Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

December 26, 2013; a day which seems pretty regular to most people as they prepare for gift returns, spending more time with family members if they aren’t too busy with work, eating leftovers, finding activities to keep the children busy during their holiday break from school…the list goes on.
For my mother, December 26th will be a day she will always remember as she bears new fruits and embarks on added journeys which God and time have been so kind to bequeath upon her.  Because it was on this very same day back in 2012, she received a new liver and ultimately; her new life. 

Christmas Day was a completely different experience for us this year because during the previous holiday, my mother was basically a zombie as her soul shadowed around us.  Most of her energy had already abandoned her body and left it to fend for itself.  My mom struggled to walk, speak and eat with us on that bitterly cold, desolate and borrowed Christmas Day.  Unable to smile and laugh because liver disease numbs one's facial expressions, my mother was already a memory.  She should have been dead by this time since the doctors had given her a year to live in November of 2011. 

As her soul danced around us, an angel must have been parading throughout the house with our memories; trying to find reason to keep my mother alive.  This angel must have felt the energy in the house that day; an energy strong enough thanks to the determination and gratefulness of my mom’s soul.  This angel must have rushed up to God’s mercy and put in a good word for her as our family quietly sought out more time for our irreplaceable mother. 

And God did just that.  He granted this angel his or her wish (I’m still not sure which one of our beloved ancestors was there day) and sent a liver to Lady of Lourdes hospital for my mother on December 26th, 2012.  We don’t know where the liver came from or who the donar was but one thing is for sure, as God granted one angel’s wish, He welcomed another into His Kingdom.  I believe in doing so, He knew my mother still had work to do here for Him and since this angel was so convincing, a priceless exchange was made and the fate of my mother was changed in the favor of God’s gracious and merciful hands. 

My mom’s work has begun as her story has already changed the lives of people who have been struggling with alcoholism.  She is helping people to understand that this isn’t just something one decides to engage with each and every single day.  Alcoholism is a disease; it’s an entity which takes control of one’s mind, heart and soul.  It engulfs you, takes a hold of you, and ultimately, defines who you become. 
God has a plan for each and every one of us.  However, when we allow certain demons and false freedoms to get in the way of our work for Him, the plan withers away with every drink we take or ungodly mistake we choose to make.  For a long time, I wished that alcohol didn’t have such an incredible hold upon me.  Every morning I woke up after a night of binge-drinking, I told myself I wouldn’t drink that day.  Inevitably, the disease won every single time as I found myself succumbing to a bottle of wine each night.

Consequently, seeing my mother healthy and filled with love and an unexplainable newfound energy is more than I could have ever imagined this Christmas.  The Christmas spirit is about giving to others and helping mankind as we love and support one another (it took me sometime to discover the spirit this holiday only because I witnessed so many not celebrating its true meaning). 
So our Christmas gift to you is our story which we can only hope and dream will help change the lives of people who are struggling with this disease or striving to understand that it is in fact, a disease.  There are many people out there who don’t think alcoholism is a disease.  Hell, I didn’t think it was until I saw my mother bleeding from her veins, bruised, blown up like an elephant, as yellow as a banana, and STILL DRINKING.  I didn’t think it was a disease and heck if I had a problem or would even admit to it if I did because I thought I had everything under control.  The thing is, nobody has this illness under any kind of control until they realize it is a sickness and they need to get rid of the sickness to understand they desperately need help. 
I recently shared with you my step-father was remarried this past summer.  Over the holiday, my mother and I spent some time with my dad’s new wife.  My dad is still struggling to understand how the disease works but his wife, Lovely L, had the same internal fight as she watched her own mother’s rise and fall with alcoholism.  She watched her mom suffer and fall into a coma from liver failure.  Lovely L also confided in me that she knew exactly what my mother had struggled with.  God works in mysterious ways and because my mom hurt my dad, just as I disappointed one of my own past loves and best friends, he has laid out our work for us and plotted certain people within our paths.  People who will continue to help us rise to the occasion and surround my family with the love, beauty and strength it needs to conquer whatever obstacles lies ahead.  I believe Lovely L will eventually help my dad to forgive my mother someday; a forgiveness which can only manifest in his own understanding. 

