It has always been my greatest desire to be like my mother.

The night before her passing, my mother held my hand tightly as I lay beside her. I hugged her and prayed with her and asked her for her blessing.

Her last words to me were, “Tell them everything you know about me.”

I chuckled (clearly not understanding her message at the time), “Of course, I will Mommy.”

When I shared this with my friend Marcus, he stated, “She is already making her way home to the ancestors and this now becomes your journey …..at this most sacred time.”

Overcome by the grief of her passing the next day, I had forgotten about this comment till this moment has brought it back to me. My mother passed the next morning in that delicate space between dusk and dawn.

It was her birthday.  

It’s been a couple of months since and as memories of my mother wash over me and I work to handle the huge loss that enshrouds me, I am strengthened by the gift of peace, compassion and grace she has bestowed on me and my siblings. And I am cognizant of the responsibility I hold in discerning her story and how to tell it. And as I ponder the priceless gifts my mother has left me, I am also pondering the gifts that I too may bestow onto others and that gets me thinking, what kind of footprints am I leaving for others to follow? I am grateful for my mother’s example.

From childhood to the day she passed, I adored my mother. I recall watching her dress to go out. She always turned this into an experience. She began preparing from the night before, resplendently laying out each item of clothing from dress to shoes, to scarf, to handbag. Then in the morning, or whenever her appointment was, she proceeded with the ritual of getting dressed.

I recall a time when I was about five or six and how enthralled I was observing this ritual. At that time, she wore her hair close to shoulder length and used the cones from the toilet paper to set her hair. I watched as she removed each roll, each curl falling, and her fingers twisting them into place. Then powdering her face, just a little, then the final touch, the red lipstick. In the end, she was simply the most beautiful person I had ever seen. This could be one reason why I did not want to leave her and go to school. I would invent stories and illnesses just to stay home and be with her. When my ruse worked, and it often did, I stayed home and she made me teas and let me stay in bed. I watched her as she worked, sewing or tidying up the house and we had these wonderful conversations talking about life and making big plans like going to the library and getting a new book or having a party with my friends. (As our family grew to be eight siblings over time, it seems that there was a birthday celebration almost every month).

I have always wondered at the comments people make about becoming their mother, for it has always been my greatest desire to be like my mother. From the earliest memory I can recall, I have always adored my mother. Sure, there were my teenage years when I scoffed at the constraints she placed when I sought to embark on adventures with friends away from home. There are those times when I asked her permission to go to a party with my crew and she said, “No, it is not every drumbeat that you must dance to,” and I just could not get why she would say that. I recall another favorite of hers, asserted in her lilting Jamaican vernacular, “Don’t stay out till dog ‘fraid,” as I dressed to leave for an outing with friends.

Later on, she must have passed on this same piece of advice to my teenage daughter Nicole who spent many summer vacations with my mother in Jamaica. It was April 2022 while we were on a rugged beach front, off the beaten path  in St. Mary, Jamaica that I observed Nicole feeding the stray dogs while she took photographs of them. “Why are you feeding the dogs and taking photos of them?” I admonished her. “If you feed them, they will follow us around all day.”

 “I want to share these photos with Shain (her son/my grandson),” she replied. “I had told him about Grandma’s saying, don’t stay out till dog fraid but couldn’t  quite explain the metaphor. Now I get it. If it is so late that even these stray dogs are too afraid to be out, then no teenager should be out at that time.”

I smiled to myself. The wisdom of my mother, trickling down through the generations.

I now realize that my mother has left a sustainable framework for us to continue the journey for I can and will pull from her lessons. And as I walk in her memory, I like to think that I am becoming like my mother, for it is my greatest pleasure and my highest achievement to say, I am my mother’s daughter, for that says everything you need to know about me.

(This photograph taken the day I said goodbye to my mother.)

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Every season of life has its rough patches and moments of despair. Yet, it also has stretches of exuberance and moments of joy. The challenge is how to grasp these diverse experiences and embroider them into a life well lived. Having experienced three unexpected and utterly transformative years of the global pandemic, I believe that we are at a special point in our journey where we are poised to live our best life ever, for we’ve seen it all; we’ve experienced it all. And these experiences have pushed us to develop the courage to survive and perhaps, even thrive. It is well worth the effort to use the inherent tension in our lives, both creatively and judiciously to create something beautiful! This is where we gather our evolving creativity and merge the Ying and the Yang of life to experience wonder. 

