Ed Sheeran ÷ Deluxe Album Review

Ed Sheeran left us for a bit. But he is back and making us feel all the feels. Here are my first random thoughts during my first full listening party. Join me as I try and make sense of them all. Also I discuss some of my favorite lyrics. Ed does this amazing job of creating lyrical masterpieces.

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#MYLISTENINGPARTY

View All Ed’s Lyrics HERE

You can stream Divide on Spotify and on Ed’s YouTube channel. Or BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT!

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Eraser

Rapping like old times

Great guitar riff

Sway-it’s dancing and a description for how I feel inside

African Safari vibes

Fav Lyrics:

“I think that money is the route of all evil, and fame is hell.”

“And I found comfort in my pain.”- Heavy

 

Castle on the Hill (previously heard)

A song about his home

That Rasp!

“Whohoo”- love that note!

Fav Lyrics:

 “And I miss the way you make me feel, it’s real, we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill.”

“Had my first kiss on a Friday night I don’t reckon I did it right.”

“I was younger then, Take me back to when.”

“One friend left to sell clothes. One works down by the coast. One had two kids but lives alone. One’s brother overdosed .One’s already on his second wife. One’s just barely getting by. But these people raised me, And I can’t wait to go home” – I adore this storytelling section and that last line is the beauty. Home is made of people who affect your life and help you to create who you are.”

 

Dive

Different

“Woo Yeah!”- my audible response a few seconds into it! Pretty sure I was snapping along too.”

Sexy/Sassy

Deep Vocals

Guitar solo- Yes! That’s going to be BADASS live on tour.

Tears

Fav Lyrics:

“Maybe I came on too strong, maybe I waited too long…”

“So don’t call me baby. Unless you mean it. Don’t tell me you need me. If you don’t believe it. So let me know the truth. Before I dive right into you.”- Just let me go, I’m feeling all the feels. SO DAMN GOOD! #Goosebumps

 

Shape of You (previously heard)

All kinds of HELL YES!

I heard this song and it was an instant favorite, still is.

Total Dance Jam

POP

Chanty and I love it! Love those drums!

Would be a kick ass Zumba song!

Fav Lyrics:

“The club isn’t the best place to find a lover. So the bar is where I go.”

“I’m in love with the shape of you. We push and pull like a magnet do. Although my heart is falling too. I’m in love with your body. And last night you were in my room. And now my bedsheets smell like you. Every day discovering something brand new. I’m in love with your body. Oh I oh I oh I oh I- I’m in love with your body.”

“Come on be my baby, come on…” Clap along Sing along? YES Please! Slay ED, SLAY!

 

Perfect

Ballad

Lyrics! So sweet

Love letter

It’s got that oldies vibe

Fav Lyrics:

“Cause we were just kids when we fell in love. Not knowing what it was. I will not give you up this time. But darling, just kiss me slow, your heart is all I own.”

“When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath. But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight.”

 “Well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know.”

“Now I know I have met an angel in person.”

“I don’t deserve this, you look perfect tonight.”

 

Galway Girl

Hip hop

 Violin/Flute/Fiddle?

Fav Lyrics:

“Kissed her on the neck and then I took her by the hand Said, “Baby, I just want to dance”

“And then she kissed me like there was nobody else in the room.”

 

Happier

Soft

Tells a story

Chanty- “hay ya hey ya hay yea”

Beautifully heartbreaking.

Fav Lyrics:

“I saw you in another’s arms. Only a month we’ve been apart. You look happier.”

 “Ain’t nobody hurt you like I hurt you. But ain’t nobody love you like I do.”

“But ain’t nobody need you like I do.”

 “Everything’s reminding me of you.”

 

New Man

Creeping- He admits it.

Jam

Swag

Jamaican

Sunglasses—-YES #truth

DJ-mixer/rap style YES!

There’s always the F-off song. This is it.

Fav Lyrics:

“But still, I’m just keeping it real, still looking at your Instagram and I’ll be creeping a little I’ll be trying not to double tap, from way back, cause I know that’s where the trouble’s at.”

“He wears sunglasses indoors in winter at nighttime, and every time a rap song comes on He makes a gun sign, says chune, boydem light up the room.”

 

Hearts Don’t Break Around Here

Daises. Baby. Lately. Roses. LOVE THIS.

Beautiful.

“Oh Yeah yeah yeah yeah”- I love this! I feel like he does this all the time and it love it!

Fav Lyrics:

“Took my heart upon a one way trip. Guess she went wandering off with it. Unlike most women I know. This one will bring it back whole.”

 “Love the way that you conquer your fear.”

“She is the lighthouse in the night that will safely guide me home.”

 

What Do I Know?

Campfire

Children talk

Backup Vocals- Chanty/Hums

Loving the chanty vibes

The world needs this song right now- Election inspired I’m sure

 

Fav Lyrics:

“I’m just a boy with a one-man show.” –Ain’t that the truth Ed! 😀

“Love can change the world in a moment.”

