Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Author Archives: Joy

Day Eight of Writing About a Picture for 30 Days

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Footprints

If I analyze each and every step
I will see the direction
That each and every person is taking
Some forward
some sideways
Some in circles
some never moving
stationary
Take a step
in the right direction
Move forward
Take a walk
away from the stress
Take a leap
of faith
That either way
You are still moving
still changing
evolving
growing
becoming more 
of what is good
and less
of whatever
is
your life’s
quicksand.

Day Seven of Writing about a Picture for 30 Days

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Today, my church (Crenshaw Christian Center), honored the amazing Apostle Frederick K. C. Price for his 80th birthday!!  I could probably write pages about how much Apostle Price means to me, and how much his teaching has impacted my life and my family.  But, I was given an assignment today in church.  The guest pastor, Wiley Jackson, presented the sermon to honor Apostle Price.  He challenged the congregation to think about Apostle Price’s favorite scripture in 2 Corinthians, “We walk by faith, not be sight,” and write about how it has impacted our lives.  Pastor Jackson said we should write it and send it to the church, and that one day it might become an empowering book of testimonies for the world to read.  So, there was my assigned writing for today, and here it is!

I have been a member of CCC since the mid 1980’s, and walking by faith and not by sight was not such an easy thing to do when I was in my early 20’s!  I realize now that at 20 years old, I only operated on what I could see and faith was something that I would really have to develop.  Well, I was most definitely in the right
church for development of my faith.

Sadly, when I was 18, my apartment was broken into during the night and I was raped.  It took quite a while for me to have trust without fear when it came to my relationship with my boyfriend at the time (my husband now).  My husband and I met BEFORE I was raped, so one of the reasons why I believe we have had such a long-lasting and positive marriage is because he was a big part of my therapy and healing.  He showed me very early on that he was always there for me, in my corner, my biggest fan!

However, there was still one problem that just wouldn’t resolve.  I struggled with darkness naturally, and with closing my eyes in what seemed like vulnerable situations to me.  Actually there was never any threat.  It was my post traumatic stress and fears associated with the rape.  Specifically, I wasn’t able to soap my face and splash water over it IF I had to close my eyes.  Quite naturally, most of us close our eyes when washing our faces.  I always feared someone was coming up behind me. All of those effects were related to the details of the assault.

One Sunday at church, the pastor called for people to come up who needed healing or who wanted to be free from something that was causing them fear or suffering.  I knew that was my opportunity to be free.  He always said, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  I knew that I was “seeing” my fear even when it was not there, but I also believed that if I had the faith that I was safe and protected from harm, then I could ultimately be free.  I remembered being taught that we have to see those things that be not as though they are.  I had to see myself free and safe because in my heart I believed I was not.

I went down to the altar and joined a line of people who all needed a blessing that day.  I closed my eyes and waited for him to lay his hands on me.  All I can recall was that when his hand touched my forehead, my body felt like it had been bathed in warm water.  From the top of my head to my feet, I felt warm. The next thing I knew I was lying on my back on the floor.  An usher waited for me to open my eyes and then he helped me up.  I felt like I was walking on clouds as I floated back to my seat.  That was the beginning of my freedom from the horrid effects of being raped.

Now, I walk by faith and not by sight because what I see can be depressing and discouraging.  If I think about what I really want in life, I have to believe and trust that my faith will bring those blessings.  I can’t believe that I will have the desires of my heart just from looking at what is around me.  Imagine, if I had no faith, I would have no way of knowing that my mother’s spirit is with me all the time.  If I had no faith, I would not know that she is in Heaven surrounded by angels and love, mercy and peace.  I have to keep my faith because I need it to live a joyful life.  My name is Joy, without faith, there is no joy!

Thanks to my incredible teacher Apostle Price for teaching us how to WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT! 2 Corinthians 5:7

Day Six of Writing About a Picture for 30 Days

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My Ocean and I spent some quality time together during Winter Break.  My Ocean is my favorite place to go for refuge, reflection, relaxation, and rejuvenation.  It is My Ocean. When I’m there, I truly feel like it’s welcoming me back, and when I leave, I feel it releasing me.


