NOW – Liberation

I attended the Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon today. The overall message was one that MLK delivered regularly. What can we do to make the world we live in a better place with more peace and less repression. We were reminded – much like we are every day – that there are many historical moments where people weren’t treated equally. We were also reminded to work to try to minimize these inequalities.

I am a woman. Women have routinely been discriminated against in this world and even in our great nation. We were the last group to get the right to vote in the United States. We still are paid 70 percent of our male counterparts. We work harder and longer in order to be recognized in our career and our homes. Most major corporations are predominantly made up of men versus women on the executive level and board level. We could be angry about these indiscretions, but I choose to think of ways to help or mentor women to lead. If you can’t be direct leaders, just lead by example. Running your home, small business, department or your own desk, shows young women the future within their reach.

Martin Luther King had a dream – I have a dream and that all young women grow to know that they have the ability to lead and be the president of this great country. Check out www.michigan.gov/mentormichigan for ideas on mentoring.

Enjoy Life!

Below is a photo of my mom, me and my precious daugher – three generations of women leaders.

I Have a Dream

This happens to be one of my most favorite speeches. I watch it or read it at least every year. It starts at a slow pace but has a crescendo that ends with the “I have a dream” statements. I’ll end the blog with my favorite section.

Dreams start at the beginning of our life. As parents, we think our babies dream and actually wake up or make noises in their sleep. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what they were. As children we dream of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy and a new bike for Christmas. This grows into the dreams of a great future in the career of our choice and the mate that will be so perfect and loving. We are blessed to have some of our dreams come true, some dreams that we couldn’t have even imagined, some that are not perfect but all-in-all still quite enjoyable. But, the dream of the great Martin Luther King is bigger than a fantasy -it’s a culture shift. We should all dream for greatness in our culture and changes that will make all equal. Equal rights to freedom, wages, position, healthcare and the list goes on. God has blessed many of us with the energy and intelligence to help move our country forward the way Martin Luther King did. Please take the time to read Martin Luther King’s “freedom statements” and enjoy the photo recognizing this great man.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Enjoy Life!

Are You a Child at Heart?

I spent much of my adult life trying to be mature – adult like. It’s actually not that exciting as an adult…until you turn 50. It’s actually quite cool to have some of your major goals done and some to still look forward to. It’s pretty cool to have your kids grown up and doing well. It’s even cooler to have grandkids to enjoy and then send home so you can recuperate from all of their energy.

Living life through the eyes of a child makes things new, fresh, exciting and playful. Laughter and play should be in all of our lives. I’m blessed to have so many people with a great sense of humor surround me. I laugh out loud every day. From the people I work with to the person I live with – humor surrounds me. In addition to my daily fun, I get the opportunity to relive childhood each week with my beautiful granddaughter. Today’s activity was catching a snowflake on our tongues and dancing like the munchkins on Wizard of Oz.

Imagine how simple life could be if we could spend even 10 percent of our time exploring the world like a child. Laughing – playing – running  and catching snowflakes on our tongues. Put aside that reality television or the seriousness of daily life, and catch a snowflake or a butterfly.

Enjoy Life!

Here are a few photos from catching snowflakes. I kept the lense open on one causing the multiple images.

 

 

 

 

Gettin’ Back to Basics

When was the last time you wrote a note to a friend – with a pen or pencil? When was the last time you went to dinner or a movie without having your cell phone tethered to you. To be honest, Lorri wrote a business article on getting back to basics a few months ago. But, it’s a good reminder.

There are many good things in life that aren’t tied to technology and can make life much simpler. I’m not thinking we should all ditch our cell phones or iPads, I’m just thinking a break from being so in touch with the world would be healthy. I’m extremely guilty of this. I answer calls and try to be accessible most of the time. I carry my phone and some form of electrical device always. I haven’t totally abandoned the basics as I still write some notes, but I need to make a better effort at letting go of my tethered electronics and enjoying the world.

Take a look around and consider the people that would enjoy a handwritten note from you. Sit down and write one. You would be amazed at how freeing it feels to let go of being so available. This year, I’m going to give it try.

Enjoy Life!

This is a photo of our “back in the day” home in Traverse City. No technology, only board games, cards and love.

If I Were the King of the Forest

Not Queen – oh yes I am – not Duke – not Earl!

I’ve lived most of my life in fear. It took me almost five decades to realize it, but I actually have lived most of my life in fear of something. Fear of speaking in public. Fear of speaking. Fear of large crowds. Fear of not getting accepted. Fear of rejection. Fear of loss. Fear of death. Fear of flying. Fear of being alone. It’s helped a little to admit it – but, it hasn’t healed it.

This year, I watched my niece, Jessica, move to San Diego, California. I know she wants to be near family, but, Jessica had the courage to move to the farthest place from home and try a new adventure with her husband and sweet little baby. She may not realize how courageous and how strong she is yet (as she is young,) but she is 30 years ahead of me. Another niece of mine nearly died from a pulmonary embolism. It didn’t stop her from her adventures. She was courageous and shortly after her near death experience, she flew to Italy and then delivered a beautiful baby girl.

Self confidence and courage are things I have always struggled with. I think a lot of females do. I’m just now realizing that we women can and are the King of the Forest – not queen. We just need to remind ourselves and each of other of this constantly – as we can rule this world.

Enjoy Life!

A couple of photos of my courageous nieces – paving the way for all of us new to this confidence game.

Reunion of Family

I have a pretty large family. My son-in-law jokes that if anyone had their wisdom teeth pulled, we would all show up and my mom would pray over them. Each year, we get together in our little town in northern Michigan to have a day of fun and family with all of our aunts, uncles, cousins and more. It’s a huge extended family reunion – straight out of a Tom Sawyer book. It starts with a potluck lunch followed by a horse shoe tournament and bingo for the women. The whole thing is funded by a white elephant sale of garage treasures. It’s one Saturday afternoon in early August. We could all come up with something to do other than spend it in a field in the middle of nowhere. But, nowhere with my family, playing bingo in a polebarn is everywhere you would ever want to be. We are surrounded by laughter and love and committment – all things that anyone would ever want.

It took me awhile to love giving up this one Saturday. Now, I would never miss it. Family love is something that can’t be replaced. Family love is enduring and supportive. The Family is always there. Take a moment and appreciate the family you have.

Enjoy Life!

The two pictures below are of my “Small Town USA” reunion. The first photo is of the “elders” of the family. My mom and her siblings (She’s the second from the right) and the other is of my cousin who always wanted to be one of the Brownell girls.

In My Mind. Out My Lips. In My Heart.

Every week, in my mind, I speak the lines, “in my mind, out my lips, in my heart,” while making a cross on each place (head, lips, heart.) It is tradition, right before the Gospel, during Catholic mass, to remind yourself with this action. It’s one of many traditions that go on while attending mass. These actions, are one of the top few things that I truly concentrate on remembering. I try to remember the words that are said during the Gospel. I hope to speak about the scripture and I pray that the words stay in my heart.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do these same things with ordinary conversation. Keep good lessons in our mind. Speak only good and speak often of these good lessons. And, keep good and softness in our heart. A lot of bad can come from filling our minds and hearts with bad thoughts. Even more bad can come from speaking poorly of others. The world would be a much more peaceful place to live if we lived by “in my mind – out my lips – in my heart.”

Enjoy life!

The photo below was taken while at my family reunion in northern Michigan. It is of our beloved Uncle Vince. He died this fall. He was a very thoughtful man. He lived life to the fullest and the words he spoke meant something.