Tag Archives: faith


2nd February 2015

Photo on 12-8-14 at 7.28 PM #4

*taps mic*

Is this thing on? I was looking back at this space a little while ago and realized that I hadn’t posted since November! Steven keeps pointing out that I need to do something. Write something, anything, and so here I am. I’m glad that I took a break from being here. I needed to do it to preserve my own sanity, but also because it didn’t feel like a safe space anymore. The less said about that, the better, but I will say that I’ve spent the past few months contemplating life, stressing about things, being utterly excited about things, and working hard to find peace in the chaos. I think I’m getting better at it.

There are a billion little things to write about and I’m not sure where to start. I think sometimes it’s hard to find a perfect way to jump back into something. Thank goodness for “Currently” posts. ♥

Reading: I’ve been savoring Anne Lamott’s book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” for weeks now. I bought Steven a copy as part of his Christmas gift and ended up buying one for myself, because I simply couldn’t resist the thought of having a “read off” with him. I used to do that with my brother when the Harry Potter books were released–we’d each get a copy and hole up in our rooms for hours reading until one of us had finished. The first person to finish was the winner, of course. But with this book, I just couldn’t do that. I think Anne Lamott is a person who was put on this earth to do great things, I really do. She is somehow magical and startlingly real at the same time. I don’t know how she strikes the balance of providing pure wisdom and examples of our bumbling humanity, but she does it so beautifully. I approach each new chapter with a mix of anticipation and dread thinking, Are we going to laugh today, Anne, or are we going to cry? Most of the time it’s both.

Sometimes, when I read the bible, I’m struck by a moment of complete understanding and grace. I can feel it in my heart. I know that what I’ve read is right for me at the time. And then other times, I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on. I’d like to think that God knows this about me and provides me with other sources to dispense something into my mind, and so he brought me Anne Lamott. Because she’s funny and thoughtful and flawed. So when I needed a good piece of writing/thinking/inspiration to make me consider a big problem in my life, I was given pages and pages of words in “Small Victories” to help. I’d been working (let’s be real, I’m still working) on the idea of forgiveness and letting go and how hard it is to do those things. Then I read this…

1. “A lack of forgiveness is like leprosy of the insides, and left untreated, it can take out tissue, equilibrium, soul, sense of sense. I have sometimes considered writing a book called: All the People I Still Hate: A Christian Perspective, but readers would recoil.” (For the record, I would read that book so hard!)
2. “So you sacrifice the need to be right, because you have been wronged, and you put down the abacus that has always helped you keep track of things. This jiggles you free from clutch and quiver. You can unfurl your fingers, hold out your palm, openhanded.”
3. “Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle, and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer nearly so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.”

And little by little, I started to move on. Thanks, Anne.

Watching: There are two shows that I watch consistently: The Mindy Project and Extra Virgin. I’m not sure which one makes me happier. Maybe Extra Virgin, because it’s about food (food porn) and life and few things are better than that.

Listening: Shakey Graves! Well, one of his songs. I don’t even know what this dude’s real name is, but I guess it’s not important. This duo with Esme Patterson is perfection. As is Esme’s dress/boots combo. Priorities, y’all.

Loving: My daily indulgence: Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. Give me a tiny square on the drive home from work and I am a happy girl.

Thinking: About school and teaching. Always, always, always. Also trying to figure out how to personalize our wedding as much as possible, while still making sure that it’s inclusive enough of other peoples’ tastes and traditions. On the plus side, I’m not thinking about what I’m gonna wear because I bought my dress during winter break (a goal I was so happy to have accomplished) and it’s all sorts of pretty. Booyah! It was a strange moment for me when I realized that I couldn’t Instagram a shot of it for my friends. What’s a social media lovin girl to do?

Working: I’m working on feeling centered as a human being. How much of a hippie do I sound like right now? But seriously. I promised myself at the end of last year that I would work on becoming my best self in 2015. I usually use this blog to write down my goals/resolutions for the year, but I felt like I needed some time to sit with them before writing them down over here. In a few weeks, I’ll be 29 and I thought it was a good time to get my shit together. Or at least some of it. There are a lot of things that are out of my control, but my health has a lot to do with the choices I make.

I set a goal for myself to lose 25 lbs by the time I get married. It’s less about a number on a scale, though, and more about helping to establish healthy habits. I’ve been working out at least 5 times a week and keeping track of what I eat. I’ve been more mindful about what I’m putting into my body and pushing it to do better every single time I exercise. I’ve lost 6 lbs so far and I plan to keep chugging along, not because I have to, but because I want to. I’m excited that my body is beginning to change in small ways. I can feel some confidence oozing in and it just makes everything better. I want to know that when I get married in October, that I feel great about my body. I want to know that I worked really hard for it, too, because then maybe it’ll help keep me on a better path as I get older. I’m doing this because I care about myself and I’m doing this because I care about the life I may have in the future. Because I want to be the kind of person who encourages healthy habits in her children.

I’m glad that right now, the wedding seems to be a huge incentive for the people in my life, too. My parents have been encouraging each other to eat better and will start incorporating more exercise into their lives soon. Steven signed up for a half marathon and I can see how happy it makes him to reach certain running goals, and so it makes me happy too. I will never ever be a skinny girl; I don’t want to be. That’s not what this is about. It’s about cherishing the life that I have, and the body that I have, and actively working to make things a little better.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that my fellow anal retentive folks cherish the thought that our month looks like this. Thank you, February. Thank you.

(Thank you to Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet for the continued inspiration behind these Currently posts. They make for a great start.)

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Dia de los muertos…

3rd November 2013


After a very tough Friday, all I wanted was a peaceful Saturday. I went to bed very early on Friday evening and woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I spent the morning hanging with my parents and organizing my closet, purging it of things that I absolutely do not and will never fit into, and saving a few pieces that I love too much to get rid of. I took a nice walk with Mason and Steven and then headed into the city to meet up with some friends at Dallas BBQ (aka-another place where I care less about the food than I do the margaritas). There was heavy traffic on the way down and my estimated arrival time was later and later. Isn’t it the worst to realize that you’re the asshole holding everyone up? I was on the verge of turning back for home, but I got through it and I was so happy to hang with my ladies! Even if we only spent a short time together, sometimes you just need to chat and vent and catch up. Also: Bulldog Mango Margarita. Yes.


After dinner, I was wandering around for a bit and heard some beautiful music playing. There was a Dia de los Muertos gathering at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. It was organized by a group called Mano a Mano which is dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Mexican culture. I’ve passed by St. Mark’s church many times, but I’ve never visited. Maybe it was something about the night or something about the music or something about the tequila, but I went into the gates and was overwhelmed by the celebration. It was tiny, with only a few tents set up, but it felt very powerful to be there. I bought a lovely piece of art from Alicia Garcia De Leon called Animas Del Sol. Her work is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and made with obvious passion for her culture.


The most powerful part of the experience was seeing the altar set up for the dead. There were pictures and flowers, lights and handwritten messages for loved ones who had passed on. It felt sad and uplifting at the same time. The notes were in different languages, but many were written in Spanish. They immediately made me think of my grandma and I decided to light a candle in her memory. I’m not Mexican and my personal faith doesn’t usually involve outward symbols, but the altar was created with such reverence and joy and I wanted her to be a part of that. It was a very emotional experience, but it felt right. Being alone, walking around the city always makes me feel good for some reason. Remembering my grandmother and reflecting on her life and also on how much I miss her is something that I have done daily for the past two years, but this was something special. I was really grateful for a tiny church courtyard and a meaningful tradition.





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Random Thoughts on a Friday Night…

27th July 2013


Sometimes I stop talking. Sometimes I set my phone to charge in a room that I am not in and simply forget that it is there. Sometimes I decline invitations in order to stay home and breathe. Tonight was one of those nights that I needed some space. Instead of going out to dinner with my family, I stayed home and sat quietly. I opened my computer. I closed my computer. I sat in my living room and stared at Mason as he watched the cars outside. I had some brief, but lovely, Twitter and text chats, too. Not completely disconnected, just in need of some stillness.

I love how calming the quiet can be and how even silence is filled with noise. Simon & Garfunkel knew their shit, okay? The buzzing of the air conditioner. The sound of my nails clicking against the keys of my computer. The clatter of plates as I unloaded the dishwasher. Right now it’s the sound of our little backyard pond, the water bouncing off of the rocks and into the pool below it. My neighbors are chatting on their deck, but I can’t make out what they’re saying. There’s a bird chirping away on a branch above me and I’m slightly distracted by the thought that he might poop on me or my computer. (ETA: He didn’t.)

It’s been a quiet week on this blog, too. We arrived home from Virginia on Sunday and I was excited to post about my trip (and my one decent picture), but when Monday rolled around the focus was on my aunt Carmen and her health. I think she’s been praying a lot and told the big dude upstairs that enough was enough. She’s ready to go. I think this time it’s actually true. As of Wednesday, she began receiving comfort care from our local hospice and the hospice worker who did her initial assessment told us that Carmen will probably only live for a few more days. We’ve been spending longer periods of time visiting her and she’s unresponsive–not eating or drinking and certainly not talking. I’m not sure that she knows that we’re the ones spending time with her, but I would like to think so. That somewhere in her body and mind, she knows that she’s with people who love her. I spend my visits holding her hand and humming songs against her skin. Stroking her hair and whispering that I love her and letting her know that if she wants to rest, she should.

Today we met one of the hospice nurses and the social worker who has Carmen’s case. It’s rare that I meet someone and think that they are doing what they were born to do, but these women are truly meant for their profession. The nurse assessed Carmen and reiterated what her coworker told us previously. She look at us and said, “She’s starting her journey home.” Which, as I tweeted earlier, is the nicest, kindest, warmest way to say that someone is ready to die. Carmen’s social worker rearranged her schedule to meet with us today, to see how we were doing. She came into the room with this incredible and tangible energy, so full of life and genuine care. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone like her before. I was honestly mesmerized. She took the time to get to know each one of us (grandma, my aunt Yoni, mom, and myself) and we talked about life and death and grief. For the most part, we all expressed that we were okay. It’s sad. Losing someone is sad. Watching someone die is sad. It’s different, though, when that person is clearly ready to pass on.

In our impromptu group therapy session with the hospice social worker (whose bright blue sneakers totally matched her earrings and seriously, how awesome is that?), she asked if we’d experienced any losses lately. I waited for mom to mention her mother, but she didn’t. I spoke up and said that my grandmother died nearly two years ago. These two experiences could not be any more different. I am so sorry to be losing my aunt and I am sorry that she suffered at all, but I feel glad that she was able to live a full life. There’s a lot that she missed out on and she has endured a lot of pain in her life, but I look at her and know that her journey is almost complete and I feel at peace. With my grandmother, I feel like there is still a sense of unease. I’m still dealing with her loss and trying to figure out what happened and why.

I think about how she was in the hospital, unable to speak, and how the last thing I spoke to her about was how I had borrowed her nail polish earlier that day. I will never ever forget how her eyes flicked down to my hand to take a look and how that little bit of movement broke my heart, but also made my day because I knew that she could hear me. But then I think about how she was trapped in there and how frustrated and scared she probably felt. I think about how her stroke occurred after a simple knee surgery and how my mom called her when the operation was over. I think about the fact that I was annoyed with my family when mom called grandma and how I let those feelings keep me from talking to my grandmother and seeing how she was. This is a moment that I will always, always regret, because of course I just thought that I’d be able to talk to grandma some other time. You always think that there will be another time.

With my aunt Carmen, I’ve been thinking about some of the same things, but I don’t have any sense of regret attached to her passing. I will always know that the last thing Carmen ever said to me was, “I love you. You know that I love you,” after a particularly challenging visit. I can think about her constant, “Si Dios quiere,” whenever I said that I would see her later. I do wonder how she’s feeling right now. I think she was scared before, but now she seems okay. Content. I hope that she’s warm and feels enveloped by love and positivity. I hope that she feels safe and comforted knowing that she’s being taken care of–not only by us, but by God and the universe.

The hospice workers said that if Carmen passes during the night, not to feel guilty because we weren’t there. My grandma died the day after my mother came home from Florida. She had been taking care of her for nearly two weeks. I like to think grandma waited for mom to leave for a reason, so that mom could be with us to support her and so that we could grieve together as the Moreno family before heading off to meet everyone else. I don’t know how much of a choice she really had, but I think that was why. I don’t know when Carmen will start her new journey, but I know that it will be in her own time and even if we aren’t there, she’ll know that we are with her. Si Dios quiere. En fe. Siempre.

The Thing Is
by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

(Thank you all for sending good energy our way. ♥)

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The August Check-In…

20th August 2012

It’s silly when we get into these crazy hypotheticals. You really want some bread, then go ahead create a set of goals and cross them off the list as you pursue them…96,000-In The Heights

Sometimes I get inspired by lyrics from Broadway musicals. Whatever.

I love making lists and setting goals, but there comes a time where you have to stand back, think about your objectives and reevaluate your choices and plans. Apparently that time is now for me. Earlier this year I posted a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2012. It looked a little something like this.

Eight months later and I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to cross some of these off the list…
• While I’ve been dreadful at updating my Examiner page, I’ve still manage to post a few things. Most recently a Q&A with Brooklyn-by way of Boston-by way of Rhode Island band, Ellis Ashbrook.

Project 366 is still going down, but I haven’t been tagging my pictures. But at least I’m taking them, which should count for something.

• I haven’t read one book per month, but I have been reading pretty consistently. I’ll be updating my sad Monday Night Digs tag tonight and elaborating, but I’m currently reading Rookie Teaching for Dummies by W. Michael Kelley.

• Concerts? Way more than 2 so far.

• Dates? I’ve been on quite a few of those.

• Personal vacation? I’m counting my recent trip to the New Jersey shore because I drove there and back on my own. Even though I spent time with someone else’s (see above) friends and family, I’d say it was still “personal” because it was something I’ve never done before. Plus I had a really great time, so there’s that.

Some more great things…
• I made my deadline for the Mad Men project every week! It was a challenge to make sure I wrote something every week, mostly because it was the end of the school year which means that there was a lot going on, but I did it and I’m so happy with the way the entire blog turned out. Is it next season yet?

• Finished up my second year as a preschool teacher! I found myself taking on (with the encouragement of my team) a lot more responsibility in the classroom and I learned a lot. I have more strategies to deal with “interesting” behaviors in the classroom and I was able to let the children guide the work/teaching in so many different ways. My students were absolutely amazing human beings and I will never ever forget the time I spent with them. Teaching my group of 3-5 year olds during the morning and then working with the 5 year olds who were moving onto kindergarten was difficult at times, but it really opened my eyes to how much of a difference a year can make in a person’s life. Watching the children grow into their current identity, seeing their academic and developmental milestones…there’s nothing quite like it. It reaffirmed my position that early childhood education is not only important, it is absolutely an essential part of the education and socialization process and should be treated with a heck of a lot more respect than it gets.

• Making the toughest decision ever to leave my current position and pursue my English, 5-12 education certification.

• The mini art exhibit that went down at my school. It featured my photos and collages from my lovely former coworker, Margot, who is a fountain of creativity and awesomeness. Margot’s encouragement and enthusiasm led to our art show, which featured a month of images/collages displayed to our entire faculty. Big deal for me to take the time and select photos that I was proud of and in a lot of ways, it felt like I was exposing myself and my inner thoughts. It also reminds me that I really have no excuse to snap an iPhone photo (though I should be using an actual camera) when Margot is busy creating a freaking masterpiece every darn day.

• Went down to Tennessee to visit my best friend and her husband! We conquered Dollywood! Amazing, amazing time.

• Visited my grandma’s grave and, at least for one moment, made some peace with the fact that she’s not around anymore. Spent quality time my family down there. I love them dearly.

• Actively pursuing a real adult relationship! Allowing myself to be vulnerable, bit by bit, inviting someone in to all of my real life drama and being open to taking on someone else’s drama, too. Madness.

Took care of a coworker’s cat and apartment! I didn’t kill the cat AND I got to pretend I was a New Yorker for a bit. That was pretty cool.

• Fell in love with MTV’s Teen Wolf. No shame about that whatsoever.

Things to work on…
• Getting a job! I truly enjoyed two blissful years of employment, learning so much, being challenged all the time. After a few years of sporadic employment opportunities, this was the best way to get back into the swing of things. The people I worked with were so incredibly supportive and knowledgeable, so excited about the chance to teach and observe, so patient and willing to share the Montessori philosophy with me. They made me question my path many a time and I’m still not sure that I will stay away from preschool and Montessori forever, but I did feel like it was time to get back to working with adolescents. I want to talk about longer works of literature and encourage debates and critical thinking. I want to read long papers and help people become better writers, help them to express themselves in different ways. Yes, there are standardized tests and all sorts of pressures out there, but my time at the preschool gave me a boost in so many ways and now it’s time to take what I’ve learned in college and through my teaching experiences and apply it to the 5-12 crowd. Unfortunately, the competition in the education field is tough and though I’ve tried to snag a position for the past few months, I’ve been met with countless dead ends and disappointments. It’s looking now like I may want to substitute teach and hold out for a leave replacement position. Tutor? Volunteer at after school programs? Currently looking into a few options and letting the universe guide me in the right direction.

• Renewing my friendship with my old pals Zumba and Pilates. After months of consistent activity, my body has been judging my lifestyle choices. I can feel it. Resuming an exercise schedule will be good for my body and my mind. Gotta take care of both.

• Keep up with Monday Night Digs and my Examiner schedule. If anything, it’ll give me a chance to talk to some new people, which I always like…except when I’m feeling anti-social.

• Cook! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my paper subscription to Whole Living mag and I’d like to start collecting interesting recipes and trying them out. Cooking is fun and sometimes messy, but it’s about learning and trying new things. Plus, I have a few cool binders that I can use to keep everything organized. Holler!

• Spend more time renewing my faith and working on the spiritual aspects of my life.

• Realize that I can honor my family and myself by not giving up. Maybe I’m not living the life I thought I’d be living by 26, but that’s okay. I know that as long as I’m trying, I’m overcoming. The worst thing I can do is allow myself to be crippled by my fear. It doesn’t do a damn thing but keep me in an endless cycle of worry and there’s no reason to live my life that way.