Reassurances Amidst Uncertainty

Uncertainty, it’s all around us, you don’t have to look far. It comes in the sound of an ambulance or firetruck along with the howling of the coyotes when they hear it. Our temporary existence is a reminder that the frivolous stuff doesn’t matter…yet we are attracted to it like a moth to a flame.

I have just subscribed to The New York Times…I want to be aware of what faces the world, but at the same time, there is a difference between being aware and allowing it to consume you.

For instance, I received a text alert from the NYT about Putin’s growing threat in the Ukraine. How does this affect me and my family. Of course, its affects will trickle down and make itself known in the economy, but for right now, it does not affect how my day will continue.

Make the coffee, change the diapers, feed my little ones, take the dogs out, do the laundry, feed the rest of the family, make time to edit my book so I can eventually send it with a query letter to a prospective literary agent and of course I still have statistics homework to take care of. On and on my list goes, but for an instant I can get caught up in someone else’s life. Turn to the entertainment section. I just read an article about a stripper who marries a preacher 7 years younger than her. Say whaaat?!

When life throws us a curve ball, for lack of a better word, we take the hit and then assess the damage. We search for things in our life looking for the meaning of it. Anger, sadness and fear rage in our thoughts. Fearful for a tomorrow that sometimes manifests itself in our dreams.

I am aware that it doesn’t need to be that way, but I’m being honest. The instinct to pray comes after I feel the feelings.

What we look for in times of uncertainty?

We need a friendly gesture, a helpful quote, an answered prayer. I have been doing a lot of talking to God. As I write this I am tentative about other people’s thoughts about Him.

I am learning and growing in my beliefs through life’s experience. It’s been a bumpy road. I imagine running through river rocks, wearing Vibrams, those five toed shoes that ever so briefly became a trend. It can be painful when you don’t have the right tools. Get yourself a pair of Altras for the terrain you’re on and it will make for a less a painful journey. I did not mean to make that into a shoe commercial, but it’s so fitting. I couldn’t help myself! I’m laugh crying right now, internally.

Non believers think of it as a weakness on the part of the believers. I used to say the same thing when I lived on the side of the unbelievers, but I’ll take it. I am no greater than the person sitting next to me. We could all use God’s soul support.

I woke up this morning worried. One thing popped into my head. Give it to God. I instantly turned my worry over to Him and the tension in my chest released. I thought to myself, “It’s that easy?” Yeah it is.

This is not cause to do nothing. There’s only so much you can do when given a problem. Do what you can and then turn it over to Him. He’ll take it from there. Watch it unfold. I dare you.

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That was my pep talk for today and through the weekend. My hope is that this post speaks to you in some way. If it did, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment. It’s always good to know that I’m not the only one going through sheet.

Losing Sight

I sit in a waiting room with people who are significantly older than me. Most them slumped in their seats, staring into spaces that sight cannot reach. Some have one hand resting on their walker attentively waiting for their name to be called. Others sit in a wheelchair, drowsy from too much or too little sleep. Their significant other sits on the other side resting their hand on a hand or a shoulder. These patients are around my mother’s age, some are a little younger, but not by much.

The ophthalmologist tells me to gaze straight into a lens, his blue eyeball is magnified within it. His lashes bat up and down waiting for me to rest my chin on the black apparatus that he can adjust on his side. Specks of dust settle on his eye lashes, but when I shut my right eye my central field of vision in my left eye is a blur . It appears like a smudge tool from Photoshop erased the spot where I stare directly at something.

“How long have you been experiencing sight loss?” He asks.

I think back to when I first noticed my vision discrepancy. I was running in the desert in Atacama, Chile, when I noticed a crinkling in my vision, like someone had pinched my pupil.

The Results

The opthamologist tells me it is unusual for someone my age to experience this sort of eye condition. His patients were generally in their 60s. I was 37 at the time of the visit.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have a macular hole.”

He knows I have no idea what he is talking about.

Simply put, the gel in your eye ball referred to as the vitreous is pulling away from the retina causing a tear which results in a hole. If you were to get surgery, you could regain your vision. He would drain my eye of the vitreous, fill it with air, and stitch it up.

He says the hole was small enough for the vitrectomy to be a success, but it not guaranteed. From here on out, my vision would get worse, unless I did something about it. He gives me the card for his scheduler, so she could provide me with more details.

I spent $400 that afternoon, so he could tell me the unfortunate news. The cost of the surgery would cost more than five months of pay and that was if I my work allowed me 45 hours plus a week.

Relying on could was not a risk I wished to take. I considered the amount of time I would be out of commission, a solid two weeks of unpaid leave. Sitting face down in a specialized chair, that I would have to purchase, where I would have to remain, shifting every couple of hours to make sure the hole would heal properly.

Fast forward to now.

Since then my peripheral has become progressively worse. My left eye sees things in a blur, including my peripheral. I put a contact more out of habitI wonder if I’m better off wearing an eye patch. Maybe I can have people call me Left Eye Des (the long lost member of TLC) or better yet Mad Eye Moody’s distant cousin.

My left eye is pretty much useless. Last November, before the depression lifted and before the car accident, I noticed a smudge in my right eye. It blocks letters when I read and when I focus on it too much it gets me aggravated and I get headaches.

I think of Helen Keller on my worst days and then I think about all the things I won’t see in my future. My complaints are like any first world living human, but come on. I’d like to keep my vision. Please and thank you. Being consumed by other worries, I continue to plead with God to not take my sight away from me.

There is still so much I want to see.

Back in December, I went back to The Church on the Living Edge. It was refreshing to come back to the world of believers. I missed God in my life, the comfort of the Bible and the ability to lean on Him in times of trouble. That car accident was exactly what my soul needed so that I could become reacquainted with Him.

Since coming back, I keep thinking about one of the apostles. Paul asked God three times to take away the “thorn in his flesh.” It is up for interpretation, but my big take away was that in my own personal journey, I have had my vision taken away from me, so that I could see.

I wonder how others like me who have gone on to live a fulfilling life without their sight. Did they learn braille? Am I asking too much?

Whatever His plans are for me, I am appreciating the time I have to do all the things I can accomplish. I think of the song from Hamilton, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”

Time is fleeting.

We have a short time on this earth. I’m constantly reminded of this when I hear the ticking of my red wall clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

What will you do with the time allowed you on this Earth?

With God’s help I hope to accomplish a lot, so that I may leave a legacy that my posterity will be proud to share with others with or without my sight intact.

Stressed? It’s Forking Desserts

Did you know that desserts spelled backwards is stressed? It was news to me. It’s no wonder that desserts are often given to us when we are stressed the fork out.

A quote concerning stress: “You can’t control the winds, but you can adjust the sails.” – a number of people are attributed with this saying.

So, Are You Feeling Stressed?

Stress forking affects EVERYTHING in my life. Be it mentally, physically, and emotionally. I wished I wouldn’t let it get to me, but I know time and time again that’s where my faith steps in. Easier said than done. It takes some serious concentration to get unstuck from the loop. I’ve talked about negativity before. Don’t worry, nothing has changed.

Loops of Negativity = Negativity about everything. Talk about a dark cloud consistently looming overhead.

The Loop

You know, that mental treadmill of sorts that keeps you stressed, anxiety ridden, and filled with worry. It sucks the joy out living. I believe that’s the reason I enjoy basking in the happy, peaceful, joyful moments. Now that’s a treadmill filled with abundance.

Here I am, still learning this concept. Always learning. I’m learning to forgive humanity and myself. I’m trying to be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter and dare I say it…a better Christian.

Personally, I’m turned off by people that introduce themselves and then add, “I’m a Christian.” Show me what you mean by that. You don’t need to tell me something you are, especially if you already show it by your actions. This goes for people who say they are kind, generous and loving. Show me kindness, generosity, and love.

It’s rough out here in this world.

If you’re not careful you can turn into a negative human only attracting the worst of what life has to offer. Doesn’t reading that sentence make you feel icky?

When I start seeing the negativity enter, there’s only one thing I can do. I must freaking change my gosh darn attitude. I’m trying to reverse my sailor’s mouth. It’s flippin’ tough, but not impossible. I’m not going to say I have a good track record, which I did for a big chunk of my life because of a religion, but now I’m just doing it because no one likes a potty mouth and there are so many more better words out there.

Have you looked at a dictionary lately? I just wish there was one that would carry as much emotion as that one four letter word that rhymes with duck. Do you have a better one? Let me know in the comments down below, because fork doesn’t do it for me.

What to do when forking desserts get the best of me?

I write, run, lift weights, knit, and pray A LOT.

If that doesn’t work, then what?

Lean on hope and faith when you’re stressed.

I could quote a bunch of bible verses here, but I’ll spare you. In this process of becoming better, I’ve come across a new friend. Her name is Jackie. We text each other a lot. It’s mostly about remaining in prayer for one another. We talk about our faith and discuss how it’s made us stronger women, thus making us better wives, mothers, and friends.

As fate would have it, she was initially friend’s with my husband’s mother. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. She’s also my age and hit it off the moment we met. Our two older children are similar in age. We can relate on so many levels. We know and are acquainted with the same people. I’ve lived here for over a decade. All this time, in this small but big county, we met at the Family Dollar in the frozen food aisle on Christmas Eve.

I’m constantly trying to see the little blessings in my life when I’m consumed by the bigger problems.

When life feels devoid of hope and lacking in love, I turn to God in faith and He answers me through friends.

# # #

If you’re forking desserts, my hope is that these words find their way to you.

“The Photograph” is Published!

I originally published this in second person on one of my first blogs. I decided to rewrite it, this time in first person. After several rejections, Talon Review accepted The Photograph. Hope you enjoy it!

Click here to view it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. We all have busy schedules, so your time is always greatly appreciated.

Goals: Failures and Successes

What better time to talk about goals than on the Chinese New Year.

Goals

Does the word goal make you cringe inwardly a little? Sometimes I feel like it attaches meaning to something that I don’t really want to do, but must get done, like my statistics homework that I’m pushing out to do tomorrow instead of right now.

Why? Because I attach a higher priority to my writing. Although learning and understanding how it applies to psychology is an important skill and a required course to complete my long-haul hopes and dreams, I L-O-V-E to write. Writing hits that feel-good receptor.

I bet you know what this segue is leaning towards.

If you guessed running, you get a virtual fist bump. 

Let’s just say that goals aren’t for dreamers. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great stepping stone towards the “G” word, and do I ever like to dream with the best of them.

Unfortunately, for the dreamer, like myself, I have to jump off the cloud and take my Care Bear tushy down to my reality like (quick side note: I imagine the Care Bears every time I think about what it would be like to live in the clouds if  they weren’t really made out of water droplets like the scientists say), “Why do I smell ____?” or the Majority question in the Haros house, “What are we having for dinner?” As if I know the answer, SMH. I wouldn’t use that shortened form unless I actually did that, which I often do. I think it’s equivalent to the eye roll for teenagers. We parents have our own language. We shake our heads for a myriad of reasons, but I won’t discuss that today.

Goals require action…

Whatever your stance is on goals, there is no side stepping option available here. Goals are for those who are all about action. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like talking about something unless I’m actually going to do something about it.

As of late running has once again grabbed at my soul.

Running is the adrenaline rush, the breathing in and out, the one step after the other, the feeling of the sun on my skin…the untapped potential just beneath the surface of my very being.

This is the place where I feel like anything and everything can happen…when I truly believe that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

Let me rephrase that. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH GOD. I know that without Him in my corner, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I have been fortunate enough to do.

In regards to that rush, this is how I feel when I run. If that rush could be bottled up and stored, no one would ever have to experience those lows, but then again how could we ever enjoy those highs? One is not possible without the other.

With all that said, it’s time to prove to myself that I can run a 100-mile race.

I know it can be done and I also know from prior experience that it can’t always be done.

Did you see what I said there? Let me say it one more time. Just because you want something bad enough, even if God has you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it.

It took many failures to get me there. My ego was knocked to the curb and my vulnerabilities exposed. Humbled much? Too many times to count.

Greenlights weren’t happening when I attempted the 100 mile race at Zion 100, Keys 100, Wild Sebastian, Daytona 100, and Atacama Extreme 100.

I don’t have a great track record of 100- mile distance finishes, but it shows that I tried. In my life time, I have completed the distance twice. Those finishes meant a whole lot more.

The same goes for my writing. There were several rejections, before my essays were accepted. Once again, those failures made my successes that much sweeter.

How did I get from point A to point B?

I didn’t give up. I kept pushing because I knew I could get it done.

At this point, I feel like I’m giving myself a pep talk. Hope this speaks to you in some way.

I will continue to chip away at my running milestones just as I did before I completed my first 100. How? One step at a time.

