Delusions of Organic Tamales in California/Delirios de tamales orgánicos en California

Olive Oil TamalesIt’s Christmas Time and I’m thinking about some vegan tamales and how good they will be.  I had it all figured out with a recipe I found in Decolonize Your Diet.  I was ready to make these heavenly treats.  So I did the normal thing most people do is go to the store and get the ingredients.  No problem or so I thought.

I live in Northern California close to Napa in Solano County.  I went to Nugget market to get some of the ingredients.  I wanted Organic as a Study shows that Organic food has more antioxidants and less pesticides.  I also went to see what kind of corn flour was available.  Of course they had the evil Maseca which has tested positive for glycophosphate.  The same ingredient as in Round Up Pesticides.  The only organic corn I can find was organic polenta. So I thought OK I can get that and then grind it down into a flour with a grinder.  So I bought a grinder.  Cool I’m one step closer to making them.

Es Navidad y estoy pensando en algunos tamales veganos y en lo buenos que serán. Lo tenía todo resuelto con una receta que encontré en Decolonize Your Diet. Estaba listo para hacer estas delicias celestiales. Así que hice lo normal que la mayoría de la gente hace es ir a la tienda y obtener los ingredientes. No hay problema o eso pensé.

Vivo en el norte de California cerca de Napa en el condado de Solano. Fui al mercado de Nugget para obtener algunos de los ingredientes. Quería que lo orgánico, como un estudio, muestra que los alimentos orgánicos tienen más antioxidantes y menos pesticidas. También fui a ver qué tipo de harina de maíz estaba disponible. Por supuesto que tenían la malvada Maseca, que dio positivo por glicofosfato. El mismo ingrediente que en Round Up Pesticides. El único maíz orgánico que pude encontrar fue la polenta orgánica. Así que pensé bien, puedo obtener eso y luego molerlo en una harina con un molinillo. Así que compré un molinillo. Genial, estoy un paso más cerca de hacerlos.
agriculture bright cereal close up

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Then the date to make them is tomorrow.  So I said hey let’s go get the ingredients.  I bought some corn husks and pasilla peppers, I had the corn and everything else.  I was ready to roll.

VAL,VERONICA SHAWN

Valerie Estrella and Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan have been friends since 1988 when they met at Una clase de Espanol.  This was at Valerie’s Retirement Party in 2017.

So my friend from college, Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan a Information Technology Specialist with the State of California at the Employment Development Department, had made some tamales so I called her up to see how it went.  I also wanted to tell Veronica what I had learned about the Maseca brand.  I was very upset about the choice of options available.  So she asked me the dreaded question.  “Did you get organic corn husks?”  The answer was a big fat no.  How could I have forgotten?  Then I remembered the peppers I bought were not organic either.  I was getting more disappointed by the second.

Entonces la fecha para hacerlos es mañana. Así que dije hey, vamos a buscar los ingredientes. Compré algunas cáscaras de maíz y pasilla, tuve el maíz y todo lo demás. Estaba listo para rodar.

Así que mi amiga de la universidad, Veronica Gonzalez-Bryan, especialista en tecnología de la información del Estado de California en el
 Departamento de Desarrollo de Empleo,hecho algunos tamales, así que la llamé para ver cómo había ido. También quería contarle lo que había aprendido sobre la marca Maseca. Estaba muy molesto por la elección de opciones disponibles. Así que ella me hizo la temida pregunta. "¿Conseguiste cáscaras de maíz orgánico?" La respuesta fue un gran gordo no. ¿Cómo pude haberlo olvidado? Entonces recordé que los pimientos que compré tampoco eran orgánicos. Me estaba decepcionando más por el segundo.

 

It’s really sad the condition of the food that is available in the richest nation in the world.  I guess that’s how they got so rich was by feeding the most basic of food and turned it into frankenfood.  So now I had no organic corn husks, no organic peppers therefore no organic tamales.  And to top it all off after going over all of this situation, I realized that I have to make the tamales from the actual corn.  It’s not corn flour, it’s ground up corn from the inside of the kernels.  So I am so far removed from the process that I have no idea where the actual masa actually comes from.  I am completely ignorant in making tamales and although I am a little embarrassed, it is what it is.  That means I must learn from a master and quit trying to do it myself.  But I want organic corn and I do know of a place in Los Angeles that has organic masa.  It’s time to plant some corn with the quickness!!

But guess what?  Now I am on a mission to make organic vegan tamales.This is for Mis Abuelitas.  This is no longer a joke and let me tell you something.   Give me organic corn or give me death.  That’s how I feel right now about this.  It shouldn’t be that difficult.  It’s corn not freaking oil.  But I guess they don’t care about little Corn Women now do they?  Well guess what?  I care and this ends now.

Es realmente triste la condición de los alimentos disponibles en la nación más rica del mundo. Supongo que así es como se enriquecieron al alimentar la comida más básica y convertirla en comida franken. Así que ahora no tenía cáscaras de maíz orgánicas, ni pimientos orgánicos, por lo tanto, no tamales orgánicos. Y para colmo, después de repasar toda esta situación, me di cuenta de que tengo que hacer los tamales del maíz real. No es harina de maíz, está molida de maíz desde el interior de los granos. Así que estoy tan alejado del proceso que no tengo idea de dónde proviene realmente la masa real. Soy completamente ignorante en la fabricación de tamales y aunque estoy un poco avergonzado, es lo que es. Eso significa que debo aprender de un maestro y dejar de intentar hacerlo yo mismo. Pero quiero maíz orgánico y sé de un lugar en Los Ángeles que tiene masa orgánica. ¡Es hora de plantar un poco de maíz con la rapidez!

¿Pero adivina que? Ahora estoy en una misión para hacer tamales veganos orgánicos. Esto es para Mis Abuelitas. Esto ya no es una broma y déjame decirte algo. Dame maíz orgánico o dame muerte. Así es como me siento ahora con respecto a esto. No debería ser tan difícil. Es el maíz no el aceite maldito. Pero supongo que no les importan las pequeñas mujeres de maíz, ¿verdad? ¿Bien adivina que? Me importa y esto termina ahora.

tee pee

 

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach trying to make organic Vegan Tamales.  It’s not as easy as she thought but she will keep researching to find some organic corn.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.

Valerie es una entrenadora de salud y bienestar que intenta hacer tamales veganos orgánicos. No es tan fácil como pensó, pero seguirá investigando para encontrar algo de maíz orgánico. Ella vive en el norte de California con su hija y su cachorro.

 

Fight For your Right to Dream

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This time of year it’s very popular to make changes with New Year’s Resolutions and all.  We have great expectations but when it comes time to actually implementing those changes or intentions.  That’s when the difficulty comes in.  I mean you are already super busy with a jam- packed schedule, so how on earth can you find time for one more thing?

newton's law

This answer is that something has got to leave your schedule or you just have to make that new thing a priority.  Meaning that you do it first before you do that other thing.  Now maybe you like to get on social media.  So make a little agreement with yourself that before you even think about pushing that little Blue square with an f on it that you will do that priority.  After you have done you’re “priority”, you can f away.  I mean get on the blue f as much as you want.

I think the morning routine is an essential part to having a great day.  If you wake up and do some stretches or yoga, breathing, praying or simply have some quiet time for positive affirmations before you start doing all of the stuff to get ready, you can have a much happier day.  So that’s where that blue f comes into play.  This means don’t f your day away.

Other things may have to give in order for you to make your priority.  Maybe you’ll have to take some time off of work in order to give yourself that time.  Is that the end of the world? HELL NO.  Trust me when you are on your death-bed, you’re not going to think, “I should have worked more.”  You might think, I’m glad I followed my heart and my passions.  But you have to fight for your dreams and passions.  (Think of Twisted Sister here: “You’ve got to fight for your right to dre am”).  Yeah that was me singing there.  But you have to be fierce with it.  You have to just say you know what, I’m going to do this and nothing is going to stop me.  Not laundry, not dishes, not TV, not work(don’t get fired though), not your spouse or partner, not your kids. But if you can rearrange things a little bit, I’m sure you can find the time to pursue your dreams.

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister i.e. the big hair band of the 80’s that sang Fight For Your Right to Party

This is my quick story with this.  So as a Yoga Instructor, you would think I would be doing yoga everyday and just be super flexible and bendy.  Well last year, I wasn’t.  Life can get in the way.  And it can be difficult to just pull out that yoga mat.  But when I knew I was going to do a dance performance.  I knew that I need to get flexible AF and fast.  So what I did was got my phone, put it on stop watch and did 2 full sun salutes.  It took 6 minutes.  I just decided that every morning before work I was going to give myself 6 minutes for yoga.  And it did help me to get flexible.  I was able to do the splits, believe it or not.    But in any case it all started with me just giving myself 6 minutes in the morning.

splits

2017 not bad for 49 but my daughter snapped this picture fast because I was not enjoying  this. 

Remember Newton’s first law of motion, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”  So you have to be that unbalanced force and mix things up a little bit.

And it can be scary to change things up because you are letting go of the old way of doing things.  But in no time, those old habits will just be a thing of the past and you can go on with your life knowing that you were able to make one small change.  The next step is to decide  what else you would like to change.

Valerie is a Yoga Instructor and a Health and Wellness Coach. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  You may contact her at estrella.valerie@yahoo.com.

PS.  Please follow my Blog and thanks for reading.  XOXO

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Talking about Subliminal Vision Boards

subliminal vision boards

I recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with the co- creator of Subliminal Vision Boards.  I wasn’t too sure exactly what those were.  I met the Co-Creator of Subliminal Vision Boards, Jennifer Casolary where other like minded people come together, Facebook.

The typical vision boards involve getting poster board, magazines and cutting out pictures and gluing the pictures onto the poster board.  The pictures are supposed to help you manifest your goals.old fashioned vision board

                                              Old School Vision Board

Jennifer explained to me that she was living a mediocre life with her fiancé outside of Las Vegas and she decided to create a vision board. Her experience of creating a traditional vision boards involved the purchase of  poster board and a trip to Barnes and Noble to buy some magazines.  To her disappointment she left Barnes and Noble disappointed because she couldn’t find any magazines with images that she wanted on her vision board.

Jennifer’s father had passed away two days before her birthday.  He had a Mantra which was to Live Fully, Live and Enjoy Life.  She didn’t feel as though she was living fully  enjoying her life.

One day she was scrolling through Facebook and her friend had done a Vision board and the idea came to her to do a Subliminal Vision Board App.  She began to work on her vision and it took 3 years to develop the Android version of the App and another year for the IOS version.  The Subliminal Vision Board takes Vision Boards to a whole other level. It utilizes google Images and is Multi Sensory.  You have the portability of your phone so you can take it with you where ever you go.  It also has the ability to be used on multiple devises.

subliminal dreams   Example of a Subliminal Vision Board.  The possibilities are endless.

Prior to writing this article I was not familiar with the Subliminal Vision Board App but I did Download it to my phone.  I watched the tutorial video which was easy to understand and I made my First Subliminal Vision Board in no time.  You can make as many vision boards as you want and you can also add music, sound frequencies.  I found it to be very amazing.  There is a Take 5 feature, where each image and text that is placed on the vision board is flashed at a speed that your Subconscious Mind picks up. This allows you to reprogram the negative deep seeded limiting beliefs into positive empowering ones instead. The app also has a Notification Set Up feature where you set up a time every day to dedicate 5 minutes to focus on what is desired. This feature keeps you accountable to your goals and keeps them in the fore front. Also you can record your own voice and there are ancient powerful Solfeggio Frequencies that can heal your mind and your body.  The  other thing I thought was amazing is that .25cents of each purchase of the Subliminal Vision Board app goes to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

My first Vision Board involved relaxation and winding down.  I need to relax in the evening so I can make sure to shut it down.  I have the tendency to keep going and going and going.  Well needless to say I did sleep very well that first night after watching it.  You can watch it for 5 minutes or longer if you choose.

I asked Jennifer how her life had changed since developing this amazing App.  She said she now lives in North Carolina close to her family and is getting ready to move to the beach (which is a dream come true) and quit her job so she can focus 100% of her time on the App.  She also met Tony Robbins and was able to give him her business card at one of his amazing conferences.  She also feels that she is living a full life that would make her father proud.

Jennifer  This is Jennifer.

Jennifer recommends when you first make your vision board a good place to start is to ask yourself what do you want to heal and what do you want to manifest.

5 star

All in all I give this a 5 Star rating as the cost is only $4.99, it has so many benefits and a donation to St. Jude’s Hospital.  I want to thank Jennifer for being such a visionary and for helping so many people live fulfilling lives.  Do me a favor and let me know how you like the App.  You can check it out here:  Subliminal vision Boards.  

Valerie is a Health and wellness Coach, Yogini and Healthy Living advocate.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter.  Please contact Valerie here.

IMG_3890

 

How to set Dreams and Goals for 2018

Happy-New-Year-Wishes-2018-1

Well 2017 has come and gone.  This was an amazing year.  I feel like I really lived it.  Some years let’s just be honest have been terrible.  This year for me personally was really good.  I had the following major accomplishments: RETIREMENT, AMBER DOG, Performances and I’ve been able to keep my sanity for the most part.

I looked over my goals for 2017 and I have to say that I have stuck with them.  That just means I need to continue to add to my goals.  I mean if I could nail the goals for 2017 then I can surely continue to nail the goals for 2018.

Since I’ve retired my focus has shifted.  I was super stressed when I was working and now that I’ve retired it’s time for me to get serious about relaxation and just settling into my groove.  Retirement is a Huge Adjustment and unless you’ve done it, I don’t think you quite get it.val_edited-9177

      This is me thinking about positive thoughts.  Give it a try and see what happens.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to give me a way to focus my energy in a positive manner.

So how do you set goals anyway?

  1. Keep it simple.  Make too many goals and you end up not doing anything.
  2. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with fitness or health.  This is a popular resolution but you can set whatever goal or dream you want.  This is your chance to really get creative with your dreams and try to figure out exactly what it is that you want anyway.
  3. Write it down.  Perhaps your resolution could be to start journaling.  If you have never journaled or not for a while, this is a great time to start.
  4. Tell someone what your goal is with the hope that you can get some accountability and also once you tell someone, it reinforces your goal because you are discussing it.
  5. Day dream about your goals.  What would it look like if you had this?  How would you feel?  Imagine it’s already yours and be happy knowing that it’s coming into fruition.

Feel free to comment below with some of your dreams and goals.  Remember the more you talk about it, the more likely it will happen.  So I’ll go ahead and get this party started by sharing my dreams and goals for 2018.

  • Daily yoga (at least 10 minutes)
  • Meditation at least 3 days per week but the more the better
  • Dance daily at least 20 minutes
  • Write daily at least 20 minutes
  • Go on a plane for vacation
  • Shop local, vegan diet and breathe through all difficulties
  • Transform my guest bedroom.
  • Keep singing

VAL DANCING FOR RONI

This is me dancing at my party and having fun.  This is what dreams look like.  Just do it.

Now see that wasn’t so difficult.  Well here’s to an amazing 2018.  Don’t worry about all the drama that’s going on in the world.  You allow what comes into your reality.  Choose wisely.

Retirement Performance

VAL DANCING STAGE

Retirement Performance

When I first decided that I wanted to dance at my retirement party, my main motivation was because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to do it because I wanted to see exactly what my capabilities were at age 50. I felt that since I was a yoga instructor and a health coach that I should have the ability to perform and with the proper instruction, anything is possible.

So the dance training began and I found it to be very difficult. I had an injury at the same time I started training so I had to be very careful not to hurt myself. But I knew that I loved dancing and I just wanted to put on this epic performance at my party. I had an interest in belly dancing for years and I had done some training starting in 2008. I took a few classes with a local dance instructor and watched some videos but I hadn’t found a dance instructor in my area that I really was compatible with.
Then in 2015, I had surgery and the Dr. gave me the usual recommendation which was not to exercise for 6 weeks. I really despise that recommendation but of course I followed the Dr’s orders. They told me walking was fine.  Yoga was still not an option but the one thing I was able to do was belly dancing. And it just felt amazing on my spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Thus a belly dancer was born.
I soon realized that yoga and belly dancing were very much intertwined with one another.

VAL SPINNING
I kept up the belly dancing and I even taught a workshop at Angeline’s dance studio in 2016. I had previously been a Zumba and U-Jam Fitness Instructor and I felt comfortable dancing in front of people and I knew I wanted to perform at my retirement party in front of my loved ones, but I felt belly dancing alone would just feel completely inappropriate and I knew if I wanted it to turn out good, then I needed professional training and choreography.

I picked the song which was Transcendence by Lindsey Stirling and it had a classical feel to it. Although I used to belly dance at home to that song, I knew that ballet would go nicely with it as well.

At first I wanted to do a partner dance. But it’s difficult to find a partner and I decided to just do private instruction.
So it was going to be a belly dance/ballet fusion dance.
So ballet is very challenging. It’s pilates on steroids as I like to call it. And I was still working at the time and my work was not helping the situation at all. Because all of the sitting was counter productive. But I kept up with the training and the video is the final result.
When I watch the video, I feel happy with certain parts and other parts, I wish were better. But overall, I feel grateful that I had the ability and opportunity to dance and perform especially at the age of 50.

Sometimes when the fear strikes me when I think about releasing a video, I just think well if someone wants to criticize me that’s fine. They can go ahead and do a performance and then we can discuss my performance afterwards.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She recently retired from a Career in Law Enforcement after 26 years. Email her at:estrella.valerie@yahoo.com

How I Became a Singer

 

Music has a way of being influential.  As a young child music was always being played growing up.  Having a music teacher, John DeDios Barron, for a father has many pros and cons.  An alleged pro is being exposed to many different formats.  The con is hearing the same song over and over and over.  Many times the music would be classical or jazz.  Mexican music was played regularly as well since he was a Mariachi as well.  My father could play the trumpet and piano very well.  However later in life he took up violin and that was just painful.  Wow!!  Also the volume of music could be very loud.

A regular scenario was trying to watch Gilligan’s Island to all of a sudden hearing, Brick House hella loud.  And forget about thinking you’re going to get your way and watch the rest of the show. TV time was just over.  That was a definite Con.

music therapy

Piano was offered as my father was a music teacher.  However I wasn’t feeling the whole piano thing with my dad so I rejected the concept and instead focused on dance.  I didn’t think I had the music gene until recently it has been awakened.

My daughter was taking voice lessons and she was being much towards me as I was towards my dad which was rejecting the voice lessons provided for her.  She was rejecting voice lessons and when she was  done, she was done.  So having already paid for the lessons, I decided that I would take the voice lessons in her place.  That was in 2014.

 

At first I was pretty terrible.  I had to learn so much and anyway I just kept going to class.  One thing I noticed was that the singing made me feel very happy.  It became music therapy for me.  So I kept taking the classes but then took a break in 2015.  I took it up again last March 2017 and decided to work towards my goal which was to sing at my retirement party.  Which I did.

Singing is very physical.  One thing I struggle with is singing and looking relaxed  You know like it’ the easiest thing to do.  Effortlessness.

Your body becomes your instrument and I have to keep it really strong if I want to continue to sing.  But it is very therapeutic to sing.  I would recommend it to anyone.  It did not come natural for me but it absolutely comes natural for my daughter.  Now if I can only figure out how to get her singing again.

In any case I am going to stick with it for now as it is a positive outlet and lord knows we all need that.soy milk(This is here just to see if anyone sees this.  I thought this was so funny!!!  Never thought about Soy Milk being in Spanish.  lol

My Dream Retirement Party

fancy reception

When working a long career, it is easy to dream about retirement.  Dreams about the future and dreams about a retirement celebration.  As the time grew nearer, I spoke to people about having a retirement party and I decided that I definitely wanted to have a party.  And I was only going to invite people who I truly cared about.  When you work for the government, you work with people that you have no choice in the matter.  I’ll say it first, I haven’t been the easiest person to work with over the years.

Anyway planning this party was a fantasy of mine and I only wanted super cool people there.  So I invited people who are currently in my life that were sweet. People that I’ve known for years since I was a kid and we kept some semblance of contact with each other over the years.  It’s so hard to maintain relationships over the years.  We get caught up in careers, kids and relationships.  Also for financial reasons, I just couldn’t invite everyone.

I decided that I wanted to share my dreams and passions with my guests.  For so many years I’ve had to walk around with this mask on that was suffocating me.  I had to be super tough and I couldn’t let the real me out or it would have been seen as weakness.

IMG_5625

Celebrating my 29th Birthday at SVSP.

It was in this safe space that I was creating that I knew I would be able to let my passions shine.  I decided I was going to perform for my guests.  It was really fun to plan this event.  I wanted to plan it because I knew it would be exactly as I wanted.

glitter girl

The most amazing people showed up and assisted me with this event.  My dear friend, Peggy who is an amazing event organizer, provided me with the caterer, a DJ was recommended by another friend and I found an amazing Videographer, Kristian Medina that was super cool and creative.

Kristian took these photographs but I am proud to say, I did the slide show.  Those that know me, know this is no small feat.  I was really happy with the way it came out.  I tried my best to put pictures in that were flattering.  Trust me I have some black male pictures if I wanted. Not really.

I did do a little editing and I finally figured out how to do a slide show.  And I picked some music from the evening and added that in.  #Lindseysterlingtranscendence, #Beatsantiquebattle, #Pa’Bailar-Siemprequieromasbajofondo&Julieta.  I threw in Siempre Quiero Mas because it’s an amazing song.  Great song to dance to.  (Wink Wink)

Also I really want to thank the people who showed up.  It’s not easy to get out of the house these days.  But thank you for showing up. I love you and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.

I wrote a thank you note and was planning on reading it that night but of course I forgot it and had to just do it ad-lib style.  My favorite thing to do.  I’m going to write that here:

Thank you Letter intended for Valerie’s Retirement Party

I want to take this time out to thank everyone for coming to my party.  I really appreciate your spending time with me on this special occasion.  This has been a dream and a goal of mine for many years and I have happy to have finally made it to retirement.

Special thanks to the following:

Leonora Barron, mi madre and mommy.  I would not be here physically and also you helped me to make this event possible. Thank you Mom for always being there for me with all of my crazy ideas.  You’ve always supported and encouraged me and I appreciate you for that.   Again working for CDCR was not easy and I know I could be very harsh at times.  Thank you for forgiving me.  I hope I can be as gracious as you.

My father, John Barron who without you, I would not have been exposed to music to the extent that I was.  I know as a child it was sometimes very annoying to have a musician for a father.  But looking g back I am thankful that I had that influence in my life.  I understand now how you used to be “spacey” at times and I’m sure it was because you were mentally trying to figure out timing or a musical arrangement.  Thanks for following your dreams because I know it helped me go for my dreams.

