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Although many people see Puerto Rico as being too “americanized” because of its status of Commonwealth of the United States, the people in the island continue to emphasize loyalty to the culture and folklore that heavily exists in the island. There are hundreds of traditions that define the island of Puerto Rico and one of them is the great amount of festivals that we celebrate throughout the year.
One of the most famous festivals is called the San Sebastián Festival (Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián). San Sebastián (Saint Sebastian) was a Christian who was martyred for his faith at around the year 288. There is a street on the north side of Old San Juan named in his honor and this is where this event takes place. Considered to be one of the biggest celebrations in San Juan, it is held the third week of January. It gets stuffed with crowds, food, alcohol, live music, and arts and crafts exhibited by our local artists. It has been an annual event since 1970, and what started as a community fund-raiser has become the festival to go to. This 4-day event is attended by both locals and tourists. You can compare it with Mardi Gras minus the beads and the breasts! Just imagine, crowds walking on the street dancing, singing, drinking and enjoying this event that is part of Puerto Rico’s cultural heritage.

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(SAN SEBASTIAN FESTIVAL-FIESTAS DE LA CALLE SAN SEBASTIAN)

One of the best gifts you could give to yourself when moving to a different country is to keep your traditions and culture alive, especially if you have children that are now being raised in a different place. You add some decorations from back home, hang the flag, paintings, souvenirs you brought back with you. You play the music, cook the traditional food, go online to keep up with the news from your country, etc. There are so many ways to maintain that connection with a country you hold so close to your heart, the one you first saw when welcomed into this world. As a way to remember your hometown, you also attend local events that represent that place, its traditions and customs. One example of a cultural representation away from home is the San Sebastian Festival IN MIAMI!
I heard about this last year while I was attending the festival in Old San Juan. At first I thought it was a joke. How can you possibly try to imitate such a big event in a little street in Miami? I found out a good friend of mine, actor Julian Gil, was organizing it and being that I was in Florida at the time, this year I decided to attend with my mother.

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(My Mom, Julian Gil and myself)

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(San Sebastian Festival in Miami)

I was very proud of this representation. They managed to close a busy street in the area of Brikell and turn it into a block party dedicated to one of our dearest traditions back home in Puerto Rico. I loved seeing people from different cultural backgrounds come to the event and learn a little bit more about this tradition. There were Rum and Coquito (our version of Eggnog) tastings, Puerto Rican fritters which represent our diet and even a pig roasting.

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When talking to Julian Gil he mentioned how the plan is to add more streets to this block party in Brikell in honor of the original San Sebastian Festival in Puerto Rico. It promises to be a new cultural event in South Florida.

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(This banner placed at the event in Miami simulates what the San Sebastian Street in Old San Juan, PR, looks like during the festival.)

In Miami you get more of the Latin flavor being that it has become the new home for people coming from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc. Many of us have left our countries for different reasons. The important thing is to be able to keep your values, your history, your roots alive. It is part of who we were, who we are and who we will be. It is what we pass to our children in the future, what we teach others who come along the way. I encourage to be open minded and learn more about other cultures. In times where there is still so much ignorance and racism, these type of events are important. You learn about others and at the end you realize there is always something you can relate to. After all… who doesn’t enjoy some good music, food and dancing!

Darlene

 

 

 

 

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My Story: The Actor Behind MI PRINCESA

When people think of actors they probably think of these:  Hollywood, Glamour and Luxury.  Few are aware of the struggles most of the actors go through in order to be seen, get booked and be paid to do a job.  On the one hand, some make it all the way to the three I just mentioned.  On the other hand, some are happy just by getting paid doing something that they love.  The second is my case.  I started acting when I was in my early teens, doing local commercials and T.V. shows in Puerto Rico.  Although I wanted to work behind the scenes, life led me to the world in front of the camera and as time went by, I started considering acting as a career goal.  Little did I know that it was a decision that would involve more sacrifices than I could have ever imagined.

I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting at a time when Latinas were still not accepted in the industry unless you were going for the maid, nanny or prostitute role.  Although some of these have not changed, Sofia Vergara has recently opened more doors for us.  When I first moved out there in 2002 I was constantly told that I had to take accent reduction classes.  Stubborn me, I refused.  Fast forward to the present and casting directors LOVE my accent as I sound like the girl from that show: Modern Family.

I never lost myself in the Hollywood field of dreams. I would be asked out by producers who thought I was going to be the “aspiring actress who would do anything for a role”.  I would walk away from these type of situations, with tears coming down my face as I faced the sad reality that can happen to young girls out there.  But nothing would make me give up.  I would wipe my tears and keep moving forward.  The sacrifice of being so far away from my family and the town that saw me grow was too hard and painful for me to get discouraged by the ignorance of some of the “powerful players” out there.

The money situation is another aspect that we actors struggle with.  Oftentimes, people joke about it but it is sadly the truth.  Because of the instability of auditions and work, we will be the ones acting as your server, bartender, hostess, etc.  If you think that sending resumes and going to a couple of job interviews is hard, imagine having to do that two to three times on a daily basis, to be called back one out of the last ten interviews (auditions). Although it can get frustrating, it is a matter of keeping your self-esteem and faith at a high level.

And then comes the times when an acting job parallels the reality of your life: “Too close to home” moments.

Such was my case for the movie I want to introduce to you called MI PRINCESA (My Princess).  I was sitting on the floor of my apartment in North Hollywood packing everything into boxes as my relationship of 2 ½ years came to an end.  It was a very emotional time for me when I was crawling around life with a broken heart.  Puerto Rican Director Carlos Jimenez Flores, whom I had worked for before in two other films, called and asked me to be in his next film which would start shooting in my hometown, Puerto Rico.  Although at first I did not want to do it as I was trying to take in what had just happened in my life, between him and friend and actor Sevier Crespo (who plays my brother in Mi Princesa), I was convinced to take the offer. I flew to Puerto Rico to work on the film and soon my life turned around for the better!

Although as actors we go through a lot of downs, there are the ups that you do experience when you are part of this beautiful art.  Talk about timing.  As my relationship with a love ends, I start working on my first acting job as the LEAD actress in a DRAMA/ROMANCE. Aside from having family and friends around to cheer me up, the irony of this life event brought smiles and laughter back to my life.  I arrived July 13th of 2012 and started shooting my scenes on the 14th. I did not have much time to settle in back at my parents’ apartment.  But there I was.  You move on and you show up for work.

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As I walked to my first day on set, I took in the beautiful scenery in front of me and thanked God for the opportunity to be working at home.  I was now playing the role of Mayra, a good girl who is full of life, surrounded by family and friends. The only thing she has been missing is love and she is about to find it.  Again, very ironic as I had just lost it in real life. Nevertheless, I was ready to play this character!

(CLOWNING BEHIND THE SCENES:  HUMOR ALWAYS WORKS)

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One of the challenges you can face when working on a film is a lack of connection with fellow actors, especially when shooting a romance. Being that Mi Princesa was shot without scripted lines and we had to improv, I was a little bit scared as to how the interaction was going to go between the actor who was playing my love interest and myself. I met him less than 10 minutes before shooting our first scene.  I have to admit that it was challenging at first.  The director let us know what he wanted out of the scene and we proceeded to give it to him, but it was a little bit uncomfortable at first, for both of us. This was his first acting job and I was fighting the emotions that were so raw inside of me as a result of all the changes that I was going through.  Still, we did our scene and after seeing the final result, it could not have been better!

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(First scene with my love interest in the movie, Ricky. Played by Roberto Perez Perez)

After the ice was broken and days of shooting went by, everything just started flowing in divine order.  The Director found some amazing locations where I got to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of my island that I had been missing for so long.  We shot at beaches, mountain view locations in the country, resorts, venues with great local live music, among others. I was finding that happy place again.  I was home.  I got to work with one of my best friends, actress Millie Ruperto, a great crew and the icing on the cake, my niece Kenya. The Director offered my niece a role in the movie and she flew in from Miami to be a part of it.  I had my team!

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(MOROVIS, PUERTO RICO)

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(WAITING TO SHOOT A WEDDING SCENE WITH ACTOR ROBERTO PEREZ PEREZ AND A GREAT FRIEND AND ACTRESS, MILLIE RUPERTO)

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(ABOVE: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MY BEAUTIFUL NIECE KENYA DE JESUS)

(BELOW: KENYA RECEIVING DIRECTIONS)

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(OLD SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES)

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After two weeks of shooting my heart was feeling happy! We had an amazing project in our hands.  I was able to go back and work in my beautiful Puerto Rico surrounded by love and creating new memories.  I was back to being me.

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(WITH THE PRODUCTION CREW BY THE FORTRESS-EL MORRO IN SAN JUAN)

Production finished the last week of July 2012.  As in any production, there can be obstacles that can risk a movie to be finished and/or released.  So was the case with Mi Princesa.  Some of the crew parted ways, footage was given to the editing team later than expected, while other footage was lost with really important scenes we will not get to see.  The editing went from hands of the crew in Puerto Rico to another company in Chicago, which is Director Carlos Jimenez Flores’ hometown.

Three months ago I received a phone call the day after Thanksgiving of 2013 in which I was notified of some scenes that were missing that needed to be shot.  And off to Chicago I went.  I was pretty excited.  Not only was I going to go back to portray the character of Mayra which I loved, but I was also going to do it in a completely new scenario for me, SNOW!

Yep, I had never seen snow and traveling to Chicago to shoot three more scenes for the movie allowed me to go through this experience for the first time ever!!  I was feeling like a little kid!

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So here I was in cold Chicago shooting scenes that were supposed to be in warm Puerto Rico.  Fortunately the scenes were shot inside.

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(WITH DIRECTOR CARLOS JIMENEZ FLORES)

MI PRINCESA is a beautiful film which includes culture, traditions, love, beautiful images, friendships, music, family and the art of being able to forgive.  It is amazing to me how I started shooting this film coming from a broken heart and finished it a year and a half later in love with an amazing man God was saving for me.  His name is Fabian Alicastro, a Colombian singer/songwriter/producer who happens to have a song in Mi Princesa.

Things happen for a reason! Sometimes you have to go back home, to your roots, to your self in order to move forward.  Trust in God that everything in life has a purpose and with love and faith you are going to be all right!
I want to share with you a teaser for MI PRINCESA.

This film will be premiering in Fine Arts, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico on June 17th, 2015.

If you want more information you can contact me at darlavaz@gmail.com or through my twitter page http://www.twitter.com/darlenevaz

Love,

Darlene

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© DarleneVazquetelles, [2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [DarleneVazquetelles] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Give your Life a Tune-Up!

I want to share with you once again my article on how to make your life better by making simple changes.  I believe it is  a great read to start off the new year.

Wishing you all a happy and blessed 2014!!

Love,

Darlene

Give your Life a Tune-Up!.

 

Give your Life a Tune-Up!

If I tell you that I can go back and read on what I was doing and how I was feeling on a DAILY basis from the year 2002 up to 2004, you would probably think that I am crazy.  Crazy for “wasting” my time writing everything down and/or crazy for going back and reading it years later.  Too much time in my hands?  At times, yes.  At other times, just curiosity as to: “I wonder what I was doing on this day two years ago?”