 “Spread love, understanding, positivity.”

 

How Would You Feel (Paean) (previously heard)

Paean: a song of praise or triumph. (Ed has said this was written for his girlfriend) Gosh I can’t- how freaking sweet.

That Piano ❤

This is most like the ED SHEERAN we’re used to.

LOVE

Vulnerability

Human

Wanting/ Needing Acceptance

Guitar Solo @ 2:57 crushes your heart. It reminds me of John Mayer playing “Gravity.” This has to be Mayer. I’m gonna check on this. Yup. Thought I read that somewhere, and even so I spotted it just by listening. Has to be this song that he played on.

Further confirmation…

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Fav Lyrics:

 “We got questions, we should not ask but-.”

“How would you feel if I told you I loved you?”

 “Taking my time- spending my life. Falling deeper in love with you. So tell me that you love me too?”

 

Supermarket Flowers

LYRICS!

Heartbreaking

Recalling Memories—> history

Comfort

Simplicity in the vocals and the piano

“Who ooo who”- love that shit! 😉

Church like

Different

Love letter to his mom?

Fav Lyrics:

“Mom there’s a tear every time that I blink.”

“Oh I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up but I know.  A heart that’s broke it’s a heart that’s been loved.”

“Hallelujah- you are an angel in the shape of my mom.”

 “When God takes you back he’ll say Hallelujah you’re home.”

 

Barcelona *Instant Fav

Up beat

A good change of pace from the prior heartbreaker

Saxophone

Breathy chant/beat box beginning

Sexy

One man band

Flutes/whistles

Guitars

Rasp!

LOVE

Spanish- YES!

Mamasita/sangria

Tropical

Feel good

Would be awesome live on tour

Dance anthem/Sing along

I want to go to Barcelona with Ed Sheeran right now.

Fav Lyrics:

“Well get up up on the dancefloor, move, it’s a Saturday night. I fell in love with the sparkle in the moonlight. Reflected in your beautiful eyes, I guess that is destiny doing it right.”

“You’re like something that God has sent me. I want you baby-solamente.”

 

Bibia Be Ye Ye *Instant Fav

Bibia Be Ye Ye- means All will be well/Everything will be alright

Different

Nice follow up to Barcelona

What a night!

Travel influence

Spanish/Twi vibes

LOVE

 

Nancy Mulligan

Irish/Ireland

Irish jig/River dance

Pub

Beer

Storytelling

Inspired by his Parents?

Claps/Chants

I’m there in a pub with Ed.

Only Ed can jump from an ethnic tropical vibe to a river dance vibe and make it work.

Fav Lyrics:

“From her snow white streak in her jet black hair. Over sixty years I’ve been loving her. Now we’re sat by the fire, in our old armchairs. You know Nancy I adore ya.”

 

Save Myself

Piano & Vocals

Letter to self

Sadness

Oddly Inspirational

Fav Lyrics:

“They gave me the heartache and in return I gave a song. It goes on and on.”

“So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself.”

“Human beings are destined to radiate or drain.”

 “Before I blame someone else, I’ve got to save myself.”

“Before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself.”

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As I mentioned Ed had left us for quite a bit, but as he echoes in first track “Eraser.”- “Welcome to the new show I guess you know I’ve been away. Where I’m heading who knows. My heart will stay the same.” And I think that describes this journey perfectly. He’s always Ed, no matter the chances he takes, he’s still that talented one man show, we all know and love.

My first initial thought was this album is love- all the colors of it. Current. Past. Present. Heartbreak too. He’s storytelling, and at times he finds inspiration in other people’s stories too. Which is such a beautiful thing.

He’s still his usual self, he still has killer lyrics and rap moments, still hits those riffs, still has those guitar ballads, still rocking that epic loop pedal. But then there are the different elements. We get some more production in this album, we get a bunch of different instrumental sounds- violins, whistles, etc. He’s experimenting without losing what makes him so unique and special. And I love, love, LOVE how he mixed a bit of the Irish vibes and the Spanish vibes in one album. He had mentioned he was traveling throughout the writing process of this album and I feel like that shows in all the unique sounds and lyrics he created.

I also really like the track list placement. The order of the songs flow really well. The sad songs are followed by upbeat songs, the travel inspired songs are clustered, and then we get a bang of an introduction with Eraser and the sweet love letter to oneself at the end. What a beautiful message. You can also see this album is a reflection of where Ed is at in his life. Or so I would think. It’s quite different than the others.

Granted we get our Ed, but he’s softer, raspier, more hopeful, and there’s a maturity. He keeps themes of love, home/family, and parents, as he has in the past, but I also love how children has become a theme. He’s probably looking into the future and where he’s going to be soon- married with kids. Soldier on Ed, whatever you do, we’ll follow and listen.

