In my ancestors’ eyes I am A miracle.
Some never could have imagined…
My delights and indulgences,
worlds away from their realities.
Freedom was their dream.
A dream that led us here.
Now Freedom is mine and yours to take.
For each one,
All from One,
Of many hues and many shades.
dreamers and creators…
Freedom is ours.
Walk on, Miracles!
The kids are running throughout the house laughing and screaming. Their father, the tickle monster is giving chase and I am comfily curled up in a cozy chair watching it all go down…
It’s a friday afternoon. My favorite day of the week, because it’s the only day that has a slower afternoon into evening schedule…
I don’t have to rush to do homework, there isn’t any today..
I don’t have to think about cooking today. We’ve already agreed on pizza…yum!
And I can focus on what my weekend should or might include..
Because it’s so close to the holiday, my crazy schedule is finally beginning to slow. I can plan out my last bit of shopping or just sit here and enjoy my tree with a glass of wine…while the world and my girls whiz by….
The world, the crazy world…where everything is not right, but everything is alright has taught me how important it is to find your own moments of zen.
Basically since graduation, I have been out and about, traveling the world on tours with others and to support my own music. Being an alumni, even an alum of the prestigious New York University has been almost irrelevant.
Now that I am doing much more at home, because of my new kindergartener’s need for stability, I find time to do some different things. Goals like trying to attend church regularly, going to soup kitchens and serving, making friends with the moms of Ella’s new school buddies and last but not least, taking advantage of my dusty, old, but rightfully earned education can now become a reality.
Fortunately, this epiphany occurred just in time for NYU’s alumni weekend. I never really considered going before, but for a couple of hours, to hear a couple of seminars, why not? At least It’ll be nice to walk through my old stomping grounds again. I’m actually looking forward to it!
Sometimes we overlook some wonderful resources waiting there for us!!
This is the kind of book that haunts you long after you’ve turned the last page. This story of a young, hopeful wife and mother being kidnapped then held and tortured for 13 days is such a testament to what we can endure.
As she slowly “dies,” forgetting all she knew, all the comforts she was used to as the daughter of a wealthy Haitian business man, all the love her husband lavished on her and all the love she was eager to give her baby son, she also learns to survive.
She plays the game these young and frightened rebels force her to play and she wins in the end. But during those 13 days of violence, I feel her pain. I cry for her as her breast milk dries up and her body begins to forget her baby boy. I cry for her as she faces the hard truth that her father is not as willing as she hoped to part with his fortune for her freedom.
But of all the possible characters in the novel, Mirielle’s mother in law, Lorraine, a cancer-stricken, white, farm owner, who wasn’t so welcoming to her in the beginning becomes Mirielle’s savior, of sorts. She returns an old favor and helps to nurse her daughter-in-law back to health and life after the traumatizing ordeal. Their relationship is beautiful. They made me smile throughout the many pages of nail biting and tears.
Needless to say, this emotional roller-coaster has made it hard to move on to another book.
Good luck to me and to you too, if you decide to read it.
This weekend I traveled for work to Michigan. I am usually hypersensitive to hotels, i.e., the energy or the way I feel when I am there. But lately I had become very relaxed and not always saying my prayers of protection, like I used to.
In this particular hotel I felt a little icky, but after working late and preparing for an early morning I went directly to sleep after packing up my things. Overtired, I woke up with the worst sensation and begin to pray right then. Of course, I felt relief immediately. But it got me thinking, never again will I get too busy or too lax to remember what I KNOW inside is most important.
There will always be some unanswered questions when it comes to faith, but when you KNOW what brings you peace, you should never let it go. After all, that’s what faith is all about. There is no proof for faith, it simply is.
Recently, I had to tell a musician friend over and over that their mistake on stage will not signal the end of their life nor the ruination of a fruitful career. I laughed and made jokes to lighten their mood and hopefully convey this truth. But, in the end, I wonder if it worked. Was I successful in my efforts or are they still sitting somewhere pining over that one less than perfect moment in life that’s now long gone?
I checked out two performances this past week, Baby Do Brasil last week, Sunday and Alexander O’Neil this past saturday. Check out the clips and note how two performances, imperfect in some ways, were still perfect in the ways that matter.
In fact, Alexander O’Neil said something that night that struck me as both simple and profound. “I don’t take (all this) too seriously.” He joked, as he pointed to the stage and talked about his performance and career.
Some people may always disagree with this way of thinking, but I have to say, I have come to agree completely!
I used to beat myself up if I did something that I didn’t like on stage. One night, while singing, I lost my voice completely. I was upset and embarrassed. But it helped me to put some of the little, inconsequential faux pas in perspective. I look at perfection differently now, there’s a time for it and there’s also a time when it can be boring!
Now anything short of losing my voice is redeemable. These days if I hit a note that’s a bit off, or crack a little, I say to myself, “oh, alright… that happened. Let’s make this work for me.” and then I go on to relax and deliver for the rest of the song.
