Archives for February 2015

My thoughts on Black History Month

blackhistorybanner1So we come to the last day of Black History Month. Does this mean we should stop exploring the struggles and accomplishments from the past and the present of Blacks in America? Should the schools turn back to the anglo-oriented history books in the classroom? Can we fill in the check box that we participated in Black History Month events during the month of February? Can the television networks go back to their regularly “scheduled” programs? Does the dialogue of racial injustice come to a stop? Is there no more to learn?

I think Maya Angelo was onto something when she said, “Won’t it be wonderful when black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U. S. history.”

I believe in 2015, we should already have integrated our textbooks so that we don’t compartmentalize history. Things were happening simultaneously and must be taken in context not as a  separate laundry list of items.

The same should apply with cultural events. They should occur year round rather than only fixed times of year. So you don’t have to wait a whole year to see cultural Broadway shows, television specials, art events only once a year.

I feel that we all should be constantly evolving not stagnant when it comes to our education and exposure to diversity. When Black History Month began it was a way to bring to light the struggles and contributions to America but if we have evolved we should create an all-inclusive history and it should be normal to see more diversity in our culture year round.

Morgan Freeman, a well-known african american actor, also said it well when he said, “I don’t want a Black History Month, Black history is American history.”

When all are included we will then be a true United States of America.

I hope for us all that we can continue to enrich our lives by exposing ourselves to more each day. We still have a lot more work to do.

In this spirit, I will continue to incorporate more diverse information on my blog throughout the year whether it is about amazing books by black authors, movies,  humanitarian aid opportunities as well as my cultural products I produce for Belinda’s Crafts.

Have a blessed day and thanks for taking the time to listen.


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer


Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Copyright:  May 6, 2014
Genre: non-fiction
Format: book Pages: 545

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

My Thoughts:

I heard so many people praise this book on booktube and was thrilled when my bookclub chose it for one of our reads in February. I decided to read it in January since it was a rather large book and I have big book phobias.  I always look at big books and keep walking when I am in the book store. However, with my e-reader, I find that I can read them and that much of it is psychological. I also have spoiled myself with my Nook because I don’t have to worry about trying to hold a big book when I read in bed. Which let’s face it, is not the most enjoyable thing because I like to lay down at night and read and it’s not happening with this book. However, for some crazy reason, I decided to buy the hardcover that was on some crazy ridiculous sale at Barnes and Noble. I was thinking I might want to mark passages I want to discuss while at book club and it’s easier with a physical copy than an ebook.

I saw the author of this book being interviewed on television before reading this book and I was really impressed with him and the amount of research that went into writing this book. He also said that the two main characters would meet around page 400.  So I had a little clue before going into the book.

I was so impressed with how the author captured so much essence of the sense of a blind person when he wrote about Marie Laure. How she used all of her other senses so keenly to absorb her surroundings and make sense of them. It makes me realize how having sight can dampen the beauty and richness of all of the other senses. I think because we use our sight to classify more than experience fully. Life for Marie Laure was not easy but she remained strong beyond her years.

The story moved back and forth between Marie Laure and Werner in each chapter. Sometimes it would stay longer with one more than the other. The author used short chapters so it helped when I needed to put the book down I could always complete a chapter first.  I was curious about Werner’s story at the orphanage with his sister  and heartbroken when he was recruited to Hitler’s Resistance. Werner was so talented and unfortunately he had no control over his life with limited options (mining with high risk of desk or joining the war effort). It made me so sad to know that he never was able to dictate his life and be able to see his potential fully blossomed for good.

The supporting characters were also very richly described and interesting.

Did I like the book you ask? Yes, I did find the story was very interesting. Did I think that the length was fine? Nope. I think he could have easily shaved off 100 pages and the book still would have been great.

Even with the excruciating length I would give this book 4 butterflies.



Belinda’s Book Nook: Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books/TV/Movies

toptentuesday1Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers.


heriones1At first I wasn’t going to participate because I hadn’t really thought about heroine’s and it seemed a bit daunting. Then I went to GoodReads and looked through some of the books I’ve read, and picked some. I am not listing them in any particular order here.

