lola guerrero

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


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Turn the Oven On High and Put Your Head In, Part 2

IMG_5472-5Drop everything. Turn your iPhone off.
I promise you the universe will continue on
as it should without you for a moment.
No one will die.

When I see my TO DO list and I feel my head
might burst from all the chatter going on in there,
I do two things. (1) I go to the chapel and cry my eyes out,
and (2) I try to listen to what God has to say.
But often I’m crying and talking so fast, God can’t get a
word in.

Eventually, I am able to quiet my mind and body. There
is a feeling of comfort in the quietness and stillness in
between the pews. I begin to realize how important it is
for my heart and soul TO DO for others.
But, I also get in touch with how important it is to
take time out for me. It could be one hour or half the day.
As long as it is for only me. That thought makes me smile.

I’m happy walking in to my photography class. It’s for me.
That’s why I show up every class.

Heading to the gym keep me sane. I need the gym
to de-stress and sweat . . . and be far away from all my family
issues and the constant ringing of the cell.

I enjoy blogging. I show up three days a week to get a
draft going. I tend to live in my head and I have all these
characters I need to spill on the blank
page that pops up on my laptop. And my hope
is that my blogging is a way TO DO for others.

If you are reading this blog, perhaps, you have found
some time for yourself to read. Now, what else can you
do for yourself today? What will bring smile to your face?

Lets pray.

Dear God,
Life. What’s it all about anyway?
I know it’s not the TO DO list.

When  life gets too HECTIC,
remind us to sit and be still
and know you are God. The most high.
A force bigger than us. YOU will
help us get through the day.
Thank you, 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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DYNAMIC BADASS

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My BF Mish and I had an uplifting phone conversation this morning.
I shared about our 12 days in Manhattan — how Ol’ Wise One and I had a relaxing time seeing our son, Ralph. We spent time  with him by strolling through Central Park,
attending three plays, and visiting the top of The Empire State Building.

In the middle of our trip, we bought  tickets  to a Yankees game in the Bronx. After the game, we hailed a cab back to our hotel. An intense conversation ensued with our taxi driver  who we thought understood the address we gave him. Apparently not, he thought we said Harlem. Really. Do we look like we have things to do in Harlem?

“We had a fantastic time doing tourist stuff. The only thing we didn’t do was ride the scenic tour bus, and I prayed before we left that God would open our hearts and to enjoy each others’ company. My prayers were answered.”

Mish shared what was going on in her life while I was on vacation.
“I have another client,” she announced.
I gasped. “No kidding? I was praying the other day that God would put women in your life to counsel.”
“Thank you for that. Yes . . . this one woman called me and said she wanted to know more about the book The Desire Map and how to apply it in her life.”

A little background about Mish. In the past, she has looked for ways to reach out to women who are survivors of abuse. She is a survivor, too. The Desire Map: A guide to creating goals with soul
landed on her lap and she began to apply the principles in her life.

This book spoke to her. It has given her balance, awareness, authenticity, and energy to go after what she desires. In addition to one-on-one counseling, she leads retreats at
her home that teach women how to meditate and develop goals that make them feel good. She is a guide who helps people unleash desires and goals that have been hiding out in their hearts.

“My new name is Dynamic Badass,” she said. We both laughed.

After the call  with Dynamic Badass, I thought why not call my mother? I’m already on the phone.  I’m sure she would love to hear my voice.

“Hi Mother. How are you? Did my brothers take care of you?”
“Ohh, a miracle,” she says.

Oh nice, Mother has good news.

“You know, I pray to God one night. I say, “Oh Lord, please tell my son, Ed, to call me. I want to go to out, to casino. I have no driver. Lola is in New York. Then, next day your brother, Ed, call me. Oh my God, Tank you, Lord. I say.”

I can imagine my mother the night before fervently praying . . . twirling her rosary beads asking God to produce his next miracle — Ed picking up the phone to call our mother.

After talking to the two most important women in my life, I’m in awe of how God works in our lives.

My son, Ralph, is growing and maturing. He is finding his way in and out of Manhattan. I saw him in action with our New York cab driver who spoke  no English.
I was impressed, he takes no sh– from these guys! Right on! I say.
I keep telling myself, if my baby can make it in New York. He can make it anywhere. New York is schooling him at moment. But, he seems to be a fast learner.