Even though I was given a gift which was well worth more than anything a person could receive, my soul still wasn’t completely satisfied because of the disappointment it had found in what it thought to have been its counterparts.  However, I was quickly reminded that the Christmas Spirit comes in all shapes and sizes.  This year, it was a simple understanding of the work my mother and I have to do here for others.  The Christmas Spirit lies within the simplicity of the world, the kindness in gestures, and the engaging with new and incredibly understanding people.  It lies within people like my dad’s new wife who even though has the privilege of taking on the added baggage of a new family and all of its problems, sees past all of this and welcomes everyone with open arms.  The Christmas Spirit is giving love to one another which is one of the most beautiful things God has always asked us to do.  And in doing so, we, as human beings, are capable of carrying the burdens of others as we help to eliminate prejudices, hatred and misunderstanding which come from the days that lead up to Christmas. 

On this day and every day which lies ahead, I hope to take what I’ve learned and carry it with me for all of the days to come.  Not just on Christmas but on every single occasion here on after.  We are all brothers and sisters here…mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.  There is no room for adandonment and even less time for misunderstanding.  Get it right and if someone isn’t going in the right direction, take their hand and show them the way.  I love you all!  And have a Very Merry After Christmas!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Gift of Gratitude

Last week, I read a post on Beverly Diehl’s blog addressing the word “gratitude.”  You can read her entry here:  Beverly’s writing really enabled me to look past some recent events in my life (mostly to do with relationships within my family) and reflect about the impeccable gifts God and the Universe have kindly bestowed upon me instead. 

Around this time last year, as my family was preparing for Thanksgiving, I was preparing a eulogy for my love…my soul mate…my everything…my mother.  On Thanksgiving day, my mom was rushed to the hospital due to complications of a decaying liver.  It had failed on her just one year prior to Thanksgiving in November, 2011.  The doctors had given her one year to live because once the liver fails, there is no medicine nor holistic healing that can reverse or cure it.  Liver failure ultimately leads to death unless a new liver can be provided by an organ donator. 

My mother ordered my sisters and me to not come to the hospital on that frigidly cold and untimely holiday.  Even in her most lonesome and dreaded hours, she would have sacrificed more time spent with us for our own personal pleasures and obligations.  As much as we fought with her to spend mere moments in the hospital by her side, she insisted that we enjoy our Thanksgiving with my step-father, Daddy P.  My 84-year old grandmother, however, did not budge.  She held her daughter as a mother would hold their infant child in her arms while the hands of time crept slowly over the hospital windows.  My mother’s condition made it seem like she was an infant again; unable to speak in full sentences, go to the bathroom on her own, and think cognitive thoughts because of the toxins infiltrating her head.  Since her liver had deteriorated so badly, it was hard to understand even the simplest gestures she tried to convey to my grandmother and the nurses that day. 

I remember sitting there in the family room of Daddy P’s house and looking around at everyone.  Some were laughing and exchanging stories with each other while others were glued to the television watching an array of Christmas movies.  I started to reminisce about all of the irreplaceable memories I had of my mother and my step-father growing up.  They always seemed to make the holidays unforgettable for us and moments like this were kindred remembrances of the way things used to be before my mom had started drinking.  Life wasn’t perfect but there was always something beautiful and meaningful about my childhood.  During the holidays, I’ve learned to let go of the dark and horrible past and instead, be grateful for the wonderful times we did share as well as the future ahead.

