*During the month of August, I will interview several amazing bloggers with some really neat blogs that I think you, as our readers, just might enjoy. I pray that these interviews will encourage and inspire each and every one of you.
Dionna Sanchez from Beauty in the Storm
Tell us a little about yourself and your family
Dionna: I LOVE my family! I am so blessed! I married my husband at the age of 23 and became a full-time custodial stepmom. It was an intense way to cut my teeth on parenting, but God continues to use that time and those lessons in my life to this very day. My stepson got married at the age of 18, and we now are blessed with 3 adorable and spunky grandchildren. I’m young enough to truly have fun being a grandma. They left Texas this year and moved back to Idaho – so I miss them terribly, but we do what we can to stay in touch and exchange lots of funny snap chat videos! 🙂
In addition to my stepson, I have two stunning, generous, and super sweet daughters. My oldest got married at 19 to a young man from England (they met on Instagram!) So we have been walking the road to getting him a green card and legalization – quite the process! She is currently going to beauty school to become a hairdresser.
My baby girl just graduated in June. (Stab my heart!) She got a full-ride scholarship to the University of Kentucky, so we immediately have become “Wildcat” fans! I will miss her with every inch of my being but am excited to see her walk out her dreams. She plans on double-majoring in English (writing), and Psychology.
When did you come to know Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Dionna: I became a Christian at the tender age of 5. It was at a 5-day club down the street from our house. I remember skipping all the way home because I was so excited to tell my mom. I have never known what it’s like to live life without hope, or without the Lord. I’ve always felt Him in my heart and in my life.
That being said, I am not good at disciplining myself to know His heart MORE or to be attuned to His voice BETTER when He speaks to me. These are my goals. I want to pray with more faith. I want to know it’s His voice when He speaks. And I want to see the unseen – the spiritual things that only He can reveal to me. But there is no one or nothing, that I love, more than I love my Lord and God.
What is a defining moment in your walk with Christ?
Dionna: There are many defining moments between me and God. When I was a child, I had a nightmare and asked God to hold my hand and chase away my fears. I held out my hand and closed my eyes. I felt a hand placed in mine and was convinced that it was God’s. THAT is the faith of a child.
When I was a newlywed, I went through an intense daily spiritual battle…… for years. It was oppressing, to say the least, and almost broke me. I doubted myself many, many times. And a once-confident young woman became unsure of herself. But I never doubted my Lord. He was the only thing I had to hang onto. And He brought me victory. Even though it was like the Israelites in the desert, and it was a long-time coming (many, many, many years) – God walked with me every step of the way.
God has also answered some of my deepest heartfelt prayers. And those answers bring tears to my eyes as I joyfully and humbly continue to be thankful for them.
Our God is a God of personal detail. And He has shown me, that He knows the personal details in my life.
What was your number one goal or dream when you were a kid?
Dionna: As with every kid, I wanted to be a singer and be famous. (HA HA.) I had a temporary season where I wanted to be a policewoman. But overall, I wanted to be famous. It wasn’t until high school that I started to write (lyrics), and not until after I was married, that God started funneling my love for writing, from lyrics – into articles.
Did you go on to fulfill that dream or have your dreams completely changed?
Dionna: Oh, my dreams completely changed! But they fit me so much better! It’s amazing how God does that!
How do you balance all the hats that you wear on a daily/weekly basis?
Dionna: I think it was almost easier to write when I had young children because I could do it while they were in school or napping. And, they went to bed early.
Now, I have been in a season where my oldest daughter is a young newlywed, and she and her husband live with us until he is granted a green card.
My youngest daughter just graduated high school and does not yet drive, because she was busy being so academically focused. And we have been doing a lot to get her ready for college. So – lots of people around in my home who can be distracting, interrupt, need attention, conversations, driven somewhere, etc. But…. family always comes first. And it’s a joy for me, to be involved in their lives. They know when I start feeling stressed and getting behind. I’ll say, “I need to do some work, ” Or “I really need to get on the computer” – Then they give me some of that time. But, if they say, “Mom, come watch this with me!” I’ll probably ditch work every time.
But, if they say, “Mom, come watch this with me! I’ll probably ditch work every time.
I love the flexibility of writing and doing social media. I truly can “fit it in” on my schedule for the most part. Sometimes it’s an hour in the evening, other times I can get a couple hours a day in when I’m home and the house is quiet. But I’m pretty organized and try to always have things ready to go out, or ahead of schedule. This way, when life throws me a loop (like sickness, or a friend needs me), I can put them first without dropping my readers or followers.
Do you have any tips for our readers in regards to balance?
Dionna: Listen. Listen when you are feeling stressed. Your body is telling you that something is out of alignment and you need to refocus your priorities. Be willing to let some things go in order to breathe, relax some, and hear your own thoughts.
NOTHING matters more than your marriage and your kids. Do you really have to check social media? Or, can you play a game with your kids? Do you really need to write a blog post every day, or can you go to bed earlier with your spouse? Choices.
NOTHING matters more than your marriage and your kids. Do you really need to check social media? Or, can you play a game with your kids?
Do you take time for self-care? If so, what do you do?
Dionna: I try! I pamper myself by always having my nails and toes painted. And I listen to podcasts that inspire, motivate, and recharge me. They speak to my soul just when I need it. I fit in walking when I can, but I’m kind of bad about that. And I go on the occasional shopping excursion. I treat myself to a new top or a cute piece of jewelry.
One of the best ways I can take care of myself is to have a little downtime to myself. That has been lacking in the last two years. But to everything, there is a season. So, I just soak it in when I get it. Sometimes, I’ll simply go out on our back porch in the sunshine and be still for a half hour, if I’m desperate. It’s pretty hot in Texas, so I know I’ll get some alone time in the hot afternoon sun out there!
But to everything, there is a season. So, I just soak it in when I get it.
What is one thing that makes you unique?
Dionna: I have really good instincts about people. I took a personality test and empathy was one of my top 3 results – which I guess is rare. I was told that most people have them as sub-strengths, not a top strength. My gut is very often right about people and leads me to talk to people when I feel they are hurting or need someone to listen. I think God has also gifted me with discernment.
And, right now, in this season of life, I have braces. For the second time. I had them in high school, and after 15 years of being told I needed them again, finally succumbed. It’s not for aesthetics, but a bite issue that I have. So I’m doing it for the future health of my mouth and jaw. I am most probably facing jaw surgery this winter. Scared? Oh yes – I’m terrified! But, God will be with me and I fully know He will guide that whole process, and take care of me.