Spotlight – Success Stories/Defining Moments


Have you heard about the Freedom Riders?  In spite of threats, imprisonment, and beatings, groups of courageous Americans journeyed through the South on buses in effort to segregate the South in 1961.  I must say that I was totally unaware of this important part of our American history.  

Taking a deeper look into the people and the times, award winning film maker Stanley Nelson’s powerful documentary airs on American Experience May 16th on PBS.  Students have also been invited to “Get on the Bus” to retrace the journeys and to blog about the experience. 

In a special event held at Houston PBS studios, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Nelson and hearing from a panel of original Houston Freedom Riders.  The Houston Defender newspaper was also on hand covering the event.  Click here and you will see a familiar face – http://www.defendernetwork.com/freedom-riders/.

“We were past fear.  If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop.”   ~ Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland.

Last night, I was glued to the tv watching Michael Jackson’s funeral.  He was such an awesome entertainer. I  remember hearing that he wrote down a goal to sell over 25 million records with Thriller and posted the note on his mirror so that he could see it daily. True or not, this really inspired me. We know that Thriller went on to be the best selling album in history and launched Michael into Super Stardom!! 

A mentor and friend of mine, Darlene, was laid off from her job as an engineer with an MBA several years ago.  She was introduced to a business a few months prior, but didn’t really take it seriously. When she got laid off, things changed. With only a little in savings, this smart classy woman decided to make the business work. It had to work! She stepped out, never looked back, and became a very successful insurance entrepreneur.  This week, Darlene passed away.

After high school, my younger brother Kevin, took a job as a night security guard. But he knew that he loved big trucks as a child and that God had a plan for his life. Kevin did something radical. With no money, he gathered his stereo equipment and sold it all to get tuition money for truck driving school. He graduated the top driver in his class, with many accolades and kudos from the instructors! Furthermore, God used his time on the road as a venue to inspire and encourage many people he met along the way. Kevin also became an ordained minister.  He passed away at the young age of 30.

Rev. Kevin A. Petitt Rev. Kevin A. Petitt

As I sit here and think about these wonderful inspirational people, I just wanted to spotlight each of them as an example to illustrate that life is precious and can be so short. They were each faced with a decision that propelled them to the next level in their lives.

Being on sabbatical is giving me an opportunity to really focus and gain clarity on things that are really important to me. Not that I didn’t know before, but to really take some time to be free of stress and the daily grind. Some people have a balance without leaving their jobs. I applaud them. For a long while, I would be at work dreaming that I was somewhere else. Finally, I was at a point wherein I was virtually compelled inside to leave. So, I left. This is so out of my comfort zone, but I know this is a defining moment in my life.

Inspiration- “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…What do people get for all their hard work? God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end…And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God…God’s purpose in this is that people should fear him.” Ecclesiates 3:1-14

Be blessed!

-A