Friday, July 8, 2016

What Do I Tell My Kids?

I wish I knew what I could say to my kids right now. As we watch tragedy after tragedy unfold before our eyes. It takes me back to 9/11. I was so stunned and shocked at the time all I could do was cry. I found myself at that very same place this morning. I began to explain to my kids that they were safe. But for some reason it was almost as if I didn't believe it so I could not say it. So we prayed. I prayed for peace and protection and I opened one eye to see my kids seriously praying. Holding hands very tightly and waiting for me to say the right thing. I closed my eyes and I realized that I did not have the right thing to say, I was not speechless by any means. But when it came to talking to God about all the things that are happening around us, I almost felt like I had no right to question him or ask him for anything. I know for a fact I have done things that disappointed God. And I knew how to talk to him about it, But what could I say about a world full of disappointment?

I have six black sons and a husband and 6 black brothers and 7 nephews. I have godsons and I have friends that I feel like are mildly steps away from being hurt or killed by the police. I have a sister that is an actual police officer so I sit in prayer for her hoping she does not come across the wrong person or group of people. I feel like I need to be doing more! I feel so helpless so I write and I write and I pray. I pray hoping that God will reveal something to me that will make this all easier to understand. But so far all I hear is God saying "TRUST ME."

Politicians are jumping to the podium to voice their opinion. The President is stuttering as he tries to make us feel better, How can you make us feel better when we can see the fear in your eyes? I refused to watch the news today. I dedicated the day to just talking to my kids and letting them know that God is in control and they are as safe as they can be with God's love and Mama and Daddy's protection. I started to feel sick at 4pm. I found out earlier that my Mom was admitted into the hospital for heart complications. I felt more and more physical pain as the day went on. But I tried so hard to detach myself from bad news so I could just breathe. So I could have time to comfort my family and time to connect with God.

My grandmother always told us that God will allow even the most painful circumstances for us to FOCUS on him, I thought about that, I thought about the pain and distress I have felt when I was being raped and beaten and held hostage. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM ME GOD????? What do you need me to do to make this feel better and to let me live a normal life free of nightmares and free of the boogeyman. I waited and waited, Life goes on and even though I ache internally from the external actions over the last few months, weeks, days,...... All I can do is TRUST GOD.

My 8 year old asked me, "If the police are bad who can we trust Ma?" And in that moment I was stuck.Unable to move. Waiting on God to give me the answer, My body started hurting and my head soon followed. We do not get a break from all the drama in the world just because we are sick, We still see it and feel it and hurt behind it.

There is an unspoken tension in the air. At the pharmacy. At the hospital. At the grocery store. People are trying not to look one another in the face. Why? Because the News footage and the circumstances of the last few days have created a break. An uncomfortable silence. We have to keep functioning in a way that reminds us that there is still good and love in us.
Everyone is not a bad guy. Keep waving to your neighbors and smiling at strangers. The smoke of confusion and the aroma of racism.....are choking us. You can be on your team but do not let these events create something in you that you are not. Black people are frustrated and aggravated and hurting to say the least.
And I believe there are white people who are hurting for us. The killing of police is leaving blood running parallel with the blood of these black men into the ground. Nurturing and watering the seeds of racism and tension. Be resilient and take a stand BUT DO SO PEACEFULLY...OUT OF CHOICE...NOT BECAUSE WE ARE TOLD TO BE. Ask yourself..Who benefits from a Race War???
DO NOT FIND AN ENEMY WHERE THERE ISN'T ONE. Do not be convinced that we cannot trust one another. Or be friends or love past color. Because once that happens...we all lose.  And I refuse to believe that is God's plan!!!

Who is safe? Who is sleeping well? Who has not cried or teared up in the last few days? I don't know of anyone. I do know that the events of the last 5 years involving people and police officers has had an affect on every person in this country. We are told not to question authority and not to do anything that makes us look suspicious or guilty. I no loner know what these things look like. I don't know the triggers for mania, from the police or from us. So now I am teaching my kids to speak in a way that is not confrontational. To make eye contact and to pray as soon as they see those flashing lights. Not because I want them to give in to abuse or misconduct. But because I want them to make it home safely.

They worry about me so much. You know they say stress and fear cause relapses and increase pain. But I cannot get this thing off my mind. As many of you feel useless and helpless at times like this, So do I. And I lay awake wondering "What can I do to help my kids get through this?" I always end up praying. And telling God that we see him and love him and acknowledge him. We know that he is the beginning and the end. The start and the stop. And then it hits me. Right now in this moment all I CAN DO is Stay in Prayer and TRUST GOD.  Only He knows where this all is headed. For now that is what I tell my kids. the Truth.

