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Toddler Wanderings

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My beautiful son Robert Andrew- 11 months

Stop and smell the Roses?

*Crunch, crunch, crunch*

Familiarly, I welcomed the sound of his little shoes scraping the gravel; reminding me of the siblings before him, and their not so little feet anymore. The sun was bearing down on us heavily, as my eyes scanned the garden for a shaded place to lounge. The river brought a comforting breeze allowing the fragrant smell of grass, and flowers to greet  us.

“Dat mama?” — His way of curiously asking me what a tiny insect creeping hurriedly across a large rock was. This insect or bug, I had never seen before, camouflaging itself within the patterns of the rock so skillfully.

“Well it’s some form of creature, I am not sure what to call it.” I smiled and nodded, as if I were satisfied with not knowing, looking back I wish I had captured a photo and learned about that little fellow.

“Would you like to name it?” I asked Robert, gently.

“Yeah.” He nodded his head. “Dadu.”

Continuing his journey, he ran up paths, and down again, while pulling his hand away because he wants to be so independent. “I do it.” He shouts, while running to wherever his eyes found delight.

“Pretty.” He shouted as we walked past the flower bushes.

Robert loves flowers and birds! We stopped to glance at the flowers, admiringly, as he plucked a flower for his sister and ran to bring it to her; however he decided on the way, he’d rather keep it. A rose bush stood just a few inches away and caught his attention; although it was covered in thorns. Not an ounce of fear stood between him and this bush. He calmly leaned forward grabbing a branch and smelled it “Ahhhh” Robert sighed as he glanced at me with a great big smile.

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I could see the light in him, that joy and excitement when you discover something satisfying for the first time. We adults have it now and then but we tend to abuse it and take away the delight.

It’s like having a favorite food, but you eat it too much and then you grow weary of it. 

My Mother used to always tell me “everything in moderation” and she was right.

When you are constantly doing the same things day after day, night after night; you will grow cold, tired, and bitter. Learning and discovering are meant to take your whole life, we’ve never arrived, we are always on a journey, we are always adapting or evolving.

Following around my little boy reminded me of the lens I forgot to look through, that dusty old lens I tossed away. I thank everything living spiritually or physically for our young, they are blessings sent to teach us many things we thought useless while we got distracted.

Until next time

stay blessed xo

Josette

 

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Lunch?

Today, I would like to give a shout out to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYC Department of Education

@nycmayorsoffice @NYCMayor @NYGovCuomo @NYCSchools

This week my Daughter was able to text me two pictures on two separate days, of her lunch, see below:

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I was completely disgusted at the lack of food firstly, the appearance secondly, and where is the nutrition? I currently have three of my children enrolled in public school, and wondered why they always come home hungry. Some days they won’t eat because it is just plainly inedible. On other days when they are left lacking, they will request more food and get told there is not enough.

Would you feed this to your children? Come on we have got to do better than this.

Please feel free to reply.

Thank you,

Josette

Wisdom from Fyodor Dostoevsky

Quotes

Fyodor gives us a  clue in the word meaningful when he describes “work” furthermore when he states “lose their reason for existence” he reveals the depth of his statement.

So many people are employed or working for wages; yet hate their jobs. They are going as Fyodor says “stark raving mad.”  Could you imagine the destitution of the human essence when it is not striving towards its purpose?

Some may search for their purpose and feel like they failed to find it, when all along it was the very thing they least expected. The work that you are destined to do is the thing you are most passionate about, the thing that makes your heart soar.

When it is found, treasure it greatly and master it! Eventually you will find you’re passionate about many things and take on more “work.” 

Stay Blessed

Josette xo

They Walked Before Me

Today, many across the world shall proclaim- “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” or worse say “Patty” in which technically it is known as “Paddy.” This is actually an unflattering term because once upon a time, it was used negatively towards Irish immigrants.

Except, taking pride in ones heritage does not, nor should be honored once a year. Yes, firstly I am born American; yet my blood comes from natives of Europe. Previous posts tell some of my journey, and how I discovered where I come from; better yet who I come from. My DNA is at the highest percentages for two populations that spread throughout Europe; Celtic and Viking people.

