Shocked to See: Slavery in 2017

By Sheila Pope, Ph.D

This morning I was shocked to see Matt Lauer had been fired from the “Today Show”. I was shocked to see so many of my African American political Facebook Friends still support State Representative Ron Reynolds after he was found guilty of stealing his client’s money from settlements. Yes, I question how we can uphold any government officials with serious integrity issues and act as if they need to be in photos with candidates that have yet to prove themselves. It taints their credibility before they get elected.

However, I was more shocked to see that in 2017, we have allowed our people to be sold into slavery in Libya! This image says it all! Black Friday has a whole new meaning in the world. The images of Africans men being hung upside down by their feet should make all Africans and African-Americans living in the USA get up and get active. What about Caucasians you ask? What about them? Our President tells you where he stands on race relations on a daily basis.

We have a responsibility to understand, what happens around the world is a threat to us in America. Dr. King said it best, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the INTERRELATEDNESS of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963).

If we allow this to continue to happen in Libya soon, we will find more of our people missing and being shipped overseas into slavery. While some of us travel internationally, we should consider how easy it would be to become “lost” and “found” in shackles. Sounds like hyperbole, but it is real people. The climate is set for more stuff like this to happen in our backyards. Thanks, Steven Solari for the image.24291751_10215594255517246_4536367000504789490_o

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Pushing Your Sons Out of the Nest

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Today, I am happy to announce my oldest son was pushed out of the nest last week and on October 13th, he learned to fly independently! He is moving to Mississippi. He is driving with a few friends to Mississippi and living in his own apartment across from his dad, my ex-husband.

Image Credit: Dr. Sheila Pope

For the single mothers struggling to let go of their adult sons, listen to your inner voice and trust God to help you release them. I held on to Chris out of fear that he would not survive without my help. Yet this last year, I realized I prepared him to become an awesome young man. Last week, I realized I needed to let him go before I killed his spirit and before I killed his motivation to survive. 

When I released him, I had peace. I had no worries. When he returned with his plan, I knew I made the right choice as a mother. His sibilings were happy to see him and to know they could talk with him via the phone. Chris was not angry with me. He had his chest stuck out. He is finally getting his road trip. Now, his father in heaven and his dad can help him become a responsible man. 

When he came to say goodbye last night before leaving, I gave him several hugs, told him I loved him, and gave him his cell phone.  I will admit I was proud of him. I asked if he was sure of his plans and he said yes he was sure. 

I have three more children to raise as a single mom and I am excited to start this new journey. Chris has helped me so much with the children, but they are able to rock and roll with me now. My life changes too! However, I will not let fear and discomfort cause me to hinder Christopher’s ability to become the man of his own home. 

Single moms we have to know when to let go of our baby boys. When they are taller than us, can talk back to us, capable of manipulating us, they  are not paying any bills, they are taking more than they give, they are failing to see you as a blessing, they are a high school graduate, they are intelligent, they are physically able to work, and they are 18 years of age with a car, it is time to push them out of the nest.

Moms don’t let fear hold you hostage and cause you to create a irresponsible man. Let go and let God show you how to support him from a distance.

The Fall 

by Dr. Sheila Pope

On Thursday of last week, I fell down in the mudd. My nails and toes were on point before the fall. I had a French manicure style on my feet. My nails were metallic pink. My hair was fresh and my jeans were starched.

Before the fall, I was literally walking away from a guy I thought would be in my life for sometime. I was feeling good about myself as I walked to my clean SUV. For those of you that know me, my SUV always needs a good shine. Anyway, I was talking to myself about my next step in life and down I go. I stepped off the curve and fell down to my knees.

I catch myself, but not before my fingers and toes were covered in mudd. My toes hurt so bad. The two people walking in front of me quickly turned around and helped me up. I was so embarrassed. The white woman had a look of terror on her face. The white man had my hand in his. I was just trying to gather my thoughts.

My butt was in the air, my body and mind were fighting against each other. I was thinking, ” Dr. Sheila Pope YOU need help! Your behind is in full view of the folks in the restaurant and the people going into the Westin hotel can see you.”

To top it off, I think the person I was walking away from saw me fall. That thought almost ripped my heart into shreds. You never want your ex to see fall or fail at anything! You want your ex to see you with your Super Girl cape on. No, I think my guy saw me in mudd. To be honest, I did not see him, but I thought I  saw his vehicle drive by as I got up. My mind could have played tricks on me in the moment. My thoughts were racing.

