I'mmmmmmmmm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack (sorry, I couldn't resist)!
It's been a long time, but through my next few blogs, you'll understand why I've been away for so long. I'll try my best to not let it happen again (I said "try" - lol). Anyway, I'm here in the beautiful country of Bermuda. Y'all when I say beautiful, I mean BEAUTIFUL! The water, the weather, the people - everything. In just 1 1/2 days, I've been blessed with the team that I'm with.
Starting with David Bascome, who is looked at as the Michael Jordan of Bermuda. He's a former soccer player, and the Commissioner of the Island Soccer League. Some of you in the US might know him as one of the coaches for the Baltimore Blast team. He's a soccer legend, but more than that, he's a COMMUNITY legend. He founded Hope4Life (eerie, right?), which helps keep the youth engaged and off of drugs and violence. Great guy, and I'll be sharing more information later.
Quency (my manager) has been doing a lot of work here, and he's told me so much about Bermuda. They even had me featured on the front page of the daily newspaper here a couple weeks ago. I'm heading to some schools this morning to speak to the youth - as was announced here. I'm excited to see some of the young women here play tonight, and I look forward to hosting them when they come to Phoenix later this month during training camp. I'll be doing even more, but I'll save that for later.
I've had some small tours, and was blessed to have dinner with the former Minister of National Security, Colonel David Burch. I've seen one of the best beaches in the world - Horseshoe Bay Beach - and learned a lot about the culture and the various foods. One thing I want to say is that the Bermuda Triangle is nothing to be afraid of. Don't let that story scare you away from coming here. I look forward to seeing more, but I have to run to go speak at Cedar Bridge Academy and Berkley Institute! I'll blog more later!
I know that it has been some time since I last spoke to you all. But I have to tell you that I have been taking that time to get a closer relationship with God as well as set some quiet time aside to be able to hear Him, without having any distractions. I hope you all forgive me for trying to gain that closer relationship with my Lord and Savior.
I will tell you - when I first got to Kursk Russia, I struggled big time and said (as well as still say) that this is by far one of the toughest places that I have played in. I asked God for about a month of me struggling to be here, why did He have to take me so far away to be miserable? He let me know that He needed my FULL attention and believe me He definitely got it. LOL. There is not very much at all to do here in this city. There is a small bowling alley, a theater that is Russian (no subtitles either), and a small grocery store/mall. To top it all off, I came here to a team that had just lost out of Euro-Cup so there were only 5 games to be played within 89 days! That's right 89 days! Five games in 3 months! Now if you don't see that as time to spend with God, then I dont know what else I could do!
Now with all this negativity that I have started this blog out with, i now have to share with you the positiveness in it all.
I have learned a lot since being here. I have learned about myself, about others, and a little about this culture. I was told by one of my coach's husbands that as a young child, Russians were taught that they only have one enemy and that is Americans! I say this to say that through the game of basketball, this sport that I am blessed to play, I am not able to see that with all the laughter and fun that we have with one another. There is definitely a language barrier, but we are somehow able to understand and respect one another greatly. My American teammate Michelle Snow (San Antonio Stars) has helped me out tremendously and I am thankful that the Lord allowed our paths to cross like this. I have been able to grow and be helped in growing and vice versa, and it has been great. Michelle definitely has a great heart and loves helping others. The genuineness (say that 5 times fast!) in her is something that is rare. You don't find that too often, so I am truly happy that I got the chance to be her teammate.
This has been a growing experience for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed every last minute of it.
My mother and one of my friends was able to come over and visit. I am happy that i could help them with that experience. Neither one had ever been out of the country, and I can tell you they were only here for a week, but they will have a year's worth of stories to tell. My mom was supposed to stay with me the entire month, but she said she couldn't take it - LOL - so i think that her visit will go down as the shortest visit ever! She was ready to go after 2 days, but she stretched it out to 6, and to America she went back. I didn't argue with her though, nor did I make her feel bad about it, I knew it was difficult and it was her first experience so I understood. The good thing about all of that was that she got the chance to see what I have to go through as a professional and she promised never to question me whenever I say I am tired again LOL and i will definitely hold her to that!
Well everyone I am writing to you right now as we partake in a 16 hour train ride and it 3:45AM here so I guess I will get me some rest. I apologize again for the long wait but please know that during that time I did think about you all, and I grew into a better person.
I know that the difficulties with my website kept you out of the loop with things also, but i am working to get that back up really soon. I appreciate all of your patience and more than anything your support.
We have just competed the first round of the playoffs and it was definitely a total team effort. I am so proud of my teammates and how big they stepped up. To come back and beat a team two games in the row to advance speak volumes for us. Loree Moore and Jessica Davenport led their team well.
Well now its time to prepare for the next round. So until next time...... I hope everyone is doing well.
I am so excited to share with you all that has been going on. I have been resting my body, but working out and staying in shape as well. I have been spending time with my loved ones and great friends.
But I have some big news! You ready? You sure?
I was blessed with a horse for Christmas! Yup, that's right, a horse! It's a black and white Quarter Horse and I need some help naming him! It's been about a month, and I haven't come up with anything yet! Can you all help? The name that I choose will be highlighted in a future issue of my HOPE Inquirer Newsletter.
I also have a dog, a Bichon named Max that has been putting me through the ringer, but he is really growing on me. I guess I can somewhat understand what all my dog loving teammates be going through now. I'm sure I'm surprising all of you, but I'm not the Dog Whisperer or Horse Whisperer or anything like that. I'm just enjoying life. Other than that, I will say that life has been good.
I want to share with you all what has been happening with Meek Moments: Decisions Decisons Decisions. It has really been going well I am truly blessed. I want to give a special shoutout to My Tiger Family right now. Trev Faulk, who is like my brother, supports me on a daily basis. He was an outstanding football player at LSU and played a few years in the NFL. Kevin Faulk, who plays for the New England Patriots, purchased 200 copies of my Meek Moments books and donated them to Cohn Elementary. This all happened on Wednesday of this week, as I presented the books to the 3rd and 4th graders and had a blast. I also, visited St. John Elementary and Iberville Elementary where the kids were adorable and appreciative of me being there. Dr. Fitch, a local pedatritician in the plaquemine area, purchased 300 hundred books and divided them up throughout both of these schools. Talk about a great donation and great support!!!
I had a wonderful time yall and cannot express enough about the gratitude that those kids showcased. I had my Mom and my Trainer alongside me today and it was an awesome time giving back to the community and enjoying great company as well. After finishing up with the schools, Coach Williams (my trainer) received a call from Randall Gay (another LSU guy that also plays for the New Orleans Saints now) to tell him that he wanted to purchase 200 books also! What a great thing! He shared with me that his son really loved the book and he brought it to his school and showed it to his teacher and they also loved the book! So now they are reading it to the class and giving them homework on the book as a part of their reading homework! Can you believe that!!! I am so blessed and thankful for this and all the help that I have received in funding this scholarship; as well as helping brighten up so many kids days and lives. I know that things are moving in the right direction and that all is going to turn out greatly.
I could not have asked for better timing with all that is happening and how it is happening. I just want to continue to get out in the community as well as share my book with as many that are willing to read it and hope it has an impact on them. I would like for those of you that are helping to continue to help and also get others on board. Together I know we all can help make a difference. Thank you all for taking the time for listening. I will be back blogging on the regular.
On behalf of The HOPE Foundation, I want to say a special thanks as we celebrate the great Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day. Enjoy a reminder to the great speaker, motivator, and inspiration to the WORLD!
I HAVE A DREAM
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"