Perhaps they are not stars…

…but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

Wonderful how this Eskimo proverb can be so visually soothing to anyone who has lost someone dear.

Disclaimer: if you’re not into diving deep or exploring caves, you may decide at this point to do a quick hello-how-are-you-see-you-soon kind of visit and come back another day. 😀 Not that you should be very wary … just that the following post isn’t going to be all light and happy in a fluttery fun way. Though I’ll try to keep it that way. 😀 haha. As if I could resist that!

Surprise, surprise. This fun-loving, laugh-loving girl is in a bit of a melancholy mood today. This morning I woke up to a text message from a dear friend that her husband’s father had just passed away. A couple of days ago, I got a message asking for prayers for the father of my eldest son’s classmate; he had had a stroke and was in the ICU of a hospital. This father is also my husband’s high school classmate. Same age. After Mass last Sunday another former classmate approached us, having heard also about the fate of this poor man, and between jokes and making light of it (as is the culture among my kind of people 🙂 ), I could detect the undercurrent of just a tiny bit of uneasiness… it was the same kind of uneasiness one would probably feel as they open the obit and realize they actually know the people they’re reading about.

Then just about a week ago, my U&R girlfriends (at Jessica’s playground) and I had a “game” which involved each of us creating a layout with the theme Beautiful. I had wanted to push the limits of my creativity and come up with something outside the box, but no matter how many angles I viewed it from, when I thought of the word Beautiful, my mom just kept coming back to my mind. (I haven’t seen my mom since January 1977, when her first heart attack took her away from me and my 5 brothers and sisters… but then you probably already know that, if you’ve read the posts before this 🙂 ) And then there’s the fact that in about a week’s time, I’m about to add another year to my age, the same age at which my mom went Home. To her real Home. (It’s a bit funny how all of us, her children, are queasy about turning 39… and each birthday after that makes us feel so glad, as though we’re on borrowed time. Perhaps that’s one of the side-effects of losing a parent early?)

Anyway. Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the events that happen one after the other seem to conspire to stop you in your tracks and tell you: hey, you know what? You’re not going to live forever, you’d better make the most of the time you have, you’d better do all the good you can while you can. You’re mortal. It’s a wake-up call that, though not always so attractive at first, is necessary nevertheless. At least, that’s the way I want to see it. 🙂

I’ve been so lucky and blessed, because even if I lost my mom at such an early age (it’s never the right age, is it, even when you’re 80 and you lose your mom?), in the wonderful way that love allows, she continues to live on in my heart. And it’s funny because each time I’d “talk” with her, it would always give me such strength and comfort (and as I grew older, I was kind of thankful even that I had her in THAT way, that I never had had to go through the rebellious years when mothers and daughters pass through that stage where they may not get along so famously). If there’s only one regret I have, it’s that she wasn’t there to physically embrace my husband on the day I took his name. But she had the singular honor of getting my bouquet of flowers, which I lay on her grave right after the wedding reception, right before my husband and I took off on our honeymoon. (That’s right, no throwing of my bouquet… what can I say, I broke all traditions when I got married… I was quite a rebellious girl! haha!)

But you know what brushing up against Death has taught me? To value what I have, right here, right now. To tell the ones you love that they mean the world to you, right here, right now. When my mom passed away that morning, I insisted on kissing her goodbye (as was the usual practice) before walking to school, which was just around the corner. My other brothers and sisters, perhaps because they were older and more thoughtful, decided not to bother her as they knew she wasn’t feeling very well. Because I was the youngest (and insistent and probably headstrong in the way that well-meaning children are), I was the last and the only one of her children who got to kiss her warm cheek on that day (a memory I would treasure forever).

I sometimes think that what we learn from the painful events of our lives sticks more with us than the lessons we get from the joyous events (maybe because pain has the power to go deeper and hit where it hurts?) The one thing I carried with me from that day on was to TREASURE everyone and everything, because… well, we never really know, do we? So my husband teases me that I’ve turned our little family into a mini-Waltons family, as it’s very common to hear my boys and me say “I love you” so often everyday. (And that’s not the only Waltons thing, but you get the picture. You will recall that I have a testosterone-filled household, being the only lady there. So I suppose it’s not “normal” for boys to be professing love so easily… but that’s the way it is, and their wives or girlfriends will thank me for the training I gave their men one day. LOL! 😀 )

So anyway. This is probably much much more than anyone needed to know. Sorry. The news of anyone leaving this world always makes me stop and say a little prayer for the one on his way Home, and another in gratitude for all the blessings, for the life that is still within me and around me. It is always a gift. Always. A. Gift.

And just to complete the visualization roll begun by that Eskimo proverb at the start of this post, here’s my mom, for those who are interested to know a bit about her. (It’s the layout I did for our Beautiful class, and though it seems to stick out like a sore thumb to write the credits for the layout, I have to do that to respect the wonderful work of those who shared their creations and made it possible for me to create mine. 🙂 )



Amanda Heimann (Unconditional Kit) – BG paper & brown ribbon / Atomic Cupcake (Heavenly Holiday)-Overlay; Chalked / Bob at designing-on-the-edge: stitches (x on buttons) RECOLORED / ameliescrap – buttons / Natali-zigzag stitches, RECOLORED / Rhonna Farrer, 2Peas in a Bucket -Memories wordart; ColorMyWorld frame RECOLORED / Ca-pris – Flower fantasy brushes / Design Fruit – Japanese Foliage brushes

And to really set the mood, here is the song that was playing on the airwaves when she left us. It was one of her favorite songs then. Can’t hear it without getting sent back to those days. Enjoy the walk down memory lane with me.

This is what it’s all about.

I just came across a wonderful quote by Kyle Lake:

” Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done-a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own. If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.”

There’s something amazing about stumbling upon a pebble and, holding it up for closer inspection, discovering it’s actually a precious rock. That’s what this quote is: a precious rock I just happened to stumble upon today. I love it because it encapsulates so well what scrapbooking is all about. It’s all about living in the moment. Savoring the extraordinariness of the ordinary. Seeing diamonds where others see coal. And celebrating that.


When I got home this afternoon after doing the thousand errands we mothers must get done, I saw a piece of paper on my chair, the one I always sit on. It was folded in a careful-haphazard way (does that make sense to you? It does if you’ve ever had a child fold something “carefully”) and covered with scotch tape. I smiled even before I could open it. After prying the tape off carefully, I unfolded the paper and saw what I, as mama, will call ART. The best part of the whole work was seeing my name in that childish scrawl: mama.


A little bit later, my son wandered into the room and, as nonchalantly as he could, asked me: “Did you see a surprise on your chair?” He, of course, got a hug from me as I said “I loved it! Thank you!”

Mmmm. Children are SUCH blessings from Heaven.