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The one thing that I learned, aside from the fact that I used to spend a lot of time eating, was that whatever was hurting me back then, makes me laugh now.  I would often waste my time overthinking about what I see now as insignificant matters.  Have you ever been there?  For example, have you ever found a letter you wrote to an ex that you never gave to him or her and then realized “Uff…I am so glad I didn’t.”?  Priorities and perspectives change with time and that is one of the beauties of our life cycles.  One lesson to take from these moments where you glimpse at the past is that life will bring you pain and disappointments, but it is how you see, react and swing at these curveballs, what will eventually lead you through them.  One of my favorite sayings is that, “Everything happens for a reason”.  When we look back at the past and how we reacted to certain circumstances, we feel that we would have reacted differently if we would have known that at the end, everything was going to be just fine.  Still, those moments are what made us who we are today.  We live, we learn, we grow and we keep on moving.  As to the present:  I want to share with you what I believe can make your life a little better 🙂

ME TIME!!!

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These are the moments when you find yourself saying, “I need a break from everything.” I call mine ‘Darla time’ and by now my friends and family should know what this means, okay? 🙂 Although it can seem selfish, the truth is that these moments are important for you to communicate with yourself and listen to your needs.  Analyze how balanced your life is, or if there is a lack of.
Forget about work, politics, deadlines, blahs and blahs.  Yep, forget about everything but yourself.  Focus on your “NOW”,  on what makes you happy in this precise moment. What would you love to do? It can be another job or a hobby. It could be a trip or going to eat to that restaurant that you have been wanting to go to on  a “special occasion”.  Write these down and just start planning.  I don’t call it a bucket list because these are more simple and immediate things that you could be doing on a weekly and even daily basis to make your life a little brighter.  I went through a phase where everything was driving me crazy, especially myself. I was bored, uncertain about the future and pretty much just crawling through life.  As I was having one of these ‘Darla times’, I realized I wanted to start writing again.  It has kept me busy, entertained and happy as I get to express myself through something I really enjoy. Whether it’s painting, meditation, dancing, soccer, scrapbooking, playing an instrument, walking on your tip toes, skipping, or collecting pennies you find on the street, find something you enjoy and just do it.  Don’t ever think they are silly things.  If you like it.  Go for it!  Take this time to also think about what is not making you happy anymore and start letting go.  You can see examples on these as you keep reading.

BYE BYE JOB!!!
Title sounds great, right. Well, if you love what you do, then it shouldn’t sound great.  I know that finding a job during these times is not easy.  I am not telling you to go and quit your job just because you hate it.  But if you are miserable at work, I suggest you start looking for another way of making your money.  I know it is not that easy but “impossible” it is NOT.  Think about what you would love to be doing.  What would make YOU happy?  Then start researching all the possibilities.  The worst that can happen is that you find nothing, but at least you tried.  The best that can happen is that you end up quitting your yucky job and start getting paid doing something you truly LOVE.

SPIRITUALITY

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Find something you believe in and go to it when life gets tough.  Whichever religious beliefs you have or even when you don’t, it is a matter of having something that you can look at that will bring you a sense of peace and faith.  It can even be found through music.  Aside from entertaining, I truly believe that music has a great power of healing and therapy.  We all have that song that once it is played, our mood suddenly becomes lighter and happier!
Prayer has also been one of my escapes.  It is in times of turmoil that I found sanity and hope through prayer.  I read a lot of books and enjoy the words by preachers like Joel Osteen.  I have learned that God will not hand you anything that you cannot handle and at the end of the day, he has a plan for you.   Positivity is a must and I definitely understand how hard it is to see it at times.  Walking away from ugly thoughts is a must.  I try to use the word “cancelado”,  Spanish word for ‘cancelled’, everytime a negative thought crosses my mind. It sounds silly but it actually works!!  And talking about staying positive…lets go to the next thought:

WALK AWAY FROM NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

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Keeping negative people away will make your life so much lighter.  Just a couple of months ago I was backstabbed by a so called friend and it is strange how I cried for five minutes and then a sense of peace invaded my life.  For years I had my doubts about this person and suddenly, it all became clear to me.  Negative people and negative thoughts will keep away the good from your life so let go so you can let in.
The same goes with love relationships.  Do not settle for someone that is not going to love and respect you the way that you should be.  I went through this and when things did not work out I felt my world was going to collapse.  Now,  I cannot be happier and I am grateful that it happened because now I appreciate that love and respect that I am receiving.  I’m a happy girl!  Everyone should be able to feel this, but it takes letting go of what does not feel right.

