July 2017 As we approach the often esteemed and most celebrated holiday in the United States, I begin to think about what true independence means to me personally and professionally. What I realized is that they are parallel to each other. What a perfect natural mid-point to readjust and reveiw my "New Years Resolutions", why not? I found not only was this necessary to regain focus, I also concluded that taking a look at my own definition led to more of a self-affirmation that I need to probalby revisit more often. With that said, while my blog is often to spread knowledge to my readers...this one is directed at me too!
How to be independent and do what you want with your life!
1. Stop answering to people who do not have a positive influence on your life (not accountability partners...the haters). 2. Write out your own plan, don't let someone tell you where you "fit in". If that was the case for me, I would not be writing this! 3. It's okay to walk alone because this is a time where you may be able to think more clearly, make sound decisions and develop a plan of action. 4. Don't blame ANYONE for ANYTHING you don't do, are you a puppet? I didn't think so...do you boo! 5. Don't let people manipulate, self-project or guilt you into feeling bad for your success. 6. You have to take care of yourself first before you are any good to someone else (note who you put breathing mask on first in case of an emergency on a plane) 7. Learn the power of NO!
I am by no means suggesting these things are always easy and I don't believe that it is solely a "just do it" attitude that will allow you to achieve your goals. However, you have to start somewhere. My reliance on my faith, beliefs, a little bit of logic and grit have helped me develop a blueprint to make a difference in my own way in this world!
Speech given by Natalie Coleman at "A Medal for Harriet" inagural event.
Good Evening and thank you for being here! I am humbled by this entire experience and want to leave you with a few words as we embark upon this journey to honor women veterans…. Legacy says to time, who are you? It defies seconds, hours, minutes days and even decades. Tonight I acknowledge the legacy of one of my most notable ancestors. While Harriet went through dangers, oppression,adversity she still rose to defy what was systematically put in place to stop her. I have concluded that part of my life's journey is to carry on her legacy. You see, strength, courage and valor is not new to me, it is me. It was instilled in me by my parents who lived as young adults through the Civil Rights era in Mississippi. You see, I don’t have a choice in the matter, I too must carry on the legacy of those who came before me to bridge the gap for those who are yet to come. Furthermore, if we don’t tell our own story in its complete context...who will? Harriet Tubman’s resolve has been passed on from generation to generation, it is a people’s genealogy that has allowed this day to come to fruition as we millennials and generation x-ers face a new dawn, a new awakening a moment in time for us to contribute...we are here and we will be chartering new waters! Who is this we I speak of, it’s the we who no longer will sit back and see inequities and have extensive dialogue around it. but the we that will put actions behind word through community programs, activism, education and connecting the past to the present. It’s the we that help the less fortunate for nothing more than the pure joy of helping others live more fulfilling life. It’s the we that will build sustainable communities by mentoring the next generation. It’s the we that believes women deserve just a much recognition as the men who we have fought next to for decades. We are the advocates, the trailblazers, the outsiders, the wild ones, in fact we are the lucky ones... I will not let ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, finances nor time stop me, I have 3498 reasons to press on as the ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality in onoring women who have served in the mlitary, for without this we are sure to repeat the same inexcusable missteps of the past and contribute to the unseen future for the next generation of women who choose to fight for OUR nation. Margaret Thatcher stated “A great nation is the voluntary creation of its people-a people composed of men and women whose pride themselves of what they can give to a community of which they, in turn, can be proud.” I want our community to be proud of what we are doing. ATPF will be part of the growth and rise of a new generation of leaders and doers who continue to build our community. Tonight, I thank you for starting this journey with us. I would like to thank the board who willingly stepped into their roles when asked and have been crucial in getting this first project off the ground. They have listened to my ramblings, dreams, plans as well as my radical and sometimes outrageous thinking Please meet the board of After the Peanut Foundation VP-Dr. Nicole Graves Treasurer-Dr. Jenell Kelly Secretary-Teresa Lawrence And Board Member-David Collins I would also like to thank Kaitlin Morris of K&M Productions and Mike Hester for filming, editing and helping with all the lovely videos you saw tonight! And of course my sponsors...Buffalo Soldiers Post 241, Inspire the Tribe and as always I have the support of my best friend Dr. Nicole Graves who is the owner and dentist at The Tooth Company! And as I close, let me say again I am beyond and overcome with gratitude for your presence this evening. To all the volunteers and performers I thank you for your hard work and dedication the the vision of ATPF. It has taken some time for this evening to come into existence...we are moving into unchartered waters now...get your life jackets ready! WE OUT!
