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For The Love of Avonte


 

 

avonteFor The Love of Avonte

I learned about this beautiful child named Avonte Oquendo, shortly after he went missing. I had never met his mother or family, but this child touched my heart. When I saw his picture, his eyes spoke to my soul. I reached out to people about him; no one who knows me would ever be able to say…I didn’t know she felt that way. I was very vocal about him. When I learned of his death, it made my heart heavy.

I had someone very close to me, who had autism. He had many difficulties living, in “the real world”. Much like Avonte, he had eyes that spoke to your soul. You couldn’t help but to love him. His life was also cut short.

I cannot imagine the sheer hell that these mothers must have gone through. Not only because of losing a child, but how their lives had been molded around the protection and nurturing of these children. What are they to do now?

We are at an advantage, we can turn off the news. But when I searched Avonte’s name, I found no known cause of death and no article written past January. While we can just move along…as the world keeps on spinning; Avonte’s mom must try and make sense out of this.

My prayers are with her. If I could tell her anything I would say; I saw the light in his eyes too. I saw the wonder and love that you bathed him in, every day of his life. And even though he was unable to verbally communicate; your heart connected with his. I believe whole-heartedly that the love you instilled within him…remained with him throughout his stay with us here. And while I am certain that this may not ease your pain right now…I pray that your journey through this grief…is built on the grace and mercy of a most loving Creator.

I am saddened when I think of how brief Avonte’s life was…but my heart cannot help but to shine…knowing that angels are singing more loudly and Heaven became a much brighter place…all for the love of Avonte.

Dear George


Dear George,

I am writing this today, because I can no longer bite my tongue. I thought I could remain silent after the trial…but I see that I cannot; not after watching your video. I understand it must be difficult when you feel like the whole world doesn’t know you and you are being judged. It must be difficult trying to find employment and real friends; but since you don’t seem to understand it…I wanted to sit down with you a moment and try and make sense out of it.

…It was a rainy night; not too much rain…but just enough that the teenager had difficulty seeing things clearly. It was just a snack; something to hold him over throughout the night…not a big deal. As he left the store, he put his hood on, so he wouldn’t get wet. His mom was always getting on him for going out in the rain and waking up sick the next day. Since he was at his dad’s house, he didn’t want his mom to get mad at him too.

He looked up and noticed a vehicle that seemed unfamiliar. It drove slowly by; maybe he thought I was someone he knew… the child said to himself. He called his best friend joking with her and noticed the SUV driving past again; he made a sidebar joke with his bestie…and kept walking. He begins to get nervous; the vehicle rides past again slowly…looking…lurking…yet no word is spoken.

The child’s heart starts beating faster. His mouth salivating, as his nervousness increases. He must make sure that this person isn’t after him; so he runs down random streets to try and lose him. Again the mysterious vehicle follows him. He knows that he could run straight to his dad’s house and be safe, but then the stranger would know where he lived and worse where his family lived.

His palms begin to get sweaty; he knows that this guy needs to confront him…these situations never turn out good. The man gets out of the vehicle and starts to approach. You could hear the voice on the cell phone screaming…as the phone fell to the ground…Trayvon, Trayvon…are you there?…

 

George, I know you have your own version of what happened that night…and unfortunately, your version is the only one that we will know.

I watched you in court. I looked for a person who was truly sorry for what happened. I sought a person who felt that the killing of a teenager was a horrible outcome of this story. I did not find that person in your eyes.

You stated recently that people don’t know the real you; and that other than what they have seen in regards to this case, they don’t know you…at all. You even stated, in defense of the, “He’s a racist”, claim that you had been mentoring a black child. I hope that you understand what an insult that is. I always find humor in people that say…”I’m not prejudiced…I have a black friend”. You would probably be better served to not do that again.

I do have some loving advice for you; as I feel compelled to reach out to you. Don’t get me wrong…regardless of what the state of Florida says…I think that you are guilty. I think that you should have been punished…someone died. That someone had a name, an address…he had a family and because of your actions…he also had a funeral.

I think that the largest injustice that was done, in your defense, was to make Trayvon Martin appear to be the assailant. The media and your legal team made an issue, out of the fact, that Trayvon had been suspended from school for having trace amounts of marijuana in his book back. They made issue out of the fact that he had tattoos. They made issue out of the fact that he had gold teeth and that he made a video showing gang signs. They even made issue out of the fact that Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, chose to use pictures of her son at an earlier age.

I digress…let’s get back to you and what is really important.

If you want the world to see you differently…stop signing autographs at gun shows. This does not say that you have any compassion or empathy for a nation that is mourning the loss of this child. Volunteer at a children’s shelter, read books to kids at a library, and show the world that you regret what you did.

It’s okay, you can’t be prosecuted again. Clear your soul…tell the truth. Do not write a book about how you have it so hard, because of the trial. You have it hard because you killed someone and the world noticed. You have it hard, because even you, don’t think that you are innocent…and your soul is torturing you.

Understand that your words…will not bring back that wonderful child. His family will miss him for the rest of their lives. And while you are making statements about living in poverty and having no friends…the Martin family…has one less place to set at dinner. They have to find a way to go on living without their son…while you still get to breathe.

You are still alive…I would offer to you this: make the most out of your moments. Do not spend an ounce of your day feeling sorry for your situation. Starting today do something different; stop looking out for George…and look out for someone else. Volunteer…or better yet; I would suggest that you go to a meeting for parents whose children have been killed. Stay and listen to their stories…let it soak in. Pray. I only hope, that in that prayer that you will really understand the brevity of what you have done. You will know if it did…because you will no longer be singing the “What about me” song.

I pray that our Creator will be merciful with you…in your growth. I cannot hate you…while my emotions may scream for it…I know that hate is something that my soul refuses to do. I do hate what happened. I pray every day that no other family will have to bury their child too soon. I pray that we realize that a tattoo, skin tone, and/or drug use…does not make any of this okay.

George, I will leave you with one more thought: In your journey for understanding…look deeper into yourself; work on the man that you want to become…and seek forgiveness. The anger and frustration you feel…does not come from any place other than within.

 

Peace be upon you

My Sisters Keeper


My Sister’s Keeper

 

I believe that the strongest and most sincere relationship that a person can have is with their brother or sister. Our brothers and sisters see us for who we really are; whether they want to admit it or not. They have seen us at our: Very worst and very best, at our weakest and strongest, falling in and out of love, in the most stressful and most joyous times in our lives. It is, in fact a relationship that is unparalleled. We know, even as children, that these are important relationships, because even as young girls…we are seeking the best friend equivalent to these God-given gifts. We will use terms such as, she is like my sister; to describe how close the two or few really are.

In families where the fabric is tightly woven, we understand what a treasure brothers and sisters can be to one another. We realize that even if we do not see eye to eye on millions of subjects and issues…we are family and therefore…who cares if we aren’t mirror images of one another?

I realize, also, that not all families have this closely knitted connection…and that is sad to me. We can take these gifts for granted; we may even cut off all ties and connections to them. While I would never impose my views of this topic on anyone…I can tell you this; my sister saved my life a million times, if she did it once. We weren’t raised together and came from opposite ends of the family tree. We never looked alike and we had friends that were polar opposites. We argued and grumbled at one another…and just when you would be certain that we would storm away…we smiled and moved on. We shared holidays and vacations; we shared her weddings and even a few funerals. Most importantly I knew, without question, she would never fail to be there for me.

I cherish moments when I can look back at my time with her and smile and reminisce about our times together. While her life was cut too short for my taste, she lived it well and never regretted a single moment. You just have to love that!!

The whole point of this is not to have an “oh woe is me” conversation. On the contrary, I have no regrets either…she lived a beautiful life and made lots of mistakes. She drank too much and never really found the man of her dreams. But she showed me what it was like to love another person in an unconditional way.

I loved her, in such a way, that I didn’t think possible…outside of my grandparents. I often was cross with her and we argued, as I said…but even in our worse moments…I would have walked across hot coals to help her. I never saw a dividing line between she and I, although I am certain they were there. And while I often didn’t like the things she did…I never loved her any less. The love we had couldn’t be shaken or unraveled.

This would be the point of this conversation. There is nothing that should keep all of us from loving one another just like this. I wasn’t in a relationship with her…we just loved. There must come a time in our lives when we decide that we love every one and every single thing that was created from the core…of which we were also created. We have brothers and sisters that live in countries and on continents that we have only read about. They will have had experiences that may never touch us in a million years. They will have struggled for generations, with poverty, slavery, genocide and hate hidden, as indifference. They will also have unique cultural experiences. The important point in all this is the knowledge of…none of the above makes them better or worse than we are. They are our brothers and sisters…and one day we will have to embrace that thought and idea.

If we began looking at one another, as brother and sister, how could we do any less than love and respect one another?

The whole concept behind this movement is simple…I am NOT my brother/sisters keeper…I AM MY BROTHER/SISTER.

I am them and they are me, therefore how can we do anything but love and support one another? It does not mean we will always agree, I doubt that is possible; even the greatest of relationships have differences that they must talk and work through. But it does mean that if I treat you with respect and we walk onward together…there is no enemy that we can’t defeat. And what is even better…if we are all brothers and sisters of the soul and heart…the only enemy that can be found…is within us.

The Light Of The World


The Light Of The World

 

The world was created from an incredible source of LOVE. We are even told in the Bible that God said…”Let there be LIGHT”. We are reminded throughout the ages that LIGHT is LOVE. Light warms our bodies and makes our souls feel refreshed and new again. We are again reminded about this great love when it is stated: “He so loved the world that HE gave His only begotten son”.

Can you imagine a greater display of love? Our source tells us that He was willing to take his only son…where he was safe from the hands of anything unholy, and give him as a gift of love.

Why do I mention this? After all I have taken two very famous lines of scripture, surely we would not need to be reminded of them.

Somehow the fact that we were bathed in love from the very start has eluded us. We have found reasons, or created them, to not love or be loving toward one another.

Human beings are the only beings, on this planet, who create boundaries which tell us that someone or something is being loved too much.

We will tell young parents not to coddle their children. We will say that too much hugging and holding makes a child spoiled. And while we must also encourage our children to love themselves…let us not use this as an excuse for breeding indifference.

Just before a child is conceived, it has been coddled, held, hugged, kissed…surrounded in the purest form of love. Why does a child cry when it is born? It cries because instantly it knows how cold the world truly is. This baby is not crying because it needs or wants to be spoiled…but because it is searching for the love it was created from. You will notice that throughout this child’s life, it is constantly seeking that Divine Love. The kind of love that says I will never love you less and you will never feel alone or abandoned. But I have seen parents, men and women alike, pushing their children away…for their own good. “You are a big boy/girl don’t cry”. We will rush away from our children’s bedrooms claiming that we don’t have time for one more story. What are we rushing toward? What is the urgent thing that simply cannot wait one more moment?

Even the animal kingdom has more compassion than most human beings display. I have watched different species of animals take in babies that are their natural enemies…to simply display compassion and love. A mother wolf, for instance, never snaps or growls at her young when they are crying. Instead she will pull the pup to her and cuddle with it, until the pup feels so safe and secure that the crying stops.

I have watched a bear cub climb up a pine tree; and when he gets to the point where he is afraid to move upward or down…he will literally cry for his mother. The first time I heard this, I smiled; because it really sounds like he is saying “Mom”. The mother bear who is too large to climb up the tree after her cub, will wait at the bottom of the tree. She knows that either the branch will give way or the cub will become too weak to hold on. She will wait and watch. When she hears the sounds of either outcome…she will be there for the cub. Such patience is something that we could all learn from.

