Writers Quote Wednesday 2015

Once again, I send a huge thank you to SilverThreading for hosting Writers Quote Wednesday 2015.

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This week in recognition of Black Music Month, I selected the words from a song written by the Father of Gospel Music, Thomas A. Dorsey.  

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In planning my mother’s funeral back in 1967,  I chose to have “Precious Lord Take My Hand”  as one of the musical selections.  I am among many who have made the same choice.

This song was a favorite of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and he had requested the beloved and famous gospel singer, Miss Mahalia Jackson, to sing it at his funeral.

Years before Dr. King’s funeral, around 1959, I went to see the movie, “Imitation of Life.”  Even as a 15-year-old, I ended up in tears when Miss Jackson began singing “Precious Lord Take My Hand” during one of the lead characters funeral.

When I hear this song it always brings back memories of sad times.  Yet it is my favorite gospel song; and, I am still trying to process why.

To give you further insight on Mr. Dorsey’ s music and life, I share this YouTube video.  It begins with and oral biography on Mr. Dorsey followed by Miss Yolanda Adams, one of today’s most famous Gospel performers, singing her rendition of “Precious Lord Take My Hand.”

Please click here for further biographical information on Mr. Dorsey.

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Honoring My Favorite Fathers

Today is Fathers Day and I use this blog to honor two great fathers. Both have been in my life for more than fifty years. Neither is my father, but the way they father has shown me what a true father is.

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The #1 Father in my life is the father of my three children.  I honor, respect and truly love this man who was only an 18-year-old, high school dropout, when our first child was born.

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Pregnant and 17-years old when we married, I believed and trusted him when he said, “I will do all I can to improve my life to give you and our child a better life.”  He lived up to this commitment by:

  • Enlisting in the Armed Forces to make sure there was income and health services for me and our unborn child;
  • Earning a GED (High School Diploma) to open up better job opportunities after military service; and
  • Returning to school, after working for five years in the private sector, to earn a Bachelors and Masters Degree at a Top Ten University;

He did these things to ensure our three children were financially secure and their lives were open to better opportunities.  But, just as important, he was the hands-on father who:

  • washed diapers,
  • ironed school uniforms,
  • hemmed skirts,
  • sewed on buttons
  • cooked meals,
  • read stories,
  • attended school conferences, concerts, recitals, games, …
  • shared dreams,
  • encouraged goals.

Our children are now middle-aged and have their own families, but they know Dad is there for them, today, as he has been throughout their lives.

The #2 Father in my life is our only son.  A middle-child, the only boy, born on Halloween; I, jokingly, said for many years, “I am not sure if he is my trick or treat.”  Today, I say without hesitation, “He is my treat,” and “I shout from the highest height that I am proud to call him my son.”

This Father Day, and everyday, I honor this man who is 53-years-old and the single-parent to my 6-year-old granddaughter.  By the way, brag time, she graduated from Kindergarten this month:

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Parenting is challenging even when there are two people sharing the responsibility.  And, I had concerns whether my son could handle single-parenting. Especially, given he had lived most of his life as a bachelor.

I recall the saying, “He’s a chip of the old block” and, like his father he has stepped into the parenting role with ease and confidence.

Teachers, family, friends, professional colleagues, as well as his parents, comment on his hands-on fathering skills.  How could we have expected anything else? After all, he has seen hands-on fathering, by his father, throughout  his life.

Happy Fathers Day to My Hubby and Son!!!

Freedom Friday: Mindfulness and Meditation

Eight-Week Mindfulness and Meditation Journey

Today, my space opens up to a new venture; and, I want to thank imaniking for her blogging platform, Freedom Friday, to launch this 8-week journey to control and manage my chronic pain condition through mindfulness and meditation.

After reading both the paperback and listening to the audio of the book, “You Are Not Your Pain,” by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penma, I made a personal commitment to give their 8-week program a try; and, to hold myself accountable I pledge to journal about this experience weekly on Freedom Friday.

Prescribed medications and physician care will always be a part of my chronic pain treatment plan; but, I am anxious to find out if adding these new mindfulness and meditation practices will make a difference..

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Mindfulness
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Meditation

My Chronic Pain History

Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1993, the severe pain I experienced forced me to leave my career of twenty years.  In 1996, I returned to the workforce; and, until 2008, with the exception of rare flare-ups, I managed my pain levels with prescribed medications and an exercise routine.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, I was told it was likely related to side-effects of the prescribed medication which had managed my Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years.  The medication was discontinued, but the oncologist assured me that the RA pain would be managed with chemotherapy treatment.

While I no longer experienced RA pain, I did have a side-effect to the chemotherapy and ended up with a new pain diagnosis, Peripheral Neuropathy.

After I completed breast cancer treatment, my oncologist and rheumatologist conferred, searched, identified and agreed on a new drug to treat my RA pain.  Within days after the first infusion of this drug, I was:

  • diagnosed with epiglottis;
  • hospitalized for weeks;
  • intubated for five days;
  • released from hospital; and,
  • diagnosed with a new condition of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

With COPD, nebulizers and inhalers entered my space but they never adequately controlled the coughing and breathing problems.  Following two hospitalizations (2012 and 2013) because of severe bronchitis, it was determined that another RA medication I had taken for more than twenty years was attacking my lungs and the drug was discontinued.

My track record with medication hasn’t been great.  While I will continue my current medications, I am not open to new ones.  And, my rheumatologist hasn’t suggested or prescribed anything new since the epiglottis diagnosis.

Let the Journey Begin

Over the next week, I will complete:

  • Two 10-minute program meditations, daily;
  • Spend a little time with nature, daily; and
  • Spend 1 Hour with nature, on one day.

To better control pain levels as well as improve the quality of my life, I am committed to:

  • strengthening my current mindfulness and meditation practices through this 8-week program;
  • continuing my current prescribed medications and health care regime; and,
  • following my own Chronic Pain Self-Management Program
    • Nutrition and Diet
    • Healthy Sleep Habits
    • Exercise
    • Spiritual Uplifting
    • Laughter/Humor
    • Relaxation/Rest
    • Music

Writers Quote Wednesday 2015

 

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I really, really love Black music and it has been in my life since early childhood.  This month, I discovered that June is Black Music Month; and what a surprise to find out its been around since 1979.  Upon learning this, I decided for the remaining Writers Quote Wednesday 2015 in June to share quotes from Black music legends.

Last week, I shared a quote by one of America’s leading jazz vocalist, Miss Billy Holiday.  

My quote this week is from another legendary jazz singer, Miss Ella Fitzgerald.

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I invite you to enjoy “One Number Samba” performed by Miss Fitzgerald, the First Lady of scat singing; and, for readers who want to know a bit more about her click here.

Part 3: My Blogging Break – Hubby’s Hospitalization

(Links to Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series.)

During my blogging break, Hubby and I were blessed to spend quality time with our two granddaughters who were visiting from Wisconsin.  They were the distraction we needed to release some of our tension and anxiety as we awaited Hubby’s surgery scheduling date.

Hubby’s Medical Condition

More than seven years ago, Hubby was diagnosed with, Trigeminal Neuralgia, a very serious chronic pain  condition.  Despite different health care interventions and prescribed medications, his pain levels elevated to the point where they were no longer tolerable.

Hubby felt his only remaining option was the Microvascular Decompression Procedure, “an invasive brain surgery offered to patients who are in reasonably good health and are not to advanced in age.”

Hospitalization and Surgery

Hubby had the surgery on Monday, May 18.

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Pre-Operative

My stress level lessened during the surgery once I made the choice to wait outside on one of the hospital terraces, rather than the dark and poorly lit surgery waiting area.  I even took a few photos:

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Nature’s beauty brought peace and harmony into my space; and, thankfully my cousin, who was visiting from Mississippi, was at my side to support me.

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Cousin, Sharon

The afternoon Florida heat forced us to look for another tranquil space, preferably one with air conditioning.  We found just that in the Walt Disney Room leading to the children’s wing of the hospital.

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For years, I have used distraction as a self-management tool to control my chronic pain condition.  And, it was a blessing to have this skill-set in my tool chest as I went through Hubby’s first-time hospitalization and surgery.

The surgery was successful and four days later, Hubby was discharged from the hospital

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Last Meal Before Discharge

Expressing Gratitude and Thankfulness

Hubby’s recovery is going well and he is scheduled for his first physical therapy session next week; and,

  • I am Thankful to all those who sent uplifting messages and prayers during this trying time in my life.
  • I am grateful, beyond words, for the healing hands of the neurosurgeon who performed Hubby’s surgery.
  • I am thankful and grateful to God for answering my prayers to relieve Hubby of his excruciating and debilitating pain.

 

 

My Blogging Break – Part Two: Lady C’s Visit

A Blogging Break in April and May freed up time for me to spend quality time with visiting family members.

Last week, in Part 1 of this three-part series, I shared a few of the fun and memorable experiences with our two granddaughters who visited us for seven days over their spring break.

Several weeks after leaving our eldest granddaughter, Lady C returned.  She re-arranged her schedule after learning that Hubby was on the wait list for surgery when an available slot became available on the neurosurgeon’s schedule.

Rather than sitting around and waiting for the hospital to call with an admission date, Hubby encouraged us to use this time to do some fun things together.  He reminded me that, as the post-surgery caregiver, I would be housebound for weeks following his discharge from the hospital.

So in Part 2 of this series, I share some of the special moments spent with my eldest granddaughter, Lady C.

Pottery Painting

One of the things Lady C wanted to do was pick up the pottery pieces we painted during her last visit.  We had left them at the pottery gallery to go through the last firing process.

Both of us felt the pottery pieces looked beautiful after the firing.

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Cupcake’s Painted and Pottery Fired Cat
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Lady C’s Painted and Pottery Fired Vase
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SeasonedSistahs2s Painted and Pottery Fired Vase

Pecan Resin Xmas Figurine Painting

Inspired by how well the pottery pieces turned out, we wanted to do more painting.

I telephoned my son and asked him to dig out a couple of the unpainted Xmas holiday pecan resin figurines stored in the basement of our home in Wisconsin.  I had purchased them in North Carolina at a flea market more than twenty years ago.  He sent seven figurines and these are the two that Lady C and I decided to paint.

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SeasonedSistah2 – Pecan Resin Santa Claus Painting Project
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Lady C – Pecan Resin Xmas Tree Painting Project

We had fun painting on the lanai — the soft breezes, birds singing, rustling of trees and sharing memories of past times together.  Especially, the two-year period that I lived in North Carolina and provided child care for her while my eldest daughter completed her medical residency and fellowship training.

Lady C, even as a 3-years-old, loved to watch me paint.  She would tell me what colors to use and whether it was pretty or not.  When she felt I had painted long enough, she would say, “No more ‘bellishments” rather than embellishments.

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Lady C and Her Painting Project

This was Lady C’s first-ever attempt and my first attempt, after a 20+ year absent, at painting pecan resin figurines.  It will take us some time to finish our projects, but the goal is to have them on display when our family gathers in Florida for Christmas. Of course, I will share photos on this blog during the holidays.

Mustard and Turnip Greens

It has been a long tradition in our family to have mustard and turnip greens on the dinner table for special occasions; and, definitely every Christmas and Thanksgiving.

I picked, washed and cooked them until Xmas 2013 when the two daughters asked me to show them how.

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My Two Daughters Washing and Preparing Mustard and Turnip Greens Xmas 2013

On the day Lady C and I went to the Farmers Market, we came across a vendor selling locally grown mustard and turnip greens. And, she said, “I want you to show me how to cook greens, NanNan.”  We purchased enough for both Sunday’s dinner and to freeze for future meals.

Beautiful and memorable times are possible when we do the simplest things in the presence of our loved ones.  I connected and bonded with Lady C on an even higher level as she went through this new learning experience.

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Lady C Preparing Mustard and Turnip Greens to Cook

Dreadlocks Hair Styling Day

For more than two years, I have gone to this amazing Jamaican barber to cut my hair.  During most visits, I am entertained as I watch an awe a stylist in the shop who specializes in natural hair.  I am always amazed by the unique, complex and diverse art she creates on the heads of her clients.

I asked Lady C, who sports dreadlocks, if she wanted me to schedule her an appointment with the natural hair stylist.

She said, “Yes,” and off to the Jamaican hair shop we went.  While my haircut took 20-30 minutes, Lady C’s dreadlocks were under the care of this amazing natural hair stylist lasted for more than three hours.

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Lady C’s – Dreadlocks Hair Styling Day

Mother’s Day – Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens

I received the gift of spending Mothers Day with the eldest child of my eldest child in one of my favorite places, The Leu Botanical Gardens.

This is the grandchild who shares my name and birthdate.

This is the grandchild, who despite our almost fifty year age difference, I am able to connect and relate to on many levels  — mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, meditations, inner peace, self-love, etc.

With encouragement and tips from Lady C, I, confidently, shot photo after photo with my Nikon 5200 digital camera of towering trees, blooming flowers, green foliage, and tropical plants.

Using my Canon point and shoot camera, Lady C took these photos.

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Photo by Lady C
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Lady C’s Photo

(Next Week – Part 3:  Hubby’s Surgery and Cousin’s Visit)