Pre-Graduating Day!!

What a rollercoaster ride of emotions today. I’m experiencing soon one of my happiest and proudest days of my life ~ my son will be graduating from UCLA tomorrow with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Music Industry. It has been one amazing journey to get here with the struggles, disappointments, challenges, laughter, and many all-nighters. And, I’ll never forget all the driving every morning to Brentwood and later to Pacific Palisades.

But, I can’t help to think of the ones that won’t be sharing in knowing and seeing what a great, accomplished young man he has become. The very first one, Tupac (Happy Birthday), that knew I was going to be a great mother ~ Uncle Tupac as he wanted to be. The words of wisdom and kindness he wrote to me while he was away in NY were what I so desperately needed to hear at that time. How happy he would be tomorrow for my son and I! And, then my father, who just passed in December. He brought us to this country for our education. Furthering one’s education beyond high school was so important to him because he hadn’t done it and he knew the value in it. I’m grateful that he at least knew that my son was graduating soon, as we told him in December in the hospital bed. How proud he would be!

So, really, a world of emotions – but good ones. Because in the end it is nothing but pure joy of my son’s accomplished that brings it all to this.

 

 

  

#beatingtheodds #persevere #2pac

Ode to Court today, 5/23/2017

As I sit here, next to you 

I think of all these moments of time.
The moments of my life, so long ago.

My life was adventurous.
My life had promise.
My life had excitement of new loves, new experiences.

Not everyone gets to live the high life of fun times in West Hollywood’s clubs
the glamorous who’s-who parties in the Hollywood Hills
the adoration and reassurance of self esteem of someone like 2pac noticing you.

The moments you and I shared.
The relationship and things we shared.
All I can think,
while I sit next to you here in court – how did we get here?

Why did you choose not to be part of your son’s life
with not even a care in the world to make sure he was properly taken care of.
Is all you have to say to me
when you sit down next to me is –
“sorry”.
#childsupport

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

I am an immigrant 

​This is the face of an immigrant.

Our family came over from Peru in the early 70’s.
Like many Hispanics and immigrants, we came over for a better life, better education.

All I know is this country.
All I have ever known is to be American, even when I was still technically Peruvian.

We are not here to take or get handouts. We are not here to commit crimes. My parents worked hard, paid their taxes, and tried their best to provide a better life for their daughters.

There is no need to deny someone based on traditions, beliefs, religion or they way they look.

This country is based on diversity. Most of us, including Trump, we’re immigrants.

It’s sad now that I am not recognizing this country because it is all I have ever known (remember).

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

#immigrantsmatter #unity #lovetrumpshate #immigration #ilovetheusa
#immigrant

I am a Modern Muse! I am completely honored.

I was so honored and touched that UGauGrrl nominated me for their Modern Muse.
Ugaugrrl sets to Inspire, Empower, and make an Impact.
UGauGrrl’s mission is to inspire every woman and girl to recognize the muse within herself and empower her to find her purpose so that she can make her singular impact on the world.

My interview:

What inspired you to do the work that you do/motivates you today?

“Why I write? I write because at an early age a voice told me to write down words, sentences that were coming to me. Prior, I had never been one who was interested in poetry, but little did I know that I would be gifted ever so-lightly with phrases/sentences. Now, I write to share myself with others and to hopefully inspire people that they can get through anything and that they are not alone.

“Why I photograph? I have had a passion for taking pictures since I was 6. My mother had fancy, professional cameras always, and the very first time I got one and went on a field trip to the zoo, I was hooked!”

 “I fought and continue to fight to make better choices and finally learned to love myself.

How did you get to where you are and what challenges did/do you face?
“I got to where I am by sheer determination to not follow in my mother’s footsteps. As a teenager, I did veer in her direction, abusing alcohol and drugs, allowing others to mistreat me, but I fought and continue to fight to make better choices and finally learned to love myself.”

