Inspiration…

I’ve been reading a lot, the words of Mother Teresa, who was always on a mission to help others, teaching us that there is more to life than merely ourselves. Today I share with you a few words of inspiration from her… words which I believe give hope to those in despair and encourage us to LIVE!

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.”

– Mother Teresa

Patience is a Virtue…

… or so I’ve been told. But what does this really mean? And what’s a virtue?

Sometimes I think people just hear these quotes/expressions and use them without even thinking.

Well, I looked it up. And Dictionary.com gives the following definitions:

virtue: [vur-choo]

  1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
  2. conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
  3. a particular moral excellence.
  4. a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one’s weaknesses.
  5. manly excellence; valor.

Patience has never been one of my strengths, though admittedly over the years, I have had a lot of experience learning to tolerate; learning to listen; learning to hold my tongue; learning when to walk away from a situation. Is this patience? Moral excellence? Is this an admirable quality that I possess?

Hmmmm…

It’s funny cuz many people think this is one of my least admirable qualities. I wonder though, how do you identify whether you’re being rude, as opposed to being ‘patient’?

Perhaps it’s an ‘admirable quality’ to hang up the phone when you know that the next words out your mouth promise to be hurtful… scathing. Or maybe it’s ‘admirable’ to ignore a person and walk away when you’re certain that you’re on the verge of choking them should you stand before them for even one second more.

So does doing this make me a patient person? A person of excellent moral values? (And yes, the aforementioned statements ARE things I’ve done time and again.)

I can’t say that one can define morals, or admirable qualities either for that matter. I suppose it’s all simply a matter of opinion, and this blog post has become a lot of lines rambling about a topic on which I’m sure to draw a conclusion would be difficult.

Nevertheless, the quality of  ‘being patient’, that is, “the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like”… I wish this for the people closest to me, who all seem to be going through a ‘trying’ time that they need to endure rather than walk away from, so that they may reap the rewards which they so rightly deserve.

I believe this ‘patience thing’ may very well be the first step to a person’s happiness… And if for any reason you feel you’re nearing your breaking point, take a deep breath (inhale… exhale)…

… and smile 🙂

A Wedding & A Funeral

The month of April was one filled with much happiness, as my sister Lizzy took to the aisle and said “I do…” to the love of her life, John-Matthew Sinclair. It was a beautiful affair, never mind the drops of rain that began as soon as we stepped into the car to make our way to the church. This is what Lizzy had dreaded the most, which is why she arranged everything to take place indoors – both ceremony and reception. It was only the photographs to be taken at Devon House that were now a concern, though be it a minor one.

Red blooms filled the church, and the bevy of beauties that was her bridal party came in one by one (quite a bunch of ‘lookers’ if I do say so myself!). Then the doors closed and it was time for her to enter.

Now if you know my sister, it was her dream to have Beres Hammond sing “Hey little girl each time you passed my way I’m tempted to touch…”. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to book (or afford for that matter) Mr Hammond, so she did the next best thing… and as the doors of Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church opened, the talented steel-pan band (accompanied by the talented Dwight Richards) began the melody for said song, much to the surprise of guests who were not only blown away by the music, but by the vision that was my little sister, who entered the church amid “oohs” and “aahs”. Even Father Michael seemed to join John-Matthew in a moment of breathlessness, and was compelled to comment before the ceremony even began, that he had never seen Elizabeth look more beautiful.

I can’t take you through every moment of what took place at the ceremony, however I will say that there were a few tears by some, while others tried hard to hold them back.

And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the ceremony ended, the rain stopped. It was truly a blessing.

Beautiful photos were taken by photographer Gary James in the grand ballroom of the Devon House Mansion, on the front steps, in the courtyard as well as in wine bar, Bin26. (When I get permission, I’ll put up a slideshow).

And, in all it was a truly wondrous occasion, and I’ve never seen two people in such bliss as this newly married couple. Everything was… perfect.

There was only one thing missing, and that was the presence of our cousin Shawna, who the week before, on Easter Sunday, passed away.

It’s been very difficult for me to talk about it… even more difficult to face the fact that she’s no longer with us. She was after all, like a sister to us, especially Lizzy who was closest to her (in age and in friendship) and shared much with her… in particular, raising her daughter Sierra.

It’s funny how my travel and personal plans were put on hold, because if all had gone as scheduled, I would not have been there for her funeral, for her send-off. I believe things really do happen for a reason, and I was happy that I was there… to support my family, and to come to terms with my own grief and loss.

There was much sadness following Lizzy’s wedding (the funeral service took place the following Saturday), but happiness as well, in that a part of Shawna still remains with us… in Sierra… who is such a beautiful little girl, who is so much wiser than her mere 6 years.

