Thursday, January 30, 2020

Keep Going

How do you keep on going?  For some people it means to live each day as it comes.  For others it means to breathe in and out.  For some it means a fight and for some it means that breathing is a fight.  So... I keep going.  Living can be hard.  Falling apart is not always part of the plan.

HOWEVER, Don't we have some days like this?  I love reading the Psalms.  They go through so many emotions.  I like Psalm 27.  It's a good Psalm for bad days.  There are a lot of Psalms for a lot of emotions but I'm on 27.  I'm chewing on it.  There's more.

I felt bad this morning.  I was feeling sort of bad last night.  There were things all over the place that I couldn't let wash over me.  I went into a classroom today and when I went to make my exit, my co-worker put on a video that I definitely needed to see.  It was Steve Harvey talking about motivation.  It was about having faith.  It was about continuing to go on when you think there is nothing left. 

This is a theme.  I walked away yesterday from Women's Bible Study thinking about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20.  The disciples were at a low and Jesus comes back and sends them out into the world armed with His power. It is darkest before the dawn.  So I wait. I wait and trust in God.  I wait and rely on the Truth.  I hold this Truth up against what I feel. The Truth wins.  The  TRUTH wins every time.  KEEP. GOING.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

My Truth

Hard days.  I understand this concept.  I don't want to dwell on hard days but there are days when I can only sing Fuel's "Bad Day" over and over on a loop.  So, let me tell you about a strategy that I use for bad days.  I find a truth.  I find THE Truth.  I'll explain.

I remember going to God after my mom died.  I recognized that I was not in a good place.  My family was breaking apart around me.  The adults were not acting like adults.  I was a kid.  My mother was gone.  Who would take care of me?  I was taken to Sunday School.  I liked to read.  I had a Bible.  I knew the Bible stories.  I remember finding a verse in my Bible that said:

Psalm 27:10
"My father and mother may abandon me, but the LORD will take care of me." (GNT)

I went up to God with this.  I told Him that He would need to protect me.  It was in His Bible and He didn't lie.  I had the faith of a child.  On bad days I would open my Bible and remind Him.  I kept on looking for more promises.  I needed to find more Truth.  The Truth would set me free.  I found God and God was on my side.  Failed a test? God is on my side.  Late for school? God is with me.  Job Interview?  God tells me not to worry.  My father dies?  God tells me that He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Deep breathing and relying on my truth.  Prayer works... for anxiety.  Prayer works... for depression.  Prayer works... for bad days.  Prayer and truth is what I use for bad days. 

I don't talk about God at work.  I'm not allowed.  When they come to me sweating and upset or crying and miserable, I tell them to breathe.  I tell them to find a truth.  I can't give them my Truth.  I know that my Truth will set them free.  I know that my Truth will get them through the bad minutes, the bad hours, the bad days, the bad moments that may follow them long after the start of the the trauma.  I can't.  I have two children at home who understand trauma.  Those are the children that I teach my Truth to.  I model it to them.  I pray for them fervently  I model prayer.  I model faith.  I model what to do on bad days. 

I have collected a bunch of promises to rely on when I need... Truth.  God is good to me.  I don't know.  I think you should try it too.  Praise the Lord1!! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Teaching English

Today I got to teach a tiny bit of English.  There was a sub in the room, nice older guy who is a brilliant sub.  I taught about the first steps of creating an argument, making a claim.  I taught about the different types of arguments made.  Later I got to teach about writing poetry.  I also taught a little Maya Angelou. 

Later as the sub was leaving he told me that it was a pleasure watching me teach.  He told me that I taught with passion.  He told me that I came alive teaching English.  He went over the way that I taught each lesson and how I pulled the students in.  As he walked out of the door, he said that he knew where my passion was.

I have a degree in English.  I have said that I loved English so much that even my elective classes were in English.  I love stories.  I love language.  I love words.  I ask my students what words mean.  Today I asked them what relationship means.  They don't understand the use of leveraging relationships.  They don't understand the use of establishing acquaintances.  I love to ask about words. 

