Fascinating Places

2019 will be a fascinating journey for me. It has started with a bang.  I have spent the first part of January reading books that take me deep into the jungles of the African continent. I read the story of one of the last people brought to the United States on a slave ship. He spoke of what his life was like before being captured. He spoke of his family and their customs, the rituals to become a man and get married.

More important, he spoke of the process of being captured to be a slave and what it was like watching everyone he loved being murdered. Like the author of the book, for many years I thought that the Europeans had seized the Africans from their native homes. But in Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, the old African man told a different story.

He spoke of other African tribes who ruthlessly killed entire villages just to capture the young and strong people to sell to the Europeans.  These killers left their regular way of life, which was farming, to become slavers. Motivated by greed, they created soldiers that could terrorize and take out a whole village. These soldiers were paid by the number of heads they brought back. The skulls were collected as a prize by their king.

It made me think. As these greedy people sold off all of their strength for material wealth, they were not prepared to fight the colonization that would overtake and suppress them. It reminds me that the greedy people today won’t get away with their evil deeds. They are just getting prepared to be undone by something more evil than themselves.

Another book took me into a different part of the continent. I loved reading how Nelson Mandela’s father was the family historian. He could recount the family’s history for hundreds of years, yet he could read or write.  Our history was repeated by word of mouth through the generations.

Mobile

It reminded me of my own family who would sit and tell stories of the way it used to be.  Even today I question older relatives to the point of annoyance because I want to know more. I want to know what it was like and what they did. But I am finding that some of the secrets older people tried to keep, are coming to light.

But this part of the journey makes me appreciate a history told orally and through art, like masks and other sculpture. It tells us what is beautiful. What is powerful. What is important. The thing I appreciate about African Art is that it finds beauty in the work. It is not an exact replica of someone or something. It just is.

We need to do the same. We need to tell our children the stories orally of our family. We need to create art that represents what legacy we leave behind. Many of the previous generations of my family were poor and undereducated. They did not think they were leaving much behind, but the truth is they left a lot.

I love the story Nelson tells of the first pair of pants he wore. They were not a brand new pair fresh from the tailor. They were an old pair of his father’s pants. His father cut them off so they would fit, and used a rope around the waist to hold them up. Nelson said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Think about what legacy you are leaving your family. What kind of objects are you making to represent it? Do your children know your family’s story? Do you? Remember when you carve out your part of your family history, it does not have to look like someone else’s. Like the African mask, it only represents what you want it to.

Advertisements

You Have Been Given The Opportunity

to make a moment.  How you decide to spend this moment in time, will determine how you remember it. For me, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas reminds me that God thought I was so important He came to earth in the form of a baby.  The Creator came down to be with the created.  He loves an undeserving humanity.

Gingerbread

Holidays give us the opportunity to spend time with that humanity, which in most cases look like our family. I know for some this sounds hard, but it will be some of the best time you ever spend.  It will give you insight into yourself and your family.  In our immediate family, the littles are all teenagers now. Opening presents aren’t near as fun as when they were younger and more excited. We realize time is growing short with them as they start to leave for college and start their own lives.

My sister started playing games with them so that it would be a chance to connect with them. At first, it was a competition with prizes.  These kids are too competitive. We discovered after a rough game of musical chairs, physical contact needed to be limited.  This year there were no prizes, but the trash talk was still as powerful as an old school game of spades because the competition was part of their DNA.

We laughed and played for hours. (And of course, I videoed some of the best moments) Our kids will have memories of a time when we were all together focused on the same thing and remembering it brought joy and laughter.  They may not remember the presents or the food. They will remember the fun.

My crazy sister decided to try it with the extended family. (I thought she was nuts) I was thoroughly surprised when the older members of the family did it.  We taught the games, they, of course, changed them some to adapt to them. It was a blast. Again, the joy and the laughter is what we are going to remember. (And my favorite memory will be when my aunt excused herself for a moment, my sister traded her to the other team. But because she is OUR aunt, she played for whatever team felt like. Sometimes she played for my sister’s team. Sometimes she played for the other team. It was great.)

Here is where the opportunity comes in. You can do what you always do when you get together with family or you can break old habits and experience new things together.  Playing games with the young and the old was such a crazy experience. I would have never thought of it myself, but I was willing to listen to others.

Go into 2019 with great memories of your family and friends. Spend time with each other and enjoy the world around you.

 

 

 

 

 

They Inspire Me

I have spent the last couple of weeks drawing. I have done over 30 images of women who inspire me by the way they live their lives. They have supported me in all sorts of ways. Drawing all of them has been hard. I have literally worked until I couldn’t look at a computer screen. My eyes grew cloudy and burned continuously late into the night.  I have learned how to handle new details of how to make each drawing better. As I learned new things, I had to resist the urge to go back and do it to the drawings I had already completed.

I have written stories about how these women’s lives have pushed me on. It is such a blessing to live in a community where there is good life. You are surrounded by good life, just step outside yourself and see.

This woman here is good at everything she does. She dances. She draws. She helps others. She loves her family. I love watching her life because when it is all said and done, life will be broke and she will be rich. She is using it all.

Keisha

 

March for Our Lives

 

https://uppcreativephotography.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=S7jGj3&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&speed=3&transition=fade&transitionSpeed=2&clickable=1

 

Here is the link to some images from today’s March for Our Lives which took place in Fort Worth, Texas. It was great seeing all of the folks who showed up. Iwill be adding more images over the next couple of days. If you see something you like, download it.  If you like it, please consider leaving me a tip  through paypal at Uppcreative.

 

 

 

 

Thankful

What an incredible life we get to lead.  We live during a pivotial time in history where God is doing amazing things.  In a time full of darkness, I have seen things that give me hope.

The thing that makes me giggle, and I am very grateful for is that God does not forget our prayers even when we forget. This year I was reminded of how I prayed to be surrounded by people who pray big prayers and believe God more than a decade ago.  This year I was surrounded by a church standing up to do that exact thing. It is exciting and scary at the same time. It is exciting to watch God work, yet it is scary as you step on that limb and walk toward the edge.

This has been a transition year for me as I teach my daughter to adult and begin my own personal journey. I am thankful for the blessing God has given me in both areas.  Again, I was surprised at what I could do when I surrendered to God’s leading.

I am so grateful for phenomal the people God placed in my life this year. They have been His Hands, His Feet, His Voice, His Encouragement, His Strength and much more.  My favorite moment was when I couldn’t hear. I didn’t have insurance. I didn’t have cash.  Some folks I love stepped in the gap.

If you never need anything, and no one ever helps you, you will miss the mightiest blessing of all. It provides for a need, but what it does for the heart is more powerful.

But the thing that gives me hope is that people are seeking God.  They are not seeking a church or a minister, but the One who Created the Universe. I sit in BSF and wonder where did all these women come from.  There are so many new women, I seldom see the people I have known for years. This gives me hope.

20171025_162358-167095757.jpg

Twitter gives me hope. Unlike the rest of the world that puts up with nonsense,  twitter will take a stupid idea and beat it with a baseball bat. Like the word of God, it is a sword that separates joints and marrow, soul and spirit.  In 140 characters, it reveals the heart of the writer. I met some amazing hopefilled hearts on there.

My prayer this year has been, if I ask for bread, the Lord will not give me a stone.  He has been faithful. I am thankful. I praise Him for the journey..

I wish you and yours the best of Thanksgiving,

Peace and Hair Grease

 

One of The Other Projects

A storyteller uses different mediums to tell their tales. In 2014, I produced, directed and wrote my first feature film, Family Tree.It is the story of a group of young women who try to plan family reunion with people who hate each other, but an underlying force brings them together.
It is currently on sale for rent or purchase in Japan, Germany and the UK. In order to release it in the US, I need to have it closed captioned (accepting donations) Here is snapshots from the movie.