Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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my thoughts: on choice

Growing up I recited, weekly, the above theme for the young women in my church.  In it, you can see "choice and accountability" is the fifth value mentioned.  It's a great point!  The two necessarily go hand-in-hand.  Even if it seems someone has escaped the consequences of their actions... they really haven't.  You just haven't seen the ultimate result.  Maybe never will.  Still, they will always experience, at some point or another, justice.  We are all, indeed, accountable for our choices.

The awesome thing about choice is that even in the most unlikely circumstances, we have a choice.  We can readily read about concentration camp prisoners, perhaps the most famous being Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for MeaningHe, like a few others, made the choice to have a positive attitude when all around them made another choice.

The difficulty is that choice doesn't always seem quite so obvious.  Sometimes our circumstances seem to demand a certain reaction or action.  The key is to recognize the point of choice.  The moment in which we make a choice to react or not.  That can be difficult and seem nigh on impossible.  But change is possible.  It really is.

Connecting to my last post about my thoughts... even if someone doesn't give us respect, it is our choice whether or not we give respect.  Regardless of their choice,  we will be held accountable for ours.  Dang it...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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observations: people react to a baby in a wrap

I have worn my babies since my first.  Not because I've always been super knowledgeable about babywearing... even now I'm definitely not as knowledgeable as many ladies out there.  I am functionally knowledgeable.  I know what works for me and do that... a LOT.

Babywearing has saved me from feeling bonkers many times.  Sometimes, though, it's a source of frustration.  In a way I will not get away from this part, though, unless I only go in public alone.  And that's just not going to work.

You see, folks around here don't often see babies wrapped.  I see a lot more babies being worn, even here in my country city than I did twelve years ago wearing my first.  But around here the packs are way more popular than wrapping.  It's probably easier for the parents, so that's why they do it.  That's a huge reason for babywearing of any kind.

Wraping is my babywearing style because the way I wrap myself into it is super versatile for wearing my babies.  With one wrap, I can hold him facing me (as a newborn), facing either right or left, and facing straight out with legs in or out.  It is rare that my babes prefer that position, but every once in a while they do.

On to how people react... well, one of the funniest things I've observed is now babies (generally) decrease personal space.  And when wearing a baby, that means my person space shrinks to almost nothing.  It's pretty funny to me now and I usually don't mind it.  But a few babies ago it was a source of much annoyance.  Why the difference?  Well, that'll be in a MY THOUGHTS post eventually.

Next is the surprise.  I've had people looked shocked and horrified in surprise as they realized I had a baby in front of me.  Once, a lady coming out of a bathroom as I went in reacted as if she'd just seen a monster and almost ran away from me.  Seriously.  I laughed harder about that than any other reaction!

Most often, though, are the abundant and ready smiles that I really don't see nearly so often when my babies are walking on their own.  People want to talk to babies.  I'll share some observations about PEOPLE TALKING TO BABIES soon.  It's really pretty wonderful and sweet.  I haven't always seen it that way because it does require a degree of patience in/from Mama that I haven't always had.  Please forgive me if you were among those impacted by my lack.  I am very sorry for my lack of understanding back when I had three and fewer.

Some folks talk to me about the wrap.  About half the time it's a way to get close enough to talk to the baby.  The other half of the time the, usually, ladies are really interested in the wrap because they're thinking of someone who could use it.  I love talking about babywearing and how it has benefited me and, I believe, my babies.  I really do think it has!

There were some folks, back when I had just two and my second was almost always in the wrap.  My second just LOVED being worn.  None of my others have loved it so much.  She was content to sit in it even when I was sitting still doing nothing for a while.  Well, there were folks that thought she would never walk because she was always in the wrap.  I think she heard and wanted to show them they were absurd because she was walking at 8.5 months!  I even caught her dancing at 9 months old!  I wish I had video of that because you really cannot imagine how adorable such a sight is!

So, babywearing... you have to be pretty dedicated if you're like me... and don't prefer lots of folks staring at you.  But it's worth it for many reasons.  If you haven't heard of it, check it out!  And tell me what you think whether you wear your babies or not!

Friday, July 15, 2016

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my thoughts: on respect

It's related to karma. It must be. Important as it is, if we give it, we likely get it (and vice versa!).  There's a great song (see below) about it.

