Saturday, December 24, 2011


*My Favorite Christmas Carol*

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.


Thursday, December 22, 2011


A friend posed this question today: "Who is the Grinch in your life this year?" So I got to thinking... "YEAH!Who IS the Grinch in my life this year?" I got to thinking of the people around me and the complaining and bitching and drama I get to observe every day. For the most part I'm used to it but then a nagging little voice in my head broke through and chimed in: I'm the Grinch in my life this year. I've been told I've been a little bitchy since about Thanksgiving. I can't even deny it. I've been edgy irritable and a little sad. The Season started off with a broken foot and a death. And the frustration of not being able to get my mail key after, Oh let's see we're goin on 2 months now. I truck up the post office about twice a week to get all of my "time sensitive" mail. I couldn't get to the post office very often the 3 weeks my foot was in the boot. So I missed a few deadlines when it came to some home warranty extensions and those kinds of things. My old appartment complex is pimping me for $500 because they decided it was time to change the carpet in the apt I moved out of and claims there were stains they couldn't get out. Both stains were powder. yeah, that's right POWDER. Powder I was able to vacuum and get out myself a couple other times I spilled while living there. Then 2 Saturday's ago I had 2 flat times. TWO. So I'm feeling a little picked on lately. I know it's just my turn and we all go through stuff.

And there really is no one to blame. With buying a new house, and my car going on the fritz every other month and now the latest events I'm emotionally and mentally spent. I've used my reserves and just felt like I haven't had time to renew. This is an excellent recipe for Grinch Casserole. I've been trying to do little things here and there and they do help but only just a little. My mind is telling me if I want little results to make little attempts. So I think I need to make greater attempts to get greater results.

Today is December 22. I've got 3 days to ungrinch myself. And I know what I have to do to get rid of this Stink, Stank, Stunk feeling. Take a quick look around yourself for that Grinchy person in your life this year. If you can't find them, check out the mirror. If you're grabbing for the razor to shave off that green 5'o clock shadow... have a

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why I Don't Mind Saying HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I've seen it quite a bit lately: "returning to the traditional greeting of "Merry Christmas" instead of the politically correct "Happy Holidays". Or "Because I am CHRISTian, I'm going to have a merry CHRISTmas." REALLY PEOPLE? The HOLIDAY SEASON starts At Thanksgiving and ends after the first week of January. And if we are to love one another as God loves us, wouldn't that include those who believe differently than ourselves?

I am Christian. YES, Mormon's aka LDS/Latter Day Saints are Christians.

But I also love the story of Hanukkah. I bet most people don't know what Hanukkah is and why it's celebrated. Hanukkah means "DEDICATION." It serves as a reminder of how Jewish resistance claimed back their temple from Syrian-Greeks who declared the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. They forced the Jewish to eat pork and bow down and worship their Greek Gods or be put to death. After much death Jewish resistance began in the village and eventually The Jewish people were victorious. They reclaimed their temple and rededicated it to the God we all worship today.

The name Hanukkah reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks.

Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But there was only one day's worth of oil. They lit up anyway and the miracle is the oil lasted Eight full days.

It is celebrated with a Festival of lights or the Lighting of the Menorah.
Some of their Traditions are quite fun. One tradition I can truly bet into is the tradition of eating fried foods:

Latkes, are pancakes made out of potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil.

Or Fried Donuts dusted in powdered Sugar.

I would not think to discount, discredit or disrespect this Holiday. To do so would defile the sacredness of their beliefs and also the beliefs of Jesus Christ, who was a Jew as well.

Kwanzaa was not meant to be an ALTERNATIVE to Christmas as first believed. Kwanzaa is a Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture. Therefore it is not a religious holiday, but more of a cultural recognition.
There are 7 Principle to African Heritage which are really quite beautiful once you understand them.

Umoja meaning UNITY: To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia meaning SELF-DETERMINATION: To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up

Ujima meaning COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY: To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.

Ujamaa meaning FAMILY: The belief in family and general communal understanding.

Nia meaning PURPOSE: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba meaning CREATIVITY: To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani meaning FAITH: To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Part of the Kwanzaa celebration entails the displaying of the symbols:
A mat, 1 ear of corn for each child, the kinara that holds the 7 candles that represent the seven principles, fruits, nuts and vegetables that nourished the people of Africa, a unity cup shared by those who are celebrating and gifts.

The gifts should be traditionally cultural, hand made and educational. Given typically January 1st. The celebratory Colors of this Holiday are green, black and red. Green is for the fertile land of Africa; black is for the color of the people; and red is the for the blood that is shed in the struggle for freedom.

The foods enjoyed at the Kuramu are Sweet potatoes, collard greens, various nuts. Wild Turkey or chicken.

