A Black History Month Story

I have enjoyed reading all of the wonderful stories and posts that people have shared about Black History Makers during Black History Month. Truth be told, black folks make history everyday for the sheer fact that we live in a country that was not designed for us. And still we rise. I love reading about our people and the great things we’ve overcome, the many contributions we’ve have made to society that oftentimes go un-noticed and un-credited. Yet, still we rise.

I asked myself, “why hadn’t I posted or written about anyone for Black History Month?” One reason is because I celebrate us everyday. I speak the names of and pray for many who are out there in the trenches doing grass root work to better and advance our communities. We make history every day. This country was built by the hands, the strength, the brain power, the sweat, the tears, the prayers and on the backs of our ancestors. Yet, we are still having to fight just to stay alive during a simple traffic stop. And still we rise.

So, when I thought about who to write about on this last weekend in February, it was a no brainer. I want to share with you a remarkable story of strength, perseverance, love, compassion and an inborn will to fight and win. I’m talking about my nephew, Adrian Wright.

Adrian was not born to a family great wealth or prominence. He born to ordinary, hard working parents. A mom and dad who worked hard to make sure he and his siblings had a fair shot in life. He was born into a family where he was loved and cherished by us all.

He entrance into the world was celebrated because we had not had a baby in our family for well over a decade. So, we were excited. Then out of no where…our joy turned into sorrow and fear when Adrian was diagnosed with (cancer) Retinal Blastoma (tumor in my left eye) as an infant. I can remember that time so clearly. My brother, Adrian’s father, came to my mom’s hair salon with Adrian in his arms and dropped to his knees in tears and said, “Mother they said my baby has cancer.”

Members from both sides of the family gathered and we all convoyed to Atlanta where Adrian would have surgery to have his left eye removed. He would then follow with lots of treatment including chemotherapy. Prayer warriors around the world prayed and once again, our family witnessed a miracle. I said once again, because in the mid-sixties my mother had breast cancer and had been healed.

As an auntie, I watched Adrian fight. Even though he was a baby…he fought and he won. He was never treated differently from the other kids and we simply never saw him differently. He made excellent grades in school, was a model child. Now, I’m not crazy, I’m sure he did somethings as a teenager that I didn’t know about. But in my eyes, he was the perfect kid and an even perfect man.

I watched as he graduated from college, actually the first college graduate in our family. I watched as he embarked upon a career as the band director of a high school in the small town of Dillion, SC. The only job he’s had since he graduated college. He bucked the system there and created a new one that would help the kids in that town grow and expand. I watched as he married the love of his life…his wife whom I adore, Kadra McQueen Wright. She’s the epitome of grace, beauty, strength and commitment. I’ve learned so much from Kadra. She’s our darling beauty.

In 2012, a tumor was discovered in Adrian’s bladder and he was given a diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma of the bladder. To have this occur in the bladder was extremely rare. He actually had part of his bladder removed during the Thanksgiving Holidays. I saw the same look in my brother’s eyes that I saw when Adrian was a baby. But God once again did his thing and yes, our darling Kadra was right there by his side. Adrian was healed once again and the two of them went right back to serving their community.

Over the years, at Dillion High School, Adrian was more than just a band director. He became a pillar in the community. Because of his commitment to his students, the youth in Dillion County have received millions of dollars in college scholarships and many are first time generation high school and college graduates. Adrian and Kadra have literally committed their lives to the students and the town of Dillion.

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Fast forward, in 2020 Adrian became a committed cyclist, in just a few months he went from cycling 12 miles with his wife to riding over 40 miles with a group of advanced cyclists that embraced him as a novice rider. On December 21st, Adrian’s 43rd birthday, he set out to cycle alone to celebrate his birthday by tackling his first half century ride (50 miles). While cycling he was involved in a hit and run crash in which a pickup truck, ran over him and left him for dead. Adrian was later found on the side of the road, alert and responsive, but unable to move. We attribute Adrian’s survival on God’s healing power and grace as well as the passersby that found him and rendered aid.

Emergency responders transported Adrian to the local hospital, while in route they addressed his hypothermic state. Upon arriving at the hospital numerous assessments and scans were conducted, identifying multiple serious injuries. The medical team stabilized Adrian and immediately transferred him to a trauma hospital where he underwent emergency surgery upon arrival. Adrian’s injuries included a C2 vertebra fracture, acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation, collapsed lung, artery damage to a kidney and a mangled leg that included multiple collapsed arteries and fractures. Due to these extensive leg injures it was determined Adrian’s functional ability would never be restored which resulted in him receiving an above the knee amputation.

