Monday, October 26, 2015

Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose by T. D. Jakes

Well, you know that I could go on and on and on about T.D. Jakes' book Instincts: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive, and I feel the same way about Destiny: Step into Your Purpose.

When I first started reading this book, I was thinking that this is common sense, but I continued to read, and this book started to speak to my heart.

T.D. Jakes is proposing that we all have a purpose for being on this earth, and we can or can not follow our instincts and go with our destiny; it’s totally up to us.

“Destiny is much bigger than us.”

T.D. Jakes challenges us to look back on our lives and think about connections that we have made that we were not necessarily looking for; we were prepared, the time was right, and things just seem to miraculous happen. Like when I was not thinking about buying a house, but I met a lender in a bar, and the rest is history. Or, when I finished graduate school and was stressed because I did not have a job and school was about to start, and I met a man at a picnic who led me to my first inner city teaching job. Our destiny is right before us; all we have to do is answer.

However, Jakes goes on to say that the pull to destiny is strong for some people, and we must realize that even though we are being pulled toward destiny, it may not happen quickly, the road may not be easy to get there, and once we get there “nobody told me that the road would be easy,” but we must remember to stay focused.

This books reconfirms that some people won’t understand, and so what. You may think that you are not ready, and God will supply all of your needs. You may be ready to make a move now, but we are on God’s time.

Not sure about you, but when I feel a pull to move in a different direction, I want it to happen right now. But, this book confirms that we must trust the process and trust God and know that out “Destiny is so much bigger than us.”

Jakes ask “Do you have the courage to take the chains off your brain?”

I left this book feeling liberated in knowing that “Destiny is calling me. I am on the cusp of change. More is calling to me. I am not selfish. I am not ungrateful. I am not greedy. There really is more! I can not stay where I am without feeling discontent. No matter where I am in the pursuit of destiny, I am ready, ready ready to elevate my mind to the higher calling of Destiny.” (p.195)

Read this book, and Get Ready!

I am still examining my life and will start to read Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters by John C. Maxwell!

Knowledge is Power!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cyclocross Season #2: DCCX Race #1 (Almost)

So, this was the weekend for the much anticipated DCCX races...

It’s one of my favorite races, because they are held on the beautiful grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in the Nation’s Capital, there are lots of vendors including coffee and beer, and it attracts a huge, friendly crowd, and tons of racers.

I got up early and started doing my affirmations: “Ride my own race!” “Courage is feeling the fear and moving through it.” “I may not be the strongest, certainly not the fastest, but I’ll be d#@$ if I don’t try my best.”

I got to the race early to register and to talk to many of the other racers whom I have not seen since last racing season, like Ashlea. Do you remember me telling you last season about Ashlea who would breastfeed her infant and jump on her bike and race? Well, Ashlea is back this year, the baby is fifteen months old, and Ashlea is kicking butt. I was extremely happy to see Ashlae at the starting line. (Read about Ashlae here.)

This year, this race added a new feature called the flyover. The flyover is this steep ramp that is terrifying just to see. I went to the race site on Friday to try and pre-ride that flyover, but the race promoters were not having that. So, without being able to pre-ride the flyover to assure myself that I could do it, I tried desperately to not focus on the fear, but that flyover.....However, I was determined to not let the fear get the best of me, and I decided to take a deep breath and ride that flyover.

The whistle was blown, and we took off. I felt much stronger and more confident than I felt last year, and I rode my bike. However, when I got to that flyover, there had been a serious accident, and my race was postponed for a little while. Well, after that accident, I was completely not in the racing mood and therefore did not go back to the starting line, BUT I rode that course between every race and had tons of fun.

I felt good about my decision to not start the race again, and I also felt great riding that tough course over and over again just for fun. My favorite cycling photographer, Ben Kristy, even snapped an awesome picture of me as I happily rode that course.

Next week I am going to race both Saturday and Sunday, and I can’t wait!!! I can not even began to tell you the joy that CX adds to my life, and that joy spills over into other parts of my life.

My people, I am strongly encouraging you to find something that is good for your soul and body, that brings you complete joy, that is not dependent upon other people, and do it with your whole heart. As stated by Ray Lewis: “Passion is Free."

Find a hobby and become its slave!!!!

Happy Sunday, My People....

Monday, October 19, 2015


So, I have been thinking a lot about passion and destiny, and this past weekend I had the opportunity to hear the famed illustrator, Jerry Pinkney, talk about his passion: Books! (Check out his website here.)

Jerry has been drawing all of his life, but he began to illustrate books in 1964, and he spoke about illustrating as if he had just started his career: with complete passion and joy.

Jerry talked about the idea that he has always wanted to create something to share, and I think that our passions and destinies are all about other people.. strange right, but I do believe this with my whole heart. I just know that when people look at these great creations by Jerry, they add something to their lives, if nothing but pure joy. And, we all know that pure joy is priceless. He even stated that talking about his work, and seeing our smiling faces in the audience, brought him joy. So, Jerry gives us joy through his books, and he gets that joy right back. (We are all connected!)

Jerry also stated that his great creations do not just happen; they take hard work to complete! (Even if we are operating in our passion or destiny; it still takes hard work.) Now, I know that all dreams come through activity, but you know, when Jerry stated this, it resonated. I am passionate about teaching and books and cycling and working out, and all of these things require a little sweat. However, working on these passions do not always feel like work, because I am passionate about them.

God is requiring me to go in a different direction, and I must admit that I am feeling anxious when I think about the effort that is required to go in a new direction. However, I am trying to remember that the work will feel good and productive if it's my passion. (Trying desperately to remember that work gets me to the next level, and I love doing it.)

Jerry sold newspapers when he was around thirteen, and one day this man, Mr. Lonnie, asked him to see his drawings. Well, Mr. Lonnie was an illustrator, and he allowed Jerry into his studio. Jerry stated that he never thought that he could make a living by being an illustrator, and he went on to state that "The seed of possibility was planted, and we need to see it sometimes in order to know that it is possible." So, you know I have been thinking about the power of visualization, and I have actually being visualizing my next move: how it feels, how it looks etc. (It's amazing how much I use my mind without a television in my house.)

So, in the words of Jerry Pinkney "Passion is like candy; the more you taste it, the more you want it."

Happy Monday!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

House Girl by Tara Conklin

I needed to take a mental break from some of the heavy readings that I had been doing, and so I picked up a book about reparations... I need help!

This story goes back and forth between the years of 1852 during slavery times to 2004 in New York City. This going back forth reminded a lot of what Octavia Butler did with Kindred. I find this type of writing to be quite engaging and suspenseful.

Josephine is a slave who is thinking of running away, and Lina is a New York attorney who has been given a case on reparation.... Well, Josephine is an artist, but her owner takes credit for her work, and Lina is trying to prove that Josephine is the rightful artist, and she’s also trying to find Josephine’s relatives in order to sue for reparation. You following me?

Now, this premise is awesome, each story is written in a manner that was engaging initially, especially the slavery parts, but along the way, Tara was not able to hold my interest. I did finish the book, but....

At the end, Tara infused a lot of letters to tell the story, and she stopped telling a straight forward story, and I got bored.

I like for writers to tie up the end of a story, and Tara just did not do that.

I won’t give up on Tara yet and will definitely read something else by her!

In the meantime, God has been tugging at my heart to make a drastic move, and the tug is so great until I must answer the call. I’ve been talking this over with my sister, Tracy, and she recommended that I read Destiny by T.D. Jakes. Soooo, that is what I have already started reading, and I am loving every page.

Happy Friday!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Brooklyn Book Festival 2015

A few weeks back, I traveled to Brooklyn, NY for the Brooklyn Book Festival....(One of the many perks of living in the DC area, you can go to NY for the day.)

Now, if you love books and writers, I highly recommend that you attend book festivals. Book festivals are normally free, and you can spend the day or days, depending upon the length of the festival, up close and personal with some of your favorite writers. 

Me and Kiese Laymon

I really wanted to see and hear Kiese Laymon, the author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America at the Brooklyn Book Festival. However, based on my arrival time and the time of the session where he was a participant, I knew attending his session was an impossibility. 

But, you know me, I went to the building where his session was being held, and sure enough, his session was over, but guess who was standing in front of the building?

My people, we hugged and talked like we had been knowing each other for decades, and I can’t wait to read more of his writings.

Me and Marlon James

In preparation for the BOCAS literary festival that I attended in Trinidad earlier this year, I read A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Now, I was extremely disappointed that Marlon did not make it to Trinidad, but guess who I happened to be sitting next to as I ate brunch at this swanky, outdoor cafe in Brooklyn?

Well, you know how I am highly favored, and not only did I get the chance to talk to Marlon, but I also got the opportunity to take a picture with him and to attend the session where he was a participant.

Highly Favored!

Me and Taiye Selasi

I had a little free time in between session, and I decided to peruse the books to decide which session I would attend next.

On one of the tables, I saw the title Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. This book peaked my interest, because I have traveled to Ghana, and I have never read a fictional book that is set in Ghana. So, I bought the book and attended the session. 

Selasi was quite confident and delightful, and I can’t wait to read her book....

The people in the picture above are writers, Vladimir Lucien and Ifeona Fulani, whom I met at the BOCAS literary festival, and I just happened to run into them at the Brooklyn Book Festival. 

This literary world is getting smaller and smaller....

This Brooklyn Book Festival was short but mighty.... And, you may want to consider adding it to your list of things to do if you love books and writers!

“Seize the Day!"

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Summer Reading List 2015!

One of the many reasons why I love being a teacher is having the summers free to read whatever I want!

The #1 reason that I read is to understand; I want to make sense of the world in which I live, and I want to understand and define my role.

The United States is racially charged right now, and people are writing their truth. There was no way that I could have the time off, and not partake of some of the literature and stimulating conversations that we are having today.

So, normally my summer reading list is light in order to give me a mental break, but this summer, I couldn't take a mental break while the literary world was crying out in response to the many questions that many of us are pondering.

Knowledge Is Power!!

So, in case you are interested, here is a list of the books that I read this summer:

Border War by Stanley Harold
Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
Freeing Charles by Scott Christianson
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon
Losing my Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black’s Man Escape from the the Crowd by Thomas Williams
The Last Interview and Other Conversations with James Baldwin
Nobody Knows My Name by James Baldwin
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Happy Fall!

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