Friday, April 27, 2012

Free Book Online: A Fight for Life - Chapter Two (part 1)



CHAPTER 2 (Part 1)

First Impressions

Our car traveled along dark empty roads. Through the few flashes of light provided by the fast moving street lights outside, I could get a glimpse of my brother Pedro on the back seat. I searched in vain for positive attributes in that body, almost dead, anguishing by my side, as Pedro seemed to be trying to express a pain that was beyond my capacity of sympathizing.

At the front seat, I imagine now that my parents' thoughts spoke a speechless dialogue to each other. They were probably astonished, filled with doubts and negative perspectives. Were they wondering if they had taken the right path? Maybe now the burden seemed to be much heavier than when they first took that decision. Maybe the challenge now looked clearly beyond their scope.

At that time, I didn’t understand exactly the full meaning of everything that was happening. I was a small six years old child, just starting first grade. I probably thought it was just one more of my parents' many adventures, like all the others they went through when they were younger. A mix of hippie organic way of life, idealistic ideals and magical beliefs. They had done so many wild things!

I was still confused about this whole new situation. I knew my new brother wasn’t just one more doll bought at the toy store, a modern version of it, capable of real crying and peeing. He wasn't either one more baby born to my mom at the hospital, that arrived to be added to our family. The only explanation that my mind could conceive was of a stranger, with an unknown name, that came inside a huge bird shape machine called airplane.

All I could feel for him in that first moment was pity. Nothing else. No flame of love or deep felling popped inside my chest. I didn’t see the event as a gift or the beginning of a new life experience for my family. Such complexity was too far from my vocabulary. The best comparison in my view was with the rescue of a street dog: hungry, sick and abandoned. How different could this be?

I probably imagined the future that awaited us as something like that first night: dark, cold and scary, totally uncertain. It was like traveling on a road blocked by dense fog where it is impossible to know what lays one foot ahead. I might have felt unable to visualize the future welcoming my family, but I knew that at least we were all together. Actually, we were quite squeezed inside the small car in movement. Thankfully, the trip came to an end.

We crossed the gates to enter the apartment development where we lived, separating it from the violence of the streets in the big city. Inside, you could see a few modest apartment buildings and in one of them was the little apartment we called home. A few square feet where I spent two years of my life, and from where I got the first memories that weren't washed away from my mind as time went by. Those were the first visual images my brain kept.

The apartment had a kitchen which was just big enough to accommodate a stove, a sink and a refrigerator, besides a small table placed against the wall. At the end of this corridor we called kitchen there was a washing machine fitted in a few square feet space we called laundry.

My daily routine after arriving from school included snacking a raw carrot from a bowl in the kitchen and walking towards the living room, which was the coziest place in our apartment. A center rug warmed our feet and the cross stitch pictures hanging on the walls were samples of my mom’s bread winning. She helped my father pay the bills at the end of the month cross stitching baby patterns for a store. That way, she could take care of us, keep up with the house and still make some money.

After crossing the living room, I would walk into one of the two bedrooms that opened to the corridor. I would leave my backpack on top of one of the two beds, as I shared the bedroom with my younger brother Lucas. He was too young to go to school, so he played alone when I was out, because we had no video games at that time. We had to imagine out our plays. One of them was playing school. We imagined to be in a classroom and I was the teacher, and Lucas the student. Everything I would learn at school in the morning, I would teach him when I got home.

I was a tough teacher! If he didn’t obey me, I would hit him. After all, I was still bigger than him at that time; I was six and he was only four. Even though I didn’t followed pedagogic tactics, the method worked and he learned how to read by the time he was four years old. He was the best student that I ever had, my first student. The second would be the new brother we picked up that night at the airport.

Walking towards the apartment building, we were approaching our first hands on experience, after so many days spent dreaming, imagining and worrying. Hanging in the air there was still an idealistic illusion, a special blend of love, courage and braveness. It was much like in the old movies, where everything smells like fresh baked bread, brewed coffee and newly mowed lawn, where stories have no insuperable difficulties, but capable heroes, no fear, just courage. How convenient if everything's coming up roses! But with the roses came also the thorns.