Adrian was on the ventilator and in a medically induced coma for 11 days before he learned of his serious injuries. On January 3rd, Adrian underwent a life changing procedure. He had his left leg amputated and continued to battle multiple issues that resulted to a hospital stay of 24 days. He then was transferred to a local rehab facility where he received extensive therapy for 21 days. After emerging victoriously from this life changing event, finally Adrian returned to his home on February 3rd. Despite his awesome progress and return home, he has a long road ahead of him and he’s not even sure what his future will hold.

 Yet, Adrian is optimistic and thanking God for his life. When we talk, he’s anxious about his next level purpose…whatever that will look like. But one thing for sure, he wants it to be about helping others. I’ve never seen so much fight and will to win in a person. He was sharing with me the other day that he wanted to make sure his seniors are getting what they need so they can get into college. He’s home trying to rehab, yet his heart is with his students.

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Adrian has shown me what it means to not give up, to never quit and to do it with grace and dignity. Not once has he shown any bitterness towards the person who did this to him. In fact, our family has made a point not to talk about it, but to focus on and celebrate Adrian’s recovery and healing. And yes, Kadra, her family…especially her twin sister Kendra and her husband, Adrian’s mom and the entire Dillion Community are there to support him along the way. Unfortunately, his father is no longer with us. He passed away in 2018.

So if you ask me who I want to celebrate and recognize this Black History Month…it would be my nephew, my hero, Mr. Adrian Wright.

His town of Dillion has also hailed him as a hero. I’ve never seen a community come together like they have for Adrian. They are running a #WrightStrong Campaign which has included fundraisers, parades, prayer vigils and more.

Even people from other towns are doing things in his honor. A bicycle club from my town reached out to me and they did a ride in Adrian’s honor and raised funds on his behalf. They had never met Adrian, but his story touched their hearts.

Adrian’s wife, Kadra, calls him “Super Man.” Super Man in his darkest hour…still sees God’s Light upon life. Adrian is a gentle man…and he walks with a quiet strength. He radiates love and compassion and he knows the power of God to restore and heal. He and Kadra are now faced with tons of medical expenses and a lot of work ahead. Yet, they are not a lone. An entire community is standing with them, an army of prayer warriors and a loving family who supports him. Superman and his Lois Lane are RISING! My Black History Month Story salutes Mr. Adrian L. Wright. Please share this story of hope, community, unity, resilience and the power of God to restore and heal. This is another Black History Moment.

To learn more about how you can help and show your support for Adrian as he recovers, make your contribution to the Adrian Wright’s Medical Fund through the Wright H.E.A.R.T.S (Help Encourage Adrian’s Recovery Through Sponsorship) Campaign), go to www.wrightstrong.org.

For Media Appearances/Speaking Engagements email: Adrianlamar@gmail.com

I Had To Tell The Truth

One of the things that I am often mindful of is truth-telling. Not just being truthful with others, but more importantly, being truthful with myself.

 

For years, I lived in a space where I was not deeply honest and truthful with myself. I would go along to just get along. I never wanted to disappoint anyone.

 

I learned this behavior early on in my life, when I was 5 years of age. This was the time when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in the early sixties when chemo had not been invented and women were dropping dead at alarming numbers. Specifically, women of color.

 

My grandmother, who lived with us, always told me that if my mom was stressed or worried, that her cancer would return.  As a 5 year old, this was a lot for me to process. Yet, I told myself to be really good and never make any trouble because that would keep my mom alive. I learned, at a young age, to comply with others even when I didn’t want to. To go along to just get along.  To always be a good girl and not get in trouble or upset mom.

 

This mindset and behavior followed me into adulthood and became the source of much of my pains, fears, struggles, traumas and wounds.  Coupled with the fact that, I was a fatherless daughter because my biological father was never around and rejected/abandoned me.  I carried an enormous load of rejection and abandonment fears. Can you imagine carrying all of this pain around as an adult woman, a wife and mother? Wow, was I a hot mess!

 

It took years of deep work for me to release and heal these fears, beliefs and ideas that were governing my life and showing up in my choices, decisions and behaviors.  I had trained myself to disown my truth, to disown what I valued and to disown myself.

 

I  had to learned how to tell the truth to myself. Learning to tell the truth and even say “Yes” to myself and “No” to others liberated me. I learned to be honest with myself about my life.  Because when I am honest with myself, then I can truly be honest with you.
Life can show up in ways that are painful beyond words. Oftentimes, that pain can sweep us into a whirlwind of mounting grief. Yet, we shake it off and once again step into the world as if nothing is wrong.  We walk around with piled up grief, piled up trauma and piled up pain.  It can be so riveting that we  run for shelter and refuge just to cope and hide.

 

For some, we find refuge in the church. For others we find refuge a drink/drugs, food, work, sex and so much more. For me, I found refuge in my church and in my work.  I was determined that I was going to be the model Christian. I was going to please God at all cost. But there I was again, creating a space where I had to earn love, earn my value and my worth.  I treated God like He was a pimp. In some odd way, I believed that if I turned this “trick” (do something good) for God, that I would get blessed by Him. Many people do this on their spiritual journey.
I one day realized that God was not interested in me being perfect. No, what God wanted was a Oneness with me. God wanted me to trust Him and He wanted to show me love, value, comfort and care.

 

I also used my work to hide behind. I felt that being successful would make me worthy and valued in the world. Only to discover that what I “Did” was not “Who” I was. As I rose to success, I had lots of friends. At least that’s what I thought. When I slowed down (on purpose) and began to do business differently, those same so called friends stop dialing my number. I was not as valuable to THEM any longer. As I healed, I realized my real value was not wrapped up in a title…or money…but it was wrapped up in WHO I had become.

 

Finding someone who could help me deal with these unhealed spaces deep within was difficult. I would find people who could identify my issues, and  analyze its roots. But very few knew how to get into the heart of what was truly happening and work to heal it. So, my healing journey took longer than it did for others because I learn much of it on my own. I did it and through my own transformation, I created some powerful programs with deep healing modalities so that others would not have to take that same lonely path that I did.

 

Like so many people, I felt safer trying to contain and manage my pains, traumas and wounds. But it would only be temporary. Because what I needed was deeper healing down to a cellular level…in my soul.

 

Nowadays, I have learned to tell the truth. Even when I show up in my work, on my social media pages, in my writings, my speaking, my relationships…you get the real me. I don’t try to impress or paint a life that’s not real or true. Because I don’t need the affirmations, approvals or likes of others. I no longer live someone else’s idea of what my life should be. I simply live and share m The Awakened Life Journey.

 

As we all navigate through these troubled times in the world, we all have encountered some new wounds. This pandemic, political unrest, racism and gender inequality, hatred and division has created a lot of trauma, anxiety, uncertainty within our midst. The state of the world is one be gaping wound that’s oozing out into our streets, our homes, our workspaces, our relationships, and in our souls.

 

Once again, we must attend to these new wounds. It’s definitely time for us to face our stuff, tell the truth and begin to heal. Because when we each heal, then we all can heal. This is how we heal the world. Are you ready to face your stuff?

 

Spiritually Side-Stepping Our Wounded Souls!

We are all living in a world where there is so much chaos, confusion and fear. I think we all are exhausted, looking for ways to escape. Is escaping the answer? It’s a question we each must answer.

You’ve heard me say that what’s happening within our midst will reveal who we really are. I now believe what’s happening within our midst is a reflection of who we have become collectively.

Many people are showing themselves to us in ways that we find difficult to accept. It’s easy to get on social media,  get into intense debates with each other and show ugly sides of ourselves to the world. The world gets to see our wounds loud and clear.

But what’s even more dangerous are those of us who get up in the morning and read a passage of scripture, say a few words of prayer, then jump on social media to share our newfound wisdom while still carrying deep muted, unacknowledged and unresolved wounds.

We run successful businesses, make great money, have plenty of friends and become popular, all while avoiding our real internal issues, challenges and pains that show up in ways that have us blinded us to the truth.

You see, hiding and side-stepping the truth can be seductive and deceptive. Because it frees us from dealing with our shame, our truth, and our pain lodged in our souls. So we take the path of least resistance.

For some, there’s a knowing that we still have deeper issues that remain untouched, ignored and unhealed. For others, we’ve learned how to dodge and side-step the truth that our soul is crying out through our false sense of spirituality.

Our need to be applauded and significant drown out the deep whispers that urge us to do the real healing work on ourselves.  In the midst of these arising times that humanity is now facing, it’s easy to blurt out phrases like, “God will fix it, It’s happening for a reason or We are living in the last days” all to make us feel better and temporarily escape.

Yet, if things are going to change, we’ve got to change. If things are going to get better, we each must get better. This must happen regardless of who is in the White House.  Because at a deeper level and collectively, the world is reflecting back to us who we (humanity) have become at our core.

Why is it so important that our wounds heal? Because it’s our wounds that keep us divided and separated. Our wounds keep us hating instead of loving. They keep us bitter instead of forgiving and our wounds keep us bound instead of free.

Yes, this is a wake us call for us all. The alarm is sounding. And if we are going to heal collectively, it must start with each of us individually. Individually we must brave the uncharted waters of our soul to swim deeply into our wounds, to truly heal what we’ve been so good at side-stepping because it was just too painful to feel.

The truth is, God can and will heal our land. Yet, we must acknowledge we have wounds that need to be healed. The healing of our individual souls is how we heal the soul of humanity. And it starts with each of us acknowledging the truth about who we have become and the truth about WHO WE CAN BE!

I Found More Than One

I don’t have to tell you about all that’s happening around us and within our midst. You see it everyday with the constant news cycles, social media’s chaos, confusion and conflict.  And if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know someone who has been impacted by COVID-19, job loss, racial and gender inequality, financial struggles and more. We are definitely in a crisis.

 

So how do we live in a world filled with such panic and fear? I know I have felt it. I feel it each time I have to leave my house with my Pandemic Kit (mask, gloves, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes).
As I look at everyone walking around with a mask on and trying not to make eye or physical contact with me, I feel such a sadness come over me. Because as humans, we are made for connection, touch and belonging. I sometimes sense feelings of loneliness trying to creep in because I’m so isolated from the world.
Nothing is the same anymore and neither are we. We can’t be. This has certainly changed us all in some way. It has also revealed who we are and who we can become as result of this crisis.
I take hope in recognizing that crisis always proceeds transformation. I also take hope in knowing that better days are upon us.And I know that there’s always a rainbow…not just after the storm, but even in the midst of one.
Recently,  I sat down to look for the rainbows in my life during these arising times.  What I found was simply amazing because I discovered several rainbows that I want to share with you.

 

Here’s what I discovered:

Rainbow 1: Releasing Excess. I don’t need as much material things that I thought I did. As I started clearing and cleaning out closets, cabinets, attics and more, I realized that I had too much excess. I was holding onto things that I needed to let go of and would never use again. Who needs 15 pair of black pants or dishes that you haven’t used in 25 years? As I began getting rid of “stuff” I felt a sense of freedom and release.

Rainbow 2: Cherishing the Moments. I love hearing my children and grandchildren voices. Because of COVID-19, our children have limited their visits to our home. They say it’s because we are in the elderly population. LOL. Therefore, we don’t get to see them or our grandchildren like we are accustomed to. But they all make every effort to make sure we get to visit with the grands via phone and Face-time. I find myself being more tuned into these visits. Because for me, every moment, every second has become even precious. Sometimes our FaceTime visits can last for two hours. I know that when I can get to hug and kiss them again, I will never take these moments for granted again.

Rainbow 3: Reconnecting w/ Old Friends. I have had a chance to catch up with old friends. Because things have slowed down, we have more time on our hands. We were all moving at lightening speed and had little time for important things. Lately, I have reconnected with friends I have not talked with in years. It’s been so refreshing to talk with them and reconnect. I have even reconnected with some elementary school friends. Just the other day an old friend and I talked for 4 hours! We laughed and had a blast!

Rainbow 4: A Deepened Spiritual Life. I have always made my spiritual walk and life a priority. But during these past few months, I’ve made an even new effort to practice the power of “Surrender.” Surrendering to God has been my biggest priority and allowing God’s desire for my life to be mine. Aligning with the spiritual and universal principles that governs our lives is my daily intention. I don’t always get it right, but my heart is turned towards God’s highest desire and intentions for my life. I’ve  released some things that thought I wanted only to tap into God’s ordained destiny for me. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to know that I can’t change things, but as I surrender to God…I can change. I love my sacred times of prayer, meditation, worship, and listening. I’m more committed to this holy journey to unfold my soul’s destiny than ever before. In other words…to live an Awakened Life. My life reimagined and success redefined.

 

Rainbow 5: My Health is My Greatest Resource.
How often to we neglect our health going after money thinking it’s our most needed resource? I’ve learned that my health is my greatest resource and this it’s up to me to take care of it. I’m beginning to look at what I put in my mouth more intentionally because I have taken more time to cook better meals. I order my groceries and have them delivered therefore I can only eat what I have in the house…LOL. I’m starting to move my body more…walking, Tai Chi and Yoga have been my choices. I am not where I want to be right now, but I am on my way and lost 11 pounds. I check my vital signs daily and they are looking really good.  I have also added some amazing supplements needed as I get older.
These are just a few of the rainbows that I have discovered as I navigate this new normal. There are so many more and if you’d like, I will share more in the coming weeks.

