All posts by debbie413

Hello and welcome to Debbie's Reflection. This blog is about my grief journey, spiritualism, healing and everyday life. I began journaling in 2007 after my 20-year-old son’s death. It was a way for me to release my emotions without being judged. My life was drastically altered after my son’s death. But in a spiritual moment, I realized that I needed to change. Then and there I knew that I had a choice, I could sulk and go down the path to depression or I could live for my son. I chose the latter. I chose to set the path to acceptance, peace, and healing. It was not easy and it doesn’t mean that I no longer cried or felt sad. That’s far from the truth. I had my sad moments and crying bouts but I did not let it define my life. I wanted to live for my son by honoring his memory by doing the things that he wanted to do but could not. As a grieving mother, I understand the feeling of hopelessness and despair and would love nothing more than to open my heart to others going through this difficult situation. I am in a good place in my grieving process right now. If I could help at least one person reach that place of acceptance, peace, and healing, then I am happy. I welcome you with open arms to read my story and how I reached the place of acceptance, peace, and healing. I jotted down all my feelings of sadness, anger, happiness, despair and all relating to my grief in a book in memory of my son. The book is titled, "Diary of a Grieving Mother's Heart" and can be found on Amazon. Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope to keep you coming back for more stories.

I Inherited an 80-Year-Old Chenille Vintage Bedspread from my Grandmother in the Spirit World

80-year-old chenille bead spread sprawled as best as it could on my king-size bed – photo by author

A Priceless Gift

I inherited my grandmother’s 80+-year-old vintage Chenille bedspread and am ecstatic about it! It is white with patterns of flowers in pink and yellow raised yarn. The bedspread is in pristine condition. I once read somewhere on the internet that Chenille dates back to the 18th century and originated in France. But do not take my word for it because I can not recall the source. 

To continue my story, last month (May 2021) we traveled to Puerto Rico. The whole intention of this small trip was to spend time with my 90-year-old mother-in-law and my 81-year-old dad. There is only one life and with aging parents, we do not know how much more time we will have them around, so we wanted to spend some time with them.

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The Unexpected Surprise

While visiting my dad, he mentioned he had his mother’s Chenille 80+-year-old vintage bedspread. Dad said he is sure it is 80 years old, but it could be older. Grandma was already 40-years-old when my dad was born and he is the youngest out of about fifteen (more or less) children. According to my dad, Grandma only dressed her bed with the Chenille bedspread on Mother’s Day and Dad recalls seeing her do so. Unbeknownst to my dad, my aunt inherited the bedspread, but she recently gave it to my dad. Dad took it though he knew he would not use it. And, even though I have two other sisters, he immediately thought of me. While he was telling me his story, I could not stop thinking about Grandma and my conversation during meditation a few months ago. This was certainly a sign, and it was meant for me. 

Communicating with my Spirit Guides

Ever since I can remember, I have always been an intuitive Empath. My parents knew and understood me. They never judged or told me I was imagining things, but they did not understand it themselves. As an adult, I learned to use and control my gifts. I constantly use meditation and yoga to maintain my sanity, relax, and raise my awareness. Through this method, I communicated with my spiritual guides. I learned that one of my spirit guides is my grandmother on my father’s side. Therefore, I reach out to her and my other spirit guides often. During one of those meditative sessions a few months ago, I told my grandmother I wished I had something that belonged to her as a memento. 

It Was Meant to Be

I mentioned that meditative conversation to my dad. He was very understanding and told me, “That explains why you were the first one to come to my mind when my sister gave it to me. It was for you. Your grandma granted your wish.” 

I agree with my dad. It was definitely a gift from my grandma, granting my wish. I am happy with my new 80+-year-old vintage Chenille bedspread. Unfortunately, I cannot use it since the full-size bedspread does not fit my king-size bed. But that’s okay, I’ll cherish it for as long as I live.


Don’t Downplay the COVID-19 Virus Unless You’ve Experienced it

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Is COVID Real or Just the Flu?

COVID struck in my family. As much as some of us tried to steer away from crowds and gatherings to protect our 81-year-old mother, it wasn’t enough. Mom caught the virus, and it was not pretty. It frustrated me to hear people downplaying it like the flu and saying Mom was pretending. People who did not bother to check on her while sick in her apartment, call while she was at the hospital, or even inquire about her health. It’s okay to believe whatever, it’s each one’s choice and we are all individual beings. But to downplay a condition when they know nothing about medicine, are not healthcare workers, and were not there to see what was going on is downright wrong.

Mom Does Not Feel Well

On February 24th, Mom told me she was not feeling well. I asked her what were the symptoms? She said she felt a lot of body ache, sore throat, tiredness, a lot of coughing, and a weird metallic taste in her mouth.

“Do you have a fever?” I asked.

“No, I don’t have a fever,” she responded.

It concerned me because she lives alone in an apartment with only her dog as a companion. My thought was she had COVID. Although I live quite close to her, the thought of me contracting the virus and spread it to my family worried me. But I needed to help Mom. I continued to call a few times a day to check on her status and brought over foods she requested or I knew would help nourish her. I took her dog, Precious, home with me thinking it’d be less work for her since she did not have to feed or walk Precious. But Mom called asking me to bring Precious back home because she missed her, so I did. I always wore my mask and never got near to Mom, hug or kiss her even though I wanted to. It hurt to see her so sick.

“Mom, let’s go to the doctor,” I said a few times.

“No, I don’t want to go, but I’ll call my doctor and let her know what’s going on,” she promised.

Mom made good on her promise and contacted her physician. They sent Mom for a chest x-ray, which she did the following Monday.

About a week into Mom’s illness, when I called her, she did not answer the call. It was about 9:00 a.m. I figured she’s asleep, and since I had two appointments that day, I thought I’d call her after my first appointment. The phone rang and rang, but she didn’t pick up. “She’s probably taking Precious for a walk. I’ll call after my second appointment,” I thought to myself.

It was 3:00 p.m. when I tried ringing her again and no answer. I worried me she wasn’t responding, so I drove directly to her home. It’s a good thing I have a key to her apartment and could enter without problems. However, in my rush to check in on Mom, I forgot to wear a mask.

Precious was barking incessantly as I walked in. “Mom!” I called out, but no answer. I dashed straight into her bedroom where I found Mom all bundled up on her bed. “Mom,” I yelled out and nothing. “Mom,” I called again and nudged her until she finally opened her eyes.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

Not realizing how long she had slept, “I’m okay,” she responded.

“I’ve been trying to reach you, but you didn’t answer the phone,” I told her.

“I didn’t hear the phone,” she said. “The doctor gave me a prescription for the cough and it makes me sleepy.”

“Okay,” I replied. “So what was the chest x-ray diagnosis?” I asked.

“She said my lungs are clear,” Mom responded.

“Did she send you to get tested for COVID?” I asked.

“No,” Mom responded.

“Mom, I think you should get tested. I’ll take you and get myself tested too,” I told her.

“I don’t want to get tested. Besides, I’m feeling better,” she responded.

“You don’t look better. Did you eat?” I asked.

“I’m not hungry, Mom replied.

“Mom, you need to eat something. Tell you what. I haven’t had lunch yet. How about if we order something to eat? What would you like?”

“I’m not hungry, but some soup sounds good,” she said.

“Okay, I’ll order some soup for both of us from Panera Bread,” and I placed the order.

Caring for My Ailing Mom

We sat down together and chatted while we waited for our lunch to arrive. She was not her total self but was happy that I was there with her. When our order arrived, we sat together at the dining table and ate. Unfortunately, she could only eat about three spoonfuls of soup and wanted no more. She claimed the metal taste in her mouth made her nauseous. It concerned me she wasn’t eating properly.

Looking in her refrigerator, I saw that the meals I had brought over for her to eat during the week were half eaten or not even touched and still in her fridge. I spent a few more hours with her until she could no longer stay awake and wanted to go to sleep. I stayed until Precious ate and I could take her downstairs for her walk and made sure Mom was not needing anything else, then I went home. Once at home, I realized that while I was with Mom; I did not use a mask. There was nothing I could do now. How long was Mom contagious, I didn’t know. I could only pray I didn’t catch whatever Mom had.

It was not easy but I continued to monitor Mom and tried to help as much as possible. Between work and my home, I couldn’t spend much time with her. It worried me to see how much weight she had lost. She was not eating at all, and I doubt she was drinking any water since she complained about the metallic taste.

We Need to Get Tested

That weekend I could finally convince her to get tested with me. So on Sunday night, I told her I’d pick her up after work on Monday and we’d both get tested. However, she claimed she didn’t want to go because three family members told her that if she got tested, she would definitely test positive because everyone that gets tested, comes out positive.

I was livid! How dare they impose their beliefs on an 80-year-old? They were not there to see how sick she looked, how much weight she’d lost, and how much she needed a diagnosis to properly care for her healing. I contacted the persons who misinformed her and demanded they corrected their wrongdoing. They promised they would speak with her if they needed to. Fortunately, she accepted to go with me the next day.

On Monday, March 8th, after work, I picked Mom up and headed to the testing center. Mom was so weak and could barely walk. I felt terrible to see my Mom like this but was glad she accepted to be tested. We wouldn’t get our results until Wednesday, so I dropped Mom off at her home and went straight to mine.

I Trusted My Intuition

That night was quite restless for me. I am a very intuitive person and something kept telling me to go over to my Mom’s house. I was up by 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Therefore, I prepared myself and was about to leave when my husband asked me, “where are you going?”

“I’m going to Mom’s house,” I responded.

“Aren’t you going to eat breakfast first?” he asked.

“No, I’ll make breakfast over there and hopefully she’ll eat with me,” I replied, and I was off to Mom’s.

Even though I had spoken and seen her during the week, I had not been inside her apartment since the previous Wednesday and I was in shock at what I walked into.

Another Sign Mom Was Not Well

Mom is a clean freak. Her home is always super neat, clean, and aromatic. But as I walked in, I was struck with a horrific smell. There were dirty dishes in the sink, the garbage needed taking out, and all those times she said she was taking Precious out for her walks—well; it wasn’t true. The garbage bins in her kitchen and bathroom were full of pee-pee pads, which were soiled—a sign Precious was not walked. Mom was a bit confused when I walked in with the breakfast groceries. The first thing I did was take the garbage out and disinfect the apartment, feed the dog, and take her out for a walk before beginning breakfast.

Confusion and Delirium Began

Once back, I began with breakfast. At that moment, Mom told me she had not paid the rent and asked if I could take the check to the office, to which I replied I could. She got up from the sofa and walked into her bedroom when suddenly I heard a loud thump.

I ran into her bedroom and there laid Mom on the floor. She had lost her balance and fell. I tried helping her up, but she had no strength and I couldn’t get her up. She kept her right hand as if she was holding something. I monitored her, thinking she might have a seizure because of the way she was moving her hand.

“Is your hand hurting Mom?” I asked.

“No, hold this,” she said, but there was nothing in her hand.

“There’s nothing there, Mom. What do you want me to hold?” I asked.

“Here, hold it!” she yelled.

I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t help her get up, so I contacted my husband to stop by before he left to work. But Mom was so weak, she couldn’t sustain herself for us to get her up, so I had no other choice than to call 911. I stayed with her while they arrived. She seemed confused and didn’t look well at all. The paramedics arrived in less than 15 minutes. They could not get any straight answers from her. She seemed confused, delirious, very weak, and her vitals were a bit off. She’s a diabetic, and if she was not eating, that was not doing her any good. The Paramedics transported her to the hospital.

She Tested Positive

I was glad that Mom went to the hospital because I knew she would get the proper care she needed. Other than vitals taken, they tested again her for COVID, but the results would be in on that same day. However, I noticed she was very forgetful. I thought maybe she was tired but there was also the incident at her apartment which told me something else was going on. Then the results came in. Mom tested positive for COVID and was going into isolation. The nurses changed Mom into a hospital gown and gave me her clothes. They did not allow me to go into Mom’s room or even say goodbye to her.

“Can I at least hand the cell phone to her?” I asked.

“I’ll give it to her,” said the nurse, and she handed me a sheet with instructions to follow in order to see Mom the next day.

