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Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Find Your Serenity Place by Kerri Herndon

How to Find Your Serenity Place 
by Kerri Herndon

My typical day begins at 5 am. Today, I truly look forward to rising before the sun and greeting everyone with joy. I must admit, it took me some time to find my morning glory. Blissful rest was always interrupted by insidious honking and silenced with with my right hand as I quickly hit the snooze button to give me at least 10 additional minutes of sleep. The plush purple toasty fur lined slippers that awaited the arrival of my feet to slide in to begin the normal daily routine, were very rarely in reach.
Next, as I waddled downstairs to grab the kettle from the stove, fill it with water for coffee (still yawning), dings from my iPhone alerting me to brand new emails, text messages, FaceBook messages and notifications and invites to events that I would never attend grab the first moments of my day.  As I pour the creamer in my coffee, my mind is already beginning to list out all the items that will be placed on the “to do list” creating my agenda for the day. Before I have taken one sip or sat down for devotion, my mind has dictated at least twenty tasks that need to be accomplished by 3pm.  With my mind racing around everything that needs to be done for the day, enjoying the solitude while basking in serenity is slipping away…

But wait.

I woke up early for solitude and devotional time to clear my mind thus bringing forth feelings of serenity and clarity to pave the way for a more productive day…

If any of this sounds remotely familiar then you can more than likely also relate as the day unfolds, so do the responsibilities and the ever increasing demands that are piled upon you. Within the midst of all of it, are your personal ambitions and desires.  Without surrendering your white flag, you begin to read books and listen to audios on how to jam seven hours into three to become more efficient so that you have more “me” and family time. You up your intake of vitamins and supplements, temporarily change your eating habits and join the gym all attempting to continue ironing your shero cape and not relent. Yet, feelings of fatigue, low energy, occasional mood swings and irritability have now become a part of your personality while stress and thoughts of depression are knocking at the door for permanent residency.

I’m reminded of the 80’s song by Karen White, where in the video poised with strength, she serenades her uniformed husband, I’m not your superwoman. The scenes switch back and forth as we viewers are relating to the stamina she excludes as she is hanging up laundry and then cooking dinner ( all while looking good in her heels). What is it in some of us that believes we can and should play the balancing act of twenty item task list and still meet the needs of others around us?

The above daily routine I described, used to be me. Running the hamster wheel wore me out and left me feeling overwhelmed and discontent. I still wake each day at five am with the same responsibilities yet with a new mindful approach in gaining my morning glory. I believe in the search of happiness, fulfillment, security, financial stability, career advancement and other personal goals, our true focus gets lost. With so many distractions; a lack of direction and/or definite purpose, daily stressors, family responsibilities, demands of co-workers, expectations of others, and personal ambitions, our judgment gets cloudy leaving some in a standstill of hazy mental fog. 

The lack of serenity skills to assist us with balancing the surge of raging emotions that swing like pendulum to meet the pressures of life unfortunately result in the inability to focus and remain grounded. Yet there are some who pick up other peoples burdens and responsibilities adding them to an already jam-packed schedule; over-stuffing their own nap-sack causing complications and strain. This “strain” is the emotional baggage (nap-sack) causing tension, headaches, fatigue, irritability and more. Trying to rearrange your day, adding supplements, vitamins and the like only temporarily mask the symptoms of what your body and spirit are trying to tell you. Burnout and exhaustion have arrived and if not tended, the toxicity from uncontrolled emotions can have catastrophic effects in the spirit, soul and body.
Your spirit eventually becomes weighed down which can leave feelings of doubt, insecurity and anxiety. Proverbs 12:25 provides a timely reminder that we should not allow anxiety to take root as it can cause depression. Today we see more and more commercials for medications to treat the symptoms of depression. Depression has been commonly referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness and if left untreated can lead to suicide. It’s time to deal with the root causes and stop masking symptoms of burnout and exhaustion to prevent full blown depression. But how?
One approach…Morning Glory.
Morning Glory is a serenity skill that I have developed in preparation for daily devotional time. It will give a guide to quieting the “white noise” or clear the mental fog so you can focus on learning to live a life of love and appreciation. It provides you with some basics to develop compassion for self and others using the power of imagination to heal the soul while releasing toxic emotions.


Let’s begin!


Keeping in mind that we are three-part beings (spirit, soul and body), every part of you is connected. If you have a tense mind (which resides in your soul), you have a tense body. Optimal results are achieved when allowing at least 20 minutes to perform The Morning Glory Serenity in the morning prior to your personal devotional time. It will assist you with clearing the clutter and the random thoughts that try to invade your mind as you seek wisdom in asking the Lord God to establish your thoughts and steps for the day.

Find a comfortable place to sit and pay attention to your breathing.Focus on the love of God, His grace and mercy being extended to you this morning. Begin to focus on your breathing. Imagine that each breath you take is the Spirit of the Living God coming into your body cleansing and healing it. Concentrate on the sensation of the cleansing air moving in and out of your nose and mouth. Notice your belly move in and out.

Pay attention to your breathing. Allow your belly to rise as you inhale and to slowly fall fall back down as you exhale. Take some time to breathe deeply as you prepare to welcome the Holy Spirit.

First concentrate on your forehead. As you breathe in, notice the muscles of your forehead. Become aware of any muscle tension in this area of your body. As you breathe out, let go of any muscle tension you find by purposely relaxing the muscles. It begins with an awareness of the tension on the in-breath, and letting go of the tension on the out-breath. Repeat for several slow deep breaths.

Next concentrate on any muscle tension in a particular body area as you inhale (like your shoulders). Now, as you exhale, consciously loosen and release that tension. Imagine the breath traveling into that particular area is a radiant healing light, then traveling out as you exhale. As the breath leaves the area, visualize the muscles slackening, as if your breath is carrying away any tension and stress you may have. Each time you breathe, make sure you are taking slow, deep breaths, concentrating on noticing how your belly rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.

You may be aware of thoughts or feelings rising into your consciousness, or even possibly images popping up in your mind’s eye. Perhaps you are aware of impinging worries, anxieties, fears, fantasies, or other preoccupations involving the past or future. It’s okay and do not allow it to distract you. It is not a “failure” of your efforts to relax or become mindful; you are learning a brand new skill to support you in learning to take control of random thoughts and responses.


Begin to recite the following phrases (or an affirming scripture focused on love):

* I am filled with love, joy, peace.
* I am filled with longsuffering, kindness, goodness.
* I am filled with faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
* I am filled with the wisdom and knowledge of God.
* I am strengthen with might through His Spirit in my inner self.
* I have been renewed in the spirit of my mind through Christ.

Allow the feelings to arise with these words. Repeat the phrases, letting the feelings permeate your mind and body. (Continue this practice for a few weeks until you sense an authentic loving kindness toward yourself.)

If and when you notice that you’ve been carried away in a stream of associations, merely observe them. Then, gently return your awareness to your breath. Your breath is the gift of God giving you life; healing and cleansing your spirit, soul and body. Allow your breathing to once again become your focus, letting your thoughts recede to the background. Your awareness of your breathing helps anchor you in the present.

For the remaining time, keep your awareness focused on your breath and how it travels into your body; healing all tension and stress restoring the presence of peace and the euphoria of love. Gradually bring your consciousness back to your surroundings.

When you feel ready, start with this meditation practice, using the same phrases, but gradually expand the focus of your love, kindness, and appreciation to include others. Imagine the person and thoughtfully recite the phrases:

* I am filled with love, joy, peace.
* I am filled with longsuffering, kindness, goodness.
* I am filled with faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
* And so on (same as above).

Remember, consistency is the key. The more consistent practice of this practice along with other spiritual beliefs (attending church services, praying regularly, etc.) along with serenity skills such as Morning Glory can greatly reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. Thoughtfully consider including a regular exercise program and vitamin supplement and gain overall tremendous health benefits.

Morning Glory Serenity has the potential to bridge the gap between yourself and others replacing fear, worries, and anxieties with love and compassion. I would love to hear how Morning Glory is working for you! Post how it’s going for you and what you are receiving below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Blessings, Kerri Herndon


About the Author
Kerri Herndon,
affectionately known as Coach Kerri the Life Transformation Coach is a Motivational Speaker, Radio Talk Show Host, Entrepreneur, Author, and Founder of one of the fastest growing organizations dedicated to empowering women of all ages. Her B.A. Biblical Studies and M.A. in Christian Counseling coupled with an unflinching and honest understanding of today’s woman, enables her to skillfully assist others with indentifying the root causes of their personal dilemmas.

Coach Kerri specialty lies in assisting women with breaking the barriers of limitations and achieving emotional wholeness. Living by the mantra of “Create the life you love”, Coach Kerri implements this truth into powerful coaching programs that equip women with eliminating fear and stress and bridging passion to purpose.  Remaining true to her powerful message of transformation, in her recently published book, “Simply Me – Taking Off the Mask Through Effectual Prayer”, she provides practical self-help tools along with spiritual insight that explains how traumatic experiences such as depression, rejection, abortion, attempted suicide can alter the course of destined purpose.

Coach Kerri’s testimony and life-transforming messages share the miracle working power of God and how He is able to use all our baggage for His greater purpose. She is a walking representation of the WORD at work and has made it her life mission to allow the Holy Spirit to use her to impact the lives of others. Her inspiring stories and personal reflections have made her a highly respected and sought after speaker with women’s groups, conferences and churches.   Website: www.coachkerri.com

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Living on Purpose by Carolina Fernandez



For many years, I have been writing down my yearly goals into my trusty filofax. Always at my side, my red leather journal has been as much a part of me as my smartphone and my lipstick. Many would argue that everything can-and therefore should-be entered into one’s phone: contact information, email histories, word documents, and yes, one’s calendar. But for some reason-perhaps because my learning modality is slanted heavily towards the visual-I am not able to work my calendar from my phone; I need to “see” it. One week at a time. In color. And for that reason, I have relied on my filofax for nearly twenty years to not only keep me organized per a calendar, but to help me record-and regularly review-my written goals across all categories.

Especially now, with everyone seemingly examining their lives in the context of not only a New Year but a New Decade, it is important to reflect on those areas which are deemed most worthy of introspection. Here is how I break it down. As importantly, these are the areas of my life in which I write down realistic, as well as lofty, personal goals: The Powerful Seven.

FAITH:  Possessing a hunger for relationship with your Creator is an innate human desire. We will never find that for which we were created nor live completely on purpose until we satisfy this yearning. While we will never hold all of the answers, we can and should strive to ask the questions. You were put on this earth for a purpose. Do you know what yours is? Are you being receptive to spiritual forces so that you can become more of the person you were designed to be? Have you acknowledged faith in your life? Do you consider yourself to be a person of faith? If so, are you allowing your Creator to have a role in your life? How large a role? If you believe that you were put on earth to glorify God, what are doing to move closer to that end?

FAMILY: What kind of family do you want to create? Do you prioritize a strong family as one of your life’s goals? If you are an adult viewing family as a child of older parents, are you working within that framework in the most responsible, respectful ways? If you are a parent to young children, do you strive to create happy childhoods for them? Happy childhoods do not happen by chance. They require from you a considerable amount of foresight, energy, and thoughtful planning. Each of those in your charge has unique gifts and talents which need to be brought forward for the benefit of others. What are you doing to nurture these?

FRIENDS: If you have three of them, consider yourself blessed. The average Gen Y’er has 1.7. The average Baby Boomer, between three and four. Do you enjoy making and nurturing close friendships? Or do you prefer building upon hundreds of acquaintances? Social media and the verification of hundreds of Facebook friends might imply that you are working overtime in order to nurture friendships, but are you? Or is this a substitute for the intimacy that only deep friendships can provide, and the commitment of time and energy required to develop them? What specific steps could you take to increase your commitment to friendship?

FINANCIAL:  Do you believe that you are financially responsible? Are you meeting your obligations thoughtfully, thoroughly, wisely and cheerfully? Write down ways in which you might realistically tackle current financial challenges as well as provide for the long-term financial goals of your family. Do you need to become more financially literate? Should you increase your savings percentage? Should you be contributing more to investment accounts? Are you making a commitment to helping those less fortunate? Have you explored tithing as a way to further humanity?

FITNESS:  Are you keeping yourself fit, strong, and vibrantly healthy? Are you at peak performance? At your ideal weight? Should you incorporate a weight training regimen into your daily work outs? Are you getting enough aerobic exercise? Do you get your heart rate up at least three days per week? Do you enjoy your exercise routine? Is it time to make a change?

FUN:  What are your sources of felicity? Are you taking time out of each day to stop and appreciate life? To savor and enjoy it? Have you embraced daily “joie de vivre” breaks? It might be as simple as slowly sipping that first great coffee of the day, being thankful for it, and taking delight in all of its sensory outputs of aroma, heat and richness. Are weekly date nights written into your calendar? Do you enjoy lunches with your favorite friends? Indulge in parties and spontaneous get-togethers? Perhaps you need to take up painting. Or skiing. Or listening to music more frequently during your work day. Maybe you are contemplating a trip abroad as a way to deepen family relationships and create long-lasting memories.

FIND:  Find that for which you were created. Figure out why God made you. Discern whether or not you are living on purpose. You cannot possibly figure this out during the hectic, frantic movements of everyday life. You can only get a sense of your destiny when you are willing to spend a good deal of time in meditation, in prayer, and in quiet alone time. Start journaling your thoughts as they come to you. Draw them into an art book. Over time, your life purpose should be made clearer. Once revealed, begin moving confidently in the direction that will allow others to most benefit from your unique gifts and talents. Explore new opportunities that will present themselves to you as you move more purposefully through life.

I strive to align myself daily with my values and goals, and to regularly review my written record of them. By so doing, it seems that I am able to walk down my path with more passion and purpose. That people enter my path and provide wisdom and aid when I need it the most. That I am more able to stay on track and to live more authentically. Regularly reviewing my written goals helps me to look at the big picture and discern whether or not things still make sense, and to have the courage and conviction to change what does not. Hopefully, you will desire for your own life the near-constant striving for a better existence, and will write into place a record which will put your journey in play.


