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Adulting

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage

Podcast Recommendation: Stop and Think About It

If you are looking for a Christian podcast that is theologically sound to add to your list, look no more. The podcast I am talking about is called Stop and Think About It and it is run by one of my pastors, Phil Sessa, and one of my closest friends and brother in Christ, Glenroy Clarke. I have known both Pastor Phil and Glen for many years. Both are very solid in the faith and I trust their judgment. 

Pastor Phil in addition to pastoring my church, and running this podcast, also has his own ministry called Soul Fishing Ministries created to help equip Christians with tools to better evangelize. You can find the website here

Glen is also a writer and actually co-wrote one of my first blog posts.

The podcast is in the style of a conversation. It gives the feel that you are at the table with Pastor Phil and Glen and they discuss various topics affecting the church in this day and age. Topics range from theological questions to cancel culture. They have, in my opinion, valuable information and input to what is happening in today’s culture that we as Christians, should be mindful of and ready to discuss at any given moment. 

Hope you enjoy it!

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

You Are Not Enough Book Review
Adulting, Book Recommendations, Life, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

Book Review: You Are Not Enough, (and That’s Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

I had been listening to Allie Beth Stuckey’s podcast for a few months, maybe a year, when I heard, she was writing this book, and before I even knew what it was about or its title, I was excited. The book is titled “You Are Not Enough (and that’s okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love.” I knew it was going to be a good book, and I was right. Is it for everyone? I’d say so, but considering the topics, I’d say not everyone would agree. 

I say this because we currently live in a time where “self-love” and “self-care” are being pushed on us. We hear things like “you need to love yourself first,” “you need to take care of yourself and your feelings.” We hear people constantly say, “your emotions are valid” and countless other similar sayings, but these are not necessarily correct if we want to be biblical. Not to say you shouldn’t take good care of yourself, but you should not only focus on, well, you. There is more to life than bettering oneself, and as Christians, we are called to be Holy, for He is Holy; thus, the focus is not on us but Him. 

In this book, Allie covers the latest “self-care” trend and how we react to it as Christians, but she also touches on a few political matters and how we are to regard them through a biblical lens. She talks about “equality,” “social justice,” and many more. I put these words in quotation marks because although we hear them often, they tend to have different meanings based on who is speaking. “Equality” to a Christian is not the same as what “equality” is to the world. 

This is a book I would strongly recommend to my female friends and any bible believing woman. It is a much-needed book for the times we are in. I also recommend you check out a previous post of mine titled “You Will Never be Perfect (and that’s ok)” that touches on a few topics Allie discusses in her book, you can find that link here. I don’t want to give too much away but I will include some quotes below along with an Amazon link, in case you decide to purchase it. 

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect on the price you pay.*

“Without the Bible as our basis for justice, we get a system based on the only tool we have without a supreme moral Lawgiver: the self.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“The self isn’t enough—period. The answer to the purposelessness and hollowness we feel is found not in us but outside of us. The solutions to our problems and pain aren’t found in self-love, but in God’s love.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“When we follow Christ, we are never at risk of “losing ourselves,” because our identity is eternally found in him.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“Social justice is concerned not with equality of opportunity but equality of outcomes. In order to achieve this, it must hold back those who are ahead and push forward those who are behind. Equality of outcome is NEVER possible without government force.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

“While it’s true that we have experiences and trauma that shape us, these things don’t equate to moral truths. They just happened. And maybe they were significant, and maybe they taught us something. But in order to know whether these lessons we learned are truths worth building our lives on, we have to compare them to the standard of truth, God’s Word.”

Allie Beth Stuckey, You’re Not Enough (and That’s Ok): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Health, Life

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: Ovulation Prediction Kits (OPKs)

While I have been learning about how the female reproductive system works, I can’t help but be overcome with awe for God’s work. It is truly amazing what God has done. I am only aware of how a woman’s cycle can change throughout the month but can only imagine what else goes on in her body when a baby is growing. 

I learned that a woman’s bones around her hips expand to give room for the baby to pass through, and that is only one change that I have learned of. Can you imagine what else occurs in the woman’s body? Organs are relocated temporarily, the uterus is expanded, it’s quite miraculous when you think about it.

Now to lead this back to my previous post, during a menstrual cycle one of the many things that happens that can clue us into when we might be ovulating are hormonal changes. In specific the luteinizing hormone level rise. This happens as your ovaries are preparing to release the egg. The luteinizing hormone is also known as the “LH” rises as ovulation approaches. When ovulation is about to occur, the hormone level reaches a peak. Once you spot this peak, you can assume that the egg is to be released.

How can you detect this peak? You can purchase an Ovulation Prediction Kit, also known as “OPKs”. These tests detect the LH levels in your urine. Kind of like a pregnancy test but for LH levels instead. Based on the peak of the tests, some tests will tell you the egg will be released within the next 12-36 hours. It’s not exact math but I’d say that narrows it down quite a bit. But I wouldn’t solely rely on this method to keep track of ovulation.

It can happen that the test shows an LH peak but your body won’t release an egg making it inaccurate. The reason for this I am not sure, but it can happen. This is why you should take these tests in addition to taking your temperature and mentioned in my last post. Below you can find a few of the top-rated Ovulation Prediction Kits on Amazon.

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect on the price you pay.*

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Book Recommendations, Health

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: A Brief Look at Ovulation

As a disclaimer, this blog post if aimed at a mature audience.

You have sex and you get pregnant. Boom! Done and done. That is all it takes, or at least that is what they tell you in school. Technically, it’s only partly correct. You do need to have sex to get pregnant, but at the same time, a very specific event needs to be occurring in your body, and this is something I didn’t learn until I was in my mid-twenties. This event is called ovulation.

Just as a reminder, I am not a doctor, I am just a  girl who wanted to learn how the female reproductive system works so my descriptions won’t be super technical. 

Anyways, ovulation is when your ovaries release an egg to be fertilized. As I’m sure most of us know when the sperm meets the egg and the egg is fertilized, that is when life begins.

Ovulation typically occurs during the second week of a woman’s menstrual cycle but vary from woman to woman.

There are a few signs that we can look for to see if ovulation is occurring. The most common one is called the Fertility Awareness Method. This is when you keep track of your body’s temperature upon waking up and keep a chart of the changes. By doing this, you can see how the shifts in your body temperature reveal what part of your menstrual cycle you are in. By following this method you can identify when you are ovulating and when your period is due to return.

A menstrual cycle follows a particular trend. The month starts off and after a few days, when ovulation is occurring, the temperature dips. After the dip it will rise again confirming that ovulation occured. The temperatures look different for everyone but follow the same ovulation dip and after ovulation temperature rise pattern. When your period is coming back your temperature will drop significantly and it will be followed by Aunt Flo.

In order to monitor your temperature, you would need to monitor your Basal Body Temperature “BBT”. For this, you would need to buy a BBT thermometer and take your temperature every morning at around roughly the same time. Not only do you need to be consistent with the time you take your temperature but you must also take your temperature immediately after waking up before your body starts warming up. If you don’t do this, your temperatures will not be consistent and it is important that they be. For more specific information refer to the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler, MPH. In this book, you can find detailed charts explaining what the temperature shifts during the menstrual cycle are.

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.*

Ovulation usually lasts 24 hours, which is the optimal time to get busy in order to have a baby. And if you are trying to avoid pregnancy this is when you avoid “doing the deed” or are extra careful. In a nutshell this is how it works. You can only get pregnant during your ovulation period. After the egg is gone, the chances of pregnancy are very slim to none. This is why I made that first statement :).

Another way to track ovulation is with Ovulation Prediction Kits also known as “OPKs”, they are not as accurate but can help. I’ll discuss this more in the next post.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Health

Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Upon having a few conversations with friends, I have come to notice just how little women sometimes know about their bodies and how they work. I have discovered first hand how little we women are taught about our bodies. I, too, was once uninformed of so many things. The main reason I have come to gain knowledge of the female reproductive system is that prior to getting married, I decided that I did not want to take any sort of contraceptive. This left me no choice but to take to the interwebs and find a solution. What I came across were several posts talking about natural birth control. 

Curiously, I clicked and read many, but it was not enough. I finally found a post that mentioned the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler, MPH. I found it and purchased it immediately. When it arrived, I saw it was about the size of a textbook, which could be a bit intimidating, but I was convinced I had to learn all that I could. And that is exactly what I did.

In the next couple of posts, I will be sharing what I have learned from his book with you guys so stay tuned.

