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  I only have four more days to work before I retire from corporate America. It’s not only a dream come true, but it’s a miracle. For the past thirty years I have suited up and shown up for my nine- to-five gigs. Over those three decades I have worked at five major corporations—the longest for twelve years. I often fantasized about being free do what I love—write books, direct and produce plays and act, but I never actually thought it would become a reality. I figured I’d have to hit the lottery for that to happen. Someone once said, “There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” So no, hitting the lottery didn’t afford me to retire, but stepping out of bed, out of the house, into the car, and into the office every day for 7,200 days, 57,600 hours, keeping my debt nominal, saving my money, and keeping the faith in my Creator, has resulted in me being able to leave the work force and enter the world of dreams. It’s interesting the responses you get when you tell people you’re going to retire. Immediately, eyes get wide, brow...
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  My coworker gasped and I braced myself for what she had to say. The last thing I expected was for her to tell me Nelson Mandela died today. A wave of sadness overtook me and I fought back tears. Nelson Mandela was a monumental figure and leader who knew no fears. Twenty-seven of his ninety-five years spent in captivity—a punishment for fighting for the rights of people who look like me. Determined to abolish Apartheid and its insidious rules, no one can fill Nelson Mandela’s shoes. A Xhosa, born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela had ambition early.  He studied law and joined the ANC (African National Congress), determined to fight the powers that be. He served as the President of the ANC from 1991 to 1997—still fighting the good fight for his brethren. He wrote his autobiography and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid. His name by then was known worldwide. In 1994 he led the ANC to victory and became the first black South African president, making history. He will be revered and remembered from this ...
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  The month of September is somewhat bittersweet. The sweetness can be attributed to my book launch party for my latest novel “The Baby in the Window” that took place August 24. It was a great success and I’m still basking in the aftermath.  The bitterness is because my mother died in the month of September thirty-eight years ago. It’s also the month a lot of schools reconvene and invariably my mind is flooded with stomach-cringing memories of Kindergarten.   There I stood in front of my kindergarten class, trembling like a leaf on a windy day. I was wearing a navy blue jacket with fake fur around the collar. I held my breath while the teacher stumbled over my name. “Class, let’s all give Al…Areth…Alaret…Alretha a warm welcome.”  I lifted my head and took in the twisted faces of my classmates as they shouted BOO!!! BOO!!! BOO!!!!  My stomach sank and my eyes filled with crocodile tears that I tried to blink back. It was too late. I wiped my eyes trying to keep the salty water from falling onto the floor. My body was shuddering, rack...
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Is it just me, or have we become a password-driven society? I have more passwords than I can remember and all the identity theft experts caution against writing them down. I’m like the woman in the shoe who had so many kids she didn’t know what to do. I have so many passwords I don’t know what to do. I need a password to access a plethora of financial, literary, and social media websites. To manage, I’ve tried to use only a few different passwords for my various accounts, but even then I forget them. This leads to a nerve-racking guessing game that ends with me being locked out. I invariably sit at the computer gaping at the screen, feeling like a dunce. It’s the same feeling you get when you inadvertently close the door while going to retrieve the mail, not realizing that it’s locked, or when you’re in a hurry and you lock your keys in the car. It’s that feeling of being on the outside and wanting in, but dreading the changes you’re going to have to go through to be readmitted into the club. And that leads to major frustration, especially when I’m tryin...
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    “Maybe you’re just like my mother. She’s never satisfied.” If you know anything about Prince, you’ll recognize the aforementioned line from his song “When Doves Cry.” A conversation with a co-worker this morning made me think about this lyric. Prince has a point. Like the mother in “When Doves Cry,” oftentimes we’re never satisfied. I took a moment today to assess my gratitude level. Do I have more ‘tude than gratitude? Do I whine, complain, and roll my eyes at the least of inconveniences? If I get honest with myself, on a gratitude scale of one to ten, I’m probably a five. That number surprised me, because I actually thought I was a very grateful person. But when I reflected on my overall attitude, I’m really just a five and that’s unacceptable. God has truly blessed me and that’s no cliché. It’s real. Twenty years ago, I was living in a one room dive, driving a hooptie, and working for minimum wage. I spent most of my days thinking about myself and what I was gonna wear to the club and who was gonna buy me a drink. I was disconnected from ...
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