Thursday, October 02, 2008

Memories of the Past.....

On Sunday marked the last Mets game that Shea Stadium will ever host. It didn't dawn on me at that moment as to the magnitude of this event. I watched all of the post-game with old Mets players being announced on the field and Piazza and Tom Seaver walking all the way to center field and leaving which signified the end.

As I sat there and watched this unfold, I started to think back to what this stadium truly meant to me. Yes, it was sad to think that the Mets will no longer call Shea home, and will move across the street to their new stadium, because it is actually out with the old, in with the new. So it made me feel old, cause I am not ready for the new. But what truly dawned on me was that this stadium, at the beginning of my school years up until High School, it was my safe haven.

You see, when my mom and dad divorced, it seemed as if life would never get back to normal. But my mom took it upon herself to make sure that we had a place to go together that would be our place. She would take Vanessa and I to games, this started since we were younger, but there was a bigger need here. It was a place that we could go to and not focus on what was going on in our lives, but maybe smile again. A place where we could just be ourselves again.

It didn't dawn on me while watching the end of the game unfold, that this stadium would no longer be around, that my place of refuge will never be standing there again. It just made me sad, because no matter what, it was the place where my mother decided we wouldn't be sad, we would be together and share those times together and enjoy ourselves. We had some great times back then, met a lot of players, Yes the Mets were bad, but it didn't matter, because we were having fun.

We tend to forget those places in our lives that made us feel new again. We tend to put them to the side, but at that moment on Sunday, I relived those years again in my thoughts and realized how much Shea Stadium truly meant to me after all these years. It is a place that I will never forget and a place that I am so grateful that it existed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cries of "MOMMMYYYYY" from the Distance.....

It is a normal evening, having already put Christopher to sleep in his own bed, finishing up my studies for the next day of class, trying to be in bed before 1 am, knowing full well that the alarm clock will go off in approximately 6 hours. Settling into my cozy bed, closing my eyes and wishing myself off to a fast sleep so that I can feel somewhat rested when the alarm clock scares me half to death. As I am in one of my numerous dreams, I hear this cry from the distance. It is somewhat faded, but gets louder and louder very fast. I think it is still part of my dreams, until I realize that the speaker that is directly next to my ear on my side of the bed is shaking from the rumble of the cries. Low and behold, it is Christopher with his routine, "Mommyyyyyy, Mommmyyyyy", "Daddddyyyy, where is Mommmyyyyy", "Mommmmyyy". But as fast as I can get up, which to tell you the truth, isn't fast at all, Lina is already on the other side of the speaker, calming down the screams and bringing him over to our bed again. Some nights are good, he may stay there longer, but most nights, that interrupted cry in the middle of the night is expected. I love it!!!!

I say I love it, because it reminds me, and I am sure my mom, Vanessa and Joe reading this will also be reminded of the many nights of that same scream tingling their ears......"Mommmmyyyyyy", coming from my mouth, all the way on the other side of the house on Pine Street, or that "woooosh" that they felt as I ran by Vanessa's room and possibly Joe coming out of the bathroom, on one of his many trips in the middle of the night, to my mother's floor, curled up and hoping they won't notice me until the day light enters the room.

Christopher at this point, isn't able to climb out of his bed, but I am sure the "wwooosh", that Vanessa and Joe felt, zorro will be feeling as Christopher learns that it is faster to just get up and run than it is to scream your lungs out and not sure if anyone will ever come.

It is amazing our history repeats itself. My little boy, just like his daddy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The things that Kids Say...............

I wanted to share with you the wonderful words that have made there way out of Christopher's mouth and into his world of phrases, I only wish that you could be around when he actually says them, it is a delight to here it in person.

One day on our way home, Lina showed Christopher three pairs of Lightning McQueen (Disney Movie) underwears. A little history: we are potty training Christopher and he knows that he is to let us know when he has to use the potty since he no longer wears pampers and can not pee in his pants. Well, after Lina gave him the underwears to look at, he said,

"Wow mommy, I like this one, and this one, but I am going to pee on that one."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When God Speaks, We Listen

While I sit here pondering what will be the affects of Tropical Fay to my home, I remembered an awesome thing that happened to me at Busch Gardens yesterday.

Well Christopher and I were about to board a ride, and as I turned around to see if there was anyone else behind us, there stood a young boy, approximately 10 - 12 years old. I noticed that there was one egg shaped ride left on the carousel with three seats. I felt this urge to invite him to sit with us, so he wouldn't have to wait for another turn when our ride was over. He agreed.

We sat cramped all together in this half egg shaped ride and as we went round and round we just engaged in small talk, mostly to keep Christopher from getting scared. As the ride came to a stop, we ended up having to wait for everyone else to get off before we could. At that moment as we were going around again, I felt another urge to ask him where he was from. He shared with me that he had just moved with his family from NY two months prior and how he missed home and had to leave his friends, family and pets behind. I shared that we were also from NY and that we have been here 2 years and that I too missed home, but I knew that we were in a good place. I encouraged him to hang in there and that I felt he was in a good place as well. He pointed out his parents and as we exited the ride I told him I hoped he had a great life here.

I caught up with Lina and as I am standing there with her, this woman approaches me and tells me, "I am not sure what you told my son, but I want to thank you". I was a bit confused as to why she was thanking me, and I told her that him and I had a candid conversation about back home. She said that, he had been struggling with the move, that he had been really withdrawn from them and misbehaving and not himself at all. They just had no idea what to do with him, they kept looking back and wondering if they made a good choice on the move because they understood it was hard for him, but being here offered them a better life.

The boys mom said that after the ride, he ran over to her and told her all about my conversation with him and how I too was from NY and on how he felt that everything would be OK. That based on what I told him, he was comfortable with the move now.

I tried to analyze what could I have said to him to change such behaviors, I mean it wasn't like I preached to him or anything like that, it was just a basic conversation. But as I looked back on that moment I realized that when God wants to touch someone and help them, he will use anything to get his point across, he will even use one of us in the simplest of ways.

I felt in awe that the Lord would choose to use me to touch a strangers life. Even in my own struggles and knowing that I may be not be where I need to be with God each and every day of my own life, he still takes special opportunities to use us in a mighty way.

On my ride home, I just lifted that boy up in prayer that God would just continue to touch his life and give his parents the strength that they need to make this move a successful one for themselves.

And also, I feel that this is God just showing me that no matter what I am going through or feeling, that there are others that may be going through the same and we can all share in it together.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My Lil Buddy

It has been a while since I have written anything about Christopher. In a nut shell, he is amazing. He is funny, silly, adorable, getting so big, and so many other wonderful things that I can sit here and write about him for hours. He is more than I could have imagine. I am in awe of how fast he is growing up, how smart he is and how is words are starting to come out more and more clearer each day. And the best part is that he has finally picked up baseball. Yeah I know he is only 2 1/2 years old, but I thought if he could just pick up the gist of the game, then I could take my time and teach it to him slowly. But from one day to the next, he picked up a bat and finally listened to me, as I showed him how to hold the bat and swing. He still has an awkward swing, but I can work with that. But he hits the ball very well and throws really hard. I am estactic that I have a little boy that wants to do everything that his daddy does. He amazes me and makes me so happy and proud to be his dad. From day 1 I said that being a dad was the greatest gift from God, and I can honestly say it just keeps getting better. There isn't a day that goes by that I run home from work just to see his face and watch how excited he gets when he sees mine. I am sure I can find a million things to do outside of my home chores, but spending time with him is priceless, either watching his favorite shows on TV or DVD, playing with his cars and trains, reading him a book, sharing a slice of pizza with him (since that is his favorite food) or just going down by the beach and watching him run around in the same and having a ball. These are things that I would never trade for anything. What it feels like to be a dad, I think I just described it. It is awesome, it is wonderful and you never want it to end.

Each day I thank the Lord for bring Christopher into our lives, it has changed us, but a change that I will never regret.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Blessings from Above Never Falter

In my last entry back in January, I shared what my life was like in 2007, one that started with much promise and ended with so much despair. But as I stated in my last Blog, God had to be put first again, I had to lean on him believing that he would come through, and all I can say is that he has come through more often that I could even imagine. We serve an unbelievable God, one that keeps you in awe of everything he does for us.

After my last entry, I kept looking for jobs, in so many different places, just hoping that one would call me and hire me. It got real bad at one point, just never thought that anyone would call. Even contemplated just going back to NY and working there and sending money home. But I knew deep in my heart that, that was not what God wanted for us and that I needed to continue to be patient, even though, there was no extra money coming in except for Lina's salary. But I can honestly say that, even with just her salary, we always were able to pay the mortgage and all of our bills, never missing a beat. I give God all the glory for that, because he kept us from losing everything, so he could continue to work on me and get me ready for what he had in store. And I have to say that I could have never imagined that my life could make another big change, and this time for the better.

I finally received a call in March of this past year from a Law Firm, looking for a legal assistant. After speaking with the office manager, I realized that I was not qualified to take that job, so that I would rather not meet with her and get turned down anyway, but if she had any other positions that I would do them, no matter what they were, I guess I was kind of desperate at this point. But God reminds us that he doesn't want us to be anxious about anything, he is in control.

After she explained to me that I was over qualified for the clerical position that she had, she agreed to meet with me anyway, because first she stated that I was honest with her and two, she stated that there was something about me that she just wanted to meet with me.

We met and after a few nervous weeks, she called to offer me a position, making copies in the mail room. She stated that she knew that I deserved a better position but that this may be a great way to get in the company and move up. After starting the job and meeting with her, I find out that she is a Christian and that she told me that there was something about me that she felt like she had to hire me. After working in the copy room for nearly 2 months, I was promoted to Civil Litigation Department Assistant and received a raise.

This happened so fast that there is no doubt in my mind that God's hands were all over this. He knew exactly what I went through in 2007, and wanted to make sure that 2008, even with a crazy economy, would be a better one for me and my family. Maybe it was my patience and faith, that he maybe wanted to reward. Whatever it was, I am just glad that he was involved in this situation and in all my situations in life. I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing if he wasn't apart of my life.

The future seems a bit brighter now, even with all of the crazy things going on with gas prices and values of homes decreasing, I know that the only way that we can deal with it is by looking up and just asking for help.

He has turned my life around and has given me hope again, even after a time, when I didn't think that it could get better, but he is always there to take care of everything and because of that he gets all of the glory and praise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When I Look Back on My Journey...................

Wow, I didn't think I would ever right in this blog again. All my thoughts that I have had, my mind full of things and I couldn't put it into words. This past year, gone by so fast, but while living in it, felt like it would never end. 2007, what can I say, a year full of many experiences, some I wish I could just forget or even change. But, without life experiences, we would never be able to grow and become stronger from our daily lessons. It is weird how you can look back and see all that you have gone through, but when you are in the mist of something, you can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can't even imagine that it can get better, you feel like there is a really dark cloud over you, blinding you and there is no answer. No one can help you not even God.

Well, that right there, is wrong. God can help you, sometimes, he is the only one that can get you out of those types of feelings, of situations, but I guess unless you go to him wholeheartedly, you won't get out of it.

I wanted to look back on my Journey of 2007, one that brought me to a new place, a new venture in my life and one that ended with me feeling more empty than I thought I could ever feel.

I started the new year with a job, Catering Partners. I had so many things to look forward to, so many promises were given to me, I thought in a years time I would be financially set to do anything Lina and I wanted to do. I learned now, never take the promises of man, only rely on the promises of God, man will almost always disappoint you, but God will never leave you alone.

We were searching for a home to call our own, so many things were going our way. I felt like I was on cloud nine and with so many houses to choose from, it was kind of stressful, but in a good way, we had a chance to be patient and just find what we wanted. We finally decided on a house, after seeing 100 houses. That is no exaggeration, my realtor made sure I knew it was that much.

After settling in the home and me focusing on my job, things started to change really quick. I felt a sense of stress building up with my bosses. It was like night and day. Their attitudes changed toward everything, I was given assignments that they even knew there was no way I could finish them in the allotted time given. They started giving me projects, expecting me to finish them, when I was never trained to do such projects, they expected me to fix problems that they couldn't fix for years and expected me to do miracles and get it done in days. When I would address this with them, I was reminded numerous times that how much my salary was and how much my health insurance was. I was given tasks that not even a group of five could finish in a week.

I would go to God each and every day asking him to help me, to help me do what is needed of me, but it kept getting overwhelming. They expected more and more and just added things on, and would want an answer that day, when I was still working on the other many things I was given. I started to realize that something was wrong, that a change needed to be made. I addressed again my situation and they promised a change and they agreed it was unfair. Things never changed and only got worse, I knew that I needed to stay there because I brought my family from NY to live in FL and we didn't have any other source of income. Well, I didn't even have a chance to do anything about that, I became ill with a 103 fever for 7 days straight, and on the seventh day, I had 105 fever at 3 am. Lina took me to the Doctor, all along leaving the bosses messages that I was very ill and had to be seen. After my visit and the Dr indicating I had a upper respiratory infection, and getting home to receive an email that I was fired because I was not focused and allowed my family, my weekends, my church to get in the way of what they wanted or expected from me. I couldn't believe it, what was I going to do now. But one good thing out of that was that after a few days, and maybe taking the medicine for a day, my fevers were gone, never to come back again. Was it God that intervened and had to do something to get me out of there, he knew that if I quit, that I would be worse off, so by letting them fire me, I was in a better situation, even though I didn't think so.

Well, God knows why he does what he does, and after that incident, I was able to collect unemployment from NY. I had enough credits that I could collect for at least 6 months. What a Blessing, it was not what I wanted, but it kept us afloat with our bills.

God opened up another door and Lina landed a job as a Social Worker in the local Hospital. That was a big step for us, because now I could focus on landing a job of my own. Well that journey took me from training as a school bus operator to working a few months in the post office. An experience that truly amazed me and taught me a valid lesson, be careful what you pray for and what you ask God for. It was a job that I quickly realized wasn't for me.

I found myself depressed, out of work and not knowing why I had to endure this situation in my life now. When all I do is follow after God and do as I feel he wants me to do. But I know that this new year 2008, brings much promise. I look at it as a new start with God. A way for me to get even closer to him and allow him to move in my life.

Sometimes, God does things for a reason, when he sees that you are becoming ill, or your family life is suffering or your walk with him is struggling, he does things to shake up your life, he may want you to leave a job because he knows that if you stay there, your life will suffer, that he won't be able to use you as he wants to, so we must trust that he is working behind the scenes in every situation that we face. And facing it, knowing and understanding that it will be hard to be patient, but if we hang in there, hang on to his word, the end result will be a bigger blessing than we could have ever imagined.

I took a few verses from a song sang by Calvin Hunt. It is from his new album "Bridges". The first part just speaks volumes to what I have gone through this past year, here it is:

When I look back on my journey,
and everything that I've been through.

With every lesson I have learned,
and every twist and every turn,
I stand amazed.

I've been tested by the fire,
and I made it through some raging storms.

I lived enough to know,
I would have never made it on my own.

No Longer I who live,
but Jesus living in me.

I thank God for putting me through trials and tribulations, because each and every time I have come through it with a sense of peace and just offer God all the praise. I know that he is behind the scenes in my current situation and I also know that when he is ready, he will pour such a blessing on my life that my praises to him will be all so worth it. We have to praise him in the good times and the bad times, this way when we face a trial in our lives, it won't be that hard to deal with. Sometimes we just lose site of the cross, but we have to remain focused and he will help us to ride out the storm. I have to remember that he never gives us too much that we can't handle, he is always there and will always provide.

Thank You Lord for just giving me hope and just speaking to my heart when I am faced with a situation that I do not see any end to it. I know you are there and I know you will never leave my side. I Love you Lord.