I made sure they could read and know to always be polite
We taught them to be respectful and 
that they should always do whats right
They learned that brothers protect one another
And that NOBODY can break that chain
Work hard and love sincerely
Make sure your wife has beauty and brains
We taught them to stay away from drugs and alcohol
Because we know those things can destroy
BUT...We Never said The Police may kill you
When we were teaching our young black boys
They know to be careful everywhere they go
But THE POLICE being a threat to their lives. did we even know?
So now we teach them to pray before they leave the house
And if they ever come across the wrong kind of cop
We PRAY they make it out. (c)vjrs2015


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Auto Immune Awareness Video!! Please Watch and Share


Hmmm,..:"Wedding Vows"....More Than Words

I am asked time and time again how my marriage survives my illnesses. I am asked if there is a special thing that I do or a way that I act that keeps my husband from ignoring me or leaving me or who knows what. I always start with the truth. I believe that the best part of me is in the honest part of me. The completely open and naked spiritual me. That knows that no one is perfect and understands that we all go through something. And nothing turns out as planned...

I have known my husband for 22 years. He used to drive me crazy. I was really strong willed and determined, some would say I had an attitude problem. But the truth is I just believed in getting what I wanted and I did what I had to do. This was usually an issue in my relationships. I can remember before getting married, I worked 2 jobs full time and I slept for 3 hours a day. I was not hurting for money. I had a nice little savings account. I just wanted more for myself and my son. So I worked hard to get it. Men have an issue with women like me. I know they do. I am a lot like my mom. My grandfather use to say she was untamable.

Well for me it wasn't about being tamed. It was about being appreciated and respected for what I did for myself. I didn't like for a man to act like I needed him. I didn't think I did. I look back and I understand that my husband came into my life when I was very busy, working, college, night job, raising a son, he played sports and i had a couple of other male friends I hung out with. Oh PLEASE DO NOT LOOK SURPRISED! I was a single, hardworking, classy, intelligent, strangely beautiful, independent woman back then, Lol I love me.

Anyway we met and he was handsome to say the least but he wanted to spend a great deal of time with me that I just did not have. Remember we are being honest. So I will say that I could have made the time but I really just didn't want to do the LOVE thing at that time. Well eventually he won me over, He was actually exactly who I needed in my life. You know God knew I was a handful. We seemed to balance each other out. That was cool. We fell in love and six kids later we are still in love.
He is still my King. I mean he rescues and protects and loves me. He is in no way perfect. But he is the base of my strength at times. Always telling me i can when I feel like I can't. He challenges me to do a little bit more. But picks me up when I can't seem to do a little bit.

It's hard to watch someone you love begin to change. They are weaker and they are slower and they are sadder than you ever imagined when you got married. I may look the same but so much has changed. The lack of so much independence has almost broken me. And at times you feel almost like a burden. I miss the OLD ME and I know HE does as well. He wouldn't say it and I love him for that. But I see t. I see it every time I can't walk up the stairs alone,  When i lost the sight in my right eye, I saw it, When I awake from a seizure in his arms, I see it. Not regret. Not a look of pity, A look that says"I wish this wasn't happening to you." I have cried for myself at times. But lately I cry for him and the kids. You cannot give back the time that being sick has taken from us, But we have the most amazing memories and we continue to make them. At times that means everyone gets in bed with me and we watch Netflix.

My husband is doing more than enough with regard to taking care of me when I need to be taken care of, And he is still that source of strength and determination I need. But I give him a standing ovation for sticking with me. For dealing with so many things that we just never imagined would become our wedding vows in moments each day. People will never fully understand the power being sick can have on the entire family. My kids, all boys are so strong. But they break down sometimes. My 15 year old says "I just want to fix you Mom." i wish he could, But the TRUTH is only God can repair the majority of things that have been broken or rearranged in my life. Not even my big, strong, handsome husband can save me this time around.

I am in some ways that same girl willing to do what it takes to make it. I am just doing it a little slower and with a little more appreciation and love than before. I fought with am Ex boyfriend once and I yelled "I do not need a MAN!" He said, "No and you never will." He was wrong. God knew I would need more than one. So I have seven.And a grandson and 2 granddaughters. My sons are like sunshine that returns every single day to the place where the storm began. And my husband is and always will be the MAN that made me KNOW that LOVE was necessary and it is wonderful.

