"Listen to the words that others can't speak; speak the words that others can't hear."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alayda Raquel Torres.

     I've never been a mother so I can't say that I have personally witnessed that bond between a child their mom. Although I've never carried a life within me I know what it's like to hold a baby and feel the love that stems from deep within them. I know that looking into a precious child's eyes there is nothing but true innocence and undeniable purity, love.

     Above is Alayda Raquel Torres a little girl whose story will break your heart. I write tonight with great sorrow knowing that I never got to meet this child of God but hoping that someday I will. I can't tell you her birthday or really much about her, but I love her. Looking at her eyes in the picture above I know that she would have loved me back, she wouldn't have known me but she would have trusted me, because she was innocent and loving, and that's what loving children do.

     I don't have many details on the situation simply because I haven't had the courage to sit down face to face and ask for the details. What I've heard from others has torn me to pieces inside.

     To clarify things a little bit, I believe it was actually on Christmas Eve when the Torres' house caught fire; nothing major started the fire just a simple short in wall while the family was asleep. The three year old boy woke up first and realized that he needed to get his little sister out of her crib, a crib already engulfed in flames, the little boy saved his sister as well as his parents before the entire house went down in the fire.

     The doctors said that 70 percent of Alayda's tiny body was burned in the fire and her brother's arms and hands sustained some pretty bad burns as well. We all know the Parkland has one of the best burn units around, but even for them this case was too much to handle. Alayda passed at around 1:30 this after noon.

     As news of this family's pain and difficulty got around, more and more of us have wanted to get something together for this family. A friend of a friend offered up some stuffed animals and for the first time ever I saw a grown man tear up telling me, "Yes, of course I'd love to take them to the hospital for her!"

     Alayda will have all the Teddy Bears and Christmas presents she could ever dream of in Heaven, but it's going to take some time for this family to get back on their feet. A couple people have donated gift cards to give them, but no where near enough what they're going to need for even just a week's worth. This is the one and only time (no promises here!) that I'm going to use this blog as a means of reaching out. This family needs your help. If there is anyway that you'd like to help, please let me know.

     They're currently divided up and staying with family members. They have little to no clothing as it all burned in the fire, no phones, basically nothing. The best we could think of would be gift cards or clothing donations to get them going again. This is a low income family and the family members they're staying with are as well.

God bless you all and God bless Alayda and the Torres family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Live simply so others can simply live.

     When I think of how things were living in Puerto Rico, I don't remember full days or stories, only short bits and pieces stick out in my mind things that I put together to make an overall experience. I was born there of course, but we all know that the first several years don't count and even after that it's all iffy.
     I do remember that in first grade I was asked to come to school dressed as someone I admired and for some reason or other I decided to dress as Agnes Gonxha Bonjaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa or as of late Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
     I don't know what it is about her but something has attracted me to this woman since before I even knew who she was or the things she did. When I was little I told my mom that it was because I liked the way she dressed, the three blue stripes on her veil were my favorite color, I'd tell her.  I told her that I wanted her to make me a "costume just like the one Madre Teresa wears." Well, needless to say I was best dressed at show and tell that day, but she knew something bigger was growing inside of me.
     Skip ahead thirteen years, and as I opened the door to my closet to put away the last of my Christmas presents and finish up picking up my room so I could vacuum, a quote from Mother Teresa popped into my head, "Live simply so others may simply live." And I kid you not, as I looked at the clothes in my closet I cried. I took shirts off hangers and threw them in a pile and a bunch of jeans I hadn't worn and took them downstairs and without thinking twice about it I took them to a donation drop box.
     Maybe it was a Britney Spears moment of insanity or maybe it was the right thing to do, I'm nowhere close to running around naked so we're safe with that and I'm hoping that someone out there will be a little warmer this winter with a couple more layers added on, but something inside me tells me that I own too much. Why do I need all these things? I do want them, I certainly do not use them, so why keep them? We all do it, too. There's a four-corner foldable chair in the corner of my room that's been there for at least three years; I vacuum it weekly because all it does is gather dust. I keep it telling myself that maybe one day someone will come in and need to sit down and I won't have a place for them to sit. I'm thinking that maybe I should rethink that thought.
     If none of this is making sense just hang in there with me for just a little longer. There a lot in my mind that I'm attempting to get out and it's just projectile vomiting itself out of my brain, my fingers can't seem to type as fast as my brain can think.
     The reason I said all that is because I've been trying to find a way to say all of what I'm about to say... If you thought all of that stuff up there was crazy, take a deep breath because it's nowhere close to over yet.
     About a month ago, I woke up and could tell it was going to be a day where I'd end up closer to hurricane than harbor, I went mass early that morning and knelt down, closed my eyes and began a prayer. Out of nowhere music began to play. It was beautiful, beautiful music. Piano like I'd never heard before, I wanted to open my eyes to see where it was coming from but I couldn't, then I wondered if I was dreaming. I told myself to wake up, I could not fall asleep in church; screaming at myself to wake up, shaking myself from the inside out but nothing worked, it felt like I was paralyzed, this music was just so beautiful!
     A man walked towards me but now I was sure that I was dreaming because he was walking but there was no floor, no ground, nothing. Still he walked a straight path towards me never missing a step, never taking his eyes off of me and when he was close enough to reach me he extended his arm and without speaking he said, "May I have this dance?"
     I did not have a choice. I did not speak. He hadn't spoken but I knew what he had wanted to say. What was happening? Why could I not open my eyes?  As I danced with him, I saw myself kneeling down on the pew and I saw who was playing the beautiful music that I was dancing to and my inner struggle seized as the man, again with actually saying a single word, told me not to worry. He told me that He is always with me and to follow His lead.
     I tried to look around but I couldn't take my off of Him. He was telling me that I was beautiful. He told me that I need not worry about anything because He had made the way He wanted me to be. Then He spun me around, dried my one tear on my right eye and told me, "Be at rest my dear."
     I opened my eyes soon after that as Cindy finished the song and Father John asked everyone to stand.   I know it sounds crazy, but I have never felt a peace like the one I felt that morning. If Heaven is even half as peaceful as that, I will definitely take it!
     I want to say this was an out of body experience, but I've never had an out of body experience before so I don't know for a fact. The only thing I know is that I saw myself in two places at one time. I saw myself up high above everyone else and I was scared but at peace at the same time and I was dancing! God it was so beautiful! All I could think of the rest of that mass was my poem: Sitting in the Silence.

     Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this or am I just crazy?

     You guys have a Merry Christmas! There's at least one more post coming before New Year's!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Leaving Ed and Meeting Jenni.

My sister was with me when I met Jenni. She seemed reluctant to come at first and even asked me if she was going to be the biggest person there. What she didn't know was that I had already concluded that I would be the biggest person there. Ed had already told me so.

The night before as both of us got increasingly anxious she asked me what my plan was. Are we going to eat breakfast before or after? Do I want to get there early or right on time? How many people are going to be there? Is the dog coming? Are you sure? ...And that's only a few of the many questions asked that night. 

I felt like I was doing a great job of letting go of Ed. After all, I did tell myself that in order to meet Jenni I had to be back on track to recovery. Little did I know that Ed was controlling my every move. I isolated myself in my room and spoke as little as possible. Sure, the behaviors were gone but his voice was stronger than ever. Ed answered my sister for me. 

Are we eating breakfast before or after? After. I can't have food in my stomach when I meet her. She's already going to think I'm fat. I have to be good tomorrow. No food until after. 

Do I want to get there early or right on time? Early. We can't be right on time, then people will think we are lazy because we slept in so late. We have to make a good impression. We leave the house by eight no matter what. 

How many people are going to be there? I don't care. It's not about how many people are there, it's about making a good impression. 

Is the dog coming? Yes, of course. Ellie needs to come, she's a distraction. She will get everyone's attention and take it off of me. Ellie is cute, fun, everything I'm not! 

Are you sure? I can never be sure of anything. Enough said, Ed's words.

My sister quickly responded with a sarcastic yet insightful, "You're going to meet Jenni and walk for recovery's sake and you're not eating breakfast first?" She was right. She moved past Ed's walls and got to me. We decided to get breakfast before the walk. 

In the morning we were so nervous about finding the park and getting there early that we decided to get breakfast after the walk. We got there early as Ed wanted us to and Ellie was definitely a distraction. She found Waldo and played with a mini-horse all while allowing me to stay behind-the-scenes. 

I spoke with Jenni, gave her a hug, she signed my books and we took pictures. It was amazing. 

Hearing her speak helped me tremendously and according to my sister, it also helped her understand me better. She "get's it more"... whatever that means. 

I have come to realize that my vegetarianism is not necessarily for my best interest but Ed's. I want so badly to eat some turkey with my family for Thanksgiving but Ed is playing games. I can't do it because I'm weak. I can't do it because it'll prove that everyone else is right. And, perhaps most convincing of all, I can't eat it because it has been so long since I had meat that it might make me sick. If it makes me sick then Ed will take over and want me to keep being sick because most of the time that's what he likes most. I probably won't be eating turkey THIS Thanksgiving, but realizing that someday I should gives me hope. I'm on the road to RecoverEd. 

I have my New Year's resolution set already and believe it or not, Ed's not really involved. I'm going to keep it to myself for now, but I promise that I will tell you about it before the year ends. :) 

My goal for this post was to write more about stuff that doesn't involve Ed or me whatsoever but I have to distract myself right now. I have to get my mind away. Concentrate. I proved to Ed that I could beat him time and again this week. I have exhausted my resources and am on my last straw right now. I know I can do this. I WILL do this. 

I figure that if you've taken the time to read all the way through this, maybe you will take the time to give me some support... Some words of encouragement. Anything to take my mind off of Ed. I'll use my readers as my support team tonight because my will is not enough right now. If you don't want to comment below, you can email me at: isabellasanpedro@yahoo.com 

I can use any and all advice. And remember, no matter what happens, it's okay to be happy. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

He called me Little Debbie.

He called me Little Debbie in ninth grade and I don't think I will ever forget it. He looked at me in the eyes and said, "How do your cakes taste Little Debbie?"

Honestly, I didn't even know who or what Little Debbie was, but context clues told me he was calling me fat. I knew I was fat, I could look in the mirror and see that, but I was happy too. Summer of ninth grade was the first time I ever made myself throw up, a one time occurrence.

In tenth grade, walking home from school my "friend" asked me what I wanted to do after college. I told her I would love to be a veterinarian, but if that didn't work out, a journalist. She said neither would work and I needed better plans because I wasn't good enough at math to be a doctor and I didn't have a wide enough vocabulary to be a journalist. That was the year I came to know God. I turned to Him through the struggle, the pain.... both physically and emotionally, because that was also the year that my self-injury was at its peak.

The following school year I made a friend that would properly introduce me to Ed. Not that she wanted to, but we soon learned that Ed travels quickly from one person to the next. He's not a one girl type of guy and don't we know those are the hardest to leave. They can be so charming!

I've made a firm decision to leave Ed, but it's the most difficult thing I have ever done; even debilitating at times. When all you want is control, Ed knows how to control you. He plays a good game, but I know I can play it better.

A couple things have kind of caught me off guard this past week or so. I had asked a trusted friend, a sister, to keep me in her prayers thinking that, like most others, she would say a prayer and get on with life... Well, about a week ago when I walked in to the youth building just before going upstairs to teach my class she said hello and with a careful glance said, "Have you been keeping it up?"  I didn't have the heart to lie and say I had, but knowing that she remembered, that she cares... It meant more than anything.

I have a tendency to not speak in truth, I don't necessarily lie, but I don't speak with the whole entirely honest truth. And well, someone called me out on it today. It surprised me but it was good because it makes me see what I need to work on. I might be real in my writing, but it's incredibly difficult for me to speak honestly. She didn't just call me out and moved on, she told me that I don't need to be afraid around her. That she's going to be there no matter what. She told me she cares. Everything else she said mattered, but when she said that she cares... I needed to hear that. We don't hear it often enough.

I'm not perfect and I've come to terms with the fact that I never will be. I will strive to be my best, not the best. I want to be healthy, not skinny or fat... And to be honest, as J.K. Rowling said, "Is fat really the worse thing a human being can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil or cruel? Not to me."

A vendor that works with me came up to me not too long ago and said, "Hey Tubs! You're looking good!" The confused and probably hurt look on my face led him to explain that he had seen my old Facebook pictures and that he thought I had come a long way and was "looking good". He obviously doesn't know that looking good isn't as important as feeling good.

The pictures show my best friend and I from the end of eighth grade to the end of senior year. The first picture brought on the "Tubs" comment. You tell me, is Little Debbie happier with or without Ed? 

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
~ 1 Peter 5:8

P.S. God is wonderful. I spoke with Jenni Schaefer, if you read my last post you probably know that I kind of idolize her, and she told me she's giving a talk in Austin on November 19th and that it be cool if I went and could meet her! I dismissed it knowing that I can't take a weekend off work for that, especially the weekend before Thanksgiving. Besides, I haven't gone to visit my sister, it would be wrong to take a weekend off for her and not my sis.Well, it just so happens that my boss wanted me to work Tuesday (a day that I usually can't work because I'm in school) and take off Saturday (the 19th!). Seriously, no one knows how incredibly excited I am about this. I'm going to see my sister and meet someone that I look up to! God is GOOD even when you can't always see it! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

On Monstober and Ed-free living.

I'm reading a book by Jenni Schaefer titled "Goodbye Ed, Hello Me". I'm about eighty percent in and I have to say, it is worth your time. Even if you have never really experienced your own "Ed", everyone can relate to what Jenni calls "Societal Ed". Here's a short excerpt:

"Societal Ed talks loudly to men and woman, adults and children. His voice is especially strong in the United States and other Western cultures (where everything from billboards to radio ads reinforces it), and no one seems to be immune from seeing and hearing his message. Only extreme isolation (like living underground or in a cave somewhere) could prevent exposure. We all hear Societal Ed, but we don’t all have to listen."*

All in all, the book is full of useful information for everyone (kind of like "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters") and provides great advice for all aspects of life. It inspires me. She inspires me. I have never met someone who will openly say that they are "Recovered." There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it with Jenni; I hope to meet her someday,  and when I do, I hope to be able to tell her that I am recovered. Period. 

While I'm on the subject, what actually inspired me to write this makes me sick. Let me paint a picture for you. (:

I'm sitting on the couch in the living room thinking about absolutely nothing in specific. My brother is laying down next to me switching between a war game on his Xbox and the Disney Channel on TV. I'm not really paying any attention but I keep hearing the sound switch from depressing gunfire and yelling to annoying ten year old girls (and boys that sound like girls) as well as the typical Disney Channel announcer talking about Monstober and all the promotional Halloween shows they're playing. 

To be honest I have no idea what show he's watching, but out of nowhere I hear a young girl, dressed as a cheerleader tell another young girl dressed as Medusa to stop looking at her. "You're going to turn me into stone! ...And then I'm going to be ugly and weigh like two thousand pounds or something," she said. 

Maybe I'm wrong to think this way, but what in the world makes the producers of this show think that it is okay to present this to a bunch of prepubescent girls?! To make matters worse, the Medusa girl proceeded to talk about how they needed to sneak something into the punchbowl to add a "kick to the punch". 

Knowing me, you can probably imagine how I was feeling about this show. If it were a show on MTV or even Cartoon Network then you know what, maybe it would not make me so angry. ...But a channel that caters to very young girls (and apparently 18 year old boys..?) should not allow a show to say something like that. Ever. And then people wonder what it is that makes all these young women think they are not good enough, that they can be prettier, perfect, more beautiful. 

If this is Disney now, I'd rather not know what my children will be watching in the future. 

