Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taco Cupcake - Recipe 3

I saw this recipe on and thought it would be a tasty one to try! Here is the website:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chipotle carrot soup - Recipe 2

Are you hungry? Try some fat free, low carb soup! Soup is a good way to quench your hunger with something healthy and delicious! I will be exploring some soup recipes so that I can find creative ways to encorporate vegetables into my diet. Make one pot of soup and freeze each serving in a zip-lock bag. You have just created your very own microwaveable dinner.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Noodles Lasagna - Recipe 1

I am beginning a 52 week healthy recipe challenge. At least once a week I am going to explore one NEW healthy recipe. is my new best friend, and I am discovering a whole new world of blogs, resources and more on any and every topic! I found this recipe on dashingdish (a healthy food blog) that I am definately going to try this weekend. I will post a picture and review once I make it. Here is the website for the recipe:

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Dress

Hello blog! I am back! I just wanted to give a quick update on my 30 pound challenge. I have lost 16 pounds for sure…And maybe I can debate about another 2-4 since the scale seems to be going back and forth. For now, I will take the smaller number – 16 vs. 20. I will celebrate my 16 pounds and acknowledge that I am half-way to my first goal!

Back in 2008, I bought this beautiful, purple cocktail dress. At the time I managed to zip it up,  but could not breathe! Ha! It was one of those dresses I bought telling myself, I will just lose a couple of pounds and I will fit! Well needless to say I didn’t lose no couple of pounds! As a matter of fact, I gained quite a few. So much so that earlier this year when I tried on the dress the zip would not go all the way up! It was stuck just above my waist. There was no deep inhaling and sucking in the stomach here…That would have been a feat against science…And my body was not ready to perform that miracle. (sad face)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Blog - I MISS YOU!

OMG - It has been quite a while since I was last on here! I miss you, my blog - and followers :). I have been doing well but have been quite busy to say the least...So in the last couple of months I have experienced quite a bit...Our best couple friend from NC moved to TX...(I am finally now in the "acceptance stage" and have stopped crying)...I joined a sewing class (don't laugh)...I visited by bestest girl-friend and sister after 18 months...I am attending the Family to Family class sponsored by NAMI. It's a class for people who have a family member with a mental illnesses (more on than later)...And we have stepped up our involvement with the college ministry...Work...well, work has been interesting...I have been helping out with some other stuff and that has kept me quite busy...So with all of that going on, I have not had a moment to write...And I miss it so much! There have been so many moments when I wanted to write...where I have been motivated, and inspired to write something...But I was just at the wrong place...or was too tired :(

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Exercise is my Friend!

I am very proud to say that I have been exercising fairly consistently, at least 3-4 times per week. My goal for the end of August is twofold. I would like to increase my workout days to 5 times a week and lose 3-5 pounds and develop better eating habbits. I don’t understand why the scale keeps telling me lies!! One day it says 187, the next day its 183, and next day its 185! Can you just tell me how much I weigh and stop ‘flipping the script’ every day, twice a day! I figure that if I set a goal of losing 3-5 pounds then I would actually see the 179 number! But as I stated before, my 30 pound challenge is not about losing weight only. It’s about developing a healthy lifestyle and really developing some healthier habits.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Heart that Forgives - Song by Kevin Levar

I saw a link to this song on facebook and I thought the words were so powerful that I had to share! I have been meditating on this...learning to love like Jesus...This song just put everything I was thinking into words. So beautiful. Click here to listen to the music video on youtube.

I want a heart that forgives
A heart full of love
One with compassion just like Yours above
One that overcomes evil with goodness and love
Like it never happened, never holding a grudge
I want a heart that forgives that lives and lets live
One that keeps loving over and over again
One that men can’t offend
Because Your Word is within
One that loves without price, like You Lord Jesus Christ
I want a heart that loves everybody....even my enemies
I want to love like You, be like You, just like You did
I want a heart that forgives,

I want a heart that forgives!
When the ones that are closest, that I’ve known the longest, hurt me the most;
I still wanna love them just like You love me
Even though I’m hurting
I want a heart that forgives
When the pain is so deep, it’s so hard to speak, about it to anyone
Just like Your Son, I give up my right to hold it against them with hatred inside
I want a heart that loves everybody....even my enemies
I wanna love like You, be like You, just like You did
Wanna walk like You, talk like You, just like You did,
Wanna be like You, live like You, just like You did
'Cause the heart that forgives is the heart that will live
Totally free from the pain of the past
And the heart that lets go is the heart that will know so much freedom

Lord I wanna let it go
God I need to let it go
Lord its been holding me back
And I don't want it, I don't want it, I don't
I don't want it no more
I don’t know exactly what to do to get rid of it, but ah...
Here I am Lord Jesus, here I am ohh, here I am Lord Jesus...ohh
Lord I need You, I need You, I know this is me that You're talking to
This is me, this is me, this is me Lord, this is me
Lord I let it go, every person, every person that's ever hurt me
God I let it go
Every single hurt
God I let it go
Every single pain
God I let it go, I let it go, I let it go
Lord You can have it, Lord You can have it,
Lord You can have it, Lord You can have it,
You can have it now, You can have it now,
'Cause I don't want it no......more

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At the Crossroads of a Friendship

What to do?

I struggled with deciding what to do with my friendship about Jamie…Was it wrong for me to “abandon” our friendship because Jamie might be down and out but not saying so? Would it be wrong for me to stop being “friends” with Jamie? Could I stop being friends with Jamie and still love Jamie? Again, what with Jesus do?

As I struggled with these thoughts, I became tearful…Once again I found myself in a situation where a seemingly close friend is abandoning me. Why does this always happen to me? What is it about me that I attract these friends that cannot stand the test of time? Why am I not worth fighting for? Is something wrong with me???

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Loving Friends Despite…

Is it wrong to sever ties with a “friend” who no longer fulfills the role of a friend? Is it possible to still love that person yet not be friends? What would Jesus do? The Bible talks about loving everyone, especially your enemies…What good is it if a man only loves those who love him…The Bible suggests that it is easy to love those who love us but very difficult to love those who do not love us. I am learning more and more how true that is. 

I used to think that I didn’t have enemies. I thought enemies came in the form of people who were blatantly against you…People who would desire the worst for you…People who were against your very being. But I realized that enemies don’t come dressed as scary monsters that we sometimes think of. Enemies can grow up right in your back yard…Or even in your own house…They come dressed as siblings, friends, mothers, fathers, spouses, family members and church members. They are the people you least suspect…The people you give your all too…And they are the people who often hurt you the most. So the question of the day is, how do you love them when they don’t love you…Or seemingly don’t love you…If I had the scary monster enemies, that would be easy…BUT they are so far removed from my life that I don’t even know they exist. But those people in my back yard…The ones I see all the time…How do you love them despite their lack of love?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Empty Amens

The preacher preached a good sermon today…I told him that it was a great message…He said, “don’t let it be great and not apply it…Because it becomes nothing if it is great but we do nothing…” I can only imagine how that must be the bane of many a preachers…Studying, researching, preaching and teaching their hearts and souls out so they can encourage and edify the church…Yet time after time, we hear folks bellow a hearty amen, a rowdy applause, and a “well done brother preacher…” But see little if any changes. I can only imagine how heart breaking that is to a preacher…

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Same blog….NEW LOOK!!!

I am super happy to reveal the new look of my blog. With the help of my girl Kristal, and her excellent teaching skills, my blog has a new look and feel that is so me. I was joking with her and telling her that my blog looked like a kindergartner designed it! Now, I feel so proud of it, I want to show it off to the world! It is now a blog I can be proud of. YAAAY!!! THANK YOU Kristal!!! You are just so special to me!
Kristal so willingly and graciously offered to teach me a few blogging tricks. She came over Friday night and said that it would probably take a couple hours…FIVE hours later, this was revealed! Unfortunately, Kristal did not know that I used to ride the special bus for school...I am a slow learner who catches on fast! Lol. There is still a lot to learn, do and change…But for now I am MOST content with my pink and brown design theme. I can’t wait to learn more tricks of the trade, but I will have to give Kris a few months to recover from this latest teaching gig! 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Being True to Your Relationships

An overwhelming feeling of sadness came upon me today as acknowledged to myself and my husband that I have not been true to my close relationships. Little by little, thing by thing, day by day, I allowed personal hurts to be swept under the rug with one relationship or another. I know it…I am conscious of it…I know it’s not like me to “avoid conflict.” But I am…and I have…

I need to apologize to my friend for not being true…for not being honest…and for allowing my hurts to go unnoticed…Resulting in my sadness today. My friend is none the wiser…She does not know how I feel, or how long I have been feeling this way…She thinks everything is fine! And everything is fine…Well for the most part. There are just one or two or three things that have bothered me…But I have not brought it to her attention and so she does not know…It’s not her fault…because I should have been honest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thirty Pound Challenge Update!

So in one of my recent blog posts I talked about how I needed to make a lifestyle change regarding my health. It seemed that every Monday morning I hear of someone falling prey to preventable diseases. Then, as I studied mental health for my sisters’ class, every suggestion to help deal with grief, anxiety, depression, burnout etc, recommended exercise. I recognized the need to incorporate daily exercise into my routine, as well as a balanced diet if I am to live a happy and healthy life. So, once I turned 30, I promised to make these changes. I promised to exercise more, and eat properly. I figured that once I made these changes, that I would naturally start losing weight…so I issued myself a “30 pound challenge.” The idea is not that I actively try to lose weight, but that I actively try to change my lifestyle to one of health and wellness, knowing that the weight will fall off. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Family Picture

When I painted the picture of my family in my heart I imagined joy and laughter.

I imagined hugs and kisses.

I imagined graduations, weddings, Christmases, and New Year’s, birthdays and anniversaries.

When I painted the picture of my happy family, I painted togetherness, closeness, and love. I painted phone calls, emails, post cards and pictures.

When I painted the picture of my happy family, I painted a picture where we would all be together, longing to be together and looking forward to being together.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


So when I went to see my family doctor (for the first time a few weeks ago) she recommended that I take a good multivitamin. In addition my vitamin D was so low she wrote a prescription to bring me back to normal levels in about 3 months! After which I can take regular supplements. She also recommended I take some iron tablets because my iron was low…Geeze…Well, I really was not super pressed to start my vitamin regime until this week until I realized that I was feeling excessively tired and it might have been connected to my vitamin deficiency…And I know that one of the signs of iron deficiency is tiredness. Then I just learnt that vitamin D does also contribute your energy levels. So I knew that since I am on a mission to be healthier I HAVE to ensure that I provide my body with the nutrients it needs. I figured that I might as well add a calcium supplement while I am at it since women are at risk for osteoporosis at a later age.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trying to Live Healthy

So I have not had chance to update my blog for April! I am falling short of my goal to write weekly blogs :). I have so much on my mind and so much I want to say…if I could only figure out a way to pen my thoughts consistently…If you have any suggestions please let me know. I would like to be more disciplined with my blog.

So in my last post I talked about my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. My goal was to start in April. I have had a bit of a setback while at the same time I do acknowledge that I made some progress. My biggest challenge right now is changing my eating habits! So my goal is to ensure that each day I eat two servings of veges and fruits, while minimizing my carbs. Well here is the problem…what had happened was…the first week I was home I did really well…And then my parents (dad and stepmom) came to visit and that week was good as well…BUT they brought some roti (carbs)…and then my husband ordered Indian food for my surprise birthday party later that week…And we had a lot of left overs…So for the following week I didn’t cook…I ate roit, Indian food, and left overs! I mean I can’t let it waste, right!? I did try to incorporate my daily fruits and veges and limit the carbs per day…I was conscious of that. But then my fruits finished and I was/am too lazy to go to the grocery store…And I can feel myself starting to slip back into old habits. I think that is natural though…when things get “rough” we tend to default to the behavior we are more familiar and comfortable with, even if that behavior is not right…This is probably how addicts STRUGGLE to overcome. At this point I feel like I only need to eat fish and veges to pay for my “food sins.”

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thirty and the Thirty Pound Challenge

So I am officially 30…the big 3-0! I was asked if I had any great epiphany turning 30, but I really don’t…(Unlike when I turned 29 :). I have been aiming to make some major life changes prior to my birthday…I think I have made major changes in my life just from last year to this year. I don’t feel a year older, but I definitely feel a year wiser!

One of the major life changes I am embarking on is aiming to live a healthier life. Not because I need to lose weight, and want to look good, but because health is just tied into so many aspects of life I can no longer ignore it! I would officially be a fool to not do better with my health. I am older now! In February and March, I taught the Tuesday night sisters’ class at church and I learnt a lot from my own lessons! In February, I covered a few mental health topics (depression, anxiety, illness, and grief). I was truly amazed to see how intertwined and integral exercise is to our overall mental health. Apart from the fact that diabetes is real, and runs in my family, I am also predisposed to clotting because of a protein S deficiency…That means if I get a clot I can get a stroke. Exercise would not only act as a primary method of prevention from these preventable diseases, but it would also aid in preserving my overall mental health. Besides increasing your lifespan, and living longer without major problems, exercise helps to boost your energy levels, improves your sleep, improves your overall mood, and improves your sex life. For a lot of major mental health disorders, exercise is “prescribed.” Exercise can prevent a lot of diseases including some cancers, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, hypertension, and helps regulate cholesterol.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead" 2 Cor 1:8-10

Yesterday we talked about resilience and I referred to this passage. Earlier in the passage Paul talked about how he was comforted by God and it is that comfort he uses to comfort others. That tells me that when we are faced with adversity it is always for a good reason. Because through those troubles we would be made stronger IF we make the choice to seek God and the many resources He has given to us. But Paul was not secretive about the troubles he and others experienced. He went on to say that I don’t want you to be unaware…basically, don’t be fool to think that what we experienced was easy-breezy…This was some crazy stuff, to the point where we thought we had to give up the ghost! I like that because one, he was honest about what he went through. He did not try to paint a pretty picture, disguised his hurt and sufferings. He told it as it was, but he pointed to the one who helped him through. When we go through stuff, we are going to experience an array of emotions, those emotions are normal and natural. We should not feel guilty for feeling the way we feel. Resilience comes in when even in the midst of pain, we make the “right” choice. We make a choice to turn to positive coping mechanisms. We make a choice not to drown our pains in alcohol, drugs, sex etc. Resilience does not mean that we would be happy all the time, or feel hokey-dory as we go through moments of grief, abuse, relationship problems. Resilience is our ability to be stretched, bent over backwards, and feel like we are just about to die, AND STILL be able to make it through on the other side. It might take a while, it might take weeks, months, but we know that we have a Comforter who is there for us and we choose Him instead of choosing someone else.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Change is often difficult even when we have the best intentions to do the right thing. There are so many moments when we make up our mind to be different…Perhaps we want to eat healthier or lose some weight. Perhaps we said that we are going to invest time in God’s word so we could stay full. Or maybe we said that we were not going to pursue that toxic relationship that has been weighing us down. But sometimes we manage to push through and have a groundbreaking change. And we celebrate those moments that signify great strides. Maybe we find ourselves less dependent on people and more dependent on God. Maybe we open up ourselves and our hearts to new relationships which led to new found blessings. And even when we have successfully changed, we may suffer moments when we may even “relapse” and return to our old ways. Sometimes in those moments when we relapse we lose hope in our ability to truly change and be better, be different, and just be consistent.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Are You Using Your Health Insurance?

Some of us are blessed to have health insurance, either through our jobs or through the government. I decided to call my insurance provider to find out what exactly is covered and how much I would have to pay etc. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised and thought it necessary to share with you what I found. Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know until we actually KNOW IT. That’s the case with my health insurance. I did not know that each year I can see a nutritionist 6 times that is 100% covered! I have had insurance since January 2007 and I did not know this! I feel like I have robbed myself. I also found out that I can visit the eye doctor once a year that is also 100% covered. I might have known this but I never actively thought about going.

Friday, March 4, 2011

One Year Bloggerversary!

Oh my gosh! It has been one year since I started blogging (February 2010)! I must take a moment to thank B. Damon, my mentor who first encouraged me to start this journey. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, read, and taken the time to leave a comment or send me a personal email. I truly, truly, truly appreciate your words of encouragement. It has at many times kept me motivated and encouraged me to hear about your personal testimony and the encouragement you have received. I have no idea who is reading, or what the impact may be. My hope and prayer is always that I can encourage someone along the way and bring honor and glory to God as I strive (and sometimes struggle) to do what is right. So thank you so much for your support.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can I really Let Go of Childhood Dreams?

I believe that each of us as adults have certain aspects of our lives that remain childish. Basically, it’s as if we never “grew up,” and a certain memory or event can send us back into time when we were 8, or 12, or 16. The same feelings, thoughts, hurts, anger, emotions we experience at that time come alive…and almost seems to haunt our existence in this present day. It’s the reason why so many adults act like children when they are upset…We often wonder what is wrong with her!? Why is he acting like a child? Maybe that child never grew up emotionally…Maybe that child has so many unresolved feelings that he or she was not given the opportunity to grow up.

I remember when I was 8 years old I came to the United States of America for the first time! It was the summer of 1989…and I was bursting with great excitement! I remember literally jumping for joy when I received the news that daddy and I were going to New York! I was downstairs, in the yard…It was a hot sunny day in Trinidad…and he told me we were going…With giddy ecstasy, I jumped, and jumped, and jumped! Because for the first time in my life I was going abroad…But more than that, for the first time in my life, I was going to meet my sisters and brother! And I was so excited to meet them! Ever since I knew myself I knew I had 4 sisters and 1 brother (on my father’s side) who lived in the U.S. and I could not wait to meet them! I had seen pictures of everyone, and knew each person in their birth order.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Miserable Comforters

Job, during his time of illness and despair, referred to his friends as miserable comforters!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach the ladies class at my congregation on Tuesday nights. I must confess that I was a little skeptical of my own abilities to teach this class…ESPECIALLY when I was given the topics!!!! The topics were dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and illness. Boy oh boy, ‘what do I know about this???’ I said to myself! I felt like I was the most “unqualified” person to teach this class. ‘I don’t know anything about depression, anxiety, illness and grief!’ Boy was I wrong!!! One day I was sharing my fears with another sister…And she said to me, “but you do know about illness…because you know about it from a mental health standpoint. And everything that you went through with the varied emotions you can relate to the sisters!” I am thankful for the encouragement I received along the way to do this class…I have truly been blessed beyond what I can imagine…

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Last Days in Trinidad

I started off this trip with the goal that it would be different…Different than any other trip I had taken before. And I am happy to say that my trip was amazingly different!!

God has truly done an amazing work in my heart…especially as it pertains to how I approach and dealt with my mother.

For as long as I can remember I have had a strained relationship with my mother due to her mental illness. I was probably around 7 when I realized something was not right…my father just told me that she was “sick.” But as a child I could not understand what that really meant. So due to a lack of knowledge, lack of medical support, lack of family support, and lack of whatever else, our relationship grew further and further apart.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Natural Hair!

So my natural hair is back! In October 2009, I had relaxed my hair and during that time I learnt a lot about my hair. The one major thing I learnt is that you don’t really need to relax your hair every 6 weeks or as often as “they” tell you to. I had not relaxed my hair in a year and two months and everyone was ‘none the wiser.’ With a flat iron to straighten out the new growth, I was contented.

When I had relaxed my hair (after being natural for 2 years) someone asked me if I missed my natural hair. And my answer was no. To me, hair is hair…and the best time to play/experiment with it is when you are young and actually have hair to play with! Because there will come a time when your hair may thin out or start to disappear. So why not try new things with your hair? Cut it, it will just grow back…Relax it, you can always cut it…Dye it, your natural color will eventually grow out…it’s just hair!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trinidad – My Friends & Mother

“How was your day?” the nurse asked. “It was good,” she said, “could have been longer.”
Right before I left NC, I was talking to a friend about my upcoming trip to Trinidad…I was telling her about how I was planning to make this trip different…in a better way…

I developed a routine of sorts every time I come to Trinidad. There are about 5 people I usually make it my business to connect with. (Separate and apart from family). Before coming, I would usually send an email letting them know when I would be coming/leaving and express and interest to connect with them. And for the most part I am able to connect with them. I started noticing however, that the longer I am away in the U.S. the more distant some of my friendships have grown. So while I am hyped to meet up with these friends, I have started to sense that they are a little less than enthused to see me. While I would move mountains to see them, I don’t really get that same sense from them…So my crazy friend told me to let them go and make some new friends.

Last year a similar situation happened when I tried to connect with a friend from Trinidad who lived in another state. I was visiting that state and as in normal Kaara fashion, I emailed her prior to my arrival asking if we could link up. At first she said that she “should be available,” and when the time gets closer, we will confirm. Well, before I got there, I emailed her…no response…I called her twice and left voice messages, no response…then I texted her and asked her if she got my messages and she responded that she did and told me to “have a nice trip.” A little taken aback by the response I reminded her that I was in town and wanted to connect…since she never responded to my messages, I asked her if she missed that part. She in turn responded, “Did you miss the part where I said I was under pressure?” WOW. I must say I was a bit disappointed by that…I mean I had even left in my message asking her about bible class and what time they have it, if they go etc to see if we could link up then…In my mind I was like seriously? You are soooooooooooo busy, I cannot come by for 10 minutes?? Seriously? I then later find out that she spends Saturday evening with her family who are also mutual friends and who happen to share the same faith…Again, in my mind I thought that she could have invited me to drop by…But here I was…willing to go out of my way during my vacation time to see you…while you could care less! This is basically what I have to contend with my Trini friends.

And so it’s hard. I am such a relational person that it’s hard for me to let go of relationships that I have cherished for so long. While at the same time it’s easy for me to get hurt by those simple instances I mentioned above. So what should I do? According to my crazy friend I should stop running after the people who are not able to demonstrate love and focus on those around me who do. And I agree. I have been hesitant to let these friends go because I feel if I lose them I will lose my connection to Trinidad and in turn feel disconnected…But in the grand scheme of things, that’s okay. Cause I am connected elsewhere…

So in usual Kaara fashion, I emailed 4 friends…Heard from 3 and confirmed with one…and I am totally okay with that. This time, I am not going to try to move mountains to see anyone unless they are willing to do the same for me. Sorry guys. As another one of my friends said, “why should I make you a priority in my life, when I am optional in your life?” So my focus this time is to just look around and observe…Think about these relationships, and determine which of these relationships are worth keeping based on the other person’s value for our friendship. At the same time, I am going to try to connect more with those who are more willing to connect with me…And even open my heart to those who I may have never connected with before.

In my last post I talked about how last year was the year for letting go…which is no easy task for me. But part of letting go also involves starting something new…Fostering closer relationships with friends you have and opening your heart to make new friends. I only have a week so we will see how that goes!

As I talk about opening my heart to start something new, I have to talk about my mother. A sore spot for me and not something I like to talk about much. I was telling my friend that since I was not going to place as much emphasis on my friends that I was planning to focus more on my mother…and take her out and try to spend time with her…BUT I told her, I don’t really feel the same way that other people feel about their mothers…You know, I don’t have that “lovey-dovey” feeling that a lot of people have for their mothers. And she said to me, “that’s okay”…Don’t force yourself to feel that way if it’s not natural because then it would never be real…That was the first time someone ever told me that it was okay to basically feel the way I felt…(thank you!) She went on to say that I have a lot of bad memories about my mother and my younger life with her…So what I need to do is create new memories that are good memories and fun memories. Honestly, that is a hard concept to imagine but I was willing to try…And I was willing to try because I wanted to make this trip purposeful…And challenge myself beyond my comfort zone. And with that I set out to engage with my mother in a way I had not done in years…I mean probably more than 18 years!

My memory is still haunted by the recent scenes of when we had to take her out of the house by force and carry her to the mental health hospital…the prison like atmosphere made my heart sink when I thought about it…And the mental and emotional anguish anyone would feel being there…I am saddened by our system…our third world system…I mean, I know in my heart of hearts that was the best thing for her…But the process was gut wrenching…Since her release from the hospital we found an elderly home for her to stay in. She describes it as being in a place with only old people, caged in like an animal because you can’t go anywhere. Granted she never went anywhere when she lived alone but when you KNOW you can’t leave it really does make you feel trapped…And so I feel kinda bad that yet again, in my little third-world county, we really do not have the facilities that is most appropriate for her…I hate that we cannot do better…I feel guilt I cannot do better.

During the early months when she was placed in the home I attempted to call her every week. I went from not calling at all to regular calls…But the calls started to weigh on me, and I viewed it as my token responsibility and not something that I WANTED to do. As a matter of fact I started to dread every time I called her…It was a doom and gloom conversation that always went the same way…She complained about the home, had nothing much to say, silence, and goodbye. When I came to Trinidad in July of last year, I took my in-laws with me to visit her…and I sat in silence as I forced myself to make conversation with her…It was uncomfortable…not because my in-laws were there, but simply because I just don’t know what to say or what to do…Our relationship feels so unnatural…It does NOT feel like a mother-daughter relationship…It feels stressed and strained…And I quickly want to get out of there!

So, I went from calling every week, to once every couple weeks to once a month. The first time there was a one month gap between calls, our conversation lasted 12 minutes instead of the usual 3-4 minutes! Though short, that was really a long conversation for us…What made it even better was that she DID NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING…I mean she was able to have a conversation without complaining about the home she was staying in and about how she wanted to leave the place! I was so shocked I sat in my chair almost elated! I was happy. The next month, the same thing happened! Maybe it was not just by chance, maybe this was real change on the horizon…But I still had my guard up each time I called waiting to hear her complain…But up now, I have not heard her complain, and it has made our conversations more than just bearable. Even the director of the home has mentioned that she is more settled, and talking more with the folks there…

I had no faith that the medications would work…She had been sick for soooo long and lived without medication for way to long that I feared that her brain was just hard wired. My husband told me that there is no telling with schizophrenia. Sometimes the meds work other times it does not. Each patient is different and you will never know…

Maybe the medication is working? Maybe prayer is working? Something I don’t rely on nearly enough! I hope someone is praying for me and praying for her!

My mother has often felt like a burden to me…Since I was little and had to care for her by managing the household bills when I was 13…and making groceries…and cleaning…even organizing myself for school by getting my own books and uniform, making sure I stayed on the straight and narrow by taking MYSELF to church with the neighbors…and just trying to be responsible at 13!! It was a burden…And I think I am okay with acknowledging that its kinda crazy for a 13 year old to be given that heavy load to carry. That was not fair to me!!! And so that burden I have carried unwillingly ever since I can remember, I could never seem to let go. Coupled with the fact that I am carrying a burden for someone that I don’t “feel” I love…In the sense that though I may go through the motions of “trying to do the right thing,” I have never felt that I was doing it because “I loved her” as opposed to, “it was my responsibility…my lot in life.”

So as I work on letting go of the dead weight in my life…I am simultaneously working on establishing relationships or strengthening relationships that do matter…My mother being top priority….

The number one thing that will make this trip different than any other trip before is that I am going to open my heart to my mother, and allow myself to start something new with her…I am going to allow myself to learn how to love her…and be with her…and not see her as a burden but as a person…and person, who like me, needs love, acceptance, affection, attention, and grace.

And so the day after I landed, I journeyed to P’town where she stayed and took about 50 million taxis to get to the mall. She was so happy to see me, and finally get out of the house…She had been at the home for 14 months and never left except once a month for her clinic appointments. She was pleasant, and even engaging. We went to the shoe store and tried on shoes…and she even found a really cute pair of shoes! Then we had lunch at the food court, and she had ice-cream afterwards…then we went and got our toes done!! I mean I can honestly say that this was the most engaged I have been with her in YEARS…I cannot even remember the last time I was able to just hang out with her…and really, have a good time…without feeling like it was a burden to bear. I even took some pictures…I never take pictures of her because she never allowed it…and after a while I didn’t care to. Who wants pictures of bad memories anyway?

Thank you my friend for encouraging me to create new memories…That was the best piece of advice I have ever gotten regarding my relationship with my mother! And thank you for telling me that it’s okay to feel the way I feel…Another burden has been lifted off my heart.

“How was your day?” the nurse asked. “It was good,” she said, “could have been longer.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well, my trip started off to a bad start since I was struck in Miami airport for 9 hours!!! All because of “air traffic” when we landed that kept us on the runway for 30 minutes!! With 5 minutes to spare, I ran to the counter to be greeted by an unsympathetic flight worker. “Door just closed one minute ago,” he said, as he continued to type on his computer. “Is that the plane?” I asked. “Yes, but once the door is closed its closed and we can't open it.” He went on to say that they waited 5 minutes but that was all they allowed them to wait because they didn't know if I was coming. Ohhhhhhhh, I was so mad. When airlines run late they could care less about you. The 30 minutes we strolled around on the runway, they didn't offer any explanation!! That's what gets me. Not one word. And of course these people have access to my flight info and know I would miss my flight. They could have called them and asked them to wait 5 more minutes! I don't know if I ever had a flight that left exactly on time. (An international flight that is). Steups, hell, the flight they rebooked me in was 20 or 25 minutes late! Again, no explanation!! Hmmmm, so they couldn't be 20 minutes late this morning!!! I know, I know, I just need to let this go! Well the one good thing is that I met a girl from Dominica who fell into the stress as me. So that was nice to have someone to chat with for a while. Then I did some work for work so I could reclaim my flex time at work. I think the most frustrating part for me is that I had made plans to hang out at the young adults class tonight for the first time ever! And I was really looking forward to it since every time I come to Trinidad I was never lucky enough to catch it. What a bummer.

I had said to myself that this trip would be different. Because I am different. So much has changed within me over the past year. Heck, over the past few months. One of the biggest change that is taking place within me right now is learning to let go. Learning to let go of people, friends, and family. Learning to even let go of past hurts and pain.

Over the past year I totally let go of one friend. This dude had stood me up about a year ago when I was in Trinidad and said he could not tell me why. Well you know what, I put my foot down because I felt that I deserved better than his lousy apology. And since then things have not been the same. But you know what, I am okay with that. Because even though I loved him dearly, I have to accept the fact that people change, they have the right to change, and that change can even mean leaving me behind. It happens every day to married people who the fell in love and then look around twice and realize their spouse is totally different. That is why you have to pray that you will always grow together in the Lord. And when you change, you change for the better. That is my eternal pray for my husband and I. That neither of us would grow out of each other, but that we would grow together, not leaving the other behind. At the same time, I cannot and will not take for granted that it can happen…even to us…

My next change came when I started letting go of my sisters. From ever since I was a little girl, I wanted and craved that sister-sister relationship. I have finally accepted that even though I chose them they don't have to choose me. I am the outside child (according to one friend) and no matter what I do, I will always be the outside child...come on now...don't get me wrong, letting go is not easy but I have started and I have come such a long with that!

Through another incident with another friend, I learnt that I was holding on to the idea of what was and not what is. When you are friends with someone for a long time it’s easy to hold on to that friendship for dear life because of what you used to have or what you thought you had. And that was a hard lesson to swallow. I was holding on to an idea not something real. Because if it were real it would be real for both of us not just me. I learnt that the way I felt about her was not the same way she felt about me. I learnt that even when you share your heart with the most trusted person it can still be broken. I learnt that we give too much power to people...the power to allow their actions to cause immense pain. For the longest while I wanted to know why she abandoned our friendship and from the moment I found out it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. But why did I need her confirmation that she didn't love me the way I thought in order to "set me free?" That should not be. It was as if I kept myself back just waiting and hoping. Sometimes we are going to find ourselves in situations where we will just not understand why...Why did he cheat on me? Why did he abandon his child? Why did he kill himself? Or why did she have to die!!? No matter how hard we try we may never get the answer to these whys...but we have to figure out a way to let go completely and not allow this to hold us back emotionally…I am learning slowly…

So last year has truly been the year for letting go. But when you let go of these things you have to replace it with new and positive things. It might mean making new friends or forming closer relationships with the ones you have already. It might mean that you focus on what you do have and not what you don't. It might mean seeking God first knowing that every experience you have is one to make you love Him more.

When I left Trinidad for school in 2003, I became so patriotic. I hung flags in my room, had my car dressed with my national colors...and would just be proud to be a Trini. When we leave home we become so patriotic we learn to have a greater appreciation for what we have...the food, the culture, the music, the people...especially the people...You just love up on your country extra hard. You say things like "I am a Trini to de bone," you start collecting local music, when you visit you take pictures like you is ah of de road, the buildings, everything you taking pictures of. You never noticed it before. But now dat you is an official Trini to de bone you savor everything! When you in America and you hear a Trini accent, is like you become friends instantly. But when you home you hear the same accent on the bus everyday but you don't even bat an eye. Being away from home just creates that unspoken love for your country. You start to think that your people and culture is the best thing since slice bread. You unconsciously start looking down on other cultures by making yours the best. Better than everybody else. You fear losing your accent and hate it when people tell you don't sound like a Trini. You even look down on those who have lived here so long by calling them Americanized.

When I came to America I was proud NOT to be American. I was a super proud Trini. I fought hard not to adapt to the culture here so I could remain a “pure” Trini. But now I don't care. Now I can appreciate my culture and other cultures. Now I don't have to say we have the best food, music, culture etc. because now I can appreciate the value in I know that love has no respect for culture or national I value the people who are in my life but not from my culture. Now I take pride in just being proud to be me...And proud to be a Christian...because God has placed so many people from all walks of life to be in my circle...and right now, I have more friends who are American than I do who are Trini. Soooo proud to be Trini? Always...but more proud to be me :)

I started off by saying that this trip will be different because I am different...I will keep you posted.
***P.S. If you see any typos please email me and let me know so I can edit it. Thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Moments of Sadness...

HOW COULD YOU!!!!? Screamed the wife in tears…How could you do this to me? Do this to your family!!!!? Your children!!!? HOW COULD YOU!!!!! What did I do to you to deserve this? She said as tears streamed down her face. Rage, anger, hatred, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, frustration all imploded in her being all at once…She thought her head was going to explode! She could see no relief from the agony…that her lover, friend, and soulmate has caused her. Her heart was grief stricken…She couldn’t think…Every thought made absolutely no sense! WAS IT ALL A LIE!!? She exclaimed!? All those times you told me you loved me…were you just fronting it!?
No, he chided quietly…appearing to be hurt by her disposition.

THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THIS TO ME!!?? I thought our love was precious! I thought you were a man of God! I thought you…you…were my friend…she said, as she panted for breath to talk..

In an instant, her world, as she knew it changed…In an instant, her equilibrium was shifted to a place she had never gone before…To a place she had never known…
She stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her…She sat crying silently on the bathroom floor…Her body trembled with the tears of agony…She moaned, and asked God why…Why God? Why did this happen to me? God, I did not deserve this? I was faithful! I was a good wife! I was a good Christian! WHY GOD!??? WHY!!?
Do you know this woman? I feel so emotional writing this…It’s not my story…BUT it’s someone’s story…reflected in exactly how I would feel if it were me…And the thought is enough to make me cry.

It’s amazing to me what we are capable of doing to our “friends.” The people we love the most…It’s amazing to me how much of ourselves we invest in others…whether our family, spouses, friends…But do we invest as much energy in ourselves? In our souls? Are we able to recover when our world is shattered at this very instant?

A couple days ago I was reflecting on a situation that happened a little over a year ago…And I asked myself, “why didn’t she fight for me? Why did she give up on me? On us? Was I not of value to her?” The confusion in my mind, brought tears to my heart…Because I just could not understand these unresolved questions. So was it a lie? The last 15 years…was it a bad friendship? Did you not really care for me? What about the time you talked about protecting my heart? Where did that go??And so the questions go…And the feelings of fury and sadness return…

She was not my lover…she was simply a friend…a regular gal pal. She was not my soul mate, the person I want to spend the rest of my life with…But she was a friend…And I thought to myself, what she did, is nothing compared to what others have done…Its nothing compared to the wives, families, children, husbands who have been abandoned by their significant other.

As a human, you have to realize that you are capable of helping someone climb a mountain, or pushing them off the mountain. As a friend, you have an even greater impact…Because friends allow each other to come close to their hearts…They allow each other into that personal space reserved for a select few…And when that trust, is broken, or that space is taken advantage of, persons are left scared, damaged, and hurt.

Have you seen the "Craigslist Killer" or the "Social Network?" What stood out for me in those movies were the friends that just did each other wrong...I am sure the facebook dude's best friend was hurt by what happened? Though rich, I am sure a part of him wonders how could he have stabbed me in the back like this? My heart really did ache watching that movie...Because I saw how "easy" its us to hurt each other...through selfishness, greed, or stubborness...and What about mister craigslist...Mister was in medical school for crying out loud!!! About to get married to a fellow med student. NO WAY did she see that coming! Can you imagine how her life must have been turned upside down and rightside out!?

But this I can say…thank God for God! In times of sadness and despair, our reaction is often to run…To hide from it…to avoid it…We might do this through work, becoming over involved with life…never having a dull moment…also known as never having a moment to think…about it…We tire ourselves out with life, that we rarely if ever give ourselves time for self-reflection…But as soon as we have a quiet moment, life comes crashing down.

But I want to encourage us to not run from “it” but face it…Deal with it…Face the hurt, anger, pain, and allow yourself to go through it…Seek God, and He will provide a circle of support and wise council for your journey. There are resources out there to help you and me…Whether it’s a partner to walk with on a spiritual journey, a prayer partner, a counselor or therapist, a self-help group...when you seek to better yourself, windows and doors will open up! It’s when we hide, we often feel alone…But when we face our “its” we can prevail triumphantly. We can grow…And we can look back at the periods of sadness, and depression, as a moment in time, that God was allowing us to face adversity, so we could be a better me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happiness is Fleeting

Sunday (Dec 26) we were itching to go somewhere for vacation…But where could we go…St. Louis? New York? If it was not for the SNOW we would have done that…But we craved for somewhere warmer…And so we decided on Florida, Orlando FL! IT was probably around 8:30pm that night that we decided that we would just go for it, and figure out everything else along the way. The only “plan” we had was that we would just leave whenever…whenever we finished packing and booking out hotel room the next day. We had a tentative plan to leave at 2pm…We didn’t leave until 4pm!

So we booked our hotel using our points from our Amex credit card. Now I must pause for a cause here…I am not one to promote the use of credit cards, but this one deserves some hype. If you are capable of using a credit card like a debit card…that is you don’t spend what you don’t have…and pay it off right after you charge it, then get the Starwood Preferred Guests credit card from Amex. This card has a reward system like no other. In 2010, we stayed in Atlanta GA, St. Louis MO, Dallas TX, Jacksonville FL, and Orlando FL for FREE! A total of 12 nights at Sheratons across the U.S. was all free! I could probably do an ad for them for real. They also allow you to redeem your points for gift cards…So instead of the free hotel stays, I could have gotten twelve $50 gift cards to places like GAP, old navy etc. We have never done that because we can ALWAYS use free hotel stays valued at least $100 per night! If you know of a credit card that pays you at least $1,200 a year in rewards PLEASE LET ME KNOW…We use our credit card to pay all bills that allow us to pay with AMEX, we also use it to purchase gas, food, entertainment, travel, shopping etc. Since I don’t really use a credit card for the “credit” part, the most I would do is buy something knowing that I will pay it off at the end of the month when we get paid. Also, using a credit card allows me to keep track of my spending…believe it or not, I am more likely to spend more carelessly if I use cash!

