Star Jones

Star Jones
Have you met Miss Jones?


Thought To End The Day...

A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth."
- Mahatma Gandhi

TUESDAY TRIUMPHS...Losing 160 pounds...physically and mentally

Tomorrow is April 1st which means that I've hit another weight landmark.

I am now within striking distance of having made it 3 1/2 years within 10 pounds of the same weight I am today! 3 1/2 years at under 160 pounds after starting at 307 pounds.

I never thought it possible, I didn't even think it probable given my track record. I certainly never thought I'd be brave enough to talk about it in public. The physical toll it took changed my life; but the emotional toll made me whole. With consistent exercise, smart food choices and portion control, I know I'm on the right path. Although I'm confident that I'm finally at a place where my body has settled into a comfortable and maintainable weight, I know that this is a battle I will wage for the rest of my life.

You might remember that I wrote a story in Glamour Magazine around a year and a half ago which told the basics of my weight loss journey which started way back in August, 2003. I was as honest and open as I could be in a written forum; but I can tell you that it is not until you speak the words out loud to someone who knows your struggle that you really release ALL the demons that have haunted you. Oprah Winfrey gives me the opportunity to do just this on Wednesday (April 1st) on The Oprah show.

There is a reason Oprah is the best at what she does: she provides a safe place to share...and share I do. What started for me as shame, fear, anger and regret has slowly turned into pride, security, forgiveness and triumph over a mountain I never thought I could climb let alone conquer.

If you or someone you love has stared down a demon and triumphed; walk a little taller today. I sure am. Thank you Oprah.

(To watch the promo for The Oprah here. For viewing times of The Oprah show in your area...check you local listings.)

Thought For The Day...

The key to change is to let go of fear.
-Rosanne Cash


Mentor Monday: Teachers

Even as a little girl in a small town in North Carolina, I knew that education would be my path to the future.  Little did I know that my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Melba Uzzell would be the example I would use as inspiration for the rest of my life.  Like all children I learned the basics in 3rd grade; but Mrs. Uzzell was different.  Her love for teaching and her constant encouragement of her students to dream outside of our circumstances made me want to excel. She made me care about learning and taught me that where I couldn't necessarily go physically just yet...I could go in a book every single day.  

So over the years, that's exactly what I did.  I walked along Avenue des Champs-Élysées on my first "trip" to a book.  I rode my first camel in the land of a book.  I swung through the rainforest in Central America, flew in a helicopter over the Mediterranean in the South of France, thanked  Abraham Lincoln for the Emancipation Proclamation  and wore a Chanel suit...for the first time...all in a book.  I learned to allow my imagination to take me places where my resources and circumstances couldn't always take me; and I got that from my 3rd grade teacher.  

Thank you Mrs. Uzzell for fostering this young girl's imagination through education.  I have been blessed enough to actually experience some of these amazing things throughout my adult life; and they were as beautiful and exciting as the first time I experienced them in my "mind's eye."  Your inspiration helped me  grow into the adventurous inquisitive seeker of knowledge that I am today.  This is for you and all the other teachers who prepare the next generation for the world...

A Loving Teacher

Things our grown-up mind defies
Appear as giants in children's eyes.
A gentle touch upon her head
A simple word when kindly said.
Complete attention when she calls.
Her knowing you have given all.
Correcting in a loving way.
Instilling trust in what you say.

Making her believe unique
The tiny flaw upon her cheek.
Admiring old and faded dresses.
Reminding her we all make messes.
Words of comfort you've softly spoken
A promise you've made she knows won't be broken.
Your knowing her doll that was lost today
Is just as important as bills you can't pay.

Helping make her plans and schemes
Giving her hope and building her dreams.
All of this and so much more
Is in her mind forever stored.
They who touch her life awhile
Can either make or break that child.
Education is important, true, 

But so much more, her faith in you.
You've weathered through the storm and strife;
You helped to build a small girl's life.
You're truly one to be admired.
For you gave more than was required.

By Pat McClain

If you want more information on books that can take you (or your children) to the places I've described...just click on the highlighted words in the text.  I've linked some of my favorites.

Thought For The Day...

If you can read this...thank a TEACHER.


Thought For The Day...

This is the day the LORD has made; 
       let us rejoice and be glad in it.
-Psalm 118:24


This has been the best week and happiest birthday I have had in a very long time!  My guy took me away to the Carribbean with some of our best friends and all we did was enjoy each other.  The simple pleasures of love and friendship is my blessing this week.

I'm missing church this morning because I'm out of the country; but I didn't miss my time alone with God.  Morning prayers have been my ritual since I can remember.  It is the quietest time of the day, my head is its most clear and my heart is its most open.  Since it is the beginning of a new day...nothing has distracted me, angered me, annoyed me or made me forget just how blessed I am to be HIS child. My prayer today is simple:  Thank you Lord for the blessing of good health and finally the good sense to maintain it.  Thank you Lord for my family and the complete knowledge that they love me.  Thank you Lord for my friends and the security that they have my back. Thank you Lord for bringing someone in my life who makes my heart beat faster, gets joy from my smile and whose arms are wide enough to hold me in good times and in bad.  And thank you Lord for your son Jesus who is my constant friend and ultimate comforter.  I am blessed beyond measure Father, and I thank you.


Thought for the Day...

The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.  
-Author Unconfirmed

Note:  I had always heard this quote attributed to Allan K. Chalmers (the mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King), but there is some controversy over actual authorship.  For more information click here.

SATISFIED SATURDAY: Now that's Black Love...

"When your SO shampoos your hair in the shower and knows what direction to brush the conditioner so it doesn't mess up your weave"...Now that's Black Love"

SATISFIED SATURDAY: Now that's Black Love...

I was laughing with my SO (significant other) recently about how black men and women love each other.  Not to suggest that others don't do it like we do...but WE do love with an intensity born of common experience, joy and pain...

"When you have something in your teeth or nose and your guy reaches over with his napkin to get it out... right in the middle of you talking."  Now, that's Black Love...

(Feel free to add your own...I have a bunch of couples here hanging with us and we'll be adding all day.)


Fight the Battles We Can Win

Lovelle Mixon...I wasn't there; but something tells me that this parolee who was being sought for additional violent felonies did not act "honorably" when he shot and killed four police officers in the course of carrying out their duty.  A "march" by the "Uhuru Movement" in this man's honor makes legitimate issues of racism seem trite and allows them to be easily dismissed.  Actually, let's not pull any punches:  a march in honor of Lovelle Mixon is just straight up wrong.  Pray for his family as they grieve the loss of their child; but don't glorify his deplorable actions. Every KING is not Martin Luther and every person who sits on a bus is NOT Rosa Parks. 

We need to learn to pick and choose our fights and sometimes simply fight the battles we can win...

For more information on this story please click on the title of this post.

Huffington Post Cross-Reference

Before "Positively Star",  the Huffington Post was the only place a big mouth like me could sound off in an environment of...well, dignity.  I still consider them my "family," so they have graciously allowed me to intro this blog on their site.  Click here for my post on HuffPo.

Keep it Moving...

Please don't link crap (gossip websites, trashy comments) to my blog. It will be deleted. My rules. Don't like it? Don't let the doorknob hit you where the good lord split you!

Thought for the Day...

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

Anais Nin was an amazing writer who wrote of intimacy.  Her words both inspired and caused controversy; but always came from the heart. For more information on Anais Nin click on "Thought for the Day" and/or her name above.

John Hope Franklin: Scholar, Historian, Mentor...Giant

I couldn't wait till Monday to pay tribute to this Mentor!

Last night I dreamt about the discussion that must be going on in heaven right now between the Honorable Justice Thurgood Marshall and John Hope Franklin, the revered Duke University historian who died Wednesday at 94 years old.   From separate water fountains to the inauguration of the first African-American President...whose ascension to the White House was called by Professor Franklin ''one of the most historic moments, if not the most historic moment, in the history of this country;''  the things Professor Franklin witnessed over his more than nine decades on this earth could fill bookshelves for many years to come. I remember reading his book ''From Slavery to Freedom'' in college and have used it again and again as my historical "bible" over the years. It is easy to agree with the NY Times that this book "was a landmark integration of black history into American history that remains relevant more than 60 years after being published." His credentials were second to none.  From Fisk to Harvard to Cambridge University, his thirst for knowledge led him all over the world.  He received more honors and awards from every prestigious organization you can imagine and many more than I can begin to name.  Yet, he was very clear on the historical inequalities that still exist in the United States. He said, for example, that the evening before he received the highest civilian honor our country can give, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, from then President Bill Clinton, a woman at his private club in Washington, D.C., asked him to get her coat. Around the same time, a man at a hotel handed Franklin his car keys and told him to get his car.  "I patiently explained to him that I was a guest in the hotel, as I presumed he was, and I had no idea where his automobile was.  And, in any case, I was retired," Franklin said.  Both of these incidents occurred when he was in his 80s.

This elegant man and gifted scholar was everything we should aspire to be.  His life serves as the quintessential example of excellence that should motivate nothing but forward movement; regardless of your race.  I know that I owe most of my educational accomplishments to Professor Franklin and his honor Justice Marshall.  For it was Professor Franklin's research that helped Thurgood Marshall and his team at the NAACP win Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that barred the doctrine of ''separate but equal'' in the nation's public schools.  I get to say "I'm a lawyer" because of this brilliant man who stood head and shoulders above so many but never lost sight of his purpose in our society.  He led by example and it behooves us to do him the honor of allowing his example to be the benchmark we strive towards for generations to come.  

For more information on Professor John Hope Franklin click on the title of this post and/or see his official bio here.

Friendship Friday: Samuel and LaTanya Jackson

Friendly shoutout to THE Box Office Giant of all times and a true Thespian who is broadway bound in "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"...this African American couple are doing their thing.  I'm just proud to watch them shine!


Tell It Like IT IS: Anonymous Comments...part deux

Alas...every negative comment regarding my blog on Anonymous as expected...anonymous.  In court we used to refer to that as:  Exhibit A.  

Until tomorrow friends.

Thought For The Day...

My prayer partner sent me this one:
Humble is the right look. It goes with everything.

TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Anonymous Comments

I knew I'd get them...and I knew they'd annoy me.  So let me just say it outright.  If you are going to leave a nasty comment on this blog about someone, be it our Harvard educated President with a mandate for change or the person next to you in the cubicle where you work; please at least have the backbone to identify yourself with your real name and your real face.  Your educational background and some intelligent backup for your opinion would be nice; but I know I'm asking a lot. In other words, show me what YOU'RE working with and we might just have a debate.

It's not like I don't like a good argument...because I'll tangle with almost anyone, but I do have a couple of rules:  
  1. I don't argue the law with non-lawyers.  I spent too much money, time and effort to get the degree and pass that bar...get your own and then come back at me; 
  2. I don't engage in mean spirited gossip that is designed to tear folk down rather than build them up...I know how it hurts and would never want to cause someone or their family unnecessary pain; and 
  3. I don't get into a war of words with anonymous stone throwers who are too damn chicken and insecure to identify themselves.  
That is my pet peeve.  Oh I know it's "in" to just use the blogosphere to say whatever the heck you want without fear of being discovered for the complete fool you are; but I don't have to do what's "in."   So get this, if you want to post a comment on THIS blog that disagrees with a position espoused by me; go for it...but you have to put yourself out there for all of us to evaluate.  You know my ups, downs, ins and outs.  You know how I've messed up, dressed up and F'd at least now when it comes to me; what you see is what you get.  My name, face, thoughts and words are out here for the world to see.  If you aren't willing to do the same and take credit for your words; then shut the hell up or please go somewhere else.  Let me just tell it like it is:  all of you anonymous stone throwers  might as well be wearing a white sheet...(and I don't care what color your skin is under it)...because you're a  bunch of cowards.

Take off your sheet, come into the light of day and stand by what you think.  That cone head with the eyes cut out is a terrible fashion statement in this day and age...don't you think?


