Be Still!

I grew up as a Catholic girl in dear old St. Martin, a parochial school in Chicago’s Englewood. Each morning started with Mass, which lasted at least 45 minutes. Throughout the service, we had to kneel and stand, and if that wasn’t bad enough, we could not fidget during service. The nuns would give you the dagger-eye that would condemn you to hell for scratching an itch.  Sister G. was the worst.  Beyond the eye, she would give a “Be Still!” and you knew you dare not move an inch. I was like, “Uh uh, you will never catch me; I don’t want the eye or get my ear pulled.” (Y’all, I initialed her name, ’cause I’m still scared). I was pretty religious as a kid, but as I matured, I was done with nuns. What?!!

My spiritual evolution took me to the ancient practice of meditation Back in the day, I used to go to how-tomeditate workshops. I thought I had to assume Zen proportions, but y’all already know I could not sit on the floor and fold my legs for that long.  Sister G.’s ominous whisper, “Be still!” rescued me. Her scold was transformed by an invitation to “Be still and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10.  The precursor to meditation, the Stillness would allow me to surrender to gifts of – clarity/awareness, guidance, and peace.  No matter what the craziness I am SAFE.

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Grandson, Christian, in meditation/Stillness

I won’t get into all the illustrations given in my book, Be S.A.F.E.(StillAwareFaithfulExcellent). However, I do want to tell you that being still for meditation has been an essential practice within my life. Our country is in a “Trump Pandemic”* and essential unrest to heal systemic racism. Personally, I got a family dead in the heat of protest every day. Their mama takes time each day to give thanks, affirmatively pray, and to be still for meditation. There are numerous types of meditations, but this is my daily recipe:

Intentional quietness.

Some meditative music is nice, birds singing, maybe even the sound of coffee percolating or the humming of a washing machine may be background sounds to Stillness. Some meditations are guided with words. And there is the sound of silence, which always invokes serenity. My point is that the quietness is within you. You set the intention to become still and…

Relax.

When I can, I’m gon‘ sit in a relaxed position. Unlike my grandson, Christian, (pictured), I need a chair. No telling how long a session might last. These days, I don’t always sit in a quiet place. Sometimes I may walk in the park or garden.  I am flexible in meditation, yielding to what suits my spirit. The conventional is not always my norm, but I started this practice with a comfortable seat. I sit with my back against the chair, my feet apart and on the floor, and my hands on my thighs with my hands open. The main objective is to allow yourself to relax and…

Breathe.

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Leading meditative prayer at Living Spirit.

The breath plays an essential part in becoming still. Heck, you gotta do it anyway, so breathe deeply;  become aware,  pay attention to your breathing to aid you in relaxing to become still for meditation.

I usually close my eyes and start with a vision of a lotus flower floating on the sea and think, “Peace be still.” Some folks would not initiate Stillness without meditating on a Bible verse or chanting. Some need nothing but their breathing.  Have at it; choose what facilitates your focus, as you relax into stillness and

Meditation.

What happens during meditation?

You know we always got to be doing something, but meditation dictates taking time to let go of your stuff. This is an example of what usually happens to me: I’m visualizing, consciously breathing,  and I become still when all of a sudden I start thinking, “Let me see…I gotta tend to Bama, Mile’s dog…I hope the protesters wear their masks…Should I go out, with Corona?” It’s called mind chatter and it is normal. What do I do?  I simply call back my breath and resume my meditation, and I do not beat myself up for not being able to stay focused. When I first started this practice, I was doing good to last for two minutes. That’s OK. Nobody has a time clock. This practice is for you, your personal practice. So, what to expect?

I don’t know; you will have your own experience.  If praying is talking to God, meditation is listening.  I used to hear a small voice inside me that I recognized as my Higher Power (HP). Today, I may not hear anything during my meditation. All I know is that because I take the time to do it, throughout the day I am made aware of what I am experiencing; there are no more coincidences.  I have a sense of clarity that will offer guidance, not only to me but sometimes to those that need my experience and hope. My Higher Power is working for me and may even speak through you! I recognize that HP works with or without Stillness, but I am aware of the work – no coincidences, only understanding that God’s/HP’s Will is at hand.