It's not just about language.  My father, my smart, brilliant father would make me read Spanish.  I would read the beautiful Spanish in the Bible, Reina Valera.  It is an incredible translation.  He liked that would read Ruben Dario.  He introduced me to him.  In high school when we covered Neruda, Garcia-Lorca, Gabriela Mistral; my father didn't mind paying my tuition.  It was money well spent.  If only he could get me to get rid of my Puerto Rican Spanish accent.  I'm laughing.  He worked so hard to get me to talk English without an accent.  He wanted my Spanish accent to be pristine, then my mother's gene reared it's beautiful Caribbean crown in my tongue, in my language.   

All this to say that I love English and I love teaching English.  I'm... uncovering things.  I'm deconstructing.  I'm deconstructing myself.  I found a nugget of myself.  I knew it was there but today was confirmation.  Right now I'm choosing happy.  As always, Praise God!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Dreaming and Idols

I sort of had a rough childhood.  I mark it as before my mother's death and after my mother's death.  There is a marked difference between each era.  I'm such a dreamer and I learned to dream vividly.  I wanted to be a singer.  I dreamed of being famous and singing everywhere.  I needed such validation. I had this friend from high school.  Her name is Abby.  I lost track of her.  She would tell me that I was obsessed, and I was.  When "Mr. Jones" would come on the radio by the Counting Crows, she would tell me that this song was about me.

I would write songs and poems constantly.  I would keep a diary with my future audience in mind.  I believed that it would chronicle my rise to stardom.  I was the next Debbie Gibson or Mariah Carey.  I didn't give up this dream easily.  Instead of studying I would write lyrics.  I would think up melodies.  I'm not even that good of a singer.  I would use the pain of losing my mother to write.  It was so much easier to write when I was in misery and pain.  I would abandon my thoughts and my angst when I was happy, or when I was in love.  When I was happy, I would miss my creative outlet.  I would miss all of the thoughts and words that would come from the dark places.  I was a fickle, happy girl with a sadness in the frenzy I would create.  It was better living my my dreams and my future than actually feeling the immense loss of losing my mother.  I leaned on God and hoped for a good future.

When I met my husband, the first day, I went with him to a rap battle.  He was a rapper.  I sang for him on some of his tracks.  I waited to tell him that I sang.  He found out soon enough.  I would sing for my college and he would be in the front row listening.  Singing was my ace in the hole.  You could look down on me but I had a talent.  I could sing.  I would audition for shows, movies and musicals.  I met my friend, Haja while waiting to audition for Rent.  When "American Idol" came out, I was one year too old to audition.  It broke my heart.  I would pray for stardom the way that you would pray for food, air, or water.  It was an idol.

One day I woke up and I heard it very clearly.  "I never meant for you to be a singer."  I remember going to Santi and telling him.  He had given up on his rap dream before I gave up on my dream of singing.  When I told him he nodded.  The dream was over.  A peace came to me.  I thought it would depress me but it didn't.  I prayed for purpose.  I wanted to do anything but be a teacher.  I'm laughing now.  All of the career assessments, all of the suggestions; all of it pointed to teaching.  I didn't want to hear it.  I was like the Israelites in the desert.  I was Jonah in the belly of the whale.  I fell into teaching, kicking and screaming.

These days, every now and again, I will sing at church.  I'm glad that they let me.  I get to sing.  You have no idea the mercy that this is.  On Sundays, I go to church and I get to sing to a celestial audience.  I imagine my voice sounding off key like the voice of a child to God.  Every now and again, I cry.  There is no better feeling than leaving it all at the feet of Jesus, right?

These days, I do hear something.  I hear, "Write."  I thought there was something wrong when all of the words first came.  Now I just think about all the words that I have before me.  I will write.  This time, I am not running away from the pain of loss.  I allow myself to feel it.  I allow the emotions to wash over me like a river.  I ask myself questions.  In this stillness, I feel too much.  The silence can be too loud.  So, then I find the songs and I sing.  I sing in the pain. and then every now and again I write.  I'm not trying to have any idols to escape anything.  Instead I am trusting God.
Singing at Church

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Barkley (The Dog)

The other day my dear dog hurt himself.  He was...sensitive.  My boy, Barkley likes to cry.  He's a whiner, a crier.  I promise you that you have never met a diva like Barkley.  He gets kenneled at night and when we are out of the house because he will cry all day long.  Even more significant, he will cry all night long.  Barkley is part bird.  He needs to be covered in his cage in order to stop from crying and barking.  Maybe I should have named him Zachariah, the husband of Elizabeth.  In any case, my sweet boy was in his feelings.  We massaged him and kept him coddled... until bedtime.  This dog cried all night long!!!  I slept but a few hours.  As I was driving to work with both windows down and overly caffeinated, I thought about how I have never written a blog about the youngest member of our household, Barkley Sneezus Miller.

Barkley came into our lives six years ago.  It was a Sunday.  It was our habit to go to the library after church.  We were on 27th Drive and going to make a right onto Peoria Avenue when I saw a dad and two little girls selling puppies on the side of the road.  They were small, cute fluffy puppies.  They were asking $80 a puppy.  Santi was just going to ask about the puppies.  He had one puppy and brought it to me.  I don't know what made him bring back that puppy.  Instead he picked up Barkley and put him on my lap.  What was I supposed to say?  No?  He declared it a Valentine's Day present and we took the puppy home.

Part of the reason that we brought our Barker boy home is because David is Dog Person.  James and I are both cat people.  Our first baby was Luigi.  Luigi was initially my sweet boy.  He was the second to last baby.  Mary, our neighbor, back in the Bronx would feed strays.  She fell in love with the mama cat and the mama had a litter.  She didn't want the babies.  There were two kittens left when she asked me if I wanted one.  I already had a cat, Picara, a beautiful Lynx point Siamese. I took in baby Luigi.  Later I would find my dear friend Haja and her cat's name was Mario.  Picara was so mean to him.  But he was my baby.  He lasted 10 years.  After David was born, I was ready to get another cat.  But this is not Samson and Ginger's story.  This is not even Midnight's story, this is Barkley's story.

We thought that Barkley was part Shih Tzu and part Pomeranian.  We took our baby to the vet and it turns out that he's a Papillon Spaniel Non-phalene.  He's a full breed.  I don't know how we ended up with a full breed.  We named him Barkley.  We knew we wanted a B name.  We thought of Byron or Brendan.  I liked the irony of Barkley.  He was a Barker.  Barkley cries and is sensitive.  He doesn't like other dogs.  Dog Parks are nightmares to him.  He likes people and he would rather go on a road trip than be left home.  He will sit nicely for hours on your lap.  He likes to sit under my legs as I work and write.  I'm not a dog person.  I'm not.  I am a consummate cat person.  I have not one but two cats.  There are days when I think that Barkley doesn't really understand that he is not one of the cats.  He is a diva. I'll tell you a secret.  I love him.  I love his little face and the way he runs.  The children don't think that he's my favorite.  Maybe he's not but I still love him.  He is my little love from my love.  By the way, we call him Sneezus (I call him Sneezus) because he sneezes when he's happy and excited.  I kid you not!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Today I went out without make up and I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a shop window.  I didn't seem to recognize myself with my hair up and no make up.  Where was my red lipstick?  Where is my long lashes and colorful eyeliner?  Where is the blush and highlighter?  By the time I got home I looked into the mirror and was relieved to find that I'm still the me that I think is attractive.  I don't know what happened but in that moment, I had a thought: What if I'm unloveable?

I know I'm attractive.  I know this.  I know that I have a beautiful heart.  I have been called beautiful.  So... why this thought that came at me while I was walking?  It felt like an attack (and maybe it was an attack).  I mean, does it matter if I'm attractive...even if. I. don't. have. anyone. to. love. me.  Man, this blog has me saying the hardest stuff.  This is the real fear that came at me as I was walking with Glenda, my best friend on a holiday after seeing a best friend movie.  Maybe there is something about my personality that men find repulsive.  Maybe it is my weight, despite the fact that I have been on several dates with guys that didn't seem to care about my weight at all.  Here is the thing, maybe it's all in God's timing and I'm allowing myself to forget that whatever happens, God is in control.

Am I loved? Yes!!!  Are you loved?  Yes!!!  Despite any flaws in my personality, nature or physical being.  I am loved by an awesome God.  Don't let anyone tell you (including and especially yourself) that you are unloveable.  You are not.  And you never will be.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the word that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Janet's 12th Birthday

I was looking at Janet's birthday party from last year.  We had her party at Great Skate.  It was awesome!!!  In November, I started asking her what she wanted for her birthday.  Her birthday, being in January, not even a month after Christmas, need preparation.  This little girl gave me such a hard time.  She told me that she didn't want anything.  Ugh!!!  I heard her brother talking to her, "You know, Janet, you have to let Mom celebrate your birthday. You don't want her to feel like a bad mom, do you?"  My kids crack me up.  But I get it.  She didn't want the baby party.  She wanted to celebrate like a big kid.  Last week, we went to the mall and I let her go into every single teeny bopper the mall had.  This was an adventure in itself.  Let me tell you about her birthday.

The Wedding: 
I had a busy week and didn't think about the multitude of little things I needed to remember.  My son going with the church to Winter Camp.  My daughter's birthday on Saturday and the wedding of Missy and Eddie.  Instead I focused on getting things done.  So, I ran out of work and went to pick up my son to take him to church.  Janet wasn't ready so I left her getting ready to take him to church only to come back to my house and pick up Janet.  She still wasn't ready but it was what we had.  I didn't even have time to update my hair and make up.  I made it work.  You know me.  It was a beautiful wedding.  Lucky for me, Janet's close friend, Nautica was there.  Two girls and a wedding, can you picture it?  There was dancing.  There was laughter.  There was happiness.  It wasn't her wedding but she counts it as part of her birthday weekend.  I'm so glad.

The Shopping: 
We woke up late.  Waking up late is a gift.  We got up.  Got dressed and went to the mall, not with her best friend but with my best friend.  All three of us went to all of the stores while Janet chose stuff to buy.  It was a learning experience.  She had her money and she was going to buy stuff for the first time ever.  All I had to do was hang out by the side.  After we bought our stuff, we went out to eat at Outback where we were sat and served quickly and ate like Queens.  We went home and hung out watching our shows only to go to sleep.  

The Actual Celebration:
Did you know that tweens and teens sleep a lot?  They are growing.  I let them sleep.  As I walk pass their rooms I can hear it.  They are stretching out and becoming who God wants them to be.  Who am I to interrupt?  Who am I to wake them to live?  They have enough living ahead of them.  I let them sleep.  I let them grow.  I pray over them when they are in repose.  I love them.  I send love waves their way as they dream.  We bought a cake, only for Janet.  She doesn't have to share at all. In my defense, it was a small cake.  I bought a white jacket for all of us as well as some white t-shirts and we spent some time tie dying everything.  It was fun hanging out all together and making a mess.  This morning we will finish everything.  

I thank God for my little girl.  I'm blessed to be her mom.  My prayer is that she always walk with Jesus, everything else is just icing.  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Unsaid Things

Recently I had a conversation with an old friend.  It was an old conversation that we have spoken about in the past.  We didn't know that there was something there and we let it pass us by.  Have you ever done this?  We are in different quadrants of life.  The story stays where it should be, in the past.  It lives in the lost land of Could Have Been.  But it gets me to thinking about unsaid things.

I think about the unsaid things that I never told my husband.  If I could tell him, I would tell him that I had the most fun with him.  I would tell him that I didn't know that we had our own language.  I find myself talking in quotes that only we know about.  I would tell him that I never wanted to win.

In movies and in shows when people don't tell the unsaid things we yell at the screens.  We tend to shake our heads and say, "So stupid!!!  Don't they know?"  Like we are any different, because we are not.  We think about the fear and the vulnerability that we need to show in order to tell the big and important things that are hard to say.  Is it so important to be safe?  Should we always have our walls up?  Do we lose things this way?  Yes!  We lose things.  I don't know what we end up losing but we do.

This brings to mind Matthew 10:39:
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."

Does this mean that we need to tell God about the unsaid things?  I mean, aren't we in relationship with Him too?  I didn't tell Him everything.  I left things unsaid.  Did it affect our relationship?  I think that it did.  I would pray these nice little prayers, but I didn't let Him in.  One day I was driving to work and I was already having a lousy day.  I didn't know what to do so I opened my mouth to pray the way that I was taught.  That isn't what came out.  What came out was tears and anger and venom.  Did I pray like that to God?  Yes. I found that it brought me closer to God not farther away.  I thought I heard Him say, "Finally we are really talking!"  Now I bring it all to Him and I try not to leave anything unsaid with God.

I'm learning from my daughter.  My beautiful girl will not leave a compliment unsaid.  She has this idea that every body should hear the unsaid compliment.  She literally has something good to say to everyone.  I love her.  It is part of who she is.  She started this when she was so young.  I remember thinking, "Where did she get this from?"  Her father would look at me like she didn't get it from him.  I know!!!  Instead of trying to curtail it, I learned from her.  Life is too short to not give the compliment.  Whenever I get an unexpected sincere compliment, it makes my day.  So why not give the compliment?

Friends, life is so short.  Say the unsaid things.  Give the compliment.  And leave it all at the feet of Jesus.  Praise God!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Real Men Like Ducky

I love to watch movies with my now 12 year old, Janet.  I will be writing a post on her birthday weekend for posterity.  I have been thinking about men.  In fact, I have a friend and we have been talking about dating roles when it comes to men.  He tells me that women should make it clear when they want to be courted.  I tell him that men set the pace of the relationship and that men should pursue.  This all means that relationships are hard.  They are harder these days.  For this reason, I bring up Ducky..

Who is Ducky?  He is the dweeb who goes after Claire who is played by Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles.  She's from the poor side of the tracks and she falls in love with a rich guy.  Ducky is the guy who loves her. He can't help it.  He loves her and he pursues her and she pays him no mind.  He is brave.  He is vulnerable.  He is clear on what he wants.  And yet, Claire just wants the Rich Guy.  When we saw this movie for the first time, my smart girl didn't understand why Claire didn't want to go out with Ducky.  He's loyal devoted and fun.  She was on team Ducky and I think if you ask her now, she is still on Team Ducky. 

I understand that women should be clear on where they stand with guys.  I also think that men should pursue women.  How far will you go for the woman that you think you can love?  You like how I worded that?  I think we need to think about devotion.  We as women should give guys a chance.  Who knows.  Maybe our soulmate is right in front of us and we are too stubborn to give a chance.  I don't have any more wisdom than that. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


We are all the heroes of our own stories. All heroes have villains.  I used to cast different people in the role of villains.  My parents, my dad specifically got cast in the role of the villain.  I have teachers that I have cast in the role.  Ex-boyfriends were especially my favorite people blame irrationally.  Nowadays, I understand that I am not a hero in my own story.  We are all people with baggage.  We are our own heroes and our own villains.

I'm watching this show and there is an actor that I have loved in other shows but right now, in the character that is on the show, I hate him.  I loathe him!!!  I can't bare him at all  He's a great bad guy.  I have no sympathy for him and there is no understanding for why he is the way that he is.  I enjoy not liking him.  I think it is important to identify villains. 

I Peter 5:8-11:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen"

Let us not forget, Friends, that we have an enemy.  There is a true villain in our stories.  This villain is the devil.  Whatever we are going through, let's not keep it quiet.  Let's not let shame keep us quiet.  Our stories help encourage others when we find out we aren't the only ones going through stuff.  This is part of the reason why I write.  To show that God is working through me and my hot messness.  I think He could work through and to you too.  Give it a shot.  God is not the villain of us. 

Be [c]sober, be [d]vigilant; [e]because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But [f]may the God of all grace, who called [g]us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, [h]perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

In Need of God

You should know that I'm not a good person.  I love God.  God, the Creator of the Universe.  God, Who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.  God is good, I am not.  I know what some of you are thinking.  This is my response to your thoughts, when we all die and stand before Him, you can tell me that He doesn't exist.  Until then, I'm not relying on drugs, humans, dreams, I am living by faith and trusting God.  Why?  Because when there was no one, when life was hard (and life has been hard) God was there.  He whispered to me in the night that He would never leave me nor forsake me.  So, I will stay with Him the rest of my days.  However, I'm not great at following God. 

Proverbs 3:5-6: 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."

I am not good at trusting in God. It's so clear what I should do.  I should let God take care of me:
Even when I have a lot on my plate,
Even when I'm stressed,
Even when I can't see a way to do everything on my TO DO list, and I have a lot of things on that list.  This is what I have figured out.  I have been worried.  I have been anxious.  I have allowed myself to be tired.  I have had some "What if..." type of thoughts.  What if I can't finish this degree?  What if moving is impossible?  There are scarier what ifs further down the line.  What if I get depressed?  What if I'm always by myself?   I can play a very scary "What if..." game.  I've tired myself out and I have allowed myself to lose faith, lose trust, and lose sight of what is real and true.  

So I sit here humbled at my actions.  Who do I think I am?  Who am I to do anything right?  If it comes down to God versus me, who do you think has the goods? My money is on God.  I'm worried about a future that I'm not sure about.  I'm worried about a future I'm not sure about in light of what I know to be true.  That God will direct my paths.  That God is in control.  What happens if I don't believe?  What happens if I don't trust?  Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt comes to mind.  Skies the limit if I can muster up some faith.  Old Sarah giving birth to Isaac.  Elijah being taken home in a chariot of fire.  Lazarus being called forth after 4 days.  God becoming man and living 33 years on this earth to die and rise again after 3 days to pay the debt of sin (the old magic) so that one day, I can go home.  

I will open up my little heart and hope for good things and not worry about the things that I can't control.  I will hope in the good plan my good God has for me.  I will trust in the Lord and I'm not going to pretend that I know what I'm doing.  I'm telling you, I don't know what I'm doing and just in case you were wondering, I'm a hot mess.  I'm a hotter mess, on toast, in need of a Savior.  Let's not forget the mission statement.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Remodel

I've been going through changes.  So many great songs start off that way.  I hear that change is good.  This past month has been rough.  The holidays, getting sick, starting the year, starting the decade, it hasn't been that easy.  I tried to date... again and it hasn't really worked out.  Instead I find that God has saved me from being with the wrong person. For that, I am thankful.  I can't do it without God.  When I get perspective, I'll tell you about them.  

These are some of the things that I'm dealing with this year: I am finishing up my last degree.  I have started a weight lost journey.  I am planning to move to a new house.  I am the single mom of a soon to be middle schooler and a soon to be high schooler.  Yes, I'm a little overwhelmed.  Hello!  Did you know that I'm a little chunky?  I didn't know.  You know in my head I'm a thick badass.  I went shopping with my daughter and they have these mirrors...  Do I even need to tell you?  I looked in the mirror expecting to see the me in my head and some short chunky older woman is looking back at me.  It's like hearing your voice in a recording.  It can be jarring.  I'm working on it now, not to worry.  

When there is an accident or when there needs to be a change in a home or other locale, there needs to be a remodel.  I went through a trauma.  I need a remodel.  So this is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to hang a "WORK IN PROGRESS" sign on my life and I'll give you updates until I get to the next phase.  I guess you could say I was assessing the damage.  Assessing is good.  Now that there's a plan, got to take the first steps and implement.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Use the Chanel

I was a young adult living in New York City with my father.  I was in college.  I don't know how but somehow a Bergdorf Goodman credit card made it to my house with my name on it.  I had a credit line of about $1,000.  I decided that I was going to use that card.  I left the house with my jeans and sneakers and I made my way to 5th Avenue.  I started getting nervous when I passed the Tiffany's.  It was the same illustrious Tiffany's as the movies.  I remember going into Bergdorf's that day without a plan and I ended up leaving almost as quickly as I entered.  I was overwhelmed. 

The next time I made it the plan was to get a pair of eyeglasses but even those were a lot for me.  I didn't even wear sunglasses all of the time. I couldn't imagine wearing a pair only for a few times out of the year.  In New York City, if there's too much sun, you can just cross the street.  Instead I got sucked into the Annick Goutal sale where you buy one and you get one free.  I ended up with two Eau D'Hadrien whose scent I still miss today.  However, the one thing that I wanted was a Chanel compact and lipstick, so after I made my way from the Goutal counter, I found the courage to go up to the Chanel counter and ask for help with a blush and a lipstick.  It was the 90s and the darker colors were in style.  I found myself with a burgundy Chanel that offset my skin just right with the rosy blush.  I don't know how she put on the blush but I have yet to master blush the way that it was put on me that day I left with my parcels feeling extra extra special. 

I would use the Chanel compact on the subway in the mornings.  I have no idea what ever became of it in the end.  But the lipstick, I put away only to use for special occasions.  Every now and again a moment would come and I would drag out the Chanel lipstick for the occasion.  One day, I had a special night planned and I remember taking out the Chanel lipstick.  Even as I opened it, I knew something wasn't right.  I could smell that the lipstick had gone stale.  In my head I thought, "Surely it isn't all that bad!"  I attempted to put it on but it was sticky and I felt an unpleasant sensation on my lips.  My pretty lipstick was beyond saving.  I had put it away only to use on special occasions and it turns out that I didn't use it enough!!!  What else had I put away only to use for special occasions only to throw them out.  Dishes, make up, clothes, hair things.  I found things squirreled away to use for... another day, not today. 

I have been thinking of my stories as well, stories that I have saved up to tell when?  How?  What better day than today to tell them and write them!!!  When I'm dead, I'll have no more stories to tell or to write.  I think about death.  I think about the things people would have told me if they though to tell and not wait.  Would there be stories I haven't heard?  Would there be sentiments that I have missed?  Would their be voyages and trips taken?  I don't know.  I'm not saying to spend your rainy day fund.  I'm saying use that diamond barrette today, just because you like it.  Use the lotion.  Burn the candle.  Give the gift. 

Take it from me, Friends.  Life is short.  Use the Chanel.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Life More Abundantly

I am going back to work.  Already I am organizing schedules and falling back into my routine.  Routine is good.  It is safe and predictable.  Safe and predictable is a good thing, right?  But I got a bug in my head lately.  Did you know that life was short?  It is so short.  I wonder what kind of life I will have.  I was thinking about this new decade and how already it will be 30 years that I have graduated from high school, this year.  I think I blinked and it all passed me by.  Somehow, all of these thoughts push me more toward writing, which is good because no matter what, I can't seem to stop. 

John 10:9-10 says:
"I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

Now that I think of it, Santi and I attended and were married in a little church by the name of Abundant Life Tabernacle.  This moment, thinking of purpose and intention; thinking of passion and of life, I am sure that I want to live it abundantly.  God came so that I can live this live abundantly, plentiful and big.  If I'm mopping the floors, I'm mopping abundantly.  If I'm drinking tea, I'm drinking tea abundantly.  If I'm writing or dreaming or painting pictures in my head.  I want to do it abundantly.  I want to do this as an act of thanksgiving.  I want to do this to praise God.  I want to do this to show how awesome God gives life to those who believe in Him.  Not just regular ole routine life but abundant life, BIG HOT MESS LIFE.  I'm loving it!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Remembering the Stories

I used to love coats.  I felt so sophisticated wearing a wool coat.  I wore a black pea coat and a red swing coat.  This was back when I wore the black opaque pantyhose.  I made it work with boots or with black high heels.  Do I even own a pair of heels anymore?  I used to wear slips.  Decent girls wore camisoles and half slips.  I have one still.  So, I wore my dress with slip and pantyhose.  I wore heels and blouses with a scarf tie in the front.  I would have to iron all of the creases.  My friends always asked why I dressed like an old lady or a teacher.  I wore buttons on my ears.  I wore pearl buttons with rhinestones around them.  I hated to lose a rhinestone. 

I grew up on red lip liner and British Red Coat red by L'Oreal.  I would buy black and royal blue eye liner from the Chinese store and melt the tips with a lighter to wear on the lower water line.  Mascara?  I didn't wear mascara until I was in my late twenties.  I wore Charlie perfume both the blue and then later the white.  I favored this pearl iridescent nail polish sold by the illustrious Wet N Wild.  When I was 16 years old, I got the perfume, Beautiful.  I didn't know I could smell so well. 

Hair was weird.  Curly hair didn't have product back then.  Studio Line Gel was the gel of choice.  I wore Aussie Hair Spray because it smelled like grapes.  The bigger the hair the better but I preferred it tamer.  This was before hot irons.  I had to have a roll brush and dry it out little by little.  On a bad day it would be super frizzy.  It's easier these days with no humidity. 

I'm thinking about the little things that were so important then.  These are the things that I will remember when I'm old.  These snippets of nostalgia that stay with you as you contemplate any new changes.  You look at who you were.  You look at all of the dumb things you did.  I'll tell you what led to this contemplation.  I thought about New York City.  The gritty New York of a long time ago and walking the streets of Manhattan at night in pantyhose and a red swing coat feeling magic in the air.  As I remember, I feel the stories well up within me.  I have stories to tell.  I wish I could tell myself back then as I chased the cold night breeze for purpose. I would have told that girl, "You are a story teller.  Pay attention.  Live, laugh and love as hard as you can because you, My Love, have stories to tell and I will rely on you to remember."

Saturday, January 4, 2020


As you know, I contracted bronchitis.  On Thursday I went into work and had a relapse.  As I was leaving, I started coughing.  By the time I got home, I could barely get air in my lungs.  I sat.  I took my medication.  I was good and properly sick.  Any plans that I had for the rest of my break had to be foregone.  I was down for the count. 

