“Once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes I came to the chief of Kufah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience.” – Sa’di, the Gulistan

We attended the screening premiere of For Colored Girls with mixed emotions, flashbacks of the original play featuring Baltimorean Trazana Beverly as the lady in red. The powerful performance of the actresses and their message caused me to wonder how Tyler Perry would portray this choreopoem. Two words: wow and powerful. It was several days before I could discuss the movie. From the moment we entered the Charles Theater until the credits rolled I was captivated.

Moviegoers at the premiere were Mayor Sheila Dixon, Cynthia Jackson, Norma & David Scott, Yvonne Frye, Gwen and Gerard Washington, Judge Holland, Beverly Carter and Wanda Watts.

Tapas Teatro at the Charles Theater is a great place to dine before or after the movies. The prices are reasonable; the eclectic menu offers farm range eggs, duck and seafood. The extensive wine lists consist of refreshing sangrias and yes, the beer is cold.

“Nothing purchased can come close to the renewed sense of gratitude for having family and friends.” – Courtland Milloy

The Church of the Holy Trinity’s bull and oyster roast had something for everyone including the Forum’s famous fried chicken. Guests enjoyed an afternoon of games, dancing and fellowship with friends and family. The ample door prizes kept everyone’s attention, eager to hear their name called. The gift of love and friendship bestowed on me by my hosts, longtime friends Dr. Raymond and Joan Bowen, is priceless.

Guests enjoying the afternoon were Dr. Patricia Schmoke, Irene Reid, Maxine Gaskins, Anne Taylor, Robert and Mildred Stephens, Jeff and Rebecca Johnson, Gerald and Susie Smith, Tony and Deloris Council, Barbara Love, Vivian Hairston, Otis and Margaret Talley, Sylvia Edwards, Roberta Smith, Margaret Musgrove and Essie Sutton.

“I found God in myself and I loved her, I loved her fiercely.” – The lady in red, For Colored Girls

The standing ovation when Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Koman Cure, walked to the podium at Network 2000’s luncheon at the Marriott Waterfront resonated throughout the cavernous room filled with business leaders, supporters and breast cancer survivors. I was overcome with emotion when she asked the breast cancer survivors to stand amid thunderous applause. Our host Betty Hines invited several friends who were survivors for this momentous occasion.

At the book signing, I thanked Nancy Brinker for the yeoman task she accomplished in bringing breast cancer to the forefront. Her book Promise Me is a gift of love for someone special.

Guests in attendance were Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Barbara Armstrong, Michelle Brown, Sharon Pinder, Meg O’Hare, Dr. Melva Greene, Melissa Williams, Elaine Bonneau, Sarita Murray, Deborah Rock, and Trena Taylor Brown.

“The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.” – Rick Warren

Reflecting back on our childhood in Edmondson Village, Larriette Johnson led “a purpose driven life” in the way she walked, spoke and interacted. The eloquent eulogy delivered by her son, the Rev. Damon West, spoke of her extreme nature and commitment to serve.

Hold me like the River Jordan and I will then say to thee you are my friend.” – Michael Jackson

Her sudden death on her birthday aboard the return flight from Israel is no surprise; her desire of baptism in the Jordan River before she died was fulfilled. Her purpose driven life was complete.

“For long years a bird in a cage, today, flying along with the clouds.” – Zen saying

Prayers for Geraldine Thompson and family on the death of her sister Thelma King at the age of 90; Yolanda Philips and family on the death of her brother Lamont Cahill; Mickey Bedford and family on the death of Mae Howe; Marsha Jews on the death of her mother Mabel Austin Alford of Indiana and to Marian Haynes and family on the death of our friend jazz enthusiast Bob Haynes.

“Give me my flowers while I live so that I can see the beauty that they bring.” – Rev. James Cleveland

Violets to Joe Ann Oatis, recipient of the Keeper of the Flame award in recognition of her work with the Boys Choir of Powhatan; presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at their 50th national convention.

Roses to Tobi Pulley, recipient of Citizen of the Year Award for her work as an Autism Special Education Advocacy, presented by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Orchids to Rachel Bowen Pittman, the new Director of Member Services with The American Urological Association.

“When a woman loves.” Happy anniversary Kurt and Patricia Schmoke.

Celebration time come on! Happy birthday to Sisqo, Beryl Johnson, Guy Bosworth, Sandy Aldridge, Russell Jolivet’, Mildred Harper, Myra and Albert Queen, Arthur Hoffman, Arthur Allen, John Bugg, Nathaniel Sykes and my son Keith Anthony Lee.

If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. How often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?—Goethe

I am thankful for Christine James Moore, Merle Stanley, Takiea Hinton, Sara Smalley and Bernice Branford Lewis; their inspirational messages inspire me to “keep on pushing.”

I am thankful that I can swing my legs out of the bed each morning to rejoice in a new day and praise GOD with thanksgiving. I am thankful for my wonderful children, grandchildren, my parents, my friends and the Friday Night Bunch. I am thankful to you because you are “Living for the weekend.”

“I’ll be seeing you.” Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch.