Moments a Treasure

The sun slides in the horizon, turning the sky a gorgeous orange.  I wondered why I left my phone on the table today.  If I run back to the house, I’ll miss the moment, if I stay, I can’t share this with anyone else. In the end, I sit on the white sand, I tell myself tomorrow is another day. Another sunset will come, I’ll take a picture of that one.  But, today’s was beautiful…it made me smile.

Ichi-go ichi-e

一期一会

birthday cakeToday, I thought I’d share something my friend tells me all the time.  It might be familiar to you, it might not, but he’s always telling me, “Ichi-go Ichi-e.” This phrase translates to ‘one time, one encounter’. My friend mostly says it to remind me that something only happens once, I can’t redo something because it won’t be the same.  I have to treasure each moment that comes to me, because it won’t be the same tomorrow. Such powerful words, watching today’s sunset, they rang through my head more than once.

So, I’ve recently celebrated a birthday. One that I was happy to actually celebrate.  Earlier this year I had a hard time, and I’m grateful to have seen my birthday this year.  As I sat surrounded by family and friends who loved me, I felt lucky.  And it was like ‘ichi-go ichi-e‘ for me.  That happiness, it was special, and I’m glad to have felt it.

As you read this, I hope you have moments you treasure, because they’ll never happen again in the same way.

Happy Korean Thanksgiving Day – Chuseok 2014

Happy Korean Thanksgiving

추석 잘 보내세요!! (Happy Chuseok)

Happy Chuseok1

It’s that time again when we meet our family and our friends, and are thankful for all of them, while eating as much food as possible.  Once again, this year I don’t get to see too many of my family members, but I do get to see my friends. So, we’ve planned a feast of food, and loads of drinks.  I hope you all enjoy a wonderful celebration.  To everyone, be thankful for your family, and remember those who’ve left you.  Be grateful for the year, and the things it has brought and hope for more as the year ends.

chuseok food

Chuseok food

 

Fates Decided 3

Fates Decided 3

Fates DecidedDerek Woo hammered the last nail into the wood with smooth strokes. He straightened and placed the hammer in the plastic container with the nails when he finished and tested the deck. It was firm, no shaking. He nodded in approval glad that the backyard was taking shape.

He reached for a bottle of water hanging on a nail on the railing. Gods it was hot. Nairobi heat was interesting. It wasn’t humid, just sun beating down on you, and heating up the earth. A cool breeze swept through the trees he had growing around the house and he smiled. Hot day, with a cool breeze, the weather was definitely one of a kind.

Wiping his forehead with a cloth he’d stuck in his back pocket, he went down the short steps to the flower garden and turned to study the deck hugging the ranch style house. He’d rented it from a couple who’d gone to the London to work. They hadn’t wanted to let the house stay empty, so they’d decided to lease it out. He liked the half-acre property. It was secluded, quiet, and close to a shopping center he visited when he needed groceries. The city was fifteen minutes away on a day without traffic. It was a convenient lifestyle when it mattered.

Like now, he thought.

Help me. Please don’t leave me here.

He rubbed his forehead hoping to dispel that pleading voice. He’d gone an hour without thinking about it. A sigh escaped and he capped his water bottle. What he wouldn’t give for something stronger, but he knew where that road led. He couldn’t afford to let himself succumb to his demons.

His cell phone buzzed against his hip and he reached for it like a lifeline.

“Yeah,” he answered the call his voice rough.

“We’ve got a convoy request. An offer we can’t refuse,” a clipped tone said at the other end.

“I’m on the way,” he said, putting his cell phone away and heading back to the house.

He picked up the container of nails and his hammer on his way into the house. He locked the back door, placing the container of nails on a counter in the kitchen then rushed upstairs for a quick shower.

Thirty minutes later, he pulled into the parking lot at the Woo Securities building. The branch ran all their East African contracts. While he had an office here, he spent most of his time on the field or at home and only came in when the branch manager needed to give a briefing on a high profile case.

He entered the six-story building with a nod to the perky receptionist. She waved at him and immediately picked up the phone to inform the top floor that he’d come in.  He took the stairs to the fifth floor. Upstairs, he found Peter Kimani waiting for him in the hallway. He was a tall black man with a friendly smile. Peter always wore tailored suits to work, quite a contrast to his own t-shirt and jeans policy. Derek could understand why they’d decided to make Peter the branch manager instead of him.

“Boss,” Peter said in greeting. “How’s the deck going?”

“Finished it an hour ago,” he answered taking Peter’s hand. “And you, the kids, the wife?”

“Driving me insane,” Peter said with a fond smile.

Born and raised in Nairobi, Peter was a family man through and through. He loved his family despite his claims of going insane. Derek had met them during company parties.

“What’s going on?” he asked as they headed to a large conference room at the end of the hallway.

“Your father called.” Peter said his tone suddenly grave. “First time I’ve ever spoken to him. I was surprised I didn’t explode in shock.”

Derek grimaced. A call from Chin Woo meant a favor to a family friend.

He sighed and asked, “What did he want?”

“An extraction,” Peter said as they entered the conference room.

Derek closed the door behind them and turned his attention to the overhead screen on the furthest wall.

“A Dr. Jihu Min is in the Dadaab Camp. There was a skirmish five hours ago. No one knows Dr. Min’s whereabouts. He’s feared dead.”

“Why not let the security officials up there deal with it?” Derek asked crossing his arms against his chest. “It’s better for everyone if we don’t go in and cause more trouble.”

“Your father was adamant about helping Dr. Min. Our orders are to get him on a plane back to Seoul as fast as we can.”

“Great,” Derek sighed again.  Definitely a favor for family. “Fine, I’ll call the team.”

“Already done, they’re packing up supplies as we speak,” Peter said quickly. His tone made Derek pause.

“What haven’t you told me?”

“You have a passenger,” Peter said with a wince.

“What?” Derek asked with a frown. “Why? We can do the extraction without assistance-,”

“Dr. Min’s fiancee,” Peter cut in. “She insists on coming along.”

“No.” Derek shook his head.

He wasn’t taking on liabilities. The journey North wasn’t easy and adding on a woman who had no idea the kind of hardships they’d go through…no, he wasn’t doing that again.

“You have no choice. She’s the reason we got clearance from the government. You can’t leave her behind.”

“Damn it, Peter,” Derek cursed glaring at Peter. “What happens if we get stuck on the road, you know how it is up there?”

“Protect her,” Peter said with a small smile. “Besides, you have me on call. I’ll work to get you all the help you need, when you need it. I promise. The money is really good.”

“Yeah,” Derek scoffed. “That’s all you ever think about.”

“It’s my job, Derek. Your father sounded worried. Do you know this Dr. Min?”

Derek frowned. “No.”

“Well, the Doctor’s family must have some clout to get your father calling me. Do it as fast as you can, then you can return to building extensions on a house you don’t own.”

Derek grinned at Peter. “Well, we’re all not as lucky as you, Peter. Wives like yours are hard to come by.”

Peter chuckled and held out a folder.

“You need to meet the fiancee at JKIA. She’s flying in from Mombasa. That’s her arrival time, and all the information I could get on her. Good luck, and stay safe, Derek.”

“Always,” Derek said as he left the conference room not bothering to look into the folder.

Socialites were all the same to him, especially the ones that came to places like Nairobi. Bossy, annoying and demanding, he couldn’t believe they had to go all the way to the Northern border with a nagging woman in the back seat.

Shit, the day wasn’t getting any better.

****

To be continued….

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Fates Decided 2

“Fresh mangoes for Miss Jade and coconuts for Master Tao,” a woman in her early thirties said to Jade.Fates Decided

Tao placed a steadying hand on Jade’s elbow as they jumped a puddle to get to the woman’s fruit stand.

“Good to see you, Priscilla,” Jade said happy to see her well.

Priscilla had run the fruit stand for the last five years in the Ukunda market.

Priscilla was a mother to five children, all of whom she educated with the money she earned selling fruits.  Jade liked her because she was honest, hardworking and friendly.  She always gave them fair prices compared to the other stalls who inflated prices the moment they saw them.

“Master Tao looks handsome,” Priscilla said as she got coconuts from the back of her stall and brought them to Tao.  “Maybe he should ask Miss Jade to marry?”

Jade laughed and glanced at Tao.  “Yes, Master Tao.  What do you say?”

Tao grinned and held out a coconut to her.  “How about it Jade, marry me?”

“Oh no,” Priscilla shook her head in disapproval, watching Jade select fresh oranges and put them in a selecting basket.  “Tao, you have to do it with romance.  By the beach, right when God is painting the sky with the setting sun.  It’s more romantic, yes?  Like a novel.”

Tao smiled.  “I hope that’s what Mwakazi did for you.”

