Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Little Soccer Team That Did

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The day a group of 7-9 year olds inspired a community of parents with their hearts, teamwork, talent and drive.

Three weeks prior Coach Rik mentioned the tournament and us parents were anxious to know the details to plan for it in our already full lives - end of the year activities, upcoming Memorial holiday plans, weddings, baby showers, and the list goes on.

Well as luck would have it, the details wouldn't come until a week prior to the tournament. We were guaranteed to play three games. Then, we would move onto the semi-final and final games depending on our play and advancement. We all couldn't wait. Though we had only played 5 regular season games due to rain out, we would be playing that same amount of games over two days. Yes, our girls are good; but could we pull this off.

This mother wasn't so sure.

I wasn't sure what the metro area teams looked like. A soccer novice, I underestimated our girls' skill and drive. But, they showed us all on the field. Some competition was tough. They even lost one game to another team. But, our win in the third round rematch with this team, proved no match for Brazil.

Our girls went on to become the Metro-Atlanta U-10 Recreational Soccer Champions. And two weeks later, us parents are still in awe of their beauty and greatness. And, I'll say that this parent is also proud of the commitment and sacrifice all of the families have made in these girls.

And there is no better example than the email exchanges between us all on Monday. Our investment I know will send our girls out in the world to soar because of the love, care support and commitment that we are making right now.

I look forward to reporting their future success.

In the meantime, read our pride below:


I want to thank you all for your support this season and during the soccer tournament. Especially I want to thank Brett, Joel, and Fritz for their great coaching and for covering for me during the construction project at our house, and my lovely wife Suzanne our team mother. You four helped me immeasurably and we could not have won the citywide tournament to be Atlanta Champions without your support.

Now for the real heroes, our girls, who played their hearts out when they were exhausted, beaten up by rough play, and a grueling schedule. All I can say is wow, I have been around the sport, as many of you know since the seventy’s, and our girls played with as much heart as seen in a World Cup match. I am so very proud of them all. Please convey my message to them.

I expect that some of you may be upset with me because I did not play your daughters for much of the game and that is understandable. There are a few things that you should know; first, I was not willing to risk the well-being of our smaller or slower players against thugs who have not taught good sportsmanship to their children. That team was bigger than many of us, and used tactics that were illegal in most leagues; more despicably, they were willing to use physical violence to win. I assume many of you did not hear the comments the other team made during the first and second game but I can tell you they disgusted me and we will never engage in that type of behavior.

Secondly, some of our players were not in good enough physical condition to play at the level of intensity required for tournament play or lost focus during the game. I take full and complete responsibility for not having them in tournament condition, I promise by the end of next season they will be.

I will miss my soccer family over the summer very much and hope we will all play together next season. What we did is a truly remarkable feat, Brazil is the best U10 Girls team in Atlanta, please make sure our girls understand the significance of what we did, and the important life lessons they learned because of it.



Coach Rik and our soccer family,

I want you to know that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being "the village" in helping us raise our daughter (and now son). I know that my soccer family has been as much a part of Gabbi's (and Jonathan's) development as the work Fritz and I do collectively as parents.

My soccer family has also provided love, help, support and comfort to me over the years. For that I thank you all.

We cherish the commitment each of you has shown our girls. And, I consider us blessed to be a part of this community.

Our goal is to follow through on our commitment as far as we can in soccer and any other endeavors our babies want to take on.

I just want you all to know that I look forward to doing that with our soccer family as long as possible.

I plan to get to working on the scholarships for our girls next season. It's time the world learns about the greatness we live with every day in our girls (and boys soon to follow).

With love and grateful heart,



Owen and I want to thank each of you for your tremendous hospitality this past week. We were discussing last night how in all the teams we've been involved (and there have been a lot!) that this was the most special group of people we had ever been around. I cannot fathom how close you all must be after spending 4 + years together!

We were so thrilled that for the first time, Sarah LOVED soccer! Your daughters are all so genuine and kind and welcomed her with open arms - that she can't wait to join them again in the fall.

We especially thank Rik and the other coaches who so obviously have these girls best interests foremost in their minds. We look forward to seeing each of you again in the fall and getting to know each of you better.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Womanist Mommi's First Lady!

I read the story below about Michelle Obama and it solidfied my admiration for this woman, mother, wife daughter, friend, political wife, career woman, etc. I can't help but I dentify with her and smile as she represents us out here in a world that hardly even sees us, Black women, in all that we do. Thank You Michelle!!!!!!!!!!! ______________________________________________-

Michelle Obama Solidifies Her Role in the Election
February 11, 2008;
Wall Street Journal, Page A1

On a conference call to prepare for a recent debate, Barack Obama brainstormed with his top advisers on the fine points of his positions. Michelle Obama had dialed in to listen, but finally couldn't stay silent any longer.

