Finding peace at every turn and growing at my own pace
If I can be honest, this past week has been a great week for me — overall, one of the best I have had in several months. I am overjoyed to see these words typed on-screen. There were some stressful points at work, but the fantastic team I am a part of makes things much better. We all jump right in and ride the waves of the slew of calls we get, and everyone is so supportive.
It beats swimming alone when you know the tide will be at its highest. It beats chipping away at a mountain when you know you still haven’t reached its peak. It beats running away from something when all it takes is patience, prayer, and perseverance.
I am enjoying the drop in temperatures over the past few days. There is a cool breeze in the morning and at night, and the sun is not trying to body slam me into submission during the day.
This tells me — autumn is in the air, and I am here for it! It is one of my favorite seasons. I look forward to dressing in layers, drinking hot cocoa, making stews and crockpot soups, and cuddling under my favorite blanket with Jernee.
Peace is moving in steadily, and I invite it with open arms.
A moment to relax and enjoy a favorite pastime
Last night, Friday, August 12, 2022, I watched Dog Gone Trouble via Netflix. After I’d rid myself of the workday, walked Jernee, ate dinner, and snuggled up with the Little Monster in my favorite chair, I switched on Netflix for what has become a favorite pastime of mine — ending my workdays with laughter and animated goodness or enjoying a weekend bonanza of all things kid-friendly.
My happy place is a space for all ages, yet I am content experiencing it alone.
This movie had so many high points for me and, of course, a lesson I believe most adults could benefit from, especially nowadays. Just in case you’re interested, the trailer is below.
I will give you a bit of a spoiler — the dancing tree squirrels will have you laughing your head off with the leader’s crazy amount of phrasings, including the word “nuts.” Trouble (the dog)actually says on more than one occasion — and I am paraphrasing — “This just sounds so inappropriate.”
If you love to laugh, enjoy cartoons or animated movies, and have about one hour and 30 minutes to spare, then give yourself the gift of Dog Gone Trouble. It’s worth it.
Comfort foods and their impact
Sunday, August 06, 2022, I made one of my favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing truly special about it — it’s made with delicious and basic ingredients and will also allow you to have leftovers for at least two to three days after you have prepared it.
What is it, Tre? you ask. I call it “hearty beef dip.” You can substitute the meat for any other meat you’d like: ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork. After adding cheese sauce and shredded cheese, light red kidney beans, onions, and chopped spinach, what you get is a feast in your mouth as you dip corn chips into this hearty goodness.
I learned about this basic yet filling meal from my best friend almost twenty years ago. It has been a staple in my home since then. I do not have the meal often — perhaps once every other month. But I always look forward to making it. My stomach does too.
Growing at my pace and it feels good
Soon, I will partake in something completely out of my comfort zone and new to me. I am shaking as I type this very paragraph for this newsletter, but something has moved me recently to continue to step out of my comfort zone. And doing so has gotten me to a calmer place.
This cannot be a coincidence.
If I attack or stare down fear and take it head-on, the things I avoided doing seem less scary.
I have more research to do, some basic contact emails to send, and becoming one with this new venture as I learn more about it.
*Fingers crossed I will have good news in the coming weeks*
Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential. — Bruce Lee
Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.
I am not a fan of America’s Got Talent. I do not watch the show, but I have a very close friend who shares videos of performances with me she believes I’ll love. She is always right. Thanks, Alexainie!
The following performance, which aired on July 19, 2022, led me to view the video not just once, but multiple times. The pure joy that shot through my body while watching these beautiful young ladies give their gift to the hosts and to the crowd is unmatched.
This had definitely been a Black Joy moment for me. And my heart was so full and happy — I nearly burst at the seams. To watch these young ladies live out their dream on stage, and tear the house down, too?! There are no words for it — it’s indescribable.
*Black Joy is … Black Joy possesses a range that is boundless and is not easily defined.
The most accurate definition is: Black Joy is anything that inspires, supports, and uplifts Black culture.
I can click on the video day-in and day-out and get the same results: a teary-eyed, moved, and emotionally charged Black woman who is incredibly excited and ecstatic for each of them. They knew what they wanted to do — they pursued it, and here they are — living out their dream, despite the hardships and closed doors in their paths.
Exploring the avenues that led to Chapel Hart
Naturally, I wanted to learn more about Chapel Hart, this all-Black woman’s group that leaned toward Country music instead of R&B, Neo-Soul, the Blues, Gospel, etc. All three ladies have amazing voices, but the frontwoman, Danica, belts out notes from the depths of her soul, and when you listen to her, one cannot help but be moved.
The trio is two sisters, Devynn and Danica Hart, and their first cousin, Trea Swindle. They hail from a small town outside of Poplarville, Mississippi, called Hart’s Chapel. According to the group, they are only 3 of 108 grandchildren. Their grandmother had 17 children, and they populated their small town.
Growing up in a family where music had always been present, it seems only fitting they would succumb to music as passionately as they have. Listening to them, I can hear the determination, the pursuit of their dreams, and their backgrounds too.
There is a distinguished tone and a three-part harmony that makes up their unique sound. It’s safe to say they are breaking down doors and stripping away barriers. They are clearly making history, and isn’t it about time?
I am not a fan of country music — not really. I like some country music singers, but I can count them on one hand. Chapel Hart entered my world at the right time. I needed something to stir me — lift me from some dark spaces — keep me on my highest points for more than two days in a row. I think I may have found what I had been seeking in their soulful voices.
Catching the eye of Dolly Parton and some other legends
If you took the time to watch the Golden Buzzer video courtesy of America’s Got Talent, you know the ladies are big fans of Dolly Parton. They even say jokingly (but maybe not?) “Dolly Parton for President” in the clip as well.
And it did not end there. Loretta Lynn chimed in and wondered (out loud) what the group could do with one of her songs. And it just keeps getting better for Chapel Hart, as Darius Rucker announced they will be on his new album, too.
When you have been given shout-outs and acknowledgments from some of the heaviest hitters in the genre of music you have fought to be a part of for so long, the feeling has got to be an unbelievable one. I imagine Chapel Hart constantly pinching themselves to make sure they’re awake.
If the above doesn’t send your heart soaring for this group, maybe the following will:
In 2021, Chapel Hart was inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country, the institution that has been known to help up and coming female country artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBride, & Gabby Barrett… to name a few. This Mississippi trio’s music has reached fans around the globe earning them the title of “International Group of the Year” as well as “International Song of the Year” for the single “You Can Have Him Jolene” in Scotland. — Chapel Hart, Bio
I said I would follow them from the first moment I watched their performance video on America’s Got Talent that catapulted them into the spotlight (where they belong), and I have been.
Their story is an intriguing one, and it gives me hope for various twists and modifications to the expected traditional sound of country music.
We needed a high point, and here it is
After everything we have been through over the past few years, Black people needed a high point — a marked moment of excellence and joy. Here it is.
Prior to learning about them, I had said to myself, “How much more bad news can we take? How much more is there?” When all your nation has subjected you to is bad news that leaves a sour taste in your mouth, a little good news is welcome.
I may turn on the TV tomorrow and find another Black man or Person of Color dead by a senseless act of violence committed by someone of authority, children slain within the very walls that were once deemed safe, a baby or pet left in a hot car for ten to thirty minutes while their parent or the owner simply “forgot about them” in the backseat, and the list goes on.
But today, at this very moment, I will leave tomorrow where it is and embrace the excellence that is Chapel Hart.
The group skipped down their very own yellow brick road, locked hands with country music, and created Black Joy.