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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Flying with Hamilton

I managed to get decent tickets at a decent price for Hamilton. No, not Anthony Hamilton. I am sure getting tickets to see him would be great, but I am not a huge fan. Okay, I rarely listen to his music. I heard he was amazing, though.

Anyway thanks to a few random acts, I saw Hamilton. I took my accomplice (every person needs an accomplice in life) and off we went to Atlanta. It was our first road trip together and it went well except that I would not stop for her to grab coffee. It was a road trip, I do not drink coffee, she was late, and she should  have brought a thermos with her. Fortunately my lovely aunt made her some coffee along with a great breakfast. At that point I think all was forgiven.

Hamilton was worth all of the hype. I will admit that I had to Google the play so that I would have some idea of what I was going to see. Yes, I am sure we covered Hamilton in elementary school and maybe high school, but apparently I slept through those classes because I remembered absolutely positively nothing. Sad to say that I thought he was on the $20 bill. Yes, now I know that is Andrew Jackson. I should have known that from all the chatter around replacing him with Harriet Tubman. I did not know that he wrote part of the Federalist Papers because I read them while working on my PhD.

The play captured my attention and now I know much more about American history than I ever did. I am now going to go back and read up on other founding members. I know I should know my American history especially since my degrees are in public policy and administration. Not sure how I missed most of it. Perhaps if there were more plays like this I would have been inspired to do more research on history. But then again, maybe not. At least now I will and I hope that many others will as well.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Flying with a gift

Yesterday I was given a wonderful gift. I was asked to teach yoga to students in a summer program. These students were from Haven and Hodge elementary schools. They were all students of color. I recently wrote a research paper on the whiteness of yoga. So this opportunity was exactly what I needed in an effort to normalize yoga for people of color-if that is even possible.

Anyway, there were just over 40 kids on purple mats moving to the whale sounds (the theme was about whales and Spotify has this playlist...). Yeah, I guess you had to be there. There was a lot of laughter and even more mindfulness. We focused on our breaths. We allowed our bodies to take the shapes exactly the way they were supposed to all very different from one another. It was magical. Everyone participated. One second grader brought his mat upfront and helped lead the class. why? Because he had done yoga before and he wanted to be up front. It was really just that simple.

Of course there were the usual kiddie chatter and giggles during class, but it was all good. It was more than good. It was a perfectly imperfect practice just as all practices should be. It was the start of a movement. It was activism in a quiet gentle form. These children were doing something that many adults don't do. Something that many adults don't do because they are afraid. Something that many people of color do not do because of the stares they get being the only 'one'.

My hope is that yesterday I empowered over 40 children to step on their mats not just now, but later on in life without fear of anything. Without thinking about their skin color, their body type, or not understanding the poses. I also want them to take this power with them off of the mat. I want them to feel their power in school, on the bus, on the street, and especially in their minds.

Yesterday I was given a wonderful gift and for that I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Flying with the vote

I voted for the first time as a Georgia resident. Before voting I had a lot of research to do. I had no idea 'who my people were'. I did not want to go into the poll without knowing anything. Plus, I am always telling people to be informed voters and I use the hashtag #foryourfile so that I can catalog the issues and responses that I would not remember. I even attended a political luncheon in an attempt to hear from the candidates themselves. I did not learn much. Partly because not much was said and partly because it started an hour late and well, I had other things to do.

So I paid attention to the televised debates. I read everything I could get my hands on. I particularly had to read, read, and re-read articles from various sources on Stacey Evans and Stacey Evans. I was not sure which one best represented me and the television commercials were a bit misleading. I had conversations (not as many as I wanted and I think my friends and coworkers were getting weary of my questions) with people in an attempt to decipher what was needed and who could best deliver that. Again, it was the primary. The winner would go up against the Republican primary winner. There will be a runoff to determine that.

It was different voting in Chatham county. Much of it was manual input. It took a lot longer than I am used to. There were no ballots posted. There was no explanation of the referendums or whatever those questions were on the ballot. I was unprepared for them and I thought I had downloaded the most recent ballot. I got frustrated because I did not understand the manual stuff. I got a voter registration card so why was I manually put into the system? I did not ask because my words may have come out harsh and I may have been escorted out. So I stood there waiting glaring at the woman who I am sure was doing the best she could to put my information into the system. I managed to vote and next time I try the early voting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Flying with Thursday's Word

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash
Thursday's Word is back!


John 4:24 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Think about your greatest hero (someone you don’t personally know) you can know all about them, without knowing them. Pick a superhero and detail all the things they do.  What have any of them done for you? 
The same thing happens with God, we can know all about Him without having a relationship. Now think of God. testify to what He has done for you?  Not a superhero but a Supernatural God who is alive and well in this world today. He is holding you up right now and giving you life.

Jesus Christ is the one we all need a relationship with in order to live a good life down here. Get to know Him today.

May God continue to bless you, is my prayer.

Brenda Smith

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Flying with the same number

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash
I am in a 6 week challenge. The goal is to get back to eating healthy and get my body ready to start running again. That means strengthening my leg muscles especially the ones around my arthritic knee and possibly dropping a few pounds. Dropping the weight will make things easier on my knee. I am talking about 5-10 pounds. I just want to feel better in my clothes. Some things are a bit tighter than they should be and I do not have money to buy a whole new wardrobe. Nor do I want to.

The first week I lost 4 pounds. I did not see it go, notice it gone, or anything. But I was still happy. In my Weight Watcher days I never lost that much weight except that one time when I was sick. So that doesn't count.

The second week I felt the missing weight. My clothes fit better. I was making better food choices. I was estimating how much weight I thought I had lost. I was guessing about 2 pounds. And when I got on the scale, I lost NOTHING! Not a thing. Not a decimal point. Not an ounce. Absolutely positively nothing.

I will admit that I was disappointed. I had to research why I did not lose weight and discovered that what happened to me is pretty common. In fact in the beginning stages of change it is also common to gain a pound or two. That made me feel a bit better. More importantly I can see the results of the workouts and the food choices. What I am doing is sustainable long term. I am not starving myself. I am not drinking two shakes and a sensible meal. I am not depriving myself of the foods I love. I am just eating them in moderation.

I am on my way to a healthier me. The number on the scale is not important. What is important is that I feel so much better and my clothes fit the way they are supposed to. I just hope I can remember all of this when I step on the scale Monday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Flying while rambling

Classes started last week and I just did not feel as prepared as I usually am. So in this second week I am already playing catch up. I feel like I am going full speed ahead and yet I see very little evidence of my work. I think it is because I am looking at what I have left to do. I have a lot left to do. And of course nothing is going as planned.

Jonathan Brinkhorst
I started a 6 week challenge. Thinking about it I am not sure what the challenge is exactly. I know that I meet with a personal trainer three times a week and for 30 minutes I sweat more than my body weight. And once a month I get weighed. And there is a meal plan. So it is almost like Weight Watchers, but with a lot of food restrictions and a fitness dude. There are push-ups involved. Lots of push-ups, squats, and holding planks for FOREVER. And there are cute little kettlebells that are evil. Pure evil. But they are helping me get the work done. this is week number two. I even discovered that I like lentils. My goal is to drop some weight to take pressure off of my knees. Then I plan to ramp up my running. I haven't eaten a chunk of miles in a very long time. I miss them. I miss how my body felt after 10 miles.

I have been teaching yoga to elementary school kids. So much fun.

I am trying not to get overwhelmed and I am failing miserably. But I am doing the best I can. most days anyway. Some days not so much. I am trying to make myself believe that everyone else is crazy and that I am the only sane one. Most days it seems that way, at least to me. At least today, but I have not had any sugar in a few days so my worldview is slightly skewed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Flying after the bridge

It really happened. The race that I had envisioned for over three years happened. And it happened in a HUGE way. People from all over the country came to Selma to run the 51 mile relay. One guy even ran the entire race alone. Triple ^5 to him! Okay maybe more than triple.

Let me tell you, it felt great to have the race of my dreams come to fruition. Now I can add visionary to my list of adjectives. It was an amazing day. There were a few bumps along the way and definitely things to improve upon, but the majority of the feedback was positive. This was a first. This was the inaugural race. And the date is already set for next year. I am a legend! (Ha, if only in my own mind)!

Running over the infamous Pettus bridge was just as emotional as it was the first time I did it. This time I had the added thoughts of running along the same road that the marchers did in 1965. The camps where they spent the night are clearly marked. I think we all said prayers of gratitude as we ran by. Sharing this experience with my dad (our van driver) and my Charleston running crew was awesome.

I did not do this feat solo. There were many people who worked tirelessly to make this race a success. The are the members of the Walk Jog Run club. They were on the ground making things happen. But this was my dream. I will take sole responsibility for that. And yes, I know and appreciate that dreams do not become reality without hard work.

I have no idea how many people participated. But it was many. It was a diverse crowd. It was diverse, because civil rights benefit everyone. I cannot tell you how many times I had to school people on the Civil Rights Act and its various titles. Or how many times I had to say that civil rights is not just a 'black thing'.

Anyway, the race was a success. It was beautiful. It was a dream come true. The only thing that would have made it better would have been having Representative John Lewis there. Maybe he will be there next year. I need to start working on that right now.