Dana (from Kindred by Octavia Butler) – I read this book many years ago and can’t recall all of the details but I do remember thinking how strong this character had to be to be thrown back into slavery time from our present day. I can’t even imagine what I would do. But I felt that Ms. Butler made her a strong character throughout the book.

Claire Randall (from Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon) – This series has even been made into a great TV series and I like the actress in the series as well. I remember how absorbed I was with this book. Surprisingly I never went on to the others in this series but just might one day.  But again another heroine that time travels and remains strong in face of many adversities.

Rei Shimura (from Zen Attitude (Rei Shimura mysteries by Sujata Massey) – Anyone who reads this blog, knows the special place in my heart for Rei. I have had an interest in Japan since childhood and this series delivers. Rei never waivers and faces on some pretty tough adversaries in each mystery while I get a healthy dose of Japanese culture.  I love the way Rei takes charge of her life and doesn’t cower from it.

heriones2Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat,Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) – I know there are some out there that hate on this book. But I’m not one of them. I truly enjoyed this book and loved watching her life journey unfold on the pages. I even enjoyed the movie. Don’t hate.

Julia Beckett (Mariana by Susanna Kearsley) – I pretty much  enjoy all of Susanna Kearsley’s female characters are in her books. This was the first one I read and loved it. I liked how Julia didn’t shy away from the “impossible” in this book. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it but I really enjoyed this book and it’s heroine.

heriones3Nitta Sayuri  (Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden) – I read this a really long time ago with a book club. I remember we made sushi and then discussed the book at one of my girlfriend’s house.  This girl had a tough life with little choices and she kept pushing along.  The movie adaptation was stunning.  I watch it every time it comes on cable.

Nell Sweeney (Still Life with Murder by P.B. Ryan) – I stumbled across this book as a free read on my Nook a few years ago. I took a chance and fell absorbed in the story and couldn’t get enough. I read all the books in the series and was so sad to see them come to an end. Talk about book hangover.  Nell figured how to take her life from poverty to a better life.  I loved the stories because they were based locally so I could enjoy them even more.


heriones4Olivia Pope (Scandal the TV Series by Shonda Rhimes) – Well where to begin. I first started watching this show as my guilty pleasure at lunch time. Her naughty relationship with the character that is the president on the show aside, I like to see a strong black women on a television show.  I think Shonda Rhimes strikes a nice balance with Olivia’s strength and her take charge attitude with her softer more vulnerable side. I typically DVR the show because if I watch it at showtime, I get all pumped up speculating the next week’s show and take forever to go to sleep. Of screen, Kerry Washington is a force. She is not just a pretty face and her dedication to humanitarian issues are on point.

Constantine & Aibileen (The Help by Kathryn Stockett) – I enjoyed the book and the movie was great. I loved these two characters and the way they handled such a difficult situation. These two actresses really brought the characters to life and made you feel and think more even after the credits rolled.

Who are your favorite heroines?


My monthly ATC (Artist Trading Cards) Swap with my Girlfriends


I always wanted to participate in a monthly ATC swap but hesitated because I didn’t know if I could commit to it all the time. I liked the idea of challenging myself to work on a small canvas, trying new things and receiving beautiful art in my mail box. This year, one of my goals with my OLW (One Little Word) is to connect with friends more. Last year, we lost one of the places that we met weekly to craft and have girl time so we have had a hard battle staying connected like we would like. I really don’t want to lose what beautiful friendships we have been building so I am always in search of a way I can help bring us together.

So in December, I kicked around the idea of approaching my crafty girlfriends and seeing how they would feel about a monthly ATC Swap. I wanted to create nothing but encouragement and present little obstacles so that I could pull them all in.  So I made up the catergories for each month which always included a few options and didn’t put any creative restrictions.  I also told people they could jump in any month they choose. So about a week before each month, I contact them all via email and find out how many will participate for the next month and then announce the number of ATCs we have to make and due date (which is the last day of the month).

january8The first month is January and this is the gallery of all the participants in our January swap.  I decided January’s theme would be New Years and Stars. Look at all the great interpretations everyone had for this theme. That’s what makes it wonderful. My other goal is to not make this a chore or competitive. I believe each ATC is a unique beauty and I hope the participants continue to feel happy about the process. I know I am so happy I made the leap and asked them.



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