Change We Can Believe In

Change” is the buzz-word after an historic day last Tuesday… Here are a few thoughts on change—please pass this along to those that might need the encouragement. Hope you have an Energized week! Ok, Giving an opinion about how others need to change is easy; taking personal responsibility for change is more difficult. I've learned that it's very easy to suggest how others need to change, but difficult to see the same need in yourself. For example, I've seen people complain that another person doesn't take responsibility to communicate with them. My suggestion is always the same, “How about you take the first step and go to them.” A wonderful rule of thumb is to determine what action you need to take, before you expect others to take action. Change always works best when we take the responsibility to make it happen ourselves. · What responsibility do I need to take in this situation? · Am I taking personal responsibility to get my needs met? · Am I draining my energy by being upset that others are not cooperating? If so, what do I need to do about that? · Am I procrastinating by waiting on others to provide me with information? · What stops me from taking the responsibility to get started? · What do I need to do to make things happen? There are two quotes that sum up this up: “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” - Anon "Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world - making the most of one's best." Harry Emerson this is from my good friend Kit Cummings Read more!

The Legacy of Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba, the world re-known South African singer & a personal inspiration of mine died after collapsing on stage in Italy. She was 76. Miriam was banned from her own country for more than 30 years under apartheid, because of her views against oppression. In her music career, she performed with musical legends like jazz star Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon — and sang for world leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela. "Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us," Mandela said in a statement. He said it was "fitting" that her last moments were spent on stage. The Pineta Grande clinic in Castel Volturno, near the southern city of Naples, said Makeba died early Monday of a heart attack. Makeba collapsed on stage Sunday night after singing one of her most famous hits "Pata Pata," her family said in a statement. Her grandson, Nelson Lumumba Lee, was with her as well as her longtime friend, Italian promoter Roberto Meglioli. The first African woman to win a Grammy award, Makeba started singing in Sophiatown, a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Johannesburg that was a cultural hotspot in the 1950s before its black residents were forcibly removed by the apartheid government. She then teamed up with South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela — later her first husband — and her rise to international prominence started when she starred in the anti-apartheid documentary "Come Back, Africa" in 1959. "Whilst this great lady was alive she would say: 'I will sing until the last day of my life'," the statement said. Castel Volturno Mayor Francesco Nuzzo said Makeba sang at a concert in solidarity with six immigrants from Ghana who were shot to death in September in the town, an attack that investigators have blamed on organized crime. The death of "Mama Africa," as she was known, plunged South Africa into shock and mourning. "One of the greatest songstresses of our time has ceased to sing," Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said in a statement. "Throughout her life, Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid and colonialism through the art of song." Makeba wrote in her 1987 memoirs that friends and relatives who first encouraged her to perform compared her voice to that of a nightingale. With her distinctive style combining jazz with folk with South African township rhythms, she was often called "The Empress of African Song." When she tried to fly home for her mother's funeral the following year, she discovered her passport had been revoked. It was 30 years before she was allowed to return. In 1963, Makeba appeared before the U.N. Special Committee on Apartheid to call for an international boycott of South Africa. The South African government responded by banning her records, including hits like "Pata Pata," "The Click Song" ("Qongqothwane" in Xhosa), and "Malaika." Makeba received the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1966 together with Belafonte for "An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba." The album dealt with the political plight of black South Africans under apartheid. Thanks to her close relationship with Belafonte, she received star status in the United States and performed for President Kennedy at his birthday party in 1962. But she fell briefly out of favor when she married black power activist Stokely Carmichael — later known as Kwame Ture — and moved to Guinea in the late 1960s. Besides working with Simone and Gillespie, she also appeared with Paul Simon at his "Graceland" concert in Zimbabwe in 1987. After three decades abroad, Makeba was invited back to South Africa by Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon, shortly after his release from prison in 1990 as white racist rule crumbled. "It was like a revival," she said about going home. "My music having been banned for so long, that people still felt the same way about me was too much for me. I just went home and I cried." Makeba courted controversy by lending support to dictators such as Togo's Gnassingbe Eyadema and Felix Houphouet-Boigny from Ivory Coast, performing at political campaigns for the veteran leaders even as they were violently suppressing the movements for democracy that swept West Africa in the early 90s. The first person to give her refuge was Guinea's former President Ahmed Sekou Toure who was accused in the slaughtering of 10 percent of the population. Makeba, though, insisted that her songs were not deliberately political. "I'm not a political singer," she insisted in an interview with Britain's Guardian newspaper earlier this year. "I don't know what the word means. People think I consciously decided to tell the world what was happening in South Africa. No! I was singing about my life, and in South Africa we always sang about what was happening to us — especially the things that hurt us." Makeba announced her retirement three years ago, but despite a series of farewell concerts she never stopped performing. When she turned 75 last year, she said she would sing for as long as possible. Makeba is survived by her grandchildren, Nelson Lumumba Lee and Zenzi Monique Lee, and her great-grandchildren Lindelani, Ayanda and Kwame. Many parts of this is from CELEAN JACOBSON AP Read more!


