Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Champion....



After I read the above quote, I thought a lot about what it means to be A Champion, and I started to do some research...

I found this article:

The Mindset of a Champion

  • Carol Dweckby Carol DweckLewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology


There are things that distinguish great athletes—champions—from others. Most of the sports world thinks it’s their talent, but I will argue that it’s their mindset. This idea is brought to life by the story of Billy Beane, told so well by Michael Lewis in the book Moneyball (Lewis, 2003). When Beane was in high school, he was in fact a huge talent–what they call a “natural.” He was the star of the basketball team, the football team, and the baseball team–and he was all of these things without much effort. People thought he was the new Babe Ruth.
However, as soon as anything went wrong, Beane lost it. He didn’t know how to learn from his mistakes, nor did he know how to practice to improve. Why? Because naturals shouldn’t make mistakes or need practice. When Beane moved up to baseball’s major leagues, things got progressively worse. Every at-bat was a do-or-die situation and with every out he fell apart yet again.  If you’re a natural, you believe that you shouldn’t have deficiencies, so you can’t face them and coach or practice them away.
Beane’s contempt for learning and his inability to function in the face of setbacks—where did this come from? With avid practice and the right coaching he could have been one of the greats. Why didn’t he seek that? I will show how his behavior comes right out of his mindset.
MINDSETS
In my work, I have identified two mindsets about ability that people may hold (Dweck, 1999; Dweck, 2006; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Some hold a fixed mindset, in which they see abilities as fixed traits. In this view, talents are gifts—you either have them or you don’t.
Other people, in contrast, hold a growth mindset of ability. They believe that people can cultivate their abilities. In other words, they view talents as potentialities that can be developed through practice. It’s not that people holding this mindset deny differences among people. They don’t deny that some people may be better or faster than others at acquiring certain skills, but what they focus on is the idea that everyone can get better over time.

After I read this article, I think that is appropriate to apply these two mindsets to not only sports, but to other areas of our lives as well.

I have noticed students who feel that they should not take an advance class if the subject matter does not come easily to them. They do not believe that they can cultivate their ability. I am noticing more and more students and people, in general, who do not believe that if you do something over and over that they will get better. There seems to be this attitude of either I have it or I don't...

I have been around some really awesome people lately; people who are taking their lives to new levels, and the thing that all of these people have in common is that they are all working their butts off to improve their skills.
My cycling teammate, Kaitlyn, is such a strong cyclist. I look at her and marvel and think to myself that one day I am going to ride like Kaitlyn. One part of my mind says that you will never be a strong cyclist like Kaitlyn, but the other side of mind says that one day you will ride as strong as Kaitlyn.


I could assume that Kaitlyn has natural abilities, and I believe that she does, but I also know that she works her butt off.

Last night we did an awfully hilly ride, I am definitely improving, but Kaitlyn was killing those hills. I just looked at her and thought: "One day I will be killing those hills as well."

After that ride, I sent Kaitlyn a message, and I asked, "How did you get so good on those hills?"

Kaitlyn replied, "Repeats and making myself suffer and then suffer again and then suffer again. Half of bike racing is learning how much suffering you can take and then making yourself suffer even more." (Sounds like a Champion doesn't she? Well, she is.)

I don't know about you, but when I leave this earth, I want to leave as a Champion. I want to leave here knowing that I did not shy away from challenges, I cultivated my abilities, I pushed myself to the limit, I encouraged others to reach their highest potential...

I am going to keep suffering and growing so that I can live the rest of my life as a Champion! (Suffering ain't always a bad thing!)

Oh, To Be A Champion......

My Champion!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Quicksand by Nella Larsen



Nella Larsen (1891-1964) was a Harlem Renaissance writer who came from a mixed lineage: White Danish mother and Black West Indian dad. Larsen dealt with the feeling of isolation and loneliness throughout her life, and it is believed that Quicksand is inspired by her experience of being mixed and living in Harlem, the Southern states, and abroad.

