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Sunrises, memories and beyond!

April 16

"Could there ever be anything more beautiful on earth than one of God's paintings?"

                                                      OrdinaryWmn 2010

 Alex beach

Years ago when the kids were little any time we saw a rainbow, a beautiful sunset or just plain awesomeness (yeah I know, but I love this word!) in nature we called it one of God's paintings.

I was surprised as the kids got older that they would be the ones to comment when they saw nature at its best.

This picture above was take by my son Alex when he lived in Florida a while back. While the fact that he sent me the picture did not surprise me, what did surprise me was the caption he included.

Alex stated, "God sure out did himself with this painting!"

This was even more heartwarming to me because as a young, single man in his twenties, I am sure that there were a lot more things on the beach that could have caught his attention!

On that note my daughter Jess called me yesterday to let me know that her ballroom dancing team was going to be performing in Snowflake, Arizona!

This was funny, weird, for two reasons, one being that I, for the last few years had been obsessed with visiting this tiny town.

I have no idea why! The name struck me as an oxymoron and I felt drawn to go visit to see what it looked like. When I was in Mesa three years ago, I was unable to take the five hour drive to Snowflake due to family commitments, needless to say I was bummed!

The other reason that was strange was, is seriously what are the odds that of all  the places her ballroom dancing team could have gotten booked to perform it turned out to be this particular town??

Jess called me to let me know what a cute, quiet town it was and that I would absolutely love it!

We went on to have a nice long conversation about how much she has traveled, not only physically, but metaphorically, in her life. I have to say I am so proud of the growth she has undergone as a woman, as a human being, but mostly as just a great person to be around.

I knew that because she was there to perform, sightseeing and taking photos of the town was the last thing on her agenda but she did say she would do her best.

The great thing about our weird relationship is that this morning she text-ed me letting me know how amazing the sunrises were in Snowflake and that she was sending me a mental picture to enjoy!

The best part was that I got the photo! I could visualize the hues of coral, turquoise, magenta and splashes of orange with reds. I could see the landscape of cacti, with the backdrop of mountains and desert so vividly, as if there was a 22 mega pixels photo in my hand!

When I described what I saw to her, she text-ed me back that I was on the money!

I have to admit what Jess and I do, our deep connection, call it psychic, spiritual or whatever is amazing.

She knows when I am down or ill, and that goes both ways!

We joke around that we really do not need phones because we get each others messages as soon as we think them!

While our other kids think this is creepy, and do not get it, Jess and I do!

I got a little choked up at how lucky I am to have such an amazing person in my life.

I know that the divorces that my husband Mel and I went through, before we met and got married to each other, were painful to our kids, but how blessed we are to have arrived at the place we are now.

Every time I see Jess she reminds me of the strength of the human spirit. The strength we can build if we refuse to give in, give up or use hardship as an excuse for failure.

I know that for years I was the parent, the guide, the chaperon, the coach, the counselor, the cook, the mentor, the shoulder to cry on and the object to be mad at when things didn't work out, but now it is actually quite amazing to have my little snuggle bunny be the teacher.

She has taught me grace under fire, the willingness to stand up for her beliefs when they are not popular, and the courage to be herself, not a bad imitation of someone else!

But the greatest lesson Jess has taught me is that if we but have faith in God when we are going through difficult trials, there is always an amazing outcome after the storm.

Much like the incredible paintings God creates with nature, he too greatest works of art in our lives.

The main thing to remember is to stop, take a breath and enjoy those masterpieces, because if we get to wrapped up in the negative aspects of live we miss the beauty right under our noses.

The other cool thing about the mental picture my Jess sent me, is that I never have to worry about losing it, misplacing it or it getting damaged!

Hey Ms. Snuggle bunny-pooh bear-how about sending more of them awesome pictures!?

Are you sure my suitcase is the same size??

"Days are like suitcases, everyone's is the same size, its just that some people can pack more into theirs than others"

                                                           Source unknown to OrdinaryWmn

Earlier today I was doing laundry and I was going to put some of my hubby's clothes away in one of his drawers when I noticed it was full to the top. It was so packed I had a hard time opening it. I stared at the overflowing clothes and thought that I had no place to put way the newly laundered items.

As I looked at it I realized that all the items were just stuffed randomly and without any organization. My hubby had been nice enough to help out in the last few months because I was sick and I guess stuffing everything at once was his organizational style!

I took everything out of the drawer and started to fold all the clothes and put them back in my typical OCD style. I put all the t-shirts together, boxers in another section and shorts in the middle. I noticed when I was done that I now had more than enough room to put away the additional clothes I had just washed.

