Watching from the Sidelines

30 03 2009

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This has to be the hardest stage I have to go through while raising my kids. Once they get to their teens they begin to make their own choices and with it comes their mistakes. It has taken me a lot of time to build a solid foundation under them and now it is time to see what they do with it.

When it comes to not making the right choices or not measuring the consequences it is very hard for me to made me understood. It is frustrating to try to guide and then be disregarded over and over again. As a parent I has always been ready to lead, protect, provide, motivate, encourage, and fight if I have to. There is only so much we can do to prevent certain devastating consequences at this stage and unfortunately some kids don’t learn their lessons until they hit the bottom. I am not sure if they are crying for something they are not getting from us or if they are just plain stupid sometimes. At this point I am trying to get some feedback from experienced parents and so far they come to the same conclusion: there is not much you can do but to watch from the sidelines and pray as hard as you can for a good outcome.

What are your experiences with these situations? What has worked and what hasn’t?





The Joy of Music

28 03 2009

Music is part of who I am, what I love and what I grew up with. I come from a family of musicians and music was in everything we did when we got together along with dancing, singing and of course eating.

Meet my friend Jose Valentino, a Puerto Rican musician with a Latin Jazz flavor which I love. Last night he had an awesome concert with couple of Emmy Awards winners of the same genre. Too bad I could only listen to one song because there was an emergency and had to go back home in a hurry. Enjoy it!





Warning: They Are Stealing From You

27 03 2009

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Today I just had enough.

Money doesn’t come easy these days but it seems it is very easy to lose the little that we have.The companies we deal with are doing very little to help the consumer and if we are not watchful they plain steal from us.

I always try to teach my kids how to handle their finances and help them become independent but yesterday we had a big lesson taught to my daughter and me, DON’T TRUST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. I will not mention the bank I dealt with but I would say that we have been with this bank for over 20 years, in the past they have worked with me and did their best to keep me as a customer, not so this week.

I took my daughter to open her first checking/savings account with this bank couple of weeks ago and in the past it has always been a pleasant experience. They usually explain everything, work with the new client and even offered a bonus for referring the account to them. Okay, they were courteous and tried to explain everything but there are things you need to read for yourself. They said the account was free for students (false). There is a charge for a lot of things and her being new at this and not taking the time to read everything in detail missed some vital information. It has happened to all of my kids, they make mistakes, they get charged and then the officials credit them in good faith because they know how it is. It is not an habitual thing, once they knew what could happen they never done it again and we are always in that bank. All our accounts are there: checking, savings, business, credit card, investments, everything.

Anyway, my point is this. She could not get online for a few days for some reason. And she overdrew on her account 5 times and resulted in a whooping $135 in charges. They usually give you couple of days to cover the charges and don’t add the fee but in this case they did not. There was no way they will take out anything but $35, she lost $100, awesome! You know how long it took her to build that money? And her impression? Banks are thieves, my thoughts also.

Well, there are plenty of banks trying to get new customers and I will close all my accounts with this bank and go somewhere else. I need to be watchful of how they do things and how my money is handled. But let me tell you the same is going on with credit card companies as well. In these difficult times when people can hardly pay the minimum amount on their accounts they triple their interest rates, so how in the world are they going to get ahead if their accounts is next to impossible to pay off??? It is all about them and not the consumer. I am seriously considering going back to the times when nothing was bought on credit and people kept their money under the mattress, it will be safer that way. They only thing will be to give up the convenience to pay my accounts online and not having to get money orders to pay my bills. All I know is that I am losing more money than I can afford at this time and it is my responsibility to manage my money in the best manner possible.

On the same token I received a call from a collection agency trying to contact my son, the Marine. There is an account he needs to pay and I come to find out through him that it might be a cable company he asked to have disconnected before he was deployed. At the time his roommate wanted to keep the connection for another month so they asked to have the account transferred to his friend’s name. They said they would but then they said they needed to call him in order to confirm the change (0f course, to delay the process), hello!! He is on the phone line with you right now making the request why can’t you confirm it right that moment? By the time they called he was already gone (0f course, what they wanted), the transfer never made, the service continued, his friend is gone now also to Afghanistan, they are serving this country, for Heaven sake write off the freaking charges instead of having a collection damaging his credit. My son said he heard the same happening to other Marines. He has an excellent credit rating, so far he managed to build it up to nearly perfect and now this. It is ridiculous!!

Every company is out there trying to pull a month here, a charge there, interest rates, not processing cancellations, whatever they can to steal money from us!!! I am outraged! A well known internet provider used to do the same by offering a free month of connection and letting cancel the service at no charge but you would call to cancel and they would never process the request on time and you would always got charged for at least one month. That’s stealing!!!!! Now a see a free month ANYTHING and run as fast as I can from it.

What are you doing with your money? How are you protecting yourself?





Let Me Hear From You

26 03 2009

Today I thought about you and what are you going through. Tell me about your day, your challenges, your worries. I share on this blog a lot of different topics and describe many situations for you to reflect upon, but today I want to hear it from you. Would you tell me?





Making the Best of Our Present Situation

24 03 2009

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“Life’s circumstances are not always what you might wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan. Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed.” — Vicky Silvers

Life is like that, it is training ground where we develop the skills and virtues that what we lack and strengthen the ones we have. Uncomfortable a times, yes, but worth it at the end, that’s for sure.

Changes, which we have no control over, throw us into unfamiliar ground. We get accustomed to certain routines, comforts and income as life kind of flow from all the efforts and educational preparation we have in order to live reasonably at ease. In these changing economic times when all we have known disappears, is taken away or becomes unknown to us it is hard to feel at ease and optimistic, but it is at those times that we find out what we are truly made of. We are forced to dig deep within in order to find the strength to go on and it is in our yielding to “what is” and the acceptance that we are not really in charge that ultimately give us the strength to let go and by doing so allowing freedom to emerge in our life. Faith is belief in something we can’t see or explain. Shifting realities pushes us to think like we never have before, we need to look for the unthinkable and try to find new ways to survive. There are great opportunities to be discovered and developed in time of hardships but only a small percentage of people will be able to grasp it. You can be one of them if you stop thinking about what you lost and start thinking of what you can gain instead. It is good to be cautious but not to the point to be immobilized, if we do so I can assure it will get worse before it gets better.

The last three years has been very hard financially for my family and for a long time I was using the wrong words to express the lack of money. I was saying; I can’t afford it, I don’t have the money, etc. but during the Christmas Season I decided to trust God -not that I didn’t before- but this time I was going to do it totally and try not to -at the same time- get my will in the middle of His. And you know what? He hasn’t disappointed me yet. I changed my language and I don’t use the phrases I used in the past, now I say; when I get the money, as soon as I can, in a week or so, etc. I am always expecting that God is going to provide us with the necessary means to go on and we have.

So don’t get discouraged, lose hope or faith, there is a silver lining in all of this but you have to open your eyes, ears and heart to it. This could be a time when you will finally find out what your true mission in life is; you will probably get to use your God-given talents for the very first time or on a full-time basis and in the long run you will be happier than you have before. Maybe you will have to give up many material possessions that only tied you down and you will learn to live simpler and that will be a good thing. Too many responsibilities and possessions sometimes enslave us beyond measure. Accept what you can not change and change what you can and see how little by little everything falls into place. It is a given that in order to get something better first we need to let go of what we have sometimes. In order to get our hands full we need to come forward with empty hands, but what we must have is a lot of faith and hope.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life





Then Came Uncertaintity

18 03 2009

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In life we have to deal with so many components and uncertainties. There is a fine line between what we want and what we get, most of the time it is our actions which determines the outcome. At certain times we are called to be courageous and face the consequences of our actions or the actions of others in our life or theirs. There is no way to escape it, but there is always a way to deal with it. It might be difficult but it is up to us to lead the way wherever that might be.

I am learning that I don’t need to go by others way of solving or dealing with similar problems in order to be in “control” of the situations in my life, I am tempted though. I tend to fall back in that trap that said to me that if they dealt with it in certain way if I don’t do the same I would insult their perspective. But it is my way of doing things and dealing with conflict and crisis what I need to implement here, it is my way to be satisfied to a point that will provide me with a certain degree of confidence to move forward.