About the Author

An author and artist–and financial advisor by day–Carolina Fernandez brings her creativity and design insights, along with experiences garnered through eight renovations, to her second book Country French Kitchens (Gibbs Smith, March 2008). Her writing has appeared in nearly two hundred published articles and stories, including her first book ROCKET MOM! Her weekly newsletter spins to readers across the globe. She has been quoted in dozens of magazines, columns, blogs and articles, and has appeared in radio and television programs across the country, including the FOX News program “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their four children.

Please visit: http://www.countryfrenchkitchens.com, where you can get kitchen and design news as well as sign up for “Gleaux,” her free ezine. Learn how to incorporate the warmth, beauty, comfort, charm, and joie de vivre–the art of living–so many of us desire into our kitchens, our homes…and our lives! 

 
 

Zechariah 4:10 Big Goals – Small Steps!

Big Goals – Small Steps!


Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? Zechariah 4:10 TM

While it’s tempting to think that the amount of time required is too long, those days and years will pass – whether you’re pursuing your goal or not! God wants you to heed His call, to show up for duty and leave the provisions – including the time, money, open doors, favorable relationships and material resources – to Him. If you do your part, He’ll do His. The Psalmist writes: “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11. Just trust God and take the first small step!

Is God nudging you to take small steps towards a larger goal?
Is it past time to return to school, change careers, or move closer to your long-awaited dream? Have you allowed excuses and fear to immobilize and constrict your next step? Alternatively, have you taken the first step towards fulfilling a lifelong dream? Did you decide to prayerfully count the cost and take a leap of faith? Are you energized by the vision of victory and sense of accomplishment flowing through your life?

Saints, reaching big goals begin with steadily moving forward in small steps.
As we venture deeper into life, our hearts will greatly yearn to accomplish certain dreams or goals. With prayer, meditation, and faith – we can move into a season of life wherein hard work pays huge dividends. If our dreams and goals align with His will for our lives, God will nurture the desire and provide provision.

Although it may not come in the package or timing that we would prefer, we can trust that God is working in our hearts throughout the process. We may look back over our lives and realize that it was God who carried us through the small steps. He simply asked that we trust Him and take the first step. He will do the rest – spiritually, emotionally, and in the physical realm. We simply become co-partners in strict obedience to His vision for our lives. Let’s begin today by taking that first small step!

Your Sister in Christ,
Rugina Poellnitz 


History of  The Morning Teas

The Morning Teas were written by Diann Thomas and distributed by Linda Cunningham-Hames. My role in them is to (1) read as a personal devotional and (2) write a mini intro posing questions and a message of encouragement.

During 2011, Diann Thomas passed away unexpectedly and sadly, Linda Cunningham-Hames passed away on July 24, 2012. I’ve never met either in person, corresponded with Linda via email, and never corresponded with Diann. We were connected via technology and hearts for God.

Going forward, I intend to continue to share Morning Teas in their honor (as well as add my Mother, Evelyn Carter-Pete, since she prayed and inspired me (and others) to live faithfully and abundantly prior to her passing in 2007).

 
 

Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide

Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide
by Pamela Samuels Young


This book will help African-American women with kinky hair learn the true beauty and versatility of their natural hair.

Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don’t know where to start? Then Kinky Coily: A Natual Hair Resource Guide  is for You! This book is a collection of the best resources to help you begin your natural hair journey. You’ll find the books, the bloggers, tools, product and more. You’ll learn how to develop a hair care regime, how to determine the tools and products you’ll need and how to track your progress. Whether you have a relaxer, press ‘n curl or you’re already natural, Kinky Coily has something for you. So get ready to experience the true beauty and versatility of your natural hair.


Kinky Coily Excerpt

Transitioning to natural hair will require you to think differently about your hair. You’ll need to believe in the beauty and versatility of your natural hair. While the process will be frustrating at times, it will also be rewarding and fulfilling. If you make the commitment, I guarantee that you’ll end up with an appreciation of your kinky coils as well as greater confidence in yourself and your hair. Before we begin, here are four tips that are crucial to a successful transition.

A Positive Mindset
You’ll need to embrace a whole new mindset about the beauty of your natural hair to have a successful transition. Many of us with kinky hair have been raised to believe that we cannot take care of our own hair because it’s too unruly, difficult and just plain “bad.” That’s bull.

Start your natural hair journey with an open mind. Allow your hair to be all it can be and love it for its beauty and flexibility. How many straight-haired women can sport kinky curls, twists, locs, Bantu knots, micro-braids and cornrows? None I know.

My point is you’re going to have to erase all those negative notions you have about your hair. You have the most fabulous hair in the world. Embrace it!

Time
I’ve heard many women say that going natural takes too much work. Really? I can remember spending three-to-four hours in the beauty shop, and that doesn’t include my two-hour round-trip commute. If I was getting a weave, the entire day and night might be lost.

