He passed me his phone with a world map pulled up next to an article. The article detailed that because of the extreme of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, most countries are not allowing citizens from America into its lands. While we were not planning a trip out of the country, this made me think about the preciousness of now, of gratitude, and how quickly moments become memories.
How often do we stop to enjoy the minutes in front of us, before rushing on to the next something?
Fun Fact: I take a lot of pictures on vacation, but I rarely post them to social media when they were taken. Sometimes, I may not post photos at all on that day.
I started this practice after realizing how much I was missing with my head down. My husband would say stuff like, “did you see that deer?” No. I didn’t. I was uploading photos to Facebook.
I kept taking lots of pictures and sharing them, but not before enjoying the moment in front of me first. It has made all the difference. I can still taste the sweetness of the oranges we picked from the orange trees in Spain and smell the delicate fragrance of the lemons we picked from the lemon trees. And I can still remember the moment my husband snapped this picture, capturing forever a time I am not sure will ever return.
I do not know if the world is going back to what we considered normal, and I am not sure when we will travel again. But, I know that I will keep taking pictures and capturing moments because today is here; living and waiting to be filled. This second. This minute. This single hour. This unprecedented time. This precious right now that will undoubtedly become history. How does it feel to live history? Will we remember? What will we make of these moments before they become memories? What will we do with all these precious hours in front of us before they are gone?
Me and Hubby had a wonderful time on our vacation. It’s been a long time since we’ve been out of the country, so it was refreshing to breathe another air. Canada is rich with Black history and many Black Canadians trace their ancestry to the so-called African American in America as the Underground Railroad brought tens of thousands of fugitive slaves to Canada. While many of these returned to the United States after emancipation, a significant population remained, largely in Southern Ontario, widely scattered in the country and the city, including Toronto.
The first recorded (recorded being the key word here…I am sure there were others, but this is the first record. The first known black person to live in Canada is said to have been a slave from Madagascar named Olivier Le Jeune) free Black person in Canada was a Black man named Mathieu de Costa. He was a free man who spoke several languages (among them French, Dutch, Portuguese and a mixture of French-Spanish dialect and First Nations languages) and is remembered as a skilled interpreter and the first man of African heritage to visit and live in Canada. He lived in Port Royal (Nova Scotia) for a short time, and a plaque to honor his life and time spent there has been placed on a monument at the Port-Royal National Historical Site. A school in Toronto, and a street in Montreal and Quebec City have been named after him. Because of his ability to speak several languages, it is said that he helped to bridge the gap between Europeans and Natives living along the Canadian Atlantic Coast to live peacefully.
As a group, black people arrived in Canada in several waves. We are planning a return trip this winter to explore Canada’s Black history that we did not have the time to explore this trip such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site and Buxton National Historic Site, in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. (It was about 3 hours from where we were so we didn’t have time to visit this round). If you remember, we touched on Josiah Henson in the truth about Uncle Tom post here. In 1842 former fugitive slave Josiah Henson established the Dawn Settlement, a center for education, training, and community planning. With financial backing from American abolitionists, Dawn became a diverse settlement featuring a school, brickyard, sawmill, farmland, and profitable lumber industry. “At its peak, about 500 people lived at the Dawn Settlement. Henson purchased 200 acres of land adjacent to the community, where his family lived.” (Ontario Heritage Trust) The Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site is an open-air museum and African American history center near Dresden, Ontario, Canada, that includes the home of Josiah Henson. While the development of administrative problems and the school closure in 1868 caused many Blacks to abandon the land (some going back to America when slavery ended and some spreading out throughout Toronto), Josiah and his wife Nancy lived on the land the rest of their lives.
Although we didn’t get to visit these sites, we visited Markham, Woodstock, Orville, and Toronto and got some much-needed rest. My goal for this trip was to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. On this trip I:
Got my locs retwisted before leaving (something I don’t usually do. I like my natural do, but this was about being different sooo)
Stayed with friends on seven acres of land in a big country house instead of a hotel.
Ate largely vegetarian (except for the curry chicken and shawarma. Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of sliced meat and vegetables wrapped in a cone-shaped bread and roasted. It is basically like one HUGE burrito. Also Jamaican Porridge is delicious. I’ll replace my oatmeal with it any day).