We have only one shot at life. We are pressed to put our heart into doing what we love and to do it expansively, embracing both the highs and the lows, much like dancing through the tensions of the tango. Knowing that you have given it your all, becomes your way of saying thank you-to your higher power.

Editor’s Note


The Kongo Grind! The Forbidden Dance! The Devil’s Dance!

The Tango was started by the formerly enslaved who connected with the working class and European immigrants in 18th century Buenos Aires, Argentina to create the internationally renowned Tango. Once danced in secrecy in brothels and slave gatherings, the Tango eventually found its way into the ballrooms of the elite to become a global phenomenon.

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Look closely at the ways of NATURE because this is the parallel of our own lives.

It’s the proverbial day after (Ian), though we are still feeling the effects of rain and wind. I am so grateful for Nature’s mercies!

Let’s consider ways in which we can support & offer hope to others.

As I journey through this cycle, I am reminded of the ways our bodies also move through cycles and how important it is for us to remember and be mindful of this. As much as the sun shines, darkness will also come. As much as we are youthful and energetic, age and pain and decline will come. This is why it is so important to examine the way we live, not wasting precious time on resentment and dislike which will only lead to regret one day soon. For anyone marching towards forty or fifty or sixty, know that life is journeying fast forward. In what may seem like the blink of an eye, old age will descend. Your circle of friends will get smaller and aches and pain may become the norm. Think about how you want to grow and live and celebrate your LIFE now! Look closely at the ways of NATURE because this is the parallel of our own lives. Do everything you can to go with the flow, send forth positive vibes and prepare to live a life that balances with the HARMONY of NATURE!

Yesterday I asked about TRIBE on my Facebook post, knowing full well that we do not reach out and connect with others as we ought to. That at times we hold back ourselves, refusing to support and uplift and elevate each other, even when it is as simple as clicking on someone’s post to give it a like or an acknowledgment. Let’s consider ways in which we can support and offer hope to others. Let’s look at ways we can learn from them and be certain to acknowledge their presence in our life. Let the members of your tribe know their position in your life and build on the strength of the relationship so they may remain members of the constant and enduring circle of your life, steady and firm in those days that will dim and darken like the shadows of the hurricane season.  

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Circle of Friends, International Welcomes Guest Writer Karen Pableta Wade who reminds us that there is magic at our fingertips and we have the option to paint our lives in soulful, vibrant and inspiring colors!

Karen Pableta Wade


Awakened by the rising sun,

Mother Nature painting Her canvas

She reluctantly awakens, not knowing what the day will bring. 

There is not enough paint in her can, but determined,

she arms herself with the tools she has and she begins to paint;

realizing that she has the power to paint her day, on her blank canvas. 

She paints power.

She paints resilience.

She paints faith.

She paints, and as she does, her can becomes full;

full of bright colors, 

Joy, peace, love, strength. 

She paints butterflies.

She paints the beautiful rain

which soothes and calms her. 

Photo Credit: Ronald McClean, Jr.

She claims the day;

and with joy she steps boldly,

knowing that like *Zarephath

who used her last food supply when asked by Elijah,

that her paint bucket will always be full, 

as long as she trusts and believes. 

Note for the Reader: Reference

*The story of Elijah and the widow Zarephath. 1Kings 17:1-124 ESV

She paints joy, peace, love, strength

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                                  COME WHAT MAY, WE ARE THE SURVIVORS!

This was the theme that evolved from my GATHERING OF FRIENDS on New Year’s Eve as we tuned in via Zoom to celebrate this magnificent thing called life. While we acknowledged the trials and tribulations of 2020, each member of the group ranging from 20 something to 60 something noted that shelter -in-place nudged them inward to look closely at their lives and to make the decision and then take action to live more meaningfully. While our activities, yearnings and achievements varied, when I examined closely what each of us said, it was readily summarized into this simple affirmation:


We discussed that simplifying our lives meant decluttering our homes and wardrobes, letting go of emotional baggage and accepting people for who they are meant. In all cases, we agreed that this rested on the recognition that we held the responsibility for changing our attitude within the relationships and in some cases, it meant easing out of a friendship or just letting go. We then set about deciding what is most important, most meaningful in our lives and took actions to focus on these. Above everything else, we recognized the value of integrity; of staying true to ourselves and doing everything to make sure that we did not settle. From this awakening in 2020, we are ready to step boldly into 2021 knowing that come what may, we are the SURVIVORS.

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What will it take to live in abundance and achieve my wildest dreams?

As the year draws to a close, like many others, I find myself reviewing the year and looking forward to the new one about to open itself unto us..welcoming, daring us to achieve our wildest dreams! And this year, I am intentional in positioning myself to take on that challenge. What will it take, I ask myself, to live in abundance and achieve my wildest dreams? And the inspiration comes softly to me in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, In deep faith, light up the incense of your heart. To do so, I realise, means acknowledging and accepting the wondrous abundance of the Universe, drinking from the gourd of potential which I have been gifted and giving back to the Universe in multi-faceted ways that reflect the talents, the energy, the knowledge that have shaped me into who I am today.

I acknowledge and embrace the wondrous gifts of the Universe!

As the light dawns on 2020, I seek to engage in a radical openness to the reality of the world in which I live. To peer deeply into the trials and the triumphs; the beauty and the ugliness and discern the lessons to be learned. That incense that lights my heart gives me direction-intuitively -on what matters most; what I should honor and what I should let go. I endeavour to listen intently to the exultant beating of my heart that awakens me to the wonders of the world as well as to the gut feeling that tells me something is amiss and it is time to walk away.  It is this incense of the heart that is my greatest gift of empowerment and I want to train myself to listen intently and honor this intuitive wisdom and allow it it to enshroud and dust its power all over me.

As this source empowers me, I want to become an example to others and gather from their wisdom as well. How wonderful it will be to join hands, tapping into our gifts, gaining strength from each other to inspire, to heal, and to transform the world. The New Year with the promise of a new itinerary, both linear and intuitive, imaginative or real, opens a portal to travel to enjoy the charm and the beauty of diverse regions, to write and elevate my muse, to accept the support others provide and show gratitude through the way I dress, wear my hair, and show up in public. 2020 offers me the canvas to become the living story of my most fundamental beliefs.

2020 offers me the canvas to become the living story of my most fundamental beliefs.
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The whistling of the birds beckon me to the back porch every morning and there I sit for some time savoring the break of day, looking out into the woods, enjoying the peaceful vibes before I have to get dressed and leave for work. The truth is, this simple act has become a ritual, an ordinary one at that; it sets the stage for my day and I look forward to it with a calming sense of anticipation. Ritual surrounds us. They sprinkle our days with anticipation and engage us in ordinary actions that are likely to bring us comfort and peace. The simple act of looking out into the garden and the woods beyond has become a ritual which sets the tone of my day and anchor me in the belief of the power of the Universe and the beauty of Nature in spite of what may lie ahead.

And this I believe is the power of ritual. It is that calming force of ordinary symbolic actions in which we participate every day without having to seek permission from anyone; without having to pay a due and often without needing any supporting resources. This is soulful empowerment which restores our capacity to continue our journey and renew our faith in what it means to be human. Of course, there are other rituals broader in scope such as the ritual of birthday celebrations, baptisms, cultural ceremonies, and family fellowships including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners among others. These rituals cement our connection to others and strengthen our faith in the circle of life to which we belong. These activities are a significant beat within the larger rhythmic pattern of our existence as members of a family, an ethnic group, a cultural tribe or religious group and they are just as important as those rituals we perform by ourselves, for together they restore our soul. They empower us and confirm our path on the journey towards peace and fulfillment as we seek to understand the essence of our humanity.

I believe that rituals help us to take a break from the pressures of life and enliven our spirit.


One Love, Marvalous!!!


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What we see when traveling along the way, depends on the clarity of the window through which we peer at life.

 I am big on turning experiences into memories and this weekend came upon one such serendipitous moment driving to the grocery store. Along the way, a group of cyclists traveled together in perfect sync, slowing traffic and giving drivers like me a momentary glimpse into their practice and dedication. And as I got closer, I noticed these stalwarts weren’t youngsters as I had thought, rather, thirty-somethings and beyond.  I also noticed it was a mixed gender group and one man had the compelling Jamaican phrase, One Love emblazoned on the back of his shirt. This, of course, doubled my admiration and propelled me into a day of reflection and inspiration. The truth is, we are all collectors of bits and pieces of memories that may push us forward, or pull us back if we allow this. How we fare in life is definitely how we choose to respond to our experiences and what we make of them. For what we see when traveling along the way, depends on the clarity of the window through which we peer at life.

This fleeting moment reminded me that I should embrace the journey, both the challenges and the rewards. I believe that we can pull from each experience in such a manner that it emboldens us to step even more boldly as we journey ahead. Sometimes the seemingly insignificant experience though unplanned can reward with unexpected treasures if we open our minds to it. At such moments we recognize that life is beautiful, as it was meant to be. We can enjoy such moments with no compromise. A simple experience like this may be giving us the opportunity to begin a new story.

(What are you waiting for?)

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As much as it is swept by grief, life is washed with joy embedded in the simple pleasures of the Universe. 

Hold your face to the sun, I tell my dear friend caught in the throes of mental anguish.

To my thirty- something friend fatigued by the disappointments of corporate life, I say throw caution to the wind and pursue your heart’s desire. Create your summer palace because you are the one most suited to do so.

MARVALOUS MB 4 JULY 28As for me, coming to terms with loss and stepping onto new pathways this summer, I tell myself: go find yourself in the sea, holding onto e.e. cummings’ words, for whatever we lose (a you or a me), it is ourselves we find in the sea. One of my dearest friends offers guidance by her example of stepping outside of an unfulfilling marriage to start anew, setting up home by the sea and thus fulfilling a deep yearning of the soul even within this challenging time. Her message is one I share with you: Live the life and take time to find peace. These past months have certainly strengthened my conviction that within despair lies the magic of rising up and engaging in the potential of new opportunities; of seizing hope from the deep recesses of the dreams we harbor. As we journey through the Circle of Life, we recognize that as much as it is swept by grief, life is also washed with joy.

Time spent at the beach this summer has been the awakening of hope and journeying towards fulfilling new dreams. So I say to you my friends..

Step boldly. It’s time to see what you can do!


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Colors remind me that I can create my story in whatever shade I want.

As I celebrated my birthday this past week [much of it spent outdoors in the park, walking on the beach, and watching the birds come take a dip in the backyard pool] I couldn’t help thinking about how much I enjoyed the resplendent palate of Mother Nature which got me thinking about the way I absolutely love colors….and love to wear those colors!

Colors both energize and soothe me. Whenever I wear blue for example, I feel like I am wearing the ocean; its beauty, its magnificent force; the ebb and flow and the rhythm that’s in sync with my beating heart. Then there is the green in the landscape that takes me back to the gynep tree in my grandmother’s yard loaded with memories of long summer days spent swinging in that tree with my siblings and cousins while we devoured the fruit from the laden branches. This love of green nudges me often to reach for that deep green ring I bought in Cuba last year which I often pair with the soft fluctuating shades of green in the bracelet I bought in Chania, Greece the year before.  Not only do these variegated shades energize me but they also become symbolic of the fantastic experiences I had in these countries. Might this obsessive love of color be a manifestation of my Afrocentric heritage, I often ask myself? A woman born under the brilliance of the Jamaican sun whose ancestry is rooted in the distant continent of the Motherland.


Dirty Dancing Broward PC  (2)

Oh how I love the corrugated resplendent colors of the Jamaican landscape, shamelessly beautiful and intoxicating in its invitation. I am mesmerized by the variegated tones of orange from the corals to the tangerines and red splashes of sunset as I watch the evening steal across the sky while I sit and look out at the horizon from my mother’s verandah. Tropical, sultry and definitely with an attitude, orange offers an expansive palate to choose from. I experience such a sense of vibrancy when I drape myself in these tones, defying any challenges that may come my way that day.

Marvalous in Living Colors!!!

As much as colors excite my spirit, they also calm and cool. The white walls of my bedroom for example, are often a striking contrast to the rich bold colors I may enrobe myself on any given day, offering comfort and a chance to slow down.

Colors remind me that I can create my story in whatever shade I want. Sometimes I wear colors as a way of dreaming out loud without saying a word to anyone. I can walk around in creative bliss and simply Color Myself Bold!

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