Saturday, January 31, 2015

Working for Myself!

This morning I got up around 8, watched the news for a little while, and I grabbed my computer and headed to Wholefoods to do some work! (Super excited to discover, last weekend, that my favorite Wholefoods has WIFI!)

I was busily working... putting the polishing touches on two essays that I am writing for applications for summer programs that I am applying to, tweaking my resume, and doing others things that needed to be done to get these applications completed. I started thinking: "It sure is good to be working for myself."

However, my second mind stepped right in and stated: "Aren't you always working for yourself?"

I sat for a minute and pondered this thought, and I came to the conclusion that I am always working for myself.

Now, I know that this may sound selfish, but let me explain....

When I read and study for my classes, I am doing these things so that I can be an effective, knowledgeable teacher and reach my students. No one tells me to do these things, but I do them for myself, and my students and I both get to reap the benefits. You feeling me?

When I train, train, and train on my bike, I am doing that for myself, not that it is mandated, but I train for myself so that I can become a stronger rider and help my team doing the races.

When I write this blog, I am getting no pay and no fame yet, but I write it as if I have one million readers. I do it for myself, but I know that this blog will attract people to it and inspire them as much as it inspires me.

When I am at work, or training on my bike, or writing this blog, I never do these things begrudgingly. No one makes me do these things. But, I do them for myself. I like striving for excellence, and the bonus is that other people and I both get to reap the benefits.

I am saying that if we work for ourselves, that makes us better people, and everyone gets to reap the benefits.

I have a sign next to my desk at school that states that "Excellence Conquers Every Obstacles." So, when I am reading and studying to teach my classes, going to summer programs, training to race, being consistent with my blog, I am doing all of those things for myself. I expect excellence for myself, because "Excellence Does Conquer Every Obstacle," and everyone under my circle of influence and the people that those people influence, get to reap the benefits... Right???

My People, I love working for myself!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Racing Season Is Coming.....

I finished my first road racing season and first cross racing season, AND

It's winter, and I am training. (Racing Season is Coming!)

I ride my bike three days during the week. (On the trainer of course!)

And, I ride outside with my teammates almost every weekend....

My People, I am training, because Racing Season is Coming!

Monday, January 26, 2015


I write about a lot of different stuff on this blog, but THIS IS A LITERARY BLOG!!!

I have been trying to figure out how to make all of my blogs about books easily accessible for people who don't want to read all of the other stuff that I write about.

So, if you scroll to the side of this blog, I created a tab that states to click the word BOOKS to see post about books! Well, when you click on that link, it gives you every blog that I have written about books; however, this did not satisfy my need to make the blogs that are written about books easily accessible. I decided to keep the tab there just in case someone has a lot of time and wants to scroll and scroll through a whole bunch of blogs about books.

I know that the right person is arriving in Divine order at precisely the right time. Wayne Dyer

So, you know that I totally believe that people need other people right?

I can't and won't live without people.....

So, I met this fellow literary blogger through my blog, and we eventually took our conversation off of the blog to emails. We discovered that we both graduated from Tuskegee, and you know that was an instant connections.

Well, I just love the layout of Shannon's Blog, and I sent her an email to see if she would give a girl some help, and she did.

We met up, and I feel like I have been knowing Shannon forever; I have officially claimed her as my new friend. (I know that the right person is arriving in Divine order at precisely the right time. Wayne Dyer)

So, this is one of the things that Shannon helped me with:

If you look under the title of this blog, The Big Sea, you will see a tab that states Links to Blogs Reviewed Here. If you click on that tab, you will see links to every single book, over 100, that has been reviewed on this blog. (EXCITED!)

I know a lot of stuff, I figure a lot of stuff out on my own; however, I still need other people, because I don't know everything, and I still need help.

Grateful that Shannon arrived in Divine order at precisely the right time!

I hope that you, My Readers, find this link helpful, and please offer any feedback on how I can make this content more accessible.

Have a great Monday!

People NEED other people or at least I do.......

