Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

OCTOBER AWARENESS

October 14, 2013

Image     Image     Image

October being National DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS Month is extra special for me this year having recently published my fourth book “Entertaining Angels Aware: I AM My Sister’s Keeper”.   Entertaining Angels… is about growing up with and now caring for my only sibling who was born with Down Syndrome. I never get tired of celebrating her being in my life, and others who have touched our lives with a special love.  To learn more about my Angel and Me, visit our facebook page “Entertaining Angels Aware”

Image

Another cause which is celebrated during the month of October is that of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS   During my early years in practice as a licensed Marriage, Family & Child Therapist, the idea of a man putting his hands on, or mistreating a woman, was so foreign and distasteful to me, I had difficulty conjuring up enough compassion and patience to work with women who refused to leave their abusive spouses/partners.  However, my love for and work with children—especially those in the foster care system, and my tenure of watching more than one generation evolve, have caused me to become much more understanding and compassionate in working with both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.  I now know that, as with most any other expression of powerlessness, “hurt people hurt people”.

In addition to my ongoing clinical work with those who are broken (or doing the breaking) I see the signs and symptoms of violence, not only domestically but through the verbal, emotional and physical abuse depicted throughout societal “norms” in professional workplaces, educational settings, and morphing throughout all avenues of entertainment in comedic, dramatic and reality TV shows, films and music. How can it NOT be in our homes?!

Being “The Heart Lady” I am constantly appalled by the negative and hurtful things I see even in comments posted in response to articles which were intended to be heart-warming stories—revealing a widespread attitude of anger and violence.  Where is the LOVE?

I’ve learned that LOVE means different things to different people, which when it all boils down, really has nothing to do with love at.  LOVE doesn’t hurt.  That’s all I have to say about that for now.

Image

Last but not least, the biggest cause acknowledged during the month of October is National BREAST CANCER AWARENESS Month.  This is a cause I’ve been pretty “mum” about. For the past six years I’ve both consciously, and subconsciously chosen not to speak about it because it was 8 years ago that my “bestest” friend Val, began her battle with, as she referred to it “the pink ribbon thing”.

For two years we talked about and explored complementary treatment which included Western as well as Holistic medicine.  We even laughed about the day during testimonial service when she was going to hang her bra on the wall of the church like those who had been healed of other maladies had placed their canes and crutches!  🙂

Unfortunately, Val passed three days following my own mother’s funeral, which she’d argued with her doctor to be able to attend just prior to her final hospitalization, and two and  half weeks before my 50th birthday.

Since then I’ve not worn, posted, or displayed the pink ribbon symbol of breast cancer, because just seeing it has only triggered feelings of loss for me.  I also think of the children who have been “orphaned” by ‘the pink ribbon” This year, however, although I still miss my sister-friend sorely, I’m making the choice to acknowledge the friends and associates who have SURVIVED breast cancer and am working on consciously celebrating their lives.

Statistics at some point indicated that one in four women would be diagnosed with breast cancer; and I recall looking at attendees of my 40th birthday celebration and realizing that FOUR of my friends in attendance either had already, or have since been a survivor of breast cancer.  I’ve also learned of childhood friends whose lives have also been affected.

Today I post a pink ribbon in celebration of the lives of Bernadette, Antoinette, Signe, Thelma, Debra, Lauren, Michelle, Gloria, and others who have and WILL have survived!

P.S. – Ironically, while going through a container of old key chains yesterday, guess what I came across?– a pink ribbon key chain with hearts.  I guess it time to open my heart and new doors.

Image

Advertisements

NATIONAL ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH: “It’s A Boy!”

November 8, 2012

I’m a little behind schedule calendar-wise, however when it comes to and from the heart it’s always in and on time. My blogfor the month of November is dedicated to National Adoption Awareness Month.

You may or may not know that I am an adoptive parent, and worked as an Adoption Social Worker almost 30 years ago! (Sounds ancient doesn’t it?)

I have chronicled much of my experience in my memoir:

           “It’s Heart Work: Being The Village That Raises A Child”

This month’s blog will be comprised of excerpts from my book. I hope your enjoyment will pique your interest in purchasing your own copy today, whether in

Paperback http://www.hearttalkpublications.com/Products.html                                                      OR

E-book:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54353 

Proceeds from all sales benefit For A Child’s H.E.A.R.T., Inc. , the non-profit organization which I founded to provide services to current, former and transitioning foster and adoptive youth.

