Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 11-Your Siblings

I know that I have been missing for a while...I am planning on finally finishing this blog challenge soon!  Wish me luck and PLEASE hold me accountable!!!

This posting is about my siblings!  I am blessed to have two wonderful brothers!  Allow me to introduce you to my twin brother, Jermaine and my younger brother, Cristian!  I have no sisters.

These guys are amazing!!!  I HATE that I live so far from them but I know they are a phone call or skye session away!  Let me start with my twin....

We shared a womb for 9 months!  He's 9 minutes older than me and let him tell it, those were the best 9 minutes of his life!  I like to say that I kicked him out!  We went to high school and college together.  He pledged Kappa Alpha Psi.  During one of their events, he wrote and read me a poem called "1 of 3."  I wasn't able to go and hear it when he read it but it was amazing!  Never knew he'd say all of those wonderful things!  He has been able to live his dreams and do what he really loves to do.  There's a saying that talks about work and if you do something you really enjoy, it's not work.  Well, he does what he loves so I guess it's not really work to him!  I envy that!

Then there's my little (big) brother!  He is an extremely hard working young man.  Although we didn't see eye to eye growing up, he has really matured into a wonderful young man.  He is raising a family and when I see him with his son I can't help but smile.  It's so weird seeing my little brother with a little son himself!  Guess it's part of growing up.  He is a family man and thrives on creating a family environment.  The only thing I don't like about him is that he likes LeBron James....guess I can see past that...I mean he is my brother!  

When the three of us were little, we used to watch WWF wrestling and reenact the scenes.  My name was Pretty in Pink and they were the Jive Soul Bros.  I have no idea where we got those names from but they worked.  There were plenty of Saturday mornings that we would wake up and eat some cereal while watching He Man or Thunder Cats.  This was of course pre- Cartoon Network days.  Cartoons really used to only come on during Saturday mornings!  We used to take full advantage of the pool that we had in our back yard.  When ever my twin and I tried to get away with something, our little brother would snitch on us!  I have some VERY fond memories growing up being the only girl but they made me stronger!  

I love these guys more than anything!  They are the best uncles for my boys and I miss them so much!

GCU Residency 2012...the second and LAST Residency!!!!

Whew..... I did it!!!!  

I completed my second and my last residency!  Operation get this dissertation done is in FULL effect!   On the final day of residency, while we were all presenting our 12 strategic key points, I was busy taking notes on what I wanted to blog about!  I learned so much during this residency and am so ready to apply it to complete this journey that I am on!

Last year I formed a bond with three special from Hawaii, one from Colorado, and one from California.  We tried to all attend the same residency this year so we could continue the bond that we had formed.  3/4 of us were able to meet up at the same time!  We were so excited to see each other and really spent a lot of time together!  We were even able to go and watch one of the NBA playoff games (even though my Lakers weren't playing)!  We did not end up in the same class this year but it was alright.  We all had different experiences this year.  Our group has since expanded!  We ran into two guys that were in our group last year and met some new friends, too!  So....we formed one BIG group and have vowed to push each other through and keep each other motivated and uplifted throughout the rest of our journey!  There is a picture of our large group below!

First things first....I have finally secured my research topic!  This is HUGE for me as I have been all over the place.  The one good thing is that it still falls under the umbrella of mentoring, which if you read my post from residency last year, you know I was very passionate about.  My topic last year that dealt with African American males and the use of mentoring programs to increase their achievement was something that I was very passionate about.  However, at residency last year, I realized that for my program of study I needed to put a leadership spin on it.  As soon as I did that, I lost my passion for it because I really wanted to perform my research from the perspective of the student and not the leader.  So...back to the drawing board!

So, now my topic is going to be a qualitative research study that takes a narrative approach that will seek to understand the hurdles of recruiting and retaining middle school math and science teachers to the profession.  I will be triangulating my data in a means to ensure its validity and reliability.  I will utilize existing archival data, perform interviews and conduct surveys.  By doing these three things, I will hopefully gain a true picture of why it's so difficult to recruit and retain these teachers as well as what it take to successfully do so.  

During residency, I was fortunate enough to be Blessed with two professors, Dr. Branch and Dr. Kimball.  They are both very educated men and have a plethora of knowledge to offer.  They both offer two different points of view so it was very refreshing to be able to run my ideas by a great methodologist as well as a qualitative guru!  Through speaking with Dr. Kimball about my topic, I brought up a previous professor that I had earlier in my program and discussed his research topic and told him that I was going to consider asking my old professor to be my content specialist being as though our topics were similar.  He encouraged me to do so.  I emailed him and guess what....HE SAID YES!!!!!  During my next class, I will be assigned my dissertation chair and my methodologist.  If I am fortunate enough to receive Dr. Kimball or Dr. Branch as my chair, I would be more than happy!

I was also fortunate enough to be asked to sit in with a small group and have a working lunch with the Dean of the Doctoral Program.  We were able to share "glows and grows" for the program that will be used to ensure the improvement and continued success of the program.  I was honored to be asked to serve on this committee that only included approximately 8 people!!!!

During residency, I was able to participate in Chapel on one of the evenings.  I am so glad I attended as I didn't go last year.  The message was powerful and was extremely relevant to what I was experiencing.  We were also able to take a tour of the campus.  It is a beautiful and growing campus!  I can't wait to return next year to walk across the stage as Dr. Rachell!  I was also able to get my class schedule built out for the remainder of my program.  I will be finished with everything (dissertation included) in July of 2013 (fingers crossed)!!!  To actually see what I have left is amazing and as these classes get knocked off my schedule one by one, I am really seeing the end in sight!

The maturation of my work just from Monday to the last day on Friday surpassed me!  I thought I was doing good with what I brought to the table on Monday, but when I left on Friday I felt kind of like something like a soon to be doctor!  LOL!  

My professors put this very challenging task of becoming a Doctor of Education into very achievable small chunks for us....

  1. Perfect my 12 strategic key points.
  2. Get them approved.
  3. Write my prospectus.
  4. Get it approved.
  5. Write my proposal (chapters 1, 2, and 3)
  6. Defend my proposal.
  7. Get them approved.
  8. Perform my research.
  9. Write my chapters 4 and 5.
  10. Defend my dissertation.
  11. Call me Dr. Rachell!!!!
If I can keep these small chunks in mind as I move towards the end of my journey, I will be alright!  So with all of this being shared.....PRAY FOR ME!  LOL!  I see the light peeking at the end of the tunnel and am ready and even more so determined to push forward!  

The GCU Lope and I!  

Ebony (California) , me and Deb (Hawaii)....We met last year and planned to attend together this year.  Although we were not in the same group this year, we spent a lot of time together.

This was our new found group!  We have vowed to keep pushing each other until each of us completes our programs!  Maruo (Nevada), Chuck (Illinois), Jan (Hawaii), Natasha (Arizona), Deb (Hawaii), Monique (Florida), me, Terence (Georgia), and Ebony(California) (from left to right)

Dr. Kimball and I...meeting this man has been life changing.  He shared his testimony with us.  His wife was diagnosed with cancer, his house burned down and he lost his brother all while he was writing his dissertation....he never gave up!

Dr. Branch....this man is VERY smart!  Such an awesome methodologist.  He validated what I wanted to do!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 10-What I wore today....

Ummm so yeah...this is definitely one of those boring posts that you're probably not really concerned about!  I wore some black slacks, a black flow-y tank and a herringbone cropped black and white jacket.  I also had on some black heels which is nothing new as 9 times out of 10 you will see me in heels of some sort!  People always joke that they can hear me coming before they see me!  As far as having a style that I model my dress after, I really don't try to emulate anyone.  I would say that my dress is kind of boring.  I probably wear a cardigan of some sort 3 days out of the week.  I have a lot of black in my wardrobe and some pink as it's my favorite color.  I like cardigans, sweaters, and jackets that I can mix and match and keep it pretty simple and plain.  I like the style of Michelle Obama and the simplicity of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffanys!" along with the class of CoCo Chanel and the diva"ness" of Beyonce.  I guess all of those mixed together is what I envision!  Depending on what day it is and how I'm feeling, either of the four may come out!  My friends say that out of the group, I dress like the conservative teacher...well, I am one!





Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 9-My Beliefs...(in regard to education)


In regards to education....this is easy!  I can sum it up into four words!


You'd be surprised how many educators don't believe in this statement!  Children will not all learn at the same pace, but they will and can all learn IF and I repeat IF...they have the right teacher in front of them.  They must have a nurturing teacher that believes in them and believes that they can learn.  They must have a teacher that is willing to work past the hours of 8-3pm.  They must have a teacher that is willing to figure out how they best learn and really want to cater the lessons to them....even if it means figuring out 15 different ways to teach a topic.  Teachers must be willing to stay after school to tutor their students, to stay after school to call parents and tell them not only when their students are doing wrong but even more so when they are making progress!  

Teachers need to differentiate instruction to meet the multiple intelligences of all of their students.  We may not be able to move all of our students up to grade level by the end of the school year, but we can darn sure try!  If we move them even one or two grades higher than they came to us, that is progress.  Teachers need to be involved in the school in order to create a nurturing climate that the students really feel valued and appreciated in.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 8-A Moment...

I have thought about this one and have thought of several "moments" that I could blog about.  I have even thought about changing it to my "journey." After much thought, the moment that I have chosen is the moment that I moved out of my childhood home. 

Without going into a lot of mom sold HER home...OUR home, our childhood home in 2010.  I went home to help her and my brothers clear out the house that we affectionately called home since 1986.  Clearing out the house was bitter sweet.  It was almost like a cleansing process.  We had been holding onto so much stuff for so many years and this forced us all to let it go.  In the garage, I found one big box wth my name on it that contained so many memories:
  • Porcelin dolls and masks that I used to collect
  • Love letters from old crushes and boyfriends
  • Yearbooks from middle and high school
  • Hundreds of letters from my best friends
  • College acceptance letters
  • SAT scores
  • Endless amounts of pictures
  • My old cheerleading uniforms (4 years worth)
  • My cheerleading megaphone
  • Certificates and awards
  • Old report cards and progress reports
  • My old pagers!!!!
  • Ballet slippers from when I was little
  • Old essays and work from high school
  • A book that I wrote in Ms. Farish's English class
  • My old retainers
The list goes on and on.  I really thought that I would be alright with packing up what I could and bringing it back home with me but not so much.  The last time that I walked out of that house and closed the door, I broke down in tears.  Why?  I have moved on with my life and established my home here.  It was the permanent ending to having a place to call "home."  The ending to have a common place to meet my side of the family on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It put closure on having the same phone number to call home for over 25 years. 

Closing that door and looking around brought back so many memories:
  • Getting our pool built
  • Practicing for cheerleading tryouts
  • My car accident in my driveway
  • Having our friends over ALL of the time
  • Holidays, holidays, and more holidays
  • Practicing for the Ms. Ebony Eyes Pageant that my mom made my costume for and coreographed my talent routine for!  I got first runner up.
  • Learning to drive
  • Experiencing earthquakes
  • Elementary school, middle school and high school
  • Riding my pink beach cruiser down the street
  • Walking around the neighborhood to see all of our friends
  • Joe that lived across the street and ALL of his cats
  • Playing basketball in our driveway
  • Swimming for hours on end
  • All of the pets that we had
That was "our" house and I have so many memories there.  Driving away from it for the last time was bitter sweet.  Time to move on and let it go...the memories and moments will live on, but I hate that it's not "home" any more!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 7-My Best Friend

I have several "best friends."  I have been fortunate enough to experience different phases of my life in different places and this has allowed me to gain several groups of friends.  This list is by no means all inclusive as I have TONS of people that I depend on and value in my life...I am creating this list in order of them appearing in my life.

You can go back and read the post about my parents a few posts ago.  My mother is my very best friend!  She is always there for me and I love her more than anything in this world.  We haven't always been like this.  I remember times when I was furious with her for "controlling" my life so much.  Looking back on it, she was just being my mom.  I value her, appreciate her and love her more than words could ever express.  I know that God chose her to be my mother and me to be her daughter and I am so glad he did.  He makes no mistakes.


