About Me

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Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

We've been hit hard by Ole Man Winter. I think we'll probably get about twenty inches of snow and it will take us a while to dig our cars out and the roads to be fully cleared and safe for the brave drivers.

Well, I'm not foolhardy and so today I'll take the time to relax and catch up on a few things that need my attention. For now, it's good to be indoors and I'm thankful for the warmth that I have.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yeah Graduation Day - Citizens' Police Academy



Earlier this evening, I graduated from the Howard County Police Department Citizens' Police Academy. After eleven (11) weeks of classes, I received my certificate which stated that I demonstrated a commitment to develop a strong police/community relationship and a safer Howard County.

I must say that this experience has heightened my respect for the police force in their training and their efforts in serving and protecting the citizens of Howard County. I learned a lot and was glad that I participated in this class.

I met a lot of good folks and we all had fun along the way!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Daily Motivator - "Fill Your World"

I received this daily motivator from a friend of mine on Thursday, December 3, 2009
and wanted to share it with you. It's a great lesson in karma!


Be a friend, and you will have a friend. Give, and you receive.

Teach, and you will learn. Offer encouragement, and you'll be lifted up.

Listen intently, seeking to truly understand, and you will be understood. Be respectful and you'll be respected.

Life is a mirror that reflects back to you what you think, what you expect, what you feel, and what you do. The way to improve the reflection is to improve what's being reflected.

Be the love, be the compassion, be the strength, be the responsibility that you wish to see in others. Be the best example you can imagine and you'll be pleased with how your example is followed.

The way you most sincerely live is magnified by all that is around you. Live true to your highest purpose, and that purpose expands to fill your world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Season, Giving Thanks, Bracing for the Unknown

The holiday day season is upon us and this past Thanksgiving I had a lot to be thankful for not only for that day but everyday. The Christmas season is right around the corner and sales are abound, but I wasn’t one of those frenzied shoppers out there on Black Friday. The hassle was simply not worth it.

Anyway, across the country many people aren’t so fortunate or blessed to be in a position to splurge because they’re either unemployed, underemployed or partly employed. A friend of mine recently sent me the link below which reflects the state of the economy and the effects it has on some people living in New York who lost their jobs including those who started their business in search of the American dream only to find it deflated by having to close their doors.

It’s a sad reality but they still have to give thanks that they have the drive to move on and brace themselves for the unknown (hopefully, better luck!)

Here’s the link:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/closetohome/view/

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Very Special Day!






I had a fantabulous (lol)birthday weekend. It's good to know you have family and friends who truly care and remember your very special day. It's also good to know that folks who don't even know you can serenade you at a karaoke spot (I won't mention any names) - it made me feel oh so very special!

Here's to another year of blessings, hope and prosperity.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Music Lover In Me

I love music better yet, who doesn’t? Anyway, the other day I heard an old skool (sp, lol) mix and I couldn’t resist going back into the vault and blowing dust off some of the din da da…

Anyway, what’s playing on my iPod?

Mariah Carey - Obsessed

Mario et al - Break Up

Trey Songz - Successful

Ryan Leslie – Addicted to you

Prince – Red Corvette

Sheila E – Glamorous Life

Rihanna – Live your life....just to name a few!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Check out my Shelfari!


One of my favorite pastime is reading. I love to attend book signings and I've met some of my favorite authors - Eric Jerome Dickey, Carl Weber, Zane, Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Brings Me Joy?

On the flip side of what makes me wanna holler, here's a list of things that bring me joy:

My solitude when I need it
Writing
Community Service
Collaborating with others
Daycations
My book club
My writers’ critique group
Self-discovery
Men who express themselves, good, bad and indifferent (at least they’re communicating)
Friends who aren’t afraid to be silly
Laughing at myself
Day dreaming
Being creative in the kitchen
Singing and dancing
Hanging with my sister friends
Exploring new things
Breaking bread with the fam
Sweating it out at the gym (whew, let me wipe my brow!)
Thinking outside the box
Shopping (no, I’m not a shopaholic!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What Makes Me Wanna Holler!

