Monday, November 9, 2009

Family comes first

Rex and I have realized since we got married two and a half years ago, family should always come first (after God, of course). Before we got married, it was okay for us to put ourselves first, as long as our actions were not detrimental to those around us. But all of that changed as soon as we said "I do." We could no longer think about ourselves. We had to consider each other's thoughts and feelings in anything we did. We had to discuss things before a final decision was made. We no longer had the luxury to be selfish. Of course, we weren't very good at making sure we always put the other one first.

When a person gets married in their late twenties or early thirties, they are so used to not having to take another person's opinion into consideration when making a decision. They are so used to doing things for themselves whenever they wished. I know this from experience, because this was one of the problems Rex and I encountered once we got married. Neither one of us was used to having to discuss things with one another, before a mutual decision was made. We also weren't used to sharing space with another human being. I mean, we both lived with our perspective parents until we got married, but that was totally different. We may have lived in the same house as our parents, but we still had our "private space". Having to share a bed, let alone a room with another person, took some getting used to.

We had to remind ourselves to be considerate of one another's feelings and personal space. We could no longer take it upon ourselves to move or use something that belonged to the other, without asking first. We actually had to stop and think about how our actions would affect one another. We had to think, before we said whatever was on our mind, just to be sure that it wasn't hurtful to the other. I had to learn to give him the space he needed (which I'm still not always good at), and he had to learn to just listen to how I felt, rather than trying to "solve my problems" (which he is much better at now!) Even now, two and a half years later, we are still learning. We have gotten better about putting one another needs before our own, but now we have a baby to consider!

Our daughter's needs have to come before ours, but not at the expense of our marriage. In taking care of our daughter, we need to not neglect one another, or take advantage of one another. It needs to be a team effort, that helps us to grow closer together as husband and wife. We need to remind ourselves that as we raise and nurture our daughter, we need to nurture our relationship with each other, as well. If we neglect our marriage, our family structure will begin to crumble, and that isn't helpful to our welfare, or the welfare of our daughter. So as our daughter gets older, we need to set aside some time together, as a couple. We need to "take a break"from being parents, and remind ourselves of why we fell in love and got married.

Outside of our little family nucleus, we have to remember to stay involved in the lives of our extended family as well. We need to include them in the goings-on in our lives, as well as make sure we're up date on their experiences as well. (We are getting better at it, but it's still a "work in progress".) It is important to have close ties with our family, because we never know when we might need them, or even possibly lose them. We need to reach out to our "external" family members, spend time with them, and keep in touch with them as often as possible. Who knows? We may be the ones that are needed someday. The closer knit a family is, the better it relates and prospers. We were not put on this earth to be singular creatures. We were created to "go forth and multiply", so to speak.

All throughout history and the Bible, families lived together, and worked together, until the children were of marrying age. Then the wife went with her husband's family, and though they often had their own homes, they lived close to the family, and continued to interact and spend time with their family members. Nobody was ever expected to do anything alone. Farms were tended by families, businesses were run by families, and the entire family helped to raise the younger children. Then, when the young couple's parents became ill, or too fragile to care for themselves, the children would take them in, and care for them. In those days, it truly was a family "unit". Everyone looked out for the welfare of everyone else.

In today's society, we are not encouraged to do so. It's all about putting yourself first, and fighting your way to the top. Often, families are left behind, because of selfish desires. We are trained to do everything necessary to better ourselves, sometimes at the expense of others. Families and marriages are destroyed, because too often, people give into these selfish urges, without thinking of how it will affect others. People are taught to put their careers first, because if they don't, someone else will get the promotion. We as individuals need to STOP DOING THIS!!! We were not alone when we were brought into this world, and we are not meant to go through life alone.

Whether or not a person decides to get married and have a family, they are still not meant to be alone. We have families for a reason: to raise us, teach us, and nurture us. We are also expected to become caretakers when our elders become too fragile to care for themselves. Always remember to put your family first. Because without them, you would be nothing, and you would have nothing. God created us to be dependent on him AND one another. Eve was created as a Helpmate to Adam, because God did not want Adam to go through life alone. Why should we be any different?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Beginnings

Well, this past month has brought about a lot of brand new beginnings (and/or firsts):

Our 18-20 something group at Centerpoint had expanded to a 20-30 something group. (We still welcome those in the 18-20 age range, but we discovered that we were reaching more people above the age of 29, so we've grown to accommodate them!) We're looking forward to the new things that God has prepared for us as a group! Our goal is still to reach those who need a small group, to help cement their faith in God, and offer support for their struggles along their path. So for anyone who is still in search of a small group that might offer just what you're looking for, come check us out!

Rex's cousin has enlisted in the Air Force, and that has helped to prompt us into strengthening our relationship with his family, because we realize that family is more important than anything else on Earth. We went to a potluck at Rex's uncle's house (his cousin's grandfather), and it felt good to connect with his family. I know it is difficult for him, considering his first cousins are considerably older than him. But, the more time we spend with his family, the more he will continue to discover that he has in common with them.

Our daughter has grown her first two teeth (and is working on her next two), and tonight, for the very first time......stood up by herself for almost 30 seconds! I know that may not seem like much to those of you who aren't parents, but for those of you who are, you understand how big of an acheivement this is! She has tried previously, on several occasions, but usually after a couple of seconds, has fallen right back down on hre bottom! But, being the determined little girl that she is, she refused to give up! And her perserverance has prevailed! We're pretty sure she'll be walking (possibly running) by Christmas!

Both Rex and I have reconnected with old friends, and are rebuilding those relationships as adults. We are finding that we have more in common with these people now, then we ever did as children or adolescents. We have all matured, and that has made us more aware of how our actions affect those around us. We are able to relate to each other better, and have learned to listen to one another. We no longer let our selfish desires get in the way of our friendships. We realize that it is no longer "all about us", but that it is about those who we surround ourselves with. We no longer put ourselves first in those friendships, and because of this, our relationships are stonger than ever.

Several of our friends have had new living quarters and/or arrangements, and it seems to be working out for everyone! (Of course, not without several roadblocks along the way, but they have all prevailed!) We are very happy for all of them, and hopefully our living arrangements improve soon! We really need more room for a growing baby, and two rambuncious cats! Our apartment is no longer big enough for our family!

As time goes on, I know that there will be many more new beginnings, and many more firsts. I look forward to whatever God sees fit to endow upon us!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Sports Series V

That's right, Summer Sports Series fans! It's that time of year again!

Two weeks ago, The Journey started our yearly Summer Sports Series, by picking teams and names. This year's theme was food, so our teams came up with these names: Team Cookie Monsters and Team Roasty, Toasty Marshmallows. By the end of the night's activities, the score was 150 to 25, in favor of The Cookie Monsters.

The Roasty, Toasty Marshmallows refused to put up with that. On Friday, we played Dodgeball, and Team RTM creamed Team CM, 7 games to 2. Team RTM earned 100 pts for their win, and received the 25 bonus points for Teamwork, since they worked well together to defeat Team CM. However, Team CM received the 25 bonus points for Sportsmanship, because they took their loss so well. The score was then 175 to 150, still in favor of Team Cookie Monsters.

On Saturday, we had our yearly Beach Trip to Huntington Beach. From what I heard, everyone had a great time, and the teams took each other on in a raucous game of Volleyball. I was unable to go myself, but apparently, Team RCM won again! So, congratulations to both teams for all their efforts, and if you would like to keep updated on the Summer Sports Series events, and the teams scores, visit The Journey's website, at for all the details!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


My little girl is getting bigger ever day. She's five months old now! She's so smart, and she surprises us with all the little things she learns on her own. She smiles a lot, and babbles to everyone who will listen (sometimes, she babbles to herself). She has a couple of favorite toys, and sticks almost everything in her mouth. She has discovered she likes solid food, and her favorite (so far) is applesauce.

The Journey is progressing well. We have seen some new faces, and several returning faces. It has bee good to know that we have been reaching more people lately, and offering them whatever they needed (information, prayer, fellowship). We had our first Potluck Praise Night, and we had a pretty good turn out. Worship was great, and fellowship was very enjoyable. I think it went well enough, that we might try doing it again.

My job is going well. I really like working there, and it's great to be back in the workforce, after being unemployed for over a year. I actually look forward to going to work, and it's nice being around so many people. I'm starting to learn more about the products we sell, especially ink (the register I work at is stationed in the Ink Depot). One thing I still have problems with, is the Technology Department. I know next to nothing about computers, and I'm glad we have people who work that department, so I can send the customers their way. It's been a long time since I enjoyed my job, and it's nice that I like this one!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My First Mother's Day (as a Mommy)!

Well, today ended up better than I expected. I didn't get to spend the day with my mother or mother-in-law, but I had a great afternoon with Rex, my baby, and some great friends! We went to church, and did our usual Sunday routine (and enjoyed every minute of it!) The church's nursery staff painted the baby's hands, and put her little hand prints on a piece of construction paper with a very nice poem. I was so happy and so touched I started crying when Rex brought it (and the baby) to me in my classroom. We are going to frame it and keep it forever and ever!

Rex and I were invited to go to lunch with Shawn, Cristina, and Cristina's parents. We went to Qdoba (which we had never been to before), and I ate an awesome Taco Salad! I plan on going back again sometime to try something else on the menu. After lunch, we all went to Color Me Mine (which I again had never been to), and got to paint some ceramic items. Shawn's parents joined us, and the eight of us put our creative hats on.

Cristina's mom painted a large serving bowl (a beautiful shade of blue, with sponge detailing). Cristina's stepdad painted an adorable little frog, with some help from his wife. Shawn's mom painted a "dot bowl", and drew a stencil in the bottom (it was also beautiful). Shawn's dad did an awesome job painting a southwestern style palm tree. Cristina painted a plate for her cakes. She hand sketched a monkey onto the plate, and proceeded to paint it.

Rex painted a cute salt and pepper shaker set (a boy chef and a girl baker). I, myself, decided I wanted to paint a Sunflower Baby. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. It took me forever to decide what colors I wanted to paint it, then when my paints arrived, I couldn't figure out where to begin. When I finally jumped into the project, I kept getting frustrated, because I wanted it to be PERFECT. Rex kept trying to remind me that it didn't need to be perfect. Of course, what he said went in one ear and out the other. I was bound and determined to get it RIGHT. Of course, by the second coat of all the colors I chose, I gave up. But it still turned out CUTE!!!! I surprised myself. I fell in love with it, and am glad I chose to paint it.

Shawn was the most ambitious of all of us. His mom "helped" him pick out his project (he was painting it for her), and discovered he needed the largest variety of colors out of all of us! It is an adorable rabbit, wearing overalls, pushing a wheelbarrow full of vegetables. He said, "I feel like I'm building model planes again!" He has to go back for a second session, to complete his ambitious project. He ran out of time, because he had to head to church to play bass with the worship team. I believe his project approximately halfway completed. He better arrive early enough next time, to finish it!

I had so much fun today! I'm glad that Rex and I decided to spend the day with Shawn, Cristina, and their parents. It will definitely be a Mother's Day I will never forget! Thanks guys!

P.S. We don't get to pick up our projects for another week. I can't wait to see what it looks like once it's been glazed and fired!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Working Mommy?

I have been looking forward to finding a job for over a year now. It was something I've always wanted to do. My goal is to find a reasonable paying full time job, so Rex can quit his job and stay home. I really like my new job, and I'm glad it's only part time for now. (Especially since we only have one car right now.) My baby needs me home as much as possible. She's too young for me to be gone most of the time. Apparently, she's not handling the transition very well. She's mostly fine about being home with daddy, and seems to enjoy her time with her Nana, but she still seems to be having issues come bed time. (Of course it doesn't help that she's stuffed into her carrier to come pick me up from work, instead of being put into bed.) We really need to get a second car somehow, so Rex can put the baby to bed on the nights I work until after 8pm. Our poor baby needs to be able to keep a schedule, so she doesn't get confused. Rex also thinks that the baby misses me, and won't calm down sometimes. She's good most of the time, but it seems like she's already missing me, and she's only three months old! I really hope Rex and I can figure out something real soon. I don't want to put the baby through anymore stress. Please pray for us, that we can either get a second car, or that we're able to figure out a way to make my working a smooth transition for our baby.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I got the job!

I received the call on Monday! The store manager called and send the drug test and background check both came back clean. She offered me the position (cashier, minimum wage) and asked if I was still interested. I told her I was, and she asked me if I could come in on Saturday. I said of course, and she said we would be doing paperwork, and going over cash register procedures. The shift is only from 12:30 to 4, but it's a great start! I'm not the only person they hired, so I'll probably only get 15-20 hours, but that's perfect! It gives me a chance to take a break from the baby, and be able to miss her. But it's also not too many hours that I have to be away from her, so she won't miss me too much. Thanks to everyone who was rooting for me and praying for me, and thanks be to God! I appreciate all the support. I'll keep everyone updated on my progress at my new job!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Job?

Recently, I interviewed with a retail establishment for a part time job. I did the first interview with the Assistant Manager two Saturdays ago. It went well, and I was told he would speak to the Store Manager about setting up the second interview. I didn't hear back from him, so I called the store back. I talked to the Store manager, and last Thursday, I had my second interview. It also went well, and was told that as long as the background check and drug test came back clear, I would be offered the job. So yesterday, I went and did the drug test. The results will be sent electronically to the store by tomorrow, and the results of the background check should be in by Friday. So, I am doing my best to wait patiently. Patience has never been my strong point, especially when it comes to job seeking. I will keep everyone posted. This job would be a great thing for me and Rex. It will help bring some extra money in, and since it's only a part time position, I can still spend plenty of time with the baby. I believe that God has opened this door for me, and I have done all I can. It's up to Him now, so please pray for me!

Thank you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Still unemployed.........

I have been unemployed for 15 months now. I was depressed at first, because I missed the people I worked with. Once I got used to it, I enjoyed it for a while. After about three months, I started hating it. I missed working. I tried to find a new job, and even went on a few interviews. I guess I wasn't what they were looking for, because I continued to be unemployed. I kept looking, but no luck. Nobody wanted what I had to offer. I began to doubt my own abilities, and became discouraged.