The protagonist in the story, Helga Crane, suffers from being dissatisfied. She was working at a Black college in the South, and she abruptly left because she was not satisfied; she move to Chicago and New York and was not satisfied in either place; She moved to Denmark and found no satisfaction there either. When she lived among blacks, she longed to experience the White side of her soul; but when she lived among Whites, she missed being around Black people.

Eventually, she finds God, marries a preacher, and moves to the South with him. She starts to have children and is always tired and sick and falls into a depression, because she was in Quicksand. There was no way for her to escape her current life, racial identity, social class, and sexism that she had tried to fight her entire life.

This book is thought-provoking and well-written.

I highly recommend it......

Nella Larsen should be a household name!

Nella Larsen






Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hallowed Be Thy Name!


Today, Easter Sunday, I am going to share the words to one of favorite songs: "Hallowed Be Thy Name." I hope that these words offer to you the same peace and joy that they offer to me....


You are Love
You are Life
You are Lord over Everything
Alpha 
Omega
Jehovah
The King of Kings
Wonderful Way Maker
Worthy of My Offerings

Hallowed Be Thine Name!

You're the answer to all of my problems and you solve them.
You supply all my needs and I call you our father.
You're a might fortress in the time of tribulation.
And, I am more than a conqueror in every situation.

Hallowed Be Thine Name!

You're the only God and there will never be another.
Ten thousand angels couldn't say how much I love you.
So I'm gonna lift you up Lord
Higher and Higher.
And all the world will see how you set my soul on fire.

Hallowed Be Thy Name!

By 
Ron Kenoly


Enjoy this Easter Sunday and Everyday!!




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe


The very first novel that I ever taught a very, very, long time age, back in Detroit, Michigan was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Back then, I absolutely loved that novel and taught it with my whole heart.

At my current school, Things Fall Apart is a novel that we teach to our 10th graders, and I am super excited to be able to teach this novel again.

I just finished reading it again, and it is still as captivating to me as it was many years ago.

The novel is set in the 1890s in Nigeria and portrays the clash between the Christian belief and the Nigerian culture. The Christians wanted to show the Nigerians that things such as leaving twins in the woods to die was wrong, that there is only one God, that there was nothing evil about the evil forest. However, the Nigerians had traditions that they have had for a very long time, and many wanted to maintain them.

Chinua does a great job of helping the reader to understand the Nigerian culture and it's people. I totally empathized with them, but I could also see the Christian side of things as well. I wonder if there is a way to merge new thinking with old thinking and everybody be happy....

This book made me think about change and how change is very difficult for individual people, and it is definitely difficult for a collective group. Also, I thought about the idea that even when people's intentions are good, Things Can Fall Apart.

What I love about this novel the most is that after reading it, I have a lot to think about, and I am grappling with the idea of if it is ok to let people live the way they want to or should there be interventions in place to help people see things from a different perspective.

This is a novel that can spark great conversations because Achebe does not give us a clear answer.

I am excited for next week, because I will be reading this novel with my students, and I can't wait to hear their thoughts!

My People, this is a novel that I highly recommend...It's a quick read, but packed with lots to think about....

Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

This is the Day... Rejoice and Be Glad!

My next read is Quicksand by Nella Larsen.





Thursday, April 17, 2014

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


One of the many joys of Spring Break is being able to get up and read a book and drink a cup of coffee with absolutely no place to go....

So, with this time to read, I finished reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!

I was first introduced to Chimamanda through her Ted talk, and then I read her novel Half of a Yellow Sun. I was completely captivated by both, and I knew that I wanted to read more things that were written by Chimamanda. Check out the blog post and Ted Talk here!

Americanah is a novel about a Nigerian girl, Ifemelu, who moves to American to attend college. She finishes college, has two good relationship, and writes a blog that earns her lots of money and makes her well-known. However, after much thought, Ifemelu decides to move back to Nigeria.

Chimamanda tells a great story, and she touches on many things such as hair braiding shops, immigration, the desire to fit into a new culture, the election of President Barack Obama, how Africans feel about African Americans, love, class within Nigeria, the complexity of moving back to ones native country and so on....At times, I felt that there was an overkill of topics that did not necessary take away from the storyline but did not exactly add to the storyline either.

Reading this book, I thought a lot about taking a journey, and this theme has come up quite often in a lot of the readings that I have been doing this school year. And, like many other characters in literature, Ifemelu was forced to take a journey in order to grow.

I wonder if God is trying to send me some kind of message....Hmmmmmm

This is a book that I think you should add to your listing if for no other reason besides the fact that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a hot topic right now.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


My next read is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.. Consider joining me!









Sunday, April 13, 2014

Race #2


Race #2 was on Saturday, and I woke up to a bike tire that needed a little attention. I almost panicked, but instead I emailed the team, and of course a teammate showed up to give my tire the attention that it needed. (I love my team and being on a team.)

At registration this time around, I knew to show my racing license instead of my driver's license. Read all about race #1 here.

I felt super excited and confident, and I was determined to pedal the entire race and stay on the course...Well, I stayed with the pack for about four or five laps of the 1.2 or 1.3 mile loop, and I literally ran out of steam. I stayed in the race, but I got separated from the group and literally did not have it in me to catch up with the group.

There is something that is known as surges in races, and that is where people are riding at a certain pace, and then someone or some people surge ahead of the pack. At this point, the pace of the group picks up for awhile, then the pace goes back down to where it was before or maybe a little faster. My team leader stated that "those surges are what really make the difference between riding a bike and racing a bike." 

Well, the surges completely wore me out, and I must work on being a racer and not a rider.

From this race, I realize that I must get use to my heart rate being high for longer periods of time, I must practice surging and recovering, and it was reconfirmed that I absolutely love training to be a racer. (I got a lot of work to do, but I love this kind of work.)


Me, nervous as hell at the starting line!

Until the next time......






Monday, April 7, 2014

Activate the Peace, Joy, Happiness that is Within!

The VeloWorks Ladies and the Sticky Fingers ladies: Female Racers

Saturday, I went and did a ride with the Oxen Hill Biking Club. Rides are generally divided into categories: AA is the fastest group, A is the next fastest group and so on... I think that the groupings may go to D. There was a ride for everybody!

For the first time ever, I rode with the A group and did not get dropped. (I could not contain my excitement!)

After the ride, a friend's son asked me to attend his little league baseball game, and I took my chair and really had a great time... After the game, the kid was in the car with me, and we were talking about the fact that his team had got beaten very BADLY, like 11 to 1. He stated that the game is not about winning but about having fun.... (This statement made me so happy!)

Coolest little leaguers I've ever seen?

Saturday, I traveled to hilly Luray, Virginia with one of my teammates to ride the course for a race that is coming up on the 25th of April. We met up with this women's racing group called Sticky Fingers, and boy did I enjoy riding with these ladies. We rode hard, talked, laughed, and broke bread together.

Taking a break from the ride to enjoy the pigs!

After those hills in Luray, all that I could do when I got home was get on the couch and listen to Eckhart Tolle read The Power of Now to me.....

My happiness, joy, peace levels went to the roof this weekend!!!

I am writing this to encourage all of my readers to do things that you really love to do as much as you possibly can. Your entire life will improve more than you ever thought possible, and you will stop looking to people and things to make you happy.

You already have peace, happiness, joy; you just need to be activate it.

I never knew that I would love biking, but I had the desire to bike. So, I bought a cheap bike, feel in love, and the rest is history. I was scared to ride with groups, but I just worked through the fear and did it, and I am so happy that I did.

Now, some of you may love to do things that do not add positively to you life, and I am not sure that you should stop doing those things; that's really up to you. But, I know that if you do things that add to your life, you will reap some positive benefits for sure.

So, My People, work through whatever is holding you back from doing the things that you love to do....

Activate the Peace, Joy, Happiness that is already within!!
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