Our Journeys!

 

footprints

Maya Angelou wrote a book called Wouldn’t Take Nothing for the Journey Now which shared parts of her illustrious life. When we reflect on our lives, we should be in agreement with her and show gratitude for what we have already received.

As we walk our reflective journeys toward the close of the year, we collect our thoughts.  If we are honest, we can recount our big and small, yet superfluous blessings.  Past wonders will flourish forth as we realize that quiet angels softly whispered in our ears telling us which way to go at many given times.

We may have spoken a quick thanks in our hurried daily movements but have we really taken time to give adequate thanks? Have we acknowledged all of the things that we have been saved from? Visible and unseen forces have rushed to our assistance and nudged us back onto the right paths when we’ve veered off.

We know that we are imperfect beings and either our lack of information or understanding may have steered us into dangerous zones.  As the old adage goes, “If I’d known better, I would have done better.” 

But thank goodness Divine Intervention interceded while we were out there navigating those choppy waters. Once our feet are on dry ground again and we can see our way, we stop and catch our breaths.  Eventually, we will see the titillating gains shining through and we can audibly sigh, “I wouldn’t take nothing for the journey!”

 

Lynn M.                                                                                     December 9, 2017

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Prepare Ye!

 

Three wise men

As we come upon the close of 2017 and approach the most wonderful time of the year, we should push the Pause Button.  Here are  some questions we could ask ourselves:

  • What did I accomplish in 2017?
  • What will I have to carry over to my 2018 To Do List?
  • What were my gains?
  • What were my losses?
  • What new friends and associates did I add to my roster?
  • Which ones did I lose or let go?
  • What did I drop because it no longer positively served me?
  • What could I have handled differently?
  • What are my regrets, if any?
  • What else do I need to discard or release?
  • What can I do between now and December 31st to be truly prepared for 2018?

As we authentically prepare for 2018, we should try to enter the year with as clean a slate as possible.  This is comparable to asking young students to clean off their whiteboards before presenting the next math problem.

Similar to life’s events, new problems come with any new territory. They come to help us grow and evolve as spiritual beings and we are better able to solve them if we have a lightened load.

So prepare ye!  Do an inventory and a deep inner cleansing before ringing in the New Year!

Lynn M.                                                                   December 2, 2017

 

December Joy!

Christmas Bells

Snowflakes falling to the ground,
Gigantic blessings all around.

The most wondrous time of the year,
Sharing so much holiday cheer.

Bell ringers asking for that cash,
Folks shopping, moving in a dash!

Spend, gather, laugh and celebrate,
This year and before it’s too late!

Lynn M.                                               December 2, 2017

For the Love of Money!

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Roman J. Israel Esq., Denzel Washington, is a savant of sorts who is also a civil rights lawyer that seems lost in the era of the 60’s and 70’s.  He still wears a large Afro hairdo, listens to LP records of former artists like Gil Scott Heron and has posters of revolutionaries like Angela Davis on the wall of his apartment.

For a moment, we are not sure if the movie is set in the late 60’s as we watch him eat peanut and butter jelly sandwiches until we are awakened to the real time zone.  We say, “Wait.  He has a cell phone.”  There are definitely some discrepancies.

Roman’s law partner suffers a heart attack, and when we meet his replacement, George Pierce (Colin Farrell) who is dressed as sharp as a tack, we know that Roman Israel is in fact stuck in a time capsule.  He still keeps all of his notes on index cards and has been comfortable being the backbone of the firm who works in isolation until everything changes.

Roman is forced to move into the fashionable offices of the new law firm and he soon realizes that he does not fit into the current scene.  But more importantly, he discovers that his former partner had been taking kickbacks and his faith in the purity of any operation is called into play.

He continually works diligently for his clients until the inevitable happens.  He finds that there is a chance for him to collect $100,000 of reward money if he shares the whereabouts of a shooter in a robbery and murder.  He has the information of the fugitive’s whereabouts and makes good on getting a conviction but at severe costs.

Roman gets a brief taste of the good life as he buys some new suits and enjoys a few special outings before his guilt overtakes him and he begins to spiral into paranoia.  The jailed shooter threatens his life and others in the firm discover what he has done.  His descent down his temporary mountain of living the high life begins and his wholesome conscience gets the best of him.

This movie is quite different in myriad ways.  It would make a great conversation piece at holiday dinner tables and parties because it can be discussed from so many points of view.  Go see Roman J. Israel, Esq. and see how things turn out for him.  Of course, Denzel Washington is superb and Colin Farrell is great as they portray these highly believable characters!

Lynn M.                                                                                     November 25, 2017

Shoot Your Best Shot!

jumpshotWhen given a task to do, we often wonder, “Can I do this?” In the children’s book, The Little Engine That Could, the small engine took on the job of getting the freight cars across the mountain to deliver the toys to the awaiting children.

Oftentimes, when we answer the call, the motivation or underlying reason for the request will cause us to muster up the strength to take on the challenge.  As in the story, whenever children are involved, few of us can say no.  Looking into their eyes of innocence pulls on our heartstrings and makes us use the familiar motto, “Yes I can!

We may even look up some age-old reminders or affirmations such as I am strong, I am brave, I am willing, I am patient or I am more than a conqueror.  All of the statements combine to make each of us know that it takes persistence to win.

Og Mandino writes in The Greatest Salesman in the World, “If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed.  I will persist until I succeed.”

 So, when our services are requested or needed, all we can do is dribble around, build up our energy field, focus on our goal, make a high jump and shoot our best shot!

Lynn M.                                                          November 18, 2017

Inside Joy!

joy

Do you remember Whitney Houston’s version of The Greatest Love of All?  Songwriters Michael Masser and Linda Creed wrote the lyrics, “I found the greatest love inside of me.”  It is definitely an inside job.  Outside things and people can bring us certain levels of joy and add to our comfort but when those external forces are not there, we have to go within and find our own inner pockets of joy.

Some people always seem to have a pleasant smile and others share ripples of laughter on a regular basis. They have learned to give life the light touch. We would tend to think that they were problem-free though that is unlikely.  Everybody is dealing with something.  But, they obviously have found a way to find joy inside of their tears as Stevie Wonder mentions in one of his songs.

In his book The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino reminds his readers to be mindful of their emotions.  He wrote, ” ..but I make my own weather, I transport it with me.  If I bring joy  and enthusiasm  and brightness and laughter to my customers, they will react with joy and enthusiasm.”  Joy, laughter and humor are true gifts of the Spirit.  They are housed deep down within each of us and they can bubble up at the most opportune times.

Laughter minimizes those unrelenting concerns because light and dark cannot occupy the same space.   The light barrels in and the darkness disappears.  So what will it be?  Tears or laughter? The latter is the remedy to enhancing those healing powers as the road to recovery gets brighter and brighter each day!

Lynn M.                                                                             November 11, 2017

Settings Set the Tone!

Seetwo years

Isn’t it interesting how a story’s setting subtly sets the tone and mood for the reader?  Yes, I said for the reader.  Readers are unconsciously affected by settings.  They envelope the mind like a magical blanket and create feelings that are aligned with the place.

Jim Lynch writes, “As a writer, I’m driven by settings.  Others are driven by characters or predicaments but with me, settings come first.”

To that point, I am slowly reading a book called Two Years before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana.  It is a narrative that he wrote in 1840 which tells about his adventures aboard a merchant ship that specializes in the collection of hides.  He leaves from Boston and takes time away from Harvard due to a case of the measles.

His ship, The Pilgrim, passes through Cape Horn at the bottom of South America. I was reminded of a bit of information from a dear writer-friend who once lived in South Africa. She told about healing effects of the horn or Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa which seems to blow away physical distresses.

The narrator’s health improves after he travels around Cape Horn. Once they return to North America, they spend over a year going up and down the California coast as they work in different ports.

Dana describes the ports, the people, the various tribesmen, the shipmates and daily work details.  I feel as if I am aboard taking it all in because he writes with such precision and clarity.

