God Forgives The Maximum 2-20-18

In the Our Father we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This is an equation. If you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you? The Lord wants to forgive you, but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter. One might object: “Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me….” The answer is to ask the Lord to help you forget. One must forgive as God forgives, and God forgives the maximum.”

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

This affirmation came to me this morning from the Franciscan Dominicans. It was sent as a reflection to focus on during this lent season. It was ironic since for lent I have made the decision not only to pray for the people who have hurt me but for the ability to forgive them as well as forgive myself and have the strength to finally put the past behind me.

My father passed away on September 14, 2011. My life changed forever that day. That day my heart broke in a million pieces. Since then I have been on a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have tried very hard to put the pieces of my heart back together, however this has proved to be a difficult task. They say you attract what you put out. I suppose this is true. When you have a broken heart you become a magnet to attracting more people in to your life who are all to willing to break your heart and bring more sorrow. That’s what happened to me.

The good news is I’ve finally recognized this and I’m eager to move on and put the pieces of my life back together. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of waiting for an apology that will never come. I’m tired of just being tired and I’m tired of trying to change the past instead of trying to change my future.

The next 40 days I will pray asking god to heal my heart. I’ll pray for the strength to forgive the people that brought me so much pain and succumb to forgetting the past that has led me down this painful road. And yes, I will be praying for the people who broke my heart. I know it will be a difficult task but a necessary task for sure. After all, how can I ask for forgiveness when I can’t offer forgiveness myself.

They say it takes 28 days to form a habit. I’m hopeful that in 28 days I’ll develop a habit of forgiveness and finally find the peace and joy I’ve been searching for and spend the last 12 days of lent living a life free of the negative emotions that have held me hostage and replace that with hope for a brighter future as I close the door of my past once and for all.

Does Heaven Really Exist 2-13-17

Does heaven really exist? I’m sure we have asked ourselves that very question. I am a believer however, I’m also human. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in something I can’t see. Especially when life is either challenging or I find myself missing my father who passed away six years ago. I’d like to believe he’s in paradise living life to the fullest. Surrounded by beautiful sunshine, breathtaking sunsets and beautiful beaches.

My friend, who I will refer to as Ginger, lost her mother last summer. Like me, she was with her mom when she took her last breath.

Ginger wrote me today and shared a beautiful story of what happened to her today. I was so moved by the story, I asked her if it would be ok if I shared it with my blog community.

If you don’t believe in heaven, after reading Gingers story, you will.

“So. I am sure you and every other “normal ” person question life after death. We believe, but there is always that little voice saying “I sure wish I had proof”. But we tuck that thought away and pray for the best.

Well about a month ago I was watering a plant that I brought from my moms. It’s a Christmas cactus. They don’t bloom very often but if they do, it is around Christmas (hence the name) and often around Easter some just never bloom. Well my moms had three blooms right around Easter at her house. That was cool. While I was watering I said out loud “mom if there really is a heaven can you make this thing bloom?”

Knowing it’s not near Easter or Christmas. Well…..”

A picture tells a thousand words. By the looks of this photo, I think heaven does exist.

Lend A Helping Hand 1-2-18

My mother and I had doctors appts today in Wenatchee. Afterwards we ran to Walmart. I don’t even remember why we went there however what I do remember is an incident that happened after we left. I can’t stop thinking about this.

After we left Walmart I saw a homeless man standing on the street corner by the signal light leaving Walmart. He had a sign that said “I’m homeless. Anything will help”.

For some reason rather than proceeding towards the signal light, I pulled in to this hamburger joint that’s near Walmart on the corner where this man was standing. My mother asked me what I was doing. I said “I’m going to buy that man lunch.” My mother asked “what man?” I said “the homeless man on the corner.”

It was tight wad Tuesday at the hamburger joint. I went through the drive-thru and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and Pepsi. After I got the order I drove towards the man. I called out to him. He walked towards my car and I handed him his drink and bag full of food. He said “I’ll sure take that Maam. Thank you. It will be my first meal today”. It was 2:00. He was so filled with gratitude. My heart went out to him. It was so cold today. I couldn’t imagine being homeless cold and hungry. I don’t know why I was inclined to do this today however I do believe that voice in my head prompting me to help that man was from god. I’m glad I did.

