Monday, December 30, 2013

From the Kitchen of Half Truth by Maria Goodin

I absolutely loved every page of this enchanting story!

A mother, Valerie, tells her daughter, Meg, a lot of very awesome stories about Meg's life and therefore Meg has to go through quite a bit in order to find out the truth about her life.

Meg's mother is dying of cancer and when Meg goes home to stay with her mother during her last days, Meg learns a lot about herself and her mother.

Maria tells this story in a way that made me very happy. All of the stories that the mother tells her daughter are quite enchanting, and they left me feeling warm inside.

At the end of this story, the reader learns about all of the people whom Valerie has touched through her generosity, the life of Meg, and the life of Valerie. And all of this made for a story that is good for the soul.

I got the feeling that after the death of Valerie, Meg was going to be all right.

What a great read for 'such a time as this.'

I hope that you are enjoying this season as much as I am.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Please Know.......

I wish I had the words for the JOY and Gratitude that I feel today because of God's favor........

My People favor feels sooooooo good....................

Get Ready......Your favor is coming!!

Happy Friday!!!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

After reading The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, I really wanted to read another good story. I did not want something that I had to analyze to deeply; I just wanted a good story that was good for my soul.

I searched and searched and read about a lot of books. Finally, I ran across an article from The Huffington Post titled "African American Books: 20 Books That Every African American Should Read (Readers' Choice)." On that list was this book titled The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, and after reading the synopsis, I decided to give it a try.

Well, this book satisfied my thirst for a great story....

This is a story about a bi-racial girl named Rachael who has a very complicated life and is sent to live with her grandmother after a family tragedy. This book is quite suspenseful, and Heidi does a great job of tying together a few stories in order to create a heartwarming story of identity, love, life's complexity and on and on.

There were many things in this story that felt familiar, and familiarity always makes me feel warm; just like running into a childhood friend a long way from home.

This was Heidi W. Durrow's first novel, and I give it two thumbs up.

Heidi Durrow and her first book!

Ain't nothing like a good book on Christmas Day!!!

Merry Christmas, My People...

My next read is what I hope is another good story: From the Kitchen of Half Truth by Maria Goodin.

Merry Christmas, My People!

My people, mom is in her chair snapping green beans, and I am in another chair reading and drinking coffee.

I have learned over the years that....

This is the DAY...... Rejoice and be GLAD!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don't Wait for 'Motivation!'

I  hear a lot about motivation, and I really have a hard time with motivation. I'm not quite sure what it is, or if it is a good thing in our lives.

I hear people saying things like "I am not motivated to work out," or "I need some motivation to get started with this task."

When I hear these type of statements, I usually think that this person is waiting on something or someone to come and get them started, and normally "Ain't nobody coming, especially motivation!"

It's really about just "Doing It." And "It" is whatever needs to be done.

I have starting riding my bike with this racing team, and we do a 40 to 50 mile bike ride EVERY Saturday and Sunday morning in the cold weather. Yep, in the cold weather. There is not one weekend morning where motivation comes into my house and gets me. I never think "I can't wait to ride my bike in 34 degree weather." I never get that feeling at all. But, when the alarm goes off, I hit the floor, and I go and ride with my team. It's just what I do. Motivation does not come. I just get up and do it, and the joy that I feel afterwards can not be described. I normally call my friend, Tim, after the ride and excitedly give him all of the details. After the ride, my energy level and happiness are to the sky literally.

Motivation never helps me to do things that need to be done like cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, teaching good lessons, working out.... I just get up and do these things!!!

I must give a warning to the wise: "Don't Wait for Motivation; It Ain't Coming!"

Happy Tuesday, and Get Up and Do it......

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

The Good Lord Bird is one of the most fascinating books that I have read in awhile...

This book is a historical fiction satire that looks at the life of the abolitionist John Brown. Now, I have always been fascinated with John Brown, and I have traveled, quite often, to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia to where John and twenty-one of his followers, courageously, tried to get ammunition to arm a slave rebellion. John Brown was determined to end slavery.

Abolitionist John Brown!

Well, James McBride tells this comical story through the eyes of a twelve year old boy who John nicknamed "Onion." There were times when I was reading this book when I was literally laughing out loud.

McBride shows John as a religious fanatic who would misquote The Bible, break out in a loud prayer at the drop of a dime, and he shows John as a man who really wanted to end slavery.

Also, McBride has appearances in the book from abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. Now, many may find the portrayal of the honorable Frederick Douglass as offensive, but I reminded myself that this was McBride's fictional interpretation of Frederick, and I found myself chuckling. I loved his portrayal of Sojourner Truth as this strong woman who was working to preach the truth about Jesus and slavery; she wanted 'her people' free.

There is a message to this story, and I found the message to be quite refreshing......

We all know that John Brown did not succeed in his attempt at Harpers Ferry, but we must admire his courage to try and arm a rebellion against the institution called slavery.

McBride, what a great, feel-good book!!!

Read and enjoy another look at history.....

This great read has me frantically searching for another great read; any suggestions "My People?"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day!

A friend gave me this poinsettia, and every time that I look at it, it's like "Sunshine on a Cloudy Day!"

Happy 'Hump Day,' My People!

Monday, December 9, 2013

That Girl Is On FIRE......

Ladies, we CAN be HOT at any age....

The HAIR. The BODY. The DRESS. That MAN!!!!!

Let the church say AMEN.

Yea, They Matter.....

I so believe that it is important for people to know their numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body fat etc.

I, like many other people, hate going to get my routine physical, because I do not want to hear any bad news. A few years back, I was told that my cholesterol was a little high, and I went into a total panic, and then I went straight into action.

So, I am not proud to say that my last physical was around June 2012, about a year and a half ago. I had been putting it off, but eventually I had to face the music. So...

June 2012
  • Overall cholesterol went from 209 to 180 (less than 200 hundred is good),
  • My bad cholesterol (LDL) went from 127 to 102 (Below 130 is good, but under 100 is optimum),
  • My good cholesterol (HDL) stayed at 73 (60 and above is optimum),
  • My Triglycerides went from 43 to 29 (Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food and the body. A high triglyceride level has been linked to higher risk of coronary artery disease. A number under 150 is good, and I am at 29. Thank You Jesus!)
  • My Vitamin D is normal (I take Vitamin D everyday religiously.)
  • My blood pressure went from 120 to 100. (120 is optimum and 100 or less is athletes and children's blood pressure.)

December 2013
  • Overall cholesterol is 174, six points lower than 2012.
  • My bad cholesterol is 92, ten points lower than 2012.
  • My good cholesterol is 74, one point higher than 2012.  (This is a number that we want to see go up.)
  • My Triglycerides is 38, higher than it was in 2012, but still in a good range.
  • and my Vitamin D and Blood Pressure are still good.

Yep, I am boldly putting my numbers out there, and I hope that this inspires someone else to get to the doctor and 'know your numbers.'

Yes, it can be frightening, but we can not do anything about our numbers unless we know them.

Ignorance can be bliss but not when it comes to our health!!!

My people, let's not just let life happen…...

Today, I am grateful for a snow day, which means a day off from work, and good numbers....

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Local Girls by Alice Hoffman

What an enchanting story!

Two of my students did a report on this book, and I had to read it.....

This story is about friendship, and following one's path, and compassion, and not so perfect families, and hope, and childhood joy and pain, and lost and..... so much more.

This story centers around a girl named Gretel and her lifelong friend, Jill. Both girls have a lot going on in their families, but their friendship is what helps them to make it through the tough times. Alice shows us, through this story, that women friendships are necessary and priceless. She also shows that our lives can take different directions, and we can continue to be in a friendships with our girlfriends if we could only accept that everyone has the right to live her life anyway that he she wants to.

In this novel, Alice's writing is simple and enchanting. She switches from 1st to 3rd person point of view and this was very effective for this story. It was great to see this story from the eyes of someone who was not in the story, but it was also great to get first hand accounts as well.

This is a fairly simple read, but it is quite rich!!!

If you want a book with some very deep messages, but written in a light-hearted fashion, try this book!

Right now in the DC area it is lightly snowing, and I am about to curl up on my sofa with a book that was recommended by my sister Dot: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. I am hoping that school will be closed tomorrow so that I can spend the day reading and relaxing.

Happy Sunday, My People, and GET TO READING!!!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

One thing that I know for sure is that Khaled Hosseini is a master storyteller. He can tell a story that will leave an imprint on a reader's mind for quite a long time.

I remember when I read The Kite Runner many moons age, I was so moved by the characters, and it took me quite a long time to get them off of my mind. A Thousand Splendid Sun is a must read; this story is riveting and my heart went out to the women in this incredible story. And, Hosseini does the exact same thing in And The Mountains Echoed; he tells a darn good story.

There is a character, Pari, who was sold by her father to a husband and wife who could not have children. There was Pari's stepmother, Nila, whom I could identify with once I knew her story. There was Masooma's who was left paralyzed after a fall. There was, Nabi, the older brother of Pari, who arranged for Pari to to be sold.....

Khaled writes this books as if it is nine different tales with each tale told from a different characters perspective. Yep, I loved all of the characters' stories, but they were disjointed and left me wondering how did the stories fit together.

Individually, all nine chapters were great stories, but when I put them together, I am not sure if all of the pieces fit together.

Khaled is a great writer, and I enjoyed this book, but it left a little to be desired!!

However, I still think that it is a novel that definitely should be put on your reading list.

My next read is Local Girls by Alice Hoffman; why don't you join me?

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.......

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We MUST Live, Live, Live Until We Die......

Well, today I turned 43 years old.....

Yep, 43 years old and I have had conflicting feelings about turning 43...

Can I still go to bars for happy hour? Can I still run and jump and be silly? Can I still laugh until tears run down my eyes? Can I still wear shorts and tank tops? Can I wear low-rider jeans? Can I still listen to rap music extremely loud in my car?

For just a little while, these are just a few of the things that I was pondering. Just for a minute, I was putting myself into this huge BOX that was created by me. At first I wanted to blame society, but I had to point the finger at me, because I have NEVER listened to society before.

I had to have a heart to heart talk with myself, and let myself know that I can still do all the things that I love to do like laugh, run, jump, skip, crack jokes, get really silly at Homecoming, go out on a school night, or do anything else that my heart so desires.....

My people, as stated by Toni Morrison in Song of Solomon, “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” And so, My People, I had to give up the age limitations that I was about to put on my life.....

With my new mindset, 43 is all right with me!

We MUST Live, Live, Live Until We Die.......

Birthday Love!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stand Still and Know That I am God!

The great poet, Nikki Giovanni, stated that there is no such things as writer's block. She believes that, sometimes, a person just may not have anything to write about. So, let me share my experience with what may or may not be write's block.

My writings come from my muse, my Guiding Spirit. I know that may sound crazy, but it is the absolute truth. Normally, I will sit down to write about a book or anything else, and the words just come to me. I never have to ponder how or what to write, the words just typically flow. And, that is why I have to do a lot of editing, because I allow my muse to use me, and then I go back and fix the problems that I can see.....

Since my last post, which was on October 17th, my muse must be taking a nap, because I have not been able to write. Yep, I finished reading Song of Solomon, and I had lots of incredible thoughts this time around, but for some reason, my muse has been telling me that it is not time to put those ideas into words, and I have obeyed. I know that the Song of Solomon post is coming, but I am not quite sure when. 

I have had some quite incredible things happen, some very good and some not so good, but I have been told to "stand still and know that I am God." So, I have been standing still. There are some things that I have been wanting to shout from the mountain top, but I have been reminded to "stand still and know that I am God."

So, I am sure that my muse will 'rise up' and summons me to write, but until then...

Know that I LOVE You!

"Stand Still and Know That I am God!"

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen and Listen So Your Husband Will Talk by Rick Johnson

So, I think that everyone may benefit from having someone in her life whom she share information with. Someone who listens, offers advice, shares, solicits advice, encourages.....

Well, that's what my sister, Tracy, and I do for each other; We are constantly evaluating ourselves, giving and receiving advice, encouraging one another etc.

Tracy is a sucker for books that are discounted. She saw this book on the sale racks and decided to read it because it sounded interesting, and she also thought that she may be able to use it as an aid to counsel people. (Yep, she's a minister who counsels people.) After she started to read this book, she sent me a text to tell me that it was really good, and she wanted me to read it so that we could discuss it.

You know that I am a sucker for a good book, so I downloaded this book, and I found it surprisingly enlightening.

Tracy and I both agree that this book should have been given a different title. Yep, the title is misleading, because this book is about sooooo much more than how to talk and listen to your husband. We tried to come up with a more appropriate title, and as of right now, we have not come up with one.

This book uses quite a few scriptures to explain the qualities of a good man, gives women the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with their fathers, and also provides insights about men and women that gave me a lot to think about.

I definitely think that this book would be great for married women to read, but I also think that single, dating women would benefit even more from this book. This is one of those books that I will reach for over and over for help with navigating through dating...

I know that there are women out there who are reading this post and thinking "I would never read something like this," but I challenge you to open your mind and grow....

Happy Reading People!!!

By the way, I also just finished reading Song of Solomon for the 1 millionth time, and my thoughts about this go around will be coming soon.

Knowledge is Power...... 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Note Gave Me a Boost Today!

On 'Back To School Night,' I asked the parents to write anything on a note card that they wanted me to know about their children....

Well, today I opened my desk drawer and came across the above note!

This note gave me the boost to strive to do some of my best teaching today and everyday!

Happy Tuesday!

I hope that all of you, My Readers, receive something today that inspires today.....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oh, What A Night!

My Toni Morrison Collection!

Yesterday, after work I went for a run, went to the grocery store, cooked, and then I decided around 8pm that it was time for me to read... I went to look for my Nook, and lo and behold, I thought that I had left it at school. For a brief moment, I almost went into panic. I only watch the news, and I had already watched enough. I am not fond of talking on the phone at night, and there was no way I was going to read another book when Song of Solomon was on my brain. Soooo, I was desperately trying to figure out what was I going to do from 8pm until I fell asleep.

I decided that I could read Song of Solomon in book form until I could get to my Nook. I checked the Toni Morrison section of my bookshelves, AND I have eleven Toni Morrison books on my shelf, but no Song of Solomon. (What the HELL, No Song of Solomon!)

So, I was forced to watch TV until I fell asleep!!!! (HATED IT!)

This morning when I got in my car to go to work, there was my Nook, sitting on the front seat!!

Oh, What A Night....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

One of my students did a presentation on Funny in Farsi. The presentation was so entertaining until I felt that I must read it, and I did.

Funny in Farsi is a memoir about an Iranian family's experiences of moving to the United States....

This book has a lot of humor and was quite enlightening in so many ways.

For instance, she explains that "Unlike America, where only the wealthy have live-in servants, in Iran even middle-class families employ full-time help," and that "as a group, Iranians are among the most educated and successful immigrants in this country."

This is such a great story of a family who really appreciates being in America. Firoozeh's father was a quite wealthy man in Iran, but in American he was not wealthy at all. However, he stated that "I'm a rich man in America, too. I just don't have a lot of money." My people, what a great way to look at life......

I am planning to pair this book with Under the Feet of Jesus by Maria Viramontes in order to look at immigrant experiences in the United States, and I hope that my seniors and I walk away from this pairing with a lot to think about....

If you want to learn about an Iran's family experience of migrating to the United States, then I think that this is a good book to read.

My people, "Literature is a Big Sea Full of Many Fish." There are so many books out there that need to be read .......(Gosh, reading is like running a race with no finish line!)

Firoozeh Dumas

Next week I will be discussing Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison with my seniors, so that is my next read. This is only my 1,000,000,000,000 time reading this book, and I am still excited about!!!

Read, Read, Read... My People!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Seagull Century #2: What a Difference a Year Makes!

2013 Seagull Century Riding Partner:
Floyd who is 75 years old!

Last year, I showed up for The Seagull Century Ride, and I did not know anyone. I just knew that I wanted to ride the Seagull Century. Well, if you read that blog about that weekend, you know that I took one step, and God opened the doors wide, literally.

Well, what a difference a year makes.....

This year, I showed up, and I knew a lot of the other riders. This past year, I’ve met so many riders from all over the place.

The Friday before The Seagull Ride, I had the honor of riding with a group of cyclist who represented different cycling clubs, and My People, I was happy to be in that number!!

The Seagull Century Ride, itself, was just as awesome as last year's, complete with great people, food, weather, and scenery....

This year, I thought a lot about happiness, peace, and the NOW. And, I really believe that it is important that we all find things that bring us complete joy, and we must do those things. Also, what we love to do can not be dependent upon one person; the world is full of people so, why would we depend upon one person?

I can not even began to tell you how happy and at peace I am when I cycle with people. My happiness levels goes to the roof, and I know that happiness is medicine for the heart.

I sat on the beach the day after the ride, and the words that I continued to say over and over were "Thank You." I was saying these words to my creator, because I am so thrilled that I am in the place where I really, truly and deeply appreciate Right Now. On that beach, sitting with a friend, is exactly where I was suppose to be at the moment, and I made sure that I was present by appreciating every detail that surrounded me.

I noticed this man with two small children whom I assumed were his. One of the girls did a cartwheel, and then the dad did a cartwheel. Something about a grown man doing a cartwheel really made me glad.

This is a cartwheel!

Then the dad proceeded to stand on his head, and the girls were saying "Don't do that, you might hurt yourself." This made me chuckle. However, when this man stood on his head, this made me laugh OUT LOUD! I just happened to catch the headstand!

When we are present in every moment, JOY shows up everywhere...

My people, I will be doing The Seagull Century Ride for years to come, because it is good for my heart, body, and soul...

Get to living, My People...Tomorrow is not promised!

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