Week 2: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

First, thanks to SilverThreading for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.

Second, I met most of my Week 2 Intentions, which were to live life to the fullest by following the eight CREATION Health principles.

Third, this is how my week went.

CHOICE

Making the CHOICE to BE STILL and BREATHE before REACTING throughout the day.  I did just that and experienced less stress, doubt and conflict during the week.

REST

Sleeping through the night is healthy.  I went to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. and arose between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.  Seven to eight hours of sleep is good sleep hygiene according to the National Sleep Foundation.  I, also, paced my activities during the day and stopped to rest and breathe,  if for no more than five minutes.

ENVIRONMENT

Being in the presence of nature brings happiness and peace into my space.  I did not fulfill my Intention to visit a local park or botanical garden. However, I spent time on our lanai, which backs up to a conservation area.  Sitting, in silence , I enjoyed the beauty of the lush green trees and my self-created Healing Container Garden.

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ACTIVITY

Beginning the day with a 20-30 minute Mindfulness/Meditation practice is how I choose to set the course for the rest of the day.  Building upon this foundation, four times a week, I did thirty minutes of either home physical therapy exercises or YouTube yoga practices as well as three plank poses for five minutes – two for two minutes and one for one minute.  Walked the treadmill and glided on the precor machines at my fitness center for forty minutes, three times per week.  This completed my exercise routine.

TRUST

Holding on to anger and frustration exacerbates stress.  For several months, Hubby ignored repeated requests to hang four pictures in my meditation room.  I relied on Trust.  Married to this man for more than fifty-five years: I know he is reliable, good, honest, and, most of all a loving and caring husband.  At 74-years-old, he has earned the right to move at his own pace.  After all, I am an independent SeasonedSistah capable of doing many things and Trust that I will be able to hang pictures.  If not, I have the number to a handyman service.

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Going beyond self and opening up to improve INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS is healthy. So, I reached out and connected, by phone, with a long-time friend, attended a photography class at the local senior center, and signed up to attend a Breast Cancer support group meeting in February.

OUTLOOK

Expressing thankfulness opens the door to a positive OUTLOOK.  Daily, I expressed gratitude, verbally as well as in writing, for the five things I was grateful for in my Gratitude Journal.

NUTRITION

Moving away from traditional soul food and toward healthier food options makes sense.  However, my southern heritage and African-American roots keeps me tied to these traditional dishes. Fulfilling my INTENTION, I went to one of my cookbooks and prepared three healthy soul food dishes:

  • Field Peas with Okra
  • Cabbage
  • Southern Corn Bread

Field peas with okra and cabbage are traditionally cooked with ham hocks, bacon salt pork or a ham bone.  Several years ago, in pursuit of a healthier option, I replaced the pork with smoked turkey.  Hubby and I enjoyed the vegetarian versions of these dishes and enjoyed a healthy and tasty Sunday soul food dinner.

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Incorporating the eight CREATION Health principles into my life over the last seven days helped to uplift my mind, body and spirit.

 Healthy Living is How I Choose to Live.

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Week One: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

Thanks to Colleen over at Silver Threading for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.  Joining her and other bloggers on this life changing journey is the incentive I need to start the new year.

I am in desperate need of a comeback following a healthy living setback from Thanksgiving through the Christmas holidays.

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My Healthy Lifestyle Plan

Preparing for a healthier new year, I explored a number of options.  Finally, I chose to re-start a program I had tried back in 2010.  Even though I completed the eight-week Creation Health seminar, “God’s Eight Principles for Living Life to the Fullest,” I never fully lived up to the eight principles:

  1. C = Choice
  2. R = Rest
  3. E = Environment
  4. A = Activity
  5. T = Trust
  6. I = Interpersonal
  7. O = Outlook
  8. N = Nutrition

Setting weekly INTENTIONS for each CREATION principles is the path I choose to follow on this journey to live a healthy lifestyle.

WEEK ONE  – INTENTIONS

  • CHOICE – take time to stop and breathe deeply throughout the day  to improve decision-making skills.
  • REST – between 7-8 hours nightly and pace my daily activities.
  • ENVIRONMENT – visit a local park or botanical garden.
  • ACTIVITY exercise the mind, body and spirit by taking time for mindfulness/meditation practices, workout at my fitness center, yoga, photography, adult coloring and painting projects.
  • TRUST – through stillness and silence there will be a resolution to conflicts that may enter my space..
  • INTERPERSONAL – reconnect with a friend and/or extended family member.
  • OUTLOOK – daily record five things that I am grateful for in my online Gratitude Journal App.

