Traditions – A Lovely Aspect of Life

What is Tradition? For me, the idea of traditions, especially how I’d grown up in a Latino family, is truly an empowering concept… now. What do I mean by “now?” Well, admittedly, when I was young, I hadn’t understood what my mother had been trying to give me and my siblings. They had just seemed like worn out concepts and ancient ideals.

family and traditionsThough once I’d become older, I’d seen how traditions had literally given my life meaning and blessings. They had helped me identify myself amidst the world around me. And, it had enhanced my inner connections to family and faith.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that traditions come from a place of great love. Having a custom or belief passed down to you from generation to generation is a way to strengthen and empower the immediate and extended family unit. It’s a way to know that the knowledge of yore pulses through your veins so you always have an answer. And you are never alone.

Traditions are our “oral” history played over and over again. These long established collective coils of customs and beliefs can be illustrated as a simple practice or become an entire way of living. Traditions may have likely become rituals that we’d practiced and had become a habit.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this. I’m going to use the definition of custom as a practice or way of doing a particular event. A belief, as I’m going to use it, would be a personal perception taken as truth. A tradition, then, would be the transference or extension of a custom and belief; as if passed on to another generation.

So if your parents had the custom of allowing you and your siblings to open a Christmas present on Christmas Eve, you likely grew up and had a family of your own and on Christmas Eve, believed it was okay for your kids to open a present. This was the custom that you’d had passed on to you from your parents and had become a tradition for your family.

Traditions teach us many lessons including family values, structure, love and history. Our traditions basically become our code of honor.

Traditions can be new and meaningful with the right attitude behind it. Be proud of who you are as you celebrate your customs and traditions. Do not be afraid to share the meaning and history of your traditions. Be proud and know the value your traditions bring to the current and future generations.


How to Handle What Other People Say During Grief

Everyone has experienced some sort of loss which has left them in grief or some other similar state. Thing is, there are often two sides to the situation.

There is of course, the person who has just entered the state of loss. And there are the people around that person – friends, colleagues, relatives, and so forth, who are looking in at the situation from the outside.

Let’s look at the latter, first.

Most people who are looking in from the outside have, themselves, experienced loss and grief even though they may not currently be there. However, because they had at some point experienced a loss, they do know the feeling (in their own personal way).

And, because they have empathy for the situation, may people will offer some sort of condolence. It may be a few words like: “I’m sorry to hear about your loss” or “They are in a better place.” Rarely, will these kinds of statements really offer consolation to the grieving party however it should not be looked upon as what is said as much as the fact that other human beings had empathy for your situation.

Why is this the case?

Well, this can best be answered by talking about the person who is currently grieving. A very popular resource in the grieving process includes the concepts of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who proposed the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The person who has experienced recent loss may be in any of these stages and it’s not always easy to tell which one. So when an outside person attempts empathy, it may or may not be well received depending on the stage.

Thus, the person offering empathy may be rejected or even yelled at for their effort and the person experiencing loss may feel insulted by what they perceive as insensitive or inappropriate comments. Thing is, it could all be because of the stage of grief the grieving person may be experiencing at that moment.

With this, for those offering empathy, know that it’s not about the response but about the effort. And for the person in grief, realize… maybe at a later time, that people in your life had cared enough to reach out. You might not be able to receive it at the time it was given, but eventually, you might see it. And when you do, you can know that people truly do understand!


Who Says Pets Don’t Have Personalities?

Faithful friendWho says animals don’t have personalities, eh?

And, consider that if they have personalities, they likely have a soul.

I know from my experiences with pets, that every one of them has their own little personalities be it quirky, funny, expressive, mellow, or hyper!

Cindy had been a bit of a bully to her brother; her brother having been just a calm, relaxed version of Cindy.  It was bizarre how some animals just didn’t want company.  Cindy and her brother had been together since they’d been litter mates but when Cindy got older, she wanted nothing at all to do with her brother.

Sammy had been so sweet and had just let his sister do whatever she’d needed to do.  But eventually, I’d given Sammy to my brother and it had been a good fit.  Sammy had still remained mellow but my brother had been so happy to have a dog!

But Cindy had been a very good protector.  She’d had a good sense about people.

If she didn’t like someone, she barked and growled and it had been so intense that people said they’d had chills.  Other times, someone could stand right next to her kennel and not even know she’d been there because she watched but hadn’t made a sound.

I think Sammy would have been like one of those older gentlemen who sat on the front porch in a rocking chair, puffing on a pipe, just listening to the wind in the grass for hours.