My Ocean was the most fun for me as a kid.  Mommie would take us every summer, at least once a week.  We would pack up our lunches of tuna or bologna sandwiches, chips, peaches, plums, and drinks.  I remember like it was yesterday how much fun it was when we would drive through the tunnel on the freeway and then come out to see My Ocean!  It was like the world became a new place on the other side of that tunnel.  I remember digging for sand crabs, putting them in our bucket, and seriously expecting them to live once they got back to my house!!  How funny is that?!!


My Ocean’s waves were unforgettable too!  My sister and I would swim in the waves with no fear.  This was before the Jaws movie scared everyone and they all thought there were sharks near the shore.  We would jump the waves, dive into the waves, and tumble and flip from the power of the waves.  That’s a beautiful memory.


My Ocean brings me such peace and tranquility now as an adult.  Anywhere I go, if there is a beach, I will definitely find my special place to relax on the sand.  Jamaica’s beaches are fantastic.  Waikiki is awesome.  Maui’s beaches are breathtaking.  But the most amazing thing is that the beach 20 minutes from home is actually just as enjoyable if I go at the right time of day during the right season of the year.  It’s bliss.  My Ocean, I love you!

Day Five of Writing About a Picture for 30 Days

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My sister and I had a spa day this week.  It was even better because it cost me nothing!  I had several gift cards so I was able to get a wonderful massage, a Joy book, and massage oil for future use without spending one penny of my own money.  I felt fortunate to be able to be there during my winter vacation, feeling stress-free and relaxed before even going in!

After the relaxing jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and quiet room, I had the Pure Relaxation Massage with the Burke Williams Experience added on.  The Burke Williams Experience was an extra cleansing step.  He used Chinese herbs and a loofah to scrub away dead skin.  He sprinkled the herbs on and it literally felt like little rain drops falling.  For 50 minutes, my muscles were rubbed and massaged, my skin was washed, scrubbed, and moisturized, and I was floating on a cloud.  My masseur’s name was Everado, preferably called Ever.  He was ever so kind to be sure that my massage was “ever”ything I needed it to be.  LOL!  It’s nice when the person actually cares if you are satisfied with their services.  I was completely satisfied and will definitely be returning next month for a facial and another massage treatment.

School starts back in just 2 days, but I will remember the relaxation that I was fortunate to have for these last 3 weeks.  Thanks to Burke Williams Spa for another memorable experience.

Day Four of Writing About a Photo for 30 Days

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Souls on the Sea
Souls dance all around us
They sing in the wind
They walk on butterflies’ wings
Souls love us forever
They wipe tears trickling to our ears
as we cry at night in silence
They hug away the sadness
that sometimes creeps in the middle of madness
Souls tiptoe on ocean waves
and bring joy and comfort to our hearts
whenever we take the time 
to see them
welcome them
embrace them
and remember them.

Day Three of Writing About a Photo for 30 Days

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Paths
We all have various paths to walk in our lifetimes.  Some have paths outlined very clearly, usually by parents.  Those paths are often the most difficult to trudge.  Others have “suggested paths” by parents, caregivers, teachers, or other influential people.  The suggested path is often the one that seems sensible to follow.  Of course, why would anyone suggest a path that would lead to anything other than success?  We trust that the suggested path is safe and reliable.
  
But the questions we all have to eventually ask ourselves is what path am I preparing ; what path will I forsake; what path am I taking; and ultimately what path will be left for someone else to follow after I am gone?  When I look at the path of my own life and reflect on the various forks in the road, unexpected u-turns, obstacles, hazards, diversions, and even the smooth and easy experiences along the way, I always come back to the same conclusion…it’s my path and what I make of it that determine the journey and the ultimate destination.

I have wanted more than anything to set and suggest paths for my son and daughter that would bring them success and fulfillment.  Then, I remember that a parent may set a path, but it may be the hardest for the child to follow.  I remember that my suggested paths are well received, but whose path is is really?  Mine or theirs?  

Now that my children are 20 and 23, I have relinquished the responsibilities of creating a positive future by setting or suggesting the paths for my children to take.  Now, I watch from afar, yet with my heartstrings still in their hands, as they both walk their own paths.   When they need a boost, I’m there, but I can’t create the path. What may seem curvy, slope-ridden, winding, and treacherous to me may actually be the roads to build my children’s successes.


What is most important for me to do at this point in my life is to be sure that the path I have created for ME will be worthy of others to stand on, walk on, and follow.  I hope that one day a little kid sees my footprints in the sand, and instantly he puts his tiny feet into my prints and walks along the shore with me.

