Family First!!

Why is it so hard to share crucial news with family? These are the people we’ve grown up with our entire lives. Yet, it is often extremely difficult to disclose unfavorable news when these unexpected times arise. I know for me, the reasons vary widely.

I never want to feel like I’m burdening my family with any issues that pertain to me. I feel like they all have their own lives with respective issues to go along with everything else that they have to worry about. So why would I come along and make their load(s) even heavier? That being said, what’s worse, not sharing important life events or unloading all of our chaos on our families?

I chose to share my latest health crisis with each of my siblings, one by one. Each of them is so very different. It was so hard to say the words without choking up. These are the same people that I used to run, jump, skip, get into trouble at home with, defend from punishment until the end. Being the oldest of my siblings, sometimes holds me to a higher level to be emotionally and physically strong. So, when illness started visiting me more often a few years ago, I felt like I was somehow letting my them down. It was as though I was somehow damaged and that they could no longer look to me as their solid pillar of strength. Illness had chipped away at the ‘rock’ that they’ve always known me to be. So, here I was again, showing them that transparent and most revealing side of my vulnerability with this latest health interruption.

My family has been there for me through some very rough times. As I sit here writing this piece, I don’t recall them ever making me feel like I was weighing them down, in terms of giving them one more thing to worry about as a result of sharing. They’ve always been gracious and willing to jump in wherever and whenever I needed them and that is priceless. After all, that’s what family is for right? I guess I would feel pretty bad if there was something going on with any of them and they made the decision to not share with me, no matter what their reasons were.

It is sometimes very hard to look at things with the shoe on the other foot. My family has a right to feel like they don’t want to burden me further with their problems. I certainly have felt like that before, as I touched on earlier. At the end of the day, we are all blessed with the love of family for many reasons. They are the glue that helps to hold things together when the going gets rough. The load often gets to be a little too heavy to carry alone. So, God blesses us with siblings and parents that are down here with us on earth to provide the all-important emotional support and love that is so necessary for survival.

For me, the word family exudes togetherness, love, friendship, support and strength. It’s so easy to take it for granted when you have a supportive family. Unfortunately, not everyone does. Have you told your family lately how much they mean to you? When is the last time you told them how much you love them, or encouraged them in their life endeavors? If you haven’t done any of these things lately, maybe it’s time to do that. Let them know that you appreciate them always being there for you when you really need them the most, and even when you don’t. Now, obviously I can’t ask you to do that without doing the same myself. It’s an unwritten item on my daily list of things to do. Even on those days when I don’t speak to my family voice to voice, simply because of busy schedules and time demands, I send them love through my prayers, thoughts, and hopes for each of them. A quick text works well too, just to say, I love you and I’m thinking about you. Family first I say!! What say you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The “C” Factor

Well, it has been confirmed. The big “C” has reared its ugly head again. Cancer has returned in almost the identical fashion that it did 13+ years ago. Wow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. I feel like I’m watching a movie that I’ve seen before. I’m still the main character although other players have changed. However, the results are bothering me much more this time around than it did the first time. It may have been because I was younger when it happened, all those years ago. My youth afforded me a kind of invincible mindset. Now, being more mature, the true gravity of my situation is in full view, the highest definition. The reality of it all keeps welling up in my mind, over and over again, like an unpredictable wave that comes and goes, only to come back again in full force.

I suppose it goes without saying that I got little to no sleep last night. I kept waking up to assure myself, that it had to be a dream. There was no way that cancer could have entered my life again. But of course, reality came crashing over me as I realized that cancer had indeed come to visit me again. I wish I could take the core of my being and my conscience mind outside of my body and view this next act of my life without having to feel all the emotions and damage that come with this kind of thing.

The gamut of emotions that I’ve experienced since I spoke with the doctor last night, have ranged any where from denial to anger, from hopefulness to despair. I must admit, I’ve even had a little pity party with no one in attendance but me. I must have asked myself at least 100 times, why this was happening to me again? Why was this recurring after all this time? Could it be that my faith wasn’t strong enough to carry me and drive my belief in God’s power to heal all things no matter how intrusive and disruptive to my world they are? I guess we could all use some improvement in the area of faith and I am certainly no exception to the rule.

Now, comes the painstaking discussions, as to how to proceed. I have pretty much deducted what my options will be, especially with this intruder returning for a second time. But knowing my options doesn’t make it any easier to arrive at any decisions. I just hope and pray that I make the right ones. It’s so hard to take myself out of the process when this whole thing is so personal. How do I remain objective in a situation like this? May God be with me, as He always is!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

An Unforeseen Race

 

Pure craziness now surrounds the world of healthcare. This has probably been the case for quite some time now, but it has recently become painfully evident to me. The chaos that is now a part of securing proper medical coverage, simply can’t be made up. I wish that it could but it’s a very real scene for many people; a reoccurring nightmare. It has become a dirty rat race where the people winning certainly are not the recipients of the much sought after ‘care’. The chase is on and many are finding themselves in a vicious cycle that is marred by nasty customer service people and incorrect information. People have become little hamsters running on their tread wheels, forever chasing the ‘illusive affordable healthcare’ programs and getting nowhere fast.

I recall a time, when I wasn’t in the least bit concerned about healthcare. I had a decent job and had worked at the same company for many years. So, healthcare was never an issue for me. But, like in so many instances, life happened and changed my plans. One bad bout with illness can land you in the ‘disability’ pot where you are introduced to all kinds of unsavory ingredients that don’t blend well together. I know all too well because it happened to me.

I don’t know anyone that desires to be in the ‘disability’ pot. Especially, when you’re use to working. Suddenly, you find yourself in a health crisis and can no longer do many of the things you once were capable of doing. Your income is now limited, so you find yourself having to settle for healthcare that has been more or less decided on for you. Honestly, I’ve learned more about healthcare in the past 18 months than I care to know and I must say, I was not prepared.

Just when you think you have the right plan in place, one that satisfies all your medical, dental and prescription needs, the ‘state’ decides to make new change(s) and everything hits the fan all over again. Obviously the people that come together to make these rules and decisions on how healthcare plans will be administered, have not had to run on the tread wheel themselves. Or maybe they’ve forgotten what it feels like. It’s painfully disheartening and disappointing to be kicked while you’re down. It seems the more you need particular components in your healthcare plan, the more options become unavailable to you. It’s like someone is turning a knife slowly in an existing wound, while watching you bleed out slowly. We might as well sign our names in blood. After all, that seems to be the cost to stay healthy nowadays.

I can’t end without mentioning the skimpy dental plans that seem to be becoming more and more streamline by the minute. And heaven help you if you are heading towards your senior years. Do these people not deserve to have comparable and appropriate coverage, just as they would if they were 20 years younger? Do teeth become a non-issue or less important when people become older? I beg to differ. Don’t the ‘powers that be’ realize that if proper dental care isn’t made attainable for everyone, regardless of age, that more people than ever will be in need of affordable health insurance because dental issues can surely result in other health issues. Once again, back on the vicious cycle and around an around we go.

What should ‘we’ the people do? Should we gather names and sign petitions to express our extreme dissatisfaction? Do we write to our politicians? And if we do so, will they hear us? Better yet, will they even respond to us? Who knows what the answers are but there has to be a better way. We live in a great country with so many liberties and freedoms, but many of us are at risk of not fully enjoying these privileges because we are slowly losing our rights, ability and support to stay healthy. If our neighbor Canada can offer free healthcare to its citizens, than why can’t New York State do the same?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

A Good Connection

Everything in life has a connection, or so it seems. There is a link of some kind that binds and bonds all things and people together. But is that connection only as good as the link that brought those people and things together in the first place? Interesting question you might say.

For instance, nothing is more infuriating than a bad connection when you’re on an important phone call, right? The person on the other end is speaking but they can’t hear you or vice versa. Who or what is to blame? Is it the other person’s phone or service that is at fault or is the issue on your end? Who’s to say in this day of modern technological advances? You would think in this day and age that achieving a good connection would be effortless. Yet, these problems still exist in spite of all of the upgrades and savvy options that are available to us.

How about those times when you’re out and about and you run into an old friend? The two of you used to be very close and once stayed in touch.. However, over time, you have drifted apart like two water-logged barges that have lost their way, while wandering aimlessly through murky waters. You go through all the niceties, embracing and mutually expressing how good it is to see each other. You exchange contact information and vow to stay in touch…for sure this time. But as is often the case, neither of you make a move to reach out to the other. So, where does the ‘weak’ link lie? Was this a bad connection or one that simply did not exist in the first place? Or are you both simply ‘weak’ links?

