My Blogging Family…

Hello all. I will just get right to the point. You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet or “off camera” lately, if you will. Life is happening to me so quickly lately, that I can barely keep up. Lots of fires burning; some big, some small. But I am can only put out one at a time, even though many are raging.

I basically want you all to know that I am still here, but very much under the weather. I am thankful for all of your readership and support and apologize for the lack of posts, but I simply haven’t been able to. One thing is for sure, out of all the rubble and ruin, some beauty and inspiration must emerge. I hope that it will be worth the wait. Again, thank you all for the tremendous love and support.

Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…17

According to the Nielsen ratings, more women watched the Super Bowl on NBC than those that tuned in to the Oscars (24.5 million), the Grammys (23.8 million), and the Emmys (8 million).

    • In 5 years, the Super Bowl female audience has doubled.
    • The last 3 Super Bowls were the most watched by females, setting unprecedented records.
    • “Sunday Night Football” on NBC, has snagged the title of being the first series to finish No. 1 in ‘prime time’ last year. Women between the ages of 18 to 49 years of age, brought a No. 4 ranking to the weekly football telecast.
    • The introduction of sport jerseys for women, is one major effort being made by the league to draw in the female audience.
    • Football has become synonymous with “hot” celebrity news and pop culture. New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s recent romance with Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, has drawn as much interest and attention within the gossip world as the sports columns. Quarterback Tom Brady married supermodel Gisele Bundchen after his notorious relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan and the birth of their child out of wedlock.
    • The game of football certainly has not escaped the tabloid fascination and intrigue and has in many cases, become a soap opera of the ‘sports’ kind.

***I will admit that the only time I feel inspired to tune into a football game is during the playoffs leading up to the “Big Game”. Then of course, I tune into the Super Bowl, especially if my son’s Denver Broncos are playing. It’s exciting and and so nice to be abreast on what’s happening in such a popular and broadly watched arena. So much excitement and hoopla! It would seem very difficult to not tune into an event that everyone seems to be watching!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The Human Thing to Do

I never imagined in a million years, that I would be sharing this story any further than myself and the unlikely stranger that is the center of this somewhat peculiar moment in time. But I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you, just the same. May it serve as a reminder that the kindness of strangers does really still exist today. This happened quite some time ago, but I think it is so worth sharing. Every now and then, this person crosses my mind. I don’t know why, but he does.

I was on my way to church one Sunday morning. It was already hot and humid, even in the early morning hours of that particular day. From a distance I could see a man on a ladder, reaching up as far as his body would allow him to, in an effort to trim some of the tallest hedges I’ve ever seen. He reminded me of a tiny spider attempting to climb up a massive wall. As I drew nearer, I noticed a woman instructing the man on what she wanted done. The fact that he had removed his shirt, didn’t seem to bother her in the least, as she made her way across her expansive lawn and back inside her home. I couldn’t help but notice, that no glass or container of water had been offered to him in the midst her seemingly explicit instructions, nor did this man seem to have any water with him.

As I got closer, I could literally see the sweat dripping rhythmically from his brow and beading up on his bare chest. As I passed him from the street, I immediately became thirsty for him. My throat tightened as I swallowed hard. My heart went out to this stranger, as I witnessed his determination drive him to conquer the unconquerable; those humongous hedges that seemed to have no end. I quickly took a sip of my own bottle of water, that I almost always carry with me in my travels. Still, I was thirsty as the vision of this man, scorching in the hot Sunday sun, remained singed in my memory.

As I made my way to church that morning, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I thought about him during the whole church service. I prayed that the owner of the house would come to her senses and do the human thing and at least offer the man something to drink. I vowed privately to myself that I would go back home the same way, so I could see if the man was still there.

Would you believe? Low and behold, he was still there, burning up in the Sunday heat, just as he was when I first saw him. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Not only were the hedges majestic in height, but they were massive in width and so deeply thick in appearance, that he could have easily disappeared within their clutches. Of course, this man needed a cold drink and there was no way I was going to drive by and see him a second time, with no signs of libation in anywhere in sight, and just proceed on my merry way.

I drove several blocks down to an area McDonald’s and got a huge cup of ice and purchased a bottle of water. Never has there been a better union than that that of ice and water, as I brought them together in refreshing matrimony. I drove right back down to where the man was working, pulled over, parked my car, and casually walked up and greeted him. I remember making a comment on the enormous job that he had embarked on while extending the cup of ice water to him. He had a look on his face that I have never forgotten. He thanked me profusely as he readily accepted my gesture. He looked at me incredulously, almost as if he were seeing a mirage and said that he couldn’t believe that I would stop and do that. I simply said that I would hope that anyone would do the same. For me, it was the human thing to do. I wonder if that day ever crosses his mind? A day where he came face to face, with an act of human kindness.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…16

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the unusual instances of celebrity deaths that seem to come in three’s. The most recent proof being the passing of Robyn Williams, Lauren Bacall, and Joan Rivers. It’s kind of hard to argue against this when it has happened repeatedly over time. Admittedly, I’ve heard this old adage for as long as I can remember, never really paying much attention to it until entering into my adult life. I began to notice that there seemed to be some truth to this “Hollywood” affliction. With the recent barrage of deaths, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the so-called Celebrity Death Rule of Three.

    • Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper all crashed and died simultaneously in an Iowa cornfield on February 3, 1959. Not since their untimely deaths, has the Celebrity Death Rule of Three happen so quickly, according to an article by Dave Montgomery of the Washing Post on June 30, 2009. Further instances may not have happened as quickly, but they certainly did happen.
    • The earliest instance was recorded as far back as late 1970 to early 1971. It has been documented that rock star royals Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died in close time proximity. *Unbelievably, all three of these rock legends died at the age of 27. This is both remarkable and peculiar within itself. (Another post perhaps)
    • In June of 2009, the deadly trifecta, if you will, made an appearance again. Ed McMahaon passed away on June 23, 2009, mega-celebrities Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, both died on the same day, June 25, 2009. The media clearly struggled to bring some type of balance to its reporting on each of these stars. I’m willing to bet the media never imagined they’d be scrambling to cover such broad careers simultaneously, to say the least.
    • During the summer of 2013, the triage of death occurred again with the death of infamous Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Sopranos star, James Gandolfini, and actress Jean Stapleton(known for her role as Edith Bunker on All in the Family).

Again, it is hard to argue the existence of the alleged Celebrity Death Rule of Three when as you can see, there certainly are enough occurrences to support otherwise. Myth or pure coincidence? You be the judge…

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

When Blood and Water Meet…

   

Almost everyone knows the saying, “blood is thicker than water”. In many cases, this is true. Blood, representative of our familial ties, while water represents those close friends and extended family. Some might believe that there is no bond stronger than that of blood family and that is often true. However, there are instances where this statement can be challenged.

As I’m watching the television coverage of the funeral service of the latest ‘fallen officer’, Daryl Pierson, in the city of Rochester New York, it has become evident that ‘water’ is not only thick and dense, but runs deep, far and wide. I am thoroughly amazed, impressed and touched at the amount of support, presence, and solidarity being displayed at his funeral service, with the attendance of thousands of police officers from all over the country that have come to this city to pay their last respects to Officer Pierson, who lost his life last Wednesday night September 3, 2014 during a foot chase of a wanted parolee.

I recall sitting on my bed last Wednesday night when at least 3 to 4 vehicles came flying past my house. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there’s a sound that law enforcement vehicles make when they’re traveling at top speeds. It’s as almost as if the vehicles are riding on top of the air; an unmistakeable sound that makes me privy to police presence every time one passes through my neighborhood at break-neck speeds. I wondered what could have possibly happened, but didn’t give it a whole lot of thought as it is a sound I’ve heard on many occasions. About 30 minutes later, a breaking news flash burst across my t.v. screen. The report said that both an officer and a suspect had been wounded during a traffic stop and that both had been taken to area hospitals. I was immediately relieved that no one had died, at least at that point. I said a little prayer for both. Somewhere around 11:00p.m. I believe, it was then reported on the evening news that Officer Pierson had succumbed to his injuries. I was stricken with so much sadness and heart-wrenching emotion at this sobering development. An officer had lost his life in the line of duty and there was no reversing the outcome, no turning back. How I wished I could rewind back to hours before those police cars had come riding like the wind past my house.

As a city, we could take on the view that too much is being made out of this incident because an officer lost his life. Or, we could show some human compassion and be respectful of the loss of life, as I would hope we would be for any other, regardless of their ‘walk of life’. I was proud to see a few interviews where Rochester residents seemed to agree that whether an officer of the law or not, a person died. Officer Darryl Pierson was a human being, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an officer of the law. He even served a year in the war in Afghanistan. I can’t help but notice the cruel twist of fate that allowed him to survive the danger of a seemingly never-ending war, only to return to his home in Rochester New York, and lose his life. Officer Pierson received a hero’s send-off; twenty one gun salute and all. There were even fully-attired, kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing attendees. I have much admiration for Officer Pierson’s widow, Amy Pierson, who displayed such control and poise in light of an event that has changed her life forever. My prayers go out to the Pierson family and all those related, near and far, as blood and water meet, coming together to make one hugely supportive and impressive family. Rest in peace Officer Pierson.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

