Gail

gail

“The key to lasting friendship and why Gayle and I have it for sure” … it’s the August 2019 cover of Oprah Magazine! I called you to share this information for a couple of reasons. We both love Oprah and wanted to meet her and…  this cover is iconic because for the first time in history, Oprah is sharing the cover with her best friend Gayle. Its only been a handful of times in the 20 year history of the magazine that anyone other than Oprah is on the cover.  And because that tagline… is us! I called but you didn’t answer. I knew you were probably resting as it was a rough couple of days and you last shared you were just getting home from the hospital but not to worry, just focus on Gale (another friend, another story)

 

gail and oprah

A few days later, early on a Saturday morning, I was delighted to see a text from you… but it wasn’t… I have to admit, I doubled over and bawled like my heart ached. Actually my heart did ache. SN: You won’t be happy about the explicit words. I wasn’t ready my friend.

I’ve been on the go every since the day after your Life Celebration. Perhaps deliberately staying so busy, I didn’t have to process it but today… today I sat down to get caught up and reached for the phone to tell you all the happenings and realized…. my conversations with you will never be the same.  I almost called anyway, just to hear your voice if it was still on your voicemail. Yes, my heart literally aches.

I’ll share here what I shared on your FB page… (with a few edits)

I’ve been struggling to find the right words to express what you meant to me…

A mentor/mom is the best way I could find to describe it – although I’m not sure how you would feel about that as most people didn’t even know you were old enough to be my mom. I know very many people have used the word mentor to describe you and rightfully so as you were the force behind so many in our community – always, always looking out for other people, but our bond was something special. From the first day I met you over a decade ago, you have been unwaveringly in my corner. There was never a time you didn’t support and uplift me. Making sure I had a seat at the right tables.

At most events and happenings around town, I was your plus one, sat at many of tables because of you, met many wonderful, progressive powerful people because of you , I’ve learned from you , grown because of you.

Given we shared the same last name, many would ask if I was your daughter, I think in spirit I was. Our road trips whether it was goodwill hunting, visiting our state capitol, teaching Diversity classes or most recently and epically going to see Michelle Obama live was life giving. We shared life, memories, concerns, dreams and aspirations. Traded laughter, tears, belts and scarves and lions and elephants (most of you will get this)

A Force. A Powerhouse. An Entire Movement By Yourself.  In our inner circle we kinda knew… “you don’t say no to Gail” but it didn’t matter because we knew that 99.9% of the time whatever you were asking was mostly beneficially to us.

You are so missed my friend. You assisted, supported, sponsored, partnered with, shared information, guided any and every organization or person who asked or you felt needed it.

You called yourself a CHANGE MAKER. I hope you knew you were a LIFE CHANGER

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They say the most important way to honor our ancestors is to fulfill our personal potential and life’s purpose here on earth. I dedicate my positive actions to you.

I honor you.

 

 

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Bloom

bloom

 

Words find me.

Every year as my birthday approach (my new year) I start looking for a new Word of the Year to live. I have been doing this for several years now and somehow the words find me. Joy, Abundance, Grow, Soar… the ideal word is always right on time. I will start noticing it popping up in several different unrelated places. It will have a feeling to it… and always, it is exactly the word I am looking for to order my next steps.

My sister Gale who lives in Orlando wasn’t feeling well so I decided to take a trip to visit with her. When I mentioned this to my sister Sharmilita and my sister in law Coleen, we decided to make a girls trip of it and take the nieces for a tea room experience. On the way there, while calling to make reservations,  the place we had planned on going told us they were closed for a private event so in a frantic effort to find another tea room, we happened upon Lavender N’ Lace. We had no idea where we were going or what to expect.

Once there, Lavender N’ Lace was exquisite. The most perfect tearoom you ever did see. The garden area, the gift shop, the décor and the staff was serene, and amazingly beautiful.

As we are escorted to our table, I generally always get the seat to the far left as I am left handed and it makes eating arrangements in a group less complicated. On the beautifully set table was gorgeous mismatched teacups and saucers with tiny plates with pretty napkins set upon them and underneath it all  a beautiful garden designed embroidered tablecloth.

Tropical Breeze tea was served along with tiny hot seasoned muffins and as I lift my napkin from the plate in front of me, I gasped in excitement. My plate had a word on it. Bloom! How appropriate for this occasion of sisterhood. I love this place already. And this word.

The tea room experience at Lavender and Lace was surreal and will require its own blog… or two but the word bloom has now found a place in my heart.

After in all, we drove back home and as I showered and got in the bed and started flipping through HULU looking for something to watch… a series popped up… BLOOM!

The universe speaks to me! I hear you.

Some of the definitions of Bloom

: the flowering state
:rapid and excessive growth
: a state or time of beauty, freshness, and vigor
: a state or time of high development or achievement
: to mature into achievement of one’s potential
: to appear or occur unexpectedly or in remarkable quantity or degree

 

 

 

 

 

Labyrinth

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“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears” Rumi

“Life is like a Labyrinth, its center filled with happiness, so instead of rushing out of it, find your way to its center” Suhana Ansari

The definition given by Merriam-Webster.com is:  “a place constructed of or full of intricate passageways and blind alleys. something extremely complex or tortuous in structure, arrangement or character”.  I found neither of this to be true

Some of what I also read online about the Labyrinth that had me intrigued:

lessons4living.com:

The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as a meditation and prayer tool….

A download from Veriditus on Walking the Labyrinth says its a sacred place set aside for you to reflect, look within, pray, negotiate new behavior. and should be done in 4 stages.

Remember – Express gratitude, bless the people in your life and bring any specific troubling events to mind.

Release – Quiet the mind, let go of the mind chatter and release your troubles. Open your heart.

Receive – At the center, is a place of reflection, listen to that inner voice and have a heart to heart talk with yourself

Return – Integrate your experience and take out back into the world what you’ve learned and want.

I Loved This! Lately, I’ve been feeling out of sorts at times. My life is beautiful and I am grateful for so much and sometimes even that is scary. I’ve managed to create and be blessed with the life I’ve always dreamed of and people that love and live for my best and highest good and sometimes I have a hard time letting that flow. As an Earth sign, I feel the need to always be grounded, have answers, research, analyze, over analyze and I knew that I needed to let go of some things.

I said a prayer and entered the Labyrinth and from the first step the feeling was surreal. It was a cool afternoon in a quiet neighborhood, a cool breeze was blowing and I as I walk I released, doubts, fears, judgment, criticism, feelings of lack, feelings of not being enough, feelings of being too much, need for control, need to know, need to please, walk, pray, walk, pray, walk pray… and after a while I am at the center.

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At the center of this particular Labyrinth is a small fountain and some rocks. I stopped.. this is holy ground, this is holy water… I dipped my finger in the cool water… its refreshing. I caressed some of the smooth rocks and I silenced my mind in meditation. In this moment, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am LOVED. I am BLESSED. I am HIGHLY FAVORED and I am fully equipped to not only enjoy every blessing I receive but anything else  that comes my way. I am THE DIVINE. A beautiful sense of peace came over me that brought tears to my eyes. I AM GOOD!

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Walking out the Labyrinth and back into the world, I grabbed one of the small rocks for my prayer closet… EVERY LITTLE THING IS GONNA BE ALRIGHT!

Antigua and I – Island Adventure

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Antigua boasts 365 beaches, essentially you can visit a beach every day of the year and not repeat a beach – this is awesome for someone who loves the water and sun. I’m only here for a few days but I am determined to hit as many beaches as possible.

dawning

As I do normally I fully intended to take a morning sunrise walk on the beach, however, I didn’t realize that I would actually enjoy the dawning from my bed, looking out a wooden door covered in netting, over the trees, watching the birds sing and the morning come alive better so I did not make it to the beach for any sunrises in Antigua. I did however made it at 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, sunset etc. etc. etc.

wadadli

rasta pasta

waffles and ice cream

Exploring the island, nothing seemed very far away with a rental car, We were able to make pit stops to the beach almost everywhere we were. Along the roads, almost anywhere, you can find little sheds set up (either in the yards or stand alone) selling food, drinks etc. so I’m happy to say, you can taste the islands all day long at a fairly decent price. We typically look for where the crowds were gathered to eat and wasn’t disappointed.

sunset quay

On the first evening there, we visited the Redcliffe Quay and enjoyed the sunset and dinner there while checking out the shops and galleries. I enjoyed my first Wadadli (local beer) with some fish and chips (French fries) and stopped at the grocery store and picked up breakfast items (we decided that since we had kitchen facilities and a great view and birds for company in the morning – we would stay in for breakfast. There was also a great pathway of stone steps that became my gym for the days that I was here.

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dockyardfish and chipsice cream shoppink churchshirley heights

As the days roll by we spent a lot of time chilling on different beaches, chilling in the Treehouse, visiting the various beaches and sites like Shirley Heights and the Dockyard, eating tropical fruits and local foods and visiting an ice cream shop owned by family of some friends.  By chance, I got the address of the house my parents lived in and drove down the street thinking happy thoughts of good wonderful times that my parents must have spent young and in love in Antigua. It brought me a since of peace and fed the soul of my inner child. The overall experience was amazing and Antigua will forever be dear to my heart.

water swimsuit

Antigua and I – The Treehouse

treehouse

 

The Treehouse – aptly named, was built into a mountain side and the top of the trees was at the same level of the house. It was nestled on top of a remote mountain, so remote that we ended up passing it and getting to the top of the mountain (literally, where you just cant go no further).

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A mountaintop. It was so beautiful sight. I just had to stop and take a photo . SN: I am sitting on the remnants of a dead tree (I posted this picture on instagram and someone expressed anger at dead animals – no animals were harmed in this photo I promise – although I realize that maybe me sitting on what looks like an extinct dinosaur may have killed it for real)

mountaintop

The road to get to The Treehouse was so steep, walking up the driveway, you are literally bent forward to push up. The beach, a mere few minutes walk down the road was a workout in itself.

The Treehouse is one of about 3 cottages of the Galley Bay cottages. It has a wooden wrap around porch where the birds literally comes to greet the new guests. Inside it was a small but spacious space with miss matched furniture. A small kitchen (no microwave), a living space with a wicker couch and a small end table, a wicker dresser with an antique mirror and a bed with a canopy made of twigs and a mosquito netting. A fan in the corner was a clear indication that we had no AC. Upon future inspection, all the doors and windows were wooden and not sealed (to let in air – but also bugs?)  No telephone, no television, no air conditioning, no microwave, no iron… interestingly though… we had WIFI.

bird

I am immediately transformed to my childhood growing up in Guyana. I rummaged through the cupboards and found all the plastic containers there was (3 cups) and filled them with water and put them inside the freezer (if you’ve ever lived without AC in the Caribbean and know that blackout is possible sometimes, you would understand this) Opened up all the windows and doors and turned on the fans and settled in.

The treehouse will be interesting to live in for the next few days but right now… this island is calling me to explore… up next Island Adventures.

Antigua and I

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I wasn’t prepared for the sheer level of excitement that rose inside me when I planted my feet on the island of Antigua. See, Antigua and I have history. Few know this but I was conceived on this island so in a strange way I feel connected. Essentially my life started here (this is not to start a pro-life debate)

See my parents moved here shortly after they got married. My parents, even though they were very young, teenagers as a matter of fact, picked up and left home (Guyana) and moved to Antigua to start their life together. My father was ambitious and adventurous (traits I am proud to have inherited) and I’d like to think wanted something different and better for his family. My mother, loved my father beyond reason and in my opinion would have followed him to the end of the earth.

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I can’t imagine what it must have been like to board a plane as teenagers to move to a strange land to live and work. I can only imagine they must have been scared, nervous, excited all at the same time.

Shortly after moving my mom got pregnant with my older brother and as it’s culturally the way for mothers and sisters to assist a new mother with childbirth, childcare and caring for their bodies at this time, my mom went back to Guyana to give birth to my brother become coming back home to Antigua. When she became pregnant with me, however, my parents made the decision to move back to Guyana to be closer to family. I can imagine two young children (my brother and I are only a year apart) and no family structure for assistance must have been extremely hard.

So The story goes, as best as I know it… i was conceived in Antigua and this intrigued me.

I’d like to think that living in Antigua was some of the happiest days of my parents lives. Young and in love. I’d like to think they carried happy memories of this island until the day they both died. I’d like to think that my parents enjoyed these beaches and exploring this island and was having fun together, enjoyed shopping in these stores for their new home and preparing meals and buying baby things.

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Nine years to the day we buried my mom, two days after what would have been her 65th birthday and about five days after the date she passed away nine years ago, I stepped foot on the island and felt a complete oneness… it was home. Home as much as Guyana is home, New York is home and Florida is home.

My time in Antigua was special and different from most of my island adventures, to start, we had started doing away with the resort vacations and spend more time in smaller, cheaper, simpler places as we spend most of our time exploring. Typically I leave all the arrangements to the hubby. “You book, I pack” is my motto. So on this trip I had no clue where I would be staying. I never have to ask because I know that, like me (we are the same sign and month) he is analytical, research the crap out of everything and won’t have us out there crazy.

But then… the car is climbing these steep ass mountains in what looks like a place carved into the mountain side on the top of the island – no joke. A damn treehouse! A wooden house, with wooden doors and windows (I kid you not!) I think I’m in the jungle. There is horses, cows, mountain goats and stray dogs everywhere. What the heck did I sign up for?

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At the “Treehouse” A quick look around reveals to me there is no AC, no TV, no microwave, not even an iron. What the hell did I sign up for? The bed had a mosquito netting hanging from it and I see citronella candles and mosquito coils! I feel like I’ve been displaced 30plus years to my childhood in Guyana with the exception of internet access.

This is going to be one interesting adventure…. Part 2.. The Treehouse… NEXT

Stacy In ONEderland!

june

Fairy tales often include magic, charms… and a heroine who overcomes obstacles…. Alice in Wonderland is no different.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then – Alice in Wonderland.

“Every adventure requires a first step” Cheshire Cat.

A year ago when I got off my couch from what seemed like a year of hard knocks I had to face the truth that I had “let myself go”. A trip to the bathroom scale revealed 226LBS. and I had to come to terms with the cold hard truth that, given our family history of diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, arthritis etc. and my personal battle with hypothyroidism, scoliosis, a bad knee etc… that this was not a healthy place for me!

I wanted to be healthy! The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things and expect different results so I pull up my big girl panties – literally – and called a personal trainer.  My goal was to get stronger! To find the STRENGTH OVER ALL RESISTANCE (S.O.A.R) and get myself strong and fit and healthy. My first scale goal was to get under 200lbs… What a journey…. 2019 was going to be the year I do this and God knows the way my metabolism is set up, I expected it to take that long.

June – Half way through the year and I am reflecting on the past 6 months. What a work in progress my life is. I had no idea when I chose SOAR as my word of the year that the sense of humor of the most high would keep me SORE – every dang day! But the work. Oh yes the work…

Accomplished:

Visited Vermont, got my girls settled in their new home and spent time in a beautiful bookstore soaking up the energy of books.

Visited NY, spent time with family and Meditated on the rooftop of a Manhattan high-rise overlooking a the bridge at sunrise.

Crossed the border and spent an afternoon by myself in an entirely different county in a city with a different language.

Pet a pit bull – True story

Ran a 5K and did my personal best time coming in under 50 minutes.

Visited and soaked up the energy of sacred land – Shangri La

Tried Crossfit – one word:  brutal.

 

Socially, I’ve spent time with some beautiful women I love and admire, catching up. Physically,  I’ve worked harder this month on strength training and fitness than I have  ever done. Nutritionally, I have been extremely holistic in the what I’ve put in my body, no meat, no fried foods, very little processed carbs, very little processed sugar and no very little alcohol (but I did have a drink with Shellena for her birthday) Emotionally, I’ve had some extreme highs and lows. Panic, Fear, Rage, Hurt, Joy, Bliss, Oneness and lots of time spent checking myself and reevaluating.   Spiritually, I have grown more this last month than every before. I’ve reaffirmed my worth. Got to my absolutes and found my truth again.  I laugh at myself for the insignificant things I’ve let bother me, took to heart and made a big deal about. Life is too short to be small. I’m a big girl… who just reached ONEDERLAND!

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Next 6 months… BRING IT ON.