SEASON 4 IS ON THE WAY!

"...these loaves that I will share with you, were baked with love, and what I know so far. I'm a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I pray the bread I share here with you, will nourish and encourage you".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MOMMY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE

Throughout my entire life, my mother has been the safest place I’ve known. I’ve spoken about her often, but trust that I think about her more. It was about ten years ago when I realized that she was failing. Certainly I didn’t want to see it and ignored it for some time, after all fortresses don’t fail! Well at least they're not suppose to. She used to say “I don’t know what's wrong with me, I’m forgetting things.” It hurts me now to think about how I’d hush her by saying, “Momma words are things, don’t say that”.

Kills me to think that she was asking for help, but the truth was I was afraid, for she was the one who always took care. Sure I’d been prepared for a grown-up life, but hey, I still needed the comfort of Mommy! You see that’s what she provided, comfort. My Mommy was like a landing strip for a weary traveler. Offering a respite, refueling, food and lodging if needed. Not just for her family but for everyone. Now. Let me just interject that if you know, or have known of such a place, go there while you still have the chance and say “thank you.” For I shall never forget the pain of landing, nor the blank stare I met, nor the realization that Mommy doesn’t live here anymore!

No, my mommy didn’t live there anymore but where did she go? Sad to say but Alzheimer’s doesn’t leave a forwarding address. It, not unlike a thief in the night, slowly but surely chips away at you, packing your belongings up and moving you right out from under you own nose.

Leaving no clues to those you’ve left behind as to where you’ve gone. Alzheimer’s ranks high on my list right before Cancer of the things I never wanted to know about. But since I’ve been forced to learn, let me share with you what I know so far; Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder named for the German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. It is reported that more than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer’s. Although symptoms can vary widely, the first problem many people notice is short term forgetfulness. It gets worse over time. As the disease progresses, other symptoms include confusion, and trouble with organizing. Expressing one’s thoughts becomes difficult, you began to misplacing things and often get lost in familiar places. As if all this is not enough, to date Alzheimer’s has no cure. Oh, treatments for the symptoms combined with support can make life better for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s- but it does nothing for those of us who are left with the painful realization that Mommy or Daddy doesn’t live there anymore.

For me it has been like a long Summer day. Basking in it’s warmth while losing light so subtlety till you don’t see it leaving- simply looking up to realize that you are in darkness. And still it is bitter sweet, for it forces me to remember. Not only all that she has forgotten but, to be thankful for what remains...

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Sadly my mother passed on October 7th 2009. After an eleven year journey with my mommy and Alzheimer’s, this is what I know so far: Alzheimer’s albeit a cruel teacher, was a good one.

The most important lesson taught was that if you don’t hold your loved one hostage to the relationship that you are comfortable with, then everyday you can meet them in amazing new places. You must let them lead the way, but I promise you, it’s okay to follow.
The most important lesson learned was “cherish the day” grieving not what is lost, rather embracing what is left.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WHEN I GROW UP

When I was twelve I went to my parents. There were some things that need be said. You see, I was not that obedient child. No that was my sister. Nor was I the straight “A” child, that position was held my other sister and of course I wasn’t the son, that was my brother and alas I wasn’t the baby, for he had just been born.

No, I was what you call the spinner child, the one in the middle. Not the smart one, not the good one, not the boy and not the baby, just me. So I decided to just be me, excepting my birth order as an invitation to define myself. I decided that when I grew up I’d be somebody, other than just the one in the middle.

My mother had told my I could, you see, and I believed her. And that expectation of a future was the thing that kept me from going completely off... oh but I came close. With all the other bases covered by my siblings I was rather wild and pretty crazy. And always on punishment. Which as you might imagine didn’t fit into my parent’s plan of a sane and sound household. So after a great deal of thought (about 2 minutes), I devised a plan of my own. I had decided it was time for a talk. so I went to them and I said, “Mother, Father we need to talk… I’ve been thinking, and I’ve decided that since it’s clear that I’m not going to do what you say, you should just leave me alone and focus on Marilyn, Gwen, Carl and of course now there’s the new baby.”

Well, it made all the sense in the world to me, but they just stared at me, I stood my ground and tried to stare back without using the reckless eyeball, which was sure to land my back-end at the front-end of a switch. I now know they trying not to laugh!

After a while (about a nine month pregnant pause) my father asked me "Had I’d planed to move out?" “Well no” I said, “I figured I could hang around here until…” Well that little bit answer was all I could manage and before I could lay out my carefully thought out plan about how I would live in their house, eat their food, and sleep in their comforts, he said “As long as your in my house, your going to do as I say!”

Darn!, I thought but didn’t dare speak, cause it was clear to me that our little talk had ended. And of the many options that we were given as children, talking back, at least out loud, just wasn’t among them. So I walked away thinking that evidently something was lost in the translation. I thought at that time that I might approach the subject latter after some more planning, or maybe when I grew up.

As a child of the 60’s and 70’s you didn’t have the kind of options that many children seem to have or shall I say suffer from these days. We were never consulted about the running of the household or its finances. We were not allowed in adult conversations or even allowed in the room when grown folks were talking, unless of course they were talking to us.

It seemed to me that grown-ups had all the fun, which is why of course I couldn’t wait to be one. I spent a lot of time thinking about the time when I’d grow up. It never occurred to me however, that I’d grow up and long for those days of youth. Those days of rules and guidance, shelter, protection and of course the weekly allowance. Those simple things that make a child feel safe, feel loved. Those days that were reserved for being a child. Those days are gone for me now as well, as for many children.

My parents seemed to know that too much information only served to confuse unformed minds. Too much information at an early stage often serves to frighten children, giving them the illusion that they are supposed to know how to handle it, which of course is impossible.

My parents held us in our places as children until the time we did grow up. My parents gave us the love that all children seek so we didn’t have to look for it in the streets. But these days we expose, talk to and at our children about things that should be classified information at least until they grow up. And then we turn around and want or expect them to be children. I am saddened, but not surprised that we are losing them, for many of them have lost the ability to be a child.

This is truly a submission of suspicion, for as you know I did grow up and I have no children. But I didn’t have to birth them to know that they are in trouble. And the saddest thing of all is that these days many children never even think about the day when they’ll grow up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

POPCORN

Anyone who knows me knows that popcorn is my most favorite food, In the world! I actually know which movie theaters have the best popcorn, and to those I will go and watch almost anything as long as I can have my popcorn. I am a bucket girl, and yes, I want my free refill!

I also have a secret for popping perfect popcorn at home, which was what I was about to do last night, before I realized with horror that I was out of seeds. Well as you might imagine I was stressed, and went to bed craving popcorn. Then it occurred to me that life and people are often like popcorn, oh I’m just tripping? well take this trip with me.

Let us think about popcorn, it is a hard little seed, that is in it’s un-popped, or un-pressured state, it is to say the least unappetizing. It looks like potential but it’s, well, rather worthless. So how does it go from something small and unimpressive to something magnificent? Okay. Well at least something good to eat?

Well, lets check it out. I actually researched popcorn, here’s what I found; Each kernel of popcorn contains a tiny drop of water stored inside a circle of soft starch. The soft starch is surrounded by the kernel's hard outer surface. As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand, and pressure builds against the hard starch. Eventually this hard surface gives way, causing the popcorn to explode. As it explodes the soft starch inside, the popcorn becomes inflated and bursts, turning the kernel inside out. The steam inside the kernel is released, and the popcorn is popped! Or for the sake of this conversation transformed.

I do know that heat and pressure is definitely a catalyst for change. So now is it just me, or is popcorn beginning to also sound a little like life to you? You see, when a kernel of popcorn is exposed to enough heat it begins to, well explode! When we are exposed to enough pressure we too begin to change. We may begin to brake out of our hard little shells just like that kernel of popcorn, finding it impossible to stay in the tiny places, or spaces, which have held us.

Now, lets examine that drop of water on the inside, Could this be true of us as well? Could there be a soft spot inside us? A soft spot that when triggered just right, could be exposed? That, when we are backed up against the wall could explode past what even we thought possible, past what even we thought we could be? Possibly becoming something wonderful, not unlike popcorn. Becoming light and fluffy.

Now I do understand, that all explosions are not good, and that being turned inside out, might not be a position that we choose to find ourselves in, and maybe that kernel of corn felt the same way. But lets remember the potential. As a matter of fact lets check out the word potential, for it means; Possible, but not yet realized. With a possibility or likelihood of occurring, or of doing or becoming something in the future.

And so, this is where we must do the work.This is where we must nurture or should I say protect that soft inside, our unmet potential. We must trust that it is there, we must trust that it is good, that we be ready for the day that the heat is turned on and the pressure rises, because you see, this is what I know so far; on that day when we are called out, or turned inside out, we too may be transformed into something wonderful. Just like popcorn.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'M SORRY (NO BUTS)

I’m sure you have heard this ever so popular, but very baffling phrase “We always hurt the ones we love”. Why is that I wonder?

We say it as if it were an answer. A reason for the nails we drive, the digs we make, the hurt we cause, when the truth as I see it is that it is an excuse. Maybe it’s because we’ve become too comfortable with the people in our space. Take too much for granted, assume too much. I don’t know, could be a proximity issue. We’re just too close and when I reach out to stretch, I cant help but hit you. Oooh-ouch!

But you know what? I believe that we should at least try and treat our treasures with some modicum of respect. Still I know that even the best, or let me say the most conscious among us, still sometimes hurt the ones we love.

Okay then, if it is something that is so prone to happen, what should be the next action? I’m sorry? Some say, “Love means never having to say I’m sorry”. Talk to me on that one, because I’m not buying it at all! What about you? I mean if you hurt me, you need to say something. But, does “I’m sorry” really work? That's a toughie...because you see, once lost, trust is oftentimes extremely difficult to regain. And it could take an incredible amount of time. And depending upon the nature of the hurt, insult or injury, it could be impossible. Those things said and done for the intended purpose to maim are often the straws that breaks the camels back.

But before we go to far, lets go back to. “I’m sorry”. There may be something to learn there. For how we begin to rebuild the trust, love and friendship could be in the acknowledgement of the hurt we’ve caused, albeit unknowingly. Now acknowledgements and apologies, I’m thinking, are two entirely different things. To acknowledge is to show a sign of recognition. In this case a sign showing, or even better a verbal recognition of the fact that something you did or said, no matter what your intention, hurt or caused pain to someone that you love. In my opinion, this is critical otherwise, why are you sorry? If you don’t understand what you’ve done, you are most likely to repeat it.

An “I’m sorry” on the other hand is what I call grown folks business. It is a willingness to relinquish your ego for the sake of someone you care about. And I’m thinking that your but should be left out as well. “I know I hurt you, but...” in my opinion is not an apology at all. I have found that there’s usually a big ole but in front of an excuse. I say leave your but out of it! When apologizing to some one I have learned to simply say, “I see that I’ve hurt you, I’m sorry, please forgive me”. Sure, I have a hundred reasons why I did it, at least one hundred reasons that make me less guilty, however truth in that minute is, who cares, I blew it.

I don’t think that it is okay to hurt the ones we profess to love. I think that it is foolish, selfish and careless. And I hope that it is not a foregone conclusion, to take for granted the love and trust that we’ve been given. I think to think that no matter what we do or say, however we choose to use or abuse those relationships and to think that they will last, is sheer madness. Many an unhappy and lonely person can attest to this.

Cause you see this is what I know so far;
Your feelings of pain and disappointment behind something that I choose for my self, this, I can not help. But recklessly and carelessly hurting you, I can! So when I blow it, let me know it!
I see that I’ve hurt you, I’m sorry, please forgive me.
No buts!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Has anyone ever had to tell you to mind your own business? Well as a child growing up I heard it all the time. You see I used to be very nosy, not so much now, but I used to be. So my mother was constantly having to tell me “Cassandra mind your own business!”. It was as though “mind your own business” were my last and middle names. I didn’t know at that time what a powerful statement this was, but since I know now, I'm going to encourage each and every one of you to mind your own business!

Now check yourself. Do you feel empowered or insulted? If you're feeling slighted, you don’t know me very well. For I have but one mission in sharing with you what I know so far, and that is to empower, inspire, motivate and hopefully, entertain you.
So then. When I tell you to mind your own business, what I'm really saying is, where is the power in that statement? The fact that no one other than you was never meant to, or is able to mind your business. Whatever your business happens to be.
And whatever that business is, it is worthy of minding.

Not sure? Well then let’s check out the meaning of business, as it is defined:
A particular trade or profession, a company or other organization that buys and sells goods, makes products, or provides services.

Business is also considered to be any activity involving the exchange of money for goods or services the commercial dealings that a person or organization has with another company or individual. And this last definition should include everyone whether you are in business or not, for business also means; The personal responsibilities and concerns, tasks or important things that a person has to do or deal with.
In other words, the care and feeding of you. Your life is your business.

I see business as an agreement, for it is a two party dance. Whether you are minding your own or supporting someone else’s. I also see the willingness to mind your business as opportunity; for it is easier now more than ever before to create your own business. And in my opinion it is the only way to have real job security. You see, when you are willing and able to mind your own business no one can hold you hostage. If your business dose not succeed or you loose your job, the lessons, or as I like to say the muscles developed in minding your own business, remain and strengthen you to start anew. When experience is gained, nothing is lost.

Question. Do you have an entrepreneurial dream, however big or small? Are you aware that you can achieve it, if you will mind it? Are you aware that even if you have no desire to strike out on your own, your personal success lies behind the ability to mind your own business? Minding your own business brings you home to you. It is the willingness to check and re-check yourself. It is the ability to make changes when necessary. It is being smart enough to say, “I don’t know” and being wise enough to get the information.

Minding your own business is personal, it is a position of self empowerment, for if you know your business, you are less susceptible to chaos and distractions, your more able to stay your course, which is the only way of attaining success.
Minding your own business, is a neutral, or nonjudgmental position. When you mind your own business you aren’t as concerned with the business or antics of others. When you mind your own business, you don’t notice the splinter in my eye and miss the wood-plank in your own.

I believe that it is a consciousness of lack, and insecurities that keeps us from the minding of our own business. I suspect that it’s when you believe that there isn’t enough to go around, you might manipulate situations to ensure your gain. You're less likely to support the efforts and business’s of others. When the truth, as I see it anyway, is the only way to grow your dreams, your desires and your business is to support that of others... while minding your own.

So you see this is what I know so far;
The next time some one tells you to "mind your own business" use it as an invitation to be all that you can be. Because if you don’t mind your own business everyone else will try to.
But remember, no one is more qualified than you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FEAR FACTOR

What are you afraid of? In the dark of night when you are all alone, what is your greatest fear? There is no shame, we all have them. As a matter of fact many of us are ruled by them. And since that is a fact, let us first understand what fear is. For to face anything it must first be recognized, identified, understood or defined.

The word fear is defined as follows; feeling of anxiety, an unpleasant feeling of apprehension or distress caused by the presence or anticipation of danger frightening thought. An idea, or other entity that causes feelings of fear. Fear is also described as a chance or likelihood of an undesirable thing happening. And guess what. Fears are usually irrational, lacking reason or logic. Still fears are very real and really powerful, for often they prompt us to actions. Fear is like the classroom bully. Or those things that go bump in the night.

Now was it just me, or did you too hear words like, ideas, feelings, chances, and anticipations. And the word illusion may as well be added. For that is all that fear really is. A lie. These are the definitions of fear, the root of fear is an entirely different thing, which should also be defined. However that is personal.

Let me share with you a story, or a lesson if you will, taught to me by my nephew. This was just one of many things I have learned from him. This one taught to me when he was just 5 years old.
At my parents home there was this huge blow-up cow. I believe it was some promotional tool, and it was big enough to get the point across. But for some reason it frightened my nephew. It was kept upstairs, therefore that became a place where he would not tread. Not until the day that he taught me a very powerful lesson about the facing of ones fears.

I was visiting, and as usual when I came to town I spent a lot of time with him. I’d asked him if he wanted to play our favorite video game, which was also upstairs. He said he would and so I headed for the stairs, but he followed me. Knowing that, the thing resided at the top of the stairs, I said “Sweetie, I’ll get it, you don’t have to come with me”. But he said it’s okay Auntie, “I’ve decided to face my fears”.

Out of the mouths of babes, he stopped me dead in my tracks. I ask him to repeat what he’d just said, and he did. Funny how life’s lesson come, it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet made that decision. And I was well into my thirties.
So let me ask you this. Have you, have you decided to face your fears? And if you have, did you find what my nephew did? For upon deciding to face his fear of the thing at the top of the stairs, he found nothing more than a silly blow up promotional item.
Nothing more than air blown into plastic.

Face your fears, and see how silly they are! I invite you, I dare you.
Now I know that there will always be things in life which are a little hard to take, things that we fear. We imagine them in advance. We wonder how we would deal with such situations, and hope they never happen to us. I also know how powerful fear is, for its remarkable how many times the things that we fear might happen to us actually do. But that’s because we’ve fueled them.

Remember, we magnify the objects of our focus. Good or bad, our thoughts are energy and they have growing power. Often times fear shows up as insecurities. And our fears and insecurities can rule and wreck our relationships as well as our lives if we don’t face them.

So now, let me ask you this; which would you rather do- fuel your fears or face them? You get to decide, but before you do, might I share with you what I know so far?
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is little more than a decision we’ve have made to react to something in a particular way. Often before we truly know what we’re dealing with. Change your mind and face your fears.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

INCURABLE

Believing as I do that words are things, I have found it necessary from time to time to smith a word. That is to redefine or refine it’s definition into something that has within it more possibilities for success. Never may this tweaking be more needed than when one is given the devastating news that their prognosis holds no happy ending. That one’s affairs should be gotten in order.

That what they have is incurable.

The word incurable is as defined; Impossible to cure and impossible to change. “That’s it, that’s all they wrote”. But wait before we spin out of control, remember we have the ability to smith, redefine and refine this definition one that offers options, to one that offers hope, one that offers possibility... one that offers life.

In order to see it clearly let us dissect the word, let us separate the word in from the word curable. The word in is a grammatical word indicating that something or somebody is within or inside something. Now let us examine the word curable. It is as defined; capable of being treated by medical procedures, able to be healed.

Now let us rejoin our words in and curable, now that it has a whole new meaning. Incurable now tell us that the cure, or our healing is already within us. I am far more encouraged than afraid of the word incurable for I am reminded that as a child of God, everything I need whenever I need it, whatever it is, is available to me, is within me.

Our faith is often the last resort when the medical profession appears to fail us. But the truth as I see it anyway, is that every single healing by whichever way it come is a miracle. And let us examine for a minute, what it is to be healed. For one’s own healing is personal. As most of our souls are wounded on some level, often times it is not until the ultimate challenge comes, the one that’s threatens our very mortality, that we go ahead and do the growth. Do the thing, live the lives that we were meant to live.

And while we are looking, let us look at living shall we? The thing about life, the common thread that stitches us all together is that no one gets out of life alive. So what…you want to live forever? Or live for real? There’s really only one choice. Make it.

Because you see this is what I know so far; As soon as you do, as soon as you decide to live and decide for yourself how your life will be, no diagnosis will phase you. For you will be in-lighten, in-abled, in-powered, in-couraged and incurable!
video

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WITH INTEREST

Lets go to the bank, shall we? But first, let me ask you this; How many of you have checking accounts? Interest bearing checking accounts? Excellent! Okay now, how many of you have saving accounts which pay interest? Good! Then this will be a simple principal, for I am sure that we all could stand to benefit from our holdings.

Let us travel the road that defines Interest. In finance, interest has three general definitions:

*Interest is a surcharge on the repayment of debt. You know, that money you borrowed. Well they want it back with interest! But we’re not trying to pay money, we’re trying to collect right?

*Oh! This one is better. Interest is the return derived from an investment. It’s the stuff you get back based on what you put in. So as we go on, let’s not forget the word investment...

*Interest is lastly said to be the right to one's claim in a corporation such as that of an owner or creditor. In other words it's their business in your business.

I see that I lost some of you at the word investment, but stay with me, for it is as true in banking as it is in life that you may not collect on that which you have not invested in. Don’t take it personally, the banker simply does not know you. But when I think about collecting with interest, I offer that even those who appear to have no holding will still collect with interest.

Life as I see it is much like banking, and we would therefore do well to invest in it mindfully, for life is an interest bearing account... and I promise you that you will be paid back with interest on whatever you put into it.

So now if we are talking about life let us examine our relationships. How many of us are withholding from our relationships? How many of us are waiting for a dividend before we will invest in our partners. Tricky business, cause remember you are paid with interest, on what you invest, which means if you are withholding, that is about what you will receive. with interest!

Now lets take a look at our children, take a non-judgmental look at those relationships, especially if your children are grown. Know that when I say non-judgmental, I mean be prepared to take a honest look at what you invested. Do you see how you may be receiving with interest, on that investment. Now this is not about condemnation, many of us have wonderful relationships with our children. This is about the principal of Sowing and Reaping and, might I add, with interest.

We have but to take a look around us, at our homes, at our community to see that some one has sown a mess. Someone is not investing in their children. Some one is not taking care of business. Some one is not following the law. Some one is not playing by the rules, some one is cheating. Some one is lying, some one is shooting and many are dying. And all of those who have invested in any form or fashion in this mess are collecting with interest.

If life is like banking and I believe it is, then let us please be mindful investors. If not for your community, if not for your partner, if not for your children, if not for me, then for yourself.
For what I know so far is that you can and will only, and without fail, collect on that which you have invested in, with interest.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ALLOWANCE

When my siblings and I were children we received an allowance. It came once a week, usually on Saturday afternoon, after our chores were done. Understanding the wisdom of my parents now, this was to ensure that we did our chores without too much prodding. So after the beds were made and the bathroom, which was my job to do, was scrubbed and everything else that was on the list of chores to do was done, we would them go to our parents, hands out stretched to receive our allowance. The amount varied according to our ages. I started out at 35 cents. This would allow me to purchase 35 pieces of penny candy. “Oh my God” I was in heaven.


Let me ask you this, when was the last time you received an allowance? Not quite sure well, lets check the definition, an allowance is as defined:
  • A small sum of money paid regularly by parents to a child so that the child can make his or her own purchases.
  • An allowance could also be a budgeted amount of something given out at regular intervals or for a specific purpose. Or a toleration.
  • The allowing of something to happen, the tolerating of it.
Now for the purposes of this loaf, this food for thought, I would like to focus on the last definition. Toleration: the allowing of something to happen, or the toleration of it. You see, as responsible adults most of us no longer receive an allowance from our parents or anyone else for that matter. We are, or should be amply motivated to do what need be done with out the prodding or bribing of an allowance.

Still allowances are needed in life and it is now up to us to allow ourselves. Allowances enable, motivate or permit something to happen. I fear that far too many of us are still psychologically waiting for an allowance, waiting for permission before we allow ourselves to check us off of our to-do list.

Many of us seem to be waiting for permission or an allowance to live the best lives possible, to live the lives of our dreams of our desires. But it is up to us to permit this. What will it take for you to allow yourself? Unfortunately for some it is a devastating disease. For others it is a death, the loss of a loved one. Some find an allowance at the end of a job or career and then there are those for whom an allowance is found at the end of the road.
But allowances need not wait when we allow things to happen. We need not find ourselves at wits ends in order to permit, we need not die in order to live. We need simply to allow it, for I have found that once we allow or permit ourselves the world will acquiesce.

It is a often seen as being selfish. And selfish is of course a dirty word. Yes, we are taught that the looking after own desires, the being concerned with your own interests, needs and wishes while ignoring those of others is self-absorbed, conceited, self-seeking, mercenary, self-interested, egotistical, self-regarding, pompous, egocentric, arrogant and haughty. But I’m thinking we should give ourselves an allowance to redefine selfish. You see, I have often found that we are often labeled selfish when we are not doing what someone else wants us to do. And there seems to be a never ending list of things that other feel should be done by us.

But you see, this is what I know so far;
In our attempts to avoid being seen as selfish we have overlooked the root of the word, which is is little more than a characteristic of the word.
So if we allow others the accredited us, if we find our self-worth at the end of a long list that does not include us, a list which we have worked with little or no regard to our selves, our dreams, our plans, our lives, our health, we are not selfish. No, we are foolish.


Friday, August 7, 2009

A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE KILLER BEES

Click the play button to watch the sneak preview...

Are we a bunch of hams, or what?!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Treat Yourself Well!








In her final installment of the TalkZone Internet Radio series, Cassandra and Silver Rae are joined by health and nutrition expert Sunday Muniz...she'll help you kick bad habits and get you on the path to health and wellness! You can listen to their conversation by clicking on the show title below!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FIND YOUR PURPOSE!


This week on That's What I'm Talkin' About, Cassandra and Silver Rae have special guest and celebrated author (Work Makes Me Sick!), Jeff Percival. Click on the link below to listen their conversation on TalkZone Radio NOW!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

YOU GOT ISSUES? MAYBE IT'S YOU!

Let me ask you this; are you the kind of person who all ways has a issue? Maybe you are gifted with the ability to see exactly what’s wrong with everyone in your life. Do you become frustrated easily? Have you ever felt that everyone is out to get you? Have you ever noticed that even when something starts out well, before long it all begins to fall apart? Do you here yourself saying things like “every time I do” thus and such this thing happens? Or if it’s not this thing then surely it will be that thing. Do you always know when something is about to go wrong? You just see it coming. Oh yeah, and you feel it be your civic duty to tell everyone you know. Do you find it difficult to settle down in a relationship because everyone you meet has this problem or causes that problem for you. Have you said or herd yourself thinking “there simply aren’t any good ones left”? Oh, and your job, no not the last five of them, this one. Yeah I know, it would be prefect if only...


Tell me now, do you find yourself thinking of most everyone you know “If they would just…”, you can fill in the blanks? I’ll bet you have a long list of what it would take to make them better. (Chile, I know) Don’t you find or feel that you are all knowing, smarter than everyone else, or at least everyone you know? Are you the best at everything you do? Yes, and this is why you ought to control everything, right?


Still you feel rejected, unappreciated, unlucky, not properly respected, lonely, unloved, stressed out, the whole damn world is crazy. The bottom line is you’ve got issues with most everything and everyone. Does this sound familiar? Well I’d like to offer my humble opinion. If you are the common denominator in all of your equations or shall I say issues... if every time something goes wrong you are there... if in other words nothing’s ever good enough, and you cant get along with anyone... then you got issues and maybe It’s You!


There comes a time in everyone’s life where the dots don’t connect, however if you are in a seemingly permanent state of disconnect, I’m thinking you might want to check yourself.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not about blame. For laying blame serves not to mend an error. And being disconnected from ourselves is nothing more than an error. Sometimes we just get too stretched out if we are not careful to determine who we really are, what is really true for us, where we need to grow as well as those things we have outgrown. This is about being brave enough to take an honest look at yourself. Cause trust me everyone else is. Having issues from time to time is one thing, being oblivious to the issues you have is a prescription for the continuance of having issues with everything.


So now, check yourself. You got issues? Is it you? Good, now we can begin. You see correcting your issues is not nearly as painful as suffering from them. The first step is always in recognition. It is said that the moment we pay attention to anything, that thing begins to change. And things changing and embracing changes is what I’m talking about. The only thing that ever needs to be changed in any situation is you, your thinking. It is the definition you give to any situation that defines (be it issue-less or issue ridden) that situation for you!


Cause you see, this is what I know so far;
Everything and everyone you know has value, everything and everyone brings gifts to the table. Gifts that are often missed by those with unresolved issues. If you hold yourself so far above it all, what will find it that it’s lonely at top. But life was not meant to be lived looking down.
Life is far too vast to know everything and far too short to live disconnected!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Give Your Blues The Boot!


Listen to the latest installment of Cassandra and Silver Rae's 13 week series on Chicago's TalkZone.com by clicking on this week's episode title below!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kick It Up A Notch!

"LIFE COUTURE" continues on Chicago's Internet radio sensation TalkZone.com. Simply click on this week's episode title below to listen to the the show!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SHINING STAR

What does it mean to be a shining star? I recently had the opportunity to bask in the light of just such a person. There are shining stars among us, and our recognition of them not only helps them to shine brighter, but helps us to see more clearly our own possibilities. The shining star to which I’m referring is a young woman by the name of Lauren. Only seventeen but with a light that shown so bright, it was blinding.

My dear Lauren, this one’s for you and every other Shining Star.
What does it mean to be a shining star? We’ve often heard of rising stars. Would then, a shining star mean one who has risen? Rising stars are usually people from whom much has been seen and from whom much is expected. But what of a shining star?

Could you be one? Not sure, then let us check the definition so as to be correct. The word Shining is as defined: conspicuously excellent and admirable. And the word Star: a shining example to all. Outstanding, being very or most important, skillful, or successful. Okay that’s just some of what the dictionary had to say, let’s continue our investigation of shining stars...
Loving music as I do and it’s ability to give language to our feelings, I see that “Earth Wind & Fire” says “You're a shining star, No matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you could truly be” And you know what, I would be inclined to agree with them. But I’m not alone. The Manhattans also said “Honey you are my shining star & don’t you go away” And then they ask a very important question, “Don't you realize how you hypnotize” Seems to me that everyone knows that you are a shining star, everyone except you. Turn your light on, for Matthew 5:14-16 states "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

So you see, we are each and everyone one of us are Shining Stars, with blinding lights so bright. But we are, many of us are hiding our lights under baskets. Many of us feel that our lights, if we ever had them, have long sense gone out.

I know a woman who is very talented, more so than she realizes or takes credit for. Now she is, in my opinion, not feigning modesty, she really doesn’t get it. In other words, she is playing small, hiding her light. Now one might say, what’s the difference? Whether or not someone lets their light shine is personal.Well in this woman’s case, because she is not shining her light she is living in darkness and she is raising children in the dark.

I offer that we are obligated to let our lights shine. I believe that we are given what we have, our gifts, our talents, our lives to be a blessing to the world we live in. Also I believe that by allowing our lights to shine we illuminate the way for others to follow. And how, you might ask. How do I let my light shine? It’s really quite simple. Just be the best of yourself. Show up in your life and do what you love. Just answer the calls of your heart. Dare to dream and then follow them. Just know that according to the words of many you are already a “Shining Star”!

And so, this is what I know so far;
Someone may be in the kind of darkness where only your light can be seen. Ignite your light and let it shine!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PLUG INTO YOUR POWER!


Click on the episode title below to listen to this week's installment of Cassandra and Silver Rae Fox's new show on Chicago's TalkZone Internet Radio...isn't it time YOU flipped the switch?



That's What I'm Talkin' About: Plug Into Your Power



Saturday, July 4, 2009

USE YOUR WORDS

When children are young and learning to speak we often encourage them to use their words. They are often more inclined to point out things that they want, to nod in agreements or shake their heads to signal their censure. They often times will cry in frustration and scream in anger. But in order to direct them we say “ use your words”. This of course, after we have taught or provided them with the words to express themselves. But that is them, and that was then, what about now, what about you? May I invite or encourage you to use your words?

You see, the word comes first and life is created after the word. So let us use our words. The Gospel of John 1:1-4 tells us clearly that; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What I’m getting from this powerful scripture is that words are not only creative power they are law. For they are God. And that with the word came everything else, for God said “let there be” which suggests to me, that we hold the power of life and death and all creation in our mouths, with our words.


The truth is that we use our words constantly, though often times unconsciously. Still the power remains. Therefore we have created such things as darkness and demons who come to rob us of our bliss, those things we really want, the way we think we’d like life to be. And then we use our words to report and repeat all that appears to be wrong, therefore creating more of what is wrong. We use our words to magnify our fears and our pangs, there by creating more of the same. For remember the word comes first and the word is law.

If for example we use our words to hurt or disillusion others what we create is hurt, and disillusionment, but not as we may think, we create these things in the only place where our word is law and that is within our own lives. Conversely, when we use our words to love and support others, we create loving and supportive outlets within ourselves and for ourselves.

Use your words and use them carefully! For our words are the building blocks of our realities. Our words are the bricks our thoughts are the mortar, and our feelings are the energies which build our worlds. It is not rocket science, but it is the law and the ignorance of the law dose not make us exempt.

Habakkuk 2:2 says; Then the Lord replied: write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. This to me, is an invitation to use our words. Use your words with intention and clarity. It also speaks to the power of the written word. It is the instruction by which our realities are created. For we recognize our own words.
Might we then be reminded to think before we speak. For words, though powerful are impersonal, they can be blessings or curses. They will create after themselves but can only be received by recognition.

So you see this is what I know so far;
Our mouths are the portals by which our minds slip out, let us think first and use our words not to report our fears, but to create our lives as we wish them to be.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

LIFE COUTURE


Photo by: Cherrie Hanson

Click on the show title below to listen to the premiere episode of Cassandra and Silver Rae Fox's new 12 week designer course on life, and how to make yours AMAZING!

That's What I'm Talkin' About: Life Couture

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

IF ONLY THEY WOULD...

Have you ever noticed that there are those who no matter what is being done or said, can always find something wrong? And having a conversation or being in relationship with them is like tip-toeing through a mind field, with bombs planted everywhere. And where the last word is always theirs and it is always how you could have, should have done something better or different. Have you ever felt numb, empty or devalued after talking to or even being in the company of these kind of people. Have you ever thought that things would be better or easier if only they would… Well guess what, they wont!

Yes I’m referencing to dealing with difficult or toxic people. You know the ones who sometimes pretend to friends or those overgrown toddlers that show as a parents, siblings, wives, husbands, coworkers, bosses. Those people in our lives that you just can not get along with, and you can not shoot, and you think life would be so much sweeter if only they would… Well like I said, they’re not likely to. So then what possible purpose could relationships with these people serve in our lives? For, though we may spend time trying to figure out what their problem is, the reality, or at least as I see it is, it’s not about them, it’s about us.

I believe that everything in our lives is about us, every thing and every one that we encounter is in some way great or small there to show us, teach us or push us onto higher ground. Yeah, I imagine you are wondering what your toxic girlfriend knows about higher ground, when she cant even handle the lowlife she’s dating. And your thinking that your relationship would be more peaceful if only you didn’t have to hear about it, if only she would not monopolize every conversation. But might I suggest you think about it this way. If you’ve identified this about her, you’ve also identified options for yourself. For every time we might say or think if only they would…..we have the opportunity to do or be what ever it is that we are sure would make the world a better place.

Let me share with you a little story;
Once upon a time there was a women who ended a very bad relationship with her very argumentative boyfriend. Though she was sure that it was his insecurities flaring up, this knowledge did not keep her from being pulled into his drama. She often though, if only he would grow up! If only he would shut up! If only he would leave me alone. Well none of those things were in his plans, eventually realizing this, she left him. She made a vow to her self no more drama! And then she met Mr. Drama with a capital D, now of course he didn’t show up that way, she’d have been far too smart to fall for that, what with her declaration of drama-free relationships. No, It took about a month or so and by that time she was hooked. So she thought to herself, having made this promise of drama-free relationships, “how on earth did she end up in another one.” Then she realized that it was an opportunity for her to confirm her deceleration. Every time she herd herself think if only he would… she realized he wouldn’t and that it was up to her.

She, over time grew to appreciate both of these relationships that pushed her past the point of ever again putting up with such nonsense, for she learned once and for all the valuable lesson behind the thought. In only they would…..and that is whether they do or don’t is on them. But every time we identify another’s perceived short coming, we are given the opportunity to grow a little more by showing up in the way we wish they would.
The End

So you see this is what I know so far;
Those with whom we assemble, we eventually began to resemble! Who we are - our very essence - is continually being transformed by the messages we receive and the company we keep. “If only they would…” Well, don’t hold your breath. Relationships are a two party dance and every time we think, say or feel if only they would… We have an opportunity to take the lead.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HE

He often sat quietly watching us with a look on his face that to this day I still couldn’t describe. He worked hard, thought much, and seems more often than not, lost within himself. He stands tall, and on his lap was the safest place in the world to me. I loved him but I’m not sure I ever really knew him. I do know however what he did. He took care of his family. He combed my hair and on my first day of school, and after my mother had made my dress he hemmed it. He did!

I remember watching his hands, too big to hold the needle. But he did it, and then those same big hands held mine and walked me to school. I held on tight not wanting to be left alone and though he had to let go, he didn’t leave. I saw him standing outside the fence watching me. Protecting me. And because he did, I was able to go on. I’ve never stopped going because he was always there watching out for me and protecting me, even to this day. But he wasn’t the only one watching. I’ve watched him too, and in my watching, I’ve seen him change. I did not know that he was still growing up. He has grown into the most amazing man I know. With energy to do what I could not. He is amazing, and still I would have to say that I’m not really sure that I know him.

What motivates him? What makes him happy? What makes him sad? What is he thinking? What is he afraid of? Who is he, really?

Maybe a daughter could not know. But I’ll tell you what I do know. Fathers are necessary. Fathers are a integral part of a family, often times giving up their own dreams for those of their families. Putting away those things of youth in order to ensure the success and stability of the family. He did that for us. Many do that for theirs. Have you thanked your father lately?

I suspect that some fathers may be the most misunderstood member of the family, getting caught up in the attempts to prove strong in the face of what ever challenges. Trapped by societal belief of what a man should and should not be, how a man should and should not act. Sometimes feeling outsourced by the changing role of women. The looming role of mothers. But how are they, what are they?
Let us examine him for he has is defined in many ways. He could be a:

Birth father
Surprise father
Teenage father/youthful father
Non-parental father
Sperm Donor father
Single Father - as a matter of fact the number of fathers solely responsible for the care of their children is growing at a rate almost twice that of single mothers. Fully one-fifth of single parents today are single fathers -- more than 2 million of them.

And then there are,
Non-biological fathers
Step-fathers
Father-in-law
Adoptive fathers
Foster fathers
Cuckolded fathers - where child is the product of the mother's adulterous relationship.
Social fathers - where man takes de facto responsibility for a child.

But call them what you will, their importance is with out question.
Studies have conclusively shown that children who receive love, attention and interaction from their fathers are healthier and better adjusted. Fathers who take an active role of the raising of their children bring positive benefits in a way that no other person is as able to bring. These children often display higher IQs, better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement. The influence of a nurturing father's involvement with his children often result in a sense of self-confidence for the child which extends into adolescence and throughout life.

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane Washington. By A woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

So on today, on Father’s Day, and all days of my life I shall honor my father, for he was there, he is amazing, he is a mystery, he is my daddy and because he is, I am.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

THE BEAT OF A DISTANT DRUM

How would you describe yourself? Do you do, or have you done what was expected of you? Do you wake up on the right side of the bed. Do you dress in the right way, get in the right car parked in the right driveway of the right street and drive it to the right job? Would you describe yourself as a person who went along with the flow or do you constantly find yourself going against the grain?Dancing to the beat of a distant drum.

Now this is not a question of judgment, I’m simply curious.
Many people live their lives in the quote-unquote right way. But there are those who live their lives doing things that other people wouldn’t, couldn’t, and quite possibly shouldn’t do. And they do it with rhythm. Might that be you?

Well if you are not doing your own thing, dancing your own dance. If you are living your life on someone else’s prescription, if for example you are what your family wanted you to be, versus the call in your heart, if you are someone who behaves or thinks in a socially acceptable or expected ways, you are according to my research a conformist. Now this is not the worst way to be I suppose. Living a life that some else has planed could feel a little less threatening and it certainly keeps you from being a threat.

But what if one day, you herd the music playing and felt an urge to dance or sing or create, to break free from the pack in a society which would have none of that. What do you do then? Would you, could you allow yourself the freedom to dance? I’m just curious.

I guess to be sure we should examine those who hear the beat of the distant drum, those who’s hips move freely. Let us take a look at those who reject the flow, the conforms of society, those who move against the grain. These people are called many things, for their behavior is often not condoned. They are labeled eccentric, rebellious, nonconformist and trouble makers. But these are the people who open doors. These are the ones who chart new courses, for they are also free thinkers, artists and visionaries. They make others nervous as their hips move freely, as they dance to the beat that others can not hear.

Again I’ll ask, Where do you fall, are you going with the flow or are you dancing to the beat of the distance drummer?

I’ve been dancing my entire life and cant imagine a life without the rhythm of the distant drum. I cant imagine living any other way, for I have found the most amazing gifts on the less crowded dance floor of life or shall I say the paths less traveled. In other words I did it my way.
But lets talk about that for a minute, for this does not mean that my steps are without order. This does not mean that I answer to no one. It simply means that I answer to no flesh. Instead I listen for the beat of the drum, knowing well the drummer. For you see going against the grain creates a certain rhythm within itself, offering a connectedness to spirit. While dancing with no rhythm… well we wont go there…and there is no need when the drummer’s beat is constant.

Dancing to the beat of the distance drum is not the easiest way. You are often met with resistance, disapproval, or a basic lack of understanding. But those who hear the beat and on keep on dancing are the healthiest people I know. For they are often living a rich and rewarding life, the one's they were meant to live.
What are you doing for the rest of your life?
Might I invite you to a dance. I know the most amazing drummer who never misses a beat.
 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

D.I.Y.

When I was younger I went through a period where I didn’t want anything home-made, even though my mother was a professional seamstress and was capable of constructing anything and I do mean anything. I wanted to dress like my friends, so I didn’t want to wear anything that did not come from the store. Now, being the loving mother that she is, she indulged this foolish whim with one shopping trip which resulted in a pair of too short jeans from the Wooden Nickel and an ill fitting top from Gimble Shuster’s bargain basement...

You see, I have been 5’9” sense I was twelve and back then store bought clothing wouldn’t accommodate my long frame. My mother knew this of course but she wanted me to learn it for myself. The next time I went back to my mother to ask her to make an outfit for a class field trip, (which I’d often done and she’d sometimes sew through the night to accommodate my last minute request) it resulted in a sewing machine and loving “Do It Yourself.”

Man, had I offended her? Who knew mothers had feelings? Well I learned that they did, but that wasn’t all that I learned, I really did learn how to do it myself. Of course my mother helped me, she would show me how to trim a pattern, how to measure it and make allowances where needed to ensure that it would fit my then size 10 hips and size 6 waist, as well as how to lengthen it so as to be long enough. Because she sewed for people she always had fabric and she would let me pick from some of her choice-pieces. (this was a phrase of hers).

Of course I always wanted to rush through it, but she would check my seams and make me do it right, saying “It should look as good on the inside as it does on the outside. You should be able to wear it inside-out”. Which I thought was silly. Who would ware a dress inside-out? But like so many other jewels my mother gave me, this too became invaluable. As I went on to design for entertainers exacting a high price, and saw many a seam checked.

D.I.Y. My mother could have coined that phrase, for it was what she believed in. She taught me to be independent. Independent of the hair salon, the nail salons, the clothing salons. Her mantra, “Learn to do with excellence anything that you would pay to have done”. Well I took her advice, and I am now the ultimate Do It Yourselfer. As a matter of fact I do it for others too. All the time. Because of the wings my mother gave me, I have earned income as a Clothing & Jewelry Designer for such artists as the late Phyllis Hyman, Nancy Wilson, Abby Lincoln, The Manhattans, Frankie Beverly & Maze…I worked as a stylist doing hair & make-up for a nationally published magazine. I am very capable of doing my own nails. Yes, the left hand is done as well as the right. I build furniture and do window treatments. I am a personal trainer, motivational speaker, talk show host, and a professional ($$) Jazzy Singer. But am I special? Nope, not in the least. I’m just free, free to do it myself. You see, at an age when I was still listening, I was told that I could, and just in case your still listening so can you! You to can D.I.Y.

Something happened, we have advanced ourselves into dependency. Why learn to do it, just pay to have it done. We have become so reliant upon others. Instead of encouraging our children to learn simple skills we have crippled them. Where we used to have to be D.I.Y’ers, we have become the ultimate consumers. And sadder still, many of us seek our worthiness in the amount of that which we are able to consume.

Because I am a D.I.Y’er, I work very hard. My jobs though are not drudgery, I enjoy the work I do. I have turned all of my passions in to dollars, and all because I was told to D.I.Y.
So I’ll give to you the same gift my mother gave to me. “Do It Yourself.” What ever it is, or pick one thing that you are paying someone to do for you, D.I.Y. just try it.

Because I promise you, this is what I know so far;
You will never know what you are capable of doing until you at least try to D.I.Y. And there may never be a better time as June is Entrepreneurs "Do It Yourself" Marketing Month and in this economy the more one is able to do for oneself the better.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MEMORIAL DAY

I can think of few things which magnify our commonalities more than grieving the loss of a life. It seems to be the great common denominator. That pain from which no one can escape, even more so than remembering. Still on Memorial Day all across the country we do just that. For today we commemorate all the young men and women that have fought so proudly and honorably for our nation and have paid for with their lives, many of the freedoms we know today.

From the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq, today we celebrate and remember the fallen as a group. For Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation, it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. But with the planning’s of outings and such it seem to me that The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

So today and everyday I humbly ask that we observe the day in this way. That we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors and our friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice and to be reminded to live worthy of the cost that was paid, as well as be thankful to those heroes who have died in conflicts and wars.

I cant imagine what it must be like to face each day on a potential battle field, doing what you do, knowing that each day may be your last. Rising to the call to bravely protect a way of life knowing that you may not have the opportunity to enjoy it. Leaving your family and friends and all that you hold dear behind, knowing each time that it may be the last time. No I can not imagine this and thanks to the heroes we honor today, I don’t have to. So I can, at the very least, remember. But for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but a painful memory and continued deprivation. Be blessed. Those whose dear ones have died in what appears to be needlessly, wastefully accident or misadventure. Be blessed.

Today we remember with compassion and gratitude those who have died serving their countries in the futility of combat. No one can escape to question death asks of us, but God has provided those of us who have not yet been asked with an answer.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Let us all take comfort in knowing that there are heroes who stand ready to do what it takes to continue to protect us even as we go about our day and let us never forget to honor, support and respect them for all that they do and have done for us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

AS IF

I’ve got a question; are you a what if thinker? Do you catch yourself wondering or hear yourself asking “what if” this and “what if” that? If so then this offering or loaf of bread was written (or baked) just for you. But first let us consider the tricks of what if thinking. The traps that the what if sets. The time and the thought that is wasted in the land of what if.

Okay now, might I invite you to move from the what if to the what is? For this is, as I see it anyway, the starting point for real change. The what is being the reality of any situation versus the dream and wishes of what we’d like for the situation to be.
Some might say I speak as if I thought that dreams and wishes hold no value in our lives, but this would certainly be incorrect, for I know that our dreams, thought and wishes are what our lives are made of. And those dreams, thoughts and wishes reveal themselves as what is situations versus what if dreams sooner when we are able to master the transforming power of the “As If”.

Yeah, I know this sounds like double talk, but trust me, this is what I know so far. And if you think about it, you too may be able to identify and separate those dreams or thoughts that happen easily from those that do not. The person who is on your mind suddenly calls you, this is easy. You cant seem to get a break, this is not. Question; Have you ever wondered why? Could be the answer lies in the acting or the energy of the asking.

For remember energy is a very real thing and energy is also a magnet and what do magnets do? That’s right, they draw things to us. Things, I might add which are like us, which is why it is critical to act as if. Acting, asking, knowing and living as if, is in my opinion the only way to encounter the now peace in the meantime. The in-between time of the development of our dreams and desires and their manifestation. The as if position offers one the ability to relax knowing that though the revelation is not yet visible, the revelation is.

And it will speak in the appointed time as if on cue. As if, is a position of faith and faith is what it takes to navigate this thing called life without loosing your way or your mind. Simply act “as if”.

I suspect that acting as if is the missing ingredient to seeing our dreams come true. Lets take a look at energy again. We know that as human beings we are fields of energy. Spirit is energy. Energy is the thing that’s felt between people, that unspoken language between you and the world you live in. And there is a vibration or energy field around our thoughts as well it is like the fuel we give to whatever we’re thinking, and the energy that’s given dictates the nature of the outcome. Energy is defined as the ability to do things it is the liveliness and forcefulness behind an effort. In physics, energy is the power supply or source. Bottom line: energy is real and it is a real equation in the revelation of our dreams.

Far too often we deplete our energy with negative thoughts or actions. We may pray or desire of a thing in an angst filled energy field. Drawing to us, not the object of desire but rather the energy of desire. Though words are powerful and are creative sources when spoken, the energy or belief about the outcome is the thing that lingers long after the words. It is the underlying request that get answered. And when we are trapped in the dream land of what if, the land which indicates a hidden lack of worthiness, it is often those things we fear, that we attract.

However acting, knowing and living as if, moves us from the moment by moment watch to see if anything has come of our prayers. Acting, knowing and living as if enables us to rest in the assurance that we are creating those things or situations of our desires. Acting, knowing and living as if, not only moves us out of the what if, but it gives us the peace and the creative power in the what is!

Cause you see, this is what I know so far;
When we can know and speak those things which are not, “as if” they were, they will becoming!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

MY MOTHER'S HEART

My mom was like grand old house. A mansion with many, many rooms. But my favorite room in my mother’s house was the one which held her heart. I remember when I was young, roaming from room to room, and there was always something there for me. I was given many things in these rooms, and even though each one held something different, they all had something in common.


There was the one which held her faith. She was sure of herself and her place in the world and she shared this gift freely. One held her dreams and because she had them, she encouraged mine. Still another held her patience, which she was to a fault. And of course there was the guidance room, oh and the temperance room, I kinda exhausted the boundaries of those rooms. One held her wisdom, one held her kindness, one held her strength, and once when I was little, I even found my self in the one which held her pain. Oooh, now that one scared me. So I didn’t go back, well at least not for a long, long time. But now thinking back on that room, the thing I find amazing is that the pain never seeped out. It didn’t spill out into the other parts of the house. So you only saw it if you slipped into the room. Humm…But the thing that they all had in common was my mother’s heart.


The house still stands and it’s a beautiful old house. But most of these rooms are closed to me now. I try and remind myself, to be thankful that I know the way home and still have a key, well at least to the front door anyway. I go by often, to check in, help out, trying to maintain the old house you know. And so far she still greets me when I come. For which I thank God.
But before long she's off, she’s slipped into some room or another as there seem to be new rooms in the house now, rooms to which I’m not privy. She seems happy enough though, which is, I guess a good thing. For I’m not as good at hiding my pain as she was.
I stay as long as I can, hoping to gain entrance into now darkened rooms. Just to sit and be and remember. Just the other day I saw her in the kindness room and we sang together, her favorite spirituals. She remembered more words than I did. She looked at me and said “Thank you for what you do for me”. She reached out to touch my hand, and I saw the hands that first stroked my face, the hands that bathed me, the hands that combed my hair. The very hands that held me up, long after I’d learned to walk on my own. Surely I could do these things for her, though I never wanted to be a house, I will shield her.


Cause you see, that’s what I learned in my mothers house. I saw her do for us, everything, often in spite of herself. I learned faith and hope, patience and guidance, wisdom and temperance, kindness and strength and on top of all of that I got my mother’s heart.
And so for every door that closes in my mother’s house, it seems a room is opened in me. I try and create new places for us to meet, as well as rooms that will give to me and to others what my mother gave. Cause when you’ve been loved like that, well, you just got to keep it going. You’ve just got to love somebody.


All in all I am thankful though, because in spite all of the deterioration of that beautiful old house, so far every time I visit I am still greeted by my mother’s heart. And when, and if that changes, I will thank God that I can still remember.


This is not a “This is what I know so far” loaf of bread. Though there are some things I am sure of, I’m sure I’ve much more to learn. You see, twelve years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This, as you can imagine, was as painful as it was frightening. This loaf of bread was written to share not just the love and regard that I have for my mother, but also to remind you that no matter what you are faced with, there is always something in it for you. That is of course, if you will allow yourself to continue to roam from room to room with your heart open.


This has been a journey not just or my mother, but for all of us who love her, every life that she has touched. And you know what they say about going places “ It’s not about the destination, but it’s about the journey”. So, you might wonder where am I going? Alzheimer’s is not the traveling companion that I would have chosen. But as I said, if you keep your heart open even Alzheimer’s has within it, blessings. For it has taught me volumes and it has given me an opportunity to share the journey for I have recently been named Spokesperson for the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and the Public Health Center for Urban Population Health. A position designed to encourage education and conversation about Alzheimer’s as well as offer support caregivers.


So on this Mother’s Day I share with you “My Mother’s Heart” and not just what I’ve written, but also the promise that if you look for the heart in any situation, you will find it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow"?
With silver bells and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row?
Now, you know what is interesting to me about this nursery rhyme? As I understand the divine principle, the reaping of those things sown, the harvesting of only those things which one has planted. There is absolutely no way that Miss Mary could have worked her own garden. For the rhyme clearly states that Mary was quite contrary, which means that she was of a conflicting, uncooperative and obstructive nature. That she had an opposing disposition, which would make the growing of silver and cockle shell extremely difficult. With an attitude like that all you grow is confusion and not pretty maids all in a row.

