Thursday, December 28, 2023



This morning at my desk

Today is December 28, 2023, the day I turn 61, and I will love this year.

In 2023, our newest addition to the family was born: Augustine Mario, the son of Alicia, our daughter. A few days ago, surrounded by family, he opened his first Christmas presents, unpacked his first stocking, and sang his first Christmas carols. Life is beautiful.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that life is a blessing I'm not entitled to. Today I'm going to a funeral for a man I barely knew and yet owe my life to: Alfred Ruiz Sr. I went to school with his son, a boy I knew as Alfred, who my grandmother called Alfredito. The Ruiz family were Spanish landowners who employed my grandfather when he first came to Tracy, California. Grandma knew something I didn't: without this family, ours would be like so many others: migrant workers who traveled with the harvests. With the help of the Ruiz family, specifically Alfred Sr's father, my grandfather, Ignacio Gonzalez, became a U.S. citizen and a permanent Tracy resident. He bought land and built a house that still stands today. In many ways, the man whose life we will celebrate today is a stranger to me; in many ways, he is a mench, a godfather, a sponsor. Life is impermanent, for the rich and the poor, we all enter and exit this world in the same way. 

Yesterday, I published my website: Yikes. I'm not wealthy, so I built it myself... Which isn't as easy as it sounds. Today, at least for a writer, a website is like a business card with a fold-out resume. I've never liked writing a resume either. Please check out my new website and let me know what you think... Really.  

In my sixty-first year, I'm still learning how to speak Spanish, write with a sincere voice, be a good wife and mother, and make the world a better place. The greatest challenge is learning how to love others, and how to receive love from others - especially God's love. I want to live a life worthy of the gift of life. I'll never be able to earn His love, but let me be able to receive it without performing. 

In my darkest days, I cry out to God to make sense of this life. Usually, there is no answer (about how to make sense of this life) but there is peace. King David wrote Psalm 61, the one that marks my 61st year, in a very dark time. Let it be a reminder for all of us: our relationship with God is a personal thing, marked by transparency and truth.  

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
 and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. F
or you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name:  years for many generations. 

May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him a
nd fulfill my vows day after day.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I long to dwell in your tent forever. Increase the days of the king’s life, Then I will ever sing in praise of your name

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