Why on earth would I not appreciate or respect anyone, regardless of culture, color or race who wants to focus on and represent the 7 principles of African Heritage?

You don't have to be Black to implement some of these things into your own lives. Just like Celebrating the Miracle of one days worth of oil burning for 8 days.

I find it funny that more people find offense in the Saying of "HAPPY HOLIDAY" than they do with the commercialism. What would the holidays really be like if we spent even half of the time we Shop for learning about the life of Jesus and not just his birth? What if we took one Christmas every two or three years, didn't purchase gifts for our families, and spent the holidays volunteering at shelter feeding the hungry and homeless, or donating the hundreds of dollars we spend on each other to a worthy community cause? What if, instead of buying gift for the family, we spent the year learning what Jesus is all about and then practiced it with our families. In the long run that's really the gifts Jesus asks of us. I've heard parents say..."Well I have to give them something under the tree!" I say WHY? Because they'll be disappointed if not? Because they'll cry and not have anything to show their friends? SO WHAT? It's ONE Christmas out of dozens they will most likely have. Use that time to teach them about real gifts of the world: Food, Shelter, Clothing. Sharing with others who won't have anything. I promise you it will only take a couple of these Christmas's for them to GET IT. And it will cut down generations of overspending for the holidays just to give and get tangible gift that will only be taken for granted, forgotten about, lost, broken, or to have more accessories that need to be purchased.
There's a Reason My Favorite Christmas Carol is "WHAT CHILD IS THIS?"

IF someone were to ask you about baby Jesus, "WHAT CHILD IS THIS?" How would you answer them?
Before you go around Saying... "I'm a Christian. I believe in Christ, so I'm just gonna say "MERRY CHRISTMAS." Spend some time learning about the Life of Christ. Saying Merry Christmas is not what makes you Christian. The way we act and treat each other is what will inevitably reveal us at Christians. I really don't think GOD or JESUS CHRIST care if we it or Happy Holidays. I do think it matters if we claim to be something we have no idea how to be it.
Really think about what you want your families to get out of this time of year. Then spend next year teaching and living it so they will be prepared to be Christlike next holiday season.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Saying Merry Christmas. Or Happy Hanukkah. OR Happy Kwanzaa or any of the other greetings we hear this time of year. Just know when I Say HAPPY HOLIDAYS, I'm speaking of all that is Good and Holy this time of year regardless of religion, culture etc.

From My Home To Yours.. HAPPY HOLY-DAYS!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Weren't Ready For Seein' Angels"

" The Lord Puttin Angels In Our Lives Everyday,But We Don't Even See Them 'Til They Leavin Anyway."

November 28, 2011 was my 44th birthday. I had taken the day off so I could sleep in and enjoy what would be the tail end of a 5 day weekend. For my birthday I just wanted to waste the day relaxing and bailing off all of my responsibilities. I jumped out of bed with Pajama's still to see my daughter back off to college. She was driving back that morning and needed to leave early in the commute to make her hour and a half trip so she cold make it to work on time. Hugged her goodbye..."I Love You"
and she was out of the door.
I went to the living room and sat in my overstuffed recliner and listen to the new to find out the weather of the day. I started to doze of when my phone rang. It was one of my "Sistas." She asked how I was doing and I told her I was "ok." and asked how she was doing. She got silent.... so much so that I said... "Hello?..." She said... "did you get a call this morning?" I told her no and looked at my phone for any voice mails or missed message. There were none. She got really quiet again. "Hello... I said... are you still there?" She was.
I heard her choke -up... She said she was sorry and got quiet again.
Finally she told me... "Morgan Harwell died, Karyn. Im sorry to tell you."

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAT???" I sat up in my chair and closed my eyes.
"Morgan passed away last night. I'm so, So Sorry!"
I belong to the LDS Genesis Group. For 7 years I was the Genesis Youth Advisor. I was called to have fellowship charge on teens/ from the age of 12-18. When I first got called I only had a few youth. about 7. Through out the years the group would grow to about 47 kids. Half of them I would see on a regular basis. We met the first Sunday of each month from 7pm-8:30 pm and every third Saturday we had an activity.
Morgan was well known, mostly for being a pain in the butt. But I saw a different kid. I took personal notice of him when he was about 10 years old. He was mischievous and somewhat devious kind of like myself. He really did remind me of me. No one really seemed to listen to him and he was always in some kind of trouble or always having to be talked to about something. Anytime there was an activity I could always here his mom or dad... Morgan! Morgan..! Morgan! No matter how much of a pain he was, he always did what I asked of him, listened to what I told him. I Liked hanging out with him and watching him annoy others. And when he got frustrated I'd drape my arm around him and and say... "Let's go for little walk or have a little talk." I also liked observing him because he did things with a purpose and not many people recognized the purpose.When I started to notice him and hear what he wasn't saying, I felt he was Genius. He Now at the young age of 21... He was dead. I didn't get much details from my Sista but I could tell she was concerned for me because I kind of just sat and said.. "humph" Again she asked me Are you ok? Because that was, like, your son!" I told her "
yes, I'm ok, but I think I'm in shock and may be in trouble later."

She said she had a meeting to go to and would stop by later tonight, and said our Goodbyes.

I'm not sure how long I sat in stillness and silence but I could feel a thunder starting to rumble in my heart and I knew there was going to be an internal storm. Tears started to well up in my eyes and gritted my teeth and forced them back down. I began to shake. If you know me, You know I don't do death well. See 2009 blog:

I picked up my phone and called my Sister. She answered the phone Cheerfully singing... "Happy Birthday to you..... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU...." And then the storm in my heart unleashed.... I can't say that I experienced such gut wrenching heartbreaking cries I can't remember feeling such heart ache. My mind was flashing all the memories I had of him and how much I loved this kid. I couldn't speak, I just cried. The more I tried to say something the harder it was. I wanted to get something out because I know with the way I was carrying on she was thinking something happened to my daughter. I was able to squeak out.... "Tamu called....and about 2 minutes later... Morgan died.." All she got was Tamu Called. She told me I needed to breath... and i couldn't. the more I tried to catch air it was just short puffs of breath that weren't working.
She finally said.. "Hang up the hone, I'm on my way"
I hung up the phone, fell to my knees and cried a cried I had NEVER cried before. I don't think I could have cried more if it were my own flesh and blood. And the more I thought of it being my birthday the more I cried. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel fair. I refused to celebrate it. I wanted to focus on this young man's family.
I sobbed and sobbed for about 20 minutes then it stopped. I tried desperately to catch my breath as I felt my heart Ice over. I sat back in the chair and stared at the walls.
After a while, Im not sure how long, my phone rang. It was my sister she was down in the lobby. I buzzed her in and sat right back in my chair and stared at the floor.
Slowly (like now...) tears began to well up in my eyes and my breath was shaken. "I refuse to feel this pain any more" I told myself. My sister looked over at me and said... "LET IT OUT, DON"T HOLD IT IN" I wailed.
I never knew a heart could hurt so much. It scared me. How could I survive a parent, sibling or child passing away?
"Ain't no use trying to be strong for anyone we all need to just let it out. And if that's all crying together then so be it" I continued to cry. She sat with me most of the day. Then my Sista Natalie dropped by. She remembers Morgan's parent's bringing him home at the age of 6 weeks old and she used to baby sit him and his brothers when they were babies.
Late morning, about 10:30 my phone would present 4voice mails and missed calls from as early as 7:45. All from Natalie trying desperately to give me the news.
I spent the day Crying and napping. And then napping and Crying. My sisters Lyn, Natalie and Tamu rotated in and out of my house all day to make sure I wasn't home alone for very long. As word got out I received emails, texts and other messages making sure I was alright and not alone. I began to feel guilty at so much love and care being presented towards me. I worried about the family and hoped they were getting as much. It would be they who would have the biggest holes in their hearts.
At some point I was in my bedroom, I don't remember when I went back and layed down but I curled up in a ball hugging my Raggedy Ann Dolls. (God and Raggedy Ann are the go to people when I get like this.)Tears rolled down my face in a steady stream. And then I heard him say... "I'm ok. I never realized how many people loved me. Help my mom Have peace."

(Morgan Lyle Harwell)

"Help my mom have peace" it was so like him. The things I heard him say the most... "Where's my mom?" "Have you seen my mom?" "I need to find my mom." The next thing I heard him say most was... "Where's Richard?" "Have you seen Richard?" He loved his family. His Mama was his heart, and Richard was his comfort when Mom wasn't around. He loved them all unconditionally, even when he was upset with them. He held no grudges.
I spent most of the day in memories of him, which would include memories of most of my Genesis Youth. And I started to think about them all. When I was their adviser there was nothing I wouldn't do for them.(Well,legal ;) For the most part I still try and keep track of them. I would still do anything I could for them. I love them all and I hoped they knew it then and still know it. That is regardless of whatever path they're on or chose to take. Anytime I saw Morgan I made sure he knew I cared. Sometimes I feel there was more I could have done but isn't there always. I know he knew I cared for him and that gives me peace. I want to make sure they all know this.
The week was filled with sorrow, sadness and tears trying to stay busy and make sure assignments were carried out. It was a busy week for the LDS Genesis Group because the Annual Christmas Party was Saturday, The Genesis Meeting Sunday, and The Funeral would be Monday Dec 5th. There was a great desire to be with Genesis Family. To hold each other up where ever it was needed.
Friday we went and saw the family. Everyone was looking well, able to laugh and smile. Full of hugs and love. Everyone except Richard. I don't like how he looked and it broke my heart to know his heart was suffering. As we sat in their home I was filled with a spirit of peace and comfort and laughter. Seeing them began to heal my heart. I needed them in my mourning process.
Saturday was the Day of the Annual Party. It was an awesome party... Santa clause bailed at the last minute. This party is always stress and always a lot of work. Handing out toys to about 100 kids. Me, on a broken foot was responsible for handing out toys, preparing and decorating the stage for Santa and pictures, sorting the toys into age groups and helping in the Kitchen. I was overwhelmed as Im sure everyone was. Heavenly Father sent Angels to help. As Morgan's family came into town they jumped right in. When the time for Santa came, I found 3 angels.. one dressed up as the prettiest elf I've ever seen, helping hand out the toys for Santa. His family came to lay a loved one to rest and ended up serving, Just like Jesus Our Savior. My heart was slowly beginning to heal.