My First Posting: About Me

Please join me in welcoming my friend Justin Connor to the blogging world. He is a great photographer and I’ve just discovered that he’s a darn good writer also! Enjoy!

justinconnorphotography

IMG_5321 - Version 2

My name is Justin Connor.  I have been taking pictures since I was 12 years old.  My father was an amateur photographer and I took after him, grabbing a camera whenever I could and taking shots.  I took some Photography classes in High School and even entertained trying to go to College for Photography.  In the end, I decided it was not a great career choice, and went to College for Physical Therapy.

My father gave me a Canon AE-1 for my high school graduation and I continued to do Photography as a hobby.  I continued to try to get out and take photos through College and after, even trying to take some portraits of my wife, but I quickly realized portrait photography was not my forte.  I have always been much better at Landscape Photography.  I have always been drawn to Waterfalls, for some reason, and until recently, nearly half of my…

View original post 338 more words

The 3rd Time is Not a Charm

 

The third time is definitely not a charm. It has often been said that when members of the Hollywood elite pass away, their deaths come in threes. By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Joan Alexandra Molinsky, most infamously known as Joan Rivers, her stage name, has passed away at the age of 81. She completes the the latest trio of Hollywood deaths; most recently, Robyn Williams and Lauren Bacall(please see previous posts). Her career spanned an amazing 50 years; truly an accomplishment. One can only imagine the stories that have passed on with this extraordinary woman, who possessed a personality as broad as the widest of oceans.

Joan Rivers had to be one of the hardest working women, if not the hardest working woman in show business. She never seemed to tire and even maintained a rigorous schedule right up until her death. It is as though she had and endless source from which to draw from, in order to deliver her signature in-your-face ‘dry humor’ that was so characteristic of her authentic style. Somehow she managed to deliver a great deal of her comedic onslaught without barely cracking a smile; another feat within itself.

She was a die-hard New York native, who came into show business with hopes of planting her feet firmly in a theatrical career. Comedy just happened to be a viable means to pay her bills at the time while she auditioned for acting roles. Comedy came natural to Joan and seemed to fit her like a good-fitting shoe. In 1965, she received her first booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson who reportedly told her, “God, you’re funny.” Her good fortune of landing this gig and a seemingly inexhaustible work ethic drove her as she continued to write, test and tweak her jokes.

In the mid-1980s, Joan Rivers came face to face with a life-affecting crisis. Her husband of 23 years, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide in 1987, following her firing from her late night talk show, which he produced. According to Rivers, the failing show was a major player in her husband’s suicide. The fallout of these events also contributed to the derailing of her career for a brief time. Comedy was both her calling and her therapy. She used laughter to get through the tough times and was often the ‘butt’ of her own jokes. One of the best therapies of all…laughter of self and few did it better.

Joan Rivers was the face of “Fashion Police” on the E Network and starred with her daughter Melissa in a reality show called: Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? I was a fan of Ms Rivers and will always remember her for her for relentless barage of comedic attacks on the many bystanders that waited anxiously to die laughing in the midst of her witty banter. Rest in peace dear Joan. You will indeed be missed.

***Sidebar: I was pleasantly surprised to learn after all these years of watching Joan Rivers, that she and I share the same birthday, June 8th. Wow! You just never know!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

When My Inner Voice Speaks

I usually speak to my mom each night before I go to bed. It’s funny…it’s seems that no matter how old I get, there’s still a kind of comfort that can only come from that one, all-important phone call to end my nights properly. My mom asked, as she usually does on Saturday night, if I was going to church the next morning. I said that I was pretty sure that I would not be attending. My mom accepted my answer with no fuss or muss as we both agreed that we would speak in the morning before she left home for service.

Well, I couldn’t agree with that old adage more, that says something about the best laid plans not always working out. When I woke up this morning, I became immediately convicted about my decision to stay home and not go to church. After all, there really wasn’t anything that I had to do that should get in the way of my going. But my original plan was to take a shower, get dressed, make myself some breakfast, and then sit on the side of my bed, (as I often do) and either envelop myself in the computer or a book that I am trying so diligently to complete. Now, to you, the reader, these plans may not seem like anything dire or anything that has to be done with any kind of urgency on a lovely Sunday morning, such as this one that I have again been so blessed to wake up to. Yet, it was my original quest to do each of these non-critical things.