But it was also during this time that I had started to write a eulogy for my mother.  I still have it filed away in one of my notebooks right next to my desk.  This tribute was an epic story about my mom and all of the love and adoration her life and her kind heart always intended to give to others.  I wrote the eulogy to serve as a dedication to my mother and everything that made her such an inspiration to me; both as a child and woman today.  I wanted it to be a constant reminder to everyone she didn’t just consume alcohol but alcohol consumed her.  It provided an escape for her and unfortunately, her tired and beaten soul wasn’t strong enough to fight back and shake the demons off of her shoulders. 
I mentioned this before in one of my posts about a stereotype in which alcoholics are mean, self-serving and filled with hatred and unkindness.  Although sometimes, this can be true (I know because I have seen it in others), my mother was nothing like this.  She was always trying to please others by putting her needs aside.  My mom was the type of person who would literally give the last dime in her wallet to purchase things we needed for school or after school activities, even if it meant she would be broke.  My friends have always adored her because they have seen the good in her which was only numbed by her alcohol consumption.  There were times when she would “change” into a different persona when her drinking exceeded well passed a quart of vodka.  But when it came down to it, she would have died for my sisters and me and given anything to make sure her family would always be taken care of.
After Thanksgiving passed, Christmas quickly came and my mother was very sick during this time.  She could barely walk on her own but somehow, her will to spend one last holiday with us overcame the odds of her being in the hospital for one last time.  She looked like a zombie, unable to hold a conversation and so yellow, she could have dressed up as a banana for Halloween.  Her belly was extremely bloated and appeared as though she was going to give birth to triplets.  My mom was also so horribly ill on Christmas that ultimately, she had to be rushed to the hospital the very next day. 
This was my mother on Christmas Day, 2012
You can see how decrepitly far from normal her appearance looked.
I didn’t see the following epiphany back then but it resonates throughout me now.  My mother was granted two wishes last year:  one; to be with her loved ones for a final time on her most beloved holiday of the year and two;  the miracle liver transplant she would need to spend many more holidays here, with all of us. 
When I read Beverly’s post and took out the eulogy and started reading it to myself, gratitude came banging down my incredulous walls.  After pondering and bickering to myself about what was lacking in my relationship with both my biological and step-fathers, I quickly mustarded up the fortitude my heart always contained but recently, forgotten.  Why was I so caught up on people who obviously weren’t as caught up on me when I had an amazing gift right here, bubbling all around my body?  The gift of gratitude was something I never asked for so I simply overlooked this eternal power of praise and glory.  It was literally shining through my windows with every speck of sunlight and view of a sky full of time which was handed down to me from the grace of God.

There are so many things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving.  First and foremost, having my mother here with me for however much more time God is willing to share her is invaluable.  Even though she has some complications and a prognosis that doesn’t seem promising, God seems to have his healing hands laid kindly upon her.  None of us know when our time will come but until then, let’s be thankful for the things we do have instead of beating ourselves up over the things we have no control over.

I won’t list every single thing I am appreciative for within this post.  I’m going to save those for my grateful jar; thanks Beverly!  I will, however, say this… speaking to others whether they are children when I’m visiting schools or helping to spread awareness to adults about the disease that almost killed my mother have been two gifts which I am proud to say I am grateful for.  I am so excited my mother will not be spending another Thanksgiving in the E.R. or Christmas week in a hospital bed, waiting for another liver transplant.  I’m happy to say that life isn’t so bad and thank you Jesus for blessing mine with the beautiful people in it as well as the wonderful ones I am so lucky to meet here. 
This is my mother now.

How do you feel about the word “gratitude.”  Is there anything you are grateful for?  How has your attitude changed over the years when thinking about the things you should always be thankful for?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sunshine Blog Award!

I recently received the Sunshine Blog Award from author, Chrys Fey.  Woo woo!  You can visit her blog by clicking on the following link:  I am truly honored, Chrys!  Sending many thanks and positive vibes your way.  I’ve never received a blogging award before so I am thrilled to be sharing this with everyone!

The Sunshine Blog Award is passed on by bloggers to other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”  There are a few rules that every blogger nominated for this award have to follow:

1.       Acknowldege the nominating blogger with a link and post about your award.

2.       Share 10 random facts by answering the questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

3.       Pass on the Sunshine Blog Award to other bloggers (up to 10) of your choice and let them   know you nominated them.

4.       Post 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer on their blog.

Questions Chrys asked me:

1.      When/Why did you create your blog?  I created my blog so I could use my own experiences to help others.  Whether they are struggling with addictions or trying to find their way in this world by realizing their potential and making their dreams come true, I wanted to contribute my part.  My journey as a writer began as a small child and then was lost when my mind was persuaded and controlled by my recluse decisions.  I reclaimed my talents and ambitions of being an author when I no longer was impacted by those entities. 

2.      What is the one blog post you feel is the best one you have ever posted?  I actually have two favorite blog posts.  The first one is the very first piece of writing I posted called, “Where Do I Begin?”  This is where I found myself at the most vulnerable time in my life when my mother had received a life-saving liver transplant just seven months prior.  It took me some time to let all of my emotions and days of self-reflecting settle within my writing.  I knew I had to share my mother’s story in order to help save others from making such incredibly dark and desolate mistakes.  My second favorite post is the one I most recently wrote, “Only If For A Night.”  Not only do I want to help inspire people through my blog, but I also want to illuminate my passion which is my writing.  I love composing poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and children’s books. 

3.      What are some of your favorite blogs?  Some of my favorite blogs to read are Message in a Bottle ( Writing With Fey ( Love, Life, and Everything Else! ( Rachel in the OC ( and Anthony Otten (

4.       When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?  When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.

