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Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

Before you leave a comment, STOP, consider this: Our comments are part of our digital footprint on the internet. They tell the world how we think and respond to information. I know YOU took time out of your busy schedule and landed here. I’m rooting for you to say something inspiring that will help others who read my posts. THANK YOU! ❤

Hello world!

29/11/2008

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl

Hello world: Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

Hello world: Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

 

Respite Reminder: I'm Taking My Own Advice. Will Check in occasionally. Back in August!

Respite Reminder: I’m Taking My Own Advice. Will Check in Occasionally. Back in August!

Welcome to Mirth and Motivation! This is a Lifestyle/Motivational blog offering an eclectic mix of mirthful and motivational pieces: Life Tips / Advice, Affirmations/Wellness, Women’s Lives, Food, Travel, Interviews, Inspirational posts, Reviews, Peace, AND Social Media ruminations on people, places, and events that shape our lives. I invite you to stay awhile, read some posts, and share your thoughts with this growing online blog community.

I started this blog 10+ years ago, as a way to help agents/staff at the company I worked for stay motivated. After the market crashed and downsized, I decided to keep it going. The main goal was to encourage myself and others to keep moving forward. It has been a long and rewarding journey.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about blogging, its many positives, and pitfalls, and how important it is to stay focused on our own Why or raison d’être.  We can choose to focus on one of the fundamental rules of blogging which is to make connections with others by adding value through our message/content, comments, and social interactions. We can also choose to turn our attention elsewhere. It is entirely up to us. One thing I know for sure is that if your heart is invested in what you blog about, you will stay the course. Remember to stay true to who you are and why you blog. It can’t just be about monetization. Add value. Help others. Stay encouraged.

Another thing I know for sure is that we all want to be heard, appreciated and respected; I know that empowering messages are far more appealing than incendiary angling for blog attention. If your blogosphere surfing brings you here, relax, kick back, and share a positive tidbit on your worldview.

 How do we stay mirthful and motivated?
Read more…

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

03/07/2020

“For you have been called to live in freedom. Use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense. Barack Obama

Happy 244th Independence Day!: As we prepare to celebrate this very important Independence day in American history, I can’t help but stop to reflect on why this truly matters. We have been battling a global pandemic that has decimated lives across the globe and created a new normal for us all. We must use this time to reflect on what freedom/independence truly means and how it impacts all of our lives in this great country. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought systemic racism and inequities to the forefront and as we celebrate on July 4th, let us remember that the right to liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness we desire for ourselves should also be what we must want for everyone else.
How did we reach Independence Day? 244 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the forefathers commemorated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence; it was an auspicious day filled with optimism for the future of this newly birthed, great nation. It signified the birth of the United States of America and the liberation of her original thirteen colonies from British rule. The actual legal separation occurred on the 2nd, not the 4th. July 4th is the date the documents were ratified and the circuitous journey that many took to arrive on this new land in search of a new life reached a milestone. Let us not forget that this is a nation built on the backs of millions who had a dream of a better life; of gaining personal freedom.

To celebrate Independence Day 2020, I have selected 20 Famous Poems/Lyrical Poems that speak to the meaning of July 4th, Independence Day, Freedom, and more.  Some have been excerpted due to their length, some are poems that became lyrics to popular songs, while others are added in full. Take a moment to read them all and contemplate their message. Here is a list of the 20 poems if you wish to mark them for your own enjoyment: The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus, Concord Hymn By Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Star-Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key, America By Claude McKay, America The Beautiful – A Poem for July 4. By Katharine Lee Bates, America, A Prophecy By William Blake – an Excerpt, The Congressional Library [excerpt] By Amy Lowell, Good Night Poem by Carl Sandburg, Banneker By Rita Dove, Paul Revere’s Ride By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I Hear America Singing By Walt Whitman, Let America Be America Again – an excerpt By Langston Hughes, To The Fourth of July – By Swami Vivekananda, Learning to love America By Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Liberty Bell By J. P. Dunn, July 4th by May Swenson, Fourth of July By John Brehm, Immigrants in Our Own Land By Jimmy Santiago Baca, The Fourth of July Parade By Fran Haraway, and America By Allen Ginsberg – an Excerpt.

