Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Corrine Bailey Rae CD teaches how to Move Past the Pain




















I did a review of Corrine Bailey Rae's new CD "The Sea" for the music blog www.Soulbounce.com (a new gig I am totally excited about)and I was definitely inspired by Ms. Rae's new work.

Here's what I wrote. Let me know me know your thoughts on the CD if you got it.

I give it two thumbs all the way up!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Darlene (To Haiti's Last Survivor)

voices scurried through your ears faintly
growing, growing, growing louder and closer
as the weight began to loosen its clench
you had almost forget what feeling was as the
blood began to circulate again slowly into your arms,
then hands, then fingers
legs smashed, you tried to move them, operate them
as if you were pushing toward the sun on your toes,
but, alas, they were but broken reminders that you were trapped

but the voices persisted
the weight seemed to all but disappear and light
found its way into the crevice your head lay
blinking eyes warily convinced fought focus,
could this be a mirage, you questioned


and as hands grabbed your wrists, thumbs caressing solemnly the pulse
faintly beating, you knew you had been saved

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I wrote this poem this morning upon learning about the teen yesterday who was rescued from the rubble in Haiti after 15 days of being buried alive. My business partner and I were texting each other about this this morning and he shared how his heart cried for her. I too had woke this morning with her on my thoughts as I also thought about the hundreds of babies who are now orphans because of the earthquake. Prior to the earthquake, children from Haiti and other countries have been prisoners of the human chattel trade in this country, being held as unpaid servants often in secret. I am praying that these children being brought to this country after the devastation are not victims of these practices.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BlogHer '10 Here I Come!












(In photo: That's me as a panelist representing Liberated Muse at the 2008 International Soul Music Summit)


I'm going to be presenting at this year's BlogHer '10 Conference in New York and I'm thrilled! I submitted a proposal on the encouragement of author Ananda Leeke, and not only was I asked to be a panelist, but the panel title will actually be the title I suggested--"Transforming Online Places into Art Spaces". Cool beans!

I got online as a blogger for the first time in 2003 when I became a Mommy to the world's most divine little girl. I created a profile on iParenting and an assortment of other websites that offered free blogging space and I blogged (seemingly day and night) about the wonders of motherhood. From the mundane "Look at my baby, she is yawning sooo cute" to the emotional "My daughter has created a new life purpose for me on this earth", my blogs outed me as a writer and an emotional and often conflicted mother. I loved it.

To fast-forward to today, I am so appreciative of the advances online that have allowed a busy mom-preneur like myself to flourish as a performance artist, creative writer, journalist and event planner.

In 2008, I came across the Ning platform and officially became an online junkie when I created my current passion, www.LiberatedMuse.com. Ning provided a user-friendly platform where I could fuel my writing cravings while inviting others into the fold to share their creative works. As synchronicity would have it, my college buddy linked with me soon after creating www.LiberatedMuse.com, and together, he and I created an arts-based events group where we create festivals, concerts, art exhibits and other progressive arts events for the Washington DC area. The online home I had already started became the base in which we promoted our events, learned of new artists by seeing their work when they joined our network, and recruited assistance in producing our events.

I feel like social media has been a delightful and very resourceful companion of mine through many of my life changes and direction routes. From my use of social media, I have unknowingly become a student all over again. From online jargon to html shortcuts, the rapid advancements of online technology have created a new learning thirst that I don't think I would have found conventionally in a classroom. What is best of all is that I've been able to share my own self-taught knowledge to other online newbies who are enticed by the idea of using online media to share, network and create change. I'm so looking forward to being part of the Blogher '10 conference!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inspired: Magnitude & Survival's Light


Magnitude (for Haiti)

my voice is lost within my throat
scrambling for direction
ever lost in tears as
gurgles blanket words

swimming and drowning

my voice battles death
revived slowly by growing anger
that rises like burning vomit
erupting from a sickened belly

"Where is the justice?"

