Alone In The Darkness

Captain Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster - #justiceforclevyWritten by Chinue Clifford


If you are from a city, you are likely never to experience it – complete darkness on the night of a new moon. Light pollution from cars, street lights, houses prevent it. It wasn’t quite pitch black the night Clevy Nelson-Royster had to pass her night land navigation training, but alone, in a wilderness, she had to overcome the innate human fear of darkness. Night land navigation requires that a person be able to orient themselves using a map and compass to find grid coordinates.

Imagine being in the middle of the woods, alone, no GPS, no cell phone, no other people, no familiar landmarks, and the only light you can access is a low level red light for limited night vision.  And imagine being a woman and doing so!

There Clevy was, with just a small red light in the wilderness.

For Nelson-Royster, this training was part of the series and metrics used to determine her fate in the Army upon graduating. Clevy was able to navigate in the dark, including “hightailing” away from a pack of animals- to this day unknown exactly what kind- and pass her training.

Many women face this challenge as part of their Army training.  Her mother, and in fact all of her family in the Nelson and Royster clan, remain proud of her many achievements.


Black Women, Hair & the Military

Submitted by Chinue Clifford

Hair is often considered a woman’s crowning glory. Yet, for many Black women who serve their country, it is an impediment.

For Captain Clevy Nelson-Royster, like so many other Black women who serve, it could be challenging to find styles that were deemed appropriate by the army standards predating 2017. She would often wear her hair natural in corn rows while serving and training in the Army ROTC at Tuskegee University. Despite being an HBCU, she still dealt with challenges and even discrimination around hair, choosing a natural style.

Wearing it in its natural state, meaning it was free to be curly, coily and even kinky, is practical for many Black women while training. To chemically or artificially straighten one’s hair is not only damaging, but harder to maintain. Artificially straightened hair will often re-curl when wet- which includes getting wet by sweating.

Imagine being required to do vigorous physical training everyday while being able to wear your own hair in a style that endured the constant movement and sweat. Captain Nelson-Royster would wear her hair in protective styles such as twists and extensions to help protect it while adhering to dress code guidelines. Eventually, she would chemically straighten her hair as a way of ensuring her style met guidelines that then still excluded Black women from dreadlocks and other looks. This helped ensure that she could look “professional” as decided by Army standards.

Many Black women, and quite a few in Captain Clevy Nelson-Royster’s family, have, at one time or another, chemically altered their hair to adhere to standards that do not consider the natural hair of Black women to be professional. Finally, these standards are starting to change. In 2017, the Army changed some of it’s rules.

Just eight states in the US make discrimination against natural Black hair illegal, one of which is Connecticut, where Clevy was born. It is hoped that more states will follow.

Justice for Captain Clevy Nelson-Royster

Her family describes her as "a woman who exceeds" and asks for justice for Captain Clevy Nelson-Royster.  They consider the charges against her as false and want them dropped.





Capt. Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster is an upstanding young woman and officer who entered the military following the footsteps of her great uncle, a Tuskegee Airman, and her grandfather who retired as a highly decorated Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force. It is with honor and passion that she serves in the United States Army. She is highly accomplished and dedicated to her military career and her education.

Most captains are assigned one unit for command; Captain Clevy Nelson-Royster was assigned 2 units for most of her command - one in Texas and one in New Mexico: Commander, Echo Company One, 10501st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division and (temporary, but simultaneously) Rear D Commander for Grey Eagle.

She is enrolled in Master in Management and Leadership program at Webster University. Graduation date was to be December 2020.

She graduated from Tuskegee University Magna Cum Laude 2015 and earned two Bachelors Degrees during her four year tenure: Bachelor of Science Business Administration and Bachelor of Science Sales and Marketing.

She is considered upstanding and stellar.  There will be more stories to come about Captain Nelson-Royster as we plan to do a series on her.

The family seeks donations to help with her legal defense.  Donations can be made through cashapp to $justiceforclevy or via paypal to (her aunt is managing the funds).  You can learn more at or



Domestic Violence Help

What is the Relationship Spectrum?
Relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy falling somewhere in the middle. This Relationship Spectrum model illustrates where a relationship falls.

Setting Boundaries in a Relationship
Relationships are healthy when both partners communicate their boundaries clearly, and the other person respects them. Boundaries do not occur naturally; they must be established.

Resources for Victims & Survivors from The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Always be aware of online safety. Use a gender-neutral username on websites and do not share personal information.

State and Federal Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence victims are protected under state and federal laws. Learn about your rights and protections here.

Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma
Learn how to be kind to yourself to allow the space and time you need to heal.

How to Support a Friend or Loved One Who Has Been Sexually Abused
It can be extremely difficult to speak about sexual abuse, especially as it affects our own lives or the lives of those we care about. Learn how to best support victims and their recovery.

How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me?
If you want to seek professional help, use a local finder to locate someone nearby.

Ways in Which Abuse and Domestic Violence Changes You
"...although you will come out victorious, you will not come out the same. Abuse changes you."

Domestic Violence Support Group Finder
Connect with others who have experienced domestic violence or know someone who has.

Creating a Comforting Home Atmosphere for Survivors of Abuse: A How-To Guide
Learn how to create a space that facilitates healing for survivors of abuse.

Carol’s Work to Help Divorcees and Peaceful River Massage

It is always about the journey.  It is always about the challenges of the situations that we find ourselves in, the action we take while we’re in it and how we come through it.  Carol had a long journey back after her divorce.  After receiving help, she is now standing strong, confident, happy and helping others who need help feeling whole again as they go through their divorce experiences.  She has a degree in psychology which she hadn’t really used until this time.

Carol Loughran also owns a massage company, Peaceful River Massage.  It’s another way of helping people.

We hope you enjoy and get inspiration from her story.





You started a divorce support group.  Can you please tell us why you started the group, what kind of experience you had to help you start it?

When my ex-husband filed for divorce, I had a really difficult time dealing with it. I attended a divorce support group, but then heard about something called DivorceCare that was starting up at a church in Wethersfield. I went through that course 3 times and when I started doing better, I wanted to do something to help others cope with going through divorce, as well. So, two of us brought it up to our church, Trinity Covenant Church in Manchester, and they gave the okay for it to start there.


How would one know if getting involved in a divorce support group is something they should try?

Why not give it a shot? If someone feels like they need a little extra support from people who are going or who have gone through the same thing, a divorce support group (in this instance, DivorceCare) is a great way to do it. My friends and family were very supportive, but none of them had been through a divorce, so they couldn’t really understand everything I was dealing with.


Does a group setting work well for those with certain attributes, for instance, if someone is very introverted and perhaps quiet?

The program we use is a great format for anyone. There is a video addressing a topic and then a discussion. It adds to the discussion if everyone is involved, but for those who don’t want to speak, there is no pressure. The only thing we try to stress is that everyone should be given a chance to speak – that no one takes over the discussion.


Group therapy or support is excellent for a number of situations.  What is the main difference between individual therapy or counseling and group support?

I went through both. Individual counseling helps you to deal with all the personal feelings and stages you go through. It helps to really be able to have one on one therapy because you can just talk about anything and everything on your mind. It’s all about you. Going through a divorce, it is nice to know that someone is willing to listen to you, besides your family and friends and the advice and support is personalized and geared toward you and what you need and what you can handle. My counselor often gives homework, which wouldn’t work for a group assignment.

Group support is wonderful to hear other people’s situations, to help you know you aren’t alone and that everything you are feeling is absolutely normal. Especially, if you are the only one who has been through the divorce process in your family or group of friends. They may hear you say the same thing over and over and get tired of hearing about it. In a group, you’ll hear things like “that’s exactly how I feel! How do you deal with….” Or “I couldn’t put that into words, but that’s what I’ve been going through.” People can contact each other outside of the group and get together or pray for one another.


Should a person do one or the other, or both? 

Everyone is different. I found both to be extremely helpful and got different things from each of them. I learned a lot about myself and how I deal with things and how I could do things differently in individual counseling that I wouldn’t have gotten in a group. But, to be able to bounce things off each other and encourage one another in a group and know that what you are feeling or thinking is absolutely normal and all part of the process was also a great thing to be a part of.


Children too are very affected by divorce. Are children invited to this group?

Children are not invited to this group. There is a group called DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) that works with the children going through their parent’s divorce, but unfortunately, it isn’t offered very many places.


Where is it recommended that children go to get support for their feelings during divorce?  

One of the classes in DivorceCare really encourages parents to be the main sounding board for listening to their kids and how they are feeling. But, for parents who may not be able to fully take that on, individual or family counseling is a good option.


It is considered a recovery from divorce from those hardest hit by the process, correct?

Anyone is more than welcome to attend. We’ve had people who have been divorced several years. In one of my groups, a woman’s boyfriend encouraged her to attend to make sure she’d dealt with anything that might be an issue or identify things that might need more attention. We’ve had people that didn’t want the divorce and people that initiated the divorce. Since this group is held by several churches in the area, we’ve even had one spouse at one group and the other at another. Generally, it is those who either had a spouse want the divorce or those who felt they had no other choice but to file.


About Carol’s Company – Peaceful River Massage

Peaceful River Massage – what a wonderful, inviting name.  How did it come to you?

I used to live on a street across from the Farmington River. It just seemed like it embodied what I wanted to convey.


A lot of folks are on the magical, reviving receiving end of a massage.  Is it physically very demanding on the body?

Massage can be demanding for the massage therapist. We are taught to use our bodies correctly to make it as little stress on us as possible, but it can definitely be a challenge sometimes. Many therapists end up hurting their thumbs or wrists; for some therapists it’s hard on the low back or feet to be standing in one place for a long period of time.


Why did you decide to get into the massage therapy field?

It sounds like a pat answer, but God told me to. I can be extremely dense and often times need to be hit in the head with a 2×4, so to speak, to hear and get the point. Before I started school, within a 2 week period, I had my mom who is a massage therapist tell me I should do it; a friend who is a physical therapist ask if I’d ever thought about it, and heard an advertisement on the radio for the school’s exploration weekend. (That was a weekend where people who thought they might be interested in becoming a massage therapist could get a taste of what school would be like and ask questions. Basically, a short trial to see if it was really something you wanted.) I thought, “Okay, God, I got the point!” and followed through with applying to school.


What does the work do for you personally?

Wow, what does it do for me personally…when I finish up and my client says that I have magic hands or that they feel better already or when doing chair massage and the person says they were going to work from home that day, until they saw I was coming in. How awesome is that?! For someone to look forward to seeing you, to help make someone’s day or week, to help them be in less pain. There are very few jobs I can think of that are that rewarding for both people. It makes me feel so good to know that I am helping people.


Are you interested in really developing and growing your company or staying small — and why?

I’m a sole proprietor and I like it that way. I can set my own hours and really get to know my clients. I’ve worked in spas before and that rush, rush, rush, one person after another, and people you’ll probably never see again isn’t what I prefer. I do need to grow and develop my business, but I think I’ll always prefer to work on my own and have a personal relationship with my clients.


Where do you see Peaceful River Massage in five years? 

I want to continue learning, growing, and developing as a massage therapist. I’d love to have a reliable set of regular clients. I prefer to do table massage, but my chair massage is picking up and I may find that that is more sustainable. I want to be helping as many people as possible while still maintaining a good balance in my life.


And finally, where are you going in life?  What do you have passion for?  Where is Carol next year and perhaps three years from now?

Wherever I end up and whatever I do, I want to be helping people in some way. I don’t know exactly how that will always be, but I want to have people say someday that I made a difference, that people were better off for having known me. I would like my massage business to increase and my schedule to have more regular, consistent clients. How that will look, I’m not sure. Maybe things will work out that I end up doing more chair massage than table massage. And I want to make things beautiful. I love to garden. I love that I can do something that will lift their spirits or make them smile when they pass by. I’ve had 3 years at my new house to work on my gardens and it’s getting there. And sometimes I get impatient, but I need to remember that it’s a process. Just like getting through divorce and trying to build a business and becoming a better me. I would like to have far more grace, forgiveness, and patience with myself going forward.




Asani – Women Who Sing

ASANI is an Aboriginal women’s trio from Edmonton.  They are Debbie Houle, Sarah Pocklington and Sherryl Sewepagaham.  This circle of First Nations and Metis women have performed across Canada and internationally at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the Saddledome in Calgary.  Their debut CD ‘Rattle and Drum’ was nominated for 11 music awards including a 2006 Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year and received the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (CAMA) for Best Female Traditional Cultural Roots Album, 2005.  Asani composed the theme song for the CAMA’s in 2005 and the honoring song for the Esquao Awards in 2009.   They have performed for the Dalai Lama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and at the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, BC.
ASANI seek to use the inspiration of their cultural heritage to create music that is accessible to a wide audience, but delivers a powerful message from their hearts.  In October 2009, they released their sophomore CD “Listen,” to growing acclaim. The album establishes a new direction for the group, expending their sonic palette and going even deeper into vocal arrangements with unique depth and impact.


These women sing from their soul.  The amazing projection of sound allows them to sound as if they have omni.  Which is a directional microphone.


Since the release of their follow up cd “Listen”, ASANI has received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award for Best Spiritual Song.   In March of 2012, ASANI was acknowledged as a finalist by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce for an Alberta Business of Distinction Award as an Aboriginal Women Entrepreneur.

On March 19, 2012 Asani made their orchestral debut performing with the Lethbridge Symphony  at the Southminster United Church.    We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their financial support of this project.   Without that support it certainly would not have been possible.

The Godmother of Rock & Roll – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born Rosetta Nubin on March 20, 1915, in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Although the identity of her father is unknown, Tharpe’s mother, Katie Bell Nubin, was a singer, mandolin player and evangelist preacher for the Church of God in Christ; the COGIC, founded by a black Baptist bishop named Charles Mason in 1894, encouraged musical expression in worship and allowed women to preach. At the encouragement of her mother, Tharpe began singing and playing the spectrum acoustic guitar from a very young age, and was by all accounts a musical prodigy.rosetta2

She began performing onstage with her mother from the age of four, playing the guitar and singing “Jesus Is on the Main Line.” By age six, she had joined her mother as a regular performer in a traveling evangelical troupe. Billed as a “singing and guitar playing miracle,” Rosetta Tharpe accompanied her mother in hybrid performances—part sermon, part gospel concert—before audiences all across the American South.

In the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, Illinois, where the duo continued to perform religious concerts at the COGIC church on 40th Street while occasionally traveling to perform at church conventions throughout the country. As a result, Tharpe developed considerable fame as a musical prodigy, standing out in an era when prominent black female guitarists remained very rare; blues legend Memphis Minnie was the only such performer to enjoy national fame at the time.

In 1934, at the age of 19, Rosetta Tharpe married a COGIC preacher named Thomas Thorpe, who had accompanied her and her mother on many of their tours. Although the marriage only lasted a short time, she decided to incorporate a version of her first husband’s surname into her stage name, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, which she would use for the rest of her career.

In 1938, Tharpe moved to New York City, where she signed with Decca Records. On October 31 of that year, she recorded four songs for Decca: “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “The Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road.” The first gospel songs ever recorded for Decca, all four of these recordings became instant hits, establishing Tharpe as one of the nation’s first commercially successful gospel singer.

Then, on December 23, 1938, Tharpe performed in John Hammond’s famous Spirituals to Swing Concert at Carnegie Hall. Her performance was controversial and revolutionary in several respects. Performing gospel music in front of secular audiences and alongside blues and jazz musicians was highly unusual, and within conservative religious circles the mere fact of a woman performing guitar music was frowned upon. Musically, Tharpe’s unique guitar style blended melody-driven urban blues with traditional folk arrangements and incorporated a pulsating swing sound that is one of the first clear precursors of rock and roll. The performance shocked and awed the Carnegie Hall audience. Later Tharpe gained even more notoriety by performing regularly with jazz legend Cab Calloway at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club.

During the early 1940s, Tharpe continued to bridge the worlds of religious gospel music with more secular sounds, producing music that defied easy classification. Accompanied by Lucky Millinder’s orchestra, she recorded such secular hits as “Shout Sister Shout,” “That’s All” and “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa.” “That’s All” was the first record on which Tharpe played the electric guitar; this song would have an influence on such later players as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.

All the while, Tharpe kept up a grueling tour schedule, performing her gospel music in churches as well as playing secular clubs. One highlight was a weeklong stint on stage at New York’s famous Café Society before racially mixed crowds. Tharpe’s considerable crossover appeal was demonstrated during World War II when she became one of only two African American gospel artists to be asked to record “V-Discs” (the “V” stood for “victory”) for American troops overseas.

In the mid-1940s, Tharpe scored another musical breakthrough by teaming up with blues pianist Sammy Price to record music featuring an unprecedented combination of piano, guitar, and gospel singing. The duo’s two most famous tracks, recorded in 1944, were “Strange Things Happening Every Day” and “Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread.” However, in the face of intense criticism from the religious community, who viewed her jazzy collaborations with Price as the devil’s music, Tharpe returned to recording more Christian music later in the 1940s. In 1947, she formed a duet with fellow gospel singer Marie Knight to record such overtly spiritual traditional gospel songs as “Oh When I Come to the End of My Journey,” “Stretch Out” and “Up Above My Head” (“I Hear Music in the Air”).

Tharpe married Russell Morrison on July 3, 1951. The elaborate ceremony at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., attended by some 25,000 paying audience members, featured a gospel performance by Tharpe in her wedding dress and finished with a massive fireworks display.

In 1953, Tharpe and Knight deviated from the gospel genre to record a secular blues album. The experiment proved disastrous. Not only was the album a commercial failure, it also earned both artists widespread condemnation from the religious community that had provided their most loyal fan base. Tharpe and Knight parted ways shortly after the album’s release and neither ever recovered her previous popularity. Tharpe spent the remaining two decades of her career touring Europe and the United States, primarily playing gospel music.

Though she had a much lower profile during these years, Tharpe enjoyed several late-career highlights, including an acclaimed 1960 performance with James Cleveland at the Apollo in Harlem and a 1967 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival.

While on a European blues tour with Muddy Waters in 1970, Tharpe suddenly fell ill and returned to the United States. She suffered a stroke shortly after her return and, due to complications from diabetes, had to have a leg amputated. Despite her health woes, Tharpe continued to perform regularly for several more years. In October 1973, however, she suffered a second stroke and passed away days later, on October 9, 1973, at the age of 58, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of the most celebrated musicians of all time, Sister Rosetta Tharpe enjoyed a celebrity in the 1940s rarely attained by gospel musicians before or since. “She could play a guitar like nobody else you’ve ever seen,” her friend Roxie Moore said. “People would flock to see her. Everybody loved her.” Ira Tucker Jr., the son of the legendary gospel singer Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds, put it simply: “She was a rock star.”

rosetta3More than just popular, Tharpe was also groundbreaking, profoundly impacting American music history by pioneering the guitar technique that would eventually evolve into the rock and roll style played by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Eric Clapton. However, despite her great popularity and influence on music history, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was first and foremost a gospel musician who shared her spirituality with all those who listened to her music. Her epitaph reads, “She would sing until you cried and then she would sing until you danced for joy. She helped to keep the church alive and the saints rejoicing.”