Cindy … she’d been like a Marine; battling through the jungles on a quest of keeping the others in the platoon, safe.  Really, I could say she epitomized Semper Fidelis.

She’d been a great watchdog and amazing friend!

Song of The Colors – Song of Faith

There are songs which can touch the very heart of the inner spirit; music which inspires faith in all stages of a spiritual life. For me, this song came from the appreciation and motivation of its meaning as described to me by my mother, Doña Flora.

De Colores is a powerful tune which is said to be of unknown origin. It translates in English to: The Colors. There have been a few references that suggested the song came from Spain as early as the 16th century. Who had written it and the inspiration behind the words remains unknown. Too, it hadn’t been attached to any particular sect or denomination. Never the less, for my mother, the song had always been powerful and divine.

This beautiful hymn speaks to the blending of colors… combining the hues of the rainbow with the vastness of the fields and the brilliance of the majestic sun with the singing of the birds. It combines all that is in the world under one grand halo formed by the Creator. I personally appreciate the brilliant message of spreading light, celestial grace, and combining all shades of color unto the earth as one, created out of the infinite love of the divine. And I had learned to appreciate the song through the use of it in church.

Doña Flora had been a member of the Cursillos in Christianity Movement in our church. She’d been an active leader in the group, often participating in the three day retreats. On the retreats, people would pray, sing, study, and speak on spiritual topics. At the end of the three days, there would be a send-off of the participants as they prepared to return to the community. The celebrations had included a Eucharistic celebration, testimonials, inspirational music, and food. This is where my mother had first heard the beautiful song.

The song, De Colores, has been used in many ceremonies. It’s a song that my mother had often said connected her to the Earth and Heaven. It empowers and binds people together for a higher good.

You can listen to my version here:


My mother had often enjoyed singing it over the Cursillo weekend. De Colores has also been associated with farm workers; with the union members singing the powerful song during rallies. With its upbeat tune and uplifting message, it had been a way of empowering and uniting the union members with the earthly land they loved and worked.

(Enjoy the article about chickens? — Here is a humorous video posted from the old Flora’s Legacy!
Feel free to laugh out loud!)

Time has Come for a New Family Member …

This was a post from my old site called Dementia Dogs and later, My Dog has Dementia from April 1, 2017

time to adopt

Being a dog lover like I am, I knew there would come a time. I just didn’t know when.

As it happened, about eight months after I’d lost my faithful companion, another dog came into my life. It had been a fluke really, which is often times the way it works.  A friend’s daughter had a dog which accidentally had gotten pregnant. And she’d had four puppies.

Something tugged at me in my heart. I’d seen their little guinea pig like bodies in a small curled up pile on a blanket on Facebook. There’d been three striped ones and a light colored one. My eyes had locked-on to that lighter one and I immediately – even without thought – sent a message that I’d like to adopt that puppy.

I’d been elated when my request had been answered: “It’s yours.”

I waited for what seemed like forever but had appreciated that the owner of the mother hadn’t wanted to give away the puppies until they had been weaned from their mother. I’d been impatient though the owner had let me come and see the puppy a couple of times.

Finally, it was time to pick her up and bring her home!

She’s been a blessing to our family. She didn’t replace my baby, Cinder, but she brought her own sunshine to the home!

Her playfulness, watching her grow into her face and body from a lump of fluff, and her loving personality just makes me grateful, daily, that she is with our family!

Thing is, it took awhile to grieve my dog, Cindy. And I allowed it because I wasn’t trying to “replace” Cindy at all.  But it was time, the opportunity appeared, and I took it! I’m so thankful I did!

There may come a time after you lose your pet when you feel a tug to get another pet. There are so many who need forever homes and love! When you are ready, I hope you can fill your life and another pet’s life with that wonderful light that pets bring!

Changes in Me can Reflect how I See the World

be happyIn the spirit of January and change, I want to share a few “-isms” that may help to make this a magnificent year!

I added some of these just this last year … as they came to me through inspiration!

For instance, this first one … someone suggested I listen to this lady and found some videos on YouTube. I was touched immediately by what she shared!

Her name is Marisa Peer and she shares that: I Am Enough!

Think about this for a second. Everything we go through daily is about others, say, talking down to us and we internalize it instead of saying to ourselves: I Am Enough! Or we are hooked on our past and what others did or didn’t do instead of being present and telling ourselves: I Am Enough!

It is amazingly powerful and it really influenced me! I have these words written on my walls around the house!

