Father-Daughter Bonding

I could write a long, mushy blog post about how fabulously, gloriously blessed I am to have my amazing parents.

Barcelona Trip March 2011 195
Mom, Dad and me in Barcelona

family pic
A recent family pic for our church

I can honestly say that their strength, support and understanding has guided me through many a dire situation. But since my parents are so amazing, they each deserve their own blog post. Today’s is dedicated to my dad.

It’s often said that a daughter’s relationship with her father is special. A father is someone a daughter should be able to rely upon— in good times and bad. A man she knows is there for her no matter what. A man she can look up to. A man who serves as a role model for her own partner.

I’m not rose-colored glasses enough to believe that this is always true. Which leads me to give thanks every day for the man I call Dad. Or Pop. Or Papi. Depending on my mood, the moment, or the language I’m speaking.

So today, I’d simply like to post an homage of pics representing the numerous father daughter bonding moments my dad and I have shared in recent years. A testament to the fun-loving, sometimes embarrassment-inducing, inappropriate comment-making absolute best dad a girl could ask for.

My dad’s in tuned with his cultural side, here we are:

ushering a broadway show
Wearing our tuxedos, snapping a selfie as we usher a Broadway show at our main performing arts center

Gainesville Latino Film Festival
Supporting the Gainesville Latino Film Festival

salsa dancing
Salsa dancing at a local event

Marc Anthony 1
At the Marc Anthony concert together

We’re huge Gator fans! Dad may not have attended UF, but says his money did as both my sister and I are alums. ☺

Gator baseball game
Enjoying Gator baseball

Gators_Basketball_Sweet_16_UF_Fans_2
Cheering on our 2007 National Champion basketball team

LSU football tailgate
Tailgating at last week’s Gator football game

Papi has thrown his support behind my endeavors as well as my daughters’

MFA grad
Celebrating my MFA graduation at Seton Hill University

off to work consent shirt
Proudly wearing his “I Always Get Consent” shirt to raise awareness in the fight against sexual violence on college campuses– an organization one of my daughters co-created at her undergraduate university

We’re a family of characters who never miss an opportunity to play dress up whether it’s for an Oscar party, World Cup soccer

halloween
a Halloween zombie party

biker babes
Or being biker babes riding Dad’s moped, taking a selfie at a loooooong stop light

If you know my dad, you know he’s crazy about karaoke. My dad is a regular Frank Sinatra, Willy Nelson, David Allan Coe and Neil Diamond all rolled into one. So, no blog about my papi would be complete without a pic of him singing karaoke:

karoake singing

And finally, I’m sharing this last pic just cuz I love it. Here’s my dad and me, relaxing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during a family reunion. My head on his shoulder, comfortable and safe with my dad at my side.
me n dad at Disney

Te quiero, papi! XOXO

Exercise + Family = FUN!

family walking

A family that plays together… well, they have fun together.

A family that exercises together…well, they are healthier together.

So, it stands to reason that a family that plays and exercises together… well, they’ll have fun and be healthier together! ☺

My family loves to play tennis, run, walk and dance. Last Christmas, we had a family reunion and held a 5K family fun run in our neighborhood followed by a family tennis tournament on our community court. Trophies were even given away to the top female and male finishers in each event. Several nights, we fired up our Wii and spent hours taking turns with our Just Dance games. Fun was definitely had by all!

family run day

This past weekend, I ran the Rock n Roll Philadelphia half marathon.

rock n roll philly

It was my first time visiting Philly and let me just say I loved the city! More importantly, I loved the opportunity to spend a fun, healthy weekend with family and close friends. Our group had people flying in from Florida, California and Las Vegas, plus one who drove from DC and another from the Philly area. It was a memorable weekend with close friends, a sister, a niece and a daughter—all of us enjoying the blessing of time together.

rocky pic

Whether it’s a walk in your neighborhood park, playing a sport like tennis, or participating in an organized event like a Rock n Roll race, the main thing is to stay active and have fun. Keep your family movin’ and groovin’ and getting their heart rates up. ☺

So, what do you and your family do for exercise and fun?

Domestic Violence Has No Place in Our Society

stop domestic violence 1
I’m not a lawyer, a judge, a trained victim’s advocate, or in any way a professional in the field of law enforcement, so I have to admit that my statements here are my unprofessional opinion.

Yes, I am a woman, so my thoughts on the topic —if you look at the statistics—may seem skewed to side with my gender.

But setting aside my profession and gender, more importantly, I am a PERSON! My sense of humanity and compassion for others precludes me from violence against another.

So, when I say that I am appalled, disgusted and saddened by the issue of domestic violence, please understand that is an abysmally gross understatement.
enough is enough
If you’re not a sports fan, until yesterday you may not have heard about the latest headline-generating incident about an NFL player’s domestic violence charge.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/ray-jones-ray-rice-domestic-violence-case-person-blame-article-1.1933003

But with new, more condemning video being released, it’s safe to say that the NFL, the player’s team, the local prosecutor and the police completely botched this case from the very beginning.