Priscilla laughed.  “Oh no, he was very abrupt, he has no time for romance that one.  He just looked at me and said, “We’d live a good life together”.  That was it.”

“Just like that?” Tao asked watching Priscilla bag Jade’s oranges.

“Yes.  I agreed because Mwakazi is a good man.  He works very hard, so no time for romance.  I understand his heart, and that’s enough.  Miss Jade, she’s stubborn.  She needs romance to get her married.”

Tao chuckled and turned to Jade.  “How about it, Jade?”

“Priscilla if I answer yes, Tao will run away tomorrow,” Jade said studying a pineapple.

Tfruitshe best part of living here was the availability of fresh fruits and at such affordable prices.  So much fresh fruit, she mused as she chose a ripe pineapple and handed it to Priscilla.

“How much?” Tao asked reaching for his wallet.

Priscilla counted the total of their purchases and told Tao.

“Is it true you’d runaway from Miss Jade?” Priscilla asked as she took the money that Tao held out.

“No.  She’s the one who’d run from me,” Tao answered taking a mango from the dozens displayed.  He handed it to Priscilla to wash and cut it just as Jade’s phone buzzed.

“Jade,” Julie said when she answered the call.

“What’s wrong?” she asked turning away from Tao and Priscilla who were laughing.  “Julie-,”

“There was an explosion in one of the camps in Dadaab-,”

Jade gasped and took a step back to lean on the wooden fruit stand.

“Jihu?” she asked in a whisper.

“No information yet,” Julie said sadly.  “I’m working on it, Jade.”

Jade closed her eyes.  “I’m on the way.”

She ended the call, her hand shaking badly.  Jihu was fine.

He was fine, she repeated in her head.  He just had to be.

****

To be continued..

Fates Decided 1

All Rights Reserved 2014 © Suilan Lee

Life on the Road or Planting Roots

live

 

Today, the question is would I prefer to have a permanent address, or spend my life on the road, visiting different places around the world.  A gypsy, or holding down the fort? Can I do both?  I’d do both both.  That’s my answer.

Living life on the road…

I’ve had a life traveling from one city to another.  The best part about this is getting to meet new people, developinggypsy a culture your own culture, and it’s amazing how much it opens your mind.  There are so many things to see in the world.  I love traveling.  You get a free feeling, driving along a road with nothing in sight, singing loudly to random oldies.  ^_-.  You get to eat food you’ve never tasted before.  Once , I love barbecued meat, and my friends and I once found this small shack in the middle of nowhere that did the best barbecued chicken I’ve ever tasted.  Sadly, I’ve never gone back there, wish I could.  I call them random amazing moments in life.  You meet strange people.  I’ve met a man who wakes up at four a.m. in the morning to go looking for shells in the ocean, lives on the beach, and  doesn’t seem to mind it at all.  That’s life on the road….intriguing.

Planting Roots….

Having a place to find solace when you’re tired of the world, of the road, of everything else is the best.  Traveling can take a toll, and it’s great to know you have somewhere to return to, somewhere like home.  So, I think both work for me.  Having a home, and also spent time traveling, it increases the scope of the mind.

Read Fiction today:

Fates Decided – Love stories

You Make Me…Crazy – m/m romance

Electric Blue and Catnip – m/m romance

 

 

Fates Decided – One

Chapter One

Fates DecidedA housefly landed on damp brown skin.  She swatted it away, her worried eyes fixed on glazed innocent eyes.  She held a thin hand in hers, a small and delicate hand; she doubted the boy lying on the cot had ever had enough energy to lift his arms.  He was three years old, a baby, she sighed, her thumb stroking over his wrist, searching for a pulse, always checking.  His eyes kept staring at her, no longer begging.

His pulse faltered and a vice clamped tight in her chest.  It faltered again and his eyes closed, his hand went limp and tears slid down her cheeks unchecked.  She hated the relief that flooded her.  Relief that he didn’t have to suffer anymore, have to be here going through this.  She looked around the tent, raging against the injustice of it all.  She was the only one to shed tears in this den of misery that had dried everyone’s eyes.

There was no one to cry and wail with her.  Instead, a quiet desolation fell over the tent.  She stared at the dead boy on the cot, her fingers sliding away as she sent a silent prayer after his soul.  She moved to stand, and as she turned to find a volunteer nurse, a gasp escaped at the sight of the hundreds of children suffering in their cots all of them clearly close to death.

Someone help, she wanted to scream.

