Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life in Death

We buried my grandmother Saturday afternoon. And the process, the whole mourning/remembering/homegoing process was rather cathartic.

My sis and I spent Thursday night sipping wine and talking with my grandpa and aunt. It was probably the realest/rawest conversation I've ever had with him. And I didn't realize just how much I needed it.

The four of us, plus my eldest on the floor watching "Victorious", exorcised a few demons.
You know those pesky things that cause you to mimic the poor behaviors of your ancestors, sometimes without realizing it.
And I couldn't help but think that although, one of my libraries is forever closed, that of my dear great grannie Laverne...I thank god grandpa is still open for business.

Because the wisdom he shared brought life to our hearts in the midst of death.

This morning I received word that another member has passed. My great uncle. And as I steel myself for the continued aging/sleep of my elders, I will endeavor to look for life/wisdom/clarity in death.

Its the least I can do in their honor.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

99 years is a long time

My great grandmother passed today. She was 99 years old.

I saw her last year and she knew the difference between my mother and I. Which was quite a feat since she had a bit of dementia and people often confuse me for my mom.

My boys got to meet her and draw her pictures of grass and other randomness. She appreciated their art and ate ice cream with them.

Grandma Reed was a tough cookie. Alive to witness the great Mississippi Flood, segregation, Jim Crow, and many wars. She refused to leave MS, even when droves of blacks, including her husband left for the Promised Land that was the North.

Laverne stayed in her house until her 90's, when my Aunts begged/coerced her to finally join them in Chicago. She didn't come without a fight.

But thankfully she died without one. Granny ate breakfast, lunch, and laid down to nap. And heaven took her.

I once read a quote from a tribal leader in an Indian paper (Granny was part Indian), "When an elder dies, a library is lost."

Although I rejoice that my Granny is resting and free from pain, I still mourn the library of life/wisdom/sight that went with her.

Love your Grandparents while they are still here. While you can still read their "books".

~~CORRECTION: My great-grandmother lived for 97 years.~~

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Things that could use a little love

Muslims, our countrymen,  all deserve love.

LGTQ youth need love to live.

Pregnant women the world over need love.

American children need education and love.

Innocent men need love, freedom, & lawyers.

