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Journey to Marriage: Moments of insecurity.

Imagine an emotional roller coaster one moment you feel like you’re being looked at like you are the most beautiful woman on the planet & another you’re as insecure as can be. I wasn’t scared that the man I was falling in love with was talking to someone else or was considering another person, rather that I wasn’t being validated the way I wanted.

You see, it took him 2 years before introducing me to his parents. That was honestly the most painful part. I grew up in a very family-oriented home and I was taught by my father that there is nothing more important than family. Just put yourself in my shoes… I was a wreck. The enemy was putting thoughts in my mind that had no place being there. “You’re not good enough to even meet them”, “if you where really ‘the one’ you would have met them by now”.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Amners internal struggle became mine. He had no place in being in a relationship at the time. Granted, I’m SOOO glad we’re here today. However, he wasn’t emotionally equipped on his own to be in any relationship. (Neither was I)

This season was such a tender one. It was filled with experiences & encounters with God. The Lord kept tugging at our hearts to draw closer to Him, NOT to eachother. It was a battle. It truly was. We found so many things in our hearts as individuals that had NO PLACE being there. Things like fear, idolatry & so much more.

Fear: fear of letting go. Yes, literally letting go of each other and trusting in Gods plan. There where sooo many moments where I would cry because I knew I was scared of losing this relationship and the amazing friendship that came with it.

Idolatry: no… I didn’t worship Amner lol. But just the fact I would call him, talk to him and thought about him more than the Lord was a BIG red flag. Thats a form of idolatry, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Call me extreme, but it was my personal conviction.

***

As time passed I grew in insecurity. My identity felt questioned, I didn’t feel validated and nothing felt right. I can recall endless nights of crying because I knew my worth on paper but not in real life. I would often wonder… “But… I’m a woman of God, this isn’t fair.” & question “Why am I not being validated, I’ve never hurt him like others have?”

But all those insecurities needed to be surrendered at the Lords throne, and thats exactly what happened. This led us into a season of separation (which will be up on the blog next)

One thing I learned from that tough season was that comparison is NOT from God. If you find yourself comparing, you’re taking place in self-destruction. Its not healthy nor pleasing to the Lord. Trust in him. AT ALL costs. If you’re wondering how to trust Him, read your word. Read those promises and trust that He will fulfill them.

When He calls you more precious than rubies, believe it. When He promises to bring you peace, trust in it. Trust that His plans are only to prosper those who seek Him.

This season was also filled with people and their unwanted opinions. Their comments that came full circle into our loop. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people would tell me what others where saying. I had to learn how to forgive as well. It was a heavy time in my life, but the Lord was in the waiting (as always)

***

Dear 18 year old Michele:

When Amner texts you, don’t open it until you spend a minute with the Lord. Ask for wisdom and clarity. Don’t get caught up in your emotions. Encounter your identity in Christ. Its amazinggggg!

Dear 19 year old Michele:

Your desire to meet his family is a good one. You are worthy. You are the daughter of the most High King. Amner is just a brother in Christ. When he is ready to surrender to the Lord (which will be soon) he will be ready to ask you for your hand in courtship!

Dear 20 year old Michele:

Remember your worth, you have bigger dates to go on! Go to that coffee shop, but go meet the Lord, not Amner. Amner will be an amazing man of God, but he is currently not ready to receive you. He thinks he is, but he is not. Be patient & still!

Dear 21 year old Michele:

Good job, you have been obedient. Keep praying. KEEP SEEKING. Pray for Amners obedience and identity in Christ. He’s almost there!

 

As ya’ll can see, if I could go back in time (which I wouldn’t because as usual, the Lord glorified Himself) I would teach myself a thing or two about stillness and steadfastness. I would love to encourage anyone reading this to seek & encounter Him. His plan for you is seriously great. Practice patience and prayer.

This is just a little bit of my personal journey, and I’m thankful I’m where I am now and can’t wait to see where I’ll be. I know there will be trials, but I look at them as a chance of building endurance. Guess what? You can’t win a race without endurance 😉

Xx, Michele<3

 

UP NEXT: Season of Separation!

