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Category Archives: Inspirational

Hidden Figures Hidden From The World

History has taught me through all levels of school (elementary, Jr. high, and high) about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. I didn’t learn necessarily in that order, but they were the first three black icons to come to mind in reference to this blog. However, and later in life, I would find there were plenty others never to be mentioned.

School history did not teach me that Mrs. Rosa Parks was not the first black to defy the law of sitting in the back of the bus and getting arrested for the same.
Bayard Rustin, an openly gay black Civil Rights leader who organized the March on Washington, D.C. way back in 1963, sat in defiance before the legendary
Mrs. Rosa Parks. He was arrested for the same act, but it was not widely publicized because he was gay, black, and a man, which is another part of history I did not learn in school, but instead as an adult and from PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

Two weekends ago my daughter and I saw the movie, Hidden Figures, along with a number of other teenagers, parents, and sorority sisters who were all a part of
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and ASCEND, the mentoring program. The AKA’s arranged for us to have a theater to ourselves, and after the movie was shown there was a question and answer session from Mildred Johnson, sister-in-law of the last living survivor, Katherine Goble Johnson. Lonnie Johnson, husband to Mildred and brother of Katherine was also in attendance.

By now everyone in the country is familiar with the movie and the actors who portrayed the now famous ladies with the brilliant minds:
Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) helped send men to the moon and orbit the earth.

Now, I gotta admit that even though this was a feel good movie, I had an unsettling attitude that left me with many questions:

“Why am I just learning about these women? Why weren’t we taught about their astonishing accomplishments at the same time the nation was praising and celebrating astronauts?” I am 54 years old and I’m just now learning that three women were responsible for launching men into space? Anger.

“And whose methodical decision was it to purposely seal this part of history?” So, now I’m tapping my chin wondering who the hell I should be pissed with. I’m feeling some kind of way with the educational branch of government and whoever else had anything to do with omitting this story from the school curriculum and history books. Disappointment. Was this a systematic way of suppressing the next generations of Jacksons, Goble Johnsons and Vaughans because these women were black? Nah, the government wouldn’t purposely do that (written with all the sarcasm I can muster), would it? Had this story not been withheld maybe there wouldn’t be a desperate awareness and need for students to become interested in S.T.E.M
(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), which brings me to my next paragraph….

How in the world was the entire country left in the dark about this part of history that was hidden in plain sight? How could the country celebrate John Glenn when he first orbited the earth without mentioning what it took to get him there? He didn’t just get there on his own. He didn’t calculate all that needed to be considered – including that if calculations were off, he could have burned to death in his space craft or left to drift in outer space for all eternity. And Neil Armstrong may not have even landed and left his foot prints on the moon – had it not been for a few good women.

Only one 98 year old survivor remains. Anger, disappointment – and now sadness.

It was announced this past weekend that Eugene Cernan, last astronaut to land on the moon in 1972, had passed away.

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, died in 2016 – the entire country heard of his triumphs and death.

Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to walk on the moon died in 2012. The nation celebrated his historic accomplishment and then his death. As perpetually reported by Walter Cronkite who verbally wondered, “what there is to add to that.” Oh, there was a lot more to add, Mr. Cronkite 〈me whispering〉 but it was one of the country’s best kept secrets.

I’m not going through each person who was heralded and praised for going into space because with each one, I’d get a little more pissed – color me what you will, but they’ve had their lion’s share of praise and respect. I can’t help but wonder if it was ever nationally announced when Mary Jackson passed in 2005 at the age of 83 or
Dorothy Vaughan in 2008 at the age of 98. I knew nothing about either. How ’bout you – did you  know?

I am still softly angry, but at the same time so very proud of those incredibly talented women. When a question was asked about why this movie is just coming out, the answer was partly because they were women who went to work, did their jobs and weren’t looking for any recognition – women like any other woman who goes to work to support their families. I get it. It’s no big deal for me to do it; however, my job is in no way comparable to what theirs was. I don’t even like basic math! And yet these women were known as human computers! Can you even imagine being smarter or quicker than a computer – it’s almost unimaginable to a layman like myself – but they were, and according to Mrs. Goble Johnson’s sister in law, she is still mentally sharp at 98 years old. A feel good moment.

So, from this point forward, whenever I witness anything that has to do with aeronautics, astronautics, space or a space craft whether it be in a movie or on live T.V., I will proudly and forever know that three young women with exceptional minds had everything to do with it launching into space.

Thank you Mary Jackson (aerospace engineer).

Thank you Katherine Goble Johnson (physicist and mathematician).

Thank you Dorothy Vaughan (mathematician).

And thank you to the group of lesser known women who worked with the aforementioned, but are still as valuable.

So, I say shame on anyone who denied these women their due praises, accolades, awards, odes, interviews, and most important an acknowledged place in history.

Shame on NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

And shame, too, on the United States of America.

Jeremiah 22:3
This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.

Thank you for readin’ my writin’.

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The Storm; God’s Way of…..

We’re all busy with everyday life; moving about, parenting, going to work, school, appointments, volunteering, traveling, lollygagging, and serving our God.

We drive our vehicles into the ground, hop on public transportation, hail down taxis, hire Uber drivers, are Uber drivers, ride bikes, motorcycles, scooters, and oh, yeah, let’s not forget the latest sensation on wheels – hoverboards!

All of them needing a period of rest, which also means less pollution on the environment.

We’re always on the go and we don’t rest our bodies the way we should. We overwork ’em and then don’t get enough sleep (me) to properly maintain and sustain them.

Then God sends a snow storm.

Sure it’s a major inconvenience, but was it purposely designed to keep us housebound? To get some rest? To contemplate? To read His word? To get our homes in order? Has anyone other than me thought this is God’s way of telling us – no, forcing us to sit our azzes down and rest? “Shuddup and relax,” I imagine Him saying.

I mentioned to my kid that the storm is God’s way of forcing us to pause; slow down. God knew my body needed an additional day off. He also knew my car needed a break as well because it’s on the move every day like its owner. Most of the city is shut down. Some businesses were closed or delayed opening, which meant lost revenue.

Yesterday, my family (twenty-something of us) was supposed to have brunch at Relish restaurant to celebrate my nephew who graduated from the State Police Academy.  The restaurant called to say they, unfortunately, would be closed due to inclement weather. Yes, a disappointment, but I’m sure the cooks, managers, and other personnel needed and welcomed the break.

Yesterday, our church service was cancelled for the same reason. I believe Pastor along with everyone else appreciated the break too. We need to be refreshed and focused – God’s way of giving our minds a rest period.

And notice the subject title, I didn’t specify what type of storm. Whatever personal storm you’re going through, address it during this snow storm.

Psalm 46:10 (International Standard Version) in part reads, “Be in awe and know that I am God.”

God’s plan. Now y’all do with it what you will.

Thanks again for readin’ my writin’.

 

I’m feeling some kinda way

I watched Good Morning America this morning and was told a blogger got over a million views just by blogging about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the Video Music Awards earlier this week.

I’m like, “Now, how did she get that many views? Who is she?” And of course, “How can I do that?”

I’m feeling some kinda way, y’all. I don’t know how long she’s been blogging, but how in the world can one person get a million views on any given day? Okay, if you are the Pope, I can see it (didn’t he just start tweeting?), but the thought is just unbelievable to me. I’m going to research this lady to find out who she is and how she managed to get those results – probably knows someone who knows someone else.

And while I’m on the subject, I got a bone to pick with every celebrity I’ve ever supported so forgive my Ebonics. If I’ve paid money to see you in concert just about every time you came to Philly (Prince), bought your books (Danielle Steele, Terry McMillan and Sidney Sheldon – oh, he died in 2007, and you too, Steve Harvey), supported your movies (Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg), supported your television series (David E. Kelly – loved Ally McBeal, Boston Legal & Boston Public), watched your talk shows for years (ladies of The View, Phil Donahue, and of course, Miss Oprah), and Hillary Clinton – I got your book too, then you oughta return the favor and support me. You are not exempt either, Donald Trump, because I faithfully watch Celebrity Apprentice. You can have the next group of apprentices take on “How to Sell Enough of T. Anthony-Horton’s Book in an Hour to Make The Best Seller’s List” or you can at least tell a sistah in sixty seconds (crying sounds) how to market her product….

To continue, if I bought your designer clothes (there’s a name on every label; don’t have to be well known), paid to see you play ball & bought “For The Love of the Game My Story” (Michael Jordan), which I would like to have autographed, and watched American Idol, Simon, because of your nutty British azz, insulting folks, then surely you can purchase my book.

Y’all see where I’m going with this? Wouldn’t it be fair, not just for me, but for any struggling person who has supported someone else that they support you too, no matter what their celebrity?

I have to be honest though – when I hear someone’s book has been on the #1 Best Seller list for weeks, namely because of who they are, I get a little perturbed. If Steve Harvey wasn’t who he is, would anyone have paid attention to his book? Nope; not as much! And I’m using Steve as an example because a second movie is coming out from that one particular book he wrote.

And the chick who wrote about that greyness and its many shades had thee entire country talking (and she ain’t even from here!) – even the ladies on The View quizzed President Obama on it! Why can’t they talk about my book? It’s gray and has three shaded ladies on the cover.

See, it's shaded and gray!

See, it’s shaded and gray!


And how is it that unknown folks get the chance of a lifetime? Can’t think of any right now, but they’re out there!

Shonda Rhimes is my girl – a TRUE inspiration – Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal! Please. Pick up my book, Shonda – google T. Anthony-Horton and Office Antics & Sexual Liaisons. I salivate at the thought of writing a show or a pilot episode of something – anything!

What does it take to get a little noticeability… Tyler?

I’m feeling some kinda way, followers.

You all know I’m aiming for the stratosphere in reaching my goal of getting 100,000 views or more per day. When you all help me see the end result, we’re gonna celebrate!

Thanks for indulging a sistah while she vented.

She just dropped the mike!

my appreciation to you

You know, when I write something – anything, that other folks read, I must make sure it’s interesting, thought provoking, entertaining, and a conversation piece. The more I write (blog), the more I learn about this whole blogging thing.

When I first signed up in June of this year, I didn’t know what my expectations were – I just knew I wanted to write and I’d have a forum with a listening audience. Upon learning about the different themes (what my page looks like) I could use and how much I’d want to enhance my page, it seemed I had a long way to go. I must admit that WordPress is chock full of information – so much so that I would need to take a few weeks from work in order to learn everything about the site. You read about this, it’ll take you to another place and then another and another… it’s all so interesting that you could possibly be clicking on different links all day long! This is the most comprehensive tool I’ve ever come across in learning anything.

I’ve also learned about advertising. I’ve heard so much about how you can get paid for blogging. Well, who wouldn’t want to get paid for something they love to do. I applied, and because of the package I chose, I was already entered into an ad program. Okay, so when can a sistah get paid, right?! I got in contact with WordPress to ask since I hadn’t heard anything from them about my application. I was told they monitor each account and if I do not get six digits of views per day, I’m not eligible! In case you can’t fathom, that’s a tremendous amount of traffic. Even though you guys visit my site EVERY single day (thank you), I need to add four more digits at the end of my daily views! So, I need you all to tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, their assistants, their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors… you feel me?! It’s a vicious circle cycle (I don’t know if that makes sense, but I like the flow of it).

So, now that you know I’m on a mission – my 12 ft., will you help me? This is a personal goal that I am setting for myself, but I’m putting it out there in the universe – your universe. I’m clueless as to how long this will take, but I am going to work toward it and I have no doubt I can do it. I’ll continue to write interesting topics and will respond to every comment. It’s only fair that I do. If you take time to read my writings and hopefully, pass my site on to others, then I can surely acknowledge you. I have to keep you interested. I want you to tell your people about me. I want them to follow me. I have a goal to meet and I plan on reaching it.

I’m going to take this blogging thing to another level. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but in the meantime, I’m gonna ride this wave for as long as I can.

I’d appreciate if you rode along with me.

what is your 12 ft.? (an inspiring story of determination)

What you’re about to read is a real life story of a child’s determination and will power. It’s the stuff that TV movies and Afterschool Specials are made of (do they still make Afterschool Specials? I used to love ’em). But, this is about my kid who beat the odds and overcame her fear of swimming – all to participate in summer camp rowing lessons. Those of you who are my Facebook friends are already familiar with this event, but now you’ll read the entire story and I promise to take you there descriptively. I hope you all stay with me on this and read to the very end or at least in increments.

Last month, the kid (I affectionately refer to her that way in writing) had to take swim lessons to be eligible for rowing camp. On the Saturday before camp began, she had to pass the swim test in order to start camp that Monday. The class was only scheduled for 1/2 hr. The requirements were for her to swim a full lap and tread water for a minute – bam, that’s it!

The Kid getting a lesson before hitting the Schuylkill River

The Kid getting lessons before hitting the Schuylkill

There was only one problem – she didn’t know how to swim. At 11:00 on that Saturday morn, I repeat, she did not know how to swim.

There were three other girls in her group for the same reason; two of them passed and the other was petrified. I felt bad for the poor thing. Then there was my kid – the girl who wasn’t afraid of water – just couldn’t swim. When we vacationed in Wildwood, NJ, she always went a lit-tle too far in the ocean for me (I’ve since stopped her from doing that – my nerves, y’all). At our 2009 family reunion in Georgia, she innocently jumped into 12 ft. of water with no fear because she saw a cousin do it. She was saved by a lifeguard (and God). I had to fill out paperwork because that was considered “a save.” I never told hubby about it until recently when all this swimming stuff came up.

After the two girls passed the swim test, the coach focused on the kid and the petrified girl. The coach, Joe, was excellent – he worked with them by using paddle boards, foot fins, and a kind demeanor. I was looking at the clock, thinking they didn’t have much time left. “How can she pass the test in this short amount of time?”

When I tell you Joe worked with the kid and fed her with determination, please believe (by this time, hubby was outside on a cigarette break and had gotten really comfortable in a chair). I saw fear and uncertainty in her eyes and realized I had to pull out the real mother in me. It’s hard when you see disappointment in your child’s face. She was on the verge of tears and my heart ached for her because she wanted this so badly. I did what any supportive mother would do – I told her she could do it even though I knew she was afraid. I told her not to give up and “Give it God” and if she gave it all to Him, she’d be okay, and if she was still worried, her faith was not strong enough.

Like an obedient child, she said, “Okay, Mommy.” Then she said, “I want you to walk with me.” Hey, no problem. I walked the length of pool, encouraging her and seeing her come thisclose. The closer she got to 9 ft., the more she panicked. I’m like, “C’mon, baby, you can do this – you’re so close!” She didn’t make it – had to start all over again. I looked at the clock. We were close to an hour when the class was only for thirty minutes. I texted hubby to let him know we weren’t done; he was comfortable in his chair. Concerned about the time, I spoke to the coaches who told me the kid was not going to leave until she passed the test.

She tried a second time and panicked again at 9 ft. I saw her head go under. I’m praying, “Give her confidence, Lord, give her confidence.” I repeated it until I saw her give up. My heart sank… what do I say to my kid? I didn’t know. This is the hard part of parenting – when you’re at a loss for words.

She was on the side of the wall; elbows on top while the rest of her body dangled in the water. She put her head on her arms and cried. Joe went over and gave encouraging words, “You were so close. You can do this! I see that you want it.” I saw it too – sheer determination. My kid had it. I now know what it looks like.

They said, “We’ll give her another try. If she doesn’t make it, we’ll have to schedule more swim lessons.” So, I had to encourage my child and make her feel up to task. How could I do that effectively when I saw defeat in her face and body language? Sigh.

Her third try, she failed again. This time it was shoulder shaking crying. I hung my head low. “Now, what?”

As the kid went to the locker room, I spoke to Nicole, one of the rowing coaches. She and I discussed when and where to take the next swim lessons. It wouldn’t be at Penn Chart; we’d have to go to Sayre in West Philly. I reluctantly told her I’d call and make arrangements.

By the time we were about to leave, Nicole came running to meet us. “We’re gonna give her another chance – if you guys want to….” I looked to my child and asked if she was up to it. I let her make the decision. She said, “Sure, why not.”

This time she had three coaches in her ear. Nicole, Joe, and the other girl (I regret not getting her name) who was the real cheerleader. When I tell you those swim teachers and coaches would not let her leave until she passed, you gotta believe me! The cheerleader told my kid that she could see how much this meant to her and how badly she wanted it. She noted that when the kid panicked it was always in 9 ft., “when you’re so close to finishing.” She told her what to do when she panicked and how close 12 ft. is from 9 ft. She told her what to do when her feet went down and she felt the water getting deeper (all things I couldn’t). She gave her the real pep talk. I wish I knew her name!

After that, was the moment of truth. My girl got in 5 ft. I winked and told her, “You got this.”

On her last try, Joe swam in the lane next to her while the pep talker walked the 5 ft. to 12 ft., encouraging the kid as she swam the distance. It was truly something to see. I only wish I had recorded it.

Once she touched the wall at 12 ft., this momma here was jumping & shouting! Yes, y’all – I’m that mother! She told me all she heard was my mouth when she lifted her head from the water. My girl touched the wall at 12 ft.! When she got out of that pool and hugged me in all her wetness, it was thee best feeling ever. She did it! She shed tears of joy instead of tears of disappointment. Thank you, Jesus! And know this – because of the teachers’ dedication at Penn Charter, my kid learned how to swim! When she got there that morn, she did not know how to swim and couldn’t tread water either, but by 2:00 (yes, we were there for a little over three hours), she swam an entire lap, treaded and did some form of a breast stroke! Breast stroke? Who knew! All in the same morning, my kid went from nervousness, uncertainty and disappointment to elation & pride! God is truly awesome & works wonders!

I still get goose bumps when I think about it and write about it. When she tells her version, she just says, “I passed.” I shake my head at her nonchalance. This is truly a story of a child’s determination and will power. Heck, I’ve seen movies based on a lot less. I expect to get a call from the ladies of The View or at least be recognized for sharing. I kid you not – that’s my 12 ft., and now you understand exactly what the title of this blog means. My kid is an inspiration to me. And you know what? She can never ever say what she can’t do. She set the bar high for herself – poor thing don’t even know what she’s got in store for herself. I don’t know if she can still swim at this point, but like she said, “I can get to the edge or tread until somebody reaches me,” and that’s what she needs for rowing.

The Kid is 3rd from the left

The Kid is 3rd from the left

So, when your kid tells you, “I can’t!” – don’t believe that shit. Push them without breaking their spirit.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! I appreciate all of you! Me whispering, “now, go tell someone.”

Before I go, I ask – what is your 12 ft?