Day 7- 30 Day Writing Challenge

List 10 songs That You Are Loving Right Now 

1. Rocket – En Vogue

Its their first album in 14 years. The harmonies are still tight with 3 members instead of 4.

2. Beautiful Trauma- Pink

I have liked most of Pink’s music since her debut. This one just sounds so good.

3. Make Me Feel- Janelle Monae’
You can hear the influence of Prince in this cut. Janelle’s music career just keeps getting stronger.

4. All The Stars-Kendrick Lamar & SZA

If you saw Black Panther,  you know the soundtrack was fantastic and this was the star in the closing credits.

5. A Good Night – John Legend featuring BloodPop

We usually hear ballads from John Legend so this was a nice change of pace.

6. I Don’t Think About You- Kelly Clarkson

The first American Idol keeps proving to us that she deserved that win. Her subsequent career has been filled with many highs, including this one.

7. Finesse- Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B

Funky 90’s sounds from Bruno with a feature from Cardi B. Bruno is still on a roll after his big wins at this year’s Grammys.

8. This Is Me- Soundtrack of The Greatest Showman

This song is a real anthem for people who feel different. The vocals are strong. The performance of this song during The Academy Awards was a highlight of the evening.

9. Pray For Me- The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar

Another song from The Black Panther soundtrack. It feels like I am in Wakanda when I hear it.

10. Long As I Live- Toni Braxton

This comes from Toni Braxton’s newest solo album. We last heard from her on the duets album with Babyface.  It’s good to hear new material from her.

Day 5 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I did write yesterday, but it was just a brief paragraph as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) beat my behind. I’m a tad better today and this topic wasn’t difficult to write about.

List five places you want to visit

1. Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History and Culture located in Washington D.C

Museum Website

I’ve heard and read so much about this museum. It took a long time to get the project completed and I’ve heard from people who have made the trip that it is a must see and it’s emotional. I enjoy learning history in a museum setting. African American history is American history and it should be celebrated.

b. Hawaii

Hawaii Tourism

Since I was a kid and watched the 3-part episode of The Brady Bunch, this was on my travel list. The birthplace of our 44th President has sun, sand and surf.How could you go wrong?

2. The Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen-rufu located in Shinanomachi, Tokyo.

The Hall of The Great Vow

SGI Headquarters History Video

Similar in scope to visiting the Vatican for Catholics or Mecca for Muslims, this is the destination for SGI Nichiren Buddhists. It’s the headquarters where we can visit and renew our commitment to promoting world peace and individual happiness.

3. The Champs-Elysées and all the sites near it. Located in Paris France

Paris Tourism

It is Paris! It’s considered one of the greatest avenues in the world. There are museums, shops and other touristy things to do.

4. Grenada – The Spice Island

Grenada Tourism

The maternal side of my family history is in Grenada. I would love to visit the Isle of Spice and have an inside glimpse of my personal history. It’s warm too, which I realize is better for my health.

5. Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Tourism

I like the beach. Every photo that I’ve seen of Turks and Caicos makes me want to see it up close.

a. Cuba

Cuba Travel

I’m adding this one because it’s been forbidden since the 1960’s. For the culture and for the experience, I think I would enjoy myself as I learn and observe a place only about 1400 miles from Florida.

I don’t have a clue when I going to any/all of these places, but when the time comes, I have a list to choose from.

30 Day Writing Challenge- Day 2

It’s Day 2 and I’m keeping my commitment to write for the next 30 days.

Day 2 – Write something someone told you about yourself that you never forgot.

Many years ago, I had a younger man whom I was friendly with,tell me I was intimidating to men. At the time, I was very perplexed by what he said. I did not know how to take his comment. We knew each other from our mutual workplace and had casual conversations.

So,I asked him what he meant. He replied that I had myself so together. I was very educated, had a good job,was attractive and smart. I could make a man feel very intimidated to approach me. I don’t remember what I said, but the conversation quickly ended.

So, I looked up the word intimidate.

The definition says: to frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.”intimidate his rivals” Synonyms: frighten, menace, terrify, cow, dragoon, subdue.

I had to laugh at the definition because I’m the antonym of intimidating. I quickly came to the realization that I can only intimidate someone very insecure. I cannot or would not change myself to soothe or pamper someone else’s ego.

Perhaps, he or anyone “frightened” by me needed to work on themselves. I was still working on building my self confidence at the time, but savvy enough to know I didn’t have a problem.

