Not Too Busy to Love

Not Too Busy to Love

Today’s Memory Lane Monday comes from an email I sent on 1/31/07.  I spent last week in Jackson, juggling relaxing with visiting as many family members as I could with meeting up with friends and classmates.  Yesterday, when it was time to leave, I wasn’t ready because I felt like I hadn’t really done everything or seen everybody I had intended to.  But alas, I had to get back on the road.  I say all that to say, at the end of the day, it’s all about love.  Showing people, friends, family, and even strangers, love.  We’re here on earth to make a difference in someone’s life, and who knows who it will be?  Maybe just the fact that I spent a little time with my grandma, my granddaddy, my aunts, and my great-aunts was enough.  Or maybe the fact that I spent a lil time catching up with old friends was enough.  Or just maybe the short convo I had in the mall with a stranger at random was enough.  Anywho, enjoy.

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”—when you now have it with you.  Proverbs 3:27-28

A major part of being Christians is our responsibility to love.  And part of loving is giving–our time, our effort, our resources–to people in need.  It’s not always something big that the Spirit urges us to give, but we often ignore those urges.  You never know how a smile might have changed someone’s day.  Or stopping to give someone directions.  Or giving someone a dollar.  Or helping someone with a homework assignment.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, especially for myself since I’m always on the go–every time Jesus stopped to helped someone in the Bible, he wasn’t just sitting there waiting to help someone–he was on his way somewhere, and he stopped what he was doing to assist that person in need.  We should follow suit, and try to make sure we have a loving attitude throughout our day.

Feature Friday: Afrika Book Café

Feature Friday: Afrika Book Café

I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, I visited the Afrika Book Café, located at 404 Mitchell Street in my hometown Jackson, MS.  This much needed black-owned book store is in the Fondren area and has books, African inspired jewelry, African clothing, music, incense, and oils at great prices.  I had the fortunate opportunity to talk at length with one of the store owners Dr. Sizewe Chapman, who is originally from Jackson and wants to see and help the city of Jackson grow and prosper.  After discussing economic development in Jackson, he recommended I read Black Labor, White Wealth by Claud Anderson.

Another book, The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke, caught my eye, so I purchased those two and look forward to reading them.

Now I wish I were flying back to Atlanta so I could get started!

After browsing through all Afrika Book Café has to offer, I sat on the porch with the store owners (a beautiful married couple!) and Skipp Coon and his wife (another beautiful married couple! Black love lives!).  One of the things I miss most about home is the simplicity but profundity of sitting on a porch learning from each other and talking about the world and what we can do and are doing to make it better.  Skipp, Sizewe, and I talked strategy, history, our reality, and dreams.  Sizewe, a former African history professor at Jackson State University, really inspired me to keep reading and finding historical significance and lessons as I move forward in trying to affect positive change in the black community.  Skipp, who is a rapper who speaks the truth (and someone whom you should support!), and I finished a conversation we had awhile back about colonies, and we shared stories about our experiences as blacks traveling in Europe.

Lemme tell you, my visit to Afrika Book Café is one of the highlights of my trip home.  If you’re in or near Jackson, I encourage you to check this treasure out.  It’s still a new business, so let’s make sure it stays open, serving our community by providing educational and mind-expanding resources and a space for community interaction.  Go support this small business! And while you’re at it, support Skipp Coon!

MLM: The Time of My Life

MLM: The Time of My Life

Happy Monday to you and Happy Birthday Eve to me!  The post I’m about to share was written on 9/22/04, and in it, I talk enjoying my 20s, which I’m about to be saying goodbye to over the next year.  Also, I thought it was nifty that my birthday, my golden birthday at that, was on a Tuesday that year just like it is this year.

I still don’t have a bunch o’ regrets.  As I move into my 30th year, I know that I’ve accomplished a lot, I know tons of great people, and I have so much I want to do and know I will do.  Life will always have its ups and downs, and I’ve had some hella ups that are way more vivid memories than the downs.  So no complaints over this way.  Especially after a great weekend.  Friday, I chilled and talked and chilled and talked.  Saturday, I had a day full of tons of stuff, including a workshop,a business launch, a dinner with the girls where they surprised me with cupcakes :), and dancing at Old School Saturday with a slew of friends.  Yesterday, I got to see my mentee strut her stuff in her first pageant, and she won Most Photogenic in her division and overall and 1st runner up to Miss Jr Teen Atlanta, and I was treated to a nice dinner and a delectable dessert.  And later this week, I’ll get to spend my Thanksgiving with my awesome family.  See, how could I complain?  Yep, I’m still having the time of my life.  Anywho, here ya go.

