Count Your Blessings

By: Crystal Alba

This month has felt like riding a roller coaster. The buildup with returning to school in person, the election, the cancelation on Thanksgiving, businesses closing…

Okay- it’s more of a drop zone kind of ride…. BUT I choose to look at the pros over the cons. This year has been full of enough greif for us not to look at the positive. 

It’s been a busy month for us so we wanted to take the time to mention what we are truly grateful for as Thanksgiving or should I say-Zoomsgiving, is creeping up.

A breath of fresh air

I’m not a political person in any way but I do believe that my children deserve a better future. I was scared from November 2016 until November 2020. Scared- about what the future would look like for my family with the soon to be former President Trump. I will not say that I supported the man, nor will I say I hate him. I choose to agree to disagree because that is the example that I hope my daughters will follow. 

 I am a firm believer that kindness wins over any hate. My fear, however, was negative energies resonating with many people in the country. I didn’t want my kids to see the ugly truth on how people behave towards others because they choose not to accept differences – sexuality, color, race, social class… 

My heart broke hearing about families being broken up on the border. My stomach churned with anger every time I heard about another life lost to police brutality. My anxiety grew as I saw wildfires growing in the area where my family resides while climate control isn’t being taken seriously. There’s so much I wish I could do for those that are hurting but yet, I hear everyone say “I have my own problems”. I soon started to say the same thing while swallowing guilt for turning my cheek. 

I am a spiritual person- so I chose my faith in seeing a new change for this country, for people who suffer without their family, for my own family. I prayed that the virus wasn’t here to punish us, I prayed that this virus was a wakeup call. 

We were biting our nails for days for the verdict on the presidential election. I celebrated with my husband and daughter as I felt hope for change. We cried tears of joy, tears of hope, tears of release as we heard Kamala Harris’ say, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last — because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

As my 5 year old daughter heard the speech with us, she whispered “Mommy, I think I want to be like her when I grow up”.

Hope. That’s what I’m thankful for this month. Hope that change will happen for our children.

New Friendships

COVID started out as a dwelling pain. However, many have found that time off from their previous life encountered a new beginning this year. At least that is the case for Yesenia Rodriguez, who wrote a children’s book in the beginning of quarantine. We are so grateful to have found her through instagram and found that her success is an inspiration. 

Yesenia was inspired by her own daughter. Lani Rae, at age 6, selflessly made the decision to cut her hair. She wanted to donate it to her friend, diagnosed with cancer. We were so touched by this story that we backed her project on Kickstarter.

In just a short amount of time, Yesenia was successful in self-publishing her heartwarming book, Lani Rae’s Marvelous Hair. 

She was also able to donate her books to hospitals around her area in Riverside, CA. 

We are much obliged that she humbly took the time to talk to us about herself and her journey while creating her story.

Health

As we have established, this year has been full of surprises. Even for me personally. After having my daughter back in April, I started to feel a lot more drained than the normal post-partum. I decided to go in for a check up to see if there were any red flags that we should be concerned about. I was expecting to hear it was postpartum depression and that I should go speak with a therapist, which I am in full support of by the way, but come to my surprise- the doctor found that my thyroid gland was swollen along with my lymph nodes. Anytime someone mentions lymph nodes, we think ‘CANCER’.

Gratefully enough, that was not the case. However, I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Thyroiditis-otherwise known as “Hashimotos”. When I told the doctor that I wanted to take as little medication as possible and be holistic with my journey, he was in full support of my decision. Rather than pushing medication on me, he suggested a plant based diet to see if that would regulate my hormone levels.

Thus began my journey as a vegan. I promise I won’t try to convert you! But I will be sharing my journey as we go along.

So far I am on week three and I already feel more energized, crave less junk, have a healthy bathroom routine and I sleep better, despite having a 7 month old that likes to party at 4 AM. 

Family

Of course, we have to mention our family! This year has been full of let downs but we have decided to turn those let downs into as we say -“Get ups”. I joke around with my husband-how I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. And now that we have been “forced” into that lifestyle, we are always looking for a night off. Fortunately, the little balls of stressful moments are moments that I will cherish forever. 

I am grateful for the pitter patter of little feet running into our room in the morning. I am grateful that I have proclaimed myself as a stay at home mom, full time chef, cleaning crew, nurse, and teacher. Crazy enough, I’ll miss these moments when they need me once they’re older. 

I am grateful that my husband is working from home-even though we can get on each other’s last plucking nerve. I am grateful that we are allowed to annoy each other at home and I’m not worried or wondering if he’s okay working away from home. I am grateful that he’s in the room next to me and I can just pop in to ask how he’s feeling or just to randomly hug him. 

I am grateful that my job has been flexible and understanding enough for me to drop down to a part time job on the weekends just so I can tend to my family during these stressful times. 

I am grateful that I am able to hold my family’s well being together, even though it may not seem like it. But the reminders that I get are when my daughter calls out for me and says “Mommy, I need your help”.

Cheers to that

We have said it before, and we will say it again! When life hands ya lemons, MAKE LEMONADE!

Thanks for tuning in this week! 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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