Good Stuff


My friends and family can testify to my passion for gift giving. It is a trait that I inherited from my maternal grandmother. She enjoyed both giving and receiving gifts. She would ponder over holiday gifts months in advance for the holiday season. I miss her dearly.

Another trait that I inherited from her was the love of shopping. There are certain items that I buy more often than others, and just as we all do, I dream of the day when I can shop without glancing at the price tag. There are two particular items that I purchase regularly because of their price tag and also for their ability to grant me instant gratification. I am immediately satisfied with these purchases and usually purchase one at least every week. There is no doubt that purchasing good stuff makes us feel good.

The Tote
Perhaps it is simply a New England thing, but I have grown to love totes. Obviously, I love the traditional L.L.Bean tote, but the simpler more stylish tote from J.Crew will suffice. It is simple, affordable and practical. The whole green era has also enabled the tote to be used as a grocery bag. While in graduate school I carried my tote as a book bag, and when my daughter was quite young I used it as a diaper bag. Below is a picture of my latest tote; the J.Crew tote, which is only $10. I already own four of them!:)The Book
Books are always a great buy. Whether as gifts, or as added additions to my collection, I am never disappointed when I make a book purchase. My favorite place to buy books is the clearance shelf at major bookstores. The next best place to find an awesome book is the resale shop. I have also uncovered a number of hidden gems at local used bookstores. Including an original copy of the Color Purple as well as Class of ’57 Yale Yearbook. Both equally valuable for their historical content. I have such a good time canvasing bookstores in search of a good book.

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Sometimes purchasing your favorite item or good thing, can elevate your mood, or serve as a small reward for a minor accomplishment. Good Stuff + Good Times = Good Life

Good Stuff man, Good Stuff.

The Good Life

What happens when life is not so good? Whether it is related to the tough economic times or personal stress, at times if is tough to point out those good things in our lives. It is important to make an attempt to find those things which are good or praiseworthy. Showing gratitude for the little things that we take for granted can serve as a simple remedy for the blues. Gratitude replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts, therefore allowing us to mediate on those good things in our lives. There is something about the show Good Times that is inspires me to be grateful. It is not because I see their lives as more challenging than mine, therefore I feel better about whatever challenges are present in my life. It is because though the Evans family is a fictional account of an urban black family, there are similar circumstances that they encounter which we can all relate to such as the loss of a job or an unfulfilled career, tight finances and daily prejudices that make it difficult to go to the next level. Perhaps we can relate to their desire to raise their children with standards and morals among people that lack gravely in those areas. Each of us encounters a number of challenges that sometimes make life not so good. However, it is up to us to find the humor and the blessings in the little things. Thinking good thoughts and relying on our families to keep us grounded is important. It is also important to remain grateful for the good that they bring to our lives. Good family + Good love = Good Times.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Good Times

It was a perfect day. The picture says it all. I could not stop smiling. I was actually riding a bike. I attempted to balance my feet perfectly despite the fact that I was wearing flip flops. In spite of the cool temperatures I wore a short sleeve shirt hoping that the warmth of the spring sunshine would warm my arms. Taylor was secure in the child carrier behind an adjacent bike that my friend rode. I was happy that she was secure which enabled me to relax and ride my bike happily. It was one of those days that you wish you could relive. It felt like we were the only people on the island. It felt as if time stood still. It was surreal. There was no pressure or stress to leave or anxiety about where we were going. We were simply bike riding and enjoying our freedom. Enjoying the peace and tranquility that we felt. We were happy. I was happy. It was also my favorite day of the year, April 21, my birthday. I was in heaven. I was having the best birthday of my life. We made the decision to go to Martha’s Vineyard that morning. I decided that it should only be a day trip. It was the first time since living in New England that I was visiting the Cape and I wanted it to be simple. Every time I mention that day to my friend and become nostalgic over that place in my life he reminds me of how simple it was. “All we did was take the ferry over the island and rent bikes.” he smirks. “I know,” I reply, ” but it was such a good day.” I felt so much peace in that place.

Formula: Good people + Good Places = Good Times

First Class Life

There is something superfluous about the term first-class. There are so many things that constitute some form of goodness in our lives and most of the time when we encounter something good like a good place, a good person or a good thing we think, “Wow, that was awesome.” (At least that is what I say) We are well pleased and eager to acknowledge the value of our experience. There are other words associated with the term good that may dislodge our built in schema or understanding of what the term really means. What if we replaced the word good with the phrase high quality? Most of the time when something is high quality it is better than average and exudes excellence. The term high quality also makes me think of a description of good meat. (Or maybe that is because I haven’t eaten meat in ten days) Another idiom for high quality is first class. Most people can relate to the term first class in relation to air travel. Even when we think of the idea of first class in regards to our U.S. Postal Service it has a nice ring to it. The term first class mail sounds so official.

What would happen if instead of saying the term good life I used the term first class life? Does the term first class life sound too pretentious? If you had your choice of a first class life what would it look like? What kind of job would you have? Where would you live?
Remember, it is first class so dream big!

