Love, Faith, Peace and Joy

December 25, 2008

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ELEGANT!

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and … CREEEPY

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That is how you can describe some of the lights we saw in Brownsville, Tx.  this Christmas.

Remember the old-fashioned lights from yesteryear? Well, this is them on steroids.

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 Lit up, they looked beautiful.

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This was the side of somebody’s garage and their front window.

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 This was a very large Nativity scene.

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This trailer parked in front of a house made us wonder how they made the money to pay for their fancy country club house.

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 It was nice to see the ones who went all out.

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This Santa with the reindeer in mid-flight looked cool.

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This was a garden in someone’s back yard.

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This tiny ladder caught my eye.

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 These tiny creatures climbing a ladder to the roof had to have been the most adorable decorations I saw.

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 Some houses looked spectacular in just plain white lights.

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While others jazzed it up a bit with bright colors.

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 This house lit up one corner on Boca Chica Blvd.

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  This house was beautifully decorated.

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The girls put the reindeer’s size into perspective when they stood by it.

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This was the sight I longed to show them: Christmas lights reflected off a resaca’s surface. A resaca is the kind of bodies of water we have down here in this tropical area.

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We live in a tropical area so seeing a decorated palm tree was nice. This one was 40 feet tall. They had to have thrown the ornaments up there because they were waaaay up there.

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This was a regular tree but the lights created the illusion of a palm tree.

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 These girls were pooped and tried to sleep on the way back to Port Isabel.

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 Tried to, anyway. 

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The night I took this picture was the night the father of these beautiful twins was injured in a horrific 30-foot fall. His back was broken and he is paralyzed. Please pray for him, these girls and their mom and brother. If you can contribute to the fund that was set up to help them with the incredible blow that has befallen them, please donate whatever amount you can to the : “William A. Plouffe Fund” at Lone Star National Bank – gift account 2905004843. He is in critical condition and the family needs your help badly. If you and 99 other people give just $5.00 that would be worth a million to us. These girls are only 13 and their world has been rocked by this tragedy. Their daddy was the major breadwinner and now Mom has taken a leave of absence from her Walmart job to be by his side. There is no other income but what is donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts. Please help them for as time passes, people’s interest will wane but their dad’s condition will stay very, very serious. Thank you for your kindness and know that we appreciate everyone’s prayers. May God bless you and your family as well as the family of these beautiful girls who brighten up a room like a ray of sunshine when they enter it. Have a blessed Christmas.


A Christmas Tragedy

December 22, 2008

My incredible father was a very handsome and intelligent man. He was a civil engineer and graduated from A&M Summa Cum Laude. Because he created things, it was not hard to dream and see those dreams become reality. He would draw things up as blueprints and then make them. Next thing you knew, there was another building or street he made, so it was not hard to believe that what he said, would happen. He was my symbol of strength and possibilities being made reality. With him dreams came true. He was strong and handsome and smart and our everything. He worked everyday to provide for us as best he could. We were not rich but our needs were met. We had plans, too. He had blueprints of the nice house we were going to live in that even had a pool. We never got to live in that dream house. It never made it off blueprints.

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Tragically, he died of a sudden massive heart attack brought on by too many sequential insulin reactions. His heart just couldn’t take it anymore in spite of how strong he was. I was crushed. I was twelve, my little sister ten and my brother became the man of the house at fifteen. Losing your father, the cornerstone of your house, family and heart, the symbol of strength and stability in your family can be a devastating blow. You can read an extraordinary and fascinating tale of how my father was able to come back from Heaven to let us know he was all right here. I believe in the eternity of the human soul. I believe that the bonds of love last forever. I don’t know why there is so much tragedy on Earth and why we have to go through it; I just know it is a part of life and no one knows when it is going to befall us. When it does, it can destroy all the plans and dreams you had for the future. My first marriage was destroyed by alcohol. I thought it was going to be the end of the world. One night I was fighting with my husband (ex) and I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked outside, looked up into the stars and thought, “God, I want to find a man who loves me for me, who is intelligent, interesting, admirable and funny, who doesn’t drink or do drugs, who is older and settled and doesn’t cheat on his wife or go out to bars at night. I want someone romantic, who doesn’t have a wife and kids, maybe has a dog he loves.” Then I pictured an older man with his dog by his side in a mobile home pulling into my driveway to deliver me from the hellish life I was living. Wouldn’t you know three years ago I met him. He is a local captain with a great reputation for honesty, intelligence and had all the qualities I was looking for. He owns Gladiator II Offshore Adventures which means he takes people fishing and helps them catch fish either offshore or in the bay. You know the funny part? When we met, he did not live in a mobile home. That was the only part different from my dream image. He lived in a 5th wheel which is pretty darn close. Can you believe that? Is God wonderful or what? We got married six months ago on June 21st.

