Happy 12th Birthday Kaiden Benjamin

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My sweet boy is twelve today.  You guys he is officially  a pre-teen. What!?
He came into this world fast, furious, and hungry.  Not much has changed.
I know as his momma I am completely and extremely biased but this kid is something special.  From the day he was born strangers, other moms and teachers would comment on his spirit, character, and charisma.
He is a peace maker by nature.  He is always willing to let a kid go first or put his preference aside to keep everyone happy.  He is sandwiched between two sisters and he gets plenty of practice trying to keep the peace.
He is a natural leader. Although he is kind and gentle, he has no problem taking charge of situations.  He is called friend be many.
I love watching him interact with others.  You get a true glimpse of his heart when he doesn’t realize anyone is watching.  He is an encourager on the ball field and celebrates his teammates victories, big and small.
What sets him apart is his love for the Lord and his ability to worship with reckless abandon.  He is a living example of loving your neighbor.  He sets the bar with his teachers, coaches and friends.
My kid carries a heavy load.  He realized the pressure of constantly being the example of respect and integrity.  He is still a little boy after all. Even so, every day he picks up his cross and carries it.
Kaiden Benjamin is a true joy.  He attacks life with a smile on his face while letting his light shine bright.

 

Happy 12th Birthday Baby Boy

For The Love of Books

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My love for books began at an early age.  I was an eager and quick learner of all things. In truth I was more motivated by the words of affirmation I lacked at home.  Home was a place of dysfunction, at best, and school became my reprieve.

My mind was blown when it was introduced to phonetics.    The simplicity of sounding out, See spot run, soon opened up a whole new world. I spent my entire day sounding out everything. When my comprehension skills caught up I was never without a book.

I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I was able to lose myself completely in the stories of people, places and circumstances I would otherwise be deprived of.  My world was small and full of hurt. I needed an escape and books provided that for me in a healthy way.

I have passed my passion for books on to my children.  Thankfully books for them represent a different kind of refuge than they provided for me.  I’ve come to learn wanting to get lost in a book is not a bad thing or a desire derived from a place of hurt.

The majority of books I read are faith-based books.  I am first and foremost a child of God and it is important to me to stay grounded in my faith.  I also teach Bible study and read as a means of research.  My favorite genre is memoir.  I love, love reading about the lives of other people.

However, if you took a glance at my stack of books waiting to be read you would notice I am an eclectic reader. I have come to love and appreciate the knowledge I acquire from different genres.  I have an insane ability to make each and every book I read personal.

As an avid reader I get asked three questions repeatedly: How do you decide what books to read? How do you make time to read? How did you raise your kids to be readers?  In an effort to answer those questions I have decided to dedicate a post to each question every remaining Friday in February.

I would love for you to return each week and share your own answers to these questions.

The Elephant In The Room

Everyday I have sat at my brand new computer Mr. C gifted to me on my 40th birthday to pursue my dreams without screaming profanities at my ancient laptop to write.  Except the words I want to write, the words I need to write, I can’t.

Mr. C is having some serious health issues at the moment and he asked if I would please not discuss the details.  He is a private person. I, on the other hand, deal with things by using my keyboard to vomit my feelings.  So, out of respect for him I will not be sharing any of the details of this journey we are on at this time.

Can I just say how hard it has been to write about other things?  Our life is so different from it was a few months ago. God is working in ways that I am bursting to share but I can’t without, you know, vomiting all the details Mr. C has asked me not to share.

As a blogger who writes about our daily life I have been wrestling with having my creativity stifled. Then it occurred to me just because I couldn’t publish my thoughts didn’t mean I couldn’t write them.  Since when did my words need to be read by others to be validated. They don’t.

When we first learned of Mr. C’s condition we made a prayerful decision to continue to live life as normal as possible.  It goes against my nature. I wanted to quit everything to be at Mr. C’ s side every second of the day but I chose to put my trust in the Lord instead. That means there is still plenty to write about.

And so, until the time comes when I get the okay to share with you the details of Mr.C’s health, I will rely on your grace and understanding as I put out the welcome mat for the elephant in the room and blog around it.

I love my husband beyond words, literally.

