A voice from 20 years past… part 8 of my journey

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Here I go procrastinating again! Sorry for being so MIA y’all! I hope all of you have been doing well! As I promised, I’m going to continue with my story. I hope that, again, through the sharing of my trials someone will be encouraged to press on through their own!

In my last post, I left off with the phone call to my dad who I hadn’t spoken to in over 20 years. This is the same man who molested me as a baby, and pretty much robbed me of my chances at purity and security before I even knew what either of those things were. No, he didn’t take my virginity (thank God), however; he did do plenty of other sick and twisted acts that psychologically wounded me in ways I can’t even begin to properly explain. No, no one properly warned me to stay away from him. There were warning tones, little hints, but no one blatantly said , “do not come in contact with him because he is still a psychological wreck.” For me, the little girl inside desired to have that dad that I never knew in my life.

(Photo credit theparentcue.org )

I remember growing up and seeing other little girls with their dads who took them out and did things out of love and not out of some sick twisted desire. Most of my life, I secretly envied those girls who’s dads cared for them, who hung around and listened to them, cheered them on at performances and other events, went and got them cars and took them out on special daddy daughter dates. I will tell you one thing, be careful what you wish for, and don’t ever wish that you had something that someone else has, because jealousy is definitely one of major roots of evil! Now that this is said and done, I’ll continue where I left off!

Part 8 of my journey

Running and the performing arts… these have been major outlets in my life! There’s just something about being on stage and taking yourself into a period of time and into someone else’s world, away from the troubles of your own to help the audience come into that world and escape the troubles of theirs… it’s such an incredible gift for everyone involved! As for running…. ughhh the feel of wind going through my hair and in and out of my lungs as my body rhythmically moves over the ground’s surface, feet gliding, heart pumping, sweat dripping, all the worries and stress from everything I’ve carried just melting away as I talk to God and clear my mind. So many times I left some of my greatest fears and challenges out on the roads, hills, and trails of various cities throughout the Bay Area. Both aspects of my life have become such a relief during some of the most seriously trying times that I’ve experienced. Had I not had God, these two aspects, and my mother during the season, I really don’t know how I would’ve coped.

While on the phone with my dad, he made the promise to stay in contact with me so that we could build the relationship that the little

girl in me so desperately desired.

(The only photo I have of my dad and me when I was about 2 or 3 years old)

In that he promised me a new iPhone and said he would cover the bill so that I could afford to be able to talk to him more often. I was SO excited! Here I was, working my butt off at a coffee shop, doing random house sits for people, having constant shifts in my living space, and still trying to take care of the kitty house all while dealing with car issues and being drained of my finances to find I was barely able to buy food, let alone pay my own cell phone bill. Here was my dad, this man that I so desperately wanted to get to know and forgive for what he had done to me and he was offering me the relationship that I wanted along with something that so many people were trying to obtain at the same time, a new iPhone 4s! I felt like I had suddenly been promoted from scroungy servant girl (Believe me I looked like a hot mess half the time unless I was working or performing) to a new level of princess! It felt like life was finally smiling on me!

During the call, I found out so many things about him and where he had been over the years. He informed me that he had been ordained as a priest for the church of Whales (mind you this man is a compulsive liar, so I still don’t believe this) and owned a T-shirt company that he was getting ready to sell, so that he could move to the mainland (from Hawaii). Before we got off the phone, he told me that he was going to call Verizon and set up a way for me to obtain a phone and that he would call me a soon as it was ready! Wow! What is this really happening? I couldn’t believe a single word that I was hearing! My dad… He wanted a relationship with me, to get to know me, and provide for me!

After the phone call, I went kept working at the coffee shop, and continued working on a production at CCC that I had been invited to come back and perform in as one of my previous characters, Cami in “Rockin at Richmond High.”

Throughout this time, I was getting ready to run yet another event, the San Francisco Marathon. This event held a special place my heart, since it was going to be the first full marathon that I would get the honor of running with my mentor and godmother! The show went on during the beginning phases of my training, So I made sure to take it easy so that I could focus on the show and then have the energy to dive full throttle into preparing for the marathon. Meanwhile, things at home began to fall apart.

