Keep You-ing You

Here’s a weekend reminder to

keep being you,

loving you,

honoring your purpose,

feeding your soul,

protecting your peace,

speaking your truths, and

finding joy in your journey.

When you “do you” and give of your authentic self with an open heart, you’ll light up the world and

make a measurable difference

through every life you touch.

Meet Caliyah: Despite the Odds, She Thrived

Two weeks into offering tickets for sale, my inspirational brunch sold out. I promised those who weren’t able to secure tickets that in addition to starting a waiting list (see details here on my website), I would share some content to inspire you in real time in the weeks leading up to Still We Rise: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories.

My conversation with college student Caliyah Bennett will do just that, and it’s one you may want to share with your youth group, any struggling teens you know, and the adults who care for them.

Thank you to Caliyah and her mom for allowing me to share their journey!

#powerofwomensstories #StillWeRise #brunchwithstacy

Reciprocal Living

A dear reader friend shared the quote meme below on her page earlier this week, and then I ran across this sister-love pic of Madame Sheryl Lee Ralph and Quinta Brunson, and it struck me that each is a reflection of the other, because in our own unique ways aren’t we all trying to do all of these things?

Photographer: Dan Doperalski for Variety

Love the people around you, flaws and all, and yourself. Celebrate others and yourself, and trust that you’ll receive reciprocated patience, openness and grace along your way.

Think Like Serena, Act Like You

Serena (no last name needed) shared in the inspiring remarks she gave during her post-game celebration last night that she hopes her journey from the tough streets of Compton, California to the world’s stage has inspired little girls everywhere to dream and do. It has indeed.

Just know that you hold that same power. You may be touching people around you who may never tell you, and/or transforming the lives of those you may never meet.

How? By being the best at being you. And being yourself with an authentic mix of boldness, humility, enthusiasm and purpose.

So just be you. Do you.

Choose to enjoy your journey.

In living your life fully, you’ll help others rise to their own occasion.

YOU Are With You…Becoming Jubilant

Happiness comes from within…a relevant reminder on this #Juneteenth holiday from my #novels set in the fictional town of Jubilant, Texas.

#womensfiction #blackauthors #inspiringreads #summerreading #weekendreading #fiction #hope #personalgrowth

On this post-Juneteenth Monday, it feels appropriate to share the covers of my Jubilant Soul series – my three women’s fiction novels set in the fictional town of Jubilant, Texas.

I created Jubilant to symbolize how we as humans (and characters) are often searching for happiness “over there” or “somewhere” that feels just out of reach. But when the characters in each of these books find themselves back in Jubilant for a season, they realize, in their own ways, that happiness really does begin within; and since YOU are with you wherever you go, it pays to find ways to fill your soul with joy.

Hope you’ll enjoy reading (or re-reading) these novels as I continue to work on my latest! (Available wherever books are sold.)

Celebrating Women’s Stories

On this Throwback Thursday I’ll take you back to October 2014, when I hosted my inaugural Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories inspirational brunch with friends at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: https://tinyurl.com/celebratingwomensstories

I share it at this time to enjoy and be inspired (or inspired again!), while also asking you to SAVE THE DATE for the second time around!

Yes – eight years later, it will happen again – same place, same time, on OCTOBER 22, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

I will be sharing more details in another month or so about the amazing speakers and other participants, and I’m honored that I’ll be partnering with them to bring you their inspiring personal stories and more. In the meantime, please mark your calendar and spread the word!

June!

How did we get halfway through 2022? Hopefully with some beauty, some growth and lots of gratitude.
#welcomejune #LifeUntapped #lifemusings

We move through life in ways that are both unique to us and collectively familiar, and perhaps many of you join me in wondering how half of this year has zoomed by.

Welcome to June!

Some of the things I’ve come to appreciate about the first half of 2022 are the experiences that have stretched me the most, and in the process, helped me get to know myself all the better while appreciating others as they are.

I make that sound easy, but we all know this is where the work lies!

In these six months I have learned to find peace in surrendering to every day’s measure of work, rest, hope, contentment, and mutual giving and sharing.

I invite you to reflect on your highlights and challenges thus far, too, and to celebrate how far you’ve come, while seeking lessons from the valleys you’ve traversed and the mountains you’ve scaled.

There’s so much to reflect on and grow from, and in some cases celebrate, including the simple gifts of each day and the aha moments that have opened your heart.

So, with what I pray are miles to go, I say hello to June, and to the possibilities and promises the rest of this year holds. They are ours for the taking, if we’ll believe, trust and invite these blessings in, however they come.

Words Matter

“I am tired, just fatigued.”

I spoke those words in a meeting with acquaintances yesterday as we chatted about the recent wave of hate crime murders in Buffalo, NYC and other cities.

We had no idea as we gathered that horror was unfolding in Texas, and when I learned about the school shooting last night, I had no words.

I was left speechless because words seemingly haven’t served as a shield.

Yet, I realized this morning that while they may be rambling or awkward or filled with trepidation, words do matter.

Words still hold power.

Words can be the first step to keeping hate from having the final say.

So we must use them, however imperfectly,

to voice our anger,

to share our collective pain,

to let the families of these 19 murdered children and their two teachers know they don’t grieve alone;

to speak the names of those who were killed yesterday,

and in recent weeks, and even over the years,

so that these men, women and children don’t become invisible casualties in the hate that seeks to become a societal norm.

We must speak up and speak out, because regardless of whether we personally know victims of gun violence and hate crimes,

humanity is deeper than DNA.

We are our brothers only keepers.

We are our sisters only keepers.

We are our children’s collective keepers, too, and we cannot quit on the job.

When one soars we all benefit. When one is harmed, we should all be hurting.

I can only imagine how every teacher, principal and school official aches today – wanting to protect your “school babies” yet having to talk to them about murder.

I still have no words that can make it any better. But I hope that knowing I care helps.

Because I am a woman of faith I am indeed praying for God to bring comfort to the families and all who are grieving.

Because I‘ve long lent my voice to child advocacy issues, I also will lean into seeking out ways to support changes in policies and laws that can make a positive difference.

I will continue to vote.

I will stand for good in other tangible ways, on an ongoing basis, even when silence could be easier.

So yes, I am tired.

And yes, my heart is broken.

And yes, I’m at a loss for perfectly poised words.

But even so, this post matters, and your words and actions do, too.

Please, please use them to help staunch the hate and end the violence.

14 Ways to Treasure It All

I’ve been reminded in various ways these first 90-plus days of 2022 to not take anything or anyone for granted – including yourself.

Treasure it all.

Stop to smell the roses.

Eat the cake without counting the calories.

Exercise not because you should, but because you can. 

Apologize sincerely, regardless of whether it’s acknowledged.

Forgive freely, even when it’s not requested.

Give thanks for your blessings; appreciate the lessons. 

Stretch yourself. Relax yourself. Enjoy yourself. 

Breathe more deeply, more often.

Smile more.

Laugh more.

Love more.

Pay attention, with intention.

For this is the journey called life, and yours is yours alone to treasure.

Introducing…On Womanhood

Seven years ago I launched an online mentoring program for aspiring writers called Focused Writers (www.focused-writers.com), not knowing that this intimate space for learning about writing and publishing would not only lead to books and blogs being birthed by members, but also to a tribe of mutual support.

When some of the members approached me about writing something together, I finally agreed, and in January 2021 we embarked upon a yearlong Mastermind Class of sorts, with me guiding them through every aspect of publishing – from idea stage to finished book.

Members have participated in every way along the way, from writing to editing to proofreading to formatting to designing the cover, and I’m delighted to share our “book baby” of personal essays – On Womanhood: Connecting and Thriving in Every Season.

Thanks to my friend and mentor Daphne Reid for writing our Foreword and to Chandra Sparks Splond for serving as our external editor. And most importantly, to our talented cover artist and Focused Writer member Dawn Edge Campbell.

We hope you love the cover as much as we do!

Also exciting for us as we release this book just in time for Women’s History Month in March, is our collective agreement to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from sales made from February 22 through March 31 to the YWCA USA.

Back in my reporter days, I covered a range of social issues, including writing stories about women working their way off of welfare, fleeing abusive relationships and learning to advocate for themselves and their children.

I also wrote about the organizations and nonprofits designed to support them, including the YWCA, whose mission is to empower women and eradicate racism.

So when my Focused Writers mentees decided to write a book together, title it On Womanhood, and donate a portion of proceeds from sales, the YWCA USA was a natural choice.

I am a six-year board member of the YWCA Richmond and can vouch firsthand for the staff’s dedication to serving women and children, in a myriad of ways.

Yet, we have chosen to contribute to the YWCA USA because our Focused Writers anthology authors are based around the nation – from Las Vegas to Houston to Savannah to Richmond. And each writer will be reaching out to her local branch, too.

So in addition to buying our short collection and supporting a great cause in the process, also take some time to learn more about the YWCA USA and the YWCA in your local area!

Stacy and the Focused Writers members featured in the anthology On Womanhood: Connecting and Thriving In Every Season
(Nailah-Benā Chambers, Margo Clifford, Jacqueline S. Owensby, Njeri Mathis Rutledge, Jackie Hunter, Wanda S. Lloyd, Cassie Edwards Whitlow, Belinda Todd, DaNika Neblett Robinson, Rita Flores Moore and Stacy Hawkins Adams.)
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