Archive for November, 2015
Although Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton popularized “It takes a village” (to raise a child) in her same titled book in 1996, the theme actually originated from a well known African proverb. In Nigeria, it was always considered that raising a child was a communal effort. Growing up in a small quaint town, many hands in Glen Allan, Mississippi contributed to my upbringing. Reflecting after Thanksgiving, I uncovered another slightly variated meaning to the proverb. It took a village to prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year. It took over 7 sets of hands to prepare the feast that my late sister did all by herself. Though my sister’s recipes have been preserved amongst her daughters and several granddaughters, we realized in her absence that it was more than the delectable dishes that she prepared. Sure, my sister could cook up a storm. Her legacy however extended beyond the holiday preparation of food. It’s strange how we often take some things for granted. What we sometimes fail to fully appreciate, our hearts force us to comprehend. Unequivocally, my sister worked hard to bring and keep the family together. The food was just a conduit. Her house was the “Kool Aid” house; the family’s gathering spot. As we lite a candle this year in her memory while we individually related what we were thankful for, my sister’s house was not only filled with the aroma of her signature dishes, but the air also wreathed of a flavorful spirit of heartfelt love; a tradition that she fostered; a tradition that I trust as a family we can continue! Her village vibrantly lives through us … her family! A treasured memory … we will forever cherish!
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Matthew Chapter 6 is loaded! Jesus provided lessons on five major topics. The subject matters included: Giving to the needy, Fasting, Treasures in Heaven, Worry, and most importantly – How To Pray!
Jesus said, “This then is how you should pray:”
This model prayer covers all components, is wide and spacious, and easy to remember. Starting your day and ending your day with these words are uplifting and inspiring. The words will “keep” you! Happy Sunday! God Bless!
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Life’s travels take us down many roads. Some roads are paved; others not. Arriving to our destination is the objective. Hills, valleys, and bridges we encounter. To “Cross that bridge when you get there” means to not worry about a possible future problem, but deal with it when and if it occurs. Why worry about issues that don’t exist or haven’t happened? They may not occur. One of our childhood rhymes was, “Weight brought the bridge down.” Stress and worry produce weighty consequences. They can become “heavy” burdens placed on our shoulders; problems that we carry around. Anxieties and sleepless nights follow. Enjoy the moment! Reasonably, prepare for tomorrow; live for today! Deal with problems when they occur. The scriptures in Matthew 6:34 tells us: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Can I get a witness?
Photo credit: www.en.wikipedia.org – Greenville, Mississippi Bridge.
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself. Although you may be expecting a positive outcome, you should not count on something before it happens. Don’t go to great extremes, making plans for your anticipation. What if the inevitable does not occur. Then what! Stay focused. Variables do arise that change circumstances and outcomes. Work hard to produce the desired results. Deal with the reality of a situation. Be prepared. If the chicken doesn’t pop out of the egg shell, then nothing is lost. All’s well that ends well!
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Today is Thanksgiving! Thank you Heavenly Father! As we cook, bless the meal, and enjoy the day off, it is a joyous time of reflection. Oh yes … Thanksgiving is more than a day of the huge feast – turkey, ham, dressing, cakes, and pies; though the delectable food is yummy to our tummies! It is a day to be thankful – thankful for life, loved ones, family, friends, and the amenities of living! Recognized as one of the busiest travel times, many people travel near and far to be with and share time with people that they love. Kindred spirits are the order of the day. On the flip side, the holidays can be a lonely time for some! Some people are not as fortunate to have people who sincerely and lovingly care about them in their lives. So this holiday season, let’s share our fortunes of love, kindness, and resources with others. Give financial blessings and blessings of your time. Let not your love be superficial; ignoring the needs of others. Turning your head is not an option. God will see you if you do. Let your love be overflowing like a cornucopia. I am sure that the recipients of your generosity will be thankful! For certain, you would have left them better than you found them! That feeling should fill your soul as much as the Thanksgiving meal filled your tummy! Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo credit: www.catholicism.about.com
“When people are set in their ways,” you can try, but it’s a difficult task to get them to break their habits or change their course of action. As you push, they pull. Their stubbornness can easily defeat your proposed innovations and trample positive energies. Your suggestions may be fresh and great, but their mindset is rusty. It takes ingenuity and persistence for them to vacate their traditional way of doing things, as archaic as they may be. Quick thinking, adaptability, patience, and understanding are must be ingredients that must be added to your mix. Without question, new ideas and methods necessitate change, but guess what? Once it’s done, it’s not new anymore. Try a little tenderness and hope that they come around! Progress starts with the first step. Enticements and rewards are great inducements! If all else fails, try Kibbles’N Bits! Wolf! Or throw the “dog” a bone! You might be surprised … what wags the tail!