Then, there are those rare instances where you connect with someone whom you’ve never met before. You’re at an event, and just seem to naturally gravitate to each other. You exchange contact information and have good intentions of staying in touch. To your amazement, you answer each others emails consistently, plans are made and kept. This new person appears to be just as excited as you are about the new connection. The most remarkable thing of all is that this person doesn’t even live in the same city or state that you do. She lives thousands of miles away and visits here only on occasion to see about her mom. How good it feels that someone thought enough of you to put aside time to get together with you, in spite of a busy schedule that allows little time for anything outside of its parameters. It makes me think about all the people that I’ve known most of my life, that live in the same city as I do, but have chosen to disconnect and remain disconnected. No reason in particular…at least none that I am aware of. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. Evidently, some things are not meant to be and should be left as is.

With that being said, I was in the right place at the right time, thankfully. As a result, I have come across a new friend and it seems that we share an awesome connection. Interestingly, she used to live here many years ago, but now lives in Nevada. We had the opportunity to have dinner last night. She was hoping to go some place that had a bit of history that she could hold on to and take back home and reminisce about. I suggested an artsy, open cafe’/restaurant with a warm and friendly atmosphere. This place had no shortage of comfy sofas & cozy chairs, fancy wooden tables, and diner style seating that ran along side of the widest open windows, which provided a great view of all the adult Halloween participants carousing about in the damp night air. The high ceilings were mesmerizing along with the art-deco style walls. I was happy to inform my friend that this cafe’ had once been a car dealership back in the day. Incidentally, it was where I bought my very first car.

Needless to say, we were both very satisfied with the choice. Our similar interests helped draw us together which made the brief time that we spent effortless. We found ourselves sitting and chatting for hours, as if we’ve known each other for years. We even shared some great laughs as we took in some people proudly sporting full Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, my friend will be flying back to Nevada later this afternoon. But the fact that we live so far apart, only fuels our anticipation for our next visit which won’t be until next summer. But no worries. We have both agreed to keep this ‘friendship’ train on the track and moving. Priceless in my opinion and a good connection indeed.

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

Did You Know?…(11)

 

I had the pleasurable opportunity to see the James Brown movie: “Get On Up” this past Friday. I was very impressed with the lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who played the role of James Brown. I watched in awe while Mr. Boseman nailed the dance movements, diction, speech, walk, mannerisms, etc. of James Brown. Overall, I felt it was a good movie, but there was a great deal left unexplained. However, it was indeed an experience to witness some of the more poignant moments in the life of this historical musical legend unfold onscreen.

Here are some interesting facts about James Brown:

    • James Brown is often referred to as ‘the hardest working man in show business’.
    • James Brown’s first name was originally intended to be Joseph, but was somehow accidentally reversed on his birth certificate.
    • James Brown was sent to live with his Aunt Honey Washington at the age of six. His aunt sold moonshine and ran a brothel to support herself.
    • James Brown aspired to be a professional baseball player and a boxer when he was younger.
    • A news anchor once reported James Brown to be dead in 1992, in error.
    • Try Me” was James Brown’s 1st No 1 single on the R&B charts in 1959.
    • Although James Brown was unable to read ‘sheet music’, he was a musical genius.
    • James Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006. His coffin was made of 24-Karat-gold.
    • James Brown is the most ‘sampled’ artist of all time.

***Sampling – definition: the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

 

 

 

Out of Con-text!

In this modern day of technological advances that seem to be emerging at break-neck speed, is it any wonder that it’s very difficult to keep up? All of these options to become more ‘with it’ on the social scene. But many of these options don’t really promote a social atmosphere at all. (see earlier post: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/where-is-the-social-in-media/) Press a button for this and another for that. All of these varying options for modes of communication, leave little to the imagination and even less to good old fashioned face-to-face and voice-to-voice contact.

I recall when emailing first became a big deal. I pretty much went with the flow and joined in because this is what everyone was doing. If I wanted to be in contact with others, I had to get on the bandwagon and use this form of communication also. Eventually, emailing became as easy and effortless for me as speaking directly with someone, as it was once a big part of my work. But I couldn’t help but notice that there was a very crucial piece missing to this new fad of interaction. I couldn’t see the face(s) of those I was corresponding with via email. I couldn’t hear the tone in their voice(s), or lack thereof. During some of the written interactions, I wondered if the person had intended to come across as strongly as their words projected or if I was simply misinterpreting their words?

