Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is not guaranteed!

What if I told you that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not guaranteed? Would I be lying? Would my mouth have to be washed out with soap as some mothers did in the past when their children lied? I guess it would all depend on who I ask, when I ask them, and who they are around. Someone that has been living a pretty prosperous life (Mentally, physically, and/or financially) might say that life is sweet and they are guaranteed, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Now, when you think of someone who has been living a less fortunate life (Victimized, wrongly accused, and/or fails to change his or her current intolerable situation), he or she may say that life has been unkind.

Life is not guaranteed. These are not things that we have certain rights to because of who we are or what we can do. Take for example the Smith Family. The family consists of: Jada, Will, Jaden, and Willow Smith. Do you think that Willow Smith is guaranteed a successful career because of her parents? Absolutely not. Willow may have a better chance at being successful because of her pants, but she still has to put forth great effort and dedication in being prosperous. The thing is, because of who her parents are, she may have a certain standard that she will have to live up.
Do you think we are guaranteed freedom? Your interpretation of that question would probably depend on what type of freedom I am talking about. If I am talking about the type of freedom where we can make our own life choices, then most of us can answer confidently yes. However, if I am talking about the type of freedom where we do not have to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by our branches of government, then that would be a definite no. Take the country Egypt for example. About one year ago, Cairo was fighting for its freedom from its dictator Mubarak. It was clear that popular Sovereignty was a fan favorite among the people, but not a fan favorite among the dictators. This is a prime example of freedom not being guaranteed.   

Does everyone reading this article have the right to be happy? The honest truth is that we have a right to be whatever we want to be, whether this means happy, sad, or filled with life. We are in control of our own emotions, so if we decide to be mad at a situation that occurs, we have that right. Happiness only comes after we have decided that we are not going to allow life’s situations to get us down anymore. I remember several years ago, I was at my lowest point in life. My doctor told me that I may have cancer, my finances were in ruin, and I had lost my social flare. On many occasions, I prayed to God for guidance and deliverance. I asked to be guided to a better life. I also promised that if I made it out of my predicament, I would change my life for the better. A few weeks later, tests showed I did not have cancer, I started working a second job, and I started to get my social flare back. I learned a very valuable lesson during that time. I learned that I was in control of my emotions and how I felt at particular times. I also learned that life is too short to be mad or upset at everything. As of today, I am still working on controlling certain emotions and refraining from letting my emotions have dominion over me. Completing this task wholly takes time, and the person has to commit a lot of restraint over what was, what is, and what will be.
~Create your own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Do you deserve more than an emotional tundra?

Monday, November 26, 2012

I dwell in Possibility Too!

            Photo taken from

I dwell in Possibility Too! is in response to Emily Dickinson's "I dwell in Possibility"

You dwell in Possibility?
Well, I do Too!
Our thoughts somewhat similar
Who really knew? 

You dwell in Possibility
A fairer House than Prose
I dwell in Creativity
Embodied by a Red, White, and Blue rose 

Your chambers made of Cedar
With an everlasting roof
My chambers made of silk linens
With imaginations of fun, friends, and little dog woofs 

Your hands spread wide
To gather Paradise
Paradise is within me
As well as love, sweet, and a pinch of nice

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Owning Your Attitude

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Own your attitude?” Did you immediately understand the statement or did you need a better explanation? “Own your attitude,” means learning to control how you feel and react to certain situations. The task can be very challenging at first; however once you understand how to do it, it will come natural to you.
I remember beginning my transition of, “Owning my attitude,” at a very young age; I was in elementary school and probably around 10 or 11 years old. I started the process by thinking and reacting differently than some of my peers. I even thought and reacted differently than some of the adults I had encountered. When this occurs, some people may voice their opinions about you being weird or of a different caliber, but different is not always bad. Different can be good because it allows you to process information differently, be independent of your own thoughts, and not feel as though you have to accept what everyone else is saying or doing. I owned my attitude by not allowing people’s judgment of me to be the final verdict. People are going to say and do things to try and get you to react or deter you from progressing toward your purpose. It's ok to react to their actions; just try not to react in a negative manner. Use their negative energy to benefit you. Show them that their negativity has helped to further propel you toward success.  
~Be the person you want to be by, “Owning your attitude.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What You Don't Want to Know

What You Don’t Want to Know…
It’s hard for you to understand
What you don’t want to understand
Hard for you to know
What you don’t want to know
Blinders are placed around your eyes
Because it’s much easier than seeing the world for what it really is
Your protective bubble
Has been placed on a pedestal
And placed out of reach from society
When in reality, you’re the same 
You’re the same as the
Complaining mother
Who just wants the best for her child
You’re the same as the
Underappreciated worker
Who just wants his due diligence
You’re the same as the adamant teacher
Who believes that every child
Has a special gift inside of them
The only difference between you, us, and them
Is that some of us have already recognized our similaries to each other
While others continue to play the blame game
And disparage the characters of those who we think are unlike us
I challenge us to look deeper than the race of the person sitting next to us
Deeper than the religion that sparks many feuds
Deeper than the sex and sexuality of a co-worker
Deeper than the candid ignorance that refuses to
Dissipate and turn into a beautiful swan
I embrace the rejected duckling
For I know the swan lies within
Beautiful thoughts
Flow from my mind
And attacks my lips
Take me
And do as you may
As long as you keep ill will
And harm
From all of my days

He Lives...

Does He have to strip you of everything in order for you to understand that it is by His will that all things will occur; all things that are great, small, relevant, and irrelevant? Whether you know Him as Lord, Yahweh, Allah, or another name, He has great powers. I believe that He is whatever you need Him to be in order for you to believe in Him. He comes in many shapes, sizes, and dwells in various environments. God walks with us when needed and He helps you see life’s many lessons. It is our responsibility to interpret Him and His will correctly because we will be deceived to believe otherwise.

Let me ask you a few questions, which have the power of making you think differently about many situations. Have you ever been approached by a homeless man or a woman? Did he or she ask you for some money? Did you give it to him or her? If not, would your action change if you found out the person asking you for money was God? This example is not to imply that your current actions are wrong, it is just to help you think with an open mind. In the past, I have talked to friends and family members about this same situation. Some have stated that they would not give the money to the homeless person in the first initial contact with the person. They preferred to make sure their money was not being used for alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other illegal substances. My question to you is can we really set those certain guidelines with people and ensure our money is being used for its intended purpose? Probably not; however we try, don’t we? Whenever I give to others, the accountability of what they choose to do with the money leaves my hand and goes straight to theirs’ when they accept my offering. I choose not to get preoccupied with what my money is being used for because the responsibility of its use has shifted to a new owner; the receiver.
Let’s look at another example. Have you ever had a tough decision you needed to make and was not sure exactly what to do about it? Then you went to work and your co-worker mentioned something dealing with your question in a very casual discussion about something else? Was this by chance? Probably not. We tend to have many questions and tough decisions in life that are not always answered in the manner we would like them to be answered. Or are they? Maybe the answer is not as straight forward as we would like it to be and we have to wait for the answer though various signs. You know the statement about, “Sometimes you meet people without even looking for them.” Well, the same can be said when God answers our questions and prayers; sometimes our questions and prayers are answered without us constantly contemplating on the matter. Maybe the present is not the right moment to answer our question or what we have prayed for is not in His plan for us. Have you ever thought, “Have I missed the answer he sent me?” Sometimes we want to plan and set certain courses for our lives that are outside of His plan that we miss His answer because we are too busy looking for our own. While planning and acting is great in some aspects of our life, other aspects have to be cultivated like in a garden because the earth has to be ripe enough to receive the crop. In other words, you have to wait until He is ready to answer you and make a decision.
~Words to the wise: Keep the faith and know that He lives, loves, and often presents you with life’s lessons; Learn to stop repeating the things that are keeping you from your fullest potential because He believes in you, just as I do; and know that some time in life, even your favorite singer or NBA star was faced with lessons that helped or hurt them.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Joys of Growing Older

About a month ago, I was given a task by an acquiantance to write a poem about growning older. In the individual having experience in the subject, I decided to take on the task with some of her examples. So, I dedicate this Poem to Pat.
The Joys of Growing Older

