Faith, Family

Farewell, 2017. You’ve been real.

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This year has been a whirlwind….a roller coaster of sorts, with many many highs and some occasional lows (and shockers). If I could have seen the future, even just a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed what 2017 had in store for me…or who I would become!

Late in 2016 I started a new job. It was an exciting move for me, as my career had always come first. I love my husband and kiddo, but work was something I put everything into, where my passions and purpose thrived. So when I was given an opportunity to lead a new marketing department, I jumped on it. I never would have left the American Heart Association under any other circumstances….So, God had to yank me out of there and that started my unimaginable journey. Left job

In March, I lost that same job. The organization decided they no longer wanted a marketing department, which means no brand manager (that was me!). There I was, driving to pick up my kiddo at daycare, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Asking, WHY?? How could this happen???

I was devastated. I was shocked. We had prayed so hard before I made this decision, how could it be? As many of us know, God’s plan doesn’t always unfold right before our eyes. I’m fortunate that it unfolded for me months later.

I started applying for jobs right away, and even had a few interviews lined up immediately. I had to pull BabyCoolJ out of daycare, which made scheduling interviews a challenge. I applied for jobs at nap time and bedtime, took interview screenings at nap time, and planned around crazy schedules to make it all work out.

Within a week of my job loss, my husband was also promoted. It was a great step for his career, but he no longer was going to have his awesome schedule of working 3am – 2pm. He was fortunate to spend 18 months picking up our kiddo from daycare and having that time with him before I would get home in the evening. We quickly realized that is was all such a blessing, now I was home with J and he didn’t have to stress about his new schedule and J being at daycare super late.

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Months passed and the job interviews dried up. During that time I joined a morning mom-and-preschooler bible study, a Sunday evening lifegroup and had my current Wednesday ladies bible study. I met tons of moms, started scheduling play dates, and had a very full calendar of activities every single day. My life was more full than I could ever have imagined.

Somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be home with BabyCoolJ, but my husband and I couldn’t figure out how that was possible. You see, we purchased our home with two substantial incomes. Two incomes that were paramount in making our monthly payments. We just didn’t see how it was possible.

That’s when I started PR consulting and my new gig as a Stylist.. They are both lucrative and fun, but they aren’t bringing in the income stream that my career provided. We continued to pray and just put our faith in Him. And I continued to enjoy every friendship I was making and the time I was enjoying with J.

Lisa Alfaro Stock
My “fortune coffee sleeve” back in January, 2017

My husband was offered an amazing new job in September, which he started in October. What we didn’t know when he accepted was that he was going to be in San Antonio 85% of the time. He knew travel was involved, but not at that level….that’s when we started thinking….

I want to stay home with J. He wants a good quality of life (4 hour commute round trip daily is NO JOKE!). We both want what is best for our family.

So here we are, December 19, 2017. Three weeks ago I told him we need to figure something out because we can’t stay in our home. Two and a half weeks ago I came across Dave Ramsey’s ELP blog posts. Two weeks ago we met with realtors. A week and a half ago we hired our agent to help us sell, and a few days ago we hired our new buying agent. It truly is a whirlwind.

Y’all, our home is a mess. We are working on staging it and clearing it out. We list in January and begin our new life in a new city….those details are coming soon!

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But the most amazing thing is our new life. Spending every day with my little one. Meal planning and activity prepping. Play dates. Church activities. It is all a blessing, and just proves how we must be patient and wait on God’s time. His plans are so much better than ours!

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Faith

#MusicMonday: I’m not the kind of girl that gives up

Last week a girl from my church’s Bible study organized a care calendar for a family in need. Their sweet 5-year-old daughter was in and out of the hospital, and we rallied together to support the family. So, I signed up to leave dinner on Friday.

What you don’t know about me is I don’t cook. In fact, when I first met my husband I told him, “Just so you know, I went to college so I never have to cook.” Little did I know that I would eventually be home with our kiddo, slaving over a stove 3 times a day! Seriously though, it brings me joy to prepare meals for BabyCoolJ…key word: prepare. As in, toss together and heat up. I am still no cook.

My heart broke for this family, especially the mom – I can’t imagine what she’s going through or how difficult life must be. She should not have to spend any time worrying about food. So, even though I knew it would be tough, I signed up for the meal proudly. Then, Friday came.

Whoa, what had I gotten myself into! It’s funny because, while I never felt disappointed for signing up, I sure did feel anxious about getting it right. I made two batches of Million Dollar Spaghetti – easy enough, right? Well – I ran 45 minutes behind, layered the stuff incorrectly, and at one point when I was boiling, stirring and pouring 3 different items simultaneously, my toddler decided to sneeze on me…with a mouth full of crackers. That’s right – my legs and dress were full of snot and snack, while my hands were full of sauce and spaghetti. (And yes, I was in a dress because I went to a scam interview and still hadn’t changed – remember I was behind!!)

 

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I didn’t get to capture my mess, so you get this cute kitchen shot instead!

 

But I didn’t give up. I wiped my legs, washed up and kept going. I made it the family’s house an hour after I said I would, but I am so glad I didn’t give up. The look on their faces…the appreciation…and their daughter’s excitement! What a blessing. They don’t even know that THEY blessed ME in this whole scenario!

And, because we all know Satan loves to attack when we’re working for Christ, I had a rough drive back, including a big truck cutting me off and making me swerve and slam on my breaks. In that moment, I prayed. I prayed instead of cursing, I thanked God that I was driving home to a happy and healthy toddler instead of hating on the truck driver. And that, my friends, is why we should never give up. Not just on a project or recipe, but on our faith.

Faith, Family

Celebrating moms

20170513_160256-01Yesterday, Mi Amor and I took BabyCoolJ to Little Land to have some fun and let out some much-needed energy. It was really empty, except for a large Latino family, and two other (white) dads with their kids. Mi Amor and I began chatting about culture, and where we grow up, and how they play such an influence on our lives. I’ve seen moms post that they are doing spa days, getaways and girls nights. Such a different world to what we grew up knowing. Moms, at least 3 generations, would gather together over large meals and celebrate with their full families. If we were back in our hometown, we would have 4 generations celebrating on my side, and 3 generations on my husband’s. It is a beautiful thing!

But, because I refuse to travel with a 20 month old, we will celebrate in our little family of 3. We will celebrate together, through the tantrums, fighting the naps and each and every “mama” and hug. (although, I could totally go for a spa day, too!)

My son is my world! I can’t believe how many memories and how much LOVE #babycoolj has filled me with, all in under 2 years! I cherish every moment, and I am grateful to God for the blessing it is to be this kiddo’s mama. And what a blessings moms are. Thank YOU for all you do. The sleepless nights, the selfless acts, sharing your food, your bed and all your space. Giving up your time, your body and your night outs. I never quite understood it, or appreciated my mom as much, as I do now that I am a mother. YOU all are amazing. 20170514_123615-01.jpeg

And, on the note of amazing, I have to add what an amazing God we have! Today our pastor preached about faith. It tied in so perfectly with what God told Mi Amor and me to do this week. Seriously, perfect timing. In fact, he shared the story of Isaac in Genesis, and how Abraham’s servant was told to go find him a wife. How perfect was it that he trusted in God when he met Rebekah (see verse 12), and that God provided such a clear message for him. He did that for us too, and he was showing us once again that we were to walk in faith. We closed it up with moms praying for our children, faithful prayers of who they will become and who they are created to be. Everyone else prayed for the mothers in the room. Perfect start to my Mother’s Day!

Be blessed everyone!

Faith

Walking out in faith …

Y’all, something huge just happened last night!

So, let me preface this by saying I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst. I have faith and trust in Him, however I struggle with discerning on His vs. my thoughts/desires/ideas. Lots of crazy stuff enters my mind and I don’t know where it is coming from!

After my bible study on Wednesday evening, I was talking with a friend from the study and she told me to stop and listen. Spend some time in His Word and open myself up to His desires for me.

So, just a few hours earlier, I was working on bills. There was a short season when my husband (aka Mi Amor) and I were getting back on our feet after I switched from one job to another, and we missed church and therefore didn’t tithe a couple of weeks. On my spreadsheet, I had written “Owe $$$ on tithe.” Knowing that I am out of work and we are figuring out how to make ends meet, I deleted that and moved on the to rest of the bills. “God understands….” I thought.

Now, back to later that same evening, after bible study and this conversation with my friend. I thought (or felt God tell me) that I needed to give $1,000 in tithe to our church. “WHAT! Are you crazy?!!” I said out loud, to myself. Remember…we are struggling here! My parents are actually gifting us a few days away for my hubby’s 40th birthday week, how can I give money when I am accepting money??

I chalked it off to more of my own crazy thoughts. But I remembered, be still…listen…who is making me think this? DOES IT GLORIFY GOD? (Thanks, Lysa!). So, adding more stipulations to me vs. God, I thought “okay, if Mi Amor confirms my thoughts, then we will give the money.” I didn’t bring it up, though.

