Coronavirus COVID19

Plans on hold

Dreams deferred

——

We are forced to do what so many have complained they never have the time to do

Have dinners at home

Walks in the park

Talk with our kids

Laugh with our spouses

Call our friends

Catch up on our favorite TV shows

Read our favorite books

Sleep more

Exercise at home or outside 

Check-in on our neighbors 

And yet, all that we have seen on social media is an incredible amount of complaining and desperate anxiety that demonstrates our uneasiness with ourselves.

This should be a time of reflection.

Prayer

Sharing

Rest

Comfort

Hope

Cleanliness

This should have been a time of Thanksgiving.

 a warm bed

food on the table

running water

We are quick to share how much time we don’t have to do the things we want to do

Well, our world has hit the pause button giving us the time!

May we all come out better from this.

May we all experience a change.

May we all recognize what is truly important.

May we all learn the difference between a need and a want

May we all recognize the price you pay for both.

Lesson:

Who will you be after all this is done?

‘Til Tuesday

Set three goals…

I challenge you!!!

Set three goals for the next year!

One that is attainable

One that requires a bit of work

One that is so out of your reach will take a miracle!!!

I challenge everyone to put their faith to the test and see what GOD can do through you!

I love writing goals for the year.

I break them up into three months, six months, nine-month and twelve-month goals.

I write them in succession of what I want to see happen for myself, my marriage, my family and, our businesses.

It allows me to see us moving forward and, if we aren’t meeting our goals and moving forward, I can quickly assess why?

Take the challenge…

Write down your dreams, desires, goals, and, ambitions.  Be prepared to open doors that you may have never imagined you’d walk through and sit at tables where you thought you didn’t have a seat!

Lay down what didn’t work for you this year and walk away from the disappointment that may want to take a seat in your heart, mind and, soul. Share your goals with someone you trust.  Someone that will encourage and keep you accountable.

Be prepared to leap forward.

Fall upward and take the Challenge! 

Lesson:

Write down your goals and then leave room for God!

Six Weddings…

This was the year of weddings!

We received six wedding invitations of which we were only able to attend three.  It seemed that each time I opened my mailbox, there was another engagement, save the date and wedding invite.

We take our attendance at weddings very seriously.  Someone very wise once said, when you commit to showing up to a wedding you are committing to the success of the marriage.  You are making a promise to the couple that you will pray and support them through their married life.  That concept truly made me think.

 How many of us think of our attendance in those terms?

So as I pondered on all these beautiful weddings that we attended this is my advice to the newlyweds of 2019!

During conflict 

Talk, talk and talk some more; Go for a walk in silence; Ask for forgiveness

Communication

 Understand your spouses’s personality; Have real expectations (he/she was always this way, he/she didn’t change); Take time to listen without being defensive; Keep a short account (let the grudge go)

What you wished someone had told you

It’s not his/her job to make all your dreams come true; Keep something for yourself – job, hobby, friendships; Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect; He can’t read your mind; Marriage is WORK; Be flexible

Rules of friendship w/ the opposite sex

 Talk about relationships that are non-romantic, How does he/she feel about that; Your spouse must always come first; Trust and boundaries must be clear.

Maintaining Intimacy 

Keep healthy boundaries with your kids and your time; Make your bedroom a sanctuary; Hold hands;  Stay connected phone calls, texts, emails; Words of Affirmation (we each need to know we are desired); Dates are key, whether during the day, noon or night and even in your own home; He/She must always be your boyfriend/girlfriend; Stay on point with your grooming and appearance.

Extended Family Conflicts 

Set boundaries; Create your own family traditions w/ your spouse and kids; Don’t allow guilt to drive your decisions.

When things are difficult

Remember who you fell in love with, that person is still there.  Life is happening to you and sometimes those circumstances are beyond your control. Forgiveness is key.  Record keeping is never a good thing. People grow and can change. Be open to new adventures. Be an encourager. Hold hands even when you don’t want to. And ask for help when you’ve hit a wall.

So to all these newly wedded starting their “forever” life, may we commit to pray for you, encourage you and support you …

Because…Marriage is work!

Lesson:

Don’t judge someone’s marriage.  You don’t know the work they are doing.

‘Til Tuesday

Be teachable…

This week I had the privilege of sitting with some amazing women.  They all shared their incredible journeys.  They were poignant, heartfelt stories, others were uplifting and encouraging.

One theme seems to run through all of the conversations…be teachable.  Each one of them imparted some small nugget that left me filled, thinking, and challenged.

I realized that no matter where we are in life, we must stay teachable.

When you are teachable, you are forgiving

When you are teachable, you are understanding 

When you are teachable, you are loving

When you are teachable, you are exploring

When you are teachable, you are creating

When you are teachable, you are inventing

When you are teachable, you are growing,

When you are teachable, you are listening…

There is grace when you are teachable.  There is humility when you are teachable.  There is submission when you are teachable.

I found myself being so very thankful that in every conversation, I took something away that made me grow and move forward.  It wasn’t about my opinion, my thoughts, my experience.  It was about embracing their experience with kindness, respect, and understanding.  It was about empathy, compassion, and growth.  As I continue to pass through this beautiful life that I have been given to live with all its hills and valleys, may I always live with an open heart and listen.

Lesson:

It’s not always about what you have to say, but how much you listen.

‘Til Tuesday

 

 

School Scandal? New…well?

These past few weeks, our news and twitter feeds have been inundated with the school scandal/entrance scam.  Parents going the “extra mile” to assure their child is guaranteed a seat in the most elite schools around the country.

This, my friend, is nothing NEW.

I think the most egregious detail is the “alleged fraud” that the parents engaged in to guarantee their child admittance into these elite schools.  Superimposing your child’s image on an athletic snapshot, or having someone else take their ACTs and SATs is just simply criminal!

Yet, this type of behavior has been going on for DECADES.

Our family experienced a very small taste of what power and privilege can guarantee you!  Our son was in third grade, and we wanted to switch him to another private elementary school that came highly recommended.  He tested, and we interviewed, but unfortunately, our family was denied admittance.  Our dear friend whose son attended this elementary school at the time asked how did we like the school, and we mentioned that our son was denied admission.  Well, less than 24 hours later, I get a call from the President of the school congratulating us and saying that a seat has been made available for our son!

I just about fell out.  

My husband and I decided that this was not the type of environment that we wanted our son to be a part of, and we declined the “seat.”

The hypocrisy behind this scandal is that we all have used some type of “influence” to get theatre tickets, dinner reservations, discounts of any kind.  

It’s all about who you know!

 It’s a conversation we must honestly address before we are quick to criticize the behavior of parents wanting their child to be given an unfair advantage.

We do it every day!!!  

We live seeking, desiring, and lusting after the “best” for our lives and our families.  We live coveting the “best” because we feel it validates our existence.  It gives us an identity of influence and importance. And honestly, we kinda enjoy it. We live thinking that if we have this education, drive this car, live in this certain neighborhood, wear these types of brands that we will BE better, we will be ACCEPTED!

The unfortunate part of this type of thinking is that our society rewards this type of behavior.  

THAT’S. THE. PROBLEM!

If we live this way, how do we expect our children to know any better?  When we begin to accept the beauty of who we are, where we are and start giving of ourselves and creating a space that is beneficial for everyone, THEN these type of “scandals” should truly upset us.

But until we learn to live in truth, with integrity, we can’t expect any more of our society.  It starts with us.

What do we place the most value on?

That is where your heart lives.

Lesson:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart (your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers) will be also. – Matthew 6:21 (Amplified Version)

-Annette Ortiz Mata

Twenty-Five years and counting!​

Yup, it’s our 25th Anniversary. On a cloudy day, February 5, 1994, at 11am in the morning, Robert and I stood before God, family, and friends and made the most significant commitment of our lives. Saying I do to… forever! Yup! FOREVER…What has that looked like the past 25 years? Well, let me tell you!

Our 25 years have included, unbridled passion, intensive conflict, mixed with exhilaration. The first 5 years included locations, travel, and our firstborn. The next five years included our first miscarriage, my cervical cancer, two new address, and lots of time spent apart. The next five years another miscarriage, the birth of our second child, radiation for my thyroid disease and more time spent apart along with unbearable personal loss. The next five years came with more conflict than resolution. Came with challenges that seemed unimaginable. We were stretched to the brink, but we always bounced back. Everything we held close and dear was ripping us apart. We walked in different directions and sometimes in circles feeling trapped. In the midst of it all, we held on to our promise to each other –

Forever…It’s forever!

The past five years have come with unimaginable loss and grief. Some of it is still unbearable and difficult to process and accept. Committing to marriage and committing to each other is an act of selflessness. It requires forgiveness, compassion, empathy, understanding, trust, respect, and honor. It requires waking up each morning and choosing each other no matter how hard the circumstances are. It requires having an identity in your relationship that is separate from each other so that we don’t place the expectation of making the other person responsible for your happiness.

So! The past 25 years in our lives have included a myriad of experiences that are all our own. It’s our journey that has kept us incredibly committed to each other. One thing I am sure of..my lover has my back and I have his. He is mine, and I am his.

What I know for sure is that he was created for me and I for him.

I look forward to the next 25 plus years that will continue to be an amazing journey of our lives together. Creating memories and experiences that are personal to us and only us. Living in a sacred space that we know is full of love, respect, and honor and laughter, lots of laughter.

So we celebrate 25 years of marriage with the scars that clearly show we fought for us and won! FOREVER!

Lesson:

Key to a healthy marriage, love, commitment, laughter, forgiveness, respect, trust, and intimacy. FOREVER.

“Til Tuesday

-Annette Ortiz Mata

Til Forever

Are you a spectator or participant….in your life?

Your immediate response may be, I am a participant? It’s my life I have to do me!  What kind of question is that?  

Well, after several interesting conversations I concluded that some folks are spectators in their own lives.

 They don’t participate.

They just do just enough to get through the day and meet their responsibilities.  Just enough to pay their bills, and keep relationships afloat.

They are spectators.

 They watch others from afar.  Don’t engage.  Don’t want to rock the boat.  Is that a bad thing?  Well, only if it leaves your gifts and talents unfulfilled.  You can run the risk of being critical of others as they “participate” in their lives.  Spectators sit on the sidelines and are comfortable. They can become critical of those in motion.

Participants are in constant motion. They are moving forward.  Looking to engage, encourage, inspire and fulfill dreams and aspirations. They seek relationships. They enjoy conversation, engagement with others.  They are looking to do better, be better and do more.  They live life to it’s fullest.  They find joy in the simplest things.  They crave learning and growing in the knowledge that expands their understanding of others.

Participants take risks.  Participants fulfill dreams.  Participants show up. Participants inspire. Participants make no excuses.

Don’t sit on the sidelines of your own life. Be an active participant and fulfill the hopes and aspirations that were once birthed in your heart. Pursue the goals you’ve always wanted to accomplish.  It’s one step forward.  The first step is always the hardest.  When you engage in your life you will notice the spectators around you and wonder, why are they sitting on the sidelines?

 They are watching you!

Watching you grow and in doing so, you will inspire them to step out of the stands and join the team.

Don’t be a spectator.  Participate.  Someone is waiting for you to step out of your comfort zone and walk alongside them.

What can you do today that will change the trajectory of your life?  Go for a walk, eat better, make a phone call, write a letter? Visit a friend, get a physical? Apply back to school? Apply to a new job? Run the marathon? Take the trip?

Lesson:

When you show up and participate in your life, you inspire others to do the same.  Live generously, it changes everything!

“Til Tuesday

Just keep polishing…

I have attended several weddings in the past months, and one ceremony had a poignant moment. They asked specific people to surround them.   They stood up, walked up to the couple, surrounded them and prayed over them, blessing their marriage. These were their mentors.  Folks that will keep them accountable in marriage. Now that’s a powerful moment.

What a great way to start their commitment to each other!

I love being married-

The partnering to create a life together that will leave a legacy.

 I don’t like what marriage can do to one another.
As a wife and mother, I often find my role diminished, by choice.
We often give the power to our spouses to make us happy and bring us joy.
We have expectations that we believe are clearly defined as their role in our lives.

Love me and make me happy!

Well, I have learned that is not a healthy relationship. That is not a healthy expectation.

Marriage is work!

And like any kind of work, that are successes, failures, and losses, but you keep doing the work.
When we get up to go to work we put our best face forward, we show respect to our co-workers. We do our best so that the company and team succeed. When you fail at that, you are replaced.
Think about it…if marriage is work. Why don’t we treat it with the same respect? Why don’t we give it our best? Why do we choose not to succeed for the team?

As I’m getting older, I realize that the glitter and magic of our newlywed love can easily turn into tarnished metal. Every day we have to take out our special cloth of grace, kindness, forgiveness and polish the metal so we can see the reflection of what it once was.Yet, this takes a team, two people committed to each other, committed to the work!

Lesson:
Marriage is work.
Forgiveness is greater
Choose every day to do both!

‘Til Tuesday

Expectations…

A few weeks ago I received an email that kinda rattled my cage…
It made me say “wait…what? Excuse me?
Then I realized the person who wrote the email had an expectation of me that I never offered.
They expected me to react and respond to their request in a way that I never intended.
It made me think about expectations we place on people.
We expect folks to respond
We expect folks to react
We expect folks to honor our request
We expect folks to be respectful
We expect folks to be loyal
We expect folks to be truthful
We expect folks to be honest
We expect folks to be trustworthy
We expect folks to be kind
We expect folks to be generous
We expect folks to be on time
We expect folks to be empathetic
We expect folks to be giving
We expect folks to be polite
We expect folks to be loving
We expect folks to be forgiving
We expect folks to be thankful
We expect folks to be sincere
The list can go on and on…
But are we ANY of these
Do we show these attributes?
Do we share these attributes?
Are we always prepared to be and do these things?
Our expectations of others can be overbearing and overreaching.
How we interact with each other determines what we should expect from each other.

Lesson:

Expectations can set us up for disappointments.
Meet people where they are…

‘Til Tuesday

Stay in your lane…

Don’t you just hate it while you are driving along on the freeway/highways, someone cuts you off or gets in front of you and decides to slow down or is behind you and is tailgating you.  You just want to shout “Stay in your lane.”

I love that at 51 years young I am still learning lessons, this is one of them

“Stay in your lane.”

My son Paul went away on his 9th-grade river trip with his Freshman Class. During those four days that he would be gone, I decided  I would unplug from all the “extra” noise that we allow in our lives. No news, Facebook, conversations, television playing in the background.  Just sitting still, listening to the silence! Reading, praying, meditating and writing. As I indulged in the silence, it was just that, complete stillness and other days there were moments that I clearly knew that God was present. As the four days came to a close, I began to understand that all my dreams and aspirations are mine and only mine. I needed to continue to stay in my lane. It’s on my road that I will meet the folks that are supposed to be in my life. I realized that each time I have tried to change lanes or desired to jump in on someone else’s lane, I lost myself, got frustrated and lost my focus. I realized that I have the tools and the gifts in my hands and that I must not question my worth, which honestly I have been struggling a lot with these past few months. My lane may be slow and steady and some days fast and unpredictable, but it’s my lane. Sometimes you have to merge on to someone else’s lane only to quickly move over to your own lane when you realize they are not going where you are going.

Every day you get up and pick up your dreams, hopes, gifts, and talents get in your lane.  Don’t get discouraged or disappointed in the timeline- I learned that these past few days – time is nothing to God.

This I am still coming to understand and slowly accept. 

Are you still dreaming? Don’t give up!
Just stay in your lane! Do the work!

Lesson;
If you get cut off while in your lane, stay the course, those folks will quickly move out of the way, because they soon realize they are not going where you are going, and some are just passing through. 

Stay steady!

‘Til Tuesday