Black Quilt Pieces

OIP[7]We educators attempt to tell our young people about African American contributions that are deeply woven into the American quilt. It is Black History Month, which years ago was only a weeklong. Sometimes, we hit the mark and at other times we do not because there is so much to absorb in such a short time.

However, when it is all said and done, they will be left with some snippets of new information. When they hear certain names or events many years hence, they can think, “Oh, yeah. I heard about that person or I learned about that event.”

If they are astute and curious students, they will take it upon themselves to delve deeper. They will explore. Research. Look up more facts. They will weigh the odds as they look on both sides of the coin. They will compare the opposing points of view. Eventually, they will come to a consensus after deciding what they perceive as the truth of the matter.

And, if they do that at some future point in their lives, then we as educators have succeeded in doing our jobs. We can only tilt the ball towards them by introducing a list of great achievers. It will be up to them to slam duck the ball through the hoop by gathering more data and greater understanding.

Lynn M.                                                                                     February 22, 2020

Happy Black History Month!

Changing Frequencies!

eagleWe unknowingly travel at different frequencies like the radio waves. We follow what we know, what we have learned and what we have been introduced to along the way. Sometimes, we operate from a limited point of view or perspective but as we open our minds, hearts and souls to others out there, we may come to halt.

We stop and take notice as we realize that there are so many ways to approach life itself. Most of us agree that most people want to have a good life. Everyone’s chest swells with pride after receiving a compliment. Expressed appreciation for work that we have done builds confidence and our self-worth soars like the birds.

So, it would behoove us to find some person or persons that we admire and aspire to emulate in some form or fashion. We should study them, observe them and learn how they continually succeed at what they do on a regular basis.

The Good Book says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) A person with a good name automatically makes us smile. We are reminded of pleasant memories and we remember what that person brought to our worlds. Clearly, that person was flying at a higher frequency.

Persons with good names have learned to fly at higher wavelengths where the air is cleaner, freer and crisper. They have learned how to rise over the fray and contention of the lower, crowded fields of negativity and soar at higher frequencies.

We too can ascend and join the winners who may have to fly solo or in small groups to stay focused and on purpose. As we join the winners’ circles, we too can travel towards our personal destinations with greater ease.

What will we attain by changing frequencies? Probably deeper, more healthy breathing. More smiles and added miles will be guaranteed. More peace, greater patience and fantastic outcomes will be our rewards for being in the company of those more experienced eagles!

Lynn M.                                                                         February 15, 2020

The Love Month!

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Pink, loving thoughts set hearts aglow,
With warm spongy feelings in tow.

February- the month of love,
We place sentiments high above.

Go and buy those items of red,
Roses, candy, cards. Enough said.

It’s time to gather, greet and meet,
Make time for those who are quite sweet!

February 8, 2020

Answers!

OIPT4CEO03WThe other day my car was stuck on ice and I could not get out of a parking spot. I gunned the motor for what seemed like hours but to no avail. Two guys even tried to push the car out, but they too gave up after a while. I finally went inside to calm down.

If the car in front of me pulled up a bit, I knew that I could get free. So, after much time passed, I noticed that the car was indeed gone. I went back out and became freed because I had enough space to maneuver the car over the ice. Freedom never felt so good!

Lesson?  If a barrier is removed, we can graciously advance forth. But sometimes, we must wait for that opportunity.

After feeling quite rattled from the ice escapade and just when I thought that things couldn’t get worse, they did. I stepped on my recently purchased cell phone. To my dismay, the screen cracked. I felt that if one more thing went wrong, I would need to go somewhere and let out a loud scream.

But, I did not. Instead, I remained quiet, but my inner frustrations were pounding inside. As I was looking through a drawer a few days later, I discovered some phone screen covers that I had on hand. I waited and when I was feeling brave, I removed the broken screen from the phone. To my astonishment, the phone itself was in stellar condition. I was surprised so I threw the broken glass cover away and put on a new plastic one feeling a sense of delight.

Lesson?  Appearances are truly deceiving.

When we get in a hubbub over some small unfortunate circumstance, we first need to take a deep breath. We should take a step back and calm down. When we feel ready to dive in and deal with the problem at hand, we can then check out the perceived damages. Once we get a grip, we usually find that things are not as bad as they first seemed. Over time, we become less reactive, as we mindfully take action to remedy those situations.

Lesson?  There is always an answer.

Lynn M.                                                                       February 1, 2020

 

Self-Check!

