Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. – Les Brown

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill

I dunno if you noticed but if you scroll down and look on the right side of this page, you will see a list of black-owned businesses that I support. I add to this list from time to time based on my own experiences and from recommendations of others who have patronized these businesses and want to spread the word. So feel free to click, click, click.

And if you are in Atlanta and interested in starting or growing your business, please check out this event. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Roundtable features a panel of successful business owners who will tell us about their journey and answer questions from the audience. It’s always a very worthwhile event, so come on out!

Women's Entrepreneur Roundtable

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Till Debt Do Us Part

Till Debt Do Us Part

If you’re available and in Atlanta this Saturday, come out to my chapter’s economic security workshop about money and relationships. It is free and open to anyone who wants to attend (whether single, engaged, married, etc.).

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For more information about this and other community events, please like us on Facebook!

And I’ll be back soon posting. I have lots of updates to share. 🙂

Emotions

Emotions

2012 has been an emotional roller coaster. But I keep getting reminders that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 And even though my coworkers may think I’m a bit emotionally unstable since I get a little choked up when I’m trying to talk about it, I really am okay. Just in another reflective mood.

How I'm feeling
How I’m feeling

Yesterday morning, I received the news that my sorority sister, who has been supportive of me since I joined TEO in 2005, passed. She was actually the person who gave me the last nudge (or slight push off the cliff) I needed to run for Vice President, and she was the person who nominated me for the position. As with so many of the seasoned ladies in my chapter, she always had a kind word, encouragement, and solid advice to give me, even when I wasn’t looking for it. Rest in peace, Soror Thetus Knox. We’ll miss you truly.

Soror Thetus Knox was serious about getting our community registered to vote. She's holding the sign on the left.
Soror Thetus Knox was serious about getting our community registered to vote. She’s holding the sign on the left.

Then, last night, my dad’s shop caught on fire. My granddaddy opened Robinson Shoe Shop in 1957. It’s been a sort of anchor for my family. I have fond memories of when it was in North Jackson, and my daddy would take me over to spend time with my granddaddy. My granddaddy would sit me on the counter, and I’d watch him interact with customers and work on shoes. I still remember my daddy making new signs for the business when it moved. And after it had been closed for some time, I remember how it brought my daddy a new spirit when he was able to reopen it in the location it’s in now. Even now as an adult, sometimes I’d go when I’m in town and just sit, watching my daddy interact with customers, laugh at the friendly conversation, and watch my daddy work on shoes (including the pile I always bring with me). I was so excited to bring Frederick with me this past time. Just imagining the damages and loss brings tears to my eyes because some of the items are irreplaceable. My dad’s waiting area was full of his extensive Negro League Baseball memorabilia collection. Just the day before Thanksgiving he showed me an antique scorecard he had gotten and added to the collection. And the equipment in the back was the same equipment his dad used. But at the end of the day, I have to be grateful that we lost a business and not my daddy. He says that if he had been there, he would have put the fire out. But the fact that he had just closed up and gone home, and the fact that out of all the people who live in Jackson, it was my older brother who spotted the fire and started alerting people, lets me know that everything does happen for a reason. And there’s a reason he wasn’t there when the fire started. Another thing I’m grateful for is the fact that all the trials my family has endured this year has brought us closer together.

RICKey and FredeRICK sharing laughs in the shoe shop
RICKey and FredeRICK sharing laughs in the shoe shop

And so, because I have to stay above water on the emotional rollercoaster, let me highlight some of the positive things going on. Thursday is Frederick’s half-birthday. Six whole months we’ve made it through. He’s big, happy, and thriving. He’s eating green beans, squash, and bananas. He’s scooting up a storm and trying his best to crawl. He’s gibber jabbering and giggling and giving me belly laughs every chance he gets. He’s really the highlight of 2012 and really, my life.

The light of my life sharing a night of looking at holiday lights with me
The light of my life sharing a night of looking at holiday lights with me

I’m going to a homegoing service (and I’m going to attempt to read a passage in honor of Soror Thetus) next week, but I’m also going to a wedding later in the week. A friend of mine who is a fellow mommy of a little cute boy is getting married on 12-12-12 ❤ and asked me to sing. I’m honored. And I can’t wait to share in the blessing of their nuptials.

So there it is. A whole bunch of stuff in a matter of 2 weeks. And thank God I’m strong enough to deal with it all.

And here’s the song that popped in my brain when I was trying to think of a creative title (sorry to disappoint).

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 1 of 3)

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 1 of 3)

On November 1, I decided to join a Facebook Thanksgiving challenge, where I would post daily what I’m thankful for. Yes, I know November has only 30 days–it is my birth month, yanno :), but I chose 31 days because I turned 31 years old this year. I’ll post these in three installments since 31 is a bit much for one post. So here’s the first part of a rundown of the many many things I’m grateful for.

  1. I’m thankful for my healthy, juicy, alert son!
  2. I’m thankful for my love for math and research (and my capacity to understand it) and a job that leverages that love and uses it to help communities across the country.
  3. I’m thankful to be a homeowner. Even though the market slammed me, it’s nice to have my special place. And I’m thankful to have newfound motivation (FDT) to get it organized and redecorated!
  4. I’m thankful for a mom (Mary Robinson) who loves and supports me through it all. And I’m thankful to be closer to her than ever before as I understand more and more each day what it is to be a mom. I thank her for giving me a stellar example to follow.
  5. I’m thankful for my culinary skills. Did some cooking this weekend and I have to pat myself on the back. And I have to give shouts out to my parents, my granddaddy, and my Aunt Sweet for teaching me how to fill my belly with yumminess.
  6. I’m thankful that to vote, all I had to do was make sure my information was accurate, then get in my car and drive to my precinct and push a few buttons–NOT pay a poll tax, take a literacy test, walk for miles, get spit on, or put myself or my family in harm’s way. Exercise your right!
  7. I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had as an AKA. Over the last 13 years, I have (and continue to) learned lessons (a slew of them), made lifelong friends, amped up my community service efforts, road tripped, partied, had fun, and developed my leadership skills by putting them to the test. No one could believe I let anyone tell me what to do for a whole semester, but it was so worth it. 🙂
  8. I’m thankful to have too many clothes vs. not enough. I’m in the process of making more room for my growing baby, and I’m just grateful to have had more than I need and to have looked good in it. 🙂
  9. I’m thankful for a world full of adventures and culture. Although I’ve had to significantly decrease my mileage, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in several states across the country as well as six countries (seven if you count driving through Luxembourg). And I live vicariously through my friends. I collect postcards and magnets, and my fridge is covered with postcards from other countries from my friends’ travels too. (The latest from this year come from Vee‘s trip to Australia, Mallory‘s trip to Ghana, and Paula‘s trip to Jerusalem.) How blessed we are to see what the world has to offer and to have a safe place to come back to!
  10. I’m thankful for my family. I couldn’t ask for a better support system. They are crazy when I can’t be, positive and encouraging when I’m sad, and always funny. And they take care of me any chance they get. ♥ ♥ ♥
  11. I thank GOD for the truth. What’s done in the dark will always come to the light, and I thank Him for personal growth and the development of my patience and trust in God’s plans.

It’s been a long road for me over the last year, and figuring out how to focus on positive things instead of my trials has been key. I still have my moments when I just don’t understand various aspects of my life, but at the end of the day, I have to hold on to (and remind myself of) my belief that everything happens for a reason and that God’s plan is perfect.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! – 2 Corinthians 4:17

Memory Lane Monday – Firsts

Memory Lane Monday – Firsts

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for quite some time but haven’t had the chance. So here we go.  A fun little post about some firsts in my life and the music that goes with it!

