Posted in Birders, child death, Colombia, Colombian life, country living, Entreprenuer, expat life, freedom, happiness, hotel, hummingbirds, mother nature, nature, Perfection and Peace, strength, Uncategorized

The Sounds of Silence


I have avoided silence since January 31, 2010. The day my daughter was murdered. I have learned lessons, and I have worked hard to get to the place I am in right now. I feel free. I am free of abuse, I am free of negative energy in my home, I am free of judgmental people, free of machismo men who thought they could control me, I am free of everything that was keeping me confined to thought processes that were obsessively full of fear and sadness. When you lose someone suddenly this is normal. But what I did was not normal, I left my own country and changed my life completely. I will never regret my decision to do what I have done, I have evolved and I know another language.

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New orchids that bloom overnight

I wake up to silence, not my iPad on a news station saying the same things over and over. This is how I would go to sleep since Misha died, almost 8 years now: cable news blah,blah, the same noise said again and again. Sad isn’t it? To think it took me 8 years to get to silence when I live in Paradise. The only sounds I should want to hear are the birds singing, the rain falling, the sound of music I put on when I make my coffee in the morning.



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Villa Migelita Ecolodge

I could lay in bed on many days and not get up. I don’t allow myself this luxury. I know I need to get going and function. I have known this since the shock from the death of my daughter left me. I would not allow myself to fall off a cliff in despair. I would not allow myself to use as an excuse her death to become a sad human being, or to become filled with anger at her murderer. I used her death to better myself. But still I lacked silence. My brain would not quit.

I started this blog, I learned to take photos and use them to share the beauty I live in. To show my hummingbirds to the world, to show my flowers and a different way of life to all. It has not been easy but I have found the silence I crave inside my brain. With that all the photos and videos I take enrich me more than ever. They bring me to a place that I have been striving to find. Quiet. Pure and complete stillness of being, and sometimes that elusive happiness.Hummingbirds and rainstorm 017

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My birds in Paradise


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The Colombian and American flag represent who I am now
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A Bridge We Can All Cross

I have discovered so much about myself in the last 5 years. I have found out I can continue to grow even when heartache lives inside my soul. When I lost my daughter almost 6 years ago, I wondered how I would go on. I have discovered that I can center myself in what is happening in my life now instead of what might happen or might not happen. For instance: I was devastated in 2014 when the murderer of my daughter was given probation instead of jail time for her death. There are really no words for heartache like I felt and still feel about the outcome. I read every single day people who get sentenced appropriately for the same kind of crime, but I also read stories like mine where a corrupt judge lets the killer walk. I entered 2015 with a mindset of anger over the outcome of the plea deal he got. I was extremely vexed as my daughters date of death approached in January and the killer Christian Cvitanovich was putting photos up on his Facebook page showing him drinking and without a care in the world. He even lists his occupation as ‘retired’. I would not be human if I said I could forgive and forget. I can’t, I just can’t. However, I have moved on with my life. I have lost a child, and I have moved forward, so if I can do it we all can. It is a bridge we all can cross no matter what our personal problems are: that bridge leads us to a better way of living. Her death has taught me to be a kinder more loving human being and to live my life with substance and integrity.

So, let me share some thoughts about my year 2015 with you my readers.

These are my Truisms from Colombia.

