Sunday, December 18, 2011


Besides the library, the MAC store is my favorite place to spend my free time. Currently posting from one of their iPads. I set all of the iPad screens to my website ( so that anyone who looks at it sees me first...Lol Baby hacker...

Monday, August 1, 2011


The band had been introduced, and the final bow had been taken, yet even after Sade Adu & her 9-piece touring bunch had left the stage, the house lights in the FedEx Forum had not come up. As if that wasn't an obvious sign that the show wasn't over (imagine the lawsuits that could come from releasing thousands of patrons into the darkness), rows began to flock for the stairs & exit signs, apparently unaware of "encore etiquette". I felt for those who were about to miss out on the big finale due to their haste, because as a seasoned concert-goer, I knew what it was, so I waited with baited eardrums, like my life depended on it. After about 5 minutes of screams & cheers, she reappeared in a sleek red nightgown, as the music of Cherish the Day quickly filled the air. I was in sensory overload at this point, and was floored that I hadn't even missed that jam in the main line-up. It was the perfect ending, to the perfect show, as she stood on top of a skyscraper prop that rose about 10 feet from the floor, smoothly singing Memphis a midnight lullaby. She was so great o stage that I almost forgot the show started half an hour late. Once she opened with Soldier of Love, I was on the front lines (or at least on the front of my seat) for the duration.

That was pretty much how the whole show went, one surprise stage screen after another; one wardrobe change after another (thinking there were 5-7); one hit after another. What can I really say about Sade's performance other than it was a phenomenal show! I previously heard a few personal opinions from attendees in other cities about how remarkable her performance was, but it was truly something to be experienced. That's exactly what it was: The Sade Experience. The only thing that I would have requested if I had the chance would have been for her to play the guitar live. Other than that, I'm satisfied beyond measure.

And guess what? Someone loved you enough to upload the encore to youtube, so now you can share it with me! I literally screamed when I found this! HAHAHAHA! My kids came running to my aid thinking something was wrong. Not this time though, I was screaming because finding this means things are just TOO right!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


As I was reading Psalm 119:35 (directed from my Jesus Calling devotional), I started thinking about the "commands" of YHWH. I went on to read the whole 119th chapter, and I was reminded about how our obedience is centered around the laws, decrees and commands of GOD, which led me to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). I began to meditate on how keeping the Sabbath is such a tough law to keep in our society, but it was revealed to me that it is most important to keep as ones who call ourselves "holy", as the scripture says it is the day that the LORD blessed and made holy. Seems the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me a lot on this issue lately (see my last post), and again, the LORD has instructed me to share it with the masses.

Just as I would encourage you not to lie, steal or commit adultery, I'm encouraging you to pray about how valuing this commandment along with the others might further bless your life. Not only is it important, but lawful to "keep it Holy", meaning, refraining from work on that day and focusing only on rest and worship. It is evident how our GOD loves us tremendously to build us in a break (you know you need one), so we have to be sure we don't let the world take it from us, and that we especially don't take it from ourselves. If we continue to allow the world to dictate to us how we are to honor GOD, we will never receive all of the riches that have been promised to those who obey (Deuternomy 5:29; 6:17-19; 11:13-15). I do not want to be in the wilderness forever, I want to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. Don't you?

Beyond The Ten Commandments, the following scriptures are the root sources of the Sabbath law:
Exodus 31:12-18
Exodus 35:1-3

Here's a link to a kids magazine that I love to use to teach kids about the Sabbath. As believers, we are to be like little children (Matthew 18:3), so I believe that we too can benefit from this information - it's simple and concise, with lots of scriptures to help us understand that it's all throughout the "Good Book":


“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

“He said to them, ‘Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47)

Saturday, May 28, 2011


"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."-Exodus 20:8-11

Of all of the ten commandments, the passage on the sabbath is by far the longest and most detailed in explanation. So why is it the one that we revere the least?

Culturally, because of the way we structure our "work week", we casually recognize Monday as the first day of the week. Because we live in a capitalistic society, everything we do is centered around capital and earnings, as with how we structure our week. And even before the United States of America existed as the nation it is today, there was a historical shift which caused Saturday to become socially replaced as the sabbath. Around 200 A.D., Roman Catholics suggested that Sunday be kept to honor the resurrection. So until about 300 A.D., believers kept both Saturday sabbath and Sunday simultaneously. Because Sunday was also a day of sun worship among the pagan Romans (hence the name Sun Day), and was highly regarded throughout the city, Roman Christians began to favor the united front of worship on Sunday. By the 4th century, Sunday was the standard day for worship among Western believers, which eventually permeated the rituals of the traditional Eastern worshippers .

