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Day 24: Family #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 24: Family #SteeleThankful Challenge

I was blessed to spend 12 years of my life with the beautiful woman in this picture. That’s my Granny. I was born a day after her 63rd birthday. She even nicknamed me, “Pride and Joy.” Among other nicknames, but I won’t get into all of that.

When she left my world there was a void that could never be filled. There were so many questions that I had for her. Even though she was my granny, all I knew is that role. I didn’t know about the woman that came from Arkansas. How she ended up in Chicago, and eventually settled in Benton Harbor.

I wanted to know more about her family roots. My dad provided as much as he could about her family history, but it seemed incomplete. He could only recall what he remembered growing up. (bottom left of featured photo).

I was doing a college project on my family history. I called my dad, and he dropped one piece of information that became a…


After my father passed I was compelled to piece together a story for the future generation. I had more questions, that my father could no longer answer. I began researching again while in grad school with the information that my father provided. About a year ago I began going through his things, and found an address book. The last name that he provided years ago matched a name that was in this book.

I knew then that my world was about to change forever.

And the journey began…

I’m looking forward to sharing that part of the journey with the world.  Stay Tuned.

I’m #SteeleThankful for my family. At the end of the day, we all we got.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?


Steele Thankful 2016



This Challenge WILL Change Your Life! You down?

This Challenge WILL Change Your Life! You down?

Happy Halloween! I was feeling quite nostalgic, and this is probably the last time I wore a Halloween costume that I loved.  Queening since 1989-1990 Lol!

Halloween 1989 or 1990 Cleopatra style!
Halloween 1989 or 1990
Cleopatra style!

The second annual #SteeleThankful Challenge kicks off tomorrow, and I’ve had people asking me well what is it really about?

In a world where there is so much chaos, unhappiness, fixation on material things, I feel there is a need to really look inside of ourselves, and find what we are truly thankful for.  The best time is to do so in the month of November.  The month that we observe Thanksgiving.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to not only encourage yourself, but encourage others as well.

So, how does that work?

Have you looked in the mirror today?

Seriously.  If not the mirror, clip the camera icon of your cell phone, and have it face you.

Let’s start with being thankful for being able to receive this message today.

I’ll help you out.

Example: I’m #SteeleThankful that I’m here to celebrate another day with my family, because last year I didn’t know how I would make it to the next day, let alone another month or year.  Everyday is a new opportunity to strive for greatness, and continue to make myself happy.

As I stated before this challenge is only in the 2nd year.  I can see this challenge gaining momentum, and I have to truly let the process flow.  There will be changes along the way, so let’s enjoy this ride of transparency, and thankfulness.

I know that it sounds easy.  But, I’m here to tell you that it’s not.  I can tell you how empowering it feels to share your struggle with others on the road to absolute gratitude.

When I was in Rhode Island for the World Burn Congress a couple of weeks ago I realized how hard it was to tell my own story.

YES. You read that right.  Hi, My name is R.J. I’m a storyteller, and I’m sensitive about my SH*T! No one can tell my story like me, but that’s difficult.  When telling our own story we sometimes tend to ramble, or leave out the portion of the story that we don’t want to own.  I feel the same way it comes to sharing my journey during the #SteeleThankful challenge.

Can I be honest?

When I have to edit, and post a story for the Final 48 Project I will read it NUMEROUS times before I decide to schedule the post to go live.  I’m super protective of the stories that are shared on that platform, and I try my best to uphold the integrity of every person’s story.  I mean they chose to share their stories with me, in order to share with the world.  Encouraging others along the journey of grief is never easy.  Especially when you are still dealing with your own.

When I unlock another level of transparency I feel empowered.  Often times I can be reluctant to dangle my foot from the ledge of fear in order to show the world that I’m not apologizing for my past experiences, because they have shaped me into the person I am today.  And for that I am #SteeleThankful

I can’t wait to share this experience with all of you this year.  So much has happened from November 2015 to Now.  I’m sure the same for you.

Let’s embark on this journey together, and tell the world what we are all #SteeleThankful for?

#SteeleThankful Challenge 2016
#SteeleThankful Challenge 2016



P.S. On this Halloween of 2016, I am #SteeleThankful for the little girl that learned at a young age that she is a Queen, and you must always address me as such. **Featured Photo** THROWBACK! 😉

P.S. S. I share the true meaning of the #SteeleThankful name during the challenge this year.  Are you ready?  It’s going to blow your mind!

The Little Black Book…Are we “Steele” family?

The Little Black Book…Are we “Steele” family?

Don’t get too freaked out, this post is rated PG – Past Generations. I know millennials aren’t carrying around books anymore let alone a little black book. Our little black book can be found on our clouds account or stored under nicknames in our phone, but those baby boomers that’s a different story.

Well, my parents are baby boomers so I’m still prone to writing everything down, except  for phone numbers and addresses. After losing many of my contacts in October because I didn’t save my contacts to the cloud I realized how important a little black book would be.

I’ve told you before (and on Periscope) that I’m in search of my paternal grandmother’s family. I honestly want to know where my “Steele” family resides, and learn more about my family history.

I’ve finally made it through the bulk of my dad’s papers, and I came across an address book. A little black book that had addresses stamped on the front. I was flippin through the pages and some of the handwriting resembled my granny’s but most was that of my father’s unique penmanship.

A light bulb 💡 illuminated in my head. It said, “Check under the S alphabet!” Only one person listed in the S section of the book. THE LAST NAME WAS “STEELE!”

Overcome with excitement I ran to my computer and did a Google search of the name and address of this person. I found a few descendants, and decided to go to Facebook. Same name and location in Birmingham, Alabama, but I froze. Would a random inbox or friend request from a stranger scare this person? I definitely couldn’t lead the message with “What up cuz? Is that you?” Lol.

I took a couple of days to figure out what I was going to say.  I finally sent the message along with a picture of the address so they would know that I wasn’t crazy!

I’m anxiously awaiting the response.  I decided to document this journey similar to my other missions. I’m going to hop on Periscope as soon as I receive a response, and of course keep you updated on the site.

I’m excited to share this journey with you and also inspire you to reconnect (or meet) with your family. I believe this little black book is the beginning of solving the missing links in my family history.

Until next time,

R.J. 🕵