I Surrender All

Last year was the first year I participated in choosing a word of the year. My word was perspective.  I loved focusing on a word as opposed to a resolution because there is no end goal, only a state of mind and it worked.  Last year I consciously reminded my self to keep things in perspective.  It allowed me to see the world in a whole new way and send me on a God led journey. It’s something that has become part of who I am as opposed to something I check off as done.
This year I chose the word SURRENDER.
In July, after being prompted by the Holy Spirit, our family gave up the comfort of a safe neighborhood, excellent school district and a competitive and well-funded sports district.  Today we live next door to a half way house, we regularly see homeless people walk by our house pushing their shopping carts, the fields and equipment for the sports program in area are poor, at best and the schools are rated a 1 out of 10 (which is not a fair indicator of the level of education our children are receiving but I’ll save that for another post)
Before the move I held a tight grip on my requirements for moving.  I refused to even consider anywhere outside of our old neighborhood.  Now I can honestly say that this whole experience has been so freeing.  Why? Because we surrendered to God’s will.  Our lease is up in July and we have no idea what that means for us. I do know that this is our home for now and we will live knowing God is control.
However, I don’t want our move to be a one and done story of surrender. If this becomes our only story of surrender then we have failed to continue to progress in our walk with Christ.  I want surrendering to become our initial reaction in our daily life and that my friends is not easy.
Mr. C is currently dealing with some serious health issues related to his heart. I am not able to go into all the details at the moment.  It’s scary and it’s been hard.
What does it look like to surrender to the unknown of my husband’s health?  Well, I find myself often on my knees, weeping, weary, burden, leaving it all at the feet of Jesus and seeking rest.  I love my husband something fierce but I know that he is God’s child and He loves him more.  It’s hard.  I have my moments of complete weakness but surrendering it all to the Lord brings me such peace.
I will admit it may be a bit easier to seek and surrender when we are facing big things like this.  That is why I chose the word surrender.  I want to give it all, the big and the small to bring God glory.
I’m not sure what the future holds or what we will be called to surrender but I hope and pray I will be willing.
Do you have a word of the year?

My 40 Is Showing

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I am officially 40. I woke up on my birthday with the same anticipation of change I felt when I was 16. It was reminiscence of Sixteen Candles except I was in the mirror counting grey hair and wrinkles. For the record adult acne is cruel. However instead of a meek and insecure girl staring back at me I saw a girl (am I the only one who has a hard time calling themselves a women because they still act like they are 12?) who is comfortable with what she saw.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying I am proud of who was reflecting back at me because let’s be honest I could totally benefit from makin self-care a priority and I’m not just talking about the extra weight I’m carrying around. Truth be told being 40 also means many should’ve, would’ve, could’ve moments. Even so, I am still completely comfortable with who I am. Imagine that?

I can’t really credit this revelation all because I woke up 40. It has been and continues to be a process I acknowledged the morning I looked myself in the mirror and declared, “This Is 40.” I’m sure there is some poetic quote about age, wisdom and all that jazz that sums up the point I am trying to make and it would be true. Being 40 means you have lived long enough to recognize what matters and you, hopefully, have enough life ahead of you to put into practice this knowledge. Perhaps it shouldn’t have taken so long to get to this point but I’m a little slow on the uptake when it comes personal application.

And so on a day that many dread, I decided to embrace it. Not only did I welcome being celebrated but for the first time ever I initiated photographic proof. This is who I am and how my kids will remember me. This year I promise to proudly let my 40 show!

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Side note: Watching the Arizona Cardinals win in such a crazy heart stopping way will truly be the best way to celebrate any birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet My Cast of Characters

Whenever I am asked to introduce myself I always begin with, “I have been married for (insert however many years) to my husband….’ I went through a phase a few years back where I wanted to be known as an individual, introduced on my own merits. After wrestling with my a bout of identity crisis, I have come to the conclusion that I am who I am because of my people. I am proud to be defined as a wife, mom and a child of God.

Who we are, how we were raised and our experiences all influence our outlook on life. I am not exempt from this, neither are you. What you read here on Another Housewife is usually conceived from an event that occurred during my daily life. With that in mind, I decided to introduce you to my cast of characters that make up Another Housewife.

COC 2 Kaleb {23} has grown up and flown the coop. He lives in his very own house with roommates and works for an insurance adjuster. It is such a blessing as his step-mom to watch the sacrifices I made while raising him pay off. He comes home often and is very much involved in our family life. I am honored by the example he is setting for our younger kids.