Thorns look harmless and unable to cause pain, as long as we keep a distance from them. However, when we touch its extremities with our fingertips, we feel the potential they have to hurt and expose the blood that once traveled secure inside its compartments. And so it was as the first thorns were touched that night.

The first touch resulted in great pain. The second, a little bit less. From then on, my parents got used to the painful sensation for their own sake. The first ones came in the form of endless coughing and constant vomiting. Their hands, ears and noses became calloused. Those were quite thick thorns to handle!

My new brother was the gift we received that night. My parents asked Maria to bring him, and she did just that. He didn’t come with an instruction manual, six months of warranty, or technical assistance. He was brought to us because if he stayed where he was, he would have died. Not that he wasn't already looking like half dead, but he was chosen to live, to have the chance to belong to someone, to be part of a family.

The character that entered our lives that night, touching all of us, had as his last given name: “of Angels”. And who could deny that? Certainly, this was the only explanation for his survival until that moment. The underworld which he came from was flooded with violence, disease, hunger, prostitution, robbery, drugs and words alike. He came from a reality that was common place in the news channel, but not in our daily lives.

The elevator arrived and all of us got inside the elevator trying to squeeze in it the best we could. Pedro's coughing episodes sounded louder in the confinement of the tiny elevator. I kept my head up as I wanted to observe my new brother Pedro laying on my dad’s arms. But my dad was so tall! I wondered if I would ever grow up as much as him. Maybe someday when my feet stopped hanging from the chair and were able to reach the floor. The elevator door opened.

As we got inside the apartment I realized how tired I was, even though to sleep was at the bottom of my list. My desire was to analyze forever my new brother as everything was new about him. I wanted to watch how my parents were going to take care, change and feed his skinny and debilitated body and see how I could participate in at least one of their adventures.

I felt that Lucas was much more tired than I was, especially after so many emotional events. Being younger, he was assimilating less about what was going on. It wasn’t going to be easy for him to share or even leave his kingdom as the youngest child on behalf of another boy, who didn’t have any biological rights to the throne. The deal included sharing his bedroom, his closet, his toys, his parents, his sister, all their attention and who knows what else.

Maria helped my parents giving them a few tips for Pedro's first care. There wasn’t a whole lot to do be done in one night as the treatment would be long. At that moment, the most important thing was to get him fed, changed and snuggled in a comfortable bed.

Finally, there he was, inside my bedroom, my reality and my life. I thought that covered by the blanked he didn’t look threatening. On a quick glance, he could have passed for a healthy, docile and captivating child. However, lifting the covers and looking carefully, anyone would conclude that he needed a lot of different specialized professionals to solve all his problems.

At the beginning, I would just stare as I didn’t feel comfortable touching his body. He seemed to be very unpredictable as he shouted, violently agitated his arms and used the entire body to express his distress. Maria told us that a lot of people didn’t think twice about confining children like him into psychiatric institutions. In some institutions, when they became agitated, they would tie them with thick ropes, administer tranquilizers and lock them behind heavy doors to restrict their movements. I felt a cold wave sending a chill down my spine.

Even though my parents were being moved by a great deal of illusion, inexperience and stubbornness, they were full of compassion. Even I, still frightened, felt sorry for facing the meaning of the word rejection expressed in a child. I didn’t know rejection as my family always meant love, acceptance and security. I didn’t suspect, at that time in my life, the existence of children rejected like that, like him. Rejected by his own parents.

The first question that popped in my parents' mind was how to better help him. They were not health professionals. On the contrary, they didn’t have any connection with the health care field, unless when taking us to the doctor when we got sick. So the solution they found was to use their common sense, the one that works together with intuition and exists inside everyone. You might question its effectiveness but I don’t have doubts about its functionality as I testified its results on a daily basis.

