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Escape from the Hotel California

10 Oct

Escape from the Hotel California

The Eagles – Hotel California

http://youtu.be/BjIJGxULpgo

Welcome to the Hotel California, 
Such a lovely place, (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face
They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel California,
What a nice surprise, (What a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
and pink champagne on ice, and she said:
“We are all just prisoners here,
Of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast,
They stabbed it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
“Relax,” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive,
You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave”

Island of the Dead Arnold Böcklin  (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Island of the Dead
Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Suffering is acknowledged and discussed in Christianity, Buddhism and many other worldwide faiths. Suffering does endow us with wisdom beyond our years. I think suffering brings us a degree of wisdom, understanding and compassion only available to those who have gone through and come out on the other side. But the key words are to come out from the land of suffering and not stay living there. Let’s not take up residence in our own personal “Hotel Californias.”

Look to find Joy in everyday life. That’s why I Love taking photos. I Love writing poetry, stories and commentaries. As many of my friends, family and co-workers I also have a ridiculous sense of humor. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. I love to hear people’s stories. Not to make fun of them but to find the common points in life that we all share, no matter if we are Christian, Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. We have to find laughter in the midst of our greatest tragedies, triumphs, victories and even our defeats. Our respective faiths do not ignore or make believe suffering does not exist but our belief systems help us to transcend the mutual trials and tribulations of life.

Let’s look at two different scriptures from the Holy Bible that deal with suffering. Let’s also keep in mind that Biblical scriptures also have a historical and social context. While Biblical characters may or may not have been actual living people the dilemmas, emotions, and feelings are very real and very concrete.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We are all a little broken. The cracks & chips cannot always be hidden nor should they be. We wear our scars like Warriors. These are the battle wounds that give us character and grace for living. Suffering can produce clarity of the mind, purity of the soul, and a different perspective on living.  At one time or another have we not all been Fallen Angels looking to be restored to the Kingdom?

 

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

 

The people portrayed in the Bible aren’t Super Heroes. They are everyday folks like you and me. If they did not have the foibles and fragilities of the human condition we could not and would not be able to relate on our level. Times change and the modern world has encroached upon our 21st lives but we still possess the same frailties’ and vulnerabilities of soul and spirit as our Biblical ancestors. They are real people with real problems. Sometimes they achieve good solutions sometimes they mess up totally but provide an example for us of what not to do.

I agree with the Buddha’s teachings that becoming too attached to anything, idea or philosophy can lead to suffering. However suffering in and of itself is not a character flaw. In fact some suffering helps to build your character and gives you a greater ability for compassion. That being said there is external suffering which happens through no fault of our own and there is self-imposed suffering caused by bad decisions and errors in judgment.

While watching a TV show about the late writer, author and playwright Tennessee Williams I felt such sorrow that a man with so much talent was derailed from a productive pathway.

He did have plenty of success with such plays as, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and many other famous plays and stories, however he was done in by the effects of a dysfunctional family, depression about his mentally ill sister Rose, and eventually he was done in by drugs and alcohol. The suffering he felt regarding his sister Rose was the sadness and frustration of seeing a beloved sibling encased within the walls of mental illness and being powerless to help her. His internal self-imposed suffering was caused by bad choices regarding substance abuse.

I too am a writer and author but through my Christian faith and Buddhist practice I will avoid the path of destruction that seems to plague many famous, writers, musicians, actors, and artists.

Suffering should invite self-examination of our lives. Are we repeating destructive patterns in our lives? Am I living right? Am I a blessing towards others? Do I negate others feelings or emotions just because they may not be in line with my own experience. In addition to prayer what are some practical hands-on ways I can help my sisters and brothers in need. Am I so fixed into my own suffering that I’m allowing “Wounded Soldiers in the Household of Faith” to fall on the battle ground.

The ultimate question is, “Is it time for us to change course?”

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The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

10 Aug

 

Secret

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/secret/#like-244527

Would you have kept this secret for two generations? Maybe my Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept secret the fact that my grandfather Hugh Banks killed my Great Grandfather Daniel Finney (Hattie’s Dad) so that she could keep her sanity.  Guilt, embarrassment, shame, humiliation. I’m sure in the beginning after the murder it was all there deep within her soul, mind and spirit. But My Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept the secret so she could raise her three daughters (one of whom Mable was to become my mother) in relative peace, quiet and safety without passing this terrible haunting to future generations.  No judgment from me, only understanding.

 

The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney Banks

Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney was born Feb. 1905 in the poor coal mining hamlet of Davy, West Virginia.  A real looker in her youth blessed with a great sense of fashion and good taste Hattie though living in poverty was able to enhance her beauty through thrift and the ability to create something out of nothing.

With African and Sioux blood running through her veins her beauty soon caught the eye of the young men in the town. One named Hugh Banks seemed to have good prospects. Hugh like her Hattie’s dad Daniel R. Finney worked as a janitor. Not a high living job but one that could support a wife and future children. It also didn’t hurt that he was a strong strapping young man who was easy on the eyes.

They married sometime in the late 1920s when Hattie was in her early 20s looking forward to a bright future. Their first born child Mable Banks, (My Mom) was born May 2, 1930, and then came Helen on September 13, 1931 and finally Gladys on May 2, 1935. However as time progressed and the marriage wore on the initial first joys of wedded bliss gave way to drinking and horrible physical abuse from her husband Hugh. He regularly stayed out late getting drunk, spending the food and rent money on booze. A spirit of anger possessed him and he took out all the days slights on Hattie and their young children. Hattie always put herself between Hugh and the kids when he went on these violent tirades taking the brunt of the physical beatings and verbal abuse.

Finally on April 30, 1939 after a particularly horrible beating Hattie couldn’t take it anymore. In fear of her life she grabbed her three little girls and ran to the shelter of her parents’ house not far away. A very drunk Hugh Banks in hot pursuit of his wife followed her and demanded that Hattie and the girls return home with him. Hattie’s Dad, Daniel James Finney told Hattie to stay indoors while he went out to confront Hugh. Daniel Finney seeing Hugh in a violent drunken rage refused to allow his daughter and granddaughters to go with Hugh. An argument ensued and Hugh took out a pistol shooting Daniel Finney in the chest killing him instantly. Daniel’s brother Charlie Finney saw the murder, called the police and Hugh Banks was arrested.

Hattie and her mother Mary were devastated and in addition for many years Hattie carried the burden of guilt and shame that if she had not ran back to her parents’ house for protection perhaps her Dad, a strong healthy man would have lived even longer than his age of 75 years at the time of the shooting. Her choices haunted her for a long time but at least she found peace knowing that she had protected her three innocent young daughters and pride in the great love her Dad had for his family laying down his life for them.

Newspaper Clipping of the Murder

Daniel Finney Murder Newspaper Clipping

My Grandmother strong in her Baptist Faith eventually forgave her wayward husband supplying the information for my grandfather’s death certificate after his untimely death in prison from tuberculosis at age 30. No one from my grandfather’s family came to claim the body and he is buried  in the Potters Field attached to the prison.

Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Grandfather Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Daniel James Finney

Daniel James Finney Death Certificate

Shortly after the trial my Great Uncle Clarence came for Hattie and her daughters taking them to Dayton, Ohio where my mother grew up and later met and married my Dad Edward G. Palmer a union of 40 years that produced me and my brother Stephen.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when by then both my parents and my grandmother had gone onto glory. I met my common-law husband who like my grandmother’s relationship with her husband started off with great dreams and hope for the future but gradually deteriorated into an abusive relationship from which I too sought escape. For our final year together when the emotional, physical and psychological abuse was at its worst I prayed to God that this man would leave me and he did. He left me for a younger woman. A sigh of relief. A burden lifted from my shoulders. However though his physical presence was gone his psychological presence was rooted in my mind and soul. Though I had forgiven him it took years to dig up the roots and weeds of self-doubt and self-hate he had planted within me. Spirit never fails and after a brush with death from a minor stroke at age 49 and being Blessed to see 50 I began to experience a Change of Life. Not just from menopause which began physical changes within my body but spiritual and emotional changes. During all this upheaval my ancestors were with me, guiding me every step of the way. Each succeeding year as I progress through my 50s has brought me greater enlightenment and spiritual growth. Once I made the decision to answer my calling in this life doors open, thus here I am today to carry forward my Grandmother’s Legacy and be a blessing to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

But unbeknownst to my Grandmother and Great Grandmother a little girl cowering in front of a dusty little used attic window had peered out becoming an eyewitness to her Grandfather’s being shot to death by her Dad. Mable was always the quiet one of the three girls who took in many things but let out little.  As the Bible says  of conversations concerning Mary and Jesus, Mable Finney Banks was a small girl who took in and absorb all the things around her and pondered them in her heart……………….  From now on the events of that day would follow her all through childhood, young womanhood, and as a married woman with children and as she battled her own demons of schizophrenia. I shall take up Mable’s story in the next segment.

Thank you Sisters and be Blessed!

.

.

Prophetic Calling ~ Higher Ground

4 Aug

Prophetic Calling- Higher Ground

Knew that I was in the right place from the moment I walked through the door. Experiencing regeneration and renewal.

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder (1973)

I have stepped into my Destiny. I did not choose the path, the Path chose me. The Ancestors knew what I needed and sent me the gifts of the spirit. As I wrote about in a previous post (Genetic Memory) my ancestors have begun to visit me with greater frequency.

As a child I was more open to the spirit world and I can recall from ages three to six I had many visitations from alternate universes. At age four I was looking at a baby photograph of myself and my brother on the living room wall and being able to go back to my origin or source and return at will. Around age five bedtimes became of time of numerous visitations but by then these creatures or creations began to frighten me. I did my best to will them away since it wasn’t something I could tell my parents.

Still the spirits attempted to get through some of them not so good. During my twenties I had some horrible nightmares of not being able to breathe or demons trying to choke or strangle me, but that may have been the result of too much fire and brimstone sermons. I was always impressionable and unbeknownst to some preachers sensitive spirits in their congregations pick up on the fear and punishment side of Christianity opening up a portal to hell as opposed to salvation and redemption. Now with my explorations of the Gospel of Inclusion (Bishop Carlton Pearson) Buddhism and discovering I’m a Clairsentient I’m learning better mind control and discerning the whys, wheres, and whats of my ancestors wishes.

DeBorah ~ MMC 2002 Grad

DeBorah ~ Marymount Manhattan College 2002 Graduation

Shinnyo-en Buddhism

Knew that I was in the right place from the moment I walked through the door. Experiencing regeneration, restoration and renewal.

I have stepped into my Destiny. I did not choose the path, the Path chose me. The Ancestors knew what I needed and sent me the gifts of the spirit. Clarity of Vision. Opening my spirit to distant Galaxies.

One of the guided meditation teachers spoke a word of knowledge over me that could have only come from God. Another step along the path of purification. This is the beginning of understanding the many spiritual events in my life. I have not left Christianity but I believe I was led to this type of Buddhist thought and teachings as a compliment to my Christian faith.  Shinnyo-en has fed my mind, spirit and soul.

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,

    so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

In fact many Bible verses and the words of Jesus come to me more frequently and with increased clarity!  I must study to show myself approved and to grasp the teachings. Realizing now that both mind and body must be purified and the ability to focus must be cultivated. So far have been to two Guided Meditations and the effects are Amazing! I’m calmer in mind, spirit, soul & body and am better able to handle difficult situations. Remember me as the one who woke up.  As my Japanese girlfriend who introduced me to Shinnyo-en practice You will find Yourself.

Shinnyo-en

enjoy-engage-enlighten

Shinnyo Meditation Center

19 West 36th Street,

New York, NY 10018

www.shinnyo-ny.org

Not everyone will understand where you’re going in this life. The revelation for this time is only for you. They are not yet ready. John 13:34-36

King James Version (KJV)
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Galatians 5:22-23

New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11
The Message (MSG)
4-11 God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
proclamation
distinguishing between spirits
tongues
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

 Baptist Buddhist

In the very short time I’ve committed to following the Shinnyo path I began to realize how hungry I was. Even though I was born and raised in the Christian faith when I was introduced to Shinnyo-en Buddhism I was as one starving and thirsty suddenly finding herself seated at a banquet table filled with delicious food and drink. It has been a process for me to throw off the shackles and chains of dogma and doctrine and allow new thought to enter in. For years I tried to suppress the spirit world with anti-depressants and other prescription drugs. Now I’m free from the constraints of my religious straitjacket empowered to put my truths my faith into action.

