Thursday, November 30, 2006

NaNoWriMo Update


I did it! I successfully completed 50,000 words and am a winner in this year's NaNoWriMo competition.

It was a fabulous experience and taught me two valuable lessons about writing. 1.) I learned hot to focus more on just moving the story line along and writing without judging ever little thing as I go. 2.) I also learned how emotionally exhausting writing can be when done right. I put all of my heart, soul and PAIN into those 50 thousand words and have already been approached by a publisher. YEAH! You can still click on my page to read the excerpt that is currently posted: My NaNoWriMo Page

Congrats to, writerwritz and WashuSaotome who completed if not all, at least most of the word count. Also, many thanks going out to those who sent inspirational words and cyber pats on the back to keep me going. Can't forget my little cheerleaders - Tyler and Junior - who make everything worthwhile.

My Survival Kit has been depleted but my Sweetie has promised something special to help me celebrate my accomplishment. Definately going to hold him to it.

I am so damn proud of myself that I can't help but do the booty dance while yelling, "Margarita's on me!"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Literary Legacy: 1940 -2006

Bebe Moore Campbell, a best-selling author who wrote with compassion and candor about social issues from the African American perspective, died Monday of complications from brain cancer. She was 56.

BeBe passed over while at her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family and friends.

She is a literary giant and one of my favorite authors. Not only because she had mastered the art of words but moreso because in her novels, she took up such topics as racism and the problems of mental illness. Her closely observed details about characters engaged in complicated relationships led reviewers to compare her to such literary masters as Anton Chekhov and Edith Wharton.

Several of Campbell's novels are set in Los Angeles, including "Brothers and Sisters", which explores the strained aftermath of the city's 1992 riots. The novel's main character, a black woman banker, is torn between her commitment to a white co-worker and the black man she accuses of sexual harassment.

"This book is about succeeding and surviving, even being happy in a society where every card seems stacked against you," novelist Carolyn See wrote in a review for the Washington Post.

See called Campbell one of the most important African American novelists of the 20th century and regularly included "Brothers and Sisters" in a course she taught about writers of the American West.

Another of Campbell's novels set in Los Angeles, "What You Owe Me" (2001), is a saga of two women who launch a cosmetics empire and the struggles that follow.

The book is "a meticulously reinvented landscape of 1940s Los Angeles," noted a Times review in naming Campbell's novel one of the best books of 2001.

"Bebe was a passionate voice for Los Angeles," novelist Paula L. Woods said Monday. "She wrote about the historical and social forces that make us rub against each other and spark. Her heart was in the African American community.

"There will be a gap without her. Already, you feel that absence."

As a novelist Campbell was attracted to strong female characters, caught up in a life-changing drama.

In "72 Hour Hold" (2005), a woman struggles with family members and the healthcare system when her grown daughter becomes mentally ill.

Campbell also wrote about mental illness in an unusual children's novel, "Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry" (2002), about a little girl whose mother is unbalanced and erratic.

"It was courageous of Bebe," to write the book, said James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Won bookstore in Los Angeles, where Campbell regularly attracted "out-the-door" crowds when introducing her newest novel.

"The book is a way of expressing to children what they need to know, " Fugate said. The little girl in the story learns to call a grandmother or an aunt for help if her mother is not well.

Campbell was open about the fact that there was mental illness in her family but was not specific about the details.

"Bebe put her compassion and sensitivity into the writing," Woods said.

Campbell's first book, "Successful Women, Angry Men: Backlash in the Two Career Marriage" (1986), was nonfiction.

She also wrote a memoir, "Sweet Summer, Growing Up With and Without My Dad" (1989), about her young life as the daughter of divorced parents. She would spend the school year with her mother in Philadelphia and summer with her father, a paraplegic, in North Carolina.

Her journalistic articles appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Ebony magazine and elsewhere.

Along with her best-selling author's status, she received an Image Award for Literature from the NAACP for her 1992 novel "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine" about the segregated Deep South.

Born Elizabeth Bebe Moore in Philadelphia, she received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh before she began a career as a schoolteacher.

She married Tiko Campbell. The couple settled in Washington, D.C., and had a daughter, Maia Campbell, before the marriage ended in divorce.

Campbell later married Ellis Gordon Jr., and they settled in Los Angeles. They had one son, Ellis Gordon III.

In addition to her husband and two children, she is survived by her mother, Doris Moore, and two grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

Contributions in her name can be made to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at NAMI Urban Los Angeles, 4305 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008; or to the United Negro College Fund, 8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Park Drive, P.O. Box 10444, Fairfax, VA 22031.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fighting for my life

Don't ask my how I'm doing today because I may tell you I'm in the fight for my life.

In fact, this morning I was thumbing through the bible to find scriptures on faith in order to do some serious meditating. You don’t have to look far. Jesus said that in the world you will have temptations, tests, trials and tribulation. But He went on to say, “be of good cheer because I have overcome the world”. The good news: Jesus has defeated satan and hell for us, and He hands victory to us on a plate. We only have to receive by faith what the Lord has done. The Word says to fight the good fight of faith.

I also re-read my favorite quotes on faith: “Great faith is the product of great fights.” “Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests.” “Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.” One of my pastor friends always says, “if you don’t have a test you can’t have a testimony.”

A good fight is one you win - and that is why when you fight-the-fight by faith, you win. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Jesus used His faith, the faith of God, to defeat and overcome the tricks and temptations of the devil.

He now says we can do the same, and hands us His faith which is tried and tested with which to win and overcome. Satan the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus has come that you might have life and life more abundantly.

Yes, you will go through things on this planet during the course of your life. You will face many unpleasant and sometimes tragic circumstances and events.

While this has been a year of abundant joy for me, and overwhelming blessings, it has been filled with trials and tribulations. In fact, before I started looking through the bible this morning – as I stated earlier, I would have said I was in a fight for my life. But then I remembered Jesus is there and He has given me faith to overcome and come through such situations.

By applying faith any circumstance, you will come through the time of testing and trial with a testimony to the glory of God.

One of my favorite songs is by Donnie McClurkin, “Stand”. The lyrics are so powerful from the very first verse when he asks the questions: What do you do when you've done all you can. And it seems like it's never enough? And what do you say when your friends turn away, you're all alone? Tell me, what do you give When you've given your all, and seems like you can't make it through? The answer is even more powerful: Child you just stand. You just stand. Stand. Don't you give up. Through the storm , through the rain, through the hurt, through the pain, don't you bow, don't bend, don't give up , don't give in. Hold on, just be strong. God will step in and it won't be long.

It may not be immediate and even though I know through faith that everything will work out for my good – doesn’t mean that the pain will go away. Doubt will creep in and peace may be fleeting, but that’s why the test is there in the first place. Trials are excersise for our faith.

And God is working it out.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Love .... true and unconditional

It's something that we all want and few of us ever get. Love in it's purest and most honest form. Typically called True Love or Unconditional Love it means giving of love without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

How many of us do that?

Many these days love with conditions. They will love you IF this or IF that. If you don't fit into these conditions then they no longer love you.

This is not true love.

The good news is that the power of love is held within each of us every moment. This wondrous energy is available merely by our use and conscious recognition. When we choose to love one another we transcend the lower personality perceptions and rise to a higher truth. We recognize our oneness, wholeness and interconnectedness.

This is not a conditional love or the type of love one may try to use to earn favors or expect validation, rather this is a universal and unconditional love that recognizes the beauty in life every moment. It is of a higher nature. It is a natural expression that does not expect an outcome. It is giving just for the sake of giving.

It is in the sharing and giving of love to others that we receive the same that we give. Give love and surely you will experience love itself. Express love to the world around you and the world will reflect back to you the power of love.

Each of us desires to understand and realize this experience of love. Just listen to the lyrics of music and you will quickly see how much the notion of love plays a part in our personal journey of life. We seek it in our families, relationships, careers, religions, hobbies, and even at times we look to nature itself. All the while, it is right within us ready to be given out and experienced.

Love is such a powerful force especially when shared. Biblically, it is explained this way:

"But the LORD said to Samuel, '...The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"
I Samuel 16:7b (NIV)

The Lord isn't even concerned with what we have, or what our profession is or how we look - what we're able to do or not do. God looks at our heart and sees the goodness that lies within.

Another thing I've learned about love is that it is also a devotion and action, not just an emotion. Love is not exclusively based on how we feel. Certainly our emotions are involved, but they cannot be our only criteria for love. True devotion will always lead to action - the action of true love.

Random things that I have learned about True Love:

True love takes much patience and understanding.

True love requires forgiveness and giving.

True love means you don't tire of the person or do anything that will hurt the person intentionally.

True love requires that you do the giving.

If all these things are done properly, true love will actually be returned to you. These days things are so fast paced and everyone is expecting all the time, this I feel is leading to a breakdown in the number of people who really understand what true love is. From what I've observed in other relationships and in my own; people just do not get it. True love is not what you can get, or what someone can give you or do for you. True love is the pleasure of doing for others. It is loving someone just for who they are and not for what they can do for you. And I am not simply referring to romantic relationships but friends, relatives and even strangers. I think it is the most challenging though in a romantic relationship.

Love ... true and unconditional is the best gift we can give to someone else. It is also the best gift we can give to ourselves.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Random Acts Of Kindness

Now that many are getting ready for the holiday season I thought this would be a good time to take a moment and send out some positive energy by simply appreciating the little acts of kindness that often go unnoticed.

For example: Did you notice the kind act someone did for you today?

Did you take a moment to appreciate that kind act?

You may have to search for that kind act - but it's there - it may have been something simple - like a cup of coffee being handed to you, or a friend saying something nice.

We all need to be appreciated.

When we do something for somebody, or say something kind to somebody and they respond with appreciation - it sure makes you feel good. In many cases you want to do it again.

But how often have you done something for someone and got no appreciation in return?

When that you have you probably don't feel very good and you may even avoid that person in the future.

We all love being appreciated.

So today take a moment to appreciate somebody - you'll make them feel good and you'll feel even better.

You'll then start this infectious cycle - where the more people you appreciate - the more appreciation goes around and the better everybody feels.

If somebody doesn't respond kindly - move on. Ignore them - it's their loss - they're not going to enjoy all that positive energy that you and everyone you appreciate is spreading.

Appreciate your fiancee, wife, kids, family members, friends,colleagues, bosses, even the person at the coffee shop that serves you your morning coffee. A little act of kindness goes a long.

When you appreciate others, you send out a tremendous amount of positive energy that comes back to you tenfold. Don't believe me? Try it for the next few days - and see how things go.

Don't get upset if you don't get a positive response - remember - it's their loss.

When you appreciate people - your subconscious mind picks up on this positive energy and attracts more positive people and situations into your life. Your subconscious mind says - Hey you're appreciating people, you're being positive - let's get you some more of this good stuff. That's when things really start to change.

Earlier this morning I went into a coffee shop (amidst the rush of holiday shoppers) and as I was walking in I saw a woman standing outside with a rather unpleasant look. Both her hands were full with shopping bags and it was clear that she couldn't open the door. So I kindly opened the door for her. She couldn't thank me enough.

I told her there was no need to thank me - I was merely doing what anybody else would do. That's when she surprised me. She said: "I've been trying to get in for the past 5 minutes and nobody could be bothered to hold the door open. I can't open it - I wish I could. But I was about to give up until you came along."


Everyone was so focused on getting to the sales that nobody would hold the door open for her.

She was clearly happy that I held the door open for her and because she was so happy I even offered to carry her bags inside and get her a table while she ordered her coffee.

Would you have done the same? I sure hope so.

We all need little acts of kindness. We all benefit from these little acts of kindness.

This holiday season you may be in a rush to get somewhere - but take a moment to open the door for someone or express a little act of kindness.

You'll make someone feel a lot better and you'll feel better in return.

Sometimes we get too consumed with our own thoughts we ignore the little positive acts that go unappreciated.

Take time to appreciate those around you - you'll brighten their day, feel a lot better and attract more positive situations.

Continue to be blessed!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Be Blessed and Be Thankful

Thanksgiving, 1864, was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in these words:

"It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health.
"He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards.
"Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial ... into which we have been brought by cause of freedom and humanity ...
"Now, therefore, I .... do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the universe.
"And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations."

Bible Verse

Psalm 118 V 27 - 29: The Lord is God, and He has made His light to shine upon us. With boughs in hand join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give You thanks: You are my God, and I will exalt You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.


O Lord, my God You are my Father and I will praise You forever. Father, help me to remember that Your grace is sufficient for this day. Help me to always remember that You have a plan for my life if only I will humbly come to You seeking guidance and direction. Father, I give You thanks for the many blessings You have allowed me. I thank You for family and for friends. I thank You for the necessities of life, and for strength to do Your will. Lord, help me to live my life as a constant thanksgiving to You. In the name of Jesus I ask that Your will be done in my life today.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Asking For What You Want

I am going to stay with the "change your mind, change your life" theme for one more day because I really want people to get it. Most people don't always fully realize that we all have within us the ability to cocreate our lives with the universe. (note: when I say universe, I mean God but for those that may not believe in God - universe implies a greater being.) So many of us are taught to accept what we are given and not even to dream of anything more. But our hopes and dreams are the universe whispering to us, planting an idea of what's possible while directing us toward the best use of our gifts. The universe truly wants to give us our hearts' desires, but we need to be clear about what they are and ask for them.

To ask for something does not mean to beg or plead from a place of lack or unworthiness. It's like placing an order-we don't need to beg the salesperson for what we want or prove to them that we deserve to have it. It is their job to give us what we ask for; we only have to tell them what we want. Once we have a clear vision of what we desire, we simply step into the silent realm where all possibilities exist and let our desires be known. Whatever methods we use to become still, it is important that we find the quiet space between our thoughts.

