Well, I passed(!)

I went early today and made up everything I’d missed last night and the night before. I was still definitely sick and under recovery, but I had to go, so I went.

It took a lot out of me just to hold up my hands, let alone do the self-defense techniques, and multiple times in a row. We usually yell on the last strike, and it felt really odd not doing that today (saving my throat from torture, you see, and helping me to keep breathing as a whole – even a deep breath would send me into a fit of intense and slightly scary coughing).

After that, people started showing up for the fight night. We each sparred 16 people for 90 seconds on ongoing sparring each. The ongoing part means that we have no break during those 90 seconds – the clock doesn’t stop, and neither do we.

It was tough, especially being so short of breath and low on energy to start the whole thing. But I made it through, and decently well. I even received several call-outs on having done a great job sparring, which was quite unique and cool. I don’t typically have a bunch of people watching me spar… nor do I have them watching me spar for 16 rounds…

For our last round of 90 seconds, when we are at our end of energy and have our last effort to give, we are meant to spar the person who has been the most influential for us in our karate career. Now, that can be interpreted in various ways, though most people choose their main instructor for this last match. Not all, but most.

When I thought about this, I wasn’t sure whom to request. It went weeks without my knowing what to say or do about it. Eventually, when we were discussing my predicament, my instructor asked whom I wanted for that match, “If you could have anyone, who[m] would you pick?”

Instantly, I knew. “Sam C—,” I said. She smiled sadly, and understood why I had had so much trouble. The most influential person on my karate career had been my original instructor, when I was in the junior division. His classes were the whole reason I returned to the organization years later as an adult, as opposed to going to some other form of self-defense or fighting training.

He also passed away a handful of years ago, and I had only learned of this fact when I re-started karate a few years back.

My current instructor had only joined the organization after his death, and had not known him personally, though she had, apparently, learned much of him. He was a spectacular teacher and coach. And he was terrifying, in a sense – you were going to do as he said, and without hesitation – yet it was clear that he loved and cared about his students. I never consciously thought, He loves me, or anything like that. But, if I had been asked, I would have been able to say with full confidence that he loved me. The best teachers usually do love their students – that’s a big part of why they are such good teachers. They truly are here and teaching for us, and for our success.

Anyway, all that to say it really didn’t work to have the person I truly wanted for my final fight.

So, I thought again. Who else had been in similar standing with Mr. C— for me in karate? Well, that answer was clear, too, once I asked the question: my mom.

She’s the whole reason I started as a kid, and her having become a brown belt was the main reason I had ever wanted to become one. Granted, I had now surpassed her rank of brown belt, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that it was all through her that any of this was possible and actually happened in my life.

After weeks of allowing her space to ‘think about it,’ she finally agreed fully this morning. I had had a feeling that she would do it in the end, though she had declined my original invitation to join just as one of the 16 over a month ago. She understood why I was asking her now, as well as the importance and significance of it. And she also appreciated that I would be exhausted by the end of all the sparring, and so necessarily would ‘go easy’ on her. That definitely helped. And the fact that I’m recovering from a sinus infection, and so literally couldn’t breathe as well or move as well as usual. So, she messaged this morning for details about tonight, and I was ecstatic and grateful. She even had to borrow sparring gear for her hands, head, and shins, because I had commandeered her head and hand gear for myself a couple years back – naturally, my child-sized gear didn’t work so well for me anymore. But my foot gear and shin guards did. (I guess she missed her shin guards when she was looking.) But she borrowed the gear and pulled out her old uniform and t-shirt and all, and she showed up.

As soon as we started our match, I instantly began to cry with emotion, of course. Should have seen that one coming, I know, but I hadn’t. Haha

Our match was actually quite fun and a real match, which made it all the better. It was a great closer for the evening and the week and the whole candidacy season.

Afterward, we all retired our brown belts, and we were all granted our black-belts-in-waiting belts, which are brown belts with a black stripe through their length. Everyone else had their main teacher/parent – because multiples have parents who are black belts and teachers – accept the brown belt, hold it up, and pull it taught into its final tie/knot, officially retiring the belt. My mom got to do mine. She had already taken off her top and her belt, so no one likely even noticed that she wasn’t a black belt. We both thought it was silly that she was ‘sneaking in’, but it was also really cool. And it was perfect that she’d taken off her top and belt already, and was just in the old black shirt for our school under Mr. C—. It was perfecto.

