Monday, April 30, 2012

You could go with this.. or you could go with that

I have spent the past half hour trying to upload pictures, but the internet connection at my parent's home is sooo slow at certain times of the day.

So.. you will have to wait. And trust me, there are some BEAUTIFUL pics to share. Instead you get to see me, taking a self portrait of myself, eating an empanada, while trying to stay cool. Attractive, isn't it?

The festival went very well! The music, the dancing, the singing, the shopping, the food.. it was all just so beautiful and wonderful.

That evening, around 10pm or so, I sat in my lawn chair, at the end of Cherry Street, drinking my water, and watching the movie being projected onto the building and suddenly it happened, I felt peace and happiness. I looked to the sky, and I saw the stars twinkling, I could hear the chatter of vendors, I could smell the incense coming from the table a few rows down.. it was slightly magical.

Here I was, sitting next to what I have been told is royalty from Nigeria, just relaxing and enjoying the movie, the ambiance, the sense of community.

It was a good day, indeed.

Then yesterday, my family and I scurried with our home plans - on Friday, my egyptian informed me he would arrive on Sunday night. Sooooo....

I can report he is safe and sound and sleeping peacefully on the couch. ;-)

I suppose things ended up the way they should have. Who knew?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pure Joy

This busy little bee is about to head out to the biggest day of the Pan African Festival! In the meantime, I wanted to share a few photos of my life from the past few days... We'll catch up soon - I promise!

Opening Reception for an Art Exhibit

Father Richard Keil & Curlee Raven Holton (The Artist)

Autumn and her Daddy

Guess who turned 6?

I treated my sister to some excellent middle eastern food!

Wares at the Pan African Festival

Me with our Guest Services/Outreach Coordinator - Patricia

Me with performing artist - TRYSHA. (I can say I knew her when.. )

Dr. Ezekweche and his wife, Chi, founder of the Pan African Festival. They are Nigerian.

Performers of spoken word and singing group from The Fort Valley State University

Leslie getting a little Henna Art

My coworkers - Jeff and Adra

I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I am sooo sorry for the delay in blog posts..

I am just a little busy..

I'll be back soon, I promise!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Things I have learned this week

It's Monday - and I think it's been a few months since I last did a "Things I have Learned This Week." I thought, why not try again?

Here we go:

1. That the past 8 months seem like a really twisted, horrible dream. Glad I finally woke up.

2. That when asked what type of ear rings the 6 year old (Autumn's NEW age) wanted, of course she picked the skulls. Yes.. she will be the forever Wild Child. Pink or Blue or Diamond were not choices she would approve of.

3. That in looking back and analyzing things, it's interesting to see how suddenly people reappear when I am back in my game. Huh.

4. That laughter is truly the best medicine. It causes the stress in my shoulders to disappear, as well as makes my skin glow!

5. That I am chomping at the bit to get into a Zumba class, which btw - is THIS WEDNESDAY!

6. That I am mysteriously drawn to these primary color shirts and dresses. I bought two very colorful pieces that look like a melted crayon box, and I'm loving it!

7. Come to think of it, I need to buy some crayons and a coloring book. I think I might find it therapeutic.

8.I have met some of the most interesting people over the past two weeks. Fabulous creatures. Quirky characters. Highly creative individuals. I could not be happier.

9. Preparing oneself for their personal life to be changed is a difficult task. Either he will come or he won't. You know, it'll change again tomorrow. But this is about all I can stomach.

10. It feels AWESOME to get a paycheck. PRAISE GOD.

What have you learned this week?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Inhale thru the nose, exhale with laughter!

These past two weeks, I feel like bursting out with laughter. This is in a good way. I am full of joy- I feel useful, I feel peaceful, I am BUSY. I've been waiting for this for quite some time.

This picture to my left just sort of paints the perfect picture of how I am feeling, and can we all just say - It's about damn time?!

I've got plenty of hills to climb, and plenty of hard times ahead - but I know without a doubt, I am in a happy place.

