Tag Archives: STL

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Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

BEING A TOURIST IN MY OWN CITY

One of my favorite places in St. Louis is the Cathedral Basilica of Lindell in the Central West End. There’s something about huge, beautiful Catholic churches that leave me in awe and breathless. It has something to do with the dedication and grandeur of it all; can you believe that people built this huge, beautiful church as a house for God? It’s really special and crazy all rolled into one.

I grew up in the Catholic faith, and so I’ve always been drawn to these types of churches. I’m no longer a “real” practicing Catholic, although, we do attend Mass every now and then. These days I focus on Spiritualism, rather than the teachings of Catholicism. I still believe in God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Angels, and Saints, but I have hard time dealing with some Catholic views, teachings & rules. I do believe that many of the teachings cross over, it’s just in a different language. But I think it’s safe to say that we should be kind to one another, be of service, and to love. I try to merge it all together and just show up in a good, positive, helpful, nonjudgemental, compassionate way; with the help of my God, spirit & angels of course! So, in a way I have created my own thing, and I consider myself a spiritualist. It works and I’m totally a-ok with it. For years I was not.

Anyway, I digress. I do find this building quite lovely and peaceful. It’s a wonderful space to feel love and to spend some quiet time reflecting. I could probably spend hours here. I often think of it as a hidden gem. Do many people come here to visit from out of town? They should. What spots do like to go to when you are in STL?IMG_1294 IMG_1292 IMG_1295 IMG_1296 IMG_1297 IMG_1299 IMG_1291 IMG_1302

 

REPOST- A Veteran’s Letter

Original post found here and reposted below.

THIS VETERAN’S DAY, I FEEL LIKE AN ONLY CHILD

First and foremost I want to say thank you to all those who have served and continue to serve our country. My dad was in the Air Force, so most of my childhood was spent living on a military base. My ex, who is my kiddos dad, is a Navy Seabee, and because of our marriage I had the privilege of traveling and meeting many fabulous mil-spouses. I also have two brothers who are Army Veterans. My brother Ryan was Army Infantry and spent several tours defending our country and freedom. So a big thank you to my family and all those I call my family & friends.

However, I won’t say Happy Veteran’s Day, because I know for many being a veteran also carries many wounds, scars, and injustices. Unfortunately, our family has experienced this first hand.

The VA system has shown time and time again on how they have failed our service members when they become a civilian. Type in “veteran injustice” into Google and a host of articles pop up. I’m sure there are some who get the treatment they deserve, but I very rarely hear of those stories.

This is my brother Ryan.

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Ryan has been screwed over big time by the VA program and Veteran’s Court.

He is currently serving a 4 year sentence for a charge that, if he had gone through the regular FL justice system, would have only been 9 months. His new sentence is now 2 years in PRISON and 2 years probation. We strongly believe he got this because he is being made an example of, by speaking up & voicing his thoughts on the program and the unfairness in not being able to attend our brother’s funeral. He was in the correctional facility for violation of probation (which was not attending VA counseling & not taking meds) when my brother Adrian passed, and our family (and many friends we learned…THANK YOU) tried to get him a furlough for the funeral. We were denied. Two facts: 1- the lady basically yelled at my mom saying that the judge denied the petition and then hung up on her; and 2- another guy was given furlough the same week we asked for one. This guy had a violent charge of waving a gun in a nightclub, and he was let out to sign paperwork and pay a bill!! For the record, my brother’s original charge is illegal possession of controlled substance under 1/2 gram.

I have currently been receiving letters from him and writing on his behalf while he is in; and in his own words, “I was sentenced to almost 6 times the normal punishment for my crime, 4 times the state recommendation, and 2 times the state maximum, all because I am a Veteran. I was sentenced by a judge who is an Army Veteran himself and a wounded warrior, as well as a Brigadier General. I was a participant in a new program called Veterans Court, which was started by this Judge, and because of my inability to complete the program I was judged more harshly than a regular citizen would have been in a regular courtroom.” He writes that he was “promised help instead of punishment but received punishment instead of help.” He writes to me so I can put his thoughts on a blog, and in hopes that he can bring to light the major problems with the program, so that another Veteran does not have to fall subject to the injustices that he has had.

