It’s been a while. Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have written a post. I think sometimes I stay away from writing. But, writing to me is usually therapeutic and perhaps I haven’t wanted to reach deep or possibly I haven’t felt okay with being so vulnerable. But, as most of my writing happens, I felt an urge to write, to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what has been going on.

2018 was a hard year for me. Not one of the hardest, but I went back to places that I hadn’t been in a very long time.

I’m sure the depression had been creeping up for some time. It could have even been ignited by the death of Matt at the end of 2011. It wasn’t his death that I was depressed about. I was extremely sad, felt broken at times, and even sometimes said to him that I didn’t want to be here anymore if he wasn’t here, but fully depressed I wasn’t. At least not then. Back then I was grieving.

But, then a month after his passing I picked up the memoir I had started writing so many years prior. Almost 2 decades prior. I was determined to put this book back together, with it’s outlined pages, typed up pages, and hand-written pages. I was determined to finish it. Months prior to Matt’s death, I had shared with him the book that I would one day finish. He had said how he’d love to read it someday and how I should get back to writing it.

No longer was I going to put it off until I turned 60. I had the time now to finish this goal. I was determined. It was important to him. It was important for me because I thought if there was someone that I could help by seeing that they could change their lives, I had to finish it and get it out there to the world.

For the next 3 years, I wrote. I edited and edited and edited. I published, Evolving to Grace in 2015.

But, it took its toll.

I had just lost someone that meant so much to me. Almost immediately, I pick up memories on paper. I wrote and wrote. I remembered and had to remember things I had healed from and some that I had not. I was revisiting a past in its entirety. Feeling and crying over things that I had for some 20 years thought hadn’t affected me. Like my rape when I was 16 years old and still a virgin. Forever I had been saying how it barely affected me because I was mostly blackout (and passed out). That it wasn’t one of those brutal rapes that happen to a lot of females. Well, after re-editing my book, I found myself crying about it for the first time. A lot of trauma came storming back. But, I pushed threw. I felt good about finishing the book and self-publishing it. I felt accomplished. But, even though maybe 1 more edit was needed, I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally going over it again. So, I left it, published it and touched it up here and there with minor edits.

Then in 2016 I lost my job. It wasn’t a job I loved, too much animosity and toxicity was happening because of lack of good management. But, the thing about that job was that I was good at what I did day-to-day. So, after that lay off in September, I took a break. I had been wanting to switch professions for some time (from Accounting to Photography).

And, then in December my dad, that I hadn’t spoken to in 5 years fell ill and was in the hospital about to be put on a ventilator. I spent the next 2 weeks with my mom (that I also hadn’t spoken to in 5 years), three older sisters, nephews, niece, and my son. It was good and it was bad. My dad passed on December 22nd and we still have not had a service or a funeral. That hurts.

Forward to May 2017. I found myself defending the unpaid court order for child support. It was lowered and now this man that hadn’t cared to see his son or take care of him for 22 years, wanted to meet him. That lasted for a few months and as far as I know, he is no longer around. But, is paying child support. Though he tried to get it lowered again this past February. He was denied! And just for the record because so many people ask. Here in California, once a court order for child support is issued, it never goes away. Interest might continue accumulating after the child is 18 and the non-custodial is not paying. But, it sits there, waiting to be paid. And, I had never been paid until 2017.

As I write this and lay it all out, I see. The depression was bound to come back if I was just moving through all this dirt (wanted to type something else) without having someone there to talk to or have in my corner. I was still solo. I couldn’t connect with anyone the times I tried to date. I wasn’t seeing a therapist. Family, besides my son, were non-existent.

There were a few other things like not transitioning to get a career going in Photography or getting a decent Bookkeeping job. My son moved out and I finally felt the empty nesting syndrome even though I was keeping busy. And, finances were rough.

So, this is where I am. Where I was last year and I was kinda drifting away from blogging and keeping up with posting on Facebook and Instagram. I was deep into my depression. My suicidal at times depression. I hadn’t been there for 15 years or so.