Detaching and creating ways that reflect the uniqueness of my being takes effort and self-knowledge and I am making sure that in time it is something that will carry me through unto the other side. I am cutting my umbilical cord from everything and everyone but God and not letting myself be carried away by the despair I feel at times in my life, there is always a way out. I know it will get better in time and once I am on the other side of turmoil, crisis, pain and sorrow the light will shine brighter than before just because I emerged from total darkness.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life





Finding Ways

16 03 2009

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It is important to look for those things that helps us gain strength, tranquility and at the same time recharge us. To me it is the sea. I go there as much as I can and take a few moments during my walk to stop and look out to the horizon and let go of whatever troubles me. It is a ritual of sorts, I give it out and expect to get something positive into my life.

I breathe in deeply, close my eyes and feel the breeze, listen to the waves coming to the shore.

I love the feel of the wet sand under my feet,to feel the water and the sun warmth on my skin.

I walk and walk and I don’t want to go back home, because I am already home.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life





Our Life and Nature

13 03 2009

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Nature has always been one of my points of inspiration, for some reason I parallel many of the scenes I see to life. This time I was looking a my rose bush, the same one that gave me 13 roses at once just a month ago. You can see it on this picture and the stems and leaves are turning reddish. It is a sign that more roses are going to spring from them. I thought right away how we also must give some kind of exterior signal that something is changing inside of us. It is the Lent season and we are called to get closer to God by doing sacrifices, penance and fasting. All of these helps us to turn our attention from the outside to the inside and from there changes begin to occur and become evident in the outside. The goal is that it will ultimately manifest itself in our actions and since we have been communing with God we can now do the things he inspires us to do.

As the bush turns red it is the first sign that something is happening deep within it and will become evident when the first buds begin to show up. Then a few days later the bud will continue to grow until it a beautiful rose opens up. It is a delight. So far I have six rose buds, there is no telling how many more will show up in the next few days, in the meantime I water it daily and continue to wonder. Nature is so amazing.

What do you enjoy most about nature? How does it impact your life?





The Way It Is

13 03 2009

There is no telling where my life and my feelings go, at times it feels like the waves that come to the shore sometimes soft and others forceful. Words are harder and harder to come out when the emotions overflow my being and at my best the only thing I can do is just stay still and let it hit me and take me where it may. It is the way it is, there is nothing I can really do about it. I don’t even know if I am making sense but the fingers go to the keys without me thinking much about what I am writing at the moment.

I wish I knew how to shake this feeling and continue to move on, to walk on the path set before me without complaining I have never seen it before or that I don’t know where it leads. I feel like walking on the dark letting myself be guided only by other senses hoping not to stumble in it and get badly hurt. But there is a big wound on my side bleeding slowly as I gasp for air as I tried to make it to a safe place.

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There is a dim light in the distance and that for now it where I am headed, I trust it is a divine light waiting for me. I don’t care if it is in this world or not, just take me there and then maybe I will begin to smile again.





Stillness

11 03 2009

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There was a stillness surrounding me earlier today -for a few days to tell the truth- however the stillness is all gone again. My heart is beating fast and my mind is not as clear as it was. Just like you can’t see the bottom underwater if you have shuffle up your feet moving everything under it, you can’t see or think clearly if your emotions are overflowing inside you.

I struggle with what my next step should be and I know well that this is not the moment to make any decisions, it seems it never is. You can see in the picture how clear the water is and how you can see the pebbles, even though soft waves moved the waters it wasn’t hard enough to disturb the bottom maintaining the water clear. That is how life is when it moves us gently but when trials come the movement could be stronger displacing everything in and around us.

I will close my eyes and breathe deeply as I try to center myself and wait for God to meet me there. It might take some time but I know that is what I should do in a moment like this. I said I would not fight but I feel like fighting deep inside. I don’t want to come undone but I feel like bursting at the seems. Should I scream, should I cry, should I run?

What do you do when stillness flies out the window and you feel like chasing it?