Lessons during Quarantine…

Letting go requires self-control.

Read that again…slowly.

By definition, self-control requires -restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.

When we let something go, when we release control of all things, self-control must take front and center.

 In our human nature, when we let things go, we panic, fear sets in, and we immediately think everything will change, fall apart, cease to be what you wanted.

All along, it was not what you needed.

As this pandemic has shown us, we are not in control of the societal norms that have been placed on us. The physical liberties, the daily freedoms of deciding where we want to go, who do we want to see have been restricted to the point of ceasing.

I began to wonder what is truly in my control and if what I am controlling is bringing me joy and joy to those around me.

So I decided to let go. 

Letting go of wanting things my way or no way.

Letting go of illusions 

Letting go of accolades

Letting go of measured outcomes

Letting go of inputs and outputs

Letting go of expectations 

I didn’t realize the burden I was carrying was weighted by what I was controlling.

I feel lighter. I feel relieved. I feel freedom. 

What are you controlling that is bringing your strife?

Exercise self-control and let it go!

Lesson:

Often we think if we control the input, we can control the output.

Controlling is suffocating- learn to breathe!

‘Til Tuesday

My words…have traveled​!

On May 8, 2017, I posted my very first blog.  Little did I know that those words would travel the world.  My intention for the blog is to inspire, educate, and entertain.  Have I achieved that these past two years, I would hope so?  I desire to always leave the reader with a new perspective.  Hopefully bringing insight to an experience that they have held privately and I have held openly.  I began reflecting on the “why” of my blog. I realized we are all connected by experiences.  Experiences can encourage, educate, inspire, and entertain.

 That is why I write my blog.

 I want to help at least one person know that “I am not alone in this” or “wow, if she survived that, I can too” or “Woah, that is deep” or even “that is hysterical, this chick is crazy.”  Whatever your response is to my “why I share in my blog, I thank you for reading and joining me on my life’s journey.  Thank you to all the readers around the world.  May you continue to enjoy and hopefully be inspired, educated, and entertained by “LIFE”!!!

Here is a list of the countries that have read my blog!  Thank you to the over  6,000 readers!!!

United States, Canda, United Kingdom

India, Australia, China

Ireland, Germany, Mexico

South Africa, Philippines, Spain

Indonesia, Italy, France

Peru, Hong Kong SAR China, United Arab Emirates

Puerto Rico, Brazil, Greece

Japan, Malaysia, Ukraine

Czech Republic, Colombia, Egypt

Turkey, Romania, Taiwan

Netherlands, Russia, Singapore

Belize, Portugal, Israel

Thailand, Denmark, Algeria

Morocco, Switzerland, Kenya

Chile, Sweden, Vietnam

Bangladesh, Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina

New Zealand, Jordan, Nigeria

Norway, European Union, Pakistan

Nepal, Armenia, Afghanistan

South Korea, Guatemala, Guam

Cameroon, Serbia, Nicaragua

Panama, Sri Lanka, Qatar

Luxembourg, Tunisia, Austria

Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia

Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, Azerbaijan

Mozambique, Ecuador, Finland

Estonia, Uruguay, Paraguay

Belgium, Georgia, Malawi

Lesson:  Identify your why…and share it with others.

‘Til Tuesday

-Annette Ortiz Mata

They belong to me…

This week I celebrate my 53rd birthday.

I always take this time to reflect on where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going.

I reflect on the goodness and mercy of God in my life

I reflect on the life lived out loud in joy and in sorrow.

I reflect on the enormous blessings that is my life right now.

I reflect on the people who surround me, the ones that have touched my life and the ones that I need to reach out to.

I reflect on the dreams yet to be fulfilled, and the prayers left to be answered.

And I am still.

This past year I have seen the skillful hand of God thread mercy, grace, love, forgiveness, and wholeness into my life.  I have seen him mend relationships, restore hope, and heal hurt.

I have witnessed the beauty of my family becoming whole.

These men in my life (pictured), my husband and two sons belong to me, but more importantly, they belong to God.  He’s entrusted me to love them, cheer them on, and believe them.  He asks that I respect them, honor them, and laugh and cry with them.

So what I know for sure as I turn 53…that I have a lot more life to live and so much more to learn.

When your birthday comes around, stop, and reflect on all that you’re becoming.

Happy Birthday!

