Monday, September 24, 2018

"Jesus Loves me," Just me?

After singing "Jesus loves me" before bed with my 5 year old granddaughter, she says, just me?  I say,  what?  She says,  "just me?  Does Jesus love just me?"  I say, "you mean, does Jesus love only you?"  I look at her scrambling for how to respond in the moment, and say,  " Yes, Jesus loves especially you and God also loves especially me and mommy and daddy and even your unicorn right here!"  Then she giggles and suddenly turns goes to sleep.

Wow! That was so cute, and also such an important moment...  Did I miss an opportunity?  Should I have said something about Jesus loving her so much that he died for her?   No, how thrilling for her to accept Jesus' love for her, purely and unconditionally?

I'm going to believe that she did that, by the smile on her face and her acceptance of that simple fact, Jesus is real.  God loves her without question or analysis like her not much older cousin who is already coming up with questions like, I thought Jesus is God? How can He be the son of God?

But that is another story!

Hints for your visit to Cuba

Some thoughts for Americans who want to visit to Cuba.

My cousin has gone to Cuba many times and taken other family with her.  When she goes, it is to educate, and to take things to help the Cuban people through the Church.  She is willing to share her tips with you.
She has contacts there for visitors and will share them with you if you ask.
Here are some points of advice that I prepared for a group from my home town who went through a Rhodes Scholar program.

What my cousin said about talking with the people: "the people carry the police inside themselves. They have no basis for comparison because they don't know what they don't know. They talk with authority about things they don't know.” (no world news, no internet)
The government choses the people to whom you will talk with and interview - brainwashing
When you talk with Cubanos, will you hear the Cuban's point of view or government point of view?

Be careful with your money not to have it stolen.
Bring plenty of loose dollar bills for tips. 
Don't believe everything you hear.  
Try to escape their watchful eyes and see and talk to people on their own. Where no one can overhear you.
Don’t do anything you are told not to do, be careful with exploring on your own…
Don’t know Spanish?  How do you know that what the translators say is what the Cubans are saying? Make friend with someone who speaks Spanish to find out more.
Things to take for the people:   Earrings and any custom jewelry, medicines, guitar strings, tights and leotards, leave your clothes there...
Take for yourself: wipes, little soap and little towel. (lacking in Cuba)

Questions to ask:

Paladares (independent restaurants) owners- how much do you pay to the Cuban government? How much do the employees make? Can they get what they need for their business? Vendors - do you keep all your earnings? Where do you get your materials?
About US/Cuba relations... What do they think are obstacles to US/Cuba relations? End embargo?  What does that mean to them? Benefits do they see?  how will your life change? What is your greatest  need?  What do you want for your children? For the future of Cuba? What is your greatest happiness? What do you miss? (for the seniors) How do you feel about the Cubans who left Cuba coming back?  What change do you want first?  What do you want to stay the same?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 resolutions... same every year!!

Why do our resolutions seem the same every year?  To me it's not that I break them but that I'm not there yet.  So, I write the same things but put them at the end and write some new ones first.

This year I first made a list of the things that gave me joy in 2017 and there were many that I did on purpose.
Then I thought I should make a list of the things that let me down or made me negative but NO!  those times I offered up and prayed.  Those things just ARE... no control... can't dwell on them.
They are times of not being able to "do" anything to make it better.  But knowing God with me and in me and God with him and in him (Don) to give strength and comfort.

Choose a word - NURTURE
be kind
be help
be positive
be accepting
be inspiring
be giving
be loving
be present

Relaxing, healthy, happy

Shake off the negativism around me

Focus again on doing - new things for my Swimming

Friday, September 1, 2017

46 Years Married - So I wrote a poem!

 We got married September 4, 1971


Our love is ever new.
Even after years with you,
There is always more to discover
And so much more joy
To give one another.

What can I do
To make our love grow?
It’s in the giving
That love really shows.

To feel so uncertain
And yet take the risk…
To be understood and needed
Is my only wish.

The comings and goings
In every direction
Hugging and kissing…
More I can’t mention.

We listen and wait
To share with each other
We put aside our busy-ness…
You’re never a bother.

Accepting the moods
Of silence and caring,
We try to make better
Each frustration together.

When you tell me your problem,
You allow me to be
Your healing and soothing, 
 A mystery to me.

When we feel all stressed out
And just want to scream
We take off together
Refreshing our dreams.

I want you to be happy
In each daily chore
And to feel so fulfilled
That you’ll want to do more.

When I wake up happy,
You don’t give me a frown.
When I share my schemes,
You don’t put me down.

You open my Spirit;
You stir up the Power;
God’s Love we can be…
Everywhere, every hour.

Thank You, God, Thank You
That we have each other.
Thank You for making us

To love one another.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mami Is Gone to Heaven

My mami gave up the fight
We were at the same time glad and sad.
I miss her each and every day
wanting to share with her my joys and my cares.

 Liquidating her estate was not easy to do
Florida laws have so many rules and paperwork to follow through
There are six of us sisters who had to sign all the papers
The house had to sell and we split her many memories

The memorial service was a solace for all
Remembering her joy of life and family love

Many people came to show us they care 
They wanted to hug and kiss and share

Months later we came together again
Her ashes to the ocean with praises acclaim
A spiritual experience to remember her by
Her ashes to Cuba under the sky.

We cried and we loved 
each other better to be 
our Mom and Dad together
In heaven we'll see.

María Luisa Sánchez Gastón, passed away peacefully to New Life in God on June 27th, 2016 at her home in North Lauderdale, Florida. We celebrate her 93 years of a life full of love and joy.

Born in Havana, Cuba, on December 5th 1922, she was the daughter of Bernabé Sánchez Culmell of Camaguey, Cuba, a cattle rancher and Senator for the Republic, and Ana María Maciá Barraqué, well respected in Cuban society, who raised Maria Luisa and her 3 brothers. Maria Luisa married Melchor Gastón Segrera, manager of El Dolores sugar mill in Matanzas, Cuba, and with him raised 6 daughters, living in Havana, and during the milling months in the Sugar Mill, where she worked in church and in the clinic to care for the workers’ families. 

They left Cuba in 1960, and after 3 years in Miami settled in Milwaukee, where she lived committed to her family and to her church. In 1980 Melchor retired and they moved to North Lauderdale, Florida. In 1986 she lost her beloved husband Melchor with whom she had shared 44 years of married life. Maria Luisa became an active volunteer with the Senior Club, the Friends of the Library and at her parish, where she took communion to the sick and worked faithfully every Saturday at the Thrift Shop. She loved painting, gardening, and collecting shells, and was skilled at many arts and crafts, which she shared with daughters and grandchildren. Dancing and playing dominoes were other fun activities she enjoyed with family and friends.

In addition to her husband, she is preceded in death by her brothers Bernabé Sánchez Maciá (2011) and Fernando Sánchez Maciá (2016). She is survived by her youngest brother Federico Sánchez Maciá and Marta Baró, and by Raquel Hevia and Ana María (Anuka) Gamba, widows of brothers Bernabé and Fernando respectively. 
She is also survived by her six daughters: Ana María McKee, Cristina (Juan) Sollosso, María Luisa Gastón, Beatriz (Don) Skeens, Margarita (Kevin) Jenson, and Maria Teresa (John) Gastón-Witchger; her 15 grandchildren: Cristi-Mari, Brian, Alicia, Helen, Mel, Beth, Julia, Felipe, Angela, Kevin, Martín, Faith, Joshua, Luke, Abraham; and 25 great-grandchildren; many cousins, nieces and nephews, and loving friends. 
A Memorial Mass to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday July 16that 11:30 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, 1400 South State Road 7 (also called Route 441), North Lauderdale, Florida 33068. The Mass will be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. We will share pictures, display some of her paintings and tell stories of her wonderful life. All are welcome.
Special thanks are due to friends of the Senior Center, staff of the Adult Day Care and of Catholic Hospice at home, and her helpful neighbors and home care aides (Karen, Sharon, Carmen, Lis, Maria del Carmen, María and Gladys) whose excellent help enabled us to keep Mom at home, as was her fervent wish, and together with her family, accompanied Mom in these last months of her life.
In lieu of flowers, you may wish to make a donation to honor her memory: Las Esclavas in Caibarién, Cuba, or the Families of Gaston’s “Dolores Sugar Mill”, or Caritas Cuba - Holguin. Please write the check to Maria Luisa Gaston, and in the “Memo” line, write your donation choice. We will collect and use appropriate channels to get the money to the right place. Address for donations: Maria Luisa Gaston, 7411 S.W. 11th Court, North Lauderdale, Florida, 33068. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sanchez family Ancestry - by Maria Luisa Gaston y Sanchez

This page is dedicated to our Sanchez Family Reunion 2017 at the Beachcomber Resort and Villas.  The facebook page has pictures and family information.

Facebook page Sanchez Family Reunion 2017

This is the new  Sanchez Ancestry - written by Maria Luisa Gaston y Sanchez

The names and addresses of the family will be emailed individually to those that request it.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mom's Fighting the Battle with Old Age - and losing

Mami, my Mommy
How sad it is to see you grow old.
I feel it beginning as my joints hurt and I can't do what I used to do.

I know that you are crying inside for what you used to be 
How hard it must be to know but not be able to do
To want to eat but have to spit out. To have no taste
To be thirsty but not be able to swallow
To feel pain that does not stop
To want to go the usual way but to have no control of it
To want to share yourself but cannot speak

But I am glad that you can still do this:
You can say my name
And you can smile
And you can love