Archive | July 2016

A Curious Monday

Drake Birthday Party with Taylor and Trey

Lighting was terrible and phone battery was too dead for flash!

Hello Friend,

I am very interested in knowing how your Monday fared.  As you were out and about today – running errands, shopping, doctor visits, etc – were you aware at all of any difference in the people you came into contact with?

In so many of the comments to posts during the last five or so days, I’ve mentioned many times of how I, even more than normal, am being conscious of watching for opportunities to be a positive influence in our broken world.  As a confirmation that I wasn’t imagining differences, there were four instances today where someone else other than me instigated a positive moment.

To start my day, I arrived at LabCorp for blood work.  As I sat down to wait for my turn to be called, I dug a book from my bag and found my place.  Before I had gotten through the first sentence, I heard a gentle voice say “How are you today?”  I am most always aware of my surroundings, so I knew that myself and an elderly black man were the only ones in the room.  As I looked up, he said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your reading.”

I closed my book and he and I had a wonderful conversation of how our grass gets cut in this scorching heat, which led to him revealing a wonderful story of how the son of his best friend, who had passed away last year, takes care of his yard.  We ended up talking about how blessings come around through the most unexpected places.

Both LabCorp women that I came into contact with were black women.  The receptionist and I were laughing over the wording of the orders for blood work – and the woman who actually drew my blood was ranting to me about how the cleaning crew fell behind in their duties over the weekend – “Please tell me you can’t smell that dried blood in the contaminated waste bucket!” she emphatically said. (She most definitely was right!)

I stopped at the grocer on my way home and as I headed for the car, there was a young black boy, I’d say 12 to 13 years old, sauntering through the parking lot.  And come on now, who of us didn’t saunter at some point or another at that age?!  I know he saw me, like I say – I’m always aware.  I didn’t acknowledge him any more than he did me.  That is, until I backed up and started to pull away.  He then turned around, smiled, and waved to me.

Folks, this is not a normal day.  I know that gentle man made an effort.  I know those two women associates at LabCorp made an effort.  And that young boy practically had me so stunned that I almost stopped the car.  And I had spoke such bravado!  All of them, as the day is ending, opened my eyes that I’m the one whose got to try harder.  As I go out each day, I’ve got to wait until I get home to stick my nose in a book and look up and around me while I’m out in the world.  I feel almost like a young child whose been caught doing something careless.  These people taught me that just talking about it with a good intention doesn’t cut it.  They showed me with their kindness that I now have another reason for being aware of my surroundings.

The picture above, and I apologize for its lack of clarity, was taken at a birthday party I took my granddaughter to on Friday evening.  That’s my granddaughter and the birthday boy in the picture.  They both attend the same summer camp and both were ecstatic when two of their favorite counselors, pictured here with them, showed up to skate.

Children, unless they are taught to do so, do not put the color of a person’s skin in the determining factors of whether they like that person or not.  That’s just a statement – this is not a post about racial differences.  The people I’ve mentioned above, yes, were black.  But for the first time, I can honestly say without a doubt that I saw these people today just as my granddaughter does, without regards to the color of their skin.  And at the same time, I think it’s entirely possible that they saw me the same way.   And they were the ones to step out and make a difference.  I’ve been humbled today, gratefully so.

On White Privilege and Taking Sides

I reblog this article as a small way to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’ to raise awareness of ways we can help:

fierce encouragement

Tutu“It’s like someone getting killed during a funeral service.” – Scott Woods

I do not want to hide behind whiteness or succumb to numbness. So I am going to tell you a story — a story of white privilege. My own.

“Castile is at least the 506th person shot and killed by police so far in 2016, according to a Washington Post database that tracks such shootings.” :: read more  

These are people’s LIVES. Not hashtags, not statistics. LIVES. The insanity of sanctioned racism and murder has got to stop. This would never have gone down this way if he, Philando Castile, his girlfriend (who was HANDCUFFED while police “sorted things out” — this after she watched her boyfriend die of four gunshot wounds), and her four-year-old daughter had been white. If you don’t believe me, you are part of the problem.

