Inspirational

This week, a few videos captured my attention and helped me realize, even more, how precious life is and how we should embrace it and live it to its fullest in love and laughter. Today, I’m going to share them with you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This first video is about a woman, who lives nearby in Long Island, New York. In 2009, she lost her three children in a tragic car accident. I just learned about her story as I watched her interview on The View and downloaded a full interview on NBC News that I’ve posted here. As I watched her tell her story, I could see and feel the sadness in her eyes and her soul. Losing a child changes your perspective on life and alters the way you see the world. It is life changing and no one can ever understand that unless they have lost a child too. She lost all three of her children at the same time and her house went from lively and full of smiles to empty and cold. That just broke my heart to pieces. She’s written a book, ” I’ll see you again”, which I ordered and plan to read.

SeeYouAgain

I have heard numerous times how I am an inspiration to people, and how I help others realize the true importance of our lives but let me tell you that in my eyes, this woman is a true inspiration to all of us. I am so fortunate to still have my Lilliana and Lucas here with me, they help me so much with their smiles, their laughs, their joy, their hugs and kisses. I take full advantage of all of this positive energy and am so fortunate to cradle up with them every day. When this woman talks about how her and her husband were planning to take their own lives, I can see that heart break and that longing to be with their children again. When you are a mother, that’s all that matters to you, is to be with your children. This mother and father continue down their path in life, even with all of this tremendous pain that will live with them forever. They are my inspiration.

http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/17/17782539-mom-who-lost-3-girls-in-taconic-crash-hard-to-not-blame-yourself?lite

The second video is about a young man, who died a few days ago from cancer. He set out to share his story and inspire others to live life to its fullest, smiling and laughing each day, enjoying his family and friends. This family knew their son was going to leave this earth in just a few short months and they moved past that resentment and pain, and enjoyed every last moment with their son.

zach-sobiech

It is so easy to get caught up in the woos of life, especially when the cards you are dealt are unbearable, but as I have said many times, it’s how you handle what comes your way, that makes you the person that you are. Instead of focusing on the negative (that my little infant baby, Julian, died in my arms and that his little body is buried under the ground in a strange place instead of being here with his family, learning to walk and talk and giving us hugs and kisses) but rather focusing on the positive (that we were fortunate to meet and hold our beautiful little son and Lilliana and Lucas were able to shower him with so much love during his few weeks on earth). We should let the positive energy flow out from our souls and embrace each moment that we have here on earth because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. This family embraced their last moments with their dying son, they are my inspiration.

http://www.upworthy.com/this-kid-just-died-what-he-left-behind-is-wondtacular-rip?g=5

Finally, this is the last video. a different perspective on enjoying life. This group is showering women on the streets of NYC with song. This made me laugh, I enjoyed it so very much. I love it when people come out of their comfort zone to show others kindness. This is a true example of letting go and just being kind to others. In life, I have come across so many people who just turn the other way when a situation gets uncomfortable for them. Unfortunately, this happened a lot when Julian died. It is an unfortunate situation and so many people don’t know how to handle it, so instead they just ignore it. I am sure I have done this numerous times also, so I don’t judge them anymore. It isn’t easy to move out of our comfort zone, to take the time to do something for someone else when our own lives are so very busy. Sometimes, it’s just easier to not do anything, then do the wrong thing, but the thing is, it is better to do something, then not do anything at all.

enjoy-life-

I think what I enjoyed most out of this video, was just how much they made these women smile, just by taking a few moments to show them a random act of kindness. This goes a long way in my book. Instead of running away from this strange man, they just smiled and enjoyed the moment. That’s exactly how we should be living our lives, enjoying every single moment because you never know, it just might make your day!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0NGm1PBSi4&feature=youtu.be

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Love

Wow, this weekend was jam packed! Not only was it “Mother’s Day” on Sunday, but on Saturday, we celebrated my niece’s First Communion and my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary, plus it was OUR 11th Anniversary on Sunday as well. Talk about an emotional filled weekend!

Me and my baby, always in my arms

 

I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of stuff going on physically, mentally and emotionally, all in just two days. So now it makes sense, why I have been feeling completely drained and a bit down these last few days. Sometimes, we don’t realize how keeping busy can really just suck up all our energy and I need all the energy I can muster up to just live each day.