COC 4 Karisa {14} is a freshman in high school. She is a coffee loving, book-worm trying to find her place in the world. She is working on spreading her wings, mistakes and all. She is at the stage of questioning and discovering why she believes what she does. During this time I protective of her journey and rarely write about her specifically. I mean, it is hard enough  being a teenager without your mommy blogger chronically your every move. I am soaking up every single second with my girl because I am keenly aware she will be graduating in 3.5 years.

COC 1 Kaiden {11} is in the sixth grade. There is no question this kid will be used by God in a mighty way no matter where life takes him. Above any accolades he achieves in sports or academics, it is his character that shines. He is a natural leader and peacemaker. However, his greatest gift is antagonizing his sisters no end!

 

COC 6 Kailey {8} is baby of the family and in the third grade. She loves the color pink, is obsessed with pigs and recently informed us she is no longer into princesses. When asked what it is she is into she responded, “I just want to create things with my hands!”  She is our seeker of why and asker of every question known to man kind. She unknowingly breaks the girly girl stereo-type by being who she is: a fashionista city girl who belongs on a farm while aspiring to be a math teacher and a mom. She completes our family by bringing a special kind of spit fire joy!

wedding 006 Mr. C and I have been married for twelve years. We are both stubborn, controlling, first-born children who left home when we were teenagers. He rarely gets angry, can talk out any situation in an even tone, is a spontaneous person who believes rules are suggestions, can talk to anyone about anything and has an it could be worse attitude. He is the kind of man I would be honored to have our sons grow up to be like and have our daughter’s marry.  He is a man after God’s own heart, doing the best he can every single day to provide for our family as a manager of an RV dealership.

We are the Cisneros Family
Stay tuned because legacies are made one memory at a time!

Wait. What? It’s 2016

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I am still recovering from a wonderful Christmas break hang-over. I may be in the minority here but I didn’t want our break to end. I loved having our kids home. Maybe it had something to do with Mr. C having an entire week off during break for the first time in EIGHT years or the sobering realization our oldest daughter will be graduating from high school in 3.5 years. Whatever the reason, the overdose of family time was glorious.

Here is the part where I should be describing all of the cool and wonderful things we did during our time off but the truth is we did a whole lot of nothing. We did celebrate Mr. C’s birthday, made a trip to the ER to make sure our son didn’t fracture his shin bone when he ran into a pole  going out for a football pass from Mr. C on Christmas Eve (I can’t even), and then had a low-key Christmas with family and rang in the New Year with a three-hour game of Monopoly.

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The highlight for me was having our oldest, adult son and his girlfriend join us for church on Christmas Eve. There is no greater gift than worshiping side by side with your entire family. Well, seeing my youngest daughter join in on the tradition of lighting a candle during the singing of Silent Night was pretty darn precious too.

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The break for us allowed us to push pause and live in our own little bubble. I mean we have three kids at home so I don’t want you to think we lived in this Pollyanna type fairytale for two weeks. We still had to deal with the complaints of hunger, boredom and fighting…oh my goodness the fighting because well, that’s life. Even those moments were out shadowed by the laughter and the silent. I am certain memories were made that will absolutely become part of their legacy one day.

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And now… School has started and I miss my people. 2016 is in full swing as we adjust to a new earlier school schedule and brace for the onset of overlapping sport schedules. I find joy in those things too but the importance of taking a break as a family was made clear to us and I hope to incorporate more family time-outs in the new year.

How do you find rest as a family?

The writing shall commence

I need to write. Writing, no matter how poorly, renews my soul. I have spent my entire life using writing as a coping mechanism. Growing up it was a means of survival as I navigated the dysfunction of my childhood. When my anger and emotions cause me to verbally fail to express myself properly, words on a page come to my rescue.

I started blogging when I started to feel my identity slip away. I woke up one day married with four kids and didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I knew who I used to be but I didn’t know who I had become. Writing helped process those emotions. I came to the conclusion I was not alone in this struggle and Another Housewife was created. It became a place where I could openly share my thoughts on being a wife, mom and the woman I was becoming.

Being a wife and mom is my priority but I know I was created for a purpose to use my God-given gifts simultaneously. The truth is I have a problem discerning between God’s will, self-doubt and my flesh. This is ongoing struggle I am familiar with.

