Send Lauryn Hill Some Mail in Jail

I’m a huge fan of Lauryn Hill, and have been since I heard her sing as a High School Student.

It was Lauryn Hill who gave me the courage to rock my natural hair at the tender age of 17…

It was Lauryn Hill whose album title forced me to go read Dr. Carton G. Woodson’s The Miseducation of the Negro 

It was Lauryn Hill who spoke the language of my innocent and unwavering teenage love with lyrics like… “I get mad when you walk away / so I tell you leave when I mean stay…” and “These buildings could drift out to sea / some natural catastrophe / still there’s no place I’d rather be….”

I’ll go to my grave saying “And while you imitating Al Capone, I’ll be Nina Simone / and defecating on your microphone” is the best line in rap EVER.

But the point of this post is to let you know that Lauryn Hill is currently incarcerated for the next 3 months due to tax evasion. This hit close to home not only because I’m a fan, but because my mother was incarcerated when I was little girl . Lauryn Hill has six children – the youngest is 1 years old and the oldest is 16 and incarceration is difficult for any family.

One thing that is really important to those who are incarcerated is mail, so let’s overwhelm our sister with our love, our words of encouragement and our prayers. You can send mail here:

Lauryn Hill #64600-050
FCI Danbury
Federal Correction Institution 
Route 37
Danbury, CT 06811
 
Love Lauryn
 

Please feel free to grab the flyer and repost it on your site/social networking.

 
 

A Year Is A Marathon… Not A Sprint

12805921-the-year-2013-in-sparkling-red-glitter

I used to run track in High School and as I enjoyed time off from teaching yesterday, I started really thinking about 2013. I love the optimism and the ambitious energy that surrounds the start of the new year. I too have my laundry list of things I’d like to do and accomplish this year. I get so excited, but I also had to give myself a reality check and a reality check for me equals a reality check for you too!

This year will be comprised of 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months. We have to be prepared for the long distance which means we need to pace ourselves! You don’t have to lose weight, clean up, and do a full transformation in one day or even one month. Change takes time. Be patient with yourself and be patient with others but don’t give up on yourself.

I posted this on Twitter & Facebook today:

“With every thought we think, we either summon, or block a miracle.” – Marianne Williamson

Law-of-Divine-Compensation

I started reading The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson today. The first mention of the book came via Twitter from Bevy Smith (@bevysmith) who hosts high-profile networking dinners. The second mention of the book came less than a week later from Shanel Cooper-Sykes (@shanelcooper), during Midnight Meditation (a weekly conference call hosting 1,000 participants that starts with inspirational words/reflections from Shanel and ends with guided meditation). I respect both of these women and decided to download the book to my Kindle and have not put it down since I started!

I spent a lot of time organizing and cleaning my office which lead to me joining the Scrappypedia Scrap Stash Organization Club. You can join the club here: http://www.scrappypedia.com/article/join-scrappypedias-scrap-stash-organization-club/. I was able to order prints (for a “Wall of Fame” Project for my hubby and for regular scrapbooking) as well as to rekindle my relationship with Mozy (an online computer back-up system). I’m looking forward to the challenges this year! I also discovered Your Fairy Craft Mama who has a huge list of January 2013 prompts for blogs and scrapbook pages. The list is so good it was worthy of being printed out lol! A New Blog called Organized Scrapping launched today!

I spent time connecting with family and friends on the phone and via text. There are some people that I intend to get closer to in 2013! I intend to make more phone calls, send more texts, make myself available on Skype, send more emails, and hand write more letters.

I intend to update my blog at least every other day! You can also follow me on Twitter (@blkgrlunmasked), Follow me on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/donnienicole/), or e-mail me privately at donnienicolesmith@gmail.com.

I’m going to follow the advice of Farrah Gray (@RealFarrahGray), American Businessman and Philanthropist, who said via twitter:

“Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book, make sure you write a good story.”

God’s Sense of Humor…

Every time I change the picture of my desktop to something super cute, dope or inspiring, to no fault of my own it automatically changes back to this:

The Mac’s standard desktop photo of the cosmos. I started to get frustrated with this “bug” but then I started thinking, “wait a minute! This is a sign!” Rather than focus on the minute or insignificant things of life – God wants me to focus on the big picture. It is so easily to get distracted but ultimately “I look to the hills from whence cometh my help, my help, cometh from the lord.” (Psalms 121: 1 & 2). I’m listening Jesus!

