Let's Reverb!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bud & flower
photo by Matt Ryall

All month long I was looking forward to receiving my first Reverb11 prompt in my e-mail inbox on Dec. 1. Then last night I learned that wasn't going to happen. Gwen Bell, one of the Reverb creators, sent a message to all of us reverbers saying she wouldn't be hosting #Reverb11 this year. The party was over. And I was heartbroken, but only for a few seconds. 

In her email Gwen Bell encouraged us to start Reverb11 projects of our own and so I decided to do just that. 

For those of you wondering what the heck is a Reverb, let me explain. It started last year as Reverb10. We participating bloggers received a prompt each day in December that encouraged us to reflect on the past year and manifest great things for the year to come. 

So I spent some time today coming up with 31 prompts. If you're a blogger I hope you will join me, answer these questions for yourself (one each day or perhaps just a few over the course of the month if you prefer) and post your reflections on your blog and then copy a link to your post in the comments section of my posts so I can read what you have to say. And be sure to tweet your posts too using the hashtag #reverb11. 

Happy reverbing!

1. Where did 2011 begin? 
2. What three words capture 2011? What three words describe how you feel about 2012?  
3. When were you most grateful?
4. When did you struggle? 
5. What lessons did you learn this year? 
6. What goals for 2011 did you accomplish? 
7. What goals for the year did you fail to meet?
8. Looking back on this year, what would you do differently?
9. How did you have fun this year? 
10. Where did you visit?
11. How did you celebrate and take care of your body this year? 
12. What or whom did you let go of this year? Why? 
13. Write about a time this year when you gave up. 
14. Write about a time this year when you persevered. 
15. Which blogs did you enjoy most this year?
16. Oprah asks you to write an article on your favorite things of 2011. What are they? 
17. What were your favorite songs of the year? 
18. What books did you read?
19. What movies did you see?
20. How did you build community this year? 
21. What new friendships blossomed in your life this year? 
22. Who did you miss?
23. Who do you want to attract into your life in 2012? 
24. What things added beauty to your life this year? 
25. How did you add beauty to the lives of others? 
26. What are 12 things your life doesn't need in 2012? How will you eliminate them?
27. What are 12 things you want to add to your life in 2012?
28. What new strengths did you discover about yourself this year? 
29. How did your spirituality transform this year? 
30. Write a letter to your future self. 
31. Where do you hope to be on Jan 1, 2013?

Color Me Thankful

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Babes!

I'm one of those people who make gratitude lists on a fairly regular basis, but I felt it was essential to write and post one today. So here goes...

super cute photo found here

The big beautiful blogosphere. Blogging has become one of my favorite things in life. Seriously. And I love reading other women's blogs just as much as (if not more than) I enjoy creating my own. Sites like A Beautiful Mess, Nik Star Was Here, Sometimes Sweet, and Pink of Perfection must be visited daily and they always give me the inspiration I need. 

Hubs. I'll be honest, I've been having a very rough time the past few months. It's sad that whenever I mention this to a close friend or when an acquaintance makes a comment about all the white hairs I have sprouting from my head there's an assumption that my man is stressing me out, that there's trouble on the home front. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, some days I feel like my marriage is the only thing I'm getting right. My husband has been the rock that is getting me through these tough times. I am so thankful to be married to my very best friend and I feel blessed to share my life with someone who always has my back. 

My small group. Despite the fact that I've been a mess this fall, I have still managed to lead a small group for my church. Each Monday night a group of 8 young women and I get together at my apartment for a bible study that's meant to help us get more out of our relationships with God, our friends and family, and even ourselves. I've watched these girls grow closer to God and form genuine friendships and I'm amazed. God really can use us to create something beautiful even when we're broken. 

Here are a few girls from Black Girls Run-Birmingham and I 
volunteering at the Ruben Studdard Half-Marathon

My running group. There was a time when I couldn't run for 60 seconds. Now I'm training for a half-marathon. And it's all thanks to my running group, Black Girls Run - Birmingham. Those women have been such an inspiration and running has become something I love as much as blogging. Can you believe that?!

The bad times. One of the greatest lessons I've learned during my 30 years on this third rock from the sun is that we should be grateful for the bad times. Not only do they make the good times even sweeter, but they teach us things about ourselves and oftentimes in retrospect we realize that something wonderful came from that trial or ordeal. In fact, I just wrote a little tongue-in-cheek piece about this for the latest issue of Weld. (To check it out click here and scroll down to the entry titled For the real-life demolition derby.) 

The little things: Pinterest, cupcakes, my haute chocalate nail polish, my favorite blazer, fresh flowers, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl...

