Recap: Colombia Trip & Family Love

imageLast month, hubby and I headed on vacation to my first home, Colombia! It was an exciting time for us for many reasons. One being that although most of my family still lives there, I hadn’t been in over 10 years! It was especially exciting for me to show my husband the place where I initially grew up as a child, where I first lived and called a place a “home.” Essentially, it was moving and exciting showing him such a big part of what makes me, ME, and the other part of what has made me the person I am today. We got to see my father’s side of the family, which my husband had never met and that was such a special moment. I felt like it showed him the other side of what makes me Jennifer, gestures, my sense of humor and other little things we just bypass on a daily basis, that I get from my father’s side. Of course, we spend lots of time with my mom’s side too, and that was special in itself because we have so many memories together, that the list goes on. It was fun, it was humbling and it was a great time with family. I think that part of this trips success was how much we enjoyed all my family and how we spend such good quality time with them . They’re good people, they are grateful and live a simple life. They have a passion in them to appreciate and love with all their hearts, that maybe as a small child I did not know how to appreciate because I was far too young to even know what that meant. They showed Xavier and I so much love that we will forever hold close to our hearts until the next time we see them.

This trip meant a lot to us, the time we spend was needed in our hearts and minds. It was good for us to leave our reality for a little while, and see things we don’t get to see here in Florida. There is something about seeing greenery all around you, tall green luscious mountains, horses by the rivers, herds of cattle in the fields, natures fresh air and the small town folk sitting around tables enjoying small talk and the more simple things in life. It was definitely a breath of fresh air after some storms that had been thrown at us. It was good for the soul. It was a good reminder for us that family is with us, that in the midst of whatever trials are thrown our way, we are blessed. We are blessed with the opportunity to have had the chance to travel and travel safely, see family and have family, to love and be oh so loved by all our sweet family, that whether it’s here or in Colombia, we have loved ones that surround us and embrace us, and that even through sorrows we still have a happiness that is much much greater!

Psalm 23:1-3, The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Hope you guys enjoy our photos and the scenery. Pictures don’t do this beautiful country justice.

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how handsome does my hubby look in the Colombian jersey?!

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Wedding Shared & Half a year down

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Today seemed appropriate to share Our wedding day with you all. Today marks half a year of marriage. These past 6 months have been a true blessing for Xavier and I. Our story has been so wonderfully written. I thank God for our story and for bringing us together. I couldn’t be more in love with my husband. Everyday for the past 6 months I have learned more about my husband…How truly amazing of a person he is, how much he loves me and how he shows it in so many ways.  My love for him has grown and each day I feel like I love him a little more and in more ways I didn’t even know I could. He’s my lover, my best friend, my soul mate and my partner in crime. We are a team and I couldn’t be more blessed to say that of us and our relationship. The past 6 months we have grown together in so many ways. We have endured happy moments, successes, love and joy. But we have also experienced hardships, sadness and loss. Through it all we have become closer and more together. We have been challenged and we have leaned on our faith more than ever. God knows the plans he has for us and we have come to trust in his plan and have faith in him being the author of our story. It’s safe to say neither of us are perfect, but as two imperfect people we are perfect for each other. Reminiscing on our wedding is a reminder of the great love that brought us together and the desires of our hearts to be focused on God and letting him lead us in this journey of ours. Remembering this day is also a reminder of our vows and vowing not to be 50/50 in this relationship, but to be completely committed to 100/100. We are all in, and this day reminds me of that. To be honest, I look back to these photos on a regular basis, I love looking into our faces and seeing how much love can be seen through these photos, all the happiness in our eyes and in those who were there to share our day. It’s important for us to be reminded sometimes of what brought us together when life becomes such a routine. I am so grateful for the life we are sharing, for all the lessons we have learned these past 6 months and all the love that has grown. God has tested us in ways we never thought of, but if I could choose who I would go through some of the things we have, I would choose my husband over and over each time. Maybe one day we will be brave enough to share those. But for now, I cherish this wonderful memory we have. I cherish the man I call my husband, the man who is always by my side no matter what, the man who shares my happy and my sorrows, the man who God chose for me. I confess it’s not always easy, but with love and effort it’s all worth it, 100%. I love my husband and its been great knowing these feelings are shared in return. We are enjoying our time more then ever, no matter what it may be we are doing. We are present in the moment, our moments and that warms my heart. To love and feel loved in return is an amazing feeling. The other day we talked about our growing relationship and my words exactly where these… “If this is what marriage is, with all the we have gone through lately, I’ll take it!” It’s so true and from my heart. I would choose us over and over and over again. I can only hope to beat the 50% of those who bad talk marriage. But we believe in God’s purpose for us and what he has in store for us. He pours out an abundance of grace and is a merciful God and we know that through him we will keep this story he is writing for us alive. One that is full of respect, grace and one that is a lifetime of a deep love, always. He’s my other half..and he’s handsome too! 😉

So dear Husband, if you have read this… I love You, to the moon and back, times infinity and forever.     Love, your wife. ❤jennifer+xavier-222-2560x1706

I hope you all enjoy our day through some of our favorite wedding photos as much as we did that day.

All Photography by BecaCPhotography

To see more of our day, check out GraceFulfillingLife on Facebook.

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jennifer+xavier-620-2560x1706 THE BEST IS YET TO BE…<3

DIY: Bringing Jesus into your kids Easter basket

 Although I’m not a mom just yet, I do have a 7 year old sister. It’s important for me to be a role model to her and to share with her the importance of our faith, Jesus and his story. My sister Sofia, is quite the character with a personality of her own, but one thing is for sure.. She’s bright and she learns fast! I wanted to make sure this Easter she knew what Easter was truly about and give her a little reminder that not only would make her happy but also was filled with his word and goodness. My parents do a great job at making sure she reads her bible each morning before school, and taking her to church. When I went to ask her about what Easter was about.. Well let’s just say, I was more the surprised one. She could tell me the Easter story probably better then I ever could at her age! A week ago, a fellow blogger posted a great kids Easter activity over at WildlyGraceful, it was a one week Easter story countdown. I read it over and it was great! But my sister already knew a lot of the content, maybe because she’s older then I like to think. I’ll have to save that one for my future kids one day lol. So I opted out, and created this little cute Easter basket for her. Thanks to the amazing $1-3$ isle at target I was able to find all the amazing goodies! I seriously cannot go to target without stopping by that isle! I knew most Easter baskets are filled with candy and Easter eggs! So I decided to instead fill it with things I knew my sister has been wanting or things I knew she would enjoy! But of course, I got easter eggs! I figured it was the perfect opportunity to fill them with a little of bit of  Jesus’s Easter story and what he stood for. I had seen many Easter projects on Pinterest  explaining the Easter bunny and relating it to the Easter story. So since she’s a little older now, I figured I would incorporate a little of that in the Easter eggs and cut out some bible verses and place one in each of the eggs. I also made each verse explain a little of how it could represent her Easter bunny bag! It was too cute to pass on! I hope we all remember the meaning of Easter and what it stands for and that it is by his grace that we can live an abundant life! That through his grace we are forgiven, loved and have a Heavenly Father who is always with us.
Materials: ALL from targets $1-3$ isle! Win!

Idea..Pinterest! So many to choose from to help you out! I typed up bible verses which related to the famous “Easter bunny” and put it in simple terms for my sister to understand what each bible verse stood for and meant!


Happy Easter everyone! What are some ways you incorporate the true meaning behind Easter?! Have a great weekend friends!

-Jen

Mushroom & Broccolini Stir-Fry Noodles

 We’ve been trying to be more intentional with healthy eating lately. Xavier and I have always tried to have a balance when it comes to food and having it be nutritious and healthy and at the same time, have days where we are allowed to indulge a little in guilty pleasures. About 1 week now, Xavier and I had a mutual understanding of where we wanted to head when it came to meats. We both found that meat wasn’t really appetizing to us and we figured we’d try to go as #meatless as possible. Its been challenging when it comes to figuring out our meals and making sure we are getting the right amount of nutrition. Making balanced vegetarian meals for two hispanic people can be a challenge, but its been a success thus far! We are enjoying trying new things being creative and researching the whole process. We won’t say we are 100% vegetarian just yet, but were giving it a try. Our bodies and minds have felt a difference already. For now we are sharing one of our favorite meals so far!

Mushroom & Broccolini Stir-Fry Noodles for the win!  Super easy, delicious and nutritious.. 

