Winners for the Fourth of July

 

Happy birthday, America! As another fourth rolls around, we celebrate by making some of our loyal audience aware of their winnings. Congratulations!

Traci Wooden-Carlisle gave two people a chance to win. Congrats to Jeannie D. for winning a copy of Missing Destiny and Caryl for winning the jewelry. Hooray!

Betty Thomason Owens is gifting either a Kindle or print copy of Sutter’s Landing to Traci. Woo hoo!

Loved Defined by Leila Tualla   has been won by Mimi. Yay!

Wow. Winning and reading. What a great way to enjoy the holidays.

 

Football Frenzy – Sports Chick

Crazy Card Fan

Latoscia Mason – “Crazy Card Fan”

I don’t think it’s as rare as it once was–to run across a female sports fanatic.  If you asked me for an example of one, I wouldn’t have to give it a thought. I’d say my friend, Latoscia Mason. If you asked me for an example of a Godly woman, I’d give you the same answer. Can they coexist? Absolutely. Here’s her story:

Growing up with my Dad was an adventure to say the least. He was a sports person who loved to read and watch sports. As the older of his two girls, he would challenge me to read the sports page to him every morning as soon as it hit the front porch from delivery. Instead of talking about boys and ponytails, we talked about teams and pigskin.

I learned a lot about every sport while spending precious moments with my Dad. The words of the Courier-Journal came alive and stirred up a passion in me that made me not only want to read about sports, but also play them.

IMG_3427I loved basketball growing up. I played from middle school on, and went to the Kentucky High School State Tournament three out of the four years I was in high school. Losing the state tournament championship by one point to Whitley County in April 1985 was a horrible defeat, but I enjoyed every moment of that journey. Even though I do not play basketball often anymore, I have grown to love the mud races that bring out my Army ties, as I low-crawl through the mud under barbed wire in my tutu!

MudderI was born a University of Louisville Cardinal and love my city as well as my alma mater! I shall never forget celebrating the 1980 Basketball Championship and singing “This Is It” with my Dad. As a freshman, I celebrated the 1986 Basketball Championship in the Red Barn on campus, screaming with exhilaration with hundreds of Uof L students. These memories I shall never forget.

There is something magical and mesmerizing about fall and football that gets me revved up like most partiers on New Year’s Eve. I do not know if it is the warm colors of orange and brown, the leaves falling from the cool, crisp air, or the sounds of whistles, grunts, and football pads clashing in major match ups. I call this time of year, “My Zone!”

Latoschia FCA typical weekend consists of cheering on my sons and their local high school team, watching the Paul Finebaum show on Friday. Saturdays are college football heaven as I cheer on the CARDS and Bama football, as well as take in some Top 25 action. Sundays are full of channel surfing trying to catch the big plays from all the NFL games.

Fall is an awesome time to celebrate the harvest as well as cheer on my favorite football teams.

God blessed me with the sons my Dad never had. We watch sports together and all three of them play some type of sport. I am their #1 Fan in everything they do. We are passionate about our teams and these sports moments shape our lives and give us opportunities to bond and cherish as we interact one with the other. I love our adventures as we cheer on our favorite teams be it UofL, Bama, or UK. U of L plays Bama in 2018! We are definitely a house divided by teams, but united by love.

bama famI love being a sports Mom. I love cheering on my children and encouraging them to be team players in all areas of life. Some may find my passion a little obsessive and maybe even over the top, but I enjoy every second of it. There is nothing like the adrenaline that flows through my veins when my teams are playing. I am the ultimate fanatic! I love to dress up in my sports gear from head to toe and cheer on my teams regardless if they win or lose.

I love sports so much; I decided to obtain my Masters in Education in Sports Administration. Sports come natural to me, almost like breathing. I am enthused by the camaraderie that being part of and cheering for a team brings.

I remember sitting on the porch listening to Churchill Downs stories with my Granddad Benjamin Bell (my Dad’s Dad). He taught me a lot about the horse racing industry and wagering. Horses are my favorite animals and I countdown the days to the fastest two minutes in sports. I wish my Granddad had been alive to see American Pharaoh. I love the Kentucky Derby, too.

