Friday, June 28, 2013

Where The Lines Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward

Don't waste your time....Really!!!

Jesmyn starts this book with a quote from Genesis in The Bible. The quote is about Rebekah whose twins struggled with each other while Rebekah was pregnant with them. Then she introduces these twins named Christopher and Joshua. This seems like the making for a good story right? Well, Jesmyn never develops this story.

I was expecting for the twins to have a fight and split-up and there would be some drama, but nothing like that happened at all. Jesmyn tells this story of the twins who were raised by their grandmother. They graduate from high school and one twin gets a job at a shipyard and the other twin starts selling drugs. There is an absent mother and father who reappear in their lives, but Jesmyn does absolutely nothing with any of this, and she basically just ends this story, leaving a lot to be desired.

This book has all the makings for a good story, but just like Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn fails to deliver a good story.

Jesmyn.... REALLY?

My people, don't waste your time or money......

Disappointed for sure!

My next read is Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What I Know for Sure Thursday: Nothing Just Happens; We Need a PLAN, and We Must Implement It!

Last summer with all of my free time that I was extremely Thankful forI posted a blog every Thursday that was called Thankful Thursday, and I wrote about things that I am Thankful for: Coworkers, Change, Weekend Getaways, Where I Live, Words, People, To be a Girl Sometimes, Peaceful Runs, and on and on. I know that many of my readers appreciated Thankful Thursdays just as much as I did. Those post really helped me to focus on the many things that I have to be Thankful for, and I hope that it helped my readers to do the same.

I have lived on this planet for 40 plus years, and there are times when I feel unsure about some things. However, Zora Neale Hurston stated in Their Eyes Were Watching God that “There are years that ask questions and years that answer," and I think that I am in the years that answer questions phase of life. There are still things that I am unsure about, but there are sooooo many things that I know for sure.

So, every Thursday this summer I will write about some of the things that "I Know For Sure!"

And one thing that I definitely know for sure is that nothing just happens; we need a plan.......

Most people can not decide today that they are going to go on a vacation tomorrow. Most of us need to plan. We need to pick a date, select a location, decide if we are going to fly, drive, catch a bus, maybe decide upon what we want to do when we get to our destination, decide if we want to pay for the activities in advance. AND, we need a plan! We can talk about the trip everyday, but the trip is not going to happen without a plan that we implement.

You know that I love for my summers to be filled with adventures and activities, and nothing will happen in my summer if I do not have a plan. Around March I start to think about my summer, and not only do I think about it, but I start to make plans, I put ideas on my calender, pay deposits, buy plane tickets, contact people to see who will join me on some of my excursions. I know that without a plan, I will waste my entire summer doing absolutely nothing.

I know that I love the House Music picnic in Chicago, and it is always held at the same park the weekend after the 4th of July. I checked the website around March for the details, I booked my flight around April, and I booked my hotel around May. Then, I started to let people know of my plan, and one of my friends whom I have known since high school, and she currently lives in San Francisco, will be joining me on that trip. Now, the only plan that we have in Chicago is the House Music picnic, and we will see what else happens. One thing about Chicago is that the downtown is sooooo awesome, you really don't need a plan for every moment, because there is lots to do; biking trails, shopping, the beach etc.

However, I know that I needed a plan and I needed to implement it in order for this trip to take place.

We need plans people........

And, we need a plan for almost every area of our lives, because it is totally irresponsible to let life just happen. Of course things come up, and we will need to adjust our plan, but we still need to have a plan in order to get started.

I plan my workout times to make sure that I do them, I plan what I am going to eat so that I will not end up at some fast-food restaurant, I plan when I will see friends and my Momma, because they are important. (I know that it would be a crime, punishable by death, to have an entire summer off and not spend at least one week with my Momma.) I am already mentally planning for the next school year, I am starting to plan for my century bike ride in October, I am starting to plan for Tuskegee's homecoming that is in November....Plan, Plan, Plan or nothing will happen!

I met with a friend a few weeks back, and we both realized that she had never really sat down and thought about what it is that she wants for her life, and since she does not know, she seems to be running around in circles. We talked about her doing some serious thinking, getting out her comfort zone, and coming up with a plan for her life and implementing it. (Time ain't waiting on us!)

People, we must name what we want, come up with a plan, and go get it.......

