Sunday, December 20, 2009

BLOG: Merry Christmas, Mixed and Happies!

Hi Mixed and Happies!

I'm thrilled to say that the most colorful Christmas card of the season is on its way to New Orleans and should be in Keith Bardwell's hands by Christmas day. I don't know if he'll even open the package, but it's now out of my hands and into his. I knew you'd all want to see the final result, so I snapped a few shots.

As the project winds down, I want to thank everyone for participating. Our pictures will be traveling all the way to L.A. to debut as one big collage at the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, which will be held June 12-13, 2010. I am hoping to make it there to present our colorful project.

If you'd like to make it out, we might just make a Mixed and Happy event out of it. If anyone is interested in going, let me know.

If you missed the deadline, you haven't missed out. Every picture I receive will go up here on the blog. They will also be included in the collage. So, let's keep it going.

I am trying to teach my children that one person with one idea can make a difference. But it is only when other people stand behind that one person that real change takes place. So, thank you for standing behind me. In my mind, even if one child gets the message that mixed is beautiful, then I've done my job.

Now, for the goodies!

When it was time to print out all of the cards, I couldn't believe how it translated in tangible form. I picked them up from Walgreens and couldn't believe how thick the package was. Later at home, I laid them all out on my table and fought to keep them from spilling off the edges. What you see here is one small portion.

I asked my co-worker if she had a Christmas card so I could avoid fighting traffic on my lunch break to buy one. She sifted through her drawer and had just one left. But, how perfect was it? It said "Happy Holidays and a New Year of Happiness." How meant to be was that?

So, I started running into Mixed and Happy families everywhere I went once I started the Mixed and Happy project. I found myself scrawling the Web site url on random napkins and gum wrappers. So, for less than $10, I had these little business cards made as a way to tell people about the project. They came in handy, especially when it was time to send the card. Maybe he'll shoot me an email one day?

I didn't even think about what I was going to write on this card, I just started writing. As I was writing, I realized that this project was all about love. So, no judging Keith Bardwell, no throwing stones. Just showing some love. Because, when all is said and done, that's what changes hearts and lives.

How much do you love the Mixed and Happy penguins? Ha ha. Just kidding. I promise I didn't do that on purpose.

In other Mixed and Happy news, where should we go from here? I'd like to keep the blog going, but maybe there's other things we can do together. I'd love (LOVE) to hear your comments. I mean, really love to hear them. So send me a Christmas gift in the form of a comment.

Feel free to comment below or email me:
mixedandhappy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

130: Submitted by Lauren (Final Submission!)

Hey Suzy! We wanted to seal the card! Here are my mixed and happy Blessings!!

These are Mixed and Happy Blessings! Your site and purpose was truly reached by beautiful, amazing families! The children are gorgeous and each and every one shine with charisma! It takes people like us who are able to embrace the heart and love of an another individual despite color! It's this unconditional bonding love that will be instilled in the souls of our children which, in turn, makes them truly Mixed and Happy!

Congratulations, Suzy to a job well done and another goal reached. You are a wonderful and inspiring writer. We all have a purpose in life and you are fulfilling what you were called to do!

Also, congratulations to you and Marquis! Your relationship is a true testament to His Word. Although you had trials and tribulations, you rose above out of love for each other and for your children. I truly admire that!

129: Submitted by Kim B.

Here are photos of my Mixed and Happy Family!

God Bless!

Shannon, Kim, Kaleb, and Madison

128: Submitted by Jeannie R.

My husband and I have been happily married for almost 6 years! I love what you are doing! I think MixedandHappy is a great way to make a change and to show our children they are God's creation and no man can dictate their future!

In the picture is myself, my husband, Lerinezo, our daughter, Hayven and my two step-sons, Jordan and Jaden.

127: Submitted by Marsha

126: Submitted by Adrienne R.

I have so enjoyed your blog and the rainbow of pictures that have been submitted. It is sad that such ignorance still exists in this world, but you have taken the ignorance of one individual and turned it into something beautiful!!! I too would like to send a picture of my mixed and happy family..

125: Submitted by Glenda T.

124: Submitted by Rose G.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

BLOG: On my way

Well, I am on my way to Orlando with the hubby. We are celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. Wanted to stop by the blog and say thank you to all who have supported Mixed and Happy. And me. Tuesday is the last day for submissions if anyone wants to still send them. I am happy and at peace with the way the project has turned out.

Mixed and Happy kisses to you all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BLOG: She deserves yellow roses

I was on my way to work Friday morning, fighting my way through traffic, when my phone rang. It was hubby. "I'm angry, and I don't know what to do with that," he said. He was talking about the thing he struggles with most.

"How do you want to feel?" I asked him about the thing. "Not how do you feel? How do you want to feel?"

"I just want to be happy--about everything."

"Then act how you want to feel," I said. "You want to be happy--about everything. Act happy--about everything. And in doing so, prepare yourself to receive it--so that you're not pretending; you're just preparing."

"What do you want your garden to look like?" I continued. For some reason, a vision of a beautiful garden popped in my mind. A rainbow of colors. And sunlight. A peaceful and happy vision.

"Huh? Garden?"

"If you want roses, you have to prepare for roses," I told him. "But if you want dandelions, you have to prepare for dandelions. Oh, and if you want weeds, prepare for nothing. What do you want your garden to look like?"

He understood. And he started telling me in detail what he wanted this thing to look like. "So, that's what you need to prepare for. Prepare for those details. See them. Feel them."

When I hung up, I knew that it was time. My life is colorful. I'd say if my life were a garden, it is one filled with a magnificent arrangement of flowers growing wildly, but beautifully.

But, there is this one corner and it is filled with weeds. And I haven't dealt with that corner. It's just become the corner of guilt. And I realized, through my own words to hubby that day, that when I remember my sister, it is in that corner of my mind that I remember her.

I remember her in a cold little corner filled with weeds. After hanging up with him that morning, I envisioned her wanting to sit with me in a warm garden filled with flowers and sunlight. And laughter. And yellow roses. That's what she'd want.

So, even though it's hard and it stings, I know it's time to pull out the weeds and prepare the ground of my heart for those yellow roses. That's where she belongs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BLOG: Torn

Four years ago, on Dec. 14, 2005, my little sister died. She was 24. She contracted encephalitis, an infection that causes the brain to swell. After being mis-diagnosed several times as having a tension headache, she was finally admitted to the hospital.

By this time, she was having these little seizures that forced them to admit her. Her brain had swollen to a point that her body was seizing. They were more like little monsters creeping up every hour or two and completely taking over her body.

To watch her disappear into her own body as if falling back into a hole for a moment--those moments were like big, scary monsters to me. Because for me, I just wanted to grab her hand and pull her up out of the hole. But, she'd disappear for a few minutes, completely out of my grasp.

She had her first seizure on Thanksgiving day, and three weeks later, she died. I was three months pregnant and living in North Carolina when the tragedy that was December 2005 unfolded. I was sick. Very sick. Too sick to travel, and so I called her every day, multiple times a day.

But one day, she couldn't speak. I was told that the little monsters were happening more frequently and they had been forced to induce a coma through medication. Damn drugs. Damn little monsters. Damn the last time I ever spoke to her.

I said I love you. Those were my last words, and I told her I would see her for Christmas. Instead, I showed up on Dec. 13 and walked into a gray hospital room where she lay, swollen from head to toe, in a hospital bed. The next day, she slipped away, out of my grasp forever.

So, here I am four years later. She never did get to meet my third or fourth child. And that stings. But what stings with a white-hot intensity is my absence during the last few weeks. That has become my monster, and I can't seem to get him off of my back.

At just after 9 a.m. this morning, I walked into my boss's office and completely melted. I couldn't turn off the tears or the pain. I quietly sobbed and told her that I was having a rough morning.

I had been fine all week. Until hubby mentioned something to me last night. "I want to take you away for the weekend," he said. Our wedding anniversary happens to be the day after my sister died, on Dec. 15.

He had to work on Dec. 15, and so he made plans to go away Sunday and spend all day Monday in Orlando. We have these two Disney tickets that are about to expire, and he thought we could get away and have some fun.

But, that's my sister's day, I thought. I can't have fun on that day. I'm too riddled with guilt for not being by her side in the last few weeks. I feel like I let her down. I thought I had more time. I thought, as the nurses told me, the coma would wear off once the drugs did. I thought that once I was well enough, I'd come back to Florida and help take care of her. I thought ...

There you have it. A peak into my mind when I think about those last few weeks. And so now, I'm sitting here, torn. Disney world on my sister's day? I can't. I just can't.

A friend of mine told me to go; to let my hubby take care of me. Another one told me to celebrate her life. And another one told me that she'd want me to have fun. But, you see, there's this monster on my back. And I can't seem to shake him.

I just don't know what to do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

123: Submitted by Myrna D.

Jess & my niece Krystal

My Godson, Marcus.


My first born,B.S. in Mechanical engineering, M.S. in business, hard working, great son, great brother,great friend. intelligent, kind, funny. He is one Jewel in my crown, a confirmed blessing from the Lord, answered prayer.

122: Submitted by Devan R. (Louisiana)

My husband and I live in Louisiana, and he is Creole, which means his family ranges in color from very light and looking white to very dark. His dad's family originated from the island of Guadalupe in the Caribbean Sea, and those who didn't stay behind moved to New Orleans.

Devan shares pictures of her son and husband. She also included one of she and her best friend on her wedding day. "I included it because I think of her like a sister since we lived together during her first pregnancy," she says. "I helped to raise her first child until we both had to evacuate from our home due to hurricane Katrina."

Thanks, Devan!

121: Submitted by Amy C.

120: Submitted by Ashwi

119: Submitted by Susan B.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

114: Submitted by Christina G.

Part "anglo-American" (mother), part Lebanese, part Yaqui Indian, part Spaniard (Mexican-born father).

All American.

Pictured here with my hubby, Jon.

Christina Salme Ruiz Grantham

113: Submitted by Susan I.

