Happy Birthday, Momma!

Today, were she still alive, my mother would be 95. She passed away five years ago. I still miss her.

Erma Lee Rhodes, my mother, was a quiet woman, but never make the mistake of crossing her. She was born in Shreveport, LA. she used to tell us, “Don’t mess with a Lousiana woman because they knew things.” Of course, she never said to us what those things were.

I was always proud of my mother. She raised eight children alone in the projects in Los Angeles, and none of us ended up on drugs or alcohol. My mother had seven girls and one boy, and he went into the Marines after graduating from high school;

My mother was a strong woman who made decisions on what she wanted in life and proceeded to work for it. It took years, but she achieved her goals. She didn’t let anyone or anything stop her. She stayed focused.

There is so much I could share with you about her. However, I just wanted to pay tribute to her on her special day.

If you are blessed still to have your mom or even your dad with you, you should count your blessings. I miss my mom and my dad. They were separated in life, but are together with the Father in .heaven.

Happy birthday, Mom! I know you have gotten the answer to all the questions you had down here. Until we meet again, rest in peace. lw

A Future You Can Believe In

undefinedWhen your self-esteem begins to rise, you realize you have options. Suddenly, your future is no longer bleak and depressing. It is exciting and filled with new opportunities and experiences. Rather than dreading the future, you begin anticipating it. So, what is next? How do you get from where you are today to that bright, shiny future that you were looking forward to enjoying?

It is time to dream a dream.

Start by dreaming. What is it that you want to do? Try to think about what you’d like your life to look like if money and time weren’t factors. Would you take dance classes? Would you start your own business? Embrace your inner artist? Maybe travel across the country in an RV?

You can’t work toward your dreams until you’ve identified them. It’s OK to have multiple goals. Most people are multi-passionate.

What does your future self want to accomplish?

It’s time to figure out what you want to accomplish. It isn’t about titles or money or fame. It’s about how you want people to remember you. How will you leave your mark on the world?

Do you want to be remembered for being that sassy businesswoman that provided clean drinking water for an entire village in a third world country? Do you want to be recognized as the artist and foster mom of countless teens that didn’t have a place to go? Do you want to be the secretary that decided to go to medical school at age fifty?

What do you see as the major roadblock to making that happen?

Anticipating roadblocks ahead of time can be helpful. Common barriers might include time, money, or a lack of emotional support. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. Just acknowledge the roadblocks. By doing this, you’ll prepare yourself mentally and emotionally when you encounter setbacks or problems along the way.

What does your life look like when that road back is in your rear mirror?

No matter who you are or what you’re trying to achieve, you will encounter roadblocks. To prevail over them, you have to have a clear vision of your future. This vision has to be strong enough to motivate you when you’re still living your ‘before’ story. If your goal is to go back to college, then imagine that moment when you walk across the stage in your graduation gown. If your goal is to start a business, imagine that moment when you get your first client. Hold onto your vision.

Dreaming about your future and planning for it can be exciting. It can also feel a little scary at times. But don’t let the fear stop you. You deserve a beautiful future filled with dreams.

Until next, keep the faith and stay safe. lw

Death by Any Other Name

It was a year and just about two months ago that I lost my husband to cancer, and now death is stalking me again. Today I lost my nephew to this horrible virus. I know the pain my brother is going through. In January of 1989, I lost my son to a car accident. When I received the news, I refused to believe it until the military showed up. It was as if my heart ripped from my body.

No parent should ever outlive their child. The hole in the heart of my brother and his wife is a tear too big and deep; they are wondering how they can survive. I can only be there for them as they were for me. Words fail me as I think of them.

Social media is something I dread because I don’t fully understand how to use it, but the outpouring of love and prayers for my family and myself are so heartwarming and heartfelt. It means so much that you care to respond as you have

At times like this, I understand what it means to be part of a community, and I thank you for all that I am for your love and support. You provide the added strength I will need to be strong for my brother and his family.

I pray this virus runs its course fast and leave us in peace so we can restore our families and help all those affected. The stench death and sickness surround us. It is a ruthless enemy we must defeat.

When they spoke of it on the news, I knew it was something we needed to take seriously; at the same time, it seemed so unreal the number of deaths reported each day. Death by any other name is still death. Please be careful about what you do and protect yourself the best you can.

