Ignorance is bliss

via Daily Prompt: Exposed

My 5-year-old grandson likes to scoot down the stairs and lands in the middle of our den in front of me. Usually, I am sprawled on the couch trying to stay awake so that I can watch my favorite show on television and does not want to be disturbed by a naked child who should have already been sleeping. I respond in the same way that I always do. “Get back upstairs and get to bed or you’ll get a spanking, ” I exclaim. He runs, stops and giggles and waits for me to say, “Where are your clothes?” When he hears that question, he giggles and dashes upstairs to his bedroom.

I never follow him to there because I know his mother will dress him and tuck him into bed. He does not like going to bed so he finds excuses to stay up. Sometimes he slips out of the bathroom and hides in unexpected places in the house. Clothes or the lack of them is no problem to him. I believe that he enjoys the freedom of running around without clothes. He expresses sheer delight whenever a family member comments about his nakedness. Neither does he appear ashamed nor self-conscious about his body.  His eyes only reflect innocence.

No Charge

via Daily Prompt: Knackered

Warmth, love, caring, sharing, safety, protection and support are some of the words that come to mind when one thinks about family. Somewhere, tucked among those words are aromas of slow-cooked meals, bedtime stories, birthdays, dogs, presents under the Christmas tree, blankets, and the old family Bible.

Funny how we keep the warm fuzzy memories of childhood and family. The two are inextricably tied together; we don’t remember one without the other. The reason is that a child’s world is centered around his family and the experiences he has there will shape his worldview for life. His mother is the first person with whom he develops a relationship, and in many ways, he sees the world through her eyes. On the other hand, a mother will always seek to protect and love her child even when he becomes an adult.

Rarely, she will remember the long sleepless nights trying to rock a colicky baby to sleep and hoping that morning would be delayed so that she could catch a snooze before the daily demands would come crashing down.  Breakfast would have to be ready for a hungry family, school lunches packed, clothes laid out, and getting the children out of the house to school. With all she had to do, the baby would have to be fed, burped and changed. The more she did, the more she had to do. And she’d better look perfect.

No one would hear the silent screams – not even the man who swore to love, cherish, and honor her. She bore it all with a stoic face. The challenges to her were just a natural part of the circle of life because of the joy of nurturing her offspring. No charge would she lay to her children for the sacrifices she made for them. She could with Shirley Caesar “No Charge.”

Only God knew at the end of the arduous journey that she was knackered, and she needed rest. 

I am my mother

via Daily Prompt: Roots

During my teenage years, I secretly despised my mom. It was not that she did anything wrong. As a matter of fact, my parents were good people, salt of the earth type. They had no noticeable vice, and they worked hard to take care of my siblings and me. My father was a subsistence farmer, and my mother – a sort of housewife-cum-small businesswoman. She eked out a living by buying ground provisions from struggling farmers in our village and selling them in open-air markets in the city.

She did not have a high school diploma because secondary education was only available to the privileged few in Jamaica during her childhood and her parents were not able to afford training for her beyond the elementary level. Marriage was the only respectable thing to do for a girl in her position, and she remained faithful to my dad during tough economic times. I believe that my mother worked even harder than my father to support my family. She had a good head for business, and she took risks that my dad would balk at because he was an overly cautious man.

Nothing flew outside of my mother’s radar and she could easily spot a lie. Other than the fact that I did not want to upset her by misbehaving at school, I stayed out of trouble because I did not want her to pop up at my school in her work clothes. I hated her rough clothes, sensible work shoes, and the hats she wore to protect her hair from the sun and dust. Generally, she would wear her Sunday best clothes for special or planned occasions. However, if any of my siblings or I had done something wrong at school, we ran the risk of incurring her wrath and having her come to the school in her work clothes. That was my greatest fear that my friends would laugh at my mother’s appearance. How I wished my mom would dress like the mothers of my friends!

The truth was that my friends were respectful and had never laughed at anybody’s parent as long as I knew them. I also realized that my mother dressed for success: she wore the clothes that suited what she did for a living. Fancy attire would not be compatible with heavy food baskets with dirt on them, juice leaking from scratched fruits, stems and leaves of vegetables. Mama’s dressing was a testament to her individuality and the sacrifices she made so that we would have it better in life than she did.

My mother did not know that I was ashamed of her before she died. Had she known, she would have forgiven me and loved me no less than she did. All I have for her now is admiration. God was her beginning and her ending. She was not afraid of her hard work, she never took hand-outs, and she never complained about her problems. My mother made it very clear that education was the way out and she expected us to do well in school. Although my parents experienced financial hardships, we always had a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs.

Whenever it rains, I feel a sense of nostalgia. I can still smell the aroma of delicious soup coming from my mother’s kitchen, wafting its way to the end of the dirt road that leads to our house despite the pit a pat of the rain trying to wash it away. I always knew that on Thursdays, especially on rainy days, my mom would reward us with a hearty Jamaican soup chock-filled with red beans; speckled peas; vegetables; starchy yams; rolled dumplings; pumpkin; salted pig’s tail and beef; herbs and spices. Mama never measured anything and yet she was a wonderful cook.  I believe her hands must have been coated with an invisible liner because she never used potholders while cooking.

