Thankful Thursdays

Our stories are countless, and pretty much the same. We don’t need today’s images to remind us, but it bears repeating over and over that many of us are today, and will forever be, thankful to our parents for having the vision and making the sacrifices they made to rip themselves from their birthland, an island devoured by communism, to give our families a chance to live free and to once again prosper. Grateful that the Lord gave them the insight and the opportunity. 

¡Gracias, Mami y Papi! Your hard work, courage and resolve is engraved in my heart.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quire.

“We left the way one leaves a cherished but impossible love: our hearts heavy with regret but beating with great hope.”
-Mirta Ojito

“El amor, madre, a la patria
no es el amor ridículo a la tierra,
ni a la yerba que pisan nuestras plantas;
Es el odio invencible a quien la oprime,
es el rencor eterno a quien la ataca”
-José Martí

Us in La Habana, Cuba, 1965. I’m the one in my grandfather’s arms.

Thankful Thursdays

“Put your positive pants on.” – Billboard on I-20 between Midland and Abilene, Texas. Nothing like a good highway message for perspective.

Been traveling this week. Got a couple more national parks checked off our list and, more importantly, a much needed hug from my Lockheed space boy, Danny.  Wow, talk about the value of a moment, and the richness of family time. Thankful beyond words.

Also, so grateful for my hubby (celebrating a bday tomorrow) who has driven us gazillion miles all over this amazing country all these years. Here’s a quote just for him: “All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.”-Jack Kerouac

Babe, happy birthday! May we celebrate many more. ❤️

Friends and family: May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rains fall soft upon your fields, and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”

Thankful Thursdays

Bad things happen to good people. I’ve seen that story unfold before my very eyes numerous times. A brain tumor happened to my sister at 44. I’ll stop at that one. I’m sure you all have your own stories you could tell. Even those that don’t hit close to home hit our hearts hard. Case in point, the horror at Champlain Towers South.

When something bad happens to good people, we feel disheartened, I know I do. My first instinct is to ask why, but I quickly realize that is a waste of thought and syllable. The thing to ask is What next? And get to work.

Today, especially, we thank the Lord for the brave, courageous and generous people who immediately went to work to confront this latest horror — the firefighters and other first responders, the volunteers, the donors, etc. etc.  Yes, bad things happen to good people, but thank God there’s good people to happen to the bad things!

Here are some of the latest heroes in the making – – my nephew’s son, Taylor Quintero (upper left), Janei Miranda, Alex Diaz, Enel Gomez and Julian Rivera. Squad 5 of 6 that recently graduated. May God protect them always.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.”
-P.T. de Chardin

“Bad things happen to good people all the time. It sucks. It’s not fair but then much of life isn’t fair. It’s how you live that matters. It’s how you deal with the bumps in the road.”
-M. Banks

Thankful Thursdays

A little story to remind myself, and anyone else who wishes to be reminded, that actions speak louder than words:

Cars were at a stoplight. The light turned green, but the man didn’t notice it. The woman behind him begins pounding on her steering wheel and yelling at the man to move. The man doesn’t move. The woman is going ballistic inside her car, ranting and raving, pounding on her steering wheel and dashboard. The light turns yellow. The woman begins to blow the horn, flips him off, screams profanity and curses. The man looks up, sees the yellow light and accelerates through the intersection just as the light turns red.

The woman is beside herself, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection. As she is in mid-rant she hears a tap on her window and looks up to see a policeman. The policeman tells her to shut off her car while keeping both hands in sight. She complies, speechless at what is happening. After she turns off the car, the policeman orders her to exit her car with her hands up.

She gets out of the car and he orders her to turn and place her hands on her car. She turns, places her hands on the car roof and is quickly cuffed and hustled into the patrol car. She is too bewildered and nervous by the chain of events to ask any questions and is driven to the police station where she is fingerprinted, photographed, searched, booked and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door for her. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the original officer is waiting with her personal things. He hands her the bag containing her things, and says, “I’m really sorry for this mistake. But you see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing histerically at him. Then I noticed the: “Choose Life” license plate holder, the “What Would Jesus Do” bumper sticker, the “Follow Me to Sunday School” bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. So, naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car!”