When I was done with the additional clothes, I was surprised to realize that I still had room and the drawer closed without any resistance.This made me think of the fact that drawers are pretty much like our everyday lives.

Some people stuff their days jammed packed without rhyme or reason and then wonder why they feel overwhelmed, angry and unfulfilled.

On the other hand productive people are able to neatly fold and organize a seemingly endless array of activities, careers, volunteer work, hobbies, family commitments, etc. and still have room for more. Not only that, they are happy, content and truly enjoy life!

Ever wonder why?

Because in today's society we have had a tendency to fill our lives with activities that are really not important, urgent or put simply, provide little benefit to us as human beings.

Productive people are usually involved in activities that enrich their lives, bring them closer to their families, friends and their community.

Over-stuffed people are weighed down with fluff stuff, like endless, mindless internet surfing, TV watching, over drinking, overspending, overeating, and constant negative banter about how "busy" they are!

Don't get me wrong I love a good video game, or TV show, but spending all day on the computer pretending to have a life on a simulation game, is really not as rewarding as having a real life, with real people, real activities and real experiences.

We have 168 hours in a week, if we average 8 hours sleep a night that still gives us 112 hours left over to use for our career, enrichment, fulfillment, well you get the drift!

How much growing could we as humans do if we truly focused on bettering ourselves? Would we be richer, healthier, happier?

Would our communities be better, our families more enriching and satisfying and we as humans more in balance?

As I stared down at my hubby's drawer I realized that I wanted my drawer, suitcase, day to be full, but full of useful and amazing things.

I could enjoy my family more, enjoy nature more, even enjoy the wonderment of the internet to enlighten my mind with useful knowledge.

I could use my TV viewing time to experience science, history and great movies that bring inspiration to my artistic side as well as motivate me to become better at my chosen profession of acting.

You see, in order to make the best use of our day its not all about boring textbooks,( if you think they are boring, I rather enjoy certain textbooks! Weird, I know!) Its more about exploring new horizons, new ventures, new roads and new experiences.

Sometimes now a days when someone expresses the desire to experience new adventures it is with a negative tinge. It refers to leaving your spouse, doing drugs, getting drunk, getting arrested! Really? How that work out for you??

I realized that I was no longer going to make excuses! If I want to learn how to play a piano, I could use the excuse that I did not have the money right now to pay a full time instructor or I could go and peck away at the piano keys until something resembling a song comes out!

Just because you do not attend a physical school does not mean you stop learning! there are plenty of places on the internet where you can take courses for free and get certificates for completion. You can learn a new language, explore far way lands even learn funky dance moves all available at your finger tips with your computer or at your local library.

Join a book club, photography club, writing club, a fill in the blank club, all free and available by looking up the listings in your local paper!

Start a garden! If you live in an apartment a tiny herb garden in your kitchen is just as doable! Just make sure the herbs are legal people!

I chuckled to myself as I walked away from my laundry duties because I never knew that an overstuffed drawer could give me such an awesome outlook on how to best live my life!!

Good Job with the laundry babe!!!

Now where did I put that old piano for dummies book?? Watch out now world, new budding piano sensation coming through! ;-)

Ofthe greatest treasures we can possess on earth, family is the most valuable. On this Easter Day as we celebrate the Savior's rebirth for our salvation, I am grateful for my amazing family! I love you all so much, miss those not near and words cannot express what you mean to me!
I had the best weekend ever with my family!! Thank you for being in my life!!! All of you Rock!!! Can't wait for camping season! WOo Hoo!!

The Master's touch!

April 1 2010

 Mr gallagher 77
"There is no greater joy, than the ability to express yourself through the written word, painted stroke, spoken verse or agile movement, unless that ability is the ability to awaken a dream within a child's heart"

                                                         Ordinarywmn 2010

When I was growing up my life was chaotic to say the least. As an adult I marveled at people when they talk about their childhood friends, supportive parents, loving siblings and various support groups they had in their inner world.

I know that for the average person that is part of their every day existence, but that was not the case in my world.

My world was made up of abuse, neglect and mostly people that were only interested in one thing, themselves and nothing more.

I very rarely talk or reflect on the dark side of my upbringing as I refuse to give it validity in my present day life. Unfortunately once in a while someone will make a comment that brings it all rushing back and make me realize once again how hard it is for the average person to fathom what I experienced or how much I have had to heal to be at the place that I am now.

The other day I was feeling a bit frustrated and dejected because of an on going health issue.

I was venting in my own weird way because I am angry that I cannot do the things that I love to do as my body chooses to betray me at times.

While I was reflecting on my course of action I got upset because a conversation came up about a person I know who does nothing but bring up the fact that life is not fair and no one ever gives them a break.

