lola guerrero

50-something empty-nest-search-for-God-and-happiness with more than a dash of humor


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He Slips Into a Coma

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I have visions  of dad in the hospital shrinking because of weight loss.
He can barely move and I watch a plastic pad placed under his lower body by his nurse.

“What are you doing?”  I ask. I give her an annoyed look. Why would she do that?

We look at each other and I quickly turn away
and walk to my favorite window where I can hear drops of rain
coming down. The nurse’s eyes told me everything
I needed to know.

As dad was slipping out of our hands, we found ways to reach out for one another.
A hug or holding each other’s hand as we said a prayer each night for my dad.

Four weeks later he went into  a coma . . . not too long after that he was gone.

These visions and their memory cells live dormant throughout the year and clamor for attention
when vibrant colors of red and orange leaves begin to fall  from their branches and
Starbucks brings back its pumpkin spice latte.

I could never cry as we cared  for him the last month of  his life and didn’t cry
at his funeral, but around October–I get sad.

I’m happy God took him. Cancer cells ravaged his body and he was in so much pain.
If I’m in that much pain I would ask God to please take me NOW.

Dear God,

Thank you for the 46 years I knew my father.
The family misses him and I know and believe
we will see him one day.

Amen,
Lola


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Buh-Bye Now

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When do you know when you had enough?
When do you say “Buh-bye now” to someone who is
not pleasant to be with?

Eunice is a relative of mine.

Sunday Ol’ Wise One and I drive up to
her favorite casino in the middle of
the Pacific Northwest where the roadsides are
dense with fall-colored trees. We have
done this drive for the last 28 years. Suffice to say,
before the journey I say to myself “Please, God, help me today” prayer.

Eunice loves celebrating her birthday inside Casino Royale where
it is dark , smelly, and filled with chain smokers. Just where
you want to spend your bright sunny Sunday.

I go along for this ride and this birthday lunch
out of respect for Ol’ Wise One.

When lunch is over and we are walking to her car,
I hug Eunice to say goodbye and she doesn’t hug back.
It is as if I have some incurable virus. And she doesn’t care to
say thank you for for the gift, the lunch, and our time to make the three-hour drive
to meet her for her birthday.

Eunice has always been this way. Why expect anything different?
I keep hoping she will change her ways. But, this particular
day something in me awakens. I finally realize it is me
who needs to change. I have had enough of her rudeness and ungrateful
ways.

Eunice is now in her own car and we walk to ours. I am deep in thought.
Suddenly, I tell myself,“This is where it stops. This is where I draw the line.”
I have clarity. I will not be deterred in any way.

I have been patient for 28 years. Now it is time to say: Buh-bye now.
No more birthday lunches with Eunice for me.

When we begin to honor who we are . . . we make room for the
universe to bless us with something better that is more meaningful and enjoyable.
Our choice honors and symbolizes our appreciation for our precious time left on this planet.

Dear God,
I release this situation to you.
You blessed me with wisdom and guidance to
do the right thing for 28 years. I have shown up, honored and respected this relative.
I will now step aside.

Amen. Lola


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Naysayers Say the Most Ridiculous Things

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Naysayers, you know who you are.

Last week Ol’ Wise One and I were talking in the kitchen.
“So, now you want to start a career at 63 . . . ,” he says dismissively.
( I had just mentioned to him that I wanted to work part time. )

Oohhh! Hold up now.
I can ‘t believe that came out of his mouth.
I want a part-time job . . . I didn’t say I wanted to become a doctor
or lawyer or join the Peace Corps and travel to Africa.

Someone else can do that.

And how dare he age me nine years!
I was ready to throw my favorite coffee cup at him, but I refrained
from doing so.
Instead, I took a breath. Then, these words flashed in my mind,
“You are not in control. God is. And I think God can still use me.
I’m not dead yet.”

After calming down, I decided to forgive him. It wasn’t easy.
For me forgiveness takes awhile, but eventually I get there.

Naysayers say the most ridiculous things, don’t they?

Here are some examples:
1. You can’t move to Manhattan, you’ll never make it as an artist.
Stay here with your mother and me. There’s nothing wrong living  in
the town you grew up in.

2. You’re going to marry her?  It will never last.

3. You applied to the Juilliard School? To do what, ACT?
But, you are not beautiful/ tall/thin/talented  enough. You don’t have
the right look!

4. You want to be a artist? They make no money! How about welding?
Or the cement business? Now, that’s where the money is.

Since turning 50-something, I learned that naysayers are a group of
people who are in fear of what MIGHT happen. They are afraid.

If they felt secure enough to completely love and support us,
we could take them along for the joyride of a lifetime.

When you have a naysayer in your life, you can cope by putting their
comments to the side. Forgive them, but take heart in knowing that
they do not know YOU. For that reason, they do not know what the
heck they are talking about.

Do what you have to do to reach your heart’s desire. Wake up each day
and show up in life. Make the most of each day. Give it your best shot.
As long as you are still breathing, God can use you.

If joining the Peace Corps is in your heart, then plant your feet firmly
on the ground and start walking in that direction. Want to be a chef?
Go to culinary school. You want to write that book, then commit and
wake up two hours early
and turn your lap top on.

Dear God,
Why do we have naysayers in this life? Why?
I don’t get it.

I believe that when you put desires and goals in our hearts,
there is a reason. You want us to go out there in the world and use
what you gave us.

I know you are still in control of my life. I will continue
to seek your will until you say otherwise.

Amen,

Lola


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You Are Unstoppable, Part 2

Today, if you want to do something big and rewarding for yourself
and for the universe–get started.

MELVIN PHAN came to the United States from Vietnam
25 years ago.
Melvin worked in his chosen field of engineering.
With his love of learning and a desire for more for
himself and family he wanted to go as far as
he could with his education.

He set his sights on getting his PhD in Management and Organizational Leadership. With support from his wife, son,
and mentor he now has a PhD by his name.

He said in his speech
“When you know your purpose and have the desire to
pursue it–YOUR ARE UNSTOPPABLE.”

A candidate that I know oh too well that is
unstoppable is my cousin Jerrie.

She is the eldest of three children.
We have similar traits.
* We are first-born children.
*We are both ambitious.
*We love our families.
*We like to tell others what to do.

Jerrie has been a nurse for dozens of years. When
I sense a pain in my body, I will email her wondering
what it is. She will email me back a ten page outline explaining “This is what ‘s wrong with you . . . .”

She has a full life. She and her husband, Tyler,
are raising two boys. She works fulltime. She cares for
her elderly mom and our aunts. NO kidding.

Two years ago during our lunch date
she mentioned to me she wanted to get her
Masters degree in nursing. “Go for it!” I said sipping my wine.
“Oh and I’m going for my Masters in Health Administration, too.”

“Oh pleaseee Jerr . . . don’t stop at one.”

As I drove home that day, my mind could not
wrap around the idea of how she would pull it off.

Geez, I’m an empty nester and my Masters degree each day is to master getting out of bed. Studying for two Masters degrees sounds
insane to me, but leave it to Jerrie to get the job done.

Today was her day to shine as she walked up the stage to get
her two Masters degree. When her name was called
her family of 20 were loud and proud.

During her graduation party I talked to her mom, Sue.
“I told Jerrie to get her PhD,” she said.
“Oh, I told her that a month ago to get started on it.
“You encourage your cousin.”
“Oh, you bet,” I said.
I do know this–one of our many purposes
in life is to inspire, motivate, and support each other.

Do you work with a single full-time mom
that is going to college? Give her a word of
encouragement. Support her all the way to the finish line.

Do you have a family member
who is looking for work or struggling to make it
happen. Tell them to pray to God and not give up.

Do you know someone who is going through a nasty divorce?
Tell them to learn from it and move on . . . . cheer them on and tell them they will get through it and that you are there when they need to talk.

Let’s pray.

Dear God,
You know very well all our hopes and dreams.
And if we believe . . . our time to shine will come at just the perfect moment.

Help us to pray without ceasing and never give up.

Amen,

Lola

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20/20

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I must be a popular person to be with and loved. Of course, ZEN vibes
ooze out of my skin throughout  the day. Who wouldn’t want to be
with me?

Two invitations came to me  this week: one from Ol’  Wise One and the
other was from my BF.

Ole’ Wise One asked me to go to a high school graduation three hours away. It was for Jenna, his late best friend’s daughter. Getting there means driving to the ferry dock,
getting on the ferry, and then driving another two hours. Really.
Is that how I want to spend my precious Friday?

My BF invited me to go to the beach with her in July for the weekend with another girlfriend.  “Wow!” I thought. “Walking the beach with
two ladies I’m fond of sounds fantastic and I know at night there will be dinners with
serious talks about our husbands, grandkids, and world events. We will figure out what ISIS is all about and formulate ways to handle all the scary things on the news.
How can I refuse?

But, I began to ponder why I didn’t jump with  excitement. Is something wrong with me?
“NO, I’m being who I am,”  I told myself.
As I thought more about the situation, I became aware what I wanted to do.

It’s amazing to be over 50. I know how much I know what I want NOW. I know myself more  than ever. The layers of what I don’t want are peeling away faster and faster. Could it be that I’m AWAKE to the fact that I’m not  getting any younger. I know I have low estrogen.
And I know I’m getting closer to my grave.

As these layers peel away, I’m getting  closer to my soul,
the core of who I am–my true beautiful self.

With clarity, I know what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to
be in the car driving to an event that I could care less about.

How awful it would be for me to be with my husband with
this bitchy attitude.  The very truth was that was not how I wanted to
spend my day.

