Lesson to Learn – To Get What You Want, Learn to Give It

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We’re living in a self-absorbed world, where everyone wants what they want.  Too many times in my life, I’ve witnessed and experienced people in situations where people want what want, but are not willing to give it.

My first realization was during my pledge processes in undergraduate school at Eastern Illinois University.  Many times, I have witnessed a person as a Pledgee and considered to be the weakest link to become a Big Sister/Brother and the strongest Enforcer.  They dished out, what they struggled to take.

I have witnessed this challenge as a parent.  For example, I’ve watched children during role play; where they would play house/school.  The child that struggles to follow the rules (neglecter), becomes an enforcer, when placed in an authoritative position.

It’s a common practice for Teachers to give extra responsibilities to the child that misbehaves; as a distraction.  I’ve used it myself while working as a Substitute Teacher.  For example, I have given the child who misbehaves a helping privilege to pass out paper/pencils.  When they were done and back in their seat, another child says, “Ms. Lawrence, I did not get any paper/pencil.”  I asked the child that passed out the paper, “Why didn’t you give him any paper/pencil?”  Their response was, “He was talking, when I got to him!”  I’m THINKING, “You are strong; that’s all you do is talk!  That’s the only reason I gave you the task; as a attempt to keep you from talking!”  In turn, I SAY, “Please give him the paper/pencil!”

I’ve witnessed this practice most often in the work environment.  For example, a person performance in a subordinate position is inadequate; mainly because they spend less time working and more time groveling with management.  Yet, their groveling usually results in being advantageous and most times they are promoted.  When they are promoted, they become toxic; as a technique to mask their uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy.

For long as I can remember, I’ve tried to utilize the practice of “giving what I want” in every phase of my life, but have come to understand this can be a challenge for some.  These situations have made me aware of the NEED to teach, learn, encourage and promote the ability to “give what you want.”

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I want to encourage others to take time to stop and think before you proceed.  Take time to reflect on yourself, when you were in these same positions, “were you able to meet the goals you are currently expecting of others?”

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I want to encourage others, when you see children role playing and they are performing differently than they perform in those same situation, use it as a teaching moment and bring it to their attention.  “See how now that you are the (authority), you want your (subordinates) to perform?  This is how I expect you to perform, when you venture back to real life; act appropriately.”

I want to encourage teachers to stop granting privilege tasks to misbehaving students.  Use these opportunities as a teaching moment; for students to learn to “earn” a privilege.  For example, “If you are on good behavior today, I will allow you to pass out the paper/pencils tomorrow.”

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I want to encourage people in the work force to lead by example.  Though you may be in management, take time to reflect on when you were in these subordinate positions.  This practice can encourage relationship focused success, increase productivity, morale and loyalty.

One of My Proud Parent Moments

My Son was consistently engaged in swimming from age 9 years old until high school.  By the time he got to high school, he almost hated swimming and his behavior was accordingly.  He had a challenging relationship with his Swim Coach; he had nothing good to say about the Swim Coach and the Swim Coach had nothing good to say about him.

When he turned 16 (working age), he started working as a Swim Instructor and he was amazing.  I was not aware until parents came to me saying, “Your Son is an amazing Swim Instructor!  He is so patient and my child is learning so much with him!”  One parent went on to explain, “The instructors usually stand by the pool and give instructions.  It appeared that my Son was not understanding and immediately Daniel took off his shirt and got in the pool to show him!  As long as I have been coming here, I’ve never seen an Instructor get in the pool!”

I was surprised, because my Son had become so negative about swimming.  I was overjoyed to hear something positive.

The crowning of the moment was when the Swim Coach came to me and said, “I must admit, Daniel is an amazing Swim Instructor!  I was astounded to see the way he worked with the children!  He is so patient and attentive; unlike himself.”  He went on to add a little shade by saying, “I see now, he doesn’t want to follow the rules, he wants to give the rules.”

