Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Kiss Goodbye

This year is coming to a close. I am not sad to see it go. It was progression from the year before, and I would be a fool to complain or not count my blessings. I stand on the ledge of 2011, and look ahead to what life has in store for me, a tremendous portion of my future is unknown. Yet, growth and maturity are allowing me to step forward in faith, and with confidence. I have learned not to look back so often. You cannot make effective progress with your eyes looking anywhere other than where you want to go. So, instead of looking back and risking veering off course, I will rely upon my learned experiences. I had a revelation- there is a difference between looking back to the past. And thinking back on the past. It sounds like a subtle difference.  Life is teaching me, there is a stark contrast. Looking back involves turning away from your present course and trying to rejoin something from a previous time period. Thinking back requires you to look inward, and draw from your own well of personal experiences.

So as I THINK back over 2011,  I reflect on it's lessons:
Renewed hope
Restored faith
Dreams realized
Pleasantly surprised
Love cultivator
Friendship motivator
Reminder of things past
Realization of hopes dashed
Clarity and direction
Dispenser of affection

And as I cross into 2012 I say;
Out with the old
In with the new
Some days will be sunny
Some undoubtedly blue
But with wide open arms I welcome you
*Kisses 2011 goodbye*



Monday, December 19, 2011

Fa la la la laaaa la la la la

I had an oppportunity to go Christmas caroling several nights ago. Now, I am no Celine Dione, but your girl can hold a tune. This is hands down one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas time. I don't hold fast to a lot of traditions because for me it is a religious observance. Truth be told I could do without most of them. To date I have not bought one gift. I only plan on buying two presents anyway. They are for my niece and nephew and it's only so I can be incorporated into THEIR holiday tradition of gift giving. That's  a totally different subject. The gist of which is, I prefer to do something for those who can't do anything in return for me during the holidays. When it comes to family, I appreciate time will spent and not a focus on material things.

I digress.... As I walked through the halls of a local nursing home, I had an opportunity to make genuine connections with people and it felt wonderful. Human interaction is a life necessity. It's just as important as food, or shelter. Yet in this digital age our literal interactions albeit convenient have also become optional in many cases. I notice that a large portion of our elderly, disabled, and institutionalized people are being left out.

I remember the look on one particular woman's face when we realized it was her birthday. We sang The Birthday Song to her. I watched her face light up, and silently prayed that a treasured loved one had taken the time out of their busy holiday schedule to come and acknowledge her. Truth be told, we didn't even sound all that great as we walked the halls singing and spreading cheer. But we WERE enjoyed.

I certainly don't stand on my soapbox and lecture or look down on anyone as I share this story. I think we could all take more time to look people in the face and smile and connect with them. We all rush sometimes and fail to interpret cues that someone may need a little extra encouragement or attention. I am simply feeling grateful right now that I had an opportunity to show love, and that it was well received.

I've heard the expression that altruism is actually rooted in selfishness. Some say that we do kind acts for others, not especially because of that person. We do kind acts for others because it makes US feel good. I think there is definitely some truth to that theory. I however, choose "to up the ante". From now on when doing kind acts for others, I will not do for them what I want to do. I will not do something kind for others, when it happens to be convenient for me. No, from this point forward I will put forth more effort in doing for others what it is that they actually need or want me to do, if it's within my power.

I don't know if I would actually call this a resolution. Giving and loving should be a lifestyle. But, I am hoping that 2012 will be more fulfilling due to this change. Here's to the New Year, and my resolve to consistently grow, and offer more to the world we share. May your New Year be happy and blessed! xoxoxo

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Ray of Hope

I am still shocked and saddened as details continue to emerge from various coaching scandals across the country. It seems like in recent years, there has been a sharp increase in reports. I wonder if it has always been a problem, or it's becoming more common. I don't know of anyone's child who was personally affected by sexual abuse from a coach. But, living in a fairly small city where school sports are one of the few recreational activities that children and their families have to look forward to, I have seen a lot of questionable behavior from sports management.

I recently, had a conversation with my budding athletes about the importance of sports being for fun at their age. They show great promise and I want them to set goals to be outstanding. But, anything could happen. Illness or injury could easily prevent them from playing. Aside from that, I have noticed a culture of coaches who are more concerned with their winning average than the individual player.

We have been following the story of a young man from the area who won national football accolades two years in a row. This young man attended the best school system in the county. By the end of his senior year, he had no scholarship due to the fact that his grade and test scores were so low. To my knowledge he did not got to college at all. Two years later, now that he is forgotten by all of his "fans", he has turned to a life of crime. He was being sought on home invasion and rape charges. Clearly the people he spent the most time with, were only concerned with his contribution to the team, and not his future. No one even cared enough to intervene to ensure his scholastic success.

 I am happy to have come across a coach who is still doing so for the love of children, and sport. I came across a situation recently where I was watching an intense soccer game. During the height of the competition,  one of the star forwards of the soccer team sprained his ankle. His adrenaline and desire to aid his team in victory, motivated him to attempt to stay in the game.  "I'm okay coach!" He kept saying. "I can play...please let me play!" The coach simply looked at his gate while he walked, and could tell that his player was not fine. Instead of letting his own competitive nature rule, the coach benched the player for the rest of the game. The coaches philosophy is that, the welfare of the child is more important than the victory.

I consider this example of leadership and responsible behavior a ray of hope in the midst of broken trust. There are some men and women out there that remember the lessons derived form sports, are bigger than what is happening on the field, court, rink, pool, etc... There are some coaches that remember that they have an opportunity to shape the minds and hearts of the next generation. They hope to inspire their players in their chosen sport, but also in life.


video

I still contend that we MUST be diligent in watching over our children. It is better to injure a coaches pride than to have your child be literally injured by a monster who is preying on defenseless victims. But, I am proud to put my children with a coach that cares more about them than the game. I am proud to endorse a someone that rises to the ideological standard that we expect when we reminisce back to a coach that had an affect on us. For these men and women are a silver lining on the black cloud of coaching scandals and disappointments. These individuals, provide hope, that what we want, and expect for our children is possible. At this moment, I am proud to call that coach, my husband.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Leave Christmas to the Christians

I have been biting my tongue about this long enough. It's time for me to go in on the subject of Christmas. It's not X-mas, it's not a non offensive "Happy Holiday". It's not a secular love fest in which all the self righteous people of the world can take an opportunity to make themselves feel good about the fact that they did something nice for someone else. It is a religious observance that commemorates what Christians believe to be the the greatest gift to mankind. God giving his Son to be our savior.

I know that the tide has changed and it's not necessarily popular to be Christian anymore. But, a lot of us Jesus freaks are getting a bad rap. (thanks a lot Fox News) I can't speak for all Christians but we are not all closed minded ignorant seperatists that sit in judgement of anyone who is not of like faith. Personally, I am not running down anyone trying to shame, judge, or disrespect them because they don't agree with my belief system. I would say my approach is much more like that of Jesus' "whosoever will {wants to} let him come." "Whosoever has an ear {a desire to listen} let him hear." In fact, Jesus was much more concerned about the religious hypocrites of like faith, than those who rejected or held opposing beliefs.

That being said. Christmas is an observance that should have religious meaning. Search my house for one Santa Clause, you won't find it. Because, he has nothing to do with Christmas. I am not anti-Santa. I understand how many try to incorporate the "spirit of giving" into Christmas. But, quite frankly that spirit is, and should be a lifestyle. If I see someone with a need, do you think I am going to wait until December 25th to meet that need? I am not trying to get Christmas credit for doing what I can, to help someone who didn't have food, a coat, or some shoes. And I also don't really see the point of piling material goods upon someone who already has more "stuff" than they know what to do with. There is no significance to me giving them one more thing. What I will try to give someone in that position is love. Genuine heart felt love. I think they are more likely to need that. We all do.

 I hope that others enjoy the holidays that have religious or personal significance to them. I even want to know more about them. I wish them happiness during their observance. But you won't catch me bogarting in on their holiday and trying to redefine how it should be done.

In a time where there is a consensus not to judge others, which subsequently a lot of Evangelicals take flack for, since some outspoken Christians try to force their beliefs on others, I think it's pretty ironic that secular people have tried to take our holiday over and align it with their version of the "politically correct non-offensive" way to celebrate it. To them I unashamedly proclaim that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Go grab yourself a Festivus pole, and shine that baby up if your looking for a mundane reason to party, shop, and take time off from work. Leave Christmas to the Christians!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Motherhood

I had no revelation of unconditional love before your conception
I could not contemplate the power of life until I heard your heartbeat
I didn't understand pure joy until I saw your smile
The depths of emptiness eluded me, until I walked away leaving you in another's care
Your laughter is more beautiful than a song skillfully sung
Your eyes are more wonderful than a galaxy unexplored
Your touch is duplicitous for it gives and takes at the same time
Full of pleasure, pain, fear, and delight....... motherhood

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What I Learned this Thanksgiving

I decided against a Thanksgiving Day post, not just for the sake of going against the grain. But, I felt that anyone reading Thanksgiving Day salutations might lose what I had to say in the minutia of half baked tributes. That sounds harsh, but it's the truth. I certainly won't try to set myself aside as a bleeding heart who has meaningful things to say that will inspire others. In fact, the last couple of days have taught me that I probably reside on the other side of the fence.

I had a fantastic time with friends and loved one's over the past couple of days. However, during that time I noticed early on, there is a deficit in my connection even with some of my closest friends and family. I have spent much time pondering over this perplexed. I have a pretty small circle of people. Most of them have been in my life always, or at least as long as I can remember. As I sat down at various times to catch up on life's news, both good and bad. I remember thinking to myself how open and honest my people are with me not only about their business, but also about their feelings and emotions. I thought to myself, "Wow I don't know if I would have been comfortable revealing that."  At that moment I had a revelation. I have closed myself off more than I should have.

We're not talking about co-workers and acquaintances here. If I can't be my true and authentic self with my closest relations, then I have no real life. What a tragic circumstance not to reveal all of yourself to those who love you unconditionally anyway. I think my reasons are rooted in pride as well as pain. Certain choices that I have made in life, have been met in criticism, and it's not the best feeling to be told you made a bad choice. I think I accept criticism a little bit better now. But I suppose, I would still prefer no criticism at all. That's just an issue that will require some personal growth. I already know better than to tolerate destructive criticism. But, constructive criticism is meant to build a person up. I'm just going to have to deal with my pride.

I am going to do better. I walk away from my Thanksgiving weekend understanding that there is a difference between revealing information, versus revealing my heart about said matters. Living my life with close and fulfilling bonds can only happen if I let my guard down with those that are in my inner circle.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Personal Paradigm Shift

New rule: Family and friends who bring drama to my doorstep will be be fed with a long handled spoon. There comes a time in life, when we realize that our words and actions affect more than just ourselves. From that moment of revelation, you can either choose to elevate and undergird the people in your life. Or, you can be a stressor and pull them down with your self-cented focus. Grant it, some individuals are simply incapable of doing any better, due to their dysfunction or immaturity. But, I am at a place in my life where I am going to have to recommend that folks take the time to work those deficits out, instead of imposing their drama on me. I don't intentionally try to upset people, because one's level of upset is not necessarily contingent upon their level of love. Personally, I don't feel as if you care about me more, if you are up in arms about the trying circumstances in my life.

To be perfectly honest it's not that I am unable, I'm just not willing to engage in that fashion anymore. We've all had those types of relationships. I babied, I coddled, I shouldered and shared other people's stress and problems. In the end, it either of us were made better. My newest question in the midst of someone else's personal turmoil is, "How can I support you in this?" It's amazing how giving someone control over their happenstance can lead them in the direction of taking the helm, and attempting to handle their own business.

I've said all of this at the risk of sounding like a totally apathetic and crappy person. Let me assure that is not the case. During the happy or difficult times of my loved one's lives, I want to be there. I will provide the box of tissue when we laugh until we cry, or we cry until we're dry. I want to share in your victories, as well as your defeats. I just don't want to shoulder them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Baby Boy

My darling baby boy celebrated his 8th birthday this week. He is truly the closest thing to a perfect child that exists. Somehow in the midst of a chaotic large family, he managed to become this fantastic person. He is sensitive, grateful, intelligent, hilarious, kind, considerate, and loving. I am amazed that God thought enough of me to put such a special boy in the tutelage of my care. I want to do all I can to ensure his success in life. But to be perfectly I honest, I think I learn more from him, than he does from me. Happy birthday to my sweet Ian...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State Scandal

It took me the better part of two gruesome hours to read through the indictments against the Jerry Sandusky. I had to take several pauses, or risk becoming physically ill. There are NO words that anyone who had knowledge of this situation can say to any of the victims....nothing. NO staff member, employee, or person in passing who had an inkling of this situation can make it right.

I am going to go a step further here. There is very little that our society at large can do as it presently is. Plain and simple America is a society that does not value it's most vulnerable members. Public policy, law enforcement, socially acceptable norms, and overwhelming apathy attest to that. I am fuming at the thought the athletic director, head coach, and president all had knowledge that this man was actively raping a defenseless child and did absolutely nothing about it. I am shocked two different men on two different occasions witnessed the raping and sexual assaults of two different young adolescent boys and nothing was done about it!

Good news travels fast. Bad news travels faster. There is no way that I will ever believe that it was anything less than common knowledge that Sandusky was a disgusting freak who targeted little boys. Outside of what was going on in the university, there was a school district that banned him from coming to their school based off of his inappropriate or as quoted in the indictment, suspicious behavior. Suspicious behavior that I might add, was reported to the authorities. Authorities that I might add, investigated the incident, and DECIDED not to file criminal charges ,even though this monster admitted that he showered with and inappropriately touched children.

Most of us have come across a co-worker we know should not have the position they hold. But let's face it we are not talking about working with a functioning alcholic. We're not talking about someone who we are pretty sure steals. This isn't about the office tramp who dates anyone who walks through the door. The ramifications are far greater than tension around the water cooler, unbalanced budgets, or inefficient services. We are talking about a sexual predator who was molesting and raping innocent children.

Parents no judgements from me. I am sure many of the parents who sent their kids to these programs, or sent their child to be mentored by Sandusky had the best of intentions. But, let me tell you one thing that I have learned over the years. There is no better mentor for your child than you! No matter how poorly you have handled certain life situations, your child loves you. Don't send them to someone else to show them the facts of life. At best TAKE them don't send them. You never truly know who you are dealing with. My children are actively involved in all sorts of programs. But, I am there. Even when I don't feel like it. Even when it's not convienient. When I would rather be enjoying some me time, I am still there. Because, nothing is more precious to me the safety and well being of the little people I chose to bring into the world. When they want to be in an activity that does not fit into the family schedule they simply cannot participate. If you can't be there with them, or someone you know intimately and trust, don't send them. I don't buy they hype that parents need to let children go out on their own. Some of these victims were in 8th grade. That's 13 years old! A child cannot outsmart a predator....period. You can give space and still have supervison. It's not about hovering it's about protecting. That is our job as parents.

Your ten year old does not have to go on an overnight trip, and stay with persons of background unknown just because he loves football or any other activity. Time spent throwing the ball around with someone who loves him, and has genuine praise is often more meaningful to him. I have one SUPERIOR athlete in my house. Everywhere we go, opposing coaches, referees, and parents come to me after a game and sing his praises. We get invites in the mail for camps and trainings all of the time. But, he is happiest when I sit in the backyard with him and watch him practice, and he has told me that on numerous occasions. He's also promised to put me in a "really nice nursing home when he goes pro" because I support him more than anyone else in the world.

Yes I like to stand on my soapbox and shout with righteous indignation about anything and everything that gets on my nerves. I do very little of that when it comes to parenting. We are all trying to figure out how to best care for them. Sometimes we get it right sometimes we don't. We are all, generally doing the best we can. None of us is perfect and God knows the world isn't either. But our kids HAVE to come first. Right now people get more jail time and punishment for attacking a complete stranger, than for doing the same thing to a defenseless child.