I also found out that Pedro lacked some unnoticed capacities, trivial to my daily life, as I didn’t find any difficulty in executing them. And as I got more and more acquainted with my brother’s difficulties, I began to value the small aspects of my own life that were insignificant before. I realized that until then I had been taking all the privileges I had for granted.

The celebration of a birth should be more than a tribute to existence. It should be an honoring moment to the functionality of each detail that we are blessed with, when we are born with a perfect or perfectly functioning body.

Pedro didn't get the privilege of celebrating anything else besides existence, as he was not contemplated with a perfect or perfectly functioning body. He had to adapt to a deflected course and fight for his own existence. Survival also involves to be loved and cared for, but that did not happen for him either. During his first four years of life, care was a rare treat. Without care, his limitations imposed by birth became even more accentuated.

I learned from Pedro that dealing with difficulties transforms people into creative, hopeful and stronger human beings. These are powerful ingredients to reach any goal. I learned that just staring at the circumstances is usually a waste of time as it does not change one atom of its status. With Pedro my family had to close the eyes to the visible and see the invisible, and then build an invisible dream to find the solution to the visible.

Maria went back to her family after having accomplished her part of the mission. She knew that because my brother was so special, my family would certainly be infused with enough strength, discernment and wisdom along the way. She didn’t have to worry anymore as the worst part of Pedro's life had ended. From now on, it would be a new beginning. He was born again to life.

I learned that first night that real compassion doesn’t mean dropping an ocean of tears or shouts of desperation, but to stretch my hands and make a difference. Even a small difference will bring tears of happiness and shouts of victory. And the beginning of this story happened because someone literally stretched his hand, at first just to reach for a magazine.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Cat in the Hat

Luke had to wear a costume one day this week for the "week of the young child" at his school, so I recycled at the last minute an old outfit and turned into the Cat in the Hat. This was probably the last time he will wear a "cute" outfit, as he told me that next year he wants to be Spider Man. Oh, for how long will I be able to keep the super heroes phase away?!!



"We looked!
Then we saw him
step in on the mat!
We looked!
And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!"

“I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny.
But we can have
Lots of good fun
that is funny!”


Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Online Book: A Fight for Life - Chapter One (part 2)

My computer decided to stop working again this week, apparently Luke's DVD was not entirely the cause of our computer's mood swings. So I finally took the computer to repair this week and now it is back in business! If you have not read the beginning of this book, you can start to read the book here. I also modified a few things in the last chapter, as the translation of this book is still a work in process.

So here is the second part of Chapter One. 


CHAPTER 1 (Part 2)

Born of Angels

Dear Diary,

I got excited after reading and editing the first chapter of my book. Writing facts about my life touched me quite a bit. It was like acting on a movie about myself, remaking scenes where I had already been.

As I remember the past and ponder about my brother's story, I understand that nothing happened by chance. He was one of the reasons why I chose Nursing, the motivation to deepen into the art of caring and go beyond the mere knowledge produced by my observation, intuition and senses. I wanted to carve my empirical experience into a scientifically based career.

Now that I am a nurse I like to recall the reason why I took this path. This gives me strength and I no longer have illusions about it. I am living the reality, but that is no reason to stop dreaming. Nursing is part of my life and of my daily routine and a lot of thoughts like these permeate my mind, from the time I wake up to the moment I go to sleep.

Sometimes, when I get to work in the morning, I am unmotivated thinking that it will be one more ordinary day, with papers to fill and lots of problems to solve. Lately, it seems that the routine is swallowing me up, transforming me into a robot. Not that my critical thoughts are gone, but it seems that they are hidden behind so much bureaucracy! There are protocols for everything, even to draft protocols!

I know that my goal is to address my patients' well being, but sometimes I have failed to care for my own well being. I feel like a sand glass, languishing to the end, such is my condition at the end of each day. Maybe I miss motivation, or a better paycheck. But I know deep inside that Nursing is not just a bread winner for me, there is something in this fight that while sucks out strength, offers back purpose, love and life. This trade-off, however, has not been quite balanced lately. I try to compensate writing. I hope this book will work as a therapy.

Last week, during one of my morning shifts at the Pediatric unit, I was notified that there was an admission to be done. Getting ready for the new patient, I thought that probably was just one more case of pneumonia. The winter has been really harsh. The kids spend their day inside daycares infecting one another with the bugs they bring from the outside. The infections are moving as fast as fire.

By the way, the weather is impossibly cold today! Having to face this glacial cold in the morning doesn't please me at all. The mission of waking up early in the morning gets trapped in the blanket, and if it wasn’t for the bigger motivation of a job loss, all the other motivations would be creased against the pillow.

The child I admitted was a boy, called Silvano, about seven years old, coming from a very poor family, and carrying a peculiar case. As I got closer to him, I first tried to observe important details for a complete physical examination. However, looking into his eyes, I saw more than pupils. I saw a request for help, a message that his eyes were trying to communicate. Without words.

The boy was fighting against difficulties of all kinds. Not that his recent infirmity was critical, but besides that he carried chronic physical deformities that had deprived him from his joy of living. When I figured that out, my thoughts were immobilized, not knowing in which direction to run. I could certainly help him with his clinical acute diagnosis, but his physical deficiencies were beyond my scope. A lot of work would be necessary from a specialized team to achieve any further progress.

After the physical examination, I tried to complete the forms; however, my thoughts kept dancing away from the paper before my eyes. I thought that any care that I prescribed was not going to remove his discontentment. It would be a mere palliative action. I longed for something more; I longed to offer that child concrete hopes. To make a difference.

There is nothing more useless than to focus all attention at one paralyzing problem and just feel sorry about it. The solution never arrives. With that in mind, I tried to force my view beyond the problem, beyond the circumstances. Right on the solution.

Grasping the telephone, I called all the contacts that I could find asking for an evaluation, guiding or analysis of that case. I got answers ranging from: “I got a busy schedule right now” to “You can count on me” offering me some hope.

After making the phone calls, I went back to the hospital bed, where Silvano rested immersed under the wrinkled covers. I told his mother, who stood by his side, about the phone calls I had made. She smiled, but her eyes were marooned in tears. I sensed that she was touched by the expectations.

Getting closer I asked: “Are you ok?”, and she answered: “Dear, I had lost hope already with this boy, but I look at you and I know that you will do something for him, aren't you?” “Don’t worry”, I said, “I will do anything within my reach, but promise me you'll never lose hope for anything in this life, because as long there is hope there are possibilities”.

Her face corroded by years of hard working smiled a toothless smile. It was beautiful because it was real.“Thank you, this boy is everything I've got. If he dies, how could I go on without him? Do you understand?" “Perfectly, but let's stay away from negative thoughts and let's focus on this opportunity to get him better.” She nodded and smiled. There wasn't a whole lot that I could do besides bringing her some hope; the specialists could offer a more specific prognosis.

The next day a specialized medical team came by; the case had aroused interest. My phone calls had reached their objective, the doctors seemed to be intrigued. They wanted to unfold such unique case, overcome limits imposed by nature, and arrive to a final conclusion. If successful, they planned to publish the case in a medical journal.

After examining every inch of his body, through different tests, they discussed the information with other specialists. A complex treatment plan was outlined. It would include more tests and follow ups in a specialized medical center and a future corrective surgery. However, they didn’t offer hope of cure or total rehabilitation, just an improvement in his condition. And even so, the news were an elixir to all of Silvano's mom doubts and worries. A light began to shine on the horizon, promising a new beginning. The call for help sent by a boy's look was being provided for. Silvano didn’t hide his contentment. At least, hope was back.

The last night Silvano was at my floor, before being discharged, I went for a visit at his room. “Look”, I said, “I wanted to thank you so much for the privilege of taking care of you, one of my best patients. If you are thinking that I've helped you, you are wrong; you've helped me much more.”

He gave me a proud smile, and spoke with his paused voice: “Thank you for curing me, now I am brand new!” I laughed from his expression and thought: “How is he able to feel brand new if the treatment did not even start?” That was when I looked deep inside his eyes and saw they were shining. They had lost the sadness and apathy. They irradiated life and brightness. At that moment I understood that it wasn’t the body I had helped to heal, but the soul.

That was not the first time I had to face obstacles left by nature. My brother Pedro taught me that some obstacles can be solved. Others, however, I will never overcome, as much as I try. All I can do is to accept them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

If you think it is hard to raise kids, wait until they are teenagers!


Parenting is hard, mostly because it is like building a sandcastle that you keep modeling with great care as you add more sand to the top, but you know that eventually you will have to leave the sandcastle at the beach when you go home and the waves will hit it at night, and there is no assurance that the sandcastle will stand against the force of the waves. 

I started reading a parenting book that was published many years ago where the author makes a few good points but sounds very strict in some areas and in the book he assures that his method is the one to produce great teenagers and adults. So I went online to find out how his own kids turned out and to my surprise his oldest three kids had a great deal of problems as teenagers growing up. Today he admits that his kids perceived that at home they were never good enough, so when they found a group of friends outside that accepted them the way they were, they pursued their approval instead of following what the parents had to say.

And that is every parent's nightmare! The thought that our child will get hit by the waves and not have enough strength on himself to stand still. That he will be taken away by any wave that reaches him, and he will not have the wisdom to say no to the things that may not benefit him.

Usually the turning point for many is when they go away for college. No parents in sight, plenty of cool friends to hang out with and life at its peak. And at that point the parents are seen as old fashioned, as boring and as out of touch with the real world. Not the role models they are looking for. 

 

Today, listening to a podcast about parenting I came to realize that maybe Hoboken is a good place to raise children. You see, Hoboken is the second city in the USA with more bars per square mile. At first thought most parents would think about getting out of here as soon as possible! But to live in Hoboken or NYC is like living inside college. Living inside college with my kids, and since they are small, so they have plenty of opportunities to learn from me on how to behave inside college! There will be no big city lights seducing them. The kids will also know plenty of people that made it to Broadway, or to Wall Street, or to the movies but they will also see the whole realistic picture of their lives, not just the dreamy vision the movies sell. 

The other point is that inside Hoboken you have the old, the young, the rich, the poor, a diversity of people all packed together. They can see the real world, they can learn to accept people different than themselves, they can learn to care for others as they interact with them. And they can see good role models too. Lots of young people that care. And personally important to me, many passionate christian young people that want to make a difference with their lives. The kind of people that will be essential for them as they grow up. When my hair is all white, and the skin is hanging down and my fashion taste is not as cool, they can look around and see cool yet good role models and hopefully want to follow that kind of role model. 

A lot of times what happens when kids are raised in a bubble is that when the bubble pops, they find out the the outside is in fact bright and not dark as their parents once told them, therefore, they think, my parents were lying, or out of touch with reality. Yes, the outside is bright, and sometimes very bright, but the lights are staged, the smoke is fake, and the cool young people will also become old someday, just like their parents.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

10 Sips for the Weekend: How to Automate more than 10 Tasks with a Chores Chart

I am getting to the conclusion that a competent mother is not the one that works from sunrise to sunset without a break. The competent mother is the one that looks at every task she does and asks: How can I do this more efficient and in less time?

If you stop and look at the task with different eyes (that is what a competent mom would do) or if you google the problem for a solution (that is what I do!!) you may find that the solution is in fact very simple and cheap and it will make a huge difference in saving you time.

So I decided to pretend to be a competent mom and to find a way to automate Luke's morning and evening routines here at home. Well, by "to automate", I really mean to find a way to transfer them from being my tasks to being his tasks! And I can even feel good about implementing this system as I am teaching him how to be responsible around the house, a win win situation! (until he learns how to google - how to make my mom work for me!)

