A Mother’s Choice

6 08 2012

Now and then I read a story so intense that it takes me a few weeks to shake the thought of it.  The Color of Love by Gene Cheek is such a story.

Gene is a mid fifties white male with an extremely rare story of being caught in the middle of his Caucasian mother and his African American Step father’s relationship in the Jim Crow south.  Yes, there were multiracial relationships during the 50’s and 60’s, but Gene’s story is unique.  After much horrific abuse  by her white husband, she left and started a secret affair with a black man. This secret was well kept until his mother got pregnant and gave birth to a baby that was obviously black. This affair changed Gene’s life forever.  His mother was taken to court and charged with neglect – based solely on the relationship.  Although the charges were brought by her ex-husband and his family, they did not want custody of Gene – they simply wanted him taken away from his mother.  They were successful in getting Gene  torn away and thrown (literally) into the foster care system.

Sometimes I think we tire of reading stories of racial abuse that took place during the 50’s and 60’s. There was so much hate and abuse. They are hard to read because I tend to suffer with the victims every time.  But when I met the author and listened to him tell his story – I actually wanted to read the book again.  His wisdom coupled with his philosophy on race is amazing. He has put  everything into a prospective that levels the playing field for all the players, both good and evil. Most important, he has come to terms with his past.  And that, in and of itself, is not easily achieved by many people.  Mr. Cheek states, “The past has a way of interfering with the future whether we want it to or not”.   That is a profound statement.  It is how we handle the fallout from our past that matters.

I am happy to add this book to my collection. For more information or to purchase this book, it is listed on several sites including Barnes and Nobel.Com and Amazon or contact the author at gene3251@yahoo.com.





The Greatest Stories Ever Told

23 07 2012

Talking to people with great stories is one of the most rewarding things I experience as talk show host. True, incredible stories of victory and experiences that I can only imagine.

Meet Reschelle Means  who wrote about her experience self treating cancer after her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  She used her faith to research options and treat her illness without benefit of radiation or chemo therapy. Her husband was very supportive of her need to quit work and focus on her recovery. During her interview she shared a wealth of information on the nutritional value of asparagus; the impact of sugar on cancer and how to communicate with people who are living with cancer.

Reschelle’s comments on communication were priceless to me because I never know the appropriate thing to say to someone with a serious illness.  I can’t say,  I know or I understand because it is tough to really know the depth of someone else’s pain.  So many people say, “I am praying for you” that it almost sounds redundant – albeit sincere.  Reschelle suggest that you tell them, simply, to be encouraged.  She said you should let them know you are in it with them – fighting all the way; regardless of the prognosis.  Her book is entitled: Intruder – Naturally Kicking Out Cancer.  It is available at Barnes & Noble.com; Amazon and Westbowpress.com.  Contact Reschelle at http://www.intrudercalledcancer.net for more information on her research and treatment the intruder.

At the time of our interview Reschelle was cancer free, looked great and she was living a full life with family and friends. This was less than two years after her diagnosis and her doctor’s recommendation that she take extensive rounds of chemo and radiation.

Note:  This is  a review of a book and a conversation with the author Reschelle Means. You Need to Write A Book does not make medical recommendations.  You should always seek the advice of your physician.





Are You Brave Enough to Tell?

6 05 2012

As a writer and publisher, I often meet people with amazing stories to tell. I often end the conversation by saying “That is some story…you need to write a book”. Many times I walk away admiring their strength, their stupidity or both. In either case, I have always wanted to pass those stories on to others. People can and should learn from the experience of others. The problem is that many of the people with the most compelling stories do not write books and many choose to keep their crash landing to themselves.  They do not want to look like failures or be judged by others. But those are the stories that need to be read. We need to hear about the one thing that changed the direction of your life. If there is a young person contemplating quitting school, or a woman living in domestic violence; or someone who doesn’t trust their own judgment about a situation that can be life changing. Your story can  inspire others to reassess their circumstances, make decisions and move forward.

Since starting radio interviews I have been overwhelmed by the  stories of struggle and victory.  Some people are just happy to be here, to be alive, regardless of their current circumstance – life is better than it was when they were going through.  Others  want to help by telling their stories as they acknowledge missed opportunities  and errors in judgement that sent them in the wrong direction. Truly, they all are heroes.  I am always excited to hear the next story.

So what is holding you back?  What is your story and who will it help? You never know – you may be surprised! Start writing today…





A New Year

21 02 2012

Wow! I have been on hiatus for the last few months, but it is great to be inspired again.  Although I have not been writing on the blog, I have finished writing my new book,  You Need To Write A Book! Everybody has a Story – What’s Yours? I have read several very good books as well.  Check out my reading list for the latest updates.

During my absence I have been to the beach several times for R&R; continued to nurse my mother thru two additional hospital stays; threw her a successful birthday party; attended my 42-year-old next door neighbors’ funeral and somehow made it thru the holiday season as a graceful hostess.  It has been wild!

I have so much to share with you each week and it is really exciting to unload on you again…





Start Writing Your Story!

14 09 2011

As a writer and publisher, I often meet people with amazing stories to tell. I often end the conversation by saying “That is some story…you need to write a book”. Many times I walk away admiring their strength, their stupidity or both. In either case, I have always wanted to pass those stories on to others. People can and should learn from the experience of others. The problem is that many of the people with the most compelling stories do not write books and many choose to keep their crash landing to themselves.  They do not want to look like failures or be judged by others. But those are the stories that need to be read. We need to hear about the one thing that changed the direction of your life. If there is a young person contemplating quitting school, or a woman living in domestic violence; or someone who doesn’t trust their own judgment about a situation that can be life changing. Your story can  inspire others to reassess their circumstances, make decisions and move forward.

So what is holding you back?  What is your story and who will it help? You never know – you may be surprised! Start writing today…





How do we handle disrespect?

8 08 2011

Most of last week was spent listening to comments about the increasing trend of disrespect displayed towards President Obama lately.  It is disturbing, to say the least.  I was raised on military bases so I watched my enlisted stepdad salute his superiors every time we moved around the base.  I loved the decorum and organization.  It never bothered me that he was not an Officer – I was just happy that he was in the service.  It definitely added value to my life.

One thing I learned for sure was respect for authority.  Although I was the class cutup before my mother remarried; once I started school on base- it ceased.  I was not an angel in school, but my mother never went to school to deal with discipline issues again.  I learned from what I saw practiced every day; respect for leadership and respect for authority.  The only dark side appeared when I started dating.  My stepdad refused to allow me to date an Officer.  He said there was “no way” he was saluting anybody in his own home – don’t even think about it.  Needless to say, I married an enlisted  man.  The one Officer I dated was mysteriously escorted off the base when he tried to visit me. Told ya – I was not an angel…

But back to the issue of respect – I do not see it displayed at that level today.  Let’s look back over President Obama s term – so far. Military leaders speak out against the President of the United States.  Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina yelled out to the President during his speech on health care reform “you lie”.  It was disrespectful, unbelievable and completely out of order.  But he apologized.  Donald Trump went on the attack about the President’s birth certificate, his education and his grades. He was rude, sarcastic and just plain ugly.  He pushed me off the fence.  I was always border line about him anyway.  I loved the Apprentice, but I was never sure about him.  Now I am sure – there is nothing he could put on TV that I would want to watch! He is much too arrogant to apologize.  Representative Doug Lamborn distanced himself, verbally, from the President by comparing it to touching a tar-baby.  But he too apologized.  Then of course, there is Pat Buchanan (again), who referred to the President as “your boy” and yes – he apologized also.  Collectively, they didn’t learn respect for leadership but they have definitely learned the art of an apology. Hmmm…

What should our young people think?  How should they interact with leaders and teachers they encounter each day?

