April 30, 2007

Para Mi Mama

The Journey Home

A year ago today, my mother passed away. A year ago, I felt like part of my soul was ripped out from me. The pain was unbearable. When a parent dies, everything changes - including you. The first year of grieving is the hardest. I remember this from when my Papa died in 1992. Nothing is ever the same again. And for a daughter to lose her mother - well, it's life-changing. Our loss has created an emotional wound, but it is a wound that is healing over time. I'm working on this pain of my loss to be transformed into a challenging new beginning in my life.

I try to think not just of what I've lost, but also of what I still have that my mother has given to me - and also my children. I remember my mother as someone with remarkable strength. I remember my mother as someone who lived a rich life with wonderful, eclectic interests. I remember my mother as a blazing light that touched everyone who came into contact with her. This is the legacy that she has left me with.

I have learned that one can never be prepared to lose their mother - regardless if there was a long battle with cancer, or any other disease.
There are days when I fall into the Depression stage of loss, but those days are becoming less and less and instead, the days of Acceptance are becoming more frequent. My belief in what happens in the afterlife and where I believe she is now, comforts me.

Death may have ended my mother's physical life, but it has not canceled it. She will always be my mother, and I will always be her daughter. She will always be a part of who I am, and the relationship I have with her will go on forever.

SUSAN SEDDON BOULET was one of her favorite artists. The beautiful piece above is titled, The Journey Home, which hung above my mother's bed. Boulet also died after a long struggle with cancer at the age of 55.

Below, I'm sharing some of the many beautiful things people had to say at her prayer service, including her Eulogy, which was given by her life-long friend. Please take a moment to listen to the song played at her service - per her request. "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds.


6.23.1951 - 4.30.2006


“When the road ends, and the goal is gained, the pilgrim finds that he has travels only from himself to himself.” - Saytha Sai Baba

"Carmen realized this teaching,the last year of her life. The beginning of Carmen´s pilgrimage on earth were years marked by much struggle, always trying to please those who loved her and for the same reason trying to desperately excel in all she did. She started her piano studies while in high school, and became a very good pianist making up with lots of perseverance and hard work for the lost years. Whatever she set her mind on she would accomplish and nothing that got in her way would stop her. She had a special talent for writing, prose and poetry, and was an avid reader. Her mother, Blanca, was always by her side, giving Carmen what she thought was best for her, that was her way of loving her daughter.

She wanted to mother 16 children but in God´s wisdom was given only three. She knew she had a lot of love to give yet as most human beings, did not quite know how to accomplish such a feat. She married Don, the father of her children, Andrea, Donovan and Eric, and for the first time in her ife, was intensely happy. The birth of each one of her children also filled her with great joy.

In the school of life where the teacher is God , Carmen was given the opportunity to show her strength and will in every phase. She underwent much hardship and suffering, as well as moments of joy and excitement. But the hard lessons made her start her quest for God and comprehend that the gift of life has two purposes: to know oneself, and to serve others. So Carmen started searching, in her search she decided she wanted to be a humanist. When she told me that she wanted to study Humanism in College, I didn´t understand what she was talking about. Yet she was already very focused, and became an activist in social movements, ecological movements and political movements. She wanted a better world, equal oppotunities for all, governments who would really serve their people, a world conscious of the the home they live in - Earth.

She joined many spiritual groups in search of self-fulfilment and inner peace, organized metaphysical fairs, became involved in healing with alternative medicines and had a great interest in the wisdom of the American Indians. She was aware that God is Unity and therefore studied different religions, spiritual movements and was active in some.

She took every course she could to help her clarify the whats and whys of a Human Existence, Creation, the Universe and God. In her search for love, the reason for every human existence, she fell many times but was always able to get up. Finally she understood that, that kind of love was not what she was looking for. She knew that what she really wanted was a more sublime love, her grandchildren taught her this. She said that Dominique showed her what unconditional love was, Jay Matthew, Alana Michele, and Serena opened up her Heart. And she was very excited, awaiting the birth of Sophia Rose, worried that she would not be able to be with Andrea when she was born. She was not there for the birth, but God gave her the opportunity to meet Sophia Rose.

The last year and a half of Carmen's life, she spent knowing herself. She understood that her incessant search for Love was the search for something that would fill the void that every human being feels. She was a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, and decided to live His teachings which say that Spirituality at a human level is simply getting rid of our bad qualities, our internal enemies.

She started her purification and brave, she would write and tell me about her Self Inquiry, her dreams and visions. She recognized her bad qualities, accepted them and worked on them. She knew that her pain and suffering were purifying her Heart and towards the end realized that the reason for some of her actions, attitudes were a lack of Self Love. At this point she was given the opportunity to see the Beauty within her. She saw the documentary, “What the bleep do we know” many times and really understood it for she was living it,”Everything we see in others is but a reflection of ourselves, our prejudices and preferences.”

