Day 18- 30 Day Writing Challenge

I’ve been writing, but haven’t posted for awhile during the challenge. Today’s topic is making me think a lot about myself.

 Post 30 Facts About Yourself

1. Books and music are my first loves. I can read and listen to music at the same time, ever since I was a kid.

2. I can read 2 or 3 books at a time and not confuse the plots. I read fiction and non-fiction books simultaneously.

3. Writing compositions in elementary school helped me to see I was a good, creative writer.

4. I don’t think I have ever written a poem.

5. I could write my name before I started school at age 3.

6. I stayed in the house a majority of the time when I was as a child. I always had homework, it came first and I always did it. I guess it prepared me well for all the days that I now have to stay inside due to chronic pain and illnesses.

7. I don’t remember ever having a set bedtime.

8. I’ve always had insomnia.

9. I watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy reruns very often as a kid. I enjoyed the conversations Johnny had with all his guests. I noticed that they chain smoked the entire show which they couldn’t do today. I  know the dialogue to the Original 39 Honeymooners episodes by heart and which Lucy episode is coming on within a few minutes.

10. Every Saturday night, I watched The Carol Burnett Show. To this day, I love anything Carol Burnett related.

11. Michael Jackson played a big part in my life. He was my first celebrity crush as a girl. I loved every stage of his illustrious career.  I wish I had seen him perform live in concert.

12. Prince and Michael’s sudden passings really hit me hard. It felt like a part of my childhood was gone. I did see Prince live in concert. It was incredible.

13. I love to cook. The aromas and flavors make me happy. For many years, I had so many digestive issues, I didn’t eat much. The issues have improved. I have lots of cookbooks that I haven’t used yet.

14. I’ve never met a piece of cake or bread I didn’t like.

15. The first time my writing was published was in high school in our school newspaper.

16. There are  places in my own state I keep saying I want to see and haven’t made it there yet.

17. I hate the cold.

18. I love the sun and the beach

19. I can’t recall the last time I went to the beach.

20. If I had the money, I would see as many  Broadway musicals as I could, when they opened.

21. I think I am addicted to social media. I know I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out)

22. I’m really fine being by myself.  (I’m a natural introvert)  but, sometimes I like being around other people, laughing, eating and catching up.

23. I have never played spades.

24. I’m sick of being sick. Illness has changed my entire life.

25. I want to travel but my bank account says I could only make it to my front door and no further.

26. I chant a lot for the world to be at peace. I  want us all to live long lives without threats of  a nuclear war that would destroy the planet and mankind.

27. I’m still hopeful that I will have one great reciprocal love in my life before I die. As I get older, it’s harder to hold on to that feeling. Something tells me I shouldn’t give up.

28. I’m naturally nosy. I think that’s why librarianship suited me. We are detectives of facts.

29. I love makeup. I seldom leave home with a bare face. I like color.

30. I like to watch wedding planning shows and weddings on televison.  I woke up early in the 80’s for Princess Diana’s wedding. I did it for William and Kate and will be doing the same for Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

It is harder than you think to come up with 30 facts about yourself. See if you can do it.

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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 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

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.

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

 

Doing My Work

I have been MIA on the blogosphere, but as Iyanla says, “I’ve been doing my work.”

I have been working hard to get physically stronger. I’ve been attending cardiac physical therapy sessions for a few months now, in an effort to build strength and endurance. When you have already have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, it becomes more difficult to maintain stamina.

Now, add to that mix, a heart attack. The exhaustion is almost unbearable some days. My therapy sessions are still going on because some days I couldn’t get it together to attend. My therapists tell me I am making progress. Slow and steady wins the race. I will win!

I’m learning how to pace myself, so the fatigue doesn’t knock me out for days at a time.  It’s not an easy task.

I am improving on the plant based diet I had already begun. Let me tell you, reducing cheese is HARD  for me to do. I’ve been told the serving size should be the length of a fingertip. Ugggh! Really??

My recommended diet is eating more fruits and vegetables, beans, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and lean meats. I drink tons of water. Eliminating or having less salt, sugar and processed food was something I had already started doing. Over time, it’s getting easier.  I’ve lost a few pounds and really hoping to shed more.

I’ve cut my locs which I’m still getting used to.

I loved my locs but were not as healthy as they should have been.  I’m giving my hair plenty of TLC to get it in great shape. My  5 year old locs and I went through alot together.

I suffered severe pain and stress and lost my job. I went on disability and faced financial difficulties. I coped with anger about all the aforementioned. I sought out a therapist to deal with depression (I’m great now, no more depression or medication but I still see the therapist, Everyone could use a neutral party to talk to.)

Then I had a heart attack and had to ingest lots of medications with side effects. The energy around me needed to be different. I will re grow them healthier and stronger than before.

I’m working on getting out more. My cousin and I have had lunch a few times and it’s been good. It’s nice to have conversations and laughter with people in my age group. I have family that call me all the time to check on me , give support and update me on their lives. It means so much.  I hope to see friends who have stood by me, checked on me regularly ,very soon. They think about me as a person, not a “sick person”.