Between now and Labor Day, school will start for kids around the country.   I have always felt that intellect is secondary to behavior.  It doesn’t matter  how smart a child or adult is, if they cannot function in society and/or they have no respect for authority, life for them and around them can be  miserable.  Simply put, whatever their gift or talent, interacting with them is just not worth the trouble.

If you are dealing with adults, sometimes it is as easy as changing your environment.   If it is someone you work with change could be more difficult, if possible at all.  But what about teachers that must spend the day with a difficult child or teen that has no respect for authority? Students certainly will not learn by watching political leaders today or some “religious” leaders as well.  What is a teacher to do?

How do we correct the problem?  There are many opinions in cyberspace on the subject.  According to   ascd.or, “With such an atmosphere of mutual disrespect festering in our classrooms, learning is becoming increasingly difficult.  Before you can teach or learn from someone, you need to genuinely respect them.”  Also good advice from How to Teach Kids to Respect Others:  When your children speak, listen carefully.  Do not yell.  Do not roll your eyes. Do not insult, and never, ever hit.  If you engage in any of this type of behavior with your children, they will ultimately learn that this behavior is acceptable, no matter how many times you tell them with words that it’s not ok.

If this is true – we need to send a few leaders back to school for retraining.

We always hear that it takes a village to raise a child.  But with the expansion of the World Wide Web and so many links to other social groups, we must all assume a certain amount of responsibility for the foot prints we leave at the end of every day.  What we say and do matters – now more than ever.

How to Teach Kids to Respect Others | eHow.com;
http://www.ehow.com/how_4876001_teach-kids-respect-others.html#ixzz1UO905F9lz;

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/03/pat-buchanan-obama-your-boy-al-sharpton_n_916925.html;

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1921455,00.html;

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2011/08/02/2011-08-02_gop_congressman_doug_lamborn_of_colorado_blasted_for_likening_president_obama_to.html;





Atlanta is burning….

13 07 2011

As someone who obsesses on books, reading and children,  I am completely engrossed in the unfortunate chain of events in the Atlanta Public School system aka APS.  The issue is cheating on achievement test and the finger-pointing has run amuck. Teachers have been put in the position to turn on their Principals in some cases to protect themselves, but in others to get even with leadership.  After all, how many people would turn on their boss if they knew for certain they would be protected?

Cheating is wrong, seriously wrong; which makes it critical that authorities take every step necessary to identify violators correctly.  Mistakes in judgment, accusations
and charges can be costly to the credibility and careers of the innocent. Not to mention the impact on the children.

The most astounding part of this entire incident is not that some people broke the rules.  People fail to follow policy and break rules every day in every segment of society.          There  should have been something solid in place to prevent it – at every level. But the outpouring of judgment, hostility and the overall breakdown among peers and coworkers, inflamed by the Governor and his investigators, is unacceptable. They are the leaders – inciting people to turn on each other and tear down a system where trust and team work are essential.  It is sad.

I am curious to know if Dr. Beverly Hall changed any of the testing procedures when she arrived at APS.  Were erasures a problem prior to her arrival or did the State decide to
check because they were suspicious of the new trend?  How many class rooms were flagged before Dr. Hall arrived?  What was the trend? Why now and why did it take so long?

Finally, teaching children not to cheat is important and so is leading by example.  However, it is critical that we teach them how to resolve the issues of life and how to
conduct themselves in the midst of a crisis. They must learn to weigh all the facts and make good decisions. We must teach them to fight with dignity and respect when addressing the many problems they will encounter in life. I have read and watched so much sanctimonious verbiage and accusations in the last few days. Even to the extent of interviewing children (not protecting them) to voice a negative opinion on TV.  Media should return to unbiased reporting – not head hunting.

Hopefully, when the dust settles,  the guilty will be punished, the innocent will be named, and ATL will rise from the ashes again.





Another great story left untold….

5 07 2011

As a writer and small publisher, I often meet people with unbelievable stories. I often end the conversation by saying “That is some story…you need to write a book”. Many times I walk away admiring their strength, their stupidity or both. In either case, I have always wanted to share these stories with others. People can and should learn from the experience of others. The problem is that many of the people with the most compelling stories do not write books and many choose to keep their crash landing to themselves so they will not look like failures or be judged. But those are the stories that need to be read. We need to hear about the one thing that changed the direction of your life. If there is a young person contemplating quitting school, or a woman living in domestic violence; or someone who doesn’t trust their own judgment about a situation that can be life changing.

So what’s your story and who will it help? You never know – you may be surprised so share a couple of paragraphs. Don’t leave your story untold!  PLEASE do not give real names and keep it clean and true





Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.

17 01 2011

Martin Luther King,  Jr.

January 15, 1929 – April 14, 1968

Today we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. He would have been 82 years old on January 15th. Nationwide there will be events and church services in his honor. Every year I play my old video of the 1980’s TV tribute to him.  Stevie Wonder, Debbie Allen, Ray Charles and a cast of great entertainers paid tribute to the passing of the Martin Luther King Holiday.  It is one of the best shows ever on TV.

Dr. King was gunned down in 1968.  The world is such a different place now and I often wonder how he would feel about it.  Is this what he saw from the mountain top? Yes? No? Really… Would he call himself an African-American? What would he have done during Hurricane Katrina?

What would he think of his black brothers today?  What would he say to them? Have they met his challenge to keep the struggle on the “high plane of dignity and discipline”? What would he say about the baggy pants and the increase in crime? Would his message have changed at all?

Like most people, I would love to see him standing beside President Obama in the “Palace of Justice…his rightful place … free from wrongful deeds”.  I know he would have been moved to tears.  I am not sure if he  ever envisioned a black President when he was on that mountain top.  There was so much discord and hate at that time.  But I am sure he would be proud of this country for the progress we have made.

Great leaders are rare. Martin Luther King did not achieve greatness in death. He lived a great life for a worthy cause while he was alive.   He sacrificed normalcy and put his life on the line to change the dark side of humanity in this country.   We honor his efforts and his legacy always.

Picture and excerpts of I have a Dream courtesy Nobelprize.Org and Time.com/photo essays





THANKFUL FOR LITTLE THINGS

19 11 2010

Thanksgiving is upon us and God willing the day will be spent with lots of family, too much food with leftovers – for days.  It is a great time to reflect on the things in life that really matter.  Many are not deep but they are very meaningful to me. The list is in random order:

Things I am most thankful for….

  1. A dry road on a sunny day; I hate driving at night or in the rain
  2. Wearing my favorite ten year old suit – yea!  It fits…
  3. The playful smile of any child – relieves all stress.
  4. A year without death in the family.
  5. Friends that know when to call.  Sometimes I think they are psychic.
  6. Anything that remains the same – I am a change agent who loves familiar things.
  7. The Beacons supersized banana split that I eat twice a year -it is worth the wait!
  8. Any change of season- makes me feel younger every time.
  9. A good hair day.
  10. Any random act of kindness – the thoughtfulness of others always overwhelms me.
  11. Reading, writing and music – they feed my love of words.
  12. My ability to sleep it off – no matter what “it” is. Tomorrow is another day…

There has been much discussion concerning depression and suicide during the holidays.  Some mental health professionals believe there is spike during this time while others disagree.  The final analysis for each has much to do with the source data used in the research.

If you are one to enjoy the little things in life you will certainly experience more joy.  If you have feelings that cannot be reversed during the holiday or any day, please reach out to someone for help and companionship.  Visit the following websites for more information on stress during the holiday.

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/49/54818/suicide-holidays

http://in.news.yahoo.com/48/20101117/1246/twl-how-to-practice-safe-stress-during-t.html

Happy Holidays!








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.