Hi. My name is Ebony. I live in Houston, Texas where I am a full-time county employee and mother of three. My oldest "PRINCE" is eight years old, "THE DIVA" is seven years old, and "THE RULER" is five years old. I love life and adore my children. I'm a very active member of Greater New Hope Church, a.k.a. "The Praisedome". My hobbies are reading, writing, singing, and working.
Like many people in this world, I can be a little too hard on myself. How hard I am on my children to get stuff done and do things right, I am just as hard on myself if I don’t fully accomplish something or make mistakes. I know we’re all human and the way life is set up, it’s not always going to go right, but that doesn’t stop me from pushing myself to do my absolute best in everything I set my hands to do. With that being said, in a previous post, I talked about three things I set out to do this year. Vision Tees and Things was launched, the Vision Connection Party was canceled due to COVID, which was way out of my control, and writing consistently in my blog became almost impossible, so I thought. I started to beat myself up a little when I realized I pressed only one out of three of my goals, but then, I was reminded, the year is not over yet. I still have time to do what I set out to do. All I needed to do was focus and put my time management skills I learned to good use. I have still had orders coming in to be filled, I’ve been looking at ways to have a Virtual Vision Connection Party, and I have been brainstorming ideas for posts for the rest of this year and even next year. I’m on the move!
My encouragement to you today is, with a little less than two months left in this year, just do it. Why wait until January 1st to make a resolution? Most of the time, we make these resolutions, have great momentum month one and head back to our old habits by month two. Some of us don’t even make it week one. Why not start again now? Why not go back to the goal from the beginning of this year? Whether it’s writing the book, launching the business, learning something new, starting the process to buy a house, just start. This time start with intentions to finish strong. Start with intentions to stay focused and keep your momentum. COVID may have stopped the world from moving a little, but we can’t let it take our dreams and goals. I will not be one to allow my goals and dreams to be placed on the backburner again. It’s never too late to begin. Just do it! You got this!
Last week, I decided to write out some personal, business, and home goals for my children and myself. I asked my youngest to bring the sheets of paper I wrote them down on to the car one morning. He dropped the home goals in the hallway. The next night, while the kids were getting ready for bed, my daughter comes in my room with tears in her eyes. The conversation goes as follows:
Mya: Mama, I read your goals. I’m so happy and sad.
Me: Why are you sad?
Mya: I don’t know. It’s just..Mama you believe in this for us?
Me: Yes I do.
Mya: I believe too Mama and I don’t care what anybody else thinks. It’s about what you and we believe.
I have heard many teachings about Vision in my lifetime, but never fully understood it until I had to have vision for my own household. When I was in a committed relationship, my mindset was the man has the vision for the house. Once the man who I sought after for vision from was no longer around, I had to learn how to seek vision, goals, and dreams, not only for myself, but for my children as well. Through the conversation with my daughter, I was reminded of the part of the scripture that says, “Make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it”. Why did I never think about my children being the ones to read it and run? Then, I rebuked myself. Ebony, you never let them read it. You never told them what God said. You never told them what your plans were for this house. You just expected them to believe in something they had never read or even heard about. I expected them to believe in me just because I was their mother and head of the household. Then, I had to think about it. If I had a husband, would I just believe in him for those same reasons without knowing where we’re going? I believe knowing this shows me what my assignment is in the plan; I’ll know what to pray for, what to seek God for in regards to our household, where to provide strength. This goes the same in your church. I love how my Pastor is very open with us as a congregation about where God wants to take us as a body of believers. He works diligently and seeks from God Himself on making specific moves for the church. He, also, gets direction from God on specific assignments as well. The leadership team has those assignments. Those specific leaders have a team who not only believe in the vision of the set ministry, but the church as a whole. We are all runners. We all have an assignment in different aspects of our lives. It’s on us to hear and read the vision set and get on our jobs to do what’s necessary for it to come to pass. Individually, we have vision. My Pastor says all the time, “We are not supposed to write it, read it, and run.” You’ll risk getting burned out on what your assignment is. It’s on us to write it out and make it plain. Then, God shows who is supposed to read it and run with what He said. Don’t be shocked by who He sends because God can use ANYBODY, even children. So, just write it out. The believers in it will come. Be Blessed.
At the beginning of this year, I had my mind set on pushing my blog, having the Vision Connection Party, and starting my business. One out of three is good! Before the surge with COVID-19, I invested in myself by purchasing two of the items needed to start my business, Vision Tees and Things. I learned so much through YouTube, craft groups on social media, and craft friends, it became hard to focus on one specific thing in regards to everything I wanted to accomplish through my business. I was having my syndrome again. My initial goal was to cut out the middleman and produce my own designs and logos on different products geared towards my blog, but as I started to learn more and do more, my business took a turn for the better. I started to do more than just printing t-shirts. I started to print on mugs, make keychains, customize wine glasses, and so much more. I can honestly say I probably would not have been able to accomplish and master all of these things if I was not forced to stay home with my children when the schools closed back in March. I used our downtime to create, fill orders, learn, and grow.
So, here are a few things I have learned in year 2020:
Don’t Forget Your Ultimate Goal: Your Reason Why
Recently, I sat down and wrote out personal, home, and business goals for my children and myself. In addition to these goals, I wrote how they will be accomplished. Doing this helped me to understand what my ultimate goal was for absolutely everything concerning my life. What am I working towards? What am I looking to accomplish by doing this? What do I want to see come out of this? I believe, wholeheartedly, knowing this will keep me consistent and focused. I wrote out these goals so I can see daily what I am working towards. Whenever I need a little motivation, I can revert to what I wrote. It’s just like a vision board without the pictures. I remember when I first started blogging. It was ultimately to give people a glimpse of my life through my testimony while motivating through vision. Motivating through vision is my ultimate goal. It wasn’t going to only follow through with the blog or speaking engagements. Now I’ve created a platform where tangible items can be created to showcase that same vision whether it’s through wearing your brand on your chest, drinking out of a mug with your logo plastered all over it, or carrying a bag with a motivational message to keep you moving forward. Knowing and understanding this ultimate goal, for me, keeps me diligent and pushes me to stay the course no matter what.
Lord have Mercy! I believe this one was the hardest lesson for me to learn, especially after I went back to work. It’s safe to say I am still a work in progress on this one. Now, if you know me personally, you would agree I can sometimes be a little bit of a procrastinator. Sometimes I can feel I have all the time in the world and wait until the very last minute to get something done. Being a business owner, working a full-time job, maintaining a household with children, all while attempting to have a social life Post-COVID, I was forced to manage my time. I write out a weekly schedule, plan my daily duties, make a to-do list and prioritize by level of importance. Doing this can help me physically see what needs to be done and what needs to be moved around. Through time management, I learned it’s okay to take a break. It is needed. At times, it can become overwhelming having so many responsibilities so it’s quite all right to take a step back and breathe. You never want to get to a place where you are forced to sit down and do absolutely nothing. So, manage the time you have, take care of what’s needed in that moment, and take a pause if you need to, but don’t ever stop going.
Trust God with EVERYTHING
Have you ever gotten to a point in life where your only option is to trust HIM? I have; more times than I could ever imagine. Trusting God goes so much more beyond words though. You can say with your mouth, “I trust Him”, but if you don’t believe God can do whatever you’re asking Him to do for you specifically, it means nothing. There were many times I looked at a situation I was going through and felt I sometimes deserved to stay stuck in what I was in, but I messed around and started believing what I had seen God do for others, He can do for me too and what He has done in my life before, He can do it again and again and again. When I started to live knowing that God can do the unimaginable, the possibilities became endless. I made up in my mind, with everything in me; I would never walk around this earth feeling defeated because I have God. I will trust Him when things are looking good and, most definitely, when life appears bad. One of my favorite sayings is, “Things could always be worse.” Many times, we look at our situation that looks unfixable or unchangeable and forget what we’ve seen before, what we’ve come out of previously. I don’t believe God just takes us through for fun. Everything serves a purpose. So since He’s all-knowing, why not trust Him? What do you have to lose?
Now, we all know this year has been CRAZY and I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I’m ready for this year to be over.” “This year sucks.” I’m not going to lie, I found myself agreeing with them for a moment until I started to look at EVERYTHING I gained and lost. To tell you the truth, this year has been life changing. I don’t regret one thing I’ve done nor do I wish anything would’ve happened differently. I believe everything that has happened was designed to happen to me and for me. I titled this post “The Vision Blogger is Still Alive” because somewhere along this journey of 2020 I neglected my reason why. Writing out my goals the other day awakened something in me I thought I lost and one thing is for sure, I don’t ever want to feel like I lost my passion, my zeal, or my tenacity to walk in my purpose and do what I was created to do. Ever. So, my reason why is springing forth. My Vision is still alive.