What if we started looking at life differently? What if we realized that the most important job, task, or path that we had…was to be that loving and patient mother or father? What if we hurried the world along, as we push our children along? That conversation which our child feels is the most important thing in the world…is just that. Are they just words…no. What if I told you that the story that your child simply must tell you…a million times over…was really something you needed to know?

The lessons in life that are intended for us, usually come wrapped in such a way that they can be easily over looked. Our children, don’t forget, have yet to experience the world and how cold and cruel it can be. Unfortunately, this harsh reality is usually not found any further than our own homes. How many times have you hurt your children’s feelings and not given it a second thought? We will somehow minimize the experience; almost rationalizing the idea that our child will just have to understand. Our day was hectic, the boss yelled at us, we have a deadline that we are having trouble meeting and we just don’t have time to use caution when talking to a child that talks all the time anyway.

Do you see how easily we justify…our actions?

Love is an endless source; yet we are quick to douse out that flame. We will ignore children that will speak to us out of nowhere. We will show a face of impatience, while shutting out anything the child is asking or telling us. While, yes, we are doing damage to that child; be also aware that we are damaging ourselves too.

Divine love has no criteria. It has no opposition…it simply is. It cannot be defined, as it defies all definition. It cannot be contained or withheld. It cannot be judged or ignored. Divine love is the constant flow of LIGHT from our HIGHEST SOURCE. It holds us up, even during times when we think we are standing alone. The beautiful thing about this level of love is that it doesn’t want credit.

Have you ever watched as a child rides a bicycle for the first time successfully? Do you remember the look on their face? The utter joy of them feeling that they did it all by themselves. What changed? The only reason a child is able to ride a bicycle all by themselves is because they decided to trust in a source that we grow to deny, as adults. Is there ever a grumbling from above when this child is screaming “I did it, I did it”! No. And the reason for that is simple…Divine love does not require the proverbial pat on the back. In fact, understand that a child is born with that kind of trust; it is us as adults that teach our children not to trust. “Be careful, you are going to fall”.

We are loved highly and every morning when we wake up, we are reminded of that love. Every moment that we have been gifted is precious. Children are not impositions…they are blessings. Too often we take that which was intended to enhance our lives and we cast them aside.

That child does not talk too much…we listen too little. That child isn’t crying for no reason…we just haven’t learned to understand what it needs. That child isn’t sad because they are unlovable…they are sad because we have failed to love them enough. Children do not act up because they are unruly…they act up, because they are the things in our lives …which we always put last.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Start tomorrow, better yet, start now…talk to your children. Talk to your nieces, nephews and their friends too. Listen to what they have to say; accept the gifts that they were sent here to bring. Take a moment and look at life through their very loving eyes…and remember back when your eyes…represented the LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

The Illusion


The Illusion

 

Often, I think we can take our loved ones for granted. We may even feel or think that we were “due” these relationships. While I cannot imagine what we could do to deserve or earn these crowned accomplishments…it does appear to be the case, even if only in the minds of a select few.

We were gifted moments with our loved ones. We can often become so comfortable with what we appear to have with them, that we forget that these moments were never “given” and were never intended to be permanent. Intentionally or not, we develop a sense of entitlement and this becomes dangerous.

People are not possessions and while we may love them in a very human way; human love comes with stipulations, quite often. Human love is relationship oriented. “I will love you, as long as you don’t…” It is companionship love and can also be a beautiful thing. Anytime we try to grasp something and hold onto it in that way; like most caged birds…it will long to fly away.

When the moments we were gifted become grief…life can begin to look glum. We may become angry and become withdrawn. While this happens often, it is important to try and understand that: Those moments, which have now evolved into memories, are still gifts. You see the fact that the people attached to those moments were ever within our grasp…is a fallacy. Those people, our loved ones who have passed, never belonged to us. They willfully stayed in our lives, for whatever period of time or space. They chose to be a part of our millions and millions of moments, while we are visiting this place.

While we may grow sad or angry that we cannot make more moments with their physical presence; do not allow that bitterness to cause you to turn away from life and the love that is still here for you. The moments that we have been gifted are intended to create a foundation for other relationships. I am often reminded of the very loving nature of our Creator; when I am provided the opportunity to look back at the memories that I have been gifted in my life. As humans, we can become very selfish and want those times, events, relationships to stay just as they are; but just as the world keeps moving…so must we.

We must absorb the love, kindness and joy of these moments and memorialize them in our hearts. And on days when the world seems particularly harsh…we will find that smile from our memory. The smile that we may have taken for granted, years and years ago. And the memory of that archived smile…will lay the foundation for a new smile.

In this way, the people that we grieve…never really leave us. Recently my father in law passed away, and right around the time which he either had just passed or was getting ready to do so…the radio in his van came on while my husband was driving. It didn’t just come on…but it blared so loudly that it shook our insides. Try as he may, my husband was unable to turn that radio down or off…until all of a sudden it turned off all by itself. Now we were told that the radio never worked in the van, but we both experienced it. In our hearts, we know that he was letting us know that we were going to be alright and that he had gone home. We could have made that experience negative, but even after we had learned that he had passed on…the thought of that moment made us smile.

What does all of this mean? It doesn’t mean that we should not miss them or that we shouldn’t grieve. It means that we should appreciate and embrace every moment of every day. I would not wish upon any one the hurt that regret tends to bring. Go to sleep every night with the knowledge that you made the most out of each day; and awake with the thought that today will be better than yesterday. More importantly, do not dwell on all that yesterday wasn’t, or you will bring that same energy into this day.

People that we love will, at one time or another, be called home. Do not allow that knowledge to keep you from opening your heart to that kind of love. When we shield our hearts from pain; we inadvertently shield love from our lives, as well. The most beautiful times in my family occurs when I am sharing the conversations that I had with my grandmother, as a child. It makes my heart feel warm and brilliant. I not only remember her stories and songs, but I can feel her all around me…and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

There are no guarantees in this life. We were only sent here to realize our purpose and to fulfill it. So while we are here…touch as many hearts as you can.

Exhibit what is called Divine Love.

In this, Divine Love is defined as…that without definition. It cannot be contained or denied. Divine love has no opposition…it simply is. Divine love is what our Creator, gives us. There is nothing to compare it to; it is inclusive of all things…which is where we get the idea of “Allness”. Love all day every day…it takes nothing away from you and your rewards are boundless.

If you exhibit Divine Love in all things…regret cannot exist.

And do not be troubled with the idea of hate…hate is bred out of fear. Even fear can be lessened out of existence…when it is surrounded by love and patience.

We must allow ourselves to let go of the things we are not sure of…similar to letting go of the side of the pool, when we are unsure if we trust ourselves enough to swim toward the center. The water that surrounds us is Divine Love…and if you KNOW TRUE love…you will understand that it never varies. Divine Love never wavers, it is constant and consistent. You are never alone, for you are a part of ALL.

When we allow ourselves to open our hearts to this kind of love…we understand that loss…is an illusion.

 

To Lose


To Lose

If I knew it would be the last time

I said get to say a word to you

Would have screamed a million I love you’s

Instead of assuming that you knew

If I had just a second

To redo all our memories

We would run barefoot in the grass

Just you…and me

If I knew the phone would stop ringing

If I knew the calling would stop

I swear I’d answer every single time

I couldn’t hear you enough

If I could replay our times together

So it would never have to end

I would start our record over

To be played over and over again

If I knew God was going to call you

On that one specific day

I would have worked so much less

Made more time to play

But I know it was your time

It feels like you are near

My forever safe place

Keeping me safe whilst I’m here

So when you talk to God today

Send him my deepest gratitude

For I now realize a LOSS

Doesn’t mean we have to lose

                        ~LM Young

What About Me


What About Me

I hate you she cries

Vile names he blurts out

Mommy and Daddy

What’s wrong now

This marriage was a mistake

A huge waste of my time

What about me?

Says innocent eyes

You are worthless

Cheater not a real man

But what about me?

Wrings her little hands

Hit me I dare you

I will have you locked up

Mommy what about me

Cries a voice not so tough

Throw out my clothes

I can start a life with her

As inaudible sobs

Careful not to stir

Mommy and Daddy

If this was a big mistake

What does that make me

Just another promise to break?

Start another life

Throw my daddy in prison

Do you hear her heart breaking

Are you even listening?

She loves you both

Use caution in your debates

Or you…Mommy and Daddy

Will be her first heart ache

So when waging this war

Use caution and care

For a little…what about me

May be standing there

                            ~ LM Young

Happy Women’s Day


Happy Women’s Day

Happy Women’s Day to you

Celebrations one and all

We celebrate your gifts

Both vast and small

We celebrate your love

We celebrate your being

We celebrate your gracious

Way of how you go about seeing

Seeing the world and its evil

Seeing the abuse handed out

Seeing a Creator who loves all

Which you have never had a doubt

We celebrate you today

And again tomorrow

May we never partake

In what causes you sorrow

May we always recall the moment

When life tried to shoot you down

And you wearing that sunshine smile

When the world tries to make you frown

May we always remember that which

You made look so easy

How you smiled through storm clouds

How you love…freely

You have done so many things

You broke barriers in two

Making life easier for all

While it was difficult for you

Happy Women’s Day to all

For she has been working through

The adversity of a war

Oh the dragons that she slew

She is our great warrior

Our fathers leaned on her too

She was his soft place to go

His love his life…the TRUTH

So on this day of remembering

On the dawn of a new day

Join my celebration

On she who paved the way

She who was our first hero

When push came to shove

She was our first smile

Our first sample of love

So if we fail more than we don’t

If we falter more than pave the way

To the Queens of this world and the next

Wishing you a Happy Women’s Day

                                                            ~LM Young

Daddy Don’t Go


Daddy Don’t Go

 

Daddy don’t go

The girl softly cried

I’m coming back

Just another lie

I wonder if he knew

The choices he did make

Would damage a life

A heart he did break

If he had only looked back

Seen that last tear fall

He could have righted a wrong

In no time at all

Maybe if he had been there

She wouldn’t have needed

The attention negative or not

Which abandonment breeded

Her mom was there yes, but

Who can really say

What would have happened

Had he not left that day

Our daughters are precious

We must try and understand

Their fathers help create

Their future’s floor plan

For Daddy when you leave

Someone else will step in

And since you weren’t there

No telling how it will end

Are you responsible for others…no

But from the very start

You were supposed to be there for her

And that fragile little heart

When you stepped out on mom

You walked away from this sweet girl

Who loved you every single day

You were her entire world

So when she now makes choices

As we sometimes tend to do

Remember her greatest teacher

Was supposed to be you

Don’t make this love story

End before it starts

Cause saying “Daddy don’t go”

Even breaks a woman’s heart

                                                                ~LM Young

The Victory


The Victory

It’s that moment we all fear

We wake up from that cloud

How did we get here

We scream out loud

What happens to us now

How do we find our way

We ponder why and how

When did it all fall astray

How do we move past this

How do we pull it together

All the signs we missed

Are we to be numb forever

No a voice rushed in

You are on your way out

The only fear is within

Release all of the doubt

You can overcome this plight

The only chains that bind

Are found only in your sight

The desolation of your mind

You survived and are here

Your example a road map

Showing that hope is near

The Phoenix’s aftermath

Rise above those flames

Gaze your eyes on the sky

As glorious as your name

You are destined to fly

Shine on beautiful angel

Pave the way for others too

Soar as you are now able

The victory belongs to you

                                                          ~LM Young

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