My first tape ever was Oaktown 3-5-7’s Wild and Loose in 1989.  Even though “Yeah Yeah Yeah” was the first video (one of the first that got me in trouble for wanting (and asking) to wear sports bras and biking shorts), below is my fave song on that album, Juicy Gotcha Crazy (despite the fact that I didn’t have a clue what “juicy” was! lol).  B Angie B was my girl!!  And my cousins used to love getting me to do all the dances in this video (and I mean every step haha) and many many more after school. I so wanted to be a teenager in this era.

My first CD was 112’s self-titled album in 1996. My first high school boyfriend gave that to me.  I can still sing every song, complete with adlibs, on this album from start to finish.  Here are a few lyrics from one of my fave songs on there. I may have to record myself singing so I can post a youtube link, lol.

All the love you’ve given me
So special, seems to be no limit
I’ll do anything
There’s no boundaries to how we can grow
How can I let you know
Girl, let me sit and think, ohhhh

Why does the wind blow
Why does the sun shine
Why does the rain fall down on my face
Why does the earth spin
Why do the waters reach the shore
And tell me, tell me why
Why do I love you like I do

The first time I went to a dance at someone’s school was the 1998 prom at Murrah High School.  And boy, was that drama filled.  No, like, really drama filled.  I only got to dance to one song, and here it is.

In college, I was really reserved, probably primarily because I was the youngest one there.  I only went to maybe 2 parties freshman year. Really, it totally could have been 1.  Then I pledged.  And although I was still a little shy, especially compared to my line sisters and prophytes, I loosened up a lil and became a regular party-goer and a major party-walker.  In GA, all the AKAs start strolling when Set It Off comes on. But at home, the AKAs take over when Pump The Party comes on (well, really any song, but especially this one). This is the first song I learned a strut–THE Gamma O strut–to. 🙂

Speaking of college, again when I was a freshman, I was a bookworm and pretty much either in class, at work, tutoring someone, or goofing around on my hall in the dorm.  So alot of people outside of those things didn’t even necessarily know my name.  Just that I was the smart 16-yr old girl.  So to step out just a smidge, I decided to participate in the Freshman Showcase.  Ever the tomboy, I put on a fitting dress and sang a duet with a very outgoing freshman that EVERYONE knew could sing, Tyrone, who also played piano.  Now, the people on my hall knew I could sing, but that’s it. So when I stepped out and got the mic, I heard a few whispers of “oh Lawd, this girl better know how to sing.” I’m sure I surprised some folks. 🙂  Here’s the song we sang–the first song I ever sang in front of an audience at Tougaloo.

So speaking of singing in public, in high school I was in a singing group called G99.  We used to sing all the time, at school, at church programs, even competed once to go to Showtime at the Apollo but we were duped into entering the wrong contest (kids instead of adults) so we got beat out by some 5 yr old playing drums that got the crowd to say awwwww. I used to love love love singing with those girls, Faith and my bestie Kenya.  Our most requested song was Kirk Franklin’s My Life is in Your Hands, but here’s a song I really liked singing with them, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first song we sang together, even if just testing out the waters with our voices.

I could do this all day, but this one will be my last first.  When I was at church while I was at home helping my mom, a member came over after service to tell me that no matter how old I get she will always remember me singing this song when I was growing up, that she’s never heard another version that moves her like when I sang it.  It’s the song I sang in my first pageant.  And I bring that up because both of my mentees have participated in pageants and did really well.  I really enjoy pageants and what they contribute to the self-esteem of girls.  I know it did for me. I was in 10th grade when I did my first pageant, and I was soooooooooooooo nervous and so wondering if I even should since I wasn’t all that girly back then.  Here’s the song I sang.

Hope you enjoyed this post!  And I hope you’ll be checking back in to read the posts about the first Reads and Reels discussions in 2011.  Atlanta and Jackson had a great time, and Chicago is sure to have a blast this Sunday!!