Words

Did you ever realize that there can be SO much in a word? I mean really a lot… Wanted to drop one here to turn over in your mouths, minds, and hearts for a minute

Heredity

There’s so much that can be passed down to us and that we can pass down to our own children.  Most often people think of illness or body shapes, size, appearance when they think of heredity.  But there is so much more that we can pass down to our children than has been captured by science…

  • blessings
  • gifts
  • love
  • disposition
  • sense of humor
  • intelligence
  • traits
  • curses
  • bad habits
  • fears
It’s almost like this invisible supernatural chain that links us to one another, genetically intertwining us.  Just let that word sit in your mouth for a moment.  Say it out loud, let your breath free around it.  What mysteries/ plans are in it for you?  What has been passed down to you?  What have you passed down to your children or what do you stand to pass down to them?
Heredity
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Changing my WALK…

1 of 2 Two delightful girls give thumbs up - R...

this isn't me jogging... but it's pretty cool anyhow

A SILENT KILLER

Depression can kill you.  Seriously, it can literally kill you.  Not only will you feel like death but you could potentially die.  Depression at its worst can lead to suicide, which takes about 850,000 lives per year according to the World Health Organization[i].  For young people, ages 15 to 24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death.  [ii]However, outside of the most evident cause of death for depression (suicide), depression itself can also lead to other physical conditions that can cause death including cardiovascular disease among others.

I was actually surprised when watching a recent episode of Dr. G the Medical Examiner[iii], a young man was in good health and fell into a depression after his separation from his wife and child.  The knowledge that he wouldn’t be in his little girl’s life spiraled him down into such a pit of despair that he rarely moved from his bed, choosing to languish instead.  Eventually because of his non-movement, all of his organs began to slow down.  This sluggishness caused his bowels to eventually become completely impacted.  This impaction of fecal matter caused a leaking of e-coli into his blood stream, causing an infection that quickly killed him.

Yes, he died because he let himself wallow in misery a little too long and actually became full of crap?? Well, in a nut shell, yes.  Hard to believe, but true.

MY WALK ALONG DEATH’S DOOR

You may not know this but I know firsthand about depression and have battled with it off and on during my life.   I don’t know when it first began, but I have a self-portrait that I painted in high school and it’s me with blue skin to represent the pain that I felt inside.  I think the piece was supposed to be similar to Dali’s style and I actually have a scale floating behind me and a school and a ball and chain.  But somehow, I’ve always gotten the depression to subside for a bit.

It’d actually been about 4 years since my last bout of depression.  But God in his sovereignty, allowed me to revisit those days ever so briefly recently.  One of the things that became clear to me as Jesus pulled me out of the hole of despair, was that I had to take a look at the things that I had been doing that let me trip and fall into the hole in the first place.  I had to ask myself what was going on with my body physically.  What pieces/factors from that could have been contributing to the emotions that caused my tumble and then enabled me to stay down there?

And I knew the exact answer to that question.  For months, I had fallen into a slump of eating poorly and basically not exercising.  Those things had been pushed down so far on my priority list that they didn’t make the list at all.  As a result, I’d gained close to 20 lbs.  Yes, 20 pounds.  And although the weight bothered me a little, I was so wrapped in other things in my life, all good things like God and my family, that it didn’t really bother me that much.  The issue that really had me down was my skin.  My skin was worse than it had been during my teen years.  And just a step shy of all over facial breakout like the time I used a facial moisturizer that I had an allergy to and developed acne worthy of a PROACTIVE commercial.

About a year ago this time, I was very active in the gym, but I stopped that when my daughter began to give me too hard of a time when going to the gym child care center.

CHANGING MY WALK

It was a bit of a smack in the face to realize that the very same things that I had been putting in my mouth had caused my grief.  And I could point the finger of blame only at myself in the mirror.  I did this to myself.  And I said, enough.  I decided that I had to cut certain things out of my diet for a while until my skin was back on track and I lost a little weight… most dairy, sugar, carbohydrates, candy, soda, juice, and a few other things.  If I had to have coffee every day, then it’s not going to be this pleasurable experience or phenomenon that I had let it become – coffee with milk, sugar and bread dragging out the cup to the last drop.  No more, my body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit and deserves to be treated with that level of respect.