Someone please help!

How could she stop this madness?  Their eyes on her, she felt the vice in her chest tighten more and fear flooded her veins.  She wanted to run, but her feet were stuck to the ground.  She tried to take a step back, a scream lodged in her throat, threatening to choke her….

Jade Sang sat up on her bed taking in a deep gulp of air as a sob escaped her lips.  She opened her eyes and relief flooded her when she recognized her own bedroom.

She was home, safe, no longer in that place.  She pressed her hand into her chest, dragging in another deep breath to ease the tightness in her chest.  She pushed the light white sheets away and freed her feet.

A warm breeze swept into her bedroom and she stared toward the open terrace doors.  The sun was rising in the horizon, turning the ocean water into a sparkling blue.  She took another calming breath and swept hair away from her face.

She was safe at home.

She soaked in the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the call of seagulls in the distance, allowing it to dispel her vivid dream.

Jade got off the bed, picked up a white silk gown from the foot of her bed and slipped it on, covering her short sleeveless nightgown.  A warm breeze swept into her bedroom again, sending the sheer white curtains at the terrace doors dancing.  On bare feet, she walked to the open doors and stepped out into the warm morning.

At the terrace, she sank on to her favorite couch, the cool cushions welcome as she sat staring at the rising sun.  Leaning her left arm on the back of the couch, her legs folded under her, she wondered when the nightmares would stop.

Two months had passed since her assignment at the refugee camp in Arsal.  The boy who’d died in her arms had gotten to her, more than she had expected.  He’d died of malnutrition after his mother had walked for miles fleeing war in Syria.  The woman had done all she could to save her child, but by the time she’d reached the camp, his delicate health had failed.  Her story had broken Jade’s heart.  She’d promised to look after the boy as the mother rested.  When the boy died, the mother had not shed a tear, not one.  The woman had just looked at her son with a resigned glance and followed the volunteer nurse.

Jade had known that it wasn’t indifference causing the lack of tears.  That woman had borne the weight of crippling despair so heavy tears seemed insignificant.  That kind of despair came from losing after fighting so hard, that it felt like God didn’t know you existed.

Jade sighed heavily.  She sometimes wished she hadn’t chosen to chase after Jihu Min this way.  Chasing him had landed her in a world most people preferred not to see, including herself.  For a long time, she’d lived happily in a state of ignorance, but now-, she frowned.  Now she wasn’t sure what she was doing anymore.

Sunlight kissed the surface of the ocean; the sun had peeked over a cloud in the horizon.  She smiled as the white sand on the beach below sparkled.  She got up and walked down the short steps that took her to a cobbled path leading to the beach.  Tying the belt on her nightgown loosely, she followed the path as she’d done thousands of times.

Everyone was asleep in the house; her housemates would wake up in another hour, so she had the beach to herself.

Jade rejoiced when her toes sank into the cool white sand.

White as snow, she thought.

The first time she’d seen it, she’d grabbed bunches of it and watched it sift through her fingers like a child.  Diani Beach had that effect on her.  So clean, pristine, and beautiful, it was easy to fall in love with this corner of the world.  The waves swept in to shore and she smiled not yet ready to feel the water.  She stood a few feet away watching the waves dance and play with the sand on the shore.

She’d lived in Diani for five years now.  She’d come here chasing after a dream promised her from her teenage years.  The beach house behind her was a gift from her father.  Worried that she’d live a hard life, he’d purchased the one-acre of land with a ranch-style beach house.  At the time, she’d thought her father controlling, but now, the house had turned into her sanctuary.

She was born in Seoul, to an affluent executive named Taeyong Sang and a high school teacher named Minjin Kim.  At thirty years old, Jade was the youngest in a family of three siblings.  Her two older brothers were married and living in Seoul with their families.  She was single and ‘essentially gallivanting around the world acting the hero.

She smiled at the memory of her maternal grandmother saying those last words.  Jade had wanted to remind her Grandmother Kim that she was technically a married woman in the eyes of the law, but her mother had warned her not to.  Grandmother Kim had a bad temper and liked to have the last word.

Jade shook her head thinking about her arranged marriage.  In typical tradition, her parents had promised her to the son of a close family friend.  In their eagerness to see the two families join, her parents had registered her marriage to Jihu Min, the only son in the Min Family, when she’d turned twelve years old.

