Written by Terry Ann Williams-Richard Copyright December 15, 2017
This poem was written as a special dedication to you, my gifted, committed, and hard-working colleagues. Thank you!
You make a difference daily in the lives of children and their families, Your students are reading, writing, computing, and believing in possibilities. Yes, they can meet and surpass the standards with each statement they recite, Choosing, using, sharpening, and sharing the best learning tools with all their might. You instill in them strong character and values leading to success in learning and life, Even during the times when your efforts seem thankless, taxing, and met with strife. Field trips, honors, parent conferences, smiles, laughter, and fun, You accomplish great things and motivate others; your work is never done. Keep doing what you do, recalling your dream of teaching since childhood, Reaching and teaching, the highs and lows, it all works together for good. Piles of papers to grade, engaging lesson plans you adjust in mid-sentence of instruction, You play a vital role in the present and the future, even while you’re still under construction. Yes, the DIFFERENCE is you…You are… Dedicated Inspiring Fabulous Fun Enterprising Resourceful Energized Necessary Creative Empowered! With each step you take and every move you make there is joy, Pray and reflect on the difference you make in the life of each girl and every boy.
Today closes out National Poetry Month. However, the rhythm, rhyme, and reason is 24/7 and 365. I’d like to share this piece with you. Even in times such as this, our quest to keep living the dream continues. We all know there is plenty going on Behind the Scenes of Living the Dream. Press On and Up!
Behind the Scenes of Living The Dream
by Terry Ann Williams-Richard
Just thinking how I never would have made it If it were not for God His goodness and mercy have followed me every step of the way With every tear shed As any door closed When any window opened He was there to let me know He is with me Behind the scenes of living the dream
The vision is clear and within reach Even when others do not see it It, the dream is real, His love is evidence Even when disappointment seeks a cozy spot to dwell Even when doubt attempts to set up shop He whispers His word as assurance He embraces me with His comfort Just to let me know He is with me Behind the scenes of living the dream
With any loss and every gain Each uphill climb, the valley lows and the ascent to the mountain top As I encounter others along the way
Divine appointments, partnerships, friendships Uplifting, pushing, praying and persevering He’s there writing the script Editing, revising Setting the stage Shining the spotlight Posturing those in positions Blocking Orchestrating the curtain call Composing and directing the music He is there
Behind the scenes of living the dream
With applause, boos, rave reviews, ovations, and critics The haters and congratulaters Those who help, join you or those who hope You really break a leg Those who envy or those who genuinely bless you The waiting, wandering and wondering The joy, faith, thanksgiving and praises Just thinking how I never would have made it If it were not for God His goodness and mercy which followed me every step of the way He is with me Behind the scenes of living the dream Reprinted from It’s Still All About Love and Some Other Stuff
A few years ago I saw a post on Facebook with a picture of a park bench and the question: “If you could chat with someone on this bench from the past or present, who would it be?” For some reason Harriet Tubman came to my mind. Yes, that is my choice for this curious conversation. Perhaps this name summoned me because Black History Month is 365 or maybe it’s because the struggle, fight, and dream of FREEDOM is real even today. From the constant questioning of Black lives mattering to the debate of taking a knee or allegiance to the flag, the fight is on. The “Me Too” Movement has many rising up. Scandal after scandal at the real-life 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has the dream under fire. It all “makes you wanna holler and throw up both your hands”. The dis-unity and self-destruction has you feeling if we are not careful, “y’all gonna make me lose my mind up in here”. Like Marvin sang, we are screaming “What’s going on?” The song “Stand Up” from the movie Harriet serves as a clarion call to continue the fight for freedom. The need is imperative to reach back for conversations with our elders for consultation, ways to face challenge, and the courage to act.
I shared the park bench post on my Facebook page and a few friends responded saying they wanted to talk to their parents who were now deceased. One friend even made another post reflecting on the person he wanted to have the chat with…his paternal grandmother. He wanted to get her biscuit recipe. He also talks about how she cooked on a stove without a dial and she never overcooked or under cooked a melt in your mouth, fresher than fresh dish or a meal. I had a phone conversation with a friend who recalled how she use to watch the news reports of the Civil Rights Movement on television in the late 1960s as an eight or nine year old disappointed that she had “missed it”.
