Do I rub you the wrong way?

Do I rub you the wrong way?

What is it about me that you avoid?
My crazy laugh?
My awesome hugs?
My see into you soul eyes?
Do I rub you the wrong way?
Was it about me that you avoid?
The love and compassion that I have for others?
How quick I am to help a friend in need?
How I dance and worship the lord in abandon?
The freckles that only cover half of my face?
Have you ever even noticed them?
Or are you embarrassed of them because they aren’t perfect?
Do I rub you the wrong way?
What is it about me that you avoid?
if you don’t take pictures of me I won’t disappear and go away,
I will STILL be here
And when you DO look again
When you dare to see my face, your face  —
Will you like me then?
Will you LOVE me then?
So stop avoiding me
Look at me
See who I really am
And LOVE me
For when you finally do,
you might just find that a piece of your heart
that had been missing all this time
Has just returned
Reflections on my dislike of taking selfpics Image

the un-poem

words bubble up

jumble in my heart / stuck in my chest

dying to break the surface

come out in burbling spurts

chunks of deep dark past / pieces of new good present

anger/ love

broken / restored

stubborn/ changed

heart sick/ healed

tears that I used to cry for myself / now I cry for others

trapped / escaped and free

am I really what you say I am?

can I really do what you said I can do?

puzzle pieces

fitting together to make a picture I’ve never seen

but that You painted of my life before I was born

every single thing working together to create

this beautiful tapestry of my life

using the pain / using the hurt

letting it go

been forgiven / so I’ve forgiven

been forgiven / so I forgive

was loved first / so i love

harder /stronger /fiercer than ever before

quiet lioness

propelled into today by yesterday

waiting for tomorrow with expectancy

thankful for what was, what is and what’s to come

and I am

LOVE…

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)

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

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

Suffer not the little children…

The Painting entitled "Jesus Blessing the...

Image via Wikipedia

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.

 

The Memory HOARDER…

So many of you know me, may already know my favorite channel – HGTV.  I love to watch as people’s homes start out in one state and in the span of 30 minutes becomes something completely different – warm, inviting, appealing.  And it’s no secret to all of you that I try and do a lot of those things on my own here at home.  But recently I’ve found that there’s another channel, or should I say 1 show in particular that’s been drawing me away from HGTV.  This isn’t American Idol so I’ll cut right to the chase, no cutting to commercial now.  It’s A&E ‘s HOARDERS. 

Hoarders

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, HOARDERS.  Yuck.  Even the sound of the name is repulsive.  But there’s something about the show that compels me and draws me in.  Sometimes the people looked really mentally off.  But sometimes they are remarkably lucent and yet still have trouble letting go of things.  Although the things are so piled high in their homes that they have to create little footpaths to get through.  Relatives will fall and break arms or legs and yet the clutter, the mountains of things remain. 

pathway in a hoarder's home

Their inability to let the things go really confuses me.  I mean if it came down to one of my children or a photo album from my childhood, that photo album would be history.  These people make connections to things.  And those things instantly will transport them in their mind to that time/place in their memories when they experienced something wonderful.  An empty old wooden basket reminded one woman of her father.  And although it was not from her childhood.  She didn’t want to part with it.

As much as I might not want to admit it, as much as we all might not want to admit it.  We all have a little HOARDER somewhere in us.  I distinctly remember the first time it dawned on me that there was a little piece of a hoarder in me.  Another   I was watching an episode and the counselor was talking to one homeown about reducing her collection of jelly jars.  Which caused a huge issue for her.  She didn’t want to part with any of them.  And in my mind as I watched her dilemma, instantly a picture of my own collection of jelly jars that sat on top of the fridge flashed in my mind.  Needless to say, I placed all the jars in the recycle bin that day. 

Me rocking Christopher in the rocking chair when he was a baby

But we all have things in our lives that at times can transport us to memories.  The nursery rocking chair that has temporarily become my computer desk chair for one.  I sat in it yesterday and just rocked for a moment and closed my eyes.  And I was transported back to nights awake alone with my children.  Breastfeeding, changing pampers, baby lotion, soft skin, falling asleep sitting up with the baby asleep in my arms.  And for that moment, I thought, I’m never going to get rid of this ratty old rocker. 

embracing what's to come...

But then I remembered, my memories will always be  there.  A rocker won’t solidify them anymore.  And if I crowd my mind with memories of the past, who could really embrace the wonderful present and the even more wonderful future?

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.

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