Monday, July 30, 2012


I saw this on someone's Facebook wall, and I had to share it....

Cast all your cares away: society, people, the rules, and do something that you have always wanted to do, but you were scared, didn't have the time, were worried about the thoughts of others.......

Today is the DAY!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Honor Your Body!

(This post will contain a lot of random thoughts. I am going to try and connect them all. Follow if you feel like it......)

Australian swimmer Kenrick Monk, and the U.S.A.'s Ryan Lochte Credit: Getty Images

So, let's start with: I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. The Olympics is such a display of determination, perseverance, dedication, commitment, sportsmanship, comradeship and the list goes on and on. Some of the most physically fit people in the world get together, during The Olympics, to display their hard work! Yesterday, Saturday, I stayed at home all day and watched Olympic swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball, and this morning after church I watch the women cyclist. The Olympic athletes never cease to amaze me. I watch as much of the Olympics as I possible can, because I want to honor and respect all of the hard work and dedication of the athletes, but I also watch to hear all of the incredible stories about the different athletes. 

The most amazing story so far has been about an Irish Olympian name Keiran Behan who was told, by doctors, that he would be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life after an operation went wrong, but instead, he is participating in the Olympics. Now, how amazing is our God? Right now, I am thinking about this gospel song that states "Whose report should we believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord. His report says 'I am healed'....."

Keiran Behan

Today, on a 41 mile bike ride, we passed a church and the sign in front of the church stated: Honor Your Body; It's where God Resides. For some reason this really made me think about my body, the Olympians, all people and honoring God with our bodies. Do we want God to be in a body that we are destroying by not working out, eating fast food, drinking soda etc.? God wants our very best, and I was thinking, "What if everyone would train to their top potential everyday and eat foods that come from the earth 95% of the time?" I really think that God might "Sit down by the rivers of Babylon and weep" just thinking about his people taking good care of one of the best gifts that he has given them: "their bodies."

Then I started to think about people who were born perfect, but with bad hearts, missing limbs etc. I bet many of them would do anything to hike, swim, jump, tumble and do all of the other things that many of us, who were born in perfect health, take for granted. 

I was working out with Berhane, the greatest trainer in the world, and we were watching CNN and there was a guy who wanted to do euthanasia. He was wheelchair bound and could do very little for himself. Berhane became angry and state something like "I get so mad with people not wanting to workout and this man wanting to die because he can't workout"..... I didn't have much to say, but this did make me ponder.

I will never be an Olympic athlete for no other reason besides the fact that I am toooo damn old, but I will always train to my top ability. I love extreme workouts. I love the workouts when I am not sure that I am going to finish, but I do. I love bike rides that challenge me, runs that make me sweat, and gym workouts that bring me almost to tears. 

Now, everyone is not crazy like me and just love extreme workouts.... I know that I have issues, but.....

For the next few weeks, I will be watching The Olympics and admiring some of the strongest people in the world........Long live The Olympics!

Thanks for reading this random post.

Happy Sunday!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

One of the main reasons that I write this blog is because I deeply believe that written and spoken words have the power to change a person's life for better or worse, and this book, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, is a perfect example of the power of words to transform.

This book is set during China's infamous Cultural Revolution. Mao Zadong is considered to be the father of communist China, and China's cultural revolution has to do with Mao's plan to reassert his beliefs into China. "Mao wanted to make sure that he reimposed his power over the children. He believe that a privileged class had developed in China which consisted of engineers, scientists, factory managers etc. Mao believed that these people were acquiring too much power at his expense. His main selling point was a desire to create a China which had peasants, workers and educated people working together – no-one was better than anyone else and all working for the good of China – a classless society." (Sounds good in theory right?) So, Mao closed schools and colleges and the economy started to suffer. Many other things occurred and the Cultural Revolution ended around 1968. (

Mao Zadong

In Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, the main characters, Luo and the narrator who is nameless, are boys who were taken out of school and were going through the re-education process. The re-education process was when boys and girls were taken out of schools and moved to the countryside to be re-educated by the poor peasants. These boys worked hard on the countryside and had no access to books. (Oh My!)

However, they discovered that another boy, Four Eyes, had books hidden in the place where he was staying. By "hook and crook," they acquired Four Eyes' books and their journey to educate themselves and the Little Chinese Seamstress began.

The seamstress could not read, but hearing them read stories written by Balzac, the founder of realism in European Literature, awaken something in her, and she set off to "change her life and try her chances in the city." (Words can inspire!)

This book really was a great look into the Chinese Revolution through the eyes of the narrator. However, this book is also a complete conformation that words have power and can help people to change their lives. I remember being a little girl and going all over the world through books. I knew that one day, I had to leave that small town and see what the world had to offer. My mom often states that " I have been running since leaving high school." Not quite true but I get her point; I just want to experience some of the things that I read about in books.

If it has been forever since you have picked up a book, not a magazine, but I mean a book, please do so today, and I promise you that your world will expand larger than you could ever image.

I believe that there are three things that people must do everyday in order to have a rich life: connect with other people, exercise, and read.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is such an enchanting tale and it is a great place to start or to continue on your reading journey.

The author Dai Sijie

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday: People, People, People...

Kelly and Me

Around mile 6 of the Rock and Roll half marathon, I ran up on this guy named Kelly, who is in the picture above. I did not know him, but I knew that I needed someone to run with in order to finish this race. So, I saw him running my same pace, and I started running next to him. At first he had on his headset and was paying me no attention, but I wouldn't go away. I said to him "I like your pace," he said "Thanks." Then I said "You look like a strong runner." This caught his attention, and he took off his headset, and we were a team.

I asked him if he had ever seen the movie or read the book The Hunger Games, and he said no. I told him that in the movie, the main character was able to work with a partner in order to try and win the games, and I knew that once they partnered up, they would surely win. I told him that now that we were partnered in this race, we would surely win, and we did. We finished the race strong and together. It's amazing what two or three people can do when they combine their efforts.

I know for sure, for my life, that people make the world go round. As stated by Paulo Coelho in the novel Eleven Minutes:
"Humans can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings."

Now, there are many ways to cure loneliness: read a book, think, watch TV, play a game on your phone, talk on the phone or spend time with people who want to spend time with you and that you want to spend time with in return.

Nothing brings me more joy than being with people, and today, I am so Thankful for people who definitely make my world go round.

I've been out of town quite a bit, but thank God for text and email, I have still been able to stay in contact with quite a few people. While away, a co-worker texted me to check on me, and we spent a wonderful day together at the pool on Tuesday. Wednesday, I met some ladies to bike ride. I did not know them before the ride, but they sure did fill my desire to be with people and workout. (I killed two birds with one stone.) There is not a lot of talking on a bike ride, but there is enough talking to create a bond. Thursday, I am meeting a friend in DC for lunch which is what we love to do since I'm not working and can actually meet someone for lunch. I spend quite a bit of time alone, but I need "my people" from time to time for sure.

I do this often, try it, and see don't you feel happier. I think pleasant thoughts about as many people as I can each day. There is no way that I can be in touch with all of the people whom I love daily, but I can think pleasant thoughts of them, and it makes me so happy. I think about someone having a great time on their vacation, or someone having a really great day at work, or someone meeting the guy or girl of their dreams and  the pleasant thoughts come back to me a 1000 folds over. Try it right now..... Thoughts are FREE!

I try and image my life without people, and I can't image it because it makes my heart sad. I want and need an abundance of good people in life.

On that note, today, Thankful Thursday, I am sooooo Thankful for people.......

Call or text and connect or reconnect with someone whom you think is great today; It's medicine for the heart.

Happy Thankful Thursday!!!!

If you are in my life, just know that I totally appreciate you!!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

I never want to minimize anyone experiences, because whatever someone is going through may seem like a small hill to someone else but to the one that is going through it, it may seem like a huge mountain. But, there are some people who have really gone through the fire and are conformation that "nothing is impossible for us."

One Sunday while haphazardly watching some Sunday morning news, I saw this story on Laura Hillenbrand and Louis Zamperini, author and the man that the book Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience, an Redemption is based on, respectively. And I knew that I must find out Laura and Louie's story. To that end, I instantly downloaded the book and the journey began.

Let's start with Laura Hillerbrand, the author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken: A World War II story of Survival, Resilience, an Redemption. Laura has chronic fatigue syndrome and from 2007 to 2009, she never left her house. She had never met Louie face-to-face, but she wanted to tell his story. They did all of their communication through the telephone, and Laura wrote his story. Laura says of her writing "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually." To write this book she had to rely on old diaries, interviews, and the National Archives. Being that she can not leave her house, she had to rely on friends to go to the National Archives and dig through lots of papers in order to write this story. (If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible.) 

Laura Hillenbrand
Louie's story is a true testament that "nothing is impossible." Louie was a WWII soldier. During the war, the plane that he was on crashed during a rescue mission, and everyone on the plane was killed except Louie and two others. They floated on rafts for forty-seven days. Their journey on the life raft reminded me of Pi, from the The Life of Pi, who was was also stranded on a raft for quite along time. However, Louie's story is true, and Pi's was completely made up. 