Ode to Obama

"I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."  
President Barack Obama

I'm not sure I can take it.  A president who takes time to think, gather the facts, analyze a situation and then takes action.  Dear Lord, we may actually have leadership in the White House.

I appreciate the President's candor and his willingness to do the job WE sent him to Washington to do.  The media isn't quite sure how to "handle" him.  That's because he won't be handled.  He's handling the business of America and last time I checked...that's what we asked him to do.  He hasn't launched any sneaky wars, tortured any prisoners or prohibited anyone from speaking their mind; so in my book...he's doing just fine.
(Check out the original press conference clip by clicking "Ode to Obama".)

Wonderful Wednesday

My newest god-daughter Olivia Phillips Tavarez is what is "wonderful" in my life this week.  

She is the baby daughter of one of my best friends, Dr. Holly Phillips and her husband Jose. When they asked me to be her godmother, they said that they knew she would be "safe" if she had me in her life.  

What an amazing gift to give someone.  We claim to be friends with soooo many people, but only a true friend trusts you with their most precious asset; their child.  I know that I'll never have to step in because Holly and Jose will be there for "Liverwurst" for as long as she needs them; but I'll be there just in case.  I'll take her for her first manicure, give her her first book, take 100 photos at her first dance recital, share the secret of her first kiss, cheer when she graduates from law school (or med school...or B school) and cry when she marries the man of her dreams. I'll be there for her as her mentor, her friend and her godmother.

Thank you Holly and Jose for this "wonderful" honor.

Thought for the Day...

Today is a day to just do it.  Love one another.


Thought For The Day...

Give your best effort today and you'll reap blessings.



Today is my 47th Birthday.  I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been and I have God to thank for it.

Actually, I wasn't supposed to see 47.  Heck, I wasn't supposed to see 20.  At 19 I was in my last year of college and I was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor in my chest. The tumor was growing daily and it had wrapped itself around my esophagus, lay between my lungs and under my heart.  I was given nine months to live.  I'd always wanted to be a lawyer so something in me said fight and I did.  I found a doctor who didn't think the tumor was inoperable and he (after 8 hours of surgery) removed it and got it all out.  I was back in class 7 days later.  Eight weeks of radiation, five days a week followed.  I graduated from college on time, went on to law school and began living my dreams.  My thyroid was destroyed in the process which caused me to gain weight over the years...but other than a scar down the center of my chest; you'd never know I got a death sentence over 25 years ago.  How good is God!  

I used to be ashamed of the scar; but as I have matured...I've focused on what is important.  I'm alive.  I'm healthy.  This scar saved my life.  So when I feel sorry for myself or forget the blessings of life, I look down at that scar.  It is my badge of honor.  

It is my triumph.


Mentor Monday

Several years ago while I was conducting an interview, the interview subject made a statement that caused me to do a double take.  She said that "black people had so few role models," we had to embrace people like "OJ Simpson and Jason Williams" to rally behind.  Whoa.  That may be true for some; but I would venture not for most.  I remember saying at the time that just because the mainstream media has chosen not to highlight role models in the black community ...doesn't mean we don't have them.  Well, it's not just the mainstream media that fails to celebrate our successes; we are guilty of it ourselves.  Not anymore. "Mentor Monday" will introduce a new role model, a new person to cheer, and/or another reason to celebrate being young, gifted and black!

Monday, March 23rd:  Dr. Keith Black 

"If you want to understand the artist, you study his art.  If you want to understand God, you study the anatomy of the brain."  Dr. Keith Black

Born in 1957 in Tuskegee, Alabama, Dr. Keith Black is a world-renowned neurosurgeon and scientist.  Dr. Black, a leading researcher in his field, is in the process of "changing the paradigm" for cancer treatment.  His pioneering research has focused on the treatment of brain tumors.  He has devised two innovative methods for treating brain cancer.  Dr. Black's cutting-edge research has led to the development of a delivery method for administering chemotherapeutic drugs directly to the tumor, and the creation of vaccines to enhance the body's immune response.  For more info on Dr. Black just click on "Mentor Monday" at the top of this post.

The Thought for The Day...

Appreciate who you are and the gifts and talents God has given you.  You are one of a kind and very special.