What an honor it is to partner with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to revive an event that brought together women from all walks of life to hear and share stories and celebrate one another – especially as we’re coming out of the pandemic and still grappling with so much.
Introducing… the 2022 version of my inspirational brunch for women – Still We Rise: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories.
If you’re in or near Central Virginia (or if you can get here), I hope you’ll join me and my amazing lineup of presenters on October 22! You won’t leave the same.
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.
These times in which we’re living keep bringing my older novels top of mind, because the themes I explored when I wrote them seem more relevant than ever.
Lead Me Home is one of those books.
This novel, which received a Publisher’s Weekly starred review, features female characters who grapple with secrets and shame, and do so as women who can make their own choices about their lives and their futures.
Consider picking up a copy of this faith-based novel as one of your summer reads (or re-reads), wherever books are sold.
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.)
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!
The hottest ticket in town this week was Michelle Obama!
She graced the Altria Theater stage as a guest of The Richmond Forum, and I was grateful to be in the building.
Mrs. Obama set the tone from the start that this would be a nonpartisan, apolitical conversation, borne from her forever title: Mom-in-Chief.
Through that lens, I resonated with her greatly, having children the same age as hers (her youngest child turns 21 on Friday; mine turns 21 on Sunday), and having penned a daily newspaper parenting column for 11 years.
There were so many great takeaways from her conversation with Forum Executive Director Heather Crislip, many of them directed to parents and to the young people who were in the theater or watching via simulcast.
But there also were some collective words of wisdom for all.
In the spirit of the “Wednesday Wisdom” I occasionally share, here are some of the gems Michelle Obama dropped:
* You don’t have to change the world to change something.
* There is power in the small – in the little, everyday things that we take for granted, like spending time with family, voting, etc. Doing these things with excellence and intention make a difference.
* Don’t lose sight of your own destiny. It holds power.
* We owe hope to the next generation. Democracy requires us to be hopeful.
* Find your passion and do something meaningful with your life.
* You are smart enough to be there, wherever your desired or longed-for “there” is.
* When someone kindly touches you, that gives you the liberty to respond in kind, even if it’s the Queen of England. (That’s how and why that went down, she says! Lol)
And my favorite: Stories matter.
Mrs. Obama delivered that declaration as she discussed some of the projects she is working on with Netflix and due to her interactions with people from all walks of life, all over the world, whose stories have inspired her.
I share that view, from my local and lived vantage point, and through the work I do as a journalist, writer mentor and author.
It’s in this spirit that I invite you to “Save the Date” for an October 22 storytelling event I’m hosting in RVA. More details are coming soon!
In the meantime, lean into some other wisdom that Mrs. Obama shared, which is to consider tackling big issues and hard conversations by starting with connection first.
Get to know your neighbors and colleagues and find some commonalities rather than letting social media or other sources shape your views. Once you understand what you have in common, you’re better able to appreciate others’ similarities and differences, maybe better understand their perspectives, and maybe even become friends – and then, through those lenses, talk about the tough, and important, stuff.
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.
Some of my dearest friends and I have agreed to disagree about the angry choices a certain actor made on Hollywood’s biggest night.
What’s also true is that I don’t condone violence; I wish he would have handled it backstage, and I was waiting on him to offer a more direct apology in the aftermath.
But as I often say, we rarely know another person’s full story – including the challenges they may be walking through.
As Will Smith accepted his Oscar I saw what appeared to be shame in celebrating his biggest career achievement amid his biggest career misstep – knowing that his mother (who he seemed upset with for not coming) and his children had witnessed his implosion.
Who knows? Maybe he had to beg Jada to show up and deal with her alopecia-related hair loss on a night when other women’s tresses were flowing.
And who knows what else Will may be dealing with in his family, with his health or within himself?
He still shouldn’t have strode onstage and slapped a colleague.
He did what hurt people often do – hurt other people. And in this case, he hurt himself most of all by taking away from the legacy of “strength in the face of fire” that Venus and Serena entrusted to him.
All that said, and even as I shook my head at it all, I could think of times I wished I had handled situations differently. Can’t we all?
Not condoning his behavior, but also not serving as judge nor jury. (The memes and Twitter comments are pure entertainment and offer enough sentences without mine.)
Will Smith will face his consequences, and as he deals with them privately and publicly, I hope the rest of us can use this as a reminder that at every age and stage, there’s room for growth and room for empathy.
And who walked away with his head held highest for showing restraint? Chris Rock, who I’m sure will be telling jokes about that experience for years to come. Get ready, Will.