to earn it, they didn’t have to cater to him, he came down to us. He wants to perfect you – not pamper you. He wants you to be the “best you” that you can possibly be. He was willing to lay His life on the line for His friends (John 15:13). He initiates the opportunity for friendship. His promises will get you through difficult times.
But the biggest trait He has that we turn our cheek to: He forgives! In our culture, we tend to say “I’ll forgive, but never forget!” Jesus don’t do that with His friends, He forgives AND forgets their shortcomings and failures. He forgives their sin and calls them FRIEND. Most of us want to receive forgiveness, but don’t want to give it away. We like to fester and self poison ourselves with hate for someone else, even if they don’t know it.
So if you are introvert or extrovert, I challenge you to
- Connect with someone today. Post card, text, etc.
- Be yourself. Do something you LOVE. Paint, read, go to the club.
- Forgive someone or ask for forgiveness. Remove expectation of others, and on yourself.
To say this year was a year of blessings, is an understatement. Aside from getting engaged, planning a wedding, and quitting my day job to focus on Jesus, I spent the second half of this year with University of the Nations. When I felt called to do a DTS in Kona, Hawaii, my initial thought was “no one will support me.” But, to declare that, is to say that God isn’t bigger than our dreams or finances. The past six months have been an uncontrollable roller-coaster. Yet, day after day, God proves himself faithful. Especially these last few months. During the happy tears and tears of pain: God is good. Here is a simple breakdown of the week to week life in a foreign nation, attempting to do what Jesus calls us all to do: make disciples.
* To exclude the bad, would be to exclude the grace of God, and the reality of being human.
He’s in the military, I am in missions.
Here are five things to know before getting into (or continuing) a long distance relationship (or engagement)
1. There will always be time to talk.
Even with a six hour time difference or being nations apart, there should always be time made to communicate with each other. At points, it may mean sacrificing sleep. Sometimes both parties have to loose some Zzzz’s to get by with staying on the same page. So much life happens in a day, and if you aren’t bending over backwards to share a sliver of your life with someone else, or bending over backwards to hear about their life… maybe it is time to cut the cord. I don’t know about you, but I love to hear the fascinating adventures of my love. Maybe there would be a lack of a spark if I called, and he was playing the same video game as yesterday, or was “too busy” to make time for me. It’s just like making time to read your bible or drive thru the 15 minute Starbucks line. You make time for what you can’t live without.
2. No one left anyone, it’s called living out our dreams.
I cringe when someone refers to military dudes and chicks or missionaries as “leaving.” “They left their familes behind.” I believe it’s jumping ahead. Jumping at the opportunity to serve and love others as Christ loves us. You can say “leaving,” but we chose to step away from a comfortable life temporarily so others may live free from hate, shame, and condemnation forever.
3. Distance does not influence cheating.
What if one of us finds another… well I guess it depends on if you’re looking for someone else or not. If you go out and you’re looking to give someone attention or receive it, then you’re definitely not ready for a committed relationship. My sister once said, “If someone is going to cheat, why is distance a contender? They could cheat even when you live in the same house, so why would being apart make much of a difference?” I would agree. Would you stay close to someone to slim the odds of them cheating? The way I look at it is: I love Jesus, my future husband loves Jesus, and I love my future husband.” What’s the worst that could happen? He cheats and there’s someone better out there? If I loved the wrong person THIS much, I can’t wait to see how I love the right person for me. Humans will always let us down, but God is the consistent anchor we can holdfast to. God is a JUST and good God. He has a plan for us. So don’t hold someone else’s mistakes against your significant other. There’s two outcomes: you make it to the point of someone else is protecting your heart, or you make it to the point where God protects you from someone not worth giving your heart to.
4. Have fun with it.
Yes, we still have fun and go out. What good would talking do if we were constantly waiting for the other person? Go out for burgers with the boys, get the best brew in town. Go to the beach with your classmates, go wine tasting when you have the once in a lifetime opportunity. All that matters is the intentions behind going out, and the choices made even when no one is watching. We don’t sit at home, with no going out rules, or with any rules at all. If rules have to be set, it means someone has no self control and someone wants to gain full control. I sleep a room next to male teammates, he sleeps a floor next to female coworkers. What matters is, even in the midst of worldly desires and temptation, we walk with integrity, love, honor, faith, and hope in a happily ever after handcrafted by the one who created the stars. When there’s hope like that, what in the world could Satan offer that would be more desirable than true love?
