At my core

Thirty-seven years of uncertainty bubble up inside me as I read the words on my phone. Confusion, hurt and anger fight for priority in my heart. The words are like a hot knife in butter, cutting me to my very core. Only someone with complete access to my heart could have the power to inflict pain like this. Anger wins as I shake and curse and try to work through the events that have led me to this point.

Anger does not last forever though. It gives way to the deepest sorrow I have ever known. Deep, racking sobs come from a place I rarely give thought to and continue even after the tears are gone.

Not all tears are cleansing. The first ones are hot and bitter and angry. Pain washes through me. I feel betrayed. My instinct is to shut off my heart and protect, but the dam is broken and I can do nothing but feel. The pain, the hurt, the betrayal, the confusion and the sorrow feel like they will swallow me whole.

Hours turn into days and days turn into weeks and as I peel away at the layers of grief, I am surprised at what I find. At the very core of me, stripped of the betrayal and hurt, is a confident woman, no longer afraid. Words cannot hurt what I find at my core. The only hurting that can be done here is done by me.

What do I believe about myself? What is truth? I’ve known for a very, very long time who I am but thirty-seven years of uncertainty had wrapped itself tight around that core. The false beliefs, the lies from the adversary, and deeds born of jealousy had weaved their way into my heart.

Like stripping paint from wood, the hurt and betrayal served to me has worked it’s slow, painful magic and is starting to reveal the raw, natural grain of my soul. As I seek for truth, I am learning to love and be gentle with myself. Some will follow my example. Others will fall away. Truth and love feel happy and free. Light attracts light. Wrapped in an ugly package, I have been given a beautiful gift. For after thirty-seven years, I am choosing to be me.

This Moment

IMG_1459
This is my moment

Right now life is overwhelming.  There are a lot of sleepless nights and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able get everything that I need to done. So instead of trying to figure it all out and wondering how it will all come together, I’m taking it one moment at a time.  Because sometimes that’s all you can do- live in the moment, this moment; and this autumnal moment is beautiful.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”–Maya Angelou

KStLI’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra.  After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment.  (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here)
I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book.
I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose.
If you can’t find me here you can reach me at strokedtolife@gmail.com.

Dana Post – Legacy

grandma r

Back in the spring someone very important to me passed away, my hubbie’s last living grandparent, Grandma R.  In every way important she was like my own flesh and blood grandmother.  She loved me from the day we met, no questions asked, she just loved me.  I was blessed to be loved by her for almost 12 years.

At her funeral the majority of her great posterity was in attendance. It was quite a sight.  But what was the most memorable thing for me was hearing of the woman that we were celebrating, her life before being married and having children to the day she passed.  The overall theme I kept hearing was, she was a loving mother and kind to anyone and everyone she met.  She left a legacy of love and treating those around her with kindness and charity.  Don’t get me wrong, she was a spicey little firecracker and she probably would be the first to say that, but she was one amazing woman.

As I sat there contemplating this question and it kept running over and over in my mind, “what is the legacy I want to leave behind?”  This question made me stop and truly evaluate myself.  It was hard, I know I have some work to do. As I try to live my life in the moment daily I am asking myself this question, as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. “what is the legacy I am leaving behind?

DanaI am a stay at home Mom of two sweet girls. I am a half Asian half Hispanic girl who grew up in Southern California married to a white boy from Colorado. I am an identical twin. To be perfectly honest, I feel completely inadequate to even attempt to write down my thoughts, but here I am regardless. This opportunity is me trying to put a small part of myself outside of the box. There are a few things I know for sure but many things I feel passionate about. I hope that through this experience not only can I grow but someone somewhere can relate to the things I share. I would love to hear from you, you can reach me at danavehar@aol.com! Happy reading!

Kjirsten Post- “EVERY Age is GOOD” or “How I came to recognize my book addiction.”

CONFESSION: I have a bit of an obsession with children’s books.

A generally harmless fixation, right? Harmless? Well, with what I’ve been doing lately–actually I recently realized, not harmless. Not exactly.

Wait…let me explain!

