Sunday, March 25, 2012

My father, my brother, my husband, my son TRAYVON MARTIN...

" One of the burdens of being a black male is carrying the heavy weight of other people's suspicions. One minute you are going about your life, the next you could be pleading for it if you're lucky. And far too many aren't. That's why Feb. 26th killing of Trayvon Martin has black parents around the country clutching their sons a little closer..." ~Jonathan Capehart

                                                              Picture belong to Chan Andre

My son, Trayvon Martin

It has been 27 days since Trayvon Martin was murdered. When I first heard the news, I had this unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. I clearly remember thinking “this can’t be…. this can’t be the “be all and end all”… tomorrow, yes tomorrow they will come to their senses and justice will prevail!” Much to my dismay, 27 days later the unsettling feeling I had has turned into rage and disgust and anger and indignation and outrage and…

I’ve always disciplined myself and would advise others to not respond, comment or acknowledge (openly) a situation when your personal feelings are in turmoil. If my thoughts and emotions aren’t leveled, I’d be putting myself on the defensive which could ultimately result in me saying or acting in a way that I might…just might, regret. That’s what I’ve believed until now. But now I have to speak out.

“If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids”
~Barack Obama

I have a son and his name is Trayvon Martin! My Trayvon Martin is 12 years old
going on 17. Every day he commits the “crime” of being a beautiful black boy walking, while holding skittles and IceTea!

Being a mother in today’s world, I’m in a state of panic. Every day before February 26th I worried about life’s various situations, and how that we (his parents) play the most essential role in his development and thoughts about society. We can (and need) to make sure that we talk with him, teach him how to handle himself, and ensure that he learns to navigate himself through life and come out of with the sense of dignity and pride about in who he is. That’s what we’ve tried to instil in him.

I’m in a state of panic because according to society’s actions and behaviour, I am presented as a liar in the eyes of my son. When I say to him, “You are a gift from God and you count not only to us (your family and friends), but to the whole world”, and “You are going to grow old and achieve all that your heart desires, you are the handsome beautiful future of our world and all you need is to stand tall”, what message does he get when he takes a look at the evening news?
I intentionally did not address any fears of racism or inequality as I didn’t want it to be part of his every day check list of “things” to remember. These are “things” he needed to be aware of but not to worry about. However, on February 26th 2012 when that fatal gun shoot took Trayvon Martin’s life, it also clearly brought to light that we live in a country where “most” still believe that being Black is a crime: that the colour of our skin is our downfall in this world.
Right now, I am being made to believe that from the time we (as black people) decide to give birth, we seemingly give our unborn kids the “privilege” of a criminal stigma as it is inherited with their skin colour. My son, My Trayvon Martin is committing the crime of living while black… How do I teach him to deal with that?

How do you teach your Trayvon Martin to accept the fact that, although he might be a bright student, a kind hearted child and a potential future leader, he will inevitably (sometimes) be looked at through the ugly lens of discrimination? How do you teach someone to live their life with a pure heart while they deal with discrimination? How do you teach someone to gracefully handle being judged; not because they have done or said something offensive, but because their very presence in itself, is offensive to some. That’s a hard lesson to teach, even for a brilliant Ivy-League professor. Maybe Treyvon Martin should have known that wearing a “hoodie” sent the message that he’s dangerous, mad at the world, armed and ready to kill anyone who looks at him twice… That can’t be how this world thinks, can it?

It is astonishing to me, that 27 days after the cold-blooded MURDER, the real Trayvon Martin’s parents (and all the parents of all the Trayvon Martin’s of this world) have not seen justice served. It is mind boggling to me that as a society, we have to cause uproar to gain attention and provoke reaction for a situation that already screams LOUD and CLEAR of injustice.

What is America? Who is America? What happen to America the self-proclaim land of opportunity and equality? But more so …Who is America?