"Barack," she interjected, "Feel -- don't think!"

Telling her husband his"over-thinking" during past debates had tripped him up with rival Hillary Clinton, she said:

"Don't get caught in the weeds. Be visceral. Use yourheart -- and your head."
The campaign veterans shut up. They knew that Mrs. Obama's opinion andadvice mattered more to their candidate than anything they could say. With the Democratic presidential race wide open, Mrs. Obama, a 44-year-old Princeton- and Harvard Law-educated hospital executive, is assuming the samedominant role in Sen. Obama's public life that she has in his private life.

At home, she expects a lot of every family member, from having her 6- and 9-year-old daughters set their own alarm clocks to insisting her husbandpick up his dirty socks. Her most recent directive to him: Stop smoking. On the campaign trail, she has emerged as an influential adviser whom aideswatch as a barometer for how both they and the candidate are doing. They watch for "the look" between her and Mr. Obama, on stage or in privatemoments, as an indication of his mood.Inside the campaign, she's been dubbed "the closer" because she often pushesharder to seal the deal with voters than he does.

But worries about hersarcastic humor being taken the wrong way have forced her to cut back someof her public candor, she admits.The role of spouses in presidential politics is evolving, from one ofsmiling wife to equal and visible partner -- complete with appearanceschedule, entourage and opinions. With this, though, comes greater potentialto be either an asset or a liability.In the Democratic race, Bill Clinton has come across at times as empathetic,seasoned onetime leader of the free world -- but at other times asred-faced, argumentative attack-dog-in- chief. Mrs. Obama carefully avoids discussing policy and strategy, but jumps right in to dish about issues that affect her personally, such as being a working mom and overcoming obstacles,which plays well with key voting groups like working women and minorities.

The Obamas present themselves as equals. "We're two well-versed lawyers who know each other really well," Mrs. Obama says in an interview. "We each think we're right about everything, and can argue each other into a corner." Friends and campaign aides describe them as a high-powered team built on contrasts:
She's the heart to his head, the enforcer to his lapses,regimented to his
laid-back, critic to his ego, details to his broadstrokes, sarcasm to his
sincerity, toughness to his cool vibe.

Sporadic Start
Mrs. Obama's campaign role is growing in ways big and small. After a sporadic start due to her reluctance to upend her family's life, she haspicked up steam. In Iowa, she appeared at 33 events in eight straight days. Earlier this month, she hosted a rally in Los Angeles with Oprah Winfrey andCaroline Kennedy. She has met with every department in the campaign from the new-media unit to the ground organization, and she got the campaign to form a women's outreach initiative. But sometimes her approach can backfire. When she told audiences that her husband is "snore-y and stinky" in the morning, doesn't put the butter back in the fridge and one morning "put on his clothes and left" while she juggled her own schedule to deal with an overflowing toilet, some voters and observers cringed that she was emasculating her husband.
And when she said last fall it was "now or never" for his presidential run because of the "inconvenience factor" of a campaign, some saw her remark as a threat that he wouldn't run again if he lost."It wasn't a threat -- but to do this again? Put these two girls through this again?" Mrs. Obama says. "This is the only time Barack will be this issues on the ground" from having spent more time as a community organizer and state representative than a Washington politician and still leading a normal life like taking out the garbage and paying off student loans. Her role, Mrs. Obama says, "is to give people yet another slice of who Barack is, making him even more multidimensional, " because people picking a president "want to know not just about policies...but who are you? What do you believe in? Can I trust you?"

Her comments about his foibles were meant to prevent "deifying" her husband, she says: "He's a gifted man -- one ofthe most brilliant politicians you'll see in this lifetime -- but in the end, he's just a man."Mr. Obama, in a speech after a primary, called his wife "the love of my life and the rock of the Obama family." But in a candid moment last March, he told a crowd: "She's too smart to run. It is true my wife is smarter, better looking. She's a little meaner than I am."Where Mr. Obama's personality and consensus approach to politics were shaped growing up as a mixed-race child in a predominantly white world, Mrs.Obama's style is rooted in her own background growing up in a working-class African-American family on Chicago's South Side. A striking woman who's as tall as her husband when she wears her Jimmy Choo heels, she grew up in a four-room apartment with a kitchen the size of acloset. Her father, a pump operator at the city water plant, and her stay-at-home mother pushed their two children to be "achievers" and get the education they didn't have, says her brother, Craig Robinson. They both went to Princeton in the 1980s.

College Experience
In her senior thesis in 1985, Mrs. Obama wrote that her college experience"made me far more aware of my 'Blackness' " than ever before, adding, "I will always be Black first and a student second" on campus. At Harvard Law,Mrs. Obama, involved in the Black Law Students Association, pushed hard toimprove the low numbers of African-American faculty and students."We got into big debates on the condition of black folks in America," saysHarvard classmate Verna Williams. "She's got a temper."

After law school, she returned to Chicago to join the high-powered firm of Sidley Austin as an associate specializing in intellectual property. Friends say she worried about selling out but wanted to pay off her education loans. Then her father, whom she watched go to work every day despite multiple sclerosis, and her best friend from Princeton, struck by cancer, died the same year. She says she urgently wanted to find her life's calling because"nothing was really guaranteed."

Enter Barack Obama. At Sidley Austin, she was assigned to mentor the summerassociate, who was two years older but had started Harvard after she did. He wanted a date; she wanted no mixing business with pleasure. But one night, he persuaded her to join him at a meeting of community organizers in a church basement. "When he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves," Mrs. Obama recalls. "He talked about the world not as it is, but as itshould be." She changed her mind about him that night. Shortly after they got engaged, Mrs. Obama moved from her law firm to the staff of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, as a liaison with service agencies on tasks such as finding shelters for the homeless during the winter.

In 1992,she married Mr. Obama, who was launching his own unconventional career,working at a small public-interest firm, teaching constitutional law at theUniversity of Chicago and writing a memoir called "Dreams of My Father." They lived in a South Side condo. In 1996, Mr. Obama was elected to the Illinois senate and traveled frequently to Springfield. "I never thought I'd have to raise a family alone," his wife told him, according to his second book, "The Audacity of Hope." Working long hours on her own job, she often refused to attend political events if they impinged on her time with their two young daughters. When Mr. Obama prepared to run for the U.S. Senate in 2003, she tried tot alk him out of it, say friends. They add that after he promised the move would be either "up or out," she reluctantly agreed to continue her role as political spouse.

Sen. Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention propelled him to national celebrity. His first book became a best seller and he got a signing bonus for a second, allowing the couple to pay off their educationand credit-card debts and buy their first house, a three-story, $1.65 million brick home in Chicago's Hyde Park. (The wife of an Obama contributor who has since been indicted on corruption charges bought the adjoining lot and later sold the Obamas a strip of it, which Mr. Obama subsequently told reporters was "boneheaded. ")

Political Prominence
Around this time Mrs. Obama, employed by the University of Chicago Medical Center, was promoted to vice president of community affairs and joined the board of a food company, Tree House Foods Inc., leading to whispers that her career had taken off with her husband's political prominence. "I understand why people want to make sure that some how I'm not using my husband's influence to build my career," she told the local media. "And I haven't." She resigned the boardroom post last year. With Mr. Obama in the Senate, some advisers suggested they move to Washington. Mrs. Obama said no -- she wanted to leave the girls in the school they loved and keep her job at the medical center.

By the end of 2006, with her husband on the verge of running for president, Mrs. Obama worried about the effect on their family and finances. She knew she'd probably have to cut back on her own earning potential to join him on the campaign trail.S he worried, too, about his safety. She was told that if any threats against his life were made, the Secret Service and the campaign would bolster his protection. In the end, she decided to support his run. "My mother raised us not to make decisions on what could go wrong or we'd never go forward," she says.Mrs. Obama tells her staff to work her campaign appearances around her daughters' activities -- ballet recitals, soccer games, parent-teacher conferences, Beyoncé concert. Her peace of mind improved greatly when her mother decided last summer to retire and help take care of the girls, Malia and Sasha. She says when her husband makes it home -- for only 10 days in the last year-- he assumes his usual household tasks. "When Barack's home he's going to be part of this life," Mrs. Obama says. "He doesn't come home as the grand poobah."

Her all-female staff works hard to protect her on the stump and she's protective of her aides as well. Last week when a TV reporter physically moved Mrs. Obama's press secretary out of his way, she stopped him cold: "Did you place your hand on my staff?" Mrs. Obama demanded. "You do not touch my team."

On a recent campaign trip, she wore a classy but edgy black suit with an intricate white starched blouse. It was perfect for fund-raisers she attended at private homes in Manhattan and Greenwich, Conn., but less so for a meeting with working women at a Stamford, Conn., diner. At the diner, she talked about rushing into Target in her workout clothes the day before to pick up toilet paper and returning to Chicago the next day to take her daughters to ballet classes and Disney on Ice. A young woman asked Mrs. Obama what her "First Lady platform" would be.
"To make sure my kids have their heads on straight," Mrs. Obama said. "We can talk about the high-falutin' notion of a First Spouse platform, but here I am, a woman professional who has to work on top of my first job as amother."Taken aback, the young woman said, "I'm sorry." Sensing that this recent college graduate hadn't experienced first-hand thesame kind of work-family conflicts, Mrs. Obama grabbed her hand and softened her tone. "It's personal," said Mrs. Obama.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Womanist Mommi's POV

Let's be real, the primary concerns of the average black woman are not that
closely aligned with those of white women.

Black mothers fear for their sons who, if current statistics prove true, have a higher chance of ending up in jail than in college -- or of being victims of violence.

Black mothers wonder if their daughters will marry or have children, now that black women have the lowest marriage rates in the country and, if they are professional
black women, also the lowest birth rates.

Black men have the highest level of unemployment in the country.

And black women are contracting HIV at unprecedented rates.

With so many pressing issues bearing down on our communities, is it any wonder why gender has yet to trump race?

Marjorie Valbrun wrote these words in her article for in regards to the Hillary/Barack competition for the Democratic nomination for President.

I couldn't have said it better myself. A resounding "Amen" I heard in my head as I read this article. It's the same resounding "Amen" I heard in my head when I read the Alice Walker definition of womanist (womanism) in regards to a black woman's feminism. It's the same amen I heard in my head when I read Nat Irvin's definition of Thrivals. It's the same resounding Amen I hear in my heart when I see the "Yes We Can" video. It's the same resounding Amen I hear to the beat of Jill Scott's "I Keep" or Common's "Be."

Those Amen's and How do I's go hand in hand in my life. How do I balance my income to live within my means, save, create generational wealth, and be philanthropic now? How do I raise my children to be multicultural, yet hold on to important cultural specific traditions? How do I walk my own journey of growth, while teaching them growth? How do I balance a career and entrepreneurial pursuit. How do I remain hopeful in the face of hopelessness? How do I continue to live and love with an open heart and protect myself, my children from the heartbreaks of life?

I can truly say that the differences of my experience as a Black mother are rooted in my conscious way of life. I am conscious that the choices I make for myself and my family affect the larger Black community. So those choices are made with a little more thought.

I can't say that I make all of the right decisions. But, I can say that there is thought - sometimes too much - in every decision that I make. And, all I can pray is that the good decisions affect all of the Black Mommi's, fathers, children and families in a way that elevates a people.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This Woman's Work!

India.Arie's Acoustic Soul plays in the background as I type this entry. Her soundtrack reminds me "why I do it all." Not that I feel that I am doing any of it well because of all that I choose to do as a - mother, wife in a struggling marriage, daughter, role model, transitional woman . However, I come to you today with a renewed sense of vision and purpose for my life's work - Being Family media.

I started this blog with the intention of creating a space to share my thoughts, feelings, ambitions, frustrations as an african american woman and mother. Giving voice to my specifics, I hoped would inspire others to take a clsoer into their own and ultimately create the beginnings of a universal voice told for the women living it, by the women living it. And, although it's been difficult to do this through all that goes on, I am committed to it.

This Saturday morning, I sit in my bed writing, while my two little ones take in some TV and my husband does whatever his Saturday morning calls him to do.

I am able to get today's entry done because I have said no to taking the kids to see Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. But, not before I checked the movie times to see if we could squeeze it in before Gabbi's 2p basketball game. Believe me, negotiation were fierce between me and a determined 8 1/2 year old.

"Gabbi, the movie startst a 12:20. We won't be able to make it to the game on time."
"Well can we go tomorrow?"
"No, we can't go tomorrow because we have the Peace Celebration (a annual school program honoring the idea of peace - big and small) at 3p and that's too much to do in one day."
"Well can we go next weekend?"
"Can Jarrid and Laci (my niece and nephew) come with us?"
"I don't know about that." (I'm thinking: I don't even want to begin thinking about the logistics involved - the 45 minute drive - and energy involved to host a sleep over).

She's not completely ready to let it go. But she sees that I am standing my ground and backs off.

The negotiation was so worth it though. My weekend can now include the me time that was intended when I started planning it last weekend amidst the overcommitted family time of the past two weekends. I can finally enjoy "my" weekend, which will consist of an entrepreneur meeting after the 2p basketball game. Then some solitude time - provided by daddy-duty to keep them occupied to bedtime and through tomorrow morning. We'll all go to the Peace Celebration - if Daddy doesn't find a reason to back out. And, then onto the Sunday evening befroe the work week grind.

One could look at that my weekend actvity list and see that there is still quite packed. But, there is a difference in this schedule and the one it could have been. There is actually time that's not all about everyone but me.

This new resolve for my time is important to find fulfillment in this woman's work.

I challenge you to do a little rearranging this week too. See how much you can move out of the way to find time do do whatever you want.

Maybe then we can all find time to formulate thoughts and opnions on the many things - world issues and community issues, recession, politics - happening around us, affecting us. But, we don't have to to affect them.

Let's take time to plug in, weigh in, be in.

Can I get a witness?