I can only imagine that many of the authorities who had the wherewithal to stop this monster had children themselves. I have to admit that I am just dumbfounded that elitism and the almighty dollars pouring into a lucrative football program or popular non-profit agency took precedent of the welfare of these children. The disconnect is inhumane. We have to do better, and call for those around us to do better.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Here I Am

When your driving down the lonely road
Look into the rolling hills
There you will find the swell of my hips
If you look up at the stars in the sky
You will see the twinkle in my eyes over one of our many inside jokes
As you wade through the crowd at the parade
Listen to the drummer's rhythm
That is my heart racing from the intensity of your gaze
Go to the sea and stroll the shoreline
With the tide, I will rush in to greet you
Close your eyes and hear the breeze slipping through the trees
It's my whisper in your ear, as we lay
The time we share is precious
But even when we are apart
I'm never far away

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Your Destiny

There is a common theme going on with many of my close friends and myself right now.  My grandma used to call it growing pains. You know those moments in life when things are awkward and uncomfortable. That's where I find myself right now. I used to think it was a phase you go through in your youth, and then, thank God it's over. You live, you learn, it's not fun, it's not cute, but eventually it's over. As I spiral towards middle age, I am learning that was an incorrect premise. It's a life long process! I mean, technically, I don't have to continue to expand as a person. But, if I am actually going to reach my full potential, the growing pains process must continue.

In essence, I will spend the rest of my life walking into situations where once again I feel like an awkward adolescent girl. Not because I am immature, but because it's not the adolescence that make you awkward. It's the ignorance, uncertainty, and lack of experience that makes you uncomfortable. It's the flat chest, the pimples, and the insecurities that makes you an adolescent (all of which I still have so perhaps I will also be an adolescent forever too! Perish the thought.)

The fact of the matter is as soon as you come out of your comfort zone, you have choices to make. Are you going to stay there uncomfortable? Are you going to allow yourself to come to new revelations and paradigms? Or will you retreat back to where you feel safe? What I have come to realize by looking at people I know who choose retreat, is that they all end up miserable. It is double edged sword but I think the latter fate is worse. *I would rather be uncomfortable for a while, and find a place of temporary contentment, until it's time for the next test.

*Opinion subject to change as life and circumstance propel me forward ;)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Composition

Fingers and lips interlocked
Your body is the chorus 
My body is the melody
We make perfect music
Take it to the bridge baby
Play that song, one more time
These songs play,
If only in our hearts
For eternity..................

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reflections

Lately I have spent a great deal of time pondering on human suffering. I just finished reading biographical fiction on the story of Henry "Box" Brown. He has an amazing story. Basically, he was a slave who mailed himself to freedom.

Over the past few weeks I have been reading up on, and focusing on injustices I see in society. The older I get the more objectively I am trying to look at these types of situations. I don't want to end up in an "Occupy" state of being. Don't get me wrong, I respect the Occupiers right to protest. I sympathize and even empathize with their position in many ways. But I must admit I too on some level am skeptical on the effectiveness of their actions.

I wish I could come up with some master plan outside of prayer and faith to deal with all of the wrongs I see in the world. As far as I know, only the Anti-Christ can come up with an alternative that is suitable for to the masses ;) So, I suppose, I will continue to put my trust in God. And have faith, that everyone will give an account for their actions both good and evil some day.

I want to make a difference if I can, or at least understand to the best of my ability why an injustice occurs. If I can learn from it, than perhaps I can prevent it. Let me not end up in a place of apathy where I see yet do nothing to act, effect, influence, or change what I can.

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Years Later

     I know there are 1 million blogs and postings about September 11th. Here is number 1,000,001. I think I slept as poorly last September 11, 2011 as I did September 11, 2001. Over these past years, I managed to put the emotions of the day somewhere in the recesses of my mind. I had come to the point where I would pretty much drag those feelings out only for the anniversary date, and then pack them away until the next 9/11.

     I just took it all so personal. It was an event that happened in my adulthood. It scared me and altered my view on everything from parenting, to friendship, and even initially, trust. I am ashamed to say this but in the interest of transparency I will admit; In the immediate aftermath I actually found myself a little bit nervous around anyone of Middle Eastern dissent. I'm not proud of that. As an African American with parents who where in the trenches of the civil rights movement of the 1960's, I am very sensitive to prejudging and racial profiling. At the time, I was in graduate school. My classmates were extremely diverse. I met and associated with people from China, India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico and all over the United States. I was very excited to have my hand in a melting pot of scholars interested in making leadership in the workplace diverse.

     We spent quite a bit of time just trying to sort through this horrible act after it occurred. I really tried to hold on to my principles and continue to deal with people on an personal level and not make sweeping judgements about groups. I talked tirelessly with intellectuals about the ambiguity of a "War on Terror" and the frustration in including an entire religious sect into an extremist minority's Jihad. I honestly think these types of candid discussions are necessary for disseminating ignorance, and the fear that is often times coupled with it.

     As I look back on my views about how I felt about people before versus after the attacks, I really don't think it's changed all that much. I still feel that all people are capable of the same loving acts or the same evil acts. Am I proud to be an American? Sometimes. I like the ideology of freedom, democracy, and equality. But we fall woefully short all to often. I don't look at the terrorists attacks as us (Americans) vs. them (Arabs) I don't see people based off of their borders, customs, traditions, or religion. People are people to me. Although we may express ourselves differently based on the previously mentioned characteristics. We all feel love, and sadness, and rage, and fear. We sometimes excel, and sometimes fail. We're sometimes good, and sometimes bad. We're not all that different. We just express ourselves differently.

     There is a patriotic phrase that I hear so often in the Mid-West. "God, Family, Country" I understand it. It's a concept that I bought into once upon a time. Certainly I strive to put God first always. Sometimes selfish ambitions or impatience impede that philosophy. But, I certainly strive to do such. My view on family has changed tremendously over the years. Family now goes so far beyond bloodline in my experiences, I can hardly recognize the definition I originally came to know. In fact, I would say that I have had an entire paradigm shift as to what family is. For me family is no longer rooted in blood or genetics. Those two factors undeniably draw and tie us to people in life. That I cannot deny. And, the emotional ties that are connected to "natural" family members is strong I must admit. However, family...that is the family that counts in my book is rooted in loyalty, and "love in action". My current definition of family now surpasses genetic factors in importance to me. And then there's "Country".  Disclaimer: I LOVE America. That being said, this is a land full of hypocrisy. We don't do a good job taking care of the most vulnerable in our society. We support dictators and tyrants in other countries, if it benefits our interest. We are becoming less educated, more greedy...I could go on but you get my point. I haven't given up though. So long as we keep our foundational principles in place, there is always hope.

     Here is a fundament shift for me that has has only strengthened since the terrorist attacks. I am more concerned with people in general. Not only people from my country. The world is my home and it is without borders. In my opinion, we have lost view of humanity outside of any group of people that we are "affiliated" with. Perhaps that's why it was ok for a group of Neo-conservatives to cheer on the death of uninsured people during the last political debate. We have lost sight of the fact that "all men were created equal". If that statement is true, then it's true for all people. Not just the people who live close to you, or agree with you, or are a part of your group.

     The invent of the world wide web, and the continued sophisticated development of social media continues to make the world a smaller place. Six degrees of separation has become five degrees or perhaps four degrees. And personally, the more I get to know people from across the globe, the more I care. They have no longer become a distant ideal, they are real people.  I hope to evolve into a progressively empathetic person who can connect, empathize with, and respect all people. I know that it may be an unpopular stance with many Americans who feel that patriotism involves specialized treatment for the people in your county. But in my opinion sanctity of life and respect for everyone should be more than a U.S. concept. In fact, I think upholding that standard is even more patriotic.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Soul Mate

There is a void in my soul 


Only YOU can fill


With one touch of your hand over my heart


I inhale deeply...slowly and breathe YOU in


Then, and only then is balance restored


I am not half a person waiting for my other half


I am a whole person, whose life is incomplete without YOU...

Friday, September 9, 2011

You Are What You Blog

     I really like the concept of blogging. It took me a while to decide whether or not I wanted to do it. However, I really feel like it's a forum in which I can cathartically express myself. Starting one was a good choice or me.

     Don't get me wrong I really enjoy social media. But, I look at Facebook as a way to stay in touch with family. Twitter is a cool way for me to interact with strangers. And, Tumblr seems like little more than on online diary, and stomping ground for the celebration of randomness. I plan to dip my virtual toes into Tumblr very soon, as I love all things random.

     Blogging for me seems to be a forum in which I can just be myself. I put things out there from my very own perspective and leave out there for people to embrace, reject, or ignore. But it's mine. It's all mine. No one else can have it. No one else is responsible for it. I just sit down and start typing often times with no clue as to where I'm going, or where I'll end up. I just want to get what I'm thinking out. No politics, no pretenses, my terms, love it or leave it.

     As I negotiate my way through the blogosphere, I have observed that many bloggers feel the same way. It makes many of us kindred at least in philosophy though the topics and perspectives be so diverse. You can tell about a person by what they blog. The thing I acknowledge about my self and it very evident in my writing is that I am a complete BEOTCH. I can no more change that trait, than someone who is shy can turn himself into an extrovert.  I'm strong willed and aggressive. It's a part of my personality whether I am happy or sad. Heck my blog name kind of clues you in on what I'm all about.

     I can say that as I get older, I am learning how to be more diplomatic and wise. I count my ability to bridle my personality and express myself in a way that can be at least heard if not received as maturity and wisdom. I rather feel sorry for brassy individuals who never establish credibility or influence because they spend their life blurting out their opinions. They are generally socially isolated because they don't account for the feelings of others. Where often judged as know it alls, disrespectful, ignorant, and or trouble makers.

     Blogging has been a way for me to get out all of those feelings productively. Then, literally turn around and address some of these very issues out loud in a much more productive way. The day I  got a box that was smashed to Hades from UPS, I got on here are sounded off on the importance of customer service and pride in your work. Afterwards, I was able to turn around and call the company and let them know in very direct, yet more constructive way that their service was not acceptable.

I think Hamlet got it right when he penned the phrase. "To thine own self be true." If I thought about it hard enough I'm sure I could come up with a scriptural reference along the same vane. My virtual soapbox gives me the ability to do just that.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Walmart...You Could Pay More...AND SHOULD!!!

I am very sympathetic to the working poor. There are way too many people out there, who work as hard as humanly possible and simply cannot make enough money to support themselves. I have heard every argument concerning how people are able to pull themselves out of their situation through education, motivation, etc... There is at times validity to that line of thinking. But riddle me this? Who is going to do those jobs if nobody is willing to work them? Someone has to work those low paying positions. I do my best to treat everyone with dignity and respect. I don't care where you work, or how much education you have. If you aren't out to hurt others you are OK in my book.  So when I come across a person who is working what some would consider a menial job, it makes no difference in the way I will treat them.

I just got home from grocery shopping at Walmart. It was such a depressing sight. The workers there truly are the working poor. They look absolutely terrible. I mean the vast majority of workers literally had on poor quality clothing and shoes. Their overall appearance was simply stated, unkept. It made me insufferably sad. But right now,  I'm getting angry about it. Why in the world would a multi-billion dollar company choose to keep their employees in poverty? Corporate greed has gone entirely too far.

Walmart spends more money in China than the US government by the last stats I'd heard. And your workers can't even get a livable wage? Shoppers can't get an open register? Out of 20 -30 registers even on a holiday weekend and the first of the month, Walmart won't open more than 5 registers? I am starting to feel a moral obligation to frequent other businesses that do a better job of taking care of more then their executives. No I don't think that anyone should live a lifestyle of waiting for handouts. But I do think that when it comes to corporations, they need to compensate the people that are in the trenches working hard.

The commercials state: "You could pay more, but why?" Hopefully I just gave you a couple of good reasons to consider. I'd rather pay more to a company that is not purposely taking a loss to put fair priced companies out of business. That is better than supporting improperly contorted definitions of capitalism! THAT'S WHY!

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Takes a Village....Idiot

Hear ye! Here ye! (That makes this official):

Anyone - ANYONE at all who has influence over a child and does not take that responsibility seriously is an IDIOT! I may be channelling my inner Whitney Houston here...if that's even possible since she's not dead....I digress. My point is, I too believe the children are our future. The lessons we teach them knowingly, and by example when we're not even paying attention, directly affects the way the world will be run tomorrow. None of us get it right all of the time, but I am noticing a trend that is beginning to concern me.

Junk science and popular theories currently have parents, teachers, and youth leaders in general, working towards two goals that in all actuality oppose each other. First, the notion that children will develop low self esteem if they fail at something. And secondly, that winning is of absolute importance. Now, I am no mathematician, but I recall some rules about how a positive + a negative still = a negative. And, that's exactly what I am seeing with our future generation. I can't be the only one who is sick and tired of crybabies with entitlement issues. "Man up Bobby you lost. Better luck next time." I can't tell you how many times those words have almost slipped off my tongue.

I am of the opinion, a little bit of friendly competition will challenge a person, and motivate them to work harder. When they work harder, they are made better, as are the people that are playing/working/associating with them. I believe that a sense of accomplishment can be felt by seeing one's self improve, even if winning is not the end result. I even think that not winning will cause a person to set a goal of trying to win next time. And, if they want it bad enough, they will initiate some type of action plan to get it done.

Someone out there hoped and dreamed that one day man could take flight. That thought spiraled into mankind voyaging through space! We live in the information age. Knowledge continues to increase. But safety guards, like no letter grades so the children won't feel to bad, will hamper progress. How can it push them to try harder when there is a sliding scale of success? There are children that can learn to run faster and play more strategically to break records. But, where is there motivation to do that when everyone gets a trophy?

It's time to stop coddling. It's time to raise the standard on what we expect from little people. It's time to be amazed at what they can do with out handicapping them with safety guards in the name of self esteem development.




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Still Searching

I only have 3 followers and chances are none of you have noticed my stark silence. The fact of the matter is, a lot has been going on with me. As I have said in the past, transparency is difficult for me. I struggle especially in the midst of trying situations to do little more than emote. I am an emotional person, and I actually like that about myself. I would rather feel, than not feel. However, I don't want to turn this into an online diary.

As usual the majority of my angst centers around people that I am close to or used to be close to. I really am at the point where nothing a person does isn't surprising. That's not a "soapboxy" statement. I include myself in that category. The human condition is complex, our actions and reactions range from mild to manic given the circumstance. I have said and done things far outside of what I thought was my nature. But the fact of the matter is all of our responses good and bad are enveloped in the larger auspices of human nature.

I know that's opening up a can of worms on an argument that looks a lot like justification for poor behavior. It's not. Bad behavior is not always excusable. But I can say this. The older I get, the more I UNDERSTAND how and why people act and react the way they do. I still hold to the positions that I must surround myself with people who can at least understand me, and that I can trust to be consistently stable in the personality that they present. It's the only thing that facilitates trust for me.

I have been on a quest for inspiration lately. My life is steadily advancing. I feel like for the first time in a long time it is headed in the direction that I want to go. I feel some level of stress, but still an overall sense of satisfaction. Yet, I can't help but feel as if something is missing. I am looking for........something that propel or elevate me to a greater level of understanding and motivation. When I step back and look at my current legacy, I think to myself: "That's good, but you can do greater". My problem is I don't know how to BE greater, or how to GET greater. So, I continue on my quest and search both outwardly and inwardly.

I recently read the memoir of a dying man. He put together a compilation of observations and advice that he had gathered over his short yet successful and fulfilled life. As I read, I couldn't help but think how many of the same stances I had already developed and or agreed with. My dilemma was the fact that I had ALREADY came to these conclusions! The book though filled with inspiring observations and practical advice provided no revelation for me. I thought to myself. I don't feel like I know very much. But these are all conclusions that I have come to in my life. These are already principles by which I live. And then I thought. Either there is another level of understanding that I need to get to, or it's time for me to DIE. (I'm dramatic don't judge me.)

So, I'm still listening for God to speak to me. I am still tapping into my spirit to search what knowledge I already have. Still searching...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Learning and Growing

     As difficult as life's circumstances can be it feels good to be an adult. I relish in the fact that I am at a point in my life where, the choices made, are made by me ( and my partner). There are various tools that people use as a guide to help them through life. For some it's a Bible or the religious text they follow. For others it's scientific facts and analysis. Yet others choose to live spontaneously and go off of impulse. I am a messy conglomerate of all of the above.
     I have had some trying circumstances evolve lately. Everything from a death in the family, to verbal assault against one of my children. Every difficult moment has given me an opportunity to examine my character. I have learned a lot about myself. My weaknesses, as well as, my strengths in the categories of humility, graciousness, patience, assertiveness, compassion, and many more, have been illuminated at least within my self.
     I walk away from these circumstances hopeful and grateful. I am hopeful that I can do better, and be better now that I have a bit more life experience. Hopeful, that when the next trying situation arises, I have experience that I didn't have before. I expect those ordeals will  yield more productive results. I am grateful, that I can see my strengths and positive attributes. Grateful that through adversity, though I may be flawed, I stay true to myself and my belief systems. It's a wonderful thing to know who you are and stay true to yourself and your principles. I declare myself a work in progress. I'm sure I will be just that for the rest of my life. Never stop trying, never stop giving, never stop loving, never stop growing, never stop learning. That is the human process.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Thinking 'Bout Bin Laden

     I have been taking the past day and a half to think about the announcement of Osama Bin Laden's execution by the United State's military. I knew yesterday that I was going to blog about the subject. I didn't want to use this post as an opportunity to emote. I wanted to use it as an chance to lay out some of my opinions after I had time to process it.
     First and foremost, let me say that I was in no way saddened by the death of this tyrant. He lived by the sword and he died by the sword, such is life. That being said. I didn't feel any sense of joy at his death specifically. I was happy that the man who claimed responsibility for the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil was finally hunted down. I was happy that there was no loss of life by those that took part of the military strategy. I was happy that President Obama did what the previous Commander and Chief, (who started this war) was unable to do. He gets a lot of slack, much of which is deserved. But, the obvious racial and bigoted undertones that accompany his attacks are asinine. I'm sure it caused a hiccup in many of the critics that attack for that purpose for at least a moment. I was very happy for the military troops, and hoped that this situation would rally their morale. Finally, I was happy for the family members and victims that were personally affected by the events of September 11th.
     I suppose there are comments I made that could have been misconstrued as insensitive, in those first initial moments. They could have led some to believe that I rejoice in the death of others. For the record, I don't. But I do believe that death is an end to a means to unrepentant criminals who make it clear they intend to reek havoc on the world as long as they live. I also think killing others is too often used as a means of "justice" . That's a totally different topic for a different day.
     The further I get from this announcement, the more I have mixed feelings about our countries reaction to this news.  There are some that actually rejoice specifically in the death of Bin Laden. I'm not saying that I support or think that point of view is right, but I understand. People who have suffered emotional damage due to a loss of loved one's and family, or even a loss of security are not only happy that the individual who master minded this attack met a terrible end. Some may call it karma, or reaping what he sowed. I guess I just personally feel no joy behind his death because those same principles work for, or against all of us. That being said, I am praying for either grace or a crop failure on some of the seeds I have sown in the past!
     Everyone doesn't think or believe like I do. That's fine. That's what makes the world an interesting place. I can't say how I would FEEL if I had a more emotionally vested interest in Bin Laden's, or any other terrible person's death. If my loved one was killed in one of the twin towers, or in war fighting in the middle east this blog most assuredly would have a different point of view.
    The media is portraying American's everywhere as dancing in the streets and in apparent jubilation over his death. The more I think about it, the more I realize that there are a very few people that are rejoicing in his death. Some people are, don't get me wrong. But the more conversations I have, the more I realize that people are happy about many of the things that I listed above and not rejoicing specifically over his killing. I think the portrayal may be somewhat out of context as to what some of that jubilation is about. As I begin to calculate conversations that I am having, for everyone person who crudely damns Bin Laden to hell, as if they can personally put him there, there are 2 people who say. He was a killer who got killed and rejoice in the fact that evil does not always prevail in the world.
     This is a very touchy topic because 1) America does not have it's business in order in too many categories to list. 2) This county so systematically and hypocritically cherry picks which dictators/tyrants/terrorists it endorses and supports based off of self-interest. These factors greatly diminish our credibility when it comes to the context of justice being served. For that reason, I can only stand as a single American voice, with a single American perspective. And now you know what mine is...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Pain in the Butt

     I have been reading various comments from acquaintences and friends about today's royal wedding. The overall consensus was what I expected. The princess looked lovely and there was far too much coverage on the event. I must admit. I was a bit miffed that I could not easily access the weather report as usual. However, all things being considered, I was impressed by the beauty and the ceremonial display of matrimony. Not because of the grandeur I saw. But because of the genuine feel of love the new couple seemed to have. I can only imagine that anyone that has felt adoring love for another was momentarily transported to whatever place and moment they felt the same way. For the vast majority of us it didn't take place in a Gothic church the scale of Westminster Abbey. It may have been somewhere simple or even undesirable. But the feelings of love which are universal were undoubtedly the same. As usual I look for how I can relate to others. I can't relate to dignitaries and royalty. But, I can relate to undying love and affection. That was enough to warm my heart and be grateful for a glimpse, and an opportunity to share in the celebration.
     For those who approached the occasion with contempt and criticism I say boo! I am extremely uneducated on the ongoings of The United Kingdom. Therefore, I don't have a leg to stand on when Brits complain. Clearly they may be addressing valid arguments. Of that, I have no way of knowing. But as to my American counterparts, get over it! What's your real complaint? It surely should not be about a prince and princes you know nothing about. At best you should be mad at the media for their unbalanced continuing coverage of events that have little effect on our county. These day's that's what the media does best. Being contemptuous because you "don't care" about this wedding though, kind of makes you look miserable, unhappy, and yes, like a bit of a hater. If you truly don't care, why are you wasting your breath and spreading negativity about a happy occasion? A happy person would not do that...just sayin'.
    One person in particular called it a display of elitism and whiteness. I call her words a display of bitterness and unhappiness. Prince William in no way needs to apologize for his whiteness or the circumstance in which he was born. I for one, have seen him walk in the footsteps of his mother and serve in African nations that most people don't give a second thought to. I commend him for that, and hope that he and his bride have a happily ever after story to go with their fairy tale wedding.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm Sorry....That I got Caught

     I'm not sure what it is that got the old brain juices flowing here lately on this topic. But, it's stayed on my mind long enough that I decided to ramble on it for a while. I have noticed a trend lately with celebrities, athletes, and politicians, to give formally written (often times by other people) apologies. Can anyone tell me when this became an acceptable form of contrition?
     *Snaps my fingers* Now I remember what got me thinking on this. A particular athlete, who treated his wife like absolute trash by cheating on her and potential exposing her to any number of communicable diseases from the dozens of women he was with. I don't want to name him specifically. The issue is far larger than that particular incident. There is a segment of people out there who consist largely of celebrities and politicians that can say whatever they want whenever they want and then brush past it as if it's no big deal.
     I started to write this post at the beginning of April. Since I've started writing. Actors, athletes, and politicians alike have embarked upon continued flagrant, crazy, disrespectful, and even bigoted behavior.As long as you have a good publicist and an accomplished writer who can draft you and smartly worded apology you'll be just fine.
     As a parent, when our kids misbehave we often demand an apology be issued to the whomever was offended. I will even go so far as to say, "That wasn't good enough, you weren't sincere. Apologize like you mean it". I know realize that's all we're doing to individuals in the public spot light. They don't REALLY have to be sincere. They just have to apologize like they mean it! Generally, we know when are kids are not genuine or repentant for offensive actions. A parent that is serious about raising aware respectful young people will try to develop a sense of empathy in their children. Let's face it, that's one of the only ways you can treat someone else with respect. You need to try and empathize with others and hopefully treat them as you would want to be treated. Why then are we settling for fake, albeit well crafted and keenly edited and often times READ apologies, for highly offensive behaviors? "Say it like you mean it" apologies are for kids too little to understand or do any better than that.
     An apology that is insincere means little more than the offender is sorry...for getting caught, and that's all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today's a Special Day!


March 30, 2008- I awoke elated thinking that my water had broken only to find out that I was standing in a pool of steadily pouring blood. I called my sister who told me to get to the hospital right away. I remember the staff trying to ask me medical questions as they tried to prep me for surgery. I started blacking out and Richard had to answer them for me. Suddenly, I had 5 people standing around me all working on me at the same time. one was trying to start and IV line, one had a mask over my face, one was scrubbing my stomach, one was asking me questions, and the other one was at my feet. The whole time I kept trying to pray. I was trying to think on scriptures that I knew. But in the mass confusion, all I could do was think, "Jesus just help me." The girl with a million memory verses and prayers that storm boldly before the throne of grace, couldn't keep a thought in mind long enough to draw off any of those things that she usually does. But I had one belief that I was able to cling to. {Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)} Even if I couldn't form the words God still understood. The last thing I remember is pulling my legs up and starting to go into the fetal position and the whole room yelling NOOOO! The rest of the story was told to me by a surgical tech. She hunted Richard down that same day, and me on her next scheduled shift just to say that my situation was nothing short of miraculous. The normal order of things is to take the baby first and then the placenta. Keep in mind that I was still continuously bleeding out. She told me that as soon as the doctor made the incision, that my placenta literally "jumped" out of my body and into the doctor's hands. The entire room froze. She said in her entire career she had never seen anything like that. But, had that not happened I would have bled to death, because my blood loss slowed almost completely. She told Richard you made the right choice driving them here. If you would have waited for an ambulance your wife and baby would be dead. From the time I entered the hospital until the time Scarlett was delivered was only 25 minutes. I awoke in more pain than I even knew was possible to feel, with an apology that there was no time to administer pain meds and the news that my baby girl was perfectly fine. In fact, her Apgar test was stronger than the average baby who has been under no distress. So I am extremely grateful for every day that I have been granted since 3/30/08. I am left with a crazy scar, a beautiful daughter and one more awesome testimony. And, I never second guess my role in life. It's not glamorous, it's usually pretty thankless. For the most part the only people who can appreciate what I do are generally those who are in the same position. I'm fine with that. I am a humble person but at the same time I KNOW that I am important. Because God took the time to stop by the hospital to see about me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Good Relationship is Like Girdle

     A good relationship is like a girdle. It supports you and holds you up during the most important occasions of your life. I can think of few things more precious than a healthy reciprocated relationship. One hopes this is what they can expect from the people they call family. Often times we hear more negative reports on family members than positive ones. I wonder why this is. I have come across a bit of family drama lately. One particular member has found herself in a tremendous amount of trouble. Although she has an abundance of brothers and sisters, and her parents are still alive, my household sat down to see how we could help. That's what family does. In my opinion, family should not only pull together in times of adversity, we should just generally love and support each other in all aspects of life. That's my goal. That's what I want. That's what I am trying to instill in the delicate minds I am responsible for shaping. I just wish I had a bit of support from my, oh I don't know.....my family!
     It's a sad day when you realize that people who don't have to be in your life, are willing to do more for you than people who are connected whether they like it or not. It was an ongoing lesson that I was reminded of several times this week. The first incident had me so spitting mad I could not see straight. But the second occurrence did little more than put the nail in the coffin of my paradigm shift. That shift being the realization family are not always who you can turn to when you really need help.
     I had a very in depth conversation with my Significant Other yesterday. We came to the conclusion that henceforth we will surround ourselves with, and work on establishing deep and meaningful relationships with the people who love and care about us most regardless of the bloodline. We are fortunate to have had some caring genuine people cross our paths. People who are dependable and love and care for no other reason than the fact that they choose to. They don't have to care. They don't have support. They are under no obligation or alliance established by anything other than love, and a desire to do so. They are called friends. I know that this is cliche but friends are the family you get to choose. It's true, and right now it's my silver lining.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Settling vs Acceptance

I am very randomly pondering the ideals of accepting circumstances in life. I think there has been a huge movement in American society to never settle for anything. You should always go after what you want and not be sidetracked. We do after all have a very individualized society when you compare it to other cultures. I suppose over the years the slogans have changed  but the ideology is the same. Some I can think of are 1) Be all the me I can be [that was a Saturday morning commercial adage meant to motivate kids] 2) Get 'er dun 3) and perhaps the most recent "do you". The meaning behind all of these mottos, I think, is the same. You are important and should get, and/or do what you think is important. I am wondering and perhaps leaning towards thinking we have gone a bit too far with that line of thinking. It seems as if perhaps we have become so self-centered  that we care less about the big picture and how it will affect others that we are close to. I have seen people so focused on their careers, education, material wants etc...that they will ignore or neglect the people that life's finer things are meant to be shared with.
It's time to stop step back and look at the whole picture. There is a time to simply accept some of your life circumstances. That's especially important, if where we want to be will cause unwanted effects on the other people in our life. It's time to reorganize and prioritize and set goals TOGETHER.  No man is an island. And when you finally get to where you're going you need to have someone there to sit and sip your tropical smoothie with.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Service

I'm kind of wondering what happened to service fields and the concept of public service in America. We all know the entire political system is in the toilet. But I am seeing a trend amongst all service positions that is really starting to get on my nerves. I got a letter home from school from my children's teachers. The stated that my parent-teacher conference times with them.  The teachers had chosen and given to me. One of the times was at 3:15. The other time was 5:00. Either teacher had obviously conferred with each other to see if the could sink up timing with each other or me. They just expected me to find sitters that could stay with my children multiple different times and then spend gas that has sky-rocketed to well beyond $3 a gallon to drive back and forth to the school 4 times. That's not to mention that my children would barely make it through the door before I had to be at the first appointment. I'm sure it was not a conspiracy to make things difficult for me. However, that doesn't excuse the fact that it was an epic failure in moving in the best interest of the people in which educators are supposed to serve. Standard protocol has always been to request 3 different times in order of preference in which the parent is available to meet. Now suddenly we are being assigned times without so much as our input? I think my response was legitimate and appropriate. In short my answer was...nope. I feel like this, if we're going to meet, than it will be at a mutually agreeable time. That's not a revolutionary concept, it's actually the original concept! The method of operation wasn't broken for me so there was nothing to fix. What's worse is that one teacher who I ended up having a phone conference with only reported the grades to me that I actually have access to online. Nothing more nothing less. I'll call it divine intervention that I did not inconvenience myself by finding a babysitter and going down to the school to meet with her. I'm not sure I could have kept the conversation respectable.
     I'm rambling now. I just needed to get this all off my chest. Public Service used to mean you were taken into the public trust to help members of society. You were funded by them [the public] to take care of their business. Anymore the public sector takes it's cues from the private sector. Secrecy, privacy, and somehow what seems like profitability even if it's not monetary gain now rule the public sector also. With little more than laws and statutes that are now being ignored or eradicated altogether, I predict things will get worse until people stand up and define terms that are once again agreeable for them and them hold workers to it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How Far is Far Enough

     I have been working on another post for weeks now and I fear that it may be "overdone". I may very well end up scrapping that one because it feels contrived at this point. Anyway, I have something else on my mind now. I don't always look for feedback, but if anyone ever takes the time to read this post and would like to respond, I could sure use some feedback.
     I know, I know elbows and opinions everybody's got them. I don't normally ask for anyone's opinion because I have my own. Let's consider this more of a qualitative research project. Your input will be up for analysis. *I smile*
     I am just kind of at my wits end concerning on of my loved ones. I feel like this young man is full of potential, but is letting it all go to waste. I know that in life we have our own choices to make and everyone we come across is a mere influence. I do my best to be a positive influence to everyone I am around. But, how many times do you step in and repeat yourself and try and influence someone with little or no interest in doing their best. I search for answers, talk until I am blue in the face, go out of my way to support and under gird etc... However, most of the time when I try to drop the little bird from the nest and say 'fly', the bird starts a spiraling descent straight for the ground.
    I don't want to be so legalistic and methodical that I end up doing things like giving a person 3 tries or 5 tries and then wash my hands of a situation. At the same time, I don't want to feel as if I am spending so much effort on one person that I neglect myself and the other people in my life. I'm not sure if there are proper answers to this situation. I just needed to get it off my chest.  So there you have it. Calling all opinionated know it all persons! Step right up!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Message

     I have been reading articles and posts and tweets and blogs about the praises and woes of the Valentines holiday all day long. Please allow me to step upon my soapbox and weigh in on the situation.
     Men: Like it or hate it the vast majority of women are looking for a certain set of things on this occasion. If she's a keeper, and your serious about her please consider my input. A woman that loves you wants a thoughtful genuine expression of your love. That's all! If your broke and she's with you anyway, she's most likely not looking for you to break the bank on her. Be creative, use the information that you know and love about her, and do something meaningful. Honestly, that's it. She will love it. If she doesn't drop her because she is not the girl for you.
     That being said. If you have a girl in your life that you're not that into, you should have dumped her after Christmas. Man that sounds rough but it is true. Since you didn't and your still dealing with her, you have to do something nice for her. Don't do anything that's going to keep her too attached. You still need to let her go. Start preparing her for it. Deep down she already knows it. But it's your duty to treat her with some respect and do something nice. I'd go for a card that's not too romantic, take the funny route, and some candy. And for goodness sakes get things shut down before Easter!
     Your lady knows what YOU want. You are the first to admit that you are fairly simple creatures. Think on my suggestions. If things aren't going your way, give them a try, I'll bet it will help.



    

Saturday, February 12, 2011

About Love

So I started out this Valentine's weekend at a funeral. Then came home to settle down to a gut wrenching movie about how true love can basically KILL you. I gotta admit it's having a tremendous effect on my psyche (not to mention my libido). I'm doing my best to open my mind, find the positives, and look at the big picture. But, quite frankly, I'm in a bit of a funk. I know this post is the exact opposite of my last one on happiness *shrugs* but that's where I'm at at this particular moment. Today I feel like life no matter how hard you plan and try is just difficult. Is love worth the pain we go through to experience it? Where should we set the boundaries of how far is far enough to go for love? Does the equal portion of how much you hurt because of love compared to the love you feel for someone have a limit? That kind of makes makes the whole I love you to death cliche less theoretical and more realistic doesn't it. As frustrated as I feel about all of this right now, my experiences with loved ones leads me to one frustrating but overwhelming conclusion as to whether or not love is worthwhile .....YES. *deep sigh*

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happily Ever After

     I am in the midst of a total paradigm shift concerning my thoughts on happiness. Growing up anymore is a complicated process. Earlier than ever there are so many pressures put on us. Kids are distracted about how they look. Schools start to apply pressure about the importance of grades and how they affect you long into the future. The materialistic society teaches them that if you don't have the latest, greatest biggest, and best, then life is basically not worth living. I recognize all of these things when I think rationally. However, my current revelation is that they were all in effect during my formative years. I guess on some level I realized it then. But I am just now stepping back and seeing how that effected who I am today.
         Throughout the years I have been very reflective on removing unhappiness from my life. I have always agreed with the cliche that life is too short. I certainly think it's too short to live unhappy. Therefore, I have routinely identified things and people in my life that have been a source of displeasure and tried to remedy the situation. If there was no viable solution to the problem then at that point I felt it was best to move on.  I guess that my most recent revelation is that avoiding unhappiness does not mean that you are going to be happy. For a long time I had settled for not being unhappy, and now I realize that's a lower standard of living. It's not good enough anymore.
     Happiness, like love is multi-faceted. There is work involved to get there. It's a journey. But just like in love when you stand back and look at it. When you think of all that you had to go through to obtain it. It's worth it. From now on I choose happiness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Family

    This morning the first thing I said to my son was "Time to get up." The second thing I said was "Stop talking and hurry up." The third thing I said to him was "What's irrigation?" His first two responses were little more than a head nod to acknowledge me. His third response was more lively. Irrigation?!?! Irrigation?!?! This is what you want to talk about in the morning???
     Of course this is not what I WANTED to talk about in the morning, was my initial thought but that rebuttal would have been counterproductive. I am the epitome of what could be described as a suburban chick. Give me a mall with The Gap, and a good meal at Applebees and I am perfectly happy at this point in my life. I have no interest in farming or irrigation. Heck, I don't even like gardening. My best attempt at such was ten years ago when I planted several varieties of annuals around the front landscape of my house. I haven't looked back since. Those lovelies just put up their pretty blossoms at the appointed time and season.
     But on this day, before the crack of dawn I am willing to talk about all things agricultural because I love my highly intelligent yet equally undisciplined child. I will discuss the positive and negative effects irrigation has on the environment with him since he doesn't quite care enough to give it his very best effort and would be happy with a mediocre grade. It may be a mild irritant for me right now but, I consider it an investment in his future. When his level of maturity begins to catch up with his intellect, I don't want him to behind.
     That's what you do for family. You do it because you love them. There's nothing that we shouldn't do to within reason to help our loved ones. I'm not so sure when and where things got jumbled, but God help me the day I go out of the way to help a stranger in need, but will not do the same for my family. Yet, it happens all the time. People in service positions want to make an impact on society and even the world.  They pick a cause. It may be orphans, or abused women and children, or public safety, or ministry, and all the while the people that are the right in their line of vision are not receiving the very best from them. At the end of the day, (or the beginning of the day in this particular case) our minds are already thinking ahead to those things we need to do. Often in our personal time we are distracted by other people who want/ need something from us. I propose we all slow down enough to look at and appreciate the people that will be around for the very most important and defining moments in our lives. Lets make sure that when life's most joyous or grievous occasions take place that we are not experiencing them with family members that feel more like strangers.  Making an important impact on someone, and ultimately the world starts with our loved ones.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pride and Predjudice

     I received a box in the mail courtesy of one of the major shipping and delivery companies. Since I am an online shopping addict, I tend to get drop offs on a regular basis. That being said, there is a certain protocol that i have become accustomed to when anxiously awaiting my "door prize". Since most packages are worth an insubstantial amount of money, Mr. Deliveryman usually knocks three times, rings the doorbell, sets the package down and walks away. That's the way our transactions take place 99% of the time.
      Things did not go the same way on this past delivery. There was no knock. My doorbell is in perfect working condition so I know it was never pushed. This time my package was dropped at the door with little or no indication to let me know it was there. There is not doubt in my mind that my package had been run over by something between the time it left the warehouse and the time it arrived at my doorstep. The box was crushed open on one side and then the entire package was haphazardly wrapped in packing tape.  Perhaps I just give off the aura of someone who would have made fuss. I have to admit I sure would have. I would have sent it straight back, and let all those involved figure out what happened and where. However, I was not given the opportunity to do so. I can only assume that the delivery driver was not up that challenge.
     I have titled this post Pride and Prejudice, because I personally I have a low tolerance for people don't take pride in what they do. I'm of the mind, that there is no dishonor in doing anything you do, as long as it's done honorably. One of the first questions we ask people when sizing them up is, what do you do for a living? There is a lot of importance placed on what job you have and how much money you make. Often times, I hear people forecasting their future status when they are dissatisfied with their current employment. They may say I work at the grocery store, but I am planning on going to law school. When I hear someone make such remarks I often think. What's wrong with working in the grocery store? Imagine what life would be like if nobody wanted to take that job.
     Nowadays everyone wants to come up with a fancy impressive title for their job position. "I am a adolescent recreational enhancement advisor." You're a gym teacher? Cool! Why not just say that. Like it or not some kids are gonna take gym way too seriously, and others are going to forge notes from home so they don't have to participate. The vast majority of students will fall somewhere in the middle. If you love what you do and put your heart into it, most everyone around you will respect you for it and give a little in return. It's not what you do that defines you, it's how you do it.
     Let's stick with the grocery store scenario shall we? Have you ever gone through a check out line and the store clerk was totally nasty? There have been times tellers wouldn't even look up and acknowledge my presence. How hot under the collar are you when that happens? When you come across a clerk who seems to have missed orientation on how to properly pack shopping bags, isn't that inconvenient? But, I for one celebrate a friendly clerk with good packing skills. Not only that, I thank them! My time unpacking has become less complicated because someone who took the time to do their job with expertise. The list could go on and on with examples of different people with different sets of responsibilities. Unfortunately, the ramifications of those with greater responsibility only gets worse.
     The world would be a better place it we give our best in whatever we do. Let's all commit to doing the best we can not only for our own satisfaction, but because we're all connected. We all have to work together to make the world function well. No judgments here, friends just observations and love. I'm stepping off my soap box...................now.
  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's the Same Difference

    I went to bed thinking last night about a movie that I had watched as well as book that I have been reading. Anytime I do either of those things I look for characters that I can identify with. It's just kind of a habit of mine that draws me deeper into a story. In the book East of Eden John Steinback slowly and carefully describes his characters in great detail. I was so impressed with my ability to relate to so many of the characters. He really captured a gamut of emotions in such vivid detail. The themes of love, disappointment, fear, hatred and  jealousy were described in absolute detail. It's taking me time to go through the story because I keep going in my mind to actual events that I have experienced. I read about these emotions and I think..."hey that reminds me of the time when _____" .
     I drifted into dreamland thinking about how people are really more similar than different. I find this fact to be an equal combination of comforting and disappointing. It's great to feel as if you're special. Mothers devote their time telling their children just that. "You're not like the other kids there's something different about you,"  they say. As time goes on many of us come to the realization that most people aren't nearly as impressed with us as mom is. At the same time it's nice to know that you can find someone that understands how you feel and what you've been through. I remember as a child learning a scripture that said, 'There is nothing new under the sun.' As it was explained to me you or your circumstance is not nearly as novel as you would think. I think this is actually a helpful and hopeful revelation in the time of distress, and a reminder to stay humble in times of success.
     We seem to live in a day in time when every little difference is pointed out, magnified, and blown out of proportion. Too often our differences are used to cause derision and strife. Ignorance breeds fear. You have Christians vs. Muslims; Blacks vs. Whites; men vs. women; wealthy vs. poor; Democrats vs. Republicans etc...I contend that diversity can be celebrated.  Look for things that you can learn from others of a different persuasion.
     How often do you take someone else's word at face value about a group of people? Why is the basis of someone else's worth contingent upon whether or not they are exactly like us? If I take a good hard look at myself I realize how little I know and how flawed I am. That being said, should I be the standard by which all others should be measured? My goodness I hope not! Why must animosity be coupled with negative criticism when pointing out contrasts in others? When you look past most of these dissimilarities you will find that there are many more similarities that can be used to bring us together than differences that force us apart.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's Really Going On

     A particular subject has troubled me two times in as many days. For that reason I feel compelled to step up on my soap box and voice my opinion. Let me get straight to the point: Black People it is time to raise our standard... POW! There I said it. Well actually I typed it. But, if I were to SAY it, there would be a tremendous amount of attitude. You know, like the stereotypical black lady on reality TV attitude.
    Let me tell you what lit my fire concerning this subject. I was driving down the street flipping through the stations looking for some feel good music. It was one of those moments when your in a great mood and are looking for some tunes that express your sentiment. There's a great local station that plays a "mix" of music. I was rather enjoying myself but decided to see what was on the local urban station. I switched just in time to hear the word "'ho" poorly bleeped out of the song. Boy did that pump the brakes on my happiness. If you ask me, there are a very few circumstances in which it is appropriate to refer to a woman as a ho'. I am just crazy enough to actually try and stick with the original meanings of words for the sake of confusion. I am aware of all of the spin off's on the word and forgive me for saying they do not belong in main stream media at 6 pm. Oh wait is urban radio considered main stream? I can't help but notice that language is not readily found on country, alternative, or even most mixed music radio waves. Why then is it okay for the urban lover's ears?  
     Again this morning before 8 am I am  driving down the road and my ears were assaulted by lyrics celebrating the singers drunken stupor coupled with a request for his companion to pull her pants down. Really?!?! True enough it's 5 o'clock somewhere. But given your standard American English accent, I highly doubt he was in any exotic locale that would support his drunkenness during those tender hours of the morning.
     Before we go any further, and you write me off as a complete prude let me reveal to you that chocolate, wine, and sex (in no particular order) are at the very top of my personal list of carnal pleasures. Wine may be the newest passion on that list. I enjoy reading about it, shopping for it, and certainly drinking it. Chocolate targets the same area of the brain that is associated with love. Need I say more?  And sex.....like R. Kelly used to sing, I don't see nothing wrong,with a little bump and grind.  I like to think that anyone walking away from a sexual experience with me has been satisfied beyond their wildest dreams. I'm sure some part of that my thought process is wishful thinking. But, sufficed to say I have had very little negative feedback over the years. Sorry, no references will be provided. You're just going to have to take my word on that. I'm not anti-sex. I imbibe enjoyable adult beverages. And when it comes to 'hoing I am more than capable of minding my own business. I have my own life so as a general rule I will only get so upset or involved in the life of anyone who is not looking for my input.
    My problem is that these topics seem to be the central theme of our culture. Why? I ask. Are these things all we are good for? Of course not. Yet we are debasing ourselves to the point in which such topics and issues have become deep seeded albeit stereotypical characteristics of who African Americans are. STOP IT! We as a culture of people are collectively better than that. Stop glorifying and glamorizing a lifestyle that will continue to cause unnecessary struggles to influential minds that look up to you. Do I personally think that celebrities are role models? No. Do I think that anyone who has the ability to influence ANYONE should use their influence for good? ABSOLUTELY. And let's not negate the fact that star power does exist. That's why celebs get endorsements. If you are willing to take an endorsement than you should be willing to use your influence in a responsible manner.
     I know there are a many contingent arguments that can accompany the struggles of our race. I know that many problems that come from neighborhoods and cities we populate have less to do with the color of our skin, and more to do with socio-economic status. I do not deny extenuating circumstances that add to the struggle of our culture. There are many. Let's just make it a point to live purposely and purposefully and continue to rise. One love y'all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who Am I

     I had a good conversation with a friend the other night. He had posted some pretty thought provoking clips on Facebook. The man talking was an advocate for social justice and equality. As he spun knowledge and wisdom from his brain into the fabric of the moral conscious of anyone willing to receive it, I came to the following conclusion; Even if I don't agree with what this man is saying, I totally respect his willingness to lay down his arguments and justify his beliefs.
     Upon first glance this man looked little more then an eccentric senior who may or may not be totally "with it" upstairs if you know what I mean.  His hair was kind of wild. He was what I thought to be hiding behind sunglasses. His overall appearance just seemed to be slightly un-groomed. But when he began to speak I realized that his level of insight and intellect were so far beyond mine that I literally had to stop the video and ponder his words. I had to let his information marinate and sink in a little bit at a time in order to keep up with him. I came to know that this man is in fact an educator at an Ivy league university. The information he laid down was factual, though like anyone else the opinions were his own.
     When we know someone's background, we have a certain set of predisposed assumptions of what their stance will be on a situation. I try very hard to take each person as the sum of their life experience. It doesn't always work out that way, but I make an earnest effort. I think the world is a better place if you approach people sincerely and specifically. I had a man look me in the eye and say thank you the other day after I purchased some carry out and it made my day. I could not recall the last interaction I'd had with a stranger when our exchange was anything more than standard thoughtless politically correct pleasantries.
     What I am getting at here, is that I would love for anyone reading me, to take my words at face value. I hope and pray to get to the place some day where people have to stop and contemplate my words because I am a wealth of knowledge. But, my approach in doing this is going to be different. I am not going to set before you my stats. Where I'm from, what my background is, my political affiliation, my religion, my level of education etc.... take my words and evaluate them. I am trying to be open and honest. I will attempt to express the foundations of my sentiment, so that you can accept or reject what I have to say. To do the latter might muddy your perspective on  what you believe my view is. I loathe that we have come to the place where we ask people a certain set of interview like questions. 1) What do you do? 2) Are you married?
 3) How old are you?  [and then when we we are comfortable enough]  4) So do you/where do you go to church? And the final nail in the coffin. 5) How about what's going on in Washington?
     Let's see where you reading words by someone who you know little or nothing about gets us. Let's see how similar or different we REALLY are.