Family Ties

“The Best Times Are Always Found When Friends and Family Gather Round.”

Last Sunday our little family hopped in the car and made our way to Northbridge, Mass to finally meet up with one of the mister’s cousins and his wife. Neither one of us knew what to expect from this meeting, so there was some apprehension in making the hour’s drive to the unknown, but as soon as we rang the doorbell and were greeted by a warm and beautiful Maria, all guarded feelings and reservations were quickly set aside. She embraced us with the most welcoming hug and smile that we couldn’t help but fall in love with her. Standing nearby was Paul (Mark’s maternal cousin), a big bear of guy with a smile almost as big as he is tall.

After our introductions, we were led into their lovely home and showered with a kindness that is sometimes rare to us, at least where family is concerned. And while the men brought out family photos from the past and shared stories about their kin, Maria, (a beautiful Ecuadorian) and I quickly bonded as if we’d known each other all of our lives. There’s something about two Latinas who are drawn to each other’s similarities when they find themselves in the midst of a different culture, a culture we love, of course, but different nonetheless.

After we all exchanged similar stories and experiences about our lives, we decided on sharing a meal before making our way back home. During our conversation at dinner, Maria shared how they were as nervous about meeting us as we were about meeting them. We laughed at how in some ways it was almost a “first date” of sorts. You know those dates where you aren’t sure if it’ll be a good experience so you meet up for coffee and wait to see how it goes? If it’s not so great, then you can quickly dash out. If it goes well, then you share a meal? What, you’ve never had that experience before? 😀 In the case of this “first date,” it went really well. So well, in fact, that we quickly promised to cook a meal together the next time we meet up. Now that is a good date!

And all too soon, it was time to say our goodbyes. While we did so with a weight in our hearts, we also felt a sense of happiness in our soul at the thought of a future with new leaves firmly attached to our ever growing familial tree. Aren’t the ties that bind us together a bit funny sometimes? I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Until next time…I hope you are having a wonderful close to the weekend wherever you may be! I hope that wherever you are, you’re with people that make your soul sing.

xoxo,

me

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Family is everything. Here’s a peek at some of ours. Paul, Mark, Garrett, Bronwyn, and Maria.

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Oh the memories and photos they shared.

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A Day of Reflection and Gratefulness

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” -Langston Hughes

hello again, my sweets! as i sit here lucky enough to be enjoying a day off from work on veterans day, i can’t help but think about how awed i am by the heroism of all of the men and women (including my mr.) who have in the past, and continue today, to fight for our freedom. i’m awed by those who endure things the average human would never have the strength or the courage to do. isn’t it amazing how these brave men and women are put on this earth to carry out a job that helps to secure our freedom? isn’t it amazing how they react to life changing decisions without giving it a second thought? i’m humbled by them all. but mostly i feel i lack the proper words to tell them just how grateful i am for their bravery. for their selflessness. for their service to our beautiful country. truthfully, there aren’t enough words or actions to express how grateful i am on a daily basis, not just on a day that honors them all. thank to my husband and my friends who have served and continue to serve. to my friends who leave their families behind in order to fight a battle that i would never have the courage to take on. thank you.

so on this day of reflection, i sit here ready to share a few thoughts about a few things that have been on my mind for sometime. i apologize in advance if they seem silly or insignificant to you, especially on a day like this, since for the most part i’m really a privileged woman. not money wise, but i certainly live a life that’s pretty easy for the most part.

so here it goes: you see, i’m someone who has a lot of dreams, a lot of wishes, and vision of how i’d like for my life to go. but with those dreams, comes a weight from the chains that hold me back. chains that i’ve attached to myself and carried for years. chains built from fear, self-doubt, and a lack of courage.

over the last few weeks at my new job, i have started to shed those chains. i’ve started to see myself differently. i’ve started to stand up a little taller. i’ve started to find courage in knowing that i’m stronger and smarter than i’ve ever given myself credit for. i’ve started to believe that i can be more than the person i thought i was or could be. i’ve started to see a whole new path for myself. i’ve started to tear down the wall of fears and doubt i’ve built around myself over the years. let me tell you, there is nothing and no one that can hold us back from living the life we’re capable of living more than the person you see in the mirror.

i won’t sugar coat things by saying my job is easy or always a party, but i will say i wake up every day, even today, and feel excited about what my work day is going to bring. unfortunately, not many people feel the same way. i’m grateful that i didn’t allow my fear of not being good enough, or smart enough to keep me from looking for a job. i’m glad i pushed through those wasted fears and found something i really enjoy. the last few weeks have given me a new found respect for myself and for my capabilities. i’ve slowly learned to let go of the things that kept me holding onto nothing.

it’s not only my job that have helped to shed those chains, it’s also how i’ve learned to see life recently that has helped to rebuild me. it’s the little things that i love, that i’m passionate about that have helped to do that. my photography, my painting, my blog, my community of friends that keeps inspiring me and continuously pushes me to move forward, and my family and their words they share with me that lift me up when i’m at my lowest points.

so, there it is. my life as i’ve lived it and rebuild it. if you’ve stuck around after all of my gut spilling, then i’m grateful for your patience. and if by some chance you’re feeling the same way, and i’ve helped you even a tiny bit by sharing my feelings, then it’s a bonus. and maybe, just maybe, i’ve helped to break one more piece of the chain off of myself by being honest with myself and you. so what would you do if you weren’t afraid? do you live a life without chains? if so, what’s your secret?

until next time…here are some views of my area that i caught through my lens after hiking up to the bancroft castle last weekend. i hope you’re having a most wonderful day wherever you may be!

xoxo,

me

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Oh New England falls, how you spoil us with your colors and your beauty.

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She is what makes my heart skip a beat. i’m always grateful that she’s always willing to be by my side during my little adventures.

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