For the last couple of days, I have been meditating.  I thought that I would start this new year, this new decade active.  God had other plans.  I spent the start of the year in contemplation and forced stillness.  I allowed myself to be cared for by my growing children.  I would have panicked.  I would have made plans.  I would have kept myself busy.  I would have spent it thinking who I wanted to be.  Instead, in humility, I went to God. 

I put away the plans.  The holidays snuck up on me and I didn't even think about the new year.  I thought about self-care, book lists, meditating.  I thought about exercise plans and diets.  I thought about new habits and things that I needed in order to build myself up.  I am halted.  Instead I am thinking of God.  Whether I lose weight or gain weight; whether I move or stay; whether I am happy or sad; no matter what, I will cover myself with God.  I will read His Word.  I will shine His light.  I will go where He will lead me.  Instead of holding on to myself and building myself up, I will let go and let Him.  That's it.  Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Gary the Finale

Life with its twists and turns had me meet up with Gary again.  At the time, I was with Santi already and I had decided to finish my undergraduate pursuits close to home at Lehman College where I found more of my people.  It had taken me longer to graduate than expected but I was not alone at Lehman where I ran into my fair share of people from my past.  Lehman has a beautiful campus.  I loved walking around it.  It was on this campus that I ran into... yes, you guessed it, Gary.

Gary had been dating a cheerleader.  I was happy to see him.  He seemed quieter than in high school.  He was settled.  I was the happy girl in high school and I had found my academic side, finally.  I wore chunky sweaters and boots with loose jeans, the epitome of English Major nerd-dom.  He was happy to see me as I was happy to see him.  There were no illusions of love.  We were two old friends who ran into each other.

I have the distinct honor of graduating with Gary, not once but twice.  We ran into each other now and again and we were always courteous with each other.  I was happy he had found someone.  I was happy that I found someone. I discovered out that his girlfriend was expecting.  We were both in our mid-twenties.  On our graduation from college, I saw him for the last time as he was leaving the college.  I was with Aracelis, her children, Santi and my father.  He walked away with his girlfriend and it was just the two of them as they walked toward Kingsbridge Road under the shadow of the elevated subway platform.  This was the last that I saw of him, walking with his family into an unknown future.  God bless you, Gary.  I remember you as a good man.  Thanks.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The First 2020 Day

This new year has slipped up on me.  I can't believe that the new year, the new decade has begun.  I have been looking at posts and it is hard to conceptualize my 2010.  I think a similar situation happened a decade ago.  We had just moved to Arizona with our toddlers.  We were just figuring out our lives.  What had we done?  Had we really left everything behind to start anew in a new place?  I didn't have time to reflect or think.  I was too busy working and surviving.  Life wasn't about reflecting back then.  It was about babies and paying bills and figuring out each day. 

Today I let my children sleep in late, so late.  They are growing so I know that they should sleep.  I remember sleeping in when I was a kid.  I spend the morning praying and reading my Bible.  I read a little bit and I ate something.  I spoke to my comadre, Monica.  I thought about this upcoming year.  What are my hopes?  I don't know.  I have decided not to worry about things.  I had four inches cut off from the bottom of my hair.  They were the deadest ends.  I miss my longer hair but it is so healthy right now.  Healthy, I think that this is the word of the year.  I am going to focus on my health, especially in light of getting bronchitis this past week. So, I think that I need to cut off the dead ends in my life.  I don't mean to cut off people.  I just mean, cut the dead thoughts and attitudes that are not conducive to growth.  

At some point, Janet and I got up and went to buy some stuff.  We were going to the mall but everything closes early today.  We ended up at the park and the sky had decided to give us this beautiful sunset.  I'm taking as a good sign.  Janet and I spent some time just hanging out.  It was great.  I then got to hang out with my gorgeous friend, Sochilt.  You know what life is about?  It's about the little things.  It's about hanging out with my children when they let me.  It's about seeing sunsets.  It's about making time with friends.  This year, this decade, I'm praying that it will be about God first, family and friends.  I'm going to focus on being present.  I am not going to stop writing.  I found that this is what I need to be doing.  Thank You, Jesus for allowing me to share my life with whoever wants to read about it.  I hope that I continue to reflect You well.