Image

Father’s Day message

There’s no denying the impact a present father has on his child’s life. I’m not going to get into if we call him “father” or “daddy”. In my culture growing up, we called him “poppy”. Whether a positive, negative, or mixed impact, it’s an impact that can be tied back to the father. I think when a father hasn’t been in his child’s life, especially from an early age, the impact becomes more tricky to assess. My perspective is personal because my father was not in my life. In fact, I barely speak of him. He was dangerous. He was irrational. He was bitter. He was defeated. He was misunderstood. He was broken.

My father was around, but he didn’t raise me because he was incapable of raising his family at the time. People whispered about him in my presence. When visiting my uncle, his brother, he couldn’t sit in the living room…he could only go to the basement. My uncle would arrange for me to see him on occasion, but those visits were brief and lacked substance. That’s my uncle in the picture as I was getting baptized. My father wasn’t present at this most special occassion. I’ve seen positive examples of father figures through my extended family and friends. I knew what a good father was and I knew I didn’t have one. Some might argue it was in my best interest. Some might say that I would have only been disappointed and would have gotten hurt. The impact of him being in my life might have been tragic. I don’t know. What I can say is by him not being in my life, the impact is this underlying feeling of disconnection I’ve carried with me for years. I’ve not placed the source of this feeling until now. Not to mention, I don’t know anything about my father personally. I don’t know what traits I picked up from him. I don’t know his likes/dislikes or what his passion was. As I reread this, I want to be clear my tone is not of bitterness. My tone is of acceptance.

To know your father, is to know where you came from…to know who you are. My beautiful mom did her God-given best, but there was a void she could never fill or replace. Now, both of my parents are deceased, and their parents are deceased. How do I contend with this void?

I have solace in knowing great examples of fathers who selflessly love their children. Men in my family: my uncle, my brother, my brother-in-laws, my cousins, and my friends’ fathers. I also sleep with one of these selfless fathers. He’s my partner in crime…my husband, Arnold (goes by his middle name Bryan), named after his father, Arnold, who passed away when my husband was 10. Even though my husband feels inadequate and gets frustrated at times…likely because his father passed at an early age and he lacked examples of positive father figures, he’s here every day…involved in his children’s lives. If it has to do with his children, my husband is the most selfless person I know.

If you’re feeling alone and disconnected because your father wasn’t in your life, pray about it and adopt a family or two ot three. Don’t be bitter. There’s no going back to the fact you grew up without a father, but you can seek positive examples of father figures and allow them to have a positive impact on your life. For men, continuously make a positive impact on your children’s lives. Get to know your children and allow them to know you. For women, if you haven’t already, marry a man who has the traits of a good father and support him always. For all, ensure your children see other positive examples of father figures.

Image

Nourish yourself

Merriam-Williams’ online has identified 3 definitions of the transitive verb nourish: 1) to nurture, rear; 2) to promote the growth of; and 3) to nurture, sustain. I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately and have decided that my primary focus this year will be on nourishing myself and receiving the nourishment I need from the resources that will help take me to the next level (wherever that is as long as it’s forward). I haven’t set “new year’s resolutions” in years. I prefer to identify a set of goals that I want to accomplish. These goals help set the tone for the year. Here it is, nearly halfway through the new month, and I haven’t solidified my list yet, but nourishment will definitely be the theme. I’ve read that when you crave certain foods, that it is likely because your body is deficient in a particular nutrient. That’s why it’s best to listen to your body and satisfy the cravings. (I’m obviously not a nutritionist although I read about food constantly, so do your own research). I’ve been having some cravings of my own…for more healthy foods, for more green smoothies, and for things that are not related to food, but provide nourishment.

How did I this word “nourish” come to my attention anyway? There’s nothing complicated about it. I think the word is pretty self-explanatory. I do enjoy pronouncing it. Recently, I’ve made daily posts in a private facebook group created for a green smoothie challenge called Simple 7. You can read more about it here. It’s been fun to post pictures of my smoothies, the ingredients, and myself posing with my smoothies. I actually wrote a blog post on my love of green smoothies, which you can read about here. In a comment to one of my posts, a group member provided encouragement to me in my breast cancer recovery and I returned the favor regarding her brain cancer recovery. In my attempt to be succinct, I told her to “nourish herself”. What I meant was for her feed her body, mind and spirit with the nuitients that would help her heal. I had hoped that translated with those two words. She appreciated it very much and there were a few more post exchanges. Since then, I’ve been intrigued by this word.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been the last 4 months that my life has beened altered in a way that I never imagined, but it has. In some ways it feels a lot longer than 4 months. Throughout this time, I’ve been in treatment, which means that I’ve had to focus all of my energy on improving my medical condition. I’ve slowed down, prayed, fed my body the proper healing nutrients, reduced stress, slept, exercised, read, and self-reflected. It’s natural for me to self-reflect, but I’ve had even more time to do so. When you have a life altering medical condition, you are forced to examine yourself. Believe it or not, some people still don’t get it. They have no clue. They’re not ready. They blow the opportunity, but not me. I search for the lesson and my assumption is that there is always a lesson. Searching for the lesson doesn’t entail shaming myself and assigning blame, even though I may want to sometimes. The lesson isn’t always obvious or easy to determine, but figuring out what the lesson is points me to a growth opportunity. It gives me an extra nugget of wisdom. And every year, I desire to be better, to challenge myself, to be wiser…to grow. 

I’ve been craving new adventures, the taste of achievement, victory over family pathologies, and conquering debt. I need a plan to carry out these activities and I’ve been working on it. My new obsession is audiobooks. I’m not much of a novel reader either, not that I’m criticizing anyone who is. I like a good novel every now and then. The last novel I read was The Twelve Tribes of Hattie and it was so fascinating, it haunted me for months. Outside of work, the bulk of my reading is on health and wellness, financial management, and personal improvement.

A vision board is another excellent tool to set the tone for the year. I am a visual person indeed. This year will be the 2nd annual completion of our family vision board. Although our health crises (my husband had one too…see my very first blog post here) was not on it (go figure), I did do more traveling in 2016, experienced Jamaica for the first time, and invited 2 new kittens into our home, all of which was on the vision board in some way or another. The kids were disappinted that they didn’t get to go on a big family trip, but we’ll work on that for 2017. The jury is still out on if we were all kinder and more loving to each other, but I put forth a great effort. We definitely didn’t save as much money as I wanted. Completing the vision board with my family will help solidify our family goals, but I am reminded that God may have a different plan on how we will get there. 

In the meantime, I will follow the advise I gave that kindred spirit in her brain cancer recovery. To the best of my ability, I will nourish myself with the healing nutrients that feed my body, mind and spirit to include healthy food, books, prayer, sleep, exercise, writing, the people that I love, and kindred spirits. If I think of more, I’ll let you know.