258727_2123668580120_4178106_oLife is meant to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. The happiest moments come when we explore our purpose and our passion. Life without sports, to me would be mundane and boring. I am beyond blessed to be able to cheer, take over the TV remote at home, and travel to see my favorite teams in action.

I love my favorite teams, but they are not idols to me. They are outlets of fun, a healthy way to rid myself of pent-up frustrations, and a great way to encourage and cheer on others. I love my teams, being a team player, and growing up in a family that enjoys all kinds of sporting events. I am a woman that loves her sports!

 

 

They Say The People Could Fly : African American Folktales

The young woman lifted one foot in the air. Then the other. She flew
clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms.
Then she felt the magic…
No one dared speak about it. Couldn’t believe it.
But it was, because they that was there saw that it was

                                                                        ~The People Could Fly
                                                                         told by Virginia Hamilton

IMG_0272-003As many here at Writing Prompts have discussed several aspects of mythology and folklore, I have to say my favorite aspect is the way we can learn from the past. Mythology and Folklore make us wonder. Did this really happen? Did these people actually exist? Some of these stories cause us to feel uncomfortable. In a memorizing way, these stories showcase humanity and divinity, and both through the scope of vulnerability.

I was an avid Reading Rainbow fan as a kid. I envisioned myself being one of the children on the show and often rigged my parents camcorder to film myself introducing my favorite books. I remember one episode stood out to mephoto. It was startling and equally intriguing. It was the broadcast on Black History. Stories like Follow the Drinking Gourd, explored African American History and introduced difficult subjects like slavery, through beautiful art and song.

The story called Follow the Drinking Gourd, is actually a map in song form; a coded way for fugitive slaves to follow the Underground Railroad to freedom. I was mystified by The People Could Fly, a tale of slaves that took to the skies, magically leaving their chains behind to fly all the way home to Africa.

Stories like these help us remember where those before us have been and what they felt. A glimpse into their hopes and fears. Observing folklore is like embracing our histories. It can give a sense of where we are in space and time. Through the knowledge passed down through folk stories, we can come to view the world with brand new eyes. Like old souls.

Everyone of us is given the power to transcend the hardships of our present, and transform our future, instead of allowing history to go on repeating it’s mountainous sorrows. I sincerely believe that wherever one finds himself in life, a kosher perspective on where you’ve come from, only paints a brighter picture of hope for the future. ❤ Read my poem Blended Respect

MySignature

1964 – Memories of a Summer’s Day

img_9412 copyMidsummer, 1964

In the summer of 1964, I lived in Trenton, Tennessee. West Tennessee was hot in July. How hot was it? Like my favorite aunt used to say, it’s “sitting on the front porch sipping iced-cold lemonade hot.”

I love to sit on a limb halfway up the willow tree. It’s a great place to read my library books. My long legs dangling, I watch my older brother play baseball with his friends.

Next door, a teenaged boy works on his car while the Beach Boys sing “I Get Around,” on the radio. Pilots from a nearby airfield fly test flights overhead, often breaking the sound barrier. Though initially quite shocking, we’ve grown used to the interruption.

Below me, my little brother and his best buddy sail a handmade boat in a drainage ditch. Using sticks, they push and prod the little vessel till it breaks free and begins a solo journey through the runoff toward a semi-stagnant pool at the bottom of the hill.

After a few minutes’ chatter on the neighbor’s radio, and a plug for Crest toothpaste, Jan & Dean launch into “Surf City.”

My mother appears on the other side of the screen door. “I could use some help in here.”

I drop down from my perch among the willow limbs and skip across the lawn to the front porch. Inside the house, an electric fan drones, cooling Dad’s face as he watches the news. Walter Cronkite reports that Republican Barry Goldwater has won the nomination to run for president. Race riots continue throughout the nation.

Paul,_George_&_John

The Beatles*

As I walk through the small room, Dad doesn’t look up, just stays glued to the black-and-white television screen. Mom has a sink full of dirty dishes for me to wash while she finishes preparations for dinner.