I’m sharing this story not for accolades rather to encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It’s easy to walk away when you see someone on a street corner holding a sign. It’s easy to ignore them but really, is that the right thing to do? I try and put myself in their shoes. What if that was you? I often say “in a New York minute everything can change”. What I mean by that is “god giveth, god taketh away. I spend a whole $6.49 today. For some, that’s a lot. For me $6.49 is nothing if I can help someone in need.

Father Mario told a story once of a homeless man sitting in front of a bank asking for money. People walked in and out of the bank. Not one person helped him. They ignored him. Finally a young man walked out of the bank and lend the homeless man a helping hand. When he did, the homeless man stood up. As it turned out the man wasn’t homeless at all. Rather, he was Jesus. Father Mario asked the question “would you walk away if it was Jesus?” My answer has always been no which is why I try my best to not walk away. I’d hate to miss the chance to help someone only to find out the person I was helping was Jesus.

Next time you see someone in need, lend a helping hand. There are so many people suffering. One little act of kindness will go a long way and heck, who knows. The person you help might stand up and be Jesus.

My Terms 12-20-17

Wow three years ago I lost all of my hair. I was completely bald!! I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to grow back my hair. However as of late I have found myself realizing what a blessing the last three years have been. I’ve grown so much. All the things I thought were important are no longer important. Including hair. At the end of the day the only thing that counts is family. The rest of it doesn’t matter. My dad used to say “I’ve never seen a u-haul behind a Hearst. You can’t take it with you”

Today I bit the bullet and cut my hair short. I love it. In my opinion I’d rather spend time with family, friends, grandkids then spending time doing my hair!! The good news is three years later I cut my hair on my terms and not because some crazy drug called Chemo decided I had to. Life is short. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy every day like it’s your last day. Don’t get caught up in any drama.

It’s funny, the past few years all I’ve done is complain. I’ve complained about my hair, my nails, finances, health and I’ve complained because I’m no longer in San Francisco. However what I’ve come to realize is. that I’ve failed to recognize the blessings I’ve had all along. I only wish I had recognized this a long time ago. Life is good. Sometimes life throws us a curveball. I for one have been thrown several these past few years however while everything seemed so bad I suppose God was molding me to become a much better person. I’m really grateful for that.

Today I just want peace in my life. I’m looking forward to what good things God has in store for me. I hope it’s much peace, love and harmony. As for the hair….well it’s sure going to be nice to not have to focus on something silly as doing my hair.

Friends, money, material things and even hair will come and go but it’s family that will always be there. That’s what’s really important. Once upon a time I was on top of the world. I had it all. Looks, a good job, material things and even money. Today things are much different. Today I’ll take peace, love, family and good health over any of those things I once thought were more important. I’m living life on my terms. That includes doing crazy things like cutting my hair!! Short hair…..you rock!!!

Black Friday 11-25-17 revised from 2014

I wrote this blog in 2014. It was a challenging year. However, after reading my reflection on the holiday season three years ago, I still stand by what I wrote.

The Christmas season has become so commercialized as has Thanksgiving. This year I had the most wonderful thanksgiving ever. I spent the entire day with my friends, family and even my grandkids. Black Friday was spent having lunch with the people I love and today I’ll spend another day with family.

Maybe I missed out on all the great deals but I certainly didn’t miss out on the best deal out there. Quality time with the people I love. I can’t put a price tag on that. In the midst of it all, my heart is always with those in need. I do my best to give of myself as often as I can. For me that really is having a holiday spirit.

BLACK FRIDAY 2014

For the past week or more all I see are advertisements or news stories about Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year. I find it amusing how the holiday season has become so commercialized. Four years ago I was driving to work and while I listened to the radio, a commercial came on about the Christmas season. What I found interesting, was not only had Thanksgiving not rolled around, neither had Halloween! These past few months have not only been the most challenging months of my life, it’s given me a whole new perspective on how I view things. I realize that life isn’t about the material things we acquire or the amount of money we have, the gifts we give others during the holidays, it’s really all about family and the people we love. It’s how we choose to live life.

Four years later, I began seeing Christmas decorations the first week of October. The holiday season has taken on a whole new meaning. No longer is it about being thankful on thanksgiving or being surrounded by family on Christmas morning, it’s all about the material things. Being diagnosed with cancer comes with so many negative challenges but it also has a positive impact on a persons life. Cancer can really change a persons perspective on life. It is a realization of what’s really important. My friend in North Carolina send me a quote yesterday that she saw at a cancer unit. It said “you’re going to want to give up……DONT!!!” Fighting cancer is tough business but the silver lining is you become more aware of what’s important. More often than not, living and spending quality time with family is what becomes more important than waiting in line to buy the perfect gift on Black Friday. Family is what gives a person the inspiration to not give up!

I have a very humorous personality. I love to laugh. I especially love those who make me laugh and I love any comedian who is funny. I love Ellen Degeneres. She’s hysterical. Will Ferrell. Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler….the list goes on. If you’re funny you have a place in my book. I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night. He’s a riot. His monologue was hilarious. He poked fun at everything including Thanksgiving and Black Friday. He said he felt it was inappropriate to make people work on Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that you should spend with your family. He went on to say that even more disturbing were the people who set up camps on a sidewalk on Thanksgiving to be the first in line for Black Friday. He had a stellar idea. Jimmy’s idea was that those who felt the need to camp out on a sidewalk over night in preparation for Black Friday, should open their homes to all the homeless people so they had a warm and cozy place to sleep. Now I have to admit, I found myself laughing but the truth is I laughed because it was true.

That’s how silly we’ve all become. A homeless person would give anything not to sleep in a tent on a sidewalk, while we would be willing to do it for a “good deal”.

There are so many homeless people in San Francisco. My heart sinks and my stomach hurts every time I’m in the car and I see people passed out or I take my walks and I pass these people on the sidewalk. Some are homeless not by choice. They’ve experienced a job loss or a tragedy. Jimmy Kimmel’s joke last night was funny but if you think about it for a few minutes, it can really put things in to perspective.

Thursday will be another Thanksgiving I won’t be spending with my family. It sucks. I wish I was. These days Black Friday isn’t even on my list. Being surrounded by family is the only thing that I think about. I met with my radiation oncologist last Friday. I was surprised to hear that I will need 36 radiation treatments opposed to 30. He wanted me to start right away. I have opted to start the 7 week ordeal after Christmas. I’d like to go home for the holidays and spend the time with my family. Somehow, that’s more important to me than anything else including Black Friday. Today I have my planning appointment along with a cat scan to prepare for the 7 week ordeal. I have a long year ahead of me, not to mention 5 years of keeping my fingers crossed. I hate having cancer but in some ways I’m grateful for the experience and the new perspective it’s given me on how I view life. Everything I thought was important is no longer in the forefront. Living is along with the love of friends and family and the quality time we share as we go through this thing called life.

This Thanksgiving, focus on the things you have to be grateful for. Focus on the time you are lucky enough to share with your family. Everything else is just stuff. That includes that great deal you’re waiting in line for on that very popular day that has become the biggest day of the year…..Black Friday. And if you can’t resist the biggest shopping day of the year, then take Jimmy Kimmel’s advice. Open your home to the homeless 😄.

Remembering 9-11 9-11-17

Remembering 9/11 

Dear Friends ~ In the wake of so much prejudice, violence and hatred, we must once again search our hearts for seeds of love and compassion. Why is it so hard to cultivate human kindness and respect? How is it that we can invent incredibly complex technology, push the limits of physical endeavor, and hone our intellects and yet be unable to transform the human heart? When will moral development and ethical evolution even catch up to, let alone surpass, our capacity for animosity and contempt and havoc? Who will be the teachers

Great compassion is the root of all forms of worship.

~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Perfect Kiss 5-20-17

The Perfect Kiss by Velma Perez Dunkin
What is the Perfect Kiss? In life, we are always searching for our idea of what the Perfect Kiss should be.  I’m 51 years old and I have to admit I’ve experienced many kisses in my lifetime. However, if you ask me the best Kiss I’ve ever received are the salty, wet, kisses I received from my kids when they were young and now the kisses from my beautiful grandchildren. You know the ones? The kisses filled with drool and boogars. The kisses covered in crumbs or at times covered in dirt from playing outside. Mmmmm Delicious!!! Now in my opinion, those are the perfect kisses. The kisses that are short lived but are in our hearts and memories for a lifetime. Those my friends, are the Perfect Kiss. Cherish them. 
So today if you’re looking for the Perfect Kiss, Kiss your child, grandchild, nieces and or nephews. If you’re like me, the minute you do, you will know that finally…. you have experienced the Perfect and Most Delicious Kiss.