Saturday, July 31, 2010

Challange Day 31: Oui!!

My friend is convinced that Jamaicans have a problem with French.

For example, one day she took a taxi.

After the taximan asked her if she had arrived at her stop, she said, "oui."

He nodded and stopped.

As she alighted from the car, she asked, "you understand what 'oui' means then?"

He nodded, smiled, and said, "yes, we - you and me."

My friend was sorely disappointed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Challenge Day 30: Complimenpoetry 2

I'm surrounded by brilliance, I tell you.
This latest blush/laughter-evoking compliment
from one of my friends.
He deserves a big hug for this!!

There is only one Ruthie! Greetings pure soul child love energy non-ceasing releasing the healing of true love feeling revealing the layers of prayers from the heart's temple! You that true that, Super Ruthibelle!

I don't even know where to start with this one.
It's just, well, exceptional!!
I'm going to print this and frame it!

Listen, you simply CANNOT have better friends than mine!
They're the BEST!
I luv 'em!! This truly made my day.

Have an AWESOME day everyone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Challenge Day 29: Role Model

Who is your adult role model and why?

My parents readily come to mind. They may not have done anything that is considered outstanding by the world's standards, but they live their lives in silent integrity everyday, and make do with what they have. They create joy and beauty out of a situation that is often less than desirable.

In fact, to me, the people who haven't got the spotlight on them, but who choose to live their seemingly small and unrecognised lives in honesty and truth, who face the ordinary hardships of regular life and still come out triumphant at the end of each day, are those from whom I draw inspiration. They are the real heroes. They never get handouts or a hand up. But they work hard and do their best anyway, not because anyone is watching, but because they CHOOSE to.

THAT'S a real role model.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Challenge Day 28: Complimenpoetry

One of my friends told me this,
and I just wanted to kiss her!!
Awesome girl she is!

You're like the full moon before the sun sets
(daring and beautiful and bold!)

Now, if that's not complimenpoetry, I don't know what is!
Here's to great friends and greater friendships!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Challenge Day 27: Mr. Torres

Mr. Miguel Romero Torres. Obviously Cuban. The name alone tells. He taught me Physics for two years - two glorious years of learning in high school.

He was strategic, very structured. Did everything step by step. Whatever we were doing was always crystal clear. If you've ever read one of those text books on how to effectively teach, you could say that was Mr. Torres, summed up. We always knew what we were studying, where in the syllabus we were, and what we would go on to next. He had an uncanny way of keeping you on your toes so that you stayed aware of the entire year's worth of lessons. Revising for his tests was easy, because each class was a new lesson, and revision!

And he was kind.

Sometimes kindness is sometimes not felt in a touch or heard in a word, but seen in the eyes, in the affectionate tilt of the head, in the patient explanation of a hard-to-grasp concept, in the silent encouragement to always do better next time.

There was no doubt that, though he never said it, Mr Torres loved his students. And wanted us all to be great.

A good teacher is not hard to find. There are many good teachers out there. But the great ones - they are rare. Like comets among the stars.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Challenge Day 26: I am what I am

I am not what I am
Because I am not
What I should be
Or could be.
I remember when I was much younger, I wrote a poem about myself, trying to describe where I thought I was, or, more specifically, WHO I thought I was. And what I saw in myself didn't quite add up with who I thought I ought to be. There was a great divide.

So, I wrote a poem. Quoted above is one stanza.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Challenge Day 25: Now

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily. - Napoleon Bonoparte
Quotes like that always hit me. Somewhere in the pit of my stomach. And they always leave room for pause and slow (sometimes painful) deliberation.

To live defeated and inglorious is to die daily. Dead. Every day. Walking around. Thinking you're alive. But you're dead. Such a tragedy.

I can't afford it. It's too expensive. I pray and try, really hard, every day, to make sure that I LIVE!! Full, whole, free --- life is too valuable. I just can't waste it!