*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.*

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Politics

How to Be a Better Informed Voter: 5 Non-Biased News Websites

With the Presidential Elections just around the corner and early voting in effect, I wanted to write this for those who are still undecided and haven’t voted. In this day and age, there is a huge amount of media bias in practically every news source out there. For years, I grew up watching the news and because I was young and not very into politics, I was not aware that I was being swayed to think one way without even noticing.

When I became an adult and obtained my own set of values and morals, was when I realized how biased some of the channels I watched were. I have since become pretty skeptical of many sites and TV channels. I do have my political leanings but I think it is important to get up to date news from websites that are mostly unbiased.

I think it is important, as an individual, to think for yourself and make up your own mind, regardless of what your family and friends may think. I typically don’t discuss politics outside of certain family members and close friends because of how polarized politics have made everyone. I am open to trying to understand why someone thinks differently than me but there have been times where I alluded to my own leanings and was immediately mocked. Hence why I don’t discuss politics with just anyone.

Anyway, I wanted to provide this list of websites where you can get your news and be able to formulate your own views and opinions without being swayed by media bias.

All Sides

All Sides gives your varying news articles on a subject from different websites and shows you which way they lean.

Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics provides articles from a mostly non-biased perspective.

C-Span

C-Span is a site with factual news and marked least biased by Media Bias Fact Check.

Gallup, Inc.

Gallup, Inc, is a research-based site providing factual information.

Media Bias Fact Check

Here you can check out most of the websites out there and see how they lean.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life

5 Questions to Ask Before Posting on Social Media

“Why did you post that?” is a question I no longer want to ask myself. The question I would rather be asking is “Why am I posting this?”

Tensions have been high in the social media world these past couple of weeks. If you are on social media, I am sure you know why. I don’t wish to get into any specifics. I found myself so annoyed at the hate being spewed from all sides, that I removed myself from all platforms for a few days. 

I found that social media was doing me more harm than good. I found myself angry at people and annoyed at many things. I began to “mute” friends and family on Instagram and “Unfollow” on Facebook. 

As we all know, everyone has an opinion, and they are entitled to it, but what I was seeing was people outraged when you didn’t agree with them. I don’t like to make comments on high profile events happening at the time, because we generally do not have enough evidence and are running our mouths based on our emotions. Something I have learned the past couple of weeks is that facts don’t care about your feelings. It probably sounds a little cold and callous, but it’s true. In America, it seems we are fighting a war on racism that statistically doesn’t exist the way the media is portraying it, but of course, as I have learned over the years, people don’t do research. 

The funny thing is that after this is all over, and all the facts come to light, no one will admit that they were wrong and quick to speak. So to go back to my first paragraph, I decided to ask myself a few questions before sharing anything on social media. I refuse to have arguments on any social media platform, so what I post is thought out ahead of time. However, there will always be someone available to pick a fight, and I just don’t answer anymore. 

I wanted to share these questions with you so that you, too, can make deliberate decisions on what you will be sharing on social media. The one thing that should be shared at all times is the gospel; this is the only exception. 

Here goes, before you click “post”, “share”, or “tweet” ask yourself the following.

Why am I posting this?

Will this glorify God? Will this be of benefit to anyone? Is it teaching a lesson? Is this informative? Do I want to be provocative? Will this dim the light of the gospel? Is it offensive?

Who is this intended for?

Who is your audience? Will they learn from this or be offended? Is it kind? It is lovely?

Is it controversial?

Sometimes you might want to share something controversial but be ready to defend your standpoint and also know that you will most likely not change anyone’s mind on the internet. I think controversial topics are best discussed in person.

Is this factual or am I being emotional?

Many times we share things because we feel some type of way. I’m sure, at this point in our lives, we have learned how fickle our emotions can be. It would not profit anyone to post something based on emotion because once the feelings pass, we might regret it. This would probably cause more harm than good.

Will this help grow me as a person?

To be honest, the answer to this one is generally “no,” in my opinion. Nothing I have ever posted on social media has grown me as a person. At the very least, I can say I learned to stand my ground when it comes to my stance on abortion after one post, but that is all. This doesn’t mean we don’t post it, but rather, think about what it is and how it may affect the way you present yourself to the digital world before sharing it.

You aren’t obligated to run through a whole checklist before posting something, just keep some of these questions in mind before you share. You might discover, as I have over the past couple of days, maybe you don’t need to be on social media as much as you think you do.