I read just a little each night and just like the ship, I do not feel hurried or rushed to finish this tale. He has been traveling for over a year now. He has even changed ships and finally, they are about to head back to Boston. So, perhaps, I will pick up the pace with them as he anxiously heads home.

But, like the setting, this has been a book that I have stretched out over the months as I read other works with a greater sense of urgency.  This one, however, has been a calm, insightful read and like the sea and those on the ship, I have taken my time to savor every word and wave!

Lynn M.                                                                                     November 5, 2017

November Bounty!

Horns of plenty

Deeply colorful leaves , so rich,
Filling backyards, needing a pitch,

Into piles, then a large trash bag,
May cause those workers’ backs to sag.

Harvest time in so many ways,
Tally the fruit from former days.

Work and toil bring big pay offs,
Full horns-a-plenty rest in lofts!

Time to give thanks for all we’ve gained,
Fill those coffers with all attained!

Lynn M.                                                                                     November 4, 2017

Take a Step Back!

Batter

When feeling overwhelmed, rushed or hurried, we can choose to simply take a step back.  In the neighborhood, some use the slang, “Don’t bum rush me!”  It is usually said with a certain force because in essence, it means to back off!

That means that we are asking for some space to be able to slow down and think things through.  It is equivalent to peace be still or as another adage goes, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” (Lewis Carroll)

It is time to push the Pause button, put everything on hold so that we can make good sound decisions.  From our earlier days, we may remember that when we felt rushed, we made rash decisions which came with greater consequences.

Mark Twain wrote a short story called The Five Boons of Life.  A fairy offers a man five gifts and she returns after he has become disenchanted with each one of his choices.  He has the opportunity to choose from wealth, love, pleasure, fame and death.   Of course, he avoids the last one but the quencher is that she continually reminds him to think carefully before making a choice.

We too must put everything and everyone on the proverbial back-burner and think.  We may have to shut ourselves off for a while and come out from amongst the fast-paced world to truly get in touch with our real feelings.  Then we can hear our intuitive leads.

We might even have to retreat.  Stuart Wilde tells us in his book, Silent Power that, “Retreat can sometimes be the most powerful tool.”  Then, when we return to the real world, we are better equipped to handle things in a more practical manner.  There will be a quiet assurance that we are indeed on the right path and we will be filled with few, if any regrets.

So, take a step back like a hitter in the World Series before his bat makes contact with that fastball and knock the ball out of the park.  Then those sound choices will have memorable, staying power!

Lynn M.                                                          October 28, 2017

Marshall: a movie review

Marshall

The movie Marshall focuses on one case in 1941 in Bridgeport, Connecticut that was co-lawyered by the famed Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman).  He was sent by the NAACP to defend a black man who had been accused of raping his employer’s wife, Mrs. Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson).

The Connecticut judge deemed that he was not to speak in the court so he had to use the voice of his other lawyer, Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) as they sought to defend Joseph Spell, the family driver (Sterling K. Brown).  As the proceedings continued, they ultimately discovered that the driver was telling only a part of the truth about the events of that fateful night.

It was a highly contentious time and both Marshall and Friedman were roughed up by hired thugs during the trial. Yet they endured to the end. Thurgood Marshall’s brief encounter with a woman at a bar led him to re-phrase his questions for Joseph Spell.  In essence, she said that men will be men and women will be women.

This led Marshall to question the driver again and the truth rolled out like the lifting of a heavy blanket of fog.  Once the truth was uncovered, the case took a huge turn as many witnessed and a victory emerged for both of the lawyers and their defendant.

Thurgood Marshall was not there to hear the closing arguments nor the reading of the verdict but he left Friedman detailed instructions on how to close out the case.  He had been called to help a young teenager who was in trouble in the Deep South.

This is an ample slice from the life of the renowned Supreme Court Judge.  Go see this movie with its landmark cast and see how Chadwick Boseman does it again with his excellent portrayal of Judge Marshall!

 

Lynn M.                                                                     October 21, 2017