Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Birthing a nation

This whole election thing is like being in labor.

A lot of pain, sprinkles of happiness and now a push to the finish.

I just don't know if it's a girl or boy.


Monday, November 7, 2016

One more dream

Every once in a while, I like to do something crazy....like pull a dream out of my basket and pull it into more than a notion.

Almost 25 years ago, I received my bachelor's degree after many long nights of studying preceded by long days of full-time work. After I received the good fortune of gaining employment at Washington University in St. Louis, I began the work of completing my studies begun at the University of Toledo. And I did it, part-time, in four years, so my children would see what determination looked like.

It took another five years before my next dream was realized: using my gift of writing with the guidance of admired journalists. I followed their footsteps and eventually wrote for three of the most respected newspapers in the country. I moved three times to three different cities to again turn a dream into reality. I got to tell the stories of people both famous and forgotten and it was an honor.

My latest dream is a full-circle venture. While many kids ran and climbed and rode bikes and swam and got into all kinds of mischief, my mother frequently found me on the front porch with my sisters' dolls lined up in my imaginary schoolhouse. She was sure I'd grow up to be a teacher.

After living my life doing everything but living my life, I applied this week to be considered for a real job. As an adjunct instructor in speech and communications, I can combine my life experience and professional experience and a basket of blessings into a level of service that will benefit my community and myself.

So this may be a logical step on the path that is my life or it may indeed be a certifiably insane leap for a woman in the sunset of her life. But I always thought my mother gave me a unique name to set me aside from the normal, to do things not in order but in due time and do them well.

I'll let you know how this dream ends....

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Celebrating Hillary

I should be turning cartwheels since early voting last month.

This country is on the verge of possibly electing the first woman president and it only took 96 years after women got the right to vote. And my new home state Tennessee was the one that officially ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920. Who knew...

The current female nominee climbed an exceptionally unique ladder to reach this level of importance. She created her own coattail rather than slide into position by name alone.

That she is female makes her climb that much steeper in a male-dominated political structure. Even when she played the game like them, respecting the play was not appreciated by her worthy opponents. Still, she persevered. She outplayed the players and used some of the mud slung as a facial to spite those who thought she'd fade out of the grueling campaign march.

But she didn't and I salute her, regardless of the outcome.

If she had been male, her path to power would be admired as well as reviled, much as her adversary's path is today.

As Susan B. Anthony said: "Are you going to cater to the whims and prejudices of people? We draw out from other people our own thought. If, when you go out to organize, you go with a broad spirit, you will create and call out breadth and toleration. You had better organize one woman on a broad platform than 10,000 on a narrow platform of intolerance and bigotry."

Millions of women will be watching the future's horizon, Madam Secretary....

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Happy hour remembered

In spite of the ferocious arguments I've heard about ending Daylight Saving Time permanently, experiencing it in my youth makes it an important touchstone of my college years.

I fondly remember the intricate fashion and libation planning for the parties planned specifically on the Saturday night/Sunday mornings in Octobers through the years that allowed college kids an extra hour to "party hearty." Whether it was at Swayne Hall or the Student Union or a random frat house in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, a great shout went up among the revelers when the loudspeaker's countdown hit two o'clock and we roared "Back to 1! Heyyyyyy!!!"

Fast forward to today, I am grateful for the automatic time change on my cell phone so I can sleep through the time flip ceremony. I do still have to continue the ritual for the clocks in my car, stove and microwave. And I still yell out "back to 1!"

I will say, however, I am not looking forward to the almost nonstop darkness: waking to darkness, driving in darkness and shortened weekends because I'll spend more time indoors. But that too shall pass...

Yes, sometimes the little things mean a lot, even the tedious procedure of resetting a clock by someone who hears the ticking louder than most as she twirls through her golden years.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Falling into winter

Although most of the people I know claim summer as their favorite season, I am especially fond of Autumn, the only season with a nickname.

As the temperature continues to modulate to a cooler normal, I begin my ritual of preparing my front porch for winter. Guess now is when I let those who haven't been on my porch that I showcase my favorite flowers and plants there every year. Watering, feeding, nipping, turning, replacing are all part of the ritual I do to thank God for giving this old lady a home of her own.

Oh, and the porch decorating gets even more intense at Christmas, Just you wait...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The cleansing power of presidential sunshine

Sometimes, I get criticized for finding the good in the worst of life on this planet.
Like with the election.
If Hillary Clinton can endure running for office backwards and in heels with almost every man in her life throwing word grenades at her every damn day, she deserves to be president. Foreign leaders don't stand a chance against this battle-tested sister.
Yeah, she lies. We. All. Do. All women lie when we want to put on a good face. Men lie when they want to hide their true face. Yet I actually want a president who can lie with conviction as long as her actions back up the truth of the situation.
She has yet to be shown to be unfaithful but is inextricably tied to the men around her who have. They have the fun and she gets the blame. What the...
And yet, we get to see what bravery and perseverance and badass in a pantsuit look like. And I am here for all of it.
In this election season, we also get to see the seams of the fabric of racism, the smothering tapestry of hate laid bare in the disinfectant power of sunshine. Prejudice has been comfortable feeding off itself in the dank hollows of the heart of some intolerants but now flows free in the streets and on the airwaves. And we now get to see where and who it comes from and those of us who disagree will remember. Even those who refused to acknowledge that racism even exists have been forced to see it with fresh eyes and look away in shame.
I pray the change of heart continues and that love truly trumps hate.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The pursuit of happiness...and gratitude


Thanks. Giving.

Giving thanks.

This is the month where one day is set aside to give thanks, although everyday I wake up I say a prayer of thanksgiving for everything I hold dear. My children. My siblings. My dogs. Their health. My health. And a petition of grace for those in my life dealing with various challenges: I call it my prayer list.

There's extra gratitude for this month of birth: my brother, my daughter, my niece, my nephew. All precious lights on my path. A strong light of love was also extinguished in this month but I am grateful for our walk together.

And so I invite you to fullstop, take a deep breath and search your mind for the things, the people, the places that give you joy.  Remember joy is internally driven so you may need two breaths to relax long enough to find it. When you find it, smile at the discovery, whether carnal or spiritual.

It has made you the "you" you are today.

At least until you find the next thing that makes your heart smile and gives you joy.

If my many Novembers have taught me anything, it is that it is far better to pursue happiness than be chased by doubt.

Be well.