Inspiration Of A Triumphant Life

Rev. Dr. Iyanla (pronounced E-Yan-La) Vanzant’s story reads like an epic adventure filled with near misses, struggle, strength, courage and triumph! From her life’s experiences she has uncovered her life’s purpose, discovered the power that lies within and recovered her authentic self Iyanla Vanzant has emerged as a living testament to the value in life’s valleys and the power of acting on faith. The best part is, she teaches what she has learned.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in the back of a taxi cab to an alcoholic mother, Iyanla was a child of an extra martial affair. When Iyanla was two-years-old her mother succumb to breast cancer. This left Iyanla and her older brother to be raised by father, who left his children in the care of a series a relatives, including an uncle who raped her at the tender age of nine. Although Iyanla knew her father, he was often not present physically and emotionally unavailable. By age 16, she was a teenage mother. By age 21 she had three children and a physically abusive husband. 9 years, two suicide attempts and many beatings later, Iyanla and her three children made their early morning escape into an unknown future; a future where she would raise her three children alone. Being a single mother, she sustained her family for several years on public assistance. Iyanla was inspired by a sign on the bus to change her life by attending Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Three years later she graduated Summa Cum Laude and entered the City University of New York Law School at Queens College. Her brilliant oratory skills caught the attention of the Philadelphia Public Defender’s office who offered her a job without a formal interview. Three years into her practice, Iyanla knew she had made the wrong choice for her life and left her position.

Like everyone else, Iyanla readily admits that she too has had long periods of confusion. Unlike many, however, she uses her difficult times to usher her into a new state of being. After leaving her prominent position as an attorney, Iyanla eventually found herself unemployed, sleeping on a sofa in a friend’s basement with her pregnant 16 year-old daughter. A friend invited her to teach a class for women who were being trained to transition from welfare to work. Understanding their predicament very well, Iyanla took her new job seriously. She produced a workbook for the class. In 1988, that workbook became her first published work, Tapping The Power Within: A Path To Self Empowerment For Black Women. The 20th. Anniversary edition of this book was published in 2008. (Smiley Books/Hay House). Her second work, Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations For People of Color, crossed the racial divide to become a favorite companion for Tipper Gore, wife of then Vice President Al Gore. 13 publications and 5 New York Times Best Sellers were not a part of Iyanla’s plans. Then again, the best laid plan tend to go awry.

Iyanla has received numerous awards and accolades for the power and impact of her work. She received She is hailed as one of Halle Berry’s five “Sheros” (Glamour Magazine 2006); one of the country’s most influential African Americans (Ebony Magazine 2004); among the country’s most 100 Influential Women (Women’s Day Magazine 2003); one of the “most dynamic speakers in the United States” (Emerge Magazine 2000). She is a woman of passion, clear vision and purpose.

Dr. Vanzant travels globally delivering her teachings and message of hope to thousands. A much sought after guest for prime time radio shows, her voice is a staple on The Tom Joyner Morning Show (Radio One); The Tavis Smiley Show (NPR); The Michael Baisden Show (ABC); and Tell Me More with Michel Martin (NPR). She has appeared as a host Life Coach on the NBC Daytime Drama, Starting Over (2004-2006); Iyanla, her own daytime talk show (2001-2002) produced by Barbara Walters and Billy Getty. She was also a recurring guest on Oprah (1998-1999) as part of the Change Your Life Faculty.

As Founder and Director of Inner Visions Institute of Spiritual Development, Iyanla shares her knowledge of Universal Principle and Law, Eastern and Western spiritual/religious traditions/teachings, and the truth of Unconditional Love to motivate others to create a better life, a better community and a better world! She spends most of her time now training Life Coaches and Ministers and conducting a series of community forums through Inner Visions.

Local Inspiration

Photo of Vivian Saunders

HERstory: Vivian Saunders, the Sunshine of Bertie County

Vivian Saunders is a mother of two sons, a driven community organizer, and the executive director of two community technology hubs in Bertie County, a rural community in North Carolina. Her love for children drove her to quit her job at Perdue to pursue her passion to serve the community by opening an affordable daycare and summer camp out of her home. Years later, Vivian expanded her child-focused mission by installing and administering two technology community centers in Bertie County, serving over 100 students via the Hive, an alternative school for young men in the 6th-12th grades, and the One Economy Digital Connectors program.

The Beehive staff asked Vivian to tell us a little bit more about herself: 

I would describe myself as “the realness of Bertie County”. The best way to get things accomplished in my community is to be honest and respectful. People know that I will always be upfront with them and they come to me for help and advice because of that. My tagline is “if you don’t want to know the truth, don’t ask me”.  I am a behind the scenes type of person. I do not see myself as the person that gets the glory for the job; I am the person that gets the job done. The most important job in my life, first and foremost, is being a wife and mother. When I die I want that to be the job I am remembered for and the legacy that I leave behind. I am a mother to more than just the children that I gave birth to. There are several students in this county who have gone on to get higher education and great jobswho come back to see me and still call me mom. It means a lot when they recount old stories and tell me how much my sacrifice meant to them.
Something that not a lot of people outside of the county know is that I was the first woman in the county to own a 24-hour day care center. I had three shifts with twelve children on each shift. It was a family run business.  When my parents retired they came and worked for me. My parents ran the first shift, my sister ran the second shift, and I ran the last shift. Our center was called Little Moses Private Care. It opened in 1993 and just recently closed in 2009 when my mother became ill.
  1. The proudest moment in my life so far was: Without a doubt the moment I became a mother.
  2. One woman that I look up to is: Holly Kalemeris who works closely with Bertie County. One might ask how I can look up to someone so much younger than myself. I look up to Holly because of her work ethic and her positive outlook on any situation. She may have the face of a twenty year old but she has the wisdom of someone far beyond her years.

    Holly re-inspired my faith in working with young people. She caused me to look at myself and reevaluate the way I approach my work. The confidence that people see in me now is a result of her. The Hive would not be here today and I never would have received the Metcalf Award without Holly’s help and encouragement. She is the one who will call me at 5:30am singing You are my Sunshine or sends me text messages to tell me that I am loved. No one else does that. And in my toughest moments when people would speak negatively of me or knock me down, Holly would talk to me and remind me that I can achieve success.

    A few years ago it seemed like all the hope for our young men in Bertie County was dying. Sonja Murray, Holly, and I began doing CPR on this county. Sonja called 911 to get help, I breathed breath directly into the lungs, and Holly pumped the chest. No matter how tired you get or how the situation looks you can’t stop pumping the chest until help arrives and that is exactly what Holly did.

    Holly is incredibly intelligent and I know that she could be working anywhere else in the country but she chooses to make an impact here in Bertie County working with my family…my children…my boys.

  3. I am inspired by:   My son Dennis. Dennis was diagnosed with ADHD when he was really young. Because he had a disability it inspired me to work with other children and adults who have learning disabilities. Teachers told him as a child if he just sat and colored quietly they would give him the necessary grades to pass. But I researched and learned that it is his legal right to have quality and specialized education. The challenges I face with him motivated me to help other parents that they can and should take initiative to help their own children with learning disabilities succeed. My work with Dennis became the launching pad for my work in the public education sector. His resiliency is inspiring to me. He always tells me, “Mom, one way or another it’s gonna be alright.” And I believe it.
  4. One of the greatest things about being a woman is: Having the ability to be called mother by your own children and the children that you have reached out to in life.
  5. One thing I do to make my life easier is: I see the potential in people that others have given up on. When I view the world in this way it allows me to identify people who are willing and eager to learn and have humility. These types of people are a joy to work with.
  6. My favorite thing to do in my free time is: Is cook. I love to cook chicken.
  7. I hope that someday: I will be able to go on a family vacation. I would go on a cruise to the Bahamas with my mom, dad, two sons, and grandchildren.
  8. One piece of advice I would give other women is: Don’t ever blame your failures on your gender.

    I have seen women give up on things they can succeed in because they view their gender as limiting. I believe you have to do whatever it takes, even if that means “fighting” like a man for what you believe in. Saying that the reason I failed is because I am a woman is not acceptable. As women we need to acknowledge failure as something that was done, not something that resulted because of our gender.

  9. Something that makes me smile is: Xzayvion Saunders the best grandson in the world!!!!
  10. I would like to accomplish: It has always been a dream of mine to own and operate centers across the country for homeless African American boys. These boys have so much talent and potential that goes unrecognized and unfulfilled. I would provide everything they need in terms of food and shelter and would offer something that no dollar amount can give…the love and support of a mom. I would name the centers Vivian’s Hope. 

A Message From The Creator

Beautiful Woman 
by Fion Lim

Beautiful woman,
come out and play,
reveal your inner treasures.

The sparkle in your eyes,
the natural swing in your walk,
you radiate excitement and enthusiasm.

You need no latest fashion,
No expensive hair cuts,
No blinding big accessories.

You glow in your passions,
passionate in your pursuits,
you know what you are made of.

