Category Archives: Life

Make 2012 Great, You Have the Power

Happy New Year! It’s 2012! For some people 2012 came around too quickly. For others, it couldn’t come soon enough. Whatever your take, 2011 is history – 365 days of memories. In the Virgin Islands we had an emotional year – a record number of murders, ranking us the 8th most murderous place in the world per capita; unreliable water and power service, salary reductions and threats of mass layoffs for government service employees. But we survived. Couples got married, babies were born, students graduated from schools, the list goes on. If you are within the sound of my voice, it means two things at the very least – you are alive and you can hear. We have so much to be thankful for.

2012 holds infinite possibilities. It’s a blank slate. You have the power to create your own destiny and shape history by the choices you’ll make. What choices will you make in 2012 to better yourself, your family, your community and your world? It all starts with you. You have the power to excel above and beyond your wildest expectations. But you must believe. And you must act. The journey of a million miles begins with one step. Now– the start of 2012–is the perfect time to take that first step.  The choice is yours.

Today I challenge you to write down you goals, dreams, and desires. Write them in a journal, on index cards, or on a poster board and include a plan for accomplishing them. Visit those goals often, so that you don’t lose track. Success doesn’t happen by chance. Success isn’t based on luck. Success is based on a great deal of preparation, hard work and persistence. You can do it. You have the power to succeed. The choice is yours.

It doesn’t matter what hand you were dealt in life. Remember the young African American girl born in Jim Crow Mississippi who was raised in a single-parent home and abused by a family member. Those were the beginnings of Oprah Winfrey – who is today, one of the wealthiest, most celebrated and most influential people in the world. Life is not about where you start, it’s about where you finish. You have the power to finish strong. The choice is yours.

So maybe you’ve had some setbacks in 2011. Don’t let those things keep you from realizing your full potential in 2012. Remember last year’s NBA finals. The Miami Heat was considered the super team with arguably three of the best players in the league. But the Dallas Mavericks were not intimidated by their opponents. They played hard, with all their heart, and left the Heat hanging their heads. Likewise, don’t be fearful of you opponents – known or unknown. You have the power to win. The choice is yours.

Perhaps you had an excellent 2011. You accomplished all of your goals, found your purpose, became a better person and contributed to the community. Why stop now? Even if you had the best year ever, 2012 gives you the opportunity to make your best even better. The choice is yours.

Let us welcome the hopes, opportunities and possibilities of 2012 with open arms. We have the power to make it great!

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When Chaos Ensues, Strengthen Your Family

October was a bloody month in the Virgin Islands. Within one week we lived through FIVE MURDERS, which included two double murders, and several other non-fatal shootings. All of the victims were under the age of 40 and as young as 20. The entire territory FEELS the pain associated with those senseless acts of violence. We either were related to the victims, were friends with them, or know someone who was related to them or friends with them.

At the very least, all of us have questioned the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. Then there was a bank robbery and jewelry store robbery. And while violence makes all of us question our safety, we cannot overlook white-collar crime where corrupt officials swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars from government coffers. What is the Virgin Islands coming to? Are we to accept murders, shootings, and crimes as a regular part of our lives? Are we supposed to suspect that most government officials are power hungry, money hungry thieves?

 I have started to seriously question my decision to live and raise a family in the Virgin Islands. It is no longer the community that I was raised in. It no longer provides the foundation that so many of us cherish. Just how do we return the Virgin Islands to the place that we so loved? It will be difficult.

Our education system is substandard and our children fall woefully behind in national statistics. The cost of living here is one of the highest in the nation, while salaries are among the lowest, which means that many adults must work more than one job. So children are left to raise themselves. Even grandma and grandpa aren’t at home anymore to help out– because they too are working. As the VI Police Department buys back guns and steps up patrols, successfully taking more guns off the streets – we see that gun crime is not decreasing. It’s clear that our boarders, ports, marinas and shores are left wide open to the infiltration of guns and drugs.

Fixing our education system, our economy and protecting our boarders sadly will take some time – because of course, politics is involved. But what we can do right now, is strengthen our families. The family is the building block of every society. Strong families make strong communities. Strong communities make strong nations. It is through the family structure that morals and values are imparted. And love is the nucleus of all families. Regardless of how many jobs we have, we must take time to raise our children; and if for some reason we can’t, we must ask for help.

