Friday, November 24, 2017

Legacy - Family Traditions

One of the traditions that I started with my children many years ago has now been passed on to my grandchildren - cutting down the family Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It all started when after a couple of years of getting trees from a local produce store, I decided that a family building excursion and having a tree that was fresh and capable of lasting through the long holiday season was a must. (The last time I cut down a tree with my daughters was Christmas 2004.) Within a couple days of having the tree in our house the needles began to fall off of it with the slightest touch. So my daughter Elyssa and I set out to find an artificial replacement. From that moment the Christmas tree village was born. (It was also that time that I discovered that I was allergic to pine and it explained why I lost my voice or developed bronchitis every Christmas season.) Since then the tradition is to put up my many trees and decorate each of them with a special theme and as a result, my new tradition was born.
At Thanksgiving dinner yesterday my granddaughter asked me if I cut down my Christmas tree. I had to explain to her that I no longer do because I am allergic to pine. I would love to be able to witness her selecting her special tree and sharing in her family's tradition. As much as I wish that I could continue on with the tradition that I started 32 years ago I realize that sometimes life happens and while you may no longer be able to be a part of a tradition that you put in motion, you can rejoice in the realization that that tradition was strong; that it continues and lives on through in joy through your offspring and their offspring, and quite possibly will extend on through their offspring. Creating a legacy is not always about you being forever a part of that legacy, but it is about the beautiful reality that your legacy lives on no matter what! #lovemydaughters #lovemygrandbabies#legacybuilding #futuregenerations 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Walk In My Shoes = Empathy

There is an old wisdom that paraphrased says: “You cannot really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

What this hearkens to is empathy. What is difficult about empathy, compassion, etc., is that it is in the end a two way street. If at anytime you believe your shoes are more important than anyone else's, that is when there is a breach in the empathetic circle of understanding. That is when their is chaos. That is when their is a break. That is when people's understanding of the world changes. To continue to assume that one's path is more difficult than another's, is to abandon empathy and move towards a conditional expectation, and a feeling of failure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Meet Me At the Beijing International Book Fair!

I am so excited that my book "Flower and Stone: An essay on life" will be one of the many amazing books and authors that will be present at the Beijing International Book Fair.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan City Lake a poem by Mary E.

An original poem by Mary E. Rapier
a memory

In bright golden afternoon sun
I laid my wearies down
Imagined that I could run
and jump and be
as 5 or 6 again
No time to feel the pain of growing older
No time, but now to feel
the presence
of time as it ticks, ticks, ticks
nothing but splashes
of love and laughter
Dancing sunsets upon the waves
hands firmly clutching as if to say
please, don’t let go, never go away
dune scapes scaling,
dragon flies darting
mountain climbers climbing,
reaching up to
brand new heights, towering above
soaring, gliding like a dove
as the ruby red sun sets
and disappears,
but never lets
the world grow colder
so it, as my love goes.
As the circle ever grows
And now the room is empty
and summer silence falls
in golden streams upon my walls
I seek to make sense of it all
by capturing wordscapes of
water color landscapes held by
magnets firmly to my heart
reminding me that never
are we completely apart
as tears slowly trace the place
where only hours before
sweet angel kisses
touched my face.

watercolor pastel by 6 year old Bella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Returning Me to Me

Returning Me to Me, a poem by Mary E. Rapier 
I’m returning back to me, 
the same ole girl I use to know, 
The one I used to be, 

not much has really changed 
it is just the last step in letting you go 

letting you know 
that you never earned 
the right to share a name 
letting go of the pain 
the pain 
the pain 
a name is a name 
and labels seek to define 
no more losing, no more 
wasting my time 
we aren’t connected, 
we never really were, 
the children that my womb bore 
are mere cellular connections 
and nothing more, 
 mine to determine, 
mine to share, 
mine to grieve, 
 I am returning back to me, 
 the same ole girl 
I used to know, 
the one I used to be 
not much has really changed 
Just the last step in letting you go, 
letting you know that 
you never had what you never cared 
for you are not my kin, 
not my birthright 
not my home, 
my sister said it, 
I am she, 
I’m returning back to me 
and taking back my dignity, 
all you stole from me, 
taking me down off the shelf, 
reclaiming familial place. 
No worries, 
the same My face, 
No longer a stepchild 
in a borrowed world 
in foreign terrain, 
letting go of the pain, 
the pain, 
the pain 
you’re so disconnected 
from my reality. 
I’m returning me to me, 
finally this hummingbird 
is free. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Few Thoughts to Ponder On Marriage Equality

