Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spotlight: Love Letters to Our Daughters

Because your humble blogger is all about the uplift of people, especially women, MsRanaDee's Words and Stories is pleased to share the newly released project from the talented Angel C. Dye, Love Letters to our Daughters. This is the second publication of Ms. Dye, a student at Howard university and self-published author. It is truly an affirmative work for the social media age, as some of the inspiring sayings were gleaned from social media sources. (For full disclosure, yours truly is truly humbled and appreciative to have a post from here featured in the book.) Click on the link below for more information and get a copy for the ladies in your life.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Just Breathe: The best moments of breath usage in song

By no means is your humble blogger is a singing expert, but, in my opinion, a unique use of vocals can give a song a kick in the best of ways. One of those methods is using breath. Two of the masters of this, hands down, are Janelle Monae and Tori Amos. They can turn breaths into full blown moments on a track. Here are some of yours truly's favorite examples of this. "Yoga"-Janelle Monae (Courtesy: You Tube) Punctuated, breathy, "ha's" pepper this track like a yummy gumbo. "Come Alive (War of the Roses)"-Janelle Monae (Courtesy: You Tube) Janelle's rhythmic breaths layer over the gut-punching guitar riff beginning the track can easily make this a contender for best song intro ever. "Jackie's Strength"- Tori Amos (Courtesy: You Tube) Tori is undeniably the queen of breath usage in songs. One only needs to witness her live to understand. The crowning jewel, though, is her in-tune breaths at the beginning and end of this song. Already a heart-wrencher of a track, the breaths turn this into an emotional powerhouse. Until next time!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spotlight: St. Antona Ebo

There are times when a life story is so phenomenal trying to preface them with words does a disservice. For your humble blogger, this is one of them. Without further ado, Sr. Antona Ebo, in her own words.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Keep Pressing or Stay Pressed

Would it not be fair to say that attitudes in this world are not changed abstractly, as it were, by reading something-that attitudes are partly the result of working, the result of action?
(Justice Felix Frankfurter to Attorney S. Emory Rogers during a Brown v. Board of Education proceeding, as cited in  Richard Kluger's Simple Justice )
     My friend has a saying that, to me, is very apt at describing getting caught up in superficial issues: staying pressed.  Recently, a phrase popped in my head incorporates this idea: Keep pressing or stay pressed. There's a lot of talk these days about attitude being a choice. For your humble blogger, it is the effort implicated in this choice and the reason behind getting preoccupied  that is intriguing when thinking about the subject. Even more so, it shines an important light on the necessity of perseverance.
   An insightful perspective on this comes from Fr. Slavko Barbaric in his book Fasting with the Heart. He notes that "Man's entire life and all of his activity can be seen from the standpoint of a pilgrimage." (p. 56).  On it, "He journeys toward his fullness and the final truth about himself..." (56-57).  When one loses focus on this fact, Fr. Barbaric asserts,  "He stops on the way and destroys himself in the anxious concerns of the world"(57). 
     In terms of the word "pressing", using it as an analogy for life as a pilgrimage can be quite helpful, when thinking about it. The very act connotes a particular goal as well as agency in performing the action. It also implies the use of something heavy to achieve the goal. In a positive light, this could mean using the heaviness of the bad times in our lives to get to the fullness Fr. Barbaric speaks of. Losing track of that usually means being on the receiving end of the iron.
     Implicated in all of this is the will. In many instances, will is mentioned when talking about pilgrimage. That's given, as philosophy notes, action begins in the will. Hence, an important chain begins.
     Will leads to action. Action leads to attitude. Attitude shapes the journey. The journey is everything.
     Keep pressing.
Barbaric, Slavko., Fast with the Heart (Medugorje: IC "Mir" Medugorje, 2011).
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice (New York: Vintage Books, 1975).

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Big Picture Thinking

The big picture
Gotta big white cloud
The big picture
Starin’ at me
The big picture
On a big blank wall
The big picture
Is starin’ at me
Starin’ at me When i can see
I’ll try again
I’ve got my paints
(Lyrics from The Big Picture by Y Kant Tori Read. Source:

 For many reading this, being well into the new year has probably meant rethinking resolutions, coming close to giving them up, or finally forming some goals. In thinking about such situations, your humble blogger was reminded of a conversation from the not to distant past.  In that conversation, the term "big picture thinking" arose. The question thus posed for this post is "How does big picture thinking fit in to forming or keeping goals, or in life in general?".

It seems to be too easy to get caught up in the various steps to get to a goal that the main point gets lost. All too often the results overshadow the why. What would happen if the focus shifted towards the whole and away from the sum of its parts? Perhaps it's there where the real fruit is borne.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Food for thought

Once again,  your humble blogger  had some issues with what to share for the new post. As mentioned before,  I like to share as much original content as possible.  Sometimes, however, great insights that have already been shared are worth repeating.  Hence,  this shall be left here to ponder:

Peace and blessings this Holiday season.

Ms . RanaDee

Saturday, November 8, 2014

About (not too distant) history

Sometimes,  something tangible is needed to make history come alive.  Sometimes,  it's important to understand history as not just events that happened in the past, but real things that happened to real people and have real impacts on our society today.  Sometimes, no words are necessary,  so your humble blogger will leave this link here.