Saturday, 31 March 2012

A Soldier's Story

Because of problems I had with my lower  back this month, I wasn't really able to do justice to International Woman's Month. But I don't know any better way to close this month than to share the story of a remarkable woman, a relatived of mine.
My cousin, Daniella Prude. I shall let Daniella tell her own story:

" My retirement date is 1 Nov and that will be 22 years served! I have held every leadership position in the Army execpt Sergeants Major. I had two rewarding positions and that was as an Equal Opportunity Advisor, which is a person who monitors discrimination, religious and sexual harassment complaints. I was also a First Sergeant. As the First Sergeant, I was the Senior Enlisted Advisor in a company of over 140 personnel. It was my responsibility to ensure they were trained on all tasks, able to execute with little to no supervision, instill the spirit to Win, achieve, and overcome any obstacle and more importantly do it as a TEAM. Soldiers give you life and it's never a dull moment. They come from all different backgrounds so it's an opportunity to learn about people and their culture to accept it and embrace it. There is a dark side being a female in a Man's Army. Some of the men seem to feel this dominance over us which causes them to sexually assault when given the opportunity. This is an issue that the Army is working on and hopefully in the near future the incidents will decrease. The Army has taught me a lot and I've enjoyed my time. Everything has to come to an end. I have developed some amazing friendships and I wouldn't change that for the world!

The Beauty of Love

Friday, 30 March 2012

Who's The Boss

When Montaque walked into our lives and into our hearts, we had no idea how our life and our home would change.
Dog food, doggie treats and Milk Bones are now part of our shopping list, doggie toys fill the apartment and we have an official door greeter.
Our days include visits to the SPCA for shots update and check-ups, visits to Pet shops and the Internet for information about the care and keeping of an older Papillon.
During this time we also learnt who truly is the boss in our home.
A few days ago I was laying down on the bed, trying to get rid of a headache when I heard Monti come into the hallway. I lifted my head and could see he wanted my attention. He came into the bedroom and then walked back out.
Clearly I was to follow him. So I got up and off we went into the kitchen where Mark had just finished preparing the supper plates.
Monti came to tell me supper was ready.
The following morning I found Montaque in the Bathroom. He looked at the shower and then at me.
Shower Time.
Then I finished my shower, Monti then led me to the bedroom. The only he didn't do was pick out my clothes and dress me.
Last night while Mark and I were sitting in the living room talking, Monti came in and began to bark. We hurried into the kitchen, thinking supper was burning. It wasn't. But supper was done.
Smart dog.
Loving dog. We call Monti the Boss. But of course, it is said in love. He has taken over and he is spoiled rotten.
But then again, tell me; could you resist this face?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

He Drank The Whole Thing.

For all the years I hoped and pray to have a second chance at being a mother, the last thing I would be the mother of a 14 year old Papillon named Montaque.
And what a little joy he has been these past three months. Like Mark, I cannot imagine life without him.

As all parnets of Furry babies know, these precious little touches of G_D are indeed amoung the best teachers of how to a good parent as well as teaching us how to treat and get along with others.
As with our two legged babies, we learn quickly the fur balls can get into things.
Like our coffee.
One morning, I was sitting at the computer, working on a letter to a friend. Mark brought me a cup of coffee and I sat the cup on the floor beside me. It's a habit. And of course I wasn't thinking.
A few minutes later, I heard the sound of a small dog lapping......
It seems Mr. Montaque likes his coffee hot as well.....

Yeah, he drank all of it.

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Broken Heart of A Mother

As a mother and a grandmother, my heart breaks for the parnets of Trayvon Martin.
I remember when I hear Trayvon was carrying a bottle off ice tea and a bag of Skittles, my mind flashed back; my son Aries loved Skittles as a child. In another place and time, Trayvon could have well been my son.
 In our anger and our pain, let each person who reads this blog, remember to lift this family in their prayers or have good thoughts.
I believe just knowing that there are people of good will, from all colours and backgrounds that are praying for justice for their son, for this wrong to be right. It wouldn't bring Trayvon, but they will rest easier knowing their son's crys didn't go unanswered.

A Bloodly Week

The week started with news of the shooting of a young boy, a teenager, walking home from the store. He had been watching a game on TV and during half-time Trayvon went to buy a bottle of ice tea. He was asked to bring back a bag of Skittles for his younger brother.
The little brother never got the skittles.
A self-appointed neighbourhood watchman, called 9-11 to report a suspicious man. The dispatcher told the man he didn't have to follow the man.
But he did.
Trayvon was on the cell phone with his girlfriend. He was frighten; someone was following him. The girlfriend told him to run, but he decided to just walk fast.
Shots were fired. The boy hit the ground crying for help. But none came. His young body laid unclaimed in the morgue for three days. The police did not use Trayvon's cell phone to even contacted his parents. Drug testing was done on Trayvon. No drugs were found.
His mother and father didn't know where their son was, let alone he was dead for three days.
As the mother of a black son and two black grandsons, what happen to Trayvon Martin was amoug my worse nightmare. Like my mother before me, I always warned my son that there would be people who would only see your skin colour, always believe the worse of you even before they heard your name. You will have to work twice as hard to be considered just as good. Women will hold their purse closer to their person when yo walk by, store keepers will keep a closer eye on you. If you are walking through a nice neighbourhood, it will be assumed that you are up to no good. If you married someone non-white it is because you ashamed of who you are, you are marrying for the person's money and not for love. My mother said "maybe the world will change when you have children." I never dreamt that my son would now have to repeat these same words to my grandsons.
My heart breaks for Trayvon's mother and father, for his siblings and other family members. For America. Because Trayvon was a young American boy with his whole ahead of him. A good boy who never become a man.
But may his death be a wake-up call to this nation. To the hatred that still exist.
Tuesday, in France, a young Rabbi and two of his children, along with another small child, were shot to death in front of a Jewish school.