Over two years ago, I was involved in a car accident. It was said that an accident happened behind me and pushed into my car. The third car spun in the air and landed to the right of me facing the other direction and I don’t even know how the car ended up on the left of me, but I was surrounded by damaged vehicles on every side except in the front. My vehicle was the only one able to be driven off the freeway, being that I only suffered damage from behind. Pieces from one of the cars sat on my bumper on the way to get the kids, on the ride home, and even on my way to work the next day, tucked over to the right side. I didn’t notice the pile of glass and screws until I was headed to lunch, while examining the damages in detail before driving off. I decided to get a piece of paper from my car and remove the pieces to the ground so I wouldn’t cut my hand, but I needed to move them out of the way in case I caused any damage to my tire trying to drive away from that spot. As I moved the pieces, I had to sweep them even further as to not damage any other person’s tires. Those broken pieces of glass lead me to believe this is how we do some of our relationships. You can either be the broken pieces sitting on someone’s bumper or you can be the holder of the broken pieces. Either way, both can be uncomfortable.
Be careful causing other’s to bleed from pieces of glass they didn’t break.
My children’s father and I were together for 6 1/2 years before he passed, which left me full of grief, bitterness, and anger. Now, at that time, I wasn’t honest with myself about those particular feelings, but one feeling I was most clear about was loneliness, which was normal after having someone laying next to you everyday for 6 years and suddenly you are alone. I was VERY reluctant on getting in another relationship after experiencing those emotions all at once. I, truly, didn’t want to believe, as a mother of three very small children at the time, I would even be liked let alone loved unconditionally by a man anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen many single mothers and fathers get into happy and long relationships after a heartbreak, but that way of thinking I had was a reflection of how I felt about myself. I didn’t have nearly the level of confidence I have in myself now compared to then.
Now, I have only had one or two serious relationships since my ex’s passing. The one thing I tried my best to consider in those relationships were not allowing that particular person to pay for the emotions brought on by someone previously. Just like the pile on my bumper, I didn’t want someone to have to hold on to my broken pieces trying to love me. I knew my heart wanted to love again, but I was afraid. I was afraid of wasting my time. I was afraid of being lied to again. I was afraid of even getting my hopes to be let down. All of those fears led me to not actually be serious about a relationship. I was just meeting guys to talk on the phone to sort of fill the void of companionship. Not saying I don’t have those fears still at times, but I’m learning when you allow God to truly guard and guide your heart, you can’t go wrong. There are situations we put ourselves in for whatever reason that may be, but I’ve found God will allow those situations to teach us lessons and show us what He might have been trying to protect us from.
Be careful trying to love people whole. You may end up losing some of your pieces.
With me trying not to have my broken pieces held, I’ve found myself being the holder of others’. One particular man I was with was deeply hurt in his previous relationship with his children’s mother. I found myself losing my marbles trying to understand why he tended to kind of shut down when things were going in a good direction. Through many conversations, I learned the hurt he experienced caused him not to be able to fully expect good in a relationship. He just wanted to “ride the waves” and I felt like I made more waves with my irrational behavior caused by me not fully understanding what I tried my best not to do in a relationship. I thought me being there and continuing to love him through everything would make it all better, but I had to learn the hard way it would never be possible. While he tried to protect me from his broken pieces, I found myself trying to piece them back together, so to speak, while literally cutting my hands in the process.
Studying the meaning of these pieces left on my car allowed me to take a step back and realize the parts I’ve played in my own heartbreak and even good relationships I messed up with my own hands. First, I had to forgive myself for those parts and trust the process of becoming whole. I knew I could never have a successful relationship if I didn’t deal with things internally within myself. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be receptive to the type of love and companionship I desired. I would just continue to cut others with my broken pieces and even ones I’ve picked up from other’s damages. Second, I had to learn how to effectively love myself. I can almost bet there are millions around the world who look in the mirror daily and find something they don’t like about themselves. I believe when you effectively love yourself, you love the good and the bad because both ultimately make up who you are. If you don’t love you, how can you expect someone else to love you? The good and the bad. We can try because I most certainly have, but the foundation of love starts in you. Love you the way you desire someone to give you love, maybe even more. Be Blessed.
Hello Family! I have not written a post in a little while, but I can definitely tell you I have been working on soooooo many things involving my VISION for “The Vision Blogger” Companies so be on the lookout. BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING!!! (My team tells me I need to focus on one thing, but I can’t. LOL.)
At the end of August, my daughter, Mya, and I went to support one of my church sisters, Rhoshonda Adkison’s, event “Breakfast with Daddy’s Girl”. The event was located at Hanz’s Diner in North Houston where in the provided area, the women and young girls sat on the outside of the tables, while men sat in the middle. Each man represented that day was the “Dad” for about three or four ladies or young girls and became responsible for them for the time given. After our informal meet and greet, we all wrote out the letters to spell father on the sheet of paper given and were asked to describe what a father is using each letter. As we formulated our list, Mya started to remember her dad and came up with words with that glee and smile in her eyes I hadn’t seen in a long while. Most of the words did not start with the letters provided, but it was amazing to hear her just describe him. That moment caused me to step back and truly think about my father and how our relationship and his passing affected me.
