Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Sending a huge thank you over to Lisa at Rebirth of Lisa for this second nomination to receive the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

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When I get a “Like” or “Comment” from a new blogger, I always take time to visit their blog.  And, this is how I found Rebirth of Lisa.  Her About Page hooked me; especially, the second paragraph:

“You will find my inter thoughts and lessons I have learned about life, love and the world.  I am open and honest and though I may offend some, my intent is only to tell my truth.  Topics will  vary depending on what’s on my brain at the moment and I will try to infuse a little humor.”

After reading the About Page, I immediately hit the  “follow button”; and. I have not been disappointed.

Here Are The Rules

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate seven blogs.

Questions from Lisa

  1. What is your favorite book? I love every word spoken or written by Maya Angelou, but my favorite is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
  2. Michael Jackson or Prince?  Having teenagers in the home during the 70s and 80s, my home was filled with music from both.  But, in my opinion, Michael Jackson was a musical genius and there is no comparison.
  3. Where is your favorite place to vacation?  Six years ago, my two daughters gifted me with our first Mother-Daughter Vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.  I love visiting the Island but, most of all, I enjoy spending quality time with the daughters and my grandchildren.
  4. Who is your favorite writer?  Maya Angelou followed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  5. If you could have a super power what would it be?  I would choose as my Super Power the ability to eradicate social injustice, discriminatory practices, and unequal treatment against those viewed as “the other” or “different” in our country.
  6. What’s your favorite snack?  Popcorn, popped the old fashion way is my favorite.  But, I am not opposed to microwave popcorn.  
  7. What’s on your pizza?  Vegetables only.  Though, before moving toward eating healthy, it was either Pepperoni and, occasionally, The Supreme (everything).
  8. Name three things you like about yourself.  My Faith, Compassion, and Kindness.
  9. Who was your favorite teacher and why?  Over the years, there have been many teachers who advised and guided me through these many seasons of life.  Of course, my mother was the #1 and there are far too many to name.
  10. What’s your guilty pleasure? Lemon Meringue Pie.  I only buy it by the slice; otherwise, I would eat the whole pie.

My Nominees for This Award

  1.  Sincerely, Jess
  2. Pearl Before Swine
  3. The Understanding of Dee
  4. Our Rumbling Ocean
  5. Mountain Mornings
  6. Misifusa’s Blog
  7. My Eyes Are Up Here

Here Are My Questions for the Above Nominees

  1. What is one of your favorite quotes?
  2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  3. What was the last movie that made you cry?
  4. If you won the lottery, what is the first things you would do?
  5. Have you ever had a nickname, what is it?
  6. What is your favorite holiday?
  7. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  8. If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
  9. What is one food that you will not eat?
  10. Would you rather use Facebook or Twitter?

Freedom Friday – January 23, 2015

On this Freedom Friday, I choose to exercise my right to express GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION to my blogging friend, Imani, for selecting me to receive the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  

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About Imani

writer and poet, Imani encouraged me to write my first poem last year.  A major accomplishment for a poetically challenged 72-year-old.

I, especially, enjoy the  essays that she shares, which introduced me to the lifestyle, culture and traditions of her country.

I ENCOURAGE YOU TO VISIT HER BLOG

Award Rules

  • Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
  • Add the reward logo.
  • Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  • Nominate five other bloggers and let them know via comments.
  • Ask your nominee five questions.

The Questions Imani Asked Me

  • Who or what puts a smile on your face and why? A young child or baby will automatically bring a smile.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a photo or face-to-face interaction, they are cute and funny. 
  • If you could change the world, in one sentence how would you achieve it? I would end the unjust and unfair treatment of people because of their religion, race, gender, age, ethnicity, etc.  I would encourage respect and acceptance of those who are different citing Matthew 7:12, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.  This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
  • What is your favorite color and why? Pink.  Pink is my favorite color because tradition taught me this was proper for a young girl growing up in the 40s and 50s.  As a young adult, I identified  Pink with femininity and expressed it with the lingerie, gowns, PJS, and slippers that I wore. I dressed my baby girls in  Pink because it was expected in the 60s and 70s.  Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 68, Pink was the color that designated me as a survivor. Pink is my favorite because I never took the time to pick another color. 
  • Would you tell your friends/family the truth if you felt it would hurt them?  No, if I felt it would serve no other purpose than to cause more hurt.  Yes, if it would have a negative impact on their health and safety.
  • Like Lucile asked me, “Are you mad at me because I nominated you for this award and you have extra work to do?”  Of course. not.  I am grateful to you for opening up this opportunity to meet new blogging friends and  even more exciting and enriching experiences.

I nominate the following for Advising Me, Informing Me, Guiding Me, Training Me, Uplifting Me, Inspiring Me and just plain old Making Me Feel Better.