So I’m making changes in my life.  But this time around I’m so excited because I have God in my life that will support me through this life change.  Not through this temporary weight loss until I get to go on my trip with the girls to South Beach or whatever… No this time, it’s for my physical, spiritual, and emotional health.  And not only do I have God, but one of my wonderful friends, Paula, comes with me to the gym about 4 times a week!  So I’m working out again!  And, to top it off, a few of the women from my church are actively changing their eating lifestyle as well.  And blogging about it too!
I’ll continue to update you all from time to time on my progress, I won’t promise daily updates.  But tag along with me for the ride.  And please encourage me, I need all the uplifting I can get along the way!  Thanks as always for stopping and taking a glimpse into my soul… Have a blessed one!

[i] World Health Organization statistics on depression – http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/definition/en/index.html

Halloween Hesitations…

To dress up or not to dress up? That is the question…

Happy Hoosier Halloween

Halloween has always been one of, if not my favorite holiday of the year. A time to get dressed up and be different even if it’s only for a few hours and get candy. What could ever be wrong with that? I’d heard some people tell me that they didn’t celebrate Halloween and I thought it oddly fanatical and strange. I mean we didn’t actually turn into real witches, or ghouls or monsters, or whatever we were dressed as on Halloween … we just pretended to be whatever it was for a few hours. I never liked the idea of having my children dress up as devils, so we had never taken it that far… but then this year something changed…

This year in fact, has been a year of tremendous change for me. It’s the year that I found God really. Well, I shouldn’t say found Him, as if He had been lost for all of my life and I just completed a maze and received a God prize. No, it’s almost like for the first time in my life, I’ve taken my blindfold off and I can see Him so clearly now. Even when I look back on my life, I can see Him and how He’s always been here for me. Where before I felt so lost and alone and confused and aimless, now I see He’s been here all along, guiding my steps, holding my hand, picking me up when I fell, even dropping blessings on me that I didn’t even deserve.

And now that film has been lifted from my eyes, everything looks different, everything sounds different even. Music that I used to listen to, doesn’t sound the same. Shows that I used to watch on tv, disturb me. And now Halloween just makes me think… what really are we celebrating?? What is the purpose of celebrating the dark things of this world? The things that cause destruction and turmoil in the lives of so many?? Why should I and my family essentially glorify them?? I’m here to glorify God now.

So I decided this year would be different. We will not stop celebrating Halloween, my kids could never understand that. We will still give out candy, and go trick-or-treating. We will dress up. But this year will be a “positive” Halloween. We will not dress up as any scary ghouls or monsters or goblins. I wanted us to only dress as positive things for Halloween. And decorations, just never really happened this year. I have decorations in the basement but I just didn’t pull them out.

But all in all, I feel much better about embracing the holiday in the manner that we are. Next year, when I have even more time to really think about this topic, I’m going to come up with different ways for us to really celebrate Halloween while continuing to stay true to our beliefs. This year, it’s just the beginning of bigger and brighter Halloween celebrations to come…
 

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Going Back in time…

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing in my life…

Art Journal Spread ready to be journalled

But If I could go back in time and talk to my 16-year-old self I’d tell her to take her time. That things might not be the way she wants them at that moment, but that it will all come in good time. I’d tell her to remember to always be true to herself, and to keep up with the things that rejuvenate her, like reading, writing and creating art. The pleasure that comes with those things will be so much longer lasting then the temporary pleasure that will come with partying. And to remember to keep things in perspective. Two years goes by in the blink of an eye, so will high school come to an end too quickly as will college. I’d tell her to be true to herself above all else. Oh and to keep a better journal, cause I want to go back and relive all of our memories through all of her wonderful journal entries. lol

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Purpose…

I never realized how much my kids need me, I mean really need me when I was working full time.  I still remember those crazy harried days.  Morning madness to get everyone dressed and out to before-care, which was followed by a long day at school, a few hours at after-care, after which most days they would be the last children picked up from their school/ babysitter.  I’d come home and make dinner of chicken nuggets, or just buy them on the way home, bathe them and send them to bed.  While I’d run around washing clothes, or trying my best to do some home cleaning so that my neglected husband wouldn’t feel what he was, neglected. 

When I was laid off, my purpose for existence was gone.  My job being the #1 priority in my life had left me feeling useless and like a loser.  Cause I hadn’t given up, I was going to go the distance at work.  I was like a pitbull there once I sunk my teeth in I wasn’t going to let go. 

But now my purpose for existence is God and my family.  Yeah I know there was a big jump in there… how did all of that happen? Well, little by little really.  God had been calling me for so long.  He missed me.  But I had been too busy with my job to answer his call.  But once I did, the change in me was unbelievable.  I became a devoted wife and mother.  And I actually became good at those things too.

And I love doing those things… being with my husband, being with my children.  And I began to notice that throughout the day, my kids will NEED me. I mean really need me.  Even for something so little (or so big depending on how you look at it) as a hug.  And those little things, those little bits of rejuvenation are so important.  I love being able to be here for them to give them those things now.  Reassurance, words of encouragement, to teach them things… now for the first time in a long time I have no guilt associated with being a mother.  And I’m not saying that full time working mothers should have guilt.  When I worked I always believed, and I still do, that good child care was critical to enabling me to work with an easy mind.  Staying at home is not an option for everyone.  But it just speaks to how much I have grown as an individual that I am happy doing this, being that mom that stays home, because I never thought I could.  But I’m here doing this and I’m so happy.

I used to love her…

Dance in my shoes…

reminisce a time
thick as thieves
never apart
Dancing til dawn
Secrets a blasphemy
to the sacred bond
forged sisterhood

Now miles
rip pages apart
and force
new walks
in solitary feet
lines drawn in the sand
Square off
i’ll turn my cheek

clambor to the throne
so feet can tap alone
on my laundry room floor
dancing
humming
singing
a joyous new tune

never alone
TRUE LOVE BORN anew
cradled in perfection
the gaping wound
sure to be filled soon

Sr. Beverly Revisited…

I went to an all girls Catholic high school. And looking back on it now, I’ve always been opinionated. Taught from the time I was a child to always stand up for my rights, and never to let anyone trample on me. All of my years in school had been pretty tranquil, and I was typically known as the “teacher’s pet”. So in comes Sr. Beverly, during my Junior year at Hallahan Girls Catholic high school.

Now there was something about Sr. Beverly that just rubbed me the wrong way. The way she picked on certain girls in the class, usually all my friends. She’d twist their words around to make them look stupid and all of the girls in the class would laugh, she was such a clown. But I never did. The way she put people on the spot and made them feel insignificant never sat well with me. There was just something about the way she talked to me, how her eyes would open really large, she’d push her face really close to mine and stare at me as if she could expose my soul.

She had this “in your face” follow you around the school kind of philosophy on teaching. And for some reason today, when my husband and I were arguing about what color trim to put on the floors, she came to mind. It was was almost as if I gave into him, that it would be like being back in that classroom watching one of my friends being humiliated by her and staying silent. I could stay silent and just acquiese to what he wanted. Or I could open my mouth and say something to her, something to sting her and make her think and make the other girls laugh at her instead of my friends. And I’d save my friends from embarrassment and in turn save myself.

I deserve to have a say in this situation after all, I’m the person that is here the most often. I should just LOVE this space, every inch of it. So it’s like Sr. Beverly’s Religion class revisited at home today. Me, saying things that Sr. Beverly/ my husband didn’t want to hear, but that I had to say so that they wouldn’t weigh on my soul. And this time it’s not for my friends, but for me… so that I don’t have to look at myself in the mirror and feel pity. But so that I can look at myself and know that what happened was hard, but I’m a better person for having stood up for what I believed in, and not letting others trample over me.

Mami’s secret weapon for sleep!

So a couple of weeks ago I promised to take you all step by step, day by day through our struggles as we moved Carina back into her own bed in her own room and reclaimed our bed as our own.  But there actually hasn’t been much to document.  There hasn’t been much of a struggle at all.

On the first day, I decided to try using Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bubble Bath & Wash to start off our bedtime routine.  I was hoping that the calming scent would help in relaxing her and making bedtime easier.  And to my surprise it did!  Carina splashed and played in the bubbles.  She was so excited to get into the tub because of the bubble bath.  Now that was definitely a first.  Typically transitioning into the bedtime routine was very difficult for her and she tried her hardest to stay up all night until my husband and I eventually knocked out.  But with the bubble bath, it made it much easier.  The bubbles stayed in the tub for a while, well I haven’t timed it, but long enough for her to play and tire herself out. 