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My brother stood where my father would have been.

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God’s gift to me was willing to take on a child from another marriage and love her as his own.

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God allowed our paths to cross and we are perfect for each other. May God continue to bless our marriage and I hope all others searching for that special someone KNOW that God will provide the right person when it is time. Only in God’s time will it happen.

I am asking for special prayers of healing to be sent to the father of these beautiful twins who are my daughter’s best friends. They have just had their world devastated by a horrific accident in their family. Their father fell 30 feet and is paralyzed. We need prayers for healing for the whole family. I would be so lost, scared and devastated had that happened to us. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers this Christmas. The hole for their pool in their dream house was already dug and concrete poured.

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Today I am going to see how to set up a gift account at the bank to help them pay the electricity, water, and other bills. Their mom works at Walmart and there is no way that that meager paycheck can cover what needs to be covered. They don’t know what they are going to do. Losing the business is a given. If he can’t walk, there is no way he can do construction. He can’t even move from the chest down. His wife said they will lose the house and car so I want to help find some kind of Plan B since Plan A has been destroyed. I know you will find it in your heart to help these beautiful 13 year-old twins, their 15 year-old brother who has just been thrown into being the man of the house, and their devastated mother. This man was a healthy 41-year-old man yesterday and today is paralyzed. Please help.

I just got back from work. A lady walked into the office. She had no business with us – just walked in and gave me some pamphlets for her bank. Since the bank I had called to see how to set up an acct. never called me back, I told her somebody had gotten hurt and I needed to find out how to set up a gift account. She asked who got hurt and I told her. Her hand shook from the shock and she had to sit down, shaken. Turns out she has known them and the family for years. She said she would do what she could to help out. She said before she left, “I don’t know why I came in here. I didn’t know you were here. I just felt I needed to open that door and come in here.” I said, “I know why you came in here. Because you were EXACTLY what was needed and God works in mysterious ways.”

The information is “The William A. Plouffe Fund” and the acct. no is 2905004843. It is set up so nobody can take money out but you can deposit whatever you can to help this poor family out. The banker lady and I were just instruments needed to relieve the fear and terrible pain that family is feeling right now. The bank is Lone Star National Bank, 601 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, TX 78597. (956) 761-1130. Thank you so much for your angelic help and may you have a Merry Christmas. God bless you and yours.


The Christmas Surprise

December 11, 2008

Today when I came home from work there was a new tablecloth on the table.

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and an artsy little wooden centerpiece with scented pinecones in the center.

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 I couldn’t believe my manly-man husband had done this so I asked who had come by.  He said, “Santa.” There was a fancy new toaster on the corner of the table. Black and Decker of all things. (It probably uses hydraulics to push up the slices of toast.) The old toaster had just gone out this morning and I did not expect a replacement so soon (or a Black and Decker of all things.)

He said, “I got one of those things for the bottom of the tree like you wanted but it was the wrong size.” So I looked under the tree and to my amazement… there was a skirt but there were presents now!!!! Beautifully wrapped presents, too, for being wrapped by a man.

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and he had even set up the angel tree topper he bought. She is beautiful.