it longs to call out to the heavens
but, stilll silenced, it grasps loosely
creating empty echoes that no one can hear
by Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman (c) Jan. 18, 2010
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I painted the painting above, "Survival's Light" this morning, drawn to the idea of the Haitian survivors emerging from the rubble of last week's earthquake as powerful flowers of light, drawn to the light energy above the broken ground. The painted orbs depicted in the painting represent the people, survivors of the horrific tragedy, emanating with life despite death's call.
The poem was written earlier this week. I can't get over the tragedy. The news does not help with reports that the police are shooting people who are starving and searching for food. How can you call a starving person a looter. Moreso, how can you even use the term "looting" in a country with 2 million people homeless, injured and starving?
I have been so consumed with the crisis in Haiti that my daughter asked me this morning if I love the people in Haiti more than I love her. She said it is all I talk about. I have been having dreams as well about the people. The eyes of one baby pulled from the rubble--barely alive, as her parents, dead, remain buried--stay in my dreams.
I told my daughter that I will always love her more than in anything in the world, but, right now, I am trying my best to send healing energy while here and unable to physically help the people in Haiti. Not sure my answer made any sense to her.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Memory of the Week: A Note from Khari

To Haiti, With Love


So, this past week was tough. Witnessing via the internet and the television the devastation in Haiti was almost unbearable. How are these people making it? Yesterday, news reports abounded about how violence has broken out all over the island of Haiti as survivors, starving and injured, have begun to violently scuffle over the rations delivered by outside nations. The one airport the island has is only operational enough to accomodate one plane at a time and the island's pier is rubble. One news outlet reports that nations like the US are using military landing pads on ships to fly helicopters into Haiti to retrieve US natives who are trapped on the island, yet delivery of food and supplies to natives trapped in the inner parts of the island has been obstructed due to low fuel (or low priority?)

My heart breaks for Haiti.

On Thursday, one of my members on www.LiberatedMuse.com emailed me and asked me what, if anything was Liberated Muse doing to help with the Haiti relief being activated. I really appreciated her asking me this. In some way, it revitalized me immediately, helping me to realize that in some small way, I have the power to activate my fellow citizens on this end to do something, and, most importantly, they EXPECT me to be doing something.

I immediately made a call to Mary Shapiro, the woman who produces the Sounds of Hope benefit series at the Potter's House, a community-based establishment in the Adams Morgan part of DC. Mary Shapiro and the Potter's House have been two of the biggest supporters of Liberated Muse events in 2009, providing a venue that has been the home base of almost all of the events we had last year as fundraisers and platforms for our artists on www.LiberatedMuse.com.

I asked Mary if the Potter's House was doing anything for Haiti relief and she said "No", but there was a date, Feb. 12, that was free for me to book and produce an event for Haiti relief if I so desired.

And, that is how synchronicity works.

Here is the event. Exactly ten minutes after I hung up with Mary, I made the flyer below and put a call out to my network on Ning, Facebook and Twitter and within 20 minutes, over a dozen artists requested to be in the show. I am still making decisions regarding acts, but feel amazingly blessed. I hope you can make it if you are in the DC area. I will be posting up more details in the coming week. ALL Proceeds will be benefiting Wyclef Jean's nonprofit YeleHaiti. I am a strong supporter of Wyclef and his organization, (despite recent attempts by Smoking Gun to disparage the org because of its phenomenal success at rallying donations) and hope that a month from now, people's hearts are still in a place to give.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Question About Schooling

(In photo: Khari creating an art project at the 2009 Artomatic in DC)

The financial woes of the world are in every crevice we look now. Natural disasters like Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti does nothing to ease the pain. For those of us who haven't endured nearly half of the trauma the people of Haiti are experiencing right now, it still is a shaky time where it feels like you're walking on unstable ground.

At my daughter's school that we pay tuition for, I learned that private schools may be feeling "empty-pockets" syndrome even worse than many public schools.

When I learned that the principal of my daughter's school was coming out of pocket to buy afternoon snacks and for other school materials on a regular basis, I decided to volunteer to be a lead parent and try and garner donations for snacks from parents who could contribute. I started it off by purchasing a box of oranges. The next day, my daughter told me that one of her classmates is no longer at the school because his family can't pay tuition (I was a bit annoyed to learn that the teacher told the class that-- that is no one's business, but, alas, I digress.)

