Monday, March 28, 2016

Grandma's Hands

My Grandmother, Annie Lizzie Hazel (left) sisters Hattie (center) Luala (right)

My Grandmother, Annie Lizzie Hazel was an incredible woman. I know most people think that their grandmothers are great, and I am no exception. Her story has been one of the most powerful influences in my life.

She was from South Carolina originally, but came to settle in Augusta Georgia, where she married, gave birth and raised my mother and her four siblings. Her husband went on to glory one day after suffering a heat stroke while working in their fields. But she had five children to take care of so she did the only thing that she could, she went to work.

 My Grandmother's life wasn't easy, which was the norm at that time. With a fifth grade education, she did what they called back then "days work", now we call them house keepers. She also worked as a cook in a restaurant in Augusta. Yes, yes, yes, my Grandmother could cook! She gave love through her food.

After I got married and became a mother I remember sitting next to my Grandmother on a visit back home and she said to me, "Can you cook?" I very proudly said, "Yes Ma'am, I think I've gotten pretty good." She then asked me, "Can you make rolls?" I said, No Ma'am". She politely then said, "Then you can't cook." We both laughed. A few years later I was at home in my kitchen and I decided to try and make rolls. So of course I call my Grandmother. I asked her to tell me the recipe. She told me that she couldn't tell me, she would have to show me. See I didn't realize at that time that she didn't use recipes, she just knew what to put in and went by the look, smell and feel of things. So I told her the next time I was home, she would have to teach me. She said of course she would...she never got a chance to teach me, the next time that I saw her later that year she was laying in her bed in the Maria Joseph Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dayton Ohio. I arrived just in time to be present when she went home to glory. My Grandmother passed in 1999.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was sitting in my kitchen trying to figure out how I could save money. It's gotten to be expensive to feed a family of six so I try to cut corners anyway that I can. It was if I could hear my Grandmother's voice clear as a bell, "Make some rolls". It made sense, my family eats a good amount of bread and if I could learn to make rolls, surely I could make bread. So I set to the task.

While I was following the recipe that I had found, I thought about Annie, talked to her, and talked to God about her. I miss her every single day. She is by far one of the strongest women that I have been blessed to have known. She did whatever she had to do to make a life for herself and all of children. She taught them not just how to survive, but to live. She taught them how to keep God in front of them, and she taught them how to stick together and love one another. She taught them by example what it was to sacrifice to help make sure that your children had what they needed. But most of all, she taught them how to pray.

My Sister and I spent the weekends with my Grandmother often when we were younger. My mother worked nights as a nurse and my father worked two jobs, as a teacher and at a local restaurant in the kitchen. There wasn't a night that when by that I wouldn't see her kneeling on the floor by her bedside praying. She would thank God for His grace and mercy, she would praise Him, and then she would begin To pray for all of us by name...I have no doubt that her prayers met God's ears, and they helped keep me from many dangers seen and unseen.

My Grandmother's hands, worked in the cotton fields, the cleaned housed, they played with her children, and tended them when they were sick. Her hands helped raise all of us, her hands made food to nourish us, but most of all her hands prayed for us.

Thank you Annie, I will continue to miss you until the day that I see you again, and I WILL make you some rolls!

Much Love,

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

For Good - A Love Letter

I have no idea what has come over me the last few days, but it started with me listening to the song For Good, from the Broadway Musical Wicked. This song is one of the few in the world that can bring me to tears every single time, and for good reason.

For Good, was the song that my twin sons, my eldest children sang at their high school graduation. If I had the words to describe to you what it felt like to see my first babies stand there and sing so beautifully. I knew from my own life experiences that their lives were about to change and this was their love letter to all of us proud parents.

So the other day as I fired up my iTunes and put the song on a loop, with tears in my eyes I started thinking of so many people that have come and gone in my life. These same people have affected my life in one way or another. Some of my relationships with these people were brief, some are ongoing. Some of my experiences with them have been so very good, and some have produced incredibly painful times...but the beautiful part of it is that all of them have changed me for good.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Everything is Political....And I Hate It. (My Personal Commentary)

I will tell you this right up front, I hate politics.

There was a professor that I had during my first two years of college, He taught Afro American Studies courses, and I was a freshman that decided to take his class called The Black Man. I be honest, I took the class because I heard it was full of really intelligent hot guys! I had no idea that would actually learn more about myself and the world that I lived in as an African American that I did in his courses. I would dare to say that He was one of the most influential teachers of my young adult life.

With that being said, one of the pieces of wisdom that he gave us is that "EVERYTHING is political". Relationships, the work place, even church! But to me the worst is the politics of our country and the world. It brings out the worst in people, not the best.

This year 2016, I can honestly say that I have never been as afraid of the outcomes of the Presidential elections as I am now. As an African American, I know all that my people have had to endure since our introduction to this country, the country that we now call home. even though we are so far removed from the slavery era, it seems that we as an American people have so far to go.

As I watch the debates, the news footage, I see the release of the bitterness, hatred and racism that has been lurking under the skin of some of America. I see politician play up the fears and anxieties of the people, people of all backgrounds. I just don't understand. Haven't we suffered enough as people, as a country? Why are we still trying to tear each other apart?