Journey to Marriage: How we met II

As I mentioned in part I of “Journey to Marriage: How we met”, Amner began preaching about delaying gratification… To condense it for the sake of the post it was mainly about how we spend our short lives here on earth always wanting things NOW and how waiting upon God for those desires is ALWAYS worth it.

This preaching was a foreshadowing for our future relationship and what I was going to entail. Looking back at it now, we both agree it was God who was literally warning us from the beginning. He is amazing, right?

Anyways, after Amner preached, he invited me out to eat with his two cousins. He gave me a ride to the location and this is where our friendship began to unfold. We spoke music, life experiences and the tables began to turn. Amner was fascinated with the way God spoke to me and called me out and I was admiring his various spiritual testimonies and encounters.

I remember it like it was yesterday, the night took over and we where still talking. His cousins and friends where in another part of his apartment talking and laughing and we where on our backs starring at the starless city sky… Talking away about life and how its meaningless without Christ.

As you could imagine, feelings began to develop… But we ignored it as much as we could because I was fresh out of a relationship and our age gap (13 years) seemed too crazy. But then it happened… We became “a thing”, we weren’t “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” yet but we where definitely a thing… Talking all day, going out here and there and trying to be as exclusive as possible. We wanted only the people who saw us together to know and my family knew as well. (They freaked out at first, but when they met him they fell in love)

As months passed rumors began to pop-up here and there. People began talking and this led our relationship into a new territory that we didn’t have to enter. It brought out insecurities in me, insecurities of validation and commitment. It brought Amner fear. Fear of being looked at as a creep and fear of losing respect as a leader in the church. Mind you, I hadn’t met his family yet… Its been about a year and 2 months. I was shaking with insecurity because I knew my worth. I knew I was the woman you take to your parents the moment you decide to date. But that just wasn’t our story and I hated it.

Although a time to meet his parents, be validated and be considered his official girlfriend would one day arrive, the process getting there was not easy. I questioned identity multiple times. If I could go back and speak to insecure 2013-2014 Michele, I would tell her “YOU ARE VALUABLE, its not the time… You have no business running around with Amner until he finally encounters HIS identity in Christ. Once he does, everything will fall into place…”

& Sure enough it did… A season of separation arose. I felt like everything fell apart and my life was changing… & Thank God for that. It was what was needed in order to be “ready” to continue in the journey of marriage.

To be continued…

 

UP NEXT: Season of Separation. Amners ultimate encounter with God. How the Lord pulled us apart in order to strengthen our identities in Him and bring us back together.

Journey to Marriage: How we met.

Lets go back to 2011, it was my junior year of High School. With that said, this so happened to be the school that the Lord led me to. It was truly special. Its where I received a christian education, learned how to read the word, worship and sooo much more. This school hosted an annual home-show, where the acrobats (a team I became a part of the moment I stepped in) would preform and showcase everything they learned in a uniformed manner for their friends and family.

Anywho, I was in the midst of running back stage after my scene ended as the “ring-leader” of the “circus” part of the home-show. I remember changing and peeking through the curtains to see how my team mates where doing. I was focused and ready for the next part of the show and I heard a mans voice behind me, “You’re hilarious.” I didn’t know what to say expect “thank you” and walk away.

Mind you, at this point I didn’t know who this guy was… He seemed fairly young but definitely out of high school. At the end of the show, a group of us ended up in a restaurant. *CORRECTION* 3 couples! Yes, I said three couples. I was with my boyfriend at the time, the complimenter was with his girlfriend at the time and another couple joined us as well.

Turns out the gentleman that complimented me behind the scenes was an alumni from the very high school I was led to attend. (When its time to blog about my testimony, you will understand how this all comes full circle)

He was still very active and involved in helping the school with big events and etc.. As time passed I would get asked by the drama teacher at the time or our Chaplin to learn lines for certain upcoming shows and events (as an understudy) Turns out I was an understudy to the guy who complimented me that one time. Yeah, the guy who years later would become my husband!

There where times where he would be able to make it and other times where he couldn’t. I would be excited when I could fill-in because I loved to act, in fact, I was a transfer student from a local art school.