This information isn't hidden, it's quite obvious and readily available actually. Check your local library, or a variety or credible internet sources. Neither is it foreign to us that Sunday is the first day of the week. Look at any calendar and you'll notice that Sunday is the first day of the week listed. When we, as children (and even our children today) learned the days of the week in kindergarten it was even taught in song and rhyme with Sunday always as the first day. Here's a popular example:

Because our rest and worship is embedded in a state of sin in that we are being disobedient to the specific commands of YHWH, we are not benefitting from the power of the holy day. I'm not saying that the Most High does not show up in the midst of Sunday worship, for we know that the Word says, "where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:22)", but in gathering on the chosen holy day, we activate power and blessings that can be released only on that day. I know I want the full promise, don't you?

Many try to justify by saying that as long as they keep "a" sabbath, they believe that YHWH is pleased, so they keep a Sunday sabbath because that's what everyone else does, or they keep an "off-day" sabbath, meaning they consider the day they are off from work as their sabbath. But the YHWH wants me to remind you that your obedience is more valued than your sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Others say that because it was under the old testament law, then it is dead since Jesus came to fulfill the law. It's important to note that there was not just a single old testament law, rather three different types of laws: moral, ceremonial, and civil.

Yashua (Jesus) came to remove the ceremonial and sacrificial laws that brought about curses (often death) upon those who didn't honor them. He is the lamb sacrifice who shed blood that we might no longer perform those types of rituals. However, because he came to redeem us from the "curse of the law", does not excuse us from the moral portion of the law (Galatians 3:13). The Mosiac law given to show us a moral standard applies today, just as much as it did then, only we tend to negate the laws that have been culturally omitted. Because we are no longer under a particular law, does not mean we are without law. But above all, as believers have been sternly warned against allowing the world to dictate our behavior. Can you imagine how choosing to be obedient to this the same way we we are to killing, stealing and tithing might change the face of our nation and ultimately the Christian face of the world?

The LORD wants you to know the value in the sabbath for your own benefit. We treat it as a handicap and even sometimes a curse, but it's a gift to us so that we not only have a day where we share in focused relationship with the Creator, but a day for us to focus on our own health and wellness so that we don't become stressed, overwhelmed, and run-down with life. This does not mean that we cannot worship or rest on other days, but it must be in addition to what we were commanded. I rest and worship on Saturday, but also worship on Sunday. Sunday is my own personal sacrificial way of giving back to YHWH my first-fruits, since it is the first day of the week. But I had to come out from under the spell of the Sunday worship cultural standard and become obedient to the sabbath commandment before I could add that additionally.

We say we follow (Yahshua) Jesus, and there are numerous scriptures that identify him as having kept the sabbath holy. Yes, he was questioned by the Pharisees about his lack of strict regiment in that he did service work on the sabbath, but he kept it nonetheless. When we serve on the sabbath as opposed to working, we are within the boundaries that the Messiah set for us. It's only if we are not keeping the sabbath at all that we are being disobedient to both what the Lord modeled, as well as what YHWH commanded.

I don't want to come across preachy, because I am not a preacher, but the Most High ordered me to deliver this teaching word to you today, so out of obedience, I must oblige. Don't get mad; and if you don't agree, exercise the freewill to do what you believe is right for you. Above all, pray about the matter so that you may hear from YHWH directly.

I hate to fuss, so this doesn't make me happy to step on the toes of so many people that I truly love and respect. Fact is though, because I love you, I must tell you not what you want to hear, rather what you need to hear. Trust, this is a word for me just as much as for you.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011


For Mother's Day, I was granted the opportunity to do one of the only things I love almost as much as parenting, and that's being artistic. I was asked to perform, "A Negro Mother" by Langston Hughes and jumped at the chance. Even though I prefer to perform my own material, I can see where I am being humbled by reciting others' work, taking the emphasis off of me & teaching me to focus more on The Most High & how I'm being used for divine purpose. I am walking in my season & accepting all that comes my way, continuing to sharpen my tools for even greater works. For those of you who have asked for the lyrics to the poem, here goes:

The Negro Mother
by Langston Hughes

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face - dark as the night -
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave -
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety , no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth .
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me -
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast - the Negro mother.
I had only hope then , but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow -
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life -
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs -
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother.

