Life is Fragile


While remnants of Hurricane Irma bring a rainy and windy day to South Carolina. I think back to 2001. That year on this date my 92 year old grandfather had successful surgery to remove a sub dermal hematoma (blood cot) from his brain. While sitting in his hospital room my hubby & I watched in horror the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, & potentially the White House.
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I also thought about one of my oldest friendships and it being my sister-friend’s birthday. Her special day was forever changed. This happens when hideous things occur on any special day but September 11, 2001 was not a normal day.
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Also on that day was my mom’s last day working at O’Hare airport. She left work and stopped at my grandmother’s to take a nap as usual. She awoke to a world changed. Her former co-workers wouldn’t return back to work for weeks and then it was a whole different world.
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Life can change in an instant. It can be by the hands of humans or by natural disasters. Today I think of the number of hurricanes and earthquakes and think some of it is due to human’s arrogance. We all need to respect the planet because she is speaking loudly & boldly. May all who read this remember to hug & tell someone you love them today. Tomorrow is never promised.
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The Path of Totality


Once in a lifetime events don’t land at your front door every year.  A total solar eclipse occurs approximately every 18 months somewhere around the globe.  Today various cities in South Carolina were in the direct path of totality.  The path of totality is where an eclipse is at 100% coverage.

There are a number of friends that held events today.  I decided to attend an eclipse viewing party of a friend who enjoys meteorology and astronomy.  He had a number of friends over for what turned into an amazing afternoon.

Prior to the beginning of the eclipse, wearing our verified certified glasses we looked at the sun.  Never having looked directly at the sun it was amazing to see the orange glow.  No one looked for a long period but just enough every so often.

One of the most notable changes was within the hot & humid temperatures.  We physically felt the lowering of the temperature during the start of the eclipse.  On a regular basis we donned our glasses and would look to see the moon passing in front of the path of the sun.  During the time right before totality with glasses you could view, the diamond ring and the effect of Bailey’s beads.

Leading up to the eclipse including the transition of temperature and shadow were awe inspiring.  However, the start of the moment was when you were able to remove your eclipse glasses and view one of the most amazing moments in the universe.  Seeing the total eclipse and the corona effect from the sun was a WOW moment for all watching.  In addition looking to the left we were able to view the planet Venus…for a few minutes I felt like a little kid.

Regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs, you cannot ignore the amazing moment today when the moon passed in the path of the sun.  Where I stood I had 2 minutes and 36 seconds to view the total eclipse.  It seems just as amazing as when the eclipse began it ended with the sun taking back her reign again.  Tonight is a new moon and earlier today that moon showed she too demands respect.  Thank you moon, thank you sun, and thank you amazing universe.

Check out the photos taken by party host Chris McCurry using solar filters and a Pringle’s potato chip can to capture the historic moments throughout the day.

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Fun & Festive Food for a Solar Event! Photo credit: J. Rose-Harris

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Camera is set to go! Photo credit: J. Rose-Harris

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Ready to see the sun and the moon kiss! Photo Credit: J. Rose-Harris

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The beginning… Photo credit: C. McCurry

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Almost at totality! Photo credit: C. McCurry

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Diamond ring and Bailey’s beads. Photo credit: C. McCurry

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WOW! The corona glow! Photo credit: C. McCurry

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A proud moment! Photo credit: J. Rose-Harris

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An Accidental Day


I’m somewhat of a planner not every day but most days.  I don’t have a set in stone daily routine or plans but a general outline in my head of my day.  My days are pretty consistent there is my morning routine, work routine, and evening routine.  Then I sleep and repeat just as most people.  Some days during the week there is a switch up.

Sunday was one of those days that I had planned out.  Regular morning worship, then stopping for a cool cup of Italian ice, then stop to see an art exhibit at my local art museum, then buy something for a pot luck poetry workshop.  Morning worship received a completed check mark and so did buying Italian ice.

I entered the Columbia Museum of Art to view the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit by Tyrone Geter.  I wove through the Salvador Dali exhibit titled “Fantastical Fairy Tales”, which I had seen but was packed since yesterday was the exhibits last day.  Entering the gallery space that contained Mr. Geter’s work, I was drawn to one particular piece titled “Homeless in the Promised Land.”  I was mostly pulled in by the message which was derived from Trump’s “Make America Great Again” theme.  The figures depicted did not appear to be doing well and it showed an America that has always existed with poor and homeless regardless of race.

Homeless in the Promised Land

“Homeless in the Promised Land” by Tyrone Geter, 2016

“Homeless in the Promised Land” is a multi-media and multi-layered piece of art.  Complex in messaging and depicting magnetic figures.  A Trump supporter, a homeless woman, and a homeless man.  There is a collage inspired 3-D effect of a blanket with a unique pattern.  Hidden in the piece is messaging that makes it clear Trump’s political rhetoric does not address the simple truth of those depicted.  Food, clothing and shelter are their most urgent need.

Stepping away from the piece, I was told by the security guard the artist was in the building.  The best part was he would be giving a gallery talk at 2pm.  I immediately was conflicted because I had a poetry workshop at 2pm.  However, how often do you get to hear a shy artist speak about his work?  I quickly updated the Facebook event for the poetry workshop to “can’t attend” along with a quick status comment.

Trying to confirm where the talk would occur, I went to the information desk to ask.  To my surprise standing next to the desk was Mr. Geter, the artist himself.  A kind elderly gentleman who had just learned he was speaking.  While standing and chatting with Mr. Geter, a museum employee approached responsible for a renovation space tour for visitors from another museum.  The best part was I was invited to tag along.  There definitely are perks to being a dedicated museum member and volunteer.

Tyrone Geter, Artist of "Enduring Spirit"

Tyrone Geter, Artist of “Enduring Spirit” Exhibition

Both the tour and gallery talk did not disappoint.  Along with members from the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC I heard about detail of upcoming renovations and expansion of gallery spaces.  The cherry on top was the gallery talk by Mr. Geter in front of his artwork.  Learning of his history and the determination of his mother who only had a 3rd grade education was inspiring.  However, above all was to hear the various muses and motivations behind his artwork.

"My Beauty is Not My Beast" by Tyrone Geter, 2016

“My Beauty is Not My Beast” by Tyrone Geter, 2016

 

Mr. Geter indicated the ultimate goal was to emotionally move those who view his work and tell a story.  His goal is definitely met with the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit.  The exhibit will be at the Columbia Museum of Art until June 11th.  The CMA is a winner of the 2016 National Medal for Institute of Museum & Library Service.  Thought provoking and current as well as historical art collections is one reason for visiting the award winning museum.  Even with renovations in the permanent galleries there is still plenty to see.  The National Medal was awarded to the CMA, primarily for its impact to the surrounding community and it does that with outreach to various youth orientated programming.

I know if you visit the Columbia Museum of Art and check out the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit you’ll love them as much as I do.  And you just may have a great accidental day as well.

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My Spiritual Journey


Yesterday, was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season for Christians worldwide.  Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and various other denominations have a service where priest or pastors impose ashes in a form of a cross on parishioner’s foreheads.  The imposition of ashes mean many things but personally to me it is a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Just in December Christians celebrated the birth of Christ.  And each year depending upon when Easter Sunday is determined we begin the celebration of Lent as early as February.  Quite simply Easter Sunday is determined to be the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the spring equinox.  Yes, I know it had me scratching my head too!

img_8905For me the holiest of times is Easter because it is the reason for which Jesus Christ was born.  That is correct he was born to ultimately die for our sins.  I know it is heady stuff but it is the foundation of the Christian faith.  After a three-year spiritual journey, I chose to convert to Lutheranism and joined a Lutheran church last October.  This was after much soul searching and attending various churches with my husband, friends and solo.  Ultimately what lead me to the Lutheran faith was their doctrine which follows my beliefs.

I will not get into the details but I will say that each of us had to have our own faith walk.  I know many people of varying faiths.  Those who are even atheists and agnostics.  I know people of Muslim faith, my husband is Catholic and yes I am Protestant and have always been.  I know Methodist and even Buddhist.  Part of what lead me to Lutheran faith is it embraces those who believe otherwise and does not choose to condemn.

Looping back to the point of this post, I feel most serene and focused during the Lenten Season.  It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that was made for us by Jesus Christ.  I am not a theologian and will not get into a discussion of various faiths and their validity.  I will say for me personally repenting by sacrificing something or like my husband collecting change to give to a charity cleanses our spirit.

In addition to the closeness I feel to God.  I also reflect on the life of my late mother.  She also enjoyed this time of year.  My mom made angel wings for her church’s Easter program and they are still being used some six years later.  When I was a child we enjoyed dying eggs in all fun swirling colors.  And I always received a fun Easter basket. Shopping for a new dress and shiny shoes was an adventure.  My mom died a few days prior to Palm Sunday and I chose to have her funeral service on Good Friday of that year.  It seemed only fitting for a woman who was humble and a servant of God.

Finally, I am looking forward to see where this year’s Lenten journey leads me. I have decided that the book “The Purpose Driven Life” is not something I need to read.  For the last few years I have tried reading, thinking that I would get a big reveal of what my life should be.  But I realize that listening to God and following the direction he pushes me toward, I am living my purpose.  Though I have found a new church home my spiritual journey continues and will do so until my final breath.

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Why I Love The Obamas


There have been 43 White men as U.S. President.  President Obama finally broke up the club of whiteness and added some diversity.  He is truly in all aspects of the term African-American; since he was born to a White mother from the Midwest and an African father from Kenya.  When running for office there was a dichotomy of opinion whether he was Black enough or if he was too Black.  Some wondered would the White House now become the Black House?  During all the negative rhetoric I watched not with despair but with pride to see a Black man take the oath of office to become the 44th U.S. President.  Wait, let me correct, I listened while on Pennsylvania Avenue standing in Freedom Plaza along the Inauguration Parade route just around the corner from the White House on January 20, 2009.

My journey began way back with the Obamas in 1996, when as a Clinton-Gore volunteer, I was tasked with phone banking and making down ticket calls for Barack Obama.  I didn’t know much about him except he had done organizing within his community.  He was a lawyer at that point having graduated from Harvard Law School.  He also taught constitutional law these were snippets of information provided over the course of the ’96 campaign.  It was a joyous time when on November 5, 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore were re-elected and Barack Obama won his first election for the Illinois State Senate.  During the Victory Party at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, getting my first hugs from Senator-elect Obama and his wife Michelle was heart-warming, yes they’ve always been huggers.

I relocated in 1997 to South Carolina, so Barack Obama was my Senator only for a short while.  However, I watched with pride when he was introduced to the world at the 2004 Democratic National Convention during the speech heard around the globe.  The most recognized part of the speech is:

“There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

However, one of my favorite parts of the speech is:

“If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.  If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.  If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.  It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.”

After hearing this phenomenal speech everyone wanted to know who is this State Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate?  I already knew and watched from that point waiting for the moment for when he would run for U.S. President.  It wasn’t a question of if but when.

Following many rumors in February 2007, in Springfield, Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama announced his run for U.S. President.  Among other U.S. Senators running were Joe Biden and Hillary Rodham Clinton.  In May 2007, I stopped by the South Carolina Obama Campaign Headquarters in Columbia, SC located on the corner of Calhoun and Assembly streets and began my volunteer efforts.  Starting off doing phone banking I knew my talent was better used in other capacities.  And over time soon became what I am known best as Data Goddess.  The Obama Campaign recreated how data as well as digital media was used during a campaign.  He created via his experience of community organizing a new mold for how to run a Presidential campaign.  With the blowout win of the South Carolina Presidential Democratic Primary, Obama and not Clinton became the candidate to beat.