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16 tracks Ed. 16 tracks. Solid. Epic. Welcome back, sir. You are killing the game. You are truly a talent- a one man show. Here’s hoping I’ll get to see you on tour this time!

 

*I do not take credit for Ed’s images.*

 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

“She Said” Update

Hey Readers!

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure how people would react to it- strangers reading my work? How…strange.

But recently a few things have popped up regarding a monologue I posted two years ago.

She Said was posted on September 1, 2014.

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The inspiration for it simply came from just getting in the mindset of someone who had just had their heart handed to them. And what they would be feeling.

I want to say sometime last year, I got a message from a woman asking me for some background info about “She” because she had used my monologue for an audition into an acting school of some sorts. I tried to get some information out of her, because I wanted to know more about what the situation was before providing original work to a stranger. But unfortunately she never responded.

Needless to say within the last few days, I received a new message from a guy by the name Omar Salgado about this same monologue. He said he was inspired to create a vimeo video based off of it. And I thought it was really cool and wanted to share it.

This led to him linking a dramatic reading of my monologue. One he used as the audio for his piece above- read by a woman by the name, Eva Augustina Sinotte. I didn’t even know this existed on YouTube! I wonder if she was the woman who contacted me. Her emotion is on point!

Seeing people respond to my work, in their own creative ways is really something cool and surreal. I hear my words and see them mirror the story I created and it is truly a super weird feeling. Don’t get me wrong I am flattered, but it’s crazy that these things were being made, and I had no clue! I’m thankful that Omar reached out to me and gave me credit. I got to see that people can be inspired by something I’ve written. I can only hope this is the first of many inspirations to come.

The internet man, what a trip! 

The journey does continue…On September 2, 2014-a day later, I posted He Said, She Said.

This time you get to see the conversation between both She and He.

Enjoy!

 

*I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or in the videos used.*

-<3-

 

 

OOTD- Black, Gold & a little bit of Leopard

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Dress- Annie Sez

Coat- Annie Sez

Shoes- Payless

(These are like 10 years old, they were shot after tonight, and I had to throw them out! #WellLivedIn)

This outfit was a total steal! I was on a mission to find something both funky and elegant for my best friend’s engagement party. I looked and looked and was coming up empty for a while.

But then I saw this beautiful black and gold dress and I was excited about wearing one of my favorite color combinations.

After I decided on the dress, I thought it would be fun to funk this outfit up with a big furry jacket or sweater of some sort and that’s when I saw that leopard coat. I have been wanting something like this forever, but everything has been so expensive! But this Steve Madden Leopard Coat was $99.99, and was 70% off and ended up being $30. The dress was $30, too! So I left that store quite the happy camper!

I kept my makeup pretty neutral with browns and golds and a nude/pink lip. My nails were painted a matte gold and I added some pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet. The design on the dress was so stunning, I didn’t think I needed a necklace. As for rings I wore a simple black and gold onyx ring on one hand, and a big gold and crystal rock on the other. Rings are always my favorite!

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In other news my best friend asked me for some ideas for the party and after some Pinterest and google research I decided on these ideas and thought I’d share how they came out, (via her suggestion, haha.) “You should blog about these!” Love you girl!

Date Night Ideas Jar & Advice Jar, and Guess how many kisses are in the jar?

 

My love for mason jars and twine is real guys!

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And to top it all off, my best friend asked me to be her maid of honor…and I CANNOT WAIT!

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My girl knows my mug obsession is real!

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Move over Marilyn Monroe, there’s a new fashion icon in town. Love you girl, I can’t wait to be by your side throughout this whole thing! It’s truly and honor.  #SoulSistas

 

 What a beautiful party to celebrate the reuniting of two beautiful souls. I am so incredibly happy for you both! We had a great time. #ThatSpanishMusicTho 😉

*All photos are my own.*

-<3-

 

 

  

 

When Calls The Heart Season 4 Premiere

Sorry Walking Dead but I think I’ve traded in zombies for love. Hey, when you take away my favorite love story (Maggie and Glenn) you deserve to be put on the back burner. Still haven’t watched since. And I’m okay with that.

Anyway, I quickly fell in love with Hallmark’s Sunday night series- When Calls The Heart. But I watched through Netflix and YouTube, so to be able to watch the season 4 premiere along with the rest of the #Hearties fam, I was super excited! I even live tweeted a bit too! The cast seems so sweet! Although, let’s be real, I will be watching the premiere over again, because twitter can be such a distraction! 😀

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I had a crazy weekend, so I didn’t get to host my usual real deal big Premiere Party, but I set up at little something in honor of my newest TV obsession’s big night!

Here is me watching at my little mock Abigail’s Café! 😉

This is what happens when you are a total party planning, tv watching/obsessing junkie/fangirl. I love doing this crap. Next time I’m going to go all out! I already started planning it! Friends who are fans of the show will be notified. 😉

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A little tea & pie makes everything right! 😉

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Pinkie’s up and out!

