I wanted to share these words of encouragement from a fellow blogger whose mission is to inspire and motivate those who land on their page.
Change is our biggest fear, but it is also a part of living. At the end of the day change is going to come. How we react to that change will determine the outcome. It will be positive if we embrace it and negative if we fight it.
Courage means taking action.
Aminellie says when change comes, “Do not crumble” and “Hold on“. I am in total agreement with that.
Now then take these words of inspiration and motivation from Aminellie and Kick Fear Now.
“When we know what love is, when we love, we are able to search our memories and see the past with new eyes; we are able to transform the present and dream the future. Such is love’s power. Love heals.”
Bell Hooks, Sisters of the Yam, Black Women and Self-Recovery
These past 4 weeks have taken me away from my weekly blog. Mainly it has been a time of regrouping, refreshing, and revisioning of where my life is heading.
Over the past few months I have lost many beloved friends. I am also dealing with an aged mother who has been extremely ill. As you can imagine it has all taken its toll on me. So when my daughter asked me to come down to visit her and watch my granddaughter for her spring break, I jumped at the opportunity.
My daughter lives in Wellington, Florida and in between taking care of my granddaughter I was able to do a little sightseeing of this beautiful community located in the West Palm Beach area. It was during my wanderings that I came upon the Wellington Patriot Memorial.
From the moment I looked upon the tall piece of steel beckoning me to come and see, I knew I was stepping into a special place.
While here in New York City the work is diligently moving along on the World Trade Center project, the town of Wellington completed this memorial in 2011.
The focus of my attention was a donated piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. The steel, which is divided into three pieces, once stood between the 69th and 71st floor of the second Twin Tower. It was an exterior column panel seven floors below where United Airlines flight 175 impacted. Its number is steel beam C-46.
On December 4th, 2010 the beam, covered with the American flag, arrived in Wellington after being ceremoniously and loving brought from New York .
Vice Mayor Matt Willhite told Sun Sentinel Reporters, “In December 2010 we brought the beam to Florida from New York. The whole time treating the experience with great pride and dignity.” He continued, “It has cost us more than we thought. But, it is an investment into our community.”
The flag now stands at the entrance of the Wellington Patriot Memorial.
Beside the oxidized piece of steel, in the center of the memorial, is the fountain. Its sparkling, clear water steadily flows down at points around the circumference. If you look carefully, on top of the fountain you can see the eternal flame. On Sunday, September 11, 2011 the eternal flame was lit, has continued and will continue to burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Along the opposite side of the memorial stands 4 etched glass panes. Beautiful and elegant, the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center attacks can be seen. Below the glass in bold black letters on a white background are the times of the attacks. In front of each of the glass panels is a seat where one can sit and reflect.
Willhite told the Sun-Sentinel. “This will be a place where generations to come will be able to learn about this piece of history.” He was absolutely correct.
On the ground of the memorial are bricks with the names of the First Responders who courageously lost their lives while in the line of duty. As I stooped over to take the pictures of the names the sun shone so bright that my shadow covered them over. Perhaps, when you visit this place you will see them for yourselves.
Just as the names are etched in the bricks and in the clear glass panels, so too the memory of that day on September 11, 2001. Everyone of us can remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and what we were thinking.
As my daughter, granddaughter and I moved around the Patriot Memorial we spoke about that morning. It was a strange day for the two of us because only 2 hours earlier, on that September morning, my daughter was sitting on an American Airline plane at John F. Kennedy Airport. The plane she had traveled on from London to Jamaica had engine trouble and had to make an emergency landing in New York. They moved the passengers onto an American Airlines plane because no other Air Jamaica plane was available.
In the bright sunshine we also spoke about the loved ones that we have lost throughout the years and those most recently gone. I also reflected on the health of my aging mother.
The serenity and peacefulness of the space allowed me to gather my thoughts and process the events in our circle of life. I came away with a heightened sense of gratitude for life and each new day that I see.
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle.
The quote on the plaque given by the Navarro Family is powerful.
This year 2014, as we work to Kick Fear Now, let us move on with hope for a bright tomorrow. For me, it is a time to re-vision my life and chart new and different journeys. What about you?
Today is a good day to reflect on the life you still have to live. It’s good to embrace the good memories and the joys of the past, but you should never linger there for too long. Life is filled with both joy and pain, love and hate, sadness and happiness. It is interesting how we tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.
Can you find one reason to get up every morning and one thing that you can be grateful for in your life. If so, then you are already on your way to living the courageous life.
To help you further along your journey take a look at the book that started it all, Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Actions Steps for a Courageous You, and don’t forget to send me an e-mail if you would like to read the first chapter for free.
“There is a window that is now open to you. All the gloom, despair, sadness, and other things that are negative will not be available in this window because you made the choice not to let them in.” ~ Sheila Lee
I met Sheila Lee at the National Black Book Festival that I attended in Houston, Texas during November. It was her voice that caught my attention as I listened to her speaking to another author alongside of me. It was so soothing and calm. As she spoke, I felt this was a woman at peace with herself and not only that, but she must bring joy to those people who often hear her voice. It was not until the following day, when I attend her workshop, that I heard her story and realized that Sheila’s peace had come with a great price.
Sheila Lee was 34 years old when her husband of 11 years committed suicide. She was devastated. The man who she had planned to spend the rest of her life with had left her alone with a 10 year old child to raise by herself. Despite the fact that this man, that she had loved so much, had abused her mentally and physically throughout their entire marriage, she was grief-stricken.
It would take time, but eventually Sheila would realize she had been released from a relationship that could easily have seen her being the one ending up dead. She laughs about it now, but she told us that many times she proudly professed that she would “die for him.” That’s how much she loved him.
Sheila has penned the book, Window Hood Not Widow Hood. She wrote the book to give encouragement and hope to others who may have experienced a devastating loss such as hers. She realized that there are windows of opportunity to be found in the face of adversity, you just have to get past the hurt to see them.
Sheila kicked fear to the curb in her own way. With perseverance, determination, and patience, she took one action step after another. It was hard work. Nevertheless, with time and the positive attitude that she possesses, she felt it was important to share her story. I for one am glad she has.
Today, along with the message in her books, Sheila gives comfort and solace to those who listen to her radio program “Morning Joy.” If you want to can catch Sheila’s soothingly, pleasant voice just listen to WRVS 89.9 FM, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. It is a great way to begin your day.
Sheila is currently running the Morning Joy Book Nook Marathon. From December 2 through December 13 she will be interviewing more than 30 authors to discuss their books and the reason why they wrote them as well as give some words of encouragement to the listeners. On Thursday, December 12, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m., EST, I will have the pleasure of being interviewed by Sheila. The highlight of the Book Nook Marathon is the free gift pack of books from the many authors. There will be 12 winners of a drawing being held during the same dates. What a great Christmas gift.
“It’s easy to act as if you are a weathervane, always changing your beliefs and words, trying to please everyone around you. But we were born to be lighthouses, not weathervanes. Imagine a vertical axis running through the center of your heart, from your deepest roots to your highest aspirations. That’s your lighthouse. It anchors you in the world and frees you from having to change directions everything time the weather shifts.” Robert K. Cooper, The Other 90%
“Our circumstances can either take us under, or we can fight and rise above everything and everybody that attempts to hold us down.”
Jonathan C. Johnson, A Fighting Chance
Last weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out with some wonderful authors at the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Texas. As a first time author I knew I was stepping into a new environment and was a little bit apprehensive. Needless to say that fear was soon kicked out the way so that excitement and enjoyment could take its place.
I was amazed at the different stories that each person told as to why they decided to write and get their story published. I was truly inspired by the courage they used to put it all down in order that others who are facing, or have faced similar experiences, can find strength and determination to go through the challenge and live their life to the fullest.
One such author was Jonathan C. Johnson, a humble, quiet, young man who has overcome so many obstacles from birth all the way through his teen years.
Born to a 15 year old mother, he was conceived through rape. Due to a head injury, he was quickly taken from her at six months old by Children’s Protective Services. Placed in a foster home, he was not the perfect adoption candidate. He was considered to be “slow” with a head and feet that were larger than normal for a baby of his age. Thankfully, he had a foster mother and foster siblings that loved him.
It was this love that made his foster mother tell her friend, who was looking to adopt a child, about the little boy. It was love that made the friend want to take him as her own. Despite the adoption agency telling her the child was not a “good fit”, she did not stop until she adopted her little boy.
Time would fly as the little boy grew in his new home, but soon illness would come and disrupt everything. First, a heart murmur, then breathing problems and finally chronic kidney failure. All before he had reached the age of fifteen. Here’s what he said.
“While my classmates were out having fun, I was at home thinking of ways to improve my situation. When you’re faced with a life-changing situation, it’s on you to sink or swim. I decided to swim as hard and as fast as I could.” Jonathan C. Johnson.
I’m going to stop here because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the rest of the story.
Jonathan’s story is told in his book, “A Fighting Chance.” It is a story of strength and courage that everyone should read. He also continues to encourage and inspire through his tweets at Kidney Kronicles.
I was so inspired by his book that I invited him to do a guest blog. He graciously said that he would. I know you will enjoy his post next week.
In the coming days I will tell you of other writers I met who chose to use their life story to inspire others. Instead of letting their setbacks and struggles leave them fearful, they chose to share and give hope to others. I believe that each one of them faced their fears and kicked it in their own way. I hope their stories will help you too.