Fantastic Friday: Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli

When renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli sings, the world listens. Audiences listen with rapt attention as this man, also known as the “fourth tenor” touches hearts with his gifted voice. It appears Bocelli was destined to sing, but his life is varied and rich-that’s what is so fantastic.

Andrea Bocelli was born with the middle name, Angel, 22 September 1958 in Lajatico, Italy to parents who defied medical advice to abort their angel. It became apparent at an early age that Bocelli had a sight impairment but his parents encouraged him to play sports and develop his musical talent, allowing him to start studying the piano from age six. His musical passion extended later to the trumpet, guitar, flute and the saxophone but it was his golden voice that charted his destiny.

“Destiny has a lot to do with it, but so do you. You have to persevere, you have to insist.” ~Andrea Bocelli

He persevered, in spite of a slate of obstacles, to earn a law degree from the University of Pisa. But singing and music remained a passion. So, he sang in Italian piano bars at night and was eventually discovered. His tenor voice is distinct,  recognized without introduction.

You just know its Andrea. He started his music soliloquy winning contests, in operas and performing awe-inspiring concerts in Italy, Germany, the United States.   He was won prestigious awards, sang for the Pope, and enjoyed his life as a father to three children.

Accustomed to leaping over apparently insurmountable obstacles, the Tuscan tenor proves that insistently living your passion is the guidance of destiny. Amazing grace.

Fantastic, I am a devoted fan.

Unity In Diversity

America celebrates inclusion. Actually, dissatisfied citizens around the world watched the evidence of unity in diversity in America and join the celebrants in America. Millions of disenfranchised, oppressed or marginalized people, especially women, worldwide who long for a different world of inclusion see the possibility.

Unity in diversity embodies more than skin color; it is a pledge of the acceptance of human dignity. The idea of unity that includes the diversity of humankind, progressive thought and equal opportunity signals inclusion. It recognizes the deepest human longing – fairness.

Goodwill unifies. Equality unifies. Fairness unifies. People in every hamlet, village, town, reservation, or country in the world cry out for fairness. Goodwill does not bend to politics. Goodwill opens the mind to inclusion rather than exclusion because of gender, race, geography or economic status.

Mankind is one. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, sacrificed much to free the people in her country.  Nelson Mandela sacrificed for the freedom of his people in South Africa. Shirin Ebadi of Iran sacrifices for justice in her land. President Obama in the United States of America, another Nobel laureate, believes “We will rise and fall as one nation, and as one people.” These Nobel peace prize laureates and many, many others struggle for fairness for all mankind across the world.

Women deserve dignity. The struggle for dignity extends to a former girl prostitute in India who was forced to sell her body. Sakena Yacoobi in Afghanistan fights to educate girls to fix the country’s severe gender imbalances. Layli Miller-Muro in the United States who protects immigrant women and girls fleeing the violence of genital mutilation champions dignity.   These conjoined problems of sex trafficking, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality all over the world depend on restoring women’s dignity.  Read Half the Sky

Unity in diversity is vital to the equality, dignity, goodwill and protection of all people.

Fantastic Friday: Cullen Jones

Cullen Jones

How do you become an Olympian?  Soon media attention will be focused on the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the spotlight will also be on Olympic gold medal winner, Cullen Jones.  He didn’t start out as a child prodigy swimmer. In the early years after his Mom enrolled him in swim classes after a near drowning almost twenty years ago, Cullen says he found himself plodding away in the outside lanes before his long hours finally paid off.

He will compete in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in London.  Jones is the third African-American to make the US Olympic swimming team after Anthony Ervin and Maritza Correia.  At the 2008 Olympic swimming trials, Jones broke the American record in the 50 meter freestyle with a time of 21.59.  In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he won a gold medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay in a world record time of 3:08.24 with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Garrett Weber-Gale and in 2009, Jones set the American record in the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis.

Swimming has paid off for Cullen Jones not only in the Olympic arena but also as a heartthrob role model who is getting national and international endorsements.  Cullen is excited about the sport of swimming and competing in a few weeks in London as a returning athlete swimmer. Jones likes being a role model for young black aspiring swimmers, something he did not have when he  began perfecting his strokes as a swimmer. In his early years, he was teased and bullied in his New Jersey neighborhood.

“Black children drown at a rate of more than three times that of white children, and a recent study sponsored by USA Swimming said that 58 percent of black children can’t swim. Jones didn’t realize the disparity in the sport until he was about 15 and started competing hard-core” writes ESPN reporter Elizabeth Merrill.  Jone is  on a mission to change that glaring statistic, one reason why he started the Cullen Jones Diversity Tour (

You become an Olympic swimmer one stroke at a time.

The Roles We Play: 2 Ways to Shift Right Now

Do you give too much? Are you expected to “save the day” or be the shoulder to cry on? If so, you may be blocking not only your happiness but the maturity of responsibility in the other person that  is required by life in any relationship.  Overdoing levels of concern, or in other words becoming a doormat rescuer, is not happiness.  Living by purpose demands  balance – a reciprocity of sharing.

Dr. Robert Holden asks: Do you ever play “the giver” who only gives and never receives; or “the helper” who suppresses any personal needs; or “the independent one” who never asks for what they want; … or “the martyr” who cannot really give unconditionally because they do not really receive?

Honest review of these questions may be your pivot of change.

The roles we play ultimately become the binding roles that we accept.  Hidden within the play roles of “rescuer” or “giver” or “helper” or “independent one” or “martyr”  or a blend thereof is an internal desire to be wanted or know that you are wanted by someone. This unexamined inner longing imposes upon your preeminence. So, you must change roles.

There are two ways to shift roles that drain you or no longer serve your higher purpose now:

  1. Pay attention to how you respond in every relationship for a week. Write down the name of the person and the role you used while interacting with them. Be diligent here – every day for one week – identify the role you play with others.
  2. Next, categorize each role.  Look at how often you accept each role.  Now, add how do you feel after playing each role-this is difficult but necessary.

Once you objectively identify each role and which one you switch on and off to accommodate people in your life, you will start the engine of change.  The roles you play become so embedded and expected of you that pausing to examine the usefulness of these roles is not even not thought of as changeable.

But, change you must in order to find your your core identity.f

Know the roles that you play. Own up to and accept the roles that are positive and productive  in your life. Shift, release low performing, often toxic roles, and allow other people to claim their authentic responsibility by shifting your responses.

Live according to your known purpose -tend to your life seeds – and balance often your authenticity scales.

Care for others, care about others but care about yourself first.

Fantastic Friday: Redtails

Hollywood has gotten this right! By that I mean, the movie Redtails educates and inspires heroism.  You have got to see this movie…you have got to see this movie.

The Tuskegee Airmen, who numbered close to 1,000, were the first group of African-American fighter pilots in the United States and the only group of African-American fighter pilots in World War II. Their bravery led President Harry S. Truman to order the desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948.  Not allowed to practice or fight with their white counterparts, the Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves from the rest by painting the tails of their airplanes red, which led to them becoming known as the “Red Tails.”


Here is a synopsis: (taken from

1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options — including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country — and the fate of the free world.
I thought I knew the whole story since I studied the subject of the Tuskegee Airmen, some whom were prisoners of war, and have personally met three of them and because my cousin is married to the daughter of a Tuskegee Airman but I did not; I only knew most of the story.
PBS aired two acclaimed pieces Tuskegee Airmen Reborn and The Tuskegee Airmen which document the heroism of these men who actually fought two wars-World War II and the war of racism in America. One Tuskegee hero, Dr. Dempsey Morgan, resides at Walter Reed and Myron Wilson died in 2001. Two (Val Archer and Zellie Orr) in Atlanta are active front-line promoters of their story by giving lectures and visiting local schools.  Their story is fascinating.
Director Anthony Hemingway and Executive Producer, George Lucas, bring alive their story in big-screen form. There are faults, including corny lines, but let that not detract you from the story of heroism.
“Through war with honor
Through adversity with courage
Through it all with each other.”
This movie tagline says it all.
Honor these heroes, see the movie Redtails.

Fantastic Friday: Thank You 2011

As we close out 2011 and prepare for making 2012 fantastic, fabulous and focused, let me say thank you for each day and experience of the days in 2011. (NOTE: You don’t want to miss my first post for 2012-Miracle Monday: Where is Your Chi (Energy). Find the source of your energy.)

Thank you 2011!

Thank you, each of you, who raised a roof after a tornado or violent storm. Thank you for being a care giver. Thank you for smiling. Thank you for dancing. Thank you for spending quiet time reflecting. Thank you to all the mentors. Thank you teachers, principals, administration workers, school boards who create learning environments children. Thank you hospital staff, doctors, nurses, technicians, attendants, aides, cleaners who keep us well. Thank you government leaders, assistants, community advocates, courtroom judges, stenographers, attorneys, legal aides who protect the constitution. Thank you military personnel, military families, officials, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, department heads, Chiefs of Staff who defend our nation.

Thank You 2011

Thank you women, children and men to stood up for justice. Thank you every volunteer who fed the hungry. Thank you Junior League Atlanta for being a force of women leaders who rock babies, read to children, create art at Ronald McDonald House, expose sex trafficking and exploitation of girls, read for the blind on GARRS radio, beautify shelters, create meals for Kids in the Kitchen, who share your hearts everywhere. Thank you friends and family who gave with agape love.  Thank you radio and television hosts who uplift hearts and souls. Thank you counselors who give without recognition. Thank you therapist who help mend. Thank you artists for sharing perspectives of beauty.

Thank you earth for supplying our needs. Thank you farmers who grow crops. Thank you pets for trusting with your hearts. Thank you elders who give wisdom and grace. Thank you mothers and fathers for protecting the treasure of life that you created. Thank you sisters and brothers who bring out the best in each others.  Thank you 2011!

Thank you ALL.




Fantastic Friday

Life is precious and wonderful. You, and what you do for others, make it fantastic!

The Habeeb’u’llah family in South Dekalb county Georgia is fantastic. For the past 18 years this Mother, Father and son have operated “Umoja Souljahs and Project Aza Nia, free of charge and without government funding, at the Baha’i Unity Center, for youth – male and female – all around the community.  Let me share a piece of their story:

Vernada Habeeb’u’llah and her husband, Nasif, and their son Anthony saw a need right where they live – they saw a desperate segment of society lacking solutions to teen drop-out rates, increased teen pregnancies, teen violence, teen suicide, and overall despair almost at their doorstep.  They responded to the urgency by creating this youth program to counter the injuries of hopelessness. The core of the program is two fold: 1.) teach these kids, regardless of race, history as African American males and females to let them know they are descendents of kings and queens and 2.) to develop virtuous character within each child.

The impact was immediate. Grades and deportment drastically improved because every Friday they huddle in a circle and talk about grades and situations in their home and at school.  If there were incidents, they sit together in counsel and come to solutions. Soon each child would keep each other in check so that the bond of respect was tight. Max and his wife, Nadia, joined in as adult leaders. Not one girl in the group became pregnant over the years and not one boy was arrested – that’s fantastic. Each child has graduated high school and college and those still in elementary or middle or high school are model students.

We can make a difference in the world, right where we are.


Miracle Monday

America the resilient. This is what I felt after watching many of the tributes to those who lost their lives and those who responded with heroic courage on 9/11/2001. We are resilient people and this nation is resilient –  God bless us all.

We are blessed – salute that within your heart. I am so grateful for my girlfriend Monica who stopped by to share her love with me. She came bearing gifts – a lovely candle (which I needed) and a packet of sachet pillows for my drawers (stop laughing I mean the furniture kind) this past weekend. It felt so good to just sit and talk for a while which as a residual from our friendship time together set up beautiful flowing happiness for me all weekend long. Love you Monica!

That act of spontaneous love sparked other miracles. Being this is miracle Monday think about what acts you have done that may have made somebody else happy and probably precipitated residual joy for them. What kind act from your heart have you done for someone else lately? Share it with us, please. The reason is that giving to others without expectation of reciprocation is a miracle magnet.

So let me ask again: What kind act from your heart have you done lately?

Do one or more random act of kindness for someone else today. Just do it and make this your Monday Miracle.

“I have found in life that if you want a miracle you first need to do whatever it is you can do – if that’s to plant, then plant; if it is to read, then read; if it is to change, then change; if it is to study, then study; if it is to work, then work; whatever you have to do. And then you will be well on your way of doing the labor that works miracles. ” ~Jim Rohn

Choose to live and give

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.
Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all His children.
Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.
In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.”
   ~ Cory BookerMayor of Newark, N.J.