My parents were never committed to any church. In fact though they both believed in God they never attended church. I was brought up as a Freethinker and was always driving my parents’ crazy asking questions. Of course like nearly every Black kid growing up in the 1960s church was pretty much a non-negotiable. Every child in the neighborhood went to church. Since my mother was raised Baptist that’s where I went. If for some reason I did not make it out to Sunday school you can bet the Sunday School teacher would be calling my parents asking why I was not in church.  As I grew older I was swept up in the Evangelical movements of the 80s & 90s.  Even with the growing schemes and scandals I held onto my beliefs even though I was living a lifestyle contrary to the Bible. Only in May 2010 when my beloved Aunt Helen passed away did I realize that I had only attended church to please other people and did not believed most of what was preached from the pulpit.

In the back of my mind were questions, confusion, shame & guilt. I was a walking, talking living dichotomy.   Then right before Christmas 2006 not only did my life hit the fan but was completely shredded. I lost my “good job”, was unemployed for a year, my common-law husband left me for a younger new and improved woman. Finally in 2008 I started a new job that paid a lot less but at least I was working and had benefits.

More changes 2009 I turned 50. Am I really a card carrying member of AARP? The Change of Life. For a woman turning 50 is traumatic in more ways than one not only do we have to cope with physical and hormonal changes, there are the changes in society’s perception of older women. Sure Black don’t crack but age or maturity don’t lie. I’ve had to come to terms with what to do for my next 50 years on the planet. I’ve realized my calling as a writer.  Life is a walk by faith and not by sight experience.

One of the best things about being in one’s 50s is not caring what others think but following the path meant for me.  I’m still a Buddhist newbie and I’m struggling with some of the terminology but now my soul is being fed and even the Biblical scriptures have taken on new meaning and devotion. This Baptist Buddhist is beginning to find peace within her soul.

Anger and The 3 Ts — Trials, Troubles & Tribulations

16 Sep
Ten Lepers

Ten Lepers were healed, one only one return to give Thanks.

 

ANGER

USUALLY FROWNED UPON AND COUNTED AS ONE OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS DOES IN SPITE OF its BAD RAP SERVE A PROTECTIVE PURPOSE. People who don’t get angry on the outside are really boiling mad inside which cause depression which in turn brings on diseases like migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like.

ANGER

Turned against innocent outsiders’ results in long term incarcerations among the perpetrators, bad relationships with family and friends and sometimes when an argument escalates beyond control the combatants may find themselves being taken to the hospital or to prison.

ANGER

Used to get to the root of a problem separating disparate elements can have positive outcomes if the therapist or interventionists can get the troubled self-destructing members to reach an understanding that continued bad choices will produce the same self-defeating results.

Challenges in the form of Trials, troubles and tribulations bring out the strength that is already in you. No outside force or power can help you if you don’t first help yourself. Once you make the determination within your heart everything else will fall into place. It’s like the character of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. He sought what was within him all the time. All he had to do was face his fears even while being afraid. Once he realized that the Wizard was a charlatan he knew that the power resided in him all along. God is always with us and he never leaves us, sending His angels to smooth the pathway but allowing us to discover the power that lies within all of us. Rise up and take your place as a Rightful Citizen of Planet Earth!  We are the only hands God has on this earth to stop violence against women, girls or even pets. Make your house or home a sanctuary for one who has fallen off the straight path. Let’s create a friendly island of peace for our girl children. A Place of no judgement where they can be free to be themselves without shame, scorn or rebuke.

Jesus our Way Shower taught us how to be strong and that there is no shame in asking for help if you need it. Jesus gives many examples and situations which cause our strength to rise up within us. We are called to civil disobedience and to right wrongs within our community.

In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus threw the money changers and sellers out of the temple.

 Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.

Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

Jesus Calls Herod a Sly Fox

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’” (Luke 13:31-32)
____________________________________________________________

Jesus calling Herod a fox catches us a little off guard here. Did Jesus really call people names? Yes, when appropriate. He did not do it to hurt people’s feelings or out of childish anger or to be unkind. But Jesus called a spade a spade.

What did he mean by calling Herod a fox? A fox is a small, weak, wily animal that lives by cunning rather than strength. Jesus was drawing attention to Herod’s crafty, treacherous side. Herod was not a man worthy of trust or respect. He divorced his wife to marry his own niece, who happened to be his own brother’s wife. He beheaded John the Baptist because of a foolish promise made at a birthday party. He was a man of weak character who used his political power for selfish ends.

Now, we need to be careful here. As Christians we are called to love, forgive, forbear and be courteous to others. We should not go around calling people names as a general rule. Jesus rarely did. But there are times when we also must call a spade a spade. Sometimes a thief needs to be called a thief; the unfaithful spouse must be called an adulterer; the pornographer needs to be called perverted. There are times when evil must be confronted and named. There are times when Herod must be called a fox. Originally Posted by Ray Folwer

Jesus and the Woman taken in Adultery

John 8:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

A new ministry for girls called Jephthah’s Daughters has been birthed. Please send donations and contributions to help young girls between the ages of 4 to 17 in need via PayPal to deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. The young ladies will receive care packages and counseling. Rest assured that you are supporting a good cause that will lift up young women who have been abandoned and neglected by their birth families.  Thank you.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

What it means to be a Victorious and Delivered Overcomer

30 Mar
Jubilee Jump for Joy

Jubilee Jump for Joy in the Journey!!

Being a Victorious Overcomer is our ability to adapt to change. Whether the changes are in our finances, job or physical problems we develop the ability to make adjustments as the circumstances call for. Overcoming also means the putting aside of pride and asking for help when you need it. Basically evolve or die.

I take my cues from my brother Stephen who was born with developmental disabilities. Stephen has always known he was different from other people but he never allowed his differences to interfere with his joy in life. Stephen is one of the most joyful people I know. For him being autistic is just another way of looking at the world. All my life his perception of the wonder in living and his acceptance for other people no matter what race, color, economic background, ethnic group, belief system has shown me a better way to live my life.  Balloons, roller coasters, his job & M&Ms all bring him happiness and joy that most people only wish they could experience. Many times as I just observe Stephen make his way through life with very little worry and more or less carefree I marvel at what comes so easily for him I’ve been brought into kicking and screaming. Makes me wonder which of us is truly disabled?

My physical body began to change at age 49.  Due to extreme high blood pressure I had a stroke which affected the sight in my left eye. For over a year I had no vision in that eye. Finally after my Retina Specialist had tried every treatment he knew, he said you must get eye surgery. I was terrified but I got the surgery and most of the sight in my left eye was restored but not all. I had to give up driving and it is difficult for me to read unless I get large print books or enlarge the text on my computer.

At first I resisted these new limitations and I fought against them with every ounce of my strength. I desperately wanted my body to go back to the way it was when I was 25 but age and genetics said not so. This year when I turned 53 I made peace with the new me and now I find joy in the things that I can do and welcome assistance with what I cannot do. I rejoice in spite of my infirmities. Every day that no matter what condition or physical pain I may experience I thank God that my mind and academic abilities are still sharp.

On the lighter side I’ve made peace with my pudge and newly developed jelly rolls. Never thought I’d have a spare tire what with being called skinny most of my life but alas that’s another one of the delights of middle age.

Despite all the health challenges I’ve faced over the past four years I’ve not lost my Joie de vivre.  I still have my hopes, goals, and dreams for my future. Little by little, step by step they are beginning to come true. Even at the lowest point in my life I kept my faith.  Faith in God and faith in me.

I can exercise the gifts God has given me and I relish my joy in where God is leading me to next in this life.  Through looking at life with a new attitude I’ve been released from the ‘Victim Hood’ which is a ‘hood’ that no one wants to live in.  I celebrate my restoration and declare my 53rd Year of Life the Year of Jubilee!

I am a living demonstration of God’s Power of renewal and regeneration!

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Donations to this Ministry for the Housing Fund can be made in U.S. Funds via money order or bank checks made payable to Rochdale Village Inc. 169-65 137th Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11434, Account No. 083-11G-16924.  Thank you and God Bless.

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