"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer


Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Night to Remember: Kuro & Ivy

Yesterday on January 30, 2015 the beautiful wedding of Ivy and Kuro took place in a beautiful church! 

Too bad we were late!! 
(An hour and 15 minutes to be exact)

To pass the time in the car on the way I took a few selfies... 

By the time we arrived the ceremony was over, and everyone was preparing to head out to the reception, but at least we made it in time to see some good friends of mine make their love official forever!

The reception was gorgeous! The speeches that were made during the toast were tear-inducing, and events, such as the throwing of the garter, were gut-busting hilarious!


Nico did his best to stay awake for mommy and daddy, but the poor little guy fell asleep as he was waiting with the other unmarried men for the garter to be tossed. 

It was a night of enjoying a special time with our friends and coming together to celebrate a young love that we witnessed grow since its very beginning. 

We even took a dip in the pool for Ivy, who was dying to get in since she walked into the reception area. It was FREEZING! But at least I looked good ;) 


The wedding reminded me of how much love we share between us and what a blessing it is to be able to take on life with your best friend.  

Kuro and Ivy, you guys are made for each other, there is no other way to put it. You complete each other in every way and I know that with the help of God you will be Army Strong together until the end of your days. I wish you joy, peace, and abundant, overflowing love! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Vidal Change in NYC

I'm sure by now that many people have heard of Humans of New York, a photography series with its very own Facebook page where Brandon roams the streets of New York City taking pictures people and telling their stories. The stories that make up the enormous textbook of life, that are the very pulse of one of the greatest cities in the world.

Many of those people have moved us, motivated us, and brought us together for the same cause! Through HONY people all over the country encourage and support each other, sometimes even financially.

Such is the story of a young man named Vidal.

It all started with this picture and this quote.

"Who’s influenced you the most in your life?"
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
From there Vidal's story took an interesting turn. Brandon was intrigued, and inspired to go to Vidal's school to meet the famous Ms. Lopez. What he discovered was that she was every bit as amazing as the young student made her out to be.

“This is a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily expect much from our children, so at Mott Hall Bridges Academy we set our expectations very high. We don’t call the children ‘students,’ we call them ‘scholars.’ Our color is purple. Our scholars wear purple and so do our staff. Because purple is the color of royalty. I want my scholars to know that even if they live in a housing project, they are part of a royal lineage going back to great African kings and queens. They belong to a group of individuals who invented astronomy and math. And they belong to a group of individuals who have endured so much history and still overcome. When you tell people you’re from Brownsville, their face cringes up. But there are children here that need to know that they are expected to succeed.”
Soon, people started to notice how much a caring principal could impact the lives of students who otherwise would not have much hope. Strangers came together and realized that she needed help to enrich the lives of the future of New York. A fund raiser was started and people from across the country sent money to support her goals and the dreams she had for her students.

I was visiting Vidal today when we remembered that he was going to be making his big newspaper debut in the Daily News. So we ran across the street to the corner store, and sure enough, there we were! Right under the naked women.

The school now has enough money for an annual trip to Harvard University for the next ten years, a summer program for the next ten years, and they have enough left over to start a scholarship fund for outstanding students. 

The first student to receive it will be Vidal. 

If we as a community have the power to do that for a school in New York, it is completely possible to turn around schools everywhere. 

Especially in places like Puerto Rico. The public school system on the island is absolutely pitiful. 

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico is investigating the suspicious wave of robberies and vandalism in its public schools that began after the government announced its intention to cancel its multimillion-dollar contract with a private company that guards the schools at night
The best thing that these schools have to offer is the free breakfast and lunch program, 

but is food really enough? 

Every student deserves to feel like adults are doing everything possible to make sure they receive a good education. That is simply not the case here. Public schools have high drop out rates, and students are generalized. They feel that no one believes in them, which in part is true, and it shows.

How long will it take before people take notice here and start to make the necessary changes?

If every school in PR could be like Mott Hall Bridges Academy the island would witness a remarkable turn around.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Freed From Auschwitz

Today is an Important day of history that should NEVER be forgotten. On this day 70 years ago, Russian soldiers freed the survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland from Nazi enslavement.