What would I ask Miss Harriet Tubman? Miss Harriet, how did you know where to go when there were no roads paved and no streets? How did you know to follow the stars? Where do we go now when today people still spew hatred toward our children? In the classroom, a white teacher tells a young black boy his classmates will form an angry mob and lynch him. In another school a white teacher refers to black children as monkeys. What do we tell and teach the children Miss Harriet? What do we tell them to tell others who don’t seem to know what to call them or us?
This poem came to me in response:
Just Call Me Scholar
I am articulate, brilliant, courageous, determined, empowered, and free,
People often wonder what they should call me.
Just call me scholar.
I have a unique texture to my hair and a sparkling shine to my skin,
I have royal blood and God’s greatness flowing within.
My ancestors and present day elders cloak me with their love it’s true,
This casts out the hatred and false information our enemies spew.
My future is so bright is what my Momma and Daddy always say,
I am using, building, and sharing skills, talents, abilities, and gifts every day.
I make a difference in the world even right now,
My dreams keep getting bigger all I can say is Wow!
I am articulate, brilliant, courageous, determined, empowered, and free,
She struts through life with a magnitude of cares and with sometimes what seems like on her shoulders the weight of the world,
Still on her hip on any given Sunday, day, season or year, she carries a baby boy or baby girl.
Loving, laughing, living, with joy in her heart and a smile on her face,
She makes a difference in the lives of children and families she is all over the place.
She wears the hats.
You know her, she’s your Momma, Grandmama, Great-Grandmama, Auntie, Cousin, Sister, Niece, Daughter or she’s you,
Style, grace, mercy, peace, gratitude, and attitude as colorful as the rainbow, leaders in your ride or die crew.
Queen, princess, royalty, God’s daughter, ruling, making her home, community, and the world her domain,
With her in your corner, you can be assured unconditional love you will gain.
She wears the hats.
Throughout history she wears a helmet or beret while fighting for our freedom
Like Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chism, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris. She wears a fascinator, pill box, or wide brim at Tea Time or on the World Stage like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou.
She wears veils, feathers, sequins whether she’s on Broadway, at the Apollo, TV, or the Big Screen
The New Year has arrived. It’s 2020! What is your vision for your life? Go ahead grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Set a timer and then write for five minutes. Write down the details of how you want your life to be; what you do for fun and to earn a living; where and how you live; and your emotional state, physical appearance, and personal style.
“Write your vision and make it plain, so when others see they can run with it.” This is a paraphrase from the Holy Bible. The Bible also states, “Without a vision the people perish”. What do you see? Check the vision you have of yourself and for your life. Do you sense something missing? As you scrutinize your V-I-S-I-O-N, it will be empowering to:
1) Visit your deepest heart desires;
2) Investigate your past and present paths;
3) remain Steadfast in your discovery;
4) Inspire others;
5) Own your vision; and
6) Never give up.
Visit some of your deepest desires. Follow passions which awaken your curiosity, ignite a spark, bring you peace, or joy no matter your surroundings or circumstances. Peruse personal and family photo albums and read your old journals and diaries. Take trips to your favorite places or new destinations. Each activity and location could trigger clues to your deep-seated wishes. Jot down your insights.
Investigate your past and present paths and your trials and triumphs. Through your introspection hidden longings may be revealed. This burial could have been caused by fear, disappointment, disbelief, someone discouraging you, or self-sabotaging thoughts and actions. Even so, recall the many obstacles you have overcome and the countless positive outcomes you have experienced. Notice the people you attract, the lives you’ve touched, and how your life has been impacted. Be sure to find pleasure in the process.
Remain Steadfast in your discovery. No matter how life appears now, believe what you envision can and will happen. Notice the footprints leading from fear to faith; procrastination to progress; cowardice to courage; victim to victory; and tears to testimony.
Inspire others on your adventure. As you walk out your destiny you will glow with possibilities. Share lessons learned and successful strategic plans. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and others will joyfully catch it.
