Americas have always been lands of immigrants, lands that have been “discovered” time and again by different peoples coming from other parts of the world throughout countless generations—going far back to the prehistoric past when a band of Stone Age hunters first set foot in what indeed was an unexplored New World.
Christopher Columbus and his fleet of three small sailing ships had left the Canary Islands, heading west across the uncharted Ocean Sea, as the Atlantic was known. He had expected to reach China or Japan, but there was still no sign of land. The Ocean Sea was also known as the Sea of Darkness. Hideous monsters were said to lurk beneath venomous sea serpents and giant crabs that could rise from the deep and crush a ship with its crew.
Finally, the men demanded that Columbus turn back and head for home. When he refused, some of the sailors whispered of mutiny. They wanted to kill the admiral by throwing him overboard. But, for the moment, the crisis had passed. Columbus wasn’t the first explorer to “discover” America. His voyages were significant because they were the first to become widely known in Europe. They opened a pathway from the Old World to the New, paving the way for the European conquest and colonization of the Americas, changing life forever on both sides of the Atlantic. Five hundred years before Columbus, a daring band of Vikings led by Leif Eriksson set foot in North America and established a settlement.
In the early 1600s, the British king began establishing colonies in America. By the 1700s, most settlements had formed into 13 British colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, which after the 1707 union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, became the British Empire in the Americas from 1607 to 1783.
There was no hope of conquering America — the territory was too big, and available resources too meager. At the outbreak of hostilities, the British Army numbered just 45,000 men, spread over a substantial global empire. On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the new nation’s name to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use.
The ancestors of the American Indians were nomadic hunters of northeast Asia. They migrated over the Bering Strait land bridge into North America probably during the last glacial period (11,500–30,000 years ago). Before the arrival of Europeans, the Native Americans lived as autonomous nations (also known as tribes) across the continent from present-day Alaska, across Canada, and throughout the lower 48 United States. These were my ancestors, North Alabama band of Chickasaw!
This brings me to today, we lay to rest a grand lady. Had things been different today, we may have all been speaking with a British accent and flying the Union Jack.
I wish King Charles the best, may his reign be long and successful.
Another post from the website of Chuck Murphree, published YA writer, Mental Health speaker, Edcuator.
It has started again, the feeling of a faster heart rate, the inability to catch a proper breath, the tension that comes from a tight jaw that causes pain in my neck, the squeezing of my lower back which seems to mimic a vice grip on my spine, and then the almighty psoas muscle, tightening against my will, causing a lingering pain in the quad muscles in both legs. I cannot help but sit back and sigh and then giggle toward my pain. After all, it is my mind that is the source of it all. It’s my thoughts and emotions coming out in the form of stress. Stress, oh how I wish it was a four-letter word in stead of five because it should sit beside that most infamous of curse words, F&%K!
I felt it coming on slowly. For those of you who feel the world, you know who you are, it started to pile on after the first few days of school. It’s when anxiety caught me off guard, giving me surges of adrenaline that seemed to be injected in large veins by a tiny needle, slowly releasing it all, and leaving me on the edge of panic. Not quite a full-blown panic attack, just a little nudge reminding me that it’s there, waiting to interrupt my life if I don’t find a way to calm down my stress. And yes, depression decided to join the party because what fun would it be if my little dark friend didn’t come to play?
I suppose I could blame it on the start of another school year. Perhaps it is me starting a new position in the world of education. Maybe “world” isn’t the right word these days. It’s more like a typhoon that makes landfall in August and continues until June. Yes, the typhoon of education. Why? I sit and wonder why we haven’t figured it out yet? We educators have a repeated cycle of stepping into the fire, suffocating on the smoke, year after year. We start off with our professional development and encouraging words from worn-out administrators, which is part of the repeated cycle, and then the dam breaks. We are then flooded. We rush and feel rushed. We are given a plethora of insurmountable tasks to do, maybe I should say unsustainable tasks, and it just keeps coming. And all of this has nothing to do with students or even parents. Yet, they are there. The most important purpose of all, our kids are there, waiting for us to engage them. They are there to tell us about their lives, emotions, and mental health. They are there to share their experiences from their sometimes chaotic home lives, and yet, when we give them our all, we are piled on with more. It makes me wonder what our true priority is? Is it meetings? Is it data? Is it paperwork? Is it politics? It often does not seem like it is students because we are worn out with everything else that is required.
Let’s go back to that word “blame” for a moment. I cannot have blame for anyone but myself for the stress that is unfolding. It is me who feels the world deeply, so while I am being flooded by all the training, meetings, paperwork, parent phone calls, and on and on, I am worried about my kids. They sit before me, some struggling daily with their own depression and anxiety. Some are struggling with their self-worth, and it is them that I keep as my priority. They are waiting for my ears and my heart. They are waiting for my words and my experience. They wait patiently for me to teach them but what they really want is the connection. And so I am to blame for my stress. I am to blame for my anxiety and allowing myself to be flooded because I care. I care deeply for the young human that has come through my classroom door and needs me. It has been suggested that I should let much of my work go and do only what I can while there. I am not sure about this statement. It tortures me actually. I am uncertain if I can lower the expectations that I have set for myself. I am uncertain of it all. This, I am afraid, especially during the moments where my body is screaming at me, when my jaw is tightening to the point where I strain to talk, will be my demise. Maybe not my demise as a human just yet, but my demise as an educator.
I recently had a parent send an email to my district administrators. She basically said how thankful she was that I made a strong connection right away with her son. He is someone who struggles functioning because of his mental health, and she said in her email that I was the reason he wanted to continue coming to class. This gave me a little of my breath back. It helped me distinguish just a little of the fire. However, I realize if I focus my energy on him, helping and connecting with him, as well as my other students, and then attempt to do my best with all of the other tasks that I am required, I will fall head first back into the fire, perhaps burning myself so bad it will ravage my body. The signs are there. I feel this year may require a large extinguisher to put out the flames.
My hope is that someday the typhoon of education will level, or at least become a large wave. Yes, we educators are strong swimmers, so a large wave would be manageable. However, I am uncertain if the powers that be, the community and nation as a whole, and the families, quite understand what is happening. Education is the foundation of what builds this country. I believe we just saw the impact and reality of that during the pandemic. If we continue to have this mass exodus. If we continue to drown our teachers in unnecessary training, paperwork, and lack of support, we will crack our foundation until it crumbles. Actually, the crack is already happening. The levee to the dam is about to release. My regret, the thing that makes me sit in tears at times, is our children will suffer. When they do, teachers will be to blame for taking care of themselves and leaving the field. Why? Well, we often look for blame in situations that are totally in our control but we let it get out of control. If I could ask the nation, the politicians, the school boards, administrators to reflect, to be mindful, I believe they would see that teachers aren’t to blame at all.
As for me, I will find a way. I always do. I find a way to come to the brink of what I feel will be my extinction from being an educator and I manage to hang on. However, at what cost? I recently sat with my wife, told her about the pain in my body, the anxiety and depression, and how I feel that no matter how much I take care of myself, exercise, eat right, and be mindful, that stress may catch up to me. It may kill me. As we hugged and shared tears, she said, “Is it time to do something else?” The thought haunts me.
I love to teach. I love connecting with my students and showing them a new way of thinking. I strive to help them navigate their mental health and the struggles that they face as young people. I am good at it. I prioritize building relationships because I know that is what truly matters in my field. I am the educator who finds that one student sitting alone, looking desperate, and I reach out to them, offering them my compassion and empathy. I have had students tell me I saved them. I helped them to the point that made them want to live and heal and find a better way. I have tried to deny that impact for years because it is difficult for me to admit I have had any impact, but it’s all there. My students’ pictures are hanging onto the wall in my mind reminding me of my purpose, and they are my reason to keep going. That is why it haunts me to think about leaving education. I think, “What if there is a kid out there that needs me? Maybe next year or next month, but what if they are there? They may not know it but they wait for me to make that connection that will help them build the skills needed to survive and take notice of their worth.”
But, to what extent? Will all of the other debris in the typhoon tear me up and continue to bruise me? Will it lead to my soul drowning? Will the pain caused by stress in my body be worth it? The pain in my mind and the torture that anxiety brings? Will my depression lead to more thoughts of leaving this world and sparing all of you my words?
My plea to all of you is to notice that this is not unique to me. It is why we have a crisis in education. Our teachers suffer and have chosen to not perish among the flood. Stop it before our kids do too.
I am in my second year after being diagnosed with Multi Myeloma (Bone Cancer). The life expectancy is as low as 2.5 years and tops 4 years. I kept the depression and anxiety levels down the first year, not because of denial but the sheer strength of my mind. In the second year, the depression and anxiety returned with a vengeance. I have gotten weaker and fatigued and have this sense of urgency about accomplishing what I have wanted since retirement: writing. I have published several books of poetry, including an autobiography about my daughter, who passed away in 2010. I have begun my own life story this past year. Then this cloud that many carry above them, depression, and anxiety. I have found that poetry is making a comeback, but slowly. Sales have not been at the top of my money chart. Another worry is that I am starting something that I will not have time to finish. My life has been long, more of a saga, filled with bits of happiness given to me by my children and emotional and physical abuse woven in and out throughout the years.
The urgency involves my writing. I have been writing since I could print words, simple words. Poems for my aunt and daddy, which she would destroy if found by my mother. I had been told since I was old enough to remember that I would never be anything because I was not as beautiful as my sister Billie nor as bright; all I could hope for was to marry and have someone take care of me. This non-encouragement caused me to work toward good grades and educate myself if schooling was not available. Like many southern girls, I was married “off” to someone much older than me, an abuser. I never gave up wanting to write. I was a closet writer until I retired from the public workforce, fearing that it would be destroyed if it was found.
This brings me to when I give thought to be a writer. Also, what type of writer did I want to be. I have always loved poetry; my poetry books are filled with heartache and anguish that was my life. Many have said that it was “dark” poetry. It was mainly dark as it was given birth from that dark place within me. Many have suggested that I seek help and counseling. Don’t we all need counseling in some form, depression, and/or anxiety?
To be a writer, one must have good communication skills and be able to share a point concisely and clearly. I began years ago by keeping a daily journal; with this journal, I could draw upon incidents in my life that would allow me to put them into my poetry or short stories. I have been told that writing is never a lonely activity; for me, it was because I have always thought of myself as a loner. I turn within, thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to write it to bring others into my “dark” world of reading what I wrote. I know I am not alone; many carry the same burdens that I do, much worse than mine. We may not be alone, but it is a lonely world for me. A world where I can hide and play the part needed to be played.
I have never looked at my writing as a job, one I could make a living regularly doing; be another Sylvia Plath or Grace Paley. That was why I waited until retirement to pursue my desire to write. I write because I love to create, to share with others. Yet, to share those, others must buy my books; maybe poetry was not the best choice. Perhaps a collection of short stories would have been more profitable? However, once again, urgency raises its worrisome head. There are constant changes in publishing and marketing, and I try to keep up with those when necessary. Writers must have adaptability when needed. Discipline is something that comes naturally to me. However, with cancer, treatments and the side effects that come with it does override discipline. It overshadows time, fatigue takes over no matter how committed I may be, and my challenges are health problems I have no control over.
I am organized, have a designated workspace, and have all the proper writing tools; I research what is needed to put out the correct information. I edit, edit, edit…I know what I want to write. I follow all the principles and have proofreaders. I copyright my material. I have had this blog for years. I am a people watcher, listen to tones, and am always mindful of syntax. I try to switch topics, poetry, short stories, newsworthy information, and opinions in my blog. I try to think critically, change styles, and learn new techniques. I follow some social media. However, I am a loner and a lone thinker.
There are two things that I need to observe. Slip away from fatigue and pain; my work may be more productive. Secondly, sales!
It has been a very long day for me, so I will leave you with this, never give up on your dreams.
The hours before dawn, and a cold rain pounds into my heart. The grief is fierce as it raises and consumes my spirit, assaulting my senses. Memories emerge from the darkness, becoming one with my soul. In the depths of my wounded courage, I am listing in a sea of sorrow, my life filled with more grief than many can bear. It is the hard cold hour before departing this misery.
I search for a miracle; hope merges with despair; my destiny is to leave all I have ever loved. I am uncertain and afraid. Hope has expired. Sometimes waves of anger and fear hang above me, a cloud circulating over the earth. I do not speak of death. Yet, the elderly where I reside; talk until they see their own grave over the horizon.
Much is written about grief, soft words meant to calm the grieving heart. There will be those who say how lovely these words are, and I doubt they are all true. Grief is not calm and comforting; the comments do not stop the pain. Words penetrate the brain; they shatter the heart.
Most are choked with emotions under the flesh where the heart is sheltered by outward affliction; they close their eyes, hoping to have the scene before they disappear. Grief has no place to hide! The speaker believes the words that enter the ears will comfort despair.
I recently returned after being away for a few days. My granddaughter and I went to Door County, a vacation spot for many from Wisconsin and out-of-state people. I had to get away after over two years of being shut in because of Covid. I was going “stir” crazy. I decided that cancer could do no less harm than being out and about.
We also had my great-grandson, who will soon turn ten. That is something to write—a spoiled ten-year-old. Of course, this is not anything new to me. If I heard “Mommie” once, I heard it a million times over four days. I doubt if spoiled is the correct term. I believe his parents try, yet they are not too successful in setting boundaries. They allow him to decide everything from ordering off the menu in a restaurant to when he wants to stop at some money-making game place. By the fourth day, I was living on my last nerve! We would leave on the fifth day and not a moment too soon.
Like Tina Turner sings, “What’s love got to do with it .”I love him very much, and he is a sweet loving kid who is spoiled. I sometimes wonder if there is enough time for him to get out of this entitled stage. His half-brother, who has lived an entitled life, does not know anything but to be catered to. He is thirteen years older than the other one. To clarify, neither comes from a “well-to-do” family. Yet the parents and a grandmother want to be friends with the two of them. I believe the term “will they love me” comes into play.
The grandmother is my youngest daughter, I have raised five children by myself, and as they grew up, they knew that I loved them and wanted them to love me. Yet, I was never their friend, each taught to respect me, and they have all turned out to be fine citizens and outstanding children. I believe that they have brought up their children as I did them. The youngest daughter is the only one with grandchildren; they are, as stated, brought up to be entitled to have all they need and too much of what they want.
However, it was a good trip. I enjoyed getting away from my own home, my book had slowed down, and I needed to recoup. The walls seemed to be closing in. I understand that this happened, but I did enjoy the trip. I came back with a much clearer head than when I left. The pain went with me, but it is only with pain that my mind remains clear. I refuse to take enough to stop the pain; it is then that the mind stops as well.
I wish all of you a wonderful day.
Existence, scene after scene, characteristics of life environment, genetics, and promises that reveal nothing, the past descends like rain from the sky, washing away all dreams.
Phantoms of youth chanting within the soul, paths blocked; evil has spread across the landscape of a lifetime.
Rethink the future! Loneliness limits love and happiness; boundaries set slow down the process of moving into the future. Nevertheless, a future shrouded with abundant solitude from which there is no escape.
My mother did not know if I were alive or dead. When the car drove away, she did not come out to see who it was; it would be four years before she saw my face. My cries are forgotten. A man I thought to be my daddy was my uncle. Yet they never hid who I was, and my daddy came to see me when he could always say he would take me home one day. By the time I was three years old, I could take care of myself. I took to the boys like a fish to water. They made me tough. Aunt Vina taught me manners; She was a brilliant individual. She took me to the local library and taught me how to read. By the time I left, I could read some simple words. That last year I could remember my life there, but nothing before. I could dress, tie my shoes and eat without help. I was toilet trained. There was nothing left to teach me, or so they thought. One Sunday afternoon, my daddy came to Birmingham. He said it was time for me to go home.
As the years have gone by, I have thought about how my life would be if I stayed with Aunt Vina. On that ride home, I had no idea who I was or where I was going. My life on the farm was simple; I wandered the hills above my family’s house and cared for myself. My mother ignored me, my sister hated me, and there was no love in that home, not even from my daddy. I don’t think he knew how. As the years went by, the only thing I could not do was get on the bus for school. I came home to chores. From age four until twelve, I ran the hills during good weather, always exploring. I learned to not care that my sister had pretty clothes and mine were hand-me-downs from my mother’s customers. I learned to not care that I was not loved. Eventually, my mother would not allow me to go to Aunt Vina’s during summer breaks from school. The clothes she bought me my mother gave away. If she found my journals, she burned them.
More and more each day, I see the hypocrisy and pettiness of humankind. I also see hate and jealousy. Outside my apartment, I have a “Black Lives Matter” sign in my garden. It is not gaudy but of good taste in design. It also states that other things I believe to matter are “women’s rights, human rights, gay rights, love is love.” I support all these things! A “Pride flag with large Native American feathers” is hanging from my patio porch. This flag represents my beliefs in its Pride colors and my Native heritage.
My neighbor came over to say that all they can see wherever they go in June is PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE, and she has had enough. Not to be spiteful, or maybe I was, I told her that I never watch football; however, the large “whirly gig” (half the size of my flag) she had in her patio area was quite beautiful. Painted her team’s colors were gorgeous, and the sound it makes is almost like windchimes, which I also love. She walked away without another word.
We must all realize that we are made up of different likes and dislikes. I continue to state that I am not perfect, but I try to understand everyone. I love parades showing how loyal we are as Americans. I try to recognize that we have many facets to our lives which, if not hurting anyone (Other than their feelings), we need to let everyone live their lives as they wish. That does not include rapists, murderers, hateful, harmful people.
My four-legged companion loves everyone like they all belong to her. I wish we could all be as innocent and loving as she. We should make the path we are traveling one that we are not judgmental. Each person’s preference is theirs, and we only have it if we believe God to answer too.
Forgiving evil. Within this past year, I have removed the toxic people from my life. It was not an easy thing to do. However, after years of forgiving their toxic ways over and over, it was beginning to affect my health. Then another evil entity came to visit, CANCER.
There are some evils that one cannot forgive; you must first love before you have the need to forgive. There are evils in our nation, our world that I cannot love; therefore, I have no reason to forgive. Some things are just too evil to forgive.
I love those that became toxic in my life dearly, and I have forgiven them. Was I perfect? No, but I was not filled with toxicity as they were. I had room in my soul to forgive and still love, even though they do not feel they have done anything wrong.
I wish the world could be like my fur baby Dixie. She is filled with so much love she believes that she belongs to everyone, and she shows them what love she has to offer. Most return her love. I believe Dixie sometimes keeps me alive, my prayers, and those who send me their prayers, thoughts, love and having a wonderful family.
During our lifetimes, we can give and take love; it will go on if you continue to fill all your empty places with passion, mindfulness, and kindness. EAJM