I hope this post has helped you to be more thoughtful of the things you share because they do have some consequences. Just remember, do all things for the glory of Christ.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

Adulting: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned

If there is something I consider to be a complete waste of time, energy and breath, it’s complaining, huffing and puffing at a fast-food chain because they are understaffed and not getting your order out as fast as you expected. I see this all the time. Obviously, these workers are running around trying to do at least two jobs at once and your huffing and puffing is of no use, it will not make then work faster than they are at the moment.

Don’t grow up to be that cranky old person, set in their ways who only care about themselves and what they want. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, and New Yorkers seem to be the rudest, most self-centered people on the planet (I exaggerate here) but you get the point. New Yorkers are known to be rude, they always want things their way and when they don’t get it, they huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Don’t be like typical New Yorkers, be considerate. 

I was recently at a KFC waiting in line for my food, I brought up the understaffed scenario because that is exactly what was going on here. I was stuck in line in front of a man, who from the very beginning came in with a bossy and demanding attitude. He wanted to know if they had chicken tenders and he wanted his answer fast. To his surprise, he came into an understaffed KFC that had employees running everywhere and no one was getting to him as fast as he wanted, which led him to mutter under his breath complaints about how he just wanted a yes or no answer to a simple question. After getting his answer (yes, they have chicken tenders FYI) he stood in line behind me. All the while I waited patiently for my food, this man shifted back and forth and often complained that they only had 3 workers and the line was getting longer, obviously anyone with eyes can see that. He proceeded to complain about the service and even tried to engage in conversation with me as if I was going to agree with him.

There are a few things I have learned during my few adult years, here are a few of them.

Complaining Usually Does Not Result In Much

I mean seriously, has constantly complaining helped any? I know there is a saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, however, I don’t think that applies to complaints, they fall into a constantly inquiring category. You constantly ask for the status of something and eventually, the person being questioned resolves what you want, but complaining… That’s different. As much as I dislike my job at times (I have noticed I complain every chance I get and I shouldn’t) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Complaining about the pains of my job and difficulties I face on a daily basis, is not going to get my work magically done. It just doesn’t help resolve anything so why spend our precious time in it (I am really speaking to myself here, its something I struggle with, to be honest)

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”

Philippians 2:14 (ESV)

Be Nice To People, It Usually Has Good Results

Have you ever heard the saying “ you catch more bees with honey” well you do! Being nice to people has never resulted in a negative way for me. Sure, not everyone is nice, some people are just plain rude and nasty but that doesn’t mean you have to be also. I had a client who disliked me from the moment he met me, I have no idea why he was just always rude to me and constantly compared me to his prior paralegal. He always found a flaw in everything I did, to be honest, I hated when he called because I knew he was going to complain about something but I picked up the phone and kindly answered every question he had, I figured I’d kill him with kindness. Well, after a year of being kind to this man who was always rude, he started calling me nicknames, like “love” and “sweetheart” (in Spanish), I was taken aback the first time, but soon after getting used to it.

It was not something I would have expected from him, by the time his case settled and everything was done, he actually thanked me for all the help I provided him, this after he had a small fit, left my office only to come back half an hour later and apologize to me because “I have always been kind to him and I did not deserve for him to have acted that way”, he asked me for a hug before he left and walked out of my life forever. I think I will remember forever, my toughest client turns nice and acknowledges my kindness, see, being kind pays off. You also get people to help you out more if you are kind to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have been kind to someone who I haven’t even met in person, and they are also kind back. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Admit When You Are Wrong

This is something I need to do more often than I would like to admit, especially at work. How many times have I made mistakes at my job? I have no idea. I know I wrote a blog post on this topic before, you can find the link here. I have grown so much from admitting I made a mistake, preferably, I would rather not make them in the first place but at least there is always a lesson. From every mistake I have made, I have learned what not to do and how to correctly handle a situation.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 1:8 (ESV)

Own Up To Your Mistakes

Also aligned with the point above, owning up to my mistakes has grown me so much. I have learned many lessons and God has humbled me every time I had to admit I messed up.

“Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”

Acts 3:19(ESV)

Learn From Your Mistakes and Keep It Moving

I have met many people who are stuck in a rut, why? Because they do not want to admit they made a mistake, it takes humility to do that and humility is not a trait that comes easy. It is the complete opposite of pride, the sin that is the root of many other sins.

“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,”

Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)

Adulting is by no means easy, I think most of us who have entered adulthood can admit, we can relate to a young bird who is pushed off the ledge by his mother so he can learn to fly except, we hit the side of the cliff 40 times before we achieve takeoff. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment on any of your adulting lessons below.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

A Letter to Teenage Me

If I had to write a letter to the teenage me, it would go a little something like this.

Dear Angie,

I know you are at a critical time in your life right now and think what is happening right now is the most important stuff that will ever happen, the most crucial, and important. But what if I told you that’s not true. What if I told you (yes, this is a pun, and at your age you probably wouldn’t get it because memes are not a thing yet but you will grow to love memes and also watch the Matrix…) that what happens in your teenage years is not so pivotal? One day you will look back and laugh, you will scold yourself for the time wasted and the emotions spent on nonsense. So here would be my advice to you.

Stop worrying about what other people think about you. In a few years you will no longer see these people and their opinion will be the last thing on your mind. Let go off all the things that make you anxious, trust me you will thank me (yourself later). With all the time you spend being angry, you can be doing other things. Your current friends will not really be your friends in a few years, in fact, you will all go your separate ways and you will really only message one of them sporadically via social media. Oh and on social media, at this point in your life it is not a big deal but boy will it take over, so be careful and mindful of the time you spend on social media (facebook and instagram) you won’t really see these until the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. 

Try a few different genre books and listen to more 90’s R&B, that is some good stuff. Spend more time reading and less time arguing. Try and look at the world from another person’s perspective, do not be swayed by what the world tells you. I know at this point God is not very big in your life but I would ask that you think about eternal things more. Think about where you will go and how your actions will affect you and others. Now, I don’t want you to think that being “good” will get you into heaven but it’s just nice to be considerate and mindful of your actions and their consequences.

Talk to your parents more, do not hold grudges, understand that your parents came from a different place than you did, they had a different upbringing and that may explain why they do and act the way they do. 

I know this sounds like a lot but if you slowly implement these suggestions soon they become second nature and can help you grow to be a smarter young woman and be more compassionate and kind. 

When it comes time to register to vote, do not register democrat, turns out in college you will get an in depth lesson on political parties and their beliefs and yours will not lined up with democratic values, you’ll save me some paper and time filling out a form to change my political party.

You are going to turn out ok, even if you don’t follow these suggestions just remember, what others think now will not matter later so might as well stop caring about it now. 

Love,

The older and wiser you.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage

Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters: God

Today we are faced with mass reportings on whether or not the United States will go to war with Iran and we are so concerned with the current state of things. I see memes about drafts and memes about gender equality shifting back to women in the kitchen, not seeking equality anymore to prevent being drafted. We click, like, we laugh it off, but at the end of the day, we worry.

We worry because there are troops out there putting their lives on the line for America. There are terrorist making threats against the US. This is real and it is happening. We keep asking will there be a war? Will we be safe?

People even question why the US president would even consider killing a terrorist (this part makes no sense to me as the US has been at war with terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and even prior to that ) tensions may have risen in some aspects and now we are confused and worried, but if there is one thing that helps me put all of this madness into perspective is that at the end of the day God is in control.

It may seem very simplistic to think this way, but it is true. The earth may be dying (as many people are claiming) the US may be going to war with Iran (as many depict will happen in the near future) babies are being murdered by the millions (as we can statistically see, and yet many won’t admit this is murder) but through it all God is in control.

He is sovereign over all. He created this world and He can destroy it if He sees fit, however, He promised He would not destroy it in a flood, so He won’t, but He can destroy the earth in any other way He deems proper. 

I know that sounds morbid but it should be reassuring for those called according to His purpose. Why? Because no matter what happens here on earth, God has called us and will keep us. He will bring us home. I don’t mean to belittle what is happening in the world right now, I just want to encourage you to take heart. Whatever happens will happen because God, in His sovereign will allowed it to happen. 

Anything that will come to pass is not outside God’s power and since we belong to Him, the worst thing we can face is death and then what? We will be with Him in eternity. What greater prize is there? 

So if you are worried about the state of things, remember God is in control. He rules over all kings, presidents, leaders, etc. He is King of all. He is the Lord of all creation, and we are His children, we need not worry for God is with us.

If you are unsure of being one of His children, check out this sermon “The Gift of God” by my pastor Peter Nicotra.

SDG -”Soli Deo Gloria”

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