I am now back in therapy and finally attending ACA meetings for the first time in my life. I am still trying to pursue my photography career, but I have a job that I really like in Accounting. I’m trying to put more effort back into writing because it is not only therapeutic for me but if one person comes across my story or my book, that they will feel less alone and will realize that they can heal. It doesn’t happen overnight and maybe like me, you will uncover things that you may have never looked at as traumatic. But, change can happen.

I can’t guarantee I will write a lot because I have to put most of my free time to my photography business, but I will try to share and write.

If you are going threw a lot, or even a little, talk to someone. Don’t think you can always work your way out of the mud by yourself. I have some resources if you’re in need on my Resources page.

Be well and lots of Love,
Grace

Signed Book Giveaway! Enter soon!

Many years ago I had a calling ~ to share my story. As a teenager, I thought I was the only one that was going through what I was going through. But, there are millions out there that have been given a tough life. For those of you, please don’t give up.
Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. I share my life’s experiences, my journey—finding my way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life I choose to live. I write about many challenges I’ve had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I’ve learned from my past and I am evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. I believe by sharing my story, we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

And now I’m giving away a few signed copies of my memoir! Enter on Goodreads.com for your chance to win!

For book bloggers/reviews, please direct message me.📖
Also available at Amazon.com, ibooks, and B&N.com.

#nomoreweek #endthestigma #youarenotalone

Holiday Sale

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Holiday sale! Make sure that you don’t miss out on this discount. This offer won’t last.

Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. Grace shares her life’s experiences, her journey—finding her way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life she chose to live. She writes about many challenges she has had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

Grace could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations she ended up in when she was lost and broken. She has learned from her past and she is evolving to find her grace in this beautiful thing we call life. She believes by sharing her story that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

 

#sale #booksale #holidaysale
#cyberMonday #blackfriday #cyberweekend

November 14th – 5 years later

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It is amazing that it has been 5 years since you went away. I feel like it was yesterday that it was the last time I saw you. We were sitting in my car and you were telling me how hard every morning was because of the disappointment you felt that you let everyone down again. I made you feel better by telling you we didn’t care about the past and that you should let go of that guilt that, all we cared about was that you stayed healthy and you were happy. Little did I know how hard it really was for you. I should have known. I had been there – feeling like I can not move on from those negative thoughts.

I will carry a bit of your essence always in my heart. 

He was The Nicest Thing I had ever seen
https://gracelozada.com/2014/11/14/he-was-the-nices…-i-had-ever-seen/

Butterfly Beach Butterfly Beach, CA, 3.7.14He was everything quote297816_2274135206657_1027169808_n

#loss

I am an ACoA

I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

I do mention it from time to time, that my mom is an alcoholic. By the age of 10, I knew-believed-felt that something was wrong with the dynamics of our household. Back then, in the early 80s, the lingo wasn’t there. Not many people were out speaking about addiction, at least not in our neighborhoods. If it was going on in other households, they were doing as we were, keeping secrets.

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In the United States alone there are an estimated 28 million children who have alcoholic parents. This figure is staggering when it is considered that at least 11 million of those children are under the age of 18.
Not only are children influenced by parents use of alcohol, another huge risk factor is the attitudes of the parents towards using alcohol. If parents are extremely permissive when it comes to the idea of their children using alcohol during their adolescent years, those children have a greater chance of becoming addicted either as teenagers or adults.

Alcoholic Families Usually Have Other Issues

Families who have issues with alcohol addiction often have other problems in addition to alcoholism. Some of these problems include:

  • A partial or complete lack of effective communication

  • Poor or non-existent parenting skills

  • Poorly run and managed homes with no set schedules, structure or discipline

  • Ineffective role models for children who then grow up to repeat family issues in their own families

  • More conflict in the home including arguing, fighting and sometimes physical abuse

  • Family isolation from the community due to alcohol abuse

  • Financial issues and struggles that lead to a more stressful life

557874e21841bb523883b3db440212c1Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic was a starting point for being lost and broken for many years. It, and possibly a predisposition, led me to be depressed and suicidal at times. It lead me to give up on life, drop out of high school, and dive into excessive drinking and using drugs. It lead me to being so blacked out that I lost-was taken-my virginity one night after a party in Chicago. It could have led me, or a combination of all the things prior, to becoming a call girl in my early twenties.