READ: Motivation Mondays: 100 July 4th Quotes – Independence Day
Motivation Mondays: Optimism. Life. Independence Day
Motivation Mondays: Dream BIGGER – Independence Day

The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus via the poetryfoundation
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Concord Hymn By Ralph Waldo Emerson via poets.org
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

The Star-Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key via poets.org
O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
‘Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— “In God is our trust; ”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

America By Claude McKay via poetryfoundation
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

America The Beautiful – A Poem for July 4. By Katharine Lee Bates via Wikipedia
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America, A Prophecy By William Blake – an Excerpt. (Read the full poem at Bartleby.com)
Preludium – an excerpt
The shadowy Daughter of Urthona stood before red Orc,
When fourteen suns had faintly journey’d o’er his dark abode:
His food she brought in iron baskets, his drink in cups of iron.
Crown’d with a helmet and dark hair the nameless Female stood;
A quiver with its burning stores, a bow like that of night,
When pestilence is shot from heaven—no other arms she need!
Invulnerable tho’ naked, save where clouds roll round her loins
Their awful folds in the dark air: silent she stood as night;
For never from her iron tongue could voice or sound arise,
But dumb till that dread day when Orc assay’d his fierce embrace.

A Prophecy – an excerpt
THE GUARDIAN PRINCE of Albion burns in his nightly tent:
Sullen fires across the Atlantic glow to America’s shore,
Piercing the souls of warlike men who rise in silent night.
Washington, Franklin, Paine, and Warren, Gates, Hancock, and Green
Meet on the coast glowing with blood from Albion’s fiery Prince. 5

Washington spoke: ‘Friends of America! look over the Atlantic sea;
A bended bow is lifted in Heaven, and a heavy iron chain
Descends, link by link, from Albion’s cliffs across the sea, to bind
Brothers and sons of America; till our faces pale and yellow,
Heads depress’d, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands work-bruis’d, 10
Feet bleeding on the sultry sands, and the furrows of the whip
Descend to generations, that in future times forget.’

The strong voice ceas’d; for a terrible blast swept over the heaving sea:
The eastern cloud rent: on his cliffs stood Albion’s wrathful Prince,
A dragon form, clashing his scales: at midnight he arose, 15
And flam’d red meteors round the land of Albion beneath;
His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his glowing eyes
Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night.

 

 

“I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” Rosa Parks

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it. John Thune

What are your plans for this special day? As we join our loved ones to celebrate July 4th, take a moment to educate those around you on the history of Independence Day, read the Declaration of Independence and teach your loved ones about the long journey that got YOU here. After all, this is a nation of immigrants. It is not enough to eat, drink and be merry… take time to teach yourself and others about how this impacts your own dreams, celebrate your independence, cherish the liberties you enjoy, and stay motivated to ensure that others can have access to the same rights we wish for our loved ones and ourselves.
READ: Motivation Mondays: Happy 4th Of July – Independence Day
Haiku: Happy Independence Day!
Motivation Mondays: FREEDOM

The Congressional Library [excerpt] By Amy Lowell via poets.org
Where else in all America are we so symbolized
As in this hall?
White columns polished like glass,
A dome and a dome,
A balcony and a balcony,
Stairs and the balustrades to them,
Yellow marble and red slabs of it,
All mounting, spearing, flying into color.
Color round the dome and up to it,
Color curving, kite-flying, to the second dome,
Light, dropping, pitching down upon the color,
Arrow-falling upon the glass-bright pillars,
Mingled colors spinning into a shape of white pillars,
Fusing, cooling, into balanced shafts of shrill and interthronging light.
This is America,
This vast, confused beauty,
This staring, restless speed of loveliness,
Mighty, overwhelming, crude, of all forms,
Making grandeur out of profusion,
Afraid of no incongruities,
Sublime in its audacity,
Bizarre breaker of moulds,
Laughing with strength,
Charging down on the past,
Glorious and conquering,
Destroyer, builder,
Invincible pith and marrow of the world,
An old-world remaking,
Whirling into the no-world of all-colored light.

Good Night Poem by Carl Sandburg via poemhunter
Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water, and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue
and then go out.

Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night.
Many ways to spell good night.

Banneker By Rita Dove via poetryfoundation
What did he do except lie
under a pear tree, wrapped in
a great cloak, and meditate
on the heavenly bodies?
Venerable, the good people of Baltimore
whispered, shocked and more than
a little afraid. After all it was said
he took to strong drink.
Why else would he stay out
under the stars all night
and why hadn’t he married?

But who would want him! Neither
Ethiopian nor English, neither
lucky nor crazy, a capacious bird
humming as he penned in his mind
another enflamed letter
to President Jefferson—he imagined
the reply, polite and rhetorical.
Those who had been to Philadelphia
reported the statue
of Benjamin Franklin
before the library

his very size and likeness.
A wife? No, thank you.
At dawn, he milked
the cows, then went inside
and put on a pot to stew
while he slept. The clock
he whittled as a boy
still ran. Neighbors
woke him up
with warm bread and quilts.
At nightfall, he took out

his rifle—a white-maned
figure stalking the darkened
breast of the Union—and
shot at the stars, and by chance
one went out. Had he killed?
I assure thee, my dear Sir!
Lowering his eyes to fields
sweet with the rot of spring, he could see
a government’s domed city
rising from the morass and spreading
in a spiral of lights…

Paul Revere’s Ride By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – an excerpt (read the full poem at poets.org)

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said “Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon, like a prison-bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,—
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing overall.

I Hear America Singing By Walt Whitman via poetryfoundation
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Let America Be America Again – an excerpt By Langston Hughes  Read the full poem at poetryfoundation
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

To The Fourth of July – By Swami Vivekananda via poemhunter
Behold, the dark clouds melt away,
That gathered thick at night, and hung
So like a gloomy pall above the earth!
Before thy magic touch, the world
Awakes. The birds in chorus sing.

The flowers raise their star-like crowns—
Dew-set, and wave thee welcome fair.
The lakes are opening wide in love
Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes
To welcome thee, with all their depth.

All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light!
A welcome new to thee, today,
O Sun! Today thou sheddest Liberty!
Bethink thee how the world did wait,
And search for thee, through time and clime.

Some gave up home and love of friends,
And went in quest of thee, self-banished,
Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests,
Each step a struggle for their life or death;
Then came the day when work bore fruit,
And worship, love, and sacrifice,
Fulfilled, accepted, and complete.

Then thou, propitious, rose to shed
The light of Freedom on mankind.
Move on, O Lord, in thy resistless path!
Till thy high noon o’erspreads the world.
Till every land reflects thy light,
Till men and women, with uplifted head,
Behold their shackles broken, and
Know, in springing joy, their life renewed!

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for JUN – JUL 2020 are:

JUNE

06/01 – 02 BLACKOUT DAY,
06/07 – 13 St Anthony
06/14
06/21 – 19 Juneteenth, 20 World Refugee Day, 21 International Yoga, 21 Father’s Day, 24 St John the Baptist, 26 Against Illicit Trafficking,
06/28 – 30 BET Awards

JULY

07/01 – 01 SUMMER, 04 Independence Day, 06 D-Day,
07/05 – 07 World Chocolate Day
07/12 – 18 Nelson Mandela Day,
07/19 – 24 International Self-Care Day
07/26 – 28 Parents Day, 30 International Day of Friendship, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

 

 

More Below Read more…

Motivation 2020: On Father’s Day #FathersDay

17/06/2020

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature” Antoine François Prévost