#31 Day Reset Challenge – Identify Your Values

This exercise was difficult because it required me to be totally honest. When looking at my values I hope to move around some of my priorities over the next year, but here they are in order of importance for me right now:

1. Family – particularly my husband, my developing baby and my step-children.

2. Creativity – being able to create art (particularly scrapbooking) nourishes my soul. It is reminder that I am here and how far I’ve come. Memories can easily get tucked into the attic of our minds and hearts. Scrapbooking captures those memories before they get buried (and sometimes lost). I also love creativity in general – beautiful home decor, visual art, etc.

3. Health – I want to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically happy so that I can be on earth as long as possible. My body is my temple and I don’t always treat it as such.

4. Character & Integrity – My reputation and what I stand for is very important to me. I never want to compromise who I am. I want to be a positive person who always moves in accordance with my values.

5. Personal Growth – There is always work to be done on self. I never want to get too lazy or too comfortable that I forget this.

6. My Legacy – I want to be known for leaving this world a better place when I leave it. Particularly in the area of low-income youth development.

7. Spirituality – I felt kind of guilty when I realized that this wasn’t first. Spirituality is very important to me, and at some point I’d like for it to be within the top two of my values not just in words but in practice.

8. Compassion & Empathy – I want to always be able to “step outside” of myself and imagine myself in other people’s shoes. I want to give back both in time and money to help others. The more that I get, the more that I want to pass on.

9. Cultural Awareness & Growth – I am a proud black woman and I am committed to a life-time of helping to make my people grow. The prison industrial complex is destroying our families and it is a travesty that we aren’t seeking higher education. Through my non-profit I want to do my part in improving the black community. I also want to support black institutions with my dollars (e.g. attending museum exhibits, films and other cultural events).

10 – I don’t have a tenth value… nine is the number of completion and I’d like to leave it at that. I didn’t want to force anything 🙂

Rosetta over at Happy Black Woman.com: http://happyblackwoman.com/ has created a wonderful tool called 31 Days to Reset Your Life. I won’t be sharing all of my responses publicly, but wanted to put this one out there.

Seeds Are Being Planted


Every conversation that we have, every e-mail that we open, every tweet that we read plants a seed in our minds. Some of the seeds take root and grow inside of our minds and hearts. Many of them bear fruit.

Some of the seeds that are planted are negative. They include things like fear, doubt, regret, distrust. Sometimes the seeds come from the people we love the most – our parents, a good friend or a coworker. At other times it comes from a complete stranger who does not have our best interest at heart. The fruit from these seeds often looks like a bad or self-defeated attitude, insomnia, procrastination or withdrawal.

At other times more positive seeds are planted. Things like compassion, inspiration, humor or affection. These seeds feed our spirits. They make us feel happy to be alive, confident to be in our skins and they awaken our senses.

While we can’t control every interaction that we have, we can control our inner circles. Those individuals in our “inner circle” plant the most seeds in our lives. We can delete a voicemail, e-mail or text from someone who is not planting positive seeds. We can limit our time on social networks where some of the most venomous exchanges take place.

Most of all we can nurture the positive seeds by thinking about them and digesting them through conversation. We can write about them, meditate on them and “water” them with our time and attention. In order to live a healthy and happy life we must allow the positive seeds to “overshadow” the negative ones and hopefully they wither away.

What is Faith?

My dear readers, I have been KNEE DEEP in a major project and haven’t had much time to write. I apologize for that and will commit to writing at least once per week. Yesterday I went to church, and while at church the minister gave a message about faith. I was always raised to believe:

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things now seen.”

Now I don’t attend a worship service every Sunday, but right now in my life I practice my faith more than I ever have. In other words, I truly trust that God will take care of me and my family and I leave most things in God’s hands. Whether the matters are financial, emotional or spiritual, I have conversations with God and after the conversation I let it go.

The minister talked about how his wife was hospitalized and he was so distraught that his son had to pray for him. After the prayer, he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and when someone asked him to call the nurse to check on his wife’s condition, he picked up the phone and then rather than calling, he hung up and stepped back and said, “She’s alright.” The minister told us we don’t have to check up on God… allow God the space and opportunity to do his work.

What is faith to you? How do you practice your faith?