This was the border at Acuña/Del Rio this morning when I crossed. The Border Patrol officer asked me the same questions that they all ask everyday-Where are you coming from,where are you going,what state is your plate from,what are you doing in Mexico,are you going back to Georgia, what´s in your trunk,can you open it please? Not necessarily in that order or all the above,but pretty nearly true to the script.
Do I answer all of them-no. Do I open my trunk so they can get a whiff of our dirty laundry? Yeah! I mean why not just ask me where the dope is hidden and how many undocumented I have hiding in the trunk and under the chassis? I have too grin and bear it! Perhaps I should try to smuggle in a load of tacos ,assorted kinds of course.Chicharron,asada,barbacoa,pastor,to name a few! The dogs would go crazy!!
Yes,I go across to do my wash and shop for things like Parmesan cheese,real donuts,and other assorted goodies we can´t get in Mexico.I keep an address in Texas so I can work(if I ever find any in the podunk town of Del Rio) and make my car payment. I buy my gas en el otro lado,the US. I bring back Churches and Burger King for Miguel. I´m grateful that we are on the border,but I miss Salamanca ,Guanajuato because I love the centro and the tianguis,all the old churches and our old neighborhood,even the rancho that Miguel grew up on.
It´s not so hard on me because I know I can go to Atlanta anytime I want or need too. Or anywhere in the states for that matter. Its different for many of my ¨sisters¨South of the Border¨ tho. They live in places where it is difficult to get the goodies we on the border can easily purchase. They are raising their children far from family and what they are used too.Some of them have health issues and their husbands are struggling with displacement as well after having lived and worked in the states that have become their home.
But wherever we are ,we make the best of it. We face each day with hope and strength and joy. We learn and thrive. I am so very thankful for these other women who are my sisters in deportation! We share our knowledge,experiences and wisdom; our joys, and heartaches.We pray for each other and lend our shoulders to cry on,and reach out to support each other.
So as I head back across I just hope the wait on the bridge isn´t so long.But if it is,Iĺl have my book,my Cheetos,and a Diet Dr.Pepper to make the wait pleasant. Ill get my pesos out to get something for dinner tonight.Yes dinner will be from the southside this time. And all the time thank my Father for all He has blessed me with!
If it were up to me, Miguel would be here and we would be enjoying our family together in Atlanta.Obviously that is not what our Father has for us at this time. I choose to accept this with faith and a spirit of joy,yet I always feel so torn inside when I have to leave either my children and grandkids,or him when I come back here.I know lots of women who are struggling with the same feelings and circumstances to one degree or another. It ain´t easy. But with God all things are possible.
I choose to embrace His love and the blessings rather than mourning and complaining that things aren´t exactly the way I desire. So let the counting begin!
Since I have been here Gabriel has come home from prison.Just being able to talk with him everyday and hug him without correctional officers hovering is the greatest blessing. He and Traci and Nathan have a great home,he has a wonderful job and has been promoted twice.His court cases have all been cleared and he has no debt. He will have his license to drive within two weeks,and has even purchased a new car.I´ve spent some great time with Nathan and gotten to know Traci better.
I´ve been able to spend so much time with Sondra. After the house is quiet we lay up in her bed and talk and pray and share spiritual testimony. We laugh and giggle like two teenagers!! We´ve spent weekend nights at Karey´s,eating Chinese food and watching Leah cut up and act silly. I have been blessed to see Sondra and Karey heal and mend their relationship in love and forgiveness.
Richard has returned to the Lord and is active in the Church and has drawn his whole family into the fold. He has been ordained a priest in the Melchezidek priesthood and serves in the Young Mens´ organization. Janessa is a ward missionary.Richard baptized my two grandaughters.And Saturday he is laying hands on me for a blessing before I return to Mexico.I have been believing for these things for many years!
I have spent some good time with Luke and Staci and Karli. Karli is growing spiritually and she and her mom are growing closer.Staci has gotten Luke to go on some marvelous adventures-two cruises,one to the Bahamas and the other to the Caribeen. This week they are in New Orleans for Mardi Gras!
