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!

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.

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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 

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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A message from me to you

From Me to You,

I first started this book twenty years ago after an incident I’d had with my pimp in Hollywood who had worked the streets for ten years before moving the business in-house. It was the night that I first saw how off track my life had veered and I was scared. I came home and tried to understand how my life had turned out as it had. It was the lowest point in my life and I tried to make sense of it. My life had been so dark for some time and this was my rock bottom to wake me up to the fact that I needed to do whatever it was to begin changing my life or otherwise I could end up dead one day. I was one of the lucky ones to have survived.

When I began writing, I also wanted to help others so that they wouldn’t make choices like I had. I had always acknowledged my childhood as being bad, but I always said it could have been worse. But, I wasn’t equipped at an early age to realize that we all have choices and that we are making a choice pretty much in everything we do. Even if you are a victim to your parents or from a crime, you don’t need to allow it to keep victimizing you and putting yourself in harmful situations that you may never recover from. There will come a point that you need to move through the pain and grief of what has happened to you. You don’t need to get stuck in it and stay in victim mode, unconsciously self-loathing and being self-destructive like I had for too many years. You are not your circumstances nor are you cursed to live like your parents chose to. Your life, your destiny is your own. Your perspective on things—life, matters and you must be aware that your decisions and choices will guide you down one path or another. You must choose which one that will be, but always know that you have a chance to get back on the right path.
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Life is too short, and there is so much beauty out there and things to experience. Just take a moment to look up at the sky, look at the trees, or check out the birds flying around. It’s beautiful! It took me a long time to also find hope and faith that things could be better. Sometimes teenagers or children get stuck in the reality of being abused under their parents’ roof, I ask you to please speak out, seek help, find someone to talk to, and know that there will come a time you no longer have to endure it. It will end. Do the most with your time, like studying in school so that once you leave you can leave for good and have the life you could only dream about!

I lived too long in a sometimes suicidal state of depression, and I also used drugs to make me feel better. That’s not the way to go! I understand depression to its core and how you get so lost in it, that it never seems like life is worth it, but it is! You have to take the steps of talking to someone and getting unstuck from what makes your life unhappy and also change your way of thinking; I know from experience that you can allow your thoughts to only think about the negative. If you can’t find someone to talk to, talk to yourself in a loving, positive manner. Give yourself positive affirmations of your great qualities. Workout—bike ride, run, skate, any activity to get those happy chemicals flowing in your brain. Find a friend to hang out with that makes you laugh. Laughter is medicine. Being optimistic and knowing that your surroundings or whatever is happening is only temporary helps. Stop yourself when you even start going to the dark or negative thoughts. You are beautiful, smart, and strong. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me!

Bask in your uniqueness. You are a gift; we all are in our own unique ways. Smile and “keep ya head up,” like 2Pac wrote to me. I pass this on to you and like a homeless lady on the streets of Chicago once told me and I am telling you now, “You are too beautiful to walk with your head toward the ground; look up!” What others say about you will come and go. Try not to worry yourself about it. One day, everyone will forget the things that were said, and hopefully you can rewrite those words in your head that you are repeating. Keep anyone who judges you and who doesn’t support or encourage you out of your life—or at least at a distance.254792_2148995958254_7367754_n

See the world, reach out to others. Give a hand. You will grow and be fulfilled in your heart. Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that or that won’t work. We wouldn’t be so evolved if all the inventors, creators, and the people who are so happy working in all these diverse fields listened to the naysayers!

You have so many possibilities; we all do. Wake up every morning appreciative, because every day is a new fresh start. As long as we are living, we can do anything. Sadly, some aren’t as lucky to still have a chance! Don’t compare yourself with others. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Pick up the pieces to your mistakes and try to do better. Don’t get down on yourself when you repeat a mistake. Just try and try again. Let go of the guilt, shame, and loss. When your life is over, no one in the end will hold those things against you. Love, care, and try to understand as much as you can. You will always be evolving.

I let others mistreat me for too long. There are going to be people out there in the world who do not serve you,65154_10153145 so the sooner you recognize it, the better. Distance yourself from them. I learned that even though I had been hurt emotionally, physically, and mentally, I still didn’t need to fill my life with anger, hostility, and just plain meanness. We are here for such a limited time, and the last thing you should do is spend time being unhappy and hurting yourself or others just because you have been hurt. You should just fill yourself up with the beautiful moments that touch your soul.