Some say you must demand it.  That if you allow others to do (bloddyblah), you won't get it.

I'm here to tell ya... you have absolutely only as much control of another human being as they allow you to have.  We all have a choice.  In every circumstance.  We have a choice.

Regardless, if you want it, you must give it.  What goes around does actually come around.  It may not seem like it... it may take a while... but eventually... eventually it'll come back.

Give it.  Like love and service... even if you don't get it back from the one to whom you give it... it comes back.  And giving it actually does feel good. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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meet Cap'N Hugh "Strongback" Golly

My husband Jessie and I have been working quite a lot on a YouTube character.  We now present him to you.  I hope you'll be kind and take a moment from your busy day to subscribe, like, comment, and even share from YouTube if you think it's interesting or at all enjoyable.  Let us know in the comments there if you think it's lame, too.  Thank you very much, in advance!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

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observations: guys when they multiply

I've been working at my local Whataburger for a while now.  A lot more frequently during June 2016.  These public work times have provided lots of observation time.  One thing I've observed a few times came to a bit of a head on June 30th.

Have you ever noticed how guys tend to behave in more aggressive ways and use more foul language when their numbers increase?  Perhaps especially when they are young guys... but I have definitely had quite a few opportunities to observe this recently.

For a lady who feels the impact of curse words, even when not directed or spoken to me, this is exceedingly disturbing.  Nonetheless, even though it might surprise those who have known me since my youth, I do not prefer confrontation.  So, I have on at least two recent occasions experienced the truth mentioned in the Declaration of Independence which reads:

...all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

I believe the truth mentioned here is that folks would rather just keep on keepin' on, rather than interrupt their experience of life by dealing with rough YUCK stuff going on around them.

The rough stuff I've been around and wanted to ignore has been loud cursing and raunchy conversation in groups of guys (usually more than three guys).  On the 30th, there were two guys sitting in the booth just ahead of mine.  I could hear them, but i t was easy to tune them out.  Nary a curse word or raunchy subject did I hear.

When two more guys joined them, all four males began cursing periodically.  Mind, I was not TRYing to hear them or the curse words.  And when four males are cursing, that produces many curse words.  I both heard and felt them pop out at me from everything else they said.

Additionally, their conversation about females in their life currently or experience was disturbingly disrespectful and vulgar.  They four had foul mouths and minds based on their words.  And though I would have rather sat and ignored them, I did experience a point at which their abuses felt like efforts to reduce me under absolute despotism.  If I could have ignored them, I would have.  I absolutely felt the need to throw off the energetic YUCK I felt as a result of the words they spoke.

So, I said something to them about it.

As it happened on the 30th, at least one among them is probably a really nice guy who is often mindful of others.  He tried to excuse his behavior explaining that he was young.  I cut him off and told him that was no excuse and he was practicing now for the rest of his life.  He actually did change his behavior, for which I was very grateful as I was able to return to the writing on which I was working diligently to focus.

Basically, it is my observation that guys, as their number multiplies, become more crude, rude, and even perverse.  Have you had opportunity to observe such a thing?

Friday, July 1, 2016

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taking flight CONTINUES

If you missed the first part of this story, please click HERE to read it before you read this.  I'm not including a summary herein and this part of the story may not make sense if you don't read the first part.

