Category Archives: self awareness

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

100 Pieces of Paul Simon’s Life

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Celebrating 50 years of performing, writing and contributing to our

mental psyche, Paul Simon recently spent three hours, 180 minutes,

to help elaborate for a new exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall

of Fame. There will be a small piece of this exhibit shown at the

Cuyahoga Community College (CCC), sponsored by the R and R Hall.

Paul Simon was inaugurated into the R & R Hall of Fame when he

was part of the duo of Simon and Garfunkel, then later he was doubly

awarded, as a solo artist of majestic proportions.

The curator/archivist, Karen Herman said Paul Simon was very

generous with his time, completely answering the interview questions

expanding on them and allowing the entire tape to be included in the

new exhibit.

What will you see there?

Here are several of the 100 new items that interested me and captured

my imagination:

1. A 1957 hand written letter from Art Garfunkel to Paul Simon, while

he was away at summer camp. Who out there knew they were friends

from such a young age? There is a postmarked envelope and personal

letter with messages in Art’s young handwriting to his friend. This life-

long friendship was ‘news’ to me. I knew they collaborated and sang

together as Simon and Garfunkel, but did not know they both attended

prep school and were close through all these years.

2. The first guitar that Paul ever owned. This is an acoustical guitar

made by “Stadium.”

3. The lyrics written in his own hand of his best-selling song, “The Boxer.”

The CCC has many other parts of the special exhibit about the writing of

this famous song. There was an interesting ‘tid bit’ that when Paul was

writing the song, he inserted the vocal bridge of, “Lie-la-lie” originally

and fully intending to substitute using words, adding them later. Once

he completed the passage, it ‘stuck,’ remaining in the song.  Paul left

the song as is, after practicing with Art and going ahead with recording

the bridge within the song. (I am wondering, is this how we got that

‘riff’ or ‘bridge’ in the song, Mrs. Robinson, that goes “Coo, coo, ka chu?”)

4. Photographs abound in the exhibit. Personal ones, like his sweet but

serious face as a toddler in 1943.

5. Did you know Paul had enrolled as a DRAMA student (not Music!)

at the Queen’s College in New York City, NY? I studied this photograph

of Paul’s college sophomore year, picturing him as a dramatic actor,

seeing him as one who may have made Robert DeNiro or Dustin Hoffman

envious.

6. I have more than 3 two-sided 45 records, including Sound of Silence,

Only Living Boy in New York, Cecilia, Bridge over Troubled Water, The

Boxer and Mrs. Robinson. The only one on exhibit at the R & R Hall of

Fame is, “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard.”

I ponder donating my 45’s… naw!

7. Paul’s Grammy Records, all are on display. Donated to the R & R

instead of having them collect dust on shelves or be displayed in his

home set of cases.

7. The notes, handwritten on a notepad with the lyrics and sound

development for his album, “Graceland.” In this interview, Paul gave

us insight into his own personal writing style. He always writes his

songs music first. This surprised me, when Paul shared this processing

information of songwriting. I pictured his writing his lyrics first. They

are so poetic and meaningful, one could then imagine trying to place

the piano or instrumentals into the pieces. He also shared that he does

not always put his ‘best material’ into the first line of his songs. He feels

it is important to ‘build the drama and meaning’ as the song progresses.

By the way, Paul Simon’s unique musical combination of South African

and Zulu-Western, along with including Zydeco and Tex-Mex sound

influences, made his album an international success. The voices of many

friends appear on tracks in this album, including the Everly Brothers

on the title track, “Graceland.”

Female singing artist, Linda Ronstadt, performed with Paul Simon in

the lovely song, “Under African Skies.” The controversy behind this

album brought attention to our united stand against apartheid with him.

 

 

The part of the installation of Paul Simon’s body of musical artistry

which will travel, is going from major city to city. This will come to

museums and other public viewing areas, which will include an

admission charge, going back towards the Cleveland’s upkeep of their

entire building that embodies almost all genres of music, which have

had influences on each level, including rock and roll. There are so

many international exhibits, which I would recommend taking more

than one day to view. Paul Simon’s exhibit alone is considered to

need half an hour to 45 minutes to listen and absorb the information

given. As far as the CCC exhibit, Songwriters and musicians may be

happy to study the details of one song, “The Boxer.” There are images

of New York, the tickets for performances, the notes and personal

memorabilia attached to this iconic legend of a man, Paul Simon.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit will cover 1500 square feet.

 

 

Grown-Ups Here

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We are all “grown ups” here, I hope! I realize there are occasional young

people that are part of the blogging community that may wander in and

read one of my posts. There are ones who are as young as high school or

college who may stop by. I believe anyone who is logged into wordpress

or have their own blog are able to hear about a wide variety of subject

matters, or make the choice to ‘move on.’ I also think everyone should

read other posts, just in case the first one is just not your ‘cup of tea.’

Today, I am not trying to ‘start something,’ nor wishing to add too much

controversy in your lives. I don’t wish to shake you up or create drama

that you aren’t interested in.

I am hoping for a conversation about relationships.

The working relationship between the characters of Boothe and Temperance,

in the television series, “Bones,” had a great quotation that I will try to paraphrase

to give its essence:

(Boothe to Bones)

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we want to believe and hope for.”

I will share just some recent things that have caused me to ‘draw conclusions’

on the subject of couples.

Everyone has read or seen the subject, “Signs You Need to Break-up,” on the

television, in articles and on talk shows. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, all have

their opinions and judgments.

I always hope you (my friends and family) will know and make that choice on

your own.

There are times, though, that you may feel as a good friend or family member,

that you have a right to express your opinion. You are my ‘family’ of sorts and

I wish to share reasons I would ‘give up’ rather than ‘fight’ to stay in a rocky

relationship.

You sometimes know, instinctively, when you have heard a person tell you about

someone who seems a little bit “off” or “wrong” for that friend.

Here are some strange and real examples observed or told to me by friends.  .  .

When You Know Things Are Going Wrong or

When You Need to Dis-Connect:

1. Calling one of the members of your ‘couple’ (spouse/partner) “Selfish.”

This is something that I could not believe someone said recently around me.

In this case, I would need to find out why that person was being considered

‘selfish’ and tend to think the one who is ‘name-calling,’ may not be meeting

that other person’s needs.

2. Using derogatory comments, with possible swear words, in a group or

family setting.

In this time, I was at a play area, where the person said this to the other one,

in a loud voice, while children were playing near by.

This would be, truly, a cause for leaving someone. Sorry, I don’t play around

with ‘maybe’s!!’

3. When you walk into a home, where the people are not great-grandparents,

and there are two Lazy-Boy’s, side by side, with an end table in between.

I am wondering how long have these people been living on parallel chairs,

with no bodies touching?

4. One participant in a relationship, who is not open for any counseling nor

discussions about improvements. There is a big, final door shutting on this

couple, I hear about at work.

5. Shorter version, not open to friendly (not nagging) suggestions and gets

hurt and insulted ‘easily’ by the other member in the couple.

6. One excuse after another, even when there is no financial nor scheduling

challenges, for having a ‘date night’ and time away from children.

7. One excuse after another, for months on end, with no physical or emotional

reasons behind these excuses, (unfounded excuses) for refusing any kind of

intimacy.

I would recommend the frank and explicit film, “The Sessions.” Our library has

it, it is about a man who is a parapalegic who has sexual healing sessions with a

physical intimacy counselor, played by Helen Hunt. It is very touching, I cried. I

felt that someone who is fully capable of having romance, will realize that it is a

gift to be able to do so.

This was brought up in a painfully honest, step by step movie, on how to get the

‘spark’ back into your marriage, in “Hope Springs.” It is not, in any way, funny.

But so honest and brutally true of some couples with their lives on hold, for

whatever reason. (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carrell, in a

serious role as a counselor.)

8. In a shorter version of #6 and #7, one person ‘putting distance’ into a

relationship. There is something wrong, this needs to be fixed before it is

irreparably repaired or broken.

9. No ‘big’ secrets kept between members of a family.

10. There is an uneven distribution of ‘power’ or ‘control’ in the couple.

This can be quite upsetting, when you see one or both covering up this

but other times, the truth slips out. Control and abuse are both forgivable

situations for separation or divorce, in my mind.

(Not going to worry about the Bible, since there are not any passages to

support this. It is okay to leave if your partner leaves ‘first’ and you don’t

need to follow. This is the only example of infidelity being a reason for

leaving, that the Bible addresses. No words about if the person is being

abused, emotionally or physically.)

They fester, rot and eventually tear apart the foundation of trust and love.

There are many ways to have a wonderful relationship and it is no one’s

business but the two of you, unless it is a confidential, impartial member of

the clergy, physician, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or member of the

medical field.

My friend, Melvin, is not embarrassed to talk about how his girlfriend has

undergone different surgeries, outcomes of having cancer in her internal

‘private’ areas. He doesn’t broadcast them, but when she had a colostomy

bag, due to her having colon cancer, she and he dealt with this. When she

had an ileostomy, due to having something go seriously wrong with her

urinary tract, they managed to get through this, too. She has improved her

health, taken steps to have both chemo and radiation, so now the “stoma’s”

are the only physical remainders of her having both urine and fecal ‘bags.’

Melvin once confided in me, that he and his girlfriend have found ‘ways

around the different complications’ to ‘express their love for each other.’

After 15 years together, that is wonderful and admirable, that they realized

that they still needed to feel physically connected.

We have had a few comments back and forth, last summer when I brought

up that I was contemplating intimacy with a man I had dated for over a month.

I was hesitant, I gave a few humorous examples of how three women plus

myself had told on our more embarrassing parts of ‘growing older.’ That post,

with different stimulants, varied physical challenges ended with one of the

women sharing a strange and uncomfortable position. Anyway, hope that it

is okay to tell you that I agree with Melvin.

There should be ‘no limits’ to the ways you would engage in closeness, with

another person. As long as Both Parties are comfortable and agree. If there

are parts that are not satisfying, then being open to changing the parts but

adding something else to enhance the happy feelings and connectedness

one feels while engaged in romantic activities. When there are physical

challenges, “there are always alternatives for both parties involved,” my

friend Melvin shared with me.

After we talked out in the parking lot, Melvin asked me if I felt like we

should not have ‘stepped into this area of discussion,’ being friends and

coworkers. I felt very blessed and happy by knowing them. Melvin’s girl

friend and he were able to overcome their obstacles, working like a ‘team.’

I told him I had high hopes to have someone who treated me with the

same respect and consideration that the two of them expressed for

each other. They were ‘blessed’ for this union of lives together. I am so

happy that Melvin kept with Diane, despite these physical challenges.

Melvin then reminded me Diane no longer has them, since they hung

on, through it. He said,

“We may be not married, but we treat our feelings like ‘vows,’ and the

one about ‘for better or worse,’ continues to apply to us.”

 

I ended the ‘personal space’ dialogue by saying,

“Of all the things my parents talked about and what I learned from their

own personal lives, sex is not the weirdest topic covered!”

He burst out laughing and we got into our own separate cars. Happy to

have an open-minded friend to share some personal moments with, once

in awhile.

Healthy and Simple “Switches” to Lower Carbs

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The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates a day!

One big sundae, with my girlfriend, used up my daily ‘allowance’ and then

some of the next day’s, too! Smiles for this, but seriously, I have several

close friends who have to consider their carbohydrates, due to diabetes

and/or high cholesterol.

The sugary, starchy ‘yummy’ stuff, can be replaced or “switched” into

equally delicious, but more healthier foods. I love it when I find a few in

a row, so hope you will enjoy this compilation list:

1. This is the place I have trouble in:  restaurants!

Give yourself one carb allowance for that meal. Choose to splurge on a

glass of wine or a beer. Or would you rather have a piece of bread or a

dinner roll?

Do you have someone who really wants to try a dessert after the meal,

who would be willing to ‘split it’ with you?

Make your plate fill up with vegetables, fish, meat, or a protein of some

kind.

2. Instead of having regular order of pizza, ask if they have a carb-free

choice, whole grain crust or possibly gluten free. Any of these beats the

‘white dough crust’ that usually you enjoy. Now, vegans and vegetarians

use a lot of vegetables to fill their plate and suit their palate, too. Can

you skip the pepperoni? If at the store, you could buy turkey pepperoni…

Otherwise, go for all the vegetables, add a little extra red pepper flakes

and you will find yourself satisfied and feeling kind of ‘righteous!’

3. If you are interested in totally carb-free pizzas, try a Portobello

mushroom or eggplant slices for the base, add sauce, (try to check for

less sugar in your pasta sauces…) and go to ‘town’ on the veggies!

4. While ordering burgers or veggie burgers, try asking for a lettuce

‘wrap’ instead of a bun! You can also do what my friend does, she

puts her meat on her salad! Steak, chicken strips and even- burgers!

5. When you go out with family or on a Sunday brunch ‘date,’ you

may want to think about scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, cheese

and mushrooms, or an omelet! Try to get only one whole grain pancake,

ask for real butter and a small amount of real maple syrup. (I order, for

example, at Cracker Barrel, the breakfast for ‘Any Ages’ which has one

egg, one bread and one piece of meat. I love their thick bacon. Sorry, I

know I have Vegans who are my blogging friends!

Then, I put my cornbread muffin in a box (saving it for another day)

and ask for one Pecan Pancake with real butter and real maple syrup!

It adds up to (I think) about $5.99, with my beverage of choice, coffee

included.

As a matter of fact, any of their daily specials, you can get “Kids of Any

Ages” with a bread and beverage included. It is a smaller portion, of

the Friday Fish Fry, for example, but it satisfies! Most places have Senior

Menu, but are only eligible for over a certain age. I recommend ‘ala carte’

when you cannot find what you want on a menu. There used to be a

“Hoggy’s Restaurant” in Delaware, Ohio, where you could order two

vegetable meals or three vegetable meals. Also, you could do salad and

soup. Sometimes, you have to let the calories go in soups, but asking

about carbs, while diabetic, is important!

6. Thai and Indian curries, don’t necessarily have to go over rice! This

was a new concept to me, thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s holiday

suggestions for making a bland serving of cauliflower or broccoli, taste

so much more interesting. I also find cheese sauces and ask for it on the

side, then can decide how much to put on my vegetables.

The article gave this summary: “The rage in the Paleo community is

“Cauliflower rice” as a nutrient- and fiber-rich way to stick to your diet

and still enjoy Thai panang or chicken tikka masala.” (December, 2013).

7. I am sure you have already tried Spaghetti squash, but just in case

you have been holding back on this, it is easy to prepare, shreds and

looks like spaghetti. I like having it with marinara sauce, lots of fresh

Parmesan or Romano cheese sprinkled over it. You can also make your

meatballs, (my son does this) without any bread crumbs but using some

mushrooms and eggs to hold it together. Do you have any favorite ways

to make meatballs without bread or cracker crumbs?

Just FYI: According to the United States government’s food guidelines,

a serving portion of spaghetti is one half a cup. (That is 1/2 cup, folks!)

At least, practice with whole wheat pasta and find it delicious by not

overcooking it! It makes it a little healthier and yet, not as much as

you could eat of spaghetti squash! Or eggplant parmesan…

8. A way to get the flavor of Italian restaurants is to always ask for

the red, marinara sauce, pour it over a piece of grilled chicken or a

pork chop, or a veggie burger, then add an unlimited number of

salads, if you are at Olive Garden! (Yes, their Italian has carbs!)

