Grandparents.

Earlier this month as soon as I pulled in the driveway, Chris was out the garage door and at my car window. My first reaction was concern. Concern the girls were fighting inside. Concern there was a work issue. His face was hard to read. I couldn’t tell if he was nervous, scared, happy or what he was. He handed me a box. When I opened it I saw an ultrasound image in a frame with the words grandparents. I immediately looked back and Chris’ face was giddy. His expression was a mixture of happiness and tears. This is the face that I have seen before when he may be close to crying but he is desperately trying to hold back the emotions.

Monica and Dan had visited us in July in Arkansas. We had a great time showing them around Arkansas. And showing her off to friends.

Renee had had a dream in the spring that Monica was pregnant. When I learned that Monica was in fact pregnant I asked renee what she had in the dream. At first Renee couldn’t remember the dream. Then she remembered that it was a boy in the dream. I recall when Renee shared that she had dreamed that Monica was pregnant, I had thought well wouldn’t that be great. Though I had wondered if Monica and Dan wanted to have children or not, I didn’t ask. I have know so many that may have wanted children and it didn’t happen as easily as they would have hoped that I try not to ask and let others share on their own when they have entered the world of trying to conceive. When Monica came into our lives, I remember Chris mentioning that he could be a grandparent sooner then later. I remember thinking and saying well if that’s what they want I hope so.

On one hand it feels very surreal to be thinking of grandparent names. And I have enjoyed shocking some people when I say Chris and I are going to be grandparents. Knowing they immediately think Gigi or Renee are pregnant.

Volunteering Roots Festival 2018

I stepped away from my post for a moment. I needed a bathroom break. My friend said they would cover it. Turns out his uber showed up and he abandoned my post. Therefore my post was unmanned for about ten minutes. When I returned, I got reamed. She said many people got in while I was gone in. Which is interesting since I had not had one person attempt to enter without a wristband. I felt bad. My mind began worrying. Will I be banned from volunteering. I hope not. Since I did enjoy volunteering. Not sure I apologized to her for abandoning the post to go to bathroom and grab my drink. Got stuck visiting. I was probably gone a total of fifteen minutes.therootsfest.org/volunteer-2

Mistake made. Let it go? Should I find others and apologize? Go to volunteers booth apologize. Reach out to Melissa, Maria, the Hembrees or let it go? therootsfest.org

https://therootsfest.org

 

I saw Marci and apologized to her. Then I met Bernice Hembree explained what happened and apologized. I also complimented her on her young daughters behavior.

therootsfest.org/volunteer-2

While I was admiring all of the Roots Festival Swag, I visited with the Hembree’s daughter.  She was informative and delightful to talk with about the Roots Festival and Thadden school.    The children voluntering at the roots festival were fantastic.   I saw no phone activity while there were working their posts.  I can’t say I didn’t look to my phone at moments of boredom.  A young boy that basically was busing the Fayetteville Town Center.  His attitude and energy was so impressive.   I kept bragging on his work. Eventually I realized that I knew his dad.   Not surprizing his dad is very polite, very kind and very impressive in the work that he does with Theater Squared.   I look forward to seeing him next week at the TS2 event so that I can brag on his sons behavior and work ethic.

These children are getting it: Getting experiences, getting work ethic, getting life experience that will last a lifetime.   Seeing these children makes me wish that I had forced Gigi to come volunteer.  Often I allow our kids to make decisions for themselves. As we get closer to a time when we won’t be able to control some choices and decisions that they make, I find the desire to not include them in some of the decisions.  For example signing Renee up to go to an overnight at Camp War Eagle, know she would moan and complain.   I was anxious about telling her.   When I told her, I didn’t give her an opportunity to complain or attempt to debate why she shouldn’t have to do it.

Recently Renee had presented a power point presentation about BORNs experience.   The power point was about why she would like to go see BORNs in Tulsa with one of her close friends.  It was impressive and effective.  As soon as she began the power point, I knew I was going to say “yes” if the dates and expense were resonable.   Once she presented the infomation,  I countered with some of my requests and requirements for Dad and I to agree.

https://therootsfest.org/volunteer-2/

Women as Pioneers!

My Grandmother, Virginia Stowe was a raised by a pioneer, Mabel Auer.  My great grandmother and my grandmother lived to be 103.  Lucky ladies!?!

IMG_9482.jpgGreat Grandma was my first expereince with great loss.  So I thought.  When she died, my mother, brothers and I were in route to Chicago.  The place of my birth.  Turns out my first loss occured at my birth.

