FREEDOM ISN’T FREE…

Freedom… sometimes as Americans we take it for granted. Today John and I would like to thank our military service members and their families, for their bravery, risks taken and especially the sacrifices made by them. This weekend we express and convey our respect specifically to those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. This year is Rolling Thunder’s last ride to the city because of lack of funds. This makes us sad. We want to be there this last time to applaud them for the many years of peaceful demonstration and for making all of us aware of the importance of understanding what this day is all about.

Rolling Thunder – Where are They

In case you didn’t know it… Rolling Thunder is an advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. They have been doing this for 31 years, with a slow ride of motorcycles riding into the city, starting at the Pentagon and entering via Memorial Bridge.

John and I rode his motorcycle for many years for Rolling Thunder paying our respect to those that gave it all for our country. John and I started doing this together since 1998, but he rode the very first rally in 1993 and every since with his friends, before we met. For me the most gut wrenching moment is as you enter the city through Memorial Bridge and start seeing all the people still holding signs up of #MIA and #POW with their relatives names. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve done it, it gets me every-single-time… it continues to be heartbreaking. Can you imagine not knowing (even today) what happened to your relatives or friends, those that sacrificed everything for our freedom? Many people do not understand that Rolling Thunder, with their revving motorcycles and slow ride, just wants to create awareness and shed a light on those that said yes to the call, and fought for those at home and our next generations and have not yet been accounted for.

The Last Ride

This Sunday the last “Ride for Freedom,” will take place. This ride leaves the Pentagon parking lot at noon, crossing the Memorial Bridge, and ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“the Wall”). Following, at #ThunderAlley, there will be speeches and other events taking place from there, and this is also a #mustvisit place to get memorabilia. We ask that if you are in the area, that you visit DC tomorrow, take your children, and teach them to be proud and pay their respects, because sadly… #Freedom isn’t Free.

We just learned that President Trump said that “Rolling Thunder” is taking place again next year in Washington, D.C. We are elated because this event is such an amazing one every American must experience it one way or the other at one point in their life. See you in D.C. next year!

Long overdue… When in Fayetteville, NC visit Habana Restaurant!

Last year for John’s birthday we headed down to Myrtle Beach, SC. We had never been and were looking forward to our “field trip” to celebrate J’s big day. I had bought a great package and was excited to take John to a completely different place than where we normally go.

We left DC early and stopped at a local place for breakfast on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. We were really excited about taking off on this vacation. I don’t know about you but if I get in a car for more than two hours that calls for a nap. John doesn’t think that is good but he understands LOL. I think my parents used to drive me around when I was a baby and could not go to sleep, so for me, being a passenger in the car equals falling asleep (yep snoring and all.)

After a few hours we we wanted to explore a bit more. We found ourselves in Fayetteville, NC and although I had a couple of friends living in the area and we were left to our own device since they could not hook up with us in such shot notice. But it was all good. We were ad-libbing our trip, as we normally do, except that we needed to get to SC by the next day when our reservations were set for. Ahhhh cute and comfy hotel -Hilton related, and J found an excellent Cuban Restaurant right there. If you stop at Fayetteville please do yourself a favor and visit “Habana Restaurant” you won’t regret it, it is a gem. When we arrived a very nice lady called “China” (pronounced: Cheena) greeted us and explained everything about the menu. She was so sweet and she helped us select from our drinks to appetizers to the entrees. What an amazing culinary experience. Mind you, we consider ourselves a bit savvy on the Latin or Cuban cuisine but this place was amazing. Everything is cooked fresh and the setting is very casual, but don’t let it fool you, the food is absolutely amazing.

Quite frankly we had a very great time, the music was not too loud, the atmosphere was great and lo and behold we even got to meet the owner who graciously took pictures with John. He is a very humble man from Cuba, Miguel, who fancied cooking Cuban food all his life and now is the chef of his own restaurant. What a treat!

Needless to say our stop in Fayetteville was quite a success. We had breakfast at the hotel the following day, went to the pool and then left shortly before lunch down South to Myrtle Beach, our next destination to celebrate John’ birthday.

The Joy Christmas Brings to Our Hearts

Yes, we have a new tradition since 2017. We take professionally made photos with Santa Claus and we don’t regret it for one minute. Last year even though it was a trial year we did it, we again had a beautiful session with my personal friend and professional photographer, Jess DeLaski. Of course I want to share them because we did not send Christmas cards, instead we took a three week trip to Panama to visit family and visit this wonderful place.

