provided by Microsoft

Almost everybody can look back and reflect on things they’ve done and regretted.  That’s definitely one option that many (including myself) have indulged in.  But hey, let’s take this opportunity to do differently.  Let’s start with forgiving ourselves. 

Maybe because we were ashamed of ourselves, brought on by some indiscretion; we allowed someone to abuse us and inwardly we knew better.   Perhaps we were mean to people who were trying to be kind or truthful to us – shutting them out of our lives.  Maybe, because of paralyzing depression, we didn’t do all that we could have or got involved in some kind of harmful addiction(s).  The list goes on.  But now is the time to let it go and forgive ourselves.

Scientists say that you will find it easier to forgive others than you do yourself.   Isn’t that peculiar?  I’ve heard it said this way; treat yourself like you would your best friend.  Would you do or say a particular thing to your best friend?  No?  Well, don’t say it to yourself.  Wouldn’t you give your friend the benefit of the doubt?  Then give it to yourself as well.

A chronic state of anger and resentment interferes with life.  According to Sharon A. Hartman, LSW and clinical trainer at the Caron Foundation, “When resentment is interfering with your life, it’s time to forgive yourself.  It’s been said that forgiving doesn’t mean not being angry with yourself, but it means not hating yourself.”  Because, truth be told, we all mess up.  Just don’t live in that moment perpetually or let one stupid period of your life define your life.

Hartman continues, “It’s about relinquishing a source of pain and letting go of resentment. People think forgiving yourself means you are letting yourself get away with whatever you did.  The pain and anger you are feeling are supposed to be our punishment.”  But the point is that the punishment should fit the crime.  Don’t overdo it.


Of course, there’s therapy; but do you have a small number of friends or family on your side?  Or a deep faith?  Then talk it out.  Many have found grace using these avenues.  Grace is defined as unmerited help given to one, meaning, whether we deserve it our not, some assistance was extended.  It is an act of love.

You’ll know when you have forgiven yourself.  Hartman says, “You know you have done it when the memory gives you no more pain and anger.  It’s as simple as that.  You can say, ‘I am free of this,’” You never forget it, but it doesn’t trouble you as before.  But remember, forgiveness is complete when we are transformed or when we have learned the lesson and will not allow ourselves to repeat the action.

Ultimately, by applying these suggestions, we will have a less troubled life.  We will have a longer and healthier life.  And we will want to live a good life despite our frailties. 

Black History – 15 Interesting Facts


If you didn’t already know, February is Black History month.  This month-long celebration started out as the Negro History Week Celebration first organized by Carter G. Woodson.  It was chosen because two birthdays came during this time –Frederick Douglas’ and Abraham Lincoln’s.

I ran upon some interesting facts about Black History and just wanted to share.  Take a gander at the information listed below.

Xavier University, a historically black college in Louisiana, has one of the highest success rates in the country of getting their graduates into medical school.

Spelman College in Atlanta is NOT the only historically black college for women, Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina is the other one.

Victor Blanco was the Black mayor of San Antonio in 1809 – before slavery was abolished, while Texas was still part of Mexico.

Frank Wills, a Black security guard, discovered President Nixon’s cover-up which later caused his resignation as President of the United States. Despite Wills’ discovery, he struggled to find work for the rest of his life.

Benjamin T. Montgomery, a former slave, bought the plantations of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at the end of the Civil War, and became one of the biggest cotton planters in Mississippi.

Rex Ingram, a Black actor, bypassed the stereotypes by playing a meaningful role in the film “The Green Pastures” in 1936.

Sophia Tucker and Harriet Giles, the founders of Spelman College, used just $100 to found this Historically Black College.

The African American advisors to President Franklin D. Roosevelt were called the “Black Brain Trust.”

Vermont was the first U.S. territory, in 1777, to abolish slavery. Pennsylvania was the first state to do so, in 1780.

Dr. William Hinton, a Black physician, is credited with creating a test to detect the syphilis disease.

In 1959, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors in Prince Edward County, Virginia, voted to close its public schools in a show of “massive resistance” against integration.  The vast majority of the county’s 1,700 African American students and some white students went without formal education from 1959–1964.

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, an African American from Sainte-Domingue (Haiti), built the first permanent settlement in what would become Chicago in 1779.

Alonzo Pietro, a Black Spaniard explorer, set sail with Christopher Columbus to the “New World.”

Walter S. McAfee is the African American mathematician and physicist first to calculate the speed of the moon.  On January 10, 1946 a radar pulse was transmitted towards the moon. Two and a half seconds later, they received a faint signal, proving that transmissions from earth could cross the vast distances of outer space.

Henry Highland Garnett, born a slave in Kent County, MD was named Minister of Liberia in 1881. He was also President of Avery College in Allegany, PA.

Rare Disease Day – February 28, 2014

RDD_whiteThere are well-known diseases such as diabetes, cancer or arthritis.  And then there are rare diseases in which the names alone could take up a whole line.  Try saying trimethylaminuria (TMAU) three times.  TMAU, although reportedly not fatal, can be crippling due to extremely unpleasant symptoms like foul breath and body odor due to the body’s lack of ability to break down a certain common chemical found in food.

Not a problem you say?  Try being a nine-year-old kid that stinks to high heaven while going to public school.  Not fun.  And yes, this condition affects young and old.  There is no cure.

Maybe you’re one of many who like to look at shows about strange disorders and diseases.  We as humans have a never-tiring fascination of strange medical conditions that people may develop or are born with.  I can remember watching a show where a young man was growing tree-like warts all over his body.  Another time there was a lady on a program whose legs were so swollen that movement was almost impossible.  Both of these conditions baffled the medical community.  Myself, I was stunned to learn of such ailments.

But it wasn’t until I was personally touched by how rare disease can alter your life that I learned that you not only should feel something, but should do something as well.  That’s why Rare Disease Day, February 28, 2014, is so important.  The US 
Rare Disease Day website states:

“Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day to bring widespread recognition of rare diseases as a global health challenge. The day is celebrated on the last day of February every year. In 2014, it will be observed on February 28th.  In the U.S., any disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people is considered rare. This definition comes from the 
Orphan Drug Act of 1983 and is slightly different from the definition used in Europe. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans. In other words, almost one in ten Americans are suffering from rare diseases.  Besides dealing with their specific medical problems, people with rare diseases struggle to get a proper diagnosis, find information, and get treatment. The rarity of their conditions makes medical research more difficult.”

Anyone can be involved in Rare Disease Day and there are many suggested activities. The day has been established as a grassroots advocacy day and we encourage everyone to participate in some way!

This website focuses on Rare Disease Day activities in the U.S. To learn what’s happening around the world, go to the global Rare Disease Day website at”

If you are suffering with a rare disorder or know someone who is, then this event was created for you.  Additionally, for those who are moved to do something and even if you can’t do much, just do what you can.  
NORD, the National Organization of Rare Diseases, will accept donations as low as a dollar.  Hey, it all adds up.

Remember, Alone We are Rare.  Together We are Strong.

Tips for Easy Tax Filing

taxesAll right guys, it’s that time again.  Tax time!  Don’t everybody jump out of sheer excitement.  For some, these words mean money, for others, not so much.  But the way I view it, it’s like pulling out a loose tooth.  Might as well do it now and get it over with.

Listed below are three points that might help:

This point cannot be emphasized enough:  Don’t procrastinate!  You don’t have to do it all in one day or weekend.  You can do a little at a time.  That way, you are sure to make fewer mistakes and not overlook possible tax savings.

Use Free File or try IRS e-fileFree file:  if you made less than 57,000 last year you can take advantage of free brand-name tax software offered around this time.  Another option is to go to to access the IRS Free File.

IRS e-file:  This is a very accurate, easy and popular way to file.  On a good note:  even if you file now and find out you owe, you don’t have to pay until April 15th.

And for us that need it, you can always file an extension.  So say your return is not ready and April 15th is fast approaching.  You can request an extension through the Free File program.  This will get you an extra six months to work on your taxes.  For those who want to go the paper route:  use Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).  You can download the form at or call 1800-TAX-FORM (1800-829-3676).  Here’s the catch:  you still have to pay any taxes owed by April 15th.  The extension gives you more time to work on your tax return; it does not give you more time to pay.

Wrong Number


Angry woman on phoneShe clasps her genteel fingers around the receiver
playing with her hair
she smiles deliciously and says

- I don’t know.

Then huskily laughs as she turns
to sit on her quaint little couch
plopping her feet up with her knees bent
she feigns innocence as she retorts

- I told you, I don’t know.

She raises her lanky arm
over her forehead and
closes her eyes
bursting in hysterical laughter
she flings out her arm and
sits straight up like a shot

- You’ll do what? Do it. I dare you.

Her eyebrow is raised in wicked delight
she slowly lies back down
propping one hand behind her head

- Um…that will be the day.

Her eyes suddenly narrows and
with that round-the-way twang
she taunts loudly

- For the last time, he’s not here. And until you
start acting like a father, stop calling
him your son!

With an abrupt fling, the phone flies
to the other side of the quaint little couch
she stares aimlessly until a small voice interrupts

- Momma?

There is silence

- Momma?

She turns to the little figure
bearing the biggest brown eyes
and graceful long lashes

- What baby?

- Who was that?

- Umm…wrong number.

What We Can Learn From Nelson Mandela

MandelaAlthough I am definitely not of any political persuasion, I have to say Nelson Mandela’s death had a surprising effect on me.  I personally feel that the changes we need earth wide will not be brought about by a man, any group of men, or even a woman.  It will take a stronger and wiser Personage to handle this hot mess we’ve got goin’ on down here.

That said, even though Mandela was a man – and by his own admission, a flawed and imperfect one – he has left an indelible mark in history.  For one, I was struck by his loyalty and single-minded dedication to a higher cause than himself.  But shouldn’t we all have that quality?  Let’s ask ourselves, is there something in my life that is worth more than life itself?  I’ve noticed that when such is the case, a noble purpose drives individuals to enrichment of character and fortitude.

No, I’m not encouraging fanaticism, instead, deep reflection as to whether those of us who live for our jobs, our beauty, or accolades will still have happy and fulfilled lives when these things are gone.  It is of the utmost importance to live for something honorable, greater and that has an unfading value.

Secondly, we can learn patience from Mandela.  How many could endure 27 years in prison and come out without an overwhelming feeling of bitterness and anger?  I’ve since learned that Mandela initially took up violent ways to accomplish his purpose before being sentenced to jail time.  Later, however, he realized that violence was not the answer.  This he learned in the 27 years he spent behind bars.

Now, most of us will not have to endure 27 years in prison but are we dealing with long-term illnesses of our own or of a loved one we care for?  Are we struggling to save our marriage or are we wrangling with a moody teenager?  These situations can be stressful and can easily make us throw up both hands.  But wouldn’t it be better not to give up so quickly and find a way to cope and hopefully improve matters?  Do we think Mandela did this on his own?  No, he had cellmates that became his friends.  They no doubt gave him strength and the encouragement to go on.  So where is our support?  Let’s be adamant about having that in our lives.  We all need it, especially when struggling with difficult times. 

Finally, some have placed Mandela on a very high pedestal and gave him sainthood.  I would rather see his flaws, problems, struggles and pain so I can learn from them.  It’s something I can relate to.  I’ve never known a perfect person and would not know what that was like.  But I can connect to imperfection, the ups and downs of life, disappointments, death, and hope.  And that’s why we all can connect and relate to Mandela – he was unabashedly human.  He exhibited the complexities of any person put in similar circumstances.  Did he struggle? Yes.  Did he fall? Of course!  But most of all, he prevailed.  And that, my friend, gives us all hope.

You May Be a Mean Girl If…

Image by Microsoft

Image by Microsoft

I thought almost everybody wanted to be known as a nice person until I met a coworker of mine some years ago.  Let’s call her Amber.  Amber calmly stated that she did not want to be a nice person at all.  She had tried being kind and people either took advantage of her or were very mean to her.  So, she decided that it was not worth it.  She actually felt that it was better to keep her dukes up and always be ready and rocking on go.

Wow.  I was amazed at such an honest admission.  But after some time and life experience I now understand why Amber made this statement.  Just look at the news and count the news articles, blogs, and websites on bullying – people who are purposely mean to people who they think they can dominate over.  Oh, I am not saying that Amber was right.  Why become this angry person with a hair-trigger temperament?  Why allow others to dictate what you become?

This article is not for those of us that have decided we will be the kind, reasonable and sound individuals we were meant to be.  This article is for those who may or may not realize that they have caused a domino effect as described by Amber earlier – people who are mean to others may cause others to decide to become mean as a defense.

Ask yourself if you find yourself constantly and consistently doing the following things.  If you do, then you may be a mean girl if:

  • Do you use sulking, sarcasm and ignoring people to get your way or punish people?
  • Do you understand that bullying is the emotional equivalent of physical violence?
  • Are you a manager, supervisor or head of your household?  People in lead positions are the ones most likely to abuse their authority.
  • Do you feel like you have to blame others for your difficulties?
  • Are you relatively a happy person?  Or are you unhappy about major aspects of your life?

If you really can’t tell, then ask somebody whom you can trust and is not a kiss-butt.  This means someone that will really tell you the truth about who you are and how you act.