Saturday, November 30, 2013


I saw a quote on Facebook, and yea it sounded harsh when I first read it, but I so agree with the idea that the decisions that I make, determine the kind of life that I live. I must admit that I have learned to make decisions that cause me to fall in love with my life over and over again.

Last night, Nikki Giovanni was in DC AGAIN, and she recommended that we all should consider always being in love. She stated that it makes a person's skin better and people notice how well a person looks who is in love. She also stated that being in love has nothing to do with someone loving us back; it's about being in love.....

Nikki AGAIN!

I thought about this, and being in love is what makes me love my life intensely....

I am in love with my health journey. I love working on my health with vigor. I love it enough to pursue it with passion, and I love to talk to other people about their health journey. Working on my health means going happily to workout, ride my bike, run, eat healthy and doing these things with complete passion. The more that I do these things that are good for my body, the more that I fall in love with them, and being in love feels so good.

I am in love with people. Yea, I absolutely love people, and the more that I am with people, my love for them grow stronger and stronger. I love crowds; like homecoming parties that are extremely crowed with people whom I've known since I was extremely young, and I have grown to love these people intensely. And loving people has causes me to fall in love with my life more and more and more, and being in love feels so good.

Homecoming 2013

I'm in love with the idea that I am constantly growing, and God continues to send people into my life who inspire me to be a better person. I mentioned to a friend that I wanted some macaroni and cheese. I try to never eat 'mac and cheese,' but it's the Thanksgiving holiday, and someone took the time to display being giving and kind by taking the time to cook me my very own pan of 'mac and cheese!' This display of being giving and kind has inspired me more than the person who modeled this behavior knows. My people, this act of giving and kindness caused me to fall more and more in love with life and the idea that there are sooo many great people in this world, and it feels so good.

Hearing Nikki state that we should consider falling in love helped me to see why I love my life. I am in love with people, group cycling, teaching, words, long rides in the car, BIG. BEAUTIFUL. RED. TREES., people who make me want to be a better person........

My people, I LOVE MY LIFE!

And Thanks to Nikki, I now know why!!!

People consider falling in love and see how much more you will love your life.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving....

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Coldest Winter Ever....

So, yesterday was a blustery, cold day... The high was around 32 degrees, but with the wind chill factor, it felt like it was about 19 degrees.....

And, I decided to go for a bike ride...I decided that I would ride to The King Memorial and ride back home...

Crazy Right???

Well, once my fingers and my toes were feeling like they were going to fall off, I knew that I was doing something that was completely crazy…

Soooooo, why would I do this???

In a post a few weeks back, I wrote about some news things that were happening in my life that were exciting and scary at the same time. Well, I've been invited to be on a cycling, racing team, and the thought had me extremely scared and excited at the same time. At first I thought "I am not ready," but my second thought was "Why am I not ready?" I've been cycling quite a lot. So, I met with the three other ladies who are going to be on this racing team that consists of about 10 to 12 men, and after the meeting, I decided that I would Dare Greatly and give being on this team a try.

Saturday was my first ride with the team. We met at a Starbucks for coffee and laughs, and we rode out. Well, you know how I love group cycling, and I got that warm feeling as soon as we got on the road; we were a team. I have never ridden 44 miles at this particular speed before, and I was pushed harder than I have ever been pushed before, and it felt soooooo good! Yep, I finished a little behind the team, but I finished!!!!!

Well, we were supposed to ride Sunday as well, but it was cold and blustery so, I punked out. I went to the grocery store around 9, and I realized that it was cold but sunny, and pure guilt made me get on my bike. Being on a team means being committed, and I felt like I was not being committed by punking on the Sunday ride. Sooooo, I got on my bike to take a ride in The Coldest Winter Ever!

Of course this is not The Coldest Winter Ever, but when I got to The King Memorial, and my hands and toes were hurting from being cold, my brain thought that "This is The Coldest Winter Ever," and I instantly thought of the novel by Sister Souljah that is titled The Coldest Winter Ever…

I thought a lot about this novel on my way back home. I remembered thinking, when I read this book quite a few years back, that this novel was pure trash; however, it was such intriguing trash, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. If you want an awesome read, try The Coldest Winter Ever...

It is amazing what a person can and will think about on a bike ride....

