New Year Lessons

I started my New Year off with a BANG! I’m physically fine. Mentally a little shaken up. At this moment on January 1, 2019 my life once again flashed before my eyes. I realized right at this second that life is too short. At any given time my life can be taken away from me. I’m pleased with the way I’ve lived my life. I have no regrets. I have lived a purpose filled life. In 2019 I’m letting it all go. I forgive others who I have felt wronged me. I forgive myself. I’m walking into 2019 with one goal: Serve Others in LOVE! What can I do each day to SERVE? That’s it. I love each of you and pray that you have a New Year full of LOVE, BLESSINGS and PURPOSE.


Simply Ebony

Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program

The Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program is designed to provide financial assistance to United States armed forces personnel who served in the Afghanistan or Iraq Conflicts, and their sons, daughters, or spouses who are current high school seniors, and full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled in an eligible accredited Maryland postsecondary institution.


Applicants for the scholarship must submit the Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship application, by March 1, 2019, online at, with all required supporting documentation, which includes:

A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filed by March 1 each year;

If a son or daughter of a veteran, a birth certificate showing the names of both parents;

If a spouse of a veteran, a marriage certificate;

Documentation of Chapter 33/Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Documentation of military orders: United States Armed Forces – Active Duty: copy of current official military orders: documentation of service in Afghanistan/Iraq

United States Armed Forces – Veteran: copy of Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214)

United States Armed Forces – Reserve Component: copy of Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214) Maryland National Guard: copy of Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214)

Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Expo

What’s your career goal? Make your next move!

Join Hiring Our Heroes and event co-host Paralyzed Veterans of America at the Washington Hiring Expo with the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, January 9. Register here:

Washington Hiring Expo

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Capital One Arena

601 F Street NW, Washington,

District of Columbia 20004, USA

Spend the day connecting directly with recruiters and hiring managers from 100+ local and national companies of all sizes.

Prior to the hiring expo, join us for a free Career Connections employment workshop from (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) focused on:

• Mock interviews, skills translation and resume review

• Resources for connecting with veteran-ready employers

• Best practices for digital networking and job search techniques

All registered veteran and military spouse job seekers who attend the hiring expo are eligible to receive

• Raffle tickets at the employment workshop for a chance to win signed Washington Wizard memorabilia

• One-on-one resume review and career coaching from our experts at Leidos

• Up to two free tickets to attend the evening’s game between the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers

Living with Endometriosis

#VeganLife I’ve decided to fully go back #Vegan starting Monday. It’s definitely a challenge and takes LOTS of discipline. This time I’m going Gluten Free too. I just discovered at my Gynecologist visit that my Endometriosis has returned. In January 2018, I had surgery to remove Fibroids. I was alarmed recently that every month I’m vomiting and in major pain. 😫😫😫 This is the life of an #EndoGirl. The Fibroids which caused heavy bleeding are gone. The #Endo that causes vomiting and heavy cramps crept back in my life. My gynecologist wants to avoid another surgery. It would be my fourth surgery. She recommended that we medicate for now with Motrin for the pain and Zofran for the nausea. She also suggested that I try to modify my diet. For a month I’m going to try the #EndoDiet that avoids foods high in hormones and gluten. Vegan life is beneficial in many ways. I want to dispel the myth that it’s expensive to eat healthy. I’ll be doing Vegan on a budget. If you are interested in joining me try it here:

My $1.50 a Day Challenge: Eating a Plant-Based Diet on an Austere Budget

A Black Woman’s Fear of the Police #SayHerName

Yesterday, I was stopped by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) and I was petrified. 😳 Every since Sandra Bland was killed I’m afraid to be stopped by police for any reason.

I am a law abiding citizen. I didn’t knowingly violate any traffic laws. I quietly provided my license and registration frozen in fear. I felt some relief as I recently got a new license with my veteran status on the front. It seems to make officers less abrasive and more relaxed when I’m stopped. I didn’t ask any questions or make any sudden movements. I cut my music off, turned my inside light on, kept my hands visible on the steering wheel, and silently prayed.

The white female officer approached my vehicle and she was friendly. I have to give credit that MCP Chief Tom Manger and the MCPD are always very professional and follow protocol. Chief Manger often talks at community forums and I do feel safe knowing he is leading the police force. The Officer approached and asked the routine question “do you know why I stopped you?” Of course my answer was “no.” She told me my left headlight was out. 🤦🏾‍♀️

The Officer gave me a warning with a vehicle maintenance citation to get the headlight fixed within 30 days. This would be the second time I’ve been stopped due to lights. (Note to self: Turn my car on and do a walk around before I drive at night.)

The first time I was stopped it was right after Sandra Bland was killed you can imagine the fear I felt in my heart. My lights usually stay on automatically and I had recently maintanenced my vehicle. The mechanic switched my lights to manual versus automatic. I drove from the Metro parking lot which is fully lit and exited the parking garage. The cop stopped me literally as I exited the parking garage.

I was scared to death that night getting stopped by the police officer. I was in tears. I called a friend to put him on speaker phone to witness the stop just in case I was killed.