I think about how I want my life to look at 50, 60, and 70......and today, I am constantly working the plan to have the life that I want....

People, one thing that I know for sure is that nothing happens without a plan...

Consult your creator, and get to planning and implementing.

Happy "What I Know For Sure" Thursday!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Peace is the Word of the Day!

My summer break started, and I instantly went into that "peace that passes all understanding" frame of mind which means that I am feeling relaxed and clear, and it would take a whole bunch to get me upset right now.

This has been an exciting week news wise with Paula Deen, whom I dislike because of her display of lack of social responsibility by creating some of the most unhealthy recipes in the world, The Zimmerman trial, and The Supreme Court doing their thing. I have thought a lot about these things, and I have been following them closely. But, I will not engage with people on these topics, because they stir up a lot of emotions, and it's summer, and I am in a relaxed state of mind, and I will not get pulled into ANYBODY'S craziness.....

I've been teaching a nine day class to high school students who are planning to take more advance classes in the fall. (I'm teaching this class to help students, but I am also teaching this class to make money for my summer fun!) The class starts at 10:15 and ends at 12:50. So, I have had time in the mornings to workout and meet a friend for breakfast before I go to teach. In the afternoons, I have cooked some quite awesome meals, taken naps, rode my bike, read while sitting on my balcony, watched a lot of news, and Be Still......

I was with some friends this past weekend who are doing great things in their careers, and they are working some long, crazy hours. Man, you know that I respect people who work long hours, year round, and do not complain. One of my friends stated that he has not had a vacation in quite awhile, and he is okay with that, and you know what? I am too. There are different strokes for different folks, and I so respect that. People get their peace in different ways....

Normally, after school ends, it takes me awhile to wind down, but this time around, I slide right into PEACE......

Peace is the word of the day!!

It's SUMMER "My People!"

According to the Bible, we must "Pursue Peace!"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Almost 24 hours.......

Members of my running group!

Saturday, I hit the floor at 5am in order to meet my running group at 6am for our every Saturday run. After the run, I tried to go back to bed. However, working out gets me hyped, and it takes me awhile to cool down. So, since I couldn't sleep, I washed and curled my hair and headed to Wholefoods to have my Saturday morning omelet. (I love Wholefoods!))

After I left Wholefoods, I ventured to DC to buy a pair of silver hoop earrings from Eastern Market. I shopped for awhile, bought my silver hoops, and listened to this awesome band that was playing at this outdoor market.

Eastern Market

After listening to the band for awhile, I scurried back to the community center in my little town in order to attend a program for the unveiling of murals that were being dedicate to honor Alexandria’s African American history makers and historical sites. Alexandria has an amazing African American history and presence that I love to experience and hear about, and there was no way that I could miss this unveiling.

As I was crossing the street to attend the program, I heard someone calling my name, and it was Stephanie from my book club. I have not seen Stephanie in awhile, and I was thrilled to see her, but not surprised, because I see her at just about every community event that I attend.

Me and Stephanie

It was great to see one of my neighbors and other familiar faces at this heartwarming event. There was a reception with lots of food and a very lively program. One of the speakers was a lady who is a founding member of the local graduate chapter of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and she gave this speech that fired the crowd up, and gave us a lot to think about.

She talked about learning from old textbooks that were given to them from the neighboring White high school, and she also spoke of the gymnasium that was also used as the auditorium and the fact that it was inadequate for both purposes. But, she also stated that they did not allow these conditions to stop them from succeeding, because they had a determination to succeed. When she finished, everyone was on his/her feet having a hallelujah moment.

The mural was unveiled, and there was another event that I wanted to check out so, I made my way over to Southeast DC for this all day dance party. It was in a really cool place, but there was no air conditioner, and there was no way that I was staying.

However, by this time, I got a call from a friend who asked me to go to a women's football game with her, and she also told me that another one of our friends and his wife were putting food on the grill, and they wanted us to come by. The friend who was putting food on the grill was my friend whom I wrote about in another post who, he and is wife, are master's at getting people together. So, you know that I could not miss this event.

Well, we made an appearance at the game which was something that I had never seen before: women all suited up in football gear playing tackle football. (Oh My!) It was very entertaining to say the least.

We got to our friends' house just in time to eat, talk trash, and socialize until 3:30 in the morning. Yep, 3:30 in the morning...

Now remember, my day started at 5am, and I left the party around 3:30am and arrived home around 3:45!

Holy Cow, I stayed awake for almost 24 hours.. Wasn't trying to, but I was not trying to either!

Sometimes, you just have to go with it.....

Almost 24 hours......It is summer for sure!!!

Ohhhhhh The Joys of Summer!!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Health Journey Update....

(Warning: Quite a bit of rambling!)

I am feeling really good about where I am with my body. I am at a size that I like, I am doing track practice in order to become stronger and a faster runner, my biking is coming along nicely, and my workouts with Berhane are getting tougher and tougher.

Throughout the winter I continued to run and bike and workout with Berhane, and I really have made leaps and bounds with my diet. I have tried quite a few recipes, thanks to sources such as the blogs Black Girls Guide to Weight Lost and Gluten Free Goodness, that I am quite pleased with.

I have been thinking a lot about how do a person maintain weight lost? Talking to Berhane, it dawned on me how to maintain weight lost, and it is really simple. We must focus on the correct numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, the amount of weights that we lift, our running speed and time, etc. instead of the number on the scale. We must always be working on our fitness level and diets, all of the time, in order to maintain weight lost and be fit and healthy. So, now that I am smaller than I was before, I must continue to work on my fitness level and closely monitor my diet in order to maintain the weight lost and be fit and healthy. If I only concentrate on the diet and not the fitness piece, I may not gain the weight back, but I more than likely will not be fit. If I only concentrate on the fitness part and not the diet, then I will definitely gain the weight back and not be healthy. Diet and Fitness and Health go hand in hand.

Let's talk about the diet piece. There is no way that I will run like crazy on a track in this summer heat, bike some of the hilliest roads in the DC area, let Berhane work me to the point where I literally want to beat him up, and turn around and eat anything from McDonald's or put ANYTHING in my mouth that will sabotage those crazy ass workouts. I can burn about 1000 calories in one workout, and turn around and have a meal from McDonald's that is over 1000 calories, and there goes my workout. Well....I ain't doing that for sure. We can not compete with what we eat. I do splurge every now and then, and believe me when I say that the splurges are calculated and worth it.

Check out those calories for one meal!

I've completely fallen in love with vegetables, and I prepare them all types of healthy, delicious ways. We must constantly tweak our diets in order to not get bored and go back to eating foods that caused us to gain the weight in the first place. So, it is important to sample a variety of foods and recipes so that our taste buds get use to different favors and textures.

For instance, Berhane told me that I should try cottage cheese, because it is high in protein and is good for the body. When I first tried it, I could not stomach the taste. But every day for awhile, I would eat one spoon full, and now I absolutely love it, and it is one of my favorite snacks. Our taste buds is just like our bodies, they can get use to almost anything.

With the fitness piece, there is always another level that we can go to. For instance, I have been running with my running group on Saturdays for years. However, the group also does track workouts to work on speed. This year, after being coerced by Berhane, I decided to give track workouts a try in order to get stronger and run faster, and the bonus is that sprinting and running faster burns a hell of a lot of calories which helps me to not only get stronger and more fit, but it helps me to maintain my weight lost. Because remember, as we get smaller, we must increase the intensity of our workouts in order to not plateau and to change the way that our bodies look. Also, taking the fitness to new levels makes our important numbers better: cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, and our hearts absolutely love it.

Also, I know that we all love when our boyfriends, girlfriends, mates, husband tells us that they do not notice when we gain weight. But as for me and my house, I want my boyfriend, husband, friends, and trainer to notice when or if I slack on my workouts and eating habits and start to gain weight. I want the friendly reminder, because this is an area of my life where I NEED people to notice and alert me. I am striving to be healthy and fit until I die, and I need my army to rise and be honest with me.

On that note, Berhane wanted me to stop eating beans for awhile, and you know that I love me some beans. So, after not eating beans for awhile, I just had to have some lentils, and so I cooked and ate lentils for about three days. I had to eat them ALL right? I couldn't throw them away. Well, when I walked in to work out with Berhane, he touched my stomach and stated "cut the carbs." Really??? How the hell did he know that I had been eating those delicious lentils? The body does not have a clue how to keep a secret, and it tells every damn thing for sure. Nope, I did not like Berhane that day, but I truly appreciate that he keeps me honest and that is what I want from everyone in life; hold me to high standards all of the time.

I've had to learn the hard way that I can bike in a century (100 miles) ride; hike to the top of Mount Everest; run a ultra-marathon on a woody trail, which is equivalent to running the length of a football field 461 times; do crazy ass workouts with Berhane eight times a week; and I can still be overweight, unhealthy, and not fit if I do not watch my diet. That's the truth, My people.........

So, my health journey is going very well. I've grown by leaps and bound, and I ain't turning back no time soon, and that's for sure.......

Now remember, this is not 'The Truth' but 'My Truth!'

Go out and do something today that is absolutely awesome for your body!

Happy Saturday, My People!

I just can't give up now...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner

Now you know that I absolutely love books and will give almost any book a try right?

I read every tedious page of Water For Elephants even though I wanted to give up many times, and I really valued the historical lesson that I learned about the circus. I also read every arduous page of Wolf Halland I actually understood it and enjoyed it.

As you can see, I'm definitely not a quitter.......

So, after reading Light in August by William Faulkner, which is a very rich text, I really wanted another good story so I decided to try Faulkner again.

I read over 100 pages of Absalom, Absalom, and I have no clue what happened in those 100 pages. With Absalom, Absalom, Faulkner uses a technique called circumlocution which is where an author approaches his material in circular movements rather than heading directly to the heart of the story. The reader gradually becomes aware of events, facts, motivations, and emotions, and for some reason, I just could not keep all of the events and characters straight. I would follow one story and think that I had grasped it, and then he would go in a completely different direction with these long, convoluted sentences that really left me confused.

To this end, I will not be reading the rest of Absalom, Absalom. 

I'm not a Quitter, but I do know when to Quit!

My next read is Where the Heart Bleeds by Jasmyn Ward. If you can remember, I definitely did not care for Jasmyn's book Salvage the Bones, but since she teaches in my home state, I can't give up on her yet....

Do some sho' nuff good laughing this weekend....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Even Teachers Need Reassurance.......

Happy, Happy, Happy.....

This Is It!!!!!!

Today is the very last day of school for this school year....

This chapter is closed, finished, done.

One of the many things that I really love about the teaching profession is that we are given the opportunity to close everything down and start again. God gives us second, third, fourth..... chances to work towards perfection....

Let the Fun Begin!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Foxy: My Life In Two Acts by Pam Grier with Andrea Cagan

Pam Grier

This lady runs, shot guns, does martial arts, cooks, takes care of horses, has a career, is independent, chooses herself, and is one of my sheroes: female hero!......

Foxy: My Life in Two Acts has been on my Nook for quite awhile, and I just got around to reading it.

In this memoir, Pam tells a very humble story of becoming 'Foxy Brown.'

Pam had a mom "who believed very strongly that women needed to know they could fend for themselves...." (P.11)

From dating NBA superstar, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to the comedian, Richard Pryor, Pam always chose herself. Kareem wanted her to deny herself and let him take care of her, but she refused and chose herself. Being with Richard Pryor put her health, her life, and career in danger, and she chose herself.

Being in the movie industry world, Pam had many opportunities to do drugs, have affairs with married men, date men who were not nice to their mothers, date men whom she wanted to save, but she always chose herself.

I really enjoyed this memoir, and I am so happy that Pam decided to write it. There was a recurring theme in this book: If we stick to what we believe in and chose ourselves, everything will be all right.

Pam, is my "sheroe"!!!!

Pam Grier

My next read is Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner. After reading Faulkner's Light in August, I really need more of William.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Relay for Life.....

Image from the Event!

On Saturday, Relay for Life was held at the school where I currently teach...

Relay for Life is an organized, overnight team activity where people walk around a track to raise money for cancer. There are lots of games and activities throughout the evening and night; it was sort of like a field day that is held at schools where people play football, throw frisbees, and do a lot of plain old running around and having fun in the name of raising money for cancer.

Quite a few of my colleagues and I were chaperons for the two teams that were formed by our students.

I signed up for the 5pm until 12am shift, and I almost made it. However, around 11pm, I just couldn't stay up another minute, and I was relieved of my duties. (Grateful, for great co-workers who are understanding of my need for sleep.)

You should have seen those kids at Relay for Life. They were laughing, playing games, clowning around, grilling hot dogs and being children. It felt so good to be a part of their army. The kids basically put their teams together, organized everything, and they just needed us, the chaperons, to show up and be in their army, and we did.

Opening Ceremony!

Kids being Kids!

Kids Being Kids!

People, there is so much that needs to be done in the world: homeless people to feed, children to nurture, cancer to cure.... Let's rise up!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's Dads' Day,

Mom, Daddy, and Me!

and I never take for granted the favor of being raised in the house with both my Dad and mom, and them together always making me feel like I could fly and walk on water by fully supporting my many endeavors. I know that having my father in my life was not a given, but a honor and privileged that I do not take lightly. I am grateful that God saw fit for my parents to meet, get married, work through the good and bad times, and together give me all that I needed and so much more.

Today, I am honoring my father, but I know that he could not do what he did for me without my mother. So, today I am not only honoring my father, but I am honoring my mother as well.

I never take for granted my mother and father team: Team Stallworth....

Feeling Blessed and Highly Favored on Father's Day!!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Chimes and Summer Wines by Ellen Bheachain


Summer Chimes and Summer Wines
Listening to the summer chimes, 
Of summer sounds of summer time, 
Bringing all that nature is, 
That shows and sounds like, 
Summer chimes, 

Chimes of soft winds, 
Chimes of soft river streams, 
Sounds that say of that time and season, 
That summer time sounds so sweet, 
It rings the sounds of summer chimes, 
With rays of sunlight streaming by, 
Summer chimes with summer wines, 

Can be the momentum interludes of summer times, 
When summer time is to be, 
There in natures places, 
Full of bloom and hidden places, 
Listening to the summer chimes, 
Of summer time, 
And sitting and drinking, 
A summer wine,

With the summer chimes, 
And summer wines, 
With summer and its nature sounds, 
Bringing out the musical chimes, 
Of summer sounds, 
Along with summer chance, 
And the per chance that evolves, 
Bringing summer chimes, 
With summer wines, 
Of true summer chance, 
With love intwined, 
And summer wine,

So if per chance, 
To meet again, 
That evolves and begins, 
From summer meets, 
Bringing that summer chance, 
To summer chimes, 
With summer wines, 
That begins and lasts, 
Within in the hearts of those, 
That let per chance happen, 
And fall in love,

Then it will continue all year long, 
For those that took the chance, 
In summer chance, 
And let the per chance, 
Take it course, 
And win, 
For love to hear, 
The summer chimes, 
Sipping summer wine. 

Ellen Ni Bheachain

I hope that you are enjoying summer......

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fifty Shades of Darker by E L James

I finished reading Fifty Shades of Darker which is the second book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and I absolutely HATED IT!

I read all 400 and some pages, and she never, ever developed the plot. There seems to be a lot to this guy, Christian Grey, and she never fully developed his character. She definitely did not give me enough to make me want to read the third book. No plot development at all.

After finishing, I had to ask myself "What happened in this book?" and all I can say is that the two main characters got engaged, but she really did not have to use 400 and some pages in order to say that.

The feminist in me was raging as I read about a women who had to fight like hell and manipulate a man in order to be "free!" I wanted to shake Ana and say "Run, run, run..........don't let this man OWN you!"

I know that Toni Morrison is somewhere laughing and saying "E L got you with this one." Yes, she had me going with Fifty Shades of Grey, but she got me with this one.

So, if you do not read this one, you'll be all right. I promise you...

I even highly recommend that you skip it!

My next read is FOXY: My Life in Three Acts by Pam Grier with Andrea Cagan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One of My Favorite Blogs...

There is this blog that I absolutely love called Encourage One Another.......

What I love about this blog is that it is so humble. I have no clue who writes it, because the writer does not tell us. The writer does not talk about his life or himself at all.The writer just writes these clear, plain messages that speak to my heart....I wonder if the writer is God's messenger! (Hmmmmmm!)

Check out this wonderful post....


Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Dreaming

Today, I am fondly thinking of summer......

Most people's time is dictated by their jobs. Our jobs decide when we go to bed, get up, take vacations, exercise. Basically, our jobs dictate our lives. It's not necessary a bad thing, because I know that there are lots of people who would have no clue what to do with unstructured time so, planning our lives around our jobs works for most people.

I go to all three of my favorite grocery stores on Sundays. Before I go to the grocery store, I normally think about what I want for lunch and dinner for the next week, and I buy what I need for the week while I'm at the grocery store. If I am planning to go out on Sunday evening, I will cook enough food for lunch and dinner for the week around 1 or 2. But, if I am not planning to go out, I will cook later. Same thing almost every Sunday....blah, blah, blah!

However, once school gets out, I no longer have to be on a schedule that is dictated by my job. I can use the Sabbath to go out and see the world instead of going to the grocery store to prepare for the next week. I can go to the grocery store whenever I want to because in the summer, my time is FLEXIBLE. I go to bed whenever I want to, I get up whenever I want to, I cook whenever I want to, I go out whenever I want to ...Oh, the joys of summer!

I know for some people who are not teachers, summer mentally starts at different times, but for many teachers, summer starts the very last day of school and for me, "that's when I feel like I am the boss of me." No more job telling me what to do and when to do it; I plan my very own schedule that is dictated around my workouts, trips, parties, the pool etc... (Freedom is happiness to me!)

So, here are some of my summer plans that is not dictated by my job but by my freedom:

1. I will go to every museum in DC whenever I want to, and I do not have to wait until the weekend. I will go during the week or whenever I want to....Morning or evening! Also, when I am at the museum, I do not have to rush. I am not on a clock, and therefore I can take my time.  I can sit in a cafe at the museum and read, look at one exhibit and leave, look at all of the exhibits and take all day or do whatever else that my heart desires. I will travel to the beach often. I'm very lucky that there are quite a few beaches that are within driving distance, and I can go during the week if my heart so desires. I am lucky that my condo has a pool, and I go there whenever I get a free moment. I think of the pool as my living room, and I go there to read and relax. I will still see my trainer three times a week, but I will workout with him late morning so that I can spend my early mornings sitting on my balcony enjoying the quiet of the morning. (Oh, the joys of summer!)

2. I am going to Chicago for the 4th of July. I make it my business to go to Chicago during the summer, because I absolutely love that place in the summer. A few friends know that I am going, and I have had quite a few friends get their flights, and they will be joining me. Also, my dear friend, T. Smith, is turning the big 4.0. that week, and you know that I could not miss that. There is nothing big planned for my visit in Chicago, but there will be a lot of unstructured time where I will do whatever comes up, and a whole lot seems to come up whenever I am in Chicago.

3. My sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary during the month of July, and I have lots of friends who are coming to DC. I am so happy that I will not have to think about going to work. I can hang out until my body can no longer take it, and then I can sleep until I feel like getting up....I will not need to rush home because of my job; I can go out and stay out as long as I want to.

4. My friend, Chan, is having a party in Charlotte, in July, and I am going to try and fit that in. Chan's parties are not regular parties, but they are PARTEES for sure. They are worth traveling for, and after the party, I can rest as long as I need to....No work baby!!!

5. I have two biking trips planned, and I am sooo looking forward to these two trips. Days of upon days of seeing cities by bike. Also, when I do these biking trip, I normally meet some of the greatest people. For one of my trips, I emailed the details to a few friends, and three of my friends have paid the deposit and are going on this trip. (Ain't nothing like friends who can and will travel.)

6. You know that there is no way that I will have time off and not visit my momma in Atlanta. Yep, I will go to Atlanta and more than likely take my bike and revert back to being a child. Something about being in my mom's house puts me at peace. I sleep late, take naps, take her wherever she wants to go. The best rest that I get really.......

Yes, yes, yes, I maximize my time that is not dictated by my job, but is dictated by me...

I am definitely not looking forward to retirement, but I am looking forward to longer periods of time that are structured by me.....

Let's make the most of EVERYDAY!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Give Me One Reason to Stay Here.....

Summer 2003 in Amherst, Massachusetts

Give me one reason to stay here 
And I'll turn right back around 
Give me one reason to stay here 
And I'll turn right back around
Because I don't want leave you lonely
But you got to make me change my mind 
From "Give Me One Reason"  by Tracy Chapman

This morning, I was sitting in my favorite place on my street, Wholefoods, eating breakfast and reading a book, when the song "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman came on, and I started to reminisce about summer 2003 in Amherst, Massachusetts.

I loved being at Amherst College studying under one of the lead scholars against the death penalty, Austin Sarat. My days were filled with bike rides, seminars, field trips, bonding time, lots of walking, visits to a Quaker church, museums, plays etc. One of my most memorable summers EVER!!

There were about 15 people who participated in this seminar, and most of us stayed in a huge house with lots of rooms, and bathrooms, and a common kitchen, and living room area where we spent lots of time playing games, watching movies, and talking about everything under the sun.

A few of us decided that we would go and see Tracy Chapman in concert in a town near Amherst. I can't remember the name of the town right now, but I really loved that small town that had lots of trendy shops and restaurants, and it was accessible by bike from Amherst. So, I went there often.

The Night of the Concert!

The night of the concert, we went to that town and shopped and had dinner. I remember this feeling of total peace, happiness, and gratitude of being given the opportunity to spend six weeks in Massachusetts studying and bonding with some of the most interesting people.

Once we got to concert hall, Tracy Chapman was completely mind blowing, and I vividly remember this concert. But, Tracy singing "Give Me One Reason," stands out in my mind the most, and my love for this song intensified even more.

I bought her CD after that show, and I listened to Tracy Chapman over and over that summer.

So, being in Wholefoods this morning, I had loving feelings of summer of 2003......

After I finish writing this blog, I'm going to put on "Give Me One Reason" and dance, dance, dance and feel good!

Here is Tracy...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Love This Girl!

Serena wins the 2013 French Open today!

Consistency and hard work ALWAYS pay off........

See the Venus and Serena documentary; It's quite awesome.

In The Body Of The World by Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler at the restaurant Busboy and Poet!

So, you know that I love to hear authors talk about their books. I will literally track all over the DC area to hear and see an author.

I have seen Nikki Giovanni so many times in DC, until she actually recognizes me now. I'm not a stalker or anything but......

I received an email that stated that Eve Ensler was going to be at Busboy and Poet in DC, on a Friday, at 6:30. If you live in DC, you know that the traffic is horrible at this time of day. But, I left work, went home briefly, and braved the DC traffic to see Eve, and I am so happy that I did.

Eve is the author of "The Vagina Monologues," and I absolutely loved it, and I was curious to hear her talk about her new book: In The Body OF The World.

In this book, Eve courageously talks about her battle with stage III/IV uterine cancer. God does have a sense of humor. Eve has spent quite a bit of her life talking and bringing to the forefront of the world's mind issues surrounding the female organs, and she gets uterine cancer. However, through her journey with cancer, she learns so much and is able to deal with her childhood, is able to connect her experiences with cancer to world events and the female body, and she also seemed to realize the essence of love:
"I love Jeanne and Alfonsine and Alisa, I love Christine and Dr. Mukwege. I love the women on Essence road who walk with two-hundred sacks tied to their foreheads. I love the women who sell charcoal and fish on the open road who dress in starched panges, so colorful they bring on the morning. I love the way they move and shout out and weep in sorrow. This is the big love. It has nothing to do with marriage or ownership or having and consuming. It is about showing up and forgetting, and keeping promises, about giving everything. No one is mine.........Love is something else, something rising and contagious and surprising. It isn't aware of itself. It isn't keeping track. It isn't something you sign up for. It's endless and generous and enveloping...." (P.128) 
I absolutely adored this book and how honest and open Eve is. This book shows that people can go through terrible childhoods, denial of their own bodies, hurt, rejection, drugs, rape, cancer, and still come out on the other side stronger and willing to help other people. I gathered through a class that I took with Iyanla Vanzant, that most of the things that we go through are not about us but about helping other people. Being authentic is awesome and healing for both the speaker and the listener, and Eve does a great job with authenticity.

Read this book and grow...

Eve is incredible!!!

My next read is non-other than Fifty Shades of Darker which is the second book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I've been doing some really heavy reading, and I need to lighten up some.

Make this day, your best day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Children Need a Village!

Student with Angie!

One of our students absolutely love cycling, and you already know how I feel about my bicycle and cycling......

My co-worker, Angie, and I lovingly fight about this student. I think that he is my kid, and she thinks that he is her kid. However, he does not say anything as we are fighting, but he does look at us like "What is wrong with these ladies; I got a momma?"

So, this student wants to be on a racing team, and he needs $150.00 for the Kit. (A kit is a matching jersey and shorts with the team logo on it.)

Angie sent an email out to a few people in our school to let them know of the student's desire, and the student is going to be on that racing team with a brand new kit.

Children need a village, and this kid has one!

At a bike festival with his moms!

Please read this article about this awesome kid!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Disappointment is Part of Life!

Today, I am thinking a lot about disappointment.

It does not matter how old I get, disappointment still hurts like HELL. I must admit that before I read Daring Greatly, I would have never ever admitted that I was disappointed nor that it hurts like HELL, but it's a New Day!

I marched into work today, and I told one of my co-workers and friend that I am very disappointed, and I told her the entire story. Then, I sent a text to one of the people whom I know I can trust with my vulnerability, and I told her that I was disappointed, and I told her the exact same story that I told my co-worker and friend. The part that I did not tell is that it hurts like HELL. Yep, it sure does.

Nothing life-changing happened, but sometimes people severely disappoint us, and they do not even know it.  People are who they are, and I am who I am, and sometimes being us can disappoint people and cause great pain.

However, after every disappointment, something great always happens, so I have high hopes for tomorrow!

You know, the good thing about my pain is that it does not last as long as it use to, and I no longer think that the world is coming to an end because of a silly disappointment. Now, I just let myself feel the pain caused by disappointment, and I remind myself that I WILL be all right; THIS TOO WILL PASS!!!

Today, I was thinking about the book, The Giverand how the people in this book did not have feelings. They did not know pain, joy, uncertainty, attachment, and TODAY, I think that it may not be so bad to be void of feelings with everything being predictable, because unpredictability can be disappointing and painful.

I have learned that it is our responsible how we receive things. So, I never, ever blame the person who disappointments me anymore. I know that it was ME who decided to receive disappointment and pain, and these emotions are just like happy and joy; Emotions and that's all........

Today, I receive it, acknowledge it, and accept it, because this is where growth takes place....

Yes, I will cry today if I get the chance, and then, I will move on.

Disappointment is part of life!

Keep on Keeping on, My People!!!

As I was writing this, I got a text from my sister, Tracy, that stated "Praying that you are having a great day!"

See how God works? He gives us just what we need when we need it..

I'm smiling and crying at the same time!

Joy and Pain; Sunshine and Rain......

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Light in August by William Faulkner

William Faulkner

Ok, so I literally just finished reading Light in August, and you MUST read it.

I REALLY mean it....William Faulkner does a magnificent job of using character development to drive the plot of this story.

Soooooo, you can't be an English teacher or a student at any school and not hear the name William Faulkner. Many of his short stories are in textbooks, and most teachers love to teach his novels and short stories.

I feel the same way about Light in August as I do about Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison; I could teach either one of these novels for an entire year and still would not cover all of the things that I would want to. Such rich text!!!!!!!

Being from Mississippi, Faulkner has a great grasp of Southern living in the early 1900's, and he deals with complex themes, even the use of the "N," with such grace. Now, I know you are wondering how can someone use the "N" word with grace? Well, you need to read Light of August to find out.

In Light in August, there are quite a few characters and Faulkner develops each one of them completely. You can understand Joe Christmas, who thinks that he is biracial, once you read his life story. You have to love the minister, Hightower, once you understand his determination to stay in a place where he is shunned. You have to love Byron Bunch once you realize that he is consistent and persistent. And you must love, Lena, who travels from Alabama to Mississippi, from wagon to wagon, while in the final few months of pregnancy, in order to find "her" man. Oh, and there is no way that I could leave out the adorable old couple, Mr and Mrs. Hines, who are haunted forever by their past.

Faulkner takes all of these characters, and other characters, and tells all of their stories and then combines them to create a single story that will stay with you for quite awhile....

I must say that the writing in Light of August reminded me a lot of Song of Solomon, because both of these great authors can tell a whole lot of stories in one novel, tie them all together, and create a story that leaves the readers feeling completely...... (trying to think of a word!)......ANXIOUS.....(that's the word!)...... to read on!!!

Light in August is a great summer read.........

You will love it!

Be Blessed, My People

My next read is In The Body of the World by Eve Ensler.
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