20200321_170520Y’all, I have been through sicknesses, deaths, all kinds of crises. I can tell you this practice of meditation has been and is still responsible for sustaining creativity, caregiving, counseling I have done, or any sense of sanity I have had throughout tumultuous experiences. My practice allows me to affirm Peace be Still.  These days, with folks threatening my daughter, how else can I sustain my peace? What?!!

I do have a nightstand e-book, Be S.A.F.E. about the Stillness/meditation on Amazon Kindle.  I’ll just say that my husband was fighting cancer during the time I wrote it.  I had to find my true self, so I stopped dropped, and rolled into my daily practice of meditation.  I hope it will help some of you who may be going through some challenges. Unfortunately,  during these times, that would be all of us.  I’m just sayin’.

 


Joy Juice

We all have the mission to stay centered during any chaos.  Maybe we emote, but at the end of the day, we must recognize the Creator/God/Higher Power/Jah, etc. is within and around us embracing and protecting us. No matter what, we think, Divine Will is working. Remember,

“it’s all good/ love/God – Victorine

My next blog installment will be In Living Color. Don’t miss it!


*Thank you, Mr. K.

© 2020 Camp Goldston L.L.C. – All Rights Reserved

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Victorine

Author:  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.

Don’t forget to check out Garden Spices Magazine, Celebrating our differences!

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Blooming

Y’all look! I grew a flower – a huge “Feed me Seymour” flower.  Y’all have to understand, my thumb is anything but green.  I “Oooh” and “Ahhh” over the beautiful flowers y’all post on Faceboobook, and while my deceased husband always took care of our yards with gardens and such, the Taurus earth in me just has not kicked in until now.  I grew a flower! What?!

A little history.  I buy two hibiscus plants annually, in honor of the Caribbean in me.  The plants I would buy always had blossomed flowers and buds ready to bloom.  However this year I decided to invest in two perennial hibiscus trees, flower plants.  No flowers present, only pretty maroonish leaves and a few hopeful buds.  I bought them at the beginning of June, and by the end of June, there was nothing.  I was hand-on-hip like, “Now I know I didn’t spend my money on just leaves with no flowers.”  I decided to read up on these babies.  Googling informed that they bloom mid-summer through the fall and that coffee grinds were good for them.  I love coffee. So I shared some grinds with my plants and watered them.  Then, last week hit, mid-July, I was floored!  I grew a plant that has a fabulous flower. What?!! Let me show y’all another picture.

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Stylin’ and profilin’!

About blooming, truth be told, this hibiscus was going to bloom without my help. (Ya think?!) I simply nurtured it by researching, sharing coffee, watering, and oohing/ahhing.  I gave it my energy.  I guess this is true with any creation.

The truth is that the presence of the Creator is inevitable.  These days, I have been busy talking, talking...and talking…till I’m blue in my face, (no green thumb, but a blue face), about a Confederate monument.  I have devoted energy to a movement that will take down this divisive monument to begin healing my community of white supremacy. Beyond the exposure of government, business, and personal acts of racism, I see beautiful protestors, all hues, educating our community with truthful history and inclusive ideology.  Slowly budding in numbers, so many supporters are stepping outside of their comfort zone to enable the healing process. No matter how slowly, healing will transcend the die-hard weeds that must die to self and blossom into a new consciousness.  The lessons are within the blooming.

My prize plant is now actively blooming, and within that process, the blossoms die daily to make room for new growth.  I got this, Creator – we must continue to let go of what no longer serves us to grow. I got this lesson, and I’m gone!

Look out, Pat Brewer, I’m gon’ have me some pictures like yours next year…NOT!

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Patio beauties.

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Lovelies everywhere

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This isn’t a flower, y’all! This is Pat Brewer


Joy Juice

I haven’t seen these days since the ’60s, and I never thought I would be a decade beyond 60 protesting with young’uns, but I am letting Spirit move me, and that is all we are charged to do.  We are all lightworkers, charged through the Creator. No matter how Spirit moves us to shift, we are ready,  remember,

We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings — Sudanese

“It’s all good/love/God”Victorine

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Victorine

Author:  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware,Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon

 

 

Midnight

I just finished viewing a documentary about dark-skinned Black females, women with melanin magic, women with the gift of living close to the original chocolate flavor chosen for us all until swirled with vanilla. The documentary, Dark Girls 2, started as a lamentation of what it feels like to have a dark complexion
within the Black culture.  I was amazed at the entrenched pain the girls suffered growing up that continued to wreak havoc on their self-esteem as women.  I sat watching with a smirk on my face.  My smirk was all about you-know-who – me, Midnight.

Yes, that was one of my nicknames as a teenager.  I was given that name when I entered St. Thomas Apostle High School; before then, at Hyde Park, I was Teddy Bear, Black Beauty, but I really liked Midnight.  I loved being Black, having dark skin. What?!

You can’t tell me that spirituality is not important.  Growing up as a Catholic girl indoctrinated by the confidence of aspiring sainthood, (I’m not kidding), I had a big personality and exuded confidence.  It did not occur to me that I could be considered less-than because of my dark skin.  Unlike the girls I viewed in the documentary, I always thought something was wrong with people who could not see my beauty.  When my dance teacher said to the class, “OK, light girls to the front, and dark girls to the back,” I was confident that the teacher, Mr. Morrison, had lost his mind. I knew my worth and that I could really dance. (Anyway,  the main teacher, Sammy Dyer, loved me).   I remember my Aunt Ruth, who taught me her special moves, could not dance professionally because she was too dark.  Now that story saddened me. I guess looks have always been important to our culture. So let’s talk about looks

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Me and brother, Bernie

In the land of colorism, there are different shades of Black, from light, almost white, to jet black.  I am next to jet black, definitely dark.  As a child, I looked like Buckwheat. Not in a bad way – in a true way.  My mom used to grease my face for the Chicago cold, and I wore ace caps like my brother.   That was my look until I began to blossom as a pre-teen. As a teen, I was centered with girls, most of who were a lighter hue, but I had my share of attention and was quite social; so skin color was not an issue.  I remember a beautiful girl that was brown-skinned (coffee-with cream brown) asking, “Does it look like I’m getting lighter?” And I heard girls I danced with talk about perspective boyfriends. “He can’t be darker than coffee with cream.”  I tell you I was mortified, not for me, but by them and for them!  Somehow I knew how shallow it was to base preferences and a person’s worth by their skin color. My boyfriends, husband, and now, Mr. K., were chosen from the inside, out. 

I was always teased for loving my skin. “You think you something ’cause you black!” And they were right.  Even before I knew the moniker,  Black to be beautiful or powerful,  I smiled when they called me Midnight.  I knew I had something unique, the splendor/magic described, and taught in the second half of the documentary. Now, y’all, get ready…I had to teach my deceased husband and kids about colorism too.  They got it from the other end.  Bob and Miles were “damned-near white,” and Camille was a “yellow girl.”

When I met Bob, he would be ready to fight if someone mentioned his color.  As a kid, he was taunted and called  “White boy.” Both his parents were very light-skinned, and his grandfather was mulatto.  I walked into a room to meet his father’s uncles, and they were white! I mean really light.  He told me that some passed for white. Bob couldn’t wait to tell me how Black he knew he was. I had to assure him that Black comes in many hues and that ignorant people didn’t deserve his ire. Growing up on St. Maarten, Camille felt bad because she wasn’t dark, like her mama.  To the rescue again, I assured her of her beauty. Miles also grew up on the island and color meant nothing to him at age 5.  But when we moved back to the States to Virginia Beach and someone screamed “Nigger!”  we had to teach him about race, but never discussed colorism with him. He still tries to wear twists, but can’t make them stick. What?!

Colorism is not unique to Black culture.  Unfortunately, most cultures aspire to be lighter, if not white, from Asians and Latinx to Africans.  White folks try to get dark or be Black, As an adult, I thanked my parents for somehow bolstering me against the trials of colorism. Documentaries such as Dark Girls 2, will be credited for making colorism transparent and for teaching how to empower girls of all shades.  In the ’60s when we heard “Black is beautiful,” it meant all shades of black; it still does.


Joy Juice

We are a myriad of magnificence, brilliantly Black.

#Younggiftedandblack

#SayitloudI’mblackandI’mproud

#Blackgirl

#Blackgirlmagic

#Blackandbeautiful

“It’s all/love/God” – Victorine

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Victorine

Author:  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware,Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon

 

Young’uns

This is it, Y’all. I’ve had it with these young folks. Tellin’ me how to do things, hmmph! ‘Think I can’t text, post, meme, emoji, website, press release, or anything. Yes, technology is new, but I have built websites and I publish this blog. It’s just that I do what I do S…L…O…W…L…Y. What!