Own your vision. Be clear, no one can steal it. Look at it, accept it, expect it, and know it is ordained for your good. Give yourself credit for your persistence. Thank God for your gifts, talents, skills, abilities, His anointing, wisdom, and favor.
Never give up! Get back up when you fall, you are breaking through once more. Your treasured vision will be your marvelously manifested reality sooner than you imagined.
A blog published to encourage, empower, and enlighten YOU!
November 25, 2019
Success in Learning! Tips for Getting Better Grades
The holiday break is here! How are your child’s grades? Now is the time to take action that leads to greater academic achievement and even better grades as the school year progresses. One of the most helpful tips is to examine how the student is preparing, paying attention, participating and planning for school each day.
Did you get adequate sleep the night before?
Did you eat breakfast that morning?
Did you complete your homework, project or study for tests?
Do you have the tools you need for school? (a good attitude, books, paper, writing tools and other school supplies)
Are you following district, school and classroom rules?
Are the clothes you’re wearing in accordance with the school’s dress code?
Are you following the classroom procedures and agenda?
Are you tuning into the teacher, so that you can respond to requests the first time you are instructed or asked to do something?
Are you taking notes? Are you working with a partner, working in a small group, working individually and participating in class fully?
Are you asking questions when you do not know what to do?
Are you making sure you are not disrupting class or trying to get off the subject?
Did you read the directions? Did you hear the directions? Did you ask for clarification?
Did you use your time wisely?
Did you check your work for errors?
Did you use required and other resources to complete the assignment?
Did you do your best work?
What are the student’s overall strengths and areas needing strengthening academically?
What does the student believe about his or her ability to learning and education overall?
What personal goals does the student have academically?
What are the student’s study habits?
Does the student have a study buddy or someone to get a class assignment update when he or she is absent?
Does the student have basic learning tools and know how to use them? (dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, etc.)
Does the student know his or her learning style?
Does the student seek help? (from the teacher, after school tutoring, etc.)
Does the student know about websites that help with homework or other academic difficulties?
Does the student put forth his or her greatest effort?
It is never fun to get poor grades and the journey toward getting a high school diploma seems long. However, learning along the way and building skills is the goal. There is still hope and help even when the grades may not be shining too bright. Preparing,paying attention, participating and planning are steps on the right path for getting better grades.
Contact Terry Richard at email@example.com for tutoring services. Be sure to ask about The Success Club! Buy your copy of Daily Meditations for Success in the Classroom and Beyond: 40 Days of Rhymes, Reflections, and Resources to Motivate and Inspire Students.
Copyright 2019 Terry Ann Williams-Richard
October 16, 2019
Can you believe it? The year is almost over. Where did the time go? How are progressing with the goals you set for 2019? Keep going…you can do it! Here’s some encouragement for those of you who are writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and selling your first book.
Yes, You Can Write Your Book, Too!
As the year comes swiftly to an end and the New Year approaches just as quickly, the time for self-reflection makes a grand entrance. Cries of coulda, woulda, shoulda, along with courageous declarations of, this time I can, I will, and I must, echo in our hearts, minds, and souls. One of those declarations might just involve you telling a story or delivering a message to the world. Do you have a story to tell? Have you ever thought about writing a book? Do you have an idea for a book? Have you started writing and now you are stuck? Did you finish a writing project and now either you are afraid to share it or you don’t know where to go from there?
I’ve enjoyed reading and writing ever since I was a young girl. Reading was such a vivid adventure for me. I was overjoyed when my daughter first started reading, from turning pages, following along from left to right, identifying letters, sounds, sounding out and defining words, to bringing it all together. I knew she had it when she was about 5 or 6 years old and she told me reading was like watching a movie. Reading and writing go together in countless ways and I have been fortunate to live my life choosing, using, sharpening, and sharing this perfect combination. From my days of writing in a diary as a young girl; beginning to write poetry and stories as a teen; earning a degree in Mass Media Communications; working in the field of journalism; teaching reading & writing; forming book clubs; writing groups; and writing in a journal even now, writing has been and continues to be my source of self-expression for personal inspiration, teaching, growth, and overall joy. Go for it! Think it! Write it! Live it!