Here's a summary as taken from
“The Negro Mother” is the title poem in the collection of poetry that Hughes wrote to reach the masses of black people. The twenty-page book and the poem were such an instant success that Hughes told his friend Carl Van Vechten that in Birmingham, Alabama, the book “sold like reefers on 131st Street.”

The voice in the poem is that of the black mothers through the ages. In the opening line, the narrator addresses her children. In the narrative that follows, “the Negro mother” depicts the capture and hardship of black slaves and speaks of the will to endure that kept them going. The voice of the Negro mother urges the children to transform the future so that they may live in dignity and freedom from white oppression.

The poem, often referred to as a heritage poem, is highly lyrical, employing both a regular rhyme scheme (couplets) and meter. It was Hughes's intention, he said, that the poems be pleasant to recite and easy to remember. “The Negro Mother” and the success of the volume show how keenly in tune Hughes was with his audience."

Thursday, April 21, 2011


As a single-parent, I have to admit that I'm kind of biased to literature that reflects my own life story. Even still, certain material can be inspiring whether reflective or one's lifestyle or not. A couple weekends ago, I sat down with a book that a friend insisted I read, and in less than 2 hours, I had practically inhaled it. Was I ever glad that she shared it with about inspiring...

Dear Grace, Letters to a Single Parent by Temiika D. Gipson, tells the story of a single mother's journey to Christ, written through a series of letters addressed to a woman named Grace. It is a quick read, not only because it's a mild 70 pages, but because the story is so engaging that it's a one-sitter. The author's testimony regarding the challenges she has faced as a wife, woman, daughter, and single-mother universally crosses color, class, and faith boundaries.

While written from a Christian perspective and heavily cloaked in religious verbage and theology, most single-mothers from any walk of life will be able to see themselves in this story from one perspective or another. The material shared in the 7 letters depicts a real, raw, and relevant account of the author's circumstances of the 10 year span covered. Just enough details about varying events are offered to paint a clear picture of each particular situation, while not so much as to distract you from the author's overarching theme of God having the power to bring us through any situation, and ultimately for our good.

Each chapter begins with a poem, and concludes with a set of questions designed to prompt more thought about one's own beliefs and values. As a book including poetry, autobiographical accounts and single-mother self-help book all in one, the author has marked little traveled territory genre-wise and sets new and unique standards in the world of self-publishing. In my opinion, that's exactly what self-publishing is all about.

The poem, chapter, and questions could have flowed together more smoothly in the layout, but the overall attempt at this content design style is one to be applauded. As for the testimony itself - empowering, inspirational and motivating! A few more details about specific situations would have painted a more concrete picture in a few of the letters, but that the book is written as letters and not a straight-ahead autobiography, makes this point moot.

For the single-parent looking for light at the end of the tunnel, this is a work that will serve as a reminder that everything happens for a reason and that "trouble don't last always". From a religious standpoint, it stands as a reminder that God will never leave or forsake you. Any way you slice it, the work stands to enhance your perspective on life as a single-parent. Kudos to the author for this valiant effort and courageous offering. Finding this book won't be a problem either, as it is widely available on
amazon (paperback & Kindle), as well as from other major book retailers.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Welcome from Gary from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.

For more on The 5 Love Languages check out THE WEBSITE...very comprehensive & tricked out with free downlaoadable resources for professionals, such a counselors, pastors, and marriage educators. As a Marriage and Family Therapy graduate student, I was tickled to find free goodies that I can incorporate into my actual counseling, like:

-an informative Podcast

- Assessments for the various love languages and appropriate relationships that allow you to learn your own love language

Now, don't just take my word for it...check out the DVD Promotional Video that allows you to hear about the gist of the book straight from the horses mouth

The 5 Love Languages™ DVD Promo (DPTV) from Dr. Gary Chapman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Written by renowned marriage and family therapy counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts offers an ideology that teaches 5 fundamental ways to express love in marriage and other significant relationships. The ideology stresses that people express their love for one another in various ways and that to identify them is to open the door to healthy communication. Taught from a Christian perspective and written primarily to help couples improve their marriages, the focus of the book is on loving more effectively, which can apply to any relationship. Chapman has discovered that we each have a primary love language, and often communicate our love to others from the perspective of how we prefer to be shown love. Loving from our own perspective contributes to dysfunction in the relationship because we are ignoring the love language of the spouse, or loved one, which is most likely different from our own. As a result of not loving one another according to the primary love language of each individual, our “love tank” runs empty, and this is what contributes to the discourse in our marriages and other close relationships.