All I have is NOW. All I have is now ...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Challenge Day 24: A word from Pastor Brian

Hillsong's Brian Houston's teaching last year on TIMING has some very salient points.

Good timing requires:
1. Desire
2. Decisions
3. Sacrifice
4. Positioning
5. Patience

It's that last one I'm working on.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Challenge Day 23

If practice makes perfect, I have for too long practised imperfection. May that change today!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Challenge Day 22: Habbakuk 2:2-4

Write the vision, and make it plan upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is YET for an APPOINTED TIME, but at the end it SHALL SPEAK, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, the proud, his soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by faith.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Challenge Day 21

I always believe that the 21st of every month should be three times as perfect as every other day.

And I always make it so!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Challenge Day 20: Psalm 90:12-17

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, oh Lord! how long? have pity on thy servants! Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil. Let they work be manifest to thy servants, and thy glorious power to their children. Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it!

-Psalm 90:12-17

Monday, July 19, 2010

Challenge Day 19: Short Yet Powerful

Think big.
- Ben Carson

I dreamed a dream.
- Susan Boyle.

Yes we can.
- Barack Obama

Conceive it, believe it, achieve it.
- Napoleon Bonoparte

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Challenge Day 18: Nelson Mandela!!

I love him.

This man was - is - my hero, my role model, one of my chief motivators.

I love him.

There are a select few people in this world who I'll allow to take any prominent place in my heart, even though I've never met them. People with something special about them. People who make me take the risk of falling in love with them anyway. Nelson Mandela is one of them ...


I read Fatima Meer's account of his life in her book Higher Than Hope, and I wept over those pages as I got insight into the life and mind of an icon and an inspiration. I wrote out quotes from the book. I went online and did a little research ...

The more I read, the more I loved him.

How do you keep the vision of a nation alive from the depths and darkness of a prison cell?? It takes something pretty special for a man to unjustly endure 28 years incarcerated and come out preaching a message of peace, love, respect and hope. A man like must be immortalised.

Viva Mandela.
Viva Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Challenge Day 17: Food For Thought

Something to think about:

"What I was capable of compared with what I've achieved is pitiable."
– John Charles Walsham Reith, BBC founder

This man founded the BBC and felt like a failure ... what??!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Challenge Day 16: Back up and start again

I was about to get discouraged
Because I set this goal
To do a post a day
Then all sorts of stuff
Started to get in the way

I wanted to feel like a failure
And then I remembered

Hey, I set the rules.
So I'll just back up
And start again!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Challenge Day 15: Resisting The Urge To Stop

I make the decision
With every new day
To keep going

Because I MUST.

I have a legacy to leave
To my children, my brothers and sisters

I must go forward
I must take charge
I must open doors
So they can walk through

Others have done it for me
I must do it for them
And for mine
And for me

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Challenge Day 14: Up!

I finally watched Up. And it's one of those movies that I almost can't wrap my brain around. Too simple. Too straight-forward. The storyline is too plain and predictable for all the raw power and punch this movie packs. It's incomprehensible - how an old man and a silly little boy (I don't think I've ever been more annoyed by an animated character in my life!) can make you think, stop, smile and then cry.

Yes, cry. Because I cried. Especially at that part where he opened the adventure book and saw that there was something there - pictures of what his wife had considered to be her adventures - the best part of her life - spent in 'ordinary' days with him. This movie proves, through it's profound simplicity, and through Ellie's action, that there is magic in everyday life. There's magic and beauty in it. And that it's ok to be ordinary. Ordinary can be an adventure. Like that annoying little scout said, "it's the boring things I remember the most." He annoyed the heck out of me, but I don't think there's any other line in the movie that could more perfectly sum up what it was all about: the boring stuff is actually special. Now those are new lens to see your life through! And a challenge to try to see life that way.

So I did. I took the challenge. ANd I looked around me at my own life. And I saw many 'ordinary' things starting to sparkle and shine. Many bring moments suddenly taking on a life of their own. And new worth.