If you are a writer, how do you get there? One word at a time.

# # #

Just like any goal, you have to visualize the outcome.

Close your eyes.

Now bask in the feeling of your accomplishment.

Can you see yourself there? Holding that buckle? Or that diploma or that finished book in print?

Whatever goal you have. It’s in you. This is what I have to remind myself on the daily. I am my own roadblock at times. Those negative thoughts are like land mines.

In my own experience, I notice that every time I take my eyes off a goal, I step on a mental land mine and that outcome is never pretty. The moment I do, everything seems to go wrong. One catastrophe to the next.

I’m now ever slowly learning that I need to say a prayer to God asking Him for help and guidance. I also ask my friends to lift me up with their positive vibes. Both of these options are provided to all of us. You just have to ask.

Interested in goal achieving?

Here are some easy steps to follow. If you’re already in the middle of these steps. Let me know how it’s going.

1. Create a goal. Write down your why. Make sure it’s big enough to get you out of bed every day.

2. Write down the steps it will take to get you there. Work backwards from the finish to the beginning. This will put in a different head space.

3.  Ask others who may have accomplished your goal. Just ask and I guarantee they will help you out.

4. Get to it and accomplish your goal. I’ll be cheering you on.

“Oh Buhay”: Life is So Hard

Oh buhay, Tagalog for “Life is so hard.”

In contrast, my sweet friend, Maribel, made me a frame that says, ” Life… it’s so easy.” It’s a little inside joke my friends and I have with her.

We can either go through life thinking one of the two.

How do you see it? I’m blinking at you like Dora the Explorer.

I need to brag about Maribel for a hot minute. She knows how to do things…from cooking to styling hair, to instructing Zumba, to being a phlebotomist. This lady can do HARD things. She is a devoted wife, mother, friend and foremost a Christian. She doesn’t need to advertise her beliefs because she embodies it in her daily actions. She’s the real deal. I love you, Maribel! I haven’t even covered half of what makes Maribel the awesome person she is.

*Disclaimer: If you are my friend, you may be subject to appearing in a post. I am a bragger, so if you are a friend of mine it is because you are a strong individual and I am inspired by the person you are. You continue to motivate me to be the best version of myself.

Life in the Ultrarunning Community

I have once again immersed myself into the ultrarunning community. I am currently living the cheer mat life sidelines. I am the person who will be one of your biggest supporters as you run and train for those ultra running races. My husband and I might just be at the aid station, making that crowd favorite of peanut butter and jelly wrapped in a tortilla.

I’ve missed it. If you’re one of my running friends reading this, I’ve missed you.

I know I’ve been a crappy friend, but can you blame me? Depression kicked my @$$ BIG TIME. I retreat inwards. It’s not good. I do not recommend it. I’m learning to reach out to others. Like I’ve said before, people can’t read your mind, because if they could your people would be right there to lift you up.

When you are in that big pit of despair, who do you turn to when you no longer have your friends to turn to. I found out who I really needed to turn to.

There’s only so much you can do when you turn away from God.

I can tell you one thing, your problems will not end. You may get tried, but He can make your burdens lighter. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, only He can make it lighter and send people to you to help alleviate those burdens. If you are still on the fence about the God thing, think of it as the Universe. I’ve said this before. We are interconnected. You know why? Because we need each other. There is no “lone wolfing” this life.

I mean, you can if you want, but you are essentially making life a lot harder for yourself than it needs to be.

Back to talking about running…

I’ve missed the people who became my life’s greatest cheerleaders.

When you stop running, are you still a runner?

When I wasn’t running…no, I didn’t think of myself as a runner. I walked the trail for 3 years and could not imagine myself ever running ANY foot race again. I asked and wondered, mostly in my head, why ANYONE would subject themselves to a 100 mile race, especially a race in the Florida Keys during the month of May?

I forgot the joy that running brought me. The onset was sudden. It started when my husband, Anthony, our daughter, Lexi, and our other daughter, Brooklyn came down to Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville, Florida to volunteer at the start/finish aid station this past December. This past year it has become an infamous race for other reasons, but I’ll let you do the research on your own.

I planted the seed when I said I lost my passion for running.

I used reverse psychology on me and now I have some races lined up leading up to the Keys 100.

Do you see how our lives are created by our own making?

I had a reawakening in my soul. Please refer to my last few blog posts to understand what I’m talking about.

In two weeks, my daughter, Alexis, aka Lexi will be jumping out of a perfectly good plane and upon landing, she will then run 13.1 miles. Why? Free will. Also, one of the greatest gifts God has given each one of us on this planet.

The race is called Sky Dive Ultra, created by Eric Friedman. He’s also the guy who created FUR Florida Ultra Runners group on FB.

I’ve wanted to attend Sky Dive Ultra (not jumping out of the plane) get together/reunion of sorts since 2014. The date has not worked out in my life’s schedule.

I’m not saying live a YOLO life. I’m saying we need to live among the living. The world is so much better with YOU in it. Be with the people who make it worth living.

You will be happier for it. I’m living proof that it’s better to live life among the living. I changed how I saw things and once I did that, everything else just clicked. I mean EVERYTHING. Thoughts, ideas, and actions. Most importantly, people have been placed in my path to facilitate the actions. More on that in another post.

Well, now that we have a family member running the race, the race will be more meaningful to say the least. Not only that, but now I created an opportunity to catch up with my running friends and introduce them to my husband, who has unwittingly caught the running bug, before I knew I wanted and needed running back in my life. I am grateful he planted the seed in his own way, unbeknownst to him.

The Keys 100

In the same vein of ultrarunning thought, I’m in the beginning stages of training for The Keys 100. This race is a special one for me.

Here’s the short short story…

2014

I attempted this race as a solo runner…meaning no running crew. I depended on the aid stations. The problem? They can’t anticipate your needs, because they don’t know you. I did experience what it means to help a sister out. Christian Stewart and Susan Anger who are well known to those of us who are Florida Ultra Runners. They helped me after the 7-Mile Bridge. I made it as far as 96 miles, but knowing that I wouldn’t buckle, I threw in the towel.

2015

I towed the line once again…and finished.

Why?

I had a crew. Three other ultra runners (Lani, Bernadette, and Kevin volunteered their time and energy just to get me thru to the finish. They were there to anticipate what I needed, before I even knew I needed it.

I’ll never forget the moment when my friend, Lani, said sometime during the last six miles. I was severely chaffed in my nether regions. It hurt with every step I took.

Lani said, “If you want me to put Butt Paste there, I’ll do it.”

Her look of compassion for a situation I put upon myself in made my heart fill with more gratitude than I can express here in words.

I could not have done it without them. This year I’ll have a different crew. Two of them will be my family members. I’m sure you can guess who that will be.

2022

I have been looking for my buckle from 2015…it’s vanished from my possession. I can’t remember the last time I physically touched it.

Lexi said, “Well, I guess you’ll have to run another one.”

So, I guess it’s time for me to get a new one. I look forward to the coming months and years with my new found love to live life. I’m continually learning to love every aspect of it..meaning the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I ask that we all adopt Maribel’s saying, “Life…it’s so easy,” and add “when you allow others into it.”

Let us help each other in this crazy journey we call life!

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Thank you for visiting and I hope to “see” you again soon.

Change Your Mindset and Have a Day to Remember

April and I used to have this inside joke where we would tell each other to “Have a day!”

You know, because having a good day would be expecting too much.

Well, I’m learning to expect more. It’s about making your day and not your day making you.

Do you know what I’m talking about? We had a situation the other day that could have ruined our day, but my husband and I proceeded with our day and took that pivot. Do you remember that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel are moving that sofa? P-I-V-O-T was the main message.

How do you change your mindset?

You make it a daily practice. Like anything, i.e., writing, creating (whatever that avenue is for you, running..all of it requires a daily practice).

Have you prayed for patience or love?

You will be tried.

Why?

God is turning your weaknesses into strengths.

So you prayed and you’re asking why the world is working against you. Keep in mind that you are slowly being molded into the strong individual that people see today.

I need to constantly press the restart button. I’ll be the first person to tell you I’m far from perfect. When it comes down to it, I’m just trying to be the best possible version of myself to my family, friends and strangers alike.

Learn to see things from a different perspective. It just might change how you see an individual.

Scenario

Brooklyn takes her diaper off and uses her poop as finger paint all over the living room.

My husband said, “Why didn’t you ask me for help?”

“Because I thought you would have figured it out!” I replied.

I expected my husband to help me out. You know, anticipating what my needs were.

Verbalize exactly what you need from your spouse.

He’s not a mind reader. Yes, you may be required to spell it out for him.

We are all on this learning curve called life…together.

*Disclaimer: Even when you don’t pray for something, you will still be tried. Most likely because you didn’t learn the lesson the first 100 times.

It’s 2022: How’s Your Mindset?

There was so much I wanted to accomplish in 2021.

I fell short, but I did do some things like sticking with this here blog (country talk is rampant in these parts).

I started this post back in November, but other topics felt more important until now. During the beginning of November it finally started cooling down here in Florida.

The leaves changed from green to a light diarrhea brown. Not quite as eventful as it is in places like West Valley, New York.

Simple Mindset Change

Missing the change of seasons is a small price to pay, because Florida does have its perks. Two words: sandals and tank tops. Not having to scrape ice off my windshield to run a quick errand. I could go on, but enough about why it’s so great to live in Florida, I ‘ll leave that for another post.

# # #

Today I wanted to provide you a list of my favorite books that changed my view on life. Perspective is EVERYTHING.

Here’s a short list that I’ll continue to add on to, so keep checking back.

Self-Improvement

The Holy Bible

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thank You for Arguing- Jay Heinrichs

Literary Works

Fountainhead- Ayn Rand

Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

100 Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Running

Born to Run- Christopher McDougall

The Ultra Mindset- Travis Macy

The Ultramarathon Man- Dean Karnazes

This one made marathons seem like a 10k. After my first marathon, I crossed the finish line and knew that it was only the beginning. I would run my first ultramarathon two months later…Chuckanut 50k and then came Rainier to Ruston 50 mile. Both in 2008.

I wouldn’t run my first 100 miles until 2015.

# # #

What ever you do today, make it a fabulous one. I pray that you will be able to find humor in the things your mindset would normally take you. It can change your day and affect those around you for the better. I dare you to give it a try.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Please comment below and let me know what you think about the list. I would love to hear what book helped change your perspective. I’ll add it to my own list.

Making Connections: Penny in My Thoughts

Penny, Sharon, and Myself San Francisco Circa 1996

We were The Bania’s, a family of three. It consisted of my dad, Lou, my mom, Remy, and myself.

My dad found a niche as an electrician and refrigeration technician in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

His accounts included Taco Bell chains, Pizza Hut, and Wolf Gang Puck on the Pier, and what he called “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants in China Town.

He had a little apartment over on Geary Street working three weeks on and one week off where he would come home. Long enough for my parents to get on each other’s nerves and then he would be gone again.

My mother worked full-time as an ESL teacher at Delta Middle School.

Something peculiar was occurring at the end of the street where my parents parked our 1991 Plymouth Voyager mini-van, white with a wood panel stripe that graced the sides.

It would become my future ride during my Senior Year at Delta High School, but that was still in the works. It was 1995, I was 15 and a Junior without a driver’s license riding the bus home.

Like any day after school, I took my time shuffling from the corner of North 500 West Street and West Center Street towards 350 West.

I lived at the dead-end gravel street on 350 West. There are three houses on this road, cookie-cutter ranch-style homes, three bedrooms, and one bath. A blue one (which for the life of me I can’t remember who lived there, I just remember the porcelain toilet that was used as a plant holder), the yellow one that belonged to the Fountaines’ and then my house, a milky chocolate house on the end.

This was the year I decided to cut my hair short like Monica the R&B singer. It looked good on her, why not me?

Billy and Cody Shumway’s mom was the hairdresser and said that I needed to style it every morning if I wanted it to look like Monica’s. Let me tell you, it was more work to have it short than long, but I’m getting off track. All I have to say is thank goodness my hair grows back quickly.

Back to the odd occurrence happening in my driveway. My parents were talking in the minivan. Odd.

Anytime they had a “discussion” it involved slammed doors with my mother going silent behind the closed door, usually with my dad heavy fist pounding the door yelling at her to come out.

This time they were calmly talking. They were both smiling, especially my dad.

When they saw me they exited the vehicle and walked towards the house saying they had something important to tell me.

The News

“You have a sister.” My mom said.

“I thought your mother was going to kill me,” my dad said all smiles.

“Why would I kill you?” she scoffed shaking her head at the thought. “It was in the past.”

Learning Lesson

From that moment and on through my own life I learned that someone’s past did not dictate their worth.

Back to the Story

I was in shock. I had a sister?

Growing up as an only child was B-O-R-I-N-G. Need I say more? My parents were older than most in the area, not to mention they weren’t Mormon. I was the odd girl at school and I was a Filipina Chinese girl living in rural America. I really could have used a sister.

Now I magically had a sister.

An awkward conversation revealed he had a one-night stand with Penny’s mother. Penny had called earlier that afternoon from Washington State and said that she was his daughter.

His reply, “Oh shit, she [Penny’s mother] was telling the truth.”

A New Sister

She was the spitting image of my dad, there was no mistake. She came for a short visit prior to Christmas and we met again in San Francisco and then I took a solo trip up to Washington the following summer.

Throughout the years we kept in touch. She met my fiancé, who would become my husband of 14 years (technically 15, but I filed for divorce our 14th year and it wasn’t finalized until November of 2014). Can you tell I get particular about the particulars?

I took a solo trip in the summer of 2008 to visit Penny and occasionally see her ever-busy husband, Mitch. 2009, following the Disney Marathon, me and the family came out for a visit. We visited the Brevard Zoo, fed the giraffes, and on a separate day, we spent it at Disney World.

The Call

Back at home in Orting, WA. Penny called. She told me my children had been ungrateful. Not thanking her for the dolls she had purchased for them at Disney. She said we had left the house a mess and said she had to call a cleaning service because her house was a mess.

“I was taught that you leave the house, better than you found it!” She yelled in the receiver. Yes, we still had a cordless phone back then.

I yelled back and told her I would send her a check for the maid service. I didn’t recall leaving the house a disaster. It was unlike me to do that. It was strange that she was incredibly upset. She had never yelled at me before.

I hung up the phone while she ranted. She called back leaving two irritated voicemails outraged that I had hung up the phone on her.

In her last voicemail, she said that she was sorry for yelling and plead for me to call her back.

I sent her a check for the maid service and didn’t call her back.

December 3, 2021

Remember that nasty car accident I was in? The dog’s name was Penny. I thought about my sister as the drunk driver called out her name over and over again.

December 5, 2021

I came across my journals and a picture came to the surface. The one my dad took in San Francisco. The same picture shown above.

December 7, 2021

I messaged Mitch, Penny’s husband, asking how I could get a hold of her.

December 11, 2021

He didn’t reply, but he added me as a friend on FB. I scrolled through his feed looking for any sign of Penny.

And then I found this…

Another Lesson

Sometimes we go through the pain of not learning the first time and God nudges us again, patiently waiting for us to relearn something He already taught us.

It is not enough to proclaim we are Christians when we aren’t willing to forgive. I do not claim perfection. I’m still learning how to forgive others in my life.

I Am a WIP (Work in Progress)

I thought I still had time, but now it was too late. I allowed pettiness to break up a relationship that was never based on the trivial.

Please let this be a lesson to you. Do not allow the pettiness of life to get in the way of relationships. As many have said before me, “Life is too damn short.”

I say to you, “Love yours, show kindness, and when it doubt be slow to anger and forgive others on a regular basis.” Yes, even to the drivers that drive like they own the road. We are all God’s children.

If they are toxic, love them from a distance and pray that they will feel your love and forgiveness.

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As always, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my blog.

I appreciate the outpouring of support from my friends near and far.

May God be with you as He has shown up in my life even when I didn’t want to acknowledge His existence. He is as real as the air we breathe. Ever present yesterday, today, and forever.

Half Empty or Half Full?

I have read and used psychology throughout my life. Next month I begin my journey towards my Ph.D. in Psychology. Unfortunately, people won’t take me seriously without that paper that says, Desiree Sharon Haros, is certifiably able to say, “blah, blah, blah.” Listen to her because she has a Ph.D.

I have already joined the ranks of the overeducated with a Master’s in English and Creative Writing. I’m a better writer because of that degree. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I should have a Ph.D. in Ultra Running and Living if you know what I mean. This is the part where my husband comes in and uses his best Will Smith impression of, “You know what I’m sayin’.”

People hate/love relationships with honesty. When my husband is being honest, I tell him he needs to be less forthcoming. He replies, “So I can’t be honest.” He throws his hands up in the air (not to show that he just doesn’t care) but says, “I can’t win for losing.” He says something to that effect and I instantly know where that comes from. His father sees the glass as half empty.