The aches
The pains

The drippings down the shirt

Oh, how I thought getting older would not hurt so much

 The memory loss

The can’t remember where I parked

The thoughts of being treated like child

Oh, now my mind is really running wild

It seems like my mouth

Gets further from my hands

Because my coordinated target

Is not where the substance is bound to land

I remember like it was yesterday

The playful games we used to play

Now if I played those games in the same way

I would have aches and pains all day

I love this joy

Coming over me

My hearings diminishing

And so is my sight to see

If I could say one word

That describes the Joy in me

I would say older

Now that describes me




Monday, October 22, 2012

Jobs and the Economy Town Hall Meeting

A town hall meeting about Jobs and the Economy was held on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, right here in Columbus, Ohio. As an Employment Services Specialist with a non-profit agency, I was definitely interested in hearing Ohio’s numbers regarding unemployment, employment, and what we could do better as a state.  Newscaster, Yolanda Harris, started out the program by revealing Ohio’s position within the economy.  Ohio’s current rate of unemployment was 7.2%, which made it the fifth best rate within the country.  This number is lower than the recession rate in 2009, which was 10.1% and was the highest unemployment rate for Ohio between 2008 and 2012. Buckeye state, how encouraging is it to know that Ohio is doing great in regards to employment.  I know I feel great!
As the discussion progressed, the program revealed five panelist to talk about jobs, the economy, what should be done to improve it and other helpful information.  The panel consisted of: Dale Butland (Innovation Ohio), Dr. Bill Lafayette (Regionomics), Cheryl Hay (Columbus State Community College), Jim Newton (Commerce National Bank) and Terry Casey (GOP Strategist).  Viewers and attendees were encouraged to ask questions via Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag  #ColumbusTownHall in tweets.  The first question was posed to the audience.  The facilitator said, “Clap if you think the economy is getting better.  Now clap if you think the economy is getting worse.” The number of claps were split between better and worse. The facilitator then posed the same question to the panel. Four individuals motioned that the economy was getting better and one person was undecided.  Mr. Butland stated that “in evaluating whether or not the economy is getting better, you have to look at the actually numbers. Things are getting better.  In order for things to get better, we have to plan for progress toward growth.” Mr. Butland reiterated numerous times that “the economy works better when there is a strong middleclass who has money to spend and put money back into economy.”  Mr. Butland also stated that “when the presidential debate takes place tonight, listen to the candidate who explains and provides examples of his strategic plan and what he plans to do to help the economy.”
The facilitator’s next question was directed to Mr. Newton and was regarding why it was more difficult for people to maintain a standard cost of living.  Mr. Newton responded by stating, “The nation is in a policy drift and that it is hard to maintain a standard cost of living when food and energy are continuously on the rise.” This response lead the facilitator in talking about the American Dream deferred.  Mr. Layfatte responded to the question by stating that the American Dream is getting harder to acquire due to the “skill requirements for jobs rapidly changing; employers are now hiring individuals that can do more.”  Mr. Casey added that the “economy started changing as we moved from the agriculture era to manufacturing era.” He also stated that the times had changed and “people are no longer working for one employer and staying there the rest of their lives.”
As the audience started questioning the panel, one audience member posed a question I was all too familiar with; unemployment and people with disabilities. The person asked about what was beening doing to combat Ohio’s 80% unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities. Cheryl Hay, from Columbus State, spoke up about Columbus State’s Logistic’s Program. She stated that programs were being tailored to this population to fit their needs. Ms. Hay said something important during the program that had the ability of impacting everyone who heard her; she said, “One size fits all programs can’t work. You have to personalize opportunities.” She is absolutely right about that statement because not everyone learns the same, so you have to create programming to fit that specific needs of the individual. One last important thing that Cheryl provided to the audience was regarding individuals with criminal records. She told individuals to be honest about their past by stating, “This is the issue, here’s what I’ve done since then and this is what I am bringing to the table.” This is exactly what I have taught some of my clients with criminal records and have seen it work.
Want more information about jobs and the economy? It can be found at ABC6OnYourSide

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Today while sitting in the cafĂ© area of a well-known grocery store, I overheard two women talking. One woman stated, “Right now I am single and I am enjoying myself. There’s been a lot of spiritual growth and getting to know myself lately.” I could not concur with her more. I agree with her because I truly believe that before you can be in a relationship with anyone, you have to understand your wants, needs, and desires. The best way to understand yourself is by being by yourself for an extended amount of time.
In 2006, I entered into a two year relationship. My prior relationship record was not good because I could not seem to make it past the three month relationship mark. I was definitely going to give this relationship a chance because I had to make sure it could be done. Well, by the third month, I was ready to throw in the towel. This guy was too needy and seemed to have a continuous altering mood; he needed me to walk him through things I considered simple, perform those simple tasks for him and want for the relationship seemed to change depending on if he was working or laid off. I found myself being concerned with this individual more than I was concerned for my own well-being. Within those two years, I had broken up with him at least three times and had considered breaking up with him on a constant basis. What always brought us back together was the fact that I felt bad for him, when I really should have just considered my feelings in the relationship. The feelings that I held for this individual were definitely not being reciprocated; I was often the one providing for us, even when he had a job and I moved forward in the relationship with the perception that the word team included both of us.
My two year relationship made me take a few steps back, so I could re-evaluate the situation. I asked myself a few questions: What was the relationship doing for me? Was the relationship helping me grow? Could I see myself with this individual in the future? Was our relationship built on a foundation of trust and loyalty? And what was I getting out of the relationship? After answering no or nothing to practically all of those questions, I knew it was time for me to get to know myself a bit more and determine my likes and dislikes. I ended my two years of blissful misery and started my four year journey toward getting to know myself. It was such an experience because I started to identify things I liked in myself and things I wanted in a mate. While many of my friends and family found me to be picky, I thought to myself, “Why not? Why not be picky?” I think I definitely deserved to be picky, especially where I was headed. I needed someone that could accompany me on my journey and who could easily fit into my life without all the complications that I was accustomed to. I wanted to be able to have an in depth conversation with that person and be able to talk about life, love, and even politics. I wanted the information he possessed to be fact-based and not emotional-based. I wanted his words to be true and I did not have to determine if he was telling a lie. Is that too much to ask for?
~I'm worth the time it takes to make good choices. Are you?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Irene Pepperberg and Alex

Greetings everyone!
So yesterday, I witnessed something truly amazing on the WOSU. The program on NOVA ScienceNow started out talking about somebody named Alex. My first thoughts were: Who is Alex? And why do people keep on referring to him only by his first name? As the program went on, one interviewee compared Alex to Albert Einstein and another compared his death to the King of Pop’s death; however she felt more emotional attached to Alex. I immediately thought to myself, “Why had I not heard of Alex, especially if his death was being compared to one of my all-time favorite artists?” 
Well, my lack of knowledge regarding Alex was perhaps due to  me being focused on my school work and the absence of Alex on the type of programming I often watched. Alex was a well-known parrot, who was taught to speak and increase his animal intelligence by Irene Pepperberg.  Irene conducted a study on Alex, which displayed that animals could be taught to communicate with people.  Her inspiration came from watching a TV program where a man taught a chimpanzee how to communicate through sign language. After seeing such a wonderful thing take place, Irene changed her major from Chemistry to Biology and enrolled at Purdue. She set out to do the same thing that she had seen on T.V.; train an animal how to communicate with others.  Though Irene did not get very much buy-in during the beginning phases, she did not let that deter her from her study. 
Within 30 years of Irene working with Alex, she was able to teach him colors, shapes, sizes and how to explain to others what he wanted.  She defied the odds and helped man communicate with parrots. You could say that she is the Dr. Dolittle of parrots; she taught Alex over 100 words, provided a strategy on teaching parrots to communicate and continues to teacher other parrots today.
Thanks Irene for your continued dedication and seeing the possibilities in the often peculiar!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Ohio, Florida tops among 8 critical swing states" by Joe Hallett

Good morning Ohioans, Floridans, and other states and countries within the world.  This morning, I read an article in The Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio, Florida tops amongs 8 critical swing states."  As an Ohioan, I was definitely interested in reading what the paper had to say, especially after watching the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.  The article in the dispatch outlined the swing states as: Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New Hampshire.  The paper also reported, "Some analyses also include North Carolina as a swing state, which Obama won by 14,000 votes to become the first Democrat to carry that state since 1976, but which polls now show leaning to Romney."  There is a race toward the presidency to win 270 Electoral College votes and neither candidate is backing down from the challenge.  The toss up states will definitely make history in helping either candidate win the race.

~Make your voice count!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

All in Together Girls: Release Date

All in Together Girls: Release Date: Parents and Teachers, have you thought about what book to get ,your children to help them learn about the weather, friendships, family, and ...

All in Together Girls: Welcome

All in Together Girls: Welcome: Hampton Publishing House, LLC would like to welcome Jaye Whaley and Shay Butler to the company.  These two new authors have teamed up with M...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Go Hard or Go Home!

 Picture found at RevGalBlogPals
Have you ever heard of the statement, “Go hard or go home?” The statement refers to giving something your all or going back to the starting point; home.  Home is where everything starts.  It is the foundation of success or the continuance of failure.  It is the place where people are well protected against harm, chaos, and sometimes growth. When I think of home, I think of a place where you can be open and honest, where mom or dad tends to the needs of their children, and where you still have a place to stay if you need the extra support. While that sounds like a great option if you need it, we all know that sometimes going home can be more of a hindrance than anything else. Home can protect you too much where your decisions are made by others or your regular duties or chores of done by others. This fact makes it harder to leave home again in pursuit for more than has already been established. Please know that this does not happen in all house settings; however there is a great possibility that your growth may become stagnant by returning home. Returning home temporarily is always ok.  It is the permanent visits that could be a make or break our dreams.
So, what options do we really have?  We have two options in life, as the title of this work suggests: Go hard or go home.  We can return to the place where it all started or we can continue to learn, continue to grow, and go for the goal.  Who really wants to go home?  I know I don’t.  I don’t want to return to a place that I spent so long trying to leave. Now, I don’t regret where I came from because I am actually glad that I grew up in the household that I did; I was taught to be respectful to others, do things for myself, be family oriented, and research information on my own.  Home laid the ground work for my beliefs, how I treat people, and how I respond to situations. Once the ground work was laid, I was at a standstill; I had learned everything that I needed to learn at home, now I was ready to be released out into the world and continue my journey toward life and growth. Home made me who I am today, but the world is helping to develop what I will be tomorrow.
I want to end by saying that many people are given the same opportunities in life: We are born, make life decisions, and live life based on our decisions.  The decisions we make as children have the ability in affecting the rest of our lives.  Start making your decisions count today by choosing to go hard.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Arts Impact Middle School Remembers 9/11

On September 11, 2012, I performed my poem, “This is Temporary” in front of the students at Arts Impact Middle School. The school’s music teacher had planned the event to remember the tragedy of September 11th and to honor current and previous members of the military. With much enthusiam, the students openly applauded the speakers, performers, and all those taking part in the event.  It was amazing! I felt positive energy flowing through the audience as I looked at the young potential singers, dancers, poets, public speakers, and even lawyers. I looked in the audience and saw myself in them because I once sat where they sat, thought what they thought, and did what they did.  They were a reflection of my past; a reflection of what use to be.
Thank you Arts Impact Middle School (A.I.M.S) for making my day and being so ready to receive me!  You made my day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"So Fly" by Elle Varner


“I can’t help bein’ depressed 
When I look down at my chest
Oh yes my chest it might as well be non-existent 
How can I ever compete
With 34 DDs
And I’m rolling my eyes
When I look down at my thighs
They might as well take everything that I eat
To my legs”
Elle Varner sings this catch tune about being insecure with her body type.  She even goes as far as saying that if she was minus the “cellulite with big breast and pockets full of money, she would be so fly.”  After those comments and looking at a few of Elle Varner’s pictures, you can’t help but wonder where all of this is coming from.  Well as teenagers and young adults, many of us have imagined the same thoughts, spoke the same words, and believed the same fallacies.  If only we could pick and choose our body type, hand select our facial features, and look in the mirror and see a beautiful young woman or man standing before us.
Elle continues the song by saying:
“Now listen
I got a beautiful soul
But only four people know
They’ve known me since I was ten
Beauty did not matter then
Now in my 20s
All that matters
Is sex, cars, and money
I ain’t got none of the three
So basically I’m invisible to all of the fellas”
I viewed the second portion of the song as Elle still being concerned with what others thought beauty should be and living by the defined standards of society.  The defined standards of society does not always lead to a continued path down the same road, sometimes people follow that road in order to define their own standards.  Elle shows exactly this in the next portion of the song, which states:
“So basically all I need
Is to be everything but me
Colored contacts
And some Implants
Somehow that don’t make much sense
I must be out of my head
If I think
That I am governed by material things”
In the last portion of the song, Elle defines her own definition of fly and states “don’t go believin’ the hype.  There’s no runway in the sky.  And no way you can be fly.  Not if it costs you a dime.”  I absolutely love this song.  I liked the way it transitioned to from I'm not fly to I'm going to create my own definition of fly. 
~Have you had your dose of "So Fly" today?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Funny Things People Say While on Vacation

So recently, my mother and I visited Montgomery, Alabama.  In traveling to Alabama and while there visiting, there were few funny comments made.  Below, you will find four comments made during the trip, which I found funny or cute:   

Mother to TSA Agent about security check: This is like a strip search.
TSA Agent's response:  You still have your clothes on don't you?

Little boy in airport to his mother: Why do I always have to go in the girls' restroom?

Cousin's response to friend fixing dinner upon her visit: I then struck gold

Cousin's comment to her father:  Dad, they have an accent.  I want one.

The first and the last comments were the ones that really had me going.  When people make these type of comments, you have to ask yourself, where do they come up with this stuff from?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Being the Youngest of the Family Getting in the Way of How People Perceive You?

If I had the opportunity of gaining a dollar every time someone stated, “I can’t stand the youngest of the family,” I would probably be paid nothing less than $1,000.  As an adolescent, I definitely heard that statement more than I could count.  The difference between now and then is that now I am aware that emotions tend to play an important role in these comments, which makes you think that there has to be some truth to the matter.  In order for us to address this concern, we have to be open and honest with ourselves and each other.  I want you to take the next few moments and ask yourself these questions: Am I the youngest of the family or do I have a younger sibling?  Am I or my sibling treated a certain way by my family?  Is there a difference in treatment of my siblings and myself?  After you have contemplated those questions for a while, I want you to think about your answers as we progress through this article.

Recently, I was told by a co-worker that she could not believe that I was the youngest of my siblings.  She told me that I did not act as a typical younger sibling.  I immediately thought “people’s opinions of  the younger sibling must be universal.  Why is this?  And what was the particular way that younger siblings acted?”  I ultimately knew the answers to my own questions because I had dealt with them earlier on in life. 
You have to know that being the youngest of the family is not an easy job because people do perceive the youngest to act in a certain manner.  Honestly, it’s not like “The baby of the family” wakes up each morning and say “I’m going to act in a manner to distinguish myself as the younger sibling of the family.”  Sometimes our actions are attention seeking.  We were the last of mom and dad’s kids, so we sometimes seek attention because we were use to having the spotlight.  It can also be said that some of us had no immediate responsibilities to take care of, such as taking care of a younger sibling, being the bigger brother or sister, or anything else that came with protecting someone we loved.  While older brothers and sisters learned this incredible skill early on, younger siblings had to find other ways to gain the skill. 
At times, our understanding of the statement “The world doesn’t revolve around you,” does not really hit home until we are older adults.  This is sad, but often true.  Take reality star, Tamar Braxton for example.  She is the youngest of six children born to Evelyn Braxton and Michael Braxton, Sr.  As the show displays, Tamar can be a little domineering at times.  In previous episodes, her personality rubbed her sisters the wrong way because of her comments and actions.  Although some of Tamar’s actions and comments were irrational, I could definitely relate to her.  I could relate to her emotionality, her feeling of having to always defend herself from her older siblings, and being misunderstood.  See, previously I was the same way.  I remember in my early twenties, I often felt misunderstood.  I had sisters, but no one to talk to.  A mouth, but no one to hear me.  A purpose, but no one to understand me.  I felt as though I was all alone with no one to take up for me when accusations were made against me.  Who would stand by me and show me that it would be ok?  Me, that’s who! 
Finally in my late twenties, I started to live for myself and no one else.  This is when many doors opened up to me in the form of relationships, friendships, and a feeling inside of me that it was ok to be me.  I felt more comfortable in myself, doubted myself less, and knew where I was going.  I honestly believe that when I found comfort in myself, others started to see the same comfort that radiated inside of me.  It was like my hands had been unbound, feet unshackled, and mind liberated.  See, I was a hostage within my own home because like my co-worker who believed the youngest sibling acted in a particular way, I believed I was treated in a particular way.  That notion is what kept me from progressing toward my purpose.  I can say that I longer feel that way because I do not want to be in the business of making thoughts reality.  I conclude by saying that as a child, I was spoiled and a bit selfish.  Do you think if I was presented with the opportunity to change who I was as a child, I would do it?  Not at all!  I truly believe that we all go through certain things in life because we are being prepared to embark upon like experiences.  My knowledge of my past choices and activities could very well help shape someone else’s life.  While I am unable to change my sisters’ previous thoughts about me, I am able to change their future thoughts.  We definitely have much better relationships than when I was younger, which I attribute to the shift in understanding each other as we grew up and became women.  We now have experienced life a little bit more and have something to share with each other.  I must say that I love these women!

~ I choose the liberated and often conscious mind

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Alumni Author of the Month at Otterbein University

Good evening everyone.  I wanted to share this joyous occassion with you.  I am currently the Alumni Author of the Month at Otterbein University.  Please make sure you stop by the school and check it out.  I am planning on visiting the site very soon.  Be check to keep update on when I will be there.  Check out more information on the facebook page for Otterbein Courtright Memorial Library.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What a Man Wants? What a Man Needs?

What do men really want in a woman?  Well, the verdict is in and ready to be discussed.  In a recent focus group, I met with men between the ages of 30 to 40 years of age.  These men stated that they were looking for someone they call a “Real Woman.”  Ms. Real Woman is smart, can engage in various intellectual conversations, listens, cares about her significant other, and most of all, she acts like a woman. 

Men stress the importance of relationships being give and take and their need of being treated like a king.  Men are willing to give to the relationship; however giving has to be reciprocated from the woman.  A close friend of mine once told me that “Women want to be treated like queens; however in the same instance, they have to be willing to treat their boyfriends or husbands like kings.  It’s only fair.”  Men definitely want equality in the relationship and at the same time the opportunity to take his place as being the protector of the family.  They believe that each sex plays a vital role in the family, whether it is being a protector or the rock of the family.
Finding Ms. Right for men has not been easy because they face the same struggles that women face when looking for Mr. Right.  One individual told me that “I don’t care about my mate being pretty; I care more about her inner beauty, intelligence, and our connection.”  Men also stressed that there’s no one person that was made for them.  They stated that if a woman has some of the qualities they want, they are willing to put more interest in her by helping her develop various skills to make her Mrs. Wife. 
Men want the same things in life that women want, such as the American Dream.  The American Dream consists of having a family, home, job, and other necessities to make life much better.  One friend told me that “No one wants to be alone for the rest of his or her life.  Everyone generally arrives at a stage in life when they need and or want to have a partner.”  I was also told that men and women are constantly looking toward the future and want various pleasures in life that consists of: Marriage, children, and a stable household.     
In conclusion, men want women to listen, be patient, relinquish some of the power and control, and have intellectual conversations.  Is that too much to ask for?  Not at all.  Do you agree?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Broken Dreams and Lessons

Broken dreams
Tattered souls
Reflection in eyes
Of hardship untold

Long days and nights
Ease the pain
Relieves the stress
From the often insane

Things have to get better
They can’t get any worse
I put the worse aside
And tucked it in my purse

See worse use to challenge me
And hit me when I was down
It even grabbed a Louieville Slugger
And beat my head straight to the ground

I finally said no more
And pleasantly got up
Because I truly knew
When enough was enough

See repeating a lesson
I don’t have that to do
Learning from the lesson
Was what I have to do

Now, you can go through life
Keeping doing the same thing
But when you learn the lesson
Is when you ears will ring

More opportunities will be waiting
For you to continue your stride
Just know where you’re going
And when to get off the ride!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Art Series: The Art of Presenting

Tell me this, have you ever attended a presentation that just bored you out of your mind?  The material was great, but the presenter was not so engaging.  Have you ever been that presenter that failed to captivate the audience?  In the next few moments, I am going to give you a few tips to take you from not captivating an audience to engaging them and keeping their interest.

Right now, I know you are wondering what skills do I possess that could assist you in being a better presenter.  Currently, I train various individuals in Job Readiness programs for permanent employment.  A lot of this training consists of me presenting to the group, interacting with them, engaging them, and making sure they understand the material.  I have trained high school students, older adults, and individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders. 

In the past, I could relate to being the presenter that did not captivate the audience.  An example of this was when I first started training individuals four years ago.  As I was presenting to a group of two individuals, I started putting my own self asleep.  It can honestly be said that if you are putting your own self to sleep with the material, you are more than likely doing the same thing to your audience.  After evaluating myself, I found that I talked the majority of the time, did not interact with the listeners, and had only one method to the presentation (lecture).  At that moment, I asked myself, "What can you do differently to make sure this never happens again?"  My conclusion was that my material needed to be more engaging.  I definitely had great knowledge to provide the group; however I did not have the follow through to make the students were engaged in the subject matter.  Needless to say, I changed my approach immediately.

Below, you will find some helpful tips in captivating your audience:
  1. Get to know your audience
    • Evaluate the room
    • Make small talk
  2. Interact with your listeners
    • Ask questions
    • Answer questions
    • Make eye contact
    • Be social
  3. Use various presenting tools
    • PowerPoint
    • Printouts
    • YouTube Videos
    • Websites
    • Games or Interactive Strategies
    • Let the audience guide some of the discussion
  4. Be excited about the material
    • Smile
    • Provide personal examples
    • show enthusiasm
 I am hoping that these techniques will help you in engaging your next audience.  Remember that your audience will respond to your energy.  So give off positive and engaging energy.

Truly Amazing

Today, I was truly amazed when I listened to WHCR 90.3 FM.  CCNY's President, Lisa S. Coico, interviewed the winners of The City College of New York 40th Annual Spring Poetry Festival, Maurisa Fraser, Nykemah Warren and Dolen Le and the Director of the CCNY’s Poetry Outreach Center, Pamela S. Laskin. Listen here.

Congratulations to Maurisa for being the first place winner!

Friday, July 27, 2012

What a Girl Wants: What a Girl Needs!

Understanding the female perspective is really not as hard as some have deemed it to be.  Listening to her, as she listens to you, is the key componet to understanding her.  Listening entails allowing her time to talk, rephrasing what was stated, making eye contact, and showing some sign of understanding to the discussion.  Now, there are going to be times times that you don't understand what she is talking about.  This is when you should tell her that you don't understand.  I know she will appreciate your honesty.  Below, I will review some things that women want and what they need.  Please note that not all women want the same things.  This list was compiled from my conversations with men and women over the past three years.

Honesty is one of the ingredients for any successful relationship, friendship, partnership, or any other type of communicative effort.  It makes the person feel valued and worthy of such a relationship.  In the past, some male acquaintances have told me in open dialogue that "women cannot handle the truth."  Well, I'm here to say that women can handle the truth because the truth is much better than a lie.  The truth may hurt in the beginning, but a lie will hurt even worse.  So if you have something you need to get off of your chest, tell her.

Entering and maintaining relationships with someone who is goal-oriented and attempts their goals is a must.   Recently, I was among a group of male friends who have always been upfront with me about their feelings and the differences between men and women.  The group of men, who were high school and/or college educated, agreed to the same thing; women want more for their lives than men and that men are content with their current lives.  This statement seemed to be true because a friend of mine recently disclosed information to me about wanting her boyfriend to be more goal-oriented and want more for his life.  I honestly believe that wanting more out of your life really depends on the person because I have been around men that have wanted more out of their lives than some women did.  If the woman finds the scenario above to be true in her case, she and her significant should discuss if the relationship is worth pursuing.  The relationship may work for some; however not work for others.

Have you ever been in love with someone and the feelings just were not reciprocated?  I am sure a number of us have felt this way either this month, last month, or the last couple of years ago.  In my evaluations and discussions with men and women, I have noticed that women tend to fall for a guy in the beginning of a relationship.  She sometimes gives her all in the beginning because anything less would be uncanny.  In comparison with women, men tend to take longer to divulge his feelings to a women.  In this type of situation, I say that each individual has to give a little.  The man may tell the women to be patient; however he too should learn how to disclose some of his feelings earlier on, so it is a win-win situation.   

Women need to be in a relationship with no double standards.  How many of you men can honestly say that you did not want your woman hanging around male friends; however it was ok for you to hang around female friends?  Do you honestly think that was fair?  Some of my male friends told me that they like it that way because they know how men are and some women are naive.  Could the same be said for women and could some men be naive?  I would say the same goes for both men and women.  We are all tempted by some of the same things and react in a similar way.  A good dose of trust is needed in this situation.

The last thing that women need is time to focus on her.  Women like to be pampered, spoiled, and thought highly of.  Why not take her on an all expense paid trip to Montego Bay?  Ok, I may be pushing the enevelop a bit, but if you can afford it, why not?  If you can't, then take her out to dinner and to a movie.  Let her relax without having to pick up the tab.  Let her have quiet time for her thoughts and be able to focus solely on herself.  Take her shopping or to one of her favorite places.  You will know exactly where to take her because you have invested enough time in her to know these things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

People and Our Differences

Have you ever been at the park with a friend and you happen to see someone who looks different from you?  Maybe you are at the grocery store and see someone who walks a little different?  What about having a manager’s meeting and another manager thinks differently than the other managers?

If you have answered yes to any of the statements above than welcome to this wonderful world we call society.  A world where people are made up of different shapes, sizes, colors, abilities, and thought processes.  A group of people that encompasses different cultures, religions, preferences, and upbringings.  Who would have imagined such a group of extraordinary people?

We are a people of many differences, yet many similarities as well.  Have you ever seen the dedicated African-America mother who works hard to make sure her four girls are raised the right way?  What about the Caucasian father who helps his son learn how to play baseball?  Don’t forget about the dedicated Asian boy who learns how to play basketball well enough to make it to the NBA.

As a society of many differences, we also have to respect our similarities and the things we have in common.  We must put aside our strife toward other races, sexes, religions, cultures, and other protected classes, in an attempt to gain what is naturally ours; peace.  

When I think about peace and coming together despite our differences, I reflect on the Statue of Liberty.  The statue has a very symbolic meaning that I am pretty sure that most of us can identify with, being that we are a nation of immigrants.  It was gifted to the United States by France in 1886.  The statue:

Stands for an idea. The Statue of Liberty stands in Upper New York Bay, a universal symbol of freedom. Originally conceived as an emblem of the friendship between the people of France and the U.S. and a sign of their mutual desire for liberty, over the years the Statue has become much more. It is the Mother of Exiles, greeting millions of immigrants and embodying hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life in America. It stirs the desire for freedom in people all over the world. It represents the United States itself.

When dealing with other people that are different, remember the easy part is judging immediately.  The hard part is understanding the unknown.  Are you tired of taking the easy way out of life?  Be more than the judge and jury socialites that we come into contact with or have become today!

What Type of Energy Have You Been Giving Off?

Have you thought about this question lately: What type of energy have I been giving off?  I have asked myself that question a couple times this month.  The question occurred because  recently I had been extremely happy for some reason and my phone was constantly beeping with messages from friends I had not talked to in over four months.  I started to ask myself if my friends could feel my positive energy in society and responded to my happiness with “Hey girl!  How’s it going?  And what’s been up?”  Something was definitely going on and I needed to find out what. 

In thinking about positive and negative energy, I can honestly say that I have been on the spectrum of exhibiting both positive and negative energy levels; with the negative portion being attributed to obtaining my master’s degree last year.  My energy levels were usually positive; however in my pursuit for my master’s degree, I experienced negative energy to its fullest extent: I was constantly complaining, had my first tiff with a friend I had known for at least 10 years, and felt like I would never be able to write a 60 page paper in three months.  I believe that all of this stress was due to me completing my thesis project, working a full-time job, attending social functions, and other functions of my life that I wanted to maintain.  Though I was the creator of my own negative energy, I told myself to push through it and learn to deal with the detrimental state I was in, so I could learn how to cope with like situations in the future.

Often, when people exude positive energy, everyone wants to be around them.  It’s like a magnetic attraction that makes people joyful.  It makes like souls congregate and provide strength for one another.  It lets people see that all things are possible through strength and dedication.  These individuals may display a certain passion toward something, which is exuded in the way they treat people, the way they respond to certain situations, and the forces they allow to have dominion over them.  People who exemplify characteristics of negative energy are often avoided by others, especially the positive energy holders.  Negative energy tends to repel positive energy, which provides a feeling of discomfort, stress, and ambiguity.  While negative feelings cannot always be avoided, the way that we respond to them can.  You cannot always control the things that happen in your life; however you can control the way that you respond to them.

Take action today by understanding your negative feelings and dealing with them in a professional manner.