And we will all be sure to tell her stories about her mother, the great times we shared, and teach her the ways of being a lady, being generous and kind, honest and mannerly, just as her mother would have wanted and liked.

In closing, there’s not much left to say… except live in love, and God will do the rest.

April 2011

To say that the month of April was challenging, is certainly putting it mildly. There were many moments of closed eyes, deeps breaths and admittedly, sporadic teary episodes when frankly I didn’t know what else to do!

On March 31 I went to an assignment for work. This followed a previous event I had covered, and it should have been a quick ‘in and out’. I wasn’t even there for two hours, however when I walked outside to leave, the spot where I had parked my mother’s car was empty. I’ve never felt such a feeling in the pit of my stomach… and it was with good reason, for in the trunk of the car were all my worldly possessions – netbook, camera (my livelihood… the way I make my living), my purse with my ID cards, credit card, ABM cards, too much cash, that I was to have deposited in the bank that day, and my passport (for my impending visit to Cowboy). *BIG sigh*

At this point it seemed that my world had come to an end.

But it didn’t.

And this was the reminder that was constantly drilled into my head, for in fact, the outcome of that event could have been very different.

In attempting to replace all my lost documents, I learnt several very valuable lessons. (You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get anything done in Jamaica by the way. I don’t wish the loss of of a licence, passport or visa on anyone!)

  1. Prayer calms you… when you feel like there is absolutely no one else to turn to, TRUST ME, HE is there!
  2. I am not alone – I am SO grateful for the great friends that I have, who were extremely helpful to me along the way.
  3. NEVER underestimate the kindness of a stranger. I can’t tell you the number of persons who have offered their assistance… people who don’t know me, are not my ‘friends’, who simply wanted to be helpful and asked for nothing in return.
  4. Faith is what gets you through each day; it gives you the encouragement to know that things will work out just the way they are supposed to.
  5. Never do anything in haste. You may not see the reason in things, but sometimes it’s best to let life run its course. Que sera, sera.
  6. Be patient – this is not my forte, but what else am I to do? Yes… I found solace in #1 🙂
  7. I am loved, and people care.
  8. Give thanks… ALWAYS.

Since my ‘heart-breaking’ incident, I’ve replaced all my documents. The final piece, my US visa should be ready for collection this week. A ‘friend’ bought me a new netbook, and all that I need now is to replace my camera so that I may pursue my new love, my new career as a photographer.

All was not lost when the car and my things were stolen. In fact, much was ‘found’ in the aftermath. I’ve discovered that I possess something more valuable that cannot be measured for its worth…

My sincerest thanks to Tara, Sharon, Kim, Kat and Gary. And Kurt, I appreciate you more than you know…

What began as a seemingly devastating moment in my life is now in the past, and the future offers nothing but promise.

People can take away material things, they can do all they can to try to hold you back and get you down, but they can’t take away your talents, your will to succeed. I am still in control… I have my hands, my mind, my heart. My boss said to me that the Lord never gives you more than you can bear… and now I’ve overcome this hurdle and I’m ready for the next.

Still Living & Loving…

Photo: Gary James

Days 18, 19 & 20 – Family, Friends & Life

This is perhaps my final post in the 40 Days of Awesomeness… yes, I’m  only half-way through, however it all seems so shallow to me now, and recent events have shown me, that there is truly so much more to ‘Living & Loving Life’ than tooting my own horn, impressing upon people how great I think I am.

This post is really about things that make us ALL awesome…

FAMILY

I don’t know what I would do without my family. They have been there, supportive, encouraging… whether they agree with my choices or not, whether I’ve made good decisions or not, whether I’ve been successful or not. I give thanks every day for my parents, for my sisters, and for my aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.

There is a little bit of each of them in me… and THAT is  what truly makes me awesome.

FRIENDS

My friends may as well be classified as my family… because they too have influenced who I am, and have been supportive of me in everything I’ve done – every smile, every laugh, every tear, every disappointment, every broken heart, every success… every experience. And to them, too, I am grateful. They are, as the saying goes, the family I choose.

LIFE

And lastly, I am awesome because I have life. Too easily we forget that this is our greatest gift… and too easily we take it for granted, only realising its importance, its awesomeness, its worth, when misfortune hits others.

This blog post is dedicated to my dear brother, Dave Marks. In the 12+ years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him upset, angry or sad. He was in my opinion the epitome of happiness… of Living your Life. Always smiling, you could hear his laugh from a mile away… I can still hear it now.

Definitely a young, ambitious, good-natured, pure-hearted soul… gone too soon.

I pray for his parents, his family, his friends… who I know are all distraught by his passing. A special shout-out to my other brothers – Gav, Jabari, Boomsie, Dougie, Heath – be strong and remember the good times… for it is in those memories that his spirit remains with us…