I should not own a clothing store!

Yup, the secret is out. That's what I've been telling myself! I have no business owning an online clothing store when I've struggled with how I look in clothes almost my entire life. Not to mention, I've questioned my decision countless times of "what in the world, am I doing here?" Here. Here in this space that looks nothing like a hospital, like a stretcher, like the nurse's station, like a recovery room, like the confined walls of an ICU, amid the clamor of alarms notifying you of your next task - the hospital, my home-away-from-home. 

Most of you know the story, but if you don't here's the jist: I was working at fairly new hospital as a recovery room nurse, had two young babies, and a shift working husband. The kids were sick often, we were accumulating debt, burning the candle at both ends, and were two ships in the night. I struggled to fully own motherhood as I felt I did a mediocre job at it - I mean there were still alive so that was a plus! At home I was struggling with a bad temper and it was off limits to address. I chalked it up to "I'm a nurse, a mom, and I'm tired - what do you expect?" My husband and I were both at our dream jobs, but were not fully satisfied. I truly believed I did a better job at being a nurse than I was a mom. I think it was because I took care of adults and when you're cleaning up vomit or performing life saving measures you usually get an instant response of, "Thank you!" or "You've made my day better." or "You're an angel."  Now, if you checked my instagram, I might've fooled you. Deep inside, I was struggling. My temper usually fester around imperfection, unrealistic goals, lack of time, and unmet expectations. My hospital was going under and we were being lied to that we were "fine." We worked with minimal supplies at max capacity and morale was dwindling as the ever present fear of the pink slip made people snappy at best! My stress was seeping out of my skin. Like literally, I got shingles! I was 35! (insert slapping face emoji here) I felt like I was barely holding on to my smile. It lasted maybe 10 out of the 12 hours and then I would just go home and cry. I'd ask God, "Is this all you have for me?" "Is this it for the next 35-40 years?" I felt like if God gave us daily bread every morning by the time I got home from work all I had left to give was the breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, I was getting ideas downloaded and one day balling in the shower getting another idea I told God, "Stop giving me ideas I don't have any time to do any of it." I remember feeling stuck. Months later in May of 2018, I would find out on Facebook through a  friend's post she was unemployed...she was my charge nurse. So, I called her and she said, "It's over." The beloved hospital and dream job we all formed together from its conception was bankrupt, and we all lost our jobs. 

Truth is, it wasn't really my dream job. I didn't even want that unit. I wanted ICU, but ICU didn't hire me - PACU did. So, I took it. It later became my dream job. Actually, nursing wasn't really my dream job either. It was just something I saw my aunt do when I lived with her. I really wanted to go into cosmetology. I have always loved making the women in my family feel pretty. I've loved doing hair and make up since I was a kid, but hair was my thing. I have amazing memories of rolling those white old school perm rollers on my grandma's hair and that perm smell! Who could forget that perm smell?! While rolling her hair, my grandma and I would dream about my salon telling my Papi all the details I wanted. Eventually, in High School I found out how much work was involved as a hair stylist, the clientele, and I was turned off. My parents were strict and I wanted freedom so at summer camp my last year in High School I enrolled myself into Bible College. I thought I was going to marry a pastor, but I think that was me forcing a dream. Nursing, like I said, was what I saw practically lived out so I jumped in. If only I could get over the sight of blood! Then, I would cringe seeing people in pain. Three years later into my career, I found my niche in the ICU and nursing became my dream job or career. 

Fast forward to January 2019, 7 months after the layoff and I have the balls to start a clothing line! Surely I've lost my mind! For years after having my daughter I loved to get cute saying tees for her and I, and for daddy too if I could find it. However, at one point, I was starting to get really frustrated because of the cost, the slander, and the fuzzy, mixed messages on the tees. Also, I know nothing about fashion. I mean, my style is: do I feel comfortable and does it fit? If it happens to be trendy, I guarantee that it was an accident! Very opposite to the 20 something me, who was living a life with secrets, and too confident for her calzones. Now, I'm the heaviest I've ever been not pregnant, hence why, I should not own a clothing store.

And yet, here I am! The Lord called me to this. June 13th, 2019, Paloma Blanca was opened for business! Have you ever been called to something that is the complete opposite of what you're good at? Is the complete opposite of your plan, vision, charted path, college degree, qualification, or natural abilities?? I feel you. Oh, boy, do I feel you. That's is what Paloma Blanca is for me. I am a nervous wreck! But I’d rather do this with God than stay in stuck without Him. I am being obedient to what God has put in my heart even if that means I have to overcome my fears! I'm most confident learning a medical software to access a patient's chart and document vital sign or an assessment, but this blogging this scares me! It’s hard to put yourself out there for scrutiny, but so was nursing school. So was getting married to someone I only knew a handful of times. So was trying to get pregnant after miscarriage after miscarriage. So it is with many other things, BUT GOD helped me through it all! 

I should not own a clothing store, BUT GOD (period)!!!! He’s why I’m here! I would not do this without Him. It is scary putting yourself out here! Here I am almost one year in and God is doing a mighty work through Paloma Blanca. It’s by the grace is God we are here. There is one more thing I prayed often when I was a nurse. It was when I was talking to patients who had no idea how they got to the hospital because they were "fine" and clearly this diagnosis came out of nowhere. I would tell them, "Your body gives you many warning signs to let you know that it needs attention. Are you listening?" Most of them will then say, "Oh yeah, I think I did have a symptom here and there about 4 or 5 months ago, but I just ignored it." I would then share to them that this is a problem that was your responsibility, but you ignored it....and now they were there with me and others to try to fix it. My prayer from there was this: "Lord, how can I reach them before they come to the hospital? By the time they get here, it could be too late and sometimes it is. What else can I do?" Paloma Blanca was His response. We exist to come alongside struggling and strong Believers to empower your walk in Jesus and the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This verse is found in Acts 4:31. We pray for each collection and what’s to come forth each launch. We anoint every product. We pray over every product. We pray specifically for YOU and say your name when we send out your purchase. We take what you invest with us and sow it into others through tithing and offerings. We do everything with great joy and excellence! There is purpose for everything so you can shop purposefully with us for your whole family! 

I should not own a clothing store, but I'm so glad I do! I'm so grateful for all YOU, the incredible customers turned into friends I've connected with since our inception. I've had countless DM's, phone calls, emails, and conversations with many of you who've connected with the brand, the stories behind the shirts, and have drawn closer to Jesus as a result. Because of you, together we've sown a portion of your purchase to those in need. My family and I could not do this without YOU! Thank you! 

Your amiga, Monica

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