Category Archives: Words
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO EVERYONE
HOLIDAY SNOW – ACRYLICS
Born in northern Alabama, father was a Native American (Chickasaw) sharecropper who managed a farm for a businessperson from Decatur, and a mother who worked in the local cotton mill during the Depression to pay for Beautician School. Although her mother lived in the same house, she was emotionally absent since the Author’s birth. The author, raised by her father, Native American great-grandmother and an African-American woman all were great storytellers.
Instead of playing like most children, she roamed the countryside alone or with her father and at night she sat at the feet of these strong-minded individuals listening to the stories of their lives. During the summer, she lived with her fathers’ sister in Birmingham, Alabama; it was there that she would discover a library, and mingle with her aunt’s circle of friends…
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Crawfish Creek Manor
Yesterday, I received an update on Aunt Ira Mae’s Thanksgiving week. She chose to stay in the Crawfish Creek area and spent most of her time with her new “Mr. Roy”. She begin with how he makes the worst coffee since the discovery of the coffee bean! There in the morning right! Their week was quiet and peaceful and they never lack for conversation.
He had told her of the love of his life whom he had lost after fifty years of marriage, and she disclosed briefly her failed forty-year marriage. They walked the pumpkin patch to find that perfect pumpkin that he would use make a pie, by now she has told him that she was allergic to cooking. In the afternoon, they had road around in his old pickup truck and found the perfect Christmas tree. This was a special time since she said he had not celebrated the holidays for years, and she had always hoped they would fly by quickly.
To her surprise, he had enlisted the help of some younger neighboring farmers and their wives to help decorate his house inside and out, it took on a special glow, another first for her. Then the day ended and he took her home. As they pulled out of the long driveway, she said that as she looked back the farm looked like it was out of a Norman Rockwell painting. She confessed that she begin to cry, somehow he understood and patted her hand gently.
He said for her not to be sad that it would all be there tomorrow. “Well of course, and early, I have a Thanksgiving dinner to make for my new friend”.
Then she added what I had been waiting for…
They entered the front door and she turned to Mr. Roy saying…
“Mr. Roy, would you like a shot of Jack”?
“Girl, of course”. His smile broadened.
Passing the “Gathering Room” they stared at a sea of blue waves and curls; it sounded much like a chicken farm. “Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck”!
When she and Mr. Roy walked past them a silence fell over the room, she heard the Warden say to the others , “Well I never”! Aunt Ira Mae turned to face her saying…
“And, you probably never will”.
I am so pleased that she has found a bit of happiness and one would think after almost a century, it has been a long time coming.
I am beginning to think like her in the fact that as we age we should just be thankful each day that we wake and keep telling ourselves…breathe damn’t.
Born to Win at:
Zig Ziglar a loved author and motivational speaker taught timeless lessons of success before his passing two years ago this month. He encouraged people to live a life of no regrets in his last book, Born to Win!
Here, in an excerpt from the book, listing some of Ziglar’s principles—how you can improve yourself and accomplish valuable, holistic success in life:
- We generally get from others and ourselves what we expect.
- If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. Moreover, what is true for you is true for others. Your expectations for others will become what they deliver and achieve.
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
- You find what you look for in life. If you look for the good things in life, you will find them. If you look for opportunities to grow and prosper, you will find them. If you look for positive, enthusiastic friends and associates who will support you, you will find them.
- Never make a promise without a plan. Far too many people make promises they can never keep. They may have the best intentions in the world to keep their promise, but if they have not made a plan to keep it, they will not be able to do it.
- Happiness, joy, and gratitude are universal if we know what to look for.
- All people want happiness and joy in their life, but you have to know what produces real happiness and how to do the things that produce it.
- The moment you begin to worry about the things you want and the things you do not have in life is the moment you will lose your gratitude for what you actually have.
- If you are ungrateful, you will never be satisfied, content, or joyful about your life.
- The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.