I had a few old magnetic advertisement squares on my kitchen, so I took adhesive labels and placed them on top of the advertisement side of the magnetic. Then I wrote the tasks on the labels and cut them into strips. It took me five minutes but it saves me lots of time in the morning and in the evening.


So now in the morning Luke goes to his list of tasks and as he reads them and completes them, he moves the magnet strips to the Done column. This way he knows the sequence of the tasks he has to do and how many more he has to go.

One of his tasks is to get dressed in the morning, so I took a wicker box that I had and made dividers out of card stock with the days of the week written on top of each divider. All he has to do is to ask me what day of the week it is and then he can go and pull the clothes already placed in the divider by me for that day. It also saves me time as when I fold the laundry I can place his clothes directly inside the basket instead of inside the closet. I am starting to consider automating the dressing routine for me too! Imagine to spend time only once a week deciding your outfits? You can check the temperature for the entire week online and then chose your pieces accordingly.


What about you? What have you automated in your house to make your routine easier?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free Online Book: A Fight for Life - Chapter One (part 1)

I was starting to get concerned that I would not be able to keep posting the chapters of the book A Fight for Life that I started last week, as my computer decided that it wouldn't turn on anymore since Sunday! All the translated chapters are inside this computer, besides most of my boys pictures. I realized that maybe it is time to start backing up everything in another place as we can never trust technology one hundred percent.

Thankfully today, I found out that what was keeping the computer from running, was one of Luke's DVDs that had been left inside the computer's DVD player. For some reason the computer was rejecting to let that same video run again on its screen! I don't blame the computer as I can run to the other room and not hear the same words and songs again, but poor computer, stuck on its base has no place to hide!


Last week I posted the Introduction part of a book I wrote about my brother Pedro story. After I posted it,  I got a few suggestions for improvement and I implemented them today, so if you go back to read it again, you may find that the text flows a little better. But there is always room for improvement, so if you still have any suggestions, please let me know.

So today I am posting the first part of Chapter One, called Born of Angels. Each Chapter has two parts, one is the main story and the other is the dialogue with the Diary... If you didn't read the Introduction, you can read it here.


CHAPTER 1 (Part 1)