My family. I have two parents who shower me with love, a little brother (who's now a grown man and bigger than I) who makes me laugh and encourages me to chase my dreams, and a cousin who's like the sister I never had and gets all my little quirks. And I am so grateful that I'm going to get to spend this day with all of them, while stuffing myself with delicious food.

What are you thankful for today? 

*Crossposted at GeorgiaMae.com

Help me, I'm 30!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

image via Clutch

While many people dread turning 30, early this year I was counting down the days to this monumental birthday. I was busy planning a weekend long celebration and even created a vision board representing all the things I wanted to accomplish during this glorious decade.

My birthday came, I had a great time celebrating, and I got to work on all those dreams. 

Then something happened.

A few months ago I got hit with the "Oh no, I'm 30!" blues. Read my latest article for Clutch magazine to find out what sent me into this funk and how I pulled myself out. 

OMG! There are black people in The Hunger Games

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am quick to scoff at you Twi-hards (a.k.a. Twilighters) and I frequently make fun of Potterheads, but I have a confession: I am counting down the days to The Hunger Games movie (only 128 more to go). And I got chills when I watched the recently released trailer (below).

But my blood started boiling when I read some of the comments from people who couldn't believe that two of the main characters are *gasp* black! (Drop by Nerdgasm Noire Network to check out some examples of reactions.)

Some of you may think this is no reason to be upset. It's natural for fans to want the cast to reflect their vision of the characters. And I'll be honest, I was shocked that Cinna, who will be played by Lenny Kravitz, and Rue, who will be played by Amandla Stenberg, were black too. But instead of being appalled I was excited. 

Then I asked myself why was I surprised especially considering that in the book Rue is described as having "dark brown skin and eyes." Why? Because, quite frankly, as a minority I never expect to be represented in something that's not marketed as being for "people of color." The fact that I still feel this way in 2011 makes me sad and the fact that it seems like some people think we coloreds need to stay out of their Hunger Games pisses me off.

Even though Rue is described as African-American and this has been confirmed by director Garry Ross and author Suzanne Collins, fans insist that she must be white because, as Nerdgasm Noire Network blogger states, "White people are considered the norm in society; the default person." And sometimes I worry this will never change. 

Monday Motivation: On Choosing Joy

Monday, November 14, 2011

There's a quote on my 2011vision board that simply reads: "Joy is a choice." I added it to my board last December hoping it would help me keep a positive attitude in tough situations faced this year. And for a few months it did. But, of course, I eventually got used to seeing that board on my bedroom wall and it began to be about as special to me as the blinds in my bedroom window.  

Last week I had to work a 12-hour day as we were holding auditions for my school's black history program, of which I am the faculty sponsor. Seeing as how I was recovering from a pretty rough sickness and very tired I was not looking forward to such a long day. But that morning the "Joy is a choice" quote happened to catch my eye while I was getting dressed and I made a decision: I chose joy. 

I decided I would have fun during the auditions and I did just that. It was so excited seeing students showcase their singing, dancing, and acting talents. We all had a wonderful time. 

I learned a valuable lesson. My circumstances did not change. I still didn't get home until 8 p.m. I was still coughing most of the evening and I was still exhausted. But I simply changed my attitude and that made all the difference. 

So no matter what the week may bring, decide today that you will choose joy. 

Confessions of a Quitter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

image via

One week into the National Novel Writing Month challenge and I'm thinking about quitting. I need someone out there to tell me to keep going (or to give up). 

The problem is I'm a quitter. When a hobby or project I'm working on stops being fun, I bail. This isn't always a bad thing. For example, if a show I love watching suddenly becomes so ridiculous *cough* Desperate Housewives *cough* that watching it begins to feel like a chore, I simply stop watching it. I'm not one of those people who has to see it through to the end. I easily cut ties with the characters and move on. And I think this is a good thing because the less time I spend watching television the more time I can spend doing something productive -- like writing a novel.

Working on this novel, however, also is suddenly no longer fun and I'm not sure what to do. 

Don't get the wrong impression of me when I say I'm a quitter. I don't take this to extremes. I'm not going to serve my husband with divorce papers after a fight. And don't think I'm lazy. I teach full-time, do freelance reporting part-time, lead a small group for my church, organize a networking group for women writers in my city, exercise regularly (I'm training for a half marathon), and maintain two blogs. I'm also taking a college course online. And so I guess I'm just having trouble finding time to write and when I do sit down to work on a chapter my mind is filled with all the other things I need to be doing instead. 

So what's a girl to do? Should I throw in the towel and focus on my other writing projects or forge ahead?