Once home, I called the number on the sheet and scheduled an appointment to see Mom. The hospital policy was one visitor per day for 30 minutes. I had to be suited up with protective gear provided by the hospital and follow certain rules before going in and after exiting the room. I was okay with that just as long as I could visit Mom. Once done with scheduling the appointment, I returned to her apartment to clean and disinfect it and took Precious home with me. I was not about to leave her alone in the apartment. Also, I had to make sure that Mom’s apartment was in optimal condition before she came home.

That Was Not My Mom

The next day I visited Mom. She seemed so frail in that hospital bed. She was silent and said she felt extremely tired. I spent 30 minutes with her until they kicked me out. Once at home at around 5:30 p.m. I received a call from Mom. Since my son was with me at that moment, I put her on speaker.

“Hi Mom, how are you?” I asked.

“Why did you leave?” she asked.

“Because they didn’t allow me to stay any longer,” I responded.

“But, how am I going to get home? I don’t know my way home,” she said.

At that point, both my son and I noticed this was not Mom. “You’re staying there tonight, Mom. Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up tomorrow,” I replied and changed the conversation. “Did you eat, Mom?” I asked.

“I’m eating now,” she responded.

“What are you eating?”

“Mac and cheese, and, umm, umm, I don’t know,” she said.

We said a few more things and hung up. However, that conversation was puzzling to me and my son. It was as if she had dementia or something like it.

The next day, Thursday, March 11th, the ringing of the phone awakened at 6:00 a.m. It was Mom’s nurse calling. Apparently, Mom tried leaving and was yanking the tubes off so she had to be restrained. The nurse didn’t want me to be surprised when I got there. It was disturbing to me to hear this. Mom was not a belligerent person. My appointment was not until 2:00 p.m. and they did not allow me to go in any earlier. However, when I arrived at the hospital, she was no longer in isolation. Further testing showed her plasma levels were higher than expected, which meant she had COVID for some time and therefore no longer contagious. I could stay with her for as long as I wanted.

The Moment I Panicked the Most

However, as I walked in towards Mom, it broke my heart. They physically restrained her arms from the bed. I understand it was for her own good, but it was horrific to see. She didn’t know who she was, or who I was. Even though she joked with the nurses and doctors, it wasn’t my Mom. I did not know this woman, and she did not know me. It devastated me. Mom was seeing things that were not there. She kept talking as if her dog was there with her. Kept fumbling with the sheets as if actually doing something and would ask me to hold whatever imaginary thing she had in her hand. I told her a few times that she’d be out of there soon and I will take her home, but she said she didn’t know me and wasn’t going home with me. She kept on trying to sit up and get off the bed, but had no strength to do either. And she talked so many incoherent things.

I asked the nurse what happened to her, to which she responded, “You mean she’s normally not like this?”

“Not at all!,” I replied. “My Mom is an independent woman who lives by herself, has family get-togethers where she cooks, lives on a second floor with no elevators, takes her dog for daily walks twice a day, does arts and crafts, and drives!”

“Oh no,” responded the nurse. “We’ll have to get a neurologist to see her.”

Trying to Bring Mom Back

It was killing me to see her like this. I contacted my siblings and family members and asked they call her through FaceTime. We needed to jog her memory. I wanted my Mom back! Many family members called and even though she did not recognize them, she associated them with the correct family, so that was good. But it wasn’t enough. Mom kept on trying to pull herself out of the bed and constantly yanked on all the tubes and cables. The weekend seemed like an eternity. I cried and prayed so much and spend the weekend with her at the hospital. I wanted to stay overnight but, again, hospital policy did not allow it. But I was there as soon as visiting time began at 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. when they kicked me out. During that time, I talked to her a lot, trying to jog her memory, tried to feed her, gave her water, and tried everything possible to help her regain her strength. It was frightening not knowing what might happen.

The neurologist came by and could not believe that this woman was an independent person. He truly believed she had dementia and told me not to get my hopes up because at her age, even if she didn’t have dementia before, but after what she’s been through with the virus most likely she would never recuperate and never be independent again. That was devastating news, and I knew I had to prepare for anything. She was turning 81-years-old on March 21st, so maybe the neurologist was right. But no! My Mom comes from a long life family line. Her dad died at 96 and his memory was perfect until the day he died. And my grandmother will turn 98 years old in July and her mind is perfectly well. Heck, my grandma will recite poems from when she was 8-years-old. I could not fathom my Mom becoming senile at 80. I summoned all my prayer warriors and healers for my Mom’s health and I know they all put in their best efforts.

Feeling of Joy

On Sunday, March 14th, I arrived at the hospital as usual. I took a photo album with me to show her. I needed to try everything possible to help her regain her memory. She was asleep when I arrived. Once she opened her eyes, I noticed she would not move her arms or legs. She wouldn’t speak either. I tried to feed her breakfast, but she refused. So I offered to show her some photos to which she nodded yes. I began showing her the photos—especially the ones of her. I noticed tears streaming down her face from the corner of her eyes while she struggled to speak.

“Why am I here? Why am I like this?” she asked.

“Because you tested positive for COVID and were very sick,” I responded.

“I was?” she asked.

At that moment, the nurses walked in.

“Yes, you were. Do you know who I am?” I asked.

Mom nodded yes, and the nurse asked her, “Who is this lady?”

“She’s my daughter,” Mom responded.

I was so happy to hear her say that. Then I asked, “What’s my name?”

“Debbie,” she replied.

It was such a joyous moment. Even the nurses were tearing up. They took the restraints off. She still could not get up, but seemed to get better. She was still too weak. However, on that day, the Physical Therapist helped Mom to the chair in the room. Followed by taking a few steps the next day and so on. On Tuesday, March 16th, the doctor discharged Mom from the hospital with home care help until she regains her strength. Her mind is 98% back and is getting stronger each day.

Returning Back Home

My Mom is a stubborn woman and didn’t want to come back home to my house. She was adamant it had to be to her home. Therefore, with little strength and the help of my son, she walked up those stairs to her apartment. I moved in temporarily with her so I could care for her. A week in and she kicked me out of her apartment. My Mom was finally back! Never have I been so happy to be kicked out of any place!

Oh, and by the way. My test came back negative. See? Not everyone tests positive!

NOTE: Further COVID research shows that delirium and confusion are also side-effects of the virus among the elderly or as young as 50 years old. To read about particular cases go to COVID – Delirium, and Confusion for the latest CDC updates.

Open Up Your Heart for a Worthy Cause – We Are all Different

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” ~ John 11:25-26

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

What is this church about?

I have written quite a few times about how I found my niche at the Church of Spiritual Awakening. I visited several Spiritualist churches going back and forth from church to church trying to get a feel or a sense of belonging. It took me a while to realize where I belonged.

The Church of Spiritual Awakening is unlike many other churches. Many of us believe in God, Lord, the Almighty, Infinite Spirit – whichever way you wish to call him/her, but don’t believe in certain religious doctrines. I grew up in the Catholic religion, however, there were certain things that did not sit well with me. As a child, I was sensitive to spirit. Something my parents nor sibling could see, feel or hear. I was lucky to have parents who didn’t judge me for what I saw, felt, or heard. They were always there and never made me feel uncomfortable or tell me it was my imagination.

Searching for answers within religion

As I grew up, I could no longer deny something was wrong with me. I didn’t understand it and frankly; I was afraid of it. So as a teenager, I joined the local neighborhood Catholic church. I played guitar in the choir and took part as much as I could in its ministries. One time I spoke with the Reverend explaining to him what I’ve felt ever since I was 4-years-old (that’s as far back as I could go). The Reverend suggested I contact the Rosicrucians. I didn’t know who they were or where to locate them, so I never even looked them up. Then again, there was no internet so it might have taken more time than what a teenager was willing to put in.

In the search for answers, I visited the Evangelical church and after a few visits felt compelled to let the pastor know what I felt. But during a service, I ended up running out when the pastor and congregation kept chanting and telling me to repent or the devil was coming for me. I also visited the Baptist church for a while and spoke to the pastor. He said the devil possessed me. When I was 18-years-old, I had my first session with a psychologist. That didn’t go any better. She wrote me a referral to a psychiatrist because, according to her, I was borderline schizophrenic. And that’s when I stopped searching for answers.

I found excuses of why I was seeing, hearing, or feeling inexplicable things.

“I probably saw it on the news,” I would think to myself. Or “I heard someone say it,” and so on.

There was always an excuse until eventually I just blocked it. It was always there, and every so often I would have an “episode.” But I put all my faith in God and just let it go.

The premonition that shook my core

Then one day, as I was driving my children home from school, I saw something that woke me up. As we waited for the light to change, an image came to my mind. It was an image of a car accident and a woman crawling out of the wrecked vehicle’s window with blood all over her face. She crawled out crying, looked at me, and extended her right arm towards me. I recognized that face! It was my cousin’s face. I panicked and began trembling when the honking of horns and my children signaled to me that the light had changed. I didn’t know what it meant or why I had felt it, but I tried to leave it behind. Two weeks after that incident, I received a frantic call from my mother.

“Debbie, please go check on your cousin. I just got word she had a car accident,” Mom said.

“WHAT? WHERE? WHEN?” I screeched out.

“Today close to you on the main road,” she replied.

I left as fast as I could and stopped by my cousin’s house. I was so relieved when she opened the door. They were all fine, just a little banged up. But that left me feeling so uneasy.

The guilt was killing me

“Why?” I thought. “Why would I wish this upon my cousin? How could I have done this to her?”

I felt so guilty. As if I had caused the accident. I couldn’t shake it out of my head. At that time, I was working at a church, so the next day, I spoke with the Pastor. I told him about the accident and how guilty I felt. Opening up was hard for me. It had been so long since I told anyone, but I told him about my experiences since young. I needed to let it out. I needed God’s forgiveness for having such horrific thoughts about my loving cousin.

The Pastor listened and reassured me I had nothing to be afraid of and need not feel any guilt. He told me I wasn’t alone. There were many like-minded people who felt, saw, and heard just like I did. He then encouraged me to meet them, which I did. That day, I realized I was not alone and much less crazy. I befriended a few like-minded individuals but still had my reservations about my feelings. Every so often I’d have a premonition. I learned to not hold on to it, but pass it on to the right individual. It helped some, but I still did not understand why.

A cruel awakening

It took a tragic event in my life for me to come to terms with it. My oldest son died in a pedestrian accident. My grief was unbearable. As a mom, I didn’t want to let go. In my mind, I always held a conversation with him and he responded. I had my doubts, though. One night, my sorrow was so deep I just needed to know. I cried so hard and prayed so much. Asking for God’s help, I prayed. I prayed for God to help me decipher this feeling – the hearing my son speak to me. If this was indeed from God, then teach me how to work with it and I will embrace it. But if it wasn’t, please take it away.

Click here for Spiritual Awakening Fundraiser

I found my home

A few weeks later, while researching on the internet, I found the local Spiritualist churches. I loved its principles as I felt the same way. Hence, I visited quite a few before I decided that the Church of Spiritual Awakening was my home. I did many workshops at this center – Introduction to Spiritualism, Laying on of Hands Healing, Beginners Mediumship, Advanced Mediumship, among others, and also attended the Tuesday night Meditation Circle for a while.

I learned many things at the Church of Spiritual Awakening. One being that the spirit never dies {John 11:25-26}. That makes me feel at ease with myself and my gift. I know I’m not the only one either. Like me, there are many children, teens, and adults that do not understand the gift they have. A Spiritualist Church is a place where they can safely talk about it and learn to use their gifts positively. There are no judgments here. We welcome everyone to partake in our services and activities. It’s an open and affirming environment with lots of loving people.

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Accepting my gift is a blessing

I have finally accepted the gift Infinite Spirit has given me and would love nothing more than for the Church of Spiritual Awakening Center to have its own location instead of renting out space. As of now, we hold the meditation circle and Sunday services through Zoom. Though I miss our personal interaction, on the bright side, the building fund has continued to increase since there is no rent or utilities to pay. So, to reach our goal, we are having fundraisers.