This weekend, as you can imagine, was particularly rough on me. I thought about Julian every single second and longed for him to be with us during these special moments. Whenever we get together for family gatherings, I always imagine him there with us, enjoying laughing with his cousins and being part of our family unit. It is so difficult on all of us to go to these events without him. It takes a lot out of me, emotionally, to keep up my good spirits around everyone, especially our kids. We want them to enjoy their life, they are so young and have their entire lives ahead of them. I want them to feel our love for them and how we’ll do anything for them. So even if it takes up all my energy for a week, I will laugh with them, dance with them and show them just how much I respect and appreciate them. 

My three beautiful children, as they should be, "in love with each other"

My three beautiful children, as they should be, “in love with each other”

Thankfully, I feel a little more rejuvenated today. The sunshine and warm weather definitely helps as well as a few days to just cry and let it all out. You need to do that. It’s the only way the anger, sadness and frustrations don’t keep building up inside of you. It is a valuable lesson, to honor your feelings, talk about them without feeling guilty and realize that you are not alone. There are people that take you in no matter what and appreciate and love you even on your “bad” days. Life can be really hard most days, so it’s good to accept that and move forward because sometimes things happen in life, that are unimaginable but sometimes things happen that are beautiful. It’s all in how you handle what life throws at you because it is what it is and we have to do our very best to just keep on.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, loving moms out there. You’re appreciated and loved each and every day, even if it isn’t always obvious, wink wink. Here’s a sweet poem that I wanted to share with you all.

Mothers-Day-Quotes

Kale Salad

Kale, the king of all greens and the superstar of all vegetables is finally being recognized for all of its nutritional benefits.

kale salad

Kale is available in many different varieties, with Curly and Lacinato (dinosaur) kale being the most popular. Dinosaur kale is my favorite, a little more tender and mild in flavor then the curly version. Although, in many Portuguese recipes, we tend to use the curly kale. This powerful green vegetable has always been a part of my life, since I was a child, primarily eaten in one of Portugal’s signature soup dishes, Kale Soup (aka Caldo Verde).

Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale

Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale

Curly Kale

Curly Kale

However, on these warm spring days, I have really been enjoying my Kale Salad, sweetened by a light lemon vinaigrette and dried cranberries and sprinkled with some chopped pecans and freshly shaved parmesan cheese. This Kale Salad is so easy to prepare and the longer it sits, the better it tastes. The important part to making this salad is to be sure to massage the leaves. I know that may sound a little strange, but since its not cooked, the more you massage it, the softer the leaves. I’ve had a few different kale salads but this homemade version is really my favorite, a perfect light lunch.

The Sunshine

A few days ago, I celebrated my 37th birthday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was blessed to be enjoying this gorgeous day with Michael, Lilliana and Lucas. It was so special to be surrounded by their excited smiles for our little weekend retreat.

The entire weekend, we included Julian in our vacation, talking about little things that reminded us of him, especially the trees with the white leaves. Lucas refers to those as “snow trees” and calls Julian, the “snow boy”, because he was born on the first snow fall in the Fall 2010 and throughout his short 9 weeks with us, it snowed pretty much every weekend!

white trees

It had been a little over six years ago when we last visited Portsmouth. As a matter of fact, I was pregnant with Lucas the last time we were there so it was nice to re-visit a place that had fond memories. We also had the chance to visit the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine. Michael and I reminisced about how it has been over 10 years since we were there and I was pregnant with Lilliana on that trip. The kids really enjoyed hearing these stories and we couldn’t believe just how much has happened in these last ten years! Our entire life has happened, good and bad, from marriage to giving birth to three children, losing one to a miscarriage and losing another to SMA. It feels that in only ten years, we have lived an entire lifetime.

lighthouse

Julian’s passing has really broken our hearts and we miss him tremendously. We talk about him all the time, which is so refreshing, to be open about it with our children and to get a much needed hug or kiss from them when they see the sadness in our eyes and in our hearts. They are truly such wonderful souls and their love shines on us every day.

Baby Julian 202

Well, I wanted to share a special photo with all of you. Lilliana and I were trying to take a photo of the two of us by the water but as you can see, we didn’t capture any of the water. However, you’ll see we did capture something much more unique and special, Julian’s presence. Julian’s love is shining down on us here in the beautiful sunlight. It’s quite magical, actually, and it reminds me to appreciate all those little moments together with your loved ones, as they are more then little, they are unique and special and hold a lot more then you can ever imagine.

lily me julian