Today, the case dominates the airwaves—from our morning talk shows to ESPN, from newspapers to the web, and everywhere in between.

The silver lining here—and I cringe to even type those words—is that now more people are talking about the evils of domestic violence. Hearing a sports commentator state, “The question shouldn’t be why the victim goes back to the perpetrator, but rather, why does the perpetrator continue to be violent” is important. This backward attack—blame the victim, not the perpetrator—needs to stop.
shattered domestic violence

Domestic violence—physical, mental, emotional—does NOT begin by the victim. The person does NOT ask for it. And “just get up and leave” isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Domestic violence MUST stop.

Victims need assistance, not condemnation!

All of us deserve to live in a home, a town, and a world where we feel safe and secure. Healthy love and a healthy relationship doesn’t hurt!
stop domestic violence

If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out. There is support available, even when it seems like a situation may be helpless.

So please, put these websites and phone numbers below in your contact list. You never know when you, someone you love, or someone you meet might need them.

http://www.thehotline.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm

Summer Fun

postcard KW
By now many, if not most, school districts and universities/colleges are back in session. Summer is over and it’s time to get back in a groove of school, homework, longer commutes and busier schedules.

The dog days of summer are behind us—though in the Southeast, we’re still feeling the heat and humidity. And typically will for months to come.

With our kids and teachers starting back to school, I thought I’d call upon a beloved class assignment from my past: the age old, “What did you do this summer?” essay.

I have to say, I had a blessed summer of 2014. My girls are older, so they’re not home all that often now and when they are, I treasure every moment.

I started off with a three-week visit from with my youngest before she headed back to college for the summer session. Yes, I tried to pack as much fun as I could in her short time with me.
zac brown band with belle

Then, my youngest niece and nephew arrived to spend two months with my parents and me. Talk about reliving my past. It’s been a while since I’ve had elementary and middle school kids running around the house. From World Cup soccer parties to 90 minutes of trampoline time at a local Skyzone…they certainly kept me hopping—in a fun way!

world cup gator dockside 1
Between two writers’ conferences, a rousing family reunion celebration in Texas
cousin love
and the passing of a beloved uncle, my June and July flew by.

To cap off my summer, my middle daughter arrived home for two weeks and we headed off for a long weekend in Key West, my old stomping grounds during junior high and high school.

We biked all around the island,
P & G biking KW
hit Duval for a little dancing and nightlife, watched a glorious sunset on Mallory Square, caught sunrise before hitting the tennis courts, spent a relaxing day on a boat with old friends, passed by my childhood home and enjoyed playing tourist. It was a jam-packed weekend of catching up with good friends and sharing my hometown with my daughter.

Some folks have commented on all the traveling I managed to do over the past few months. Yes, I’ve been blessed in that respect.

For me though, what I really count as a blessing is the time I’ve been able to spend with family. The memories we created together. The hours spent in each other’s company. The opportunity to say, “I love you” in person to loved ones I don’t get to see often enough.

I’d say the highlight of my summer was the blessing of family time. With the traveling being the icing on the cake. ☺

So, as the Key West sun sets, the homeschool teacher in me wants to know: What did you do this summer?
KW sunset

Depression: A Serious Disease

depression 3
I had a different idea for today’s blog, but my heart is heavy after learning about the loss of two people to depression and suicide in less than 24 hours.

One is a Hollywood legend that touched the lives of millions around the world with his laughter, insight into character and engaging personality (Robin Williams). The other was a young man, barely in his twenties. A beloved son with his entire life ahead of him.

But depression doesn’t discriminate. It knows no bounds. Age, sex, race, status… It doesn’t matter.
child depression
And depression isn’t something a person can merely “get over.” Or “set aside.” Or even worse, “just suck it up.”

For the person struggling with the disease, life can seem worthless. They feel lost, alone. The lows can be abysmal, with no light to reach for evident.
depression 2
For family members, it can be difficult as they struggle to understand the depths of the disease and how it affects their loved one.

Depression is not something to take lightly. To brush off. To dismiss as a weakness. It’s an evil disease. It takes lives. It leaves families shattered.
depression 1
If you or a loved one, a neighbor or co-worker…if anyone you come in contact with shows signs of depression, don’t let it slide. Instead, find the name and number of a local crisis center. Learn about the resources available and share that information. All it could take is for that person struggling to know that someone cares, that help is available. That they are worth it. That life can be a beautiful gift. That their life is a beautiful gift.

So please, look up that number and jot it down, add it to your phone contacts, share it with others.

And today, remember to hug your children and let them know they mean the world to you. Tell your spouse you love him or her. Call your mom and dad, sister and brother, grandmother and aunt. Email your favorite teacher. Text your best friend. Smile at the person in line at the bank or grocery store. Share a joke with a co-worker.

You never know when you have the chance to be the ray of sunshine in someone’s day.
depression 4

Resources to consider:

http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/help-for-depression#TreatmentFacts1

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depresssion-support

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