Organic Melinda

healthy living with a Latin twist


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Day 17 – Mujeres Poderosas – Kristina Hernandez

To My Darling Dove,

Spirituality is a part of us that many have come to neglect in pursuit of other things like education, money, or fun.  However, having a connection with the Most High, the Universal Everything, and the Center of All Beings is absolutely necessary to internal balance.

During my last year of college, I took shahada and studied Islam for quite some time.  That journey led me to another Mujer Poderosa, Kristina Hernandez.

I am not even sure how Kristina and I met, but we began to hang out a lot my first year of studying Islam.

Kristina doing dawah

As  a Puerto Rican Muslimah like me, it was great to be with someone who understood the difficulties of separating culture and the desire for religious practice.

We both struggled with aspects of our faith and sought to be studious in our efforts to follow the suratal mustaqeem.

Alas, I strayed as I confronted my own difficulties with religiosity, and Kristina was one of the few Muslim friends who stuck by me even as I continued to my spiritual journey.

While I could not find my own sense of peace being a devout Muslim, I was overjoyed to learn that Kristina continued her path by becoming a Muslim Chaplain at Manhattanville College.

She is, also, happily married to a man who loves her for the sake of Allah as she studies to become a dietitian.

And, like many of the women that I admire, Kristina hopes to get her PhD in Public Health in the future to do work on HIV infection in the Muslim community.

Kristina is the type of woman that you should admire because of her resilience and her ability to find her own way to worship our Creator.

She has also never been judgmental of me, and she is a testament that you can be religiously devout and be a balanced, loving, and kind human being.  You know, she is what a person of faith ought to be.

I want you to remember that spirituality and faith are important foundations of who you are and find your own path towards the Most High.

La Illaha il Allah.

Every day,

Mami Loves You

 

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About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.

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Day 10 – Mujeres Poderosas – Mia Roman

To my Singing, Dancing, Painting Baby,

I was thinking about my childhood the other day, and trying to remember all of the women who influenced me when I was a little girl.  I was shocked to discover that no Latina women came to mind that were not directly related to me.  I only began to have Latina role models in my teenage years when I saw my history reflected in other women.

Having that realization makes it all the more important for me to ensure that you have Latina role models to look up to, and, luckily, it is Tuesday, which means you get to learn about another Mujer Poderosa, Mia Roman.

I met Mia in 2007 when I was hosting a poetry show fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of Women’s History Month.

Mia was the first person to graciously donate her time and artwork to raise money for the cause.  Through our connection and commitment to the empowerment of the Latino community, Mia and I have remained colleagues.

As a painter, writer and mixed media artist, Mia explores women’s issues,  empowerment, liberation, spirituality,  nature, and Latino culture.  She also creates beautiful jewelry and other artistic pieces.

Mia painting

Mia painting

Mia’s art is strikingly beautiful, but it is her energy and constant striving towards positivity that make her an admirable woman.

While struggling with cancer, Mia turned to creative expression in order to find strength and continued faith in the world around her.  She dedicates herself to the cause of happiness.  She radiates balance and inner-peace.

Mia’s influence on me has been more as an observer throughout the past five years than as an active participant in her daily life.  It is has actually been a few years since I have seen her, but the fact that she still has such an influence on me beyond physical space is evidence to her character.

She is dedicated to informing the world on the plight of the Puerto Rican people in a way that paints us, literally, as actors in our own destiny.

Her artwork also reminds me to seek calm within myself.

Mia has been a supportive throughout my poetic career and in the work that I do with Organic Melinda.  She is committed to her community as a mother, teacher, activist, and feminist.    She is the type of woman that you should emulate and look up to, because she teaches us that we can be warriors while being gentle spirits.

Mia embodies how art saves us and why we need it in order to live a worthwhile existence.

I cannot wait until you are old enough to participate in one of her classes.

Always and forever,

Mami Loves You

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About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


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Day 9 – You Get What You Give Out

To My Dearest Little Love,

Yesterday, I wrote to you about keeping hope alive, and, today, I tell you why it’s so important to do that.

Last night, I went to sleep with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

My anxious mind threatened to get the better half of me, but I took control of my thoughts.

I laid in bed with you on my chest and held you tight.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Breath in. Breath out.

The humming of our breaths lulled me to sleep, and when I woke up at 5:30 a.m., I checked my email and discovered that, as we slept, generous people had donated $300.00 to the gofundme campaign that I started last month for our security deposit.

About 6 years ago, I studied Islam very closely, and learned so much about the way of the universe through that spiritual exploration.

Islam teaches that you should always pray to the Creator for all that you need in your life – be it, shoes, clothes, water, shelter.

But, it is not enough to just pray. Rather, one must be working towards accomplishing what they require in actions as well.

This week, I have been doing just that.

Yesterday evening, I searched for jobs, and while the employment situation is bleak around here, it was part of building my intention.

On Saturday, I gave a presentation at a local church on healthy eating and gave out samples of green smoothies in hopes that people would be guided towards Organic Melinda and purchase a book or consultation.

But, even if they don’t purchase and benefit from the free information that I offer, at least we are one step closer towards food integrity.

Today, I woke up before the birds and the sun in order to read some anthropological articles and work on my statement of purpose to apply to doctorate programs.

I am building, slowly, the foundation which will benefit us in the long-term.

I know that while times are hard, right now, they wont always be.

Mami works hard, every day, to ensure that in the future, we shall be the ones helping those in need.

The Universe provides all that you need.

But, remember, you will only get what you give out.

Grateful for Life and Humanity,

Mami Loves You

p.s.

If anyone reading this wants to help, please donate towards our security deposit via gofundme: http://www.gofundme.com/3ysdtk

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About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.