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Dia de los Muertos

I am a big fan of the idea of celebrating the souls of those we love and have set out to understand more about its celebration and make it part of my tradition. I must admit I am no longer a big fan of Halloween. Once I got scared enough times, I think I decided I'd rather just stay in. I don't like many of the costumes, movies, and gore that goes along with it. But that's me!~
One of my sisters loves skull decorations and whilst gathering trinkets and treasures over the years and living here in a very Hispanic and Catholic Community, I was reminded of Dia de los Muertos.

A bit of simple background from a teaching plan:

November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.

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"People celebrate this holiday in their households, as well as in the cemeteries. In their homes, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 2nd (a time called "Todos Santos"), offerings of food and drink are prepared for the dead. "Ofrendas" (offerings) are often set up in the home on an altar displaying portraits, personal goods, clothing, favorite foods, and possessions of the deceased family member. Sometimes they are shown at the gravesites as well. On Nov. 2nd, family members visit the gravesites of their loved ones. They decorate their graves with flowers, enjoy picnics consisting of favorite foods of the deceased, and socially interact with others at the cemetery. This is an important social ritual that the Latino people see as "a way of recognizing the cycle of life and death that is human existence." In certain areas, an all-night candlelight vigil takes place by the graves of the family members. The whole occasion is festive, and everyone talks of the dead as if they were still al ive. During this time, people "remember, re-live, and enjoy."

So while enjoying the Halloween time I will remember what this celebration means to from a more cultural and spiritual perspective. We will offer praise to those loved ones who have gone before. We will put up a picture of them somewhere to and we will celebrate their love in our lives. We will also honor the spirits of people past wh o have spent their lives doing God's work. And we will have pumpkin carving or painting and yummy treats like these skull cookies.

I threw this recipe together and even improvised a few ingredients based on what was in the pantry and they were awesome! I used chocolate chips for eyes and yogurt pretzels for mouths. I will prepare much better for next celebration and bake some yummy treats!

choice of music for Dia de los Muertos is Devotchka. A Denver based fusion of greatness! Totally appropriate for the occasion. I visited friends one year around Halloween and was priveledged to attend one of their shows. What a treat!

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Through the archives...My photo shoot 11/07

So a few years ago when I was moving back to Santa Fe, from an 8 month trial life in Austin, TX which is a beautiful city, by the way...I landed down pretty lost and discouraged. I was thin and negative without a purpose.

A friend of mine is an excellent photographer and a feisty spirit of tough love. I proposed that we do a photo shoot somewhere funky, outdoors and...that really represented me. I thought it would be fun and lift my spirits and self confidence. I was correct.

Mostly it was fun.

I highly recommend having a good friend who is a skillful camera whiz do a photo shoot for you. Get looking Sunday best and go have some feels AMAZING!!!
Laughing, joking, telling stories, costume changes, old mustangs...and east coast ramble.

I arrived at Ursula's to receive an amazing makeup and hair makeover from Svetlana Brit, since we all need help looking our best.
It was really fun to wear fake eyelashes, get all done up, and see natural shine right through. Svetlana did such a nice job, she was also quite nice and lots of fun!

Then off we went to an arroyo in the Espanola area to catch the best light of the day. It was November around 3:30pm and brilliant the day we went out. Lugging my gear through the dry sandy arroyo, some dogs playing in tow...we walked along to capture the light and the essence of me.

I share this because it was the next noteworthy batch of photos in my iPhoto collection.

God is good. He graces us with gifts for His work.
I was happy to be part of something that inspired someone else to do what they love. I felt that energy this day and I have much respect for the woman behind the scenes...Ms. Ursula Coyote.

I met Ursula when I first arrived in Santa Fe in 2000. She was running the karaoke evening at this swanky type lounge they called Bar B. Thursday nights. I was so nervous to even leave the house let alone sing so I brought my parents with me. That night while I was singing, feeling so afraid...she approached my family and encouraged me to sing more.

Pretty soon I was going every Thursday (w/o parents) and having some of the best nights of my life. Rich conversation, singing, dancing, watching life, having fun. Ursula encouraged me more over the years to branch out, try new things, and believe in myself. It has been a really wonderful healing aspect to my life and always will be...but I'm ready for more.

My desire is to begin singing about the Lord with a modern appeal mixed with some good old foot stomping gospel tunes.

I am blessed and grateful. I sing to my daughter, I sing at church, I sing whenever I can. I still go to karaoke and it's much more fun after years of practice and encouragement.
This town has a nice camaraderie around karaoke, if you find the right group. I am still singing with folks I met 10 years ago. It's great.

Sometimes we need reminding of our gifts and our calling to share those gifts with others.


Update of the caffeine-less days and my nervous system

I notice that when I am very stressed, my body goes into some routine modes of depression, and some pretty intense tension and aches in my head, neck, back and hips. For me when I drink caffeine I can feel the tense spots get more tense...constrict. It's not all that good, even though the taste of coffee is so good! So I have been appreciative and happy for the decaf tea and herbal tea. In fact I find it quite nice to drink warm liquids that relax me more and help my body get the reminder that stress reactions are not needed to this degree...ease up there cowgirl!

I have been doing some stretching and breathing work to help my tension as well. I remind myself to loosen my jaw and breathe regularly as I go throughout the day and sometimes forget.
I purchased a yoga video for my daughter and I to practice together.
I took a brisk walk around the grounds of the church next door yesterday in the sunshine.

I decided to stay in and rest when I was also tempted to go out and sing karaoke on my baby free night! That was a really great idea. I feel much more capable today. This was a good idea for many reasons actually. I saved money, gas, and the nerves that go along with going out, socializing and singing in front of others. Don't get me wrong. On a good day...this is a release and totally fun exercise. I dance, I sing and spend great time with friends. But with a beaten down nervous system I need to choose wisely and save all my reserves. With a two year old in tow needing care and teaching, fun and lots of love. Gotta be at my best!

I have been taking vitamins daily! I even get myself nice chewable vitamins like my daughter's that are from the health food store. Little animal shapes in fruit flavors...Yay vitamins!!
I also picked up a B Stress Complex which is especially for the nervous system. I can already feel the benefits!

Going to keep up the good work and fix my diet a bit and eat more regularly.
Get ready for winter.
It snowed here this morning. Just a bit. But it's cold. Brrr.

Pass this blog along folks. Contribute if you want. Email me. Reach out! Share the love.

New update: I tried coffee one day. Decaf. And I felt the old effects I have been without on my caffeine free days and it only took a few sips for me to realize that for me, less stress is best. I found a love Jasmine tea by Tulsi Teas. The great thing about that is this. Tulsi teas are made from Tulsi or Holy Basil which is a known stress reducer, anti-inflammatory, helps support healthy metabolism and acts as an immune system booster as well.