America, which is known as “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, and a welcoming country, in the face of this tragedy, needs to prove its stand against injustice. It must take a stand against vigilantes and resolve the common practice of stereotyping. America needs to do the right thing in this totally disgusting situation for ALL the Trayvon Martins of this world; let not this senseless death be in vain because we are all Trayvon Martin of this world!

Those are my thoughts...

Below is a letter Scott Hayes wrote to his unborn child; I came across it a few days ago and not only was I blown away with his powerful, thought provoking words and how clear his message about the Trayvon Martin situation and its impact was being delivered; I couldn't help and had to share it with you all...

Dear Son,
I bought a box of condoms today.

Whoa… did that sound as awkward for you to hear as it felt for me to say?  You’ll have to excuse me, but I never imagined that I would need to have this conversation with you so early.  Nevertheless, here we are.  And it’s just as awkward as I’ve heard other parents say it is.  But I have to admit that I didn’t buy a box of condoms today so that we could sit, look awkwardly at each other and have “the talk”.  I actually bought them because at this moment, I’m not sure that I can provide everything you need to be able to survive in this world.  The truth of the matter is that you are little more than the sparkle that I see when I look into your mother’s eyes.  That’s right -- you’re not even here yet -- not even in your mother’s womb, but still there are some things I want you to know, so listen up.
I have thought about the prospect of being your father for years.  I tell every one of my friends that I just know you’re going to be a boy -- my first child, my first son.  See, I picked the name Xavier Lawrence a long time ago (even though your mother wasn’t a big fan of it at first).  I always imagined that your boys would call you XL… because you’ll have this larger than life personality -- witty, sociable, serious when needed, always smiling and cracking jokes, able to fit into any situation --- kinda like your Pops.  But you’d be XL to me and your mom for a different reason.  See, it will always remind you of the underlying expectation for you to excel… at everything.  Because that’s the only way that you will achieve the hopes and dreams of your childhood.  And what your mother and I want more than anything for you, is the chance for you to understand that you can be anything you want to be, but you must be willing and able to be the best at whatever it is you choose to pursue.  I have all of these things that I want to teach you and I know we have a great deal to teach other, but the fact still remains that I bought a box of condoms today.

Anyway, I want you to know that God has been preparing us for you.  I finally got my clinical licensure a few weeks ago, so that means I got a raise at work.  Oh, and your mother and I are getting ready to buy a house!  That probably doesn’t mean much to you now, but I want to make sure you grow up having a place to call home, you know?  None of that moving from apartment to apartment every year or so.  You’ll have a house with a yard for you to play in and some grass that you’ll eventually be cutting to earn your allowance --- just like I did.  I’m doing everything I can to make sure we’re ready for you, but still, I bought a box of condoms today.

My Dad, your grandfather, taught me everything I needed to know about manhood.  And just so you're prepared, he’ll probably be happier than anybody to finally get a chance to meet you and harder on you as you grow as well.  When I was a kid, he always had a story to share that would help him in explaining those hard lessons he had to teach me --- the ones that required that I have harsh consequences in order to make me understand that life isn’t easy and nothing worth having in this world will be given to you.  So in preparation for your arrival, I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to pass along to you and gathering my stories as well.  I am going to tell you about Ralph David Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Joseph Lowery and other well known Civil Rights pioneers while I’m sure your Mom will want to give you the full gamut of knowledge regarding Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Septima Clark and many of the other women who were involved, but are not often recognized as being part of the movement.  I also have to tell you about some of the injustices of my day involving people that look like you:  Sean Bell, Ammadou Diallo and even Troy Davis.  Those will be hard to explain, but I’m ready to show you how you can avoid even finding yourself in some of these situations simply by learning to choose your friends wisely, being cognizant of the places and things you allow yourself to be involved with and not even getting involved with the legal system if you don’t have to be.  There’s so much I have to teach you, but still I bought a box of condoms today.

I know I spoke previously about my heavenly and earthly fathers’ efforts to prepare me for your arrival, but today, I simply don’t know if what they’ve offered is enough for the challenge at hand.  See, I know that I can show you the importance of walking upright in the physical and the spiritual realms.  I can teach you how to be a man of integrity, to walk with confidence, to speak life and peace with your words.  I can show you how to dress appropriately, how to tie a tie and how to line your belt buckle up with the buttons on your shirt and your zipper because Hayes Men are always well dressed and prepared.  I can even teach you how to respect women, your parents, your elders, and your fellow man.  But I bought a box condoms today because of the things that I can’t teach you.  I don’t have the tools to show you how not to look suspicious to the George Zimmerman’s of the world.  What can I tell you that would assist you in looking less threatening to a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who might follow you with a 9mm handgun as you are armed only with a bag of skittles and an Arizona Iced tea?  I don’t know how to teach you to stay calm or not fight for, scream for and beg for your life when you’re scared to death of a strange man with a gun who has walked up and grabbed you for no apparent reason.  I don’t know how I would tell your mother that you were lying in the morgue for a full 3 days with a “John Doe” tag on your toe because investigating officers never thought it was possible that your family lived in the gated community where you were assumed to be preparing to commit a crime.  How would we cope with your life being taken from you, from us or from the world just because you’re young, black and unfamiliar to a person who doesn’t know and shouldn’t care who you are?  How do I teach that?  What advice might I delve out that would save you from a man that represents a society that preaches equal opportunity for all Americans while simultaneously preparing for and systemically arranging your demise?

I have no idea how to explain that to you X… no idea how to steer you around it… no idea how to save you from it.  And as you can see, I have way more questions than I have answers --- So I took the only other step I could to save you.  I bought a box of condoms today --- and I decided to never give you life.  Because even though I’d teach that almost nothing in this life is guaranteed, I don’t want you to have to learn what Trayvon Martin did-- that as a black man in America, your 18th birthday is one of those many things.  There's not much more I can say.  Just know that I loved you son -- Even before I knew you.


Author: Scott Hayes

We are Trayvon Martin, we are George ZimmermanWho do you want America to personify? Which America do you want to prevail?
With this food for thoughts I leave you , remember to show love and appreciation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Materialistic Side of Us...

"I think I'm actually quite a materialistic person, I value what it takes to make a car or build a nice house. Money does change things, but how it changes people depends on how they react to it".  ~Roland Gift

There is definitely a fine line between appreciating what you own because of the material (the monetary value of it) and “standing”, “rank” or “status” that it can possibly give you, and simply appreciating it because it’s something you’ve wanted, worked for and desired for the quality of it and every dime, effort it took for you to acquire it…

When you learn…Teach –Maya Angelou

As adults, we’ve learned how to distinguish and separate the superficial from genuine, and the shallow from depth. As parents, it is our duty to raise and teach our children to appreciate all the “extras” (the things that go above and beyond their every day necessities), that we are able to provide them. We should teach them to be grateful for all that they receive but also explain that “things” do not and should not define them or their character… The best things in life are not things; they are relationships. They are conversations, and shared feelings amongst people.
I think my husband and I have done a good job thus far with our two kids. I’d like to think that they are not spoiled but I guess this can be a hard thing to measure and a non-absolute opinion, as it depends on who is looking in. We do our best to provide them with everything they need, while continuing to make sure that they are growing up to be considerate individuals. Along with teaching them the importance of simple words like “thank you” and “please”, we teach the importance of not judging or value themselves and others based on what they own but who they are; we are trying to teach them the value of money. My husband took it up a notch by finding ways for them to earn their own dollars and use their money to buy those expensive “things” that they desire and want.
Luckily we are put in situations that make us revisit how we are doing in our job as parents. It also gives me the opportunity to drive home to my kids the message of how unimportant material belongings are and to reiterate values and priorities we are trying to raise them with.

Coming back home from an outing to the Cheesecake Factory with my cousin, her husband and daughter, we sent all the kids out to walk Coco (their little dog) while the hubbies decided to keep the evening going and left us home with the kids. My cousin went upstairs to pack up their suitcases, as they were heading back to Miami the following morning. My son and daughter both started to pull on the front door (from opposite sides) and ultimately the door swung and slid over my son’s foot. He just happened to be wearing his new Gucci boots that he bought himself with his DJ money. He had not only scratched them, but left a white paint mark going across the toes.
My son lost it! While my cousin was downstairs trying to figure out how to fix the damage, I went upstairs so I could calm him down… He was crying and was so distraught by the fact “his only good shoes were damaged”. I listened to him tell me how much he loved me, through the tears, and how hard he tries to be good and how he didn’t understand why, why and why…
As a mom, my heart broke seeing him so sad, furious and upset. While I wished that at 11:30pm the Gucci store was still open (so I could run up there and buy him a replacement pair and make it better), I also knew that this wasn’t what I wanted him to learn from this situation. I hugged him really tight, told him to breathe deeply and heavily so he could calm down, and hear me out. After rocking him in my arms and whispering in his ear to “calm himself”, I told him “Son, I understand why you are upset, I understand that you love your boots and are proud of owning them, but baby, this is certainly not a problem for you to make yourself sick over. Accidents will happen, and you will not be able (and should not want to) hang on to things this bad. If mommy, daddy, your sister or anyone else you love gets hurt, than yes, this level of emotion is justified but over material possession… no baby, mommy is not okay with that. You are going to calm yourself down, walk back downstairs and hug your sister because she is upset knowing that she upset you. And, thank auntie who fixed your boot (at the time it was a little white lie but I had my fingers crossed).” We talked for a few more minutes, I kept him in my arms so he could let go of his anger, pain and sadness and when I was comfortable that he was okay, I preceded him back downstairs. I hoped that by me not making a big deal of the situation, he understood that even though we taught him to value anything money can buy, he can’t let it take over… walking that fine line again…

When you get…Give –Maya Angelou

Now on the other hand, you have my daughter. Through myself and her older cousins, she has learned to appreciate nice things but is oblivious of the value of them, unless she has bought it with her own money (she has “selective stinginess”; when it comes to her dollars, she is very tight fisted but when it’s someone else belongings, she is as generous as can be). Not too long ago, she decided to give away one of my Gucci bags to her godmother after finding out she didn’t own a brand name bag! But how can I be mad at her? According to her understanding, it’s only a bag… but just know I had to tweak this one!
In bringing this all full circle, we have to make sure that our children understand that as we all live under the same sky we don’t have the same horizon or the same opportunities; we need to remember that material things should be a reflection of your hard work and compensatory rewards of your good work, but certainly should never be a reflection of who you are. Following this attitude should make separating you from material belongings an easy process.

Enjoy everything you own to the fullest! Learn to appreciate the small gifts of life, the unexpected and expected favours, and understand that these things are all blessings for now, and are not everlasting like we are. The things you should and will end up cherishing and taking with you are PRICELESS.

What about you? Do you believe that not recognizing and rejecting materialistic attitude equals trusting idealistic behaviour? Or like me, you believe you can balance materialism and idealism by learning to appreciate the value of what's material but not let it consume you?
I would love to read your thoughts on the subject...

        Love always,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Count Your Blessings and Be Thankful...


Living, being, embodying and carrying out the attitude of gratitude.

A life of gratitude is the life we all should strive to live. Other than God, who gave us all the tools for a rewarding and satisfied life, we are the masters of our journey and are ultimately responsible for the results of our actions. While our journey or actions may not have the outcome or meet the expectations we set, we should be thankful for the opportunity and the ability to pursue our best.
Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, what we are missing is the ability to show gratitude for ALL that we have.

So many people complain that they have nothing to be thankful for. They think that they have nothing for which to be grateful, and as a result, feel that they are cursed, as they can’t see anything good and positive in their lives. If you are one of these people, you have yet to understand the fact that you are a mere entity in this gift called earth, hence reason to be thankful.

