Sunday, August 30, 2009

Roy Ayers Funks It Up & Angela Winbush Has Still Got It

My girl Vanessa and I had such a blast last weekend at the 2nd Annual Bessie Smith Heritage Festival in Chattanooga, Tenn. ATL's Algebra rocked the stage before Angela Winbush worked the crowd (literally) and Roy Ayers and Tom Brown kept the grass dance floor grooving. I hadn't danced that much in a minute. What's so wonderful is that Angela is a survivor of stage 3 ovarian cancer! And she was clearly enjoyceinglife! The vendors were cool-copped a fabulous red hat and saw some amazing artists. Check out Jerry and Terry Lynn, twin brothers who created an incredible painting of Algebra on the spot. The two-hour drive from the Atlanta, inexpensive lodgings at the Marriott (walking distance from the fest), picturesque waterfall, and the $35 price tag for a full day of music made it a lovely quick get-away. Check it out next year. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Amber Named Her Bear Tiger Woods

And then she took it back. Tonight after we read our bedtime story, Amber was naming all the characters on the back of her book and she decided she was going to name a bear Tiger Woods, who she watched lose terribly with her grandparents on Sunday. Then she changed her mind and said that the bear was not Tiger Woods because Tiger Woods was gone. I asked her where he went and she said, "He's gone on TV."

Who can argue with that?

When I tried to say goodnight, she told me that I could not leave because I was stuck and she was holding me too tight. Needless to say I made it out.

From putting together puzzles and being able to spell her name, to tracing the days of the week and telling me that green means go and red means stop at traffic lights, this 3 ft, 28 lb, 3-year-old wonder is embracing learning in such an amazing way.

A dizzying few days of urgent discussions resulting in a last minute decision to move her to a new school several weeks ago actually left me feeling at bit on the insecure side about my parenting skills.

But the past few days have been eye opening for me as I've witnessed how she's being taught in this school. And helping with meaningful homework shows me that her father and I made the right choice to provide a foundation for nurturing her innate desire to know more and stay true to her mantra: "I wanna do it myself!"

Signing up for the PTA, sharing ideas about child raising, and just being a fully engaged parent has made me want to be even more proactive and vigilant about making sure she is educated academically and culturally. This summer she marched in a parade at a butterfly festival and toured a mini-replica of Martin Luther King Jr.'s home at the National Black Arts Festival. With Spanish, computer lab and library visits all twice weekly at her school, and whether we enroll her in dance, gymnastics, karate or all three, she's going to be stimulated in so many ways.

Educational gifts like bilingual computers from people who love her and regular travel thanks to her father have me feeling more assured than ever that she will be prepared for whatever opportunities this shrinking global community has to offer.

This year will be filled with important lessons for Amber and me. And I am so excited about watching her grow into someone who loves to learn.

Thank you for your help, thoughts, prayers and well wishes along the way. Love you much, JD

Thursday, August 13, 2009

11-year-old Interviews President Obama: Smart Kids Rule

This 11-year old young man did a fantastic interview with President Barack Obama. Take a break from the complex and frustrating news of the day, and check out the video of one young black brother who is already making his mark on the world.

He even dropped that he'd interviewed Vice President Biden, showing he's no newbie on the national journalism stage even though he's a pre-teen.

I love smart and talented kids! They are our future - Thank GOD!

Huffington Post: Damon Weaver, 11-year-old KEC TV News Team reporter from Kathryn E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary in Florida gets his interview with President Obama.

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