Any time a country allows people entrance beyond their borders, ideologies clash.
Afraid of the new culture surrounding them, the ideologies embedded in the immigrant’s mind make him fear, and his fear turns to disdainfulness. He segregates himself into a group like himself and begins to idolize what he has left behind in his homeland. Soon, his reasons for escaping become mixed with the discontent he experiences in his host country.
His lack of language skills, a key principle, for an adjustment in any new environment, put stumbling blocks in his paths. Educational progress, which leads to good jobs, is limited, affecting the immigrant’s emotional stability. Unable to understand the struggle his host nation has overcome, the misplaced immigrant soon realizes that the good life he saw on television doesn’t happen as quickly as buying a MacDonald’s hamburger or a chicken sandwich from Chic-Fil-A.
What happened in France is dolorous. Intercultural diversity collided with repression. Cultures bounced against one another.
Too long, we have invited the immigrant to come in without ensuring he understands the ideology upon which our western culture is founded. We have neglected to find out how he thinks and to teach him our vision of democracy.
Yesterday, men, whose cultural ideology is different than ours: who believe that respect means repression, killed ten prominent thinkers and two protectors of the French Society.
Let us hope that these twelve people did not die in vain. That the streets across our western world will fill with people who have the courage to stand up and say, I am Charlie!
Our hearts yearn for a return to hope, a normalcy that we smother beneath our desires as we hurry along,
And more buying,
Under the deception of preparing for the Christmas feast of hope.
We seek hope, in ourselves, in our politicians, in world governments whether they are Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism: democratic, republic, socialistic, or communistic. However, none of these isms, lics, or tics have helped us find the hope for which we search.
These human designed isms, lics, and tics don’t know that hope. They present us with incongruent resolutions that are transient. Their failures, displayed on television, published on the Internet; printed in the newspapers; heard on the radio, have deadened our human capacity to recognize hope.
Yet, this hope walks among us in those who dare say yes.
“God wants everyone to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ in you, the hope of glory). It’s that simple.” COLOSSIANS 1:27, THE MESSAGE*
Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year,
Buon Natale a tutti e felice Anno Nuovo,
Feliz Navidad j Prospero Ano Nuevo
Froehe Weihnachten alle und ein gutes Neues Jahr,
Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee
*Text changes were made in Colossians 1:27 from THE MESSAGE to offer a better understanding.
This time last year my legs were shaky, and I was swaddling around in uncertainties. Disappointed in the progress of my first book I was pondering over whether or not I had the stamina I needed to be the kind of writer that I desired to be. Rise up my love. The winter is over, the rain is past and gone.
Sure, I got encouragement from other writers. I even flirted with self-publishing, just to prove a point to myself, but facing my own reality, I knew that wasn’t the problem. The real problem lay within me. I needed to know within myself whether or not I had something to say, regardless of whether I wrote fiction or non fiction, regardless of whether I was writing a blog article for a senior editor on my platform or for my own blogs. That was the question, and as I said last year in my last blog article I was Caught On My Blindside.
Not to mention that I had surgery, wrestle with the complications of having a sick partner, and living in a foreign country. But, those were secondary problems that only covered the face of the real problem: what was going on inside of me. Like the Ground Hog article written on February 1st, I tried to leave my hole, but I finally went back in my hole to contemplate my misère.
Anything different from the majority sticks out. I don’t care what it is, and whom you are. You can have the same bone structure, same color of skin and the same hair particles, but you will stick out like a sore thumb when your soul is not at peace with itself. People recognize that something is going on with you. They may not be able to identify it, but it hangs like a shroud between you and them until it is resolved.
So there I was in 2013 wrestling with myself in all areas of my life. Wrestling with my soul as I came to grips with the direction I was heading in, which brings me down to what I want to say. Rise up my love. The winter is over, the rain is past and gone.
You’ll find me writing fewer blog posts this year than I have in the past. Not because I have given up writing, but because I decided that what I write has to make a statement. I don’t want to entertain with my blogs. I am trying to jar the minds of men and women and challenge them think, to agree or to disagree with my opinion, in other words, to communicate. It is my desire to establish a dialogue of communication in my blogs. That means that when I don’t have anything to say, I’ll keep my big mouth shut.