You are not easily bothered,
by the mindless opinions of others,
you know very well where you want to go.

You are a joy to watch,
an inspiration to others,
your pure soul an endless marvel.

Beautiful woman,
let your brilliance shine through,
your eyes speak of true inner beauty.

Inspirational Women Of The Day

Homa Khaleeli

The Guardian, March 7, 2011

Article History

Maya Angelou

Writer, academic and activist, who chronicled the African American experience in literature

When she started to chronicle the African-American experience through her own life, Maya Angelou, 82, had a lot to work with – enough to fill six books of autobiography, the first of which was the longest-running non-fiction paperback on the New York Times bestseller list.

A friend and supporter of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, as well as being Oprah Winfrey’s mentor, it is her willingness to share the wisdom she gained from the struggle of her early years that inspires her generations of fans.

As a child she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. When her attacker was kicked to death she didn’t speak for five years – believing that by naming him she had killed him. After becoming a teenage mother, a professional dancer, prostitute, playwright, television producer, film director and lecturer, one of her volumes of poetry was nominated for aPulitzer prize and she was asked to read at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. As one reader said: “When I was a teenager her books opened up a world to me that made me consider who I was as a person and who I wanted to be. Her writing showed me that I could do or be whatever I wanted because of – rather than despite – my gender.”

Women In The News

Margaret Atwood Is the Talk of Two April Films

By Jennifer Merin

WeNews film critic

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WOMENSENEWS)–Two movies this month–“Payback” and “Surviving Progress”–offer great food for talk, thought and encounters with Canadian writer Margaret Atwood.

“Surviving Progress,” opening April 6, is Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ provocative documentary based on Ronald Wright’s “A Short History Of Progress.” Here Atwood appears along with Wright, Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, David Suzuki and others to discuss how the human species falls prey to “progress traps.” These are technologies and belief systems that serve immediate needs but put the future at risk. Replete with dramatic reenactments (herding wooly mammoths, for example) and clever graphics, the documentary entertains while making you think deeply about human nature.

It would make an intense and perfect double bill with Jennifer Baichwal’s “Payback,” opening April 25. This is a masterful documentary based on Atwood’s provocative eponymous treatise plumbing the effects of debt on human behavior. Beautifully shot and brilliantly edited, the film interweaves clips of Atwood reading from her book and commentaries from the likes of British author Karen Armstrong, International Crisis Group’s Louise Arbour and social justice author Raj Patel. Stories include a reformed thief and drug addict who’s guilt-ridden about victimizing an elderly woman, a farmer who takes a stand against the cruel exploitation of workers in Florida’s tomato fields and Canadian media mogul Conrad Black’s fraud conviction. Moviegoers owe Baichwal a debt of thanks for “Payback.”

Another look at the mishandling of money comes from Pamela Glasner and Deborah Louise Robinson’s documentary, “Last Will and Embezzlement,” opening April 13. It follows the troubling case of Glasner’s elderly parents, whose life savings were drained by a predatory man who befriended them. The film shows such crimes to be commonplace, indicating that perpetrators preying on elderly marks often cannot be brought to justice. Mickey Rooney, who suffered a similar crime, speaks out in this important, eye-opening documentary.

I had to feature her again. I Love Margaret!!!

Inspiration Of Motherhood

A Mother has so many things to do,
From washing, ironing, cleaning to tying a shoe.
She scrubs, she mends, she cooks and sews,
She bathes the children and washes their clothes.
When they forget to wash their faces clean,
And their clothes are the muddiest you’ve ever seen,
Who repairs the clothes and scrubs them like new?
Of course, that is what a Mother will do.

Who becomes the doctor or the nurse when they are ill,
Applying a bandage or giving them a pill?
Who becomes a teacher when a child has homework?
She must never her duty shirk.
Who becomes a detective to find a toy or a book?
For missing things she must look and look?
Who becomes a listner to every heartache,
To every accompolishment that a child makes?
Who scolds their children when they are naughty,
Or remind them of God when they are to haughty?
Who tends her family with love and patience, too?
Of course that is what a Mother will do.

Inspiration Of Style

short choppy hairstyles

It’s Springtime Ladies, How About A New Hair Cut!!!!!

There is a variety of short choppy hairstyles, some of which are punk rock.  A variation is the asymmetrical spikes. You don’t have to be a boy to do that. Cut the hair in short lengths, and optionally have bangs at the front of your face. Hold some hairspray, and spike your hair up. Get layers which are longer in the front and shorter at the back, to make it easier to spike them more and try some variations.

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” -Tony Robbins


%d bloggers like this: