I Honor These Men Every Day, Not Just Father’s Day

I always get a little bummed around the holidays, especially Father’s Day, because my dad is no longer here to celebrate with. Since 2011 I’ve been forced to honor him strictly through words and memories, and it’s difficult some days to do so with a smile.

Yesterday, through social media sites, I honored my dad, grandfathers, and my sister’s boyfriend. I forgot to also honor them here. So before I do anything else today, I’m going to pause to honor these great men in my life.

My dad—wow, a few times a year I’m writing about him, so most of you who follow my blogs and social media posts already know a great deal about the man who helped make me the woman that I am. He’s in the picture above, embracing my mom on their wedding day. Their parents surrounding them. Sadly, my grandparents have also transitioned to their next spiritual promotion. I don’t know why, as a child, we expect everyone to live forever beside us—a phone call away. That becomes our expectation as we grow up, and we get disappointed each and every time someone transitions.

I’m grateful for the time that I had with my dad, 25 amazing years. Not as long as I had hoped and planned, but longer than what many children get to experience. Sadly, longer than what my sister got to experience. She was just a child. She had just graduated from 5th grade and was excited about her promotion to middle school. Then the devastating blow, that has since altered her mind and life.

My sister and I have our own experiences, memories, and lessons from our time with dad. I know that her recent blessing, giving birth to her son—my amazing nephew, Logan, has also given her another blessing—Logan looks just like her, his father, and our dad! Oh my goodness there are moments when your mouth just drops open and you hear yourself saying, “he looks like dad”. Like in the picture below.

I always wonder if the visual recognition, the familiarity, brings a sense of calm to my sister. I know it fills me with a calming light that keeps me smiling.

I don’t just think about my dad on holidays. I think of him daily. I replay his words of wisdom through my mental archive, so I can be more thoughtful of the decisions that I make. It’s like, “what would dad tell me….”

I also think of two other men, and my time with them—my grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather, I called him “Papa” (use your *Spanish accent* when you say it) transitioned when I was a child. I believe I was in 5th grade. That was rough on me. I wanted to learn so much more from him. I couldn’t wait until I was older so he could teach me how to sail boats and make replicas of the ones we sailed in, and how to make the beautiful wooden clocks that he and my grandmother built a business making. I wasn’t as close to him as my maternal grandfather. But it didn’t weaken my love for him. I remember helping to clean buildings and churches with he and my grandmother, as their company had janitorial contracts that I gladly helped to fulfill. I still have a few of the clocks that he made, including one that he shaped as the continent of Africa, for one of my Godfathers, who happened to be the General Counsel for an African country. My Godfather gave me the clock as a gift after my grandfather passed. I keep it hanging on the wall in my home so that every time I see it I think of my Papa.

My maternal grandfather, my “Poppa” (or “Paw-paw”), transitioned when I was a sophomore in college. It was a day from Thanksgiving, but not a day that we initially could bring ourselves to give thanks. To us, his asthma attack was a senseless passing that could’ve been prevented. We spent years in the mental state of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” until we eventually healed to be thankful for the time that we had with him, the lessons that he taught us directly and indirectly, and the words of wisdom that he imparted. I don’t see a vegetable garden and not think of him. He worked for a Ford Motors Corporation subsidiary, so when I see and think of Ford, I think of him. He bought my mom and her two siblings Ford Mustangs when they were in high school. I grew up wanting one. I convinced my now ex-husband, to get one, and he races it in amateur competitions. He even surprised me with a trip to Utah to participate in the Ford performance racing school, where I drove and raced Mustangs for a day (he went for two days). I felt my grandfather smiling at me. I smiled back. I felt such pride, months later, telling Henry Ford III about my grandfather. Through my then husband’s perseverance, he got to meet, know, and form an alliance— and eventually a friendship, with Henry and the company. I still of course have plans of owning my own Mustang. The love of Mustangs still runs deep with my aunt, my mother’s sister, who still owns one. She’s purchased probably 5 or 6 since receiving her first one from my grandfather, her father. In that way, that is one way for her to keep a strong connection to my Poppa. I never asked her if that’s why she keeps buying them. That should make for an amazing conversation. She subscribes to this blog, so I will get an answer to that pretty soon I suspect.

Now, last but not least. My sister’s boyfriend, Shawn. The father, daddy, and hero to my amazing nephew Logan and his big sister Giavonna. I’ve witnessed Shawn light up when he’s with his children.

He gets more time with Logan, because Logan lives with him and my sister. Giavonna lives with her mom, and although when they lived closer together, we used to see Giavonna on a consistent basis, her mom has relocated and the distance and time has grown. But that doesn’t weaken Shawn’s love for his daughter, his firstborn. Nope, he just plans for those days and moments that he will have to share with her. She looks just like her daddy. A spitting image. She always called me “Tee Tee Tasha”. That little girl will always be my niece, my precious sidekick.

There’s no denying that Giavonna and Logan are Shawn’s babies. Oh my goodness that man’s genes are strong. Last night I had the pleasure of video chatting with my sister, Shawn, and Logan. I got to watch Shawn and Logan playing. Their laughter was contagious. Then I was able to take a screenshot of them face to face. Logan staring in his daddy’s eyes.

I smiled brightly watching this precious moment— that a father has with the mini versions of themselves. No man, who wants to be in the lives of their children, should be kept away from them. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers. There’s no substitute for a parent’s love. That DNA is the magic sauce.

I’ve been filled with so much joy watching Logan grow and watching him cling to his male hero—his daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my grandfathers, and to the man who I’ve affectionately called my brother for a few years now. One day out of the year isn’t Father’s Day. Every day is. I love these men!

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I’m Done. I Finished Writing My FIRST Book!

Do you see my face?

If you’ve ever written a book, then you know this feeling…when you’ve typed the last word, period, comma….

You poured yourself onto those pages and you’re empty, yet oh so very full.

Last night I finished typing the final words of a book that is inspired by my 9-year journey through my blog BreakingBreadWithNatasha.com and I cried. I cried tears of joy, relief, and satisfaction for putting my all into a piece of work, to glorify God and His goodness and greatness in my life (through storms and rainbows).

I’ve started several books over the past 20+ years, but this is the FIRST one that I’ve finished, and am proud of. It’s taken me almost 3 years, on and off, to reach this point. I would start writing, get discouraged, and stop. I finally reached a point where I was tired of God asking me when I was going to keep my word so that He could keep His. There’s things that I want to do and experience, but I’m holding myself back. Last night was a sweet victory.

I’m not finished. I still have to get final edits and complete a litany of steps including artwork, decide on a title, paperwork, legal stuff, marketing, etc. etc. etc. But that’s nothing, compared to having to discipline myself to sit still for hours at a time, to create something that I would want to read—and hopefully YOU too will want to read.

I will share more when I can. I just wanted to share this moment, especially with those of you who have been asking me to write this book since 2011. Thank you for the loving push!!!

~Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Is Your Heart Healthy? Watch This Video

Interesting presentation on the 10 Warning Signs Your Heart Isn’t Working Properly. Please view and share with others. We all need to take care of our heart. We only have one and our body can’t function without it. Remember that prevention is better than a cure!

What Are We Doing With Canadian Detainees and Their Children?

Ah the title of this post got you didn’t it?

Did you ask yourself, “what Canadian detainees?” Most likely you did, because guess what we’re not talking about because we’re not hearing about it? Canadians who illegally cross the border into the US, what the US is doing to deter this activity, and how the US handles the separation of the adult detainee from their child.

I mean, we know what’s happening to Latin and Mexican immigrants who cross along the southern border of the US. We’re reading the horror stories of children being treated like little orphan Annie and Oliver Twist (sans the wealthy adopted dad and huge inheritance, respectively).

Imagine reading about US citizens being treated this way in Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, or the Caribbean. Imagine reading about our children being forced to live months without the comfort of human touch—even from a sibling; no letter writing, no crying, and little to no phone contact with family for weeks and months. Visualize babies, toddlers, and other children who one moment were holding the hand of a parent, and in the next are forcibly placed in a van or bus and transported hundreds or thousands of miles away from their parents.

So how do the conditions of our Canadian detainees similar or different? When they illegally cross the border each day and enter the US, what is it like for them when I.C.E. detains them? Do their children get placed in camps with French names, to make them feel at ease? Spanish-speaking detainees are placed in camps named “Casa de Guadalupe” I suppose to provide the feeling of ‘home’. But it’s nothing like home and just because there’s hundreds of other kids there who speak your language and have similar and same skin tones as you, that doesn’t make them family. Besides, wouldn’t you be able to sleep in the same room with family? Wouldn’t you be able to hug family? But, youth detainees are separated from their siblings and just like the other detainees, siblings can’t touch—no hugging your sibling.

Yet politicians and greedy facility operators want to pitch this almost utopian environment of a “summer camp” experience, at some of the locations that are situated in areas where most middle class and wealthy families would consider the great summer camp experience.

Umm but excuse me—the privileges of summer camp include: family drops us off and picks us up when camp is over, we can write and call family whenever we want, when we’re homesick our family can come visit us or even take us home, we’re not restricted from touching and hugging other campers and definitely not restricted from doing so with family, we’re allowed to cry, and we’re allowed to opt out of participating in activities. Also, for the most part, food at summer camp doesn’t sound like or resemble prison food menu options.

Even our state and federal jails and prisons allow for visitation and mail service for the majority of their inmates.

Don’t blow smoke up my butt and tell me these traumatic experiences that these children are enduring are like summer camp.