Truly our Heavenly Father has given me so much. I can never count it all here. As Nephi said in the Book of Mormon-he didnt have room or time enough to write all that the Lord had done,he could only recount but a small part. And this is true for me as well. I am overwhelmed by His goodness.
As I sit here my heart is full and I am missing everyone already. There are phones,FB,e-mail,Skype,Hangouts,and all the other means of communication and for that I am thankful.But still its not the same as actual physical contact So here I am quietly and humbly knocking on the door of my Papaś throne room,holding my Elder Brother´s hand and running to our Fatherś open arms. My head is buried in His chest and my tears moisten His robe and He strokes my hair and whispers-Do not be anxious about anything my daughter,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Me.
I am going to miss yáll so much and everyone better get those passport cards and come spend time in Mexico with us!!!
Am I ever blessed. And I don´t mean with temporal things. Well,yes,I am blessed temporally,but those things come and go.But the things of eternity are just what our Lord promises-eternal.
Last night was our Christmas dinner. All my sons and daughters were there at Gabriel´s house. That in itself is a huge blessing. Last year Gabriel was fresh out of a six year stint in the Georgia penal system. This year he is celebrating with his family in his own home. He not only has a great job,but has been promoted to foreman and received a raise.Richard and his family were there and how wonderful for all the spiritual progress he is making. Smiling and laughing and enjoying the company of his brothers and sisters. It was great!! He also has been blessed this year with a raise and Jan has been able to continue with nursing school and has passed with high marks! All the while also being a full-time mommy too two busy boys and two teenage girls.
Luke and Staci were there with his awesome stuffing and Hawaiian ham! Better than Honey Baked I promise!!! He and Staci were blessed to take a week off and give themselves a Caribeen cruise for Christmas!!!
Having everyone together is the greatest blessing ever,better than any present,of greater value,worth more than money can buy! When I was in Mexico year before last I remember how beautiful it was -and it didnt involve gift exchange or the stress that goes along with it. Just good food,music,and family making memories. And I wanted that for my family here and what an awesome God we serve! My prayers were answered!
I spent all day Tuesday cooking and I mean all day! From before sun-up to well after the midnight hour. But it was an act of love for me and it was awesome if I do say so myself. I made everything from scratch-nothing from a can-even the broccoli and green bean casseroles. That was my gift too my family.And I want to thank Karey for supplying the tableware and rolls,Jan brought her delectable barbecue smokies and sweet potatoe souffle,and Staci a pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie.Sondra made a huge bowl of yummy ambrosia. Richard blessed the evening and the food and everyone grubbed out!!!!!!
I missed my husband Miguel and our family in Mexico but next year we will all be celebrating there,God willing!
When it all comes down to it we have the Man who makes it all possible,the One whose birth we celebrate and praise,Jesus Christ. How thankful I am for the gifts He gives me,of forgiveness and salvation and love and every spiritual and temporal blessing I enjoy. Thank You Jesus and happy birthday!!!!
Yesterday my granddaughter Bianca entered the waters of baptism and today she received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is a time of great rejoicing for us. As I participated in this important ordinance I reflected on the committment to our Lord and His church that she has made.
I remember when I made the decision to convert and be baptised almost forty years ago. My brother,who had also taken the discussions and rejected them,laid his hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes and said¨you realize when you make this covenant there is no turning back.It truly is for eternity.Be sure Linda,your life will never be the same.¨ He promptly walked back into the living room and told the missionaries,¨I know it is true,but I can´t do it now. I have too many vices and things I can´t give up,but my sister is already born-again and she will embrace it. She knows Him .¨
Through out the years as my testimony has been tested and tried and grown,I have remembered his words. And a day or two ago,my son Richard,Biancas dad,said that it is not easy being LDS,itś a faith of action and service and making choices that go against the grain of the world and what is politically correct. He is right. We are in the world,but not of it.
So that said,in light of all that our world is going through,amid all the travail,violence,and upheaval and in spite of all the fear and hate ,I will live my testimony of my Savior. I know He lives and loves me. I know that the priesthood of His church is powerful and we are directed by a prophet today. He never changes. He is the Beginning and the End,the great I Am,my Father.I will praise His name and call Him KIng when everything is falling down around me and accept the peace He gives that this world can´t give.
His way is not one of force and demanding we follow or else. It is love and choice.Yes,we must live with the consequences of our choices,whether good or bad,but He doesn´t want one of us to be lost and I know the Holy Ghost intercedes for us. I have felt His arms around me,even at my lowest points His voice has spoken to my mind and heart. He has forgiven me even when it has been difficult to forgive myself.
We are supposed to see others with His eyes and that can be excruciatingly hard when we see the atrocities that some human beings inflict on their fellowman. He says to pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us. But instead we want to retaliate and strike back. I do believe that we should defend ourselves when attacked or our families are in danger,but it shouldn´t be done without prayer and calling on His name. When the Israelites went to battle they sang praises to Him and called on His name. We have forgotten Him and taken Him out of the equation,made Him weak in our eyes,and made of Him a joke and non-existent.
It grieves me when I remember what He sacrificed for me and how He loves me in spite of the times I have ignored Him and have been willfully disobedient. I know that this post will be terribly unpopular and I will be ridiculed perhaps for what I have written. But that´s okay. We are at a point where I can only care what He thinks and declare that He is King and Lord. And one day perhaps I will lose my life for Him,but not because He demands it or asks me to harm someone else to declare my faith and allegiance. But in loving as He did and forgiving, that is what is right and true.
There is no argument or debate for me-He lives and His gospel is true.
Yesterday afternoon I went to our chapel to speak with my Bishop. I hadn´t intended to go to pray,but I was a bit early so I entered the chapel doors. The lights were low,the pews were empty,and the silence was peaceful and calming. I slipped into a pew and memories started to flood my mind.I remembered how many times I have sat in the silence of an empty chapel and prayed for my husband and children,my grandchildren and friends. In pain and loss,in joy and gratitude.Even angry at times. I´ve prayed for understanding,wisdom,and guidance. My prayers have sometimes been for patience to calm my swirling emotions,to give me strength and to quell my doubts and fears. I have laid my family´s needs and trials at my Lordś feet.
I have prayed in chapels in Atlanta,in south Georgia,in Mississippi,Louisiana,Alabama,Texas,Florida,and Mexico. Always feeling peace after leaving my hearts concerns and desires there. Thatś not too say I haven´t done the same in other places because I have gotten in the habit of praying at all times and in all places. But yesterday I was reminded by the Spirit how my prayers have been so generously answered and it overwhelmed me with gratitude and love for my Savior.
This world and the evil in it can shout that there is no power in prayer. It can deny the Savior of the world and the truthfulness of the Gospel.It can glorify wickedness and depravity and hate and violence while denigrating goodness,righteousness,and truth. It can falsely proclaim that selfishness and greed are okay. But it will never destroy my testimony that my Father in heaven is always true and always loves me. He hears my prayers and cares about what happens too me .He forgives me and gently draws me to Himself. He doesn´t force me or intimidate me to follow Him and be obedient.He loves me there.He reaches down,no He comes and sits right there in that pew beside me. He lets me lay my head on His shoulder and hears as I pour my heart out too Him. I am His daughter.
I am thankful for prayer and that I have a place of refuge under His wings.
This morning I saw in the news where Joann Sfar, an artist at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo is asking people to quit using the hashtag #PrayForParis. He says its because we don´t need more religion. That religion is what has caused this. To me,he is creating more confusion and hatred,stirring the pot. In one sense I agree-itś not religion that we need-itś the love of Christ. He tells us to pray,not only for those that are suffering,but for our enemies as well. One writer calls the terrorists lovers of death. I believe that there are many that fall into this category,not just terrorists. Our Lord told us- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10
We are called upon to return good for evil,to love radically,to forgive.“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:43-48
Thats radical love. It saddens me to hear so-called Christians cursing and calling down death for every single Muslim. No,I don´t believe they have the truth,but I do believe the Savior and He says to pray for those who¨persecute and despitefully use you¨.Imagine what collective prayer by committed Christ-followers the world over could do to heal and mend our broken world. He promises us if we pray in faith and love we will be heard.
