She's a matriarch

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The cards she has been dealt were not always fair.

She made the best out of it unaware.
Out of poverty, she found provision.
Out of marriage, agape love.
Out of sickness, sustaining health.

When you see one, please know 
You can't keep a matriarch down. 
She may fall but she rises stronger.
She has a reason to live longer

Her descendants are her greatest treasure

She teaches as she sows
She corrects with the future in mind
She prophesies the course of destiny
Praying God will bring it to pass.

Don't put her in a box: she's a matriarch. 
The fears she once faced are now stories of faith.
We bless her with our ears 
To hear what's in her heart
We treasure her with presence 
We know when we are apart

We honor her with our lives
For we are an extension of her.

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My Favorite 0 Point Drinks

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

When I became a WW member, I knew I had to give up drinking sugary drinks. The genius of WW is that if you like a drink, you can drink it. You just have to make it work for you. Sugary drinks did not work for me. I read the research, I knew what it does to my body so I said goodby to them. 

Still, every now and then, I like to drink something that is not water. Here are a few zero-point (on Blue)N drinks I enjoy:

• Water - It is so good for me. I have to trick myself to drink water each day but it is worth the effort. I just drink plain water. Sometimes, I add electrolytes to it. I mostly try to drink most of my water intake for the day before 5 p.m. 

• Coffee - I love coffee and coffee likes me. I am teaching myself to drink coffee black, which truly would make it a 0-point drink. When I add anything to it, there goes the 0 status. 

• Hot Tea - I enjoy hot, herbal tea during the day or before I go to sleep. I keep 2 or 3 kinds of tea at hand during the day and peppermint tea if I want to drink at night. 

• Diet Snapple - I recently discovered that I really love diet Snapple. It is a treat. I don't buy it often. When I do buy it, I pair it with lunch.

Here are 5 more drinks

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Dinner Party

Monday, May 3, 2021

I didn't grow up with dinner parties but I love the idea. To be honest with you, most people would come to our home for lunch when they did. Dinner parties for me are an American experience. 

I mostly watched people going to dinner parties in movies. Interestingly, everything mostly works. Even when there's conflict around the scene, everything looks chic and delicious. 

My life doesn't resemble the party movies I watched. There are dishes in the sink. Our home is way bigger than the small New York apartments we saw on screen. We also have kids who are often part of the party. 

COVID interrupted many things, including our habit of having people over. With the dawn of a new day in Texas, I decided that I wanted to host more dinner parties. 

I started hosting a mystery dinner party. Mystery because the guests didn't know one another. I want to say that they left as friends. That was super cool. 

The dinner menu was Brazilian food. I bought flowers and lit the candles. I didn't have time to make dessert so I bought it from the store. Nevertheless, the company was the main dish, the food and the environment, the sides. 

I miss the nearness of people. Dinner parties give me that. Even when we text and see people on a regular basis, the dinner party offers the opportunity of unhurried conversation. Good conversations lead to connection. 

Connection is the conduct for friendships. Life post-COVID requires that we re-examine our friendships. Nothing and no one is off the table. It is wise to make the commitment to count your friends. If you are honest, you lost some long before COVID. Others, you never had. Why hold on to something that is no longer life-giving? 

If I can't connect with you in a meaningful way, chances are, we really aren't friends. We are acquaintances. Acquaintances are okay. I do make more room in my life for true friends. 

My goal of hosting more dinner parties is my way to make room for true friends. I also believe in introducing friends to one another. 

I honestly get a kick of saying "this is So So, you're gonna LOVE her." I'm not selfish with my friendships. I'm not a friend hoarder. I believe the heart is big enough to accommodate multiple friendships. The heart is insightful enough to know which friends will be close friends and which ones will be simply friends. 

The arms of friendships are always open, willing to embrace everyone. Friendship's table is inviting, willing to save you a seat, fix you sweet tea and give you your favorite dessert. 

I'm eager to see how my dinner parties will produce fruit. I hope they provide a much-needed place for friendships to begin or to start again.

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My first mammogram

Friday, April 30, 2021

During my annual well-woman exam, my doctor told me it was time to start getting mammograms. He explained the process, and what to expect. His office scheduled the mammogram with the radiology department. My mammogram was scheduled for 5-6 weeks after I left my doctor's office. 

A week before the mammogram the radiology department called and told me they were moving their machines so they had to reschedule my appointment. I was like, "okay."

When the day of the exam finally came, I was super nervous. I had not been super nervous about anything in my life for a long time. I asked a few friends to pray for me. The night before, I was speaking with a friend from high school who told me her experience. 

She has a history of breast cancer in her family, so she's been getting exams for a while. She told me I would be just fine. My friend lives abroad, and the government pays for those exams. I thought that was pretty awesome. She also informed me that if you don't have enough tissue to fit the machine, they give you ultrasounds. The playful way she told me made me laugh.

My appointment was at the end of the business day. I went to the wrong building, and instead of driving, I decided to walk to the correct place. I thought the extra walk will help me calm down. That was a good decision. 

The waiting room was empty. When my name was called, I answered. An older nurse introduced herself and told me she would be doing my mammogram. She asked some usual information.

She also asked if I had the COVID vaccine, which one and in which arm. I thought those had to be both signs of the times and health data gathering. 

She asked me to undress from waist up and put on a gown that reminded me of the top part of a choir robe. Here's the problem: I had on a dress. 

She asked me if I had on shorts. I said, no but I can make this dress into a skirt. I laughed and told her, "can you tell I've never done this before? Of all the things I could wear, I chose this dress." She helped me unzip the dress. 

When I was ready, we went to the exam room. The nurse was very skillful and she had great manners. I basically had to stand still so they could take 4 different pictures. When I looked to the walls, I saw a painting with Jeremiah 29:11 written in it. That was very comforting. The visual reminder that God and hope and a future planned for me. 

I stood still as the nurse requested. The whole thing lasted maybe 7 minutes. The nurse said, "sometimes, the doctor's office calls back for additional images, so don't freak you. You don't seem to be the freak out type so you'll be just fine." I took that as a compliment. 

I thanked her and left. My friends asked me how it went. I told them it wasn't so bad. There is pressure but for me, it wasn't painful. I often compare the pain I've felt in the past. I told my friends that my well-woman exam is way more uncomtable. We agreed that part of being a woman is knowing pain and discomfort. It is all worth it if it means we are being good stewards of our health. 

Yesterday, I got a phone call from my doctor's nurse saying the mammogram looks good. I was grateful for the good news. 

I wanted to share this experience because it is important to schedule health exams. It is okay to be nervous and afraid. What is not okay is postponing the things that help us to be healthy. 

I understand that mammograms are expensive. I read in the newspaper this week that an organization was offering them for $99 to those who do not have health insurance. There is a way to take care of your health, all you need to do is reach out for help.

Lastly, I know that God is in complete control. He has also made us stewards of a lof things such as our health. I had my wake-up call when my blood pressure was dangerously high 15 years ago. I decided to do something about it. That wake-up call keeps me focused on living a lifestyle that allows me to manage stress and other contributing causes of high blood pressure. 

I learned that taking care of my health is not about what's going to happen tomorrow but it is about the quality of life I can enjoy today. Tomorrow is not really guaranteed. God has given me today so I will honor Him with a healthy lifestyle. 

Lastly, I want to remind you that I took small steps to go from where I was to where I am. If you are afraid of going to the doctor, call a friend so she can go with you. 

If you are embarrassed to start exercising in a group, invite a friend to join you. Small steps lead to big accomplishments. I want to encourage you to take small steps today. It is not too late to start. 

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The Supreme Gift of Motherhood

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

God created mothers. He gets a say on how motherhood should be conducted. Here are the ways I understand God's invention and sustaining work of motherhood. 

Women are mothers. God blessed women with the gift of motherhood. Whether our children arrived by birth or adoption, He gave us the responsibility to nurture new life into adulthood. I take this responsibility seriously. I understand not everyone has a mother who took their role seriously. I cry and empathize with them. I also think that we can do for the next generation what was not done to us. I believe that regardless of what we received from human beings who failed us, we have the capacity to love unconditionally and to be the conductor of the supreme gift of motherhood. 

Motherhood is Biblical and it is also cultural. I live in a country where motherhood is seen from one lens. This one angle gets mistaken for God's law to all mothers. It also gets preached as "every mother must act one way." Here is the problem: God so loved the world. God created mothers who birthed children in Japan and Jamaica. Their realities, their way of expressing love and caring for their families does not look like what I read in motherhood books written here in the States. I've seen mothers who were raised abroad valiantly raise their children to know and love God within their cultural context with the Bible as their main textbook. If you compare their approach to what I see some Anglo women teaching, you will think these multiethnic Godly Christian women are wrong. I can go on and on but here is the truth: motherhood is cultural and God is okay with it.

Motherhood and sacrifice go hand in hand. In 2020, I noticed that despite the hardships we all went through, some women did not want to embrace the sacrificial part of motherhood. Basically, I saw mothers who wanted to sublet motherhood. They didn't want to do what it takes to care for the children God gave them. I believe you can feel your feelings, you can complain, you can feel anxious, you can feel overwhelmed and still own the fact that motherhood requires sacrifice because love is sacrificial. I'm not speaking about abandoning our feelings because we have feelings for a great reason: God gave them to us. What I am speaking about is the abandonment of our responsibilities as mothers. That we can't do friends. We are in charge. God put us in charge. He didn't mean for us to be perfect but to sacrificially give of the wealth God has put inside of us. In our darkest days, God has filled mothers with love and strength beyond measure. Don't let anyone distract you from the fact that you will have to sacrifice. When you give your best as a service to God, He Himself will reward you. 

Motherhood is a supreme gift from God. I hope that you are finding in God the source of our strength and renewal.

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