Monday, October 31, 2011

As Domestic Violence Awareness month comes to an end, I encourage you not to end your awareness ...

This is a re-post from Susan J. Elliott's website, Getting Past Your Breakup. If you have questions about your relationship, please read. If you think you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, please read and share.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's a lazy, rainy/snowy Saturday ... and I am loving it!

My mama used to ask me why I thought I should always be doing something, to which I never really had a good answer. I was always occupied around the house, minding the family, working, serving at church ... whatever. So today, with my mama in mind, I am doing absolutely nothing other than relaxing and enjoying myself. It's dreary outside; perfect weather for staying indoors. I recently bought a bunch of dvd's (documentaries & indie films that no one else in the house would be interested in) that I plan to watch. My children are not here. I am cooking foods that I like to eat. Can we say "blissful day"?

This was a particularly stressful work week, so this slow down day is greatly appreciated. I was reminded of a couple of old sayings this week and I reflected on how true they are, at least for me. The first was "an idle mind is the devil's workshop." (Hmmmn, this may be the answer to my need for business.) Being so busy at work - having to stay late & work at home a few nights - meant that I had no time to dwell on random thoughts (craziness). Things that were weighing on me recently, items that were disturbing or gave me discomfort, were so far removed from my mind. Now, I can look back and see that these concerns are really not that serious. For the entire week I didn't think on them and guess what? The world is still turning and I am still here, pressing on.

The other saying was "laughter is the best medicine." I love to laugh. My children are hilarious and keep me cracking up. I have some very funny co-workers who make the days pass quicker. I even find myself laughing at times, just because I feel so good and there is nothing else I can do to express my joy. This makes me realize that tiredness will pass, aches and pains are temporary and nothing is really so grim that I can't smile through it.

Wherever you are today, I hope you take time out to laugh and relax.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Inspirational Corner

I have a large window in my office; while sitting at my desk, I can see it clearly. One day I was thinking that the sill looked so bare, I really needed to put something on top of it. The Spirit led me to make this my inspirational corner.  I love cards and really enjoy receiving them.  Actually, I love to just look at cards, read them, pick them out and give them also (but I do like getting them as well).  In my circle, people are not big on cards, so I am sort of alone in this and usually miss out on my card fix. 
What I did with this corner is place inspiring or otherwise uplifting cards on display.  I have one that says "You are an amazing woman" on the front and has a picture of a woman standing on the beach who seems so free.  I love it!  It helps me to reflect in moments when I don't feel so amazing.  I have a couple of thank you cards. Also, one that reminds me someone was thinking of me and sent a card simply for that reason. I have a card from my son and beside it I placed a leaf that he gave me one day while we were walking.  And, I even went out and bought myself a card. I took the time to choose something that I would love to receive and then I gave it to myself.  I figured, why wait on others to show me the love I can show myself?

Now, when I need a moment to regroup, I can look to my right, read the words or just take in the pictures and I feel refreshed and ready to continue.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Haven't been feeling too well, so I don't have a lot on my mind ... I won't regale you with intricate details of the weird dream I had yesterday (I can count on my fingers the number of dreams I have remembered during my life) - even though according to Dream Moods, it seems like this one reflects that I'm trying to communicate my feelings and need for contact by way of acknowledging my innocence, helplessness and vulnerabilities while I'm getting to know my rational, aggressive, assertive, and competitive aspects as I recognize my true inner value. :-)

Anyway, I figured I'd share a piece I wrote recently ... hope you enjoy!


the god in you caused my earth to quake
with a sudden release of energy
the tremors pulsated through me
a magnitude so intense
it was beyond measurement on the richter scale

this natural event caused by frictional heating
released the build-up of strain and stress
denoted by forceful shaking
it created a rupture
forcing waters to overflow my body perimeter

and now I am stricken with aftershocks
ripples that decrease intensity by the day
yet still wreak havoc on me
dangerous and unpredictable
they come without warning
shattering the calm
erupting like volcanoes
leaving fires burning in their wake

reminders of the main explosion
a foretaste of the next seismic wave

Shahmet Gordon © 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Essential Reminders ...