Mya was SPOILED with a capital “S”. Now the word “spoiled” is often used as a derogatory term, but in my eyes, if a child or teenager was spoiled, they often got mostly everything they wanted and were not punished for things you might have received a punishment for. As a child, growing up, I confused being spoiled with being more loved. One day, I actually told my dad I felt he loved my sisters more than me because they were always getting what they wanted from him. His words to me were, “You have the same opportunities to get what you want and need from me, but you don’t ask.” He was right. In my mind, at the time I felt like it was wrong of me to always go and ask my dad for anything when my little sister was always going to him already for everything. I also felt like I didn’t call him enough or spent enough time with him to ask him for things I wanted or needed. I just never wanted my dad to feel like I only called him for those reasons. Looking back on this now, I am the same way with God. I know He is absolutely everything and He can do what I can’t, but I never want it to seem like I only talk to Him when I need Him. After the conversation with my dad, I realized it was my fault I felt the way I did. Point blank, I never in no shape, form, or fashion, felt unloved by my father, but as a young girl, I never knew how and what it meant for a father to show real love without having gifts and things I desired. As a teenager, as I grasped the concept of what a father’s love should consist of, I realized I looked forward to meals with my dad, going to church with him, and laughing with him until my stomach hurt more than having the materialistic things. Thankfully, I learned this early on where that perception of love would not boil over into my relationships as an adult. I was proud to say that my daughter experienced love from her father different than how I felt as a young girl. Her father wasn’t fully in a position to give her everything she wanted. Honestly at three years old, she really didn’t ask for much of anything. She knew her father loved her by the time spent with her, the hugs and kisses he gave, and the compliments of how beautiful she is. That’s the love she experienced in only three years that she still thinks about almost five years later.
Losing my father at 22 was TOUGH for two reasons. One, I had just left my home church a year before and he had become my pastor and baptized me. As my pastor, our relationship grew stronger than I could’ve ever imagined. I saw my father in a different light and didn’t want that light to dim from my life. The second reason was, two months to the day of his passing, I had just given birth to my first child, Elijah. I remember the day I had him. The look in his eyes was unexplainable. He kept coming in the recovery room with me and going right back out to check on my son. The next day, he came back to the hospital and just held him for hours. My sister told me he preached about Elijah from the Bible for three weeks straight. When we came back to church, after service was over, he prayed and said, “Bring me my grandson.” You could see the joy in his eyes and hear it in his smile when he called. It pained me to come to grips with him not being able to see him and the other grandchildren grow up. Even now, it hurts sometimes to think about how he never got a chance to meet all the other grandkids who have been born since his passing.
The final activity of the event was writing a letter to our fathers. I truly thought the activity was going to be an emotional one for myself and Mya but it was actually relieving. In Mya’s letter, she wrote about everything she missed about him being here on earth with her. As we finished, I started to ask myself, “What do you want to say that you never got a chance to say?” One thing was how much I loved and appreciated him as my father and at that time, as my Pastor. My father would move the moon and stars for his wife, his girls, his family, his friends and God’s people. He was a true servant. It was a blessing to see him sick, well, happy, or sad serve. That’s why when I saw the flyer where my father’s church, True Praise Missionary Baptist Church, under Pastor Earnest Helaire, Jr., was having their opening service for the new building, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have missed it. My father’s VISION had come to pass. I didn’t know everything True Praise had to go through to get the building but I knew there were obstacles. Before and even during the opening service, they continued to face opposition when the air conditioner went out. That didn’t stop them from giving God praise and honor for what He had done for them as a church. First Lady Sha Helaire and other members served the members and guests ice water because of the heat. I just believed just as she served in that moment, it was a direct representation of True Praise and what they had to endure as they waited for the vision to come to pass. They continued to serve. They didn’t quit. They didn’t allow road blocks to hinder the process of moving forward.Passing by my grandparents’ house, I had seen the pieces for the building many times, but to see all the pieces together to create the beautiful edifice was encouraging. My vision is written ALL OVER on many sheets of paper in my journal, sticky notes on my desk, and even notes in my phone, in pieces. My pieces can and will come to pass just like my father’s vision did. “And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” My father wrote the vision and made it plain. His church, now under the leadership of Pastor Helaire, continued on even in the midst of the heartbreak of losing their child, brother, friend, and pastor. They are running with what was written.