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Assata by Assata Shakur

I first read Assata by Assata Shakur about ten years ago, I think. Not sure what prompted me to read it, but I am so happy that I did.

Recently, the United States seems to be developing this new relationship with Cuba, and the first person who I thought about was Assata, and I figured that I needed to read this book again to refresh my memory about Assata and her story.

Assata was a member of The Black Panther Party, and according to Assata, the FBI and the CIA were determined to completely shut down the Black Revolutionaries.

Assata was in the car with two other Black Panther members, and they were pulled over supposedly for a taillight issue. Something transpired and one of the Black Panthers members and a cop were killed, Assata was shot, and the other member of The Black Panther party was on the run.

After this incident, Assata was mostly kept in solitary confinement for years and was tried for armed robbery, several bank robberies, kidnapping of a drug dealer, murder of a drug dealer etc. She was not convicted of any of these crimes; however, she was eventually convicted for the murder of the police officer and escaped from prison to Cuba to became a political refugee.

Now, this book is captivating from the very first page with a foreword written by non other than The Angela Davis.

Angela Davis

I've been rushing home every day this week to gobble up every word of this book!

Reading this book, I thought a lot about the FBI and the CIA....How could a government turn against its people? We know that the FBI and the CIA harassed Dr. King, and so I want to believe Assata when she states that she was harassed and was tried for crimes where she was not even present. I want to believe that these type of things could not be going on today.

I thought a lot about Assata and all that she endured, and she survived with a sound mind: "Whenever i tired of the verbal abuse of my captors, i would drown them out by reading the poetry out loud. "Invictus" and "If We Must Die" were the poems i usually read....The poems were my message to them."

I thought about the idea of being a political refugee with no hopes of ever coming back on US territory again. Assata may not want to come back, but I think that I would struggle with the idea that I could not come back.

I thought about how in the world did Assata get this book published????

I thought about how in the world did Assata escape from prison????

Assata ends the book with her mom, aunt, and daughter visiting her in Cuba. Now how in the world did that happen?????

I will leave you with two of the most profound statements that Assata makes in this book:
"To win any struggle for liberation, you have to have the way as well as the will, an overall ideology and strategy that stem from a scientific analysis of history and present conditions."
"One of the hardest lessons that we have to learn is that the revolutionary struggle is scientific rather than emotional. I'm not saying that we shouldn't feel anything, but decisions can't be based on love or anger. They have to be based on the objective conditions and on what is the rational, unemotional thing to do."
Assata Shakur

My People, read this book and learn.. Knowledge is Power!!

I'm going to completely switch gears, and read Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why Not You? 28 Days to Authentic Confidence by Valorie Burton

I have been on a roll with reading, and the more I read, the more I need to read.....

So, this is another recommendation by my sister, Tracy, who is reading and discussing this book with her book club! (My People, Join or Start a Book Club!)

With this book, Valorie is on to something. She takes 28 principles and make them very clear with good examples and plain language. Even if you have it all together, I still believe that there is something that you can learn from this book.

Here are a few things that made me say hmmmmm:

"Knowing that God is with you is a key to authentic confidence. So authentic confidence is self-confidence plus faith."

"Authentic confidence is comfortable with a lack of information right now because you know that you can find the information."

"Talent and education alone are not enough to maximize your potential. You need authentic confidence to realize your full potential."

"Feelings are honest, but they are not necessary the truth."

"My passion may bore you to tears and vice versa, but that's what makes each of our passions so unique."

"Whether or not someone else is to blame for our circumstances, we don't move closer to our goals by blaming and complaining."

"Be confident in God's timing."

There is so many other things that I took away from this book, but there is no point in me rewriting this book when you can read it for yourself.

This is a great book to use to do some self-reflection.

Valorie Burton

Happy Sunday!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Many of my seniors read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer for another class, and they recommended that I read it, and of course, I did.

This is a true story of a young man named Chris McCandless, who, after he finished college, decided to give away the reminder of his college fund and go to Alaska and live off the land literally. He hitchhiked a lot, lived and worked in several places, and eventually ended up in Alaska.

Jon interviewed people who met Chris on his journey, and it appears that Chris was a very likable guy who left an imprint on everyone whom he met. He even convinced an eighty-one year old man to live until he died. He told the elderly man in a letter: "You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living." 

It depends on how you see things whether or not you will think that this story ends tragically. It is believed, by Jon, that Chris eventually ate something that was poisonous or starved to death in an old bus in Alaska. However, one of his last acts was to take a picture of himself where "He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God."

This book made me think a lot about myself and people who are free spirited. I thought about how I sort of wish that Chris had taken someone with him, and maybe he would have survived. However, I can understand his need to take this journey alone. I am not afraid to go many places by myself, and as I read this book, I had a vision of myself being on a place like Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard, spending time alone, reading, writing books, and only taking breaks to stare at the Ocean. So, I totally understand Chris' need to do this alone.

My students and I have been talking about the idea of pursuing our "Personal Legends," and I really admire Chris for taking this journey even if it meant that he would lose his life. I would rather die pursing my dream than to live without pursing it.....

Very interesting read of courage, maybe coupled with a little youthful, invincible stupidity!

This is a good one for sure.

This is The Day; Seize It!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

My sister, Tracy, was excitedly reading The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. So, I figured that I needed to read it, and I am soooo happy that I did.

I totally believe every word of this book, and I needed to know more about the author before I told the world about this book....

Joesph Murphy (1898-1981)

According to The New Thought Library, Joesph Murphy spent years studying all types of religions, and he came to the conclusion that all religions have one thing in common and that is "The Power is Within."

In The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Joseph explains that our conscious mind is the part of us that reasons; it knows that smoke means fire, wet means water, tired means rest. However, he argues that there is another part of us that is called the subconscious mind that does not reason, it accepts whatever we tell it. For instance, if you tell your subconscious mind that someone hates you, it believes that statement without proof, and you will act on it. Also, if you tell your subconscious mind that you are happy, it will also accept this statement without proof, and you will act that out as well.

Upon first reading this, this all appears far to simple right? But, why do many of us believe that everything must be difficult?

Joesph is proposing that we can use the power of the subconscious mind to heal our bodies and our relationships; attract wealth, success and healthy people into our lives; be young forever; to rest at night; to be happy; to forgive; to remove fear. He is basically proposing what so many other books such as The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyers proposes: "If you change your thoughts, you can change your life."

Joesph is proposing that we visualize, go into gratitude, and say that it is so.......

My people, I have been envisioning how I want my life to be. I love my life now, but there are things that I am believing God for, and I have been envisioning those things, thanking God for them, and affirming that it is already done.

So, I was told by a doctor that I have eczema, which is basically irritated skin, and let me tell you that it has been acting up and particularly under my arms which is consistently dry and wet. After reading the healing section in this book, I've been confessing every night that "By his stripes I am heal!" and "My body knows how to heal itself, and I am thankful for the healing that is taking place." I have also been making sure that I use moisturizing bath wash and moisturizer on my skin. My People, my eczema is almost completely healed. I believe that it is getting better, because I believe with my whole heart that my body has the power to heal itself....It has healed bruises from cycling, a hurt knee, sores etc.

I will not leave you hanging on this one; I am going to keep standing on God promises, and I will update you as the promises manifest...

Proverbs 23:7  states that "for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."

This is a book to add to your collection...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Over Here.......

Over here....

I've been reading three books that are so different yet, they connect: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joesph Murphy, Why Not You? Twenty-eight days to Authentic Confidence by Valorie Burton, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. AND, this weekend, I snuck in reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in order to prepare for the discussion that I am having with my students this week. Reading these three books, at the same time, and sneaking in another one makes me feel sooooo productive and excited. You should see me each night reading one chapter from each book and doing that over and over... I think that I must look like a mad scientist.

Over here.....

