Farewell for a Little While

Carol A. Hand

It’s time for me to take a hiatus from blogging for a while. On Sunday, May 1 (2016), I plan to begin the editing process for my 48-chapter, 438-page manuscript. (Yes, I counted. It’s more than 200,000 words.) Between then and now, there are six books I need to read.

Although it was possible for me to remain in the blogosphere as I worked on writing the draft manuscript, editing will require a different intensity of focus. I can’t easily transition between cultures. Because I try to listen (or read) deeply in order to understand other perspectives, it often means losing my own language and way of seeing the world for hours or days. And this time, I need to remain “in culture” so I can finish by July. I’ll require some time to develop an updated syllabus for a course on research by August.

Please know that while I’m gone, I will miss each and every one of you. I have learned to look forward to your scholarship, poetry, advocacy, wisdom, photos, artwork, humor, creativity, and kindness. Many of you have become dear friends.

You all do light up my life. Chi Miigwetch (Ojibwe thank you very much).

Ava's 9th birthday

Voices from the Margins will remain here if you choose to visit older posts and I hope to visit your blogs when I can. Until then, I send you all my best wishes and leave you with music – Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song) by Ulali.

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Finding Moments of Joy during Challenging Times

Carol A. Hand

I awake with thoughts of my grandson and an ache in my heart
to the sound of chainsaws buzzing, felling a neighbor’s trees
still I arise and find strength to play my part

Although sunny, it’s one of the heavier days
I breathe and listen deeply and hear my parakeets’ song
then I remember I can still sow kindness and love in many little ways

I can celebrate another Earth Day
by letting my grandson know I love him
and by repurposing salvage and old landfill in a healthier way

Washing boards salvaged from an old fence

retaining wall

Digging up buried asphalt and concrete that stifles growth

retaining wall 2

Removing old buckthorn tree stumps

retaining wall 1

Repurposing old materials to build retaining walls to prevent erosion

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And building a movable stand for a grow light

grow light stand

Planting organic seeds

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And celebrating the wonder of life in the first kale plant to emerge

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Even in times of sadness it’s a moment by moment choice
to live in hopeless despair
or give love and new life a voice

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Morning Memories and Reflections

Carol A. Hand

This morning, I greeted the day with thoughts about my 17-year-old grandson. He is in the hospital after a sudden and serious onset of Type I Diabetes. Just a week ago, he drove his mother’s car for the first time to take the family out to dinner. Yesterday, he was lying in a hospital bed with IVs attached learning about this chronic condition and how to give himself insulin shots for the foreseeable future.

It’s not a disease I know much about, so today, I had to turn to the internet to learn a little more. I’m posting some of what I learned.

“With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as “autoimmune” disease. These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.

“Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy. Without insulin, there is no “key.” So, the sugar stays — and builds up– in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.

“And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death.” (Diabetes Research Org.)

***

“Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.

“Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it…. Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.” (JDRF Org.)

***

Information about Prevalence (Diabetes Org.):

  • In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes.
  • Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
  • About 208,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes, approximately 0.25% of that population.
  • In 2008—2009, the annual incidence of diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 18,436 with type 1 diabetes, 5,089 with type 2 diabetes.

The rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background are:

  • 7.6% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 9.0% of Asian Americans
  • 12.8% of Hispanics
  • 13.2% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 15.9% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives

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Some credible sources suggest that the high prevalence of diabetes among Native Americans is yet another legacy of colonialism. An important documentary about the Pima and Tohono O’odham Peoples of southern Arizona, “Bad Sugar,” describes how diabetes, once unknown, evolved into an epidemic that affects “half of all adults” in these communities. (Unnatural Causes Org.)

Here are links to episodes of the 29-minute video:

http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/video_clips.php?vid_filter=Episode%204%20-%20Bad%20Sugar

http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/video_clips_detail.php?res_id=71

***

How quickly children grow, and how quickly life can change. What I can do as his parents spend the day with him is learn more about how to manage this chronic condition in healthy ways as I keep him in my heart and thoughts. As I do so, I’m reminded of an earlier post.

Events like the shooting of a teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the declaration of yet more “military action” (a euphemism for ongoing war in the Middle East to control oil and protect U.S. world hegemony) cause me to worry about the future my grandchildren will inherit. I am particularly concerned for my grandson’s safety and future. I witnessed his birth – with the neonatal crisis team on alert to make sure he survived. I made a silent promise to the tiny, blue six-pound infant I held gently in my arms soon after his birth: “I will always be there if you need me, my little one. You are my heart.” By age 11, he was taller than me, and now at 15, even more so.

 

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2010

I worry about the future of a handsome young man with a darker complexion in a country that fears difference. Can a gentle young man survive in such a world? I treasure the memories of him as a toddler gazing with wonder at flowers,

aadi and crocus

2001

as a little boy laughing as we blew bubbles,

Aadi & bubbles

2003

or gently and patiently holding his great-grandmother’s hand when he was seven.

Aadi 7

2006

I realize now, though, I can’t always be there to protect him. I can only hold him in my thoughts and my heart every day. I can also do the small things within my modest life to let him know I care, to build a kinder world in my tiny sphere of influence.

***

I hope those who read this post will send my grandson and all children loving healing thoughts today and every day.

As an Ojibwe elder once told me, “The children are our future. We all need to care about them.”

Aadi, Mom, me 2015

Fall 2015

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December 2015

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Some Additional Information:

For an Infographic: A Snapshot of Diabetes in America, click here.

For current Research Highlights for Type 1 Diabetes, click here.

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – HUMILITY

I would like to thank Bernadette for publishing this on her lovely blog, Haddon Musings.

Those of you who regularly follow this column know that I use today to introduce the woman that I am going to write about in depth on Friday.  Since April’s theme is Celebrating Diversity, I …

Source: THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – HUMILITY

Posted in Guest Author/ Reblog | 6 Comments

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Kneeling on earth planting seeds
And playing in the dirt
Envisioning new life emerging
to help heal a world of hurt

DSC00882

Duluth Garden – August 2015

These clumsy gnarled hands
sowing each seed with care
hoping that winds of war and weather abate
allowing life to once again bloom everywhere

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Carol A. Hand

We all are teachers – we needn’t doubt it
Enablers or destroyers of dreams
We don’t even need to think about it
It’s so much easier than it seems

teacher 2

With our every thought, word and deed
powerful creators – we help fashion the quality of our world
by sowing seeds of compassion or feeding competition and greed.
Through minds and hearts and hands our intentions are unfurled

Lately I watch the thoughts that flow continuously through my mind
sometimes angry, sometimes judgmental – these stem from fear and insecurity
I’m learning. “Look within for answers. Until you find them just be kind.
The world can’t bear more violence – live the joy and compassion you’d like to see.”

dancer 3

Note: As I consider the possibility of once again “teaching” at a small college this fall, I have been reflecting about what that really means to me. I’m determined to avoid being a “professor” of knowledge. I want to use this opportunity to continue exploring how to encourage students to value themselves and what they know, and to plant the seed that each of us can find our own path to knowledge wisdom.

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Carol A. Hand

So many tales of suffering
ongoing, sometimes unintended, abuses
So many superficial whys
A system that only offers lame excuses
for doing the same things day after day

The exploitation of the earth and her peoples
their cries for help lodged deep in my spirit
Why do the cycles of oppression continue?
I know for a fact others can feel and hear it
yet needless suffering goes on year after year

For the sake of diamonds, oil, or gold
life is cheap, we’re all expendable
The allure of power kills compassion
It seems war is un-end-able
causing death and destruction century after century

Yes, suffering may bring wisdom to some
But it kills so many millions more
I wonder if world peace is possible
If not, how much longer can we endure
while suffering continues for millennia to come?

Are other alternatives still viable?
Can we give compassion a voice
in each here, in each present moment,
with each individual’s choice?
Do we have eternity to find the answers?

lake superior sunrise 2

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Carol A. Hand

This is a story from times of old
about a catfish and a golden toad
and a partnership ill-fated
Sometimes love is not meant to be
though the realization may be belated

They met long ago in a magical place
as if by happenstance
in the wooded hills of faraway
where many came to sing and dance

Both seeking to pursue their dreams
to fill an inner longing
to find a place to free their sprits
in a community of belonging

He tall and proud
a prince among the toads
Following the edge of Sewer Brook
rather than hopping down the winding roads

toad 3

She swimming against the current
up the mighty Housatonic River
A little daughter swimming by her side
forging on with a gasp, a sigh, a shiver

He arrived years before her
filling an empty soul with passion after passion
with little concern for consequences
Caring about others and the earth had fallen out of fashion

She on the other hand
in her wound-weary watery soul
tried to bring comfort to those who suffered
and make the broken-hearted whole

Ah, what a disaster can sometimes happen
when such opposites join together
Both may lose their sense of worth
surrounded by forever stormy weather

Final goodbyes in this case
a blessing in disguise
Freeing both to pursue their dreams again
Perhaps alone, but each under sunnier skies

catfishes

Note: Inspired by life and “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame (1908).

Mr. Toad, the main character in The Wind in the Willows, is aptly described in Wikipedia as follows.

“Toad is intelligent, creative and resourceful; however, he is also narcissistic, self-centred [sic] almost to the point of sociopathy, and completely lacking in even the most basic common sense…. Ultimately, Toad has his heart in the right place. His characteristics have made him arguably the epitome of the stock character of the lovable rogue. During the course of his adventures Toad alternates between deep remorse for his arrogance and having relapses into it.”

Perhaps Mr. Toad is a “lovable rogue,” but he’s not my idea of an ideal life companion.

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Carol A. Hand

I remember my impatience
As I awaited other springs
Yet this year I wished
For very different things

“Let the snow remain a bit longer
I’ve just a little more to write
Please extend the storytelling season
For at least another night”

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Photo: April 5, 2016

As I wrote the final stories
The snowflakes fell today
My first draft’s finally finished
And neatly stored away

This draft is a humble heart-felt offering
Of gratitude to those who shared their stories
To those who spoke of times of pain and laughter
To those whose lives reflected suffering and glories

May your stories touch the hearts of others…

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Saturday, April 2, 20016

Carol A. Hand

the morning view 1

april 2, 2016

the morning view 3

pinto one

the morning view 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos:
Duluth, MN – April 2, 2016
Pinto’s adoption picture – November, 2013

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in On the Lighter Side | Tagged , | 15 Comments