Book Worming it to the end, and over again…

Born and raised a book worm. Groomed early by my father who took my sister and I on wondrous treks to the local library when we were little and on Saturdays took us to our most coveted spot of all – the main Library in Center City. The building was old and had a huge marble stair case. The children’s section was tucked away in a beautiful basement nook. Much more than a nook because the space was immense and the options for reading seemed endless to me at that time. It’s weird, I can almost picture my dad, the young professional dad wearing his fro shaped low holding my sister and my hand’s. Both of us wearing long pig tailed braids, with a straight part in the middle, just the way my mom liked to do our hair. striped shirts, shorts and sneakers. Skipping along side my dad as he made up some fantastical game to play on the way to the library. He was always great at that. At taking nothing and making it something amazing and fun. A walk that could have been long and hot was one of the best things we did with him.

I didn’t know it then but my dad was planting seeds in us. Seeds of a love of reading and learning. And since then I’ve loved books always being able to escape whatever surroundings I was in to immerse myself in worlds far away and detached from my own. As a young child I devoured books easily reading probably about 150 books per year. As I got older, my trips to the library became less frequent as the books became longer that I read and held me over longer. But there have been plenty a night that I’ve stayed awake until 3 or 4am, unable to go to sleep until I finished the current amazing page turner that I had in my hands.

With motherhood came change, diapers and potty training and work and school was so hard for me to juggle the necessary requirements to my life that reading became a luxury I could no longer afford. My time being too precious and reserved for so many others. But that was then and now today, we’re past the pampers, past the potty training and none of my children are actively trying to pry electrical outlet coverings to stick little pudgy fingers into. They just don’t. So time has come again.

And with that time has come books! But the books that I read now are different. No longer seeking to escape from reality, but choosing to embrace reality. I have this amazing love and passion for God who has healed me from so much in my life. And I seek him even in books! So every year long, every day there is one book that you will find me reading — the Bible. I’ve actually never read anything like it. Every single time that I sit down to read it I find out something new about God and about myself. About how much He loves me, about the depths that He will go to, about how much He waits for us, how He longs for us! It’s life, heart and spirit changing stuff!

So as I sat thinking about how many books I read per year, I thought wow, born a book worm, I never thought I would ever find a book that I couldn’t devour in under a week or two. But I’ve found one that I can devour for the rest of my life over and over again! And what joy!

thats all for now,
I’ll be where I’m at reading to the day I die,
yours In His eternal love,
Aimee (LatinaBella)


While your back is turned
You sit exposed drowning in thought
Sorrow over pain that was inflicted on you decades ago
Your children walk alone
And experience old hurts to You


On their innocent skin

Motherhood lost to indulgence in

artificial false escapes

inhaled into you lungs to appease the cries of you
Your own cries

sit Lost in the dark

drowning the cries of your children

your children wander alone searching for You






this is a poem I wrote one day on my blackberry while driving through the streets of North Philly… the pain of children needing their mothers who were so lost in their own isolated worlds of pain almost choked me… it was so thick.  the urge to cry to shake the mothers out of their own sorrow and awaken them.  Instead I wrote this  poem and offered silent prayers up to Heaven…


Worship like a tree…

palm trees swaying

strong roots

outstretched branches

ready to receive

Withstanding sun

Torrential rain

Never changing posture

Bending towards the sun

Reaching eternally towards Heaven

Embracing seasons changes with grace


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


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?

Suffer not the little children…

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...

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Yesterday was Eric’s Confirmation.  One of the seven sacraments that are given to Catholics during life and the final one that you receive as a child.  Him receiving the sacrament was something that I was on the fence about because we’re Christians now.  Not Catholics.  And I want Eric to embrace that, real raw worship of God, not rituals and traditions rooted in the antiquated that make it hard to find God hidden behind them.  And make God feel unobtainable, like this entity far off in the cosmos somewhere watching us on and off with feigned interest.  No, that’s not what God is, He is so much larger and bigger than what I had ever imagined and so much more personal too, attached and interested in each of us genuinely.  Not like an acquaintance that you meet and you small talk with, no He doesn’t want that.   He wants us to talk to Him and be REAL with Him because he’s walked our walks with us.  He’s counted every tear that has every fallen from our cheeks, and knows us so intimately that he knows how many hairs we have on our heads.  Yes, he loves us THAT much!

So, Confirmation, the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit, in this reserved ceremony seemed so strange and ritualistic almost to me now.  But as Eric was kind enough to point out to his brother when he told him “why are you doing that? We’re not Catholic!  We’re Christians now”  He simply responded “well I’m HALF-Catholic!”  Okay.  And in honor of the half of him that was Catholic, we acquiesed.  The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit after all.  And if my son is going to receive a touch of God in any form, then I’m all for it.  Even if that touch comes from an old religion that’s struggling to keep up with modern times and modern issues and challenges.  It almost seems like a an old pressed leaf between the pages of a book that you find after years.  Still clinging to life but really just stuck between two worlds – life and death.

Anyhow, it struck me while I was there, most people that were there had forgotten the old routines of when to sit, stand and kneel.  The priests had to remind everyone of what was to take place next.  That spoke of how often everyone who sat in the pews had been there over the past few months and years… often enough that the hands of time had worn away the traditions that were supposed to have been etched in their minds.

I was also amazed by the high level of distractability of everyone in the church.  Anytime there was a noise (most  often made by a child), about 10 or 20 people would turn their heads to see where the noise came from and glare at the noisy offender, annoyed that they had imposed on their silent glazed self-controlled obedience…

Now if at anytime you find yourself so distracted by little things, one would think it might be time to search your own heart.  What’s going on that your giving the sound of a pew falling or  little feet walking a higher place than God?  Question yourself!  Why are you so quick to turn and judge the child and the parents instead of judging yourself??  Now, this actually has nothing to do with my own children but a man who was seated in front of us with his small 3 year old son.  With every glare, he would turn red and look at his own son with anger.  And his poor little son was pretty well behaved considering the circumstances.

It amazed me though that after YEARS, the same thing is still going on.  I remember every Sunday after mass when I was small getting spanked for having turned around to look at the people behind us and disrupting the mass.  But the Catholic Church has never embraced any sort of children’s church, they always wanted children in service with parents, and the poor parents have to suffer through service trying to feel God’s presence and keep their children as still as if they were immobilized statues without voices, impossible for children.

Now let’s think for a moment, if the adults that kept turning to pay attention to noises were a child in the present day classrooms and displayed that same high level of distractability… what would that lead to??  They could very well be labeled ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and be drugged to become focused.  So my question is… does the problem lie with the child who’s behaving normally or the adult who’s behaving distractedly??  How much of the expectations that we are placing on children today are valid??  And how much of those same expectations that you uphold for others children were YOU able to uphold as a child OR did you have your own children uphold??

Now let’s stop for a moment to look at what the Great Teacher, Jesus, had to say about children…

Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place his hands on them and pray for them.  But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”  When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.  –Matthew 19:13-14

Yes, Jesus stopped and prayed for EACH and EVERY child before he moved forward.  Little children are THAT important to him.  Praise God!  So all of you who are seeking the Kingdom of God, for eternal savation, who basically don’t want to go to Hell until the end of time, you must first make yourself like a child to gain that entry.  So don’t think yourself better than the child or the parent who’s there seeking the same thing you are but sit and marvel at them!  Be in awe of their honest sweet innocence.  LEARN from them!  Pray to God to give you what they have – a childlike heart in love, a childlike heart in faith, a childlike heart in forgiveness.  What is different about how a child loves in comparison to how an adult loves?  What’s different about how a child forgives to how an adult forgives?  And what’s different about how a child has faith, how they BELIEVE versus how an adult believes??

Do you get it now?  Yes, you too, have a few good things that you stand to gain by observing and learning from a child.  And above all else, keep your eyes on God, during service, when praying and even in life in general.  Don’t let little distractions pull you away from YOUR portion.  What is God trying to give and bless you with right now that you are too distracted to notice??

Father God, I just pray right now for us to keep our eyes on you in all things Lord.  And when distractions are wonderful blessings from Heaven, instead of judging, let us be soft hearted Lord!  Remove the callouses that the world has placed on our hearts and give us YOUR heart!  YOUR eyes to see.  We love you Lord.  Help us to seek you every day.  Increase us Lord.  Increase our hearts to love without conditions like children.  Increase our faith to believe like children without science, facts and proof.  Increase our capacity to forgive our hurts Lord without making others jump through hoops and over mountains and hills to EARN forgiveness.  Let us forgive even when its not warranted or deserved to be closer to YOU Lord.  All this I pray and more in JESUS NAME.  Amen.


Thanksgiving lessons from my 6 year old

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

Today is the last day of the Thanksgiving can drive he said

His eyes stared up at mine questioning and hopeful, expecting

I had 6 cans of the stuff we never eat ready to go. 

Cranberry sauce, gelatinous glop, I had never liked the stuff and I never serve it.  But somehow about 6 cans of it had made its way into my cabinets.

But Cranberry sauce wasn’t enough he said.   He didn’t want to take the same thing. He wanted some different stuff, some good stuff. 

He opened the cabinet and pulled out green beans, corn and raviolis.  And inside I panicked.  But that’s our food.  That’s for us. 

Times have been really tight and with 3 kids I don’t want to give away cans of food we can eat to anonymous families.  We can use that food.  We can eat that stuff.

But he’s only 6, so he doesn’t understand the food math that Mami is quickly calculating in her brain.  And he drops them into his bag.

I swallowed my fear and let it go.

It’s thanksgiving after all.  Isn’t that what it’s all about, giving? And being thankful that you have been blessed to receive and to give?

We walked to the bus stop this morning, me carrying hot cocoa in one hand for my darling and his bag of 6 cans in my other hand.

Dark night about to be broken by day filled the sky.

Soft mist swirled about the grass on the park.

Chris looked at the sky and pointed at something he saw “what’s that white light Mami?”

“It’s a star honey.”  The only star that you could see through the smog of the city.  Cause there really aren’t stars in the night sky in Philly anymore. 

Star light star bright

First star I see tonight

I wish I may I wish I might…

There’s not much wishing on stars in Philly anymore.  Not much at all.

But this morning, we saw the one and only, the star of hope.  And I just felt blessed.

And suddenly the anonymous family became a real family in my mind.  A single mother that had less food in her cabinets then me.  And would be so happy for the cans of real food that Chris gave with such an open heart.  I could picture the mother feeling peace come into her heart as she knew her babies wouldn’t go hungry that day.

The bus came and picked up my little bundle of love.  And I walked home with prayers of thanks on my lips, that I would never want to keep my pantry overfilled at the expense of someone else.

Give us today our daily bread. 

And let me not try to store food like a squirrel, but give openly and in my giving have faith that I will receive, that God will provide, just as He provided what was on my shelves to begin with.


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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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.

Renaissance of the soul…

Check this link out… Crazy right? I LOVE this about my church. All of the people are young like me and just LOVE God. Have you ever yearned for that in your heart? Just to know Him? To know what it is everybody talks about when they talk about being close to Him and loving Him? 2010 has definitely been my year to discover all of that…

so there’s a countdown here… 2 more days until what I’m not sure… but I can’t wait for whatever it is!!

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
a joyous new tune

never alone
cradled in perfection
the gaping wound
sure to be filled soon

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