Illnesses come and we have no warning at all. So we are not prepared to deal with the changes or the rollercoaster ride. However, there are some bonds that can sustain anything. I know I am blessed. I have many friends who have no support at all. I told my husband a few days ago that he needed to LIVE HIS LIFE and LOVE ME without missing out on a thing, He deserves all he has dreamed of and worked for. I looked at him. I looked through him and into that Spirit that captivated me so long ago and I saw it. Without him saying a word I saw it. He told me later that when he looked in my eyes all he could think of was "Til death do us part." Whether we are friends, married, or seriously angry with one another I know that He will always be available to me and caring and praying and waiting for me to get better. Make meaningful, sincere, honest connections in this world.

We love and we live as if tomorrow is promised. We take advantage of the ones we love, We ignore them. We disrespect them. And we make ourselves believe that tomorrow I will do better or I will apologize or I will forgive TOMORROW. TRUST ME, if you have something to do over or say better or apologize for or even something to forgive. Do it today. You never know when those vows will show themselves to be more than words.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Who Asked You?

Everyone has an opinion on someone else's life. I totally get it. Opinions are one of the most predictable things human beings do,

My question is "Who asked you?"
I am just wondering if we understand the damage our opinions cause. Sometimes our opinions make a situation worse or more uncomfortable. Which is why it's always good to wait and see if they want your opinion..... Some of us are OPINION EXPERTS! we have all the answers to solve all your problems. While our own life is in disarray. Look at it this way....If my neighbor;s roof is leaking and so is mine, I should work on my own roof before trying to tell my neighbor how to fix his. Otherwise, we may both drown!

I love to give my opinion if someone ask me for it . I will even ask, "Are you sure you want my opinion?"  I don't just hand opinions out like free apples, So many of our closest relationships are damaged  or ruined because we gave our opinion. It is so important to know the difference between advice and opinion. We also have to know when either is warranted.
You can imagine some of the opinions I deal with. Here are a few....

You would feel better of you stopped homeschooling.
You would feel better if you exercised more
Most of the time doctors are just guessing, you look fine to me
You just need to eat right
And on and on.....

Why is it so important that we interject ourselves into other people's issues without an invitation? Our relationships are usually fed from our love and appreciation for other people. We have to be sire that we do not allow respect to fall to the back burner just to offer our 2 cents on a $500 situation. We need to be supportive of course. However, sincerity is never shadowed by being rude or loose lips.

I know that we will always offer our opinions. I just want to make sure we police our own lives as much as we police other people's. Ask yourself before you offer a word or two "How would I feel if it was me in this situation?" You may decide that being quiet is the best thing to do. We have to take responsibility for the things we allow to come out of our mouths. The tongue is powerful! Use it wisely. We can give hugs and an ear to listen without being rude or hurtful or overstepping our boundaries.

Who asked you???
Don't let your relationships start ending because of your opinion. :)


Friday, March 25, 2016

They Don't Believe You're Sick

I am not going to keep acting like people do not bother me when they act like I am fine. I have decided to just be honest. I mean the only way to make you understand what my truth is will be not accepting their lies. "I didn't know it was that bad." "You look good on the outside" "I wish I looked that good wen I am not feeling well." "Maybe it is all in your head" "You are probably just stressed" These go on and on and on. I can't take it anymore. We stand up for so many things in this world, I have made it my mission to stand up for the ones that do not look sick. You know.... The ones that need to eat better so their depression will go away. The ones that need to exercise more so they can feel better. The ones that are just over reacting. I am them. And it is past time for people to respect us, Even if you do not understand our illnesses or our situations, just be respectful of them. There is NO REASON for ANYONE not to know what these diseases are. It is 2016. The internet can teach you a magnitude of things if you type it in the search bar, But YOU HAVE TO WANT TO KNOW.

The lack of compassion in this world is shocking. We can come together for tragedy and we can rally against one group or another but when it comes to what we do not understand,,,,we don't believe it. There are not very many people that would want to pretend to have Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Myositis, Crohns, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Sarcoidosis, ALS, and so many more it would take pages to list. I imagine there are those that pretend to be sick for attention. I imagine that it is hard to watch our loved ones suffer. I imagine that I could possibly be a fake, But Why in the World would I have so much passion for this? Why would I share my story time and time again? We have to be logical in our thinking. Pain is not a choice that most people choose. Happiness, Joy, Good Health, Mobility,....these are the things we all desire. Those of us that are sick and those that are not. We just need you to support us.

We don't want pity or to be constantly watched over. We just need to be believed and taken seriously.
I know that a lot of medical information can be overwhelming to you. I know that it is scary to see it written down or on a screen when our loved one is sick. But it is so much better to be aware and educated about their illness than to use not knowing as an excuse.

When I first became sick, the non belief from the people I love was harder to take than the illnesses themselves. I needed a friend, a hug, a shoulder to cry on. And people kept saying, "You will be okay." If you love someone that is dealing with any illness at all, any illness.,..find out what it is and figure out how you can help. They may not need anything from you but for you to believe their truth when they say they are tired or in pain. Something so simple to give is often so hard to find.

Ask yourself, "How would I feel if everyone questioned the validity of my sickness?" Then sit back and imagine what that feels like. You would not understand why THE THING that is controlling your life is so invisible to the people in your life. If nothing else, just be kind and show compassion to anyone that is obviously dealing with something. We know how the world works, eventually we will all find ourselves in that place in one form or another. How nice would it be if we just believed one another?


Saturday, January 30, 2016

How Can We Help You Deal With Our Pain?

There is no doubt in my mind that after you are diagnosed with a serious illness, be it incurable or life threatening, you go into shock. You scan the words over and over in your mind and try to understand it and then process what it means to the quality of the rest of your life. For some of us this happens fast. For some it takes hours and others may take days. Whatever the case WE have to understand it and wrap our minds around it as well as we can before we can even talk about it.

I have found that many times people that really love and enjoy you are the ones that have the hardest time accepting your pain, sadness, depression or feelings of abandon. It is not that they do not care but they do not find it easy to believe that you have been stamped with an expiration date or told that life as you know it  is over. I will be the first to admit I fell apart on numerous occasions after each diagnosis. It never got easier. Because I was never diagnosed with something that had a cure. I remember sitting down and talking to my kids and my husband. My poor family was shocked. I mean when I say their faces drained of joy and color. You better believe it. They immediately were broken hearted. My husband was a rock for the most part. I mean I knew he was scared but the kids didn't. it tooks weeks of talking and researching and talking and praying for all the boys to feel like they were at a point where they could accept it all. I remember being so happy that I had their support. I felt so blessed.

Everyone was not that easy. I lost friends and the level of closeness changed dramatically. If I did speak to a friend or go eat with them, they just stared at me. It was so uncomfortable. I had a girlfriend literally break down and cry and run into the bathroom. I followed her and I ended up consoling her and telling her it would be fine,...I didn't really believe that myself at the time. But I had to make her feel better. It hit me that day that I would have to do this a lot. And over the years I gave found myself comforting and assuring other people about my circumstances. I know that has a great deal to do with why I speak and and why I advocate. I know that there are so many things that people do not understand about the illnesses. I also know that I am still trying to "get it" myself.

I wish there was a way to help our loved ones deal with what is happening to us. I know that our lives are so tied up in one another's that we often take on the pain and discomfort of the one's that we love, But I have to be very honest and say this, "I cannot make you feel good about what is hurting me." We can learn and we can work together to cope but being able to look at you and feel bad for you because you feel bad for me,...I cannot do it.

I have gotten to a point where I do not share all my pain and sorrow with my friends and family. I do not want to overwhelm them or upset them. So I find myself dealing with a great deal of this by myself. It is so  backwards but it is how things are. I always tell people to educate themselves as much as possible when someone they love is sick. That way at least you understand what is happening even if you feel like you cannot help, And be compassionate without acting like we are pitiful. If you have a question ask it. But do not add the task of trying to reassure you that we will be okay,....we are not sure of that ourselves. I can't make you understand why I am fighting but you can always  find out what I am fighting. And how you can fight with me.

I ask myself all the time how I can help other people deal with my pain and I come up with two things. One is to be very honest about what I deal with. The second one is to remind them that I am living what they are watching so I need their support and their concern. How I wish I never had to deal with this. It is so confusing and so much to deal with. Sometimes it is more than I feel I can handle. That does not mean I do not love my friends and family. It means that there are so many levels and seasons in this journey that I am learning to deal with and .I have to feel good or feel like I am at a good place with what is happening before I can get you to a good place. I can not make you follow through with plans to visit or hang out. I can not make you call me or check on me. And I will not ever overlook my situation in an attempt to make you feel comfortable. I just can't.

My niece told me once that watching me over the years deal with MS and RA and Scleroderma was overwhelming for her. It seemed unfair and it seemed like I would never be the same. I was honest with her. I may never be the "same" but I will always love her and enjoy our time together and I will always be available to all of them. But I need them to understand that they can support one another and help one another and not always let that job fall to me. Being sick does eventually affect the entire family and those around you,...I truly understand that, But as long as I am trying to deal and cope and develop a sense of what my life is now like and how my kids and my husband are , it is very hard to make sixty other people feel better.

How can we help you deal with our pain? The answer is,.. we have to be honest and we have to be protective of ourselves. Then we have to be willing to tell you that we are learning as we go and we welcome you to do the same. We love one another and believe it or not that fact is the most important one that will help us all to cope.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner....Another Award

Names and labels???

I am a
black, disabled, blind in one eye, homeschooling mother of 6 sons.....
Where is My AWARD!!!?????
Where is yours? You are brave and courageous and living against the odds and making the tough decisions and living on a shoe string budget and disabled and short and the the minority!
When do you get your Award for Bravery?

I will start by saying I do not have anything against Caitlyn Jenner nor do I judge her decision to become a woman. I trust God in issues like this. But I am concerned with the amount of accolades and awards she is receiving. As Bruce Jenner he was a wonderful athlete and worked hard for his medals and trophies. Caitlynn seems to be winning the world over because she finally decided to step into a dress and out of her track shoes.

There are so many amazing people doing amazing things in this world everyday/ Yet she continues to win awards for bravery and being fascinating. So many of our children are bullied and ridiculed because they are struggling with their sexuality. I do not see how Jenner's fame and fortune could be helping these kids. It is all glimpse and glam and of course she receives backlash and rude remarks but there is a HUGE difference than a 14 year old boy coming to terms with his feeling like he is a woman.  We are so covered in labels in the United States. Your race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, economic status and values will have you beaten, shunned, murdered, ridiculed and bullied every day,. No bodyguards. No comfort from the media that you are supported and no bank account to look like you feel.

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If we are going to allow our children to witness and live amongst people with so many differences, we must be honest about the prejudice, hatred and ridicule that goes along with our choices and our birth rights. I would never ask my sons to apologize for being black but I do alert them to the fact that everyone is not going to welcome them no matter how educated or well spoken. We are so very uncomfortable with what we do not understand. I can't walk in the store with my cane or ride in the motorized scooter without stares. Because we want to know what is wrong but quite often we do not care. If you are overweight you are insecure in a variety of situations and you also get the stares and giggling. Our autistic and asperger's children are looked at as so very different from the other kids when they really are not. But the label helps us to deal with what we cannot understand.

I will say that it was bold for Caitlyn to step out and feel the sun on her face but what are we teaching our young people about courage and making a difference? What do they see as a good life, when any and everything is possible nowadays. They get teased for their clothes and their hair. Bullied because they speak different or walk different. And they get up and go to school every single day,...courageous! I have six boys that have looked to me and Dad to provide the answers to the contradictory things we witness. Being gay will get you beat up, A Muslin man gets the most hateful stares. Black people are still getting followed in the mall. Hispanics are teased for cutting grass and working for the minimum. Women are still not considered as equal to men but a man can become a woman and receive an award!? White kids in the wrong zip code can be bullied and teased and social media is like a bully that lives with you. And our kids fall prey to it over and over again.
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My kids know I am handicapped, They know that I am blind in one eye and they know that I could wake up any day and be paralyzed. But they also know that NONE of that makes me better than a mom who is single and working two jobs and has 4 kids. The level of courageousness that some of us show each and everyday without trophies or applause or pats on the back is unimaginable. Dealing with 6 disease at a time and still holding down a family, a household, and living through it all. That is bravery!

I don't want us to sit back and allow the Bruce Jenner story to confuse our kids. You do not have to do that much to be recognized as brave or interesting. And you deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated for what you do as well as anyone else. I get it...he is an icon. But at the end of the day, some of us regular people are beating the odds against us over and over again. We cannot lose sight of what matters in our country. And a personal decision to change who you are should be respected, But not any more or less than a child who is not allowed to make a decision for fear of retribution.

Labels,.....we all wear them. Whether we like them or not. They cover us like boy scout badges. And we live everyday in spite of the labels, the odds, the audience and the fall out. Caitlyn Jenner is a groundbreaker and I am sure we have not begun to see how appreciated and admired she is in a world where those same people will spit on Muslims and throw rocks at gays, The same people that use words like fag and nigga. the same people that want Hispanics to "go back to Mexico" They will stand and applaud the bravery they see in Caitlyn and never acknowledge the coward within themselves,  Our role models have drastically changed wince I was a child, Which is why we have to be the ones our kids look up too. Especially when they are not sure what they are looking at.
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God bless us all. And I pray that those brave, strong, vigilant, and resilient young people will one day be acknowledge for all they do that influences our country regardless to what their last name is.