So I'm thinking that it must have been those pretty maids working in all the rows of Miss Mary’s garden, and Miss Mary just took the credit. Guess what Mary, you just got busted.
So let me ask you this; how does your garden grow?
Gardening is one of the best metaphors for living that I can think of. It is a clear cut scenario of being able to receive only and all of what you invest. In other words if one plants dandelions, one can’t really expect roses to grow, now could one?

Still some people do, I once knew a woman who was quite contrary just like our Mary. She spoke a good game but put to test, it never held up. She felt the need to dominate every conversation with her opinion, which was always contrary to that of the person with whom she was speaking. Often times even contradicting herself. When things were calm she would create drama, she appeared to always be looking for some cause, some reason to create conflict. She seemed to have a deliberately opposing view on everything. And in any group situation, was completely uncooperative which of course would obstruct and hinder the progress of the group.

Mary, Mary soooooo contrary, how does your garden grow?
Well, the Mary that I refer to, is at best joke among many of the circles into which she interjects herself. She is at best tolerated, and seldom trusted. Her home life as well as her finances reflect her planting. Now the sad thing about our Mary is that she has a need to feel important, to be seen and to feel loved, not unlike the most of us, yet she plants seeds of destruction and reaps the same. For it is the law.


Gardening as a metaphor for living.
So what does it take to grow a beautiful and healthy garden?
Good seeds! Seeds of truth cross-pollinated with love, for a seed holds the potential of it’s outcome. It is sure to produce after it’s kind. This is why you can not plant dandelions and expect roses to grow. So then we see that knowledge of the nature of the seed is essential. And of course good and fertile ground is needed. Ground that has been prepared to receive the seed. The preparation of the ground in part, consist of understanding the law of planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping. If it is a good and healthy garden that you plan to grow, you are careful to plant what you will reap your desired harvest. Once planted you’ve got to work your garden, though you do not cause your garden to grow, it does that on it’s own. That's the wisdom of the seed and the law of the land, but you’ve got to create the right environment and then wait.

For you see this is what I know so far; Neither gardening nor living well is not rocket science. Both are based in the law that every seed that is planted will yield the nature of that seed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

This of course is the name of Mr. Roger’s theme song? Even though I don’t remember being a fan of that show, as I prepare to share with you what I know so far it is the phrase that comes to mind. And truth be told it could have something to do with the fact that I sat a little longer than usual this morning in my window seat looking out at my neighborhood...
While doing so, I could not help but think that before long it will be warmer, and soon we would be safe from lingering forecast of unseasonable snow storms, and finally the warm weather which I love so much, would be here. But then it occurred to me that there are many days between then and the now which gave me an opportunity to check myself and come back to the now.

This gave me an opportunity to see my neighborhood in a way that I had not at first glance. Everything seemed pending. Just waiting it’s turn, just waiting it’s cues to break ground and come forth. The flowers which will offer patches of color in all the right places. The wisdom of the trees knowing just the right time to allow their buds to bare witness to spring. Oh, thank God I took a second look otherwise I’d have missed the beauty of my neighborhood.
So let me ask you this; Is it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Chances are if you are living in the middle region of the United States, your experiencing the same kind of day that I am, at least weather wise. But if you’ve been partaking of these loaves of bread, what I like to call “What I Know So Far,” by now you probably know that I’m not simply talking about the weather.

So I’ll ask you again, IS it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Look around. What do you see? For I’m talking about the neighborhood in your mind, the place where you live, the place which determines your attitude, that one block radius between your ears. Now, the good thing about that neighborhood is you have the ability to control most things, or everything depending upon how you see it. The way I see it, we need to be good gate keepers of our minds, of our neighborhoods. I realized how easily our neighborhoods could change, loosing it’s property value, and become contaminated.

These changes happen by our own thoughts or by listening to, and believing the reports of others. It is therefore important to avoid polluting as well as pollutants. Polluting would be those negative, those less than lovely thoughts that we sometimes have and speak to ourselves as well as to our poor unsuspecting neighbors. Pollutants are sort of like mental graffiti, or the stinking thinking that shrouds the beauty of our minds, of our neighborhoods.

If while seating in my window-seat this morning, I had allowed those thoughts to run ahead of me... then the belief in lack, the fears of recession or depression, would have made me miss the beauty of becoming, the miracle of change, the marvel of spring, the very fact that it is indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Now, that being shared, what would it take to make it your neighborhood beautiful? Well, for me it takes being a good neighbor as well as a good gatekeeper of my mind [as well as my mouth] to block the stinking thinking of others. It’s takes constant weeding, uprooting old beliefs, and a commitment to do no harm and cause no pain. It also takes a choice to look up, to see the bright side of things, and not in some distant future, but to see it right now. So instead of focusing on what’s not happening I’ve decided to organize a neighborhood watch to ensure that the undesirables do not move in and decrease my property value. To guaranty that everyday is a beautiful day in my neighborhood.

So again, my question to you is; What would make it a beautiful day in your neighborhood? Envision it, make it so.

For this is what I know so far;
No matter the weather, regardless of what’s reported on the news, no matter what neighborhood you live in, the neighborhood that’s determines your well being lies between your ears. And it can become so beautiful with your commitment to keep watch. To weed out and uproot negative and useless information. To tear down and condemn dilapidated thinking, to build structures that support you and your neighborhood... that you could have block parties every single day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'M CHANGING

Change for many of us is a very frightening thing, though change is as natural a part of life as breathing. It is the one thing we do consistently, from the time we are conceived until the time we die and there after, some say. So why then is it so uncomfortable for many of us?
Let me ask you this; how easily are you, to change?

I rather like for things to stay the way they are, especially if they are going well. Change often makes me feel uncomfortable. But the truth is, once I realize the inevitability of change and get out form behind it, to my rightful place[ which by the way is in front of it ], we'll suffice it to say “I have been able to see the value of the change”.
In other words by placing my faith in front of the change, I have found myself with out fail, on top. So then what are we changing into ,and from what are we changing?

And how do we make sure that we always end up on top?

I recently ended a five year stint as a radio talk show host. So my daily routine has changed and quite frankly that’s how I choose to see it. For I now have time to prepare for the next opportunity and trust, there will always be another opportunity. You see, this the truth about the change, is it always reflects our thinking. I’d realized that, love my job though I did, under the current management there would be no room for advancement. So I placed my thoughts, my faith in front the change and now I see myself as on a path to enormous possibilities. For you see, the truth about change is that it is a gift, ever seeking to bring to us new options, new opportunities, new possibilities, newness, that’s if we will but change.

And therein lies the work. Knowing that we have the ability to direct our changes, we must be willing to get in front of them. And I believe that the best way to get in front of them, is to embrace the change versus the outcome. Embracing the change gives us the ability to relax and pay attention in the mean time. You know that in-between time when there's always so much to learn? This way we are never disappointed by the appearance of loss, for though the outcomes are unsure, the change is inevitable. And we need be neither shocked nor stressed, for I suspect it is how we feel or shall I say, how we think about the change that creates ease or dis-ease.

When we are able to know that we are necessary, that our lives have purpose and that we are capable of fulfilling that purpose, then change is simply the highway that carries us from one experience to another. The change is always taking us to the right place at the right time and no matter what the appearance we will come through the change with what is needed for the next stop.

For you see this is what I know so far;
We are all changing, all the time, we have changed from toddlers to teens, from there to young adults and into adults fully grown, possibly with out much thought as to what was happening. This says to me that there is a wisdom to the change, that it knows how to do what it does, that we need only trust it and believe that we are ever changing into something necessary, into something grand...

The ALL NEW Cassandra McShepard.com!

The ALL NEW Cassandra McShepard.com!
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IN CELEBRATION!

IN CELEBRATION!
Cassandra takes center stage at The Marcus Center For The Performing Arts to sing the National Anthem, at the 2010 Birthday Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.