Volume 2, Edition 4
A Word from the First Lady of Louisiana
February 1, it’s Saturday, and I’m actually sitting in my favorite chair reading and enjoying a small fire even though it’s not too cold outside. I love a fire and often light a fire and open the doors if necessary. My Mom and Dad always had real fires, and I have so many fond memories of sitting around a fire. Those memories of a burning fire must be what brings me such peace while sitting and watching the flames dance around.
This morning I’ve taken time to pause, to sit, to be still, to read, to listen, to think, and to be thankful — no sounds of tv or music just silence and stillness. I looked out the window in the sitting room where I can only see the top of a barren tree, the look of winter. I saw the brightest red bird sitting at the very top. The tree is a reasonable distance away, so I knew from where I was sitting, this red bird must be large and brilliant colored. As I watched, I could hear the faint sound of the red bird singing. However, it sounded less like singing and more like a call or announcement.
I thought about how busy our world has become. We tell everyone how busy we are, and it’s true, we are busy. We have become programmed to respond this way because, for some reason, we believe if we don’t stay busy, then people will think we’re lazy or not productive.
I remembered decades ago, I received a type of poem about being B.U.S.Y. Maybe it wasn’t a poem but rather a short story about being BUSY. I remember thinking there was so much truth in the words. Our days truly are filled with meetings, events, emails, texts, conference calls, and more meetings. We meet to plan activities and share ideas; all good meaning and productive ideas mind you. But all these meaningful activities consume our time.
We leave our desk, our job, go home to prep for supper, and prepare for the next day’s activities. To get to sleep, most often we take something because our minds often won’t stop moving. There are so many self-help books and videos to show us how to live life better and fuller. Hmmm.
I think back to my own Grandparents’ house or even my own childhood home. I don’t remember ever hearing the tv blaring. The memories of walking into the house bring back thoughts of a slower pace of life. As a child, I would often use the word “boring”. Not realizing I would later in life yearn for that boring slower pace. I remember my Mom would say, “if you’re bored, go grab a book or go outside and play.” She wouldn’t try to plan activities for me or schedule a play date or try and fix my boredom. I learned to entertain myself and to be creative, to dream. I didn’t realize it, but that’s the time I was given in my youth to grow in my spirit, in my thoughts, and to become creative. I am a better person because I was allowed to be bored and not constantly entertained.
It seems now the alone time that I once had as a child to help me be creative and grow is no longer a thing. In fact, due to all the devices consuming our lives, free time is almost nonexistent. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but if we don’t pause, be still, listen to the silence, and spend time with God in that silence, we will continue to feed off of the noise. Noise is not helpful in large dosages. The noise of life is sometimes fun, and I do enjoy music and laughter, but it’s the silence that keeps me grounded and allows me to be who I am. I am not perfect by any means, but I do try to spend time in prayer and focus my thoughts on good.
This morning, I spent my quiet time in prayer, being grateful, reading, and praising God. After my time of silence, I opened my computer to read my email meditations for the day and there was an email from a friend. I knew instantly when I saw the word “Red Bird,” it was a God-wink, God-incidence, or whatever term you choose to describe when you know God has sent you a little sign. A sign to say, “Hi, my child, you are on the right path, you’re doing the right thing, stay the course.” Maybe, God’s signs for you are different. God has a special way to speak to all of our hearts if only we are still and sit in His silence.
So back to the email. I instantly knew when I saw this email and remembered the beautiful red bird that I saw earlier outside, it was a God-incidence. Although for many of us, the Red Bird is a reminder of a lost loved one, I knew that this Red Bird was for both, a lost friend and also a reminder for me to live purposeful this new year. To love, to share, and to give to others. To make sure, I carve out time for quiet reflection and make it a priority. It is in that silence that we strengthen our spirits and connections with God. I spent the rest of the day enjoying the cool breeze and the sunny skies with a few activities and duties. Throughout the day I thought back to the Red Bird email message that said, “Don’t rush past this day”. I used it as a constant reminder to enjoy even the most trying events of the day.
The day had come to an end. I decided to heat a cup of tea that had grown cool. I waited for the microwave to ding. I looked over at my motivational and spiritual daily flip calendar that I read every day. I gave the little book to my Grandmother back in 1990. But after she passed away, it was given back to me. My Grandmother had written scripture and notes on each day along with what was already printed on the calendar. I cherish this little daily book. I had flipped to this day earlier in the morning as I always do, but apparently, it had not made an impression on me. But now, at the end of this day, it grabbed my attention. This was another confirmation, a God-wink. February 1 read, “We need time to dream, time to remember, and time to reach the infinite. Time to be.” by Gladys Taber. So true.
I hope you take time this last month of this winter season to sit in the silence. I plan to wake up a little earlier, maybe even close the door to my office and just sit quietly for a few minutes and end the day with a cup of hot tea reading a book. I pray you find time in your day to sit still and hear the voice of God. Remember every day is a gift, open it slowly to enjoy each moment.
Thank you for this day, for the many gifts in my life; for family, for friends and for my faith. I know there are many who are suffering this day around our state, our country and our world. Allow me to use my time to discern how to best help others in their suffering.
Lord, please show me how to be a better servant in helping those in need. I will work hard to obey and follow your lead. I will try hard not to rush through this day but see it as a true gift from you our Lord.
February is Black History Month LOUISIANA HAD THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN GOVERNOR OF A U.S. STATE
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (born Pinckney Benton Stewart, May 10, 1837 – December 21, 1921) was an American publisher and politician, a Union Army officer, and the first African American to become governor of a U.S. state. A Republican, Pinchback served as the 24th Governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873. He was one of the most prominent African-American officeholders during the Reconstruction Era.
Living in New Orleans after the Civil War, Pinchback became active in politics. He won election to the Louisiana State Senate in 1868 and became the president pro tempore of the state senate. Upon the death of Oscar Dunn in 1871, he became the acting Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and briefly served as Governor of Louisiana after Henry C. Warmoth was suspended from office. He was the first African American to serve as a U.S. governor. After the contested 1872 Louisiana gubernatorial election, Pinchback was elected to the United States Senate.
Pinchback had a long-standing interest in education and was appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Education, where he served from March 18, 1871 until March, 1877. He also served as a delegate to the 1879 Louisiana constitutional convention, where he helped gain support for the founding of Southern University. In a federal appointment, he served as the surveyor of U.S. customs of New Orleans from 1882 to 1885. Pinchback contributed further to the political discussion after acquiring the biweekly newspaper, the New Orleans “Louisianian”. He published the paper until 1879. Later he worked with other leading men of color to challenge the segregation of Louisiana’s public transportation system, leading to the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson. To escape increasing racial oppression, he moved with his family to Washington, D.C. in 1892, where they were among the elite people of color. He died there in 1923.
LOUISIANA FIRST FOUNDATION
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Membership for Louisiana Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation (GMPF)
For many years the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation (GMPF) offered a Circle of Friends membership to the private sector. These “friends” were presented a special invitation to become a member of this grass roots effort. The Circle of Friends sustained the foundation for many years dating back to the Foster administration in the mid-90’s.
With the preservation of our beautiful Governor’s Mansion at the heart of our mission, we have made the decision to start this arm of our fundraising once again. This segment of our Foundation allows anyone who wants to be a part of the Foundation an opportunity to do so at varying levels. It will be a vital part of our mission to sustain and grow the foundation in the future.
We are reaching out to you to extend this special invitation to join us in our undertaking in this very rewarding cause. The support of many of you leaves us grateful and optimistic and we are hopeful you will continue to be a part of our Foundation Family for years to come. Our hope is that those of you who have not had an opportunity to be a part of our Family will take this opportunity through the Circle of Friends to join us.
The Circle of Friends Membership Form is provided in the link below. There are many levels available to offer the opportunity to participate in this project at a level that is comfortable to you. The benefits of each level are listed on the form. All funds donated to the Circle of Friends are tax deductible as we are a 501c3 organization.
Women’s Health Blog
Words from Kimiyo Harris Williams, MD
I was in my sitting area—relaxed, reclined, and snuggled warmly in my crimson-and-cream velvety soft blanket on my ruby red, deep-seated leather chair; feet raised and resting on the matching red ottoman—when I began to reflect on a few realities and a lot of possibilities. Considering current truths of premature death, profound disease morbidity and perpetuated health disparities, I am compelled to assess my wellbeing. Contemplating how my health and healthcare affect my quality of life, I consciously evaluate my current state of being.
At first glance, it appears that I am “pretty” healthy. I don’t have any debilitating illnesses. However, as I began to dig a little deeper, I discovered that I am not as healthy as I could be. Evaluating my medical and family history, my lifestyle habits and environment, I concluded that there are opportunities for improvement. The first step in healthy living is to acknowledge a need for rectification. Coming to terms with reality can be challenging because it involves introspective thought and honesty.
PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA Making a Difference
Helena Williams &
Change doesn’t come all at once, but with unwavering determination, change happens.
Brightening the once banal streets of downtown Baton Rouge, the first mural of the Walls Project shone like a beacon for newly returned artist, Helena Williams. Since moving back from the west coast, Helena, then twenty-four, was settling back into her hometown.
Black History Month in the Lafayette Parish School System
Civil rights activist, poet, author, athlete, and inventor are only a few roles of African Americans who left their mark on American history and world history. Since the 1970’s Black History Month has been observed in the United States during the month of February to highlight the achievements and contributions of African Americans.
Brigadier General Sherian Grace Cadoria
Brigadier General Sherian Grace Cadoria was born January 26, 1943 in Marksville, Louisiana. A retired United States Army officer and the first African American female to achieve the rank of General in the Army, Cadoria was also the highest-ranking female in the army at the time of her retirement. After a distinguished 29-year military career, Cadoria retired as Brigadier General in 1990.
President & CEO, ILSI Engineering
Iam Tucker serves as the President and CEO of Integrated Logistical Support, Inc. (ILSI Engineering). Founded over two decades ago, ILSI Engineering is a 100% female, minority owned, 8(a) Certified civil engineering firm that provides competent, cost effective services in the civil engineering field. ILSI Engineering specializes in sewer, water, streets and drainage design projects, as well as program and Construction Management.
KING CAKE BEIGNETS from Chef Kenneth C. Temple
It’s carnival season back home (New Orleans), I wanted to take a shot at creating something that embodies this time of the year, my city, and my heritage. King Cake and beignets are the two most popular desserts worldwide that New Orleans has made famous, I thought it would be fun to combine the two. That’s how I came up with king cake beignets. They are beautiful, light, and airy, just like a beignet, with the great cinnamon flavor of a King Cake. I’ve never heard of a King Cake Beignets, but if it’s out there, I’m sure adding my recipe will add to let the good times roll!