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Yoga in the Middle

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I went to a yoga class today. Haven’t done yoga in at least 15 years. Just as I thought, everyone was a lot thinner… but not necessarily a lot younger. I struggled but I hung in there. At the end of the class, I asked the instructor if this was actually a beginners class. She sort of smiled and said yes it was. She also said that I did a great job!

That made me feel good. I think I’ll go back again.

Pray, Play, Slay and Be Relentless

Blessing in the Flood

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floodI’m just taking a few moments right now to think about how blessed we are.
We have just experienced a 1000 year flood in Columbia, South  Carolina on October 5. It was amazing to see how quickly the situation went from bad to worse to devastating. People lost their lives. People lost everything they’ve worked for for many years. Some people’s lives will never be the same. Some families will never be the same.  My family and I are just so thankful to be alive. We are thankful that we did not suffer great loss.

All I can say is continue to pray for us. Although the storm is over, the devastation is not. Many people are still homeless after two months.  Although FEMA and other organizations came in to help, there are so many that will go under before that help that they need arrives.  Food and a place to stay are the immediate needs of individuals and families. But many of my counseling clients are still traumatized.  Some are still trying to figure out why they are depressed and anxious.  One women stated that when she went to open her front door, flood waters came rushing in.  All she could do was grab her children and run.   She is still dealing with the floos while others are just interested in moving on as quickly as possible.

We have a rallying cry:  South Carolina Strong!  It sounds good and give us hope while we try to find our new normal.  Mean while some of us are still experiencing the Great Flood of 2015.  The blessing is that we are still here to talk about it.

The 3 Ds of Dynamic Presentations

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The 3 Ds of Dynamic Presentations

Visiting Vegas

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  I had to be in Las Vegas for business (who does that?) this past week. I stayed in one of the casino hotels and of course hit the slots to try my luck. I couldn’t stay in the casino very long because they still allow smoking in casinos in Vegas. The smoke was a bit much for my lungs but I did get to work the penny and quarter machines. Ok, I know I’m cheap but I came away $57 richer. 

It was kind of sad though, watching people pump their money into those machines. Some people looked like they needed to hold on to their money. Seniors sat at gaming tables with their oxygen machines, backpacks stuffed with water bottles and snacks or moving slowly on walkers. Grannies delivered drinks in cocktail waitress uniforms or, wearing vests, shuffled cards for Blackjack.  It was all very disorienting. 

They say Vegas is the. It’s where the party never ends. I think some folks stayed at the party too long. 

Traveling with My Memories

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 In the airport today, I waited for a delayed flight to Washington, D.C. At the gate, my natural tendency to people watch took over. The airport is such a great place for it. While I waited, I saw an older African American woman take a seat near me. She was wearing a comfortable looking purple shirt and pants, perfect for travel. Her hair was silver gray and her face was settled into a look of calm contentment. She was regal in the way she held herself. I had the sense that she had decided that she would never again hurry for anything. She walked carefully like she was familiar with and needed to avoid physical pain. She sat just as carefully but made it look like she was seating herself on a throne rather than a plastic airport seat.

After settling herself, she pulled a plastic bag out of her travel tote. She opened it and took out a little bag with two peeled, boiled eggs. She started eating an egg, staring out of the huge windows at planes moving across sunlit runways. Now and again she would dab her egg into the bag to capture some of the salt and pepper gathered in the bottom. After she finished her eggs, she dabbed her mouth with a paper napkin. She reached back in the bag and took out a plastic container of fried chicken. She sat the top neatly under the container and studied the contents for a few seconds. The scent of fried chicken floated over to where I sat and I inhaled deeply. The woman carefully chose a chicken leg and bit into it. Just then, she looked up and saw me staring.  Self-consciously, she chuckled a little. I smiled back and nodded before looking away.

I tried not to stare, pretended that I was reading my digital book. Watching that lady enjoy her home cooked meal just brought back so many memories. There was a time when black mothers and grandmothers regularly packed travel lunches just like that. Containers of chicken and boiled eggs, ham sandwiches and slices of lemon pound cake. I remember my Nana packing her famous batter dipped fried chicken for my husband and I as we prepared to leave for our honeymoon. To this day, my husband swears that it was the best chicken he has ever eaten.

So that woman that day brought back lots of memories. I was smiling when I got on the plane although my trip had been filled with delays and tough luck. My smile was for the memories. Memories of the love packed into containers of fried chicken and boiled eggs.

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Massacre in Charleston 

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Massacre in Charleston 

I am weary.  Do you hear me? Weary! I am too weary to even write this blog post. I’m sad. I am sad so far deep and down in my spirit that I don’t even know where the bottom of my sadness is.

I have been trying to write this post for several days now. On Wednesday, June 17, a murderer entered a holy and sacred place in Charleston, South Carolina and murdered nine human beings. It is too much for me to understand. It is too much for me to process. I thought that after a day or two my shock would go away.  But writing this now, my shock and sorrow and anger and pain and sadness is still fresh and new. It is just like a wound that refuses to heal.

All across this country we are in pain. We are in pain for the sons and daughters who will never get the chance to grow up and grow old. We are in pain for the grandmothers and mothers and aunts who will no longer hold children or blow kisses  or cook collard greens and poundcake. We are in pain for the children who lost fathers because of indifference and hate.

And we are weary of the insincere apologies and expectations of forgiveness. Weary of the funeral boycotts and heartbreaking eulogies. I am weary.

Today, I listened to the President of the United States singing amazing Grace over the casket of one of the victims.  That was such a beautiful way to honor the victims. It was such a bold and grand gesture. But why was that even necessary? Racism, hate, and indifference made it necessary.

And while I am weary today, I know my strength will be renewed. Because I need my strength to fight. To fight for a country where my son can grow up to be the man he is meant to be. Where my son can grow up and know what freedom really is. And where I can spend my last days with great hope for the future and great hope for people. I will fight for place where a blog post like this is not necessary.   I hope you will join me

Natural woman

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Yesterday, I had lunch at one of my favorite Mom and Pop restaurants. Well, actually I don’t know if there is a Mom, I’ve only seen Pop. Anyway the food is good, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the  laid back lunch crowd is diverse.

I sat in my second favorite booth and ordered my food. I always sit facing the front of the restaurant so that I can see out of the huge glass windows. The view isn’t much. Just the parking lot and the busy street beyond but I get a good look at everyone who comes in.

Yesterday was one of the sunny southern spring days that reminds you that summer is just a few moments away. Shorts, sandals and tank tops are already survival gear.  I dug into my “meat and three” plate of baked chicken, cabbage, collards and potatoes. Yes, I know that’s heavy for lunch but I don’t eat here everyday and after all, this is the South. 

Anyway, I spotted a beautiful woman across the parking lot toward the restaurant. She wore a black jumpsuit with high heels and understated jewelry. Her hair was in a huge lush Afro that grudgingly gave way to the wind now and then.   She strutted, more than walked, with her hand bag firmly hung from her bent elbow.  In one hand, she held her cell phone while the other moved leisurely back and forth in time with her steps.

She walked with the confidence that I love to see in early middle aged black women. 

My sister! I thought as she stepped toward me.  Just then, a man approached walking down the sidewalk toward the restaurant. He seemed a little hurried but there is no way he did not see my sister approaching.   He reached the door just ahead of her, swung it open, walked through…and let the door slam shut in her face!

I was shocked!  Again, this is the south and good manners are expected. Letting the door close on a woman is inexcusably rude!  There was an audible gasp in the restaurant. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who saw what happened. 

The sister, more than surprised I’m sure, hesitated for a fraction of a heartbeat then  proceeded to the door. She opened it wide and stepped in.  She removed her shades revealing a slight sheen of perspiration around her eyes. 

Our eyes met. “That was so rude and disrespectful!” she stated quietly. 

“Yes, it was,” I responded. I shook my head a bit in sympathy as she walked on. A few seconds later, I heard the gentleman seated in the booth behind me say, “That was rude, ma’am. I wouldn’t have done that. Some of us do have manners!”

I didn’t turn around but I smiled to myself because that gentleman had just saved the day for my sister…and me too. 

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