• The cost of being present


    Every time I look at this picture I smile. It might not look like there is a lot happening there but there was definitely a lot going on in my heart. Because I am a professional multitasker it is so easy for me to do lots of things at once; You can easily see me cooking dinner, talking to someone on the phone, washing dishes, laundry being done in the background, kids taking a bath, and to top it off answering any incoming text message while still on the phone. By the time it was time to put my head on the pillow I was drained, mentally exhausted but the thoughts of all the pending to do’s would not let me sleep. Has any of this ever happened to you? That you are so tired but cannot bring yourself to sleep? This had been me for more years than I could count, and yes things were getting done, and being done effectively, but what at what cost?

    The cost of being truly present.

    This picture means so much to me because I was truly present! I can describe what the weather was like that day because I can still feel it the sun shining on my face; I can talk about the people who where there because I was making eye contact with each of them as I listened to their words instead of hearing the noise they made in conversation. I remember what I was thinking and what was going through my head. Today, I look back at this picture with joy and it makes me look forward with the hope that I can continue to be fully present and feel at peace.

    One of the things I have learned throughout my journey of living my everyday as a holiday is that multitasking is not as effective or productive as society tells us it is. The truth is the multitasking is a habit and this bad habit leaves us breathless, anxious, and puts us in a position of doing much more than we need to handle at one time.

    We end up busy but not productive.

    The key word in “Feeling productive” is “feeling”. You may feel emotionally satisfied and look interesting to others, but is it really happening?

    It is interesting to see what Jesus says about worrying, rushing and living life to “get things done”. In Luke 10:42 He said to Martha “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen what is better”. In another example Jesus’s words to His disciples remind us to live one day at a time, each moment to its fullest: “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mathew 6:33-34).

    Sometimes, in different areas of our lives, goals and dreams that we may have or that God has put in our hearts, we think and act like Martha. But I think that behind any true integral success, including your emotional health there is a principle that we must follow and that is to stay still; do one thing at a time and be fully present.

    A new day, a new week, a new month knocks at the door of our hearts, so we must make room.
    Make room to live simply, laugh freely, think calmly, grow radically, love deeply and depend on God continuously. Making space is key to being present, but to make space you need to let go of toxic thoughts, bad habits and allow God to renew your mind.

    God wants us to be successful and productive, not busy and overwhelmed.

    He wants us to live life to the fullest not survive through it.

    I invite you to let go of any old commitments you have made to yourself that EVERYTHING must be done in one day, or the “ I can’t say no” or “I don’t have time” answers to every question. Let go of addictive or negative behaviors that no longer serve the person (Daughter, son, friend, parent, employee etc) you want to become.

    Right there were you are as you are reading this, smile, stop answering messages or scrolling through social media, just shut everything down for a few minutes and ask yourself: What is the one thing, the thing I need most right now that deserves my attention and focus?

    There is power in being present so choose to slow down and do the ONE RIGHT THING, and then the next and go on from there. You will be effective, you will get things done but most importantly, you are becoming the best version of yourself, living one day at a time, doing one thing at a time!

  • The everyday a holiday movement!

    A few years ago, I asked a couple of my friends to describe me in one word. mind you this was an exercise I asked my team to do and I thought to myself, I want to know too! So I asked, and to my surprise most of them without hesitation said BUSY you are always busy.

    Busy? really, is that how they see me though? I was surprised with the answer! when I look at myself in the mirror I see a lot of things but Busy was not one of those. Another really good friend said: you are like an ant, you never stop you are always working, and you are so fast and efficient, The word that describes you is an ant. Phew! At least she didn’t mean it because of my height lol

    To be honest I kinda liked the NEVER stop and the ALWAYS working description.

    If you think that those words made me stop or even sit back and realize that something was going on with the rush I was living. it didn’t.

    It empowered me, made me work more and fed my workaholism and perfectionism even more; if you don’t know me that’s me, that is my flesh a go-getter no matter the time kind of girl.

