Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Can't Fake The Funk

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of reflective gratitude but in my realm it marks the beginning of a suffocating funk. The sensation is similar to the aura that precedes a migraine. You know a horrendous headache is imminent and you’re done for.

Every year, I attempt to outsmart this funk by building an arsenal of positive thoughts and flinging it in its face before it overpowers me. I make plans to serve the homeless, spend every waking moment with my 3 kids and grandchild for the entire holiday weekend, and look outward instead of inward to ward off my annual funk. Alas, my good intentions fail every year and I succumb to my funk in sweet surrender.

This year, I was looking forward to my daughter’s arrival on the Amtrak from San Diego. I feverishly worked on my projects to make the time pass quickly in my cubicle. When I received her phone call late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving eve, I knew a domino effect of unfortunate events would occur. Her train was delayed and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 10:30 p.m. which meant our family dinner was canceled. My only desire for Thanksgiving is for my 3 kids, grandchild, and I to spend valuable time together before the holiday chaos interferes. I fought to maintain my positive thoughts until I called her at 10:15 p.m. and learned her train had been sitting on the tracks between San Diego and San Clemente. A brilliant individual placed a shopping cart on the tracks and the train my daughter was on sustained damage when it ran over the cart. My daughter didn’t get to the Fullerton train station until after midnight. I mentally checked off our early morning plans to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and knew I’d be checking more off as the weekend unfolded.

Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and beautiful despite the fact that my entire household was ill with the flu. UGH! No one wanted to take family pictures with me and our Thanksgiving was spent sprawled out on the sofa in various poses of lethargy and sickness. Then it was time for my kids and grandchild to visit their fathers and extended family. Before I knew it, I was dropping my daughter off at the Amtrak station on Sunday night, kissing her goodbye. How I wish I could have thrown a temper tantrum for not having enough time to do the things I planned with my family.

Once again the funk won and lingered with a vengeance. Today, I was powerless and succumbed to the heavy mantle of blackness that’s so familiar to me. I was nibbling on a nasty recipe of the woe-is-me’s and couldn’t throw it up no matter what I did. I was in my car during my lunch break pouting and sulking when I overheard a woman on the phone telling the caller that she had a 25% chance of getting laid off. (Gulp) Within five minutes I received a text from a sick friend who missed work for 2 days. Earlier, my friend asked me to pray for a couple whose 20-month-old son was undergoing bone marrow testing for cancer. This couple beat the odds of infertility and became pregnant after in vitro procedures. A few hours later, I discovered that a friend of a friend was injured in a cycling accident caused by a hit-and-run vehicle.

As if I wasn‘t entirely convinced of my foolishness for allowing the funk to get the best of me, I picked up my book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and began to read. Francis spoke of our lukewarm faith and asked if we constantly declare that we’re "broke" or "poor". Hello! HI! My name is Nannette and I am both. I continued to read and Francis’s words slapped me awake. “Simply by purchasing this book, you spent what a majority of people in the world will make in a week’s time.” Oh, ouch! Sheepishly, I realized I was missing the point of the holidays...again!It’s not about what didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t happen but the wonderful things that DID.

  • Spending a few hours with my kids/grandchild before they went off to their dad’s. So what if it was only a few hours.

  • Watching my kids eat the meal my mom prepared for our family Thanksgiving dinner because my appetite was non-existent. So what if we weren’t able to feed the homeless.

  • Eating dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory with my kids/grandchild and Ray. So what if it wasn’t on the night that I had planned.

  • Taking my daughter, Maricelle, to church and having her like it a lot. She’s usually averse to the idea of „church“. So what if my son and grandbaby were too sick to accompany us.

  • Getting to lounge on the sofa w/my kids. So what if one was so sick she had snot coming out of her nose, the other was bawling because she didn’t want to leave home, and another was fighting w/his sisters.

And just like that I gave my annual funk the universal obscene gesture and demanded it to leave! I’m not proud of my weakness in surrendering to my funk but I AM deeply grateful for the lessons I learn from it. Hopefully, I’ll remember them next year.

Monday, November 9, 2009


There are days I sit in my cubicle dreaming of a land far, far away. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and very grateful to be there, but sometimes my restless spirit rears its annoying head vying for my attention. Immersed in projects I caught my cross-eyed reflection in the little mirror above my monitor and my thoughts were tugged along with my heartstrings.
"What’s going on in the world outside of my cubicle? Specifically, what’s happening in the Philippines with the flood victims and my friends at My Refuge House? What is Russ (clinical director at My Refuge House) seeing and doing with the girls? Are they happy? Content? Depressed? How much progress have the girls made? What does the facility look like with all the creative flair added to it? Do they even remember me? I want to visit the Philippines again next year, would it be possible? I feel so useless within the confines of my cubicle, so detached from my reality."

As if my thoughts were broadcasted on national television, my iPhone email alert interrupted my reverie, and all the questions I asked myself were almost answered.

The email I received consisted of updates on My Refuge House and in an instant I was transported to a land far away where I left pieces of my heart in the hands of six girls. I was ecstatic to learn that we acquired 9 young women and girls in the facility! Young women and girls rescued from the sex trade/slavery who now have a chance at a brighter future. How I wish I could meet them!

I continued to read about the success of the fundraising banquet organized by the tireless efforts of the northern California volunteers. They succeeded in raising enough money to sustain My Refuge House for the first quarter of 2010. With admiration and awe I silently sent a prayer of gratitude for the passionate souls who makes MRH a beacon of hope to the young rescued girls. In that moment my restless spirit subsided, my vision cleared, and the daydreaming ceased. I fear the suffocating stench of self-absorption but the email served more than its purpose by handing me a glimpse of the world beyond my cubicle.

(Photos courtesy of Russ B.)
An unwanted visitor at My Refuge House. I was horrified to see this photo as I strolled the grounds of MRH many times during my visit, not realizing creatures of this magnitude were close by. UGH!!! The snake was beaten on the head, killed by the security guard, and then eaten for dinner by the groundskeeper.

One of the prayer rooms the girls have access to. The transformation of this room is astounding! I envy the girls for having a place like this for solitude.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


If anyone told me when I was a clumsy, gangly, asthmatic fifth-grader that I would be running half-marathons with glee, I would have knocked the fool down! I hated running! Loathed, detested, and abhorred running! How insanely jealous I was of my friends who used the mentrual card to avoid the dreaded activity in P.E. I was a late bloomer so that wasn’t an option. I deviously sucked on my inhalers to show my P.E. teachers how fragile my poor lungs were but drama was also one of my weaknesses.

I carried that loathing for running into adulthood along with my asthma. Even though the movie, Forrest Gump, became one of my favorites, I experienced a mild asthma attack watching his masochistic running. Poor Forrest, I thought, running for no reason and getting janky in the process.

Then one lonely day a switch flipped in my little brain. I needed to challenge my mind and body, see how far I could push it. In 2003, I entered my first 5K and trained on my own by reading Galloway’s Book On Running (2nd edition). I ran that race with my oldest daughter and thought I was going to die. But I didn’t. Crossing the finish line was the best adrenaline rush I ever experienced, surpassing any drug-induced high I’ve inflicted myself. My passion for running turned into a full-fledged addiction. Running revealed my body’s potential to soar and my mind’s ability to stave off insanity and depression. A few years passed without entering races until last year when my loneliness and despair threatened to catapult me onto a self-destructive path. I finally understood Forrest Gump’s resolve to run for no particular reason.

I reviewed my bucket list not too long ago and laughed at one of the items I needed to accomplish. Number 3 out of 10 was run a half-marathon. This year, I ran 2 half-marathons and a 10K.
October's Nike Women’s half-marathon in San Francisco was THE best! The view, the city, and the loves of my life that were waiting for me at the finish line were my propellers. Secretly, I was afraid this race was going to drive me to my grave but my fear didn’t deter me. I fell seriously ill two weeks before the race that entailed massive blood loss. My training came to an abrupt halt as I willed my body to heal. My well-intentioned friends and family warned me not to run but I guess they forgot that stubbornness ran deep in the Ricaforte veins. I might as well have stuck my fingers in my ears and chanted la-la-la-la-la! I was going to finish that race and nothing and no one was going to stop me. Stupid of me? Of course. But life is too short and I’d rather die doing something I’m passionate about than dying a slow death playing it safe.

Nike Women's Half-Marathon San Francisco 10.18.09
Mile 6:
I can do this!
I crossed the finish line in one piece!
The loves of my life waiting for me
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Nike Human Race 10K 10.23.09 Midnight!
We did it!
 This is my 2nd Human Race and it's like a party in the streets. I'm so grateful to have friends just as

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Clinical Director position for My Refuge House

A good friend recently reminded me of my old nickname, "the energizer bunny", because I just keep on going and going and going. Apparently, I'm the cause of her fatigue as she sits back and watches my frenetic antics. This also led to my friend asking me why I put so much time and effort toward My Refuge House when I wasn't getting paid. Ah, always the proverbial question! Instead of defending myself I recounted Bob Marley's story when he decided to perform at a concert two days after he was injured in a shooting incited by political groups. When Marley was asked why, he responded, "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?" Let me repeat that: the people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I? And that, my dear friend, is the fuel that drives my passion to tirelessly work for My Refuge House without pay.

Today I don the hat of messenger for My Refuge House as we search for a qualified individual that will fill the shoes of the new Clinical Director. I ask that you help spread the word and pray that the right person will be revealed to us.


My Refuge House is currently seeking qualified candidates for Clinical Director of its shelter facility in
Cebu City, Philippines. The primary duty of the Clinical Director is to develop, expand and oversee an
effective aftercare program for women and children rescued out from commercial sexual
exploitation/trafficking. This is a full-time position with a minimum of one-year commitment with a
possibility of an extension. The Clinical Director will report directly to the Board of Directors of My
Refuge House based in the US and will receive technical support and guidance both locally and abroad.
Please inquire by submitting an application letter, an updated resume, and statement of Christian Faith* to
info@myrefugehouse.org. Prospective applicants will be contacted for an interview.

  • Graduate degree in psychology/social work-related field, and licensed or on track for licensing in your particular field.
  • Minimum 3-5 years experience in the work with victims of trauma, preferably victims of rape, sexual abuse/exploitation and/or prostitution; demonstrated experience with case management; strong clinical skills for trauma and crisis management.
  • Strong evidence of a mature Christian faith and experience serving as a spiritual leader and mentor; demonstrated commitment/involvement with a local church body; strong theological understanding of seeing the gospel in a holistic manner, commitment to personal growth and one’s own healing/self-care as key to working responsibly and effectively with others
  • Ability to develop a genuine passion for MRH, its mission and its values.
  • Excellent writing, communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills; ability to take initiative and multi-task as necessary.
  • Demonstrated experiences and competence working in a cross-cultural environment. Christian
  • Missions experience a plus
  • Word-processing and database skills (ie. Excel, MS Word, etc).
  • Ability to balance autonomy, accountability, and collaboration with shelter facility Administrator and My Refuge House Board of Directors.
  • What is a Statement of Christian faith?
  • A statement of faith should describe your Christian faith. The statement can either be incorporated into cover letter or submitted as a separate document and should include, at a minimum, a description of your spiritual disciplines (prayer, study, etc) and your current fellowship or place of worship.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Mission, The Girls (Part 2)

What you see at the entrance of
My Refuge House
I left for the Philippines lugging extra baggage crammed full of emotions ranging from euphoria to apprehension, ineptness to gratefulness, and fear to sadness. My great adventure had begun but I left behind an unresolved situation at home that made me question my reasons for going on this trip. I was supposed to work with young female victims of sexual abuse and slavery but what about the young female I left at home?

My twenty-year-old daughter and I fought before I left for my trip. It wasn’t just a battle of words but a full-on brawl, fisticuffs and all. True to form I allowed pride to harden my heart and didn’t apologize; nor, did I speak to or bid her farewell before I left on my trip. No, it wasn’t one of my proudest moments and I sat on the 747 and questioned myself. Who do I think I am trying to help young, sexually exploited and abused girls when I don’t possess the humility to apologize to my own daughter? What makes me think I have the authority to give these broken girls advice when I contributed to the brokenness of my own child? In retrospect, I could have handled our altercation differently before it gained momentum and lost control. I prayed that God would forgive me for my weakness and pride. I asked for another chance at reconciliation. When I landed in Manila, I forced myself to focus on the reason for my trip in the Philippines and hoped I would have the chance to make amends when I returned home.

On April 23, 2009, our first day at My Refuge House, we were welcomed with open arms and bright smiles by the staff and six female residents. As soon as I saw the young girls seated around the table I felt my ineptness like a heavy cloak on that very hot and humid day. I felt like a total fraud and tentatively smiled at them but kept my distance and hid behind my camera. One or two girls tried to engage me in a game of badminton but I was struggling with my own demons and declined. That night, our team gathered for devotionals and Psalm 10:17-18 assuaged my inner turmoil:

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

Despite the cross I had to bear, I knew that I had to fulfill my purpose in the Philippines and swallow the colloquialism I spout to my kids, “You made your bed, now lie in it.”

The rest of my visits at My Refuge House fared better. We learned each girl’s story that proceeded to break our hearts. I was smitten by Girl A’s joie de vivre. She was an affectionate sixteen-year-old that was sent to work by her parents when she was ten-years-old. Unbeknownst to them, her employers locked her in a cage with a dog and only released her to fulfill her duties. She ate, slept, urinated, and defecated in the same cage with the dog and remained in this state for six years until a neighbor found her this past February. I finally understood why Girl A kept to herself during group activities.

Girl AB was another sixteen-year-old who stole my heart from the beginning. She voluntarily worked at a gentleman’s club to help care for her mother and six siblings. A family member almost raped her when she was ten-years-old that ultimately caused her father’s death by depression and alcohol. Girl AB’s family poured the guild trip so thick that she felt compelled to make money and sustain her family. I fell in love with AB’s bubbly and outgoing nature. AB aspires to be a nurse in order to continue providing for her family.

Girl AP was more reserved and I related to her aloofness. I sensed that she was skeptical about our intentions and wasn’t as open as the others. AP was also a sex worker and is a mother of two young children, which explained why she seemed older than her sixteen years. AP shocked me (and that’s hard to do) when she told us about her thirty-four-year-old Japanese boyfriend when she was only fourteen-years-old. I discovered that many of these young girls refer to their clients as “boyfriends.” She showed us an album filled with pictures of her strung out on drugs, induced by the brothel’s mamasan and I could barely contain my anger at the corruption and perversion of these people.

The remaining three girls were shy, but endearing nonetheless. M was a sixteen-year-old sex worker who serviced clients for one week before she was rescued from a brothel and placed in My Refuge House. Sixteen-year-old J and thirteen-year-old SJ were victims of rape by family members. On the surface the girls appeared to be normal, giddy teenagers and the depth of their emotional damage undetectable. It wasn’t until they drew their pictures or spoke intimately to us that we were privy to their trauma. For example, Girl A drew a picture of her locked in a cage with a dog symbolizing a time when she felt the most fear.

I was grateful to see that these girls were nurtured, counseled, and cared for at My Refuge House. Each day, the girls undergo a structured, educational program equipping them with a proper sense of self-worth. But what impacted me the most was their spiritual growth. Despite their life circumstances their childlike faith in Jesus sustained their hope to dream and persevere. When I finally recounted my life testimony and divulged the fight with my daughter to them, they were so concerned that they prayed for me. ME! I went there to help them but they were instrumental in my own healing. The girls taught me the importance of my role as a mother. I learned that despite my shortcomings I must be accountable to my daughter and grant her forgiveness. Through my vulnerability my children will be taught humility.

I promised the six girls at My Refuge House that I would pray for them daily and tell their stories when I’m back in the States. They were afraid they would be forgotten even as I assured them otherwise. Before my bittersweet farewell to the Philippines, I dumped the extra baggage I lugged with me. Today, I carry a lighter load filled with the hearts of six girls and the valuable lessons they taught me. 
The back of the house. The heat was so bad
I thought I was going to pass out. 

For their safety we're not allowed to show the
girls' faces. 

They taught us this game. 

The girls loved performing for us. 

Can you spot the cow? 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Mission: Introduction (Part 1)

Abby, Orange, Myself and Jessica at our bed & breakfast
in Cebu

still remember the phone call I received from Jessica almost two years ago after she read the book, Terrify No More, by Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission (IJM). Her breath came in short, staccato bursts punctuated with excitement she could barely contain. Jess introduced me to IJM’s tireless efforts in the rescue of victims caught in the insidious web of the sex trade, child labor, slavery, and abuse. Gary Haugen expressed the need for well-equipped aftercare facilities that the girls could be placed in. Jess shared her burgeoning vision of building an aftercare facility for the rescued girls, a place and a refuge for healing and restoration. I provided words of encouragement and decided to be a sideline cheerleader not wanting to get involved as I felt my plate was full. For a while I was content with being Jessica’s cheerleader and prayer warrior until that fateful night I attended My Refuge House’s first annual banquet.

It was on the night of April 24, 2008 that the purpose and calling on my life crystallized into something more concrete. The tugging on my heartstrings turned into an undeniable wrenching and I surrendered my time, money, and existence to a cause that shattered my heart in a million pieces. I was reminded of a devotional I read in Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, “If through a broken heart, God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.” (November 1). I have not stopped thanking Him.

It was never in my plans, let alone dreams, to travel to the Philippines to help abused and exploited girls. Without a doubt I envisioned myself in Uganda, helping orphaned children in the Otino-Waa Children’s Village. I was so sure that it was God’s plan for me but I soon realized HE wanted to use me in other ways. Surrendering my plans and dreams to His will was difficult for a controlling person such as myself. My need for control always provided a safe harbor unlike the enigmatic terrain ahead of me. Yet, on April 21, 2009, almost one year after My Refuge House’s first annual banquet, I found myself flying on a huge plane with Jessica, Abby, and Orange, heading toward the motherland.

Returning to the motherland was akin to meeting a biological parent I never knew existed. It was the land that birthed me but I felt no kinship toward it. The Philippines contained my purpose, to be the voice to the voiceless, but it also provided healing on the damaged fragments of my soul. The reason for our mission trip was to give the six girls residing in My Refuge House daily activities with creative bible study, while Jessica and I managed the administrative portion of the facility. We hit the ground running as soon as our feet touched Philippine soil, visiting the facility, working with the girls, conducting staff development meetings, drafting policies/procedures and job descriptions, meeting with social workers, pastors, and board members. I was blasted with sensory and information overload trying my best to absorb everything and committing it to memory. I wanted to document and capture the culture and people while learning about the sorrowful plight of sexually exploited and abused girls.

My inquisitive nature was on overdrive and sleep was an incredible nuisance. I was chomping at the bit and rabidly desired to walk the streets and talk to the people who I considered to be the heartbeat of the city. We met the most intriguing people who have dedicated and devoted their lives to fight for a worthy cause. A cause that sometimes seems hopeless in the face of suffering and affliction, darkness and tragedy. But the passion and zeal that drive these amazing people to rescue the victims from their sorry state fuel my own fervor and banish my despair.

During one of our many harrowing taxi rides, Jessica, Abby, Orange, and I marveled at how quickly our lives intertwined once we surrendered OUR plans to God instead of holding tightly to our own. It lent an unusual excitement to our adventure and helped us expect the unexpected on a road that was littered with desecrated souls.

One of the many street kids pounding on our taxi windows begging
for money.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eye Has Seen

The month of March usually heralds the approach of my impending birthday but this year I was able to practice my shutter-clicking skills to my heart's delight. Yes, I haven’t ditched my dream of being a pro photographer when I grow up and I’m determined to see it come to fruition.
I am a firm believer that life is fleeting and encapsulating those moments is the passion behind my photography. I strive to convey what my eye has seen hoping to invoke confidence and pleasure in my subjects.

One of my “bffs”, Jillie, asked me to photograph her with Sammy, a Labrador mix dying of cancer. Jill has devoted her life to the rescue and training of dogs. It is due to Jill’s crazy love for dogs that finally helped me overcome my fear of canines over eleven years ago. Prior to Jill, I cried and screamed in terror at the sight of a Chihuahua. (I wish I were joking.)
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My next photo opportunity was Jaeboy and his exceptional talent with light and fire sticks. When my close friend, Juli, asked me to photograph her son I was excited and apprehensive because I’ve never shot picture
s in the dark or with fire. I would soon learn to figure out what aperture and shutter speeds would or wouldn’t work. (My deepest gratitude to Ray, John Loyola, and Ron Sinoy for your advice and constructive criticism on this particular project.)
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I was ecstatic when Heidi asked me to photograph her headshots because I had every intention of tangibly showing her the evidence of her beauty. It’s not difficult for women to deconstruct ourselves to an insignificant mess when we look in the mirror and pick out the parts we believe need improvement. I’ve made it my mission to be my girlfriends’ cheerleader and uplift them with the truth of their beauty. For Heidi’s photos, I wanted to capture the nuances of her womanhood and to show her that true beauty emanates from within, and nothing but loving oneself dictates a woman's worth.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009


Last week I was given the daunting task of presenting my timeline to my Life Group. I’ve always heard about timelines but never dreamed of having to document my life from birth to present, graphing all the highs and lows, and then presenting it to a group of friends. The timeline served to help me document the growth and lessons of my life as well as giving my friends an overall idea of the woman I am. I was initially elated at my project until I traveled back in time and relived the pain. The emotional intensity was brutal. Several times I stopped and thought of several reasons I could have given that would excuse me from the assignment. Knowing my life, I would get away with it only to be given the same exercise in the future but instead, would have to present it to people who didn’t have my best interest at heart. So I plodded on.

As I recounted my life to my friends I began experiencing bursts of epiphanies, like a Fourth of July fireworks finale erupting inside me. My whole life has been a continuous series of derailments. The timeline I held in my hands began to resemble a map of the territory of my soul. Interspersed between the sloping landscapes was my train hauling the boxcars of pain, courage, fears, weaknesses, joys, sorrows, failure, beauty, dreams, longings, desires, mistakes, lessons, and passions. What made me think that my route would start from point A and end at point B without any mishaps? Isn't life about the misadventures peppered with the unknown and unpredictable?

The first major derailment diverted me away from my dream of photojournalism. I envisioned myself as a single, carefree, photojournalist living in New York City, traveling every pocket of the world documenting the truth. I was NEVER going to be saddled with kids and NEVER shackled in marriage. Yet, at nineteen-years-old, I found myself pregnant, chose her life over mine and became chained to an abusive marriage. In the ensuing years, my life was dedicated to the three lives I selected over my dreams and despite my unconventionality my three children still love me. I have no regrets and their existence is like shining stars in my dark skies.

When I derailed from the faith I was brought up with I operated with seething anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, revenge and grudges. The message I received from my well-intentioned parents was that God didn’t accept me due to the poor choices I’ve made in my life. Thus, I shunned Him. I navigated through treacherous territory placing myself in dangerous situations. I had faith only in myself and wondered why I failed miserably. As I chugged along in my journey I craved peace but couldn’t find it and my search brought me to avenues filled with static and torment. Thankfully, this derailment took me back full circle to the One who welcomed the prodigal child with open arms. Ironically, the peace I longed for was found in the last place I wanted to look.

I barreled through my second husband’s life with my cargo-filled boxcars of bone-crushing weariness and unmet needs. I wanted to be taken care of and mistakenly assumed that an intelligent man with a substantial salary would alleviate my burden. My second husband is a good man, just not the man for me. His quiet, unassuming nature was no match for the tempest that’s always raging in me. I didn’t come with an owner’s manual and it soon became evident that he was not equipped to live the rest of his life with a woman whose mouth hurled words that slashed like shards of glass. I was a veritable whirlwind to his steadfast patience. I honestly don’t blame him for checking out. No human being should ever have to carry the weight of another’s unrealistic expectations. This derailment taught me that marriage is not an escape hatch for a weary, single mom.

My odyssey on the road to redemption continues forth with purpose now. Through my freight filled with fear and pain I learned to stand unwavering against the face of adversity, confident in my ability to survive regardless of the obstacles. As I look back at my boxcars I no longer weep with remorse but welcome the derailments that shaped me into a woman with a cause. Armed with self-assurance I look ahead, moving toward a life that I didn’t plan but content in the knowledge that it is where I’m supposed to be.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Life Is Beautiful

My sister and I couldn't wait to head out to our favorite & special hangout--the beach--this past MLK holiday. A day off is a rare treat & spending it at the beach meant we were going to have our slice of heaven. It is where we find solace in the turbulence of our minds. Doubts, fears, and uncertainty flee when we are faced with a sunset that sheaths everything in a molten copper hue. After I took the picture above, we both agreed that sunsets and sunrises should never be taken for granted.

Earlier that day she was so excited to dedicate a song to me on my Facebook wall

"Nette! When I heard this song, it reminded me of you! You say the words to this song all the time! Especially after all the deaths we had last year, how you want to celebrate your life this year, and how you don't want anyone to cry at your funeral!!"

She was right. It became our theme song for our day at the beach and mine for the rest of my life.

You can't quit until you try
You can't live until you die
You can't learn to tell the truth
Until you learn to lie

You can't breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you're the joke
There's nothing like a funeral
To make you feel alive

Just open your eyes, just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful
Will you swear on your life
That no one will cry at my funeral?

I know some things that you don't
I've done things that you won't
There's nothing like a trail of blood
Till you find your way back home

I was waiting for my hearse
What came next was so much worse
It took a funeral to make me feel alive

Just open your eyes, just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful
Will you swear on your life
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Alive, just open your eyes, just open your eyes
And you see that life is beautiful
Will you swear on your life
That no one will cry at my funeral?