My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

How Did I Survive?

Sometimes I wonder how the heck did I make it this far.  For instance, as I placed my food into the microwave last night, I thought of my boyhood days.  I would eat cold soup and cold rice without noticing the difference.  The only thing that mattered was that I was eating. I was being fed.  In fact, back then I had no idea that it was even possible to warm up food without putting it on a stove top or an open fire.

I also showered with ice-cold water.  It was like showering with your shower turned to the cold setting.  Try it next time.  I never once thought to myself, “Oh I wish the water was warmer.” On an extremely hot day it did get a bit warmer.  That would be like moving your shower tap half an inch from the cold setting.

How did I rendezvous with my friends back then? I would take a chance that they would be at home and actually walked to their houses.  I had no way of texting to alert them of my visit.  The funny thing was, it didn’t matter.  I never wished for a better way of communicating with my friends so I could know what they were doing and where they were every second of every day.  No, the idea would have seem absurd then.  When we played with a game of war, hiding behind trees while pointing sticks or even our fingers at each other and going ‘bang!’ it seemed as realistic as it could get.  I never wished we could play it in HD on a big television screen, with my choice of sophisticated weaponry.

So how did I survive then when I can barely survive now without these things?

 

OMG! They Killed Cecil! And A Lion Too!

My favorite animal has always been the lion.  So regal, so strong and fierce.  King of the jungle, uncontested.  I have a lion as my computer background and hanging on my walls. Maybe it’s the leo in me.  Even with that, I still could not conjure up nothing more than disgust at the wanton killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.  Yes, I agree with the masses that it was callous, selfish, immature and criminal but after that, I shrug and moved on to bigger and more pressing things.  Know why?  Because at the end of the day, it is still a lion.  Innocent and all but a lion nevertheless.

God entrusted the care of animals to us.  He also entrusted us to care for our fellow humans.  Sometimes we forgo the care of our brothers in our zeal to care for the animals, fighting for animal rights while human rights are neglected.  In Zimbabwe, the current regime violates the rights of its people daily but it took the killing of one lion to get our attention focused on that forgotten part of the world. What happens in Africa stays in Africa unless it’s the killing of Cecil.

To put this whole fiasco in perspective, while we North Americans and around the globe are protesting and demonstrating, calling for the head of the dentist perp, Zimbabweans barely even register a ripple.  Many were oblivious of the attention their country was getting over the killing of the big cat.  “What? you mean all this is over the killing of a lion?” Said one incredulous Zimbabwean when told about the viral report of Cecil’s demise.  Shocked probably that the world stopped and paid attention to their country over a lion’s death but are unfazed over the escalating murder of its people.

The people of Zimbabwe have bigger issues to deal with. Apparently, we don’t. Here are a few to chew on:  Boko Haram kidnaps school children regularly to use as sex slaves or child laborers.  Just a few days ago, he and his militants slit the throats of 40 Christian fishermen.  Where is the international outcry?  Starvation kills countless daily around the world and especially Africa, raise your placards demanding we do more to fight this.  School shootings, missing women, so many issues worthy of our attention…While Cecil’s death is now viral news, it never even made the front page in Zimbabwe.  They are more concerned with their countries escalating human rights violations.  I am not condoning this evil but simply putting it in perspective.

Know why Dr. Palmer killed the lion? Because he was bored. Know why we care so much?  Because we are bored. Or too scared to face our own bigger issues.  Instead we blow up petty stuff like Bruce changing into Caitlyn.  To divert our attention from the bigger picture, we focus on the smaller picture.  Unfortunately, that won’t make it go away.  Cecils with human faces are dying.  Innocent HUMANS.  Protest that!

Just My Take.

BIG PICTURE, SMALL SIGN

Protesters hold signs during a rally outside the River Bluff Dental clinic against the killing of a famous lion in Zimbabwe, in Bloomington, Minnesota July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Miller

SMALLER PICTURE, BIGGER SIGN. SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?

Touched Your Spouse Lately?

Interpret this any way you want but many of us, make that too many of us, are not touching our wives or husbands enough or at all.  There, I said it.  You are guilty and I am guilty too.  It’s not that we don’t love them, it’s just that this rat race that we are caught up in leaves little time for us to stop and acknowledge them.  Rushing around in the morning preparing for work, we bump into them and instead of capitalizing on that touch, we say excuse me and move on.  A routine peck on the cheek to say goodbye while our minds are already at work.  Unfortunately, it sometimes take a catastrophic occurrence to yank us back to reality.  Our spouse is ill or goes missing after a walk to the the store or killed.  Then it dawns on us that we should have touched them more.  Move I Love You’s, more hugs, more meaningful goodbye kisses.

Thankfully, my wife and I are cognizant of the frailty of life and try to spend quality time together both in and out of bed.  We often acknowledge each others presence in the same room by a touch or a playful punch or kick.  Even with this, there are stretches where we still get caught up in the race.  Some days we do the perfunctory kisses and avoid each other while in the same room but mentally engrossed in something farther away.

Last Friday, as I went into the kitchen to prepare my lunch for work, I found my wife also in the process of doing same.  As she leaned into the refrigerator, I noticed how beautiful she looked in her work clothes and without conscious thought, touched her. Not a perfunctory touch.  I rubbed her back, arms and shoulders.  In that touch, I told her things I may have missed telling her because I was too busy.  In the touch, I said how happy I was that I found her and thanks for the things she does for me and for being the best mother and wife.  The touch spoke volumes while my voice was mute.

That night as we lay in bed, my wife told me that my morning touch made her day.  It made mine too.  Now it’s your turn.  Re-discover your spouse before it’s too late. Don’t be caught up in the rat race.  In the end, it means squat.  Not good with words?  Say it with touch, it’s a universal language, even the deaf can understand it.

My Take.

So Who Betrayed Who?

Early this week, I received a troubling text from the wife, “Honey, if you are on Ashley Madison better fess up now.”  I didn’t get it but I knew about the website.  My first thought was that there was probably a pop up or a spam email from the site on my computer. “Do you want me to cancel my subscription?” I jokingly replied waiting for her to explain herself.  She didn’t.  I found out later that day that the site was hacked and that users’ names were being posted online.  My wife was kidding of course, just so you know.  I never did like the name ‘Ashley’.

Now while members of this site that encouraged married users to have affairs because ‘life is short’ are crying foul, I ask myself, could they really cry foul? Do they have that right to even open their mouths in protest? I thinketh not.  They gambled and lost.  Plain and simple. Maybe the hackers are a group of angry women who are tired of going to bed alone while their husbands stay up to have an affair because life is short.  A discreet affair mind you.  Or maybe a group of men and women as women are also taking advantage of this indiscretion.

The fact that 37 million users use this service speaks volumes. I love the irony.  While they feel betrayed by a company that promised discretion but has not deliver, their partners share that very same feeling.  So who has betrayed who?

Memories Of My Centenarian Granny

Note:  Last week, my grandmother hit another milestone.  She tied her own mother in terms of longevity.  I spoke to her for her birthday and she boasted that she is the eyes of her daughter, my aunt Ermine.  “I still does thread the needle my boy.” She related.  “I do the reading for Ermine too because her eyes not too good.”  To commemorate her birthday, I dug up this blog that I wrote when she turned 100.  Here’s hoping that Nenny lives to see many more birthdays in good health.  What a blessing!

Nenny, as my grandmother is affectionately called by her children, grandchildren and villagers alike, celebrates her 100th birthday today, June 22nd.  No one in the family is surprised.  After all, her mother, my great grandmother, lived to 103.  Up until the day that she died she was still gardening and tending to her bananas and other crops.   Nenny is healthy for the most part and walks about 3 miles to church every Sunday.

I have many treasured memories of Nenny as a kid.  Her story telling was legendary among her grandchildren.  No one could bring a story to life like Nenny and even though we requested them nightly, we would still get the chills and cower in fright as she told us a jumbie, (ghost) story about some dead person coming back to avenge their untimely death.  Our favorites were the stories told about a cunning spider called Brer Anancy who would tricked the other animals to get whatever he wanted.  They were appropriately called Nancy stories.  Every Caribbean kid fortunate enough to have a grandparent tell them these stories, loved them.  We never got tired of hearing how Brer Anancy tricked Brer fox.  Nenny would also share her growing up stories with us and we enjoyed sharing in her memories just as much as she obviously enjoyed sharing them.

Some nights, Nenny just wanted to sleep but us kids had other plans for her.  We would beg and beg until we finally learned how to trick her into telling us a story.  One of us would start re-telling one of her favorite stories and intentionally messed it up.   Nenny would get so annoyed at this that she would interrupt with ‘That not how it goes!” “It is!” We would reply. “How does it go then?” She would then correct us and before she realized it, would be deep into telling the story.  We would look at each other and smile conspiratorially.

Coupled with her penchant for telling stories and a hard worker, Nenny also possessed one of the most colorful vocabularies of anyone I know, complemented with a great set of lungs.  She could cuss  you out in any shade you prefer and it could be heard for miles.  (Apparently, this is something she inherited from her mom and maybe a secret ingredient to long life).  Her use of profanity was also well known and shyness was not one of her weaknesses.  Young, old, black, white, rich or poor, no one was exempted.  (The poor Governor). If one of us did something wrong, Nenny would verbally tear a strip off us, dropping F- bombs like it was Hiroshima all over again.   Even though she never hesitated to go ballistic on us, she would not tolerate anyone else taking the same  liberties. No way! Not her grand kids.  If Nenny called us idiots, don’t mistakenly think you could too.  Many learned that lesson the hard way.  Nenny never hesitated to put on her fighting gloves and go to war for us.

Nenny had her own quotes for everything. “Bwoy, ah way oil ah oil yo?” was often used when I was misbehaving. It simply meant, ‘Boy, what is the matter with you?’  “Play Play does bring belly” meant that too much playing could result in someone getting pregnant. “Leave me ah Jesus feet” was one she used to tell us to leave her alone.  “Yo ah a watch me like how Johnny ah watch town basket” was one I never quite figured out. I know Johnny but not exactly sure what a ‘Town Basket’ is.

I remember Nenny would accompany us to dances and fetes and wait outside until they were over then walk us home.   She would bring a flashlight to guide us through the pitch-black darkness of the 3 mile walk home.  We would never get embarrassed by her escort. Well except for this one time when my cousin took too long to leave the dance hall and Nenny asked the doorman to let her in and walked around the dance floor looking for my cousin.  She found her slow dancing and untangled her from her partner and escorted her outside.  That was Nenny.

In her 90’s, my grandmother detested clothing that made her look her age.  “Yo tink me old!” She would often say when we tried to dress her in age-appropriate clothing.  She wore high heels and dresses and enjoyed the comments from her fellow church goers on how young she looked in her stylish attire.  She would often comment, “Did you see sikkay bikkay ah wear de same frock like mine?”  (Sikkay Bikkay was her code for anyone whose name she didn’t want to say). Yes, but you wore it better, Nenny, even though she was more than half your age.

Nenny is the consummate matriarch of  the family.  She is like the queen on her throne. the family revolve around her. It’s a blessing when someone lives to see 100.  It’s an even bigger blessing that in my 40’s, I still have my grandmother alive and well.  Incidentally, both my grandmothers are alive.

Nenny, thanks for all the stories and memories.  We hope that you will stick around for a few more birthdays.  Today, you will be in the presence of the Governor General and other dignitaries so please use restrain.   As you would tell us when we talked too much, ‘Piece ah yo tongue war clip!’

Happy 100th Birthday Nenny!!  Say hi to Sikkay Bikkay for me.

Nenny, (left) and her daughter

Monday Madness: Sex-Change On A Whim?

Do you find it ironic and equally confusing that we tell our kids to accept themselves no matter how, what and who they are yet we applaud Bruce Jenner for not accepting who he was? I do.  At  65 years old, Bruce Jenner of the Kardashian circus fame, decided to have a sex-change.  He set the media world on fire with the revelation that he was now a she.  Many gushed over the transformation, as though he went from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.  I didn’t.  But then again, I never was one for circuses.

Pardon me here but I find this as nothing short of rich people having nothing better to do with their money and seeking more fame and attention. It doesn’t help that I have yet to see the merits of sex-changes unless medically necessary.  (I have yet to see a medically necessary sex-change).  So it is quite difficult for me to understand why a 65-year-old man would suddenly feel the need to change his sexual makeup.  (And what the heck does ‘Trap in a man’s/woman’s body mean?). Maybe I’m missing something here. Too conservative maybe?

So kids, forget what we say about accepting yourself.  Boys, the girls don’t want you to play on their team? Get the last laugh, become one of them. Ditto for you too girls.  Never again do you ever have to wonder what it feels like to be a girl or boy.  Experience it yourself!  Parents, you can quit trying for that girl or boy.  Just flip on of the other kids. Ah, life is so much easier these days…

Just My Take.

 

 

So Confusing

Sometimes things can be so confusing.  Take this for example:  The authorities are trying to curb driving (No, that doesn’t mean driving on the curb) while using your phone.  That’s all fine and dandy and I’m all for it but wait a minute! So they want us to put down my cell phones while driving but then they  allow the auto makers to make it convenient for me to use my phone while in my car?  I am not supposed to use the thing but my car comes with WiFi. Do they really expect drivers to pull over and use their phones? Sounds good in theory but if realized, would create the need for more shoulders to pull over on, right?

This is like putting a pizza making machine in my bedroom and telling me that I can’t eat while lying in bed.  So, tell me again why we need WiFi in our vehicles because I think it’s flies in the face of reason.  But then again, I could be wrong because it’s only…

Just My Take

Psst, I Agree With Victoria Osteen

A while back, the wife of renowned televangelist Joel Osteen made headlines when she made the following comments,  “When we obey God, we’re not doing it for God…we’re doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. Do good ’cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy.”  This set off a maelstrom of criticisms from Christians who were dismayed over these words.  Some church leaders and pastors posted the incriminating video on Facebook with various unflattering captions.  I read a few but try as I may, I just could not see what the issue was. Maybe I need to be prayed for because, heaven forbid, not only did I not see a problem with what she said, I actually saw the point she was trying to make.

As selfish as it sounds, Victoria Osteen is right, we really are worshiping God to ensure our own happiness.  The Psalmist sings that ‘Trust and obey to be happy in Jesus.”  We sing it in our churches without ever questioning the merit of it.  So why now?  We try to bring people to Christ by telling them it’s the way to their happiness.  We promise the sad and depressed that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they find and follow Jesus.  Isn’t that what our Christianity is based on?  We never start by telling the non-believers that they should worship God because he needs it.  Or that he deserves it.  No, we tell them how much their lives would be enriched by knowing Christ.  Your neighbour complains to you how miserable her life is and you go, “Maybe you should come to church with me.  It might make you feel better.”  Isn’t that exactly what Victoria said?

So in a nutshell, we are not exactly doing it for God since his existence does not hinge on whether we worship him or not.  We are doing it for ourselves.  For our continual happiness and existence. To say it doesn’t make him happy when we do worship him is denying a fact.  When he’s happy with us, we reap the harvest.  We find happiness that comes from him. Therefore, we really can’t deny the fact that we are indeed doing it for ourselves.

Victoria’s wording may have left a bit to be desired but the message is not entirely lost.  It’s funny that even though we all fall under the umbrella of Christianity, we still can’t agree on what and who God is. and what he wants of us.  We have our own ideas and opinions, I do too, and that’s why this is just…

 

My Take.

 

 

Be Back Soon…

I am suffering from a bad case of writer’s block right now. :(  Doc said to give it a few more days to go away completely. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious and I should be good to go come next Monday.  Thanks for understanding.

Who Found Who?

I have always wondered about the saying,  “I was lost but Jesus found me”.  I never fully agree with it and have spent hours analyzing its true merit.   I have no argument with the ‘being lost’ part of it but the way to salvation or ‘Jesus finding you’ is what I am not in agreement with.

Before we are saved, we stumble through life blindly or lost but remember, we are lost to knowing Christ but HE knows where we are.  He does not need to find us. We need to find HIM. When a hunter or a hiker is lost in the woods for a few days then suddenly emerges to see his cabin in the distance, he cannot claim that his cabin found him. Yes, he was lost indeed but he was searching for a way back to his cabin. In the same way we search for God or some other reason for our existence and we find him.  He never finds us because he was and is, always around us!  Get what I’m saying here?  I know there’s a parable about the lost sheep being found by its shepherd but that’s different.  The sheep NEEDS to be found.  A sheep would not go looking for the shepherd.  Luckily, we are a bit smarter than sheep.

Saying we were lost but Jesus found us sounds as though we were sitting there waiting to be found and Jesus showed up and that was it. Found!  It’s not that simple.  We need to search for a way to HIM.  We were LOST TO HIM and need find our way back home, TO HIM.

Again, this is just, MY TAKE.

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