“There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Good Seasons


Another good season has ended. Relationships are like seasons, some last for longer than others but eventually they all come to to an end. Ideally the transition is smooth and you are able to start the new season refreshed. This most recent season was good and I left armed with a new outlook on relationships. Though some relationships are short, just like seasons they are enjoyable enough that you leave wishing you had savored them more, enjoying each day as if it were the last. You pray that when you look back on memories that you have clear visuals vivid enough to warrant nostalgic emotions. Good seasons like good relationships help you to make a smooth transition into what will hopefully be another good season of your life. My favorite season is fall, and though winter enters abruptly, if I try hard enough, I can still remember the beauty of the foliage though the trees are now capped with snow. Though the most recent season is over, I am at peace knowing that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, A Time for Everything

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.

CODE RED


I learn from my students. Since children are so honest, they teach us a great deal about ourselves. Today something happened that sent me for a loop and tested my faith. It was a lesson in patience and trust. I had to stay calm and be careful not to panic. Over the loud speaker in a still voice came two words that changed everything. CODE RED. What was code red? What did that mean? What were we expected to do? Fear and panic came first but knew that I must remain calm. Other teachers were locking their doors but I was unable to lock mine because I did not have a key. When I looked around in the classroom the students were all underneath the desks and in the closets, hidden from plain sight. They had practiced this drill before and they knew exactly what to do. “Come over here Ms. Davis,” they prompted, “come near us away from the door.” “If someone is out there they might see you.” Because I was unaware if it was a drill or not I immediately thought to place a chair underneath the door to secure it, but I stayed near the door anyway. I assured the children that everything would be fine. They remained calm and everyone except one child held it together. She broke down and cried saying that she did not want to die. I tried to comfort her by telling her that everything would be fine. Then over the speaker we heard the voice again. CODE WHITE. The students took a deep sigh of relief and returned to their seats. It was finally over. Those were the most intense ten minutes I have experienced in a long time. I learned so much from the second graders. One thing I learned was that when there is a code red in our lives we must stay calm and find cover in a secret place, a place where we feel safe until the danger passes. Pay attention to directions and when it passes, you must move forward.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. Psalms 91:4-7

A Good Swimmer

My daughter Taylor is a good swimmer. This skill is commendable not only because of her special needs, but because she was never formally taught how to swim. When we lived in Connecticut, she took swimming lessons which has vastly improved her skills, but initially she was self taught. Among families of children with autism it is well known that the children have a deep pleasure for the water and remarkable swimming skills. Another reason why this is commendable is because I never learned to swim.

My season as a single mother reminds me of my mediocre swimming skills.  My five foot three body tried hard to maintain in 5.7 feet of water. Though the water is not deep enough for me to drown, I am still concentrating every minute to keep my head above water; using my hands and feet to maintain balance and composure, all while maintaining only a moderate level of fear.

My faith outweighs my fear, and when I feel like I am about to drown, that means that I am lacking faith. I must meditate and focus on the goal, while remembering that just as Simon Peter did in the bible, I must keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him.

If I become too fearful I will drown. I must trust that Jesus will take care of me, stay a float and not panic (Matthew 14:28, 29 NIV). Perhaps Taylor swimming is also impressive because she has no fear. She lacks the ability to understand how dangerous it can be and therefore she goes forth full speed, without fear of drowning. Therefore, I assume that some measurable amount of success is attributed to the the faith that you have when you think that you are drowning. Stay calm, breathe and stay a float.

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

Good Family


I always misunderstood the phrase good family. Most people use the phrase when discussing someone’s choice in dating. The term good family then serves as a part of a rubric to follow. My mother would often say, “Make sure he comes from a good family.” I thought she meant that when dating someone new, I should make sure that he came from a family that was financially stable. As an adult I now understand that my mother meant something totally different. She meant that when a person comes from a good family then they have a built in schema for what a positive family interaction looks like. Every family has their own set of issues and lacks stability in some areas (whether it is mental or emotional). However, there are two common attributes that are present in what I notice in the good families that I interact with, including my own. In most good families there are important traditions that are specific to that one family. Those traditions make up the basic structure of the family and provide them with most of memories that will serve as a road map for their ongoing relationships. Second, there is good old fashion love. Though the dynamics within each family structure varies, those are two key elements that help to make a good family. There are difficult circumstances that occur in all families since no family is free from their fair share of drama and pain. However, a good family knows how to combat those issues with love while continuing to practice those traditions that are unique to their family. Good Love+ Good Traditions= One Good Family.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

Love Affair

I finally feel the urge to confess my love for a certain institution. Though I chose this institution long before it chose me, I feel that now it is time for me to declare my love for it wholeheartedly including its longstanding traditions and historical relevance. There are number a of reasons but the time would fail me if I told of how the mantra For God, For Country, For…… speaks to me.

I agree with the first two parts of that mantra, and my agreement with the third part goes without saying. I am intrigued and appreciative of the long standing historical significance and even though the institution did not admit people of my hue until the mid twentieth century I am still enamored by it. I embrace my growing appreciation and just like a lover I flee any disdain felt by outsiders, ignoring their perpetual ignorance for the evolution that has taken place over the past fifty years. Though as institutions go you are imperfect and have flaws, I have chosen to look at the good that you do and I support your good intentions. True to your foundation, based in God and religion, you are the better of the two top Ivy League institutions. I continue my love affair as I welcome the challenges that lie ahead. I love the institution but do not consider myself institutionalized. Some love affairs are brief but this one is ongoing, building year after year as I learn new things about you.

A liberal education… frees a man from the prison-house of his class, race, time, place, background, family and even his nation.
~Robert Maynard Hutchins