My questions to them:

  • Who would you want with you if stranded on a deserted island?
  • Would you rather travel by plane, train, or automobile?
  • If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
  • For what in you life do you feel most grateful?
  • If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

 

Pain and Painting Black Figurines

Chronic Pain Memories

When I returned to Wisconsin for the Thanksgiving Holiday, this past year, I did more than spend quality time with family and friends.

I, also, reconnected with memories created more than twenty years ago.  Fond memories of struggling through the early years of a chronic pain condition.

As shared in earlier posts, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1993.  The daily, excruciating pain associated with this condition forced me to take a six-month medical leave from my dream job, which eventually led to a resignation for medical reasons.

Because of the severe joint degeneration in my hands, I lost the ability to do even simple self-care tasks e.g., buttoning my blouse, tying my shoes, putting on a bra, or even combing my hair.  In addition to working full-time, Hubby served as my primary caregiver.  That is one of many reasons why I have kept him around for almost fifty-five years.

Chronic Pain Management:  Painting Black Figurines

Approximately four months after the diagnosis, things changed.  It started, when I opened the huge box sent by the Eldest Daughter from North Carolina where she was living at the time. Inside were bottles of acrylic paint in an array of colors as well as a number of unpainted figurines.

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ACRYLIC PAINTS

 

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UNPAINTED PECAN SHELL RESIN ANGEL FIGURINE

 

I called her and said, “Thank you for the gift, but What The H… am I suppose to do with these things?”

“Painting may give you some pain relief as well as strengthen your hands.  Give it a try.” she said.

I tried and the first pieces were a disaster. But, I painted figurines almost everyday from 1993 until 1996.  The painting improved.  But, more importantly, the joints strengthened and the pain lessened.

Daily, for almost three years, I painted figurines depicting African-Americans in different roles — babies, clowns, children, angels, baseball players, basketball players, sorority girls, fraternity boys, historical figures, Buffalo Soldiers, doctors, nurses, etc.

After a while, the pieces went on display in the African-American Art Gallery that we formerly owned. They were quick sellers, especially the Santa’s and Angels.

I painted under the pseudonym, Marie Enno, which I took from the last four letters, spelled backwards, of my first name “Yvonne”; and, my middle name “Marie.”  A number of close friends and relatives purchased the figurines.  However, they had no idea that Yvonne Marie and Marie Enno were one in the same.

Painting the figurines distracted me from focusing on pain.  I know painting was the beginning of my journey:

  • from the non-productive invalid stage of chronic pain
  • to the productive and active lifestyle I continue to enjoy at the seasoned age of 73.

Yes, I still have pain but I work to control it rather than letting it control me.

Thanksgiving with The Black Santa’s

With the exception of the Santa’s shown in this post, all the figurines were either sold at the gallery or gifted to friends.

When the family Christmas Gatherings, outgrew the space in our home, the Eldest Daughter said, “Let’s move the Santa’s to my home so we can continue to enjoy them.”  I agreed and visited my Santa’s at her house every Christmas Holiday until retirement brought us to Florida in 2010.

Though everybody now comes to Florida for Christmas, Eldest Daughter wants to keep the Santa’s.  Since they have been in her possession for more than ten years, I believe her home is now their home.

This year, for the first time, she decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving; and, I was able to once again enjoy my beloved Santa’s.  She will continue to do this in the future; and I look forward to visiting with my Santa’s every Thanksgiving.

I added the photos below to my Cherished Memories Album. I can now enjoy looking at them when I want.

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Sharing a Memory: Thanksgiving 2014

Hubby and I returned to Wisconsin to spend Thanksgiving with the kids, grands, relatives and friends this past year.  Since we decided to go at the last-minute one, our airline ticket prices were over the top.  (Side Bar Correction: The decision was mine and I bugged Hubby until he agreed.). 

Why I Bugged Hubby

For years, we postponed visiting Hubby’s last remaining Aunt even though, by car, she lived six hours away from our home in Wisconsin.  I remember reasons like “not enough time” or “maybe next year.”

Sadly, she passed away the first week in November.  There was “enough time” and we couldn’t wait until “maybe next year” to attend her funeral and show our respect.

It was an up-front and up-in-my-face reality moment. Our tomorrows with loved ones are not promised.  And, nothing short of my death was going to prevent me from spending Thanksgiving with the children and grands.

It was a short visit with a lot packed into three days, but I am grateful for the many precious memories including this one about my Little Girls.

The youngest members of our families are oftentimes the funniest.  And, these two were in hot water for their shenanigans during the after Thanksgiving Family Gathering.

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Cupcake (Black Dress) – Lyric (Plaid Shirt)

Our 6-year-old granddaughter, Cupcake, and great-granddaughter, Lyric, 7-years-old proudly announced to all that they were putting on a play later in the evening.  Everyone purchased a ticket.  The two girls disappeared; and, we all assumed they were pulling things together.  When the girls came downstairs a bit later, they started to play a board game, and the play was soon forgotten by all.

Several hours later, the Eldest Daughter answered the phone and the caller said, “Someone telephoned 911 from this telephone is everything okay?”  She assured the dispatcher all was well and said, “I can’t imagine what happened.”

My son decided to ask the girls and Cupcake admitted making the call.  He explained to her that 911 calls were for emergencies only.  She quickly said, “This was an emergency Lyric stole my money.”   Lyric piped up with “I deserved more money because I am older.”

Aunts, cousins, uncles, dad, friends, etc., all took turns sharing examples with the girls of the right and wrong times to call the 911 emergency number.

The money collected was equally split between the two girls with the promise they would put the play on at our family’s July 4th Celebration.

Once everything settled down with the girls, the party activities continued. Then, the doorbell ring, a police officer came down the steps and entered the lower level.  Cupcake looked up from her card game, saw the police officer, and quickly ducked behind the ottoman.

Her dad called her out of hiding.  And, she meekly stood before the officer as he calmly explained to both girls that 911 calls were for emergencies only.

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Cam’ron (Play Grandson) – Police Officer

Something positive came out of this 911 incident.  After all the negative publicity about policemen and their negative relationship with the African-American community, it was good for our teenage family members to witness a police officer interacting with these two little girls as well as our entire family in a kind, professional, and respectful way.

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L-R: Avi, Tianna, Cupcake, Taeja, Lyric and Chelsea

 

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L-R: Cameron, Kertagje, George, Kaleef

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Sunday: “Hearts As One Dream Beat Award”

Gratitude

I believe everyday there is something to express gratitude for. Acknowledging and expressing thankfulness, on a daily basis, is one of the most used tools in my Healthy Living War Chest.

Through the world of Blogosphere, I have found many, many bloggers who have given me a reason to express gratitude; and because of them I add new tools to my War Chest daily.

Grateful for Award

And, today, I am grateful to Beverly at My Wonky Donkey Life for nominating me to receive the “Heart As One Drum Beat Award.”

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The rules for passing this award along is for the recipient —

“Within their posts whether if be through Poem or Word caring for others if a must for this award.  Be through laughter or humor, photograph or story, love and compassion are mandatory.”

I say with the highest level of confidence the five nominees I have selected meet the must requirements for this award –

  • Caring for Others 
  • Love and Compassion.

For me, their

  • Humor has generated laughter,
  • Words have raised awareness, and
  • Photographs have served to bring new people, places and things into my space.

And, without further ado, my nominees for the “Hearts And One Dream Beat Award” are:

Nominees, I leave you with the words of the Award’s creator:

“Together let us beat our drums for harmony, peace, unity and equality.  Let the beat of your thoughts ripple out as we share our hearts in one beat of unity. (Sue Dreamwalker)

 

2015: Blogosphere and ME

It’s A New Year

I am excited to begin 2015 focused on:

  • improving the quality of this blog, and
  • uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Blogosphere

Because of the holidays, family member illness, and the death of Hubby’s last remaining aunt, I had to step away from blogging for the past several months.  Life is getting back to normal and I am happy to reconnect with my blogging friends.

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This month, January 13, I will celebrate my second anniversary as a blogger.  This blogging experience has opened the door to new experiences, new places and new people both in this country and other parts of the world.

Virtually, via blogging friends, I:

  • traveled to other countries as well as different places throughout the United States;
  • received helpful information on nutrition, meditation, exercise, alternative health care; and
  • entered a new world of books, poetry, religion and music.

Thank you, blogging friends, for uplifting ME spiritually, emotionally and physically these past two years.

Finally, thanks to the information shared in a WordPress recent post,“Make 2015 A Great Blogging Year,” I have the tools to take my blog to the next level.

ME

Hubby, family, friends, and bloggers have all served to improve the quality of my life.  I am grateful.  But, recent acquired self-acknowledgement and self-awareness skills, guided me to the recognition that this responsibility is solely mine.

To improve ME in 2015, I will:

  • Nurture my Healing Container Garden as it brings peace, bliss, and tranquility into my space.

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  • Write daily notes to place in My Gratitude Jar, to express gratitude for the good things in life.

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  • Seek out those things which serve to keep ME grounded and directed in a positive way.

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  • Hone my photography skills because it is always good to learn something new and interesting.
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Camera Purchased Two Years Ago – Still a Work-In-Progress
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Upgraded Camera – Gifted to ME – Christmas 2014
  •  Incorporate healthy recipes into my menus and “go to” the healthy eating cookbooks purchased over the past five years and are never used.
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A Small Sampling of Healthy Eating Good Books
  • Research and explore different options to address my health issues.

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  • Continue to value and appreciate the love of my life, Hubby, as we approach our 55th Anniversary on April 11, 2015.

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  • Remember there are always new things for ME to explore.   

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2015, Here I Come Ready Or Not!