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It’s the last weekend of January for this new year and this new decade. Take a moment to check and see where you are and how well you are sticking to your new vows and commitments while becoming a better you.

You have laid the groundwork for self-improvement but how are you faring? Have you unconsciously fallen back into a slump by accepting business as usual? Or are you truly trying to make a concerted effort to stay on the newly drawn line?

It may feel uncomfortable like breaking in a pair of new shoes. Change has a way of making your minds, bodies and psyches feel unsettled for a season. You may moan and complain initially but the new grooves will become easier. Thomas Fuller wrote, “All things are difficult before they become easy.”

In many schools, teachers assign jobs to the students to get necessary tasks completed as well as teaching them the importance of work as they contribute to the whole. They take their jobs very seriously. If teachers or substitutes do not give them ample time to do their jobs, there will be many verbal, orchestrated protests from even the meekest of voices.

One job is called line checker, and another is called PE checker. Both checkers must wait until the students have lined up and they then perform their jobs. The line checker walks up and down the line once the students are in the hallway to make sure that each person is standing quietly and orderly in a single-filed line. The PE checker walks up and down the line to see that each student has on his or her already-tied gym shoes before they enter the gymnasium as a whole class.

You too can become a checker as you walk your line and see if you are on your new track. If you have veered off course or fallen back into levels of recidivism, it is okay. At least for the moment. Be honest about your slip-up and simply pick yourself up. Make the adjustment and then look down to do a self-check.  When you see that you are spot on, pat yourself on the back and continue on your way!

Lynn M.                                                                   January 25, 2020

Peace Be Still!

waterfall   As  educators, we always seek ways to create and maintain peaceful environments. Most conflicts among the children seem to come after lunch or recess. They often return to the classroom with some levels of angst after having had a rift with someone.

We make efforts to promote peace through sharing circles, conflict-resolution talks, soft music, deep- breathing exercises and a host of other activities. Yet, like the children, we adults also search for ways to get a grip and calm down.

After being showered with endless news clips and news bites, our heartbeats unknowingly accelerate at higher rates. If we are not careful about our intake of the negative, we border on high levels of anxiety with heightened heart palpitations.

At some point, we must take control as we strive to do with the youngsters. We can push the mute or off button and totally disconnect from the merry-go-round. After we have come to our senses, we should ask ourselves these questions. “What does this information have to do with me? Will it affect my daily existence?’

If we are honest, we will realize that it really has nothing to do with us. Though it may seem both addictive and entertaining, we come to see that we have been in a hubbub over nothing quite like Shakespeare’s play title,, Much Ado About Nothing.”

So, we must practice what we preach to the children. We, too must calm down, take deep breaths, or retreat if necessary. B.J. Hoff’s poem A Quiet Heart is a great way to help us locate our peace, once we become still.

A Quiet Heart
Make the most
Of quiet hours;

Let your heart
Be calm and still…

Believe this day
Will bring a gift

   To lift your spirit…
And it will.

Lynn M.                                                                                               January 18, 2020

2020 Vision!

downloadRemember the phrase, “finding your bearings?” One would probably have to fall into a certain age bracket to have heard it.  Yet, it is a perfect saying to ponder at the beginning of 2020.

We may have realized that we have gotten off track, so to speak.  The elders often used the phrase, “coming to yourself.”  They meant that we had not been working from our own true base.  We may have become caught up in someone else’s agenda.

Or perhaps, the busyness of life just found us side-tracked  Our trains have, proverbially, jumped off the track.  Our affairs are out of alignment with the natural order of things and out of kilter.  Though things seem to have gone awry, we are still here.  That means that we have a chance to get it right.

I recently heard that January has the highest rate for filings for divorce.  Many of us have had time to look back over the holidays and made a host of New Year’s resolutions.

It is now 2020 and we hope to see life with a perfect 20-20 vision.  We begin with a fresher start while discarding the fallout and debris as we leave toxic people behind.  “When you cut toxic people out of your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe” (#Say Quotable).  We can become more prepared to take on the next task.

Maturity helps us realize that it is not all about us nor the gaudy, the tinsel nor the shiny things.  It is more about how we can be of service to others.  Dr. King reminded us that, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

We are free to forge ahead with clearer heads, minds and souls. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. once posed the question, “What’s in your hand?”  He was asking us what we have to give to others?  How can we make a difference?  It is time for us to roll up our sleeves and get busy working with those who will most certainly appreciate our efforts!