Anthony was told he couldn’t show sensitivity, because that would make him appear weak. Instead, he’s now having to work through feeling his feelings rather than bottle it all up inside.

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My mom bottled her anger up for years when she was with my stepfather, who for all intents and purposes is the person I still call dad.

My dad passed away in December 2019 and I’m just beginning to unpack it all.

Unfortunately, because of a financial loss to the tune of $60K, my dad and I stopped talking. My mother kept the lines of communication open.

During one conversation with my mother, my father grabbed the phone and yelled into the receiver, “Where the hell is our money?” I told him that we didn’t have it. As far as I knew, we didn’t have anything near the amount he wanted…and he wanted to be paid back in full.

He couldn’t understand how a person could lose thousands of dollars. It was 2009, the economy had crashed and the real estate bubble exploded.

Petty?

“Yes!” Money cannot replace a life.

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Throughout my childhood and as an adult, I thought he was an arsehole. Strangers, family friends, and even my friends saw a side of him that wasn’t always apparent to me. When he let his guard down, he acted in childlike wonderment when it came to Halloween candy distribution, Christmas lights, taffy, Disneyland, and car shows.

This photo was taken near Hawthorne, NV at a shooting range.

What I didn’t understand was that he was the best dad he could be for me because of his life experience. He and I didn’t understand what it meant to love unconditionally.

I never got the chance to tell him I loved him.

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There were times throughout my life he was extremely mean to people, so much so he could make cashiers and waitresses cry. I call it the Bonaparte/ Short man Syndrome, but what it really was about, went back to abandonment issues he experienced from not having his mother in his life from the beginning of his life. get. He was born on January 27, 1942, in Lancaster, NY.

My dad- Louis Joseph Christopher Bania

He lived in two different foster homes. One of them was in Machias, NY, another small town outside of Ashford, not too far away from West Valley.

When he was 16 years old he found out where she lived and came knocking on her door. It was a shock to his mother. Her husband and two young sons soon found out she had a baby at 14 years of age.

He didn’t stay long. He thought she was overprotective and made his way to the West Coast. The twists and turns don’t end there.

Join me next week, when I talk about my sister, Penny. Bet you didn’t know I had a sister.

Circa 1960s, Seattle, WA. He’s on the far right, standing.

Lesson Learned

Forgive your loved ones and tell them you love them. Do not let the pettiness of material things thwart familial relationships.

Disclaimer: I understand some relationships are toxic, as my husband likes to say, “Babe, be the bigger person.” Tell them you love them anyway. Smother them with kindness…from a distance and pray for them always.

Coffee for the Brain

Image Creds: @suebeehonee

That accident shook me to my core. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please take a moment to read my previous post. 

You have to listen carefully to understand.

No skimming.

I tell you this because I’m guilty of skimming. I like to get my information from my source as quickly as possible, but as I have learned taking things in slowly helps your brain slow down and absorb what is being said. 

Do you understand what I’m saying? 

What you see is not always what you should take at face value, literally and figuratively.

When my friends take a selfie on FB, I immediately “heart” the picture. But, if they appear to have some type of down-turned face I read what they have to say.

Usually, they are talking about something they are going through, but this is where it gets tricky.

I have also learned to see past a smile. If you are their “friend” take the time to read their post…especially the ones that make you click “see more.”

This is a plea from your friend. They want to be heard. Listen and comment. We are all people that have needs. Familiar with Maslow’s Heiarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s Hierarchy Pyramid

Do them a small favor. Slow your roll and read their post through the entirety. Sometimes they are talking about what they are going through, yet they are still smiling through the pain. 

It’s taken me a long time to take the dreaded selfie. The added baby weight that I’m still in the process of losing was a huge factor of me NOT loving myself. 

But somewhere in between the wake up from depression and the car accident and attending church, I instantly remembered who I was. It was like my life was stuck on pause until I understood my mental health better. Does this resonate with anyone? Please tell me if it does. Stop being afraid to live. The more you let go and let God, you can set yourself free from your own mental prison. I know all about that.

You are a bird that is meant to fly.

Stop living in the cage when the door is wide open. We have this one life to live. Do yourself a favor and live it well.

FLY!

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Thanks for dropping by. If you are feeling some Holiday cheer, Buy me a coffee.

This mama would really appreciate it. Hope to “see” you here again soon. I promise I won’t waste your time.