“We can’t understand their lives until we walk a day in someone else’s shoes. And, because the shade of our skin isn’t interchangeable, what we can do, is we can all stand (or kneel) together to affect positive change, not for one, but for all. For this dream to become reality, we must change the way we look at each other, realize that the strongest thing that binds us is color…not the color of our skin, but the color of the blood that courses through each of our veins. And whether you like it or not, that color makes us equal and all the same.”
~ Nonnie Jules
Take a look:
Who can believe that in 2016, we are still feeling the effects of racism?
What I can believe is this, if we can’t talk about it, we can’t change it. And, until we start having those deep conversations about our unfounded fears and biases, then we will remain rooted in this cycle of RACISM. See how I’m not afraid to say that? I’m not afraid to say it, because I’m intelligent enough to know that it does still exist and you don’t have to have brown skin to realize what your eyes can clearly see.
Some of you will read this post, watch this video and leave without sharing a comment…because it makes you uncomfortable. Well, then, you make me a little uncomfortable. You see, I don’t worry about the people who aren’t afraid to call a pig a pig or a snake a snake. I worry most about the ones who try to pretend and make that pig and snake into something other than what they are, because they don’t like how the pig or the snake looks.
Ask yourself: Why can I comment on any of Nonnie’s other posts about books, children, and writing processes, but I don’t feel comfortable “touching” on subjects such as this one?
Hey, you…yes, YOU…the uncomfortable ones…stand in front of a mirror and take a good look at what you see…and if what you see on the outside appears to be OK, then you might want to look a little deeper, before your uncomfortable-ness turns into an unwarranted fear, and then that unwarranted fear turns into ignorance, and then that ignorance, into bloodshed of people who don’t have to die.
#ChangeComesWhenWeAllTakeAStand (or kneel)
if you don’t like it, then that’s your problem.
Go out and change someone’s world today, in a positive way!
Recently, I wrote a post where I briefly spoke on the difference between being traditionally published and Indie published; that post was called “Why I Choose To Be An Indie Author.” A fellow RRBC member, who is traditionally published, made a comment to the effect that you have more promotion and support, etc., when you are traditionally published. Well, here I am again, dropping my little two-cents on that matter.
While watching a talk show earlier today (I sometimes have to take breathers, you know), there was an author who writes under the umbrella of one of my genres. These days, anytime I am watching a talk show or a news program and the word author pops up, I immediately run to my computer to look the author up. I belong to an organization of such awesome people, that who knows, it could be a fellow member of mine getting some major talk-show attention!
Turns out, I don’t know this author and I don’t know her work, but when I went to Amazon, I did take notice of some of her stats of the book that was being promoted on the talk show. The title of the book was called GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, and the author, Rene Syler, who has worked as an anchor of CBS’s, The Early Show.
After reading the blurb, I noticed this book had only 14 reviews so I assumed that it must have been a new release. Reading a bit further, I was shocked to find that this book had been published in 2007! WOW! That was approximately 9 years ago! Then, I noticed the book was published by Simon and Schuster…one of the largest English-language publishers, founded in 1924, and a division of powerhouse, CBS. (I guess that would definitely land them in the BIG traditional publishing lane, right?)
Now, in comparison, I’d like to share my stats…little ole’ me stats, as they stand today. I am an Indie Author, I am a partner in my small publishing company, 4WillsPublishing, and I have authored to-date, three titles, co-authored one, and have appeared in a couple of anthologies. Please, pay very close attention:
*May, 2013, published “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…” a Parenting Guide – 25 reviews
*November, 2013, published “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER…” a Novel – 81 reviews
*March, 2014, published “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY…” a Non-Fiction/Self-Help guide – 66 reviews
*February, 2015, published “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…” a Poetry book – 18 reviews
Again, I am an Indie Author and I wear that title with great Pride. I don’t have, nor have I ever had, a big publishing house standing behind, beside, or in front of me. Yet, going back to the words of my fellow member, and I quote: “The big negative to being an indie author is that you don’t get the book reviews and exposure that a big house can offer. I’ve found that most frustrating,” I’m going to have to beg to differ.
I don’t need to say anymore, do I? Not when the proof is clearly in the dates and the reviews, right? I’m just going to leave you with my famous stare-glare and a two-word question in response to my fellow member’s opinion of traditional vs Indie publishing:
-________________- “Oh, really?”
