Candid Karina

{May 21, 2010}   Ode to Grandma O

As I mentioned in my last post, the group of female bloggers I belong to SheWhoBlogs is celebrating our 3rd Anniversary, and with this celebration come a few contests. One of the contests is a writing contest where we are asked to blog about a woman who has inspired us. You can find out more about the contest here.

I knew right away who I would write about, because I’ve actually been wanting to write this post for quite some time. But this is not an easy post to write. Mostly because by the end, I’m pretty certain tears will be involved.

In fact, I’m pretty certain there are already tears in my eyes…yes, yes, there they are. Right on cue.

Taking a deep breath. Okay.

Please meet my Grandma O.

That’s her in the pink, sitting next to my mom, and yes, that is little old me all cuddled up in her lap. I couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 in this photo. (P.S., the dude with the mustache? Totally my dad!)

Grandma O was my mother’s mom.

Both of my grandmothers played a major role in my life growing up, and I almost feel wrong writing about one without mentioning the other, but I will save Grandma A’s story for another day.

When I was very young, Grandma O and her husband moved to the United States, leaving their families behind in Portugal, so they could try to settle down and start a better life for themselves, and so they could one day bring those same families over here, to provide that better life for them as well.

I don’t really have any memories of my maternal grandparents from when I was a young kid, except for the occasional letters and gifts they would send to us in Portugal.

When I was 10 years old, however, they were finally able to bring us over to the U.S. and it was then that I would truly meet and get to know Grandma O.

Grandma O was a teacher in her youth, and she was the only college educated adult in my family at that time. I was also a bit of a braniac child, loving to read and learn and discuss matters of the world at large, so it’s no wonder that Grandma O and I would form a special bond.

I have such fond memories of spending hours discussing books, and culture, and so many other topics with her. We would never run out of things to talk about, and I marveled at her worldliness, and wanted to know everything she knew.

Grandma O was also the most stylish lady you will ever meet. In her small 5 foot frame, with her tiny size 5 feet, she was always put together so perfectly. With her adorable dresses, dainty shoes, and always matching jewelry. There is no doubt my mother (an equally stylish lady) got all her style savvy from Grandma O, and I, in turn, inherited it from both of them.

Grandma O also loved Hollywood. She loved television, and she loved celebrities. It was with her that I would discuss the latest celebrity gossip. She subscribed to People Magazine, and would save each issue after reading it for me, so I could then devour it, and we could discuss the particulars. To this day, I cannot ever see an issue of People Magazine and not think of her.

Oh there are those tears again, someone hand me a tissue…

In the United States Grandma O worked on a production line at a computer company. Her teacher’s certificate from Portugal held no value in this country. But she was a hard worker, and on top of her job, she volunteered teaching Portuguese at the local parish to children.

She was a sweet woman, full of love, and life and vigor, but she was no pushover. My grandfather is a difficult man. I love him to death, and am eternally grateful for his presence in my life, my only living grandparent. But he is a difficult man. Grandma O, however, took no crap from him. She was the type of woman who let him think he ran the household, but everyone (including grandpa) knew she was the boss.

Everything changed when she got sick. My grandmother battled cancer for over 6 years. In that time period, I was in my early 20’s in college, I watched her suffer tremendously, with grace and dignity. I watched her change from the lively, intelligent, strong woman I knew and loved, into a diminutive, subdued victim of that horrible disease.

I would go over to her house every single day to spend a little time with her. Every day. I knew I needed to soak in every moment I could, bundle together all the memories possible, gather as much knowledge and history as was available from her.

My grandmother inspired me in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to tell you. But one particular lesson she taught me, I hold near and dear and has shaped the person I am, the way I live my life, every single day.

Toward the end of her struggle, I had a conversation with her in which she said to me, very intensely “Do not wait to live your life. Your grandfather and I saved all this money so we could enjoy ourselves after retirement, we waited, and now I won’t be around, we’ll never get that chance. Do NOT wait. Live your life now”.

So I do. In honor of my Grandma O, I treasure every second of every day. I waste nothing in this life, no moment goes by unnoticed. I live life by my own rules, and I don’t always (if ever) follow status quo, but I always follow my grandmother’s advice: I LIVE EVERYDAY.

I miss her dearly. I miss our talks, and I’m saddened that I have been unable to sit and share with her my many adventures since she’s left us. She would have LOVED to hear all the details. And I believe she would be proud that I am living my life the way she inspired me to.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-apply my eye make-up. 😉

{April 14, 2010}   My Princess

“We’re going to have to make a run for it” I said looking over at this shy little girl sitting in the passenger seat of my car “are you ready?”

She nodded her head and gave me the tiniest little smile, looking out the car window at the downpour just outside.

“Okay, go” I said, jumping out of the car, locking the doors, running around to grab her hand and running across the parking lot into the mall. By the time we made it inside, we were soaked, and in hysterics. The sound of her giggles warmed my heart up. And it was in that moment that I knew I would love her forever. It was in that moment that our bond as “sisters” was sealed.

Lil’ K was barely 8 years old, and I had just met her that afternoon. After an extensive interview process and background check, I had finally been matched up with my little sister through Big Brother Big Sister. I was 26 years old, single, with no prospect of a husband or kids anywhere in the near future, and I knew I needed to do something to quiet down the maternal instinct that had been nagging at me. I also knew that I was blessed to have a good life, a great family, and a strong head on my shoulders, and if I could use those blessings to reach out to a little girl, and make a difference in her life, I had an obligation to do so.

For the most part, I did it for selfish reasons. I was lonely, bored, going through a tough time with both a recent break-up and a stupid fight with some friends that left me wandering why I bothered, and I was desperate to find meaning in my life.

But I had always wanted to join BBBS, and I knew this was the time.

I know now that not only was making that call the most important decision I have ever made, I also know it was my destiny, my calling, my fate. It would set me on a path that has led me to today, that has made me the person I am. It would, quite literally, change my life.

Today is Lil K’s 17th birthday. SEVENTEEN. She is beautiful, she is smart, she is bright and fun, and mysterious and silly, she is frustrating and delightful. She is a teenager. She is a lady. She is still that little girl. She is a young woman.

What Lil K’ and I realized that day, nine years ago, at the mall was that we were kindred spirits. They couldn’t have matched two people up more perfectly. Our souls were created for one another in heaven, and it was only a matter of time before we’d find each other.

I love her as my own child, I worry about her as my own child, I celebrate her successes as my own child and I suffer her pains the same. She gives me reason to be, and hope that I am doing something valuable while on this earth.

I have seen her grow from that shy young girl who would speak to no one to a strong young woman who will speak her mind. I’ve seen her struggle with troubles, only to come out shining on the other end, bigger, better, and brighter than ever.

She’s joined my family as one of our own, celebrating holidays, birthdays and all other events with us. And as she’s gotten older, she’s become a dear friend as well, someone I can have conversations with.

I am 35, single, with no kids. But in the last 9 years I have never felt that nagging maternal instinct again, because whenever it would even try, it would be reminded that in Lil K, I have fulfilled it. Whether or not I ever have kids of my own, it won’t matter, because with Lil’ K, I have parented, I have loved unconditionally, and I have grown.

And as she continues to amaze and bless me, to mature and flourish, my heart swells.

Happy Birthday Lil’ K, you are and always will be my baby girl, my sister, my friend.

{September 14, 2009}   Family Time

This past weekend my family and I took a bit of a nostalgia trip.

When I was in my early teens, we had a family tradition of spending a week every summer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Every year we would pack up the cars for the 2 plus hour drive, and head to a nice little “cottage resort” for nature, fun and games. My cousins PM, M&M and I would get our very own little cottage, our parents (and my little brother) would set up camp in surrounding cottages, and we would spend the week enjoying each other’s company, and the lack of “technology” available to us.

We would cook out, take all day sightseeing/hiking trips, hang out by the pool, hit up random yard sales and village shops, and then spend the evenings by the campfire roasting marshmallows and telling tales.

My cousins and I would then proceed to stay up all night doing whatever it is that teenage girls can do all night long at slumber parties. Giggle, tell stories, fantasize about their future husbands, listen to music.

Every year we’d look forward to this week.

We haven’t been up there as a family in well over 15 years.

This weekend, however, we decided to revisit and take a mini-vacation at the White Mountains.

My parents, my grandfather, my brother and his girlfriend, my uncle and aunt, my cousin M&M, her fiancé and her daughter and of course I spent the weekend at a little cottage resort.

It was surprisingly easy to allow ourselves to let go of the confines of technology and sink into the beauty and ease of nature around us. I won’t lie, we had our blackberries and iphones in tow, but by Saturday afternoon, the constant checks for emails and text messages were less frequent, and by Saturday night, I’d given up all hope (or interest) in keeping up with my twitter stream updates.

Instead the focus was on the beauty of the mountains around us, the warmth of our campfire, and the company of family. We ate, we drank, we told stories, we played games, and we reminisced a bit. Mostly, we just enjoyed the time, and the company.

It was a lovely and fun time, and a reminder of all the great things God has blessed us with.

I’m hopeful it won’t be another 15 years before we all do it again. In fact, the fall foliage is just starting to turn, so a re-visit in a few weeks is something we’re all considering.

I won’t lie, there was a bit of bitter sweetness there as I watched my family throughout the weekend.

The resort we used to stay at, just up the road from the one we stayed in this weekend, is badly deteriorated, closed for renovations, but now owned by someone else.

My cousin PM now lives in California with a family of her own, so she was not there with us. My brother, all grown up, is no longer the “little boy of the family” but instead brought his girlfriend with him. The “kids” are now the adults, and things are so different.

And yet, the love, the camaraderie, the incessant joking and teasing were all the same. For the record, every last one of my family members is nuts. I can’t wait to do this all again soon.

My family and I took a nostalgia trip this weekend, and I brought back a heart filled with warmth as a souvenir.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I took a little blogging hiatus.

Needed some time to focus on some other things.

I was actually not going to come back from my hiatus until Monday, but it’s Friday, which means it’s Only The Good Friday, and as this week seems to have been particularly mired in the bad out there, I thought it was time for some good.

So, as the rest of the interwebs, and media outlets and such focus on the “BAD” today (there’s a really bad pun in there somewhere, but I’m leaving that one entirely alone), let’s take a look at what’s good this week:

For starters, personally for me, the sun is out today. After WEEKS of cloudy grey skies and rain…to wake up (after a loud and stormy night) and see

That’s a good thing folks. (disclaimer, that picture was actually NOT taken today, it was taken a few weeks ago, but you don’t care about that, do you?)

Also on the good? It is Fiesta Friday in Gloucester, Massachusetts tonight, which means a bunch of crazy folks will be out and about partying about town.

And I and my crazy friends will be among the bunch. As a group we tend to do a lot of praying and good deeds together, but not as much rowdy partying, or just casual “hanging out” as we’d like, so we’re all pretty excited about a night out on the town.

Always a good time when we get together. This picture is from last year’s Fiesta, and as much as I hate how I look in it, it’s proof positive of the wild and crazy bunch I run with…plus I’ve dropped 25 lbs. since it was taken, so this year’s pictures should be be
tter for all! 😉

As if that wasn’t enough goodness, last night I booked my flight to Cali, where I will be going to visit my cousin PM and her boys (husband and two sons) for a week in July.
I promised her oldest I’d come see “his house” this summer, and am so happy to be delivering on that promise. Can’t wait to see them all…

And finally, because um…I really need to go get ready for work, I leave you with this bit of good…

You woke up this morning. No matter the state of your life, the stresses, the aches, the sadness, or whatever else you might be dealing with…you woke up. You were blessed with another chance to turn it around. Say a prayer of thank you, and enjoy your Friday.

Have a GOOD Friday everyone, and don’t forget to pop on over to Shelly’s, the creater of Only The Good Friday, and see what else is good.

(Mom and me, when I was just a sweet little wee one)

I’m going to spend the day with my mother today, so I’ll keep this brief and to the point.

I want to wish all the mothers out there in the blogosphere and beyond a WONDERFUL HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!

I’m blessed to not only have the best mom in the world, but also happen to have her as my best friend. Mom and I have the kind of mother/daughter relationship we can all only wish for, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

We’ve always been thick as thieves, the two of us…even during my difficult years as a teenager, (oh yes, that’s me), we were still really good friends. And now as adults we truly are best friends, I couldn’t ask for a better friend than her.

So, Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!!
Hope you all enjoyed the little journey through my photo album.

I am 34 years old today. Hold on, let me let that one sink in for a moment…

wait for it…

wait for it…


Well then.

And you know what? I’m good. I’m perfectly fine with turning 34. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damn good about 34 right now.

Truth be told, I don’t feel a day over 24. Okay, fine, maybe 25. But to be honest, I feel and look better right now then I have in at least 6 years, so why should I be bummed about 34? I’m having the time of my life.

At 34 I sit before you a single, professional, intelligent, and sexy woman. I have my own home, a great job, the most amazing friends, and an incredible family. I’m in the best shape of my life, and spiritually, in a better place than I have ever been. And I might even have a new love interest (oh, more on that tomorrow).

How could I not, therefore, be thrilled about starting my 34th year on this planet? Of course I am, life is good and full of blessings.

It is those blessings I want to address in this post, because there are many, and I feel there is no better time than my birthday to acknowledge them.

So, consider this my formal thank you letter to the universe for the first 34 years of my life, as I prepare to take on the next 34 and more.

Not to sound like a rap artist at an awards ceremony, but first, to God. For all he has given me, and for the gifts, the simple pleasures, the people, the places, the moments. As I have grown in my faith this past year, my life has transformed in ways that I don’t have words to express, and for that, I am grateful beyond words.

To my family. My mother, who is and has always been, my best friend. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but there are no words to express how much I love you and appreciate you. My dad, the hardest working man I know, the sweetest, kindest man I know. We went through a lot in my adolescence, but now, as an adult, I have only admiration, respect and love for you. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you as my daddy. Lil’ Bro, you were my favorite “toy” growing up. I loved to carry you around, and when you were older, take you places with me and show you off to my friends. In all your years on this planet, I can’t remember one single fight we ever had. We don’t always agree on everything, but we’ve always respected one another, and had this unbreakable bond. Now you are a man, and I’m proud to call you my brother.

My grandfather, who I love dearly and who has always been one of my strongest supporters, always proud of whatever I decided to take on in life, and always ALWAYS there when I really needed him.

My uncle, the Warrior, who took his time with me, but knew just when to bring me back to my faith. I’ll be eternally grateful to you for this.

My cousin M&M, girl, I love you and admire you, and appreciate you and am so glad that as adults we’ve become the best of friends, you are my rock at times, and I’m blessed to know you.

My cousin PM, not even distance could dull our friendship. We have the history, the fun times and the tough times and I love you and the rest of your crazy clan out there in Cali.

The rest of my family should not feel neglected if I didn’t mention them by name, I love them all CRAZILY.

My friends, my other family. As a single girl, with no husband, no kids, it is in my friends that I have found my family. There are so many of you I’d be here all day if I named you all individually, so I’m not going to. But I will say that collectively, and individually, you all make my life worth living. Each and every one of you (and you all know exactly who you are), bring elements to my life which help to make me a whole person. I’d be incomplete if I didn’t know you.

Which brings me to my on-line friends. Those I’ve met in person, those I have not, those I speak to daily, those I only speak to once or twice a month. The bloggers, the Twitterers, the ones on Facebook and Yahoo and who knows where else on the interwebs…I learn from you, I laugh with you, I pray with you, and sometimes I even cry with you. I carry you in my pocket (literally, in my handy dandy blackberry) each and every day, and I genuinely care about your lives, and know you care about mine. I’m glad I “know” you.

Those are the people. There are so many other blessings I am truly grateful for, but as I turn another year older, I am learning that it is definitely, without a doubt, about the people you surround yourself with. And I? I have the best in my corner.

So, this is for you, on my birthday, I want to thank you.

Happy Birthday to me…because of you.

{March 9, 2009}   Living the American Dream

Today is a big day for the Candid family. On this day waaay back in 1985 Candid Mama, Candid Dad, Lil’ Bro and yours truly stepped off an airplane and onto American soil for the first time ever. We arrived at our new home with a few suitcases a piece, all our worldly possessions pretty much left behind, ready to start a new life.

Grandma O and Grandpa Frank had made the same move several years before, and it was now time to bring the rest of their family over. This wouldn’t be the first time our family had started all over in a new country. In fact, we sort of have a history of doing just that. Our entire family left Portugal for Angola (that’s in Africa, in case you’re wondering) for the chance of a better life.

It was in Luanda, Angola that my mom grew up and met my dad (also a Portugal transport from youth), there they fell in love and were married. It was also in Luanda that I was born.

I’ll skip over the stories of paradise turned war zone for now, though maybe one day I’ll tell you the tales I’ve been told my whole life, but I will tell you that when I was 8 months old we once again started over. Leaving everything behind, taking practically a clandestine flight with only a few suitcases in hand, my parents fled the war torn country back to Portugal.

And that is where I lived until I was nearly 10 years old. It was with stars in my eyes, dreams of streets paved in gold and the American dream that we packed up and started all over again on the day before my 10th birthday.

I have now lived in the U.S. for 24 years. More than double the amount of time I lived in Portugal. This has been my home for my formative years. My adolescence, my teens, my twenties, and now, my 30’s. I became an American citizen at 15, and I’ll tell you right now, I am incredibly proud to call this place my home.

I’m well aware of the issues and problems we face as a nation, and I’m not blind to corruption and problems of not just our government but our society as a whole. I learned very soon after arriving here that the streets were not only not paved in gold, but having arrived here at the end of the winter, potholed and barely paved at times. I learned that you didn’t come to America and have instant wealth, success and fame. The stars in my eyes were quickly diminished to flickers which would sparkle now and then, between the flashes of reality.

But the American dream? It absolutely exists. However, you have to work for it.

I will tell you right now that there is nothing that disgusts me more than people who feel they are entitled. My parents moved here without a penny to their names, and barely speaking the language. They worked hard, they went to school, and they struggled. To this day my parents are two of the hardest working people I know. And they instilled in my brother and me the knowledge that you can absolutely have anything you want out of life, but it’s not going to be handed to you, you need to go out there and get it, work for it, struggle even in order to attain it.

They haven’t had it easy, but no matter how tough times were, we (their kids) never went without the important things. They went for their citizenship as soon as they were able to, making my brother and me citizens by default because we were still under the required age to inherit citizenship from them. They bought their first house when I was still in high school, and made it our home. They still struggle, and the American dream has seemed like a nightmare at times, I’m sure, but they love this country for the opportunities it has afforded if not them, us, their kids.

And I? I am not afraid to tell you that I took full advantage of this land of opportunity. One of the first in my family to get a college education (second only to Grandma O, who was a teacher herself), I worked hard to make the right choices for myself. I became a homeowner, by myself, at 28. Now, 6 years later, I live on my own, provide for myself, and live about as close to the American dream as you can get in this economy. I won’t lie to you, it hasn’t always been easy, and I have struggled just like anybody else to make ends meet, but it is always worth it.

The life I am able to lead, even in the tough times when I don’t know how I’m going to do it, is not one I’d be able to live back in Portugal. And I don’t ever take that for granted. The freedoms I have been granted here as a woman, a single woman at that, don’t go unnoticed. I vote every chance I get, and yes, I support our new President and believe he can set us on the right path. I am hopeful, but realistic.

I won’t get into my personal feelings about our economic crisis and everything else, because this is not that kind of post. But I will say this, as bad as it gets, Americans need to realize how much better we still have it than a lot of other nations, and that we’ve been taking it for granted for far too long, and we need to wake up and take responsibility for ourselves. Nobody is entitled to anything, and I think sometimes we forget that.

All I know is that I plan to live out my life here in the good old U.S. of A., so I have no choice but to have hope things will get better, and there is no option but to be grateful that I live here.

Yes, I’m a sappy patriot. And damn proud of it.

Happy Anniversary Candid Family!

{December 26, 2008}   Only The Good Friday

It’s time for Only The Good Friday, but as my internet service is spotty at best today, I’m going to have to keep this one short.

So, short and sweet, here’s the good:

Christmas was amazing, wonderful and beautiful. I am so blessed with the family and friends I have. I hope you all had a Christmas as blessed as mine was.

Now I sit at work, with our systems all out of wack, unable to actually do any work, and wishing I was home instead. Or out shopping the post Christmas sales. And yet, I’m smiling. Because this is exactly what the holidays are all about, the feeling of joy I’ve been filled with all week.

I’m not ready yet to let it go either, so tonight I’m heading out for a dinner celebration with a group of friends, and tomorrow I have breakfast plans with one friend and dinner plans with another.

Folks, here’s my “GOOD” for today, a piece of what I think is good advice. Whatever it is you are doing this weekend, after the craziness of “Christmas” has passed, take a breath, and be thankful for the loved ones in your life. And then pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Make lunch plans with that friend you just don’t get together with enough. Or go visit that elderly relative you don’t see as often as you should.

It’s all fine and dandy to enjoy your gifts, those material possessions we all crave so much, but take the time to enjoy the people, because really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Yeah yeah, I know, I’m all mushy today. Deal with it. 😉

Merry Day After Christmas everyone! And go visit Shelley for the “Only The Good Friday” details.

{August 24, 2008}   Happy Birthday Mom!!!

I have, once again, let a whole week gone by without much blogging (uh, any?), but today is Candid Mama’s birthday…a perfectly good reason to blog again.


That’s mom and me, when she was just a young thing, with a young thing like me. How beautiful was she? She still is. My mother is more than just my mom, she is without question my best friend and I am so grateful to have her in my life.
Have a great Sunday everyone.

{August 5, 2008}   Soul Sisters

Last week I gave you the story of The Soulmate. In that post, I mentioned that I believe we all have more than one, and that it doesn’t even have to necessarily be a romantic thing. But I didn’t elaborate. Today, I want to do just that.

See, here’s the thing, throughout my life I have had the opportunity to have all different types of relationships: family, friends, boyfriends, acquaintances and even enemies. And I do believe that every single one of these individuals (even the ones who made my life a living nightmare at times) came into my life for a very specific reason. I’ve always been a firm believer in the “everything happens for a reason” way of thinking, so it’s easy for me to accept these relationships for what they are…meant to be.

But through my life, there have been a select few kindred spirits for which I am and always will be eternally grateful. I am not talking here about those who matter most to me (my parents, my brother, etc.), I am speaking of individuals who have touched a part of my soul in a very specific, very intimate, very unique way. These people have left a lasting imprint that shapes the very core of who I am. Soul is, of course, one of these people. But there have been others. Most of these others have been women and girls…my soul sisters.

Among them, a little girl named Michaela, who became my bff my very first day of elementary school, and made me feel better about being away from mom for the very first time ever. See, as a child I had a serious case of separation anxiety. Seriously, my parents would go out to the movies and leave me with my grandma, who I loved dearly, and I would cry the entire time they were gone. So, when I started school, my first day was torture. I cried the whole day. And Michaela came to sit next to me and tell me it would be okay. I don’t remember much about that day (after all, I was what? Five years old?) but I actually have a very vivid memory of her coming to sit next to me, and somehow making me feel better. For whatever reason, the memory of that day is imprinted in my mind, and her presence in my life, which would last another five years, until I left Portugal, changed my very make-up. I, the little girl who couldn’t stand to be away from home, now relish being on my own, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. I believe she played a vital role in shaping that part of me, and I wonder what she’s doing now.

There have been others, with smaller impacts, but just as vital, throughout the years. And then there’s Lil’ K. When I met this shy, apprehensive 8 year old girl, I fell madly, deeply in love instantly. She was so scared of the big wide world, and yet, she took to me immediately. Grasping my hand tightly, she allowed me to lead her around our weekly visits to the mall, the movies, out to dinner. She instantly became a constant part of my life, and we fit together as only kindred spirits can. All these years later, I love her as if she were my own, and our bond is as strong as ever. We were meant to be and there is a connection that can only be explained…well, it can’t, to be honest, it just is. We are family, biology be damned.

And then, quite recently, I’ve been blessed to find another kindred soul in The Disciple. To be fair, I think the vibe The Disciple gives off, by her very nature, creates that feeling of kinship with just about anyone. She is just that person, the one everyone is immediately drawn to in a crowd. When she speaks, whether it be about her love of running, or about her faith, or about something as trivial as a pair of shoes, you can’t help but listen. Her energy is infectious, addictive, and awe inspiring. Those of us who know her personally, have no doubt how blessed we are. And for me personally, I just feel that unexplainable connection. We are alike in so many ways that it would be impossible for us to not be friends. Although younger than me, she has a way of bringing out in me my best qualities, and making me want to be a better person. But she also mirrors all the things I already do love about myself. I see them in her, and know I possess them too, know that is why we are so close, and realize there are no limits to what I can do, who I can be. But it’s not all about the seriousness. We can also be completely goofy and girly, and silly, and in those things too we have a lot in common. When recently complementing each other’s shoes, we realized we were wearing the same designer…you can only imagine the jubilance that followed that discovery for two self-professed shoe lovers. In some things, I view her as a younger version of myself. In others, she’s wise beyond even my years. But she’s my Soul Sister in every sense of the word, and once again, another individual placed in my life for a purpose.

I am blessed presently to be surrounded by an amazing group in my faith family. Along with The Disciple, I’ve got a whole slew of potential “soulmates”, of all ages, some members of my biological family, others I have known since I was a teenager, still others I’m just meeting for the first time. And then there are the teens themselves. A fantastic group of characters, each with their own gifts to offer the world and within that group, I’ve found Duckling. A 15 year old girl who again reminded me of a younger me, and has touched my heart in unexplainable ways. Every time I see her smiling face, I realize how real my connections are in this world, I am reminded how vital it is to each of us to reach out and love, without fear, without expectations, without doubt. Duckling, along with Lil’ K, touches the part of me that has not yet had the chance to become a mother. These young girls bring out my maternal side, and allow me to not only give of myself, but to receive an incredible amount in return. So, in this, Duckling is yet another, younger Soul Sister.

The blessings keep coming, and with each of these individuals, I grow. So, yes, I do believe everyone has a soul mate. I believe we have many, and are blessed each and every time we come across one of them. I do still hope one day I’ll meet that one who will be all things to me…friend, lover, confidant and soul mate. But until he comes along, I’m not holding back, there’s a lot of soul to go around yet.

et cetera