Despite the shade and through it all, what stood out most for me was “how” he performed.  He did not give the same negativity that he felt he had been receiving.  I was honored to discover that my Son had learned and was able to “give what he wanted!”

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I’m proud to announce that My Son is still performing as an amazing Swim Instructor in his own organization that he has named “Swim Like Magic.”  You can check out his work on his Facebook page – Swim Like Magic

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Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Time to Read with Children is Required Customer Service

We are living in the day where customer service is becoming extinct.

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I remember the time when you would go to the gas station and receive full service; not only would the attendant pump your gas, but wash your front window shield and check your oil.  Then the self service lane became an option; you could receive full service OR pump your own gas.  Now we are living in the day, where there is no more full service; it’s totally self-service and service attendants are extinct.

We are currently seeing the same thing happening in the checkout lanes in the stores.  It used to be cashiers on every lane.  Now, self-checkout is an option; you can go to the cashier or use the self-checkout to check yourself out.  I can clearly see we are moving to the day where it will be totally self-checkout lanes and cashiers will be extinct.

I see the same thing happening at the airport.  Man, how things have changed at the airport; everything that used to be inclusive is now a’ la carte.  It used to be when you bought your airplane ticket, you would receive all inclusive service; including a meal.  Now, there is a fee to check your bags, a fee to assign your seat, a fee to sit in the exit row and a fee to eat food on the plane.  Also, there is the option to check in with the ticket agent or self-check in on the kiosk or online.  I’m sure we are moving to the day where it will be totally self-check out option and ticket agents will be extinct.

The same thing is happening in education.  In order for a child to learn to read, they were taught phonics in school.  When I became a parent and my son struggled with his reading skill, I learned that teaching in school had changed and phonics was no longer being taught in schools.  Today parent-teaching is a requirement.  I struggled with constantly being told that I needed to read with my son for 30 minutes everyday.  I kept thinking, “Nobody ever read with me for 30 minutes and I still learned how to read.”

Through this experience, I’ve learned the best gift a parent can give a child today is to take the time to read with them everyday for 30 minutes; it’s imperative.  If you have a child in school (especially elementary) and you are not reading with each of them for 30 minutes a day, you are doing your child(ren) a disservice.  The task of children learning to read solely in school has become extinct.

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Your children are your customers in your family business and building a relationship is key to learning their needs.  Communication is key to building a customer relationship with your children.  Taking out time to read with them and engaging them in story can help strengthen communication skills.  This will not only enhance your relationship with your child(ren), but improve their reading skills, build their confidence, independence and self-worth.

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If you are a parent and desire for your family business to prosper, you MUST maintain customer service by taking out time to read with your children at least 30 minutes a day!  Hopefully, parent’s desire to raise children to grow up, become independent and do AWESOME things has not become extinct.

Until next time…

Parenting is Changing!

I am a Baby Boomer, raised by the Traditional/Silent Generation.  I can remember after losing my parents and being raised in an abusive home life, I became a bully.  “Children learn what they live.”  I was a bully at school, because I was being bullied at home.  As my empathetic GOD seeds begin to grow, I became an advocate/defender; had the tendency to speak/stand up for others that struggled to do so for themselves.

Encore51I can remember being told too many times, “Worry about yourself.”  I understand what the authority figures were trying to teach, the one that was not speaking or standing up for themselves, “you need to learn to speak or stand up for yourself.”  Yet, what their response did was taught me, “you shouldn’t speak/stand up for others.”

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Now as an adult, who understand the need to examine and evaluate the things I was taught and trained to do, I can see how these situations should have been handled with an interactive approach.  Instead of stomping on the growth of my empathetic seeds, a better response would have been, “Thank you for letting me know.  It appears that you have a good relationship with this person; so how do you think we can work together to get them to speak/stand for themselves?”  This response would have presented inclusion, engagement and collaboration to my empathetic seeds.

I feel the “worry about yourself” response is an easy, comfortable and legitimate response to ignore the problem.  I can only imagine the power of my growth had I been included in the opportunity to embrace the challenge.  I can only imagine the power of the growth of the person that I was speaking/standing up for had they been encouraged to engage in the challenge.  I can only imagine the power of the authority figure to collaborate and watch us both grow in the challenge.

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I was immensely impressed yesterday (March 24, 2018) as I watched the youth (the Gen Z/iGen/Centennials generation) nation-wide engaged in the March for Life.  These youths are being raised by Generation X and/or Generation Y/Millennials and I can tell they have changed the parenting game around!  I can tell these Generation X and Y parents are not saying, “Worry about yourself!”

I can tell these parents have learned that this mentality kills collaboration.  They are saying, “How can I help you, help them?”  While you may see a girl like Marley Dias, an African-American 11-year-old who launched a campaign to collect books that focused on black girls, when she noticed all her mandatory reading was about white boys and dogs.

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I see involved parents focused on encouragement and engagement.

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I can tell these parents have learned to foster inclusion and are not saying, “Do as I say; not as I do!”  I can tell that these parents have learned that this mentality kills innovation.  I can tell they are saying, “What do you want to do about it?!”

While you might see a girl like Naomi Wadler, an African-American 11-year-old who was concerned about Courtlin Arrington, a black girl killed in school shooting, but ignored in the media.

Students and young people gather for the "March for Our Lives" rally demanding gun control in Washington

I see involved parents focused on encouragement and engagement.

Ultimately, I saw the other youth, after watching her modify the march at her elementary school from 17 to 18 minutes to include the life of Courtlin Arrington, embrace inclusion and collaboration by asking her to speak at the March in Washington, DC.

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While you may see Amazing Children doing Amazing things.

I see Amazing ParentsChangers with modified mentality that is encouraging their children to Encore58

Parent Changers, join us at Through It All, Inc. – www.throughitall.org

or join our Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/throughitallincnfp/

Empowering, Encouraging and Promoting a Change in Parenting

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Until next time…

 

 

Discovering My GOD Seeds

I believe the greatest gift you can give yourself is to discover your GOD Seed(s).  These are seeds that were made especially for you, grows within you and used by you.  This has been one of my greatest challenges; discovering what my GOD seed(s) were.

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When I was faced with the challenge of what I would do as an empty-nester, I realized the need to embrace a self-evaluation.  During my self-evaluation period, I realized in order to ascertain my purpose in life, I needed to detect my GOD seeds.  Going into this self-discovery, I knew I had obtained and maintained the gift of resilience.  Yet, I did not see it as a GOD seed, because my resilience had been a learned behavior that was entrust upon me in my need to survive as an abused orphan and a parent-less single-parent.

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I needed to know the seeds that I was born with; not the gifts that I had learned.  I realized this self-discovery should have been initiated and nurtured early in my life and here I was just beginning to explore them as an empty-nester!  I developed an urgent hunger within myself.  It seemed as if the more I craved the discovery, the less I found.

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I decided to resign from my 23 ½ years of federal government service to attend graduate school and hopefully discover my GOD seed(s).  Graduate school did just that for me!  It was after studying abroad in South Africa and during my oral comprehensive exam with Jacquelyn Frank, PhD, Lisa Moyer, PhD and Frances Murphy, PhD.  Dr. Murphy, was the South Africans have affectionally grown to call “Prof,” was my Study Abroad Professor.  During this session, she explained to me for the first time in her many tours of leading students in studying abroad, I was the first student for which she learned so much from!  She further explained how she was moved by my empathy.  After listening to her, I responded by saying, “Well, I’ve always been this way; so, I assumed everyone was this way.”  All three (3) of my Professors unanimously responded, “Oh no, everyone is not that way!”

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Through this awareness, I reflected on how I have always been a defender for people who struggled to stand up for themselves, an advocate for people who struggled to speak for themselves and the first one to join the team of underdogs; I could never thrive in the life of the privileged.  This graduate school session is when and where I realized my gift of empathy must be my GOD seed!

Now, that I knew at least one of my GOD seeds, I wanted to learn more about it.  I slowly began to learn that empathy is on a decline while narcissism is on an incline.  This awareness has presented a challenge for me to discover how can I use my gift of empathy in a world that self-absorbed?!

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Until next time…

National Tell A Fairy Tale Day

In my life experience, I’ve learned the power of reading. Encore42

Since I have been living away from my GrandChildren, I’m always thinking of things that I will do with them, when I have the opportunity to spend with them.  Because I’ve learned the power of reading, I’ve decided that I will read with them as much as possible.  Once I made that decision, I had to decide what to read.  Then I thought about the life lessons that dwell in fairy tales.

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Because I have a strong sense for empathy and believe it is not much of it left in this world, I want to teach my GrandChildren the value of empathy; to help develop compassion, kindness and understanding.

I’ve searched around for fairy tales that teach empathy and found some are:

  1. Cinderella
  2. The Three (3) Bears
  3. Hansel and Gretel
  4. The Princess and the Frog

I plan to read these four (4) fairy tales to my GrandChildren until they are tired.  Yet, in my experience with my GrandDaughter Mink, she never gets tired of reading the same book over and over again.  They may not understand the lesson right now.  I believe repeatedly reading these books will sow the seed and pray they will reap the lesson later.

I encourage you to explore fairy tales to engage with the children in your life; to develop values that you feel are important.  The act of reading with children alone develops empathy.  It is my opinion that empathy in today’s society needs some improvement.  In honor of National Tell A Fairy Day, make a conscious effort and take time to read fairy tales to children!

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Until next time…

The Struggle is Real

My desire and effort to maintain this blog has been challenging, but I aim to rise to the occasion! No matter how many times I have to restart, I will continue to do so until I conquer the challenge of consistently doing so!

Last year (2017) my aim for this blog was inspired by Random Acts of Kindness to acknowledge the people that I am most grateful for having in my life. These are the people that I choose to call My GOD-Given Family. I chose to acknowledge My GOD-Given Family members on their birthdays as a personal opportunity to let them know how much they meant to me.

Due to personal life challenges, I neglected to reach my goal. My last post was on April 23 for My Cousin/Namesake, Jameson Demetri Williams whose birthday is March 26, which means that even that post was untimely.

My lack of consistency to maintain this blog is a replica of my walk on this faithful journey

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This walk of faith is not an easy walk. Just when you think you got it and you’re on your way to running, you can find yourself flat on your back! When you get up, you can realize that you are on the wrong path; which will require you to go back to your starting point and choose a different path. This is where you will need to decide, am I going to start again or am I going to just give up; because “Hell, I’m tired!”

Last year I set some goals to achieve. Yes, THANK GOD I was able to achieve some of my goals, but there were two of them that I failed to achieve;

  1. to maintain this blog with acknowledging my GOD-Given Family and
  2. getting back into the gym at least four (4) days out of the week.

As I mentioned, (2017) my last consistent day for maintaining this blog was April 23.
My last day for consistently going back to the gym was October 14.

My work efforts in accomplishing my other goals, along with life challenges had knocked me on my back with these two goals and I found myself in a halt position with them.

On Tuesday; February 13, 2018 I lost one of My GOD-Given Family members, Doris June Kimble.

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She was born February 02, 1935 (my Mother was born in 1939); so she was a GOD-Given Mother. Her family and my family were raised together in Ress City, IL. You won’t find Ress City on the map, but everyone from East St. Louis, IL knows of its whereabouts. Our families attended the same church, Pilgrim Green Missionary Baptist Church. She and my Mother were brought up together, me and her Daughters (one of her Daughters; Kristine Kimble preceding her in death – 2000) were brought up together and we were bringing our Sons up together

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My Son and The Late Kristine Kimble’s Son, Darryl

until we moved away. Yet, we ALWAYS stayed in touch.

Remember, both of my parents died by the time I was seven years old. So when I got older, and grew a hunger to know more about them; I found very limited information. No matter how much I researched, I came up short. My main motivation to maintain this blog is to prepare for when I am no longer among the living; to leave information about me and my life for my GrandChildren. I am clueless to the day that I will have to check into my reservation of death.

Driven to be the change I want to see, I want to use this blog like Hansel and Gretel in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. When they were abandoned in the woods by their parents with no food to fend for themselves, they followed a beautiful white bird that lead them to a large cottage built of gingerbread, cakes, candy and window panes of clear sugar. When my GrandChildren are older, desire to know more about me and I am no longer around, I pray they use this blog like that beautiful white bird, to lead them to information about me and from me.

As I reflected on losing a GOD-Given Mother, the purpose for maintaining this blog was reignited! Just like in my faith walk; “starting all over again is going to be rough, so rough; but I’m going to make it!” My advice to myself –

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I won’t set any definite goals on how I will maintain this blog for this year. I am committing to a consistent effort to do so with posting as my innate intuitive ability moves me to do so.

Until next time…

Happy Birthday! My #2 Namesake

To those that know me well, you might have noticed that I have not been functioning as my usual self lately, because I’m enduring a readjustment period in my life.  Lately, I’ve been late posting “Happy Birthday” messages on Facebook and I’ve fell off with posting on my blog as well.  Though, I may have fell behind, I have not given up and am working everyday to successfully manage all of the things I feel I need to regularly accomplish daily.  I’m determined to successfully reach my daily goals and am asking for your prayers in doing so.

One of my greatest challenges is maintaining this blog.  So PLEASE bear with me as I work to conquer this challenge.

One of my goals for this year, as suggested by Random Acts of Kindness,  was to acknowledge people for whom I am grateful to have in my life with a Thank You Note.  I am far behind with these Thank You posts, but I do plan to catch up.

I want to go back to March 26 and acknowledge someone who IS blood-related to me

and is my #2 Namesake,
Jameson Demetri Williams;
which was his 16th Birthday!

Jameson was born in 2001, is a multi-sport athlete that excels in football and track,

 

to my Maternal Cousin, James De’Lonne Williams, Sr. and
his wife, Tianna DeMecko Swinney-Williams.

 

 

He is their third child of four and their second son of three.  Though Jameson is working hard to become a champion athlete, all of his siblings are successful athletes and they have the hardware to prove it!

His parents were high school sweethearts, been together since high school and both were devout track runners.  Their track skills/abilities gave him the genetic potential to become a champion athlete.

I was living in Evanston, IL but was in the St. Louis Metropolitan area for the funeral of a GOD-Given relative, Betty Jean Route.  The day I was to return home, we got the message that Cousin Tiana had been admitted in labor and delivery.  Being the supportive family member I aim to be, I rushed to the hospital to give moral support.

When I arrive, Tianna was laying down being monitored.  After I had been there a while, the nurse came in and highly suggested she get up and walked the halls.  I walked with her.  We walked and talked about old things, new things, good things, bad things; our kids, our visions; anything we could think of.  When she got tired, we went back to the room for her to rest.  Hours later, she got back up and we walked the halls even more.

Finally, when she reached 10 centimeters, my camera and I were right there!  I watched and captured in amazement, every second of Jameson’s first seconds of life!  I still have the pictures, but I won’t post them.  It was the most beautiful thing I had witnessed in my life!  I was so excited; I felt like I was part of parentage!

De’Lonne and Tianna followed a family traditional trend of naming their children with the first name initial J and the middle name initial D.  For this reason, coupled with me being a primary supporter of his birth, I begged them to make his middle name Demetris!  Tianna informed me that the naming was left solely to De’Lonne, the Dad.  After my consistent begging, he settled to drop the “s” and give him Demetri!

Jameson Demetri has been My Boy every since!

Due to my nomad lifestyle, I haven’t been close enough to build a true relationship with him.  Notice, my pictures are all from when he was a little guy; I don’t have any of him as a teenager.  Cousin Tianna, his Mother, has been most diligent in keeping me abreast of his achievements and boy there has been many!

His Pop Warner football team, The Future, has won the Super Bowl multiple times!  He has been running track with Herbert Hoover and has place 1st in the AAU Junior Olympics multiple times!  He has won so many times that he’s no longer races against his opponents.  He’s racing against himself to break records!

To Jameson, I want to say:

For your birthday I want to tell you how grateful I am to have you in my life.  Thank you for being who you are!

I am most inspired by your determination to

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I want you to know that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m with you in Spirit and always cheering for you!

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Park Forest, Illinois

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To My Blog Followers, I want to say “Remember My Boy, Jameson Demetri Williams; because

HE WILL

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Happy Birthday! GOD-Given Sister

Tuesday; March 14 was the birthday of someone, who is not blood-related to me, but has grown and lived in my life as a Sister;
Ellen Regina Hartley-Nauls
on her 55th Birthday!

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Ellen and I instantly became Best Friends on our initial meeting of first day of 7th Grade at Hughes-Quinn Junior High School in East St. Louis, Illinois.  Our personalities were as opposite as our physical appearance.  She’s short and I’m tall; she’s petite and I’m plus size; she’s quiet and I’m loud; she’s calm and I’m excited; she’s easy love and I’m tough love; she’s ying and I’m yang.  Though we have opposite characteristics, we became the best of friends for life!

We went to the same high school at Lincoln Senior High School and graduated together in 1980.  After we graduated, she moved to Houston, Texas to attend Texas Southern University and she has been a Texas resident every since.  She has planted her roots there; graduated from college, gotten married and had her children.

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When it came time for me to choose a GODMother for my Son, she was my choice!  She has been the BEST GODMother to my Son…

…and an even GREATER GrandGODMother to my GrandChildren!

Ellen,  On your birthday I want to tell you how grateful I am to have you in my life.  Thank you for being who you are!

I am most inspired by your love for family!

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With Her Sisters; Betty, Tisha and Pat

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With Her Immediate Family; Jared (Son), Jasmine (Daughter) and Stanford (Husband)

I am, also, inspired by your ability to do the right thing and follow the rules!  Whenever I am faced with describing the type of person you are, I always use the scenario of how you are always willing to help, but steadfast in following the rules!

It was during our vacation in Nuevo Vallarta Nay, Mexico for Magic (my Son) & LaToya (my Daughter-In-Law)’s wedding.  By the time we had all settled in and christened the upgraded Texas Family Suite with our first Family Gathering as our Hospitality Hot Spot…

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Magic & LaToya’s Wedding Guest in the upgraded Texas Family Suite

…some decided to take the festivities to the pool for some Late Night Swimming!  You decided that you would check out the scene before you joined in.

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The pool partiers (Tyrone, Sheree, Jasmine and Syliva) realized that they forgot to retrieve pool towels and asked you to take their towel cards to get some for them.  As you are always willing to assist, you went.  You came back with the towels and the announcement, “Hey guys, they said the pool is closed!”  They received the information and the towels, but continue to engage in their pool fun.  As you and I sat on the side to watch, Sherrie said, “Hey Gina, I thought you were going to get in the pool?!”  And you calmly repeated, “They said the pool is closed!”

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I am most grateful for your compassionate spirit.  As your friend, I came to know, learn and understand your apathetic demeanor was no indication for your naturally high degree of emotional intelligence to help and comfort others.  You have been one of my first classic examples of understanding the true meaning of a deep-rooted TRUE friendship.  I want to THANK YOU for not deserting me, when things got rough for me; sticking by me through my Highs and Lows.

It has been 30 years and I am still disappointed that I was not financially able to serve as a Brides Maid in your wedding, when you called on me to do so.

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I’m most grateful for your ability to be trustworthy and keep it REAL; telling me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear.

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Your friendship is an invaluable treasure that I am
TRULY GRATEFUL to GOD for giving me
43 years ago!

