Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Carry Both Their Names and Their Pride: Honoring My Grandfathers During Black History Month

During Black History Month we celebrate great men and women of African descent who have contributed to the betterment and equality of African Americans and all citizens of this country, for their contributions have impacted us across race and gender lines. We’re all familiar with Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and other phenomenal individuals who championed equality and civil rights.
But when I think about giants who fought for justice while reaching out to help their fellow man, two names always come to mind—Reverend W. G. Hickman, my paternal grandfather, and James Thomas Trice, my maternal grandfather. I carry their both names and their pride.

Granddaddy Hickman, (Willie Gray, as his family called him) was a powerful man. He was one of the first black male teachers at the local high school I attended, he was instrumental in helping to start the Voter's League in my hometown, and he was president of the local NAACP chapter for many years. Granddaddy was also a pastor, and boy could he preach! As a child I remember sitting in the pew at his church and listening to his thunderous voice as he delivered his sermon. (I would later do the same with my own father). He marched with Dr. King, and he championed the rights of underserved and underrepresented citizens. He was a business owner and community leader. Granddaddy stood up and spoke out during a time when it was dangerous for a black man to do so, especially in the South. He staged the first sit-in (and took my father with him when my Dad was just a small boy, setting an early example for him) at a restaurant in my hometown that refused to serve black people. He was an “agitator” (I love it!) who stood his ground and fought for what was right. He was proud and fearless, and I greatly admire him for his determined spirit.

James Trice was one of the best men I’ve ever known. Granddaddy James had what people called “the gift of gab.” He could talk to anyone about anything! I remember having conversations with him that lasted for hours…and that’s a really long time when you’re a kid! He was smart and wise, and he loved his family with a deep, unwavering passion. He was a man of honor, integrity, and kindness. Granddaddy James served honorably in the U.S. Army during World War II, and then worked for the federal government for 37 years before retiring. He was a member of the Masons, Shriners, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he volunteered in his community. I always knew that he was a great man, but it wasn’t until his funeral that I realized the powerful impact he’d had on his community. His home going service lasted for several hours because person after person stood up and gave testimony about the good deeds he’d done over the years. From taking food out of his refrigerator to feed his neighbors, to physically saving one young man’s life, my granddaddy helped people whenever he could. And it’s ironic because for a man who loved to talk, he never breathed a word about his selfless acts of kindness. He just went about the work of being a good human being. His heart was so big, and I miss him so much.

Both of my grandfathers taught me valuable lessons about strength, determination, and kindness. No, they weren’t perfect men, but they were solid men. They stood tall in their deeds and beliefs. They provided for their families and were responsible citizens. And I’m confident in saying that their communities were better places because they had lived in them—what a lasting legacy! My two grandfathers are the yardstick by which I measure greatness, and that’s why I celebrate them during Black History Month.

I believe we all know unspoken hero’s—those individuals who’ve made a difference, touched a life, or fought for what was right. During Black History Month and every month thereafter, let’s honor these hero’s by remembering them, talking about them, sharing their stories, and celebrating their deeds. Who are the people in your family that deserve to be recognized and honored? I challenge you to tell their story…it just might inspire someone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day Tips...Spice Up Your Man's Day!

Valentine's Day Tips from Victoria Small of Divine Occasions

Who says that women are the only ones who like romance? Men like it, too! This Valentine's Day, make it ALL about him by showing your man you appreciate him in ways that will make him sit up, take notice, and beg for more! Here are a few tips from Divine Occasions owner, Victoria Small, to help you make your guy’s cupid day memorable!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #1—Ladies, start your man's Valentine's Day morning off right by feeding him a delicious, healthy treat in bed. Mix strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in a bowl, then top it off with a little whipped cream (on him!), and lick it off of him in small, delicious nibbles so you can have a sweet treat, too!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #2—Pack your guy a sexy, heart-healthy Valentine's Day lunch. Every man loves to be fed, so before he walks out the door, hand your man a lunch bag that includes fresh fruits and nuts atop leafy salad greens, a juicy red apple, and a small box of red hot cinnamon candies...and don't forget to include a love note letting him know that you can't wait for him to get home so you can give him a "REAL" gift!

Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #3—When your man comes home, greet him at the door in sexy lingerie and your most fierce pair of stilettos...but don't let him touch you. Take him to the dinner table (which should already be set with flowers, candles, and a delicious meal) and let him savor the pleasure of watching you dine in your sexy silk and lace (or leather if that’s your pleasure!). Then, continue your romantic evening by relaxing together in a warm bubble bath sprinkled with rose petals (by this time your lingerie should be off!).
Divine Occasions Valentine's Day Tip #4—Light an aromatherapy candle, turn on soft music, and give your man an all-over body massage with non-scented oil. Then, once you’re finished, hand feed him some delicious treats (chocolate covered strawberries, grapes, berries, and whipped cream)…Oh, and did I mention he should be blindfolded during this sensual pampering session!

Divine Occasions Valentines Tip #5—Wake him up with a sensual Lingam massage (It’s a Tantric, male centered massage that’s dedicated to one area of his anatomy) that will get his day started on the upswing *wink*. Meet your guy during his lunch break and sneak away for a sexy mid-day romp that will make him return to work with an extra pep in his step! Then, pick him up from work at the end of the day and tell him that the evening is his—do whatever he likes. He’ll appreciate that you made this day ALL about him!

Check out Victoria Small, her exciting life, and the amazingly colorful cast of jump-off-the-page characters in my novel, Unexpected Interruptions, (Dafina Books, March 29, 2011). Visit Trice Hickman at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Welcome Back...To Me!

Wow! I can’t believe that I haven’t posted on my blog in a year and a half! Oh, shame, shame, shame on me! Where does the time go? A day turns into a week, which rolls into a month, and speeds into a year, and BAM!...There you are, scratching your head with a blank stare as you think about the things you wanted to do but didn’t.

But, there’s a wonderful thing about this gift we call life, it’s called “a second chance!” And, if we’re lucky, we might even get two, three, or more (um, but let’s not push it!).

How many times have we said we were going to do something, only to let time pass by without fulfilling the commitment our promise? Whether we vow to lose weight, get more exercise, cut back on sweets, remove negative habits (and people) from our lives, or vow to save more money, it can be hard to stay on track. But again, it’s that thing called a second chance that saves us!

Okay, so this is my second chance at blogging and I’m going to make the most of it. If, like me, you’ve fallen off the wagon with something, just remember there’s a second chance for you, right around the corner!