Then we were given our eight-day belts, and it was sobs all over the place. Our main instructor started it, just to be clear. Haha

Okay, I must sleep now. So, final thing: Our final scores were calculated before the sparring began, and announced at the end of the sparring. The scores were based on our physical fitness tests, our kata performance, our self-defense skills, and our written test on history and rules of judging and sparring and teaching. The total was several hundred points all together. She announced our grades a percentages. And mine was the highest, with 98%. That was quite cool.

Also, my mom and my man came tonight and watched me the whole time. That was awesome, too. I am very grateful that both made it.

Thank you, God, for this blessing and this success I have had. Please, continue to heal me, and heal my body rapidly, please. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2023

It’s Friday night…

And I juust-juust-juuust-juuust-juuuuuuuust Got Paid!

Anyone recognize that early 2000s jam right there? It occurred to me on my way home this afternoon after school that it was the last day of the month – thus my reason for taking the scooter to get its state inspection at the time – and so 1)October starts tomorrow(!!) and 2)I must have gotten paid today. And then it hit me that today is also Friday… and then the song hit big time with great haste.

After I got home, when my man was with me and almost finished with his own work for the day – he works remotely – I just had to play the song. So, I blasted it as a surprise for him. It was wonderful and ridiculous and stupid and genius all at once.

Thank you, God, for such a silly and amazing time. Amen.

Then, when he finished working, we goofed off a bit before heading to the driving range. My mom and stepdad then stopped by the range to give us some petit fours from Louisiana, where they had just taken a small vacation, and some October Louisiana beers for us and my brother and sister-in-law. We chatted for a while and it was awesome.

But he time they finally left, the sun was getting close to setting, and my brother was finishing at his event for school, and so he came and joined us at the range and even hit some balls with us. Then he and my man enjoyed two of those not-cold beers from my mom as we all just hung out after the balls were all used up, and we waited for a table at the wings restaurant we had planned to visit for dinner. (We had checked in online, and the wait was over an hour still.)

After a while, we gave up watching the poor tactics of the ball carts, and headed to use our coupons for free wings that we had gotten at the Astros game for a player having stolen a base. And we had a grand ole time at the restaurant, being idiots as usual.

The whole evening was just really awesome tonight, and I am immensely grateful. Thank you, God, for such fun and fellowship and love. Thank you. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Happy Birthday

Today was my mom’s birthday. For whatever reason, as we went to get her a plant and flowers, this song popped into my head from a cassette we’d had for my oldest brother – clearly something my mom had bought for him in the late 80s.

Hey, Michael!
It’s your birthday!
I’m in charge of the stars
and I’m here to say,
“Hey, Michael!
You’re the big star today!”

Obviously, my mother is not named Michael. However, since it was stuck in my head already, and she’s the one who’s bought Michael that tape in the first place, I felt it was appropriate. I sang the song to her for her birthday. And no, I didn’t even change the name. ;P
Happy Birthday, Mommy!! Love you!!
Post-a-day 2022


Tonight, we attended a performance by the wonderful, fun musical group America. They were friends as teenagers living in England way back when their parents were stationed there in the military, I believe in the 1970s. They opened for Pink Floyd when they were 18, and have been going strongly ever since, doing roughly 100+ concerts yearly for 52 years.

As the different songs came on, seeing my mom was one of the coolest parts of the night. “Gah, I feel like I’m 15..,” was what she said early on when a particular song played that had often played at her school dances back in high school. On one, when it started, she said something like, ‘Oh, this one is s total make-out song,’ referencing how all the kids would get together for this song at dances. It was really fun, but also informative – it was great getting to see this history of my mom, as well as enjoy it all with her myself.

Thank you, God, and thank you, America, for such a wonderful night! In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022

Bluebonnets, Baby

Today, we drove out to a small town northwest of Houston in search of bluebonnets. We stopped at a large gas station for a bathroom break after about SJ hour, then turned off on a local road and headed away from the highway. Within minutes, we found a lovely spot along the side of the road, and hopped out for some family portrait fun. And, truly, it was a lot of fun.

My friend and I both loved the photos I’d gotten of them, dog solos included, as well as the few photos she’d snapped of me with the baby – they were gorgeous and adorable photos. And I ended up looking like both a goddess and a mom, which was new and, in its lack of surprise, surprising – it just looked natural and right…, which was awesomely bizarre.