Thank you all for your love and support and for just being here. You have my undying love and appreciation. I love you all.  lw

Fantasy

by La Wanna Parker

Today I feel like a little light hardiness, so I am sharing a fun poem I wrote. I hope you enjoy the read.

Your comments are always welcome, and so is sharing. Enjoy!

The excitement in our voices

Sitting and waiting

A day long-awaited

We listen to instructions

Some of the Excitement gone

We have trained and practiced

This day-long anticipated

Final checks made

Assurances that all would go well

Our order of decent

Chosen by cards

Chosen to be last by draw

I watched as

One by one

They made the jump

My turn!

And fear sets in

Why did I agree?

Oh, my God! I can’t do this!

There must be a mistake

Why am I on this plane?

I walk to the door

I see the others floating

I’ve changed my mind

I said as I step back

Sorry you must

And I am pushed out the door

My mind is in turmoil

The fear grows stronger with each second

What were the instructions?

I am falling fast

I see the others floating

I look down to see

The ground is racing up fast!

To welcome me

I struggle to remember

What were those instructions?

I say my prayers

Realizing this is it

What is that buzz?

It seems to get louder

When all of a sudden

I awaken to

The sound of the alarm clock

Fear: The #1 Thing Standing In Your Way Of True Happiness

“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” Dorothy Thompson

Imagine this: you are sitting on the beach watching the sunset as waves lap the sand as you bask in the glow. A book lies in your lap as you lose yourself in the thought of how wonderful you feel at this moment.

Now imagine what the reality is: You’re dreaming of traveling to the beach. You’re sitting on the sand watching the sunset. But instead of taking steps to go, you feel fear. What if you’re job needs you? By your family or any of your other obligations? What if the plane crashes? What if you get lost? What would happen if you let down your guard? What if…?

Living in fear keeps us from taking risks and chances to go for what we truly desire. It keeps us from finding true happiness.

Happiness isn’t defined by what you have, where you live, where you go, or the people you love. True happiness is a feeling. It’s something you feel deep inside about yourself and believe yourself to be. But to find it you have to face the fears keeping you paralyzed.

When we have fears, we feel unsafe. Facing our fears and getting out of our comfort zone is hard because of how humans naturally expect the worst-case scenario. Our brains typically send us negative information because it is trying to keep you safe.

So how can you live a life free of fear and be truly happy?

Everyone has fears. It’s normal. It’s how we react to them that makes the difference in how we feel. But you might find yourself weighed down with too much fear that’s preventing you from being truly happy. If that’s the case, it’s time to get familiar with your concerns and find ways to work through them.

Here are four common fears and ideas to help you deal with them.

  1. Fear of failure. Unfortunately, this is a common fear, often stemming from our childhood—fear of failing a test. For example; This fear brings on the feeling of being judged or embarrassed. In reality, failing is part of success. Overcome this fear by not worrying about the outcome and only focusing on the process of getting to success.
  1. Fear of success. This fear stems from many different concerns: fear of change, responsibilities, attention, vulnerable, and many others. The best way to overcome this fear is to focus on one step at a time while moving forward.
  1. Fear of rejection. The fear of being rejected is a reaction to our innate need for belonging. It can include fears of being judged, not being liked, or being alone. To overcome this fear, put yourself out there, reminding yourself that the right people will respond to you favorably.
  1. Fear being good enough. This fear is rooted in how we feel about ourselves. Our low self-esteem keeps us from not trying because of a lack of confidence. You can overcome this fear by starting small with things you know you can accomplish. Keep doing more steps to build your self-confidence.

We all have fears of some kind. They may seem rational to us but appear irrational to others. To overcome your fears, you need to understand why you have them and then work on facing them so you can live a life of true happiness.

Until next time, keep the faith and live in peace. lw

Charlie

The last two posts were a little long and heavy. We have enough seriousness going on today, so I thought I would share a short story of Charlie. It’s more informational and serves no purpose. I hope you enjoy it. lw

I called him Charlie. There was no particular meaning behind the name other than it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Charlie always sat in the dirt by my door each morning when I left for work. He would be on the right-hand side of the steps in the soil on the left-hand side when I returned. I started thinking of him as my little watcher. I imagined it took him all day to cross my walkway to get to the other side and back again the next morning.