In listening to President Obama tonight, November 20, 2014, brings to mind another time in this country when prejudices were alive and thriving within the borders of the United States of America. The blood of the first true American runs through my veins and I am having a problem with the views of “immigration” in this country by the “descendants” of immigrates. These people are now citizens of this country by either birth or becoming a citizen after coming to the United States. The rhetoric has not changed throughout the years. It is like being ugly and poor, if you are not beautiful, rich and powerful you chances of getting into the “club” are zero.
My father was born in 1903, he, his mother and their people Southeastern Chickasaw’s were not recognized as American citizens until 1940, by then he was married and had two children; I was one year old.
In 1924, The Act governing Native Americans did not include those born before the effective date of the 1924 Act and it was not until the Nationality Act of 1940 that all born on U.S. soil were citizens; my father was thirty-seven years old before he was to be recognized as a “REAL AMERICAN CITIZEN”. Many Native Americans, who were granted citizenship rights under the 1924 Act, may not have had full citizenship and suffrage rights until 1948. My father’s right to be a citizen of the United States of American was granted to him by “Immigrates or the Descendants of immigrates”
I have to wonder what my father and those who came before him, those who were drove from their lands, walked the Trail of Tears, those who help build this country would have to say about how we look upon the way those in power, the people we voted into office are reacting to today’s immigration decisions, have they forgotten their ancestors who came to this country and were welcomed with open arms.
I believe we need to stop and think about how we look in the eyes of other countries, to people who may want to make America their home. How many of us do not respect our President, how we are not accepting change. Are we moving forward or backward?
This is only my opinion and mine alone, of one who watch their father being discriminated against as a child. A father who was not allowed, to walk down the same street next to a powerful white man. A father who worked hard to make a living with little education. A father who would take food off our table to give to someone passing through who was hungry and did not have a job. A father who would fight for all people, be understanding of differences, and fight against discrimination. My father, a True American!
Getting off my soap box…11.20.2014 ajm
“Nothing will change in your life if you don’t do something different from what you have been doing”. E. Perry Good
The posting for today developed from a quote by E. Perry Good, speaker, trainer, corporate coach, and author sent to me by my son in a mass family mailing. My answer back to him was that, “We (I) try to focus on today more than the future as all we (I) have is today”.
In sharing a “little” of myself with my readers today, as a family research, reading books and trying self-help methods have been a part of my family for many years. It does not mean that we use all but we try. Living day to day is a struggle to many and not unique to only me!
Today, I lean toward my spiritual self instead of organized religion. My life scales are at any given moment tipping with uneven weight of happiness or sadness. Most of my life was based on “Church”, raised up in a country church where style meant overalls and outdated dresses, an old upright piano that needed tuning and a banjo could raise the roof with off key voices and hands held toward the ceiling in hopes God would hear our praises. I taught “Sunday School” from eighteen until I was twenty-six years old. Then life gave me reason to look inward to my spiritual self and this is where my beliefs have resided since that long ago day.
With that said I stopped participating in organized religion; however almost three decades of studying the Bible my belief in some of the philosophy it provides by its authors is a part of who I am today. E. Perry Good is right nothing will change if you do not do something different from what you are doing today.
This post is not intended to push any religious values on anyone; I believe it can be applied to all who want to bring change in their lives. I have written down some of these Bible viewpoints to share that melds with the words of E. Perry Good. The insight of Biblical authors can be a template for life by all people.
- Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (My favorite saying Angels can be anyone carrying a message of help )
- Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- Be content with what you have.
- Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
- Stop all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander in your life.
- Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your own mind.
Even at my age, I look at myself as a “WORK IN PROGRESS”. I break my own rules about life and how I live it, I have to start over many times, rethinking my life, my own behavior and I truly believe that we are only “done” with improvement in our lives when we take our last breath. I will never be perfect, my flaws are many, but the hope to transformation my life never ceases. Hope for a better self should never die. In addition, I do believe that we should live for today, for tomorrow may never come.
Check out this book by Audrey Roth, purchase it at Amazon.com
Arms Akimbo captures one woman’s journey toward healing and wholeness as she struggles to overcome the damage caused by childhood sexual abuse. Over the course of three years, Audrey Roth kept a journal of her fears, rage, grief, and love as she faced her demons, the ghost of her father, and her seeming inability to be fully present for her beloved daughter. Delving into her childhood, she discovered horrors that she had never fully understood. Writing in both prose and accessible, poignant poetry, she shares her highs and lows, joys and suicidal thoughts, and bursts of energy and enervation, all in the service of finding peace. Audrey’s triumphs are an inspiration to all who strive to overcome shadows of the past.
About the Author
Audrey Roth is a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. Although she has published a number of articles in legal publications, and has coauthored a chapter in Deal Strategies for Venture Capital and Private Equity Lawyers with Frederic Rubinstein, this is Audrey’s first book. She lives in Medford, Massachusetts, part time with her daughter and full time with their dog, Toast, and their cats, Samson and Hercules.
A great blog as well, excellent storytelling.
Visit Audrey’s Blog at:
The Last Mile – Day 2
Posted on November 15, 2014 by armsakimbobook
I’ve been thinking about my mom all day. Not mournfully, but instead placing myself back three years in time, and thinking about her incredible Eleanor-ness during the 13 days between stroke and death. In those days, I learned about dignity, about humor, about courage, and about letting go. I’m going to try to write a bit about these lessons over the next 12 days, because…well…just because.
Today is about humor. My mom was an inveterate punster. Punning was just something we did in my family. My brother and I are her acolytes – my sister throws in the odd zinger every once in a while, but she is the refined one of the three of us. Ask anyone who sat around the table with us – it was energizing or enervating, depending on their predilection for puns.
On the second day of her post-stroke hospitalization, my mom was inundated with visits from doctors, nurses, PTs (physical therapists), OTs (occupational therapists), and the most wonderful ST (speech therapist). One of the first things the ST did was check my mom’s cognitive abilities by asking her, among other things, to define some words. I sat back and watched the master. She aced the first one, and the ST next asked her to define “bargain.” My mom said, very clearly, “Noun or verb?” We all laughed, and the ST said, “I don’t think we need to continue this part after that last question!”
The next day, the ST returned to my mom’s room, trying to trigger my mom’s swallow reflex. She kept stroking both sides of my mom’s throat while repeating “Swallow, swallow, swallow.” My mom blithely responded, “I’m not in Capistrano.”
Get the picture? That was my mom – my brilliant, funny, wonderful mom. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.
In July of 2010, I lost two children, two days apart. I have been force to create a new life while living within the circle of my old life. There are three dreaded periods where I barely exist, the month of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the beginning of July, I start my countdown for those feared dates; the holidays are shrouded in hidden sadness.
No two people grieve the same, mine is in silence; held within to be strong for my other children. I turned from my love of writing fiction and short stories to poetry. In poetry, I poured out my grief. It soon became an outlet for not only the loss of my children, but my life as it used to be. After publishing five books of poetry from 2010 to 2014 my well of words are still filled with sadness. Grieving remains hidden within me.
I have been to see doctors, on medications and to counseling on grief, which has not changed my pain and sadness, lived daily, in the quietness of self. I wanted to share my thoughts on grieving with my readers, not everyone can come back from losses in their lives. I have created a new existence, yet the old me lives close, right there under my outward self.
I want to share that time does not always heal. There is supposed to be a process but it does not work for many who have lost loved ones. Life after death for the living is a frenzied hell. The peaks and valleys of my life are never ending. The grieving never fades; it becomes covered by a mask that I wear.
There are many with more education, experience and well versed than I who have written “how to grieve and how to heal”; my contribution is from my own experience and I will say to you that time does not heal for everyone. I have tried to weave my grief within the tapestry of my life while living a new existence, it is difficult.
I understand that people do not know what to say to a grieving person, then do not say anything as nothing eases the pain. I have heard the following, which I cringe at the onset from the person who is trying to comfort me.