Every single person in this world has had their own experience with love from their birth fathers whether it was existent or non-existent. Some people don’t or didn’t have the luxury of even having their father in their lives at all or only in bits and pieces of it. What I have always found throughout my life and even through others’ testimonies, whatever you may have felt about your father, whether he was there or not, God is the only one who can fill any void you may have from not having your father around or not receiving what you needed from him. I love the idea of the “Daddy’s Girls” Ministry because Rhoshonda brings teenage girls together, which I believe the teen years are a pivotal stage in life, to minister to them about the love of Christ and building an unimaginable bond with Him. As great as my biological father was to me and as much love I am surrounded by from my family and friends, I could never live without the love of God and wouldn’t be able to understand life at times without having that relationship with Him.
With this post, I honor my father, Pastor Jim Miles, Jr. and True Praise Missionary Baptist Church. I love you guys tremendously. Keep up the good work. Be Blessed.
First, I have to say, God is absolutely AMAZING & FAITHFUL. He does just what He says He’ll do. He’s never short in His promises. When I declared “Today is going to be a GREAT day” on yesterday, I never fathomed what God was going to do for me. I’m still in amazement and in awe of who He is in my life. I love God! He is EVERYTHING to me and I am FOREVER His servant. Not for what He does only but for who HE is.
Second, God has revealed soooo much to me about myself in the last four years, I’ll never be able to fully explain it. I learned who I truly was in Him and He strategically placed many people in my life to keep me going and growing in Him and through my VISION. So, it was somewhat hard for me to leave my last job at the Tax Office because I knew I was comfortable. I was also working towards being a Lead Clerk, but there, you had to really be in good with the right people to be promoted.
I left there and went to work with my mom in the Justice Courts, where I had volunteered periodically since high school. Little did I know, 3 months after starting the job, my children’s father would pass leaving me heartbroken and somewhat confused about what God was actually doing in my life. At the same time I felt relieved. My children’s father was my entire life. I loved him with everything in me, but losing him drew me even more closer to God. Also, at the new job I was able to take the time I needed to truly heal and grieve at my leisure. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at the Tax Office.
As time went on, I began to learn almost every aspect of the Courts. I worked hard with truly no intention of ever being promoted maybe for years to come. I knew I would be qualified because of what I knew and my work ethics, but set my mind and heart to believe I wouldn’t be able to be promoted. Not only because the current Supervisors didn’t plan on retiring for years, but because people would believe my mother, who is the chief clerk, would only give me the position because I was her daughter, not because I knew the job and worked hard at it.
In the previous school year, Edwin, Jr. starts kindergarten and begins having issues EVERYDAY. He is later diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Behavior. You can read more about that process in the following link: https://thevisionblogger.com/2019/02/07/yesterday-was-tough/ During the school year, I had a bit of relief because there were people in place at his school to help redirect him if need be, being that the medicine only did so much.
The summer didn’t start off so great. He was getting ready to be removed from the summer program. Just days ago, we started a new medication along with what he’s already taking. It looks like things are much better for now and I believe God is working on that as well. I’m grateful and relieved because in two weeks I will be starting a new position as the new “Traffic Department Supervisor” in another Justice of the Peace Court.
I was interviewed along with others for the position and found myself just happy to even be considered for the opportunity to have an interview. I started the process with the mindset, “God, if it’s for me, it’s for me. If it’s not, it’s not and I’m okay with that.” But God knew what I wanted and He knew exactly what I needed to provide fully for myself and my children. Even after having what was intended for my children be stolen by someone who was connected to their father, God has replaced that and more.
Things I’ve learned through this process:
I will never underestimate what God can and will do for me. He has a Will and it’s all I want.
I will never underestimate myself or count myself out and make myself believe outside of what God has promised. He is faithful and if He promised it, I dare not allow the enemy or even myself to make me believe His promise won’t be manifested.
I will never apologize for what God has placed on the inside of me to fulfill work in the Kingdom and the World. I love me and the way God has made and molded me. I am yet and still on the potter’s wheel and will never be unreachable or unteachable.
I am a witness. God never puts more on you than you can bear. If He allows you to go through it, He’s equipped you with what you need to stand any test or trial. I am ELATED to learn what’s next to come in this journey of life. This short story had to be told to help someone understand and witness through me that God is strategic in everything he does. He has a plan. Don’t be distracted by the pain and short detours. Don’t allow them to make you miss the moment God is using to show you what He wants to do in your life. You may not even understand it all, but find solitude in the fact that He understands it all. He has a plan and purpose. He’s GOD! My prayer DAILY is for someone to be blessed in what God has taken me through, favored me with, and endowed me to do with my hands. Check out my previous post as well with my top 13 Motivational Quotes for moving forward here: https://thevisionblogger.com/2019/06/20/motivational-quotes-for-moving-forward/
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Life happens! It doesn’t just happen to you, but it happens to us all. There have been many times in my life where I have felt just stuck. I felt I could never move on from what I was dealing with. You can almost say there were times I felt bound by things that just happened in my life.
There are so many things that go on and wrong in our lives that may cause us to become stagnant or leave us wondering or believing we have to stay stuck in the positions we are in. One thing I know for sure, despite how stuck we may feel, the Earth continues to orbit the sun, meaning Life goes on. Life continuously moves. We must move with it.
I have found some motivational quotes for moving forward. Feel free to save them, make them screensavers, do whatsoever you desire to remind you to keep moving forward and never let life halt you. Life will happen, things will happen, but I find solitude in knowing God knows about it all. Enjoy.
The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
Sometimes the best way to measure distance is not to look back and see how far we’ve gone, but to look ahead and see how close we are.
Don’t hold yourself down with the changes you can’t control.
Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to move forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances Force you. Trust the transition. God’s Got You.
Failure keeps you humble, success keeps you glowing, but only faith and determination keeps you going.
You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. ~Steve Maraboli
As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.
Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.
Faith is moving forward even when things don’t make sense, trusting that in hindsight everything will become clear. ~Mandy Hale
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strive to move forward with Purpose in mind.
I pray you enjoy one or more of these motivational quotes.
What are your favorite quotes for moving forward in life?
Disclaimer~This posts gives some details about the movie that may be unwanted. I would advise you to watch, if you please, before reading. If you choose to continue, enjoy.
Central Park Five ~ The Story
On the night of April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, at the time, a 28-year-old investment banker, was found brutally beaten and raped in Central Park, New York City while on her nightly jog. Police found themselves attempting to do their job by searching for the people responsible for the attack against Meili, who suffered from skull fractures among other life-threatening injuries.
911 calls were made reporting a group of about 30 teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 17, “wilding” through the park harassing people. The police decided to link the group of teens to the attack. Among the group were, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Jr., Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, and Kharey Wise, who would later change his name to Korey Wise.
These young men, who ranged from the ages of 14 and 16, went through HOURS of interrogation. Claims from the men included the interrogators not providing them with food, water, or sleep during that time. To top off the investigation, the police questioned these minors without their parents or legal guardian present. In the end, they confessed to the crime.
A trial was held with the videotaped and written confessions being inconsistent, without any physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, and no DNA matches connecting them to the attack. The trial was split between the five of them.
During the trials, Meili took the stand and stated she had no recollection of what happened to her. Yet and still, the boys were found guilty, collectively, of rape, assault, robbery, riot, attempted murder, sodomy, and sexual abuse. McCray, Santana, Salaam, and Richardson were all sentenced to 5 to 10 in a juvenile facility, being they were under the age of 16. Wise was tried as an adult and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in state prison.
In 2002, after 4 of the 5 young men completed their time, Matias Reyes, an already convicted murderer and rapist, confessed to the assault against Meili, after finding Jesus and wanting to confess his sins. Wise was still serving his time sentence and was released after Reyes gave details of the brutal attack. Reyes’ DNA was also tested and found to be a match taken from the crime scene. He could not be tried for the case because the statute of limitations had expired.
After the confession and findings regarding Reyes and the attack against Meili, the, now, men who were known as the “Central Park Five” were exonerated from the charges placed on them 12 years prior.
“When They See Us” ~ The Movie
Part One of the series on Netflix, directed by Ava DuVernay, opened with different accounts of the five young men and how they became mixed in with a crowd of 30 teenagers reported “wilding out” through the neighborhood and Central Park. Some of the teenagers were picked up after they were found assaulting a man under a bridge.
The scene is moved to the crime scene of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili. During a briefing at the precinct, Linda Fairstein, who was head of the investigation, called for the team to not only get any kind of information they could from the teenagers already held in custody, but to flood the streets to find all the boys out in the park the previous night.
There were many hard scenes to watch in this series, but the first scenes on my list was when the interrogations from the detectives. The actors portrayed the “Central Park Five” excellently. You could tell these young men were terrified and just wanted to go home and were willing to do whatever necessary to do so. From the interrogations, I started to not finish the series and this was in the first thirty minutes. I continued because I had already done research on the case and formed in my mind what happens in the end. But what was hard to witness was the process they had to go through.
Part Two of the series, showed the trial and how it not only affected the boys, but the people connected to them, who stood behind them the most, their family. It even showed an encounter between Antron McCray and his father after he showed up to the trial for the first time since it started. It was hard to see their relationship unfold after the detectives somewhat threaten McCray’s father into pushing his son to just confess and “tell them what they want to hear”. The father even takes the stand in court and explains the incident.
In the end, all of the young men are found guilty and sentenced. The series illustrated the boys reactions as well as their families outstandingly. I could already feel for them, but those scenes made me feel for them even more. It was literally heart-wrenching and brought me to tears.
Part Three focused on Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Jr., Yusef Salaam, and Kevin Richardson. It depicted their lives in the juvenile center and after they are released. It showed these men, who spent an ample amount of time in jail, attempt to live life somewhat normally. They aim to get jobs, repair and form new relationships, and continue life in the free world. I believe all of them knew it was not going to be easy, but they survived and strived to conquer it.
Part Four, to me, was the toughest part to watch of them all. It focused on Korey Wise as he is tried at 16 as an adult and sent through the adult prison system. Not saying any of their situations were better or worse than the other, but the way this series took us down his road, particularly, was heartbreaking. It took us through every emotion, horrendous act against him, death of his brother, and, eventually, his release after Matias Reyes confessed to the crime he spent 12 years in jail for. It also made me ultimately wonder about the prison systems around the world and how it takes a toil on these men and women, boys and girls, young and old.
How It Affected Me
When I saw the trailer for this series, I started to research the story so I could dive in already knowing the main pieces of the case. My research would never prepare me for the visual of what these men went through before the conviction and even after being exonerated. I feel like I cried through this entire series and that’s something I can truly say I have never done in any movie.
I precisely placed myself in the shoes of everyone depicted from the boys, to their mothers, to the court system, to the jury, to the detectives. It was almost impossible not to think about my boys being in the shoes of the young boys of the “Central Park Five”. It pained me to even remotely think about my boys being teenagers and deciding to just hang out with their friends in a park to being convicted of rape, assault, robbery, riot, attempted murder, sodomy, and sexual abuse. It hurt me to think about men and women in the legal system, who I advise my children to trust and believe in to protect them to accuse them of crimes they did not commit and coerce them into making false statements against themselves, their friends, and boys they didn’t even know.
After the men are exonerated, in a civil suit, they are awarded, among them, 41 million dollars, which I believe there is no amount of money to cover the time they spent away from their families, the lies told on them, the looks people gave them, and the paid ads placed to “Bring Back The Death Penalty”. I’m happy the men were cleared of all charges for crimes they did not commit, but why did it take 12 years? The statistics for exonerated cases in the US are extremely high in numbers. “The Innocence Project” gives fast facts for these cases here.
This series was a wake-up call for me to be even more mindful of our world, the judicial system, and the future of our children, my children. There’s already so many other things going on in the world with young and old being murdered or killed by the people who take the oath to protect us. I work as part of that same judicial system everyday and know for a fact every member of the system is not the same, but what do we do when we encounter someone who takes that oath of protection and use it against the people they are to protect. What do I tell my children besides, “just do what they say” and how do I know someone will not use that same phrase against them to win in the end? What do I tell them? All I can do is pray.
What were your thoughts on the movie? Did they do a good job in visualizing the story?
“The Klein ISD Family Engagement Program empowers families to actively participate in their student’s education by engaging in meaningful partnerships with the schools to support the Klein ISD vision:
“In Klein ISD every student enters with a promise, and exits with a purpose!””
My children attend Klein Independent School District and have since Elijah started kindergarten back in 2015. Since then, it seemed like everyone in the school from the front office to the cafeteria workers knew the Sauls kids. As a working single mother, it became hard for me to attend certain events during school hours and sometimes even after-school because I would be so tired. Klein Intermediate started “Parent University” in the 2013-2014 school year through the Family Engagement Program. It was established to provide a way for parents to become more involved with the school. This would lead to better relationships between the school and parents, as well as, parents and their children, which would ultimately lead to better grades for the students. This school year, I had no other choice but to be more involved after having to deal with Edwin Jr., and his diagnosis of ADHD, which I have spoken up about recently. I went to the school several times and actively attended the programs they provided. The first program of the school year I attended was “Kindergarten Camp”, where myself and other parents brought their new kindergarteners for a few hours to the school for three nights. The camp was put together to provide a smooth transition for their students starting a big school. Edwin, of course, had already been to the school many times previously with his brother and sister so the only new thing we had to face was leaving him in a classroom by himself. During this camp, the kindergarteners left the parents and went into the classrooms while the parents interacted with each other. I believed this was an awesome way for the students to feel a little more comfortable before the first day of school. This was also a great way to meet parents who were all experiencing their babies going to school for the first time. This was only one of the five programs I attended provided by the Family Engagement Program allowing me to be a part of the Parent University’s Class of 2019.
This year’s graduating class consisted of myself and 267 other parents from Klein ISD. As I entered the building with my cap and gown in hand, there were greeters everywhere I turned. I think I heard “Congratulations” almost a hundred times that day. I entered a huge room which served as a holding area for all the graduates. Some of the parents included teachers and staff from my children’s school. Everyone had big smiles on their faces as they took pictures with their friends and even meeting other parents in their line. You could see and feel the excitement in the room. We stood in alphabetical order until they were ready for us to make our grand entrance where family, friends, and some of the districts’ staff awaited. We took our seats and the program began. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Bob Anderson, who is the Founding Principal of Parent University. He spoke on the journey Klein encountered in creating this program to form more parent activity in the schools. The graduation, to me, was just one of the “fruits of their labor”.
Click Here to view photos from the Graduation along with the one above provided by Klein Independent School District.
The key people to making the Family Engagement Program a success in each Klein ISD’s schools individually are the Parent Liaisons. Ms. Simon, who you see helping me get my cap on over this head, and Ms. Sanchez are the heads of this operation at Nistch Elementary. I remembered at the beginning of the school year Ms. Sanchez spoke about how memorable the graduations were and she would tell you every chance she got. She has been one of the main people to push me to complete the programs to become a graduate. She even brought me in the “Parent Center”, during one of my many visits, to make sure I had enough credits to become eligible. When she saw I only had one more program to go, she immediately went into the upcoming programs that would be held for me to earn my credit. We, then, started discussing the upcoming STAAR test. She printed off practice sheets for me to work on with the kids to help them better prepare at home. This is another example of the school helping the parents engage in their students success. Ms. Simon has been my listener, helper, and even my shoulder to cry on. Anytime she would come across valuable information or programs to help me out financially, she would call me. Anytime they offered help during Christmas time or throughout the year with essential items and uniforms at times, I knew about it. Doing this helped me to stress less and focus more on what was even more important, my children’s education. These women, along with so many other staff members, help create a safe and productive environment for the children of Nitsch Elementary while creating the same type of relationship with the parents.
When my children’s father passed, I moved out of my mom’s house about two months later alone with my children. I say all the time I felt like I had to learn them all over again. Even though I gave birth to them and were with them everyday, I started to view life with my children differently because I was now doing it alone. I had no idea what was in store for this journey. Even after watching my mother, a single parent of three, work multiple jobs to provide and do all she possibly could, it still would never prepare me for this endeavor. To this day, I sometimes feel like I’m sucking at it, but the staff of Nistch Elementary and a host of family and friends, help me daily to not suck at this parenting thing so much. I never had to have accolades for simply being a parent, but it felt good to be celebrated. The Parent University did just that. They showed me I’m doing my very best with what I am given and have provided many avenues to complete the VISION of the district, for every student to enter with a promise and exit with a purpose.
She’s a woman. She’s a wife. She’s a daughter. She’s a sister. She’s an Aunt. She’s a grandmother. She’s a friend. She’s a chef. She’s a therapist. She’s a Secret Keeper. She’s a confidant. She’s a nurse. She’s a maid. She’s a fighter. She’s a warrior. She’s the epitome of strength. She’s a bookkeeper. She’s an intercessor. She cries silent tears and most of the time, shows no fear. She’s a mother.
I never truly understood the significance of this amazing role, the weight held effortlessly on her shoulders, and the power she holds in her hands until I became one myself. Sometimes the role comes expected and sometimes unexpected. Either way it’s something God gave us, that He placed on the inside of us, to be the great women we are, like survivors placed in the wild, with no tools, no map, just instincts, ambition to keep going, tenacity to keep fighting, and a whole lot of love. There’s no manual nor a “how to be the best at it” plan. You just do it. With this job, you’re on call 24/7 and you definitely cannot call in sick. All mothers don’t even have to give birth to a child naturally, but God will birth something so great out of a woman who just willingly answers to the call. Cherish them, cherish their time, pray for them as they pray for you, and love them just as much as they love you because in this very moment she’s wearing many hats, with God on her side and a world depending on her. Whether you had a great mother, a mother who didn’t really know how to be a mother, or a woman who inspires you to be a better woman, know they were strategically placed to be just that. A Mother