Lynn M.                                             January 11, 2020

Little Women: A Movie Review

220px-Little_Women_(2019_film)The new movie version of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women moves with great rapidity. It makes me think of Hemingway’s title, A Moveable Feast. It serves up scrumptious bites and small morsels from this well-known plot in a circuitous fashion.

If the viewer does not know the plot with some level of detail, he or she may have a hard time following at times. The new director (Great Gerwig) uses flashbacks but not in a linear way and it will take some time to reflect and see the whole scheme of things.

For those who know and love the Civil War Era story of the March family, it is a treat as one enjoys the creativity used in telling this age-old tale. The beautiful period dresses and clothes, the use of the actual Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, the low candle-lit rooms, the snowy scenes and the beach adventures all add to the beauty of times gone by.

The rivalry between the sisters, the death of a sibling and the absent soldier father help to display Jo March as the guts and backbone of this family of women. Her scribblings sustain her as she gets ideas from the theatrics that the wardrobed girls act out in the attic.

Jo is central to the story and though she does not get the trip abroad nor the boy next door, she gets so much more. She becomes a published writer and truly exemplifies Alcott’s legendary life. Filmmakers are still using her words over 150  years later.

In truth, Alcott did write for eight hours at a time and when one hand was tired, she wrote with the other hand. The movie showed her changing hands and it got many other facts right. It did not, however, show the sister’s art drawn on the walls of the home but then, one would have to take a trip to Concord to see it.  Also, the family often experienced poverty and despair due to the father’s progressive beliefs which made him ride against the tide. Alcott was the breadwinner for many years through her writing.  One would have to delve deeper and do some more research to know her real plight.

This new version of Little Women takes a lot of risks, but the fine acting helps to pull it into its final stop. Notables like Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper,  Meryl Streep along with several newcomers all assist as this story is told from an independent woman’s point of view. It closes with Jo March holding her newly pressed book in her arms after negotiating her royalties with her publisher. And that is fair enough!

Lynn M.                                                                         January 7, 2020

Celebrate 2020!

Dreamcatcher 31

Wow! It’s a brand, new decade,
Puts a lot on all folks’ plate.

We have much to live up to,
Many dreams are overdue.

Also, a sparkling New Year
Has burst forth with a big cheer.

As some hearty dreams come true,
Dreamcatchers block the bad, blue.

Add good and delete the wrong.
Sound the trumpet. Sing a song!

Lynn M.                                               January 5, 2020

Bombshell: A Movie Review

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It took me a while before I could weigh in on the movie Bombshell. I needed several days to let what I had seen and heard sink in, fester and digest. The movie focuses on three high-profiled anchorwomen at a major news station. They each harbor horrific secrets about how they climbed the corporate ladder and one has the wherewithal to breakaway and file a lawsuit.

The pace of Bombshell is fast with rapid movement, so it takes the viewer a while to truly realize the depth of what is going on in these women’s lives. Two of the women are mothers and the breadwinners for their families. It is up to them to keep up their current lifestyles.

These women are forced to dress in sensuous, short dresses so that the viewers can see their legs. They are never allowed to wear pants on the stage sets. They may be called from their work desks at any given time of the day to go and service some troll in upper management. One even had a private elevator for the women to be transported into his office.

The movie is tastefully done, and we are shielded from the actual acts that these women had to perform to keep their jobs. This could neither be about the need of the libido nor some regular sexual desire during a regular workday. It was about the abuse of power and a way denigrate vulnerable women who had few options.

It is interesting how these men that have been called out during the Me Too Movement hold their heads down in shame. What could provoke such heinous acts toward women? Was there a hatred for the mother figures in their lives? Is there some type of Oedipus complex operating in their psyches? Would they want some corporate powerhouse to do the same things to the college-educated women in their families who were trying to build a career?

These questions are endless but as the saying goes, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord John Dalberg-Acton). Again, people hang their heads in disgrace when their hideous deeds are unearthed. And I say people because in one instance from the movie, one of the women was being sexually abused by the head honcho upstairs and by a female coworker after late nights of heavy drinking.

I cannot think of any sane, well-balanced person that needs sex throughout the workday. It is simply a way to deny these women the right to feel whole and in control of their own lives and bodies. Bombshell was about women, but chances are there are some stories brewing about what some men have had to do to keep their incomes as well. How sad!

The major actors were outstanding and obviously Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow and Kate McKinnon made their roles quite believable. They gave me insight into a disturbing world and the movie Bombshell still has me thinking!

Lynn M.

December 31, 2019