Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time


The last few weeks this true story has come up on more than one occasion, so I thought I would dust it off and share it once more. Enjoy!

The sound of the waves, the sand beneath his feet, the warm ocean breeze were all a part of him, ingrained into his very soul. He was a true island boy, climbing palm trees in the blink of an eye to retrieve a coconut, catching fish with his homemade spear in the most primitive manner. It was the only manner he had ever learned…not from his father, as he had never met the man who had given him life. His mother never spoke of him. He carried his questions in his little heart, the one place they couldn’t cause the fleeting glimpse of pain he sometimes saw in her eyes…the pain she thought she hid so well.

Puerto Rico, Army Jeep, Black and White Army Military Photo

He studied the only photo of his father he possessed, memorizing every detail. Even when he closed his eyes he could still see the way his father looked in his uniform, the way he slightly leaned into his military jeep as though someone had caught him on his way somewhere. Where was he going? Who held the camera that provided the only piece of the puzzle that was his life, his story? He held the tiny black and white photo, yet held not a single memory of this man…a stranger to him.

Mike and Mom Rita early to mid-1950's

It came as no surprise when the little island boy grew to be a soldier as well. He and his mother moved to the United States so he could join the army at the age of eighteen. It wasn’t long before the island boy fell in love, married and had a family of his own. His young bride, wanting to know everything about him would ask him to tell her about his father. She wanted to know if he ever thought of him, if he ever wondered what became of him, if he was ever curious to meet him. His response never wavered. He had a good life, a loving family, and no need for anything or anyone else. After years of seeing the hint of pain in his eyes, she stopped asking him. Many years would come and go before she would tentatively broach the subject once more.

It was the age of computers now, when the internet was becoming all the rage and she had embraced the technology. She loved being able to communicate with all the friends she made during their numerous military relocations. And, she had become interested in a genealogy website where she could build a family tree. Once again, she asked her husband about his father. This time, he handed her the tiny black and white photo his own mother had placed in his small hand a lifetime ago. She scanned it, placed it on the site and listed her husband’s name as someone looking for his father. Neither one of them thought anything would really come of it. Yet, life has a funny way of making connections so intricately weaved, they leave us mere mortals astounded.

Across the ocean, a secretary at a military base happened on that very website. She gasped when she saw the photo and immediately printed it. Her boss arrived shortly after, and headed straight to his office. The first thing his eyes landed upon was a printout of a tiny black and white photo of a man in military uniform. There was no mistaking it was his father. He immediately took the contact information his secretary provided, and made the call that would forever change the life of a little island boy. He never doubted for a moment this man was his brother. Their father had shared a story with him, and the time had finally come to share it with his brother.

Their father had been stationed on a small island and had fallen in love with a young girl. He had returned home at the end of his assignment, but headed back to the island during the first military leave he had only to find that young girl gone. He questioned friends, family, neighbors to no avail. In the end, he found one person willing to talk. The news he was given was heartbreaking. The young girl died giving birth to a baby boy who also didn’t live.

Their father had refused to believe it. In the following years, he made several more attempts to find what his heart believed to be true, but all attempts ended the same. With a heavy heart, he returned home, went on with his life, married and had children, never returning to that island.

Somehow his heart knew what no one was willing to tell him when he sought answers so many years ago. His son lived, and one day he would know their story. He had hoped to look in his son’s eyes, and share this history with him, hug him and let him know he had gone back for them. While on his death-bed, coming to terms with the fact he would never get that opportunity, he shared this story with his youngest son. Their father requested when the brothers finally found each other, the story be shared with the son he never met.

There was silence on the other end of the phone line as a lifetime of questions were finally answered. The island boy, whom my husband calls Dad and my children call Pappa, found a family he never knew he had and a story he never believed could be his own.

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time

Island Boy Finds His Once Upon A Time


RIP C.R. – Gone But Not Forgotten


Dear C.R.,

It has been one week since you departed my side for the after life. I have opened my eyes each morning refusing to believe it is true. They say time will heal and each day will become a bit easier to bear without you by my side, but how can that be true when all my most memorable moments are ones we captured together, memories we created for many years to come. I’m not sure I can go on without you. I know you were tired and it was time for you to go, but selfishly I wish you had been able to hang on just a little longer.

One With The Ocean, Beach Calls Me

I know I must find a way to let you go, but today I simply can’t bring myself to do it. It was you who showed me the world in a way I had never experienced before you came into my life. It was you who encouraged me to share my vision with the world and allow them a glimpse into my mind and the randomness of it. Through the years, you were with me at so many of the big occasions. Most importantly, I knew I could always count on you for life’s little moments.

It was you I turned to time and again through my children’s many stages, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You never questioned my views, yet somehow managed to always bring me back into focus on what’s really important. You helped me see the details even when I was intent on the big picture. If not for you, I shudder to think how much I would have missed out on.

I hope you are resting and in a better place, a place full of color because it was you who taught me that color can instantly brighten a mood even though seeing things in black and white can evoke a level of emotion some people just aren’t prepared for.

May you rest in peace C.R. As I continue my life’s journey, I promise to carry your lessons and memories close to my heart in all I do. I vow to create many more memories because I know it’s what you would have wanted. And, although I will eventually find another because after all life goes on for the living, you were my first and I will always have a special place in my heart reserved just for you.

Canon Rebel

RIP Canon Rebel. 

Gone But Not Forgotten

Do you have something you’ve had with you through the years that you find difficult to let go?

Destiny Isn’t For Victims. Fate Isn’t For Fools.




They softly flutter about us like windswept leaves dressed in autumn hues painting a picture of approaching change that will alter our landscape with a future we never envisioned, but one we readily accept because after all it was meant to be.

And yet, these same letters come together, stringing words with a weight bestowed upon them by others – promise and hope. At times rolling about like the ocean waves crashing to the shore, they lure us closer, mesmerizing us with their soothing sound and endless expanse of mystery. Reeling us in and pulling us under their spell we relax once more. Weightless we float in its sacred buoyancy, one with expectancy and prospect until we are thrust back onto solid ground, bewildered and breathless.

Squirrel Trying To Get A Nut

Why do we place so much importance on these words, this idea that no matter our actions things will be how they were meant to be? We have become a society of victims, idly sitting around waiting for the next event or discussing the latest one and how it affected us. We rise with the sun, and rather than letting it warm us in its promising glow, we focus on the shadows that will cast darkness on us all day.

The traffic jam that will ruin our morning.

The guy/girl who won’t return our call.

The boss that won’t appreciate us yet again.

The unruly child who will surely try our patience all day.

The busy schedule that will stop us from our workout.

The aches and pains that remind us of our age.

The spouse that will disappoint us.

The co-worker who will sabotage our project.

The deadline that will come too soon.

Path of Dreams

Destiny isn’t for victims. Fate isn’t for fools. They are for those who choose to remain steadfast on a path whose obstacles will merely be footholds, a brief pause to become fully aware of their surroundings. Then, registering every detail with undimmed focus they will clothe themselves with the armor those experiences provided. And, with a tool belt full of lessons face the future, not as a victim of life or a fool to the inevitable. Rather as an equal partner, walking hand in hand with their destiny.

Water Droplets

Misplaced Artist


She was an artist. She was a mother, a daughter, a wife, a teacher…but what I remember most about her was that she was an artist. She loved to paint and as I sat beside her, I found myself watching her more than the canvas she was bringing to life with her brush strokes. With each stroke she seemed to come alive as though transported into the very scene she was creating. Mesmerized by her dreamy look, I longed to join her and with the fervor of an eight year old I wished for her to take me along on her journey.

Water Droplets

I wanted to feel the wind in my hair as my feet carried me over the rolling hills she painted or dangle my legs in the ocean water as I lay back on the wooden pier and stared up at the pale blue skies born of her imagination. I wanted to be aboard that ship, my hands on the captain’s wheel steering the vessel and myself into uncharted waters, traveling toward the unknown and embracing the anticipation that comes with not knowing where you’re headed. I wanted to be a part of the story she was telling by simply dipping her paintbrush in her palette of colors.

From a young age, I was often told I was “born old” as though misplaced somehow in an era that didn’t fully embrace me and my complex personality. I thought the same of her. Not that she was born old, instead that she was born young. Looking back I wonder how different she may have been if she had been born in more modern times when freely expressing oneself was more acceptable. A time when she didn’t have to consistently maintain a proper exterior, instead allowing herself to just be, lose herself in her art, live out those scenes she meticulously created. Embrace her passion and soar.

