Heart of the fight

My heart taught me a lesson. Life is worth every fight!

I can tell you what my heart said.

Stop.

I was stunned by it’s persistence.

Pause.

Take me back to when I was invincible.

Halt.

I trusted it to see me through unnumbered years.

Wait.

It trusted me to care for it unselfishly.

Begin.

Moment of transparency: On August 31st, I had a minor heart attack. Heart event. I down play it quite a bit, because thank God I didn’t need surgery. It could have been so much worse. Nevertheless, it was bad enough for me.

I was hospitalized for three days and for me that was paramount to an eternity. I have always been in really good health and had no previous indication that my heart was upset with me.

I did not have bone crushing pain. It was pressure in my arm and eventually my chest. It felt like anxiety. It felt sick, nauseated more than anything. All in all, I just didn’t feel good. I could have easily dismissed it. Blamed it on fatigue and laid down. But deep inside, I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal. I decided to have my sons take me to the emergency room.

Now… If you’ve read some of my previous posts Heal-thy Self and Out sick, you may have deduced that I do not go to doctors for ANYTHING. Not annual exams. Not wellness check ups. Nothing. So for me to ask to go to the hospital was major for my husband and kids. I knew I was in a critical situation and the ER was only a few blocks away. I actually thought they would dismiss me with some diagnosis of anxiety or female hysteria. They didn’t.

I immediately got an EKG and the event was over, but my tests were abnormal. Further tests confirmed that I had a cardiac event. From there I was hospitalized. They took my Troponin levels every few hours. The numbers increased until they plateaued and then begin to taper off.

I do not have coronary disease or injury. It was literally a fluke. They gave me meds (of course) and I am grudgingly taking them until we decide I don’t have to anymore. I’ve gone to every followup appointment. I will go annually now.

I went from being able to walk 3.5 miles in about 40 minutes to waking .5 miles in 20 minutes. I know it will take time to get back to the strength and endurance I had. I’ve never felt so mortal. It’s a good thing I know the power of healing radiates from the inside out. And I am healed in the name of Jesus and through the activation of my will!

My heart taught me a lesson. Life is worth every fight!


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A bridge over troubled water

“Kids in jail are children too” ~Fuzz

This was my summer motto. I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a counselor/instructor for the Teens and Police Service Academy summer program. TAPS Academy is a non-profit organization that provides interactive learning programs to help reduce the social distance between teens and law enforcement. This organization meets at-risk youth right where they are in socially disadvantaged schools and detention facilities. The relevance of their work cannot be overstated. (Please click their link for more background and program information.)

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“Social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement has risen over the past few decades.”

We need practical ways to bridge that gap. We need people to fill that space with hope, love, and skills of empowerment.

Bridge-building-takes

I had the absolute pleasure and terror of facilitating empowerment lessons to nine males, ages 14-15 years old. Talking about a hard crowd to please. My jokes were outdated. My swag is rusty. But my candor seemed to be a respectable trait. Just tell the truth as you know it. And don’t forget that kids in jail are children too.

His business is his to keep…

I did not know the circumstances of why each young man was there in that dorm. I did not ask to know their crimes. As a matter of fact, if one tried to tell me about another I quickly shut that down with “That man didn’t ask you to tell nobody his business. His business is his to keep. I suggest you keep to yours.” Of course, some of the young men would tell me of their struggles in their journals or our group discussions and I welcomed that openness. Kids want to talk to people they trust, but it has to take place in an environment of emotional and physical safety. Without showing fear or doling out judgement, my only job was to listen and suggest coping tools.

What I learned was that kids in jail are just children. This was a “not-so-obvious” lesson.  When you hear about property crimes, school threats, and teen violence, all you know is that the perpetrator needs to be locked up.  They are to be held responsible for their crimes, whether ditching school, fighting, or stealing.  They must learn that there are real life consequences for anti-social behavior.  But I was not there as a judge or as part of a jury, I was just an instructor trying to give a handful of young men tools that they can use to avoid further troubles. And they taught me an important lesson too.

Boys will be boys…

Everyday my boys argued over games, complained about boredom, and begged for candy as rewards. Some would get mad and brood.  Some would get sad and retreat. Under constant surveillance, expressing emotions was tightly controlled. So we talked at length about developing emotional intelligence.  Learning the physiological response that your body has and connecting it to the correct emotions.  Understanding that being sad and being mad can look the same if you do not know how to express sadness. Frustration and anticipation feel the same, so you must connect the “feeling” to the root to understand what reaction you are actually having.