Amongst all the searching, I discovered I was pregnant. I kept searching for a job, because I knew we would need the extra income. I checked several online job sites, talked to some people I knew. No luck. Most businesses were on a hiring freeze, because the economy was going downhill. Still, I continued to look. As my pregnancy progressed, my searching slowed down. I knew my chances for finding a job were getting slimmer. Not too many places would want to hire me, then have me turn around and go on Maternity Leave.

By my seventh/eighth month of pregnancy, I decided I should give up until after I had the baby. It was hard for me, because I never saw myself as a housewife or stay-at-home mom. I enjoy working, and being around lots of people. I don't mind cleaning, as long as I get paid to do it. In my ninth month of pregnancy, I discovered the baby was breech, which meant I had to have a C-section. I was not thrilled about this discovery. C-sections require the mother to be mostly inactive for two weeks. I was practically confined to my bed, and wasn't allowed to go too many places.

Thankfully, those two weeks went quickly, and I was back to being able to do anything and go anywhere. I started wanting to look for a job, but we had no internet service, and were down to one car! So, looking for a job was limited to word-of-mouth, or an occasional day when I took Rex to work and kept the car. The baby was getting bigger, and I was "stuck" at home taking care of her. Don't get me wrong, I love my baby. I just never imagined I would be home every day, with nothing but housework and baby care to do. Of course, my situation should have motivated me to do something around the house. It didn't.

Then, Rex did our taxes, and we got a nice tax return. After buying a digital video camera, a 22in flat screen LCD television, and more stuff we needed for the baby, we were finally able to get cable TV and internet service. I was now able to go back to those job websites. My OB had already cleared me for full activity, so I could find a job! Of course, by then I was starting to feel guilty about wanting to go back to work. I convinced myself I was a bad mom for wanting to be at work, rather then at home. Rex reassured me that I was still a good mom, and encouraged me to look for work.

I started checking the job sites, but too many places are still not hiring. Some businesses are even closing their doors. People are losing their jobs or getting laid off. I started becoming discouraged again, then a friend of mine told me they were hiring where she works. I became excited, and decided to apply for the job opening. I went in yesterday, filled out the application, and took a "Personality Survey". Now, I just wait and pray. It's no longer up to me. I did my part. If this is the right job for me, God will allow it to happen. If it's not, I'll keep looking. I'm feeling pretty optimistic, but only God knows.

For anyone who has read this, I could use your prayers, too. Please ask that God reveal his plan for my employment. If He wants me to have this job, great. If He wants me to be a stay-at-home mom, I will do my best to accept it and adjust. I can only do what He wants.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Being a New Mommy

I became a mommy on January 7, 2009. I was so scared! I thought I was going to be a terrible mommy, and that my baby would suffer because of my inexperience. I had no clue what I was doing! Nothing anybody told me was going to prepare me for this new life that I was responsible for. I began to wonder what God was thinking when he made me a parent. I'm not the most patient person in the world, and I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom. I've always wanted children, but never expected to be the primary caregiver. I would rather be out working. I beat myself up about that thought everyday. I wonder if there is something wrong with me, because I don't want to stay home with my baby. God knew what he was doing, right?

Obviously, God knows something I don't. He has faith in me as a parent, and knows I will do a good job. I look at my beautiful baby's face, and realize I have been given a gift. It is my job to take the best care of her that I am capable of. There have been, and will be times that I will become frustrated, but God will help me through those times. I remind myself that it's not her fault, and there is no reason for me to be angry with her. I am not expected to raise this baby alone. Not only do I have Rex to help, but we also have God supporting us as well. I was never expected to do it by myself. God is always by our side, holding us up and giving us the strength we need to care for this precious baby.

Children truly are a miracle. Everyday, I'm reminded that I wouldn't have been given my baby, if God didn't trust me to raise her. Whenever I get scared, I just need to go to God, and ask for the peace I need to get through the day. It's also comforting to know that God has placed other people in my life, who love my baby almost as much as I do, and who will help me and Rex whenever we need a break from parenthood. Even the "perfect" and "ideal" parent needs a break from their children once in a while. We are not the only ones! I truly am blessed to be a parent, and look forward to whatever the future holds for me, Rex, and Baby Katherine.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have internet access!

To all my readers who have been waiting patiently for me to continue my blog, the wait is over! Rex and I have internet access at home again, so I will be able to keep everyone updated on Journey happenings, and Centerpoint Church goings-on. I will also be offering personal thoughts occasionally, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Congratulations to our Journey graduates!

For those of you that don't already know:
Our illustrious leader, Pastor Shawn Candelaria graduated on December 19th, from Biola University. He received a Master's degree in Christian Apologetics.

Jessica O'Neill, a.k.a. Wanda or Wandica, also graduated on December 19th from California Baptist University. She received a Bachelor's degree in English.

Congratulations to both of you!