Winter 2017: First Snowflakes

It recently snowed in my corner of Maryland, USA, where I live. The first flurries.  Nothing spectacular, only about 3 or so inches.  Yet, I couldn’t help the beauty of the snow-covered grass and the early morning sun. So, I took out my cameras and went snappin’ around my complex.

Look at the birds – I wish I knew what kind they were. I think they are ducks but I saw one fly and I know ducks don’t fly – right? Anyway, that’s beside the point. They add much character to this frame.


The white snow, the blue skies, the bare trees, the obscured building, the shadows, there’s nothing I don’t absolutely adore about this photo. The blend of color is breathtaking. Find the green in the photo if you can. 

When I saw this bird, I couldn’t help myself. I clicked away, desperately wanting to immortalize the beauty of that moment. Look at the reflection of home in the water. The skies are clear, sunrays glistening on the water. If you look closely, you can see snowflakes scattered around in tiny dots, from the gentle breeze that blew the trees. This photo makes me smile each time I look at it.

These photos were taken on a Sunday morning. To me, the birds epitomized the very essence of lazy Sunday. The colour layering is what drew me to this spot at the pond.

In Tough Moments, Remember…

Dear Future Husband,

This letter is not for all the good times we’ll have (an endless life of beauty, bliss and love unending is quite guaranteed in Jesus). This letter is for the times when our love seems to be fading away under the duress of life’s pressures. This is a reminder of our LOVE. Four things:

  1. We’re still the same people: We used to do weird alien sounds and laugh at each other’s silliness. I’d call you nicknames you absolutely abhorred, yet answered to. You’d poke or pinch me for no reason just because my irritation made you laugh. We’d both watch stupid videos on Facebook, lean back our chairs in that Hyundei you so loved, laughing our lungs out. Let’s laugh through this too. I still like singing, dancing, talking too much and holding your hand while we drive to the grocery store together. You still laugh at my silliness and slap my behind when I get out of your car. You still like to tease me about my dancing skills (which I think are pretty descent).  Let’s never stop being us and if we grow, let’s grow together.
  2. I LOVE YOU: I’m a strong believer that love will always be enough. Why? Because with love, no sacrifice is too great to make. I love you, I always will.
  3. I looked damn good in my wedding dress and my-oh-my, were you just a sight to behold in that suit!: Look at our wedding photo resting ever so beautifully (in whatever part of our home we decided to hang it)! Don’t we just look so happy and so blessed and so dang good?
  4. God has our backs, ALWAYS: In Him, we have our life and happiness. We’ve trusted him to love us through our life, let’s not stop now.

So, dear husband, whether I like you today or you don’t like me tomorrow, I know you’ll always love me and I’ll always love you. I know God’s love for us both will never waver and neither should our love for each other. If he blessed us with each other, why insult his blessing? We are forever!

With immense love,
You dearest future wife.

Everyday People – August 30th 2016

I met Robert Adams today. He’s a tall African American man with dread locks that reach the small of his back, pulled in a low ponytail. When I first walked into the historic looking high-rise building on Vermont avenue NW, Washington DC, he greeted me with charm and eloquence. He had been typing an email.

“Hold on a second, I’ll finish this email and I can be out of your way”. Just a moment later, he asked – looking down at his computer screen; “So are you in school? Or…” I smiled and told him my education spiel and how I’m working a new job now in addition to this concierge gig (updates about this in a new blog coming soon).

In the few minutes we talked, I found out he’s been playing guitar for 40 years.

“OMG that’s crazy cause I sing too!”, I said, gushing as he pulled his guitar from under the concierge desk and put it in its bag.

“Well then, you should come to our Live Music Monday shows in Silver Spring” he said, the sound of his guitar bag zipper subtle but noticeable as he spoke.

For a moment, I did consider it. I mean, I’ve been thinking about a venue where I can sing with a live band and just have a relaxed time on stage, sharing this gift that God bestowed upon my vocal pipes. As I processed his invitation, he pulled out a card and handed it to me. I looked at the card thinking; I’ll keep this. Maybe one of these evenings. Who Knows? 

“I wanna learn to play. I bought a guitar once, and my fingers just wouldn’t cooperate.

“Hah! see? You know what they say… when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, he said in response. I smiled at his subtle invitation be my teacher.

A few minutes later, his girlfriend came down to meet him in the lobby for their lunch date. As she stepped out of the building, he stayed back, pulled out a black newsboy hat, the kind with extra room for long locks like Bob Marley’s, and he put it on.

In that moment, I saw the artist in the man. He had gone from a suited up, prim and polished look, to an approachable lover of the arts, just by adding a hat and removing his name brooch.

When he finally stepped out to meet his woman, no sooner had they taken 3 steps before he extended his left hand and placed it on the small of her back; a gesture of protection, and affection. I smiled in admiration as they disappeared down the rather quiet street.

I met Robert Adams today and I saw the meaning of simple happiness. I saw love, passion, art, and life in his eyes and heard them in the words he spoke. It was my pleasure Mr. Adams, and maybe I’ll visit and listen to your show one of these Mondays.

 

We Must Fight

I have a question….

Disclaimer: this question might be considered offensive to some folk.
P.S, it is not intended to spark hate or be offensive, it is intended to spark conversation…

Ok so here’s my question… If given the chance in today’s America or perhaps today’s world, for black people to enslave white people the way they did blacks during slavery, would Black people do it?

Our wounds are deep and our scars will never fade. The history can never be forgotten. But will hurting the ones who hurt us make the pain go away? Will holding on to this pain somehow make our struggles less of a burden?

This is what I say. I say the only way to beat racism is to take our wounds, our scars, our history, and make it beautiful. It’s to rise up to excellence and be majestic and unapologetic about who we are.

We are a people, stronger than chains or beatings, stronger than plantation farms or forced labour. Stronger than abuse or insult. We are strong even when we are at our weakest.

So while we can never forget who we are because we will carry our scars until the end of time, we can also not live in perpetual hate and limit our possibilities. We must not find every excuse to relive our torture, to blame, even though the blame is very justified.

We must wear our scars with pride, and March in strength to excellence, for the strong were born to fight!! We must fight!

Happy Fourth America!

Our Path To Greatness Gala

Last Sunday (May 22, 2016) I had the privilege to attend a gala fundraiser hosted by the Non-Profit organization Our Paths To Greatness. The reason for this fundraiser was to provide affordable education and other resources to Makoko village in Nigeria. This village, suspended over a body of water has over 85 thousand inhabitants, who fish as a primary source of living. The village only has one school for the thousands of children who inhabit the area. optg-infographic-d

OPTG aims to provide oportunities for “underserved africans, equipping them with the skills and resources to compete in their communities and the world, through investments in education, enrichment in arts and culture as well as various projects to aid communities in need”.

I had the opportunity to perform (back up) with Tosinger, a Nigerian folk singer and story teller who uses her art as a means to shed light on African culture and life.

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Left to Right: Gabriella and Tosinger attend the OPTG Gala

I also met with Laolu Senbanjo, a lawyer turned body paint artist who has made a name for himself as the guy who worked with the models in Beyonce’s Lemonade video, and now has a design contract with Nike.

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Left to Right: Laolu Senbanjo and Gabriella at the OPTG Gala

I was accompanied by a few of my fellow Legacy House Inc. members. Jason Nkwain, a poet and Leslie Njuakom, our financial secretary. Legacy House Inc. Is in its beginning stages of creation but we have been around for almost 4 years. Our mission is to expose african Art of any form (music, dance, literature, fine arts, etc ), to mainstream media.

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Left to Right: Jason Nwain, Leslie Njuakom and Gabriella attend the OPTG Gala

I learned so much from being around like-minded indivuduals who strive to excell at what they do and move Africa forward. This gala reminded me of a few things:

a. Keep doing what you love to do. You will see your hardwork come to fruition soon.
b. Do your best to give back. There is never nothing to give. We each have something to offer.
c. Enjoy life. At the risk of sounding cliché, I say we only live once and we must make the best of every moment and recognize how blessed we are each day.

Happiness is a choice. Live life, No Worries.

 

Survive

love.     family.       friends.      dreams.               truths.           lies.           chaos.          sadness.            anger.     hate.    frustration.          meditation.           clarity.         forgiveness.     happiness.        peace.                moments.          memories
LIFE.       SURVIVAL.

I AM – Vol. 2.

I am not my fears.
I AM my Fierce.

I am not my weakness.
I AM my wonder.

I am not my past.
I AM my possibility.

I am not my regret.
I AM my reinvention

I am not my doubt.
I AM my doing.

I am not my low.
I AM my loudest.

I am not my never.
I AM my now.

Yesterday took with her, all that I am not.
Today comes bearing gifts of all that I AM, all that I CAN, all that I was destined to BE

I not Maybe,
I AM.

-Ga Bri Ella