About patticates247

I love to read, write, take photos, take walks, and wonder about everything. This blog allows me to share my thoughts on a variety of subjects. I wonder as I wander. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. I'd love to hear from you!

On Faith And Our Fears

There is an advertisement airing now on TV in which a woman says you cannot be full of fear if you are full of faith. It is supposed to be uplifting and positive but I think that is incorrect and misleading. I think it is possible to have fears despite having faith. I also think it is normal to have doubts and fears.

I do have doubts, insecurities, and fears. I had many of them after my husband unexpectedly passed away.  At the time, I was worried that the other shoe was going to drop, or that something was going to happen to me or our son. I wasn’t trying to live without faith. However, when your entire world is rocked, it is normal to have doubts and not know when all be again be okay.

Throughout my grief journey, I have developed a stronger faith. For me, without it and our loved ones, I don’t think we would have made it. I remember the struggles of the early days, of feeling like I was in a fog and couldn’t think. I couldn’t answer a question in the first few days when asked. Part of me was broken. Part of me was lost that day.

Now, two years later, those broken pieces are healing. The light is coming back in. The part of me that was his wife is gone and I am a widow. However, I am blessed with memories, photos, and a son who has a lot of his dad in him. I expected to grow old with my spouse so those expectations have had to change.  It has been a challenge, but I am feeling more positive and hopeful.  That is a blessing.

Another thing I have heard that troubles me is when preachers say you can just claim what you want and the Lord will give it to you.  Also, that if you are truly in God’s will, no harm will come to you.  These are not always the case. The expectation that all will be right if you desire it enough can be very painful when reality sometimes sets in.

As my husband went to the hospital and the paramedics, doctors, and nurses worked on him, I prayed that he would survive. I didn’t want to lose him.  I didn’t want to say goodbye and I wasn’t ready to do so. Despite my earnest prayers, that was not the answer. Instead, my husband passed away.  I did get to say goodbye, but he was already gone. He was already in Heaven.

I don’t always understand the ways of God, but I truly believe that He is loving. I believe that He cares for us. I believe that He will be there for us. He promised to be with us during the trying times in our lives. Like the Marines, He is always faithful. Despite my questions, that helps comfort me. 

Speaking of faith, let’s remember Job from the Bible. He believed in God but lost everything — his wife, his children, his property, his animals, his vocation. Even in his loss, Job still worshipped the Lord and believed that he would be okay. He had questions and doubts. He also had faith and knew that despite all the losses, the Lord would stand by him.  His life certainly was full of tragedy yet he still believed. Job’s faith is a comfort to me.

Have you noticed that there are quite a few scriptures about not being afraid, not worrying, not doubting, but instead putting our faith and hope in God? It seems that He knew we would have struggles, fears, questions, and doubts. He knew we’d need Him. (Graphic and fear image are from Power Point clip art)

Here are a few of the scriptures that have helped me:

  • “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” — Isaiah 43:1
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:10
  • “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” — Romans 8:38-29
  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

On The Challenge Of Finding Inspiration To Write

These days it is hard to find the inspiration to write and then post a blog. I only wrote one in January and this is the first for February. I have been thinking about what it is that is making it so hard to turn to this outlet that I so appreciate.

I suppose it boils down to the stresses of everyday life, concerns about the health of loved ones and loved ones’ pets, losses and deaths that are unexpected yet still happen, lack of hugs or physical contact, and both school and work at home. Also stresses that we hear on the news, how adults are acting and treating others, and so much more.

Also, I have been busy with projects around the house, laundry, general upkeep, dishes, and taking care of three meals every day for the two of us plus snacks. After all, I have a growing teenage who eats a lot. My son does help out but many days his focus is on school. We all have to do this, but some days it is hard.

We also truly miss seeing our friends and family. We are staying home from pretty much everything and that has been really tough. We are doing our best to be careful and help our loved ones stay healthy. So the visiting times have had to be creative and out of the ordinary. We are homebodies and do love being home doing our own thing. Still the lack of interaction can be a challenge.

I regularly remind my son that this is not how the teenage years are supposed to be.  And yet, this is reality for him and his generation. They are dealing with depression, frustration, self-doubts, and loneliness. For the most part, they cannot do the things together with their friends that I remember doing as a teenager — sporting events, theater practice, hanging out, concerts, and dinner and a movie out.

