What Loss Can Teach Us About Living

Someone I care about entered hospice a few days ago, beginning a process that is both dignity-rendering, yet leaking with sadness.

Only our Creator knows the exact time left, but this person would want no pity, and if possible, would be cracking jokes and setting you straight on your attitude and actions at every turn, with declarations that life is to be enjoyed and celebrated.

With that in mind, I issue this Wednesday Wisdom to:

Love on yourself more, just because. 

Tell others what they mean to you while you can (I have and I regularly do).

Cry when you feel like it.

Laugh every chance you get.

Forget about yesterday’s grudges. 

Love those who love you back.

Be kind to those whose rudeness often means they need more kindness.

Challenge yourself to leave everyone better than you found them – with what you say and what you don’t; by how you share and where you set boundaries; and by giving with no expectation of receiving.

Let your heart break. The only way through grief is through. 

Say Thank You for everything – because every breath, every day, and every person who crosses your path is in some way a gift.

Bern Nadette Stanis on Grace, Grief & Authenticity

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.

Thank you, Bern Nadette!

Click Here to View my chat with Bern Nadette – aka Thelma from Good Times

And You Are…? Choose Your Word.

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. 🌸

Maya Smart, author of the nonfiction book, “Reading For Our Lives: A Literacy Action Plan from Birth to Six”

Hello, Albuquerque – Remember Me?

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.

Stacy on NBC12: Why Storytelling Matters

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).

Timeless Truths: Why I Write

The countdown is on for Still We Rise: Celebrating the Power of Women’s Stories!

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.

Enjoy!

#LifeUntapped#powerofwomensstories#brunchwithstacy

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.

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.

Words of Wisdom from Mom-In-Chief

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.

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