Stairway to Heaven, Landscape Photography, Nature

What would her life have been like if she wasn’t born in a time of horse drawn carriages when suitors came to call and ladies were obligated to always look their best, abide by the rules and never rock the boat? What if her adventures weren’t limited to the confines of a frame?

Nature Photography, Outdoors, Flower Photo

She was a graceful woman. She was a compassionate woman. She was a woman of elegance. She was my grandmother…but most of all she was an artist.

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What I Really Want To Scream Out Loud is...

sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens (Final Set)


Sometimes what I really want to scream out loud is…

Click through my slide show for my spin on this week’s Finish The Sentence Friday!

Enjoy the final set of sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens.

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#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

Boys To Men: A Glimpse Of The Future


#teamsports, #sidelines, #boystomen

I watch them from the sidelines as they stand side by side on the edge of the field. Every so often they turn and high five each other, throw an arm over a teammate/friend’s shoulder. With the short attention span of little boys, a couple of them roughhouse with those standing closest to them until the coach reminds them to focus on the game. In these instances, I catch glimpses of their faces and can’t help but wonder if I’m catching a glimpse of their future as well.

My eyes methodically travel down the line, and come to rest on each jersey, seeing more than just their number. These boys already exhibit certain characteristics that will become prominent as they grow into men.

#boystomen, #teamsports, #lifelessons

Number 17 stands still, eyes directed at the field and his fellow teammates in action. He watches each play intently, tuning out the more restless boys on either side of him. Will he grow to be the kind of man who is focused and driven, eyes on the prize at all times? Will this cause him to neglect those he loves most, not understanding they need his love and attention more than his paycheck?

Number 23 is just as focused on the game, but expresses his enthusiasm not only for each pass completed. He also jumps in the air, his little cleats stomping the grass as he yells “Good job guys!” and “That’s the way we do it!” Will he be that guy who always encourages and supports those around him? Will he be the go to guy when someone needs a little push to overcome life’s obstacles or will he be the man who hides his true emotions behind a facade of smiles and cheers, always giving others, never sharing of himself?

Number 4 is more focused on the blades of grass at his feet as he pulls one, twirls it in his hands as though he’s seeing it for the first time, oblivious to the activity surrounding him. Will he grow up to be a man who takes pleasure in the small things in life? Will he appreciate all the parts that make a whole or will he get so caught up in the little things, that he misses the big picture?

Number 32 can’t stand still as he shifts his feet this way and that way. He alternates between watching the game and watching his teammates goofing around beside him. Will he spend his adult days always on the sidelines, watching but never truly participating? Or, will he be the type of man who tunes in to everyone around him, always fully present for each?

Whatever these little boys turn out to be as they grow into the men in our lives, our daughter’s lives, and our communities, I hope they take the lessons they are learning today and hold them close to their hearts.

The field may be a tough place at times, full of surprises, wrought with confusion, and a place of decisions both instant and well thought out, but isn’t that life? I hope these boys take their commitment to their friends and teammates today and turn it into commitment to their significant others and family in the future. I hope they apply the same drive and determination they display today to the things they are truly passionate about as they make their way through life. I pray they hold on to the pleasure they currently take in the small things and truly take the time out to embrace the little things that will tend to be harder to see as they get older. I wish for their future self to be the guy who encourages others from the sidelines when necessary, but also the guy who knows when to jump in and make things happen. More than anything, I hope they will be ever present in each moment life presents for themselves as well as those around them.

We, as a whole, spend so much time complaining about our youth today and the mistakes they make. We try to find a way to mold them into what we think they should be or what society needs them to be when they are all grown up. And yet, our children already hold admirable characteristics that they are applying on a daily basis, in sports, in the classroom, at home. They are exhibiting admirable qualities every time they help someone up, cheer someone on, show up for practice, commit to an entire season, and hang on to a belief that won’t let them quit. It is our job, as parents, teachers, coaches, to support and guide them from the sidelines, help them embrace the great qualities they already display today, because one day the little boys standing on the sidelines will take the field.

sTrEeT aRt: Through My Lens (Set 3)


When I came across this giant mural, it immediately made me think of a Nursery Rhyme. It took up a huge wall. The first shot is the entire scene, then I focused on individual scenes within the big picture.