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:19-20).
While we are praying for the people of Paris,we need to pray for those killed by hatred in all other countries as well. And we need to pray for the ones committing the horrible crimes also. In doing so we are following the admonish of our Savior.
The last couple of months have been filled with joy for my family. It has been a time of renewed relationships and the start of new ones. My granddaughter Karli has been floating on air,finally meeting and getting too know her aunts and older brothers on her dadś side.Families are meant to be together. We work at it. Sometimes itś easy and smooth,other times it is rocky and tumultuous. Always it is worth it.
And this brings me to ponder about The Wall. The wall that Mr.Trump wants to build. He says it´s too keep the undocumented out-all those nasty drug dealers and rapists,and admittedly,he says there are a few good people. Well I´ve got news for you sir,there are more than ¨a few,some¨. We have a mixed status family and none of them are drug dealers,rapists,or murderers. They are mothers,fathers,sisters,brothers,aunts,uncles,grandparents,nieces,and nephews. They work,go to school,attend church,and participate in their communities. They love and laugh and sing and dance;they hurt and cry and fall,but get up and strive again to be all they can be for their families and those they come in contact with everyday.
They are not rich in a monetary sense,but in heart and soul they have billions,no trillions,and that trumps any temporal asset.
These are really the kinds of folks Mr.Trump wants to get rid of and keep out. It´s already being done. As the wife of a deportee and having to travel back and forth between husband and family in Mexico and family and work here,I have plenty of friends who have been exiled because their spouses have been removed.There are women here on welfare because their husbands have been ripped from them and the exorbitant costs of maintaining a family as a single parent is devastating.Not too mention the costs of going through immigration proceedings can wipe one out financially.So women pack up and leave to move South of the Border to join their husbands,often taking whole families with them,to a world they dont know or understand. They leave jobs,elderly parents,grown children,grandchildren,friends,everything. Our spouses are given 5,10,20 and lifetime bans.And then we are forgotten by the government.
We are forced to make what I consider an unGodly choice- marriage is a covenant and the United States virtually ¨divorces¨ families through the process.
Now comes Trump,albeit he isn´t the only one clamoring about immigration,just the loudest. He says his system will be humane-a deportation force and a replica of the Berlin Wall? How will that be anymore humane than the already deplorable system we have in place now? I suppose the Berlin Wall was built to humanely separate the two Germany´s ,families. Have you ever read about Hitler´s deportation force-I believe it was called the SS. Well it was anything but humane.Ask the Jewish people.
I have always said this country is not family friendly as it is portrayed. The government decimated native American families,ripping children from them to send them to government schools so they would be stripped of their heritage and identities.Remember this incident Afro-American families were torn apart and sold as property with no regard.Howś this for the sanctity of the family During the Depression children were put on orphan trains and sent God-knows-where away from family who were destitute and couldn´t feed them.Since the 1950´s immigration has been a source of anguish for the family.These people are communicating with family members through the fence at the border. Heres another fence separating family-in a Nazi death camp.
I just want to say that no matter what happens after the election our brave families will continue to stand strong whether here or south of the border or wherever they are. To my sisters down south,Mexico,Guatemala,Honduras,Chile,all of Central and South America and the Caribeen,God bless you for your courage and grit! To the husbands and wives here fighting for your families,sailing the stormy seas of immigration,may God bless your diligence and faith. To all our deported vets and those giving their time and limited means and prayers to fight for their rights,I pray God´s protection and blessings.
We may get knocked down,but we won´t go down easy!We are strong and we KNOW the meaning of family,we will bloom where we are planted and thrive!
This came from a post I wrote on Facebook a year ago.Things have changed somewhat since I shared this but I get so tired of Americans griping and complaining about what they don’t have-I used to do the same thing-until I came to Mexico. We feel so entitled here in the States.