Write down any thoughts you have about writing. You may have a list of topics, phrases, paragraphs, or pages. Your thoughts may be relaxing in a journal; hiding on the back of an envelope for a bill you received in the mail; or attempting to leap from the store receipt tucked in your pocket or purse. Whether your thoughts are stashed away in a manila folder or saved on a flash drive, now is the time to uncover and bring out all your treasures. Gather your stacks of thoughts and take everything to the next stage.
Go ahead choose a direction and begin to write. You have your topic, maybe even a title for this project, so write. Write daily, every other day, weekly, monthly, or however and whenever your story or message flows. Write it out long hand on a note pad or type it out on your laptop, whichever method is comfortable for you and will then catapult you into getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. This is another step closer to the manifestation of your book. Remember, to go with the flow, revising and editing will come later and will be plentiful.
Begin exploring and selecting a format for your book, print, e-book, or audio. Investigating printers, publishing outlets, traditional, self-publishing, subsidiary, and more will make add to you tasting the reality of your dream come true. Finding out about copyright, ISBNs, barcodes, and registering your book adds to the excitement. Finishing, marketing, promoting, and selling your book is rewarding and contagious. Once you write one book you’ll be driven to write another one and another one.
Yes, it’s your turn to take it to your next level. Your writing and publishing journey is a personalized one. In your admiration for other published authors of international, national, local, or neighborhood fame, know that Yes, You Can Write Your Book, Too!
Contact Terry Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a FREE copy of Your Personal Writing & Book Publishing Plan (Parts I & II) worksheet. Ask about the Success WRITE Now! writing group.
Copyright 2019 Terry Ann Williams-Richard
April 5, 2019
Greetings and Welcome to my Success ThinkPoints Blog!
I am delighted you chose to visit Personalized Educational Services, LLC. This is my first entry and this blog is for you. It it written to encourage, empower, and enlighten you. I wrote this article during Black History Month; however, Spring has sprung and the reflection and inspiration continues 365. This month also marks one year for the re-launch of my website…Yaay! I am continuing to enjoy the adventure. Thank you for coming along for the ride. Be encouraged!
Believe It: There is a King in You
Reflections for Black History Month & Beyond
There is a King in You is a song written by gospel singer Donald Lawrence. I heard that soul-moving song for the first time in 2015 during Sundaymorning church service on Father’s Day. This song held heartfelt significance for two poignant reasons. First, that day was my first Father’s Day without my Daddy being in this life, this world. He passed away earlier during the year on February 13th. Second, news headlines continued to display with growing frequency the heartbreaking realities of young unarmed Black boys and men being brazenly gunned down. The striking opening lyrics of There is a King in You flow declaring, You come from royalty, An aristocratic dynasty. Black History Month is as an ideal time to launch, re-launch, or continue to reflect and learn more about the rich, royal heritage of African-Americans. The message from the song writer continues to tip off listeners with The goal of the enemy, Is that you don’t know who you are. Perhaps the imperative, foundational lesson Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week, had in mind in 1926, is Negroes must know who they are. Negro History Week later became Black History Month then African-American History Month. Yes, African-Americans must know who they are. Man, woman, boy, and girl must know their royal roots. There is a King in You.
Keep your head up!—Be positive, something as minor as how you walk makes a difference.
Investigate your history!—Talk to family members to hear stories about your relatives. Find out the native land of your maternal and paternal fore parents
Never underestimate ancestors’ journeys!—Follow-up on some of the family stories you have heard. Find any documentation or records such as newspaper articles, family scrapbooks, genealogical records, etc.
Get in step with your greatness!—Do and be your best at school, work, home, and play. Know and share your gifts, talent, skills, and abilities.
Inform others!—Spread the stories of achievement, honor, struggle, pride, and more.
Never forget to honor your elders!—Remember, they have been there and done that in life. Recall the lessons learned and help take care of them.
Your story!—Reflect on your life and realize your personal impact and contributions.
Open your heart and mind to possibilities!—Know the past, appreciate the present, and look forward to the future.
Understand the power of your words!—Believe it, say it, live it. There is a King in You.