Right now, ask yourself, “What can I do to make my family stronger.” If you don’t have the answer, ask your parents, members of the faith-based community – our simply ask someone whose family you look up to and admire. A few suggestions are to:

• Make your family your number one priority.

• Spend a set amount of time each day together as a family. That time may be eating breakfast or dinner together each day. Or doing daily devotions upon rising or before sleeping.

• Spend as set amount of time each week as a family. For example Friday nights could be family nights – to do something fun with the family.

• Regularly visit your children’s school. Remember that by law, government employees are allowed two hours per month, per child, for school visits.

• Talk to your family, but also listen. Communication goes both ways. • Lead by example.

• Take time to relax, reenergize and rejuvenate so that you don’t get burnt out.

• Most important, do everything with love.

Your family depends on it; and so does this community.

Do Good Anyway

 Bad things sometimes happen to good people. Be good anyway. We should never get caught up in keeping score of the bad things that have happened to us, or how we have been wronged. Focusing our energies on the negative, yields negative results. Focus on the positives in your life and others. Never allow negative experiences to change your positive energy. Turn those undesirable experiences into positives by promising yourself to do better if you were given the opportunity.

Today let’s be motivated to always doing good and being positive. A little motivation is all we need!

Irony of a Single Mom; 5 Signs of a Pitiful Social Life

What to do on a Saturday night on St. Thomas when the children are gone? My children’s godmother recently offered to keep my children on a Saturday night so that she can spend some time with them and give me a little free time. Yippee! A free Saturday night!

The first thing to do was find out what’s going on for the weekend; so I text a couple of my friends asking where’s the lime to find out what’s going on. “Lime” or “liming” is our word for partying or hanging out. None of them know anything. That’s the first sign of a pitiful social life: your friends, the people who actually hang out more than you, have no idea what’s going on.

I decided to text my friend Rashidi, a radio personality on the popular station 105 Jamz. Surely he should know what’s popping. And he does. His response to me: “U trying to lime?!” Second sign of a pitiful social life: no one takes you seriously when you say you want to party.

Rashidi is hosting a karaoke night with music by DJ Pete after. Sounds good. But his gig is on Friday. My free day is Saturday. The only thing he knows that’s happening on Saturday is something that – let’s say I would have been delighted to attend 10 years ago. Just as I finished my texting session with Rashidi, my daughter brings me an invitation to our cousins’ 10th birthday party on the beach on Sunday. Third sign of a pitiful social life: your children have more invites than you do. But it was still Friday, so I remained hopeful.

Saturday morning I went on a cleaning spree. After all, I would be partying my night away, right. So I decided to do something worthwhile with my day. By 8 p.m. after cleaning, dropping off my children to their godmother and shopping, I decided to text a few more of my friends to see what I should get into. They all mention the same event that Rashidi mentioned the day before. But like me, none of them really want to go to that either. I log on to Facebook. I can get some hints of what’s happening there. Shawna has already said that whatever we do, she isn’t coming. That’s a bummer.  Finally Tiffy mentions a club, this new club that we can go to. Now, Tiffy is a chic that knows how to have a good time. But not even she has been to this club before, so we’re all skeptical. By now it’s 10:30 p.m. My eyes are getting heavy. Fourth sign of a pitiful social life: you’re tired before the party begins.

I’m not quite sure what happened between 11 p.m. on 2:46 a.m. That’s what time it was when I realized that I had fallen asleep. I woke up around 8 a.m. Sunday morning feeling great! Fifth sign of a pitiful social life: sleeping the whole night through feels just as good as “liming.”

Well there you have it. They irony of a single mom – when we finally have some free time, we don’t know what to do with it. I guess I’ll be homebound for the next few weekends until Kassav’s performance at the Reichhold Center on Oct. 28. With this Saturday behind me, I’m really looking forward to Kassav. Bye… we have a beach party to get ready for.

*Everyone whose name is mentioned in this blog gave permission to have their name and likeness used.