Moja.  Do not anger.  Hasira hasara, you know: anger brings damage.  I did not say what you have heard.”
Then what did you say?”
I answered your questions and explained how Hofuya overcame her fear and difficulty and learned to fly.”
But it seems like you’re telling me I should do what she did.”
Not at all, little one.  Not at all.  I merely hoped that you might come to inspiration that would instruct you to do whatever you need to do to fly.”
SO!  You think I need to jump from Kiwango Chajuu… or be pushed.”
No.  Moja, please listen to me.  I know that we all must find our own njia, our own path, our own way.  And the way we each learn is different from those around us.  Hofuya was the only mwanafunzi I’ve ever had who has asked for a push from Kiwango Chajuu.  I had been teaching for more than twenty years when she asked.  I hope she is the only one, ever.”
You think I’m the only one who knows what it is I need to do to learn how to fly.”
Well, yes, almost the only one.  I believe Mungu Upendo also knows.  You must appeal to Him directly.  I believe He will also show you some of your path, your njia, as you learn how to fly from Him.”
If I need to learn from Mungu pendo and you cannot help me understand what He would tell me, what are you here for?”
To have this conversation.  Kidogo, I did not say I could not help you understand.  Simply that you must appeal to Him directly.  You resist my direction.  So this is what you must do.”
Moja bowed her head a moment.  Looked up, nodded to her teacher.  They bowed to each other and depart from one another in a slow fade.
Six months later, on her 14th birthday, Moja calls out to her teacher in her mind, “Bwana Mwalimu.”
Yes Moja.  I am here,” he says as he crystallized, sitting next to her in the garden.
I’m sorry it’s been so long, but I’ve been doing what you said I should.”
What is that, Moja?”
I’ve been practicing and learning.  I’ve been watching others fly… especially how they begin to fly.  I’ve learned a lot, I think.”
That is very good.”
I’ve also appealed to Mungu Upendo.”
That is wonderful.  What did He say?”
He said, ‘Just do it.’’”
Hiding a smirk in clearing his throat, “What do you think of that?” Bwana said.
I think it is accurate, but unhelpful.  Isn’t that what I was doing?”
No, Moja.  You were only trying before.”
And trying is only excuse making.  And excuses are well-planned lies.”
Yes, Kidogo.  You remember well.”
I still think you want to push me from Kiwango Chajuu.”
Oh.  Do you really?”
Is that the purpose of your call?”
No.  Not really.  I’m not going to ask you to push me, even if you want to.  I am asking you to come with me.”
I will be happy to accompany you anywhere, Moja.”
Even to Kiwango Chajuu?”
Bwana delays a response as he struggles to remain composed.  “Yes.  Even there.”
You won’t push me, though.  You have to promise not to push me.”
Looking more relaxed and maybe relieved, “I will promise to do what you ask me to do.”
When will we go, Moja?”
Shall I take you?”
Bwana Mwalimu stood, Moja stood.  He stepped to her and she extended her hand into his.
Please say our destination, my teacher, just before we depart.  I have a difficult time with the tunnels.”
As you wish, little one.  Bwana Mwalimu held her hand in his strong, firm, yet soft grasp, smiled, and said, “Kiwango Chajuu.”
Standing together on Kiwango Chajuu was almost more than Moja could take.  The tunnel was easier than those she formed herself, so that wasn’t the problem.  Before her, she saw the rising expanse of Kiwango Chajuu, so she knew the drop point was behind her.  She just knew she was standing at the edge and felt certain that Bwana Mwalimu would push her.  She scrunched her eyes closed and waited for what felt like forever.
Slowly she opened one eye and then the other.  “You haven’t pushed me?”
No.  Of course not.  As I speak, so I do.”
But… I thought you would.”
Because you told me how Hofuya finally learned to fly.”
Sighing, “Yes, I did.  I told you much else as well.”
So, you’re really not going to push me?”
I don’t know, Moja.  Am I going to push you?”
Aren’t you?”
I made a promise.”
You did.”
What would you have me do, Moja?”
ummm… I guess… I guess I just want you to be here.  I guess I just need to tell you a few things since I know this won’t work.”
Okay.  Tell me anything you desire to tell me.”
Well… I want you to tell my parents and brother that I love them.  I want you to know that I appreciate all the time and effort you have dedicated to my education.  Please forgive me for making it a waste.  I really hope you’ll tell everyone in the village that I’m sorry I wasn’t a flyer.  I’m sorry I had to learn that my Njia did not include flight for sure by dying.”
As Moja speaks, light is gathering around her shoulder blades so quickly and forcefully that Bwana Mwalimu can see it streaking toward her.  He can see the tiny sun shining behind her and watches as her wings take shape.  He knows what she cannot understand.
I will keep your words, Moja.”
You will keep my words.  What in the world does that mean?”
I cherish your appreciation of me and the rest… well, I know your parents and brother know you love them.  I will tell them, also, if you’d like.”
Yes.  I just told you what I want you to say to everyone.”
It will be just as you desire.”
Okay.  So, just stay right there.”  Moja looks at her teacher, turns to look at the edge of Kiwango Chajuu and says to Bwana Mwalimu over her shoulder, “Actually, I need you to take two steps back.”
Bwana Mwalimu takes two large steps backward.


click HERE if you want to review the meanings of the Swahili names and words used herein