For every time I am reminded that I must walk the talk, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“If your actions don’t live up to your words, you have nothing to say.”
-D. Stokes

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:16

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my posts sendoff in her honor after her passing].

Thankful Thursdays

How many tests have you taken so far? I’ve taken many. I’ve passed some with flying colors, and have failed some miserably.

From the beginning, we’re taking tests. They start with reading, writing and math (remember those pop quizzes?! Ugh, I hated those). Then come the ones that test our endurance, courage, and character (no grades there, just Pass or Fail) and, soon after, we start getting hit with never ending tests of conviction and faith (those can make you work-up a sweat).

Although we can’t choose most of the tests we face, because what’s the fun in that, really 😏, we can certainly choose how we’re going to face them. We do this, first and foremost, by committing to show up. Attendance is mandatory, I’ve learned. We shouldn’t skip life’s tests, turns out, because the make-ups are more difficult. So using our personal “Past Lessons Learned” as a study guide (my “Life for Dummies” version has been very helpful, I’m sure you have your own), we show up and confront what may. Second, we pray, just like we did right before those school tests, only more intensely. Lastly, and undoubtedly most importantly, we bring God with us. He knows the material really well, thankfully!

How do you face life’s tests, and what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my posts sendoff in her honor after her passing].

“When He has tested me I shall come forth as gold.”
-Job 23:10

“Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to break us or makes us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.”
-L. Dozier

“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
-T. Bodett

“This life is a test-it is only a test.
If it had been an actual life, you would have received further
instructions on where to go and what to do.
Remember, this life is only a test.”
-J. Kornfield

Thankful Thursdays

“It may be a dog, a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life–they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.” – N. Trout

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Today’s post is dedicated to our furry companions. A big thanks to those of you who contributed the wonderful photos and heartfelt words below. You rock!

I’ll start it off with NERVOUS NELLY. Ten years ago, Nervous Nelly found us and decided to adopt us. She has been a loyal and constant presence in our lives ever since. We are so grateful to have her. ❤️

And this of course is BENI HEINZ. He was a surprise, courtesy of Lauren. Lucky for us, he decided to keep us. 😉
Lauren:  Thankful for Beni because he reminds me to be compassionate and patient. His love is like no other and he truly brings me peace whenever I’m having a chaotic life moment.

Next we have COCOABELLE the chihuahua and HARLEY the boxer. They own Gabe.
Gabe: Thank you for being there. For helping us through the dark times we were going through. Thank you for always greeting us when we walked through the door or running out thinking you were going on an adventure with us.

This is LUCY. She adopted the Velasquez family.
Tuti:  We rescued this baby about 6 years ago and she has been the best friend we could ask for. Lucy has made us complete and give us so much love, we are lucky to have her. ❤️

HARLEY, MAGGIE and ELY totally rule over Nancy and Al.
Nancy:  
I’m thankful for all the unconditional love and happiness I receive from my furry children Harley, Maggie and Ely.

CASTLE. This dude hangs out with the Garcia clan.
Cary:  The youngest member of the García clan. Thank you for all the love you provide to us each day. Seeing you when I get home from work brings a smile to my face regardless of how stressful the day has been.

ARIA, EMILY, EINSTEIN and MONTY. Elicia and Mildred are constantly entertained by these stars. 
Elicia and Mildred:  Not sure how we managed before our fur-babies, but thanks to them we live a happy and balanced life: 
Aria handles Play time; Emily keeps us Laughing; Einstein makes sure we get plenty of Rest; and Monty handles all levels of Security. Every day is a great day with our special cast of characters and we are grateful!

We now interrupt this dog lovefest to bring you ELLIE.
Kristin:  I’m thankful for her because she helped me through a tough time in my life. She is always so happy to see me and loves me whenever she can. She’s truly a one in a kind cat!