We thought he would have been out by now. Most of the guys who he was with in the correctional facility, and who had a similar charge, have actually gotten out already. Other men with harsher chargers and more serious crimes even have shorter sentences. In fact, there is a guy my brother met who is in for forcing his nephew to give him a blow job. I know, disgusting right? So how is he almost out and my brother is now transferred to a prison serving a longer sentence? Injustice.

So, while I thank our Veterans for their service, I do not forget that some service members need more than our thanks. They need us to advocate for them, because I’m sick and tired of hearing of our vets not getting the benefits they deserve. I’m tired of hearing of how they die waiting to get an appointment into a VA medical clinic. I’m tired of hearing of how they cannot get the help they need for PTSD (so true in Ryan’s case.) I’m tired of seeing them living on the streets and being treated like scum. I’m so sick and tired of the injustice…everywhere. We have to do better.

*For the record, and as a side note- my brother, nor I, disregard the fact that he committed a crime. There is no excuse for what he did. However, the sentence does not fit the crime. We thought this judge would understand that, having been in my brother’s shoes once. PTSD is a serious matter. Locking these guys up doesn’t always help.*

Welcome 2015!

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It is the start of a new year and naturally I want to kick things off on the right foot and create new habits, find the passion to continue some forgotten habits that were good for my body and soul, but most importantly, get rid of bad ones.
I definitely will blog more this year. I will! Looking forward to 2015 and can’t wait to see what is on store. What are your new year resolutions?

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Deactivation, Incomplete

My attempt at deactivating my Facebook account has failed. I guess it’s not really a total failure, and also it is a successful deactivation. I haven’t been on there in a week! A whole week without Facebook… Man, it’s great. I don’t miss it. In fact, I enjoy not feeling that pull to long in. That need to scroll through my newsfeed and waste precious time. I now have time to get important things done. I now have time on the computer to really concentrate on work, homework, and blogging! I now have time for my new job. I am an intern at The Fabulous Fox theatre here in St. Louis. I started yesterday, and it feels great. Super excited for this change. I’m a marketing intern, which means doing several things that involve social media. Yup, which means I need to be on Facebook! Ahhh… Oh well. Perhaps I can create an alias Facebook account and operate under that? That seems silly. Maybe I could just unfollow everyone’s feed, stop it from poppin in and screwing with my precious time. Distraction… I despise you!
Or MAYBE, I could be the adult I am and have some willpower. Don’t go on Facebook. Limit my time to talking to my family, etc. can it really be done? I guess we will find out!
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Exploration Mode

I love that I am a creative individual. Being a creative individual also means I have many thoughts that float through my head. Many people are often turned off by this. They see it as a turn-off. They don’t think I am reliable or committed. But that is hardly true. Do I not follow through a lot of the time…eh… yeah. I know today I have started at least 4 projects. I’m blogging though, so that’s two thumbs up! I can commit. I can. I’ve committed to going back to school and starting a new chapter professionally. Read about it here. My manifesto. I’m committing to things I love. I’m committing to me and my family. I am in exploration mode and I love it. I love it because I feel a sense of calm. Amidst all my crazy ideas. I feel I am finding a way to honor all my values and center myself. While in exploration mode I have encountered many fears. The main one being ‘what do people think?’ Some have said that they don’t see this fear in me. Those of you who I have shared many intimate conversations with and those of you who I can wholeheartedly call a friend would know otherwise. FEAR This is true regarding every aspect of my life. Mainly my creative ones. Blogging, singing, cooking, making videos, etc… Always a little voice saying what do they think? Are you good enough? Who are you to event attempt to do this? What makes you think you have anything important to say? You know what? Today and from this this day on…who cares. Your thoughts may be valid and they may be true to you, but they don’t make me any less of a person. I’m going to post this blog. It may be badly written, but who cares. I’m going to post a video of me singing. I may not be in tune, might not be in the moment feeling it, or I might be holding out notes too long, but who cares. I’m going to post a recipe I love and you might not like it, but who cares. I’m going to make a video of whatever I feel like making. It might not be edited professionally or have the best sound, but who cares. I’m creative! I can explore that however I want to. That I do care about. 20140812-112817-41297822.jpg