Viewing entries tagged
purpose coaching


"I'm not judging but..."

Yesterday, Wess Morgan was a surprise guest at my church. He sang a couple of songs which I thoroughly enjoyed but what stood out most was his testimony. He shared stories of his life as a preacher’s kid, in and out of jail, addicted to drugs, etc. While sharing he said something that truly hit home for me…“As you become more self-aware, you become less judgmental.”

“No one is perfect.” For most, this is truly just a saying; something thrown around as needed to defend our own actions, crude remarks, behaviors, etc. but where is this thought when it comes to others? This notion is completely dismissed when scrutinizing our peers. In fact, most precede their judgmental comments with “I’m not judging but…” which is equally as disingenuous as “shade but no shade” or “I don’t like to gossip but…” However, as Wess pointed out, the more honest you are about yourself, the decisions you’ve made, the people you’ve hurt, your fears, secrets, etc., the less likely you are to pass judgement on others.

Although some of this judgment may happen subconsciously we have to be more responsible for our thoughts toward others. Think about your thinking…my teacher friends refer to this as metacognition. Although it’s different in the education field, I think it would go a long way here especially because some of the studies point out that without the ability to do so “people tend to be blissfully unaware of their own incompetence.”  Ouch!

“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14: 12-13)




Ayden, North Carolina, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact...

Last weekend I went back to my hometown of Ayden, NC for my cousin’s wedding. Once again, I had an amazing time with my family and of course we had a great time dancing at the reception and even took it back to the old days with a breakout performance to New Edition’s “If it isn’t love”. I didn’t get to hit the ‘Quan’ but it was a wonderful time and my cousin and his new bride were very happy.

Prior to moving to DC with my mom, I was raised in Ayden by my grandmother (Queenie Esther) and her two best friends/neighbors- Ms. Lillian and Ms. Julia Mae, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact. What’s odd is that I had no idea we lived in the projects. If I heard the term, I certainly didn’t know what it meant. I don’t remember lacking anything, I had ample space to play, great friends, the most amazing home cooked meals, and I was surrounded by positive women that loved me. I felt loved and heard the words “I love you” multiple times a day.

The core of who I am today is as a result of what I saw and experienced while living in Ayden, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact.

I learned to serve in Ayden. My grandmother served everyone! She fed other kids in the neighborhood, served on multiple boards and committees at the church, and she also served other families in a role quite similar to that of Viola Davis in ‘The Help’. I watched her serve. I knew her heart for serving others and the value of service was instilled in me at a very young age. I actually committed to my first service project when I was in the 2nd grade. My friend Taylor and I made friendship bracelets, sold them to students and teachers, and donated the money raised to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, NC.  Over the years I have received several awards like the Women of Color in Technology (WOC)-All Star award which is an award reserved for accomplished women of color at an advanced stage of their careers that have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and in their communities but it all started in Ayden, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact.

I learned the value of the village as a family in Ayden. When I went outside to play, there was someone from the village looking out for me. If I was on Sunset Dr., it was Trevoya’s Grandma, Von’s mom, or Ms. Winnie. If I even looked like, I thought about, crossing the street to enter “Woodcrest”, the forbidden area, Ms. Viola would yell out her window to let me know that she had my grandmother on the phone. Woodcrest was off limits because apparently there was ‘too much going on down there’ according to my grandmother. I learned later in life that she was referring to drug activities. My Aunt Ann picked grandma and I up for church, Cousin Vivian took us to the grocery store, and Aunt Gracie took us shopping. Ms. Lois Ann had four or five kids of her own but my friends Crystal, Ashley, Erika, and I were a part of her crew. She would take us all on bike rides across town to the 3rd St. Park, she organized baseball and kickball games in the neighborhood, and was always down to jump rope with us, although she was a little double-handled. If you don’t know what double-handed means, shame on you. In my adult life, I am blessed to be a part of many villages- helping to raise children just like those that were a part of my village, in Ayden, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact.

I learned to appreciate math in Ayden. Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. White were my favorite teachers at Ayden Elementary School. They made learning fun and always pushed me to try harder, especially at math. It was in their classroom that I began to appreciate the subject which became the catalyst for my career as a software engineer. And later on when I spent hours in the evening teaching math to GED students, I remembered to make math relatable and to keep it fun. I was recognized by Women In Technology (WIT) for my work as a software engineer and biometrics subject matter expert but it all started in Ayden, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact.

I also learned the value of friendship in Ayden. I have friendships that have spanned 30+ years that started in Ayden. What I’ve learned from those friendships is that to be a friend to someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you speak to them all the time but what it does mean is you are there when it counts and matters most. When my grandmother died, the first face I saw when I walked out of the church was Crystal W., my longtime friend from kindergarten. I hadn’t seen her in at least five or six years but she was there and I am eternally grateful. And although my dear friend Trevoya and I were separated for many years, when we connected again it was like we hadn’t skipped a beat. I was there with her when she took her last breath and I now carry her heart in my heart.  

I’m not ashamed of any part of my life and a lot of what some would perceive as a disadvantage has propelled me to succeed.

I consider it a blessing that I was raised in Ayden, North Carolina, in the projects, on Belvedere Ct. to be exact. 



Family, Friends, Fetty, and Frankie Beverly...

A couple of weeks ago, I headed to Charlotte, NC for my sister’s wedding. I was excited about the weekend for a few reasons. Of course, I couldn’t wait to see my sister walk down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams but I was even more excited about the chance to spend time with all of my siblings on my father’s side. I had met all but two of them over the years and I’ve spent quite a bit of time with some of them but never all at once. And knowing that I would finally get to meet my two oldest sisters had me counting down the days leading up to the trip.

Quick back story - I was raised by my mother and grandmother. I didn’t meet my father until I was in the 10th grade and our relationship never really flourished, but I’ve grown close to my siblings and always look forward to seeing them. There’s much more to the story but maybe I’ll share it in a separate blog post one day.

Outside of spending time with my sister before she got married and seeing her walk down the aisle on her wedding day, I have to say that my absolute favorite memory from the weekend was the night before the wedding. It all started at the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. Actually, no…it started at the hair salon when my oldest and youngest brothers came to see me there. They walked in together and I screamed! My oldest brother is like a teddy bear. A manly teddy bear, the kind you don’t mess with, but yea - a teddy bear. Anyway, they walked in the door and I couldn’t sit still. I wanted them both beside me and the stupid hair dryer was ruining everything. I couldn’t focus on keeping my head back so that my hair wouldn’t take five hours to dry because I kept popping out to talk to them. Every time one of them moved I was like, “Where are you going? Are you leaving?”

At the rehearsal dinner, stories were shared from childhood. Some of my siblings grew up together so it was nice to hear their funny stories from the past. We wrapped up dinner and all agreed that the night couldn’t end yet, so we decided to go change clothes and meet back up to hang out.

We had so much fun together! Dancing, singing, and rapping [yes, I rap]. It felt so good to be around them, to laugh with them, to get hype with them when our favorite song came on…From Jay-Z to Meek, Frankie Beverly to Fetty, we had a ball!

The weekend was amazing! There’s no other way to describe it. Although I didn’t grow up with them, our bond is strong and I feel equally as blessed to have them as I do to have my younger twin brothers who grew up with me.

Now, for those giving me an extreme side-eye, see here:

My friends and family will attest to the fact that I’ve never been the girl/woman that you can just take anywhere. Everyone knows where to invite me, what I’ll go for, where I won’t be comfortable, etc. but one thing is certain: they know that I love to dance (I think I get it from my mama) and my most enjoyable times doing so are with family and close friends - it’s where I feel safe and unjudged. I never want to get so far removed that I can’t enjoy that type of fun with my family and close friends. I shared these thoughts with a good friend and was reminded to ‘walk with Kings but never lose the common touch.’ Rupert Kipling said it best in his poem ‘If’:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

So if you ever see me, surrounded by the love of those I hold close, dancing my life away, rapping to Jay or belting one of Frankie Beverly’s hits…feel free to join me, judge me, or give me a side-eye if you prefer, but please, please don’t kill my vibe.