It started with a run (not my usual post)

Out of the house, big ol’ open world (neighborhood), fresh air and a nice day for a run (jog/walk).

Endorphins kick up random thoughts. (You know how it goes)

In The Beginning...

Creator thought up a food chain. Big fish eat little fish. Big animals eat little animals. Animals (unfortunately) get hit by cars. Creator pre-anticipated this and thought, “Ish, what a mess that would be.” Then,

Turkey vultures swoop in; do the yummy cleanup.

I run a little faster. The air is fresh again.

Up ahead, workers are landscaping a yard with fresh shrubs and flowers. Nice.

But …

I keep running. Try not to breathe.

Yessiree, Bob. Creator’s got a sense of humor.

Big fish eat little fish. All animals eat one thing or another. Lots of animals. I love them all.

Just after The Beginning, Creator said, “Crap. What do I do with it?”

A seven-ish day ponder and then — “Ah-ha! They will use it to grow beauty!”

Only a creator with a sense of humor would think of this witty use of available resources.

Inspired by Creator’s wink and encouragement to get that blood flowing, I run a little faster, past the freshly spread manure fertilizer.

That Creator – what a character.

Those who say, “Beauty doesn’t come from crap” are wrong. They just have to run a little faster, get past the stench, and return on the seven-ish day.

Clever indeed.

When Pencils Need Sharpening

We were born. We didn’t have a choice.

We didn’t enroll for this class called “LIFE.”

Why would we ever want to “unenroll”?

We might miss something unexpected, something better.

Yes, some days all the hallways are the same.

They lead to the same old classroom,

the same old teachers.

Pencils get dull.

The roof leaks.

Trash cans get filled. Emptied.

But then on the big cork board in the hallway, we see something new.

“New construction in progress.

We are expanding!”

So even as we sneeze through the dusty air,

step over the nails,

hold our hands over our ears as the hammers pound

and the saws whiz

there’s a new spring in our step.

Something better is coming.

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image credit

via Enroll

Trying to Break Free: A Lesson in Determination

Mom has given me cherry-flavored Lundren’s throat lozenges for my sore throat. I keep them in my coat pocket. At playground time, I am the most popular girl at the swing set.

It is springtime. We have an incubator in our lunchroom. It has chicken eggs in it, real chicken eggs that you can’t eat. Each day I go first thing to see if the eggs under the warm light have started to crack. I picture little fuzzy yellow chicks coming out to greet us after they have broken free and clear of their eggs. I picture nestling their fuzziness in the palms of my little hands. It will be the best day ever in this boring kindergarten class. We wait.

Meanwhile at the same time:

April 16, 1963: While jailed in Birmingham, Alabama for leading anti-segregation protests, Martin Luther Kings writes a letter that says, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” “For years now, I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost almost always meant ‘never’.”

We wait until Mrs. Perry gets tired of them. She throws them out! She gave up! I am sooo disappointed. I realized then that some things don’t happen the way you want them to. Eggs don’t hatch if you give up.

I kept thinking that maybe we could have helped those baby chicks be born. It was all so unfair.

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photo credit

daily post prompt: Egg

The Way of Things

I remember this, my last conversation with Papa.

He, trying to alleviate our pain.

But I heard, through his bravado

the saddened beat of my heart

submerged in deep water

no knowledge of how to stay afloat

grief no words could express

He said,

“Remember the sandhill crane?”

How could I forget?

Long necks

the sound of their rattle calls  

broad wings flying over

ancestral farmland

He said,

“She’s like the hourglass that drips the sand of time

replenishes herself by picking leftovers from the field

She keeps moving forward.

She never stops.

She is you

and she is me.

Our fields, too deep to forget

Too vast to go away.

I will never truly leave you” 

“Is this the way of things, Papa?”

 “Ja, mein liebes.” 

“It is,” he smiled.

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Prose adapted from my novel, “Naked, She Lies

Photo credit

Express

Life Lessons from the Ring – Questions to ask yourself

I was too young to remember the times my dad came home with blood on his clothes. It was my older sister who told me how our non-violent mother would cringe at the sight.

Interesting that, even though I was two at the time, my father’s evening work would influence my life and expand my awareness.

The blood wasn’t my dad’s. Not then. His own blood was spilled years before when he boxed for the army.

The blood on my father’s clothes were from young men who, like my father, tried to prove something, make something of themselves in the boxing ring  “at a time when boxing mattered.” (Quote by Mark Brown, my first and continuing boxing coach)

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(My dad’s in the middle)

But hitting bags and pads matters to me.

Not only because of the fitness aspect, but to serve as a reminder of those who “toughened up” enough to be a better person in Life’s ring.

Participants of this sport or not, think of the lessons learned in boxing metaphors.

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(I keep these 1950’s baby rattles in my boxing bag as a reminder)

 

Ask yourselves these questions:

 

— Do you feel trapped? Cornered? Are you UP AGAINST THE ROPES. 

Try maneuvering to the center of the ring.                                      

— Do you keep yourself from getting hurt, literally or figuratively? PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES.                                    

Do this because, as my dad used to say, “You are your own best friend.”

Do you care about others? Then you are IN THEIR CORNER.

Make sure you find someone who will be in yours.

— Think you’ve hit bottom? Then you are DOWN FOR THE COUNT.

Do you have the stamina and willpower to get back up even if the odds feel against you?

— Have you gone too far with your criticisms? Then you’ve delivered an illegal A LOW BLOW.

Hurting others will eventually lead to hurting yourself.

— Are you thinking about THROWING IN THE TOWEL? Have you given up?

Sometimes we have to say “enough is enough.” Consider the towel carefully.

— Do you miss dangers coming your way? Do you LET YOUR GUARD DOWN?

How vulnerable are you willing to be?

— Do you ignore rude comments and take adversity in stride? Do you ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES?

Good! Backbones and self-confidence are sure wins.

— Were you luckily interrupted before sh..t hit the fan? Then you were SAVED BY THE BELL.

Who doesn’t love a blessing in disguise?

 

Are you a person who strives to be a better person?

Then you are a contender.

Be your own champion.

Because, at the end of the day when the rounds are over, you can kick up your feet and know that you fought even when tired, and you put up a good fight.

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(painting by C. Dennis-Willingham)

How do you WANDER?

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gift from my sister who knows me well

How do you WANDER? Aimlessly or with purpose? Neither is the wrong answer. Aimlessly means you might be stuck. Everybody gets stuck. And, perhaps, being stuck, helps us wander. Sometimes we wander to discover something new. For me, I wandered on paths that led me to new interests like: tap dancing, hot yoga, pilates, volunteer work, Italian lessons, art lessons, writer’s conferences and workshops, boxing, studying diversity training for children, piano lessons, kickboxing, writing. And did I really just pull out my mom’s old sewing machine?

Don’t just wonder. Wander. It’s a beautiful word and the paths are numerous. So, as you wander, find the things you love. The scenery is stunning.

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photo credit

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Boxing Tradition and life metaphors

(Featured image is my play on words)

Yes, it is Boxing Day. But in my life, it means I wrap my hands and plunk on my 16 oz. gloves. But it means more…

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Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn

My grandfather boxed whenever a traveling carnival came near his town. If he beat the headliner -which he usually did- he earned 5 whole dollars (a lot back then).

My dad boxed in the Army and later became a ref.

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My dad at 18

I’ve been boxing for almost twenty years. I don’t hit people. I hit bags and pads. But I hit like I am boxing myself out of a corner. What I’ve learned are a few metaphors on life.

-protect yourself at all times (stand up for yourself)

-don’t be the one who goes down for the count (stay alert)

-roll with the punches (go with the flow)

-don’t let down your guard (be aware)

-don’t pull any punches (be honest)

-don’t hit below the belt (stay kind)

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A painting I did after seeing a match at Madison Square Garden

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Joe Louis, of course