My Sisters.

We are in the season to stop and be grateful!  Our lives are filled with the culture of gotta go.  Got to go to work.  Got to go to church.  Got to go grocery shopping.  Got to go to a meeting.  Got to go pay the rent.  Got to go to celebrate – with my family – the anniversary at my church – my grandchildren’s birthday.  Got to go do so many things that we lose count.

STOP!  This is the time to make assessments.  This is the SEASON to count our blessings and be grateful. This is not about religion but about the spirit of God – the name of your Supreme Being that provides a sanctuary for all that happens in your lives and that sees you through difficult times – Jesus, Allah, Budda, Ehyeh, Khu, or Huwa.  Now it is time to celebrate the web that sustains you.  It is time to express gratefulness. You do not have to write it down, but just count in your head.

I want to share with you what I am grateful for:  

First, before anything, I am grateful for my god because my god has enabled so many blessings.  I am grateful for discernment and the ability to see when there is nothing in sight; to give me the presence of mind to sense where I am supposed to go and the mission I must undertake.  

Second, I am so grateful to be a Black woman and be a participant in the history that we are living.  To see our sisters handling one of the most difficult periods of the United States democracy is phenomenal.  I am not going to name them because they are everywhere – in my neighborhood, in my state, in my House of Representatives, in my courthouses, in my schools, and in the media.  We are everywhere locally, nationally, and internationally doing exceptional work.

Third, I am so grateful for my health.  To be able to see, hear, and speak with clarity is a blessing. At the age of eighty, I can still contribute with my wisdom, insight, and courage.  I can put on my lipstick and look cute. I just had to retire my sexy high heels because I got bad knees, but beautiful flats here I come.

Fourth, I am so grateful for my friends.  They have taken the place of my family, my mother, father, sister, and brother that I have lost just because I have outlived them.

Fifth, I am so grateful that I have a home to live in and that my community is at peace, Shootings are rare, and it is safe to take a walk down the street.

Six, I am so grateful that I can still drive my car by myself and for any distance necessary.  I do not have to depend on anyone to take me where I want to go.

Seven, I am so grateful to be living in the United States.  When one looks at the troubles and chaos of the world and the suffering of women and children, we are in a place where basically you can live in peace.  While we are not perfect by any means with rampant racism and disparities of all sorts, we do not have bombs raining from the sky and the sadness of burying relatives found in the rubble of a collapsed building.  

My sisters, I am stopping at seven, but I am grateful for so much more. I pray that you take my advice and stop and count your blessings.  Hug your children, grands, and if you have one, hubby too.  I know, when you are in pain and suffering, it is not easy to focus on being grateful.  Social scientists say, being grateful is a process of well-being and by taking the time to be grateful adds to a positive health outcome.  Therefore, do not languish in what you do not have.  Suck it up and check out what you do have.

I leave you with this thought:  We Black women are carrying out a very special mission and I am GRATEFUL.  Lift yourself up and look in the mirror.  You are a Phenomenal Woman.  Believe it and live it.   I leave you with the words of Maya Angelou and wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving season filled with love and inspiration.  

Love you, 

Dr. Lou


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

(From And Still I Rise, Copyright © 1978, Random House, Division of Penguin Random House, LLCThe Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, Random House Inc., 1994)

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