I have NO idea about the future, as far as my personal life goes (egyptian,) but I can say that I have what I need to press forward - and that is a true sense of what I need to accomplish, and how it can happen.

So many good things are in store for me, and YOU! God works in his own time, and there is nothing any of us can do to change that. At the end of the day, it's all about patience.

I have to warn you guys, I am probably going to be away from the computer a bit this week. I have several meetings, media interviews, events, and what not taking precedence over the blog. I hope to be back to normal and with tons of pictures soon! I apologize for not being around to comment on your blogs, I did scan a few on Saturday, and hope to see more later. I noticed that by my lack of writing daily, my readers have sort of dropped off this week, but that's okay! I'll rebuild and find inspiration soon enough.

Until then - Inhale thru the nose - exhale with laughter!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Expression is Key to Educating

I had a wonderful opportunity last night to meet a phenomenal artist. Not only were his works of art beautiful, poignant or striking, they told a story- a story of expression, of life, and of hope.

Curlee Raven Holton is an exhibiting artist, curator and distinguished educator. Over dinner last night, he shared his journey with me and four other people -  He studied drawing and painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art, then he went on to earn an MFA degree, with honors, in painting and printmaking from Kent State University in Ohio. Since completing his studies, Curlee has successfully maintained a dual career as an educator and a professional exhibiting artist.

Over the past week, I would take the long way to my office to view his works of art. Stopping from time to time to view ones that really caught my eye. Last night, during the opening, he opened up my mind to the expression and story behind each picture. While people were slowly pouring in, walking around, greeting one another, I was captivated by one picture called, "The Quilt." The colors, the sadness that emanated, the social cues that were sprinkled throughout the piece told a story. I knew it had something to do with Civil Rights, and I knew it had to have something to do with pain, as well as hope. During the lecture, Curlee explained where his inspiration for this piece came from. I was thrilled to learn that I was able to understand, without anything more than a title for the piece. It took me aback. It made me think. It touched on a heart string somewhere - and that my friends, is what Art is all about.
I knew then that I was in the right place, and the art I am promoting can very well open the minds of someone. Here I am, a white girl growing up in the south. I am looking at this piece done by a black man from the north. He shared his pain, his struggle, his interpretation of times past, and in some cases still present, and it made sense to me. A girl, again, that has absolutely no connection to being oppressed - yet I felt what he was feeling, and I knew, I had important work to do.
After the opening, I joined the Curator, the Artist and his sister-in-law, and Guest Services person and went to a local restaurant, The Tic Toc room. As I dined on filet mignon, and listened to this incredible man share his journey with us, I sort of chuckled. Just a month ago I was worrying how I would put gas in my car, or if I would ever be gainfully employed. Now I am immersed in art and culture and I realized life is as it should be.
I chose the Passion. In turn, I will keep the Momentum.
If you are interested in learning more about Curlee Holton, you can see his work, or attend one of his lectures. Since 1991 he has been the David and Linda Roth Professor of Art at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, where he teaches art and African American history. He has lectured and written extensively about African American art and artists. Perhaps most notably, he is the founding Director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute. EPI was founded in 1996 to promote research and experimentation with in the medium of printmaking. Since its founding the Institute has produced 100 print editions by 80 different artists. Works produced at EPI have been collected by prestigious museums throughout the United States.
As we move forward this week, let us remember to express ourselves. For those of who are writers, we need to make sure we are explaining, describing, interpreting and sharing what we see and hear. If you are an artist, then you must show us what you are feeling and seeing. If you are a musician, let us hear what you hear.
You never know, someone like me may come along and be forever changed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Life feels a little more routine this week. I like that every thing I am doing makes complete sense. It's nice to walk into a new job, and the learning curve, as far as my actual work goes, is close to zero.

There are a few learning moments - How to update the website, how to use Constant Contact, putting all of the "Brads" in the right order. (So many of my media contacts have the first name - Brad.) These things take a little time. But soon, it will feel normal.

