Song of the Week ~ We Found Love (Cover by Boyce Avenue)

I love music and it touches me in the strangest ways and at the strangest times sometimes. The melodies evoke emotions and memories of times long since passed.  Music is the pulse of my life.  I love popular music, acoustic music, gospel music.  Honestly, I love a little bit of everything!

I am always attracted to the words of a song.  I wonder what the writer was thinking when I hear it.  I often try to avoid seeing a video to a song until I have gotten a grasp of its lyrics because I find that video treatments often don’t match the song.  I had the pleasure of hearing WE FOUND LOVE by Rihanna as an acoustic cover version of the song by Boyce Avenue and I am so glad that I did!  This stripped down version truly touched my heart.

I had forgotten all about Boyce Avenue’s version after Rihanna’s synthesizer infused original version hit the airways and the seductive drug reference filled video hit the video channels.  I watched a behind the scenes show about the making of the video where she said,  “Love is unexplainable, intoxicating and illicit just like a drug.”  She went on to talk about the good and bad sides of love and the feeling of being out of control and how sometimes we need to release the very thing that we value and love in order to love ourself.  To say that I was dumbfounded was an understatement!

Flash forward two months.  It is Sunday morning. January 29, 2012 at my Church’s Bring A Friend to Church Day.  The theme is the “Power Of Love.” The message was about finding a place of love during difficult times.  It was full of hope for the hopeless, spiritually broken, and those that needed to reconnect to the power of the cross and reconnect with GOD.  The message spoke of promises of forgiveness and new life.  Communion was served and the chords of the piano began to play and my favorite soloist began to sing:

“Yellow diamonds in the light and we’re standing side by side”

By the time she sang, “Because the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny. But I gotta let it go.”  I was in tears.  I never thought of this song in this context but it was a beautiful call to the altar to restore people’s hopes and dreams.  A call for people to release addictions or hurt and pain from their past.  I was uplifted in a way that I have never been before while listening to this song.  It took on a whole new meaning and its one that I am going to keep in my heart this week and beyond.  Like I said, music can soothe the soul, convict the heart, and release the past.

We Found Love LYRICS:

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we’re standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive
Because the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Shine a light through an open door
Love and life I will divide
Turn away cause I need you more
Feel the heartbeat in my mind
Because the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we’re standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive
I because the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Heartbreak & Gratitude ~ Gratitude Journal #2

This week I am both heartbroken and grateful. I am heartbroken by the death of my friends twenty-one year old son. He was not just their son, he was my son. He was a part of my heart and my life since he was eight. He was my oldest son’s friend, confidant, playmate and teammate. He was our families treasure, our hope, our joy. He was a member of our “family” not by birth but by our choice.

Needless to say I am sad, but I am eternally grateful to have had Richard in my life. I was proud to watch his dreams become reality academically, on the basketball court, and as he created his own family. He will live on in my heart. He will live on in his young wife and their newborn son. He was a gift from GOD. A beautiful perfect gift that I will continue to treasure. I will look to him to comfort his parents, my children, and the entire community of “family” that loved him.

• I will be grateful every time I see the sun shining bright like his smile.

• I will be grateful when I pass the outdoor basketball courts where we used to play.

• I will be grateful for all of the time I had with him before GOD called him away.

• I will be grateful to see little pieces of him in his son’s eyes.

• I will be grateful because I know love never dies!

Rest in Heaven Richard Castillo.
Homecoming January 28, 2012

20120128-100233.jpg

A Reflection on Eve Ensler’s Essay ~ Over It

I love Eve Ensler. I love her because she is outspoken. I love her because she is a Lioness. I love her because her words are succinct, powerful and thought provoking. I love her perspective of the state of women and what we endure all around the world.

Eve’s life and mission are more than the discussions on the praise and neglect of a woman’s womb. She is bringing attention to the masses about the acceptance, choices, expectations, plight, and roles of women. If you have not read or seen The Vagina Monologues, I certainly encourage you to do so. I have to admit that I was expecting it to be a trite piece of hyper-sexual overindulgence, but I was reduced to tears and I gained a larger understanding of what it means to be a woman from a global perspective, and how I am one woman out of every three women who has been raped and what does that mean in the larger scale of things.

I am still left reflecting, still processing, still trying to understand why the assault on a woman’s body is still taking place. I am still trying to understand why the assault on a man’s body is still taking place. I am still trying to grasp why victims continue to suffer in silence and why there is limited resources to help victims try and heal.

Here in San Francisco, a fifteen year old girl who is visiting from out of the country was raped yesterday. I am outraged and saddened as always but I believe Eve says it best in her piece entitled OVER IT in The Huffington Post :

I am over rape.

I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.

I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.

I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.

I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.

I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape. I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.

I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.

I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.

I am over rape happening in broad daylight.

I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.

I am over one in three women in the U.S military (HappyVeterans Day!) getting raped by their so-called “comrades.”

I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.

I am over the fact that after four women came forward with allegations that Herman Cain groped them and grabbed them and humiliated them, he is still running for the President of the United States.

And I’m over CNBC debate host Maria Bartiromo getting booed when she asked him about it. She was booed, not Herman Cain.

Which reminds me, I am so over the students at Penn State who protested the justice system instead of the alleged rapist pedophile of at least 8 boys, or his boss Joe Paterno, who did nothing to protect those children after knowing what was happening to them.

I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.

I am over starving Somalian women being raped at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.