The lady that I was taking care of the kitties for had decided that it was time for me to go. While there were issues on both sides that I prefer not to get into at this time, I will definitely say that there were things that I did that weren’t right and left her upset (for some reasons that she definitely had a right to be upset about and I would honestly try to fix if I could) there are also things that she did to me that left me emotionally scarred yet again. Put it this way, I had a tendency to act as though people owed me something because I had been abandoned and abused. Though my actions weren’t necessarily intentional, I had a tendency to take advantage of situations when people would give me things. I didn’t know when to stop letting people give things to me, and often found ways to manipulate in order to survive. This poor woman suffered the consequences of my internal baggage. At the same time living there, was a good taste of what goes around comes around. I used to verbally bash people behind their backs and even to their faces. I was not a nice person by any means! I went around praising God, but was so mean and hateful towards myself and the world around me. While living there, I received a good taste of my own medicine both to my face and behind my back which scarred my reputation with a lot of people, and left me hating myself even more. The blessing from all this? Well, it was through this season that I learned to treat people with kindness. If I had not lived there and dealt with that, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’ve now learned to use my words to uplift and to heal instead of tear down and injure. While I’m still a work in progress, I have come journeys away from where I used to be!

A few days after my performance in “Rockin’ at Richmond High,” I received yet another call from my dad. He told me to go to the Verizon wireless in El Cerrito where I would be able to obtain my brand new phone! I remember walking in and being so awe struck and excited! I told the girl who was getting my phone about the story, and she almost started crying! The whole experience was like something out of a movie! As soon as I walked out of the store, I called my dad, and we were officially connected! I no longer had to deal with a cell phone that kept breaking and could call people without worrying about being able to afford my bill!

Then, it was time to head back home to face a new moving situation.

I packed my things and soon after moved in with my mom in Berkeley where she was informed she too had to find a new place to live because they were going to be renovating her apartment complex. With nowhere to go, we prayed and searched, and finally I received an email from brother Bob containing some craigslist links to apartment rentals in Crockett. Thankfully, my mom went out to see one, I came to see it soon after, and we both fell in love with what would soon be our new home! We packed our things, and moved to Crockett, Ca and to the place that bears so many horrific memories for me. At the same time, it’s the place that I found the greatest level of healing.

For now, I feel that this is a good place to stop. As you can see, my life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Great news is, I’ve had Jesus all along! It’s through my trials that I have learned some of the most valuable lessons. I’ve learned to love myself and to treat others with kindness at all times, and best of all… I’ve learned to rely on God and not my own devices in order to survive which is exactly why I’m leaving my current situation in silence. It’s in this time of silence that I know I’ll hear gods voice clearly and I’ll be able to report to you all the wonderful victory that He has prepared out for me!Until next time… God bless and stay strong!

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Pursuing Dreams in the Midst of Tragedy: Part 6 of My Journey

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Hey all I’m back again and I’m just going to dive right in where I last left off. As I mentioned in my last post, I really don’t want to discuss the goings-on in my current life because in all honestly this has become very dark season for me and I really want to focus on God and what He can do instead of venting and talking about my problems to you all.

Anyhow, I left off in my last post at the point where my world seemed to be falling apart. I was just informed that I had to leave the mobile home I was staying in and there was a possibility of eviction for my mom in the home that she was in on the same property. At the same time, I was preparing to host a race to raise funds for Teen Challeng for their human trafficking division, my finances went from being abundant to next to nothing and having to borrow money, and I also had been cast as one of the leads in a show called “Rivets” which is a show I had been wanting to perform in since the moment I saw it. On top of everything else, my health was beginning to go downhill. I had a nagging injury that caused me to limp a lot, and I began to struggle with post marathon depression and an eating disorder.

There were also elements that I did not bring up in my last post. You see, just prior to the marathon I was informed that my grandfather that I had just been reunited with had been diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after his diagnosis, I had to borrow money from him which was the LAST thing I ever wanted to do. This was a total nightmare!!