For Those Of You Who Do not know, Auschwitz was one of the MOST lethal and Well Known concentration camps. Many men, women, and children Were exterminated, abused, and experimented on there Solely Because They did not Fit With Hitler's great race.

In the 1940s Hitler was the MOST ruthless dictator of His Time. He convinced the majority of the population that Germans were the supreme race, and all others that were poisonous to the growth and development of the country. Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, dwarfs, and black people were Considered enemies.

In a vicious attempt to eliminate them completely, Hitler constructed concentration camps Where I would force Human Beings to work under horrifying conditions or commit mass murder-through the use of gas chambers.

Unthinkable and unspeakable horrors that occurred during the years Hitler was in power.

Soon, as other countries country started to notice what was happening, a second World War was of declared. Finally, in 1945 on January 27th, the survivors of Auschwitz were LIBERATED.


 Let us NEVER forget this day.

Let us be aware that genocide is STILL happening in modern-day society.

Let us fight this HORRIBLE injustice.

And let us NEVER persecute others based on ethnic, spiritual, or sexual differences.

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 Simple Steps for Shaking Off The Funk

 Many of us are probably feeling a little burnt out by now. The holidays are over and all of those happy Christmas feelings are long gone. The motivation we had to achieve our New Year's Resolution has dissipated, and we are back to the same tired routines of the year before. 

Those are just a few of the many causes of the build up of negative emotions that make up what I like to call The Funk. 

It is not quite as easy to overcome as the Winter Blues, and it is not as intense as depression, but it certainly is unpleasant. The Funk has a variety of symptoms including lack of interest, body soreness, apathy, fatigue, and a general hopeless feeling that nothing will ever make you smile again. 

A common belief is that the cure to The Funk is finding happiness. I don't think that is accurate. Yes, happiness can relieve some of those symptoms for a while, but it is a fleeting feeling that eventually wears off. Soon you will find yourself looking for the next happy high to pull you above the surface just long enough to catch a few deep breaths.

There is a more permanent solution to eliminate The Funk for good and I believe that solution is finding the joy within you. Joy runs deeper than happiness. It is a lasting emotion that leads to inner peace and psychological rest.

According to dictionary.com the definition of joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

What if I told you that "something exceptionally good or satisfying" could be found in your own mind? 

Many times, the key to lasting joy is trapped in our thoughts, but can be brought out by following a simple defunkification  process. 
(Yes I just made up a word)

Step 1: Kill all incoming negative thoughts. It is much more simple than it sounds. Whenever you have a thought that produces a discouraging emotion, counter it with a thought that produces a positive emotion. For example, if you are mentally putting yourself down for not sticking with you resolution, challenge that by remembering a time when you actually did follow through with something. Consider how good you felt and remember that one failure in no way defines who you are.

Step 2: Get some fresh air. It may be cold out there, but being inside, staring at the same walls you've been staring at for weeks, months, or even years, can be depressing. So is browsing Facebook, stalking people who are enjoying their lives more than you happen to be at the moment. Go for a walk and take 10 deep breaths. Every time you inhale, imagine yourself sucking up a bit of your Funk, and every time you exhale, imagine yourself letting it out. 

Step 3: Occupy yourself. Chose a few new goals; pick something long term and then plan a short term goal that will help you achieve the long term one. Get a new hobby, maybe something that you have always wanted to do. Plan an exciting vacation to a new country and learn a new language to help you prepare! Some times we can fall in to The Funk because our spirit is telling us that we are not making progress. Human beings are meant to do amazing things! If you are doing the same thing as last year, something's gotta give. 

Step 4: Take a break. You are back to school, the Christmas decorations at work have come down, and life is pretty much back to business as usual. So take a break from life. If you can afford to take a mini weekend vacation do that, but taking a break doesn't have to mean going away. If you have a flexible schedule, try taking a nice comfortable nap in the middle of the afternoon! If you are shackled to consciousness by your responsibilities, make time before going to sleep at night to get wrapped up in an exceptionally good book. (I recommend Liars Like Me by yours truly!)  