Have I been living for my Spirit of Adventure. Yes. Very much. I've wanted to be great since God-knows-when. I think I popped out of the womb singing, "Somewheeere... oover the rainboooow..." Have I missed a lot of the little moments that make life great? Yes. I think so. I think I have.

But then. I haven't missed them all. I've caught some. I've caught many. Because the perspective given in Up is one that I've believed in for a very long time. I've even made the little adventure scrapbooks and kept the journals. I think I really DO love my life! I mean, I love this feeling of being alive and this joy of knowing that tomorrow will be greater, but today - with all it's ordinariness - is great too. Whichever way you take it, I'm great! And so are you.

And so is whoever came up with the concept for Up. That movie pulled tears out of me like nobody's business. Right from the start, when Ellie died. And I loved every second of it. It was a great movie and motivation.

Now, I feel propelled to keep going "UP"!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Challenge Day 13: My Love For To Kill A Mockingbird

I've always loved literature. I've always enjoyed the magic of a good book. I remember reading my sister's literature books (I was two grades behind her) and enjoying them. So, of course, by the time I was supposed to be studying those books, I knew the stories and characters very well (a tendency to read books more than once).

I remember being especially struck by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. There's a reason that book is studied in schools all over North America - it is a brilliantly-written book. And the themes that it explores are all subjects of every day life.

I think I've read that book more than ten times. Yes. I love it that much. Everything about the book speaks to me: from the title to the last full stop. Everything about that book is strategically written and perfectly placed.

I fell in love with Scout. I saw the world through her eyes and I grew as she did. I saw Gem grappling with adolescence. Dill trying to create a world that was more palatable than the one he lived in. And Atticus. Just trying to do right and protect his children. He'd seen better days. He was too old for children. But he did his best to be the father they needed, even if he often fell short of being the father they wanted.

And Aunt Alexandria?? I bought Scout's story and had no sympathy for her as she tried to make Scout into a 'lady'. I have no sympathy for people who try to make children into something far more unapalatably and well, much less innocent. And I suppose she was trying to teach Scout the ways of the world, to make it easier for her to adapt in 'society'. But there are some pains that a child will willingly endure in order to maintain that precious part of him/herself that is just that: him//her self.

The book's resolution was dramatic and moving. No happy endings. Well, not really. Just a quiet acceptance of life's unjust moments. A realisation that while "all's well that ends well", sometimes things do not "end well", and in these instances, we learn to be "well" anyway. We grab the lessons and keep on going.

Yes. We. These books would not have had any profound effect on me had I not placed myself right there. I was there the night Boo Radley helped Scout and Jem. I saw it so vividly in my minds eye, I had to have been there. There's no way I couldn't have been there.

And when Tom was wrongfully accused, sent to prison?? When Scout couldn't understand how, in the face of what she and Jem knew was brilliantly presented evidence, the court still decided to sentence Tom to prison, I felt her pain and confusion. I couldn't understand either. It just wasn't right.

How do you read a book and not get carried away with the author? And if you don't, is it still a good book?? Can a good book keep you solidly grounded in your reality, unattached to its characters, and still have a deep impact on you?

Reading To Kill A Mockingbird those ten times (if not more, I kid you not) has never been boring. I've not gotten tired of it. The story doesn't get stale. Each time I read it, I relive the conflicts. I feel the emotions. I get carried away again. It could be because I'm a literary romantic. It could be because I have a very vivid imagination. Or it could just be because To Kill A Mockingbird is a good book. A very good book.

I'm more inclined to think it's the latter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Challenge Day 12: One Deep Sentence

One of my friend's Facebook status:

"It's me I'm trying to
protect myself from!"

Much said there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Challenge Day 11: Why Iker Casillas Won MY Heart When He Kissed HIS Girlfriend

Because it looked like this ...

Absolutely spontaneous
Quickly passionate

What a good thing I studied Spanish in school!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Challenge Day 10: And So It Began ...

A post a day I promised. The challenge was going to be fierce.

One post for every day. Because my life was that interesting, and I had that much to say.

But then, not even half-way through, I realise the truth of that statement: my life is that interesting. So interesting that there's hardly time to take a breather much less post.

But I make time and perhaps cheat.
I grit my teeth.
I carry on...
Because I'm that committed.

Cheers, blogland.
Have a good one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Challenge Day 9: Tony Deyal's Joke

I nipped this from Tony Deyal's column on Saturday in the Gleaner newspaper.

A polar beer walked into a bar, looked at the bartender and said, “I want a gin . . . and tonic.”

The bartender asked: “No problem, but why the big pause?”

The bear replied: “I don’t know. I’ve always had them.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Challenge Day 8: Got Class?

I didn't know what that feeling was - the jelly in the pit of my stomach, the grief, the kind of shaky bewilderment that engulfed me as she spoke.

She explained that she was a woman of class, and that there were certain things that were not good enough for her family. Things she reserved for the 'little people', like her gardener, the little Rasta man who cuts the yard, and her dogs. She went on to let me know that in doing something she associated with these persons/animals, I had behaved like a 'little person', and it did not suit her class at all.

She sat there and told me - in clear, non-verbal tones and shades of attitude - that she does not value the gardener or the little man who cleans the yard, and thinks that she is better - much better - than them. By the end of our conversation, I understood that she also thought (and still thinks) that she is better - much better - than me.

My mother always tells me that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Myles Munroe said that the easiest way to conflict in misunderstanding of intent. Intent defines purpose. Without it, we confuse actions and misinterpret deeds.

Let there be no doubt that this classless, tasteless, immature and foolish young lady has a heart that goes for God's greatest and most priceless gifts - none of which are material.

As she finished her lecture and brusquely told me to "get out of her sight", I thought:

Too bad I had to learn the look, feel and sound of condescension from a woman of class. God, hasten the day when MY TIME truly comes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Challenge Day 7: Stolen Depth

Stole this from my friend Tuggy's Facebook status. It rings oh so true:

"I am always pesting my momz...when will i find the right girl...i would cry and moan and mope about momz sat me down one day and said, "dont worry about finding the right person..concentrate on being the right man"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Challenge Day 6: A Praying Human

Psalm 132:1. Lord, remember David and all his afflictions.

Somebody prayed last night. Actually, several hundred thousand thousand somebodies prayed last night. And the night before, and the night before that. And even right now. Somebody's praying. All kinds of people - fat ones, skinny ones, brown ones, black ones, big ones, little ones ... they're all praying. And for nine out of ten of them, it's a prayer of desperation. It's an I-can't-see-a-way-out-of-this-mess prayer, and a God-if-you're-there-you-need-to-answer-quick prayer. For some, the prayer is summed up in one word: help.

What is it about trouble that makes us drop to our knees and mutter words into the air, hoping, believing that somebody somewhere up there is listening and ready to help us? How does faith suddenly rise in the human soul when we're at our last, like we've been programmed to never see the end as the end. We always hope there is a way out. And there usually is.

I prayed last night. I prayed with David as I read his seven profound words. I read them and wept. And then prayed 'em like my life depended on 'em. And maybe it did. Because I have so many afflictions. And they seem to grow more each day. I feel like I'm at the end of a very long season, a very hard season - a really trying time. And I've tried to look cute, and I've tried to smile. But I couldn't hide this one. I couldn't hide this one. I walked around for days as a brittle frame, praying and hoping that no one would touch me. Begging God to let people see me and suddenly be blind. I was brittle. Brittle. Just about as breakable as you can be. And if anyone touched me, if anyone so much as looked at me too hard, I might have fallen apart right there.

No one touched me. I made it home in one piece. But as I sat down, as I threw down my handbag and dropped my butt in the chair - a little too heavily, I'd forgotten how brittle I was - I fell apart. Butt cheeks didn't hit the seat before the first tear splatted on the floor. And then came the rains.

Why can't I cry like this before people?? Why, in this, my realest, least pretentious hour, do I feel the need to hide? Why do I feel guilty and ashamed? Like I'm not ever supposed to be like this?? Don't they know I'm supposed to be human? Don't they know I'm supposed to have faults and fears and make mistakes? Don't they know that since Adam bit into that apple and defied God, it's been part of my genetic makeup?? Don't they know I'm human too?

Don't I know I'm human too?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Challenge Day 5: The Thoughts I Hid During Haiti's Crisis

But when sun sets

When lights are turned out

Who will be there for us?

Who will be there for Haiti?

I was reading a blog post written by one of my former university lecturers on the plight in Haiti. He was asking a very fundamental and provocative question: did CARICOM arrive in Haiti after the earthquake incident, or were they already there? When I first read the title, I didn't understand fully what he meant. And after reading the entire thing, maybe I still don't. But I was left with this haunting feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Something ominous and foreboding. I had questions of my own.

Like this rush to Haiti's assistance. Where in us, in the human continuum of emotions and realisations, did it spring from? Where did it come from? Everybody has been speaking about how the tragedy that hit Haiti has opened in us this small window of light, this flicker of hope that the human race will always rise triumphantly, in times when it is needed most, to prove our sovereignty above lesser creations. To fully utilise those emotions that distinguish us from mere brute beasts and elements of nature. Over the last couple of weeks, it would seem that we all tapped into our deeper selves, and found that supreme, intangible substance that propels people to act in the midst of a crisis. We found in us a treasure and wellspring, they say, of love.

But I'm not certain I accept that. Haiti was a country born from indomitability. They refused to be silenced, refused to be oppressed, fought long and hard for a freedom that has come with many costs just and unjust (not that justice is not a very subjective word dependent on many subtle lines of delineation). In Haiti's history, there has always been evidence of a handing 'down' of this 'supreme emotion'. And not just Haiti, but certain African countries like Somalia, and Asian countries like Indonesia, have felt this supreme emotion at work.

The restoration of Haiti is once again being celebrated as a cause to champion. How soon before they are left alone? How soon before they are jilted by the suitors who've come to be their knights in shining armour? How soon before that fairy tale evaporates?

I want to see the aid and relief efforts continue long after the media has gone. I want different organisations to be there, assisting, helping, giving hope, when the rest of the world has turned its eyes from Haiti and looks elsewhere. Only then will I be convinced that this overwhelming outpouring from all directions is not just a prick of guilty conscience, nicely veiled condescension and empathy, sympathy birthed out of pity. But is actually that supreme emotion that looks at Haiti as a pearl in need of care long after the rewards of doing so have gone. Especially from CARICOM and Caribbean nations. Haiti has known this feeling before. They have already walked this road with suitors in their choicest robes, tempting them, caressing and cajoling them with their finest wares - in the limelight, before the crowd. But when the sun sets, and when the lights are turned out, who will be there for Haiti? Who will still see her black face and exalt her as a cherub of great price?? Who will value her then? Is this outpouring just pity? Or is it love? And don't we need the latter?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Challenge Day 4: The Year I Wrote Again (Pt 1)

Disclaimer: What I'm about to say may not come out right, because it is still somewhat mixed up in my mind. I am only now just getting back to the place where I can write from the clarity of my mind ... or at least sound like it. And I must wait patiently while I work up the will to get back there. Because it takes a while, and it takes effort, and practise. But I want to get back there.

Or do I?

Do I want to sound like I've already figured everything out, and nothing is a mystery, and nothing boggles me, and I have very clear, solid and concrete views on everything? Because at this point in my life, that may be a lie. It may not be true. I've come to a place - this place of epiphany - where I realise that I do not have all the answers, and I do not know everything. In fact, there are many things - many, many things - that I do not know, and may never find out. I don't ever feel like I know enough.

