Try Breaking the Ice Like This…

  • niceice

Ever been on an ice rink?  With ice skates?  It can be challenging.  Ever been on an ice rink, without ’em?  They have.  Don’t worry.  They didn’t desecrate the rink, we made sure to get permission.  Invited to a private party, these boys took advantage of a rare opportunity to do the unexpected.  While there was a previously determined mode of operation, they struggled a bit.

But while many others went with the standard, they broke out of their comfort zones and considered the possibilities.  What a way to break the ice! What transpired next could be only be categorized as relentless excitement; pint-size, but pleasant pandemonium – and an adventure to remember.

So often, we find ourselves in situations that may be foreign.  Perhaps, your background is not the same as your peers or associates.  There are certain elements that you recognize, but maybe you struggle a bit.  Perhaps your challenge lies in the fact that you haven’t considered the possibilities beyond face value.  Maybe there’s another way you could look at it, that would still give you the leverage to excel.

Am I saying break the rules?  No.  I’m saying, explore your options.  Think differentlyPursue diligentlyStrategize incessantly.  Sometimes it’s not asking questions that matters.  It’s the questions that you ask!

I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a friend on yesterday whom I’ve known since elementary.  He’s a passionate, prolific family man who has a wonderful career and a beautiful wife and children.  While he’s done considerably well in his profession, he’s pursuing another lifelong passion that he placed on a back burner while life happened.

Unregretful of his decision to table it earlier, he’s now ready to pick it up and move forward. So he’s preparing!  My favorite part?  He’s conditioning himself mentally for his new pastime/future career in a manner parallel to how he prepared himself as a middle school, high school and college athlete.  He’s molding his mindset.

He’s allocating designated time to dedicate to the development of his craft.  He’s researching, studying and practicing for perfection…because he has an end goal in mind.  I’m convinced he’s going to get there…because he’s not afraid to step out of his comfort zone and get on the rink with an approach that perhaps others – haven’t seen yet.

If you take a moment to consider success stories you’ve seen and heard, rarely do they achieve the unthinkable by majoring in the mundane.  They think differently.  They pursue diligently.  They strategize incessantly.   I’m positioning myself to do the same in order to catch my dream.  Are you ready to catch yours, too?  Break the ice…and Leap with Me.  Adventures await… #imsmiling

#pursueyourpassion, #betheone, #catchyourdreams, #Leap2017, #breaktheice

Caption:  Brown Boys shattering the status quo.  Mommy Brown to follow suit…





Magic & Memories



I almost did it.  I almost took her home.  Forever.  Because her grandmother said I could have her.  I thought about all the little men running around the Brown home and how much I am madly in love with my tribe, but I couldn’t get away from that subtle  inclination to have that pinkness in my house!

I loved the lace dress.  The blue-green eyes.  The tiny tights.  The diamond earrings and the clinging that she did for what felt like hours, but I floated back into the realm of reality and finally conceded to letting her go.  Nevertheless, I realized that even if I didn’t take her home, I’m still on a path to potentially impact her life.  I’m making magic and memories – for everyone…

I’ve received more texts and phone calls and emails than normal lately, particularly in reference to my renewed interest in charging ahead on catching those dreams.  I’ve been most delighted though!

In a weekend conversation, I learned that one Dreamer has already started journaling and planning to develop a portfolio for future intentions of becoming a model.  Another Dreamer wanted to develop a specialized curriculum that they hadn’t seen in any of the Districts surrounding them.

Another Dreamer on a path that parallels my own has been in the planning stage of consulting aspirations and found herself being pursued by interested clients that she never expected to meet.

An enthusiastic Dreamer from last week relayed the unveiling of a project that he and a partner have worked on for two years.  Overflowing with ideas, we’ll be meeting soon to determine a timeline to help them makes those moments of innovation into milestones of reality.

My favorite responses?  Those that have been contacting me to let me know that they’ve already gotten started on the homework assignment from this weekend!  I’m trying to contain my own excitement because I’m thrilled that I’m able to share this journey with others who are ripe for realization.  Which gets me back to the future Dreamer in the picture.

