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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trust Yourself

In these final few weeks of 2021, take some time to sit with yourself and just be.

Settle your heart and accept all that has been and

Renew your hope for all that could be.

Seek wisdom and listen to wise counsel; then trust yourself and that muse in your soul. 

Some dreams are so big and some callings so powerful that you’ll be paving the way into unfamiliar territory; so of course everyone won’t understand. 

Trust the seed that God has placed in your heart.

Drown out your fears and ignore naysayers’ worries.

Believe that even in a pandemic you can deliver something amazing.

Envision the future you desire, and even as you keep climbing, start living in expectation.

You’ve got this. Trust yourself. Get ready to receive.

What’s In Your Bag?

Nothing can trump my love of being near water, but being in the mountains is a close second.

A recent weekend visit to Carter’s Mountain in Charlottesville didn’t disappoint, and in the days to come, I’ll enjoy some of the fruit of my efforts – handpicked apples that I mostly pulled from trees myself.

The pic below was taken before my bag was full, but I left the mountain with it bulging with some delicious apples and a few gems for life.

For what we choose to fill our bags with can both feed us and fuel us. No one gets the mix right 100 percent of the time – my sweet tooth wins more often than it should. However, just enough filling of goodness, wisdom, love and hope can add weight and substance in our life’s favor.

What will you fill your proverbial bag with today? This week?

I’m throwing in some creative juices for my writing,

some sneakers for the miles I want to walk,

some generosity and fun for myself and my loved ones,

some courage to push past fear and take a few more risks,

some prayer for those who are grieving or angry with the world,

and some kindness and grace for all I encounter.

Be intentional. Make sure you enjoy filling the “bags” you’ll carry along your way.

You’ll be more likely to find them weighed down with blessings and lessons you won’t mind holding onto.

%d bloggers like this: