Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 in One Word

Happy New Year!!!

My girlfriend Rachel challenged our sister circle to narrow down our expectations for the 2013 New Year to one foundational word...  Not a mission statement or a purpose letter - because that's what I usually do every year and by the time I'm done I have at least 20 pages of statements, plans, goals, target dates...  (I normally begin my new year every October because spiritually that's when I notice "the shift" taking place for me.)

On this challenge we weren't even allowed to write a sentence.  She challenged us each to choose ONE FOUNDATIONAL WORD to describe how 2013 would look for us.  I chose my word but I'm not letting you in on it.  I wanna see if you can look at my life from this point forward and guess the word I selected.

Maybe I'll share my word at the end of 2013 but hopefully by then it will be obvious!  Yes, indeed!!

Here is my challenge to you, GITK Family...
Select your word...
Just ONE word...
And watch as the world unfolds like a beautiful flower before your very eyes to make your thoughts reality.
Enjoy this year and be fully present in 2013!!  I Love you and be safe!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Driver Wanted

Today was my first day behind the wheel since November, 2012.

Although people offered to take me back and forth I was starting to feel like Ms. Daisy from "Driving Miss Daisy." 

Since I was just headed up the street and there was very little traffic - I was thinking "It shouldn't be that bad.... Right?"

After all it's been a few weeks so I should be ready to quickly move my foot from the gas pedal to the brake should I need to come to an immediate stop....


Let me sum up my next course of actions with one Patois word:  SIDDUNG!!
Looking for a reliable driver any takers?  hahahaha

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The kids in my life make me smile from a place so deep within my soul... 
I can't begin to tell you how simply wonderful they are.  

I received a phone call from my girlfriend.  She was calling so I could speak to my goddaughter who was 5 at the time, "I've been trying to convince her that you are her godmother but she doesn't believe me!"  

Why doesn't she believe you?

"I don't know... She keeps saying 'If Auntie Jeri is my god mommy how come I never saw her wings before?'"

(...pause - hard swallow)

Tell her I have them folded under my clothes.

Her response from my godchild, "Tell her I want to SEE them.  Not under her clothes but I want to see them."

Oh well... 
I guess I have been hiding for waaaaay too long.  
It's time for me to unfold my wings... 
Stretch my arms out really wide like I'm hugging God... 
Take a leap of faith and FLY!!!!

(If this post scares you, you'll be ok. hahahahahaha... If you're still trying to figure out what I'm talking about go back to sleep - you'll see soon enough.)

Laughing all the way to True Joy.  See ya in the sky!! (it's sooooo beautiful up here....  aaaaahhhhh....)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This has been one conclusion to 2012!  I know this is a strange Christmas Post but I'm like Diane Reeves "I just wanna testify...  Amazing Grace it saved my life!"

A few days before I headed to the hospital to have surgery I got a call from my Charlotte family.  We had been back and forth on the phone for weeks trying to figure out why my 16 year old niece was itching from head to toe.  I just thought she was stressed out with her new school but I make it a habit not to "play doctor" with my family over the phone line.  Her mom would attempt to describe to me just how miserable Kaylyn had become with the itching.   By now she had seen 5 different doctors who prescribed her pills, creams, ointments, body soaks...  You name it, she had it.

There I was getting ready for surgery replaying the last conversation my doctor and I had in his office:

"In addition to the tumors we know about the radiologist and I saw something else on your MRI..." 
Something else?  Something like what? 
"I can't be certain what it is until we get inside." Dr. George was his regular cool calm and collected self.  His mannerisms reminding me of Sidney Poitier head to toe - they even have the same thick Bahamian accent.
Determined to get an answer I jump in again, "Well what do you think it is?  Does it look like...  Canc..." 
"Leeeeet's not put a name to it since I can't be certain until we go inside..."

The phone rings pulling me back into my home.  It's my other frister (a friend who is as close as a sister without biological connectedness) on the phone.  "Hey, J.  They admitted Kaylyn into the hospital today.  They plan on putting a port-a-cath into her and starting chemo in the next few days..."

Waaa waaaii wait!!  What?" (My mind is racing - chemo for itchy skin.)  "What is going on?"

In her New Orleans accent Joslyn was firing off information so quickly I didn't have time to question her, "Kay was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).  They plan on keeping her in and starting the first course of chemo.  She'll probably be there for a few weeks.  She's in good spirits. We're all fine.  We take turns but for the most part we're fine!  Your niece Kaylyn is amazing.  The kids have been in her room praying and sharing healing scriptures.   But we'll keep Mema (my mother) posted, you just focus on you right now.  We'll call the house later to check on you.  Don't worry about Kay.  We're all praying for you.  You goin' be fine.  And Kaylyn's goin' be fine!!"

She was right!  It's been three weeks and we're all fine.  That's not to say this journey is over... In fact This Could be the Start of Something BIG!!!!!  Stay Tuned...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

No matter what you say we still need healing

Blah blah blah!!! 
Stop with all the comments.  I am absolutely done with the conversations that repeatedly take place after every senseless killing spree in this Nation. 

Comments like: 
It's a mental health issue
He probably had some form of autism...
We need to have more regular people with access to guns...
The ladies at the school should have had guns to shoot him back...
Our schools, churches, movie theaters, malls, places of work need more security...
We need to check people's mental health records before we let them get guns...  (As if they gain access to firearms in a legal manner.  This boy got these guns from his mom.) 

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of suggestions but you've heard similar simple suggestions to this complex issue.

Maybe I'm being a little idealistic here but what we lack in America is not more guns, more laws, more surveillance... We are suffering from a lack of love.  True love.  Not the kind of love we write about in these whack songs.  Not the kind of love that is portrayed in movies and television dramas.  Not that lip service crap I  hear among religious crowds with statements like "the Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you."  What does that mean anyway?  We need a TRUE LOVE that changes people to their CORE.  

There is absolutely no way you love another then try to manipulate, berate, isolate or violate them!  The fear-based love humans display currently is the exact opposite if what we should aim for.  This fear-based love is:  

Self serving (usually cloaked in flattery)
Mean and Nasty disguised with a fake smile
Score keeping (you love me first and then I'll show love for you)
Short lived 
Easily provoked
Heavily infused with lies 

that is not love, my friends....  In NO shape or form...

Our Nation does indeed have a problem and it is flat out Lovelessness!!

Since last Friday I have experienced a myriad of emotions from extreme sadness to frustration.  But now I'm flat out angry...  Reason being is that we have talked on this subject ad nauseam since Columbine and very little has changed.  How many more people have to die before we really get it?

My very FIRST grand rounds lecture as a University of Florida faculty member in 2005 was on this very subject: "The Interconnection between Unidentified  Mental Health Disorders,  Unacknowledged Pain and Gun Violence among Young Males."  I discussed the unique presentations among different ethnic groups, the different media coverage young black males received versus young white males, and the commonalities in the mental makeup of the two and how Americans seem enraged when the victims look like the characters from a Norman Rockwell painting but seem to care less if the community is non-White.  

When I finished you could hear a "rat piss on cotton."   Needless to say that was my first and LAST grand rounds during my three year stint.

Don't misread my post - I love and celebrate all cultures!  Even the ones I don't fully understand.  Pain and death in any community should cause the same devastation and hurt.  But these babies and women who were senselessly murdered really got to me...  We as human beings cannot and will not achieve the harmony we seek until we acknowledge that we ALL need some major healing... MAJOR!!!

Tomorrow, December 21 at 9:30 AM,  has been declared a day of mourning where we will observe a moment of silence to remember those killed last Friday.   I guess I'll leave my comments right here for now but I have so much more to say on this matter. 

America, we had better get our act together and I mean fast!! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Still Healing

Hey my GITK Family!
I know many of you have been monitoring my medical progress and I must say I have learned a lot about myself over the past few weeks.  Some of the lessons I'll share with you here on my blog.

For those of you clueless as to what's been up with Dr. Jeri let me "catch you up."

A few months back my doctor shared some "not so wonderful" news with me.  He expressed his concerns with such warmth and tenderness.  He spoke slowly allowing my brain to process his medical findings.  I had a million questions:  
Why didn't I know before now?  
Why wasn't I in any pain?  
It seemed as though all my knowledge as a medical doctor went right out the window.  For many of my questions he had no answers.

In his words over the years I had become accustomed to suffering.  "It seems as though you simply ignored the quieter symptoms and just forged ahead with your daily functioning - even though you weren't functioning at maximum capacity."  

My mind was in a whirlwind, "Huh?!! Accustomed to suffering? Ohhhh, absolutely this has to stop now." 

Right there in his office I made my decision - I no longer wanted to COPE.  Who wants to live a life where you're coping and pushing past the problem too exhausted to really enjoy each moment? Not me!!  I deserve a MAXIMIZED life so I decided to make some necessary changes to experience that kinda life!  

Now that my surgery is complete and the anesthesia & pain meds have worn off I'm asking myself "WHY didn't I do this sooner?"  (The surgery was only the beginning for me!)

Now let me turn and ask you what you're COPING with (emotionally, socially, spiritually, financially or physically) that is hindering you from living a MAXIMIZED life?  Sure, you may think you're doing well.  But is your life really MAXED OUT?  I'm talking MAXED?!!  

I challenge you to release whatever is holding you back even in the most minuscule ways!  It may feel crazy at first but I promise you will be ok...  Shooooot you'll be better than "ok." You will have the opportunity to experience that MAXIMIZED life you have always desired.  

Quit coping with less.  
Release so you can increase!!!
I love you all and can't wait to see what God has lined up for me next!  Still healing!


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