As my mouthpiece, my blogs reflect my experiences on my journey, my beliefs, my struggles, and my overcoming. They mirror how I see the world. This does not mean that my view is correct. Many times it might be twisted, but I will never know that unless I challenge myself to listen to what others have to say. Thus, the rhythm of my blogs appearances will change to the following:
- Walk On – four times a year,
- Garcia’s Talks about Apple Products – four times a year,
- Pat Garcia Book Reviews – twelve times a year,
- Pat Garcia and Everything Must Change – seven times a year,
- Garcia’s Views on Body Soul and Spirit – four times a year,
- Wind, Rain, Winding Roads and Sunshine – seven times a year.
This will also give me the time I need to concentrate on looking for the right agent for my books, establishing a much larger author platform than I have, taking the needed writing courses to improve myself in the ever changing requirements, in the Literary field, and to attend writing workshops that will let editors, agents and publishers know that I am out there.
Some of you know that I am a singer and musician too. I travel quite a lot, giving concerts and conducting workshops here on the European Continent. Therefore, another reason I needed to structure myself was for my music. Sometime this year, I would like to record a blues CD in cooperation with music and lyrics from a Canadian musician whom I admire deeply.
Without writing and music or music and writing, I am an empty hull searching for air so I can breathe. Rise up my love. The winter is over, the rain is past and gone.
So, as I rise, letting go of the shackles that keep me from moving out into the unknown and launch out on the water before me, I hope to meet you along the way as I travel further. I invite you to enter into a conversation with me on my blogs, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Linked in, on WordPress, on Blogger, on American Diversity Report or anywhere else that I might write and to let me know how you see things happening around you or share with me your view of your state, country, or the world, and to disagree with me when you have a different point of view. Disagreeing points of view do not mean that we have to be enemies. It means that we stretch ourselves to learn from each other and hopefully come away respecting the other’s opinion.
Finally, I hope you will share your joys and triumphs. There is nothing that makes my soul merrier than to be able to listen to others as they share their joys, their happiness, and their struggle to overcome.
Hence, I challenge you to rise and move towards your life’s purpose; to rise from wherever you have hidden yourself, to look at the winter of your journey and say, the winter is over, the rain is past and gone as you move towards that which you know to be your destiny.
So, Rise up my loves wherever you are. The winter is over, the rain is past and gone!
During my blindside experience, I was not able to write as frequently in any of my blogs as I normally do. I have to admit here that I am not a blogger that writes every week and, therefore, was concerned about my extended infrequent appearances.
Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from WordPress informing me that my blog Walk On had just celebrated its 100th follower. I would like to thank all of you that have been so faithful to follow and to comment on my Walk On Blog.
It is a pleasure to research the women I write about and an even more joyous pleasure to write about them.
Thanks to all of you for your support. You are simply the best followers, I know.
Walk On, I say, Walk On!
There are times when you wake up and wish you had not. Nothing hurts; no pain in your body; family, friends, and neighbors are all excelling, and you are looking forward to the day ahead. Even though your day is scheduled so tight that you can hardly breathe, all is well with your world. Yet, your early morning wake up disturbs you. You feel strange, restless, exposed, but to what you cannot say.
Like Job, you get up and while drinking your first cup of coffee:
- You receive news about a death,
- You feel a pain in a part of your body that is unfamiliar to you,
- You read an email ending a treasured friendship,
- Your boss informs you by phone, you have been put on the redundant list,
- Your husband gets ill,
- Your child is expelled from school,
- Your bank check is not honored due to lack of funds,
- Your old and faithful car needs some serious repairs that you were no aware of,
- You’ve misplaced some important documents that you cannot find.
When events like this start taking place that take control of your life out of your hands, hold on, you’re caught-on-your-blindside.
Caught-on-your-blindside takes place without your being forewarned. The night before you were dancing to the beat of boogie down baby, or half-heartedly listening to the woes of a friend as you planned your week, or trying to choose which securities you would buy with your bonus for signing on a desired customer for your company.
Suddenly occurrences take place that shake up your entire small world, and as you sit there wondering what will happen next, you yearn to hide yourself because the view in your life has been blocked––you’re caught-on-your-blindside.
That is what happened to the woman who had been given a son. Married to an older man, she didn’t expect to have a child. She befriended the Prophet out of the kindness of her heart:
Her hospitality towards him,
Gave her the desire of her heart–a son.
Her son became ill while visiting the father in the fields, and he sent him home to his mother. She did all she knew to comfort him, but the child died as he sat in her lap. Bang! She was caught-on-her-blindside.
There is no way to escape being caught-on-your-blindside; No one is exempt: Like David, before he became king, you run away from crazed people and sour incidences that test your commitment and your reason to live. That you can’t see what is on the side of you, whether left or right, or even see through your rear window is natural: And your front windshield is clouded over by foggy incidences that come at you, one after the other: They block your view.
You can’t avoid the blindside either: many have tried, but all have failed.
Caught-on-your-blindside is not
A cultural thing,
A medical disease or sickness,
A mental illness,
A race problem,
A lack of intelligence,
A behavioral issue of whether you are good or bad,
Or something you did wrongly.
It does not stem from our bad choices.
It is a shy phenomena that pops up unexpectedly, tests our character, our integrity, our beliefs, and then it leaves just as stealthily as it came––in its own time.
It never wears out its welcome.
The year 2013 came in with a bang, and I welcomed in the year with gratitude in my heart. Yet, that did not exempt me from waking up at 2 AM on the very first day of the year, with a strange feeling. I felt as if I were losing ground under my feet, although I was lying in bed. When the first unexpected incident took place, I was speechless: It hit me in my gut: I was caught-on-my-blindside.
Like Esther, I sat back and learned to hold on until my time had passed: There was no other option.
Family and friends cannot help you when you are caught-on-your-blindside. They may give you advice, but usually, it doesn’t work. It may, however, ease your pain, make you laugh, or comfort you for a couple of minutes, but it doesn’t stop the occurrences from happening. You are caught-on-your-blindside.
What do you do when you are caught-on-your-blindside?
Being caught-on-my-blindside forced me to run to the source of my existence.
If anyone knew what was happening,
If anyone had the control,
If anyone had solutions,
It was the Creator whom I have given my complete trust. Sure, there were days when I thought this will never end, but again, like Abraham, the father of the faith, I hoped against hope because God is faithful: He keeps his promises, one hundred percent.
So, if you wake up and find yourself caught-on-your-blindside, run to the source of your existence and ride it through until you have been given the ability to see clearly again.
The woman with the son did:
Afterward they smiled: They were no longer caught-on-their-blindsides.
The United States had just entered the third year of the twentieth century when this infant girl opened her eyes in Norfolk, Virginia.
The year: 1903
The month: December
The Day: the 13th
Little did she know that the quiet soul of one of America’s famous freedom fighters would depart life’s stage nine years, two months and twenty-eight days, after her entry on earth. Neither did she know she would develop into a role similar to that of an earthworm, which converts organic matter into humus and improves the fertility of the soil.
Like the earthworm, this baby would deliberately work the underground with her beliefs, with her philosophy as she reached out to ordinary people to help them to understand the system in opposition to the leaders of her time. She gave people insight into the meticulous workings of democracy and proclaimed that strong people were more valuable than having one strong leader. Raised up to educate enrich the soil necessary for advancement, she would become The Grass Rooter.
At the age of seven, her parents decided to move the family back to her mother’s hometown, a small rural area in Littleton, North Carolina.
It was here that the young girl was prepared for her purpose in life,
- As she sat at the feet of grandmother listening to historical events that she had lived through,
- As her attention was captivated by the woman, when she talked about the degradation received through being whipped because of her refusal to marry her master’s choice of husband,
- As she learned the unknown history of people that had not been recorded in the history books.
Here, her hunger was satisfied for knowledge of the past, and her thirst was quenched as she waited on her future. The Grass Rooter incubated in the soil and grew in wisdom.
Because she saw the problem, The Grass Rooter began her work. It had been played out before her eyes while living in North Carolina. She had a solution and was not unafraid to share it. The Grass Rooter believed firmly that the success of any nation rested upon the people at the bottom understanding the processes of legislation and government because the strength of any nation comes from the ground up and not from the top down. Thus, she strove to inform and educate. The Grass Rooter stretched her arms out to all. It was never a black/white issue with her.