May 2017 They say April showers bring May flowers...but for me the rain could have stopped on April 13, 2017. While I do realize that there is a need for rain to nurture our earth and help things grow, this past April there was torrential rain in both my professional and personal life. While rain has been said to symbolizes newness and brings about some refreshment, I need it to stop!
I have still not come to terms with what "rained" down on me this past April. I lost one of the most kind and sincere woman I have ever met. Her absence is still a shock and a multitude of feelings have taken place in my life that I have never felt before. She was a wife, mother, friend, confidant, servant of the most High...kind, gentle, patient, funny, and outgoing. I began to question God, my purpose, how I would support my friends during their loss and when I would have time to grieve. I began to recall the saying that you do not know how strong you are until that is the only choice you have. My physical and mental state to a blow and I wasn't sure day to day whether I was coming or going, but when your loved one has put a fire inside of you and has encouraged you along the way in life, you know they want you to stand tall and walk in your purpose.
How each of us deals with grief will vary, at some point in time, we will all have to deal with it. There is no ideal solution as death is a strange as life itself, what has helped me keep a peace of mind and be thankful everyday is thinking about how she lived. I came to the conclusion that the memories I have of her kindness and love is what I will keep in the forefront of my mind. By living a righteous, humble and meek life, she left the world in a better place because her beauty, love and kindness is exemplified in all of the people who knew her. I have realized more now than ever the importance of support when we go through trials, especially the loss of a loved one. Sacrifices, understanding, patience and kindness must be magnified. We need to surround ourselves with people who love us, help us and can be there for us during times of loss and grief. More importantly, if we trust the same God we have trusted in times past, He will allow us to begin healing. I know people say all the time, appreciate the people you have in your life, love on them and be there for them. Well Mrs. Connie, you loved on me and you were there for me and I am truly inspired to continue to live a life full of joy, peace, love, kindness and forgiveness because of you.
I will see you in heaven!
April 2017 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2 In the spirit of April Fool's Day and it being National Poetry Month, I wanted to write a poem about the tom foolery we find ourselves hearing and seeing everyday. But who am I fooling (lol)...I had no time to craft a well written, thoughtful and powerful piece before my deadline of midnight today!
But let's still tap into April Fool's Day for the heck of it! I found it hilarious that April’s Fool Day was called off because nothing could top our reality, but I still need to know are you and I being fooled? Better yet are we fooling ourselves? I am talking to my people, (that’s probably you if you are reading this)! So that we are clear and in the spirit of inclusion, my people are the good people in the world who want to live in harmony, peace,, without name calling and “isms” and not only can spit that rhetoric but can get to DOING something about the problems we are facing (See previous posts about taking action).
So on April 1, 2017 I am asking that we all take a serious vow to stop being fooled by “them” (you can insert any narcissistic, demeaning, selfish, racist, ignorant, foolish, or greedy person). There have been many channels used to try and fool us. The news, the half truths, the frenemies, the diversions, they are all a set up to set us back and distract us! Don’t be fooled! I stopped watching the news in the morning because it was becoming a bad way to start my day, so now I start with quietness, patience and thankfulness to live another day and get to work! Whether it’s my 9-5, foundation, volunteering, tutoring, I have a yearning to try and counter the ills of the world by helping someone else and turning off the noise that is meant to incite us and bring about fear, hopelessness and despair.
So while the foolish will continue to spit rhetoric to our dismay, you can not fall for foolery Be a beacon of light in a world that needs it more now than ever! Let’s get off guard and start being in the ready!
March 2017 As we begin March 2017, I would like to dedicate this blog to the “Outsiders” who have blazed their own trail and inspired generations to come.
Harriet Tubman Sojourner Truth Rosa Parks Bessie Coleman Marian Anderson Shirley Chisholm Maya Angelou Belle Hooks Serena Williams
When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandparents in Mississippi. They had one television set, and you had to use pliers to tune in to the three channels that it could receive. Thick layers of plastic were tightly fastened on most of the furniture to protect it from the inevitable Kool-Aid spills and dirt stains our youthful hands brought forth. Not to mention in the ninety-plus degree temperatures, there was no air condition…so guess what, I developed a love for playing outside. My shell of Northern suburbia was quickly buckling under the weight of the flirtatious allure of fresh air, running streams, crawling insects, endless trees to climb, and miles and miles of dirt and mud to play in. While there were no jungle gyms, swing sets, basketball courts or hoops, or anything slightly resembling a playground, my cousins and I were all hopelessly seduced by the endless possibilities of a country summer. We had fun. We made up games that involved jumping in mud puddles, throwing rocks at cans, foot-racing while blind-folded, playing hide-and-seek in the woods, and even making mud sculptures. We played outside under the sun all day, and danced outside under the stars all night. Even though everyday left us looking like busy chimney sweeps and smelling like wet puppies, we still loved playing outside. I loved being outside.
The outside is for you to make of it what you wish. The outside allows you to stretch out and be you… all of you. Why are so many of us trying to fit inside of something keeps us limited? Why are we voluntarily becoming conformist products? Aren’t we more than any idea or standard? Aren’t we far more complex than a traditional look or value? Why do we reduce ourselves to be caged inside? Are we scared of risks? Are we afraid of failure? Are we disheartened by what people might say? Are we too comfortable? Are we too preoccupied? Are we too selfish? When we allow ourselves to be limited and confined inside, we are refusing to grow to our full potential. We are refusing to meet our destiny. Why not becomes an outsider?
I do not say this boastfully, or even with full confidence, but I truly have embraced being an outsider. Even as I type this sentence, I am walking into my destiny as an outsider. While I have tried to fit into all kinds of groups, circles and cliques, they have failed to fulfill me with the freedom I experienced while outside. Once I realized this, I chose to be an outsider. I began to see the world a little differently. I began to grasp the concept that I can blaze my own trail, walk to the beat of my own drum and pave a path for others to follow. Being an outsider brings about true freedom, the same freedom that the outside brought me as a little girl. When you live in your own outside world, you can make up your own games, be who you want to be, go where you want to go, and step out into new, interesting and exciting adventures. Go ahead, and step outside…you won’t regret it!
February 2017 "Love lifted me". What a great time to talk about love…our world is in need of it, it’s a month to show some love to all the greatness that is African-American (Disclaimer: I’m more 24/7/365 with this) and of course the final reason is it’s the month with Cupid’s favorite holiday in it! With so much going on in the first month of 2017 I had to think long and hard on what I would write about and it was no way around it…I have to talk about love, it is a beautiful thing!
I was speaking with a friend of mine earlier this month and he told me that we (all human beings) need to get away from talking about “true love” or “real love”, he said love does not need an adjective…and I could not agree more! Why do people describe it like this, I mean what is the opposite ,“fake love” (in my Drake voice)? Then that is not really love, now is it! In order to love someone else, you must first love yourself. In order to love yourself, you have to know yourself, your identity. So if you do nothing else this month, make sure you take some time to love yourself, treat yourself to something nice and let love radiate from you wherever you go. Let’s start giving love as much as we can and maybe we will start to see some changes in our world…we won’t know if we don’t try!
Finally, here is are some of my favorite sayings about love:
1. Love does not boast. 2. It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. 3. Love endures the test of time. 4. Love can heal, save and set you free.
JANUARY 2017 Increasing your capacity for resiliency might be the most important thing you do to succeed. ~Harvard Law Review
Forget about the typical new year resolutions, build internally an external gains will happen!
Here I am about to complete the second year of writing my blog and I still ask "Is anybody reading this or getting anything out of it?". I find myself overly concerned about who is listening and the "theys"...feeling like that person who goes live on Facebook, just to have one person watching. I said to myself I need to shift my focus a little this year and tone down on the external actions that bring about gratification and focus on my inner voice, reasoning, and dispostion.
