poetry

Write Yourself a Love Letter for Valentine’s Day

 

paper cutout
Amor Eterno by Tasha Marks and Emily Evans, Zocalo Poets

 

I woke up thinking of Valentine’s Day when my kids were young. You know, the endless search a week before (sometimes the night of) for V cards, small and cute for the kids to take to their classroom.

But this morning, I thought of love letters. Specifically, what if we wrote a love letter to ourselves each Valentine’s Day?

What would mine say? How would I start?

Dear Monica,

I love you?

That’s not it. So my mind turned over what I’d write about and soon I came up with words that lent themselves to a poem:

 

Write yourself a love letter

Write to your heart’s delight, to its dismay

Write to the here and the past

Write to the heat and the cold

the bitter and sweet

 

Write to light and through the dark

Write to the grief and joy

Write to love and to hate

Write to the nothingness or

the jagged points

 

Write to the known and unknown, the shadows and light

Write to the truth and through the lies

Write to remember and forget

Write to the clearing beyond

 abandon self-doubt

 

Write to please yourself and inflame others

Write unwaveringly, straight to the point

Write to sing and to kill pain,

Write for release

feel the words surface, plunge deep

 

Write beyond sight, over the mountain, through the deserts and valleys

Write under the stars, on top of the moon, the sun seeking your face

Write with eyes closed, mind open

Write like you matter,

for you do.

 

Think about it.

red rose

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Oscar Wilde

 

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

Family, Inspiration, Latino culture, Strong Women, Wisdom, Writing

Top 5 Posts of 2015 – An Authentic Cultural Experience

Top 5 #blog posts of 2015, blog posts
Happy New Year 2015

 

Are you excited for what’s ahead in 2016? I am.

The year 2015 had its up’s and downs. I think of the ‘downs’ as learning opportunities and the ‘up’s’ as blessings.

WordPress and Grammarly sent me year-end reports which reminded me of my writing during the past year. Their graphic reports were very cool with stats and all that, but I’m not going to post the whole thing.

Let’s just say my blog posts surpassed my 2014 stats in views and followers, a plus in my book.

Surprisingly, all of the most read posts had to do with aspects of my identity: Mexican culture, food, drink, home remedies, and the term “Chingona.” Interesting.

WordPress said,

If your blog was a concert at Sydney Opera House it would take 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see…representing 106 countries...with most referring traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Buzzfeed…

The referring traffic was a big surprise and means I need to keep up with my 20 Pinterest boards.

As for Grammarly, which corrects your grammar, I still hold the title of Comma Queen meaning I put commas everywhere but the right places far too often.

Now on to the “Top 5 Posts”:

  1. Five Important Ingredients for Tamales : The making of pre-Christmas tamales is a tradition where our family gets together to work towards a common goal, namely to make dozens of tamales for a communal feast. By the time New Year’s Day rolls around we are ‘tamaled’ out. Red tamales are filled with roasted pork simmered in red chile sauce and the ‘green’ ones are filled with jack cheese, strips of California green chile, and homemade salsa.
Christmas food, tamales, red chile tamales, green chile tamales, Mexican tamales
Red and Green Tamales. http://www.alvaradofrazier.com

2. The Importance of Cultural Traditions: the title says it all. If we lose our culture we lose part of ourselves.

3. How to Be a Chingona in Ten Easy Steps: The steps are according to the wisdom of Sandra Cisneros, one of my favorite writers. We can all aspire to be chingonas. I love this image of Sandra Cisneros profile as an Adelita, a soldier in the Mexican Revolution. An Adelita is symbolic of the woman warrior.

quote on being a Chingona by Sandra CIsneros, woman, inspirational quote, women quote
Chingona- Sandra Cisneros quote. Quotesgram.com

4. Champurrado-Mexican Comfort Drink: this is a drink I make every Christmas since my mother ‘retired,’ from making a similar drink ten years ago. When she stopped making the drink, due to her limited eyesight, I was bestowed with carrying on a tradition. I make a vegan version for my sons and their friends.

5. Latino Home Remedies for a Cold: Back in the day, the standard issue for Mexican households was Vicks VaporRub, 7 Up, honey, Manzanilla (Chamomile) tea for cramps, Yerba Buena (Mint) tea for stomach aches, and caldo de pollo (homemade chicken soup) for flu or colds.

So there you have it, the top five posts in 2015.

I hope 2016 is a blessing to all of you and yours. Peace, love, and joy.