These are things that make me want to scream. So here goes:

Black on black crime (crime in general but especially black on black crime)
People who spew hate
Men who are afraid to express themselves
Women who lack self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence
People who are not thankful for everything they have
Mothers who don’t tell their kids they can be whatever they want to be
People who don’t realize they have a choice in all things they do
People who are stuck on stupid
Selfishness
People who live in a vacuum
People who risk it all for nothing
Men and women who are afraid to love
People who can’t commit to anything
Men who wear pants sagging off their butts (teenagers...a fad but grown men…should know better)
Stalkers of radio and TV personalities and other celebrities (huh? Get a life folks!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hooray November is HERE!

I’m excited because this month is my birthday month. This means that I’ll be celebrating all things ME all month long which includes things that I love to do, places I love to visit, things I would love to do, my musings, etc.


To kick off this month, I joined some members of the mentoring program and some mentees to see the movie “Good Hair.” I found the documentary hilarious and quite sad at times especially how much emphasis we as Black women put on our hair. I thought Chris Rock did a good job in showcasing how obsessive some of us are about this issue (not wanting to swim, have anyone put their hands in it, paying too much money for a weave and even putting it on lay-a-way etc.).


What I found interesting was that the hair (weaves) that so many of us crave comes mostly from India where women and young girls are encouraged to sacrifice their hair to the temple for blessings such as good harvest and prosperity. The temple then sells the hair for money and the hair ends up in many U.S. salons (first stop Los Angeles, the mecca of hair weaves).


The highlight of the documentary was the Bronner Brothers International Hair Show in Atlanta, GA which has been going on for 60+ years. I couldn’t help but bust out laughing at the lengths these hair dressers went to in order to win the grand prize of $20,000. To me it was more of putting on a performance rather than showcasing how to cut hair BUT I guess pleasing the audience and the judges came first.


While I can understand that some of us would rather have a weave than work with what we have, I fear that the message that young girls are getting is that it’s more important than what is inside their heads. Personally, getting a weave is not a priority of mine. It’s good to have options and I believe that women should do what makes them happy but not paying the rent or buying groceries so that you can pay for a weave is just plain ridiculous.


Also, I’m glad that Chris Rock got some male point of views about this issue (yes, barber shops are where the brothers joke around but talk some deep stuff too). If you’ve seen the movie then you’ll know what I’m talking about.


Overall, the documentary was a good way to start a dialogue among women and young girls about the issue of hair and how much it can consume or define who you are.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Citizens' Police Academy Update

This program has been going well thus far. I’m learning a lot and having fun. Just a couple of weeks ago we had a firearms training session where each person in the CPA went through two scenarios kind of like a Hogan’s Alley to get the bad guys. At first, I was nervous but once I was shown how to handle the gun (not with real bullets) and to use the flashlight in the dark, let’s just say I got my bad guy mostly on the first shot (beam hits) during the practical shooting exercise. Not too shabby for a rookie.


That exercise was followed up by this week’s presentation on traffic law enforcement and some of the dangers that drivers face while drinking or being distracted while texting and talking on the phone. Some of the pictures these accidents and commercials shown to reinforce the message of how dangerous these behaviors are were enough to make anyone think twice before doing something stupid and risking their lives and others. For me, the message was delivered loud and clear – I’ll continue to be alert, drive carefully not only for myself but for those around me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October & All Things Halloween!

Everyone looks forward to the end of October as it marks the annual Halloween celebration. It is a time for the colors orange and black, decorated pumpkins, trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, visiting haunted houses, etc.