5.       What is your biggest accomplishment to date?  My biggest accomplishment so far has been the release of my first children’s book which I published under a pen name.  I absolutely adore all of the wonderful kids I am privileged to spend time with during my author readings and presentations.  It is truly an honor to visit with them and know how much of a positive influence I can be on their own unique talents and creativity.

6.       Do you have any pets?  Because our condo association does not allow pets, unfortunately, we do not own any.  One day, we’d like to rescue two dogs.

7.       Where do you live?  I live in a nice little town nestled in between New York City and the mountains of northern New Jersey.  We have the best of both worlds here because every morning when I wake up to do my writing, I have an impeccable view of the skyline over the hills and trees.  It is truly magical.  If we feel like having dinner or even taking a walk or stroll in Manhattan, we simply hop on the train and are there in less than an hour.

8.       Favorite Books?  My favorite books are older historical and romantic fiction like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Little Woman.  I also love to read poetry and have recently gone through Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks which I really enjoyed. 

9.       Favorite Movies?  I have so many favorite movies but if I had to choose, I would list the ones that I could watch over and over again.  They would include Thelma and Louise, Braveheart, The Last Samurai, House of Flying Daggers, The Goonies, Coming to America, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Painted Veil, Machine Gun Preacher, The Vow (newly favorite), Trading Places, Willow, and Finding Nemo.

10.   Favorite TV shows?  American Horror Story: Coven, The Following, Two and a Half Men, Last Man Standing, Two Broke Girls, Modern Family, Game of Thrones, Piers Morgan, Chelsey Lately, Golden Girls, Rosanne, and Law and Order.


My Nominees for the Sunshine Blog Award (in no particular order)

·         Anthony Otten (  Anthony’s writing is very eloquent and brings peace and solace to the reader’s soul.

·         Paul ( Paul’s blog is very raw, articulate and honest.  His experiences are inspiring and readers are sure to be moved by his metaphoric writing and endearing stories. 

·         Dawn ( Dawn’s blog is warm, funny, and straight from the heart.  You can’t help but to laugh at some of her stories and at the same time, cope with her recent pain and loss of an amazing and unforgettable person; her mother. 

·         Chrys Fey ( I know I was nominated by this wonderful author and fellow blogger, but her posts deserve a great amount of praise and credit.  Chrys dedicates so much of her time and passion into helping other writers with their writing so I can’t help but to pass the torch back to her.  Her writing is extraordinary, and I can only see endless possibilities and success for my friend!

·         Beverly Diehl ( Beverly is so openly honest, dedicated, passionate, and has such a wit about her that I couldn’t help but to nominate her for this award.  You can tell she puts a lot of time and effort into her posts and I am always left with something to take away from her writing.  Always entertaining and meaningful whenever I pop over there!
  • Brenda Moguez (  Brenda's writing is quite intriguing as she navigates her way through life by the means of her passion and pen.  I always enjoy reading whatever is on Brenda's mind!
  • Quanie Miller (  I know Chrys nominated her, but I had to give her credit as well!  It's always a delight to swing over to Quanie's blog and read her writing.  She also has a new book out called, "It Ain't Easy Being Jazzy."  Be sure to check it out!
  • Claudine ( Claudine is such a sweet and kind soul and you can see how much she adores both reading and writing just from glimpsing at her blog.  She is always sharing such wonderful reviews, stories, and important information with her audience.  
  • Rachel (  Rachel is such an inspirational author/blogger that I couldn't help but to include her for this award.  She is always posting such incredibly honest and useful posts, not only about her own writing, but tools to help other writers reach their potential.  She also created the hashtag #Mondayblogs on Twitter which is super awesome of her as she is constantly helping others by retweeting their blog links.
  • Kelly Hashway ( Kelly is an astounding author and blogger who always has something going on over at her blog!  Whether she is sharing her daily dose of Kelly's world or helping others by hosting magnificent reviews and blog hops, Kelly's website is the place to be! 

