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Life

Life-learned lessons, relationships, marriage, faith, lifestyle, and everything else in between.

Filtering by Tag: dfw blogger

Small Things To Do with Dad, To Celebrate Him and You

Debora Manusama

Life as an adult is just so busy and crazy. And you might not get to see  your loved ones as often as you'd like. Here are some things that I like to do with my dad whenever we get together, once in a couple of years. 

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On 10 Years After Turning 18. And The People I Love.

Debora Manusama

So I just turned 28 last week. You know what that means? It's been 10 years since I went to college. Wow! My biggest mistakes were made in the last decade. I pray and hope that some of my biggest achievements will be accomplished this decade!

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On Losing Sleep & Chasing Dreams

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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" I lost sleep so I wouldn't have to lose my dream" - Group 1 Crew

I love this quote above by Group 1 Crew that talks about how this rapper spent sleepless nights working on a beat machine when he was younger, to create music and make his dreams come true.

I am not a rapper but I find this line to be so relatable.

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I originally wanted to start an e-commerce business so I don't have to rely on this blog to make an extra income. Plus, I was just so tired of the pretentious nature of the 'influencer industry', so I wanted to lay low and just blog for fun, not for money.

But then God kept on opening doors for me and my blog, and in the last couple of months, I have been blessed with opportunities and partnerships that have given me access to get free food, free tickets, and some extra money.

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So I embraced it. Doing my best to maintain the quality of my contents, without selling stuff to you guys all the time. Do it in a tasteful way, and yada yada yada. And this is time-consuming!

Now I have invested all of my money to building my store, so I have to do all that I can to make money from it! And so came the stress to do photoshoots, marketing, packaging, pop up shops, etc.

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To cut cost, I've decided to do my own photoshoots, even though I am not a professional photographer. I don't have a fancy DSLR so I have to rent one every once in a while and invite friends to support and model my stuff.

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This chick you see in the pic above is Emonne Markland. She is an author, a speaker, a TV producer, and most of all she is a mother and a wife. We met through instagram. She invited me to her Leave Your Beauty Mark coffee connect last year and she's been very supportive ever since! I find that genuine love to be rare, and I am grateful to have people like her in my life.

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It's not easy to maintain my relationships with people though (my family included). I get so busy all the time, my mind gets so occupied with my to-do lists that I can't even think about what I'm cooking for dinner or saying hi to a friend I haven't seen in a while.

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See the photo above? I woke up like that. Like a junkie with bags under my eyes lol. What can I do, I only got 4 hours of sleep!

But why do I do this, really. Are we struggling that bad financially? Can't I just get a 'normal job'?

Well the answer to both questions is NO, my friends. My family isn't going through a financial crisis, although J's surgery back in July was a big hit for us. I just really, really want to contribute to the household income with whatever I can do. I just like to hustle. It's just in me. And if doing what I love can bring us some extra money, why not?

And a 'normal job'? No way. I do not want to be chained to a portioned vacation days. I want to be there for J whenever I want and can although I feel like I haven't done it well enough after being a 'stay-at-home mom' for 3 years now.

Because while most people work from 9 to 5. Moms work from wake to sleep. 

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I believe this chaos is only for a season, though. I believe that I will eventually learn to manage my time better, to let go of some projects that are too time consuming, and to put my family first.

Because like this candle says in the pic above : "Light your home, light the world".

It all starts from home. And whatever I'm chasing won't be any good if I don't put my family first. Hmm...

 

*Item details : Starling Project Vanilla Hemlock Candle | Mozdeb Pretty Thoughts Journal & #Momstruggle Bag 

*behind the scene photos by Vanessa Espinoza, who was also modelling for me. 

The One Who Time Travels Through Stories

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I'm super excited about this month's heroine. She is a dear friend of mine who seems to know just the right thing to say at the right time. She founded this community called Openseat, press play and watch the video before you read this article :) https://youtu.be/EVF9wkmzj54

She is a queen in the her own right, a storyteller, a speaker, and most of all she is a wife and a mom. This is Queen K. Smith :)

You describe yourself as a story teller. How did you get into it? Why are you so passionate about it?

I grew up in a very community centered culture in Cameroon, West Africa. We must have coined the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child,'' lol! One of my fondest memories was when the whole family, 18+ of us (yep you read that correctly!), would gather around the fireside and listen to stories from the elders. My father was an incredible story teller; I guess you can say like father like daughter. I remember being captivated by stories at a young age. Those stories allowed me to time travel, and every time a story was told I felt something different. It didn't matter if I had heard the story before. I pulled courage and inspiration from the moments shared.

