Posts Tagged ‘Legacy’

I’ve heard Wintley Phipps sing Amazing Grace many times, so much so that his astounding singing and insightful commentary have become inseparable. Wintley’s stirring offering of this spiritual is a classic, a marvelous gift of legacy living. Listen and be blessed.

Pass It On!


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As the golden days of autumn give way to auburn, rust, and brown,  we lean toward Thanksgiving, a season of deep gratitude.

Today and always I give thanks for my many blessings – family and friends, children’s laughter, angels and prayers that come into my life, bidden or unbidden, even my breath, which I so often take for granted… but which for some is an immense struggle.

Aunbance is Yours

Abundance is Yours

Many years ago, I wrote “Sanctuary,” one of my many poems of gratitude. I share it with you now as an offering of thanksgiving for a faithful, stout-hearted woman of God… my  mom, Mildred McEwen, and to two amazing men whose legacy of generosity and gratitude changed my life… my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr.,  and William Faulkner.

Who has been a blessing in your life? Have you expressed your gratitude?


for William Faulkner and my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr.*

Between the brush of angels’ wings

and furious hooves of hell, two mortal men

fell down. How you must have looked—

white shirt stained, khakis fatigued,

smelling of sweat and smoke,

hair at odds with itself and the world.

At the threshold among your restless dead

in echo and shadow of ancient oaks,

providing sanctuary, offering shade,

you had many worlds behind you,

few yet to be born: stories of insurgence,

scorn, decay—theme and variations

of a vanquished South.

Leaning against a jamb

of antebellum brass, you watched, waited,

raised weary arm and hand, saluted

the familiar stranger. Come. Enter. Sit. Sing.

You reached each other across the grate.

What you two must have known of heaven and hell.

* William Faulkner was my father’s benefactor, paying for him to attend college at a time when he had little

prospects of earning enough money to pay for it himself. This was Faulkner’s way of dismantling institutionalized racism long before desegregation was mandated in the South.


Harvest blessings.

Pass It On!

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Each of us has been summoned to become a person unique in all the world. Just as every snowflake and flower is unique, so are you.

Bird of Paradise.Gloria Burgess

No one else is like you and no one else can contribute to the world what you were specifically designed to contribute.

Dancing visionary and pioneer Martha Graham likens dancing to the art of living. Both require years of practice and development. In her autobiography Blood Memory, Graham points out that we “learn to dance by practicing dancing” and we “learn to live by practicing living.”

For dancing and for living, that practice requires thousands of repetitions. Day in and day out. To learn and master walking, talking, and feeding yourself—complex skills that we take for granted—requires several years of practice.

In your life’s journey—or your life’s performance—some of the most important questions that you ask and grapple with may be questions about your legacy.

Questions to ask include: How do I want to be known… and remembered? What is the rhythm, or presence, of legacy in my life? What choices do I make each day to live my legacy here and now? What or who do I believe in so deeply and passionately that I will make enormous sacrifices for it?

Host these questions as you would a special guest in your home. Pay attention, but avoid hovering over them. In time, the questions will take up residence in your heart, and they will reveal their secrets to you. They will become your teacher and guide as you keep your eyes on the great prize of your life.

Pass It On!

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Our culture wants us to believe that our physical appearance is the only barometer of health. The truth is that authentic health is about living our lives from the inside out. This means recognizing the importance of our spiritual, mental, and emotional health, all of which impact our physical health.


When we buy into a limited vision of health, we compromise ourselves… we settle for a life that is too small for us… and, sometimes, we even jeopardize our long-term health and wellness for short-term gains.

Every day we are billboards for our daughters and sons, not to mention other women. As nurturers and care givers, we are one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Who we are and what we do affects our loved ones here and now, and our choices create a ripple effect that will impact our children, our children’s children, and generations beyond. So, ask yourself: Will I be a billboard for compromise and betrayal, or will I be a billboard for faithfulness… and for creating a legacy of true health and wellness for myself and for those I love?

Pass It On!

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Join me in celebrating Women’s Month: Take a moment to enjoy Maya Angelou’s words and lovely image, taken last month when President Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

As we celebrate women, here are 4 things we can do for ourselves and others—today and every day.

Show up. This is the first and most essential aspect of taking charge of your life… and influencing the lives of others. Be there. Presence makes a difference. And full presence—spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental—makes all the difference.

Speak up. As women, most of know the pain of being seen but not heard. As an African-American woman, sometimes the pain is double. But I don’t let that get me down. If I did, some days I’d wouldn’t get up! When women speak, we add our uniqueness and offer diversity that would otherwise be missing and missed.

Stand up. Find someone or something—a place, a cause, an idea—that you care about so passionately and so deeply that you will take a stand for it… and you can and will talk about it with anyone, anywhere, without apologies or regrets.

Lift up. We were made to love and honor one another. How will you celebrate someone and lift them up today and every day?

Pass It On!

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My husband John and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary. Talk about blessings!

More and more, folks ask what’s the secret to a happy, long-lasting marriage? Well, it doesn’t just happen. Along with gratitude, patience, and a sense of humor, it takes commitment, love, and lots dedication and hard work.

Here are a few things that have helped me and John. Maybe they’ll help you, too.

♥ Commitment. Begin with the end in mind. In other words, when you say “I do…” remember that those 2 precious words go along with “’til death do us part.” And when the going gets rough–because it surely will–it helps to know you’re committed to each other, and to working together to get to the other side and live to tell about it.

♥ Love. It’s the only thing that multiplies when you share it, so be generous with your love–your kisses, hugs, whispers, snuggling, hand holding, and hallelujahs. Get to know each other’s love language–and use it! If just thinking about your spouse makes you flush, let him or her know. Romantic surprises are always lovely–a love note tucked under a pillow or into a pocket… even 35 long-stemmed red roses. Oh, my!!

♥ Communication. Be sure to talk about both the little and the big things. Talk about everything–your beliefs and dreams… faith, money, children, romance, family, friends, work, and recreation. If it’s important to you, then it should be important to your mate. When you fight, get over it–the sooner the better. In the grand scheme of things, life is short. What do you really care about–being right or being with Mr. or Mrs. Right?

♥ Time together. Make it a priority to be together–alone,  just the two of you. If you’re raising children, set aside time each day that’s just for you. If you can arrange for someone to care for your children every now and then, do it. If yours is an empty nest, set aside special time for “date night”… play a game, sing, watch a movie, take a walk, find a book you both enjoy… read it and talk about it, take a class together. Be intentional. Invest in each other and the rewards will be good times and memories to cherish for years to come.

John, here’s to you… and to us for 35 more wonderful years–at least!

Pass It On!

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Gratitude is about giving thanks and appreciation. At its core, gratitude is about relationship, about our deep regard for the past, present, and future… and the people who offer us the gift of loving kindness*.

As you think about those who have come before you, give thanks, for you are in the place you are today because of their sacrifices, triumphs, struggles, and achievements. As stewards and guardians, they paved the road for you so you can live the life you do and enjoy its bounty. Celebrate them and allow yourself into that place of the eternal. Then reflect on how the path you walk, which began with your ancestors, will be a legacy for yourself… and pave the way for the future generations.

Take a moment to call or jot a note to an aunt, an uncle, your grandfather, or grandmother. Express your gratitude and your love.

* Deep gratitude to my sister, Vera, who took this lovely photo and gave me permission to post it here. Thanks also to my niece and mom, the young girl and elder in the photo, which Vera aptly calls “Heaven on Earth.”

Pass It On!

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