Thanks to


Remembering Natalie

American singer-songwriter Natalie Cole, daughter of mid-century crooner Nat King Cole, is best known for her Grammy Award-winning album ‘Inseparable.’

“I never got to make the transition from little girl to young woman … and that really screws you up.”

—Natalie Cole

Natalie Maria Cole was born on February 6, 1950, to vocal legend Nat King Cole and jazz singer Maria Cole in Los Angeles, California. Growing up with talented and renowned parents, Cole was raised in an environment that nurtured her natural musical ability. At the age of 6, she recorded “I’m Good Will, Your Christmas Spirit”

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREwith her father, and by age 11, the young songstress had begun performing in the community.

Natalie Cole’s world suddenly changed when she was 15 years old: In February 1965, her father died of cancer. The tragedy put a strain on Cole’s relationship with her mother. Later that same year, her mother moved the family to Massachusetts, where Natalie attended Northfield Mount Hermon High School.

Although a career in music would be an obvious choice for Cole, she set her sights on something different: Following high school, she enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she majored in child psychology. She briefly transferred to the University of Southern California, where she pledged the Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her time at USC was short-lived, however, as she soon transferred back to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972.

Cole, who had begun performing again over a summer break in Amherst, at a venue called “The Pub,” met the writing and producing team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy in 1975. The duo helped Cole land a deal with Capitol Records and, later that year, create the album Inseparable. With hit songs such as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” the album exploded onto the music scene, earning the young starlet her first two Grammy Awards—for best new artist and best female R&B performance. Cole’s career took flight, and throughout the 1970s, she turned out four gold and two platinum records. Her third—and first platinum—album, Unpredictable (1977), donned yet another No. 1 R&B hit: “I’ve Got Love on My Mind.”

In 1976—not long after Inseparable was released—Cole married producer Marvin Yancy. An ordained Baptist minister, Yancy reintroduced religion to Cole, who became a devout Baptist during their union. The couple welcomed their son, Robert Adam Yancy, into the world in 1977, before divorcing in 1980.

In 1979, Cole was awarded her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, both signifying and solidifying her prowess as a performer.

Cole hit a lull in her career in the early 1980s due to her struggle with drug addiction, subsequently parting ways with Capitol Records. She began recording again after a stint in rehab in 1983, and was back on the charts with a megahit by the mid-’80s: “Pink Cadillac.”

In 1991, Cole released the career-defining album for which she is best known, Unforgettable… with Love. Her debut album with Elektra Records, Unforgettable pays tribute to her father, featuring many beautiful renditions of standards previously recorded by Nat King Cole. The album’s breakout single, “Unforgettable,” features a track dubbed over a previous Nat King Cole recording, as to create the sound of a father-daughter duet. The album sold more than 7 million copies and garnered several honors, including the coveted Grammy for album of the year.

Cole remarried in 1989, to record producer Andre Fisher. The couple divorced in 1995. She wed her third husband, Bishop Kenneth Dupree, in 2001. The marriage was short-lived, however, ending in 2005.

The ’90s saw Cole release many other popular albums, including Snowfall on the Sahara and The Magic of Christmas (both released in 1999), an album of holiday standards recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. Cole also launched her acting career before the end of the decade, appearing on television series of the time.


The death of her father greatly affected Natalie Cole, which was obvious through her songwriting and tributes. In her 2000 autobiography, Angel on my Shoulder, Cole exposed her depression and heavy drug use throughout her career. She began using recreational drugs while attending college in Amherst. Cole’s addiction became so prominent in her life that on more than one occasion it nearly killed her. She overcame her addiction after checking into rehab in 1983.

In 2001, Cole starred as herself in Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story, a TV-movie adaptation of her 2000 autobiography, Angel on my Shoulder. The book has been described as an exposé of the private struggle that accompanied Cole’s rise to fame. Also in 2000, Elektra released Natalie Cole: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, an album highlighting the singer’s career.

Cole’s 2008 release, Still Unforgettable, was well-received, winning the singer yet another Grammy, this time for best traditional pop vocal album.

In 2008, Cole was diagnosed with hepatitis C, a disease of the liver.  She received a kidney transplant in 2009 at USC.

Natalie Cole died from congestive heart failure on December 31, 2015 in Los Angeles. She was 65.  She leaves behind a legacy as one of the most celebrated and iconic women in R&B.  She is survived by her son, Robert Adam Yancy.


Submitted by Lucy Yandra, an avid music buff, Natalie Cole fan and employee of yamaha audio.  Lucy is a mom who also plays guitar and sings.


Thank you for your submission. – Women Move the Soul


Impress Your Guests: Six Must-Haves For Your Holiday Party This Year

6 Must-Haves For Your Holiday Party This Year



For many of us, throwing fun parties is the best part of the holiday season. It’s a time when your home is decorated and looking beautiful and your friends and family can come over to gather and enjoy each other’s company. To ensure that you impress your guests, here are six must-haves for your holiday party this season.


Eye-Catching Decorations

Don’t be afraid to go bold with your holiday decorations. No holiday party is complete without a beautiful setting. Work with garlands, string lights and unique table arrangements to create a stunning setting.


Candles and Scents

Holiday parties should smell like peppermint, sugar and spice. Get the scent by lighting scented candles or by strategically placing jars of holiday potpourri throughout your space. Be conscious of anyone that has allergies, however. It’s important to make sure that the scent isn’t too overwhelming.


Delicious Drinks

It’s essential that you give your guests something tasty to sip on. Create unique coffee drinks and hot chocolates made with yummy flavored syrups. Monin has a variety of flavored syrups that you can use to create your own drinks. For an alcoholic option, just add a shot of Kahlua or Irish Cream.


Heavenly Appetizers

Your guests will be hungry, so lay out a delicious spread. You can make simple appetizers like a baked brie served with apricot jam and crackers or a cream cheese and olive dip served with chips. Simple and delicious appetizers look fancier than they are when arranged in a lovely way and served with attractive dishes and silverware.


The Right Music

Make a holiday playlist that reflects the tastes of you and your guests. If it’s a livelier party, mix current pop hits with holiday classics. Music keeps the energy going at any party.


The Perfect Desserts and Sweets

In the days leading up to your holiday bash, you should definitely be baking. From cupcakes to cheesecake squares, desserts are an essential part of a holiday party. If you really want to wow your guests, create little take-home bags of sweets, wrapped in clear foil and tied off with ribbon. Sending guests home with these sweets is a perfect way to end the night.


A holiday party is a great way to relax and enjoy time with those closest to you. If you include these six key ingredients, your party is sure to be a big hit. Don’t let the stress of planning overwhelm you, either. Instead, relax and just enjoy the cooking, decorating and preparations that come with celebrating the holiday season.



Looking Gorgeous! 5 Jaw-Dropping Fashion Ideas for Winter

Looking Gorgeous 5 Jaw-Dropping Fashion Ideas for Winter

If you’re mourning the loss of your sundresses, tank tops, and sandals, that means it’s time for you to spice up your winter wardrobe. Even if you loathe the winter months, you might find yourself liking them a bit more with a fashionable cold weather wardrobe.

Casual for Cool Days

Your winter wardrobe doesn’t have to consist of giant coats and your sagging Ugg boots. Unless you live in the very far north, it’s likely you’ll have plenty of winter days that are cold but not freezing. Start with dark washed jeggings that give you the comfort of leggings with the tailored look of jeans. Top your jeggings with a flowy polyester-blend sweater. Put away your puffy down jacket for the day and finish your look with a tweed jacket or a colorful pea coat. Add a little extra warmth with a cute hat and an infinity scarf.

Winter Lodge Look

Longing for the ski lodge but don’t have the time to head into the mountains? Wear your favorite button-up flannel shirt and top it with a chunky sweater that lets the sleeves and hem of your flannel peak out. Shimmy into your favorite skinny jeans and ankle boots for a look you can wear from the movies to a date on the couch.

Channel Audrey Hepburn

Don’t let anyone tell you wearing all black is out of style. Wearing your favorite black leggings or jeggings, top it with a sweater cape. A cross between a chunky sweater and a boho poncho, a cape keeps you warm without making you look shapeless. Wear some knee high boots or your favorite wedge booties for an ultra-sophisticated look.

Exchange Your Sundresses for a Wool Dress

You can find adorable wool-blend dresses that will keep you warm and let you feel feminine and flirty. Choose an A-line cut that is tailored at the waist but flows from the hips down. Keep your legs warm with cable knit tights and your favorite boots you got using Kohls promo codes, then top the outfit with an oversized scarf and a brightly colored bag.

Feel Sexy

It’s possible to dress a bit sexy this winter! Find a slinky, fitted wool skirt and top it with a blouse and a cropped jacket. Worried about your legs being cold? Wear black tights and thigh-high boots for a look that’s functional and oh-so-sultry.

Updating your cold weather gear will help get you through the dreary, wet days of winter. Whether its sweaters, tights, or a variety of boots that brighten your day, feeling good will make these months go by like lightning.


Why Women Tend to Excel in Humanities Careers

Why Women Tend to Excel in Humanities Careers


Studying human culture shows us some of the most incredible traits of the human race. Small nuances can make or break civilizations, influence countless generations, and result in large and lasting changes.
Looking at statistics, women tend to excel in humanities-driven careers. They have an innate sense for paying attention to those smaller things, recognizing patterns in individuals, and interacting with people on a deeper level. Their unique outlook allows them to overcome circumstances that may otherwise seem impossible. Let’s explore some of the reasons why women tend to shine in humanities careers.

Being Personable
Humanities careers can vary widely in what they do, but all tend to have one common factor: they deal with the interaction of people. Women excel at communication because they tend to understand their own emotions and behaviors better than their male counterparts. They understand the importance of a greeting, of being on time, listening, and ensuring that personal issues outside a business transaction remain separate.

Whether you are a teacher or sales agent, both require a high level of empathy to do be done well. Professionals need to understand the people they work with, which means they must account for differences in age, ethnicity, and other factors to be successful.
The reason women tend to be more successful with empathy, related to their careers, revolves around the way they think. Most women better understand that each person wants to be special, and have certain requirements that contribute towards morals and ethics. Honing these skills with a degree in sociology or psychology can give them an edge in how they are able to interact with more people.

Analyzing others and the patterns they stick to is very necessary for many humanities careers like genealogists, historians, and diplomats. Women who are more familiar with their own faults and strengths find recognizing those things in others to simple.
To become even better at analyzing other people, some women find studying psychology, sociology, and anthropology to be helpful. This can help form a complete picture of what people tend to be thinking at a given moment. Getting certifications and degrees in these fields will help to further a humanities career and there are many different ways to become certified.

What is a board certified behavior analyst? What does it take to become licensed as a social worker? Talking to others in the field and educators will help women determine what paths they can take as a humanities graduate.

Understanding Challenges
The most prominent strength women tend to possess is their understanding for the underrepresented. Most are familiar with working in a world where male counterparts tend to be paid more, to acquire raises more easily, and are praised for doing less work.
In careers where social work or the law is involved, women excel because they understand the problems of the people whom they work with. They understand just how hard it can be to be different, or to be seen as “lesser”, despite doing the same as anyone else. This gives them the unique ability to fight more fiercely for people who cannot fight for themselves.

The unique situations women encounter, their ability to notice important minor details, their ability to emphasize, and their analytical abilities make them excellent fits for many humanities careers. This gives many advantages in offering superior work in careers seemingly dominated by men.


Fair Wage: Which Careers are Still the Worst Paid for Women?

Fair Wage Which Careers are Still the Worst Paid for Women

The topic of fair wages for the sexes has been a hot button issue since the women’s movement in the early 70’s. Activists continue to raise awareness, which has been able to make a small impact, and though women have earned these nominal gains, the fight is ongoing. A New Jersey Harassment Attorney says wage and workplace discrimination cases are still quite common. The crux of the debate has been equal pay for equal work for those with the same credentials. Unfortunately, in the last 40 years these four jobs still lag far behind in closing the earnings gap.

Financial Sector
This industry has a dismal record when it comes to fair wages. The top three jobs in the field include financial manager, advisor, and services agent. Statistics show the structure of compensation packages tends to be the culprit. This means commissions, bonuses, and merit lead the way to unfair earning differences between genders. However, bias is also cited as a cause, as well as discrimination.

Medical Field
Specialties have been the leading factor for potential wages doctors earn. While this is still the case, women in specialties such as cardiology and neurology still encounter a large income gap. The rationale of male-dominated no longer fits, because pediatrics has more female physicians who are still earning less. This turns the discussion to amount of time at work. Opponents point to the prevalence of male doctors working more hours per week, while their female counterpart work less due to motherhood and pregnancy.

Business Sector
Top male executives with the same education and experience are consistently paid more than their female colleagues. Female executives hired for a position with more education and experience still deal with compensation package inequity. The responsibilities for a CEO have the same expectations no matter who is in the role, however the earnings consistently do not reflect this. Females can outperform the business critical bottom line, but still earn a lesser amount.

Logistics Industry
Long and short distance truck driver jobs are included in the income gap conversation. Critics point to long hours and time away from home, as well as fewer women on the job, though this reasoning does not address the pay inequity for those that match their male counterparts in all areas. Regardless of the number of female truck drivers on the roads, the pay per mile remains lower.

It does not matter what career or industry, each example of the unfair wage gap reviewed demonstrates a 30 to 40 percent deficit. While ingrained discrimination is a catalyst, advocates believe societal norms regarding gender roles have skewed the issue more. One thing is certain, something has to give in order to give women a more equal chance in their careers.


Healthy Diet Tips to Help With Your Weight Loss Plan

Healthy Diet Tips to Help with Your Weight Loss Plan



Getting into shape and staying healthy and fit is a worthy goal, one that more people than ever are making a top priority. There are many good reasons to change up your health plan, since maintaining a reasonable level of fitness has been repeatedly shown to help prevent, mitigate, and even reverse the course of many preventable diseases.
In order to meet this challenge, many of us turn to one weight loss plan or another, in hopes of changing your situation for the better, but unfortunately, not all weight loss and fitness plans are created equal. Some are so bad that many who try them actually end up worse off in the end than they were in the beginning!
Modern nutritional science has provides a wealth of information you can use to get the most out of your weight loss efforts. Use the tips below to make sure you stay healthy and safe during your weight loss plan.
Learn to Use Fat As Fuel

Fat has been given a bad rap in recent years, and many of us want less of it on our bodies. Luckily, it is easy to use as fuel, and utilizing it this way can help you shed pound even faster.

This method of converting fat to fuel makes use of a metabolic state known as Ketosis. In order to enter this fat burning state, all you need to do is drastically reduce your intake of carbohydrates, while at the same time upping the consumption of protein and unsaturated fats.

If properly done, the body will soon begin to burn excess fat for energy. So if you want to supercharge your efforts, start using fat as fuel!

Embrace The Power Of Complex Carbs

While it is great to be able to get rid of fat with diet, this alone will not be enough. To become truly fit, people need to give their body a reliable source of high octane energy, especially with an increase in exercise. Even though it is true that carbohydrate intake should be limited, some carbs are necessary in your diet.
Those who are serious about their weight loss and fitness efforts should be sure that when they do eat carbohydrates, they are only ingesting complex carbs. These include foods such as whole grains, oats, brown rice, muesli, and vegetables. The complex carbs found in these foods break down slowly after they have been eaten, and provide a steady source of healthy energy all day long.

These are by no means the only things serious dieters can do to supercharge their weight loss efforts, but they do provide a solid spring board to weight loss success. If you aren’t sure what methods would be best for your body, make use of nutrition counseling at a reputable place like Chicago Weight Loss Clinic. You can get personalized programs that are customized to your individual needs and give you the energy and strength you need to lose weight and get fit.


Aging with Grace: Tricks to Make Your Teeth Last You Longer

Aging with Grace Tricks to Make Your Teeth Last You Longer

There are several reasons to hold on to your natural teeth for as long as you can. When you lose your teeth, the body reclaims some of the precious minerals from the area, and you suffer some bone loss from your jaw. In addition, while dentures and tooth implants have come a long way, they are expensive and take some getting used to. Here are ways to prevent tooth loss and keep your natural teeth alive for longer.

Vitamins for Strong Teeth
Calcium and vitamin D keep bones and teeth stronger and healthier. Foods high in calcium include dark green vegetables and dairy products. To get more vitamin D in your diet, eat fatty fish such as salmon, eggs, and cheese. Most adults don’t get sufficient quantities of calcium or vitamin D from diet alone, and so you should consider including supplements.

Prevent Enamel Erosion
Acidic food eats away at tooth enamel. Over time this leads to exposure of the soft tooth surface, the dentin, underneath. As the dentin is exposed, you will experience increased sensitivity, which may cause pain during brushing, eating food, or drinking. Eventually you will experience tooth decay with this condition.
Avoid enamel erosion by practicing good oral hygiene, using fluoride rinses and toothpastes, and limiting direct contact of acidic foods, such as fruit juices and sodas, with your teeth. One way to do this is to use a straw. Regular trips to the dentist can also help. Your dentist can spot problem areas on teeth before they turn into cavities, and suggest special mouth rinses and treatments to restore worn enamel.

Keeping Gums Healthy
Gum disease causes pain, swelling, and can progress from mild diseases, called gingivitis, to the severe form, called periodontitis. This latter form can lead to tooth loss as the supportive gum tissue and bone that hold the teeth are gradually destroyed.
According to Dr. David K Skeels, good dental hygiene is an important step in keeping gums healthy. Your mouth is full of bacteria and when the bacteria is not brushed and flossed away, plaque forms on the gum line. The more this occurs, the more bacteria collect on gums, eventually causing infection. Keep your gums healthy by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Your dentist might also recommend you use a medicated mouthwash if you are genetically prone to plaque buildup. In addition to daily oral care, visit your dentist for professional tooth cleaning at least twice a year.
Many medications affect oral health by reducing saliva, and some diseases, such as diabetes, increase the risk of gum disease. Make sure to tell your dentist about your general health and all prescription medicines you are taking. You may need more frequent dental visits or specific mouth rinses or gels to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Keeping your teeth in good health is a full time job, but luckily not a hard one. As long as you do regular maintenance and avoid harsh acids you should be able to live a full life with a full set of teeth.

Simple Tips for Applying Makeup on Sensitive Skin

Simple Tips for Applying Makeup on Sensitive Skin

Living with sensitive skin requires paying a little more attention to your beauty products and regimen than the average person might have to. People with sensitive skin tend to develop problems when scrubbing too hard, for instance, or applying a new skin product. Read on to learn how to treat your skin well, so it always looks its best.

Test Products Before Use
This is the number one rule for people with sensitive skin. Always apply a small sample of any new product to an inconspicuous spot on your body, like behind your ear. If your skin tends to be hypersensitive, try a thinner patch of skin like next to your eye. Then, wait 24 hours. If no redness, blotching, or swelling occurs, then you know you can safely use this product. And be careful with any products labeled hypoallergenic. Because the FDA does not regulate this label, any product can call itself hypoallergenic. Just always do the skin patch test before using it.

Always Moisturize
Sensitive skin is especially delicate and exposure to the elements can do a number on how dry it gets. Moisturizing your skin daily (at least twice) helps it become more resilient to damage from elements like sun, wind, and pollution. Moisturizing vigilantly also prevents water loss, which can lead to a series of problems like dryness, redness, itchiness, and flaking.

