My Beautiful Mother

My Beautiful Mother
On our road trip to New Orleans, summer 2008.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#14-Pizza and Tears (One Year)

Throughout this year, I've had these wonderful moments where I vividly remember the good times I shared with my mother. Those haven't always been easy to come by because the last months of her life (in the hospital) are deeply etched in my mind. And those last months weren't easy, I saw things that I wish I had not.

Yet, I wouldn't of had it any other way. Because I was there, my family was there and she wasn't alone.

When I took Mateo to the bus stop this morning, we were talking about the God and family program he completed through Cub Scouts. We were reviewing some of the things he learned. The curriculum for the program uses the metaphor of pizza to describe a family, with the crust being our foundation in God.

As I was discussing this with Mateo, we started talking about how a bad crust can ruin an entire pizza. I was telling him about this pizza place I enjoyed back in my hometown and one night someone put too much salt in the crust. And no matter how good everything on the pizza was, I just couldn't get over the crust and I threw it out. However, when the crust was just right, everything else on it, was that much better.

I'm not this super Christian that always prays instead of worries or starts speaking in tongues or blessing when some makes me angry, I struggle. Yet, because my parents, my mother, helped me to build my foundation on Christ all those years ago....I am a better person for it.

It is that foundation--of her taking me to church and praying for me everyday--that helped me face this year without her.

I still miss my mom so very much, it's unavoidable, she is intricately weaved into every fiber of my life. And I still wish that she could stayed with us for a while longer.

And no, my mother wasn't perfect, but it was those idiosyncrasies that made her uniquely my mother. Like how she didn't like the food to touch on her plate. Or how she would put a half-drunken can of soda in the fridge, to save for later (which I do all the time). Or how she could strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, anytime and anywhere.

Or how she would call me at like 6am in the morning when I was in college to remind me of something. And typically it wasn't anything of huge significance, but I think my mom just wanted to catch me early in the day (before I rushed away and got busy), just to hear my voice.

I remember her laugh and her smile. I remember her hugs and kisses. I remember our long conversations. I remember our day excursions to yard sales and thrift shops. I remember how she walked with me and held me up after giving birth to Mateo via c-section. I remember her being in my room the day I got ready to marry my husband, fixing my hair and dress.

And I remember how, when I took a class as an adult that required a 2-hour drive to get to, she would ride with me to make sure I was safe....and she waited in the library while I was in class. Now that's love, there are so many other thing she could have done with 6 or 7 hours of her evening, but she chose to spend them with me.

My mother was love. There is no better way I can put it. Everything she did, was out of love for God and her family.

So today, I remember my mother. I embrace everything about her and every moment I had with her...even those hard moments at the end.

And when those tears come, I will think of her laugh and her smile and 6am phone calls.

And as I continue this journey through life without her physically by my side, I know that her love will always be with me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


A portion of J.K. Rowling's 2008 Harvard Commencement speech.

"The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination"

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#12 Hi Mom

Today, like so many other days, I needed you. I wanted to pick up the phone and call you. I miss you. This year has been so unbearly hard without you. Soon as I think that I have come to terms with the fact you are gone, something happens that takes me right back to that hospital room. I can't seem to erase away in my mind those final months and days when you suffered. I'm trying to cling to the happy memories, but they are hard to find admist the pain I saw you go through.
I worry for dad. I don't know how to be there for him. I can't imagine the lonlieness he must feel now that you're not here.
I find it hard to go to your grave. When I'm there, it just hurts so bad.
I need you.
I miss you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

#11-A Season of Prayer and Fasting

Today begins our church's 21 days of prayer and fasting.

 During this season, as a church, we are focusing on the following areas of prayer:

  • We are believing God for answered prayer to our specific needs
  • We are declaring our total dependence on God in every area of our lives
  • We are asking for personal forgiveness for our sins and the sins of our land
  • We are praying for the completion of the Great Comission
  • We are inviting the presence of God in our lives and in our church
  • We are interceeding for revival both locally & globally 
My individual prayer focus (specific needs) are:
  • That I will be an effective, efficient and motivated teacher that allows the love of Christ to flow through me in my words and actions. And that my kids are receptive to my classroom management and they come to my class ready to be respectful, productive and prepared. And that I have a successful school year in all areas.
  • That the Lord continues to heal mine and my families hearts as we continue to grieve the loss of my mother.
  • That the Lord removes the curse over my family's finances, provides divine abundant provision, reveals to us the steps that we need to take to remedy our financial situation and give us divine wisdom in the decisions we make regarding our finances.
  • That the Lord will bless me with a supernatural motivation and committment to begin and stick with a plan for healthy living (eating right and exercising) in order to reach a healthy weight.
  • That my love and respect for my husband continues to grow and overflows everyday and that God teaches me to be the wife described in Proverbs 31:10-31.
  • Continued protection for Mateo and that his love for God grows and his confidence and self-esteem is increased and that he is able to make Godly friends at schoool. That God will begin to impress upon his heart his destiny and purpose, even at a young age.

#10-My One Word for 2012: Happiness

Pleasures Are Meaningless
 1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
   I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
   and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
   and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
   nothing was gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless
 12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
   and also madness and folly.
What more can the king’s successor do
   than what has already been done?
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
   just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
   while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
   that the same fate overtakes them both.
 15 Then I said to myself,
   “The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
   What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself,
   “This too is meaningless.”
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
   the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!
Toil Is Meaningless
 17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
 24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

#9-Be Thankful

On Thursday, at my Thanksgiving table, there was a very important person

This time last year, right after Thanksgiving, mom went back into the hospital. She had gotten really sick and ended spending a couple days there. I guess you could say that after Thanksgiving, was when her down spiral began. Because she ended up going back and forth for several weeks, she spent Christmas in the hospital, came home for New Year's and then went back again in January until she passed in March.

Everyone in my family seems to be adjusting (as much as you're able to when you lose something you love so dearly), but things just won't be the same without her.

My mom was like a bright light in a dark room. She smiled alot, her laugh was warm and infectious and she could talk to anyone about anything. She loved all her family and showed it everyday through her actions and her words.

And though I miss her terribly, I am so thankful to have had her. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without her....who I would have been without her.

However, I am still on the roller coaster of grief.

I have found comfort in God, my family, my friends and church.....for which I am thankful for as well.

I am still able to laugh and smile. Yet I must admit that the cloud of sadness is always close by.

I don't cry everything day, but the tears come. Usually at the most random times, but they come. It can be in response to something that reminds me of her or just the overwhelming feeling of loss.

I didn't go to church today (tired and trying to get a cold), but I did listen to a sermon on the Internet. The sermon focused on the scripture in Ephesians not give the devil a foothold.

And what I got out of the message was that if I give the devil a foothold, a place or a door into my heart and my life, he will come in and make a mess of things. And because he feeds off of negativity; the more I dwell on the bad, on the sad, on the grief...the more it will multiply.

The devil wants to end me. He wants to see me dry up and give up. And there are days...weeks...where that's all I want to do...give up.

But I have to believe there is a purpose for my life. That God has given me gifts and talents that he is going to use. I don't see if clearly, but I'm going to keep pressing on in matter how many times I get knocked down. And lately it seems that I get knocked down everyday.

But I have to remember that I can't sit in it, I can't stew in my own depression, anxiety, sadness and negativity. I've got to keep crying out to God, just like I did when my mom was sick. I've got to keep reaching out my hands and my heart to him.

I have to keep reminding myself to not be angry.

Things will turn around (in time). My heart will heal (in time). God will use me for great things (in time).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Entry #8-So much to think about

So I went to church this morning. I really love the people at my church.

The pastor said some things day in the message that I've heard before, but I still don't really know how to do:

  • Start where you're at
Where I'm at is a very unhappy and unsettling place. It's a place I don't want to be, but I've been there so long. I'm a glass is half-empty kind of girl. I see the bad before I see the good. So if that's where I'm starting from, how do I see the world differently?
  • You've got to be all in
I don't know what all in means. I get the concept, but I don't really know how to apply that in my own life. Because to be honest, I'm tired. I'm tired of trying so hard and not bearing fruit, not prospering and not feeling like my life is purposeful.
  • Don't let your past (good or past define you)
That's a doozy. The mistakes of my past are still struggles in present. So how do you not let something from your past define you, if you are still living through the consequences of your past. And the good from my past was a time when I was more hopeful. Life seemed to have more possibilities. I still believed in the goodness of God.

So where does that leave me this evening....with alot to think about. I could pray, but what would I say.