I lost my parents!

 

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100% Free Lunch

At the Northwest Arkansas Young Professionals Summit 2018, I met a young women named Blanca Estevez.  We had a quick visit as we charged our cell phones.

In the short interaction, she shared that she would be at the Decatur Community Center on Sunday giving away Free Back to School Backpacks to those in need.

She let me kow that Decatur schools have 560 students and 100% are on FREE Lunch.

That statistic surprized me!

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This women took a moment to help educate me.

As we plugged in our $500 dollar phones, she reminded me that not all are so lucky.

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Many in our state qualify for FREE Lunch.  Though our community has some of the wealthiest people in the country.  I do believe that the people who have helped put Northwest Arkansas on so many best of lists are for people like Blanca and other philanthopists in our community.

A community was established so long ago to help your neighbors.

Do what you can when you can!

I do hope that Blanca’s efforts are appreciated.   She is impacting people around her in ways she may not realize.  The moment she shared about her weekend. Helped me reflect on what can I do like she is doing to help someone else.

#NWAYPSummit2018

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I am a rockstar! Not all RockStars are musicians.

Over the course of my life, I have wanted to be a lot of things.  IMG_0139

A long, long time ago when people used to laugh and sing, I wanted to be Mrs America, maybe even president.  Though both of those positions probably have their ups, downs and all arounds.

Thankfully, those aspirations changed for me. Then they changed, and the changed then once again they changed again.  I can’t even begin to remember all the positions or things that I wanted to rock at! Lawyer, Director of Home for expectants motherswho were chosing to give up their children for adoption, traveler,peace corp worker, social worker, rock climber, mother, wife, friend, artist, musician, explorer.  My life and who I am lead me in different directions. Here, there and everywhere.

When I was younger, the last thing that I wanted to do was work in our family business.  My dreams were far and wide.  I wanted to conquer the world.  In whatever way that I could.  I had spent summers and time off from school typing classified ads.  I typed acres so many times that I never really wanted to type it again.  My family had a paper/typesetting business.  I think that I made a C in typewriting.  I had aspirations of not typing acres over and over and over again.  For whatever reason the acres was what stuck in my head from those days so long ago.   It was the 80’s.  Only if we had purchased some more of those acres in those days.   My parents were fortunate to purchase a small piece of property close to the heart of Fayetteville.  Though the acreage was small, the building was fantastic.

The first home that I remember was also a business.   I grew up under the table of production and fell asleep to the sound of typewriters.   Typewriters, typewriting a theme that seems to resonate with me in a different way now.   Family meals were often discussions of our business.   This hasn’t always been a good thing.   The years of hearing the good, the bad and the ugly of our business did not make me aspire to be a part of it.  It made me want to run to the middle of nowhere as fast as I could.  My dreams of conquering the world did not inlcude the family business.  I wanted to develop a life for myself.  Way down deep, I thought the family business would be something that I came back to work in after conquering the world.

The reality is that life got in the way.  I got in my way as well.   The twists and turns I experienced as I was suppose to be headed out to conquer the world caused me to be hospitalized.  Oh wait hospitalization was not in my plan of conquering the world.  Oh well.

I have been blessed to know many rockstars in my life.  Being a rockstar was not ever really on my aspirations.  Not a litteral rockstar.  But don’t we all want to be a rockstar! We want to rock the stars of whatever we do.  Right?! Until we don’t fell like it.

Today I felt like a rockstar.  And I meet another who is a rockstar who made many, many people real literal rockstars!  Like Prince!

AL BELL!!!!  Speaker at NWAYPSummit:

Al Bell (born Alvertis Isbell in Brinkley, AR) is the former Chairman & Owner of Stax Records, where he was responsible for the careers of numerous music icons and the overall direction of American soul music and subsequently served as President of Motown Records Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Bell has been considered a visionary, a seer, an icon, a music mogul, a communications and entertainment maverick and a legend, which is how most people throughout the industry view him today.
 In 2011, Mr. Bell received the highest honor the music industry bestows, the Grammy Trustees Award, putting him in the company of an elite group that includes Steve Jobs, Wad1ac1d_865c59f60cb142828782316942870eb7~mv2lt Disney, Ira Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and others who have received the award for making industry-changing contributions in music in their lifetimes.
Stax Records, with Bell as its Chairman & Owner, was valued by Price Waterhouse in 1975 at $82 million (2nd largest minority-owned business in U.S.). Stax had 167 Hits on Billboard Top 100 Chart and 243 Hits on the Billboard R&B Chart. Al Bell, himself, has been inducted into 30 Halls of Fame.
 In Soulsville USA: The Stax Records Story, a book by Rob Bowman chronicling the history of Stax Records, the Rev. Jesse Jackson says, “Stax was not just a record company. It was a sound. It was a piece of culture. It was a moment of conscience and experience of mankind. “At the right time, it meant a lot to us. People still heavily borrow upon the tradition of Stax and the lineage laid down by the very special genius of Al Bell.”
 Al Bell has written over 200 songs. One song, however, was written through him – Something happened inside of him one evening in Little Rock in 1971. Al Bell was sitting on the hood of an old school bus that his father kept in the backyard. He had just been to the funeral of his murdered brother. He didn’t feel comfortable, even in that familiar place. Thinking about his brother, he began to hear music, then words – I know a place Ain’t nobody crying Ain’t nobody worried Ain’t no smilin’ faces Lying to the races. That became “I’ll Take You There.” Recorded by the Staple Singers and released by Stax Records, the single written and produced by Mr. Bell was number one on the Billboard R&B Singles chart for four weeks.
 Mr. Bell discovered the music group Tag Team and released “Whoomp! (There It Is),” which sold over 5 million copies and remains one of the biggest-selling singles in history.
 Then, Prince asked Al Bell to release a single record, after Warner Brothers Records turned Prince down. Bell released “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” and gave Prince his biggest-selling single ever.
 Mr. Bell was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2002, received the Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Chamber of Commerce in 2008, and received honorary doctorate degrees from Philander Smith College in 1972 and 2011.
 On February 13, 2015, Mr. Bell was inducted into the prestigious Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, an award also bestowed on Sam M. Walton (founder of Walmart), Don J. Tyson, (Tyson Foods, Inc.), Jackson T. Stephens (Chairman of Stephens, Inc.), J.B. Hunt & his wife Johnelle, (J.B. Hunt Transport Services), and ‘Jerry’ Jones (president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Inc.). Through this honor, Mr. Bell joins an exceptional list of inductees who have been recognized to be among the best in Arkansas business for their outstanding achievements and their impact on the future business leaders in Arkansas and around the world.
 On September 29, 2015, Mr. Bell was honored with an induction into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame which showcases the careers of The Natural State’s sons and daughters who have made their marks on the entertainment world. Mr. Bell is again in the company of greats. Here are a few of those that were honored in the first induction ceremony held in 1996 – Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Al Green, Art Porter, Sr.

https://www.nwaypsummit.com/speakers-new

 

AUSTIN ASHFORD:

Freshly returned from multiple national recognitions at the 2018 Kennedy Center ACTF, Austin Dean Ashford,  having recently appeared at Theatresquared in All The Way, The Champion,and T2’s Arkansas Schools Tour with his one-person play, (I)sland T(rap), which was also featured at the 2017 Arkansas New Play Festival. In 2018, he received the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award, the Hip-Hop Theatre Creator Award, and earned a certificate for Distinguished Achievement by the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award for (I)sland T(rap). In addition, (I)sland T(rap)  won Outstanding Solo Performance and Best of Festival at the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival. Austin also recently featured his new play and one person show “Black Book” at the 2018 Arkansas New Play Festival. He has earned 21 national titles in Forensics in such events as dramatic interpretation, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation, and impromptu speaking. He holds the three-year running title ‘Most Valuable Performer’ from the Denzel Washington/Melvin B. Tolson Forensics Society. He was also the winner of HBO’s Brave New Voices—Individual World Poetry Slam. Originally from Union City, Ca., he holds a BA from Wiley College in Marshall, TX and is an MFA candidate in playwriting and acting at the University of Arkansas.

Austin is already a ROCKSTAR!  He will be a rockstar that many will know his work!

Find him, Follow him!

http://www.instagram.com/austindeanashford/?

hl=enhttps://www.austindeanashford.com/my-work/

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https://twitter.com/bennbroox?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/benn.broox

Future #faroutstars

My niece Suzie. Seeing her pregnant breaks my brain a bit. I will forever think of her as she was when we first connected when she was so much younger. To see her now, grown, married and pregnant reminds me that time passes. Many tell us that time goes by fast and it gets faster as you get older.

My brain breaks every time that I look at our girls. Deep down they my brain thinks of them much younger. Then I look at them and my eyes remind me that they are young women. Soon they will be out of our home. They will be creating their dorms their homes and their lives.

I’m sooo excited for where their lives will take them. I hope they take Chris and I along for the ride.