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Happy Birthday! GOD-Given Niece

Today I want to acknowledge my blood-related Maternal First Cousin, 1x removed, Michelle Candice Lawrence
on her 36th Birthday!

Michelle is my Cousin, but has grown in my life like a Niece; which makes her My GOD-Given Niece.

We are Sisters in the Greek World;
Michelle is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
I am a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.;
which displays our individual uniqueness and does not disturb our love.

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Michelle,  On your birthday I want to tell you how grateful I am to have you in my life.  Thank you for being who you are!

I am most inspired by your determination to achieve your goals.  I watched you remain steadfast in obtaining your Bachelor degree in Nursing while becoming a first-time Mother.

Ten years later, I watch you achieve your Master degree in Nursing while being a single parent of two (2) children!

I’m PROUD of YOU, Cousin Michelle!

I’ll never forget the GREAT time we had in Phoenix that weekend in that vacation home !

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in Phoenix, Arizona

 You are a prime example of embracing a journey of the strong!

 

I am most grateful to see your Cousin kinship with my Son and his family grow.

THANK YOU for being Our GOD-Given Family!

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Happy Birthday! GOD-Given Brother

Today I want to acknowledge someone who is not blood-related to me, but has grown and lived in my life as a Brother;
Tyrone Cortez Davis
on his 55th Birthday!

Tyrone and I were in the same class 7th – 9th grade at Hughes-Quinn Junior High School.  We went to the same high school at Lincoln Senior High School and graduated together in 1980.  We went to the same college at Eastern Illinois University.  Even though we had been attending school together since 7th grade, our relationship as siblings did not grow until we started college together.  He was my Home Boy from home; which started him being my GOD-Given Brother!

We are also siblings in the Greek World;
Tyrone is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
I am a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

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Ty,  On your birthday I want to tell you how grateful I am to have you in my life.  Thank you for being who you are!

I am most inspired by your ability to accept challenges of the unknown in spite of your fears.  Remember Mr. Backstrom at Hughes-Quinn, our teacher that was the beast in paddling kids?!  I remember when you would accept the classroom challenge to purposely do something that would force him give you a paddling!  We wanted to see who was strong enough to take a paddling from him with no fear or flinch.  You would work extra hard to be the one and most times you were the one!

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I am most grateful for you being one of my most reliable friends.  You were there for me, when I was pregnant with my son and feeling unsupported.  I will never forget the many times I called on you for assistance and you always came through.  It was during this time I learned that you have a beautiful heart.

Though, I thought some of your actions were kind of crazy, I knew you had a good heart.  

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It was 30 years later, when your loyalty came full circle and you agreed to not only attend my Son’s wedding in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, but to stand as one of his Best Men.

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It was meaningful that you were there for me, when my Son was in the womb and you were there for him as he took a major step in his adulthood.

It was hilarious at the reception, when all of the Best Men ran from the garter toss.  You volunteered to be blindfolded and place the garter on the bouquet catcher’s leg.  Only to be surprised that they implemented a switch-a-roo and my Son changed seats with the bouquet catcher!

I was not surprised watching you trying to get my GrandDaughter Mink to allow you to take a picture with her.  I kept telling you not to take it personally, because she had been turning people down all week, but you were adamant that you could convince her.  This was your best shot!

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I am most appreciative for your handyman skills, coupled with you having a good heart; which were both beneficial to me as a homeowner.  I was truly impressed when you were able to input a ceiling fan and all of its connections in my living room that was not prepped for one!  THANK GOD for the distance we lived apart, because I probably would have gotten on your nerves with requests!

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Just like blood-related brothers and sisters, we have had some sibling rivalry!  Remember, for a minute, I thought you were the devil; because your crazy actions could some times get out of hand.  Just when I was about to etch you out of my life, you found GOD; which saved our friendship!  “He may not come, when you want him but he’s ALWAYS right on time!”

THANK YOU for being a TRUE Brother and Friend!

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