Miguel and I are fortunate-even tho we don’t have a lot of amenities-I feel like we have what we need. We no longer live in an apartment,I have been in Atlanta working and Miguel has been working on the border.But when we were in Salamanca we had decent bedding,fresh water-even if we had to pump it into buckets for baths and flushing the toilet. We were able to afford purified bottled water for drinking and cooking. I didnt have an oven(but many people dont-thats only for those with money,but I will when I go back after the first of the year. I have a crock-pot,a cook-top,a microwave,plenty of nice pots and pans,a blender, a mixer,even a Belgian waffle-iron. All of which I bought with money I made in the states.Whenever I go I always pare down my clothes and donate or give them to those who can use them.When thereI am able to take my clothes to the lavanderia,even tho we have a washer. A what? That´s a washer? Yep,that´s a washer.I prefer the lavanderia,yet I have used the other. This is where many people wash their clothes. It is like a concrete sink.Out on the rancho Miguel´s family use it for dishes as well.
I have all my medical stuff done in the states when I go back and I am grateful for my insurance.Here people dont have food-stamps,government programs for health,social security(unless you were lucky enough to work for some sort of company or Pemex,or city government something along those lines).The blind,crippled,mentally ill are everywhere begging for food. Little children swarm in the tianguiss hawking everything just for a bite to eat-unwashed,unkept,hungry. Yes,yes,I know you say we have poverty in the states-but its not like it is here in most places. We do have help there.It may be hard to get sometimes,but its there.
Yet I keep seeing so many posts about what people dont have instead of what they do have-no gratitude or thankfulness-just complaining. Or complaining about helping those who dont help themselves-and I agree-a lot of Americans feel entitled and want a hand-out like I said earlier. Its different here-people work-doing anything they can to survive and feed their families.And yes there are many robbers and thieves-but thats anywhere. Im talking about those who are selling peanuts or tootsie pops on the bus.The blind guy who plays the guitar outside the cathedral for a tamale,or the lady selling gorditas next to the train track while her sons wash peoples cars parked in the dirt parking place next to the market. Who in the USA is going to do that? Well,they cant really-there are so many rules and regulations against it. Its just messed up to me-people are messed up.
Well here we are at Thanksgiving again and everyone is looking forward to that gigantic feast. Sitting around the table, gorging ourselves in our warm comfy homes,watching football in a stupor after ingesting all the victuals. Yet there are folks right here ,maybe a neighbor even,who won´t have anyone or anything on this day. I´m not saying that we should feel guilty for having our blessings,Im saying we should be grateful and share with at least one other person who is less fortunate.Without judgment or pride getting in the way.Find something in your life to be thankful for today folks-and give back a little. Pay it forward.You dont have to give money. When I go to the mercado I pray about who I can help that day.Believe me,God always puts someone in my path. The little 5 yr old who reminded me of Barrett,Brett and Nathan.I thought what if my three precious little guys had to beg someone to buy a tiny bag of peanuts from their grubby little hand-so I bought him cheese for his sisters and him when I bought mine.Or the blind lady who I share tamales with whenever I get mine. There´s a guy who has a brain injury who strolls the mercado babbling and singing-most folks would think he is drunk-I buy extra tacos when I get mine and give them to him. Its not because Im a great person-it is because it is what I believe Christ wants me to do-and it feels great.Its not hard people. And besides -sharing the love of Christ just feels good.Remember
I see lists all the time about what items folks say are essential to take for a move to Mexico. Some items are more essential than others depending on the person. I have my own list of course and in each of those lists is one absolutley must-have. Take kitchen tools for example. This is one I can´t do without.
There are other things,and truth be told,I believe that ¨things¨ are not the most important and I don´t hoard them. But one thing I can´t do without are books!To say that I am a voracious reader is putting it mildly. I learned to read at my grandmotherś knee ,literally. She taught me to read from her worn and much used Bible.And always books were my favorite gifts. All good books,nothing trashy. My family encouraged reading and learning and I have carried those habits through-out my life.
So when I went to Mexico the first time I craved books. It happened that my brother-in-law is also a reader. he was always picking up books for himself and my husband at the tianguis and mercado. So when I asked him if he could get books in English he made it his project to find some. And did he ever! I had enough books in English to last me for 6 mts and I can read a book every couple of days if I have the time and really hunker down! he made a couple of trips to San Miguel de Allende and bartered and traded for books.
I am a firm believer in the verses that say God provides. When I returned to Atlanta I had a client who became more than that,she became a friend. Anida loved books. She was 91 so she had quite a collection in her home. She was going blind and couldn´t read anymore,but still she wanted to buy books. We went to Books a Million,Barnes and Nobles,used book swaps and sales,to the library on book sale days. She picked them up in thrift stores and had me order online. She would have me go through them and choose what ever my fancy to read was. I had a plethora of excellent books! She held my hand and told me the books were to take to Mexico. She said since I taught English in Salamanca to read them and bless my students with them. On the flip side she also encouraged me to read in Spanish. She was French-Canadian and spoke French fluently.She told me how wonderful it was to read Voltaire in her native tongue.Think of it Linda,reading El Cid in Spanish! she exclaimed. Well,we´ll put that off for awhile!!
When I left for Mexico the second time I had more books than I could finish in six months .When I returned to Atlanta I had almost thirty books that are awaiting my return. Sadly, Anida was on hospice when I returned. I cared for her till she returned home to her Father. But before she passed she told me to go through her books again and take all I desired. I have been reading those books since I have been here working and have dozens to take back with me !
Yes,he does provide! Not only the books,but one of the most beautiful women I have ever been blessed to know and care for. And he allowed me to partake in the spiritual experience that was her passing. How grateful I am to Him and for His tender mercies!
You may ask,why don´t you just get a Kindle? Well,one day maybe,but for now I will curl up with a good book,get lost in its pages and the story and characters,and with every page remember Anida and how spending time with her has blessed my life.
Our minds can’t explain everything.The problem is that we often are so caught up in our thoughts that we can’t hear the spirit whispering to our heart(I believe the two are eternally entertwined) and then Satan is able to interject all kinds of nagging doubts and lies into our heads. We are instructed by the Savior to take every thought captive,not one or two thoughts;not every other thought;not random thoughts,but EVERY thought.
2 Corinthians 10:5- Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Its so easy to read these words and there are tons of devotions and writings on this verse alone-but applying and putting them into practice is where,as one person put it,the rubber meets the road.The scriptures tell us the adversary is the father of lies-well he is also the perpertrator of the list on the right.How many times I myself have fallen for his tactics! Just recently within the last month as a matter-of-fact.
There was a situation that I was dreding and I became obssessed with thoughts of it. It quickly became a niggling worry. As I thought more and more I started to feel that we were at the mercy of the powers-that-be and surely we would be condemned to agony. The Spirit kept trying to get through, saying,calm down. I could feel Him attempting to comfort me in this.More than once he whispered,trust in My strength and lay it aside ,I will take care of everything. He was encouraging me,telling me that I would be enlightened at the proper time(HIs). But instead of listening,I started reaching out to other mere mortals and I felt terribly confused. My mind was thrashing about seeking answers and the answers I was getting only served to push me into being frightened!I kept refusing His leading(even tho I kept repeating this scripture over and over) and still He was reassuring me that if I would just be still all would be well. By the time the situation I had anticipated arrived I was a ball of apprehension on the inside.
Now let me add,that my husband was also going thru this same ordeal 3000 miles away in Mexico-but wait! It wasnt an ordeal for him. Why? Because he was letting his thoughts be controlled by the Spirit!!! My husband,a baby born-again Christian,a new believer in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ-was all of the things in the list on the left and NONE of those on the right! Thru-out the whole time he kept telling me-No preocupes mi amor,cual Dios quiere. Don’t worry my love,whatever God wants. I kept saying I know,but on the other end of the line he was doing exactly as the Savior says-take every thought captive.