Monthly Archives: January 2012

Humpday Hero Feature: Mattie

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There are times when God sends us whispers to forgo a mission that will later be explained by the results of that journey.  Interviewing Mrs. Mattie (as I call her) was God ordained.  As she was in the midst of caring for her cancer stricken husband, I thought my interview may be intrusive, insensitive, or even terrible timing.  However, after leaving her home I knew her love for life/family/husband had to be shared with others.  Approximately 24 hours after conducting the interview Mrs. Mattie’s husband lost his battle with lung cancer.  I felt that it was God’s plan for me to capture her thoughts, feelings, and even hopes for her life/husband/family before her family would face one of the hardest losses.  I hope these words/thoughts/emotions shared during this interview serves as a reminder for her and her family that though times are difficult at the moment to not lose sight of the beauty that they still possess (as captured by Mrs. Mattie).

Quote from the nominator: “My grandmother is the most giving and forgiving person that I know.  She has always and continues to take care of others and never complains.  Her strength and heart continue to amaze me and I strive to have a heart as big as hers.  The relationship that I have with my grandmother is difficult to put in words, but she truly inspires me and is one of my biggest heroes.  I am truly bless to have Mattie Smith as my grandmother” – Ebony Mitchell

Nominee: Mrs. Mattie Smith

(also pictured Mattie’s husband James Smith)

1.      You are stranded on a deserted island, a genie appears and can grant you three wishes (can not wish to leave island), what are your wishes?

Girl you know money would be number one!  (We both laugh uncontrollably).  Seriously my wish would be to peace on earth and to find a cure for my husband.  We have been married for 38 years (June 14, 1973).  People always ask me how we do it and I always say “one day at a time”.

2.      Describe the first time you fell in love with someone or something?

Girl you getting noisy!  (Again we laugh uncontrollably).  I fell in love with bowling.  Smitty (Mattie’s husband) bought me my first ball and bag.  I was terrible when I first started.  But, he taught me and now I love it.  It’s a lot of fun and I just get so much joy out of playing.  It allows me to travel and meet new people.

3.      If money were no factor, what would you do choose to do for the rest of your life?

I would travel!  I would love to go to Jerusalem.  I also would love to visit Hawaii and Africa.  I got the travel bug when I went to Florida for the first time.  I just loved it!  I love to shop and girl they shop out there!  They have the biggest mall.  I seriously should consider becoming a professional shopper; I think I would be good at it.

4.      If your life could be described by a song, which would it be?

Yolanda Adams “It’s not your battle, it’s the Lords”.  It’s a very personal song to me.

5.      What are three things you cannot live without?

My family!  They are my absolute joy.  Of course money and love.  I think love is how God wants us to be at a core.  I love and enjoy giving to others and that’s why I do it.  Without love there is nothing.  When you do something out of love it makes a huge difference.

6.      Who is your hero?

President Barack Obama.  I didn’t think I would live to see a black president elected.  He is such a family guy.  He is indeed on the top of my list, even above Kobe Bryant (uncontrollable laughter).  Kobe is on his game!  Another hero of mine is my mother.  She made a great accomplishment of raising 5 children.

7.      If you could choose any actress to play the lead in your life story who would it be?

That woman from Lackawanna Blues (S. Epatha Merkerson).  Her character was so similar to my own life.  She took people in and they were like her family.  I really related to that character.

8.      If you could have lunch with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?

My husband.  Now that he is really sick, I just wish that we could sit and have a meal together.  Time is so precious.

9.      What is something you have always wanted to do that you haven’t had the chance too?

Travel.  I would love to go to Africa, Hawaii, and Jerusalem.  But, Africa is on the top of my list.  I feel like it would be so amazing to be in a place where everyone looks similar to you.

10.      Tell me about one of the most life changing moments you have had.

How my mother raised me.  She raised us by the phrase “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.  She even had the phrase posted in our house.  Believe me I am not perfect, and sometimes I fall short of that phrase, but that really taught me how to treat people in general.  This phrase is the key to how I lead my life.

Final Words to the Readers:

            Appreciate every minute of your life.  Don’t take time for granted because it is precious.  Sometimes people stress about who they want to be or what they want to get done, but just take things one day at a time.  It’s okay to change your mind about the direction that you want your life to go.  When I was young I wanted to be a mom, then a nurse, then a police officer, even a dancer.  Now I think about becoming a professional bowler.  The important thing is just don’t stop living.  Up until my husband was unable, he woke up and was busy every day; he was always in his yard.  Even when he couldn’t walk anymore he would be out there telling somebody else what he wanted done in the yard (laughs).  Just please value your life and time, it’s so precious.

Always with love,

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One more minute and then I could pull out my TV tray, pour a nice glass of wine, and click on some form of reality nonsense that made me feel like my day wasn’t all that bad.  But I wasn’t sure if even  Nene could convince me I was rich today.  Ding!  Dinner was ready.  I pulled the pipping hot tray out the oven, ripped back that sticky plastic film, and put my feet up.  Due to our complete opposite work schedules my husband wouldn’t be home for hours.  This was indeed the most relaxing part of my day; my phone got silenced, the pants were unbuttoned, and the fork that I had turned into a shoveling mechanism was unleashed.

I had accepted that plate given to me in Life was beyond my control, but when I was home I ran my destiny…or so I thought.  I always started with a gulp of “day eraser”, or sometimes two.  After having the work day from hell, I decided that the “screw my job” TV dinner was the best choice for the evening and boy did it smell good.  Before I could even finish flipping through the channels half the plate was gone.  I plowed through the rest with no regret and moved on to dessert: a nice heaping of “built up anger” with ice cream on top.  But I didn’t stop there.  Throughout the night I snacked on a box of “take home work”, pieces of “resentment”, and even popped a bottle of “shame”.  You could stick a fork in me and I would have popped, but that didn’t  stop me from having the last bite of “who gives a …”.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: the stomach ache of “guilt”.  I went to reach for a “pity party” phone call with a loved one, but for some reason just couldn’t dial the numbers.  I took a deep breath and attempted to fix this like I do all my other problems: with logic.  The amount of degrees I earned was valued at nearly half a million dollars, I clearly could solve a  problem.  I would just not eat all day tomorrow…clearly that wasn’t going to work.  Ok, maybe I would work out in the morning, but that would only leave me with about three hours of sleep after completing work at home.  I know, I would just take a pill, that always worked.  What pill do you take for overeating?…even google didn’t have a suggestion.

Then finally logic kicked in: there was no pill, no quick fix…only admittance.  I wasn’t one that was good at admitting flaws.  I was a doer, a fixer, a by any means “necessary-er”.  But humility, unfortunately, wasn’t a discriminator.   So I stood in front of the mirror, looked myself in the eyes, and confessed “I am an emotional eater”.  And then I laughed.  This was absured!  I had a Masters degree from USC there was no way food controlled me.  I walked out the bathroom, brushed my shoulders off, and tripped over a box of empty “embarrassment”.

Always with love,

Modo