When Bern Nadette Stanis – aka Thelma from Good Times (and more recently, Nee from The Family Business) – visited Richmond, Virginia in the fall, I couldn’t let her get away without learning more about her journey before, during and after becoming the first Black teenager on American television.
She shared some gems about her professional life and about her experience of serving as a caregiver for her beloved mother who lived with Alzheimer’s.
Her sweet spirit shone through during our chat, along with her message to always be yourself and to always lead with love.
We’re 6 days away from what I’m believing will be another God-kissed “Still We Rise: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories” inspirational brunch, and
while many of you can’t join me in person, perhaps you can spend a few minutes with your family or a circle of friends replicating this brief storytelling exercise that my friend Maya Smart guided guests through during my 2014 brunch.
If you participate, be sure to answer with “who” you are, not what you do.
Fast forward to today and you’ll discover with a quick Google search that Maya is a brand new yet already renowned author.
I salute her on this countdown to brunch number 2 by describing her with this one word: Amazing.
Thank you to the Richmond-based NBC 12 news station for interviewing me earlier this week about the power in sharing stories (and for serving as the media sponsor for my October 22 inspirational brunch for women).
Good news, Friends!
If you’re interested in securing a ticket to my sold-out event (Still We Rise: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories), you can visit NBC12.com and enter to win 2 tickets that were reserved for this giveaway. The opportunity to win is open now through Oct. 12, 2022. Search for “brunch giveaway” when you visit the website.
In the meantime, enjoy my interview about the ways we all can celebrate the power of stories, day in and day out. (Click on the image below to view or visit the link in the photo caption).
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!
Recently I was invited by multi-published author, speaker and podcaster Suzanne Eller to join her in an online chat about what it means to live “Life Untapped” and remain steadfast in pursuing your dreams.
Listen in, then share your goals, desires and hopes – for the New Year and beyond. For our dreams are usually intertwined with our purpose, and when we lean into purpose and heed the calling in our soul, we are on the path to fulfilling some part of our destiny.
Be encouraged and either stay the course or start anew!
As you stay home and social distance on this Easter Sunday, continue to find creative ways to reach out and connect with your loved ones, express gratitude to those on the frontlines of the global Coronavirus crisis, and practice self-care.
Storm clouds may surround us and darkness may persist; but because the Easter story of Jesus’ death on the cross on a Friday and miraculous rising three days later, even in our weariness we can find hope in the fact that He rose, He is risen, and that ultimately, victory belongs to God. Even when don’t understand, we can trust that He weeps with us, He stands with us and He will see us through.
Remember that faith is a belief in that which you cannot yet see. Summon your faith and speak life over your life. Trust God to see you through, even if that simply means surrendering to the present and accepting your circumstances a day at a time. Cling to God’s promises in Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 and believe that just as Good Friday proved, better days are coming. 💜
Last week I had an opportunity to share a motivational message with CBS viewers in the Richmond, Virginia area as part of a new segment that WTVR Channel 6 News has developed through which leaders in the community spread positivity.
When I was contacted and asked to participate, I said yes without hesitation – they were speaking my language! For I have long believed that words hold power and have the ability to give us hope, courage, faith and strength to move forward, face fears, lean into our purpose and more.
As I pondered what I might share to connect with a broad range of viewers, I browsed through this very blog, in search of previous posts that would fit the task at hand.
Many topics caught my eye. I wound up compiling several of my original writings posted in this space to produce something fresh – something to inspire young and old(er) to keep going and know that whatever your age, stage of life or circumstances, you matter.
Here’s a video link to my brief message, if you’d like to watch and be encouraged:
If this video resonates with you in some way, please share it with friends and family who might find it beneficial.
Thanks WTVR Channel 6 for inviting me to share in this way – I was honored. And thanks to all who have informed me how this brief message has inspired you in some way. That’s my goal, always.
May this and the other posts you find here on Life Untapped nudge you to share your purpose, your gifts and your heart with others, too. Because you are indeed a gift, and when you lean into this truth, you will make a tremendous difference, in ways you’ll both witness and never see.
On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best), are you pretty satisfied with life?
Wherever your gauge lands, I hope you’re somewhat content, because the fact that you’re breathing and able to read this is a sign that there’s more to do and be and experience.
Whether you’re in a season of 1 or 2 on the scale (life is really hard right now) or clicking on all cylinders (10 – couldn’t get any better), the reality is that all of us experiences ebbs and flows, ups and downs and swings of the pendulum that leave us struggling to get by or enjoying bounty beyond measure.
With each shift, however, comes an opportunity to be grateful, and in the process, an opportunity to grow. May sound trite, but it’s also true.
So today, assess where you are and where you’d like to be. Instead of beating yourself up (or gloating), challenge yourself to be braver or kinder or more strategic or more laid back. Don’t stop when you find yourself uncomfortable, afraid or tired. Winners push through, and I believe you’re here to win.
Here are some tips that you and I both can practice until we hone them….
Don’t let your motivation to do well or do the right thing be driven by what others do or don’t do. Be excellent and operate with integrity regardless of how it’s received.
What others think of you truly is their business; respect yourself while respecting their choice to choose.
Lead with love, because this is still what we all need most.
Remember that what you see isn’t always what it is. A fleeting perception or assumption about someone or a particular circumstance could be completely wrong. Base your opinions instead on that person’s repeated actions and attitudes, because who they are will spill out over time. Accept that truth whenever it’s revealed, and be okay either way.
Choose joy. Life is too short to let grudges, gossip, guilt, greed, jealousy or the like derail you. Joy is the secret sauce that keeps you going and gives you hope.
Speak your vision for your life and prepare for it. Instead of wishing your circumstances were better or different or easier, embrace what they are currently and trust that the better experiences of which you speak will someday become your reality. Then get busy creating a better, different, more meaningful life for yourself and your loved ones.
Have fun and go for gold; but don’t “get yours” and leave others to fend for themselves. When you open your heart enough to care about and make sacrifices for the benefit of all humanity, you’ll enrich your own world more than you could have imagined.
Decide to get uncomfortable enough to try something new. You never know what opportunities, blessings and growth are just waiting for you to show up.
Take time to be kind or to simply be available. You are the gift someone needs today.
Research shows that most people dislike change so much that they’d rather stay in unfulfilling, stagnant or unstable circumstances rather than risk the unknown or stretch past what feels safe. It’s human nature, it seems, to “go with what you know.”
Over the course of my personal and professional journey, however, I’ve become convinced that the different or the uncomfortable (or even the heartbreaking) can sometimes be a sacred path to purpose.
For it is on this fresh course and in unfamiliar territory that we learn more about ourselves, discover strengths we might not have otherwise realized, and connect with ideas, skills and relationships that are meant to play pivotal roles in our destiny.
Yet, if we’re not open to change, or avoid accepting its unexpected arrival, how will we ever know our other (possibly wiser, stronger, happier) selves?
This is my sentiment as I bid farewell to readers of Life Notes, the parenting column I’ve had the pleasure of writing since July 2007 for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Yes- more than 10 years! (Read my farewell column, in today’s newspaper, here.)
Life Notes was actually my second venture as a columnist for this daily newspaper in Richmond, Virginia: From 2000 to 2006, I wrote a weekly column for the Saturday metro section called Inspirations, which acquainted readers far and wide with the uplifting and resilient journeys of metro Richmond residents and with their explorations of faith and personal growth. It had a tremendous following, and according to Times-Dispatch reader surveys, was a primary driver for Saturday newspaper sales during that time.
Both columns were meaningful to me, as was my connection to their readers.
I retired Inspirations, however, when I “retired” from my daily journalism career to focus on penning books and freelance writing. Not an easy decision since I loved my work, but an exciting and necessary one, in order to fulfill the other dreams on my To Do list. I never regretted the choice.
This time around, with changes abreast in newspaper column inches and editorial direction comes the opportunity to take another leap that has long been on my To Do list: expanding the genre of books I write to include more nonfiction (in addition to my women’s fiction) and perhaps some young adult reads. And while I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog for the Huffington Post, I look forward to penning more essays and profiles about the power of story and the relevance of our individual journeys for additional national publications. (Stay tuned!)
So yes, this is a goodbye of sorts to one platform for my writing, but a hello to all of the opportunities and open doors on my uncharted path. Will you celebrate with me?
I hope you’ll follow this blog to see where the written word takes me. Feel free to comment below and share ideas about what you’d like to learn about personal growth, matters of faith, living your best life, walking in purpose or writing your way to joy. I look forward to exploring these themes and more with you, and to growing with you.