Cheers to being Indie!
“Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.”
I have come to the realization that I am a very strong advocate for Social Justice, which would probably pit me against, or make me a strong opponent of Social Injustice. Agreed? OK.
While tuned in to The View Show this morning, I find that Comedian and Actor, D. L. Hughley has been invited to sit down with Megyn Kelly of Fox News. Now, I love news talk, especially when the hosts and the guests are very respectful of one another and there’s intelligent dialogue. So, when The View plays the ‘clip’ of that back-and-forth interview, it gave me a reason to chat with you today:
Many of you have often heard me say that I don’t “do” rude. I have absolutely zero tolerance for rude people anywhere in society, especially when it isn’t warranted…or when someone’s rude to another, simply because they’re having a bad day. (Bad days should be kept in the privacy of your own bedroom). Whether it’s in the supermarket, in the restaurant, in the movie theater, or on television, rude is just unacceptable. There are many, many reasons to extend kindness towards others, so why would anyone drive away opportunities to land on the positive side of things, just to expel such negative energy? Rudeness is also wasted energy.
It matters not who was right or wrong during this sit-down, Hughley was an invited guest in Kelly’s “house,” so to speak. Now, would you ever show rudeness in your home towards your guests? If you did, I can assure you, that soon your address would be placed in the ‘no-visit-zone’ by many of your friends.
Getting back to this awful display of rudeness above, in horror, I watched Megyn Kelly raise her voice at D. L. Hughley and on several occasions, she even cut him off mid-sentence, and was just plain insulting. When he made a “WOW!” comment, she said, “Don’t WOW Me,” and that’s when he growled back…with reason. Did she expect that because he was in ‘her’ house that he was going to back down from her sarcasm and rudeness? I, for one, am glad that he did not.
I’m not writing this piece because I have anything against Kelly, Hughley, or even Fox News. I’m writing this piece because I want to bring to light, that no matter our differences on race, politics, religion or even the weather, it’s important that we allow the other side, the other opinion, the opinion that is so far away from ours, the courtesy and respect of being heard, being listened to, and feeling safe in the fact that we don’t, and won’t always agree. We must always remain open to the fact that there are opinions and views that won’t always resemble ours and that’s OK.
I’m saddened by all the chaos that we’re living thru right now. Every time I turn on the news or log onto my computer, there is a story about the two black men who were senselessly killed by white police officers, and also the stories of the five white police officers who were targeted and senselessly killed in Dallas. My heart aches with sadness for all.
But, here’s my stance: #BlackLivesMatter #WhiteLivesMatter #BrownLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter.
Daily, we sit behind keyboards without the luxury of being able to lunch together in the same restaurant, or even share a cup of tea in a local Starbuck’s, but I love all my people here, and their skin color, matters not. I love Gwen Plano, Rhani D’Chae and Marlena Smith and they’re white (per the textbooks); I love Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko and Linda Mims and they’re black (per the textbooks); I love Jan Hawke and Harmony Kent from across the pond and they both speak funny because they’re from the Queen’s land, (but, I still love them!). I’m saying this to say, that there are clearly those obvious differences in the shades of our skin, the texture of our hair and maybe even, the color of our eyes, but how important are those things, really? In the grand scheme of things, they shouldn’t matter at all because WE ALL BLEED RED.
In closing, I’m asking you all to lose the rude and gain momentum on the respect. Learn to listen and appreciate the views and differences of others…grow in your tolerance of those things that don’t mimic what you see in the mirror, and stop allowing those little things to separate and divide us.
Lastly, always remember that when you invite someone into ‘your house,’ please allow them to express their opinions freely, openly, without interruption and name-calling, and most importantly, without judgment.
…equates to a better and safer world for us all.
What is your stance on rudeness? We’d love to hear from you below.
“The only people I owe my Loyalty to, are those that never made me question theirs.”
Here at WATCH NONNIE WRITE! I try to blog about life issues, for the most part. Yes, you may happen upon other topics important to me such as writing (and writing well, I might add), etc., but in my little corner of the world, I want you to drop by to see what my offering is, and then I want you to walk away changed…and hopefully, for the better. If not changed, then deep in thought over what I’ve shared.
By now, all who know me online and off, should be keenly aware of how big Loyalty is to me. It’s not very often that you find people who stand steadfastly in your corner, right or wrong, until the very end. If you are blessed to find such a person, hold on to them, and never let them go.
My position as head of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, as well as my position in society in my offline world, does not afford me the luxury to trust all who come before me. I tend to keep people at a safe distance, feeling them out, listening to their words, but more importantly, paying close attention to their actions. Many of you have heard me often say that “I’m not one of those people that you can tell just anything to.” No, I’m one who questions 95% of everything. (So please, be careful when you decide to throw me a fib-bone).
In raising two (almost) perfect daughters, one of the first things I taught them and continually teach, is to question everything. My second DD (darling daughter) would often ask: “Mommy, may I ask you something?” …and my response was always, “You can ask Mommy anything.” I then took it a bit farther and would say, “Never be afraid to ask questions where there is plenty of room for answers. Don’t be so accepting of all that people try to feed you.” Many parents fail in this arena because they model for their children that to accept anything that’s fed to us, is A-OK. In my world, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Well, it seems I’m kinda sorta straying from my topic of Loyalty…my apologies, so let me get back on track. I try to surround myself with people who seem interesting to me, people who might have exhibited extreme kindnesses, and definitely people who I find to be selfless and supportive of others. In that, I never know if I’m going to get what I command around me, and that is Loyalty at all times. Sometimes I’ve hit home runs, but sadly, many times, not. (Thank God for my gift of seeing people for who they really are, most often, before they actually reveal their true selves to me). But, I must admit, I have been duped a time or two.
Loyalty is not a word, it’s a way of life, I’ve heard it said. Yet, it’s so true, as it is exactly how I live my life. I, personally, am loyal to a fault…when I’m in your corner, you know that I’m in your corner, and the protection of my love and my wrath upon all who might seek to harm you, is your shield. Sadly, I can count on my one hand those who I have received this kind of loyalty from in return. But, that is the world we live in.
The purpose of this message today is to encourage you to look deep inside yourself to determine which you are: are you Loyal or are you Disloyal? Are you the person who will defend your friend, no matter what? Or, are you the kind who gets upset with your friend and then runs off to spew all the secrets they’ve ever confided in you to anyone who will listen?
If you find that Loyalty is a way of life for you, Kudos to you for choosing that path, but, if you know that you have failed in the Loyalty department and you find yourself swinging in whatever direction the wind is blowing at the moment, work on yourself a little harder. Try and figure out why you are a disloyal person and then…CHANGE. You can, if it’s truly what you want to do.
If this is something new for you, try being loyal to someone for a change, it’s a different kind of feeling, I assure you. (And since we’re on the subject, for those of you who think that I might be questioning your Loyalty, well, you’re probably right).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on your position of Loyalty versus disloyalty, in the comments section below. Thanks for dropping by, and thanks bunches for sharing!
“I reward Loyalty with Loyalty and Dis-Loyalty with Distance.”
TACT defined by my best friend (Mr. Dictionary) is: a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.
Isaac Newton once said: TACT is the art of making a point, without making an enemy.
Well, said, Mr. Newton (and you, too, Mr. Dictionary!)
All of this brings me to my “issue” for today. So, as I turned on my trusted companion (my computer), the first bit of news I’m hit with, is something about one of my top 3 most favorite artists…ADELE.
Adele is giving a concert in Verona, Italy on Sunday, and it seems there is an excited ADELE FAN who is openly recording the concert with her video cam, and I suppose, as it was written, she even has it hoisted on a tripod.
Ms. Adele stops and says to this overzealous ADELE FAN: “Yeah, I want to tell that lady, as well, can you stop filming me…this isn’t a DVD, this is a real show…I’d really like you to enjoy my show because there’s lots of people outside that couldn’t come in.”
I have given you the best parts of what she said here and there is more, but I’d like for you to see it with your own eyes and hear it with your own ears…as it is a tad unbelievable and shocking…(at least in my eyes, it is)…
Was I right? Not only did she let those words come from her mouth, she even turned away, rolled her eyes, and mouthed something that couldn’t have been at all pleasant, still directed at the ADELE FAN, I’m sure.
Now, I am an artist (just like Adele), I’m an Author, so I do “get” where she’s coming from…we hate it when someone is blatantly “stealing” our work, which is also our livelihood. But, that being said, I simply abhor bad behavior, anywhere and at anytime. I mean, did she have to publicly embarrass this woman, this ADELE FAN? NO. Couldn’t she have asked one of her team members to discreetly ask the woman to stop recording with her video camera? YES! She absolutely could have taken that tactful and decent approach.
But, because she knew that she had the backing of all those other Adele fans (you know, the ones who were cheering her on for this public display of poor behavior), she chose to embarrass this ADELE FAN, who had spent her time and hard-earned money to come out and show her support of her, Adele, only to, in the end, make a public spectacle of herself.
*Need I remind Ms. Adele that this woman did “pay” to come and see you and I’m sure the money that she forked over to “see” you, was possibly equivalent to a car payment (or two).*
When I went to grab the video from YouTube, I was pleased to know that there were some who had taken the time to comment on this poor behavior displayed by Ms. Adele, and those comments depicted their displeasure, as well. Take a look at some of those comments below…
*”This is what happens when you let fame get to your head. Your fan paid to see you and might have wanted to record the moment she got to meet her hero, now you’ve just humiliated her in front of thousands of people;”
and my favorite…
*”This is what happens when you start treating celebrities like they’re Gods.”
BINGO! SO TRUE! So, for all those Adele fans who chose to “back her up” in her public display of poor behavior, I hope you don’t ever make the mistake and over-step at one of her concerts, because then, you may be on the receiving end of her AS-ININE, pompous behavior.
Every day we wake up with choices. Even those men and women who are incarcerated, although extremely limited, still wake up with choices. WE can either make it a great day (or not), we can choose to be happy (or not), and we can also choose to be kind to others (or not). Adele, you were wrong on so many levels, and sadly, the one thing I loved about you, your candor, is the one thing that has turned me off to you today. You should make a public apology to this woman and to all the fans and kids who might have been watching you, to let them know that it is never OK to mistreat, demean or intentionally embarrass anyone, publicly or privately. That my dear, would prove you BIGGER than any high that fan was going to get when she got home and shared YOU, with her family (her husband and kids, maybe), who couldn’t afford to come out to see you (because they couldn’t lose both cars, right?).
**Need I remind “fans,” that you have the power to make or break these people who you put up on these pedestals, and you put them up so high, that they tend to “look down” on other people. Stop spending your hard-earned money on the concerts of these people who have forgotten that they are people, just like you, and then they’ll start begging you to show up, for FREE (and your video cam will be welcome to!)**
So, I sing this to the tune of, and in honor of, our ADELE:
“Hello, it’s me, I didn’t realize how ugly and mean your spirit could be. Hellloooo, can you hear me, the last dollar I spent on your music was the last you’ll ever see from me….there’s such a difference, between us…and a million ‘kinds’…..Hello from the kind siiiiiiiiiiddddddeeeee, you could have chosen what was riiiiiiiiiggghhhhhttt, but you chose to, break her poor heart, but it doesn’t matter, ’cause you’ve already charged….her credit card.”
I hope you all will choose to make it a great day today, or not, the choice is ALWAYS ALL YOURS!!!
See you next time and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! What did you think of Adele’s behavior? Yay or Nay?
Thursday was not a good day for me. I was feeling all sorts of blue, and that’s never me. I mean, in some parts of town, I’m called “Sunshine” because I always have a smile on my face for someone.
I woke up not feeling all that grand and if my memory serves me correctly, I went to bed feeling the same. I was tired, mentally and physically and my heart was racing a little…which is always my queue to get up, turn off the lamp and walk away from my office. I turned in at a decent hour Wednesday night (for me, that is), which was probably before 3 am. I slept a little late the next morning, but still woke up with a horrible headache and a mood that wasn’t so pretty.
As I went about my work day, I could feel that certain irritability growing inside me, which I’m pretty familiar with by now, and my intolerance for little annoyances, even in my work, was steadily growing. (I think my family could feel that storm brewing, because they were gone a lot longer than usual yesterday…the poor things).
Later that night, my daughter called and said that they were on the way home. I was excited for their arrival, because I really hadn’t seen them much that day and I don’t like when our days are that busy. When she got home, she walked in with a package in her arms. She kissed me on the cheek, laid the package on the table and said “Lucky you, Mom, the package is for you,” as she headed up the stairs. For me?
Since I get books to be reviewed by the dozens every day, I just assumed that it was a really big book inside the package, as I wasn’t expecting anything else.