I am very proud of Carmen for having tried so hard, for never giving up, for having given so much love, for having had the courage to commit mistakes and learn from them, and for never being mediocre.
Her life experience is a teaching for all of us."

-Vera Alvarez

How I Will Remember Carmen

"I will remember Carmen for the way she laughed in her own quiet, but grand way. The color of her hair – the various shades of reds and auburns, changing as she changed. The acceptance she gave. The peace she offered. Never questioning, never judging. Letting one be themselves no matter what. The smells of her candles and her incense. The smells that comforted her became the smells that now comfort me. Her love for music, peaceful and serene. Chimes, flutes, and beautiful sounds. Her love for music – classic rock, upbeat tunes, happy songs – the kind that create great memories.

Her fascination for learning, reading, reading, and more reading. Her wall of books where she had read every one. Her crystals, placed intentionally, beautiful pieces of cheer and meaning, that made her happy. Her welcoming nature, how she helped people in times of need, opened her home to those without. The way she drove her 4Runner in the desert – full force - “Buckle your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

She taught me the things of peace. Meditation. Grounding. How not to sweat the small stuff. She taught me about the stars. Where my absolute favorite memories are where we spend many nights waiting out in the desert on a plateau, gazing up at the stars, seeing the galaxy, feeling the warm wind on our faces, sitting in silence and completely enjoying the moment.

This is how I will remember Carmen."

-Yvonne Coffey

“I’m Dominique’s Nino, and a friend of the family. When I was around 17, I got to know Carmen and she took me into her home. As a young man, searching for things - just trying to find myself - she helped me find myself. It took a long time. I’m still doing it now. But she was a part of that process.
I’ll miss her…and I want to thank her so much, for all she did for me.”

-Carlos Elizondo

Reading from Mother, by Maya Angelou

It is also true

I was created in you
It is also true you were created for me
I owned your voice

it was shaped and tuned to soothe me.
Your arms were molded

Into a cradle to hold me, to rock me.
The scent of your body was the air

Perfurmed for me to breathe.

Mother, I learned enough now

To know that I have learned nearly nothing.
On this day
When mothers are being honored,
Let me thank you
That my selfishness, ignorance, and mockery
Not bring you to

Discard me like a broken doll
Which had lost its favor.
I thank you that
You still find something in me
To cherish, to admire, and to love.

I thank you, Mother.

I love you.

-Eric Gaudin

April 28, 2007

Is that a ONE you say?

Today was Leander ISD's Solo & Ensemble contest. For those of you who don't know Band talk, it's an excellent opportunity for students to play individually and receive constructive comments for musical growth from a professional musician/judge. Best score is a 1 and lowest score is a 4 or 5. Domi's piece was picked out by his private lesson instructor and was a high school piece. He was well prepared and scored a 1! This is his 3rd year playing the trumpet and each year his score has been a 1. His tone was excellent and the only thing he needs to work on is "musical pulse".

It was so cool - once he went into the room and began playing, people in the hallway got quiet and just listened in awe. One woman commented to him on his way out that he's going to go a long way in music. I would have to agree.

April 24, 2007

Fabric is talking to me now

This pink and cocoa fabric screamed my name when I saw it and I was immediately inspired for my next quilt. I may even attempt a different pattern and will toy around with machine quilting, instead of hand-tying (but not on this gorgeous Michael Miller stuff!). No room for mistakes here. LOL.

April 22, 2007

Funky Sock Monkey Quilt

Here it is - my first handmade quilt! I love it.

Dimensions came out to be 54" x 54" with a thin cotton batting. Since I'm a novice quilter, I hand-tied it with perle cotton, but after seeing the beautiful machine quilted job my mentor did on her quilt, I reeeeaaaally want to learn that soon. It's hard to see the detail in these photos, but the brown background fabric is that of the actual brown socks used to make sock monkeys. So cute.

Sophia here trying to assist. Making sure measurements are correct I suppose. She really liked her quilt. I think she was taken by all the colors.

April 19, 2007

Sock Monkeys!

I just love Sock Monkeys and I was able to get my hands on this cutesy Moda Sock Monkey fabric. What's it for? A quilt! I'm currently working on a quilt with a group of mommies in my SAHM playgroup. I'm hoping to have it finished within a few days. I'll plan to snap a few pics of the quilts my friends are working on too. The fabric choices they have these days. Oh, so fun! One of the moms talked about how fabric *talks* to her. Now I know what she means. Stay tuned for the results...

April 18, 2007

Confessions of a bad Mommy

Hopefully, I won't have to post any more of these confessionals, but I just about had heart failure when I saw what Sophia did the other day while she was eating her afternoon snack. Mike called me into the next room to look at something on the computer and when I promptly returned to the kitchen, Sophia was out of her high chair, squatting on the kitchen island, waving a fork around! Oh. My. GAWD!

Her Chicco high chair has a thick crotch bar to help keep one positioned properly. If I'm in the kitchen with her, I usually don't strap her in with the belt since the tray is pushed up to her chest and the crotch bar is in place and I'm there monitoring. Ah! But the one time I leave the room, she managed to somehow wriggle and twist her body out of her chair and climb onto the adjacent island. I don't even know if David Blaine could have even managed this, but Sophia did and I about died!

Oath to self: I will NEVER EVER EVER leave her in that chair without her belt strapped on.
I know - bad mommy!

April 12, 2007

Midwest International Band Clinic!

CPMS Band was selected for Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.

In December, the Cedar Park Middle School Band will perform at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.The Cedar Park Middle School Band was the only middle school band selected from Texas and one of only two middle schools from the nation chosen to perform! The Leopard Band placed first from among the national and international middle school contenders and received the highest accolade of any auditioning band from the international organization.

This event is the largest instrumental music education event in the world and will provide students with the opportunity to interact with well-known composers, conductors, and music educators from around the world. The CPMS students will perform before more than 2,000 audience members at the clinic.

Is that awesome or what?

April 08, 2007

~*~ Being One is Fun! ~*~

We celebrated Sophia's first birthday the day before Easter. Keeping with our Easter tradition of having a small family crawfish boil, we decided to double it up with Sophia's party and I had planned a large outdoor celebration. Got lots of outdoor toys for backyard fun. Invited many folks over - family, friends, and many of the mommies from my playgroup and their little ones - thinking we'd have plenty of room to let the little ones run around outside. Ha! We had this crazy winter weather blow through that day. We were in the 80's one day and the next, we had a nasty cold front. The high was only 38 degrees - in April! And In Central Texas! And 80% chance of rain. Needless to say, it rained. Of all days.

So, plans changed and with some rearranging of furniture, we squeezed (barely) in our living room. Mike enclosed our large patio with tarps and bought an outdoor heater. Those family members and friends who were sans child, opted to stay on the porch in the cold weather, instead of being inside with the toddler madness. I suppose it wasn't too bad since they had the crawdaddies and some brewskies to keep them company.

The theme was Baby Einstein. Ok, I don't play the videos, but I think the characters are the cutest. Her cake was my favorite. The Einstein Caterpillar. It even had antennas the stuck straight up. When I was growing up, and even when my boys turned one, the birthday baby didn't have their own cake to destroy, but it's the thing to do now. We didn't have a messy cake event since the caterpillar's icing was made from fondant, so things stayed tidy in that area.

Even though there was utter chaos with toddlers running around (and even a couple 4-year old siblings), to my relief, there weren't any crying episodes. Phew. I thought Sophia would start wailing as soon as we started singing Happy Birthday to her, since most one year olds do. I'm sure I would too if I was surrounded by strange people bellowing a song I had never heard, all while this cake with a lit candle is in front of me. I suppose I'm still traumatized by her horrific wailing during her baptism (that was 8 months ago, but I still get heart palpatations just thinking about it).

All in all, it was a fun party, even if we were cooped up inside like sardines. I just can't help but chuckle when I think about the look on my cousins' faces when they walked in. They got there after everyone else did (they are childless) and basically walked into full fledge toddler mania, with this look like...what the h*ll is going on in here??!! LOL.

Sophia's favorite part was playing with the envelopes off her cards, so Mommy had to open her gifts, which was fun.

Thanks to Yvonne for snapping some great pictures!

April 05, 2007

Excellence is a Habit!

That's the motto for Domi's band. Cedar Park Middle School was the ONLY school to receive unanimous First Division ratings from all judges for the three bands they sent to UIL last week - Domi is in the Symphonic (Honor's Band). All middle schools from Leander ISD, Round Rock ISD, Georgetown ISD, Lake Travis, Manor, Marble Falls and surrounding areas were entered at the contest. CPMS came out at the top of all schools with our Varsity, Non-Varsity and Sub-Non-Varsity bands all receiving Sweepstakes and all one's! Once again, the only school to accomplish this achievement with three bands was CPMS. Now, the students have earned their advancement to the DC Festivals State Band Festival in San Antonio. The amount of practice, sectionals, and rehersals was high - but it paid off.

April 03, 2007

Spring has Sprung!

Tabblo: Bluebonnets

See my Tabblo>

...and that outfit Sophia's wearing?

I made it.

It's her 1st birthday outfit and my 2nd successful sewing project.

More Water Fun

What happens when Dad bathes Sophia...

April 02, 2007

Fountain Fun

Sophia enjoys being outside and today she discovered the small fountain on our front porch. She even took several steps to get to the fountain and did this funny number where she'd look at me upside down. She'll be walking soon. I think I'm going to get her the sandbox and water table combo for some outside playtime, so she doesn't have to use the porch fountain for play. LOL.