Wash Carefully
Early morning and night are the most crucial times for caring for sensitive skin. Start the day by washing with a gentle cleanser (but not so gentle you need to scrub your face to remove residual grime and oils) without any unnecessary additives like scrubbing beads, dyes, or fragrances. Then, moisturize with your favorite daily cream, ideally with sunscreen already mixed in. In the evening, always wash your face with the same gentle cleanser, and apply a gentle night cream to help your skin revitalize overnight. Talk to a dermatologist in Austin about what treatments might be a good choice for your routine.

Choose Cosmetics Wisely
There is a huge selection of beauty products and cosmetics out there, and it’s easy to become paralyzed by the overwhelming amount of choices, or just as easily make the wrong decision for sensitive skin. But just because your skin is delicate doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup at all. Try to choose mineral-based cosmetics, which are most frequently free of additives like fragrances and dyes. Choose pencil eyeliners instead of liquid (which can contain latex – a known allergen to sensitive skin). Always toss your old cosmetics as they can go bad since over time they can start to harbor cultures of bacteria.

Living with sensitive skin just takes a little more attention to how you treat it. But in the end, this form of self-care probably means your skin will look better as you age. Learn to love your sensitive skin and treat it well, and it will do the same for you.

How You Can Get Your Kids To Eat Healthier Without A Fight

How You Can Get Your Kids To Eat Healthier Without A Fight




Children sometimes don’t like eating all of the healthy foods that you might enjoy. However, these foods are important as they have the vitamins and minerals that are needed for the growing body. There are a few ways that you can creatively get children to eat healthy foods without them even knowing that the foods are in the meal at times.



This is an easy idea to sneak in a few vegetables with the kids not even knowing they are present. A spaghetti casserole with pepperoni and cheese could include small pieces of tomatoes and diced onions. You can also include small slivers of carrots as they are about the same color of the spaghetti sauce. A chicken casserole can include items like peas and diced carrots if you make it in a similar fashion to a pot pie.


You’re Not A Waitress

When you plan a meal, stick with the plan. Tell children what will be served, and if they don’t want what is served, then they can eat a peanut butter sandwich or not get anything until in the morning, whatever rules work your home. Make sure you have servings from each food group in the meal so that it’s as healthy as possible. Sandwiches can be made with wheat bread instead of white so that children get grains in the meal. You can find quality wheat bread at Klosterman Baking Company. Since most children like bread, introducing different types or textures of bread is a good way to transition to healthier eating.



Some children enjoy dipping foods into sauces instead of eating them plain. Create different sauces so that children can experiment with them. Ranch is a good idea for vegetables, but you can add flavor to the ranch with small pieces of bacon or shredded cheese. Honey mustard or salsa are good options as well. Foods that are easy to dip include carrot and celery sticks, broccoli and chips that are made from vegetables.


Kids Can Help

When kids help make the meal, they are often more inclined to eat what is prepared. They will know what is included in the meal whether it’s proteins, fruits or vegetables. Let them come up with ideas of how to use vegetables in the meal. This can lead to healthy ways of cooking for children when they are adults and have families of their own.


Getting children to eat healthy can sometimes be a chore. They might think that some foods don’t look pleasant or that they taste funny. Get creative when letting children try new foods, such as disguising them in other dishes or using dipping sauces with sticks of food.



Five of the Greatest Strides Being Made for Women in Science Today

Five of the Greatest Strides Being Made for Women in Science Today

Research shows that eight of the ten most lucrative careers all require a solid education. Many of these are engineering degrees, such as petroleum, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. However, pharmacy science and computer science also rank high. Industries need more students with a strong STEM background. Luckily, this problem is being solved with the great strides being made for females entering more science disciplines.

Successful STEM Fields
According to PBS, certain STEM degree fields have equal numbers of both male and female graduates. For example, the fields of math, biosciences, and social sciences now have no gender graduate rate differences. It shows more female college students aren’t afraid of getting a bachelor’s degree in biology or related field where there might have been a stigma before.

However, the number of engineering and computer science degrees are disproportionality awarded to males. For example, males earn approximately 70 percent of computer science degrees, and 80 percent of engineering related degrees.

Productive Programs
Since 2001, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) ADVANCE program has received over $130 million in project funding support that has been distributed to over one hundred higher education organizations. The goal of the ADVANCE program is to increase the number of women in STEM fields through making positive changes to academic subcultures and institutional structures.

Inspirational Programs
Non-profit programs are making a difference with encouraging females to enter STEM fields. For example, Techbridge was created in 2000 through a grant from the National Science Foundation. They offer after-school and summer programs for girls that aim to provide training and raise awareness. They also collaborate with community partners to provide outreach programs and volunteer training.

Fab Labs
Fab Labs were originally created through MIT to serve as a local fabrication facility for molecular assemblers. However, Fab Labs have spread across the world and provide digital access to impoverished and disadvantaged students. Fab Lab is noted as providing exclusive access to females in remote areas. These female students can participate in peer-to-peer online projects and receive training.

Political Support
The White House proudly supports the development of better educational opportunities to female STEM students. Both the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House Council on Women and Girls collaborate to provide political advocacy and support to women.

In the end, there are great strides being made with providing better opportunities for females to study STEM related degrees. There are private, non-profit, and government organizations helping women enter STEM fields today and making a real difference in today’s workforce.


Classic or Cliché? How to Balance a Simple Decor Look

Classic or Cliche How to Balance a Simple Decor Look 3

There are a lot of good reasons to incorporate a minimalist or traditional look into your home decor. First, simplicity is timeless. If you invest in a few basic pieces, you won’t feel you have to redo your room in a few years because it has become dated. Second, basic furniture can be mixed in with just about anything which means if you get a new roommate, get married, or inherit some furniture pieces from a relative, your newClassic or Cliche How to Balance a Simple Decor Look 2 pieces can be easily merged with your existing sets. Finally, a simple decor can be much easier to clean (fewer knick-knacks to collect dust). That said, many worry that a basic or traditional look will leave their home lacking personality. Here are a few ideas to embrace the simple life without becoming boring, or feeling like you live in the showroom of a furniture store.

Incorporate Rich Colors
While you might want your main furniture pieces to be in neutral colors (beige, brown, gray, etc.), try to incorporate some color into your palette. This can be done through upholstery, such as a chair in a deep red, but there are also options that require less of a monetary commitment. Consider a small throw in a rich plum, for example. Even if the rest of your living room is white and gray, a jewel tone can really add some pop. Invest in a unique piece by scouring affordable furniture stores like The Dump where you can find a good deal on an individualized chair or cabinet.