This fundraiser and many others that we will have during the year, will not only help us increase our building fund; but will also bring awareness to what we represent. It is a loving atmosphere with people from all over the world coming together with a like-minded attitude. We love everyone and all are welcome.

This fundraiser is for masks. Everybody is wearing a mask – some are plain, some are creative – so why not support a worthy cause? We have unique designs and colors to choose from. So, if you feel compelled to help us raise funds for our new building, follow the link to the Spiritual Awakening fundraiser, make sure to put “Debbie Centeno” as the person you’re sponsoring, and thank you in advance for your support.

Love and light to all!


A Grieving Mother Receives Comfort from Her Child through a Perfect Stranger’s Song

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” ~ Chief Seattle

Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

A Heart Warming Story

Today I read the most heart-warming story ever. It teared me up. I use the Nextdoor app within my neighborhood. A woman, which I’ll call Ann, who lives in a surrounding neighborhood, was writing to express her thanks to a stranger. She did not know him, but his interaction with her caused a great impact. 

A Mother’s Nightmare

This month Ann experienced the worst nightmare a mother can go through. Her 19-year-old son died on February 3, 2021. I don’t know the details of his death, but it is not relevant in this story. Ann was driving back from picking up her son’s urn and ashes and stopped at the neighborhood supermarket for some groceries.

An Angel Among the Strangers

As she waited her turn at the deli counter, a kind gentleman who I’ll call Elvis and was also waiting his turn complimented her tattoo. He had a tattoo as well—an Elvis tattoo. They began to chit-chat while waiting, even though her mind was elsewhere. She could not fully describe him because of his mask. From what they spoke, she thought he might have been an Elvis impersonator when he was younger. 

“When I had hair,” she recalls him saying. Then he sang a part of the Elvis song “Love Me Tender” to her. 

Love me tender, love me sweet.
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete
and I love you so.

A Message from Heaven

The lyrics Elvis sang tucked at her heart and emotions. She felt as if her son was singing the song to her. As if he was telling his mom to always hold him close. Even though it made Ann emotional, it gave her a sense of peace and joy on that day and for the days to follow. Little does the stranger, Elvis, know what he did for Ann. He did not know how she was feeling, or that she was grieving the loss of her son, and how much comfort he brought to her. Therefore, Ann took her story to Nextdoor to thank him.

I Can Relate

I don’t know Ann or Elvis, but this story touched me because, I too, am a grieving mother. My son was 20 years old when he died. I know the feeling of receiving a message from a stranger or someone known to me and sensing it came from my son. For me it is a sign that Infinite Spirit (God) is always there for us and will always provide us comfort because the spirit never dies. Infinite Spirit sends his angels to comfort us either through someone we know, a sign, song, or a stranger. 

To the Stranger

I pray for God’s blessing for this stranger so he can continue to spread his love and healing through his music. Sending healing love and light to Ann and Elvis.

The Sensations of a Full Body Massage

A Much Needed Me Time

Stress had taken over me. How I yearned to relax and pamper myself. Keeping myself busy made me forget about my own needs. I knew all too well how important it is to tend to my own needs. Caring for myself now will allow me to help others. There’s no need to go on with stress. It is important that I take the time to heal and recalibrate and a massage would work wonders. Yes, I will book a massage for my well-being.

The Masseuse

There I was waiting for the masseuse. Just waiting for the masseuse, Carlos to be ready. Carlos was a young, tall, thin, well-built, muscular Costa Rican male. Carlos’ hair was black and long-pulled back in a ponytail. He had the most beautiful green eyes which glowed when his full-juicy lips curled into a smile. Carlos’ skin was so tanned that it shimmered like gold. He wore white sweatpants and a tank top that contoured his well-built six-pack abs and muscles. And his low, sexy voice just made it all too perfect.

As he approached me, I noticed his strong, enormous hands. His fingernails were short and well-groomed, yet very masculine. I sensed his eagerness to begin the session as he handed me a clear, tall glass of sparkling wine. I, too, was eager to begin. The wine was crisp and cold against my lips as I sipped it little by little. Its sweet, delicate taste kept me wanting more. I loved it.

Just the Perfect Place

The dim room atmosphere completed the scene. There was soft music that filled my ears, the room glowed with the flickering of the candles, and the aroma of the scented candles filled the air. It was the perfect stress-free environment. The massage table was covered in a soft, clean white linen that felt satiny. I was feeling it and the wine was just the touch to make me feel at ease—no worries at all.

Enjoyment and Relaxation

Carlos signaled for me to lie down. I felt blissful. Carlos’s body emanated a sweet intoxicating fragrance. It, too, made me feel relaxed. He drizzled the warm oil over my skin. I moaned softly as his fingers penetrated my skin. His soft, long fingers massaged my neck intensely. He followed a circular motion throughout my shoulders and upper back. His fingers felt like a caress on my body. Slowly, he continued to my lower back. Gentle circular strokes caressed every inch of my back and arms.

Say I Love You Gifts

I moaned with delight as he reached my thighs and legs. I felt the warmth and scent of the lubricating oil on my skin. His circular strokes were tender—yet strong enough to feel the power of the effect. I did not want it to end. The massage was invigorating and perfect. He continued towards my calves, ankles, and feet. His fingers caressed every toe in the right way. With circular strokes, he reached the heel of my feet. Such a good feeling. Every inch of my body tingled with his touch. I was in pure ecstasy and nearly falling asleep.

A Warning Would Have Helped

Out of nowhere, I felt it. It was feathery-like, yet strong enough to jolt me up from my blissful state. The feeling of Carlos’ fingers massaging the arch of my feet as if he was tickling me. I could not contain myself. My peace and joy were disturbed with laughter at the spa. Had I let Carlos know my feet were very sensitive and ticklish, he would have not gone that far. Had he not touched my feet, I would have enjoyed it longer.

What Will the New Year Bring us?

“It can be disastrous or great. It depends on us.” ~ Debbie

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2020 Be Gone!

It’s the last day of the year 2020 — the year of the global pandemic, COVID-19. It’s new year’s eve and everyone is looking forward to the beginning of 2021, new hopes, new dreams, and new ventures. The social media venues are full of posts condemning 2020. The year 2020 brought so much heartache, hatred, disappointment, and loss to so many. Loss of lives, jobs, homes, and dreams.

“I can’t wait for 2020 to go away,” I have seen posted so many times.

I wonder what makes people believe that just because 2020 is over, the virus will magically disappear and everything will be back to the way it was before. Why dwell on how bad the year was? There’s nothing we can do to change what happened or what was. Why not attempt to see all the good in it?

Things to be Grateful For

Good? What was good about 2020? For starters, we are alive. Rise in the morning and be grateful that you could open your eyes. Be grateful for the loved ones who woke up next to you in bed or in your household. For your pets, the roof over your head, your fluffy pillow, and sheets that kept you warm. Be grateful if the virus did not affect you. If you caught COVID-19 and healed, be grateful too.

I see the year 2020 as a test. A test for all of us to realize who we are, our gifts, and what we have. A time for us to awaken and grow. We all have been given cards to deal with, and we make our own decisions on how to deal with these cards. Think about what you may have accomplished during the year 2020. So you spent most of your time at home — no trips, no gatherings, no socializing, blah, blah, blah. Did you use this time to do things you never had time to do before? Declutter your home, read a few books, redecorate your living quarters, ground yourself with nature, or just lounge around in blissful peace.

Photo by Kiy Turk on Unsplash

Parenting in 2020

If you’re a parent, did you spend more time with your children doing meaningful stuff like playing board games, puzzles, teach them to cook, etc? Or just simply get to know them? Oh, believe me, I once had a conversation with a 7-year-old who told me she only danced in front of her friends and not her mom because she didn’t know her mom that well. Shocking, I know, but they’re out there.

So Much to Do, So Little Time

Returning to the topic on hand, did you take the time to reflect on your life and figure out how you can deal with your cards differently for your benefit? What did you accomplish in 2020? There is so much you could have achieved throughout this year. Yet many just complain they could not go out or have fun the conventional way.

I too had certain goals and resolutions for 2020, which I could not fulfill. But I didn’t focus on that. I set my intention to accomplish as much as I could according to what was happening worldwide. Yes, I could not travel this year, which is big for me. But that just means I’ll take an extra trip when there’s no more COVID-19 threat. So, this year l focused on my other goals and completed 90% of them.

Jon Kabat-Zinn meditation and mindfulness in the digital age

My Thoughts Create My Luck

If you’re thinking that it was just luck, you’re wrong. My accomplishment was not because of luck or wealth. It happened because I believe it’s a matter of mindset. I focused on all the good that would come from the situation at hand and did not give a second thought about all the bad that could happen. Also, I learned not to worry. The way I see it is, can I do something about it? If I can, then I do it. If not, then let it go — hence no need to worry because worrying will not solve any problems but just give us more. When we focus on what is going wrong in our lives, we’re just opening the door for more things to go wrong. However, if we turn it around and look for the positives, we will attract more positive things to come.

We Should All Be Grateful

Everyone has things to be grateful for this year, so let’s start with that. There’s no need to wait for the new year to turn our mindset around and be grateful. “Grateful” is the keyword because if you’re reading this, that is just one reason to be grateful. It means you have eyesight, learned how to read, and have a gadget where you can read from, just to name a few. With that said, how will you deal with your new deck of cards in 2021?

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 2021!


Duet Sound Machine and Night Light

The Current Effects of Evolution on Our Christmas Traditions

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Nostalgic but Fond Memories

Today I received a video through my Facebook Messenger. The video is about a Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico. This tradition is a “parranda.” It brought many memories from when I was young. It was also very nostalgic for us — my husband included. We enjoyed the full 7-minute video and reminisced about that time in our lives.


Holiday Baskets from winebasket.com

What is a Parranda?

A parranda is an old tradition celebrated in Puerto Rico where a group of people (which are called parranderos) — some with instruments like a cuatro, güiro, maracas, and any other instrument available, gather to bring music and songs to their neighbors or family in exchange for food and drinks. There are many popular songs in a parranderos repertoire. From what I heard in the video, most songs are the same as they were when we used to parrandear. Parrandas begin as early as the weekend following Thanksgiving and don’t end until the Octavitas, which is 8 days following the Three Kings Day on January 14.

How Does a Parranda Work?

Let me explain in detail what a parranda comprises. The parranderos decide who they will visit. These visits take place during the evening hours — mostly after 10:00 p.m. The homeowners normally are unaware of the parranderos visit. The parranderos approach the house quietly as to not awaken the homeowner. Once the parranderos situate themselves in front of the house, they unanimously shout out “ASALTO,” or “PARRANDA,” immediately followed by playing their instruments and singing. Note that shouting “Asalto,” even though it translates to assault, doesn’t really hold the same meaning. It’s more of a term for “Surprise.” The parranderos might spend about 5 minutes outside singing before they are let inside to allow enough time for the homeowners to put on some decent attire.

Oh, But the Neighbors!

I know what you’re thinking, “How inconsiderate to the neighbors!” But no, that’s not the case. It does not bother the neighbors. Neighbors actually enjoy listening and expect to hear parrandas in their neighborhoods. Oh sure, you might have some scrooges around, but I can’t recall one time where anyone was bothered by a parranda.

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Photo by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels

Once the parraderos are inside the house, they continue with their medleys. Please know that you do not need to be a singer, take part in any choir, or be a soprano to sing in a parranda. There are always a few talented singers that take lead. But it’s just an event to bring joy to others and have fun together. So no voice is too sharp, soft, or squeaky here. Although that’s not the case in the video. They all seem to know their notes.

Singing, Eating, and Drinking!

Anyway, while the parranderos delight the homeowners with their cheerful songs, the homeowners whisk out their stash of alcoholic drinks. Anything goes — whiskey, rum, wine, tequila, beer, pitorro (Puerto Rican moonshine), coquito (Puerto Rican Christmas drink) — whatever is available is perfectly fine. They also dish out some hors d’oeuvres. Sometimes there’s cooking involved — especially shrimp or chicken asopao’ (soup) or even Puerto Rican pasteles!

So Then What?

After a couple of hours of singing, drinking, and eating, it is time to go. But it doesn’t end there. Traditionally, the homeowner joins the parranderos and choose the next family or friend to visit. It continues this way throughout the night. What might have begun with six parranderos would sometimes end up being a group of 20 or more. And there was never a set time to stop.

Even Til the Break of Dawn

As a child, I remember a parranda that arrived around 4:30 a.m. Of course, my parents received them. It was such great fun that I recall the sun was already out by the time they left at about 6:00 a.m. I laugh now when I remember how my Mom made sure the house was spotless before we went to sleep Friday and Saturday nights for those 8–9 weeks (late November to mid-January) of the year. “You never know, there might be a parranda coming tonight,” she would say. And you always needed to make sure you had plenty of food supply and alcohol “just in case.”

Those Were Some Great Times

We partook in a fair share of these parrandas ourselves. Heck, I was a guitar player in my teen years, so definitely one of the leads — not a brilliant singer but a guitar player indeed. Those were some fun times. Ah yes, this video brought back many memories. Unfortunately, I hear the tradition is dwindling. But it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy the video below. WEEEEPA!

Courtesy of Felix Jose Colon – Video by Zoom Studio

What Christmas tradition does your country have? Have you been to a parranda before? Share your thoughts.


SHOLDIT Convertible Infinity Scarf with Pocket

How Aromatic Candles can Set the Mood for Whatever You Want

Photo by thevibrantmachine from Pexels

No Candles at Home

I recently began using scented candles in my home. I stopped using these about 15 years ago because my husband could not stand the scented candles. He claimed these scents triggered migraine headaches. Of course, I did not want my husband to suffer through these horrific headaches, so I opted to not use them anymore. But, while at the Farmer and Artisan’s Marketplace in Kissimmee, Florida, I came across a kiosk of locally hand-poured candles by the name of Vista Candle Co. Since I no longer bought scented candles, I thought it’d be nice to just take a whiff of the aromatic candles.

Vista Candle Co. banner — photo by author

A Female Owned Local Company

Vista Candle Co. is a home-based, local company in Orlando, Florida, owned and operated by a young, female healthcare worker. As a healthcare worker and lover of candles, she ventured out to create something that would help her destress after work during the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly realized that, just as candles help her relax and decompress after a long stressful day at work, it can also help others. Hence her creation took form. She created these candles with a soy and paraffin blend, high-quality essential oils, and uses a wood wick for the smaller ones.

Elegant Kiosk with Varied Scents

As we approached the kiosk, a lovely young couple greeted us. Their setup was simple but elegant and displayed the tin candles, glass candles, and some wax melts. There were also some open scent samplers for visitors to try. Did you know that after sniffing aromas you can sniff coffee beans to cleanse your nasal palate? I did not know that was a thing until I saw the coffee beans at the kiosk. Curiosity got to me. I asked the young lady about the beans and she explained that after smelling a few candle samples, you might suffer temporary olfactory fatigue. If you take a sniff of the coffee beans, you can continue sniffing candles without missing out on their irresistible aromas. Why had I not heard of that before?

Kiosk at Farmers and Artisan’s Market — photo by author

I Am Buying Candles!

While I explored the aromatic scents, I noticed that my husband was doing the same. I reminded him of his experience with scented candles. He responded, “I like these scents.” No need to tell me twice. I grabbed three — Palo Santo+Sage, White Sage+Lavender, and Pumpkin Chai. At home, I use the Palo Santo+Sage and White Sage+Lavender while meditating. The candle aroma eases me into a deep meditation, making the experience more vivid and relaxing. And the Pumpkin Chai burns during the day, which takes me back to days of family gatherings and Thanksgiving.

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Easy Christmas Shopping For Me!

After trying them at home, I thought they would make splendid gifts and have since ordered more online. The ones I ordered are Cozy Flannel, White Birch, Hansel & Gretel, and Christmas Hearth. I think I might add some other scents for Christmas gifts and myself. Aromatic candles are perfect for setting the mood for any event or relaxing and make wonderful gifts for any occasion. After all, who doesn’t like scented candles?

Much Success to this Company

I admire the creativity and determination of this young woman to venture out and create a company amidst the global pandemic. This approach alone was one reason I continue to purchase candles from this company, along with the fact that it’s a young, female healthcare worker entrepreneur. I wish her success in this endeavor. Thank you Vista Candle Co. for your amazing product.


Being Grateful For Life Today to Celebrate a Birthday Tomorrow

Begin to look within, which starts by being grateful that you are alive today and maybe you will be able to celebrate another birthday.” ~ Debbie Centeno

Photography courtesy of Juan Pablo Arenas

Our Expectations

A few years ago, on September 8, I attended two events. The first one during the day was a memorial service/celebration of life. The second one during the evening was a birthday celebration. I’m sure you probably think the memorial service was an older person, while the birthday was for a younger one. That’s okay because it is natural to feel this way.

But let me clarify. The memorial service/celebration of life was for a 12-year-old child. A sweet boy who didn’t have a chance at living a normal life because of a devastating condition he suffered. A child that we all expect to run around, play sports, enjoy the many activities and attractions for children. To grow into a young man, fulfill his childhood dreams, become a good citizen and have a family of his own.

The birthday party we attended was for a 70-year-old woman.  She is a healthy person who raised three exceptional children. They surprised her with a birthday celebration, with Mariachis and all. A very well deserved celebration for a fine lady. Even though there have been some struggles, as we all have struggled in our lives, but it’s a blessing for her to reach the age of 70.  I wish her many more years of health and happiness. So, what’s your point?—you might ask.

See the Irony?

As I mentioned above, some might imagine an elderly’s memorial service; it’s just natural. From a very young age, we learn that when we grow old, we will die. We don’t think about dying at a young age—especially being a child. We are not mentally prepared to even contemplate a child dying. So it always comes as a shock. However, when it’s an adult person, especially the elderly, it seems okay.

Never Take Life for Granted

We are here today and don’t know about tomorrow. We should be grateful for all we have. I have heard so many times how people complain about not having enough money; not having the latest fashion; not having the new technological gadget they so much want; how someone made them lose their temper, and so on. Every day I hear more complaints than gratefulness.

I’m not talking about my family environment; I’m talking about anywhere and everywhere. If you turn on the news, it’s 95% bad (and I think I’m modest here); the same goes for social media. While driving to work in the morning, I see it on the streets. People in a rush to get to their destiny, some blocking others from going into their lane. Others are driving too close to vehicles in a menacing way. Then there are the ones we interact with daily either while shopping, eating out, work and even socializing! Do they realize they have another day to live? Maybe they should take one-minute a day to be grateful for the gift of life. This action will emanate positive energy into the world, which will bring positive things into their lives.

My Point Is

We must focus on living the life given with gratefulness, thus enjoying what time we have on Earth. Everyone has struggled. There are good times and bad times. Learn to look for the good in the critical moments and life will be more enjoyable. Some might think, “Well, you haven’t gone through any struggles!” My response? Yes, I have. Just like any other human, I’ve struggled. My biggest heartbreak was the loss of my oldest son. But I did not let it define me. I learned how fragile life is, and I learned to be grateful. I learned to take a negative situation and turn it around by looking for the positive in it, thus making me a happier person.

Happiness Begins Within Ourselves

I urge you to reflect on this and make a better life for yourself. Happiness begins within ourselves. No one can make us happy. Look within, which starts by being grateful that you are alive today and maybe you will celebrate another birthday.

Many blessings to all, may you live a long, healthy, and abundant life.


Diary of A Grieving Mother’s Heart

by Debbie Centeno

Ten years of journaling my grief, anger, sadness, and joys now available in Kindle version and paperback on Amazon. (Based on a true story)

True story of how cbd oil helps ease the pain

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Who Am I?

I am a woman in my 50s who never did drugs or smoked a cigarette. I was one of those that thought marijuana was harmful and did not condone its use. The same goes for CBD oil, which I thought was just as bad. That was until I went through an experience that has changed my mind. And, if I can help someone else feel better while healing, then it’s worth it.

My Story

A little over two years ago, I underwent a partial knee replacement surgery. The surgery was a success. For the pain, the doctor gave me a prescription for painkillers (opioids). I began taking the painkiller every 3–4 hours as instructed and they worked. But, when the doctor said he would not allow me to drive until I went off the prescribed medication, I knew I had to endure the pain somehow. That night, I decided I would not take the pill; but I could not sleep because of the pain. I was considering taking it when I realized this is how addiction begins! I wasn’t about to go towards that route so I got up and took couple acetaminophen. It didn’t work, but I continued it for a few days. I switched to ibuprofen and nope, that didn’t work either.

Seeing me in constant pain and little to no relief, my son brought me CBD Oil and explained the benefits to me. He was not convincing me. In fact, it bothered me he would think I was going to take such a thing.

“Are you crazy? I am NOT taking that!” I responded.

His insistence on how it will help me without the highs or lows, or whatever happens when consuming drugs, made me think about it. With no remedy in sight other than returning to the addictive painkiller, and needing to get back to work, I reluctantly tried it. Before trying it, I did my research on it.

I Began Researching

According to what I read, CBD Oil does NOT contain the ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is what causes the “high” effect. CBD Oil helps to reduce pain and inflammation. I read article after article, with most of them talking about the positive results and little to no side effects. After researching and reading, I tried it. Still, with skepticism, I took less than the dose recommended before I went to sleep.

Undeniable Difference

It was the first night, after stopping the painkiller, in which I did not wake up every three hours to take another dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The next day I was fine until around 10 a.m. — about 12 hours after taking the CBD Oil. I took another dose of CBD Oil. The second night I increased the dose to the recommended. Thereafter, I only took one dose before going to sleep. I went from taking painkillers every three hours to taking one a day!

It was funny to hear the doctor ask me if I needed another prescription for painkillers at my follow-up appointment. When I responded that I did not, he asked, “Are you sure?” It surprised him to hear that I rarely took the painkiller, but I never told him why. I was no longer in pain after about a month of my surgery, therefore, I stopped taking the CBD Oil.

SHOLDIT Convertible Infinity Scarf with Pocket

And There Was More

But it didn’t stop there. I was also experiencing ankle pain on the same leg. At first, I blamed it on the surgery. I just had surgery on that leg so it was normal for my ankle swelling. It made sense, right? Well, it turns out that it was not related. Unbeknownst to me of how it happened, I had two torn tendons. While taking the CBD Oil, I didn’t feel the pain but as soon as I stopped taking it the pain returned in my ankle area. When I did my follow-up visit to the doctor, he gave me another prescription for a painkiller, a CAM boot for 6-weeks followed by physical therapy. I didn’t fill the painkiller prescription. I was so happy with the results of my knee after taking the CBD Oil that I preferred to take the oil instead.

To Share or Not to Share

Other than my immediate family, I didn’t tell anyone what I was taking until one day I came across an old friend. While catching up, he mentioned his wife had a real hard time with fibromyalgia. He said that most days she could not get out of bed and was suffering from severe pain. I debated whether to tell him about my experience with the CBD oil, but gave it a shot. I explained to him how it had helped me. He asked for information on how to get it so he could pass it on to his wife.

About two months after that encounter I saw him again and the first thing he did was give me a hug and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I asked, “For what?” He explained that his wife took the oil.

“My wife is feeling so much better. She is back at work and happier than ever,” he said.

I also shared the info with a co-worker whom I’ll call Mary. Mary was suffering from fibromyalgia. I’m happy to report that she got back to me with splendid news. She tried it and it’s working. Mary also saw positive results allowing her to sleep without pain.

Sharing Is the Right Thing to do

Even though it was the CBD Oil that helped them both, not me, I am so happy I shared this information with them. I vowed to share my experience with whoever I knew was suffering from an illness and needed a natural remedy. It is not something you can share with everybody. Not everyone has an open mind and may still consider it illegal.

Like I said in the beginning, I’m a woman in my 50s. I can assure you and anybody that knows me can affirm that I am not a drug addict. I cannot vouch for how others have felt using it or their side effects. However, I will continue promoting CBD Oil because I am living proof that it does work and no one should live in pain!