Thankfully, there are the Internet and Zoom meetings. My son and I do calls with our friends and family. It is not the same as being in the same room with them, but it is better than no contact at all. We also do online church and school and work meetings online. There is a lot of bad in the online world, but we are doing our best to focus on the good. We enjoy the positives of the contact we can have with others.

All of this negative is often hard to deal with. Yet, we try. We get up each day to try again. We try to finish work projects and school assignments. We work on the chores of the house, including laundry, housework, and the groceries chosen and purchased. We also make a point to have time to do fun things, have a chance to talk about everything, laugh, share a good memory, read a book, watch a movie or TV show, savor down time, and exercise.

We also make sure to get enough sleep and enough rest. My teenage son needs so much sleep these days. He is growing each week and so plenty of sleep is very important. Many days we have a late start. I try to have that be okay since we are doing our best. We often work later to be sure enough time is given to our work.

My family has lost a few loved ones due to this damn virus, as many others have. I hope and pray that no one else has to suffer that fate. We also have friends and family who have lasting effects of COVID-19. It is tough virus and sadly is very real, as much as some may want to deny it.

My prayer is that we will soon be healed from this. In the meantime, I hope and pray that we can do what is necessary to take care of each other, to be kind to each other, to wear our masks, to social distance, to avoid large crowds, to wash our hands, and to be aware of what we are doing and how we are acting.

We can make a difference if we can truly love one another. We can take care of each other, even if it is at a distance. We can bear each other’s burdens. May we do just that and always, always love.

In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer

My heart is heavy today with the suffering, trials, loss, and pain of so many. The only thing that I can do about it is to pray, read my Bible, and write about what I am thinking and feeling. Perhaps then, I can have some comfort. Another thing that always helps is a good cry and a nap or great night of sleep.

Philippians 4:6 states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I have been comforted by prayer during the storms in my life, but know that they aren’t always answered in the way that I would have liked. In those cases, I then pray for comfort, peace, wisdom, and understanding. Those can be very hard to come by, but are something that I am trying.

I also want to be sure to include the thanksgiving portion of that scripture. I am thankful for so much that the Lord has provided for me and my son. We may have lost my husband and his dad, but we know where he is. We know that he has seen our Lord face to face. I have to tell you, each time I think of that, I cry happy and sad tears.

We have been comforted and sustained by our faith and our loved ones. We have suffered and still don’t understand the loss. I am not sure when I will, but, there there is light now more than darkness. For  that I am truly comforted. Now, we can remember something good along with the sadness. Okay, so here goes.

“Lord, so many of us are in pain, are dealing with tremendous losses, and are suffering. Please watch over us, help us through these storms, and provide us with the peace and comfort that only You can give us.

“In Your mercy, hear our prayers about:

  • Deaths of our loved ones whether suddenly or by a long illness – including spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin, and friend
  • The long suffering of a loved one
  • Illnesses and viruses, including COVID-19
  • Cancers and tumors and the treatments
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Mental health issues
  • Heart attacks or transplants
  • Surgeries and the recovery
  • Violence and hate
  • Bullying and threats from others
  • Job losses
  • Uncertainty of our loved one’s safety
  • Health both physical and mental of our military
  • Safety and health for our law enforcement, first responders, nurses, doctors, military, and all trying to help those who are sick or dying
  • Losses of our lives as we knew them prior to COVID
  • Racial strife and injustice
  • Treating others poorly just because they are different than us
  • Eviction from home and homelessness
  • School and learning challenges for our children and young people
  • Stress of teachers and all educators in finding the right balance
  • Our leaders and the ability to govern again with healthy debate that isn’t threatening or hateful
  • Freedom and our democracy
  • Our clergy and religious leaders in this very different time
  • Hunger and not being able to have enough food for families
  • Losses of our beloved pets who truly are part of the family
  • Uncertainty of life
  • Suffering and challenges of daily life

“Lord, may we know You are always there for us. May we reach out and help each other through these hardships. May we provide comfort and love and listen when someone needs to talk.

“May we bear one another burdens as You instructed us to do.  May we treat one another with kindness, respect, compassion, honesty, and empathy.  And, may we always, always love.

“In Your Mercy, Lord, Hear Our Prayer. Amen.”

(images from Power Point clip art)

On Endings and Beginnings

Just a few hours left of one of the hardest years we have had. 2020 is winding down and we will soon be on to 2021. Amazing, right? Not the hardest, but it does rank up there. Not being with loved ones for most of it has made for a challenging year. We also have worried about loved ones who have been sick and dealing with so many challenges.

