Take Time to Think, Laugh and Love Right Now

Time

Image Credit: Vintage public domain illustration available from the library of Congress

Sometimes I wonder if we are truly cognizant about how we spend our time or whether we simply dismiss it by taking it for granted. Sometimes we wish for times past or we want to rush for a time of the future, never being grateful for this time of the present.

While reflecting on this very thought, I found a bookmark of my mothers that addressed a call to action regarding time, what we do with it, and what it produces. It reads:

Take Time

Take time to think;
it is the source of power.
Take time to read;
it is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to play;
it is the secret of staying young.
Take time to be quiet;
it is the opportunity to seek God.

Take time to be aware;
it is the opportunity to help others.
Take time to love and be loved;
it is God’s greatest gift.

Take time to laugh;
it is the music of the soul.
Take time to be friendly;
it is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream;
it is what the future is made of.
Take time to pray;
it is the greatest power on earth.

– Author Unknown

Circe Denyer, Reading

Fight for What’s Right, Don’t Settle for the Okie Doke

kai Stachowiak, fighting, oppression, poetry

Do we indoctrinate ourselves with false truths
turning a blind eye to contradictions by spin doctors
those who fabricate messages and hide the candor of reality
giving credence to interpretations of multilevel lies

opening scabs to old wounds, evidence of vicious atrocities
a deadly past whose skeletons must not be revived from their graves
for they come to seek, kill and destroy the remnants of life
a feud that can drive us backward in a time machine of terror

do we hear what we want to hear or see what we want to see
shall we speak up or shut up to the torment of humanity
as darkness falls across the land, not from the absence of sun
do we fight for what’s right, or settle for the wrongs that are done?

Joy Harjo is Named The First Native American U.S. Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate, Poetry

Joy Harjo, the United States’ first Native American poet laureate, in the Library of Congress on June 6. – Shawn Miller / Library of Congress via AP

You may not see a lot of fanfare if we compare this celebration to many of the award shows we see televised, but it is certainly an honor that has been a long, long time coming. Joy Harjo was recently named as the first Native American poet to become U.S. Poet Laureate. Quite frankly I am absolutely flabbergasted that given the history of the original citizens of this country, and since the 1937 inception of Poet Laureate, (formerly known as the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress), Joy Harjo is the first of numerous Native American writers and bards to be awarded this prestigious honor in poetry. 

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. She took her paternal grandmother’s surname when she enrolled in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Harjo is an important figure in the second wave of the literary Native American Renaissance of the late twentieth century. She studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico in 1976. Later, she earned an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa in its Creative Writing Program.

She is an accomplished poet, musician, and author. In an interview with NPR, Harjo stated: “It’s such an honoring for Native people in this country, when we’ve been so disappeared and disregarded,” Harjo says. “And yet we’re the root cultures, over 500-something tribes and I don’t know how many at first contact. But it’s quite an honor … I bear that honor on behalf of the people and my ancestors. So that’s really exciting for me.”

Poet Laureate, Poetry, Joy Harjo

Image Source: American Program Bureau

Since the 1970s, throughout each decade since then she has been awarded countlessly distinguished achievements in literature, the arts, and creative writing fellowships. Harjo has written and spoken about US political and Native American affairs. Her poetry explores imperialism and colonization, and their effects on violence against women and her works are often set in the Southwest, as she writes about individual struggle.

Harjo is the author of eight books of poetry so be sure to check out her collections of poetry to add to your bookshelf. CONGRATULATIONS Joy Harjo, our 2019 Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress!

Old School Throw Back on Fashion Forward Friday

Motown Performers

Image Source: BuzzFeed (Stevie Wonder (in blue), the Supremes (in black), the Temptations)

As we celebrate Black Music Month (or African-American Music Appreciation Month), we focus on the contributions of iconic African-American music artists who changed the face of music history. One thing I appreciated when attending a concert was the outfits, the uniformity that created classic, sexy, sensual and debonair styles, which complemented the true feeling and reflection of the artist and their music.

Blqck Music Month, Motown

Image Source: Both Sides Now Publications (The Commodores)

This cultural music appreciation celebration was initiated as Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter who, on June 7, 1979, decreed that June would be the month of black music. Since 1979, the United States has set aside the month of June to appreciate and dedicate this celebration to the musical contributions of our African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters.

