A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

Here we are, January 18, 2013. I survived the holidays and due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, the winter season seems to be quickly passing. Nothing like three years ago, when we experienced record-breaking snowfalls and it was declared the coldest winter ever. Three years ago today, I learned how literal the “coldest winter ever” was and how the quoted scripture applies to everyday life.

Maybe that day three years ago wasn’t a good time. Or maybe something more tragic would have happened down the line that would have been more painful. Either way, His plans were above my own. Yet still He has never failed me.

While I look back and think of how much time has passed, the feelings are the same. I lost our daughter, and part of me went with her. Each day that passes, she is on my mind. I’m making it solely by God’s grace and my family’s love. I anticipate the day when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ will rise, and those that remain will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)

I have learned to put my plans in God’s hands, praying constantly to be in accordance with His will for my life. Through the evidence of the changing of seasons, from winter to spring, He makes all things beautiful in His time. I hold onto the hope of Christ’s return, to be reunited with our daughter, and other loved ones we have lost.

At the right time. At the right season. Until then…


Remembering Wynter

October 15th is recognized as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7:00pm, no matter what time zone, if everyone lights a candle in remembrance of a lost infant, and keeps it burning for one hour, an international wave of light will sweep across the globe.

October 15th Wave of Light.jpg

Until my experience of infant loss due to stillbirth, I thought our time’s advanced technology and medical practices helped prevent these occurrences.

I still remember being in the hospital thinking “why did no one warn me of the possibility of stillbirth?” I hadn’t heard of anyone experiencing stillbirth except for in the old days, and it was most likely something I read in a book.
I had three healthy pregnancies and deliveries. I carried full term, to 4 days before my due date. If I was going to lose her wouldn’t that have happened in the early weeks? What could have been different this time?

We made sure we did everything right: seeking early prenatal care, taking prenatal vitamins daily, drinking plenty of water, getting rest. We waited until after our first trimester was over to even announce our pregnancy to family and friends, just to be sure we were in the clear. It was challenging to contain the excitement all that time. We had no idea the real challenge was still to come.

For 9 months, the anticipation of our new addition grew within me, literally and figuratively. We went back and forth through the process of selecting a name until we even had a loving nickname for her. We would talk to her, feel her kick, had our own idea of what personality she would have and how she would interact with her siblings.

We noticed a change one night as we lay for bed. She would usually move most at night and we would joke that she was preparing us for plenty of sleepless nights ahead. This particular night we didn’t feel the usual animated movement. As I prepared for work the next morning we agreed I would consciously pay attention and contact the doctor.

What happened the next few days seem to have gone by like a blur yet it all replays so vividly each time I think of it. To go for an ultrasound when I was just a few days shy of delivering, and not hear our daughter’s heartbeat was the most deafening silence I had ever heard.

As I mentioned previously, the challenge was not containing the excitement as we waited to share our good news with family. I was now answering to people who knew we were expecting but hadn’t learned of our loss. When I returned to work, some of my regular clients whom I hadn’t seen since before delivering, would unknowingly ask about the baby in excitement. I couldn’t be mad at them it wasn’t their fault. But I felt anger. I also felt sadness, pain and emptiness. Those sleepless nights we were expecting came not from exchanging diaper duty shifts as we cared for our child, but from all of these emotions and the process of grief.

It has been almost three years since losing our precious daughter. I think of her daily, and wonder what her milestones would have been like: sitting up, crawling, first steps, first words; which one of our looks she would favor and how unique her personality would have been.

Though I never considered myself one to take life for granted, our daughter brought new meaning and purpose to my life. I am learning to live one day at a time, appreciating all I have however small. I do my best to live each day with intention, as I have experienced personally, tomorrow is never promised. I hold on to the hope of holding her in my arms again, one sweet day.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)

Until then, I will keep her in my heart, her memory living on inside me, inspiring me to live one day at a time.

October 15th Remembering Our Babies.jpg


Cultural Cultivation: Hispanic Heritage Awareness

Having been born and raised in the United States, Philadelphia to be exact, to Puerto Rican parents, I consider myself just as much American as I am Puerto Rican. I jokingly would call myself PhillyRican. Hey, if the term fits, right?

As a mother I am finding that it is important to keep my culture alive for and through my children. If not, they may lose who we are as a people in the assimilated melting pot this country is. I have always enjoyed the diversity of America. Learning new cultures and ways of life has always been intriguing.

I remember sitting with my mother as a child asking her to tell me stories of when she was a girl. After all, having moved to the states at a young age herself, I’m sure holding on to the memories was special for her. She would tell me of the country side where she lived, her grandfather and his farm, the horses, fruit freshly picked from the trees, fun by the river and so much more. Everything seemed so carefree and I stood in awe at what this “other world” must be like in real life.

Now I find myself sharing my childhood stories with my little ones as they eagerly ask questions in amazement. They too feel I am describing another world since they are being raised in a suburban almost rural community. Though my environment was inner city compared to my mother’s island of enchantment, as Puerto Rico is lovingly known, I still felt the influence of her homeland throughout our everyday life. From the deliciously unique Puerto Rican cuisine to the language that speaks volumes to the music that will automatically have one move to the rhythm, our home was filled with a culture that was alive and flowing through our veins.

I remember the cold winters and the blizzards of endless snow we endured in Pennsylvania and I would say “my blood is supposed to be where warm weather is all year round”. Funny as it may seem, I had never even been on an airplane, much less made a visit to Puerto Rico. But I still felt a love for the island and a pride in knowing where my people were from. I would pick up any book or magazine that made mention of Puerto Rico and learn all I could about our people, foods, music, customs, events, holiday traditions, any and everything.

I try to pass our deeply rooted culture on to my children by maintaing the traditions and values my parents instilled. Whether holidays or everyday, I have filled my home with the aromas, flavors and sounds of my Puerto Rican culture. I am working on getting my children fluent in reading, writing and speaking Spanish. My grandmother has always encouraged me to keep a strong hold on our language. As with any other skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Thankfully I have had several opportunities, employment and otherwise to continue using Spanish on a regular basis, and helping others by doing so.

Our growing Hispanic population in the US will certainly have a continuous need for bilingual skills. I want my children to be able to embrace those opportunities and not be ashamed of who they are. Most importantly I am teaching my children the importance of family and togetherness, which is something that our Hispanic heritage takes pride in.

How has your culture influenced your life? If you have children, how do you manage raising them as cultural, and/or bilingual in today’s society?

Passionately Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness


Along the line of my career, both as a social worker and cosmetologist, I have had coworkers as well as clients share with me their battles with breast cancer. At their times of weakness, they too have reached within to find their inner confidence and beauty even when they felt they had none left. While some have unfortunately succumbed to the disease, they have left behind a legacy that reminds me of the strength they had to face their struggles confidently, one day at a time.

It is such resolve that empowers women and sparks a passion to fight: for health, for family, for survival, and for supporting other women.

What fuels your passion?

Not All Scars Are Visible: Domestic Violence Awareness

During my very early years of motherhood, I was the victim of domestic violence, although I didn’t immediately think I was. Though not physically abused, I hadn’t realized I was experiencing other forms of abuse: mental & emotional. During that time of my life I was a social worker, helping pregnant women obtain health insurance and prenatal care. I noticed similarities between the abusive relationships some of the women were in, & my own. Honestly there were times I felt helpless, wondering how I could be in a career helping women improve their situations yet failing to help myself.

As my eyes were opened, and confrontations escalated, I knew there was a choice to be made, not only for my own safety and well-being but for the sake of my children and their futures. Thankfully I had the support of family and friends. When I made my decision to break free from such a negative person, I was amazed at how much positivity embraced me all around. I had to work at re-building my self-esteem, getting back to the young woman that once overflowed with confidence and ambition.

From that point onward I wanted to truly help women overcome and find confidence and beauty within themselves. That is true beauty. I transitioned careers and studied cosmetology. For many people, especially women, positive self esteem begins with our mirror reflection. When we look good we feel better about ourselves. I am now happily married to a real man, who loves me just the way I am, and is a loving father and positive role model to my children.

I am proud to be part of an organization that supports women and children worldwide and makes an effort to bring an end to domestic violence. For more information about The Mary Kay Foundation visit marykay.com today!