See Me

Don’t just look at me.
Don’t look past me,
or through me.
Don’t hear my dialect
and judge it as ignorance.
You speak one language,
I speak at least two.
See me.
See the entire person that stands before you.
Don’t see the locs,
the head wrap,
the melanin,
the beard, the tunic,
and dismiss me as “other,”
or less than you.

This isn’t an egotistical demand.
It’s humanity’s expectation.
It’s every soul’s cry.
My presence here is normal.

Look past the hoodie,
the iced tea and the bag of candy,
the life-threatening cell phone
or wallet in my hand
that you believe has the potential
to shorten your days.

See my child in the back seat.
See my fiancée sitting beside me.
See me without requiring additional justification
of my worthiness.
I’m supposed to be here.
My child’s life, my husband, wife, or intended’s life
is equal in value to anyone’s life in your world.

See me, but don’t demand I fit into your limited mold.
I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.
God broke the mold when he made me.
Therefore, I won’t play small for you.

And if you choose not to see me and mine,
I will not take accountability for your blindness.
It’s up to you to remove the scales from your eyes.
I can’t lead you to water if you dig your heels into the dirt,
and I certainly will not bring you water and force you to drink.
Because, the limited view
in which you choose to see people like me,
is how people will choose to see you.

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Moving On

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Sometimes it hits you square in the gut like a sledgehammer. It throws you off-center, tosses your apple cart, capsizes your yacht, moves you out of your comfort zone. You have no choice but to go along with it. Resistance is futile. You might stand still for a moment to try to assess the root cause, but many times, that level of inactivity is a pure waste of time and mental energy. It’s easier said than done, but you have to move forward. You have to talk yourself into girding up your loins, putting one foot in front of the other and actively moving forward. But you have to move!

Half Way In

As I mentioned in January, this is the year of “letting go,” and things have been released.  I was laid off in January, and it was a good thing! It was what I needed to move forward and take on some important projects.  I’m working in a great place, close to home, and it offers me the flexibility I need to take care of my family and focus on the building some lasting resources for the future. So, half way into this New Year things are coming together.

I’ve prayed for several years about a career in non-profit, and it’s happening.  I’m excited about working with a group that provides needed services to the surrounding community.  There is nothing better than an answered prayer!

The recent lay-off has also given me the time and mental space to hunker down and write! And much writing has been happening!  I’ll be sharing some of my published and un-published pieces at Kirkwood Library at the end of the month.  I’m looking forward to sharing my work at this event!

I have to say, half way into this New Year, my glass is more than 1/2 and on its way to overflowing! I hope the same is true for you!

 

 

2013: The Year of Open Hands

Happy New Year friends!  I hope your 2013 is off to a great start.

I’m really not one for resolutions.  I can’t keep up with them.  It’s too stressful to set huge goals for a 12 month period of time.  If there is one thing don’t need in my life, its more stress!  The last months of 2012 showed me that there are some things in my life that I had to release in order to move forward in 2013.  I have a saying that I’ve often shared with friends: You can’t receive what God has for you if you are holding on to something else. Let go of what is in your hand.

What is in you hand?

I repeated those words to myself on New Year’s Eve.  For me, 2013 is a year of transition.  It is also a year of labor.  I’m going to have to work for the things God has in store for me.  Not that I haven’t before, I just need to be more deliberate about it now.  I’m looking forward to what this year has in store.

What does 2013 mean to you?

Sandy Taught Me

It did not take me long to see the lesson.  I thought I was doing great in my preparation for Hurricane Sandy.  Food was prepared, we had plenty of water, flashlights, batteries, and all of our technology was charged in case power went out.  I wasn’t uncomfortable with the preparation.  I’ve done this before.  I called my mother to make sure she had everything she needed.  She was ready but concerned about the storm.  I tried to reassure her.

“We’ll be fine mom.  This doesn’t seem to be any worse than Hurricane Irene, last year.”
“Yeah, but they keep saying on the news that they haven’t seen a storm like this before.”

I heard her, but put her words aside. I needed to stay positive.  This was just a thunderstorm having a hissy fit!  I wasn’t scared of Sandy! Pfft!  She wasn’t to going to get me nervous!  Then the wind started blowing, the rain started pelting the house.  I watched the news and saw the flooding, downed wires, major cities shut down and such.  Friends on Facebook were reporting outages and flooding in their area.  Before the height of the storm, one friend posted videos he took on his way home showing traffic lights blown off of the wire.

I underestimated Miss Sandy.

When I was awakened shortly after midnight with wind blowing down the street sounding something like a wind tunnel, I decided to pack some bags just in case my family and I had to evacuate.

Then the thought hit me: I haven’t lived long enough to say, “I’ve done this before!  This storm isn’t going to be so bad.”  I can say it.  But I can’t guarantee it.

I can hear a bunch of you shouting at your monitors “Speak to your storm, Nike! You have that authority to say ‘peace be still.'”  I know.  But, I’m not talking about authority.  I’m talking about WISDOM.

Wisdom says that every storm it different.  Every battle is different.  They may have similar characteristics, but there may be elements of the situation that one is unable to anticipate because the battle or storm involves different people, places, and things.

Sandy’s path shifted slightly and sped up.  The storm did not hit my town dead on as originally predicted.  Sandy taught me, that I can’t take anything for granted.

Wisdom says: Prepare as much as possible, and be aware of the differences from one situation to the next, expect the best and worst outcomes and be prepared to adjust to changes quickly.

Rest Well My Friend

Even though we all understand that we will not walk this earth forever, it’s always a shock to the system when you hear about the loss of one to whom you are connected.  I found out on Saturday that friend from my social network passed away.  He crossed my mind just a few days before I received the bad news.  I intended to contact him and see how he was doing, if he was working on anything new.  It wasn’t meant to be.

He was one of the first people I met online when I began blogging and social networking.  Although I never met him face to face, he left a wonderful impression.  He was a kind and gentle soul.  He was very proud of his family.  He expressed how much he loved his parents, his kids, grandkids and friends often.  He loved jazz music and was absolutely passionate about poetry.  He was an amazing writer and an encouraging teacher.  He taught me a lot about voice and flow and introduced me to new styles of poetry.  He was always willing to collaborate and connect with other writers and authors.

I’m grateful to have met him, collaborate with him on more that one occasion.  I am even more grateful that he left pieces of himself behind, in volumes of poetry, for us to enjoy and remember him.

Rest in Peace Gene

You Are the Reason
Collaboration by Nike & EbonyPoet

I watch you silently as you sleep
And consider what has brought you to me.
I never thought that we could be
In this place again.

Friends for so long, but kept far apart
You always had a place in my heart.
It seems we have a brand new start.
Is this really our destiny?

Your very presence gives me hope
In a time of life when such thought seems remote.
Your very being is like a lifeboat
Sailing me to safety.

You are the reason I dare to hope
I dare to dream
I dare to feel
I dare to imagine that love is real.
You are the reason I dare to hope.

~~~

When love brings me doubt
You give me hope again
To share, to give, to embrace love
To give my heart and soul to only you

We make love, we share love
We give in to all the possibilities of love
Like two ships sailing in the night
Destination love’s elegant shores

What is desire?
If I do not have you next to me
What is passion
If it is not you that awakens my senses

You turn my doubts to hope
You give meaning to love
And as long as I have your heart and soul
Love will always blossom for us

You are the reason…

©2008-08-17 Collaboration by Nike & EbonyPoet
All rights reserved

Been So Long

I haven’t posted in a while. My world has been swirling, non-stop. I have a lot to say, but haven’t found the words. But when I do, brace yourself! 😀 In the meantime, I’ve been working on my next book. I’m still in the early stages…only because I’ve re-written the darn things about 7 or 8 times now! But I think I finally have my story flowing in the right direction. Writing is not as easy as people think. That is not a complaint, but a fact. I LOVE being a writer! I wouldn’t change it for the world!

I am going to pour myself something fruity, and get back to the business of writing! I can’t wait share the details of my next book! Enjoy the holiday weekend!

~N

Smoothie

Promoting Indie Authors

Thanks to everyone who tuned into Steamy Trails Speaks on Blog Talk Radio last night! It has been over a year since Katrina Gurl and Nita Bee have blessed the BTR airwaves. These ladies have been very busy building and expanding the Steamy Trails Empire and they have some very exciting things going on!

Take a listen to archives HERE if you missed the show and be sure to share it with your friends!

I was on the air with the ladies last night and I announced the next Steamy Trails Network Contest! We are promoting the works of two extraordinary men: Authors Avery Washington and Amillion Mayfield.

The contest rules are very simple:

1. Visit the Facebook fan pages of Avery Washington for his book, “Letters to My Daughters” and Amillion The Poet.

2. Click the Like button at the top of each one of these gentlemen’s pages. Read their comments and their notes. Get to know them!

3. Tell a friend!

4. The contest runs through February 10, 2012. The winners selected by random drawing, and announced on Steamy Trails Speaks with Katrina Gurl and Nita Bee (official date to be announced.)

DON’T WAIT ANOTHER SECOND TO ENTER!!! Click on the names below and connect with these two amazing authors!

Avery Washington

Amillion Mayfield

Today’s Lesson: The Circle of Life

Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba: But, dad, don’t we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.

This conversation between father and son has rolled around in my brain for the last few weeks. Not quite sure why, but it’s there. Balance and connection. For reasons I cannot pin point, it made me think of my grandmother who passed away last August. I have recalled odd bits and pieces of conversations, things she said that made me laugh, things I said that made her laugh. For example, I used to tell her that I am her most favorite grandchild. She challenged me on that statement a few months before she passed,

“Are you sure you are the favorite?”
I responded with all confidence, “Yup!”
“How do you know?”
“Because I just told you, Mum. So, you can’t say you didn’t know I was the favorite!” She laughed and shook her head, but she didn’t tell me that I wasn’t the favorite. That was enough confirmation for me! The truth is, if she had a favorite grandchild, she kept it a carefully guarded secret.

A particular memory rose to the surface today as I listened to the audiobook, Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. Todd Burpo described trying to persuade his 3-year-old son to drink the vile tasting beverage provided by the technician prior to the cat-scan being administered. In an instant, I was in the room with my grandmother as she was about to get her cat-scan. She was nervous about being in the machine and the noise it made. She didn’t want me to leave her. So as the rest of her body was guided into the tube, the tech left enough of her legs extended outside of the machine, so I could hold on to my grandmother’s leg, giving her a little comfort. I said something I cannot recall to make my grandmother laugh. She relaxed and before we knew it, the test was over. That happened roughly seventeen years ago. Today, I almost burst into tears thinking about it. I stopped the audio book and took a deep breath. There is no crying during work hours.

Yesterday, I shared with my mother and daughter how much my grandmother used to HATE when I watched Star Trek: Next Generation. I loved that show as a teenager! She would go into a rant as soon as she saw Lieutenant Worf’s rippled forehead appear on the screen! “Laaahhd a mercy!! How you watch dat hugly sumting so? Hits heeevilll,” she would declare in her Jamaican/British accent. And she did not stop fussing until I changed the channel to something more to her liking. That memory had me in stitches.

As my friends post stories about the loved ones that have passed, I think about the “great Circle of Life.” When loved ones pass away, even if we were not around them everyday, the lack of their “being” changes our landscape. They will visit our memories at the oddest of times. Whether you laugh or cry over the memories is not the important thing. Remembering is the important thing. As cliche as it sounds, they are still with us everywhere the light touches our lives and sometimes in the shadowy places where we should not venture, but still do occasionally. The memories keep us balanced; remind us of the living we have yet to do and that what we do, and say, and create shapes the landscape for the next generation.

So, today’s lesson is not so much of a lesson as it is something to ponder: How will your life contribute to the landscape?

http://movieclips.com/ZNpQL-the-lion-king-movie-everything-the-light-touches/0/70.867

Random Thought

(Repost)

I don’t make New Year resolutions. I never keep them. (I commend the 5 or 6 people in the world who manage to keep their resolutions all year!) However, a couple of years ago I decided to pay closer attention to the things that were going on around me. I determined that there were clear signs of impending disaster prior to 90% of the unfortunate events that took place in my life. Had I been paying closer attention to the details, I probably could have avoided 70% of those disasters. So, in order to make sure I remained focused, I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off every Saturday at 4pm and 10pm (just in case I was busy at 4pm). That is my reminder to reflect on the past week and consider the lessons life offered. I think it’s made a difference. My “disaster rate” has dropped considerably…I think!

So this week I have learned 2 things. Lesson number 1:
It is absolutely ok to dream big, mad, crazy, absurd, pretty-close-to-it-ain’t-nevuh-gonna-happen type dreams…just be wise about with whom you share those visions. Now, I’m not talking about anything kinky! I’m talking about those life changing dreams…like the dreams you used to have as a kid. Remember wanting to be a TV personality or well recognized athlete? We never considered the potential road blocks. THAT’S how you dream!!! The one thing to beware of would be the “dream killers.” I’ve met plenty of them and allowed their words to squelch my dreams in the past. I won’t make that mistake again! I’m going to dream like I’m 5 years old!

Lesson number 2:
The “big picture” is so much bigger than any of us really know…every now and then you really have to step back and take a good hard look at your contribution…are you giving your best? This lesson has more of a spiritual focus. God has created us to do stuff…some of us will do big, visible to the world stuff and some of us will do less noticeable (but equally important) stuff. I know that I have a tendency to go through my day without considering God’s purpose in the moment. No wonder I’ve had a 90% percent disaster rate in the past! So, I think I may need to set another alarm on my phone to remind myself to consider how anything that I may have said or done during the week positively contributed to the “big picture.”

Blackboard