We too often forget how the reality of our dreams affects others.

For every story I hear of those that are ready to leap, there are ten more that share why they just can’t do it.  Some cite time, money, or support; but, I remind them that their decision isn’t limited to changing their world, it can change the worlds of others.   That’s the magic.

Touching others with your tenacity!  Inspiring them to dream because they see yours coming to fruition!  Making memories that make history…and move others to do something great…

That young lady who wants to become a model is choosing a new segment of the industry that focuses on unconventional beauty and steers away from the status quo.

She’s considering in part because of many teens who have already expressed how they look up to her as she defies what beauty was perceived to be and defines, in her own right, what beauty is.  She’s ready for the next step.

That educator, who met the clients she wasn’t expecting, almost didn’t attend the meeting she was invited to.  She thought age gaps might be a factor and that others may not have enough in common with her in spite of her efforts.  She fought those feelings of doubt and pressed forward to that meeting, contending that it was one of the best experiences of her professional career.

I’ve toyed with the idea of penning a book for years.  And after starting and stopping, starting and stopping received a post two days ago that said, “Have you written any books yet? If so, let me know. I would love to read any you write.”  #confirmation…

If you’re still sitting on those ideas; those passions; those goals, those unrepentant, untapped, unfulfilled dreams.  Stop squelching them!

Because you don’t live and operate in isolation, those inclinations – whether they are within your current profession, a part of your personal goals or something that could impact communities within and abroad – they’re yours; stamped with your originality and authenticity.  Who better to do it than you?

If you extinguish your fire, you won’t be the only one who suffers from the loss.  So will those around you who could be greatly benefited by your best efforts.  This is the season of giving, right?  Give us your best.  We’re dying to see what’s in store.

My dreams are on the horizon…  Watch me leap…

#catchyourdreams, #leapofgreat, #betheone, #pursueyourpassion, #leap2017, #somethingsbrewing, #beadreamer, #staytuned

Caption:  I might convince her to be a Dreamer tomorrow if I catch my dreams today.


The Wonder Is Worth the Wait


With a vibrant garden just outside my door, I’m privy to many of nature’s magnificent miracles.  A special patch of milkweed beckons a certain kind of caterpillar so we can enjoy the beauty of the Monarchs soon to arrive; but, as many of you know – it’s quite the process.  Now as a teacher and life science fanatic, I do think there’s something neat about caterpillars.  However, in my old age, I can’t say that I’m nearly as eager to have them crawling on my finger as I was as a 7 yr. old.  I leave that to the zealous second graders, and they’re in full supply.

I am far more intrigued as an adult about – the process.  At select times of year, the leaves are replete with caterpillars of all sizes, feasting and gorging in preparation for the most transformative experience of their lives.  I marvel at their instinct; their ability to survive the deadliest of odds; the simplicity and forthrightness of their objectives – and their commitment.  Despite the many movies I watched on PBS and countless animal books I read as a little girl, witnessing firsthand the creation of a chrysalis is incomparable to any recording – live or otherwise.  Even when I’m the only member of the audience, sitting on the grassy front row – I still hold my breath.

I was reminded of how fascinating this process was on our last trip to the garden.  I peeked over into a small container and saw this tiny chrysalis and remembered how I always liked the ornamental specs of gold that graced the verdant green exterior – I assumed because it seemed reminiscent of royalty.  Enter Epiphany of Brown.  As I peered intently into the digital photograph last night, I recalled a conversation I had yesterday with a seasoned educator, for whom I have high regard.  She wanted me to know she’d finished reading my latest posts, and among her favorites was – “The One in the Back.