Dad turns off the television when they start talking about The Beatles. He can’t stand the ridiculous music—the long-hair—the screaming girls. What is the world coming to?

In many ways, the early sixties were glorious. The United States was recovering from the bad years. The Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, the Korean War. There had been a thing called the “baby boom,” when so many children were born, following the wars. We’d entered a time of peace, but not for long. The escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam loomed large in our future.

Closer at hand, race riots burgeoned. It was time for equality in America. As a soon-to-be sixth grader in the South, segregation was still a fact of my life. I didn’t understand the need for it. I’d attended first and second grade in Southern California. My first grade class in San Diego included several races.

In July of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. I wasn’t sure what all that meant, but I knew it was important. Soon, the schools, even in the South, would be desegregated. Integrated, we’d all attend the same schools. There was bound to be trouble.

I was more interested in the rockets being launched to take close-up pictures of the moon. I’d stand in the front yard after dark and gaze up at the small white orb, imagining the Ranger circling it and snapping photos. Living on the outskirts of a town of little more than five hundred residents, and few streetlights, there were stars aplenty.

It’s been fifty years since that golden summer spent in small-town America. It seemed such an innocent time. But was it really? When I think of all that was happening—the violence, the war—I wonder. We’d so recently suffered the loss of a beloved president to assassination. The race riots, as African Americans fought for equality. And Vietnam. Memories of that long and deadly war still haunt many Americans.

Owens GKs-1964Looking back, we can see the patterns of life beginning to shift. The changes came fast—a transitional phase—as America grew up. I smile as my sons speak warmly of the golden eighties, the days of their childhood, when life was simpler. Their children laugh as they dart across the lawn, playing kickball, enjoying the golden days of their youth.

And so it begins again, fifty years after 1964.

 

 

Betty Thomason Owens


*”Paul, George & John” by Omroepvereniging VARABeeld en Geluidwiki – Gallery: The Beatles. Licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl via Wikimedia Commons.

WWI – Homegrown Hero

YorkIt was called the war to end all wars–a hopeful term. Folks hoped and prayed there would never be another so catastrophic and world-encompassing. We now know they were wrong.

I spent most of my early years in West Tennessee, and even then, so many years after World War I, Tennesseans still reveled in their local hero’s acclaim. I grew up watching the movie with Gary Cooper. I had no doubt, Sergeant York was a real-life hero.

A man who never wanted to go to war, Alvin Cullum York filed for conscientious objector status. This would not exempt him from service, but would put him in a non-combat position. When the initial claim was denied, he appealed. While the appeal was being considered, he was drafted, so entered the United States Army and began his initial training for service.

York kept a diary, and in it, denied that he’d ever been a conscientious objector. He stated he’d refused to sign papers given him by his pastor and his mother, to file for the appeal. None of that really matters, because in the end, he did go. He became one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I.

As a boy, York was denied schooling by his father, to stay at home and work in the fields and hunt so their large family would not starve. After his father died, Alvin became the head of the household. He was a crack shot, a talent that would one day help win a decisive battle in France.

If you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you know the incredible feats that earned Alvin York the medals and recognition. What he had to say about it reveals a lot about the man. “A higher power than man guided and watched over me and told me what to do.”

What did he do? In his own words: “As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. In order to sight me or to swing their machine guns on me, the Germans had to show their heads above the trench, and every time I saw a head I just touched it off. All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.” —http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-soldier-alvin-york-displays-heroics-at-argonne

With 7 men, Corporal York led an attack on a German machine gun nest, took 32 machine guns, killed 28 German soldiers, and with the help of a German officer previously retained, he captured 132 German soldiers. He was soon afterwards advanced to Sergeant.

The war to end all wars changed the world and put the tiny burg of Pall Mall, Tennessee on the map. Alvin York became a household name. Little boys pretended to be him, running up on the enemy and somehow avoiding the amazing volley of bullets to win the day. A boy who’d endured much hardship grew up tough as nails and maybe dumb enough to believe God was for him, so who could stand against him?

Photograph: “York“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Betty Thomason Owens