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Lessons from The Vinegar Tasters

Thursday, April 28, 2011




Three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and has tasted it. The expression on each man's face shows his individual reaction. Since the painting is allegorical, we are to understand that these are no ordinary vinegar tasters, but are instead representatives of the "Three Teachings" of China, and that the vinegar they are sampling represents the Essence of Life. The three masters are K'ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse, author of the oldest existing book of Taoism. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression, but the third man is smiling.

To Kung Fu-tse (kung FOOdsuh), life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of, the universe. Therefore, he emphasized reverence for the Ancestors, as well as for the ancient rituals and ceremonies in which the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, acted as intermediary between limitless heaven and limited earth. Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time. A saying was recorded about K'ung Fu-tse: "If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit." This ought to give an indication of the extent to which things were carried out under Confucianism.

To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions, a revolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend "the world of dust" and reach Nirvana, literally a state of "no wind." Although the essentially optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism considerably after it was brought in from its native India, the devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence.

To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules of the Confucianists. As he stated in his Tao To Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the "Tao Virtue Book," earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws - not by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.

To Lao-tse, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go well. Rather than turn away from "the world of dust," Lao-tse advised others to "join the dust of the world." What he saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth he called Tao (DAO), "the Way."

A basic principle of Lao-tse's teaching was that this Way of the Universe could not be adequately described in words, and that it would be insulting both to its unlimited power and to the intelligent human mind to attempt to do so. Still, its nature could be understood, and those who cared the most about it, and the life from which it was inseparable, understood it best.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 7/5/2011 1:38AM

    Thanks for sharing. I found it really interesting.

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DAMARIS89 5/6/2011 12:40PM

  Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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SILLYHP1953 5/3/2011 7:29PM

    I had never heard this description of the "vinegar tasters" and found it very interesting.

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ZURDTA- 5/2/2011 10:52AM

    Fabulous and insightful - love it.

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 4/29/2011 2:36AM

    Very good blog, interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

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ANATASHIKI 4/28/2011 4:39PM

    thanks , I always thought confucius was annoying . but i couldn't choose between tao and zen buddhism , I mean who wouldn't like nirvana? emoticon

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2HAMSDIET 4/28/2011 9:50AM

    Very interesting. Some food for my mind to ponder. emoticon

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SAMI199 4/28/2011 5:50AM

    emoticon emoticonI am saving this-it is just great!Thanks for sharing.

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Learning 2 Feel my feelings, Black Swan, Bryce & Yoshimi

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time, but keep putting it off, or deleting it. Mainly because its so personal. Now, I don’t mind my Sparkpeople reading this, I’m generally an open book. Thinking on that though, I guess I’m not an open book with myself.

I grew up in an abusive household. My mom was great, but my sister & father were awful!! My dad was a WestPoint graduate. His idea of feelings was to keep them to yourself. If ever I cried his response was “would you like me to give you a reason to cry.” My parents had bank. Whenever my dad was done giving me those reasons, he would pay me off, I guess thinking that would ease his guilt. The payments were great, a new car, money, ect. I hated it, he even once had the gaul to say, “well I gave you that car.” The only response I would get from him was, you don’t have any brains, and you better keep up your looks. Your sister has the brains, but she’s fat. The only thing that will get you far is your looks. Don’t ever gain any weight.

So, I learned at an early age to keep my feelings hidden and to myself.

When I married things changed, we’ve been married now for 23 years (24 on July 24th!) I see my life as two different people. The one I was before I found my hubby, and the one I have now with my hubby. I was very blessed to run into him! But, 2 years into our marriage we lost our 2 month old son, Bryce to SIDS. Yet again, I kept my feelings to myself. Hid the pain I was feeling, pretending to be okay when I was far from it. 5 years after his death I finally realized I needed help and got on anti-depressants. That helped or so I thought.

I was a stay at home mom, once my kids started going to school, I decided it was time for me to go back to school. At first I was in school learning my first love, art. I was going to become a graphic artist, but decided to change my major. After all, who could earn a living from doing something they love, that’s just a hobby. An idea I learned from my parents. So I changed and went to school for Respiratory Therapy. I do admit I love being an RT. Especially when I look back on all the things my father said. (I don’t have the brains.) Well, I did really well. I had to take Physics, Microbiology!! Booya on that...Dad! Anyway, being in this profession has really fed into my teachings of keeping your feelings to yourself. On nightly basis you deal with the people who are dieing, from cancer, COPD, drug usage, a variety of emergencies. You have to put all those feelings in a box and ignore them or they would eat you alive! Wow, did I find the perfect job, for the old Alicia.

I have come to realize that I need to feel my feelings. Because I haven’t I have taken what I’ve internalized and use food to comfort me, changing my feelings into eating. There are a few things that have helped me to see that that’s what I do. It started with watching Jillian Michaels show. I can’t remember the name of her show, but she would go into families’ homes and teach them the right way to eat & exercise. One of these shows had a woman who had lost a child. While watching her show I so related to this woman. Even though I got help with the depression from the loss of my son, I haven’t really dealt with the fact that I did lose a son. Well, the way I deal with it is eating.
The other thing that helped me see the flaws in my ways was watching Black Swan. While sitting in the theater watching Natalie cut herself, I thought. Wow, she has so much pain she cuts herself to help her express and feel that pain. Well, smack me silly. That’s exactly what I do with food. After that I really started looking at the times I eat more then I should. I eat at the times when I’m stressed, sad and all those other emotions I try to ignore.

I really have been avoiding writing this blog yet again avoiding my feelings. I also think that’s why I haven’t been on Spark much. I knew I wanted to write this, but wasn’t yet ready to confront those emotions.

Tonight while at work I went to a high risk delivery of a woman who has helped me to break the cycle of ignoring myself. This woman has cancer which metastasized into her lungs; she has had one lung segment removed due to the cancer. It’s only a matter of time. While waiting to be called into her room, one of the nurses I work with was like, “why would she have a baby?” One reason for the question, pregnancy is very hard on your body, it can only be worse for this woman who is also dealing with cancer. Also, “why would she have a baby when she is dieing?” When we were called into the room and the perfectly healthy baby girl was born. Mom was crying and so was dad. It was a great moment. At that moment I realized why she was having this perfect baby girl.

There is this book I absolutely love, it’s called the Joy Luck Club, there is a quote from this book, and in the end the girl in the book, has this white feather her mother had given her after she had passed away. The mother says, “Here is this feather; it’s filled with all my good intentions.”

From this point on Thanks to the movie Black Swan and Jillian Michaels. In honor of my son Bryce and Yoshimi. I am going to start concentrating on feeling with my emotions, enjoying my life as it is, not what I wish it was. I will also do the things I have always wanted to do “When I’ve lost weight.” The when is something that is never promised to us, only now. Enjoy all moments, not just some.

Wow, that feels sooo good!!!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 7/5/2011 1:36AM

    I saved this intending to make a comment. So, school is out. My home internet is finally working and I'm cleaning up my email. I hope you have a lot of check marks on your bucket list by now. Thanks for trusting us enough to share some painful memories. I hope your July4th weekend was terrific. emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 4/21/2011 2:57PM

    Wow...lots of honesty and insights and feeling feelings in this blog!!
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NLS2013 4/21/2011 2:52PM

    emoticon blog!

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ANATASHIKI 4/21/2011 11:19AM

    thanks for sharing, it's beautiful.
emoticonkori

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2HAMSDIET 4/21/2011 7:46AM

    So glad you took the time to share with us you had such a powerful message to share. We had a friend a nurse in her 30's got cancer and knew that her days were number but decided to live every minute to the fullest. Took music lessons and even got married in the last month of life. What I always remember the most was her coming to my door one day as she needed to talk and knew I would be home.( I had two little ones in diapers.) Some one had stopped her in the mail and asked how she was and noticed the fact she lost so much weight. The person wouldn't stop for answer as she went on how lucky she was and how fat she was now. How she must have a diet secret that she wasn't sharing and how bad her life is being fat with the extra few pounds, ect. My friends had just came from the Dr. with really bad news and was in a daze. She said she could not say a word and want her to understand what is real important in life. I gave her a hug. She then said I should have just taken my wig off and poofed her in the face until she woke up. LOL Some people live a whole life time and don't get it. Enjoy every minute of life no matter what. emoticon

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SAMI199 4/21/2011 7:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OHANAMAMA 4/21/2011 7:26AM

    My heart goes out to you. I know it was hard to share. I write too, but so much of it I don't share... My own issues. I have lived for over 20 years saying... after I lose weight I will... ..... ...... Funny (wonderful) how some things strike home and open our eyes to our own lives and feelings. I think you're at a point where it only gets better from here.



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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 4/21/2011 2:39AM

    That was a wonderful blog Alicia! Thank you for sharing what has been inside you for so long. I know that you must feel a big weight off your shoulder right about now. Keep your head up and moving forward.
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SOS_SWEET 4/21/2011 2:36AM

    I have soooo been there. I have PCOS and am struggling to conceive a child. We did recently, but then I had a miscarriage. I have spent my entire life waiting to have a child, wondering if it was possible. I was devestated, felt alone (although Chris was a huge support, he just wasn't feeling like I was feeling - like I am flawed in some way and not able to do what comes natural to most women) and as I result I spent the next two months eating anything and everything I could get my hands and mouth on. Suffice it to say, I negated all the hard work and effort I put into losing weight, and I gained back 18 pounds. All because I did not want to confront the fear and heartache that I was feeling,

I was fortunate in that, I had a wonderful childhood, but I lost my father at 15 to lung cancer. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a child. My thoughts are with you, and I hope you will stay strong. I too, am working on confronting my fears and my emotions. I know it won't be easy, but it will be worth it. And that is my reward. Two pink lines!

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In honor of MLK & Gabrielle Giffords

Monday, January 17, 2011

“"We know that silence equals consent when atrocities are committed against innocent men, women and children. We know that indifferen­ce equals complicity when bigotry, hatred and intoleranc­e are allowed to take root. And we know that education and hope are the most effective ways to combat ignorance and despair."

~ Gabrielle Giffords”

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLAMNGLOWDIVA 1/18/2011 2:32AM

    Great quote, so true. Thanks for sharing it.

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SUNFLOWERGAL40 1/17/2011 7:59PM

    Great quote. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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READNKNIT 1/17/2011 11:31AM

    Fabulous quote. Thank you for sharing it. What he did should not be tolerated. He may have been crazy. But if that's true, he should not have been allowed to buy an automatic weapon.

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LAURIETAIT 1/17/2011 11:28AM

    What leads to the creation of the kind of person who feels they have the right to take anyone's life? What incites them? How can anyone justify trying to kill someone like Gabriel Giffords who has chosen a life of public service and has eloquently stated her beliefs for the public record. The world is becoming an even crazier place.

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SWEESIN 1/17/2011 11:23AM

    Believe me I have met a few educated idiots in life who did not have the sense to come in out of the rain. This person was simply nuts, go find him on You tube. He was a known idiot.
Also Dr. King preached changed through non violence yet a year after he died we had senseless violence and riots in DC in his name. What was that? Oh sorry another can of worms.

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WOMANCHEF 1/17/2011 8:44AM

    Thank you.

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SAMI199 1/17/2011 8:43AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2HAMSDIET 1/17/2011 7:56AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonLife from Arizona... emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/17/2011 8:25:45 AM

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ALI_CAT9 1/17/2011 7:13AM

    Decent mental health care may have..... ( not sure if I wanna open that can of worms!!) lol

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MRE1956 1/17/2011 7:07AM

    Here, here......shame, though, if you ask me, that education probably wouldn't have made a damned bit of difference in the life of the attacker in Tucson......

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I just have to vent………….

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I know this is bad but, I just have to vent………….

As most of you know, the last few weeks have been crazy busy for me at work. We have had a lot of drug babies who have been born. These babies take much more work. They are withdrawing from drugs. The symptoms they have high temperatures, pain, things an adult would have. Because of the pain they become rigid they scream and cry. They also constantly poop & the poop is very acidic so it starts breaking down the babies’ skin. We give them morphine to help. It does help but not as much as it should. If you hold the baby when this happens, sometimes it helps them through the withdrawing. Most parents don’t even see what the baby goes through because they are at home enjoying life…. they should be required to stay with their newborn. Maybe then it wouldn't happen again.

Sometimes it’s so stressful to deal with them we take turns going into their room & holding them. Last week I was holding one of our drug babies for going on 1 hour, I had lost all my patience. Not with him, but his situation. I sat there in the dark ( they can’t handle any stimuli what so ever ), wondering if a mother couldn’t have the strength not to do drugs for 9 months, how will this woman deal with this little baby for the next 18 years. It makes me worry. Here we are healthcare workers, and very patient and at our wits ends. Will a mother doing meth, heroine, or even prescribed pain pills deal with this little guy? There was one time a mother had in vitro and was on a fentanyl pain patch, she had fibro mylasia. This was the worse newborn I have ever worked with.


My hubby & I adopted our daughter, who was a drug baby. It never dawned on me until last week, that as she was growing up she showed a lot of the same signs as these newborn babies. She was inconsolable. Time outs for her were never just a 5 minute affair. She was upset all day long. There were other things but that would be a book!

I guess my frustration and questions come in with the idea of, why would you put an innocent newborn baby through what they go through. How about this novel idea, you go through the withdrawal before you have a baby. Again, you couldn’t stop your drug use, for 9 months. How will you have the patience to deal with them for 18 years?

It just breaks my heart.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENKEELY73 2/8/2011 11:36AM

    It's been several years since I worked in the NICU, but it was so hard to send certain babies home with their families. I just wanted to keep them there at the hospital with us where we could just pass them around and love on them forever. We had one mother who had 8-9 children, all publicly supported, of course and the mother would proudly tell everyone that she was working towards having 11 children as her own mother did. She would give them names like "Morning River Rain" and crap like that. She would make sure she always got her meal card for the cafeteria and that the Toys for Tots people had been contacted. Suspiciously, her babies all came right about the 26-28 week mark which would give her plenty of time to mooch off of the hospital. It was suspected that she was doing something to herself to induce labor. Not sure what that would have been exactly. Meanwhile, an acquaintance of mine with a PhD and a good job has had two failed in-vitro attempts. That is one of those unfair things I will never understand and will definitely ask God about when I get to see Him!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/25/2010 8:57PM

    Why indeed. I feel sorry for the children. We both know what kind of life they have to look forward to unless someone like you adopts them. Bless you for saving one of them.

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BLACK_WING 12/16/2010 11:20AM

    I recently saw an episode of the Doctors on this very subject.I knew things were bad with babies born with haveing withdraws,but man I sat and just cryed for hours after watching it, that someone could do this to an innocint baby. It makes me so mad,I mean if you are doing drugs you are not mature enough to be having the sex to have the baby,so cross the damn legs is what I have to say to those who do this.

It can not be easy doing what you do,God bless you for having the patiences to help these litle ones.

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HIKINGSD 12/15/2010 6:53AM

    It is heartbreaking...this is why I can not work in a woman's center! Allnurses.com has a lot of support, I have found much needed guidance there with dealing with death. SP also is supportive, as you know :) You can never have too much support emoticon

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 12/15/2010 12:54AM

    You're amazing for what you do. It does break your heart to see that and you are an angel for doing it.

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GONZOGIRL2 12/14/2010 4:39PM

    I agree that people should stop doing drugs before they get pregnant but think that they are not capable of properly taking care of themselves that they don't even think about their actions and how it impacts a baby forever. You are an amazing person. Sounds like these babies have the right person on their side. I always wondered if you could volunteer to help babies likes these. I never checked into it because someone said it was against privacy laws. Can people who are not in the medical field volunteer to help? Hope the venting helped!

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SILLYHP1953 12/14/2010 3:17PM

    You are one of the angels. Yes, the mother's should be there to see and learn and feel and hold them, and maybe get a glimmer of the consequences of their drug addiction. Do they let people volunteer in maternity wards to just hold babies?
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ASTORRES1 12/14/2010 2:20PM

    God Bless you.....


amy

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SPARKLOVE 12/14/2010 2:20PM

    I don't think those who do drugs think ahead. I think we need more education of the affects of drugs on babies given to these girls before they get pregnant. Bless you for the Love and Care you give to these tiny ones. Joy

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SOUL_LOVE 12/14/2010 1:06PM

    Bless you for being there for them when their parents cannot... or will not.

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Comment edited on: 12/14/2010 1:06:45 PM

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SEASONS_CHANGE 12/14/2010 11:22AM

    Very heartbreaking and thanks for bringing this to light. I would imagine that those who are on drugs, have no respect for themselves and their priority is searching for that next high. One would think that being pregnant would inspire one to do the right thing.

Your daughter is very lucky to have you and your husband as her parents...

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JULIE_1978 12/14/2010 10:10AM

    Unfortunately, I don't think that strung out mothers are even in their right minds to fully consider what harm they are doing to the life growing inside them. I have seen a number of different TV shows that highlight different women that once they found out they were pregnant, they stopped cold turkey and did what they could to have a healthy baby. I feel terrible for those little babies, having been given such a hard start in life but they are lucky to have strong men and women to help them through the hardest part - the withdrawal. All we can do it pray that somehow, somewhere the parents will get some sense. Education via witness would be a great thing though I wonder if faced with a baby in withdrawal, how many more instances of parental homicide would we have to see on the news? Alison, you do good work, keep it up!

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LAURIETAIT 12/14/2010 10:05AM

    I've never had to deal with an infant in withdrawal but I in teaching school for 30 years I've had numerous students struggling to cope with the effects of their parents drug and alcohol abuse. You're right. It isn't just something they have to get through immediately after birth. It's a life sentence. A lot os substance abuse arises out of ignorance and the hopelessness of poverty. These are things society can address. These children deserve it. You are amazing my friend. Take care of yourself.

Comment edited on: 12/15/2010 11:37:55 AM

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SAMI199 12/14/2010 9:04AM

    I worked PICU for years & I know what you are going through-it was bad enough to watch kids go through horrible accidents,watch them die fron diseases BUT to watch a child go all this for no reason other than malicious,preventable
reasons makes me sick&breaks my heart. I usally am pretty understanding about substance abuse-but NOT when you use whie
pregnant. You hang in there-burnout is a real concern-make sure you are taking care of you. God Bless you & your Family.

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HAPPYHARTZ 12/14/2010 4:02AM

    Darlin you are a sweetheart. I had major migraines during my pregnancy and would not take anything because I was afraid to hurt my babies. I can't even fathom what mother's could be thinking by doing drugs. You and your husband are amazing people by adopting a drug baby. I know it can be difficult because I have seen a few of these children. I use to work in a school and it is so hard for them. All I can say is I am here to vent on when ever you need an ear. That frustration is not good to hold in and all you can do is keep those precious little ones in your prayers.

emoticon emoticon

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YAGERMONSTER 12/14/2010 3:50AM

    I understand completely. In the last year, we had to babies that came in and died due to blunt force trauma. You have to be a sick mother humper to be killing babies, let alone your own child. In a slower pace, thats what those mothers were doing to their babies. God bless you and your husband... And GSP for punishing the Kos.

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SHERYLDS 12/14/2010 3:32AM

    It takes an angel with a heart of gold to be able to deal with this day after day. They are blessed with having had an embrace from a caring person like you. And as for your child. Wow, what a lucky kid she is.
Warmest holiday wishes to you and your loving family
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Phenomenal Woman

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This poem came to mind today while I was getting up & ready for work. I wanted to share this wonderful poem with my Spark friends!!!

Because we are a.............

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Maya Angelou

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAFODIL24 11/16/2010 2:49PM

    This is beautiful ~ thank you for sharing! emoticon

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EMSJOURNEY 11/16/2010 11:15AM

    how can you not love maya?? =)

Comment edited on: 11/16/2010 11:21:21 AM

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ASTORRES1 11/16/2010 10:22AM

    Thanks!!!!

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LAURIETAIT 11/15/2010 10:45AM

    I like it.

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SILLYHP1953 11/15/2010 8:54AM

    I knew there was a reason I liked Maya Angelou though I was unfamiliar with that poem. I also just noticed that "angel" is in her name. Interesting.

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YAGERMONSTER 11/15/2010 3:02AM

    Yowza!

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GLAMNGLOWDIVA 11/15/2010 2:47AM

    One of my favorite poems! Thank you for the reminder.

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LOSINGLINNDY 11/15/2010 1:08AM

    I love Maya's work. Thank you for sharing her poem.

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