I would truly nominate every blogger out there because besides the ones I have listed, there are numerous others who I visit each week.  I laugh, cry, get inspired and acquire the help I need within my own ventures in writing as I read their posts.  If I didn’t list you here but I usually leave comments on your blogs, that means I highly enjoy your writing=)

The 10 Questions for My Nominees

1.       Why did you decide to create your blog?

2.       What do you enjoy most about blogging?

3.       Tell us something about yourself that most of your fellow authors/bloggers do not know.

4.       At what time of the day do you do most of your writing?

5.       What is your favorite cuisine?

6.       What are some of your favorite books?

7.       What are some of your favorite movies?

8.       If you could travel anywhere right now, at this very moment, where would it be?  Why?

9.       If you could have an intimate dinner with six people who you will probably never meet in this lifetime, who would they be?  Why? (they could be celebrities, famous icons, bands, etc.)

10.   What has been your best achievement to this date?

Congratulations everyone! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Only If For A Night"

Today, I wanted to write an ode to my late grandmother.  I reflected off of my own experiences and Florence and the Machine's lyrics to "Only If For A Night."  I had the privilege of seeing Florence perform live and I must admit; she is one of the most mesmerizing and intriguing artists I know of.

“And I had a dream about my old school” She was standing behind my sophomore English professor in a white, tattered dress.   Her skin; porcelain white, reflecting off of the decadence of dancing dust bunnies fading into the sunlight streaming through the classroom window. 
“And she was there on pink and gold and glittering” She took my hand and walked me through dark halls until we met corundum gems in pink skies...and a sun so strikingly golden and bright...inevitably blinding my judgment as we continued to walk toward the old church behind Alumni Hall.
“I threw my arms around her legs” When we arrived at the church, we were suddenly thrusted into her backyard where a cemetery once haunted my dreams as a child.  I was no longer a young woman but a frightened little girl; wrapping myself at the seams of the bottom of her torn dress.
“Came to weeping” (came to weeping) As I fell to the ground, tears poured into the graves of my loved ones, including hers.
“Came to weeping” (came to weeping) She wrapped her ceramic white hands around my face and lifted my head toward her captivating rapture.
“And I heard your voice as clear as day” It pierced through my veins like a thousand climatic echoes thrashing through the Himalayan Mountains of my most beloved memories of her as a child.

“And you told me I should concentrate” I knew I was throwing my education away because of my addictions and every other demon college had provided my tortured soul.

“It was all so strange” She stood before me; silken and cold, yet, warm and bounded by the blood and comfort of our home. 
“And so surreal” I felt her pain straggling to take hold onto all of my senses; almost to scare the darkness out of my confused inhibitions and longing for her to stay.

“That a ghost should be so practical” As sorry and desperate as I had been, I knew in my heart I should have always listened to her. 
“Only if for a night” I wanted to stay lost in her existence so I clung to my remembrances for as long as I possibly could.

“And the only solution was to stand and fight” I stood up as my rage banged against the hands of time trying to take my apparition away.
“And my body was bruised and I was set alight” Only to be thrashed back by an angry force; suppressing my fight for her to stay.

“But you came over me like some holy rite” Her existence appeared over me, white and sapphire silk covering the flames that engulfed my aching and crumbling body.

“And although I was burning, you’re the only light” Throughout my life, I knew she was the angel who saved me when I was beaten and left for dead by my sins.

“Only if for a night” I lost the fight as she picked up my burned body and wrapped me in the safety and coolness of her silken rapture.

“And the grass was green against my new clothes” After my body reconciled with my sin and His Greatness, she carried me to her old house among the meadows; the grass beautifully woven against my dress as we moved toward greater pastures together.

“And I did cartwheels in your honor” I praised her presence and danced in the light of my awakening.

“Dancing on tiptoes” I circled around her; my everything.

“My own secret ceremonials” I felt afloat as my feet glided against the grace of the green grass and conjuring of my newfound judgment.

“Madam, my dear, my darling” My nana, my love, my grandmother.

“Tell me what all this sighing’s about” Why are you sad, grandmother?

“Tell me what all this sighing’s about” You’re sad because I have to go back now, aren’t you?

“And I heard your voice as clear as day” Don’t worry nana, I will listen from now on.

“And you told me I should concentrate” I kneeled and nodded as I held onto the last moments I had with her.

“It was all so strange” She faded into the fires against the sky which brought us to this place of peace.

“And so surreal” I knew she wouldn’t be back this time.

“That a ghost should be so practical” My grandmother always knew how to make a point.
 “Only if for a night” Even if it meant ripping me away from my dreams into a realm of furious serenity.