Photo credit: www.ned.ie
Remember the Titanic? It was considered unsinkable. Figuratively speaking, a sinking ship could be a bad relationship, a dead end job, a drowning marriage, a wayward child, or any circumstance in life that may take you down. A downward path may encompass an emotional or a physical descent. If you are on or navigating a sinking ship, you basically have 3 viable survival options: You can either get off – before it hits, when it hits, or after it hits, but before it sinks. Sometimes, we are optimists and feel that we can coast and ride out the storms in our lives; life jackets or not! Our success rate sometimes cannot be predetermined or accurately predicted. When we are confronted with obstacle courses, and when and if there are opportunities to make wise decisions, we must do so! Don’t procrasinate! Time does not wait on no one and time may not be on your side! Invariably, our decisions determine our destiny. Never forget that on April 15, 1912, despite its sophistication, the RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from the UK to NYC sank when it collided with an iceberg! “SOS;” Don’t underestimate the reality of a situation. As the old folks say, “Be safe, not sorry; sink or swim!” Your life may depend upon it!
Photo credit: The RMS Titanic courtesy of www.en.wikipedia.org
Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis in 1964 penned, “A House is not a Home” that became a signature song for Dionne Warwick. Symbolically, the words came to life last week as I toured a home that I shared with my family, but vacated over 25 years ago. As I walked through the completely gutted colonial, the rooms seemed much smaller than I remembered, but the memories were “bigger than life!” Instead of seeing walls, my mind instantaneously did a flashback to the scenes of my then life. In the living room, my eyes were drawn to the fireplace. My memory captured a tiny squirrel that ran down the chimney while my husband was away on his job. My young son transformed into a superhero to annilate the creature while protecting his frightened little sister and terrified Mother! What a man child! That was the same chimney that my little daughter (who sucked her bottle way too long) stuck her baby bottle into without remembrance as she cried all night while we searched all night for it! For inquiring minds, that incident occurred before the convenience of 24 hour stores! Walking upstairs, my eyes visualized my son’s toy chest filled with Star Wars toys … and characters that I knew by name! He must see the new Star Wars movie this December! My mind captured the moment that the baby bed collapsed. My now model trimmed daughter fell through, because she incessantly drank Similac baby formula spiked with Gerber’s Apple cereal (her favorite) as if the “milk was going out of style!” Calorie conscious she was not! The model airplane’s historic voyage that was more his Daddy’s toy than my son’s imaginatively zoomed over my head as I stepped on one of those tiny Hot Wheels that laced every room! The wire hanger basketball hoop that my son worked up a sweat because he wanted “to be just like Mike” graced the foyer as if it was still there! My daughter’s favorite doll with the little pink bottle was on the floor. “Pick up your toys,” were my favorite four words then! Ironically, I had a son who was fascinated with matches and a daughter who oppositely loved water. Thus, the spankings occurred more than once to prevent a capsizing due to flames and floods. Spare the rod and you’ll spoil the child! Let me not forget, the yard showcased a new garage! Attempting to put my black Grand Prix in our old garage, my son who was not old enough to drive drove through the back wall! That same garage stored his three wheeler that he took his joyfully grinning kid sister for an unauthorized ride to my friend’s house who lived several miles away! Frightened they were not; Livid was I! My mind ran wild with many, many memories as I realized that the old house was just a brick and mortar structure, but the walls contained life and memories; memories that will live in my heart and mind forever and a day!
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When I was a student at Moore’s Elementary school, I had a teacher named Miss Ross. A petite woman, she was stern and had an iron hand. There were several things that were mandatory assignments. You had to learn them or face Miss Ross! Everyone including me dreaded looking her in the eyes or feeling her black belt on your behind. In Mississippi in the early 1960’s, corporal punishment (as we called it) and religious teachings were still permitted in the classrooms. If you were disciplined by Miss Ross, you couldn’t turn her in to your parents because in those days teachers ruled – unanimously; no questions asked! My parents felt that if I was punished, it was well deserved! Go figure! One of Miss Ross’ mandatory recitations before the entire class was King David’s Twenty – Third Psalms. You had to say it over and over again until you got it right. Today, I thank you Miss Ross because Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” has helped, guided, and uplifted me in so many ways! Miss Ross put those powerful words in my head; I put them in my heart. Happy Sunday! Be blessed!
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You can present someone with an opportunity, but you cannot force him or her to take advantage of it. Sometimes, it makes you upset; particularly when your advice can save them from calamity. Remember this one important fact. While you are worrying about them, having sleepless nights and watching your hair turn gray, the person in trouble is carefree, sleeping like a baby, and has no need for Grecian formula or Lady Clairol. This scenario is upside down; right? Bottom line: People do what they want to do! Besides, if they get in the saddle, they must be prepared to ride! So … Get with the program! Go home, kick up your feet and get some rest. Don’t worry! Their lackadaisical attitude and inactions will catch up with them. Sadly, when they are in doubt, they let the horse do the thinking! Hi Yo Silver! Away!
Photo credit: www.ptreyrhodes.blogspot.com