I am working on not letting the radical changes in our country send me into a tail spin. The disregard for others is hard to comprehend as is the stupidity. I’m a news junkie but I now limit myself to just a few hours a week of television news.  I get ticked off and that’s no good.

I read The NY Times and Washington Post online. It’s real news. I can discern fake news. and alternative facts. I am a Librarian, Fact Detective.

I’m still cant comprehend Prince is gone and it’s been a year.  We still have the music to soothe our broken hearts. purpleprince

I’m catching up on television watching Timeless, a historical time travel show on NBC. I’m  hoping it’s renewed for season 2. Please watch it OnDemand, it’s so good! William Shatner and the Smithsonian Museum love it too.

I’ve also been watching Underground, Greenleaf and Feud. I like old Hollywood movies so watching Feud, a story about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as they  filmed, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It was a guilty pleasure.  On Netflix, I binge watched The Get Down and missed it when it was over. Season 2 please?

I’ve been working on my life.

I’ve been on a quest for happiness and positive change for quite a while.

13 years ago today, with just some of my family members and a family friend present, I began my Buddhist practice by receiving my Gohonzon. A true renewal began in my life. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has been a lifesaver.

I cannot begin to explain all the benefits I have received and the personal growth I have achieved since then. I am truly not the person I used to be. I fight for myself. It’s been my tool to be more courageous. I am more confident and outspoken. I don’t accept blame for everything. I do take personal responsibility for what I do.

It’s helped me lessen my own suffering and allows me to work towards building my individual happiness. I pray for the happiness of others as well as myself. I pray for the betterment of our world. I am able to look within and not outside of myself to become my best self. I see things, situations and people more clearly. 

When people are happy within, we are all on the road towards world peace.

I live with the never give up spirit of an SGI Nichiren Buddhist. My mentor is SGI’s third President Daisaku Ikeda who has spread this practice, with faith and courage to 12 million members in 192 countries and territories worldwide. He took faith at 19 and was told he would only live to the age of 30 due to tuberculosis. In 2018 he will be 90 years old. He encouraged the Japanese members here in the United States to widely spread our movement for peace and they surely did.

I continue to fight for victorious days, every day. No matter what assails me, I will win. My mentor is actual proof of the benefits of the practice. When I read his writings, I become encouraged, every time, no matter what he’s written.

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Nichiren writes ” When once we chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all… living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless” (Those Initially Aspiring to the Way, WND-1, 887)

 

I will keep doing my work, receive immeasurable blessings and happiness. I will encourage others to the best of my abilities. My work is not done. In fact it’s just beginning.

Grateful for Life

2016 has been out here like a beast taking the gifted, talented, courageous, unsuspecting and everyone in between. It almost got me too. 

I’m even more appreciative of this birthday, than I thought I would be. 

Earlier this month, after going to the hospital (I was not feeling well with a rapid heartbeat and some light chest pain, for a few days) I ignored it. (having chronic pain can make you ignore pain) My heart rate became so rapid, I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore due to my family heart history. 

I had a test done in the hospital on the second day after my admittance. It seemed to go very well. I was rolled into the recovery room. 
 Moments later, I had a heart attack (a pain that can only be described as elephants sitting on my chest), requiring stents to be placed in an artery to keep it open. 

I felt myself dying, unable to breathe or swallow. Without the immediate interventions, my doctor said, had this occurred in the elevator going up to my room, The results would have been very different. 

We so often take our lives for granted thinking there is always the one chance for tomorrow. Sometimes we don’t get a tomorrow. I was protected by all the benelovent forces in the universe (shoten zenjin). I was in the right place at the exact, right moment. It was detected by my screams of pain and my vital signs. It was remedied immediately by the medical team. 

 The nurses took such good care of me assuring me that the 6 IV drips of medications (after surgery, I wasn’t allowed to move my leg or raise my head for 48 hrs) were giving me the chance to live) A big high five to nurses everywhere for their dedication to patients.

 If I been at home, I wouldn’t have been able to call 911 quickly enough to save myself.  
For the past year, I have prayed and chanted, so I could create value with and for my life. I started doing more service for others, including tutoring adults to read and write better. I’ve worked hard to the best of my ability within my local Buddhist district supporting and encouraging my fellow members.

 I see now, that through those efforts and chanting I’ve changed my karma. 

My mother died at 51 from a heart attack. I turn 51 today and survived a near fatal heart attack. I have a second chance at life. What will I do with this opportunity? I’m not sure right now what the future holds for me First, I’ll be healing my exhausted body and taking life saving medications daily. I will regain strength, endurance and stamina. 

I know my life’s mission has shifted. There’s something I’m here to do, that only I can do. I’m elated to still be here to find out what that something else is. I’m so very grateful for another year, another day, another moment. Later today I’ll be with a friend who has been here with me through thick and thin and has been the definition of a good friend through good and bad times. I will enjoy this very special day and raise the roof softly and gently. 🎈💃🏼 🎂🍾🎉❤️️🎁