Black Music Month, Girl Music Groups

Image Source: Photos: Motown Archives

Black Music Month

Image Source: deadkidsgetlively.com (Disco group, CHIC)

Inspired to celebrate an enduring art form, Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams pursued creating Black Music Month. Their efforts were backed up by generations of artists and performers whose talents and skill built a foundation of musical ingenuity in America.

Jackson 5, Black Music Month

Image Credit: Getty Images (The Jackson 5)

So here’s to the purveyors of music culture, the entertainment, the showmanship, and to the fabulous fashion designs that wowed us with timeless precision in old school style, without being raunchy or lewd.

Celebrating AfricanAmerican Music Appreciation Month!

Confessions of a Conformist

Kevin Phillips, reflections

Confessions of a Conformist

To live one’s life in pretense
being someone or something dictated by man’s standards
to be this or that, live here or there
earn more money, whether high or low
the key to your success is more, more, more
a bar raised so high and ethically questionable

I am anxiety driven, wrestling in disappointment
I see those who have excelled, yet the playing field is uneven
my mind is fixated on visions of materialism
but those objects of success are simply an illusion
so the weight of my grind is too heavy a burden to carry
I conform to be like them, those instilled with superiority complexes
people who have crowned themselves as hoarders of privilege
leaving me bewildered by their methods of madness

by trying to conform to their likeness, not one I was born to be
I lost sight of myself haphazardly compromising my vision
losing my sense of peace, integrity, and soul
I conform just to be socially accepted
not knowing I was being publically rejected and disconnected
I am aimless and humiliated
wandering around like a billiard ball
trying to find my true self
yes, my true self, now that sounds refreshing
no longer fragmented by the chains of conformity

molded by the hands of others with meaningless intent
hidden by a veil of flamboyant deception
they echo this is the way life is, accept it
a reality smeared by trickery
a place where idolatry enslaves your spirit
slowly and methodically sucking the life out of you
only to inflate their selfish egos with arrogance
like helium filling a gigantic mylar balloon

In my valley, a valley of weakness
I pray to God for deliverance and muster some energy to be renewed
with a strength to be me, just as I am
vowing to learn and never again concede to compromising me
conforming to be something or someone else
I was never meant to be in the first place.

Reflections, Linnaea Mallette

Commemorating 154 Years of Juneteenth

Juneteenth, Freedom Day

Image Source: Flags.com

Today marks the 154th celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day. This American holiday commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America.

This was a critical and pivotal time in the history of our country but only the infancy steps of freedom for slaves. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members.

Celebrate freedom. Celebrate Juneteenth!

Got Something to Hide?

Murphy Door, Secret Door

Image Source: Homedit (Murphy Door)

Remember the 2002 movie “Panic Room” starring Jodie Foster? Well if you didn’t see the movie let me give you a quick Cliff Notes version.

Newly divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her young daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with three home intruders. They saw these intruders on their security camera system and ran to their New York brownstone’s panic room, a hidden chamber built as a sanctuary in the event of break-ins. Of course, the ebb and flow of this action pack film does leave you on the edge of your seat, but in the end, as you probably suspect Jodie Foster’s character outsmarts these home invaders and becomes superhero mom.

Murphy doors (hidden doors) and concealed rooms have been around for quite a long time and we’ve been fascinated with these hidden doors leading to secret rooms. As far back as ancient Egypt when Egyptians revered the burial as a very important part in the start of one’s afterlife, secret doors were used to protect the dead. Murphy doors served a purpose, whether to allow someone to hide or escape from some kind of danger or if someone wants to carry out a more sinister purpose, secret doors have played many integral roles.

Murphy Bed, Hidden Spaces

Image Source: Go Downsize

Another hidden treasure is the Murphy bed (in North America), also called a wall bed, pull down bed, or fold-down bed is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall, or inside a closet or cabinet. The bed is named after William Lawrence Murphy (1876–1957). According to legend, he was wooing an opera singer, but at the time lived in a one-room apartment in San Francisco. The moral code of the time frowned upon a woman entering a man’s bedroom. Murphy’s invention converted his bedroom into a parlor, enabling him to entertain. He applied for his first patents around 1900.

Decorative, functional and donned a secret space…I don’t know who all these Murphy’s were to create these secret doorways and concealed spaces, but did they have a lot to hide behind these inventions? :-/