(Here are some links to her YouTube videos if you want to hear more on this awesome concept!

I Am Enough YouTube video

I Am Enough Guided Meditation YouTube Video

Here is another idea that has inspired me: Being in the Now.

Remember that book, written back in 2004 or so, by Eckhart Tolle called The Power of Now? Honestly, I didn’t really ever think about the Now as being powerful. But then, I started to see the value . For me, anyway, it helped to not live in a past that wasn’t there anymore and a future that hadn’t happened yet.

What I found for me was that I used the past to make myself feel bad or justify some inadequacy in myself or the like. And the future…well, I thought I wanted it to be X or Y and when I didn’t get it, thought God hated me or I wasn’t worth it.

Truth is … I have no clue what is best for me. But God does! God created me and God knows what’s best for me. Being in the Now allows me to let go to God to bring to me what I need … and not try to control things I think I need.

It hasn’t worked very well … ever … so …

Kind of piggy-backing on this last point is another idea that I’ve been working to focus on which is the idea that what people say and what I hear are often so different. I can only hear what I can “understand” in my own world and that can be so different from what someone else is actually saying.

This can contribute to so many misunderstandings and disagreements. It’s been an interesting journey on this one because so many times, I find that others don’t quite see this anomaly yet. And that’s okay because it challenges me to be a bit more patient and a lot less judgmental!

I realized through just these few tools that it really is about me. If I feel good about me then the world seems to be a better place. If I feel bad about me, then the world seems hostile.

Honestly … I personally prefer a happier world!

The Family Foundation Beats the Out of Control World Every Time!

Times have really changed since the days of my own youth. When I consider my own rebellion against my parents, I remember staying out a half an hour beyond my curfew or not answering my page in five minutes. My mother had been a stickler for the rules and for checking-in. At the time, I’m sure I had resented it but much later in life, I’d seen that Mama had simply wanted to be sure I had been safe.

Mama had done the same with all of my siblings; granted the girls a bit more so than the boys. But my brothers often complained about Mama’s grilling of them as well. Mama had many reasons for the way she’d treated us as young people. She had wanted us to be safe of course but also, she’d wanted us to be responsible. We’d been representative of her family and she wanted us to act in public with pride and respect. And she’d wanted us to know that she had eyes everywhere so if we acted inappropriately, she’d know.

It hadn’t been about Mama per say, it had been about us… about family and the family name. Times, today, seem different. We had been required to actually call Mama – so she could hear the background noise I’m sure. Today, people text and there isn’t any background noise in a text.

In public, people walk in front of you in the store without so much as an “excuse me;” showing that respect is all but dead. It’s as if people don’t have respect for even themselves let alone others as illustrated by the simple things they do in public.

Today, too, people seem to be out for their five minutes of fame; no matter how outrageous or vicious. Today, it seems to be all about one person and not the world. And while times do change, I think that people today are missing a very important point.

Times today are moving so fast. Things change so quickly; what’s popular today is passé tomorrow. But you know, there is something that isn’t so rapidly changing… isn’t so about personal appearance… isn’t all about fame and popularity… isn’t about violence or exaggeration. It is, however, about comradery, about being supported, about roots and inner strength, about acceptance and having someone watching your back and caring. It’s about having a foundation, about always having somewhere to go when the world gets crazy. It’s about knowing you can count on people when the world tosses you aside.

It’s called family. And it’s not flashy. It may not make you famous. It might not like what you do but will always love who you are. Even if there is no one there in person, your family’s strengths pulse through your veins at every moment so you know you can get through anything with generations behind you!

So often, we take family for granted, gripe about them, have our opinions about our family members, and so forth. But the thing is, family is the entity which keeps you grounded when the world starts spinning too fast. And instead of taking them for granted, we should appreciate them with our whole hearts!


Today’s Events Will Soon be Tomorrow’s Memories

January: Time of the Year for Adapting to Change

Happy HolidaysI can’t believe that we are already two weeks into the new year of 2022. Christmas has come and gone… though doing my Christmas tree is still up and I just can’t seem to get myself to take it down.

In my family, we had always celebrated the Christmas season thru Jan 6th … with the feast of the Epiphany. One of my all-time favorite memories had been the whole family going to church and seeing the Nativity scene and hearing the sound of beautiful Christmas hymns. And with every holiday memory comes the default image of my dear mother, Flora.

Sometimes, the holidays are still hard even though my mother has been gone for many years. So when I look back on how “weird” 2021 was and saw many people lose loved ones. I felt so sad for their losses and read many beautiful sentimental thoughts from a wide range of people who took the time to send the comforting words.

And I consider how significant that gesture really is.

When I think about how the world is today … and recall Mama, even way back when, asking What is going on in the world? … with what seems to be a staunch lack of compassion for humanity – for each other, animals and the Earth … and seemingly unending chaos …

Those kind gestures shared show that the world does still care. It also shows a time when family … no matter what that concept is built of … needs to find ways to come together and help each other and keep that bond strong because too soon, it can become a memory.

In the old family days, we’d share a meal, attend church together, or maybe have a night of song! My Mama’s siblings would come to our house and they’d share homemade cinnamon and sugar cookies with a hot cup of cocoa or coffee!

I have come to realize over the decades that things change … siblings marry and have their own traditions … members pass … with technology, what was once a phone call may now be a welcomed text! Yet I still really enjoy the memories!

Sometimes, I come up with something creative to do with my family … things that don’t require apps!!

We may have a pizza night or play a board game … but the key is being present. I think the biggest challenge for me is tearing myself away from social media on my phone. But that’s the point … being present with those who are actually in my home!

Okay, so I’m a work in progress! Wish me luck!!

As I mentioned, January is the month of new beginning and new challenges.

Yes, we are constantly looking for ways to grow … whether it be that membership to the health club, being more spiritual or just taking time to literally stop and smell the roses.

The key takeaway from this post: Let your family shine and look for ways to connect. Make new memories and build new traditions.

Please feel free to share what you are inspired to do in 2022 on the Facebook page!

Happy First Anniversary!

wedding party, Paul and Flora

Good morning family and friend!

I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable day to mark the first blog post for the revived Flora’s Legacy website!

Today, January 7th, marks 66 years since my parents had been engaged in the sacrament of holy matrimony.

I still can remember some of the stories I’d heard about the event from people who’d been there. Some had described it as the party-of-the-year at the time!

Back then, 1956, had been a different time … from what I’d imagined, the world had been smaller and warmer … all the way around.

And that year had begun with a milestone that had marked the beginning of our family as we know it today!

They had been married on that early Saturday morning at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church in a part of town known as the Grove, by a Jesuit priest in front of many of their family and friends.

Historically, a number of generations had family members who’d married in the same, once thriving parish of immigrants. So many people from Pueblo likely had roots in that parish. And while Our Lady of Mt Carmel is still going strong in 2022, a vast number of families and traditional have come and gone from the community.

Still, the memories I have of the images of that beautiful day in 1956 keep the significance of that piece of our family history vivacoius in my mind!

Like, I can hear my prima, Teresa, who’d been the flower girl at the ceremony, tell me that she’d thought she’d been getting married to the ring bearer, my Mama’s nephew, Ernie! I’d heard about my Mama’s beautiful ivory satin gown and about how Daddy had been so distinguished looking, with his dark wavy hair. Daddy had been the last bachelor in his family at the time so his relatives had been excited to know that he’d been getting married to a good Catholic girl.

I’d also remembered over the years growing up in the household that Mama had often said how lovely Daddy’s hair had been and Daddy had often said how he’d always known Mama had been the girl for him!

One of my favorite stories had been how Mama had shared that she’d had to go on a hot dog diet to fit into the wedding dress. A HOT DOG diet! Can you image how THAT would go over on the diet scene today! Wow!

Following the mass and the ceremony, the wedding party and a few close family member had gathered at my grandma Sofia’s small home. There, they’d shared a homemade breakfast around the dining room table … the same table I would have all of my thanksgivings and family gatherings at. What a sweet memory!

On that nostalgic day in 1956, my parents had gone to get pictures taken at a professional photography studio and then had attended the reception. They would spend their honeymoon at the elite, exquisite town hotel, The Vail … the place movie stars, dignitaries, and other highfalutins would stay when in town.

And, at the end of day, Mama had left her childhood home to be the wife of Paul Ramirez Rodriguez.

So when I look back in this date … January 7th … it is a reminder of the inauguration and inspiration of two people who loved each other … God … their faith … and begin the journey to spring the family of which their legacy continues on today!

This day … January 7th … so fitting that this day marks the first blog post for the revived website! This is my sacred holy day to those people like my family … my legacy … my faith … my traditions. Like the Phoenix rises from the ashes and Flora’s Legacy rose up from a hiatus … continuing to believe in and remember our ancestors, their stories will arise again through us.