Overthinking

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Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.

This is bullcrap.

Who knew the blog post about the confederate flag would be less offensive in its whole than this one in its first sentence.  But it was time someone said it.  People have been using that cliché for years and its time someone called the bluff.  I personally…I break the sticks.  And I can take a hammer or just throw it right and break a stone.  But words cut me faster than a sword.  This has always been true but has gotten even worse in recent years.  How is that?  What do I mean?  Let me explain.

You see, we are in a day controlled by technology.  I don’t call you.  I tweet.  I don’t come see you.  I like your instagram.  So in this age of broken down communication, how can it be that this problem of word-cuts becomes even worse?  Isn’t it obvious?  We no longer see the point in taking the time out of our day to actually speak something into your life.  So when that choice is made, it makes those words that much more potent.  I looked up from my screen long enough to tell you this: you’re inadequate…you’re misunderstood…you’re wrong.  These words were once just another sound in a vortex of spoken heartbeats.  But now…in a sea of glowing screens and faces these are the stray waves that splash up in your face.  So cold, it takes your breath away.

I didn’t start this post out planning to address this so soon.  But here I go.  These word-cuts are why I am deleting my Facebook page on July 15th.  I don’t like who I am when I’m on there.  I don’t like the ones I love when I read what they post on there.  I see things I don’t want to see.  Facebook has stolen much of my innocence and I’ve given too many second chances only to see it worsen by the day.  I intend to have better things to do with my time…so I’m looking forward to the 15th.

But lets get back to word-cuts.  I want to encourage you, dear reader, to remember the power of your words.  Whether on the screen, the page, or released into the oxygen in our world, words have an immense power.  It is up to you whether your power will be used for good or evil.  And if you want them to be used for good…you have a hard and noble fight before you.  That is an easy declaration….but not an easy acquisition.  I wish you the best of luck and I want you to know you are not the only one.  I am a warrior for the words myself.  Because too many people remember the old adage.  They think that their words have nothing to do with quality of life.

But they are wrong.
So I am here to kill the cliché.
I am here to set the record straight.
I am here to say this truth:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but only words can kill me.

Think before you speak.  Save a life.

Rooted Deep

I plan to read and write more starting this summer.  I also plan to not let that mean I read Facebook and Twitter posts and write hashtags.  That doesn’t count.  I will admit to being a great fan of Instagram.  I like pictures.  And usually, we tend not to post such controversial things on Instagram.  Unless you hate SELFIES!!!  Anyway, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed today while eating a chicken pot pie and listening to Curtis Mayfield on the record player.  Thats when I came across a post about this guy right here:

The post was about taking this flag down.  The author of the post went on to discuss how he worried about the racist thoughts of the person who is wearing or showing this design.  That this flag always stands for the oppression of African Americans in the south in the 1800s and the racism that still reigns supreme and the fact that the south created a violent atmosphere by their unwillingness to abolish their primary source of income.  Now he says in his post that anyone who argues for this flag ends up in rants on personal feelings that are all over the place and primarily shows their lack of historic knowledge.

I never like to comment on posts I don’t like.  First of all, its a waste of my time.  Second…there is NOTHING worse than a comment fight.  Its so stupid.  I have been known to post my own post with the other side and leave it up to chance that the person in question will even see it.  But this needs more of my words than Instagram will take.  So I’m going to blog about it.  Now please stay with me.  The first thing I’m going to say is this:  I wish this country had a dollar for every time I said “I love black people”.  The national debt would be paid off in a hot minute!  Look at all the things African Americans have contributed to this country!  Dr. Charles Drew created the process of separating blood plasma for transfusions.  Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1939 Olympics.  Harriet Tubman fought for the right of every person to have the rights of every person.  And Louis Armstrong…well he gave us Louis Armstrong!!!  Now, lets take a minute to get a visual on who is saying these words.

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I am one of the whitest people in the world, bless my heart.  I have the blue eyes, my dog has the blonde hair, and we can’t help ourselves! (I even have a selfie stick…)  But lets get into the purpose of this post.

I want to be very careful not to show historical ignorance.  I want to be sure that I’m not ranting (I think I already did on the vital advancements of African Americans…but you know what I mean).  But I want to tell you what I think of when I see this.

I think of sweet tea.  I mean so sweet you can feel it sliding down your throat.  I think of biscuits and gravy.  Mama’s biscuits and gravy.  I think of summer time down by the creek and winter time buying all the milk, bread, and eggs I can carry.  I think of pickup trucks.  I think of mini vans.  I think of football and baseball.  I think of barns and shacks and over yonder and up on the mountain.  This flag reminds me of driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and seeing nothing but mountains for miles.  It reminds me of driving down the coastline and seeing nothing…for miles.  It reminds me of things.  But mostly it reminds me of people.

It reminds me of Paul Kermit Lowe.  Second generation saw miller.  North Carolina born and bred.  WWII veteran.  Survived the Battle of the Bulge thanks to some frost bite and a wound.  Recipient of the purple heart.  Always had an ink pen in the shirt pocket of his flannel shirt.  Always sat in that chair.  Loved Fords and his dog.
Vivian Holloway Lowe.  High school english teacher.  North Carolina born and bred.  WWII veteran.  Raised by her older sister.  Dedicated leader of her church.  Loved to watch “M*A*S*H 4077th”.
John Livingston Norman.  Postal worker.  Police officer.  WWII veteran.  Man of God.  Father of six.  Loved fishing and driving like a maniac.
Beulah Flynn Norman.  Seamstress.  Stay at home mom of six.  Crazy lady.  Woman of God.  Loved taking it slow and showing love to everyone.
All four of these Southerners have passed away.  They are survived by me.  They are my grandparents.  But they aren’t the only reason you’ll see me smile when I look at this flag.

I think of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.  I also think of Ray Charles, Darius Rucker, and Ella Fitzgerald.  I think of Ava Garnder, Andy Griffith, and Kathy Bates.  I also think of Morgan Freeman, Octavia Spencer, and Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen.  I think of O. Henry and Maya Angelou.

This flag doesn’t say: “Hi, it’s 1862 and you’re mad at people who are different than you for no reason at all.”  This flag says: “Well hello!  You just crossed the Mason Dixon line.  We’re glad to see ya’.  Did ya’ eat yet?  Would you like some tea?  Can ya’ spend the night?  Well alrighty then!”  And if I can have a second to cross over into the truly controversial, by saying that you are afraid of the racist thoughts had by anyone who shows this flag…aren’t you being just as bad?  I have one shirt with this flag on it.  I own it because it has a dog.  The dog is an outline, filled in halfway with this flag, and have with the North Carolina state flag.  Those are my roots.  And I like dogs.  So I bought the shirt.  If you see that and are scared of me for it…you’re already more racist than I am.  Cause I’m not racist!  And also, I discovered in doing some research, to make myself informed before I posted this, that isn’t even the actual confederate state’s flag.  It is the battle flag of Virginia.  One more historical correction from the post I read earlier: the southern states seceded because they didn’t want the northern states imposing laws on them.

Now before someone shows up at my house to beat me up…I accept and acknowledge the following things:
1.  The main law they were opposing was the abolition of slavery.
2.  I am probably one of the few people who wear this symbol and think of the diverse things I think of.
3.  A lot of the people who wear it are racist.
4.  People are still racist.

That being said, one of the worst things in the world is to be so against what someone else is against that you become as bad as they are.  Should this flag be flown at southern government buildings (especially since it belongs to Virginia)?  No.  It has nothing to do with our national government.  Should it be flown at historical museums?  Sure.  Especially in Virginia.  It is historical.  Should people stop putting it on shirts, trucks, and front lawns?  This country provides the freedom for you to do that.  Should people just get over it and not make such a big deal about a flag?  That same freedom applies to the freedom of your neighbors to not be afraid when they see that symbol.  Everybody’s right and nobody’s right all at the same time.  To think taking down this flag would stop racism is crazy.  It would probably make it worse if we’re going to be honest.

So the quick fix is this: if you can’t change them…change you.  Don’t see southern oppression…see African American heroism.

See Rosa Parks shake her head.
See Martin Luther King Jr. linking arms.
See Harriet Tubman lead the way.
See Louis Armstrong pick up his trumpet.
See Thurgood Marshall put on his robe.
See how far we’ve come.

I hope I wasn’t inconsistent.  I hope I wasn’t ranting.  And I hope I wasn’t ignorant.  This post goes out with love to all God’s people.  Even the ones who don’t want it.

From a little white girl, rooted deep, in the gorgeous south.

Bye y’all.

Eggs with Carole King

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Yellow eggs.  White noise.

My favorite piece of “furniture” in my basement apartment, is my Crosley CR704C Musician.  I got it for Christmas a few years ago along with some Harry Belafonte, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Mathis.  My record collection has now grown to include ABBA, Helen Reddy, Bonnie Raitt, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Bob Seger, Judy Collins, Glenn Miller, and those are just my favorites.  I’m that 25 year old that likes to sit on an Appalachian State beanbag while listening to her Frank Sinatra 45’s.  I digress…

I slept sort of weird last night.  I was supposed to go to sleep at 11:00.  So at 9:00 I started watching an episode of one of my favorite Disney Channel shows.  (I’m also that 25 year old.)  I had my feet elevated on some pillows and my golden retriever, I was still in my daytime clothes, had all the lights on, kicked back on the couch.  At exactly 11:00…I woke up like that.  Laughed.  And fell back to sleep.  The next time I woke up, it was 4:44.  So I got up, got in bed, and went back to sleep until 7:00.  Now, before I fell back to sleep, for some reason, I decided that for breakfast today I was going to scramble up some eggs.  Which I did.  But I also decided that scrambled eggs would go really well with Judy Collins or Carole King.