Going to the beach was not what I wanted to do for  one weekend
during the summer. I know there will come a time that I will see both of these ladies.
Just not this July.

By  saying “yes” to the two invites, my mind and body
would go through a  spin and rinse cycle of “Why did I say  yes? I don’t want to go,
but if I don’t go they will get mad or they will think I’m selfish.”

With my  20/20 vision and ability to know how I would react be in the future, I knew what I wanted and realized it before I said “yes” to something that I really wanted to say “no” to.

My days  and weeks are about my husband, making dinners, my mom,  my relatives, and my part-time job. When I do have the time to do nothing and have a moment to myself,  I feel like the luckiest woman on earth. I’m so grateful to have timeout. Having timeout with myself energizes me.
I’m centered. No one needs me!!! I love it.

I can do things like catch up on reading other blog sites,
take in a movie, get some writing done on paper–all sorts of
soul-caring stuff that feeds my soul.

Perhaps I’m making up time for all the yesses I said
back in my 30s and 40s.

My BF said to me “That’s OK if you don’t want to go. You are clear and
that is all that matters.” She is so supportive, caring, and spunky. That’s
why we are BFs .

This much I do know: I’m blessed and I thank God for all the great people in my life.

And to all the young women bloggers  out there, if you are reading this,
learn to say NO. It’s OK.

Dear God,
All week long, I give so much  to others.
And I know I’m on this planet  to work, have relationships,
to care for my mother, and to be a helpmate to my partner.

Thank you for giving me the clarity to know caring
for myself is just as important as giving to others.

Amen.

Lola


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Pork Rinds

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How was everyone’s Happy  Easter?
Were you all Happy?

It took awhile for my Happy to kick in.

“We go to  Lucy and Miranda’s home. And then rehab,”
My mother  announces this as she climbs into
the front seat of my car with bags of food.

“What? Huh . . . ? I don’t want to be late for the barbecue.
Why didn’t you call and tell me all this?
Wine starts  at five.”
I can’t believe my life at times. Today, I’m a delivery person.

“You have wine later. We go give food to your aunts. I make noodles
and beans with porkrines.”
She is so proud of herself.
“They can’t chew pork rinds. Their dentures can’t handle
hard foods . . . have you lost your mind?”

“NO worry. I take hammer and hit pork many times.
I put on top of beans. It’s good, you taste.
I give you bowl later.”

“No, thank you.
Why are you kind  to others who are not really nice to you?
And you  barely have cash to buy pork rinds.” 

“Well, eben though,” she puts two palms up in the air.
“It’s  Happy Easter . . . they are too old to cook foods.
Jesus said better to give than receive.
Why you get mad? It’s happy time.”

“I get tired of you being nice to others who
don’t really care about you. I don’t know if you have noticed,
but they can be rude.”

“Never mind . . . you drive, we give noodles,  and porkrines.”

She points to the freeway.

We ring the doorbell bell at Aunt Lucy’s home.
No one answers.
“Maybe they’re dead.”
My mother GLARES at me.
The door finally opens. My Aunt Lucy is wearing a sweater she knitted 50 years ago.
Bending my knees to reach her (she is even shorter than I am), I give her a hug and kiss.
Coming out of the kitchen is Aunt Miranda.
She comes to hug me. My two aunts live
together. Aunt Miranda doesn’t like to
live alone.

“Here is the address to the rehab center, just in case you get lost,” Lucy says. “I hope you
have time . . . its on your way to the barbecue.”
“Why yes, I made time for all this,” I answer, keeping my sarcasm in check as much as I can.
God, help me with these women!!
We make it to Aunt Beth’s rehab center. But, the main entrance is locked.
Oh, this is awesome! We don’t have to go in.

But, Mom spots someone at the other end of the building on the phone
calling for someone to open the side doors.
I can’t believe this is my Happy Easter.  I am supposed to be
happy, forgiving, compassionate, giving of my
time: these are all the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We go in and find Aunt Beth.
She is eating a hamburger with onion rings.
Have Mercy!!! This is  her standard American diet?
No wonder she looks nine-months pregnant. And my mother
is contributing to her over spreading thighs with pork rinds.

Finally, we make it to the barbecue.
My sister-in-law hands me a full glass of my favorite white wine.
I take a gulp.
Now, I’m Happy. I can breathe.

All last week, I asked God to place angels all around me.
An angel to tell me that he found the right house for us.
An angel to tell my how creative and inspirational I am.
An angel to tell me a joke so I can laugh my pants off.
but NO, He places in front of me   widows and spinsters.

I have come to the conclusion that
God likes to PICK ON ME. And the reason is for
me to be an image of Him.
To have a big heart ,  to have empathy,
to give more , to be more forgiving as I deliver food to the
old people in my life.

Dear God,
Continue to teach me to be the kind of person
you created me to be. Help me not look the
other way when my elders need help.
Amen.
Lola