I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it’s their fault or they did something to make it happen.

I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime — the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself. No women, no future, duh.

I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it. I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters — film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie stars, athletes — while the lives of the women they violated are permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.

I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you? You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?

I am over years and years of being over rape.

And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5-years-old.

And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape.

And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.

I am over being polite about rape.

It’s been too long now, we have been too understanding.

We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine — once and for all — what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered.

We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of global rape.

There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated.

ONE BILLION WOMEN.

The time is now.

Prepare for the escalation.

Today it begins, moving toward February 14, 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.

Because we are over it.

Song of the Week — WTF by Elle Varner

Ever had one of those kinds of days where you throw up your hands and say WTF (What the f*%^)? Well then you can totally identify with my current vibe. I am just 6 weeks out post-op and still having some troubles with digesting my food, not feeling a 100%, I have a garage full of boxes that still needs to be unpacked or otherwise disposed of and I just don’t have the mental or physical energy to deal with it.

I woke up with another song in mind for today but since my girl crush (Elle Varner) snuck into town last night, performed at Ruby Skye and dropped a Mixtape CD this morning, I had to get my grove on and test out the eagerly anticipated songs.

Much to my delight — CONVERSATIONAL LUSH does not disappoint and this song in particular titled WTF, just kinda captured my mood today. It captured the irony I am currently calling my life and although the circumstances of her song are unlike any that I have experienced before, I am still sitting here contemplating WTF!

WTF am I gonna do to get my “get up and go” back? WTF am I gonna do with my future, am I really gonna stop teaching and settle for an office job? WTF? I am really not sure what’s gonna happen but right now I am gonna enjoy the ride and sing along until the dust settles!

Have you ever felt like life on the road less traveled is full of bumps and bruises that are insurmountable? How did you manage to get through? I am choosing humor and music. How about you?

20 Things I’ve Done In My Life ~ Gratitude Journal

GRATITUDE JOURNAL ENTRY #1 for 2012

I have had a great forty+ years of living and I’ve done some pretty awesome things. There are tons more I’d love to do, but this is not a bad list of my top twenty life highlights for my gratitude journal!

1. Married to a wonderful man.

2. Completed my Masters Degree just before I turned 40 years old.

3. Became a Certified Meeting Planner.

4. Gave birth to amazing children.

5. Became a Soccer Mom.

6. Traveled to: Paris, France.

7. Went Parasailing in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.

8. Sang a solo in front of 3000 at a conference.

9. Walked in a 5k race.

10. I was told by my favorite author, Mr. E. Lynn Harris (R.I.P.) “You have the name of an author!”

11. Danced the night away until I had blisters on my feet.

12. Saved someone’s life by performing CPR.

13. Rescued two children out of a burning apartment.

14. Raised $300,000 to renovate a preschool.

15. Voluntarily read through the entire bible.

16. Had an article published in a magazine.

17. Breast Cancer Survivor.

18. Rape Survivor.

19. Written a book on helping children who suffer from the impact of trauma that is currently being edited for publishing in the Summer of 2012.

20. Made the decision to take back my life and get healthy!

Tag Line of My Life (Writing on Edge)

Today’s meme was to come up with a creative title and tagline that captures your life, or a moment from your life. Here is mine…

“TROUBLE DON’T LAST ALWAYS!”

I’m so grateful know that I know and understand this. I’ve seen dark days, truly dark days that I never dreamed would end. Yet, in spite of these periods of trouble my faith has sustained me and proven that the sun will always come from behind the clouds and the storms of life will come and go. Troubles don’t last always and I am eternally grateful!

Happy New Year

For those of you that are reading this, thank you for stopping by and welcome to 2012!

It has taken me two days to really focus on something to blog about. I wanted to do a year-end recap but the end of 2011 was not really enjoyable and it’s after effects are still being felt. In spite of having surgery and a minor setback with my recovery, moving to a smaller home and still trying to get rid of the excess “things” that have cluttered my families life, the final blow came on Christmas Eve when we were told that one of my son’s friends who is 21 years old and a new husband and father is dying of cancer. Needless to say 2012 is now all about perspective.

So instead of the traditional resolutions I usually make, I am compelled to really look into myself and into my heart this year to make things better for not only myself but those around me.

MY TEN RESOLUTIONS FOR 2012

1. I resolve, to help develop faith in GOD in my friends and family that are running low.

2. I resolve, to live my life to the fullest in spite of PTSD and my Anxiety Disorder. I resolve to be forthright about my struggles and no longer hide in the shadows.

3. I resolve, to work hard to maintain happiness in my life! I know that I am the only person responsible for my happiness. I am NOT responsible for the happiness of others, I am only responsible to make sure that my actions do not cause others to deliberately become unhappy.

4. I resolve, to continue to bring attention to affects, fight, and research of cancer in honor of Rich, my Mom and me.

5. I resolve, to continue to uncluttered my mind, my heart and my home of useless emotions and things.

6. I resolve, to concentrate on my physical health and I will shed the mental and physical weight that I have hidden behind. My time is now and I have no time to live in the past!

7. I resolve, to focus on things that make me a better person so that I can become a better friend, parent and partner.

8. I resolve, to push forward with my blog writing and novel writing. Being disciplined in my approach and stretching myself to write in genres I have never written.

9. I resolve, to continue to grow and learn something new daily.

10. I resolve, to live my life my way in 2012 and beyond!