Hello, lovelies! We made it through another year here on Medium and most of us still have so many stories to tell. To those of you still following us, still reading what we have to share and still enthralled by every click of each post, we appreciate you. Surely, we would not be who we are here at A Cornered Gurl if it were not for each of you. A heartfelt THANK YOU does not seem like enough, but it is what we are gifting as well as our words.
This year, in January, we launched the opening of ACG up to every writer on Medium and since then, milestones upon milestones have greeted us. Currently, we have 1,131 followers and we are comprised of 159 writers with 75 of them in an active status here on Medium. Our theme–our dedication within this publication is to give you writing that is brutally honest, vulnerable, and relative & relatable. We are writers who, “Break out of the Box” and this is shown with every piece published in A Cornered Gurl.
The last few months leading up to the end of this year gave us the last Young Minds of Medium challenge with a theme of “How Do You Sing The Blues?” We also introduced our youngest contributor, Niharika Gursahani who is currently flourishing here on Medium as well as maintaining her readership on WordPress.
The last challenge for all writers was this month with the following theme: “How Do You Like Your Love?” We had nineteen entries and I was more than pleased with each submission. Everyone was not only creative in using three words or multiple sets of three words to share how they like their love, but I also felt a sense of togetherness monitoring this challenge. I want to highlight three of those entries:
In A Cornered Gurl, we are built on community. It is important for us to not only encourage one another but to help each other grow and we are doing that by exploring many of the facets of writing available to us. The goal I envisioned, as we neared the end of this year, was to be able to present one of the local homeless shelters here in my area of North Carolina with a check or an electronic payment that would not only go toward providing meals but also a place to sleep or rest for a few nights too for those desperately in need. We did that. The amount donated to Samaritan’s Ministries was $75.00.
Not only did we raise enough funds to contribute in the fight to rally against homelessness in this area, but we were also able to gift St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital $90.00. Their remarkable care, professionalism, and willingness to help children diagnosed with cancer for absolutely no cost to their parents, blows my mind.
I have friends and family members who still want to donate and will do so and have been informed that their funds have been and will be placed in the ACG account to go toward next year’s charity donations.
Here in ACG, small monetary rewards distributed throughout the year to twenty-four writers for meeting various milestones in or outside of the publication added up to $262.00. I am overjoyed that we have been able to meet most of our goals and exceed in others.
Next year’s challenges will be totally different from this year’s and they will force us to use our thinking abilities as creatives and truly break out of the box. Stay tuned.
To anyone who has given their time, money, efforts, and support to this publication, I am honored. I cannot thank you enough and words do not seem to be justifiable given the accolades placed upon us. I look forward to what 2020 has in store and I hope you do too.
And now, a little Kelis: Get Along With You
Peace and blessings and a very Happy New Year to you!
I trust that each of you, if you celebrate it, enjoyed the Christmas holiday as much as you possibly can. The love of my life and I definitely enjoyed our day full of rest, good company, relaxation, and an awesome dinner too. I am grateful to have had the day to reflect and not do much of anything.
Here’s hoping the weekend ahead will be a lovely one for all of you.
time for embracing
this — a beautiful season
of love and laughter
and of endless cheer
be present and honor life’s
pull in and push out
boundless love to everyone
*Hello, beautiful people. I will be taking a short break. I intend to drink in the welcoming arms of relaxation, reflection, peace, and stillness. Here’s hoping each of you will enjoy the upcoming holidays to the fullest. ACG will resume its normal publishing schedule on Friday, December 27, 2019.
What of Christmas for those who are still clinging to homes they can no longer turn to? Homes that are not welcoming; have no open arms, open spaces, or open hearts . . . Where do they go? Who shelters them in their personal times of need when white Christmases fill our eyes with their beautiful blankets of fluff? A warm fire, a comforting hug, and a long night of storytelling amongst a family of traveling souls do not greet them. Is it Christmas for them too? Do they know we are laughing, loving, and opening up too many gifts, many of which we will shrink our noses to?
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there were roughly 554,000 homeless people living somewhere in the United States on a given night last year (2017). A total of 193,000 of those people were “unsheltered,” meaning that they were living on the streets and had no access to emergency shelters, transitional housing, or Safe Havens. Despite a booming stock market and strong economic growth, a large swathe of America is still struggling to make ends meet. — Kizley Benedict, Reuters
If the numbers above do not shock you, they should.
“You cannot save the world, baby. You just can’t.” This is what I hear when I yearn for every human being to have their basic needs met — my mother’s voice. Her somewhat assurance that I am doing enough. But, I never feel as though I am. This year, if it’s the Lord’s will, I will have a hot meal, a warm roof over my head, and loved ones who will call and exchange pleasantries with me. I will also pursue offering a few basic needs to those who are without them — to those who cannot afford them.
This is what I seek to do throughout the year, but more so during the intense climates of summer and winter in my area of North Carolina. It can get extremely hot here during the summer months and rather cold during the winter months. For my heart, soul, and peace of mind — helping a few of my brothers and sisters I see standing on our corners or unable to be serviced at one of our shelters is what I feel I am called to do.
I think of my family; those who were addicts, displaced, or unable to get back on their feet without help and I know that if I can give (time, money, food, and efforts) then I am doing good work.
I think of when both my mom and kid brother needed a place to live — a source of shelter and peace. That was provided to each of them. I often think of how easy it could be for me to lose everything I have or just my job and how quickly my life could change and I see myself walking in those shoes and I find myself in tears. I have a few members of my family on which I can count and I know of one of the first people for which I’d turn to if this should ever occur. I know in my heart that my request would be acknowledged — my needs would be met.
But, this is my assumption based on what I know now. Anything can happen.
The church I attend has a revolving theme. It is simply this: “Do Good.” If you assisted one person this past week, however, you assisted them, you did an act of good. If you are showing up on time or before the time you said you would — keeping your word, you are doing good. If you see your fellow brother or sister struggling and you provide something that causes their struggling to subside for a second, a minute, a day, a month — you are doing good. You wrote a poem for someone with a broken heart to cheer them up — that’s your one thing. It’s your good deed.
You are doing good.
As the holidays continue to creep in slowly, remind yourself that it only takes a moment to recognize love and to give it too. Not everyone will be surrounded by light and all things that make us smile. What is even more heartbreaking is not everyone will be willing to contribute to acts of good but you must not let that stop you from playing your part.
The holiday season can cause us to create habits of busyness when in actuality, these things would not exist. Slow down. Reflect. Take each moment in and embrace them as they come. Christmas should mean so much more than what we have likened it to. The spirit of giving should be exactly that. Instead, we have turned into a frenzied bunch, much too bent on obtaining the “perfect gifts” for our loved ones and draining ourselves dry in the process.
Every good thing we do each day should encourage us to add another one the next day and the next after that. And so on and furthermore. We should continue this until we raise each other up instead of using up so much of our energy batting each other down. This holiday season, “let your heart be light” and shine on someone in a way they least expect it. You will not only brighten up that person’s day, but you will feel a glow inside you too.
Christmas for all? Maybe one day.
Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.The link shared is a friend link allowing anyone who clicks on it to be able to read the article freely as it is behind Medium’s paywall.