Sonija's Crown Has Many Jewels

The tone of this blog is typically positive because I think there’s so much negativity out there that it’s nice to have a resting place, but today I wanted to ask for prayers of comfort and peace as the family navigates the loss of my Grandma Sonija. She went to heaven early this morning after a short, but intense battle against an aggressive and rare form of stomach cancer. I was so thankful to be able to see grandma, my grandpa Neil, and other family members yesterday before she went home to be with Jesus, but we’re all feeling the loss of her company.

Grandma and grandpa 1

This is my grandpa Neil and grandma Sonija during the trip we took with them last summer to Yellowstone.

A few months ago we were told grandma had a bad type of cancer in her abdomen, but the doctors gave everyone a lot of hope with a 5 week treatment plan that would end in the removal of the tumors and bring many more years of life. But right before her surgery they checked her again and realized her cancer had spread so fast and so far that they could no longer remove it. The doctors said she would have “not weeks, but months. Maybe even a year” to live. That was 2 weeks ago.
Yesterday my brother, Willis, and I went down to my hometown to visit. We sat with grandma and grandpa in the early afternoon, knowing it could be our final goodbyes, but thinking she would probably be with us a few more days or a week. She was awake then and asked us if we had eaten– bless her precious servant’s heart (I know she’s in heaven now with the biggest, best crown because she always served everyone around her). She was happy to see us and we exchanged I love yous. I just wanted to sit with her and comb her hair or hold her hand, whatever would comfort her because I could tell she was in pain. Eventually a nurse needed to see Grandma and we left to go visit our dad’s dad, grandpa Leo.
After about 2 hours we decided to go back to grandpa and grandma’s again and say goodbye to grandma Sonija one more time. But in the 2 hours since we were there, Grandma had stopped talking and was having even more trouble breathing. So we sat there with my faithful grandpa Neil, diligent aunts, caring mom, and sweet cousins while my brother read to all of us from the book of John. I felt like I held my breath between each of grandma’s breaths because it seemed like any one of them could have been her last. We didn’t want to see her go, but we prayed that she would be taken to heaven quickly so she wouldn’t have to suffer down here anymore.
Grandma ended up going to heaven in the early hours this morning and I know the whole family is feeling the loss immensely, especially Grandpa Neil and their four daughters. She was just 72 years old and until recently she was constantly serving, playing, traveling, and laughing. She loved Jesus, Grandpa Neil, her daughters, and politics more than anything. Her houses were always spotless, classically decorated, welcoming, and fun to be in. Her shoe collection was adorable, and her work ethic was never ending.
I’ve learned so much from watching my grandparent’s lives. When I was a pre-teen I watched in tears and without understanding as grandpa Neil and grandma Sonija sold literally everything they had at a garage sale and moved to Texas to study Spanish so they could go to Costa Rica as administrative missionaries; because, of course, Grandpa worked on the mission’s finances while Grandma worked as a hostess to other missionaries. I have fond memories of visiting them down there and learning about the Latino people’s need for both the Gospel and humanitarian support.
There are so many things going through my head right now and I want to write them all down, but I’m sure they are memories better suited for my personal journal. For example, how faithfully Grandma helped Grandpa while he went through his chemo treatments; the smell of the soap Grandma used to do the dishes down in San Jose; how Grandma (and Grandpa) always made family vacations fun; or the games and movies Grandma had ready for us grandkids during our slumber-parties. Grandma always made everything fun. She always listened with wisdom in her answers and an amazing lack of judgement. (***i said she listened without judgement, I didn’t say she lacked strong opinions**). These are among the things I’ll always hold as memories in my heart when I think of her. Gosh, I want to be like that when I’m a grandma!
And now I want to give you something, a gem to hold onto, dear reader:
Treat your loved ones with great care because any day could be their last. Any day could be your last too. Put the phone down or whatever distracts you from real life and be present so you don’t miss sweet moments. Don’t let the sun go down without reconciling with anyone you’re fighting with; it’s not good for you, it’s not good for them, and it doesn’t make anything better to hold onto anger. Know where you’re going. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the key to everlasting life.

balancing life, family and social media presence

blogger on a snow day outfit to wear in the winter outift idea
“You’ve really been spending a lot of time on your phone lately,” Beckett mentioned as he mixed up Wolfie’s antibiotics and cleaned up the dishes after breakfast. I was taking a little “mommy break” because I had been up since 6AM with our boy and I let Beckett sleep in. I felt like he had no right to say anything about it because he got to sleep 3 more hours than I. But I held my tongue just long enough to realize he was right. I didn’t tell Beckett this, but at that moment I felt shame, not because he tried to guilt me, but because I feel really strongly about this topic.
When I first became a mom I was so adamant that whenever Wolfie was awake I would not spent time on social media. But lately it seems like all of my quick phone checks turn into 20 minutes of browsing Instagram, watching YouTube hair tutorials, or writing copy for an upcoming post. As I sit here and think about this, it seems crazy to me that we  go to work and can ignore our phones because we take our jobs seriously. We so readily realize that our adult jobs are more important than what’s happening on Snapchat or in our latest game, but then we go home and sit on the couch or in bed and think that is a good time to disconnect from reality and focus on virtual reality.
drinking coffee in the minnesota snowy winter
I realized early on in my son’s life that if I wanted to raise my son to be a smart, secure, well-loved boy I needed to cut way back on the time I spent on social media. Even in the womb I tried to hold my phone away from my belly and to limit my time spent using technology. I made it my rule that I could only work on my blog or Instagram while W. slept. I never wanted my son to be able to say that I care more about what’s on my phone than about him.
However, as Beckett pointed out, lately I slipped back into the rut of checking my phone all day, stopping everything to answer comments or emails. I know it sounds cliche when pastors say marriage is there to refine you and make you a better person, but it is totally true for me. Beckett is such a great leader for our family in that he’s not afraid to (usually) sweetly help me in an area in which I struggle. And as upset as I felt at first when he made the comment about how much time I was spending on my phone, I knew he was just trying to help me to be fully present with him and Wolfie for their sakes– and for mine.
snow day outift for a coffee date
You don’t have to be married or be a parent to benefit from being intentional about your screen time exposure. Being a parent or spouse amplifies issues of the heart and mind, but those things are still important no matter what season of life you live in. Things that you never thought twice about as a single person suddenly become huge areas of concern for you. It’s crazy how having a family puts everything into perspective. So if you’re single or not a parent yet you may not need to limit your screen time because of a little one, but maybe you want to start limiting it so that you can better engage with those around you. Then you can start making steps toward a more productive, meaningful future with the family you will have some day.
I don’t to miss the precious moments with my tribe. Beckett, Wolfie, and I will never be 28, 27, and 1.5 years old again. We will never have the exact same joys and struggles as we do right now. Wolfie will never learn to say his first 100 words again. Beckett will never be as helpful in the kitchen as he was the other day again. haha, jk I hope I’m wrong about that! 😉
red merlot otk over the knee boots
If we’re not present in life’s seemingly mundane moments, we will miss the true beauty in life. We will become discontented and disillusioned.
So I want to come to you readers today and say, I’m not perfect, but this is an area in which I struggle and I bet I’m not alone. So let’s work on it together. Let’s grow and improve our friendships, relationships, marriages, and families together.
I think I’ll start by limiting my social media time to during my lunch break and after my son goes to sleep at night. What guidelines do you need to put in place to give you a stronger, more intentional future?

what 2018 will hold…

workout clothes Romwe windbreaker jacket 1990s style

Jacket: Romwe (I’m usually a size S or M so I ordered a M… wish I would have sized up to a L because my arms are long, but I love the colors and everything otherwise!)| Leggings: similar from Athleta | workout tank: Hapari (I really like how it fits so I wear it a ton) | Choker: similar by BaubleBar (from my sis in law!)

We are a few days into the new year and it’s time to reflect on the past and consider the future.
My resolutions are usually the same each year, which leads me to feeling like a hamster on a wheel. I start the year off strong and start seeing results from my working out and then something happens to disrupt my schedule (like moving) and I fall back into my old habits. So this year I think I will give myself just one goal. And that is to create balance in my life.
wolfie with me and the romwe windbreaker

lol, our faces! 

how i plan to make 2018 balanced:

This year I will try to spend more quality time with my family, have  a regular quiet time with God, work out, eat healthy, create art daily, post regularly on my blog, and manage our finances better. But at the end of the day I don’t want to feel like a failure if I don’t do all of those things in one day. I think it will help me to create a schedule, but I know that my days rarely go as planned so we will see how well I do this year.
side up close of jacket
As always one of my goals is to work out, hence, the outfit above. I have already done pretty well… especially since getting this windbreaker from Romwe! New workout clothes is the best motivation for me!
I had a long post written out about all of my personal goals for 2018, but I didn’t want to bore you with a list of things I’m thankful for and areas in which I struggle. But instead I want to hear from you. How do you get motivated to get things done and create a better life for yourself? What motivates you?
Please comment below and let me know.