Posts

Spring Gratitude

Image
  With the  passing of March 20, the Northern Hemisphere melts, quite literally, into the spring season. From what once was frozen and dead, "springs" forth with life. Waters that were frozen run full tilt to the sea. Fields that were black with death, resurrect in shades of green. Skeletal trees and bushes suddenly burgeon with green buds.  The spring observances, rites, and rituals around the world all celebrate this return from the brink of darkness and death to new life. The Vernal Equinox, or First Day of Spring, was for our ancient ancestors a time when the gods and goddesses of fertility and rebirth brought the world back to life.  Many know of Eostre or Ostara, the goddess of spring and of Brigid, Celtic goddess of Fire, Hearth and Home, but few know, unless you happen to come from these parts of the world, of the Slavic god, Jarylo  or Eiar, the goddess of spring from the four seasons' horae of ancient Greece.  Regardless, even those who have no connection to re

To Love Unconditionally

Image
When I saw the quote, "The problem is, everyone is looking for unconditional Love, carrying a bag full of conditions," I gasped. Wow! the truth of that statement wasn't lost on me. From the moment we draw our first breath, we are looking to be loved, to be cherished, to be respected and protected. Some would argue that this is etched into our DNA so deeply that infants who don't find this waiting for them fail to thrive.  Unfortunately, in this imperfect existence, love has been twisted and mangled to the point of almost being unrecognizable. Love is an action we not only associate with people but things. Let's face it, we need a new word for loving things; otherwise, how will we ever grasp the enormity and sanctity of unconditional Love?  "I love my car," is not the same as, "I love you," yet the words we use are identical.  Furthermore, when we add to this humanity's incessant need to control and conditionalize, and you have the unfortuna

Heart Full of Grace

Image
Today, as we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we were surprised by a call from the grandchildren. They wanted to ask us questions about what it was like to have lived during the same time as the Rev. Dr. King. I'll be honest, it was an emotional conversation for both Roger and me. Our perspectives were completely different since I was, in the 60's, a child in the projects of South Boston and Roger was a preacher's son in the South. Answering the children's questions not only reminded both of us of why we are, who we are today, but also brought us great hope. One of the most poignant questions came from our oldest granddaughter, who asked what we remembered of the day Rev. Dr. King was assassinated. I, very emotionally, told her that I remembered feeling like the Light had gone out in the entire world. However, I was also reminded of my mother telling me that the Light had simply passed to others to finish the work.  As a young activist, I dreamed of seeing what Mart

Savoring Possibilities

Image
  This year my word is "savor," which can be pondered and reflected on in so many ways that I feel I need a year to do justice to it. Right now, I plan to savor the times I have made memories with my beloved, my daughters, the grandchildren, and our friends. Taking time to look back at all the photos I have taken and remembering that particular time and place.  For instance, the photo above was captured at York's Wild Kingdom on a trip with my oldest daughter and her family couple of months before the birth of her third child. The day was hot but not too bad. We wandered through the park with the girls oh-ing and ah-ing over the different animals we saw. I remember talking to them about different animals - sharing what I knew and reading the signs put up by the park.  I also plan to savor possibilities for future adventures. In this case, the savoring takes the form of dreaming about where to go, when to go, who to see. We all need this because this pandemic has left us a

Hope in the Possibilities

Image
With her speech tonight, our new VP-elect, Kamala Harris became an icon for young women and girls around the world. Seeing her radiant face, hearing her words of encouragement and her call to heal the wounds of this country, my mother's heart overflowed, my teacher's heart glowed and my minister's heart filled with hope in the possibilities that lie ahead. For four years, I have been quelling the fears of my immigrant and refugee students, many of whom come from countries where democracy doesn't exist. I have taught them about our system of government, told them not to lose heart and explained that our Constitution would see us through any difficulties.   We the people have made my words to them prophetic. For this I am grateful. We the people, when we make our minds up, can do amazing and wonderful things together. In the days ahead, let us remember to love one another. Let us be kind and thoughtful to everyone. Let us show the world once more that America is a democra

Poeming in Their Honor

Image
Maybe it is because my family is a conglomeration of several nationalities or perhaps it is merely my own intrinsic love for world culture, but finding myself immersed in teaching immigrants and refugees the intricacies of the English language is one of my greatest joys.  We will begin 30 Poems in November in two days.  This is the major fundraising event for Center for New Americans where I teach.  Yes, we are teaching in the middle of the pandemic.  Let me tell you a little about that. First, imagine the difficulties of learning a new language. Now, imagine that you are in a new land, where you must support yourself and your family. Add to this mix a pandemic that closes most of the industries that will hire someone new to this country with limited English skills. Finally, imagine that for the first time in your life you must master technology so that you might continue to learn English.  Most people would have given up long ago, but my students have tenaciously hung in there and are

Spiritual Hunger

Image
  “There is a spiritual hunger in the world today - and it cannot be satisfied by material things alone.”   Adlai E. Stevenson, the renowned statesman and ambassador to the United Nations, had a deep spirituality. The quote above is as true today as it was when he first spoke it in his 1956 Democratic acceptance speech. The world still has a deep and unquenched spiritual hunger. Why?  I believe, as Stevenson did, that our priorities are in the wrong places. Too many of us are striving for a better life through material things. However, new cars, bigger houses, the latest technical gadgets and closets full of clothes cannot fill the emptiness in one’s soul. Since COVID, this emptiness has become more apparent due to the lack of things to occupy our minds.  Many of us have never sat alone with ourselves. How do we fill the emptiness? What can we do as we head into the eighth month of this pandemic?  For me, natural beauty of any kind fills my heart and soul with joy. Music, religi