THE AA PODCAST | EP 3: WHY WE AREN'T PRO-COLLEGE

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Yes, I said it….WE aren’t pro-college….well maybe….kind of?!?

We definitely aren’t anti-college, but do feel it’s not necessary for every field. Listen to this podcast episode to discover why we say we are pro-calling versus pro-college, and how our college experiences influenced our language around this as we raise our girls. Before we recorded this episode we also asked our IG friends to ask us any questions they may have. Here’s what was asked: do we have a college fund for our girls, and what happens if they don’t know what they want to do when they graduate from high school.

Episode 3

THE AUTHENTIC ADVENTURE PODCAST

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Friends we are so excited for our brand new podcast. We’ve been dreaming of doing one since we launched our brand, but the timing wasn’t right. You can check out our teaser episode below, where we share a little more about us, and why we wanted to start a podcast.

Our official launch date is next week, March 5th. We hope you will follow along!!!

CLICK FOR HOPE | YOUR NOW IS NOT YOUR FOREVER

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If there’s one thing I would want you to know about me, it’s that I am able.

But I have not always believed it.

Were you to read my social media bios, you’d get the Cliff-Notes version of me:

God’s love.

Wife of my marvelous bearded preacher-man for 16 years.

Homeschooling mom of two amazing kids: a near-teenaged daughter and an 8-year old son. My firstborn came from my own womb, and my second-born came from the womb of another mother.

I battle chronic neurological and autoimmune issues.

My personality is introverted deep-waters, while my word quota binges are extroverted, and I host a podcast by the same name (Word Quota).

Bios are useful for assessing similarities and solidarity within limited space, but there is so much unpacking to do. Once you open up the magic inside, it’s like pulling treasures from Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpet bag. Still, I’ve yet to find someone who is “practically perfect in every way.” Although Mary Poppins was my favorite childhood movie character, there is a particular relief in the awareness of the fiction within her character (besides the obvious fact that people can’t fly using talking umbrellas):

We are all practically imperfect, and despite what they may seem, our imperfections are practical.

It’s in our imperfections where we often find our most beloved comraderies and connections, and our inabilities hone our qualities.

Imperfect and able.

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The physical struggle inside my body has many times developed a struggling mind. Over the years, with the connectivity that modern technology affords, I have learned that I am less alone in my ailments than I initially realized. But before we could type in a hashtag to discover a common bond and prior to google transforming from a noun to a verb, I felt very isolated and misunderstood. Lacking names or diagnoses for so much of what ailed me left me feeling inadequate and impossible as a person. Although I don’t wish to be defined by the labels of illness, having no names as reference means two very disheartening things: elusive solutions & little support from others- even outright disbelief. Eventually, the uncertainty and judgment I perceived seeped into my pores so that I disbelieved the value of my own being. I loathed and shamed myself for the quality of my existence. Lack of foreseeable solutions rendered me hopeless on many occasions. To anyone who feels this way in this moment, I feel it’s important to interrupt myself here: your now is not your forever. There may be things that don’t change. There will be things that do. But no matter the details of how it all plays out, I am living proof that there will be goodness in the presence of the hard if not beyond it, and it’s a goodness well worth hanging around to experience. Don’t miss out.

One area in which I’ve struggled internally off and on is in regard to my motherhood.
I thought so often that my children deserved much better than I have been able to offer them. In a conversation with an online friend whose blog I frequented, I was imparted with this critical message:

“You are God’s perfect gift to your children.“


Although I believed that my circumstances could indeed be used for good in some yet-to-be-foreseen complicated way, I had never prior considered them to be a gift. And I had definitely not considered myself as a gift. I had not thought that the God of the universe would think of me as just the best thing ever to give to my favorite people and light up their faces. God uses me- ALL of me- to teach my children a tenderheartedness they don’t even know that they are learning.

In a compassionate twist of irony, my kids have been God’s perfect gift to me.

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Exuberant. Intelligent. Empathetic… I call my daughter my wonder-FULL child. She delights in being a big clash of color (her words), and she truly sees the wonder in the stuff of life: in sunrises and clouds, and people and words and a million little things. She is amazed by and appreciates every last little bit of it: the perfect contrast to my not easily impressed self. Through her eyes I now observe value in many facets, which has allowed me to truly appreciate the magnificence and AWEsome-ness of God that I had previously looked past, unbothered. New dimensions have come to life through this girl of mine, and God was gracious enough to gift me with her smile.

