Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brief Hiatus

I will be taking a brief hiatus to update the look of my blogspot, Conversation with Kellibrew.

Please bare with me as I make changes and upgrades. Thank you for your patience.

Til next time...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Survivor's Story - Jacqueline Ellison

Jacqueline gives us her account of survival. I wanted to put this story out again because I think it is important that we continue to reiterate the path of victim to survivor.

As I promised. Jacqueline is with us today. As I mentioned before, Jacqueline has told me her story in bits and pieces, but after reading her responses, I definitely had tears in my eyes. I was so sad to read some of the things that she had to go through and I was also glad that she has her life right now. So many people out there need to hear these stories. Somebody out there needs uplifting. This is a remarkable young lady. I suspect she will be a great star one day. So, here is my interview with Jacqueline.

Kellibrew: Welcome Jacqueline to my blogspot. I reallcy appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to tell us your story of tragedy to triumph. Yours, like so many other stories, need to be heard. So many people out there lack the strength and determination to push forward through tough relationships and abusive situations. I like to have these conversations to show them that there is a way out. So, Thank you for sharing. Tell me, you have told me somewhat about your story and I was simply amazed that you are alive. You have been through a difficult time as a child. What happened that day with your mother getting hit with a hammer? I am sure that was difficult to see.

Jacqueline: I was 11 or 12 years old, I just remember having to commute during my 6th grade year. My mother's family told her to leave or he will kill you and your children. My mother pregnant with my youngest sister and we came back to his home to get the rest of our belongings. I didn't care where we were going just being out of that situation was all I cared about. I just did not want my mother to hurt anymore and so [us] leaving and living in a shelter was the next move for my family and I. I think my stepfather could sense that this was it and I remember him being drunk as usual.

He sent me downstairs for some water and before I could make it up the last set of stairs, I heard a loud thud. He was standing there laughing and my mother was lying on the floor bleeding from her head. Her eyes were closed, she was unresponsive at that point. I had never felt so alone in the world. She lay there lifeless, very pregnant as my middle sister sat on the steps, she had to be about 5 years old. I remember my stepfather chuckling in the hallway telling me "She's fine." and [me] yelling at him calling him the devil and [that] he killed my mother. He eventually picked [her] up from the pool of blood she [had] been lying in and gave her smelling salts. He was now in panic mode and was sweating and trying to revive her. She eventually came to but her face was unrecognizable.

Kellibrew: It really breaks my heart that women and individuals overall have to go through the abuse that your mother suffered, and not to mention your own. Your childhood was a difficult one too. What happened to you as a child that scarred you for life?

Jacqueline:I remember not knowing who my father was and asking my stepfather if I could call him daddy. It was right after my dance performance and he and my mother attended, of course, he was drunk. I just wanted to be normal or at least pretend to be, so once we got him I asked him if I could call him daddy. I remember my mother was downstairs and he called me closer to him. He said sure..."Let me show you what daddy's do". I stood there more paralyzed with shock then fear as he proceeded to put his hands down my panties. I was also molested by 2 uncles in my mother family.I have been raped twice and have dated some men who have either used and abused me sexually. Not all of my relationships were bad, some great but because of my history, I became involved with men who were had there own issues be it sexual or just a lack of regard with interacting with there female counterparts.

I know that most of my history has shaped where I have been in my life and where I am still going, good and bad...hopefully more good. I have since forgiven them all, but the memory still lingers. My stepfather killed himself once he knew my mother was not coming back, I forgive him because I know he was suffering too. As for my uncle's I am sure God will have the final say, I just pray that they are able to recognize the error in [their] actions.

Kellibrew: You could be so many places, doing so many negative things. What keeps you motivated to keep striving in life? Tell me, how do you do it?

Jacqueline: God, he is the reason I am here. I did have some pitfalls and even attempted suicide at 14. I missed a year of school because I spent it in the phyciatric ward. I remember once I was released I told God I would make the best of the life I had been given. I have a young son now and he is even more reason to push everyday. I continue to give back by volunteering in areas where victims and survivors can benefit from my story.

Kellibrew: Right, you do have a child, how old is he and what do you teach him since you have dealt with the trials and tribulations of turbulent relationships? What does he learn from you?

Jacqueline: My son is only 15 months old and even though he is a baby there is always room for correction. Between he and my nephew I do my best to let them know how to interact with the opposite sex. Even though my son is young he sometimes plays rough with little girls. He already knows the word "gentle and nice" when I correct him as he plays with any little girl. Service, compassion, faith, respect, love among a host of other things will be reinforced daily in my household. I think for young children boys and girls alike need to have a safe enviorment and constant unconditional love reinforced daily. Abuse comes in so many forms and being aware and educated defiantly helps break the cycle.

Kellibrew: I know this is difficult to talk about, but I wanted to acknowledge your role in the late Tiffany Gates' life, my God-sister and friend. She was one of your best confidantes. I remember you being devastated to hear the news. Watching you react to her death made it real that day for me. I was literally in shock. I could not believe it. I said, "Not our Tiffany!"

You had to recently do her make-up and basically reconstruct her face because of the damage done by her killer. First tell us, how did you get yourself to do the make-up? It was probably one of the hardest things you ever had to do. Also, how has it been dealing with your best friend's death?

Jacqueline: I loved her so much and for so long, 18 years and still to this day. I had knots in my stomach when I knew I had to do her makeup. As friends we had all made our funeral requests in advance and so being her friend I had to honor the part I knew I had. That is what you do for the people you love, It was my last chance to talk to her, be with take care of her and pamper her one last time. I am not going to lie she looked like she had really struggled and just having to see her that close in the condition she was in broke my heart. There was no going back, she was gone and I really miss her everyday. I tell her I am sorry for what happened to her, I am sorry I did not get a chance to hug and kiss her before I left that Wednesday. I have had some trouble sleeping a couple of nightmares but I continue to ask God to keep me. I worry a little more about one of my best friend who is actually your sister. I worry that she may leave me early too and I askGod to watch over my loved ones constantly. I find that because of my issues with death, it plays a big part in my day to day life.

Kellibrew: What's next? In terms of coping with Tiffany's death and having gone through so much yourself, what are your next steps in life? What's your passion and what are you doing to fulfill your passion?

Jacqueline: My passion has always been the arts, it has always been my release from the craziness of this world. I plan to continue my efforts to raise awareness for victims and survivors. There is still a song in my heart so eventually returning to the stage is in my future. "Never Forget" I am adopting that for my own personal motto. Never forget Tiffany, myself, friends, family, the struggle, the triumph. I feel if you never forget you have no excuse but to press on.

Kellibrew: I want to thank you so much for sharing. Believe me, I know how difficult it is. I simply wanted to bring you on the blogspot today because someone has gone through and continues to go through what you have already experienced. Thank God you and your mother got through. I know that by being here today, someone was tapped with some support and strength to make a change today. They see a wonderful young lady who bounced back and stood resilient against the odds. Thank you Jacqueline as always for your time, energy and kindrid spirit. I hope I can get you on sometime in the future to continue our dialogue and get an update. I am sure our readers would love to keep up with you.

Jacqueline: Thank you and I love you. I pray that someone reads this and [are] moved to take action, be it in there own life or someone elses.

Kellibrew: That wraps up our interview with Jacqueline. Be inspired out there. I am excited about our next guest. I will give you the scoop in the next blog. For now, be safe and Happy Holidays, by the way.

Til next time.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A New Day, A New Opportunity

This motto was the motto used by my university president. Anyone who knows me, knows that I like the word opportunity. I took this motto to heart. I owned it.

With every dawning day comes an opportunity for us to make a difference. We can make a difference in our own lives and we can make a difference in someone else's life. Whichever we choose, a change can be made.

Some time ago, I mentioned that I would start a more healthier diet and exercise regularly. Well, you would be proud. I am exercising and I have changed my diet. I choose healthier food. I do have some help though. I have a personal trainer who is an excellent source. I can totally see him in Hollywood or on some boot camp show making people run and loose weight. Nonetheless, he is an inspiration. He is already physically fit and has the look to which I aspire. But, the main thing is, I have made changes.

I did not wait until the new year though. I said that change can come at any time and when it is necessary to make the changes, you have to make them. There are not any exceptions. We must immediately make the change that we need to make. I decided to be healthier. What are you deciding to change?

Do not wait. We are not promised tomorrow and nor are we promised the next second. Putting off what you can do today for tomorrow is an unwise choice. Make that change.

I would really like your comments on this one. Tell me about the changes you have made.

Remember, today is a new day and a new opportunity.

Til next time...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hope - Unseen, But Ever So Present

Good morning. We have some wonderful interviews coming up. They are simply inspiring. You will certainly learn from them and hopefully share them with others to inspire them. After all, what good is information not shared? Let's share the wealth of opportunity and information so that others may benefit.

Today is an odd day for me. I do not have much to say, but I am up early and trying to figure out the message. Then I thought. Things are really looking up for me. I am at a good point in life where I realise how grateful I am to be alive. A good friend of mine thanked me yesterday for something I did for her. I was ever so grateful.

I surely did not extend myself to get a thank you. I practiced giving without even thinking of receiving. The gratification I did recieve though, was ensuring that I did not see her hungry or her child hungry. Often, when someone commits an act of kindness, the person receiving may feel strange and quite dependent. In this case, she said she dropped her pride and accepted what I had to offer. I thought that was courageous for her. After she has been through so much in life, she still has the determination and hope to keep going. When she told me she was close to giving up, I was happy that she saw hope in sight, reached out, and grabbed hold of it.

Today's message is all about HOPE. Somehow, someway, we have to believe in something. We have to believe in ourselves. Hope is that which guides us to our success. Hope is that which guides us to our accomplished mission. When you think that all else has failed, reach deep inside of you. Find that very ounce of passion. Find that very ounce of strength and use it to dig yourself right out of pain, misery, sadness, despair and trouble. Try to see the positive in things.

Easier said than done, right? I have been in the bed for days, believe me. I have wanted to die before. I lived a self-destructive life. I know what it feels like to loose everything and have to find a way to survive. I often revert back to the day I lost my mom and brother. That day I lost hope and then gained it back again. Hope would continue to evade me throughout my teenage years, but I finally got on track. Well, it was some years later, but I did it. How?

I saw hope in mentors. I saw hope in friends. I saw hope in role models on television, in books, in movies. Expose yourself. You are bound to see the kind of hope you can use for yourself if you go beyond your normal and daily routine. For instance, I travel extensively. I travel outside the country. And, believe me. There is plenty out there to influence you positively.

Hope, the very essence of our survival. When we stop hoping, we stop breathing. Breath is what keeps us alive. So, every ounce of our breath should be used to build on our hope for the next breath.

Do something nice for someone today. Extend your heart out to someone else. Give someone a compliment. Whether they appreciate it or not is not up to you. The part that you have control over is the compliment. Give it. Do not expect anything from it. Just give it. Then, find someone else to give it to. You may see that the hope you gave to someone else just may be the hope that you need.

Have a wonderful day. You can make that happen.

Til next time...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mildred Muhammad - Up Close and Personal


I have a repeat today. I wanted to recognize Guns Aside Month in Washington, D.C. by bringing back a familiar guest, Mildred Muhammad. I really appreciate this interview. It is full or resources and direction for all of us. Enjoy the read.

(Previous Interview)

Today, we are meeting with Mildred Muhammad. What I love about my good friend Mildred is that she is absolutely a humble woman. You would think a woman like her would never be able to help others. We almost expect that in our society. After trauma, many people turn to violence as the answer. But, Mildred took that energy and made an example out of her life. She is strong, vibrant and quite charismatic. She is raising her children and is about helping her community, especially through her knowledge in domestic violence. My interview with Mildred starts now.

Kellibrew: First and foremost, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to dialogue with you. We have been dialoguing for about a month now and it just seems like yesterday my god-sister Tiffany Gates, just died. You immediately reached out to me and that really put a lot of things in perspective for me. There were many who reached out to me and my family and I appreciate them all. What made you reach out to me? I mean, you have been through so much yourself and you are such a busy person.