I have to make a conscious effort to be resilient and rid myself of the negative noise in my head. I have decided that I need to get my resiliency up, an intrinsic value that can determine what your tomorrow looks like. When you do things and get push back and naysayers, delays and frustrations, what will you do? We need to lose the victimization mindset and conflicting internal commentary that's says what you are trying to accomplish is nonsense and makes no difference. I have to beat the negativity and I'm certain with all the folks blaming 2016 for the ills of the world, a positive outlet such as my blog Peanutology or my radio show Lean Into Inspiration is a breath of fresh air (well like 10 people have said it).
So this year think more about staying postive and in-tune to your creative, uplifting, reselient inner voice, I am!
Opening Your Gifts The month of November 2016 has been one of the most interesting month’s of my life I can remember. There has been things both locally and nationally that has influenced, effected and changed my life. From a historical U.S. Presidential election, more protests and shootings, 3 funerals the week of Thanksgiving, Native Americans being hosed, racism being ever present in education and learning about cultural inversion…I ALMOST became overwhelmed…but then I thought about the season we were in and the season we were going into.
Be Not Dismayed On my radio show “Lean Into Inspiration” we just wrapped up the month of November discussing what we were grateful for and as we move into December we will be looking at different perspectives as it pertains to gifts. As I sat down to write this I thought about the feeling you get when you open a gift and when you watch someone else open a gift they have received. It is nothing less than pure excitement, innocent joy and a snapshot in time that can’t be filled by any other gift or thing. It changes the life of the receiver.
Gifts + Purpose When we open our gifts and show appreciation for them, whether that be a spiritual, physical or innate gift we triumph over adversity and have the tools both internally and externally to make a difference in this world. Opening your gifts goes back to knowing your purpose which is what I think we should strive to live by…why else are we here if we don’t walk in our purpose?
So whether you are giving a gift, opening a gift or discovering yours…use it for good and to overcome and build the world that you dream about.
This month’s blog is dedicated to my god-brother and dear friend Dr. Timmothy D. Bailey (1975-2013), his legacy will live on.
Truly, my worldly possessions are few. Yet, my experiences have been rich. ~Mary McCleod Bet
What will your legacy be? As I thought about what I would write for this month’s Peanutology I toiled with speaking on the state of affairs iin American politics, the unrest in North Dakota, Thanksgiving, Black Lives Matter, inequities in education and a list of other things. While brainstorming for this month’s entry, I was also studying with a group of friends. One asked if I had ever read Mary McCleod Bethune’s last will and testament. I had not. So I “Googled it” as I often do when I wanted to know something. I found it, read it, re-read it and realized how important leaving a legacy was to Mary McCleod Bethune and how important it is to me.
EXPERIENCES Mary McCleod Bethune wrote her last will and testament over sixty years ago. One thing that stood out to me the most was the following statement, Truly, my worldly possessions are few. Yet, my experiences have been rich. Experiences. I thought to myself what have my experiences been and what do I want to experience? I have traveled, loved, lost, cried, hope, dreamt, worked, earned degrees…and the list goes on, but what have I really experienced? The definition of experience is practical contact with and observation of facts or events. So in a sense you have to be present to have an experience, you have to participate and have insight into the event you are experiencing. What I realized is that I was doing things, but I was not experiencing them. I realize that I have so much more to DO and EXPERIENCE. So as we move into a season of thanks, giving, love, more time with family and less time at work, I ask that you EXPERIENCE the event and be present in the moment. Life is full of ups and downs and it is also full of swift transitions. Don’t miss out on life by not truly being present in the moment and I will do the same.
FAITH.HOPE.LOVE I started this month’s blog of by talking about legacy and wanted to come back around to it. Mary McLeod Bethune wanted her legacy to be full of faith, hope and love, and I like her, wish for some of the same things. Without hope and faith, life can seem dismal, without love, life can seem lost. But if we have these things, life can be fulfilling and promising but we must commit to experiencing life and not just living it. My legacy will be full of experiences, but not just experiences that benefit self. They will be experiences that cross over into the next generation and inspire them to change the lives of the generation after them. My experiences will be full of love, perseverance, hope, faith and positive influence. As one of my favorite artist song goes “I was here. I did my best”, that will be my legacy. Do your best and leave a blueprint for others to follow.
"Half truths are whole lies"
Something is Missing Growing up I did not see many teachers, professors, images in textbooks, nor professionals in educational settings who looked like me. This was one of the most influential factors as to why I chose to become a science teacher. I love science, so I said why not teach others to understand it and love it. Being a science teacher comes with a certain level of “nerdiness”. I am always buying science books, magazines, technological gadgets, etc. Recently, I ran across the magazine pictured below in a grocery store I got excited! I couldn’t wait to see who was in it but as I analyzed the cover and flipped through a few pages I began to grow disappointed. Clearly, TIME did not do their due diligence in researching enough American Inventors to find any minority inventors to include in this “American” issue.
⏎WHAT DOES THIS PICTURE SAY TO YOU?
Where is the Diversity? Now, there was a picture of a woman in the magazine, but there was also a picture of a man on her page, I couldn’t even read to see if she was the one being acknowledged…I was seeing red! Now grant it, I should have bought the magazine and viewed each page, but I could not get past the cover nor the majority of the pages I flipped through. I vowed to write a letter to TIME to seek some answers to why they didn’t include the likes of George Washington Carver, Bessie Blount, Elijah McCoy, Ajay V. Bhatt, Luis W. Alvarez, or Katherine Burr Blodgett. There are plenty more but you get my point. If I was a foreigner or a child and I saw the cover, I would conclude that all American Inventors must be white men.
The Whole Story Please note that this is not about discrediting the inventors that were honored. This is about recognizing ALL American inventors who have contributed to moving our society forward through the ingenuity, innovation and discoveries. The American education system often paints the picture of a noble and just nation but forgets the important details like including all perspectives, or in this case representation. As an educator, one thing I often do is ensure students know of scientists and engineers that reflect their culture, heritage and nationality. If I didn’t, who would?
Final Thoughts Inclusion, equality, exposure and purposely including all people who have contributed in their field is fair, moral, necessary and should be expected.
September 2016 "Dreams don't work unless you do". Going for Gold
On your mark, get set, go! Over the past few weeks we have witnessed some of the best athletes in the world compete for gold. Numerous events took place in Rio De Janeiro between the most elite athletes in the world. They have many things in common. Some attributes of the athletes that stood out were purpose, persistence, and passion. The characteristics they displayed can help lead to success in other areas of life. Here are a few notes I jotted down when I thought about how to put these attributes in the content of building a business.
Purpose Merriam-Webster defines purpose as the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something. So what may start out as a feeling, thought or idea becomes an ACTION. While it’s okay to brainstorm, plan, organize and have thinking sessions, don’t get stuck in the preliminary phase and never actually get to work. Find your purpose!
Persistence During the Olympics, runners New Zealand runner Nikkin Hamblin stumbled and accidently tripped Abby D’Agostino of the U.S. Did they quit? No! They helped each other finish the race and move on to the final round. Hamblin could have left D’Agostino on the ground and focused on winning, but compassion kicked in and she literally told her that they had to finish the race! They both could have given up and walked away from their purpose, but they chose to finish what they started. We all know it is not where you start but how you finish.
Passion Passion is what wakes athletes up in the morning to train before the sun rises, it’s what has teachers being the first one in the school and the last one to leave, it’s what has business owners working through the weekend. Although I have chose to write on this attribute last, please keep in mind that passion precedes purpose. Finally without passion purpose often pursues profit. Don’t chase profit, chase your passion!
I’m done. Going to persistently pursue my purpose with a passion!
" I am only one person, but I am one. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale
Over the past few weeks I have thought about the power of one. One person, event, idea, dream, conference, mistake, word, reaction, song, dance, moment, accident, lie, job, thought…the list can be extensive but getting to my point, there have been many defining moments of “one” that have changed the course of mankind.
Think about two great figures in history, Harriet Tubman or Caesar Chavez. If they had waited for someone to save them, they may have never been saved. They stood up for what they believed in, raised up a standard for others to follow and lead by example. They focused on the future and outcomes and although the progress may have been delayed, it was never completely stopped. This is because of the power of one person who not only believed in the cause but also took action to make a difference.
You may be asking, what does the power of one have to do with STEM and education? It has everything to do with it! ONE educator can change a child’s life forever. ONE field trip to the science museum may transform a child’s outlook about STEM. ONE science fair project can lead to creativity and innovation that changes the world we live in.
The power of one matters everywhere and in everything we do. As I strive to empower the next generation, I know that I alone can't change the world but 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1...you get the point, it adds up! If you don’t believe in the power of one, think about this; on an atomic level, the difference of one oxygen atom differentiates water from peroxide and although not deadly (in small doses), no one is going around ingesting peroxide to rehydrate.
"Be truthful, honest and fearless" ~Ghandi July 2016
For five days I embarked on a journey that has significantly impacted my life. I attended the TEDSummit in Banff, Canada with 29 educators from 12 different countries and over 1000 attendees in total. The 30 educators were chosen from over 500 applicants. In order to get into the program, we had to answer a question about how we use innovation in our schools. To see my response, go here http://tinyurl.com/teded2016. I cannot adequately describe the utopia like environment I was in over the past few days, however I want to share some of the new lesson I learned as well as the ones that were retaught.
I would be remised if I didn’t describe the city itself. Banff, Canada is set high in the great northwestern part of Alberta Canada in the Rocky Mountains and within the Canadian National Park. The landscape speaks volumes of our powerful earth, with racing ravines, landscapes so incredible they don’t look real, town’s people of all nationalities and some of the greatest beef in the world!
Before I continue, let me explain what TED is. TED is a non-profit company that is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. There are numerous silos within TED and I am a proud member of the TED Innovative Educators (TIE) program. During the conference I was able to listen to speakers and attend workshops. Topics ranged from environmental concerns, being a better you, helping refugees in Syria, artificial intelligence, the next big economic shift and cyber security. There were a variety of dynamic speakers, but greater than the speakers themselves were all the attendees from over 100 countries who were simply there because they want to make the world a better place.
Now onto the lessons:
1. You have to be willing to sometimes venture into uncertainty, ambiguity and even fear. 2. Do the unnecessary. 3. Substance is more important than performance. 4. Change your perception and create your own reality. 5. Decide to fixate on solutions and not problems. 6. Take the leap into the unknown whatever the challenge may be. 7. Good is the enemy of great. 8. Those who make you believe absurdities will make you create atrocities. 9. Remove uncertainties and exchange values. 10. Take action!
These lessons will propel me to the next level in my personal, professional and spiritual life. I eagerly look forward to my future with a sense of renewal, revitalization and purpose.
“I did not create myself, but I became myself”. ~TEDSummit Attendee
June 2016 After 37 years of a blessed life, I wanted to share some of my daily affirmations and a few things I have learned in life. I hope this month’s Peanutology encourages someone.
Three Daily Affirmations Treat every day as a gift because tomorrow is not promised. It is so. What’s is for me is for me.
Seven things I learned in life…so far (I can’t imagine how much more I will learn in the years to come)
1. After the rain comes the sunshine, appreciate the rain. 2. Trials and tribulations make you stronger. 3. The only consistent thing in life is change and it’s okay. 4. Being peculiar is okay. 5. Slay.Vaca.Repeat. 6. Everyone has a gift…it’s great when you find out what it is. 7. No matter who and where you are, you are a role model…act like one.
May 2016 Sometimes we are moving so fast in life that we don’t take time to truly think about how we are going to intentionally reach our goals. We write things on post it notes, put them on a calendar, maybe make resolutions at the beginning of the year, talk things out with our friends and confidants and many of us (myself included) pray. Recently, I had to “Control+Alt+Delete” my life a few weeks ago after a very powerful meeting. During this meeting, I discovered my goals needed to be prioritized if I was going to reach them. I also knew I could not wish, wonder and think because I wrote it down in my phone, on a sticky note, in Google drive or anywhere else it was going to miraculously happen. I left the meeting with a plan to pause the rumblings and thinking going on in my head and map things out in order to accomplish my goals. I prioritized the things I could do in the short term and what I wanted to accomplish in years to come. It was very eye opening because once I laid it all out, I knew I had to start taking action on the trivial tasks that could prevent me from taking the measures I needed to in order to reach my goals. I knew I didn’t want to leave things up to chance or the “ I will get to it when I get to it” approach, nor did I want to keep making lists. So I have set out and repurposed some things in order to achieve my major goals and hope you will follow suit.
April 2016 "It's not what you leave for them, it's what you leave in them." Recently I was watching a video on social media and heard the above quote and it truly resonated with me with regards to one question I am constantly asking myself. How can I change the mindset of the next generation to become “doers”? It is typical in our society to think about leaving something behind that has monetary value to our children. We have to change this mindset in adults in order to shift the perspective of the next generation. It is something that goes beyond anything that can be purchased. While many people question what they will leave behind in the form of an inheritance, take the time to instill knowledge, confidence, persistence and courage in the next generation. We have to teach the next generation that they can help write their own script to this thing called life. Although they may have to find their strength in rejection or failure, if they take time to enjoy the journey, build relationships and balance work and play, they will always have something that money can’t buy.
March 2016 "Get rid of the weeds." When you plant a seed you are expecting it to grow into something that will be appealing, beneficial or serve a purpose. Perhaps you plant a financial seed for yourself, a trip, a special event or your child’s college education. Maybe you plant a seed of love for that person who has won your heart. You may actually plant real seeds that will grow into beautiful flowers to spruce up your yard. Regardless of what your seed is, it needs good soil, water, sunlight and room to grow. One of the most significant things you can do to make sure your seed grows is to get rid of the weeds and make room for growth! Sometimes we don’t realize the “weeds” in our lives; it may be a bad attitude, insecurity, depression, fear, negative people or some other type of adversity. These things may make you feel like your seed will never grow. Please be encouraged and know you can remove the weeds! Ensure your soil is full of patience, fortitude and discipline and ensure you are watering your seed with focus, hard work and determination. As my business continues to grow, I am planting seeds in good soil and ensuring the “weeds” that may inhibit my growth are removed. Whatever your seed is, I hope you do the same.
February 2016 "Be,Know, Do" “When you grow up, what do you want to be?” This is a question you may have been asked as a child or maybe you have asked a child you know. I have heard many responses over the years. Usually it’s a job or career the kid knows about or has seen on television. Sometimes it’s the infamous “I don’t know” and a shoulder shrug. What if we change the question and asked, “What problem do you want to solve?” or “What do you want to change about our world?” These questions afford the opportunity for exploration and thoughtful answers. First, it makes the child THINK, about a real problem and then a solution. This can ultimately lead to an interest in a specific career. Instead of asking the close-ended question that merely allows for a familiar title to be stated, we should ask questions that can lead to a child deepening his or her thought process on selecting a career that can lead to a sense of accomplishment and impact our world.
Instead of asking children what they want to be, let’s ask them what they want to DO! There are enough dreamers; we need to cultivate a generation of DOERS! It’s by no mistake this topic came to me in such a significant month, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the contributions of some great men and women. They did not fill the atmosphere with mere words, they put action and work behind their dreams, desires and goals which unequivocally has led to a better world. Let’s make sure their work was not in vain.
#be #know #do
January 2016 3...2....1....Happy New Year! Are you ready to live limitlessly? Are you ready to raise the bar, set the standard and expect nothing but the best? I am! After the Peanut is off an running and we are not looking back. There are great things in store for those who humble themselves, give thanks to whom it is due, work hard and understand no matter what adversities arise, you can come out ahead! I am looking forward to all of the exciting STEM class offerings this spring and summer! I know that what is happening behind the scenes is all in preparation for changing the next generation and improving my community one child at a time. #justthebeginning #stayhumblemyfriend
December 2015 "Absence of truth is a perpetuation of ignorance." Each month, I typically write about how things are going with my business. This month I have decided to write about something else. I can't ignore all of the things that are going on. IT IS SO MUCH GOING ON! I thought I should pause for a moment and say what's on my mind (one our greatest freedoms). From Syria to Paris to Chicago, there has been a bombardment of local and international turmoil and there seems to be no reprieve. How can we as a society prevent these things? How can we live our normal lives with so much negativity happening all around? We hear about what should happen, could happen but the reality is what REALLY happened. What do we do now? We remain vigilant, we remain resilient, we remain proactive and we STAND UP for what is right! When it is all said and done, my business is just a medium to leave behind a better world for the next generation. If you are reading this, I am asking that you continue, or start to do something that will have a positive and lasting impact in our world. Speak life. Speak truth. Speak up. Do not take this life for granted, don't just exist...LIVE, LOVE and DO!
November 2015 "A present inconvenience may be necessary for a long-term benefit. " ~Bishop T.D. Jakes This month marks the completion of my first quarter as an official business owner. It has been trying at times and I have had flashes of defeat this past month. The Learning Center has been open and we offered FREE services, yet no one showed interest. However, in reading the numerous articles about start-ups and entrepreneurship experiences, I know that there is always going to be challenges and problems that must be overcome and resolved. This past week I had the chance to see a great movie about an astronaut who was left on Mars. When everyone else had given up, he still believed that he could be saved. One of the lines that was at the end of the movie went something like this. "If you want to make it home, you have to solve the first problem, then the next and the next, and then you may make it home." When I heard that I thought, this is what I must do if I want the business to grow. Identify the problem....solve the problem. It is just that simple. Maybe it’s my marketing plan or my communication in getting the word out, whatever the case, I plan to resolve this issue over the next few weeks. Another thing that stood out in the movie was the main characters perseverance, hope and determination. All great qualities of being an entrepreneur! I have been encouraged and revitalized to continue to pursue my goals. I realize the problem, now it's time for the solution!
October 2015 "No matter how smart you are, you need a team of great people to build an empire." ~Steve Jobs Behind every great leader, is a great team!!! From Patton, to King to Steve Jobs, they have all had a strong team to help accomplish a common goal. As I continue to grow my business in order to reach my goals, I am adding educators to the team who have a heart for students, a creative mind and the patience to know that all great things take time. Things continue to heat up with the opening of the homework center and the start of the very first CSI Club! I am glad that as I have moved through the education field, I have left a good impression that doesn't have people getting behind me, but joining me. As we run this race to engage students through stimulating and intellectual programs, it's good to know that I have people that I can count on. As cliche as it may sound there is no "I" in team and I am thankful its more than just me wanting to make a difference in the next generation of scientists and engineers!
September 2015 "I create my own opportunities". ~Madame CJ Walker As fall approaches and the leaves begin to change color and fall from the trees, After the Peanut is changing and taking form as a medium for change in education. The very first CSI Club is set to begin at Washington Jr. High school in October, a homework center is set to open in Lockport, Illinois, I am teaching a STEM class for educators at the University of St. Francis and there are two programs currently being developed for Spring 2016!!! As opportunities arise, so does the responsibility and the need to continue to build a team of Change Agents who are determined to "Inspire to Aspire" the next generation of leaders, scientists and engineers and I am happy to say, this month I will need to hire my first employee. I am in a happy place and the company is growing slow and steady, however I have the Superwoman view and know that this is just the beginning....I am ready!!!
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves." ~Marie Curie Although my first camp had to be rescheduled, I learned many things through the process of organizing and planning. I was also able to make some short and long term goals to lead to success as I move to the next phase. At this time, I can say I have 3 irons cooking in the fire and they will lead to providing more equitable and fair opportunities to underserved groups in the areas of STEM. It is amazing how you can be at the right place, at the right time, to meet the right people who play a role in changing the lives of the next generation. Despite the obstacles that may arise, I will be be steadfast in my quest for success and in changing the lives of the next generation!
July 2015 "All great achievements take time". ~Maya Angelou
It has taken me over 3 years to get After the Peanut off the ground. I have been nervous, excited, frustrated and anxious with the idea of how this endeavor could reach the masses. "Rome wasn't built in a day" is true in so many aspects of life and through the building of this company I see how true it rings. I know with hard work and dedication I can see my dreams come true. I want to touch the lives of the students, parents and educators and show them the infinite opportunities that are in STEM. It will take some time and it will take many grueling hours. However, I will be persistent in my quest to inspire those I can.
After the Peanut P.O. Box 572 Plainfield, IL 60544