Window Seat

"You're welcome to sleep. We just ask that you fasten your seatbelt in a way that it is visible to the crew. We will not wake you. Also, please close your window shade, as we will be flying into the sun."

Whoa. Seriously? Phrasing. Smh.

But she was right, we were flying into something. I was looking out the window like a kid on christmas, and the stars look very different today…

I hate sleeping on planes. Even on the red eye, when you should try to sleep through. I'm a bit of a control freak, I NEED to know whats going on. You know, in case I need to "take action"…

Grabs imaginary radio,"This is Major Carmen to ground control. Flying through a large gas cloud from the passenger in front of me. Guy's farts have put him and the other passengers to sleep." #ToxicAF

Once we passed the gaseous expanse, I loosened my seatbelt just far enough where I could lean forward in my seat, without disobeying crew member instructions. I peered out the window, awkwardly placed slightly closer to the passenger in front of me. Technically, I really only have 1 and a half windows, but since it's behind his arms reach, I'm in charge of opening and closing procedures.

I had never seen so many stars. I arched my neck and peered up and gasped in my mind. My eyes blurred, zooming in and out, focusing, trying to see te big picture. I saw stars; shapes began to appear. I watched a star slowly move past another and out of sight, or my sight.

I chased a light on the far horizon, another plane. Jet setting somewhere?

Even as I type this I have to lock the screen for the stars to creep out of the darkness.

At first I only see one. Out of the bottom corner of my eye a distant dim light, that plane? But if I look directly at it, it vanishes.

As I stare longer at that first star, my vision clears and more specks appear. The little dipper?

I can see the layer of dark grey clouds wisping away below and behind us.

I wish they would turn off the seatbelt sign so the orange glare wouldn't reflect on the window.

It's so beautiful and peaceful.

What's out there? Who? Existential AF, right?

I know the lady behind me thinks I'm crazy for jamming my head between my seat and the wall of the cabin, but I need to look up.

Must. See. More!

The city lights below form constelations of their own, but my heads in the clouds.

It must be a planet, that "plane" in the distance, and we're chasing it. Bright as a ball from a pinball machine.

I remember an app my sister uses, Night Sky. Instantly, it maps out the lights, bringing names to the bright spheres.

Polaris…The north star… NOT a plane, or planet.

Only about 434 light years away…

It's called The Little Bear, and not just the Little Dipper? My life is a lie.

A bit distracted now, the stewardess is nuking cookies.

Yassss.

Space Oddity.

Seat belt signs off!

I've lowered the brigtness on my screen as low as it'll go, Night Shift: On.

Here am I floating on a tin can, contemplating what everybody does when they look up at the great expanse above… well, really around.

Oh Bowie.

How high, was he?

"The terror of knowing what this world is about…."

I cant even count all of them.

The lights below…

Are they homes?

People?

Lives?

My ipad took a crap, but thank you iCloud; my notes are safe.

Finally, we are away from the cities, and the darkness gives way to lights again.

A storm looms far ahead of us, charging up pink and grey clouds.

Dawn is approaching.

It advances. We waltz.

Let's dance.

Lighting continues and grays turn to burnt orange and indigo, like water at the edge of the shoreline, the day and night sky meet seamlessly.

The clouds a giant wave, and the night begins to recede.

See you later Polaris.

You Can’t Buy Everything

I pulled up to the house, the usually clank, clank as I rolled through the gate.


Turned the radio down. Grabbed the wrapper from my breakfast biscuits, half full can of day old La Croix, and gas station receipts, some hard dried up play doh, and stuffed it in a plastic Walgreens bag.

Car Key. Glasses. Purse. Garbage.


My husband opened the door as I stood there fumbling through my Mary Poppinesque bag for the keys.


I adjusted the strap of my blue messenger, switched the bag of garbage I had collected from my car to the other hand.


He smiled longingly at me as I caressed his neck with my free hand.


We kissed softly.

Keys and sunglasses collided with the school pictures of the kids as I tossed them on the table by the door.

Walked around the red scooter the kids left in the hallway.


A shoe box on the kitchen counter caught my eye, but I casually placed my bag down next to it and walked over to the sink to pour out the remaining La Croix before I tossed it.


”Is that for me?” I asked, tilting my head back, not sure if he was in the room yet, but looking for him in the reflection of the kitchen window.


I grabbed the box as he walked up to me.


They were white cycling shoes. Seven and a half.


I had gotten him a Peloton for Valentine’s Day, and had been thinking about trying it, but hadn’t gotten myself a pair of clip-ins yet.


”Happy Birthday,” he said warmly.


”I love them! Thank you” I kissed him and wrapped my arms around his waist, and rested my head on his chest.


”What do you get the girl that can buy herself anything,” he stated.


”Well, not anything,” I said rolling my eyes, smiling.


”I couldn’t buy you… Your love…Our Family… Thank you.”

And we held each other.

My favorite Colour…

Recently, my best friend asked me what my favorite color was.

Mind BLOWN!

And I know what you are thinking, “What a bad friend!”

WRONG!

The reality is, I, super duper capitalized and emphasized I, didn’t know the answer.

If you ask my daughters about their favorite colors, they’ll shoot an answer back to you before the question has rolled off your tongue. 

“Grey! and BLACK!”

That’s Sofy. Despite her beautiful soul and smile, she clings to the notion that she is very much like the character Sadness from the movie Inside Out. She also likes the color blue. She wants to paint her room grey. She is very “cool”. She is 10. Going on 30.

“Okay.”

That’s my son Gaby, who has his head buried in Minecraft.

“What do you mean, okay? I asked what your favorite color was.” He’s 8. Going on his father.

#SMH

“Pink aaaand Purple. And light pink and dark pink and light purple and dark purple. And sometimes red.”

That’s Vicky. She obviously LOVES pink and anything near it on the spectrum. She’s also always smiling and happy and cheerful. I don’t know how she does it. Having a smile on your face all the time; that shit takes work. She is 6. Just 6. 

#SmileThroughTheBullshit ::shrugs shoulders::

“Oh No!” 

That’s David. He says “oh no” a lot. He also knows “tete”, “mimir” (which is his blankie), “my toons”, “door”, “key”, “bubbles”. His vocabulary is extensive. He is 2.5.

But when I was asked about my favorite color, I drew a blank. I’m 34 going on Old as F!

At least I know my best friend’s favorite color. It’s purple. And she loves elephants, and sunflowers. And Yoga.

Lol. She knows her shit. She’s got it together.

Because isn’t that what life is? Figuring out who you are?

But what do I love? I love turtles. THAT I know for sure. Especially the ceramic one I have that opens up like a clamshell. My husband proposed with that one. He put the ring inside. So romantic. It almost got shattered, but that was turtlely an accident.

Does that mean Green is my favorite color? I LOVE sunflowers too, does that means it’s yellow?
I really don’t know.

When I was younger I always said Black, White and Red, so that’s what I went with when she asked me.

But I really am not sure. 

Maybe I just feel bad to leave a color out? ::insert emoji holding chin looking up questioningly.::

When It comes to clothes I usually stick to black, because you know, it’s supposed to make you look “thinner” ( and I don’t mean anything else by that, I exactly mean thinner, but will use quotation marks just in case I mean something else later); but really it usually just gives you no shape at all. Doesn’t flatter or unflatter- it’s just a void. So, I’ve learned to force myself to be more colorful.

Our mom’s favorite color is red; M.A.C. Red; red Roses, or red tops. Red anything, except as in read. She’s not fond of reading.

So, what does it mean. That I don’t have a favorite color? 

Color or Colour?

Favorite or Favourite.

I kinda like them with a u

I don’t have the answer ready at the tip of my tongue? Do I not know what I like?

Am I pushover that will just go with the flow and accept any old color as my favorite.

The HORROR!

I mean, WHO AM I?

Lol. Too dramatic. It probably means nothing, but I’m gonna google it anyways.

#GoogleEverything

Nobody says Bing it.
*******
What is your favourite colour? Why? 

Let me Post the Ways

TCP Port 21

How do I love thee? Let me post the ways.
I love thee to every terabyte and zettabyte
The web can reach, when searching every site
For the best deals, and Bing for rates.
I love thee like I hate every day’s
Most wild Trump tweet, by LED or night-light.
I love thee freely, as women strive for likes.
I love thee purely, as they duck-face for praise.
Love thee with the patience I put Napster to use
In the dialup days of grief, and my poor connection’s faith.
I love thee like the track of time I seem to lose
With status updates. I love thee with the most
Emojis, Texts, Grams of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after this post.

*****

Below the original Sonnet from one of my favorite authors and poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

How Do I Love Thee?
(Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

New Year’s Revolutions

New Year’s Revolutions… Yes, I’m a little, a LOT, late on this post.

And yes, you read right. New Year’s Revolutions.

What started out as wrong word usage, actually became an idea for this post.

Instead of Resolving to do things, this year we should REVOLUTIONIZE the way we think!

rev·o·lu·tion·ize
/,revә’lōoSHә,nīz/
▶verb change something greatly or completely.
– synonyms
transform, shake up, turn upside down, restructure, reorganize, transmute, metamorphose; humorous transmogrify.
Copyright © Oxford University Press 2003, 2009

Let’s Revolt and do things that actually change our lives! 

1: Baby steps. 

Start small. Set little goals for yourself. Instead of saying that you will lose 30 pounds, say I want to lose 1 pound a week. Or even better, don’t focus on the weight, and instead focus on how to get there. Set a goal of 10 mins of exercise a day for a week. Then bump it up a bit. Shoot for 30 mins a day by the end of the month. 

Setting small weekly goals will give you lots of little victories to help you feel better about yourself, and keep you motivated to stay on track. 

Or, as in my case, let’s say you want to write a book. You can’t just start writing a whole book, (unless you are a masterful genius, i.e. Stephen King), but you can just start writing, a little bit at a time. Writing every day will help you get the creative juices flowing.

See this article about Jerry Seinfeld on writing.

2: Mums the word. 

Stop telling people that you are going to do something. As cliche as the phrase has gotten, Just do It!

Let the results speak for themselves.

Too often we think that by telling others what we are going to do that we will feel more accountable. Instead, when we are constantly judged by others for eating the wrong things, skipping a workout, having a drink, cursing or whatever vice you may be trying to overcome, we are easily disappointed and get down on ourselves. You need to care about yourself and be accountable to YOU before you ever try to please others.

3: No more “I’m Sorry”.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Nobody cares! Unfortunately, EVERYBODY has stuff going on, some are just more vocal than others (or more about posting it on social media than others). We’ve all got stuff going on, but when you allow the negative things in your life to become your focus you lose sight of all the good things that already surround you.

4: Thank you.

This is a continuation of the previous section. Stop saying I’m sorry, and start saying Thank you. We all have so much to be thankful for, if we try. It is easy to mope about the countless issues one may be facing, but what about all the things that are ALREADY going right in your life. This is not to say “pat yourself on the back, you are awesome”; on the contrary, you should be grateful for all the things that are going right in your life that are out of your control. 

5: Don’t spend a dime.

Improving YOU doesn’t HAVE to cost a dime.

You can’t BUY happiness, weightloss, success, a family, health; although you can buy happy pills, diet pills, lotto tickets, and mail order brides…

These are are just short term solutions to a bigger problem, and most of the time they turn what feels like an unmanageable situation into a black hole of issues.

Taking a walk…FREE

Keeping a journal…FREE

Getting up early to eat a good breakfast, and get to work on time or even early…FREE

Spending time with your loved ones…FREE

All these things do have 1 thing in common and that is that they take TIME! Time is one of the most expensive things in our lives, even though it is also technically, FREE! You have enough time, if you get your priorities straight and make good use of it.

And last but not least…

Don’t ever say that you are finished. You are not done living until you are 6 feet under. You are a project that will never get done until you reach those pearly gates, or turn into worms or mulch or whatever. So in the meantime, continue to strive for greatness and self improvement. As you hit your goals, make new ones. Always look up and move forward. You can be grateful for everything you have and feel accomplished, but do not be complacent. Never tell yourself that you have made it. 

There are no limits.

Start a revolution in your life TODAY!!!

rev·o·lu·tion
/,revә’lōoSHәn/
▶noun
2 a great and far-reaching change…

False Alarm

This is a late post from my trip to L.A. last week.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a false alarm, I envision a negative pregnancy test.

PHEW! ::wipes brow::

I had my tubes cut, burned, damn near ghost busted 2 years ago, yet I still worry about false alarms. Or rather, real, live, blaring baby alarms. I imagine with a middle name of Maria, Jesus could potentially send me another baby.

But today wasn’t about THAT kind of false alarm.

I had just gotten off the phone with my dad, explaining to him how turn on the shower in his hotel room.

Seems simple enough, but this shower handle just sort of sticks out. It looks like you have to pull on it, when in reality you have to twist it. But it gets stuck, sooo by the time you figure that out, you’ve twisted it so hard the wrong way that it seems like it won’t budge at all, and you start to think it might just pop off in your hand.

I know that was an awkward explanation but there was really no way around the lingo. So if anyone reads this in 10 years, and I’m running for President or some other form of office, I hope they won’t be offended.

So any who.

“A la izquierda papi. Como el reloj, pero alrevez.”
I’m gesticulating in the air as if through the phone this will make him understand. 

“Esta mierda no abre.” 

“Quieres que vaya?” I smack myself on the forehead.

“No, ya, ya.”

I wasn’t sure if he had really opened it, or just gave up. But I went on about getting dressed. My dad, Jose (one of our managers), and I were all on different floors.

Not a minute had passed and the alarm went off. Not my phone which I usually inadvertently set to snooze.

The FIRE ALARM! 

“May I have your attention please. A fire alarm sensor has been activated in the building. Please proceed to the nearest stairwell and exit the building.”

Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh.

And the message went on and on. 

Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh.

Oh my gosh! A fire! This is just crazy. Dad must still be in the shower.

I looked at myself in the mirror. My morning face and my there’s possibly a fire face, oddly similar.

Alas, no time to remedy! 

“May I have your attention please.”

YES! you have my freakin’ attention!

Thankfully, I was already dressed so I put on my sneakers, grabbed my wallet and key, and left the room. 

Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh.

Lady in the hallway had her purse and luggage which she dragged down the stairs. 

Well, she’s clueless!

We were on the ninth floor!

I heard the sirens of the firetrucks.

Oh, my God. Is this for real?!?!

Is there gonna be smoke soon? Is anybody even staying in this hotel? Why aren’t more people running around!

When I got to the 4th floor, there was no alarm blaring.

Nobody in the hallways, except a lady in business attire, suitcase in hand, cellphone attached to her ear, attacking the elevator button. 

Another clueless individual. 

Come on ladies! Get it together! 

I put an ear to my dad’s door, but I couldn’t hear anything but the Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh. from the floor above us.

Did he go down without me? 

I called his cell.

“Dime Mima?”

“Donde estas?”

“Aqui en el cuarto. Y tu?”

“La alarma de fuego esta sonando. No la oistes? Estoy en tu puerta.”

“No. Me estaba bañando hasta ahora mismo que me llamastes.”

“Si, esta sonando. Bueno en mi cuarto y los otros pisos si.”

He let me in the room, and went on about his normal business of getting ready, a little too nonchalant for my liking.

So I decided to call downstairs, and double check if the building was about to go down in flames.

“Oh, it’s jut a false alarm. Great. Thanks.” If there were a sarcasm alarm I would have set it off.

“Bueno, parece que fue una falsa alarma.”

“Ok Mima. Nos vemos abajo en media hora.” He said with the same casual tone as before, as I slouched out of the room.

A fire? Big deal, right? -_-

A lady in the elevator, was heading up with a bottle of wine.

That seems like a great idea right now! I thought as I hit 9.

OMG! I forgot about Jose!

Trump, Jock Or Joke?

Trump for President? I wish it were a Joke.

To all these people defending Trump’s locker room talk. 

Wives. Mother’s of boys, Sisters with brothers.

I don’t understand, nor believe you would EVER accept this kind of talk from your son, brother or husband, or PRESIDENT—out in the open air or behind closed doors with buddies.

It’s one thing to talk lewdly, to brag, make up or exaggerate sexual exploits; it is another thing entirely to boast about the forced, inappropriate and unsolicited touching of women. 

Unfortunately, I myself had been in some uncomfortable situations with an older man. 

——

He asked me to massage him, but to sit on his back. I refused.

I was 11 maybe. 

——
He pressed his face against mine and asked me for a kiss.

I felt him squeeze my thigh much higher than he should have as he hovered above me.
I ran away to my room and locked the door. He persisted to knock.

I was 13.

——
He offered to take me to a motel and teach me things. No one would have to know. When I walked away from him he grabbed my wrist tight and said “don’t go, I won’t hurt you.”
I managed to pull away from him, and drove away sobbing. 

I was 17.

——
I NEVER touched him, and he NEVER touched me. I don’t know how I escaped anything further than just the horribly awkward & traumatic encounters. I was smart and lucky. God was with me.

But I can still feel the ache in the pit of my stomach when I think about it or talk about it.

Some will say,”well, you didn’t get raped or anything.”

Yes, you are right. I didn’t. 

But I wouldn’t wish the ordeal on anyone, especially being that I have 2 daughters.
I would lose it if I heard they had gone through something like that. 

I waited more than 5 years to say anything about what was going on. 

Why?

Was I dumb?

Was I making it up?

Was I trying to get something out of it?

NO. 

I finally said something because I couldn’t bare the thought of somebody else getting hurt. 

I had been scared. I thought it was all in my head. I thought no one would believe me. 

He was no celebrity, but everybody liked him. 

By no means was this person rich, or famous, or important, or running for president, for that matter.

That person was a pig.

Donald Trump is a pig. 

Thankfully, I have never seen him again. 

Please, people. THIS is the man you want running for President? 

NO ONE would ever even consider a man with any type of sexual allegations for the presidency. He would immediately have had to drop out. 

Some of you will be quick to say, well that guy was a pedophile, but it was much more than that. It was the conquest; it was about getting what he wanted. And we all know Trump gets what he wants. 

“And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”

Routine Prayer

Most nights are pretty predictable at my house.
I get home after the gym. Eat a quick meal while the kids do some last minute running around, screaming and playing hide and seek with their baby brother.

Get the bottles of milk ready for baby David, or Toddler David, I don’t know really it sounds weird. He’s a 40lb 2 yr old wearing 4T…it’s hard to call him a baby…
Then we all head to Sofy’s room to talk about our day and start story time. 

Right now, we are reading a children’s version of the Bible which (Lord don’t strike me down for saying this) makes the stories a little less boring and a lot more understandable for the kids.
They interject occasionally and ask questions, sometimes random, so I’m not always sure if they are really paying attention. 
Today we were reading about David and Goliath, but Vicky wanted to talk about Adam and Eve and the bad fruit. The whole being “naked” in the garden really blew their minds.
“And then they had sons. And one son, Cain, he killed his brother!” Vicky was really concerned about this. They all were, but they quickly chimed in that they could never do that to each other.

Meanwhile, David is laying back on one of Sofy’s pillows drinking his milk and minding his business.

After we finally get through a story, we share thoughts about what we read and how it can apply to our lives presently.

Then, we take turns each night saying a quick prayer, before everyone heads off to their bed, bunk, crib, and so on.

Each of us prays slightly different, but for the most part we thank God for everything that we have including each other.

Gaby thanks God for family and friends, and video games.

Sofy thanks God for family and friends, our house, books, and her ipad.

And tonight, for example, Vicky thanked God “for our lovely home and socks”, among other things.

So, last Wednesday I went out to dinner with two good friends of mine. I rarely go “out” and even less smack dab in the middle of the week. But sometimes it’s really hard to find time for friends and loved ones, so I made a point of setting aside that night.

Of course by the time I got home, around 10:45pm, they were fast asleep.

Fast forward to the next night, after we read as usual, I started to ask whose turn it was to pray, but quickly remembered.

“Okay guys. I’m gonna pray, since I missed my turn last night.”

“I prayed last night, mom.” Sofy said softly.

I looked over at her surprised, “You did?”

“Yea, you weren’t here. I forgot, but when Gaby and Vicky were asleep, I prayed by myself.”

I gave her a kiss and hugged her tight for a few moments.

I was shocked. Sofia had taken the initiative to pray on her own. Neither I nor her dad had to remind her or ask her to do it.

I felt so much joy in my heart.

She only just turned 10 last month, but suddenly it felt like a real turning point.

So, yea. Most nights are pretty predictable; and I try to stick to a specific routine with the kids.
But I guess some of the best moments are the ones you don’t plan for.
————–

And I just have to add, I’m no religious nut. (Oh boy, here she goes ::reader rolls eyes::)

I believe in God, and I believe in prayer, and I believe in the Bible.
I curse; I get angry; I yell; I can be a BITCH. (Ask my sisters.)

I’m not perfect, and I’m not a fanatic.

But I don’t think I have to be.

You don’t have to be an every Sunday chruch abiding Christian in order to believe in God and the Bible, or have a relationship with Him.
Whether or not there really was a talking serpent; an ark that carried humans and creatures for 40 days and nights through the flooding of earth without them devouring each other; whether Methusala lived to be 969 or not; or whether Jesus was God’s Son or just a REALLY good person.
All of these are debateable points, but I believe. And I think it’s good to believe, and have faith. Anyting can be interpreted hundreds of ways; we are humans, it’s in our nature to doubt and question. And I don’t have a problem with my kids having doubts or questions.

I just want them to believe for themselves.
And honestly, I couldn’t be prouder of my big girl and her growing heart.

The Gift of Life

Today I was at the gym, torturing myself as usual, I thought.

Then this PRICK, because as you will quickly learn there is nothing else to call him, starts talking about how he never wanted kids.

My wife is the one who wanted them. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have even had one.

We had an amazing life, if we wanted to we could take off on a mini vacation on a friday, just pick up the phone and book a ticket and be in the Bahamas within a couple of hours.
We used to be able to sleep in all the time, do whatever we want. We could go anywhere with anyone and didnt have to worry about the time, or drinking.
Now I’m lucky if i sleep in ’til 10.

Bla bla bla. He would not shut up. He didn’t have one nice thing to say about his family. And I listened to his rant, and the only positive was that I was so infuriated that it helped me get through the increased weight of the next set of barbell curl. 

Finally, thankfully, he left, presumably home to his wife and annoying kids. 

I felt terrible for them. Imagine how those kids would feel if they could have overheard their father?

I mean this guy made it seem like having kids was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

It really broke my heart to hear someone go off like that, especially because of a tragedy my very close friend and his family had been going through.

Just this week a relative of his has been going through a terrible ordeal. Her 10 month old baby boy is going to be an angel in heaven.  

There’s no need to go into details. What could possibly matter at this point but the painful ever present fact that there is nothing they can do to save him?

I bet she would give up sleep for the rest of her LIFE to have him back. I bet she would give up her heart, mind, body and soul for him.

There was nothing medicine nor science could do to save him.

Only a miracle could save him.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant for him to be saved, but instead for him to become a savior.

His parents decided to donate his organs. He would bless at least 5 children with the opportunity of life.

Only a perfect blameless child could become a savior, much like Jesus Christ was for us.
Of course, it is a hard ass pill to swallow that your child wasn’t meant to be saved.

Our minds were not made to conceive His will, His greater plan; to understand the afterlife, heaven, or eternity. These are all concepts our minds simply cannot grasp.

When you have a child your heart doubles, triples, quadruples in size. I don’t even know how it fits in our chest with the amount of love we have for our children. 

Sadly, only some people feel this way.

And it’s not about being the one who actually gives birth, my husband adores our kids. I know he wouldn’t trade any of them for ANYTHING in this world or the next.
So many people out there take their children for granted. They treat their children like an accessory, a commodity, like a talking point; a nuisance, pestilence, como un estorbo.

And not just men, women, life-giving mothers!

WAKEUP people!

You have been given a gift! The gift of life, of creation!
You have brought a human being into this world! It is something so amazing, an unbelievable honor; a great responsibility, but a privilege nonetheless.

And for those who can’t have kids of their own, there are plenty of ways to bring life into the world. We can bless others every day through kindness & generosity; by being sincere and showing compassion.

Just loving each other and respecting each other is enough.

We don’t know how much time we have with our children or loved ones, or they with us, but we have to cherish every day! Love them and treasure them; teach them and care for them.

Hug them, kiss them, hold them close.

Let them creep into your bed; read to them, sing to them; pray with them, joke with them, color with them.

Find the time to listen to them and talk to them.

Every moment is a precious gift.

***********

John 3:17 KJV

[17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Romans 13:8 KJV

[8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 KJV

[8] Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: [9] Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Perspective

I was at my brother in law’s wedding this weekend in Maryville, Tennessee.

My husband drove for about 13 hours from Miami with me and 4 of our kids—our 3 oldest and my little sister/oldest baby girl. (She’s 26 btw.) 💖

Most of the family was coming in, some driving, others flying, to join in celebrating Greg and Courtney’s special day.

FFW>> through the “Are we there yet’s?”, check-in, unpacking, bathing.

THE CABIN

We found ourselves at a beautiful cabin set in a quiet nippy wooded area of Maryville. A shallow river looped around the back of the picturesque cabin. A family of geese flew down and waded around in the chilly water, although it didn’t seem to bother them.

The BBQ was running hot, full of hot dogs, sausages and burgers. A bottle of Sazon Completo waited anxiously by the fresh unseasoned patties for Abuelo Gaby to spice things up.

Cousins and uncles grabbed beers, hogged the couch, watched basketball, and over analyzed the playoffs.

The kids built skyscrapers with dominoes; repeatedly colored out of the lines; giggled and yelled excitedly through a couple of rounds of UNO! with some of the older cousins. 

Wedding chatter filled the kitchen, as Tia’s prepped and cooked the feast for the Cuban themed rehearsal dinner for the next night, Lechon, congri, yucca, arroz con leche…

Yea, let’s fast forward a bit before I get hungrier.

FFW >> to the next day, unloading the car, set up, last minute stops at the liquor store and market, more loading and unloading, bathing and the prepping kids, aaaand we’re back!

THE REHEARSAL DINNER

This night, like many other traditional rehearsal dinners, would be the first time that most of our (Greg’s) family, met Courtney’s family. And let’s just say Tennessee and Cuba, I mean Miami, are pretty much worlds apart. 

It was a wonderful night though. Of course the Cubans suited up in their guayaberas, thank you VALSAN (Los Que vienen, No se Van… except for short weekend trips to Tennessee). Point is, we got the party going quickly.

The only empty tables were ours, because we were busy at the domino tables, getting mojitos at the bar, tootsie rolling on the dance floor (there was no candy involved), and exposing ourselves at the photo booth, I mean waiting for the instant pictures to expose themselves from the Fuji Instax camera. 

Lauren had thought carefully through the playlist, and it paid off because soon everyone was stomping on the dance floor, literally jumping off a small stage at the end of the hall and stomping the dance floor. 

But alas all good things must come to an end. And like every good party, when the liquor runs out, the guest run out, literally they run for the door. Im just kidding, but where did they go off to so quickly? 

FFW>> Clean up on aisle…EVERYWHERE.

THE WEDDING DAY

The next morning was a whirlwind of showering, makeup, white stockings that would be black in a couple of hours, dresses and heels. 

After failing to find film for my Fuji Instax camera at Walgreens (I swear I don’t get any bonuses for mentions O_o, camera and film sold at Walmart and Target.) we continued on to …
THE HOUSE IN THE WOODS

No one would be murdered there, as creepy as the name sounds, but I do have a shadow filled polaroid of the house to back up that initial sentiment. 

It was literally just that, a house IN the middle of the woods beside the Maryville College. Quiet & peaceful; lush greenery everywhere. The house was a classic white, 2-story, wood frame house. It smelled of eucalyptus and hospitality, and came complete with a creepy attic. 

Actually, it wasn’t that creepy at all. The would be menacing attic turned out to have the most perfectly awkward curvature of grey wall and atypical fluorescent lighting that became an impromptu backdrop for family photos. 

Cue the aunts and uncles and cousins and kids who took turns practicing their chin ups, and shoulder drops, before settling on final poses for pictures. Marta snapped away while the groomsmen and bridesmaids took traditional pictures outside with the bride and groom. Separately, of course. Can’t have the bride and groom spooking each other before the big moment. 

FFW>> After 367 pictures or more, depending on whether or not u count the ones deleted to make additional space, it was finally time to head to the church.

I DO. 

The ceremony was beautiful of course.
The music played. The Bible was read. She cried, he cried, we cried. Thank God for the boxes of tissues at the end of every aisle. Even Vicky my youngest sniffled and had to dab at the corners of her eyes; although it may have just been an allergic reaction to her flower girl bouquet. 

We lined up outside the church to send them off with a cheer in the traditional manner, except for the rice; we didn’t pelt them with anything except love and good wishes. They waved and drove off (circled the parking lot until most of the guests had left).
We took more family pictures before heading to the reception. That is really all that remains once we get back to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
THE HOUSE IN THE WOODS REVISITED

Fiesta, Fiesta.

The setup for the reception was perfection. The entire property immediately around the house, including the house was used in one way or another.

The cocktail hour was around the back of the house, which was actually at the front of the house when you drove up, so that was a little confusing. There was a delicious Biscuit, Bacon, Ham and Jam station, which was phenomenol. I mean it doesn’t just sound delicious; it was heaven.
There was a bar on each side of the house, obviously lots of people congregated there. The food was set up downstairs in the large main living space of the house. Low shelves lined the walls; antiques and old books scattered throughout.
The cake table was an old barrel! SO VINTAGE! And it was smack dab in the middle of the hallway torturing everyone who walked by.
At the rear, or should I say “front” of the property, you immediately came upon the dance floor surrounded by Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez’s table, guests tables, the DJ, a cigar smoking sitting area, and lots of space for kids to run and dance and play hide-and-seek.
Dinner was served, and shortly after it was time for the first, but not last, dance for the newly annointed Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez. Father/Daughter dance followed. And then mother and son graced the dance floor. She wrapped her arms around his tall shoulders, and looked up at him. He had looked up to her for so long. They smiled and laughed, reminisced.
Soon the dance floor would begin to fill. Flower girls twirling, bridesmaids twerking, laughter of friends and family, impromptu karaoke, and the flash of iphones and my Fuji instax camera. My kids took turns toting it around and blinding the guests, inadvertently cutting off peoples feet and or heads. Nevertheless, there still were many great shots.
FFW>> through hide and seek with the kids (mostly seeking), dodging ditches, and bug repellent.
I stood before the house near the edge of the dance floor. From this vantage point I could easily look around to spot my wandering kids, and catch a glimpse of my niece here and there. I watched my family-some chatting, a few spectators like me, but the majority were breaking it down, carefree on the dancefloor.
There’s something magical about weddings. Maybe it’s the idea of a new beginning, the dream of eternal love, endless possibilities, two people building a brighter future together.
Whatever it is, it brings people together, even if just for a short time.

I pulled up my cellphone to capture the moment, the angle was awful. I could only get the people who were right in front of me. Everyone was all cluttered together. You couldn’t see all the fun that was happening in the middle, or the people who were dancing in the back, barely staying on the edge of the dancefloor.
I needed to get higher.
I looked at the surrounding trees that towered above us. Yes, for a second I thought, if only I could get up in one of those trees.
I quickly discarded the idea but as I looked around me at the house, my eyes came upon the solution.
I walked into the house and straight up the wooden staircase. Just my luck, one of the rooms at the top of the steps had a small window that overlooked the dancefloor head on.
I unlocked the window and pushed up on it. Now someone had noticed me in the window.
They are on to me!
Just when I thought it wasn’t going to budge, the wood creaked and it slid open.
I leaned on the edge of the window and pulled up my iphone and everyone realized what I was up to! They started cheering and jumping and dancing even more!
Realizing what all the comotion was about behind them, one of the hired photographers sprinted up the stairs hoping to catch the same shot.
********
Life is all about perspective.
You’ll notice I did some fast forwarding through this post (although it is STILL rather long).
You can sit around and look at all the things that annoy you; make lists of everything that is going wrong; nitpick at all the things that you are unhappy about; criticize others decisions; waste your time being negative; being a victim.
Or you can look for the positive; see other peoples joy around you and feed off of that; focus on being happy; doing good; spreading
good vibes and uplifting sentiments.
Taking pictures.
Sometimes your vision gets clouded. You have to separate yourself from a situation, and look up for a better perspective.