 

Also, I would love to hear some of your rainbow lessons. So please feel free to share them with us in the comment box below.
Until next time…stay safe and don’t forget to look for your rainbows.

 

I Turned It All Off

It seems as if everywhere you turn, there’s news of Covid-19 cases getting worse, people losing their jobs, someone being killed at the hands of law enforcement, racism at an all time high, civil unrest, financial struggles and yes, death at alarming rates. I just want to turn it all off. And I did turn it all off.

I recently suspended my Facebook account, turned all the news channels off on the TV, stopped the breaking news alerts on my phone, and stopped accepting phone calls from negative people. I work shorter hours each day in my business, I am learning some new hobbies around the house, (still paining furniture and resigning rooms), decluttering and getting rid of tons of stuff.

I am reading tons of new books, listening to some great music, doing Tai Chi w/ my husband, going to bed really early, I have moved into a season of deeper prayer and meditation and yes, writing and creating new ideas.

I have loved being disconnected from all of the noise. This is a new lifestyle that I have adapted and I am loving it. I plan to keep it. While, I will reinstate my Facebook account, I will merely use that platform as a small part of fulfilling my purpose. It’s simply a vehicle to use for messaging…it’s not at all meant to consume your life.

We are living in some challenging times. Times many of us have never imagined would happen to us. But the truth is, crisis always proceeds transformation. And we all know the world is in need of transforming.  As we are living in what is insurmountable uncertainty, there is always one thing that never fails and that is our hope in God’s promises.

I live with this hope everyday, knowing we will get through this. We may experience some loss and some pain…but we will get through this. I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you when it will all end. But I don’t. I also realize that we will always have unpredictables to show up. It’s how we respond to them that shows us who we are. What the world is going through collectively, will reveal who we are and it has revealed who we are.

If each of us take some time to work on expanding, releasing and growing in our own personal lives, then collectively we will be able to change the world. This is why we must become the change we want to see in the world. This entire season of uncertainty has revealed something to me about myself.

I didn’t realize that had certain biases. I didn’t realize that I would become angry about certain things. One of the reasons, I have turned it all off is so that I can deal with those internal aspects of myself that I’d ignored or not recognized. You see, I want to be apart of the solution. And when we don’t tell ourselves the truth about ourselves, we create a bigger problem trying to solve a problem. We then become the problem…not the solution.

Remember, an angry generation cannot create peace and a wounded generation cannot bring healing. 

If we want to be a part of the solution, then each of us have got to face our own fears, anger and wounds. We can’t give to the world what we can’t give to ourselves. I can’t tell you how to deal with what’s happening around you. But I do know that we all must play an important role in driving the new narrative and rewriting a new cultural story for our own lives and for the world.

So what I will tell you is to get very clear about who you are in this season and what you can do to help move us in a new, better and brighter direction for our lives individually and collectively. It’s the hope we have being actualized in each of us.

And if it takes you turning it all off in order to get clear, I recommend doing so. Because when you come back…you will be ready to turn up…and Amplify!

It’s Your Time!

Many don’t know your name. You don’t own a business, you don’t have a brand and you’re not a social media influencer. No one really recognizes you out in public.

BUT! What you do is needed by many. You empower and encourage others through the phone calls you make, the text messages you send out, the voicemails you leave. You do what appears to be small gestures, yet these things encourage others to stay the course and never give up. You know the right times to call, the right things to say and do. Through powerful conversations, you’ve talked many off the ledge, given others hope and healing through your prayers.

You give your time, your resources and your love for humanity. You never talk about what you do, you don’t post it on social media or boast about it, even to your closet friends. You never make a big deal out of it, you don’t post it on social media and never tell anyone the things that you do. So many benefit daily from the things you do in for them. Your moves are subtle and quiet, yet intentional.
Who are you? You are God’s chosen one…God’s mouthpiece in the world. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. You are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

It’s in the those quiet moments, that you’ve even shed some tears, wanted to give up at times, but your commitment to God’s promises kept you going. You’ve held a place for everyone else to shine. But who is holding a space for you? The time has come for you to reap your rewards.

So I will close with what song writer has said and dedicate these words to you:
“Hang in there and prepare yourself for your blessing. It’s your time now. You have waited for so long. But you held on, you were strong. And for your faithfulness. It’s your time. Because you hung in there when times got hard. And when it seemed like nobody cared. You kept right on working. You kept right on doing good things. And for your faithfulness. And for your faithfulness, it’s your time. He told me to tell you, it’s your time.Lyrics from It’s Your Time by Luther Barnes.