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Taken by Staff Photographer in Manning, SC – November 2007

Upon becoming elected as the 44th President even during a campaign where rocks and stones were thrown his way, he pushed for an agenda passionate to him.  Unlike any other President before him his cabinet was filled with powerful and capable women.  Showing the importance of women, the first piece of legislation he signed was the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act Bill.”  Over the last 8 years, President Obama has signed approximately 1,350 pieces of legislation into law.  His most famous and the piece of legislation marked for repeal by the 115th U.S. Congress is The Affordable Care Act.  Coming into the White House with a dysfunctional banking system and an auto industry near bankruptcy he made tough decisions in bailing both out with federal assistance.  Even when detractors thought this was not the better solution but time has shown it was the best solution.

There are far too many things to list regarding why I have such admiration for the Obama Administration.  However, I most respect the humanness of the President.  During addresses after shootings at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT and last year at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida we saw a very human and compassionate President.  We also saw this when speaking about the killing of Trayvon Martin and during the numerous addresses made upon unjustified shooting of Black men and women by law enforcement across the nation.  It is the humanness, dignity, and intelligence that I most admire about President Obama.

With the incoming 45th President, I am greatly concerned about the openness and dignity that President Obama brought to the White House.  I do not have confidence in the leadership to come this is based on the vitriol hate displayed during the 2016 Presidential campaign by the Republican Presidential nominee.  I admit I am a staunch liberal and a leader within the South Carolina Democratic Party, so to many of course I admire and support President Obama.  However, I am fair and try not to pre-judge but what I have seen thus far from the U.S. President-Elect does not give me great confidence in the next four years.  I do not see an inclusive or diverse White House or one open to the public in the way the Obama Administration engaged the public.

I admit as a Black woman I have watched with pride the initiatives put in place by First Lady Michelle Obama.  She has worked for military families to getting young people moving and eating healthy to fighting for girls right to education around the globe.  Being a part of history also puts a smile in my heart.  On June 1, 2016, on behalf of the Columbia Museum of Art as their Community Member, I attended the ceremony and reception for 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  It was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in the East Room of the White House.  And to the surprise of us all while in the Blue Room we saw Marine One land and take off on the White House lawn!  This opportunity seemed to be a full circle moment from when I first met the Obama’s in Chicago, Illinois.

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2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service Program

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Karen Brosius, Michelle Obama, Joyce Rose-Harris – White House East Room           June 2016

Finally, I say thank you President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for your leadership and dedication to the American people.  Seeing a Black couple occupy the White House makes me proud not merely because they are Black but because they worked hard to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  There was no silver spoon for them during their childhoods but there was the knowledge of how important it is to get an education and then to uplift their communities.  I will miss the weekly addresses by President Obama and the many initiatives of First Lady Obama but I know now they will take their work to Chicago, Illinois in a year or so, putting their knowledge and activism in the Obama Presidential Library and Center.  I know there is much more awesome things to come for the Obama family.  Thank you President and First Lady Obama for showing citizens of the United States and the world how to rise higher.

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Simple Savings Plan


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One of the top three New Year resolutions is to save more money.  Here is a quick and simple way to save well over $1,000 during the year.  You won’t believe how easy it will be just start with $1.00.  Yes, that is correct $1.00 during this the first week of 2017, then next week save an additional $2.00 then the third week add $3.00.  Below is the breakdown and summary of what you will save over a years’ time.

Now get to saving!

Week

Deposit By

Amount Deposited

Total for Year

1 1/6/17 $1.00 $1.00
2 1/13/17 $2.00 $3.00
3 1/20/17 $3.00 $6.00
4 1/27/17 $4.00 $10.00
5 2/3/17 $5.00 $15.00
6 2/10/17 $6.00 $21.00
7 2/17/17 $7.00 $28.00
8 2/24/17 $8.00 $36.00
9 3/3/17 $9.00 $45.00
10 3/10/17 $10.00 $55.00
11 3/17/17 $11.00 $66.00
12 3/24/17 $12.00 $78.00
13 3/31/17 $13.00 $91.00
14 4/7/17 $14.00 $105.00
15 4/14/17 $15.00 $120.00
16 4/21/17 $16.00 $136.00
17 4/28/17 $17.00 $153.00
18 5/5/17 $18.00 $171.00
19 5/12/17 $19.00 $190.00
20 5/19/17 $20.00 $210.00
21 5/26/17 $21.00 $231.00
22 6/2/17 $22.00 $253.00
23 6/9/17 $23.00 $276.00
24 6/16/17 $24.00 $300.00
25 6/23/17 $25.00 $325.00
26 6/30/17 $26.00 $351.00
27 7/7/17 $27.00 $378.00
28 7/14/17 $28.00 $406.00
29 7/21/17 $29.00 $435.00
30 7/28/17 $30.00 $465.00
31 8/4/17 $31.00 $496.00
32 8/11/17 $32.00 $528.00
33 8/18/17 $33.00 $561.00
34 8/25/17 $34.00 $595.00
35 9/1/17 $35.00 $630.00
36 9/8/17 $36.00 $666.00
37 9/15/17 $37.00 $703.00
38 9/22/17 $38.00 $741.00
39 9/29/17 $39.00 $780.00
40 10/6/17 $40.00 $820.00
41 10/13/17 $41.00 $861.00
42 10/20/17 $42.00 $903.00
43 10/27/17 $43.00 $946.00
44 11/3/17 $44.00 $990.00
45 11/10/17 $45.00 $1,035.00
46 11/17/17 $46.00 $1,081.00
47 11/24/17 $47.00 $1,128.00
48 12/1/17 $48.00 $1,176.00
49 12/8/17 $49.00 $1,225.00
50 12/15/17 $50.00 $1,275.00
51 12/22/17 $51.00 $1,326.00
52 12/29/17 $52.00 $1,378.00

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PaisleyPerspective Turns 6!


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On January 1, 2017 PaisleyPerspective celebrated 6 years! With a new year comes evaluation of the past and what is to come.  Personally 2016 has been an amazing year for me.  There are many milestones that occurred in the year.  The primary event for me was being invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama.  This definitely stands out as one of the major moments of the year.

However, on a public level there have been many events that have occurred that are not so great.  Multiple celebrity deaths of iconic individuals one being Prince Rogers Nelson my favorite musician.  Conflicts in various regions of the world and the election of Donald Trump at the 45th U.S. President.  The President-Elect has stirred up discontent among other nations even prior to being inaugurated.  I don’t have to go on here with why Trump is not fit, I have written blog posts that outline my reasons for this comment.

In a new year we all want to miraculously become a better person.  We want to lose weight, eat better, be nicer, save more or be more organized.  The reality is we are the same person we were at 11:59pm before the clock struck midnight in a new year.  So the same person I was in 2016 is the same person I am in 2017.  A new year doesn’t dictate whether I become a better person this is something that can happen anytime of the year.

Finally, on the last day of 2016 I attended the funeral of a fellow poet.  His name was Tavis P. Brunson.  It is difficult to speak of him in the past tense but that is what we do when someone has died.  I hesitate to say funeral because it actually was a true celebration of life.  A beautiful gathering in a fairly large church packed with poets from all over South Carolina and North Carolina.  With those present wearing Batman t-shirts, Dallas Cowboy jerseys and caps, or poet inspired gear,  it was a blessing to see that Tavis’s family understood he was a poet specifically one of the best slam poets not only in the United States but internationally.  And that his other passions were incorporated in the celebration.  The continuous theme that was said by nine poets on program and during his eulogy was that he lived his purpose.

With regard to PaisleyPerspective, my primary goal is the same as it always is and that is to live my purpose; and sometimes to share it here.  PaisleyPerspective wishes you an abundantly blessed New Year where you are your best self.

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