She didn’t cry when my eldest sibling died of a heart attack. Everybody said she was strong as a rock and they admired her for the way she managed her grief. However, she had suffered a stroke around the time of my sister’s death, unbeknownst to us until her doctor informed us after she had had a second stroke that made her unable to speak. Despite her sickness, she remained a happy soul until a third stroke took her life.

There is a bookmark that I keep in the top drawer of my dressing table with a photo of my mother that was displayed during her homegoing service. She is the vintage picture of me.  Her friends and relatives usually look at me and exclaim, “You are the splitting image of your mother!” Their declaration warms my heart because it affirms that I’ve been engendered from a healthy root.  Here is an excerpt of a poem titled “Don’t Mourn”, taken from the back of the bookmark mentioned above that echoes the sentiment:

 Life here for me is ended, but

   memories don’t die.

   Don’t lose the love I gave you.

   Feed it with your care,

   Grow it with devotion and spread it everywhere(Author unknown). Continue reading

The Solid Blur

via Daily Prompt: Gray

Nebulous

Not stark like black

Nor innocent like white.

 

There,

Not there.

Inchoate,

Unimposing,

Solid blur.

 

Defined undefinition.

Holding all the answers

Not completely washed out

because there are questions not yet formed.

Elusive and firm,

A wall-like cloud.

That’s gray.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in your dress?

via Daily Prompt: Zip

I hold my breath and hope for the best. Every spring I go through the same ritual going through my closet, removing dresses off the hangers, trying them on, hoping I will fit in them. One, two, three…suck in my gut. I hold my breath and “Zip.” To give me hope, the zipper goes halfway up, stops at the back of my waist and refuses to move either up or down. I play around with it and nurses it gently until I finally pull it down to its base and the dress falls to the floor.

The worst scenario is when I pull a dress up my thighs and over my hips, because it cannot to go over my head and make matters worse the zipper refuses to budge. Almost invariably,  it jams and breaks as if defiance to my constant tugging on its handle. If I am lucky, my efforts are rewarded and I am able to maneuver the zipper to the top and squeeze into the garment. Whenever this happens, there is no guarantee that unzipping will not succumb to the weight of the cargo in my clothing. Therefore, my joy of getting into the dress is short-lived.

Belly fat is one of the worst things that a woman over forty has to live with; and sometimes, a woman below forty who has babies under her belt. It creeps up on you if you are not vigilant and it sticks more than crazy glue. It is like an undesirable roommate that pops up in the forefront whenever company comes. You fall in love with a dress in the store, tuck in your stomach and manage to try it on. However, that muffin top ruins it for you and you settle for something homely because it is the only thing that you can zip up and it hides your stomach.

Some women will even buy a piece of clothing that they cannot fit and place it in their closet. They hope that every time they see it, it will motivate them to start the exercise routine or follow the diet plan they listed for their New Year’s resolutions. The fact is that even disciplined women who follow a rigid diet and exercise have challenges with belly bulge after they reach a certain age. They achieve relative success, but they have to keep at it. Consistency is what we have to develop to overcome

Consistency is what we have to develop to overcome the battle of the bulge and keep our “zippers up.” The reason is that being able to zip or unzip our clothes reveals something of greater importance -our health. If we are to look better, feel better, and live longer, we must make lifestyle changes. There are several things like jobs and family that steal our time, but we must take the time to protect ourselves. If we do not do the things to maintain longevity, we will not be here to zip or unzip a dress; nor fulfill a job and take care of our families.

Who am I and why am I here?

I am a woman with a dream. I want to write about what’s in my gut and pray that someone will read it and say, “I never thought about this way, but it stirs something in me,” or “I can relate to this.” Hopefully, my writing will also evoke action.

I also want to speak to thousands, even millions of people about my most cherished passion and that is about the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. My faith in God is the pivot of my life, and everything turns with it. I do not have a platform to express my beliefs to a large audience. Therefore, blogging will serve as an avenue for me to reach a large group of people.

Part of my dream has already been realized because I published a non-fiction in 2017. It is based on the women in Christ’s genealogy. I also have an E-book under my belt: It is an anthology of poems relating to the Crucifixion. My next accomplishment is to gain a market for my books. At this time, success in this area remains elusive. However, I will continue to hope for the best outcome.

Variety is harmony.

via Daily Prompt: Harmony

Variety is the spice of life. God made beveled mountain ranges, sharp cliffs, low valleys, deep gorges, winding roads and flats plains that seem unending as they merge into horizons. He made birds of every color: the stately high flying eagle and the lowly ground pecking hen; the ferocious lion and the scared rabbit; the regal horse galloping across the prairie and the monkey scaling the branches; and the numberless kinds of insects that cover the earth. Even the stars that look alike from where we are on earth, are different. Yet in all the variations of his creation, there is harmony.

God had also fashioned man to his own specifications for His pleasure. Just as the earth the earth belongs to him, so does man. By his own will, He created different races and peoples of various hues. Even within each race, He variated hair and eye colors; noses; shapes and sizes. If God formed us as He saw fit, who are we to look at our brothers and sisters of another race and call them inferior? In essence, we are saying that God has done shoddy work with His creation.The pot has no right to chide the potter for making it or another pot the way He did. So next you scoff at someone for how the Master designed them, think about your attitude.

The difference in your brother is the piece that balances you and creates the harmony that God desires for Himself. It’s His work, not yours.

 The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods (Psalm 24:1-2, KJV).