Born of Angels

Flight 3805, arriving in São Paulo from Brasília was on time and preparing to land. From the airport's second floor, I could see the airplane lights quickly approaching. As a six year old girl, I had to stretch my body as much as I could to see better through the big airport window. I remember how the airplane's windows looked so small from where I stood. I had a bad felling.
My immature mind tried to imagine how anyone could fit inside an airplane that looked so small. I was concerned about the size of the new brother that my parents told me I was about to get. Would him be as small as my Barbie doll?
I felt a certain relief when, minutes later, I saw him for the first time leaving the landing gate. A women who had already visited us on some occasions before was holding him, but her arrival had never been surrounded by so much expectation. It seemed like Maria did not have to use a lot of strength to keep that petite body nested in her arms. Except for his frequent coughing, he could have passed unnoticed as he didn't weight more than a small bag.
Maria was the right person to bring Pedro. She had quite a peculiar life experience herself, having adopted eight children, and some with health problems. She had a special role in his coming. Maria rescued him from a hut in the slum where he could have died in a few days, prepared him for the trip and brought him safely to us.
I opened my eyes as much as I could because I didn't want to miss any single detail from that first moment. I captured every particular from the boy’s body that was being transferred to my mom’s arms. She didn't have to carry him for nine months inside her belly., She was carrying him, a four year old boy, for the first time now. I thought that he didn't blend with my mom. He didn't look like her son.
Everything about him was different when I compared him with my biological brother Lucas appearance, and with myself. His thick, black and curly hair didn't look anything like the natural blond that covered our heads. Not even spending an entire year tanning on the beach would turn my skin tone into his. Maria told us that his ancestors were from Africa and from Native Brazilian Indians. My childish mind imagined his grandparents hunting with a bow and arrows.
But I did not have time to proceed with my imagination as we quickly left the airport into the night walking towards our car. Pedro needed to rest, his body was very weak. He coughed repeatedly and every time I heard his cough, my heart speed. His condition scared me as he sounded very sick.
Those moments will always remain in my memory. Cherished, wrapped with care, day after day, not because of melancholy or mourning, simply as a result of affection and respect. It happened a long time ago, but it still feels fresh. Some things are hard to forget. That night changed my life.
Actually, it changed my entire family’s life and also the life of the one brought by a jet stork. He had come to stay. That was the day a new beginning was drawn and my entire future changed. My life took a new direction, a new path. A lot of whom I am now I own to what I consider one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. I received him as a real life lesson; someone who would always be there before my eyes and from whom I would get inspiration for each day, for each of those days my future reserves for me.
The lesson that started that night at the airport taught me that happiness is a feeling that can go beyond the circumstances, beyond the possibilities, beyond the perfect ideal. It is something pertinent to human beings, but not to every one. It is just for those who open themselves to a new conception of life, where mistakes may be transformed into victories and hope is never imprisoned, even when there is no exit in sight.
Besides setting hope free, I felt necessary to set something else free: my memories. It was like if I had to free every emotion through words, paragraphs and pages; to multiply and share the gift I had received, so it could also become part of your memory too, through stories.
You will learn about victories I celebrated, losses I overcame and memories which I will never stop recalling. But not only from my story. Yet included here, it is blended with so many other stories. I hope that somehow it will inspire you to keep living your own story, which I am sure it is also beautiful, worth of being told, of being remembered. The stories that surround us and are part of who we are.
I believe that we build our story, consciously or unconsciously. Yet, when we take charge of the main role we are able to change it. Aware of our story’s construction, we can enjoy that role and transform it into the stage for our emotions, achievements and learning.
I can’t deny that a lot of what happens in our lives is the result of exterior forces not possible of control. To build our story, therefore, doesn't mean to place all of the bricks on the walls ourselves, but it means to be aware that they are being placed there, some by us, some not. While only simple bricks, even now we may be able to see the completed house of our dreams, ready, with flowers in the widows. What a vision!
And only then, we can enjoy this wonderful house, taking part of all its comfort and amenities and forgetting the hard work of building walls. The house that represents each one of us. The final story. In construction now, but ready in our imagination. 
We all need, long for and pay to listen to stories, whether told by books, movies, or plays; they make us cry, they make us laugh. We stop to think about ourselves. They may be similar or different stories from our own. They may be the stories that we would like to have. Stories that through settings, characters and scripts transfer thousands of emotions, touching the heart, the essence of human life.
That night changed my life. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my story. Not the first or the last, but one of the most important for me. All others received its influence. My story has lots and lots of chapters, and who knows how many more will I live? However, I can’t forget the ones left behind, especially this one.
 Closing my eyes I still see the beginning of this chapter and its main character. He appears in the first paragraph: that boy, different from me, arriving from another land, different from mine. He left behind a place he probably couldn't call home and people he couldn't call family. He was rescued from death and emerged into my life, as born of angels.

Friday, April 6, 2012

10 Sips for the Weekend: More than 10 words to touch your heart

One Heartbeat at a Time
by Steven Curtis Chapman 

You're up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are


So you fall into bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Oh, maybe you just don't know
Or maybe you've forgotten


You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time



With every "I know you can do it"
Every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They're just like the drops of rain over time
They become a river


And you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time


You're beautiful
You're beautiful
How you're changing the world
You're changing the world


You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
Oh, I believe that you
You are changing the world
One little heartbeat
At a time


And you're changing the world

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All things Bright and Beautiful - Free online book A Fight for Life

Would you ask God to give you a child that is described as blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed and about to die? Would you take him as a gift instead of as a burden? Would you thank God everyday for him coming to your life? Would you see him as the best thing that ever happened to your life? Meet my brother Pedro.