Showered in well water
Used Cinnamon, sweet milk and a touch of vanilla in my coffee instead of my usual French Vanilla Creamer
Drank no alcohol
Splurged on something cute without worrying over it (because I’m cheap). I just paid really fast before I changed my mind. In fact, before leaving the store I went into the dressing room and changed, wearing the pants and earrings home.
We had an amazing time but it sure does feels good to be back (nothing like being able to boo-boo in your own toilet and sleep in your own bed). Be sure to check out other fun facts on the Black History Fun Fact Friday page here.
It has been a while so I thought I’d take these few hours I have here to update you all. I have been and still am to an extent out of the loop. Life pretty much happened.
That said, pull up a chair! Which would you prefer? Coffee? Tea? Water? I also have Almond Milk. I’ll go grab the cups while you take a seat on the sofa.
*Walks into the Kitchen, grabs drinks. Walks back into the living room*
I’ll just sit this on the oversized coaster here. There you go. Comfortable? Good. Let’s begin.
If we were having coffee right now I’d admit it’s been a challenge getting back to this blog. I am in the midst of a big life transition (no worries, good things…we’ll talk about it later) and it’ll be a few weeks before I am settled in enough to get back to my regular schedule. I will, however, be checking in every now and again with some articles and throwback Jams. I am actually drafting an article now. I am doing lots of travel and am for the most part without internet most days so it’ll be a while before I can post it. In the article, I’d like to address the #TakeAKnee protests taking place, among other things, and the importance of staying focused. I am feeling that people are not paying attention.
If we were having coffee right now I would tell you that I am closing the Book Review Registry until I can catch up. I have not been doing much reading during my time away (as I wanted to) and still need to start on some books I committed to reviewing. No worries though. Book Reviews will return on this blog soon. I have a few books I’ve finished that I just have not had the time to sit down and write a review for. When I do, I’ll be scheduling those posts. Again, it may be rare until we are settled but I’ll be posting things every now and again.
If we were having coffee right now I would remind those of you who are authors and are interested in being interviewed on this blog in my Introduce Yourself Feature to emailme your questions. Though I am on and off with this blog at the moment I can still schedule interviews when I am near a connection if I see your questions in time. To learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature, click through to the original post HERE. The feature is free and the authors featured so far have seen positive results (some have even sold books!)
If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I am working to release a book this fall, time permitting. Keep Yourself Full is a thin book and won’t have a big launch. It is something I am putting out to keep you encouraged and charged. A combination of the most inspiring posts on this blog as well as some new words of encouragement built around the concept of Self-Love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our life and makes us fit to be of service to others. It helps to keep us grounded and to care about something greater than ourselves. The book is just about finished and I am hoping to set a date real soon.
In the meantime, you can read Keep Yourself Full free when you sign up to join my Advanced Review Team. CLICK HERE to join. I’ll be sending the team’s copy over to read in the near future. To learn more about this book, see a previous post HERE.
(*I am looking for serious readers only for the ARC Team. Anyone who proves inactive (offering me no feedback) will be removed from the list so please be sure you have the time to invest in this before you sign up. *)
If we were having coffee right now I would say that life pretty much slowed me down for September but that I hope to be back in the swing of things for October. I have not been doing much work outside of writing (we’ll talk about that more later as well…focusing on one task at a time and balancing family and work life to be more productive) and will be looking to catch up on some of your blog posts. I’ve been staying in the loop via social media but I haven’t been able to participate in much beyond my mobile device. That said, if you haven’t seen much of me know I am at most times without internet outside of my phone but that you’re in my thoughts.
So what’s going on people? It’s been awhile since we talked together so I thought we’d do that today. So…
OK, I’ll go first.
So my husband is doing well. His leg is strong and we’re getting back in the swing of things. Though I do hate he’d have to go back to work soon…boo. Oh, and I do have an exciting new update. I’ve been on baby duty lately. No, I’m not pregnant (yet lol) but I am baby sitting and I must say he’s the absolute cutest. So yea, he’s the culprit taking up my blogging time. You cutie you!
BJ has been waking me at 7am with sweet kisses and lots of love. I mean, just look at him. Who can resist that face?
Hmm, what else? I went to Houston recently so that was pretty cool. Got to spend some much needed family time and all that good stuff. I mean, I had to do some work too but I enjoyed seeing the fam while we were there. It’s been raining a lot lately too, which of course is inspiration to write more. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this blog know how much I love the rain by now. I love the calmness of the air and listening to the wind.
That’s it for me, for now. So, what’s up with you all? How is life?
Its cold, obviously, in Chicago. The irony is that this week has been like Chicago’s cold bitter wind and the warmth of the sun on my cheeks at the same time. Similar to how the sun is just strong enough to warm the ground but not the wind. Like the sharpness of a very dark chocolate. While the book release and trip to Atlanta has been sweet, the call that my mother has fallen ill has left my mouth with the bitter taste of a strong coffee with no cream and no sugar.
Truth is I just want to go somewhere and hide. The new book is exciting and the signing and presentation went very well. In addition, the play following was amazing. This thick, syrupy goodness I will hold on my tongue always.
Immediately following the play, I jumped on a plane to Chicago and have not been home since then. Instead, I’ve been back and forth to the hospital everyday while simultaneously promoting my new book and balancing other priorities. In addition, my husband is having surgery on his knees soon which means I’ll be leaving the Chi soon.
But you know me. The grind must go on. I hope to be fully engaged in this blog soon with my regular obsessive postings! Lol
I am still traveling but I wanted to give you an update while I have some down time. Would anyone like some coffee? Tea? Hot Chocolate? I’ll have a coffee with French Vanilla Cream, no sugar (the cream is sweet enough). And lets make that steaming hot. It’s cold out there!
Since we are having coffee right now, you should know that I am still waiting for more pictures to come back from the Book Signing but that it was a beautiful event.
First, I had a team of eight sisters who helped me to put it together and I am forever grateful for their generosity. Because of them I didn’t have to keep watch over the kitchen or escort people to their seats or take my attention away from the presentation. (*Team work always makes the dream work!*) My editor was also in attendance and we were both surprised with gifts from our supporters. Mine was a glass plaque with my company logo on it and some really encouraging words. I’ll upload a picture of it when I get home. It is absolutely stunning!
Order of Events
The library itself was excellent. Very spacious with a beautiful kitchen to store the food (the pic shown is before we covered it with all kinds of goodies. Still waiting on those pictures to come back). I began with a video of the Book Trailer and a PowerPoint presentation. I decided to do it this way to keep it fresh. The images and moving pictures helped capture and keep the audience attention as I rambled on about the details of the book. There was also a Q&A session.
Since we are having coffee right now, you should know that I had the privilege of meeting a man named Harry. Harry is an older man whose family were sharecroppers and he expressed exciting interest in The Stella Trilogy. For those who don’t already know, I am really passionate about having these kinds of conversations with the elderly or older men and women who have lived during these times. It is a wisdom I think that we should all cherish. My dad in law has given my husband and I very exciting stories of his boyhood and their experiences picking cotton and sharecropping as well. It is most exciting. I believe oral storytelling is a major stepping stone to the writing of books today. Before anything was written down, it was passed along orally.
Next, we offered food and snacks to the guest as I prepared for the signing and allowed everyone to mingle. This gave me the opportunity to go around and speak to some of the guest. I think this is very important for Book Signings. You want to try to avoid sitting at a table all day. Instead, I wanted to make it as engaging and family oriented as possible. I think its important that everyone feels special and part of the process. After all, these are people who invested in me. It’s only right that I invest my time and attention to them too.
Since we are having coffee right now, you should also know that I was in a Black History Stage Play the day after the event (Sat.) at The Riverside EpiCenter (Blakk Amerika: From Prophets to Pimps) and it was absolutely powerful. I was casted in 3 roles: Besty Mae, a plantation slave whose son was sold away from her. Sheila Jones, Besty’s great great granddaughter some years later, and I also had the privilege of closing the play with a poem.
I’ll have more updates soon. Before we get out of here, I do want to thank everyone for their support of this work so far both offline and across social media.
Good advice. I would add that for me even just knowing where my story will END helps me to find my way to the beginning. Usually, if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, then I can write the story.
The other day someone asked on kboards just what they ought to do if they knew where they wanted to END their story, but not where they wanted to START it from.
This is basically how I answered that question.
For me, a story is a little like a journey. It really helps if I know WHERE I want to start off from and WHERE I want to get to. It is kind of like that whole Google Quest map thing where in order to get directions you have to punch in BOTH locations to find out how to get from here to there, providing you don’t mind driving through that brand new school that was built last month and hasn’t made it’s way onto Google Quest yet.
So – if, as in your case, I just DON’T know where I am starting from – I’d probably just try and…