A few weeks ago, I got pulled…

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Independence Is A State of Being


I’ve recently returned from my holiday on the beautiful island of Maui.  I’m taking liberty to borrow the term ‘holiday’ from the British as the glorious days spent there were in all facets of the word – a holiday.  I’ve been fortunate to have taken vacations in many beautiful locales, but Maui has given new meaning to where and how I spend precious days away in the future.  I plan a post detailing my trip.  But on this Independence Day, 2016, my thoughts are in a different direction – yet my recent days on the island have contributed greatly to my perspective on this July 4th holiday at home.

My habit is to set my DVR to record Good Morning, America each day and catch up in the evenings with all that’s going on in the world.  And unless you are one of those individuals who have tucked their head in the sand and decided you can take no more of the insanity and uncertainty happening daily, you know what a large dose of detriment to our psyches is being doled out.  For the sake of my point, let’s disregard media’s ability to steer opinions and consider only the headlines themselves.

Details aside, I have been watching for many months the devastating weather patterns that have ravaged our country from one side to the other, many perishing in the wake, countless others being robbed of all they own with no idea of how they’ll recover.  The horror of attacks across the world, both by terrorists on a large scale and by close members of victims’ own families on an even more hard to understand level.  The hatred.  Absurdities. And has there ever been a more head-shaking presidential campaign?

All of this and so much more is absolutely mind boggling.

Keep this in mind, and allow me to shift gears for a moment.

Before I experienced it for myself, Maui presented itself in my mind as one of the ultimate tourist destinations – think Disney World with the not-to-miss list of sights to see as the attractions.  From that visualization, take away the well paved parking lots with attendants to direct you.  Take away billboards luring you to exorbitant entrance fees.  Take away hearing sales pitches.  And replace all that with God’s green earth, towering vistas, and sparkling blue water as far as you can see from a vantage point that’s always just around the next corner.  Yes, there are resort areas – there have to be to accomodate those of us who sojourn there.  But the paradise that can easily be described in one word – Eden – is found on your own.  Out exploring the island.

And as I explored the island, I brought home a blessing that I was not expecting.  There is one side of me that hates the terrible things that are going on in our world today, that the tides of hate may dictate how the balance of my granddaughter’s future will pan out.  But there’s also the other side of me that has hope, a hope that I had lost sight of – and possibly never even had – until I was within the spectre of the intensity and power of the beauty on Maui.  That beauty is not man-made.  And neither is the Bestower of that power. Standing within the breathtaking awesomeness of just one small piece of God’s creation, I felt His power give me the confidence to know that I can be still and know that He is capable of providing the ability for us to rise above the insanities of this world.  And the beauty equips us to be partners with the positive, enabling us to carry on.

As we look for the beauties in our days, we need to remember that we are not entitled to the freedoms that we have.  Those freedoms have been and continue to be bought with the lives of many soldiers who are out there doing their jobs to ensure that we remain free.  It’s easy to get caught up in the monstrosities that plague our world today, to let them make us bitter, or complacent, or reckless, or I could go on and on with the symptoms of our weary world.

But we must make a choice.  We are free to make the conscious choice to see the beauty of this world and each person we come into contact with.   There’s beauty in each of us because each of us are also one of God’s awesome creations.  We are all fighting for independence in one way or another and if we can learn to see independence as a blessing and not a right – without letting hatred be our guiding force –  we will begin to see more beauty in our moments. Call me a dreamer, but I believe those moments will begin to spill over onto those around us and we can all be enablers of the positive kind.  There’s by far too much of the devastating negative kind.

So choose to be in an independent state of mind – rising above the awfulness of this world – replace the bad with the good – and never forget that there are those always giving their all, sometimes their very lives, to allow us this choice.

Happy Independence Day to you all!