 

Despite my foundation that began with being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, my spirit has not been shattered. I was broken and lost for quite some time, but there was a fight in me from when I was about 13 years old. I despised what I was seeing when our lives were infused with the addict’s problem. I knew it was not how I wanted my life to be. The fire in me, to fight to not end up like my mother stayed lit for many years, thankfully never going out. I worked on my life, little by little, finding myself and the life I wanted to live in – peaceful, non-addicted, happy, funny, and most of all – always loving. the-best-top-desktop-fantasy-wallpapers-hd-fantasy-wallpaper-35

But remains is, I am still an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. That will never go away. But, I have learned to embrace it, learn from it (still learning), and know that I am a warrior because of it!

 

 

* Check out more statistics and information, click here.

* Get a copy of Evolving to Grace to read about my experience living as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, amongst other things.

* And, check out the Adult Children of Alcoholics page, if you need help, support and for further information.

 

#adultchildrenofalcoholics

September the 13th

RIP, Lily (25yrs ago) and Tupac (20yrs ago).
Such amazing souls and very similar.
Enthusiastic, happy, fun loving friends of mine that were appreciative for the moments life was giving them.
Lily, you changed my life.
Tupac, you said things I needed to hear at a very lonely time.

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Thank you both for coming into my life and touching my soul!

Lttr to the suffering, hold on.

Dear ones that are suffering,

Please hold on. Don’t give up. Life will get better.

It took me a long time to get to other side of feeling hopeless, like life was always going to be hopeless. I am so beyond happy that I survived to the point I never want to leave this world.
PLEASE, seek help. Counselors, psychologists. Talk to someone. Find someone to help you find someone.
When life is over, it’s over. No more chances to do the things you love, no more chances to experience something you’ve always wanted to try, no more saying, “fuck you” and finally walking away from that thing or people that add to your depression.
Please never give up. Life is beautiful.

Much love,
Grace

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#fightdepression

Where does our life and journey begin – Peru

Does our life and journey really begin at birth, or does our lineage collide with us to lay the foundation to our journey once we are born? Is our spirit passed on from lifetimes before, making amends, learning, and trying to evolve? I’ve always also felt that generations of my past did influence my upbringing. Some habits, traditions, stories, and experiences are passed on from generation to generation, good and bad, just as they are in any family. I’m a melting pot of different cultures—Peruvian, Spanish, Irish, and German, but mainly my heritage for the last few generations is from a country that is somewhat foreign to me, Peru—a place unknown to me because we left there to move to the United States when I was just three years old. Peru’s rich and varied heritage includes the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu.

I’ve read that it’s one of the most mesmerizing, spiritual places in the world. People visit Peru because it has so many attractions, such as its archaeological treasures, the Andes mountain range, and the Amazon rain forest. In 2011, it was estimated the population was around 29.4 million.

Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures, spanning from the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the sixteenth century. The earliest evidences of human presence in Peru have been dated to approximately 9000 BCE. The oldest known complex society, Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3000 and 1800 BCE. Peru has been described as having three regions: the costa (coast), the sierra (highlands/mountains), and the selva (jungle). It is a multiethnic country formed by different groups over five centuries. Amerindians inhabited Peru for several millennia before the Spanish conquest of the sixteenth century. Spanish and Africans arrived in large numbers under colonial rule. Gradual European immigration from England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain followed. Chinese arrived in the 1850s, replacing slave workers, and have greatly influenced Peruvian society. Peruvian culture is primarily rooted in Amerindian and Spanish traditions, though it has also been influenced by the various ethnic groups.
Lima, the capital of Peru, which is where I was born, is the largest city in Peru and one of the largest financial hubs in Latin America. It’s referred to as the City of the Kings (Ciudad de los Reyes) and was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. Mestizos are a mix of Amerindian and European (mostly Spanish and Italian) ancestry and are now the largest ethnic group. Lima is on the coast facing the Pacific Ocean; I’d later hear that California reminded my parents of their home country. European Peruvians are the second-largest group. Lima has the largest ethnic Chinese community in Latin America.

Peruvian cuisine combines Amerindian and Spanish food with influences from African, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking. Besides its delish variety of great Peruvian seafood dishes, Chifa, Peruvian-Chinese cuisine, was something our family centered on when we lived in and visited Peru. Lima is known as the gastronomical capital of the Americas. It’s my favorite cuisine and is finally becoming well-known and awarded worldwide.

As in most families, our family converges around food, primarily Peruvian food. It is the root of getting together or when there is something to celebrate; we make an abundance of dishes that we grew up with. I’m proud to say that I’m Peruvian, even though I’ve become an American citizen, and I was almost completely brought up as any other middle-class female in the United States. I’ll be thrilled when I can reconnect with my beloved birthplace and show my son some of our true culture, history, and sights of this lovely place, Peru.
#peru #family #history #book #memoir #books #amazon #goodreads #kdp

What Grace means to me

Grace by definition is:
simple elegance or refinement of movement or in Christian belief – the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Besides “Grace” being one of my  birth names, translated from Spanish, Grace has many meanings for me and what I consider Grace to be.

Since I do not follow any organized religion, I don’t think of Grace in that sense and even though I believe in a soul and spirit, I am far from truly saying for sure that there is one divine creator. I am just a human being that does not know for sure. I do believe in past lives. I relish in my love and connection I feel for the universe-which includes Mother Earth and Inti (the sun-god) and I think that it is bigger and more important than we treat it as.

I believe we all have souls that pass on – eventually, to a new life until we reach our peak of divineness. I believe that it is okay whatever others believe. I just believe in being good toward yourself and others; having compassion, love and understanding as best you can. And lastly, I believe in giving back – helping whomever you can.

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When I titled my memoir, Evolving to Grace, I thought of how my journey was desperately trying to find the path back to Grace – to me. That spiritual being that came into this world so peaceful, so happy, so centered.

Life happened though, and how we all do, I lost my way to who my real self was. We lose touch with our soul, at least partially. We let pain, suffering, hurt in. It is unfortunately a part of life. But, it not only changes who we are, steers us away from why we are here, but it also takes away that state of grace we have when we are in touch with ourselves, in touch with the universe, and in touch with what life is supposed to be. I didn’t realize until I completed my book that this was exactly what I was desperately trying to fight for, for so many years. I wanted and needed to change, so that I can be realigned with my grace. 527302_4671234532642_653853301_n

Grace also means to me, moments of grace. Are they divine? I don’t know because my belief is that I won’t truly know what is for sure until I pass. I do believe though that there are loved ones that have passed on that are present in moments of need. But, I also believe in ourselves and that our inner wisdom that has been learning or at least trying to from past lives is speaking out to our current self. Some may refer to this as “inner voice”. In my book, Evolving to Grace, I wrote about a moment I had of clarity about my parents while driving to a loved one’s service. So many years before, I struggled with the pain of letting go of family and then just in an instant it all made sense. Finally, without any conflict in my heart and head, grace happened, and I was able to understand that it was okay to let go.

Temple in SB

 

 

Grace means something different to everyone. But, these are my thoughts and feelings of what Grace means to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#peace #grace #book #memoir #amazon #goodreads 

Never as I seem

We should never judge a book by its cover. I was “alternative” before that was even a thing and I was living in a town that was very conservative; all I got were stares. I feel that back then I had more style than I do now and I was trying new things, definitely with my hair and clothes. I wasn’t doing drugs (yet), but I could only imagine that that was what everybody thought.
And here I was at 16, innocent as could be, but as closed off to the cold, cold judgemental world. With a slightly grown out shaved head, no one ever could have imagine that I was anything but happy because of the smile on my face. I was also good at disguises, I was battling depression then, so I’m sure it wasn’t pure “happiness”. Or maybe, I just very seldomly wore my emotions on my sleeve lIke I  seemed to be doing that day. 
In this picture  I was more relieved than happy because that day meant to me, a celebration of freedom. Freedom from the put downs, freedom from inferiority, freedom from the physical attacks, freedom to now be good enough, and mostly freedom to no longer be just “her sister”.