Have you ever seen a snail walk or rather crawl? The snail crawls by relaxing and contracting the muscles in the foot. It has two sets of muscle fibers that can work independently of each other when moving. One contracts and pulls the front and pushes it off the front to the back. Simultaneously, the second set pulls the outer surface of the sole forward. You can see this if you place a snail on a glass surface and look from below. There are glands located in the foot that seep mucus. There is mucus on the rest of the body to protect it against the loss of water.

 Snails move like earthworms and slugs. The worm and snail crawl similarly as the snail by alternating body contractions with stretching. A bread roll would look similar to a snail laid out but different because when the dough is raw, you can shape it any way you please. A snail does not have the luxury of reshaping itself.

 Snails have many natural predators, and humans also pose dangers to snails—the apparent threats of stepping on them or putting salt on their fleshy part. There are species of snails highly prized in some parts of the world as human food.

 Snails move slowly and usually need help from others to get around, most often by riding on Franklin’s shell. They have to produce mucus to aid in movement and by reducing friction. The mucus also helps prevent the risk of serious injuries. They are known to crawl over a razor blade without damage.

 Snails are members of a group of gastropod mollusks; most members of this species secrete a spiral shell for protection. Some of the species of snails have no casings and are known as slugs.

While it is true that snails eat garden plants and vegetables, they also eat decaying plants and soil. For this reason, Charlie is allowed to live without fear of my destroying or wanting him as a delicacy as he slowly patrols my walkway.

Until next time, keep the faith and live in peace. lw

Why Gratitude is so Important!

Alice was on her way home after an exhausting day of running errands with her children. To say she was hot and tired would be an understatement. It was a day filled with one chaos after another, and all she could think of was to grab food from the closet fast-food diner.

Suddenly traffic came to an unexpected stop. The sound of sirens screaming in the distance. Alice strained to see what caused the stoppage. There was Aa four-car accident. Any other time, she would have applauded any small delay that gave her more time to spend with her children. However, today, she was not her usual perky self.

After several minutes, her son said, “Mama, let’s play the gratitude game! We can count all the good things that happened today!”

The daughter quickly said, “Me first—I’m thankful we’re not the ones in that car accident!

Alice couldn’t help but smile at her daughter. Then she joined the children and continued creating a list of things they could all be grateful. Afterward, Alice and the kids worked through their gratitude list while waiting for the wreck to clear. Alice realized she was no longer in a bad-tempered mood. She felt lifted and peaceful.

I am sure that like Alice, you have days when you have trouble expressing gratitude. However, gratefulness has a multitude of benefits you can plug.

Gratitude Relaxes You

It is difficult to be stressed and grateful at the same time. While you can’t always choose the events that take place in your life, you can choose to use your positive vibes and practice gratitude. It doesn’t matter where you are or what is going on in your life.

Gratitude not only relaxes you mentally, but it is also suitable for you physically. If you choose to be grateful, you can vary the perception of pain, and that includes chronic pain.

Gratitude Directs You

It is a great temptation to see all the things you think are missing in your life. You don’t have a car you feel is as enjoyable as your friend’s. Your job isn’t as glamourous as another’s. You don’t have the finances like your friends.

But here’s some excellent news, you embrace gratitude, and it directs you in the direction that is most important to you, your family, friends, and your community. The relationships in your life matter far more than the material things you think you want.

Gratitude Rejuvenates You

Gratitude keeps you from slipping into ‘I am a victim’ mindset. It prevents you from convincing yourself with things like, “I’m just a loser. Nothing works out for me, no matter how hard I try to have a good life. It’s never been easy, so why should I even try to make things work out?”

But when you express thankfulness for what you have, the chart flips, and the script changes entirely. No longer are you a victim in your story. Instead, you are the hero. You are the one who beats all the odds and gets to build that beautiful life you’ve always desired, and because of your gratitude for the small things, you can fill it with blessings and abundance.

Gratitude offers you so many beautiful gifts when you are willing to change your perspective and look at what you have. You never know, you just might uncover the real treasure when you look at life through the eyes of gratitude!

Gratitude can change your whole life!

Re-Introducing Me

Hello, everyone! It is good to be back! I am La Wanna Parker, and this is my first post on my new blog. This first blog is to give you some insight into me.

