Thankful Thursdays

For that intoxicating scent. Please find me perfume that smells like café!

We know smells can trigger all sorts of feelings and conjure up sharp recollection. The scent of Cuban coffee does that for me. Especially in the morning.

My hubby is the cafecito maker at home. And a darn good one at that. When he brews that a.m. colada and the smell makes its way down the hallway and into our bedroom, the scent creeps into my consciousness and immediately I’m transported to one of my favorite memories of childhood – – Mom walking past my room at first light with a vasito de café (a shot of coffee) in hand for Dad. That aroma was my alarm clock. Still is. And that memory is golden. Ay, how I miss them both.

By the way, a few other smells of my Cuban childhood that bring back great memories: sofrito (sautéed onions, garlic, and bell peppers), Agua de Violetas (violet-scented baby cologne), guayaba, cigars, and Mom’s torrejas (her signature Cuban-style French toasts – never to be equaled again).

As for that intoxicating cafecito scent (and its master brewer) that helps to stir my emotions and color my thoughts, today and always, I am thankful.

What’s your favorite scent? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
-Helen Keller

 “When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered…the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls…bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory.”
-Marcel Proust

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that fairy tales aren’t real. I drink a potion made from magic beans every day, and it brings me back to life.”
-N. Hoffman

 

Thankful Thursdays

For shots of positivity.

Have recent events made it difficult for you to be positive and stay hopeful about the future? That is a YES for me. Some days I feel like I need a positivity injection (make that an IV) to make it through the day. But my local drug store doesn’t sell any. However, I have found other remedies that actually do the trick and infuse me with just the right dose of good thoughts. Let me share a few.

First, the obvious – I try to surround myself with positive people. They say negativity is contagious, so why risk it. Of course, we can’t discard from our lives every negative person we know, but we can outnumber them.

2. I try to watch my words. I have learned, for example, that if I use words that heal, not only am I elevating someone, but those words could serve to uplift me as well.

(c) I try to focus on what I can control instead of what I cannot. For instance, I can control my attitude, I cannot control people’s opinions. If some of those opinions put me in a bad place, I try to focus my attitude on engaging civility by either nodding, counting to 10, or accepting it for what it is…just an opinion.

(d) I try to read worthwhile material. There is so much good in this world. Look for it, pay attention to it. I subscribe to a couple of websites that publish feel-good articles. Check these out:
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/category/news/inspiring/  http://www.dailygood.org/

5. I try to reflect on my blessings. Among them, the community of prayer that surrounds me. It is extremely comforting to have family and friends who pray for one another. There is great power in communal prayer, and nothing like it to instill hope.

Lastly, I try to let my faith exceed my fears. Time is precious, why waste it on worry. Most things are better left in God’s hands anyway.

Notice I repeat, “I try” because none of the above is 100% easy to do. At least for me it’s not. Nevertheless, these shots of positivity are worth injecting, especially if we value our sanity.

I hope my suggested remedies help you maintain a positive outlook when the world seems negative. We must remember that life is basically good, with just a presence of evil, not the other way around.

For shots of positivity that help me combat the ugly, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.”
-Steve Maraboli

“Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.”
-T. Walker

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
-Lao Tzu

Thankful Thursdays

For that one room.

For us, that one room is our kitchen. It is the hub of our family. It is not particularly the largest space for entertaining at home but, despite its modest size and closed-plan design, it is where most of our social interaction happens. It’s not my cooking, trust me. It is the mysterious gravitational pull that brings us all there to congregate, whether it’s just the four of us or it’s twenty of us.

In that room is where birthday candles are blown, family meals are shared, Cortaditos are enjoyed, and where toasts ring in the New Year. It is where our kids’ friends gather before heading out to a concert, and where they sometimes have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or all three. It’s where our trips are planned. It’s where discussions heat up the room and laughter cools it down. It is where the most amount of love is shared.

Although through the years we have contemplated jumping on the “open-concept” bandwagon to give us more space to spread out, it has never happened. I am anti-open kitchen design for a couple of reasons. One, I believe islands should be surrounded by water not cabinets, and adorned with palm trees not pots and pans. And two, I believe in my sofa not smelling like bacon. But that’s just me.

Our cozy kitchen has been the center stage for many of our most cherished memories for over three decades. It amazes me how many photographs I have amassed that document gatherings in our kitchen. So many special memories. And so for that one room, today and always, I am thankful.

What is that one room for you? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table.”
-E.A. Bucchianeri

“It’s the kind of kitchen people don’t just cook in, they live in it. Just stepping into it reminds me of where I am, and I’m at home instantly.”
-Kailin Gow

“Every corner and room of a house will carry memories, make these the most pleasurable times you shared with your family.”
-Anthony Liccione

“There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It’s dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.”
-Mark Twain

 

Thankful Thursdays

For words that matter.

“Can I have a mommy hug?”  – Best words ever said to a mother. Especially by an adult child. Some words are just good for my soul.

We utter so many words throughout the day. Shouldn’t some of them be good for someone’s soul?

For words that matter, today and always, I am thankful.

What words matter to you? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
-Anonymous

“Be a love pharmacist: dispense hugs like medicine — they are!”
-T. Guillemets

“Sometimes the right hug from the right person at the exact right time makes all the wrong in the world disappear…”
-S. Ockler

 “I loved you before I knew you.”
-Unknown

Thankful Thursdays

For a/c, desk fans, and cold water.

Ironically, three things not very high on my priority list last month. But, ever since my biological clock chose the hottest month of the year to kick start my own climate change, those three things have been bumped up the list. And wow, ladies! None of your stories and descriptive symptoms do this justice. I thought you were all deranged. I apologize, this thing’s for real!

This midlife journey is going to be challenging, I see. However, I’ve made up my mind to own it, along with the wrinkles, aches and pain…and wisdom. After all, I am blessed to be a woman and to have been given the ability to co-create life. That this transition is part of that design, then so be it. Lauren and Danny are worth it. Okay, who am I kidding, this may be rough. Family beware.

Meanwhile, can I just say I’m thankful for a/c, desk fans, and cold water?

I dedicate today’s post to all women pre and post climate change. I sympathize. 😏

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I’m what is known as perimenopausal. “Peri”, some of you may know, is a Latin prefix meaning ‘SHUT YOUR FLIPPIN’ PIE HOLE”.”
-C. Rivenbark

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
-Robert Frost

Thankful Thursdays

For life-changing flights.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin taking humanity’s first steps on the moon. Those astronauts…man, talk about courage. The entire Apollo program, forever remarkable.

Page from my Cuban passport.

That summer of ’69 in Havana, I watched the moon landing thanks to a neighbor armed with a super duper antenna. The historic broadcast also could be heard on shortwave radio. At the time, in a Cuba already neck-deep in communism, there was something else brewing in my home besides the excitement of the moonwalk. While the world stopped for a brief instant to witness this unforgettable accomplishment, my family was anxiously preparing for our own “giant leap” – – a life-changing exile flight that would take place four months after the lunar landing. Heading that expedition were my parents, also full of courage.

I was six years old when I boarded our flight that November day, and I thought our turboprop plane would fly as high as Neil did on that rocket of his. I remember I could not sit still in my seat. Hours after takeoff, on November 20, 1969, exactly four months after the moon landing, I set foot on what seemed to me like a different planet. But no, it was Spain. Unlike the crew of Apollo 11, I would not return home, though. Mine was a one-way ticket to freedom.

April 19, 2001 * * * Photos by CCP

May 14, 2010 * * * Photos by CCP

Over the years, long-time space enthusiasts that we are, we have followed the space program. In April 2001, we were fortunate enough to catch Endeavor’s launch and, in May 2010, Atlantis’ second to last launch. Both were very thrilling experiences. I highly recommend taking a trip to Florida’s space coast to view one of today’s rockets take off. So cool.

 

These days, we run outside whenever we get alerts on our phones that the ISS is about to pass over us. If it happens to be a clear night, the space station is quite a sight.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, you can now see Atlantis up close and personal at Kennedy Space Center where it is retired.

Today, as I think back on that life-changing flight when I was six, I thank God for looking out for us during our journey, and for looking out for Neil, Collins, and Buzz, too, during theirs.

 

Just the other day. * * * Photo by KSC

 

 

May we continue to reach for the stars and beyond.

 

 

 

 

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
-Charles Dickens

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
-John F. Kennedy

“Man on the moon!”
Walter Cronkite, CBS News anchor

 

Thankful Thursdays

For the Perez household engine.

There are days when I keep crossing things off my to-do list like I’m on a mission or something. Those days are super amazing. It feels great to get things done. Of course, there are days when I just want to relax and, well, maybe do nothing. If you’re like me, you probably don’t mind that kind of day at all, and welcome it. If you’re like my daughter, who’s always on the go, that kind of day may give you anxiety. And if you’re like my husband, who’s the epitome of activity, that kind of day just doesn’t exist.

Not me, I like a lazy day, but I do realize the upside of crossing things off the list. That’s why sometimes I’ll mix both. I’ll accomplish ONE thing on my to-do list and call it a day.  🙂  A perfectly productive lazy day, don’t you agree?

But, honestly, productive people rock. So I dedicate today’s post to the most energetic and productive person I know – my husband. Thank you, Babe, for all that you do for us. You’re the Perez household engine.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“The best things in life make you sweaty.”
-Edgar Allan Poe

“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
-H.D. Thoreau

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
-S. Covey

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:16

Thankful Thursdays

For the red, white and blue.

Today, in this country, we celebrate Independence Day. As I take a moment to reflect on the many freedoms we are fortunate enough to have, I give thanks for all of those who gave their lives so that you and I can enjoy this great land. Although it is not a perfect nation by any means, we do have freedoms and opportunities many people around the world do not have.

I was born in Cuba and lived there under a communist regime. I could write a book about what my family went through. A lot to tell. But, for now, let me just say that I am grateful for the blessings we enjoy as citizens of this great country.

Happy Independence Day, ‘Merica!

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
-Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
-John F. Kennedy

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
-Ronald Reagan

Thankful Thursdays

For sticky prayers…and our interceders.

Some time ago, I began placing on a St. Jude prayer card sticky notes with the names of people for whom I invoke a blessing or special intention. People who are ill, who are going through some type of adversity, or who are trying to achieve something seemingly impossible. You see, St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate causes.

I keep this prayer card at work and, in time, others started asking that I add names to it for their own prayer intentions. My St. Jude card filled up quickly, to the point that I could only see the man’s face. And that’s when I turned to Amazon (my patron saint of shopping) and ordered a board so I can have more space for sticky prayer notes. Already looks like I’m gonna need to size it up.

Saints, in case you don’t know, are those individuals who were persecuted and martyred for their Christian faith, or who lived their lives generally as holy people. Those who, through their extraordinary lives of virtue, upon entering Heaven, are believed to share in what is called the Beatific Vision, a face-to-face experience of the presence of God, and are thereby able to provide assistance to us mortals when we ask through prayers directed at them. Although we are strong in our faith in God and, through our prayers, we intend to give our troubles to Him, some of us choose to call upon the saints as well for assistance. They are not to be worshiped, but can be prayed to, to intercede on our behalf.

There is a long and distinguished list of saints. There is a patron saint for practically every area of life you can think of — St. Jude, who I mentioned above, is my personal favorite and one I kept quite busy clearing many obstacles I encountered during Mom’s illness; St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers (always with me during our adventures); St. Joseph, patron saint of homes and families; St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers…wait what? Lawyers? — And the list goes on.

Of course, as is the norm with prayer, sometimes we become discouraged and frustrated when time goes by and it seems our prayers to these saints fall on deaf ears. I’ve been there. I am still waiting to see the outcome I want from some of my petitions. The outcome “I” want…which lack thereof, by the way, could only mean they are not the results God intends. So why pray to the saints then? Well, why not? Don’t you ask friends, sometimes-even strangers, for help? I for one like believing there is someone besides me, someone out there in the spiritual world pleading my case and pulling for me. Strength in numbers, you know.

So for sticky prayers and our interceders, I am most definitely thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”
-S. Kierkegaard

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people….”
-1 Timothy 2:1

“The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.”
-St. Anthony of Padua

Thankful Thursdays

That there’s a season for everything.

Tomorrow we welcome summer. Yaaay!! I love summer. My favorite season. It’s the time of sunny days and longer daylight (okay, and lots of rain, but that’s good for the grass), and it’s a time to move like we’ve got a purpose. I know what you’re thinking. There’s only one season in South Florida. Legit thought. But never mind that.

The beginning of every [calendar] season reminds me that there is an appointed time for everything. That all things, not just nature, have a seasonal rhythm…thank God. Because imagine if life wasn’t divvied up like that. If sad times didn’t end and happy times didn’t begin? If trials didn’t teach and wisdom wasn’t born from them? Right.

I, for one, am glad God chapterizes our lives. And that He blesses us with grace and strength to help us embrace and brave whatever season we are on — so we can bloom where we are planted. For that, today and always, I am thankful.

Summer up, and enjoy!

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
-S. Niequist

“There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
   a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
   a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
   a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
   a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
   a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
   a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.”
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.”
-A.L. Huxtable