Who is your she-ro?
“J.K. Rowling is my she-ro because she was also on public assistance as a single mother, as I was after I had my son. She believed in her story (Harry Potter) and didn’t give up. After becoming the wealthiest woman in Great Britain, she donates a lot to charity.”

What does the term”UGauGrrl” (“you go girl”) mean to you?
“The term ‘UGauGrrl’ means to me: a girl that defies the odds based on what used to be society’s standards or defies the odds based on her circumstances. We have brains, intellect, strength (physical, emotional, mental), and perfectly can combine those with love, compassion and understanding. We can do it all, and we can do anything!”

Favorite quote:
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Check out my video and the complete Modern Muse post at: http://ugaugrrl.com/2017/01/modernmuse-survivor-grace-lozada/

Also, check out their wearable inspiration! A collection of stylish t-shirts that feature women of yesterday and today who are muses in their own right as well as words of inspiration.

 

#interview #modernmuse

R.I.P. Dad

Rest in peace, Dad (12/9/1933 -12/22/2016)

So thankful for who you were and who you evolved to be.
“I love you so much, too.”

My dad was a man who had four girls, me being the youngest. He was a strong, funny, and sometimes quiet man. He was a man who loved football (soccer) and was a fan of Pelé. He liked the beach, the sun and fishing. He liked action-packed, old westerns and movies with Doris Day. He could cook the best Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognese. He believed in education, family, and that a woman (especially his girls) could do anything a man could do.

By the time I was 3 years old, he made plans to move his family to the U.S. because of the government issues in Peru, but primarily for our education.

dad-and-me-in-peru   dad-n-me

My dad raised me to be a strong, independent woman. He showed me first hand equality between the sexes (Feminism). Besides being the primary bread-winner, he tended to his daughters. He cooked and showed me how to cook (‘if you love shrimp and bacon you have to learn to deal with being stung by the grease sometimes’). He cleaned around the house and he showed me how to take care of my cars. And, most importantly he taught me how to think for myself, that you needed to do the research-read, learn and find out things for yourself, instead of just listening to someone else or one person’s opinion. I’m sure all this helped me when I was left to be a single mother many years later.

My dad, unfortunately, was also co-dependent to my mother (she is an alcoholic). He kept his family together because he thought he was doing the right thing. He had loyalty and he sacrificed his life for my mom and us. In the end, he stuck by my mom because he could not give up on their vows and he knew what would possibly happen to her if there was no one there to take care of her. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him, even at the expense of losing touch with me back in 2011 because I could no longer accept my mom in my life. He thought that he was doing the right thing and I do not, nor did back then, blame him for the choices he made then and all our years. I realized, back in 2011, that it was okay because it was “their” journey together. Since 2011, I had only seen him once when my son graduated from high school.

My dad showed me in my lifetime, and especially in the last 20 years, that he was truly a loving man and a father that really did love me. Sometimes when you grow up in an alcoholic home, you aren’t quite sure how much the co-dependent parent loves you.

My dad showed me that he could have very deep conversations, expressing one another’s opinions and thoughts that were maybe contradictory to his daughter’s. My dad showed me that he could have these conversations with me that would never lead into an argument (that wasn’t the case many years earlier). I believe it was important for him to share some things with me and to also to really get to know me.

My dad showed me what a father should be after I had my son. The few months we lived together after I had my son, he stepped in-to let me eat, to sooth my son’s colic because I couldn’t, and to let me rest or just have a break.

image1_sm image-2_sm image-5_sm image-6_sm  image-7_sm image-3_sm

My dad showed me what it was to work hard, to never rely on a handout or rely on a man.

My dad showed me to move forward in life despite all the storms that life may throw your way.

I was told in the hospital before he passed that this last decade or so that he struggled with illnesses, like Leukemia, Diabetes, and Anemia that he wanted to be part of any clinical trials, so that maybe by doing so his life could be used to benefit others. I love this!

My dad was my very important to me and I was very fortunate and grateful to see him again before he passed. He wasn’t well, but he somehow managed to say to me, “I love you so much.” I told him, “I love you more.”

I will move on as my dad only wished for me to live. I will countlessly remind my son what it is to be a strong, loving man and father (with the exception of ever becoming co-dependent and sacrificing yourself for another). I will remind my son that a man should also cook, clean, and be a caretaker to his kids. I will continue my dad’s legacy and I hope to continue to make him proud for generations to come.

image-4_sm     2014-08-30-23-16-27

Previous posts on my dad’s final days.

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/13/making-amends-before-its-too-late/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/18/a-week-later/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/21/trip-back-to-the…al-to-see-my-dad/

#agingparents #rip #ripdad

A week later.

Hello lovelies!

Just got back home late last night from spending the last week in the hospital with my dad. He’s still in icu, still on the ventilator, and still sedated. They found 2 bacteria strains, which is causing his bacterial pneumonia, but they can’t understand why his lungs are bleeding. Tests still have yet to be back and he’s wasn’t running a temp today – which is great! But ots still a day to day, hour to hour situation. 😔
Hold your love ones closely, tell them you l0ve them all the time.

holding-hands
You never know when you may get another chance.

 

 

 

#agingparents

To Dare

To Dare

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd,
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but the cannot learn, feel change, grow, love and live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves;
They have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

– Author Unknown

A Bike Ride in Santa Monica

Last weekend I decided to take my bike out for one of my rides. The weather had cooled down and I had been back to the gym. I thought to myself, I can do this! I can power through 15+miles and conquer the slops on the boulevard for a bike ride, and just maybe I can slide in the Santa Monica Stairs while I’m at it.

op-bikeride_sm

I so needed this! I finally have some free time to get back into shape. Well, not completely free because I do need to do other things while I have time off from work. But, I should try really hard though to squeeze in some time to get back into shape because who knows when I will have this time again.

Earlier in the week I had been to the gym and successfully went everyday. I always begin my workouts at the gym on the treadmill – 30 minutes are required, but 45 minutes are better! I love to run on the treadmill. I have only been walking though because I am worried of getting shin splints, again. I’ve been told that I should ease into running, so possibly in the next coming weeks I will be running. I’ve always been a runner since junior high. And, I was so good that the high school I went to wanted me to be a runner for their school. Running, nowadays, is my form of relieving stress and it helps me with making any decisions on situations I am trying to work out in my life. On top of running being therapy for me, when I run I feel I am actual burning and shedding some fat, which makes me feel proud about what I am doing. So, I thought since I seemed to be able to just glide back into the gym and have the endurance to walk for 30 minutes, that I could do a little over 15 miles on my bike. Was I delusional? This 1st ride back after so many months was going to be a challenge for me, I thought.

My bike rides take me back to my Houston days before I was a teenager. We had moved there when I was 10 and almost immediately my sisters and I all got our 10 speed Schwinn’s. I could ride mine for forever though I don’t remember going much further than our neighboring neighborhoods or my school. I have had a bike since I was a very young child and until I was 16. Bike riding was in my DNA. And somehow, as many adults do, I lost touch with this thing I used to do that brought me so much joy. I went many years without riding. But, a few years back, I bought my son and I bikes. I still have mine. Every time I ride it, I am brought back to being that 12-year-old girl who could ride without holding the handle bars, wind blowing in her face. I have to hold onto the handle bars nowadays, though. I’ve kinda try it out, but haven’t gone all the way. I get scared because it gets shaky. But, maybe because it is the type of bike I have or maybe it is just the fear of being old that holds me back – knowing – I don’t have the balance that the young me used to have.

So, I headed out early on Saturday, about 9:30a.m. I took the hilly path, down the boulevard, so that I can do a better strength enduring workout than the alternative – a flat-level path. The first time I took this path, after the first incline, I had to stop and throw up a little. It’s not a piece of cake, but now I don’t stop or get sick to my stomach, which I am so happy because throwing up a little bit of your morning coffee at the side of the road is no way to start your morning. While riding I listen to music on my Walkman – yes, I have a mp3 Walkman. I have had it for years and my better excuse is that: I am a product or in love with everything from the 80’s. Sorry that’s just me!

After about 5 miles of riding and a block away, the beach was in front of me. I made a right to head over to downtown Santa Monica, which is about another 2 miles away. I wanted to walk through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. I always like to pick up a plum or a peach at the market. After I take my walk through the market of so many things I would like to take home with me, I get onto the next street and take it all the way to where it ends.

This is where I find 2 sets of steep stairs. I am not quite sure if both of them are The Santa Monica Stairs. The first set is made of cement and has a few turns while going up and down. The second set of stairs, a little walk from 4th Street, are wooden stairs and go straight up and down. The people who you will see here are intense. They are either professional fitness gurus, athletes, or the ones like me that think – I just want to do something extreme to shed an inch or 2. And, yes, I can shed an inch or 2, but I know it takes coming back, which I hope I will do.

los-angeles-20140426-01299 View of the ocean from the SM Stairs

Thankfully, both stairs have handrails because anyone who knows me, knows I am scared of heights, so I have to hold on, at least going down. There are times when I have started down the wooden stairs and think to myself – why I am doing this? I get scared. If I think about it for too long, I mess up and trip myself up, so I try to focus – or not to. Is this what vertigo is? Anyhow, I ended up doing 2 sets of the wooden stairs. To me, the cement ones are harder to do, so I will do them when I am better fit to do so.

I got back on my bike and rode down another boulevard, parallel to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). This ride is probably the most serene part out of the whole ride. Palm trees everywhere. Luxury condos to my left. The Pacific Ocean to my right. And, the endless sight of sand and water is just what a mermaid like me dreams of.

Finally, I reached the Santa Monica – PCH connector road. I was happy to see that it had been finished. It was being redone for the last year or so and was closed. I didn’t go down the bike path to PCH or the ocean, but I decided to stop off right after it to just sit, view and have a moment before I headed back home.

smpchpass_sm

I thought about how I love sitting here and seeing what I was seeing. I was proud of myself that I could arrive at the SM Stairs without feeling like I wanted to die. My body felt good about the ride so far and for doing the stairs. I thought of how great it is going to be when I finally have a professional camera so that I can capture everything I had seen on this trip. In the meantime, the phone will do! And, then after taking some pictures, enjoying the sun, people watching, and eating my plum, I really took a look at my lovely bike that got me here. My cute, blue, Schwinn. Schwinn, of all the bikes, I bought a Schwinn! I giggled at myself. And, it is blue. I giggled some more. My first bike in Ohio, I must have been 5, was blue. Lastly, my bell on my bike. It has Mickey (Mickey Mouse) on it. I used to watch the Mickey Mouse club with my Mickey Mouse ears on when I was a child and just absolutely adored Mickey and Minnie.

I laughed, well, giggled to myself some more. How embarrassed I would be if anyone pointed this out to me. Well, maybe some would think it was cute, like I did. And, I know this about myself already, but in this moment I saw how in touch I am with the different stages of my life. They show up, like on a bike ride or when I take my road trips and blast my music in the car. How funny it is or how ridiculous it was at that moment that this 46 year old was sitting here with all the things I was seeing before my eyes.

For most of us, we don’t lose a sense of who we are at any age we’ve been. We may not realize it, but we are a sum of all our years and some of us have the fortunate sense to reach back to our childhood and grab the parts of what we liked and bring them into the present. We should just have fun with it, carry the things we loved or loved to do and keep doing them because life is too short, and at least for me, I never want to completely grow up. It is an essence of me I like about myself.

mybike_sm

Before I hopped back on my bike, I embraced my younger self with a big smile and rode off to finish my 15+miles.

The plan for the future is to continue hitting the gym as often during the week and then cycle 1 day on the weekend – other weekend day is for rest! Wish me luck!

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.

img_20160913_081724.jpg

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

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

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