This was a hard lesson. Here is my opening speech:

“In our society, the feelings of boys and men are dismissed and discarded. Happiness, joy, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, and fear are all human emotions, yet men and boys are only allowed to be either happy or angry. Do not allow society to strip away your humanity by numbing your range of emotion. Learn to know what you feel and why you feel it. This will make you a strong man, a supportive husband, and a loving father. Without emotions, you are only a paycheck for your family or for the state.” Even the guards nodded in agreement to that!

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Image: http://www.sonyaparker.com/2014/05/men-get-used-hurt-abused-and-played-too.html

Everyday my boys had to resolve conflicts in their dorms. If a person was being released, the entire dorm went through a range of emotions. At first, everyone would be happy for the person, even helping them pack up their belongings. After a few hours of waiting, many of the other boys would “crash”. They would become sad, depressed, and/or angry. They wanted to go home too. If they were expecting a family visit that did not come through, this same cycle of emotions took place.  It was not uncommon when these things happened that a fight would break out. Tensions were high and they struggled with what to do with all the emotions that they were experiencing.

Side Note: Don’t worry, my safety was never in jeopardy. The juvenile security officers were on their jobs! They always knew what was brewing in advance and who to look out for. They treated every situation with the upmost respect, authority, and compassion. And I’m no fool! I caught on quick! 

I witnessed a young man graduate with his GED and no family showed up to the ceremony for support.  The pain was unbearable. It was no surprise that later that night he got into a fight.  He had nowhere to put his hurt. He responded like an abandoned child.  Knowing these things happen, the program focused on teaching them skills to channeled their negative emotions through writing, group discussions, art, reading, and/or playing games. We worked on developing conflict resolution skills that could help move them a little closer to diffusing negative emotions in the moment.  The residents did not do all of this willingly.  Remember they are teenage boys.  Oh they bickered through it all. I heard a lot of “he keeps interrupting me”, “he keeps trying to take over everything”, “he touched my puzzle”, and “he took the picture that I wanted”. Typical tattle-telling.  And just like any teacher, I spent a lot of time redirecting us back to the task at hand.  “Stop doing that.” “Don’t touch his paper.” “Everyone listen.”  I felt like a parent of young children all over again.  Sigh.

I used a variety of games for play therapy and team-building. My observation was that their maturity level stopped at the age that they may have experienced trauma or that their behavior turned delinquent.  So even though they were 14 or 15, they behaved in many ways like they were 10 or 11.  Activities in that age range let that inner-child out to play and let their emotional guards down for a few hours.  They loved using the beach ball! They looked forward to Battleship tournaments.  They really enjoyed the game of Clue. They hated worksheets, but they would do them anyway.  Some liked journal prompts, but most liked to draw.  Puzzles were a big hit! We made a lot of poster boards! Games and art opened our conversations up and helped them cope with difficult topics.

Bullies are homegrown…

You cannot talk about domestic violence without child abuse. You cannot talk about bullying without talking about domestic violence and child abuse. You cannot talk about the dangers of human trafficking without talking about victimization, domestic violence, and child abuse.  There was not one child in my dorm that did not have personal experience with bullying/victimization, domestic violence and/or child abuse. They shared with me how some of their anti-social behavior was learned in their family, whether they were being groomed to be aggressive or as a bi-product of violence they witnessed.

100% of the time, the boys told me that bullies are homegrown.  They are created by their environment. “Miss, if you follow a bully home I bet you’ll find a bigger bully.”  One of them told me he was/is a bully.  I asked him if he thought he learned it at home and he said “yeah, how else would I know how to get over on weaker people.”  I am not going to debate whether their theory is true.  They said it.  I believe they had reasons and experiences that told them this was true.  I was much more interested in what they thought the solution to bullying is.

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Image: https://www.boredpanda.com/cousin-gets-revenge-school/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

A 15 year old, who had previously been found guilty of assault for intervening in a bully’s assault of another young man, gave me a very emotional response when we talked about our experiences with bullying. He told me that he got tired of seeing a “tough” guy pick on someone weak, so he jumped in to help the victim. The original victim refused to tell authorities that he had intervened on his behalf, because the victim was afraid of what would happen to him at school if he told the truth. This is the solution that my resident offered:

“Miss, they need to stop focusing on the bully. He’s already been beat into beating people, so he’s not finsta’ change. You gotta focus on the victims, because once you’re a target, you’re the target of the whole school. The bully. The teachers. Everybody cus they know what’s going on and they don’t do anything. They let it happen and then the parents send you right back to school for it to keep happening. So it don’t seem like nobody cares about that kid ’til he’s dead…or becomes the bully.”

