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Dance Your Heart IN: Part 2 – We Got SOLed

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You need a session. Trust me.

After an invigorating dance-in-the-dark party in February, I was all about having my private party on the night before my August 20th birthday. What better way to celebrate my fresh wind of feminism than with other Wonder Women? I hand-picked a few close friends that I thought would appreciate the unique experience and invited them to dance their heart in with me. When the dust settled, seven ladies were confirmed and I was elated to rock with them.

Related Sidebar: I’m an Olympics fanatic. Seriously. I try to watch everything. You know how the U. S. Women’s Gymnastics Team is usually earmarked with a nickname? We’ve witnessed the Magnificent Seven (Atlanta 1996), the Fierce Five (London 2012), and recently in Rio, the Final Five to commemorate the retirement of legendary gymnastics coach Martha Karolyi. Epic.

I decided to jump on board and nickname these seven sisters + our beautiful host Shannon. They were the Exceptional Eight and this new band of supersheroes were about to embark my birthday SOL ship voyage. Sidebar complete.

I’m a thinker, so I reviewed the dynamics. Three of the attendees were my sorority sisters. Two of the eight ladies I knew since grade school. The remaining two women, I met in college. And Shannon? She was a sister on-site. Our kindred spirits kindled a positive energy that burned over emails and spilled over into our face-to-face encounter. I loved how she fit right into our type of crazy. I even had an icebreaker planned just in case my multiple circles needed some communicative coaxing, but as Shannon pointed out, they already had something in common…me. Each one of them represented a part of me that identified with them, so why wouldn’t they blend? I must admit. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how the session would turnout for them, but it resulted in an explosion of laughter mixed with bursting sounds of pure joy and freedom. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a beautiful blend.

Soon, it was lights out and we danced the night away to a perfect mix of my favorite jams (Did I mention perfect?). We ate until our sweet tooths were satisfied. We shared words of love and humor and you could see the strings of sisterhood weaving among us. We were SOL-tied, a band of professional women that had worked hard during the day, but needed the unique forge of fortitude that night. One of my sisters even had to get up for work at 3:00 AM the next day, but was still energized when she woke up. It was that electric. I saw their faces relax and for a moment, we weren’t wives, mothers, students, caregivers…we were an assembly of queens drinking from the pool of cooling strength and being fitted in new armor for the world that awaited us. The shattered stress from our daily roles lie on pieces of pink paper around us and no one walked out in the same manner in which they entered. Everyone returned to the lobby a little taller, brighter, and ready to obliterate any obstacle in her path.

We were walking with sunlight in our pockets and positivity in our hearts.
Our steps had rays of sunshine beaming underneath as we matriculated to our night-kissed cars.

To say that those dance steps charged our feminine energy packs would be an understatement. We may have put on the same shoes, but they didn’t feel the same.

We got SOLed.

So can you.
Sole definition google Thank you, Google.

Peace, thanks for listening, and Happy Birthday to all of the August babies! We ROCK!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
– Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred… That pair of words reminds me of Harlem, the famous Langston Hughes poem. It was one of my favorite reads in high school.

What truly happens to a dream deferred? That question has been a mystery for years, but the truth hasn’t changed in that the dream only dies when we allow it to cease. When you stop feeding it, it will starve and die within you. Then, you carry dead dreams, dead hope in desperate need of resuscitation. It’s hard to carry broken promises, shredded heart tissue, and withered hope. They’re like cannon balls in your chest, holding you down from flying past your present potential. This is where faith comes in from Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith kicks in and stands at the door when hope runs out and fear circulates the perimeter of your heart in wait of your paralysis.

IMG_20160809_232315You can also think of this as a monetary transaction. Faith is the check written to you, while hope is the construction of belief that you’ll receive the cash. You can hold on to faith because it supersedes hope. Hope deferred will make your heart ill in longing to fulfill your purpose on Earth. Now this is where the 2nd part of the proverb makes its impact and where I get excited.

Desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Trees are designed to bear seeds. They can’t control where these seeds go, but they produce them out of obedience to their Maker. It has one job… to produce.  The tree stands tall and bears seeds and that’s how forests are formed. When your desires line up with God’s will, not fulfilling that desire/dream will make you feel seedless, unfruitful. The key word is here is FEEL. You are not a sterile spiritual being. You weren’t created to be that.

Once you tap into that TRUTH, you’ll see a tree of life inside of you, not a death sentence. Then, like a tree, the life cycle of your dream will continue well after you’re gone and growth will be inevitable. Your purpose-filled dream will touch many lives after your hands (or “branches”) have aged and produced seeds of great service. Your hope and dream(s) can not afford you to be lazy, discouraged, or spiritually sick. When something is deferred, it is not canceled… so your hope can still be resuscitated.

Keep your hope alive and intimately near  so that your rich, customized life can be the gift that keeps on giving to the soil and air around you.

Have you ever felt like your hope was petrified?

Your dream is a gift, so what are you giving?

What can you do this week to oxygenate your hope and aerate your dreams?

Feel free to comment below.

Peace & Thanks for listening. ✌

Super Woman

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I know… it’s the Wonder Woman logo. It still fits.

Sometimes, having an “S” on my chest is absolutely exhilarating.

I can soar above buildings of negativity and slip between slimy cracks of simplemindedness.

I can side with truth on a sunny day while catching raindrops between my fingers… I am one bad mother-

“SHUT YO’ MOUTH!”

Who me? Be silent?

Not a chance.

I samba on Friday, make salsa on Saturday, and sit with the Supreme on Sunday.

I do marvelous things.

Serendipity doesn’t bother me.

I sop tears with my shirt.

I solidify liquidity, scoff at stupidity, select fabric meticulously, smile at evil beings, and sing seismic waves into eternity.

I am one bad mother of creative prowess.

Until…

My wounds start leaking…

My throat needs to be cleared.

My vision is blurry.

My vest gets weakened and I’m weary from flying so high that oxygen can’t get me.

The wind is beating against my chest and my face winces at the pressure of the altitude AND the valley.

Warlords and warlocks laugh at me and I use my weapons skillfully although my “W” is peeking.

I’m femininely human with splashes of wisdom lighting my pathway like lightning flashes on a hot summer night.

I bat my lashes and wisps of freedom ripple from my eyes, whip across my shoulders, wrap around my loins, and graze my ankles.

As I wade through debris of destruction, it does not infect me. I am Super Woman.

I am She.

I am over the woes of man; I am your slice of heaven and always in demand.

I am needed when I’m not wanted.

I am valued more than flaunted.

I am satisfied and exemplified.

My simmer is uncompromised.

I am She.

She is Me

and We

are Super. Woman.

For a more inspiration, take a listen to one of my anthems Superwoman – courtesy of Queen Alicia Keys.

Be Great or Go Home.

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Before I ever thought of becoming a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazer, I was a University of Tennessee Volunteer… well, in my mind I was.

I saw powerful images of a Warrior and knew that UT was the place where I could shine. I couldn’t play a lick of basketball, but you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t going to meet Pat Summitt on campus while walking to class one day. Try denying it, and I would emphatically defend that fantasy until you were a believer.

The Big Orange glow lured me into the graduate school application process years later when I decided to become an educator. I applied to both UAB and Tennessee. My grandmother was sick and I decided to stay in Birmingham. My letter from Tennessee came a few days after I confirmed my graduate journey as a Blazer. Somehow, I knew it would happen that way.

wp-1467171384091.jpgNevertheless, I felt a strong connection to Knoxville because of one person. An unapologetic Shero that seemed to radiate from my TV screen each time I saw her. I could feel her fire and touch her tenacity. She was a lifter of those around her and you could see it in the eyes of her Lady Vols.  For me, “The Summit” (as I called her in my mind), was a cataclysmic collision with athletic machismo. Her hand claps sent shockwaves into decades of prejudice and discrimination toward women and her stare would make any referee, coach, or player rethink their behavior.

In light of the news of her passing, what did I learn? What did I hear before bed last night? One lesson.

You can’t argue with excellence.

In the beginning it was a factor, but later… after sowing sweat and sincerity, it didn’t matter that she was female. Her excellence superseded her gender. In the end, she understood that either you be great or you go home and come back ready to be great. That’s all you have to choose from. You do the work behind the scenes and you eliminate the opportunity for inferiority and self-doubt to halt your drive. Sure, I could go down the statistics and accolades, but I’d like to point out the less-than-shiny ones.

  1. Washing uniforms
  2. Driving the team van
  3. $250.00 per month of earnings

This is greatness. This is excellence at its finest. It starts at the bottom; it starts with service. With every perceived act of smallness, she exuded exponential positivity with a side of moxie. She was a powerhouse before anyone acknowledged that she had the juice… and she didn’t wait for them to figure it out. Her consistent investment in others yielded residual dividends.

  1. 100% graduation rate of her players
  2. First women’s coach to earn more than $1 million in a season (2008-2009 season), trailblazing a path for other women to earn competitive coaching pay
  3. Inspiring thousands of women to play like a girl and be proud of it

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The Summit” yelled. She passionately pressed her players without apology. She paced across the attic of America’s glass ceiling with her 5’11” frame and dared anyone to say she couldn’t back up every seed she had sown. Her brand was excellence, and she trusted the product she poured into others. Whether or not the sexists acknowledge her equity, she was definitely not outworked. Her determination put more wind in my feminist cape to keep flying above gender stereotypes. Now, she has gone in the same fullness in which she was came.

 

I’m grateful that she was great before she went home.

 

 

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Know The One You’re Walking With

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Walking tall

For my Grammatical Family Members – “Know The One With Whom You Are Walking” 😉

My dog taught me a lesson again. It’s such a simple one.

Let’s start with his swag. His confidence is pretty up there, especially when he’s with me. If he senses the need to bark, he does. It is only when he deems it necessary and it has kept us safe a few times already.

When we walk together, he watches out for us… All 8 pounds of him looks out for all of me. Sammy is never intimidated by larger dogs or people for that matter. You would think he was 10-feet tall. He’s not rude, but he’s secure in his walk with me because he knows I’m his owner and I will protect and sustain him.

How often do we discredit God’s ability by walking without the confidence in which we should have? Every step is made with faith in lip service, but not necessarily in the fortitude of God’s ability and good pleasure.

God wants you to know Him well enough to trust him.

Just like He has your back, do you stand up for Him when it is necessary? Not that God needs your bark or bite, but do you live life with the peace of knowing that He is always in control, no matter what happens on the journey? Do you walk tall because you know who’s walking with you into work, school, or at home? I will admit that sometimes I don’t. I have to be reminded. When we know the one we’re walking with, we give in to the exchange of trust with no room for doubt and fear.

Sammy walks taller than me every day without thinking about it. You can best believe that is changing in me with every step I take from this point forward. My God is worth that level of trust. So is yours, so get to high steppin’.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

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