Anyhoo, so Monday morning we booked our hotel, and we left home 4pm that afternoon. Nothing was planned! When we decided that we were going we had no idea where we would stay, what we would do in FL, how much money we would spend…Now for those of you who know me, this is a first for me. I am a planner at heart…Usually when its vacation time, I research possible activities, make a budget, and even research deals…I research which Sheraton we will stay, hunt for the best flight deals weeks, even months in advance…So, to decide today for tomorrow to go somewhere 10 hours away was huge for me! This was not the first time we had a spontaneous trip, but it was the first time it spanned a week!

I must say, I totally loved the spontaneity of this trip!!! It will go down as one of our best trips ever!! AS a matter of fact in 2010 we had some boss trips!! My theme for last year was basically to go for it…If I want to do it…then do it! And with that, we visited my sister/best friend and her husband in St. Louis, we went to an Alicia Keys concert in Atlanta , saw a hilarious Tyler Perry Play, went to a few comedy shows including Sedrick the Entertainer, NY Comic Strip live, and Goodnight comedy club for my birthday. We for the first time, had a unique experience in NY and went to Broadway play at last – Fela! We finally saw the Color Purple, made 3 trips to DC and saw the monuments, a steelpan show, visited friends in VA/DC…Went to the Caribbean lectureship in Trinidad and had a beach getaway in Tobago for our anniversary…then we went to Texas and met Margie and Weldon…a trip that has touched me like none other…So this Orlando trip simply ended the year off with a bang! We went to Seaworld, Aquatica, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure! On Tuesday we walked along the shore of Jacksonville beach and talked about our personal goals for the new year…IT was low key and sweet. We brought in the new year, tired as ever at universal studios or was it islands of adventure…they were right next to each other…

I look back on 2010 and I feel like I accomplished what I had set out…I tried a lot of things...Had I not decided on that theme, I would not have done half the things we did in 2010…I would have stopped myself because “someone” did not want to go…Or because it was too expensive…In 2010, I turned NOTHING down because of the price! I am proud to say that if I wanted to do it, I did…I often told my husband that he works very hard and he deserves to cut himself a break and enjoy something for working so hard…And with that said, I said – let’s do it! Forget price! Let’s do it! I want to see my sister…forget how much it costs…let’s do it…You have someone you want to visit…just do it…You never know how life is going to change…Don’t assume that you will have time to visit them “later.” Better to do it now, than to visit them at their funeral. That’s my mantra…I have given myself permission to spend a couple hundred dollars to see a friend…because my friend is worth more than that to me…I so, I hope to repeat many of the things we did in 2010 in this new year…I want to make sure I visit my sister in St.Louis and my dad in NY…and of course Trinidad and Jamaica…I also want to go to Hawaii, and on a cruise! AND, to the Caribbean lectureship in St. Lucia.

You are probably wondering where I am going to find the time to do all of that!? I only get 12 vacation days a year…But where there is a will, there is a way!! I will work an extra hour Monday-Thursday, that would allow me 2 days off using flex time….I will do that on the months that I need to take a week off…That way I would only use 3 vacation days for every 5 days I want off. I would also do the same for holiday weekends like Labor day or memorial day….Since its already a 3 day weekend, then I can add a day of flex and a work from home day to allow me to take a Wed-Sunday trip to visit friends and family without actually using a single vacation day. That way I would be able to stretch my vacation days and turn it into 5 full weeks off!! And if for some reason that does not work, I would gladly take a week of unpaid leave so I could live a little! Some companies offer flex time that does not expire…in that case, if you work an extra 8 hours a month by working an extra 30 minutes a day, you would be able to easily take 2 weeks off at the end of the year without even touching your vacation time…because your flex time basically turns into vacation days. Unfortunately BBBS does not allow us to roll over our flex time…So I would have to work within the limits and use it each pay period. Another thing I have done in the past, is to ask for a week of vacation instead of a pay raise. I did that after my first year because they only offered 5 days after one year of employment.

Anyway, I digress…I would like to share one thing that I have learnt through all my adventures in 2010…As much fun I had doing a million new and exciting things, I have learnt that happiness is fleeting. When you live in the moment, you are happy in the moment…It does not last…It does not carry you…and it does not make you a happier person…IT does not make you forget your problems, it does not hide your insecurities and it does not stop the tears…It does not stop the things that hurt you…The things that hurt me are still there…A friend who abandoned our 15 year friendship, family who blows me off, my dad not coming to visit, the hole in my heart because I don’t have a mother, the sadness I feel at times when I call my friends and they don’t call me back but I really needed someone to talk to, the stress of caring for a mentally ill mother, or even the feelings of abandonment I contend with from time to time…As much “fun” things you do with your life, it does not change the problems in your life…And therefore, it’s a temporary band aid that takes you away from life, and into a world of pure bliss.

The last 5 days, I was on a high! I was flying so high I could touch the sky! Each day I woke up happy to be with Jared, happy to be with my best friend, and happy to be flying on roller coasters, and swimming down a water slide, and just being a kid again…it was problem free! Pure bliss! Pure joy! Only smiles!! But then…we had to pack our bags and start our 10 hour journey home. As I sat in the car a wave of sadness just came over me…For no reason in particular, I just started to feel sad…Perhaps it was that a new year does not really bring a new you…Cause you still have the same problems? Perhaps it was that I was going back to work! And I got the back to work blues…But I don’t know if that’s really it…What I do know, is that happiness is fleeting…It does not last but a moment…

But joy, is something that is within your soul…Joy you get not from doing something fun…it’s from the life you chose to live…It’s from the decision you make to follow God…Pure joy is found only in God…And it is when we take our eyes off of the prize, discontentment in many aspects of our life set in. Discontentment is the killer of joy! Perhaps I am not content with my family life…perhaps there is something else I feel that I am missing…and with that, discontentment can easily replace my joy. Don’t allow discontentment to steal your joy…Put your blinders on and keep your eyes on the prize…Focus on God, and everything else will fall into place. I KNOW THIS…Sometimes I just need to remind myself!

Be blessed!