I don't know if any of this matters to anyone else but me, but I guess that the fact that it means something matters. I guess. 

I hope things start looking up soon, I'm getting tired of feeling crappy everyday. 

“To me, filling the hole with God meant I had to get out of myself and find a way to look at life as a gift and not a constant battle. I had to look at people as blessings and friends, not my competition or enemies.”*

*Schaefer, Jenni (2009-07-19). Goodbye Ed, Hello Me : Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life (Kindle Locations 988-989). McGraw-Hill. Kindle Edition. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"You need not fear the terror of the night, Nor the arrow that flies by day"

     This weekend has most definitely been the most amazing weekend of my young life. I never thought I would say that after Getaway retreat in ninth grade, but this weekend has topped that by far. I received, or more appropriately, I felt God's grace and never ending mercy more than I have in my entire life. For the first time ever I truly felt alive.

     It's funny because I have said that so many times in the past, but I've realized that feeling happy or not feeling at all is not necessarily feeling alive.

     This weekend hurt. It hurt a lot. In fact, it hurt worse than having been stabbed with a dull knife and having it twisted up inside of me. Personally, I feel like it hurt me more than most people simply because of where I was at in life before retreat, but it ended up being the best, most pure pain I have ever felt. We are each so beautiful, and our stories are so perfect.

     I have no doubt that my Jesus loves me. I have no doubt that he loves each and every one of us. I so wish I could go into details but it would completely ruin the element of surprise for all future retreatants. My soul desires for Him still. I want to go out and tell the world, yell at the top of my lungs that our Jesus loves us!

     There are angels among us. Real life angels. Call me crazy if you'd like, but if you knew my story, and you knew what I know now, you would believe me. You would be just as crazy about all of this as I am.

     I'm not saying that I'm not hurting inside. I'm hurting more than I have for a very long time. I feel like that is a good thing. An amazing thing. It feels so great to hurt. I would rather feel pain, feel broken, feel incomplete than not feeling at all. This pain makes me realize how much I still need to learn, to grow... how much I desire to be with Him.

     You remember that wall I have been talking about lately? I broke through it this weekend. The tears came. Actually the tears have not really stopped... all weekend. I broke down, I felt love. Real love. Love that I haven't felt in a really really long time.

     I carry that love inside of me now, it's that love that's going to help me go on. It's going to wrap around me and keep me warm on a cold night. It's going to pull me out of the darkness, the shadows. This love is real, it's unconditional, it's accepting, sisterly, the only other way to describe it is just simply lovely, Heavenly love.

     I went into the retreat with a a couple friends and few acquaintances. I came out with fifty-eight  sisters. Real sisters. Sisters that listen and care. Truly care. Sisters that I know I will be able to talk, pray and cry with. Sisters in Christ. When I begin to feel alone in this world, I will be able to look back and see the love that so many people have for me and I for them.

     If you have never been on an ACTS retreat, I recommend you go. Whether or not you are Catholic isn't as big a deal as you just going and living away from the craziness that is life. I hope I get invited to be part of a team. It would be an honor to make someone else feel as loved as I did this weekend.

     The most important thing I learned is that each and every one of us is broken, we each have our crosses. I learned that the same way the Simon helped Jesus carry his cross, so too do we need to be Simons for one another. Life isn't mean't to be walked through alone, that's the beauty of it all.

     "...those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; the will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint."
~Isaiah 40:31

P.S. In need of prayers for a very special friend, for myself and for all the women that attended this retreat. I'm on day 17 and day 3. ....Yes, day one got put off for some time. I've also realized you can't get always get what you want when you want it. Those sorts of things are done on God's time. It's His time now. I'm going to keep going, I will be strong. I've had a very special someone praying for me for thirteen weeks. In the past thirteen weeks I have set such a strong foundation for this weekend, that it's no wonder things happened the way they did. My candle is lit. It will stay lit... and when it burns out, I will buy another candle. My light for God will never go out and my strength will always be for Him, through Him, in Him and with Him. Go ahead, call me a Jesus freak. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sometimes you just have to force yourself...

     There's something about writer's block that makes me go crazy. I'm not one to get it often, but I do I get it bad. This happens to be one of those times. It's been over a month since I wrote ANYTHING other than essays for school and such. It's about time I get something out here, anything. 

     Being honest is hard as it is, but truly allowing yourself to open up to others, showing them a side of you that not even you have shown yourself before really takes guts. I've taken to being real lately and it's paid off so far. I stopped lying to myself about who I'm interested in and why, I stopped lying about what I want in life, for myself and for others. 

     As much as it hurts to speak the truth, it has proven to be the best gift I could ever give myself. 

I spoke the truth today. 

     I've torn my insides to pieces these past couple years and it was about time I came clean. I said it thinking nothing of it, thinking it was just another thing to add to my long list of burdens, but the second I let what I said off my chest, I could feel like I could breathe a little easier. I don't have to lie anymore. I can be myself. Sometimes it's okay to put on a mask to get by, but when you spend every waking second with a bag over your head that bad becomes like water torture. It gets heavy and you feel like taking it off. But, you tell yourself, ...but I've had it on for so long. No one really knows what I'm about. The truth is, everyone around me sees the real me, I refuse to believe it's me and I've spent two years beating myself up for it. It's time to change. Time to be who I was made to be. 

    Speaking of being real, I've also stopped pretending not to care for someone who I obviously care a lot about. They've done the same and I think we've both grown to be very happy around each other. I think this is the person I'm supposed to be with (knock on wood!) but I'm not going to get my hopes too far up. We've all seen what that can do! I'm keeping it real and taking it easy. This is something new, something different... way different but I'm enjoying it. Like a breath of fresh air. Funny, that's twice now that I've referred to my lungs...

     Perhaps this is a female thing and it definitely is off topic, but do you ever have those days where you feel like crying? Everything inside of you just wants to let go and get rid of all the toxic waste  built up inside of you (pun intended).... I've been feeling like that, for a month already. I'm beginning to think that  that's the cause of my writer's block. I'm working on it, I promise I'll be back to my normal ol' self before you know it! 

This is all I got for now. 

Peace to you tonight, 

P.S. Pray for strength. I'm on day seven and fixing to start day one. Don't ask, just pray.  

Sometimes it's not a stranger, a friend or even a boyfriend that makes the difference... 
Sometimes all you want is for one person to look you in the eyes and say, 
'I couldn't have made a more perfect you. You are beautiful.' 

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” 
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Thursday, August 18, 2011

And my heart turns violently inside of my chest...

I'm sitting here, on my father's recliner, forcing myself to write what's in my heart. The song I chose to play is "He Loves Us" by David Crowder Band. Finally, after a long long time, I am forcing myself to feel. Well, not really right this very minute, but earlier today. There's something about putting feelings into words and actually saying them that is extremely liberating.

"And Heaven meets Earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
And I don't have time to maintain these regrets 
When I think about the way
Oh, He loves us, yeah, He loves us..."

Those are some powerful lyrics.... Talking to someone today, we were able to piece together how I've felt lately, and I didn't say anything but as she was speaking I was picturing exactly what I've been seeing in my head for so long but not admitting to myself. I don't know how to work through it all but it's good to know I'm not crazy for picturing that...

Picture a beach with white sand, steaming sun and perfectly clear water. There's is no one else at this beach but me. It's completely empty yet feels crowded. I see myself looking out into the beautiful water, it's so peaceful. In the distance, pretty far out into the ocean there is a wall. I see this wall and I used to think it was part of my weirdness, but judging by the tiny bit of psychology that I know, I can piece together what it means.. And I think it makes me more normal than anything else. On the other side of this wall I see everyone and everything and that's when I realize why I feel like it's crowded. They won't stop trying to climb over... And although I know my wall is sturdy, I'm afraid that something will break through it, and deep inside I know how I'd feel if that happened. It's a lot and it makes this beach feel packed.

This wall is put together by bricks of different colors. It took along time to put up. Each brick a different color, each color a different hurt, betrayal or experience in life. I've built this wall to be very strong and I haven't let people past it. The few that I have let through have, over time, become additions to the wall, making it sturdier, more durable. 

I broke through the wall a little bit today... Or at least chipped it. And it felt good, great actually. I can't say that it'll be something that'll happen every day, week, etc. ...but hopefully I can keep working on it because the only way I'll ever work through the pain is by breaking down this wall and just keeping a picket fence. I like picket fences, especially white ones. They are welcoming yet show a sense of protection. They say, "Come in, but know that if I see you jumping over my picket fence I will feel uncomfortable". If I had a picket fence I'd make sure the wood was splintering. (....or splinter causing..? Not sure how you'd say that!) I'd make sure it'd be painful to jump it. 

Sometimes I wish life had a fast forward button. No matter what, I know He loves us. I know I'm forgiven and I know I've granted forgiveness. The trouble is forgetting... That's always hard to do. 

Keep dreaming of tomorrow.


PS. I know He's also on the other side of that wall... and He's fighting all my demons, begging me to come through the wall and trust Him to shelter me. I have to swim through the pain to be able to get past it. The hard part is swimming and not drowning. 

"You know what you gotta do when life gets you down? Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming swimming swimming. What do we do we swim swim swim."
~Dory, Finding Nemo

**Now I have to work on the 'allowing myself to cry' part.**

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mayor's Back-to-School Fair

     "Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?" 
Job 30:25

     I have never been thrown off by another person 'neediness' because to be quiet honest I have lived through most of it myself. When we first moved to Texas we experienced the late rent and "pre-eviction" notices, the debt collectors, cut off power and cell phones bills, etc. My parents have gone hungry 'in order to be able to feed the kids', and we know what it's like to have one or both parents unemployed. It's never easy, but we have felt loved through it all. 

     Today we volunteered at the Mayor's Back-to-School Fair in Dallas and it couldn't have been a more humbling experience. We got there at around 6:30 this morning and there was already hundreds if not thousands of families lined up to receive their free school supplies.

    There's only one catch to the fair... In order to get the free school supplies each student (or at least one person per backpack filled with supplies) has to go through several 'stations' before getting the supplies at the end. These stations include education, health and social services such as free dental cleaning, vision screenings (with free glasses if necessary), haircuts, immunizations, a book nook, Coca-Cola products, games and entertainment for the kids and other informative/interactive displays and activities.

     My brother and I were stationed in Line Control for the Wal~Mart Vision Screenings and blood tests; this basically meant we were going to be translators for everyone filling out consent forms for the kids, keep in mind the parents were encouraged and allowed to have everyone in the family tested including themselves.