If rocking your natural hair is important to you, you’ll have to make the decision to investment in yourself. Yes, deep conditioning once or twice a week, moisturizing and sealing your hair on a daily basis and styling your natural hair will take time. But so does anything worth having.

Commitment
In addition to time, you’re going to need to be committed to the process. There will be times when you are disappointed because your hair isn’t growing fast enough. Transitioning to natural hair is not going to happen overnight. Hair growth takes time. Particularly if you hair is damaged.

You’ll need time to learn your hair and what products respond best to it. You will probably get frustrated and overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Don’t.

Think about the last diet or exercise program you started, but didn’t finish. Somewhere along the line, you just got tired of the bland food and gave up. Now think about the last diet or exercise program you did finish. How proud did you feel after reaching your goal? Transitioning to natural hair is something you’re doing for yourself. You deserve it. So make a commitment to yourself to stick with it no matter what.

Patience
This is the most important tool of all! The beautiful natural hair you want isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of work and patience on your part. Along the way, there will be successes and failures. Products you love. Products you purchase after watching a tutorial on YouTube that end up being a complete waste of your money. It’s all part of the process.

Somewhere along your journey, you’ll find out what works for you and the results will follow. So practice patience! You won’t regret it!


PAMELA SAMUELS YOUNG TOP 5 HAIR TIPS

* Be patient. Transitioning takes time and effort.
* Develop a weekly hair care regimen and stick to it.
* Educate yourself about the care of your natural hair.
* Join a natural hair MeetUp group to share resources.
* Keep a hair journal to track your progress.


Purchase Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide

by Pamela Samuels Young

Link:  http://amzn.com/0985734167 



Purchase  Kinky Coily Natural Hair Journal

by Pamela Samuels Young

Link:  http://amzn.com/0985734183

Purchase signed copies here:  http://www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com/books/index.html
Watch & share the Kinky Coily Tutorials:  http://www.youtube.com/user/KinkyCurlyPamela  

Meet the Author
Pamela Samuels Young
is a practicing attorney whose fast-paced legal thrillers tackle law and crime. Pamela’s first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide, goes on sale in April, 2014.  A former TV news writer, Pamela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers. To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or event, email Pamela via her website at: www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com

 
 
 

Storytellers Blog Tour: The Last King by A. Yamina Collins

A. Yamina Collins is the author of the quirky short story collection The Blueberry Miller Files. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Manhattan.  The Last King is her first novel, and it has already been in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. Check out her blog at Yaminatoday.com
First of all, congratulations on your book, The Last King, being a top 100 bestseller on Amazon!
Thank you. It’s actually been in the Top 100 Bestseller’s list in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature. I am very excited about it, especially since the book hasn’t even been fully released, yet.
You’re releasing The Last King in episodes, right?
Right. Amazon has requested that I call the episodes volumes. So I am about to release volume (episode) 4 next.
Tell me about that process. Why release the book in pieces?
Well, actually I’m taking something old and try to make it new again. In the 19th century, authors like Charles Dickens and Alexander Dumas would release segments from their upcoming books in periodicals on a monthly or weekly basis. It sort of helped to build readership and helped them connect to their audiences. And that’s exactly what I want to do.
In fact, in some cases, those 19th century writers would slowly release a book over a period of more than two years! My time frame is about a year and a half. And of course, I am doing it digitally. This is the first book in The Last King trilogy and it will be chopped up into about 14 volumes (episodes). Each episode is made up of five chapters.
So what is The Last King about?
It tells the story of a young woman named Emmy Hughes who, in modern times, innocently finds herself caught in the midst of a game of wits between two rivals – God, and these immortal beings called Edenites whose ancestors marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life.
God considers the Edenites’ possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a “Glitch” —an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen “property” of immortality and kill the Edenite off.

It turns out that Emmy discovers that she is a the Glitch of a rather imposing Edenite named Gilead Knightly. Now he has to get rid of her before she “wakes up” and gets rid of him.  Problem is, Glitches are not only an Edenite’s greatest threat, but also their greatest love. And so the game begins.