 "Sister, there are people all over the world who went to sleep last night, rich and poor, black and white. They will never wake again. Their beds have become their cooling boards. Their blankets have become their winding sheets. And they'd give anything for just five minutes for what they were just complaining about."
~Maya Angelou

When you are in an attitude of thankfulness, life is brighter and you view it in a positive way. Today as I am surrounded with space, opportunity and time to meditate, I think of all the simple pleasures I’m granted (even while sick and miserable) and I’m thankful.


10 simple pleasures we take for granted which we should be thankful for:

1. Opening your eyes to a new day!
I’m thankful that I get to open my eyes everyday! My husband reminded me of this silly thing I use to do; every morning I would wake up and while he would still be fast asleep next to me, I would jump on the bed, shake him up and start singing “Good morning, good morning….it’s beautiful day and the sun is shining…” I would keep making up parts, adding lines to the song and tune it out with my “beautiful” voice until he finally poked his head out of the cover. He looked at me like I had just lost my everlasting mind, yet my beautiful day had started. Every day we get to open our eyes to the life we closed on the previous night is a day to be thankful for and celebrate.

2. Family
I’m thankful for family! A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of family and extended family family I've built with my husband and our children wouldn't be as it is if it wasn’t for the loving support of our family and close friends. I’m thankful for family as I have a sense of belonging.

3. Your partner/significant other…Love
I’m thankful for my husband! My friend, my biggest fan, my rock, my love…my husband whose vision means love, whose spoken words to me are laced with love, whose upset or kind gaze means love and to whom the word “hate” is never associated with me. I’m thankful for the man he has grown to be and the dedication he has shown us. I’m thankful for the great, loving, nurturing father he is. I’m thankful for him keeping me in his corner, even when I have an attitude of defeat. I’m thankful I was allowed to fall in love and remain in love with him. and  

4. Your children
I’m thankful for my children! I’m thankful that I was given the gift of motherhood and the ability to see and appreciate the gift, as others may not have that chance. Thankful for the blessing of seeing them grow, laugh, cry in my arm, run for my embrace and search for my comfort. I’m thankful for their presence, which challenges me every day to be a better person. For them I want to walk the talk, for them I want to be better, for them I never want to give up, and for them I want to be the best I was meant to be.

5. Friends and strangers
Everyone in my life is here for a purpose; realizing the importance of that purpose or reason enlightens my life and gives the relationship true meaning. Friends/strangers or strangers/friends who may walk in or through my life that one day and be gone or set anchor, give me the answer, the inspiration I needed. I’m thankful for the life lessons I learn and the knowledge shared with those that cross my path, including teachers, grocery store clerks, restaurant servers, bus drivers, etc.

6. Nature
Sun up, sun down, rain, the 4 seasons, birds chirping, flowers, green grass, stars in the sky, the sound of waves crashing, squirrels running around, even the deer in my background…

7. Provider
I’m thankful for being able to provide! We have a roof over our head. The hubby and I work hard to provide our family with comfort and space, food in our belly, water, and clothes on our back. I’m thankful for the ability to pay my bills…

8. Yourself
I’m thankful for my life story! I’m thankful for my memories, my childhood and my experiences; all that has shaped me, my peace of mind and my ability to forgive others and myself. I’m thankful for the aptitude of finding my life’s purpose through trials and tribulations.

9. Growing old
I’m thankful for having that privilege! More and more, I realize not everyone gets the opportunity, but also when they do it is not always with health and grace, which is a gift in itself.

10. God
I’m thankful to God having my back, answering my prayers when I cry his name, and allowing me to be in his grace! I’m thankful for the love/gift that cannot be explained but that leaves me humbled and a servant.

Gratitude brings to my life a change of perception and a different outlook of my present time. I’ve decided to be thankful for all the basic gifts that make me and surround me. I refuse to dwell on what I think should have become, or what people think I should be focused on. What matters is the “NOW” and how beautiful life is, without comparison.

You probably have heard of this exercise and if you have, great but if not, I challenge you to start.
                           KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Challenge yourself and everyday write at least 3 new things you are grateful for it will start being very easy but the more you go on, it will open your mind to deeper reasons. It will bring awareness to all the good you receive and give out and you will be able to not be repetitive with your list.

 ~What are the things you are being thankful and grateful for? ~

“I’m grateful for all the blessings, I’m humbled by all the opportunities, I’m appreciative for all the experiences and I’m cognizant of to whom I owe it all”
~Rose Sanderson
      Thankfully blessed

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remember your life is YOUR classroom...

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou

I just finished looking at this blank page for the past 20 minutes, and although I knew exactly what this post was going to be about; I had the hardest time wanting to set it on paper.
Yesterday I got to talking candidly with one of my friend, about live, love, my beliefs, and her beliefs…beautiful conversation! In the mist of it, I told her “for me life is a classroom, every situation is a learning experience, nothing happens in vain and the only mistakes we as human make is not to learn from those mistakes and repeat them. We are predestined for a life of happiness and greatness but only “we” can take ourselves through and to our destiny”

In one of my earlier post I talked about “never elevate your partner on to a pedestal because you will be setting them up for failure as the steps leading to the platform of that pedestal are YOUR expectations, YOUR ideology of who they should be, YOUR conformities…”
I knew this applied to everyone in my lives not only my better half, but I choose to hang on to a few people who I believed belonged and deserved to be elevated. I modified the lesson I had learn for “exception” but yesterday I was proven again that ONLY GOD can stand tall at all time on and above any pedestal.

I stumbled hard and the visual of the disappointment I’m feeling is as if I’m looking at them falling down a 10 foot ladder and breaking no bone, but the reality is that I’m the one with disappointing feeling I’m the one with a broken feeling and all because instead of learning from my own lesson I chose to hold on to just a few whom I believe would never do wrong and could stay way up on that pedestal…I let myself down and that hurt.


“This is the beginning of a new day.
I have been given this day as I will.
I will use it for good because I’m exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever leaving in its place something that I’ve traded for it.
I want it to be a gain and not a loss. Good and not evil, success and not failure in order that I shall rejoice in the price I paid for it.”


As you begin your day, think of the new start you are about to create for yourself. What are you willing to leave behind for a better use of this new day to come?

Tap into your soul and remember to love always,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taking a leap...KONY 2012

The man in the mirror…

I live my life, believing that “good” is the driving force that fuels people. I can’t bring myself to think that the world is predominantly filled with evil souls, with hearts of stone. Why always see the negative? Why always project and imagine the worst out of people and situations? Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and ask, “While I’m projecting my expectations onto others, do I myself live up to them?” There are many beautiful souls who bring hope and love into our lives, the world and if you’ve ever doubted that there’s an abundance of love and care for all God’s creatures, just take your blinders off and look around. Kindness is not latent, it has not disappeared. It is here right now, enveloping and bathing each and every one of us willing to receive unreserved love.

Three days ago, I was just going about my merry way when my niece asked me, “Auntie, do you know? Have you heard? Have you seen?” She was talking about the situation in Uganda and the Kony2012 movement. I hadn’t yet seen or heard about Joseph Kony, nor his outrageous actions against kids, that have been taking place for the last 20 years. My niece, my 2 kids and I all immediately headed toward my computer and watched the 30 minute movie called “Kony2012” that has flooded the social media sites, internet and news.

When the movie ended, my heart was full of sadness and I felt compelled to help. I felt, almost forced to participate and contribute so that I could be part of the change. Everything was clearly explained, making it easy for me to join the movement and be part of a possibly better horizon for the affected children and families in Uganda.

Let’s take a leap…Let’s walk on faith…
I felt so overwhelmingly compelled to donate to the Invisible Children organization and its cause!
Was it because I felt guilty? Well….. Maybe a little. Primarily, it was because as a person, this is the most I know I can do to help; I have that capability, I have that power.
To me, the organization has shown positive actions toward getting results. The fact that we are here today trying to justify and find the “rights and wrongs” on the matter, is full proof of the awareness they have raised. My raised ignorance is a testimony to their work. Now it is up to me to react as best as I can in response.