Using a communication model, Chapman has termed the 5 love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. Words of affirmation concentrates on using words to affirm the other person, which will in turn increase their self- image and confidence. Receiving gifts is a universal act across all cultures that expresses to a person that they are valued and being thought about. Acts of service requires doing something considerate for a spouse or loved one that requires an investment of time and thought that will lead to that person feeling special. Quality time involves giving one’s spouse or loved one their undivided attention in order to show them how important they are to be with. Physical touch means giving physical attention, such as hugs and kisses, back rubs, massages, outside of sexual activity in order to awaken the love within one’s spouse or loved one. Often, an individual communicates using more than one of these love languages, however, Chapman resolves that there is always one dominate to the others.

According to Chapman, just as with spoken languages, each love language has a variety of dialects, meaning there are specific things that one can do that may speak to a spouse or family member more than another. Chapman believes that learning our spouses or family members love language will change the climate in the house and promote a more loving environment all around. Citing the divorce rates as 40% of first marriages ending in divorce; 65% of second; and 70% of third, Chapman makes a great case for why loving better might save more marriages.

Chapman’s ideology works from the assumption that all marital problems stem from a lack of speaking the effective love language, when in many cases there are more severe problems contributing to the marital breakdown. The model does not consider deeper issues like drug and/or alcohol problems or personality conditions that might prevent the spouse from being consistent with the love language behavior. That one’s love tank needs constant filling by our spouse reflects a more serious problem and Chapman’s ideology negates this core issue. There is a root “why” question that needs to be understood before one can effectively address the “how” question that will move a relationship in the area to be permanently healed in that area. A love deficit is typically indictive of a basic need not being met early in life. In order to change this within an individual needs more cognitive restructuring as to the individual core beliefs need to be addressed or the spouse is likely to run the risk of falling back on their old behavior.

Considering this is written from a Christian angle, my thinking is that Chapman would point out that only a relationship with Christ can truly fill our love tanks. While unconditional love from our spouse communicated in our primary love language will make our marriages more healthy, no one person can make us happier people - only we can accomplish that through our own submission to the joy from a life in Christ. Chapman points out that we spend a lot of time loving for ourselves when we should be loving for others, yet encourages a self-centered approach to giving love in order to get the love that we need.

From a self-help perspective, I think that Chapman does a great job showing the importance of recognizing that we do not all communicate the same in love and that we should be both conscious and considerate of that in our relationships. On the other hand, because family is the the core relationship in our world, I believe that in order to reverse the divorce rate, we need to investigate the deeper human issues that are affecting us individually before we can expect a simple model to revolutionize the way we love and communicate. All in all, it is a great read and a basic step that could help any couple or individual toward developing a healthier relationship.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Me gusto ensalada de taco!!! Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly, our family's favorite collective dish is Taco Salad. I've often thought that if I wasn't proud to be African then I'd gladly assimilate as a Black Mexican since I never tire of the ethnic dishes.

As a non-meat-eater, preparing food can be such an adventure, as we're always trying new things in order to keep our diet interesting. Sometimes though, we want what everyone else is having, so we find ways to modify the ingredients to fit our diet. We maintain a primarily holistic diet, which wouldn't traditionally include processed foods like soy crumbles, but we slip into the vegan, and even sometimes vegetarian range on occasion. So for all you soy replacement nay sayers, this recipe might be a turnoff, but to keep it similar you can use lentils or TVP (texturized vegetable protein) instead of meatless. We find it tastes just as good when we do so.


organic vegetarian refried beans
vegan meatless crumbles (Boca)
(1 1/2) onion - diced
(8 oz. or 4 large) mushrooms - sliced
(1/3) red pepper - sliced
(1/3) orange pepper - sliced
(1/3) yellow pepper - sliced
(1/3) green pepper - sliced
(1) tomato -diced
baby greens lettuce mix w/ spinach
organic salsa
pepper sauce (optional)
(1 tsp.) olive oil
organic tortilla chips

1. Prep vegetables.
2. Heat skillet w/ olive oil on medium high.
3. Saute onion, mushrooms, and all peppers until vegetables are limp.
4. Add meatless crumbles to the vegetables and turn down to medium until heated throughout.
5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
6. Heat refried beans in a separate skillet.
7. Place chips on baking sheet & warm in over for 5 minutes.
8. Build your taco salad the way you like it.

