Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Be A Finisher This Year

We all get bombarded with messages on the first of January all the way to March about new years resolutions. Some of it gets to be overwhelming, with manufacturers pushing their products this way. Rather than claim something as a new years resolution, I just say, these are my plans this year per Divine Order.

I want to be a finisher this year. I am off to a great start with completing a book which will be published in March perhaps April. It is called Bonafide Grace: What I've Discovered On My Journey, which is a compilation of posts I blogged from 2006-2008. I want to share some things I really did discover about grace through stories and essays about people I've met, experiences as a caregiver, among others.

Get ready to fly with me this year. As a great woman once said.. I will use her line: "Watch my smoke."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Farewell To Mallie Nichols

I never got the opportunity to say goodbye to a friend who I learned passed away last year. I just happened to be in Louisville, when a mutual friend informed me that Mrs. Mallie had died. Mallie was from Muskegon, Michigan, and had married a preacher, Rev. Luke Nichols, who had been recently widowed.

Mallie had a lot of energy. I had invited her to speak at a Women's meeting, and she came with a huge entourage. Her followers were very loyal to her, and protective. When I jokingly said, "okay Mallie you are in my life now", one of her members said, " Uh, uh, I was here first."

Mallie was a dynamic speaker, and a good listener during a time I needed one. In all my travels and hustle and bustle of life, she had been gone eight months before I knew it.

You have been on my mind Mallie, and I just needed to get it into writing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Taking Care of Aging Parents

Taking care of aging parents is more common today than ever. There are a variety of challenges and sufferings the elderly parents experience. Alzheimer disease and Dementia are very prevalent. Parents are recovering from strokes and heart attacks and are still living at home. Many families want to keep their parents at home and take care of them on their own. This is a noble thing, and it is very good if one can do it. It is not always possible for many families to do so without it altering their lives so.

Just as the elderly parent experiences trauma, so does the caregiver(s). In many ways caregivers have divine appointments, because being there to take care of a parent, friend, or elderly relative is difficult at times. One of the most challenging things is the lack of support that one receives from other family members. This is very common. And there is frustration with the fact that not everyone agrees with the solution to problems concerning their loved one.

Each individual family has it's own set of issues and decisions. It takes selflessness and maturity to overcome challenges dealing with the situation. In the end, everyone really wants the same thing... the best possible care and happiness for our loved ones.

Returing To School After 40

I, Joyce Barnett, gave myself a gift on my birthday two years ago. I decided to do something I had been wanting to do for years! I returned to school. It was the best time to go for it. My sons were both grown men, and I became single after many years of being married. What was I going to do with my life? This was not something I wondered, but became a frequently asked question by others. Ofcourse, I knew I would do the things I always wanted to do, and continuing my education was one of them.

I do admit that I had to make a decision which would enhance my life and take me to the next level so that I could reach my "higher self". The day I enrolled in school, I had been experiencing a very stressful day. I was on the verge of tears, when I decided to end the procrastination of enrolling. I knew that I wanted to get my degree in the Justice field because of things that I had not only experienced, but witnessed in the lives of others as well.

I love being in the classroom and interacting with both students and instructors. The diversity is wonderful even when we do not all agree with varied opinions.. including the instructor's. There is something good about walking the hallways and seeing the different faces, and befriending some. Some classes have been more challenging than others, but at the end of the day I appreciate having a second chance in life to do this.

I encourage as many "late bloomers", to return to school. We have to keep up with what is happening in our society because the longer we live, we will be affected by various decisions. We can still make a contribution of our own no matter what our age is.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Steve Harvey's Book

I recently finished reading Steve Harvey's new book, Act Like A Lady; Think Like A Man. It is definitely a pageturner in my opinion. I was in my favorite bookstore in the world, Border's Books at Lenox Square on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, when Harvey's face on the bookcover caught my eye as I headed toward the cafe for my Latte fix. I slowed down, picked up a copy and took it upstairs with me.

This book is geared toward women, but not exclusively. Harvey's message is plain and simple: women should learn to respect themselves by not settling for any type of a man because he is wearing a pair of pants. He shares how to get what you deserve and desire in a relationship.

Harvey is brutally honest when he says that sex is the foremost thing on a man's mind when he introduces himself to a woman he is attracted to. And he tells women if a man tells her differently, he is lying and is from another planet. He further explains that it is up to the woman as to how quickly she allows a sexual relationship.

One of the examples Harvey uses is this: A woman who is shapely and is working out in a gym, and wearing a knockout outfit is approached by a man that says he likes the way she is built. He says there are two types of women, and one will respond by saying, " I want to look hot.", and twirls around so he can see her figure. Woman number two will say, " Thank you, I believe in taking care of myself." The man will think that woman number one is probably an easy conquest, and won't have to work hard to get her into bed. If he likes woman number two, he will work to find out more about her, what she likes, and will ask her for a date. He calls this woman a "keeper". Woman number one will get laid, and he will think of ways to avoid her after that.

Harvey also tells women how she knows whether she is loved by a man or not. Taking care of her when she is ill is one way, and instead of her taking the trash out in the dark, he will do it because he is thinking of her safety.

There are many nuggets in this book. It is a very good read; educational, inspiring, and at times humorous. It is a good man who would write this book and pass it on to women.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Autism is on the rise, and researchers do not have a solid answer regarding the cause or cure for it. In 1984, I lived in Washington, D.C. with my former husband. Our second son, is now an adult at twenty four years old and living with his peers, was diagnosed with Autism. It was the first time I had ever heard the word 'autistic." For readers who are unfamiliar with the term, it is a Developmental Disorder, often confused with Mental Retardation. Raising an autistic child was very challenging, but I never viewed him as being a burden. Over the years he had the best care possible.

My son was born at Howard University Hospital and when we moved to suburban Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., we learned that the state had sophisticated techniques for dealing with autistic people. After my long term relationship with my husband ended, I tried to continue raising our son alone. What a challenge!! After much prayer, I realized I could not do it alone. He needed more than his mother in his life. I found an "Old School" social worker, (they are the best ones), to assist me in finding a place that was conducive to his life. We found it after many home tours and much crying on his mother's part. But you know what I learned?

He was praying for that too. Oh yeah. Once he was in his new home his chest was ALL stuck out. And when he felt that I overstayed my visits he let me know in his own gentle way. He simply retrieved my purse and handed to me. Then he got my coat and gently pushed the middle of my back towards the door. I got the message. I could have stuck my head in the sand and felt sorry for myself. But the next few months God used me to talk to the community about raising autistic children. I ended up on a popular tv show in Atlanta. Many viewers called me for weeks after that. They were mothers who had discovered their baby was autistic and was overwhelmed by what to expect. I heard from ministers, guardians, and special education teachers.The city of Atlanta was very nervous when the media announced that there was a missing autistic boy. He had been missing for five days, and ofcourse we all feared the worst. The mother had to have been going out of her mind. By some great miracle he was discovered in an empty house clear on the other side of town in good condition, and very much alive. He had sustained himself on staples (old), left by a previous tenant.

The mother called me and talked with me after the show. We just don't know what difference our lives make. If there is a hardship we are living through, maybe if we share it, we can change lives. Now that my friends, is very liberating.

Joyce Barnet is a poet and writer living in Atlanta.