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Archive for May, 2014

An Encouraging Quote

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Aha! LightBulb

The good news is that for every one person who doesn’t like you or the things you say or the work you do, there are a dozen people who adore you and absolutely want to see you succeed in life.
— Rosetta Thurman

I love quotations. It’s fun to search online quote pages for inspiration, but sometimes the quotes are not worded exactly right, or they are attributed to the wrong famous person. For that reason, I particularly love collecting quotes myself. Sometimes they come from reading an article online, sometimes from reading  or listening to an audiobook.

Today’s Inspiration
Today, I got a newsletter from Rosetta Thurman, a young woman with lots of vim and vigor and sparkle in her eye. I met her on Twitter a number of years ago and I just loved her spirit and attitude.

Rosetta’s website is called Happy Black Woman. She talks there about the choices she’s made to have the life she desired (rather than the life others thought she might best prefer).

When we met, she was still working a day job and she had chosen to move from an apartment into a room of a house so she could use her money differently. She pared down her things and made choices about what she loved.

Now she travels a lot doing workshops and classes to encourage others who are interested in being deliberate about their lives. She particularly works with people who have dreams about businesses of their own, helping them develop what she calls a “side hustle” while they have a job, so they don’t have to change too quickly and risk too much all at once.

Kindred Life Choices
I have had a different but similar story. In 1990 I gave up unsecured credit (it felt out of control, I didn’t have the sense of choice I feel from Rosetta). Slowly I’ve let go of things, got more things to replace them, got rid of those, repeat until we have less stuff (but not as little as my goal).

I’ve been self employed since 1999. I make a lot of choices to do with less so that the ups and downs of self employment don’t hit me as hard.

My travel is usually basic rather than deluxe (car or train rather than plane, staying in hostels or with friends/relatives rather than hotels). Clothing comes second hand except for shoes and undergarments. None of these choices feel like a compromise, because they are conscious choices. I do get two luxuries: good food and good yarn, because of my health and my work.

Back to Rosetta
Rosetta doesn’t know I’m writing about her. I get absolutely nothing from posting this. However, the quote above really struck me today. I know that we all sometimes worry about the wrong people when we’re feeling unsteady… and we all feel unsteady some days. (Thanks, Rosetta!!!)

Be the Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou, Poet Laureate, speaker, world citizen/elder, lover of life and Phenomenal Woman,* died today. I’m crushed.

I saw her twice and both times she rocked my world. I tend to love moments and then forget the specifics, but points she made have stayed with me years afterward.

The second time I heard her, she had a crowd of mostly students (at Michigan State University). She referenced a 19th-century black song with a lyric “…when it looked like the sun wa’nt gonna shine any more, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”

Here is a powerful 4-minute video of Dr. Angelou. It includes a reference to that song and how we can aim to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Listen. Hearing her may change your day. In my case, it changed my life.
Be the Rainbow… Like Maya Angelou.

*Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise.
Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Publisher – Random House, Inc.

A Sigh of Joy

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

tulipsWe finally have spring here in mid-Michigan. It was the hardest winter to live through that I remember, and I’ve lived here over 50 of my 55 years. We are winter-weary city slickers this year.

We had a devastating ice storm 3 days before Christmas, and 40% of the Capital city was without power. Some friends outside city limits were 8 days without.

A friend slept on our couch one night, and I cooked Christmas dinner for me and 2 friends. Brian worked a 15-hour day on Dec. 25 getting the store computers (where he is webmaster) up and running so they could be back up and open on December 26… after being closed for 3 days before the holiday.

Juicy Spring Day
It rained big, fat drops this Monday, off and on most of the day. In other years, we might have complained. This year we agree that it ‘s better than snow.

Almost everything is green now. A week and a half ago, we had very few buds. Now look at it!

©1966 by Adrian Keith Smith
Age 4
New Zealand

From the Book:
Miracles, Poems by children of the English-speaking world
Collected by Richard Lewis
Simon and Schuster, 1966

The rain screws up its face

and falls to bits.

Then it makes itself again.

Only the rain can make itself again.

green spring

The Feelings of Mothers’ Day

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

I wish to share with you an excellent post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) about motherhood, non-motherhood and loving where we are on the spectrum. As a woman with no biological children and none in my home, I have no regrets where I am as self-appointed “fairy godmother” to many.

20140510-143507.jpgLove to all on this mother-celebrating weekend. I have the fortune of a good relationship right now with my gutsy mom, and will enjoy that. We did not always feel this ease together. (Photo is my mom, age 79, who can out-run her 55-year-old daughter… literally… in a foot race.)

If you are one of those who have pain from a sad relationship (or non-relationship) with your own mother, I send you love, empathy and acceptance. May you have time with (or memories of) someone who does love you and see you as wonderful, just the way you are.

(The post I am linking here is on Facebook. It seems to work even for the public who choose not to have an account there, or members who are not logged in. Let me know if it does not work for you.)

Three Sorts of Women, by Elizabeth Gilbert