I began to feel like we where competing all the time and I would get so annoyed by him because mean girls quote: “HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE!” Now that I recognized him I would see him more often.

***

One day the acro-team was invited to showcase our routine during halftime in the heat stadium. I saw a celebrity there after our performance and Amner  (the guy I keep talking about AKA my hubby) took a picture of me and him. He asked for my number and then sent over the 2 images to my phone.

At the time I saved his number as “Abner Perez” LITERALLY SOOO OFF. I never thought that I would ever reach out to him, but I figured “why not save his number, he is also a youth pastor!”

And sure enough, it came in handy. Fast forwarding to a year and a couple of months along the line, that boyfriend I mentioned a little earlier broke up with me. I was like any other 18 year old girl who realized she gave a little bit too much of her self and felt like she invested everything into a 2 year relationship. Typical.

I cried on the phone with a good friend. She happened to be my bestfriend in high school and the most spiritual person I knew at the time. Her counsel was wise and full of love. She told me I needed to speak to a youth pastor. We went through a list of youth pastors that we both knew and no one seemed right for the job.

Then she mentioned Amner and we both agreed “PERFECT, Amner will totally know how to handle this.” Why? because he was on the younger end, therefore, more relevant. Secondly, he was a thespian like me,  his advice would probably fit like a glove.

As I called him, I was anticipating wholesome & relevant advice. Turns out that was FAR from what I was going to get. His first question, 2 minutes into the convo was “You have daddy issues, right?” I literally flipped. I was appalled by such a dumb question, like seriously… Thats all you got?

I began to tell him how he couldn’t be further from the truth because my dad was BOMB.COM okay?!?! I began to show lack of interest in the conversation and it some how shifted to disney and acting… Good save, babe.

Days pass, he is sharing articles, devotions and worship music with me via text. He was doing so in a “pastorly” manner. Encouraging me in the Lord and vise-versa. As weeks pass he reached out to let me know he will be preaching at a local church, extending the invite. I decided to go because he mentioned it would be something that would help me over-come the season I was in. That fall-2013-sabbath-morning he was preaching about “delaying gratification”, ironically…

to be cont…

 

 

Journey to Marriage

The Journey to Marriage has been highly requested by our friends and family. This will be a seven-part series all about the process that my husband and I went through & the process to come.

Our hope for this series is to bring comfort to our readers and demonstrate how God glorifies Himself through this journey. The process from meeting and courting, engagement and marriage, ALL come with various trials. We think it is important not to disillusion people by thinking its all happiness and rainbows. It’s not all about the ring, wedding & house. Its sooo much more than that.

The series:

PART 1: How we met. & How we met II.

PART 2: Moments of insecurity.

PART 3: Season of separation.

PART 4: Discovering courtship.

PART 5: Season of engagement.

PART 6: Marriage 1-6 months in.

PART 7: First year of marriage.

Expect there to be testimonies, stories and lessons we’ve learned. Expect each part to have advice on things we would have done or handled differently. We pray that this series may help build a heart of prayer and may serve as wise counsel to many.

Also, feel free to send us your marital testimonies, questions and advice. We would love to feature and answer them with each part of the series. (Anonymously if you’d like) email us HERE.

 

Love,

Amner & Michele<3

Arroz Con Guandules!

Hey there! Believe it or not this is one of my most requested blog posts. Its a staple recipe in my home and has been for about 3 years now. Its essentially rices & peas, but mine carries a latin twist! It’s with Pigeon Peas aka Guandules! This blog post will serve as a reference guide to those who have asked me for this recipe personally! 🙂

If you know me personally, you can skip this part and go straight to the recipe below! 

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This dish is so flavorful that it is actually used as the main course of the meal. My husband is happy with just this rice and a little salad on the side. I love using beyond meat crumbles (any type of veggie meat), fresh home-made Pico de Gallo (recipe will come soon) & sauteed onions ontop.