You can visit the following link for a live performance of this song:

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Right Timing to Write

There is something about waking up when the world is still sleeping which brings solace and comfort to my soul.  It provides a soothing to my aching thoughts and outermost desires as well as a sense of mysteriousness in my writing.  Because I start work at noon, I’ve made it a habit to be in bed by 10pm so I can succumb to my morning ritual of waking up between five and five-thirty a.m.  I sit and lavish in the light of my candles and stillness in the evening darkness which paves a path for the morning light. 

As my fingers tap away at the keyboard, there is an immense opening which stands beautifully crafted in front of me, giving me a window of opportunities since my mind is as fresh as the start of a kind new day.  Every so often, as I gaze up from my laptop, I notice the black slowly becoming lighter shades of dark blue with gaps of scattered white clumps.  Eventually, this all metamorphoses into a kaleidoscope of colors as the sun shares her stories and travels in shades of pink, blue, orange, and gray.  Colors leftover from her visits to the other side of the world; brought here for the freedom of our ventures in writing.   Because these moments seem to pass quickly as the sun continues to rise, I try to capture and hold onto the brevity of such a peaceful and promising portrait. 
My thoughts glide much easier from my inner-darkest secrets and imagination to the words revealed and staring back at me.  The realness and serenity of the sky provides tiny seedlings of the day which offer me a new hope in my writing.  I embellish in the insignia of God’s work which unfolds right before my eyes.  All of this beauty is a simple joy experienced through my very own porthole at the wee hours of an opportunistic morning. 

As the minutes pass and the blazing orange and pink colors battle the white light above the horizon and try to make their way through the scattered clouds, I almost feel lifted.  Echoes of planes shouting across the skyline take my mind to far off destinations and a world where I am the creator.  Yes, I am the one in control of the fate of my pen and the people and places my mind will meet.  I observe how this picture resembles so many things in my life.  For instance, the simplicity and peace in nature can sometimes be overlooked and never appreciated because acts of addiction or selfishness once destroyed all things gifted, beautiful and strong. 
I’m also an avid coffee junkie in the morning.  My first and number one priority once that 5 a.m. alarm buzzer goes off is to groggily make my way over to the coffee pot and push the brew button.  Depending on the season and my mood, there are several of favorites which I enjoy waking up to.   Around this time of year, I love Dunkin Doughnuts ground pumpkin spice coffee.  During the winter time, there is a fantastic brand called Winter Blend from Manhattan Bagel.  This is probably my favorite because it has a smooth flavor and kick to it.  I tend to splurge on a few bags so I am well equipped to conquer my tendency to stay curled up like sponge during the winter; soaking up all of the warmth as I bury myself under the blankets. 

During the summer months, I find it much easier to wake up, even at times, with no alarm.  I will still light candles and surround myself in an atmosphere where my mind can travel to those places it so desperately longs for.  But as far as my coffee goes, it is a much lighter brew since the bitterness of the cold can no longer seek rapture upon me. 

I don’t know about you, but once I get home from work, my brain is literally close to shut-down mode.  Because I tend to get home around 7:30 and 8:00pm, I usually scramble to get dinner ready, sit down to collect my thoughts after being on my feet all day, and squeeze in some time to catch up with friends and family.  As much as I fight it, I might be able to answer a few emails here and there, make some comments on the numerous blogs I follow, and even post some tweets.  However, as far as my writing goes, it is a sacred treasure which only has an opportunity to be discovered by my irreplaceable morning delight. 


Do you have any writing rituals?  Is there a time (morning, afternoon, or night) when you are more focused on your writing?  Are there times when you find yourself in complete shut-down mode and are unable to even glance at the computer screen? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Be Not Fearful Because I am With You

One my favorite psalms states, “Be not fearful because I am with you.  Be not afraid.”  I think about both God and my mother when I meditate on this.  They are the only two entities who I ever truly felt protected me.  Even when my mother was in her darkest days, she was always my protector.  
A radio host on one of the Christian channels that I listen to in my car read this at the very same moment that I hung up the phone with my mom this morning.  I pulled over and pleaded, "God, please, let me feel some other way than I do at this very moment.  Anything, please God."
My prayer was answered when I put the radio back on and continued driving down the road.  At that very moment, the radio host read those words from the psalm stated above. 
I was searching for something to get me through the unbearable news that my mother had no choice but to bestow upon me.  I couldn’t see her, but I felt her, right through the phone.  I experienced her sadness, sorrow and frustration; all boiling down to one big moment of disappointment and despair.  I thought we had conquered these trials and tribulations when my mom received her new liver this past Christmas. 

