Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Last night my aunt Ana and I spoke for a long time about my aunt Diana. I’ve been thinking of her a lot since then. Been writing this on and off since last night; not sure how to define it because I don’t know the rules for poems or songs and I’m sure this doesn’t follow any particular rhythm. It feels right, though.

Maybe God decided she needed to rest.
Maybe she had fulfilled her purpose here.
All I know is that her memory lives on
And inspires us all to be better.

To be more kind, to show our love,
To work hard, to smile no matter what.
Her kindness still lives with us,
God, help us not forget.

Thank you for this angel you sent,
We were the chosen ones to witness:

The passion in her heart,
The strength of her will.
Right up until the end,
Diana's love knew no limits.

Now, nearly four years since she left,
Dear God, we pray that we never forget.

The passion in her heart,
The strength of her will.
God, in your infinite Glory I pray
Watch over her daughters,
Help them feel their mother’s love.

Even though we miss her so,
You must’ve needed her with you.
Forever and for always, God,
Thy Will be done.

Thank you, for this angel you sent.
Thank you, for letting her rest.

She was so beautiful. I particularly love this picture of her. She didn’t even have to do much to look this way; this picture is unposed, she's not aware the camera's there and yet she is gorgeous. I miss her... sometimes so much that it becomes just a little hard to breathe...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unleashing his passion

Sam once received a note from his maternal grandmother—who passed away little over three years ago—which among other things said, “You and Andrea read the Bible together.” This phrase stayed with me ever since, and I’ve been longing for us to do just that. But oh, so many worldly distractions! We’ve been married for over two years and haven’t quite made a habit out of reading the Bible together.

Tonight was our second night this week dedicating some time to read and discuss Bible passages. I find it hilarious that I sometimes complain that Sam doesn’t tell me much about his day; in fact, over the years I’ve had to come up with reporter-like probing questions to get him to tell me a little more about his daily work.

(Brief pause for some fun Photoshop work...)

However, a very curious thing has happened during these two nights: the second we read a passage, he cannot wait to talk about his thoughts on it! And as he explains the background of the passage I see this amazing passion in his eyes. I almost got a little teary-eyed listening to my husband explain the Word of God.

I am so very blessed. Sam will make an excellent father, and I cannot wait to see him teach our children about God’s love for us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent and the Beauty of Sacrifice

One of the many things I have come to truly appreciate about my relationship with Sam is that since he was raised Baptist and I grew up Catholic, we often talk about the beliefs, traditions, views, etc. we were taught while growing up that make us “different” from one another. Many times we end up picking up the Bible or doing a little Internet research on the meaning of a certain festivity or tradition, and try to understand it as much as possible. Ironically enough, I have come to understand the Catholic faith more because of these talks. You see, Sam is the kind of person who wants to understand the “how” and “why” of things, and I’m embarrassed to admit that sometimes when he’s asked me why Catholics follow certain traditions, I don’t know what to say. Unfortunately this is the case for many Catholics around the world: initial meanings and intentions are with time forgotten, and eventually traditions become chores. With Sam I’m getting to understand, little by little, what it means to love God. The point of our conversations is, of course, to be able to find unity in our beliefs so we can ultimately provide our children a unified view of what it is like to live with God and for God, regardless of religion.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Lent season, so naturally the topic of Lent, repentance and sacrifice came up. We talked about how a sacrifice or “giving something up for Lent” can easily become something automatic, almost robotic, that Catholics do every year for the sake of getting’ it done, do good and move on. In reality, sacrifice has the potential to mean so much more..!

Yesterday’s reading, Joel 2:12-13, explains the origins of this tradition:

"Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.

I’m coming to understand that sacrifice means not only stripping yourself from material commodities; it doesn’t only mean giving up something you like to eat, or not doing something you like to do for 40 days. Sacrifice means finding oneself humbled by our weakness as human beings. When we realize how attached we have become to earthly things, we realize how much we need God right beside us, because only He can keep us from being seduced by distractions that will prove utterly insignificant when our time here on Earth ends. The detachment from a material life has the potential to lead us to a deeper spiritual life… if a sacrifice is done with the right intentions in mind.

One of my many vices? The Internet. I seriously doubt that God will care, at all, when I try to explain that “I’m sorry I didn’t care to read Your Word. I was too busy Facebooking. And watching American Idol. Oh and watching Lady Gaga’s latest performance.” Hmmm. There’s something seriously wrong with this picture. Sometimes it hurts so badly to think that because of all these distractions, we have turned our backs to our Creator the way we have, for so long. Imagine a married couple who are expecting a baby. They are excited and cannot wait to see the fruit of their love; the baby is born, and the parents bestow their love and wisdom on their beautiful son. They watch him grow into a toddler, a pre-teen, a teenager... and at some point the son tells his parents: “I will forget about you now. It doesn’t matter that you gave me life. I want to do with my life anything I want. I will forget about your advice, and I will forget about the love that you gave me.”

And then we wonder why our quality of life is so poor. We wonder why our children are having sex and killing before they enter into their teenage years. We wonder why there are people who are willing to kill their unborn child. We wonder why as a society we are so miserable.

But hold it! Above all, THE most amazing thing about God is that He DOES NOT give up on us. He is always waiting. There are no limits to His mercy; He always waits for us to return to Him. And in this, I find solace and joy. This is the best reason I can think of for the Lent season. I once thought that God could never forgive me for my sins; I found it hard to live with myself knowing I’d failed Him so badly. Then He sent Sam in my direction, and I came to understand that God’s grace knows no limits. All it takes is a WILL and a DESIRE to be SAVED.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Learning about Patience through Gardening

Just got done pruning our plants outside, pulling weeds and spraying RoundUp all over our patio. Man! I'm VERY glad that our introduction to gardening and lawn care consists of our tiny little yard; this is tough work! The pressure has been on, especially because the previous owner owns a landscaping company so needless to say the yard was impeccable when we first moved in.

See what I mean?

Now that the experienced lawn care crew has been replaced by a completely clueless (but eager and hopeful) gardening foreigner, the lawn's not looking nearly as pretty as it used to :O Add to this the effect that winter's freezing temps have on plants, and you've got one sad gardening newbie!

But... I feel like I'm fighting the good fight. I'm keeping an eye on my plants a little more often to avoid evil diseases from making a killing (thanks a LOT, powdery mildew!), and I'm learning more about pruning, weeding, mulching (is this a word?), and just taking care of the plants a little more. When it comes to gardening, I'm getting to learn that at times you may not see visible results for a while, but you've got to keep at it. Of course, no fight would be complete without a trusted ally: Sam! He just helped me fight against the powerful wind out there and bag all the pruned plant remnants. And this is one of my very favorite perks of all this work: we get to work together to keep our little house looking they way it should. :)

Blog Changes A Comin'

It's a little embarrassing to realize that I'm behind when it comes to designing blog layouts and being aware of the plethora of free Blogger backgrounds out there. So... I'm gonna try a few to see if I like 'em or not. So far I like this one okay, though I kinda miss the white letters against dark background.

The madness has (possibly) begun. You've been warned.

Happy Valentine's Day :)

We celebrated Valentine's Day for the first time in years..! Well, more than anything we celebrated the 6th Anniversary of our first date, and the 3rd Anniversary of our engagement. It was sooo great! It started off Friday, when Sam had flowers delivered to the office: a perfect-size arrangement of red roses and carnations! Beautiful isn't it? I'm a sucker for red roses :) Then on Saturday, he made reservations at a restaurant we'd been wanting to go to for a while now (perfect because reservation = no 2-hour wait!), which was delicious. Then we came home, I baked him a goody (featured on Bakerella's website), and then we watched "Up". Very cute movie! and Venezuela's featured front and center, which naturally made me appreciate the movie so much more :)

And of course the other picture shown here is the goody I baked for Sam, mmmmm. Perfectly decadent, Sam giggled when he first tasted it ;) I've come to eagerly wait for the giggles when I bake him something special! That means it's goooood :) Though, the credit doesn't go to me all the way... a friend at work mentioned that she'd made a cheesecake for her boyfriend for Valentine's Day (so admirable!), because she felt that "guys get gypped" on Valentine's Day. True words! So I found the recipe and decided to spoil my hubby back some ;)

I'm gonna cap off the weekend by making Sam arepas :) Yes I make them every weekend, but in no way should I leave off such a great weekend. I know he LOVES them!
Have a great and happy day, everybody! :)