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Life

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

Filtering by Tag: love

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. 

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

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

Celebrating the Superhero

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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When I was single, just like most of people, I thought choosing a husband involved a lot of loving feeling and romance. But thank God I realized early on, that in selecting the right one for me, I needed to USE MY BRAIN in order to determine whether or not he would be the right partner for me to do life with. Because really, at the end of the day, that's what marriage is about, doing life together, growing together, and raising a family together. Loving feeling comes and goes, but values, good principles, belief, and faith will stay. Today, with all of my heart I can say that I thankfully had chosen the right partner to do life with.

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He's a great friend, he keeps me on my toes, always truthful, and very loving (even more loving than me, I really need to improve in this area!). He is a great cook, very smart with money, a great planner, and thankfully, he is a great dad.

The kind of man I would want my son to look up to. Strong in his faith, very careful with his choices, not afraid of challenges, yet goofy and vulnerable at the same time. He's not afraid to show his feelings and cry, you know. That's rare to find.

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I know J can see that too through his 3-year-old mind and soul. That's why he lights up everytime his sees his dad. And I honestly think that's why J is into books and numbers (because, that surely didn't come from me lol).

I'm so blessed to have him as our superhero. He is not perfect, but I know that his heart is in the right place, and that is good enough to make any dad a superhero.

So at 10 days before Father's Day, we celebrate you, Mr.Man. Happy Father's Day!

-

We got a help from Customink to create this t-shirt on their  Design Lab. Scanned J's handprints and uploaded them on the web, before placing the order and receiving it in just 3 days with their super rush delivery. Thank you Customink :) 

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Chasing Butterflies

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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"I got butterflies in my stomach everytime I see him" - have you ever heard this statement before? I'm sure you have even said it yourself. Or if you're a big fan of the TV show Sex and the City, you'd be familiar with the word "Zsa zsa zsu". You know, that feeling you get when you meet someone "you really really like," as Carrie Bradshaw described it. But here's the big question : is it love? Is that what it feels like to really love someone?

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I find myself asking this question over and over again, as I walk into my third year of marriage. Because if those 'butterflies' were to be translated as love, then no marriage, no relationship will ever survive. Why? Well, those 'butterflies', they fly out the window very very quickly! We all need something more to hold our relationships, particularly marriages, together.

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Yet, I can't deny the need of that having that feeling from time to time. All we see in media, the songs we sing along to, and everything we expected out of 'love' when we were growing up, seem to evolve around these 'butterflies'. From Disney movies to soap operas to romantic comedies - they all paint a concept of a love that is full butterflies.

Remember The Notebook? That lady cheated on her husband for her ex! She didn't want to settle with her good and decent husband. Why? Well, she wanted butterflies and fireworks.

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Oh, I never thought that movie was romantic. I feel bad for the husband! Ryan Gosling is still hot though. Hay...

Anyways, for this article, I interviewed 2 other married couples who have been married for more than 7 years. Read and learn.

K & C - 9 years of marriage &  counting

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After they got engaged, she told him that she wasn't in love him. But instead of getting upset, he said, "Good. I want you to make a decision to walk into this marriage with me with a clear mind."

When asked about what he meanr by that response he said, "I've watched people around me getting married for the so-called 'love', but ended up separated or unhappy. Being in love is not enough reason to get married. In our case, the attraction was there. But I also chose her because she met the criterias that I had for a wife. So I wanted her to really think this over, and not just walk into marriage because of mere feelings."

Hmm...make sense, right? Okay check out the story of this other couple I met, who had an arranged marriage.

S & R - 10 years of marriage and counting

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She met him only about 10 days before their wedding. But leading up to the big day, they have previously talked on the phone and via email. She said from the conversations they had,  she liked the fact that he was very knowledgable, very calm (unlike her bubbly self) and that he made her feel so secure and at peace about moving to America and live with him.

"What's it like to marry someone you just met? I mean, were you in love that day?," I asked her. She said, "The length of a dating relationship does not guarantee a great marriage. You could be dating a guy for 10 or 5 years and still not know the person fully. I gradually fell in love with him as we walked into marriage together, learning about each other and getting to know each other better. So it wasn't the 'love' that lead me to marriage, I actually fell in love after marriage."

Oh wow, how beatiful is that.  I think butterflies come and go. And if we were to chase them, we would only be chasing emptiness. A facade, a fantasy that no one will be able to fulfill. Because people are not perfect. They make mistakes, they don't meet your expectations all the time. And get this : You are not all that in the first place!

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You can never fulfill other people's expectations all the time, anyway. So why ask that from your spouse?

So here's what I've learned : LOVE IS A CHOICE.

It's not that adrenaline rush you feel when you see someone handsome or sexy. It's that choice you make daily to respect, listen to, care for, and forgive someone, even when you don't feel like it. Because it was never about your feeling. Love is a commitment that you make to stick together and to be grateful enough to enjoy the ride no matter how hard it gets.

I'll leave you with this song right here, sung by my cousin Ben Abraham.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrUfkzPZrLE

May we celebrate love as more than just chocolates and fancy dinners this weekend.

Happy Valentine's Day!

*photos by Angie Garcia stock photos by unsplash 

 

 

Living The Dream.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

When we see someone with tons of selfies taken at exotic beach resorts, 6 bedroom mansion, thriving businesses we wish we had, toned biceps or whatever it is that makes us think of them more highly than we think of ourselves, we tend to say "wow that person is living the dream". Are they? Whose dream is it anyway?  How many of us can actually say that to ourselves today? That we're "living the dream"? 

A few years ago, when I graduated from college in Sydney, "The Dream" meant to be moving to New York to become a journalist who travels the world to make indie movies while dating a really wealthy, handsome tatted man who is a man of faith (I've always found them more attractive) but also very artsy and cool, probably of mixed race too. Haha.

But today, at 26 years of age, my dreams have evolved.

  

What happened? Did I choose to settle for less than "The Dream" at one point in my early twenties? 

Did I make poor choices that hindered me from getting to "The Dream"? 

Maybe. Because I must admit thay if I had spent more time working, saving money, and building connection with the right people in Sydney, I might have gotten a scholarship to New York. If I had not spent too much time getting high and dating, I might have had time to focus on making movies that make it to indie film festivals ------ oh the list goes on!

But in the midst of all of those poor choices and their consequences, and broken dreams, God made something good out of me. I found Mr.Man, gave birth to little J and now my life has drastically changed. It's up to me to get stuck in regrets of not achieving "The Dream" or to be grateful for what I have now and even better...To dream new dreams!!

So today, here and now, "The Dream" for me means nothing more than to raise a Godly family, to inspire other women and young people through anything from writing to volunteering, and just to stay healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, as well as financially. And oh, to live here in America for good :) 

Wait, whaaat? That's all? That's the dream? The 21-year-old me would probably think I'm lame and boring if she reads this. But screw her! She doesn't know what she's talking about! Hahaha...

But yeah, the point is, if you ask me of whether am I living "The Dream"? I sure and thankfully am. 

And I think in 5 years, when I turn 31, my dreams would have been evolved as well, in conjunction with the season of life that I'd be in, what I've learned in life up to that point, and the resources I'd have! Maybe I'd have enough money to start a business, and that'd be my dream then. Maybe Mr.Man would be assigned to work in London (he talks about it all the time, it might come true, who knows) by then, maybe I'd be running for president! Okay no, definitely no hahaha. But you get the idea right? 

Anyway, my Birthday and Mother's Day weekend is here!  Let the celebrations begin! 

The Myth of Being The Reacher and The Settler

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Like many other unique terms and catchphrases that I know today, I first heard about the term the 'Reacher' and the 'Settler' on the hit CBS TV Show, How I Met Your Mother, particularly on the 13th episode of its 5th season, titled 'Jenkins'. In this episode, Marshall (the guy on the right) argues with his wife Lily about who's the Reacher and who's the Settler in the relationship. The argument emerges when Marshall tells Lily that he thinks his co-worker, Jenkins (the woman on the left) has a crush on him. However, this piece of information does not bother Lily at all, and Marshall is confused, why isn't Lily jealous? Then his friend Ted tells him that Lily does not feel threatened because she is the Settler in the relationship. She is the one settling (for less) whereas Marshall is the one who is lucky enough to get with someone who is out of his league, a,k.a the Reacher.

courtesy of tvequals.com 

When I watched this episode years ago, I thought  that I will end up being the Reacher in my future relationship one day, because if I was settling with someone 'lower' or 'crazier' than me, I'd probably be living in the projects with a drug-dealing upcoming DJ or something. So "I must find someone 'better than me'", I thought.

In 2011, I met Mr. Man (well, I've known him since high school, but you know, we reunited in New York 4 years ago). This really decent guy who doesn't have a messy past like I do, who is good at managing his money, smart, kind-hearted, drug-free, and just loving. I immediately thought that I was going to be the Reacher in the relationship.

Sadly, I still did until last Thursday.

Why did I say 'sadly'? Because thinking that you are the Reacher in the relationship is not healthy. You will always see yourself 'lower' than you were supposed to, and that will affect the way you treat and even love your spouse/partner.

The truth is, you are both blessed to find each other and to be united as one in God. In fact, if you're a believer, you'd know that it's a part of God's plan for you to be man and wife, so why think of yourself less than that?

If you read my last post, the Good the Bad The Ugly, I admitted that I have been struggling with the thoughts of my past that sometimes pop up in my head and try to tell me that I am something I'm not. Well all of that, are also part of me thinking that I am the Reacher in my relationship with Mr. Man. I'd beat myself up everytime I do something wrong. And that's just not healthy.

Thankfully, we talked it over last Thursday, and Mr. Man told me that he never felt like he was the Settler. in fact, he feels just as blessed to be in this relationship. He sees me as a gift too! And not as someone 'crazy' he has to put up with.

As you might guess, I cried in gratitude to those statements. I mean, dude, I got a good man right here.

And apparently, he's got himself a good woman as well ;) #haaayyy #loveisintheair #always