I hate that I am now afraid of police officers. Public servants meant to protect us. The fear is real. I’m scared that a simple traffic stop will lead to my death. It causes high anxiety. How do I get past these feelings? #sayhername #sandrabland

#RedTableTalk: Toni Braxton

Watching the Red Table Talk with Toni Braxton made me reflect on my own marriage and subsequent divorce. Toni talked about the breakdown in communication. Her sickness. Financial stress. Feeling responsible for going out on the road to provide for the family. She discussed the resentment when they divorced and she was forced to pay alimony. They established this alimony payment in the prenup agreement prior to marriage.

Toni’s situation closely mirrored my own marriage. The day and age where the man is the primary provider has far been gone. It does cause resentment when we as women are responsible to be the providers financially and gasp pay alimony or child support. Look at the widely publicized cases of Toni Braxton, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige. All made substantially more money than their spouses and served as the primary provider for the household. Upon divorce, all the women were responsible for paying alimony and the social media community harshly criticized the men for receiving the payments. The question is: Why?

I believe society still makes us feel that the women being the primary breadwinner is wrong. Subconsciously even when we voluntarily enter into these marriages where our income is higher or we are the sole providers, we resent it. It doesn’t matter if the male spouse satisfies all other needs or provides us happiness and support in multiple other ways.

I have to own that feeling of resentment. I felt it deeply. It transpired into my marriage. It impacted the way I communicated with my husband. I lost a certain level of respect for my husband each month he remained unemployed or underemployed. He was my biggest cheerleader whenever I’d accomplish something major at work or in life. He was my best friend. He loved me immensely. He did everything that a husband was supposed to do, except provide. The resentment of him not financially contributing to the household built up. I shut down. Ultimately this led to the demise of our marriage.

Fast-forward to the divorce. Imagine having to pay your ex-husband alimony. No matter how “okay” we say we are it is not a good feeling. I left my marriage after my husband hit me. I told him from the beginning that domestic violence was my one dealbreaker and I meant it. I was active-duty military in the Air Force. Located on a military installation. The local police had no jurisdiction on a military base.

As the military member, I was responsible for the well-being of my spouse even though a police report was filed after the domestic violence incident. It didn’t matter that my ex-husband confessed to hitting me. The military issued a stay away order. This meant we were not allowed to stay in the same residence. The judge banned my husband from base, he was mandated to attend batterers intervention counseling, and given probation. I was still responsible to ensure he had adequate housing and was ordered to provide financial support to my husband.

Was I mad that I had to provide alimony? No. I understood my responsibility. Did I harbor resentment? Yes. I questioned the logic of providing financial support to the abuser. This was my reality and the reality for many women in uniform.

As active-duty military women we carried the weight of marriages on our shoulders. We served our country and many of us struggled to balance work and family life. There were military husbands that stayed home with the children and were the primary caretakers. This was used as leverage when going through divorces or separations. Military women faced judges that deemed them unfit mothers because they were on call for the military 24/7, worked shift-work or deployed. This was the reality of my military sisters who oftentimes didn’t have the financial means to pay substantial legal costs to fight custody or complicated divorce cases. It’s a dangerous situation as sometimes out of desperation to keep their children or fear of going through a messy divorce many military women felt the only choice was to stay in toxic marriages.

I made the choice to divorce. It was not an easy choice. My now ex-husband wrote on the divorce paperwork that he desired to receive couple’s counseling and wanted to remain married. I declined. For years I struggled with the guilt: Should I have stayed? I sought individual counseling for many years to heal. Divorce is not an easy process. It can take years to heal. Even when you are ready for the marriage to end you still go through a cycle of grief. Eventually, after many years, I forgave him and forgave myself. That was freeing.

Things I learned from my marriage and divorce:

• Put God First in the Marriage. Without a solid foundation the marriage will crumble.

• Communicate. Talk to your spouse openly. Don’t hold on to things.

• Seek Counseling. Ongoing counseling is important to getting over barriers and resolving marital issues.

• Surround yourself with positive and loving couples. It helps to have others around you that are in a healthy and happy space.

• Walk in your truth. Be honest and upfront with each other.

United Way of the National Capital Area – Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for ways to volunteer during this Holiday Season?

United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community and offers volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups to make a tangible difference.

We hope you will join us for an upcoming volunteer opportunity!

Want to get involved?

Visit the UWNCA website and click “Get Connected” to create an account, access information and/or to sign up to volunteer for a United Way NCA-organized project or for one of our partner organizations. UWNCA website:

LOGIN IN or SIGN UP to create account

Select “NEEDS” in left navigation bar

Review options

Click “VIEW DETAILS” to learn more

Choose “RESPOND” to reserve your slot

SHOW UP on time to honor your commitment

Current Needs:

Thursday, November 15, 2018 -Monthly Food Distribution in Prince George’s County (Riverdale, MD) Volunteers needed to help with logistics, registration, packaging and distributing food, and cleanup for monthly food bank.

Friday, November 16, 2018 – Linkages to Learning Need For Thanksgiving Baskets (Silver Spring, MD) Mario Loiederman Middle School seeks 12 thanksgiving baskets for students and their families. Bags are requested to be dropped off at Loiederman Middle School by Friday, November 16, 2018. Contact Natalia Seo, Community School Coordinator at, for additional information.

Friday, November 23, 2018 – SOME (SO Others Might Eat) Lunch Servers Volunteers are needed to serve lunch to hungry men, and women in an uplifting environment with music, seasonal decorations.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 – Brookland Middle School High School Fair Night Volunteers are needed to proof essays and conduct mock interviews.

Thursday, December 20, 2018 – Monthly Food Distribution in Prince George’s County (Riverdale, MD) Volunteers needed to help with logistics, registration, packaging and distributing food, and cleanup for monthly food bank.

Ongoing – Hyattsville Middle School Beautification Project: Muralist and Supplies (Hyattsville, MD) Volunteer muralists are needed at Hyattsville Middle School to finish mural located at school entrance, paint and other supplies for beautification project are also needed. Ends on Monday, January 28, 2019. Contact Dahiana Edwards, Community School Coordinator at, for additional information.

Ongoing – Bread for the City (Washington, DC) Volunteers are needed to assist in fulfilling daily tasks at food pantries, orchards, clothing rooms, rooftop gardens, events, and centers for Bread for the City.

Ongoing – Friendship Place Donation Delivery Champion (Washington, DC) Volunteers needed to help distribute important basic needs items, such as toiletry kits and household items, to our participants. Volunteers will transport donations in their personal vehicles from our administrative offices in NW DC to program sites around the city.

Upcoming Event:

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – United Way NCA La Soirée A Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration (Washington, DC) (TICKETS REQUIRED) Gather your friends and family and join United Way at the Embassy of Canada as we kick-off the holiday season with warm, spiked drinks and lighting of the Embassy Holiday Tree all the way from Nova Scotia. The celebration continues inside the embassy with music, dancing, food and drinks. Don’t miss out on this enchanting evening! Contact Georgina Salguero, Philanthropic Engagement Manager, at for additional information.

Thank you, we invite you to join the journey with us to address community needs.

Remember we win when we LIVE UNITED!

Contact Torrance Hucks, Volunteer Engagement Manager, at for additional information.

#Volunteer #UnitedWay #UWNCA #Thanksgiving #VolunteerOpportunities

Steps to Take Now to Get a Jump on Next Year’s Taxes

Due to tax changes you may receive a smaller refund or even owe an unexpected tax bill-when you file your 2018 taxes next year. Here’s the IRS guide to get you ready to file your 2018 federal income tax return. Contact your accountant for more personalized help to prepare. Steps to Take Now to Get a Jump on Next Year’s Taxes:

Non-Profit Fundraising Tips

#ThursdayTips My Sisters and Brothers of #BJM44 and #ATH142 planned the BEST parties!!! We held an annual Halloween Party in Germany. We were overseas and the military and civilian communities became family. Our Masonic PHAMily was strong. We raised money for philanthropic efforts (minus operational/admin expenses) to include: donations to support the USO Warrior Unit, Fisher House, Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics, and other local charities. We partied with a purpose. We helped to raise thousands for our local chapter, our district and our sister/brother organizations. No matter what we worked together.

Many think about how to raise funds for their organizations. First: YOU NEED A TEAM! Consistency is key. Showing up. Being ACCOUNTABLE.

Here’s a proven formula that works: You plan an event around major holidays and/or with a hot theme: Halloween/Black Party/White Party/Masquerade Ball/Mardi Gras Party/Super Bowl Rep Your Team Party/etc. You book a venue. Consider Military Enlisted/Officer Clubs, Local VFW Halls, Hotel Banquet Halls, or Club Venues. Don’t forget your DJ, Lighting, Caterer, Bar/Drinks, Security, Tickets, and Marketing (Flyers/Social Media). Challenge your TEAM to each sale a certain amount of tickets. Charge enough to cover venue costs and other expenses. Calculate in your desired revenue to make profit. For example: Charge $35 per person . Your goal is to sell 300 tickets. You earn $10,500 for your event. Deduct expenses. I’ve found the venue and the bar/caterers to be the most expensive overhead cost. It helps to build relationships and to know where to get the best bang for your buck. CONSISTENT annual events generate a pretty substantial income for a non-profit organization.

To those newly in elected seats in non-profit organizations and those that sit on boards a little advice: ASK THOSE THAT HAVE COME BEFORE YOU. As the secretary and the head of multiple organizations I kept records of the planning documents, income/expenses, budget, and after actions reports. I now serve with the United Way National Capital Area and gained insight on grants and building non-profit boards. I served with multiple military organizations and we raised thousands volunteering at the Preakness and NFL Games.

Nothing is new. All of these organizations have been planning and organizing events for years. You don’t have to struggle reinventing the wheel. Ask those who have done it before you how to be successful.