 

 

I went with a collared blouse and a matching cardigan, then draped a pashmina overtop  to mirror the women of the frontier’s fashion. A low side bun and some dainty jewelry like Elizabeth! Shh you can’t tell I’m wearing yoga pants! 😉 (Next time I have to find a long skirt!)

Here is a sneak peek at last night’s episode and a Trailer for what’s to come! I think I feel a proposal coming!

You are my life, you are everything”- Jack Thornton making women swoon everywhere. #ThatCandleSceneTho

Can I please live in 1910! Please, please oh please! 😉

“Penny for your thoughts?” “I’ll give them to you for free.”

“You look absolutely beautiful.”

“Your never gonna lose me Elizabeth.”

Ah! I cannot!

When Calls The Heart airs Sunday nights @ 9pm on Hallmark Channel.

Seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Netflix. Binge watch girl, you won’t regret it! 😉

 

*Premiere Party images are my own.*

*I do not take credit for any other images or videos used.*

-<3-

 

Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart

I think I’ve made my love for Hallmark love stories pretty clear over the past few years here on this blog. Recently, I just got hooked on Hallmark’s Sunday night series-

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I remember seeing commercials for it here and there and always wondering about it. It wasn’t until my Titi Patricia told me she watched it on Netflix and loved it, that I was like- uh oh time to binge. And binge I did. Just in time for the 4th season premiere this February 19th!

Funny thing is Netflix only has 2 seasons available so I had to search my but off and watch the third season on YouTube- audio edited and small screen. But hey when your obsession grows, you do what you gotta do. Hats off YouTube. #InternetLoopHoles

Let me hit you with a little Wiki info to catch you up to speed:

When Calls the Heart is a Canadian-American television drama series, inspired by Janette Oke’s book When Calls the Heart from her Canadian West Series.

It tells the story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high-society life. She receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal-mining town in Western Canada which is located just south of Robb, Alberta. There, life is simple—but often fraught with challenges. Elizabeth charms mostly everyone in Coal Valley, except Royal North West Mounted Police Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). He believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. The town of Coal Valley was renamed Hope Valley in Season 2 after the coal mine was closed.

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Living in this 1910 coal town, Elizabeth must learn the ways of the Canadian frontier movement if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own. Lori Loughlin portrays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, and her only son—along with 44 other miners—have recently been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith tested when they must go to work in the mine to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and compile a wage for the town’s teacher. -Wikipedia.

Needless to say I watched the first episode and fell in love with it’s heart. No pun intended. It’s a show about a small town, so immediately  I was invested. It’s set in 1910 and you know my love for older generations is strong. Aunt Becky…is in it…and she is a total badass, so um there’s that!

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And don’t even get me started on the clothing….I am three seconds away from hosting a corset wearing party! I am obsessed!

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However, my favorite part of this show…as you know, has to be… the love story between Elizabeth and Jack. It starts off as a rocky relationship, there is clearly an attraction but they have a love/hate thing going on for a bit. This is when I realize that I may have been born in the wrong decade. Although I am a proud 90’s baby forever and always, the old ways of courtship is something that just warms my heart.

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The days of waiting and taking time to get to know someone’s heart. Not rushing. Simple dates. Simple glances. Simple touches. Oh the moments. The small looks and sayings make me swoon.

My sister in law always makes fun of me, “what do you expect a guy to do, come up to you and ask for your hand?”

Yes. Yes I do. When did that go out of style? 😉

Jack Thornton doesn’t always get it perfect, he stumbles like every guy, but there are times he shines brighter than the sun.

Let me count the ways:

Can we talk about how cute she is fanning herself after watching him chop wood?

“Elizabeth please do consider this a sign of courtship.” And he kisses her hand. OMG *swooning all over the place*

“That was just a guess.” #SLICKRICK

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The first kiss-

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“We can go as slow as you like.” -Horse riding lesson

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He painted a hidden message within the backdrop he painted for her class play, he also never told her he was the one who painted it.  

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“And I’ve been told no one messes with Ms. Thatcher.”-Pastor Frank talks to townsfolk about sharing the church with the school children. Everyone knows how protective Jack is over her.

The I love you exchange.

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The little arm rub @3:00 mark of the season 2 video. I’m obsessed!

The Mountie Christmas Ball he put together for her after they had to cancel their plans to go to the real one.

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He built her a church/school.

 

 

“May I…”- he is always so polite.

He’s also made a few subtle innuendos to a more “physical” relationship.

After she gets trapped under some beams in the coal mine, Jack asks to take a look at her knee and later says something like- “Well now that I’ve seen your knees…” Sooo scandalous!  I love it! haha 😉

He also makes mention to having  to sleep in the barn, and Elizabeth apologizes for the uncomfortable conditions, while he asks “Was there another option?” and she just looks at him stunned and says “No.” It cracks me up how cute he is, he’s not disrespectful, he never tries to push the issue, but it’s clear he loves her and is interested in being with her. She flusters easily which makes it all the more sweeter. Their playfulness is adorable.