Lesson:  

A birthdate is simply a reminder that we were formed for a purpose!  

“Til Tuesday

-Annette Ortiz Mata

Two weeks of moments…

So!

These past few weeks have been filled with activities.  Weddings, galas, bridal showers, night out w/friends, finals, finishing up my second semester of Law School and celebrating Easter.

 All in the past TWO weeks! 

I get to catch my breath for about a week or so, and I intend to get a physical, meet up with friends, sneak in a hike, register for my next semester of classes, catch up on emails, make some important phone calls, and read.

All in ONE week!

As I reflect on the past few weeks and the encounters I’ve had, they were gut-wrenching and rewarding.

“I apologize for that,” ” I wish you knew,” “I wish someone would have told you,” “you look like you are living your best life,” “are you a Republican?”,  “that’s okay,” “thank you, thank you, thank you,” “I feel beyond blessed and honored I get to be a part of your life,” “teach me your ways,” “you are brave.”

 These were some of the highlights of several conversations I had in those past weeks.  Some moments took my breath away in both a revealing and humbling way.  If I am going to be perfectly honest, I am emotionally drained. These are words spoken to me and of me.  As I read them back, I thought, wow so much has been seen, tasted, felt, and given by my engagement in life.

When we decide to show up and be engaged, we set ourselves up to be vulnerable to people’s opinions and comments.  We allow ourselves to be accepted and rejected.  We give others permission to draw from our experiences and make conclusions of their own.

So as this next week comes around for me to catch my breath and disengage for a moment, I want to leave you with a few words of advice.

Don’t beg to be loved, just love yourself.

Don’t expect others to do what you are supposed to do for yourself.

Don’t give what you cannot afford to live without.

Don’t lose your dignity to fit into someone else’s narrative.

Don’t forget to rise up and be thankful for each and every experience, it has shaped the strong person you are.

Don’t forget to love unconditionally, but be prepared that your heart may break often.

Lesson:

Life is an unpredictable…smile while you are living it!

‘Til Tuesday

-Annette Ortiz Mata

What’s on your Thanksgiving Menu?

Each year I plan my Thanksgiving Menu. I figure out how many guests and how much food I’ll need to prepare and purchase.

I am incredibly meticulous with details and presentation because I want my guests to feel welcomed, loved, satisfied and thankful!

As I thought about this process, I thought about what is on my Thanksgiving Menu…

for my life!!

In my reflection I realized, this year came with a lot of “new” for me. New losses new opportunities, new travels, new illness scares, new trials, new rejections, new relationships 

Yet I am thankful.

Each “New” for me changed me for the better.  It made me stronger. I learned something about myself that I didn’t know I was capable of doing, accepting or being! I learned how strong I can be and I learned how vulnerable I truly am.

It’s hard to be thankful when your circumstances are not ideal; you are alone, your family is broken, your health is challenged.

It is then when it’s most important to be thankful! It stretches every fiber in you to utter the words that say I am thankful for this challenging trial. That’s when you grow!

It’s easy to be thankful when all is well.  When all is aligned and moving towards a beautiful outcome.  When your family is united, and everyone is full of joy.  When you are surrounded by your friends, and you are enjoying the best health. It doesn’t take much effort to be thankful when everything is going your way!

Give thanks… 

Give thanks in the hardship. You will be stronger.

Give thanks through the tears.  Joy comes in the morning

Give thanks in your sorrow.  Laughter will soon fill your heart.

So as you prepare your menu, think about all the different items that you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The mere fact that you can be aware of the spirit of Thanksgiving is enough to be thankful!

Sit still between now and Thanksgiving and write down ten things you are thankful for your heart will be full.  

Lesson:

Be thankful for every moment.  For that moment will never come again.

“Til Tuesday

Lessons…along the way.

“Drudgery is the test of genuine character.” 

– Oswald Chamber

I’ve learned several lessons these past few weeks –

Live teachable…

There is greatness in doing simple things greatly.

Don’t think of yourself insignificant in your path, it’s your journey.

Live your life as best as possible and if along the way you inspire or find others inspiring it’s a gift.

 Live with kindness, forgiveness and find moments to laugh out loud.

Don’t look at what you don’t have but be thankful for what you do have

Steal away moments to be alone and pray.

Your presence is priceless.

You are greatly valued.

Find community.

Be thankful…

Lesson:

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
Any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
(Portion of Psalm 139 – Message Translation)
Worth the whole read

 

Just lay down!

Why do women struggle with self-care?
Why do we think if we lay down, take a nap, close off the noise we are neglectful.

Why do we think that if we tell our kids I need some time alone, we are bad moms? If we say to our friends I need some space, we are sorry friends.  If we tell our spouse, not tonight, we are rejecting them. It not about them, it’s about you.

We need to just lay down!

I’ve learned as I have gotten older that if you don’t stop and walk away, take a nap, exercise, simply self-care, you are neglecting your family…yup you certainly are.  You are not giving yourself or your family the best you. We become tired, irritable, short-tempered, emotional, confused and with all that comes frustration and chaos.

We need to learn to be ok with just hitting the pause button on the hustle and bustle of life and reset ourselves and take care of our minds, bodies, and souls.

I now understand when my mom went to lay down during the day, she was saving herself and us from her wrath.  And though there were days we still received her wrath in spite of her naps, imagine if she didn’t just pause her day and lay down.

I now get it!

As I continue to walk through menopause, I find myself needing more time to reboot. Some days it’s voluntary, and other days my mind slows down, or my body just can’t give any more. My spirit is heavy, and I am forced to stop and just lay down.

Now, you might be thinking I can’t lay down, I work a full-time job, I can’t stop, I’m a single mom, who’s going to pick up the slack, help the kids with their homework, buy the groceries, clean the house, do the laundry.  Our list goes on and on.  I know, I do it too.  (Well, I am blessed to have a housekeeper, but I digress).  There has to come a moment when you have to slow down and sit still enough to regain your sanity.

I’ve learned to go to bed early.  I’ve learned the dishes can wait, but my body can’t.
Think about where you place your priorities. Your work, home, kids, spouse- saying yes to everything so as not to be judged.

Start saying yes, to yourself and learn to love yourself, it’s not selfish, it’s called self-care, and everyone will gain from it.  

 I’ve learned the power of no, and I just go lay down!

What can you do to regain control of your mind, body, and soul?  Here are some suggestions: read a book or a magazine,  go for a walk, take yourself out to dinner, take a warm bath, light a candle, sit still and pray, listen to music instead of watching TV, write a letter and forgive.

Lesson:

Take time to quiet your spirit.  Take time to listen to your heart.  Take time to live a generous life.  Goodness and blessing are waiting on the other side for you.

 Walk towards it.

“Til Tuesday

Disappointments…it’s physical.

Disappointment: sadness, regret, dismay, sorrow; dispiritedness, despondency, distress, chagrin; disenchantment, disillusionment; displeasure, dissatisfaction, disgruntlement. 

Disappointments often come like a massive wave! Overwhelming and pulling you in many directions-

She said what? He did what?  They want what?  How am I going to do this?  That is a bold face lie!  Why is this happening again? When will this all end?  How much longer?

This year I can honestly say I’ve caught myself saying these phrases more than once! The year was full of beautiful and memorable moments, along with incredible loss and pain and disappointments.

In it, I finally starting saying  “why, and why not me.” I’ve said “enough already” and “it’s not enough.” I’ve thought “I’m gonna get them” and I’ve also said, “It is not my battle to fight.”

When disappointment sets in, often for me it’s a physical not merely emotional. I feel it in my heart, stomach, and my spirit is immediately grieved. Disappointment can paralyze you emotionally if you don’t get control over it right away.

…And just let it go!

All these thoughts run through my mind when disillusionment visits my spirit. Yet I have come to understand and know that this too shall pass.

And I am here to tell you that it does! 

Right now I am experiencing a series of disappointments, yet I know with certainty that what is to come right behind these moments are lessons that I need for my personal growth.  I embrace the disappointments understanding that I am leaving room for what is intended to be for me.

What unmet expectations did you encounter? How much did we place on a situation or person to do what they really weren’t meant to do? Where did we miss the mark?  Have we started to face the reality of our part of the experience of being disappointed?

As you reflect on your year give thanks for the roses and the thorns.  They need each other to produce beauty.

Lesson:

Not everyone is for you, and not everyone is against you. Learn from your disappointments. There is always a lesson in that experience.

Life lessons are quiet God whispers leading us along.

“Til Tuesday