From the mouth of babes? Maybe. I know that not in-spite of, but because they are in detention, the environment and interaction forced me daily to remember that these were still children living out very adult consequences. Each one has a story, so you don’t get to have sympathy, but you can have empathy that somewhere along the way someone failed these kids. We can’t go back and fix it, but we can teach them new tools to use going forward.  Bridges are the only solution.


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A bit of advice

Be the sound advisor that you seek. Ask yourself the same insightful questions that you would ask someone else facing the same life choice.

People ask my advice all the time. I don’t really know why, but I assume that my love of perspectives helps them reason out solutions. The problem is who can give advice to the advisor. Hmm. In my younger years, this was a true dilemma. Friends would fold when I asked for honest insight. “Girl, you’ll know what to do when the time comes,” was the classic reply. Or “I don’t know. What do you think you should do?” was the least helpful response. If I knew what to do, I wouldn’t be asking you!!! Golly jeez willikers!!! I learned a valuable lesson from trying to glean direction from others who had tretched through the same fields. I’ve learned that the best advice I can receive is the advice I’d be willing to give others. No doubt, it is easier to look at situations from the outside inward. From that vantage point, you can see many of the moving pieces that will contribute to the outcome. It is much harder turning that critical eye outward through the complex nature of our own circumstances to find solutions. Be the sound advisor that you seek. Ask yourself the same insightful questions that you would ask someone else facing the same life choice. What are all of your options? Have you investigated each option? Which is the most financially feasible? How will your current schedule accommodate or need to be rearranged to act on that option? How does each option fulfill the full purpose of your end game? This quest for the right next step is not without homework. That is often what we are trying to avoid by soliciting guidance from others. Others are there to be sounding boards. They ask us to look deeper into our motives to help us uncover the path we’re looking for. The amazing part is that the truth of where to step next is already in us! I want you to trust and believe that the answers are in you. You don’t have to take my advice… Take your own!


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The Awakening

Writing is my truest love and I miss when we are apart. But absence does make my heart grow fonder or so I tell my non-committal self.

The sun is up over there

Not here yet

I haven’t heard a bird chirp

Drool in their nests

I slumbered deep for many nights

Too long

Curled tightly to myself

Passions gone

Legs moan at wiggling toe’s complaints

Solid ground raised

Back cracks hip snaps pop treats

Fingers sky reach

Rest until your soul can’t sleep

Stand in the morning

Heeeyyyy y’all!! I know it’s been a minute, but I thought I’d peep in and show my face. Believe me, I’ve been working very hard (and quietly) these past few months. Checking tasks of my list and prioritizing my ventures.

Writing is my truest love and I miss when we are apart. But absence does make my heart grow fonder or so I tell my non-committal self. Anywho.. My deadlines will be wrapping up soon and I plan to spend my summer with you!

Until we meet again…

Love & Peace 🦋

Fuzz

Sonrise: Feb. 25

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

~ Revelation 3:20

I like the book of Revelation. For me, it presents the reader the unique privilege of seeing loving counsel in action. In the instructions for the letters to the seven churches, God tells each of them what they have done right and where they have faltered. He even provides insight about how they can get back on track.

This is the mark of a true friend. A loving parent. A kind ruler. His hopes for us are great even though He sees our flaws. No one is without flaws and many times it’s those errors that keep us from realizing our full purpose. Someone who loves us will correct and guide us. God is able, which is why He stands at the door waiting to teach us what we need to know.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

I do not have to go out to seek wise counsel. I do not have to search the internet or the stars for new information about myself. God is standing at the door and knocking.

He comes to where I am and waits for me to answer. I do not have to send Him a message or a telegram, because He’s already prepared to meet face to face with me.

If any man hear my voice and open the door…

As special as I think I am, He makes his wisdom and love available to any and every man (which includes every wo-man). If I hear His voice, I get to decide if I am going to open the door or not.

The power of choice is not lost on me. I think that is the most amazing part of it all! I have the freedom of choice to believe that God exists and that His thoughts of me are always for my good.

I will come in to him.

This is not like any other friend, who may or may not come into your home. God said He would definitely come in. He’s not judging if you’re house (heart) is dirty before He steps over the threshold. He’s not concerned with how little or much you have. He will not weigh out your net worth before he decides to enter.

His willingness to enter makes perfect sense. He stood outside and knocked. He waited for someone to answer. When they did, He was happy to enter and break bread with them.

And will sup with him, and him with me.

I know for me personally, I do not eat with just anyone. My discretion is not based on social status, economics, or race. It is based on my comfort level in their presence and some mutual understanding of what sharing a meal symbolizes.

Breaking bread is not just about eating. It is more importantly about kinship. In some cultures, eating a meal establishes a relationship. In others, it is meant to celebrate successful negotiations in business and marriage. Sitting together to share a meal removes all differences for a common human objective, the nourishment of the body, mind, and spirit. This is my philosophy and is not written in stone. But you should think about who sits at your dinner table and why.

Image: Noellie’s Place

God is not shallow like me. He said if I sup with him, He will sup with me. Whether it’s a cup of tea or string bean casserole (sorry I really want some for dinner tonight), He will sit and sup with whoever is willing to answer His knock at the door.

The benefit of inviting God in is that He will be an honest counselor. Whether we get so busy that we forget the purpose of our service to each other or we’ve allowed ourselves to entertain strange doctrines on our journeys toward enlightenment. In His fellowship, we can learn where we’ve hit the mark and where we’ve missed it. What a good friend we have in Jesus!


Open Invitation:

I know that everyone comes to the revelation of God in their own time. He calls us each individually. He knocks at our individual doors. If you’ve heard the call, but not sure how to answer, below is a way to get here. The road map is simple, but that’s what makes it so hard. Read the prayer below out loud to yourself so that your ears hear the words. Faith comes by hearing.


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Life plans

Life is what you make it. So I’ve been told. Sometimes, I wonder if life actually makes me.

Image: https://youtu.be/QzWCrkvbJo0

I try to be a good planner. I update tasks in my daily planner, on my phone calendar, and in my strategies book (as needed). I’m not tightly wound around my system, but I do get flashes of anger when the day won’t let me tick off tasks. It’s highly possible that it’s a hot flash that was just waiting for an excuse; nevertheless, I think it’s something a smidgen less sinister.

The flow of life doesn’t play well with other forces.

You are either going with the flow or you aren’t. Life does not let you have it both ways. The directive force within life can be collaborated with. It can even be finessed at times. However, it cannot be controlled.

Control is the antithesis of the flow. Control crunches good vibes into a box and then tells it to stop being square. Control restricts the energy of the mind and the body of the visionary from being able to see and do.

Where list making is a wonderful technique to stay on track, it cannot become so legalistic that you are unable to live off the grid. There are days when you may have to constantly readjust your priorities. That’s ok, within reason. You do not have to scrap your entire agenda, because the baby got sick or an visitor stopped by. Let your plan be good enough to leave room for life.

Don’t plan your way out of opportunities.

Guilty, as charged! I have most definitely planned my way right out of great opportunities. I was so focused on getting everything right for when a door would open, that I didn’t even notice when the door DID open.

Image: Fortune Builders

I get sucked into the planning vortex; blurring my peripheral vision. I’m caught up in the excitement and can’t see a damn thing. I kept my focus on the tasks, but forgot the purpose.

You do not have to compromise excellence in order to keep a balanced focus. I have experienced the strain of mulling a question over and around in my head and it wasn’t until I played with my grandbabies for a little while that the answer became clear. I gave myself a break and my thoughts slowly untangled. I could follow the linear thought train much easier than digging out ideas from the hot heap.

Look up from your papers sometimes.

Diligence is a great quality to have. In so many ways, good old fashioned hard work can help you accomplish more than planning can. Planning let’s you logically map out responses to every conceivable contingency. The hands on dirty work brings you face-to-face with previously inconceivable scenarios that push you to craft solutions on the spot. Innovation!

Image: Buzzle

If for no other reason, look up so your neck will stop hurting. Seriously, you are carrying all that stress and tension in your neck and shoulders. Relax. When you look up, you will spot new possibilities. You won’t lose sight of the world around you. You won’t miss out on opportunities to live.


My humble submission to DP Prompt: Compromise

Copyright, 2018. R. Frank. All rights reserved.


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Sonrise: Feb. 18th

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” ~ 1 Peter 3:13-14

Image: Pixnio.com

Who is going to harm you if you want to do good?

A lot of people will. The world will. I’m not pessimistic, but the reality is that critics are all around us. This world preaches love and propagates hate. My country leads the hatemongers. Promoting false truths that are contrary to goodness and decency; twisting neighborly love into social irresponsibility. I have the right to express my opinion in this way, but it would be foolish of me to think that someone may not see the good in my intentions of stating it.

The Word of God is a book of love. It is a book of compassion. It is a guide to living abundantly within set universal principles that are true regardless of who uses them. A child or a bird can drop a seed on the ground and given the right conditions it will grow.

If I isolate myself and only talk about my love of Christ to others that believe just like me, then I am acceptable. If I talk to people of other faiths about why I hold strongly to the premise of a triune God, I’m seen as toeing a fine line. Perhaps too much conversation will lead to my conversion, instead of theirs. (I’ll explain later but for now please insert hysterical laughter here). What if I actually have a discourse with someone who does not believe in a God of any sort at all? My peers may fear for my life and soul, so they will insist that I come away from the edge of dark influence. I’m not making fun or taking those concerns lightly, but “Who is going to harm me if I am eager to do good?”

But even if you should suffer, you are blessed.

I believe that. I’m not out here looking for ways to suffer, but I’ve observed that it comes along with life sometimes. There will always be people that do not like who you are. People who will disagree with what you say. Entities looking to dismantle organizations that promote good. Readers that will unfollow you. These are par for the course.

A bitter tear does not dilute the ocean of goodness that I have witnessed. My feet have been washed in peaceful streams. My faith was made stronger standing against unseen currents and crashing waves. The goodness of God cannot be undone.

Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.

Your gifts and skills are uniquely matched for you and your journey to reconcile your existence with God. In the heart of every person, there is a desire to know how they are connected to the enormous systems that make up the universe. Some people focus on only what they can see and touch. Some look for meanings in relationships, ecosystems, and stars. The search, the wonder is in us all, because we are surrounded by the awesomeness of things we can’t explain.

For me, those answers are found in my relationship with God. I am awe stricken at His willingness to let me in on a secret or two. I’ve also learned to respect that some of my inquires get into things that are simply not my business and a “no access” is for my good. I don’t have to have all my questions answered in order to put stock in the things I do know.

Image: Helpful Inspiration Blog

I do not have to be afraid to share the gospel of Christ. People will listen and receive my testimony or they won’t. That is not my business. They will read deeper into the scriptures or they won’t. Still not my business. They will love me or they won’t. That is also not my business. I just simply present my testimony for those who want to know why I choose to live and believe the way I do. My heart loves to share the revelations of God as I have witnessed them; that is the blessing. So what is there to fear?

That’s the good I’m eager to do. What about you?


Open Invitation:

I know that everyone comes to the revelation of God in their own time. He calls us each individually. If you’ve heard the call, but not sure how to answer, below is a way to get here. The road map is simple, but that’s what makes it so hard. Read the prayer below out loud to yourself so that your ears hear the words. Faith comes by hearing.


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Speak on it

Your purpose is always tied to your service ~ Fuzz (I say that)

I’ve been doing some soul searching and prioritizing. I’ve been asked if I do speaking engagements. I have and I do, but I’m ready to really just focus my topics to those things I am most passionate about.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing so many people that champion for different aspects of social change. They are in the trenches empowering the youth, educating the delivered, and embracing the brokenhearted. I will gladly add my voice to uplift those who are working towards solving problems in their communities and schools.

The following topics run my entire life.

  1. Homeschooling as a economic and political answer to the prison-pipeline school systems. Parent’s choice.
  2. Economic empowerment through entrepreneurial education. The fundamentals of structure, strategy, and compliance.
  3. Perpetrators, advocates, and the targeted other. The personification of genocide and war crimes.

I am not an economist, but I do recognize how the allocation and distribution of resources influence all three of my bullet points. By education, I am a criminologist and paralegal. A researcher. By design, I am an orator. A teacher.

Maybe that explains my list. Taking control of the education of our children will be key in developing future innovators and entrepreneurs that will be in position to advocate for those who were denied access to tools and opportunities. The goal is to be at the top where the C.R.E.A.M. rises, so that individually and collectively we have leverage in unequal systems.