Then, I learned that some of the folks I thought were paid staff, were actually volunteers working with the kids. The school does not have a budget to pay for anymore paid teachers.

Now I'm in a fix. I home-schooled my daughter for half a year successfully last year before putting her back in school when I briefly worked with an organization in a full-time role. I was able to take her on almost daily field trips and we had a partial routine where I assessed her progress through games, quizzes and story quilts. To provide interaction with other kids, I enrolled her in gymnastics and participated in activities with other home-schooled kids.

I'm wondering if I should do that again.

The economy is such that we need to have a two parent income working at full throttle to bring home the bacon. My partner is carrying the bulk of the load as it is as he supports my work from home. If I homeschool Khari again, I will definitely not be as apt to write and do what I do now for focus on her and her schooling.

Ahhh, what to do, what to do. Any homeschooling moms with suggestions? Please post your comment and suggestions in the comment area.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As an aside...if you are still looking for ways to help the people of Haiti, click HERE to find a listing of legitimate organizations that Huffington Post compiled.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Cry for Haiti


Yesterday, went to sleep with news that Haiti had been devastated by a natural disaster. A magnitude 7-earthquake crumbled the struggling nation. The small island, about the size of Maryland, was already among the list of nations at the bottom of the list for gross national product. This country has also suffered health-wise, with the 2 percent of its 25-49 year-old population HIV positive.

Is there no mercy?

Yesterday morning, while taking Khari to school, she and I passed a father and two children who were standing with a sign asking folks for money. The car in front rolled down their window and handed the father three bottled drinks. I had neither money nor food items in the car-- I am lucky if I'll be able to pay the electric bill next week. I pointed them out to Khari and explained to her what they were doing.

"They are homeless," I assumed, telling Khari that they didn't have the option of eating breakfast or not that morning. Chances are they hadn't had breakfast. The boy in the group was hungrily crunching an apple in the freezing weather as I told her this. She immediately asked if we could bring them home with us. As I thought of how to reply, my heart swelled with how easy it was for her to suggest this. No sense of boundary between what they were feeling and going through and our lives and ability to help them. She didn't imagine all of the scenarios I did-- they could be con artists, would never leave, etc.--and instead, was just in the present. I would up learning from her more than I think she did from me.

The earthquake in Haiti sparked another conversation. As I pointed to the tv screen and explained what an earthquake is, she grew silent and pensive. Finally speaking to ask is there a way we can help. "How can we save them Mommy?" I'm still trying to come up with an answer to that one.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Writing Workshop with Marita Golden Liberated My Muse


So, I'm sure you're wondering who is the freckled boy to the left. No, he's not my long-lost son or any relation actually. I don't know him. I found this getty image of a freckled boy as I looked for a photo of a kid who looked like the boy Marita Golden showed us earlier during our writing workshop to inspire us to write for ten minutes.

Yes, Marita Golden! Award-winning writer, Marita Golden facilitated a writing workshop today at DC's Martin Luther King library that I had reported on last month and decided I was going to take part in. Boy, was I glad that I did.

The three-hour workshop gave me some wonderful inspiration as a writer and as I prepare for my own writer workshop series as a creative coach.

One of the activities that she had us do was have us look at a photo of a little boy who looked similar to the one to the left and began to write a narrative about him. Many of those who were called on to share what they wrote wrote about the boy from a victim perspective. I found that very interesting. Mine was a bit different. Here is what I wrote:

Billy wouldn't tell me what had just happened to him. Shirtless, his dark blue eyes pierced me sharply as if hoping to stab my throat so my voice wouldn't carry. I backed away, peeling my eyes away from that look that terrified me. Then I saw his hands.

"Ma! Ma! Come quick! Billy's hands are bleeding, Billy's bleeding," I called.

Our mother, disheveled and forehead damp with sweat fled to the porch, our baby sister Sheila attached to her hip tightly. When she saw Billy bare-chested and hands browned red, still dripping blood droplets that flecked the porch's scratched wood surface, her knees sank. I reached for Sheila as my mother fell onto the porch onto her knees.

Eye-level to Billy, she grabbed his wrists and whispered rasply, "Billy, where is Ms. Raynor's cat? Billy, what have you done?

Billy's silence and the dissipating drip of the blood from his hands already told us the answer to Ma's question.

Early the next morning, Sherrif Browning and Elder Granger knocked on our door to carry Billy away. Still in bed, I could hear them tell Ma that the boy's school Billy was to attend was going to help straighten him out once and for all. They said lots of boys without fathers are sent to this place when they get a little out of hand and come out acting right. I couldn't help but wonder if the other boys who go to this place have killed as many animals as Billy has or tortured as many little kids I've seen Billy do horrible things to. I wonder if they would send me to this place too if they knew all of the things I saw Billy do but said nothing about, for fear that he would do the same thing to me, too.

Ma cried as I heard her go to Billy's room to wake him up and send him with the Sheriff. I closed my eyes, anticipating her shriek when she discovered that Billy was gone.

"Esther, wake up," Ma called. Her hard-bottomed shoes clunking hastily on the hardwood floor as she rushed to my room. I pulled the sheet back and stood up, walking into the hallway, still in my cotton nightgown. I stood partially hidden from the view of the men in the living room. My mother walked toward me and leaned close.

"Where is Billy?," she whispered.

"He left last night." I heard him climb out of his window before the sun rose.

My mother's hands dropped to her side and she wept. Her light sobs grew into tortured heaves as she moaned out loud in agony. I imagined her wails could be heard by our Pa in heaven probably making him feel a bit guilty for leaving her all alone to handle all of this by herself.

Elder Granger stepped into the hallway and wrapped his arms around Ma. In her stockinged feet, she was so small that her head lay centered on his chest. He patted her ever so gently as she continued to cry and I felt an immediate feeling of discomfort as I saw her easily fold into his embrace.

--------------
I enjoyed meeting these characters as they flowed from my pen. I had not an idea of where or how these story developed, I just opened up and here they came. In ten minutes. I think I am going to come back and play with them to see if there is something else to this story. When someone asked Marita Golden if she outlines before she writes, she said that she outlines to giver herself the illusion that has somewhere to go but she follows the story, not the outline. That, too, is how I write.
(In photo: Marita Golden)

I learned some great things in the writing workshop today. One of the that it did was validate the path that I am on. I had asked out loud what would Ms. Golden recommend for someone looking to make money from their creative writing and she admitted that there is not much money to be had in writing unless you are writing fiction writing that strikes a commercial chord. "When you do this writing thing, you are doing it more for the love of it and less for the money revenue".

What says it best is the quote from George Orwell that Marita Golden included in our workshop folder:

"Writing a book is horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."


Friday, January 8, 2010

Painting Izzy





So, today it snowed. Well, rather, we woke up and there was snow on the ground. And the cars. And the street. Everywhere.

There wasn't much, but enough for me to curse the fact that I hadn't winterized the car yet nor filled the gas tank (like they say you should if it gets really cold and snowy). My daughter wasn't going to school today though, so I wasn't as frantic as I would have been if I had to drive her to school. Her class was heading out today for a field trip to see ICE, and if you read my post from December, she already checked out the show when I performed there last month. So, we saved money and gave word to her teacher that she would be home today.

My creative munchkin already had in mind what she wanted to do, and boy was I impressed with her idea and ultimate finished project. Here are some shots of her creating "Izzy"


Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Newness Never Dies


(In photo: Me and the kid in 2003, weeks after she was born)

When my daughter was born in 2003, Facebook was not around to show her photos that I snapped every milli-second, nor was Twitter invented so that I could post milestones:

"Baby is breathing now"

"Baby just hiccupped"

"Baby just yawned. And my oh my, how beautiful she looks doing it."


