A lot Can Change in 10 Years: My Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday in a couple of days. I will be a whopping 38 years old. Is it weird that I’m excited for the big 4-0 coming in a couple of years? I think it’s because I see more growth ahead. I figured this out when I looked at myself 10 years ago in comparison to where I am today. Then I looked at 10 years before that and 10 years before that…wow! So much can change. So much can get better. Interested in my 10 year milestones? I sure hope it encourages you to keep growing and to keep loving and to never give up. It can all be redeemed.

Age 8

IMG_1184I loved to write stories and draw pictures on printer paper from my Grandma’s office with my baby brother. To play with Barbie dolls on Saturday mornings with my younger sister. And dress up in pretty clothes and make up from my mom’s endless supply.

I missed my dad but would start a 4 year journey after my mom’s remarriage of only seeing my father once or twice a year. Those 2-week-long trips to Lake Tahoe did my heart much good. So when my mom moved us back up the Inland Empire from San Diego and met my stepdad, my father gave up the chase for my mother and took a step back on his parenting for another 8 years while my step-dad took us in,  provided us a home, stable school and clothes. We needed that. We did. But he had a temper and I never really felt truly loved by him. I always felt like I had to earn his love and was never quite good enough. I doubt he meant to make me feel this way. But he did. And oh how much I wanted him to love and approve of me. In those times he did show, it meant so much.

And these relationships with my fathers set the stage for so much struggle in my life in my view of men and myself as a person. This perpetual chase for my fathers’ love and approval through the attention of boys.  I did not know my Father in heaven yet…but I would soon…soon I’d be singing praises at the local Baptist church and asking Jesus into my heart, the beginning seed of redemption for my life.

Age 18


At my friend Melanie’s wedding with my high school friends within a year of us graduating high school. Don’t let the smile fool you. I was a wreck.

Fast forward 10 years. I’m 18 years old. I’m depressed, angry, eager to grow but so lost at the same time still, seeking my value and worth in the attention of young men. My mother and step-father had divorced a year or two before after 8 years of marriage. I still bore the emotional wounds of his hurtful adjectives on my heart as well as emptiness from my own rebellion against him and I was still not over getting recently dumped by my first love who I gave everything to at the age of 15 on a cold, January night when I pushed the protective arms of Jesus aside and said yes to the velvet hands of the world.

So now high school graduation had passed and I needed a savior again. My father took me in to his home still two counties away, helped me get a driver’s license, and got me enrolled at the local community college to start my prerequisites for dental hygiene school. This was my one year of cleansing myself from my past before moving forward with my life. I took 12-15 units a semester, had no job, but sat at my dad’s kitchen island drinking multiple glasses of espresso, studying, writing poetry, reading books, and listening to all the melancholy rock ballads I could find that could tap into the core of my pain I didn’t know how to numb.

This phase would not last long, however. At the core of me, I still believed I needed alcohol and drugs to have a good time and I would soon head right into that lifestyle I had dabbled in before.  I believed this lifestyle my stepdad tried to stop me from living was ultimately fulfilling, made life worth living, and could be done while still getting an education. My real father was good to me, and I cherish the memories I had in his home during my college years. But he trusted me too much without knowing entirely all that I was doing, especially the early years of college.  So I balanced my partying and studying through college, eventually making money by waiting tables, tutoring, and copywriting– racked up a couple of degrees, a teaching credential, and a collection of baggage I’d take to the cross again 10 years later after my 13 year hiatus I began in 1995.

Age 28

The day before my 28th birthday, I published a blog post that would prompt a colleague of mine named Kelley to walk into my classroom at Oceanside High School with a cup of Starbucks and a card with a hundred-dollar bill inside for some tires I needed and a note that said, “everything I have belongs to the Lord. And he wanted you to have this.” Everything in my life changed from that point on.

I had been teaching for 5 years, calmed down from my wild college years and was living with my boyfriend of 6 years and our 8-month-old son. I no longer partied anymore, and in the quietness of my more clean life,  and a temporary peace, I had ironically been dealing with a returned sense of emptiness and purposelessness for the last couple of years which had led us to a 4 month break up two-years prior, then back together, then with a child I believed would finally lead me to feel good about who I was at my core. But a number of stresses lead me to vent on that blog and Kelley’s note was all I needed.

Within two weeks I was blogging about returning to church again, and a month later on the very day I pushed Jesus away in 1995, I decided to return to him–not knowing it was the same date until a few months later. But it was 13 years to the day.

By April, my son’s father and I had broken up again. This time for good. He didn’t want to marry a “Christian” when I told him we needed to marry for me to stay under his roof. I loved him. And after 6 years of being together despite the short break up 2 years prior. I didn’t think it was much to ask for given my new faith.

The rejection was difficult to bear. I was angry, devastated, confused. But I knew one thing. God was alive in my life and I could not give him up to return to where I was. I was not going back.

I moved in temporarily with my sister and by the end of summer the following year, I was living with my father again. He gave me a place rent free. Helped me discipline my son. And comforted me during that pivotal transition in my life as I tried to find myself again outside of a man’s affection. I’m so glad to have that time with my daddy during that time. I need him. I had no idea that he would die tragically 3 years later when I would be pregnant with my second son, leaving me with just 13 years of knowing him well to redeem those 13 years I didn’t after his divorce from my mom. 13 precious years. That is what I would get.

Age 38

IMG_5571It’s been another ten years. I’m not going to say the story is over. God still isn’t done with me yet…not by far. But God is good.

I am happily married to a man who loves Jesus as much as I do, who puts his arm around me at church every Sunday. with 4 beautiful children under the age of 10. He makes a wonderful step father to my 10-year-old son who our own three children love and admire as well. Our marriage itself has been a testimony. Today, we own a home in an older neighborhood in North County, San Diego. Its our first home and we love it. It has a big back yard with lots of trees. We will be adding on to it soon.

After a 13-year-career as an English teacher, I am on a leave-of-absence, now working side-by-side with my husband on our small business from home so I can be more involved in my children’s lives. I take them to school, I pick them up, I take them to doctor’s visits during the day rather than squeeze them in at 4:30 while still wearing my work shoes and a bag of papers to grade in the waiting room. I take them to the park in street clothes and push them on the swings without feeling a need to rush home and squeeze in all my other duties. I don’t want to go back to teaching anytime soon.

I also have this growing blog, a published children’s book about Jesus, and a growing marriage ministry my husband and I lead. These projects are passion projects that help me make my footprint in the world.

Most importantly– I am ten years in my relationship with my creator and God. He continues to teach me and love me. In him I have purpose, joy, and peace in a world that tells me I have no purpose, tries to rob me of my joy and entice me with temporary happiness in trivial things that ultimately leave me empty; it gives me peace in a world full of war and pain. He has redeemed all the previous decades of my life and showed me how he uses it in my life and others for good and not for disaster.

Don’t get me wrong, as I said before–the story isn’t over. God is still working hard on me. In the last 10 years I’ve been broken up, lost my job, found a new job 45 minutes away, married quickly, had a miscarriage, supported my husband through unemployment and full-time college, helped him start and grow a business, mourned the death of my father and my grandmother, had three more children (all three very sick within the first 3 weeks of life), moved three times, supported my husband through cancer, quit my safe job of 13 years to come home…God.Has.Used.It.All. I even reconnected with my stepfather and we BOTH apologized for our wrongs against each other. It was so freeing.

But I’ve still got some daddy issues that come out in my own marriage–my husband’s approval of me I often hold up more important than anything else, even God. So I’m learning still to cast my idols at the foot of the cross every day. God has done much to help me grow in my faith, my joy ,and sense of purpose so I don’t doubt that in 10 more years, I will have another testimony. Or in my case, God also likes the number 13, the number of a completion. He’s a poet that way.

There is so much more I could say, but I’ll save that for my future memoir one day. Maybe I’ll have that started when I’m 48. 🙂






My Wrinkles in Time

What can I do about my tired looking skin? wrinkles and acne are no fun.

This is me today. I look tired. I look angry. But I’m not!

More confession time–I hate my skin right now, especially my wrinkles.  Which is odd because I do not hate other people’s wrinkles. As a 35-year-old female, I have many friends from as young as 20 up to 60 and I think they are all beautiful in their own way, wrinkles or lack thereof.

But I hate mine.

I think it is because my skin changed too quickly. I once had beautiful, wrinkle-free/acne-free flawless skin until I had my first child at 27. Having my first child aged me immediately by like 5 years. Then add a break up, a dramatic dating life, a new job search, a marriage, three more children, a home purchase, a husband battling with cancer, and my own aging body–distracted from taking care of my self, one day I looked in the mirror and took a step back. My skin just looks tired.  But I’m not.

I look in the mirror and do not recognize the woman in my reflection. It’s funny. You’d think I’d get used to my reflection. But every time I look in the mirror, I’m disappointed. As if somehow I was expecting to see that 25-year-old porcelain skinned young woman I once was. I suppose it’s because in many ways I still feel like her.

I used to have friends take pictures and then ask us girls to look at the photo and approve. I don’t even bother anymore. I know I won’t like the way I look. Not anymore. Gone are the days when I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “Oh yeah. Thank you Jesus.”


I’ve always had somewhat of the joked about “Resting B!#$% Face” that formed a mild line between my brows after a long day in the sun. But now its two permanent lines that only disappear in the wee hours of the morning after I first wake up or after a long hot shower–rest and moisture are so good for the skin. Maybe I can just sleep in a mist bath the rest of my life? Sleeping beauty. A beautiful woman with no life.

I notice that when I wear bangs long enough to cover up the lines, people smile at me more. I think it’s because I look nicer. Those lines make me look mad. People ask–“are you ok?” all the time. I’m not mad. This is just my face.

Maybe it’s because I’m a thinker.

Maybe I just have over active brow muscles.

I was a shy and serious child

I was a shy and serious child

I know even as a child, I must have because I have a distinct memory of my grandmother Barbara in her thick Colombian accent press two fingers between my brows and tell me, “you are too young to be so serious my darling.”

I wish I were less serious.

To complicate the matter, somehow over the years, my face has become less and less symmetrical. Now, my right side of my face curves down from my eyebrows down to the corners of my mouth–all on my right side. I’m sure it comes down to not seeing my chiropractor as often as I should have all those years.

And then recently–I’ve started breaking out in acne. I’m 35 years old and breaking out. I actually found a pimple in my wrinkle next to my mouth yesterday.

So what do I do?

I drink lots of water and eat relatively well–so that is not really in need of improvement. But since summer has started, I’ve upped my coffee consumption which I am certain does not help. 

I was talking to someone about this a while back and she told me she went through the same thing once and then one day took a bottle of wine into the bathroom and told herself she would not come out until she accepted the way she looked. My first thought when she told me this was–don’t you know too much wine will make you look even older? 

So I’m not going to the that. I’m going to fight. I’m going to try to pull a superman and reverse time or at least slow it down and hopefully a long the way  come to a point of acceptance. I know, there is no logic in that, but that is where I’m at. I’m buying things I’ve never bought before and thinking about procedures I would have judged before.

I’ve spread raw apple cider vinegar on my face before I go to bed for the acne and I’ve actually seen some of the pimples dry up yesterday morning and literally fall of my face with the touch of a finger nail–so that’s good.

I’ve purchased and begun using oil-based cleansers, night cream, day cream for a year now.

Recently added a wrinkle-filling primer and anti-wrinkle foundation to my morning ritual. So far, don’t really see much of a difference. Maybe when its freshly on. But by the end of the day–it’s the same ol’ tired looking me begrudgingly greeting me in the bathroom mirror–“Oh, its you,” she says.

I’m now exploring the possibilities of supplements that counter-act aging skin, chemical peels, facial scrubs and masks, retin-A creams, and yes–even botoxing the bold 11 embroidered between my brows. All are on the table right now.

Of course these all cost money. So trying to plan out how much I can devote from my budget on my vanity is important. I investigated the supplements a couple of days ago, and found a supplement that seemed promising, backed by a lot research on the herbs and amino acids inside. It cost me about 40 bucks for a one month supply. I told my husband if he wanted a pretty wife, he would let me try it. He quickly agreed. Once I get it in the mail, I’ll take some before and after pics to see if its worth buying more or advocating. So stay tuned.

I’m conflicted though. There’s a part of me that is upset with myself because I feel like I need to be accepting my wrinkles and age and not allow myself to be brainwashed to believe that only young skin is beautiful. And I suppose there is a part of myself that believes that but it can’t be very strong because I see many of my seasoned female friends as beautiful.

I want my 35 year old skin to look like my skin when I was 30.

This was me in 2009 with my hubby right a couple of weeks before we were married. I was almost 30 years old here.

I just want to take care of my skin. I haven’t and I’m seeing the consequences, and I don’t like them and just trying to remedy the problem. I’m a warrior, remember? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take care of my skin, right? It’s not like I’m lying on the floor crying or not going out and meeting people because my “woe is me” skin. If anything, I am more conscious to smile at people now. 

I think the biggest struggle is that I want my outside to reflect my inside. It used to. I used to look how I felt. I don’t anymore. My body is growing old while my spirit is still young. Wiser in many ways, knowing when to talk and when to shut up and listen. But I don’t feel old or tired and so I don’t want to look old or tired. 

I couldn’t imagine being my 85-year-old Grandma who told me she feels 40. Trapped in shell that doesn’t feel like home.

Until then– In addition to my “fluffing and buffing” as my dad used to call it, I’m washing myself in the Proverbs this summer, reminding myself that taking care of my skin is not bad, but to not forget to take care of my spirit too–which will live forever–while this shell is just temporary. So I know the steps I take now will not last forever and be okay with that.

Proverbs 31:30–Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Discovering Why I Have Lost My Hearing–Stage 1

A retracted ear drum is often caused by the Eustachian Tube to the throat being closed. This is often caused by an upper respiratory infection or chronic allergies. I went to the doctor last Friday to get a referral to a hearing specialist because of my current realization that I have lost some hearing and it is now affecting my life negatively (See Previous Post–What Did You Say?).

I did not expect that my primary physician would see or discover anything on his own before even giving me a referral.

After listening to my complaints, he looked into my ears. He noticed that my left one had so much wax in it, he couldn’t even see my eardrum. So initially we thought, maybe it was just that.

I was hopeful. I had this happen before. I remember about 8 years ago, needing to get that same ear, irrigated because I could not get water out of it from swimming. My doctor then noticed the same issue. After irrigating it out with warm water and hydrogen peroxide, she said it looked like my canal was shaped funny. She said she had a hard time even seeing in because of the way it was shaped, which explained why my body had a hard time getting rid of the wax.

And I remember having a similar issue about 13 or 14 years ago when I was in college. I had some ear pain though. Went to the doctor. He looked in and saw all this wax. After he removed some wax he looked at my ear drum and said, “Wow. Did you have a lot of ear infections when you were a kid? You ear drum is really scarred.”

I asked my mom.

She said yes.

When a hand is pressed on a drum, it doesn't vibrate well. Same with a retracted eardrum. So for the 3rd time in 13 years, I had my ear flushed out. But this time, the doctor saw something different. He looked in and did not notice a scarred ear drum. He didn’t see an ear drum at all. Mine was “retracted.” That’s a medical term meaning that it was sucked up into my head. He said that could explain why I was struggling with my hearing. That a retracted ear drum acts like a hand pressed on a drum. The drum cannot vibrate well.

So I asked my next question—why is my ear drum retracted? I guess there are a number of possible causes. 

1. Allergies. Which I do have. Between dust and cats and pollen, I often am sneezing. I’m not stuffed up all the time, like my husband. But I’ll go into a room and something will bother my nose and next thing I know, I’m drippy and sneezing. Then it will go away a little while later. He said that consistent allergies can lead the tube from my nose to my ear to close up, preventing my ear from distributing pressure equally on both sides of my ear drum. The pressure in my head can’t come out my nose if the tube closes up and so sucks my ear drum in. I read in an internet article that loud music can cause the tube to close up too. I’ve definitely had my fair share of that in my past.

Possible Solution-Steroidal Nose Spray. I’ve got to spray it in my nose once a day and after a few days, its supposed to open up that tube and hopefully pop my eardrum back out. He said it would take about 5 days to start working. I’m on day 4 today and haven’t noticed anything. What I did notice is that the spray did not hurt my right nostril–shot up just fine. My breathing on that nostril was perfect too. I noticed my left nostril hurt when I sprayed it. And I noticed it felt full and while I could breath out of it, definitely could not breath as well. So maybe there is something to this.

He said it could also explain why I have wax build up in the ear too. My ear may be making more wax to protect itself. I did notice that since he took out the wax, my ear actually hurts now. I now have learned that ear pain is a common side effect of a retracted ear drum. The wax somehow helped that. So now I have this full sensation. And pain.

But I suspect maybe there is something more.

Because if it is just the ear drum on my left ear, why do I struggle to also hear out of right ear? I mean, I hear better out of that ear, but I still struggled to hear my voice mail using my right ear today while in class when there was just regular background noise from two people having a conversation near by.

So unless one ear drum tube issue can cause issues in both ears, I suspect this ear drum problem is exasperating another problem I may have.

But the doctor told me to use the spray and see if it helps. If not, I’ll come in and take an auditory test. And then he will refer me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor to take the next steps.

I’m hopeful that this spray will help. I do not want a hearing aid.

And my biggest fear is that my hearing will slowly get worse. And that one day I will be completely deaf. It makes me want to cry when I think of that. I need to stop as I’m getting teary eyed this moment even writing those words. I don’t want to stop hearing the sound of my children’s voices. Of my husband’s thoughts. Of music. Of birds or the ocean. And how would I even teach anymore? I remember last year, I had a conversation with our ASL teacher on campus. She was once an engineer. Then lost hearing after a water skiing accident. Had to change her career. Learn ASL. She can’t hear anything anymore. And her own brother won’t learn ASL so he can speak to her because it would “just” be her he would need to learn it for. On the bright side, she now has a new career as an ASL teacher. But it was a complete career change that took time and a scary road.

In the end, I have to fight the WORRIER inside of me and remind myself that I am a WARRIOR. That with God’s grace and purpose for my life, he will not let me be abandoned or alone in the silence. I can problem solve. I can pray. I can fight this. I will be ok. 

Theresa means Reaper, but I think my name should mean Warrior.Thank God he gave me a love for the written word over the spoken. If the sound goes out, I’ll still be able to see and read.

I pray it doesn’t. But if that is God’s plan for my sanctification, I need to trust that it is for my good. That in the silence, maybe he will help me hear what I couldn’t hear in all the noise before.

Until then, here’s to these nasal drops.

What Did You Say?

It was about a year ago,  that I started to wonder if I had a hearing problem or just a listening problem.

“Why did you put the lunchbox on top of the refrigerator? I told you specifically not to put anything up there” My husband said with frustration.

“I’m sorry I didn’t hear you.” I said.

“Maybe you just weren’t listening. I was in the living room, just 10 feet away.”


I'm losing my hearing. I have to ask people to repeat themselves . Then another time…


“What? What? Why are you screaming?”

“I’ve called your name three times already. Didn’t you hear me??”

“No. No I didn’t hear you.”

“There’s no way you couldn’t hear me. I was yelling from the kitchen. Our house isn’t that big.”


At first I thought my husband just didn’t understand how sound worked. I mean, if the sink is running and the tv is on, isn’t it normal not to hear him ask me something? 

Then one night we were at a party–There was lots of background noise with people chatting and eating and laughing around the room. I was in a circle with a few friends all within comfortable distance from one another. One person was talking and the rest in the circle were listening and nodding their heads at moments, laughing at others. I could hear that noise was coming out of her mouth. But I couldn’t piece together the sounds in order to construct the words themselves and place them in order in my head so that I understood the meaning or the message. I just stood there quietly, not participating in the conversation other than standing there.

I felt so alone. Everyone enjoying themselves. And I had no one I could talk to.

Oh my gosh, I realized, I have a hearing problem.

But it’s not really a hearing problem so bad that I need a hearing aid, right? I can hear people just fine.

  • When they are face to face with me.
  • And they don’t have a really low voice.
  • Or mumble.
  • Or talk too fast.
  • Or are whispering.
  • Or are leaving a message on my voicemail.
  • Or speaking with background noise around.

Often times, if I’m talking with them on the phone, I don’t hear all their words and so awkwardly respond with, “right.” It seems to satisfy most people.

Why don’t I say, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you”? I’m afraid to be rude I guess. I think I’ve done it in the past and only made the person frustrated.

“I’m sorry can you say that again?”

“I’m sorry I still didn’t hear you, can you say it one more time?” And then I hear a tone in their voice that suggest irritation and I still can’t figure out what they are saying. So I stop asking.

People can’t quite get that I don’t mean just say it again exactly the way you said it before—I mean to say it more articulately, more slowly, at a higher pitch. Let me see your facial expressions. Let me see your body language. So I can figure it out. Or guess what you are saying. I’ll hear a word hear and a phrase there. So I often make inferences on what is in between. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I’m wrong. I can usually tell when I’m wrong when I respond to what I think they said, and they respond with tones of perplexity.

No wonder I text way more often than call people and I rarely answer my phone. Just text, I’ve been saying for so long without really knowing why. No wonder the last couple of months–I’ve been struggling to hear my voice mail. I kept thinking it was my phone. I can’t hear anyone if there’s any background noise. I can hear that someone is talking, but I can’t make out the words.


I don’t want a hearing aid.

I’m angry at myself for going to those loud parties, raves, and concerts when I was younger. But then I wonder if it was all those ear infections I had as a kid. What is the cause?

I’ve been putting off seeing a doctor.

I ‘ve assumed that my husband can just put up with it. I can just stick my head out from the kitchen when I hear his voice but can’t put the words together and say, “What did you say?” Or if I ask him a yes or no questions and he responds with “yeah.”


I said, “yeah.”



“Oh honey, please don’t say, “yeah” when you mean “yes” because I can’t tell the difference between your “yeah’s” and “no’s.” I’m waiting to hear the “s” sound so I know your answer.

But last weekend, I realized–this was going to affect more than just my husband and my social life at parties. 

I was writing at the kitchen table during nap time, and my husband was near by on the living room couch. The dishwasher was running and the washing machine in the garage was rumbling too.

“you know the baby is crying, right?”

“no I didn’t hear her.”

“You need to go to the hearing doctor. We don’t need our children to die in the backroom choking on something so you don’t to feel silly wearing a hearing aid.”

Reality check.

Some may say it was harsh. But my husband knows me. If he’s too nice when I’m stubborn, I won’t change. I haven’t. This has been a problem for a while. And there was truth in what he said. Why wasn’t I going to get this solved? It’s because I don’t want a hearing aid. I don’t want that to be part of my description. That wasn’t what I had seen in my plan for my life.

Hearing aids are ugly. They are on deaf people and old people. I am neither, I thought.

“I dated a girl with a hearing aid once,” my husband said last night with a smile after I told him I couldn’t hear a woman in class who was speaking to me during break because there was too much background noise.

I think that is what I needed to hear. I think deep down, I was wondering–Will you still love me with a hearing aid? Will you still think I’m pretty with a hearing aid?  I think he was telling me the answer to my unasked question– yes.

So I called the Doctor and had my first appointment on Friday. More on those details in my next blog.

9 Things About My Name

  1. Theresa like St.Therese of the FlowersMy name is Theresa. Not the latin, Teresa, but the European Theresa with an H. I was named after Saint Therese, “The Little Flower”  who was my mother’s favorite Saint. According to LittleFlower.Org She was known for her love and died at a young age.  I was not named after Mother Theresa as many people assume.
  2. There was a singer in the 1990’s named Joan Osborne who sang a song called St. Teresa, which I think is about St. Teresa of Avila, which is not the same Saint my mother loved.
  3. Theresa is a popular name around the world and has multiple pronunciations. As recorded on NameBerry.Com, Theresa was “A Top 100 name until the 1960s, reaching Number 32 in 1956, Theresa fell off the list completely in 2011, while the sleeker Teresa still holds at Number 608; it was as high as Number 18 from 1961 to 1963.”
  4. My mom taught me to pronounce my name as T-HER-EE-SA or TUR-EE-SA although some other pronunciations would be TAIR-EE-SA or TUR-AI-SA. Then of course there is the more Spanish Pronunciation of T/d-E-RR-E-SA, with the vibrating R and the T sounding like you have a swollen tongue.
  5. Don’t ever ever call me Terry. But I don’t mind the Spanish “Terre.”
  6. I used to dislike my name. I used to want to change the spelling. I tried Treesa for the a short time my freshman year in college when I wanted to redefine myself. Shed my skin.
  7. Now I love it. I love it because it is not strange or unique, but few people actually have that name, so I feel special because of it.
  8. In my 20’s people called me T or CrookyT, which was fitting because I was wild then with a crooked toe and a crooked tongue. Now most call me Theresa or Treese, but every once in a while an old friend will text or call and call me T. Not Tea like iced tea, but just the letter T. It makes me feel happy and young.
  9. I heard once that when you go to heaven you get a different name. One that represents who you are at your core. I don’t identify with the actual Greek meaning of Theresa—harvester or reaper. I think of a gardener and I kill plants, I don’t harvest anything but the consequences and blessings of my actions. Reaper is worse–I think of the grim reaper or Tiresias, the blind prophet whom Odysseus meets in Hades. I don’t identify with death.  I think I’m more of a life lover. More of a flower lover like St. Therese. Sometimes I think my name should mean Worrier because I worry so much about everything. What if this and what if that. God has been working on me. Teaching me to worry less and trust him more. To put on his armor. And yet the initial worries I naturally have, make me pull out a bow with a quiver-full of weapons–an arrow that prays, and others that plan, punch, and problem solve. So in the end, everything often comes out fine. Which then makes me think my name should mean instead, Warrior. That’s what I hope God tells me when I meet him face to face–“Good job my faithful servant. You are Warrior.”

Theresa means Reaper, but I think my name should mean Warrior.

10 Quirky Characteristics About Me That I Embrace

  1. IMG_4825I talk out loud to myself all the time. Even when alone. Yep! I just don’t answer myself. That would make me crazy, I think. This is one good reason for bringing my kids to the grocery story with me. So I can tell myself out loud that I just need to find the coffee filters and the garlic salt before leaving and have no strangers around me wonder if I’m speaking to them. J
  2. I pray out loud to God.It keeps me focused on my prayer and not allow the prayer to drift off into thought.
  3. I mispronounce words all the time.Typically, they are new words I don’t know, so I’m not sure how to pronounce it if it is not phonetically clear. But sometimes it’s common words when I’m speaking, even when I know the correct pronunciation. It just comes out wrong! My husband laughs at me and wonders how I became an English teacher. Ask him how I pronounce Shasta. J Maybe I have a hearing problem? These top three reasons along with the fact that I cannot tell the difference between my husband’s “yeahs” and “nos” and have certain friends I just can’t understand over the phone makes me wonder….hmmmm.
  4. I am crooked. I have a crooked toe, a crooked smile, crooked eyes and eye brows, a crooked back, and even a crooked tongue. Hence the nickname—Crookyt –which I have used as a social media title for many years. I suppose I don’t embrace the crookedness of my facial features thought. Its why I wear my hair to one side and side bangs….to cover up the squished up side of my face!
  5. I have a song for each of my kids that I made up when they were babies.

Kanan—My name is Kanan, I like my milk on tap. Don’t give me no bottle I don’t drink that crap. Choo-Choo trains and race cars are what I like to play. But if you give me bottle I will say no way!

Jameson—who’s that baby with the dark blue eyes, chubby cheeks and chunky thighs? His name is JJ and he likes to stand. Sucks every finger on his right hand. Cute bottom lip, itty bitty toes, fuzzy little head and a button nose!

Benjamin—My name is Benjamin and I like Piñatas. My Momma, she makes um really good enchiladas. I like to poop and I like to play. But when it comes to talking, I will have it my way. Like Burger King, I am delish, just ask my Momma, you will get your wish!

Scotland—Scotty Scotty Scotland, lives on Maryland, has three brothers who do what she tells them too. She’s a little cutie pie. She’s a little sweetie pie. But take her Momma and she will surely surely cry!

And…(yep, she has two)

             My name is Scotland, I’m really pretty. My Mommy loves me in a Foofy Diddy. Or without one. It doesn’t                        matter. Cuz I’m sweet and special in every way….

  1. I talk with a strange voice to be silly with my kids.I do it by moving my tongue in such a way as to block the back of my throat. Then I push the air up from my mouth back up my nose as I speak. It sounds like a duck kind of.
  2. I speak for all my babies before they can speak for themselves.They all have a voice similar to Cartman from South Park and are extremely bossy.
  3. I’m a storyteller. When telling stories with my sister, I can go off into strange hypothetical scenarios that make us laugh so hard, we cry.
  4. Red grapes give me fun, exciting butterflies in my stomach. I often eat them around 1 o’clock in the afternoon for a pick-me-up. It helps me endure my 5th period class, who can drive me bonkers sometimes.
  5. I have a Wild Imagination.

    I often imagine ways to break taboos. For example, I’ll be teaching my class one moment and then realize….I could jump on top of that table right now and do the running man. I could. I won’t but I could.

Why I recommend Journal Writing

Here is my 5 minute journal

My journal takes 5 minutes!

My husband has been on this kick lately with doing things that successful people do. He’s done a lot of research on habits of successful people and it has been amazing watching him grow as he’s taken on some of these habits. A lot of them he recommends for me to do as well and I must say, I would not be half the woman I am today, if I didn’t have my husband pushing me. I thought I had drive. But with my husband, I have WAY more drive. He’s that second engine that keeps me going when I want to give up.

One of the things he has pushed me to do is journal write. I used think blogging was enough, but I just don’t blog daily, so in reality it isn’t.

He bought me a journal for Christmas and asked that we journal in the morning together and in the evening. It is not a blank journal. It is specifically structured to inspire, help me goal set, help me to be joyful and thankful, and to affirm that which God has promised and given me. I absolutely LOVE it!

The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day

Every morning, I read an inspiring quote and then write down 3 things that I am thankful for. Then I write three things I would like to have happen today that would be amazing. After that, I write an affirmation. Now as  a Christian, I’m a little leary of affirmations. I sort of seeing it as praying to myself….. or trying to gain strength from within myself, when the bible teaches me that I gain my strength through Christ. So I sort of modify my affirmation. I took some time to think about where I wanted to grow. And I looked at God’s word and what he asks of me and what he promises to me through his spirit. I then created a Christ centered affirmation that reminds me who I am in Christ. And this person is who I want to be. The thing is, I have a busy life. And I am easily overwhelmed. And when I am overwhelmed, I’m negative, I’m anxious, and I just am not loving. I become super selfish and become wrapped up in just getting what I need done without any joy and without concern for the joy of others around me. Its awful. I don’t like that side of me. But I have a busy life. So I need to change.

Journal Writing is for Successful People

Journal Writing is a key to success!

Here’s my affirmation:

I am loving, patient, and joyous in all circumstances without fear or anxiety because Christ lives in me!

Then at the end of the day before bed, I reflect on my day. I write down three awesome things that happen (some of them connect to what I hoped for that morning, and some are just pleasant surprises). And then I write three things I wish I had done differently. Not to wallow in despair. But to help me to reflect on my need to grow, so I can do better the next time.

One of the things I think is great about journal writing as well, is going back and seeing answers to prayer, as well as seeing growth. If you don’t journal, I highly recommend it! If you do journal, what are your journaling techniques? What do you recommend to journal for success? Please share in my comments.

Perspective on my Purpose

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being "too busy." Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being “too busy.” Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

My pastor of my church has been taking us through an in depth study of Solomon’s Ecclesiastes. The deeper we go, the more we can see that Solomon saw the purposelessness of life without God and then how much God takes that and gives us purpose and meaning in all that we do when we center it on him.

It got me thinking.

Does every aspect of my life seek to glorify God?

And if not, how can I change my perspective on that aspect and create a deeper Christ-centered consciousness in that area.

So this is just a brain storm but I’m thinking about every big area/role of my life.

  1. Wife– How can I reflect God more in my role as a wife? I think I want to seek to understand my husband more, and to make sure especially during the next few months to attain to his sexual and emotional needs even when I am tired, dripping with breast milk, and over all not feeling sexy or loving and probably struggling with wavering post partum emotions (I hope not, but I’ve had postpartum anxiety with all three of my previous babies). But God wants us to be self-sacrificing and especially with our spouses, seeking to meet their needs above our own.
  2. Mother– I want to continue praying with my children each day but also reflecting God more by showing more patience and being less quick to yelling. I yell when they don’t listen. I know I can do better at this by being more consistent with training them to obey the first time, so that I’m not lead to frustration which prompts me to yell. I also want to make sure that my three boys feel loved even when they have to share attention with the new baby. I’d also like to get back into memorizing bible verses with the boys–something Owen got us started on last year, but since we moved we started slacking on.
  3. Homemaker– on top of working full time, and wanting to spend quality time with the kids in the few hours I have left with them at the end of the day and on the weekends, I just hate cleaning. Owen is very busy as well with his business. So cleaning gets put on the back-burner. I mean I clean every day. But it pretty much stays with the dishes and then a quick clutter check. By Sunday I can get around to doing a couple of loads of laundry, a sweep and a mop, a vacuum, and if I’m really good–a bathroom scrub down. This is stressful. I get grumpy. Especially if I feel like I’m the only one doing it. The kids help, but they are so young, its not a significant help. I want to have more of a heart of service. A heart of finding joy in serving my family by providing a clean home for them. But I also don’t want to be a Martha (see the book of John). I want to be wise when its time to put the scrub brush away and spend time with my kids. I don’t want them to remember their childhood as a time when Mom just cleaned and they played alone.
  4. Teacher-– I work in a public school. I wish I could just evangelize the entire time to this lost generation. I make sure though to give a different perspective and worldview on things when the topics arise. There is this christian group that shows up on Thursdays at lunch that feeds free pizza to kids who come and then gives them a gospel message. Tons of kids go. And they aren’t christian. I talked with the person who runs it and asked her if she’d be willing to have  a day where Christian teachers could give a quick 2 minute testimony to the kids. So the kids know that intelligent people can believe in Jesus. She loved the idea. When I come back from maternity I’ll pursue that a bit more. I also need to check with my teacher’s union to find out if I would be supported should I get any attacks from other teachers, students, parents, or administrators for making a stand during this meeting.
  5. Friend– I don’t spend time with my friends very often. And lately it seems like I’ve been more on the receiving end of blessings than I have been on the giving end. I want to check in with friends more. Find out how they are doing more. And if I can’t see them, to at least encourage them more via text or a phone call.
  6. Sister– same thing. Send out more encouraging texts. Make more attempts to get together. And be an example with the way I live my life.
  7. Daughter-– I don’t see my mom enough. I don’t call her enough. For the most part, I feel like I’m a pretty lame daughter. She lives in Newport Beach in a one room condo, so coming up with my big family seems often like an impossible feat. But I want to call her more at least. I’d like to talk at least once a week. Some of my friends talk with their mom’s every day. I would love to have that with my mom. But I can’t live my life wanting something but never making the effort to do that. I want her to know that even though we don’t see each other often, that I love her.
  8. Granddaughter--I want to finish my Grandmother Lois’s memoirs. I’m going to start in a couple of weeks. We are going to set up Monday calls. She tell me her life. I’ll record it. Then I’ll transcribe the recording by typing it out. She can’t write anymore, she is getting so tired. And she’s on an oxygen tank now. I want her to have her book before she goes. As for my other grandma, I want to call her more. My grandfather died a few months back and I know she stays busy, but I don’t want her to feel forgotten in that old folks home way up in L.A.
  9. Entrepreneur/Writer-– reflect God in all that I do by being encouraging and patient with my old memoir clients. To do a great job with every resume so that when my resume clients see that bible verse under my name in my email signature, they can say that the Christian resume writer had integrity and worked hard. We don’t need any more negative stereotypes about Christians. Finally, to get those Children’s books done. They are all Christ-centered. I just need people to read them!

I think the big theme here is for me to give more and stop using busy as my excuse. I get so busy, I tend to make busy our excuse for not loving people enough. For not being that light in their lives. It takes self-sacrifice. I struggle with the desire to blame. But Christ never did this. For me, my big issue is being too busy to reflect God. What is yours? What can you change in your life to show to reflect God more?

The Dreaded Gestational Diabetes Test

glucose drinkEvery single time I am pregnant, I have to take that dreaded sugar test. For some reason, they don’t like my first test scores and I have to go in for the second test which is way worse–you have to fast. And then they take your blood three times over the course of three hours after giving you an orange-flavored beverage with 75 g of sugar packed into it.


This time, I only had to take one test. But it was a 2-hour fasting.


Now the good part is that I passed. I always pass. But the interesting part is that this time, I got to see my results because my doctor went all digital and I can now access all my reports online. The interesting part is that my insulin works so well it is almost too good.


So basically healthy sugar levels are between 70-90. At fasting I was 70. So it was on the low side of normal. Then one hour after I drank the sugar, I raised to just 72. If you have gestational diabetes, you sky rocket to a 100 or more. Then two-hours after I drank the sugar, I actually went HYPO-glycemic. My bloodsugar dropped to 68. No wonder I was feeling shaky! By the time I hit Costco afterward (I was planning on snacking as I went grocery shopping) I was breaking out in a sweat and having a hard time even thinking.

I’ve always treated myself like a hypoglycemic because I have the symptoms. I can’t eat sugary breakfast because within 3 hours I’m light-headed and seeing stars. I have to eat like every 3-hours, otherwise I get “hangry” as I like to call it.


So it makes sense now. I run on the low side of normal, but eating sugar can actually send my blood sugar crashing after just 2 hours. Now I understand why my mom used to give me string cheese when I’d start feeling like garbage. Protein on the other hand helps me feel great and last longer between meals.


When I’m pregnant, sugary breakfasts affect me even worse. As much as I crave a delicious bowl of cereal when I wake up, instead I shoot for a bean burrito or a protein shake packed with veggies and fruit. I can handle the fruit as long as it has protein in it.


What is your experience when eating high carb/high glucose foods? Do you feel fine 2 hours later? What’s your ideal breakfast? 

My Wild and Crazy Hair

need a haircutWhen I was a child, I had pretty, semi-wavy hair. My bangs laid down nicely. There were some soft waves or rings that would form at the very ends, and it could grow long.

Then one day I hit puberty. And everything changed. Literally, over night.

I went to bed the summer between my 7th and 8th grade year with my normal wavy, ruly locks. And I woke up with stretch marks all over my rear-end, and out of control, course, electro-magnetically shocked hair. I have a picture of it somewhere hidden in a childhood photo album. I was playing barbie dolls with my 6 year-old niece, Katie, at the time. I’m smiling a big smile with my braces. And my hair is absolutely nuts.

I didn’t know what to do with it. I think I tried gel at first. That’s what my mom and sister used with their tight ringlets. Didn’t work for me. I did the mouse and Aqua-Net thing for a couple of years (1993-1995). That kept it tame, but crunchy. Then my junior year I discovered the flat iron and then added hair dye. My hair my senior year in high school was fried.

Over my 20’s I discovered jojoba oil. That has been a God-send. When I didn’t have kids, I did flat iron my hair a few times a week and then on off days, just used jojoba oil. Now it seems like jojoba oil is all I use. Between kids, late nights working my second and third jobs as a Mompreneur and a husband who likes to shower together often (can’t do the shower-cap thing in front of hubby) my hair just needs to work well from air drying.

Normally I wear it long. Not super long. Never have been able to do that. My course hair breaks after a certain length. But recently I’ve been doing that fun angled bob thing, although wearing a longer version, right around shoulder length.

new hair cutToday, I finally got my second hair cut since I switched the style. Thank God. It was out of control! But I did get my hair dresser to straighten it while I was there. Just a good blow dry with a flat iron finish. So hopefully Hubby can be happy with a few showers on his own, while I work on making sure this hair style lasts. After that though, jojoba oil will have to suffice. She must have cut half my hair off just with the thinning shears, so that should help. It looked like she picked up a large rodent when she grabbed my hair off the floor and threw it in the trash.

The issue is–I’m pregnant. And when I’m pregnant atleast, none of my hair falls out. You know how normally, when you shower or comb your hair, strands of hair come out? Not when I’m pregnant. So within a few months, I have this mop of hair so stinkin’ thick, I can barely see my scalp. I remember getting my hair highlighted one year when I was pregnant and the lady who did my hair, was so stressed because she kept having to pull out more and more foils as my hair just wouldn’t stop. I think she ran late for her next appointment.

I remember complaining about my hair one day to an old friend from high school. I was so humbled when she looked at me and told me to get over it because she has the opposite problem and already needed to use Nioxin to keep her hair. “At least you have hair, Theresa.”


Yeah, I felt bad.

At least in a few months, approximately 2 months after the baby will be born, all the hair that didn’t come out while pregnant, will all come out at the same time. Then I just might start needing to use Nioxin too. I remember the first time that happened, I had recently given birth to my first, and I was sitting at the bottom of the bathtub with the water running over my head, pulling the strands of hair off my head in clumps like the mean girl on The Craft who got cursed by Naomi Campbell.

Each consecutive pregnancy has gone the same way.