GO OUT!!

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Yep, go out hiking, shopping, jogging, drinking, dancing, singing!  Be loud, get crazy, laugh, eat, be silly, catch up with friends. As long as you are being responsible, especially with the whole drinking and driving, there is nothing wrong with happy hour in the middle of a crazy work week.  Take that break.  These are great ways of letting the stress out, venting to friends and just loosening up.   Have you ever gotten an invitation out, you said yes and then you started regretting it because you felt tired and didn’t feel like getting dressed?  Then, you feel bad because you said you would go or because they are already downstairs picking you up, so you get up and you go.  From nights like these sometimes come the best moments in your life.  You recharged some energy and end up being glad that you went out.  Appreciate the little things and moments in life.

STAY HEALTHY
Yep, it’s not all fun and games!  In my experience, my mood swings become pretty apparent when I have not done any type of exercise or if I have indulged in too many slices of pizza.  Once you stop your exercise routine for a while, it can become hard to start again but once you do, your energy level and mood take a hike all the way to the I Feel Really Good mountain top rock.   Combine it with some healthy intake and you are good to go!

LOVE, GIVE, SMILE
Being able to love the people around you is definitely a way to make the world and your own world a little better.  Stay away from Ignorance as it is the main cause for Judgment and Prejudice, two of the uggliest things anyone can carry inside.  Don’t judge the person that is next to you wearing those dirty, stinky clothes.  You don’t know if he/she lost her house and this is pretty much part of what was left.  Change your negative attitudes towards people, traffic, little situations you encounter on a daily basis.  There is always someone out there that has something worse going on in their lives, much worse than being stuck behind a slow driver, a red light or a boring meeting.  If you are able to spend $10.00 on a glass of wine at the bar, don’t hesitate when the opportunity comes for you to donate to a local charity or to a friend in need.  By becoming more positive as to how you react to certain situations that can affect someone else or yourself, you are already making this world a better place.

BALANCE

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As a Libra woman that I am, balance is a key ingredient in my life.  At times it can get hard to get to it but we should make an effort to make it happen.  An unbalanced life could lead to sickness, too much stress, broken relationships with people that we love, among other situations.  When you become a workaholic and forget about family, friends and your own interests, life can become pretty dull and hectic.  I am a lucky girl when I get to say that I have an amazing family that has always been there for me.  You can be replaced in the position you are the minute you walk away from a job, but you will never be able to be replaced in your family and friend’s life.  Spend time with your spouse, kids, grandkids, siblings, parents, grandparents, friends.  There is no greater love in life than the one you receive from your family,  as well as your chosen family:  your friends.
Nobody should tell you what makes you happy.  This is something that only you know.  These are my thoughts on the subject and I hope that you can take something from these lines, written from the bottom of my heart.
I will end this with one of my favorites … “DON’T FORGET TO SMILE!”

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You can also read this article on http://www.clubfashionista.com

© DarleneVazquetelles, [2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [DarleneVazquetelles] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The presence of Angels

The word “Angels” is often associated with guards, protectors, guides and messengers of God. Many people believe in their existence, many people don’t. Let me tell you how my belief and gratitude towards them began and what has kept it alive.

I was about four years old when my first encounter occurred. It was a beautiful day in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. My dad and I had a beach day out. It was just the two of us plus some acquaintances from his job that happened to be at the same place. First, let me explain to you about the beach we went to on this particular day. It is located in Condado, East of the Historic Old San Juan. This morning my dad took me to the beach right behind La Concha Hotel, one of the many hotels that decorate this beautiful area of San Juan. As time has passed, more and more swimmers, both local and tourists, know that when you decide to go swimming in the ocean at this particular area, there has to be an extreme awareness and respect of the waters. Although beautiful, it is filled with rocks, aggressive waves and strong rip currents. It is a combination of these three what taught my dad about the dangers of this particular beach which  almost took our lives away.

My dad had me in his arms and we were enjoying the moment. Warm waters, waves, happy times between a father and his little girl.  Suddenly, he realized that he was slowly losing control and that the shore was becoming smaller and smaller to his eyes.  The waves were pulling us farther away by the second, passing the rocks, which were considered the safe zones. One thing is to lose control while you are on your own. You find a way, you try to call for help, you improvise. Unfortunately, even on their own, many people have not survived these waters. So add a small child to this troubling moment. My dad was carrying me in his arms and trying to fight for both of our lives. As he explains it to me the multiple times that I have inquired about what happened on that day, he could not be more certain about what happened next.

I am not a parent but I have four nieces and three nephews that I love with all my heart. I would do anything for them and in any given circumstance I will save their lives before mine. My father was about to do just that. He did not believe he was going to make it out of these waters so he did what he thought would save my life. He threw me up in the air towards the shore. You would think that a four year old would not be able to swim or survive those waves.  There are so many possibilities and different situations that could have happened, but my father believed that there was a chance I would be able to touch ground and walk away from the water to the safe sands. Then something happened that gave my dad confirmation that I was going to be fine. He saw a man with black shorts walking towards me and taking me by my hand all the way to shore.

Seeing how I was saved gave my dad motivation to save his own life and that he did. He took every opportunity he had to ‘body surf’ his way away from trouble. Taking one wave at a time he managed to go all the way to shore. Once he saw me happily playing with the sand by the water he went to his acquaintances that were standing around and told them what happened. They were not even aware that we had been in trouble. He then proceeded to find the man that had helped me for those well deserved two words: Thank You. But the man he had seen was no longer in the area. He asked his co-workers if they had seen the man that brought me to shore but they had absolutely no idea who dad was talking about. They only saw me walking out from the water to the sand. There was no man around. I truly believe that the man my dad had seen was an angel, one of God’s messengers sent out to help us. And it was him who took me by my hand and led me to safety, giving my dad the chance to save his own life without a toddler in his arms. And this is how an angel saved our lives.

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Angels come into our lives to comfort us, give us courage and fill us with hope. They appear in crucial moments and through a stranger or  a loved one. This second story is about that loved one that came to protect me.

About six months after my grandfather passed away I went into surgery. At five years of age I was diagnosed with a tumor in my left ovary. The first years of life of a child are so important. Even though I was very young when ‘Abuelo (Grandpa) Boabdil’ passed, I have memories of him. I remember all the affection that he would always give me and how he always found a way to show me I was protected and loved. Missing him was a daily thing for me for the rest of my life.

(Abuelo Boabdil)

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As my dad and mom sat in the waiting area of the Hospital del Maestro in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, I was having that left ovary removed. Imagine how nervous they were to have their little girl going through all the pain I went through prior to the surgery and now being in an operating table. All of a sudden my dad felt my Grandpa Boabdil (dad’s father) speak to him. Let me remind you that he had lost the battle to cancer just 6 months earlier. My dad looked at mom and told her, “Darlene is okay. Everything is okay”. My mom didn’t know how he would know being that they had been sitting there together all along. My dad then said, “Dad just told me she came out from surgery and that she is okay”. If my mom was surprised by this, imagine her surprise once I woke up in the recovery room and told her, “Mom, I saw grandpa. He was there with me during the surgery. He was wearing the same thing he had on at his funeral. He had that dark suit and his glasses. But this time he was also wearing wings and floating in the air”. Later on I drew a picture of my grandpa watching over me through a window that was right in front of me during surgery. Suit, glasses and wings.  I still have that drawing. Knowing that I have him to protect me, along with my other loved ones who have passed is so comforting to me.

(At the hospital)

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(With my dad the day I went back home after surgery)

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Oftentimes I am reminded of the existence of angels, either through personal experiences or through stories I hear from other people. So many different scenarios. People that are going through financial difficulties and suddenly receive money from a friend that know what they are going through. That moment when you have no food on the table and a knock on the door brings you some bread and butter because at the supermarket they had a 2 x 1. Little things like these show how there is never a moment when God does not have our back and he sends assistance through his angels, which come in so many shapes, colors, forms.

I believe that we can all serve as angels for someone who is in need. We have the power to be messengers of God. It is a matter of doing good, with no judgment or expectations. You never know how one little act can make someone’s day, week, month, life. And it is one of those stories that I want to share with you in a post which I will be dedicating to my friend Erick Cedeno. He has an inspiring story to tell about a goal, a journey, an important part of history, barriers encountered, motivation in the making and angels who protected his way.

Thank you for reading my post. It is very significant for me and I wanted to share it with you.

God Bless,

Darlene

© DarleneVazquetelles, [2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [DarleneVazquetelles] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sweet Little Things!

I am not trying to be Mother Teresa of Calcutta here but I do want to throw out some positive thoughts and energy your way. Life is about the little things…

As a little girl my parents would always take my siblings and me to Sunday Night Mass at Parroquia Buen Pastor in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Our Sundays consisted of going to the beach, attending the 7:00 P.M. mass and then going out for ice cream to Thomas Sweet’s. To this day, I have not found ice cream that tastes as good as that one. The one that comes closest to it is the DQ Blizzard of my preference… chocolate ice cream with peantus, M&M’s and Oreo cookies. Hmmmm…. ok… focus on the purpose of my writing, not my sudden appetite for dessert.

These were my Sundays growing up. Life was about enjoying those simple moments; swimming in the ocean all day, sitting next to my family at church and then enjoying those extra calories in a pre-teen body that didn’t care about this delicious intake.

As an adult that I believe I am now (sometimes I have my doubts 🙂 ) my like for the beach has only become stronger. It is my dream and I have faith it will come true, that I will have that place at the beach where I can come home to everyday and refuel. The beach was and will continue to be a huge part of my life.

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In regards to the ice cream part of my past, well, lets just say that I am focused in maintaining healthy eating habits, but if you want to send some sweet treats this way…DQ it is!! I can’t believe I started with Mother Teresa and now I am craving ice cream.

Living in Los Angeles for ten years, I met people from different cultures and religious beliefs. I started questioning my own beliefs. I visited Buddhist temples, Kabbalah centers and Non-Denominational churches as part of my internal research. I have come to realize that I am simply a Spiritual person who believes in GOD. In so many ways, I have received confirmation that he DOES exist and little by little, through my blogs, I want to tell you these stories, some of them hard to believe.

I like to attend different places of worship, as long as they bring awareness and pay respect to the Lord Jesus Christ. When I am in Miami, I attend Mother of Our Redeemer Catholic Church. It is Pastor Father Jimmy, also a friend of the family, who has now brought my attention back to listening and really understanding the weekly sermons. I went from thinking about the ice cream I would be having after church, to truly absorbing the message I will take home with me.

After this past Sunday’s sermon, I learned and really understood that as adults we still have those little things in life that can make us happy and less stressed. It could still be ice cream, it could be sitting watching your favorite television show with your family, it could be listening to your favorite song on the radio and even receiving a smile from a complete stranger. We should not make life solely about the ‘big picture’, about wanting that big house by the beach, that big promotion at work or your kids getting a scholarship to the best University out there. Life is about those moments in between, the simple and little ones that make every minute of your life more enjoyable. I am not saying that we should stop thinking about the big picture, not at all. I am just saying that we should enjoy the ride towards those dreams and aspirations.

Through this post I simply want to remind you of this the same way Father Jimmy reminded me last Sunday. Smile at the stranger, don’t judge the angry driver that just cut you off, be patient with that red traffic light.

I wish you all an amazing week. Be blessed. Be happy…. and don’t forget to smile because at the end of the day… Everything is going to be allright!

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With Love,

Darlene

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