Today, my mentee and I went to a children’s costume party at a friend’s house. The kids came dressed in a wide variety of costumes from superman to a sea-faring wench to a pumpkin. The house was decorated with all things Halloween and there was no shortage of activities for the kids to do: they did a craft (decorating a picture frame with their names on it), play games including hitting the piñata and scramble for candy and there was a balloon artist to create easy twist balloons of real life objects and animals. The kids had a great time and surprisingly so did I. This party allowed me to be a kid again even if it were only for a few hours.

We should all take time out to laugh and be silly! Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Citizens' Police Academy

I’m currently participating in the Howard County Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy which is an interactive 11 week course. This course is designed to give participants an inside look into the daily operation of the police department and to provide a better understanding of what it takes to be a police officer in Howard County. I signed up for this course to gain a better appreciation for the role police officers play in our everyday lives in Howard County. Generally, most of us don’t have a positive image of police officers as we often times hear about the negative things that they do without sometimes understanding the underlying reasons for their actions.


Thus, the main focus of this program is to improve the relationships and to gain a better understanding between the police and the community which they serve. Classes are conducted in a real police academy setting and are taught by certified police training instructors. Some of the things we as participants will experience include:

  • Tours of the Police Department, Crime Lab and the 911 Call Center;
  • Courses on Traffic Laws & Enforcement, Defensive Tactics, Use of Force, Community Policing, Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security & Gang Issues;
  • Presentations by the Police Department’s K-9 Unit and Tactical Unit;
  • Interactive Firearms Training on a Firearms Simulator, Police Pursuit & Driver Training, and a Police Officer Ride-Along

I look forward to attending classes every week and learning more about what it takes to ensure the safety of Howard County residents. Also, I’m really excited about going on a Police Officer Ride-Along. So stay tuned!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mentoring

A mentor is defined as an adviser or someone who counsels another. To me, a mentor is a friend but most importantly someone who listens. I've been a mentor for the past five years in a faith based mentoring program for young ladies between the ages of 11 - 18. This September marked the beginning of the new academic year and I've now met my new mentee. She is a bright 11 year old and my third mentee since my tenure as a mentor within this program. I'm really excited to be there for her during her 1st year in middle school and as a friend.

So take some time to give back to your community whether by volunteering to read to the elderly, rehabing a home, being a mentor, or feeding the homeless, etc. It really sends the message that despite our hectic schedules we can always find time to reach out and touch someone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall

I love the Fall season. I enjoy watching the leaves turn beautiful shades of green, orange and red. For me this season kicks off many activities I’m involved in and those which I want to explore.


So for the next upcoming weeks, I’ll spotlight my mentoring activities as well as the HCPD Citizen’s Police Academy which I just recently started.


Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friends

"No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow."

Alice Walker, 1944 -
Writer

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Courage

Sometimes life knocks us down a time or two but courage is what keeps us going. In the words of MLK:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929 - 1968
Civil rights activist & Nobel laureate

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Love

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is growing up."

James Baldwin, 1924 - 1987
Writer & Activist

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Artists

"The artist must draw out of his soul the correct image of the world. He must use this image to band his brothers and sisters together."

Amiri Baraka, 1934 -
Poet & Writer

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Reflective Mood - Self Reliance

I'm in a reflective mood today. As I flipped through a book of quotations by African American poets, writers, actors, singers, civil rights activists, film makers, etc. I thought I'd share the following quotation by one of my favorite novelist and poet, Maya Angelou:

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
Maya Angelou, 1928-

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The 7 C's to Success in Life (Care)

CARE – This C to me means having a feeling of concern or interest, paying attention, or possessing a sense of responsibility.

In general, I believe everyone should care enough to do a job well done whether it’s in the workplace, in the community, strengthening family bonds or building friendships. If you are working for yourself or within an organization, caring about producing an excellent product means repeat business, referrals, pay increases, recognition etc. This also gives you a sense of pride, self worth and accomplishment.

When you care enough to contribute your time and efforts in believing and fighting for a cause, your community gets stronger. When family members care enough to protect each other, the family bond becomes impenetrable. When you care enough to share, be considerate and support your friends, your friendships will last a lifetime.