Still, there are good things and it is time to almost say Happy New Year.  As I have read, tomorrow, January 1, will be the first day we can say hindsight is 2020 and have it apply to the year that just ended.  Truly strange, but there you go. I just wonder if we have actually learned from all of these changes.  I sure have.

Today, I have had many mixed emotions, about endings and beginnings, about losses, and plusses in our lives, and those that I am missing; some who I will see again and others I will not. I am also happy to have some lazy time at home with no projects that have to be finished; just be worked on. I am enjoying a really good book and will have some time to color in my new book with quotes.

We will have time with my parents this weekend as we did over Christmas.  They are the only people in our pod. They are the ones we have seen in person this year. There have been a few others but very short visits, usually outside, and wearing masks. It will be good to see them, but tonight we are at home.

My son and I will take it easy. We will enjoy pizza, a favorite movie or tv show (depending on what we decide), something for dessert, perhaps some hot chocolate, and watching the ball drop — if we can stay up that late. We will also talk and laugh, which I truly love.

What are your plans?  We recommend being careful, social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home.  We are all for that and feel at times that we are part hermit.

On this last day of the year, I am thankful for:

  • My son who loves to learn
  • Brunch as well as a Christmas roast with my parents
  • Opening presents — whether in person or over a Face Time call
  • Zoom calls with family
  • Online or phone contact with friends and family
  • My son’s chats with his friends
  • Christmas cards from friends and family and sending out our own
  • Hot chocolate and hot tea
  • Staring a new book “My Dear Hamilton” — really good so far
  • Laughing at a favorite show
  • Watching White Christmas and singing along with each song
  • Watching The Post with my son and talking about the importance of the 1st Amendment and newspapers
  • Long chats with my son
  • Hearing the fart machine that I gave my son for Christmas and us cracking up together
  • No alarm clocks over our break, which we know will change very soon
  • Walks around our decorated neighborhood
  • Take-out food or delivery from a favorite restaurant
  • Chats with my siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family
  • Being able to shop online at home
  • Having the two of us be happy at home
  • Peppermint bark given as gifts (yummy!)
  • Photos and memories
  • Nightly Bible reading with my son

Happy New Year to you and yours.  We wish for you blessings, hope, peace, good health, safety, and much love.

Rejoicing always can be a challenge, but is important

In our church’s sermon yesterday, the pastor quoted from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “ Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Powerful words, right?! (image from Power Point Clip Art) 

Jesus told us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything? Seriously Lord? You really want us to do this? You really expect us to do this? It is a challenge what we are called to do. Also, it can often be just what we need. After all, the Lord does work in mysterious ways. 

As hard as this year has been, there have been good points and times that I cherish. Extra time with my son to talk during breakfast, prayer group chats, time to watch a favorite show or movie, Zoom chats with family and friends, phone calls and texts, cards in the mail, and time to cook a few favorite meals. Also, I like that we don’t have to race out of the door each morning.

Still I miss seeing friends and my sister and brother and their families. It has been since last year that we saw them in person. Too long but we are all trying to be careful and listen to the doctors, researchers, scientists, and others who know how serious this pandemic really is. 

I also miss my friends, going to church, seeing people at Ian’s school and around town, eating at a favorite restaurant, and so much more. I am thankful that there are ways to handle that, just not the same as we are used to. We can Zoom or chat with our friends, see them outside with masks on, listen to an online church service singing the hymns at home, and getting take out food or going through the drive-thru. 

So there are things to rejoice about and to give thanks about. Just sometimes, we have to think about them. Sometimes they don’t come as easily since we can get bogged down in the bad stuff of life. I have learned through my struggles that having joy and positive things in my life made a big difference. It cannot be all bad to be able to heal from the pain and sadness. 

This year I am praying a lot – for family, friends, my son and his classmates, his teachers and all of the other teachers in our lives, his school administrators, other families at his school and those all over the world in this time of new education, college students, and those at other schools as well. 

We also pray for our loved ones’ health and the health of the nurses and doctors who are taking care of so many sick people, the first responders from many departments, all hospital staff, and the police officers. We pray for those in the military, in positions of leadership, and our elected officials. 

I know that this Christmas will be like one I have never seen.  We have always spent time with lots of family and friends — both on my side and on Kirk’s side. This year that is not possible. In my families, there will be no large gatherings — at least not in person.

As hard as that is, we know it is the right thing to do for this year. So much is still unknown about the virus that we need to be careful and mindful of keeping our loved ones healthy and safe. 