When we first hopped out of the car to get things started

Thank you, God, for that unexpected blessing, and for the wonderful ‘family time’ we had today. In your name, I pray with gratitude. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022


My mom aske me the name of my friend’s most recent child today. I had no idea, but imagined it would be names from the bible, and so I said the first two male Bible names that came to mind, adding that it was something Catholic like that, though I was truly only guessing all of it.

After a brief pause, my mom says, ‘Wait… but isn’t it [first name in Spanish] [second name in Spanish]?’

My eyes merely widened. ‘Seriously???’ I wanted to know. Was my mom really remembering correctly? And had I just pulled two names out of nowhere that were the right names, just in English instead of Spanish? Then my mom adds that it might actually just be the first name in Spanish and the second in English (as the second isn’t spelled any differently in Spanish versus English, but merely pronounced differently).

So, I looked it up on Facebook. I had sent my mom the original post about the baby’s birth, and that was the only time she or I had seen his names, anyway. I kid you not, it was exactly as my mom had guessed, and as I had thrown out randomly. The names were right, just that the first was the Spanish version of itself. My mom nailed it, and I was blown away.

Totally cool yet still bizarre, right? I had completely forgotten everything about that kid’s name in my conscious mind, but my subconscious had held onto it somehow – way cool!

Post-a-day 2022

P.S. N, if you’re reading this, yes, this was about your son. ;P

Saturday sickness

Man, my body is tired of menstruation… not having my supplements this time, leading up to my period, I mean, has been a real hassle. I spent most of the day sick today – exhaustion and weakness with slight elevation in temperature in the afternoon (I talk about this like I’m a weather report…). I felt roughly dreadful ever since my shower after the workout this morning. I went back to bed just for a nap, woke up after an hour, needing to potty and adjust the air to cooler, and then fell asleep hard for another three hours. I woke up hot and panicked, knowing it was later than it was supposed to be.

My mom didn’t mind too much, though. She still enjoyed the rodeo on her own, then left early, as it was incredibly crowded (as expected) by later afternoon, and brought me some soup. She just happened to have made some soup yesterday, and to have brought a bunch with her in thermoses to the rodeo, but not drunk them yet. It was just what I had needed, that soup. And it got me outside for a few minutes when I went to get it in the driveway and talk with my mom briefly.

I’m feeling much better now, but still not tops. Hopefully, I will improve throughout the night… though, it will be tough having to get up as often as it looks like I’ll have to do to use the bathroom (due to menstruation, not the potentially-menstruation-induced illness)… only tomorrow will tell.

At that, I bid you all a wonderful and rest-filled night! God, please, bless us all with your love in a new way tonight, that we better fulfill your will tomorrow. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Post-a-day 2022


Today’s quote of the day? Courtesy of my mother: “Yeah, well, he snozed*, so he loze*…,” followed by and filled with intense laughter from the both of us. (*Rhyming with ‘hosed’ and ‘nose’)

Obviously, she had full intentions of using real words. However, her somewhat passive effort to switch the sentence to a past tense clearly failed, thus her quite literally choking on her own words (through laughter) halfway through the sentence. We could barely breathe, let alone talk, we were laughing so hard. It was glorious.

Post-a-day 2022

(Ugh, totally missed still)

Rose Girls in Glass Vases

It was successful, by the way, the gift. When I presented it to him, he didn’t fully understand. It just looked like an odd, artsy, plant-y presentation of a rose-shaped folded piece of fabric. After the distractions of other sudden comments and conversations from passers-by departed, he finally continued opening up the rose-folded fabric… One guy commented enthusiastically, “It’s a scarf!” at which point I realized that no one had any idea what it actually was yet, and he needed to unfold it all the way. Finally, he got there, and he discovered that it was a Hawaiian shirt! And it was a very nice and pretty and purple Hawaiian shirt. He was delighted, huge smile and hug and everything. He showed it almost immediately to his friends, and they went wild, cheering. As I had said, he’d needed a Hawaiian shirt. 😛 Even though he enjoyed it greatly, he commented at one point that he thought his friends might be even more excited about it than he was – a major compliment on the present. I was thrilled and grateful that it had played out so well. My mom had done the folding and presentation setup of the shirt, cutting palm fronds and leafy, green things, and picking up moss clumps to put it all together in a beautiful presentation, like a fancy flower on display in a box. (Naturally, I never got a photo of it in good lighting, because I was so excited about gifting it…, but it is what it is, so here is the poorly lit photo I have of the “flower”.)

A rose, by any other name, might be a Hawaiian shirt…

Separately, my mom and I went to an Islamic Art Festival today. It was filled with luminous, beautiful, heart-filled art. So much heart and light and love all around that room today. I am grateful to have been able just to be present with it all. I am further grateful for the fact that just a tiny bit of it came home with me this evening, thanks to my mom.

However, there was one piece that caught my eye early on in the day: a medium-large, mostly white painting. (I know, a white canvas sounds impressive, but it absolutely was…) It had some gold foiling on it, but looked like an otherwise white , slightly textured painting (almost oil-like with the depth and textures), with script shaped to look a bit like a whirling dervish, a Sufi. I wanted to know what it said. But mostly so that I could be clear that it had been calling to me in particular…, because it felt for the first time in my life that I wanted to – **snoot-snoot** – ‘purchase an art piece for our personal home collection’. I know it may seem to be odd wording there, but that was what it was. Like the Sophie Kinsella book “Remember Me?”, how they collected art for their fancy “loft-style living” penthouse, I wanted to start my own real collection of art today. (**Note: In the book, she had gone from having missed a bonus by a one-week hire date at her new, low-paying job to, after a car accident and resulting amnesia, being five years older, married, in a high-paying leadership job at the company, driving a Mercedes, and living in an extremely posh penthouse in London along the Thames. So, the lifestyle was absolutely foreign to her, and their art collection had particularly blown her mind simply as a concept, let alone what the art pieces were and how much they had cost [loads and loads, obviously]. Her commentary upon discovering everything in her ‘new’ wealthy life and lifestyle was comical and relatable, and her story was quite inspiring in terms of pursuing lofty dreams in life… like having a posh art collection in ‘loft-style living’. Hashtag real-life goals, right?… Anyway, moving on…)

When we returned later to speak with the artist – she hadn’t yet arrived to the festival for the day when we first were there -, I began crying during her explanation of the words on the piece and why she had done what she had for it. I couldn’t explain myself except that I was overwhelmed, literally overflowing with water. And I couldn’t seem to stop for a while. The words she was sharing through that piece were exactly what have been my guiding light lately in life, it was no wonder I was so drawn to the piece. I hadn’t even noticed initially that they were words, the energy of it was so loud and so truly in line with where I am presently moving in life.

She could tell it was positive crying, I believe. The piece itself she had set for $500, with all of the proceeds going to a charity she likes and supports. The latter part was impressive in and of itself (including what the wonderful charity does), making me want to support the artist all the more (and, of course, making me cry a bit more in gratitude for the wonderful, heart-filled good that people are still pursuing and doing in this beautiful life). The former set the piece where I believed it belonged, in a ‘true art piece’ category. She went on to tell me that she would be more than happy to work with us… on other offers of price, or, even, on a print of the piece – she’d gladly work with us on any of the options, as she wants the piece to go somewhere where it will be loved and appreciated and wanted.

So, we have all of her information, and I will be discerning over the next several hours and couple days, and I will reach out to her to let her know where I stand with everything, likely tomorrow or Tuesday. My mom said to me that this was a perfect example of where she would love to be in a life where such a purchase could be an easy, “Yes,” and a, “And here’s another $500 to go with it.” But we don’t live that kind of life. Not right now, anyway. And that is perfect for right now. Regarding what to do about the piece, I would love to have it in my home for the rest of my life. And that is a lot of money for me at present. Sure, I may have money in the bank, but, until I have reliable higher income, that money is there to keep me functioning (safely and reliably and without mental stress) in life with food and housing and transportation, etc.

I want to honor the piece for what it is. And I must honor my current financial state, and trust that God will guide me appropriately forward.

When I saw the piece, when it reached out and called me initially, my experience, though I hadn’t had the words at the time, was one of slight paralysis as the idea settled within me that, ‘I want to see that every day of my life.’ I believe fully that we are exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there. And we are given exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. This piece and this wonderful artist and woman showed up today on purpose – we all fulfilled needs all around. This discernment is here for me necessarily, and right now. God, please guide me clearly forward with this art piece. I trust in you wholly. Amen.

Post-a-day 2021