Yes, I was (am) that mother. But, the non-existence of Facebook and Twitter didn't stop me. There were tons of baby sites where I could create a free website, send email alerts and all other kinds of cool online gadgets and widgets that allowed me to be equally annoying and probably contributed to the creation of other widgets and gadgets to automatically block pressed people such as myself. But as a new mother, I wasn't even thinking about all of that. All I knew then was that I wanted everyone to know about my beautiful new life that the creator thought I was important enough to parent, and by any means necessary, I was going to proclaim my amazement with being deemed her mother. I was clearly sprung as a Mommy.

Fast-forward six years later and the status hasn't changed much.

(In photo: Me and the kid at age 2. Digging for gold)

My daughter, Khari, my only daughter, is still the centerpiece of mostly everything I do. Parenting her has impacted the themes I write about as a creative writer, has influenced how I create programming for other children as an educator and has motivated me to create new realities regarding the work/life balance where mothering becomes a revolutionary act within the face of a fast-paced world that covertly seeks to determine your priorities without your input.

She has clearly put a mark on me as a person. Her life has strongly directed the movement of my own life. Outside of the womb, she still impacts my feelings, concerns, emotions and thoughts and I share this often and openly with others when discussing how mothering as an action is one step beyond the idea of "having kids".

As my daughter now grows as an independent entity, what is interesting to watch is how my influence on her determines certain choices she selects for herself. From the outside looking in, I can see parts of me reflected in her ideas about food, music and clothes while her overall image is one of a very self-directed and strong-willed individual with personal insights and opinions she has generated on her own. What I never tire of is her interpretation of her love for me as her mother.

She is not old enough to use Facebook or Twitter, or even write a blog but, instead, she updates me on her love with her own special stylized updates in pictures, drawings, songs and poems she writes for me.

"I love my mom"

"Mom you make me smile and sing"

"I loooveee you Mom, oh yes I do!"

And, with each love letter, original Khari visual art piece, gentle cheek kiss or tugging hug, I am reminded of something new each day-- that my proud, overwhelming and everyday love and fascination for my first-born is reciprocated by her to me in her very own way. And the newness never dies.

(In photo: Us)
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This post was submitted as an entry to the January 2010 MyBrownBaby Beautiful Mind Writing Contest

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My 2009 Highlights-- The Good, the Great and the Awesome

(In photo:My partner and I during the Walk for Lupus walkathon, one of my highlights of 2009)


What on earth will this new year bring? I have been totally dazed and amazed by 2009 and not sure anything can top the unbelievable that happened this past year.

Celebrity-wise, the biggest (and saddest) event-- MJ passing--happened in 2009 that has got to be the celebrity tragedy of the decade.

Compiling my own personal top 10 of 2009 was easy though. The highlights were many and their energy is what I carry into this 2010.
My Top 10 of 2009

10. Visual Art and Me
(In photo: One of my affirmation murals at the 2009 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest)

This year, I began a renewed love for visual art and began to conceive my own ideas of what I wanted to bring to life on canvas. In our society, we often aren't encouraged to pursue things if we aren't the best at it, but a wise person knows that there will always be someone who is "better" so, it is always best to do things that bring your heart joy, because doing things "en-joy" will inevitably build your skill and lower your stress level.

On no planet would I be considered a top-notch visual artist. I don't yet possess that adeptness that many visual artists have with their hands to create angle and line with ease. I don't know if I will ever possess that skill. But, boy do I love trying to.

I love making long strokes on my canvas of choice, learning this past summer how much I love painting on wood. Wanting to have murals for the 2009 Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest and not finding an artist in time to create them, I dragged my spouse along with me to Home Depot to pick out some slabs of plywood and on them creating some welcome murals with affirmations in red, black and green that resonated with my spirit, and I hope would resonate with those who came to enjoy the free festival I co-produce every year in northeast DC's Marvin Gaye Park.

When I saw on Facebook alone how many folks took photos next to the murals I created, no one could really understand how deeply I was touched. My partner got me some canvas for this past Christmas with an easel, some paint and brushes and I know that it is on now. He truly has been an advocate for my visual art, getting my first Canon for me in 2007 which has led to me capturing some great shots that have been featuring in print media. My first piece for the 2010 I'm sketching out now is going to be part of a series on the water goddess Mami Wata.

