Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: Good Night, Captain Mama

Here's a closeup of one the pages. 

Good Night Captain Mama is the first book of its kind, written in English and Spanish by female aviator, Latina businesswoman, and speaker, Graciela TiscareƱo-Sato. Good Night Captain Mama was inspired by a conversation that Graciela had with her own son one night when he saw her dressed in her flight suit. Although he had seen it many times before, he was curious about all of the patches. Graciela, better known as Captain Mama, is patient with him as he asks about each one and what the symbols mean.

Captain Mama takes the time to tell Marco, the little boy in the book, all about what her job as an aviator is about. Each time she goes to a different country, she gets a new patch to add to her flight suit.

The vivid illustrations done by Linda Lens allowed me to picture the story in my mind as it unfolded. The curiosity of Marco, the little boy, was captured wonderfully. The simplistic, yet thoughtful Captain Mama gave were great also. When she had to leave her kids to go to work, the pain and sadness I felt when my mom had to leave to go to work was something I could relate to. Good Night Captain Mama is an educational book without being boring! I would recommend this book to anyone who has children and/or family members in any branch of the military.

You can purchase Good Night Captain Mama on Amazon, wherever books are sold, or directly from the author on her website here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I won this package of books and patches in a giveaway a few weeks ago. The author, Graciela TiscareƱo-Sato, sent me a copy of both books and the patches. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Wandering Child

I have to get the words out. I can't keep the pain in. Sometimes it hurts so bad. I am wounded each time I see it happen. My heart is stabbed again and again. The aching comes from that soft spot of my heart being hurt again. Don't you see it happening? Can't you feel it too? The sad reality is I think I am the only one who sees it, or at least one of the few. 

It seems everyone else is living in a fog. Living in a bubble where nothing bad happens. They see everything as good and peaceful. They think everything is okay. When I see the blank stare looking back at me, a part of me dies. The burden is too much to bear.

I pray for grace. I pray for peace of mind. Each time I see that image, those faces staring back at me, I am made aware. This is not a game. This is not a dream. This is reality. So many little faces. So many who have no one who cares. So many kids go without clothing and without food. But the scariest thing to me are those who don't know what love feels like. They don't know the gentle feel of lips pressed against their soft skin. They don't know what it feels like to have their most basic needs met. 

They only know pain. They only know how to fight. To get up each day and try to survive. They don't know what it's like to have structure. A bedtime. A routine. 

They only know chaos. They only hear mindless chatter. Buzzing and humming in their ear. "Don't touch this. Don't break that. What ARE you doing? Didn't you hear me?"

The child says, "No, I didn't hear you." You never heard me. You never heard my cries. No, you did hear them but you chose to ignore me. You weren't attentive to me. I've wandered aimlessly around and around in search of security. I found none. Just empty arms that didn't want me when you became too tired. Too tired to listen. Too tired to anything. Too tired to feed me.

And so I wander. From person to person. Every time I am rejected, I have to wonder, "Do I really matter?"

Is it just convenient to have me around? Yet other times, I am too loud. I am too much for you to handle. You said so yourself. 

I am your child. I am human. I have feelings. Someone, somewhere thinks I matter. Someone, somewhere cares. Someone, somewhere loves me. This keeps me going. This helps me deal with the craziness, the unpredictability. I find comfort in the arms of another. It doesn't matter who, please just hold me. If only for a minute. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Freewriting Day 25: Breakthrough

You know my pain

You know my heartache
I'm comforted in the fact
That You have a plan that's greater than mine

There's no going back
No no

I've given up my need to be right
Pointing fingers and placing blame
No sense goin' in circles
When I can go forward

Things are changing
That ceiling is breaking
I sense it

I've pushed
I've pressed
I've kept going' when I didn't have anything left

So yes, my pain has propelled me
My pain has launched
Just like You said

This thing I know
You can't move forward without somethin' breakin'

That thing that has held me back
Holds me no more
I am on the verge

On the verge of a breakthrough
Greater than I've ever known

I've tasted and seen that You are good
One thing I know for sure

You are faithful
Even to the end
All I gotta is hold on
My breakthrough is near

I endure
I stand
I keep pushin'
I know I win

Friday, July 01, 2016

Freewriting Day 24: Finding Shoes with Feet Issues

Earlier this week, I received a new pair of shoes. I waited for them expectantly, excited that the shoe I had talked about for years and said someone should make was not only a reality, but that it might for me!

I've written a post here called "In my Shoes," and I talk about how cerebral palsy has always made it hard for me to find shoes and nearly impossible to find cute ones. Enter Naot shoes. They are made in Israel. And they are made out of leather! I usually NEVER can wear leather, especially with my foot surgeries now.

As soon as Mama opened the box, they were cute! Really cute! They are a cross between a shoe and a sandal (with a back, which means my heel lift wouldn't slip out). "What if I ordered the wrong size? What if they didn't fit?" I said. I am always a bit skeptical trying on new shoes because it really is a hit or miss with me.

"The only way to find out is to try them on," Mama said.

The right one went on with no problems. The left one was tight. I wasn't even sure Mama could get it on my foot, even though I ordered one size up from my normal size to accommodate for swelling. She got it on. 

"I just don't know if these will work! You told me to order the more expensive pair!" I said. I was mad. "If I didn't have to wear a heel lift! If my feet didn't swell!" Mama took the shoes off. As I looked at the shoes and the box they came in, that familiar feeling of disappointment washed over me. As tears threatened to bubble up to the surface, I tamped down my emotions. I didn't want to cry over another pair of shoes. So, I was going back to my room. "The only way to know if they'll work is to wear them," Mama said.

I let her put them back on, and I wore them for an hour. 

I called Mama and told her they hurt wearing them while sitting in my wheelchair. "Lay on the bed with them on until I get back. If they are going to make marks on your feet, it won't matter if you are lying down or not." I agreed to do that.

"It's just disappointing that they may not work," I said.

"I'd rather be disappointed now than have them cause pain with my feet later." Mama said. She always knows just what to say.

I thought they might cause problems, but I wanted to try them. "Don't give up. Thomas Edison failed numerous times on the light bulb, but it only took one time to get it right. We'll just keep trying different styles and sending them back until we find one that works!" Mama said.

With the pain I felt, I was sure there would be redness. To my surprise, there was none. I could hardly believe it! There were marks from the two straps that go across the top of each foot. Marks all the way across the foot that reminded me my feet aren't like other people's. That is why I didn't let myself cry, but I realize now that I should have let those emotions out. A post from Vickie Bowman and wise words from my Aunt Sherrie saying "Feel what you feel when you feel  it!" came back to me.

I hate the fact I have a thickness across the top of my feet that makes it difficult to find shoes. It was difficult when I wore leg braces, and it is difficult now for different reasons.

"I'm going to wear them tomorrow just to see if I can make (my feet) red!" I declared. Maybe, just maybe I wouldn't have to send these back.

I wore them for twenty minutes the next day, and the bony part of my big toe was red. My leg had red and purple splotches.  Not to mention the aching pain I felt on the big toe that I had fused through surgery. It wasn't worth making my foot pain worse. I knew I had to send them back.

I will say that Naot has an EXCELLENT footbed. I have never tried a shoe with a more comfortable footbed. A person from Naot's product development team emailed me yesterday in response to a question I'd asked them a few weeks ago about the shoe, so I was able to tell her what I liked and didn't like about the shoe. If not for those straps across the top, I am convinced that would have been my perfect shoe.