Laura notes that faith determined who would survive the forty-seven days on the raft: 
"Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louie and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work toward survival, and each success renewed their physical  and emotional vigor. Mac's resignation seemed to paralyze him, and the less he participated in their efforts to survive, the more he slipped... Louie and Phil's optimism, and Mac's hopelessness were becoming self-fulfilling."
Needless to say, both Louie and Phil survived the ordeal, and Mac did not.....
This part of the book made me stop and think about how our view of things becomes self-fulfilling prophesies. Do you know people who always think and believe the worse and the worse always happens, and don't you know people who always expect things to work out and they always do. I wonder which person are you and I. Anyway.... I could take up the whole day to tell you about things that have happened in life that truly happened because of my faith: buying a condo with no money in the bank, loosing my wallet in New Orleans and everything worked out better than ok, quitting jobs and the next better job was right around the corner. (If you have faith the size of a mustard seed...)

After surviving being on the raft for forty-seven days, Louie and Phil were captured by the Japaneses and became Prisoners of War. The things that they went through were unimaginable, and I really wonder how did Louie and several other men survive such harsh treatment? But, they did. (Anything is possible.)

Today Louie is in his 90s and is still going strong. His story and Laura's story are both stories of faith and what can be done when we believe.

This book is a must read. You will learn so much about WWII, survival, faith, redemption and a whole lot more.

Listen to Louie's story:

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, speak to your situation.......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday: To Just Be A Girl Sometimes....

Friends In New Orleans

Okay, I know this will sound strange too some, and there are others who will get exactly what I am writing about. So, here it is...

I remember quite vividly being in college with a car, gas card, no bills, and feeling so grown and free. My only real responsibility was to not get put out school for no reason whatsoever.

Well, I remember not worrying about what I was going to eat, or how I was going to get some place, the bills, the job, people etc. All I know is that I was just a girl going with whatever....

Every now and then, I want to be just be a girl, if only for a weekend, and that is exactly what happened on my trip to New Orleans last week: We did not have any real cares. We were just girls who wanted to see what would happen.

Conya, who happened to be in the South for business, picked us up from the airport. We came from Philadelphia, Minnesota, and DC, and we all arrived at New Orleans' airport around the same time. (Serendipity!)

Conya picked us up!
Rachelle and Omiyoe were ready!
Jennifer was ready!

We proceeded to the hotel to check in and begin the weekend just being girls....................

Waiting to check in!
Hotel lobby.. waiting to check in!

And then it started....

Every now and then, it is medicine for the heart to just be a girl if only for a little while!!

Today, Thankful Thursday, I am sooooo grateful to just be a girl sometimes, and in the summer, most of the time.

Consider spending the day with someone who makes you feel youthful...............

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A Peaceful Run

Let's start with: I love where I'm from! I grew up in Mt.Vernon, Alabama, not far from Mobile, Alabama, where everbody knows each other. I've been visiting my sister, Janet, and I instantly reverted back to that Southern feeling: going to people houses to eat butter beans, waving at everyone person whom I see, eating fish that has come fresh out the water and dogs that are not on leashes...Oh the joys of the South.

Monday, I overslept and did not get the chance to run, and it rained that evening and so that canceled my evening run.

But Tuesday, I was determined to get my run in. Yes, it's hot in Alabama, but I still needed to run. I woke up at 8am, put on my running gear, got my water, and an apple and headed to park and run near the Middle School that I use to attend: Belsaw Middle School.

I started my run, and I really did not feel that hot. I thought "I can do this." I ran down one street and then the next street and my first mile was 10 minutes 30 seconds. However, all of a sudden, I started to feel like a slug; it was hot as s#%t and humid, and I felt like I was trying to run through a swimming pool, but I kept on chugging alone. I had to run at least four miles.

I turned down one street and there were two really small dogs who were not on leashes, and they were barking as loud as they could and running towards me. My heart started to race, and I know country dogs, and I knew that if I said "GET," they might leave me alone. So, I said "GET," but they continued to chase me. I was running and kicking at them at the same time. (Something like running kickboxing.) Finally, they turned back, but more dogs appeared barking to the top of their lungs. Maybe one was on a leash, and two were behinds gates, but the others, which seem to be about 5 to 10 of them, were not on leashes and were furiously barking. My heart was racing. I was screaming "leave me the f@#k alone." (Did I say that it was hot and humid, and I felt like I was trying to run in a swimming pool? So, you know I couldn't pick up much speed.) Finally, they left me alone. I turned down another street and there were even more dogs that were not on leashes. DAMN!!! ( I am really trying to understand why people just let their dogs run loose.)

Therefore, I spent the entire run trying to find streets that were dog free. (Impossible.) Finally, I decided to run on the main street with no shade, and remember that I am in that Alabama heat and it had to be the hottest morning of the year. So, I started to run/walk, because I was feeling faint and did not have a water bottle with me. I thought "I must make it to the Post Office," and I finally did. (I was so happy to see that Post Office.) I went inside The Post Office and basically begged for a cup of water, and the nice Post Office lady gave me a Styrofoam cup full of water. (What joy!) I gulped it down and proceeded to run/walk back to Belsaw Middle School so that I could make it to the car for relief from the heat and those dogs.

Well, I tried different streets on the way back, but every street had dogs that were not on leashes. Finally, I decided that I must pick up a stick and charge any dog that came my way. Most of the dogs saw me, and decided  that I was not worth the energy in the heat, but the same really, small ones that I saw at the beginning of the run, decided that they would try me again, but this time, I had my stick.

The stick didn't scare them, and they stayed on my heels until I got to the end of their street. (Those small dogs are the worse.)

Needless to say, I finished the run, but I could not help but think about my Peaceful Runs back in Virginia. (Oh, the little things.)

So, today, after that eventful run in Mt.Vernon, Alabama,  I am Thankful for my peaceful runs in the DC area where the dogs are on leashes and the heat, on most days, is bearable.

When I finally get home, and I go for a run, I will not complain about a d@#m thing, and I mean it.

There is no place like home....SWEET HOME ALABAMA!!!

Happy Thankful Thursday My People!!!!!!

Do something that brings you complete joy today.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why You're Not Married Yet by Tracy McMillan

Tracy McMillan
I read anything, anywhere. If I get a free moment; I will read: restaurant, bar, Starbucks, at a stoplight, work etc.

So, at the end of the school year, I had a little downtime, and I decided to read Yahoo news, and I saw this interview with Tracy McMillian discussing her book Why You're Not Married Yet. The caption went on to explain that an article written by Tracy on Why You're Not Married Yet for Huffington Post broke the record for being the online paper's most read article ever. So, you know that I had to check out the Huffington Post article and the book.

Ladies, if you are on your couch one day and your workout is done, the children are doing their thing, the house is clean and you've taken care of everything, and I mean everything, you should check this book out. I read this entire book in about two hours; not a difficult read at all. Also, I think that any woman whether married or not may enjoy this book and even get a few pointers. Think of it as a good, fun book instead of another book that is trying to tell us to fix ourselves so that we can get and keep a man.

Here are some of the top things that I got from this book:
  1. "If you want to be married, you need to express more love. Not get more love. Express it. Feel it. Be it. See it everywhere." (I think that this can be applied to all people and all love. Love makes the world go around, and we must be, do, and then we will have love.)
  2. "Marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when you feel that they don't necessary deserve it. And loving is always spiritual in nature-because people are flawed and it's hard to love flaws." (Practicing love......Wow! I love it.)
  3. "You're going to have to be nice." (It never hurts to be nice unless......)
  4. Love yourself, and trust your life, more than you love him. 
One thing that I must add is that Tracy seems to view being marriage as the ultimate happiness. She's been married three times, and based on what she writes at the end of the book, she will more than likely be getting married again soon. So, just like with any book, take what you need and leave the rest in the book.

So ladies, if you read the Huffington Post article that I have linked on this page, and you read this post about the book, you just about have the gist of the entire book.

Try it if you get a free moment, and let me know what you think.

Happy, Happy Monday...

I'm in the Sunny Alabama!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel
Let me say it again for the record: I love Toni Morrison. I think that her novels are some of the greatest books ever written. Her characters and storylines are completely fascinating and unforgettable. I am always curious to know what somebody like Toni Morrison reads. I can not image her enjoying an Eric Jerome Dickey book or even a Terry McMillian book. I would image that she reads books that are extremely thought provoking, well written, and full of information. Because her books are full of historical content and great details about humans and human behavior, I would image that most of the books that she read would be history or anthropology related. 

Toni is the reason that I read Wolf Hall. This is what she had to say about it in an interview with USA Today: "was so good, I had to go buy the book book, or whatever it's called now. When I like a book, I want to add my notes. Exclamation points! And questions marks! I want to corrupt it with my responses."

So, after reading this comment, I instantly downloaded Wolf Hall and has been held hostage by it for over a month. This book is mostly about Henry VIII and his strong desire to find a way out of his marriage to Katherine in order to marry Anne Boleyn. This novels has lots of characters and storylines and can be quite confusing. It took me sooooo long to read it, because it is not one of those books that I could read when I had a spare moment; I had to read it when I was fully engaged or the different storylines and many characters would have me completely confused. 

This is a book that I would totally expect Toni Morrison to enjoy, because it requires some of the highest levels of thinking in order to comprehend it. There were many times when I wanted to say f#ck it, but I kept on reading; there was no way that I was going to punk out on a book that is loved by Toni Morrison. (I had to prove that I can read books that are on her level!)

Hilary Mantel is an English writer who has received many accolades for this novel Wolf Hall, and I would only recommend it too someone who has something to prove like me or someone who is completely fascinated with King Henry VIII.

All I can say is "I's Free Now" and no longer held hostage by Wolf Hall!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Tuesday Night Rides

Last school year, the school where I currently teach started a biking club. Being that I love to bike, I asked the club's leader to put me on their email list. I would get emails about Tuesday night bike rides at FreshBikes. For whatever reason, I never did those rides. (Thank God that I never did those rides, because there was no way that me on my hybrid bike would have ever been able to take those hills.

This past spring when I got my new road bike, and I would get the emails from coworkers about bike rides, I would participate. So, one email was sent about the Tuesday night bike rides at Freshbikes. I inquired about the bike rides and no one told me that the ride was extremely hilly and quite difficult. My coworkers just stated that I should come out. And come out, I did!

My first ride was quite intimidating. The bikers were all suited up in their biking gear and their rock solid bodies. My initial thought was to not do the ride, but if you know anything about me, I do not shy away from challenges, and so I did the ride.

That first ride was completely awful. I had not idea that the hills were like Goliath from The Bible: huge giants. However, I thought about what God told Moses and his people: "Don't worry about the giants; go and possess the land." So, I decided that I would go back week after week and "possess the land."

I know the value of seeking wisdom, so I went and spoke with the school's Guru bike rider for pointers on how to slay Goliath. I drew diagrams on his board, and he gave me pointers. Boy, did it help. (Good counsel never hurts.) I've been going back week after week and Goliath is still a  threat, but he no longer frightens me. I see him on the course, but I instantly think  "I will possess the land."

An added bonus to the ride is that on the first Tuesday of each month, Freshbikes offers free food from Baja Fresh with beer after the bike rides. I love first Tuesday nights the most: good ride, good people, and beer. (Berhane, the best trainer in the world, I normally don't drink the beer, but Tuesday night I just had to have some. Please forgive me and don't make me pay for the beer when I do my next workout.)

Today, I am Thankful for Tuesday Night Bike Rides that are assisting me in meeting other riders and to get stronger and slay those giants.

Two friends and cyclist who came out to eat,
but did not ride. Something is just not right about that  :)

Getting Ready!

Gear on!

Check out Will's great blog about racing!

Sisters were ready!
The Group was in place!

The Group started!
Sitting on the ground eating after the race!

Eating and talking!

Working the Keg!

Baja Fresh tent!

Find things that you love to do, and do them often!

Happy Thankful Thursday......

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The 4th of July

I love this country! Even with its terrible history of horrible treatment of people of color, I still love this country. If life ever takes me on a journey, and I decide to live in another country, this country, The United States of America, will always be my home.

On the 4th of July, I always think of my ancestors and myself who were not included in The Constitution as humans but as property. However, through much blood shed and tears, we are here and free.

Today, I am focusing on what the 4th must have meant to a slave as stated by the honorable Frederick Douglass.

If you ever get a moment, you may want to take the time to read this document in its entirety:

Frederick Douglass: What to the Slave, Is the 4th of July?

Seize the Day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I can never say no to Rock Creek Park!

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is a "Jewel in the City." It has a stream, lots of woods, small picnic areas, running and biking trails and lots of nature. When a person is in Rock Creek Park, it is very difficult to remember that he is in DC. It feels like Georgia, Alabama, Lousiana or anywhere else that is known for having a lot of woody areas.

Today, one of the hottest days of the summer, it's 98 degrees, I met ladies from the group, Sassy Sister Cycling at 1pm to do a bike ride through Rock Creek Park. (Sounds crazy, but Rock Creek Park is very shady.)

I could have stayed in the air conditioning, but I can never resist a ride through the "Jewel in the City:" Rock Creek Park.

Riding Buddies

Getting Ready

The person who initiated this ride on one of the hottest days of the
summer so far. She is fanning!

The Stream in Rock Creek Park.

Me in Rock Creek Park.

You must experience Rock Creek Park!

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