Thursday, February 25, 2021


 I have been thinking of my name.  A student told me that he looked up his name on Google.  This made me think about what could be found with my formal names.  I looked up my most current official name.  I looked up my maiden name.  But then, I looked up the name that I am known as.  My nick name is Elle and it is pronounced like the letter L.  

I had not gone by a nickname, really, until high school.  I was in Miss Kelly's homeroom class as she attempted to pronounce my name.  In my head, my thought was, "Really!!!  You can't say my name!"  She looked at me, "Do you have a nickname?"  I remembered Brenda, my cousin, occasionally calling me Ellie so this is the name that I told her to call me.  Throughout my four years of high school I was known as that name.  I was sitting next to David Diaz during high school graduation and when they called out my formal name with middle name included, he turned to me and asked, "Who is that?"  Who is that indeed!!! Jessica, my friend in high school one day was in class and she turned to me and she said something that I don't think will ever forget.  She said, "You're not really an "Ellie."  I don't think I like this name for you."  Interested in this line of thought, I think I asked her, "What am I more of?"  She gave it a moment and pronounced me an "Elle."  This is where my current name comes from.  Thank you, Jessica.  

In college, I was known by my given name.  Now, you should know that I love my name.  I was named after my aunt, Elvia.  There is an actress by the name of Elvia Allman in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Initially the name was Anglo Saxon.  It meant "Elfin or Friend of Elf."  It also has Spanish influences and it's meaning becomes "of color yellow." I find it interesting that my Spanish speaking friends are the ones that speak to me with that name.  

I had a brief stint with an employer who had trouble with my given name and I became Ellie for a brief period of time when Elle was not amenable to him.  He was not my favorite boss.  Even as I write this I can hear him call my name as a pig squeals, "Ellie, Ellie, Ellie."  Ugh!  I don't like this association.

I think I have written about my late husband calling me Elle.  This was before he gave me the last name with the double ll to make it visually appealing.  I told him about Jessica telling me that I was more of an Elle and I think he agreed with this.  It was he that suggested the name like the magazine.  He said that this suited me.  I was fashionable and fresh.  He would sometimes call me by my given name.  It's not a name that rolls off of the tongue easily for an English tongue.  I am very specific in its pronunciation and would rather you use my nickname if it does not come easy to you.  More often than not, he would call me Elle.  He would introduce me as Elle as well and very easily, it became my name.  

As I looked at the screen with all the other people who share my name, I realize that my moniker has been anglicized.  There is every possibility that I have anglicized myself.  This realization makes me ask, "What does this mean?"  I love being Latina.  I think I have influenced my children with my mixture of Latina culture.  I am very proud of who I am and my languages.  I am proud to be a Latina and yet, my name doesn't show even a hint.  Not only this, I think of the names that I have given my children, they also have names that can be said in Spanish or English without changing the spelling of their name.  Has this been deliberate?  I don't know.  

Despite my names and what I am called, I think I am me beyond my name.  I think you would know of me even without the benefit of a name.  The glorious thought is that when I go home, I am given a new name, a name just for me.  Does my name here even matter?  I can change it a few more times and hopefully I will continue to be who I am.  I will think about this whole anglicisation and the implications for me and my family. Until then, praise the Lord! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


 This whole time I have just been sort of moseying along.  I've been trying to figure out in which direction I needed to go, I guess you could say that I have been dragging my feet and meandering.  If life is a path, I have been forced through a fork in the road and uncertain and a little scared, I went through this path with my children and tried to figure out which way to go.

Then I met Geoff.  I have told you that I was going to stop dating, right?  After the 12th date in the 12th month of my dating adventures, I was done.  The only reason that I kept on dating was that I had subscribed to the app and was waiting for the subscription to end.   

Did I tell you the details?  Did I mention how he had some really bad selfies on his dating profile?  I'm sure he will not appreciate this but there was something about his face that sort of made me look again until I decided to give him a try.  It started on a Monday with a chat and we met in person on Thursday of the same week.  I had been traumatized by my dating experiences.  It took a while before I understood that his intentions were not to ghost me.  He was respectful of my wishes.  

I was always of the belief that in a relationship, it is harder to be static than to either reverse or go forward.  A relationship is constantly in flux either moving forward on a deeper path or reverse until you return to the fork where you once merged to go on to another path without each other.  It is not common to camp on a path.  There are some places where setting up camp is not recommended.  I do think that there are some people who camp in their relationships as if they have gotten to a destination and would like to stay there.  I would say, most people, like in life, prefer a progression in their relationship.

I have been merging with Geoff in our relationship.  As I mentioned him to my colleague, the first he has heard of me dating, it didn't come as a surprise.  Someone else, a friend, asked me about marriage, which surprised me.  I had been dating my late husband 5 years before I told him to propose or leave (a story for another day).  We were together about 7 and a half years before we ended up down the aisle.  24 years together that we lived a life. I had assumed that it would take a longer period before our paths would narrow and we would choose to go down a path together until his or mine would end.  I assumed wrongly.  

His pace is faster than mine, his cadence is longer.  Like a runner he has me checking my pace.  Time seems to have sped up incrementally.  It will not be like it was before.  This is a new thing.  It is both exciting and stressful.  I pray during this whirlwind.  I pray that I am following the path that God has set before us.  I am trusting in a good God with a good plan.  Let's see where this road takes us.  Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Is It The Truth?

 You should know that I have always had issues with feelings.  Do I deal with my emotions?  How do I check in with myself while not letting my emotions take over?  Because my emotions would like nothing more than to take over.  

As a young girl, I found that I was emoting a lot.  My mother had died.  My father started dating a woman I could moderately tolerate.  I really could not stand her three daughters.  I was moving on from my beloved elementary school to high school so there were a lot of transitions.  I think the one that affected me the most was when my father decided to move churches.  That one hurt me the most.  Besides all of that, I was a teenage girl being raised by her dad.  It wasn't really easy.  

I found that at that time I was fickle.  I didn't know how to emote properly.  I wanted people to see me as happy and healthy but I was still in mourning and I was having a tough time with transitions and identity.  It was easier to lean into finding my identity (which didn't always go well).  I had a year when I was swayed into heavy Christian legalism and loved every minute of it if I'm honest.  But when the fog died down, and high school was over.  I knew I had to grow up and put away some of my childish ways.  For me, this meant, not giving in to my emotions.  

I didn't have time for emotions as much.  It would seem like they would eat me up.  I'm reminded of all of this as I talk to my own daughter who unfortunately reminds me of my time as a teen.  I say unfortunately because I definitely understand how much she is feeling and how her situation mirrors mine.  

Is what we feel the truth or just our truth?  Speak your truth is what I hear.  But what if our truth is just our emotions talking for us?  I was talking to someone and to make a long story short and I was going to say, "I'm just speaking my truth."  I meant this to mean that I am speaking my perspective of what is going on.  I am speaking what I think to be truth because it is what I am feeling but is this right?  I think we should communicate because this is how misunderstandings and miscommunications are rectified.  I'm not sure we should label it as truth.

Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds back."  Already this is calming me down.  So what do I do?  I think it is important to acknowledge what we are feeling.  I mean... because what are we supposed to do with them?  I don't think it is wise to bottle them up.

Philippians 4: 6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus." The answer is prayer.  Take all the bile and anger.  Take all the tears and heartbreak.  Take all of the pain and injustice of humanity and I will bring it to the foot of God who is more than well-equipped to handle my tirades.  

I think it is important to talk about what you feel but it doesn't have to be your truth.  I want to believe that God is all of the truth that I need.  John 14:6: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  Praise the Lord!

Friday, February 19, 2021


 Today I came home to my children and Geoff waiting for me.  He handed me a little bag of hard candies.  It was a bag of hard candy licorice.  I picked it out when we went to Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago.  Honestly, I had forgotten about it.  He had picked out a few candies for the children and this bag made it into the total.

I can't eat the traditional black licorice twists like the one that comes in bags with strawberry as the more popular option.  I can't eat the Good N'Plenty's that come with the white and hot pink candy coating.   Yum!!!  I usually can't find the black Chuckles and I'm not sure I could eat them even if I could find them.  I only get the black licorice taste when I come cross them at the Dollar Store mixed in with the jelly beans.  I get to collect them on Easter from my children's Easter basket.   

Geoff told me that he didn't like licorice.  My son who loves root beer, I knew that he wouldn't mind it.  I gave him one of the hard candies to try and he was happy to get it.   I'm not surprised.  I finally put the candy in my mouth.  The strong, delicious, rich flavor was a welcome delight to my taste buds.  I was so happy.

Later he took us out to dinner and spoiled us with books.  Julie should have never posted that the book store was closing and everything was 25% off.  I am not a fan of chocolate.  I got what I wanted for Valentine's Day.  I got words.  This is what I wanted.  It was not a card given to me as an afterthought.  It was chosen and sent out in the mail to make sure that I would get it in time.  Today, I got a book of love poems by my favorite poet, Pablo Neruda.  

Joking around he sang to me the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need."  Isn't that the truth!!  Man, God is good to me!!!  And every now and again, instead of manna, you just might get quail.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Issues with Time

You may not know this but I am really bad with time.  I am.  I love time.  My favorite times are Thursday after work because it is Friday Eve!!!  I like to celebrate upcoming time.  The time before a vacation?  This is my time of bliss!!!  It's like savoring a windfall.  What are you going to do with the money?  Are you going to buy your favorite things?  Are you going to save it?  Are you going to pay bills?  I don't know.  I love the idea of possibilities.  I feel the same with time.  What am I going to do with it?  Am I going to do chores and run errands?  Am I going to squander it?  Am I going to sleep it or do self care with it?  Am I going to spend it with family and/or friends?  Time may even be a bigger commodity than money.  You can never get it back.  

Under normal circumstances I am not good with time.  I am currently dealing with the prospect of moving.  I am working a full time job teaching.  I have not one but two teenagers abiding in my home, one of each just to make it interesting!!!  I am in school finishing up a degree.  What is wrong with me?  Then there is the cleaning and the other stuff that I do that takes up time.  No wonder I have no hobbies.  There have never been time for them other than writing and some reading these days.  I squeeze in squats.  I squeeze in some non-religious yoga in.  I have to schedule time to work on things and see people.  

Honestly, there is more.  There is volunteer work and Bible studies.  There are conversations with friends and shopping with growing children.  There are date nights now and part of that is hiking.  Soon enough it will be too warm to do things.  Soon enough I will be too old to do things.  Time, would not appear to be on my side.  

Time on this side of heaven is different, I assume, from the other side of heaven.  I am promised eternity on the other side. Time is so much more compressed than eternity here.  No matter what, I want to be thankful for the time that I have.  When I have a moment, I  languish in the moment, both good and bad. I attempt to be present.  I thank God for this short life.  I thank God for the opportunities.  I thank God for His wisdom and how I attempt to live my life along side Him.  Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

A Candle Wick

Valentine's Day is my mother's birthday.  She would have been only 78 years old had she lived.  Instead, she died at 39 years old from complications of her lupus like the poet, Flannery O'Connor.  I haven't thought of my mother in years but meeting my friend, Lauren put her in my mind.

My mother was ill.  She had what some would call a short life.  But, she burned bright.  I wonder about her story sometimes.  I remember her as someone who people loved and remembered.  She was beautiful.   She was like a celebrity.  I would visit her in the hospital, a place devoid of hope and wherever she was, it was warm.  She didn't preach Jesus with her words.  She preached Jesus with her glow.  

