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Day 26: Passion #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 26: Passion #SteeleThankful Challenge

This year I had a 3rd grade class participate in a book review contest.

The students reviewed the first book in my series, Adventures of Alleykats – The Missing President.

I was able to read all the reviews submitted, and choose the top three.  The students were awarded with a goodie bag, that included an autographed book from yours truly.

I can say that was one of my highlights of 2016.  I will tell you if you want honest feedback ask a child.  They were able to tell me what they liked, and would improve for the next book.

I’ve always been passionate about the future of our young people, simply because I had some amazing teachers in my life growing up.  It’s never been about the money when I decided to start this series.  Don’t get me wrong I’m excited when I’m able to sell books, but to know that your passion for history is changing lives makes this whole journey worth it.

I’m #SteeleThankful for the passion to learn, and share my gift with others.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Steele Thankful 2016

Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Imagine this…

Headed to the airport shuttle stop on a sunny evening. Your waiting at a red light, and someone slams into the back of your car. You’re in shock, disbelief, and realize the person behind you is clearly inebriated. All of this happens in front of the plaza by the shuttle stop. Thank God there was no serious damage, but I made sure I got that license plate because buddy kept rolling. ✌🏾️🚗💨💨

So, now I’m waiting on the shuttle for the airport. 20 mins, 40 mins, an hour rolls by and after calling numerous times for an update on this late shuttle I realized even if the shuttle arrived by the last time I called for an update I would miss my flight.  So, what do you do?

Well, my concern was having my mom drive back in the dark so late from the airport. That’s a two hour drive by herself that we didn’t prepare for. There were two other strangers waiting for that shuttle but going in two different directions. There was 1 person that was going to the same airport as myself. I decided to ask her if she wanted to ride. She agreed, and we were riding into the sunset. I’ve never been the person to pick up a stranger, but she was no stranger. We were two ladies in distress trying to make our flights. We laughed and exchanged contact information to stay in touch after all this. We parted ways at the terminal, but took this photo before with my book that is now hers for life!


I arrived to North Carolina around 12:30 am on Thursday, and laid down.

Later on that afternoon I wanted to prepare for the interview that I had coming up for the Project. Meanwhile I received an email stating that the class that I was in town for was cancelled. 😳

The class didn’t reach it’s minimum enrollment requirement so as of Thursday it was cancelled. I was bummed for about 30 minutes, but then I thought maybe this is apart of the plan. What’s my next step?

I began reaching out to people to see if they wanted to participate in the project, and I could do as many interviews as I could over the weekend. I received a few yes, and a couple let me think about it. So, all was not lost. Sometimes you have to be prepared for the unexpected, right?!

I laughed, cried, stayed up late with old friends and it felt good to be away. I even gained some new friends too. I had a mentor tell me a long time ago that you have to stay ready in this entrepreneur world. Things change constantly and you have to be prepared. This weekend was a valuable lesson on how to turn lemons 🍋into tasty lemonade. 😋

Xoxo,

R.J.

Position and Timing: Determines the outcome!

Position and Timing: Determines the outcome!

I am on cloud nine this morning.  The weekend was a time for reflection, connecting with family/friends, and of course Resurrection Sunday.

On Thursday I received a phone call from the local radio station in my hometown that wanted to do a short segment with me.  Now, let me tell you how we arrived at this moment.

A childhood friend of mines reached out to me shortly after the book was published.  He wanted to connect me with the radio station to talk about the first book in the series.  Well, that day has come.  This morning I was featured on 98.3 The Coast with Denise & Jonny!  I had a blast, and looking forward to the next convo with them.  If you missed it you can catch the replay by clicking here.

I’ve been learning a lot about position and timing over the last year.  I told you about being laid off, and it being God’s timing.  It was clearly His timing because if I would’ve done it on my own the outcome would have been a lot different.  I’m sure you have heard being in the right place at the right time, similar to wrong place, wrong time but with a positive spin on it.

This is the first time in my life that I can say I have chosen to let God lead the way.  I changed my position and location in order to walk in the will of God, and it has not been easy.  I’ve resisted.  I wanted to throw my hands up plenty of times, and say I’m sure this isn’t the route God has for me.  Maybe, I should try this again in a couple of years.

Again, I had to focus on God’s timing, and not my own.  By changing my position/location and mindset to focus on God’s timing has provided a sense of peace, and prepared me for this moment today.  I’m sure there will be more lessons ahead that will have me feeling indifferent at times, but I find comfort that I’m not alone on this journey.

So, when you are feeling discouraged I challenge you to re-evaluate your prayers, position, and timing.  A little shift in how you do things can make a huge difference for the outcome.

Xoxo,

R.J.

Alleykats Headquarters

P.S. Almost forgot!  If you are on social media be sure to follow/like Adventures of Alleykats on Facebook by clicking here.  On Twitter and Instagram @Alleykatsbooks the cutest features and updates on all things Alleykats! The first book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble now! #TheMissingPresident

From Fist Pumpin to West Philly: Fresh Princess of Books!

From Fist Pumpin to West Philly: Fresh Princess of Books!

I think it’s safe to say after the last three weeks I am exhausted!  The pack/unpack cycle has concluded for at least a month, but I’m definitely grateful for the Historical Tours w/R.J. that were completed.

You know I love a good road trip.  Can you believe of my many road trips on the east coast I’ve NEVER been to Philadelphia?  I rode through Pennsylvania heading to Virginia but never visited any historical sites in the state.  Our nation’s first capital, and I finally made it!

It was chilling cold the first day in Philly so my friends and I decided to venture out on Sunday afternoon.  Our first stop was the Art Museum, and also the scene for the famous steps from the Rocky Movie.   You know we had to go to the top right?! Lol.  RockySteps2

The view from the top of the “Rocky Steps” was amazing.  We hung out at the top because it was the perfect photo op for anyone who conquered the stairs!

Rocky Stairs
Rocky Stairs (Philly Art Museum) – View from the Top

Of course this stop wouldn’t be complete without posing with the statue!

Rocky Pose

By the mid-afternoon we worked up quite an appetite marching around Philly, so we decided to go over to the Reading Terminal Market.  There was so much to choose from but how could we come to Philly without getting a cheesesteak.  Sure, my friends from the area told me to try Jim’s or Ishkabibble but Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagie and Cheesesteak was President Obama approved!  Since my former alias is Carmen Sandiego I was definitely down to try.  Placed my order, took my Ace of Spades card, and waited patiently for my order.

Yum.  Aces of Spade card for my order wearing one of my fave nail colors, Essie - Mint Candy Apple
Yum. Aces of Spade card for my order wearing one of my fave nail colors, Essie – Mint Candy Apple

No need to snap a picture of my food.  We were thoroughly satisfied.  I’ll check the other places out to compare the next time in Philly.

I saw a story on Facebook about one of the oldest African American bookstores in the country was located in West Philly, Hakim’s Bookstore and Gift Shop.  I was excited to stop by, drop off my book, and patronize the business.  We met the late owner’s daughter, Ms. Yvonne Blake.  Her father, Mr. Dawud Hakim began selling books from the trunk in his car in 1959 before settling in it’s current location on 52nd Street.  Can you imagine the history that has been exchanged in that space for the last 40 years.You can honestly get lost in there with the collection of books that is offered in the store.  It is truly an amazing treasure to have in West Philly, and I wish more bookstores like that one existed all over the country.  When you are in Philly be sure to stop by Hakim’s and it’s possible you may see a familiar book(s) in there very soon!

Hakim's Bookstore