So enjoy your first look at “It’s Heart Work:…” 

                               Is He Talking To Me? – It’s A Boy!

“Mom!”, “Mom!!”, the young voice called out again as I patiently waited my turn in the cashier’s line at Toys ‘R Us in Monterey,  California.

“Is he talking to me?”  I heard myself say.  I turned my head just in time to see the familiar little brown face, with wide-eyed excitement, peering right at me, and waving a toy in the air.   I don’t remember any details of that toy or if we even bought it.  What I do remember, however, is that my heart leaped to a whole new dimension at the recognition of its new role: “Mom.”  And my heart hasn’t been the same since.

That was on the first day of Bryant’s and my very first face-to-face meeting.  We actually spent the entire weekend together .   Prior to that, we’d only seen pictures of and read about each other. We finally got to talk on the phone the night before meeting. I was thirty-one years old at the time, he was nine, and we both wanted a family – badly.   

During my own childhood, I was an only child until age eleven. As long as I can remember, I always loved children. People even told my mother to watch out for me, because they knew I would have a house full of children one day, and would perhaps get an early start at it. Others commented that I would probably be like my godmother, who loved and cared for tons of children but never had any biological children of her own.

From a young age, I sensed deep within that I would one day adopt children. However, in my plan, there were to be adoptive AND biological children. Well, to those people’s dismay, and mine, at age thirty-one I adored and cherished four precious godchildren, but none yet to call my own, either by birth or adoption. Even after working for two adoption programs, my friends and colleagues teased me over the fact that I’d managed to leave the agencies without “stealing one of those kids.” 

One day, while chatting with one of the therapists where I worked, she remarked, “Evelyn, you need some children.” Amazingly, less than 30 minutes after that conversation, I received a phone call from a former co-worker and friend who still worked for the county adoption agency I’d left in Monterey a little more than a year before. She told me there was a little boy on her caseload whom she was seeking a placement for, and that she and the staff instantly thought about me. I couldn’t believe it – especially since I hadn’t submitted any application for adoption. She then went on to say, “He even looks like you.” My response to that was, “Yeah, right. He’s a little Black boy, I’m a Black woman; of course we look alike.” (She and the rest of the staff were Caucasian). We laughed. 

In August 1988, I began my intimate journey into a nine year old’s heart. Then, on that beautiful, warm October day in 1988, in that Toys ‘R Us store, Bryant’s heart and mine officially entered a mother-son bond, evidenced by Bryant’s special term of endearment towards me.

Little did we know that that weekend would prove symbolic of our lives together in the years to come. It included a day of calm play and laughter at the ocean in Pacific Grove, as well as the thunderous, and sometimes scary, adventures of the Blue Angels’ air show at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. 

I stopped at See’s Candy store on the way to work that Monday morning, and reported to work with candy suckers which exclaimed, “It’s A Boy!”

National Down Syndrome Month: “Waiting for & Welcoming My Angel”

October 23, 2012

I’d waited 11 years for her; and now it had been another three to four long weeks since the early morning phone call home from the hospital which announced her arrival early one July Monday morning.  I’d still not had the chance to see her yet. 

My heart beat rapidly with excitement as I prepared for our first meeting.  When I got there, she knew I was there to welcome her; and to everyone’s astonishment and disbelief she opened her eyes as I peered through the glass between us.  It was love at first sight. 

It was the first day I laid eyes upon my Angel, who was born three months premature, yet many years past-due from time I began my incessant requests.  This was the little sister I’d begged for most of my 11 years on this earth, and was told it wasn’t going to happen.  My mother was now 43 years old. 

When I saw the little 2 pound 7 oz body laying inside the hospital incubator, and she opened her eyes,  it was as if “my soul just opened up!” like we’d been together before and at long last had reconnected!  Mama and the nurses told me “that baby didn’t open her eyes” but I knew she had; and NObody could tell me any different.  

There was speculation as to whether or not she would live. Mama had had several miscarriages, still births, and other premature babies to pass prior to my birth, but my heart knew something different.  She, like me was a survivor, with a purpose; and I had already given her her name:  Kimberly Yvette.  