Their crime? Being Jewish.
We are the Unseen.
There are people who see me and yet look right through me. They see my skin colour, therefore I am a welfare mother, a drug addict, a maid or a street walker. They see my hair covered so I must be a muslin or a Jew, I am in a cult, I am oppressed and beaten by my father or my husband.
They see my white husband. So of course I married him for his money.
No matter how nicely I dress, I can walk into a store and a clerk who I am there to steal and will keep an eye on my moments. Mark and I have gone out to eat and the waiter will take Mark's order, but not mine.
A bloody week indeed.
It is now the year 2012. And this madness should not still be going on.
As a family, Mark, Montague and I stand with the Martin family and others victims of such injustice. We stand, wearing our Hoodies in support for Justice for Trayvon. For all our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Will you?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

International Woman Month

March is International Woman Month.
This month we honour the women around the world, both past and present who have made and are making a difference in our world.
I would like to start with one of my favourite women:
In Judaism, the Torah is known as She.
She is our Wisdom. She is known as the Tree of Life to all who hunger and thirst.
Torah is referred to as The Jewel of our faith. And in her folds lie the words of life.
When we look into the Bible, for example, in the book of Proverbs where Wisdom is personified as a Woman. Female imagery begins the book of Proverbs in Chapters 1-9 and also ends the book in chapter 31.
Proverbs 2: 2-3 not only tells us to listen to Wisdom, but to seek Her as a treasure, as the finest silver.
In Proverbs 9:1-6, Wisdom is depicted as a figure with a home inviting those in need of her (wisdom) to enter.  She says "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight." In Proverbs 8:15-21, she not only identifies herself as the Divine companion, but also as the source of order in society and success in life. In chapter 31:10 she is personified as the ideal Wife for an Israelite man in a section titled Ode to a Capable Wife.
  There is debate about the status and place of Woman Wisdom in relation to the Divine. Some have interpreted her as a companion to the divine, an abstraction, an extension to the divine, or a Goddess. Further information about the nature of Wisdom is found in Proverbs 8:22-30. In these verses "wisdom speaks of herself as having been created before anything else and as Yahweh's companion and even assistant at the creation of the ordered world."  In Hebrew, the Glory of G-d, the Spirit, The Ruch is known a feminine.
It has always been  easier for me to understand the personification of wisdom as a woman when she is placed in comparison to the other female mentioned in Proverbs 7. In contrast to Woman Wisdom, she is portrayed as a prostitute, adulteress, and a woman with much seductive speech. She is given the designation of being a "foreign" or "strange" woman, even "foolish." The victims of the Strange Woman are among the simple ones, young men (and old) without sense. The young man of Proverbs 6:7 is repeatedly warned to avoid such a woman. This may reflects the biblical insistence on marriage within the Jewish Faith and thus keeping false gods out of the community.
Our Sages say that when a husband loves his wife, he fulfils the whole Torah. How he treats his wife either brings honour or dishonour to The Torah.
Something to think about.
When The Torah is taken out of the Ark, all in her presence stand. She is draped in a lovely mantle cover. When placed on the desk, the mantle is removed with care, her words filling the air and the ears around her to hear her words chanted, rising up to the Throne of G-d. When finished, She is lifted up and rolled once again, redressed in her mantle and placed back in her place of honour.
I often this of a wife and mother. In Judaism, the wife and mother is known as the jewel of the home, the queen. The same life and respect given.
No wonder the Torah is referred to as Woman. She is wine and bread that nurtures our souls. She is the balm of healing and the Treasure of G-d to His beloved children on earth. She is welcoming and yet and exacting in Her correction.
The Torah. The Word of G-d.
She Who has changed our world.

My Mother The Poet

I recieved my love for words from my mother.
An avid reader, our home was filled with books as well as music.
Mummy has always written. And she encouraged me to write as well. Being a poor speller, however was trying to my beloved's nerves. When I entered the fourth, she gave me one of the greatest, most pricest of gifts.
A dictionary. While we already had one the whole family used, mommy gave me my very own dictionary and taught me how to use it.
For me, my new dictionary was like a huge box of crayolos. With all of these wonderful words, I could not only paint amazing word pictures, but learn new words, have new colors to add to my palete. Sometimes I would just lay on my bed and read the dictionary as one would a novel.
Even today, a dictionary isn't fall from my side.
And spell check is my buddy.
After mother's strokes twelve years ago, and she had regain the use of her hands, mommy began to start writing poetry.
Not surprising since mommy loves poetry.

About six years ago, mommy entered into a poetry contest at Hope Haven, where she lives. And of course mommy won first prize.
Since then mommy has continued to delights others with the poems she pens.
This morning, mommy was feeling a little sad that her birth month, which ended yesterday was over. So, she wrote her feeling out. Soon, she was giving thanks to G-d the life she has led and reflected on her life now.
I smiled as I listened. I heard the song of an older woman, wise with age and faith, to her G-d, giving thanks for her life, her family and friends and for the place in life she now enjoys.
One day I hope to be able to share some of my mother's poems.
Poems from a g-dly woman.