So this morning, I scrambled up a couple farm grown eggs (having hay in your egg carton actually makes them taste better) with some green onions, garlic salt, lemon pepper, and coarse ground black pepper.  I also had some coconut water, some chop block bread with salami, and mediterranean dipping oil for the bread, while I listened to Carole King sing about the greatness of “Simple Things”.

Copperhead Roads

So many people spend so much of their time hating snakes without ever giving them the chance to explain themselves.  We all need snakes.  Nobody wants to admit that but its true.  You think about it.  Every day I use snakes.  I abuse them.  I run them over from tail to tongue and when it forks, I pick a new snake and start all over again.  I even read them for important messages.  I watch them for warnings.  They show me diamondbacks for danger.  They show me yellow bellies for friendship.  I just want to remove your pests.  I just want to fill your veins with venom.

These snakes are important to my every day existence.

These snakes are deserving of some kindness.

These snakes are made of asphalt.

The diamonds on their backs are road signs.  The yellow on their bellies tells me not to pass the car in front of me doing 13.5 in a 50.  With their signal on.  No turn offs for miles ahead or behind us…but they’re signaling just in case an adventure presents itself and we need to slow down and take that right.  Forked tongues are forked lanes, pests are removed by the solitude of my vehicle, venom replaces it as something they call “road rage” which is really the vilest form of arrogance.  Nowhere you’re heading can be as important as everywhere I’m heading.  If I had taken time for you to take your time I would’ve seen that sunset, that mother deer and her fawn, that family of geese hiding from the thunder storm.  If I had taken time for you to take your time I would’ve seen…you.

So many people spend so much of their time hating snakes without ever giving them the chance to explain themselves.  When we should thank them.  We should follow them.  They know where all the sunny spots are.  The best swimming holes.  Don’t let fear stop you anymore.  Use caution.  Caution is smart.  Fear is stupid.  Caution is not diving head first into the murky water…fear is not venturing far enough off the beaten path to see the pond.  So this summer, let’s follow this slithering asphalt into the wild unknown.  Or into the relatively known with fresh eyes.  Go a different way to work or grandma’s or vacation.  Slow down for that Mercury doing 13.5 and that sunset and those geese.  Stop for a picnic or a photo or a nap.  And then, once you’ve had your fill of the moment for the moment…grab another snake by the tail and ride it out to its forked tongue.  Then flip a coin and keep going.  And if you see a snake this summer…be sure to thank him.  And tell him Maggie said hi.
http://aragec.com/winding+roads.html

 

*Inspired by a road trip and Tenth Avenue North’sTimes” from their Over and Underneath album.

Kale and Cole

This is a summer of new things.  I claim it in the name of me.  I will plant my flag on high places.  I will make my mark.  I will write, sing, and if the moment calls for it…I will dance.  I will take naps in a hammock, explore with a dog, and read every chance I get.  I will read all the books.  I will try new recipes and I will try new food.  I will pretend to be a vegetarian.  I will go on trips with friends. I will hike.  I will fall down.  I will stand back up.  At the end of this summer, I will have more stories.  More scars.  More smiles.  More miles.  More mountains.  More hammocks.  More water.  More bug bites.  More energy.  More exhaustion.  More words.  I will drive down the road singing along with Mat Kearney while just behind me a golden retriever’s ears flap in the wind.  I will pick up my best friend and load two more window loving dogs in my car and walk until I can’t breathe and be glad I did.  I will make a two hour drive to see two people who never fail to make the butterflies in my heart dance.  I will miss the third one when she can’t join us and act like even more of an idiot when she can.  I will spend more time with two cousins who make me laugh.  We will play video games upside down.  I will go to Walmart at 1:00 in the morning.  I will go to work.  I will go to sleep.  I will go.  I will choose the train tracks over the walking trail.  I will choose the farther walk over the shorter one.  I will choose the salad over the sandwich.  I will choose the water over the sweet tea.  But not always.  I will choose God over all.  Always.  I will see Him in the little things, I will praise Him in the great things, and I will honor Him in all things.

I realized all this yesterday while I ate my lunch.  I found a recipe on Pinterest for a Kale and Quinoa salad with feta cheese and was cooking that up while listening to Nat King Cole sing some…kind of country songs.  (Including “Skip to My Lou” which was hilarious by the way.)  As I ate my Kale and listened to Cole, I realized this is the summer of new things.  This is the summer of more.  So raise your organic celery juice, your tea, your Merlot, or whatever you have: here’s to more new!

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