Ingredients: 4 serving

Noodle Mixture

  • button mushrooms (or whichever you prefer)
  • 2 bunches of broccolini (thick ends cut off)
  • 6 stalks of kale (cut into shreds)
  • 1 large onion (sliced thick)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • whole wheat noodles ( we used organic whole wheat linguine)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to liking
  • sriracha teriyaki sauce (we used stonewall kitchen brand, found in our local fresh market)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Mushroom Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tables spoons of honey
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove

Directions:

  1. In a small cup combine all the ingredients for the mushroom glaze.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees
  3. In a separate bowl combine your mushrooms with the mushroom glaze and coat evenly.  (make sure to clean your mushrooms with a wet paper towel to avoid a “dirt” taste, I don’t recommend soaking them in water, as mushrooms tend to be little sponges. This helps avoid a really wet soggy mushroom)
  4. Place the coated mushroom in the oven to roast for 15 mins. (remove when done to avoid burning)
  5. While the mushroom roast, place noodles to cook in separate pot with a tablespoon of olive oil, until noodles are ‘al dente’image
  6. In a separate pan, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic the 1 onion and salt and pepper to liking and sauté for 2 mins.image
  7. After 2 mins, place broccolini and kale into pan with onions and garlic until veggies are bright green and cooked to your liking. (we like ours somewhere in between soft with a little bit of crunch still) image
  8. When noodles are done, place them into your veggie mix and add your 2 tablespoons of honey along with your sriracha teriyaki sauce. (I usually eyeball it and make it to our liking, remember the sauce has a spicy kick to it!)image
  9. Let your noodles and veggies mix well and marinate in your sauce until completely coated.image
  10. Plate your delicious stir-fry veggie and noodle mixture and top with your glazed mushrooms! Enjoy!

    imageWe hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Let us know what your favorite #meatless dishes are?! We’d Love some new ideas!

-Jen

1st sneak peek into our wedding details & DIY’s

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All Photography by: Beca C Photography

In honor of a new beginning for our blog, with our new name.. GraceFulfillingLife.com, we thought what better way to start then to start sharing our wedding day with all our readers. Before we decided to make the change, we had been sharing part of wedding plans leading up to our big day! (refer back HERE to see a couple!) We are so excited to share with you all the many DIY’s that went into making our day, a day that was perfect for us and that will forever be in our memories and hearts. When Xavier and I got engaged and our wedding plans started, we knew things we wanted and did not want. We knew that we wanted an intimate wedding with our closest friends and family and we wanted it to be about us and not about the wedding in itself. We felt the setting of our wedding had to reflect who we are and the feeling we wanted for that day. It needed to be personal and we longed for a romantic and genuine feel. We wanted to be true to who we are and our faith and have those feelings be reflected. We also did not want to spend a fortune either, so my handy DIY skills and creativity and a whole lot of pinterest came in handy! A lot of the pinterest ideas we saw, we tried giving them our own personal twist in hopes it would reflect us! We decided first and for most that we did not want a hotel nor a banquet hall setting. For me especially it was important for me to feel relaxed and to feel the calmness of nature around us. And let me tell you this.. the weather was perfect. There was a sense of calm to a lovely cool breeze that day and a natural light so wonderful that all I could think was.. “goodness..God’s presence is truly with us today” and to me that was an unforgettable feeling.

Our theme..  well we really didn’t have one.. we just knew that our colors would be a light grey, white and touches of gold and greenery! Our flowers were a big part of that theme, they were simple, white and elegant. Did I mention they smelled lovely because they were full of seeded eucalyptus?!  The best part of the flowers is that we found a wholesale florist who actually made all our arrangements! So our theme was just for it to be romantic, simple yet have a touch of rustic elegance. So whatever looked pretty, was on sale and I could find something to do with it, it was on our ‘to do’ list.jennifer+xavier-157jennifer+xavier-138

Our DIY’s included some of these lovely pieces..We used a lot of re-purposed wood that my amazing handy man dad was so gracious to find for us for the aisle boards and I got to staining and using my “wanna-be” calligraphy skills. We also used smaller sized ones as table numbers.jennifer+xavier-285

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All our chalkboard’s I found at Michael’s arts and craft stores and I never bought one that was not on sale! win!jennifer+xavier-264jennifer+xavier-427

Our seating chart/Polaroid exchange station was an activity that we did in exchange for a fancy expensive Photo Booth! if you can afford it, they’re fun but it was definitely not in our budget.jennifer+xavier-265

One of our favorites was being able to have Xavier’s cousin Cristina who is like a super amazing artist draw us the tree we would marry under and make it be our sign in “guest tree” with fingerprints! And who doesn’t like a good drink in a mason jar while doing it right?