He gets jealous of any other man who is in her life-Billy Hamilton, or Charles, her “friendly” neighbor. If looks could kill.

“Keep your man busy, so he won’t be in a tizzy, I read Rosemary’s column too!” -Jack basically wants to help Elizabeth repair her new road house and she wants to be able to do it all herself, so she seeks some advice from Rosemary, who tells her to keep Jack busy with menial tasks this way he won’t bother her to help. YOUR MAN. I love it! 

He bought land for them to build a house on as a surprise. He was a bit thrown when she bought her own road house, and wanted to come help her every chance he got.

Troubled Hearts

“Are you going to marry Constable Thornton?” Oh that smirk he has when he hears her answer! SO CUTE!

“You are going to make a terrific mother one day.”

They have many conversations about convincing/encouraging each other through kissing or keeping each other warm. –

I think you have enough fire wood for two years.”

“Well at least we’ll be nice and warm.”

“You know there are other ways to stay warm.”

Troubled Hearts

He is HER Mounty.

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My favorite episode is when Elizabeth agrees to watch a neighbor’s kids while he is away and they get a chance to experience what life would be like if they got married and had children. There’s scene where he teaches her how to pump water which is adorable and there’s a scene where he watches her help the little boy go to sleep, and this scene below where he mentions starting a family one day and curling up by the fire with someone he loves.

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They are very close to getting engaged I think. He has a ring already, and I think he is just waiting for the right time. She certainly expects it. And I love how he kind of has this sweet joking charm. He likes to mess with her. But I have every hope that when he does propose it will be very special and a dream come true for Elizabeth. I just hope her high society snooty family will get on board.

I wonder if they will let them have a proper love scene. We have seen their courtship grow and blossom into a love that’s pure, safe and true. And I know that the show is very family friendly, but I for one believe that the fans deserve to see their love reach a new level. I can’t wait to see how they handle the proposal, the wedding and their new love life together.

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Someone caught the bouquet, we know what that means!

Another thing I adore is the comradery between the people of this little town, especially the women. They are so strong and really rally in times of joy and in times of need and tragedy. All the women have lost so much and have really  risen above and shown such grace and strength and hope in the face of such pain. Each woman is a force to be reckoned with. Abigail is truly the source of the town hope. She is such a total badass. She even leads them into the coal mine to help the women keep to help pay off their homes.

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Elizabeth is taking on that nature as well, as she is proving to herself that she can step outside her comfort zone of wealthy privileged city life and do for herself. She is constantly telling Jack not to “check in on her.” But he does anyway, which I kind of love anyway, because he knows she’s capable but he just loves her so much that he needs to check in on her anyway.

When Calls The Heart

Elizabeth is such a beautiful spirit. She is a teacher and a writer, which I relate to and find a comfort in. And she believes women can do anything, which I am all for. She cares and loves deeply and is a character I truly admire. She teaches that girls can do anything!

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I also love how female empowerment is being implemented throughout the show. Girls in the city life are taught to be wed by a certain age and take on a certain lifestyle of “taking care of their man.” Studying and becoming lawyers or holding their own titles are heard of seldom. There’s a woman lawyer who kicks ass!

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And Rosemary a theater Mongol serves as an advice columnist in town who really throws the women for a loop when she urges them to expect things from their men instead of allowing their men to expect from them. One of her quotes were “There are so many things in this world that are taboo, a love between a woman and her husband, should not be one of them.” Yea girl. Preach.

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In a nutshell. I love this show. Season 4, I’m ready for ya! I am officially a fan. Can I join the #hearties? I can #partylikeaheartie

Season 4 of Hallmark’s Series  When Calls The Heart premieres

This Sunday, February 19th @9 pm

*I do not take credit for the images, gifs, videos used.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love you Grandma, Vai Com Deus.

 

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Photo By: Robert DeSantos Jr.

 

This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions.

It’s something I can’t quite put into words, but I want to try.

Somehow I always feel better after I write.

It’s a therapeutic comfort.

I am a pretty private person, especially if I don’t know you well, I tend to keep things to myself.

This blog is a bit of a different outlet for me and even though it’s public, I have deemed it my safe place, and no one can take that away from me.

So when my family was informed that my Grandma wasn’t doing well, it was difficult for me to know how to handle what I was feeling.

I’m a pretty sensitive person and I am in touch with my emotions pretty quickly on things.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy feeling them.

I’ve been waiting to gather the strength to write this because I know it will stir up emotions all over again. But as a writer and as a granddaughter I know I have to do this.

 

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Me with my Grandma & Grandpa

 

I don’t think I have ever felt so many emotions over the course of such a small amount of time.

Yet this past week has felt like it’s tested the length of time.

It’s felt longer than ever.

My grandma has suffered with Alzheimer’s for about 14 years.

