Happy One-Year Blogging Anniversary to ME

8 Comments

cake

This past year, beginning with writing the first post for this blog, I started down the path of a life-changing journey.   In search of peace, love, and happinessI stepped out of my comfort zone to look for ME.

As I walked this path, I paused along the way to

  • Publish a Weekly Blog Post
  • Socialize on Facebook
  • Practice Yoga
  • Attend Aqua Zumba Classes
  • Transition from Windows PC to Apple Mac Software
  • Meditate Daily
  • Express Gratitude
  • Pray and Praise God
  • Make Positive Affirmations
  • Perform Random Acts of Kindness

In 2014, I want to continue to release the “unnecessary burdens” of 

  • Negativity
  • Fear
  • Self-Judgment
  • Anger
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Gossip

These things block ME from being the person God created.

In this second year of blogging, I will write about MY continued journey to create a peaceful, loving, and happy life through:

  • Self-AwarenessAs you become more clear about who you really are you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.”  (Oprah Winfrey)
  • Self-Care – “Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.”  (William Shakespeare)
  • Self-Acceptance – “You don’t need to be accepted by others.  You need to accept yourself. The only person who can pull me down I, myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”  (C.  JoyBell)

I am a work-in-progress.   I grow stronger and wiser each day.  I no longer regret what happened in the past or fear what may happen in the future; Moment-by-Moment, I choose to live in the Present.  For, this is the only timeframe within MY control.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Rant!!!

3 Comments

photo 5

Since, the “texting in the movie theater shooting last week,” I have been ANGRY.  Wanting to COMPLAIN loudly. After a while, Hubby tuned me out.  Frustrated!!I Gotta Rant?   Sorry, loyal blog followers.  I need to dump a little negativity on you this week.

Hear Me Rant!!! We Need Better Gun Control Laws

Too many guns in the hands of criminals, YES.

But, also too many “concealed weapons” in the hands of supposedlylaw-abiding people.” 

Law abiding people acting as judge, jury and executioner.

Law abiding people who, apparently, believe the “license to carry a weapon” anoints them to the level of judge, jury and executioner.

This is a health and safety issue for all of us.

Did you know that 554 people have been killed since May 2007 by people licensed to carry concealed weapons in incidents that did not involve self-defense.” 

Allow Me Rant About Five!!

Rant #1:  71-year-old, retired police officer felt entitled to “draw his “concealed weapon” to shoot and kill” Chad Oulson, a 43-year-old father and husband in a movie theater who “refused to stop texting” and “responded to the request to stop texting by throwing popcorn.” (January 2014 – Florida)

photo

Rant #2:  Renisha McBride, 19-years-old, injured and dazed following an early morning car accident in a Detroit suburb.   Seeking help, she went to a nearby home, knocked on the door and was met with a gunshot wound to the head.  The homeowner alleged she was an intruder.  Yet, he failed to call 911 prior to shooting her through a locked screen door.  And, then left her to die on the front porch without calling 911. (December 2013, Michigan)

 photo 3

Rant #3:  Jordan Russell Davis, 17-years-old sitting in a parked SUV at a gas station with friends was shot and killed.   The shooter, 45-years old, was angered by the loud music the young men were listening to.  When they failed to turn the music off, he randomly fired shots into the vehicle killing Jordan.    (November 2013, Florida)

IMG_5478

Rant #4:  Darius Simmons, 13-years old, shot and killed by a 76-year-old neighbor who suspected Darius had broken into his home and stolen weapons.   As Darius mother stood helplessly by on her front porch, the neighbor first pointed the gun at her; and, then pointed the gun at Darius and shot him in the chest.  (July 2013, Wisconsin)

darius-simmons

Rant #5:  Seventeen-year-old, Travon Benjamin Martin, was shot and killed while walking unarmed in a gated community by a neighborhood watch captain.   Calling 911, to report seeing a “suspicious person,” he ignored instructions not to get out of the car and proceeded to follow Travon and killed him.  (February 2012, Florida)

photo 2

Closing Rant

I join the many other Americans who believe stricter gun control laws and better mental health restrictions are needed to address this epidemic.  It is unthinkable, in this day and age; that people feel it is okay to bear arms and act as though still live back in the days of the Wild, Wild West.

Black Travelers

11 Comments

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I chose to re-publish this post from last year where I shared one of my personal experiences, as an elder, who lived through Jim Crow.  Let us not forget the suffering and indignities Dr. King and other civil rights activists were subjected to in the fight for fair and equal treatment in this country.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and

narrow-mindedness.”Mark Twain

One of my happiest childhood memories were family summer vacations.    Every year, we traveled by car from Chicago to my parents’ hometown in Coahoma, Mississippi.    Members of our closely-knit extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins joined us for this thirteen-hour drive.    We were journeying home, traveling by night, in a caravan of three to four cars through the states of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi staying “visibly” connected to each car in the caravan along the way.    Why, because of the Jim Crow Laws in the 1950s.

  •  Reports of racial harassment and intimidation of black people while traveling were common.
  • Threats of physical harm, especially vulnerable, were cars with license plates from “up north.”

As a black traveler, you understood the restrictions and limitations under Jim CrowBlack travelers were:

  •  prohibited from using public facilities — water fountains and bathrooms.
  • barred from eating in restaurants or ordering food to go.
  • banned from staying in hotels and motels.

The children never questioned.  The adults never complainedWhy?  This was our reality.   We bypassed Jim Crow and survived.

  • We carried our supply of water, soda, paper plates/cups, napkins and plastic silverware.
  • We ate food prepared, with love, by my mother and the other women travelers.
  • We dined on homemade rolls, deep-fried pork chops and southern deep-fried chicken.
  • We consumed large bowls of macaroni and potato salad chilled on ice in coolers.
  • We lunched on ham, bologna and/or salami, placed between slices of white bread lavishly splattered with mustard and wrapped in tinfoil.   Along with the sandwich, potato chips, an apple, and cookies were packed in individual small brown paper bags.
  • We devoured slices of sweet potato pie, pound cake, coconut cake, and my favorite at the time, caramel cake.

As for using the bathroom, we carried a supply of toilet tissue, found an isolated area adjacent to the highway and the person would relieve themselves in the bushes.    However, there were times when the only option for privacy was to have someone stand in front of you.

Many of the inconveniences experienced by my family as black travelers might have been avoided had they known about The Negro Motorist Green Book:  An International Travel Guide.”   The Green Book was published by the Victor H. Green & Company annually from 1936 until 1964 when the Civil Rights Law was enacted.   An 80-page publication, it was considered as the black man’s guide to traveling.

The purpose of the Green Book is best described by the following statement from the publication:

  • “With the introduction of this travel guide in 1936, it has been our idea to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trips more enjoyable.  For many travelers, many places are not available, even though they may have the price, and any traveler to whom they are not available, is thereby faced with many and sometimes difficult problems.  The Negro traveler’s inconveniences are many and they are increasing because today so many more are traveling, individually and in groups.  There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published.  That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.  The Green Book with its list of hotels, boarding houses, restaurants, beauty shops, barber shops and various other services can most certainly help solve your travel problems.”     

                       

In a 2010, New York Times article entitled, “The Open Road Wasn’t Quite Open to All,” Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture stated:

  • “The lack of knowledge about the Green Book also tells us about the lack of knowledge many Americans now have on how segregation really worked – how it had impacts dramatic and impacts small.  But all the impacts hurt.  The more people understand that through the Green Book, the more they’ll understand how things have changed. “

What a blessing it was to travel black, as a child, unaware of the Jim Crow limitations and restrictions.   Even though Jim Crow Laws are no longer in existence, my early experiences as a black traveler shaped how I view traveling by car today.   My phobia, as an adult, is the emotional and mental stress I may have to cope with as a black traveler on the highway.   

Family: The Best Holiday Gift, Part 2 – Christmas 2013

2 Comments

Family:  The Best Holiday Gift, Part 1 – Thanksgiving 2013

In last week’s post, I learned a valuable lesson; “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re always thinking about yesterday.” (Unknown).

No doubt, I am stepping outside the boundaries of a “writer’s privilege;” but, the reverse order of this quote provides a better explanation of what happened in my case.

  • “Thinking about yesterday,” I broke a more than fifty-three year family tradition of spending Thanksgiving with our Children.  Guided by the FEAR of a replay from the previous year, I chose to stay in warm Florida rather than expose my compromised immune system and serious lung condition to cold Wisconsin.
  • You can’t have a better tomorrow.”  Why?  In choosing to make a decision about tomorrow, I relied on FEAR and ignored the commonly held theory that FEAR is:   False Evidence Appearing Real.  This view was validated when I was admitted to the hospital in warm Florida for seven days, including Thanksgiving Day, with both an immune system problem and lung condition.

As it turned out, even though I didn’t spend Thanksgiving with family, I found HAPPINESS in the PRESENT” through unexpected Gifts.

 Family:  The Best Holiday Gift, Part 2

What a beautiful Gift for ME and Hubby over the Christmas Holidays in the PRESENCE of the special people who bring happiness into MY Space on a daily basis.  I am strengthened throughout the year, as the receiver, of their Gifts of encouragement, unconditional love, and support.

MY IPAD Amateur Photo Gallery

Hoping to avoid having to answer over-and-over again, “What are we eating?” I prepared the week’s menu so everyone knew what to expect:

Christmas 2013 Menu

IMG_5409

I was able to capture the images below of my Gifts on an IPAD camera during their seven-day visit.   While, the photos may not be appealing to the eye, they will join the other memorable treasures of past family gatherings.   For, I truly believe, “memories are a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” (Unknown)

Hubby and Youngest Granddaughter –His Little Cupcake

IMG_5126

Younger and Elder Daughters

IMG_5246

Son and His Five-Year-Old Daughter (AKA, Cupcake)

IMG_5136

Nephew/Surrogate Son

IMG_0442

Son-In-Law Married to Elder Daughter

IMG_0449

Eldest Grandson (24-years-old) and Baby Sister

IMG_5189

Granddaughter (22-years-old) and Grandson (17-Years-Old)

IMG_5242

Youngest Grandson (13-years-old) 

IMG_0451

Cupcake said, “I got this Banana Pudding!!

photo 5

The Only One that Still Believes in Santa

photo 1

Last Day – Quality Time with Two Granddaughters – Pedi/Mani

IMG_5326

Visit Over – ME and MY Quality Time

Image 2

IMG_4999

Closing this week’s post, with the memorable family quotes I choose to embrace:

  • “Having someone to love is a family.  Having a place to go is a home.  Having both is a blessing.” (Donna Hedges)
  • “If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable – each segment distinct.”  (Letty Cottin Pogrebin)
  • What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” (George Eliot)
  • “I sustain myself with the love of family.”  (Maya Angelou)
  • “Spending time with the ones who are dear to you is like being in a dream is it not?”  (Sakura Tsukuba, Land of the Blindfolded, Vol. 3)

Family: The Best Holiday Gift – Part 1, Thanksgiving

6 Comments

With the exception of Thanksgiving 2013, since 1960 Hubby and I have been blessed to spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas with Our Children. When they left Our Nest, coming together on these two holidays was the Gift, I looked forward to receiving each year.

you-dont-choose-your-family

When Hubby and I retired three years ago and moved to Florida, we continued to have Thanksgiving at Elder Daughter’s home in Milwaukee; and, the Children and Grands came to Our Home in Florida for Christmas. That is until 2013.

Unfortunately, shortly after returning from Our Thanksgiving visit to Wisconsin in 2012, I was hit with the pneumonia virus. Hubby, the Children and I felt it was not wise to expose MY compromised immune system and serious lung condition to the harsh Wisconsin winter weather. After much deliberation, I chose to stay in Florida.

Apparently, MY compromised immune system and serious lung condition didn’t agree with this decision.

For over seven days during Thanksgiving 2013, I was in the hospital with a very serious case of bronchitis.

Image 7

While I didn’t share the 2013 Thanksgiving meal with MY Children and Grands; I found HAPPINESS in the PRESENT.

Through Grace, for Thanksgiving 2013, I received a long-awaited Gift. The Daughters telephoned to say, “It’s time we learned how to prepare the traditional family holiday dinners.”

The night before Thanksgiving with the two of them in the Eldest Daughter’s kitchen and I, resting comfortably in my hospital bed, via IPhone I shared the step-by-step instructions for preparing MY MAMA’s corn bread dressing, turnip/mustard/collard greens, as well as Patti LaBelle’s Mac and Cheese recipe.

IMG_5246

What a Great Gift to ME. The night before Christmas, I sat quietly at the kitchen island in MY kitchen enjoying a glass (actually, several) of Chardonnay while the Daughters prepared the entire Christmas Dinner.

Image 8

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed. Finally, the family holiday traditional dinner was embraced and transferred to the next generation.

grateful_thankful_blessed

Next week, I look forward to sharing, “Family, The Best Holiday Gift – Part 2, Christmas 2013.” Hope you will join me.