Carina also tends to have sensitive skin.  Her skin will react to any harsh lotions and also switches in diapers brands in the past has caused issues as well.  So this was very much a concern for me before I used the product.  But according to Johnson’s the bubble bath was “hypo-allergenic” and had been dermatologist approved.  So for the past couple of weeks, since we’ve been using it, I’ve watched her skin closely and she’s had no reactions of any kind to the bubble bath. 

After she comes out of the tub, I massage her lotion onto her body to get her a little more relaxed and then we read my favorite bedtime story, Good Night Moon.  I tuck her in, kiss her goodnight, turn off the light and then off she goes to dream world.  And off I go to enjoy a nice quiet night with my husband.  My husband and I have both been a LOT happier since gaining our privacy back at night, and Carina is sleeping a whole lot better too!    

How to be a Latina DRESSING the part in the Corporate World – Part 2

Workplace Fashion DON’TSThings you should not wear to work

I love going salsa dancing. And when I get a chance to get out dancing, you better believe I am coming dressed to impress – which includes being sexy. But going out salsa dancing and working at a 9 to 5 in the corporate world are 2 completely different worlds. In the beginning, it was VERY hard for me to differentiate between the two different types of “dressing up”. You dress up to go to the club and you dress up to go to work, but that doesn’t mean that you wear the same type of “dress up” outfit to both places. In the club, you WANT to get attention. At work, the LAST thing you want to get attention for, is because of what you are wearing.

  • Stiletto heels – heels higher than a 3 inch heel generally should be saved for the club. Heels that have wedges at the bottom, to create a higher heal should definitely not be worn at work, as they’re probably a little too reminiscent of working dancers. But the height of the heel isn’t the only indicator that it’s not appropriate for work. Glittery sequins, bright adorning jewels, feathers, straps that wrap around the ankle – all these things make the shoes not the best choice for work.
  • Gauzy material – we’ve all done it once or another – well I know I have anyway! Bought a sexy fitted sheer shirt and then added a sexy black lacy bra underneath to finish the look. This is something that you can definitely wear if you have the confidence out to the club, to go out dancing, but to work, no way. Your shirt, skirt, pants should not be see through at the work place.
  • Flip flops – flip flops are becoming part of fashion and aren’t only for using at the beach or the pool. However they still haven’t made it past the level of casual wear. Casual wear should not be worn in the work place – especially not flip flops. The only time I actually did wear flip flops to work was when I was pregnant and my swollen fat feet couldn’t fit into any normal foot wear. So I bought sequined flip flops and had to wear those to work. But due to my condition, I believe most people didn’t hold it against me, especially when they saw my poor swollen feet.
  • Sneakers – although fitness gear was not a topic I wanted to touch upon, as Latinas typically are very style conscious and won’t be caught dead in a sneaker all day at work – there are some who do. If you come to work in sneakers for comfort – change your shoes once you get to work. If not, you take the chance that you can look slovenly and unkempt, especially if your sneakers have not been cleaned lately. Change them as soon as you get to work. The same goes for snow boots and rain boots.
  • T-shirts with words on them – any shirt that has words written on it should not be worn to work. Unless it’s underneath a form fitting blazer and the text is either hidden or camouflaged as a design because it is not all showing.

Skin that you should not show at work

  • Too much cleavage – Well, I am a woman and I buy clothes that accentuate that fact, so how do I know when too much cleavage is being shown? If you look at yourself in the mirror and your eyes are automatically drawn to your breasts, you may be showing too much cleavage. Are you questioning whether a shirt is acceptable? Sit down in a chair and see how the shirt may shift when you are seated. Does it become tighter across the bodice? Do the buttons strain? If the answers are yes, do yourself a favor and leave it for weekend wear.
  • Your belly – Your belly should NEVER, I repeat NEVER, show while you are at work in a corporate environment. If it does, you need to consider if you raise your arms to pick up something more will show and probably expose your back as well. This is very unprofessional. CHANGE the shirt or pair it with a long tank underneath that can give you the additional coverage that you need without taking away from the look you were going for.
  • Your lower back – Like midriff tops, super low rise pants show too much skin and create a distraction. Opt for more modest styles to be taken more seriously at work.
  • Your Thighs – If your skirt is short enough that your thighs are showing, it’s probably a mini skirt and definitely not for the workplace.
  • Your shoulders – Although wearing sleeveless dresses is now becoming accepted, strapless dresses and dresses with spaghetti straps, these are still not acceptable in the workplace. Save them for the weekend.

Rules for accessories

  • Are pantyhose/stockings a must in the workplace? In the past, it was considered inappropriate and brazen for a woman to wear skirt or dress that showed her legs and not cover her legs with stockings. In 2009, we have finally gotten to a point where stockings are not a requirement to wear a skirt. If you can carry the look, there’s no harm in it. But just remember that you must make sure that your skirt length is appropriate. If you mistakenly combine a short skirt with bare legs, you can do yourself a really big disservice.
  • I went to Catholic school up until I graduated from High school – and so a lot of my thoughts on jewelry in the workplace, I’ve retained from my time in Catholic school. No hoop earrings. Earrings no larger than a quarter. One necklace. Minimalism is what I try to practice. If your jewelry seems to overpower you and your outfit than do as Coco Chanel said “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”.
  • Piercings, although much more common, are not seen as professional in the workplace. While you are interviewing, you want to make sure that you don’t have any noticeable body piercings, and once you are employed, you want to pretty much stick to that as well. Others can perceive you as young, immature, and it can mean you can miss out on promotions at work. Anything extreme should be minimalized – ear stretchers, more than a couple of piercings per ear, etc.
  • Tattoos – I personally love tattoos, as I see them as bodily art. And tattoos can be a very personal means of self-expression, a way of memorializing a loved one, and any other number of things. But your personal acceptance and love for tattoos doesn’t mean everyone will feel that way. My husband for example still believes that women and men that have lots of exposed tattoos are “trashy” and no way is this true. Whereas I tend to see people with heavy tattoos as artistically creative, he sees them as trashy. So what does this mean? If you work in a corporate environment, try and keep all tattoos on your body in a place that can be covered by your clothing.
  • Make-up – Yes, believe it or not, there is even a difference in the way that you do your makeup for the club versus makeup for the daytime. Excessive makeup is not appropriate in the workplace. When you make up your face for a day in the office, make yourself look fresh and alert. Dark colors and shadows are not necessary for a day time look. When it comes to jewelry and makeup at work, remember the mantra “less is more”. You don’t want to distract people with your make up.
  • Hair – JUST SAY NO to extreme colors and cuts that could leave you looking more like a wild parrot than a dedicated employee. Natural looks are always better. And if you are looking for a hair change on weekends, buy a couple of wigs to wear and change your look completely, while remaining corporate during the work week.

This topic reminds me of my first real full time corporate position. In the department where I worked, there was a woman there who I really thought was off her rocker. Her attire was risqué to say the least and her makeup wasn’t far behind. She frequently wore wigs to work, she would highlight her brows in white, wear bright colored eye shadows. Glossy bright colors in her lips, that were always lined in black eyeliner. Bright red rouge on her cheeks and colored mascara. Did she see what we all saw when we looked at her? No I’m sure she didn’t. She probably thought that her work should speak for itself and she shouldn’t be judged for her looks. But that’s not the society we live it. I always thought of her as a strange bird. And could not for the life of me, get passed her strange attire, hair and makeup. Apparently our manager couldn’t either, she never moved up beyond her entry level data entry position within the company, although she had been there for more time than most of us in the department. Her growth within the company was stagnated because of how she looked.
 
If you look like Lady Gaga when you are heading out to work in the morning, you’re going to have to turn back around and bring it down a few levels. Remember, “less is more” when it comes to accessorizing and make up at work.


 
Where do I go from here?? Still feeling a little confused after reading my blog? I suggest watching TLC’s show “WHAT NOT TO WEAR”. They remake women of all shapes and sizes to look their absolute best. Watch the shows for ideas on how to make your body shape look it’s best without being seen as provocative at work.

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