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Passionate. Clever. Savvy. My son has an amazing mind for dates, times, and details. He has an internal timeline that rivals an anatomic clock, reminds me to remember things my foggy brain has long forgotten, and knows which direction to travel. He’s a problem solver so I don’t have to be one as often. Through his adoption I came to a new awareness- a true heart-knowledge of the depth of God’s love, and that it actually applies to me- that there is no holding out on His part. Since I was small I have trusted Jesus and known that I am ultimately, eternally safe in His arms. But I did not always believe Him to have gotten things right with me, to delight in me, or that I was worthy of being adored. The definition of Love Himself, somehow, he must have been disappointed that I messed up what he made. With that boy of mine, I was washed over with a flood of love that rushed into my soul and flat swept me away. Suddenly all of the scriptures pertaining to adoption meant something to me: I am His own. I am His heir. All that He possesses He is pleased to pass on to me as blood-kin. His delight in me is incomprehensible, and it’s heard in the gift of my son’s infectious laughter.

My children are gifts to my heart as I am to theirs: both as practical tools and just-for-the-joy-of-its. Despite my body’s inability to work at times in ways I think it should, He empowers me to be able to be exactly who I was designed to be, and in fact I wouldn’t be those things without what I never would have desired or known to ask for

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Mom. Wife. Daughter. Fighter.

If there’s one thing I want you do know about me, it’s that I’m able,

only because of Jesus: the purveyor of impossible possibilities for the practically imperfect.

Love,
Bec

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

I'm able not just to exist, but to live.

What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

Jasmine's inspiration and the love of Jesus :-)

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Gifts are in the hard things.

IT'S A NEW YEAR!

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Friends, it’s a new year, and I’m 10 days late….that’s okay right?!? Let’s be honest getting back into the swing of work can be challenging sometimes, let alone getting back into blogging. Anyways, can we celebrate for minute?!?! Authentic Adventure Co. is officially one year old, and friends we have had so many great things happen in 2018 that I wanted to share a few of them with you!!!

  1. We sold our home and bought a Firehouse for our business and a Non-profit was are starting.

  2. DK won 1st place in a singing competition…how cool is that?!?

  3. We shared so many amazing #Clickforhope stories you guys. 32 to be exact!!!

  4. Jeremy traveled to St. Louis several times to lead worship at The Crossing.

  5. We took 2 family trips.

  6. Our photobooth business was a part of 28 weddings and events!

  7. I traveled alone for the first time ever!

  8. We started a non-profit and are still waiting for approval!

  9. Jeremy traveled to Atlanta for a Film client.

  10. Jeremy and Dakota’s first Youtube song went viral, now with over half a million views!!!

Friends, 2018 was such an exciting year for us, and it’s been nothing but a pure joy to share it with you, all the high’s and low’s of life, marriage, family, while going after our callings. We are excited for what 2019 will bring, and our hands are open for all that comes along.

My greatest lesson from 2018 was getting more rooted in my identity as a daughter of God, and truly believing that his love, grace and more are for me!!!

So friends, that’s it for now. I pray that you would know how real the father’s love is for you!!!

Until next time,

Jasmine

CLICK FOR HOPE | I AM REMINDED OF MY GOD

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Please share your story:

Every day is touched by the name Haven Song. In February 2018 my husband and I sat in the midwife’s office, newly pregnant and hoping for our first ultrasound glimpse of our baby. Instead of a huge smile and reassurance, the midwife scheduled a consult with an OB Dr explaining that my fibroids were a concern and that she may not be able to oversee my pregnancy. We went home like we’d been kicked in the stomach. I tried to be positive because the midwife had not said my baby would not survive—only that preterm delivery was possible and we needed to be aware of this fact. My husband Luis was just quiet. He didn’t know what to say. I sat in front of the TV at home thinking about our baby and being alone with my grief while Luis made supper. We hadn’t even picked a name yet. We didn’t even know our baby’s gender. Then the word “Haven” entered my consciousness. I began to think of Haven as a name choice. What would it be like to have a name that meant “refuge?” Refuge from the storm. Refuge from pain. Refuge from sickness and the curse of sin. Then I remembered Psalm 91 and all the ways God promises to protect his children. I knew our baby’s name was Haven Song and that in naming her God was choosing her. When I asked Luis what he thought of the name Haven he agreed! (Up till then we were unable to agree on a name.) In faith we named our baby Haven and if our baby was a girl we would name her Haven Song to remind us of God’s faithful protection. Each day we thanked God for another day Haven lived. Each week we counted towards a full term delivery. Each month we looked back in amazement that my pregnancy was protected and uneventful. At the same time I had to prepare for worst. I looked into baby funeral services and how to ensure my baby would be given to me by the hospital no matter how premature she may have been. Luis and I had to talk together about my wishes if the Dr’s worst case scenarios played out for me. If I began hemorrhaging or if I needed an emergency C-section or hysterectomy. If there were ever a decision that needed to be made who would live, I wanted Luis to make the Dr’s choose Haven. That was a tough conversation. In the end, I carried Haven Song to 39 weeks when the Dr suggested an induction. There were none of the expected complications! I did experience a third degree tear and postpartum depression, but none of the worst case scenarios took place. Haven is healthy and growing. She exceeds our expectations.

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

Every day when I say my daughter’s name I am reminded of my God. Our Father God who protects and loves his children. Who loves and forgives. Who sings over us Heaven’s song of redemption. Who is our refuge (our haven) in every trial —in the bad times and the good.

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What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

My life experiences have not been easy. My own birth family is dysfunctional and my father is in prison waiting trial. I have prayed for deliverance and healing for my family for a decade now and am still waiting for God’s full restorative healing to occur. When the Dr. gave us the worst case scenarios I immediately thought the worst would happen to me like so many other times to my family. I am learning to choose belief in my heavenly father’s love no matter what is happening. If my daughter had not lived, the promise that God is my Haven would still be true. I hope to encourage others to keep hoping while walking through the darkness of needing to understand funeral preparations for a beloved baby.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Don’t give up. Our father God is big enough for your screaming tears. He is big enough to hold you through your upcoming deliverance or even if there are more tears ahead. He will send you every help that you need.

A NEW DIAGNOSIS...

Friends, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. If I’m honest the last few months have been a whirlwind, and trying to find my footing in the midst of it all has been really difficult for me.

Towards the end of Oct. I spiraled into a deep depression. In the midst of it I was experiencing CPTSD, which was very new for me. It was all too much for my brain to process, and I found myself unable to function, crying constantly while being unable to move from the fetal position.

This time was different though, because in the midst of it, I sought professional help, and opened up to my doctor about it. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Together we worked on a plan, and with deep prayer I decided to get on a natural medication. It’s almost been 2 months since I started taking it, and I am seeing a big difference. I even wake up happy. Yes friends, it true, I use to wake up so grumpy, annoyed, and angry for no reason.

I share this because as you may know I’ve been on a healing journey to finding truth and freedom with my story. The healing journey is never easy, and I long to not only share the peaks, and growth, but also be vulnerable with the my lows. And friends, this low was the scariest low of my life.

I hope if you are reading this, and are experiencing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, know that you aren’t alone and there is help available. Please seek it! If you need help now, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

So friends until next time, I pray that you would know how much you are loved by God. Know that you aren’t alone and I pray that you feel the very presence of God in real and tangible ways this week.

Love,

-Jasmine

CLICK FOR HOPE | I'VE HAD TO FIGHT FOR THOSE RIGHTS

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What does being a Latina mean to you?:

For me Latinidad is many things as we are intersectional beings. Personally, it means being the daughter of Mexican immigrants who struggled in migrating to this country for a better life and opportunities for their children. It means having a set of values that center familia, community and self, and that these do not exist without each other. And all the things that enrich these values, that are an intricate part, like language, food, religion, spirituality, work, education, play, relationships, music, and art. But each of these is constantly being redefined with every new generation and experience.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:

I am a Latina who might be seen as one who has defied the obstacles against her, because in one generation as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, has obtained the highest degree possible in Academia. I hold a Doctorate in Hispanic Literature and am an Associate professor of Spanish at a small college outside of Chicago. However, even with this evidence of success, I have been devalued, dismissed and treated as incompetent at times and not perceived as an equal leader to my middle-class White colleagues. I have also arrived at this level through great systemic challenges that caused me to internalize this perception and second-guess myself on my way here and be stigmatized by an imposter syndrome.