I love my sis, but I was always in her shadow. Now was the first time I saw that I could break free to be me!
Read more in Evolving to Grace.
Available at Amazon.com 

LGBT – Love is Love

Right before I became a teenager, I was living outside of Houston. It was the early 80’s. My two eldest sisters used to run away from our nightmarish home to downtown, where they used to go and hang out with their friends in the clubs. My parents weren’t okay with their friends because most of them were gay.
The years of hearing my parents speak badly about their friends and anyone who was gay made me dislike yet another viewpoint of their’s.
My nature was all accepting.
I never understood why humans disliked other humans because of the color of their skin, or now, who they loved. And, after I met my sister’s friends, I never had any other thought or feeling that 1 that loves someone of the same-sex was anything but normal. It’s never been a second thought or feeling and thankfully I have passed that on to my son.
Anyone who hates #lgbt should lay down their judgements and remember that #loveislove. And at least for me, I’d rather love than hate.
This pick is of one of my sisters’ friends, Kent & I, when I was 16 and visiting Chicago in 1986.

Kent & Kiki_redo

 

#lgbt

Where I am in my life, for now.

It has been many years since I finished Evolving to Grace. Since then, I’ve come a long way from being that woman that was confused by what life was having her go through. I learned that whatever happens to us or the people that come into our lives are all opportunities for us to learn from, whether they are good or bad. I don’t believe that anything happens by accident or is coincidental. I am also no longer that girl that was destructive and a victim, losing herself in alcohol and countless bad choices. Though I am not “cured” or “normal”, whatever that means, I acknowledge I do still have some things to work on, but I have done a damn good job on the things I have overcome. I know that nothing becomes perfect or changes overnight–it is a process. So, year by year, things have gotten better. There are moments that are challenging for me, but those times are regular life situations that I am dealing with rather than the toxic, negative, dysfunctional behavior or situations that I used to be around. It is all about finding hope, optimism and a good perspective on things, which I work on having on a daily basis, and for the most part, I would say I have most of the time. On the days that I am not working, I choose to do what I want to do with my time. I am usually relaxing, spending time with people I enjoy, doing something productive that makes my brain and body feel good, or just investing in something that motivates me more to be a better person. In my real life–my 9-5, I work in Accounting. I like what I do in my career life, but I am working on leaving behind the corporate world in hopes that one day I will be doing photography and writing on a full-time basis, because returning back to my creative side is what I am truly passionate about.

I couldn’t be happier for my son, also. He is at a prominent university in Southern California and enjoying life. He loves film, music and is a happy, hilarious, and a compassionate young man with so many possibilities in front of him. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for him.

I am a warrior, a survivor, and optimist. Life is not dark anymore. I’ve triumphed, because I am still a loving, kind, compassionate, and giving individual. I still smile at strangers because why not, you never know who needs it. And, I still have my sense of humor, despite everything. And, though my memoir ends on a sad note and after the grief I had to go through, my life is actually pretty good now. I am happy and content. I live my life on my terms and have positive, supportive people in it. There have been good times throughout my life. Yes, some tragic things may have happened to me, but life is better and I look forward to what lies in my future. I don’t dwell on the past, even though I speak of it from time to time. My past, my heart, and my mind have made me who I am today. I had to experience what I experienced, the good and bad, so that I could learn, grow and love ever so deeply. There is this deep sense of gratitude and love for life, because I have seen darkness, and now all I want to experience is the beauty that life has to offer. I am excited of every day that comes and the endless possibilities–places to see and re-see, new things to experience, people to meet, loves or a love to have in my life, and definitely more books to write–next time, possibly fiction.

I hope my story taught others that the cycle of dysfunction–alcoholism and abuse, can lead to dark paths, but that you can awaken, learn and change your life to break the cycle, because in the end, life is beautiful and amazing! I believe that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. I, myself, cherish the good moments, and I am excited of what my future holds. I know now that I can overcome anything, and all that I want to do besides writing and photographing is share my story with anyone who will listen so that I can tell them, “You are not alone. You can overcome whatever you are going through. Just believe, find hope, seek help, make better choices and be patient. It will happen. Your life can be different.”

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20151017_180658 20151018_163255-1 IMG-20130918-00743 Santa Barbara-20120812-00350 KK in SB