For a long time Father’s Day didn’t have much meaning for me. It was more about my daughters spending the day with their dad’s and me having a me day. I didn’t have my dad as an active part of my life.

This year, it takes a different meaning for me. It is different because, earlier this year my father passed away. He was ill, not terminal and this was unexpected.

I grew up in a loving home with my mom, step dad and myself. If I didn’t mention this already, I am an only child, from my mom. My step dad has 8 children who visited but did not live with us.

I met my biological father when I was about 14. I was open to the relationship but unfortunately my father was not ready for it. So just as quickly as he came in my life he fell right back out of it.

I had a great role model. My stepfather was amazing to me! He loved my mother and he wasn’t afraid to show it! He loved me, as if I was his biological child. Unfortunately, things did not work out, and after many years of marriage, my mom and step dad divorced.

Throughout the years, my biological father and I communicated, sparingly. The communication was inconsistent. I now know that I was mad at him, I thought I’d earned the right to be mad at him. Like really, who did I think I was. I didn’t understand why I was not important to him. I didn’t understand why he didn’t take the time for me.

As an almost 40 year old woman. I can admit to myself, that I wish I had gotten out of my own head and made the move, made the effort, made the time. He needed that from me, and I didn’t give it to him.

On April 20, 2018, I was still at the dining room table at my best friends house. I received a notification of a new message. It was from a very good friend of my mom & dad. Her message read: “Hola mi amor, just heard that your father passed away.”

For a few moments after reading that message it was as if the world stopped. Initially, I thought that it was one of those I’m being punk’d moments. I dismissed that idea because there was no way she would say or do anything so cruel. I was paralyzed I didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what to say.

Once I was able to confirm that it was true, I experienced a large range of emotions. Feelings of sadness, hurt, anger. I thought, how could this be? We were supposed to have more time. We never got to build a relationship or say I love you. He never got to meet his great grand children. He never got to see Gianna dance or see Genesis become such a good mommy.

In the coming days I realized, I was that little girl that yearned for her daddy to make her a priority. I also came to the realization that I was so busy being angry with him that I allowed the enemy to use that and keep me unwilling to reach out and make it right. I never got the opportunity to ask for forgiveness or forgive him. I don’t tend to allow things to fester. I’m the person that would rather talk about it, express the feelings, fix it and move on. I don’t particularly like confrontation but I would rather deal with it now and move on. Which now leads me to the question of why? Why couldn’t I extend the same love and consideration that I would to a friend or family member to my father?

I leave you with this.

According to Merriam-Webster, Forgiveness is the act of forgiving. A guest on the Oprah Winfrey show’s perceptions that “forgiveness is giving up hope that the past could be different.” Often times we think that forgiving our offender is essence acceptance of the offense, or that for some strange reason we are hurting the offender. When in fact, the only one hurting is yourself. I once heard that not forgiving is the same as allowing that person or action to rent space in your brain. That negative space rental is not providing any positivity, on the contrary its breeding negative energy. This in turn limits progress and the ability to move on.

Unfortunately, this is a realization that came a little late for my relationship with my father. I can only pray that I don’t commit the same mistake going forward.

Ephesians 4:32 says:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.

Love unconditionally! Forgive even when you think it’s not deserved! Be happy at all times!

Mucho Amor

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Today, Friday, May 4, 2018, here are a few things that make me one happy gal!

1. Good music!

Music nowadays isn’t what it used to be. I’m a 90’s Hip-Hop, R & B, Freestyle, Rock & Alternative kinda gal. I will get down to some of the current music because there are very good artist circulating. But I’m true to my roots.

2. No lines at Walmart!

This is like that moment where you hear HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! Happens very few and far between but when it does. This gal is all smiles.

3. Pizza, Jeremiah’s Gelato & a movie! All together please!

My fitness friends, are going to say heck to the no! But I say Heck to the YEAH!! As a matter of fact, this weekend, it’s about to go down!

4. Getting on the scale and seeing a smaller number!

Very funny right! After Pizza, Gelato and the couch. I know, I know. Not going to happen like that, but a an indulgence every so often, never hurt anyone.

5. Making someone smile!  

A simple smile! Good morning! Hello! Can totally change the course of someone’s day. Be a joy to someone today, every day.

6. Couponing!

Now this is one of my greatest joy’s. Just picture this, getting to the cash register initial total over $200, then after coupons, BOGO’s, rain check and any other deals bringing that down drastically to less than $100… SCORE! Yes, I may be the one in front of you verifying all my deals went through, my coupons scanned and total is correct! I do make it a point to let the person behind me know that I am a couponer. Which I doubt is hard to miss, especially if my large accordion coupon holder is sitting in the baby seat. Hey, that precious cargo. But really saving makes me a very happy person!