9. Another favorite food of many is mashed potatoes or macaroni and

cheese. Both of these can have substitutions of cauliflower, one with it

being mashed, with a little milk and butter and the other with cheese

over cauliflower florets.

10. When you are making salads at home, you can certainly prevent

the croutons, fried tortilla strips, sugary salad dressings, and the

bread bowls or tortilla shell bowls. I found out, surprisingly, that

Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressings are the main ones with low levels

of sugar. If you make your own dressing, you may use vinegar, oil,

a small amount of Blue Agave Nectar or honey, but you are in

control of adding delicious spices! It will be easier and less calories,

than the store bought dressings. If you love blue cheese, look up on

the internet, some healthy recipes or buy yogurt based or ones in the

low calorie or even the sugar free aisle! In the summer time, if you

are not diabetic, adding raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, orange

slices, and even watermelon, can really brighten up your salad.

If you are diabetic, you know how many berries or other fruits you

may have in your daily diet. I enjoy adding pecans, walnuts or

almonds to my salads, for protein instead of meat. Spare use of

cheese, will limit your calories, of course!

Enjoy your food preparation and your meals out, too. You deserve to

be pampered and have someone else prepare it, wash the dishes and

help you to slow down while you eat. Isn’t it true? Don’t you eat much

slower at a restaurant? Allowing yourself to savor your foods, will always

help make you mindful. This is good on so many levels, to add “Being

Mindful,” into our lives!

My last suggestion on this trip down “Carbohydrates Free Street” is:

I hope you find these helpful and easy ways to make your diet a lot

more healthier and nutritious. Any changes will help you feel much

better!

 

is

 

Wipe the Slate Clean

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Do you remember when you were a child in school? Were you ever this young?

Just kidding!

Have things changed since the days you were in ‘grade school?’

Children, in the old days, would be assigned ‘cleaning the blackboard’ on the

classroom’s job or chores chart. That meant to erase the whole board, followed

by the activity of taking the erasers outside and clapping them together. I used

to like this ‘after school’ job. I would see the dust rising from the erasers being

pounded together and be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoyed this chore,  since sometimes the teacher would talk to us, along

with let us choose something from her treats jar or a stash she had in one of

her drawers.

When I taught sixth grade, the first year was 1979-1980. The “Board Cleaner,”

was how I wrote this particular chore on a magnet. Each of the children would

rotate this, with other ones such as “Line Leader,” etc.  I would also have a small

bucket, to have the student fill with water. Using an old towel or ‘rag,’ the child

would wipe the remains of the dust off. It was a nice feeling, for me as a teacher,

to see that ‘clean slate,’ at the start of the next day.

Imagine your bad times, past hurts or difficult periods in your life.

Write them down on a blackboard in your head.

List them, one by one, remembering the pains, trials and sadness.

Take your mental ‘eraser’ and carefully, slowly rub each one of these away.

Rub the eraser up and down, or if you prefer, side to side. Make sure that all

you see, at the end of this mental exercise, is a hazy blur of grayish black.

Now, take a dampened rag and get a small stepladder, or if you are back in

time, a child’s wooden stool. Use the wet rag to clean all the remaining chalk’s

powder and blurred images off. If you need to, turn the cloth inside out.

Finish this process mentally, along with your imaginary blackboard.

You now have a ‘clean slate.’

Picture, if you will, the best times of your life.

Make a list of places, faces and beautiful images.

It is possible, I have done this process, in my head, too.

You can ‘re-invent’ yourself.

You may become a renewed person.

Your positive energy can ‘re-charge’ you and make you whole again.

Believe in unlimited possibilities.

 

Somehow, move into the present.

There are no ‘time limits’ or penalties, in this.

There are no ‘school bells’ going off.

There is no need to do anything but leave the board behind you.

Proceed outside.

Breathe in, breathe out.

You are free of the painful past.

How will the story of your life continue from here on out?

 

I have had friends who have asked me,

“How did you bounce back?”

In my case, I had a sense of purpose, to raise my children and make

their lives as positive and happy, as possible. I could not take any

more time on my own dissatisfaction or depression, I would not

dwell on what choices led me to the places I went. I just knew I had

to start over. I chose a town in Central Ohio, a college town, you know

it as Delaware, Ohio.

My parents were in Cleveland, later in Vermilion and my ex-husband

lived in Cincinnati, later in Dayton.

It was a halfway point, between the two cities, letting me able to make it

in either direction, without too many hours on the road.

I chose this place to ‘start over.’

I knew it was my children’s and my ‘new beginning.’

I knew absolutely not one soul here.

I later found some high school friends who had chosen to live here.

One was my children’s high school Biology teacher, another a swimming

and gymnastics instructor, and another followed me here, after her own

divorce.

If you have caused someone else’s heart to break, let it go.

Try not to cause any more heartbreak, try not to crush or break a

child’s spirit.

Any mistakes you have made, learn from them.

Always think that there are more chances in life.

I believe in multiple chances or opportunities to start over!

Another way to handle strife and tough times is an interesting one,

that editorial cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey gives in an article in the

December, 2013 issue of “Prevention” magazine. M. Ramsey’s

suggestion is to look at your life and remember the “terrible twists”

that happened to you. He personally likes to list his own negative

occurrences and then, see them in a positive light.

Here are some examples found in the article called, “True Grit.”

“The way to get through tough times is to start with advanced gratitude.”

M. Ramsey’s list of Life’s negatives matched with happy outcomes:

1.  His first job after college was as a high school janitor.

The job led him to his future wife, the daughter of a fellow janitor.

2.  The recession forced him into part-time work.

Getting laid off gave him the time to start 2 new careers;  in book

illustration and radio.

3.  Melanoma diagnosis.

His cancer diagnosis helped him to decide to organize a series of

races to raise melanoma awareness.

4.  People who did not believe in him.

All those naysayers were just ‘ill winds beneath his wings.’

Great words to live by, quoted from Marshall Ramsey:

“A good analogy is if you’re canoeing downstream and you hit a rock,

it can either sink you or push you in another direction. If you choose

the other direction, it’s a blessing.”

Advanced gratitude is explained in this article as:

“The ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because

of what you’ve gained from them.”

M. Ramsey gives these steps and you may find more details in the article,

if you wish to look up “Prevention” magazine, 12/13.

This process is a three step one, which includes changing your perspective.

First, establish a gratitude ‘baseline.’

Then, retrain your own brain. Tying thoughts of

stressful events in your life may even change your neural pathways.

Reminding yourself that good things come out of difficult times, may

just pull you through the bad times.

Remember the hard stuff.  What have you gained from sorrow, losses or

sadness?

There were studies listed and other experts in different emotional

areas covered, including Dr. Robert Emmons, Dr. Rick Hanson, and

Dr. Richard Tedeschi.  These authorities have done research and written

books on the subject of “Who am I? What kind of future do I want?

What makes sense to do with my time now that this event has stopped

me in my tracks?”

I have heard someone on television talking in my past about how we can

create our own destiny, change the course of time, and I have come up

with many times, the image of a blackboard with writing on it. Lots of

thoughts cluttered on it, sometimes I have made lists on it, but always

I like the satisfaction of wiping the figurative blackboard clean.

Starting today with a clean slate, just fits my notion of a happy beginning!

Going for Brighter Colors & Changes

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I complimented the librarian in the computer area today.

She has a habit of wearing blacks, browns and grays.

There have been occasionally some varying tones in her

clothing choices, with an addition of little bits of color.

Having talked to her often, observed her grading high

school papers, and knowing she is a volunteer after

teaching all day, I was thrilled to see more color in

her attire today.