Looking back, I see how that comment could have made me change myself to suit the needs of others. I didn’t allow that. I’ve seen women change to fit someone else’s narrative. It never turned out well.

Today,I wouldn’t even have to look it up and question myself. I would have told that guy some well thought out words that would have made him question himself. I would have him look it up and straighten out his thought process.

You don’t have to believe everything people say about you. That comment became food for thought. I didn’t allow it to change me.

30 Day Writing Challenge Day 1

Today marks the first day of April and the first of a 30 Day Writing Challenge. I haven’t had the energy or inclination to write in some time. The world is topsy turvy and so negative some days. This winter was also very hard on my health. I decided this was a perfect way to refresh my brain, renew my skills and be accountable to write everyday. I can’t promise I’ll blog everyday, but I will write. Here we go….

30 Day Writing Challenge

Day 1

List 10 things that really make you happy.

1. Listening to my favorite songs that span all the decades of my 52 years and earlier. I like just about every genre of music. Sometimes I DJ a concert and “sing” (my version of singing) or lip sync, in my bedroom with my headphones on. I create playlists depending on my mood.

Don’t get me started on Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Gladys Knight,The King Of Pop Michael Jackson, Diana Ross or Prince. I could go on for a long time with those artists. I also do this with YouTube videos and post them to Facebook.

I also really find it funny when I see the lyrics of songs and realize I’ve been singing them wrong forever.

2. Whenever I can get a good nights sleep without waking up too many times. It’s like winning the lottery.

3. When I prepare a meal that tastes exactly the way I imagined it would taste, with all the seasonings just right.

4. Getting up and realizing I have minimal pain, discomfort and have some energy. Fibromyalgia and all the other ailments are in the background of that day. I’m alive and breathing. Yay!

5. Watching entertaining television shows and sometimes watching online and discussing plot points with my friends. Empire and Scandal are really good shows to share with other people.

6. Reflecting fondly on past good times with family who have now passed away, especially holidays, inside jokes and the food we ate.

7. Knowing that I’m still able to create value with my life, helping others reach their greatest potential. I look forward to seeing them reach their goals. I get to keep my mind sharp. It’s a win win situation. Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo every day helps to remind me; I still have a lot to

offer the world and a mission to accomplish.

8. Catching up and laughing with my family and good faithful friends realizing its best to keep my circle small. My small circle has many wonderful, generous, smart, witty and true people inside of it.

9. Getting out to a movie, concert, play or musical or restaurant. I don’t get to do them often, but when I do, I make sure I have maximum enjoyment.

10. Sitting down with a good book where I’m transfixed by the plot, wrapped in a blanket and drinking a hot cup of tea.

10a. Sharing a funny joke or video that has made me cry laughing.

I am attaching the 30 Day Writing Challenge I am using that I found online. Feel free to join me at anytime this month.

Wrapping Up and Going Forward

When I thought about starting a blog, late last year, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. I knew I wanted to write and use my gift, but I didn’t know how I would take the thoughts in my head and make them meaningful enough for readers. I have never been a poet or one who very consistently kept a journal, as much as I tried. However, I knew there were stories, ideas and great writing inside of me that I wanted to share.

I soon realized that I could best write about myself, my experiences and life events. I was about to journey into my last year of my forties. I was  determined to be more courageous so I  moved ahead. Privately, I dubbed this journey, my Year of  49. I would follow myself down this pathway and see where I ended up. I wanted this year to have meaning, be fun and have some adventures.

I wanted to go to Las Vegas to celebrate my actual 50th birthday, something completely out of the ordinary for me. I have always played safe and by the rules. I could celebrate in warm weather for only the second time in my life with some family members; maybe bring in the new year on the west coast. It was discussed and agreed upon. It would be happening and I didn’t have to plan  it. I would be taken care of. Yay!

So, I decided to do things this year I wanted to do, fibromyalgia be damned. The money would come from somewhere. I would just chant triple the amount of nam myoho renge kyo than usual, so that I could physically be up to it.

I had a ticket to see Diana Ross in concert and that started the ball rolling for me to also see Gladys Knight, Guy, Jill Scott, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers in concert. Music gets me though the toughest days. I wrote about all these musical experiences and how they made  me happy, even though I sat through most of them in pain. I fought through it and won.

I suffered tremendous physical pain this year and I spent much time indoors, resting and also dealing with chronic fatigue. I am no longer able to hold a job, as my illness and pain levels are completely unpredictable. Living with and living on disability is not easy. I’m doing my best to live a good life and have faith both situations will change for the better.

This year, I had a few in patient medical procedures done to help my migraines.  I had aqua therapy to help the sciatica like pain running down my leg like shock waves. I had trouble sitting, standing and walking. All this was happening while dealing with the house guest from hell who threw a big monkey wrench right in the middle of my weight loss plans. Medication side effects and frustrated stress eating made a girl gain weight. Sigh……  I wanted to be slimmer and healthier by my birthday, but I got frustrated; I restarted a couple weeks ago and this time I’m making a lifestyle change. Nothing or no one will interfere with my progress again.

I wrote about my life as a person dealing with fibromyalgia. It was my most read and shared post.I was very proud of that post. It was relate-able to anyone with a chronic pain condition.

I follow news events and many touched my heart. I was angered or saddened by them, so I wrote about them. I wrote about personal sorrows and losses. I became more open about myself, more than I have ever been.

I  wrote about the importance of my faith and how it helps me to grow into the person I am meant to be. I want to create value with and for my life. I volunteer once a month to record readings of  SGI-USA publications on tape, for members who are visually impaired or unable to read them for themselves. I’m happy to contribute in this way to my fellow Buddhists.

The news events of 2015: mass shootings, domestic and foreign terror, police brutality, innocent Black Lives not mattering, slack gun control laws, presidential candidates spouting bigotry and spreading fear; it all became too much for my senses.

My faith and my humanity tells me and shows me all of this is wrong. Should I be packing my bags and leaving my homeland before it all goes awry? The hate filled tones may be coming towards me and my kind next. History shows this is possible.  My writing desires waned and I got stuck somehow. I haven’t made a blog post since September.

My year of 49 has two weeks left. I had a 50th birthday celebration in August, with women I have known since elementary school on an evening cruise with our teachers. We all turned 50 this year.  It was a great time and there was cake, 🙂  I really feel a kinship with them even though we don’t see other regularly.

My trip to Las Vegas never took off, I don’t even know what happened to it. I’m disappointed. So, the idea remains on my vision board.Next time, I’ll take control of my own plans.

Since the plans were altered,I didn’t know how I would bring in this milestone birthday. I wanted to do something I never did before. I refused to stay at home. I could do that any night of the year.

I was gifted a ticket to see a show, by the same Uncle who bought me a new bed this year (I’m so grateful to him); so that’s how I’ll spend my special day. I’ll see a production I’ve wanted to see for years. I have mused my way towards 50. I will continue writing this blog . I will be more consistent with it.

I want my 50’s to be incredible. I want better health. I want romance with real commitment. I want to walk without a cane. I want to travel to an SGI-USA conference. I want to meet my uncle and cousin. I want to stick to my healthier eating plans and get my sexy back. I want better finances and become debt free. I want to volunteer to help others to the best of my capacity. Helping others, helps me to grow.  I strive to be the person Buddhism,teaches me, I can become. I want my life to matter when people see me. I want the world to be safe, free from the worst humans can do to humans. I want supreme happiness for myself and for everyone.

I wish myself a Happy Fiftieth Birthday!!!!

The Christmas season is upon us and a new year is about to start. Let’s see what wonders will come in 2016. I’m taking control of my life and being true to myself. I will create a greater life for myself in my 50’s . Thank you all for reading and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season filled with joy!

 

 

Inspiration

It’s been awhile since I have been inspired to write. There has been so much turmoil in our country recently and my mind became blocked. There was a lot I wanted to say, but couldn’t get it out. Three mass shootings, particularly the loss of the Emanuel 9 in South Carolina really hit me in the heart and mind. When you can’t sit in your place of worship peacefully, have fellowship and pray, something is wrong.

Guns are in the hands of the wrong people. The power that the NRA appears to wield needs to taken away. Ask all the parents and family members whose lives have been violently taken by a gun, how they feel? Nothing significant happened after the Sandy Hook shooting where first graders were murdered. Gun control laws should have been changed and thoroughly enforced since then.

There have been the deaths of unarmed black people, Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland and Sam DuBose and unfortunately too many more to mention in one sitting without me crying about the state of the United States.

More people appeared outraged about the death of Cecil the Lion than the deaths of so many humans. I understand completely the outrage and sadness of an out and out murder of a majestic creature. The American dentist who killed him may be extradited back to Zimbabwe for prosecution, He may even serve some time for his crime. He has received so much backlash he had to close his dental practice. I hope they throw the book at him.

But, lately, too many black humans have been losing their lives through out and out murders and the police brutality continues and some will never pay for their crimes.  With all of these stories, happening so close together I needed something to help me release.

Music has always been my solace and something that increased my joy throughout my life. I can’t recall a day where I did not have music playing in my ear. There was either the radio, albums, Walkman ,cassettes, CD’s, MP3’s, I-pod and music videos accompanying my days.

I recently lost a Facebook friend who was an encyclopedia of music of all genres. She died suddenly at age 46 and although we never met, we talked though Facebook for years. I celebrated with her this past May when she graduated. Her loss hurt, like I lost a family member. Again I sought solace through music and I remember her every time that I check out the music groups where we were both members. I miss you Note!

Music was the key to my inspiration. I had tickets a week ago to see Jill Scott in concert. She sang her hits and new songs from her new album Woman as she celebrated 15 years in the music business and I was incredibly blown away by her talent, confidence and humor from the stage. I wanted to write about it but my schedule was crazy attending aquatherapy (warm water pool is everything), going to an osteopathic psychiatrist for back and body pain and attending my Buddhist activities I didn’t have the chance. I did a lot of chanting about my situation and knew I would become inspired to write soon.

This past Friday, I was inspired by seeing veteran R & B acts, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers at the Kings Theatre . Stephanie MIlls came to fame as Dorothy in the all black cast of Broadway’s The Wiz which was later made into a film. Stephanie was in her late teens 40 years ago when she became a star.  She was a girl straight outta Brooklyn and she was excited to be back home. She talked about the 40th anniversary of the show and how she would be in the televised live version scheduled for this December, this time as Auntie Em. She revealed Queen Latifah would be playing the Wiz and Mary J.Blige will play the Wicked Witch of the West. They will be rehearsing in New York. She hoped the powers that be picked a girl from Brooklyn to play Dorothy. I’m looking forward to watching it.

In between her reminiscing she gave us the greatest hits she had as a solo singer. She wore a tight black dress and as she later told us, she is 57 years old and a hot tamale. The show started with Never Knew Love Like This Before and then we were treated to the rest: What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin’, Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel), You and I (a personal favorite), Putting A Rush On Me, I’ve Learned to Respect The Power Of Love, Feel The Fire (here she held one hell of a note and showed all of her vocal prowess),

She then went on to I Feel Good All Over, her version of UpTown Funk by Mark Ronson ft.Bruno Mars (which was kick ass!!), Put Your Body In It (taking us back to disco days and Studio 54 and she gave a shout out to the late Rick James) and finally Home (her signature song from The Wiz and perfect for the woman returning to her childhood beginnings). She sang her heart out and did it with all kinds of passion. She did all kinds of vocal acrobatics! Her body did acrobatics as she shook her booty, dipped it low and dropped it like it was hot.

Watching her do all this in heels on a under hot stage lights made me even more aware that 57 doesn’t have to equal old unless you want it to be. She has inspired me to really work hard to put these chronic illness’ and pains behind me so I could be like her in a few years. I want more fun in my life. She was bouncing all over that stage and I felt so good watching and admiring her voice and youthful spirit.

Part two of the show featured The Whispers who are celebrating 50 years of being in the music business. As one of the twin brothers Scottie said, They never would have thunk it that they would still be on stage performing. He said we even have merchandise to sell now and they were available in the lobby. They took us back in time. They began with And The Beat Goes On, then went on to entertain with In The Mood, Is It Good To You, Keep On Loving Me, Say Yes, In The Raw, Lady, Love is Where You Find It, Olivia (Lost and Turned Out )Chocolate Girl, I Wanna Know Your Name and finished off a magnificent show with It’s A Love Thing. They were smooth, silky and energetic, as they crooned and danced and made us laugh and reminisce in their royal blue jackets with gold insignia.

I walked out feeling so full of life and energy even though I was exhausted. I had great aisle seats but had to keep getting up so others could get to their seats. I felt like I ran a marathon and my back and knees were beating me up the next day. Even though I have physical limitations I am determined more than ever defeat them. I want to really live during my fifties and sixties and do the things I’ve written and posted on my vision boards over the years.

I’m chanting for peace in our world, for more happiness with less violence and hate for all humankind. I’m chanting for  a full and happy life for myself. Thank you to music for opening the block. Thank you Jill Scott, Stephanie Mills and The Whispers for the entertainment and joy you have given to me over the course of your spectacular careers.

It took a month and a half, but I’m back to writing. I am happy and grateful.