Here is what you will need:

  • Coconut milk
  • Pigeon Peas (any brand should be fine)
  • Soy sauce
  • Olive or Grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups of uncooked white rice
  • a quarter of red bell pepper
  • a quarter of orange bell pepper
  • a quarter of yellow bell pepper
  • a head of cilantro (this goes in the beginning, middle & end)
  • 1 whole yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (freshly minced)

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Spices you will need:

  • 21 seasoning salute (Trader Joes brand)
  • Sazon tropical by badia (no msg)
  • 1 Non chick’n cubes (vegan bullion, found in Whole Foods)
  • Sazon Goya con azafran & con culantro y achiote
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin

(I cant give you exact measurements on all the spices because its a matter of adding a pinch of each and tasting the broth as you go, #CookProbz)

ALRIGHT, now the good stuff!

STEP 1:

Cut up your bell peppers, onion & cilantro. Mince the garlic and throw it all into a pot (medium to high heat) with a tablespoon of your oil choice! This is the “Sofrito”, its what will be the base to all that yumminess!!!

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STEP 2:

Add a pinch of each spice mentioned above to the pot as you sauté the herbs & veggies. Once everything is translucent, its ready to meet STEP 3!

 

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STEP 3:

Once all the herbs & veggies are translucent and fragrant, add the can of Guandules/ Pigeon Peas! Move it around for 30 seconds and then add in a cap-full of soy sauce. (Sometimes I add two cap-fulls and leave out some salt!) Mix this around for another minute!

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STEP 4:

STOP! KEEP CALM & ADD MORE CILANTRO!!!

Some of you may not be cilantro fans, but trust me I lived with a cilantro hater for 22 years! (My momma) And guess what? She LOVES this dish! Herbs can be overpowering, but it depends on what is accompanying them!

After you’ve added more cilantro, add in the can of coconut milk! Crazy, right? But it truly tastes AMAZING and not sweet at all! Add in the coconut milk and the rest of the spices mentioned above (as much as you’d like, again its up to you! So start small)

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STEP 5:

Now it gets fun! Its time to create some taste & trust me, this broth tastes sooo good on its own! After you’ve added the coconut milk and your spices, make sure to wash the 2 cups of white rice. (You should add the vegan bouillon cube here and mix well)

Step 5 is all about broth tasting & testing. You have approximately 5 minutes before it begins to boil, so get tasting and adding the spices mentioned above till it tastes perfect.

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STEP 6:

Once the taste of the broth is on fleek and it begins to boil, add in the 2 cups of washed rice. Move it around, lower the heat slightly and leave it uncovered until you begin to see more of the rice and less of the broth. ADD MORE CILANTRO! (Maybe like 3-4 full strands.

Cover it with the lid and if needed lower the heat slightly, again. Your rice should be ready in about 15-20 minutes!

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Thats it! Garnish with a little bit of ciantro and trust me, this is an amazing staple and awesome for leftovers!

Till next time 🙂

-Michelitaaa

ER Order 1 & 2

As some of you can already tell, I’ve been on a nontoxic journey. Ditching & switching away!!! With that said, I’m going to work on posting my monthly orders/ ER purchases from Young Living.

ER stands for Essential Rewards which is an optional monthly subscription service that YL offers exclusively to their members, this loyalty subscription is packed with benefits. For example, if you buy more than a certain amount you can get 3-4 free essential oils with your purchase.

Also ER gives back by allowing you to earn points toward future purchases with every order. With that said, if you spend 50$ you can get $5 back toward your future purchases. (10%) As your months subscribed to Essential Rewards increase, so do your rewards! 6 months is 20% I’m almost there!!! Ahhh! 🙂

Any-who! Lets get into my first E.R purchase:

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  • Orange EO
  • Clove EO
  • Cedarwood EO
  • Christmas Spirit EO
  • Citrus Fresh Vitality EO

I chose this random blend of oils because I was looking for complementary diffuser and roll-on blends to my starter kit & new routine! & Because I LOOOVE Fall scents!

Clove & Orange has been a great addition to my cleaning routine! I always add it to my DIY floor-cleaning solution and all purpose cleaner.

Christmas Spirit has been one of my favorite fall scents to diffuse along with Thieves, Clove, Cedarwood & Orange.

Cedarwood is my current favorite hair oil right now, night time oil and ALL THINGS oil!