9. Being on TV- twice!

No matter how cynical one becomes of mainstream television, the so-called news and the negative connotation the media has gotten, I can't help but get excited when my hard work as an event producer and performer garners media hits.

This past 2009, I had fun being featured as a spokesperson for the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest on Fox 5 with Gwen Tolbart who hosts a news segment on Freebies in the city. I look at the video often (its in the margin of this blog) and laugh each time I see what I was wearing. I love that red and white tye-dyed dress, but with a black short-sleeved blazer? I was clearly dressed with my mind in a haze but it was a really pleasent experience. While I met Gwen and got to converse with her briefly, the highlight for me was being in the studio with the morning news team (Allison Seymour, and Steve Chenevey) and behind the scenes meeting some of the folks who make it happen. The sound man was way cool and he and I got in a debate about Wendy Williams show and how long it was going to stay on the air.

I saw Holly Morris in the hallway who stopped and looked at me and gave me a hug after saying "You are just a Fox 5 regular, aren't you?". She said that because just earlier that same week in July, I was part of a segment with her that was about the 2009 Capital Fringe Fest. The Saartjie Project was featured during the segment and I got to sing while the group danced.
Check out the video. Holly Morris is funny.



8. Conferencing & Festival-ing it Up!
Had fun in 2009 getting to participate in some of my favorite festivals and conferences and some that were new.

Returning to the Green Fest in 2009 as a performer was at the top of the list. I looove the Green Fest and to perform and get free tickets to enter with my family and friends was a treat! I had attended in 2008 and vowed I would be back as a volunteer or performer, and gosh, darn it, I was!

Last year I participated in Mosaic Books' conference when it was called Re:Verse Literary Conference and Festival. Returning as they changed the name to the Mosaic Literary Conference, I was pleased to be up in the house again. I got to work with educators on ways to use my Story Quilt project in the classroom. It was a hectic bus ride to and fro NYC that day, but the trip was well worth it.

A new conference for me this year was the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed Conference in Minnesota. My involvement in the Saartjie Project led me to this very interesting conference and the work of Boal and other revolutionary artists who have used theater to change communities. Our collective performed and we received such great response to our work. I hope to participate again this year as a presenter of a workshop.



7. Re-focusing on My Own Literary Art
I spend so much time supporting others through producing events or projects that promote the artistry of others that it's not hard for me to push my own creative endeavors aside for when I have more time. In 2009, I did a good job making time that I didn't have in 2008. I wanted to keep my pen quill moist by keeping my poetic muse entertained. I wrote several poetry pieces in 2009 but also submitted pieces to be included in online and print publications. In the fall of 2009 I learned that one of my pieces will be included in the 2010 Spring issue of Blue Moon and Literary and Art Review while another of my poetry pieces, Revitionist Tale (in the margin of this blog) was selected for ParentingExpress.com, a favorite site of mine that I was published on when my daughter was still a toddler.

I was particularly proud of pieces I wrote in 2009 for The Saartjie Project that were performed by not just me but by other members of the collective. My vignettes "Changing Muse" and "I'll Send for You" were some of the most developed theatrical work I had written and had produced since my play "Shades of Black: a thought in progress" which debuted on stage Feb. 2008. While the "Changing Muse" vignette got some criticism in the press when we performed it in the Capital Fringe Fest in July 2009, it was a creative triumph to have written a piece on the subject of the black woman as a muse through the times, nevertheless, exploited and often misunderstood.

My poem "Queen Ghetto Booty" was written one day while in a rare mood where on one hand I was mourning the life of Saartjie Baartman (the muse for the creation of the Saartjie Project) while feeling a deep connection to her as a woman of disproportionate proportions, if you catch my drift. (if you don't, please read up about Saartjie Baartman). I wrote several other pieces during 2009 revolving around the subject of patriotism, race, gender and class that I wrote with the intention of possible inclusion in the Saartjie Project or for a book I've been saying I'm going to publish forever of just my writings. Since I took a break from the Saartjie Project and working on developing my own solo presence as an artist, we'll see.

