Saturday, February 28, 2015
In the U.S.A we study the Emancipation Proclamation and think that slavery has ended. Freedom for all no longer ended at the Mason-Dixon line when this document was signed by President Lincoln.
When I became an adult, it was shocking to realize that slavery, legally, still exists in many parts of the world. Weren't we all enlightened enough to know that one person shouldn't own another?
In the 1990s there was publicity about slavery in the Sudan, where Muslims were attacking mostly Christian villages and stealing young adults and children to sell into slavery in Muslim territories. Young girls sold at the highest price.
I remember a sad documentary where a father was using an American agency to try to locate all the members of his family to buy back their freedom. He located the children and eventually his wife and the agency paid for the return of each. It ended with the husband vowing he would not ask about anything his wife was forced to do for her "master" while she was his slave.
Even in "civilized" countries there is an underbelly of evil where illegal slavery exists. Underground networks keep women captive for sex trafficking. I can't even imagine the kinds of people who would frequent such a place.
There are organizations trying to address these issues and make a change. Here are some that were passed on to me:
https://www.freetheslaves.net/ --Works to liberate slaves around the world.
http://www.theexodusroad.com/about/ --Funds rescue missions in Asia and the U.S.A.
This site truly touched my heart because it showed such hope. Former sex trafficking victims are rebuilding their lives by designing and selling jewelry. I think I may do some shopping, buy some jewelry and help change lives, all at the same time. Here's the site:
Monday, February 23, 2015
The past few months have been challenging. I've never been very athletic, but I've always been able to get around. At the moment, I'm recovering from an episode of sciatica. It's left me in pain that has affected both my sleep and ability to walk.
As I go through an average day at work or home, I think about where I'm walking and obstacles to reaching my destination. I worry about steps, curbs, long hallways at school, uneven playgrounds, and parking lots.
For the past week weather has not been good. That means that icy, wet, or slippery sidewalks have kept me inside. It's as if I'm surrounded by literal stumbling blocks.
After two months I started to get discouraged and needed a change in attitude.
All those positive thinkers talk about looking at adversities and thinking about them as opportunities. I'm not too sure how to do this. I do try to regularly visit the YMCE and each time I increase my time exercising on the elliptical machine to encourage bending joints. I spend more time in the swimming pool, exercising my back and legs.
The ice storm threw another obstacle to my exercise program. Fortunately, I was able to find an exercises on-line to tide me over till TN gets a thaw.
I try not to think of the length of a hall or the height of stairs before I walk them. Instead, I wait till I have completed an errand (crossing the Walmart parking lot, getting my prescription, and returning to the car) and think about how well I accomplished the task. Staff at the schools where I work have noticed my improvements.
It is a slow process, but the obstacles are becoming less. I have moments that are setbacks, especially during the morning or in the late evening. Looking at the tasks I've completed as accomplishments helps me see the progress I'm making.
I am a person of faith. Faith, prayer, and gratitude helps during discouraging moments.
It's always important for us to recognize progress we have made. Be kind to yourself. Focus on progress you've made, too.
Friday, February 20, 2015
We've had a lot of ice around here. School has been out. Businesses are closing. No, it is nothing like Boston or cities up north, but we aren't northerners. We aren't accustomed to this kind of thing.
I've made my share of hot drinks, chili, soups, and pop corn. I've watched TV, played on the Internet, dusted, and read books. Thank goodness for my Kindle and Amazon.
Still, I'm getting grouchy. I am tired of the dogs getting underfoot and even my son and I are occupying opposite floors of the house. How do Alaskans deal with it?
Fortunately, I don't have much longer to be stuck in the house. The below freezing temperatures today are supposed to reach 60 tomorrow--60 degrees and rain. I don't think the rain will keep me in the house, though.
For all of you who are still frozen in, try to take it one day at a time.
Winter can't last forever.
Soon spring will come.
Think daffodil thoughts and try to be good to all those who are stranded inside with you.
Monday, February 16, 2015
From time to time I might post examples of people who are positive influences, as I did with the crossing guard who shouts blessings to drivers. Another dear friend, Becky, frequently posts on my Facebook news feed.
I used to see Becky every Sunday, but these days getting to church is far more complicated for her. She's a caregiver to her mother with Alzheimer Disease. It is difficult to reverse roles, the child becoming the parent.
Becky's insights are always so positive. I've begged her to keep a journal so that she can, someday create a book that will be inspirational to other caregivers.
Periodically, Becky lets us into her world, like the time she came to church with a shiner, a gift from her mother. There are also times when her mother calls Becky cruel names and throws things at her.
Becky's response? She often talks about how she hates Alzheimer's. She doesn't blame her mother. She blames the disease.
This reminds me of something I learned when I was in Al-anon. I often heard people talk about hating the disease instead of the alcoholic.
I remember what people at church used to say. "Hate the sin. Love the sinner."
Perhaps we would all get along better if we could see people as people--separate from their problems, disease, or shortcomings.
Saturday, February 14, 2015
This year Friday, the 13th came just before Valentine's Day. You had a day celebrated as being unlucky, followed by a day where people celebrate love and sweethearts. School children even had their Valentine's Day parties on Friday, the 13th.
What a difference a day makes.
The older I get, the more I realize that one day can make a big difference. Sometimes a good day is followed by a bad. Other times it is a bad day that is followed by a good one. Either way, it is important to be prepared.
Lately, I've been having some trouble with illness, back pain severe enough it has affected my walking. I was in constant pain. In time, however, the pain was only present as I moved. Then the pain was only present during and after exercise. Exercise was always necessary or I wouldn't be able to walk properly.
Oh, I was so tired of constantly hurting, of pain with every step. When I was able to walk with a cane and return to work, I still came home to a messy house. I barely had the energy to make it up the steps to my bedroom to rest. I was so weary of the nagging pain and messy house, I was always close to or in tears.
--But each day I saw a new improvement. I could stand to work a few more minutes on the Nu-Step elliptical machine at the YMCE, or I could walk a step or two without my cane. I was sleeping through the night a little better. Yes, each day was an improvement.
Life is like that. There is a constant ebb and flow to things. One day can make a drastic difference in one's situation and perspective.
I once heard a PSA for a suicide hot line that said, "Don't try to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution." Wise words.
I know I have gotten through a lot of hardship by remembering the famous last words in Gone With The Wind. "After all, tomorrow is another day."
How very true.
Friday, February 6, 2015
February Is A Busy Month
In the spirit of my new blog theme, I decided to research interesting celebrations during the month of February. Of course, we all know that February is African-American History Month and February 14 is a day set aside to appreciate love, but I thought I would look into other, more unusual February celebrations.
How about foods?
February is Barley Month, Grapefruit Month, National Cherry Month, and Sweet Potato Month—which I celebrated by making mashed sweet potatoes for dinner last night. Yum, yum.
What groups are celebrated in February?
I already mentioned African Americans. February is also Library Lover's Month, National Parent Leadership Month, National Women Inventor's Month, and Responsible Pet Owner's Month.
We all know February 14 is for lovers, but the month of February is also Spunky Old Broad's Month. Now that's my goal for the rest of the month, to be a Spunky Old Broad.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
I've been blogging for many years now and my blog has been eclectic, to say the least. I think it is time for me to become more focused. I have been thinking long and hard about a theme for my blog, something uplifting, without being sappy. I don't know if that can be established, but I think I'll try.
Please bare with me. I'm probably ADHD, though it wasn't diagnosed back when I went to school.
Why did I decide to change routes? I am inspired by the friendliest, most vocal crossing guard I've ever known. Whenever I am assigned to a school in Millington I am greeted by this crossing guard who waves me across the intersection and always shouts a blessing to me--and everyone who passes by. She makes me smile every morning and afternoon. I usually roll down my window and call, "God bless you," in return.
It's not a big deal, but it brings a smile to my face and if she were ever absent, I would miss her calling to me as I drove into school. I would feel as though I lost something that day.
Maybe that's what I should try to be, your virtual Crossing Guard, calling "God bless you," as you drive past. I'll try to do my best.