That’s Right Neighborly of You

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

What was right neighborly?

  • Taking our laundry off the clothes line before it rained?
  • Mowing my lawn because my mower is kaput?
  • Walking my kids home from school because I was running late?
  • Cooking a meal for my family because we were ill or had death in the family?
  • Inviting my sons to play ball with you and your sons?
  • Asking me to carpool with you so we both save money?
  • Stopping by to check on me?
  • Checking our mail while we were on vacation?
  • Bringing us a Welcome to the Neighborhood basket?
  • Helping us pack and load the truck when we moved? Well this might have been because you were glad to see us go. Smile with a wink

This is how I grew up; with neighbors who became friends, then became family.

Do you remember the neighborhood block parties?  When we lived in the city limits our house was the block party house.  My Parents invited the neighbors over for food, good old school music and plenty of board games or outdoor sport activities.  We all got to know each other, which made it easier for us to check on one another.

If there was bullying, the parents addressed it with each another, then with the kids and stopped it in its tracks.  Communication was key.  We were not afraid to talk to, laugh with or even disagree with each other.  It seems this is a distant memory.  Is “neighbor” a bad word now?  Seriously, is it?

I know things have changed, but I believe the heart of communities is still the love neighbors have for one another.  Help me disprove this fleeting thought of mine by sharing your BEST NEIGHBOR story in the comments below.

 

Gratitude

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

Each year as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, our hearts soften, and we become aware of how grateful we should be.  However, throughout these past couple of years I’ve noticed how we have encouraged one another, provided a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, finances, a story, a smile, a hug, our homes, our vehicles, donated our blood, shared a laugh and so much more all while going through our own challenges.  We’ve shown we don’t need to wait for the last 2 months of each year to look beyond our own circumstances and provide support and strength to our fellow human being.

Our world continues to show how we are . . .

Grateful for our journey, the good and bad experiences which fray and mend many areas of our lives,

Recognize our similarities, and

Appreciate our differences.  We are

Thankful for the little things in life, as well as

Identify the sometimes valley flowing emotions that

Transcends the core of our being.  We yield to

Understanding, compassion, love, laughter, generosity and forgiveness; as we

Discover the

Enjoyment of being the hands and feet for our neighbors, when in need.

 

 

 

“A hard head makes a soft…”

Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?”  If my acting game was on par, …

 

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

I see the smirk on my Mom’s face and her index finger on her right hand wagging at me as she exclaims, “Oh, you gone learn, oh you gone learn, because a hard head makes a soft behind, Cassandra!”  Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?”  If my acting game was on par, then I might even drop an innocent tear or two to sell my case.  But, my Mother never fell for the okie doke.

The expression, A hard head makes a soft behind refers to a person who insists on learning things the hard way or prefers to make their own mistakes, instead of adhering to the advice of someone who has overcome what they are experiencing.

So, why is that?  Why do we choose the hard ways of life, instead of listening to the wisdom of others?  I know I would have avoided many pitfalls when I was younger if I had stopped trying to be Miss Know-It-All or Miss I’m Grown-You Can’t Tell Me Anything.  There are times we don’t realize our poor decisions also affects those around us.  I know my decisions affected my family and my children, who I brought into the world at the age of 17.

One decision from 30 years ago still lingers with me.  I’ll share a brief snapshot.

After catching 3 buses and 2 rail lines to get home from work, I walked to the babysitter’s apartment who kept my 18-month-old sons from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, after the daycare center closed (and before you comment, yes, I researched her before I allowed her to keep my sons, spoke with other parents whose children she kept and made sure she didn’t have any record for abusing her own children).  I walked in to see one of my sons had scratch marks all over his face and upon further inspection I found whip marks on his back and legs. I was confused, angry, hurt and devastated.  I asked the neighbor coming home from work to call the police and my roommate called my parents.  I know sometimes things happen beyond our control, but let’s follow this thread of my decision back to the beginning.

  1. I made an adult decision at 17 to have unprotected sex.
  2. I made the decision to bring my sons into this world, care for and protect them, even though I only had $3k in the bank and at the time of their premature birth, no job.
  3. I made the decision to place my sons in the care of that babysitter.

My sons don’t remember this occurrence but it resonates with me because I failed to protect them both from experiencing the physical and psychological abuse.  Sometimes, we make decisions without knowing or understanding the full scope of what that decision entails.

My parents made the decision that they would care for my sons from that point forward when I needed them to.   As I worked 2 jobs and attended my college courses, my parents took my sons on family vacations with them, along with my two sisters.  My parents helped me nurse my sons when they were extremely ill, all while they continued to work as well.  My sons and my family experienced the growing pains of me maturing and learning how to be a mother, a provider and protector.

Our world is full of hard heads with soft behinds, but unfortunately, many of the behinds have gotten numb to the hard lessons of life.  It is my prayer that we all observe and learn from the experiences of others, and seek advice from those who gained wisdom from their experience.  This is one of the ways for us to empower each other to live a more productive and purpose driven life.

This journey called life continues to teach each of us, we are never to old to learn something new or to receive wisdom.   It is a fool who ignores wisdom, to erroneously justify that their age quantifies them as an adult that knows everything.

What have my life experiences taught me thus far?

  1.  Don’t allow my pride to keep me from obtaining wisdom from others.
  2. Don’t allow my mouth to write a check my behind can’t cash.  (Another good ole saying)!!  In other words, it’s easy to make a decision, but am I able to survive or live with the consequences of my decision.
  3. My support tribe (safety nets) don’t abandon me, but I can wear out my safety nets by abusing them.
  4. My Life is mine, so I choose to own it and not blame it away.

And we’re off…

We must remember, this is not a race and we all proceed at our own pace.

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

We are 120 days into 2017 and many of us are off and running with our new year resolutions.  Many have started businesses, joined gyms, opened investment accounts, applied for a passport, working on being debt free, downloaded self-help books and so much more.

Or some of us have lost our motivation and given up or started and stopped so many times that we are disappointed with ourselves.  We must remember, this is not a race and we all proceed at our own pace.  The reasons for setting out to accomplish our goals this year must be personal to us; not because someone believes or feels we should do something.  Our motivation must come from within.

Go back to your goal or get it done list and do this for me:

  1. Review your list and decide is this something you want to accomplish or something someone else wanted you to accomplish, and strike through those goals that you know you will not put forth the effort to accomplish.
  2. For the goals left on your list write out to the side your reason for wanting to accomplish this goal, and write out empowering key words or quotes, build a musical play list or audio books or inspirational speeches to listen to when your’re running out of steam.
  3. Write out a mini plan for obtaining that goal.  Remember, without a plan you have already planned to fail.
  4. Place a picture next to each goal.  If it’s losing weight, put a leaner picture of you or a particular outfit you want to get into; if it’s a trip put a picture of that place and your passport next to it, now you get the picture.
  5. Each day refer to your “get it done list” and encourage yourself with what you have written and your visual aids.

Now, get moving we both have work to do.

But…

You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas;

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

My dreams are beyond images, because I’ve made them tangible.

My inventions are no longer day dreams, because I now hold the patents.

The characters in my head are no longer invisible playmates, because they are now vital roles in my books, plays, movies and television shows.

The rhythm in my head is now noted on paper and being expressed through various instruments.

The body movement and flow I see has danced its way out of my conscious and is now a choreographed number for a major musical.

The good I see in others I’ve now transformed into a movement of #humanitylovinghumanity.

I’m surrounded by so many who are living an imagery of dreams and success, but, yet we have one regret.  You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas; but we had good reasons…

  • But I don’t have enough time.
  • But I don’t know how.
  • But I’m afraid.
  • But what if I fail.
  • But it costs too much.

Along the way, the events of life brought us together, and some of us had people to mourn us, but they mourned the wrong thing.  They mourned the loss of the physical body, instead they should have mourned what was loss long ago; dreams not fulfilled, paths not taken, voids we left, stories untold and journeys cut short.

We took time for granted, allowed fear, selfishness, laziness and lack of knowledge to stop us in our tracks, long before death did.  So, our message to you from our final resting place: “The end of your dream is already woven into a beautiful ending, but it can’t happen until you take a step and put in the work to obtain the result you envision. Don’t let that dash between your birth and death become a mournful “but” for those you leave behind.”

Getting beyond the surface..

We begin to easily judge and form an opinion…

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

https://getting2therootofit.wordpress.com

Root:  a base or support; a primary source; an origin; an essential part or element.

When we see a tree that’s been uprooted for whatever reason, the many roots that were securing the tree in the ground are exposed. The roots unlike the trunk, branches and foliage of the tree aren’t pretty or uniquely designed; they are caked with mud, soil, insects and even the roots or vines of other nearby trees may have intertwined with that tree, but they serve a great purpose.  It is the roots of a tree that invades nearby areas to create a strong foundation for the trunk of a tree that may grow to over 100 feet tall and support the weight of several branches and foliage.  The roots are also responsible for feeding the tree with the nutrients from the surrounding environment.

Our lives as humans are like the tree.  How we were raised, our environment as a child and our experiences are our roots.  It is those roots that feed how we perceive or understand the words or actions of another human being.  It is those roots that mold who we are, how we respond verbally, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes the many details and distractions of life overwhelm us to the point that we bluntly address the surface issues of ourselves and others. We begin to easily judge and form an opinion (we all have and socially share one these days) about the actions or words of others, because we don’t want to take the time or energy it requires to address what’s below the surface; the beautiful or beastly ideas, disjointed, intertwined, unsubstantiated information, traditions and fears that fuel our thoughts, decisions, words and actions.

At some point in order to bring about continuous healing, growth and a renewed mindset to humanity as a whole we must:

  • decide to be transparent with each other
  • refocus our words, time, energy and love to find out what’s feeding our behavior
  • expose and address the root of the behavior
  • ask questions that helps us to evaluate and redirect the unhealthy behavior to a more positive mindset that will lead to productive behavior.

What’s below your surface that may be hindering you from healthy, productive, joyful relationships or from obtaining the goals you seek each year?  Get to the root of it with productive help from others.