I was unaware, and now I know. However, do I as a person, have the capability and drive to start a cause to help “the less than”? No. Am I capable to affect and create the awareness that they are creating right now? No. Can I see beyond my own selfish needs and commit years, exclusively to helping a group? No.

The kids and I did monetary participation by each purchasing the organization’s bracelet; to not just stop there, I decided to also use social media and continue spreading the message by posting the video on my FB page. I felt good! I felt as though I was involving myself in a good cause but the rewarding feeling turned out to be short term…

Just as fast Kony2012 flooded the internet, anti-Invisible Children videos started to surface and bash the work, casting doubt on the organization’s motivation and funds distribution.


What is shameful is that this situation in Uganda is a condition that has been going for the past 20+ years. For whatever reason, it took this long for me to have my ignorance on this matter shaken up. And shaken up by a group that was created 7-8 years ago, who because of their perseverance have finally built a voice loud enough to wake people up ALL over the world and bring awareness to this matter. And now while we are sitting on our sofas, doing less than nothing about it, we want to be self-righteous and count our pennies and where and how they are going to be distributed?
I think, what’s even more disgraceful than us questioning someone’s created cause to raise awareness about the situation is, now we want to investigate it before we lend our voice.

Does vouching to help someone, have to mean self-sacrifice? Does the message come across louder and clearer if I put myself in the helpless predicament of the people I’m trying to help? Nobody signs up to fight for a cause where, to prove their credibility, they starve to death, don’t pay their rent, nor take care of their kids to show their sincerity, devotion toward the issue and compassion for the people involve. I do find it audacious how as people, we are inclined to believe someone has to do for us, and when someone does, than we want to criticize and focus on the wrong. I’m not naïve enough to think that all the nonprofit organizations, charities, etc. are 100% honest in their apportionment of funds collected, but what I will say is that as long as I’m not creating the concept of a change through actions, who am I to judge those that have?

We say, about our people in RDC that were raped and killed, “They have seen nothing!” What do we say what about the people in Haiti after the earthquake? “They have seen nothing!” The Tsunami survivors? “Nothing!” To all that I say, I don’t believe they have seen nothing, what I believe is that they didn’t see the whole thing. They probably didn’t see half or a third of it, as far as some organization goes and although what they saw may not have been enough, they got help, they got something! And that something, however big or small, is better than nothing. Why do we feel so entitled and believe the outside world need to fix us? Let’s start with ourselves fixing ourselves. I’m here living in a world of security where my kids are safe with me, going at school, have a hot meal every day and have a roof over their head.  So, I won’t be the one to cast a stone at ANYONE who is making an effort, while I’m sitting on my plush sofa!

You want to do research? Yes, let’s do some research. What are you going to find? What are you going to find out that you should have known right of the gate?  You are going to find out that yes, there is a chain of command of people that have to be put in together to manage, brainstorm, come up with tactics and those to put them into action. Yes, you are going to find that although it is called a nonprofit organization, there are salaries to be paid. Those people working or trying to, need to also feed not only themselves but their families.

I posted on my Facebook page after reading that people should be very cautious about financially supporting The Invisible Children Organization and the Kony2012 movement;
“Even if only $2 out of the $40 my family and I donated by buying bracelets gets to the cause, for me it will be $40 well spent. Any well working machine needs oil to keep it functioning, human brains to give it a purpose, and power for continuous results; all put together, that might be where the $38 went…and that’s ok by me. By looking for the negative in everything, NOTHING will ever get accomplished; at the end of the day, awareness of the issue has multiplied and that again is worth the mere $40 I put in. My 2 cents…”

I may be wrong. I could be a fool. Call me gullible, trusting or naïve but I took a leap of faith. I choose to believe in the good of all people and act, consequently. I leave it to the higher being to judge who, when and what needs to be.

