People Like Us

Archive for the category “Inspirational”

Fat Like Your Mama

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Mama loved to cook almost as much as she loved to eat. Her chicken-fried steak with gravy, smothered potatoes fried with onions, chicken and dumplings, Mississippi Mud Cake, Banana Pudding and every calorie-laden, heart-attack inducing dish you can imagine were the staples of my childhood. I always woke to the smell of breakfast cooking, even on those early pre-dawn mornings before school. She managed to make homemade biscuits and gravy for us on most mornings, her apron tied around her round midsection, before leaving for work as a cook in either a nursing home or school cafeteria. For Mama, feeding us was her way of showing her love for us.

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Drowning

I almost drowned when I was six. We were staying at the King’s Motel, a 20-room motel in a small South Texas town with a terrain that was flat and lifeless for as far as the eye could see. It was one of those establishments that was located on the outskirts of town, almost like an afterthought. Twenty orange doors with black numbers were lined up in a neat row behind an on-site diner and small rectangular swimming pool.

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Watch Me, Mama

“Watch me Mama,” she calls

and I watch

as she performs great, acrobatic feats

her sunlit brown hair dances

around sparkling hazel eyes

in a face whose beauty

has only begun to bloom

I am watching

only I see the cherub she once was

with an angelic, toothless smile

chubby legs attempt those first steps

as she reaches for me–

“Are you watching, Mama?”

She leaps again and

with a bittersweet smile

I see the young woman

she will be–

Sweet-spirited, with a tender heart

and a fine mind to aid her

so much love to give

those blessed ones

she will share her life with

I am watching

every performance

Engraving these images

so that I will not

miss a thing.

Karen Muston, 2001

Journey’s End

My father’s ashes felt warm in my hands. This is what death feels like, I thought. I rolled the plastic over in my hand and wondered at how a man with such power in my life could be condensed to little more than a gallon-sized storage bag. I put the plastic bag back into the cardboard box and placed it on the floor in the back seat.

Flat, frozen land flashed past us on the way to the cemetery. It was a cold day in January and all the foliage had withered to brittle shades of brown. The shrill sound of a train whistle pierced the silence. “We should put his ashes in that train car over there,” my husband said with a smile. His large, calloused hand patted my leg, and his blue eyes twinkled in an attempt to make me smile. “After all, it would be fitting. He never did want to be in one place for very long.” I nodded and smiled ruefully. He was right, my father would travel no more.

I glanced back at the box that contained what was left of my father. I wanted to feel something besides the hollow tightening in the pit of my stomach.  I wished for home. My mind flashed involuntarily to my father’s sunken face, his gasping for air with lungs that betrayed him, gnarled hands clutching, and my betrayal in the end. I could smell death. I momentarily fought nausea. Cigarette ashes, that’s what he looked like now. How ironic, I thought. I can’t ever remember seeing him without a cigarette in his hand.


 

The Power of Words

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People like us don’t go to college. At least that’s what Mama always told me.

Somewhere along the way, my parents became convinced of this lie. Neither of my parents wanted me to go to college, in fact, earning a high school diploma seemed optional in our home. Mama dropped out of high school in the eleventh-grade so that she could marry our father, who had dropped out of high school in the ninth-grade. Read more…

Choosing Greatness

622659_4385225348031_80577615_oEveryone has some of those memories that play in your mind like an action-packed movie, as real and as powerful as the day that they happened. Those are the memories worth writing about and, sometimes, those are the ones you try so very hard to bury under mundane everyday activities.

Our experiences shape who we are, and ultimately impact our expectations. I think it is safe to say that our outlook on life is born from our perception of our experiences. I believe we choose our perception and therefore, we ultimately choose our destiny. It is not that we can’t weep about what has happened to us, no, that is our right. However, we must allow the adversities we face to be the catalyst that catapults us into greatness, instead of being the weight that drags us down into a dark, hopeless abyss.

It is then, there in our darkest hour, that we become victors, not victims. Choose to overcome, choose to learn from what has happened, and choose to be happy.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. ~Romans 8:37

Faith Walk

Cool mountain air rushed past our faces as we followed the narrow, rocky trail framed with green fern and smooth Aspen. We could hear the sound of rushing waters in the distance, and we knew our destination was near. Suddenly, the trail seemed to end at a small stream lined in dark rocks. The small cascade of water flowing smoothly over rocks almost didn’t even count as a waterfall. The scene was beautiful, but not the majestic flow we had all expected. We had driven well over an hour in rough, mountainous terrain before we had even begun to hike. The disappointment was palpable.

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