I guess I’ve always possessed the gift of great faith, and despite some serious bouts of challenge,  God’s great favor.  People now know better than to tell me about what can/will not happen.  This was one of the first miracles of faith which impacted my belief in God.  He really did hear my prayer and gave me the desire of my heart—exceedingly, abundantly, and above. Little did I know then that I’d been gifted with a “perpetual” little sister.  

Two months later when Kim finally reached 5 lbs., she was allowed to come home from the hospital. While waiting for the bus home from school one sunny Fall afternoon in October, I shouted with glee when the family car pulled up and I saw the bundle in the arms of my mother in the passenger seat.  “Don’t you step on my groceries” my mother said as my eyes were focused on the bundle in her arms while getting in the back seat of the car.  I could barely wait to hold her.   

Over the next few months I began living my dream of being a “big sister” although though in many ways she was more like my own live baby doll.  I fed and burped her, changed her diapers; and even gave her a bath for the first time without our mother’s permission while she was still asleep one day.  

Kim’s initial visits to the pediatrician went well and she was thriving well.  However, somewhere in time I recall the doctor saying that he had some concerns and wanted to run some tests. After blood tests and visits to what I know now as Developmental Study Center, during which we got to play with blocks and my mother was asked numerous questions, we returned to the pediatrician. 

I remember Dr. Stevenson looking at  the palms of Kim’s hands and telling us that Kim had a condition called Down Syndrome.  He went on to tell my mother that “Mongoloid” children didn’t have a long life expectancy and that Kim would probably never do the same things that other children could do and might require institutional care.  

I remember tears welled up in my eyes as he said those words, suggesting that my mother might consider placing her outside of the home.  My mother looked at me as I hugged and squeezed “My Angel”.  I’d waited for her way too long and I was determined that she wasn’t going anywhere. 

  

 Please leave your comments, subscribe and stay tuned for Part 2:

 “Growing Up With An Angel

Always A Daddy’s Girl

June 19, 2011

 Today has been bittersweet day for me; and I’ve been giving it my best shot to dwell on the sweet. I was blessed to have had my biological father, Travis aka “Buddy Boy” in my life during the early years of my life. This year marks 40 years since his passing, one month after turning 50, an age which at this phase of my life, I now consider to be young. Although he and my mother separated prior to my starting Kindergarten we continued to have a very close relationship, spending time together most weekends, and speaking on the phone whenever we felt like it. Some of my earliest and most fond memories with him are:

1. Me waking up in the morning smelling coffee and bacon in the kitchen, tip-toeing to the closed kitchen door in my footed pajamas and knocking as I opened it and him saying “Who that coming through that door” and my response “Mee!” “Me Who?” “Meeee!” as I peeked then swung the door open ran in the kitchen into his arms for a hug and a kiss. I sat down to the plate of biscuits and Karo syrup, scrambled eggs and bacon he prepared for me as he poured his coffee from his cup into the saucer and sipped it, and we would “chat” until it was time for him to get ready for work. He carried me in his arms downstairs to my godparent’s apartment to stay until my mother would get in from her graveyard shift at the hospital and get some rest.

2. Waiting for him to get home from work to see what he he’d brought me home in his black lunch pail—usually a bag of Cheetoes.  Then sitting on his lap after dinner as he sat on the couch watching television, and rocked me singing “Go to Sleepy Little Baby” and my saying “do it again; do it again” then after several rounds him saying “Baby, Daddy’s tired” as he was about to doze off himself.

3. Being carried to the car before daylight on a Saturday morning for an all day fishing trip during which I’d sleep, eat, drink, play and listen to music all day long, and occasionally catch a fish.

Even with my parents not being together, there was my godfather, Mr. Moore, who lived downstairs and whom I spent a lot of time with. This was a gentle giant of a man whom, on some weekday evenings and Saturdays I followed around the apartment building as he did the landscaping and made repairs inside the apartment units. I learned a lot from hanging out with him, not knowing that one day those lessons would be prove to be vital to my survival in a life of singleness. On Sunday mornings we walked to Sunday school, stopping by the store on the way, to buy Lifesavers. After Sunday School I’d sit between him and my godmother and he and I would share Lifesavers and finger games during church service (his hands were the biggest hands I’d ever seen in my life). Sometimes my godmother would give us a disapproving but loving eye to let us know that our “playing” in Church was getting out of hand–literally . On Sunday nights we ate ice cream together and listened to church services on the radio.