Muhammad: Thank you William for this opportunity to share information as well. I have my yahoo alert set on ‘domestic violence’ stories which I receive and read daily. There are some people I reach out to, just to thank them for having the courage to speak up. To encourage them and let them know they are not alone. That’s the most important concern for me is not having that feeling of being alone. And with all I’ve been through, I know that others may feel that way too. It’s important that those going through an abusive situation know that they are not alone. I reached out to you for the same reason. Your story touched my heart so much. I was so sorry to read about your immediate family and then your special friend. I wanted you to know that you are not alone, and all that you’ve done and are doing, I’m sure your mother is very proud of you.

Kellibrew: Thanks again. Those are really warm words and I appreciate them. You were definitely right. I did need somebody there and you have helped me tremendously. It’s so good to know there are people out there willing to reach outside of themselves to help another person. I am sure readers would like to know what you are doing right now. You are leading an organisation, right? Can you tell us about your organisation and what is your role in the community?

Muhammad: Yes, that is correct. My organization is After The Trauma. We assist victims and survivors of domestic violence through counseling and referrals so they can find their way out of their situation and stabilize where they are now. You can visit the website, to browse the programs we offer. I speak locally and nationally on my story in particular and domestic violence in general at conferences, seminars, and workshops. My story is about the domestic violence most people don’t pay attention to. And that is verbal, mental, spiritual, economic, stalking and emotional. 20% of domestic violence is physical. 80% is not. 75% of victims that leave are killed. 25% of victims that leave survive, but barely.

Kellibrew: That’s some great information. Readers, please go to the website. You will learn so much. You know, Mildred, we really clicked from the very beginning, but I must admit, I was so anxious to meet you because the D.C. Sniper case simply jolted the D.C. area, the nation, and the world. My friends from overseas still talk about this case today. They were concerned for my safety and the safety of everyone in our area. I cannot imagine being in the situation you were in. You obviously lived in a world of fear for years.

Your story is so much like my mother’s. As you know, she was killed along with my brother by her ex-boyfriend. We lived with this killer for 7 months, but unbelievably, you were married to John Allen Muhammad for over 12 years. How on God’s green earth did you ever survive as long as you did? Also, during one of our previous conversations you mentioned that death for you was almost eminent. Can you take us back to a point when you were absolutely concerned for your life and your children’s lives?

Muhammad: Let me say that for the 23 days John had this area in a grip, everyone walked in the shoes of a victim and survivor of domestic violence. Remember the fear you felt on a daily basis? Not knowing if you were going to live or die that day? That is EXACTLY how we feel. It takes time to get over that kind of fear. I lived under that kind of fear from September 1999 to October 24, 2002.

As I’m answering this question, I remember that fear and how much I wanted someone to help and believe me, but no one did. It is so painful to go through that and no one understands. Others look at you like you are crazy. Which is the fuel I burn when I think of helping others who may find themselves in this situation. This is not a job for me…this is my passion, my life. I will continue in the work until I die. I believe this is where God wants me to be. I’ve accepted that and will continue to do all I can not to turn women away. I survived by listening to my spirit. By believing that God was going to bring me through because everyone I’d gone to for help, turned their backs on me because I didn’t have the physical scars to prove that I was a victim of domestic violence. My children and I were the first victims. And yet, we have received no compensation from any agency to help us get back on our feet. That I still find difficult to accept.

How many women are walking around in a domestic violence situation and need help but are unable to receive it because they can’t prove the abuse without the scars. People blamed me for the shootings. They said that me and my children were not victims, I should have stayed on the west coast and then the people on the east coast would be alive. They said had I stayed with him, then he would have only killed me. The shootings were [part of] a very detailed plan to kill me. Innocent people died because John didn’t want my murder to come back on him. My heart goes out to the victims’ families. I am so sorry for their loss. The police are now saying the random shootings was a cover for my death. He would come in as the grieving father to get custody of our children and walk away with the $100,000 compensation they were giving the victims’ families at that time. Again, me or my children have not been compensated for our victimization. I was concerned for my life in 1999 when John and I separated. His behavior became irrational. He said to me, “You have become my enemy and as my enemy I will kill you.” John is a man of his word. He is not an idle talker. He says what he means, and he means what he says. I knew that it would be a matter of time for him to bring that into fruition.

Kellibrew: Wow. I am so glad you made it through. Your story is powerful for those who are going through similar trauma. It takes a remarkable person to struggle and get through what you have been through. We both know how much it takes to rebuild our lives as victims and now survivors. Essentially, you were living with the enemy. What was the defining point or moment for you? When did you know to leave or were you absolutely forced to leave?

Muhammad: My defining point was when he said, “You have become my enemy and as my enemy I will kill you.” John’s personal motto was/is never leave an enemy behind. After I received my lifetime restraining order in February 2000, we established weekend child visitation to occur every other weekend so he could see our children. It was just until we went to court to establish a parenting plan of who would legally have the children. The weekend of March 22, 2000, was his weekend. A friend of ours picked up the children and they were to be brought back on that Monday because it was my Mom’s birthday. To make a long story short, he didn’t bring them home. My son told me later that they boarded a plane that night and headed for Antigua. I would also find out that he emptied our bank accounts. He left me and my mother penniless. It would be 18 months before I saw my children again. That’s a long time to go without knowing where your children are.

Kellibrew: What heartache for a mother. I am sure mothers out there can identify. There was another child involved in this situation, a young man by the name of Lee Boyd Malvo. This young man was also convicted of charges stemming from the killings. Had you ever met Lee Boyd Malvo?

Muhammad: I have never met Lee Malvo. The first time I've seen him was at his trial when I testified on his behalf because my children asked me to help him. They stated that if it had not been for Daddy, Lee would not be there.

Kellibrew: Thank you for sharing. That took a lot of courage and compassion. Who was he and why did he have an affinity to John Allen Muhammad? How much influence did John have over this young man?

Muhammad: What most people don't know is Lee and my son were best friends. When John kidnapped them and took them to Antigua, they met Lee. He became a part of their family and was considered the 'big brother'. When their dad would leave them in Antigua to come back to the states to find me, he left Lee in charge to care for them until he returned. John had the same influence over Lee as a father would have over this own son.

Kellibrew: When you lived with John, did he seem like he could be manipulative and how were you convinced of this, if so?

Muhammad: John's behavior changed when he returned from the Gulf War in 1991. Before this, he did not have these behaviors. He was not debriefed nor did he receive counseling when he returned.

Kellibrew: This is an issue. Here we are on the dawn of a war, the war in Iraq. We also have the war in Afghanistan and the war on terror. These wars have a tremendous impact on our soldiers and soldiers’ families. The effect of these wars may spawn other violence such as John’s case. God bless our soldiers who are defending us and we need to make sure that they are taken care of when they come back home. They have seen so much and have been exposed to violence that some of us will never witness. Counseling should be absolutely mandatory or required. It is important to talk about what they experienced. Counseling may be able to prevent some of the issues that stem from stress suffered from the war. Some of our readers are in relationships now where danger is eminent and it is so hard to get out. My heart goes out to those individuals. What do you recommend these individuals do to try to get out of the relationships? Is there a step-by-step process?

Muhammad: You have to have a plan to leave. Click on this link:

It will take you directly to a comprehensive safety plan. Do not take this plan home for the abuser to see. If you don’t work outside your home, print it out, complete and give it to someone you trust to hold. Modify it as often as you need. In step 8, there is a list of items you should put away. Again, give these items to someone you trust. Don’t tell everyone what you are doing. You don’t know who the abuser knows. Once you have your plan in place, you will know when to leave. If you are not in a position to plan and feel you have to leave now…that’s a difficult position to be in. Not impossible, just difficult. If you have good friends and family to stay with, that is a blessing. Get to them as soon as you can and call the police. If you are financially stable on your own, check into a hotel or motel, call the police for help and an advocate will be assigned to you. This safety plan is very thorough. It’s a fill in the blank. As you complete it, it will come together for you. Above all, stop reacting and start acting. Call the police for help. Try to think clearly when making decisions that will alter you whole life. This is a life altering experience. You will never be the same again.

Kellibrew: I think it is so important to be cognizant of who your choice for dates are. There are ways to know if a person is not right for you and that they might be abusive down the road. What are some of the signs that we should look for in order to detect violent behavior, early, before the cycle begins or continues?

Muhammad: The signs are so different. And once the person is found out, they change their behavior. There are many sites that offer this information. One of the ways I can advise someone to do is to watch the behavior of the person you are involved with. The Bible says to recognize the spirits when they come. So that means to be watchful. When your gut tells you something is wrong…something is wrong. Do not ignore your instincts. God gave all of us ways to recognize those situations in our lives that will cause problems. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t. That’s why we often times say, I should have listened to my first mind. That is your spirit warning you that there is a problem.

Kellibrew: What can people do to protect their family members out there who may be getting abused? And what can strangers do as well when they see violence occurring in their environment?

Muhammad: There is only one question that should be asked when you know someone is being abused, whether you know them or not. That question is ‘how can I help’. Do not play the hero. And do not assume you know what the victim wants to do. That is an empowering question. You may be the only one that has asked the victim what he/she wants to do. Others have been telling her/him what they should or shouldn’t do. Often when that is the case, she will not contact you again because now you have become a part of the problem. You are not listening. You sound just like the abuser. If you are not able to help or want to [help] after finding out the information, then give that person resource information. The list attached is things you should and should not say to victims and survivors.

Kellibrew: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about the issue of violence that we may have missed?

Muhammad: Thank you so much for this opportunity. I hope what we’ve said will assist someone who finds themselves in this situation. After The Trauma is here to help. I know this is a terrible economic time we are in. Imagine for a minute what it feels like for a victim or survivor. After The Trauma is a 501©3 organization. All donations are tax deductible. Please donate $5.00 or more to assist us with helping the very people that need it so much. You will receive a receipt upon the completion of your donation. The link is provided for your convenience,

Society has forgotten us and no one really wants to hear about this issue. Domestic violence does not have a religion, financial or educational status, race, creed, culture. It can happen to anyone at any time, men, women and children. I’ve written a survivor’s journal that can be purchased from my site. The link is

As the former wife of John Allen Muhammad, I've felt no one could handle my 'emotions'. I knew I had to get them outside of myself to heal. I began journaling and found more emotions I didn't realize existed. I couldn't tell anyone because I felt ashamed, guilty, and thought no one would believe me anyway. But...writing them down gave me the opportunity to truly focus on my pain and how these emotions were affecting my everyday living. My book is being published and will be released October 2009 by Simon and Schuster. The title is “Scared Silent”. There are many errors out there about this situation. My book will correct those errors and shed more light on the entire situation. Thank you again for this opportunity.

Kellibrew: Mildred, you are so welcome as always. I cannot thank you enough for agreeing to tell your story on my blogspot. There is somebody out there who needs this uplift and information you have shared. There are so many young woman who share Tiffany Gates' fear out there. There are so many Mildred Muhammads out there. Tiffany may be gone from earth, God bless her soul, but You have a choice while you are alive. I am buying my sister, and another friend, and me, our survival journal right now. Thanks Mildred. Well, there you have it. This concludes my interview with Mildred and don’t worry, I know she will be back. I have also written an article for her monthly newsletter. If you want to be plugged in, don’t forget to go to her website You will find a wealth of information geared to save your life or someone else’s. I added the list of things to say and not to say to victims per Mildred’s request. You will find them below.

Til next time.


T How can I help you?

T What can I do for you?

T I’m sorry.

T What happened is not your fault.

T I believe you.

T Your case is important/unique.

T Are you safe?

T Do you have any concerns about your safety?

T Who else have your spoken to?

T Would you like a referral for further victim assistance?

T Can I make any calls for you?

T Do you need anything else?

T If you do, contact me at....

T I know this is one more interruption in your life.

T If you have a serious problem or crisis, dial 911.

T You are not going crazy.

T I can’t imagine, but...

T I can’t possibly understand what you are going through, but I’m going to try and help you.

T I don’t know, but I’ll find out.

T How are you doing?

T Let’s see if we can figure out your most important needs right now.

T I’m glad you called.


T I know how you feel.

T I understand what you’re going through.

T Why???

T Why were you....didn’t you...?

T Your case reminds me of another victim I dealt with...

T As a general rule of thumb...

T It’s God’s will (or any religious platitude).

T Move on, put it behind you.

T You need to get over it/ get on with your life.

T I can promise you that will happen for sure.

T If I were in your shoes....

T You’re so strong...

T You’re so lucky...

T At least you weren’t hurt.

T You should forgive.

T Time heals all wounds.

T Why didn’t you.....?

T It could be worse.

T What you need is.....

T Get over it. Get on with your life.

T You’re not the only victim I’m trying to help.

T Offenders aren’t really bad people...

T The poor defendant had a really tough childhood....

T Nothing at all.

T Avoid using generalizations.

T Avoid comparisons with other victims or cases.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Time to Make That Vital Change in Life - You Can Do It!

Yesterday, I made good on my promise to finally work toward my goal of getting healthier as well as physically fit. My workout was an hour and boy was I under pressure.

I started off with a jog on the treadmill with my homeboy Brandon and my personal trainer, Jamar. I worked out with Jamar before and I know that he pushes me to the limit. That's good for me, but it does hurt.

We then went to some "core excercises", with crunches and running exercises, holding balls while doing squats. Of course, I do not give this regiment justice by names, but you know what I mean when I say that I was hurting at the end. But, it felt good.

After, we ate oatmeal. I ate it without sugar, butter and milk. It was pretty good, especially Grandma's oatmeal.

My diet has changed. I have cut out alcohol, fried foods, bread, meat and a host of other things. I am eating tofu, fruits and lots of water, among many other choices. I am told to follow Ian Smith's Smash Diet.

Folks, by July, I should look like I feel, great! If you are thinking about loosing weight, getting on track with your health, consult a professional. No need going at it alone. No need to figure this out yourself. Get others involved in your goals. It feels great to have support.

I feel much better today, physically. I know that has a lot to do with my mental state, but I still feel healthier already by the choice that I made to get healthier. I still have to jog today and of course I am on my way to meditation at the Art of Living Foundation.

Make a change and stick to it. Remember, it's that "-" between the time you were born until the time you expire on earth, that truly is the legacy that you leave. That "-" is riddled with either proaction or reaction. You have a choice.

Til next time...

The Fighting in Gaza - We Need A Peaceful Solution

I must offer some thoughts on the fighting in Gaza. As I see the fighting, continuous mortar and rocket fire, and the ground assault, I am concerned. The violence is absolutely unacceptable. We cannot continue to fight this way. How can we bring about a peace in the world through so much violence. There will be years of tension and rifts to come. This tension could possibly spur into more wars. The Palestinians and Israelis have been fighting for 40 years. There has to come a time when the fighting gets tiring and must end.

Since the security council of the United Nations will not issue a statement, as citizens of this country and world, we must denounce this violence and ask for a cease-fire from both sides. The MiddleEast conflict affects us all, whether we know it or not. Let's push our government to work hard for a resolution. Obviously, the answer will not come from within the two warring parties. The resolution will only come with all parties discussing and putting everything on the table, including the United States.

Let's pray for the citizens of both countries who are affected by the violence. It is a diar situation in that region. We must pray for a peaceful end. What are your thoughts?

Til next time...

Friday, January 2, 2009

After the Lights Are Out...Are You Working?

It's a new year, 2009. You made resolutions and if you did not, are you still working hard?

After all of the lights are out and the fireworks are gone, there is still work to do. Today, I woke up in an excellent mood, but I feel like there is still so much to do.

The new year hides the work that we have to do. Our work is masked beneath the celebration and really continues through. Mentally we try to separate the two years, but actually, I did the opposite.

I joined them together. I did a lot of planning in 2008 that will help me to be better prepared for 2009. The same projects remain, but at another level of the planning and project process.

My point here is regardless of what we thought about new year, it is how we perceive it. It is a new start for some and for others, another day. I appreciate the new year, but I appreciate the day before and especially the day after. Let's make each day work for us. Let's not wait for big defining moments. Let's define our own moments in time. Perhaps your new year is today?

Til next time...