Then along came cell phones and text messaging. Now, I will admit, I was not a fan of text messaging in the beginning. I could not bring myself to a rational conclusion as to why someone would prefer to spend time typing a message into a tiny phone -vs- speaking with the person directly. It just didn’t seem practical to me. I quickly noticed that people could practice avoidance very easily with this somewhat incognito method of communication. A person could decline an invite with a quick impersonal text. They could project a different persona than the true person behind the text. But once again, I found myself getting on board this train, because this is how most people rolled…at least those that I communicated with. Over time, I became very comfortable with text messaging, but I still didn’t necessarily like it.

I can’t tell you how many times something has been misconstrued or taken out of con-text as a result of texting. Just like with emailing, you can’t hear the person’s tone, so you look for it in the words they use in their written correspondence. The tone can be mistaken and things can become very messy simply because people no longer interact on a more personal level. Everyone is texting it seems. You walk down a busy street and you literally see people walking, as if in a trance, staring at their cell phones as if their lives depended on it. And sometimes, I think it does. What did people do before the emergence of cell phones and emails? We picked up the phone and called people and arranged face-to-face meetings and social gatherings. Nowadays, you can go to a social gathering, and find a great number of people on their cell phones! Every time I go out to dinner, I see a handful of people on their cell phones. But wait a minute. The whole purpose of getting together is to be social, right? But people are on their cell phones, being unsociable.

Overall, I try and use text messaging only when direct communication is impossible at the time. I will often interrupt the back and forth messaging and just call the person out of frustration. And nothing is more maddening, in my opinion, than when a person stops responding…they just drop out of sight leaving you wondering why they haven’t responded to your text. If you had been on a phone conversation instead, you would know when the conversation ended because you would both have hung up the receivers. Remember that? When I’m out to dinner, I turn my cell phone down so that I can’t hear it. After all, I go out to dinner to interact with a person, not my phone. All that back and forth just seems a bit ridiculous. Or maybe I’m just taking things out of…con-text. What do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

One Lovely Blog Nomination

 

Oh my goodness! I guess today’s not such a ‘Monday’ after all. I am pleasantly surprised and am happy to announce that I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award thanks to the awesome D’Aller Naturel (pronounced: Dah-LAY Nah-choo-RELL)! I am truly blown away and so grateful!

The purpose of this award is to express appreciation and give recognition to small/new blogs/bloggers in an effort to increase viewership.

Here are the rules for the OLBA:

    • Thank and link the person(s) who nominated you.
    • List the rules and display the award
    • Share 7 facts about yourself
    • Nominate 15 Bloggers and comment on their posts so that they know they’ve been nominated.

Simple right? Now, for some facts about me:

    • I was born, raised and still live in Upstate, New York (close enough to Niagara Falls to throw a rock and almost hit my mark).

    • I am the proud parent of 1 awesome son.

    • I am a poet, but enjoy pretty much all forms of writing.

    • I formerly worked many years in the field of banking and even once worked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court where after 3 interviews, I was selected out of 83 other candidates for the position.

    • I’ve only flown 1 time in my entire life. (I do hope to change that though)

    • God blessed me to escape death on 3 separate occasions; 2 of which were very narrow escapes. (I think I must be meant to do something really important in this world)

I only have 12 nominees and here they are:

D’aller Naturel

Writely Sow

Charles1958

Elaine Jeremiah

Rhyme

foreverisreallytomorrow

Wild Camera Words

We Fall Laughing

shortnotsosweet

The moments matter

The Passion Dew

karendelchamps

The Best Part of Your Life Awaits You

Here’s a beautiful post from my friend Karen Delchamps! It is such an inspirational piece that I just couldn’t just keep it to myself. By the way, I’ve read her book Reinholder to Rainmaker. It’s an awesome book and I’m so glad I have my copy! Enjoy!

karendelchamps

Karen10Your best life awaits.  Don’t be fooled, it is not obtained by “finding God or being born again.”  It is not acquired by the average person changing his ways to a higher level of religious behaviors by which he now adheres to a new format of practices such as attending church every Sunday or praying before each meal.  In fact, not even the closest of family members, a best friend, or spouse would notice any visible changes or variations in the daily routine.  It is not gained by discontinuing certain behaviors or actions like smoking, consuming alcohol, or even using drugs.  The misconception that a person must change his ways is nonsensical rubbish perpetuated centuries ago by the churchgoers to separate themselves from the “barbarians.” There are no physical requirements. This new metaphysical and spiritual start must begin with the present state of who you are.  The journey begins only…

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