For today's lunch, we served it with fresh pineapple on the side & it was a wrap...not that kind of a wrap, it was still a taco salad, but what I'm saying is the pineapple made the dish complete.

Try might like it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Being a very unique person, it was only natural that eye would also be an extremely unique parent. It wasn't anything eye planned, just came about that way. If we think about it, we can all find things are are unique to us as both parents and individuals. For me, this uniqueness has spilled over into the family & I'm noticing that we have created some pretty original family rituals/habits. These are things that the children greatly appreciate as staples in their lives that eye imagine might be carried over into their own families one day. Here are a few of the things we have established:

*Happy Plate Song
Once a child has completelyeaten everything on their plate during a meal, we all sing to them. We clap our hands, and with every clap we chant:

[Name] has a happy plate
[Name] has a happy plate
Plate, plate, a happy plate
Good eater!

Works best for children under 6, but I sometimes pull it out on my older kids just for fun. My best friend made this up for her preschool children at the YMCA & we have been using it since my oldest was a baby.

*$1 per behavior compliments
Until my children turn 14, they will be be beneficiaries of a dollar reward each time they receive a behavior compliment from someone in public. If the whole group gets a compliment, everyone gets paid; if it's just one, that's who gets the cash. This incentive does wonders when we have long waits or we're at a place that's not so child friendly. Sometimes they get 2 or 3 compliments on one outing, and occasionally, the kind patron will give them the dollar out of their own pocket once I explain to them what they have helped the children accomplish.

*Time to Shine
Whenever we randomly look at a clock & notice that the time reflects the month/date of one of our birthdays, we all break out in beat & rap. One person will beatbox, another bangs on the wall, while all the rest point at the person being acknowledged & kicks our rap while they dance & get wild for their minute. You can make up your own rap, but here's ours:

It's [Name's] time to shine
It's [Name's] time to shine
Go [Name], Go [Name], Go [Name], Go [Name]

It's [Name's] time to shine
It's [Name's] time to shine
Go [Name], Go [Name], Go [Name], Go [Name]

Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya shine on

Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya shine on
Get ya shine over

*Meal Grace
We do a lot of praying over our food, so the same ole' kiddie prayers got old to me really fast. For the past few years, I have encouraged each of the children to contribute new words for race, so here are a couple of my favorites that are very simple & straight to the point:

Creator of all things good
We thank you for our food
Today we pray we are in a great mood

Adonai, El Shaddai & Elohim, too
Once again we would like to thank you
For this food we're about to receive
So let us enjoy this food & eat

Strive to create lasting memories with your children each day. As much as they appreciate new toys & fun outing, they will also enjoy doing things with you that are exclusive only to your family. Try might like it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


One of the most common concerns that parents of both public/private educated & home educated children present to me is a desire to see their children reading more. On a weekly basis, a parent explains to me the scenario of how they absolutely love to read, but cannot get their youth to read at all. In many instances, the parent interprets a child's unwillingness to read freely & passionately as a recipe for disaster later in life, which to a degree, is accurate. While reading regularly does promote better reading & understanding, the actual problem to be concerned about is the quality of their reading, otherwise known as reading skills.

Here are some startling statistics from the most recent U.S. Department of Education adult literacy survey:

-Nearly half of America's adults are poor readers, or "functionally illiterate." They can't carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job.

-50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.

-44 million adults in the U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.

-More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level - far below the level needed to earn a living wage.

Even these outdated numbers show enough for concern, as we know that our educational system has only worsened over the almost 20 years, since this recording. Encouraging our children to read more will ultimately be reflected in their testing scores & eventually their success, so to go back to the beginning in which I stated that this is our greatest concern, as parents. I have a degree in English, certified to teach reading & have helped dozens of children learn to read over the years - but more than that, I have been an avid reader since as early as I can remember & know the life-changing benefits of reading first-hand.

Allow me to suggest a few simple steps that just might help your child discover or embrace a hidden love for reading:

*Read to your child at bedtime.
There's no age too young for a child to listen to a book. Kids of all ages love to cuddle with their parents, so make reading an excuse to share love & quality time. Frankly, I started reading to my babies in the womb (not sure if they were actually listening or not). This is as simple as you reading aloud, whatever you are reading. The key here is to get the child used to your voice, but it's a great reason to introduce reading to your growing fetus.

*Take children to the library frequently.

The Public Library is the single greatest free resource in the United States. Absolutely invaluable! Most are open 6-7 days of the week, operate on extended hours, accompany all ages, and have free activities weekly. This is a great place to introduce a child to both books & storytime, as well as to other people who love to read. Also, don't be so stringent at first on what they read. If it's comic books or magazines they prefer, encourage it. If it's a certain type of book (like for a while my son would only read books on animals), then that's okay. So long as the material is age appropriate, I say focus more on the fact THAT they are reading rather than WHAT they are reading. Once you get them hooked, then you can tailor their content & even throw in some of the classics.

*Suggest the child take a book to the bathroom when they're going to be there for a while.
Believe it or not, one of my children thanked me a few days ago for encouraging reading during bathroom "sit-downs". At some point or another, all of the kids have laughed at me for recommending that, but she told me that she believes that it fostered her love for reading. Who knew? It's backfired on me though because now when someone wants to get out of a chore they grab a book & excuse themselves to "go to the bathroom."

*Buy books as treats & gifts.
Instead of buying them candy or a cheap toy that's going to break before you evenget it home, get them a book instead. At any Dollar Store you can grab one for little or nothing; even at a full priced store, you can find a children's book for under $5. We have more books in our house than any other single item because that's all I have ever bought them. With 5 children, we have only one toy box, yet more than a dozen book shelves, baskets, bins, & such. There's not a room the kids can enter & not find an age-appropriate book.

*Schedule a quiet time for the whole family to read together.
You, the parent, are the biggest influence on your child. Children under the age of 12 tend to imitate their parents behavior - good & bad - more than any other person in their life. That said, what better way to get them to read then to make it an activity that everyone does together. Try it maybe one night a week at first...turn off the television & everyone cuddle up together on your bed or in the den, or wherever space permits. Set a time limit, maybe 30 minutes, & do nothing but read. No talking or playing, just reading. In my house, we have Power Hour every day for an hour. During that time, we all read (the younger kids take a nap after 30 minutes). Even if the child is not reading independently yet, he/she can look through a stack of books solely entertaining themselves by looking at pictures, with you reading to them for perhaps 10 minutes of the time.

If you enforce one, two, or all of these techniques, I assure you will see a difference in your child's attitude toward reading, over time. And then there's this one little monkeywrench in the whole system, some people just do not like to read. Period, point blank. But I assure you that this is the exception to the rule, & that you will find that most children say they don't like to read simply because they haven't learned the value of doing it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


On Facebook, I posted about a devotion in God's Calling titled "Surprises". One of the passages from it reads, "As you love to plan surprises for those who understand, and joy in them, so with me. Eye love to plan them for those who see my Love and tender joy in them." Last night at church I received one of those surprises.

Someone blessing me with an anonymous gift, led me to think about how you never know know who's watching and understands your situation. It also exemplifies how GOD will use those you least expect to bless you. If the value of your life is determined by the quality of your living, then the value of your service is measured by your giving. Eye pray that my children learn this early & amass tremendous spiritual wealth from GOD pouring out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. The same eye pray for you...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


For the first time in our 11-year homeschool history, the children & I attended a convention - Midsouth Homeschool Convention- centered around the way that we educate. More than anything, being around others who share our same learning ideals felt comforting & natural, in a way that we don't feel on the everyday. Generally, homeschoolers are regarded as weird or cultish, so being surrounded by thousands of homeschooling families was a chance for us to be "normal" for a change.

One thing I learned that would be of value to any parent with a high school student is that the PSAT (Preliminary Standard Academic Test) opens the doors to scholarships, unlike the ACT and SAT, which colleges use primarily for admission purposes. According to Jean Burke of College Prep Genius, if taken during the 11th grade year & well-scored, a student will have so many scholarship offers that they will be turning them down (she said she threw away 7 bags worth of offers for her son). I hope that someone reading will take this information and run with it, that a young person in your life might benefit.

Actually, I took quite a few great classes, such as:

*Challenging Children Through the Study of Real World Algebra
*Building a Homeschool Transcript
*Secrets of the PSAT and Getting Free College
*Parental Rights Amendment: Is It Necessary? Is It Dangerous? (Understanding the Constitution)
*Microbusiness for Teens
*Writing from Home

Younger children were unfortunately left out of the planning for the scheduled activities, but the young adults were able to take advantage of the WorldView Teen trac where my teen took classes, such as:

*Young Lady
*Preparing Young Ladies for their Teen-Age Years
*Dreams, Desires, Decisions
*Biological Organisms and Structures That Evolutionists Won't Show You (Dr. Jay Wile)
*Come and Listen, If You Dare! Etiquette for Teens
*What to Do With the Rest of Your Life: Clear Thinking on Calling and God's Will

The convention rounded out the knowledge with a little entertainment, as well, where popular comedian & homeschool parent, Tim Hawkins had the attendees rolling in the aisles. Here's one of his homeschool skits:

During my interview with the journalist from the Commercial Appeal, I explained that homeschoolers have as many social outlets through our various associations, as children in the public school system. From athletics, to honor socieites, to dances, proms and graduations - our children lack very little in outlets in comparison to the traditional student.

As journalists have been known to do, she took liberties with some of my comments & especially in reference to my disappointment about the lack of diversity. She quoted me as saying I was displeased with the lack of diversity in regards to African-America history, when in actuality I stated that I was most disappointed about the lack of American-African representation all together - from vendors to lecturers to curriculum. While impressed by the breadth of resources and information, I was terribly disturbed at the lack of cultural & ethnic diversity. There was an array of alternative-Christian lifestyle options (i.e. vegetarianism, Amish, holistic health, etc.) represented, but nothing specific to the minority.

However, there was a single class offered, by Ken Ham, based on his book One Race One Blood that touted what we Pan-Afrikanists have known for decades, which is that all humanity comes from Africa & African people. I hate I missed his lecture, but I guess if there was going to be any African-related content, then it's great that it was very fundamental information that needs to be understood by all people before we can truly begin to turn things around in this country educationally, historically, and racially.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Parents, kids attend Christian-focused MidSouth Home-school Convention
More than 3,000 at 3-day event

By Linda A. Moore

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More than 3,000 parents and children came for knowledge, supplies and support at the three-day MidSouth Homeschool Convention, which ended Saturday at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Christian-focused event included a broad range of workshops on academic subjects, etiquette for teens, sibling dynamics and college preparation. Speakers included family psychologist, author and newspaper columnist John Rosemond, whose column appears in The Commercial Appeal.

In the convention's exhibit hall more than 250 vendors offered religious materials, books, and curriculums in mathematics, social studies, music, art, languages, history and science.

"What is out there and available for home-schoolers, it's so overwhelming," said Mary Jo Dean, who with her husband, Brennan Dean, head Great Homeschool Conventions Inc. "You have to pick and choose what you want to do."

Academically, home-schoolers tend to excel, she said.

"Colleges now are seeking home-schooled children because of how they test," Dean said. "We are preparing our children for college."

The biggest misconception about home-schooling is that the children aren't well socialized, Dean said. There are sports, debate teams and in some cases special co-op classes with other home-schoolers, she said.

And for Kana Farrell, 13, being home-schooled has not resulted in mom overload.

"I think it's more of a bonding relationship. Most families don't have that. The kids are gone all day and when they come home they're alone and they don't have that time to spend with their families," said Kana of East Memphis.

Her mother, Oriana Lee, is on the board of Ebony Homeschoolers and the Memphis Homeschool Education Association and has been home-schooling her five children for 11 years.

"I home-school mainly because I felt the school system is not really serving our children well," Lee said.

Her only complaint with the convention was what she felt was a lack of diversity among the vendors, particularly with regards to African-American history.

"Fifteen percent of the more than 2 million home-schoolers are African-American. You would think there'd be a little bit more representation, especially in Memphis," Lee said.

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