To make the transition easy she and Jihu had gone to the same schools, spent holidays together, most of her teenage memories involved Jihu.  She’d grown up idolizing him.  In her mind, he’d been the picture of elegance, handsome…passionate.  When he’d joined medical school, she’d joined to share in his life.

She’d hoped Jihu would start caring for her as she had for him.  But, when he finished with med school, he’d decided to join the Doctors without Borders program to escape her.  The day she’d discovered what he’d done, she’d confronted him at the hospital where he worked in Seoul.  She’d demanded to know why he was leaving her.  Why he wasn’t taking their marriage registration seriously, as she and their parents did.  He’d accused her of being a sheltered and oblivious child.

Jade took the few steps closer to the waves and sighed when the cold water swept over her feet, firmly grounding her in the present.

Jihu Min, her husband, thought her a spoiled brat.

He wasn’t wrong.

Growing up, she’d lived a privileged life.  She hadn’t questioned much of her parents’ decisions, even their arranging her marriage to Jihu; she’d accepted it without question.  After all, her parents always wanted the best for her.  But to have Jihu throw her life back at her so crudely, she’d felt small and insanely insignificant.  It was the first time she’d discovered Jihu didn’t want their arranged marriage.

In a bid to prove him wrong, she’d given up her comfortable life in Seoul, joined the Seren Foundation and plunged into aide work.

Jihu moved around the world with Doctors without Borders and she followed when she could, though she was careful not to end up in the same camp.

Two months ago, Jihu had landed in Daadab on the Northern border of Kenya.  She’d immediately left the camp in Arsal to return to Kenya.

“Jade!”

She looked up to find her best friend and housemate running toward her.  Tao Kim was a tall lanky man who worked at Seren with her.  He handled logistics and could procure anything needed for a project in minutes.

She watched him jog toward her with a small smile.  She’d known Tao for eight years.  He was the son of a doctor and had joined the Seren Foundation at the same time she had.  They worked most projects together, which she was grateful for because he kept her grounded.

“I’m seriously out of shape,” Tao huffed when he reached her.  “One hour and I’m sweating like a pig.”

Jade chuckled.  Tao liked to joke.  He was tall, lean and fit despite his complains.  He kept his hair military short, because of the tropical heat.  His skin had turned a lovely golden brown, which made Tao very handsome.

“Checking my buns out?” Tao asked when he straightened up, a hand on his stomach as he took in deep breaths.

“Yes actually, why don’t you have a girlfriend?” she demanded.

Tao laughed.  “How do you know I don’t have one?”

“I’d have heard something by now,” Jade said with a frown.

Though, maybe not, she’d spent so much of her time fighting her own nightmares lately, she’d barely paid attention to Tao.

Tao placed an arm over her shoulder and dragged her to his sweaty side.

“Don’t worry, you haven’t missed much,” he assured her.  “How are the bad dreams going?”

She shrugged her gaze returning to the horizon.  “It could be worse.”

“I suppose,” Tao agreed.  “Hungry?  I can whip up an omelet.”

Her stomach chose that moment to growl and she laughed.

“That’s a good answer,” Tao said turning her away from the rising sun.

They headed back to the house.

“What are you up today?” Tao asked.

“Grocery shopping,” she said.  “You promised to go to the market with me.  Julie won’t come even if I beg.”

Julie Kang was their third housemate.  She worked in the public relations office and was always working.

“If you agree to stop at the port first, I’ll take you to the market.”  Tao led her into the house through the living room terrace doors.

“What are you going to do at the port?”

“Signing documents for a shipment cleared yesterday afternoon,” Tao said.  “A truck is collecting the container today and we need to clear with the Kenyan ports authority.

He ran a hand over his sweaty face and grimaced.  “Look, why don’t you start the coffee and I’ll grab a quick shower.  I’ll be back before you know it to do breakfast.”

He hurried down a long corridor to his room and she entered the kitchen with a small smile.  She filled the coffee pot with water and started the coffee maker.

Julie walked in just as the coffee started trickling into the pot.

“I figured coffee would wake you up,” Jade teased.

Julie yawned and stretched her arms over her head dramatically.  Dressed in a hello kitty t-shirt and black tights, her curly red hair around her shoulders.  She barely resembled the no-nonsense feisty woman who led a huge public relations team.

“I’ll give you my first child if you give me coffee,” Julie said as she slid on to a stool at the island table.

Jade laughed and reached for a mug in the cupboard above the coffee maker.  Julie liked her coffee the way she did her life.  Straight, with no frills attached.

“Tao is making breakfast,” Jade said holding the mug of black coffee to Jade.

“That’s a relief,” Julie said after two sips of the fragrant coffee.  “No offense but I can’t face your runny eggs this morning.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jade said sliding into the stool across her friend to wait for the coffee.  “I didn’t hear you coming in last night.”

Julie yawned.  “I came home late, almost close to one o’clock.  Crisis in South Sudan, refugees are pouring into Dadaab.  The case managers have asked for more staff and supplies but the security situation up there is making access difficult.”

“What do you mean?

“Two convoys were attacked yesterday on the way into Dadaab.  Militia,” Julie said quietly.  “The security officers managed to save our people, but the supplies weren’t saved.”

“What’s the government saying?”

“Their own soldiers were in danger.  They’re doing the best they can but flights to Dadaab are once again cancelled.”  Julie sighed.  “The higher ups want to take time and gauge the situation.  No one wants to send staff into imminent danger.”

“Great,” Jade said with a sigh of her own.  She hoped Jihu was safe and taking precaution.

“Don’t worry.” Julie said reaching to touch her hand.  “The staff is safe as long as they stay within the compound.  Jihu is okay.”

“Easy to say,” she said with a small shake of her head.  “I still worry.”

“They would call me if something was wrong,” Julie promised.  “How was your night?”

Jade slid off the stool and walked to the coffee maker.  She poured herself a mug of coffee and spent a few seconds adding two creamers and sugar.

“Jade,” Julie prompted when she didn’t answer the question.

Jade leaned on the counter and sipped her coffee.

“My night was easier than others this month.  I can’t kick the nightmares.  I keep dreaming about those children, all of them dying or dead.  It is so real in my head, and that helpless feeling just keeps growing-,” she stopped and shuddered.  “I don’t know why it’s not getting easier.”

“Arsal was bad, Jade,” Julie said trying to reassure her.  “I wish you’d agree to stay in the office.  Field work is slowly eating away at you.”

Jade shook her head.  “If I do that, I won’t be able to keep up with Jihu.”

“Jihu is not going to change his mind, Jade.  Sometimes, I think he goes to the worst places because it has become an addiction for him.  He can’t stop.  You, on the other hand, can.  Get your stupid marriage annulled and find another guy.”

Jade stared into her coffee.  She’d thought of that but how could she give up on Jihu?

“Please think about it, Jade,” Julie urged when she didn’t respond, “for the sake of your sanity if nothing else.”

Tao walked in then thankfully ending the conversation.  He looked freshly showered and handsome in a light white t-shirt and blue jeans.  He retrieved eggs from the fridge and got a frying pan.

“Julie-bean, want some eggs?” he asked winking at Jade.

“As long as they’re not runny,” Julie said with a teasing grin.

“I’m going to stop making breakfast if you keep this up,” Jade warned.

“Can you?” Julie begged.  “Let Tao handle the cooking.”

Jade gaped.  “Just for that, you’re getting runny eggs ala Jade for dinner tonight.”

“I’m eating out,” Julie said laughing.

Tao shook his head when Jade hurried to the table to tug Julie’s hair.  She grinned when Julie ducked and held up her hands in surrender.

“Stop fooling around you two or I’ll be forced to get my whip,” Tao warned.  “Behave if you want omelets.”

Jade laughed when Julie pulled her into a tight hug.

****

All Rights Reserved 2014 © Suilan Lee

To be continued….

A Mother’s Strength

In good faith
Describe a memory or encounter in which I considered
my faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first
time.

This is an interesting topic.  I don’t consider myself overly religious, but I do believe in a higher power.  I lost my father when I was young, and my mother raised my siblings and I alone.  I believe children who grow up in a single parent family develop a strong sense of family.  Especially if your mother is as strong as mine is.  She’s taught us many things, most important independence, even though we often argue about that because I go against a lot of expected traditions.  She’s also taught us to be humble and to face all our trials with as much bravery as we can.  When you’re shaking with fear, it’s not that hard to call on that higher power for some strength to face anything that scares you.

The point of the above tirade, growing up, we had a lot of difficulties, and when things were especially tough, I’d always send out a prayer to a higher power to get us through whatever struggle.  So, I think that the memories/encounters that made me consider my spirituality are many, and are tied into the experiences I’ve had through life.  I’m not overly religious, but I can consider myself faithful to the higher power that created us because this higher power has safe guarded me and my family through a lot.