Citrus fresh is my favorite citrus smell thus far. I love adding it to my wool balls for the laundry, any house hold cleaner… It makes any bathroom smell amazing and adds such a freshness to the smell of a kitchen.

Now my second ER purchase:

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  • Valor EO
  • Pine EO
  • R.C EO
  • Purification EO
  • Lemongrass EO
  • Lime Vitality EO

Valor happens to be an amazing oil that all oilers talk about! It has incredible properties that truly make a difference in your mood and even physical. I use it in a DIY roller (will be up soon) for my stiff neck when I’m out shooting for too long. I also use it before a session. Its known to chemically release anxiety & enhance courage. (Even though I have plenty of Jesus for that issue, haha!)

Pine has been an amazing add-on to my christmas/ fall diffuser blends! Ahhh so fresh… Why need a Christmas tree?

R.C is AMAZING to diffuse at night for us snorers. Its an incredible blend for respiratory problems!

Purification is another amazing cleaning agent and when diffused, the house smells incredible. My husband loves this oil and he even likes it when I add it to his load of laundry!

Lemongrass is an oil I haven’t played much with but I’ve read some of its amazing properties and I plan on using it in my migraine-preventer roll-on and for my PMS roller. Yes, I have a PMS roller lol. Its known to do sooo much, but its truly amazing when used for cramps!

Finally, Lime vitality. I ordered this gem because you can never have enough citrus oils to diffuse, clean and cook with! 🙂

Can’t wait to show case what will be in store these up-coming holiday months and how I will be using these awesome oils! If you have any oily DIY ideas please feel free to message me!

Till next time!

Xo, Michele*

 

Fall in Miami?

Yeah, yeah… I know. We don’t have an official Fall season in Miami, BUT that won’t stop me from getting my Fall-fix. I just moved into my first home, and its LITERALLY under construction. As you can imagine, its not easy to decorate when you don’t have furniture yet, not to mention there is of dust everywhere!

HOWEVER, I’m grateful I have a home and a place to sleep. Plus, my kitchen island is ready for business so I will start here!

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Mind you, I’m a newly-wed so I told myself yesterday “Michele you have a $30 decor budget! Think Wisely!” so I did!

You’re probably thinking that my budget can probably only get me 3-4 little things & YOU’RE TOTALLY RIGHT! Now think about it, its all you truly need. Just a little bit here and there.

Here is what I got:

  1. A Cinnamon-broom Stick $7.99 (Trader Joes)
  2. 2 Mini Pumpkins $.69/each (Trader Joes)
  3. Decorative Wooden sign $8.79 (HomeGoods)
  4. Flowers $6.30 (Local Grocery Store)

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Not only did I accomplish being under budget,  but my house smelled amazing. Between the cinnamon broom, my fall oil blends & flowers I was in Autumn paradise. I bought babies breath and orange roses. Thats it! I already had dried eucalyptus tucked in my garage from my wedding a month ago.

TIP: Eucalyptus and Babies breath dry out nicely, therefore, they last verrrry long. Its always a good idea to buy some here and there.

0P3A6643You see, you don’t have to go out an buy specific fall decor. You can simply re-purpose anything that looks woodsy and fall-like and rearrange the way you’re using it. Yes, even the burlap mats my wedding planner was going to throw away. I knew they would come in handy again. I created over sized coasters and placemats out of them and it adds the fall touch that we needed.

When shopping for decor think neutral and something that can be used year round (and easy to move into other spaces)

I already had a taupe colored candle that was gifted to us on our wedding day, a couple of wood stands from hurricane Irma, Burlap mats & dried eucalyptus from our wedding day. Oh! And a milk bottle in place of a vase.

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Life & decorating can be simpler if we allow it to be! 🙂 Start practicing the art of re-purposing everything. How? Look around your space and think what can look good elsewhere AND move it! It wont hurt. Be creative.

Sometimes all a home needs is a little touch. Now when I look at that little corner of my kitchen island, I feel satisfied in celebrating the season we’re in. Harvest. I can’t wait to see what awaits in the Miami Winter 😉

To be continued..

Xo, Michele<3