What can I say about these three girls?  We've been friends since high school and they have always been there for me.  We don't talk everyday, nor do we even see each other every year (we are trying to change this) but we always, always pick up right where we left off.  We have all gone in different directions but they remain so dear to my heart.  We've been through boyfriends, the birth of our kids, marraiges, divorces, remarraiges, career changes, moves across the country, and we still have each other's backs.  I have so many memories with these ladies....Without sharing secrets, let me see if I can recall a few....
  • Ke'ara and I working together at Mrs. Knotts Restaraunt and Bakery.
  • Ke'ara and I working at Hot Dog on a Stick.
  • Michelle working at Kids Foot Locker, well her parents thought she was working...
  • Michelle and Ke'ara getting tickets and removing tint, going to court and getting it put back on all in the same day...thank God it rained that day.
  • All four of us "mobbing" up to the mall to "beat someone up."  I've never been in a fight before in my life but I thought I was a "G" that night!  It never happened...
  • Me moving to Atlanta to go to college and them staying up with me all night the night before I left and following me to the airport...I don't think I've ever cried so hard in my life.
  • Michelle working at Great Steak and hooking us up everytime we left school for lunch.
  • All of us riding around in Michelle's we had some good times in that car.
  • Always hanging out at my house...making "Cops" video reenactments, rap videos (Snoop Dogg was HUGE back then). 
These 3 girls have ALWAYS had my back.  I know that my life is made better because they are in it.


When I got to college in Atlanta, these are two of the first people that I met.  Danielle was from Pamona, CA so we naturally clicked, and Tamara was a Biology major like me...I wanted to be just like her...I don't know how she got so darn smart but I learned a LOT from her work ethic.  She always puts 100% to everything that she does.  She is a doctor and Danielle is an educator.  Again, no matter how much time goes by, we always connect.  Tamara has just moved back to Atlanta so I am excited about spending more time with her.  In college, if you saw one of us, you saw the other two.  We were inseparable. 
My most fond memory of these two ladies is when all three of us were RA's (resident assistants) together in college.  We thought we would be in the Towers but quickly found out that we were going to SAQ.  Anyone familiar with Morris Brown knows that SAQ was like the outcast of the dorms but all the cool people stayed there!  Even when it was an all male dorm, the cool dudes stayed there (like my brother!). 
  • We would go to church together. 
  • We've been through a tornado together. 
  • We've taken road trips to Fort Valley together. 
  • We've been to countless football and basketball games together. 
  • Danielle and Tamara pledged together. 
  • We've given blood together. 
  • Eaten countless meals together. 
  • My son and I were in Danielle's wedding. 
  • Most importantly, they were there for the birth of my first son. 
I love these ladies and am so proud of the women that they've become. 


She gets me...We met at Bath and Body Works years ago and to this day, I value and appreciate her.  I love her.  I love her family.  Her parents are amazing.  We've been through the birth of our children and her getting married together.  I was in her wedding when I was 8 months pregnant with Jacob!  She's a therapist and I find myself calling her often to utilize her "services!"  She blogs too and I am always amazed by her writing.  Her heart is HUGE and she makes no mistakes for it.  Her only fault is being a graduate of UGA...GO GATORS!  LOL!  I am truly honored and know that I am blessed that God ordered us into each other's lives.


RD!  LOL!  I've know her for about 13 years and met her when she was my manager at Bath and Body Works.  She used to walk around in a jean dress and some black slides that used to drag across the floor!  We've been through a LOT together.  She is older than I and although I am her little sister's age, I don't look up to her as an older sister...she is definitely my friend.  Our sons have grown up together and we've been through countless hours of phone conversations, side hustle jobs, and different experiences together.  We don't talk every day either but she's always there if I need her.  She is a soccer mom, a single mom, and a hardworking parent.  She knows how to have a good time.  She makes sure that she enjoys life.  I know that if I ever want to go out and have a good time, I need to call her! 

TT Crew


Disclaimer...I am going to have to be very cautious about what I say about this group of friends!  Point blank, I love them!  Talk about some people having your back.  Let me rewind.  When I was teaching one year, we had an influx of math teachers.  I was like, who are they?  They were always together.  The kicker for me was when they showed up at prom and overtook the dance floor.  Yes, I must admit, I was hating!  The next school year, we worked more closely together and we got to know each other and out of about 120 teachers at that school, we found each other.  Brandon, Katrina, Rodney, Ken and Tanika (she came later) are some of the most phenomenal people I know.  People actually call us the "TT crew!"  It's hilarious!  We've had an area superintendent tell us that he appreciated how closely we worked together and asked how he could be a part of the "TT crew!"  Tanika's husband told us he was jealous of the crew!  We used to get acknowledged on school announcements.  Instead of calling out our names individually, they would just say "TT crew."  Our students have been trying to figure out what TT stands for for a long time and always used to tell us that when they graduated they were going to be "let in" to the crew....HILARIOUS!!!  We've been acknowledged by the SGA president at graduation in front of thousands of people for being mentors (I posted about him last year-Brandon Stallings).  I say all of this, not to brag or boast about what people think or say about us.  Rather, to try to express the closeness and bond that we have between all of us.  It's real and it's genuine and people recognize that.  They are by far some of the best friends that anyone could have.  We laugh, and cackle together all of the time, but we also cry together (a lot) and let each other know "the truth" when it's not what we want to hear.  Somehow, the truth is more easily swallowed from them than other people.  Maybe because we know that there is so much caring and concern coming from behind it.  Let me attempt to recall some things we have been through:
  • Katrina surviving breast cancer!!!!
  • Breast cancer walks.
  • Student Government activities (one of us was always the sponsor).
  • Endless shopping trips.
  • Endless eating outings.
  • Prom after prom after prom.
  • Impromptu TT meetings.
  • The infamous track trip!  This has got to be my favorite memory.  We told the students that when we got back on Monday to school, that when they heard our names called across the intercom, to know that we would have some explaining to do!  
I wouldn't trade these guys in for the world.  They always have my back and are amazing.  Between the five of us we have the following:
  • 5 Bachelors degrees
  • 5 Masters degrees
  • 3 Specialists degrees (1 more on the way)
  • by the end of 2013 we will have 3 Doctoral degrees!!!!!!!
When they say that you should associate yourself with people that are about making moves....they are evident of that.  We always push each other to do better.... 

Three words can describe this girl..."funny as heck."  We met because she was my coteacher but she quickly became someone that I value and appreciate more than words can describe.  She introduced me to the plethora of cupcake shops in the city of Atlanta...I think we've been to every one of them.  She's always there.  I can pick up the phone and call her at any time.  She comes from a phenomenal God fearing family. Her family is the type of family that you'd see on tv (kind of like the Huxtables) and want your family to be just like theirs!   Her parents support her and drive MILES to come to the basketball games that she coaches or the SGA activities that Brandon forced her into!  We share the same birthday too!  She sits back and observes everything.  She's the quietest person I know but she will tell it like it is.  She will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.  She is the epitome of what a "guy's girl" is.  She can hang with any group of guys and talk sports better than they do!  She and I play fantasy football together and this chick wins!  She is in the process of pursuing her life goals and I am so proud of her.  I know that she will go on to do great and wonderful things and continue to make an impact on those that are fortunate enough to encounter her presence.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that my life is better because she is a part of it.  She understands me like other people don't....

To sum it up....
I believe that God makes no mistakes.  He puts us all in particular situations, with certain people at certain times in our lives because he knows what we need.  I am fortunate enough that he has put me in places to meet these wonderful people.  My life is better because each of them are in it.  The don't all know each other, nor have all of them spent time together but I believe that if they did, they would have a wonderful time together.  I have depended on all of these people at different times and have no doubt that they would be there for me if I ever needed them, despite how much time goes by or when the last time I talked to them was.  So, with all of that being shared, I publically tell all of you thankyou.  Thankyou for loving me.  Thankyou for accepting me like I am and not judging me.  Thankyou for always being there for me and being a continuous blessing in my life.  I love you all.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year! A reflection of 2011....


Disclaimer....Okay...I'm going to try this again!  I already did this earlier today and spent about 3 hours doing it.  I was all the way to the end of November and my post disappeared!  UGH!!!!  I will get as much as I can get done now and then will add to it as the days go on and time permits.  When this message is removed, I will be done!

With the new year upon us, I felt the need to take a break from my 30 day challenge (which is probably going to turn into a 60 day challenge at the rate I'm going!) and reflect back on the year 2011.  It's 2012 and I am really thankful for where I've been and even more excited for where I'm going!  I got this idea from my friend, Tiffany, who is also doing the 30 day challenge!   This is kind of going to serve as a journal/diary/reflection of the past here goes!!!!


  • We experienced the Ice Storm of Atlanta!  While the city was shut down for a week due to the ice, I was at a differentiated instruction conference in Orlando!  I'm glad I went because I learned a lot!
  • I started this blog!
  • I started a twitter account...well, a few of them!  lol
  • I began to further and more deeply seek out my purpose in the educational realm.  
Elijah and Jacob

My dog, Cali

  • I had the pleasure of meeting our first lady, Michelle Obama with my son, Elijah....what an honor!
Ardeana, Vanessa's friend, Elijah, Monique and Vanessa

Mrs. Obama, our first lady
Elijah and I with our tickets

Mrs. Obama was speaking to Elijah and getting ready to give him a hug.  
Yes, that's me in the background was a very proud moment!

  • March was pretty uneventful!  Jacob attended his first basketball banquet.  He really enjoyed basketball as it was his first season playing.
Jacob and his basketball coach

  • I was able to chaperone a field trip to Savannah, GA for my son's class (Elijah).  We toured Savannah State, visited an old church, another church that was used during the Underground Railroad to house slaves that were escaping to freedom, took a walk on River Street, visited Jekyll Island, visited an old battlefield, and took a Riverboat tour.  It was literally a 24 hour field trip!  Quality time with my baby....priceless!
  • We were fortunate enough to take the kids to Orlando for Spring Break.  Disney World was beautiful, as always!!!
  • Visited with my friend, TJ and his family.
  • Elijah played baseball at Columbia High School.  He was only in the 8th grade!
  • I went to Chicago for the first time!  I had a ball!  I think I could live there....especially on Madison Avenue!  
  • I participated in the Lupus Walk in memory of friend from high school, Marcelle Williams (he passed away just short of his 30th birthday)  and in honor of my coworker, Dr. Latoya Doby-Holmes.  I raised a little under $500.00 for the walk.
Pictures from Savannah

 Pictures from Orlando, FL.

TJ and his family

Elijah in his batting stance

 Some pictures from Chicago.  Michael Jordan, Oprah and Garrett's popcorn...
what else does a girl need?

 Pictures from the Lupus Walk

  • Elijah attended 2 football camps and did well at both.
Pictures from Football University Camp.

 Offense Defense Camp

  • I had the honor of attending the baby shower of my dear friend, Stacie.  She is one of those friends that "gets me."  We've been friends for about 10 years and although we don't talk every day, when we do talk, we pick right back up where we left off.
  • I also attended my first residency for my doctoral program in Phoenix, AZ.  My mom lives there so I got to spend some quality time with her as well.
  • I also got to go to California for a few days and spend some time with family and friends. My nephew, Kingston also got dedicated back to the Lord while I was there.  
  • My baby, Jacob celebrated his 7th birthday!
  • We found out that Elijah got accepted into Decatur High School.  This was HUGE for us as we decided that we were going to sacrifice and do what we needed to do to ensure his educational success, and expose him to another culture and climate.  He is also playing Varsity football there...more to come in the month of September!
  • TONS of baseball games and tournaments!
Stacie and I (with baby Sam in her tummy!)

 Me at GCU (I blogged about this last June if you want to read more)

Family and friends at Kingston's dedication

Jacob turned 7!

We bought balloons and tied them to Elijah's chair.  When he got home he had to figure out why they were there!  Decatur we come!!!

 Baseball, baseball and more baseball!!!!

  • We took our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  We've been going for about the past 11 years.  Besides going to the beach, we've now found TONS of other things to do there!


  • Melvin celebrated his birthday.
  • We celebrated our 13 year anniversary.
  • Elijah started high school and began playing Varsity football for DHS.
  • Jacob started 2nd grade.