I am particularly proud though of a play I finished in 2009 called "Running Amok" which is a stage play using some of the principals of image theater. The subject matter focuses on mothering as a revolutionary in our society and centers on the interactions of three artist mothers and their respective guardian angels. I'm casting soon and submitted it for the 2010 Capital Fringe Fest.

6. Getting My Exercise On

Ok, by no means am I an exerciser, yet. But in 2009, I sure got my work-out on better than I had in five years or more!

In late 2002, I had lost an amazing 30 pounds after putting on some major poundage after college and working hard for the money at my career after college. In 2002, I was in my late twenties and had just left a band with the intent of starting a new band and getting my singing career on track.

I got pregnant two months later.

So, my slimness was fleeting and a mere memory ever since my lovely little one came onto the scene. 2009 stopped that trend, at least in theory.

My partner and I got some Nike kicks with the sensors that calculate your progress and we began working out in late summer 2009 with the vengeance. We began walking regularly until we made it to a jog and then a full run. Me, who had never run a mile in my life was running at least a mile and a half every other day. A wonderful day of triumph was when he and I walked in the Walk for Lupus Walk-a-thon in Baltimore, Md in the fall. What a proud day!

Unfortunately in December, when my partner started having foot issues again and quit going out, I became lazy again and stopped my progress. Hopefully in 2010, interest in getting back on the wagon will resurface.

5. Traveling with My Family
Was soooo thrilled to make it to Florida with my partner and our daughter in 2009! Though I had taken our daughter to Disney World and Orlando twice in past years and she had even gone this past summer with my mom and siblings, it was great to go all together. We hadn't had a family vacation out of state since 2007, and it was much appreciated.

Though the trip to Kentucky was just me and my partner, heading to Kentucky and surveying the land to see if its a place for us to move to was also a great adventure. We didn't do nearly as much traveling as a family in 2009 that I would have liked, but what we did do together was wayyy fun!

4. Making the Thanksgiving Turkey
This will always and forever be my not just a holiday triumph, but a cooking triumph. I cooked a dang turkey!!! Woohoo! And it was pretty! Brown and crisp. And delish! For a former flamer (yes, one who accidentally sets kitchens on fire via cooking) this was indeed a success. And, I didn't burn myself or anyone else in the process. (I have major burns on my hands from cooking incidents. That's a whole nother blog post to write.) Here's the recap of the Thanksgiving bird.

3. Homeschooling My Daughter
It was brief, less than half a year, but I did it! I home-schooled my then five year-old in 2009 after praying about it having the opportunity to do so from Jan 2009-April 2009.

The experience was one that I really wanted to commit to to help give her a boost in her reading skills and spend some time with her. We did weekly (almost daily) field trips to the local museums, I enrolled her in gymnastics that she took during the day. One highlight was when she even participated in a Teddy Bear tea party at a local historical site, learning about the history of teddy bears while being a tea-drinking princess for the afternoon. It was great having this opportunity to have more control over my daughter's education and I am appreciative for the experience.

2. Editing and Publishing the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul and

1. Becoming a Muse Mentor

So, of course, the publishing of Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul was a major highlight for me for 2009-- its not every day someone coordinates the publication of a book. However, the topper for the magnificent cake was being able to launch a platform from the book and serve as a muse mentor to folks in 2009 while promoting the book.

In 2009, I was able to speak with youth and adult groups about how to liberate their creative muses, speaking from my own personal experiences while also referencing the creative pieces in the book. I was able to help folks who had questions about liberating their own writing desires and I was able to create art spaces inspired by the book.

In 2009, I was able to launch my own website-- www.KhadijahOnline.com where I can officially engage in the work I hope to continue in 2010 as being a muse mentor, helping others realize their artistic dreams.

Thanks for reading my 2009 highlights. What are yours?

Sociable

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