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  • NUTRITION – follow a healthy diet and prepare a meal using a recipe from one of the healthy eating cookbooks gathering dust in a closet under the stairs.
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Journeying Toward a Healthy New Year

I look forward to this healthy living journey and the opportunity to share both my challenges and successes in a weekly post. 

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Six-Week Blog Hiatus

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I am so, so happy to reconnect with the Blogosphere World after taking a 6-week hiatus in mid-November.  During my absence, Hubby and I traveled to Wisconsin.  We enjoyed the face-to-face time with the children, grands and friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We came back home to face the monumental task of  decorating the inside and outside of our home for Xmas.  It was not an easy task for two people on the other side of 70 to:

  • dig out Xmas decorations and lights stored randomly in closets when space ran out in the garage.  I so miss my Wisconsin basement and attic space;
  • separate tangled lights, haphazardly pulled down and thrown in red containers when the season ended last year;
  • setup the 5-year-old artificial Xmas tree, which is becoming more difficult as we age and it ages; and
  • figure out how to work the new fangled laser lights purchased to heighten our holiday visual experience when focused properly.  We were not able to get the proper focus.

In between these tasks we readied the house and shopped for enough food to host our three children, five grandchildren, two cousins and one nephew for eight days.

When everyone arrived, seeing them and knowing that I would be in their presence for more than a week was the greatest Christmas gift.  The preparation tiredness disappeared and in its place happiness and joy entered my space.

Rested, Relaxed, Restored and Ready to Re-Start Blogging!

 

 

 

From Whence I Came: Gilbert and Mary

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Thus far, in searching out information to learn more about “From Whence I Came,” I have relied on records from the United States Federal Census, Illinois Death Records, U.S. Social Security Death Index, and U.S. World War I Draft Registration forms.

I am not sure what, if anything, I will find out about my ancestors who were born into, married and/or died during slavery.  Since enslaved African-American men, women, and children were not recorded in Census Reports until 1870.  My enslaved family, though identified in Census Reports, were recorded under their slaveholders’ name.  They were listed by their first name or nameless along with race, height, and weight.

At this stage in my research, I have not been able to find out when my great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mary Shegog, married.  However, I feel confident they were married for more than forty years given the:

  • 1900 Census report their oldest children as twins, Thomas and Minerva, age 13.
  • 1990 Census report Gilbert’s and Mary’s age as 34 and 25, respectively.
  • 1930 Census report the youngest child, Josie, is living in the home with her two young children.

It appears that Mary passed away sometime after the 1930 Census Report as the:

  • 1940 Census reports Gilbert living in the home of his youngest, son, Robert and wife, Edna.  His marital status was recorded as widowed.

Since I found the record of Gilbert’s death in the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, Index, I assume he was either visiting or living with his children who migrated from Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  Gilbert was laid to rest in his hometown, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi on November 30, 1947.

 

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Gilbert Shegog – Born About 1866

Gilbert and Mary’s children were the great-grand aunts and uncles who loved and embraced me from my childhood until their death.  A strong family commitment brought them together to fill the void left by my grandmother and great-grandmother who died before I was born.

There is no doubt “From Whence I Came — 

“I am the descendent of a slave family.  We were captured and lost our identity.  Yet, we have survived and thrived despite the obstacles placed in our paths.”

In coming weeks, I hope to uncover information and write about my great, great-grandmother, Mary, as well as the 13 children born into this union.

 

Family History: New Information, New Questions

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As I continue to uncover New Information about my maternal family history, New Questions arise.

New Information

A recent Ancestry.com query by my paternal niece revealed this unknown information about my maternal great-grandmother, Minerva.  She was born about 1888, in Mississippi, and was one of 13 children, seven brothers and six sisters.  Her father, Gilbert, was 22 and her mother, Mary, was 13.

Minerva had one child, a daughter named Minnie, born in 1905.

New Questions

  1. I know about five sisters, Roxy, Sally, Willie, Minerva, and Josie.  What happened to the sixth sister?
  2. I know about three brothers, Thomas, Robert and Johnny.  What happened to the other four brothers?
  3. When and where did Gilbert and Mary get married?
  4. When and where were Gilbert and Mary born?
  5. When and where did Gilbert and Mary die?
  6. When and where were the siblings born?
  7. When and where did the siblings die?
  8. The name of my grandmother, Minnie’s, father.

