As I approach the one year anniversary of the creation of my blog, A Fork in the Road, I’m noticing that blogging has been a big topic of conversation among my inner circle of friends. A few women, writers and non-writers, have all expressed an interest in starting blogs of their own. They’re not all sure they should, mind you. After all, it’s a bit of a commitment. One mentioned that she doesn’t think she can expose her innermost thoughts; she’d be too vulnerable. Another is wondering why she should give herself another thing to do every week – and on a deadline, to boot. Still another can’t see the benefit of devoting time to something if it’s not going to bring in any additional income.
Unemployment, mounting bills, concern about the future – with Thanksgiving around the corner, you may be wondering if you have anything to be thankful for. Despite the challenges of living in these tough times, it’s important to remember – you do.
When I was young, I had the distinct feeling that time was somehow standing still. Yes, the sun rose and set but the days seemed longer, experiences felt more heightened, and time itself seemed to stretch out so graciously that it was barely noticeable. Now that I’m older and busier, time seems to race by faster than I can measure. Weeks and months go by in a blink. This same phenomenon seems to be true for most people I know, which makes me wonder; if time hasn’t changed (a day has been 24 hours long whether we’ve been nine or forty nine) then why has our perception of time changed as we’ve gotten older? The short answer is – It may be because we’re not paying attention. Continue reading →
There will always be someone with more than you – someone who is better than you are at a skill you’re passionate about, who is better looking, who has more money or “stuff,” who is more successful. It’s also safe to say that when we’re faced with these people who seem to be so much luckier than we are, many of us feel inferior or even gypped. We’re often told not to focus on what we don’t have, and instead to be grateful for the things we do. But I’m inclined to agree with Mark Twain who once said, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
A few days ago, my daughter was listening to music. Passing by her room, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sound of some comforting lyrics by Jessie J (someone I’d never heard of before). The profound phrase that wafted through the crack in the door was surprising in its simplicity… “It’s ok not to be ok.”
When Teresa Thaman heard how bad the storm was going to be, she, her daughter and her husband closed themselves in their bathroom and hid under a mattress, just like they’d done every other time a tornado warning had been issued. This time, though, was terribly different. The storm didn’t pass. The windows exploded before the roof tore off, piece by piece, and the wood in the walls cracked apart. Teresa and her family clung to the toilet and tub, unable to comfort one another or even hear each other scream. And as debris pounded the mattress and the suction intensified, she was sure they were going to die.
When the storm passed and the family emerged from a pile of wood and rubble, dirt filled their mouths, eyes and pockets, and the once varied skyline was leveled flat for miles. Family heirlooms, photographs, every piece of furniture and clothing they’d ever owned were all gone – taken in a matter of minutes by the 2011 Joplin tornado. Continue reading →
For a long time I’ve had two identities. Most days I’m a working mom, reliable, responsible and professional. I go to work, pay the bills, and do the things most mothers do to run a home and raise a child. But then there are those few nights a month I let go of all of my inhibitions and get in touch with the deepest part of myself. It’s a place I’ve never been able to describe, but have always needed to access to feel whole. With emotional hunger and a sense of abandon, I shed any trace of convention, walk into a crowded room with the company of four men… and pick up a microphone. The next few hours can only be described as transcendent, an amazing exchange of energy, expression and passion between musicians and an audience. People express their good-natured envy all the time; I’m a mom who gets to be a diva.
Many of us live our lives as if there will always be plenty of time – time to go back to school, time to pick up a passion that was put aside for family or career, time to pursue a dream that’s nagged us since we were young. “Later,” we we tell ourselves, “when the kids are grown, when my debts are paid off, when I have more… time.” It’s perfectly understandable why it happens; an endless stream of day to day tasks and responsibilities distract us from one simple truth – time has an expiration date, so the time to live is now. Continue reading →
In the 1970’s a folk artist from Detroit penned and recorded some of the most poignant songs of our time. An edgy brand of inner-city poetry, his songs addressed societal issues that were tearing our country apart: war, racial inequality, abuse of women, poverty, drugs and corruption. They were heartrending and profound. They expressed the frustration of an entire generation. And due to a lack of commercial success… they were never heard.
Across the Atlantic, South Africa was being rocked by the oppression and violence of apartheid at the same time. However, thanks to the underground anti-establishment songs of one particular musician, the seeds of full-blown protest were being sown. In a country where speaking out against apartheid meant imprisonment and other atrocities, this was nothing short of a miracle. His records were secreted into every liberal home, and he became a bigger household name than Bob Dylan.
Just two weeks ago, the world watched in awe as Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Key West, in shark-infested water without a protective cage. Throughout the 100 mile trip, the endurance swimmer contended with harsh wind, exceptionally cold water, fatigue and jellyfish. Hardly a novice, Nyad had attempted the crossing four times before, each time dealing with storms, asthma attacks, a swollen tongue and lips, and even vomiting due to excessive intake of salt water. But all of this isn’t even the most impressive part to me. Her fifth and final attempt took 53 hours, resulting in a historic achievement, all at the tender age of 64. Continue reading →