How I made it to 100! by Chellyz View

 

Sunglasses 100

How I made it to 100! by Chellyz View

Can you believe I made it to 100! Look, I know you are thinking I can’t believe she made it to 100. I am not talking about my age. Logically, you are thinking about numbers but on a level of momentum, I am talking about blog posts! I am so thankful, but let me be absolutely truthful. I DID NOT MAKE IT ALONE!!!  Getting to 100 had me feeling a range of emotions from happiness, loneliness, excitement, disappointment, anticipation, nervousness, jubilation, frustration, progress, procrastination, and achievement.

A Heart Full of Conversations started off with a small statement back in 2011. Initially, the blog was going to be called “Havin Sumthin 2 Say.”  My Sister DeAnn Jordan was standing at my cubicle during a break. I said, “I want to start a blog about Detroit.” Of course, she offered her encouragement and that was that. Then my other Sister LaTonja Degraffenreid-Smith continued to offer inspiration about moving forward with my goals and that was that.  My momma, Wanda Betty, and my aunt, Sherry Betty always told me to follow my dreams and that was that.  A few years later I remember attending an amazing Vision Board party hosted by the empowering Cherisa “Do You See” Allen. At the event, I sat next to one motivational lady by the name of Kallista.   I was telling her I wanted to start the blog and how I needed to change the name once again and went on and on. Finally, she said, “Give Birth to It.” Yes, that is exactly what I was going to do, but that was that.  So many visions, words of positivity, and time kept on passing me by.

By 2016, I interviewed Pamela Duvall, the owner of Detroit Vintage Coffee and Tea House. Voila, and that was that.  At one point, I even felt a little burned out.  However, the Burn Out Coach Latanya Riggs checked me and pushed a group of us to keep pursuing our dreams and that was that.  A year later after interviewing Ms. Duvall, I published my first blog post on January 31, 2017:  https://aheartfullofconversations.com/2017/02/01/detroit-vintage-coffee-and-tea-house-the-oasis-in-my-neighborhood/.  After releasing my first post I was ready to crank out the articles. And that was that!

Suddenly, it felt a little overwhelming keeping up the content and working full time. A team of dedicated souls helped this sister and I am forever grateful!!! I asked my two sistahs Tresa Simmons and Marquesha Brooks to join me on the journey.  Tresa contributed invigorating articles about Women’s Wellness until she moved to AZ. Now, she is living her best life, published a new book, and fulfilling her entrepreneurial goals. Marquesha continues to share everybody’s posts while contributing sports content. Then Boom COVID-19 put a halt to that! However, my favorite Home Skillet will be back with Klassy K’s Sports Korner soon. Well, Hopefully! She definitely knows how to break down the sports and keeps you laughing at the same time.

Awwwwwww, then my Big Brother Mr. Butch Ford joined the team in 2019. His clever style of taking lyrics from songs and applying them to his writing is pure talent. Ford’s posts are thought-provoking and witty.  I see an R and B Blog Platform in the immediate future!!!

Please, let me also graciously thank alllllllllllllllllllll the wonderful individuals who have contributed their talents and written a post, and those I have interviewed over the years!!!!  Also, thanks to the individuals who are featured on the blog’s YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIlI7tJYvgXfeC3uvQxndFQ

My heart can’t thank each and every one of YOU enough!!!!!

Garden 100 pic

If you want to start a blog, make it happen. Remember, this walk is easier when you invite others to support you on the path. All I can say is I am thankful I made it to 100. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read, share, comment, and follow the page on Facebook and Instagram. It gets tough staying on the path to accomplishing my goals but I am doing so gracefully. I truly can’t tell you how long this platform will be around. For now, I will offer what I can for as long as the Holy Spirit allows. I’m so proud of myself. Best wishes to the bloggers who are trying or who have made it to 100. I wish you much success!!! And That is That!!!!