I thank God each day for giving me the strength to let him go and be the man God wants him to be.

With respect to Dynamic Badass and my mother, I have never met individuals more generous
than these two ladies. Dynamic Badass is known for giving free counseling and my mother is known for her own version of Meals on Wheels.
I know that it is because of their giving spirits that God keeps blessing them with goodness in their lives. This I know — God blesses you as you bless others!

Dear God,
Thank you so much for listening to our prayers.
And for caring for us.

Continue to transform our minds each day. May we put our lives and concerns in your hands first knowing that you have the best outcome in store for us.

Amen, Lola

P.S For information on The Desire Map retreats/ counseling  email Mish at
jewelryfromtheheart@gmail.com

Pictures from NY

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Drug of Choice

this is your face when you eat donuts and cupcakes

This is your face when you eat doughnuts and cupcakes–FAT!

Today was a Krispy Kreme day.

Going into the drive-thru I was tempted to order five
original Krispy Kreme doughnuts and gobble them all
in one sitting.

However, I have self-control. I bought only one.
From past experience, I know that one donut will
satisfy my craving
and make me content for awhile.
Five donuts will send my mind and body as high
as the sky. Then, I will  spiral down and fall into a coma.

“Napkin please,” I ask.
“You need a napkin for one doughnut?” she says.
Oh great, we have a comedian working at Krispy
Kreme.

Be nice, Lola, you were at bible class two hours ago,
I tell myself. What did you learn in class? To be good to
people. That includes the drive-thru cashier at your
favorite doughnut shop!

With my hands on 10 and 2 on the wheel, I can’t decide
if I should wait until I get to my destination or eat the
doughnut NOW.

I talk myself into waiting for the perfect time to eat.
See, a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut should not be
stuffed within seconds in your mouth.
It needs to be gently unwrapped. I like to get my
nose close to the doughnut 
to smell the mixture of
sugar and fat that will 
travel down to my butt and thighs
to live there 
till the day I die.

It was past noon and I had to get to my second
appointment. “I can’t be late for my accountant. I was
already late for bible study two hours ago. And I can’t
eat and drive. I need to concentrate. I say out loud to
no one in my car.

The day was chaotic.  I was not present at all.
My breathing was tight. I couldn’t wait for the
day to get over with.

But I was determined to show up no matter what
crazy frame of mind I was in.
My mantra to calm down was “This too shall pass.”
Didn’t work. I had enough anxiety for 20 people.

What was getting to me was making a decision
about buying a home my husband and I are looking at.
After my CPA meeting, I  had another appointment to
meet our real estate agent so I could look over the
house just one more time.

This home had street appeal, a three-car garage, and
a new deck. But, I had reservations about it. Perhaps
it was the price. You think? No . . . maybe what bothered
me was the five bedrooms I was going to have to vacuum
each week.

Buying a home. It is not like buying a pair of shoes at
Nordstrom. You can’t return a home you decided
doesn’t fit the following week. 
It’s a big ordeal.

Arriving at my CPA’s office. I surprised myself. I had
20 minutes before my appointment. I made a quick
phone call.

Then, I glanced down at my doughnut patiently
waiting for me. “Come to mama,” I said. My drug for
the moment. 
There is nothing that a KK doughnut can’t cure.

Checking myself in my mirror for traces of sugar on my lips . . .
I felt better.
I treated myself to some sugar.
The drug of my choice when my life is anxiety-ridden
and big decisions have to be made.

Dear God,
Buying a home is a big decision.
I wish you could text me and give me
the address to our next home.
It would make life easier.
But I do know you don’t text.

It is by  faith and believing in all things
that the right thing will happen.
Your timing is perfect. The perfect home
will appear at the best time and place.
Give me patience as I wait for you to
answer my prayers.
Thank you.
Amen, Lola


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Because I’m Worth It

IMG_3127“I need something to perk me up, ” I say to my WALL.

If my wall could talk it would say, “Figure out what will perk you up and then go do that .”

