A Human Challenge

Today I am following yesterday’s prompt from The Daily Post, which challenges us to write on anything we want for exactly 10 minutes:

I’ve held a conviction lately that we, as humans, aren’t supportive enough of each other. This sounds very broad, yes, but within it I’d like to create a challenge. I challenge you to donate 10% of your income to helping other people.

This seems quite simple and maybe even redundant to. Biblically, tithing is supposed to be 10% of your income donated to the church. Regardless of your religion, I challenge you (yes, you!) to set aside that 10% and figure out a way you can bless someone with it. How different would our lives look if we simply did this to help out our fellow humans?

Recently we got a bill from my husbands life insurance company. It was for a few hundred dollars, just to maintain our insurance in the case of his accidental death. This is the incident that really got me thinking. I could throw away that few hundred dollars to a huge insurance corporation with the hopes that I might get to see some of it in the case of my husband’s untimely death. And God forbid anything happen to me, because then we’re screwed. Or I can take that cash and donate it to some of my friends. I know that many of them are hurting for various reasons. One is going through treatment for Lyme disease. One just lost her husband. One is trying to save for an adoption. What would it mean if we, as humans, supported each other instead of insurance companies? Medical bills for untimely illnesses aren’t covered by any insurance companies, so anyone that is sick is guaranteed to have mounting expenses that they are probably having trouble paying for.

So, I challenge you this: Invest in each other. Bless people financially where they are hurting. There isn’t always a whole lot we can do to physically help each other, but sometimes money can take so much weight off of someones shoulders. Invest in each other, and have faith that if catastrophe ever found you, those people would rally around YOU and support you, too. I guarantee that the people in your life care more about you than any insurance company. Pour your heart into them and have faith that what goes around, comes around.

**GoFundMe.com and YouCaring.com are great crowd sourcing sites where many people with expenses that they can’t afford are investing their hope in fellow humans. Check them out if you like this idea and want to find people who need help!

On Deaf Grandmothers

Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

The back pew of the tiny old church smelled like lemon furniture polish. Everyone in my grandmother’s neighborhood congregated here for mass, and as we waited for the rows to fill I couldn’t help fidgeting over the sickly green layer of dirt and wax that coated the antiqued wood. My grandmother hardly ever came out for services anymore; her hearing was failing and she was too proud to purchase the hearing aids recommended by her physician, but today was Palm Sunday so an exception had been made.

The church seated maybe a hundred people, just big enough for the small town she lived in when all the folks turned out. Everyone here knew each other. They had grown up together, married each others brothers or cousins and watched each other’s children grow. I always looked forward to the end of the service when the kids would play “tag” and hide under skirts and the adults would mingle and reminisce. Inevitably someone would comment on how big my siblings and I were growing, how wonderful it was to see us, and then they’d continue a brisk conversation in Spanish that I couldn’t keep up with. I was sure they were talking about us, my siblings and I — we were the only half guerros around who couldn’t follow the conversation.

As the last few people filtered in, the priest began his prominent march down the aisle, the traditional cue that the service was starting. Silent anticipation descended the entire congregation. Inevitably, my tactless, timing-inept grandmother took this moment to lean over and whisper too loudly in her hearing-impaired voice, “Did you see Mercy? That lady in the green? Boy, she hasn’t aged well,” or “Did you see Adrian? The red head over there? She has really put on weight!”

I love my dear grandmother so much. Her timing and her tact are impeccable. I don’t care if we are at a restaurant, a clothing store, or a church service, this scenario is the story of my life with her. I will forever fondly remember her awkward, impolite “whispered” remarks that everyone in a 20 yard radius can’t help but eavesdrop on.

Daily Prompt: Our House

I vividly remember short bits and pieces of my first home. It was on Bermuda Drive, and it was blue. There was a massive oak tree in the front yard that dropped more acorns and leaves than aught to be possible for a single tree. My dad would rake the leaves into mountains, then we would dive into them and bury ourselves deeply into the scratchy mounds. Afterwards, we’d be left digging leathery leaf bits and acorns out of our netherparts for quite some time. One year he decided the tree needed to go. He and my uncles rented a chainsaw and took that sucker down while my siblings and I cried, lamenting future leafless autumns.

A swing set with candy cane stripes sat prominently in the postage stamp back yard. The cherry red fence was trellised with vibrant moss colored grapevines that grew the sourest grapes you’ve ever eaten, and a shaggy white dog named Schnapps was always at our heals. Our fence was low and I remember peaking between the peeling planks to spy on the old woman who lived in the house behind us. In hindsight she was probably in her 40’s, but to me she was old.

My brother and I would use the doggy door to go in and out of the backyard — who needed doorknobs, right? One day, soon after I crawled into the kitchen through that doggy door, I was playing at the kitchen table. The wall adjacent was made out of mirrored tiles and I was hanging upside down on one of the chairs, looking at my reflection and contemplating my hair that hung all the way down to the ground. This, I remember vividly. In the mirror next to my reflection sat another little girl, and I was talking to her. She wasn’t anyone I knew; in fact, I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing in my house. She was close to my age. My mom heard me talking to her and came in to see what was going on.

“I’m talking to the little girl, mama, the one that’s right here under the table with me,” I said, but when I turned to look she was no longer there. My mom’s eyes grew wide as she sat me down and asked more questions. I didn’t really know what the big deal was, I think I just knew that she was from some other life. My mom called my dad in a panic, then they spent the next hour going through the house looking for her. They never found anything, but I’ve always remembered that little girl.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/prompt-our-house/

Weeding Through Memories

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/daily-prompt-shake-it-up/

I am 33 years old, so my twelfth birthday was just over 20 years ago. I can’t even believe I’m saying that. My best friend and I were reflecting just today on how crazy it was to think that we’ve had certain things in our possession, things like tongs and pans and children for 6 years, 10 years, 15 years. Not so very long ago, this duration of time was unfathomable; a lifetime to my adolescent self.

I barely remember my twelfth birthday. Jim Morrison once wrote a poem that’s been one of my favorites since I stumbled across it in high school because it strikes me as true. A rock star’s truth and my truth, parallel universes and worlds apart:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I look back over my life

I am struck by postcards

ruined snapshots

faded posters

of a time, I can’t recall

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So for my twelfth birthday, I have flashes of memories in my head that are somewhat confirmed by my mom’s old photo albums. I think it was a slumber party. I am pretty sure that I invited a bunch of girls that weren’t really my friends, simply because they were the cool girls and everyone who was anyone invited them to their parties. I remember one of them being a bitch – I hadn’t really wanted to invite her. She topped it off by throwing up all over my mom’s rug. In reality, it was insignificance followed by 20+ years of other mostly insignificant things, broken up by bits of truly significant and beautiful things.

I can’t believe I have an almost twelve year old child now. She soon will be planning her epic twelfth birthday party. Me? I’ll be there with my camera.

Screaming in Silence

Sometimes silence is all we have.

Too much is said in fleeting glances;

the almost whisper of your fingers on my skin.

A subtle innuendo of yearning,

unspoken.

Look into my eyes and read my secrets;

I want you to know.

Words dance within my soul,

forbidden or elusive.

Sometimes silence is all I have.

 

This is in response to the weekly writing challenge: The Sound of Silence. I really enjoy thinking around the daily and weekly prompts, so I will be posting more of them! I’m no poet, but this is what climbed into my head when I started thinking on this particular prompt and It’s been a long time since I’ve gone this route! Be kind to me =) Visit the link below if you want to visit the prompt.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-sound-of-silence/

 

 

Different Folks.

San Diego. A gorgeous place in a beautiful location. Many people think “beach” and “sun” and the pretty people that go along with these two things. They would be correct, to a point, but many people forget to think “city” and remember all of the things that come with this loaded word. I live in one of the poorer neighborhoods in the city. First, let me tell you a little about the poorer parts of San Diego — San Diego is comprised of a couple. One of the poorer parts, the part that I lived in for a long time, consists of a slew of refugees from many parts of the world. The old immigrants are from Vietnam, but many that have moved here recently are from various parts of Africa and some of the Middle East. It’s poor because the people are not educated in American ways and are learning them. It’s poor because they are competing for low-paying American jobs. But that part of town is so rich in culture. It’s got the best food in San Diego, hands down. The families are intact, and they are here because they are trying to make a better life for their kids. Many immigrants are extremely driven and well-educated — that’s how they ended up here in the first place. It’s financially poor. That part of town gets recognized a lot. They get more city money, more grants, and more volunteers to try and help the refugees establish themselves and make a life here. It’s good, they need it.

Now, the part of town I live in is different. I moved here about 4 years ago. This part of town is often overlooked in so many ways. I lived in San Diego for a decade before I even knew it existed, and many people I talk to don’t know where, exactly, it is when I mention it. I live in what is known as Southeast San Diego. This part of San Diego has been poor for generations. It is impoverished in a way that is so deeply etched into the souls of the people here that many of them don’t know how to live life any differently. College has never been an option. Many of the youth are in gangs, but so are their fathers and their grandfathers. Most families are not intact in this part of the city. The schools have the lowest ratings in town and there are no volunteers lining up here to help tutor them. It hurts my heart a little bit to write it this way, but it’s true.

We moved here on purpose because we knew it was a tougher part of town, with the intent of pouring our lives into the community. Can I tell you a little secret? I love it here. I love the people so much. I’ve learned so much from my neighbors and the people I work with, and we’ve been so amazingly blessed in this neighborhood. There is a different kind of family going on here, one that is only found when people have nothing but each other. Our house is always full of random people, and I wouldn’t trade this spot for the world.

What kind of people live where I live? Financially poor, generationally impoverished, gang involved people. People with tough backgrounds and tougher lives looking forward. Real people. Strong people. Some of the bravest people I’ve ever met.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/daily-prompt-west-end-girls/