During some of the stories I held my breath during the conflict and exhaled when hope was about to break through! Now as an adult nothing has changed. I still marvel at people and their stories and I still love eating with people I meet. I want to know where they have been/where are they now/ and where they are going. As a story teller I get to take you on a journey (without paying for airfare lol).

A lot of people write stories, but not many are good in telling them. What makes the two so different?

I know some amazing story tellers, I honestly think everyone I encounter is a story teller. When I do I share, I do so with intention to build and not to destroy. A good story in the wrong environment does not accomplish anything. A great story teller paints a visual picture that will not appear if he/she is disconnected from their audience and merely just sharing an experience.

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Do you personally feel like stories could make an impact in people's lives? How has it helped you personally?

Girl yes! Stories are up there with chicken tacos with avocado! Stories help encourage, reveal, teach, to pass knowledge and they help us other understand others. I have personally learned from other people's story to avoid mistakes. I have personally helped others uncover their story and their core. Stories often times bring clarity and wisdom. 4

 To you personally, what makes a good story?

Truth and Authenticity makes a great story. The key is to not make your story look like someone else's.

 

 You are a mom. Have you always wanted to be one? 

Always!! I come from a huge family and I have dreamed about having a football team as well, jk. We have a beautiful 2 year daughter that I prayed for. I think she looks like me, that’s my story and I am sticking to it lol. Everyone thinks that she looks like her dad. I love my family.

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Do you tell stories to your daughter? If yes, what's her favorite story?

I sure do and I go all out.  She is two and I can already see in her eyes that she thinks I am dramatic. She has the beginner's bible with stories about Jesus for children; we thought that was perfect for her to learn about Jesus, the ultimate story teller.

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The cool thing is that most of the stories are the miracles Jesus performed, I want her to dream big. She loves all those stories.

 If people want to listen to your stories, where should they go?

I get to do Story Telling at our Open Seat Community and different conferences/events. One upcoming event in particular will be at the Miss Africa Texas Pageant this Saturday in Plano, TX. I also have a YouTube channel under the name, Queen K Smith. I have some upcoming stuff that I am going to doing specifically geared towards stories. Be on the lookout, you may visit my website and subscribe for upcoming activities and events.

A Picker-Upper from the Fixer Upper

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Every once in a while, we need a little picker-upper to get through the day. I am grateful that last week, I found it at a pretty unlikely place, a bakery. Not just any bakery, it's Magnolia Flour! If you're a fan of the hit TV show Fixer Upper like me, you would have this place on your bucket list for sure.

Every corner of this place is pinterestable and instagrammable, owners Chip & Joanna must really know their market very well.

For a full picture of what it's like over there at The Silos, click play and watch the video :)

https://youtu.be/2JjlshfW27U

 

I had been planning to come here for a while, but the Texas heat and the 1-hour-and-40-minute drive was holding me back. Last week however, I spontaneously decided to go on a mini roadtrip with J and visit it.

I am just so inspired by their story. We might look at the glitz and the glam that surround them today, but we don't know the struggles that they had to go through in order to get where they are now.

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They have been doing what they're doing since 2003, but they didn't get their reality show until 2014. That means there was an 11-year gap there, where they were building their marriage, family, and business together while no one was watching. They have kept that genuine love and work ethic throughout the years, so when the spotlight is on them, they stay true to what they believe in and uphold.

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I looked at everything they have built and thought to myself, "I can do this. If they can, I can. Mr.Man and I can." Seriously, I think we all can if we're committed to our journey that is set for the both of us and not worry about others.

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We can't do it ourselves though, we need to surrender it all to God. Because what good is an empire or a palace if God isn't in it?

We tried the bacon and cheese biscuit + lemon lavender cupcakes and went home with happy bellies. Sweating though, because it was super hot that day.

Next time, let's wait for the weather to get cooler before we do this, J ;)

 

First Day of School Jitters

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I can't believe we're entering this stage this fall! This taking-your-kid-to-school stage. You might not understand how big of a deal this is, but I've been staying with J full time since day 1! I don't take him to daycare, no mothers day out program, nothing like that, although I do go to events or work-related occasions without him (that's when I rely on my husband, my mom whenever she's around, and my trusted group of babysitters to watch him). So to not have him around from 9 to 2 pm twice a week is a huge deal for me. I try not to get mellow but sometimes I do.  

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To be honest, we still haven't got our lives together. He still isn't potty-trained yet. I work at home all the time. I can go on and on about everything that is going 'wrong' with us. And I used to beat myself up for it. When I say 'used to' I mean two days ago haha..For real though.

 

But okay, we don't have to have it all together yet to move on to the new season right? I'm not making excuses or justifying any slacking of in my parenting. I'm just being realistic and acknowledging my weaknesses. So far all the prep I've done includes buying him a sleeping mat for school (they take naps at school), finding out his favorite snacks and lunches so I can just pack those before he goes to school, and telling him about the potty and how it's not scary. I also try to encourage him to doodle and greet people and use more words.

 

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I try not to pressure him though. We'll take it one day at a time. Surrender it all to God.

 

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I will do my best to get him ready for the world, to be by his side no matter what, and to hopefully work less when he's around. Oh and pray more! Gosh I need wisdom! Anyways, the first day of school is coming in a few weeks (along with his 3rd birthday), keep us in your prayers, friends! :)

 

The sneakers are Adidas NEO Advantage Clean | The Journal is my original design available on etsy

What I Learned from J's Recent Surgery

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

When I first became a mom, I didn't want to believe when people told me that no matter how careful you are in taking care of your kid, no matter how thick you bubble-wrap them, accidents happen. Because that's just how life is. Bad or unfortunate events happen in life. Well, an unfortunate event happened to J back in January. I was trying to get my New Year's resolution going by working out at the gym in my apartment complex, and I brought J with me. Why did I bring him? Because I brought him last year, when I was training for a 5K run, and he did fine. He enjoyed watching the cartoons there, he would play with his toys, I mean it wasn't a problem at all.

But this year...It's a different story. Why? Because he's almost 3. He was more curious about equipments around him, and he ended up sticking his left fingers under the treadmill I was running on. Yeah, it was pretty bad. Blood was splashing everywhere.

So that brought us to last Wednesday, when he had a plastic surgery that will enable him to extend his fingers again. Because they got burned really badly.

Instead of throwing a pity party, whining and complaining, I have decided to jot down what I've learned from the incident :

  1. You don't have to bring toys to the hospital. They have tons. (Especially Children's Medical Center!)

2. Your spouse might be as stressed out or as anxious as you are. So try your best to not cause drama. Keep calm. 

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3. When eating at the hospital cafeteria, don't go for the Asian selection. Always go for the popular, Western selection. 

4. Nobody can replace you, mom. Not even dad. Not even the kindest nurses. So please, be there for your kiddo. He's prolly scared and confused.

5. What you do today might and will affect your kid(s) tomorrow (or years after), not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. 

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So please, do your best to put their wellbeing first. And when accidents happen, have grace for yourself and others. And have faith! Things will get better :)

Have an awesome weekend y'all!

Burning Bridges

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Have you ever felt like you could remember how a certain event in your past made you feel, without remembering the exact details of the event? After a few years of being a 'sane human being', I sometimes wonder how on earth do I still struggle with the thoughts of my past. My past was not that 'bad', to be honest. I wasn't a prostitute and I thankfully have never been abused or anything like that. But from time to time, I find myself having flashbacks about the many things that might not appeal to me anymore, but used to feel so good in my younger years.

I call them my toxic thoughts. It's like there are a million little bridges in my brain that connect me to them.

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But I know I am not alone. We all have those bridges that connect our experiences, feelings, thoughts, and emotions to each other. Some are good, some are toxic. That's why we have our good and bad habits, right? In fact I think, habits are formed by these bridges! You go over the bridge everytime you think of that one thing that you want to get/feel/achieve on the other side of the bridge. Maybe this is how an addiction develops as well.

I'm no expert in neuroscience and brains, but I was blown away when I heard a cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf spoke about these bridges last year at a service I attended. The scientists call them 'neural pathways'.

You know what's cool, though? You can change them. You can alter their directions to everything good, true, and lovely instead of those toxic, destructive, stupid things.

So here's what I'm trying to say. I want to set my toxic bridges on fire.

I know it's gonna take time, but I hope to get rid of these million bad bridges as I grow daily. And hopefully, I can build the new, good ones in the process.

I hope you're ready to burn yours too.

 

 

 

*photo by Ana Gabriel & Muhammed Fayiz