Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Urban Rain Dance

This was my personal invitation to the rain. Signs of spring are all around. I like the urban setting these photos are taken in. We often fail to see natural wonders and beauty in the midst of city and suburban living.

This picture looks like it could have been taken anywhere. You have no idea this picture was not taken in a country setting.

The trash floating in this water to me was symbolic of the fact that we are in a more populated environment.

I tried to make sure that I got the edge of the concrete in this photo.

Black History Month Wrap Up

I didn't have any intention on writing a post on Black History month. Personally I have spent a lot of time learning about the contributions of African Americans primarily because I was raised in the midwest, and it's not a very diverse environment. As a result, the educational curriculum was not multifarious. In order for me to learn that the world is full of all kinds of people, who have made contributions to mankind, I had to seek out this information for myself.

I remember studying US history in high school. Exactly eleven pages were dedicated to "Contributions of African Americans in History" The text covered slavery thru current events. It wasn't until I was an adult that I knew that blacks sat in Congress in the 1800's! Here is a link to some of that information for anyone who is interested African Americans In the United States Congress In fact, the other history requirements for graduation were Western Civilization (The history of European based countries) and Non Western Civilization (The history of the entire rest of the world).

My life experience always led me to support the observation of Black History month. It was essential in order for me to obtain knowledge, and develop an understanding of my race. Additionally, I figured if I don't know these things, other races and cultures had limited information as well.

If I may, I'd like to share some quick interesting facts that I have learned over the years, about why Black History Month was established:
Carter G. Woodson, the son of a former slave started Black History week. He was too poor to go to school, so he taught himself basic high school education. Eventually, he became the second African American to earn his Ph.D. After attending a celebration that marked the 50th anniversary of slavery's abolition, he was inspired. He and 4 other individuals created the Association for the Study of Negro Life History (ASNLH). They began a publication The Journal of Negro History, because most textbooks ignored the history and achievements of black people. In 1926 He promoted the idea of Negro History Week. February was the designated month in honor of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas's birthdays. In 1976 it was expanded to a month long observation. President Gerald Ford encouraged all to engage in Black History Month. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter with the government's support assigned February the official month to celebrate and honor he achievements of African Americans.

I appreciate the reasons why Black History Month was created. It was a necessity in this country at the time. At one point, I held the belief that sharing information about black's contribution to our county would help combat racsim. I no longer hold this belief. Racism is rooted in hatred and intolerance. Black history facts may make others less ignorant to our contributions, but it won't make a hateful person more peaceful.

My opinion of Black History Month is evolving. Black history is American history. I think it's time to integrate this information into everyday learning. In fact, education should be more well rounded and inclusive in it's acknowledgment of various races, ethnicities, and even the sexes. It's happening slowly. My children bring home reading assignments that are much more eclectic than any curriculum assigned to me. However, until the day comes where ALL Americans are represented in history, literature, art, music etc.... I will gladly and proudly celebrate Black History Month.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Personal Reflections...

Do you ever stand amongst God's creations and feel closer to Him?

When I take the time to open my eyes and appreciate the wondrous things that surround me,

I am in awe that He takes the time to be bothered with me also.

I am reminded of passages from the 8th chapter of Psalm:
verses 3-5: 

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 

I meditate on these words, and I am humbled and thankful.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

She REALLY IS on Her Soapbox Today

Please allow me a moment to step up on my soapbox and do what I started this blog to do....RANT! This has been one heck of a week for me. I was almost ready to shut everyone from the outside world completely out. I just found myself so disheartened by a lack of compassion everywhere I turned.

I don't know when it happened, but more and more often I am seeing common sense take a back seat. It seems as if quickly summarizing and aligning yourself to a group is just an easier way to deal with or discount people. Therefore, you have political parties, races, nationalities, or religious sects of people who lock arms and support each other, with little or no thought to what any given issue is actually about.  Just because you and I share the same skin color, or nationality does not mean that I can support you in whatever foolishness you are promoting.

I truly started doubting myself this week. Am I living in a dream world? Does my quest to move in love and treat each person as an individual unrealistic? I just don't understand how people can't see that the lack of compassion they give would feel so terrible if they were on the receiving end of things.

To a certain extent, all I can do is attribute these actions to laziness and apathy. It's easier for some to move as a block group. It's easier to get results as a block group. But what have you gained if said results aren't really what you wanted in the first place? Is it easier to ignore an economic emergency, or social circumstance to say that your political party is in power? It is easier to condemn others and damn their ways, as long as you think you're walking down heaven's road? Is it fine that other people are offended by your words if you slam someone's frailties and faults even though none of us are perfect? We all have an area of our lives in which we struggle.

Just because you're a conservative I will not assign to you excellent moral character. Just because you're liberal I will not assume that you're elitist, or even worse yet, looking for some type of hand out. Just because you attend regular church, synagogue, or mosque services I can't assume you're friendly, and have a mind to serve others. Just because you're white I won't assume that you feel superior to other people. Just because you're black I won't assume that you're angry and aggressive. Just because you're a woman I am not going to assume you're emotional.

It sure seems as if people who spew negativity towards anyone who is different are not that happy. Besides, I have been pleasantly surprised and enriched by connecting with people who at first glance didn't have anything in common with me. I don't find it exhausting to take each person I meet at face value.  I'm going to have to stay the course I am currently on.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yesterday's Baby...Tomorrow's Man

This is my first born. He's a turning another year older. Motherhood exposed me to a level of love  I didn't know existed. With that revelation, came the desire to live my life in a way that would inspire him. I don't know how much of his fantastic nature is a result of my influence. But, I can say that he is a dynamic child whom his teachers refer to as "upper echelon in social status amongst his peers." I tell people he has the potential to be the next President, or P Diddy. I am just praying that he channels all of his energy into a positive and productive path. Our private conversations leave me inspired and proud. He is progressively making more of his own choices. The intricacies of his decisions are very well thought out. I acknowledge that it's time for a shift to take place in my parenting style. It's time for him to make gradually tougher life choices, while I attempt to trust the life lessons we've instilled. My hope is that the foundation we laid will contribute to good judgement, and a life well lived.

They say a picture says 1,000 words. Y'all see what I'm working with. PRAY FOR ME!!! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

So much of what I write is conjecture that is drawn from my personal understanding and view of the world. When it comes to love I like to look to something much greater than myself. I am, and will forever be a student of love. I want to love more. I want to love better. As good as love gets to me, I consider it to be a limitless resource. So, I will never stop reaching, and growing, and trying to give and receive more love.

When it comes to my favorite examples of love, I see a very common underlying theme, be it real life, artistic impressions, or written word. The love that I admire always mirrors what I read in a the biblical passage 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

We hear it read at weddings and during church services. But there is so much knowledge and truth contain within those scriptures, that it simply cannot become a cliche in my eyes. No in my opinion, it is something to be studied.

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
5it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So I will continue to study and learn love's lesson plan. Thus far some of my experiences have been difficult and excruciatingly painful. But, I have very few regrets. I would choose love all over again every single time. I'm grateful for the love that has been given to me. I am confident the pureness in which I have given it has effected others in a positive way. Feelings of love have the ability to stay with us after the person we interacted with is no longer present. It's all that I have to hold onto from those who are no longer in my life, and vice versa. But it's more valuable than most of what we could tangibly acquire....LOVE....

Monday, February 13, 2012

RIP Whitney

I don't want to be redundant. But, as I was saying, there is a group of people to whom Whitney is so special. I spent time yesterday just listening to her music. Remembering why certain songs were so significant to me. Cherishing the memories that were attached to the music.

I looked through images of her over the years. Most of them were very flattering. There were also pictures of some of her really low points. Through it all, there were so many people who were sad for her. People that were hopeful that she would be able to get back on path of success. I for one was very inspired when she made her last attempt to rise to the top. Her voice was deeper and raspier, but her spirit was just as open and magnetic as always. Instantly I was emotional listening to her song that stated that she was not built to break. Once again, she hit the nail on the head. Her message was totally relatable.

When it comes to artistry I tend to divide people into two groups. There are those who showcase their talent. And there are those who share their talent. Whitney shared her gift of music with the world. When I watched her perform her arms were often raised in supplication. It was as if she was opening herself up to her God given talent. There were other times where she with outstretched arms, gave to the people. It was if she were trying to impart her heart's sentiment. And, I felt it.

To not hide or be selfish with your talents, is a wonderful gift to share. For her it was music, acting, and entertainment. But I have always taken away from people like her, that we should all do the same with our gifts and callings. I'm still in the process of learning who I am, and what I have to offer to the rest of the world. But I will give, as revelation is given to me.

Rest In Peace Whitney. And thank you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I have a growing obsession with photography. There's a marvelous photo gallery not far from my house. I go there as often as possible. I have always enjoyed looking at photos, but my interest is changing. I'm starting to like taking pictures.

I watched a television special once that talked about the complicated dynamic that comes with photographing life. There is a relationship that needs to be built to facilitate trust. But at the same time, you have to learn how to almost disappear.

I'm thinking that's why I am drawn to it. I just want to see if I am able to connect and capture authentic life experiences. I've started taking more pictures lately. Many of them will end up on my Tumblr blog just because I need somewhere to store them, and I like their picture format. I love pictures of natural environments. For now, I am focusing on landscapes just because the beauty is already there. There's not much I have to do, but be open to the beauty around me. I think as time goes on I will learn more about how to take pictures of people as well. Capturing emotion on film is a long term goal, and perhaps one that will take a lifetime to perfect. If I can learn to do it, it will be well worth it.

Here are some extremely random shots I have taken over the past 6 months:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thank You

I received something the other day that was absolutely life changing. I was moved to the very core of my being. And it was one of those things that will affect the way I operate from now on.

I received the most heartfelt sincere thank you ever. It was more than words. It was from one spirit, that was trying to connect with another spirit on the deepest purest level. It was an echelon of sincerity that I simply have not come across very often.

I try my best to live a reverent and grateful life. My desire is to be a thankful person. I have given a lot of thank yous. If you look below you will see just a portion of supplies that I have in my thank you collection. I thought I was "serious business" when it came to whipping out tokens of good will and graciousness. In fact,  I have been trained in proper etiquette on the art of thank yous. But I'll tell you what.  There is a whole different level of gratitude that I do not normally tap into, and I want to get there!

I have a husband and children whom I love to take care of. Their happiness is my motivation. Their smiles provide my gratification. Most of the time I am not even looking for or expecting a thank you. Although, they are very good about thanking me for how I care for them. I certainly acknowledge them as well, for what they do for me. Up until this week I thought it was sincere. It is. But I can see how much more it can be.

What's so amazing is that the thank you was really for no particular reason. I haven't done anything special to be entitled to such amazing words. I think that just illustrates the wonderful nature of my friend. I hadn't done anything to warrant this extra special outpouring of appreciation. She just reached out to tell me all of the things that she loved and was thankful for concerning me. I am hoping that I am worthy of even a fraction of the love she bestowed. I know that I will work that much harder to be the friend she envisions me to be.

Etiquette officially is moved to the back burner when it's time to pass out thank yous. I will take advantage of my hopeless romanticism and let love rule when it's time to show appreciation. I believe the difference in approach will be felt, as opposed to read or heard.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


As I looked around my yard this morning, I was inspired to take some pictures. It is absolutely gorgeous outside right now. The snow is beautiful, and it's still very pure and unscathed. I took a couple pictures of my bushes. The scattered branches that continue to sprout reminded me of a much larger metaphor... 

 "Regardless of your inopportune situation, push past it, and grow!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This is Martha's place. In her sunroom, I see containers that house so many decorations for she was a festive person. I see artificial flowers and many other tools that one would use for entertaining. For 10 years, we met under an old oak tree at our shared fence line. We talked about all of the pleasantries that neighbors do. She traveled the world through her middle aged and senior years, and I loved to hear about her voyages. She gave me landscaping/gardening tips, and Feverfew flower buds for my yard. Every Easter and Christmas, she and her daughter would give me homemade chocolates in adorable seasonal molds. Martha constantly told me not to quite my children as they ran though the yard screaming and playing. "It's a symbol of life and vitality," she would say. She felt that the laughter of a child was one of the most beautiful sounds a person could hear.
This is Joe's garden. For 11 years, I have gorged myself on fried green tomatoes, and made special spicy pasta sauce courtesy of his peppers, for my husband from this garden. We met at our shared fence line, and he would do his best to teach a younger generation all he had learned about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. During the holidays I could often look forward to a bottle of Joe's homemade wine. It never disappointed. Joe was a tailor by trade. I watched him come and go from Mass many a time. Never a sharper suit or top coat existed. But, he was just one of those people that had the golden touch. Be it a pair of trousers, a garden, his hedges, or the Italian tiles in his kitchen. Everything he touched turned to gold.

Martha died a year ago last month. Joe passed at the end of this summer. I now look out of my kitchen window and think about the ever increasing amount of worldly possesions that are piling up in Martha's sun room. I think about how the garden Joe personally tended, has been turned over for the last time. And, it has me thinking of how I will be remembered by others some day. 

If someone where to take one snapshot of MY life, what would it be? What will their description of who I was encapsulate? I want to be thought of a person who was passionate in my conviction for connecting with others and making them feel......better than they did before we interacted. 

Life is so often boiled down to what you do for a living, and what things you have. I love what I do, and I am happy with my possessions. But those two things in no way drive my overall life conviction, or my above stated goal. 

No, I think the only way to accomplish my goal is to continue to develop an honest understanding of who I am as a person. I accept the good and bad about myself. I feel that being firmly rooted in who you are allows you to connect with others, yet not be swayed into actions and activities that are not best for you. How often times, we make friends with others and are unduly influenced to live and participate in activities that are not conducive to who we are. If I don't like to ski, then I am not going to be roped into constantly skiing with a friend because it is a passion of theirs. That's a petty insignificant example, but you can see how it could translate into larger more important arenas. Hopefully, I will remain true to myself and connect with people on areas of commonality. 

Secondly, I hope to make genuine connections with others. That is not to say that they are always deep connections. But, true, honest, real connections with people I interact with, and a motive of disseminating goodness; That's my current method of operation to reach my goal. 

Someday, if someone decides to take a snapshot of my life, I wonder what it will be. Tomorrow is not promised. I supposed I better keep working my plan....peace.