THE BIRDS AND THE BEES, WHY NOT ME?

My wonderful children

My wonderful children

I am moving in eight days, again.  When I had all my kids at home (all ten of them) they used to love to shock people by telling them we have moved 19 times over the years.  Am I military? you might ask.  No, not at all.  Then why would I move so many times, especially with such a large family.  Good question and one that is too complex for me to delve into today, maybe I do not even understand totally.

But all that moving certainly did produce well-rounded people, with not much need for the security that comes with a ‘permanent home’ (is that maybe a bit of an illusion, anyway?).  One of my comments used to be that I wanted my children to have their security inside of them, not in external circumstances.  most of my kids are in their own homes.  My youngest is at the stage that he has one foot in and the rest out, sort to speak.

40751a83-9290-46c4-9c60-675b8d140d8a_zpsxxhazwfqI have a dream that I have been chasing for many years – building up a non-profit to help empower people who are helping others.  Needless to say, this has created a lifestyle for me that is not too security-based.  I am now 60 and I continue to believe and give and live for my passion, for my dream.   I have to be out of my apartment in eight days and just found a place to sub-let yesterday.  I act like I eat stress for every meal and enjoy the flavor, but lots of times my insides churn and I fight that enemy, anxiety.

BUT, I have been living like this for 40 years now (40 years!) and it appears that the older I get and the more my kids are independent, the more I feel driven to shed my ‘stuff’ and be free to keep trying to fly.  One of the biggest struggles has been always, over the years, finances.  Even freedom costs money.  The lack thereof and the pressure produced by that lack tends to produce anxiety.  Sometimes big, bad, ugly anxiety.  How do I deal with this damaging enemy of mine??  I have faith in a higher being than myself.  I believe in God and that He is directing and guiding my life.

I have this impression these days, and I might be wrong, that it might be more accepted for me to make known that I am gay (though I am not) than for me to announce that I believe in God and that I hear His voice and that I try to follow Him with a passion.  My struggle with beginning to blog was this:  do I hide my faith in the closet?  I want to be accepted, I want to build my readership, I want people to read my words and I long to encourage people.  So, do I hide the very thing that sustains me?   I do not attend church but my faith and my belief that I am following divine direction keeps me a bit saner as I push through the brambles and thorns of life, to see people set free.

As I stated in the beginning, I am moving.  And it is all very precarious at this point.  I developed a migraine headache yesterday.  A bad one – I thought, uh-oh, I know these signs, that stupid stress monster is rearing its ugly head and making me sick.  I cannot sleep.  So this morning, I turned to my Bible.  I stopped.  I got on my yoga mat.  I stopped.  I got quiet.  I tuned in to something in me, yet so much bigger than me.  I was led to John 14:1.  “Let your heart not be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”  Then I opened a very old devotional book I had on my shelf – have not opened it for a long time.  Opened to this:  “do not worry about your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…”  Matt. 6:25.     For years and years and years, when I find myself out on a ledge once again – needing to jump and needing to believe that ‘He’ will catch me, I always have to come back to this same question.  ‘Is my God real?  Or am I crazy?’   And time after time after time after time, He has proved to me, He is real (and yes, I am a bit crazy).

So, here is my story, here is my song.  The real one.  The continuing saga of a simple woman, with ten kids and now 8 grandchildren, still determined that my God is real and that He cares for us and that we really can make a difference.

“FOLLOWING THE LIGHT OF THE SUN, WE LEFT THE OLD WORLD.” Christopher Columbus

Following the sun
FOLLOWING THE SUN – LAS SALINAS, RIVAS, NICARAGUA

I discovered this bridge while hiking alone in Nicaragua.  Some Nica friends had told me that if I followed the path that was pointed out to me, I would arrive at a very secluded beach on the Pacific Ocean.  I was not told that I would have to wander through salt flats (which were awesome) and wind through a woods of thorny bushes and cross over this very cool bridge.  I got lost (which I tend to do now and then) and was thankful when a few local guys  let me follow them.

I had grown suspicious of men over the years and tended to put up barriers to ‘protect myself’.  One of my desires on this trip was to break through as many of the lies I have allowed to fester inside of me and gain some more life freedom.  Out with the old, and in with the new, ya know.  When I got lost following the sun and stepping off this bridge, I heard voices.  I turned and saw these young men – it was just me and them for as far as I could see.  I took a deep breath and…smiled, ‘on your way to the ocean?’ I asked.  And they were and here I am – I have lived to tell the tale.

It is good to ‘follow the sun’ every day, to face our fears and leave more and more of our old worlds behind.  I am certain that many of you reading this can relate.  Doesn’t it seem to you that many times our fears and our ‘old worlds’ are intertwined?  Let us help one another follow the sun!

VULNERABILITY – I HAVE CHEATED YOU

Ultrasound Project Las Salinas 6-28-130840-IMG_0135Giving Birth Kits way up in the mountains of NicaraguaI am writing this today to apologize.  Brene Brown says in her book ‘Daring Greatly’:  “Lord, give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”.   Yes, I have shown up, I am here.  But I have still been hiding a part of me and actually, I think it is pretty much the best part.  So, today, I am telling the whole truth.  I began this blog for me and for you, but also for the hurting, struggling people I have met and come to know and love.  I run a very small non-profit organization and it is what drives me in my life.  I live a bit on the edge for the sake of my work and I love it with a passion.  Do you ever have those stupid ‘what ifs’ run through your mind?  What if people get turned off by my blog because I talk about my projects?  (like what? Cheri???),  what if people….  whatever, my mind is so stupid sometime.So here I am with all my stuff hanging out – I hope you continue to follow my blog and to be really honest, I hope that some of you decide to get involved.   Wow, I said it.

The photos are of past experiences I have had with my mission – Missions of Grace.  And please know that I do have a very strong spiritual existence, but I respect and never push it on anyone.

Much more to come.  Exciting stories and introductions to some awesome ‘unsung heroes’.  Got to run.  Have a great day!

 

Heading out to rural Nicaragua – How I love it. Here comes the bus!

In just a few hours I will be getting in a taxi cab and paying $2 for the half hour ride to Rivas, where I will catch the public bus to Las Salinas, which is a 2 1/2 hour ride toward the ocean.  The bus ride will cost approx $2 also.  I will debark at the local health post, where my medical project is located. Ultrasound Project Las Salinas 6-28-1308

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I will be staying out at a beach house (family) and roughing it for four or five days.  I stayed there before and here is a video for your enjoyment.  Have a great day and tune back in for more current stories!!

Thanks goes out to my son, Sam Mauldin, who took the time to make this video for me.

FIRST NICARAGUAN STOP: SOPA De QUESO (Cheese Soup)

Doesn’t it feel great to create a goal, plan it out and then ACCOMPLISH IT?  Yup, it feels so good.  I made it to Nicaragua (with lots of help from my friends as always), driving 1800 miles and then flying from Ft. Lauderdale!!!  (How strange that it was easier to do that alone than to write a blog post – sheesh, Cheri). I landed at 2am on March 13th in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.  My plane was full of surfers and young adventure travelers – listening to their tales was great entertainment.  After I went through customs and baggage claim, I sighed a great sigh of relief.  I did not want to take a cab that late and there was Yettie Osorio – a close family friend, waiting to give me a ride to her home.  Connections!  My theme for this season of my life rocks.

Missions of Grace

Yettie introducing me to Dia de Sopa de Queso

Yettie insisted that I use her bedroom.  That is so very Nica – their hospitality is consistently incredible. The next day was Friday and Yettie offered to take me to lunch.  Here in Nicaragua the people try not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent.  Their Sopa de Queso (Cheese Soup) is popular for these Friday meals, so my adventure of the day was to try this dish at a traditional restaurant called ‘Dona Haydee’s.” It really was delicious!

ON OUR WAY TO THE BEACH

My son-in-law, Javier Baldovinos (known as Baldo) picked me up and off we went to San Juan del Sur, where he and my daughter Sarah run a guest house called Casa Ariki,  In upcoming posts, I will proudly introduce you to this fantastic Pacific coastal town, where the choices for fun are many.

Here is a taste of San Juan del Sur just for you:

www.casaariki.com

On my way to the local market to buy fresh fruit and veggies

Check out the ‘typical’ San Juan sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INVITATION: COME ON MY JOURNEY IF YOU DARE

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I packed my Wagon on February 3 and handed the keys to my apartment to a friend who will be staying there while I am gone.  (Note, I was much more organized by the time I left San Antonio – I can see out my back window).

Where am I going?  I am writing this from a hotel near Lafayette, La., on my way to Florida and then flying to Nicaragua, staying for a month, returning to my Wagon and then, who knows – not me.

Why?  I was at a crossroads in my life, I knew I needed to begin to write and felt very stuck.  I was not connecting with enough people and I wanted a change, a challenge and felt compelled to empower myself to radically reach out to life.  I want Missions of Grace to flourish but also, I want ME to flourish, to become unshackled, to become all that I can be, and that will flow to MOG, I just know it.

Someone told me the other day that I was a good Story-Getter.  I love people, I love to draw them out and get them to share their story and pass it on to you.  From Louisiana Crawdad eaters, to Florida seniors, to Nicaraguan vendors in the streets and remote villagers – I want to connect with them and share with you. I even bought a new camera so I can take videos and photos.

Please understand that I am new to this blogging and a bit rough around the edges.  Be patient with me and help me learn and improve.  I welcome your comments – I consider you part of my community!