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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flying a bit concerned

Mark Cruz
I pride myself on being open-minded. Generally I think I do a good job of listening (or reading on social media) people's words without getting too offended. But lately I have seen things that are making me question my disposition. I know that silence does not mean consent. I mean, there are comments that just do not warrant a response from me. Like the reply-all thing. I simply delete.

I am now wondering that if I should go all out ballistic on some folks. Not all, just a few. Okay, maybe just two. I am not sure it would do any good. It is difficult to change the minds of those who only want to look at things from the ivory tower. I tried looking at things from their vantage point and I still don't get it. Every time I see/hear someone say she/he wants to take his/her country back I cringe. I want to reply that the only people should be talking about taking their country back at the Native Americans (I hope that is still how I should call them, if not please accept my apology).

How did we get here? Actually, I know how we got here. I am more curious about why we are still here. Haven't we all proved our worth? I am speaking as a person of color. What more do we have to do to prove that we are valuable members of the universe?  George Washington Carver and peanut butter should have been enough. But there are countless others. Sarah Goode invented a folding cabinet bed, George Crum created crisp chips (potato chips), Granville T. Woods invented the multiplex telegraph, and it allowed dispatchers and engineers at various stations to communicate with moving trains via telegraph, and Elijah McCoy invented the automatic oil cup. The list goes on. Oh, let's not forget about Dr. Charles Drew the renowned surgeon and pioneer in the preservation of life-saving blood plasma. And then there are those who every single day of their lives strive to make the world a better place for all of us.

I just don't get it. How can anyone think that skin color makes you better or worse than someone else? Or that what is between our legs allows us to dominate others? What happened to mutual respect? What happened to just being kind?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Flying with the return of Thurday's Word

Thursday's Word

Dreams Do Come True!!

I started this Blog years ago when I wanted to encourage a friend who was going through a very rough time in her life.  She wanted me to send her Scripture that was uplifting and encouraging. She knew I was a write and she said..."Send me an email" so I can read it whenever I need to. I did and she started to feel better, and asked if she could pass that same information on to her other friends who she felt needed the same type of encouragement.

One email address led to another and another and before long...Thursday's Word was created. Why Thursday?  I felt that Sunday was when you got your fill of the Word at Church. Most people attend Bible Study on Wednesday night. Friday is always a busy end of the work week day, so Thursday was the day before all of that started.  It carried you on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you got your refill!

I dreamed many dreams of becoming a published author and the Lord has blessed me to write my very first book, Thursday's Word Devotional.  Yes, I am honored to tell you that it is currently being printed and will be available in stores, and online for purchase soon.  The asking price is $17.95 plus shipping will be a total cost of $21.70.   You may send your request to Thursdays Word, Box 405, Franklin, TN 37064. If you enjoyed reading my Thursday's Word encouragement email each Thursday, then you will enjoy this book. All the information was taken directly from our shared emails and my Thursday's Word blog.

Dreams are those heartfelt yearnings that God places in your heart. They are so big that you know He is the one who has to make it come true. God loves giving us the desires of our heart. He longs to make us happy and fulfilled.  What are your dreams? What would you truly like to do the rest of your life?  What are some of the yearnings that you have and you are afraid to step out in faith to do?

Do not be afraid to taking that first step.  God will lead you all the way to fulfillment.  I started out with an email, then a Blog, then articles in Christian magazines, then note cards, now my very first published work.  God can and God will help you fulfill those yearnings in your heart....your dreams.

God bless you always is my prayer

Brenda C. Smith

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Flying covered

I live in Savannah, GA and last week snow happened. Not just a powdered sugar dusting, but actual go outside and make a snowman snow. Not to be confused with North Dakota snow or Washington state snow or Alaska snow. But snow nevertheless.

It was sort of dreamy. I mean, everything was covered in a fresh blanket of fluffiness. I almost wrote whiteness but that would bring up associations and connotations that I do not mean. So fluffiness it is.

Everything could be looked at from a different perspective. And that was the best part. Ordinary objects were cloaked in ways that we do not normally witness. Normal tasks were a bit treacherous. I almost fell walking to my car because of the ice.

The ice was deceptive. That clear coating made simple walking a chore. And some of it was buried under the snow making driving harder. It was easy to tell who respected the snow and who simply did not understand that law of nature.
I did not mind it. Only because I was safe and warm inside my house. I had food. I had power. I had coats. I had no where I needed to be. My place of employment was closed and my salary was not impacted.

I could afford to marvel at my southern city being wrapped in a cold snap. And I do not take that for granted.

I did not make snow cream. I know how, but you are supposed to wait for the second snow. And admittedly we barely had a first.

I think last week we all (or at least most of us) looked outside our window and saw the same thing. Philosophically we were united in the beauty of this act  of nature. People seemed amazed and perhaps a bit more kinder to each other. We were unarmed just a tiny bit under all of our layers of stuff. We all shared similar plights. It was like that Christmas morning glow.

I enjoyed seeing the good in people. I always do. And while I hope that goodness lasts forever, I would be grateful for a few more days. A few more days of goodness. Is that too much to ask for?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Flying into the New Year unapologetically

Joseph Chan
I am not sure what happened the last month. I did not post at all. I honestly have no recollection of what kept from here. I know that I meant to write. I always mean to write. Life just happened, I guess. Or maybe I was just incredibly lazy or maybe I simply forgot. It could have been a combination of all of those things and it could have been something completely different. Perhaps I will remember one day. 

What is important is that I am here now and my intention is to be here every single week. I did not do any resolutions. At the urging of a friend, I chose a word. It was difficult choosing one single solitary word to propel me through this year. I had several floating around in my head. I thought about fierce, powerful, strong, steadfast, brave, and fearless. I almost chose fearless because there is a Mantra Band that I want with that word on it. Almost isn't good enough. Oh, I also almost chose enough and even brazen. Instead, I chose unapologetic

Unapologetic. I will be unapologetic about the space I occupy. I will not apologize for the spaces I create and hold for others. Also not apologizing for living my authentic life. I am not apologizing when someone feels intimidated, uncomfortable, or any other kind of way by my presence or my essence. No, nope, nah-it ain't happening this year and hopefully not ever again in my life. 

Maybe it will be like red meat. I used to eat it. Then I gave it up for Lent and have not been able to stomach it when I tried to eat it again. So for the past 15 years or so I have not eaten red meat. I will admit that I am always tempted by a great smelling cheeseburger. 

Anyway, Happy New Year to one and all. I hope that all of your hopes and dreams become reality and that you can gracefully handle that success. I wish that for all of us-the ability to appreciate and celebrate the success of ourselves and each other. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Flying in a different sapce

I am always talking about being involved in the community. While I lived in Charleston I certainly did that. A few months ago there was an article in the paper mentioning open seats on various City of Savannah commissions. I was never successful in getting appointed to a board in Charleston, but since I felt that I had done remarkably little in the place where I now live, what would it hurt to apply? So I did. I did and I forgot about it. And in all honesty I did not exactly know what I was applying for. I thought it was to be on a committee. I have served on numerous committees in my life and have even lead a few. I can do committees.
I received an email asking me to come to an interview for a seat on the recreation committee. That should have been my first clue that this was not 'just' a committee. Who interviews to be on a committee? Then I discovered that it was at city hall. So now things were beginning to feel bigger than 'just' a committee. Fortunately I was adequately dressed. My parents were in town and we were going shopping after my interview so I almost threw on jeans, a blouse, jacket, and some amazing shoes. But something told me to put on a tailored dress. I was almost tempted to be suited and booted, but I stayed in the dress. Perfect choice as it turned out.
In preparation for my interview I googled every member on the current board. I tried to find the budget, meeting minutes, goals, and stuff that would help me understand exactly what I was getting myself into, but the information was scarce.
I arrived promptly 20 minutes before my interview. at the appointed time I was ushered into the city council board room where various people (mostly men) were seated around a massive table. There were plenty of others in the 'audience'. I guess all interviews are open to the public. That was a bit intimidating. First time for everything.
I did not get to ask questions and I had a list of them. I was peppered with a few and in less than 10 minutes I was given the customary 'thank you for taking the time to come in and talk with us' and it was over. I wasn't even sure who was in the room or even around the table. I left a bit bewildered, but better for having that experience because no one I know here had ever gone through it. It was indeed an honor to be asked to interview.
Shortly afterwards I received a letter form the mayor saying that I am now on the recreation commission. My 3 year commitment begins in January. How cool is that? So I now welcome the opportunity to be in  different space. To see the inner operations of city government. I guess I really live in Savannah, now.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Flying with a friend

 Saturday morning almost felt like old times. When I lived in Charleston we would run at least 10 miles at 4am. This time we were running in Savannah. We ran at 7:20am, not 4am. And we split the half marathon, not 10 miles. Not even the bridge. I really miss those days. I am not running nearly as much as before. I am not clocking in 100+ miles per month anymore.

In fact, Saturday's race may have been my 6th or 7th run since being benched by my doctor in March. And yes, he consented for me to run this race. I was very hesitant when Annette asked me, but said I would.

Then I had to figure out how to train. Osteoarthritis is not always fun to run with. I started running 3-5 miles the last part of September. I got fitted for shoes since my stride is completely different than before. I rode my bike more, I do more yoga, and I am swimming. But to run better one needs to run.

Fortunately Annette did not care about the time or the pace. We did our best and we crossed the finish line standing up. We were not even the last people (at least I don't think we were, but I could be mistaken). No matter, we ran together something that we had not done in a couple of years. Something we took for granted while I lived in Charleston.

So this is our medal. We each got one, but it took both of us to run the race. I liked that. Teamwork. No stress. No drama. Just fun. Oh, my brother came as well. He did not run, he drove us to the race and cheered us on. Good times. This is the stuff memories are made of.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Flying in the community

Dr. Carlos
A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending a conference at Wake Forest University titled Rethinking Community. Not only did I attend, my co-worker and I presented. That was huge for me. I had never presented scholarly research to other scholars/practitioners. Interestingly the conference was composed mostly of members from the Wake Forest University-Winston Salem community.

Let me pause here to say that Wake Forest University and Wake Forest are not the same thing and are not in the same place. Yeah, I was confused and I confused other people.
Wake Forest University is in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest is in well, Wake Forest.

Not that you got that, let me continue. We were very fortunate to be among those who are questioning what community is, what is the university's role in the community, and what is community. We were involved in deep thought provoking conversations.

Ibtihaj Muhammad and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
We heard from Dr. John Carlos, one of the members of the 1968 Olympic track team who raised his fist in the air on the podium; Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a basketball player who did not stand for the national athem in 1996; and Ibtihaj Muhammad , the first African American Muslim woman to win a medal in the 2016 Olympics in fencing. They are part of the community called activists and more aptly human. They are some of the people whose backs I stand on as I propel my way.  

That is what community is all about. The melding of unique ideas, distinctive actions, and people all of the common good of us all.

After our presentation we were told that we are now a part of the Wake Forest University community. We shared our collection thoughts on what we contributed to our community and hopefully provided insights on how they could implement similar actions into theirs.

We took back with us a richer sense of the academic community and potential initiatives on ways to contribute more to our own communities. I say communities because ours are very multicontextual. We have the wider social media community, the school community, the local community, our community of people outside of our immediate space, and now the Wake Forest University community.

We left (or maybe I should only speak for me). I left empowered. Empowered because I was invited into a space and was given the opportunity to use my voice. In that same space others not only heard my voice, but amplified it. I entered a space full of raw conversations about race, gender, class, socialism, politics, and many other topics often too hot to touch without ripping one's own skin off.

It was where I needed to be. It pulled me out of my safe environment and charged me with putting into action my time, talents, gifts, and money.