My Blog

My Jar of Blessings

For the last few years, I have made a jar of blessings. This jar is very special to me, because it helps me recognize my blessings.

Not just any blessings, the blessings of that day.

Good times and bad, I date them and put them in my jar. Through out the year, I can go back and reflect on these thoughts and then remember how good my life is and how blessed I am. As I have always said, positive or negative, blessings over burdens.

I also use this to reflect on how many times God has come through for me, when I have a hard time trying to figure things out. Trust in him!

Supplies Needed:

  1. a jar or box – I recommend you decorate the jar or box how you want it; something that will always catch your attention and remind you of your blessings IMG_2984
  2. pen and paper – use your favorite color pens, but black or blue work just as well, post-its work but I have a small pad I use to add my messages, something easy to tear away
  3. a positive outlook to recognize your blessings and more blessings

What I do is on the top of each paper, I will put the date and then write down the blessing for that day. I don’t do this everyday, but when something really stands out to me, believe me, I’m jotting it down.

For instance, my son and I go on vacation every June. When I get back, I always write a blessing and a thank you to God for allowing my son and me to travel and return safely.

I add the date, so that I keep in mind that on that date this great blessing happened. I will continue this because sometimes I do fall short, and I need a reminder of how great my life is, and what a blessing it is to be alive.

My first thank you to God looks like this:

  • Date: January 2, 2018
  • Traveling grace to and from Georgia for the New Year
  • allowing me to see 2018
  • family and friends

I sign all blessing with an “AMEN” and “THANK YOU”

Give it a try, if you don’t want to do the entire year, try it for 3 months. See how many blessings you recognize for yourself and family. At the end of the three months, read your blessings and see how much God has blessed you and you also recognize how much you have to be thankful for.

God bless!

 

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Seeing the Best in Everything

Have you checked your attitude this morning?

My favorite one is, have you checked your face?

Those two questions are what I ask myself before walking out the door. Your attitude is determined by how you think and how the rest of your day will go. It’s the outlook on what your life represents.

I can fake my attitude however my face not so much.

I can sound like two totally different people, “nice Crystal” and “you get on my nerves Crystal” lol, but my facial expressions are so hard to hide. Im praying on it though.

In the past I have had the worst attitude about life. I hated how things would go my way or how things would turn out.

The truth is, it’s all about how you see life.

When you see something that you like, you are happy, enlightened, and you’re smiling, but if it doesn’t go your way, what is your reaction?

I call those unpleasant thoughts, venting, rants, negative comments….adult tantrums.

I have learned that adult tantrums absolutely help nothing. They actually make things worse and they block your blessings. I can remember not liking someones attitude and it completely gave me a not so pleasant attitude. How that person saw things instantly rubbed off on me and then my attitude continued to go down from there. I am not blaming that person, it was my fault, I let it happen. It was a choice I made.

Having your thoughts and attitude in check with God, not only helps you realize how blessed you are, it doesn’t allow the devil to come in and take over. Focus on GOD.

Remember these couple things:

  1. Focus on your blessings. It may not be in the package you wanted it in, however the blessings is still there and you should embrace every blessing God gives you.
  2. Continue to pray continuously about your short comings. What better person to talk to than God. He knows you, he created you and he doesn’t make mistakes. Know that he loves you and want the absolute best for you.

I use to find it very hard to see my blessings and to be happy with whatever situation I was in. I couldn’t understand it then but I sure do now. I look back not to look at my faults, but to look how far God has brought me.

He knows we make mistakes, he knows we are not perfect, he knows we need him, but we have to trust him completely with whatever season we are in. The good, bad and the ugly.

As you go on with your day, try to pay attention to your attitude but also focus on your blessings. Don’t allow a bad situation to ruin your positive, godly, attitude.

Blessings.

 

Happy Birthday to my Son

Today, 15 years ago, at 6:32am, God allowed me to be a mom. He gave me a 9lb 6oz 21 1/2 inch long baby boy.

At that time, I didn’t feel like it was a blessing at all. One reason was because I didn’t want children, but in a marriage you compromise and you just what you have to do to make things work.

So the journey began.

After what seemed like forever, my son was here, and I was amazed. I kept telling my husband at that time, don’t leave him, don’t let him leave your sight. Stay with him.

If anyone has ever had a c-section, you know they show you your baby and then take the baby for weight, measurements and then to the nursery so the doctor can continue the surgery.

So once I woke up, I remember seeing my mom and she asked me if I was ok and she reminded me, “you have a responsibility now” Geez, was she right.

At the time I was 22 and married for a couple years.

Well life happens, things become more expensive, and it becomes hard. Immaturity can really kill a relationship. That’s exactly what happened.

DIVORCED.

So now my son has to deal with separated parents, 2 homes and other things that come with having divorced parents. I think at one point I even thought I have failed him some how.

I can not tell you how proud I am of my son Andre.

He is such a strong kid, well now, young man. He continues to impress me with his outlook on life and how he sees life as more of a challenge that he can defeat.

He tries so hard to be the person he wants to be and doesn’t allow what others say about him to hold him back.

Now if you knew the kind of mom I have turned out to be, you would see why. I didn’t always see things like this, but THANK YOU GOD Andre does.

Earlier I said that I did not want any children. God had other plans for me. I look at Andre and continue to thank God for blessing me with such a great gift. How dare I think I have better plans than God?

As I have watched Andre grow these last 15 years, I can tell two things about him just by looking at him:

  1. He looks just like his dad. Unfortunately I did not have the stronger gene in the relationship.IMG_2145
  2. His smile will make you smile. That’s my baby.

This young man has taught me so much about myself and how to be a better mom. I tell my mom how in the world did she do it with four children, this one is a handful. LOL!

I know I was truly blessed when God allowed me to take care of Andre. He was an easy baby, and continues to be an easy going young man. I think I am the one that makes it harder. I try not to worry about him, however that’s what moms do. He takes life one day at a time and he is so funny. Ask my sisters.

When I look at him, I know God really did bless me with him. If I could just control that teenage mouth. LOL!

To watch this baby boy grow into a very smart, strong minded young man is proof that God makes no mistakes, and has great intentions for every situation.

I know he will have difficulties a head of him, but I also know he has the determination to get through anything life throws at him. He continues to keep God first and he has developed an attitude of I can instead of I can’t.

Andre Rivera, I love you so much son! Happy Birthday! Always believe in yourself. Trust you instincts and keep asking God for guidance.

 

Morning Prayer

How do you start your morning?

When your eyes open, what do you do first?

Grab your phone? Go make coffee?

Every morning when I open my eyes, I say “Thank you”

I am so thankful that God allowed me to wake up, which means I have a purpose for today. Someone needs me!

When I awake, I used to just get up and go on about my day, not really thinking much of anything, I would do my daily routine, coffee, read, hair, make up and out the door.

Over the years my routine has changed a lot.

Life happens and you realize how much more you need Jesus in your life. I have learned the no matter what the day may bring,  I have Jesus right there beside me to guide me through my day.

And you know what I have found, my day is more productive, my attitude is far better than it used to be and I have the patience with people I never have had before.

I am more peaceful and worry free. That’s right, worry free.

No, I am not rich, nor do I have a lot, however, I have learned to accept what God has blessed me with and I know what I have is a true blessing. I have learned that material things can always be replaced, but the Love I have for God and how he Loves me is a bond that can not be broken.

By starting each day talking with God, and asking him what he would like me to do for him today makes a world of difference.

Allowing God to work in your life from the start of the day, until you lay your head down at night, will open so much more for yourself and your relationship with God.

Today, before you even reach for your phone, talk with God and ask him what he would like for you to do today.

Blessings.

 

Tis the Season to Forgive

Forgiveness, what is forgiveness?

Forgiveness defines as: (noun) the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven 

I used to have a very hard time with forgiveness. I felt so entitled of my feelings, that I felt others didn’t matter and I should never have to forgive anyone unless I feel like it. Look at the immaturity, but I also look at my progress and see growth.

I’ve learned the importance of forgiveness and why I should continue to forgive others not matter how hard it may be at times.

Never underestimate the power of forgiveness. When we don’t forgive others, we aren’t hurting them, we our hindering ourselves from true joy and receiving the blessings God has for us.

Of course I use Jesus as my example, he forgave us over and over and over and he even died for us, why can’t I be so quick to forgive? Why must I continue to question the situation instead of forgive and move on? WWJD? (what would Jesus do?)

I have learned not forgiving someone, doesn’t hurt the person who hurt you, it actually hurts you. You have to forgive people for your health, you peace of mind, and for your over all out look on life.

Let Jesus be the example. He gave his life for you to be forgiven. He knew we would fail him but yet he still forgave us.

Easier said than done right?

PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!

Prayer and constant communication with Jesus can help you with forgiveness, I mean who better to learn from than Jesus himself.

Talking with Jesus daily will get you through any situation and know that he is with you along the way and will help with healing and forgiveness.

I think too often we allow our pride and emotions to take over and the thought of forgiving someone is to far fetched, but keep in mind what the Bible says about forgiveness:

Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” NIV

I keep that bible verse close to me because I too one day would want my Father to forgive me. The gift of forgiveness is worth more than any amount of money or material possession.

If someone hurt your feelings….forgive.

If someone wronged you in someway….forgive.

If someone lied on you….forgive.

Your relationship didn’t work out…..forgive.

This holiday season, give the gift of forgiveness.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Blessings.

 

Scents for the Holidays

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

With the holidays approaching, there is nothing better than the scents to bring in the season. I love this time of year, and I love the holiday smells that come with it.

I have created a list of my favorite smells for the holidays. These also make great Christmas gifts as well.

First, I will share a little something with you that I use at home. I take orange peels, cinnamon, and cranberries and boil them in about a cup of water on low. I’m not sure what goes on in that little pot, but it makes the house smell AMAZING. It’s a must try!!

Yankee Candle Cinnamon – this candle really puts off a fabulous smell of cinnamon. The smell lasts and it also work well even if you don’t burn it.

Yankee Candle Pine – this smell is just like a fresh cut Christmas tree. It makes the house smell like a Christmas tree. lol. I love this smell because it blends well with the other holiday smells I have.

Yankee Candle Peppermint Bark – I am a huge fan of peppermint, mainly because it helps with my allergies. This candle smells even when not lit.

Cinnamon Broom – now this broom works great. Ladies and gents, this will be a broom you’ll never use for cleaning. LOL! You can use it for decoration by the fireplace. The fragrance of cinnamon and fall leap in the air. Although, I don’t think this last longer than 2 to 3 weeks. I usually have to swap it out in the middle of December.

Glade Wax Melts Holiday Collection – this collection is great if you have warmers in the house. This link is even cheaper than what’s in the stores. I use warmers over candles only because I leave them on when I leave my home. Candles should always be turned off when you leave.

Holiday Oils – I don’t use oils, but my mom does. She adds these oils in her warmer, and her home smells awesome for the holidays.

Potpurri – I am not sure if anyone still uses potpourri, but this holiday blend works well. I use this as a decorating piece. Remember to keep it away from little ones. I put this in a cute bowl to make a centerpiece or put in on the fire mantle.

Scentsy Sugar Cookie – scentsy has the best holiday waxes, the sugar cookie smells great. It makes your home smell like you’ve been in the kitchen baking cookies.

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The holidays are my favorite time of year, its a great time to get together and spend more time with my family and friends. I enjoy this time of the season, because watching the happiness and joy everyone has makes me even happier.

Be blessed.

 

13.1 – Jesus and I

This past weekend I completed my first half marathon. For me this was a huge accomplishment because I kept wanting to but never quite got around to doing so.

I signed up the previous year, but some how talked myself out of it. This year was the year I would complete this obstacle.

I call it an obstacle because well, I couldn’t seem to get over the fear of one, not completing this and two, what if I hurt myself?

Running is something I really enjoyed doing. I have completed many 5k races and have completed some 10k but never a half marathon. Running helped me to relax. It helped the stress of life and it helped me lose weight, with over the years this has been a huge struggle for me to do.

My younger sister Danielle, started running and well, this is something she is rather good at. I know you’re thinking, how can you not be good at running right? Well she runs with a purpose, she has passion for running. She makes running look so simple, and at one point I am sure I did, however with age it seemed to get harder for me to continue with it.

Danielle works hard, she has is part of a run club, and she continues to push herself. I’m sure she doesn’t feel like running on some days, but she makes herself go.

This really motivated me to get my butt up and do this race.

Training for this race was not easy. With work, and family and not wanting to miss anything, I tried to get out there and do what I could. Whether it was Zumba Fitnesswalking dvdsTurbo Fire,I had to do something to get myself in shape.

Well it was race day, and I was super happy about it, only because I knew that after that day, I would have accomplished this race and it would be over. Plus I did work out but I was thinking, today is the day you will do this!!

I ran the first 7 miles, almost 8, then my right leg and foot started giving me huge issues. I even stopped to take a picture of a sign someone had did for my sister, because it would at least give my leg and foot some kind of rest.IMG_2466

Now you may think hey, you did a good job, you ran about 7 miles, well you’re right however being there and doing it was what I was experiencing and felt like geez, I can’t do anymore. I still had 6 miles to go.

There was a gap between me and the runners behind me. I even thought I was lost for while, because I couldn’t find signs where the race was. It was purely mental at this point. I think I even thought about quitting a couple times too, well maybe even more than that.

As I was running, I saw a bunch of crosses in yards along the route, they read, “Jesus is the Lord” Every time I passed a sign, I made the sign of the cross. I was in so much pain and I still had 5 miles to go. I can’t even tell you how many Our Fathers and Hail Mary prayers I said. It was a lot. I prayed and prayed!

Then one thing I remember, with Christ I can do anything. This was the anything I was about to do.

Doing so many Turbo Fire workouts, I could hear Chalene Johnson say, “you are not tired.” I was like yes, yes I am tired. LOL! But I knew I have never quit anything in my life. I wasn’t about to start now. Plus my parents were there, if you know me, you know disappointing them would be a huge hurt to my heart.

I wore an army shirt for my niece Aly since this was on Veteran’s Day, and got a lot of compliments, so many, that I was stopped during the race to ask who was in the army and heard a couple stories.

Also the photographer who was taking pictures actually asked me did I have a twin? I said well my sister is in the race but I’m sure she is way up there, she is a runner. The photographer then proceeded to find the picture of her and said ,”is that her?” Yes ma’am that is my beautiful sister. She said oh my God y’all look like twins. (by the way, my sister hates that and thinks she looks nothing like me)

I will say the last few miles did seem to go by pretty fast after that.

The pain continued but I had to push myself in order to get through.

The last couple miles had two, what seemed to be HUGE hills, slopes, whatever you’d like to call them, walking down caused so much pain to my foot, and then having to walk up caused even more pain.

My son and best friend Regina were waiting and walked with me the last half mile or so, pushing me along.

Then I could hear the music, and see the finish line. FINALLY!

I ran the last .10 of the race because I was ready to be over with it, and I knew I needed to finish as strong as I could or I wouldn’t forgive myself. I have always been an athlete, love sports all my life, and very good at them, but this race has to be the absolute hardest sport I have ever done.

The race takes a toll on you body and mental state. Focusing on the race is the key and continuing to push your body more than it ever has can really exhaust you.

I learned one important thing about this race, God will never lead you into the

IMG_2503something and not be right there with you. There is a statue in Carthage, TX that we passed going to Louisiana that night. I kept this to myself along the ride, however my thoughts were Thank You Jesus.

I pushed myself more than I ever have, and I know that Jesus was right there cheering me on. I can’t express enough how blessed I truly am to have him on my side every day.

 

Well as I said, my younger sister finished way before me. She has trained and trained and she loves what she does. I watched her run her first half marathon a few years ago, and never understood how happy she was when the race was over until this day. I admire her heart for running, she is truly a gem.

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Family and friends mean the most to me and I was glad to see my parents, my son, best friend, brother in law, Kristi and Miss Kenzie waiting for me to finally finish.

Looking back to last weekend, I was hurting, my body hurt, my legs hurts, it hurt to breath, but today, everything is back to normal. I did it!

THANK YOU JESUS!

Focus on the Goal

Blogging has become a fantastic hobby for me. I have to say I absolutely enjoy writing and sharing my truths.

I read a lot of blogs and I can see so much potential in the writers. I know for me when I get the notification that someone has read my blog or commented makes me smile. I enjoy reading the comments under each post. I can say, I love engaging with people whom I never met and discuss their views and opinions about my writing.

However, we do have those days where we have very little traffic and no one seems to care what you write.

REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED!

Every now and then, check yourself. Ask yourself, why did I do this? Why did I start to write and why did I want the world to read my writings?

I can tell you for me, I started because I wanted to share what I have learned, overcome, pushed through, and prove to myself that yes, you do have a purpose.  There is a reason that God has you here on earth.

It feels absolutely amazing to see the comments that I receive about my blog and I really enjoy talking about Jesus and talking about how he has changed my life. Thats my niche, what’s yours? What’s your passion?

I recently had a conversation on Instagram with a female who asked how my christian blog was doing, and she had concerns about not having enough content.

One, the fact that she asked me had me all in my feels, I was so stoked, I was like OMG you asked me, but then I told her the philosophy I use “Ask God what to write about.” I feel as though if I talked to God about what he wants me to write, writing should be pretty easy. I mean who better to spread his truths but the man himself, and he can use my writings to do so.

The point of this post is to remind each and every blogger, focus on your goal. Why did you start? What do you want from this?

Yes you will have people follow and unfollow, comments will flow in and then it will be dry. You’ll have high numbers and low numbers, but focus on your goal and keep that in the front of your mind every time you begin to out your thoughts on paper.

Keep writing, someone wants and needs to read your work!

BE BLESSED!

Enjoying your singleness

Oh the single life, the way things are looking for me, I think I’ll be single with my puppy Reggie until the end of time. LOL! No, that’s not actually what I think, but I used to.

Being the only “single” person in a group full of taken ladies can be somewhat discouraging. I say that because well, that is always me.

For a long time now, I have been single. Well my heart and mind were not, but in reality, yes I was. You see, making choices to fulfill the needs of the flesh, really aren’t the best way to go about life. You definitely shouldn’t your emotions or flesh to make any kind decisions.

When we try to satisfy our flesh, we end up making the wrong decisions, and doing things we shouldn’t be doing.

At times it is super frustrating. I see guys in relationships that are there just for the companionship and afraid of being alone. I see women who rush things just so they can “have a man” and be married. I told myself that was something I would not be doing. Although, I too fell in the trap.

Over the years I have allowed my flesh to take over what I know what is right and man, did the bad decision making follow. We all say that having someone accept us for who we are doesn’t really bother us if they don’t, however when you’re at an all time low, and no one is there, what other people think can take a toll on your heart.

Being single can be the absolute best time of your life. IMG_2440

It’s a time to find yourself. It’s a time of figure who you really are. When we get into relationships too soon, all sorts of chaos can happen. If you truly do not know a person, you will soon begin to see that real person, and you may not be too “into” that person after you see the real them.

Ladies and gents, the thing about being single is, you are free to make your own decisions, do what you want and how you want to do it. Whether you want to tolerate someone or if you don’t. Whether you want to spend more time with someone or not.

Being single allows you to figure out the real person you want to become. Learning who you are is a huge part of all of this. Let Jesus help you to figure out who you are.

Ask Jesus daily, how can I be a better person, ask him how he can show you. Being single is not torture, its a season that you need in order to grow. To grow in your faith, in life and to become a better person. Enjoy life the way God wants you to.

Being in a relationship is great! However, give yourself time to take care of you before anyone is added to the equation.

My favorite saying is, “if you aren’t happy with you, how can you be happy with anyone else.” MAN will not fulfill that need, only Jesus can!!

Jesus us always there to listen, to heal, to forgive, and to help you get past your short coming.

Trust in Him, and Him alone.

 

 

When God Says No

Too often when things don’t go our way, or we didn’t get something we think we deserved, we are quick to get upset and blame God.

We harp on the why nots and how come or how could he? The truth is that No that you received was actually a blessing.

We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips. With a touch of a button, you can turn on your car, post to thousands of people, fast gratification is what is in now.

In case you didn’t know, God doesn’t work like that. He never gives you anything before you are ready. When you ask God for something, are you actually ready to receive it?

Seriously, ask yourself:

I want a husband, are you ready to have a husband?

I want a new car, can you afford a new car?

I want a baby, are you ready to put yourself aside for your child?

I want a bigger house, are you taking care of the smaller house you’re in?

How come things can’t change, are you changing anything about your life to make this happen?

You see, when we ask God for things, are we really ready to receive them?

I came across a post on Facebook and it read, ” I wish God would sit down and just tell me what he wants me to do.” My response to that was, if he did, would you actually do it? Or since you know what he wants and will give you, will you continue to do your own thing?

When God would tell me no, I used to get so upset. So upset that it would steal my joy, my laughter, my outlook on the rest of my life. I actually would get mad at God. I look back now and think THANK YOU!! It was all immaturity.

I say that because if I had honestly gotten what I wanted then, I wouldn’t have even known what to do with it. If he had given me that boyfriend, that job, that extra car I thought I wanted, I’d be sad with a low income and an extra payment thinking to myself, how did I get here. Seriously, I asked for it.

Remember God does things in his timing, not ours. HE works on his time table. When HE feels you are ready, you will receive it, and not a moment sooner.

So until he is ready for you to have what you think you want, enjoy your singleness, enjoy your marriage, enjoy what you have going on right now. Enjoy your friendships, your free time. Those things are really a blessing. To be able to look at life on the more positive I haves instead of the negative I don’t have, that’s a real blessing.

Enjoy your moment now, and ask God what can you do for him, life will change and only for the better.

Be blessed.