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.

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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.


Wedding Pics

November 22, 2008

Today is our five-month wedding anniversary. We got married on a shoestring budget but had a gorgeous wedding anyway.

This is my brother walking me down the aisle. Aisle, what? You ask. Aisle give you away… gladly.

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We got married at Christ Harbor Church, the best church I have ever been to… and I have searched for a good church for a long time.

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My handsome husband is wonderful.

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Don’t complain about his boots. One lady complained about his choice of footwear. He loves his boots and I don’t care about fitting into what other people think. My priority was fitting into that dress.

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God provided me with a perfect match on an intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and many other levels. I have to differ with people who say there is no God because He sent me an angel.


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.


For Christmas: 10 Surefire Ways to Make Yourself Happy Again Without Using Drugs or Alcohol

August 18, 2008

Okay it is December 11, 2008 now, my daughter’s birthday, and I just got paid. I am making waay less than what I used to make in my other job in another city and in another marriage, but it was a hellish life. I have traded being miserable but with a lot of money for being truly loved and having what I need and most of what I want. I watched the news this morning and it put me in a very bad mood: foreclosures, unemployment is at an all-time high, Obama going back on his campaign promises already, people who have gotten bail-outs took the money and went on a luxurious jaunt at an exclusive resort,etc. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and you are right in the middle of it is what the newscast is telling me. Today should be a great day of celebration for my family because we have a baby girl who is turning 15 today and yet here I am thinking about how screwed we are as a country  so I got to work, pissed off, dissatisfied, depressed and wishing I could be at the beach when I ran across this post I wrote in August. It made me feel better immediately. I hope it does the same to you in this stressful time: 

 If your first thought upon waking up is, “Oh yeah, I’m in this life,” do not despair. Here are ten ways to make yourself happy again.

1) Be grateful that you woke up. Think of your friends or relatives who have passed on and be grateful that you still have life and that they are around you in their spirit form, helping and guiding you at all times in spite of yourself. Be grateful that you have been given the day to choose whether you are going to be happy and have a positive outlook on life or be miserable, bitter and bring down other people’s lives.

2) If you are unhappy because of your employment situation, start looking for something else when you have time. Send out resumes, make phone calls, spread the word, scour the classifieds, look on the Internet, hand out flyers, and ask friends if they need extra work done around their houses. There is no shame in actively trying to better your situation.  Get cheap business cards made out and network, go to functions and events. Nothing will come to you if you are enclosed in the walls of your home. If you can’t leave your home, find out what is a legitimate job online and go for it. Write, paint, sew, plant, find something you can do to sell and you may find out that it can lead to many doors opening in the future.

3. If you are unhappy because of your domestic situation, save up money and move out. Don’t put it off because all we have is time. Time is life and the more time you squander the less life you will have to live. You don’t know what God has in store for you in your new life but he is not going to have an armored car drop a bag of bank money in front of your house. You need to actively move to a friend’s or a shelter or somewhere where you can stay until you get your own place. Your independence may be the happiness you have been needing this whole time.

4. If you are unhappy because of your romantic situation. Snap out of it. If you have a good partner, be grateful and then make moments special. Get back into the habit of letting that person know why you chose them and why you feel lucky to be the one who gets to be with them. Making them coffee and bringing them the cup while they are in bed in the morning is a nice touch and isn’t as expensive as roses. Romance does not have to be expensive. Look around and see how many people are miserable in the relationships they are in or in their loneliness and try to make yours work. Focus on how you would want to feel if you were in your partner’s shoes and take that extra step to show caring. That is what it is all about. What you put into it should result in a revitalization of an awesome partnership that results in feelings of self-worth, pride, security, love and better health for the both of you. If you are in a bad relationship, leave. Quit wasting your time and energy on something that is not beneficial, or pleasurable or sensible. Life is too short to waste. It takes guts to start over but you will be a better person for having the courage to take the needed steps to make a new life and create new happiness elsewhere. Don’t believe the cliche, “There are no good men/women out there,” because it is a complete lie. Amazing intriguing men and women are right here in your neighborhood possibly waiting for someone exactly like you. Realize how incredibly special and beautiful you are and quit selling yourself short. Get out there and do something about your situation!

5. If you are unhappy with your physical condition, take charge of what goes into your mouth and how much you move. It is simple; if you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight. Eat more fruits and vegetables than bad foods and get out there and exercise but be persistent and you will lose weight. I walked for at least 45 minutes (doctor-recommended time) every night for a year and lost 40 pounds just from walking. Of course, I cut out sweets, cokes, and all the bad stuff and it worked. Just stick to it; that is the hard part but the payoff is so worth it. You will be so happy to fit into normal clothes, find nice outfits to wear and take pride in your figure. It can really happen as it is a physical law. Output more than intake and you will lose weight. Guaranteed. You just have to move.

6. If you are unhappy because you cannot forgive yourself for what you have done in the past, whether it was to another person or yourself, you have to move on and get past it. It will be a struggle but you have to take your thoughts and purposely focus on the positive instead of negative, deprecating thoughts. It is the only way you will move on and succeed. It is a great struggle, one that you will battle everyday, but there is nothing you can do but accept what happened and work to deal with it on all levels.

7. If you are unhappy because you are addicted to a substance, get away from it. Dry out. Find other ways to find pleasure or pass the time. Find healthy outlets for yourself. You may have to change where you live and who your friends are but if you are seriously needing a life change, that is what it takes. Your health, both physical and mental depend on dealing with life without drugs and alcohol, or too much of anything. Practice healthy living and improving yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

8. If you are unhappy because you have lost someone whether it is to death or to another situation, be grateful for the time you were able to spend with them. Forgive yourself for anything bad that you may have said or done to them for they have done it already. Whenever you get bad thoughts associated with your memories of that person, purposely change them to positive ones so that you can help yourself heal from that loss. On the other hand, if you are missing someone who was a bad influence on your life, it is better to remember the bad so that you do not remember only the good and start wearing rose-colored glasses. There are times when remembering the bad moments in a relationship is useful, especially when it is protecting you from a return to a hellish situation. Remember that the hope of the unknown is exciting because you don’t know all the good that may be in store for you. If you return to a bad situation you are deliberately eliminating the chances for any new good opportunities that that new course in life may offer..

9. If you are unhappy because of your spiritual situation, get back to your core beliefs and find out what you believe in and what you need to make you spiritually fulfilled. Find a way to worship that makes you comfortable and find a core set of beliefs that make you comfortable. Your soul, your direction and your life are yours alone and you are not to follow another’s beliefs because they are more powerful than you are. You are in charge of your soul and your spirit and therefore responsible for what you believe in. Practice your faith on a daily basis. Do what you know is right and your soul will be able to live with itself.

10. Stand on one leg and hop around then be happy you have two. Put one arm behind your back, try to do something, then be glad you have it back. Close one eye, then open the other one and be glad. If you have food, be glad. If you have a bed to sleep in at night, be glad. If you have luxuries like A/C, cable, Internet and possesions, be glad. Look around when you are out and about and know that as unhappy as you think you may be with your life, it is still a hell of alot better than most people’s.

 

In this trying time when people are feeling pressure to buy gifts and decorate their houses and run up their light bills while getting their hours cut and losing their jobs entirely, let us all learn to be happy with what we have. I pray I am able to be grateful for all that I have instead of longing for what I don’t. I pray that I don’t turn to any kind of method to make myself feel better that involves opening a bottle of pills or booze or anything else. I pray that I may continue to be the parent and spouse I should be instead of what I can become when I use that crap.  I believe the key word here is pray – pray that we all make it and when we get overwhelmed, step out of the picture, get away for awhile and know somehow, everything is going to be okay.

I know my readership has grown immensely and I want to share that should anyone need a place to turn during these horribly stressful times, and you need someone to talk to and understand, email me at padreprincess23@gmail.com I have been through hell myself and want you to know I will be available to talk to. Use a pseudonym if you want. I do not need to know who anyone is. I do not care. All I care about is that we make it through these times. Email me if you just want to rant and get stuff off your chest because you have no one else who will listen. I will. I promise.


Finding Happiness

August 17, 2008

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit
of happiness; it is generally the by-product of
other activities. Aldous Huxley

When I begin to feel downcast, I must immediately turn my thoughts to other positive pursuits or chains of thought or get dragged down into the depths where Satan wants me. For example, one day I told my daughter that she was not going to have the same childhood I was; I used to think it was cool to not be involved in anything at high school. I did what was necessary to pass but did not really put in the effort in excelling so I decided that I was going to make sure that my daughter was going to have a productive and rewarding youth. I called the SPI Chamber of Commerce and got in touch with the people who were in charge of the children’s activities center at the Christmas parade. Even though I was told that there were five other parties who were going to be doing face painting I still asked if I could come which was a good thing because when the day came, none of the others showed up. My daughter and I were suddenly the star attractions. You should have seen the line. The line of kids waiting to see me was 30 deep and my daughter’s line was just as long. Those poor little kiddies waited so long that I couldn’t bear to even take a 1 minute break because I did not want to risk making any one of those precious babies disappointed. They were watching us work with huge fascinated eyes and would bunch around while we worked. They came up with neat designs themselves, for example, I had a dolphin as one of the designs they could select. A cute little girl asked, “Can you put a Santa hat on him?” I said, “Good idea!” and it began. Next a boy wanted a spider, that was not on the list of cute Christmas-themed designs I had displayed. Luckily, I am a spider-making expert and I drew an awesome spider on his hand, and to save me from getting in trouble with his mom, I added a Santa hat for good measure. I am sure he wanted a spider for the shock effect but that cute red and white Santa hat turned that terrible tarantula into an adorable arachnid.

So we realized we were good, really good, as a team and as painters. I chalked this experience to one on the “Good Mom” list and put up the paints in a place where I would remember for next Christmas at Schlitterbahn.

5 months later on a warm spring day, my boyfriend, Terry was driving me to Brownsville for a good ol’ dose of downtown treasure hunting when the phone rang. It was a man asking if he could meet with me that afternoon because he liked my resume. “Thank you, God!” I said then we went on to Brownsville to get the items we needed. Of course, I was gathering things we did not need and trying to convince Terry how much we did need them when I saw a beautiful set of paintbrushes at a ridiculously downtown Chinese Brownsville price. I figured, “Oh well, as long as I remember where I put them, I could use them for next Xmas.” We got back in our trusty little car and headed back for paradise island and my phone rang as we went down Hwy. 48. The caller asked if I was the one who did the face painting at Christmastime. She said we did a great job and wanted to know if we would be willing to be sponsored. Apparently the good people at the Texas Surfrider Foundation in South Padre wanted to know if we could help their booth be the best and we could and did. They were the nicest folks! One thing I love about South Padre is that people are genuinely kind and caring. All day long we did nothing but have a good time out there in front of Louie’s. There was a general excitement in the air as there were pirates everywhere. (It was South Padre Island’s 35th birthday and they had quite a bash!) Pirates and scalawags were everywhere! Everybody was decked out in their pirating best. We put in a good long day for the kids’ sake and headed home, tired but it was a good tired.

It turns out that the by-product of my conversation with my daughter about how she was going to have a more constructive and productive adolescence than I, was a new adventure. Turns out that with practice and tips from the pros and some investments into professional equipment, we are now  doing birthday parties, church youth group activities and are going to bring smiles to children’s and parents’ faces at the awesome South Padre Island International Music Festival over the Halloween weekend this year. It feels good to have a talent that brings joy to many others and I only discovered this hidden talent when I was searching for a way for good to take the place of bad, or blah, in my daughter’s life.

A dating friend of mine is having trouble finding the right man. I tell her, “You will find him when you are not looking for him. Be involved in other things and you will meet him somewhere somehow. It will happen.” For happiness is not found in the pursuit of it, but is the by-product of other activities. It is kind of like when God shuts a door, he opens five windows, never just one as other people say. Don’t believe God opens just one window. When He shuts a door, it is usually because it would lead to somewhere dangerous or ugly so He shuts a door but opens all the windows in the room.


Beginning Anew

August 17, 2008

If you think about it, you start life anew every morning. It is a lifesaver really, that light. All the doubts and fears plaguing you and tormenting you in the darkness are wiped away by day’s light. Thank God for that. One of my favorite adages is “There must be rain in order for there to be a rainbow.” Lord knows, I have been through some thunderstorms, but all in all, they occur so that we can appreciate the light after the darkness. Sometimes, when I am feeling discouraged, I remember that ‘for everything, there is a reason’ and if the bad times I went through were so that I could have good times again, times of real and true happiness, well, then it was all worth it wasn’t it? The laughter of my child, the smile I bring to someone’s face, the alleviation of another’s pain, the hope I am able to bring another person… that is what it is all about. I hope that you can learn to look at the hard times in your life like that. It is fruitless to ask, “Why?” because the only meaning that really matters is the one that has meaning for you, one that will profoundly affect your life. Obviously, people are going to say, “Well, you kept on making the same mistakes over and over so obviously you weren’t learning anything.” I wasn’t. I had to get pulled out of my situation and be put in a position where I could look at my life objectively. People who are stuck in horrible situations cannot see the way out. They are like a tire stuck in the sand here on beautiful South Padre Island. The tire spins round and round and round never making any headway or breaking any new ground. Something or somebody, namely God or your Higher Power, has to be able to break through the denial and the hardheadedness and the course, impenetrable layer of junk that has been holding you down. It feels wonderful to get pulled out, doesn’t it? I have seen people jump up and down and yell, “Alright!” when their vehicles have been pulled out of the sand they were stuck in. I was pulled out and this is the place where I am going to pull others out of the rut they may be in. There is nothing like being pulled out of the seeming quicksand and put back on your path so that you may continue on your journey. This blog is going to be a place where people can be pulled out of the sand or help pull others out of the sand. What a beautiful place, our paradise.