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).

Feature Friday: Small Businesses

Feature Friday: Small Businesses

I’m no stranger to the pros and cons, benefits and trials of owning a small business.  In addition to my own small endeavors over the years, I was exposed to entrepreneurship as a child.  My granddaddy opened Robinson Shoe Shop in 1957, and it is now operated by my daddy and one of my uncles.  I’m sure this is one of the major reasons that the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act this week was important news to me, besides the fact that statistics show that small businesses are the source of a large chunk of the jobs in this country and are important to economic development.  They are also necessary in the community development of black communities.  Part of economic empowerment is generating and producing, not just consuming.

So today, my feature is two-fold: The Small Business Jobs Act and the film Harlem’s Mart 125: The American Dream.

I saw the film in late August on a Sunday afternoon at Central Library.  Not knowing that I had just said excuse me and stepped over the film’s creator, I sat in my seat and through the grainy cinematography (which I understood is an byproduct of a one-woman budget!! How passionate and awesome is that?), learned about an establishment that was not only the lifeline of several hard-working black business owners but also to the entire community in which it was located.  The film chronicles how the Harlem’s Mart 125 in New York became to be such a force and how the business owners were let down by the society and government that tells us that we have to get up and get our own.  It saddened me to see the disinvestment of the building, despite the fact that the businesses had been there for years, attracting and maintaining customers and staying relevant to a degree through the times.  Then came the gentrification of the area, which led to the government supporting new chain businesses while not providing support for the anchors that had been holding the community up the whole while.  The creator, Rachelle Salnave-Gardner, showed us that sometimes we really just get the short end of the stick–and that short end begets so many other implications for the business owners, their families, their customers, and the culture of the community.  If you get a chance to see or host this film, I encourage you to take it.

So what does the new bill that President Obama signed this week mean?  Additional loan availability, increases in the loan amounts, a higher tax deductible  for start-up businesses, tax deduction on health insurance expenses, and lots of other stuff.  Here’s another link with some info.  I hope that people, especially black business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, will take advantage of some of these newly passed opportunities.  We can’t control all the circumstances, but creating strong businesses and supporting those businesses hold much promise for the future of us all.

Happy Friday, folks!