Once Upon A Time

Also by Little Miss Wordy:

sTrEet aRt: Through My Lens 

sTrEeT aRt:  Through My Lens (Set 2)

StReEt ArT: Through My Lens (Set 2)


Street Art around San Juan, Puerto is quite the experience.

I’ve been in awe of the raw talent displayed on sides of homes, businesses, empty lots etc.

Here is the second set of my series StReEt ArT:  tHrOuGh mY LeNs.

You can find the first set here.


My Summer Valentine


All around the United States, temps are dropping and snow is falling. In these moments, I feel quite lucky to live on a tropical island with an endless summer. I have an undying love for summer, and being in such close vicinity to the ocean I often replay a beautiful love story and my personal favorite. It is the kind of story you curl up on the couch with, the kind that urges you to grab the Kleenex along with the popcorn. It is without a doubt the kind of love story you can’t wait to share with others.

It is also an excerpt from my book, Red Circle Days.

Grab a copy and share the love!


Beach Umbrella, Puerto Rico, Travel

She’d been in the world only a year and spent her days in a high chair only feet from the checkout counter at her parent’s “mom & pop” grocery store. He was twelve and his family spent their summers in the same sleepy little beach town. She was a picky eater. He loved a little snack on his walk to the beach and a little something refreshing after a swim. Her parents loved his visits and he always stayed a little longer than necessary, asking about their day, sharing a little something funny he heard, but mostly he delayed his swim to help feed the picky little eater and keep her amused during a busy morning at the store. The little girl came to look forward to his visits as well, and each summer as she got a little older and more mobile she went from waiting in her high chair, to waiting by the door, to eventually meeting him halfway up the block. He started taking her along with him to the beach. She would climb on his shoulders and dive into the ocean, surfacing in a wave of giggles. The boy became a teenager and often had a female companion on these outings as well, but only one girl always held his undivided attention…she made sure of it!

Eventually, the boy grew into a young man of eighteen and shared a sad goodbye with the little girl who captured his heart and provided summer memories to last a lifetime. He was off to college and would no longer be spending his summers at the beach. Summers came and went, they never wrote, and though she listened to the locals at the store for any word on how he was doing she never picked up much.She grew into a beautiful seventeen year old lady who still spent her mornings helping out at the store, but reserved her afternoons for a swim with friends. One summer afternoon as she enjoyed the sun and sand with her girlfriends and gossiped about boys, not far down the beach a young man was enjoying his first summer day at the beach catching up with old friends. Neither group went unnoticed by the other…but two particular people took special notice. She asked her girlfriends who the “new guy” was at the same time he was asking his buddies who the “beautiful girl” was and it wasn’t long before both groups came together to surprise the two with a revelation that took them back to many a summer afternoon at that very beach.

Sea Shells By The Sea Shore, Beach Art, Travel, Puerto Rico, Island Living

The rest is history really…my history actually. My parents may have been from different backgrounds and the age difference alone was enough to keep them apart, but true love finds a way no matter the odds. As a kid, I loved hearing their love story and never doubted the two main characters were my mom and dad because I saw their love story continue to play out on a daily basis. I don’t remember my dad sending a big bouquet on Valentine’s Day or chocolates on their anniversary. I don’t have any memories of big flourishing romantic moves by either of them. Maybe it’s because my memories consist of my dad stopping to hug my mom from behind while she was cooking, or her never being able to pass by him without touching his arm or giving him a peck on the cheek. They always held hands, never sat on opposite ends of the couch, and loved to lay side by side talking into the wee hours of the night. My mom tells me after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, those long pillow talks became that much more meaningful to them. I wasn’t privy to the trials and tribulations they faced as most couples undoubtedly do, but I do know whenever they did argue, it didn’t last. One of them would eventually find an excuse to be in the same room again and as soon as their eyes met across the room, love took over much the same as it did when their eyes met across the beach that summer afternoon.

As a child, I pleaded with my mom to share this story with me as often as any little girl’s favorite fairy tale. To me, it was more than a fairy tale. Their expression of love wasn’t limited to one day a year. It was tested through the years during a move to a foreign country, raising three children, through financial crises and illness. It was apparent in their every move and while their love story began on a beautiful summer afternoon, I’m sure it wasn’t always a day at the beach. In my eyes, that’s truer love than any prince charming and fairy princess could ever hope to experience!