Step 5: Count your blessings. I mean this in the most literal sense. If you tried everything on this list and you are still trapped in the suffocating fog of sadness, start to make a list of your own. We all know that life is unfair, and, if we are being honest, we tend to realize that fact even more when we are not enjoying it. Life kicks you when you are down, so the best thing to do is get up as quickly as possible. On a piece of paper start to write down things that you are truly grateful for, even if it was a long time ago. Better yet, start a blessing jar, or jug, or bowl; pretty much any empty container you have around the house will work for this. Everyday write down something that you are grateful for, or a blessing that you have experienced and put it in the jar. If you can't think of one, start with the fact that you are alive and able to read this post! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bible Coming To LIFE!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of the great flood, it is a very old story about a man named Noah who was the only person on Earth, literally, who did what was good in the eyes of God. God was displeased with the world He created and the evil people who lived there, so He told Noah to build an ark, a GIANT boat, in preparation for a big storm that was coming. 


God was going to make it rain! 

Not only that, but He was planning on flooding the entire planet. God simply told him that He loved him and that Noah would need to prepare. 

Unlike many of us, Noah got straight to work building the ark with his sons. Though the task at hand seemed ridiculous and impossible he was obedient. Noah didn't wait for a sign, he didn't doubt that it would rain so profusely, he didn't try to convince others that he was right; bottom line is that Noah did not WASTE TIME!


When God asks us to do something, we tend to procrastinate, or ignore the task all together. We think, "God would never talk to me." or "Why in the world would He tell me to do that?" The truth is, He talks to all of us everyday. We should open our ears to listen, not just hear, and once He reveals our destiny to us, we need to get started! 

Noah’s Animals

A few amazing people are doing just that in Williamstown, Kentucky. The makers of the Creation Museum are working on constructing a life size Noah's ark! Their goal is for the Ark to stand as a reminder of the biblical story of Noah. Soon, we will be able to know how hard Noah and his family worked to do the same thing thousands of years ago with the guidance of God. 


Finally, we will be able to witness what happens when we fully commit to our calling from God!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy & Me Monday!

These are days I live for... I am blessed to be able to share moments like these!

We took a bunch of selfies while waiting to go to the restaurant.

Happy M&M Monday =)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Teaching Toddlers: Sensory 101

I enjoy doing fun random activities with Nico! At least once a week I search the internet for interesting new games that teach babies and toddlers all kinds of important and exciting things!

This week we enjoyed an afternoon of sensory time! We played with the sense of touch, which is when we explore new textures and get a little messy. Sensory play has MANY benefits for toddlers and even babies. 

For this activity we used shaving creme, rice, and flour.
I bought Nico his own personal shaving creme so that we don't use ours,
I separated some rice for him and marked it as play rice,
And I did the same with the flour. I saved it in a container to make play dough with later.


Picking up tiny grains of rice aids in the development of fine motor skills 

While pouring it from one container to the other develops problem solving skills and helps him to learn the processes of physics.

Most children can't learn the meaning or definition of a certain word until they have experiences it for themselves. While attempting to mold the foam, I repeated things like "squishy," "soft," and "white!"

Do not be discouraged if baby is a bit apprehensive to touching it at first. Remember that everything is new for them, and show times new things can be intimidating. Just get your hands dirty right along with baby and show him/her that there is nothing to be afraid of. This teaches them to be brave and to tackle problems head on! Take your time and follow your baby's pace and cues. If he tries to eat it, let him, as baby will quickly learn that his actions sometimes have icky consequences.

Nico was not exactly thrilled about the idea of playing with foam at first. When I presented it to him he looked at me like "you expect me to touch that?" But by the end he was quite pleased. 

Nico dominated his play time, making most of the decisions on his own which instills confidence, as I mentioned before, and fosters creativity! As soon as he figured out what flour was, there was no stopping him. 

Eventually, it all ended up on the floor (which was thoroughly cleaned before this activity) and on him. 

 Have fun! And remember,