112: Submitted by Tristan C.

BLOG: Because flying pens always help the nerves

So, everyone who knows me knows that I loathe public speaking. I don't just get nervous; I feel ill when I have to speak in front of crowds. Which is why I don't do speaking gigs. Well, sort of.

I agreed to do a phone interview about Mixed and Happy. I was invited to call in to Mixed Chicks Chat, an award-winning podcast out of L.A. that discusses the mixed-race experience.

I was excited, but nervous. It was a phone interview, but the audience was live.

I'd be calling in from a land-line right after work on Wednesday. I rushed home, feeling a bit ill, envisioning that I might fall all over my words and forget what to say.

Hubby was home when I walked in the door. "I'm ready for my interview!" I announced.

I changed out of my business suit and got ready. In tank top and yoga pants, I sat at my desk until the moment was perfect. I picked up the phone and dialed. My heart was pounding. "I'm so awful at this," I said to myself. "I am just not a speaker."

So, I'm with Heidi and Fanshen, the ladies of Mixed Chicks Chat. I think I said the very first line "Thanks for having me on," when hubby walks in the room. I saw him from the corner of my eye, but paid no attention.

The house was completely quiet and the kids were still at school. I had set the perfect atmosphere for my big, scary interview. So, I'm listening to a question when I notice hubby walk in the bathroom, leave the door open and go ... pee!

And you know how loud man-pee is, right? I did the envisioning thing again. In my mind, the listeners are hearing my interview, but in the background, they are hearing man pee. You know, sort of waterfall-ish.

Why is he doing that? Why is he peeing during my interview? I needed to stop him now. Close the door. Walk away. Get out. So, there's this cup filled with pens sitting on my desk.

I take one out and throw it in his direction. I'm hoping he'll get the point. In hindsight, I should have stuck a sticky note to the pen that read "Out."

I could just barely see him from where I was sitting. I watched the pen hit the floor. He turned around as if thinking "Well, that's odd. There are pens falling from the sky."

He doesn't make eye contact, so I throw the next pen. And the last one, I'm almost embarrassed to say, smacked him right in the head. He was, by this time, finished man-peeing.

He finally caught my stare. He flung his hands up in the air and mouthed "What?" I guess he thought I really needed his assistance, because he sat down right in front of me. I motioned with my hands: "Out. Leave. Buh-bye."

But, he's not budging.

So, all of this is going on behind the scenes as I talk about the Mixed and Happy project. Flying pens. Man-pee. You see why I don't do interviews?

The interview had ended and I hung up the phone. "Why did you have to come in here and pee while I was doing the interview!?" I just needed him to know how un-profesh it is to pee in the background while your wife is doing a phone interview.

Instead, he said: "I just came in to support you."

But wait a minute, it was a live podcast and what if I didn't hang up the phone all the way and what if. Oh, God, help me! What if the listeners heard me.

Can you imagine? "Well, they're certainly mixed and happy, aren't they?"

When I finally got up the nerves to listen to the podcast (because you know in my mind, I'm still envisioning flying pens and pee-pee), I sat on the edge of my seat, listening for any hint. But, no flying pens. No pee. No accusations of untimely peeing. Heh.

Just me talking about Mixed and Happy. To hear the interview, go here. Click on episode 130. And this one is a direct link, I think.

You know, even with all of that, I thought it was cute that he ventured in to support me.

Wedding picture from #97

This is one of my favorite wedding pictures. Ever! I already posted Elizabeth's pictures, but when she uploaded this one to the Facebook group, how could I resist?

111: Submitted by Michelle S.

110: Submitted by Fanshen Cox

These pictures come by way of Fanshen Cox. Cox is the co-founder of Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and co-host of Mixed Chicks Chat.

Hi Suzy,

It was so great to have you on the show the other day.

I'm attaching these pics:

1) My mother, Trudy Cox (Cherokee, Blackfoot & Danish) and I (Jamaican, Scottish, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Danish)

2) My husband Diego DiGiovanni and our niece Chiara DiGiovanni (both Italian) and I.

Thanks again for doing this!!


109: Submitted by Lisa W.

What a great cause. My husband is half Chinese/ half Hispanic and I am white. I love my blended family and the best part about raising children in a blended family is they see no color. To them we are people with some diversity. Love one another: that is what I teach my children. In the first photo my son is pictured with his Philipino grandma.

108: Submitted by Jessica S. (North Carolina)


Thank you for doing this!! It serves such an important purpose!!

Here are some photos of our family. We are yet another example of an American blend. I am Mexican/Native American/Italian and my husband is a European blend (with "some" Italian, per his definition). We have a beautiful son, and are expecting a baby this spring.

And we could not be happier!!!

Here are some photos of our clan:

The first photo is of my husband and me on a trip to Antigua this past winter.

The second photo is of my three favorite guys: my son, my husband, and my father.

The third photo is of my husband and me during a family photo session this summer.

The fourth photo is of our little one in utero :)

And the last photo is of our son for our own Christmas card.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Warmest Regards,

Jessica of The Simmons Family in NC