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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sherlene Stevens: Mardi Gras Week

Those of you who are planning to attend this year's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana:


  1. There are a variety of parades to enjoy. Some will last for a few minutes to a couple of hours. Most of the main-traffic streets will be blocked off.
  2. There may be shuttle availability, be prepared to walk. Those streets will be crroowdded.
  3. Similar to New York, some New Orleans attractions will be open 24/7.
  4. Purchase an all-day public-transportation ticket or a Jazzy Pass ($3.00), even if you think you will only need to use it for a couple of stops. You can use your ticket for their in-town street cars and public buses--New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Have correct change, and the nice thing is that you can purchase your ticket on any street car within Orleans Parish!
  5. Have exact change  when paying for ticket. 3-Day passes are $9. Resource link: www.norta.com 
  6. There is a public park near Canal Street.
  7. You may want to dress your kids in same-color attire, etc.
  8. There are plenty of places to dine. Be cautious in seeking kid-appropriate eating and rest-area venues.
  9. Pancake day is on Shrove Tuesday. Eat those pancakes, and afterward begin fasting with my audience family and me (our hosted theme for month of March).
  10. Do you have your purple, black, gold and green beads or decor?
  11. Before they run out of stock, purchase a New Orlean's decorative mask ($7 - $50). Some locals worked laboriously just to bring out-of-towners, guests, pleasure.
  12. Music lovers visit the Louisiana Music Factory.
  13. New Orleans-branded items range from $5 - $100.
  14. Don't forget to purchase a locally-made product or service.
  15. There are Walgreen and CVS stores in the area that will be open. You may want to check times for pharmacy and prescription pickups, refills, etc.  
  16. If you drink a little too much, if that's what you do, then ask your bartender to call you a cab. Otherwise, it's legal to drink on the streets of New Orleans, provided your beverage is in a plastic container rather than a bottle or can.
  17. Smoking is banned in all public buildings, including restaurants and bars.
  18. Public nudity and public urination is against the law.
  19. There is plenty of street lighting in most areas near the main venues.Caution: beyond Canal Street is a little dark.
  20. It may be a little cool near the water; you may want to carry along a jacket. The weather will be between 70 - 80 degrees during the day and the 60s at night. 

Photo Credit: Unknown

Attractions
  • Aquarium; butterfly insectarium; zoo
  • Casino; gay clubs (be cautious if you're the straight-and-easily-offended kind); other dance clubs
  • The gay and transsexual squad will be out, okkaayy! :) 
  • Jazz market; live entertainment lounges
  • Art centers; museums and galleries

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sherlene Stevens: Touchdown on the Topic of Equality

One of my hosted theme for February is African American Appreciation Month.

The following is a quote by Reverend Jesse Jackson when interviewed by Ebony magazine (October 2014). The interview concluded with the discussion of economic justice for blacks. I believe that the conversation is appropriate because we, last Sunday, Americans, of all racial identities, recently watched the 51st Super Bowl  (111.3 million viewers estimate for FOX reports the LA Times). Let's compare the recent football
game to the overall sportsmanship conversation led by Jackson:

    "You look for jobs where you have the skill capacity to be creative and to gain leverage. Why are we so good at football, basketball and baseball?  It's because whenever the playing field is even, the rules are public, the goals are clear, referees are fair and the score transparent, we can make it.  When you think about the things that we use and consume every day, we have no leverage.  When you vote less but spend more than your power [political and humanitarian freedom], it's a bad formula." -Jesse Jackson

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sherlene Stevens: Receiving is Prosperity

Continuing on the discussion of my hosted theme of December Family Holiday Traditions, did your home style take part in acknowledging the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6th)? The Epiphany is a faith-based celebration of the travels of the three kings, who received godly wisdom of the announcement of Jesus's birth. They traveled, from great distances, to present their finest gifts to a baby--their king, our king, and the king of all kings. The king of all rulers and leaders (past, current, and future) within the earth realm.