Let I.C.E. snatch your child out of your comfy home, have them taken to one of these camps, and then ask your child “did it feel like summer camp or prison?

So back to our Canadian detainees, the families that illegally enter the US—what is their experience like when their caught crossing the border or swept up in a raid for living here illegally? Do their children stay in similar camps or the exact same camps as the Mexican and Latino children that we keep seeing and reading about? What are their experiences like? Is it not happening to them or is the media not covering their horror stories, much like they do when not covering instances of police misconduct and brutality towards other nationalities and racial groups as they do when pushing the hot button of mistreatment of African Americans by law enforcement?

I did read this article about the French woman who was jogging in Canada, visiting her mother, and didn’t realize she crossed the border into the US (because there’s no warning signs posted) and border patrol in Blaine, Washington detained her for two weeks. But looking at her photo and seeing her brown skin, it only reinforces the visual bias argument of why she was most likely stopped, questioned and detained. Interesting enough, her mother was able to visit her several times at the detention center—something that we don’t hear about in the thousands of other stories.

I mean of course, her story was a case of accidental border crossing. Out for a little exercise and before she knew it she had handcuffs on her. So maybe while she waited for the bureaucracy to catch up to her reality, border patrol felt it acceptable to allow her visitation from her mother. Wasn’t that decent of them.

Read this recent NY Times article and then let me know if this is an all-borders issue or just southern border issue. Share your insight, experiences, and opinions on this matter. Share your answers to my questions listed above.

I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, I think if the roles were reversed and these were Americans being handled and treated this same way, there would be even greater outrage and even faster action towards civil and dignified resolution.

Imagine what these weeks and months of damage and isolation from family could potentially do to a young mind. Yes, for the most part children are resilient. Some endure trauma but are never the same. And some break, to grow up to be the very thing society fears. What are we doing to these children we keep in jails we call camps? What are we teaching them? What are they learning about this place we call America, the land of the free and the home of the brave—built by and thriving because of immigrants?

Let’s talk.

~Natasha

Quote of The Day: Some People Are Like Clouds

some-people-are-like-clouds

I heard this quote on July 1st and it made me laugh. It’s true, in my opinion. Some people are just like clouds. They come in and cast a shadow over you, change the energy around you, cause uneasiness within you. But then when they leave–oh wow, everything seemingly regains light and life. There is indeed a shift when they arrive and when they leave.

Here’s the trick: identifying the ‘clouds’ in your world and then making the decision to either limit your contact with them or steer clear altogether.

We do have choices.

Even if one or more of the ‘clouds’ are related to you, and some of you may not want to admit it—but they are in your life, seemingly waiting to stir up a jaw-dropping storm just because they can—but you do have a choice as to how much time and energy that you invest in that person. Just as you have a choice with deciding the time and energy you invest in every person that you encounter.

You also have a choice as to how you respond to their presence.

You don’t have to give in to the pressure to feel negatively about your interaction with this ‘cloud’. You can choose whether to open the floodgates of toxic waters or to relish the sweet moments that you were enjoying before the ‘cloud’ appeared. I’m beginning to learn how to do the latter. It’s better for the mind, heart, body, spirit, and soul. It truly is.

Why on earth would I help a cloud rain upon me?

Grab an umbrella, poncho or rain coat, a hefty pair of rain boots, and get to splashing. Splash until the rain stops and the cloud clears. Don’t derail your day. Don’t be drained of the light that you were carrying around. Push past it and know that soon, just like all clouds, this one will be sliding off away from you.

Have fun with the smile that grows on your face as you think about this truth. The ‘cloud’ will wonder why it’s planted there all big and bold. Smile bigger.

If the ‘cloud’ is leaving, to never return, then smile bigger. Smile like the Kool-aid man in the commercials we loved years ago.

Your day and all days after will be brighter because that ‘cloud’ won’t be a part of it.

Now smile!

~Natasha

Please Don’t Call My Toddler a “Heartbreaker” — Coffee & Cacti

This is a beautifully written, very direct and eye-opening message from a mother who helps you to realize that your words do have power, that they can plant seeds of growth or destruction, and that we all must be mindful of the roles that we play in the raising up of generations of babies and young children. Everyone should read, digest, and share this message. Thank you to Coffee & Cacti for taking the time to put into words a call to action to stop the sexism that has ran rampant for far too long!

~Natasha [The Paradigm Life]

Please Don’t Call My Toddler a “Heartbreaker”

Please don’t call my toddler son a heartbreaker. Or a ladies man. Or a lady killer. Or say “watch out girls!” Or make comments about him flirting with you, when he’s just smiling. Or make any other comments about his future sexuality that is far, far from being developed. I know you mean well. I […]

via Please Don’t Call My Toddler a “Heartbreaker” — Coffee & Cacti