7. Spiritual AH-Ha Moment! God is intentional! Being awakened by Him is awesome!

Man, where do I start with this… For starters, God is so good, and always on time. The catch is He is on time, in HIS perfect timing!! Sometimes we pray and expect God to move immediately. When he doesn’t move we get mad, doubt Him, and assume He isn’t listening. My friends. He is listening. It’s just not the right time! One of my favorite bible verses is, Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10. Be patient! When it is time for your blessings, just know that it will be greater than you could have ever imagined.

8. The three F’s – Get your heads out of the gutter peeps! Family, Friends & Food!!!

Some of my best memories are of these 3 F’s! These are part of what makes me the happiest! I love to get as much family in one place as I can. If I could host a family gathering every weekend I most certainly would. My circle of friends isn’t too big, but I like it that way! Because the ones I do have I wouldn’t trade for anything. Let’s face it, and food… I could go on for days! Put the three together, and this gal is over the moon.

9. Seeing my children & grandchildren happy!

These 4 human beings mean the world to me. I pray blessings over their lives and ask God to guide them to their predestined paths.

10. A good book! Audio or Paperback.

Reading is one of my ultimate favorite things to do. Ahhhhh the smell of a book, is so sweet. Well not sweet, but my fellow bookworms know exactly what I mean. I will admit, I have progressed with the times a bit and love audiobooks because of my crazy, busy life. I like a wide variety of books. Some of my favorites are “The Coldest Winter Ever” by Sister Souljah, “The Green Mile” by Stephen King, “You are a BADASS” by Jen Sincero, “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey.

I have had so much fun putting together this list. They are by no means in any order. Some quirky, some emotionally driven, other just plain old good stuff. Either way, throughout today and every day I challenge you to find a few good things that make you happy. It’s good for your soul!

Mucho Love,

Amarilis ❤️

Getting Involved. Let’s Do it!

Let us help each other, to remember, that the “other” is not a statistic, or a number. We all need each other – Pope Francis

For many years I have wanted to get volunteer and to give my time and energy to something other than my immediate responsibilities or myself. Well that time is now. I have decided to partner with Iris Thurman and URLinked Charities as its Fundraising Coordinator. URLinked Charities is a diverse group of individuals who focus on the betterment of individuals by providing resources, motivation and education. A particularly special part of URLinked Charities is the program directed towards girls and young women. I am ME, ME meaning Mature & Empowered. Iris holds an annual girls retreat, where the girls camp, bond and attend workshops. The hope of the program is to help these young women who are struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, self harm, and sexual abuse learn to grow from their tragedies into Mature & Empowered young adults.

As a single mom, raising daughters. I know first hand how difficult it is. We are not equipped with a manual or suggestions. If you are like myself, and had children young. You grew up with your children. Learning by trial and error. It has been one of the most emotionally rewarding yet tough experiences.

I have made mistakes, some huge, some not so much. And like all parents, if we could prevent our children from experiencing some difficulties and tragedies, we may have gone through we would. Now, we know it doesn’t work that way. We can take some comfort in the fact that we can try and equip them with some of the right tools, so if they are faced with a difficult situation, they have some idea how to respond.

Whether you are a single mom, or a double parent household, take a moment to think about the young ladies who don’t have someone to provide guidance and direction to them. These are the girls that need organizations like URLinked. I am excited about this partnership. My role is to raise funds to provide the services of the charity. My hope is that where there once was hate, there is love. Where there once was sadness there is happiness. Where there once was hopelessness and shame there is hope and self adoration.

As Sonia Johnson said “ One determined person can make a significant difference, but a small groups of determined people can change the course of history. I want to be a part of that group. Let’s change the course of history!

Mucho Love

Amarilis 💗

To be, or not to be Vulnerable.. I say Yes!

Don’t be afraid, vulnerability is a good thing. If you have a few mins, before during or after reading, visit TEDTalk and watch, “The Power in Vulnerability”, by Brene’ Brown. Oh my goodness! Eye opening. I myself listened to it a few times, once simply was not enough.

I don’t regularly, speak about my ex because its just one of those things I stay away from. Mainly because I don’t want my feelings about him affect my daughters perception of him. This past week, he did something really nice, I was both surprised and happy. I was sharing that with a friend, she hadn’t gotten a chance to meet him, I said to her, “You would have liked him”. By that I meant the man that I was married to once upon a time.

An overwhelming sadness took over, which was unfamiliar because we both moved on quite a few years ago. I hadn’t allowed myself to feel this before. Instantly, I realized that not only had I lost my family unit through our separation, but I lost my best friend. I don’t think that I have ever admitted that.

What was made clear through this experience is that even though my first instinct was to suppress these feelings, shut them down immediately. By doing the complete opposite and admitting they were there, feeling them, and expressing them, being vulnerable to them, I am healing through them.

I am in a season of growth. Which is exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. Imagine that, as if my life isn’t CRAY enough. I am experiencing new opportunities. What once seemed like impossible mountains to climb, aren’t too far out of reach.

I think we have all wondered, What on earth and I here for? It cannot be to merely exist, work, pay bills, repeat. I think not! If it would I wouldn’t feel the unfulfilled void within.

Stasi Eldridge said: The very fact that you long for change that you do, is a sign that you are meant to have it. Your very dissatisfaction with your weakness and struggle points to the reality that continuing to live in them is not your destiny.

My loves! Be Vulnerable! Be Healed! Be Free!

You are imperfect but you are worthy of love and belonging – Brene’ Brown

⁃ Amarilis

Today’s Ah-Ha Moment

My work is important! And God sees it! Today’s moment came super early, as a matter of fact it was on my way to work. As I am listening to the local Christian radio station (gotta get my early morning inspiration to prepare for the day :-)~) The wife of a successful musician is speaking about how alone and detached she felt as a stay at home mom, like she didn’t matter. Now, the average individual may think, seriously? You are comfortable enough to have the privilege to stay home and raise your children. Or its not that hard. Or even stay stop whining. For those that have or have had the opportunity to be at home with their children know, that is like having five full-time jobs! Maybe exaggerating a tad, but its no easy task. Her moment of clarity came when she turned to God and was reminded, that her work as a mom, raising a child is important and not in vain. God knows, He see’s, He appreciates. Whether you are a custodian, teacher, executive, or the POTUS. Your work is important! Love it, even when you want to scream. Appreciate it, even when it doesn’t seem like enough. Most importantly do your best at it, even when it doesn’t seem fair. It’s is never in vain! I was lead to this bible verse months ago. Stand firm, your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58. I put it as my screen saver, because I felt like I needed the daily reminder. Today I know why! My work as a Customer Service Representative is important, right now! Have an extremely AMAZING day!

Mucho Amor, Amarilis.

Somethings just never change… Or do they?

I’d like to think that overtime and through life experiences people change. I believe it, I am proof of it. By no means am I perfect, or have I reached all, heck half of my goals, what I do know I that I try to change or progress a little each day. Sadly, not everyone is that way or has reached their point of growth, and remain stagnant. “I didn’t come this far to only come this far”, Fearless Motivation.  

 This past weekend was supposed to be one of those weekends that goes own in the history books for any family. Gianna’s Sweet 16. My sister in law flew in from New York, my cousins and their families came from Orlando, lots of dance friends were coming and I would be in the same room as my ex, his wife and their family. Yes, you heard that correctly. No, we don’t get along, but for Gianna, I will do anything. Besides who wouldn’t be able to put aside any difference for four hours. Right? I had very high hopes that we could.  

Ever have that moment where every part of you screams NOOOOOO but your heart says YESSSSSSS and completely takes over. That beautiful heart of ours… Well, that is the feeling I had when Gianna says to me “Mom, my dad is going to throw my Sweet 16 party. So, you don’t have to spend the money mom and because you do enough”. Well, I thought my that would be nice, It’s hard out here for this single mama.  

As the months got closer I inquired about the party and got kind of shut down and shut out of anything having to do with the party. My feelings were hurt. This is my baby. And the enemy played with my mind a little, always looking for a place to sneak in and cause chaos. Gianna and I had a conversation and we shut that enemy straight down. I began to look forward to celebrating with loved ones and for Gianna to see everyone, both families having a good time. Unfortunately, within 10 minutes of being there, ignorance took over and drama ensued, cops were called and mean things were said. Thankfully the bulk of the guests hadn’t arrived.  

 Rather than run with my initial thought of grabbing my kid and running far away from those people and the party, I chose a teachable moment. I explained that although we would like to believe that people change, some don’t and choose not to. I also explained that for some all we can do is stay away and pray for them. I turned my frown completely upside down and walked in with my head held high and enjoyed my girl, her friends and family to the fullest. My only pain at this point from the evening is that my mom who adores my daughters, missed the party. [Symbol]  

 I won’t give the situation or persons anymore life than I have because to be honest it/they don’t deserve it. It took me to a place of hurt and it made me quite sad. Carl Gustav Jung said: “He who looks outside, dreams. He who looks inside, awakes. The definition of change is to make or become different. I get it, there are parts of me that I want to keep the same, that I like. I will keep those, but I will say there are somethings within myself that I don’t want to keep the same. Acknowledging those is the first step, working towards changing them is the second, and course of action is next.  

 I am thankful for growth, for life and opportunities to teach and grow. We cannot control the way others behave, but we can always control ourselves. Let’s wake up my dear friends. We owe it to ourselves and our future generations.  

Much Love, 

Amarilis ❤