I've been thinking about the idea that I love my job with all of its ups and downs. Earlier this week, I was totally frustrated with quite a few of my students who just don't seem to get that they can change their behavior: do homework, study, plan, read at home, be organized! On the other hand, I have students who do their homework, study, come to school prepared, and I can take those students to the moon and back. I wonder if the differences in the students have to do with parenting???

Over here.....

I've been thinking about my uncle who is turning 80 this weekend....I can't wait to get to Alabama to be present in every moment that is meant to celebrate him. You know sometimes it's another person's moment, and we get caught up in "Why is there no dancing at this party?' and "What food will they have?" Wrong things to focus on when the moment ain't my moment but the other person's moment. I will focus on the right things this weekend.......

Over here....

It's my sorority's 102nd anniversary, and it seems like we just turned 100...I guess I better stay busy, because time waits for no one!

Happy Tuesday, and what's going on over there!!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Zora's Day!!!!

"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me." Zora Neale Hurston

It's Zora's Day!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's a New Year!

The holidays are officially over, and here are a few pictures:

Mom and sisters
Out with friends in Atlanta.
Working Out with the Greatest Training in the world, Berhane.
Cycling with my buddies on New Year's Day.
NYC to see Cinderella on Broadway.

I hope you had great holidays as well.......

Now, it's time for me to focus, focus, and focus and be the very best person that I can possibly me.

The greatest trainer in the world had me to take pictures so that we can pictorially track my progress. I will follow this new diet that he has given me, and I will see great results. The diet is doable for sure; it's just eating about six small meals a day.

I am currently reading three books and two are books that I know will help me to Live My Best Life. I will write blogs about all three books as soon as I finish them.

I am focusing on being a stronger cyclist, because I will be a better racer than I was last racing season. I see my name being in the top 10 every race.

I will cultivate all of my relationships, have courageous conversations when I need them, be intentional about every word that comes out of my mouth, travel, read great books, reach more students, do great professional development, stand on God's promises, and everyone around me and I are going to happily reap the benefits of me working on me in 2015.

2015 is my year of MANIFESTATION!

My people, consider writing your vision and making it plan.....

Happy Sunday, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Power of One (The Young Reader's Condensed Version) by Bryce Courtenay

I made a public declaration that I would not be teaching Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger again. I was not necessary looking for a replacement, but I think that I found one: The Power of One!

The Power of One and Catcher in the Rye are both classified as Bildungsroman, which is a coming of age story. However, with The Power of One, not only can a person discuss coming of age, but a person can also go into some great history lessons about race in South Africa, WWII, The Boer War etc.

At five years old, Peekay, an English-speaking South African boy, is forced to take a journey that caused him to have to grow up and grow up quickly. His mom had a nervous break down, and he had to attend a boarding school, and this started him on his journey...

On his journey, much like Santiago from the Alchemist, Peekay has many guides: His first guide is a famous black chief, Inkosi-Inkosikazi, who taught him how to escape into his mind when things were going wrong because "The person on the outside was only a shell, a presence to be provoked." His second guide was Hoppie Groenewald, boxing champion of the railways. Hoppie taught Peekay that "Small can beat big if you have a plan." His third guide was an old German music professor, Karl von Vollensteen, and he taught Peekay how to be critical and thorough. His fourth guide was a Cape colored man, Geel Piet, and he literally taught Peekay how to fight.

The book ends with Peekay being admitted to a prestigious Prince of Wales school in Johannesburg, and I am going to assume that he uses all of the things that he has been taught as he continues on his journey.

Now, I read the young reader's condensed version, and after a little research, I found out that in the adult version, Peekay goes off to school and becomes a boxing great....

The young reader's condensed version was enough for me; I got a good understanding of why this is a coming of age story, and I also think that this version would be enough for my 10th graders as well.

My people, seems like I have been reading a lot of books about taking a journey.....hmmmm, I wonder if this means anything?

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed the first day of 2015.

Happy New Year, My People!
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