When was the last time you step out on faith and took a leap of faith towards the unknown? When was the last time you look further than your visual peripheral?

Be sensitized about the issue.
Make use of your power and get involve.

         Love always,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celebrating the fulfilled lives and the ones still flourishing…

Family does not just represent a group of people who are related through blood or marriage. To me, family extends far beyond that. With life (through different exposures and situations) we create relationships/connections with others, which bring love, happiness, joy, and at times pain, but overall meaningfulness to our lives. We create extended families and although you may not have that same “unconditional” love that comes through the birth line (or you feel for your own blood), they bring to your life a special kind of love that a traditional family can’t.
They become your brothers, sisters, uncles; aunties not only to you and yours but to your whole natural family…blended families.

I’m one of eleven, in a tight bunch of siblings, so naturally, some might say, “Why do you need to add to that?” You don’t need to add, it’s actually a seamlessly discerning and selective process, and one where you almost have no choice in the matter… pieces just fall into place and it just make sense. We call them brothers, sisters, cousins and uncles (when the relationship has been passed on from our parents); my children call them uncles, aunties and cousins because those who have been included into our family unit, care, love, and act as role model to them and as a support system to us.

We are taking an impromptu road trip to Detroit this weekend, to celebrate the life of our brothers’ (and sisters’, from a different womb) father, who left his small, earthly house for the BIG house to join his wife. Unfortunately, I didn't know the man well. I actually only met him (briefly) once, but I have met and love his kids (although not all of them, as they have us beat by 3). These are my husbands’ "brothers and sisters" and through them, I know how great of a man he must have been to have raised such beautiful kids. I had to be part of the celebration of his life, not only to support my family, but being a parent myself, I can only hope that I will be given the opportunity to see my children through adulthood and be parents themselves. Only then, I’d feel that my job was fulfilled and I could leave them before they left me.... Doesn't that deserve a celebration? Shouldn’t there be a “going away party” for a job well done? It’s almost like an athlete or actor who retires at the height of his/her career, having accomplished all there was to achieve.

While on the road with the hubby (him driving and my babies in the back seat), I think of all the people who have left us, how family trees renew themselves through births and marriages... and the importance of being there for each other regardless of distance, discord, or differences. I’m praying that when the time comes for the hubby and I to depart this world, that I would have done a fantastic job in teaching my kids to first cherish each other and their extended circle. So when they need “it”, they also will have the “unconditional” support to see them through anything.

On our way, I got a voicemail from a friend, and when I say “friend”, I mean it in the true value of the word, even though we have lost touch for so many years. The fact that I can't remember why, testifies to the triviality of the reason. We've been trying to reconnect for the pass few months through messenger, Facebook and voicemail but can’t seem to get each other on the phone. In her voicemail, she said something beautiful that touched me. She was full of regret about the fact that she has lost so many friends, (good friends) due to not keeping in touch. And because now, in retrospect, she realizes that it was due to foolish reasons (and while she deals with her regret), she wants to make sure that I don’t make the same mistakes with my friends. She said, “Life is too short to be wasted with petty stuff”. I’m touched because, thankfully, I’ve maintained my bonds, and while working on bringing back our relationship to where it needs to be, she wants to make sure that I’m ok. That’s true friendship.

So as we celebrate the life of the ones that have left us, let's never forget to mend those broken relationships! Learn to deal with the ups and down you go through (arguing, breaking up and naturally making up as family members or friends) because when you look back, you’ll see how funny and silly the reasons were. As you know, hindsight is always 20/20. I can successfully say, without those bumps that come along the way in any relationship, we wouldn't be standing strong and proud today of our sister/brotherhood.

It's never too late...unless time runs out and leaves you full of regret.‎

"No matter your perception of immediate and extended family life, one thing that most every family can agree on is that the common denominator is love. Whether it's open, mountain-top-shouting love, or demure, cloaked affection, the love of a family is precious and irreplaceable"

Does this resonate to you? Do your life seems as though it wouldn't be complete without your extended family?

        Love always,

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