Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation with members from my Quaker Meeting, and it was an enjoyable experience. This country could use one of these on a daily basis.
The theme for the walk this year was “Recognizing the One in All of Us.” This is appropriate for many reasons, in and out of religions.
Although this is something that has been going on for 15 years, it was my first, but certainly not my last. There is just something fulfilling about being surrounded by a group of like-minded folks that energizes me in a way I cannot put into words.
We started our journey at the Arch Street Meeting House in old city Philadelphia. The Meeting room was filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i, secular humanists, and others who share the values of peace and justice. We sat in silence, as we do in Quaker tradition before heading to the streets.
Our first stop was the Society Hill Synagogue where we were greeted by members lining the entrance. Musicians were playing inside that filled the room with joy. The Rabbi welcomed all of us with prayer and a dash of humor. We then enjoyed a musical prayer performed by the Philadelphia Sikh Society youth group. A reading by Philadelphia Youth Poet Laurite, Husna Hashim, that rose the room to their feet in applause, and a Recitation from the Qu’ran by Muhammed Shehata from the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, which thankfully was translated for all of us to interpret. Notice the Rabbi & the Muslim embracing in the background. Who would have known ….
All throughout the walk, we were encouraged to use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone outside of our comfort zone and LEARN. Questions like “does your turban come pre-wrapped or do you do it yourself?” were not off limits.
Just in case you were wondering they are not pre-wrapped and there are YouTube videos for guidance. According to his smile, I would say he was relieved at the lightness of my question.
Once we left the Synagogue, we made our way back to the street and headed out for a 60-minute walk to Al Aqsa Mosque. We were greeted by the sounds of music compliments of a woman DJ wearing a hijab and Beats by Dre headphones. Something you don’t see every day.
The parameter of the facility was lined with the World Peace ballons in the above photo. It was indeed a site to witness. The air was consumed by the fragrance of dinner being made by the members of the Mosque, and dessert prepared by the Sikh community for all of us to share. All I can say is …. YUM!
As we were all settling in I took a moment to look around, I mean really look around at the oneness surrounding me.
I watched the men carrying out trays of food, and the women were not only directing where everything needed to go, but they were also getting annoyed if the men did not do it accordingly. Every woman reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.
The children were running around excited to have company in their “home.”Look what I can do! Look at me! Watch this! Free entertainment.
I realized that the ONE woman in our lives who insists you try her dish over the everyday meals made by the other women even though your plate is already overflowing exists in EVERY culture. You know who you are ladies.
This was when I understood that the core ingredient to solving World Peace is FOOD. We really need to stop overthinking, start cooking and
Enjoy the Ride!
Something told me it would be a good time to resurrect this post. Happy Easter and Happy Passover everyone.
A couple of years ago I found a little pamphlet or should I say it found me that contained the keynote address given by Arthur Larrabee at the Friends General Conference Gathering of Friends, which was held back in 1998. If you weren’t aware, I attend Quaker Meeting every Sunday. It’s where I’ve regularly been going for the last 3 years to … well … get my peace on.
One Sunday I entered Meeting very troubled. Things were beginning to get somewhat extreme in my head over a particular situation. It wasn’t good. I found myself sitting somewhere differently that day, but it was right where I was supposed to be, next to this wonderful little pamphlet. Psst…Lisa…sit here you need to see this now.
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The word suddenly indeed takes center stage with what is on my mind. Friday, like every Friday, is spent with my mom. Due to the nor’easter that hit the east coast this week, we decided to ditch our outside plans. Mother Nature had another idea for me.
Our usual Friday consists of errands. Bank, bakery, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, which means we are in and out of the car a lot. Well, I am. At 91 getting in and out of a vehicle is not an easy task, now add Macular degeneration to the mix, and it’s downright difficult. Not that this stops mom from giving it her best, but knowing her limits.
So, with our change in plans, I was able to spend some quality one-on-one outside of the car. This is where the magic happened.
Suddenly I felt our roles had reversed. Not that V hasn’t given me the opportunity to play worried mother with her in the past. Like the time she didn’t answer her phone, did not let my sisters where she was going or me, which led us to frantically drive to her apartment only to see her laughing around a table with her friends. We all looked surprised as she asked: “what are you doing here?”
Macular degeneration is something that little by little, but suddenly leaves you without full use of your eyes, something that has taken a toll on my mom physically & mentally. Just imagine having your independence pulled out from under your feet.
Now, my once never asking for help independent mother before it was fashionable, suddenly has to have her daughters read her mail. Along with everything else in print.
After reading the mail on Friday, I had the pleasure of reading a letter to my mom. Not just any letter, a letter from a friend, who just happens to be an avid reader and recently read an incredible book about Jackie O., her sister Lee and mother Janet. Knowing my mom shares the same love for Jackie O, she created a CliffsNotes version for me to share. The highlight of the day!