Mind you, God has given this person every opportunity to succeed, a supportive network of people that are there for them. Instead they choose to think everyone is out to get them,  persecute them and sabotage their success. The reality is this person is doing a dang good job of sabotaging themselves, so they really do not need anyone else to do that for them!

I guess the timing was not the best because I was really tired of able-bodied, talented people wasting their God given gifts and then having the gall to complain about how people keep messing up their lives.  This is when the rope snapped and I felt the need to vent!! 

Since I try real hard to mostly keep a positive spin on life, this tirade on my part was just viewed as taking a "hissy" fit because life had dealt me a hand I did not want. I was also quickly told to suck it up and get over it!

This is when the flood gates of all the selfish people in my life came rushing back!

While I do blog, and have a very public persona due to my writing and acting, I do not really dwell into certain particulars about my private life and as such some people act like they know every detail of my existence when in reality they know very little!

This person felt the need to say to me that I acted like I had never had anyone in my life to help me or support me. They also further said, you act like you have always been alone or surrounded by selfish people that only think of themselves!

I have to say I was so angry at how ignorant this person was that all I could do was walk away to keep from saying or doing something that was going to bring me down even more.

It actually took me a couple of days to purge how upset I was from my system and then just chuck it up to mere ignorance on that person's part.

I have made a conscious effort to focus only on the positive aspects of my life with that said I usually do not feel the need to share what traumatic experiences I lived through as a child, teenager and beyond.

Anyone that knows anything about psychology knows that when a child is abused early in life they carry around a victim sigma that predators gravitate to and capitalize on. I was no different.

On top of the fact that I was abandoned by my mother and constantly reminded of the fact that I did not fit in within the adoptive family structure, my adoptive mother was a cold, indifferent woman who played emotional mind games to keep us in check.

As a result of this, I was shy, meek and an easy target for bullies, selfish, abusive people and users. I was surrounded by people that were interested in one thing and one thing only, what I could do for them. My needs or wants were inconsequential to their lives.

Add to this equation a crime ridden neighborhood, roach infested tenement building and a revolving door of "uncles" I had no security, sense of well-being or safety. No surprise when I became a statistic and dropped out of school to have my first child at age 17.

My first husband, while not a monster, was manipulative, controlling and had a drinking problem. These issues were not out of mean-spiritness or evilness, but simply learned behaviors that were the norm in our world.

I was expected to do only what was allowed by my husband and my mother and nothing else. This included how I raised my kids, how I dressed them and myself, where I went and who I was friends with. 

When I say I had no one to turn to in my inner world, I was not being melodramatic.

God though, in his infinite wisdom, will send us angels where we least expect them.

While my elementary school was a haven from my home life, it was a hateful place due to gangs, violence and very angry dysfunctional students whose families were just as bad.

Yet with all that said, the teachers in that school were true angels in every sense of the word.

I know without a doubt that if God had not sent people like Mr. Newton, my middle school English teacher, Mr. Dancy our assistant principal, Mr. Richie the other assistant principal, and mostly Mr. Gallagher whose picture you see above, I do not know where I would be today.

In all that chaos they threw out a life line to anyone that was willing to take it. I was one of the few who did, even though I did not realize it until much later in life.

Mr. Gallagher was my homeroom teacher as well as my math instructor in 7th and 8th grade. I thought he was a mind reader because he always knew when life had beat me down at home, but reflecting back it probably did not take much to put two and two together with the bruises, unkempt appearance and shell-shocked demeanor mistaken for shyness.

Little by little Mr. Gallagher's mentoring and guidance turned me into the person you see in the picture. I was introduced to the written word, the joy of drama and the power of speech.

Because of Mr. Gallagher I was one of the key note speakers on my graduation day, as well as the recipient of various art, writing and drama awards.

Sadly the passion Mr. Gallagher had for teaching was sorely missing in high school and I quickly got torn down again and got swallowed up whole by the system. With no support system at school my home life became unbearable and I opted out to motherhood and early marriage.

I am not writing this to blow my own horn, but just to let people realize that nothing is impossible, unless you say so. No one can take anything way from you unless you let them.

I am not even close to the goals that I had set for myself. As I became a mother, because I had none, I felt a need to do all I could for my kids. In doing so I put a lot of my desires on hold, not because I had to, but because I selected to!

So when a person who has had a support network complains about the unfairness of life, I get a bit upset because I know that life is not fair, because I lived it.

But with that said no one can stop you from overcoming any obstacle unless you use it as an excuse.

This is the first and last time that I will write about the challenges I overcame to do the things that I have accomplished. Here goes;

I was abandoned at age two, but I was there for my kids even to this day. I love and accept my non-biological kids just as much as my biological kids and view them all as my "real" kids. Could that phrasing be any more detrimental to child's self-esteem? As if a child could be non real!

I was born with a physical birth defect that resulted in my feet being totally flat and my left leg being 1/2 an inch shorter than my right leg and my hip being dis-aligned.

This condition was not diagnosed until I was in my forties yet I managed to graduated from the police academy, be a drill instructor in the academy after graduation, qualify for the tactical unit, Be a Sergeant in a military state unit, run a half marathon, play soccer, dance, do gymnastics, train in Tang Soo Do, rappel off buildings and out of helicopters, all while being constantly teased about how uncoordinated and clumsy I was.  Most of these activities were taken up as an adult as I was not allowed to do them before.

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 44 years old yet managed to earn my GED without having to take classes, go to college and make the dean's list repeatedly, as well as other various accomplishments that society tells me I can't do because of my learning disability.

Speaking of learning disabilities I was told that my left-handedness was a disability and was constantly shamed into trying to write with my right hand so I could be normal! As a result of my left-handedness I had to teach myself to crochet, sew, knit, and do calligraphy as they told me left handed people cannot be taught to do this! 

Last thing about left handedness, in spite of being called a left handed female that should have been drown at birth during a military police training program, I qualified expert with the M-16, MP5, Remington shot gun and .40 caliber Glock. Did I mention that there were three courses we needed to qualify in? Night shoot, day shoot and stress shoot! I went 40 for 40 on each course. Imagine what I could do if I was right handed?

The Major came up to me after the graduation ceremony and told me maybe I was the exception to the rule!

Thank goodness society has finally caught up to reality!

I had four biological kids and still managed to maintain a healthy weight after I had them. I did not use them as an excuse as to why I could no longer do...fill in the blank or fit into my clothes ten years after I had them!

Did people pick on me and want me to fail?

Try being a Latina, female in 1983 trying to be only the 8th female on a state police agency in Boston!!

I was flat out told that I would flunk out academically, fail the physical fitness training and probably get pregnant and have to drop out before the training was over! This was all before they brought up that left-handed crap!

I graduated seventh out of a class of 44 even with the fact that I had three boys under the age of 5 to take care of and a first husband who was none too happy with the independence and confidence I was learning. Enough said on that one!!

When I got remarried I was told that I was nuts because blended families rarely worked out, especially one as large as ours with nine kids all together. I would be divorced within a couple of years and all the kids would hate me.

Well sixteen years later I am still married and my husband's youngest who came into my life when he was only 18 months old, will be 18 years old this year. He is my heart and soul and every bit mine as if I had carried him in my own womb.

Our children get along and are not only family but friends as well, and they hang out together as much as possible.

I have developed several neurological and physical diseases that can slow me down considerably but I never feel the need to use them as a crutch to explain to the world why I am not where I want to be in life.

The only reason I am not closer to my goals and dreams is because I have not focused enough on them. The illnesses, the negative people and life's hiccups are just that, temporary. They will never become permanent unless I decide to let them become a fixture in my existence.

It is difficult at times to stay upbeat, especially when some people feel the need to try to tell me how easy it is to deal with my challenges.

Ironically their own life is falling apart because they can summon a boat load of excuses that in their mind are so much bigger than anything I have ever seen or experienced.

After the initial anger wears off, I just chuckle! I laugh because since I rarely feel the need to unload my burdens on others, of course they would have no clue what I have overcome and continue to overcome.

But mostly I chuckle because it reminds me how strong I am, how much I have overcome and how much further I can continue to grow as long as instead on making excuses I continue to make strides.

And believe it or not this positive attitude, this never quit mentality all came from a teacher I was exposed to for 4hrs a day, five days a week for a total of only 20 months.

Thank God this man picked a profession he was passionate about and never let the administration, politicians, violence or budget cuts diminish that passion for teaching.

The only regret I have in life is that I never got to thank Mr. Gallagher in person. I wish he and the other amazing educators in my life could somehow know that I am who I am because they and God, who saw fit to send them my way, were the only life line this statistic had.

With their love and God's love I felt and continue to feel the Master's touch in my life everyday. Even at times that it seems dark and pointless to go on. At times that I feel that there is no way out and that the struggle will never end. At times that life throws you obstacles and things that might seem unfair, the Master's touch is there reminding me that God loved me so much that he took the time to send angels to ease my burden.

The challenge was I had to be willing to see them, listen to them and most of all refuse to let anything or anyone force me to quit my journey.

For if God be for me, who be against me? No one! that is, no one unless you are the one to be against yourself by doubting in God's grace and power!

Where ever you are Mister Gallagher thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such an amazing person!!