Below are some points I was reminded of this week after the "moment" mentioned on Monday.  I toyed with the idea of calling these lessons that were learned. However, I recognize that truth already inhibits my being. I just need a little assistance recalling it at times. In no particular order:

1. I am loved; by God, my friends and family who I can touch in the real world, and my sisters in cyberspace.

2. It's perfectly normal to question; we have been given the gifts of intellect and a sound mind for a reason.

3. Don't always get caught up in the presentation; the message is what's important.

4. Choosing to love is never the wrong answer.

5. The difficulties we endure are not always part of a demonic plan; God grows us through our struggles and we are then able to testify about His grace and mercy.

6. Rather than feeling guilty for falling short in certain areas of life, we need to use our experiences to edify our sisters and brothers.

7. Faith and fear can not occupy the same space.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday night random stuff ...

Sometimes I get in a mood which I call "having a moment". The more time that passes, the further away I am from the effects of the post traumatic stress disorder, the better I am able to handle things that trigger me, the less I have these moments. I have experienced a couple of losses during the past year, so I recognize that grief brings on these moments too. But all in all, I haven't had one in a while - well, tonight is one of those moments. Actually, I have been feeling some kind of way for a couple of weeks now. I have a pretty good idea of what the cause is; just have to figure out how to navigate this juncture in my life.

So with that said, I have no profound observations tonight (or this morning since it's after midnight). Just doing my normal stuff. Went to work, came home, hung with the offspring a bit, went to the laundry-mat. I am marveling at how warm it still is to be early October - so I'm sitting on the terrace in shorts & T-shirt, sipping a Mike's Hard Mango Punch, listening to Adele (& Jazmine Sullivan & Timothy Bloom, & Sam Cooke), and chilling ... being in the moment because sometimes we just have to. Sometimes, we just have to accept all that we are feeling and let it be. Can't stay there, that's why its just a moment - but for that time, it's ok to just sit, reflect, cry, whatever ... then I will get up, go to bed, and God willing, wake up again to take another crack at life.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Learning Through Motherhood

I was reviewing some old documents and came across this very brief summary I wrote about a discussion I led during 2007 on the topic of Motherhood: A Sacred Journey. I was one of four presenters; my section concentrated on lessons learned through child rearing and through studying the biblical story of Rachel and Leah. It was interactive and each session was tailored to the audience. My individual journey is what I speak on below; hopefully you will gain a little more insight about me through these words.

I am 38 years old and I am the mother of two children – a 17 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. We are given the responsibility to care for our children; they need the basics - nurturing, feeding, clothing, shelter, education, etc.  But through our children we are given the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves and the world around us.  Each child brings a different lesson and a different leg of our journey.

Being the mother of a girl child has forced me to evaluate how I view myself and to make adjustments where needed. I realized that behaviors or traits that I wanted to instill had to be operating in my life as a pattern for her. Some tools that help me prepare myself as a woman and a mother include: being still, praying and listening to what God has to say; anointing myself; offering my body as a living sacrifice; praising God always, through all situations; reading and studying the word of God.  The bible provides many examples of sisters whose lives we can connect with and learn from.  For instance, Rachel and Leah (whose stories are told in Genesis 29-33) are true examples of mothering and nation building.  They, along with their maidservants, Zilpah & Bilhah, gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel, the sons of Jacob.  These sisters had conflicts with each other, yet they were able to grow beyond their envy and competitiveness to the point where they were able to see their common ground.  Rachel and Leah understood that they were both being treated unfairly by their father.  It is possible that their relationship with each other was strained because they were raised that way and pitted against each other, not realizing that they were pawns; much like our enslaved ancestors who were trained to distrust each other based on differences such as age, sex, and complexion, to name a few.  Leah & Rachel decided to put aside their differences and agreed to follow Jacob wherever his God led them. The essential lessons surrounding Leah & Rachel are the reasons we gather, at such a time as this. We are all in this together.  How do we celebrate our essence as women and encourage our sisters at the same time? How do we honor our men, acknowledge their leadership, put aside our differences and come together for the betterment of our families and communities?

My son has brought me to another aspect of my journey. I had to come to terms with the fact that as descendants of an enslaved people, our notions of parenting are warped.  Much of what we think of as normal comes from a reaction to how we have to survive living as an oppressed people. What I perceived as my normal inclination to protect my son, because I know the dangers that await our Black male children in this society, is really not the natural order.  Men are made to cover and protect women and children.  Our male children need to be taught this from a young age and reared for their role as leader and priest of their home.  God has blessed us with partners in parenting, our children’s fathers. We have a joint responsibility to raise our children, whether we live in the same home or not. Men and women each have a unique perspective and the two together help to create healthy and whole individuals.

Motherhood is just one part of my whole journey but it is a piece that has helped to transform me from an immature girl into a virtuous woman.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Old Patterns Can Change

"I'm not married anymore, but I still ..."

During a conversation last week, I found myself starting a sentence with the above words. It didn't hit me until later what I was actually saying; I'm not married anymore, but my mind still follows the patterns of a married woman at times. Granted, since I was married for 20 years and only divorced for two, the majority of my adult life was lived as one half of a partnership. I was, and still am, an advocate for marriage. While I was married, I viewed that as my most important ministry. As such, I even moderated an online fellowship for married, Christian women. Through networking and researching, I gained insights that were geared toward strengthening marital unions and providing individuals with tools for navigating healthy life partnerships. I subscribed to various newsletters, magazines, blogs, and discussion boards so that I could see different views and flesh out ideas. Which leads to the talk last week where I mentioned that I still participate in these marriage dialogues.

The question I asked myself was, "Why?" I thought I was adjusting to single life, doing me and all that jazz. I say that I have no intentions of getting married again, so I'm not preparing for the future, right? I have come to realize that regardless of what I think I'm doing, old habits die hard. I was used to thinking about my other half when making decisions, so much that I recognized behaviors I continued because of his personal preferences (such as cooking particular foods or keeping my hair a certain length). Because I had a husband, I leaned on him and got used to not exerting myself in certain areas. However, another thing I have realized is that when you are forced to, you can break those old habits and sometimes you find reserves you didn't even know existed. For example, I learned that I can assemble small pieces of furniture, fix minor plumbing issues, kill mice, maintain a workable budget, and take care of other people without neglecting my own well being. 

I was also used to thinking of intimate relationships only within the context of marriage, so I held on to these discussion groups out of habit. The good thing is that topics such as communication, trust, respect and responsibility are valid in all relationships, so the conversations are still useful and can be tailored appropriately. Acknowledgement is the first step in any change. Once you recognize that change is needed, make the decision to act. Alas, I have since unsubscribed from the marriage e-mail tips and such so I can focus more on where I am in life right now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fight Against Violence

The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October 1987. During that same year, the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was initiated. Although we need to be aware and fight against domestic violence all year long, I want to highlight a few things today.

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse presents itself in many forms such as physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological. Domestic violence can occur with people of every gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, age, sexual orientation, and education level.

If you are in an abusive relationship, know that there is help and you are not alone in your struggle. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) provides advocates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist victims, or anyone calling on their behalf, with crisis intervention, safety planning and local referrals. The website,, offers a plethora of information for victims and anyone who suspects their loved one may be in an abusive relationship. Another great resource is the book by Lundy Bancroft titled Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.

Below is the piece I wrote that was published in last year's The Purple Poetry Book in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. My hope is that you will all be safe.

silent no more

he tried to break me
when I thought I could take no more
he proved he wasn’t done
he wanted to crush me
but I’ma shine through it
I’ma soar above all the bullshit
transcend that tiny bag of tricks
assume responsibility for my life

I got wings, can’t you see?
I’m a survivor
I’m already free
my anger is real and justified
thankfully it’s led me to open my eyes
the secret has been revealed

I now comprehend that it’s all a game
he thought he was winning at hopscotch
him throwing rocks, me jumping in a box
as I open the chess board I realize none of this is personal
we are at war and it’s a shame
but I finally got the rules to this ole game
entitlement, control, manipulation are the moves
acquiescence, keeping the peace is how we lose

I am silent no more
I must speak for my sisters who can’t
because of the bullets in their heads or the knives in their chests
I must speak for my sisters
who are too afraid and have not yet understood
if they don’t walk out, they will be carried out
I must speak for my sisters
who only see the physical
and don’t yet understand the impact of slowly dying
mentally and spiritually
I must speak for my brothers
cause they are overlooked and disbelieved
I must speak for the children
who don’t know any other way
who think this is how life is supposed to be lived
I must speak to a system that perpetuates the torture
that holds us in contempt and does not keep us safe

they say a rose by any other name is still a rose
well abuse by any other name is still abuse
I am silent no more.

Shahmet Gordon © 2010