Share something you love about being a Latina?:

I love some of the central values that define us: familia, love & community. I love our syncretic and hybrid identities that make us richly complex and even contradictory.

What do you identify as?: Latinx (Mexican-American)

Where you born in the states?: U.S. born, but from a mixed status family

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Yes, but I have had to shoulder through and negotiate those throughout the way. In some times and spaces, I've had to fight for those rights and to be seen as both American and Mexican, or simply American.

Do you speak spanish?:

Yes, fluently.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community?

Yes, I am a light-skinned Latina and am fully aware of my privilege in the U.S. I jokingly and poignantly say that I am a "safe" Latina. I am also married to a white man and we have two children. My girls are very different. One has brown hair and big brown eyes like me, and shares the characteristics of light-skinned Latinas. My other daughter has platinum blonde hair and blue eyes like my husband. I am often asked if she is mine, if I am her nanny and most times, those questions have come from “mi propia gente", other Latinos. So yes, colorism runs deep in Mexican and Latino culture. In fact, because of this, I was motivated to offer a course titled Afro-Latinidad to continue diversifying the Spanish curriculum at my institution and also providing courses in which a variety of my students can see themselves reflected in and to begin to have them think and complicate these values and cultural expectations.

CLICK FOR HOPE | I DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS UNDOCUMENTED

Photos provided by storyteller: Neiva

Photos provided by storyteller: Neiva

What does being a Latina mean to you?

Being a Latina women means that I am someone who is proud of their roots/where they came from. Someone that’s empowering, someone that perseveres, and someone that can add a bit of spice to someone’s life.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

I have worked in a professional /corporate setting for a few years now and I have experienced racism/ ignorance from individuals in a higher role than mine. Stereotypes are very common here in Chicago. I have had countless statements stating that they are surprised I don’t have an “accent “ when I speak English. I have had plenty of reactions by how “educated” I am after giving a presentation or providing ideas during meetings. I have had the constant mispronunciation of my name after repeating it several times. Overtime, you become immune to it as it happens so often . This cycle needs to be broken.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I am very prideful of my roots. I get to share a beautiful culture among those that surround me. This includes food, music, and traditions. I love my brown, glowing skin, my curves and my big, chunky curls. Yes, this sounds vain, but it took a long time for me to love who I am and I repeat this to myself everyday. I love that family time is emphasized in our culture. I love the fact that we have huge celebrations for any big/little accomplishment that we complete. I love being able to be bilingual. Thinking and speaking in 2 different languages is by far one of the coolest things someone can do if you actually think about it.

What do you identify as? I identify myself as Mexican

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc.

My family immigrated here from Mexico when I was 2 years old. We came here on a visa that later soon expired. I didn’t realize I was “undocumented” until I started filling out applications for financial aid to assist in paying for college. That was a rude awakening. My mental health was at an all time low. I was discouraged seeing all my friends off to college while I was left behind. I realized I had to work 15x harder than anyone to achieve even a minor goal. I started working as a nanny, saved all my money and paid for school out of pocket. My parents have given me such a beautiful life and I have never needed anything. They always provided everything I could ever need plus more. They taught me that hard work pays off and for that I am always grateful. When President Obama passed the executive order of Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals aka DACA, all the hard work I did paid off. I was approved and was able to obtain a position in a professional environment that I so longed for. In 2014, I got married to my best friend. He has been there through every stepping stone, milestone, achievement, etc. In March of 2017, we decided to proceed with filing paperwork for my permanent residency. This was probably one of the scariest things I had to do under the political climate that we were in. I was super fearful of rejection. In August of 2017, I received an email of my approval!!!! As soon as I obtained my residency, I went to Mexico to meet family I hadn’t seen in over 25 years. It was the most overwhelming, beautiful, humbling experience of my life. I was able to understand the sacrifice my parents made. They wanted us to have a better life than they did in our home country. I don’t think we have any idea what immigrant parents give up for us. Give up their country, their family, and their entire lives to move across the globe to a country that treats them poorly because they are not able to properly pronounce a word, just so their children can have a better life, a better education. I thank my parents for giving me a better life full of opportunities. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for their sacrifice. Per law, I have to wait 3 years before applying to become a Naturalized Citizen. Once this happens, I will have dual citizenship .

Do you speak spanish? Yes, fluently.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?

I currently am a volunteer for a program called Rape Victim Advocates. it’s an organization that provides crisis counseling to survivors of sexual assault. This group is part of an amazing team of advocates who are on-call to provide in-person crisis support to survivors of sexual assault & abuse at 14 Chicago hospitals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so a survivor is never alone . I have had the privilege to service various Spanish speaking families in this role . This has probably been the most intense yet rewarding experience I have ever done .

CLICK FOR HOPE | I HAVE DUAL CITIZENSHIP

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What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means I am a woman filled with strength, courage and power. Yet gentle, loving and nurturing. Someone who believes in fighting for what is right and standing up for yourself, especially in today’s time. 

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

I would definitely have to say the immigration process my family had to endure including my own during my early childhood and fear of the word, DEPORTATION.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

I love that I am able to embrace my heritage with such pride and admiration for it. I love our food, our history, our people, our music and art! I love that I am a woman who was raised by amazing Mexican women, specifically my mother and her mother, my Abuelita. I was taught to have old fashioned manners (something that seems to disappear more and more) and serve with hospitality and heart.... Especially with food, I love to cook and see my friends and family eat what I made with passion and love from my hands and soul. They get to taste a little of who I am and what I carry from generations and generations ago. 

What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.):

Mexicana but if we want to talk about specifics I am a VERY proud Jalisciense! Hecha de puro Jalisco!

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc.

NO... I was born in Jalisco, Mexico.

I remember waking up at around 5 am in the mornings to arrive early at the long line of the immigration office, even with the rough winter weather we deal with here in Chicago. My mother and I received our legal US residency before my dad did and my biggest fear was not knowing if my dad would get his papers and get deported. The conversations my parents had in case he would get his applications denied and get deported were gut- wrenching to me. We would all have to leave... Never would my parents allow us to be separated but I didn't want to leave the place I called and known as my home for literally almost my entire life and lose my close friends. I didn't know what the schools were like in Mexico. I was only a little girl and knowing my parents came and stayed in the US to have a better education and chance of a greater life for me and my younger sisters, I didn't want any of that to go to waste. Thankfully, what at times seemed impossible with a lot of prayer and a LOT of fasting in my very early stages of being a born again Christian, God turned it around for my family and my Papi received his "papeles", his legal US residency. It is one of my most powerful personal testimonies.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:

Being a 1st generation immigrant, I do not really recognize myself of "American nationality". I have a dual citizenship and very proud to hold that. I never ever forget where I come from but I never ever forget the recognition I have for this country. I am a college graduate, with a Puerto Rican husband I met here in America, with about to be a total of 4 beautiful American born sons. I am very grateful for that. I get to teach my children to admire not just my culture, but their father's PR culture and the history of the land they were born in.

Do you speak Spanish? Yes, fluently.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc.

Oh yes, for being tall and fair skinned with big curly hair, I get the, “You're Mexican???" type of reaction when a person finds out where I am from. I also received a lot of bullying for my hair as a child. Comments like, “Look at my hair, my hair is real!” from other kids or being called “Curly Monster” or making rumors that my hair was a wig, were kind of perplexing to me because I grew up Pilsen, a Chicago neighborhood that is predominantly Hispanic. Where people all have different heights, skin color, hair textures and features, I thought we should have been more accepting of one another. So I remember there was a short period where I felt like I “fit in” more when my hair was straightened with a flat iron or wish I was 5’4 and under. Thankfully I have a mother who taught me to love myself for who I am and taught me to embrace being “ÚNICA” in my own ways. As far an experience in Mexico, I was told one time I was "Mexicana pero Norteada", which basically meant "American tainted" and I took such offense to that. I am so grateful for being a part of both nations and think it is a wonderful privilege! 

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

Never be ashamed or embarrassed of who you are or where you come from. There were times I felt a little to some embarrassment for being a girl that was too tall, had curly hair (funny fact: my hair took a good amount of space in my second grade school picture) and even for having a name that still to this day, does not get pronounced right! But I have learned to love myself for me, for God made me who I am as He pleased and saw fit. He made no mistakes with me and that is my biggest hope for all girls of all ethnicities to feel about themselves.