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

Photo Credit:  The Super Hero aka My Son

Background:  Greening of Detroit /  Michigan Ave. and Shelby / Downtown Detroit

Gotta Do Something by Chellyz View

Black woman screaming

Gotta Do Something by Chellyz View

I would be telling a story, but I guess this is what blogging is about telling stories. Right?  Anyway, I would be telling a story if I told you I was feeling like a Champ and everything smelled like fresh roses.  From social injustice, police brutality, crime in the neighborhoods, COVID-19, systematic oppression, overcoming depression damn…. I just got exhausted typing this all!!!  Last week, it felt as if the walls were caving in on me.  I was pissed.  I was angry.  I was suffocating.  Mentally a Sistah was weak.  I was about to faint.

Lately, the whole world has been in an uproar.  Daily marches and protests, virtual meetings, and discussions, social media flooded with feelings of frustration, and the news chatters of another incident, another death, and another life lost too soon.  This pain is piercing like the nails of a crucifixion.  I heard the squeals of a mother on repeat who is saddened by losing a child.  I saw the tears of children who are grieving because they keep trying to comprehend why their momma, daddy, or someone they cared about won’t be returning home. I experienced the hopelessness from families, friends, and the community losing their grasp because they are too weak to keep holding on from the attacks we face as a Black race.

warrior

This struggle started before I was pushed out of my momma’s womb.  Racism, poverty, and discrimination have been causing labor pains before my great, great, great, and let me add another great grandmomma even graced the earth. Heroin, Crack, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, broken homes, and gunfire have plagued these streets like the Bubonic wreaking mad havoc.  The stench is strong.  As soon as the black community gets a whiff of what it feels like to be stable the Earth shakes and knocks us down on our backs.  There’s smoke everywhere and it ain’t from the riots. We are being smothered by hate, destruction, and violence.

Though I felt weary last week, I know I “Gotta Do Something!”  So, from time to time I must power down.  I haven’t participated in any protests or marches but that doesn’t mean I won’t do anything.  Many of us have been doing what we can for a long time.  The weight of the cries, heavy hearts, and sorrows cannot be carried alone.  We all “Gotta Do Something” in our own time and in our own way.  We volunteer.  We speak.  We pray. We donate.  We organize.  We move.  We are always moving in hopes of better days, better tomorrows, better years, better decades, and better centuries.

I ain’t giving up but every now again I must pause so I can contribute to the cause. Your actions may be subtle or you may attack the issues while roaring like a lion.  Either way do something. Yes!  You “Gotta Do something!”

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

 

Friendship

“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

There was a hodge-podge group of people I met back in the fall of 1982.  I was the new kid and essentially “a fish out of water.”  I didn’t live in the area and had no history with any of them to speak of.  I would just observe and take mental notes until I felt more comfortable with things.

KB was the first one I met. She was a sweet, quiet, and shy young lady who was really kind to me but was always about her business.  YB was the “cutie” in the designer jeans.  She had long flowing hair and always seemed to turn heads whenever she would strut past you.  RR was this fast-talking, loud chick who always appeared angry to me.  You would hear her coming long before you’d actually see her.  She was an acquired taste, in my opinion.  DD was a bright, charismatic, intellectual sista who was simply brilliant.  And she knew it too.  A precursor of things to come, perhaps?

Double J. was the “around the way girl” who knew everybody and vibed with everyone she came in contact with.  LS and BS were the laid back biological sisters who you could barely tell apart.  They had million-dollar smiles and were sweet as pie.  They had a younger sibling LS, who was a little rough around the edges and wasn’t one to play with.  But we got along great.

DM and NP were best friends from way back. They were a bit hard for me to assess.  Probably because I didn’t see them very often.  According to the brothas, NP flaunted the physique of a grown-ass woman much older than her actual teenaged years.  A “traffic stopper” if you will.  And DM was a lady in every sense of the word who carried herself with a quiet and sneaky confidence…like she was hiding something.  JE was the athlete.  She played every sport…and excelled at each one of them.  She was smart, as well.

KM was a quiet brother who resembled someone from the DeBarge family. He barely spoke above a whisper.  SS and OP were down-to-earth, cool individuals that were unassuming and mostly played the background.  But they were loved by all.  And then there was me.

None of us really hung out together.  And we all seemed to run in different crowds.  I’d later discover that the majority of them did indeed have a history with each other.  As they attended elementary and middle school together years prior.  But at that time, everyone was trying to find themselves and carving their own niche in the world.  It’s called growing up.