- NUMBER 1 FOR ME… “God must have wanted them with him”. Well this one hurts worse than all the others do; and God and I are still having long conversations about his needs over mine as a mother.
- “God will not give you more than you can handle”. Those who say this cannot fathom how wrong they are, imploding within a world of non-existence filled with grief cannot always be “handled”.
- “You are handling your loss so well”. My not screaming and crying does not mean that I am grieving less.
- “You should be happy they are no longer suffering”. Yes, I am happy they are not suffering, but understand that the suffering remains behind.
- “Talking about you loss will only prolong your grief”. I have found death and divorce are on the same level as far as no one wants to hear about it. If you begin, a conversation on either the subject is changed quickly. Most people do not want to hear about your pain or loss.
- “I know how you feel”. No, you do not, I have friends that have lost children, and we all agree that there is no way anyone can know how you feel.
- “At least they were old enough to experience a full adult life”. It does not matter if they are one hour old of in their fifties (as mine were), this statement is wrong on so many levels.
- “It’s been years (five for me); it’s time to get over your loss”. Few say this but the statement has been said to me…I have had to create a new existence but the old one lives in silence within me.
This entry is meant to be helpful in what not to say to a grieving person. It is to let people know that grief does not have a deadline. I have been told recently that much of my poetry is “dark”, well then you did get the reason for its creation. I will say that there is a small light in the corner of my world yet words of happiness rarely appear upon the blank pages of my creations. I continue to fight to emerge from the void of non-existence, but time is not on my side.
Remember when you approach someone that has lost a loved one, the old saying in relation to words is true “less is more”. A simple, “I am sorry for your loss” works for me.
In this coming season where sadness and happiness are intertwined like garland on the Christmas tree, to those of you who have experience the death of loved ones I am certain that you understand the reason for this entry. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
For my Children
Elouise Renich Fraser
What a joy to read the work of Elouise Renich Fraser…check out her blog and purchase her work at Amazon.com. ajm
Who is she, Elouise Renich Fraser? She would tell you…
First-born of four daughters, preacher’s kid, survivor
Musician, theologian, educator
Wife, mother, grandmother
Good girl-bad girl, God’s beloved daughter-child
Unpredictable, rebellious, stubborn, determined, sensitive, persistent
Sometimes courageous truth-teller
WE STILL NEED HELP FIGHTING HUNGER
Founder and CEO, Share Our Strength
‘The Story of Hungry’
Posted: 11/06/2013 9:45 am EST Updated: 11/06/2013 10:25 pm EST
Everyone has a story to tell. Unfortunately, for 16 million American children, that story is one of hunger.
We often discuss what hunger means for kids from an adult perspective — lower test scores, poorer health, a weakened ability to escape the cycle of poverty. But what does hunger mean to a child? To better explore this question — the one that is perhaps the most important question of all — we at the No Kid Hungry campaign turned to the art of storytelling.
To illustrate the fear and pain hunger causes a child, No Kid Hungry today will premiere “The Story of Hungry,” a short, animated film depicting hunger through the eyes of a young girl, on our website and on the Rachael Ray show.
To this young girl, her hunger is not focused on the fact that her grades will suffer, or that she doesn’t have the proper nutrition to grow. To her, hunger is scary and emotional. To her, “hungry is the meanest, ugliest monster you’ve ever seen.”
The good news is, we can change the story of hungry for our youngest generation. Making sure kids have access to school meals can make a huge difference. The No Kid Hungry campaign is working with partners across the country to rethink how school meals are served, whether in the classroom or on the go, which can change a child’s day, week and even her future.
You can help us change the story of hungry. Watch and share “The Story of Hungry” today, at storyofhungry.org, and start the conversation about how you can help end childhood hunger in your own community.
Together, we can make No Kid Hungry a reality in America.
“The Story of Hungry” was conceptualized by the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Creative Artists Agency, and was brought to life through the talents of Hornet Studios director Julia Potts, with contributions from music producer Justin Stanley, featuring the voices of Bess Frierson and No Kid Hungry national spokesperson and Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges.