The Best Half Hour Ever


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It seems that these days, busyness is a way of life. My particular schedule includes a weekly stretch from Monday evening through Wednesday night.

In light of that whirlwind of babysitting, bible study, early school dismissal on Wednesday and more babysitting. It is understandable that Thursday morning greets me with a kitchen that is in serious need of attention.

Today I arose early to give the kitchen it’s due attention. I set my tablet’s playlist to Zen meditation music and proceeded to get down to business.I had just reached  for the tablet, to make a new selection, when my grandson, who was preparing to go to school, came into the kitchen and said, “ don’t change it, I like that one!” Of course, this is not what one would expect to hear from an eleven-year-old boy who plays Forte Night and Call of Duty. But hey, If my grandson is enjoying the Zen music, then more power. I turned back to the music and continued my work in the kitchen.

As my husband was leaving to drop the grandson at the bus stop, he informed me that he needed to go directly to his mother’s house. “Okay,” I thought, “I can finish in here undisturbed.” As my duties in the kitchen were coming to a completion, I prepared the coffee maker. The timing was perfect; I was wiping the counters as it churgled the last drop. I took my coffee and proceeded with my tablet and blankie to the couch. The plan was to enjoy the coffee and Zen music for about 15 minutes.

Just about then, I realized that since I woke up early, I could really use a 15-minute nap. I set the coffee aside and stretched out on the couch. About 5 minutes into my “nap” I felt a little tingly, not in a bad way, I just felt the need to stretch. What a release; that stretch felt so good, that I employed every yoga stretch and warm up technique that I knew.

I wiggled my toes and flexed my ankles.  I Did knee drops, shoulder shrugs, and hip flexes. By the time I was finished stretching, I let out a few deep yawns and lay there quietly for about five minutes. After that, I stood up did the warrior pose and a couple of primal screams.

Finally, I enjoyed my cup of coffee in peace. Just as I was setting the cup down on the table for the last time, my husband walked through the door. I may never have a half hour like that again.

No matter how busy life gets, we all need time to ourselves; encourage the young people in your life to take some alone time for themselves as well.

It takes a village to raise a child, this is My Village Project

Take Care Of Your Village

Auntie Starshine



During my exploration of limiting beliefs and changing mindsets to change behavior, I learned that many of my current behaviors and attitudes are a direct result of influences from my early life. So I thought, if people and incidents in my early life can influence my behavior over fifty years later, then influence in itself is a pretty big deal.

Allow me to share a couple of stories with you to demonstrate the importance of influence. Whether it is positive or negative, influence has real immediate and long-term impacts on our lives. Influence can determine not only how we behave or respond, but it can also determine how others behave toward or respond to you.

There was an important speech in the movie “Fists Of Fury”, the fighting champion decided to make his own martial arts sports league. Like a good leader, he sought out people who respected him and would support his vision. During the initial training sessions, this is what he told his recruits.

We influence others by working together, the foreigners have bullied us long enough. It is time that we stand up for ourselves. Why do foreigners look down on us? Because we are not UNITED! For years we fought – Chinese against Chinese

That is why the West bullies us weak men of the East. What an insult! Some of us don’t even realize how sick this country is.

This is the Jin We Sports Federation Motto learn it live it:Body mind soul- by working together, we can better ourselves and stand strong as one nation.We influence others through cooperation, not intimidation.Through this ideal we will always stand strong

Our young people are always looking for guidance. Although they may not ask directly, they take their cues from the people whom they respect.

We influence them and others by our actions, attitudes and even by our appearance. One day, while I was attending a daytime community event, I saw a gentleman who was about 30 years old. He was not particularly handsome, but he was dressed like he could have been the president of the community empowerment organization that hosted the that day’s event. 

Naturally, I introduced myself and asked him what his role was at the event. His answer was “I am just attending, I am a barbecue chef.” I complimented him on his attire and we chatted a minute or two longer.

He could have stepped into a black-tie dinner and no one would have questioned his presence. He wore a blue pinstriped shirt, which had a white button-down collar and white French cuffs. He wore a tie with tie clip and very large gemstone cufflinks. His slacks were simple, black or blue and the shoes were in perfect shape.

The fact is that he got my attention and the attention of many other people at the event. He influenced us to approach him or at least acknowledge his presence by his attire. The truth is that we influence people every day. The people who we encounter in our daily lives make instant judgments about who we are or who they expect that we are. They use cues from our physical appearance, attire, attitude, and behavior to sum up whether we are good or bad, approachable or not. They even make judgments about whether we will be a good customer or a good fit in a new job environment.

Bringing the thought closer to home, the young people in our lives take cues from us every day. What impact does your influence have?

Are you the one who quietly asks to speak to the manager or are you the one who yells at the part-time minimum wage clerk to have a problem resolved. Are you the one who yells down the block to have a full conversation, or are you the one who walks up the street to talk to your neighbor, when it comes to more than a simple hello neighbor. Do you berate your significant other in front of everyone? Do you talk about people in your circle when they are not there? Do you steal from the store or take undue advantage of a situation? Are you a “ganger” or “baller” a thief or a saint.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, remember that someone is always watching you. Children learn what they live, be careful what they see you do. and Always be a good influence.

Influence is not always a matter of behavior or action, we never know what influence we have on another person, especially when a young person who is looking for examples in life.

Please take a moment to talk to the youth in your “village’ about the power of influence and how their own actions attitudes and appearance influence others actions and reactions.

This influence can be as subtle as believing that a person is suspicious or as detrimental as believing that a person is a mortal threat.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, This Is My Village Project

Take Care of Your Village

Auntie Starshine

Speak Kindly to Yourself

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This week on my journey of self-improvement, I learned about the power of speaking kindly to oneself.

I read a couple of different articles on how to eliminate negative self-talk and limiting beliefs.

Negative self-talk is when a person uses negative language when talking to themselves. Come on admit it, we all talk to ourselves. In my day to day life, I accomplish the most when I speak my plan of action out loud.

Limiting beliefs are those beliefs that we hold so deeply in our subconscious, that we don’t even realize that they are there. These limiting beliefs can manifest themselves, any time we face a challenge or attempt to grow out of our comfort zones. These beliefs can be centered around any number of issues, but here are a few. Limiting beliefs can be about your ability, body image, self-worth, whether or not you deserve a certain level of success or finances.

Being a child of the 50’s; I was born in March 1960, so most of my upbringing was imprinted on me before the revolution of what is now known as the 60’s. My limiting belief is that of the role of a woman in the home. My mother was a married homemaker, and so were my grandmother, as well as most of my aunts and neighbors. That was the way of the world.

My role model for a woman was that of a married homemaker. So as soon as I graduated from high school, I got married and started a family. That was 1978, very early in the women’s revolution The marriage did not last long, so I went to work. Even though I have always worked outside of the home, I always felt the pressure to keep the house clean, cook the meals, and be fully engaged in the lives of my children. No wonder, I developed high blood pressure. Today, I am releasing my limiting belief about the role of a woman in the home and I will share with you what I learned during the last week.

Our internal voices and beliefs can be helpful, but, sometimes they can be our worst enemies. However, we can train them to work for us rather than against us. We must learn to speak more kindly to ourselves. One of the methods to change negative self-talk is to rephrase what you say to yourself.  If you lock yourself out of the house, do not say I am so stupid, simply acknowledge that sometimes dumb luck happens to us all and remind yourself to be more diligent in the future.

One of my favorite sayings is ”Children Learn What They Live” if a child is told something enough times he will eventually believe it. Here is a good example; I used to have this small etched foil picture, the scene was a beautiful garden courtyard with a fountain in the center with a little stone bench on the garden path.  I could look at that little picture for hours. I would often say to my son who was about 3 or 4 at the time, “ That is a beautiful garden, I can almost see the gardener smiling and admiring his work. “Eventually we moved and the little picture was packed away, some years later, I pulled it out and as I was sitting there admiring the beautiful garden, my son who was now a teenager looked at the picture and said, “Hey, what happened to the little gardener!” True story, but my point is belief is a powerful thing, so whatever you believe is possible, is possible.

So tell yourself that you deserve all of the greatness that this world has to offer you. Realize that you are awesome, powerful, and intelligent. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve all of the financial success that your personal efforts will afford you. Speak kindly to yourself, do not use negative phrases, start all positive phrases with I am… and whenever you come upon a thought that you know is holding you back from the greatness that you deserve, dismiss it, excuse it release it.


It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, This Is My Village Project

Take Care of Your Village

Auntie Starshine

There is no school of adulthood


Here in the United States, there is no school of adulthood. So, how is adulthood decided? Legally a person is an adult at age 18 or 21; but, from a practical viewpoint, when does one become an adult? Is it when he can change a tire, change the oil, hunt a deer or possibly when he or she can prepare meals and take care of children?

Does one have to have money management skills to be considered an adult? Should a person know how to cook for himself before he is declared an adult?

Being an adult is like being a good teammate. One should be honest, trustworthy,and dependable. He should be able to take care of himself and those who depend upon him. She should be employed or earning a living in a legal endeavor. His income makes it possible for an adult to provide for himself and those for whom he is responsible. An adult should participate fully in the civic system. She should also be a good all around citizen, and a role model in the community.

Reaching a certain age makes you an adult. But what happens to those adults who had no adulthood guidance?

They are left to figure it out by themselves, while legal trouble is always a concern, the greatest concern for young adults is navigating the world that they have entered. They must know to use credit wisely and how to engage with the boss and other adults on a mature level. They have to be able to function in a workplace environment. They should be able to take constructive criticism and direction from other adults.

Young adults need to be able to take responsibility for their actions and accept consequences without assigning blame. They need to be serious and focused, while still having a bit of fun.

There is so much that our new adults need to know, that we can not waste any opportunity to encourage and guide them. Parents, family members and others of influence, should always take the time guide and encourage our young people so that they can enter adulthood as well equipped as possible.

Wherever you see an opportunity to help, please do; our young people need all the help that they can get.

It takes a village to raise a child, this is My Village Project

Take Care Of Your Village

Auntie Starshine


Coming of Age



A Rites of Passage is a ceremony, that many cultures observe. It marks the child’s formal entry into adulthood. Depending on the culture, the ceremonies usually occur when a young person is considered an adult somewhere between, 13 to 20 years old. Some of these ceremonies involve the whole community. While others may be as simple as a haircut and change of clothes or a prayer by the priest; some ceremonies are a bigger, like dinner or a party.  In certain cultures, some coming of age  ceremonies are a serious affair and may include requirements for the young person to prove himself an adult. He may have to kill a goat, or withstand ant stings. He may possibly have to  spend three days alone in the wilderness.  Young women are not usually tasked with such extreme requirements. However they may have to  prove adulthood in other ways.  Many young ladies are welcomed into adulthood with a party or other celebration.

Japan has a Coming of Age day in January, the entire community celebrates with the new adults. Imagine the encouragement that comes with having the entire community celebrate your adulthood.

One thing that all of these events have in common is that the new adults understand their role, as adults. They are expected to uphold their duty and obligation to their families, their community and society.

In many cases, the young people have been trained, taught and mentored, into adulthood by family members or assigned coaches. They have learned how to function and behave as adults.

Unlike many other cultures, the American culture does not have a formally observed adulthood celebration. However there are many markers along the way. At around the age of 12 or 13 young people can go out in groups, to the mall or movies, perhaps bowling or skating. At around 16 teenagers get their first part time job. That is also about the same time that they get a driver’s license and when they begin dating.

Around the age of 17 or 18 the young people graduate from high school, and a few years later, they graduate college. In the United States a child is considered an adult upon their 18th birthday, with no fanfare or ritual. However, most young adults are not viewed by society as a whole, as full fledged adults until they graduate from college and/or land their first full time career type job.

A Coming of Age event, offers an opportunity for the adults in the community to acknowledge the new adults and formally, ushers young people into adulthood. If the Black Community adopted a Rites of Passage custom and began mentoring our youth toward adulthood, significant improvements in the outcome of our youth could be realized within a couple of years.

It takes a village to raise a child

Take care of your village

Auntie Starshine


My Grandparents and Other Important People in My Life

grandparents coloredI had wonderful grandparents. My Grandfather was a good teacher;when I was a kid, my grandparents lived in a house that had fruit trees in the backyard. Every year my Grandfather pruned and sprayed the trees, he would call me out to keep him company. I enjoyed watching him work, but now I understand that he was teaching me all the time. He taught me how to prune trees, and paint over the bare spot. He taught me how to start a sapling from seed and plant it. That peach tree lived over 25 years. My Grandfather is no longer with me, but the many lessons that he taught me are with me to this day.

My Grandmother was a good teacher too. She was a very social lady, and because of that, my cousin and I began hostessing when we were about 8 years old. We can each set a table with the best of them. Her method of teaching was by conversation, she loved to have conversations with us. During those conversations, she taught us many lessons. She told us how to deal with boys and how to behave like a lady. When I got old enough to date, my first date always included a visit to my grandparents house, because they always knew if the date was a nice young man or not.

When we became adults our grandmother would have a talk with each of us, letting us know that we were no longer children and had to behave like adults. I hope that my grandchildren turn out to be great adults. They did a pretty good job with me and the other grandchildren.

My parents, grandparents and extended family, made sure that all of the young people within their sphere of influence understood the responsibility that come along with becoming an adult. After we became about 12 years old, they began to interact with us differently. We were eased into adulthood, by those interactions. They spoke to us like adults, they held us accountable for our actions and entrusted us with new and more substantial responsibilities. Although we did not have a formal welcome to adulthood event, we knew that we were ready for adult life. All of the interactions with my grandparents helped to shape the person that I am today. Every moment was a lesson, it was not boring or tedious, it was just spending time together.

I am thankful for the lessons that my grandparents gave me; they helped me become the adult that I am today. Following their example, I also take every opportunity to teach my grandchildren about life and other important things.

The Role of Grandparents And Other Folks


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I was out at an appointment the other day and the conversation turned to the behavior of a young lady on a  video. Another client and I both said at the same time.  That is something your grandmother teaches you, before you get out there and make a fool of yourself.

I shared with you before, that my grandfather would call us out to the yard every time he tended his garden and fruit trees.  I learned a lot just hanging out and passing him the shovel.

My Grandfather understood that it was the job of the grandparent to teach the children beyond the everyday.  My parents did a great job of teaching us respect, responsibility and civility. But my grandparents shared wisdom that it took them 60 years to accumulate.

I believe that grandparents have a role in raising the village.  It is the role of the grandparents to impart knowledge and wisdom that the parent don’t usually address in the day to day interactions with their children.

So to all grandparents, big mamas, and poppas, to all aunties, uncles,  godmothers and play mothers.  Let’s take on the role that was intended for us.

It is our job to help raise these children in the right way.  If you are in church, take them with you.  If you do lunches and teas, have them set the table, host and serve.  Hobbies, crafts, music and other skills can all be shared to enrich and encourage our young people to be the best that they can be.  What ever it is that you do that can be shared with a young person in your life, please do that.  This week my young people will be learning how to sew on a button, every little bit helps.


It takes a village to raise a child, this is My Village Project

Take Care Of Your Village

Auntie Starshine