However, once my feet hit the cold hardwood floors of my bedroom, and the warm sunlight streamed in to bid me good morning, I automatically walked over to my closet to figure out what I was going to wear to church. Yes, just like that, my best-laid plans had changed, within an instant. I didn’t have to look very long to figure out what to wear and quickly began preparing to make my way to morning service. You may be wondering, what happened? I was determined to go in one direction, but quickly found myself headed in another.

You see, I couldn’t bring myself to sit idly by, not properly paying homage to my Father; the one who makes it possible for me to open my eyes every day and take in my precious surroundings. God has been showing me some really pivotal things lately, things that I cannot ignore. I’ve been learning to put every bit of my trust in him and his promise to provide for everything my heart desires. The world has been crashing down around me lately, one thing after the other. Things that the average person would wonder how they would manage to work through. I have truly been realizing, with shocking clarity, that no matter what happens, no matter how big or small the problems are that arise, God is always there and has never and will never let me down.

Worrying is the human thing to do, but what does it really accomplish? A headache maybe, an elevation in blood pressure? And oh, yes. Let’s not forget, much unnecessary stress. Worrying certainly doesn’t make the problems disappear. If anything, it seems to exacerbate them. Who needs that, right? It’s a beautiful thing when I came to realize that putting my trust in God is the worry-free option that can move all the mountains that seem to be forming around me. I can only sit in awe and marvel at the profound blessings that God has bestowed upon me. But I had to first learn to cast all my worries and cares upon him. Admittedly, I’m not perfect and don’t always do this, as the human side randomly rears it’s fickle head from time to time.

I said all that to say this. I’m so glad that I listened to my inner voice as it is always speaking to me, ever so subtlety. It was so wonderful to fellowship and commune with others. Attending church is one of the ways I say “thank you” to God, for all that He does in my life. I can now sit on the side of my bed, envelop myself in the computer, or go back to reading that book I’m trying so diligently to complete, and do it all with a clear conscience. My new quest…to listen to my inner voice when it’s speaking. It usually has something very important to say; something I need to heed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(15)

Learning another language may be pivotal in fending off dementia. Evidently, there is a link between this debilitating brain disease and language skills.

    • Previous studies have found that even furthering learning/education and/or participating in cognitive and mentally challenging activities, may reduce the onset of dementia. This study also revealed that even people who could not read, but spoke two languages, seemed to have an advantage against the disease as opposed to those who spoke one language.
    • The author and researcher of the study, Dr. Suvarna Alladi, at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India says, “Our study is the first to report an advantage of speaking two languages in people who are unable to read. Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.
    • It is estimated that one in three U.S. Seniors are expected to die with dementia.
    • The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s.
    • Approximately 650 people from India were recruited for the study. The average age was 66 and these individuals had already been diagnosed with dementia prior. An estimated 390 spoke two or more languages, while 14 percent were unable to read.
    • The languages spoken in India where the study was conducted included: Telegu, Hindi, Dakkhini, and English. The majority of these patients (240) already had Alzheimer’s disease, 189 had vascular dementia, 116 had frontotemporal dementia, and 103 had dementia with Lewy bodies and mixed dementia.
    • Damage to the brain cells causes dementia, no matter what type. This damage, then hinders the cells ability to communicate with each other. As a result, thinking, behavior, and feelings are all affected, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

***Personally, I used to really enjoy taking French in junior high school and Spanish in high school. Who knew at the time, that these learning these languages, could prove to be healthy advantageous down the road? It may be a good idea to consider picking up at least one of these languages again. Just saying….

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Put Your Shoes On!

    

I like to start my Sunday mornings off with a segment of Joel Osteen. He is one of my favorite television pastors. Always so positive and uplifting and most importantly, he seems so genuine and down to earth. I feel like I could sit and have a conversation with him. Yesterday morning he spoke about the need for people to put their shoes on each morning. He was referring to ‘shoes of peace’. He stressed the importance, of making a commitment to ourselves to not allow anything to move us from our peaceful state of mind. No matter what that something is.

I liked that Joel Osteen referred to this as one putting his/her shoes on for the day. I’ve never thought of things in quite those terms. It’s much like putting on your armor everyday, to protect yourself from all the impending bullets of life that are bound to come your way. Prayer is also another way of putting on your ‘shoes of peace’ or ‘armor’ for the day, providing protection for you from what may be lying in wait. This segment of Joel Osteen really blessed and enlightened me, as he always does. As a result, I’ll be sure to put my shoes on every morning, so that I may walk in peace as I face the world. How about you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

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