I stopped writing when my husband’s cancer returned after an eleven-year reprieve. I am thankful for those eleven years with him. When cancer returned, we thought he would be able to fight it again as before, but it came back far more aggressive than we anticipated, and he never even got the opportunity to fight it.

I am grateful that all the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were there with him for those final days. They were there to support me as well, and that made it easier to get through the loss. I miss his presence, but I am glad he is no longer in pain.

The holidays were especially hard for me and delayed my time of re-entering the blogging world. You should know that this blog, for now anyway, is not dedicated to any particular niche. I will leave it up to you to tell me if there is anything you would like me to share with you.

What this means is, I will share tips, advice, stories (real, with names changed or left out, books that I read), and any pearls of wisdom I have to offer. So, if you have a preference as to what you want me to share here, please let me know in the comments below and keep it clean.

Now, to tell you a little about myself. As I mentioned, I am the proud mother of four boys, 15 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. I raised one of my grandsons from infancy to adulthood and a niece. I love them all, and I am so proud of them.

I have an interest in a wide variety of things, which causes me problems in deciding what one thing I want to concentrate on. I love speaking to inspire and motivate individuals, I enjoy putting words to paper, and I have a collection of books that would rival a bookstore. In my house, I have ten bookshelves doubled with books. On my laptop and phone, I have more than 8 thousand books. I am especially passionate about collecting and reading romance stories.

From 1980 until 2003, I read tons of historical romances, and I never went anywhere that I didn’t have at least 10 – 12 books with me. In 2003, I discovered pdf ebooks, and my genre of romance changed. My reading now included romance stories with vampires, werewolves, all sorts of shapeshifters, and aliens, who were the heroes and heroines, and I now included contemporaries. So, please, don’t buy me any books as a gift, because I am very selective in what I read.

I also have a great love for the old black and white westerns. I grew up watching westerns every day of the week and if I was in the house all day Saturdays and Sundays. I do not care for the spaghetti westerns that later became so popular: the one exception, The Magnificent Seven with Yule Bryner and Steve McQueen. I still remember the words to the song they played for the advertisement for the movie.

Speaking of movies, the one movie I have seen the most is The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and Yul Bryner. If I saw it once, I saw it 30 times, and that was at the movies. When it came to television, I was there every single time they showed it for Christmas, and I have two copies of it for myself.

From the time the Christmas stories start showing in November, I watch as many as I can until the season is over. My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. My lights go up on December first and come down on January third and sometimes later. I enjoy cooking for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter.

I watched One Life to Live and All My Children off and on from the first day they came on the air when they were initially only on for 15 minutes a day until they were off ABC. The same for General Hospital and I still watch it faithfully by recording it every day and catching up on the weekend.

I love dancing and trying to sing even though I have no rhythm or soul when it comes to dancing or singing like a black girl. That’s ok; I do the best I can and enjoy myself while I am dancing or attempting to sing.

I do a little crocheting, nothing fancy, embroidering, and I used to sew all my clothes. I have been a beauty pageant director of three different beauty pageants and a fashion show director, in which I taught modeling, personal development, and promoted my girls in my fashion shows. I have also modeled, and I enjoyed being on stage.

I served on the board of directors in North Highlands when one of the directors moved out of the area, and I was also Honorary Vice Mayor twice in North Highlands, I had an article written about me as one of the movers and shakers of North Highlands. It was an honor to be recognized at an awards dinner as along with nine other women as one of the top ten community leaders in Sacramento.

You are probably wondering if I was busy in all these things, how did I have time for my sons. Well, I did it! I took them to their practices, and I went to their games. I am not a sports enthusiast, so I didn’t always know what was going on in the games, but I was there for my children. Including the one time, I sat on the team side.

When I think back, I wonder how I did it all! I just had so much energy in those days. I even exercised every day. I stopped my exercise routine and everything else when I lost my first-born son. My responsibility to the other boys, and my belief in God helped me through that trying time.

Well, that’s enough about me for now. From time to time, I will share other tidbits about me, the people, and trials that helped shape me into who I am today and to be married for over fifty years to one man when I didn’t believe we would last six months.

I hope this wasn’t too much, and you return to find out what other things I have to share. Until tomorrow, keep the faith and stay safe. You matter! lw