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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

S is for Strength

I’ve truly enjoyed sharing my life with you. I’ve shared five of the six qualities (determination, resourcefulness, energy, ambition and motivation) that moms need in order to make their dreams come true.
I showed you how these qualities helped me accomplish two of my biggest dreams – earning my graduate degree and starting my coaching business.   

The last quality you need to make your dreams come true is strength.  Some days are pretty easy.  Other days are pretty challenging.  Through it all, I’ve realized just how much strength I have. 

(Even though my muscles look pretty fierce here, I’m referring to my mental strength.)

My mother recognized my strength when I was a little girl.  Every now and then she would refer to me as “mule”. That nickname always seemed a bit strange to me.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that my mother explained why she used to call me a mule.

With love and kindness my mom explained that she would refer to me as a mule because I was very strong-willed.  Once I made up my mind to do something, I wouldn’t stop until it was done – no matter what.

As mothers often do, my mom saw strength in me that I didn’t even know I had.  As I got older and started experiencing life, my inner strength became my fuel. 

When the Going Gets Tough…

How is it that I didn’t throw my ex-husband’s belongings out on the front lawn and burn them after he casually dropped the bomb that he’d been cheating and possibly fathered a child with a woman who was “just a friend”?  How was I then able to go for one whole year and not tell one single person? How did I manage to stay in school while going through all of this?

After my family knew what I’d been going through, they kept telling me over and over again how strong I was.  But what other options did I have?  I couldn’t just leave with four young children.

I relied on an inner strength to keep me steady when my world, as I knew it, became an unfamiliar nightmare.  The early months after our marital separation were dreadful.  There were many days when I prayed that I could just wake up the next day and my life would be normal again.  But that never happened.

Instead I had to deal with the reality of being a divorced woman with four children and no real plan B.  I had no plans for that life and certainly did not sign up to take care of four children on my own.  I was hurt, sad, resentful and downright pissed off!

Despite my circumstances, I kept my eyes on the prize.  I knew that if I could finish my Masters degree, I would be well on my way to creating a better life for us.  My strength as well as my faith held me up when I felt like giving up.  For this I am eternally grateful.                                                       

I’m no longer stuck in my story…

I realize that some people look at me and would never imagine my life story to be what it is.  Trust me – there were many days when I wished I could have changed a lot about my life.  But I don’t feel that way anymore.

Today I can proudly say that I am standing on my story with strength, power and confidence.  I am no longer wondering and wishing why things happened the way they did or why they could not have been different.

I accept my life just the way that it is.  I’m thankful for the lessons that life has taught me.  I know that everything I’ve gone through was not for just for me – it was so I could help other women going through pain and sadness and thinking they’re alone. 

My message to women dealing with infidelity, divorce, separation, single motherhood, or any other difficulty, is simple – you are not alone and please do not give up on yourself and your dreams. 

The road ahead may be full of bumps and scary turns.  But you owe it to yourself and to your children to keep pushing forward until you make it to the other side.  Take it day by day, hour by hour, one step at a time and you will eventually see that it was all worth it in the end.

(This summer we took our first family trip to California.  If you would have asked me four years ago if I thought I would be able to afford a trip to Disneyland, I would have laughed in your face.  But look at the magic you can create when you dream BIG and believe in yourself.)

This is not the end

As always, I’d like to know when’s the last time you found yourself fighting to get through a tough situation and what you did to get to the other side.  Did you feel stronger and more confident afterwards?

Before I go, I’d love to know what you thought about my D.R.E.A.M.S. series.  Please drop me a quick comment and let me know if this blog has served you in any way.  While you’re at it, feel free to let me know what topics you’d like me to cover in the next few weeks.

Next week we’ll start a new journey.  It’s a surprise, so you’ll have to show up to see what’s in the works for Moms with D.R.E.A.M.S.  See ya then!

Lots of love,


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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D.R.E.A.M.S. series: M is for Motivation

Welcome to week 5 of my D.R.E.A.M.S. series! I love inspiring moms to dream big and hope that you’re getting value from this. 

I’ve enjoyed sharing pieces of my journey as a teenage mom – how I relied on determination, resourcefulness, energy and ambition to get over obstacles I faced. 

This week you’ll see how motivation kept me focused on my dreams as a young, married mother of four children (born in 1992, 1998, 1999, and 2001).  Crazy, right?

Before we get into that, let’s define our topic of the week, motivation.

What is motivation?

I asked my 15-year old daughter what motivation means to her. She said it’s “a physical or emotional thing that keeps you inspired to do something”.  I thought that was a brilliant definition. In the world of psychology, motivation is defined as “a process that initiates, guides or maintains goal-oriented behavior”. 

One source of personal motivation for me was my family.  Remember how I let my dad down when I became pregnant at 17?  I was motivated to show him that I would still make something great out of myself even though I was a teenage mom.  

Later on my children became a driving force of motivation in my life.  I felt guilty for taking time away from them to attend class and spend countless hours studying and writing papers. 

There was no way that I would quit.  In my mind I owed it to them to graduate because of all the time I spent away from them pursuing my dream.  As they got older and understood that mommy was in school, I had to show them how hard work pays off when you’re dedicated to “doing something”.

Outside of my dad and my children, a large part of my motivation was intrinsic.  I had a burning desire and would not stop until I made it happen. 

Along the way my close friends kept me from giving up on my dream.  My best friend, Nyali, was a huge motivator for my academic achievements.  We were always at the top of our class in middle school and high school.  After high school, Nyali followed the traditional route of going straight to college.

The celebration of Nyali’s college graduation served as motivation.  Watching Nyali graduate kept me “inspired to do something”. Even though I was married, raising a young family and working, I knew I could still finish my degree as long as I didn’t quit.  When Nyali finished medical school, I re-committed to my dream of obtaining a graduate degree, although it seemed very far away.

Today Nyali’s children are much younger than mine for obvious reasons.  We both agree that even though our paths appeared to be very different (traditional vs. non-traditional route) our outcomes are still the same – we are educated women balancing the responsibilities of careers and motherhood.   

Last week I touched on having like-minded friends who support your dreams and hold you accountable.  Although Nyali wasn’t purposely holding me accountable, she kept me inspired, as my daughter said, to “keep doing something”.              


As I look back on my life, it’s hard to believe that my oldest son is celebrating his 21st birthday this month. He’s grown into a responsible young man, pursuing his college degree while working.  It seems like yesterday when I was pushing his stroller off the field of my high school graduation ceremony.
Although the road hasn’t been easy, it’s a journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.  The valuable lessons that I’ve gained from being a teenage mom and a young wife have made me into the woman I am today.
I am grateful to my parents for challenging me in ways that I didn’t recognize at the time.  I am grateful for my children because they taught me so much about love, sacrifices and dedication.  I am grateful for my dear friend Nyali who kept me motivated over the years, even when she didn’t know it.


Let’s talk about

YOU now.

Who and what keeps you motivated on a daily basis? How do you stay focused on goals that seem far off in the distance?  Are you surrounding yourself with people who inspire and empower you?  Share your comments below and I promise that I’ll respond.

Next week we’ll discuss the last segment of this D.R.E.A.M.S. series – strength.  I hope to see you then.

Lots of love,             


P.S.  Don’t get sad because we’re almost at the end. I have something new and exciting in the works for you after this.  Stay tuned for more details…


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: A is for Ambition

Welcome to week 4 of my D.R.E.A.M.S. series.  These past few weeks are flying by quickly!  We’ve spent the last three weeks discussing determination, resourcefulness and energy and how they are essential to making dreams come true.  I hope that you’re starting to see how tapping into these qualities can really change your life.

This week we’re talking about ambition.  If someone asked you to describe ambition, what would you say?  According to the powers that be, it’s a strong desire or intention to achieve something.  You can think of this something that you desire as your dreams. 

We’ve already established that achieving dreams requires determination and hard work.  So let’s see how having ambition also helps you realize your dreams.

I remember the day when I told my parents that I was pregnant and going to be a mom at 17.  I can still see the pain and disappointment in my father’s face as the tears slowly rolled down his cheeks.  He couldn’t believe that I was pregnant and couldn’t imagine how I would finish high school. 

I was sad that I disappointed my dad, but I wasn’t worried about finishing high school.  I looked my dad directly in his eyes and confidently assured him that I would graduate high school on time and still go to college.  He never argued with me; instead he excused himself from the table and left me sitting there by myself.

While sitting alone at the table, I made a decision that I would not give up on my dream just because I was having a child.  I had always been an ambitious over-achiever, but this time it was different.  I had no doubts whatsoever.

On the Road to Follow My Dream

Let me be clear - the road I traveled was bumpy and full of unexpected turns. I had to make plenty of sacrifices.  When my friends were out partying and living a carefree life, I was working, taking care of my son, and studying.  Although the road was rough, my ambition kept me going.

My 7-month old son was in the audience with my parents at my high school graduation.  Even though my grades slipped a little bit, I maintained my membership in the National and Spanish Honor Societies and finished in the top 20th percentile of my class.  

I never lost sight of my dream of going to college.  Once I got married and had more children, going to school was much harder.  But I still had the same strong desire that I had as a high school student. 

After fourteen years of taking classes, taking time off, and taking more classes, I earned my Bachelors degree with a 4.0 GPA.  I took a short break from school so I could spend more time with my family. My high ambition led me to graduate school about 1-1/2 years later.  I finished my Masters degree in exactly 18 month with a 3.9 GPA.

My purpose in sharing my accomplishments is not to brag, but to demonstrate how powerful ambition is in helping you overcome challenging situations to reach your end goal.  I could have used many reasons to give up on my education, but my ambition and determination kept me in the race.

Take a moment to reflect on your life.  When has your ambition kept you going when others, in your situation, would have quit?  What dreams do you have now, and how badly do you want them? What are you willing to do in order to make your dreams come true?

Once you know what you want, create a system that makes it easier for you to achieve it.  Not sure of how to do this? You can start by surrounding yourself with like-minded people who support your dreams and hold you accountable for doing what you say you’re going to do.  This is a future topic that we’ll explore in greater detail very soon.

For now, I want you to know that you deserve to live the life of your dreams. AND you already have everything you need to make your dreams come true.

Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts.  I look forward to “seeing” you here next week.  Our topic will be motivation.

See you then!