Thus, caring is what makes us human and gives us a foothold in today’s society.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The 7 C’s to Success in Life (Community)

COMMUNITY – The first thing that comes to mind when I think of community is a feeling of togetherness. It’s fellowshipping with others who have similar interests, attitudes, goals, religious beliefs, the area where you’re from, etc.


In the workplace, the community is also known as the culture of the workplace. It’s how employees interact with each other, their bosses and others who come to do business with them. It could be collegial, professional, or competitive depending on the type of business you’re in. Thus, finding a perfect fit can a daunting experience for managers who have to hire new employees as they try their best to determine whether your personality would gel with the others to continue the status quo without any hiccups.


In our own personal backyard, our community is wherever you reside (condos, apartments, townhomes, rowhouses, single family homes) and the neighbors within, next door or nearby. We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise one child.” This saying originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb "Ora na azu nwa" which means it takes the community/village to raise a child. This was true many years ago when communities were more cohesive. However, today, while we may still find pockets of communities who believe in this saying, the rest of our neighbors simply mind their own business and don’t take the time to even get to know each other.


We need to change this attitude. If we can fit in when we go to work it makes sense to fit in where you live. You may not like everyone but it doesn’t hurt to let your neighbors know that they can say hello and engage in small talk with you. Having a community gives you a feeling of belonging and fellowship. So, why not start today.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The 7 C’s to Success in Life (Creativity)

CREATIVITY – Creativity comes from one’s ability to have original thoughts, ideas and imagination. Given today’s economic downturn, when money is tight and jobs are scarce, you have to embrace creativity. In the workplace, if you can bring a creative solution to a problem then your superior may see you as a problem solver/valuable employee. This is a good thing because in many circles it can guarantee job security.


In our everyday lives, you have to be creative with the few dollars that you’re working with. If you can’t afford to continue splurging on expensive or high-end products, you have to seek out products and services that are comparable in substance but cheaper in price. So going to Wal*Mart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Dollar Stores etc. gets you more value for your buck.


We all like to hang out with family and friends. So why not take advantage of the neighborhood's park, pack a lunch, a blanket and enjoy nature with the family. You can also have a backyard cookout/bbq that won't break the bank if you have everyone bring a dish. If you feel like being out with friends after a long week, check out the happy hours around town for 2 for 1, half price appetizer deals and even sign up for the rewards club at chain restaurants like TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, Houlihan’s, etc. to get great coupons. You can top off any of these occasions by creating a fabulous outfit with what you already have in your closet.


At the end of the day, creativity can get you through these lean times and it’s a testament to your survival skills.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The 7 C's to Success in Life (Collaboration)

COLLABORATION – Working together can provide great economic and social benefits. In a work setting, collaborative efforts can yield great results when you put together a team of different talents who generate great ideas. This creates the sharing of knowledge, team building and learning. It also drastically reduces the time and stress level an individual would encounter if they were assigned to complete a project all on their own. While working as a team leverages the responsibilities, let’s not forget that having a great group dynamic goes a long way.

In our personal lives, we can find collaboration just about everywhere: in church (working on various committees), in school (working on projects), at the gym (groups to cheer your fitness on), in marriage (working together to build a solid family foundation), in friendships (great friends that have your back), while volunteering (working with others to build a better community), etc.

I believe that collaboration can set the stage for a happy and healthy life. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to collaborate with others because you never know what you may learn, what opportunities may arise and who may become your friends for life.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 7 C's to Success in Life (Commitment)

COMMITMENT When I think of this C, I think of pledging or promising to perform a certain course of action or as a friend of mine once told me “giving your word that you will do something and sticking to it.” Sometimes it may be difficult to stick to it especially when life throws you curve balls but the trick is to get back on track.


In the workplace, one can commit to excellence by doing an outstanding job and exceeding their goals. This could mean getting to work on time, prioritizing tasks and doing more than what is required of you. What follows from that is a sense of pride, accomplishment and recognition that will do wonders to boost your ego.


In our daily lives, we must commit to being our best selves. This could mean committing to a spiritual lifestyle which would enrich one’s personal and family values, committing to strengthening family and other relationship bonds (spending quality time), committing to a healthier lifestyle (proper diet and exercise), committing to getting out of a financial rut (increasing your credit score), committing to learning something new (personal growth), committing to giving back to the community (enhancing leadership and mentoring skills), etc. Whatever your path, we should all strive to find happiness by committing to things that create balance in our lives and bring us joy. For it is when we commit to ourselves that the world will appear to be a much brighter place and we’ll be a few steps ahead of those who fear commitment.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The 7 C's to Success in Life (Clarity)

CLARITY – We all have busy personal/business lives (planning business meetings, relatives coming to visit, kids going to camp, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, dinner with friends, working out at the gym, planning family vacations and the list goes on). Juggling all these activities can be quite overwhelming and this is where clarity kicks in. This C involves setting clear goals or having certainty or definiteness in one’s decision making. Without clarity in planning, we would tend to miss or overlap some of these activities. Setting clear goals, tasks, timelines help to keep you on track and goes hand in hand with being organized. So take out your blackberry, iPhone, calendar, whatever your device of choice would be and start making your To Do Lists and stay on track. You’ll find that tasks are performed more efficiently and you’ll have more time to squeeze in a few more activities.


This same concept works well in the work place. For instance, some bosses start the week off with no clearly defined tasks and then are expected to lead their staff member to achieve the company’s goals. However, without clarity in what should be accomplished, confusion will result and staff members will spend their time doing everything other than what should be done. So employers should have a clear focus on what they expect from their staff on a daily, weekly, monthly basis in order to achieve a successful bottom line.


Additionally, personal relationships should have clearly defined expectations going forward. Because without this, folks will end up getting hurt when they find out that all parties were not on the same page.


Finally, one should have personal clarity…..take a moment to meditate or read something inspirational just to unclutter your mind whenever too much is going on in your head.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The 7 C's to Success in Life (Communication)

When I was in college I took several management courses and learned about the 7 C’s of a successful business. I thought if a business could be successful using these tips, tools, etc., then why not apply them to make our everyday life (family/personal/business relationships) a success as well.

So, I’ve compiled the following list which I believe could add value to our lives:

Communication, Clarity, Commitment, Collaboration, Creativity, Community & Care (this list is not all inclusive, you can add your own "C")

I'll comment on each of the above Cs on a regular basis starting with communication for my first blog posting.

COMMUNICATION – This C is super important to me. Without communication, every relationship suffers. Each party’s silence contributes to further deterioration of the relationship and sometimes all it takes is for one party to start the dialogue. It doesn’t cost you anything and it could save a friendship! On the other hand, if there is no reciprocity, then the relationship is simply doomed. I'm sure we all have stories about such relationships.

Even in the workplace, there should be open and effective communication between management and staff. This can be done through a simple hello, good morning, praise for a job well done, constructive feedback, etc. Without effective communication, management will find that their staff will feel alienated, perform poorly, lack enthusiasm, etc. resulting in a decreased bottom line. Now which company wants a sluggish bottom line in this economy if they can help it?

What Bugs Me: Everyone is feeling the pinch of this economy and with so many qualified people vying for the same position; companies have been nothing short of being rude – not returning phone calls, ignoring e-mails, not acknowledging receipt of applications, etc. So much for professionalism!

Side Note: Tell me about some of your "Cs" to your successful life.

Hello Everyone!!

Welcome to Vocal Expressions! This is a platform where I'll talk about the 7 C's to Success in Life (more to come) and about some of my other passions such as reading, writing, volunteering, movies, money saving tips, taking time out to relax and release, etc.

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