Monday, November 2, 2015

Real Life Stories: Tina of Los Gringos Locos

Today on The Joy Blog, we're introducing you all to a woman who has been through a lot, and keeps on smiling. Tina reached out to me to be a part of this series, and I couldn't have been more excited. I love sharing all of your stories of joy, and how you came about getting there. It helps to enlighten us all into the true fact that while others' lives may appear to be perfect and ours is hard, it's simply not the case. We all have our struggles, and we all have our joys. I love Tina's simple answers to my questions on joy, and you can tell from the way she answered my questions, that she knows exactly how to do this thing called "Living with joy." Let's get to the interview below.   

TJB: Tina, thanks for wanting to be a part of my series, and for being willing to share your story with all of us. So, first things first, tell us all a little bit about yourself.
Tina: I am a crazy mom of four! I mean, literally. I take medicine to help me stay calm. I don't have depression but the stress of motherhood and wifedom, (I made that one up), can be overwhelming at times. I love travel, adventure, my Bible ministry, photography, writing, laughing, and chocolate. I am very down-to-earth and take-it-like-it-is, the bad with the good. I was born in Michigan, raised in Kentucky, and now I live in Mexico. I have ADHD and this probably contributes to my craziness. We homeschool our two daughters, but one of our boys is attending public school in Mexico this year. Wowza!

TJB: What does having joy mean to you?
Tina: My great friend once told me, "Happiness is a state of mind." This means happiness is a choice. I choose happiness. Even if it means taking a little medicine ;-) So what, I am content. As I say this I realize that being content, feeling happiness, and expressing joy is constant work. My mind wants more, wants less, wants freedom, and wants love. It's a struggle. But I know that deep inside, I am right where I want to be. I am happy as happy gets, in this old world.

TJB: So, what are some things that bring joy into your life?
Tina: When my husband tells me I am beautiful. Experiencing a new country. Looking through a camera lens. Reading a piece I wrote and thinking, "Wow. That's good." Eating a piece of Hershey's dark chocolate. Drinking a glass of wine. Teaching someone about the Bible. Laughing till my stomach hurts. Reading to my boys before bed. Watching my daughters grow into little women. The color and smell of fresh flowers. The feel or grass under my feet. Floating in water. Blue skies and sun-rays. Petting our giant dog and knowing he loves me no matter what.

TJB: Those are some great things! I especially love the laughing until my stomach hurts. Who doesn't love that?! So, now let's get to the tough stuff. Describe in a detail a time or situation in your life that felt impossible to handle, or a situation that seemed insurmountable and daunting.
Tina: Three experiences come to mind. The first was when I was 17. My husband, then boyfriend, was in a car accident and almost lost his left arm and his life. We were best friends since age 11. The second bad experience was after we were married three years. My husband was in a motorcycle accident and had a traumatic brain injury. This road has been long and hard but we are finally in a good place. The third was in 2012 and it was very personal. I had a miscarriage. The baby only grew to about five weeks but I was three months pregnant when the miscarriage started and it lasted six weeks. This last one was my worst experience. It was my child.

TJB: Those sound like crazy stressful situations. How did you get through each of those?
Tina: Time, my other three children who required my attention, and most importantly the pregnancy and birth of our fourth child and second son, Tristan. Having Tristan was the best and fastest way for me to get through the pain of losing a baby. I only recently read that he is my "rainbow baby". That means he is the rainbow on the other side of a storm. When I see him smile it makes my entire day.

TJB: What a beautiful term for him. I have never heard that before, but it makes perfect sense to me. So, what did you learn from having to go through your husband's injuries, and the loss of your baby?
Tina: Strength, courage, humility, patience, acceptance, love, peace, and to never stop smiling. :-)

TJB: I love how simple and straightforward your answers were. But for anyone who has been through the tough parts of life, and has learned those things, simple is not even close to what it really is and was. With that being said, let's get to my next question. If you choose joy now, how do you do it?
Tina: With constant reminders. Choosing joy or happiness is not easy, but it is always worth it. If you choose to be a negative person, the only one that you are truly hurting is yourself. People will eventually draw away from you. Negative people are not the kind of friends or family you want to be around. Being negative actually has health consequences, mentally and physically. If you can't be a positive person on your own, see a doctor. There is nothing wrong with taking medication to help you deal with things, and to help you live a happier life.

TJB: Anything else you'd like to add?

Tina: Live, laugh, love, and learn! And visit my blog too. ;-)

To see more of Tina and follow along, you can find her at:

As always, if you have any questions or comments for me or Tina, please share them below.

To find more Real Life Stories like this one, check out our Real Life Stories category. Want to submit your own story to be published on the blog? Contact me for details, I'd love to be inspired by you!

Join the conversation!

  1. Thank you for the interview! Looks great :-) Have a wonderful week... PS I love your blog theme! I sent you an email :-)

    1. I emailed you back before I saw this. :) Thank you! I'm glad you are happy with the post and like my site's design.

  2. Tina, I love how you stayed positive through such tough situations. Being happy is so important even in the darkest times. I married my high school sweetheart too, It's so fun having all that history to look back on.

    1. I think it can make for a stronger relationship as well, yes?

  3. A distant acquaintance was surprised I didn't mention God in the above. I thought I should clarify this... my blog brings me profit and I don't use my love for God as profit. Anyone who knows me well understands this and understands my love for God. Just saying...

    1. I love that. I think it's funny when people get surprised, and comment about things like that. The God I believe in knows my heart and how I feel about him. We're good whether I tell everyone or not.


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