So this year will be quieter, smaller, and hopefully with some real quality time with those nearest and dearest to us. Sleeping in, games and chats, laughter, study, some time to work (but not much), songs, favorite movies, and reading of the story of Jesus’ birth. 

A few things I am thankful for: 

  • Despite not getting to sing “Silent Night” by candlelight at my church, we can sing it at home. Also, I recorded a TV special about this precious hymn. I look forward to watching that. 
  • Bible study in the evening with my son. This was his idea and for that, I am truly thankful. 
  • My family who I treasure so much and am enjoy shopping for. Secret Santa gifts are a great idea. 
  • Cards from loved ones about their year. We are sending one out as well. 
  • My friends near and far who are never more than a call, text, or Zoom away. 
  • Time with my son’s best friend and our families for their birthday celebrations. 
  • Plenty of time to watch some favorite movies and TV shows. 
  • Zoom chats with family and friends. 
  • Being able to sit under a blanket and read a book. 
  • Looking at my son’s art work and creativity and listening to him explain it. 
  • Our home with many memories with us and my late husband. We miss him but each day continue to heal. 
  • Listening to my son on a Zoom call with friends. They love to laugh and that is wonderful. 
  • Days off from work to enjoy the season of giving, loving, and peace. 

I hope and pray that you can find the blessings in your life, despite all of the hardships. I pray for peace and joy for you. I also pray that you will always, always love. 

My Grandpa’s Prayer of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Each year I like to share a special prayer of Thanksgiving that my Grandpa B wrote many years ago. Here I am with him a few decades ago.

He was an educator, a story-teller, and a writer.  He and his wife, my Grandma, taught me so much. I was blessed to have known them and so many of their family/also my family. We were and still are so different. They and my parents and family taught us to appreciate and love each other’s differences.

This prayer touches me greatly, especially since this is the time of year two years ago when my husband passed away unexpectedly. It is a challenging time but I hope that we can focus on our memories and remember the good times that we had. We were fortunate to have so many and took lots of pictures.

I hope that these words will touch you as they do me. I truly appreciate the simple things of life that he is focusing on — those milestones and moments with our families. This year more than ever, we can see how truly important they are. They are real and truly precious. Blessings to you and yours!

“Our Father-God We thank thee:

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
  • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
  • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
  • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
  • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
  • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
  • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
  • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
  • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
  • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
  • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
  • For parenthood we thank thee
  • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be they will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come. Amen.”

I love this prayer and it gets me every time. He captures the wonder and joy of parenthood and family so well. My family is very precious to me and I have so missed seeing many of them.

I too want to pray for peace as well as kindness for all of us. I want to pray for healing and mental health and comfort in knowing we will all be okay.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, no matter how small the gathering is of those around your table. May you enjoy the times you have with your loved ones.  And, may you always, always love.

Teaching Our Kids About Frustration and Loss

I hope and pray that we adults can show the kids that despite being frustrated and lost, that there are still good things in life. We can show them that is okay to be upset and that we aren’t always super strong about things in our lives.

We should give them and ourselves time to process these terrible things and deal with them. If we need to cry, then let’s cry. If we need to scream, let’s scream. Let’s feel what we need to feel.

What we shouldn’t do is start being unreasonable or completely awful and hateful to those that we love or those that we don’t know. All that does is cause more conflict and hurt for others. Finding that line can be hard since we sometimes feel like we are unraveling. But let’s remember to treat others with kindness. We should remember that for ourselves as well.

Let’s be a safe place for our young people and help them deal with the issues and problems that they have. My son and his friends are dealing with things I never thought of as a teenager. It boggles the mind how different some things are. Yet, stress and anxiety have always been there. I just hope and pray that we can deal with it and help them deal with it as well.

In sports, there are winning teams and losing teams. In the Olympics, a runner or a swimmer can lose by less than a second and that is the difference between a gold medal and a silver medal. Knowing this, the athletes continue to compete. They know that there are wins and losses. They are thrilled with the wins and upset about the losses. Hopefully they can learn from the times they lose. Hopefully all of us can.

The same is true in politics, acting, and applying for jobs. We don’t always get the title we want, the part we want, or the office we want. If we don’t get those things, let’s remember to be kind anyway. Let’s also remember to be sensible and not accuse others of cheating or stealing it from us. If there is a problem, actual evidence of a wrong-doing should be presented and reviewed.

We can continue to teach our kids/teens/young people how to be kind winners and losers. They need to be good sports. For that matter, so do we as adults. We could all use the reminder to lose gracefully.