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It has really been a tough year and we are broker than ever but he is managing to come through with his best and I am so happy. My daughter has had her friends over for a few times so I guess she has gotten over the shame of us not being rich and not living in houses like this:

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We have provided the girls (my daughter and her friends) with great meals, good times and lots of fun and I think they are smart enough to know that is what really matters. They see me and the hubby hug and kiss so they know there is love in the house. We did not let our daughter go spend the night at their house tonight because it was a school night and they asked, “Why all the rules?” We explained without terrifying them with too many true horror stories why we have rules that our daughter must follow. We don’t let our daughter roam around the island for hours and hours without adult supervision. They were so angry (our daughter included) when we said our daughter could not go running around unsupervised for hours on the island ON BIKE WEEK!

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I just don’t think that is a good time for a bunch of 14 year old girls to be running around unsupervised. My opinion.

Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday and though I am not making even close to the money I used to make where I used to live, I am providing her with a stable home and a solid life. Life is not spinning out of control like it was when I lived with her dad.

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 He met and is engaged to someone with a lot of money so I may lose her when she starts wanting really nice things and my meager paycheck won’t cut it anymore. I know this. Until then I am just going to have to make the best out of the time I have with her.

I don’t know what the future has in store. The economy is scary. People are losing their jobs left and right. Companies are folding and laying off hundreds or thousands of workers. I just hope that the beautiful island that I know and love so well will make it through the slow season and thrive in the spring and summer.

All I know is that the life I have now is wonderful. All I have is today so I am doing my best with what I have. To close I am going to share a few pictures I took of the area so I can close on a beautiful note.

We took a boat trip out on the bay and this bird was on the roof of a house we passed on the way out.  

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 This bridge we have here is the longest in Texas. This is just a small fragment of it.

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The sky here is a beautiful blue, my favorite color.

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I can’t get over how such a manly man was able to put this together for me. I would expect someone like him to throw them in a plastic, white Tupperware bowl and put it on the table. Instead, he bought an artsy wooden rectangular tray. He continues to surprise me.

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Christmas Tree Decorating Party

December 6, 2008

Princess knew something was up when she heard a gaggle of giggles in the front room.

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You can’t have a Christmas Tree Decorating Party without popcorn.

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You gotta hook up the jams.

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The menu was very healthy and included: pizza, candy, chocolate cake, root beer floats, and sodas.

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These girls are the sweetest girls you could ever meet.

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Taking off the blue makes it shine in only silver now.

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We have a collection of ornaments that include family heirlooms.

 We don’t live in a fancy house or have fancy things but we have love and good friends and that is what life is all about.

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My awesome photography skills with my new camera make it look like the tree shoots lasers.

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Frikken lasers!

 This is Princess’ mom, Belle. Like I said there is lots of love in the house.

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Having a Best Friend

September 29, 2008

I have the best friend in the world. She is down-to-earth, smart, beautiful, kind and funny. We met many years ago through a mutual friend and discovered we lived on the same highway out in the picturesque outskirts of Brownsville, Texas . I had never had anyone willing to drive that far out to my house. I loved her energy. She used to show up at my house and try to get me to go swimming with her. She is the most beautiful and persuasive girl in the world. If I were a man, she’d own my soul. She has that way about her. One of her “victims” claimed he was under her “spell” he was so in love with her. So am I, in a normal sense. You just can’t know anyone that badass and not love them. She cooks in ways I don’t. She knows down-home REAL Mexican cooking, whereas mine has that “Americanized” twang. It’s kind of like the difference between a real flour tortilla and one bought off a shelf at HEB or going to a Mexican cafe downtown for Mexican food or going to a chain restaurant like that one in McAllen that used the cheddar cheese from a can. Never as bad as getting tamales out of a can, WTH is that? Who even came up with that?

I consider myself a smart, tough girl and she is the only girl I have met like me in that fashion.  She can hook up jumper cables to jump start a car and change the tire too. There are a few like that in the world but I am lucky to have this beautiful girl as MY best friend. She has done so much and stuck with me through thick and thin. I will not go into the “thin” part but she has stuck with me through the worst times of my life. There is very little we disagree on.