So, Thursday came and went and I hadn’t even put any thought back on this moment. Like I mentioned, I am all over the place. Mi Amor leads a men’s group on Thursdays, so I was working on my consulting gig in the bedroom. When he got home, he came to the room, laid on the bed and opened his bible. We did the normal casualties, “how was bible study?” “How was your day?” “anything exciting come up?” “any good job applications?” ….followed by a few moments of us doing our own thing.

Then, BOOM. Mi Amor tells me, “There’s something I read in Acts 5 and I’m struggling with it; it’s bothering me for some reason and I don’t know why.” He began to read it to me, and here’s an except for dramatic effect:

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. Acts 5: 3-5

Then, in verse 9, Peter speaks with Ananias’ wife and says:

How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.

Y’ALL. I started sobbing. Like, more than just pretty tears. I asked Mi Amor, right before the tears came, “what does this mean to you?” and he even responded, “not the scripture, but to me personally?” He added that he couldn’t pinpoint it but he felt guilt. BOOM. God has spoken. And, dropped the mic.

Guess who’s getting a $1,000 check this Sunday?

God keeps humbling me. And you know what? I am so thankful. I know He is full of blessings, and I believe He has something incredible in store for us. I can’t wait to share once we figure it all out!

How have you said YES to God lately?

Faith

#MusicMonday: take flight

I’ve always been a fan of #motivationalmonday – so much so that every time I manage a social media account I still create and share these graphics. It may be played out, but I love it. We can never get enough positivity in our lives, especially considering we’re inundated with such negative content, news and images.

I’ve created my own theme for my Monday posts – song lyrics. Music holds such a special place in my heart. I met my husband because of music (he used to be a hip-hop MC!). I was saved through music worship. Music brings back memories…can make my cry, brighten my day and even stops me in my tracks to dance. Even my toddler loves a good dance party! So I thought what better way for me to share my emotions – and a positive vibe – than through some lyrics.

I love the lyrics from Blackbird so much. So simple, but has a big impact. We can all relate to a time when we felt broken and defeated. If only it was simple enough in those moments to just learn to fly again. But I share this today because it can be that easy. I am a believer, so I know that through Christ I can learn to fly again when I feel broken.

2 Kings 20:5 says: “…Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you…” (NLT). In the Gospel, there are more than 30 documented healings by Jesus. But the ultimate healing is Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to heaven. Y’all, we are saved by grace and healed through Jesus!

Whatever it is you believe in, I hope you find that inner strength to mend your broken wings. And, if prayer is what you want, feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll happily pray for you.

Faith, Family

Lisa in the sky with dandelions

Hi there! Welcome to my little space on the interwebs (I love that word). I am in a new season of life, in a life that is constantly changing, so I decided to start writing about a few of my favorite things: faith, being a wife and mama, music and some sprinkled in reviews.

I’ll start off with music, and the rest will totally fall into place. See, I’ve always loved music. Not in the kind of way my husband does, though. I can’t tell you the name of half the songs I listen to or know a lot of band/singers names. However, I can tell you how I feel when I hear a song. I naturally move along to most music, and music brings joy to my heart. I can even remember what was going on in my life with certain songs. (hello, international music and working at a club in the “Valley” in 2000!)

In 2008, after spending a year in New Zealand, I found myself back in the Valley trying to figure out life. I got a great job so I stuck around. They actually have a pretty great, lively music scene in the Valley, so I found myself out often catching a good show. That fall, I met my future husband. He was a hip-hop artist, and I became a quick fan of his music…not to be confused with a fan of HIM! We stayed acquaintances and eventually became friends before dating in 2010.

I share this because he represents music to me. Not only because of how we met but because it was our mutual love of music that brought us to the faith together. In 2011, we decided to visit a church. This mega-church had the best worship music, and we quickly fell in love with the idea of being regular attendees. In fact, we never missed a day other than when we went out of town.

In the fall of 2014, Mi Amor (aka husband) and I were married. It was the BEST DAY EVER, at least up until that point in our lives. We never knew what God had in store right around the corner! We purchased and built a home in December, and in January, we found out we were pregnant. For the sake of this blog, you’ll know our son as BabyCoolJ. Our lives have never been the same.

The one thing, outside of God, that has gotten us through it all, music. We have dance parties in our living room, BabyCoolJ begs for pandora instead of TV and musical instruments are spread throughout our house.

So, I’ve dedicated every Monday to another song lyric. I hope you’ll join me on the journey as I continue figuring out how to be a great wife and mama, all while groovin’ along.