And we’re back to the pooches, but with a little twist. I give you ROSIE and GOTHAM.
Vicky:  I am thankful for my pets , Rosie and Gotham, because they always give me a sense of peace even during the hardest of days. I am so thankful for their unconditional love.

This is CHIEF, boss of the Quintero family.
Ralph:  
We’re thankful for him for reminding us to always have fun, to take time to toss the ball around, and to find joy in the little things 🙂 oh and to have that extra cookie 🙂

Her name was LOLA, she was a showgirl…(sorry, that name brings to mind Manilow singing Copacabana. Chillin’ Lola is Elen’s owner.
Elen:  Thankful for her because she lights up my day no matter how difficult it has been 🥰

LOKI is a quarantine savior.
Samantha:  I’m so thankful this little guy got me through quarantine last year. He’s honestly the best thing that got me through the work day while working from home!

BONGO adopted Emoy and Ciara.
Emoy:  Our
 new addition to our home and a loving puppy. I am so thankful that he has brought comfort, companion and a playfulness to our home.

LUCKY is the Campana family that he found them!
Lauren C.:  My family adopted him after my brother found him on the street after he had run away from his previous owner. I named him Lucky because Lucky came into my life when I needed a friend when starting a new chapter of my life and he needed a family and a safe place to home. 

PIPO, a name any Cuban dog would love. I hear he makes cafecito for the Rodriguez family.
Ledys:  My loyal, forgiving, faithful companion, therapy dog, consoler, patient & kind, knows when I’m feeling down, sad or ill, best co-worker, but best of all he’s the best alarm clock I’ve ever had. I just say “Pipo tomorrow wake me up at 5:30” [or any time I choose] and I kid you not, he does!!!

This dog-free commercial is brought to you by SMOKEY NOELLE, MOOSE, ANGELBOY and MISS MILLIE.
Barbie:  Smokey Noelle, my senior love, made me see it was okay to open my heart again. Which, in turn, led me to Moose, AngelBoy and Miss Millie, found them as newborns under my car, mom was run over. Smokey passed soon after. I call them my furry heartbeats and I am grateful for their love, purrs and sassy ‘tudes.

CHARLOTTE, HERBIE and LAYLA. This trio has Elizabeth’s heart.
Elizabeth: I am thankful for Herbie, Charlotte and Layla because they make me feel loved and needed.  When they greet me at the door or cuddle on my lap, it fills me with warmth and tenderness and gives me a rush of endorphins. 

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Maybe the biggest reason to be thankful for our pets is that, no matter how imperfect we are or how many mistakes we make, THEY are thankful for us.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
-J. Grogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful Thursdays

There is no way the Big Bang created that!

That was my immediate thought after looking at a diagram showing intricate parts of the knee. I was sitting in the examining room at my orthopaedic surgeon’s office and of course had plenty of time to study the poster while I waited for the doc to come in. Let me tell you, no matter how many scientific theories there are about the creation, there is no way our calculated anatomy is a byproduct of any of them.

It is true that science teaches us about the world and the universe and life, and that it can explain a lot of it, including my busted knee; and I am grateful for the discovery and lessons. But it has not been able to explain to me how all that stardust from the Big Bang created the blueprint and mapping for the highly complex function of the human eye. Or for what eventually became the Daisy (even Darwin described the origin of flowers as an “abominable mystery.”) And don’t get me started about that series of ever-dividing cells that design our bodies and all of our thoughts, capabilities and feelings. Flaws and all, only God could have created the perfect [purposeful] imperfection that we are.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”
-Hebrews 3:4

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”
-Isaac Newton, Physics, Mathematics

“Finite man cannot begin to comprehend an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and infinite God … I find it best to accept God through faith, as an intelligent will, perfect in goodness and wisdom, revealing Himself through His creation.”
-Werner Von Braun, Rocket Science

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
-St. Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul

Thankful Thursdays

I’m not in the habit of giving advice unless asked, except of course when it comes to my kids. They are adult children, I know. I just can’t help myself, it’s in my DNA. Isn’t it in every mother’s DNA? I only do it to be helpful, not to be intrusive. But it’s not always well-taken. Danny usually nods, but Lauren, well, Lauren…let’s just say she’s not a fan of “unsolicited advice,” as she calls it. And I get it. Sometimes they just want us parents to show up and shut up and let their own experiences be their teacher.