And in that time, my family was around to see that kind of disease take over her life.

It’s a vortex of confusion, emotion, and time that seems to just stand still.

What day is it?

What time is it?

Who knows? Who cares?

I’ve mourned the loss of many, but this was the hardest I’ve ever had to deal with.

This is the first person in my life who is a direct connection to me and my immediate family.

My dad’s mom.20170214_110631

The pillar of strength that our family has rested upon for years.

The woman who is responsible for all the many family gatherings and the many family dinners.

With an illness like Alzheimer’s you know someone will not recover from it.

It’s an illness that takes many family members from many families.

Even though the loss is expected in some way, shape or form, you are never ready for it.

No matter how much you tell yourself what to expect. It’s never easy.

My grandma had been put on hospice care for the last few years, and even then we all I think still had hopes for more years to come.

Because she always kept going, birthday after birthday, year after year.

She is such a strong soul.

And she had such a dedicated caretaker in my aunt.

She always rounded whatever obstacle was standing in her way.

But even so, over the past month we were told she was suffering more and more seizures, she wasn’t eating and it would soon be her time.

Life is difficult.

We don’t always feel like we have time for everything.

And I know that families can sometimes become distant.

I know growing up has caused me to drift from certain people, but over the past few years my family and I have tried to rectify that.

We aren’t perfect, but we try our best.

It was never because of lack of love, it was just life being life and getting in the way.

I’m grateful for the time I do and did get to spend with my family.

We made it a point to be there for more holidays and visit more regularly. And I am so grateful for that.

My grandma passed away this past Tuesday.

I got the call that my parents knew it would soon be time for her, and they were leaving to go see her as I left work.

Immediately I was riddled with a feeling of anxiety and guilt.

I wanted to be there to support my family, but I didn’t want to witness her passing.

It was too much for me to handle.

So I went home and soon later I got the call that she passed. I had my moments of emotion- sadness, anger, relief.

I remember thinking I never want to go through this again.

I know death is apart of life and I’m catholic and I believe in the after life and that we will all one day be reunited with our loved ones, but the distance is cruel. There’s no stopping the roller coaster of emotions.

There was sadness for my family, especially my dad, my grandfather and all my aunts.

Anger at this disease that caused an eclipse over her life and robbed me of so many memories I could have had with my grandma. That was the hardest one I think. She was the only grandma I ever knew.

I was quite young when she began showing signs of having this illness. And then she suffered with it for 14 years. So if you do the math I’m 25. 25-14= 11.

I’m Hispanic- so my Brazilian roots are courtesy of her. And I am damn proud of that.

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Christ the Redeemer Brazilian statue – Photo by: Robert DeSantos Jr.

 

I think all of her daughters and granddaughters can thank her for their curvy figures. 😉

Even though I was young, I remember certain things about her- how she would always be in the kitchen cooking something amazing.

Dishes like- Rice and beans, Pernil, and Cachupa.

Even her salad was ridiculous!

No one till this day can top it.   

She also made the best flan, I have ever had!

I remember many New Year’s Eves of us kids running around with cups of flan in our hands.

Or drinking Malta, even though it was gross, I just thought it was “cool.”

Or sparkling cider, because we somehow thought we were fancy.

My grandpa always setting up a camera to catch our family memories.

I remember her refrigerator magnets and how she would rattle off to me in Portuguese and I would never really understand.

She was such a cute little Brazilian lady.

What got to me most was even though I remember those things, I couldn’t pin point a significant moment or conversation I had with her. Which broke my heart. I had many conversations with my mom about that feeling about why it made me so sad. And talking about it helps. I only hope that I hear more stories that will jog my memories. Because I know they are there.

As a kid I worried about running around and playing with my millions of cousins. You don’t worry about much else.

And that’s where the anger comes in, because now that I’m older I could have had more conversations and more moments with her, had this illness not taken over her smiling face.

The relief came a bit later when I realized that she is no longer suffering.

Selfishly I think we all wanted her to stay forever.

Even in her state, she was still there with us.

But she was no longer able to move, she couldn’t communicate, she wasn’t living.

At least not in the full sense of the word.

And I never would want that for her.

The day after she passed I wanted to go to work.

I figured that was the “adult” thing to do.

I’m trying so hard to push myself and be what I think an adult is supposed to be.

Which means doing things, even when I don’t want to.

That’s part of being an adult right?

Doing what you gotta do.

Services hadn’t been planned out yet and I needed to keep busy, otherwise that’s all I’d be thinking about.

I thought I could handle it.

But just a few short minutes into my work day, my emotions took over and it was evident.

I had wanted to just update my co-worker on why I had missed a day and what was going on to let them know I’d be out for the services coming up.

But just having to say the words brought on the tears.

I immediately felt embarrassed. But the level of comfort I received in that time and even now is something I didn’t expect and something I am very grateful for.

I haven’t known my co-workers too long, yet they were completely there for me, like a family.

And it made me feel better, and ok with the fact that I let my emotions show.

I think that’s important in life.

To learn that showing emotion, doesn’t make you weak.

We often think that vulnerability is a bad thing, that somehow people would think less of you, if you actually tell them, or show them what you are feeling.

Quite honestly I think it just makes you human. It makes you relatable.

I couldn’t have controlled the tears in that moment. And I’m learning that, that’s ok.

My co-workers weren’t judgmental they were helpful.

I gathered myself and continued my day- taught my lessons and all, and even with a red puffy face, I made it through ok.

That to me is a lesson I’ve learned within myself.

And I hope my experience can be a lesson to anyone who has tried to conceal their emotions and failed.

It’s ok.

You are human.

And you can handle more than you think you can.

She said to herself, and to all of you.

Some people on the other hand are rocks, like my grandfather and my dad, and most of my uncles.

I was so worried about how my dad and all my family would take this and to see how they were somehow peaceful in such a sorrowful time, was something I was surprised to see.

I don’t think its void of emotion in any way, I can tell it effects them, I just think we all grieve in different ways.

I spoke more about how we all grieve differently in a recent post I wrote just before my grandma’s passing.

The services lasted two days.

And I can’t explain it.

It was sad, it was really really sad, but it was beautiful.

My family wanted it to be a celebration of her life.

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Our Family Tree. This has since been removed by the city, but we have this pic to hold onto.

 

We were told that she never wanted dark colors at her funeral.

She loved the colors blue and yellow.

There were pictures of her life displayed around the room, flowers of beautiful colors, Brazilian music playing, home videos played on a screen above, and food downstairs for when you needed to refuel and calm the nerves.

My cousin made yellow flowered hair clips for the women and yellow flowered coat pins for the men.

She also made beautiful flower arrangements, one that spelt out Grandma and the other that was in the shape of a Brazilian flag.

We all gathered and loved each other through it all.

To the outsider it may have seemed like a weird experience. It may have even seemed disrespectful.

But to my family it was something so beautiful, to be surrounded by that much love.

What family member would want to see you cry over them and suffer in pain?

Celebration is how it really should be.

I think this experience was an eye opener on many levels.

Family from out of town traveled miles to get in; driving, flying, friends of family and extended family came to pay their respects.

My grandma brought out quite the crowd.

The day did not go on without its emotions.

The first hour was for immediate family, and it was quieter. I was able to keep calmer and more peaceful.

As more people came in and speeches of memories were told, the emotions came.

I was struck with a heavy chest and often times I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

It was a constant battle of remembering to take breaths in between the tears.

I don’t think the tears have ever fallen so freely down my face.

I was in fight or flight mode throughout the whole sermon and speeches.

But I suspect I wasn’t the only one, yet we all pushed through.

We’re stronger than we think we are.

The second day was an intense anticipation.

Everything had been leading up to the day of her burial.

Showered. Check.

Get dressed. Check.

Eat breakfast. Check.

Things that seem so regular, yet somehow felt foreign.

The fog that I had been in, that we had all been living in, would soon be fading, once we laid her to rest.

We experienced some less than generous people on the road, who cut in and out of our procession.

That’s New York for you I suppose.

But my heart was in my throat and blood was boiling.

That’s never something you want to experience during such a difficult time.

The lack of oxygen began and the worry for how my family will be during this final moment was nerve-wracking.

I was worried. I wanted and I prayed for everyone to get through this in love and support of each other, to just be healthy.

And I can’t explain- I’m sure you’ve noticed how that has been a theme throughout all of this-but the burial was peaceful and beautiful.

It was immediate family only, but even then it was a large crowd, my grandparents had 8 children together and between their kids and their kid’s kids, it was still a crew. The statistics show she has 35 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. And even though all weren’t there, most of us were. That to me is the definition of family, love and support. It figures grandma would be the one to bring all of us together, she always was. We huddled together through the cold, bundled in coats, hats, scarves and gloves, our boots covered in mud, and were just there for each other.

The tears came slightly, but it wasn’t overbearing like the day before.

Somehow there was a beauty in it.

Flowers were placed around her and her Brazilian flag was in place. I think we just finally realized she was home with God, and at peace, free of suffering. Something I feel my grandpa knew all along.

Guess we were all tardy to the party.

Back at my grandparents, and yes I still call it that right now, because that’s what it is- it was kind of standing room only.

If you saw a seat, you rushed to it. 😉

There was such a weird energy in the room.

It wasn’t bad, it was just strange.

I had been worried about walking into that house and the room in which my grandma used to be, I was worried I would lose it.

But we were all ok.

It was not your traditional funeral experience.

And I thank god for that.

This was a celebration of life.

Of grandma’s life.

We ate, we played music, we talked, and some danced.

It was joyful, but I think we all had our moments of somber.

Children ran around the room in joy.

It was a beautiful day of family reunion.

I had been conflicted a bit, was this ok?

Sometimes I would look over at my grandpa, still dressed in his full suit, and I wondered if he was ok with this.

In the older times, you wouldn’t dare play music, or watch TV.

But he never stopped the celebration.

I was also conflicted with taking pictures.

This isn’t something you necessarily want to remember or have images of.

But in that moment of celebration, after the tears had shed, after she had been laid to rest, there was a beauty that needed to be captured.

There was a reunion amongst a family.

I got to see cousins and aunts and uncles I haven’t seen since I was a kid.

I got to see how love can heal pain.

And I got to see how truly amazing my family is.

Not that I didn’t already know, but this was just a reaffirmation.

That even though times may change, and years can go by, we still gather in love and support during times of joy and sadness.  

I know it’s strange and you may think of it wrong, but it was what my family needed.

I got to hear how my grandma actually lobbied for my name to be Michelle.

I got to have a nice moment with my grandpa who told me that I was his baby girl and that he loved all of his grandchildren so much.

I got to see all my aunts smile.

I got to laugh with my cousins.

I’ve never said hi and bye to same people quite so many times.

The hugs were on point. 😉

We took a much needed updated cousins photo.

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We took many group photos and selfies with loved ones.

How could you not? When there is so much love in one home.

It’s all still fresh and I still feel like I’m slowly coming out of this time vortex, foggy, surreal experience.

As odd as it seems, the saying goes- life goes on.

And there are so many beautiful things to look forward to and celebrate.

Even now as I try to get back into the swing of things I think about it and it all still seems like a dream.

I feel like it’s not real.

And it makes me sad.

Sad to know she is no longer here, in person, on earth with us.

Sad to know that when I visit, she won’t be in her room.

But I think the best thing for all of us now, is to focus on the healing process.

We can’t go back, we can’t change anything.

But we know she was well loved and will continue to be loved. And her memory will live forever.

One of my little cousins said something that I think made the day just a bit sweeter, “I feel like, in some way, Grandma is here.”

And you know what I think she was.

We love you Grandma, Vai Com Deus.

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Her birthday celebration this past November- 83 Years Young *<3

 

 

*Side Note:

A few years ago, back in college, I did my thesis project on my grandma. It was kind of like a day in the life documentary, and I wanted it to be an informational source for others dealing with such a trying illness.

I’ve written about the experience on this blog before.

My brother was my cameraperson and all around right hand man, and we completed something that I for one am really proud of. For those family members asking, you can find the trailer to my documentary in the link HERE. I was debating including this but people were asking who haven’t seen it, and my hope is not for it to make you sad, but to comfort you, to know after all the suffering, she is now at peace.

 

-<3-

 

 

Is there a right way to grieve?

They say writers often write the things they cannot say.

Or that they write in times of grief and tragedy.

In times of great joy or confusion.

I suppose I’ve done this many times.

Do you ever think to yourself – what does grief look like?

I am sure you have painted a picture of it in your head.

Your picture, the colors you’ve chosen to blend together, the emotions you choose to feel, or the feelings you just happen to come by.

But can we as human beings who are flawed by nature,  truly give an accurate description of what grief actually is and what is should feel like?

The truth is it’s different for everyone.

We struggle in different ways.

I always struggle with doing what I feel is the right thing to do.

Should I do this?

Should I be there?

Should I say this?

Or do that?

I usually strive to always go with the answer yes and follow through.

But in times when I don’t the guilt arises.

Grief and dealing with those emotions of loss and feeling confused and hopeless are never easy. For anyone.

They are never just so.

Never perfectly one sided or crystal clear.

They are murky and layered with struggle and obstacles.

I guess what I am trying to say is we need to step away from our little self inflicted pictures of what should be done and see that everyone handles things differently.

You do what you have to do.

You do what you feel is right.

And god is the only one who can judge that.

I have strong beliefs in always doing the right thing, and I fall short many times, but the right thing for me may not be the right thing for someone else.

If someone is struggling with something, or coming to grips with something difficult it is not my place nor anyone else’s place to judge them.

I wouldn’t want someone to judge me.

And it is so easy to point fingers and blame in times of hurt and pain.

But we all have walls.

Whether we believe it or not.

We all have things we don’t always feel we can handle.

We often dive into the realm and needs of self preservation.

When someone leaves us, will we be able to handle it?  Or handle seeing that person go through such and ordeal of deterioration?

Humans have mastered many things, but dealing with grief and loss isn’t one of them.

I suppose generations will not change that.

There are things we will never understand.

Reasons why people get stricken with long term illnesses.

Why them?

Why now?

Why this family?

And we will never know.

And in these times we  struggle and despair.

We are confused, we are angry, we place blame on God, on others, on ourselves.

But is that any use?

Unity, love, family, that is what we need to focus on.

Even if you’re not there, if your heart is there- god knows it, they know it, you know it.

And prayers for a safe return home to you are sung throughout those unified hearts.

-<3-