Sunday, September 6, 2020

Book Review: Salt In My Soul-An Unfinished Life

I have read a lot of interesting books over the past several months.  It seems like my favorite category of books are memoirs, bios.  I enjoy reading about peoples life story and experiences.  This is evident in 98% of the book reviews I have shared here so far.  I have read some really good ones and compelled to share.

I just got finished reading Salt in My Soul.  If there is any thing this book drove home to me is to be GRATEFUL for health.  I mean, I found my self pausing several times while reading to thank God for the blessing of health.

Mallory Smith had enormous health complications with a progressively debilitating disease in her lungs called Cystic Fibrosis (CF) ever since she was a young girl.  She had rigorous routines to keep up with and mountains of medications and unexpected, inconvenient hospitalizations throughout her 24 years of life.  

What struck me most was that despite ALL the challenges she faced daily, this girl LIVED.  She played volley ball, water polo, swam, and enjoyed surfing.  She went to College and found her niche although she was battling an invisible disease.   It was invisible because to the average person she looked healthy and normal and in some cases very active.  But far from it. 

Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of Cystic Fibrosis. She also battled an incurable super bug bacteria that could not be cured even with robust antibiotic treatments that also made her often more sick. 

I can't begin to relay all that Mallory endured and experienced, but this book was in no way a downer to read by any means, Mallory LIVED and that is the beauty in this story to me.  She had many friends who loved her and a beautiful support system from her immediate family. It was beautiful to read and experience her many highs and unfortunate lows.

Also, health insurance is a big unfortunate scam most times. It is ridiculous how much a suffering person has to fight to get what they need....the lies and run around from the industry is too much.

Mallory met a charming guy even though battling for health.  Did her their love survive?

Mallory eventually needed a lung transplant.  Did she get one?  Did she survive?

Check out the Book to find out🙂

Friday, April 3, 2020

Interesting Times

Hello Friends,

How are you doing?  It is no secret we are living in interesting times with what has been classified as COVID19 pandemic sweeping across the World.

My heart and prayers are for every one of us who have been impacted one way or the other by this strange plague virus that has proven to be lethal to so many and has turned daily life upside down for many others.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to work from home and continue to receive a pay check and buy groceries and meet my various obligations.  My heart hurts so deeply for those who's financial well being are hanging in the balance; for those who are still employed but required to interact personally with the public like all spectrum of employees that keep the healthcare system afloat and grocery store workers etc.

My heart aches for those who's loved ones who have died but they could not be there with them; for those who can't have friends and family around to grieve and comfort them.

My heart grieves for parents, students, leaders, our world.

While medical professionals scramble to find vaccines, cures etc. I wonder, can this health crisis ever be eradicated?  Will we ever be able to do life as "normal" again?  I know only God has the answers and certainly knows the future. I know that God is able to intervene if he chooses to.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Will leaders of  "Leading/Powerful" Nations humble themselves now that they realize that money, status, economics, will and has failed? Publicly call on God? repent for moving away from God's moral standards?  Seek God's will and make changes?

That remains to be seen. However, while we have no control over our leaders of Government we do have control over our own actions.

Are you feeling Anxious about it all?  I recommend a very encouraging and timely book titled Anxious for Nothing by my favorite Author Max Lucado.  I wrote a book review Here

I recently felt the need to re-read this book, and it was such a blessing to my soul again.  I am doing okay though, trying not to eat too much.  

I have a milestone birth day on Monday...40 years of God's goodness, mercy, provision, and favor.  I really have so much to be thankful for.  My life's journey could be a good movie script or book.  So many miraculous twists and turns some pleasant and others not so much.  Through it all, God remains Faithful to me, I really don't deserve it because I am far from perfect but I thank God for looking past my faults and meeting my needs and the Greatest gift of all has been Salvation.  Thank you Lord.

Take Care,
~Highly Favored

Sunday, December 29, 2019

In Focus: My 2020 Vision

I have decided to keep it very simple....

My Focus,
 My Prayer, 
My Vision, 
My Heart 
Expressed though song....

One of my long time favorites and life anthem The Lord is My Shepherd
(My Focus & Prayer)

Close To You (My Vision)

If It's Not You (My Heart)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

We Are the World

I am so proud that Miss Jamaica won the Miss World 2019 title for obvious reasons...I'm Jamaican😊

She has an incredible singing voice! did you hear her sing the Whitney Houston song during the competition? I enjoyed it more because she didn't try to sing the song like Whitney, she gave her own unique voice with power and grace. Beautiful.

This post will officially be my 3rd Pageant post about a Jamaican in a Pageant, check out 2015 Post on Miss Jamaica Universe  and 2017 Post on Miss Jamaica Universe.

My heart was most touched when Miss Nigeria who was in the final 5 along with Miss Jamaica, jumped, screamed and celebrated with such heartfelt joy at the announcement of Miss Jamaica being the winner.  I mean, did you see it?  Even if you didn't watch the pageant, that moment has been replayed on just about every major network news program.  In my heart and I know many others share the same sentiment, Miss Nigeria IS A WINNER. 

Miss Nigeria won my heart with a selfless joy to a competitor's win. 
Miss Nigeria won my heart with not holding back her emotions regardless of the spotlight.
Miss Nigeria won my heart for the love she showed to my Country Woman
Miss Nigeria has taught us many lessons......Your win is my win, your success is my success, I will celebrate with full joy in your time of celebration.

We (you and I) are lights to the world to ignite inspiration, ignite genuine support, ignite unity in our world.  We make up the World, We need each other and we can make the World a better place, you and me.

Congratulations to Miss Jamaica AND Miss Nigeria

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Once Upon a Time: Late or Nah

Am I late to the Chicken sandwich debate, challenge, competition opinion between Chick-fil-A and Popeye's? 

Once upon a time when the blogging community was, robust, full of lots more participants  the thing (thanks Instagram 😏), I am sure this commotion would have made several rounds as a topic of review and opinion in blogville.

I observed A LOT of commotion on social media a few Months ago, debating which chicken sandwich  is better of the two franchises.

I have had Chick-fil-A too many times to count.  I like the values of the Christian franchise owner and as a result I default going there for "fast food"

I've had my eye on the Popeye's chicken sandwich after seeing the commercials earlier in the spring/summer but didn't make a move to get one.  I also started noticing especially on the weekends at some point passing by Popeye's and seeing jam packed parking lots, all due to the release of the chicken sandwich!  In addition many memes on Instagram and people sharing their reviews. Of course my curiosity was heightened but I was not in a rush.

One day for lunch over the summer I decided to go to a Popeye's near work to finally try their sandwich......unfortunately they ran out.  So several months passed up until today, and all the commotion seemed to have died down so I decided to give it another try to obtain this latest sensation.

So, Yeah I guess I'm late to the game. Do you want to know my thoughts? my verdict?

As mentioned I've had every chicken sandwich on "Chick's" menu and enjoy them all.  I tried the Popeye's chicken sandwich today and it was good. The meat was big, juicy, crispy with a hint of spic (I chose the spicy one).

Does this mean I will select Popeye's as my first choice whenever I want a chicken sandwich? No, I'm still committed to Chick-fil-A....I like the Christian principles the founder and will continue to support them.

So what are your thoughts, have you tried both? do you have a winner between the two chicken sandwiches?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Book Review: I am Malala

I read this book earlier in the summer this year, and since I am on a book review marathon, I thought why not capture it here too.

I am Malala is a truly inspiring book that takes you on a journey, vividly describing the everyday life of a girl growing up in the Middle East County of Pakistan. Friendships, Secrets, Games, Family, Dreams, Neighborhood, Religion, Education, Aspirations, Evil, Fear, War, Injustice, Culture, Providence (and so much more) are all encompassed in such an intriguing way that makes this book a page turner.

Despite the cultural customs and seemingly religious norms of her region, Malala refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head at point-blank range on her way home from school.  What happens next? I won't tell you but it's very inspiring read if you are looking for a good book. 

 Have you heard of Malala?  Have you read this book?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Reflections on Movie: The Good Lie + Book Review: Running for My Life


Before I share about the the book, I wanted to ask if you have watched the movie The Good Lie. Have you?  I ask because the book Running for My Life is sort of on the same premise but uniquely captures the story of one boy in particular and his individual journey.  Some parts of his story is very similar to the movie.

I watched the movie The Good Lie about a year ago and cried (ugly cry) during certain parts. The movie portrays the true life story of a select few Sudanese children commonly referred to as the "Lost Boys of Sudan".  Sudan was engaged in a brutal civil war Arab Muslims from the North killing Black Christians from the South resulting in many children running for days tying to escape from merciless soldiers that killed their parents/families and burned down their homes and villages.

The most emotional moments for me surprisingly were their adjustment to life in America when a few of them got the opportunity to migrate as Refugees ; there were lots of humorous moments as well.

The reason their adjustment to American life was so emotional to me was because I felt so much empathy for them not understanding the culture, nuances of the English language and mainly their innocence. To a veeeerrrry small (teeny tiny) degree, I had some level of relatability to their adjustments to life in America.

I remember when I was getting ready for going to school in America for the first time, I was 11 years old.  I asked my Cousin if she had a rubber I could use.  She was a teenager and asked me very puzzled, what I needed a rubber for.  I looked at her equally puzzled and said for my school work.  She emphatically told me not to go to school and ask anybody for a 'rubber' because it means something else and that I should ask for an 'ERASER'.  I was so confused as I never heard the word eraser before but after debating the practical use of the word rubber she eventually told me that a rubber was considered a condom in America (at least at that time)

Any way, another time while at school, I asked a fried for an elastic. My friend was confused and didn't know what I was asking for.... needless to say the American term is rubber band. Ahh the nuances of language in different cultures even when English is your primary is language is tricky and difficult;  Much more so when English is not your first language and your culture, scenery and way of life is VASTLY different as was the case with The Lost Boys.

Also, the expression and meaning of friendship is very different.  It takes immigrants in general a while to understand and realize that just because someone smiles with you and talks nicely to you does not mean they are your friend or that they are trying to be your friend or is genuinely interested in you or anything that concerns you. It's complicated.

I also remember watching a 60 Munities documentary in the early 2000s closely resembling the stories portrayed in the movie The Good Lie and this book, Running for my life. I searched YouTube and found the episode to share with you here for context:

Lost Boys Part I

Lost Boys Part II

 Book Review: Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong

This book is the story of Lopez Lopepe Lomong's story.  His story is similar in some respects to the lost boys but  remarkably unique in other ways.

 Lopez was six years old in Church on a Sunday morning with his Mother and Father when armed rebel soldiers came and forcefully took away all the boys, blind folded them and put them in an airtight truck back in the heat for a long drive where what seemd like hundreds of them were thrown in a small hut or days without food, windows for ventilation or access to nature or latrines to use the toilet.  You can imagine what happened, many died in the room, it stunk and there was barely room for each boy to sleep/sit on the floor at night.

What was the rest of Lomong's story?  How did he survive?  How did he escape? Who helped him? Where is Kukuma Refugee Camp and How did he get there? How did he get to America?  How did he adjust to American life when he first came? How did he become an Olympian representing the USA?  (He carried the USA flag during the opening Ceremonies in the 2008 Olympics) Where is he now and what is he doing?

If you are interested in the answers to these questions read the book.  It is a truly inspiring true to life story.  I highly recommend reading.

Personal Take Aways from the Book:

Angels are real

Delay is not denial

Determination is a force that will move mountains

Dreams do become reality

There a really kind people in our world

Your success is a key to unlock doors for others

Family is what you make it