Monday, April 30, 2012

Life is a Journey

I took some unplanned vacation days last week.  I needed some down time.  I needed to be alone and sleep and think and do some Mommy things.  I did not train jiu jitsu at all last week.  My mind was just not right.  I may not train this week either.  I have a lot going on with the kids this week and a lot going on at work and I just don’t know if I am up to it mentally.  Tonight I will go do cardio kickboxing.  On Wednesday, my daughter and I will go look for her a new party dress.  She’s been invited to her first QuinceaƱera (for you gringos out there, that’s a birthday party for a 15 year old girl).  It’s a big deal and she’s got to have a new dress (or at least that’s what she’s convinced me of….gullible Mom here).  She’s got another one to go to this summer, so this dress is going to have to do for both parties…because this Mom is not that gullible.  So I hope this week finds everyone right where they need to be…happy and healthy and content.  Life is a journey, not a destination.  <--That’s my new mantra.  It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the little things.  It reminds me not to sweat the small stuff.  It reminds me that I don’t have to keep up with anyone else but myself.  It reminds me that this isn’t a race to the finish line and that I can go as slow as I need to.   It reminds me that it’s okay to be slow.  It reminds me that my family is the most important thing, and I’m slowing down so I don’t miss out on the important stuff…like dress shopping with my daughter for 15 year old birthday parties!  :D

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Is spider guard okay for a short person…a really short person…let’s say someone under 5 feet tall?  Last summer I went to a Leticia Ribeiro seminar and that’s what we worked on, and I fell in love with it.  Leticia is a petite lady and she rocks spider guard (plus her jiu jitsu is bad ass!).  Some might not think it’s the best choice for me, but I think it appeals to me because my legs are so short.  I don’t like to use closed guard…my legs are going to have a hard time closing around most people (unless you’re a stick).  Some folks say that I’m too short for spider guard, but I work it every chance I get.  It makes me happy, and if I’m really, really lucky, it gets me a sweep!  If you have short legs or long legs or you are somewhere in between, you’ve got to learn to work with what you’ve got.  But don’t be afraid to try new things that seem outside your comfort zone, you might be pleasantly surprised.  It’s amazing that we are all different shapes and sizes and that there are infinite ways to adapt this beautiful sport to ourselves.  Quite amazing indeed! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


There is really no worse feeling than waiting for bad news.  I remember that feeling when my Daddy was sick.  We knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know how bad it was.  When he was dying, I remember that feeling I had in my heart and in my gut every single day, waiting for the bad news, but hoping to get to have him one more day.  That is how I’m feeling right now; waiting for the bad news, but hoping for the best.  Things do not look good for baby Emma and right now I am very emotional and angry and upset.  I have a lot of pent up emotions that I really need to get rid of.  My daughter has already sent me a text today asking me if we are going to jiu jitsu.  So, tonight we will train.  Tonight I am hoping for some of those things that I love about jiu jitsu…grace and beauty.  Tonight those things would be the best gift of all. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes we all need a Wake-up Call

I trained tonight.  Not very well, but I got on the mat.  Beat myself up mentally before I even started.  I've been trying not to think about belt tests...and quite frankly I wish they would have them way less often because we can't seem to go a week without talking about them and then it's a constant reminder that I'm not belt testing again and then I beat myself up some more and wonder why I suck so much at jiu jitsu.  Good grief, how can you suck so bad at something you love so much.  It's a viscous cycle.  Whoever invented belt tests, well I won't tell you what I think about them, but let's just say it's not very nice.  I'd like to think my training is cumulative.  Right?  I'm a full-time working mother, two kids, a husband, a house, an extended family, lots of commitments and priorities, so my mat time is not the same as someone who's young and doesn't have those same commitments.  But I stick with it, little by little I see progress.  It's slow going, but it's been cumulating now for almost two years.  I don't take long breaks away from the mat.  I don't train 5 days a week either.  Some weeks I train 1 day, some weeks I train 3 days, on the rare occasion I might train 5 days (that's really rare), but I don't stop.  I only take off when I'm sick, my kids are sick or we have band or school stuff going on.  But I'm only human, and it still hurts when test after test they don't call your name.  And, that my friends, is all I have to say about that. 

Then something happens and you get a wake-up call of massive proportions.  Something that makes all this stuff seem not important.  Why am I obsessing about belt tests when my great niece is fighting for her life.  She is only eight months old.  We don't know at this point what is going to happen.  It's not the kind of wake-up call you want to get.  The kind that smacks you right in the heart and the gut at the same time and reminds you that your family is your most precious possession.  So last week I didn't train and I didn't feel guilty.  Usually if I skip out I suffer from massive guilt.  How am I going to get better if I'm not training?  How am I ever going to belt test again if I don't train?  My instructors are going to think I'm goofing off?  But I didn't feel that last week.  I needed to be with my family, my husband, my kids.  I needed to mother them and stay at home with them and feed them and whatever else they wanted to do.  It was important.  Today we got really devastating news and we are all feeling so helpless.  I am praying for a miracle.  I believe in miracles.  I hope you all do to.  Please pray for a miracle for my beautiful little niece.  Her name is Emma.  Thank you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Relay for Life and What it Means to Fight like a Girl

Tomorrow is Relay for Life.  For those of you who don’t know, Relay for Life is a community fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.  Visit our local site hereI have participated in Relay since 2001.  I’ve been on teams, been a team captain, and worked on the Relay Committee.  I’ve been very active in Relay for the last 10 years.  This is actually my first year to not be that involved.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something was missing this year.  Maybe I missed my old team (Team Tejano).  Maybe I am burnt out.  Maybe I’m a little bit sad this year.  My Dad died in September of 2001 from cancer.  This last September marked 10 years since we lost him to this terrible disease.  But, never fear, I found a team at the last minute and I will be at Relay, walking, raising money and renewing my spirit.  Thank you Team Dylan.  Visit my personal page hereI truly believe that we have made progress in the fight against cancer.  I believe that a cure will be found in my lifetime.  I believe that more and more people are being educated about prevention.  I know that I have personally made some changes as a direct result of my Dad’s death and my involvement in Relay for Life.  If you read this blog, then you know I’m a work in progress.  A lot of what has motivated me in the past is my desire to change my lifestyle in such a way as to prevent cancer from striking me.  My Dad and all of his brothers and sisters, (except one) have died as a direct result of cancer.  I didn’t want that to be my fate or the fate of my children.  I believe that there are things we can do to help our odds.  We can eat right, we can exercise, we can choose not to smoke or use tobacco products, and we can choose to limit our alcohol consumption.  Those are the things that I choose to do that I believe are going to make a difference.  I miss my Dad every day.  But I have some pretty terrific cancer survivors in my life that make me believe in hope and progress and a cure.  Three pretty amazing women who are living and loving and surviving cancer.  They literally looked it in the eye and kicked it in the butt.  It was hard, they were so brave and they make me so proud to know them.  To Merlinda Ibarra (my amazing sister-in-law), to Lovella Desormeaux (my dear friend), and to Cecelia Medrano (my beautiful niece) – I love you and I respect you and I honor you.  You showed me what it really means to “Fight Like a Girl”. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I thought maybe it was time for a little walk down memory lane.  I was going through some of my pictures and I was happy to see my kid’s progress and mine over the last couple of years.  It was a good reminder to me that I have come a long way.  My kids have come a long way.  We are not as good as we are going to be, but we are better than we used to be (I never get tired of saying that).  Enjoy!  :D

This was my son's first belt test.  December 2009.  This little guy and those big guys made me fall in love with jiu jitsu before I even stepped on the mat.  Thank you!
This was Emily's first belt test and Ben's second.  March of 2010.  They were clowning around for me after the belt test.  That was a fun day!
 Emily gets her gray belt.  It is June 2010.  She was a happy girl that day!

This was my first belt test.  Ben got his yellow belt and I got my first stripe that day.  December 2010.  I will never forget how proud I felt that day.  I thought I could conquer the world!
Here's all us Elite girls after the belt test.  Forever bonded by the first belt test experience.  It's like going to boot camp together!!

And what's better than one stripe, well two more stripes.  April 2011 I attend my second belt test.  That belt test was even better than the first one.  They really are a celebration.  There's nothing quite like the experience.
Emily gets her yellow belt.  It's July 2011.  She is so happy that day.  She had missed several belt tests because of band commitments and she was ecstatic to finally be asked to go and receive her yellow belt.  I was one proud Mama that day!!

We've had lots of great moments in between and after all this great stuff happened.  My kids have competed and I've competed and we've gone to some great seminars and there's always Girls in Gis.  It's been a wonderful journey so far.  I do have to remind myself quite often that it's not about the belts or the stripes, but the journey.  Often we are discouraged when we haven't belt tested in a long time, we often see it as a negative.  But it's not.  It doesn't mean we haven't gotten better.  It doesn't mean our coaches don't see our progress.  It just means that this part of our journey needs a little more work, and when the time is right we will belt test again.