My rationale is this, while no one likes them, mistakes happen to the best of us. So, you can’t let one mistake keep you from having an amazing performance. Especially, when your mistake is probably unrecognizable to most and only ‘wrong’ in your eyes, because you meant to do something else.
Forgive yourself, then move on. Enjoy your show, so that others might! After all, “it’s not brain surgery,” as Alexander O’Neil says.
***Disclaimer*** This advice is not be used by brain surgeons, or any other surgeons, for that matter! Sorry.
In growing more brave, because it is a journey of growth, I am discovering that some of the authorities we’ve always respected without question need to be and deserve to be questioned.
I like our doctors and specifically my daughter’s doctor, but at the end of the day you MUST listen to your own intuition!
We have this other sense for a reason. There are times when YOU know what YOU need and if the doctor disagrees, please know that you are your own best authority!
My daughter had dry, scabby patches that would flake up. I tried head and shoulders and all the other shampoos my doctor recommended. I confessed that I probably washed Ella’s hair once every other week, it’s so much work (Check it out here)…this just became the time frame that worked for us.
She said I should wash at least twice a week. Over the span of a year, I watched the condition of her scalp worsen and spread. And with every visit I politely asked, shouldn’t we go to a dermatologist? She always said no and that it was just a bad case of dandruff.
Well, last week, when my daughter could no longer bear me touching her head, I finally made an appointment with a dermatologist. He diagnosed her with ringworm! After all this time and with thinning hair in some areas, l finally have a solution.
Now, less than two weeks later, her hair is 75% better.
I wish I had listened to myself, and not the doctor, sooner.
Get that 2nd opinion, get that specialist involved. Ask friends who might know!! Get an answer that leaves you with some peace…
My daughter, Ella just graduated from Pre-K yesterday and now she’s headed for Kindergarten. She’s super excited and we’re very proud, but before that first day of school we all have to survive the summer.
Here’s what’s scary about this whole Summer ordeal for a parent; your child’s been learning so much, penmanship, geography, studying numbers and letters to create a base for reading and more sophisticated math skills to be learned in the future. We have to make sure that none of those skills are forgotten, we also have to try to bridge the gap before Kindergarten begins by focusing on any areas that were challenging and needed more in-depth study time during the school year.
Now is that time!
The problem is that we’ve become comfortable with our routine, doing homework, incrementally focusing on those needed areas with what little time we had and then a story before bedtime! I squeezed in my projects (writing, exercising, singing, etc.) when I could, but time was always a luxury!
Now with constant requests to go to the beach, the zoo, the Children’s museum, Chuck E. Cheese, I’m afraid there won’t be any time left. If I say “No” to those requests, it means I’ll have to think up some other kind of fun activities (some of those photos are featured)- This is parenthood, I know!
Those things will be squeezed in with the very important, daily things I have to do, like working, cooking, cleaning, washing the girls’ hair (a tedious task), reading together and cuddling.
Enter the all-American summer camp!
We are, like many parents, contemplating sending our daughter to Summer camp, we have the option of one, two or three consecutive 2-week sessions offered by her school from 9- 4pm, M-F. Tempting, right?
I can keep focusing on my projects for a portion of that time (when my 20 month old cooperates, that is.) And I will theoretically have energy to help her focus on those necessary areas of study, in the afternoons when she gets home.
So the question is, why should I feel the least bit guilty? It takes a village to raise children, right? And we could all use some help from time to time, but I do still feel slightly guilty.
In honor of Father’s Day, which recently passed, I am taking this opportunity to dedicate this blog to my Dad. My preaching Dad was a pastor to many, a father to ten and the love of my Mom’s life!
In my novel, I write about a character who is a HORRIBLE dad! So, it feels great to step away from that, momentarily and reflect on awesome Dads, like my own.
In thinking aboout him, these unintentional lessons come to mind:
1. Gender Roles, Shpender Boles! They didn’t matter in my house. Dad did the cooking, while Mom ran her daycare business. When it came to church/their ministry, they did it together. They were a team.
2. Never Give Up! My Dad didn’t graduate from high school. He dropped out as a kid. As a result, he had to teach himself many things. It always bothered him, so he went back to get his GED, which took a few tries to finally finish. But he never gave up! He learned the hard way how important education was and he wanted us to know it from the start. When I graduated from NYU the smile on his face was priceless!!
3. Good Credit! Pay your bills. There was nothing worse than needing something and not being able to get it, because you didn’t pay for what you received in the past.
4. Trust Your Instincts! My Dad was a great cook, but terrible at sharing recipes. He just didn’t have any. Everything had a flavor that you could only perfect by being fully invested in that dish. Laboring over his pot, tasting and adjusting along the way, over the years had taught him how to season and how to perfect his dishes! That stuff wasn’t easy to teach, you had to feel it!
5. Laugh it out! Many people only knew the serious side of my Dad. They didn’t get to see the silly face he would make over and over at my sister and I’s command, while standing in the kitchen.
There are many more, but my tired fingers are too slow to keep up with my smiling and teary-eyed laughter as it pours out!
I’ll stop here and say thanks for being my Dad and accepting the challenge to be great! Your joyfulness will be with me forever!