Wow. Okay. That covers a lot of territory. Now your book is not typical of what one thinks of when they hear the words Fantasy Romance, is It?
No. It’s a fantasy book that takes place in present day New York, well upstate New York that is. It’s a fantasy world full of cars, cell-phones and modern contraptions. But it’s still a fantasy world.
And the book covers several genres at once?
Yes. The book is classified under Science-Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Women’s fiction, Religion and African-American literature. By the time the second book in the trilogy comes out, I am really going to have to throw in History as a category, too. Ha ha. I wish I could tailor it down to less genres, but it’s an epic book and that’s just how it’s going to be.
Do you think all those genres will deter readers?
I hope not. In fact, I am hoping that audiences are looking for something new and different. So why not go for a book that has it’s feet in a myriad of categories? Of course, it will be up to the readers to decide if I’ve done a good job of balance with all the genres. We shall see.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
 Oh, yes. I was nine-years old, standing in my grandmother’s living room when I had a clear epiphany that I was going to be a writer someday. And I remember reading books like The Bluest Eye, The Turn of the Screw and To Kill a Mockingbird and thinking how stunning it was that those stories could move my soul. That’s what I want to be able to do as a writer – to move people with my words.
What are your goals as a writer? Do you set out to educate or entertain? Illuminate? Inspire?
Well, I must admit that, as a writer, I have always dreamed of of writing The Great American Novel. Is that a bad thing to confess? I don’t know. It’s a lofty dream, but it is a dream that inspires me to want to be excellent.  I guess you could say my ultimate goals, however, are to educate and inspire.
Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Absolutely. For example, I intentionally do not have my character’s curse or take God’s name in vain. I chose not to cross that line even though my main character hates God and is angry with him. I believe, as a Christian, I am not called to do those things, even in literature. So I have had to be real creative in how my characters vent their frustrations. I also could not help but bring God into the story. He is literally the One behind this intriguing game that Gilead and Emmy must play with one another. I know for some people these are not always topics they want to read about it, but I’ve tried to put it in a unique format.
Since the book takes place in New York, do we get to see a magical world in this modern-day tale?
Of course! How could I not add in some sword fighting, mind telepathy, wings, and animals who can fly? Just the sort of thing you expect to happen to a young woman who works in Brooklyn.
Nice. Well, thanks for being with us.
Thank you so much for having me!
The Last King: Book I – Series 1
Published by author A. Yamina Collins


Fantasy, Science-fiction, Women’s Fiction Literature and Christian Women’s Literature
Follow Yamina’s Blog for more news:  http://www.yaminatoday.com 

 
 

Ella Curry Interviews Dr. Maya Angelou-September 11, 2008

With women making the largest strides in the arenas of politics, education, entrepreneurship and business, no other time is more poignant for Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou’s poetic tribute to the emotionally adopted daughters who have touched her life. In response to the question regarding the reason for her tribute, she was quoted, “I gave birth to one child–a son, but I have thousands of daughters.” No doubt with this poetic volume, Dr. Angelou will garner many more female supporters happy to draw upon her maternal wisdom.
On September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of a very scary and profound time in US history, Dr. Maya Angelou met with Literary Publicist and CEO of EDC Creations Ella Curry to discuss her gift of poetry to the world’s daughters. When Curry further asked about the book’s inspiration, Dr. Angelou confided, “Well, this is my 80th year and I have been celebrating it all year long. And I realize that I have much less time ahead of me than I have behind and that I have learned some lessons and am in the process of learning some.
So I thought I would jot down some of the incidents, some events which took place in my life from which I drew great lessons.”
Always a teacher and naturally so, Angelou had this to say, “In looking at that [my life’s lessons], I didn’t want to say which lessons I learned or what exactly I did with the lessons–solutions. Because I know that my readers are as intelligent and resourceful and they will read about one incident they will get one solution. They’ll gather it and then six months later, if they read it again they will find another possible lesson to be learned. I know that is the way I do when I read other people’s work…I hope that’s what will happen to my readers.”
Opening with a powerful letter to daughters everywhere, Angelou says in part, “My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring, still.” As Curry accurately described, Dr. Angelou, “in the rhythm of her poetry and the elegance of her prose”, expresses the numerous useful lessons in terms of the people she’s met, the places she’s been and the events of her life.
During the interview with Ms. Curry, one of the most awe-struck memories she shares is her friendship with Civil Rights Activist, Coretta Scott King. She says of their friendship, “I was brought to look at those events because a number of friends of mine have died recently and I thought back to Ms. King and how we were chosen sisters and how I miss her.” Knowing the importance of grieving time but also knowing the need to celebrate the legacy our loves often leave for us, Dr. Angelo continued, “…I felt, ‘Well maybe, maybe there’s a way I can reduce the mourning, if I can go back to that life and see what their friendship did for me.’
And as I went back, I was disheartened, heartened, I was inspired because I had been thinking about their absence and not really about the fun we had and the lessons they taught me.” Dr. Angelou goes on to describe how Ms. King’s “stick-to-it-tiveness” has bolstered a lasting memory of her influential husband that may not have been more than “footnote in history” without Ms. King’s tenacity.


Dr. Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter is packed with profound and inspirational gems designed to do what all faithful motherly advice does–educate, empower and empathize.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT FROM THE ORIGINAL INTERVIEW

Since 2000, EDC Creations has partnered with community leaders, business owners, book clubs, publishers, book stores and authors to bring readers the best representation of quality literature. Here are just a few comments on our service to the community and the quality of our work. The most important moment in EDC Creations history was our Intimate Conversations Interview with Dr. Maya Angelou, which we have shared below.


Maya Angelou is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature and as a remarkable Renaissance woman. Being a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, Dr. Angelou continues to travel the world making appearances, spreading her legendary wisdom. A mesmerizing vision of grace, swaying and stirring when she moves, Dr. Angelou captivates her audiences lyrically with vigor, fire and perception.

EDC Creations: Hello and welcome to the Black Authors Network Literary Show.

I am your host, Ella Curry.

Today we have with us Dr Maya Angelou.

Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable renaissance woman, who is held as one of the greatest voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, bestselling author, actress, playwright, civil rights activist, producer and director she continues to travel the world spreading her legendary wisdom.   Within the rhythm of her poetry and the elegance of her prose lies Dr. Maya Angelou’s unique power to help readers around the world.

Ella Curry: Welcome to the show, Dr Maya Angelou.
Dr Maya Angelou: Thank you very much Ms. Curry

EC: Wow you have a phenomenal new book out Letter to My Daughter, it’s a book to cherish and savor, reread and share. You were quoted as saying, “I gave birth to one child– a son, but I have thousands of daughters. I’d like to thank you for offering this book for us.
Dr Maya Angelou : Thank you for receiving it.

EC: So tell us about your new book and what inspired you to write Letter to My Daughter?
Dr Maya Angelou : Well, this is my 80th year and I have been celebrating it all year long. And I realize that I have much less time ahead of me than I have behind and that I have learned some lessons and am in the process of learning some. So I thought I would jot down some of the incidents, some events which took place in my life from which I drew great lessons. And in looking at that, I didn’t want to say which lessons I learned or what exactly I did with the lessons–the solutions. Because I know that my readers are as intelligent and resourceful and they will read about one incident they will get one solution. They’ll gather it and then six months later, if they read it again they will find another possible lesson to be learned. I know that is the way I do when I read other people’s work. So when I reread it, I think hmm, I didn’t know that was in there all the time. So I hope that’s what will happen with my readers.

EC: So in your book, Letter to My Daughter, you discuss several different topics and you remember lost friends such as Coretta Scott King and Ozzie David, could you talk to us about that for a minute, your memories?
Dr Maya Angelou : Yes, I was brought to look at those events because a number of friends of mine have died recently and I thought back to Ms. King and how we were chosen sisters and how I miss her. And then I thought about Ozzie and others. I thought about Max Roach and people that names many you don’t know and some are famous and some not known but famous in my heart. And I thought, What on earth? Instead of just crying and mourning really, because while we celebrate the life we should be free to mourn as well. Mourn their absence. And as I was doing that I felt, Well maybe, maybe there’s a way I can reduce the mourning, if I can go back to that life and see what their friendship did for me. And as I went back, I was disheartened, heartened, I was inspired because I had been thinking about their absence and not really about the fun we had and the lessons they taught me. I learned from Coretta, stick-to-it-tiveness.

Now I have learned that and have had other teachers to teach me that and life itself. But without Coretta Scott King just holding her faith that her husband would be remembered, I suspect that he would have. He could have become a footnote in the pages of history had she not simply stuck it. And because of her there’s the King Center because of her and all the friends of course and the supporters. But because of her there’s the King Day holiday. Without her there would not be that king memorial going up in Washington D.C.–in the Capitol. So I take from her life and even some conversations we’ve had, we traveled together to different places in the world. And when I think of that and I miss her, I’m able to look at what I got from her and be grateful to God for her life and be grateful to her for her love.

EC: Wow that is so powerful to be remembered in that way.  Ms. King and Dr. Martin Luther King will forever be icons…I was about to say the African American community, but worldwide. They created change that will forever improve our way of life.
Dr Maya Angelou : I think we have to put into that Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz as well, into that mix. …and Medgar Evers into that mix. And Fanny Lou Hamer, men and women who really sought to make a better life for African Americans and for all Americans and all people–really all people.

EC: So in 1959 through 1960 you were the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and you were appointed at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King. How did that feel? Take us back to that time.
Dr Maya Angelou ngelou: (laughter) Well you have to imagine I was young…’59, that’s 50 years ago minus one. I was young, I’m six foot tall and I was very skinny at the time and I wore my hair natural–since 1952. And there was a lot of it. (laughter) o, I think, later on Angela Davis had a lot of it, well I looked sort of like that. (laughter)


EC: Oh wow, that was a lot of hair.  (laughter)

Dr Maya Angelou .: And a number of people really, they were made really uncomfortable…people around the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in New York. One woman dropped a note in a column in the New York African American newspaper, The Amsterdam News. She wrote, “Who is this person who has come from the west coast with the savage hairdo? Don’t they have beauticians or at least barbers out there on the coast?” (laughter)

It was heavy and so exciting because you’d have to be in his presence to sense the authority that Rev. King had. And I don’t mean…I mean what is called charisma I think. It’s a sense of he was in his skin and in the right place. So I was bowled over by that–by the job. I did my best and then I fell in love with a South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make and I married him and moved to Egypt.


EC : What traits do you see in Barack Obama that may also have been in the young Dr. Martin Luther King?  I know they both speak so very well and elegantly. Do you see traits in Barack Obama that were the same as the young Dr. Martin Luther King?

Dr Maya Angelou .: Yes, I sense some of that. Of course, Senator Obama [is living] in another time. He is very inclusive, which is a wonderful thing. At that time when Rev. King first started he was not inclusive, he wasn’t exclusive but it was only at the end of his life that he began to include openly. I mean before he said people of goodwill, African Americans or…and people of goodwill from anywhere.

But toward the end of his life when he started the plan for the Poor People’s March, that plan included… and he in fact told it to me and everybody. He said, “This is not an African American people’s march, the Negro march, it is not a Black march, this is for the poor Whites, this is for the poor Whites in West Virginia. This is for the poor Spanish-speaking people in Texas and California and Arizona. This is for the poor Native Americans on the reservations; this is for the poor Asians set apart to garden for the world and have no rights, no chances.” He said, “This is a poor people’s march”. When he became that inclusive, he really became dangerous.


EC: That’s a powerful statement and thought.

Dr Maya Angelou : Yes.

EC: Dr. Maya Angelou, we are launching the Give the Gift of Knowledge campaign at EDC Creations. That’s where we are trying to encourage parents to not so much buy those expensive toys out there and to give a book and to share our history and our knowledge with the children. In your book Letter to My Daughter, what kind of wisdom or advice do you share on parenting and with mothers?
Dr Maya Angelou : Well, I don’t know where in that book, I hope on every other page but being a parent is having such incredible power and just…you can crush a person, you can crush his spirit, you can absolutely cripple her childhood, you can do it. Or on the other hand, if you just take time and realize that you are the most important person in that person’s life. And soften your voice a little when you talk to him. Be a little kinder when you talk to her. See, they don’t know–smaller people. Children don’t know that life is kicking you in the behind. They don’t understand that. And they don’t understand that that’s why you may be kicking them or ignoring them or even abandoning them. They don’t know that. They simply know that you’re everything.

EC: Yes.
Dr Maya Angelou :  And so to be a little kinder or a lot kinder for that matter to the children– to your children and to other people’s children. And take the time to talk to them, don’t ignore them–they have minds. And they need someone to say, “Good morning, how are ya…Lookin nice over there.” They need that. What I’d like to say is…I’d like to ask that all of us have a little more patience and be kinder to the children.

Dr Maya Angelou : I think our time is up. If you have one more question, I’ll accept it.

EC: Yes, Ma’am. A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth is my favorite displays of your passion for society, what inspired you to create that powerful message that empowers our community?
Dr Maya Angelou : Well… actually, Susan Taylor.  Ms Taylor, the editor and chief of Essence magazine, called me one day and asked, “Ms. Maya, please, do we have anything we can say to the youth?  I want to put it online. I gonna put it out in the New Orleans at the Essence Jazz Festival.” And I just wanted to say something. So I said I’d try. And I as usual prayed first and began to work on that pledge. And it is, I am happy to say, Target Company took it and put in almost every newspaper in the country and put it in their stores so that the customers could have copies of it. It’s a blessing, that people in church, in fact in two churches I know, it was in the programs. And sometimes I wish they didn’t just put in and then take it out. I wish they would just leave it in the programs. Anyway, it’s there.

EC: And we appreciate it. It is spectacular. I have it posted in my daughter’s room and I try to read it often, because I’m the mother of a 13-year old. (laughter)
Dr Maya Angelou :  Oh Lord…


EC: I try to…

Dr Maya Angelou : You have your work cut out for you.

EC: Oh, yes Ma’am, I do.
Dr Maya Angelou : Yes Ma’am.  And please remember that she has no idea, she has no idea [of] her power and what is happening to you and what is being asked of you by the world, by your job and your other relationships. So she doesn’t know when you say, “OK, that’s enough…” you know, “Enough’s enough”… that you’re really not just talking to her, you’re also talking to the world. So, God bless your heart and hers as well. And thank you for the interview.

EC: Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It was an honor to have you with the Black Authors Network today, discussing your book Letter to My Daughter.
Dr Maya Angelou : Thank you very much and please continue what you’re doing.  God bless your heart.  Thank you.

EC: Thank you.

This show was brought to you by Ella Curry of EDC Creations
http://www.edc-creations.com

About Laura Major: Laura Major is a multicultural fiction author and freelance writer residing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. Her first novel, Mismatched was published by Amira Press in February of 2008. Laura also manages a multicultural website, Sable Lit Reviews.com, one of the few of its kind providing commentary on the multicultural impact of current events as well as multicultural book reviews.

 
 
 
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