Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Few Out Of Many

Between my slides, videos  and photographs there must be a jillion memories of my volunteering in Mexico at Santa Maria del Mexicano in Colon, Queretaro in Mexico. Finding these few pictures stored in a box, I decided to put them in my blog. It's an easy way to keep the memory alive of those times I spent with the children in Mexico!
What a surprise I got one December when I saw a tree of Poinsettia's. It was a surprise because I never knew that the plant was a tree. Live and learn!

The pictures below are of the children who I learned to love as I took care of them; a mother with many children! My volunteering encompassed teaching, cooking, cleaning, reading, bathing, hiking, playing and learning. Days were long and even though I would get tired, it was a good feeling to know that in a small way, I hoped, I was giving them what they lacked and helping them grow up to be good adults.

Students dress up as they graduate from one class to another. There is a big ceremony along with a party for the students. When I first arrived at the orphanage, Fr. Clifford Norman, aka Padre Antonio, had three different homes; girls, boys and elderly. Currently, the orphanage now has the San Jose Home for boys age 1-6;  Santa Maria Home, age 7-12; Casa de NiƱas, age 1-6;  Casa de Jovenes, age 7-12, and a home for the elderly.

Those times I spent in Colon with the children are memories I will never forget. But, just in case I do, I will have my Blogs to help me remember!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Unconditional Love

Volunteering in Mexico for a total of five years for stints of about two weeks to three months at a time, I fell in love with the children at Santa Maria del Mexicano in Colon, Queretaro, Mexico. Somehow, my intentions of helping homeless children got turned around and instead of me teaching the children, they taught me. The unselfish giving of themselves, their willingness to help without rewards, their appreciative happiness, and their unconditional love filled me with joy. Even though they did not have much they were happy, full of fun, and how they appreciated anything done for them. I would take books and many would look at the pictures, ask me to read to them, tell them stories, and follow me around. I sometimes felt that if I had a flute they would follow me anywhere!

Their chores were handled without coaxing and most of them had duties around the home. School work was important and they knew that homework came first before any playing. When computers were donated to the school, the children all wanted to learn. Sundays were fun days; mass, family visits, special lunches and roaming and hiking the mountains. They taught me about the wild plants and what could be eaten and what could be poisonous. Soccer or basket ball were played in the cement court. It would bother me to see the teen-age boys with sneakers without laces or bare feet playing the games. It did not seem to bother them. Once when sneakers were donated for the boys, they took them off and placed them on the side of the court because they did not want to ruin the new shoes. It made me realize how spoiled kids are in the states!

The year I watched over the girls, ages four to twelve, I became like a mother to them. I fell in love with the sweet girls and did not realize that they had also fallen in love with me. The day I was leaving as we hugged, cried and  said good-bye one by one they gave me their most prized possession, a stuffed toy. I told them I could not take their beloved animals or dolls but they begged me with cries, "So that you will remember us when you are home." When I told them I did not have room for the lovely gifts in my suitcase they got a plastic bag and said, "Put them in this bag and carry them with you."

Not wanting to hurt their feelings I purchased another suitcase and brought their favorite stuffed animals home with me. They were right, I did think of the girls every time I looked at the animals, some scruffy from use while others looked fairly new. Below I will place the pictures of their gifts to me and always remember their unconditional love.

A favorite old toy or one that's new
when someone truly loves you,
you'll be given their best
to forever be your guest.
E. Moscoso

Look What I Found

Leaving the decluttering of my closets behind, I went through a box of loose pictures. I found some photos of my Dad and decided to place them in my computer. The actual photos I sent to my brother so that he could enjoy them also. The one picture with my Mother is a rarity because I do not have many pictures of her. The date on the back of the photo is June, 1959.

An interesting phenomena is that in the different years these pictures were taken, my brother looks the same. What could his secret be to not age like the rest of us?

The back of the picture with Dad in his hat and trees in the background is dated July, 1988.  Dad standing in front of a washer and dryer was when he lived at the Garden's of St. Elizabeth and on a visit I found him doing his laundry. He died a few months after the picture was taken.

The picture with my two brothers and me was the day of my father's funeral. We commented on how we were now orphans with my Mom leaving us on July 2, 1974 and my father passing away on June 14, 2001.

Dad was ninety-six years old when he passed away and was alert until he went into hospice at Lutheran Hospital. The picture below is a favorite of mine and probably the best picture taken of my father.

"A good snap shot
keeps a moment
from running away."
Eudora Welty

Monday, March 27, 2017

126 Clothes Hangers

This morning I began trying to declutter my closets. I semi-followed a book I had just finished reading, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, but used my own system as well. My hall closet that keeps my coats and sweat shirts I organized from dark to light. I almost got rid of some once favorite coats, like my London Fog trench coat. At the last minute I could not put it in the garbage bag to be donated.  It is an expensive, near new coat and I know I will never wear it again, yet I could not throw it into my donation bag. I will save it and have a garage sale and try to get some money for it. A sweater coat is also going into the garage sale. I am sure Marie Kando would frown on my decisions.

I did talk to my clothes and thanked them for letting me wear them with a short sentence as to why I was getting rid of them. I then moved into my second closet and some of the clothing I just do not like and they were taking up room in my closet. I had no problem tossing them into the large garbage bag. The bag is almost full and I will take it to a nun who works with migrants. They will get some use of my almost new tops.

I counted 126 empty clothes hangers so I must have discarded quite a few items. The things I do like and am waiting to lose enough weight to wear them again, I got rid of them. Ten years or longer is a long time to wait no matter how much I like the items!

And then I turn on my computer and what do I see on Facebook? Don't only clean out material things but clean out your life. Remove pride, anger, jealousy, pettiness, hatred, spite, resentment, envy, sadness, depression and anxiety.  As you clean out your closets, garages, homes, and yards, also clean out those things that are harmful in your mind and body.

One thing I wonder is if everyone gets subtle messages or am I the only one? What I am thinking is if I can clean out some of my clutter, maybe then I can work on myself.

"Get rid of clutter and you
may just find it was blocking
the door you've been looking for..."
Katrina Mayer

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Talking To My Stuff

Today I am going to begin talking to my clothes, my purse, my shoes, my house and basically everything I own. After reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kando, I am told that thanking items for their use in my life will make me feel good!

She tells me in the book that her method works and that the I will feel and look so much better once I finish with the clearing out of objects or clothing that do not bring joy into my life. Her method sounds quite extreme,  like getting every bit of clothing out of closets and drawers and piling them on the floor. Then, sitting in the middle of the pile clothing and picking up each piece of clothing. If it brings me joy, I will put it in a pile. If I am unsure I will put it in another pile. If the piece of clothing I am touching does nothing for me, it goes into the toss-out pile.

Arranging what I keep in lighter colors to darker colors should make me feel better. Looking into just one closet I can tell I do not have a color scheme! She dispels what I have heard before, like doing one room at a time or doing a little each day and instead recommends starting with categories; sweaters, dresses, slacks, shoes, etc.

As I pick up each item, I will know if it gives me joy. If it does not; toss, put in donation bag, or give away. Do not put items in storage.

I, and a few friends, have bookshelves full of books. Most of the books will never be read. Some books I saved because they moved me in the past and I thought I would read them again. Yet, chances are I will probably never read them again. Her phrase of Sometimes Means Never is true. I have books on my shelves that I have not looked at in forty years, so I am pretty sure I can get rid of them and never miss them!  I have six book shelves that need gleaning! My photographs will be a huge project because I have accumulated a bunch and some are in albums while others are in boxes. Even the ones in my computer will have to be sorted out.  Her question of how many photos do you need of your vacation made be think that her suggestion of five of each vacation would allow me to toss quite a bit.

Her advice is if some of my things need to be stored, to be sure and put them in a
vertical position and not flat in a drawer. On the television show, Sunday Morning, where I saw the author, she showed how to fold t-shirts but no matter how hard I try, I can not fold them
as tidy as she did so back to hanging in the closet they go! I have always folded the tops of my socks to keep them together, but she says to flatten them out and store in a drawer vertically and they will be much happier!

Detoxing the area around me by decluttering, will also detox me. There are many good ideas in this book and amazing how much we continue keeping and don't need.  I will begin by seeing what gives me happiness and what doesn't by talking to my things.

One of her final comments is on greeting my home. When I arrive home, I should thank my house for giving me comfort and being there for me. Somehow, I think thanking God would be more appropriate! But, that's just me!

Monday, March 20, 2017

An Orange Sky

On Monday morning, I opened the venetian blinds and did a double take. The sky was in technicolor!
I usually wake up after the sun has come up, especially now that we are in the new time change. This morning I was up early enough to see the eastern sky in its blazing glory. I figure it was meant for me to see or I may have slept right through the orange, pinkish, red and yellow smeared across the sky.

My first thought was to thank God for allowing me to see his creation in the sky. The second was to thank Him for my eye sight that allowed me to see the magnificent sky. In the time it took me to get my camera, the sky was already beginning to lose its brightness. Yet, I did manage to get some of the color before it faded away!

"Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature;
sunrise looks spectacular in the photos;
sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams;
sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings,
because it really is spectacular."
Mehment Mural Ildan

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Miles of Loving Stones

Today the day was warm, the sky was blue, the few clouds were white, and the cemetery had many visitors. I had decided to visit my son's grave because it was as if lately he has been sending me a lot of penny reminders. My parents and brother are together along with my son; all together in their plots. When I visit the cemetery my first land mark is a large, white tombstone of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second marker is St. Anthony and once I locate these two land marks, it is easy to find my family plot.

Looking at the thousands and thousands of tombstones of many shapes and sizes, it makes me realize how many people have died and are buried at Mt. Olivet. It is a startling realization to see the many tombstones and the mausoleums. Each one of those stones has had mourners and people grieving for their loss. It's kind of a shock to see how many persons are now gone! And this is just one cemetery!

I found my son's 18" x 18" grave and was glad to see a small marker put there by the cemetery with the information about my son. I placed some flowers on the grave and had a one-sided conversation with my son and my family who are somewhere in heaven all together!

Thinking of you, my son.

"We talk about heaven
being so far away. It is
within speaking distance
to those who rest there."
D.C. Moody

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Son Sends A Message

If you are reading my blogs, you will know that whenever I find a penny on the ground, I believe it is a message from my son who passed away October 29, 2016. I think it is his way of letting me know he is around and to remember him. He should know that everyday he is in my thoughts and a sadness hovers around me now that he is no longer with me in human form. I found a dime once, but somehow I don't think dimes are messages.

Yesterday I wondered why I had not found a penny in awhile. Had he decided not to send me anymore messages? It made me sad as I looked on the ground, looking for a penny, but not seeing one!

Today his grandfather and I took his son to lunch and had a lovely time eating and talking. We
took pictures and on one shot I commented, "Hey, you remind me of pictures I have seen of Christ but your nose ring spoils the picture." His grandfather, sitting across from him said, "You look like Jesus."We all laughed that we had all thought the same thing. My grandson tells me he is letting his hair grow to donate it to Locks of Love. There was a time when my son had extremely  long hair....maybe its hereditary!

I had my grandson captive in the car as I ran some errands and I loved it.  Among other things we talked about his Dad. When I took him home and as I got out of the car to give him a hug, right at my feet I saw a penny.  My first thought was of my son and I figured he was letting me know he was happy that I was with his son. The penny was all beat up, scratched and difficult to see in the dirt, but I saw it. Seeing the penny, which was hard to see, made be think that it was another penny message from my son! But why was it so beat up? I wondered.

The next day, I went to a party at a friend's home and right where I sat, right in front of me, I saw a penny. "Hey, did anyone lose a penny?" No one claimed the penny so I took it as a sign from
my son. This time the penny was brand new and dated 2017. I tucked the penny in my pocket with good feelings that he was still somewhere near. Thank you, my son, I am so happy you remind me that you are near!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Who is Kokopelli? The Internet defines Kokopelli as a Hopi fertility deity usually shown as a flute player that presides over child birth and agriculture. He is known as a trickster and spirit of music. I have seen the little guy playing the flute in New Mexico and he can be found in cities in the Southwest.

Today we had lunch at Kokopelli Beer Brewing Company and they serve sandwiches, pizzas, and salads. Dessert is cheese cake or a brownie stacked with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and topped with another brownie!

I have seen Kokopelli in jewelry, greeting cards and on t-shirts but this was the first time eating at a restaurant with the name of Kokopelli. I ordered a veggie pizza with tomatoes, olives, onion, mushrooms and green pepper on top of a thin, crispy crust. I liked it. Someone ordered a pineapple pizza and she could not eat it. She said it tasted bad. Everyone else ordered other variety of pizzas, meat ball sandwiches, wraps, and salads, and they commented on how good it all tasted. I suppose one bad dish out of twelve is not a bad review for a restaurant.

The Baker's Dozen group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community had its monthly lunch at Kokopelli and we all complimented the person who picked the restaurant. Each month one member of the group picks a restaurant for the fifteen people.  One never knows where a good restaurant can be found tucked away in a strip mall!