As the conversation progressed, we began to talk about the many people we know; and how numerous talented people work tirelessly at doing a wonderful job, in whatever field, but still seem to get passed over.  This can occur for so many different reasons….but, I’d like to speak to those of you who have and continue to work tirelessly, but are doing so with an end in mind.  You are working toward something.  You are feeding your passion daily.  You might be discouraged because you feel like you’re still doing so much “ground” work, but don’t be burdened because you’ve invested so much time and effort into your pursuit.  You are building a foundation.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by all of the other “caterpillars” in your space – noticing that you are not the only one on your grind; perturbed that there’s only so much milkweed, and you’re competing for what you need to survive.  Even still, a transformative experience awaits…  When you finally reach that perfect moment, you will see everything come together that needs to in order for you to be in that appointed place.  Things that must be in sync will allow you to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing – if you are prepared.  Don’t despise the grind.  Embrace it.  Those efforts that you make to be committed to your cause will be the very fodder you need for your chrysalis.

Despite the amount of time it will take to prepare; no matter how long it takes you to transform, the end result – will be simply spectacular.  We know most people don’t stare at caterpillars and come away with a warm, fuzzy feeling; but, they do seem to be quite smitten with the picturesque butterflies they become.  I was once told by an optimist that, “My latter would be greater than my former.”  I believe that.  For those of you who are putting in the work that seems so tedious on many days, don’t stop feeding your passion.  Ignore the naysayers and do what you do best – invest in yourself and in your dreams.  That chrysalis is coming.  You may step in a caterpillar, but the wonder into which you’ll transform in the end will be well worth the wait.

#pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #betheone

Taste Your Dreams…


So we’ve been told tasting is primed for your palate; but, suppose you could taste with your mind?  What if you could smell your future, hear your hopes, feel your fervor – and taste your dreams.  I savor the thought, and I’m not the only one.

My first introduction to Gracie Cavnar, the striking red headed powerhouse at the center of the picture was through my elementary school years ago as a fourth grade teacher.  As a part of her ingenious program, restaurant James Beard Award Nominee, Chef Monica Pope, was paired with my class monthly.   Quite naturally in love with all things cuisine, I was utterly delighted!  Cooking and gardening were now part of my curriculum.

I delved deeper in my inquiries into the graceful Gracie after my son, Michael, then seven (center) was invited to participate in a photo shoot for her premiere non-profit, Recipe for Success.  Cavnar was being featured in Self Magazine for her outstanding community achievements.

What I didn’t know is that the burgeoning success she was so rapidly attaining was after she’d already garnered achievements in “architecture, hospitality, marketing, and public relations.” Despite over four decades of investment in these industries, her greatest fulfillment has been fueled by realizing her dream for changing the landscape of childhood obesity.  I’m enchanted with her passion.

In less than a decade, she took an idea, fixated on her goal, compelled comrades, connoisseurs, and communities, and cultivated an unprecedented movement.  Her tireless efforts as the pro-bono chair of the organization have yielded not only millions of dollars in funds raised, but propelled her to national recognition, to include receiving a distinguished position as an adviser to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Task Force.  Impressed with her amazing results, she was asked to share her vision with a nation hungry for change.

So what intrigues me about Mrs. Cavnar?  The scintillating scent of stamina, coupled with a dash of determination, immersed in a generous amount of inspiration, yielding incessant servings of Recipes for Success.  On countless occasions, we all have dreams.  The question is, which half do you represent?  Are you among those who dream in vivid colors, but fail to realize the sweetness of your endeavors?  Or are you on the other side of the contemplative coin?

Regardless of where you stand, never marginalize your innovation.  What may seem minute can transform into magnificence.  A single endeavor, simple in merit, could revolutionize entire cultures.  I have a few dreams of my own, and I’m pursuing them feverishly because I see them brightly.  Despite facts and failures beyond my control, my fervor remains unfeigned.  With every success, my hopes rise like the aroma of fresh baked-bread.  I can hear the opportunities knocking at the door.  I taste my dreams.  Can you?  If not, start stirring your gift.  Pursue your passion.

Passion Propels Like Rockets…What’s Propelling You?

Rockets, Reading, and Michael

When Michael finished Diary of a Wimpy Kid in 3 days at age 6, I raised an eyebrow or two.  I was in disbelief until his 1st grade teacher, Vicki Perry (who happened to be in Education 40+ years and was a former principal) told me he was reading over 200 words per minute thanks to her out of the box teaching!  Excitement naturally followed because just a year before he told me he HATED reading.

I panicked and went on a massive effort to show him just how enjoyable it could be!  Fast forward to last year, and his love for reading and our school librarian, Cheryl Hensley (pictured above), pushed him farther than I ever could have imagined he would go, reading at a 12th grade level!  Competing with students citywide (up to 5th grade), he entered a one month reading competition sponsored by the Houston Rockets and won!  Reading over 15,000 minutes in just one month he was visited by a Rockets representative and won a Nook, Barnes and Nobles gift card, backpack, and Rockets Read T-Shirt.  He also made the Name that Book upper grade team, reading 30 books, some numbering 500+ pages.  Not bad for a third grader!

My husband and I often talked about what he’d be when he was smaller.  I turned over and over in my mind what would be best.  So we tried him out in swimming, basketball, tae kwon do, piano, and more.  At the end of the day though, he said, “Carla, don’t worry about it.  He’ll figure out what he wants to do.  You don’t have to pressure him.  Just let him choose naturally.”  To date, he’s still young and indecisive, but happily exploring.  What I do know, is that my baby loves to read.  I’m happy to say that I can find him sprawled on the floor with books, consumed, undisturbed for hours.  When I asked myself why, I realized – that even at a young age, he’s found something that he’s passionate about.

Kids aren’t the only ones with passions.  There are things we do that get us so excited, that we could literally do it all day!  But do we?  Adults are far more likely to squelch their desires to pursue what they do well with a list of readily available reasons for why they could never take their passions farther.  I say, delve into the undiscovered, and tread through the uncharted!  What is it that you’ve avoided because you “didn’t have time,” or “didn’t know where to begin” or “just didn’t get around to it?”  I’m not saying quit your job tomorrow and go off the deep end, but I am saying – if there’s something you could do that you’d enjoy more – a craft that you could hone that could be more fulfilling – explore it!  Plan it!  It could fuel you in ways you never imagined…Perhaps it’s the next best chapter in your journey of life.  You won’t know till you try.  #whatspropellingyou, #pursueyourpassion, #thankyouteachers, #thankyoulibrarians

Martin, Magic, and Me

MLK Contest

Has your passion ever snuck onto your pathway when you didn’t even notice?  Long before I was a teacher, I was a Public Speaking Coach.  Reminiscing on Willowridge High School’s Forensic Club led me to my strong convictions on the importance of well written (and well spoken) words.  That later paved the way for my transition into education.

Today, I’m feeling the excitement that peaks every year at this time.  For the last 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching students to compete in the annual MLK Oratory Competition sponsored by the Gardere Law Firm.  Nearly 250-300 students enter every year.  I’m privileged to say that each of mine has always made it to the Top 12 Finalists, this year included.  Many of my students went on to be on Fox 26, WB 39, KHOU 11, radio shows, and graced many programs and special events.  I felt so proud!

My own coach from Willowridge, Nancy Limberger, changed my life.  The skills I learned in her classroom, during and after school, were the fodder for many of my biggest achievements as an adult.  I was baffled when I coached elementary students in University of Houston Tournaments just like the ones I participated in 15 years ago myself! It was an honor to experience it on the other end.

When I work with students and watch their transformation from coy to confident, I feel the fervor of their journey; but, my excitement isn’t limited to watching them grow – it’s heightened because I’m doing something that I love.  Pursuing our passions – delving into the things that come most natural – yields a magic that is often inexplicable.  Speaking…writing…painting with words?  That’s what gets me excited.  How about you?

Attached is a link from my first place winner a few years ago, Gerra Gistand, whose soaring to the heavens as she finds her own magic.  Prepare to be wowed…  (You’ll see me jumping up and down at the end of this clip in a yellow blouse!)  I’m so excited for all twelve of today’s contestants.  Experience it yourself today at the historical African American Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Downtown Houston at 500 Clay.  You’ll never forget it…Martin would be proud…see you there. #pursueyourpassion

(Pic above – Samaya Watson, Former Finalist and 3rd Place Winner)