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We Shall Call Her Emma!

Solito family

The miracle of life, it really gets you thinking and especially when you see it up close and personal. I’ve been blessed to give birth to two sons, and with the privilege of being in the delivery room for the birth of my granddaughter Gianna. Now I am getting exciting news once again, my older son, Jason and his wife are expecting a baby girl! My daughter-in-law, Danielle has had a few ultrasounds so we’ve been watching God form Baby Emma in the womb. She started out with a little brother or sister but God chose to keep this baby with him and send us Emma. We will see Emma’s twin and celebrate him/her some day too!

So we are now celebrating Emma and she is due to arrive late June! Thus far, Emma is a very healthy, cute and active baby!  Danielle say’s she is especially active when she drinks Martinelli Sparkling apple juice! Emma likes to wave to her mom, dad and big sister Ava when the tech begins picture-taking. She was also caught sucking her thumb comforting herself. I have a feeling she won’t be shy!  So many things I love about her already but I think my favorite part of her now is her little button nose!

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As I was imagining her personality and staring at her picture I was amazed once again by God and his great power. How we are knitted together in our mother’s womb. How he knew us before we were formed. How we were made in the secret place…Psalm 139:13&14:

 For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written

in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

There is so much joy and peace in knowing God has His hand on her little life. I truly can’t wait to hear her little voice when she is calling Mimi!  And then there is my excitement for Jason and Danielle as they grow their family, and experience once again the joys of parenting, and raising two beautiful girls. I know they will love baby Emma with a powerful and protective love. And so the generation goes on!

Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. Psalm 145: 3&4

 It’s a grandparents right to brag…feel free to leave your comments!

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No One Ever Asked What it Feels Like to Be Me

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There was a day when my creative juices flowed and I could write, dream, decorate and envision just about anything in color – it oozed out of me.  I considered myself armed and dangerous with my pen, laptop, Bible and a plethora of self-help books. Now I find myself struggling to find the words, the time, and anything remotely creative to inspire me as I fling open the doors to my soul and share. In other words, I am experiencing a whole new meaning to “Frozen”.

Oh, I know.  It’s because it’s about me and my experiences. At time it feels like cleaning out the closet that is overflowing and you know it’s going to be tough because you have to dig through all of the accumulated years of “chunk”, sort it out and then look long and hard at it asking, “Is it worth keeping?” This is kind of what this feels like today as voices cry out in my head: What if they don’t like it, or it’s too serious, too sad, too boring, or just plain silly!

So, I am going to approach it like this, I will blog what I know. I will share my feelings and my life experiences with the hope of inspiring others to not give up, to stay the course and never stop believing in miracles. If you find yourself struggling I hope to bring you a positive word or a smile. I only ask you to keep in mind these are my truths from my perspective. And much like Aibleen, these are my prayers that have become my story.

It’s not easy to open up wounded areas of the heart. Most times these become areas that have been dormant because we no longer want to look at them. But somehow, some way they creep back into my thoughts, our thoughts and when we least expect them. They can leave us asking, “What if?”

I will admit most of these are shaded parts of me I prefer to hide and not allow others to see. But because of the hand print of God on my life I feel compelled to share with others and hope it will bring courage that’s needed to persevere and come out on the other side.

It is only because of God’s faithfulness and unconditional love I have been able to look deep into the wounded places of my heart and soul. These are the places where only the light of God can creep in and things begin to make sense to me. In my transparency with him I have become more aware of how He has walked with me, strengthened me, and most of all, loved me through life’s most challenging times.

The joys, heartaches and disappointments experienced in life have helped me find my way to a deeper understanding of how God made me and how, because of him I have compassion like never before. Not to mention, I am learning to feel again, to love again and forgive. Even to forgive myself. I am a work in progress!

So, as I was house sitting last weekend I watched a movie, The Help. I had seen this movie before and liked it but this time something was different. Could it be me?

As I watched Aibleen leave the only life she had known, the home she so tenderly cared for and the child she had loved a lump formed in my throat. It was then I realized Aibleen and I had something in common, no one had ever asked what it felt like to be me.

Yes, I had friends and family to support and pray for me. But not once did I ever have someone ask me that question. I can’t help but wonder why. Why would I not ask that question to someone else who may be hurting? Do we not ask because we don’t want our pain to show up when we are portraying our life as perfect? God say’s in his Word, in this world we will have trouble. And there is plenty of it. And in the midst of it we may ask, “Where are you God?”

There is one thing I know for sure and that is when we begin each day of our journey counting our blessings we can then see clearly how God is with us. It is in our gratefulness God will provide the strength needed to bring about the change to inspire us to push through those tough times. And this ultimately provides us with the courage to share with others what it feels like to be us. What it feels like to have loved and lost.

So, I want to start with my blessings, and there are many. However the two most cherished moments of my lifetime were the birth of my two sons. My fondest memories are of their birth and holding them for the first time. There was a love that flooded my heart and it was nothing like I’d ever experienced before. I remember thinking they were the most beautiful babies anyone could lay eyes on. They were the answer to my prayers as I’d longed for the day I would be a mom!   And while alone in my hospital room, in the quiet of the night I began praying for them, dreaming for them and of their future.

Not once did I imagine anything outside of perfect. And for a very long time it felt just like that, perfect. And then life happened. Divorce happened. And I found myself in a season of broken dreams, broken promises and great loss. Life threw us a curve ball and life as we had known it would never be the same.

In honor of Aibleen and all of those who have loved and lost I echo her words…You’re kind, you’re smart, you’re important

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Love is Patient…

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On the lighter side…Sometimes trying to figure out what to wear can be challenging, not to mention who to date. I can link these two together because all women know how important it is to wear the right clothes on a date. Since I arrived in sunny Newport Coast where the sunsets are as beautiful as the people I have had a few dates. None to write home about, unfortunately. However, as I’ve discussed with many friends along the way it can be challenging to find the one you want to spend time with.

I’ve heard absence makes the heart grow fonder and I think that is what it did for the guy I dated when I lived back in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, it did not for me. I say unfortunately because he is a really good guy and most women would snatch him up. He has a lot to offer, not to mention he is building the home of my dreams. Yes, the Tuscany home in a beautiful neighborhood where I have good friends. He can offer the right woman stability, laughter, and romance which most women want.

A few weeks after moving into my new home I received a text from him letting me know he was in my hood and wanted to stop by, So Cal, Really? Upon asking if he was in So Cal my phone rang and it was him, “You moved?” Long story short, I have received calls and texts from him weekly since July. In fact, he insisted on visiting a couple of weeks ago. I let him know he was welcome to come out but I made certain things very clear and he still came to visit. We had a great time hanging out in Balboa, eating our way through Laguna and enjoying the sunset in Newport. It was fun and we laughed, a lot. And then he went home only to let me know he would visit often if I wanted.

Now, I don’t want to sound selfish or greedy but I am waiting for something more. It’s hard to explain but I know there is something more for me as I long to be with a man who brings out the best in me. By that I mean, who brings out God in me. You see, God is the best part of me. He is the one who keeps me soft, kind, gentle, patient, and full of love with a forgiving spirit. He is the one who protects, teaches me to trust, hope and persevere. This is what my heart tells me I can have if I wait for God’s timing and I don’t run into the arms of someone who looks good on the outside but on the inside is not the right fit.

So I am now praying that Mr. Not the Right Fit finds the woman who is right for him, and who brings out his best.

Do you remember when the TV would sound loudly; THIS IS A TEST, ONLY A TEST? Well, I considered this to be my test to see how valuable the things of God really are to me. A check point if you will to register my commitment to God and whether or not I am really willing to wait on him for the “right” man. Many times the world say’s, you can have it all now but it’s not the right thing or the right person for you. This is when it’s important to stop and re-evaluate what you want, where you’re going and who you’d like to go with you. If they’re not standing beside you at the time, it’s OK. It doesn’t mean they won’t show up and maybe when you least expect it. (This one is for my buddy who reminds me of this frequently as a joke)

As God would have it a FB friend posted a message he heard, “When A Man Loves A Woman”.  This was a message for a group of men but I feel it’s important for women to hear too. In life we can feel in a hurry for many things and this message is a great reminder of how important it is to choose the right one using wisdom.  I promise you won’t be sorry you listened.

So, I consider myself to have passed this test and I’ll keep praying and trusting God for the man he has for me. It’s important I don’t give up on the things God has planted in my heart. As we all know, everything starts with a vision or a dream and God’s Word clearly states, a man without a vision will perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

So for now, I am going to plan at least my wardrobe around what makes me comfortable and what feels good. And I am going with my Citizens of Humanity jeans – the Boyfriend fit! You know the comfy and dependable ones that hug you just right.

http://c3sandiego.podbean.com/e/when-a-man-loves-a-woman-ps-john-burns/#.VLmp64eHe7U.

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He Makes Beautiful Things Out of Us

I would have to say today was a bittersweet kind of day as my granddaughter Gianna’s mommy got married, and not to my son.  It was a day of mixed emotions as I’ve secretly hoped she would marry my son and the two of them would become a family. I guess what’s important is that Gianna knows she is loved by her parents, and their partners.  More than anything I want her to know family and know how much I and so many others love her.

Families look very different from 2000 years ago. But one thing in common is that they still have dysfunction which has been around since the beginning of time.  It started with the first family of Adam and Eve. It did not matter that they lived in the Garden of Eden and had everything they could want. They really did have it all and still they were not happy and content with their lives. Remember, this was the place where waters flowed and beauty enveloped them every day. A place of no evil, no shame and where they could walk and talk with God! And yet, it was not enough.

Even in the best of lives circumstances they found a way to mess it up. Eve manipulated Adam to get her way as she encouraged him to take from the tree of good and evil, they experienced sibling rivalry between their son’s, jealousy, competitiveness, and lack of respect for one another. They experienced dark times with the death of Abel and the loss of Cain as God sent him away from the family.  Basically, the family fell apart because of choices they and their children made.  Definitely not the way God intended as He had prepared a beautiful life for them and for the generations to come.

A couple of years ago I was struggling to envision a healthy family. It felt so far out of reach I could literally not remember what it looked like, or what it felt like after struggling with my own. I made the decision to visit a friend from high school in North Carolina so I could spend some time in a home where two people made a commitment to one another, their children and powered through the years to see them through college, married, and living good lives. As I settled into my seat on my way home I closed my eyes and replayed tapes from the past, the good memory tapes. I talked to God about how I needed to have that vision of a healthy family so I could set my eyes on it and begin to put my prayer into action. It was then I felt his words so gently remind me of how families come in different shapes and sizes, and not every family is alike. We may face similar obstacles, struggles and share many of the same accomplishments when it comes to career, graduation, marriage, babies. But not one family is alike. Every one of us brings something unique to our family. We’re designed to make our families complete.

My family may have not been the Cleaver’s or the Brady Bunch but they’re my family. It’s a family I’ve loved and still love. It is a family I continue to pray for because we all need prayer. There is so much good in each one, so much talent and so much more needing to be healed in all of us. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly have out powered the good for some time now. It’s been a battle of great difficulty, sorrow, loss and pain. It has been a journey I would not wish on any family and that is why I consider myself equipped to tell others what NOT to do!

I found this quote by Marge Kennedy today that seems to be accurate:

“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst”

But in light of it all, God’s light, I know we’re loved and that his plan for us individually and as a family will come full circle. He has woven such growth and blessing as he continues to heal our family. I have faith there will be complete restoration some day.

In God’s goodness I now have 2 beautiful granddaughters and another grandchild on the way! My oldest son and his wife are growing their family. It is an exciting time as we experience God in different ways as he heals our family.

Somehow I needed that dream rekindled in my heart. I needed to see how families that work together really stay together. I think this is what Adam and Eve must have done, worked together with God to re-establish the family. All throughout the Bible we’re given examples of family, relationships and how to do it right. And yet, we can still get it wrong. Life is full of learning, loving, and forgiving. These are ingredients that help keep a family together. There will be things in life that get in our way and we may need forgiveness with lots of “Do Overs”. Guess what, we’re in luck because God forgives and is the giver of  “Do Overs!”  Although there is much work to be done I am reminded of how He makes beautiful things out of us.

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Dreams Do Come True

I’ve heard you should start with the end in mind and I tend to believe that is the best way to start not only the New Year but every goal or life dream.

Wherever you find yourself reading this blog stop for one minute and close your eyes and picture yourself living your dream.  Maybe it’s walking down the aisle looking at the man of your dreams, or sitting in the car you’ve worked and saved for so long and now you’re actually driving in it, owning it. Could it be the ladder of success you’ve been climbing and you’re being handed the promotion and keys to your new office. Or, better yet, the family you’ve longed for and so lovingly find yourself surrounded by that have done you proud.  Ah, how refreshing, invigorating and satisfying to the soul to have accomplished your goal and to be living your dream!

We should never stop dreaming.  Never stop having goals in life even when it appears to be taking longer than hoped or planned. A dream is a dream that keeps the fire burning in our soul and our connection to God who plants those dreams deep in our hearts. Even on the days it appears as if you’ve been forgotten or left behind as you watch others pass you by in the game of life, don’t stop dreaming.

I can say this for many reasons, dreams do come true.  It was five years ago when I felt ready to move away from the chaos and drama I found myself living in back home. I say back home because that was then and this is now home, So Cal.  I was so determined to move away that I booked a flight to So Cal and rented a car to drive down the coast and check out beach areas. While renting the car it was the AVIS agent who talked me into taking the journey in a convertible mustang.  Top down, hair blowing in the wind and so my journey began. Along the way I stopped and checked out beautiful So Cal locations, dreaming of the day I would be free to live near the beach and free to be me. You see, I lost myself in my family like so many of us do.  I was enmeshed in my sons lives so much that I did not even remember who I was and what I wanted in life after my divorce. I had been fighting to save what I thought was a family wanting to be saved. (More info in upcoming blogs) It was so freeing to finally be dreaming of the possibility of something new.

As soon as I returned from this joy ride I started submitting my resumes because I knew this is what God had for me.  After all He planted the dream in my heart!  After numerous attempts to get a transfer to So Cal, NOTHING. How discouraged I was after months of pushing my resume and making calls. Eventually I surrendered the dream to God letting him know I was willing to stay where I was if that was REALLY what he wanted.  It took some time for me to let it go and accept the time was not now.  Every now and again it would sneak into my thoughts and I would let God know I still wanted that dream. And so, life went on.

Then one day in May 2014 I was having a drink with a friend at Newport Landing in Balboa and as I looked out at the Bay I felt this small still voice whisper, “You will live here someday”.  A warm fuzzy came over me but I quickly talked myself out of going there as the dream was just that, a dream. In my mind nothing was aligned with green lights flashing letting me know, “It’s time to go!”

As God would have it the following Monday I went into work and my boss called me into her office to discuss my review she was working on when she mentioned she saw I marked the box, “WILLING TO RELOCATE”. Truly a miracle to be working for someone with such eye to detail, and so supportive! It was a matter of a couple of weeks and I found myself in So Cal interviewing for a job!  Seven weeks later I was following a U-Haul with all of my belongings packed away with my cousin to my new home in Newport Coast! (No my cousin does not live with me!)  You see my cousin Tara is a dear heart who has been a prayer warrior for me and my family for years.  She cares so deeply about me that she could not allow me to make the move alone, and so she packed her bag and held on tight as we drove to So Cal! 

I want you to be encouraged, Dreams Do Come True!  God does hear our prayers and he always provides in His time for all of our needs, hopes and dreams!  And because he is so good he did not allow me to make that drive alone. He knew I would need the support and comfort of someone who cares and knows my heart, almost as much as he does.

I am reminded of how much God’s timing and ways are not our own in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

It’s a good thing God is in control and not us. He had things he needed to accomplish in me before I could make such a move and relocate. I am here to remind you, God plants a dream in our heart and as we grow he waters and nourishes it until it is time for it to come to fruition.  Some things come to us quicker than others.  Some we may never see in this life time.  But I encourage you to not lose heart and to hold tightly to the dreams planted deep inside of you as you pray and wait with great expectation for their arrival.  What a grand celebration and great satisfaction will be yours as you close your eyes and remember the day you envisioned the end before it began.