It’s all in the way you choose to see it!
Whenever I hear the word goodness I can’t help but think of Nana Rife. After braising or roasting she would say, “what’s left behind in the pan is all the goodness, and that’s what you use to make good gravy.”
It’s such a great reminder that even goodness can be found in the messy things of our life. As we scrap, pick, and stir all the good parts together we too are able to create a life full of rich goodness. It’s a matter of choice, I can see the mucky mess of the pan and dread the idea of cleaning it or I can choose to make something good out it. The funny thing is when we choose to see goodness instead of muck the difficult things break apart easier becoming softer until all the muck is smoothed out in our life. The proof is in the gravy for in using the goodness…the pan in turn becomes easier to clean.
I posted the other day about being a ward of the state when I lived in Philadelphia. As I mentioned it’s been 50 years since I ran away from Stenton Child Center. I was 15, and the year was 1968. The same year Martin Luther King was assassinated. I can remember to this this day the screams I heard from the supervisors, and the other black girls in my section. I was one of the few white girls living in a prominently black community. I knew little about him, but then I didn’t know much about anything that was going on in the world. I was too busy worrying about what was going on in my little world.
I won’t get into all I went through in this post. What I will say is that no white person could ever possible know what it’s like to be in a black person’s shoes. I did, however, know how it felt to be a minority among the black people. Eventually there was no color between us, we were all in there for the same reason, and that became our bond. So, for a short time we were living Dr. King’s dream of equality for all in our own little part of the world. Unfortunately, when he died the bond between us was severed again, and we went back to being black and white instead of just human beings.
People ask me all the time; how did you live through all that and turn out to be okay? Like Martin Luther King, I had a dream too, and believed in a God who said it was possible. But God never gives us anything we don’t have to work at. Whether it’s a young girl dreams or a strong man’s passion, nothing is handed to us without hard work and sacrifice. I don’t have to wonder if dreams come true. I am living proof that they do, but keeping that dream alive takes work too. Maybe if we all had a dream of better things instead of focusing on what divides us we’d see the one thing that makes us all the same…our humanity.
This is a follow-up from yesterday’s post. “Start from Now.” I was asked for a source of where it came from and as I wrote the answer it got me thinking about how important it is to share with everyone.
It’s a phrase my Dad often said to me when I found myself discouraged by the choices I made or the circumstances I found myself in. I figured he got it from one of the many inspirational books he’d read, but since I was asked I decided to google it. There are many different references to the same idea but none that are specific to these 3 words. It was found within the quote written by Carl Bard. (see the photo attached.)
Many already known the story I wrote a few years ago, about how I found these words written on a yellow sticky note stuck to the inside door of my Dad’s medicine cabinet. Something he couldn’t miss each morning as he began his day shaving. What many people don’t know is that he was a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for about the last 25 years of his life before he died at 79. Just because alcoholic’s stop drinking for long period doesn’t mean that the urge to drink goes away. It was a decision he had to make daily, sometimes several times a day. He found a way to take each moment and start anew because the other alternative would play on his mind, and he knew he couldn’t go there. He also learned to apply it to many other areas life.
These 3 words for me are not just words of feel good fluff. I don’t share anything I myself don’t use in my own life. One thing I will say is that starting from now is not for sissies. It is hard work. Moving past the things in my life that drag me down feels like my own personal addiction to overcome. I’ve shared this quote with friends going through their own struggles. My friend Donna used it daily as she fought her way through cancer, and when she was too overcome by her condition her husband reminded her to take one step at a time…starting from now. Even through my own illness this past year and my surgeries where I felt stuck in limbo bringing myself back to the now reminded me that I was still alive, and that each day is a gift worth living no matter how I feel. Nobody said it was easy. The choice is there. I can choose to make the best of where I’m at each day or choose not to. Starting from now is just a formula to begin with…the rest is up to us.
In the little bit of time that I’ve been out since my surgery I’ve gone to doctor offices and physical therapy. It seems that everywhere I go people are talking about how much they dread getting together with family. Mainly because of one person or another that just rubs them the wrong way. I guess they just need to vent to let some of the built up steam out before the actually event. I don’t know the people they’re talking about so they must feel safe telling me all about it. I can’t imagine that there are very many people who haven’t experienced the same dilemma at one time or another.
One women said that playing games helps. It keeps the conversations at bay. Than I came across an article from the Science of Mind Magazine by Stef Swink. She says: “The way to support your family is to offer to them the very thing you desire from them. Perhaps your example will eventually inspire them to consider the same path.”
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And remember the Golden Rule that Jesus taught: “treat others how you want to be treated.” Combine these two ideas with a lot of love and I bet this Christmas they’ll be a lot of miracles taking place.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!’ –Audrey Hepburn
My daughter Ginny sent me this quote today as I begin my 1st day of the 3rd week recovering from knee replacement surgery. I’ve taking the first step upon my new path as I enter the land of physical therapy. This path is no longer paved in red hot coals, but it feels like it’s full of pot holes and many uneven rocks to walk upon. I stop to stretch, bend and strengthen my knee which brings back those flashes of coal burning pain. It is the red light that goes off in my brain indicating that I’ve reached that point of pain in which I must rest. Ice, elevation and pain meds continue to be my reprieve. But the day is not over until I get up and walk a little further practicing what I’ve learned so far in the land of PT. Their motto playing ever so clearly in my head, “push it!”
Yes my new journey begins with the next step, but the success begins from within. It’s a joint effort literally in every way between the body, mind and spirit. It took a lot out of me, but I felt invigorated too by my accomplishments. As I keep my eyes focused on reaching the end of this path I know I have to work hard to get there, but looking at each step is just as important as the destination. It not only builds strength in my body but also builds confidence in myself. Each step teaching me something new about myself and my very own possibilities.
“Whether it’s reading or writing, literacy is an outlet to an untouchable world – your imagination.” –InternationalLiteracyDay.org
Today is International Literacy Day. I never even knew it existed. It’s goal is to help communities around the globe act as a united voice in raising awareness for those who cannot read or write.
The fact that you’re reading this most likely means you had the opportunity to go to school and learn these skills. But for some, like myself it wasn’t easy. One of the hardest things is when you have an imagination that craves to be expressed, but doesn’t understanding how to use the tools being taught. I couldn’t grasp phonics, so sounding words out or spelling them correctly was always a problem for me. Reading seemed to go through my eyes, and out my ears before my mind had a chance to catch the words. To have such learning disabilities when I grew up was never addressed in my day and age. It wasn’t until I read something I really enjoyed that found how wonderful reading could be.
To have the desire to write my thoughts was a dream I never thought would come true. But the desire to do what seemed impossible wouldn’t leave me alone. So I learned how to teach myself. Reading, journaling and eventually online classes gave me the ability to work at my own pace with one on one help. The hardest part was learning to accept the critiques as positive way to make me a better writer. Than there was the insecurity I had after all those years of feeling stupid. Why would anybody want to read what I had to write? What else could I do but put it out there, and find out. Now I know it has always been what I was meant to do.
So I’m happy to know there is a special day set aside to encourage the wonderful world literacy opens up for us. For in my life it has taught me to paint the pictures of my imagination with the brush strokes of my words.
One of the most amazing things
that can happen is finding someone
who sees everything you are,
and won’t let you be anything less.
They see the potential in you.
They see endless possibilities.
And through their eyes,
you start to see yourself the same way.
As someone who can make a difference in this world.
If you’re lucky enough to find this person,
never let them go.
Sometimes someone like this comes along in your life, and it feels uncomfortable at first. Especially if you have always had a low self esteem and feel unworthy of any kindness. I remember when Tom first came into my life, he was so kind, attentive and caring. I was’t use to having anyone treat me so good, and it felt weird and uncomfortable. I wanted him to go away. I went to visit a friend, and she was the one who pointed out to me that I may have made the biggest mistake of my life. “Sounds like he’s the best things that’s every happen to you,” she said. I was afraid I’d lost him forever. But when the bus pulled into the terminal there he was waiting for me. I jumped into his arms and never let him go again.
I thank my good friend Mary Faith too, who knew me well enough to set me back in the right direction.