Motivation 2020: On Father's Day

Motivation 2020: On Father’s Day

I’m a father; that’s what matters most. Nothing matters more. Gordon Brown
I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad,” Kobe Bryant
I love being a dad. Fatherhood is the best thing that could happen to me, and I’m just glad I can share my voice. Dwyane Wade
I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. Umberto Eco
One of the greatest gifts my father gave me – unintentionally – was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity. We had a bit of a rollercoaster life with some really challenging financial periods. He was always unshaken, completely tranquil, the same ebullient, laughing, jovial man. Ben Okri

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY: In the USA, Father’s Day falls on June 21 in 2020. This year, with the global pandemic as a looming backdrop to everything we do, we will celebrate Father’s Day with gratitude and gusto. If there is anything that makes valuing our lives and relationships as precious and perhaps ephemeral, this season of great global change is one to remember. Even though my Dad is no longer alive, I have brothers, uncles, inlaws, and friends that I cherish and so that special day would be an opportunity to honor them and all they do. Throughout this post, I’ve shared poems that get to the heart of the matter of what being a father means to so many of us. Yet, I would be remiss if I ignore the fact that some relationships haven’t always been the greatest and that some children have sad and painful memories of their fathers. It is my wish and prayer that, if you belong to that group of kids who felt betrayed by your father, you will find peace, love, and comfort on the road to healing yourself. Don’t despair. The upside is that we can choose partners and/or become better examples of parenting for our loved ones. It is never too late to heal the wounds and betrayals of childhood. How are you planning to celebrate Father’s Day?
READ:- Motivation Mondays: For Our Fathers #fathersday 2019
Motivation Mondays: Father’s Day #mondaymotivation 2016
Happy Father’s Day: Love to all #DadsDay! 2016
Motivation Mondays: Father’s Day Matters 2017
Remembrance: Happy Father’s Day 2 2015
46 Best Father-Daughter Gifts That Dad Will Treasure

 

Only a Dad BY Edgar Albert Guest
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men. via poetryfoundation

 

The Gift BY Li-Young Lee
To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he’d removed
the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy’s palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father. via poetryfoundation

 

Those Winter Sundays BY Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blue-black cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices? via poetryfoundation

 

“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.'” Michael Jordan

Motivation 2020: On Father's Day

Motivation 2020: On Father’s Day

Motivation 2020: On Father's Day

Motivation 2020: On Father’s Day

I feel that the greatest gift that I can give my children is the freedom to be who they are. Will Smith
It’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to be. Never is a man more of a man than when he is the father of a newborn. Matthew McConaughey
He adopted a role called being a father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a protector. Tom Wolfe
I love being a dad; it’s one of the joys of life. In fact, you can take it all away from me tomorrow, but don’t take away my children. Idris Elba
You gotta be really deliberate with how you choose to spend your day because those are the moments you’re away from your child. Mahershala Ali

Power Of Fatherly Stories: Stories are a great way to document family history and share wisdom words. I grew up listening to great storytellers who were quite adept at weaving a tale in and out for days. We would gather around a small bonfire in the family Obi (meeting room), after dinner, and listen to our elders tell stories of ancestral battles, ancient feats, and invented stories that were pithy with lessons. My memory of those special days remains with me even as I write this post. Stories educate, fortify, and warn us of the perils that could be our lot if we do not step with care and consideration on this planet. Sometimes, I wonder if the art of the griots is lost on our youth … I hope not. Enjoy the story and poems below.

READ:- Inspiration: Happy Father’s Day… 2012
Remembrance: Happy Father’s Day 2014
Happy Father’s Day & International Yoga Day: 20 Things That Matter 2015
Food Files: Father’s Day Gift Ideas
26 Best Father’s Day Songs to Play With Dad

 

A Story – Advice A Dad Would Give
Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.
In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals.
Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.
Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone.
When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.
Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting.
Do not regret the past. Look to the future.
Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep.
Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.
Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

 

Spree BY Maxine Kumin
My father paces the upstairs hall
a large confined animal
neither wild nor yet domesticated.
About him hangs the smell of righteous wrath.
My mother is meekly seated
at the escritoire. Rosy from my bath
age eight-nine-ten by now I understand
his right to roar, hers to defy
the bill from Wanamaker’s in his hand
the bill from Strawbridge’s held high
the bill from Bonwit Teller
and the all plum-colored Blum Store.

His anger smells like dinner parties
like trays of frothy daiquiris.
Against the pre-World-War-Two prime
standing ribs his carving knife
flashes a little drunkenly. He charms
all the other Bonwit-bedecked wives
but something overripe malingers.
I wear his wide cigar bands on my fingers.

Oh God it is so noisy!
Under my bed a secret stair
a gold and purple escalator
takes me nightly down under the sea.
Such dancings, such carryings on
with the prince of this-or-that
with the duke of ne’er-do-well
I the plain one, a size too large to tell
grow tremulous at stickpin and cravat
I in toe shoes and tutu suddenly
see shopping is an art form
a kind of costume ball.

Papá, would we so humbly come
to the scene in the upstairs hall
on the first of every month, except
you chose the mice for footmen, clapped
to call up the coach and four?
You sent to Paris for the ermine muff
that says I’m rich. To think twelve poor
little things had their heads chopped off
to keep my hands unseemly warm!
When you went fishing down the well
for fox furs, hats with peacock plumes
velvet evening capes, what else befell?
You paid the bills, Papá. You cast the spell. via poetryfoundation

 

To Her Father with Some Verses BY Anne Bradstreet
Most truly honoured, and as truly dear,
If worth in me or ought I do appear,
Who can of right better demand the same
Than may your worthy self from whom it came?
The principal might yield a greater sum,
Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb;
My stock’s so small I know not how to pay,
My bond remains in force unto this day;
Yet for part payment take this simple mite,
Where nothing’s to be had, kings loose their right.
Such is my debt I may not say forgive,
But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live;
Such is my bond, none can discharge but I,
Yet paying is not paid until I die. via poetryfoundation

 

 

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for MAY – JUNE 2020 are:

MAY
05/01 – 01 May Day, May is Mental Health Awareness Month
05/03 – 03 World Laughter Day/ Press Freedom Day, 05 Cinco De Mayo/ National Teacher Day/World Asthma Day, 06 National Nurses Day, 07 National Day of Prayer
05/10 – 10 Mother’s Day (US), 15 International Day of Families, 16 Armed Forces Day/International Day of Light
05/17 – 17 World Telecommunication and Information Day, 20 World Bee Day, 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, 23 Eid al Fitr Starts/Ramadan Ends/International Day to End Obstetric Fistula/World Turtle Day
05/24 – 24 National Brother Day, 25 Memorial Day, 28 Shavuot Starts, 29 International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 30 World MS Day/Shavuot ends, 31 World NO Tobacco Day

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2019?

JUNE

06/01 – 02 BLACKOUT DAY,
06/07
06/14
06/21 – 19 Juneteenth, 20 World Refugee Day, 21 International Yoga, 21 Father’s Day
06/28

 

 

 

More Below Read more…

Motivation 2020: May Peace, Love & Justice Prevail #blackoutday

02/06/2020

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr.

Motivation 2020: May Peace, Love & Justice Prevail #blackoutday

Motivation 2020: May Peace, Love & Justice Prevail #blackoutday

I am sharing posts that express my pain and thoughts on the events of the last 7 days when many around the world got to watch an 8 1/2 minute video of George Floyd being slowly and painfully killed by a police officer’s knee pressed to his neck. I cannot bring myself to watch it but I’ve read many accounts of how it played out. Where is our humanity? our compassion? our common decency? To remain silent in the face of such a reprehensible act is a betrayal of all humanity. I am comforted by the peaceful protests led by people of all races. I am comforted by members of law enforcement who have spoken out and called it murder. I am comforted by the dialogue going on in many circles and blackout Tuesday that brings this 400+ year problem to the forefront again, again and again. This post is also addressing a discussion in another group about Blackout Tuesday/Mutes and other some other points on responding to these events. I am including resources for those of us who sincerely want to understand the issues; those who want to listen and learn and speak up honestly without being distracted by other stuff. May peace, love, and justice prevail.

Why This Matters: As a black woman who has family, friends, and an upbringing that spans our global community, I am moved by all peaceful actions that speak to the solidarity we need in the face of racism, hatred, and ignorance.
In 1955, Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr led a non-violent, peaceful protest to fight racial Injustice in Montgomery, Alabama. The Montgomery Bus boycott was the impetus behind that protest. What led to it? Rosa Parks, in a single act of defiance, refused to move to the back of the bus and that act triggered a movement that grew beyond Alabama. The boycott was meant to be for 1 day and the rest is … civil rights history.
Non-violent Resistance/Civil disobedience has many faces and people choose an approach that resonates with them. Blackouts, art, donations, speeches, peaceful protest, and a wide range of creative endeavors fall under the rubric and all have merit.
George Floyd’s brother, Terence, spoke out yesterday asking for peaceful protests, educating ourselves, and using our votes to make a difference. These are all important steps we can take to bring unity in a time of sadness. How we choose to express it is up to us and blackout Tuesday serves a purpose because it shows a form of support.

Can we do more? Definitely. We need to educate ourselves on our racial history, teach our children, speak up, support justice, and remember that it all begins in our hearts and homes. We are all human first, and until we see that humanity in each other’s faces and honor it without prejudice, we will continue to struggle with discrimination.
As a black woman, a person of color, I cannot claim to speak for all black people because we are as diverse in our thinking as we are in our shades of melanin. I speak from my heart, my experience, my training as an educator, and my membership in the human race.
During this time, we need to encourage and empower each other to choose our own way of expressing our sadness over the death of George and the many others who have suffered similar fates in the African American community. I believe we are all God’s children and I believe that visual, verbal, blackouts/mutes, and all creative actions that speak to the solidarity we need right now are valid.

Please take a moment, if you wish, to read Dr. King’s philosophy on nonviolent protests: https://thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy/
and also Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha philosophy: https://www.mkgandhi.org/faq/q17.htm
Different approaches, same goals. May peace, love, and justice prevail.  Please remember that the issues at hand speak to the 400+ year negation of people of color and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter brings attention to years of systemic, structural, and institutional racism in this great country. Some of it is covert but, a lot of it is overt, and we must no longer deny its existence. So to say that black lives matter doesn’t mean that all lives aren’t sacred, ALL LIVES are. When we all can see the humanity in everyone we will all begin to truly live the dictum that #AllLivesMatter

READ RESOURCES:

 

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. ” Mark Twain

Motivation 2020: May Peace, Love & Justice Prevail #blackoutday

Motivation 2020: May Peace, Love & Justice Prevail #blackoutday

Read the story below and contemplate it carefully. What is the lesson here?
The Two Travelers and the Farmer
A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Sometime later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. “What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard-working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

READ/WATCH RESOURCES:

 

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for AMAY – JUNE 2020 are:

MAY
05/01 – 01 May Day, May is Mental Health Awareness Month
05/03 – 03 World Laughter Day/ Press Freedom Day, 05 Cinco De Mayo/ National Teacher Day/World Asthma Day, 06 National Nurses Day, 07 National Day of Prayer
05/10 – 10 Mother’s Day (US), 15 International Day of Families, 16 Armed Forces Day/International Day of Light
05/17 – 17 World Telecommunication and Information Day, 20 World Bee Day, 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, 23 Eid al Fitr Starts/Ramadan Ends/International Day to End Obstetric Fistula/World Turtle Day
05/24 – 24 National Brother Day, 25 Memorial Day, 28 Shavuot Starts, 29 International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 30 World MS Day/Shavuot ends, 31 World NO Tobacco Day

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2019?

JUNE

06/01 – 02 BLACKOUT DAY

 

 

 

More Below Read more…

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