5. Lastly, it isn’t easy… but worth it.
When people ask, my immediate answer has been, “No, it’s easy when both people love Jesus.” Until I’m in a village in the mountains with no Wi-Fi weeks at a time, then I find things I wish I could tell him. I’ll make notes to forward to him, I believe it’s an overflow of friendship. When something wonderful (or terrible) happens, and all you want is for your best friend to know. There is an absence that can not be filled by anyone else, but the Holy Spirit is the ultimate comforter. Even in difficult times, I know that God would not lead me into wasting my time; there is beauty in longsuffering. We come out wiser, discerning what is right and wrong by righteous standards.
The past few weeks have been INSANE.
First off, holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty: I got ALL of my outreach funds in the last 24 hours before it was due. Thank you to all who supported this mission, it means the absolute world. When the last donation came in, I burst into tears. It has been a year of raising $10,000. My heart told me this was my calling, while my mind told me there was no chance in heck that I would get the funds. So, again, thank you so much!
Second off… I have had island fever for weeks now. Itching to get out of Hawaii and into the nations! My heart has been stirred for the Argentine people and ruined for the ordinary “normal life.” Missions is our new normal. Building genuine friendships and loving unconditionally is the new normal. Spending days in airports talking about adventures is the new normal. It’s nice to break out of the island and see God in the faces of all those we encounter. He is everywhere and we get the privilege of serving a piece of His heart.
So as I sit here in our last layover on U.S. soil, I just wanted to say thank you guys so much. I can’t wait to share stories with you on this blog or when I return!
See y’all in December!
P.S. I will not have cell service, nor texting. Please contact me via e-mail, instagram, or voxer
I sit here on a cafe’ patio, with my iced coffee, journal and laptop, overlooking the ocean, in absolute awe. God is so, so good. How did I even get here? This doesn’t happen. A girl like me with a broken past, with a trail of mistakes, from a crazy background, does not get this lucky… which is why I’ve come to the conclusion: it’s by the grace of God, I am so incredibly blessed.
Let’s back pedal a little bit. This time last year, I was living at my boyfriend’s house, running away from my problems. I worked a meaningless job, in the highest position offered, with a ’97 Barbie car, and had an amazing boyfriend to adventure with, yet I was still broken. I wanted family, I wanted a different past, I wanted to be a “good Christian”… whatever that means.
Fast forward to 7/15/14. I am in class, having anxiety attacks; it’s the day the list of nations is released. Night before I had vivid dreams of Costa Rica. In class, as they are listing off the nations, I wait for my calling… Okay it’s going to be the next one… maybe they’re saving it for last… *last one is listed*… What the HECK, God?! WHY IS IT NOT ON THE LIST! In anger, I marched over to the world map, and picked the two closest nations: Brazil and Argentina.
On 7/17/14, we had a lovely surprise: the teams have been completed. By this time, I’ve accepted my calling to Costa Rica was true, but “not yet.” Staff could send me anywhere, and I would love to just go love people. We walked into our class room, and staff had us find out our team members ourselves… then we collectively figure out who our leaders are. Soon, we realized we were one of nine teams that were smallest in numbers. Three men, three women. As soon as we established our team, we knew: God is sending us to Argentina. Keep in mind, I had no idea Argentina existed, nor where it was on the map until the “List Day.” I google’d it THAT morning and my first thought was, “Mountains?! Snow?! Are you trying to kill me! I’m from the suburbs of California for crying out loud.”
Rumors had it that the “Argentina Team” had one leader: Ike. Ike is the man’s man. He could lead me to The Shire, and I would be his elf without a doubt. As we waited for him to be revealed officially as our leader, something amazing happened. I looked around at my teammates. This was intentional and full of purpose. All of us were strong in different ways. We had endurance, self-confidence, joy, and best of all: willingness to travel through the ends of the Earth to love others. Our team was stacked with ambition and strength, and when Ike stepped out in a snow suit and hiking equipment, every ounce of fear from the world vanished. Our family hugged for the first time.
So again, as I sit here in a cafe. I have a family, I love my testimony, and all I want is to love others like Jesus. It is by the grace of God, and all of you amazing people who believed in me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself. Where will God send you a year from today?
*Please consider supporting my mission: Click here to donate.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5