From that still and quiet place, we can announce our intentions to the pure energy of creation. By imagining all the details from every angle, including scent, color, and how it would feel to have it, we design our dreams to our specifications. Similar to dropping a pebble into a pond, the ripples created by our thoughts travel quickly from this place of stillness, echoing out into the world to align and orchestrate all the necessary details to bring our desires into manifestation. Before leaving this wonderful space to come back to the world, release any attachment to the outcome and express gratitude. By doing this daily, we focus our thoughts and our energy while regularly mingling with the essence that makes it possible to build the life of our dreams.

Also, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. I am going to be taking an extended internet break to focus my energy on a few of my other projects. As Always, Be Blessed.

Outlining Your Intentions

I wanted to continue with the "change our mind, change our life" theme today. If you are ready to change your thoughts, one way to start is to make a list of the things you want.

The universe is aware of both the concrete goals we actively pursue and the nebulous dreams we have not yet begun to refine. Neither our struggles nor the daydreams that inspire us are beyond the range of universal perception. Yet to manifest our aspirations, we not only need to know what it is we generally wish to achieve; we also need to clearly articulate these aims to ourselves and the universe. When we create a list of what we want, citing each item in as much detail as possible, our aspirations take on new substance. What was once a mere wish becomes real and achievable when put into words. As you pour the contents of your heart and soul into your list, your well-defined ambitions become a part of you, and the universe responds to your new determination by placing opportunities related to your objectives in your path.

Whatever the nature of your desires, your list can help you channel your intellectual and emotional power into your efforts to realize them. The list you create should not simply be a record of your individual goals. Rather, it should be a comprehensive, exhaustive catalog of each target you want to reach and your reasons for aiming for them. This may mean that your list will encompass many pages of text, since when you write down and review your ambitions, you empower yourself to more accurately direct your goal-realization efforts. You then also have a framework in place that helps you distinguish success from setbacks. If you keep your list in a convenient spot and review it daily, you will inadvertently reaffirm your conviction to your aspirations, demonstrating to the universe that you are truly devoted to your chosen path while keeping your objectives fresh in your mind. If you have an altar, this would be a great place to keep your list.

As you compose your list, try not to edit or judge what you have written. Some of what you want may seem outlandish when considered in the context of your current circumstances. Whether you are destined to fulfill the items on the unique long-term agenda you create in a year, 10 years, or 20 years, if you are free with your ideas and understand that you may not bring these dreams into the realm of reality for some time, your list will attract the universe's benevolence even as it energizes and inspires you.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Affirmations: Just for you Bianca

As promised, I want to post some information on affirmations. I've used affirmations for close to nine years now and have stacks of worn journals where I note and change whatever affirmations I am working on depending on where I am in life. I first learned about them in a book called, "Change Your Mind, Change Your Life" in which using affirmations was briefly introduced. I was hooked.

The idea behind affirmations is fairly simple. Most of use grow up learning to put ourselves down for any real or imagined reason. We grow up beleiving certain things about ourselves or comparing ourselves negatively to others. The use of positive affirmations is a technique to change that negative self-talk into something more positive.

Since we've spent many years on the negative image it is unreasonable to expect an instant effect from affirmations, but if you stick to it for a few days, with honesty, trust, and belief, then results will start to happen.

You will also learn to be more aware of your thought pattern and will be able to more quickly stop negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Affirmations can be tailored to affect change in any part of your life: health, love, finances, etc.

Here are a few general ones that I use to start my day:

* Positive thoughts bring me the benefits I desire
* Negative thoughts have no influence over me
* Everyday and in everyway I am getting better and better

I have also found that the more specific the affirmation, the more powerful. I also have affirmations that concern loved ones so that I can conciously send them positive energy.

As always .... BE BLESSED!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Gospel Of Prosperity

Hip-hop soul legend Mary J. Blige has always let it be known that God was an important part of her life and upbringing. From vignettes on her album to her oft-present cross, the born-again Christian insists that God wants her to have nice things. In a recent 'Blender' magazine article, the sometimes downtrodden diva stated:

"My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don't know what kind of God the rest of y'all are serving, but the God I serve says, 'Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I'm gonna make sure you're doing that.'"

Could Mary J. be a proponent of what many term ''The Gospel of Prosperity?"

Read the rest of the article!

If you're broke does that mean you're not a good Christian? Take the poll on my WGCI Personality page!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Random Thoughts on a Crisp Saturday Morning

Why is it just now hitting me how close we are to Thanksgiving? The menu has been set but why in the world haven't I even thought about a grocery list? Do we get way to caught up in the ceremony of certain holidays and fail to remember or reflect on the meaning behind them?

Speaking of holidays, why are the stores already implementing their evil marketing strategies to make us spend more money on presents than we really need to? Both of my babies are already making lists and they are only 5 and 3. It is INSANE. I never realized how brainwashed we get around the holidays by zealous ad agencies until I had children.

Just one more holiday thought, "is it really the thought that counts"? We try to do a grab bag at work so that we are not spending too much money on co-workers when rightfully that money can be spent somewhere else. Good idea right? I thought so too. So why did they announce that the minimum would be 500 dollars????? I thought I was going to pass out. Now, I know I work with ballers that can probably afford it - I can't speak for all - but I sure in the hell am not going to spend 500 plus dollars on someone I probably don't like anyway. I mean, we just work together, right? We have lost the whole meaning of behind the holidays.

Is it just me or is OJ Simpson just plain crazy? Now, I know he has a book to promote so it makes sense that he has started to make the television rounds but who in their right "innocent" mind would say, "I didn't kill my ex-wife, BUT if I did, here's how I would do it." C-R-A-Z-Y.

Along the lines of murder, does anyone else kill their children's pet fish at such a rapid pace as I do? We didn't even name this one. Poor anonymous fish, you sure hung in there. You just had no idea that you were being adopted by the mommy dearest of fish. Back to the pet store. We'll try it again.

Have you ever taken a moment to stop and listen to the thoughts that run through your head at any given moment? I really think that we can be harder on our self than anyone else. I had this conversation with my cousin the other day. It's the reason I love affirmations. They are a great way to counteract some of the negative thoughts that stomp freely in our brains. I just may do a post on affirmations later today.

Is it me or does Starbucks have the best racket going? I'm twitching right now; anxious for a fix. And to think that the prices just went up. Magic Johnson has become the ghetto JOE dealer bring all that liquid crack to impoverished areas. Some mornings I just wish they would attach an IV and give me a Carmel Machiatto drip.

This just popped into my head as I'm watching a LifeTime television movie, entitled "A Woman's Betrayal." Why is it that women can't just wish other well and be done with it? Once again, I have a friend dealing with the backstabbing of her so called "girl". She looks to me for sympathy and I do feel for her but in my mind I'm saying, "here we go again." She really should have seen this one coming. It's the second time with the same friend. It's gotten sickening to see how low women will stoop to try to get what they want. And to make it even worse, usually it's over some man that doesn't even want them. Hell, I should have made this thought number one. Because honestly with the majority of women, it's always DRAMA, which is why I limit my female friends to a very small number. Don't get me wrong, I love the bonding that can occur between women when all parties are mature, honest and sincerely want the best for each other ... it can be very powerful on a personal and professional level. I have some phenomenal female friends and mentors. It just doesn't happen very often which is why I keep the onese I have very close to me. They are truly precious and hard to find. And JMO, I don't need male friends. It is very hard for men and women to be just friends. Especially if you're in a relationship. What's the point? If your man is worth anything, he is all the friend you'll ever need. Again .... JMO.

There is almost nothing better than a good book and a thick, freshly washed comforter on a quiet Saturday morning ... before the kids get up and the rest of the world starts moving .... it's like spending quality time with a good friend.

The only thing better than that is being in love.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Gratitude List

It was a rough day for me yesterday. I accepted it without embracing it and know that today is a new beginning. So to do a little mental check and balance, I am stealing this idea from a fellow blogger, who shares his gratitude list each Wednesday on his blog Lover's Anonymous.

I never fail to count my blessings but there is something very powerful about putting them in writing and sharing them with the world. I tried to just bullet point my list but that was impossible for me. I had to include explanations. I also tried to limit it to five. Also impossible.

My 40 minute drive into work. It is peaceful, quiet and allows me to pray and clear my head before I get to the j.o.b.

The first sip of coffee. Whew, at 4:00 in the am there is nothing better .... well, almost nothing, but that's another gratitude list. :)

Kissing the sweet part of my three year old's neck when he first wakes up. He still smells like a baby and only likes to cuddle when he's sleepy so I take advantage of Saturday and Sunday mornings. He crawls in my bed and we cuddle while watching the Disney Channel.

Whispered late night conversations with the one I love. That is the time when hopes, dreams and wants run rampant. It's by far the sweetest and most calming part of my day.

My five-year old's zest for learning. We have the best conversations. Yesterday we saw a group of teenagers smoking and for 15 minutes we went back and forth about the dangers of smoking and why he would never do it. Finally, he asked me where they bought the cigarettes from. When I replied, "the store." He said, "but mommy, why would a store sell something that would hurt you?" Good question, huh?

My mother's daily meditations. Ain't nothing like a praying mama.

My friend, Melissa and her drive-by visits that keep my sane. I never know when she's going to show up but she's always right on time.

My assistant's anal retentive nature. My life would slowly fall apart without her. :)

Asisago Cheese Bagles from The Corner Bakery. Especially when they are just a little burnt. Yummy.

My big sister (she hates it when I call her that), who gives me time to myself when I need it but stalks me when I stay away too long.

Fall colors. Especially the leaves, the reds and the oranges, look beautiful covering a freshly cut lawn.

Friends that continue to peel away my layers. It takes a while to work your way into my circle, but when you are .... there's no "get out of jail free" card. You're stuck with me for life.

My Christmas Cactus that never fails to flower around this time. It is from a clippling of the Christmas cactus that was placed on my grandfather's grave some 24 years ago. It's beautiful.

My father's sense of timing. I'm never late for anything.

The ability to express myself through the written word. It is truly a stress reliever.

Share your gratitude list.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dare To Dance Outside The Lines

Just a short post today. A lot of things have been happening in my life that seem to have no rhyme or reason. Of course, I know that's not true but at times doubt can creep in if I am not careful to guard my thoughts.

Last night I was thinking about my tendency to conform in my personal life. Have you ever considered just giving yourself permission to break the rules, to move outside the boundaries of looking at things. Just for a moment, forget about practical, realistic ideas. Dare to go beyond the self-censorship that comes from worrying what people think.

We can all probably think of times where we really wanted to stretch our wings, whether it be personally or professionally. I know I can. In relationships, especially - I tend to do what everyone expects.

I'm not sure why, maybe because I take so many risks in other areas of my life or maybe because I grew up watching my parents who seemed to have the perfect relationship, where there was no drama, nothing out of the ordinary just a lot of love. Whatever the reason, it has caused me to be in some situations that I probably should have looked twice at before getting involved. And I'm not just talking about romantic relationships but friendships as well. Often times, we give someone in our life too much power and keep them around much longer than they should be. Or we stay in a job that is no longer benefiting us as it once was.

Now I am not saying that we should simply dismiss how our actions and decisions affect other people in our lives, but I am suggesting that taking a long look at whether or not we are shortchanging ourselves in order to please others might be in order.

This morning, I have decided that I am cleaning house. Period. I often err on the side of being "too nice" and not being selfish enough to take care of me when I need to be taken care of. This has been a glaring problem this past year. As a result, my energy has been drained and my focus blurred on what I really want for my life.

I am ridding myself of negativity whether it be a person or a responsibility that I have taken on to make someone else happy. I am making a conscious choice to reduce my circle to exclude those with ulterior motives, those who seek only to take and not give, and those who are content to keep things status quo in their own lives.

Because when you follow your heart and dismiss unimportant "shoulds," you open the door to creative, spiritual and personal breakthroughs.

Today, I choose to dance outside the lines.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wait...My Child

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait!"

"Wait?, you say, wait!" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith I have asked, and am claiming Your Word."

"My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign."

"And Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, as we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want...but, you wouldn't know Me."

"You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see."

"You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save ... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart."

The flow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last."

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'
Your dreams for your loved ones overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss! if I lost what I'm doing in you!"

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me
And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,
My wisest of answers is still but to wait"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Moving In Real Time vs. Pushing The Fast-Forward Button

I've talked before about living in a "Fast Food Society." In this day and age we want what we want and we want it now! Gone are the days where we patiently save 50 dollars a month until we're able to buy a new car or go on a family vacation. Now all we have to do is open up a new credit card and instantly we can have all that our heart desires. Ofter we deal with challenges and problems in our lives in the same fashion.

We all go through times when we just want the pain over. In fact, if we could press a fast-forward button and propel ourselves into the future and out of our current circumstances, we probably would. Whether the situation we are facing is minor, or major such as the loss of a loved one, it is human nature to want to move away from pain and find comfort as soon as possible. Yet we all know deep down that we need to work through these experiences in a conscious fashion rather than bury our heads in the sand, because these are the times when we access important information about ourselves and life. The learning process may not be easy, but it is full of lessons that bring us wisdom we would not be able to find any other way.

The desire to press fast-forward can lead to escapism and denial, both of which only prolong our difficulties and in some cases make them worse. The more direct, clear, and courageous we are in the face of whatever we are dealing with, the more quickly we will move through the situation. Understanding this, we may begin to realize that trying to find the fast-forward button is really more akin to pressing pause. When we truly grasp that the only way out of any situation in which we find ourselves is to go through it, we stop looking for ways to escape and we start paying close attention to what is happening. We realize that we are exactly where we need to be. We remember that we are in this situation in order to learn something we need to know, and we can alleviate some of our pain with the awareness that there is a purpose to our suffering.

When you feel the urge to press the fast-forward button, remember that you are not alone; we all instinctively avoid pain. But in doing so, we often prolong our pain and delay important learning. As you choose to move forward in real time, know that in the long run, this is the least painful way to go.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NaNoWriMo Update

Just wanted to stop by and give you a brief update on my progress with NaNoWriMo. You can always click on my page to check my progress and read the excerpt that is currently posted: My NaNoWriMo Page

All in all I think it is going well. My word count is where it is supposed to be for the second week. The goal is not to have a polished manuscript so I am focusing more on just moving the story line along. Normally, I like to edit as I go - starting with the skeleton of the story and adding the meat as the story becomes more a part of me - but I am trying very hard not to get caught up in the perfection trap because it can seriously slow down word production.

Also, the story I am writing is an extremely emotional one. Considering where my life is right now, that could be a double edged sword. I certainly have the emotions to pull from but at times, it does become a bit much to endure as I tend to get overly attached to my characters. But I continue to plow through it, knowing that I will only be stronger because of it.

I have terrific writing buddies:, writerwritz, TeeCRoyal and WashuSaotome. I have an even more fantastic support team. So all of the tools are in place. Even my little cheerleaders - Tyler and Junior - have been very cooperative in letting mommy work.

My Survival Kit has been replenished- with the exception of the strong pair of hands; those are irreplacable. I did switch from Vanilla Candles to a more flowery scent. The Vanilla was making my sleepy.

And the offer for Margarita's upon completion of NaNoWriMo still stands!

Now there's nothing left to do but write, write, write!

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself

by Nannie Helen Burroughs (Circa Early 1900's)

1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership. The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls "a good time." The Dr. Kelly Miller said, "The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he needs."

2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself. It is the "Divine Plan" that the strong shall help the weak, but even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do--Carry his own load--"Take up your bed and walk."

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive. He must learn to "run his community up"--not down. We can segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a matter of race, it is a matter of standards. Believe it or not--some day, some race is going to outdo the Anglo-Saxon, completely. It can be the Negro race, if the Negro gets sense enough. Civilization goes up and down that way.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For Leisure. Knowing what to wear--how to wear it--when to wear it and where to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance. The leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually, and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship. We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America, as well as in Africa. Ignorance-- satisfied ignorance --is a millstone about the neck of the race. It is democracy's greatest burden. Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the cultivation of kindred social ideals, interests and standards. It is a blending process that requires time, understanding and kindred purposes to achieve. Likes alone and not laws can do it.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His "Color" And To White People's Attitude. The truth of the matter is that good service and conduct will make senseless race prejudice fade like mist before the rising sun. God never intended that a man's color shall be anything other than a badge of distinction. It is high time that all races were learning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan. He will never become a vital factor in industry until he learns to put into his work the vitalizing force of initiative, skill and dependability. He has gone "RIGHTS" mad and "DUTY" dumb.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits. He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He also has a bad reputation for conduct on the job--such as petty quarrelling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing, carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and--too often--liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places. Taken as a whole, he is entirely too loud and too ill-mannered. There is much talk about wiping out racial segregation and also much talk about achieving integration. Segregation is a physical arrangement by which people are separated in various services. It is definitely up to the Negro to wipe out the apparent justification or excuse for segregation. The only effective way to do it is to clean up and keep clean. By practice, cleanliness will become a habit and habit becomes character.

10. The Negro Must Learn How To Operate Business For People--Not For Negro People, Only. To do business, he will have to remove all typical "earmarks," business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating competition, graciously--in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of The Air. He Is Too Inflated Over Nothing. He Needs An Experience Similar To The One That Ezekiel Had--(Ezekiel 3:14-19). And he must do what Ezekial did. Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses, the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul. It will do all leaders good to read Hebrew 13:3, and the first Thirty-seven Chapters of Ezekiel. A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its sensible "common people." A race rises on its own wings, or is held down by its own weight. True leaders are never "things apart from the people." They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble example and challenge them to "Come on!" Dante stated a fact when he said, "Show the people the light and they will find the way!" There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the "latter-day leaders." In many cases, their names would never be recorded, among the unsung heroes of the world, but for the fact that white friends have written them there. "Lord, God of Hosts, Be with us yet." The Negro of today does not realize that, but, for these exhibits A's, that certainly show the innate possibilities of members of their own race, white people would not have been moved to make such princely investments in lives and money, as they have made, for the establishment of schools and for the on-going of the race.

12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. "Remember." Read Deuteronomy 24:18. Deuteronomy rings the big bell of gratitude. Why? Because an ingrate is an abomination in the sight of God. God is constantly telling us that "I the Lord thy God delivered you" --through human instrumentalities. The American Negro has had and still has friends--in the North and in the South. These friends not only pray, speak, write, influence others, but make unbelievable, unpublished sacrifices and contributions for the advancement of the race--for their brothers in bonds. The noblest thing that the Negro can do is to so live and labor that these benefactors will not have given in vain. The Negro must make his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his feet and go forward-- "God is no respector of persons. In every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is" sure to win out. Get to work! That's the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much about nothing instead of redeeming the time by working.

This was sent to me in an email. Normally, I don't even read forwarded mail much less repost it but I was so fascinated but all of the points that were made by Nannie Helen Burroughs more than 100 years ago that I just had to pass them on. They remain true today. Isn't that just a little bit scary? I started thinking about how far we've really come. What do you think?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today's Prayer From The Heart!

Bible Verse: Isaiah 53 V 3 - 6

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hid their faces He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmaties and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, and smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us was peace was upon him. We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us have turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


Loving Father, I thank You this day for the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus. Father for giving me the opportunity to be free of the buden of my sins. For giving me the assurance of Eternal life. Father I thank You. Father, as I think of the loving Jesus who walked on earth, help me never to forget the sorrowing, suffering Jesus who died for me. Father I praise You. Father I glorify You. Almighty and merciful God I worship You. Father I ask a blessing from You today so that I may be a blessing to someone today. Help me to share Your love with someone today. Father I come before You in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

Note: My mother writes these daily! Yep, I got a praying mama and her prayers always come right on time. I am going to add a sign up box to my blog if you would like to be included in the daily Prayers From The Heart! God Bless.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gerald Levert dies at 40

Gerald Levert, the R&B singer whose hits included "I Swear" and "I'd Give Anything," as well as chart-toppers with the groups LeVert and LSG, has died, according to his label, Atlantic Records. He was 40.

Levert died of a heart attack Friday at his Cleveland, Ohio, home, according a statement from Atlantic.

"He was one of the greatest voices of our time, who sang with unmatched soulfulness and power, as well as a tremendously gifted composer and an accomplished producer," the statement read. "Above all, he was an exceptional human being whose warmth and grace inspired us all."

Levert, the son of O'Jays member Eddie Levert Sr., first hit it big with his sibling Sean and friend Marc Gordon as the trio LeVert in the mid-'80s. The group's hits included the 1987 song "Casanova," which hit the Top Five on the pop charts.

Gerald Levert went solo in 1991. His hits included a duet with his father, "Baby Hold On to Me."

In 1997 he and singers Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat formed LSG. The group's self-titled album sold more than two million copies, and their hits included "My Body."

More recent albums by Levert included 2002's "The G Spot" and 2004's "Do I Speak for the World."

His most recent album was 2005's "Voices."

Gerald had four children.

My thoughts: Gerald was a father, son, brother and friend. He will be sorely missed, not only by those who enjoyed his music but also by those who knew him best. I'd known Gerald for all of my 11 years in the entertainment business. He was a consumate professional with a big heart who treated those around him with respect and compassion. He loved music with a passion but he loved his family even more. My sincere condolences go out to his children, parents and brother.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ed Bradley of '60 Minutes' Dies at 65

Ed Bradley, the veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent and one of the pioneering black journalists of his generation, died today of leukemia at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 65.

Bradley, who had won 19 Emmy awards, covered an incredible array of stories after joining the CBS newsmagazine in 1981, from brain cancer to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to the high school shootings at Columbine.

He also reported a number of award-winning documentaries, covered political conventions and filled in on the "CBS Evening News" and other programs.

Bradley remained active on "60 Minutes," but he had been ill for some time and underwent heart surgery about a year ago.

Bradley was born in Philadelphia and graduated in 1964 from what was then known as Cheney State College. On the Web site of the school, now called Cheney University of Pennsylvania, Bradley's name tops the list of distinguished alumni.

He taught sixth grade after college, and worked without pay as a jazz disc jockey and news reporter for WDAS-FM radio in Philadelphia. His first news story was covering riots in North Philadelphia, which won him a minimum-wage salary of $1.25 an hour. By 1967 he was hired at the all-news WCBS Radio in New York City.

In 1971, Bradley broke into television as a stringer in Paris for CBS News. In 1972, he became a reporter in CBS Saigon bureau, covering the Vietnam War and in 1973 was wounded on assignment in Cambodia. He returned to the states and the CBS Washington bureau. He became White House correspondent from 1976 to 1978, anchored the Sunday evening newscast and joined 60 Minutes in 1981.

Bradley, who was among the first wave of African Americans to break into network television news, was honored last year with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Three of his Emmys came at the 2003 awards: a lifetime achievement Emmy, one for a 2002 60 Minutes report on brain cancer patients and for a 60 Minutes report about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

My thoughts: WE lost a gentle giant. He was a consumate professional in the world of journalism and beyond. He was admired and respected. He just did so much for so many African-American kids. He was a great role model and mentor. He will be missed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This Too Shall Pass

eating disorders
broken hearts
sexual abuse
physical abuse
marital strife
low self-esteem

*just a small list of things that either I or someone I love is dealing with. The good news: all of these things will pass as they do not define who are what we are. A healing is upon us. Be still and let God be God. Yolanda Adams wrote the perfect song. I am

"This Too Shall Pass"
In the middle of the turbulence surrounding you
These trying times that are so hard to endure
In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour
Hold fast your heart and be assured
This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass
The Father knows the tears you cry before they fall
He feels your pain, His heart and yours are one
The Father knows that sorrow's heavy chains are strong
But with His strength, you'll overcome
So set your eyes upon the mountain
And lift your hands up to the sky
And let His arms of love surround you
And take you to the other side

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ponder This Quote Today

"You will find only what you believe you deserve."

According to the Law of Attraction, we are all creators, attracting into our lives whatever we focus on – whether we want it or not. In order to become a deliberate creator and attract what you do want rather than what you don’t want, a good place to start is by choosing a positive mental attitude. With a positive mental attitude, you can attract whatever you desire – including financial abundance, joyous relationships and paradise health.

Attitude is defined as a complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values and dispositions to act in certain ways. Attitude is a habit of thought, such as Life is hard or Life is fun. According to the Law of Attraction, our patterns of thought act as powerful attractors. Do you have limiting beliefs such as I can’t / I’m not worthy / Nothing ever works out for me?

Attitude is Everything. Just read your bible.

Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

They only way to attract what you want is to change the way your thinking about yourself in certain situations. Get a different picture. Even if it is hard to believe. It's been said that the longer you tell yourself a lie the more you will begin to accept it yourself.

In all reality though, you will be telling yourself the truth. The truth is you are a winner and you can have the things you desire. Jesus died that you may have life in abundance (John 10:10). You just need to change your expectations.

No matter what negative circumstances you may find yourself in, expect things to turn around in your favor. When you stop working on what it is you're trying to get, and start working on changing the way you see yourself, only then will you get what it is you want. When you change, your results will change.

"You will find only what you believe you deserve."

Think about it: What do you believe about yourself and your life?

Music: Food For The Soul

Happy Tuesday!

I woke up in kind of an interesting mood, a variety of emotions mixing together was leaving me feeling a little uninspired. Of course that was at 2:30 this morning and things since then have changed - for the better. On my 35 minute drive to work, I popped in a cd of my favorite love songs. It was just what I need to give me the desired lift of spirit and energy. But then music definately has that effect on most people. Whether it be a hot hip-hop track to get you through your workout or an inspirational song to help you make it through a valley, even a lullabye to rock your baby to sleep - music makes a difference.

So with that said, I was able to muster enough energy to get a little more writing done on my NaNoWriMo novel. There's a smile on my face and creative energy flowing through me so I also decided to flip my blog just a little bit. Colors, pictures and yes, I added music. I'm going to try to be diligent in changing the videos to fit my mood but you know how that goes ........

Today on the juke box, it's John Legend with one of the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard - So High. I've included the lyrics and yes, it is a dedication.

Baby since the day you came into my life
You made me realize that we were born to fly
You showed me everyday new possibilities
You proved my fantasies of love could really be
Let's go to a place only lovers go
To a spot that we've never known
To the top of the clouds we're floating away yeah
Ooh this feels so crazy
Oh this love is blazing
Baby we're so high
Walking on cloud 9
(You've got me up so high) So high
(My shoes are scraping the sky) So high
(You've got me up so high) Oh
(My shoes are scraping the sky)
Maybe later we can go up to the moon
Or sail among the stars before the night is through
And when morning comes we'll see the sun is not so far
And we can't get much closer to God than where we are
We'll go to a place only lovers go
To a spot that we've never known
To the top of the clouds we're floating away yeah
Ooh this feels so crazy
Oh this love is blazing
Baby we're so high
Walking on cloud 9
(You've got me up so high) So high
(My shoes are scraping the sky) So high
(You've got me up so high) Oh
(My shoes are scraping the sky)
Ooh...oh hey
Ooh this feels so crazy
Oh this love is blazin'
Baby we're so high
Walking on cloud 9
You got me up so high
You got me up so high
You got me up so high
My shoes are scraping the sky
You got me up so high
You got me up so high
You got me up so high
My shoes are scraping the sky ooh...ooh...
This is how love's supposed to be
This is how, this is how love's supposed to be, yeah
Let's go to the moon baby, ooh
Let's go to the moon baby, yeah
Let's go, go, let's go to the moon baby
So high...

So tell me, what song is playing in the background of your life today?

Monday, November 06, 2006

What I Have Learned From My Children

My baby turned 5 years old yesterday. I know it's cliche to say it but, "My, how time flies." I still remember the doctor laying Tyler on my chest and how my heart swelled then overflowed with love for this new life that I had been charged with molding and shaping. He would depend on the adults in his world to teach him what he would need to survive and thrive. But yesterday, as I refelected on the short time that my Ty-Ty has been on this earth, I thought about what HE and his little brother have taught Me.

1. Use positive words: I try to be very careful in what words I use when talking to my children, especially with Tyler who is a lot more sensitive than my baby. I have a bad habit of saying; “I don’t need your help” to them, especially when I am correcting one child and the other jumps in and adds their two cents. I say it meaning that I am the adult and don’t need help from them in disciplining their sibling. But I realized that they interpret it in an entirely different manner and often won’t ask for help when they need it. I learned that with the baby and potty training. He won’t ask for help with buttons or zippers and may not make it to the potty in time - which brings on a whole different set of issues. As adults, every word we say should build up the self-esteem of the young ones in our lives. Even when I am discipling them, I make sure to emphasize that it is their actions that I disapprove of and not them.

2. Look for opportunity everywhere: Tyler views the entire world and every new person, new object, or new event as an opportunity to learn something. When a new person walks in the room he wants to know who they are and if they would like to play. If I bring a new object into a cluttered room, he will spot it, touch it, pick it up, and ask questions about it. Nothing new goes unnoticed. There is something to be learned everyday no matter how old we get.

3. Persistence and Patience: Neither one of my children gives up easily and I try to develop this trait by not to jumping in too early and helping no matter how tempting it is. Unlike adults, most children won’t give up until they have a problem solved because they are not afraid of making a mistake. And the best thing I can do for them is to motivate and assist from the sidelines. To watch them has taught me patience and persistence in things that I find challenging. It has also taught me patience with them. And it takes a lot of it to endure the countless questions your child may ask in learning something new but it is well worth it.

4. To ask big questions: Tyler once asked me, “If God made me, who made God?” Good question, huh? Of course, I didn’t have an answer but it opened up a wonder discussion. And it also allowed my son to see me as a human just like him. The saying goes, "The only stupid question, is the one not asked." The smart comes in is knowing how to ask the question or learning how to find the answer.

5. To accept mistakes: In watching my son grow and learn, it has become clear that all learning is based on trying something new, making a mistake, adjusting your actions, trying again, repeating until you get the results you desire. That is how he learned to walk, speak, read, write, build lego monsters, set up train tracks, jump, run, and ride his bike. We don’t get everything right on the first try but if we think of ourselves as failures and don’t try again we will never experience success.

6. To pay attention to little details: Nothing escapes my children, which is why the phrase, “Because I said so” doesn’t work. They want to know the ifs and whys of everything. Sometimes as adults we get so caught up in the big picture that we overlook the small things in life that bring us joy. Tyler and Junior help me to remember to look at the world through the eyes of a child and appreciate the little things.

7. To stop complaining: Recently Tyler went through a phase where he complained about everything. His food was too hot, playtime was too short, he didn’t want to go to bed at night, everything was “too hard.” This experience forced me to think and come up with a plan to help my son through this phase. I developed some techniques to help him stop complaining. His phase taught me how irritating it is to listen to complaints without solutions. His complaining taught me to listen to myself when I start to gripe and realize complaining isn’t going to get me the results I desire. It is one thing to identify something uncomfortable or painful you wish to change, and another to sit and complain about it and do nothing. Solutions provide value - gripes drain energy.

8. To strive for consistency: If I am inconsistent with my expectations and actions my children will never understand what I expect. For example, if I tell him I won’t allow him to jump on the furniture and then let him do it occasionally; he becomes confused and jumps on the furniture trying to understand his limits. My father told me once, “If you tell your children something – whether it be good or bad – make sure you give it to them.” And I try to stick to that or there will be chaos. It is the same in my world. If I am not consistent, there will be chaos.

9. Be flexible in your thinking: This I learned from my baby. He can make a car out of anything. He is flexible. If he can’t find a Hotwheel, he’ll just make his own. Sometimes as adults we are way too structured and unyielding. And sometime we’ll miss out on a solution for a problem because we are unwilling to take the road less traveled.

10. To experiment: My sons learns everything by experimenting. They learn the rules of the house by experimenting. They must ask questions in their mind at some level - like “what will happen if I throw mashed potatoes at my little brother? or how will mommy react if draw on the walls? They learn really quickly what the consequences are going to be. Children illustrate how we learn. We learn by experimenting. Never stop experimenting.

So live, learn and never stop looking at the world through the eyes of a child!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Woman IS Entitled To Change Her Mind

God's been trying to tell me something and I've finally decided to listen.

When I tell you what I've changed my mind about it may not seem like such a life changing moment, but for me it just might be.

In an earlier post, I talked briefly about NaNoWriMo and what I was going to write about. I also stated that I was working towards a greater cause even if I didn't know what it was. That wasn't exactly true. For me NaNoWriMo was supposed to be a reconnecting to one of my passion's in life: writing. Even though, I write all the time whether it be columns, posts, short stories or novels - I feel like I've lost the passion that goes behind the words. It had become like a job - something I swore I'd never get. Slowly but surely, my writing had begun to feel less like my life's calling and more like a 9 to 5 that I dreaded going to every day. You know the kind where you're co-workers are all .... and your boss is a ..... (go ahead and fill in the blanks!) Writing had become draining and unispiring.

Then I remembered what a good friend of mine once said to me a long time ago after reading my first book, Easier Said Than Done. I won't drop names but she is a best selling author many times over, and my mentor and spiritual sister so whatever advice she gives me is like gold and I am sharing it with you in hopes that it might help someone eles. In an email, she wrote:

Writing is like tennis.

What I want to talk to you about is emotional follow through. It's like tennis. Let your arm follow the swing all the way through, don't jerk up or pull up short in the scene--just like the swing, okay?

You have to make her vulnerabilities and pain accessible. I know you can do this because I FELT it when Damon left her in college... I felt her heaviness, her depression, her fear, felt how bereft that child was, and how emotionally abandonned she was by the women around her who thought her foolish.

Exercise... I want you to go through every scene that has deep emotional content and ask yourself if you "told it" or if you "showed it."

I know it's scary, and on some of the scenes, you go there :) But an old romance axiom is this, "Cheat not the reader on the first love scene." Damon deflowered her... go back in time, inside your mind, what did it feel like--his body pushing itself into yours? That first kiss... what was that like, the electric charge wafting off it, the sensations felt by the first touch to your breast? you must answer these questions for your reader. Do not rush it like good foreplay should not be rushed... you are delivering mental foreplay on the page. Follow through with the swing, the action, until your reader is spent. Then you can get up, stretch, and go get a cup of tea--job well done (ha ha ha--you da man!)

Don't cringe, your work didn't do that... I'm giving you a warning so you won't allow that to happen... breathe... you did good, okay. I'm just telling you this because I could feel, sense, places in the work where you were getting near things emotionally, but didn't want to allow yourself to go all the way there--and I could feel you pull up as though saying, "Nope, I'm not gonna get into that." Sixth sense, I felt it. When you've got stuff going on in your life bringing pain, it is very, very easy to do that.. but you'll make your heroine inaccessible if you do. People want to relate to her pain, feel her vulnerabilities... because most people will never be beautiful like her, rich like her, sassy like her, talented like her, have her job, her house, her car, her future... and for just a little while, they want access to her life by knowing.

And the onliest reason I'm dippin' into your bizness (your writing pages), because I KNOW you got it, girl. Write on, Sis... and use every flange of pain to make your work better. I'm very proud of you!

So, when I thought about that this morning - IT CLICKED. Writing had lost it's shine for me because I no longer was willing to go inside the dark recesses of my emotional space and pull out the pain for everyone to see. Nor did I want to pour out my joy or my heart's triumphs because that too was scary. I don't think people realize how closely pain and joy are tied together. More often than not, my biggest accomplishments - whether it be personal or profesional - are borne from a particularly difficult challenge or tribulation.

Whenever I would write something that would even take me close to touching an emotional sore point, I would pull back and lose the connection to what I was writing. For example, my second book centers around the rape and murder of a young girl. Because of my experience with rape, it was so hard for me to go there and use words to paint a picture of the devastation that rape causes in the victim's life as well as those around her. As as result, it just didn't ring true to me. And if it doens't ring true to me, how can I expect it to ring true to a reader.

I still haven't been able to finish the book. I realize now, that I never really started it. It's only a skeleton with no meat and bones and would serve no real purpose.

God wants me to write with a purpose. I realize that now. And I think I am finally in a place where I can "go there" and put on paper something meaningful that will help someone else.

So I've changed the focus of my writing. And God has renewed my passion. I was able to write more than six thousand words this morning because I am now writing with purpose. I am NOT writing my life's story. Fiction is still the genre that is most dear to my heart. But I am going to use my life's pain and joy to make sure that even with fiction my novels touch and inspire.

Because if they don't, what in the world am I writing them for?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Enough of this selfishness: Time for black men to act like men

WOW! Did just the title alone make you sit up straight in your chair? This is an article written by Mary Mitchell, a columnist for the Chicago SunTimes. I have included it below in it's entirety. Please read and then let's discuss!

Black man, it is time to get married. No more pathetic excuses about not being ready, or not being able to get along, or not having a good enough career.

In the old days, when a man got another man's daughter pregnant, the father would march the expectant father down the aisle at the end of a shotgun. We don't believe in forcing couples to get married these days.

And look what's happened.

At the rate black men -- many of them fathers -- are not marrying, the entire race may be at risk.

Here are the simple facts, according to credible research:

African Americans are significantly less likely to marry than are whites. Only 50 percent of African Americans born between 1960 and 1969 were married by the age of 30 (compared with 78 percent of whites).

African Americans have higher rates of divorce than do other racial and ethnic groups.

And because of lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates, African-American women are about half as likely as white women to be married at any one time.

But marriage is no longer a moral issue.

It is an economic one.

According to research found on the Web site for National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, "marriage is clearly linked to economic, psychological and social benefits."

African Americans who are married have more money and higher-status jobs than unmarried African Americans, and the economic benefits of marriage for blacks may be more important than they are for whites," researchers found.

This is not a lot of right-wing mumbo jumbo.

In fact, the next time a politician starts downplaying this problem, notice the wedding ring on his finger. Just about every high-profile civic leader today is or was married, and made the effort to raise his children in a two-parent family.

That goes for the political rock star, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, too.

But when was the last time any black leader made a pitch for marriage? More of them have defended same-sex marriage than have pointed out that the lack of marriage is destroying the black community from the inside out.

This is not a ghetto problem.

There are a lot of educated black women who should have been at the altar a long time ago. Instead, they settled for the challenges that come with raising children alone.

It wasn't always this way.

In 1970, African-American and white marriage rates were statistically comparable, says Edward Laumann, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and author of "The Sexual Organization of the City," a landmark study that looked at sexual behavior in black Chicago neighborhoods.

"Over the next 10-year period, the rates just dropped like a rock," he said. The causes for that drop included "stagflation," he said.

"Inflation was going up and the economy was stagnant in areas like Chicago, and one argument is that this hit the black male population very hard. So their ability to take on the role of principal breadwinner was compromised. At the same time, there was a fairly big rise in the incarceration rate of black males and an increase of males who had felony convictions, which lessened the willingness of another party to marry them," said Laumann.

While that explanation makes some sense, it doesn't account for the educated black men in their 30s and 40s who have children out of wedlock and are still juggling other relationships. These men aren't committing, either.
"Black men are more permissible about extra-marital relations and about two-timing women and that sort of thing. They now are in a buyer's market and they can demand a price," Laumann said.

Their price is pretty high.

Black women are waiting longer and longer to walk down the aisle. By the time some get there, they have already had one or two children. If the children are by different fathers, these women's lives are further complicated.

Common sense should have told us there would be consequences for this selfish behavior.

By now, so many blacks have ignored the warnings about the harm caused by the absence of black fathers that those consequences are now overtaking communities in the form of high dropout rates and senseless violence.

Black man, this is not an attack. It is a black woman's plea.

We are tired of seeing our daughters travail in such sorrow. We are tired of watching our grandchildren cling to fragile family ties. And by now, we are clear:

Politicians can't fix this problem. Preachers can't fix it.

There's only one real way to ensure that a black child has the best chance to succeed in this life.

Black man, marry your baby's mother.

Still with me? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

What does Love Mean To You?

Out of the mouths of babes: A group of professional people asked a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

Rebecca- age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."

Billy - age 4
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8


"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)


"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"
Nikka - age 6


"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7


"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6


"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore." Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6


"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5


"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Denzel Washington."
Chris - age 7


"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4


"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4


"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (What an image)
Karen - age 7


"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8


So my question to you today is, "What does love mean to you"?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing TODAY! The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. And yes, I have decided to bite the bullet and participate. So if I am MIA for the next 30 days just know that I am working towards a greater cause. Not really sure what that is yet. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

My novel is entitled, "Journey Back To Nyack" and it is a historical fiction. We are supposed to post excerpts as we write so to read mine log on to My NaNoWriMo Page.

Emails, text messages, postings and love letters do not count towards the 50,000 words. Sooooooo with that said ... I apologize for my rudeness up front if any correspondence is not returned.

My writing buddy writerwritz (who has written over 4,000 words already!) had a fabulous idea: NaMoWriMo Survival Kit. I do steal great ideas but always give credit where credit is due.

My Survival Kit:

2 Vanilla Candles (sets mood for romantic scenes)
Ambiance of Moments CD (compilation of love songs)
Honey Scub Bath and Body Gift Basket (my baby boys gave it to me for mother's day)
1 bag of Starbuck's Coffee (I'm waking up an hour early just to write)
1 new box of my favorite writing pens: uni-ball Gel RT Med
All of Iyanla Vanzant's books for inspiration('cause I'm gonna need it)
Strong pair hands to massage all of the aches from my shoulders (self-explanatory)

To all the NaMoWriMo participants: Good Luck and Happy Writing! November 30th ... Margarita's on me!

Excuse me while I get to writing .............