We also could remember to win gracefully and without being know-it-alls or rubbing someone’s face in the fact. Let’s also not be those parents that scream hatefully on the sidelines at a game. Let’s instead cheer on our teams, no matter the outcome. 

Let’s also encourage our young people to finish what they need to, to try as hard as they can, to live up to their promises to others, and to support their friends, classmates, and teammates. We can support others and also may learn some empathy along the way. 

I hope and pray that we can be examples to the next generation of how to treat one another. I mean a good example instead of one that shows them what not to do. Many of our youth know this far better than we do. Perhaps we can learn from them as well.

October Is Flying By

I cannot believe that it is almost the end of October. It seems like we just started this month and I have not written any blogs. Life has been busy and stressful so I haven’t taken the time to write. Sheesh.

Early this month, my son became a teenager. That was amazing and a fun day. We got to spend it outside with masks on with one of his dear friends who also became a teenager. Seeing our friends was good for my son and for me.

Also, this is the month that Kirk and I got married, so I am a bit sad with the memories of what could and should have been versus what actually is. I am blessed with lots of photos and memories and people to share our stories with. Still, along with the good, there is a bit of melancholy.

I have been extremely busy with work — in finishing last school year’s work and report cards for the students who we work with in the family business. I am also working on the current school year. In addition, my son had some school work that he did over break and continues to work on assignments. Plenty to do, that’s for sure.

On the good side, I have family and friends who celebrate birthdays this month and that is great. We are primarily celebrating at a distance which is I guess what we should be doing during a pandemic. Still it is hard to not be with loved ones during special times.

Medical procedures, sick family members and friends, and favorite pets having health issues are weighing on me as well. So I pray, cry as needed, and talk to our loved ones to get the latest information and know how to help them. Meditation, deep breathing, and walks also help. Seems there is always something, so I am trying to find ways to deal with them.

Along with the bad, there is a lot of good. So, this month I am thankful for:

  • My memories of the ocean and its splendor
  • Our time spent with family and friends at the beach
  • Fall break at home – we enjoyed it although it went by really fast 
  • Sleeping in before a busy day of work
  • Cooler weather so I can be outside more
  • Walks around our neighborhood
  • My son with all of his talents and gifts
  • Finishing one book series — Harry Potter for the second time
  • Starting a new book series that my son wanted me to read — Artemis Fowl
  • Hot tea and coffee
  • Soups and sandwiches or salads
  • Watching movies with a bowl of popcorn
  • Enjoying favorite comedies and laughing together
  • My family and friends — although we miss seeing most of them, they are loved
  • Working at home so I can watch over my son’s school work and time

I will try to write more in the upcoming weeks. It has just been a super busy month for us, despite primarily staying at home. May you stay safe and healthy! We are trying to do the same.

To My Son and His Generation…

To my son and his generation, his cousins, and his friends, please note that what was on display during the Presidential debate last night is not the behavior we want to see in you, in ourselves, or in these candidates.  And yet, we did. It was ugly and an embarrassment.

Rudeness, bullying, interruptions, and yelling were on display and my blood pressure and stress rose through the roof.  There was very little if any substance to what was said. Instead, we heard lots of blame, lies, and despicable behavior.  It is not an okay way to behave. These adults know better and I think that you do as well.

If you are ever on a debate team, you will have to learn the rules to be quiet for the time that you are not speaking. For example, if one team has a 90 second chance to state their case, you on the other team are supposed to listen and think about how you will respond when it is your turn. And that continues with each team. Clearly, this didn’t happen with this debate. (Pictures are from Power Point clip art)

It has been interesting to see the people who like President Trump think he did a great job and was unfairly interrupted or scolded. Those who like former Vice President Biden think that he was impressive while talking directly to the camera and to the American people and mostly kept his cool. Even in a debate we see things through our own beliefs and who and what we follow.

I think that Trump was interrupted more since he did more talking over Biden as well as the moderator Chris Wallace of FOX News. He was rude and did not stick with the rules that his party and campaign had agreed to for a civil debate.  Biden sometimes lost his cool and said a few things that were out of line or inappropriate.

During and after the debate, I saw postings that Kindergarten teachers should be making more money since they regularly work with those who misbehave. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and let me tell you, she never would have put up with this behavior in her classroom.

She taught the students how to behave, how to speak to one another, and that they are to be respectful and keep their hands to themselves. For misbehavior, her students lost privileges and had to draw a picture of what they had done and what they were supposed to have done. For repeated misbehavior, the students lost access to the treasure chest, which was normally a treat for them.

To my son and his generation, I am curious what you thought.  I know that we didn’t listen to the entire debate, if you can call it that. We had to stop since it was just out of control. The threats, hatefulness, and yelling from people who may be elected to serve the entire country are not okay. They are not the norm. Or at least shouldn’t be.

To my generation and those both older and younger than me, let’s please not let this kind of behavior become the way of our society.  Let’s hold our leaders and elected officials to a higher standard. Let’s learn the proper way to debate from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Antonin Scalia. They knew that you can have a vigorous debate but still be friends. They knew that it didn’t have to get ugly.

Let’s truly listen before we respond. Let’s spread kindness not hatefulness. Let’s not hate. Let’s not teach people to hate. Let’s not buy into fear and doubt. Let’s not lie but tell the truth and know its value.  Let’s not judge others on their differences. Let’s remember how important integrity and respect are to see in us, each other, and our elected officials. And, let’s always, always love.

On The Death Of Good Men Like Chadwick Boseman

Last weekend, I was saddened to learn of the death of Chadwick Boseman after a four-year battle from colon cancer. It has hit me harder than I expected and I am not sure why. He was only 43 years old, so it could be his age.

It also could be that he is another black man losing his life unexpectedly. And that has been happening way too much.  Also, it could be because he was a man of great character, empathy, kindness, and compassion.

Sadly, these are characteristics that are lacking these days. I for one wish there were more people who lived their lives as he did. It could also be that deaths are just painful, no matter how close the person was to us. Death hurts, whether it be slow with suffering or sudden and unexpected.

While battling his own cancer, Mr. Boseman went to visit sick kids at St. Jude’s Hospital. It is amazing to think that while he was filming movies, he was going through surgeries and chemotherapy. And, he was helping kids who were in a similar boat as him. Some had cancer, others had serious illnesses, and still others had diseases that were being treated.

This week, I told my son that this is the sort of man who you want to be like and learn from.  A man with integrity and dignity. A man who didn’t just play a hero but was a hero to many sick children.  A man who truly knew the meaning of empathy and helping others. A man who can still teach us how to treat one another.

We want to thank Marvel, Disney and ABC for airing “Black Panther” commercial-free on Sunday night. This movie is so good, well-written, and deserved the awards that it received. It is beautiful, shows true community, the importance of a tribe, and how leaders must have morals and values that help them govern or rule in this case.

We watched it over two nights since Sunday was a school night. I enjoyed seeing all of the lovely clothes, scenery, skin tones, and regal-ness that the film had. It seemed to be based on actual tribes and histories of them and their people.  It was just lovely and I enjoyed every minute. So did my son.

After the movie, we watched the Marvel special and then the ABC special celebrating the life of Chadwick Boseman. It was touching to see how much he and that film impacted so many people, including children. He was a hero to so many people — his colleagues, his friends, and children who looked up to him.

My son and I discussed the fact that this was the first movie that black girls and boys got to see people who looked like them in the lead roles. It wasn’t about that but instead about this man’s quest to become king of his homeland. It truly broke barriers and that is a great thing. “Wakanda Forever.”

There is a line at the end of the movie that really touched me and made me teary-eyed as we watched it several times.  It was said by the Black Panther aka King T’Challa and is something that is true in real life as well. “But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

We so need to do this in real life. I am tired of so much division today in our country and around the world. I am tired of those in leadership positions who don’t help with that, and often make things worse.

Enough!  It is time for us to come together rather that tearing each other down. We truly need to do this for ourselves, each other, and for our children.

True heroes don’t announce how great they are. True heroes quietly go about their heroic work and assist others as needed. True heroes go in and rescue others who need their help. I think that Mr. Boseman was one of these heroes. I only wish that he had lived longer to teach us more.

Not only did he help to change movies, his death ended up being the most tweeted item ever. Isn’t that amazing? I want to see a few of his other movies in which he portrayed Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall.  I want my son to watch them with me and we can discuss them, depending on the rating of course.

In closing, I hope that we can do as Chadwick Boseman demonstrated and as his character reminded us. Let’s build bridges instead of barriers. Let’s look after one another. Let’s practice kindness and empathy. Let’s give of ourselves to those in need. Let’s think of others and not just our own needs and wants.  And, let’s always, always love.

(Blogger’s Note: all images are from Power Point’s clip art gallery.)