What I mean when I say “Black Lives Matter” 

There seems to be ongoing misunderstanding regarding this unfortunate commonly used phrase. 

I'm not sure what the misunderstanding is. 

After the verdict in the Philando Castile case, I shared this graphic with a comment on Instagram. 

For the most part, the post was well received with over 100 likes, but I received one comment stating, “red, yellow, black and white we are precious in Gods sight. ALL LIVES MATTER.” 

DELETE. 

I deleted the comment because I believe that one misguided comment usually encourages more. I will try not to make it a habit.

Yes, we are all precious in God's sight, however, here on earth, we are killing each other. 

I want to understand how someone can say “all lives matter” in the case of Philando Castile? Did you see the video? Did you read the officer's court testimony?

What am I missing? 

I will say this on record, when I or someone says “black lives matter” it does not mean all lives don’t matter and because you or anyone may take this personally, let me say this, it doesn't mean your life does not matter. YOU, you in all your glory of course matter! 

You matter. That is why you still have your life. You are alive to go out into the world and matter.  

Philando Castile's life matters as well. He, however, lost his life in the most outrageous of ways. His life, the life of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and other lives taken so haphazardly, happen to be black and brown, so in these cases, as a reminder that we are unwilling to relive our shared history, BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

I say this in complete respect of how you spend your days and nights, the business of life and circumstance: educate yourself on the world around you. Educate yourself on the beliefs you hold close. Removed from your politics, you will see that there is a lot of crap going on. 

My Fear of Flying

flight to japan

Yes, I will admit it, I am one of those people who loves to travel but hates to fly. Why? No control, tin can flying, gravity. Any further explanation? 

The routine, stalk the flight stewardess up and down the aisles once the seat belt sign goes off for a gin and tonic or wine. I usually ask for two after being told that it's against policy. A confident smile and brief dialogue about how you are trying not to freak out during the flight is imperative to getting the second drink. 

The 13-hour flight to Japan was no exception, and my husband spared me no mercy by having us fly to Canada and then on to Japan, having to endure landing and takeoff twice. Sheesh! 

I call myself a Christian and am someone who practices meditation, I should be able to handle myself during an extended plane ride. Wrong! The big man knows my fears and I am sure he is ready with popcorn for the show and praise worship I put on before a flight. 

As the flight takes off, I start my breathing exercises, close my eyes, and concentrate on the positives things in my life. With my eyes closed all I can see is the plane crashing. Not vividly, just in the back of my thoughts after the fifth or sixth breath. It's the idea that when you try not to think of something you think of it anyways. 

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 

After some light turbulence, the plane lands fine and I am embarrassed because of the show I put on. 

The takeaway, do what scares the pants off you. Do it over and over again. 

 

 

 

Meet The Authors Day Event

IMG_0567.JPG

I am ready to meet strangers this weekend!  

It's my outlook going into an event like this and while I don't know what to expect or have any expectations for that matter, it's exciting to meet people I do not yet know. 

I've learned many things since I started writing six years ago. The biggest lesson, people tell the best stories. When I want to learn about the world I talk to people who are figuring out how to  maneuver through it.  Some stories are sad, raunchy, or funny but all relatable to the human experience.

If you are in the area, drop by my table and say hi. 

 

 

 

Environment, Creativity & Wabi-Sabi Wisdom by Andrea Jacques

wabi-sabi wisdom

Question: How can I design an environment that naturally moves me towards my goals? 

I'm reading Wabi-Sabi Wisdom by Andrea Jacques today. I downloaded the ebook last night and have been moving through chapters I feel have some great nuggets to chew on over the weekend. 

In a chapter titled To Eat or Not Eat? That is The Question, the author talks about the time she moved to Japan for five years and it changed not only her perspective but her pants size. Why? Environment. While in Japan, cheese and bread were expensive and her circle of friends were into healthy lifestyles, in turn her environment was ripe for a healthier lifestyle. The author felt that the environment could be incorporated anywhere if she invested time into designing a space that naturally moved her in the direction of her goals. 

Question, does my environment lend itself to me creating meaningful work? If yes, how? 

For me, my easel and writing pad are readily available in my living room. I rarely need to leave the house to create art and I feel most creative simply sitting down and working without distraction. I could do better job building a community around me of creative individuals but overall my environment is designed to move me towards my goals. 

What about you? 

The Japanese Paper Cut Artist

lime green windbreaker japan

He called himself the "Paper Cut Artist." At least that's what was written on the sheet of laminated bluish construction paper he handed me. He spoke no English at first, just nodded and pointed to his name and his artwork around the small knick-knack shop. I liked the small man in the lime green windbreaker the moment I saw him. 

Judging by his work, it appeared he had been at the craft for more than thirty years. His cut out's appeared studied and intentional. The work of a man with a steady hand and a quiet mind. The artist is not throwing paint meticulously at a canvas. I imagine he wakes in the morning, boils water, adds a bag of Japanese Green Tea and heads to his desk to begin art making for the day. The desk is wooden with one shaky leg. Once he completes his work, he heads to the small shop located a few feet from Arashiyama, the Japanese Bamboo Forest, and waits for tourist.

The "Paper Cut Artist" does not sell his creations. My husband and I asked, "I do it for hobby," he murmured in broken English. 

A younger PAPER cut artist IN THe top left. 

A younger PAPER cut artist IN THe top left. 

paper cut out artist

Signs of Japan: Trump, Women's Rights, and How to Properly Use the Bathroom

One of the first things I noticed when my husband and I arrived in Tokyo, Japan were the street signs. They were everywhere, explaining everything. I was became interested in how a city like Tokyo communicated with foreigners like myself it's messages, honored traditions, and beliefs. 

Below are a few signs I found unique and worth sharing for obvious reasons. 

No Smoking While Walking

Smoke blow back is annoying and one thing is made clear in a city like Tokyo where 9.1 million people call home - respect. This sign prevents others from having to consume your toxic lifestyle. Kudos for this move Tokyo! 

Ground sign in Tokyo

Ground sign in Tokyo

Trump

No elaborate caption necessary.  

Asakusa 

Asakusa 

Women Only

How do you prevent unwanted groping on public trains? Create a women's only car. Whether you find this to be a solution or a setback to women's rights, what is clear is something was done to address this growing danger in Japan. Read more about train groping in Japan here

Osaka Station 

Osaka Station 

How to use the restroom

Sometimes we all need a reminder. 

Osaka

Osaka

Don't Rush

New Yorkers take note. Running me down to catch the S train is mean, "Don't Rush Onto The Train." Also, the video circulating a couple years ago regarding people being shoved into a train is not completely accurate. We traveled to Japan during Golden Week,  a national holiday in which millions of people are off of work. Public transportation was busy, but not that busy. 

japan train station

I Spoke at Bryan Adams High School

Image taken from Google, BRyan Adams Leadership INAUGURAL class

Image taken from Google, BRyan Adams Leadership INAUGURAL class

I had the privilege to speak at Bryan Adams High School the Friday before my husband and I left for Japan. The event was life-giving for me and I hope life changing for the students I spoke to about their life, their future, and why they were in school in the first place.

Exhortation is my spiritual gift. At least that's what the Spiritual Gift Assessment I took a few years ago told me. I am a natural encourager.  I motivate people to be the best version of themselves, and this event showed me that I was operating in my lane. 

I took the students through a 'Game of Goals.' Each student had to decide why they were in school and what they would do with the rest of their life after graduation. Once they had it written down, I placed a chair in the front of the room and we walked through their long-term goal using the SMART Goals model. If their goal was unrealistic or did not have enough steps to get from point A to B they failed the game, simple as that. Specificity was the name of the game.

Most of the students amazed me in how detailed they were, others became more detailed after walking though the exercise again and again. 

I reminded them a goal without a plan was just a dream. 

  

International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ 2017)

ISOJ 2017

I was not supposed to go to this conference, and as luck would have it, my sweet friend below sent me a random link to the conference on Linkedin a month or so before it was to take place. The conference was informational, eye-opening, and a chance to meet and learn more about the news media I ingest on a daily bases.

The widely discussed topic of the conference was about the news media and how they failed the American people when it came to covering Trump during the 2017 presidential election. The goal, how to move forward. 

Lian CHang and i 

Lian CHang and i 

Clara jeffery, editor-in-chief of mother jones 

Clara jeffery, editor-in-chief of mother jones 

a bag from my friends at chinese sandwich (China30s.com)

a bag from my friends at chinese sandwich (China30s.com)

craig silverman, media editor at buzzfeed

craig silverman, media editor at buzzfeed

Here are two of my favorite sessions from ISOJ 2017: 

Dallas Art Fair 2017

dallas art fair

This was my first year to attend the Dallas Art Fair. I went as a member of the Dallas Contemporary Young Professionals group. My favorite piece of the fair was the Keith Haring on display. Haring's art is whimsical, disciplined, and unique. 

A huge thank you to the Dallas Observer for capturing my vintage Escada jacket. I wore it because it demands attention with it's color and embellishments. To me, it's a work of art and I enjoy stepping outside of my 'black and white' box from time to time.  

dallas art fair
colorful jacket