You deserve love; give and receive.

~~~~~~I think love is like a boomerang. You send it off, but it will always come back to you. There are tons of ways to show love, click the links to find a way to LOVE someone on the list. 

Happy Six Word Friday! Check the meme out here :0)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Operation: Education

Next month, my oldest son will attend his sixth elementary school. Something I find to be a little disconcerting. It seems like my definition of “normal” is constantly being modified and adjusted to fit the needs of our three boys.

My husband has served in the US Army for 10 years, and while I consider our brood to be “Army Strong”, adjusting to new schools with each move may be one of the most un-fun parts of the job.  

Some changes have come as the result of orders to relocate, courtesy of Uncle Sam (from school #1 to #2). While other transfers were the product of dissatisfaction with the educational offerings in the local district (three weeks at school #3 then on to school #4).

And if that’s not enough readjustment, the most recent shake-ups were necessitated by my children needing mom nearer while dad was gone (from #4 to #5 were I worked). 

With my career solidly in the education field, keeping them close was feasible. But I realize that isn’t the case for most parents, and it probably won’t always be do-able for me either.

Which led my husband and I to choose a rigorous and close-knit parochial school (#6), where all three boys can attend together. 

Where parents are encouraged to volunteer and participate in the everyday activities, to become part of the family. Where parents are expected to be stakeholders in success.

How I wish I had known about this North Suburban gem two years ago! But things don’t always happen as we plan, or on our schedule.

In the back of my mind is the knowledge that one day the moving trucks will arrive again. And we will continue our story in another town, on a different post. 

Will there be  schools #7, 8, and 9? We’ll cross those bridges when we reach them... but like a true soldier’s wife...
I have accumulated some contingency tips and tricks, just in case.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter and the Heat of Azkaban

The sun has gone down on the 3rd day of this Chicago heatwave. The Weather Channel says its 90 degrees, and we feel like 98!!
It's as if the words cannot form in my brain. I've managed to get some homework done, but not much else.

My boys have been on a Popsicle Diet all week, so they're not complaining. Grateful for small blessings :o)

Still, the only thing that can save me now is wizardry! I seemed to have missed a Harry Potter debut here or there over the last ten years. So my husband and I are marathon-ing them in an attempt to have a Friday night date with the FINAL CHAPTER. (cue eery music)

Oh, and by way of update, swim lessons have been going along swimmingly this week...

I hope you all are much cooler than we are here :o) Ciao

Friday, July 15, 2011

Generally speaking

Well...they got there somehow, right?
There couldn't have been a miraculous
moment, when suddenly things were as
they should be. By nature's law
there had to be labor involved.

The ease you're witnessing between that
couple, it took years of honesty
and communication. They worked at it.

Your neighbor's "rapid" ascent to the
top? It probably took 20 years.

Generally speaking, everyone starts at the
bottom. So, all the wishing and
hoping, and praying won't do you
any good without paying the price.

So I wonder, are your "dues" paid?

I am still paying every day.

~~I keep talking to people who are hoping for things. Hoping their relationships will improve. Praying their children will grow up to be self-sufficient. Wishing their future were brighter.

And I am having the darnedest time trying to keep myself from saying, "But what are you willing to DO?" Because that seems to be the real crux of the matter. What are we willing to do, to get what we want?

I want a closer/more intimate relationship with my husband, children prepared for life and achievement, to be respected as an expert among my professional peers, and possibly an adopted little brown daughter.

And there will most certainly be dues I will have to pay in order to have the things I I'm busying trying to pay them.

On a lighter note, I know Melissa would love for me to send you to her place to learn about Six Word Fridays! So that's what I'll do :o)~~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stimulate your Mind, man!

I have no clue why that line in particular ("Stimulate your mind, Craig!!") by Chris Tucker in "Friday" has stick with me. But it has.

As a teen, my mom and I would randomly say those lines to each other or about people we met. It would always give us a good laugh.

But in all seriousness, giving our brains, bodies, and children different sources of information and enjoyment is the best way to achieve and maintain mental growth.

That things we don't use begin to shrivel/shrink/fade.

"Use it or Lose it"

My son reminded me of this fact around 10am this morning. I had started swim lessons for the boys several weeks ago, but took a week off. It ended up feeling like two weeks due to the holiday. So when we came back today he had lost his water confidence, just that quick.

The entire session was a struggle. He didn't want to get wet, submerge, float or play. It made me realize we have to keep at this swimming thing going in order to keep his senses stimulated and fully acclimated to the water.

Or take my ankles after an inaugural run yesterday. They were screaming bloody murder! I will have to work hard in order to keep them stimulated and strong. (Pass the ice pack, please!) :o)

Just food for thought, I suppose.

Tell me, how you stay stimulated? Through work? Play? Children? Share your view in the comments! :o)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seeing past my shades

How is it possible to have your whole perspective change from one conversation? One profound conversation and the way you look at God, the world, and religion is turned on it's head.

My blogger friend Molly, wrote about New Eyes, or seeing things from another perspective and her words touched me then. But I suppose people weren't the only thing I needed to give another look.

Have you ever been angry. Like seething in rage and hurt, and you consciously decide to move on. The pain isn't necessarily gone. But you decide you are done dealing with it.

That's basically where I was in regard to God/religion. (Don't worry, this is NOT a religious blog, and will not become one!) :o)

I've been under-the-surface angry for many moons, now.

Angry that the bible was used against Blacks to terrorize and dehumanize their families/communities. Angry that scripture is used to deny LGBT people equal civil rights and respect.

Pissed that women are often subjugated because of religious beliefs. Pissed that some preachers attain prosperity on the backs of lower/middle income congregants.

Then, in a two hour conversation I was reminded of LOVE.
Because God is not in the HATE, injustice, subjugation, and manipulation. Men are. God isn't.

Reminded that love is universal. It's in the hall, synagogue, church, prison, brothel, mosque, temple, park, and hearts.

When love is in our hearts that is GOD.

And now I see it. I see it. Are all my issues with religion cleared up and disappeared? No.

However, I am definitely seeing past my shades, or beyond the things that have shaped my opinion/worldview/perspective.

This blog is mainly about introspection. With the purpose of living a truer, and more thankful life. So LOVE factors into that equation quite nicely.

Know what I mean?

Friday, July 8, 2011

One by One

There once was an unbroken line
of followers. Men, women, families. Who
all adhered to the king's decrees.
And it's possible the dynasty could
have lasted into eternity. But as
is so often seen in history,
his rule began to crumble on
the day his right hand man
'betrayed' him. And the end began.

The two of them were inserparable.
Birds of a feather. We'll never
know if the king offended his
knight, or if the knight had
visions of a throne for himself.

When the knight left, the peasantry
were told to ignore the development.
Refrain from asking questions amounsgt themselves.

Lest they too, be deceived. But
being the commoners that they were,
the ensuing conversations was quite uncontrollable.

"Why did the 'brave' knight leave?"
"How did he 'fool' the king?"
"If the King formerly sang his
praises, what was so different now?"

The questions went on an on,
until one day the commoners realized
the King was not infallible, indeed.

And they began to form a line,
a line of departure from a
demanding and punitive kingdom. Of course

some of the peasantry remained. However,
the dynasty was never the same.

~~This little fable is based on true events. Except the true story doesn't take place in a faraway land. Instead, it happened in a religious organization I used to belong to. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

But the moral of the story is that mankind will always shake off the bonds of dictators. A word of warning to future kings who abuse their thrones.~~~

I hope you enjoyed my SIX WORD FRIDAY post, you can find out more here.