Meanwhile, in the middle of preparing for the fundraiser race, my computer totally crashed! It literally felt like all hell had broke loose in my life!

The second week of June 2011, I completely packed my things and moved in with a friend and her daughter. This was supposed to be for a very limited amount of time. While I was there, she was trying to help me find a new job because the restaurant wasn’t giving me enough hours. She wanted me to drop the show, quit running and forget about hosting the race. She said that I needed to get my things in line first before I try to pursue those areas. The problem with that was, I was already committed to the show, hosting the race, and to training for another marathon in an attempt to qualify for the Olympic trials. For me to drop those commitments during a very devastating point in my life would not have been psychologically healthy for me. I felt that I needed to continue to work at the restaurant and look for a different job that would allow me to be off in time to go rehearsals and provide a way for me to save up money. While this woman was most definitely wanting the best for me, I couldn’t mentally handle losing anything more at that time. Mornings I continued to put in my two- plus hour training runs, I spent the afternoons rehearsing alone, preparing for the fundraiser and looking for work. In the evenings, I went to rehearsals with my dear friend Irena who soon became like a sister to me.

June 25th, The day of the fundraiser came. Hardly anyone showed up. Thankfully, some of my dearest friends (including Irena and the amazing woman that would later be called my godmother) came and supported the event, otherwise it would’ve been a total flop. Katrina and I raised about $400, which was a TOTAL blessing, however I was so disappointed in myself for not doing better. I wanted so badly to do much more for Teen Challenge because I felt that this was my way of indirectly reaching out to my troubled loved one. That day also marked the day when the pain in my leg started to increase…. I had no idea how bad this would eventually get.

After the event, I did my best to shrug off what I felt was failure and focused on my next tasks which were the show and finding work/ a new place to live. July 13, opening night of the show came… that morning, I was informed that I was to find a new place to live that weekend. Also, just as I was about to start getting ready, I received news that my mom had been evicted from her home and was living in her car with my troubled loved one. I was shattered…. Devastated. I had no idea where I was going to go, I was worried sick about my mother, I was so angry and bitter at my troubled loved one for letting things go as far as they did and for not cleaning up. At the same time, I hated the drug that held her captive. Also, my weight had plummeted and I didn’t see myself as too thin. Anorexia athletica had set in.

I remember standing in front of the mirror and professor McKarthy came in to try to get everybody ready. She sensed something was off with me. I just broke and told her everything that had been happening. She stood and looked at me in utter shock, gave me a hug and not knowing exactly how else to respond… told me it was ok to pull myself together and to go ahead and just get on out there. Curtain came up, the show went on, and I have to say that was the best decision I ever made. Never have I felt more alive and more like myself then when I’m performing. My love for the stage, for performing arts… that was it… I was doing exactly what I felt (and still feel) that was created to do!

The following day, professor David came in and said that he felt that I needed some cheer. What a sweetheart! He handed me a brand new pallet of eyeshadow so I could do my makeup properly! Perfect timing too, because I didn’t have proper make up the night before. I felt my mind slowly slipping as I waited backstage to go on. I began to sing “In my own little corner, in my own special chair, I can be anything I want to be.“ From a movie remake of Cinderella. PTSD was beginning to take its toll. I had no idea what that was or that I ever suffered from it until recently.

Closing night came, and my mom informed me that after finding drug paraphernalia in her car, she had had it. She finally left my troubled loved one at a neighbor’s house and decided it was time to let her take care of herself since she was not ready to let go of the addiction. She and I spoke about what we would do the next day. She had nowhere to go, and as of the following day I didn’t have anywhere to go either. I was set up for an interview at a salon in Lafayette, so we decided to head out there in the morning and discuss living situations that afternoon.

The following morning, I packed up my things in my moms car, we went for a training run at my favorite local park, and I prepared for my interview. I was such a wreck when I showed up to the interview that the lady totally turned me down. I don’t blame her either. Shortly after that, I received a phone call from my professor who reached out and really tried to help us. She gave me some information in regards to some shelters and told me to call if I needed anything. Her kindness and her heart was more than I could’ve asked for during that time.

Just after her phone call I received an email from the woman I had been staying with saying that there was a woman in the church that I used to attend that was looking for a live-in house sitter. She needed someone to live in her home and take care of her four cats and home while she was away on business during the week. She would be home on weekends and the person would remain in the home. This job was a temporary assignment while she worked out of town, however, it was a job and place to stay. She gave me her email and I contacted the woman right away. I exchanged emails back-and-forth with back and forth with the woman I’ll just call “the kitty lady.” We arranged a time that day to meet and discuss the possibility of my taking the job. Upon meeting her, it appeared that I had received the job. However, it wasn’t to start until the following day. That evening, mom and I headed out to my grandparents in Cameron Park to spend the night and figure out what we were going to do.

The following day, we returned it to the Bay Area. After some prayer and consideration, I told my mom to let me call her employer and offered to talk to the company that she cleans apartment buildings for to see if they might allow her to work as a property manager in exchange for part of the rent and she could pay the rest. At first she resisted, but I told her that I was willing to speak and that she didn’t have to say anything. During the phone call, they told me to go into the office and they would see what they could do. We pulled up, I walked in, and shaking I asked to speak with the manager of the office. After I explaining to him what was going on, he took compassion on my mother and gave her an incredible deal allowing her to stay in an apartment they were just about to remodel on a temporary basis. Yes, both living situations were temporary, but they were just in the nick of time!

We then raced off to meet the kitty lady where she officially invited me to take the job. I then went and retrieved the rest of my belongings and I headed off to my new home in Pinole. Finally… some hope! Or so it seemed.

Now, I’ll have to stop here for now. As I’ve said many times, thank you all for joining me as I share my story. I hope that you all have a blessed weekend and I hope you continue to join me as I share many ups and downs that God has brought me through. Until next time, God bless!

This was one of the blessings in the middle of the storm! One of the cast members of Rivets happens to be related to MC Hammer! He came and saw the performance, and the cast got to meet him!

New Years with Turkey Soup!

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Well…. here it is, the New Year and… so much to be grateful for! Yes, me… the one who is scrapping cans and bottles together to buy food and gas is GRATEFUL. Why? I’m alive, I have family, friends, school, work… plus… I woke up this morning. I really have been fed up with stressing on little things. It seems every time my family and I have even begun to get ahead, we get knocked down. We see advancement in finances and health… then BAM… HIT! I got up this morning and was like, “you know what God… My life is not anything like what I wanted it to be. My body hurts, my spirit longs to walk, run, and race freely, my family and I are barely getting bye but You know what? Compared to others in poverty stricken countries… I’m filthy rich! So, I’m going to thank You for the MANY times you’ve shown up and sent provision, for the fact that I can worship You freely, and for the fact that I’m even breathing!” Then, this weight was lifted off of my shoulders! Why?

Matthew 6:19-21 – Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

In 2016, I kept focusing so much on what I didn’t have that I’d forgotten to stop and enjoy the many things I do have… I got so focused on “storing up riches” and trying to get financially stable that I’d forgotten that all of this is all temporary.

That being said, I want to just encourage you… whatever “resolutions” you may or may not have, keep a Christ perspective. Ask the Lord to show you what HE wants you to have as resolutions and to help work through you to build His kingdom for the benefit of others. For me, this means drawing closer to Him, asking Him to help me continue to build the vision He has instilled in my heart and to use my life for His glory.

This year, I was blessed with the honor of singing backup for the amazing Linda Jackson at our New Years Church service! That woman is absolutely incredible! What an honor to share the stage with such a beautiful legend.! I then wen home and enjoyed some sparkling cider with mom and nephew and… went to bed at 11:30… hahaha!!! Honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Great fellowship and time with my loved ones… what more could I ask for?

Short post today, however… I’ll go ahead and leave you with some food victories and a recipe for some tasty turkey soup! I came up with my own recipe while trying out my new slow cooker that I got for Christmas (thanks Mommalou)!

Food victory… theo Dark Chocolate bar!!! This sucker is almost gone and has been such a delicious treat! Something I didn’t even allow myself to have when I was working out/ active and all I can say is… boy was I missing out!

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Sparkling cider… yes… this was a victory, because when you are restrictive, even things like sparkling apple cider can become huge phobias!!!

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Turkey Soup Recipe:

Ingredients

~1/2 turkey carcass

~4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

~1 cup chopped turkey

~4 chopped carrots

~5 stocks celery Chopped

~1/2 white onion

~1 clove garlic minced

~1/2 teaspoon bay seasoning

~1/2 teaspoon sea salt

~1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

~Rosemary to taste

~ Water to fill line

(Cook rice separately)

~1 cup brown rice

~1/3 cup broth

~1 and 2/3 cup water

Directions

Place carcass in slow cooker with vinegar and water to fill line. Set cooker on high for 3 hours, then place on low for 7 hours (overnight). Strain broth into an extra bowl  pulling all remaining turkey off the bones. Place bowl in the fridge over night. Pull bowl out and scoop off layer of fat from the top, place broth in slow cooker with seasonings, turkey, and veggies and set on high to cook for 2 hours. Then cook on low for 2 more hours or until veggies are tender. Meanwhile, place rice, broth and water into a pan to cook on the stove. Follow general rice cooking procedure for this.  Keep the soup and rice separate even in storage in the fridge, it will keep the rice from soaking up all of the broth in the soup. Put them together when you’re ready to consume!

What made this soup taste the best was that while making it, I did a bible study by Kevin Swanson (thank you miss Emily) with my mom. So, I was preparing fuel for our bodies while we fueled our spirits!

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I hope y’all have an amazing year! I’ll post as time and inspiration provides! God bless!

 

 

 

Let It Be

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“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:17

This is a verse I’ve held onto for some time. As my journey has continued, I’ve pressed through the first few weeks of classes, praising God for each day that I’m able to get up and out of bed. I remain thankful and prayerful on the days I feel good and EXTRA prayerful on the days I don’t feel so good. In this season I’ve been going from classes to doctors appointments, to physical therapy appoinments, helping a loved one with tieing up some loose ends and mourning, trying to help mom with little guy when I can, and… getting ready to (Lord willing) perform in yet another production. While my spirit longs to race again, I found pleasure in building other parts of me! School is like a candy shop of dreams. If you have one, two, three or even more… there are classes to help you learn, grow and build them! Holding onto this verse during this season has truly helped me to see that God has had me away from the racing scene to strengthen my faith in him, rebuild the parts of me that have become weak (both physically and emotionally), and help me regain trust and confidence in Him to do what needs to be done to help my body come to full health once again. He’s even begun to restore childhood items and what not that were llost and/ or stolen over the years. Though, just material items… He knew they were special to me and used various means to have items very much like them restored to me. WOW… what an amazing Abba Father we have!
So the question still lingers… Will I return to the racing scene? Well… I’ll continue to believe God and His promise to me. Meanwhile, I choose to wake up every morning, thank God for another blessed day, praise Him for the loved ones that have seemed to have multiplied in my life lately, and pray HIS will be done because my will… only gets me in trouble =)
Now I must close… Yes, this is yet another brief blog post… however, I pray that wherever you are, if you are facing times of trouble…. know that God is near, He will rebuild what was lost. He will restore all things in such a beautiful way that you could NEVER have done it better yourself. So, give Him your dreams, give Him your desires, let it go and… in the famous words of the Beatles… “Let It Be!”

Roasted pepper turkey breast!

-1 Package Trader Joe’s thin sliced turkey breast

-1 cup “power greens mixture (includes kale and spinach)

-1/2 cup sliced red onion

-1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

-1/2 tsp chili flakes

-sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

preheat oven to 350 degrees, place turkey, on cookie sheet lined with foil, sprinkle veggies and seasoning over the top, wrap up in foil and let bake for 15-20 min or until cooked through. Open foil, turn on broiler and let the top get toasted for about 5 min or until slightly golden. Take out and enjoy with some steamed brown veggies or over some nice arugula or other tasty greens!10353636_10202240003480504_7860585532302140382_n

this image was taken prior to baking