I am my mother

via Daily Prompt: Roots

Image result for pictures of african american mother and child

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 large 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 once ashamed of her. A stupid kid I was! 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 an excellent cook.  I believe her hands must have been coated with an invisible liner because she never used potholders in the kitchen.

She didn’t cry when my eldest sibling died of a heart attack. Everybody said she was steady 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 spitting 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 from 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

Image result for pictures of zippers

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).

Rise and Fall

via Daily Prompt: Spike

Whenever I think about the word “Spike, ” I also think about elevation,, rise, tautness, and youthfulness. Therefore, old age ought to be its opposite because everything seems to drop as we approach or reach that stage in our lives. Body parts that were once elevated are now below level, and ones that were level now have a distorted projection. Take, for example, my stomach which was relatively flat has now spiked outwards and changed the contour of my body and my flabby derriere seems to almost melt into a couch whenever I sit. On the other hand, my firm paps that gave suck to my three children are hanging defiantly on my chest.

A few a years ago I would have welcomed the dent of a dimple on my cheeks. It would have been cute because cuteness implies a certain youthfulness. Babies, puppies, kittens, teenage girls and boys often get that recognition. I’m not sure what adjectives society reserves for fifty-something women. It’s not one that’s subliminally connected with youth or beauty, more a word that implies an ending stage like menopausal. It is a heavily coded word that men and women bandy around. Women use it to laugh at themselves and even sneer at their peers. Perhaps we secretly believe that self-deprecation will soften the sting when men wittingly or unwittingly use the word to disparage us.

How often do we overhear someone from the opposite sex peremptorily dismiss a legitimate concern of a female counterpart with the cliché, “She must be going through menopause?” My anger almost always spikes when members of the male species relegate my female peers and me to the rank of nit-wits because of gender differences. Call it arrogance, but confidence spikes with age. I am not afraid to say what’s on my mind nor attempt to do some things because I’ve been around some bends and back.

And don’t think that because I’ve recognized that my body has more valleys than hills that I’m depressed.  I’m comfortable in my skin and accept my changing form because God has prepared my body for such a time as this:

Its parts are moving in the direction of the Master’s hand, therefore I’ll go with the flow. Umm…Sounds like my thinking has been elevated … What do you think?

Fry

Source: Fry

People with health concerns like diabetes, high cholesterol, or heart disease see images of red lights flashing before them- Stop! However, to most food lovers and people without diet restrictions, crispy golden-brown food fried to perfection is a heavenly delight. Whether one is biting into deep-fried chicken or crunchy bacon, one feels compelled to ignore the warnings about calories and clogged arteries.

After all, fried foods tend to be more inviting and therefore more pleasing to the palate. Isn’t there some truth to the belief that we eat with our eyes? People are more likely to try food that is attractive than food that is unappealing even if the latter is less tasty. Of course, they may never experience the taste because they judge the food by its appearance.

In the Garden of Eden Eve allowed her mouth to succumb to the lust of her eye after she ate the forbidden fruit. Not only did she eat the fruit, but her husband Adam also ate although they both knew the consequences of their action. We too are descendants of  Adam and Eve and heirs of their rebellious nature. We see the increasing obesity in adults and children, and the damage that a high-fat diet is wreaking on our bodies but like our ancestors, we are not deterred. This is why most Americans, although aware of the negative effects of over consuming too much fat in their diets, continue to pack fast food restaurants and joints.

We also live in a fast-paced society and want things done in a jiffy. For the fast food addict, it’s easier to sacrifice one’s health than one’s time. Therefore, the quick method of frying saves them from waiting restlessly at a restaurant before they bite into delicious fare. Which chef wouldn’t whip out the frying basket to keep them coming back for more?