A Smile From Above

24 Jun

A Smile From Above.

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A Smile From Above

24 Jun

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LOOK AT US NOW!!

My sister decided to get officially married this last weekend and in less than 2 weeks in a joint effort, we created a beautiful experience for her.  For being such an unexpected almost no-notice event, we managed to accomplish so much….even my older sister came down from so far away. 

It has now been 11 and 12 years since my Dad and Mom died, respectively.  When they died, we all came together and swore we’d always be there for each other.  Well a lot of years have passed and so naturally there have been a lot of ups and downs. LIfe experiences, marriage, children, etc have all affected and molded each and every one of us. We’ve been through so much, sometimes not speaking to each other and sometimes having better allies than others.  

This picture, however captures beauty and love that only siblings can share. Whenever push comes to shove, we all come together…..but not only then as this picture depicts, we also come together for happy times.

Each one of us had our own special relationship with our father and our mother, and they with us.  Though they treated us all the same and we had to abide by the same rules, they guided us and showed us how to live our own life, individually according to our very own personality and with others since not only did have a large family, but we had to survive in this world.  

So as I look at this picture, I seriously have a deep love in my heart for each one of my siblings. I am fortunate  that our parents taught us that family comes first and the love we have for one another supersedes any anger, hurt, offensive arguing etc because through thick and thin, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health we are like a marriage…joined by blood forever and ever!

 And now we are fortunate to have in-laws that have been brave enough to enter this family unit of ours…..and I for one am very grateful for them and those that have yet to come.  Men and women who keep us grounded and who help pick up where Mom and Dad left off.  Our lives are as unique as it gets and yet as “Salazar-ish” as can be.  I love you Mom and Dad for giving me the start to life that you did….for giving the knowledge I needed to survive my earlier years, the life experience of watching you to learn how I wanted my life to be…..the love in my heart to be compassionate towards others……my strength–physical, mental & emotional to deal with all that life throws at me….and for giving me all my siblings to continue to learn from, both older and younger than me.  I love and miss you but “take a look at us now!”  I hope that when you look at us all together it makes you smile so big from above….because I know it makes us smile down here—hoping! 

 

 

 

Holiday Blues

18 Dec

As I sit here in my house, alone in my living room, I look around. My ornaments sitting in their containers from storage.  They’re sitting in the same place they’ve been for over a week now. I had a thought that I wanted my children to decorate the tree this year to give them a memory as well as for me to see this is a step to the inevitable that soon enough they won’t be in my home anymore since they are growing up after all. My husband and I shared a happy though not-so-healthy breakfast followed by him retreating to the den to watch some television.

So I sit in my living room about to wrap some gifts, dog at my feet and coffee in my hand. I am listening to Christmas music that takes me back a few years when I was a kid in a house full of chaos.  A time when my parents were alive, my siblings weren’t married and some weren’t even born. We lived out in the country on a ranch where my father worked. We lived a simple life like many in our small town. But with a huge family…at that time I had only 8 siblings, there was always something going on>> Noise, arguing, laughing, no privacy, in our 3 bedroom home with 1 bathroom. I decided I only wanted 3 kids and that’s what I had.

Now, their ages are 24, 20, and 18. I sit here alone with a part of me proud at the young men they’re turning out to be and a part of me wishing they were little running around the house laughing and wrestling on the floor. A time when they had no worries in life….when they still had both sets of grandparents.

So as the empty nest feeling starts to hit me a little, I think of all the people who have lost someone, especially this year and this will be the first Christmas without their loved one. A sad time, no doubt.

Christmas to me has ALWAYS been about celebrating the birth of Jesus, family, good and happy times. And that is what I want it to be for me ALWAYS!!! I hope that everyone can find a glimpse of hope in their heart that can spark a smile on their face followed by love and happiness in their own way. I pray that in the spirit of Christmas, we find the hope in our own hearts that each of needs to bring about true faith, love, and put Christ at the center of our lives.

No one can predict what will happen tomorrow, nor are we promised a tomorrow in this life…so from the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and God bless you all.

Illegal aliens…to prove or not to prove

25 Jun

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-182b5e1.pdf

There is so much controversy surrounding the Arizona Immigration Law….many for it and many against it.  On the surface, I am for it. But there are definitely things that should be considered because it does appear to be racist.

I for one, am an American born American citizen. The USA has always been home. My parents and grandparents were all born in Mexico. I was reared knowing my Mexican heritage, culture and family…BUT I was also reared to know that I am an American female that would grow up to be an American woman with different choices and opportunities.  To note: My parents became naturalized American citizens. They were here legally.  I have however had family, that while are now legal, were not always when they entered this country. 

So knowing all that about me…..which way should I go with this law.  Looking at my pictures, one can easily tell that I do look Mexican. The part of the law that was upheld was the part that continues to allow law enforcement officers to stop and question the status of people. How do I feel about that?  Well, NOT in AZ, but in Texas, and crossing the Mexican border back into the US, I have had my status–quite rudely–questioned.  I’ve even been questioned as to being th emother of my two youngest children because they are very light skin colored (took afte their Dad).  Yes, I was upset by that, tremendously because I didn’t have any proof and they wanted to take my kids away. On another occasion, whle in Texas, I presented an active duty military ID card and the jerk wouldn’t believe me, so he made me exit my vehicle.  I offered him my commanding officers name and number. STILL he didn’t believe me. So then I told him to take me in and he could explain himself to my commander as to why I would not be in formation the next morning….it was only then that I was released. 

So again, which side of the line do I fall upon with this issue??? 

Surprisingly, I agree with the law!! I am an American! I have proudly served my country in the military. I love this country and although I do not agree with everything that our lawmakers put out, I maintain my patriotism. 

There are so many hispanics upset over getting their status questioned. But I say, it’s there for our own protection! Prove your legality and move on!! To me this is no different than being requested to show our military ID every single time we enter any military base…it is there for our protection!!  And of course, so many of middle eastern terrorist also resemble hispanics and just maybe through any of these random checks, American law enforcement may thwart an attempt on our country!

Additionally, I disagree with the part of the law that says it is NOT a criminal offense to work in this country if you are caught doing so being illegally in the USA.  On the other hand, if an employer is caught, they face bigger consequences than the illegal person. While I do agree with punishing the employer, how is it that the actual illegal alien is punished less. Have they learned their lesson? NO, they will simply move on to another job.  Is anyone else having a problem with this??

Well I do…They should both be fined and the illegal held until payment is made than transported back to his/her own country. Yes, I am aware that they will probably just return but at least 1–we are fining them too and 2–making it difficult because with repeat offenders, the fines would be larger.  I know, I know…the longer we hold them, it could get expensive to feed them, house them, etc.  I say…in Arizona (or anywhere else for that matter), put them in tent city!!!

I know my ideas aren’t perfect but then again, the fact that congress decided NOT to punish illegals working in this country is definitely not close enough to being perfect, right or anything in its vicinity. Our military, who put their lives on the line to defend this country live in worse conditions than do our prisoners and illegals in this country. I do have a major problem with that!!

The one clear flaw here is that in Arizona, being a border state with Mexico, it is hispanics that are being targeted.  However, all over the country, there are illegals from Europe who will never get their status questioned because at first sight, they have fair skin, light hair, etc.  That is not right at all either. 

An illegal in this country is an illegal, regardless of where they are from!!!! And while my kiddos were out looking for jobs in this recession, illegals continue to cross our borders every day and obtain jobs without ever paying income taxes. 

So, I think my rant is over…..ILLEGAL aliens are, well….just that–ILLEGAL!!! Why is that concept so difficult for congress to understand? Whether they are brown or white, condoning illegals to remain in this country and obtain work and other benefits is taking away from those that have worked hard or just naturally been born in this country….

non-human family

21 Jun

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Meet the new addition to the crazy family AND their pets! Her adorable self is a pitbull and a lovable one!!

Our family LOVES our pets and treats them as a part of our family.  They are given so much love and attention, even in this crazy busy household.  They aren’t walked every day 😦 but that is because we are so busy…..BUT they are given lots of love, lots of mental and physical stimulation and plenty of exercise.

I suffer from allergies — really bad so prolonged exposure to the dogs is really bad for my own health, but the love the dogs give me is too much to stay away from. My oldest son brought home a chihuahua. A cute and adorable dog! But then he moved away….the son NOT the dog….and we had 2 dogs.  The one dog that I use to call my own got sick and we had to put her down 😥  But before she went down, my hubby brought home another dog just to help.  Here is my dog the morning we put her down:

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Then to “replace” her my hubby got a lab/sharpei mix….interesting doggy but nonetheless a part of our family.  And I use the word replace losely because my dog was not replaceable.  But to help with the sadness and the void, we got the next one….

THEN my son’s girlfriend gives him a brand new pitbull puppy February 2011.  So minus MY dog, we now have 3 dogs—1 chihuahua, 1 lab/sharpei mix, and now 1 pitbull puppy.

The chihuahua: ShakiImage

Well, a year and half goes by. We’re in a routine with the dogs. Each one has their very own personality. And boy do they–each one quite spoiled….SEE:

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Image Sleeping away in the comfort of their very thick and very plush beds!

And sometimes they even sleep in the comfort of MY bed!

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So yeah, we spoil the heck out of our pets. I think we need to find another word besides PET to describe non-human members of our family. We love them, we spoil them so much! I have a folder with tons of pictures on my computer(s) labeled “Pets” because we have that many pictures of them.

Now our household has 4 dogs running around. It’s a busy household with or without the dogs but the dogs keep it interesting. They are adorable!!

End of a chapter

20 Jun

End of a chapter.

End of a chapter

20 Jun

What does one do when they end  a chapter of their life? Or rather…..how do you know that you are closing a chapter in your life…I mean without moving away, quitting a job, retirement, death, etc. Without one of those major changes, how does one even know that it is the end of that chapter?? AND what do you do when you finish the chapter?? NOW WHAT???

For personal and private reasons, I am stepping down from being a youth minister. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE working with teens.  I call them the “misunderstood breed.”  As a mother of 3 sons with the youngest being 17, I know that ALL TEENS ARE DIFFERENT, regardless of their gender, social status, financial status, religion, or race.  Most people judge them, I look at them as if they are trying to find their pre-adult status.  Well…..the teenager talk is for anothe blog. 

Life comes with so many chapters, some shorter than others, some more intense than others, some more full of drama and some happier.  Right now I haven’t decided how to rate this chapter. I do believe that every chapter in our lives leads to the end. Every chapter somehow directly affects future chapters.  People in our lives come and go but each had a purpose.

So come this Friday, I am closing this chapter in my life.  I began getting involved with the youth group about 4 years ago.  I love interacting with them. Belonging to a military chapel community, I have seen my share of youth come and go. While this is often a sad experience, we are also fortunate enough to meet a greater number of teens.  Assuming that my health was good, my Sundays were busy because that is when we meet. 

Maybe now without all the planning meetings, the looking forward to what needs to be done, looking for and reviewing future lifenights, etc etc etc I will have time to spend with my own family, listen to them, sit with them, who knows — enjoy Sunday dinners together. Now my Sundays will be spent with my own family…..I REALLY REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THAT!!!!

It’s bittersweet…..leaving something I love but moving forward to something I love even more.  It’s not like I didn’t spend time with my own family before, but now I won’t have to postpone time with them.

Bye-bye LifeTeen….Hello McNeil Family – again!!