Santa has my heart!

John decided to buy the tickets and fly to Panama for Christmas. Our base was my brother and sister in law’s beautiful home and from there we visited a wonderful resort right next to the Panama Canal on the Pacific ocean. We could not have asked for a better time. Sun, breeze, love and fun.

Here are some of our photos:

Three weeks that went by so fast. It was the best time to be on this tropical country because Summer was setting in, which means warm during the day, sunny and bright, and cooler in the evenings. The perfect time indeed. So many places to see and beaches to be at, and for us, it was a much needed vacation time.

So Christmas was very fun to say the least and warm. But that feeling of wonder was still there and that fun excitement that Santa would come to leave his presents as when we were kids was also there 😉 Life has its ups and downs and we took this high to celebrate that, life.

What a grand time. Thanking my John for all the effort he put into us having a wonderful time together and away from everything. “Just US” as we like to say even before the show appeared. And that is how our year ended!



CANCER ALERT

Kindness rocks painted by my sister and niece and left at our doorsteps with words of encouragement the night before my surgery.

In early 2018 I had a biopsy and was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It was shocking to say the least. At first I could not believe it because other than minor symptoms I had never felt more alive in the past 4 years…

But we grabbed the bull by its horns and prayed, held hands a lot, cried a little bit because of shock and because we were scared. And I say “we” because when you have a partner, like mine, I could not have asked for anyone better. We did this together. I could not have done this without John’s levelhead and love. I am so blessed to have this guy by my side.

Forget the visual board for 2018 I made early in 2017, forget the plans, this was urgent and needed to be taken care of. And together, as a family, John and I, and with the prayers and support of my mom, sister, brothers, and some of my nieces and nephew I was able to come hold my head in its place instead of going crazy.

Trying to be brave…

It was lonely. It was scary. It was quiet. I preferred not to share with anybody because that is how I roll. I am vibrant but when it comes to these things I don’t share, I rather stay with my inner and intimate circle. But God in his love and mercy surrounded me from my husband, my mom, my sister that stood by me day and night.  I’d rather share the news once I knew what was coming so keeping the secret was hard but I had to do it so I could hold it together.

At first I looked for a way to blame why I had cancer. I asked myself if perhaps because I was a big girl and never had children. I searched the internet and tried to find a reason… When I spoke with my great oncologist she said, don’t blame yourself. We still don’t know the root of the cause. Through my doors come women that have been fertile and non-fertile, that have been as healthy conscious as those that have skipped a few rules. Don’t blame yourself, it just happened and you have been great at coming to get checked even if your symptoms did not seem too bad. We may be on time, we don’t know yet. Let that guilt go, and focus on what is to come. Have hope, think positive and get prepared for this journey, because whatever the outcome, you will never be the same. And I believe it is a journey of growth in many areas. Wow! I did not expect that, but I took it and ran with it.

The truth is that during all these years John and I have lived a happy life. We did not have the opportunity of being parents but we both have been the best auntie and uncle we could have been. Then when I received the news I think it hit me, this was the period to that. There it was, the struggle of dealing with the end of that story. In a way dealing with this was tougher than the C word. So that was a situation I would still need to deal with on top of all this… But when time is of the essence you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself because you are fighting for your life.


Live as if this was your last day on earth! Don’t waste time in pettiness, it’s not worth it. Love like you mean it, and yes, love with all your heart!

But everything turned out how it was written in the book of Life. God spared me, he showed me his mercy. I won’t go into details, but I as of today I am okay., and of course there are more tests and appointments to endure but I am grateful and I will show it in my demeanor e-v-e-r-y d-a-y. And yes, while I don’t know what may come after this and I don’t take life for granted, but I do try to live every day to the fullest and slow down when I need to. I do listen to my body, and am trying to change some habits, but I continue loving perhaps more than I loved before, I try to not linger on things that want to rob my peace. I center my happiness in God, my husband and my family and true friends. Along the way I have made new friends and I embrace them and they may think I am a little bit crazy, but it is lie my oncologist said; life has changed and the perspective from where I see it is much more different that where I was coming from.

Together we are invincible!

I’m going to be okay. John and I are going to be okay. And whatever comes we won’t let it rob us of our peace and happiness. Get ready because this year we will be back with a lot more.

Always look at the bright side

Celebrating GeeGee

I don’t know about you but I had a wonderful mother in law. Her name was Kathy (Kathleen) she was born to Irish parents in New England and she was an amazing woman. Tomorrow, a year ago, she left us.

Kathy welcomed me to her family. She did not say it but she did show me with her actions. One of the fondest memories I have about her is that when I got married, John and I had said we would switch at the time of giving the sign of peace, and he would go to my family and I would go to his. So when I did this, my mother in law whispered in my ear” “You look beautiful.” I treasure that moment in my heart.

Field Trip with Geegee and Belinda 2016

She also welcomed my mom into her life from day one and they got along famously and had much fun when they were together. John and I were surprised because since day one they just loved each other. Kathy was easy to get along with she made things better for everybody.

She loved her baby boy (my John) and when I went to say goodbye I promised her I would take care of him always and thanked her for my greatest gift, my husband.

How can I not miss her? How can I not want to honor her? How can I not mention her? She was and is in our hearts forever.

Geegee we love you and we send you hugs to  heaven. Thank you for your love. Forever in our hearts.April 2016 The Gang

Belinda and John or John and Belinda?

Welcome!

Funny things happen when you suddenly begin a blog with your other half. First the name. Belinda and John or John and Belinda? Obviously John wants his name first but I tried to persuade him by explaining that Belinda (alphabetically) comes before the J in John, therefore, “Belinda and John” sounds better. He “sort of” conceded 🙂 But in any event, at this point, it’s too late. The domain has been set-up and “Belinda and John” has arrived to Word Press.

We just came back from a “In Pursuit of Fall Foliage” trip on the East Coast to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. We think it would be an opener to share our trips, our funny experiences, pass on some of our wisdom, great ideas and and some of our mistakes so you won’t make them!

belinda-and-john-fall-2016

What else to expect of “Belinda and John?” Anything and everything unexpected about life as we roll, as we see it as we share it and as it is. Humor, Faith, Travel, Family, Marriage, Community, Kindness, Love, Lifestyle and Inspiration. Perhaps we will share a bit of everything mentioned above, and we promise it won’t be boring.

We are just a couple living life as best as we can.

Thank you for joining us. Enjoy the ride!

This is how we Roll

For some reason we both know we were meant to be together. I write the most here, although this was John’s idea, because he is normally working or checking the news and some videos or sites on his phone LOL. He probably won’t be happy with this comment, but I guess I am more gregarious than he is and make the time. But back to what I said, we were meant to be.

When I met John he said he had had a dream about meeting Belinda and he did not want to scare me away if he shared this. I did not learn this until we were married or about to be married. He said he knew it was me. I believe him. When I met him it was like we were at the same level and at the same time opposites that melded well together. We did have some obstacles, we did not have much experience with being a couple to others so  with faith and perseverance, because we knew we belonged together, we made it through.

In my mind there is no doubt… we hope you enjoy our journey.

Summer Don’t Go

I know, summer in November? Well we had crazy year so when we took vacations it felt like summer, plus the weather definitely was mild. So here we go…

It seems like it was yesterday we planned to start this blog and then life happened LOL. But we’re baaack!

Last year we were so full of hope and looking forward to doing something together, like this blog which would be fun and light even though life can throw curve balls… but then we did not know what was lurking ahead. So we needed some time off to nurse ourselves back slowly into us, into our lives, as we knew it.

So here we are, back to life in semi slo-mo but not really able to catch up with Summer, and watching it go by in fast forward, so much things we did not get to do (like using my giant yellow duck pool float) and all of a sudden trying to understand that Fall is finally here. Heck no, we refuse to call it Fall yet because we are pretty much still in a Summer mood. So last Friday when Fall season was announced I found a pretty funny meme that explained exactly how perhaps we both felt.

So there you have it. Fall is here, we need to get with the program, soooo… since we could not even do a proper spring-cleaning this year we are preparing for a “much dreaded” fall-cleaning so we can feel renewed and kind of unburden the guilt for not doing it earlier. Yep, wait for our next blog post, we may post a picture or two.

In the meantime, stay out of trouble, we’ll try the same 😉

Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right (LOL)

This was a gift from my father-in-law, Ernie. He thought it was funny and what can I tell you (so did we.) My honey is most of the times right but for some reason I feel that so am I. But we are a team, we work together and we get to decisions together. There is no you are right or wrong, although sometimes if our convos get heated up… well you can just imagine. But these mugs have really made us smile more than once. We are thankful for these times. Love is grand!