For our ceremony back drop it was all about simplicity for me, the venue  was already so beautiful that it didn’t need much. It conveniently had an amazing swing that was perfect for our back drop. I made the fabric banner myself and the YOU and ME sign I found at Michael’s and spray painted it gold, because anything I could spray paint gold…well I did.jennifer+xavier-258

For our ceremony we opted out on the unity candle and the typical unity sand sets.. Before Xavier and I got married we went through pre-marital classes and one of the basis of many of our teachings was the verse, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, a reminder that we have entered a commitment between Christ, Xavier and I. So we decided on braiding it, with The cord of three strands. I had seen many on easy pre-made but figured I could do it myself for half the price, and I LOVE how it turned out! We now have it in our room and its a constant reminder to keep Christ as the center of our relationship.

Our wedding cake topper and peg dolls were one of our favorite! In the beginning of our engagement, I had been following Goose Grease Shop on instagram, a fair trade company making custom peg doll cake topper’s made from local artisans in Colombia. One day they had a giveaway and I immediately signed up and turned out winning the giveaway! It was exciting for me because it was a unique way to incorporate a little piece of where I am from too, while doing what I love…arts and crafts! So long behold, the lovely peg dolls made an appearance on our cake along with a love sign that I of course painted gold! jennifer+xavier-414jennifer+xavier-459
And the most exciting part was… How it all came together. Made with love and wonderful memories.. jennifer+xavier-411jennifer+xavier-465jennifer+xavier-440

We couldn’t be more happy to share such a special day with you all, we are looking to sharing the rest of our day with you all, stay tuned for more of our photos and story! We could not have had such an amazing day if it wasn’t for our amazing family and friends for all their help! We will forever be grateful. Hope you all enjoyed the first sneak peek into our wedding day!

Love, Jennifer & Xavier

Feel free to ask any questions you all may have.. we are happy to answer!

ALL photography on this post was by: Beca C Photography

Wedding cake by: Eat More sweets by Hailey

Venue: The Cooper Estate

La Vida is back! 

IMG_6142La Vida blog is back! Life was busy and the blog was on hold for a little while. We were in much need of some time to ourselves and pretty much in need of any free time we could get, to plan our wedding in the midst of all we had going on, plus work. But we are back! A lot has gone on since the last time we gave all our readers an update. We planned a wedding! Got married! Went on an amazing honeymoon! Moved to our new little temporary home! Got a new job! And pretty much snapped back into reality! I can’t wait to share with you all the process that has led up to where we stand in life right now! We have been on a very exciting journey these past couple of months, and even though we have been overwhelmed at times, tired and frustrated, we have also been incredibly blessed the last couple of months. And to be honest, our blessings surpass any of those tired, overwhelmed days! God has been amazing to us and has blessed us with more than we can imagine and its through his grace and his guidance that we stand where we stand today.  I am so very excited to be back to blogging and sharing our special moments that have passed and all those special moments ahead of us. Thank you to all our readers for hanging around and still following us on Instagram and our Facebook feeds! I’m excited for what’s ahead and excited to start sharing our moments that lead up to life lately. We are excited for some of our ideas coming up for the blog soon! I personally hope to be back to blogging on a more regular basis and hope to grow from there!  Hope you will all stick around.

-Jen ❤️

 

 

A YEAR AGO TODAY, I SAID YES!

A Year ago today, I said yes to the love of my life. A year ago today, Xavier and I made a commitment to our relationship. A year ago, my ears heard the sweetest sound with one of the loveliest questions and my heart-felt a love so graciously beautiful. A year ago today, God filled our hearts with his grace and filled us with a love so great, that we can only hope to mirror in our future marriage. Its been a while since I’ve shared any news on the blog with you all, but I felt today was the perfect occasion. Today marks the day Xavier asked me to be his future wife, his fiancé and the woman who will be by his side to share life with. This past year of engagement has been another chapter in his and I’s book, and its been all in all, a great one. We have gone through ups and downs, shared laughs and cries but most importantly we have done it all with love. We have come to the know the importance of respect, communication and love and most importantly putting God as our center. In only 39 days we will be walking down the aisle to say our I DO’s! Seeing all these pictures brought a smile to my face today, because how much we have grown and how important it is to still be smiling and laughing together on a day-to-day basis. I couldn’t be more excited for whats to come for Xavier and I and couldn’t be more grateful it will be together.

I have a lot of catching up to do with you all, but life has been busy, but will be keeping you all posted soon!

Cheers to us Baby! Cheers to a lifetime together! Love you.

Jen<3