Sunday was the Genesis Meeting. I wasn't particularly going for the meeting. Sometimes you just need to be with your people. Sunday, I needed to be with my people. There is a certain way black people mourn and it's unlike or Caucasian Brothers and sisters. I know everyone mourns differently and no disrespect to my Caucasian Brothers and Sisters. But there is a cultural bond especially during times of loss that goes deeper than I can explain.
I spent much of my time in the hallway with one of my former youth counselors speaking and reminiscing of those times we all spent together and sharing our experiences with Morgan. It was fun remembering him. As the night ended we all returned to our homes to prepare for our final goodbyes.

I woke up early Monday. My thoughts went back to the previous Monday, the day I heard the news. My heart sank. And then it went back to the Monday before that... the night i broke my food. DAMN FOOT in this DAMN BOOT! You'd think I'd learn to walk off a curb after 44 years. yeah, not so much. I packed up the food I prepared for the family dinner after the services, jumped in the car and was on my way.
I recognized my breathing getting heavier and heavier. By the time I hit the exit about a mile and a half from the church, it was last Monday all over again. I called my sister and told her I needed some help...She needed to talk me to the church because I was having another breakdown. When I got into the parking lot I drove in about 20 ft and couldn't drive anymore. I simply broke down, seeing the building where we hung out mostly as a youth group. Being in the ward where Morgan grew up, seeing images of him skateboarding or skipping Sunday school in that parking lot. Just too much to take. I needed a moment. After that moment I sucked it up, parked the car and got to work, preparing the kitchen and some of the food for the family Luncheon.
Around the corner from the kitchen in the Relief Society room was the viewing. I do not do viewing well so I stayed away from that part of the Chapel. I didn't need to "view" him.
I was cool with remembering him in a better way than chillin in that silk lined box.

Before long, it was time for the services to start. The program was unique and full of stories and laughter and tears.
Morgan.. AKA M.O.E was a music artist and a skateboarder. Because we were in the Chapel they couldn't play any of his music. And because We ALL KNOW Mormon hymns sound dreadfully mournful on the norm... The family refused to play them. There was gospel music SANG at this Service. As mentioned in the service... Jesus was a jew and would not have been able to have a Jewish funeral in an LDS chapel because of so many LDS stipulations. It's upsetting there are so many "RULES" to how we can mourn and rejoice in the chapel. When the time came to journey to the cemetery we were given instructions on a special presentation that would be held after the dedication of the final resting place. It was cold. FREEZING COLD. So Cold I broke out in hives. I don't think it was above 15 degrees. But as we sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot..." The sun presented itself and allowed us a little warmth.
As a Final tribute, Richard, his brother and 3 other friends wrote a song for Morgan, and presented it.
I listened to the words and the voices of these talented artist as they sang their hearts. It wasn't an LDS hymn however it was, to me, even more sweet to hear. Because it was just as heartfelt as any HYMNS I've ever heard.

Before I end my Novel I would just like to go on record saying:

The last 10 days have been filled with EVERY good, bad and ugly emotion.
Today I experienced them all again. At the end of the day my shock, sadness, anger, compassion, and broken heart are slowly turning to peace and sweet memories of the times we laughed and shared together, served ourselves and each other.
Those beautiful moments in time bonded us all together and will forever remain in each of us so we can call on them to answer our hearts when the ugly moments try to return.
*Dedicated to Every Child I was ever blessed to have fellowship and guidance over and to my LDS Genesis Family*
Love your people.. UNCONDITIONALLY and more importantly...make sure they know it!

"Weren't Ready For Seein' Angels"

*the only reason my name shows on the bottom of this video is because it was copied from my personal facebook page.*

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand


I earned some temporary wings!