For my daughter Victoria, Thank you for being so patient with me.  Thank you for being so loving and kind to me.  You have a huge heart and I hope you keep letting your light shine.  Thank you for going with me to all those classes and events and for taking my classes.  You were a real little trooper and I appreciate and love you for that.  Don’t ever forget your name means Victorious Star of the People.  Let’s enjoy my new-found freedom.  Let’s see the world.

To my brother, Adam Barron: Thanks for being there during the years and especially for looking out for my father.  Thank you for being supportive and for always opening your house up to me.  I know I hardly go around anymore but it’s because I’ve been working like a dog.  Keep shining your light Adam.  You are a beautiful person that everyone loves.  Don’t ever forget that.  Thanks for allowing me to be, “Adam’s little sister.”

To my brother, Ben:Thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my goals and for listening to me.  You’re an amazingly talented guitarist and performer.  I encourage you to continue with your artistic goals.  Thank you for staying true to your art which isn’t an easy task in these times.  You are a role model for everyone.

To my Aunt, Eleanor Barron-Druckery, thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for being supporting and listening to me over the years.  You a dreamer and I never realized how important dreams are.  But with all of your extensive writings on dreams, it has definitely helped me to find my vision for dreams.

To my cousin Ray Ray Lozano:  Thank you for being there for me.  It’s been great getting a male perspective on things.  No matter what we are family first and even though we don’t always agree on everything, we’re still family.  Keep striving for your dreams and goals and you are an awesome role model.  Remember it’s your strength is found in forgiveness.

Peggy Rairden:  Thank you for helping with the decorations and for all of the input on the party.  Who knew going to a Zumba class would bring me a great new bathroom and such an amazingly talorented interior decorator and party planner.  Thank you for all of your support.

Alice Hutchings: I’ve known you for 20 years and have had a lot of fun in the past.  I want to thank you for coming the distance to be at this event.  I’ve always been able to rely on you over the years.  You used to be my mom at work.  Whether I needed a fork or if you shared your left overs.  You always helped me out in the best way and made me feel better.  You have a beautiful heart and keep letting it shine.

Special thanks to Angeline:  Thank you for pushing me beyond my limits.  Thank you for pursuing your dreams because.   You are always able to figure out what a person is doing and what they need to be doing so they can be better.  I don’t know how you do it.  As you know it’s not always easy working with people and our excuses for why we don’t do things to improve our capabilities.  Thank you for creating such an amazing safe place to learn to dance and thrive.  I wish you continued success.

Thank you to Alina for being the amazingly talented musician you are.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to get up here today and sing had it not been for your support and encouragement.  Thank you for following your dreams and you’re helping so many people and children to fall in love with the universal language of music  Thank you for sharing your gifts with us in the US.  I know you could have lived anywhere on the planet and yet we found each other. Thank you for following your passion had you not, you would not have been able to assist me with mine.  

I also want to thank all of the people who have been supportive of me throughout my career  As you know it’s not an easy career.  Sometimes it feels like all you are doing is putting out fires and it can be difficult to work together to reach a common goal.  I really want to thank John Butler who was my supervisor for 4 years.  I want to thank you for being supportive of me.  You probably don’t know how much you helped me and I will always be thankful for that.  I think I most appreciate was how you were more than understanding about giving time off.  Also after you retired, I missed your sayings or as I refer to them, “Butlerisms.”  Anyway I just wanted to say thank you!! In case you don’t know I’ve had some dark times during my career and as you know there are many people that suffer in my line of work.  

And it’s my passion and goal that I can inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals, no matter what they might be.

Lastly I love you all  and wish you all the best today and always.  I truly hope we are able to keep in touch.  And although we may not always agree on every single issue in life, I hope we are able to put those things aside and truly look at each other’s heart when we have disagreements.  We don’t know how long we have to live and I truly wish you all peace in your heart, love in your spirit and joy in your life.