Friday, October 28, 2011

Who Said It?

This whole situation with the Occupy of Wall Street (OWS) reminds me of one of my favorite books in the Bible and quote.  Now, before you run to the hills because I am using a quote from the Bible, in a non church setting please stay with me for just a minute.  I promise it will be painless, all about you and beneficial to you.  The question of who said it is just to get your brain warmed up.  The main question I want you to answer is this.  How does the quote below and the situation of the OWS relate to your life right now?  Read the quote in its entirety then go back and remove the word Jews and insert your family name.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who The Heck Is Joan Brock?

Who she is doesn’t seem to be as important as what she has been through.  A story of perseverance against all odds that every man, woman or child should reflect on to get through the tough times.  Did you lose your job, home or, not sure if the job you have today will be there tomorrow?  Are you dealing with bullies at school?  Are you just having a bad hair day?  Whatever you might be going through, no matter the degree of seriousness or insignificance, Joan’s story, should get you back on track.  Joan Brock’s story will bring you back from the ledge. 

I want you to imagine yourself in the following situation:  You are teaching at a blind school.  You have been showing blind children for over five years how to do things while being blind.  You have not quite understood why these blind children are afraid of stairs.  Then one day your child is holding pink socks but you see white socks.   You have an eye condition that cannot be fixed and you will never be able to see again.  All the colors you were just seeing yesterday are gone.  You will have to judge people by their character and not their color.  All so quickly your world goes from color to no color.  This is a small portion of Joan Brock’s story. 

Joan must now put those skills that she had been teaching her blind school children into practice, immediately.  Keep in mind it’s not just about sight but independence.  There will be no more movie dates, no driving to the drug store or stopping to look in a mirror.  Joan can’t really take a step, without thinking about her location.  As Joan and family are working through these challenges she gets another 90 mph curveball thrown at her.  While blind, Joan’s husband and rock is diagnosed with sinus cancer and within seven month he dies at the age of 37. 

How many people do you know that would just throw in the towel?  Joan Brock’s story is true and is documented in a successful book and Lifetime movie.  Joan is back on her feet and although she is blind she can “see” life.  This whole story reminded me of Job from the Bible.  As I was writing my notes and thinking this is a story to share, no matter where you are in the world, Joan leaves us with three points.
1.       Don’t do life alone
2.      Family is so important
3.      God and Faith…it will get you through

Joan Brock was the guest speaker at the Outstanding Women’s Exchange (OWE) breakfast.  Although the OWE has a women’s label there were many men in attendance along with all the beautiful women.  In addition, corporate sponsorships brought out big hitters including four different banks that have to admit they got their money’s worth.  I realized now, that my ticket was a priceless gift.

What is priceless in your life?  Joan gave us a hint in her three points.  The story that I asked you to imagine above was only part of the trials and tribulations, Joan and her family went through.  She found the light from within and made the best out of a bad situation.  Don’t think about how much money you have or don’t have.  Think about the price of good health.  There are just some things money won’t buy.  Take a minute today to enjoy your surroundings.  Enjoy the colors of the trees, sound of the birds, and smell of the air.  In the end remember, God gave us everything we need to enjoy life; Him.

A Tour Every American Should Take

There is history and then there is history.  I never knew until this weekend what was nestled back in the woods of Charles City, Virginia.  Although close to Williamsburg, it is not the wooden bench or sparsely decorated cabins of the Jamestown settlement.  It would blow the socks off of any HGTV designer and bring sheer delight to any self-respecting decorator; but sorry this isn’t the story.  This is about interesting pieces of history that every American would enjoy seeing and exploring.  It is the Westover Church Plantation House Tours. 

I know looking at my picture, you may be thinking that I am the least likely person to be promoting or even wanting to talk about plantations.  Nevertheless, there are some important things to bring to light.  Because of the stories and images I saw and heard this weekend, I realized that if enough interest is not shown; this history will slowly and quietly slip away, be reinvented or be repeated.  I think the land fight with the Indians and slavery would be first on my list that does not bear repeating.  Nevertheless, none of us would be where we are today without the significant contribution of both.

The special part about these plantation house tours was that it was sponsored by the historic Westover Church constructed somewhere between 1630 and 1637.  I was told, because of its historic clout the plantation houses were opened for actual in home tours and not just the grounds.  This once a year deal and major fundraiser for the church supports meals-On-Wheels for senior and I am all for taking care of seniors. 

In addition to the Westover Church hospitality, they had live entertainment unlike any place I’ve ever been.  There was a modern day young Ludwig Beethoven music major student from the college of William and Mary playing and explaining the organ.  Now this is not your everyday run of the mill organ.  It was the built in structure organ, pull the stops and foot pedal playing type.  You would have to be there to get it but, that encounter alone was worth the price of admission.  There are some things in life that are priceless.

Yes, a plantation tour is very different from the past.  There are of course no slaves or slave quarters on the tour and I was allowed to move around freely.  There were no Indians on the path waiting to scalp anyone trespassing on their land.  The most notable plantations were Sherwood Forest, Berkeley, and Westover.  I stopped over at the Nance Major home soon to be converted into a Bed and Breakfast.  I’ll stop here and allow you to do the rest of the research by planning your fall trip next year and remember lunch is included. 

To preserve the true history of all participants, I suggest you visit and bring your children and research the stories.  I would have liked to see where the slaves lived and why the Indians who helped the first settlers survive the harsh winter were later deemed their enemies.  Those pieces of the puzzle were a little blurred but a must find, if all Americans are going to understand the full history and maintain its truthfulness.

Whatever your ethnicity may be, don’t dwell on the fact that the land was stolen from the Indians or that blacks were slaves.  As a black person, I did not harp on the negative side of slavery but applied a fresh perspective and one that inspired me to think about how slaves worked hard to better the lives of others by cooking, cleaning and being nannies.  They built walls and farmed the land that reaped wealth for their owners.  Although many were whipped and beaten they had hearts of gold to continue.  We were told stories how some slaves defended their owners and property during the war.  Now imagine that.