Anyway, I finished my ride, my toes or fingers did not fall off, and two of my favorite people in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD brought dinner over, and I went to bed feeling quite content.

I won't be riding in 19 or so degrees again, BUT

My people, I am Daring Greatly!

I need your warm thoughts and prayers as I explore this new adventure!!!

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

Big. Beautiful. Red. Trees.

I love the view from my Balcony....

As I was looking at these Big. Beautiful. Red. Trees. which are my absolutely favorite trees, I thought about this poem by Nikki Giovanni:

"What It Is" by Nikki Giovanni

If it's a trail we can hike it
If it has two wheels we can bike it

If it's an allergy we can sneeze it
If it's a pimple we can squeeze it

If it's dew it "covers Dixie"
If it's Tinker Bell it's a pixie

If it's a breeze it can blow us
If it's the sun it can know us

If it's a song we can sing it
If it flies we can wing it

If it's soda pop then it's drinkable
It might be X-rated but that's unthinkable

If it's a boat we can sail it
If it's a letter we can mail it

If it's a star we can let it shine
If it's the moon it can make you mine

If it's grass we can rake it
If it's free why not take it

If it's a tide it can ebb
If it's a spider it can web

If it's chocolate we can dip it
If it's a golf ball we can chip it

If it's gum we can chew it
I hope it's love so we can do it

I absolutely love this poem, and fall, and my mom, and biking, and teaching literature, and Toni Morrison, and Nikki Giovanni, and words, and those Big. Beautiful. Red. Trees. that are outside of my window.

Happy Friday, My People!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

At the beginning of the school year, one of my students did a very fascinating presentation on Brave New World, and I decided that I would read it.

I am so happy that the school where I teach has copies of this book in the book room, because if I had spent money on this book, I would be quite unhappy.

Brave New World is a satirical novel that is attempting to look at the dangers of a totalitarian government controlled society.

In this novel:
"People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get. They're well off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're never afraid of death; they are blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they are plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they are so conditioned that they are practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma." (Brave New World P. 220)

Does this quote remind you of another book that I wrote about? The Giver......

Both novel deals with the theme of a society that is totally controlled by the government. In The Giver, the plot is driven by the characters, and I was able to completely identify with the characters  and this style of writing assisted me in liking this novel a lot. However, Brave New World is plot driven, and I found that the details that were given about the society could have been condensed to move the story line alone. I really did not get into this novel until near the end, and by that time, I had already lost interest.

This book is highly respected in the literary world and is read in schools around the globe. So, to be in the know, I suggest reading this book. But, definitely do not pick up this book to read for pleasure....

If you have read this book...holler at me!

Monday, November 18, 2013


So, school started back, and I have been biking, running, and working out with Berhane on a consistent basis. I've been planning all of my meals and being mindful of every single thing that I put in my mouth.

However, for the last week or so, I've been drinking a little red wine here and there, eating a little piece of chocolate here and there, eating a few potatoes at breakfast here and there, eating a few to many lentil chips here and there, and last week I even cooked this awesome vegetable soup that had both quinoa and beans.

Last week I noticed that my stomach was not exactly big but was just a little more puffy than normal. I mentioned this to Berhane, the greatest trainer in the world, and he instantly stated in a fleeting statement that the stomach is all about the diet, and he continued to train me.

Of course, as we continued to work out, I told him about my delicious soup that contained green beans, zucchini, onions, carrots, celery, and both quinoa and beans. Berhane gave me the speech: "You have the kind of body that cannot have beans; beans cause you to bloat." He went on to tell me that I should never eat two carbs at one time: beans and quinoa together are a no-no for a flat stomach……

Yea, I know about my stomach and beans, and yea I know that everything that I put in my mouth matters, and yea I know that the body does not know how to keep a secret, and yea I know that I cannot compete with what I eat. Yet lately, I have not been as vigilant as I should, and my stomach is reflecting that. Now, would anyone notice that my stomach is not as flat as normal? Absolutely not! But, I am definite noticing it.


When I eat things that are good for my body 99% of the time, I feel so strong and happy. Yet, when I eat and drink things that sabotage my workouts and health, I feel completely awful and the guilt can be quite overwhelming. I hate feeling bad and guilty, so I try and not to do things that make me feel bad and guilty. However, lately, I have not been as vigilant as I should.

Yesterday, I cooked the same vegetable soup that I cooked last week that had both the quinoa and beans, but this time, I did not include the beans. I cooked a spaghetti squash dish that is 100% good for my body, and I am planning to have cabbage, brussel sprouts, cottage cheese, sliced apples, kale soup, and all other foods that make me and my body both very happy for the rest of the week and throughout the holidays that are approaching quickly.

My people, I am back on track, no more random snacking, and I am going to enjoy the benefits: a flat stomach!!!

With this health journey, yep we will slip up intentionally and unintentionally, but we must remain vigilant if we want to have lasting results.

I know the road that I was on before: overweight and unhealthy, and I will not get on that road again.

We must remain vigilant, my people…

We can't compete with what we eat!

Happy Monday...Try and make this your best eating day ever!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Nikki and Me

Saturday, one of my favorite writers of all times was at The National Portrait Gallery to read a poem that she wrote for a book titled Lines in Long Array. The book is a compilation of pieces to commemorate 150 years since the Civil War.

Commemorative Book!
Autographs of nine of the contributors!

If you read this blog often, or if you read this blog every now and then, know that Nikki is in the DC area quite often, and I see her just about every time that she is here. And, every time that I see her, I get the same message over and over and over again: "NEVER BE AFRAID TO BE MYSELF."

Nikki speaks 'her truth,' and she speaks it honestly and openly. It doesn't matter if I see Nikki on a very dignified occasion or a more relax occasion, Nikki is always Nikki. She seems to never change to fit the environment; she is who she is all the time.

In the past, I thought that I should adjust what I say and how I act based on my environment, and thanks to Nikki, I am who I am in ALL situations. I am the same with my students as I am with my friends; I am the same all of the time. I love to laugh and I do it anywhere, everywhere, and with anybody.

Nikki is a great example that promotion comes from God, because a lot of the things that she say are not politically correct, but she says them anyway, and keeps right on soaring. I have learned from Nikki to always speak 'my truth' and speak it boldly.

At The Portrait Gallery, Nikki stated that she wanted to name her poem "I got a message for the South: You Lost." However, the editors of the book thought that the title of the poem did not fit the feeling that they were going for in the book. However, Nikki stated that she changed the title of the poem for the book, but she also stated that "there is a such thing as my book, and in my book, the poem will be titled I got a message for the South: You Lost."

I always feel that the Nikki that I see in public is the same Nikki that I would see in her home.

Nikki Dares Greatly, and she inspires me to do the same!!!

On another note, I got a gentle reminder that I am not the only person in the world who thinks that Nikki is completely awesome...

I assisted an older woman in getting a parking space at The Portrait Gallery, and I noticed that she had the commemorative book in her hand, and we talked briefly about Nikki and the book signing. As I was leaving to go inside of The Portrait Gallery, I said to her 'enjoy the program.'

After the program she left this note on my car:

I'm not the only person who thinks that Nikki is remarkable...

If you are having trouble Daring Greatly, find people who are doing it and doing it well, and emulate!

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

Let's Take Some Risks!

There are quite a few things that are going on in my life that are exciting and scary at the same time. And, one thing about new things is that we must be vulnerable in order to experience the joy that I know that we all desire.

After reading Daring Greatly, I was so excited and thought that I was ready to take this vulnerability journey. However, coming face to face with vulnerability, like for real, is not for the faint of heart at all, but I know, without a doubt that it is so worth it.

My People, if we want to experience life to its fullest, we must be willing to Dare Greatly, and Take Some Risk...

Happy Friday!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What A Glorious Day....

This morning, I met a group of cyclist in Brandywine, MD, about 30 to 40 minutes outside of DC, to do a bike ride and a wine tasting.

Although Bradywine, MD is not far from DC, the route to get there felt like I was somewhere far away.

There were lots of open fields, houses with yards, and small country stores.

The two lane roads were enveloped with beautiful, fall colors that were completely breathe taking. I was thinking that God goes out of his way to make sure that we notice him: burnt orange, mustard yellow, and shiny red trees were waving in the wind and were literally saying look at me.

We met at this really, quaint, country vineyard, and did a glorious ride. Of course, I took a wrong turn and ended up riding a few extra hills. However, I figured that was God's way of saying that I needed the extra miles, so I didn't complain.

The house in the background is the winery, as well as, living space.

After the ride, we went inside of the house/winery, and we sampled some awesome local wines, with the smell of comforting, collard greens lingering in the background.

What a Glorious Day that was soooo simple yet so meaningful!!!!!

I wouldn't take nothing for this journey......

Now, I am running out to see a play at the Shakespeare theater; I love where I live!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

God Remains the Same!

I have been thinking a lot about Grace and how I am soooo Thankful for God's grace...

However, I know that I am a work in progress and not only do I need God's grace, but I also need people's grace.

I try to always examine my heart and to be conscious about everything that comes out of mouth, because I know that according to Matthew 12:36-37 that "On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

However, even trying to be conscious of every word that comes out of mouth, I still slip up and may say something that may unintentionally hurt someone. If I am made aware of the hurt that I may have caused someone, I typically first examine my heart to determine what was my intent, and if I find my intention to be pure, all that I can do is apologize and hope that the person will show me some grace. If I find that my intentions were not pure then....... that's a whole 'nother blog.

I know that we are all on different journeys, and the person that I may have hurt may decide that the friendship is not worth it, and I so respect that decision, and I just continue to love them from afar.

I know that there are people who were in my circle of trust and influence who needed to be removed for whatever reason, and I know that there are people's circles that I have been removed from. AND, It's All Right. We really don't need to be in a person's circle to love them.

Our circles changes, people come and go, but our GOD remains the same....

AND I am grateful for that.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"I Wish I'd A Knowed More People. I Would Of Loved 'em All. If I'd A Knowed More, I Would A Loved More." Spoken by Pilate from Song of Solomon....

I never thought that I could love the novel Song of Solomon more, and I do. My love for this book is completely overwhelming at times. And, that love spills onto my students.....

This year, instead of teaching one AP literature class, I am teaching two AP classes. At times, the grading can be quite overwhelming, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. I now get to have discussions with double the number of students that I have in the past, and therefore, I am given more ideas to play around with.

Teaching this novel this year, I thought a lot about love, not necessarily romantic love, but just love between people.

Song of Solomon in the Old Testament in the Bible is a series of lyrical love poems that are written between a young woman and her lover. Many people believe that Song of Solomon is an allegory of God's love for us or divine love that is within our hearts. Soooo, Song of Solomon is all about love.

I thought a lot about why would Toni Morrison name this novel Song of Solomon? On the surface it appears that there is no love in this novel at all. However, after close analysis, it became clear, on this read, that this book is all about love.

Pilate, one of the main characters, stated as she was dying "I Wish I'd A Knowed More People. I Would Of Loved 'em All. If I'd A Knowed More, I would A Loved More." After I read this line and gave a lot of thought to Pilate, I realized that Pilate was love. Almost everything that she did was out of love. She almost killed a guy out of love for her daughter; she tried to save another character's life out of love; Milkman loved to be in her house, because she knew how to create love, and on and on and on. Pilate was one big ball of love.

There is a secret society in this novel that is called The Seven Days. "The organization is composed of seven Black men each of whom is assigned a day of the week who kill white people at random every time that a black person is murdered and the assailants are left unpunished" (Sparknotes). Guitar, a main character in Song of Solomon and member of The Seven Days, states: "It's about loving us. About loving you. My whole life is love." Those men, who were members of the seven days, stated that they did those killings because they loved their people; it was all about love.

A major theme in this novel is Journey and Flight, and that theme is based on an African American folktale called "The People Could Fly." In "The People Could Fly," Africans, who were turned into slaves, had special powers to fly back to African. So, Solomon, a character in the novel Song of Solomon, had the power to fly back to African, and one day he grabbed one of his children and flew away and left his wife Ryna and their other twenty-one children behind. I asked the students why did Solomon leave his wife and children behind, and one of the students stated that "Maybe he loved freedom more than this family." So, I began to think that maybe he flew away so that he could free himself and maybe find a way to go back and free his family. Maybe, his flight was all about love.

Yea, on this read, I realized that Song of Solomon is all about love.

If you have not read Song of Solomon, I highly recommend that you read it, and read it more than one time!!

I love this woman.......

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