The woman looked up from her work, giving me a brilliant

smile. She informed me that her husband had encouraged her

to ‘change up’ her color palette in her wardrobe. She added

this personal detail- she was working on waiting to lose a

certain amount of weight, before buying her new sized,

Spring and Summer clothes.

I mentioned to her that was an excellent reward system

she had going on! I gently suggested to just buy a few

scarves or tops, showing that she had listened to her

husband. Just in case she thought I was being too ‘pushy,’

or opinionated, I added, “It is always nice to have their

‘permission to spend money on ourselves.'”

Then, it was an even more intimate moment we shared. We

both smiled like we had shared an ‘inside joke’ or secret.

I took my seat and then, decided to let all of you out

there, men, women and young people who may be following

my blog in on the secret! Try out a different style,

new color or add patterns to your clothes…

Spice up your wardrobe!

It is fun to pass on a good idea and since some live

on a simpler, tighter budget, like myself, go on over

to your local resale shop or thrift store to rejuvenate

your ‘look!’

As a way to create conversation, my brother, Randy the

artist painted on a white linen jacket, billowing aqua,

turquoise and creamy-colored clouds for an art gallery

opening, held in California. He is one who looks quite

dapper, although his FB page is not so great, he has lost

weight and cut his hair, so he also needs to ‘change up!’

When I thought about my last years of teaching, I had

a rainbow of colors every day reflected in my clothing.

My other brother, the professor, loves it when I buy

him ‘cool’ ties. He likes school related theme ties,

along with ones that just have music, art or jazz

up his ‘look.’ Trying something new is good for all

of us, both sexes, wherever we work or go out and

about in society. It may just create a little magic

for you and your special person, or attract someone

who has not noticed you before.

At my current job, I tend to wear those dismal colors

of black, gray, brown and an occasional dark blue. This

had been my mode of operandi to prevent damage and stains

that are impossible to get out of my work clothes. It is a

dirty place; lots of times I look like ‘Pigpen’ from the

Charles Schulz comic strip, “Peanuts!”

Wouldn’t it be nice to just go ahead and wear some

colorful patterns that are more exciting looking to my

current workplace?

I mean, less drab… Maybe this would encourage others to

‘cross over to the sunny side of the street.’ I definitely

feel the need to get out of my rut!

I read a book recently on relationships written by Sara

Eckel. It was called, “It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons

You’re Single,” (208 pages) If you are thinking about the

current dating scene, if you have someone you know who is,

or if you just are curious about the newer way things are

going out in a different facet of society…

Check this book out! It is a funny, interesting and

enlightening guidebook for the newly single people out

there, for ones who wonder,

“Why on Earth was it so easy back when I dated the last

time? And now, it is nearly impossible!”

The author approaches the subject in a very positive

manner, where she insists it is not you being anyone

that is repelling the opposite sex away. She thinks it

is just you haven’t met the right person yet!

I have paraphrased the following section, in my own

words, with my personal ‘slant’ added:

One of the myths that she ‘de-bunks’ is for example,

1. “You are too needy.”

No. that is not why you haven’t attracted someone to you.

Another one is,

2. “You are unrealistic.”

No, if is okay to have goals, choices and favorite attributes

(and values) in mind when you are seeking to find another

person to possibly spend the rest of your life with.

This one I have heard before,

3. “You are too picky.”

This was something someone said to me recently. That

comment really ‘got under my ‘craw,’ I will tell you!

I think that having been married three times, I should

know what works, what didn’t and hopefully, once and for

all, I should make plans and lists and actually, use them!

I need to understand what are the characteristics I am

looking for and then, not ‘sway’ too much from the

outline. Nice people don’t mean they are good matches.

Not just fall for the next guy who buys me dinner!

The author’s great question addresses why have we become

a society where we assign blame for being particular and

trying to make good choices?

Here are Sara Eckel’s own words on the subject:

“We’re a nation that believes strongly in personal efficacy–

if there’s something in your life that isn’t working quite

the way you’d like, then the problem must begin and end

with you.”

The myths include how we view ourselves through other’s

eyes, instead of relying on our own common sense.

Here are two more myths, to share with you.

4. “You’re too intimidating.”

5. “You should have married that guy.”

Don’t listen to the ones who tend to place the blame

on you. Make sure that you surround yourself with

supportive people who are cheering for you and wish

that you will find someone to be your partner or

close friend of the opposite sex. The important thing

to remember isn’t,

“Why are you still single?”

but “Why are near strangers so often compelled to

comment or demand answers.” I wish to add, sometimes

family members and your best friends may be part of

the naysayers. You need to develop a positive attitude

where you can deflect their comments and act like you

are doing ‘just fine’ without the negative opinions.

Hope this helps everyone in some aspect of their life.

I highly recommend this ‘no nonsense’ book and trying

out a new way of doing something. Hair style, clothing

style or the way you walk, with your confidence showing,

shoulders back and a broad smile to carry you and others

through their days.

Message of Lent

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Today is considered by some cultures, especially in

the Catholic Church, to be “Fat Tuesday.” Down in

my college friend, Patrice’s Mississippi “bayou”

they are celebrating with Louisiana, too!

Happy Mardi Gras Day!!

This morning, Tuesday March 4, 2014, the Channel 10

(CBS) announced that today is “National Pancake Day,”

with no specific denomination or explanation given.

Easier not to say, “Fill up on Pancakes, because

some of us tomorrow will be ‘fasting!'”

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, will be one some consider

a somber and sobering moment, remembering Jesus’

walk to the Cross.

I go to the First Presbyterian Church in Delaware,

Ohio. If you wish to skip religious messages, don’t

worry, you can pass on this and it won’t bother me

a bit!

I just loved my March “Spire” Newsletter’s message,

written by our Pastor Deb Patterson.

I feel our church is inclusive and embraces many

different cultures, as we have the college nearby.

Ohio Wesleyan students sometimes attend, having

transferred their ‘home’ for their four to six

years, from far and wide.

Along with a woman one of our church members

met on a Mission Trip in South America. He

brought her home and made her his bride!

(Jeff and Gloria, another love story: Smile!)

Maybe you will find this worthy of reading.

“Dear Friends,

You are dust and to dust you shall return.” These

are the words used on Ash Wednesday while the ashes

from last year’s palms (now burned into ash) are

placed on your forehead. These words not only mark

the beginning of the Season of Lent but remind us of

our own mortality. Mortality is the one thing we all

share in common; black, white, brown, Christian,

Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Russian, Iranian,

Iraqi, Palestinian, British, American, Guatemalan,

Hispanic… the list is long and all encompassing.

Together we will all share in this final event.

I wonder if we… from all different walks of life,

… different nationalities and religions… if we

were gathered together at the throne of God and

asked what loving things we had done during our

lifetime… I wonder if there would be regret,

remorse, sorrow, despair or would there be peace

and joy? One of the reasons I like the Season of

Lent is that it is a time to do some personal

inner work. A time set aside in our church year

to intentionally examine ourselves and our

relationships with each other, our neighbors and

our God.

This Ash Wednesday we will be doing a different

type of service. While we will still receive the

imposition of the ashes, we will take some time

to do some directed reflection. I will invite all

gathered to take personal time to look deep within

at behaviors such as hardness of heart, resentments

and negative behaviors. There will be stations

around the sanctuary that will become a part of this

service. What I have learned over the years is that

personal spiritual freedoms comes from letting go…

and we all have things we could release to God.

I will be encouraging the four individual reflections

used in our worship service as Lenten practice. If

you are not able to attend the Ash Wednesday Service,

I will have these reflections available on the First

Sunday of Lent. We have forty days to do some personal

housekeeping. A clean house makes more room for God’s

growth in us.

I look forward to walking Lent with you.

Blessings,

Pastor Deb.”

I hope that you feel a message to all from my

pastor, giving you her blessing. I always feel

very accepted and loved when I attend First

Presbyterian Church. Take care!