Martin Luther King, Jr.

So far, 2017 has been a continuation of 2016… but I still have hopes that I can pull myself from the doldrums and help make this a much better year for myself and for others. Writing time has been stolen by illness, car problems, and catching up on work priorities.

I did, however, take the time to attend the Madison County Democratic Women’s luncheon on Thursday, January 5, and enjoyed hearing Patricia Todd as the guest speaker. As the first openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature, she reminded me that relationships and relationship-building are still the best way to break down the barriers of fear and prejudice. I needed reminding of that: We can’t just keep speaking our minds on our points of view without extending an ear to listen to others and their viewpoints. We can hold to our beliefs, but need not be belligerent, just strong and persevering.

There are several upcoming events beginning tomorrow that I need to try to attend (if my car gets fixed in time)! These include a sign-making party tomorrow afternoon for the upcoming women’s marches, a look at how the Alabama Legislature works being hosted tomorrow night at 7:00 at Oakwood University, the Alabama Arise Legislative Issues Preview at the Main Library on Thursday at 6:00, and of course, getting on the bus on Friday to head to Washington to the Women’s March.

Just a few Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes to remember heading into this time where we need to stay strong and voice our feelings through action as well as words… on what would have been his 88th birthday. (The gender inclusion is my own…)

There comes a time when silence is betrayal.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Let no (wo)man pull you so low as to hate him (her).

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but (s)he must take it because his (her) conscience tells him (her) it is right.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

A (wo)man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.







Humbling and Inspiring

Rest in Peace, Darlene Woodard: A picture of quiet strength and grace… with a beautiful smile. Thank you for your service to Interfaith Mission Service. Your Homegoing Celebration was both humbling and inspiring.

A New Take on an Old Tradition


Eating on New Year’s Day in the Deep South usually includes greens and black-eyed peas, the usual fare that is supposed to bring luck from the peas and wealth and prosperity from the gold and green of the cornbread and greens, whether they are collards, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, or a combination of all of them. But the last year has been hard… and with the state of politics and rights of many Americans in question, I think we need to focus on even more well wishes for the new year.

The picture above shows the meal I cooked today. I kept the tradition of the peas cooked with a new dime, collard greens, and cornbread. Something I read recently said the more pork you eat on New Year’s Day, the fatter your wallet during the year, so I seasoned the peas with hog jowl, the greens with bacon, and served ham steak! We’ll see if my wallet gets fatter, or only me.

We all know money can’t buy happiness, although it can afford one the time and peace of mind to pursue other avenues of interest and concern. So I’m taking the food wishes a bit further…

Sweet potatoes, or sweet potato pies in this case, wish everyone sweetness and love in matters of faith, family, friends, and those of the heart. Take time to savor the sweetness of time spent with loved ones, pursuing ideas and passions, and good books read, good music listened to, and good movies watched and discussed. A toast of champagne to the New Year represents fun and laughter, and taking time to enjoy the moments of our lives… welcoming the giggles that bubble up as we relish happiness!

I think we need these two new components to wish ourselves luck and prosperity! I fear the coming year(s) will be hard for most of us. We are going to have to try harder to ensure that everybody has the chance to dream and to prosper, to set goals and to achieve, to have faith and to believe. We can’t step down, we can’t step aside, we can’t give in, and we can’t give up. We can not hang our heads in defeat: We need to keep striving for equity, equality, and goodness for all.

I am committed to trying harder this year: I think it will take resolve and promise to stand for our beliefs and stand up for those who may need our voices and our actions in the coming months. I’m trying harder, starting today. I’m trying harder by wishing the best to all, so that this time next year, we will be celebrating our courage, our perseverance, our compassion in inclusion of all… with the hope that those toasts can be: “To us: The winners!”

Happy 2017!

With a really hard year behind me, I am looking forward to the new year…

Family and friends: 2017 is going to be a great year… I have to believe that. With a blank calendar being an invitation to adventure, I’m looking forward to the wonders the new year promises. Remembering that each new day will be just what God and I make of it, I want to enjoy the people, the experiences, and the surprises that life allows me. Please be a part of my discoveries and join me often. I hope to see you soon! HAPPY NEW YEAR! ~Debbie Esslinger