Topography: Kent Flores

So I guess the first step is offering my thoughts on why it is vital for parents to take control of their childrens education. In my personal experience, the school structure (public, private, charter, etc) does not predict successful outcomes. Parent involvement does. Parents acting as advocates for their children is an essential responsibility that cannot be minimized.

There will always be reasons and objections to why it may be impossible to homeschool. To each, his own. If your child is failing, being bullied, or just not thriving, you owe it to that child to at minimum educate yourself on the many options that exist.

Remember, the economics don’t lie. Some schools are seriously underfunded. They have teachers and administrators who care. They are staples in their communities even as they struggle to meet students needs. Schools that are substandard still receive a certain amount of funding based on student enrollment. If the teachers are great and the community around the school embraces the youth, then forming study groups and reading clubs can be wonderful ways for the parent organizations to maximize the school’s efforts. Sewing clubs and cooking classes can be organized in apartment recreation rooms or neighborhood youth centers. These locations may want to offer life skills programs, but they need parents like you to volunteer.

Deviant Art: Jeremy Pixeller

Now for the schools where there is more danger than education, then it’s time to reallocate funding. Most homeschool programs are connected to conventional school districts, so only a portion of the funding remains with the district. Many who join the homeschool community do so because of lax discipline policies, discriminatory treatment based on race, ethnicity, and religion, and their child’s lack of engagement and excitement about learning. The bureaucratic policies that lead to these conditions will not be fixed by protests, complaints, or news stories. They will be corrected when there is a monetary penalty imposed by unsatisfied tax payers. Reallocate your funding.

I homeschooled for various reasons and at several stages in my children’s education. The first time was about 20 yrs ago and there were no standardized curriculums for free. I used Abeka curricula books that I would purchase from teacher supply stores. I did it because I wanted them to know that there is more than one way to accomplish goals. I wanted them to know that they could learn to create opportunities for themselves where none previously existed. I wanted them to know that all learning styles matter.


Affiliate resources (see Disclaimer below)

Learn to educate your children

A Beka K5 Homeschool Child Full-Grade Kit (Manuscript Edition), NEW EDITION


By the time I decided to homeschool my junior high student 7 years ago, these great free online programs were available! These programs are typically connected to your local school district, so that State testing and college readiness activities are still available to your child. What made it even better is that colleges and universities began accepting students from accredited homeschool programs in a more streamline way. Students in non-accredited programs must make sure that they participate in all mandatory State testing requirements in order to qualify for enrollment.

Well I really went in a slight tangent about bullet 1 lol. I believe in putting this option in front of my other objectives, because our children are our future (literally)! I want as many parents as possible to know that the platforms of education are still evolving. You do not have to submit your children to the status quo. It is not enough to recognize that systems are breaking our children. We are culpable if we leave them in environments that are stomping out their innovative and creative lights. We have a responsibility to at minimum consider our choices… Conventional and unconventional.

(c) Copyright, 2018. R. Frank. All rights to text reserved.

Want to know more? Read this great article by The Brookings Institute.


Disclaimer: This article may include affiliate links. Utilizing them does not result in additional charges for you, but it does allow The Fuzz Blog to earn a few coins to keep the movement going.

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Sonrise: Feb. 4th

“Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen. ~Palm 72:19

This morning when I came downstairs, Big Daddy, my grandfather-in-law, was sitting listening to hymns on television. Big Daddy is 92 years old.

I made us both a cup of coffee and joined him in listening to the sweet melodies. The screen showed images of mountains and waterfalls. Valleys and rivers. Young lambs and old bulls. We sat in quiet reflection reading the scriptures as they faded in and out.

After a short while, Big Daddy began to recount the time he had gone to Haiti with a group of other pastors to preach the word of God. I’ve heard the story several times, but this is the blessing of conversing with someone 92. Each time the story reveals new insight.

The crux of the story is that he was presented the opportunity he wanted to turn it down because he was afraid of the unknown. He initially said that as a small town pastor he couldn’t afford such a trip. Another pastor said, “Well good, because I was planning on buying your ticket anyway.” There went that excuse.

“All I could say was ahhhh why he do that? I don’t wanna fly in no plane. I don’t know nothing about no planes and Haiti. I didn’t even really know where that was.”

So the truth comes out. He had never been in a plane. He was 71 years old. He wrestled with his fear of the unknown. Traveling in a plane to a foreign country in his golden years. But God insisted.

He was sitting watching television and a commercial came on with two little children discussing flying in a plane. By the end of the advertisement, the kids had decided it was worth the adventure.

