Friday, February 28

5 Leadership Lessons from My Mother’s Death: Empowering Followers to Succeed with Dr. Daryl Green

5 Leadership Lessons from My Mother’s Death: Empowering Followers to Succeed with Dr. Daryl Green at NULEADERSHIP

“Our 82-year-old mother was gone. It was a startling surprise to her three adult children. We each have a special relationship with her; we simply called her ‘Mama!’ Now, we were challenged with the tasks of planning our mother’s funeral services. We had never worked together entirely on any single project. Mama was always the senior project manager giving  instruction to us as children: Gail – fix your sister’s hair, Daryl – go find your father, Lottie – practice your piano, and Mary – allow your sister to do your hair. Yet, at this moment, no commands were being given by Mama. We were solo pilots now. 

Mama anticipated there were going to be disagreements, as we started a debate about one of the sticking points of our mother’s funeral arrangements at Lester’s home. Lester went into the back room and gave us a hand-written letter from Mama dated a few days before her death.  We were stunned. The letter carefully addressed our disagreement. Since it was clear what Mama’s expectations were on this matter, we stopped the argument and started implementing our mother’s wishes. She had managed to lead us through this problem. Mama had given us another leadership lesson.”

In today’s hectic environment, many executives and business professionals are so overwhelmed by demanding shareholders, boards, and customers that they forget about the lessons from everyday life. In December, I lost my mother – Annette Green Elias. Although it was painful to see her leave Planet Earth, I was encouraged when I reflected on my mother’s legacy and what she and my father had taught us. 

My mother was a good example of how to model the behavior you desire in your family. This quality is also true for organizations. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, outline the critical nature of leadership modeling: “When it comes to deciding whether a leader is believable, people first listen to the words; then they watch the actions. They listen to the talk and watch the walk. 

Then, they measure the congruence… Actions, then, are the evidence of a leader’s commitment.” If you are going to be an effective leader, you must model the way. Followers will not respect just lip service. Our mother was a good example of leading us to her vision. This article examines five leadership lessons learned from my mother’s death.

Leadership is a quality that doesn’t change over time or through generations. There are many definitions of leadership. However, one simple definition of leadership is: “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.” My mother was part of ‘The Greatest Generation’ – those individuals who were born from 1910 to 1945. Individuals born during this time suffered through the Great Depression and World War II. There aren’t many of these people left. Over 1,000 war veterans are passing away per day. Like my mother, these individuals born at that time can be described by the following characteristics: dedicated, hardworking, loyal, close to family, love of God. 

Within this generation, there were distinct roles. The father was the provider and protector of the family. From my father, I learned the importance of hard work and keeping your word. The mother was the nourisher and caregiver of the family. Since my mother had to work to ‘make ends meet’ financially, I learned how to empathize and give to the needs of others. My mother always stated, “I know all my kids and what they are capable of doing.” With that said, my mother saw something else in me that led her to give me tasks that would further develop me as a leader. She was a Proverb 31 woman who garnishes respect in the community. 

Dr. Peter Northouse, the author of Leadership, notes, “From this perspective, leadership emergence is the degree to which a person fits with the identity of the group as a whole or they become most like the group prototype. Being similar to the prototype makes leaders attractive to the group and gives them influence with this group. If you are a leader and your followers are not engaged, what are you really doing as a leader? Leadership matters!

During the funeral arrangement process with my siblings, Lottie and Mary, I reflected on how my mother had shaped us as children to become responsible adults today. Mother definitely helped shape me as a leader. As we come to the close of another year, there are some invaluable leadership lessons discovered during my mother’s passing:

HAVE A FAITH – In 2018, our mother had a brain aneurysm, fell, and broke her pelvis. Lying in the hospital, our mother was depressed, anxious, and in despair. Doctors thought she might never walk, but she did. At 82 years old, she was working, driving, and traveling in 2019. Leaders will eventually run across situations where they are powerless and hopeless. A strong faith will sustain a leader.  

KNOW YOUR FOLLOWERS – My mother routinely told us: “I know all my kids and what they are capable of doing.” She recognized that each of her children were different. While one child might need encouragement, another child might need tough love to help them navigate. Likewise, leaders need to understand their employees in order to get the best out of them.

BUILD AN ORGANIZATION THAT THIRST FOR LEARNING – Learning was part of the family dynamics and an unwritten expectation. My mother went back to college in her late 60s to encourage her grandchildren to seek higher learning beyond high school. She instilled a need for learning. Effective organizations need to create this desire.

STAND UP FOR YOURSELF – When we were growing up, our mother told us this before going to school: “If someone HIT you, you…. HIT THEM BACK.” OK! This mandate got us into trouble… sometimes. Yet, what my mother taught us was more than picking a fist fight. You must stand up to the principles that you believe. In the business world, there are times when a leader must stand by himself or herself.

HAVE YOUR OWN PLAN  – Because of the problems that families were having after the death of a loved one, we tried to convince our mother to have a will so that everyone would understand her wishes. Our mother would not listen. She said, “I have raised you all the right way; you should be able to figure it out.” She never did write that Will. But—Mama had her own plan. She left her instructions in a manila envelope addressed to her children. She had left her children with no debt, had a prepaid funeral arrangement, written her funeral program, and left us a letter describing her wishes. We, the children, were all shocked. Mother had managed to implement her own plan. Likewise, leaders need to have a plan. Yet, the plan does not have to be like other leaders. Create a unique plan for your situation.

In closing, good life lessons are invaluable to leadership development. Perhaps, you are also lamenting the loss of your mother or a loved one this year. My mother is gone now, but she left a legacy of meaningful leadership lessons. She had a clear vision of leadership. To mother, leader’s vision was an action word. 

Dr. Jimmy Atkins, the author of Leading Strategic Community Change, suggests the power of vision: “The vision must go beyond lofty dreams and be put into action… Leaders must bring the vision to life by rolling up their sleeves and participating with everyone else.” My mother breathed the leadership qualities into me. This article demonstrated that there are leadership lessons that today’s organizations can learn from others especially mothers. Both leaders and followers can use this time of reflection to seek to learn from what you learned from your mother. 

Let’s pray that it is not too late.

About Dr. Daryl Green
Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired as a senior engineer and program manager with the Department of Energy after a successful career. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit

Sunday, February 23

How Does Mindfulness Play a Part in Bettering Your Life and Business

Meet Skywalker Payne, Storyteller, Tibetan Buddhist Practitioner, Registered Nurse and author of All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude - A Quest for Wholeness

Topic: How Does Mindfulness Play a Part in Bettering Your Life and Business.  Listen to the awesome session:

The process begins by forgiving ourselves: our mistakes, feelings, and habits. From this perspective, everything is equally forgivable, whether it’s our laziness, self-hatred, impatience, large thighs, or tendency to overeat. Just the willingness to be mindful of what is calling for forgiveness is a radical step. It can be very helpful to make a list of the things you find hardest to forgive yourself for and to use the list in the following exercise.

Observing your experience: your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions.

Being able to describe that experience.

Acting with awareness—deliberately and thoughtfully, rather than on autopilot.

Being nonjudgmental of your experience.

Being nonreactive to your experience, able to withhold immediate reactions (like lashing out).

With diligent practice, we begin to realize that forgiveness is a unique form of nourishment, a way of providing ourselves and others a spaciousness around our conflicts and difficulties. We no longer feel as alone, stuck, or doomed to fail. The resulting peace of mind provides an inner fullness that no amount of food can ever offer.

About Skywalker Payne
Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Skywalker unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Using a conversational style, she shares scientific studies, spiritual insights, personal stories, and poetry to reveal how these practices can enrich your life.

A Creative Non-Fiction book by Skywalker Payne

Now is the Only Time to Begin Your Mindfulness Practice

Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Skywalker Payne unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Using a conversational style, she shares scientific studies, spiritual insights, personal stories, and poetry to reveal how these practices can enrich your life.

You not only share one woman’s journey, but also learn techniques and approaches to integrate mindfulness and gratitude into your daily life.

* You can end overwhelm.
* You can live a fulfilling life of health and vitality.
* You can be aware and appreciative of every precious moment.

A profound book that sets the reader thinking about big subjects, all within the context of mindfulness. Skywalker introduces the idea of how mindfulness could transform more than just individual’s lives, but also how we as a society govern ourselves. She includes her own process through a mindfulness course, demonstrating commitment and insights that are useful for anyone considering learning about mindfulness. A thought-provoking and inspiring read.
– Jane Duncan Rogers, Author of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

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Monday, February 10

Women In Introspection As Seen In Black American Writing by Hiltrud Eve

Women In Introspection As Seen
In Black American Writing

by guest writer Hiltrud Eve

In past literature portraits of women were reflected only as a man’s view of what women should be.  What women had actually felt and experienced had not been heard of in literature. Traditionally in most fiction, men were the central characters and women just played a background figure.

When male writers depict female characters, they often write from a fiercely male perspective. Women were seen primarily in relation to male protagonist who occupied the works. Generally African American male writers were in the depictions of the above stated observation.

Women of African origin in the United States were keenly aware of the impact of race, class gender and oppression upon their lives. Since slavery they had struggled individually and in groups to eradicate the multiple injustices which their communities face. The history of black women in United States began with the forced migration of millions of African women from the interiors of the west coast of Africa. They were transported as human cargo across the Atlantic Ocean to plantations in the West Indies. The enslaved Africans were then sold to European colonies.

Black women faced misery and suffering in redefining themselves. The enslaved black women were not given proper medical care, because blacks were assumed to be less fragile; who gave birth easily and therefore needed less care than white women. The women were made to work as lumberjacks and turpentine producers in the forests of Georgia and Carolina. They hauled logs by leather straps attached to their shoulders. They plowed using mules or oxen and sometimes worked with heaviest implements available.

Black men under slavery were equally powerless, so the women could not depend upon them for protection, but at time even they poured out their frustration on the black women. Therefore the black women had to protect themselves against the white men. Some were bold enough to rebel and fight against their masters; some even murdered them while they managed to escape. By the end of nineteenth century numerous clubs and organizations came to support women suffrage and gave priority to social and political issues that affected the black community as well as black women specifically. The National Association of Colored Women formed in 1896 brought together more than one hundred black women’s club.

Many movements like the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1965), started by Martin Luther King came up to rebel against racism presented by the Black Panthers.  Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and others came face to face with black liberation. The Black feminist movement grew out of and in response to the Black Liberation Movement and Women’s Movement in an effort to meet the needs of black women who felt they were being racially oppressed in women’s movement and sexually oppressed in the black liberation movement.

Segregation breeds hostility and fear, superiority and inferiority.  In the 1930s and 1940s, African-Americans is the southern states of the USA were treated with contempt by the majority of white people. There was segregation. Black people were not allowed to have good school, good jobs, good housing or medical treatment. They were kept poor and ignorant. They had to treat white people with respect and show great humility. They were employed by whites, but were paid very little.

Black children feared whites, and in fact, as in the case of the author, did not think of them as being human. At that time in America, women had a lower place in society that man, both for whites and Blacks.  During the times of slavery, the order of importance in American Society was clearly mapped out. First the white males, next white women, then black males, and finally black women.  So being a black woman was thought to be as low in society as one could be.  They were servants to whites and servants to men. However, things were different in the north. Blacks had a much easier time than those in the south.  Black women in general would suffer the same harsh and unbearable treatment from black men, as they would white, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual assault were all a part of the everyday lives of African American women during the age of slavery.

Literature and the Black Womanist/Feminist Movement
Many writers defined the Black Feminist Movement, but the most notable is Alice Walker, defining black feminist movement as “Womanism”.  Alice Walker, one of the leading voices amongst black American women writers, has produced an acclaimed body of work including: poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and political themed criticisms. Her writings portrays the struggle of black people throughout history. She is praised for her insightful and riveting portraits of black culture, in particular the experiences of women in a often times sexist and racist society.

Alice Walker in her acclaimed womanist prose In Search Of Our Mother’s Garden  defines “Womanist”  as  “a black feminist or feminist of color. ”   Three main writers heralded the rise of a new black women’s creative activism.  Michelle Wallace’s controversial Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1978).  Ntozake Shanges’s explosive play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (1975) and Alice Walker’s powerful and provocative novel The Color Purple (1982).

Black feminist groups had to overcome three mammoth challenges that no other feminist group had to face.  The first  and most important challenge was to “convince other black women that feminism was their power to claim. Feminism was not just for other races of women.”   2) They also had to demand that women of other races “join this fight, this movement, with them and embrace diversity” and   3) “face the equally misogynist and gender bias attitude of Black Nationalists.”  Alice Walker and other womanists pointed out that black women experienced a different and more intense kind of oppression from that of white women. 

“ Black Women” says Alice Walker  “are of America’s greatest heroes… Not enough credit has been given to the black women who have been oppressed beyond recognition.”  A good majority of Walker’s novels, short stories, essays, and poems focus on issues of civil rights, emphasizing especially the plight of black women, who suffer the dual oppression of racism and sexism.

Black feminists contend that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people,  of all races, classes and religions  since it would bring about the end of racism, sexism, and class oppression.  The black feminist writers through their works aimed at demolishing the negative portrayal of black people by white writers and society. They presented their people as complete, whole and independent and not as the downtrodden people who were suppressed for hundreds of years. Though black feminist writers wrote of a particular race, yet they had a universal appeal because the oppression of women exists in all communities, male-female relationships, emotions, feelings were same for all human beings.

Legendary Feminist Writers:  Toni Morrison, Maya Angleou, Jamaica Kincaid and Rita Dove were also noted feminist writers who talked about the sufferings of   black American women in their writings.   Other important Black feminist authors include:  Kimberle Crenshaw, Sapphire, Jewelle Gomez, Ann Allen Shockley,  Bell Hooks, June Jordan, Patricia Hill Collins, Audre Lorde,  Becky Birtha, Donna Allegra, and Cheryl Clarke.

The legendary Toni Morrison's writing created a sound impact of the representation of Black women in literature.  Toni Morrison’s novels  revolved round the theme of isolation and identity, tales of the disposed and disillusioned black voice.  Toni Morrison’s novels revealed  a black woman’s life centered around a love for children, for parents, and bereft always of an autonomous self.  Toni Morrison’s novels stressed the need for self-discovery and self- identity leading to self- actualization. 

Zora Neal Hurston was serious cataloger of African American folk stories, dialect and religious practices. Hurston wrote four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays.  She is a legend in the literary world. Several of Hurston's literary contemporaries criticized Hurston's use of dialect as a representation of African American lore. The credit of Hurston’s rise to current literary greatness goes to Alice Walker.  An article, "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston", written by Alice Walker for the March 1975 issue of Ms. Magazine renewed interest in Hurston's work.

In her works, Walker found African American people were presented as complete and complex individual undiminished by the negative stereotypes of the characterizations depicted by the society. Hurston was rejected by society for picturing African American people as whole and complete in themselves instead of downtrodden, oppressed people. Many contemporary writers today strive to bring the same solid sense of unity, peace, purpose and freedom to Black people world wide. Who are your favorite modern day feminist writers?

Author: Hiltrud Eve, COMPLETED M.A., Mphil. and have six years writing experience.

Sunday, February 9

Fight the Good Fight by Shelia E. Bell


As I thought about the two main things we focus on during this time of year- Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence, I trembled. They are two horrific events that can transform the lives of women, men, spouses, children and families.

Breast cancer attacks the human body of mostly women.  It has specific purposes which include an aim to take us out, to put us down, to make us feel ashamed, to wreak havoc in our bodies until we give up and give in. It causes our immune system to weaken and sometimes it saps our strength and frightens us like nothing else ever has done before. It forces itself upon us; it doesn’t ask permission to enter and take up residence inside of our breasts. It even has the audacity to move outside of our breasts and into our lymph nodes with a vengeance. It is cruel and it even disfigures many of us. Oh my! What a wretched attack. African-Americans are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in the U.S.  (Daniel J. DeNoon, WebMD Health News).

There is not an actually known cause for breast cancer but studies show that it happens mostly in women over age 50. There is also a greater risk of a woman developing breast cancer in a family where a sister, mother, daughter has battled breast cancer. Breast cancer can also occur in men.

 There are also studies that reveal breast cancer is higher in women who drink alcohol regularly, obesity, and diets high in fat. I learned these contributing causes after my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago.  Since then, I have had an aunt and two first cousins to succumb to breast cancer, four cousins are still battling breast cancer as I write this. It is a serious disease. It is time for more people to stand up, speak out, take care of their bodies, and take out this dreadful, sometimes deadly disease. To those who are breast cancer survivors, I commend you for your courage. To those who have died because of breast cancer, I commend you for fighting the good fight.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.   1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

The next horrific event that we bring awareness to is domestic violence. 
Wikipedia defines it as follows, “Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation  (

Being a domestic violence survivor, it is one of the most debilitating, the most inhumane offenses that exist. It can destroy a person’s self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.  Domestic abuse can ruin the futures of all that it touches. I am one that is a survivor, one that can testify to its terrible, lifelong effects. There are others who did not get that chance because domestic violence can also kill.

Domestic violence continues to rise. It does not care where it strikes or whom it strikes. It occurs to women and men, children and infants. It can be found in the homes of the richest and those who are poverty stricken. It has no racial barriers and therefore Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Native Americans and all races are privy to its vial and vicious attacks. It murders and maims. It destroys families and scars children for life. Like breast cancer, domestic violence has one main objective: to destroy.   He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:14 (NIV)

Shelia E. Bell discusses Becoming a Visionary
Listen to her Crown Holders message:

About the Author
Shelia E. Bell is an award-winning, national bestselling author with 30+ books published in faith-based fiction, women’s fiction, young adult genres, and nonfiction. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades.  

Shelia began her publishing career in 1999. Since then, she has set the literary industry ablaze with her dynamic, true to life stories that she calls "perfect stories about imperfect people like you...and me."

Shelia is passionate about helping others and encourages and promotes people to ‘live their dreams now.’ In 2012, she founded a non profit organization Black Writers And Book Clubs (BWABC) Literacy Association with a mission to promote literacy one community at a time. Shelia is also a well-respected freelance book editor.

As an inspirational speaker, Shelia has traveled near and far sharing her messages of how to overcome the adversities of life. Having had polio since the age of two, she accepts no excuses and is determined not to let her physical imperfections keep her from her life’s purposes.

Twitter Link:

Your Day Is Coming by Shelia E. Bell

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. This is taken from a well known passage of scripture, Ecclesiastes 3:1 King James Version to be exact. I have found this verse to be true with each moment that passes in my life. There was a time when I felt like I would never reach the pinnacle of success that I have achieved in my literary career. There were times I would cry and ask God, “When is my time?” I have learned through living that there is a time for everything, even when it comes to the ordinary things of life. Even when it comes to my writing, there is a time for everything. 

I often dream of doing great and marvelous works. I have a desire to help others achieve their dreams and provide the resources they need to help them accomplish greatness. I believe that my time has arrived. It is my season to see the desires of my heart come into fruition. Not only has God blessed me to be a writer, but he has blessed me to be an award winning author of Christian fiction books. The desires of my heart are constantly being met, but not in my time. They are being met because it is my season. My season is now. I see doors opening and I see pathways being stretched before me. I am closer than I think. 