In 2003 I wrote a book about Pedro. It was in Portuguese. It was one of those things that I never thought that could happen to me. I saw a literary contest online that was about to end in two months and as I had some time off at the university, I sat down and wrote my brother's story. I calculated how many pages I had to write everyday to meet the total requirement, and in the last day I finished the last page. I mailed the package and one month later I found out that from more than 650 contestants my book had been chosen. Not a surprise if you know about Pedro's story. God was not done with his miracles, and the book was just one more of them.


Next week my brother will turn 30 years old. And in his honor I will begin to post his story here for you. I have already translated the first chapters a while ago. So I will post a chapter a week and start to translate the rest of the chapters. It will be my motivation to keep working on the translation and if you have any suggestion on grammar or writing tips, please share with me. English is not my first language, so this translation may not be the best. But in the process I am also kind of rewriting the text to be best understood by the English reader.

The book in Portuguese is available here and here. For more information about my brother's life you can check my dad's blog, in Portuguese here. If you want to know about my dad's spiritual journey that led him to one day adopt my brother, you can read it in Portuguese and English.

Hope the book also touches your life as Pedro has touched mine.

Picture taken this past February


A fight for life

by Lia Hadley

Dear Diary,

Today I decided to open your pages and rely on your friendly shoulders to unburden my feelings. A confidant I can trust with my secrets. I know that you will be sympathetic with everything that I scribble between your lines, as I hope to achieve more courage, strength and motivation through our relationship. Finally, I ask your help to find inspiration. Let me explain why.
I've always dreamed of writing a book. A novel that would tell a captivating and mysterious story to inspire many readers. That would enable them to experience emotions, landscapes and sensations. Its paragraphs would inspire love and bring up tears, laughter and sighs. But not even in my wildest dreams I imaged to write my own story.
What would be so special about my life worth telling? Everything. Actually, I had a very peculiar life, different from the majority, as each life differs from another. However, by getting used to it, I despised its importance. I thought that to bring it back through words would be useless, but I've never being so wrong. Don’t you agree?
Still not sure, I began to type the first paragraph, only one step in the extensive journey that I plan to take. I don’t even know if I will get to the end. Because I was afraid of exposing myself too much, I first built the narrative in the third person. I thought that, by changing the focus, my privacy would be spared. But that took me to the wrong direction, as someone who doesn't want to get involved with her own piece of work.
After I finished the first chapter, I read the text and found it terrible! It didn’t express anything, just words and masks. I was killing the memories of my own life. I was unable to transplant much of my personal moments to the strange and unknown character that I had just created. I realize that to write “She cried”, is quite different than to say that “I cried”. And how much I cried! To switch my life to a third person would definitely spare my privacy. And the character’s too. Nobody would want to read such a cold, dead and impersonal book.
When I assumed my character – when I stepped into my own shoes – the words sprouted with life. I felt my blood pumping and the fear of expressing my feelings were transformed into courage. Some paragraphs pulled out tears of my eyes, others made me laugh. It was as if I had the gates of my soul opened to pour waters kept in there for so long. Deep waters, some agitated, some placid as a mirror, but all kept secure inside me. To open gates locked for so long is not an easy task. They creaked a bit, before letting it go even a drop of everything I had to tell.
To rescue some of my childhood details I am getting help from my parents, searching through old pictures and exercising a lot of concentration. I am going back in time to relive facts that will never come back, except through this book. I am realizing that the task of writing an autobiography is not easy. Our memory is weak, vague and cunning. It gathers distant moments and pushes apart some emotions from facts. It plays tricks in our head trying to favor negligible details, while suppressing what really matters. It shows that there isn’t an absolute truth, but many impressions of life's events, highlighted differently on each person’s mind.
Well, dear Diary, by now you may be already aware of the reason of my request. What do you think? I came up with the idea of asking for your help after I finished the first chapter. I thought that I could share with you some moments, thoughts and reflexions. You know, like a therapy, to stimulate my mind, inspire my senses and generate many ideas to help writing my book. Do you like the idea? Well, from now on I count on you to give me a hand. Thank you.

Good night, L.



Book: A fight for Life
CHAPTER 3 (Part 2) coming soon...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...