However, I was caught off guard by the world. I found myself questioning if my words were even worth writing. Our world is hurting. I became overwhelmed with politics, injustice and crime. I felt like everyone had an opinion and or a call to action and all I could do is drop to my knees in prayer because frankly I didn’t know what else to do.

All of a sudden posting a recipe, a book review, or the struggles of parenting just didn’t seem appropriate given what was going on. On the flip side I didn’t (and still don’t) feel compelled to write about worldly topics either. I mean I have no problem standing up for what I believe in and I am definitely not lacking in opinions.

These conflicting feelings caused me to take a break. My computer collected dust as I went about life. During my time off I came to the same conclusion I do every time I decided to take a break from blogging and that is to keep being me. Groundbreaking, I know!

Here is the thing people. No matter what is going on in the world we still have a life to live. This year I go back to basics. I decide what I write when I write it. That means one day I might share a recipe and a gut wrenching memory from my childhood the day after.

I am still another housewife who loves her husband, trying to be the best mother to four very different children (okay one is technically an adult and living on his own, whatever!) all while pursuing my God sized dreams and trying to figure out what on Earth we are having for dinner tonight!

This too shall pass, eventually!

The good news is I am on the mend. The bad news is I was suffering from kidney stones. I can not adequately explain the pain those little suckers cause. I would gladly give birth to another baby rather than experience that kind of torture. In other words it hurts, bad.

I was going along in life just fine when wham my knees buckled with a familiar pain. My body instantly went into shock. I spiked a fever, my body shook, and I was nauseous. I went to the ER immediately. They have magical drugs there. A CT scan confirmed two evil spawns disguised as kidney stones were making their way through my *ahem* system.

I spent the next few days guzzling water, peeing, taking pain meds and sleeping. Mr. C, bless his heart, was amazing. I don’t even know what all went down but I know I woke next to filled prescriptions, the kids made it to and from school, homework was done and everyone was fed.

I repaid my families show of compassion by almost ruining Halloween. I let pride run rampant throughout my thoughts. I skipped a few doses of pain meds and told myself if I just suck it up I can take the kids trick or treating. Never mind the fact I could barely get out of bed, let alone walk around a neighborhood because I was somehow going to do the impossible.

When the pain became intolerable and I knew I had to raise the white flag, I called Mr. C, who was at work, and told him I was the worst mother ever and threw a first class pity party. I was spiraling deep. He reassured me it would all work out. He called a few minutes later and told me to take my meds and tell the kids to get dressed. His mommy was coming to our rescue.

True to our last-minute nature, the teenager looked up Halloween ideas on Pinterest and the kids put together costumes using items on hand. They worked as a team and without an ounce of my help. I am in awe of the character they showed that day. They even made sure to snap a picture of them as a football player, witch and scarecrow.

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When I surrendered myself to the situation I reached out to some friends. They had welcomed our family to their house for dinner and trick or treating in our old neighborhood. I made them aware of the situation and they welcomed my mother in law in my place. Mr. C met up with them right after work and Halloween was saved.

Who knew the world didn’t revolve around me?

The stones eventually did pass and life has moved on. I will forever be thankful for my people and of course, pain meds.

It’s NOT the Thought That Counts

.Dear Self,

James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the word not only hearers and James 2:17 tells us faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead proving it is not the thought that counts

It’s time to start being intentional about your actions. It’s time to stop over thinking and start doing! I mean seriously how hard is it to send a text telling someone you were thinking of them, or buying a gift card while you were out and give it away, or double your dinner recipe and take a meal to someone, or look someone in the eye and say hello, or invite your friends over for dinner, write a note of encouragement to your waiter along with a little something above the normal tip, or pick your kids up early from school to go get ice cream and talk, or send an extra treat in your kids lunch so they can share with a friend, or say hello to the neighbor before rushing inside, or put the freaking phone down and be in the memory instead of instagramming it!

Perhaps just as important, for the love of Taco Tuesday, would you please just get over yourself already. No one cares if your handwriting is messy, it doesn’t matter if you are a mediocre cook at best, it doesn’t matter if your house is not housekeeper clean, it doesn’t matter if you are in a hurry, it doesn’t matter if you miss that perfect pic that will just be forgotten in your iPhone photo album, it doesn’t matter if they don’t say hello back, it doesn’t matter if it takes twice as long, it doesn’t matter if you miss that show, game, or twitter chat. Do you what does matter? Your actions!

Sincerely,

A better version of you!