    I can't tell you how humbling this experience was. There were times where I wasn't only a translator, but a scribe as well because the parents would tell me they simply didn't know how to write. The smile on the kids face when they found out they were "finally getting tested" was so heartbreaking and warming all at once! For the first two hours it seemed like everything was perfect, the families were being taken care of and everyone was happy, but once the first big wave came through, the mood and overall ambience changed drastically.

     Almost immediately I could tell when parents no longer wanted to be there instead had to be there. Keep in mind the only prerequisite that these families need to have is proof of income (or a Lonestar card, food stamps, etc.) and dallas residency, so it really isn't hard for people to get in. Right around nine parents started asking why they couldn't just get the free supplies and leave and if it was possible to do their own screening but not their kids. "I can take them to Children's if something happens to them", they would say. Do they not realize that even if they can do that in case of emergencies, they can't just take an uninsured child to the hospital for a regular physical? Do they not see the opportunity they were getting when being offered free eye glasses?! I was getting angry at these parents, but who am I to judge their parenting? I don't know what they've been through... Or at least that's what I kept telling myself.

     Not too long after that, I was helping a woman fill out the forms for her and her three children. The emotion that built up inside of me when she had to ask HER children their date of birth was so powerful and I was caught so off guard that I had to excuse myself because what would have come out amidst the tears would not have been pretty. What can lead a mother to be so neglectful of her children?! Sadly, she wasn't the only one. My heart broke to pieces when a boy of about four or five looked up with big eyes at his mother and said, "You don't know my own birthday, Mommy?" .....She replied by saying that there were too many of them. 

     That same woman signed a consent form for herself and one of her kids all the others were left waiting. I just don't even have words for how little of a person I think she is. She is a monster more than a human being. If checking all the kids takes too much time out her day, than maybe she should not get her eyes checked and let one of her meal tickets get it done.

     I better change the subject because I could go on forever about bad parenting.... All in all it was a wonderful day! The fair serves about 15,000 students each year and I'd say I was there for over 8,000 of those. I already can't wait for next year!!!

     On another note, I had a very real conversation today that left me feeling...pained? Since I used that word, I have to say it's a good bad kind of pain. It's the kind that's so real it's liberating, but at the same time so frightening you just don't know what to do or where to go.

     I think this is a step forward, or at least I hope. No promises. I've been feeling pretty empty inside lately, or simply not feeling at all; it's about time I feel something... I think this is something, for now at least.

More on this later..?

Peace and prayers.
<3 Bella

PS. "You can't run when you're holding suitcases..." Dara Maclean

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

     Around here lately it seems like the brighter the sun shines the darker the world gets, and maybe it's the heat but the arguments come more and more often and they are less and less intense. Everyone's tired, and that's not ever a good thing.

     I'm praying for the right words tonight because I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, but it's been said that when in doubt one should 'write what you know'. Well, what I know lately isn't anything worth writing about. What I know is painful; it's lies upon lies and hatred. I know that I don't know and I know that I'd give anything for stability. 

     There are three people that I adore that are suffering right now and although I don't know what is hurting two of them, I've been praying like crazy that whatever it is goes away. I've ran like hell and sat down begging God to take all their pain and transform it into something beautiful. I've prayed to take everything of their shoulders and put it on mine, but sometimes that's not a great idea. I know that too, I learned the hard way. 

     I know that meditation is a great way to free the spirit, but lately it's been feeling like a jail. I sit and think, open laptop to turn my emotions into words and all of a sudden, everything I've come up with gets sucked right back in only to be let out at the worst of times. 

     I've learned to be alone also. I've learned to look for God in the hardest of times instead of hoping He finds me. I've gone to church on days that aren't 'obligated', I've sat in an empty sanctuary fighting with my Maker, my insides screaming for His love. 

     In the silence I have found the answer to the questions that have been asked several times, "Isabella, why don't you ever go out with your friends like you used to? Why are you always at church? Why don't you ever just go out? What happened to so and so?" 

     Well, it just so happens that my friends have changed. The old friends are nothing like they used to be, and to be honest, I'd rather spend a night cuddled up in a blanket with a book seeing a world I'll never know but won't ever forget than going out and doing things I'll never remember. And since when did church become a bad thing? Since when is it not okay? The people I've met there have changed me, they love me for me and not anyone that I'm not. They share my morals and beliefs, they love God and see the beauty of being human. 

     I don't know where I was going with this post, but then again I never know. I've written several drafts and have given up on most. I was supposed to write a letter that I haven't written yet, and I think that might be what's keeping me from feeling. I don't want to feel anything right now, but I know that I need to feel it all.

     I know two things are certain: I wont give up and God is fighting. That's all we really need.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wHIUfEOnJc  This video keeps me going through it all! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Warning: This post may not make sense to anyone but me. :P

After something left me pondering today, I looked back at an old blog and found something that dates back to March 27, 2008. The title of the post was "Something Simple":

"Good." She looks at me and smiles. "Just wanted to make sure you could say it." I try to smile back, but the corners of my mouth now feel too weak to even resemble a smile. I try again. Feelings of happiness and shame are running through me. I am content to have finally said it, but the shame, the shame of knowing what I did simply takes over, and it hides it all. I had gone six months. Six awesome months. Half a year of not worrying, and in an instance I let it all go. 
But of course, I accept it. This is me.
Turns out that I went through the exact same thing twice today. Funny how we can feel things but not express them, know things but not admit them... There's something liberating about being able to just be real with someone, anyone. 

A certain someone and I were playing text Truth or Dare tonight and got to asking some pretty deep 'truths'. On one of them, the question was, "If you could change one thing about yourself would you? If so, what?"  I answered with a pretty general answer so as not to give out the 'wrong' information; truth hurts sometimes and we tend to stay away from it. After sparking his curiosity I quickly said, 'Next question!' to which he replied, 'I think I have a clue but I'll let it go, I choose T[ruth]'.

My question was, of course, 'Okay, you think you have a clue? Take a guess!'

To my surprise, this boy had remembered a Facebook status that I wrote probably over a year ago in binary code about the certain answer I had given him. He was absolutely correct about what I was thinking when the only thing I had said were these exact words: "Hmm, well the one thing I would adjust, not fully change, I'm already working on :) And you can find out after it's done. :P Not during." 

Now, I'm not posting this in order to make you wonder what we were talking about, although some of you could guess, I'm sure. There's more to it than meets the eye. Our conversation goes hand in hand with the one from my previous blog post and the one I had with someone earlier today. Why is it so hard to speak the truth?

Sometimes I wonder if that's why it was so hard for Peter to stand up for Jesus when the time came. He knew the truth, he felt, he stood up for it behind closed doors, but when it came time to actually say it, to live it... It became just like how we live our lives today. Suppressing feelings and emotion that we bring out only when we can be sure that it's safe, away from judgement and shame.

I've learned that sometimes it's okay to feel that shame. Sometimes we need to feel it. It keeps us real, keeps us alive; it keeps us being how we were created to be! And let me tell you, when you find the courage to admit that you are broken, that's when you'll begin to feel the greatest joy there ever was.

Only God is perfect... But we were made in His image. 

P.S. I was also extremely impressed that this certain boy remembered something I posted in binary code over a year ago. I'm starting to believe in Disney movies again! 

...And on a different note, since I began with an excerpt from the very first blog post I wrote, I'll end with one also! 

I am an ordinary girl.
At least I would say I am. Others, on the other hand, would say that I am the furthest from ordinary. What is ordinary anyways?? If ordinary means having to wear the popular brands, and having to listen to AND own the popular CDs and appliances, then I don't want to be ordinary. I want to be different. I want to make a change in the world. I'm not going to say that I want to stop hunger, and that I want world peace, because those are the obvious ones. Those are the ones we all dream about, knowing it will never happen.
I want to show others the power of the Lord,
and how it can come through in everyone.
I want a chance to teach.
A chance to learn.
All I ask for,
Is a chance to be me.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Their Love, Our God

     Today was the first day that Father Bradley gave the 6pm Mass at our parish, and just like all other 'first-days', it was obvious he was nervous. All in all, it was a good Mass; he speaks extra slow, but I guess it's not his speed that matters, it's the quality of what he says... right? Don't get me wrong, I don't mind long Masses whatsoever, I just get anxious when there are so many random loooooooong pauses.

Anyways, what I really wanted to write about...

     There is something about a love that two souls share that leaves me speechless; when the two souls are able to add a third without leaving anyone out... that's true beauty.

I'm not talking about polyamorous freaky stuff.

     Sitting in front of me at church tonight was a couple a bit younger than my own parents, but not by much. They held hands throughout Mass, and at one point the woman put her arm around the man's hips while he kept his tightly around her mid-back. They are obviously still very much in love. It fascinates me when people, after being married for so many years, can still keep the fire burning (or at least lit!)... How I wish my future holds a love as true! 

     When it came time to go up and receive Eucharist, in my opinion the most important part of Mass, I began to feel like their affection was a bit much and it was time to calm it down. They went up to receive God's gift to us, His son's most precious sacrifice, and we followed soon after. 

     Kneeling at our pews I watched as the couple sat down, kneeled and held each other. The man with one arm around his wife's stomach, as if protecting her entire being, the heart, and most importantly, her womb. His left arm cradled around her back and met his right hand with his fingers interlocked. 

     She laid her head softly against chest, fitting perfectly under his chin. Her arms wrapped around his body, tight but not as tight as his. She was allowing him to protect her, although neither was overbearing or showing more strength than the other. 

     Most captivating of all was the way the couple prayed together. They held each other in with such devotion and love, together looking up at their maker, praying... as one.

     I just don't know how to explain it, but I wish you would have been there because it truly was out of this world. I felt like an intruder more than anything else. Although it sounds like I was all up in their business, I promise I stayed out.

     I hope to someday share in a love like theirs; it was stupendous, majestic, crazy, sacrificial, beautiful, and holy. All that a marriage should be. 

Peace to you tonight, 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sitting in the Silence.

    The explanation for this post is short, and it will be kept short. :) Last night I thought of going to the chapel, but I stayed home because it was late and I got scared that even though it was a church, there are still bad people out there and 'you never know'... Plus I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was going, so I decided to stay home. Well, reason I was going to go in the first place was because I really wanted to write but I had a bit of writer's block going on and I couldn't think of anything to write.

Right before bed I said a a prayer, opened my laptop and wrote three lines. Nothing more would come to me so I gave up and went to sleep. Well, I woke up this morning and thank God I had my laptop already opened to 'Pages' (the equivalent of Word) because the rest of this poem just poured out from the inner most part of my heart. I must have been dreaming that I did go to the chapel because honestly, nothing can really explain what made me write this... Well, I guess my short story got made long after all. Here's the poem He made me write...