“Oh Lord! The little chirren said they was gone get on that plane. So I figured God had settled it for me. If they could do it I could too.”

Needless to say, Big Daddy got on that plane to answer God’s mission call. He said when the plane got high above the clouds and he looked out the window he saw the glory of God for himself. He experienced in a new way that God was bigger than anything he had known before.

It was his first and last time on an airplane, but he relives it over and over again. He doesn’t have a church anymore. He doesn’t prepare sermons anymore. He reminisces. I just listen and learn.

We ate two tea cakes a piece while we sipped our coffee. Our morning visit was everything God would have desired for us. We shared His goodness. Oh how sweet it is!

Fatalistic Impressions

Of all the isms, I’m most annoyed by the rhetoric of fatalism. Where there is no hope for change, there is literally no hope. Period.

I am always taken aback when I hear someone ramble on about how their life is ordered by a script that they cannot alter and have no responsibility in it’s characters or reoccurring themes. It’s not that I don’t appreciate and respect each person’s right to their own life philosophies. I just don’t understand why someone would choose one in which they have no control or responsibly.

In hopes of gaining some insight, I exhausted my brain to at least be clear about the concept. My hope is that I will be enlightened as to where this philosophy could lead me to a more stable and content existence.

Fatalist Points:

  1. I am powerless to do anything other what I actually do. I do not have the ability to shape the outcome of my future or that of my society. It has been predetermined that I am who I am, do what I do, and will only experience what I am suppose to experience.
  2. Because I accept point 1, I am content with the inevitably of all my outcomes in life.
  3. My life’s energy will not be wasted revolting against things I cannot change.

Fatalistic Application:

  1. The sun rises and sets each day. This will happen regardless of what I do or don’t do. I have no control over set principles such as these.
  2. If the sun refuses to rise, it is not by my doing. I had no influence in that event; therefore, I must accept the inevitability that this could occur.
  3. How can I fight and win against the sunrise? My efforts would be futile.

I chose the sun as my fixed principle, because that is something I can agree that I have no control over. The idea of the sun not rising is so far out of my scope of experience that I believe the occurrence is almost impossible. (I said almost, because of the “if” factor. Where there is an “if” there is no absolute)

So just relating fatalism principles to a fixed event, I get the limit of my ability to influence it. I can even see that with my plethora of blood relatives (and boy do I have a lot of them!) They did not vote to choose me; I didn’t send a special request for them. We were not in control of our lineage.

With that, we did not check the high blood pressure box, or color in the lupus circle, yet many in our bloodline are sufferers. The predisposition to these hereditary ailments was and is out of our control. Yes, we can eat right, exercise, and live holistic lifestyles, but those efforts are no guarantee that we will not develop these conditions. “If” we have this gene, we could develop this health issue. The “if” means it’s not absolute. Yet and still, fatalism asks that I accept that this could occur regardless of my interventions.

So far, I’m kinda digging points 1 and 2, but 3 got me FUCKED up! I would be a stone-cold fool not to fall on my face and plead to God to help me “if” the sun doesn’t wake up one day! Would there even be day? How would I now know night from day? I know with surety that I would try to do something, even if I had a fleeting thought that it was in vain. (But that’s a whole ‘nother ism🤷🏽‍♀️)

And what about these “ify” ailments. I wouldn’t dare just lay down and accept a revolution by my body’s systems. Either my body or my soul would submit, and my mind seems to be more partial to my soul. I would fight. I do fight. I would rather die trying to overcome enemies than lay down for a slaughter. Oh hell no!

Conclusions:

I’ve come to the conclusion that fatalism is just too dark for me. I can agree that there are things in life that I do not have control over and circumstances that I may be predetermined to face. However, I cannot swallow the lack of personal responsibility that it would take to not even try to make my life and society better. It seems to me to be a lazy man’s ism. No effort. No work required.

On an emotional level, it seems sad to just let life happen to you. Let external things impact you without opposition. Come what may with no preparation for what may come. This separateness screams NOT WORTHY! It seems to be saying we’re not qualified to participate in our own journey through life. Fatalism fails to empower and embolden. It pacifies and makes the sleepy content.

Note to readers:

I love and appreciate you all. If you are a fatalist, my goal is not to offend or belittle your choice. My mission is to always try to bring myself to a point of understanding, even if I disagree. But if you feel a pang of resentment, remember I was just writing what you were predestined to read. It was out of my control 🦋