At one point I was blessed to have yet even a third father in my life, as my younger sister’s father became a very loving and positive presence in my life. Strangely enough both he and my father were unwavering in their demonstration of pure love for both me and my sister. I was proud to boast that we shared the same first and middle initials “E.L.”; and He gave me my nickname “Swee’Pea”. He also gave me my very first camera, record player and albums!  (Three things which remain an integral part of my life today—wow, hadn’t even thought about that before now).

During adolescence I lost two of these fathers–one to death and one to marriage to a woman other than my mother. Shortly after my father’s passing I met my best friend in Jr. High School and her father immediately became a father role in my life, always encouraging and expecting the best of me academically and character-wise. He always remembered my birthday and special accomplishments, each one being acknowledged with cards with a little “spending money” inside.

 Unfortunately, in my mid twenties I also lost both of my “godfathers” within a relatively short period of time. Having taken time off work to attend my godfathers’ funerals a co-worker jokingly told me “Your godfather must be a cat with nine lives” 

 As I look back on it, I realize that it was some time after that I began to experience bouts of depression, through which I didn’t began to break through until I was prompted by a very sweet and effective therapist that I’d not yet grieved my father’s death or more appropriately, fathers’ deaths.

Until I was about 40 years old, I would find myself feeling strangely “not well” on Fathers’ Day. Even then it took some time for me to become conscious of what was really going on—wow. It was about this time that I “adopted” my pastor’s father, Ed “Dad” Huddleston (which I share in detail in my memoir). Interestingly it turns out he was also known by some as “Buddy Boy”.

I now had a “Dad” again. He lived out of town, and I didn’t see him often. However when he showed up at church unexpected one Fathers’ Day I squealed in delight and cried like a BABY! Although he had seven children (including three daughters) of his own I felt as loved as if I had been his own. Calling him on the phone, I loved hearing the voice on the other end always answer “God bless you”. I’d say “Hey Papa” to which he’d respond “Is this my daughter?” to which I’d respond “Yes”, feeling like that three year old at the kitchen door.

We’d laugh and talk about anything and everything, but most of all the love of God. This was the most loving, loveable, wise and wittiest men I’ve known. The first week of this year would be the last time “Daddy’s Girl” would hear that voice as “Dad” too passed away on January 8th. When I start to feel sad at the loss of my dads I also look at how I’ve been blessed many times over in my life with such caring, loving, protective men who never once abused me verbally, physically, sexually or emotionally, and taught me my self worth—something that not many women can profess.

I also realize how having caring father figures in my life have enabled me to establish and maintain a loving and trusting relationship with my spiritual Father. I’m so grateful to not know any better than to think that my Father will feed and nurture me, carry me, rock me, give me the desires of my heart, laugh and talk with me, bless me, and be proud of me being His Girl. Although I sorely miss each one of my “Daddys” and I have now joined the village of “elders” myself, I can honestly say and believe that I am still and will always be “Daddy’s Girl”

 

[Check back for pictures posted later]

What’s It All About…?

March 6, 2011

At the closing of another “more than half a century” celebration of life on this planet, I began to reflect upon my day, and ponder this journey called “life”.  Being a music lover, songs usually pop into my mind as quickly as thoughts do.  This time the words “What’s it all abou Alfie” came to mind and I decided to look up the lyrics.  The last stanza in particular caught my attention:

Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

Wow..for as many years and as many times as I’ve heard this song I don’t recall hearing those words, but I guess my heart did and that’s why it brought them to consciousness.

There have been many days when I’ve really felt like I was just existing, then  I received that call, visit or invite from someone who took the time to let me know that they loved me and that my existence and presence was important to them. 

A friend and colleague jokingly says that I came into the world expecting it to be a “love fest” and have spent my  years healing from the disappointment.  I tend to agree with him; and although I have my days, I’m basically still perplexed, hurt and angered by the general “unloving” words and acts of behavior by and towards others and often feel like an alien.

 Growing up, I was told by my mother that I was too sensitive and needed to stop wearing my feelings on my sleeves.  As an adult, I’ve often wondered “is it just me?” as my heart has cringed listening to and  watching  the world stressfully move about focusing on things they “have to do” and superficially or callously rushing past or over one another with little or no acknowledgement- -not to mention the treatment towards our children, youth and elderly.

After hearing many references made to the book “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I finally read it a couple of weeks ago.  In doing so, I learned a few things about myself and the discrepancies in my expressive and receptive languages of love, which if not monitored, can easily “overdraw” my love bank account.

 However, as I realize and acknowledge who I can truly “bank on” I am assured that through the secured loan and “overdraft protection” of God’s love, that my love account won’t ever be permanently closed out- -just a few “Insufficient Funds” notices here and there between deposits.

Today, the balance in my love bank has compounded interest from deposits in all five of the love languages, and it feels good to know that at least today I can “pay it  forward”  in fulfilling my life purpose, because THAT’s what it’s all about Alfie–  LOVE!   ♥

 

 

Heart to “HEART Talk” with Ms. E!

October 9, 2010
It is exciting, enlightening and encouraging meeting and interviewing guests for the television Talk Show “Visions For A Child’s Heart” (c).    It also has become an increasing challenge, time-wise, and financially; and with the wide-spread connections made globally via internet, it’s a stretch geographically, to reach the many wonderful people whose stories and messages we’d  love to share on our program.
So until  television broadcasting resources are expanded, allowing us to become nation/world-wide,  I have decided to do a revised version of our former radio talk show Voices For A Child’s Heart (c) (which aired locally in 2006,) in a new & improved Internet Radio  format,  called “HEART Talk” which can be accessed via internet throughout the world!

HEART Talk”Radio(c) like theTelevision Program, “Visions For A Child’s Heart” , will be  dedicated to nurturing and healing the body, mind, and spirit connection of those whose lives impact and are impacted by, foster care, kinship and  adoptive placement.
Just some of the initial guests who have been invited and/or confirmed include:
Kevin Brown, Les Brown, Jonathan Burkett, Chris Kazi Rolle,  George Fraser, Kandee G, Nakia Lashaul, Shay Oliviarra, Michael Pritchard, Sunday Taylor, Regina Louise, Alfonzo Tucker, Iyanla Vanzant, Kimberly West, and Terrie Williams.
 
Programming will be live on Wednesday evenings 6-6:30 PM PacificTime (8PM Central/9PM Eastern) on Blog Talk Radio.   Interviews will be in 15 and 30 minute segments and will allow room at the end for listener interaction.
 
 
 

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hearttalkwithmse

 

 
It’s time to have a Heart to “HEART Talk” with Ms. E! 
 So….Will you join ME?   Talk To M.E. !     

 

The Month of May…

May 5, 2010

…contains several events of great significance for ME.

Aside from the fact that it brings us our first Pre-Summer holiday, on which we get to celebrate outdoors with good food,  it is the birthday of my most loved musician, healer, performing artist and vessel of  harmony, love, truth  on this earth: STEVIE WONDER!  Everybody say YEAH!  *o* Believe it or not, this year “Little” Stevie Wonder is turning 60 years old!  Amazing! and WONDERFUL! 

Secondly, May is National Foster Care Month in the U.S. which brings attention to the status of the 500,000 children in our nation who are living without of a permanent family to call their own/to call them their own.  I’ve also dedicated this time to CELEBRATE the lives and achievements of many of these youth who continue to defy the odds of the negative circumstances, stereotypes, and predictions set against them, and those who care for them.  This annual event is called ” Foster Pride”  and this year will be held on Saturday, 5/22.  See the website of For A Child’s H.E.A.R.T., Inc. for more details.

And last but not least, May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.  As a mental health professional, I consider myself a “wounded healer” having  also faced the challenges of depression throughout my adulthood.  I have grave concern and compassion for the numerous people  whose symptoms of emotional and mental disorders often go  undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and treated- -many times in isolation and/or humiliation.  The current  status of our national economy has had and is having an even more profound impact on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of our nation.  As a “village” we need to have a greater awareness, sensitivity to the issues our family, children and neighbors may face and how to respond to them in a positive and caring manner.

So…all that said, please stay tuned in to see what else I, and others may have to say on these topics; and please share your responses as well.

Hearts, Blessings and Wonder Love!  (:  ❤


%d bloggers like this: