Living the Sweet Life…

Ah… the joys of sitting on a low step, feet spread far apart, leaning forward slight, ravenously peeling the skin off of a mango, then sinking my teeth into its juicy flesh – the yellow nectar of this wonderful fruit spilling around the sides of my mouth and running down my hands, sometimes to my elbow. It’s mango season! Time to eat my belly full of one my favorite fruits. Mangoes for breakfast. Mangoes for snack after lunch. Mangoes for appetizer before dinner. Can anyone ever get enough of mangoes? Growing up we had several mango trees in our yard on St. Thomas. The Julie mango tree was right at my door step. I could never get enough of that one. And as plentiful as that tree was, we always watched the fruit waiting for just the right time to pick them. We hardly allowed the fruit of this particular tree to fall to the ground – they were too precious. Every year during mango season, family from near and far would come for their pick off the tree.  Strangers, even, would come to our yard to get their pick when we weren’t there.

On the other hand at my grandparents home in St. Croix there were so many mangoes that I didn’t know what to do. The sheer size of their property allowed them to grow more trees, and their trees seemed to grow much taller and wider than those at our home on St. Thomas, producing so much of the treasured fruit. A tree that produced a purple mango with thick skin was near the entrance of their yard. That tree produced an enormous amount of mangoes! No matter how many people came by for their share, the supply never seemed to dwindle.  But those purple mangoes were not my favorite. I liked the small round ones at the tree further up. I also liked the ones from the tree all the way on to the back of the property. But even having so many mangoes at my disposal, I still looked forward to the days when we would drive to other parts of the island picking different types of mangoes that didn’t grown on my grandparents’ property. Not only did we get to eat our heart’s desire of any type of mango we wanted, there were so many that I could be picky. Yep, I only ate the ripe-but-firm ones, the ones that had little or no bruises on the skin. Anything else wasn’t good enough. But I would eat a mango until there was no yellow left. My Grandma Madge would say to me in her heavy Antiguan accent, “yuh gyal, nuh badder eat deh sudden dung to the seed bare so… me hab one pail ah mango here fuh yuh.”

But if you really want to know what mango heaven looks like, you must go to Dominica during the summer. I remember the countryside of LaPlaine, where my mother was born, being loaded with tropical fruits – every tropical fruit you could think of. We would wake up to a bucket of varieties of mangoes freshly picked mostly by our cousin Handel. And the coconuts, another of my favorite fruits, were also picked and lined up waiting for us to choose which ones we wanted to consume first. Handel treated us like royalty! (Sadly we lost Handel on a New Years day many years ago – a casualty of a drunken driver. The family has never gotten justice for his death.)

As a child I never remember anyone having to pay for mangoes. Maybe that was because children don’t have to pay for anything anyway. For the most part mangoes were shared freely. They were in such abundance! What else would people do with all those mangoes? Has anyone noticed that mangoes are not as abundant as they used to be? Not only mangoes. I’m observing a decline in other local fruits. I’m can’t name a single place on St. Thomas where someone can find a cherry (gooseberry) tree.  A couple of years ago when I was pregnant and couldn’t wait for my usual supply of mangoes, I decided to buy some mangoes from a fruit stand. I asked the lady where the mangoes were from. I looked at her in disbelief when she told me Puerto Rico. What! It was bad enough that I had to actually BUY mangoes, and the mangoes were not even locally grown! It’s not that I have anything against fruits from Puerto Rico. It just seemed strange to me that before, mangoes were so plentiful that someone could make a good hustle from selling the mangoes that they collected for free out of their or someone else’s yard. Now we had to import them.

 For me, because mangoes are seasonal I try to eat as many as I can when locally grown ones are available. Luckily for me, my daughter’s grandmother also shares a love for mangoes and supplies us with bags full at a time. But still, this delectable fruit doesn’t seem to be as plentiful as it once was. So if you happen to catch me eating one, or see me admiring your tree, or see me stop my car to pick up a freshly fallen fruit – bear with me. It’s mango season!

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Aren’t You Happy that Life Goes On

 A Saturday morning not too long ago I opened my porch door to find a bird’s nest built between my window sill and hurricane shutters. I was excited! That was the first time in a long time that I was experiencing a bird’s nest up close. The mother bird had flown away when I opened the door. And there, left behind in a small pile of brown twigs, were two small bird eggs. Not able to contain my excitement I called my daughters to witness this miracle. What miracle you may ask? The miracle of life! I was excited about the possibility of two new baby birds entering the world. Now I don’t know anything about the life cycle of birds. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even tell you what type of bird it was. I wasn’t sure if the eggs would even hatch – and if they did, if those little birds would have any chance of survival. What I was reminded of is that life goes on… no matter what.

Although we may be going through a tough time, life goes on.

Although we may be unable to pay our bills, life goes on.

Although we may have just ended a relationship and it seems like the end of the world, life goes on. Although we may have lost our jobs, life goes on.

Although we may have been wronged by the very people who were supposed to make things right, life goes on.

Although we may be holding on to anger and waiting for someone else to apologize, life goes on.

Although we may have just lost a loved one, once we are in the land of the living, life goes on.

 No matter what we may have said, done or experienced, this world is not going to come to a screeching halt for us. And that should serve as a comfort to us all. Because no matter how good or bad we’ve been we have an opportunity to try again…when life goes on.

You Don’t Need to Be A Superhero

We don’t need to be superheroes, in order to do super things. In reality, a cape wearing, gravity defying superman is not going to rescue us in times of need. Often help comes to us in the form of the most unassuming individuals. Likewise, when we notice someone in need, or a situation that needs to be fixed, it serves no purpose for us to question our ability to make a difference. So trust yourself to do super things. The world is filled with ordinary people who do extra ordinary things.

Today let’s be motivated to doing extraordinary things, though we may be ordinary people. A little motivation is all we need!

Pain is Information, Suffering is a Choice

Susan L. Taylor, the long-time editor of Essence magazine said “pain is information, suffering is a choice.” We all experience pain, physical and emotional – which is a natural part of life. Pain is life’s way of showing us when something isn’t right. Ask yourself “where am I hurting” and “why am I hurting.” Use the answers to heal yourself. When you don’t heal, that pain becomes suffering. By ignoring your pain, you choose to suffer.

Today, let’s be motivated to learning the lessons that our hurt and pain teach us, and choosing not to suffer from it instead. A little motivation is all we need.

 

 

It’s Ok to Say No

It’s hard for people to take advantage of us without our permission. So why do we get upset when we feel that we are being used? We often consciously or subconsciously give people permission to take advantage us because we are unwilling to say this simple word: no. When we are asked to do something that we cannot do with a willing heart or something that makes everything else a priority except ourselves, we should consider saying no.

Today let’s be motivated to doing things with all the love it deserves and if we can’t consider saying no. A little motivation is all we need!