When I opened the box, I pulled out a beautiful coverlet, which I would later find out, after pulling envelopes from the box, that it was a “prayer shawl.” First, I opened the smallest envelope and inside was a beautiful card, hand designed and signed by the artist:
and then, this message was also included:
I was just as excited for the card and this message from the artist, as I was for the actual gift! And then, I read the little pamphlet inside, explaining the “prayer shawl” and its purpose. I won’t post the entire thing, but will share the part of it, that moved me most (I am re-typing it exactly as is written on the pamphlet):
“SHAWLS…MADE FOR CENTURIES UNIVERSAL AND EMBRACING, SYMBOLIC OF AN INCLUSIVE, UNCONDITIONALLY LOVING GOD. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…” ~ Janet Bristow
“This prayerful ministry reaches out to those in need of solace and comfort… Many blessings are prayed into every shawl. The maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before it is sent on to the recipient. The recipient may continue the kindness by creating a shawl and passing it on to someone they know that is in need of comfort and blessings. Thus, the ministry has a ripple effect, from giver to receiver, the unconditional embrace and sheltering of a nurturing and loving God. The shawls must always be given away unconditionally and never sold. They are created in prayer for the recipient, that they may be embraced by the prayers and blessings contained in each stitch.”
Now, I wouldn’t refer to me as a highly religious person. Hold on a minute, though, don’t confuse what I’m saying, because I do have my religion, but I would say that I am more of a spiritual person and the two are clearly defined differently. So, after reading over all the material that was enclosed with my gifts, I slowly and carefully unfolded the beautiful shawl and wrapped it around my shoulders. I cannot tell you what happened in that moment, but I felt a warmth come over me like never before. I was instantly “calmed.” I stood in my dining room, trying to make sense of what was happening to me, but my mind was still, and my heart no longer racing. I felt so safe, I felt so loved and just thankful. All of the stress of my day disappeared instantly!
I picked up the card and read the inside because I hadn’t done that yet, as I was so moved by the sentiment of the drawing of the card. It was from someone very special to me, someone who may not even know that she is such a calming force in my life and she makes me want to be a better person, and from her calm strength, I am searching for my own calm strength.
When the initial shock of the feeling that I was getting from the “prayer shawl” had moved on, and my feet felt that they could now do what they were made to do, I gathered all of my gifts and walked in the direction of my office. I sat down, shawl still draped about my shoulders, closed my eyes, laid my head back and prayed…thankful for the gift which was sent to give me peace and solace.
After I finished praying, I got up, draped the shawl over my desk chair…
…and started to walk out the door of my office. I stopped, turned around and looked at the shawl, draped neatly over the back of my chair, and said to myself “I don’t want to leave it here. I want to take it to bed with me tonight so that I can feel its warmth and security as I sleep.” So, I turned around and gently lifted it up from the chair and headed to my bedroom.
I got into bed without kneeling to pray last night, as I wanted to, for whatever strange reason, pray, while lying on my back, looking upwards, with my “prayer shawl” safely covering me. And I did. I closed my eyes and slept like a newborn baby last night. When I woke up this morning, that headache of mine was present again, but yet, I felt extra safe and secure, still wrapped in my shawl.
I haven’t reached out to my gift-er yet, as I wanted to write this blog as a THANK YOU to her and in honor of her kindness shown. I want her to know just how much this “gift” means to me and just how it moved me, especially by showing up at just the right time last night. Gwen, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. This precious gift is already one of my true treasures and if today is any indication, I don’t think I’ll be taking one step without my “prayer shawl.” I got into my car this eve, and guess what went along for the ride?
I’m now seated back at my desk, and guess what is draped about my shoulders? It feels as if I am safely wrapped in the wings of angels. Thank you, dear friend!
I am interested in gifting my daughters with their own “prayer shawls” so I will be reaching out via the contact info included in my gift box. I’m going to share this info with you, in the event you’d also like to gift someone:
OUR LADY OF THE LAKE, PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY, 203 Vaughn Drive, Branson, MO 65616, email: info@OLLBranson.com
Gwendolyn M. Plano / @gmplano is the author of “LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE” and the cover of her book houses Angel’s wings. How fitting is it that the gift she has sent to me, makes me feel as if I am wrapped in those same wings? (By the way, this is an awesome story, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy).
So, what do you think? Have you ever heard of “prayer shawls?” Do you believe in their ability to make you “feel” something when they are draped around you? I would love to hear your thoughts.