I share my story for you to understand me and how I’m still trying to evolve, despite everything. I could have given up a long time ago. I feel I even did at times, but eventually, I learned that is not the choice I want to make anymore. I’ve learned so much about life, myself, and the things that happened to me. I know for sure that we are all meant to evolve and that doesn’t stop until we take our last breath.

By sharing my story, I’d like you to realize that you too can change your path and not succumb to the illness of victimizing yourself one way or another. I am not perfect nor is my life. This all takes time and you might find yourself, like I have, taking two steps forward and one step back. But stop and realize this—have trust in yourself that you will do better next time. Every day, every moment is a new start to make a change. The cycle from your childhood doesn’t need to continue with you. You deserve better. Your children, future children, and generations to come deserve better. I’m always evolving, and I believe if I can do it, you can do it too. I have hope in you. You just have to learn to love life, find hope and most of all love yourself!

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Much love,
Grace

 

#love #compassion #inspire #books #evolve #recovery #Faith #hope #acoa

Evolving to Grace available in stores now!

Looking for a X-Mas gift for the book lover in your life? Local to L.A.?
You can now find Evolving to Grace in stores at BookSoup in West Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Get your copy soon! Quantities limited!

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#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift

I matter

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I’m just another writer, turned author, who hopes to be good enough that someone will like her book, her story.

Many that know me may not know this about me and could never imagine the roads I’ve traveled. I was born into a family, at least from one side, that was very privileged. My grandfather was a well-known surgeon and had a clinic in Peru and also was known worldwide to having delivered a baby to the youngest mother in history. My grandmother from one side of her family was an heiress from a family from Philadelphia that in the end had millions and owned a complete block on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. On the other side of her family, her father had been born in England, was educated in NY, and he later had been the Mayor of Pisco several times. He had come from a family that was so well off that they had created several of the first railways in Peru and had many properties in Peru.

My own life is one of knowing a little bit of this “good life” up until the age of 15—before we lost everything. But, what happens behind closed doors is always unknown to others. Alcoholism, sadness, depression, mentions (rumors) of infidelity, abuse and fighting were intertwined with this “good life”. At an early age, darkness won in my mind which opened the door to years of depression and times of suicide. Then, later came my own destruction at the hands of the bottle. Rape would follow. Drop out of life and from high school, would happen. I eventually added more than drinking to swallow the pain. And, then loss, grief and guilt would overpower the darkness that was already there. Loss of a very close friend would lead me to the road of selling myself. Selling myself would make me feel worthy. Worthy of something. Worthy of all the years I felt not worthy­—when I didn’t matter.

But, a voice was always with me, a quiet little whisper—my guardian angels, my grandparents or friends that had passed on, or God, or just my spiritual love for myself, whispered to me. This life—my life—was not meant to be like this. Always that little whisper stayed with me. Seemed at times to disappear, but was just waiting to appear, waiting to tell me at the right moment—your life means more than this! “It” stayed and stays deep down inside with me always so that it leaves it up to me to remember—I matter.

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#imatter #selfworth

excerpt – evolving to grace

During our lives, we had received tender touches by my mom at times; all us girls would jump in her bed and have her scratch our backs. We’d have a balance of humor from our dad and actual interaction, like when he’d play with us in the ocean or like that one time we all had a major water fight that went inside and around the outside of the house. All six of us would share beautiful moments like these that we all hold so close, but I would unfortunately, vividly, remember the horrific scenes too, like this brutal fight. What do moments like this fight say to a child, especially a girl? What would be the implications to me and my sisters in the future of learning and experiencing these mixed messages by the ones that were our first loves, our protectors, and the ones who were supposed to love us the most?
Within time, my parents let up, but my life was changed forever. A seed had been planted for a while, but now the soil had been covered and patted forcefully down. This life I had known up until that point was wrong. I hated it! I’d fight against it. The true rebellion in me was born, and the silent “Fuck you” to life, authority, and my parents began.
I continued going through periods of suicidal thoughts. I continued escaping in my room, dreaming of a life other than mine. My grades had fallen drastically. I had been an A/B student, and I was now completely failing. At fifteen, I’d begun my descent of finally dropping out of school. My parents were always those types to be too lenient with exception of their well-overdue violence, which they considered discipline. They did plead with me to go to school but did not force it. I think they knew I had depression, so they’d do anything to please me, thinking that would resolve it.  teenage_depression
The four of us went back to being the family we had been before, never mentioning anything that had gone on. We’d try to bury our secrets, hide, and escape from the pain. Guadalupe and I began following in our sisters’ footsteps, drinking and partying just to find some kind of pleasure in life. My parents went back to their ways of not enforcing anything. We’d go out and say that we’d be home by midnight but wouldn’t show up until after 2:00 a.m. Our parents would tell us we were grounded, but by the following night, we’d want to go out and promise to by home on time, and they’d bend and let us go out again. And we wouldn’t make it home on time again. The dysfunctional cycle continued. No rules, no discipline, no respect—just back to being normal.
“Do as I say, not as I do.” That saying scares me. I heard it one too many times during my childhood. It was pretty much my parents’ slogan as we grew up and the hypocrisy of my existence. My dad would later warn us of how my mother and her drinking didn’t start off as what we were then witnessing. He told us time and time again about how she started socially drinking at parties. He was in fear of us picking up on that behavior—that bad trait of hers. But what about teaching a child how to deal with life and not to avoid life? And, most of all, what about the violence? This was beyond disciplining a child. When you love someone, do you on occasion hit that person? My soul told me no. My heart told me no. But the life I had been given told my mind, “Love and pain go hand in hand.”stop-domestic-violence-logo
We were being taught to accept violence, but we were also being shown to escape from our problems and learning how not to deal with anything. These two were our teachers of life, and we were just following instinctively in their shoes. Do as I say, not as I do. How do children learn anything more than what they are shown? Did they expect us to guess? Why couldn’t they just have shown us how to live differently? It would take decades for me to understand this.

Evolving to Grace – a memoir

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In Evolving to GraceA story of 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, and rape.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

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 am trying to better myself, changing my ways and learning from my past and I am forever evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. Lastly, I write to inspire others to never give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

“This is a very powerful story told in an extremely honest and candid fashion by a woman who has been there and back . . . fractured family, drugs/alcohol, running the streets, relationships with celebrities, issues with romantic partners. But mostly I saw this as the story of a woman with all the cards stacked against her who came through, and ultimately triumphed over, adversity. Amazing, Grace!” – Seth Kadish

“Her writing is so down to earth and real … I felt like I was having a conversation with her. Her obvious strength as a woman does not diminish the scope of the tragedy, though; her vulnerability is often excruciating.” – Patrice H.

Available now on Amazon, Nook and Amazon Kindle!

#memoir

He was The Nicest Thing I had ever seen

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…… I saw that he was meant to be in my life also because he had

some things to teach me, too. I had finally met a man that was

sensitive, understanding, trusted me by sharing all the things that he

couldn’t to others, would always acknowledge anything good or bad I

was talking about and was appreciative and thankful that I was there

in his life. He was my V.O.R. (Voice of Reason) when I needed someone

to remind me to see the good. I always thought if he got sober and

really loved me that I would have been the luckiest girl in the world.

He was The Nicest Thing I Had Ever Seen. He taught me to be more

compassionate, understanding and sensitive towards everyone by showing

me himself giving out his last five dollars to some homeless teenagers

and a buck and change another night to an older gentleman on State

Street and to now understand my mother and how unfortunate it is that

she could not find her way to peace and happiness. His mom would share

stories of his generosity at his service that others shared with her.

He also put everyone else first. His last voicemail that he left for

his mother and she played for me was that he’d be by to visit her and

help out around the house after he went to court with his brother and

saw his ailing grandmother the next day. The last thing he taught me was that I was

much stronger than I thought. I always thought I put people first, was

extremely compassionate and had a lot of patience, but I had never

known that I had so much abundance of these traits before all the

struggles we endured in this time. Maybe the year and seven months

with him helped me grow into the person I’m meant to become. I just

wish I could hug him for one last time and apologize for that letter I

last sent him. I hope he knew I was just hurt and didn’t mean it. And,

I wish he could have read this book. He was the one that encouraged me

the last year of his life to get back to writing it.

#evolvingtograce

#loss