My heart continued to sink further down into my stomach, somewhere within the driver’s seat.  I was so angry, dismal, worried, and desperate to find the strength that my heart stumbled upon when my mom had first been diagnosed with cirrhosis.  I was stronger back then because I knew that God’s grace would carry us all to a better place and understanding.  I felt it just like I felt my mother’s feelings; constantly.  I knew deep down that God was going to allow me to spend more time with her because he wanted us to carry out our mission to save His lost children.  His children who are just like what my mother used to be; zombies, incapable of thinking and making good decisions on their own, in need of someone who has been down that dark road.  God had a plan for us to show people they are not alone by giving my mother to them.  He stripped away all of the guilt and shame by giving her a purpose to save lives.

So you can imagine how I felt when my mother shared the dreadful news that her name must be placed back onto the liver-transplant list.  The doctors had warned us because an abscess had already formed on her new liver, there might be more to come.  These abscesses cause infections in the blood and clog arteries, eventually affecting all of the major organs in her body.  What is even more devastating is that this liver is going to fail on her.  I can’t even think of the right words to say as I sit here and type and try to share this with you, my friends and fellow authors.  The only thing that keeps me going is the incredible skyline outside of my window and a painting of the mountains and sea that we purchased from a small gallery in Camden, Maine. 

Nature and unconditional beauty like this remind me God has a plan.  Although I don’t have a clue what that plan might be, I must tread forward and not forget about the things that my mother and I have learned so far.  Even if my mom’s path seems a bit foggy for her now, there must be a clearing in the road less traveled ahead.  I will submit to the grace of my heart and take her hand as I try to lead her to a better and brighter light through the dark mist. 
As hard as this may be, I have to remind people about the grave message we set out to deliver.  Our life is not ours to take for granted.  God has a purpose for each and every single one of us.  My mother abused one of the greatest gifts that a human could possibly get; to live here on Earth and experience gifts like love, family, and spiritual and knowledgeable growth.  Some people believe that they can abuse their bodies until something bad happens and then they can change.  I know this because like my mother, I used to be that kind of person; on a continuously downward spiral until a wakeup call would be summoned. 

But we have to remember that sometimes, even though we have an opportunity to answer to that call, it’s not always in our ability or God’s will to have that second chance.  If we are blessed enough to have second chances like receiving a new organ or getting a slap on the wrist for committing a crime that we should have never committed in the first place, then we should consider ourselves damn lucky. 

But in cases like my mother, who at the present time, isn’t so lucky, we must remind ourselves about how precious life is.  And to NEVER take it for granted.  We must also remember what was stated in the previous psalm.  God is always with us and to not be fearful.  Maybe this is a testament to furthering our faith in Him by trusting his faith in us.  When there is a mutual agreement of faith being exchanged, there is room for hope in the regret of our past decisions.  We must leave our fate in the palms of His hands.

Was there ever a time that you had no choice but to just surrender to certain times in your life that you had no control over or couldn’t change?  How did this affect you?  Have you or a loved one suffered so tremendously that you decided to leave those sufferings in the hands of God or a higher power you believe in?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scents and Spirits of the Past

As the sun turns north and autumn breeds new iridescent shades of orange, red and yellow, I can’t help but to submit myself to the strange power that this season has over me.  Maybe it is because my birthday is just six days before Halloween or that I admire the feelings I get from all things being ghostly. 
There is also a sentiment of warmth and coiled remembrances that succumb from the light of my candles; reflections from the smells as they flutter off into the pristine, crisp air.  Sundry colors of fall dancing from the trees into my window and then blending into the embraces of tiny flickering lights.  Colors are all around me, giving me a new hope as I embellish in my recollections and what seems to be a rollercoaster of tides that always comes with such thoughts.
Speaking of all things ghostly, I’ve experienced two beautifully strange moments this week which have embarked on my most treasured memories.  The first apparition was five days ago.  As my head tried to sink deep within the goose feathers of my pillow, a rush of our late father’s scent came colliding into my nose like a wave of a thousand white deer rushing up against the most welcoming shores.  As I continued to embrace Daddy C’s smell, I opened my eyes but there was no one there.  Instead, shadows moved against the walls, dancing around me while mocking my search for that one lost moment I could have with him.

Everyone referred to my father as Daddy C, even my most beloved friends and family members.  He owned that name, just as any prince or king would testify to their royal titles.  Not only did it stand for the CARING of our family and the unforgettable CHARISMA and CHARACTER he possessed, but it also stood for the COURAGE it took him to become sober and CLEAN during final years of his short-lived life. 
The smell only lingered around my pillow for ten seconds and then vanished.  I even sat up and got out of my bed to nosey around the room but he was gone.  There were two things that Daddy C had always manifested through:  a distinct and captivating smell as well as a loud and unforgettable voice.  I searched my whole room and even went to the kitchen for a glass of milk but he was nowhere to be found.

I took this as a sign that he might be hovering around, watching me as I stumble upon the right words to bring about his story and what his presence meant to my sister, mother and me.  My sibling was, undoubtedly, his biological daughter.  I, on the other hand, found out that I had a different dad at the age of 14.  You can only imagine how devastated we were when we discovered this tragic news only because I had grown to love and respect the one father who ever truly loved my sisters and me; unconditionally.  Daddy C was always showing us off to his friends and family and bugging us to spend as much time as we possibly could with him.  I even believe to this day that if he were still alive, he'd have a separate shelf build into his fruit stand so my books would be on display for purchase.  Because that was the type of man he was; proud and adoring of his little girls. 

Unfortunately, he was murdered before I had the valor to tell him the truth.  For some time, I was so angry with myself for not ever telling him.  After my biological father left when I was 17, I was even more hurt during my years at college but I didn't even know how to confront the pain I felt.  Nor did I even recognize the delicate feelings I had erupting inside of my heart.  Instead, I got lost and masked them away with drugs and alcohol.  Everyone always told me I handled grief and abandonment well.  There was one person who knew this part of me but my demons destroyed our chances of ever having a happy and well-balanced life together.  He was with me from college up until alcohol finally won the battle against our chances of survival three years ago. 
Could my dad be trying to tell me something now that I’ve been writing about our family?  Was he sitting here, next to me, each day as my fingers tapped away at the keyboard?  Did he want me to know that I was going to be okay now and he was always watching me?  There were a few instances that I truly believed I was saved by an angel; once when I overdosed on a trip in California and the other when I crashed my car after a night of partying my senior year of high school.  Both instances within two years after Daddy C's death.

To confirm whether or not these haunted accusations were true, what seemed to be a ghostly visit earlier in the week happened again two nights ago.  As my dad’s smell crept through the crevices and cracks of the floors up to my nostrils, I opened my eyes and lifted my head as quickly as I could.  This time, when I rose up from my bed, I saw a large shadow leaning against our television stand (about eight feet away from us). 
As I stumbled out of the bed, the shadow slowly disintegrated back into the cold, brisk air.  Daddy C’s irreplaceable scent and presence came rushing over my head like an unforgettable eclipse of emotions, only to happen for a mere moment, then ultimately lost and landing in some other time.  A time when Daddy C was still here; his life no longer stricken away by the hands of some ungodly entity who still has yet to surface.
My best friend of twenty eight years called me last night.  Her mother passed away in August from cancer.  The loss of her mom has been quite tragic as they were almost inseparable.  My friend was her mother’s caretaker towards the end stages of her illness.  Since her death is still dwelling heavy in her mind and circling around her heart, my friend has been going through an extremely rough time.  Especially since they both shared a special bond and appeal for the autumn months. 

My best friend’s phone call validated my two experiences this week.  She confided in me that she, too, had a scent rush over her the other night.  It was the smell of her mother and it only consumed her for ten seconds.  Was this a coincidence or a validation that our late family members are lingering around, trying to tell us something?
I couldn’t believe it when my friend delivered this incredible news.  Like her, I believe testimonials such as these help to lift the things which weigh heavy within our hearts and most sacred memories.  I had never experienced Daddy C’s spirit until this past week and he died 15 years ago.  Was it because I’ve been writing about his untimely death and how it has affected our family and still does to this day?  Is my father trying to tell me something?

I told my mother about everything this morning and she too said she felt a presence as she was getting out of bed.  I couldn’t believe it!  She said that she felt someone tugging or pulling at her foot.  I asked her if she was sure and she sternly said, “Yes!”  As if I didn’t believe her; of course I did!
What does this all mean?  Are these apparitions happening because we like to lavish away in the freedoms and freshness that come with open windows, long lasting candles, and ghostly shadows against the days of September and October?

Do you believe in ghosts?  If so, I'd love to hear about some of your experiences.