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.
It’s wonderful when life comes full circle, and my visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico last month to attend a Women’s Fiction Writers retreat was one of those occasions.
Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1992, I spent six weeks in ABQ interning for the city’s now-defunct morning newspaper, The Albuquerque Tribune. I lived near Old Towne with two sisterfriends who shared a house – Cathryn McGill, a renowned singer, songwriter and actress turned black leadership entrepreneur, and Pamela K. Johnson, a then-reporter at the Tribune turned author and filmmaker.
Pamela has since moved back to her native California where she continues to write for numerous national publications (Hey, Pam!) while Cathy remains in ABQ and continues to contribute to the community and the arts in a myriad of ways. She and I met for breakfast while I was in town and traded updates about life and goals as if time had never passed.
Stories abound! And as one of my mentors always says, Just keep living and life will keep giving.
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).
In about three weeks, a group of amazing women (and one gentleman) will join me in gracing the stage at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to pour from our hearts and inspire everyone present to embrace their journeys and value others’ stories, too.
My co-organizers and I met for two hours this morn to discuss the final details (and to settle my nerves!), and I left that Zoom session all the more excited about what we’re birthing.
So although my October 22 inspirational brunch is sold out, as often as I can throughout this month, I’ll share some timeless inspiration from my 2014 brunch that can still offer encouragement and hope.
Today’s offering is the keynote message I shared in 2014 with brunch attendees, and I share it again, because it’s all still true:
Words hold power.
Fiction and nonfiction can tranform lives.
I am honored to be a vessel.
I continue to write forward – not necessarily at my pace, but at the one that is ordained for me.
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!
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!