“We are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.”(1)
Opposition came as is expected when it comes to educating the masses. Many leaders reacted to this new way of thinking. They belittled the intelligence of the people by insisting that they must be led instead of taught. However, The Grass Rooter did not let this stop her: she increased her efforts and expanded her influence. She was one of the main proponents of Participatory Democracy.
1940, her election as a secretary with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) pivoted her into a position where she could help people. She traveled throughout the South, knocking on doors, recruiting people, and implementing plans that mobilized the masses. Her hard work paid off.
In 1943, she was elected as the director of the branches. The first woman to hold this position, but her stance against elitism brought her face-to-face confrontation with the male leaders of the organization. Outspoken about her beliefs and her egalitarian ideas, she forced the leadership to decentralize its structure.
1957, The Grass Rooter traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, the home of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, better known to some as the SCLC. Black ministers of the South had come together to initiate change within the society they were living in. She quickly earned the reputation as an organizer. The success of the Voter Registration Campaign in the South is mainly due to her organizational skills. However, three years of working with the SCLC showed her that her ideas were far beyond comprehension for the male leadership: She left the organization in 1960.
How do you react when you realize the withholding of knowledge causes the ignorance of the people?
Would you work behind the scenes without any recognition and educate others?
1960, The Grass Rooter became involved with students from the South who had decided that enough was enough.
- City: Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Location: F. W. Woolworth
- Target: the lunch counter where so many black college students were allowed to work but not to sit down and eat.
Four college students challenged the Jim Crow laws practiced within the state, and the Grass Rooter rose to the pinnacle of her crowning moment as an activist. She pushed the SCLC to listen to these students and support them in their step of defiance. Out of this protest, The Students for Non Violent Coordinating Committee better known as SNCC was born.
Wow, what a woman!
What dedication to her calling!
Wherever there was a need to bring understanding to the people, regardless of whether it was,
- The NAACP,
- The Voter Registration in the South,
- The organization of the SCLC,
- The birth of the SNCC,
- Speaking out against Apartheid in South Africa,
- Standing up for the Puerto Rican Freedom movement,
- Support for the International Women Movement for Freedom and Peace,
The Grass Rooter, the woman who believed in Social Change starting at the grassroots was somewhere in the background laying down fundamental principles that still apply today.
Ms. Ella Baker, the controversial woman
- That was not keened on the elite
- That was wary of anyone who was not willing to educate the people at the bottom,
Was willing to be a vessel of oil that poured out into the lives of others. She was The Grass Rooter.
The year was 1986, the month December, the date: the 13th and The Grass Rooter, Ms. Ella Baker, eighty-three years old and still excelling in her call, still fulfilling her purpose in life was getting ready to celebrate her birthday. Instead of celebrating, she heard the trumpet blow. It was time for her to Walk On.
Can’t you see her people? She heard the call on her birthday; eighty-three years later, and Ms Ella Baker Walked On!
Can’t you see her as she smiled and looked behind her at her legacy?
“What did you do, Ms. Ella Baker?
Tell me, what did you do?” asked the Prophet.
“Not much,” said the woman. “Not much.
Just organized the NAACP,
Educated and informed the masses,
Stopped over in Atlanta and organized the SCLC,
Went to the country towns down there in the South,
And set up Voter registration so it could move effectively.
Listened to the Students in Greensboro North Carolina,
Helped them to get support,
Marched with the Puerto Rican Freedom Movement,
Stuck my nose into the International Women Movement,
Kept my hands busy by standing up against Apartheid.
Not much,” she said, “Not much.”
The Prophet laughed and asked, “Is that all?”
Ms. Ella Baker, The Grass Rooter, the Proponent of Social Change, the Activist that reached out to the people at the bottom, looked back at The Prophet and said with a bit of humor in her voice, “That’s all,” Prophet. “That’s all.”
She Walked on people, Ms. Ella Baker Walked on!
Don’t tell me you can’t fulfill your purpose in life,
Sure it may be hard,
It may be that you aren’t recognized,
And no one knows you exist.
But fulfill your purpose in life.
Sooner or later,
You will rise.
Walk on People, I say, Walk On!
What do you hear,” the child asked the Prophet, curious to know what was happening below the heavenly atmosphere they lived in, “What do you hear?”
“I hear mothers mourning over the lost of their young.”
“But it’s Mother’s Day,” the child replied.
“Oh, how well I know that,” answered the Prophet.
“So tell me what do you hear, Prophet? What do you hear?” The child in its naivety thought the earth had gotten better.
“Silence, child, I hear a faint rumbling coming up from a far.”
“All right, I won’t let out one peeps, but promise me you’ll tell me what you hear?” And the child dance around the Prophet with joyous expectations.
“You have my promise. I will only tell you what I hear.” Suddenly, the Prophet covered his ears. “Oh the rumble, it’s terrible,” shouted the Prophet. “It gets louder and louder.”
“Surely, it is the sound of the people on earth celebrating and cheering as they honor their mothers,” the Child said.
“Shh, now, I hear it clearly,” The Prophet commanded.
“What is it?” The Child asked.
“It sounds like gunfire going off in schools, at homes, on streets––children killing children.”
“But it’s Mother’s Day.”
“Oh, How well I know that.” The Prophet mumbled.
“So tell me something good. Tell me of the songs you hear, or the flowers you see, or children honoring their mothers with surprises on this beautiful Mother’s Day.”
“Wait!” Said the Prophet. “Be still. I hear another cry”
“Oh, goodie. It’s about time you heard a beautiful cry.”
The prophet began to cry before the child, and he began to beat his hands against his breast.
What wrong, Prophet, what’s wrong? Tell me, what did you hear?”
“Like Rachel crying for her young ones over two thousand years ago, I hear mothers wailing; painful moans, no man can ever imagine, coming up out of the heart of women: mothers wailing for the lost of their young.”
“But it’s Mother’s Day, Prophet.”
“Oh, how well I know that,” the Prophet answered.
“So, what do you see on this beautiful day for mothers everywhere,” the child asked, hoping the Prophet would report about the presents that made mommies happy on their special day. Maybe, just maybe, the child thought, the Prophet will let me look down and see the celebrations.
“Shall I tell you what I hear? Maybe then you’ll understand what I’m saying,” the Prophet said.
“All right. Tell me, what do you hear, Prophet? What do you hear?”
“I hear mothers wailing for the lost of their young;
Children, whose lives have been cut off by drunken drivers;
Children, whose lives are stopped short by guns in the hands of distorted minds;
Children, whose lives are prematurely ended by the scalpel;
Children, whose lives are snuffed out by bombs as they sleep;
Children, whose lives have been contaminated––destroyed by chemicals dropped from the air as man fights against man.
I see little people, like you, child, who have no voice
To speak out,
Their lives have been taken away without their consent.”
“But it’s Mother’s Day, Prophet. It’s Mother’s Day.
“Oh, how well I know that!” The Prophet answered.
This year’s Mother’s Day article, But It’s Mother’s Day, is a tribute to all those mothers who have lived through the agony of having a child precede them in death. No mother expects to see her child leave this earth before she does: it is the mother’s heart that dreams of life–long life– for her children even before they are born.
I would also like to salute two women whom I have come to love, respect, and admire.
Micki Peluso, author of And The Whippoorwill Sang, whose daughter’s life was cut off by a drunken driver. Micki tells Noelle’s story, and therefore her own story with heart. Full of humor and wit, And The Whippoorwill Sang draws you into the Peluso family: it also takes you through a gamut of emotions from anger to hatred, to laughter, to tears that will force you to support a zero tolerance for people who drink and drive.
Linda Halpin is the author of an upcoming book about her son, Louie, who was shot down in New York City. As a mother, she was suddenly thrown into the woes of lost. Louie was a child with a promise, a future boxer whose future stopped on a fatal afternoon as he innocently visited his friends. Linda’s book is expected to be release sometime this year.
Both of these women have gone through the dark night of their souls, and they have come through it with renewed strength to step up to the plate and speak out against violence that has been done, not only against their children, but against children all over the world.
Happy Mother’s Day!
 Peluso, Micki, And The Whippoorwill Sang,