*Side note- Not only Irish and Scottish people are Celtic. Studying history, geography, migrations and folklore will teach otherwise.

A long study of mitochondrial DNA places my ancestors around 8,000 years ago in Central Europe. The subgroup that I branch from H1ap so far shows the highest matches to myself in Ireland. So I am estimating my genetic mothers were in the great old land of Eire (Ireland) for 3,000 years or more.

Is it about the land, or the people?

Yes, I am a firm believer in the concept, we are all human beings! I love the lands they lived in; however it is more about the heritage and identifying with as many of my dead ancestors that I can discover. We all come from humans that despite the odds of climate change, war, genocide, disease, famine and any other obstacle, survived. Taking a close look at human migration shows us how far some of us traveled just to ensure that the future would exist.

Why aren’t we celebrating our existence?

Is it really just about wearing green today? Getting drunk? or Plastering shamrocks and Leprechauns all over. Why is it all about one man? I don’t want to step on toes or religious views but the “snakes” St. Patrick drove out of Ireland were pagan people. People who didn’t believe as he did. I suppose a glance around our modern world we could say in current times the Muslims are being treated the same way. Why? because any different view is always seen in fear.

My one request for the world today is to look beyond the stereotypes of tradition or the norm and dig deeper. Find out who you are, discover the names of the people who brought you here. What were their struggles? What adversity did they face? Why did they have to move from country to country? I promise you the more you dig, the more you will transform. It doesn’t go without saying, you will find tragedy. You may even find at times your ancestors were oppressed by a major power. It is then you will find anger at first, and it may subside or cause hatred. Time will heal you! If getting my DNA evaluated taught me anything, it was that we are all connected in some way. Yes, even to the people who once oppressed your ancestors. That is when healing begins!

So by all means get up, celebrate today! The saying is “we’re all a little Irish.”  Just don’t forget that everyday, you are a product of the people who brought you to this destination!

 

Be blessed with peace

Josette

 

 

The Elephant in the Room- Discussing Gentrification

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Photo taken by my Daughter Alexandria on Garrison Avenue here in the South Bronx where I choose to raise my family.

Gentrification: 1. The process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.

1.1 The process of making a person or activity more refined or polite.

Does the agenda meet a genuine concern?
If the objective for gentrification was to reform housing, schools, and employment; then why is the first thing they build in our neighborhoods, shopping centers? 
Typically the retort I obtain is  “Well, it creates jobs.”
Naturally, my detective instincts drove me to ask these employees at these new shopping centers, “Do you live locally?” Surprisingly, many of them do not.
The objective then folds, and the reality of it all is that gentrification is influenced by ulterior motives.
In return, these jobs do not pay a high enough wage to satisfy the cost of living; which is high, even in our low income communities. Rising from this employment crisis is the issue of employment requirements.  Did you know many retail, and food service  jobs now require a diploma, or equivalency? All it takes is acquiring a list of High Schools within your community, and observing the statistics for graduation rates, you’ll see the problem staring you in the face. So the next issue arises, education reform.
Have you had the pleasure of discussing education with these gentrification promoters?  The rhetorical jargon you’ll hear is “We are giving you charter schools, aren’t we?” Oh, those good old charter schools, gotta love em! Personally, my life was flipped upside down during the 2015-2016 school year, due to charter school takeovers.
I had the freedom to home school my children for many years, and did so successfully. For my daughter Elissa’s high school years I decided to put her in local high school. Elissa became a student at the former F.L.A.G.S here in the South Bronx. When the new year began I received a notice that her school was being proposed for closure. After tons of research, and speaking with staff, the scales fell off of my eyes. This was like a war going on in my community, and I was sleeping! FLAGS did close ultimately, despite my own attempts, and the attempts of teachers to petition otherwise.
What is the reasoning behind these school closures?
Remember those snarky replies I keep speaking of? Well, be ready for these because they are quite amusing when the pieces come together.
Here is how they do it!
They build these lottery schools, or charters, I am sure you receive mail about how these schools want your child. Instinctively, parents will see all of these amazing choices the school provides, and enroll him/her because they want what is best for them. Don’t be fooled they fish for our teachers too, offering the moon, and stars.
This reaction is what I like to call the game of Jenga! Piece by piece they remove stability, until the system collapses.
You will now have lower enrollment at your local public school; as well as it now being understaffed. I am sure the wheels are turning, and your thinking “lower student to teacher ratio” can’t be that bad, right? Yes, lower student to teacher ratio is excellent; however the board of education has enrollment requirements. Your school is now at a disadvantage according to their standards. The sole purpose or focus on my daughter Elissa’s school closure proposal was lower enrollment. Keep in mind, they succeeded!
There is other problems with lower enrollment. The board can now withhold funding, and cut programs; which in turn will provide a poor data report. Your school will now reflect with lower graduation rates, and less resources. 
Now that the paper report is created, these schools will slowly make their way to closure. Don’t believe me?
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You are looking at a notice from my other daughter Amber’s school. She attends Entrada Academy here in the South Bronx. This notice is enough to frighten parents into transferring, providing lower enrollment. The cycle has now begun, and Entrada is getting “less space” can you guess why? They are proposing a Charter.
Where is the better solution for reform?
With the cost of living on the rise, our schools closing, our children being bounced from school to school, and homelessness on the rise, how is this gentrification considered reform?
The answer is within these paragraphs, they are not reforming us!
So what is gentrification?
Gentrification is an attempt to eradicate whomever doesn’t conform to the lifestyle dictated by leaders. Gentrification is modern day slavery, it is a way to break, and shatter delicate lives. When our pieces lay upon the asphalt, they will sweep us to the side to be taken out like trash.
On a side note, half of the affordable housing being built in my community has income guidelines out of the boundaries for low income families. We can’t apply! Section 8 and NYCHA are not accepting applications either. Just one walk around my neighborhood and you will see almost every building is now a shelter. 
When they call our neighborhoods ghettos look at the definition:
A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
An isolated or segregated group or area.
Now I ask you, am I wrong for saying this is modern day slavery?
Until next time
stay blessed,
Josette xo

To London with Love

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There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. ~ Jack London

Ecstasy, from the Greek Ekstasis, meaning ‘standing outside oneself.’ The sentence Jack has made “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life” can be likened to the idiom ‘on cloud nine.’ Certainly Jack paints a picture for us in one small statement so vividly.

The semantics within provide us with an almost socratic mindset. To reach ones highest state in a single moment; yet forget life itself, is agreeably a paradox. Yes, there can be that one single moment, it will define you forever. These moments can leave you feeling as if nothing can ever exist before, or beyond that space. When time stands still and all that matters is ‘now’…these are the summits that forever shape us.

I have unquestionably found moments like that; both good and bad. The births of all of my children, and the deaths of loved ones.

If not for my greatest teacher Ms. Fuller of my fifth grade public school class, I would not have known Jack London. To her I owe my love for both reading and writing; for she taught me to reach higher, and go beyond my limits.

Until next time,

be well, and stay blessed xo

 

As a Poet Burning Oneself Out 

I love this!!

Wuji Seshat

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My swirling wants no longer want
The grammar of my soul has turned alchemic
Themes written under duress have come and gone

Passed, like the emptiness of notation
Like art, after the generation of my audience
Have died, the failure of criticism
To detract from the journey
I am a writing automation or

An experience of repetition in a simulation
On how to become a writer and bleed
Ten thousand hours into my craft

The thing most I love, the trip until forever
That’s literature to me, a dying art
Now I know what it feels like to be
A minority, like Native Americans
To have become nearly obsolete

Time takes hold of us like a draft
And the sun produces powerful dreams
That never feel completed, crimson-fingered

We draw in the earth, in the ash
But our designs are never done
There isn’t enough time and fire
To create…

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