 

Faith, poetry, Valentine's Day

Love, Cupid – Poem

Cupid's Span Sculpture in San Francisco-Flickr.com by Roshan Vyas
Cupid’s Span Sculpture in San Francisco-Flickr.com by Roshan Vyas

 

Dear Human,

I must tell you

there are not enough arrows

for those looking for Eros

and more than enough

that missed their mark

 discarded by

one or the other, or both

*

I must ration my arrows,

look for the best mark

a certifiable bullseye

for a gardener who tends to love

with hope, patience, faith

strong enough to withstand

 sorrow and grief

in a landscape of tomorrow’s

*

If I could convince you to

love and nurture yourself

pick up a discarded shaft

smooth the bend,

straighten the crack

and try once more

I would have plenty of arrows

to set in motion.

Love, Cupid

*

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend with family, friends, or loved ones.

Art, Blogging, Creativity, Encouragement, Family, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Inspiration, poetry, Writing

Five Reasons to do a Year End Review

by Martina Rathgens, flickr.com CC
by Martina Rathgens, flickr.com CC

“Out with the old, in with the new.” I don’t like that saying for several reasons, mainly because many old things have value.

But, there is also truth to the phrase. Making room for the new is worthwhile.

A year end review (let’s give this an acronym: YER) is all about looking back. Not to criticize or judge yourself and not necessarily to reflect on what you accomplished but to look back and see what you did and did not do.

A YER applies to any facet of your life: writing, drawing, poetry, cooking, crafting, (insert passion here).

For me, it’s about reflecting on what I’ve done in my writing life.

Here are my reasons for doing a YER:

1. Discovery- If my writing life is contained in a garage, I envision stepping in and searching through the shelves, opening file cabinets, investigating boxes, and poking about the dark corners.

What did I actually do? Is it what I wanted to spend my time on? Did this satisfy me?

I find notes of support, several manuscript rejection emails, a writing conference receipt, a writing fellowship rejection, numerous blog posts, two books on writing craft, 15 fiction books, several poems and an acceptance letter into a mentorship program.

There’s some valuable stuff in that garage. There’s also some dog poop and pee.

2. Appreciation-Look over what you’ve done this past twelve months, close to 365 days, not with a critic’s eye, but with an awareness of what you’ve done.

Highlight some of your favorite sentences, poems, art. “Oh yeah, I did that,” you can say. Post these items on your bulletin board, computer, or wherever you can remind yourself that you did some good stuff-not that this was easy, but you worked at making good stuff. You persevered.

Appreciate the high points and not so favorite parts of your art. Tell yourself: “I took that risk, didn’t work out, but I learned something.”

Recognize that you committed to something. You pushed the envelope. You took action.

3. Motivation-Where did your motivation come from this past year? Are there common themes or images? Why do you think you delved into these areas this past year? Are you still driven to spend your passion on these areas? What inspires you now?

4. Service- Who did you help or what did you bring to light with your passion? Did you share information, resources, increase awareness, touch someone’s heart, or contribute to a community?

Could you do more? (That’s a loaded question, we know we can always do a bit more).

5. Gratitude-What are you thankful for?

I’m encouraged by your thoughtful blog post comments, for allowing me into your life for a glimpse of your world, for sharing your passion and helping me to fuel my own.

I’m amazed when someone subscribes to my blog, comments, or clicks “like.” Thank you for your time. I know it’s valuable.

Our passions are many times a solitary venture so I’m grateful to have a close knit group of writing friends-women who support, encourage, and critique my fiction writing and efforts.

I’m grateful for the patience my family shows me when they know I need quiet in the mornings, when I don’t answer texts or phone calls before 10 a.m., or when I’m spending time away from my home to write.

By going through this exercise, I found I could pat myself on the back (it’s really okay to do that), gently kick myself for wasting time (social media), and feel motivated to continue on with my writing.

I have big plans for 2015 and I’m excited to get started on new adventures.

 

What are your plans?

 

 

poetry, Self Care

Self Love – Poem

Breeze - flickr.com by Lettuce1
Breeze – flickr.com by Lettuce1

 

The morning breeze has secrets to tell you

don’t go back to sleep. ~ Rumi

 

There is something about the very early morning hours of a new day. A portal into the unconscious. I awoke at 3 a.m. and listened to the pre-dawn sounds: a whispering early morning breeze, the house settling, swaying branches.

Thoughts spilled out onto a nearby notepad.

 

Self Love 

 

Unearth your soul

buried under layers of debris

called rejection, abandonment,

trauma.

 

Dig deep

excavate with care

around a fragile treasure,

yours to be found.

 

Keep going

brush away the dirt

until the glow

from your soul appears.

 

Lift gently,

bring your essence forth,

cradle you

in warm hands.

 

Hold close,

a luminous life force,

resplendent and 

uniquely yours.

 

Breathe deep,

promise yourself

never to ever

bury yourself again.©

 

What secrets do the morning breeze bring to you?