“Okay, after my dusting and de-cluttering the condo, I will go buy some  springtime flowers for me.” Nothing like bright flowers inside a feng shui condo on a dark gloomy day.

For me, fresh flowers are always a “perk me up”
or a Kit Kat bar can be.  In the last few years, I began buying myself flowers.
I suppose I can have both: flowers and a candy bar.
But, today I thought about my waistline.
I shake my head. Think I will pass on the candy bar.

Are you like me? I used to wait on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day for my loved ones to
buy me my favorite flowers or roses.
I always thought the value of the whole act was to have someone else buy them for me because it’s a special day and I’m one special person.
Man, who planted that seed in my brain?

But, after 50, things have changed!

I decided I’m not waiting around.
“I could die today. Really! Why wait?” I say to no one but my constant companion–my wall.

Now, when I want some flowers I go buy some or if I want to see a movie that is an Oscar contender, by golly, I will go see it.
Finally, with my spine straight I can say, “Because I’m worth it.”

I think it takes longer for women to give themselves
permission to do something special.

In past years, I have gone around and around in my head coming up with reasons for why I should or shouldn’t buy this or that. Such a waste of energy.
It robs us of living for today.

Yes, I’m all for saving money for retirement.
That is why I always turn off the bedroom lights if I’m not in the room.
And I shop at Marshalls to save money.

What perks up your spirit? Is it unwrapping a Almond Joy candy bar? Is it buying a little something for yourself? Is it signing up for French lessons?

If you need a perk-me-up-feel-good moment–figure out the very thing that will make you smile. Then, go to that.

Dear God,
Many times I get stuck thinking and waiting
for pretty flowers to come my way or
more blessings to come knocking on my door.
I know this–you hold us accountable for
getting our own two feet moving and only then
we will find, with your guidance, our path to living
the life we were meant to live. Amen.

Lola

 


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In Cabo Soaking Up Sun and Drinking Piña Coladas

One morning I’m in front of my full-length mirror naked
and I’m not happy.
There is a row of gray hair on top of my head.
Why is one eye lid droopy?
Whose legs do these belong to? There is cellulite all over!
AGRHH.

This woman in the mirror, who is she?
I study the face closer. Fine lines by the mouth.
Dark age spot on my cheeks.

Shhh–there’s a little bit of lose skin under my chin.
Nothing ages you more than a double chin.
“No need to freak out; it’s only saggin’ skin. It’s not cancer.
Just stop eating at country buffet.” I tell myself.

I check out my butt. I see two small pancakes side by side with
lots of dips.
I suck in my tummy. There is no hourglass figure.
Darn. Where is my waistline?

Where did my waistline run off to?
I bet my waistline and libido (my libido is MIA, too) are in Cabo
soaking up the sun, drinking piña coladas, and getting caught in
tropical desert rain.

Quickly, I pull away from the mirror.
To lift my deflated spirit off the floor, I say,
“Lola, your wine glass is half full. Roll with it.
You have eyes to see your grandbaby,
you have arms to lift 10-pound weights above your head,
your rotator cup is still “rotating,”
you have legs to walk 20 miles a week, but your rear end
is still flat.

Oh well. Get over it.”
I did get over it.

I may not have long shiny hair with extensions and Victoria
Secret legs, but I’m really diggin’ who I have become.
When I look in the mirror, this is who I try to see.

I have an effervescent personality.
I have a nice smile and pearly white teeth.
I’m not shy about asking for a better price.

While updating my oven last month, I asked the salesman,
“Is this is the best price you can do?”

I always say a small prayer before I speak especially before
talking to someone who is intimidating the heck out of me.

During the summer months, I jump right in the pool.
Before, I used to dip my toes in the pool to see if the water
is warm or not swim at all because I was worried about my
hair getting wet.

Share with me what you see when you look in the mirror.
Who is that gorgeous man or beautiful woman?

Dear God,
We are used to seeing glossy magazines with pretty women
with no bags under their eyes and wind-blown hair. But it is
all an illusion.

Bless us with wisdom to know what matters the most.

Tell us to look inward. That is where we will find meaning.
Fill us with your spirit to love more, hug more, and laugh
more . . . that is what matters. Amen.
lola