So this that I'm about to say may not come out right. It may be contradictory. To some, it may not make any sense. To others, it may not be a sensible thing to say. It may be wrong, very wrong. I may be wrong. But I think I still want to say it, because, if I'm wrong - when I'm wrong - it doesn't bother me as much anymore. Maybe that means a lowering of the standards I've set for myself? Maybe that means a new realisation of my own human-ness and fallibility. Maybe that means increased stupidity ... I don't know. But. When I'm wrong, I've learnt that, if it doesn't kill me, I can live with it ...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Challenge Day 3: The Deep Things Of Life

Live fast
Die young
Have a beautiful corpse...

...would seem to be the mantra of my -and successive- generations.

Live.Fast >> for time is short and you won't be here forever. Get what you can while you can and enjoy 'it' as much as possible. Impatience is a virtue. Go fast. Very fast. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, we die... Tomorrow, we... >>

Die.Young >> Each year, millions of youth and children stare death in the face and do not live to tell the tale. Their lives are snuffed out in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons. It was just yesterday at work that I heard one of my coworkers declare that he had no problem blowing all his money at a bar in one go, especially considering that he doesn't expect to live forever. When did not living forever become reason enough to live foolishly? Since when does short time give us leeway to squander what precious little we have on transient, meaningless things? We've become vain - this generation of mine - preoccupied with the material and physical. God forbid we should get old and shrivelly. Let's die early and ... >>

Have.A.Beautiful.Corpse>> But what does it matter how my corpse looks if I'm dead? Especially if I'm dead without a lasting, positive legacy? Dead having made no meaningful contribution to society? Dead, as in as useless as I was the day I was born? And isn't our world already overrun by beautiful corpses - the walking dead. The millions of people who traverse this earth in a tragically comatose, sleep-waking state of nothingness... long ago checked out. The living dead. Ghosts among us. No fast life for them. Sadly, no life at all.

I'd rather
Live slow
Die old
And have an ugly corpse
For with each wrinkle
Will be a story
Each line will testify
That here lies a woman who lived -
Who really, really lived
Until the day she died.

May our hearts rest in peace ...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Challenge Day 2: Hot chocolate, please

Another panacea.
A beverage like no other.
It makes me happy.

I like hot chocolate.
Especially the real country kind.

I go home.
I sit.
And I sip.
I take deep breaths.
I smile.
And let that sweet, milky warmth saturate my insides.

Hot chocolate, anyone?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Challenge Day 1: Random Growth And Goals

It's the end of an era. The end of a decade. The closing of a chapter of my life.

I can't say I want to look back. I've developed the habit of trying to not looking back so much as I try to look forward ... eagerly anticipating the next now.

I've listed as my interests:
1) Life
2) Journalism
3) Authoring at least one great work before I die
4) Effecting at least one lasting change in my country/region's development

I'm interested in life. Curious to see and know more about this world. I'm a resident of this universe. I want to know it and feel it in every vein and every cell.

I'm interested in journalism. I want to know the truth. So I can share the truth. So we can effect change based on facts. Not erroneous perceptions.

I want to author at least one great work before I die. I love writing. I was born to write. I could easily write all day long. Everyday. I enjoy writing. It's my first love and deepest passion. Then comes reading.

I believe laughter is medicine. I laugh a LOT!

I know love makes the world go round.

I see life as a cycle of stories ... Some day, I'll expound. Look out for my first novel.

I'm such a romantic sometimes (in terms of outlook on life).

I. Literally. Scare. Myself. Sometimes.

I have a friend who writes blog entries straight from her imagination. She writes about what she wants to see as if it were in the past tense. And then she asks the universe to deliver...

I'm tired of waiting. I want to go and I want to GO NOW!!

PS I've been on Blogger for 5 years. I never noticed till I checked my profile. Yay me.