Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Still I Rise

I receive the most joy and pleasure from being a good mom and taking care of my kids. There's nothing else on earth that can match that feeling for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm letting my kids down so often because of my RA. I can't attend all of Molly's basketball games, I ask Doogie to do a lot of running for me, and Jesse ends up taking Mia to her dance class far more often than I do. So when I have the chance to do something for them, I jump at the opportunity. Yesterday all three kids ended up coming to me for comfort and advice about stuff going on, and while I hate seeing them hurt, I loved being the one they turned to. It's a good reminder that while I can't do everything physically that I would like to do, it's the emotional stuff they really need, and that I can supply.

My uncle Howard has taken a serious turn for the worse this week. Last night they removed his spleen and gall bladder, but today his kidneys are failing, and the doctor has given him days to live. This is so hard on my family, especially my mom, his big sister who wants to take care of him. Please continue praying for us.

Still I Rise by Roland Laird & Taneshia Nash Laird and illustrated by Elihu "Adofo" Bey is a powerful graphic novel tracing African-American history in the United States. I was absolutely amazed at the amount of information that the writers were able to pack into this volume without ever making it feel like a textbook. The story is narrated by a elderly black couple. She is more cynical and angry; he's more laidback in his narration, but together they tell the story of Black Americans from the early 17th century through Barack Obama's election as President. The story is well balanced; it doesn't demonize all whites, but treats them as individuals, and doesn't gloss over the controversies faced by black leaders. Bey's illustrations are clean and simple but convey a great range of emotion, several brought tears to my eyes in their portrayal of the devastation wrought by slavery. I learned so much about black heroes through our history from Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre to Dorie Miller at Pearl Harbor, they have been at the forefront of so many pivotal points in history without ever receiving the fame so many others have. This book should be on the shelf of every high school library and required reading for students.It teaches without preaching, and the message is one that needs to be heard.

I'm starting a new book contest today. I'm giving away two copies of Lynn Eib's When God and Grief Meet. It's a comforting and wonderful collection of stories to help get you through the mourning after a loss. To enter, just drop me an email before 10 pm on Thursday, Feb. 5th. I'll announce the winners here on Friday along with my review. Good luck!

Today's pic is after Sunday's party of Mia with her newest Build-a-Bear, a ballerina bunny named Clara after The Nutcracker. More pix to come.