Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Winds of Change

When change comes does it come unannounced, without a warning? Does it come with many subtle and not so subtle nuances? Does change happen or does it exist all the time fixed in its place in the universe waiting for us to recognize and utilize it?

Down to the molecular level things become magnified when you pay attention to them, so change could be the same way. When change is embraced, it could rise up and avail itself with limitless potential like a muscle you exercise that becomes stronger, more reliable and easier to use. Change becomes less mysterious and its’ capabilities become more believable.

Is change the closest relative to intention?

Think it, say it, do it’ is always in effect. We exercise this intention principle everyday. Why then are some days so different? We imagine and pine for a day when change would arrive on our doorstep. We dream of change. We lament and pray for change. But do we always exercise our ability to, well, just change? Is it something over there, outside ourselves living within our circumstances, or are we in control? Are we in denial? Is it both, simultaneously as works in progress?

I’m particularly fond of change for the betterment that surprises me. Someone going beyond the framework of what’s expected of them. Someone who was once so closed minded embracing new possibilities. A situation that at first seems so wrong, that turns out to be so right. Recognition in ones self to push beyond the self-imposed boundaries. Spiritual growth right before your very eyes within your very soul.

Today, I am embracing change, accepting change, and intending to make change happen. I am praying for the grace of God to be able to withstand those changes that I am not in control of and those that I do not see coming.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"I can do all things through Christ... "

Joan & Frank
a.k.a. Mom & Dad

"...who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

I feel very weak. Must be a virus or something. Interesting how it came about shortly after I found out my Mom has to have angioplasty this Friday. Mom described her symptoms as weakness, overall malaise, no pep, short of breath, pain in upper left side of chest. She'd been diagnosed through a stress test and the results are leading to this procedure wherein a stent may be introduced to her clogged artery. Heart failure is a possibility without the procedure and since Mom has diagnosed symptoms, the time is right for her to get some relief.

Dad had been diagnosed the same way - through a stress test. They called the blockage in his heart a 'widow's peak' saying without the surgery, he would have a massive coronary. So, Dad did the only thing he could do. He walked into the operating room at Columbia Presbyterian in New York and allowed leading cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz (who is regularly seen on Oprah and is a Dr. god in my opinion) to perform a successful quadruple bypass surgery on him. This was seven years ago. Since then, Dad's been very healthy and living a good, clean life - Thank You God.

I remember being very strong when Dad was going through all of this. My sister Debbie almost passed out at the hospital, but I wasn't shaken. I just knew he was going to be alright and being strong in front of my father was always very important. Only the strong survive kind of mentality, so whilst on the front line - you 'keep a stiff upper lip' as my grandmother Violet used to say.

But with Mom it's different. Immediately, the sympathy pains and symptoms arrived after she told me. I could feel the blood pound into my ears hard, b-bam, b-bam, b-bam, what? Not again. Not Mommy. She's selflessly worked her whole life providing for her children and then for her elderly Mother, why should she have to go through any of this? I guess because we're only human after all. But, I want to be superhuman and take it all away from her. Go through it for her. Spare her the anxiety of getting up at 5am on one of the coldest days of the year and voluntarily going to St. Michael's in Newark to undergo a procedure that involves her heart.

Any procedure that has to do with the heart, the brain, the lungs...c'mon, it's heavy.

I want to protect her the way she protected me my whole life. I got sick a lot when I was a child. I was born breech and had one leg shorter than the other. Mom had to exercise my little legs daily to help them grow. In appreciation at the time, I basically kicked and screamed my bloody head off. Then, I had my tonsils removed, and ear tubes put in. I had asthma. But Mom...she was always at my bedside with a cold compress and vicks vapor rub in the humidifier, chicken soup and a few coloring books and before you knew it, I was nursed back to health.
Even last year when I had my surgery she was at my bedside wishing, loving and praying me back to health. Thank you Mommy. I love you and I hope you know I will always be here for you. It's the least I can do. Afterall, you've done so much for me, not to mention giving me life. That's what I'd like to do for my mother. Give her chicken soup, a cold compress, a snoot full of vicks vapor rub and a smooch on the head. No more, no less. She is so precious to me.
Today, according to the American Heart Association heart disease is still the leading killer of humans. And while angioplasty and bypass surgeries are very common and safe procedures to the administrators, to us it's frightening.

And in times likes these, and when my joys are too many to count, I lean on my God in prayer. I lift up my Mother and ask God to give her peace, health and a good report. I ask God to give the doctor's energy, finesse and life in their nimble hands. I ask God to remind them that each life is precious, each procedure is a life - mother, father, sister, brother. I ask God to make Mom's path straight and restore her to good health so as to live a life long, prosperous and most comfortable. I ask these things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Love Souls Embrace

Maria's Photo

Love Souls Embrace

The message is clear
Pay close attention now
The answer is in the wind and shadow play
The secret dwells in rose petals and banana peels

The prophetic
glows on the tip of a campfire branch
It will not be denied
But it is sometimes overlooked

Like those old wise oaks just outside your window
Who watch your life and laugh and cry
As they silently pray with you each day
And catch Holy tones from Church bells off in the distance

Careful contemplation . . .
It usually happens during some roadside frustration
- you get information through radio messages
and interesting flight patterns in geese.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"...the greatest of these is love."

It is almost impossible to describe what it's like to give your heart to your mate through Holy matrimony. In that moment love expresses itself through mutual respect, joy, tenderness and kindness of the Highest order. It's always that way in the beginning. Withstanding life's trials remains the true test of love's longevity. Partnership eases life's burdens. But knowing what love is can make a marriage last an eternity. Here then, is what I believe to be the best definition of love that I've come across.
Corinthians 13 1-13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Love Is In The Air

We're not sure why there are streams of light and color fragments in this image

of Jim and me from Kauai...we'd like to think

it's because we were getting the universe's blessing

... see the heart shaped cloud?

This image was not manipulated in any way.

I remember the first time I heard that song "Love Is In The Air". I was at an Italian disco in Rome, dancing. My Mom, my sister and I took a Perillo tour to the North side of Italy when I was 16.

Today, Jim and I are getting ready for an early evening wedding. I love weddings and the celebrations that follow them. I really don't know any of the people at this one. One of Jim's hockey buddies is tying the knot and I've never met him or his fiance. So, I get to be the ultimate observer at someone else's biggest night of their lives. Yayy. I love love, so this is right up my alley.

I prayed for them last night. I prayed that God would bless their marriage and strengthen their hearts. Marriage is a very tough proposition today. Anyday. It takes a lot of dedication and forethought. Putting someone before yourself constantly. Everyday I ask myself what I can do to make my husband's life easier. It puts my marriage in it's proper place. Thirteen years later and I'm so happy to say that our marriage is blessed. It is blessed because we take our vows and commitment to each other very seriously.

That doesn't mean we don't argue and have valley's that are so thick and sticky. We do. But it's the way we deal with it that keeps us together. We're best friends. We enjoy a lot of the same things. Our interests overlap. We also have our own individual interests separate and distinct from one another. Maybe that's why it works.

Maybe it works because we pray. We pray together. We ask God to bless our marriage, our efforts, our intentions, our families, our friends. We know God has a plan for us. We know He brought us together, that's so obvious. We're so very grateful.

Hmmmm. Maybe ours is a good marriage because we eloped. Weddings are stressful, but a trip to Hawaii - that's fun. That's what we did. We went to Kauai with some friends and while we were there, we exchanged vows. It was Jimmy's idea by the way. We didn't plan to get married there. We were engaged. We already owned our first house so we were headed in the general direction of eternal commitment. But I didn't want a big wedding. It was too complicated for me with my parents not being together. So, one day, in the lobby of our hotel Jim said to the concierge "We'd like to get married".

I was shocked and ecstatic. Immediately, we put the wheels in motion and two days later we were married on sacred fishing ground between the ocean and the mountains of Kauai. I thank God everyday for that moment in my life. I thank God everyday for my best friend.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Practice What You Preach

A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a young man (a very precious young man whom I love and whom shall remain nameless to protect his identity - but he knows who he is). I was inspired (or frustrated) to write this poem. Thought after yesterday's blog, it was appropriate to post.

Practice What You Preach

Advice can be like a dirty old smelly sock
That someone throws at you when you’re not looking.
Advice can be spewed out of park fountains at
Family picnics as you watch the chicken cooking.
Sometimes, advice can be as painful as the secrets
In our hearts themselves. . .

Listen closely! Here’s what you should do.
Remember to keep what I tell you between me and you.
In my opinion and in my experience,
I know the error of your ways
Even though I can’t get through one of those “Just For Today’s”.

No, I know better and I may not walk the way I talk
And true they almost outlined my body with that nasty white chalk.
But enough about me, you know all there is to know.
You know where I come from and you know where I go.
So what! Big deal! I can still give good advice.
So what if I’m still out there paying the price.
Your problem’s a no brainer, a tease at best
So before I solve your problem, give me a rest
I have to head downtown to feed at my lover’s breast
Yeah, you know the one

You think you’ve got me all figured out.
We’ll one day I‘ll think clearer and hear whispers instead of shouts
But for today, I know I can help, it’s all about you.
If you want to come with me, you’re welcome to.

Man, I can show you some things you’ve never seen before.
I’ll even show you my favorite place to score.
Trust me in twenty minutes you’ll be saying “what problem”?
And I’ll be too fucked up to remind you that I solved them.
I know I can help you, stick with me.
Two hours from now, free from freedom you will be.

Yes, advice can be like a curse or a poison
And disrupt the imperfect life you were born in.
Advice can snuff out the best of our voices
And cause us the continuum of wrong choices.
Advice can perplex the calmest of hearts.
Advice can kill our best efforts at fresh starts . . .

Yo, you think you know what I need?
All’s I see is a man chosen to bleed.
You want to give me advice about what I should do?
First take care of that shit on your shoe,
Or that plank in your eye or that spot on your soul.
Don’t give me advice until you’re in control.

You said “In my opinion and in my experience”, please
That my “problem’s a no brainer, at best a tease . . .”

If I want advice on where to score
Drugs or a whore
Armani off the truck galore,
How to slip into a coma from the rip roar for sure
How to steal a couple bucks from your Pops top drawer,
How to be on the outside only 50% cool
And be on the inside an empty lost fool,
How to use and abuse and manipulate,
How to never persevere and procrastinate
How to look down my nose at everyone
And lie to them all and say its fun
How to have expensive taste with no money in my pocket
To lie about my mad car, while at home I ride my rocket
Of hypocrisy and blind confusion . . .

Oh, I truly know where to go.

And thank you for showing up and offering me blow
Or whatever narcotic you’ve chosen today.
I’m sorry now, but I don’t play.

And next time wait and see if I ask
For advice on a subject or particular task.
I’m not interested in your twenty minutes or two hours from now.
I’m not interested in your k-hole or PCP pow wow.
I’m not interested in your blow or your slow death,
So save your advice and save your breath
And get out of my face.
Go do what you do best.
If you don’t know what that is,
You’ll find out like the rest.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dire Straits

America has some serious problems. There isn't enough blog hyperspace to cover all of them, so I'll just scratch the surface of one. Drugs.

Prescription drugs, street drugs, emotional drugs, food for drugs, you name it. We use them and abuse them all. It's almost a rite of passage for the youth of America today. Every single child born in America WILL be exposed to all of these drugs sooner or later. Some, by their very own parents who think they're doing the right thing. Some, by their friends who know they're not.

It was no different when I was growing up. Several of my peers didn't survive a night out 'partying'. They died. Died from cocaine and heroine overdoses mostly. That scared me.

That was in the 70's and 80's. I remember the Reagan administrations 'just say no' campaign. That didn't last. Why not? What's changed since then? Well, it's gotten a lot worse. America is so focused on 'the war against terrorism' that it's left the drug war by the way side. The Bush administration has said ... wait let me think ... NOTHING on the subject.

Prescription companies and drug dealers are one in the same and have only one purpose. To sell their wares. They don't care who buys them, who takes them, who dies from them. They just don't care. The almighty dollar (which isn't worth a valium today) is superior to the lives that they're medicating. As long as they're making a profit, as long as people are sick and dying, as long as people are experimenting and becoming addicted, they know they've got a strong hold like never before. And we, as Americans, have empowered them to kill our very selves and children. When will America get scared into change?
When did Americans become so numb to life?

Of late, Anna Nicole Smith died from abusing prescription drugs that were given to her by medical professionals (and her every loving posse) to say the least. Heath Ledger will probably have suffered the same fate. Why? When will we stop self medicating? How about today? How about seeking out alternative solutions to pain and suffering? How about throwing out those scripts that you know serve only one purpose. How about saying no to your children when they ask for a pain killer that they've seen you take a million times? How about taking your addicted child to a rehab center for more than 30 days and really making sure their sobriety sticks? How about parents and children going together? Counseling. Rehab. Education. Spirituality. GOD! Where is God? (Oh yeah, we've taken God out of the equation.)

Lean on your own understanding and you will be pressed under. Get some wisdom people. Our children are dying....

Psalm 121 A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Fast Track Back to Health

Today's blog is dedicated to my husband Jimmy. I wanted to post this experience because it changed both of our lives. Read on...

Began Writing March 2007 after Jim's surgery...edited after mine in June 2007--->

What I really want to be doing right now instead of sitting at my computer is deep stretching on the floor like my cat Mohito does every time she gets up from a resting position. I’ve not deeply stretched or exercised for the past five weeks while I recover from emergency partial hysterectomy surgery. The past five weeks have been rough but let’s go back a few months.

2007 started out with my husband Jim needing hip replacement surgery. Jim is a very strong, active, sports minded 44 year old man in no way ready to slow down, even though the previously diagnosed osteoarthritis in his right hip was worsening. We know he got this joint disease due to his participation in heavy contact sports all of his life along with a predisposition to weak joints from the family gene pool. This ‘wear-and-tear’ degenerative type of arthritis causes the cartilage to wear away over time so the bone ends rub together. Jim did not need a Dr. to tell him he had serious hip problems. Every day his hip increased in pain and weakness.

Jim began his sports career as a young man competing on the wrestling mat, the football field, the ice rink and even the race track. He was captain of the Cedar Grove High School football team and brought his team to multiple victories simultaneously coaching while competing. After he graduated high school, Jim settled in coaching football. His ice hockey days were reduced to once a week, sometimes only twice a month depending on the intensity of pain and level of weakness in his hip.

That went on gratis for the past twenty seven years, just for love of sports and teaching. Sports are at the center of Jim’s life so when his hip started to act up, his instincts were to push through, push hard, don‘t complain, don’t give in to the pain. By the time the third Dr.’s opinion confirmed what we already knew, Jim was ready for a complete right hip replacement and he was only 44 years old which is considered to be pretty young for this type of surgery. Most hip replacement candidates are in the 70‘s or older and their recovery expectations are definitely not what Jim‘s were. He had a pretty bad limp by then and the weakness in his leg was obvious to everyone around him. He was losing the ability to do normal day-to-day things like getting in and out of his truck. Walk. Run. This was devastating to this sports minded athlete, Teacher, Coach. He wanted his life back.

The surgery was performed on March 5, 2007 by Dr. Mark Hartzband of the Hartzband Joint Replacement Institute, a Dr. god that leads his industry using various types of implants made of metal and plastics. Dr.‘s choice for Jim was an intimidating titanium steel on titanium steel prosthesis implanted through a four inch incision on the back of Jim‘s right hip. The procedure took a mere forty five minutes at Hackensack University Hospital in Hackensack, NJ. Note to reader, Jim was awake during the entire operation. Did you know that an epidural and a percocet are all one needs to endure such a procedure? Jim could actually hear the metal on metal pounding that was happening behind the strategically placed sheet in front of his eyes.
Thankfully, he could not see or feel anything. Yet.

My mother-in-law Carmella and I were anxiously waiting for the Dr.’s report and as promised forty five minutes after taking him into the operating room, Dr. Hartzband with perspiration still on his lip from manipulating my husband, gave his account: “He’s fine. He’s in recovery. You’ll be able to see him shortly.” A smile and a wink and off he whisked to perform another miracle. Then we were brought into recovery and we got our first glimpse of Jim. He was lying flat on the gurney with several feeds to and from his body. Two to drain fluid away and two to put fluid in. He was a little swollen, wrapped up in swaddling blankets with a damp towel on his head. His color was the perfect shade of pink. Pink lips, as usual, thank God.. Two nurses were monitoring him and tending to his every need. He was coherent and smiled when he saw us. I asked him if he was alright? He said, “Yeah, you“? “I’m fine” I said with tears in my eyes as I kissed his cheek. I was a nervous wreck. I remember thinking, what would I ever do without this man? This man who has been my best friend for the past twelve years, my husband for the last five, my everything. Thankfully, today I didn’t have to worry about that.

We were not fully prepared for the recovery process after the surgery though, and when you are thrust into a new situation you basically learn on the fly or else. This was my husbands life on the line here and if he needed my help, he was going to get it. Immediately after the surgery, Jim was questioning his sanity. His epidural hadn’t quite worn off yet so he wasn’t completely regretful, but when it had worn off, it was a different story. It was overwhelming. He had a liquid drain or puncture wound directly above his incision which now had 15 staples holding it tightly closed. The wounds needed their dressings changed daily, his blood needed lovamox injections to keep it thin and from clotting, compression stockings needed to be taken off in the evening and put on every morning to assist in the prevention of blood clots. There was a lot of discussion about 45 degree angles and how not to displace the hip…what? Displace the hip? That was possible? Yes. We had to learn what not to do and I had to learn how to administer injections, clean wounds, find strength from beyond to put on and off those stockings. They’re not your mama’s pantyhose by the way, they are industrial strength ‘compression’ stockings that are almost impossible to put on.

Of course we didn’t know any of that. I did know that he was going to be fine and I could and would convince him, and myself, that we had made the right choice. We. We were going to get through this together. Realizing the magnitude of what total hip replacement surgery looks like post-op, we took a deep breath, held onto each other and the newly introduced walker and cane, pulled on the hand assists and compression stockings and forged ahead because for now, they wanted him to get up and he needed to get up. For his sanity. To know that he was not bedridden and that this was not the biggest mistake of his life. Within only a few hours after surgery two rehabilitators showed up bedside and asked “Are you ready to get up”? I looked at my mother-in-law and gasped “What”? What did they say? Get up? So soon? How can he? But sure enough, they along with Jim’s brute strength and will got him to stand up and with a walker, walk across the room.

I stood in the doorway as a clapping, grinning strip of finish line tape and encouraged him to walk to me - like he was taking his first steps ever. And he was. The first steps ever, with his new hip. And walk he did, first to me and then back to bed to rest for one night and then I took him home.

Once home, the visiting nurse service came to our home several times to check his stats and to begin physical therapy. Exercises daily to increase his strength, mobility and flexibility. Eventually, he would go to a physical therapist but for now, they’re coming to him. He’s more than ready and willing. Jim’s competitive nature is inspiring at times and to see him like that was admirable. He wanted to get up and walk before they asked him to, before he should have, before he could have. He was quite impatient. Competitive, if only with himself and his new hip. Champion in nature, like a thoroughbred born to run but locked in the stable. How can you hold someone like that down? You can’t. Like most truly strong men faced with physical confinement he reacted with brute force willing himself, pulling, kicking and moving around to find his limitations. Once he realized his limitations he pursued his capabilities. He was religious about his rehab pushing himself daily and exercising constantly. He barely rested in between as he gauged the regaining of his strength, mobility and flexibility. He could see the light at the end of the tunnel and he was pursuing it with everything he had. I’m so proud of him and his accomplishments. He, in the true essence of who he is, is once again a champion. Whole. Able to compete. Strong. Unbeatable. An over comer.

Dr. Hartzband promised Jim that he’d be driving in 10 days and while driving any long period of time was out of the question, Jim did drive around the block 10 days after his surgery, in defiance and in liberation. He’s yet to play ice hockey or even put on his skates, but his determination will see him through. Besides, Dr. Hartzband promised that he’d be able to skate after about a year and I’d dare anyone to try and stop my husband Jim from believing that. Since the surgery he’s gone back to work full time. He’s had extensive physical therapy to regain his range of motion and strength. He’s able to do strength training, bike riding, and we’ve yet to see what else he can do. It has only been four months since the surgery.

That was then. This is now. Check him out.

Jim's First Skate

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Coins In The Mouth Of A Fish

From l to r top, Dad & Mom (Frank & Joan)
bottom, me & Deb

One of my earliest memories is of being in a Catholic convent in Jersey City. My parents were working (dad a drummer and mom a bookkeeper) during the day, so the baby - me, had to go somewhere. My sister Debbie was old enough for school so off she went.

At 5 years old I went to nursery school at the convent. I went there for several years. A dozen or so devoted, Catholic nuns took care of all of the children. There were babies upstairs and bigger kids downstairs. I wish I could remember the name of it. My mom can't either and it is since long gone. But the memories of that place, I realize left an indelible impression on me. The convent experience was life path altering.

The Chapel was a very Holy place obviously, but to me, it became my second home. A sacred place that I went to everyday. I would stare at the stained glass windows depicting these larger than life people that I would come to know and love (or did I always know and love them?). I was there every day listening to the nuns sing and pray in Latin and English and eventually, I would recite along with them. They were diligent in their daily devotions and I gravitated, naturally, more and more toward their God and their meditations. I believe God inhabits the praise of His people...and surely He was in our midst.

The Holy Host was another matter entirely. During that precious dedication and offering of Christ's Body and Blood, I watched them, day after day, receive this round wafer. I waited in anticipation of receiving one myself. I waited. And I waited. They never gave it to me. Why was I excluded? I was at the Chapel everyday. I was well behaved. I was quiet (in Church). What was happening?

Of course, unbeknownst to me, I was too young to receive Holy Communion so I did the next best thing. I wanted to be included in their ritual. I wanted to share in their Communion. So, when no one was looking I would take small pieces of tissue paper from boxes of kleenex that were placed randomly throughout the convent, and I would eat them. I remember it like it was yesterday. I did this for a long while. What was I thinking?

Looking back, I realize I was thinking I wanted more of all of it. I smelled the incense. I saw the candles flickering. I heard and listened to the living Word of God. More importantly, I felt the presence of God. He was speaking to my heart at such a young and tender age. How could I possibly understand the magnitude of what I was being exposed to?

At the end of the day, one of my parents would pick me up and bring me back home. After dinner, my mom would get me ready for bed and some nights, I would take down the crucifix I had on the wall next to my bed, and take out the nails that were piercing My Saviors Hands and Feet. I would put them aside and take His Body and put it, ever so gently on my pillow. He suffered enough today, I would think to myself. I just want Him to rest.

In the morning, and I hated doing this, I would put the nails back in His Hands and Feet and put the cross back on the wall. I did this for some time as well. I had to put Him back. I always put everything 'back where I found it' when I was a child, as I was taught.

I still have that feeling. All these many years later, I am still that little girl waiting in anticipation for more of what God has to offer. It's all very mysterious to me. Mysterious and fascinating. I am a child of the Most High God. Always was, always will be and I am ever so thankful to God for giving me parents with such busy schedules.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Get It

The 'I Have A Dream' speech was written
by Dr. King in these mangroves in Bimini, Bahamas
Photo Taken By Maria
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A day to reflect on the life and journey of one gifted, courageous and outspoken man. Dr. King did for his generation what only he could do. He spoke the truth to the masses and removed most of the clay and dirt that plugged the eyes and ears of the people. Some didn't listen.

HEBREWS 4 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The truth is a double-edged sword and pierces the hearts of men. So some retaliated against the truth and Dr. King's life was taken from him.

President John F. Kennedy was also a truth speaker during Dr. King's time. He supported Dr. King. His life was taken from him too.

You can assasinate a man, but you cannot assasinate the truth. The truth lives on.

I wonder if the people of this day and age are really paying attention. Do they get that racism still exists for just about everybody today? Somebody hates something about somebody somewhere, every day. That's so dangerously powerful and yes, love is a mighty warrior but wisdom and knowledge are also effectively mighty. Where's the wisdom in hatred? Where's the wisdom in racism? Haven't enough souls been assasinated for this cause? When does life become important again? When does truth become important again? How many more righteous men have to sacrifice their lives before we get it?

I get it Dr. King and Mr. President, I get it. And, thank you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made..."

Photo Taken by Maria

...I will rejoice and be glad in it". This is one of my most favorite scriptures, to date. I have a lot of favorites, but when my eyes open in the morning, this is the one I hear. It doesn't matter what I've got planned for the day (or what the day has planned for me) - I will rejoice!

For me, rejoicing is always a choice and a state of mind. As is peace. I have both. I didn't always and sometimes I do get miserable, but for the most part I am a very positive, hopeful, expectant being. I've learned to lay it all down. Take all of my worries, concerns and fears and give them to the One who has light burdens and an easy yoke. I believe that He hears me, answers me and cares for me. And, 'if HE be for me, who can be against me'?

No one. So it, whatever IT is, IT really doesn't matter.

Life has proven to me that God is the caretaker and lover of His people. When His people ask Him for anything, He hears them. I know. God has heard every one of my prayers and has answered all of them. He has saved me from myself.

I remember being very young and very insecure. I had repetitive nightmares about waves, HUGE waves looming in the distance, getting ever closer and eventually consuming me and everyone else in their path. I would always survive in the dream to witness the aftermath, the destruction, the ruin. I tried for many years to understand these dreams. It wasn't until I really let go of all of my worries and anxieties that the nightmares stopped. I realized that I wasn't living my true, authentic life. Life was happening to me. Life was crashing into and over me. I wasn't rising above anything but rolling over and over and under, out of control. I was out of control.
Those dreams turned out to be quite prophetic with the tsunami's (real and imagined) that would happen in my lifetime. Imagine my horror when what I had dreamt was being repeated on 5, 6 and 7 o'clock news. It was as if the images were exactly what I had seen.
God uses all sorts of dreams to speak to my heart. This was just one of many. I especially loved the one where I was floating above my sleeping body. This was about a year ago. The hovering me approached the sleeping me and touched the sleeping me's belly. The sleeping me rolled over, without waking up and the dream was over. I didn't know what that one meant until June of 07 (only 8 months ago) when I had major emergency abdominal surgery-a partial hysterectomy. It was a brutal time and I felt like I almost perished with the amount of blood I lost, but the dream...the dream left me somewhat informed and peaceful.

Dreams, visions, prophecies, prayers....the truth is in there and where there is truth, peace will surely follow, so you might as well Rejoice!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Works in Progress

Photo Taken by Maria

Today, I begin my blog. My testament to the splendor of human life and all of its experiences.

I have evolved into the person typing these words over the course of 44 years. What I used to be I am no longer and what I am to be, I am still becoming. I am thankful that I have learned to evolve. I am thankful that I am a much better listener (among other things) than I used to be. Although, I still talk way too much.

So, it makes sense that I have a lot to say....about love, God, family, relationships, loyalty, virtues, marriage, etc... I have experience. I have knowledge and wisdom. I have prayed for these things and I believe that the Most High God has given them to me. I have eyes to see and ears to hear. How do I know? Because I am still becoming and growing like a plant being cared for and watered. I've been placed in the sun and I've been fed spiritual food. My cup runneth over.

I am still evolving, into a better human being, I can only hope. I desire to be the best human being I can be. Sort of super human. I believe that only happens when you fill up your spirit-man. Or in my case, spirit-woman.

When I was younger, I didn't understand any of this. I believed in a higher love, higher power, higher level of existence. But I didn't know how to achieve it. Life being what it is, handed me all sorts of challenges, some of which I miserably failed. Failure, it turns out, is sometimes the best thing that can happen to a person. Failure followed by a sincere desire to succeed and change can bring about drastic results and progress.

And that I did. I DECIDED to change. I DECIDED to succeed. When I made those choices, everything changed. Sure the hurt was still there but somehow (and I'll explain more about the how later), it devolved and I evolved. It wasn't easy. You're wondering about the hurt? I wonder about it too. Why did I have to endure so much emotional pain? A lot of families 'break-up'. A lot of young girls get taken advantage of. A lot of young girls experiment with things they shouldn't. A lot of young girls take chances they shouldn't. And so on, and so on. But as a young girl, I believed I was ill equipped to handle most of these problems. Subsequently, I didn't handle them very well at all. (What's the expression, what you believe - you are?) Most of them I denied up until only a few years ago. Why was that? Too hurt I suppose and ashamed of what I don't know. Too much damage. Low self-esteem. Yeah, a lot happened between the pain and the decision making process, but I'll save that for another day. Today, I begin my blog and I hope you will stop by from time to time and check me out. Leave me a message. I'd love to know your thoughts. I probably can muster up a comment or two.