However, after my post from a couple of weeks ago wherein I included a list of rules to teach our sons, I was asked if I had a list for daughters. I do, actually, and was waiting for the next time I wanted to gift mine a bunch of “unsolicited advice” all at once. And what better time to do that than on the day she turns 29. 😁 Once again, in true parental fashion, Lauren, here’s a list for you:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Travel light through life. Leave out any jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness or fears. Heavy baggage will drag you down.
  3. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash (some) things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
  4. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
  5. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
  6. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  7. You are woman, you do not need a man, but you can absolutely enjoy your life with a good one.
  8. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse the two.
  9. Don’t ever shake a person’s hand sitting down.
  10. Never walk through an alley alone.
  11. Be equal parts sugar and spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
  12. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
  13. Never lie to yourself.
  14. Your body, your rules.
  15. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
  16. Practice your passions. 
  17. Always protect your siblings.
  18. Be confident and humble at the same time.
  19. A classic outfit is worth 1000 words.
  20. Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no. 
  21. Wish on stars, then get to work to make it happen.
  22. Experience art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
  23. Take lots of pictures along the way.
  24. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
  25. Reserve“I’m sorry” for when you truly are.
  26. Question everything, except your own intuition.
  27. No matter where you are, you can always come home.
  28. Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING.
  29. Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.
  30. If ever in doubt, remember you are the DAUGHTER of the Most High (ours too!) and REFUSE to just be ordinary!

Lauren, Happy Birthday! 🎂 We are so proud of your accomplishments. May you continue to conquer life for many years. We are blessed to have you in our lives, and we are so very thankful for you. We love you to infinity and beyond. ❤️

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
-W. Martin

Thankful Thursdays

So much has happened in the last 14 months. Soooo much.

While in Texas this week, I spotted a billboard of a popular 24/7 burger joint that read

Hours of operation
ALL OF THEM

Immediately I thought of how God is at work all the time. Some times for us, some times through us. So much has happened in the last 14 months, and so much is yet to happen. Knowing that God is at work on our behalf brings hope and peace to my heart, and helps me to go forward confidently. And for that, today and always I am thankful. How ‘bout you?

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
-Romans 8:28

“…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
-1 John 4:4

 

Thankful Thursdays

When we least expect it, we may be presented with a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Do we act on it, or do we pass? That’s not always a clear-cut choice. But I think when opportunity comes knocking, we should at least open the door. And, if it’s dressed like a challenge, I say invite it to dinner, because it’s about to get interesting.

Today’s post is dedicated to our son, Daniel, as he heads out to Fort Worth to jump on his latest opportunity. We’re proud of you, kiddo. Although I must say you already have a lot of these rules down, in true parental fashion, here’s a reminder:

RULES TO TEACH YOUR SON
1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.
3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king.
4. In a negotiation, never take the first offer.
5. Request the late check-out.
6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
9. Play with passion or don’t play at all.
10. Always protect your siblings.
11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
14. You marry the girl, you marry her family.
15. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
16. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
17. Never turn down a breath mint.
18. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
19. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
20. Stand on principle.
21. Eat lunch with the new kid.
22. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
23. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
24. Manners maketh the man.
25. Give credit. Take the blame.
26. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.
27. Write down your dreams.
28. Remember at times the rain must fall for us to appreciate the sun.
29. Be confident and humble at the same time.
30. Be the bridge builder.
31. Call your mother every day. [I added this one.]
32. If ever in doubt, remember you are the SON of the most high (ours too!) and REFUSE to just be ordinary!

Good luck, Danny! We love you to infinity and beyond! ❤️🚀

For the opportunities God sends our way, and the vision to pursue them, today and always I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Not knowing when the dawn will come,
I open every door.”
-Emily Dickinson

“Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.”
-Matthew Quick

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
-Seneca