I got into my clean SUV and put mudd on the seats, floor, and stering wheel. I needed a moment to grasp what happened. I needed a moment to cry. I did not cry; but, I did say a few expletives. My toes were chipped and scrapped. My nails were nasty. My pride was at zero.

I can laugh now, but Thursday I was filled with shame. I have had to pick myself up from falls before, but this fall hit home. No matter how accomplished you are professionally, you never want people, especially your guy to see you appear weak and helpless. I found out in that moment, it was ok to appear weak and to need help. I thank God for the white couple that helped me. I quickly received the help that was offered. I replayed the incident too many times in my mind and each time the shame was worse.

I shared the story with a few girlfriends and we laughed. I was finally able to laugh at my foolishness. I am resilent; I may fall again. However, I will always get up and find a way to laugh at my crazy!

The Storm: Hurricane Harvey by Dr. Sheila Pope

Our power was restored yesterday evening! It was difficult to maintain three days without power. My four children enjoyed their gadgets, but I had to do so much to keep things going. I have been “The One” to lead my family for years.

It becomes harder during difficult times to make decisions for everyone. It is difficult to get up and do for everyone else when you are running on empty.

I realized three months ago, I needed a partner for life. I am and will always be a strong woman, but I am tired of being without a real partner to go through the storms of life with. I hated getting out in the rain to find ice and food for my family. My hair was a mess from psoriasis and the rain. I hated having to answer the questions the children had about the hurricane. I wanted a hug yesterday. 

I need a place to cry without having to explain my emotions to my children.  I hated driving through high water and wondering if my SUV and my  house would flood. 

This storm is not over, but having the power restored gave me a chance to sleep in a cool space. It made my children appreciate electricity. My girls slept in my bed last night, my baby boy was on the floor in my room and my oldest disappeared to his room. Yet we all understood we were a family. We knew things could be worst!

This morning, I am still “The One”, but today I am clear on the fact that I need a partner for life. I need a partner that is committed to battling the literal and figurative  storms of life. I need a partner that will love me unconditionally and is willing to fight for the safety of this family. Until, he comes, I will continue to battle storms. I know God is always there. However, it would be nice to have a partner there too.

 

An Ode to Zeffie Frazier, “Muh” by Dr. Sheila Pope

Doing God’s work does not go unnoticed. Today, I was moved to tears when Ms. Wallace, age 64, shared her testimony while sitting in my Traverse. Ms. Johnson (bottom photo), 83 and my play grandmother, moved to the nursing home after she almost died on several occasions in her hot house in Acres Homes. She only had one A.C. window unit in the 20 plus years she stayed in the rent house on Maxroy.  Today, Ms. Johnson lives in a Westhaven Residential with central air and heat and around the clock medical care. She has been safe and happy for two years. My mind has been at peace too.

Ms. Wallace is legally blind and currently living in a hot house without central air in Acres Home. In June, after visiting the nursing home with me, Ms. Wallace passed out and was hospitalized. I have been trying to get Ms. Wallace to move for two years. Last month, she heard a snake crawing around in the walls. The snake catcher came but could not catch the snake. I feared for her safety. She often burns or undercooks her food because she cannot see what she is doing.

Today, she stated that she was finally ready to move.  We praised God in the SUV for her “Greater.”  I thanked God for “my greater!” She shared her testimony and I cried like a baby. Luckily, she could not see me. We forget some senior citizens do not have central air and heat. She said she almost froze to death in January because she only has a floor heater.

I went to help Ms. Wallace today, but she helped me instead. She moved me and touched my heart with her words and her testimony. She reminded me of how important it is to obey God and do what He asked even when I do not want to do it. She reminded me of how good God has been to me. 

More importantly, she reminded me that she “saw” my efforts to help her as a blessing; she reminded me of the fact that I have helped her and Ms. Johnson for over 20 years; she reminded me that God called me to help my adopted children; she reminded me that I never charged them for helping them; she reminded me that I did not have to help them! 

She reminded me that I loved and respected little old ladies because of a special senior citizen I had in my life named Mrs. Zeffie Frazier (referred to as Muh). Muh practically raised me while my parents worked. I sat with Muh and laughed, ate any and everything, cried too much, learned to tell time, pick eggs out of the chicken coop, walked in hot tar, and watched The Edge of Night and The Price is Right. 

When I turned 16, I got my first job while staying with Muh for the summer. I had my first boyfriend visit from out of town at Muh’s. I drove Muh and Alice to the fish creek. I picked-up Muh’s spit cup and brought her Bitter Garrett’s snuff so much that I never wanted to try dipping!

I have a special place in my heart for senior citizens thanks to Zeffie Frazier’ s love for me. She treated me like I was special. I think our relationship was one of the best relationships I have had. I love Ms. Johnson and Ms. Wallace too. They make me better!

 

Something New! by Dr. Sheila Pope

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I have been super busy evolving and changing my mindset. On January 30, 2017, I made some tough decisions that propelled me to my next level. Many of you know that I have has a small business for 10 years. However, I considered it to be my part-time business. 

In February, I decided to pour into my small business so it can become a major contributor into my multiple streams of income. I am proud to announce 

HUB Certified

The Resource Center has been certified as a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) by Texas Comptroller. What does that mean? It means my business is a vendor for the State of Texas.  I am also going to be a vendor of other agencies. Yes, that means I am now an employer for multiple people instead of a few.

Thanks to this awesome group, NAACP’s SMAART Incubator,  lead by Mr. Allen Provost, chair of NAACP Economic Chair Committee, and Khufere 

A SMAART group of business people

Qhamata,  I am surrounded by African American entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas and plans. Khufere Qhamata, called Q, helped me move to the next level of branding myself in the publishing industry. Thanks to Q’s fabulous knowledge of the publishing business, I have my own publishing company under the umbrella of my company, The Resource Center.

Under the umbrella of The Resource Center, I have also earned my first tech client, Peoples United Summit 501c3 (nonprofit).  I am their website designer. I also built their social media platforms, and I manage those platforms.  

I make sure their mission and goals are visible via social media. I am helping to build their brand.  I am finally a CEO of a tech company! Peoples United Summit and my company, The Resource Center, have partnered together to serve the Sunnyside Community. We are focusing our efforts on improving education in the schools and ending sex trafficking. 

Supporting Worthing High School

My partnership with Peoples United Summit has helped me see myself as a Superintendent, CEO, and an employer.  It is an exciting time in my life.

I also joined this fabulous group on Facebook called Courage to Earn-The Community (closed Group with 2.3K Members). I am learning so much about using my blog to earn serious income. The women in the group are powerful entrepreneurs.  More important, they support each other, and they share valuable information that is practical to use.

I have more to share, but I will stop here. I will start posting weekly blogs from this day forward. I have had a ton of false starts with other business partnerships, but they paved the way for me to reach this level in my adventure.

Dr. Pope

My SMART Board

Written by Dr. Sheila Pope

smart-board

Well, it finally happened; I have fallen in love again! For the last 10 years, I have taught my English classes at Texas Southern University (seven years) and Worthing High School with my personal Epson projector, my Logistics speakers, and my laptop computer. Finally, when Worthing’s students and teachers moved into their new building and classrooms, we were given new technology.

I love all things tech! I loved and cherished my Epson because I paid for it out of pocket. I understood the value of having a large screen,  great visuals and clear, loud audio in a classroom. Yet I could not interact with my content until now.

I walked into my new beautiful classroom and was instantly interested in playing with my SMART BOARD. No one provided training, but I did not really need it. At first, I just tried to move the screen up and down with my hands. I like making the text shrink or expand with my fingertips. I started downloading more of its software.

Gradually I began to develop strong feelings for my board. The more I played with it, the more I appreciated its capabilities. One day last month, my baby crashed. I was sick! I always incorporate tech into my lessons.

When it was working, I started playing my videos using surround sound. My computer was always locked into its docking station. Then, I was given a remote. The IT guy, Mr. Albert, reset my baby when it crashed. After the crash, I was more determined to learn more about its abilities.

Video: Falling in Love with My SMARTBOARD 

I learned it has so many superpowers! I became excited; I laughed as I learned what real interaction and engagement with content meant. I quickly learned I loved my SMART Board!

Today, I am a part of the SMART Board community. I am still learning what it can do, but I love the way it makes me feel when I annotate text on the screen. I love pasting stamps. I think the spotlight is my favorite tool.

This is the beginning of a beautiful love affair. I cannot teach in another classroom without a SMART Board. When I attended a training at another campus, I passed by a classroom with a chalkboard and laughed. I did not think teachers were still using a chalkboard. I am blessed to work in a district that promotes high-tech tools.

There are a few issues with my SMART Board, but the joy I feel when it works makes me continue to love it.