Today…35 years later: Kecia, Yolanda, Rita, Dionne, Joycelyn, Linda, Brenda, Lisa, Dianne, Nichelle, Jacqueline, Keith, Sylvia, Onza, La’Tricia, Patricia and my cousin Freda share the tightest and most incredible bond.  They are more than just my friends.  They are my family.  Although It’s hard to put into words what they truly mean to me.  If you were to sit them down and ask them about it… I’m sure they’d tell you something similar to what I’m trying to describe to you right now.  It’s special.

Life is so short and nothing is guaranteed.  Love one another.  Be good to each other.  We never know where life will take us or what God has planned for us.  I couldn’t have foreseen the closeness I would eventually share with these people.  None of us saw this coming.  But it’s here and we’ve embraced it.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without any of them.  We’re all still very different, but that’s what makes it all work.  Truly a match made in heaven.

 

Butch

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

Motown Records

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

The 1960s introduced us to a brand new sound.  It originated in a tiny little home on the westside of Detroit called “Hitsville”  The founder and visionary Berry Gordy recruited every talented musician, singer, and songwriter in the area to put his dream in motion.  He wanted to make “music for the people.”

The result was a musical revolution dubbed “The Motown Sound.”  Happy music with the ability to bring people together peacefully and harmoniously.    We fell in love with The Temptations, The Tops, Marvin, Stevie, The Supremes, Smokey, Gladys, The Jackson 5 and so many others.  The backbone was a group of relatively unknown musicians named The Funk Brothers (google them) who brought Gordy’s vision to life.  Songwriters such as William Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, and countless others combined to form this dream team that changed American History forever.

In 1971, Philadelphia International Records was launched.  It was the brainchild of the legendary songwriting/production team of Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff with their long-time friend and collaborator Thom Bell.  The goal was to tap into the endless supply of talent in and around the city of Philadelphia.  Hence…”Philly Soul” was born.

The sound was built upon beautifully orchestrated string arrangements combined with driving bass and percussion.  Not to mention strong soulful vocals and intricate harmonies.  From this…Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, and The Jacksons (who defected from Motown) made their mark in Soul/R&B History.

There’s still a friendly debate that exists today.  You might hear some old cats arguing about which Record Company or era produced the greatest music.  It’s a matter of opinion, I suppose.

New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe member and co-founder Michael Bivins were onto something when he coined the phrase “Motown Philly” back in the early ’90s while developing Boyz II Men.  He understood the influence of both companies and the impact they had on the history of Black Music.  Personally…you can’t go wrong with either.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Staxx and Chess Records.  They both played a huge part in the fabric of soul music as we know it today, as well.

Butch Ford

 

 

 

 

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

George Floyd

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

Sometimes I sit and reflect on the way life used to be.  Naw that’s actually some bullshit.  Honestly…I do that quite a bit.  Things were a lot easier when we were the kids.  We had parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to lead and guide us.  They showed us right from wrong and there were lessons in everything they would say.  Life seemed so pure and innocent back then.
There were obvious challenges, but we were protected from them.  We didn’t know we were poor.  We weren’t aware that they struggled so mightily.  All we saw and felt was the overabundance of love that they showered us with.
Personally, I had strong ties in my church home in which I was raised.  The block I grew up on was a tight-knit extended family.  Little League, Highschool & College Baseball produced unbreakable lifetime bonds. And dozens of friends have lasted throughout the decades.
But today…a lot of the influential people I made reference to earlier have gone on to glory.  And life isn’t quite the same without them anymore…as now, we are the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  It’s our responsibility to carry on the legacy of strong, positive, respectful, and proud role models & leaders to the generations watching us.  In some aspects, we’ve made strides.  And in several ways, we’re failing them.
The name George Floyd has become synonymous with change, reform and unity.  But there’s a lot of additional work that has to be done.  This is only the beginning.  But it seems as though we’ve turned the corner.  Whites are standing with us in our struggle.  Our voices are being heard.  And it’s stretched beyond our borders.
I can’t speak for everyone.  But I know my relatives, church family, neighborhood family, educators, coaches, friends, and Civil Rights Activists who are no longer with us…have to be smiling down on us & beaming with pride.  Maybe we have finally “overcome.”
                                               Butch Ford