♦ Did you lose your sight completely?
♦ Did your marriage heal?
♦ Do you put on your own makeup, fix your hair and choose your own clothes?
♦ Do you travel by yourself?
♦ Do you work full-time?
My answer to all of them is a resounding, “Yes.”
When Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable retinal disease, took my sight completely at the age of 31, I never imagined doing all these things. Crazy, I know, but God never said our experiences on this earth would make sense. He just said that with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Hey friends, I know, while you’re reading this, you have your own storms. Your own tough moments. And heartache that you might carry everywhere like your cell phone. I’ll tell you a bit more about me so you can see that same triumph can be yours, too.
What Happened First
My triumph began when I stopped trying to solve my problems on my own. I let go my stubborn pride, wiped the tears from my eyes, and nodded as I said ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to seek Him first. I invited Jesus to be the center of my life, the source of all and the light for my path. Then wisdom filled my heart. What a silly chica I had been–I was seeking first to see again, to have a ‘normal’ life. But God had a different order of priorities. And when I obeyed, to my delight, He put everything in place as He promised in Mathew 6:33.
Inhaling a deep breath, I took His hand. Step by step, He gave me a new kind of sight. I saw, really saw the beauty the eyes of the heart can see when He parts the curtain of gloom.
What happened next was that a burst of passion to inspire others filled my heart. And here I am, to show you, to prove to you that His promise is meant for you, too.
Amigos, if God gave me 20/20 spiritual vision, He’ll also heal the darkness you face.
If He brought love back into our marriage, He’ll mend yours too.
If He brought peace after the death of my son, He’ll heal your broken heart.
If He helped me to forgive the man who killed our son, He’ll open the path for you to know the freedom of forgiveness.
I commit to ignite in you the passion to take a bold step. The step to believe that no one, or nothing else, but Christ’s power in you that will bring solutions, triumph, confidence and joy.
When I first lost my sight, I sat at my kitchen table, certain that I’d never accomplish anything. No eyesight, no future, right? But God said, no chica, you’re wrong. Just wait and see the plans I have for you.
He did what he promised, too. He brought software for my computer which reads the screen to me. Pretty cool stuff. So, while my fingers are doing the salsa on my keyboard, I craft insights. To date, hundreds of my stories have danced into magazines, online publications, news columns, 15 anthologies, 19 Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, Guidepost Magazine, and my sassy blogs with inspiration to shine into your day.
You know what’s wrong with this world? There’s too much gloom, sadness, brokenness, despair and junk. So I wrote a second book, and titled it, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta. In it, I show how to conquer fear and celebrate life. How to bring back the joy lost in the midst of hard times.
The success of Simply Salsa knocked my Latina socks off. As I watched it climb to #1 on Amazon, first I sat stunned, then a squeal came out, then gratitude to God flooded my soul. Once again, I think that was God’s way of saying, “Chica, didn’t I tell you all these things will be added on to you?” (Matthew 6:33).
But, amigos, do you think for a moment God did this for me? I believe He allowed Simply Salsa’s success for you—so you could delight in the insights I present, the style of writing that’s engaging, entertaining, with a bit of sass, touch of humor, colorful stories and all framed in God’s Word. But hold un minuto, you can see for yourself right here where I include readers reviews:
My First Book
My first book is purely my story. In it I show you how trials can turn to treasures. So I titled it, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life, Xulen Press, 2004. It’s been out for a while, but readers are still drawing inspiration and encouragement. And that, amigos, delights my soul.
What fun it is, how amazing it is to be invited to be a guest on TV and radio programs. Sometimes, I even get a bit too passionate and bubbly when I share my stories and details to inspire audiences. Here are only a few of them:
To date, dozens of radio programs and blog talk shows include episodes of my life.
And who would think, but in addition, dozens of articles about my life have appeared in local, regional and national publications—from the Orlando Sentinel to the New York Times. And blushing a bit, deep inside I was quite happy when my picture was featured on the cover of Hispanic Woman Magazine.
Where I Came From
Reading was my Mom’s passion. And she was fascinated by Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and his adventures on the Mississippi River. Her dream to visit those places came true in 1964 when my family and I, at 12 years old, left Bolivia and settled in St. Louis, Missouri.
My Life Now
My best friend and wonderful hubby, Gene, and I live in Orlando. We delight in the love from our two grandchildren, from our son Jason and his wife Rachel, and our middle son, Jeff. We wait in joyful expectation to the day when we’ll reunite with our youngest son, Joe, in the glory of heaven.
When I’m not at my computer, replying to my readers or writing stories, I’m traveling across the country and internationally to impart my keynote messages. Mission trips abroad also enrich my life and add to the exciting adventures. When at home, I teach ladies’ Sunday school at South Orlando Baptist Church where hubby and I worship.
My Education and Awards
I met Gene in my senior year of college. And oh yes, I also earned my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University. And oh my, my, how good God is! Years later (I couldn’t believe it), I became the first blind court certified interpreter in Florida. Fast forward several more years, performing the task I so enjoy for the world’s largest over-the-phone interpreting company, I was honored with the Professional Excellence Award. And recently, through my community, I received the ‘Latina Women Who Make a Difference’ award.
I Like to Belong
What an honor to be a member of these organizations:
AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association)
CAN (Christian Authors Network)
Word Weavers of Central Florida (Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild)
John 3:16 Christian Marketing Group
CLASS graduate (Christian Leaders, Authors, Speakers Services)
“She Speaks” graduate – Proverbs 31 Ministries
Board member: Disability Media, Inc.
The Writer’s View (online group)
This is my Statement of Faith. I boldly state it here because it was the faith in Christ Jesus that kept me from living in darkness, groping through life, searching for significance and looking for purpose.
With gratitude, I declare that God’s word ushered triumph in my life, passion for my endeavors and courage to face tomorrow.
I believe in the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
I believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and He died on the cross to pay for our sins. He was raised bodily from the grave, and reigns with the Father in Heaven.
I believe He will return to judge all.
I believe that acceptance of Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation and that once a person has received Christ, salvation cannot be lost.
I believe that the Holy Spirit working in one’s heart allows one to come in faith to Jesus.
I believe that God has a specific plan and purpose for each life.
I also believe God has given us gifts, abilities and opportunities to be used to further His kingdom and point others to Christ.