If you are an aspiring author, I encourage you to remain full of hope. I encourage you to keep moving in the direction of your dreams. I encourage you to learn and study the craft of writing. Read what you want to write. If you desire to write fiction, read fiction. If you desire to write nonfiction, read nonfiction. If you desire to speak, listen to successful speakers. Learn your craft. Many of us ask for certain things to come forth in our lives, but we don’t want to do the work that is required to bring dreams into the state of reality. 

Your desires, your dreams, your life’s goals, your hopes, are achievable if you first of all: Believe. Believe that what you desire is possible. Believe that your day is coming. Believe that you are closer than you think. 

Next: Work. Work toward achieving your dream. Research, learn, study and do not give up. Work hard at what you want. Work hard for what you want. Network with others who are willing to share information with you. Work on your dream as often as possible. Work on being the best that you can be. Work. Work. Work.

Have Passion: Passion is what will drive you to never give up. Passion will push you toward seeing your dreams and the desires of your heart come to pass. Passion will ignite the fire within you to move in the direction that leads you on the road to success. Without passion, your dreams, your desires and goals will die. Keep Passion in your life, even when you don’t see anything happening. 

Applaud. Applaud others for their accomplishments. Do not be envious or jealous of those who are already at the place you’re trying to reach. Applaud them because that means you have a chance to make it too. When I see someone else who has ‘made it’ then I know that God will do the same for me. If I am jealous and angry, mad or envious over the success of others, then I null the chances of my success. Always seek good for others and good will return to you.

Your desires may not come when you want them to, and that’s all right. They may not come when you expect them to. So what? All you have to do is believe that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Believe, work, have passion and applaud others because your day is coming. As a matter of fact: "You're closer than you think."

Shelia E. Bell discusses Becoming a Visionary
Listen to her Crown Holders message:

About the Author
Shelia E. Bell is an award-winning, national bestselling author with 30+ books published in faith-based fiction, women’s fiction, young adult genres, and nonfiction. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades.  

Shelia began her publishing career in 1999. Since then, she has set the literary industry ablaze with her dynamic, true to life stories that she calls "perfect stories about imperfect people like you...and me."

Shelia is passionate about helping others and encourages and promotes people to ‘live their dreams now.’ In 2012, she founded a non profit organization Black Writers And Book Clubs (BWABC) Literacy Association with a mission to promote literacy one community at a time. Shelia is also a well-respected freelance book editor.?

As an inspirational speaker, Shelia has traveled near and far sharing her messages of how to overcome the adversities of life. Having had polio since the age of two, she accepts no excuses and is determined not to let her physical imperfections keep her from her life’s purposes.

Twitter Link:


Saturday, February 1

Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

Stand Your Ground: A Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
Listen to the author reading from the book:  

From the #1 Essence bestselling and award-winning author Victoria Christopher Murray comes Stand Your Ground, a new novel about two women who are faced with the same tragedy.

A black teenage boy is dead. A white man shot him. Was he standing his ground or was it murder?

Janice Johnson is living every black mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the D.A. and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protestors who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so that justice can be done?


"Murray has written a tension-packed novel around the hot-buzz national topic of an unarmed black youth shot by a white male, an act then subjected to the Stand Your Ground rule as a legal defense tactic. . . . Murray’s writing admirably shows the often overlooked human emotions following racial violence. . . . The pulled-from-the headlines storyline will captivate readers." (Library Journal (starred review))

“Murray, winner of several African American Literary Awards for fiction, powerfully captures the nuances and tragedies engendered by stand-your-ground laws. A must-read.” (Booklist (starred review))

“With artful descriptions, Victoria put me inside their hearts and minds. I did not just enjoy this read, I lived it." (Michelle Lindo Rice, bestselling author of the Able To Love series )

Chapter 1 - Stand Your Ground

There is nothing like being in love with a naked man.

Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t love my husband when he was fully clothed. But right now, right here, all I could do was perch myself up on my elbow and enjoy as my husband strutted around our bedroom as if he were looking for something. He wasn’t looking for a doggone thing; Tyrone was just giving me a show.

And what a show it was, ’cause there is nothing like a naked, carved, then chiseled to perfection, chocolate man.

I sighed and my heart swelled with even more love than I ever thought possible. I didn’t know it could be like this. Didn’t know it could be like this after sixteen years of marriage. Didn’t know it could be like this after the betrayal of infidelity.

“What are you staring at?” Tyrone’s voice broke through my thoughts. He flexed his pecs and inside, I moaned. “What? What are you looking at?” he asked again.

Really? He was standing there, full frontal, and he was asking me what I was looking at? Did he want me to describe the human statue of excellence that he was to me?

I answered my husband. “Nothing. I’m not looking at anything.”

He busted out laughing, then leaned over and kissed my forehead.

I tugged at his arm, trying to pull him down on top of me so that I could do more nasty things to him. If our life were a book, it would’ve been titled Love and Sex. It had started with the marriage counselor that my best friend, Syreeta, had referred us to after “the cheating incident.”

“Stay in the bed,” the counselor had advised. “You have to connect again with one another sexually. Once you get the trust back in bed, because that’s where it was broken, you’ll be able to get the trust back in every other aspect of your life.”

That had just sounded like some man talking at the time. And trust me, it had been hard on both of us. But after a couple of months, we needed therapy to get us out of bed. It was like we couldn’t stop. And the counselor had been right. We connected again, in bed first, and everything else followed.

But even though my husband was always down for second and third sexual helpings, this time he pulled back and I frowned.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be right back.” Turning away, he grabbed his bathrobe from the chaise. “I’m going to check on Marquis. Make sure his homework is done and he’s getting ready to turn in.”

I bounced back in the bed and sighed. “Tyrone...”

“Don’t start, Janice.”

“It’s barely nine o’clock and you’re sending him to bed? He’s seventeen! Come on, now. When are you going to let up on him?”

The expression of pure pleasure that had been on my husband’s face just a minute before faded fast. “Let up on him?” Tyrone grumbled. “We’re raising a black boy in a white world. I will never let up. I will never go easy. We’ve got just one chance to get this right.”

“I get that,” I said, having heard this lecture so many times. But if he was going to give me his speech, then he was going to once again listen to mine.

“It’s been a month since he was suspended. And he’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. All he does is go to school and then come home. He’s back on track.”

“See, that’s my point right there,” Tyrone said, jabbing his finger in the air. “He’s back on track. He should never have been derailed in the first place and I want to make sure that he never gets derailed again.”

“But what else do you want from him? We’ve got to let him know that there is redemption after repentance. We’ve got to teach him that he can do something wrong, but then he can make up for it by doing something right.”

“He’s a black boy. In this country, he won’t get a makeup opportunity. In this country, he won’t be given a second chance, and our son has to learn that lesson now.”

“That may be how it is in this country,” I said. “But we’ve got to let him know that it’s not like that in this house. At home, he has to know that we trust him again.”

Tyrone shook his head.

“It was one joint, Tyrone,” I said for what had to be the millionth time since our son had received that three-day school suspension a month ago. “Don’t make it out to be any bigger than that.” When Tyrone opened his mouth to lecture me more, I added, “Don’t forget you smoked when you were in high school.”

“Yeah, but now that I know better, I’ve done better. And I wasn’t at Winchester Academy when I smoked. I wasn’t at some highfalutin school where the people there were expecting and waiting for me to fail.”

I sighed as Tyrone went on and on about how our son’s mistake was much worse since he was at Winchester—one of the top college-prep academies in the country. It had been my idea to send Marquis there since I recognized his brilliance from when he was in my womb. Seriously, though, our son was smart and I wanted my only child to have the best opportunities, to give him a future that I could’ve never imagined for myself when I was growing up motherless, fatherless, oftentimes feeling homeless as I was shuffled from one foster home to the next.

“You know I’m right, Janice.” Tyrone broke through my thoughts. “Those white folks don’t want him there, and he goes around acting a fool.”

“He was acting like a seventeen-year-old...” I held up my hand before Tyrone could pounce on my words. “And yes, he was wrong,” I continued. “But he’s learned his lesson and all I want you to see is that Marquis is a good kid. A really good kid who’s going to do great things in life.”

“I know he has that potential. But if he’s going to be great, he has to understand that he can’t get caught up. He has to do everything right.”

Life After 40: Changing Seasons Life & Love: The Journey In Verse by Pat C.

Life and Love - The Journey in Verse by Pat C.
Listen to the author read from the book:

Topics Discussed: 
*  Life After 40: Changing Seasons
*  Humorous Explanation of Finding Purpose
*  Making Room for Self After Trials
*  Finding Inner Peace through Prayer and Meditation

About the Author
Pat C. was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is the eldest child of Julius William Garrett, Sr. and the late Eva Printess Fisher-Garrett. Pat C. is a mother, grandmother, poet, trainer, a certified life coach and now author. Pat C. possesses a natural gift for coaching and encourages all to live and love to the fullest.

Pat C. can be found on social media at:

Life and Love - The Journey in Verse by Pat C.

“Life and Love - The Journey in Verse speaks from the heart of the author as she revisits, observes and fantasizes the beauty of love. It immediately becomes apparent that the reader will be personally escorted by verse to observe and to understand the language that only love speaks. The couplets and the tone capture the beauty of the soul, the mindset and compatible lives being joined together in unity by the power of love. The mood has been meticulously established for reading. I was captivated.” - Dr. Claudia Wells Hamilton Secondary School Principal

Excerpts from Life & Love: The Journey In Verse

Romance Section/ Pg 36:  This poem was written about two soul-mates, who had met again years later. This was written as an invitation to embrace the gift of a second chance by sealing it with marriage.

~A New Song~ 

I want to write a new song with you.
The harmony will be tighter,
The tone deeper, the melody richer,
The chorus louder and it shall repeat itself more than before.
The rhythm will be mellow and sure.
Our new song will remain a classic,
A love story second only to our first.
Come, let’s write the final version,
‘Til death do us part.

Pg 31:  This poem was tells of love and intent of an affectionate relationship, leading to a well rounded marriage. It express hope, delight and commitment.

~Please Allow Me~

For all the years I loved you and was not present,
Please let allow me to love you... more and more each day.
For all the kisses I didn't get to place on your sweet lips,
Please allow me to kiss you... slow and long.
For all times we missed holding hands,
Please allow me to hold your hand gently in mine...'till the end of time.
For all the laughter we missed sharing,
Please allow me to laugh with you...on and on.
For all the moments we missed in each other's arms,
Please allow me to hold you tight...never letting go.
For all the moments we missed,
In the bliss of us,
Please allow me to give all of me to you now...until the end

Pg 28:  This poem was written after the breakup/separation, in attempt to get the attention of a mate, letting them know the importance and necessity of their love.

~My Table~

My table for two will soon be our table.
A place where we will enjoy the blessing of each other,
Eat great food, and drink fine wine.
A place where we will look into each other's eyes,
And see the reflection of a love we've waited a lifetime for.
A love that will grow and get sweeter with time.
At our table, we will discuss
Family, friends, foe, and current events,
It will be our sanctuary of love,
The bridge to our blissful bed of love and back.
A place of prayer and romance,
Telling each other secrets, sharing hopes and dreams.
The realization of a divine love made in heaven,
With continual renewal and verbal profession
Of our love for one another.
A love built on mutual love and adoration.
Our table will always be an extension of our love
For family, friends, or a passerby in need.
This my love, is my table.
Soon to be our table.

© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of Pat C., author of “Life & Love: The Journey In Verse”, a collection of poems. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.

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