Answers to these questions will provide New Information,  leading to New Questions and  my maternal family search to “know from whence we came” will continue.

 

Let’s Talk About Family: Aunt Roxy

Several weeks ago, I embarked on a journey to create an identity for those maternal family members who came before me.

Seekers Dungeon Prompt, “Let’s Talk About Family,” opened up a new door to share my memories.

 

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Aunt Roxy

I grew up surrounded by a large group of maternal aunts and uncles who nurtured and cared for me in their own special way.

All of my aunts filled in the space vacated by a:

  • Mother who worked a full-time job, six days a week; and a
  • Grandmother and Great-Grandmother who died before I was born.

Aunt Roxy, one of my great-grand aunts, cared for me during the day until I was about  12-years-old.  She and her husband, Uncle RV, were childless.  They lived on the third floor of a Victorian Style building on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

Aunt Roxy and Uncle RV used the front living room as their bedroom.  Her two sisters, Aunt Willie and Aunt Sally, stayed in the other two bedrooms.  They were special, too, and I will share memories of them in future posts.

There were two common areas in the apartment — a kitchen and a small open space off the stairwell which housed two comfortable chairs and cabinet style-radio that sat on the floor.

Aunt Roxy and Uncle RV also had a small 12″, black and white television in their bedroom where everyone gathered to watch their favorite shows.

On Saturdays, the aunts came together in the kitchen to prepare the weekly, after church, Sunday dinner.  They always seemed to cook enough to feed anyone who came by.  The two tables in the large kitchen rarely had an empty seat on Sunday.

I had my play and napping place in Aunt Roxy’s bedroom — a separated corner area of the room, surrounded by windows where I spent many hours playing, dreaming and pretending.  As an only child, I didn’t have a problem entertaining myself.

Though, I have fond memories of Aunt Roxy and the many hours I spent under her care, I —

  • Disliked taking the daily dose of caster oil after lunch.  Even though she followed this up with one whole marshmallow, it didn’t erase the awful taste.
  • Feared the dead bodies that regularly entered and exited the funeral home on the first floor and the embalming center in the basement.  It was not unusual to see a body laid out in an open casket for viewing in the entryway leading to the apartments upstairs.

Because I cannot recall when Aunt Roxy died or her married name, I will search for this information.  You see, there is no one left who remembers.

 

 

 

Family Memories: Miss Mattie and George

I want to create an identity for those family members that came before me.  For my family history has been lost, misplaced and forgotten.  I will begin by searching for information, asking questions, and recalling memories.

When information is found, I will write.  When I recall memories, I will write.  When I get answers, I will write.

I want to leave written words for my children, grandchildren, and future generations so that they, “know from whence they came.” 

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So, I begin this journey with fond memories of my maternal great-grandparents.

George and Miss Mattie

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George and Miss Mattie – Wedding Photo

During my childhood, I assumed George and Miss Mattie were only good friends.  After all, they worked on the same plantation and lived in close proximity to each other.

As the plantation owner’s family cook, Miss Mattie, lived in the big house with the plantation owner’s family. I recall a large white house surrounded by huge shrubs, sitting on lush green lawns, with peacocks walking around spreading their colorful wings.

George worked as the driver  who supervised the sharecroppers working in the plantation fields.  Therefore, his house was a bit larger, painted a bright red and better maintained than the sharecropper homes on the plantation.  Sitting directly behind the big house, it shared the big house’s lush green lawns, huge shrubs and the peacocks even wandered by George’s front porch spreading their colorful wings.

Growing up, I knew George was the driver on the plantation.  Unlike the drivers described during slavery, the sharecroppers on the plantation respected and trusted George.

Even though slavery ended in 1865, its remnants remained in the south and its replacement was sharecropping.  

I am not sure when George or Miss Mattie began working on this plantation located in the rural Mississippi Delta.  For certain, George worked as the driver throughout my mother’s childhood as well as mine.

Miss Mattie and George married sometime around the mid-1950s and were together until George passed away in 1971. Miss Mattie died several years later.

Though. I refer to George and Miss Mattie as great-grandparents, we shared no bloodline.

George the Single Parent

My mother rarely talked about her past. But, she did tell me how George became my great-grandfather  He married my great-grandmother, Minerva, around the late 1930s. She was raising four grandchildren after the death of her daughter and only child, Minnie.

Several years later, when Minerva, died four of her sisters offered to take one child each.  George rejected their offer.  He did not want to see them separated.

George was very protective of the children.  He stressed getting an education and their moving up north for a better life.  When other children on the plantation went to work in the fields, my mother and her siblings went to school.  When the two girls were ready for high school, he sent them both off to boarding schools.  I remember mama saying, “We wanted to go to the field with the other children, but George wouldn’t allow it.”

The two boys were with him until they enlisted in the Navy during World War II and the two girls left when they married.  All eventually moved north as George wanted.

I have many, many memories to share of times spent with this compassionate, loving, and generous man as I continue down this path of discovering “from whence I came.”

 

 

Little Known Family History

When one of my two remaining maternal cousins visited in August, during our conversation, we realized how little we knew about the family’s history.

Later, this led to the three of us planning a first-time reunion of the Outlaw Family Clan for Thanksgiving 2016.

As the remaining three elders, we plan to piece together what we can by:

  • reviewing information recorded in the family bible;
  • identifying photos in the family album; and
  • sharing memories and old photos.

Our goal is to capture and preserve as much family history as possible to pass down to future generations.

On a personal level, the eldest of the elders on both my paternal and maternal sides, I will continue to share my life experiences, via this blog.  Perhaps, one day, future generations will use what I write to piece together information for their family reunion.

 

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Hi, I’m Back

My last blog post was July 31.  The main reason I have been absent from the blogosphere world is that my laptop crashed the second week in August.  It happened during my Annual Mother-Daughter Vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.  It was the first time in six years of vacationing in the Vineyards that I took my laptop.  My plan was to blog about my daily experiences and activities as well as share photos during the vacation.

I took a lot of photos.  Actually, over the seven-day vacation in the Vineyards, I took a ridiculous number of photos.  When I downloaded them to my laptop, the count was 787.  The computer crashed and I feared my photos were lost.  Thanks to ICloud, I didn’t lose one photo.  Computer-challenged, I am not sure how, but grateful that through this technology all 11,000+ photos taken and/or retrieved from other sources over the past five years were successfully downloaded to my new laptop.

Taking photos as I meander through daily life is a new passion that brings so much happiness, peace and joy to my life.  Daily, capturing photos during my early morning bonding walks with the two daughters was the highlight of my Mother-Daughter Vacation this year.

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Many more photos to share, over the coming weeks, as I recall and share memories of the many things that occurred during my, almost two month, absence from blogosphere.

Glad, I am back and looking forward to reconnecting with my blogging friends

 

 

 

 

Freedom Friday – Mindfulness and Meditation Practice

Getting better, but MY INTENTIONS do not always get MY ATTENTION.

Three weeks ago, I committed to writing a weekly post for Freedom Friday, hosted by imaniking, to document my 8-Week journey toward managing and controlling a long-term chronic pain condition through Mindfulness and Meditation Practices.

I successfully completed and posted for Week 1.  Even though, I did the reading and meditation/mindfulness practices for Week 2; I will do a repeat and write a post about this experience on Friday, July 17.

Instead of Mindfulness and Meditation Practices, I gave full ATTENTION to family and friends during my mini-vacation to Wisconsin for five days.  Everyday, I met face-to-face with friends and family that I, usually, communicate with via E-Mail, Facebook, or telephone.

While I love my new life, as a retiree in Florida, I miss the personal connection with the special people in my life.  I enjoyed being with them to:

  1. see their smile,
  2. watch their body language, and
  3. listen quietly while looking into their eyes.

But, the highlight of the vacation was being in the presence of family and friends at our Annual Summer Family/Friend Gathering.

(Photography Credits to Friends, Jane and Cebby)

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Cupcake said, “Let’s Get This Party Started.”
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Three-Legged Race
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Water Balloon Toss
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The Golfers said, “Let’s Get A Little Putting In.”
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The Young Men said, “Let’s Shoot a Couple of Hoops.”
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Avi said, “Look At My Moves.”
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Cupcake, Kertagje and George said, “We Got This Dance Down.”
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Avi said, “I Won A Medal.”
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Lyric said, “Forget the Bouncie House, Watch My Somersault.”
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SeasonedSistah2 said, “Talking with Family and Loving It.”
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Hubby (White Shirt) said, “Having a Great Time with Family and Friends.”
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Damien said, “I Had Fun, But It’s Time to End This Party.”
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CJ said, “I Am Tired and Damien is Right, It’ Time to Rest Up for the Fireworks Tonight.”