Over the next few hours, we not only discussed the story in the letter, but it also opened the door to discuss all sorts of subjects, including, but not limited to the fact that very wealthy people are weird. Money does not prevent weirdness, but it can pay someone to brush it under the rug.
My mom insisted on making my lunch. Considering cooking and serving are the two things she can do independently I said yes. What was on the menu you ask? A grilled cheese cut into four squares, veggie chips, and applesauce. Suddenly, feeling five years old again felt terrific!
As we were eating my mom suddenly got serious. Not the norm. Mom began explaining to me that she has been having more bad days than good ones, along with a lecture on the fact that people shouldn’t live this long. What?!
I’m not naive. I understand that at 91 life has an expiration date, but for whatever reason, it suddenly became very evident. Maybe there was something in the cheese?
Suddenly I realized that my days of eating grilled cheese cut into four squares are limited.
Suddenly I realized the promise I made to marry my mom when I was 3 was not going to be fulfilled.
Suddenly I realized that my daily phone chats on the way home from work won’t be around forever.
Suddenly I realized I’m not young anymore and neither is the one person in this world who loves me the most.
Suddenly has a way a sneaking up on you, so make sure you Enjoy the Ride!
Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the days when we were that fresh warm and fuzzy little piece of cashmere that was cooed and coddled at just the right moments? The answer is yes, yes it would be great.
Sadly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Instead, we must endure life. That’s right folks, our parents and the parents before them and so forth and so on had to make the brave decision to send their cotton balls out into the world to create their own fabric of life. One thread at a time.
I remember my days as a fresh little piece of lambswool, untethered by this thing we call life. Did you know that lambswool is the highest quality of sheep’s wool to be found? Yep, it’s the perfect combination of strong, smooth, flexible fibers just like the innocence of childhood, where everything is magical. Until puberty came along like a hot iron.
Have you ever put a hot iron on a piece of lambswool? Well, the result was the teenage years, and it came in the form of acne, temptation, “love” and an attitude that included, but was not limited to, thinking I was smarter than, well, everyone older than me.
This is when my life turned into that love it or hate fabric polyester. Not the evolved polyester of today, I’m talking about the one that fell from grace once it went double-knit. Better known as the lesson learning fabric.
I spent over a decade living in this durable, lightweight, retaining my shape, easy to wash, flexible, but uncomfortable, unbreathable, cheap, ugly and highly flammable fabric. The keyword here is durable.
However, towards the end of my polyester days, I did recognize that when I blended with other fabrics such as rayon, I began to shine. The rayon in my life were work mentors and friends.
Then ladies and gentleman, just as I reached my peak shimmer, marriage and motherhood wove its way right into this semi-retired jumpsuit to create the perfect blend of comfort and durability. Once again, let’s focus on the durability portion.
No one fully prepared me for all that this blend was bringing to the loom of life. All I can say is hallelujah Levi Straus for adding denim into the world of textiles. And a double hallelujah to the genius who decided to include lycra for flexibility. Can I get an AMEN?
This blend of sturdy cotton warp-faced textile, with a dash of spandex, is precisely what is needed to keep a marriage alive, raise children, work full-time outside of the home while still maintaining a CEO status in the home. Welcome to the 21st century.
Now that my children are young adults, still living at home, and my marriage has reached a chapter that is one part wooing and another part tired as hell, I feel like I’m sporting the tattered, torn, stained yet sturdy burlap sack fabric look. Only Marilyn can pull of this look … seriously.
Thankfully I feel like I still have some thread left on my spool ready for new experiences that can be woven right into my unique design.
Enjoy the Ride!
The other day I was walking through Target looking for another hundred things to purchase aside from what I actually needed when I overheard a mother/daughter interaction.
The mother was walking ahead of the daughter, who could not have been more than 4 years old. Her micro fashion was on point, and her pink sparkle purse did not disappoint.
Mother: Maddie, keep up you are too far behind.
Maddie: I know. I’m really slacking today. This is what got my attention. How doe she know the term slacking? She’s just a peanut!
Mother: You sure are slacking.
Maddie: Mommy! You’re not supposed to agree with me.
Mother: Well, you’re not keeping up with me today.
Maddie: I know that, but you’re supposed to tell me it’s ok that I’m slacking.
Mother: It’s not ok.
Maddie: I know that, but I don’t want you to say it because I already know it.
Me: Good luck.
This made me take pause. What was I doing at Maddie’s age? Probably eating dirt or glue.
Not looking like a miniature rock star that’s for sure. I just wore what my sister wore but in a different color.
Not using words like slacking. I don’t think it was in the dictionary yet.
Not having an adult conversation with my mother in the middle of a store. I did not speak adult at age 4, and we did not go to stores.
Honestly, I don’t think I could handle the likes of Maddie in my house. It was hard enough trying to control real children, let alone a micro adult. Yes, Maddie, once upon a time, in the United States of America, kids were second-class citizens, and they were all the better because of their status.
Without sounding like a complete fart who thinks things were better “back in the day,” I’m going to go out on a rooftop to scream it loud and clear today.
Parents need to take a step back to realize that their only function is to raise their youngins to be solid citizens. Not superheroes.
They don’t have to be the best student or athlete. They do not need to be micro adults. They do not need to be held up on a pedestal 24/7. It’s “ok” to be second.
They just need to be a benefit to the world, and believe it or not there is a straightforward lesson plan. Consistently treat others the way you want to be treated. Bam! Mission accomplished.
Now, let me go find that rooftop before the Maddie’s of the world take over.
Enjoy the Ride!
I have an insane sense of direction. It’s indeed a gift. Especially in the days of traveling with male drivers pre GPS devices. Sorry guys.
Ever since I was a child, I could remember how to get from point A to point B from the backseat nonetheless.
I contribute this to my keen sense of my surroundings or my mnemonic image skills. That’s right ladies and gentleman, yours truly is a human navigational system via the pictures in my head.
When I was no more than 6, I remember sitting in the backseat of my father’s Caprice Classic looking out the window while taking notes on where we were going. Mailbox, blue words, brown building.
This came in handy when we were heading to the same place, and my father seemed to forget the left turn at the mailbox. I’ll never forget how impressed he appeared with my knowledge of direction.
Fast forward to me slaying my driving test. My sister went to Center City to get her hair cut at a high-end salon, but that’s another story. Anywho she called my father crying because she couldn’t seem to find her way to the train station to get home.
So, what does a father do when he doesn’t want to miss an episode of General Hospital to pick-up his lost daughter in the city? He summons his other daughter with her keen mnemonic image skills and fresh drivers license to fetch the one he claimed: “could not find her way out of a paper bag.” The 80’s were a different world people.
Mind you my license was fresh off the presses, I had never driven to the city alone, and yet my father seemed more than confident that I would be able to pull off this mission. Good thing I was fearless at 17.
Of course, my big question was “where is she?”
Without missing a beat, my dad said “17th & Locust.” Ok, that didn’t help.
Since he was aware of my skills, he followed that up with “you know what city hall looks like right?” Um, yea.
“Well, that’s 15th Street. Just follow the numbers until you see a park on your left. Turn left at the end of the park, and you’ll see your sister crying on the corner.” Um, ok.
Considering I’m writing this story, and my sister is a married mother of two, you know that the mission was indeed accomplished without incident. Including that riveting episode of General Hospital.
Enjoy the Ride! Directions are optional.
Verb: demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.
This right here is the story of my life Monday through Thursday as I’m slaving away at my job in the healthcare industry.
I’m not sure what occurs before a potential patient contacts our office for an appointment, but it’s not a moment of zen.
I imagine more of a good look in the mirror for a one on one pep talk. “You got this!” “Pick up that phone and DEMAND to be seen TODAY because everything is ALL about YOU!”
The other explanation would be that they just live their every day lives like the entitled e’ffers they are, and this is their norm. This right here is the winner.
Me: Good morning Doctor’s office.
PITA: I need to be seen today around 1. Have you been eating your make-up again?
Me: Are you already a patient?
PITA: No! Bitch in the house.
Me: Did you have a trauma?
PITA: No! Ok, I see where this is heading.
Me: Are you a diabetic with a wound?
PITA: No! God help us all.
Me: Why do you need to be seen today?
PITA: I have a painful corn on my toe, and I’m leaving for Florida tomorrow. Tragic, absolutely tragic.
Me: Well, that’s not something we would consider an emergency.
PITA: But I’m in pain, and I have things to do before I leave. Sounds like a first world problem to me.
Me: You would be a new patient, which takes extra time and you do not have an emergency.
PITA: You mean to tell me you don’t save time for emergencies? Can you please Google emergency?
Me: Yes, we do, but your situation is not an emergency.
PITA: Being in pain isn’t an emergency? You are being inconvenienced, there’s a difference.
Me: Not the type of pain you’re experiencing.
PITA: Well, what am I going to do? I hoping for death.
Me: Call around to see if you can get in with another physician.
PITA: I don’t have time for that today. I told you I needed to come today at 1:00. Because you are who again?
Me: I’m sorry, but I already told you that would not be possible.
PITA: Huffing and puffing. The agony of defeat is music to my ears.
PITA: I guess I’ll have to try someone else since you don’t want to help me. Bye Bitch!
Me: Silence. CLICK! BAM! BOOM!
Enjoy the ride!
via Daily Prompt: Conveyor
con·vey·or: a person or thing that transports or communicates something. “a conveyor of information.”
When I first read this prompt, Lucy and Ethel came to mind as I remembered the most famous conveyor belt of my lifetime, which has been providing laughter to so many for decades. You’re welcome.
Life was so much simpler in the days when the only things coming at us like a train were chocolates. Sigh
We now live in a time where information conveyed is too easily received, not because it’s factual, but because it matches our belief. This information overload is preventing us from L I S T E N I N G to anything outside of our own opinions. A wall has been built folks, and it’s not in Mexico.
Now that the double-edged sword technology has entered our lives; it’s not just the bombardment of information conveyed at full throttle; it’s the follow-up investigations to dissect the truths that are equally overwhelming for me. Exhausting is an understatement.
Sadly, not everyone conducts investigations because it’s more accessible to watch “Breaking News” or accept information spewed out of the mouths our politicians as factual. Easy peasy.
Just remember, Memes have become sources of News in some circles of this country. Let that sink in for a moment.
We also endure the information our “friends” on social media are conveying to the world on a minute to minute basis. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat an endless stream of blah, blah, blah. I’ve never been happier not to be a teenager.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to share moments that have substance, the photo of a lost pet, an encouraging quote or funny meme, but to continuously convey your every move to the world is more of a cry for help. Look at me look at me … umm … NO!
Just like Lucy said “Ethel, I think we’re fighting a losing game.” as she shoved chocolates in her mouth, under her hat, and on the floor.
It’s time to dig deep people. The time has come to silence the overload, regain our common sense and be better stewards of the information we are conveying to the world. One closed tab at a time.
How’s this for information overload?
Be kind. Be mindful. Be considerate. Be aware. Be honest. Be friendly. Be compassionate. Be grateful. Be inspirational. Be yourself. Be happy. Be strong and as always, Enjoy the Ride!
What can I say? I L O V E to entertain.
I love to make my house sparkle & shine.
I love cooking with a dash of love and a smidgen of admiration.
I love breaking out all the fancy schmancy goods.
I love watching the interactions.
I love listening to the laughter.
I love feeling the love.
There is something about having the power to make people happy that swells my soul.
Of course, it might not seem like it while I’m running around like a chicken without its head to ensure that everything is just so or when I’m screaming at my kids because they’re leaving signs of life ALL over the house, but I really do. I swear!
Recently my son was kind enough to send me this video that could be actual footage of me before hosting anything from coffee to Christmas. As he explained “Mom! This is so YOU!” Please remind me again why I had kids?
Well, I guess I should be glad that I’m not the mother of Chris Fleming, the young man behind this video because he is the comedian that stars as the titular high-strung suburban mom Gayle Waters-Waters in this video, and many more that are also hilarious.
So, after the dust settles literally and the guests arrive, I put on my best hostess with the mostess attitude to dazzle them with delicious food, laughter, music, cocktails, more laughter and conversation before I send them back to reality where for days they are yearning for a little more. That’s Entertainment!
Enjoy the Ride!
Have you seen Grace?
She’s the gal that spent her days roaming around within the majority of people for decades. Yes, it’s true.
You could find her on the street, the supermarket, and in fact, running free in most public spaces. I know, right?
So where did she go? One day did she decide to say “fuck it I’m outta here!” due to the overwhelming ignorance surrounding her kind soul or did she silently grab her box of kind words, gestures, and courteous goodwill and slowly walk off to the ends of the earth? Inquiring minds need to know.
In her youth, Grace was on her game spreading her attractively polite manner of behaving across the land. She was one of the popular girls.
That’s right she was regularly mingling in our daily lives lending a hand or two when needed. Providing words of wisdom, a tissue, a seat or a shoulder without her motives being in question.
Now it seems as if Grace only makes special appearances, sweeping in to give a kiss on the cheek, warm a heart, or soothe a soul before leaving Dodge. Today, Grace is a minority. I’ll just assume she’s on that dreaded travel ban list because of her good nature.
Yep, that’s right she’s been overpowered by the likes of Fear, and we all know Fear is too much of a kitty kat to travel alone, so he rallies his buddies suspicion and mistrust along for extra muscle.
Fear is doing his best to run the show we call everyday life. (yes, fear is a man because men have more power, and I said so) He is out slithering around insisting that we now question Grace and her posse of possibilities, kindness, and dare I say compassion.
Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. Franklin D. Roosevelt
This change didn’t happen overnight, oh no, it’s been going on for some time now, but it’s evident that it has recently escalated. Hmm, I wonder why?
Grace needs us more than ever now that fear has gotten his cloven hooves on the internet to spread at the speed of lightning. She needs us on the ground to defend her motives. To ensure that her kindness is trusted, and to regain the best that humanity has to offer. We need more than a glimmer of our girl.
So, if Grace happens to cross your path, embrace her offerings with open arms. Encourage her to stay for a while. Let her know how much we need her in our lives by spreading her around like glitter while you… Enjoy the Ride!