Yearly Archives: 2012

The ‘Cause of Your Cause

Why are you doing it? Why do you do it?

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21:  Bernard Anderson ...

Stand up for someone else!

The first is a question I was asked about an event I volunteered to participate in, fundraise for, and promote. The second is my questioning you.

Frankly I was offended. But, don’t you do that too … get mad initially and later do a self check; if you don’t yet, you will — that’s if you continue to mature. Life is a learning process, eventually what you learn – you will live. After I defended myself about my motive or lack thereof, I thought long and hard about the WHY.

Any time I ask my two-year-old granddaughter Kassidy, why she does something; 95% of the time the answer is

BECAUSE I want to

My KK!

I know how I feel or respond to her when she gives me this answer so if it doesn’t fly with a tot, then it definitely shouldn’t work in my life.

When I asked myself why I choose to volunteer my time, talents, and treasure when it comes to: Visiting strangers in prisons and spending time encouraging them, watching young babies and children in homeless shelters while their parents are in counseling sessions to help them make a positive transition for their families, serving those who need or even desire cooked meals during holidays, leaving a GOOD job for more than 10 years to go work for a cancer organization (for much LESS money)  just because I want to do something to HELP, and  participating in walks and relays in all kinds of weather ….

You know what I discovered the answer always is — P E O P L E, the answer is ALWAYS a person or people. Yes, most times I don’t know the people but when it boils down to it, there is a person somewhere in mind or at the beginning of the idea. If you’re reading this and don’t know me or know me well, let me tell you that I consider my God a loving and LIVING Being so even He is a Person. When I’m doing something when it comes to strangers, I would say the least common denominator is my love for my God.

The two causes that I am now standing for and fighting for, Cancer and HIV/AIDS; I can’t tell you that I would serve in those areas had 2 people I love dearly not have been affected. It is what it is. I can’t pretend I would do what I do by giving you the easy answer, because.

Because I love you!

I can tell you, however, that it’s not for those people’s affection or attention. One of them is dead anyway so I know he doesn’t know! And the other has a really busy life but I was called on my reason for serving and I had to admit that yes I do it because I love this person. What people fail to realize at times is when we are loved or when we love — action usually follows. Love is an action word. Love doesn’t mean (for real) that I’m doing this for you so YOU can see what I do and so YOU would acknowledge and do something for me — whatever that something is.

I don’t have to be offended any more. Like me or leave me, I do what I do BECAUSE of love. So what’s the ’cause of YOUR cause?

Serving the Homeless

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Don’t Let Kanye Con Ye

Imagine driving in a neighborhood that’s heavily populated with discount  hookers and lined with cheap strip clubs. Now see Kanye West in that neighborhood standing at a bus stop in August in Atlanta wearing a fur coat! Unbelievable? Exactly. So why didn’t I realize I was dreaming.


My children and I are probably on our way to shop, I’m in the back seat of the car when I noticed some foolish man wearing a HUGE fur coat. While checking him out, I notice he looks a LOT like Kanye West. I didn’t say anything to my children; I only stared until I noticed that he was looking back as if to say, “Yeah, it’s me.” I yelled to my children that he was there. They saw the man in the coat but couldn’t identify the person. One of us suggested we circle back to see for sure.

When we returned to the spot, he was gone. (this part is foggy) Someone motioned for us to follow them to see where Kanye was. Now we’re all gathered in this one location along with other people who noticed him out there. I don’t know why we were sitting in this place waiting to see him — maybe it was a surprise concert, I’m not sure. What I do know is all of the passerby drivers and pedestrians were now being robbed. After they took all of our belongings, they let us go. When we returned to our car, it was on cinder blocks  and completely stripped. (no pun on the neighborhood) It wasn’t until then that I learned we had been scammed!

Of course I didn’t realize I was dreaming until I woke up.

When most people have strange dreams, we usually try to come up with a reason for it. I knew I hadn’t eaten anything too late or weird. I hadn’t seen Kanye or heard his music in months, if not years. I hadn’t been shopping in that area for a while so I couldn’t justify the randomness of the dream.So the next best thing for me is to get a lesson from it … I want to learn something from every experience I can’t explain. Here is the lesson I got:

When you are about your business and on your way to being productive, don’t get off course by useless distractions. No matter what the distraction is, Kanye or Kimye, it has nothing to do with you – especially  when you have to turn BACK or turn AROUND. It’s not even on your path, you’re supposed to be moving forward! See it and keep moving. If it’s not a part of your “dream”, it has nothing to do with you.

Because the message comes from a dream, realize that Kanye is only a symbol here. Notice distractions however they come, it can be a person, TV show (specifically a reality program), sleep, work, social media …. don’t get sidelined. Learn from my mishap in the dream, don’t be conned by Kanye!

Family Matters

God gives us family and the devil gives us relatives.

Above is something I hear my Pastor say often. I know it’s said or quoted in gist and I’m pretty sure you agree with me that you can see the truth in the statement.

Being one who lives a far distance from relatives, I know what it’s like to miss and treasure familial relationships. I had the pleasure of visiting my recently widowed grandmother and the opportunity to spend seven days loving on her and caring for her. Many times when I go to visit my hometown, I’m pretty happy to return to my own residence more than 600 miles away. I love getting back to my serene abode where it is mostly drama free. That’s the only upside I’ve found in 20 years of being separated from the majority of my family. Then you have holidays and special occasions that make you yearn for the company and presence of your loved ones. You want to share the highs and lows with people that are connected to you and can personally relate to what you’re feeling/experiencing at the time.

This most recent visit home is the first one I’ve had that left me puzzled and filled with emotions. The problem is I don’t know how to define what I was feeling after departing the plane but none of feelings were good. Being a social media junkie, I posted exactly how I was feeling. That’s when I learned how much family matters. This time I’m not referring to relatives.

In my previous post, I talked about a young man I discovered on a TV show. Since then that same young man has started a movement and made a majority of the people involved in this movement – FAMILY. We call ourselves “JamarsFam” – this will require a whole new post! Next time – maybe.

One of the emotions I was experiencing was disappointment; I was sorely vexed with some of my relatives because I felt (and possibly still feel) that my grandmother was being neglected by family who reside in the same city with her or nearby. I couldn’t understand how or why those closest in proximity seem the furthest in support of her. Then I think I felt a little helpless; almost like I had to find a reason to be angry with myself and others because I was limited to help her. Finally, I was sad – sad – sad. I’m the first grandchild and, in my mind, the most spoiled one so I don’t think I need to elaborate on how close I am to the lady. Therefore, I was FULL. Another thing I need to add is I don’t find it fun entertaining feelings that make me feel bad. :-) I prefer to be in a joyful mood or just to keep it light. I don’t like being weighed down; my shoulders weren’t made for that.

I don’t like having a heavy heart and I make it my business to help those around me not to like it either. For those that understand this: I’m “salt and light” so it’s a part of my purpose to be a cheerer upper! It’s kinda difficult to cheer others when you’re in a funky mood yourself and being down is a perfect time for a family to show just how much they matter.

When I shared how I was feeling on Twitter and Facebook, my “family” showed up in full force. I received so many uplifting messages and found just had many people genuinely care for me. It took seconds to boost my spirit. I think the thought of knowing people cared outweighed the other crappy feelings I had.

If you don’t have a family like the one I belong to, I suggest you start your own — one of those be the change you want to see things.  See my post on JamarsFam.

Until we meet up again, remember to treasure yourself!


I’m not a big fan at all of TV Reality Shows. I can say that I loved American Idol the 2nd and 3rd season after I tuned in to see what the hype was all about during the 1st season. Since then I’ve only caught glimpses (by mistake) of other reality shows — shows I think should never be aired. But, people love them (evidently) because they keep creating more and more nonsense to feed those with that type of appetite. 

The one show that I think I will continue to watch is one I heard about last year and that’s NBC’s The Voice. One night I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and read more than one update about how good this particular show was and how much better than Idol. Because it was nighttime and I have to have a snack at night, I went downstairs to find my evening treat and my children happened to be watching the show. I stood there like I do when I catch the normal glimpses of the nonsense shows they watch but this time I was really interested and not watching in awe and disgust. I immediately added the show to my Hulu queue. (I’m still not down with all of the long commercials.)

The first season I watched  The Voice and heard the actual season’s winner during his audition, I called it — he will be the winner and he was (Javier). This year, I cannot say the same. I haven’t the foggiest notion who it will be but I do know who has captured my undivided attention. Jamar Rogers. Not because Jamar can sing so well or that he is just truly adorable, it’s for the reason he has decided to use his voice. I’ve watched, heard, and read, what I believe every and any published interview Jamar has given. I wanted to hear more. Google supplied me with more than his singing. (Click here for a one-stop-shop to learn more about my friend.) It seems I got to know this young man a little more intimately and it made me think about how he’s using his voice. He’s not just singing but he wants to touch lives with his voice and sometimes our voices are expressed through so many other means. And not any one way will capture the hearts of each person who hears. 

A classic example is the  Kony 2012 movement. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are just a few avenues so many showcase their voices and the word spreads quickly. We educate, inform, and enlighten others when we use our voice. Not always are we spreading positive and uplifting messages with our voices. When my son came home for spring break, he introduced me to another group of people who are using their voices in Peanut Live 215 focusing on every day life in some hoods in my beloved city of Philadelphia. Very interesting. I look forward to see where and how Peanut will end, rather, survive. Then we have the  Trayvon Martin story where we see people everywhere using their voice in one way or another to express how this issue has touched or hasn’t touched them. Be it posting a picture of yourself in a hoodie, protesting, or signing one of many petitions — voices are being heard.

Jamar‘s decision to audition for the show has gone further than he has anticipated and that’s because our voices carry. I haven’t written a blog post in months and it’s because this one man used his voice to make me use mine. Thanks, Jamar. Sing!

If you have the opportunity to check out Peanut Live, please don’t judge me. Just, in some way, encourage the young men behind the puppet and the camera because they’re using their voices.


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The 2nd Half

I believe there is more in my life behind me than in front of me. I’m speaking in terms of quantity only – time, not quality.

Because I only feel and think like Kissie, it’s not easy grasping the idea that I’ve been on this planet for over 50 years. I’m just as silly today as I was in high school, or sillier. The more I learn, the more I add to my bag of tricks. Since I’m realizing that there may not be a whole LOT of time for me to be me the way I’m used to being me, I think I want to get all I can out of it while I can.

Last week I was fortunate to experience what most people don’t in their lifetime and that was an opportunity to truly see and witness the sincere love and respect that people have for me. This is not something I brag about but I’m a groupie. I’m not your average groupie because it’s not the famous or celebrity type that awes me. I’m amazed by genuine nice people. Those are the people that, when I’m privileged to get to know close and personal, makes me so happy just being in their presence. A few days ago I came to know that I’m not the only kind of groupie like that.

Please don’t take this wrong because I am not comparing myself to the people that I admire for their true character and integrity. But some of these same folk overwhelmed me when they expressed their admiration for me.  You know it’s one thing when your associates and pals tell you how great you are but it’s totally different when your immediate family, very dear friends, and people that work closely with you on a daily basis express the same because they KNOW you.

About 50 days ago, my family lost the patriarch of our family. My uncle said we lost our MVP – but the team is still going and staying in the game. I digress, my children had planned to have my 50th birthday bash 2 days ago. 700 miles separate me from my entire family excluding 2 of my 3 children; we felt the timing of the planned celebration wasn’t right considering the transformation the family is experiencing. I opted to have the party six months later and the new theme would be UNORTHODOX – there isn’t a better way to define me. :-)

So it was settled, I’ll have some quiet time at home and will party later. I’ll still be 50 as long as the party is in the same year and for the people who can’t understand it; we will have a FIFTY SOMETHING party to put their minds at ease. ;-) As I went about my business the week of my birthday, my slick and sly children secretly planned a small surprise birthday luncheon at my job (of all places). What can I say – it was a SUCCESS! We now know that Ileane got the ball rolling when she sent me my first birthday gift $$$ this year and I was already thrilled. Little did I know the following day would floor me and finish me off. The way this second half of my life has started sets me up for the ultimate thrill ride and I am extremely grateful. I don’t ever recall being this excited with anticipation the way I am for the next chapter of my life.  I’ve been here for 50 years so I know not everyday will be like the last couple of days but when those “other” days surface, I will always have these to remember and reflect upon. I’m strapped in and ready! Wheeeeeeeeeee!


(The original theme for the first party that was postponed/cancelled)
I love word games &  puzzles and spend a large amount of time playing the popular Words With Friends my User ID is “Kiss N Atl”, if you wanna play. It looks like my girls tried to keep this luncheon in line with what we were going for initially. The invited guests were asked to use one word to describe me and my daughters were going to incorporate those words in the decorating scheme {somehow}.  Though I didn’t get to experience that party, I got a snapshot of the idea.



Below is a birthday greeting from my daughter. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

I want to wish you a very happy and blessed birthday. It is a blessing in itself to make it to 50 but to be 50 and beautiful, vibrant, filled with so much life and joy is utterly amazing. You have been such a blessing to me, especially over the last couple of years and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and I promise, I will pay you back! I don’t say it enough, but I am very appreciative and thankful for all that you do for me; you are strong, funny, loving, confident, inspiring, supportive, spiritual, witty, funny, intelligent and most of all, a woman that I pray God gives me the strength to be. I see the people around you that love you and that think so highly of you and I am so thankful that God’s favor is all around you. There are people on this earth that will never make someone laugh, feel loved, appreciated and there are people on this earth that will never get a surprise party or video messages or cards or special vegan cakes or gifts from the heart; not only did you get that but God gave you 50 years full of experience and people that love you, including me. So today, and every day I salute you; happy birthday. I’ll drink to that! I love you with all of my heart Ma!

Happy Birthday!


Kissie’s Birthday gift from some that love you!



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