Okay, so here is the many people are using up good energy on arguing about marriage equality. You see, it isn't about you, or is it? You see, people love as they love. They live as they choose to live. It is not your responsibility to try to change people into the way you believe they should be. That is not your responsibility. People who are taxpaying law-abiding citizens of the USA or any country that they are citizens of have the right to love as they wish, live as they wish, and if it involves marriage, then marry who they wish to marry. It is a legal contract. One that ensures quality of life afforded two people and their potential offspring. Don't give me the, but, they cannot produce children, and God produced man and woman to produce children...well, sorry to tell you there are a lot of people who because of a variety of reasons cannot produce children biologically. If they want a family, then they will seek adoption, or yes, sperm donors, or whatever else they can in order to raise children in a family surrounded with love. So, are you suggesting that a woman past child-bearing age should not be allowed to marry? Should marriage only be afforded those who can produce children biologically? Yes, in the Christian church there is a belief that man and woman shall marry, and produce offspring, yada, yada...But, we are not talking about the church, we are talking about the constitution, the law, the citizenry, taxpayers, people who are afforded equal rights. All men are created equal...(I am still waiting for clarification on the womanhood aspect of that quote!) and yes, the legal rights of two people who choose to share a life together with all the trappings of marriage. Please do not waste another election year arguing that which is not arguable. The Jewish do not eat pork and the United States trades in pork should the United States force Jewish people to eat pork, Should the Jewish faith fight to have pork removed from the stores? If you go to some restaurants they do not serve pork, so, shall we force them to serve pork? No, if i want pork, I will go to a restaurant that will give me my fill of bacon! Because we have a nation that is founded on the separation of church and state. Let's find common ground, but, let's get focused on those things that really do impact the entire nation, like the debt crisis, children with no food, shelter adequate schooling. Let's focus on elimination of the student debt crisis, housing crisis, domestic terrorism, racism. Personally, we have joined together with 20+ other countries who support marriage equality. Let's learn from them. I appreciate the right lo live and love as I choose, I think everyone should...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Was So Naive! When Did It All Change?

When I was 12 I was very naive. I remember thinking that it was so sad that my dad rarely saw his sisters and brothers. It was different than my mom who stayed in close contact with her brothers. She was the baby girl after all. But, I always believed that no matter what we would always exchange gifts at Christmas, that we would always break bread together. That we would always be there, right there. I remember saying, I could lose a man, but I would never lose my sisters. I even said to my ex once, "Don't ever mess with my sisters, I will choose them over you!" So naive!

I remember wonderful Thanksgivings and Christmas's surrounded by family. Aunt Donna, Uncle Gene, Scott and Diane, they were a part of it all. Then it happened. People began to get to that point where there would be kids going off to college, people getting married and the large family that silenced out loneliness and separation began to dwindle. We began to see people less and less. Only 7 years later would render us motherless as Mom died too soon.

Soon it was just Maureen, Michael (who had headed off to college) Me, Rick and little Miss. The others headed out for greener pasture. I remember feeling that it would be okay, I could talk with all of them as needed by phone. My weekly, sometimes daily phone calls to my sisters would keep the emptiness, confusion and feeling of orphan-like confusion at bay. I would always have them. They would always be my first friends. My brothers who are 2 years younger and 2 years older would be my protectors, my shelter from the storm. I remember feeling dread when my sister announced that they were moving to Arizona. The farthest corner of the South West to be exact. "Don't worry we will be home at least once a year." I remember thinking, "no, you won't your family will want to experience other places. Kankakee will be the last place you visit. That is the way it all happens.

I know, two way street. So it is that time and tide has come and gone. I am blessed I still have my sisters and my brothers, there are no weekly calls, the sometime daily call. There are not visits on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and ramblings of the week before. There are minimal exchanges by way of a fabricated social network created for people who do not have brothers and sisters and large families that gather and talk on the phone weekly and sometimes daily. Where did it all go? In the end I had and I am blessed. I still have; I can still claim it as mine.

The aforementioned rambling came as a result of thinking about National Adoption Month. Sometimes we all feel like a motherless child. Some will always feel it, others just in those moments of orphan-like confusion, like now.