As for understanding the art and the history, well, that's another story all together. I have so much to learn, but you have to know, that's what excites me!

I am trying to get back that control in my otherwise chaotic world. The "to do" list is long, but I see an end in sight. For one, my brakes are grinding. When I slide into a red light, my car emits these sounds that remind me of the construction workers on the side of the road drilling into the concrete. Yeah, that can't be good.

Or the BIG one - moving. Oh Lord Have Mercy - I've got to find a home. I have one of two choices: Buy something so fabulous, but remain a little strapped for cash. Or find a cute little fixer-upper and have a little more in my pocket each month. I just can't figure it out. I sort of put my home-hunt on hold for a bit, pending the events at work (literally - BIG festival) and the upkeep on my car. Just too many big ticket items are taking precedent.

Regardless of what lies ahead, I have all of my little ducks in a row, and it feels good.

What new things are causing you to pause and contain?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Making some changes

It's not easy to always do what is right. I am naturally inclined to take the easy way out, then something happens - not sure if it is Catholic guilt, or me trying to cleanse my karma - but I tend to stop, take a breather, and try to do the right thing.

Sometimes I find I stand alone in this area. When it comes to racism or any other kind of prejudice I am quick to put a stop to it. So much so that I am willing to lose friendships over it. When it comes to basic human rights- same scenario. I will shout from the mountaintops "That's wrong!" and hope that some one, some where will hear me. When it comes to basic civil liberties, I feel exactly the same. Free speech? I dare you to try to completely censor me. Freedom to acquire needed information and education? That's a definite.

But it's not always easy to get others on board with you.

I read a quote today by Leo Tolstoy, and it went something like this, "Everyone thinks of changing the World, but no one thinks of changing himself."

That's powerful stuff right there.

Do we think posting a few pictures on Facebook or Twitter is really going to cause action? Do we really believe a Letter to the Editor is making change come? Does protesting outside a government building cause our elected representatives to vote in favor of what their constituents want, versus what big business pay for?

I don't know. But I like that I have those options. In my own little way, I try to protest, educate and enlighten through social media outlets.

But in a real way, I can change how I do things, how I relate to others, how I vote on issues and how I spend my money and on what.

How do you make a difference in the world?

Monday, April 16, 2012

40th Birthdays & Blog Hops

What a week my friends! I survived my first official week at work AND I had a jam-packed weekend with friends. It was awesome!!

We can start with how much I LOVE the job. WOO HOO! It took a long time to find it, but now that I am there - not going anywhere for a loooooong time. Awesome!

As for friends, my oh my did we surprise our friend, Leslie, this weekend. She turned 40, and her strict instructions were that she just wanted  a quiet night at home. *snicker*

I will let the pictures tell the story!

Leslie is on the left, her bff Dawn is on the right. They just got back from a day trip, and Leslie had NO idea we were about to take her to a surprise party!
Lisa & I waiting outside

The girls standing around talking. Leslie could not figure out why we were all dressed up. LOL

Happy Birthday Leslie...

This is what 39  &40 look like. LOL
Savanna and I were the youngest ones there. LOL

We finally talk Leslie into changing clothes, and we "go to dinner." Bahahahhaa.. This is our friend Kaprial.

Lisa's dog

Sunday we drove 3 hours to Montgomery to drop off Lisa's daughter, then drove 1 1/2 to Bham then 3 1/2 back home.  This is Dexter, our companion riding along.

Finally, this is sort of an inside joke.

Over all, I had a great time- and I hope Leslie did also.

NOW... on to the Blog Hop:

Acting Balanced

And now for this weeks Questions:

1. Finish this sentence - I dream of....
PEACE. Seriously. I just want  a little peace of mind.

2. If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
Mashed Potatoes, Friend Chicken and Banana Pudding

3. What was your favorite toy as a child?
My barbie dolls
4. What color looks best on you?

You can click on the link above to join the hop!

Have a great Monday!


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