November 5th is a day of new possibility. It's a about new direction with capable leadership! I am inspired, excited and hopeful for all of the world to change! Let's PRAY for Barack Obama and for our country that I am SO PROUD OF! November 5th 2008, our brother, Barack Obama was elected as America's first black president! Instantaneously this unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling respect from around the world. People around the globe poured out onto the streets to celebrate! It reminds me of a bible verse: Proverbs 29:2 - When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. What even Pro-life, thus Pro-McCain voters didn't understand, is that it's not JUST about America.Our leadership is about the whole world! And that was the thing I couldn't explain to them. Although I feel strongly about protecting the "unborn", and we need someone to address that issue. Feel me as I say, people across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made! Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school exploded in cheers when he was declared winner! Nelson Mandela said his victory demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place! Many expressed amazement that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect a black man as president. This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten! Rama Yade, France's black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. "America is becoming a New World. "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes," she said. Obama is overwhelmingly popular even in Europe, another region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration! Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of "a new America with a new credit of trust in the world." Obama's victory was greeted with cheers across Latin America, a region that has felt some negativity from the Bush years. From Mexico to Chile, leaders expressed hope for warmer relations based on mutual respect — a quality many felt has been missing from U.S. foreign policy. Venezuela and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil's president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward Cuba. Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future! One person from there saying, "The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now." This is the first African-American destined to sit in the Oval Office, Gen. Colin Powell, Rice, and so many others even John Mccain gave props to Obama and his leadership! This is an exciting time yawl! Read more!

Overc​oming​ Fear

Fear has gripp​ed our socie​ty,​ and some seem to be caugh​t in a “para​lysis​ of analy​sis.​” Our abili​ty to make clear​,​ firm decis​ions is imper​ative​… Below​ are a few tips to encou​rage you durin​g this time—​pleas​e pass them along​ to those​ that will benef​it… Have an great​ week!​ One of the great​est hindr​ances​ to decis​ion making​ is fear.​ And, the longe​r you think​ about​ the decis​ion the more fearf​ul you becom​e.​ All of us strug​gle at some point​ in life when it comes​ to makin​g decis​ions.​ I would​ think​ many of you are exper​ienci​ng that strug​gle as you read this newsl​etter​.​ The emoti​on of fear compl​icate​s any decis​ion makin​g activ​ity.​ Shoul​d I stay or shoul​d I go? Shoul​d I conti​nue doing​ what I’ve been doing​ or try a diffe​rent appro​ach?​ What happe​ns when my savin​gs are gone?​ These​ are only a few of the quest​ions that come up when makin​g criti​cal decis​ions durin​g diffi​cult times​.​ When fear becom​es a part of the proce​ss it not only compl​icate​s it, but cause​s the perso​n to becom​e stran​ded betwe​en optio​ns.​ Energ​y Perfo​rmanc​e Tips The best decis​ions are based​ on facts​ or at least​ the facts​ as you know them.​ Fear muddl​es facts​.​ Inter​estin​gly,​ one of the facts​ about​ fear is that 99% of all the thing​s you have ever worri​ed about​ NEVER​ happe​ned.​ Dr. Frank​ Crane​,​ a Presb​yteri​an minis​ter said,​ “Most​ of the fear that spoil​s life comes​ from attac​hing diffi​culti​es befor​e we get to them.​” I’m sure you have seen or heard​ this defin​ition​ of FEAR.​ Fear is: “Fant​asize​d Exper​ience​s Appea​ring Real.​ Here are sugge​stion​s to help manag​e fear when makin​g a decis​ion:​ 1. There​ are no termi​nal choic​es.​ Whate​ver choic​e you make you can re-​make it at any time.​ Plus all decis​ions provi​de you with benef​its.​ If you make the right​ decis​ion,​ great​,​ you did well.​ If it was the wrong​ decis​ion,​ you learn​ed somet​hing.​ 2. Fear waste​s energ​y.​ Fear cause​s you to visua​lize thing​s that are not real or dream​ up thing​s that have not yet happe​ned.​ Use your energ​y for reali​stic thoug​hts and actio​ns.​ W. Cleme​nt Stone​ said,​ “When​ think​ing won’t​ cure fear,​ actio​n will.​” 3. All decis​ions have a certa​in amoun​t of risk.​ "How can I be sure this is the right​ decis​ion?​"​ "​What if I make the wrong​ choic​e?​"​ The answe​r to these​ quest​ions is that you can’t​.​ What you can do is make the best choic​e possi​ble and make adjus​tment​s as neede​d.​ 4. Have faith​ – trust​ that you did the best you could​ with the infor​matio​n you had. And keep in mind the old adage​ “noth​ing ventu​red,​ nothi​ng gaine​d.​” You can'​t deter​mine the futur​e,​ but you can do the best you know to do in the prese​nt.​ "Too many peopl​e are think​ing of secur​ity inste​ad of oppor​tunit​y.​ They are more afrai​d of life than death​.​" - James​ F. Byrne​s From my great​ frien​d Kit Cummi​ngs Speec​h Read more!