My friend has gone through an amazing transformation. Through sheer willpower and a little help she has gone from a very high weight to an almost normal weight. I have always had to work to get in shape. I just came from visiting her at her house and she looks gorgeous, absolutely beautiful. If only she knew how beautiful she looked. I always thought she was pretty, even at her greatest weight, but now that she has shed that unwanted baggage, she is stunningly beautiful. I am so proud of her for sticking to her diet and exercise regimen.

It feels so good to know that she will be there for life. I can easily picture us as friends when we are in our 70’s. We used to joke about it. How we would share a room in the old folks home and she would be enthralling men with her beauty and I’d be having keggers in the room and racing on wheelchairs. I still see it happening with her. She is just that cool. She is one of the reasons for my happiness now in life.

***New Note: October 3, 2008 My friend just got coldly dumped by her place of work. She had called them and they said the schedule wasn’t done. She called again. Still not done. Went in person and was told, “Oh, you’re not on the schedule.” She asked the manager what was going on. He said, “Oh, I had to let some people go. You’re one of them.” That was it. After FOUR YEARS of busting her ass as a waitress there, after being the only one to make sure other employees’ birthdays were remembered, after being the only one to organize and plan employee parties at Christmas and the like. She said none of that mattered. None of her kindness “meant anything.” I no longer have my best friend on the Island. After four years, nothing.


Violets can be Found on a Tropical Island

August 20, 2008

I have a beautiful friend named Violet, Violet is not her real name, I chose it because she is as pretty as a flower and her stage name, Diamond, is worn-out. I am just kidding about her stage name, though she is sexy. She has the most beautiful face, dark, shiny hair and badass personality you could ever want in a friend.  She can be trusted and that is hard to find. So man people have hurt my by spilling the secrets I entrused them with. There are things she told me that I will take to my grave and I know that she will keep things between us just as confidential.

I met her when she came to work where I worked. I quickly noted that she knew the business and I was worthy of maybe cleaning her feet. She has “managerial” in her so I knew the right position for her was the one that luck had put in my expansive lap. I fully disclosed to her that she would be the perfect one for the managerial position, and I was shifted over to where I would be more productive and effective. I became “Bathroom Technician”, no, I am just kidding. I became my boss’s personal assistant and it was a challenge just to answer calls from him. “The GREAT and POWERFUL OZ” has nothing on this guy. Everybody tries to duck when he is coming down the hall. The good thing is that this man’s booming voice carries and that usually gave me enough time to disappearat least two floors away. One time I told myself, “What am I always ducking and running for? I have done nothing wrong.” and I courageously stepped onto the elevator when I knew he was already in there. In the time it took to go from the third floor to the ground floor, I was convinced that not only was it my fault that the electricians were late, the grounds outside were garbage-strewn and embarrassing but the plants outside were withering due to the global warming I helped create. Damn the truth!

“Violet” was a constant source of knowledge for me; she never made fun of me for not even coming close to the knowledge she had, but was able to teach me in an caring manner. She did not make me feel that “dumbass” was my middle name. Her face was a spot of kindness among the constant disappointment and frustration I felt with myself everyday there. My boss constantly put me down and I would put myself down too, because obviously he was right, he was so much older and wiser. He made me feel like it was a miracle I even could walk from the car to the office without tripping over my clumsy inept feet ad knocking myself unconscious. Seriously, I felt like I should have a finish line set up some mornings to show him that I could make it from the parking lot to the office successfully. There were times when I was really miserable and I looked forward to going to see Violet. I loved hearing what Violet had done that weekend or the night before. She was the bright spot of hope in a dark and hopeless situation.

Violet is a free-spirit. She reminds me alot of myself before I came plunging back to earth at 1,5648 mph and crashed. She can handle living life to the fullest and being a professional. Not too many people can do that. Violet is hilarious; I have never felt so comfortable with another girl talking about just any subject that comes to mind, even if it is a bit risque. Violet gave me self-confidence when I had none. I was stuck in a position where I just accepted being treated like an idiot and she told me, “Why do you continue to put up with it?” I was acting like a woman in an abusive relationship the way I was putting up with the way my boss was treating me. I found out that once a man discovers that he can put you down, he will continue to do so over and over, continually gaining the upper hand while you sink lower and lower in self-confidence until you feel you have to stay there, no one else would want your inferior, incompetent ass and you need that person to survive. I will never forget when Violet told me, “No job is worth the way you have begun to feel about yourself.” If I ever needed to leave an abusive situation in the middle of the night by grabbing my belongings, slinging them into the back of a truck and yelling, “GO! GO! GO! Before the m********* wakes up!”, Violet would be my girl and THAT is a true friend.

They say a friend is someone who helps you move,  but a REAL friend is someone who helps you move the body. That is Violet, my awesome true-blue friend. She is pretty, she is fun, she is confident and that is what makes her beautiful. This is another diamond in my circle of friends. Diamond does fit her because that was she is, a truly rare gem.


A Rose By Any Other Name Would Not Smell As Sweet

August 20, 2008

The most beautiful women are right here, right around me in my circle of friends. I have been so blessed to meet and keep actual diamonds where other people don’t have anything even close to the women I know.

My best friend I will call Daisy, no Rose, because she is just that. A rose is beautiful, outstandingly beautiful but sharp if you don’t treat it right. Rose will not put up with crap, doesn’t have time or is not stupid enough to. You know how some women are smart enough to know better than to waste their time listening to other people’s BS? Younger women idiotically listen to the crap people spew whether it be from a man, a repairman, a clerk, or some other idiot explaining why it has taken 4 days to do what could have been done in 2 hours. Rose is smart, beautiful, and experienced enough to live life because she knows that is what life is all about. Eliminating the crap and enjoying the good. She has a very good life. She is beautiful, funny and smart and her family and friends reflect that. She is proud of her family and rightfully so. She has come so far, from almost losing everything to having more than most people could ever dream of having. She has been my strength in times of weakness, my knowledge when I needed to learn, my comfort when I needed it, and my savior at times.

Rose is incredibly beautiful. On the inside, she is the most caring and generous person you could ever meet. Not one birthday has gone by where I don’t expect to hear from her or get a cake from her. At my age, birthdays have been narrowed down to a call from my brother and sister congratulating me for surviving another year, and my immediate family taking me out to dinner. So yeah, when your little circle is down to 5 people, way down from the near hundred you experienced as a child or when you were really doing well, that birthday friend means alot. Rose isn’t a steadfast friend only when it is an important calendar day; she is there when it is just another sunny day. She’ll come over and we’d pick chiles off my plant, or dive into a great snack or just talk about all kinds of stuff. She is so sweet, funny and pretty, I could just talk to her for hours and hours. I recently spent the night at her house and we ended up having a great time just doing jigsaw puzzles, snacking ALL night long, and spending good quality time together, the kind we should have been spending many many years ago instead of frittering time away.

On the outside, Rose is beautiful. Sometimes I will catch a glimpse of her and say to myself, “Wow, she is really beautiful.” She said she has Greek in her. Her mom was a stunner as well. I am not the only one who thinks she is spectacular; she won a beauty pageant once. The only thing I ever won was a drawing for some free gas, and that was fixed. (I stuffed the box myself.)

I look up to her like a big sister. She could sit Rachel Ray and any of those other women down and teach them a thing or two about how to put an incredible meal together whether it is for two or twenty-two. She can cook, clean, sew, be artistic, be a healer, be a friend, be a confidant, be a guide, be so many things all wrapped up into one. With beauty, too. Amazing isn’t it? She is. I thank God that I am blessed with diamonds like her in my life. During times of darkness in my life brilliant rays of light shine through. They are coming from the diamonds, diamonds which are my friends.