I was listening to the radio this morning, and for one time, Ryan Cameron made me think. (I usually don’t listen to him because he aggravates me.) Anywho, I came in on the end of the convo so I dunno what prompted the topic, but he was discussing with the rest of his crew the importance of living life and not putting things off until you can “afford” it because alot of us will never enjoy ourselves that way. He talked about how some parents miss out on the special moments of their kids’ lives working all the time and saying, “Well, next time, but this time I need to do overtime so I can…” And then he said something about a girl who gave her entire 20s to a guy and now she’s alone and talking about how she’ll never go back to all that drama after she’s missed out on probably the funnest part of the average person’s life. Which got me to thinking about me and this part of my life. I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying my 20s (even though I kinda just began them but that’s ok–I’m looking forward to the rest of em). I know I gripe alot about different things, and I do get sad and unsatisfied sometimes, but overall, I don’t think when I look back on my life I will have many regrets or woulda/coulda/shoulda’s so far. I’m having a ball while working on the future. I’m meeting people, not as many as I’d like sometimes, but the people I have met and gotten to know are great people and you can’t beat that. And my networking circle is widening by the week. And again, I am having fun. I get stressed sometimes, but that’s a part of life, right? Last year was kinda boring, but this year and my senior year were great. Now as I’m finishing up my 23rd year (for you folx who hate my math logic–when you’re 22, that’s cuz you’ve lived 22 complete years and are going into the 23rd), I’m pleased with where I am at the moment. Not to say I’m about to become stagnant–never that–but I’m pleased with the overall state of things.

So enough with all that, let’s talk about this weekend. Methinks I’m going to the Classic. I’m trying to see how many people are coming with, so far 2. So fun. I plan to go to the parade that morning. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a parade, and the one I used to always go to is kinda hood rich (but I love it) so I’m excited that this may be a little more “big time” than I’m used to. I heard a rep of the 100 Black Men say that they flew in the Ghanaian Royal family, so that should be really cool. Of course there are free parties all weekend, so I gotta see if any of my friends are down. I’m also planning a trip to DC with two very special people for my birthday, so I’m extra excited about that. Extra extra. I hope everything falls in line. And I need to be figuring out what I will give my brother for his 18th birthday, which is 2 days after my birthday (and Thanksgiving). Any ideas? When I can afford it, I think I may start taking him different places for his birthday. I didn’t get my big brother anything for his birthday. It was Monday. But I did call and talk to him awhile. We had gotten close for awhile, but that kinda fell off. Maybe I’ll start calling for often. I was enjoying him being more like a friend brother than the big-bad-I’ll-beat-everybody-up-if-they-mess-with-you brother. But sometimes that is cool too. 🙂

Well, it’s off to the regular grind. But today seems a tad bit brighter than yesterday, and that’s always a good thing!

[lyrics for the day]
So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind, hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial. For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.
good riddance>>green day

This is a really classic song.  I guess I’ve always had good taste in music. 🙂  I’m going to live the rest of you up, 20s!


Feature Friday: Harry Potter

Feature Friday: Harry Potter

As tradition goes, last night, my friend Vonetta and I saw the midnight showing of the newest Harry Potter movie.  Man, let me tell you.  I was emotionally spent when the credits rolled after the movie.  I giggled, I laughed, I startled, I bobbed and weaved, I got misty, and I cried (and I only took a slight nap toward the start of the movie lol).

I won’t give away any spoilers for you people out there like me who read the books after the movie (yes, I’m DYING to read book #7, but I have to wait till next summer) aand for those of you who have never read the books (and I highly recommend that you do–well-written stories and much better than the movies, which says alot because the movies are GREAT).  But I will say that I love love love the relationships that have evolved over the course of this story.  I love that Harry is very much a realistic character–someone with a gift that doesn’t want to share the burden with anyone else while carrying the world on his back.  I love that he has true friends in Hermione and Ron (and Dobby and Hagrid and Luna (who I heart) and the rest of the good guy team).  I love that their relationship isn’t perfect but they find ways to overcome their issues with each other and are still there for each other.  I love that Draco Malfoy, who I’ve heavily disliked from the beginning, is still a realistic character, really struggling with his lot in life.  I love that the villains are so well-developed that I really do despise them–Bellatrix and Snape (who Vonetta dropped a spoiler about on me last night, but I’ll give her a pass since it was 2:30 in the morning) and Dolores Umbridge.  And I’m very patiently waiting to see the final battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort, and I can’t wait to see how the wand storyline unfolds.

Before I sign off, I’d like to note that I saw for the first time in my Harry Potter movie going days someone dressed as Hagrid.  Shout out to that guy!!  Also, shout out to the guy who did a Tech fight chant as we awaited the previews.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you will not be disappointed with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  What a great way to kick off my birthday weekend!  Happy Friday, folks!

Lifting us all up

Lifting us all up

I got a couple comments offline about my iRock post that were surprisingly negative.  They were from guys who said that they were tired of us black womenfolk uplifting ourselves and what about the fellas…  Weeeeeeellllll, I didn’t know that uplifting someone equated downplaying someone else.  I believe that uplifting women is one major key to uplifting a community.  In the media, we have been hearing so much negativity, especially us educated, supposedly too independent, grouchy, emasculating, career-focused black women.  I know so many awesome black women who don’t know just how awesome they are, and in turn, the people around them don’t necessarily see how awesome they are because they downplay themselves.  So I wanted people to come on here and celebrate how they rock.  Men could too, if you rock.  We don’t hate around these parts–we acknowledge how important both men and women are to our community.  So c’mon.  Can you give us some love without feeling neglected?

Malcolm X once said that black women are the most disrespected, unprotected people in America.  Sometimes I wonder how we got to the point where YouTube video battles about the contention between black men and women became just as mainstream as harping on negative statistics about us every chance possible without providing some solution besides date whoever winks at you.  I don’t know what the solution is, but we’ve got to get back to a point where we respect each other.  I was listening to Michael Eric Dyson today, and a guest on his show, Dr. Raymond Winbush, author of The Warrior Method: A Parents’ Guide to Rearing Healthy Black Boys, said something that really struck a cord with me.  He said that we so often use the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but we never talk about how our village has been torn apart or about how to rebuild it. Ok, I may have added some of my own into that, but you get the picture.  I want to know how we can improve the overall relations within our community (I know not ALL people men-bash or women-bash so don’t start with me please and thanks).  How can we stop the finger pointing and start the embracing?  We all have stuff to work on–it’s not a one-sided issue.  What can we do today to ensure that our kids will respect each other?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This next video is to add to that convo about guys who love to call out women who aren’t smiling as they walk down the street. Lol–it’s not that deep on a daily basis, but still something to think about.

And y’all know I love me some good music.  This is dedicated to all my girls who rock (even if you didn’t come tell me why, lol).

MLM: Stagecoach Prayer

MLM: Stagecoach Prayer

Happy Monday, lovelies!  I had a spectacular weekend, and I’m ready to rumble this week.  Yesterday, I felt the urge to watch a friend’s church online, and just like the old days, the Word was just for me.  The sermon was based on Exodus 13:17-18, and it was about how God wouldn’t lead the Israelites through the shortest path because they wouldn’t have been ready for war with the Palestinians and how God may take us a longer route, but long isn’t wrong.  The sermon conjured up all types of thoughts not only about my life and the path I’m on but also about the black community (but I need to organize those).  Anywho, this Our Daily Bread that I shared on 4/4/07 kinda extends my thought process about the sermon.  About how my path is mine–I need to stay in my lane and work on what I’m meant to work on and what’s meant for me will be mine.  If I swerve into other folks’ lanes, I may shortchange myself. Hope you have a productive week!

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. —John 14:13

Five-year-old Randy wanted a toy stagecoach for Christmas. While shopping with Mom, he found just the one he wanted. It was about 6″ long and had cool wheels and dark brown plastic horses pulling it. “Mommy, I want this one. Pleeeease!” he begged. As young children sometimes do, he threw a tantrum, insisting that he get that stagecoach for Christmas. Mom said, “We’ll see,” and took him home.

Randy was sure he’d get what he asked for. Christmas morning came, and he opened the package confidently. Sure enough, it was the stagecoach he had begged for. He was so pleased. But then his older brother said, “You really did a dumb thing to insist on gettingthat coach. Mom bought you a much bigger one, but when you begged for that little one, she exchanged it!” Suddenly the small stagecoach didn’t seem so appealing.

Sometimes we’re like that with God. We pray about a specific need and tell Him how He ought to answer. We beg and plead—and God may even give us exactly what we ask for. But He may have had something better in mind.

Phillips Brooks once said, “Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish you had made it larger.” — Anne Cetas

Do not presume to know what’s best
When you begin to pray;
But say to God, “Your will be done,”
Then trust His perfect way. —Sper

Large asking results in large receiving.

Feature Friday: Green Building

Feature Friday: Green Building

In preparation for our New Orleans’ volunteer trip, one of my group members helped me tremendously (and graciously!) by creating a card that gives green tips in building to give to organizations and residents who may be interested.  As a Feature, I’m giving Sirobe a shout out (soon to be one of less than 300 black women architects!!) and the tips in case any of you are doing any home improvements over the holidays.

Here are a couple of the tips:

  • Since appliances and electronics are responsible for 20% of the average energy bill, it pays to make your home more energy efficient.  You could receive up to $500 in rebates or $1500 in tax credits if you purchase Energy Star appliances.  Visit www.energysavers.gov for more information!
  • If you’re moving any time soon, remember that large trees are your friend.  They can help to shade your home from direct sunlight as well as block cold winds.

If you know any one building a house or anyone who is rebuilding on the Coast (or anywhere else), send them to my page.  They can contact Reads and Reels for more information.