Add Photography
Nothing adds a personal touch more than family photos. If you have a classic or old-school sense of style, consider some vintage family photos (think your grandparents’ wedding portrait). If your taste is more modern, hang some black and white photographs of places you have visited – or would like to. Choose a simple white matte and black frame to keep the look simple and streamlined, while still adding your own personality into the frame.

Give Life
What can liven up a room more than a living thing? Adding a plant not only helps purify the air in your space, it can also add some personality while still keeping the area tasteful. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can always pick up some fresh cut flowers from the flower beds outside and put them in vases. It will be an inexpensive way to add detail to your home with minimal commitment.

By adding a few well-chosen colors, photos, and plants, you can still keep your furniture traditional and your overall look chic. Your space will look polished, yet streamlined, and still reflect your personality. It’s the perfect way to keep a classic look that won’t be outdated in a few years time.


Five Tips To Plan Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking The Bank


5 Tips To Plan Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking The BankEveryone wants to have the wedding of their dreams, but a storybook union can cost tens of thousands of dollars with the price of decorations, wedding attire, and a professional photographer included. There are some key things that any couple can do to minimize the cost of the wedding without sacrificing the experience. A little creative vision and hard work are all it takes.

Planning the venue

The first thing to do when planning an inexpensive wedding is to find a location that has as many services and perks included in the price. Places like Noah’s Event Venues provide a space with decorations, tables, lighting, food preparation area, a stage, and set up and take down service at no additional charge. These types of event destinations usually have beautiful views too.

Plan your own wedding

While a wedding planner may help get things moving along more smoothly, it is not always necessary. Many venues provide the extras you need, like mentioned above, which is what a wedding planning would do. Working with the professionals you already have, like photographer, venue professionals and more, you can put together a lovely wedding and schedule without the need for a wedding planner.

Make your own centerpieces

While you have to be careful with DIY projects for wedding, DIY centerpieces are actually quite simple and can look great at any wedding. First, choose a couple base neutral colors, and incorporate a few other colors in the same color palette. Choosing a flower arrangement can look great and be the attention, while other smaller pieces can bring it all together. Things like lanterns, burlap table runners and more are popular options.

Purchase used clothing or rent a gown

There is never a need to buy a new dress if you don’t have the budget for it. In fact, many brides end up selling their dresses since they have no need for them and it takes up space. A used dress can be tailored to fit any bride by adding fabric or taking in the seams. Shopping online is one way to find a good deal. Often, people can find a recently married couple who is selling their wedding clothes.

Have family or a friend make the cake

Anyone who knows how to make a cake and decorate it is a candidate for making a wedding cake. The price for the tiers and the larger cake pans is cheap compared to the cost of buying a professionally decorated cake. It is easier to customize a cake made by a friend too.


Creating an inexpensive wedding does not mean the day is not memorable. Couples can save thousands of dollars by getting friends and family to help in areas where they have experience. The savings can be used for a special honeymoon destination or to put a down payment on a house.



Giving A Room A New Look



Sometimes we get tired of how a room looks, but our budget doesn’t allow us to go out and buy new furniture.  What are some of the choices?


It is said that rearranging your furniture breaks up and changes the energy in the room and in the house in a positive way.  So move it around and change your energy!


As you can take the time to redefine things in your house, you are also reviving you because the outside reflects the inside.   Everything has energy and when you walk into a room, you bring your energy into what is already there.   So create a room that you love to walk into and enjoy the vibration!


Some people are fans of grabbing things off the street (there are some really nice pieces out there!) and bringing them home.  A clean up, painting or stripping and staining can do amazing things to old pieces of furniture.   If you seek a new look, you can take the time to make one.


Give your room life!  Plants can revive a room, give it a new look and literally give it life.  They can be small, medium sized or large.  But, tastefully placed plants add vibrancy and natural coloring.  Look into “living walls,” which are plants set up in containers that are designed to hang on the wall.


coachOkay, so you’ve moved your furniture around, perhaps you added a few pieces that you found.  Plants gave new life also.   How about reupholstering your furniture?  If you can afford it, you can really get that new look that you’ve wanted.  But, if you can’t afford to have it done and are not a person who sews, the alternative is to invest in nice Slipcover Furniture custom made by ClubFurniture.

Don’t forget a new coat of paint in a nice color can really pull everything together.




Honoring Ella Jenkins

Children are her favorite people. Ella Jenkins sees them as genuine, down to earth people who should be listened to and recognized as having much to offer.  Fellow music educator Patricia Sheehan Campbell lauds her as “a pioneer in her early and continuing realization that children have something to sing about, that the essence of who they are may be expressed through song, and that much of what they need to know of their language, heritage, and current cultural concepts may be communicated to them through song.”

Through her songs, she hopes to develop greater intercultural understanding and rhythmic-consciousness, and to help people discover the joy of singing and communicating through active participation in songs.

Jenkins’ repertoire includes nursery rhymes, holiday songs, bilingual songs, African-American folk songs, international songs, rhythmic chants, and original songs. Drawing from cultures all over the world, she sings in many languages, exposing her audiences to diverse cultures and promoting greater cultural awareness.

Through call and response singing, Jenkins promotes group participation.  This began in Africa. Call-and-response singing involves a leader or leaders singing a phrase and the participants responding with another phrase.  Her goal was to break barriers between audience and performer, and turns everyone into a performer. By encouraging active participation, she promotes the development of a warm group feeling, cooperation among the participants, greater attentiveness, an enjoyment of singing, and a desire to sing. She also encourages children to lead songs, make up their own variations of songs, and experiment with fun and silly sounds. This allows children to think independently, develop leadership skills, and improvise, resulting in increased self-confidence.

In helping children discover music and participate in its creation, Jenkins provides them with a new tool of communication that they can use and enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Ella Jenkins, “The First Lady of Children’s Music, has received numerous awards during her lifetime.  In September of 2015, a park was named in her honor.  Ella Jenkins Park is one of her these many awards that have been bestowed upon her.

To the audience’s delight, at the dedication ceremony, she performed performed “Jambo”  and  “Did You Feed My Cow.”

Music is everything.  If you are going to listen to music, you should listen with the best equipment so that you can hear very sound in great detail.  When you use cheap speakers and cheap earbuds, you are missing out on a lot.  The  eon515xt is an excellent choice.

Congratulations again to Ms. Ella Jenkins and thank you so much for the hundreds of songs that you created and brightened children’s lives with over the decades!