October 17th is Black Poetry Day

Latest blog post from Bella Gifts…


October 17th is Black Poetry Day

 Looking for a unique birthday gift for someone born in October, born on October 17th or someone who is a poetry lover? Consider combining the person’s birthday month with their interests and give them a birthday gift rooted in history and inspiration.


 Jupiter Hammon was born on October 17 in 1711 and became the first black writer to be published in the present-day United States. Additional poems and sermons were also published. Hammon was born into slavery and was never emancipated. He was a  devout Christian, and is considered one of the founders of African American literature. (wikipedia)


Click here for some birthday gift ideas relating to literature.

Song of the Day: Black Butterfly

Click here to listen to this inspirational, powerful and beautiful song. “Black Butterfly” was released in 1984 and is sung by Deniece Williams. She has the voice of an angel. I like to interpret this song as being a dedication from a parent to their child, or little angel.

I will often post a “Song of the Day” and then later post gift ideas relating to this song of the day.

“Black Butterfly”

Morning light, silken dream to flight
As the darkness gave way to dawn
You’ve survived, now your moment has arrived
Now your dream has finally been born

Black Butterfly, sailed across the waters
tell your sons and daughters
what the struggle brings
Black Butterfly, set the skies on fire
rise up even higher
so the ageless winds of time can catch your wings


While you slept, the promise was unkept
But your faith was as sure as the stars
Now you’re free, and the world has come to see
Just how proud and beautiful you are


Let the current lift your heart and send it soaring
Write the timeless message clear across the sky
So that all of can read it and remember when we need it
That a dream conceived in truth can never die

Cause now that you’re free and the world has come to see
Just how proud and beautiful you are


Yeah, yeah, yes

Prayer Break

This is my favorite and most moving scripture, and one I certainly need to read and meditate on every day.

The Lord is My Shepard

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me besides the still waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord



Song of the Day: I Just Want to be Your Everything


I’m dedicating this song to my husband.

I remember being a little girl and, during those nice family nights, mom and dad sometimes would both be in a great mood and they’d start dancing to songs that reminded them of their teenage-love years. (They’ve been together since they were 16 years-old.) Of course, my sisters and I would laugh; but it was so comforting to see mom and dad smiling, dancing, showing how much they love each other, and reminiscing over their teenage years.


One day when Megan is older, she’s going to be in the spot I was and be that little girl smiling and laughing as her parents dance to a love song.

Movie Break: Get Ready for “The Avengers!”

I am not knowledgeable about comic books and their characters. I just know that I watch Spider Man part 1 and 2 anytime they come on. That’s the most comic book knowledge that I have. And it’s only because of my husband that I am slightly familiar with The Avengers and the super heroes that make up the Avengers.

I absolutely loved Iron Man 2!! Captain America was great as well, and it had such a sad ending to me. 😦 That’s the extent of a movie review that I can give. So, here’s an informative and insightful blog post from my favorite blogger as he anticipates the upcoming highly anticipated movie, The Avengers. He’ll have a movie review of this movie very soon! I just asked him if he thinks The Avengers will make more money than “The Hunger Games.” He said an emphatically “Yes!”, it will! He knows his movies so I believe him. What do you think?


Heading Back Before Moving Forward

On May 4, one of the most ambitious movies ever made will be released to theaters here in North America. That’s right; I’m talking about The Avengers. This has been a franchise in the making for at least four years, due in large part to the rousing success of the 2008 film Iron Man. When that took off, Marvel Studios decided to bring the core group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to film.

Now, I’ve seen all of the movies, and I think all of the reviews are available here. If not, they should be. At least most of them are. Anyway, you know my format for these, so let’s not lollygag any further, shall we?

Iron Man – 2008

The movie that started it all.  This movie was the kickoff to the resurgence of one Robert Downey, Jr.  He commands the screen as the rambunctiously blunt philanderer Tony Stark, and the Academy Award Nominee is supported by a veritable who’s-who of Hollywood talent.  Academy Award Winner Gwynneth Paltrow shines as Virginia “Pepper” Potts, future Academy Award Winner Jeff Daniels chews the scenery as Obadiah Stane, and Academy Award Nominee Terrence Dashon Howard (as he used to go by) plays the beleaguered James “Rhodey” Rhodes.  Director Jon Favreau had a chore on his hands, and he handled it magnificently.  A driving, rock-based score by Ramin Djawadi sealed the deal for this blockbuster film.  The only complaint that comes to mind is the finale that subscribed to the same tropes as most other Hollywood popcorn films.  The final confrontation could have been so much more, but it looked good for what it was.  On top of that, it introduced the “Avengers Initiative” to the rest of us, and set the stage for what we are looking forward to now.

The Incredible Hulk – 2008

Most comic book movie fans tend to discount the first botched attempt at making a movie about the green superhero, and so shall I.  The movie I’m talking about is the re-imagining starring Academy Award Nominee Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, Academy Award Nominee Tim Roth, and Academy Award Winner William Hurt as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross.  The movie in and of itself wasn’t a bad movie; in fact, it was pretty entertaining.  Liv Tyler’s voice began to grate my nerves after a while, because it was more akin to a high-pitched whine than a speaking voice, but it was only a minor gripe.  It didn’t falter near the end; in fact, it made me happy that it ended strong.  Plus, having RDJ pop in as Tony Stark was just as entertaining.

Iron Man 2 – 2010

The inevitable follow-up to Iron Man brings back the principle good guys, with the exception of Terrence Howard; he was replaced with Academy Award Nominee Don Cheadle.  The cast also included Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, Academy Award Nominee Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, and Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Black Widow.  With the exception of my final rating – I’m knocking it down to Three Times More Epic than Love Jones, my review can be found by following the link.

Thor – 2011

This was one of those Iron Man-type movies: second tier property with a relative unknown, surrounded by a pretty strong cast.  What could go wrong?  Not much.  Chris Hemsworth became a household name as the Norse God of Thunder, Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman did her due diligence as Jane Foster, Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and a host of other characters too numerous to mention in this brief synopsis.  Instead of repeating myself from my original review, you can find my initial thoughts by clicking on the link.

Captain America: The First Avenger – 2011

The final piece in the Marvel Cinematic Universe puzzle is Captain America, and he is represented well on the big screen.  Chris Evans stars as the titular hero, and he’s accompanied by Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/Red Skull, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes Stanley Tucci as Howard Eskine, and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (yes, Tony Stark’s dad).  I already gave my thoughts about it earlier, and I invite you to check it out by following the titled link.

So, there you have it.  Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson) – are coming to take over the movie theaters.

The world had better be ready.

A Mother’s Spirit

A Mother's Love by Kolonji

I’m realizing I had a void in my life before becoming a mom and that’s partly why I was so drawn to working with kids. Now, I’m like a different person when it comes to other people’s kids. I’m somewhat selfish now, in the sense that I realize how micro my time and life is, and I want all my nurturing and patience to go to my kids/family kids.

That’s actually why I knew it was time to try and have my own, because I kept getting heartbroken and sickened with stress from other people’s abused, neglected, traumatized kids that came into my life. I remember being pregnant and still crying over all these kids I couldn’t help. I always wondered why I would cross paths with such hurting and suffering children, yet I wouldn’t be able to help them out of their situation. It felt like torture, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to have my own child if I didn’t step back for a while.

Now that I have my own little angel, I’m like, wow, I owe everything to her. I can’t let other parents’ mistakes tear me down and I bring that home to my child. I don’t see how youth workers and teachers with their own children not bring that stuff home. I accept the fact that I have a very obsessive, high strung personality and if it’s anything I can’t solve or conquer it runs me crazy(er) and eats me alive. I don’t see how teachers/counselors/youth workers of troubled children turn it all off when it’s time to deal with their own kids.

I’m finally so at peace. I don’t feel like I failed all those other kids in past. The group of 5th grade, inner city, troubled students where I had to quit, though I loved them (probably too much), since having my own child I no longer feel like I failed them or any other kids I couldn’t help. I must have tried so hard, too hard, because I had a void because I wasn’t a mom. It’s amazing how you can look back and put the pieces of the puzzle together. I would like to use my love for education in a different way, not just with kids. I actually enjoyed working with elderly people, to my surprise. I learned so much about living life, growing old, and death.
Art Credit: I believe it is called “A Mother’s Love by Kolonji.”

Movie Break: The Hunger Games

This post titled, “Let the Games Begin” is from Mr.Joseph’s Blog, RamblingBlackMan

A few weeks ago, I sat down and read The Hunger Games trilogy, and I was excited to see how well it would translate to the big screen.  I got my chance to find out today as I went to the 9:30 showing of the first book, The Hunger Games.  The dystopian science fiction action-drama film – which is rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images – stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.  Book to film translations are always a mixed bag; for every Harry Potter, you get a Percy Jackson (I’m only assuming, because I’ve never read any of the Percy Jackson books).  This film has the benefit of having the author of the series serve as one of the writers of the film.  Does the impact and import of Suzanne Collins overrule whatever Lionsgate Films would want to do with her property, or does she stand firm?  Only one way to find out…

The movie begins with an explanation of how the Hunger Games came to be.  Somewhere in the near future, North America as we currently know it no longer exists; instead, what’s left of the continent is divided into thirteen Districts, with all of them reporting to the Capitol.  Sometime later on, the Districts revolted against the Capitol’s regime.  The Capitol eventually won, but they forced the other twelve Districts (District 13 being a casualty) to send up a male and female child from the ages of 12 to 18 to serve as “tributes” and participate in an annual ritual known as The Hunger Games.  The film then switches to 16 year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and 17 year old Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) hunting in the forbidden area outside of District 12.

All goes well until they notice a ship flying above them.  The ship signals the beginning of the “Reaping”, where the Tributes are chosen.  Katniss and Gale have their names listed several times, as they receive enough grain and oil to make it through a year by doing so.  Katniss’ sister, Primrose (Willow Shields), is also up for her first Reaping, but the odds are slim that she will be chosen.  The time for the Reaping begins with a flourish, thanks to Effie Trinkett (Elizabeth Banks), and the first tribute is chosen: Primrose Everdeen.  Katniss volunteers in her behalf, and the male tribute – Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is chosen.  They are whisked to the Capitol, where they meet their mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), and Katniss meets her stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz).  Eventually, the time comes for the Games to begin, and the movie takes off from there.

Read more of this wonderful review here HERE

Remembering a Special Childhood Friend

((I wrote this about 11 years ago for one of my former websites at the time. Our house was the hangout spot for all the neighborhood kids on our street. I think I had the best childhood ever. During the summer a bunch of kids would be at our house from as early as 9 am and stay around until 8 or 9 pm (or whenever my mama called us in). During the school year, after we finished our homework, we would also be outside for hours until mama called us in.))

During the summer, Tookie would be on my porch at about 9 or 10 am, asking me to play UNO with him. We played many games in my neighborhood, but sometimes we would start the day off with hours of UNO. Sometimes Tookie would put his younger cousin Dusty up to the task of asking me to play UNO. After a while Dusty, who was about 7, and I, who was about 11, would sit on the porch at night and have these long conversations with each other.


I remember one night, just for a little moment,  I became a little jealous of Dusty when he told me that he was taking Spanish. I didn’t believe him, so I asked, “How do you say ‘house’ in Spanish?” I just knew he would not be able to answer that because I just randomly picked a word. In fact, I did not know a word of Spanish at the time (though in High School I would be chosen Most Outstanding Student in Spanish). So I was thinking, how could this little 7-year-old know how to say “house” in Spanish & me, a big 11 year old, not know any Spanish.  Then Dusty smiled at me and said “CASA!!”

Dusty was always smiling, and was a total sweetheart. He had smooth, caramel-brown skin and soft, curly hair. If I could have chosen any boy from the hood to be my little brother, I would have chosen Dusty. He died in 2000 at the age of 17 from a heart attack. (No, he was not overweight).

After he died, I kept saying that I wish I could have hugged him. So one night I had this dream that went back to my childhood. We were kids again & I got my hug in the dream, which made me wake up feeling relieved somehow.

Dusty, we sure did have a lot of fun didn’t we?:+)


Photo Credit: