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Wednesday, June 4, 2014


*Post forthcoming

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pure Yellow

Warning: There are a few profane words in this entry.  Sometimes, they are the only words that fit the sentiment.  I stand behind them.

Pure Yellow

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.  ~C. S. Lewis

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  ~Dorothy Bernard Here Comes the Sun~The Beatles  Yellow~Coldplay Free Fallin’~Tom Petty

Today was a yellow day.  Perfectly — brilliantly yellow!  Good doesn’t begin to adequately describe it, and I felt good living it, and being aware of every moment of it.  You might be wondering what I’m talking about, and I shall tell you: today, Tom and I celebrate a friend who crossed the first item off of her bucket list of things she wants to do as she begins a new phase in the journey of her life.
To give you the back story so you’re up to speed: three weeks ago, my friend, Stephanie, was given a shitty diagnosis of terminal and inoperable cancer.  Stage IV Neuroendocrine Cancer, with a metastasis to the liver to boot.  Yeah.  It was a sucker punch [not to mention that it just plain sucked!] – one of those ones that hits you right in the gut, dead-center, and doubles you over....leaves you bent down for a while too as you try to catch your breath!  Stephanie is only 50.  She’s got a 10 year old son, and last summer, her other son made her a grandmother for the 1st time.  You can understand now why I referenced the diagnosis as “shitty”.  The following day, the oncologist didn’t make that suck-ass news any better when he told her there wasn’t much they could do for her at this point.  I mean, what are you suppose to do with that?   You’re trying to gear-up mentally for the fight of your life, when the doctor cancels that game plan.  It was sobering.  Surreal.  The entire weekend went back and forth like that — kinda like a see-saw.  Up and down the emotions went.  Back and forth the tears came.  I can only imagine what she must have been feeling!  No.  Scratch that.  I can’t.  I tried, but I can’t.  I hurt for her, and I was scared for her, like any friend would be.  I prayed a lot over the next few days because I believe in the power of prayer, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask for a miracle for her.   I’m not gullible!  Let me state that for the record.  But,  I’m a realist!  I prescribe to the philosophy of Anwar Sadat who once said, “you aren’t a realist unless you believe in miracles...” I do.  So, I asked God for one for her.  Asking for something can NEVER hurt!  NEVER.
Anyway.   Stephanie is a rare one.  She’s not going to roll over!  She’s not going to go quietly! Those were her words.   If this were a boxing match, I daresay it’s gonna be similar to the “Thrilla in Manilla” of 1975 between Ali and Frazier.   What I know of Stephanie, she gives as good as she, in other words, this isn’t going to be an easy fight for cancer!  Here’s a link if you’d like to check out the reference:  
Once she got her bearings back, she stated as much herself.  This cancer may have altered the overall scheme of things for her long-term plans, but she’s in the driver’s seat til the end of the road.  She wants to do as much as she can with the rest of her life, while she can – make some special memories for her children, and do those things that she thought she had more time left to do.  Again, her words.   She is an inspiration.  That’s all I can say.
That Sunday, she sat down and wrote up a fund-me page, because she’s a single Mom, and this diagnosis blind-sided her – the rest of us too.  She needs a little financial help to make this dream become a reality.  Dreams aren’t cheap!  Not the good ones, anyway! :-) {I’ll post her fund-me page at the end of this entry.}  If you want to donate a love offering, we “ain’t to proud to beg,” to help make this dream of hers come true.  She wants to do as much as she can, while she can.  Did I say that already?  Well, it bears repeating.  The time is now!  That’s a lesson for ALL of us: live now!  Don’t wait!  None of us are promised tomorrow.  No one knows what the future will or won’t bring us, so live now with NO regrets!  Those of you who know me know that, while I can be shy about asking for anything for myself, when it comes to my friends, I’m like a bull in a china shop!  There’s not a shy bone in my body, when it comes to asking for someone else!  Every $5 makes a difference and adds up!   If you can forgo a cup of store-bought Java for one day or a burger and fries and maybe donate $5 toward helping someone make some memories with their child become a reality, which one would REALLY make you feel better at the end of the day? That’s all I’m saying...
Now, the first thing on Stephanie’s list of things to do was skydiving or in the language of a person afraid of heights, as I am:  “ Oh my God! She’s ACTUALLY going to jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet above the earth!”
Brave.  I give her credit.  When she wrote on Facebook that she was going to do it, one image came to mind: Luke and Laura in the ‘93 return on General Hospital where Laura froze when she saw how high up they were and that Luke seriously wanted her to jump out into nothing but sky with NO net below her.  She became to scream – panic screams, and the only way he could get her to jump was to toss her purse out the door that had most of her important worldly possessions in it. {it’s on YouTube if anyone wants to see it.}  I think in that moment, I might be willing to even let go of my worldly possessions! [I hear you all calling me a chicken!] Okay, I’ll cop to that!
Truthfully, I think the ONLY way that I would go out of a plane at 14,000 feet is for someone to open the door and literally kick me out, even with my hands white-knuckled, holding onto the door jamb with EVERYTHING in me, but that’s me.   Stephanie, on the other hand, will go out full-force – just taking it all on.  I admire her fortitude.  She invited her friends and family to join her for this adventure.   I PM’ed her and told her that I’d be there in spirit, and would release a yellow balloon in solidarity.  So, now, you’re up to speed.
Friday, Stephanie left for Homestead, Florida with her youngest son.  Tom and I went out and got our yellow smiley face balloons that afternoon, after he got home from work.  We were ready for the big day.   Stephanie sent us all a message pertaining to Saturday: 10 a.m.~lift off.  She felt a mix of terrified excitement.  I understood that.   I felt a mix of terrified excitement for her!  So, I set the alarm and waited for the sun to come up.
I got up early.  It looked like a beautiful day at our end.  From hers, she reported early morning rain.
“Please, God!” I whispered, as I read that!  “Don’t let anything spoil this moment.”
I did the only thing I knew to do.  I sent out a song: “Here Comes the Sun.”
It did the trick.  The Beatles usually do! :-)
Not long after, she posted that she was on her way to the airport.
I leaned my head back and mouthed upward, “thank you!”
We waited for a bit longer for word that it was all a go.  Pictures were posted from the airport.  Stephanie rocked the look!  Let me tell you! I told her as much in a post.
Tom and I got our balloons and went out on our back deck as the music played: “Yellow” and “Free Fallin’”.  I took several pictures as we got ready to release our contribution to her moment.  We held hands as we counted down, then let them go and watched as they drifted higher and higher up into the blue, as the music played in the background.  It was a wonderful sight knowing that she was up there, and they were heading up to her! We watched until they disappeared from our view, then we went back inside, feeling a full gratitude moment.
I carried that image with me the rest of the day – those two balloons, side-by-side, floating up, up and away into the wild blue yonder up to our friend.  Later, I laughed, and cheered as I watched the image of her jumping toward earth, checking off the first item on a special “to do” list.  It was emotional.  I can only imagine the incredible feeling it must have been for her, as she sailed across the sky like a bird in high flight!
Stephanie, along with family and friends who are down in Homestead with her are having a fish fry tonight – making some special memories.   I told her Tom and I were going for ice-cream to top off the day’s celebration,  just like Chris Martin said to the audience before he sang “Yellow” to them.  And, so we did.  It was a popular night to go for ice-cream too!  By the time we got home, night was overtaking the sky.  I looked up and saw my father’s star, right beside the moon.  It’s not out every night.  But, I know he had to come out and give a two thumbs up for the day’s events, because he enjoyed “WOW” moments as much as the next guy, and today truly was one of those!  It was WOW and yellow all rolled up into one magnificent thing.  Pure yellow – NO other words.
I smiled as Tom and I walked to the side door.  We could hear the puppies barking their heads off as if we’d been gone for a week!  As we opened the door, they ran around in a crazy giddiness because we were back where we belonged, and all was right in their world.  Tom and I said some silly greetings to them, and they took off in play as I chuckled to myself and turned to close the door.   I thought about that sentiment for a moment: all’s right in the world.  On this day, it was! From the window of the door, I could see the moon high up in the sky.  As if sensing the importance of keeping with the day’s theme, it was yellow.  Not just ANY yellow though, a deep  golden one.  I smiled and thought of Stephanie:  Golden. Yellow. Brave. Bodacious. Beautiful. Loved.  Yeah....that’s what it had all been.  But, most of all: AMAZING!
Upward and onward, as they say.  On we go.  There are more adventures and memories to be made... Stephanie's jump - May 4, 2014  It Is Always Now~Sam Harris - Stephanie’s Fund Me Page

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Post will be forthcoming...

Friday, February 28, 2014

Freedom Train's Conductor

Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman, Circa 1911
"I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger." ~Harriet Tubman

Post Will Be Forthcoming.

Monday, February 17, 2014


"It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label." -Barack Obama

Barack Obama.

*Post will be forthcoming.

                                                            "Yes. We can!" {♥ this picture}

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Voice

Whitney Houston.

Two years ago, the world lost, in my opinion, one of the most incredible voices ever gifted to us. I had the pleasure of seeing Whitney in concert back in her early days - when she first began her career.  My mother and I sat mesmerized as she sang for several hours. Her range was tremendous. Her pitch was perfect. Her voice was unlike any we had ever heard before. When she let her band take a 20 minute break, and she stayed and sang gospel songs a capella, well, to say that it was incredible would be a gross understatement!
I was saddened to learn two years ago that she had lost her struggle with that demon she carried inside.  It's difficult to put a measure on a loss like that, and I'm not going to try, other than to say that she's missed. Thank God for the music! It is the gift that will last a lifetime. Thank you, Whitney! Rest in peace... - One Moment In Time - All At Once - The Greatest Love Of All - Where Do Broken Hearts Go - When You Believe [Duet w/Mariah Carey]

                                                           Whitney and Bobbi Kristina - So Emotional  - I'm Every Woman - He/I Believe [Duet w/Cissy Houston] - I Know Him So Well [Duet w/Cissy Houston] - I Look To You  - Exhale - Miracle - Bridge Over Troubled Water [Duet with Cece Winans] - Run To You - Whitney sings our National Anthem - Hold Me [Duet w/Teddy Pendergrass] - Battle Hymn of the Republic [performed for our military in VA] - A Song for You - Does It Hurt So Bad - I Didn't Know My Own Strength - Jesus Loves Me - I'll Always Love You...


Saturday, February 8, 2014

I've Got The Music In Me...

                                                   “What we play is life.” –Louis Armstrong

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.” 
                                                            –Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker

“They hear it come out, but they don't know how it got there. They don't understand that's life's way of talking. You don't sing to feel better. You sing 'cause that's a way of understanding life.”
                                                                       –Ma Rainey - Black on Track~Charting African-American Music History

There are four core types of African-American music: gospel, blues, jazz and soul music:

Gospel music includes religious hymns that slaves began singing in the fields as they worked to help them pass the time and cope with their living conditions; 

Blues coupled the religious story-telling of gospel to the primal rhythms of drums and guitars – hence the reference of R&B music.  Early blues began in the south near the Mississippi delta, but was taken to different parts of the country by African-Americans who were seeking to escape racism and the poverty of the south;

Jazz is a uniquely American form of music that came to prominence around the turn of the 20th century, some argue earlier, and has it roots in the African-American communities of the South.  

Soul music is a combination of various elements of all three of the above types. 

Music is the universal language. It is calming, soothing, restorative, and comforting.  We use music for both joyous and solemn occasions – to celebrate; to mourn; to worship or just to relax.  As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, I have included on this entry those pieces of music which nurture my soul — ease a troubled day — heal a broken spirit — elevate a happy heart and just make me smile.  I hope you enjoy each selection. - Oh Happy Day! - The Edwin Hawkins Singers - Soon And Very Soon - Andrae Crouch - His Eye Is On the Sparrow - Shirley Caesar - Great Is Your Mercy - Donnie McClurkin - Precious Lord Take My Hand - Mahalia Jackson - Through It All - BeBe Winans - John Lee Hooker - Please Don't Go - Mr. Bojangles - Sammy Davis, Jr. - At Last - Etta James - Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett - Yesterday When I Was Young - Lena Horne - Every Time We Say Goodbye - Ray Charles & Betty Carter - Lonesome Valley - Mississippi John Hurt See See Rider Blues - Ma Rainey - I'm a Man - Muddy Waters - Good Times - Phoebe Snow - God Bless The Child - Whitney Houston - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman - My One & Only Love - My Lucille - B. B. King - Someone To Watch Over Me - Nancy Wilson - Sweet Soul Music - Arthur Conley - My Funny Valentine - Sarah Vaughan - All Of Me - Count Basie - Cry Me a River - Ella Fitzgerald - So What - Miles Davis - After All - Al Jarreau - Absolutely Live - George Benson - Wild As The Wind - Nina Simone - All The Things You Are - Charlie "Bird" Parker - Wishful Thinking - Earl Klugh [Discovered Him in college ♥♥♥] - C'est Si Bon - Eartha Kitt - You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine - Lou Rawls - Back On The Block - Quincy Jones [Full Album] - No Ordinary Love - Sade - I Feel Good - James Brown - The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston - I'm Still In Love With You - Al Green - Can't Get Enough of Your Love - Barry White - Piano In The Dark - Brenda Russell - I Want You Back - The Jackson Five - Papa Was a Rolling Stone - The Temptations - Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes - Stone Love - The Supremes - Everybody Plays The Fool - The Main Ingredient - Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin - You Really Got A Hold On Me - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - No Night So Long - Dionne Warwick - Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone - People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield - A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke - Midnight Train To Georgia - Gladys Knight & The Pips - The Jackson Five - Who's Loving You - You Make Me Feel Brand New - The Stylistics - Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time - The Delfonics - Have You Seen Her - The Chi-Lites - Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner [This one is for my mother] - Me & Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul - Aquarius~Let The Sun Shine In-The 5th Dimension - A Song For You - Donny Hathaway - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Robert Flack - A Kiss To Build a Dream On - Louis Armstrong - When Will I See You Again - The Three Degrees - Lady Marmalade - LaBelle - Tell Me Something Good - Rufus The Closer I Get To You - Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway - Superstitious - Stevie Wonder w/Jeff Beck - Old Friend - Phyllis Hyman - A House Is Not a Home - Luther Van Dross - A Smile Like Yours - Natalie Cole - The Very Thought of You - Nat King Cole - I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holliday - I Don't Want To Fight No More - Tina Turner - Billie Jean - Michael Jackson [Motown 25] - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Oleta Adams - Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye - Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross - If Ever You're In My Arms Again - Peabo Bryson All The Way - Jeffrey Osborne [King Curtis] - Your Song - Cissy Houston - Soul Serenade - King Curtis - Baby Can I Hold You - Tracy Chapman - Thank You For The Years - Shirley Bassey - Three Times A Lady - The Commodores - If You Asked Me To - Patti LaBelle - Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin - I've Been Loving You Too Long - Otis Redding - Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers - One In A Million You - Larry Graham - Hot Fun In The Summertime - Sly and the Family Stone - Celebrate Me Home - Donna Summer - What's Going On - Marvin Gaye - Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Could It Be I'm Falling In Love With You - The Spinners - Let's Do It Again - The Staple Singers - Ain't No Woman Like the One I've Got - The Four Tops - Then Came You - Dionne Warwick & The Spinners - No One - Alicia Keys So High - Usher - Irreplaceable - Beyonce - Just Another Day - Queen Latifah - Man In The Mirror - Michael Jackson - I Got The Music In Me - Thelma Houston - If You Don't Know Me By Now - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Betcha Bye Golly Wow - The Stylistics - Just To Be Close To You - The Commodores - September - Earth, Wind & Fire - I'll Be There - Mariah Carey - You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder - I'll Always Love You - Whitney Houston - Endless Love - Lionel Ritchie & Diana Ross - Saved The Best for Last - Vanessa Williams - I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers [Close Your Eyes & Be Transported]

It's certainly not all of the glorious songs that I love, but it's a good collection of some favorites.  Enjoy & Blessings~

“We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so.”   
                                                                    –B. B. King