As a prosperity non-ordained clergy, you will often hear or read my phrase
                               "You must receive in order to give."
It took a lot of challenges for me to understand this concept or thought. It was only until I read a similar passage in detailed story form, within the Holy Bible, that I received true meaning of my own unique dysfunction. I finally grasped the understanding! I truly believe that I received the actions of what's labeled godly wisdom. Otherwise, my Bible study time would have meant nothing of value to what I was experiencing. I had knowledge to understand that my activity history of giving had declined to the point of thinking it was of total dysfunction; thoughts that I would never be able to give a blessing to another ever again because of the negativity of lacking financially because of others' dysfunctions and habits. I couldn't tell them that they were wrong in their doing even if  I used all all of my known ambitions. That's what I did; that's my dysfunction that I must take credit for in such life experiences.

I couldn't understand of why my forward-thinking approach wasn't working lately..Finally, I was able to understand my own personal and sincere actions of wanting to give productive blessings to others: If one hasn't first received, how can one give of one's time, talents, or blessings (aka wealth)?

I'll give you an example--A homeless person has finally achieved having a consistent home style, after struggling and trying for a great amount of unproductive lengths of time.Such wealth, in a given category, doesn't mean that the realization is that the individual will never need of anything again. I, personally, believe after you have been receiving (blessing) and receiving and receiving (in a given category) from others that you simply just want to give something back to another who may be lacking. How to give? What to give? is easy. "Who to give to" is the ultimate challenge that many people do not have the knowlege to fully understand of such actions our humanly actions. Have you ever seen or heard of people winning something or been given something to discover that their habits cause them to not be fully satisfied, or fully accepting of their wealth? Some would even go so far in expressing that they would like to be in that person's shoes? Never, never, wish to be in another's shoes (remember you never know what happens behind closed home style doors).

A receiver must have knowledge of giving away their wealth. The homeless person  who gives wealth to another may be thinking that they know how their receiver is feeling because they have gone through a similar experience. Without thinking of all concepts of giving, one could be giving to someone who has had a generational dysfunction of lacking (in a category)--no matter how discipline the person is, how educated the person is, or how physically healthy the person is. ... There are people, in this country, that simply can not be consistent in their daily or short term/long term lifestyle goals and aspirations.

Or can they overcome with advice and actions from another? By individuals who give--help--like the three wise kings who came not truly from their own desires to baby Jesus, but individuals who were led and instructed by the Holy Trinity of God  Notice how it wasn't just one individual. It was two or three who had gathered in the name of the Holy Trinity of God.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sherlene Stevens: Holiday Dinner After You've Lost a Loved One

On October 1, 2016, my grandmother passed away.  So my immediate maternal family decided we should all give up our own planned goals for Christmas to unite to have one memorial dinner to celebrate and remember mother and grandmother, and to be with stepfather or step grandfather (grandchildren, great grandchildren) on Christmas day. 

As many of you know I am a biological co-parent of four kids (3 daughters and 1 son): it ain't easy.  In fact, as the years go along, it has been a little more challenging then we thought it would be in dividing time with all the maternal and parternal family sets. Both family sets are active in family gatherings for birthdays, holidays, etc.  My children have now learned how to label and identify the fun habits or traditions of both maternal and paternal sets.  As they become older, they are making choices to do or not to do... 

As we sacrificed our time--a memorial dinner--I noticed that
  • There were no arguments about who would sit where. We were mostly quiet while silently wondering about this new experience.
  • In fact, we didn't have one challenging conversation the entire time. OMG!
  • We missed hearing my grandmother complain--about having all of us over in such a small area of home-style space as she often did, or the verbal action of to many people trying to talk to her at one time (the grand kids repeating "Mom-Mom" over and over again, or touching some new home decor without asking). She would say, "Whaaattttt or Damn  ..." 
  • We actually were more at peace and found the meal very pleasant. 
  • We dined in the family room while my step grandfather remained in the living room watching television, as he always did. 
  • We didn't have anyone leading the activities of the dinner. Everyone did there own thing. Advice: There should be some type of outline of what to anticipate before and after the meal.  
  • After the dinner, it would have been nice if we ended quality family time by all going to her grave, or adding something special to her most favorite time of the year "to just be and share with family and friends".
And isn't that the main point of Christmas (the actions of Jesus) to just be and share with family, friends, and true like-minded faith believers?

Sadly, we have learned a new tradition, a new first, for our family holiday traditions of how to gather without the ones we loved.