    I love to work, I love to be busy and not loose time, I enjoy to-do lists (Nothing wrong with To-do lists but when everything you do has to be on your list then trust me. there is a problem) but what I love the most about To do-lists is crossing each to do with a highlighter, that symbolizes victory in my book of productivity, Oh my Gosh I am literally smiling as I write this…

    See, when there is not a healthy balance in an activity, it becomes toxic and it affects you and those around you, but in my case being productive, busy and making things happen (in every area of my life including to-do lists at home for my husband & kids) is something that society applauds and celebrates, Yes! I was making things happen but the days were passing by like a hurricane and when I will notice another project will come, another season will come, another year will pass where all I could think of was:

    I need to be productive, I can’t loose time, I need to finish and then, I will stop and ask myself (for a second though) when is the next holiday to rest? funny as it sounds I lived and waited for the holidays to rest, and I am not exaggerating. My time to disconnect, to be still and do nothing (for a couple for hours only) was during the holidays! Do you feel the rush as you read this? Me too lol I feel tired remembering this season.

    but then… God spoke to me.

    Everyone has a different and unique relationship with God, and if there is anything I am passionate about and adore with everything I have is MY GOD and my time with him; for that, I had time or at least I thought I had, I will schedule time and most of the days were unmovable but it was on my time and my way, again me with my control and perfectionism that will kick in.

    Until, there was a season  where my time with him was dried, weird, almost non-existent it became another task and not a pleasurable time where I could just sit talk and listen to him, it was always a rush where I just wanted to get answers or vent quickly (To cross it on my To-do)  I will get frustrated easily then I will feel guilty and the cycle will go on (I think all us have gone through those deserts, but remember is just a season)!  back to my story, God is so so good and has so much grace it almost makes me want to cry again every time I think about this season; even with my huge imperfections, even though I was treating my time with him like another task on my to-do, He will still make me feel He was there listening or just patiently waiting for me.

    One day in one of our “appointments” I remembered an amazing book I got the year I had my 2nd miscarriage  (Another huge life altering season in my life) at a conference almost 6 years ago:  From Hectic to Healthy by Craig Jutila (Totally recommended).  I had read just the first 2 chapters and left it on my night stand… I had a feeling of God telling me, to go grab it again and read it. I started reading where I left of and quickly I was already in the second section amazed because I knew God was speaking to me.

    Page 75 – 78  From Hectic to Healthy 

    “I found that multitasking was originally used as a computing term, It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the term was applied to people. The thing is computers don’t have feelings, carpools or kids, However, when a computer is doing more than it was designed for, it does two things: either (1) freezes up or (2) It crashes. It’s interesting that too much multitasking even on computers can lead to lockups, freezes or even crashes.

    I believe the same is true with people”  Pg 76  “Many years ago, no one had a watch but everybody had time. Today everyone has a watch but no one has time. We have lost the ability to shut down and reload”  Pg 78  “The more I learn about multitasking the more I realize It’s not something  I should be bragging about.  Slowing down is being present at the moment and doing one thing well”  want more?… Buy the book lol

    The point is that as I read more and more I was convicted that my rush and busyness was not healthy and living my life waiting for holidays to then stop, slow down or simply enjoy the small things,  plan unforgettable memories with my family it wasn’t  “leaving to the fullest” it was just surviving.

    That’s where this movement, this lifestyle, and mindset in my life begun. 2013 God told me: Steph treat all your days like a Holiday, and you will be able to enjoy, seize the moments, do one thing at a time and take one day at a time.

    RELAX, breathe, sometimes you can say NO to projects and people and it is totally okay, you don’t need to be everywhere and with everyone and It is actually healthy. (at least for me)

    It began… and when you read “began” it is literal.

    I had no idea how to put boundaries, I kept on asking my self:  When Is my flesh and when Is my Spirit convicting me to slow down? I will answer my self: But I don’t want to stop being efficient, I can’t just give in responsibilities! I have to work! I love to work! These were all my questions, my concerns, my thoughts… and I am sure that you are thinking the same. #Thestruggleisreal

    It has been a long slow ride that I am still in, and to be honest I think I might ride it for the rest of my life but this is me. Today as I write this I feel happy, I feel like I have learned to try to do things in an excellent way and not beat myself out because it wasn’t perfect.  Maybe this is not your main struggle in life, but whatever it is trust me, one of the roots is control (control your life, your future, your hurts) and something that I’ve learned is that control has the power to make you focus on what you don’t have, what you are missing, what you lack and that begins to be your focus to the point where you live on autopilot.

    God did not create us to live a life full anxiety, rush and fatigue; He came and brought freedom, self-control, true happiness and so much more!

    I want to invite you to ride with me and join the movement of living your everyday a holiday! Let’s enjoy our everyday and live life to the fullest, why wait for a tragedy, for pain or until Monday when you can start now?

    Welcome to my blog! 😊

  • I did it! Finally…

    Wow you finally did it! Yes, lately a lot of my close friends have said this to me! and yes, I finally did it… but what did I do? You might ask… well, I finally dare to share my thoughts and expose them for anyone to read… see, I love to read and write, and I have lots of diaries filled with thoughts, tears, crazy stories and testimonies but every time someone will suggest me to put it in a blog my answer was always No way! That’s way to personal… but deep inside I knew that it was deeper than that, and If you read my first blog entry then you can understand why.

    This might not be relevant for you, but for me someone who deals with perfectionism; there was never an appropriate time, a good enough picture to reflect what I meant to say or a perfect day to do this, and just like that, 5 years passed…  5 years since I wrote my first blog but it was never published, why? Because I am me… ha! And the ones that know me might be giggling right now… because without the Holy Spirit I am a control freak, A doer, a driven and type A personality kind of girl… and no, I am not proud of it, this has actually cause me a lot of tears and learning lessons. The thing with me is that if I don’t feel like is the appropriate time, the right day or the right season to do it, I just don’t do, say, or act… and like I mentioned above dealing with perfectionism and activism made me believe that it was never the right time, that everything and everyone had to be 100%  to make it happen, and that is such a big lie that freezes you! Just like fear, perfectionism has the same power it elevates you in some areas but freezes you in others!

    oh, so is this the right time you might ask? No, maybe not lol but what I’ve learned on this journey of “letting go & letting God” Is not about finding an appropriate time but being obedient to Gods time and just act upon it and walk by faith.

    I am so thankful for this season, what I’ve learn about my self and God has been the propeller to everything that is coming.

    If there is anything I have learned, and I have been impacted by is that God is a God of seasons and we must be smart to quiet our noisy minds, identify our season, accept it and jump, sometimes with fear and doubt other times with confidence, but with an obedient heart. When you hear Gods voice you need to jump! Obedience is an act of faith and if you believe him you need to act!

    I don’t know if there are undone areas in your life where God today is telling you go! And your mind tells you no, not yet… it might be insignificant for others but huge for you like learning to dance, learn a new language, exercise, start a business, start a family, quit, change majors, buy a plane ticket, write a book… I don’t know what it is but today on the other side of just “waiting for the perfect time” to do it and actually doing it, I can tell you, It feels so good!

    God has given you the capability, the talent but most important a dream that beats inside of you, so dare to act.  But first believe that the God you believe in, has believed in you all along. He knows the desires of you heart and when you delight in him and do everything for his glory He will give you what you desire.

    What are you doing today on the other side of you comfort zone? it might not be perfectionism, it might be fear or procrastination what ever it is deal with it, ask for help but don’t give up!

    What is it that you need to do or act upon that you left sitting in the back of your mind and heart? Quiet your mind and listen to God’s voice saying: what are you waiting for?… do it! …. Nope no buts, just do it!  😊 You can do it!