Day 6- 30 Day Writing Challenge

It’s Day 6 and I’m pushing on. This is truly a challenge.  I’m being inspired to get those creative juices flowing once again.

Today’s topic is:

5 ways to win your heart

1. Entertain me. Choose a play, movie, concert or comedy show. My senses of sight and hearing will be thankful. My emotions will be heightened.

2. Feed me. I mean a full plate of food and dessert with beautiful presentation. My senses of smell, taste, touch, and sight will be fulfilled.

3. Make me laugh. Life can be so difficult and complex. Its great to just be loose and laugh really hard. The kind of laugh that makes you cry at the same time. You don’t have to be a professional clown. Having a good sense of humor is essential.

4. Be kind and generous. What is in your heart? Let me see how you treat people. From the smallest child to an elder, how do you relate and communicate with the people around you? Are you genuine or trying too hard to look good in someone else’s eyes? Over time, I have discovered how to spot insincerity.

5. Have an open mind. How do you think? We are all different. We all like various things or carry ourselves in the world differently. Can you be accepting of people being true to themselves? Can you watch them be free to create their happiness and not be negative or judging.? Can you give constructive criticism and not be a soul or dream crusher? Can you see the value in other people and in yourself?

The prompt only asked for 5. There’s more, however, I can’t give all my secrets away.

heart-cord-suspended-love-160836.jpeg

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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.

Day 3- 30 Day Writing Challenge

I keep plugging along with this Writing Challenge and I’m rather proud of myself. I thought this was a good one to share.

Day 3

What are your top 3 pet peeves.

1.Seeing poor spelling and grammar on social media.

I guess this would have to include: speaking using bad grammar too. I’m not talking about slang. I mean real words we use in everyday conversations.

I can’t help but judge an adult who has completed all their schooling, that doesn’t know the difference between there, their and they’re. Then, there is the phrase “Sorry for your lost “ instead of loss, when someone passes away.They are not missing persons. I read statuses and memes where I’m silently correcting the grammar and spelling as I go along. It’s rather draining. We can do better.

2. People without manners, courtesy or good hygiene.

a. People neglect to say, “Excuse me, Thank you and Please.” Whatever happened to saying thank you when someone holds open a door for you? A person is exiting a door you are walking into and they hold it open, as you enter. You should say, Thank You. When someone does something for you, you should say Thank You.

b. When there are people in a room and you walk in, don’t just pass through, not acknowledgingthem. You should use a greeting of some kind. Good morning, Hello, Hi are all good ones.

c. Sneezing or coughing into the air without covering your mouth. It allows your germs to travel and possibly touch me. I do not need additional germs.

d. Please wash your hands as you leave the restroom. Not doing this is another way to share your germs. You share doors, knobs, pens, etc… with other people. Sometimes you want to touch people with your unwashed hands or handle food with those same hands. Do not do it. Please don’t.

3. People that are always in a bad mood, filled with negativity and never appear to be pleasant.

Life is very complicated and we do have to go through life together. If you can’t smile because things are challenging for you right now, that is very understandable. I feel that way sometimes. However, I don’t need to see anger and feel doom every time we encounter each other. All that negativity is bad for your body, mind and spirit. Try to find one good thing in every day and keep that thought going until you get home.

If I had to add one more it would be to openly and unashamedly lie without just cause. There are some who only use bits of the truth and omit vital information. It’s still considered a lie.

Do you have any pet peeves? I would love to hear what grinds your gears.

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.

From Rebuilding to Renewal

In a few hours, we’ll begin the countdown to 2018. Here in the East Coast we’ll be having the coldest New Year’s Eve since 1963.  I always chuckle on this night, as my family called it, Old Year’s Night.

People will be popping bottles, kissing those closest to them and making resolutions that may be quickly broken. It’s our mindsets that determine what we will do in the coming years.  A few years ago, I started making themes for the coming year.  Last year, it was the Year of Rebuilding. I aimed to rebuild my body, mind and spirit, after having a heart attack.  All of it was difficult, but rewarding.  I kept active as instructed.  I kept up my weight and my eating plan right until Halloween…. Candy was my treat and mini Snickers was the trick.  Kids didn’t ring the doorbell and I couldn’t resist. I kept eating through Thanksgiving and this month and gained a little weight back.

I aim to make myself better than the year prior. I would rather improve overall than make one shaky resolution. I’ve failed many times at those. Just ask the 20 pounds I’ve gained and lost so many times, I have lost count. Once again I will work towards a healthier lifestyle. I’ve got to be much healthier.  I want to live longer and live well.

2018’s theme for me is The Year of Renewal. I’m renewing vows to myself.  My health is number one. I’ve been fighting one health battle after another since my late 20’s. I can not keep living with this poor health karma. I will defeat it!  I vow to be happy no matter what’s going on in my life. I vow to live with gratitude. I will be even more consistent with my Buddhist practice  and just be a good person. I hope to travel, have better finances and live surrounded by the love of family and true friends in faith.

The world needs renewal. America needs Renewal. It’s been a rough and depressing year.

There are people still suffering in the aftermath of the hurricanes this summer. There are still US citizens living in Puerto Rico without electricity. They need our help. Our government, their government is not doing all they can. Grassroots organizations are doing as much as they can handle.

Women’s voices are finally being heard about sexual harassment. They should have listened when Anita Hill spoke out and brought it to the steps of Congress, so many years ago. If they had listened we wouldn’t have Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. She’s about to head a task force on the subject.  Now, they are going to listen to her.  

We need reasonable gun control laws. Mass shootings are not normal. We have to shut down that narrative. We have to understand climate change is real. Our planet and our future is in danger.  We can’t tell young adults that abstinence is real birth control. That doesn’t work.  We need Planned Parenthood. America is not a solely Christian country. Coal isn’t coming back as an industry.   America used to be smarter than this. Dumb is not impressive.

The GOP continues to discriminate against the poor, elderly, children and the sick. It is ugly. Cutting needed social services tells me, they don’t care about us. Their tax bill shows who is important to them. We can do better. We must do better.  The midterm elections are coming, Please vote and take your friends with you. We can not leave it to other people. The last time we ended up with #45. We have an ignoramus, white supremacist and a bully in the White House.

With so much going on, I know that some days it maybe harder to keep my theme in mind.  However, my Buddhist faith tells me, “When our fundamental mindset changes, we ourselves change. And when we change, the environment and the world change, too. The source of this great transformation is found nowhere but in a radical deepening of our own chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon. This sort of prayer to the Gohonzon is completely different from that found in a dependent, supplicant faith; we do not weakly and passively beg someone for salvation or assistance. Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism is fundamentally a vow. It is a pledge or commitment to follow a chosen course of action; it is a declaration to challenge a clear objective. (March 17, 2006, World Tribune, p. 3)

We’ve reached a place where we need to respect the dignity of humankind. I talk a lot about my Buddhist faith because it helps me to become a better person everyday.  Here are some basics of of the SGI-USA and what we believe. These are tenets for all people.

The SGI youth are about to join together in September 2018 and fight for a better world. 

My prayer is that  in 2018, we all become renewed in one way or another. We can have an internal change and not just for a New Year’s resolution.

Daisaku Ikeda said,

“When we change, the world changes. The key to all change is in our inner transformation—a change of our hearts and minds. This is human revolution.”

Let’s have our human revolutions in 2018!  Happy and Healthy 2018 everyone!!

 

Rest in Peace Reggie Osse’  – fellow Buddhist, district member and Myoho Brother         #CombatJack         #CombatCancer

 

What a Year It Has Been!

A year ago today, I had a near fatal heart attack. I survived what’s called a fluke heart attack. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It stumped the doctors. 3 stents, lots of medications, cardiac physical therapy and lots of chanting and praying Nam Myoho Renge. Today is my second birthday. My actual birthday is in a few weeks.

This year I’ve learned a lot about myself and love who I’m still growing into. I’ve gained courage and wisdom. I have learned how to unselfishly put myself first. I’ve struggled with my health for over 20 years, living with chronic pain everyday. I have a handful of health conditions. I don’t look like what I’ve been through.

However, when you feel your life slipping away from your body, you can not live as you always did. Big changes are necessary. I’m making them and living my best life and helping others to do the same.

I walk the treadmill (slowly and never letting go) with poor balance, but I do it. I ride the stationary bike and am developing leg muscles that I lost long ago. I’ve continued what I started in cardiac rehab.

I’ve been going to Zumba class. I may not look as graceful as some other participants but I try my best. I stay on the side of the room with the people who are slower, older and not as sexy in their movements. It’s Okay. We still have fun!

I’ve re-evaluated relationships, including my relationship with myself. I’ve been a people pleaser most of my life and it hasn’t benefited me. I’ve taken a hard look at my relationships and my responsibilities and realized where changes needed to be made for my own good. You cannot force what no longer fits. You can’t help others, if you don’t help yourself first.

Due to family and friends who care about and love me I’ve had some good times. They decided to share their good fortune with me. I’ve been fortunate.

To my doctors, cardiologists, nurses, cardiac physical therapists and nurse practitioner, my debt can never be repaid. I will just do all I can to help others.

The physical therapists recommended I get a rollator walker to help me walk longer distances and always have a place to sit. My vanity said no way, but I relented and I’m glad I did. I have some freedom and can now take a walk (or roll) to attend my tutoring sessions.

Tutoring adults is so rewarding. You see how much they want the knowledge and understanding most of us take for granted. One of my students had to leave the program recently. He left a card for me. He thanked me for helping him believe in himself and becoming a better man. He said he was honored to have me as his tutor. I had to hold in some tears when I read it .

This is why I fought so hard to get stronger. I have a mission to accomplish. The payoff isn’t financial. It’s changing lives, building self esteem, providing knowledge. When they understand something, I get excited. This wasn’t the path I chose for myself. It’s the road I had to ease on down.

Challenges will happen because that’s just how life works. Life is not perfect but you can be happy and appreciative despite the challenges. Chanting and studying Buddhism and attending and hosting Buddhist activities gives me the tools to be courageous, be more confident and be unafraid no matter what’s happening.

As I look forward to turning 52 in a couple of weeks, I appreciate my life so much more.  I’m mindful to take better care of myself. I pray for myself and for others.  My prayer is to win over my health and my finances and to be happy everyday.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda said, “The faith and practice of Nichiren Buddhism enables us to absolutely triumph. The Mystic Law enables us to “change poison into medicine. Advance with the great conviction that no prayer will go unanswered.”

The Universe is hearing my prayers. I have no doubt.