  1. No matter what you must live your life the way you want. Do not let anyone else influence your belief in yourself. I have progressed, not regressed. It is not easy, I have had many sleepless nights these past years.
  2. Walk your path in life the way you want. I have lost touch with some people in my life, including my brother. He doesn’t approve of my move to another country that he thinks is dangerous, yet here I am 5 years later with a Bed and Breakfast. Colombia just made the Forbes list of the 14 coolest places to visit in 2016! It does make me sad that my brother is not in contact with me, and I continue to send him notes, they go unanswered. All that I  have done has begun to heal my life and the suffering I have felt. Sometimes, we will feel we are not doing the right thing based on other’s beliefs…but we are actually where we should be!
  3. I think at Christmas we give too much to our children. They expect too much and have no idea about the hardships all over the world, including the United States. Why not do something like give your child a pen pal from another country? Join the Christian Children’ s Fund or another worthy cause and let your child write the letters to the child you are helping? What a good way to show compassion to those less fortunate! The cost is minimal and the lesson is wonderful. Your child, grandchild, or family member will learn a valuable cultural lesson. Not everyone receives a large number of gifts under the Christmas tree! My own son CJ actually wrote me and asked I give my gift to him for Christmas to the charity of my choice. I was so proud.
  4. Working hard for something you do not care about is called stress, but working hard for your passion is called peace.
  5. Stop looking at what others are doing for your definition of happiness! I can attest the internet is full of a lot of bullshit. I started my own personal Facebook page when my life was going downhill. I would put photos up that looked perfect but they didn’t tell the real story. I can guarantee this is true for 99.9 percent of the internet.
  6. Stop holding grudges over silly things that happen with people in your life. I had a friend, someone I adored and loved for many years. When I retired I gave all my uniforms to her. She came to my house to get them. We had wine and I opened my mouth and said “the last time I flew with you, you were horrible to another flight attendant. You were wrong, he was a great worker, perhaps you are making this job too much of your life.” I was wrong for criticizing, but she is wrong for giving up a friendship that was 3 decades long over that! She left (with the uniforms, LOL) and 30 years of friendship went with her.  Always apologize, because there are always two sides, which I did, and let go. If someone reaches out and apologizes accept that apology. I haven’t heard a word from my daughter’s murderer, perhaps if he apologized I could go on to forgive. I will never know because he hasn’t ever acknowledged any responsibility for his crime.
  7. Look at any obstacle in your life as an opportunity! I believe hardships are in your life for a reason and they show you what is worth fighting for! I am living a lovely life now, but I still have bumps along the way. I get past them and so can you. Do not let fear get in your way! There have been many times where fear of the unknown has kept me awake at night. I always remind myself that I have so many possibilities that are in front of me.
  8. Believe in your dream! I did and was recently published in International Living (scroll to page 8). Now I am adding a bar to Villa Migelita because I believe in my abilities. If you don’t try you will never know what you can accomplish. No one is entitled to success, so you must look for ways to find it.
  9. Be happy with what you have. If you have food on the table, clothes on your back, a place to live, then you are doing pretty well considering there are people all over the world who can barely get by. Choose simplicity and try to appreciate what you have instead of wanting more.
  10. Stop being a material person, our lives are defined by not what we have but what we go after. A sense of accomplishment is the best gift you can give yourself.
  11. Travel more, experience a different culture, learn a new language!
  12. Get the drama out of your life! I have stopped anything that can lead to negativity in my own personal space. What a relief it is not to have it around me. Even when I feel hurt by another person’s actions I try not to react.
  13. Have a plan for your future, a vision. It will get you through tough times!

So there you have some of my thoughts on the last year. I have learned from my past and can talk about my future like it has already happened. I have learned to trust myself and the decisions I make without need of anyone’s opinion. I have used the struggles from my past to shape my future. Sometimes taking a risk is worth the journey.

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Losing Fear. Simple steps to help eliminate it from your life.

Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of trying new things, fear of leaving your comfort zone, fear of moving on in life, fear of following your dreams, fear of new relationships, fear of death, fear of what other’s think of you, fear of moving past a bad relationship, fear of heights, fear of traveling, fear of airplanes, fear of crime, fear of water, fear of dogs, fear of cats, fear of abuse, fear of what could happen next, and the list goes on! I am certain I have left out a fear you might have! Let’s face it we all have fears. They cause anxiety and paralyze us from making our lives what they should be. I learned about fear after my daughter died. I was never one to really worry. I had always been a super confident person, even though I had some tough times before her death. I was able to move on and keep trying.  When my daughter was murdered I went to the other side. I did. I woke up paralyzed with fear the day after I learned of her death. I became immobilized, I could not move nor make decisions. I had teetered on the edge during my divorce, and her death threw me into that fear tunnel. A tunnel I saw no way of leaving. I am sure my behavior seemed strange to others. I was paranoid. I thought at any minute something really bad would happen again. I couldn’t get close to anyone, I lost my ability to show love, affection, or any feelings at all, and I still have trouble showing my feelings to anyone.