Yes, it takes me a minute to think about the task I want to accomplish and to figure out how to navigate it, but I still got the bones for the foundation of a good effort. I am the elder of an activist group, Project Say Something. When it’s time to move, they do a group text thread. Y’all! They start a post; I start responding, except the text I’m responding to has long been forgotten, and they are on to something else. Oy!!! Whether it’s ally training or planning for a forum, they move so quickly I am challenged to stay with them. “Elder” is a politically correct description for me. I am old., but aged gold.  What!

I’m older, which is why they count on me to share my wisdom, (just not in the thread…“I think that we should actually formulate”NO!!! ) I am wise enough to know when it’s time for me to sit back and let young’uns take the lead.  Thank God, Eckhart Tolle got me out of the way of my ego.  I held on to the church my husband and I built but realized I was embracing it to pass on to my daughter, Camille Bennett; to give it new life.  It is now sanctuary to a free program for preschoolers and an after school and summer program.  We convene in our Upper Room for service, and I love it! Sometimes, us folks with aged wisdom need to sit down and let young folks take the reins. 

There are organizations that have had the same folks running them for years, which is why they don’t run; they crawl.  And these folks crave power, which is what makes them powerless in forward movement.  In this case, sometimes age doesn’t matter.  If movement is stale, move out of the way and let some new blood take its course.  Give new life to organizations and events, and for goodness sake, support the young folks.  Why we have to fight them I don’t know.  Some folks even hate on them and subvert their efforts.  Yes, the young’uns need to yield to our experience, but we should not berate voices that reflect a new day.  The young’uns must also invite the wisdom of older folks. We do not need to be cast aside but honored. Congress is a good example

The Squad in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, is progressive and doesn’t care about politics, but they are relentless in their fight for change.  They had to be political to make a change. (Why it’s important to vote, Young’uns). However, they wanted to steamroll Congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, and her efforts to be Speaker of the House. Today they discovered they need her wisdom and she is as fierce as they. She yields to their energy, and they respect hers.  

I kind of snuck in a plea for voting, but today more than any time in the world, both young’uns and seniors must vote for making change.  The Squad was smart enough to figure this out; they could not execute plans without dealing with the flawed system in place.  Us seniors were a part of witnessing, sometimes building, that system, but we are young enough in spirit to stand with and for young’uns to make the changes we need to meet our agenda

I stand with Pastor Wesley Thompson, older than a millennial but still a young’un, who at a local rally for peace and justice ignited  us to”Make the change!”  We are wise enough to let young folks march, speak, protest, and do it, (COVID, #staysafe), and old enough to share experience and give support. That’s what makes us aged gold.

Joy Juice

We have suffered many mighty blows, the last being the lynching of George Floyd,  But this tragedy has sparked a fire all over the world.  Joy comes in the recognition that a mighty shift is taking place. What does this mean for us seniors? As Bob Dylan says in The Times They are a-Changin‘, “Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand for the times they are a-changin’.”
  I feel blessed to lend a hand without needing to be at the helm.

“It’s all/love/God” – Victorine

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Victorine

Author:  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware,Faithful,Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon

 

Timeline

‘Funny thing about growing older; memories become more vivid.  Today, I turn 70, and I thought I would have some fun.  I’m Timelining, and I invite you to jump in when your memory meets mine.  You can comment either on the blog or on Facebook.  I’m doing a Watch Party on Facebook, 11AM CST.  Just holla with a thumbs up or a heart, or if you ain’t too lazy, you could say something.  After all, it’s my Birthday!

  • Chicago on 57th and Normal. Street games that never ended, kids from every street surrounding ours, convening for serious fun.
  • A 1/2 mile walk to St. Martin School, where I was preparing to become a nun. What?!!
  • Dorothy Robinson’s school of dance.
  • The Point, 53rd and Woodlawn, to  Hyde Park daily by bike for big fun.
  • Hyde Park High School, where I started, and St. Thomas Apostle, where I finished.
  • Klan Ko-eds, downtown parties, boat, roller skating, and bowling parties, not to forget the hotel dances and hayrides
  • 8 Track Recording Co. where I worked and met folks that hung stars on their doors.
  • Flack, Sly, ReRe, Dionne, Hugh Masekela, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Spook who Sat by the Door, Nikki, Imari, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Can_ _ _ _ _ a plenty
  • Free Theater -Aesops, Havdalah
  • Columbia College where I started, Stillman College, University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, AL and finally Case Western Reserve University, where I finished
  • Cleveland – ahh, Cleveland.  Lee Scottsdale Bldg. (LSD), Art Museum, so much jazz, Annual Easter Egg Hunts, Kwanzaa Parties, Air Tunnels, Friends.  Keith Jarrett, Art Lande, Al Jareau.  Dali Parties. The Rapid, Corky and Lenny’s, Tiger Lily’s, Nighttown, Westside Market,  Home art exhibits, Clam bakes.
  • Fins and Feathers, “a most unusual seafood and poultry shoppe!” (with an intentional “e”) Business.
  • Pfizer – 8-year pain, as a sales rep.
  • St. Maarten – Divi Little Bay, Carnival, Grande Case Beach, Phillipsburg, Marigot Anguilla, Yvette’s, so many wonderful people/family by blood, but the ones more memorable by love
  • Virginia Beach – cultural void
  • The Shoals. in AL – WOWL TV, ATCO Manufacturing, Family Ford, Family Lincoln Mercury, Family Hyundai – Businesses,
  • Revelations, A Ministry of Transformation
  • Living Spirit Church – Centered in Spiritual Oneness, all churches where I have spoken
  • Abadiania, Brazil – John of God
  • POZA, The C.O.R.E. Drummers, The C.O.R.E. Center
  • Hospice of the Shoals
  • Facebook
  • Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC., published Be S.A.F.E., Garden Spices Magazine
  • Project Say Something
  • Legacy of Love
  • Liberal Ladies
  • UNA School of the Arts
  • Spicy…

englewood
Oh, when we were kids in Englewood. Now grown folks

Klan Ko-eds Christmas Card 60’s


From all over Chi, grown folks now, but part of Chicago crew

St.Maarten
St. Maarten, with MAC uniforms on Margie’s porch. Deanna, My children, Miles and Camille

Legacy of love, 2018

The CORE Drummers

Liberal Ladies 2018

Garden Spices’ Managing Editor, Pratik Mamtora

St. Thomas Apostle reunion 2016, with Sis, Joy

Yes, I know; if you don’t know me, this is a little much.  But remember, it’s my party – I’m self-centered, spicy, and I’M 70!!!!! What?!

What a blessing it is to be in this moment, even with the conditions, as they are with Coronavirus.  You are within my reach, right in my heart, and I am grateful, fulfilled, and breathing! What?!!


Joy Juice

“…joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5  We staying safe, and we voting for change!

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved


Victorine

Author:  Be S.A.F.E., StillAware,Faithful,Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon

Where Can My Grandson Run?

Florence, AL, May 9, 2020

There is no rhetoric in this question. My grandson is a runner. Every day he dons his running shoes and takes off to a place where he can stretch, place earphones in his ears, and jog. He loves nature, and chooses to run where he can see the trees, but feel the pulse of neighborhoods, houses, in which people are “staying safe.” During this coronavirus quarantine, he cannot meet with his friends, plan for his graduation, or play soccer with his team, but he can affirm his vitality by jogging. Not anymore.

Today, we are armed with the knowledge that a young Black man…yet, another young Black man, named Ahmaud Arbrey, was jogging in a neighborhood in which his profile was not acceptable for two white men, the McMichaels. They saw him as a violation, a possible threat to their well-being, as prey. Unarmed, followed, then shot dead, Ahmad now serves as another poster child/man – child, because he was his family’s child; man, because he went down fighting his perpetrators. I must point to his poster and exclaim, “Christian, you can no longer run in neighborhoods; you may be killed!”

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Christian Raleigh Bennett

My words were preempted by strict warnings from my grandsons’ parents. Their father, all Black men, heed this warning. It is an extension of their former precautions about being stopped by policemen while Black. This warning is an extension of; you cannot take part in teenage pranks while being Black. This warning is an extension of “do better, be better, know better” to survive while being Black. I am aware that our safety is compromised by subversive elements within the Black community, elements designed to find us dead, and violence is undisturbed to this end. However, I will not deflect from the truth about the lynching of Ahmaud; this assignment is about overt racism and injustice.

A lynching committed two months ago by a former policeman and his son find an unjust system ready to sweep this murder under the rug. If not for the video that surfaced, evidence of the crime, the murderers would never have been arrested. They would have been home for Mother’s Day, the day Ahmaud was born. A Citizen’s Arrest was their defense, but the video was ours. We were the family of Ahmaud, defending him, jogging for him, posting, making our voices heard until these criminals were apprehended and charged.

Today, I am charged with asking the question, “Where can my grandson run?”  In the park, where someone may find him offensive, and call the authorities? In his neighborhood, where the Sons of the Confederate Veterans take up camp? In my neighborhood, where an older woman questioned me about why my grandsons, and I were walking? In 2020, should he be restricted to running on the silent AstroTurf that aborts the nature that fuels his passion for jogging?

My grandson must run the course of safety, as taught by his elders, but he must never lose sight of the strength demonstrated by Ahmaud, who turned to fight off his perpetrators. He died fighting, and our fight for Ahmaud is not over.  As Black men, my grandson(s) must run with the power of mind, body, and spirit, claiming what they deserve in the country built by their Ancestors.

#run/write/screamforjustice


Happy Mother’s Day Epilogue: Joy Juice

I wrote a piece, which received so many of your precious words, “Where Can My Grandson Run?” I discussed the dream I had prior to writing it.

I was taking a baby out to walk. I was told to put his shoes on, but I said, “No. I will carry him.” We walked out into a beautiful day. I thought twice about the shoes and decided to continue carrying him. We saw a beautiful Magnolia tree in our path, and I stopped for a lesson on nature, “What is this,” I asked. “Tree,” the baby answered. I asked him to touch the leaf of the tree, which he did, and I awakened from the dream.

Remembering our nature walks, I knew the baby in my dream was my grandson, Christian, the runner. I would not let him walk in his tiny gym shoes and carried him for protection. Camille researched Magnolia Trees and found they symbolize independence. I told Christian to touch the tree, which I am discerning symbolized my blessing him, for the independence I knew had to be his. Anyway…

I imparted this dream during our Sunday discussion, and later, my doorbell rang. Part of the discussion, David was at my door and this is what he gave to me. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Thank you, David Walto for the beautiful magnolias.


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Victorine/”Grammy” with Christian and Morgan

Featured image:  Top, Brother, Bernie Basley, Grandsons, Christian, and Morgan Bennett. Left, Son-in-Love, Taurus Bennett Nephew, Imanuel Basley, Right, Son, Miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write, Right?

A seminar made me begin to question my blogging.  I mean other bloggers are coaching us on how to do this and that, like “How to be your most essential self.”  I’m just trying to essentially be without getting perturbed in a day!  Then, I realized I do have a purpose; to make you see yourself through shenanigans.  You know, shenanigans, the daily stuff that makes you laugh, sometimes cry, and all the time, shake your head. So, I do need to write.  Right?  There’s a Place for (Me, especially now.

It is April 16, 2020, and we have been home for over 20 days, quarantined by a global pandemic, Coronavirus, CO VID19.  Every day I am rising later and later.  Why?  I’m’ in bed watching the videos y’all post on social media.  Some of them are so funny, I have to jump up and run (you know where and why), but then, I climb right back into bed to laugh some more. What?!!

Baby videos are the ones that really crack me up.  One morning, I viewed toddler Elias giving a press conference to his dad, Michael John Gallaga, as Mommy, Asha Iman, a videographer, filmed them. The caption for COFFEE CONVERSATIONS read:

“Listening to one of these COVID 19 press conferences be like…”

After laughing through my third view, I had to message Asha and ask her to adjust her settings for Sharing.  I mean how your video gon’ go viral without Sharing?

Then, here comes The Twilite Tone with a video of his baby girl, Eden. The caption says it all:

“Walkin’ and Talkin It

What is Eden saying?  What does “it” mean? I’ll just let you marinate on that question.  What?!!

I think I enjoy laughing with babies because they symbolize joy and hope, and we need so much of both right now. With morning laughter under my belt, I then read Facebook posts.  These days they set my plate for prayer and meditation, and I am joined by so many of you, as we remember families and friends. We also sing, chant, dance, and anything we can do to allay the reality of loneliness, illness, death, and dying. We are conjoined by a global virus we created and by Spirit’s global healing we are undergoing.  The shift ain’t easy, but as the song of David Walton sings, We’re All in This Together.” We also build ourselves up with virtual celebrations.

While two of my 3 grandchildren graduate from high school this year; (the youngest is going to high school next year), the Seniors will not go to prom or take part in Senior activities for now.  But they are here, alive, protected and safe to celebrate when the time comes…when the time comes…when the time comes. Not for us! Our time is now!

We celebrate living another year and ceremonies we have been blessed to be a part of.  We celebrate our relationships – friends, and family, by blood and by love.  We wear our masks and wash our hands in celebration of being able to work for issues we believe in, (and we do have our work cut out for us this year), and we continue to crave art. So while I may laugh at my shenanigans and cry with/for you, I am living in the moment. Maybe that’s what this exercise is about, appreciating the moment. What?!


Joy Juice

Ain’t y’all tired of making gratitude lists?  Don’t be, and do it; it is more important now than ever.  We are here, vital, compassionate, and loving beings. They say we are the demographic at risk; we know we are mindfully safe in our memories, contemplations, and actions.  So, yes, I write. Right!

“It’s all good/God/love” – Victorine

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Victorine

Featured Image, Four Old Friends:  Nedra Shelton, Patricia Kline, Mat Grant( front), Donna Booker (rear), Levi Moten (behind me)

Book on Amazon –Be S..A.F.E.

Stop!

I know we up in the house because of COVID19, but somebody please give me a steel mask to stop me from eating.  I have been so vigilant about closing the kitchen at 8PM, but before then, I’m busy thinking about what I haven’t eaten so I can get some. After all, this is emergency eating.  These are serious times, and I deserve some serious food.  What?!!

I’ve posted so many whimsical videos entertaining and infuriating us during this quarantine, and I know I am talented enough to come up with something. This is my chance to glow, but instead, I go…to the fridge:

  • I get mad with Trump – I eat
  • Look at my face and see a bump – I eat
  • Watch a video profiling injustice committed – I eat
  • See the guilty acquitted – I eat
  • Hear an inspirational choir – while crying, I eat
  • Look at my shrinking attire – I eat
  • See friends exercise – I eat
  • Look at my thighs! – but I still eat.

Please.  Only you can help me.  This is time for tough love! (Hmmm…Is this meat tender enough?)  See?  I can’t do it alone. (Dag. meat’s too tough. Hmmm…Wonder if Spicy Wings is open)? I need you. Just try it. Tell me to

STOP!

What?!!

This post has jokes, but seriously, just as extroverts bite nails during this isolation, we compulsive overeaters are climbing the walls to keep from practicing an addiction to food.  Guess what?  There’s not a thing you can do about it.  It’s all on us to reach out, connect with support, and stay safe – the same thing we all have to do, addicted or not.  Spiritual support always helps not just for us, but for everyone going through this process of healing.

Oooh, I got a good prayer, not just for now, but for every moment.  Y’all know it; the prayer by Reinhold NiebuhrSay it with me:

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

Now, close that refrigerator!

Joy Juice

I think the Serenity Prayer was enough for now.  Ok, a little extra…My prayer is that we all do what we are supposed to do to stay safe, be kind to each other, and remember that

“It’s all good/God/love” – Victorine

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved


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Victorine

More on my profile of compulsive overeating:  My Gift


“The Serenity Prayer”. The Grapevine, The International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous. January 1950

Image:  Victorine’s Spaghetti Squash Fritters.  What?!

 

 

 

Ah choo!!

I know we got this 6-foot rule for standing clear of any action that can alert the dreaded Coronavirus, but I never have liked sneezing.  You can catch a cough with your bent elbow, but a sneeze will sneak up on you.  A sneeze can express itself in several ways:

  1. You talkin’ with your friends in a deep “Who did it,” when all of a sudden, you sneeze. You can’t be fast enough for the crevice your arm..”Yew!!” You apologize immediately, and your friends, say, “God bless you.”  But they got this little sneer on their faces, like “Yew!” You use your napkin or anything you can get your hands on to wipe your hands and nose, and off to the bathroom, you go to finish the task.  Then, you do the walk of shame back to the conversation.  You have become the “Who” they been talkin’ about.   And even though they don’t ask, you feel compelled to explain your sneeze.
  2. Then, you got your allergy sneeze and this one comes with a gang.  One “Ah” starts…you try to hold it back, but then, “choo!” follows.  Then the gang piles up on it, “Ah-choo, choo, choo,”  until it almost knocks you off your feet.  This sneeze does not play, and you can’t even bless it away.  Since you had time to “Ah” you moved away from your friends, and you don’t get a “Yew,” you get an “Awww.” 
  3. The aftermath:  And then there are either one of these sneezes that commands a mighty nose-blow.  Why do some folks have to blow their nose at the table?  You already sneezed and you been “Yewed,” why make it worse, unbearable.  All you gotta d,o is excuse yourself and take care of your business, but not at the table…over my food!!!!!! What?!!!

I battle allergies, so I sneeze as much as the rest of y’all, but a little etiquette is in order and all blessings are appreciated.

Now, about this virusall virusesno virus, we got to be vigilant, y’all.  We are in the demographic to have to deal with this stuff.  Cough, sneeze, or looking at a “Yew,” wash your hands.  And while doing so, don’t be singing the traditional Happy Birthday, go Stevie Wonder on it…until you get to Haaaappee Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday.  If you cough or sneeze, do your best to find your elbow and back that thang up if you can; you don’t want to infect anyone with your germs.  Don’t play.  Cancel trips and choir rehearsals if you have to.  And about being up in the club…wellll, y‘all already know, and I know who you are.  What?!!

Joy Juice

Whatever we do, we gotta look out for each other.  The Universe has called us to do this. Here we are, in a place where everyone is invited to the Partynot red, not blue – you.

“It’s all good/God/Love” – Victorine

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Victorine

Pictures

Yes, I have to go here.  Why?  ‘Cause I just received this vibrant image of me, and I don’t get it.  Everyone says, “Vic, you are so photogenic,” they say, “Vic, you never take a bad picture.”  Such wonderful compliments, until I look at this lovely image.  I mean, look at it!

Scroll down up

Scroll up…

There it is!!!  Why is it that on this beautiful picture my head looks like a watermelon, no, a tomato?  My cheeks are so chubby.  Surely, the camera lies.  What?!

I am so outdone!  I feel cameras should just automatically slim you down, prop you up, smooth you out, and their settings should remain in personal perfect focus.  Holla, if you hear me.  Are you telling me that I have something to do with the image reflected by my appearance?  I keep smiling a different way to change my face.  I lean back or obscure my body with someone else in the picture.  I do everything I can, but aside from photoshopping, that doggone camera says, “Uh uh, Sister, this is what I see.”

I remember my mother used to look in the mirror and sigh, discouraged by how she looked at age 90.  I was like, “Amon, you look beautiful,” but her eyes could not see what I saw.  Her ‘beauty’ was marred by the wrinkles in her neck.  Now, I understand.  I know that I will not turn back the hands of time, but I can Age Gracefully. (Thank you, Susan Peters.  Y’all read this later).

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Amon, at age 90. I got good genes…ain’t no excuse!

I’m OK, but I gotta do some good camera stuff.  I mean every now and then, I walk, exercise the little I know about Qi gong and yoga, and I may even do Turbo Jam to stay in shape; that’s just what I do…stay in this shape. (I sure ain’t losin’ no weight this way).  I also try to lift my face with moisturizing, and I welcome a good massage and facial.

Here’s the dealio; it takes practice to stay/look healthy.  It takes moisturizing, exercising, and getting out and about. Charity volunteering doesn’t hurt, and  Dr. Oz says the way to live longer and healthier is to have sex.  What?!!

I don’t like it, (everything but the sex).  I feel I deserve to be beautiful without having to do anything but smile for the camera.  Unfortunately, y’all, the camera(s) don’t lie.

Joy Juice

The bottom line is we gotta use it or lose it.  Thank God, we have a choice. ” Every day in every way we are getting better and better,” an age-old affirmation that rings with Truth.  Now, smile!

“It’s all good/God/Love” – Victorine

© 2020 Camp Goldston LLC – All Rights Reserved


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Victorine.   Both photos and featured photo of Lois Crabtree and Lisa Austin and I, by Millicent Garland

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