Lauren reminds me a little of my mom.  Her love for Jesus shines so bright.  When you talk to her she has an enthusiasm and joy that is unsurpassed.  She is so relatable.  I hadn't seen her in a while.  Her glow was a little off.  I'll leave it at that.  Lauren's story isn't mine to tell, I reminded her that all of us who serve Christ are but like wicks, candle wicks.  We are here today and gone tomorrow.  We who burn to be a light in dark places, have an important job.  The story is not about the wick, it is about the Light.  We live just once and then on to Home.  She told me to write about it.  I'm writing, Lauren.  You shine and I will write.  Just keep glowing.

I thank God for sisters like Lauren and my mother.  Pray for more sisters to shine.  In the meantime, praise the Lord for those that do.

Monday, February 8, 2021


 Every now and again it happens.  It comes out of nowhere.  There you are walking around living your life and BOOM!!!  There is a heaviness.  Nothing makes sense.  There is anxiety and panic.  There is sometimes a restlessness.  There is depression.  Depression...

After my undergrad, I was having a hard time.  I was in grad school for an English Masters.  I was so tired I couldn't get up out of bed.  I didn't understand what was happening to me.  I went to the doctor and was told that I had clinical depression.  At the time, I didn't feel depressed.  I just felt tired.  I was put on medication that I hated.  It made me feel even worse, it took away my ability to feel anything.  I would rather feel sadness than nothing at all.  

I don't remember how I got out of that particular hole but I remember after giving birth the sadness that I had.  Many of you will say that I was a victim of post partum depression.  There is every possibility that you may be right.  However, I discovered my gluten-intolerance after giving birth to my babies.  I remember feeling lighter after only one week of being off of gluten.  It was this more than anything that led me to understand that gluten sensitivity affected not only my skin and my digestive tract, but my mood as well.  I remember telling a friend of the raw hole that the depression created in my heart.  It felt real.  It felt like I needed to cover my heart to help keep the hole from seeping blood.  It was this pain that I felt while grieving.  It felt like I would never again be able to appreciate a sunny day.  Prayer and Bible reading help with this pain but eventually, it comes back to haunt me again.  

I appreciate this aspect of humanity.  The pain and the mire remind me that this world is not my home.  It reminds me of my need for Jesus.  Today for a brief while, I felt... depression.  It was a mild case.  I had some sugar this weekend and sugar always affects me poorly.  I had some protein.  I had some broccoli (a mood stabilizer).  I drank my coffee and I am currently thankful.  It's still there hiding but right now the sun is shining and I am grateful.  Praise the Lord!!!  I pray for those with moments and lifetimes with this feeling.  I am so sorry.  I understand in part what you must battle.  Keep fighting, Friends!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Dog: An Observation

 I am not a dog person.  I definitely believe that we as humans have preferences.  I think it is written in our DNA to tell the world something about us.  My son is unequivocally, a dog person.  He is a proud dog person.  He will love our cats but when given the option, he prefers the company of dogs.  My parents were both dog people.  Despite their insistent tutelage on all things canine, I prefer the company of cats.  My two cats, Midnight and Samson are taking up residence on their favorite place in the world, my bed.  

Today I took it easy as I attempted to combat the effects of the second dose of the Covid vaccine.  I recently got up from bed and almost stepped on the youngest member of our tribe, Barkley.  He is a Papillion Spaniel that we got off of the street on a Valentine's day about 7 or 8 years ago.  He is a funny little guy.  He drives me nuts but at the same time, I appreciate his devotion.  

He was laying by my bed as I rested.  When I am working at my desk, he likes to sit between or on my feet.  Right now he is by me.  I went to the kitchen for a moment and he was walking right behind me.  His little mouth was kissing the back of my legs as I walked.  I stand and he looks at me as if to say, "Where are you going?  Can I come with you please?"  If I baby talk one of the cats he will come from the other side of the house to get some loving, even if it is not for him.  He is always willing to nibble on the stray crumb of whatever.  He is particularly helpful when I drop popcorn.  I never have to worry about looking for a lost kernel when he is around.  

Today as I looked into his deep brown eyes, I realized that I love him.  I appreciate him.  I like his presence hanging on me when he is shut out of the children's rooms.  He is a good and quiet companion.  

He is more David's dog than mine but when I am at home, he is with me.  He knows when I am talking to him and he comes closer.  When I am mad at him he immediately has an "I'm sorry" face.  I look at my cats.  I come and leave and they could care less.  Barkley stays by me.  

I don't suspect I'll ever be a dog person.  I guess you could say that I'm more of a Barkley person.  He is my dog and that's all that matters for the moment.  Go ahead, appreciate your animals, even when they drive you nuts.  If you are lucky to have charge of a pet, give them a good life with lots of love.  Thank God for them.  

Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Second Dose

 It is a strange time.  I had the first dose and as I went to State Farm Stadium, it was like a celebration.  It felt that we were all heroes coming together to overcome this dreaded and unseen enemy, Covid.  I had gotten an appointment at about midnight.  It was strange staying up to then get the vaccine.  I wondered how to get the second dose.  Things were not so clear.  It made me nervous when I learned that I had to get in 3 weeks from the last dose.  I went on to the website to make an appointment and could not get in.  

Thankfully, I got an email that directed me to make an appointment.  I picked another Friday and this time, the only time slots available were from 1am to 6:30am.  I opted for the earliest one.  I don't know exactly what was wrong with me before.  It had been a long week.  I have had a lot of things on my mind.  It was harder this time to stay up and I heard the second dose was harder.  

I opted to get it in the same arm as I knew I couldn't afford not to have access to my dominant arm.  I was treated different.  I was here for the second dose.  I didn't have a lot to learn.  There were no warnings.  You are a second doser.  It felt less like a party.  Even so, I was happy to have the dosage complete.  

In waking up this morning, the pain in my arm is just the slightest bit sharper.  My daughter said that I felt a little warmer but after some ibuprofen, I feel better.  It hurts.  I can't feel it but there is a heaviness in my arm because I know that there is pain there even if I can't feel it.  

I am the first from my family unit to get the vaccine.  I understand that I may require a booster.  I understand that I need to continue to wear my mask to not get strains that are not covered by the vaccine.  As school is starting back up again, I am of the opinion that teachers need to get their vaccines before in person instruction.  I'm glad that I got it even though I'm sore today.

God bless you guys no matter what you think of the vaccine, the virus or anything else.  May you live and not die.  Praise the Lord!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Seasonal Emotions

 A few years ago I heard about seasonal depression.  This was a thing?  Apparently, in the winter months, people get depressed because of the lack of sunlight.  I don't get depression per se.  I was anticipating a feeling of dread after Christmas but this has not been necessarily true.  However, I find that I am feeling emotions.  

I have a bunch of things that seem to be happening all together.  I was afraid of this.  Truly, it's all a little scary and I need to be brave to face the stuff of life that seems to happen with or without you.  I don't know if you can resonate.  It's almost like being forced off of a snow lift to leap into a snow bank or risk dying.  You have been hanging on scarily without a seatbelt for the whole ride as you looked down from the snow lift high above.  I mean, that's hard enough, no one told you you would have to jump off.  So now I am anticipating the jump off.  It has definitely been a season for me.

I thought back to the beginning of the hard and I would say that the hard started in 2017.  This was when Santi started feeling ill.  Before I knew what was happening and worried that it would be bad.  So many say that 2020 was the worst year of their lives but I contend that 2018 was the absolute worst years only to lead into 2020 and here we are in 2021 and I'm still here and breathing.  It's a miracle, isn't it?  I have come to realize that even though I'm a little nervous about the ride ending, I think I'm ready for it to end.  It may be scary moving forward but I think it would be harder not getting off and facing injury because I was too scared to move.  

God wants us to trust Him and to be courageous.  I think He knows that it can be scary but He gives us confidence to lean on Him and know that we are not alone and that there is a plan in place.  He told Joshua, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.   

I am comforted.  I may have seasonal emotions but I have a consistent, every day, forever kind of God, who won't let me go.  Praise the Lord!!!