Day Two of Writing About a Photo for 30 Days

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Joy
Unspeakable Joy
My last name
A blessing to have
Sometimes called “Joy Joy”
Other times just “Joy”
The book I bought called “Joy”
says,
“If we want joy to be the story of our years,
joy must be the story of our days.”
Joy is every day
Joy is awakening to new beginnings
Joy is knowing that I’m loved
Unconditionally
Joy is being able to be me
and have no worry
I am Joy
I have joy
unspeakable joy
and this is only Day 2!

Day One of Writing About a Photo for 30 Days

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This beautiful Christmas Cactus was given to me a year ago by my dear friend Kim.  She gave one to me and to my sister as a way of expressing her love to us as we grieved the loss of our mother who passed away 3 days after Christmas.  When I looked at the flowers a year ago, I thought about how fortunate I was to have good friends and family who were tenderly reaching out to me during such a difficult loss in my life.  

Now, when I look at the blooming flowers, I see the reminders of love, concern, and friendship that come from someone I truly adore.  My friend is struggling with her own sickness right now, so it’s my turn to extend the same kind of support and love to her that she showed to me.  I would select a flower to give to her, but of course I don’t know which one would be most memorable.  I would select a plant for her, but plants can be so temperamental!  Maybe I should select the best words to say and the perfect words to write, and give her a gift that never dies, never needs watering, and always remains constant.  The gift I will give her is the gift of words.

Memories Mommie Left Me

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Mommie left me memories

Tucked inside my heart

Memories for each season,

Every day, every night

They flicker in my eyes like little bits of light

Memories of First Days of School

Special clothes, new shoes,

Folded money in a white envelope for PTA Dues.

Memories of Halloween

Bags and bowls filled with treats

A costume made from Mommie’s closet

With party shoes like pedestals

On the soles of my feet.

Memories of Mondays at her Mommy’s house

Nana up all day cooking and smoking

Aching back, hair a mess

Dancing around in her favorite house dress.

Mommie sketched me memories

On a piece of faded notebook paper

She scribbled over the list for Santa

Made cookies and poured his glass of milk

Added flocking to the Christmas tree

Above the rotating blue light

shining like silk.

Mommie stashed a memory

Within folds of my warm fleece sheets

Always soothed my soul at night by

Rocking me into the most peaceful sleep.

Mommie awakened memories

in the dawn of each new day

of Saturday morning waffles and crunchy bacon

to summer sandwiches seasoned with

pesty

beach

sand.

Mommie imprinted memories

On childhood healing

Bayer aspirin’s peach-colored tablets

Rubbing me down and asking me how I’m feeling

Memories linger in Lemon Heads and Pixie Stix

Malt Balls and Tootsie Rolls,

Sour Dill Pickles, Sardines and Saltines

But especially in a box of her favorite Cheez-Its

Mommie sang a memory in Aretha Franklin’s

“Natural Woman”

In her grandson’s songs from high school musicals

And in a summer symphony of waves crashing

Mommie trickled tear-stained memories

Of how to fight like the queen of humility

How to be victorious in the face of hostility

How to struggle with dignity

How to laugh through insanity

How to never use profanity

How to embrace Christianity

Through lessons taught to all humanity

Memories Mommie Left Me

Are memories never left

Alone

Each

and

Every

Memory

Is

Mommie

In loving memory of my beautiful mother, Gloria Lee Cooper

(June 21, 1934 December 28, 2010)

Holiday Smoliday

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Hustle and bustle, shopping and spending, running around and stressing in crowds.  Not my plan at all.  This holiday season will be the first in my life without my parents to celebrate with me.  I decided a few months ago that I would focus on blessings, memories, and not get caught up in Holiday Smoliday.

What is Holiday Smoliday?  To me, it’s when everyone else’s plans, wants, and needs become priority.  My priority has to be the wellness of my mind and spirit.  My priority has to be the happiness of my own family.  My priority has to be appreciating what I already have.  I am expecting nothing other than peace this holiday season.

I pray that Holiday Smoliday doesn’t come my way.  I just want to rejoice in all that God has given me. I don’t need Thanksgiving or turkeys, dressing, pies, or icky mashed potatoes to feel that kind of joy!  That joy lives inside of me, and for that I am eternally thankful!