I am a warrior now. A fear warrior is what I call myself inside my mind. I write down my feelings and I share them through my writing. My blog is my therapy. I know I seem so courageous because I have done so much since she has passed.  I feel that is a part of her left inside of me, her spirit is part of my soul now. Let me tell you a bit about Misha. She was a strong-willed child. She seemed to live without fear as she grew into a teen. I as her mother felt fear for her every time she was not with me, especially in her last months as she had moved to a new state which I always felt in my 6th sense was not a good place for her to go.  As parents we always have fear for our children, but when we actually lose a child the fear becomes reality. We cannot help but become fearful ourselves. I have done my best to overcome this fearful way of living that encompassed me when she died. I am not sure how I got better, but I slowly did. I want to share some of the things I do to cut the overall helplessness that fear brings about. I do this in hope I can help others. It is not something you can just get rid of by changing the way you think; you need to actually change your way of looking at your life.

1. Try to focus on the now. This day, this moment, the little things that make you happy. I know this sounds so cliché, we read about this ‘living in the now’ all the time. It really works. If I am having a serious day of anxiety, I use meditation to let go of my anxious thoughts. I have no control over others, nor the future. I repeat that to myself while meditating.

2. Let go of the past. Again, part of ‘living in the now’ philosophy. However, when we can’t sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, it seems the past rears its ugly head. I was so guilty of going over my past that it had to stop. I was the only one who could put a stop to this mind racing momentum that could only do me harm.

3. Try new things, things that you actually might be fearful of trying! I have started mountain biking. I would see people here in Colombia riding bikes all the time. I see them going up steep areas; bumpy mountain roads. I would think “I could never do that!” Guess what I am doing it. This was a fear that I put in my mind without any actual knowledge about this sport. Just because I thought it looked too hard, I thought I couldn’t do it. I am now improving every time I take my bike out.

4. If you have a dream that you always think about, you should put into motion how to carry out what it is you want. When Misha died, I decided to move to Colombia based on a thought process that life is short, another familiar tune that goes with ‘live in the now”. I thought since she died so young, I couldn’t know what the next day would bring. So, I just did it. I moved to a foreign country. I have been successful and I can now speak Spanish. You might fail, but at least you have tried. I am in no way living a perfect life. After all, I am just starting my business, but I get messages all the time about bookings here at Villa Migelita. I am learning through trial and error. I think I am going to do well, but along with my Bed and Breakfast I have fulfilled my dream of retiring in the mountains.

5. Do things you did when you were a young person. I learned to ride horses when I was around seven years old. As we get older we lose memories, but I remember riding my first horse at a friends ranch in Davie, Florida. It is like riding a bike, it stays with you! Over the years I would ride horses, but after moving to Colombia I realized it is a part of the culture. At first I was so intimidated. The horses here are beautiful and the riding style is different. I just said to myself “try it” and now I ride a lot. I am not fearful of riding in the mountains where I go along paths that have drop-offs because the horses lead the way, and I know they will take care of me. The freedom I feel while riding in nature is exhilarating. Anyone can do this. The horses are well-trained and extremely beautiful. I always tell my guests when they express fear of riding…just try it. They are always very happy they did.

6. Make a list of your fears that bother your thought process. Confront these fears and think of a solution to help rest your mind and your soul. I have found letting something continually bother me is more upsetting than finding a solution. There is always a solution if you weigh your options. I never give up. Patience is key to letting go of fear within yourself. Remember to be kind to yourself.

7. Talk to someone if you feel you need to. Talking about our fears can make them less important. Another’s perspective can make a big difference. I want to try the Parapente (para-gliding) and have not done it because of fear. I talked to my guest from Australia who explained the sport to me and how safe it is. He used to have his own parapente and has informed me about the way the air flow works and now I am ready to try it.

8. Over thinking! Just stop it. We over think our fears. A relaxed mind will  offer you a solution. I know when I have a night where I am stressing about all the things that worry me, I always make it worse. Then I wake up in the morning and the solutions come to me. Fear is based on worry and over thinking. Try to let your mind be free and divert your thoughts to pleasant memories, beautiful images, and good choices.

When we incorporate simple changes into our lives we start changing our life! It is an ongoing process.  I have bad days when it is super hard not to look back and say “what if”? I use all the tools I have available to help myself on those days. They work. Remember, you don’t have to be completely without fear, you just need to not allow it to control you. Please comment in this post about what is your biggest fear, and how you help yourself cope on days the fear feels overwhelming. I am sure many of you have great ways of losing fear. I would love to hear from you.