(Side Note: All these were taken with my ipad–sorry! Not even close to a third of my children’s book collection are pictured in this post)

Living “In the now” is really hard for me.

Okay. It’s not THAT hard. I mean, I AM currently living. I’m actually breathing and my brain is thinking, and my body is moving through current time and space.

I guess I mean…Hold on, I need to rephrase.

Living in the now is not the same as surviving in the now.

What in the world does this have to do with my bookshelves???(Which are bowing in the middle from the girth that shows my serious need to STOP BUYING EVERY COPY OF A LITTLE PRINCESS!!!!!! )

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Patience. I’ll get there. First though, some back story.

I don’t think I realized how much of a giant transformation having a kid would be.

After a difficult pregnancy, dealing with hormones and body changes, and weight gain, and doubt and joy and power and just the basic “Woahhhh, hold on everyone! here comes the baby”-ness of it all—I got really sick.

Like, my ICU doctors literally cried when they met me, sick.

Fast forward—-SPOILERS! I made it through. I survived.

But isn’t that what every Mom is doing? From the moment they hand you that baby, and place this alien in your arms—you are supposed to hit the ground running.

Sure, there’s plenty of figuring it out as you go, and sweet moments to revel in…just sitting and staring, etc.

There’s also a lot of thinking, “Nursing sucks. BIG TIME.” and “Why does my baby smell weird?” and “Am I doing everything wrong?”

and even the scary, I’ll allow myself to cry for three more minutes and then you have to suck it up and be a Mom.

But then time does this really crazy thing where it speeds up. (Just like every adult mentioned to you when you were only 9 years old. THEY WERE RIGHT!)

Every now and then, you surface for air, and look around you and think: “This is my life! Holy cow! Isn’t this amazing?! We’re doing it! “

Sometimes it takes that stranger in the grocery store who asks, “Ohhhh! How old?” and you say “x”–and they say, “Oh yes. That’s a GOOD age.”

And you look down at your raga-muffin changeling who used to coo and grin, and is now currently wiggling out of your mom-grip and running for the nearest danger, and for a split second you remember, “Oh Yeah! This is pretty incredible! This kid is incredible!”

But when you’re in the thick of it—man, it’s tough. It’s running out the clock until nap time. It’s filling those hours. It’s those late nights. It’s the teething. It’s the sleep deprivation. It’s the pooping through every change of clothes you brought. It’s the nothing-will-make-you-happy-but-inane-cartoons…

For me, now, in this phase my new mantra is : Every age is a GOOD age.

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And I’ve had to adopt that phrase because I keep buying kids books. (see, full circle…it’s coming together.)

My little girl is only 16 months. She’s got um…”somewhat” a love of books already, (loves to step on, and bite them…and occasionally sit for 5 minutes at a time and sometimes pour over them)

But I have this crazy need to fill her bookshelves for when she can read.

I have these daydreams where I come into her room and she’s perched, like Matilda {yup, the fictional character} reading Moby Dick, and we have long conversations about the symbolism and her favorite passages.

Little House on the Prairie, Le Petite Prince, Aesop’s Fables, Greek Myths, Shakespeare for children, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables—to name a few classics.

I’ve got loads of young kids books too…

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In fact, every other week or so, I make a trip to my local Savers wherein I can flip through the shelves and for about $15.00 I can stash away my hopes and dreams, while I shove  fishy cheese crackers in my kid’s face:

“Nooooo, don’t start crying! I haven’t gotten to the chapter book section yet! Here, don’t you want ANOTHER ABC book? Look, this one has dinosaurs!….okay, you’re busy again. Great. Oh wow! Peter Pan! Heyyyy, another copy of The Horse and His Boy—I know I already have this, but not this version.”


Here’s the truth about my kid. She’s not cuddly. Never has been with me. She’s a go-go-go kind of gal. Hey, the world is an exciting place! She’s also not talking yet. (it’s a bi-lingual household, she’s doing lots of signing, she’s plenty smart–I shouldn’t be worried)

But after pouring so much of yourself into a little person for so long, it gets hard. I guess I wanted some sort of affirmation!

Which is probably why I LOST it when that commercial came on telling moms everywhere, that they were good enough.

Get your Kleenex ready (And turn on the english subtitles) :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu3iM1azTj4

The truth is, that I’ve been so looking forward to the time when we can finally have our tea parties, and book-fests, (let’s face it, even if she DOES end up loving to read, she’ll be what…5-7 years old until this happens?) that I have completely overlooked having an amazing time with my toddler! I’m fairly good with babies. And big kids? Yeah, I can have them eating out of my hand—but a non-verbal busy kid who is basically a tornado with legs? Uhhhh…I just follow her around and make sure she doesn’t poke her eye out.

I have been squirreling away so many future happy days that I forgot to really look at the ones I was living in.

The ones where baby girl discovered her shadow!

The ones where she smeared sweat potato in her hair, and in mine!

The ones where when I stopped and actually focused, got on her level, I made breakthroughs!

Waiting and wishing for those days where she magically slows down enough to connect with me over a great novel, is stunting my mommy-of-a-toddler skills.

Doctor? Get my growth chart!

So you see my problem? Books, are great. Saving for the future—great! But also remembering that even now–this time is good. Really, really good—- is important.

More important than the third copy of Charlotte’s Web, I’m buying. (You know, cause I don’t have it in hardcover yet…)

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KjirstenKjirsten Flores is the lady behind the lens at K.Flores Photography. She’s an artist, a teacher, a photographer, a wife, and mom trying to find a balance.

In Spite of Fear

IMG_0995“You’re scared,” Jen tells me, as a matter of fact but so kindly.
I jump back, not at her words but because, you know what?, she’s telling the honest to goodness truth.
Sometimes the truth is terrifying.
I’m telling her about this retreat I want to go on, an awesome yoga and writing retreat.   This retreat I’m telling Jen about helps you examine fear head on.  Jennifer Pastiloff asks you what you’re afraid of, she helps you move beyond your ordinary.  And before I can even list all the reasons that I really really want to go my Jen is encouraging me, “You should go! Go!”  And I’m trying to tell her why I shouldn’t, why I can’t, and then- “You’re scared.”
I don’t like being scared.  I mean, does anyone really like being scared?  No.  We all fight it, we fight fear.  So we say things like “be fearless” (I think I’ve even posted that very phrase on the StL Facebook page, my apologies).
Fearless-without fear.  Who is actually without fear?
[We live in spite of fear]

A while ago I was standing on a ladder attempting to reach some suitcases and Patrice stood at the bottom saying, “Be really careful Mom.  I’m gonna help you.”  I have balance but since my stroke and vertigo I don’t really trust it so Patrice says this and suddenly one of the fears that I’ve tucked away into the corner of my mind is right at the forefront.  What if I fall off of this ladder (read:  what happens to Patrice if I fall and hit my head?)?  It turned out that even with the ladder I couldn’t reach the suitcases so when I get off the ladder, trembling with fear, I ask Patrice, “What do you do if Mommy falls and Daddy isn’t home?”
“I’ll help you.”
“If Mommy falls and Daddy isn’t home, you go across the street and you get Jen.”
“If you fall and Dad is not here I’m gonna go and get Jen.”  Did I just transfer my fear to my child?  Fear is the easiest of the communicable diseases to spread and the most difficult to get rid of. . . . because you can’t really get rid of fear.
[We live in spite of fear]
We live to spite fear.
Fear is what motivates us when all your peers in high school think that you’ll never amount to anything so you swallow the lump in your throat and you leave everything you know.
Fear motivates us when someone you trust tells that no one in the predominately Caucasian area you live will want the burden of marrying a black woman; so despite that voice ringing loud and clear in your mind you get dressed and you go on that blind date.
Fear motivates you when death is hovering over you.  The fear of death is so great that you’ve made up your mind that you’ll fight like hell so when you wake up from your stroke you hear things like, “it’s pretty amazing.”
I’ll never be without fear.  I’ll never be fearless and I’m no longer afraid of that.
I live in spite of and to spite fear.
Fear can suck it.

 

KStLI’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra.  After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment.  (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here)
I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book.
I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose.
If you can’t find me here you can reach me at strokedtolife@gmail.com.
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