Sitting in the Silence

Sitting in the silence,
It’s the loudest that it’s been;
See the walls around me
As they’re slowly caving in. 
Alone my thoughts surround me,
They are screaming for my Friend
I look up and say a prayer, 
Stay away from how I’ve been
Not too long till He’s beside me
Calmly whispering---
“In this empty chapel, Love,
You shall never feel alone,
It’s small, and you’ve come late,
My Love, but for you I will postpone.
I’ve spent all day, all week and year
Just to meet my bride again
So please wont you come near, Love
And tell me how you’ve been”
Well... This is kind of weird God,
I don’t really see You as my groom,
Aren’t I supposed to get married,
And have some kids, I presume?
“You’ve been my child all your life,
But now I think you know,
That once your earthly life is over,
I’d like you all for my own; It’s a bit uncanny,
Love, but it has been so long...Don’t you remember 
At fourteen, we changed a stone for a cross?”
My God! That was a promise ring,
I told you that I’d wait, 
But now you’re asking for too much--
To marry YOU instead..?
Listen, God, I’ll tell You what,
Why don’t we part for now?
I’ll raise a family of my own, 
We’ll go to church, 
Learn about Your Son
We’ll build a home,
Where others will gather,
We will sing Your songs
But I’m sorry Lord I just can’t 
Marry you now! 
“Don’t worry my dear, And please don’t cry...
I’ve waited a lifetime, I really don’t mind.
I’ll send you a Lover,
And you’ll start a new life,
You’ll have a daughter
And I’ll make her my wife.
Remember, when you’re ready,
That I’ve waited so long,
Since fourteen I have been waiting,
I’ve been singing you my song--
‘Oh how beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh how beautiful you are!’”
Don’t start this now, I can’t bear to hear,
It’s late and I should go,
And I know it’s been a while, but...
Sitting in the silence,
It’s the loudest that it’s been;
See the walls around me
As they’re slowly caving in. 
Only my thoughts surround me,
They are screaming for my Friend
I look up and say a prayer, and I
Tell Him how I’ve been
Not too long till He’s beside me
Calmly whispering---

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Celebrate Freedom.

"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God." 
-Eleanor Powell-

      Celebrate Freedom and the 100 degree weather was the recipe for a steamy love affair between me and my Maker. 

Scratch that.... Praise and worship always leaves me speechless. I don't know how to describe the love that goes through me, in me, in my soul when I hear myself along with others (whether it's a group of five or 500) sing a love song to our Savior. Here are some pictures and videos of our evening, I had a blast! 

Waiting in line for Chris Tomlin...
The group...
-Antonio, Isabella (me), Alex, Robert-

Chris Tomlin...

     I was going to take pictures of Switchfoot but while we were waiting in line we were told that we were the cut off point for people that would "for sure" get autographs. They said that two of us would get through and that the other two might so it was our call if we wanted to stay in line. Well, Switchfoot wasn't going to disappoint fans and decided that they would come to us. I took a video and yes, I was awestruck with most of them. :P 

Here's Chad, Jon, Tim, Jerome and Drew (not necessarily in that order):

     I have so many videos of the concert, but it would be pointless to post each one. I have to apologize ahead of time on the quality because they were all taken from my cellphone; as it happens most of the time, I left my camera at home on the day that I most needed it. Here are some of the concert videos. 

"Our God (Is Greater)" 
Chris Tomlin

I like this one because of the sheer joy on my brothers face, the camera catching was a total accident...

"Sing, sing, sing"
Chris Tomlin

   Chris Tomlin                                                             

Last Chris Tomlin video... Best one:

Chris Tomlin

While we were getting everyone's autograph, we met a cowboy named Cailen (sp?) that goes to Happy Trails Cowboy Church. He wrestles Steer before service and everyone that goes to his church is a cowboy/cowgirl that wears a hat and boots. He looks like he's our age but no... he's 14. 

Yes, we were sweaty. It was hot. 

I don't know why it looks like I'm clenching my teeth and forcing a smile... I didn't think I was...

Okay, Switchfoot... Switchfoot was loud, amazing and umm. LOUD. :)

"Unity is a struggle... a fight of me looking out for me.. and you looking out for you."

Switchfoot played their new song, "Restless", but Blogger is not letting me upload it. Jon moved into the crowd to sing it which made it increasingly harder for me to record. It didn't take long for a boy that was quite a bit closer to him to ask me if I wanted him to record it for me. He held my phone up for seven minutes and I could tell his arms were tired. He doesn't know how much I appreciate it. Thank you, stranger. I will attempt to upload it again tomorrow. IF it works you will find it here, if not check out YouTube...

We will show the world our love for Him... I just loved seeing everyone with their phones up! 

This is one of their most popular songs... Umm. Also, can YOU play your guitar with your TONGUE?!

"This is Your Life"

And finally the 'encore' (of course after they did the encore we wanted another one!).... Also, surprise and beautiful ending! 

"Dare You to Move"

All in all, even with the heat, the bugs, and me wearing SKINNY JEANS to an outdoor concert in the middle of Summer in Texas, it was a fantastic night. Here's the pictures of the fireworks as well as our goodbyes!