I found out on my nature walk that a well-known rapper, from my city was murdered today in my city and not too far from my house. Breathe (saying to myself). I am really saddened and angry concerning his death because of what he does for the city and in particular his community. I am really saddened by the loss of life and violence in my hometown. There have been 5 murders in this city spanning several hours. I feel angry that people, PEOPLE do not care about life. I feel sad for friends and family of the victims. Sometimes, I feel fear when I leave my home and when I am in my home. I have to remind myself, first the natural then the spiritual. First, do my duty to ensure safety and to remember I am protected by my Creator. I ALWAYS pray for safety.
People are seemingly out of control as they use the city streets and highways as race tracks. They rob, break in, and murder over the most insane things. I dare say, where is the march for CRIME and VIOLENCE PERIOD. Yes, there can be two, three, four dynamics to “protests” and “marches” but, what I want to figure out is HOW do you get people to change their hearts? It’s a collective effort and not a “religious” or “governmental” effort only.
I walked nature’s path today with so many conflicting thoughts and emotions but, as I observed nature itself, I felt a sense of “peace that surpasses (all of my) understanding” of the time I am alive in. “What a time to be alive!” my dad said last year in the middle of a pandemic. I wondered why he said that. He explained it’s a time for faith and hope. I thought about that on my walk. “What a time to be alive!” A time to offer hope, encouragement, solutions, and change.
There is provision on the journey, on the path of life. It may not seem like it but, it is. There are wide open spaces to make mistakes, to play, to explore. There are narrow paths that squeezes things into you and squeezes things out of you. There are places to rest and recoup. (The benches along this path).
There are hills. The challenges are not the hills. The challenges are the doubts and fears in you. Challenge them and win.
There is water (saw a fountain) on the journey. Oh water is sooooooooo good. Water is wisdom. Water is encouragement and enlightenment. Water helps cleanse your body and nourishes your soul. Water is on the journey. You can find water in books, in church, in a mosque, among friends, and with spiritual leaders. Did you know you are 70% water? It’s in you!
There is a playground. Oh yes. On the journey you are suppose to have fun. Play. Laugh. Make friends. Find friends. On the journey, you are to play!
Let’s start at the beginning. I booked this tour/adventure for my family and thought nothing about it until the date drew closer. I begin to become afraid of getting on the water in a tiki boat because I can not swim. I have been on three cruises. I still have some fear and I rationalized that as normal. Ok. No problem. I am still getting on the boat I tell myself.
I get on the boat and immediately, fear rises and changes into anxiety. I am now gripping the bar and I am having second, third, fourth, thousands of thoughts. I feel like I can’t breathe. I tell my fiend. I am scared! He says, “It’s ok. Just breathe. Nothing is going to happen.” I am thinking, “How many people have thought or said that and something happened.” I laid my head on the bar. The Captain wanted to know who all could swim and I was the only one that couldn’t. I looked at my friend and he said, “I am not going to let anything happen to you. I gotcha. Try to relax and enjoy.” The Captain saw my fear and begin to tell me his credentials and then he started to explain the physics of how this type of boat works. With the combination of trust in my friend and the captain, trust in God, the logic of how this boat floats, and comforting words (Oh yeah and downing a glass of pineapple sangria!) I started to relax.
I begin to talk to myself silently, “All is well. IF something happens you will not die. All of these people can swim and they will help you. The coastguard is literally in the water. It’s not your time. This is not how you will go and you know this. God is not going to let anything happen to you. Breathe. Look at the beautiful water all around you. Look at the clear blue skies. Feel the breeze. Soak up the sun and moment of this experience. And have a shot of vodka. :-D! ” Hey, my wine was all gone. After this photo was snapped, I thought about if I should post it. I look so confident but, I didn’t start out that way. I also thought about HOW I LOOKED IN THIS PHOTO. I am not a slim chic. I am who I am and I do love myself and my body. (I worked hard to get there) But most of us, even men, have some body insecurities. I saw the double chin. I saw the big boobs. I saw the mid section. I saw the lack of “junk in the trunk”. All of the things that cross between “WHITE AMERICAN BEAUTY” and “MY CULTURE’S DEFINITION” of beauty. This only lasted a split second because I was like, “The hell away with people. I love me!” Pic posted!
For some confidence is a given and for others we have to work at it. Confidence is built through experience. There are times you get to whip out your confidence on the spot and then there are times it has to be manufactured on the spot. The tools I was searching for in that moment seem to escape me. My fear of drowning swallowed up my confidence. TRUST is what I was searching for. LOGIC is what I was searching for. A PLAN for SAFETY is what I was searching for. When those things were presented to me I had to accept those tools. Then I had to use those tools to dig my way out of anxiety and an impeding anxiety attack. I did just that. It was difficult and it had to be done quickly.
I enjoyed the tour. I partied. I learned a few things about the area. I made memories with family. I did something new. I conquered a fear and silenced anxiety that day. Victory.
What an amazing trip with family (mostly cousins)! Our corner condo was fabulous with a wrap around balcony and perfect view of the gulf shore.
A group of cousins got together and decided we should take a trip. Florida was on the table but, Orange Beach seem to be the best option. I knew they would enjoy it and they did. I went a few years ago and the best part of that trip for me was being able to wake up and see this view. This year I had the best experience of waking up to people who truly care and love me, their wonderful company, 98% drama free, and sleeping next to the gulf. I woke up every morning and took pictures of the sunrise and on the last day we saw sharks and dolphins.
Every morning we had breakfast together. We had mimosas and fruit on the table. This was a bonding moment and beautiful memory. But, not before I had my coffee on the balcony while most were sleep, watching the sunrise, and taking my stroll on the beach in the cool of the morning.
Last week I went to St. Louis for a convention with my mother and some of my family. While my mother and I went to classes and lectures, there was still plenty of time to explore and enjoy some of the things St. Louis had to offer like Sweetie Pies aka The Crust! The day we went Oprah Winfrey’s camera crew was there filming for the show Sweetie Pies that comes on OWN. We had to sign waivers and take pictures. The line was down the block, but it was well worth all of that standing when I got my fried chicken and sweet tea to perfection! LOL!!! I made sure I wore comfortable shoes because I knew it would be a line. We also went shopping at one of the outlets that day. I was beyond tired each day so I never got to unpack my swimsuit and get in the hot tub. My family was really supportive, understanding on this trip and did everything on this trip to make sure I was comfortable (I have Rheumatoid Dis-ease). I also did not overextend myself much. I slept like a log each nite and was refreshed each morning. Oh and I was cute each day in class! I also met some wonderful people I hope to see next year in Oklahoma.
I’ve been to St. Louis many times as a child and a few times as an adult. It was always a rush as an adult. Six flags, zoo, eat, relax at the hotel, go home. But, this conference allowed me to see St. Louis in a different light. There was much more to see and do for a week and I did not feel stressed or rushed. However, I must return for a week without a conference and do much more! I’m an advocate for visiting a place a few times and doing something different each time.
I took a photo of the sunset each nite from my hotel room.