MUSINGS

“THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WHO IS WILLING TO CRITICIZE YOU,

DON’T LET IT BE YOU.”

 

How do you build your self-esteem?

MUSINGS

The other day on Facebook I saw a quote that was getting a big response from readers:

“Do Not Judge My Story By The Chapter You Walked In On”

Something about that message just didn’t resonate with me.  So I took some time to think about why and realized that I felt it was a somewhat aggressive message.  Truly why would someone be sharing a chapter in your life and making judgements?  Why would you invite someone to share a chapter of your life and then feel as though you have to warn them about judgement?

I thought that perhaps the message should be more like this:

Because, even though many chapters of my life have had some extremely difficult passages, the people I invited to help write those chapters have always made them more interesting.

What do you think?

FEMINIST FRIDAY

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When I started writing this weekly feature, it was my intention that I would not only feature famous women, but forgotten women, and also the everyday hero women.

My young friend Matt Koehling wrote the following story on his blog, Something In The Wudder, www.somethinginthewudder.com, about his much loved grandmother.  This is a perfect example of an everyday woman living a hero’s life.

What follows is a enchanting Valentine from a grandson to a grandmother.  Every grandmother everywhere hopes to be loved this much.valentine_heart_vector_graphic_557137

98 Degrees: Words of Wisdom & Tales of Tenacity From My 98-Year-Old Nana

Ann Rhoads, better known as Mom to her six children, or Nana to her eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, turned 98 on December 8th.
This puts her in a very special “one percent” club, among the world’s citizens.
It places her just twenty-two months shy of the Century Club.

It brings her about twenty-two years short of a hand-shake/hug-and-kiss agreement that she entered into with her eldest grandson, yours truly. I continually remind her of our deal, which has her remaining with us in physical form until age 120. At that point, as I tell her, we can sit back down at the table to re-negotiate, based upon her quality of life at that time.

One of the more recent occasions I reiterated this agreement was the day after her birthday, which was spent at a local South Jersey rehabilitation center, following a spell earlier in the month at the hospital with bronchial pneumonia, where she gamely once again fought off Father Time. During this visit, Nana sprung some preliminary negotiations of her own on me. The least nagging or judgmental person I’ve been blessed to have met in this world yet, inserted a new clause of her own. The pitch? If she holds up her end of the bargain, her secretly-favorite grandchild (see what I did there cuzzes?) must give up smoking on 12/8/28 if he hasn’t previously done so.

I took the deal on the spot.
My Aunt Ellen and I wheeled her out of the rehab center the next day, while Nana rode shotgun as I drove us home.
Since then, Nana has been rehabbing and improving at a gradual pace, because nothing moves too fast when you’re 98, besides perhaps the grains of sand through time’s hour glass.
It takes a village to raise a child, as the famous phrase goes.
But it also takes a lot of love, along with the help of a bevy of family, friends, physical therapists and physicians, to keep a near-centenarian running. Or walking. Or in this case, walking with the assistance of a walker, on occasion, along with requiring a designated “lifter” for the big ups-and-downs. While Nana certainly appreciates any displays of love, which in my humble opinion despite all our combined best efforts still doesn’t quite equate to the incredible amount of it she doles out, I know that a fate my grandmother likely fears worse than dying is being a “burden” on the family she has been the long-standing matriarch of, along with the receivers and beneficiaries of so much of the love she’s given.
It might occasionally take one of these folks, particularly when it’s one of her beloved grandchildren, to remind her to snap out of it with any talk of that burden nonsense. It’s also usually while in the presence of one of them, her own personal cheering section, that Nana sets a higher bar in her physical therapy sessions of doing leg exercises, or walker exercises around the apartment.
Age, along with two artificial hips, have rendered Nana’s mobility a perpetual work in progress.
Macular degeneration, has rendered Nana’s eyesight in a perpetual state of decline.
But she still has a love of life, a fighting spirit, and the considerable faculties of her sharp mind.
It’s a mind with a level of recall, that can usually call up the names of the seemingly impossible amount of someone’s, that she’s known at some point over the course of her incredibly long life.
Nana has long had a tendency to speak fast while mumbling occasionally, as well as being prone to diversions or conversational off-roads, at times taking a circuitous route to the end of a story.
These are two traits that some who know me would say I’ve inherited, either by nature, nurture, or some combination of both. At 98, this might mean her companion will have to sometimes lean in a bit closer, to figure out what she’s saying, or where she’s going, but for those of us skilled in the practice of absorbing what Nana gives, her words consider to disperse jewels and bear fruit. I’ve learned a lot from her, just in the six months since returning from Los Angeles to the town where she raised her family and her middle daughter raised mine.
The bottom line, as we try to tell my grandmother all the time, is that we like having her around. She’s enough of a people-person to pick up on when would truly be the appropriate time to leave the party. But for now, Nana’s got more work left to do. Like getting back into her optimal 98 shape following this recent setback, getting her name announced by Al Roker on the ‘Today’ show once she reaches 100, or just making sure two decades later, that her eldest grandson has indeed smoked his last Newport 100.
“If you are a good reader. Your imagination goes along with you.”-Nana, 2017

Ann Hannigan, eventually to be known as Ann Rhoads, then Mom and now Nana, was born on a farm in Olean, New York, just outside of Buffalo. It is a North Eastern, often cold part of the United States, particularly in the winter. The above picture is the only known photo she has from the early years of her life, raised on the family farm.
“Despite the winters, we always had apples and grew our own vegetables. One Sunday when the snow was too high to get the car out, we took a sled to church, pulled by a horse.”
Nana was once the baby of the bunch. The two oldest were her two sisters, the oldest Betty, followed by Helen. After that came her brother Bud, the closest to her in age. He was her idol, as well as best friend, growing up.

“Bud always went to bat for me, he taught me how to dance when we were teenagers. He was very patient, I was a pretty good follower as a dancer, Bud was more the showman. He played the clarinet too, he could play “Sweetie Sue” very well at the dances. But if a football game started outside, he would miss practice.  Bud was always polite and nice at home, but then he would sneak out the side window to go out. I never told on him. We were buddies.”

Continue reading

FEMINIST FRIDAY

IN HONOR OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH I GIVE YOU MAYA ANGELOU.  MAYA LEFT US A LARGE BODY OF WISDOM AND HER PRESENCE AND WISDOM IS SORELY MISSED.

What follows was written about her in BIOGRAPHY.COM

Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. In 1971, Angelou published the Pulitzer Prize-nominated poetry collection Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die. She later wrote the poem “On the Pulse of Morning”—one of her most famous works—which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009. She died on May 28, 2014.

Early Years

Multi-talented barely seems to cover the depth and breadth of Maya Angelou’s accomplishments. She was an author, actress, screenwriter, dancer and poet. Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, Angelou had a difficult childhood. Her parents split up when she was very young, and she and her older brother, Bailey, were sent to live with their father’s mother, Anne Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas.

As an African American, Angelou experienced firsthand racial prejudices and discrimination in Arkansas. She also suffered at the hands of a family associate around the age of 7: During a visit with her mother, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. Then, as vengeance for the sexual assault, Angelou’s uncles killed the boyfriend. So traumatized by the experience, Angelou stopped talking. She returned to Arkansas and spent years as a virtual mute.

During World War II, Angelou moved to San Francisco, California, where she won a scholarship to study dance and acting at the California Labor School. Also during this time, Angelou became the first black female cable car conductor—a job she held only briefly, in San Francisco.

In 1944, a 16-year-old Angelou gave birth to a son, Guy (a short-lived high school relationship had led to the pregnancy), thereafter working a number of jobs to support herself and her child. In 1952, the future literary icon wed Anastasios Angelopulos, a Greek sailor from whom she took her professional name—a blend of her childhood nickname, “Maya,” and a shortened version of his surname.

Career Beginnings

In the mid-1950s, Angelou’s career as a performer began to take off. She landed a role in a touring production of Porgy and Bess, later appearing in the off-Broadway production Calypso Heat Wave (1957) and releasing her first album, Miss Calypso (1957). A member of the Harlem Writers Guild and a civil rights activist, Angelou organized and starred in the musical revue Cabaret for Freedom as a benefit for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, also serving as the SCLC’s northern coordinator.

In 1961, Angelou appeared in an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks with James Earl Jones, Lou Gossett Jr. and Cicely Tyson. While the play earned strong reviews, Angelou moved on to other pursuits, spending much of the 1960s abroad; she first lived in Egypt and then in Ghana, working as an editor and a freelance writer. Angelou also held a position at the University of Ghana for a time.

After returning to the United States, Angelou was urged by friend and fellow writer James Baldwin to write about her life experiences. Her efforts resulted in the enormously successful 1969 memoir about her childhood and young adult years, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. The poignant work also made Angelou an international star.

Since publishing Caged Bird, Angelou continued to break new ground—not just artistically, but educationally and socially. She wrote the drama Georgia, Georgia in 1972—becoming the first African-American woman to have her screenplay produced—and went on to earn a Tony Award nomination for her role in the play Look Away (1973) and an Emmy Award nomination for her work on the television miniseries Roots (1977), among other honors.

Later Successes

Angelou wrote several autobiographies throughout her career, including All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002), but 1969’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings continues to be regarded as her most popular autobiographical work. She also published several collections of poetry, including Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die (1971), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

One of Angelou’s most famous works is the poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she wrote especially for and recited at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural ceremony in January 1993—marking the first inaugural recitation since 1961, when Robert Frost delivered his poem “The Gift Outright” at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Angelou went on to win a Grammy Award (best spoken word album) for the audio version of the poem.

In 1995, Angelou was lauded for remaining on The New York Times’ paperback nonfiction best-seller list for two years—the longest-running record in the chart’s history.

Seeking new creative challenges, Angelou made her directorial debut in 1998 with Down in the Delta, starring Alfre Woodard. She also wrote a number of inspirational works, from the essay collection Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1994) to her advice for young women in Letter to My Daughter (2008). Interested in health, Angelou has even published cookbooks, including Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes (2005) and Great Food, All Day Long (2010).

Angelou’s career has seen numerous accolades, including the Chicago International Film Festival’s 1998 Audience Choice Award and a nod from the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1999 for Down in the Delta; and two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, for her 2005 cookbook and 2008’s Letter to My Daughter.
Personal Life

Martin Luther King Jr., a close friend of Angelou’s, was assassinated on her birthday (April 4) in 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterward, and sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Coretta’s death in 2006.
Angelou was good friends with TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who organized several birthday celebrations for the award-winning author, including a week-long cruise for her 70th birthday in 1998.

After experiencing health issues for a number of years, Maya Angelou died on May 28, 2014, at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The news of her passing spread quickly with many people taking to social media to mourn and remember Angelou. Singer Mary J. Blige and politician Cory Booker were among those who tweeted their favorite quotes by her in tribute. President Barack Obama also issued a statement about Angelou, calling her “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.” Angelou “had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer,” he wrote.

MAYA

MAYA ANGELOU YOU ROCK!

I invite you to share a story about an inspiring woman in the comments section. Just leave us a link to your post. We can never read too many stories about inspiring women.

 

STRENGTH – WRITER’S QUOTE WEDNESDAY

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I have always believed two things about difficulties in life.

  • Problems are lessons that need to be learned.
  • God helps those who roll up their sleeves and help themselves and gives you the strength to do it.

bernadette

This is written in response to Silver Threadings Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenge.  Here is how to participate:

http://www.silverthreadings.com

SENIOR SALON #20

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Welcome back to the Senior Salon.  I can’t believe this is number 20.  When I started the Senior Salon 20 weeks ago it was a test balloon.  I wanted to see if their was an interest in sharing the creative expressions of the post 9 to 5 generation.  I have been pleased beyond my wildest hopes.  You are such a big community of artists enjoying this gift of time and using it to create awesome and diverse creative projects.  You are published authors, poets, painters,  photographers, book reviewers, chefs, fashionistas, music reviewers, and the list just keeps getting larger.

I am moving forward with my next step in this project of showcasing your creative expressions.  I am starting another Word Press blog which will be a quarterly magazine.

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                                                                                 CREATURITY
                                                              CREATIVITY SEASONED BY MATURITY

WWW.CREATURITY.COM

WHAT IS CREATURITY?
by Bernadette

Coming-Soon-BIG

CREATURITY will be an on line magazine dedicated to showcasing the talents of the post 9 to 5 generation. The generation who finally has time to get in touch with the right side of their brain. CREATURITY hopes to feature art, music, writing, poetry, photography, creative cooking, creative fashion and articles about how to get in touch with your right hemisphere and let YOUR muse guide you into a new creative endeavor or enhance an existing creative endeavor.

CREATURITY aims to publish this magazine at first on a quarterly basis and is seeking submissions for its first issue. Please Email your submissions to Bernadette Laganella at blag515@gmail.com. Please have your submission formatted for use in a blog. PUT IN THE SUBJECT LINE SUBMISSION TO CREATURITY.

I am looking forward to hearing from you and having you join me on this exciting adventure.

bernadette

I have not abandoned the Senior Salon and it will go on as usual.  But I hope you will share my enthusiasm for this new adventure and if you have something very special you would like published, please submit it to me for publication AT BLAG515@GMAIL.COM.

TAP ON THE FROG TO PARTICIPATE AND POST YOUR BLOG.

TAP ON THE FROG TO READ OTHER BLOGS POSTED TODAY

THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – AGING

Ashton-Applewhite-this-chair-rocks

Where does the message that we’re “too old” for something—be it a task, a relationship, or a haircut—originate? Usually between our ears, because we’ve internalized a lifetime of messages that older people are undesirable or incompetent or unwelcome, and should shuffle to the sidelines. Preferably without making a fuss.

ASHTON APPLEWHITE

Tune in tomorrow for more about Ashton Applewhite on Feminist Friday.

SENIOR SALON #3

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Revealing the beauty and truth of life through the eyes of our elders.

Welcome to the Senior Salon. I invite you to link your blog to mine today and to reveal your artistic creations in any field: fiction writing, nonfiction, poetry, photography, painting, pottery, cooking.

After linking to this blog, in the true spirit of a salon, please take the time to read someone else’s blog and comment and offer encouragement on their artistic endeavors.

We have walked our paths a long time and have a lot to offer. Come and reveal your artistic vision.

Below you will find the button to link your blog. Just tap on this button today up until midnight to link your blog. After tapping you will be led to a page with a few things to fill out and then a snapshot of your blog will appear on this page for anyone to tap onto and read.

TAP ON THE FROG TO READ OTHER BLOGS POSTED TODAY.

TAP ON THE FROG TO PARTICIPATE AND POST YOUR BLOG.

WELCOME TO THE SENIOR SALON #2

SALON

Revealing the beauty and truth of life through the eyes of our elders.

Welcome to the Senior Salon. I invite you to link your blog to mine today and to reveal your artistic creations in any field: fiction writing, nonfiction, poetry, photography, painting, pottery, cooking.

After linking to this blog, in the true spirit of a salon, please take the time to read someone else’s blog and comment and offer encouragement on their artistic endeavors.

We have walked our paths a long time and have a lot to offer. Come and reveal your artistic vision.

Below you will find the button to link your blog. Just tap on this button today up until midnight to link your blog. After tapping you will be led to a page with a few things to fill out and then a snapshot of your blog will appear on this page for anyone to tap onto and read.

TAP ON THE FROG TO READ OTHER BLOGS POSTED TODAY.

TAP ON THE FROG TO PARTICIPATE AND POST YOUR BLOG.