Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
I’ll never forget the sight. Standing in line more than a decade ago with hundreds of graduates awaiting the march into the ceremony, I saw my mom and dad walking in together a little late. She, with a basket of fruits too heavy for her to bear, but far too precious not to. Him, adorned in a bright red jacket as if to say “nobody is going to make me miss this special occasion when my daughter receives her Masters degree”! I thought to myself…should I acknowledge them or should I shy away from this somewhat humorous sight? I dismissed the very thought and rushed to their side hugging them both. My action was met with admiration, claps, and with sounds of “aww”, as the waiting graduates stirred. Needless to say that this achievement was for both my parents as neither had college degrees. After the ceremony, my mom hugged and congratulated me with the question “when are you going to get the Doctorate?” The nerve! How could she? But her question stayed with me for years, even after the receipt of yet another Masters degree.
Years later, I finally acceded to fulfilling her dream. She couldn’t do it so I decided to do it for her. A year into the program while enroute to a mandated summer conference in Orlando, I received a call that she (with whom I spoke an hour earlier), had suffered a massive stroke!
That was the start of a yearlong journey to be by her side through thick and thin. Ironically both our journeys were paths of learning. Hers being to learn to talk, to walk, to eat, to do life’s simple things, and to learn the basics of living all over again. Me, to face the reality of the situation that my mother was in, and to learn the skills to adequately provide her care. Along with my two sisters (one who was ailing with the ravages of cancer at the time), we brought her to live closer so we could adequately care for her return to ‘normalcy’.
As I reflect on my journey, on one occasion I remember receiving an important call from a professor while attending to her needs. I answered the call, got the coaching from the professor then returned to finish her care. This became a routine.
I remember being by her side at the hospital for hours, days, weeks. She was my morning motivation. I couldn’t start the day without her knowing that I cared. It was the same at nights. I couldn’t end the day without visiting her; without her knowing that I was there for her. At work, the leaders knew that if they wanted my best then I needed an hour to be with my mom which was the fuel for the rest of the day. I happily worked that back during lunch or after hours. This went on for a year but sadly she never recovered. We later discovered that her body was wreaked with cancer unknown to our family. It was too much for her to bear.
After she passed this was my driving force. I had to finish my studies for her. I had to accomplish her dream, something she couldn’t do herself. I had to finish to show my two girls that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. I had to finish and leave something tangible behind. This culminated in a research to track the paths of immigrant leaders and their journey to success to achieve the American Dream. I accomplished that feat two years after she passed away. The research is now published and available here. I now spend my time coaching individuals and entrepreneurs to never give up; to keep going, because with that passion they will accomplish their dreams.
She’ll have my head if she knows I’m writing this but some stories must be told.
That was how I started this story four years ago but don’t think it was ever published. It was the spring of 2003, after experiencing discomfort and a series of medical tests, the news was relayed to my sister. Not only did they find a lump in her breast but it was also malignant. Visits to Specialists left her with two options; remove the breast, or embark on a series of chemo treatment. The option of removal was an uncommon feat at the time, so after engaging family, friends and mountains of prayers, she made the decision to save the breast and embrace the chemo treatment.
Past The Worst
Over 10 years later and different rounds of chemo treatment combined with the usual side effects of hair loss, nervous system changes such as numbness, weak feelings and more…yet she still kept on fighting. Fighting to survive for her children. Fighting to see them “pass the worse”.
Why I Now Share
I write this not to seek sympathy but to share the innate character of my sister – Carleen, a stalwart! A fighter! A survivor extraordinaire! A teacher by profession, she spent her years in New York, Florida and the Caribbean educational systems molding the youthful minds of countless children. Many were overwhelmed by the genuine care and concern she had shown for her students-many of whom she brought from non-or-minimal performance to the realms of exceeding expectations.
October Is Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer awareness month and for that I choose to celebrate and remember my sister, Elaine AKA Carleen. Yes she passed. 12 years hard battle. She won some. She lost some. But in the end I walk away remembering the fighter that she was. I choose to celebrate the character and personal attributes of someone who has made a difference in the lives of many.
If you were Stranded on a desert island and had the choice of only one book, what would it be. Here’s what participants in a public forum named as their favorite book if they only had to choose only one:
How to Survive on a Desert Island
Six of Crows
The Great Gatsby
A Court of Mist and Fury
Queen of Shadows
How To Build a Boat
I’ll Give You the Sun
The Book Thief
They Both Die
So what book would you be like to be stuck with if you had only one choice on a desert island? Share. We would love to hear.
Mid-life she decided to move to Paris. A dream she always had. With kids grown and little or no responsibilities she decided to take the plunge! She bought a house exclaiming “it’s my first time”.
I thought about that. I have had many first times. An explorer and lover of adventure, I have sky-dived for the first time. I have moved to different states and countries for the first time. Not to mention my first time at writing and publishing my research on Success Strategies. A book that has many others for their first time.
I remember the first time I experienced childbirth…exhilarating yet humbling experience. 14 years later I did it again for the first time and the experience was no different. Wonders of the world! A little me was born again for the first time.
I now look forward to my own personal travel to a Cafe in the French Quarters…a dream to feast, ponder while I write, and ride the gondola in neighboring Venice. Now that’s a first time that I can hardly wait for as I did in my Weekend In Paris…
Is there something you’d like to do but because it’s the first time you’re afraid? Why not take the risk? Try it. Step out in faith. Who knows you may experience Success for the first time ….all over again.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~Dr. Suess
I have always wanted to visit Paris. This was the promised gift to myself when I hung up my student cap after years and years of continuous studies. Then the workaholic that I am, saw 4 years go by in a flash embarking on community initiatives, writing, and more.
A month ago my oldest surprised me with a Birthday Weekend trip to Paris. But how can I visit Paris for just a weekend? That’s when my youngest ‘scolded’ me. “Go”, she said. “You have always wanted to do it. Just go.” I agreed and made it into a long weekend. Wonder of wonders! I discovered I even had time to spare. Time to watch the rain, the people, and the waves of the Seine River go by at sunset.
Travel Across Continents
The flight was long but it was far from boring. I read. I wrote. I watched movies. I chatted with my oldest, slept, and I ate. Before we knew it, the descent was upon us.
Reading in Flight
Travel’s Cultural Differences
Cultural differences are everywhere. In Paris the hotel rooms are tiny spaces. Just enough to get by, yet absolutely comfortable. TV channels are in le francais. Plugs for chargers, electrical items and such differ. Disappointed, frustrated for sure I was at first, but then it’s not about me. I travel for new experiences and that’s what I got.
A polite society…bonjour, merci, pardon, were among the basics to know in that language and will serve as the basic entre to service. They are curt and offer no apologies. So do your research before you go and you’ll be just fine (smile).
Food in Paris is divine. Delicious. Sumptuous. Absolutely satisfying. But don’t rush….it ain’t fast food. When you visit the unique restaurants among which my fav is the Cafe, you dine, taste the delectables, and chill. No rush for the check. You ask, you eventually receive.
Getting around you have the choice of the cabs, buses, the metro. But may God help you if you do not understand the linguistic pronunciation of the place where you are going. When you arrive at your stop, you may not even know. So ask, ask, ask information before you board. Then read as you progress at each stop.
Speaking from experience…do I need to say more? Hint…frustration (smile)
Paris Sites To See
You haven’t been to Paris if you haven’t visited La Tour Eiffel, Notre-Dame, Le Louvre and smiled with Mona Lisa. Sites …beautiful. Historically meaningful. Mesmerizing. Long walks. Tired feet, but worth every minute.
So that’s a tiny glimpse into my Parisian journey for the first time. The trip was memorable. The photos provide the stillness of the moment. A dream come through. Would I go back? Yessss definitely!
I encourage you to take the time to step out and achieve your own dreams. Big or small, they will come through despite the odds.
Goals. The Path. When You Can’t See Clearly, Slow Down or even Stop. ~ Dr. Shelly Cameron
The news reported sisters returning from a trip to Disneyland. The driver a mom in her early 20s, could hardly see due to immense fog and rain. She accelerated to get past the fog. Sadly, she drove head-on into another car that caused two fatalities. One family member said they couldn’t see clearly and that’s what caused the accident.
Innovation and Industry Disappearance
A friend shared with me a compilation of research that discussed the demise of Kodak whose name years ago was synonymous with photos. Gone. Disappeared. Artificial intelligence has taken over business. If we consider the likes of Uber, where a driver shows up at the click of a button to take you wherever you want to go. Airbnb vacation rentals has created disruption in the hotel industry. Social media giant Facebook, and other devices recognizes the face of our friends, family, colleagues without even a click or a whisper.
And there are more.
Things change. We create goals and invest the time for them to become real. But if we are not careful about monitoring our rapidly changing environment, we suddenly discover that what we are working towards, no longer exist. A politician spent time networking and missed the application deadline to run for office. Though she had the mass of supporters who were willing to get behind her, she was disqualified because her application was late. Tis sad.
Don’t Be Alarmed
But don’t be alarmed. If you are in the midst of forging ahead with a business entrepreneurship endeavor, pursuing college education, extending your family, or planning a vacation, be keen. When you can’t see your way clearly, you may need to slow down or even stop, if necessary. It’s only wise. Accelerating and going full speed ahead can be dangerous. At times you may need to pause and reflect. Are you still on track? Is it even still applicable? If you are not paying attention, and things change, it’s necessary to recoup and see if you need to change direction, make a U-turn or try something new.
Today I encourage you to open wide your eyes. Try to see clearly the path you need to take? Are you still on track? Need help? Let’s connect.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life–think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” –Swami Vivekananda