Tag Archives: Mary Anna Neal Bradley

Living my Best Life Even When Disappointment Knocks

By: Tamika L. Morrison

I’m coming off another week full of twists and turns, a calendar that seems to grow in size by the second and with a few surprises I’d rather not have. Still, I realize the importance of reflecting on the very fact that in all of this daily living, I must always remember, I only have one life to live and I must choose to live my best life, no matter what and even when it feels less than its best.

With that said, I must confess – I experienced my fair share of disappointment this past weekend, it was sprinkled in with some great accomplishments – a real oxymoron.

You know, disappointments can be hard to shake.  At times it seems with all my ‘success’ comes a little dose of disappointment every now and again that try to knock me off my focus.  The emotion, overwhelming, tempts me to wallow in my pain, my past and what has seemed to be a setback.  But I am reminded, those disappointments are purposeful, even when it doesn’t feel that way.

I can’t complain much, I have much to be grateful for!  I experience big and little miracles daily!  As I embarked on another milestone in training for the marathon I’m running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Sunday – doing a record 12 miles!  I took that moment to feel that accomplishment through and through.  I didn’t want to forget that feeling, it was powerfulOftentimes we do something great, make ourselves proud and then quickly move on to the next. Not taking a pause to feel that moment of accomplishment or taking a moment to feel the miracles happening, making the memory an afterthought and a moment we cannot reclaim.

It was an amazing journey yesterday– just like all of my life – though my legs were aching and my mind wanted to give in during the last stretch, the reminders were: The humongous turtle I saw trekking across my path to get to the other side of the river.  The male Cardinals, bold in color and personality chasing their mates in the wind.  The geese boldly strutting, claiming their territory, even along the tree-lined streets as cars cruised by.  The black snake wiggling his way through the grass, but not without an audience of the “Oooooh’s” and “Ahhhhhh’s” we belted as he withered away and even the dead rattlesnake I passed as I rounded on the 9th mile. I’d never seen nature so bold without visiting a museum – it was beautifully amazing. And it inspired me to keep on keepin’ on.

When I got the calls that brought some disappointment to me over the weekend, for a moment, well, maybe like a few hours, I was saddened, resentful and in pain.  I replayed the events of my past like one of my favorite movies, as I recalled play-by-play every other time I’d felt this way and been let down.  But I was reminded by reflecting on words of encouragement and inspiration I experienced as well as by those who help me see a different of perspective when I so badly need one that “Disappointments are really blessings in disguise,” is what author and cousin of mine, Mary Anna Neal Bradley says in her book, “A Legacy of Inspiration and Oprah reminds me to choose to “Live my best life!” and finally, Ralph Marston couldn’t have said it better:

You are going to have a lot of disappointments along the way. The harder you try, the more disappointment you’ll have. But that’s no reason not to try. Because if you persevere, you will have success. You simply can’t let the disappointment get to you. You can’t allow yourself to become discouraged, to feel rejected, to quit. You must get your motivation from within yourself. You must have a vision and a dream that is big enough to stand up to the setbacks that come your way. You must find a reason for what you’re doing, and constantly remind yourself of that reason. If you can do that, you’ll make yourself bulletproof to all the setbacks and disappointments. – Ralph Marston

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Leaving a Legacy Worth Passing On

By: Tamika L. Morrison

This has been a tough week for me – a mix of high’s and lows. My grandmother passed away a week ago and although it wasn’t shocking as she’d been sickly for a while.  It’s just never easy to receive the news that a loved one has passed on, especially a grandmother. It was jolting to realize at that very moment, the torch my grandmother courageously carried, had been officially passed on to the next generation.

I was leaving a prestigious birthday celebration when I got the news.  TWS was onboard to help a partner agency handle media check-ins for Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., chairman emeritus of the board of 100 Black Men of America, a man who’d lived his life leading the way for others.  The event itself was inspiring and it made me quite proud to see Black people arrive in style with their heads held high, their accomplishments easy to see not only by name recognition, but also by the way they moved and mingled in the crowd with such poise and grace.  They were stepping high and proud but they also showed off humbleness through warm smiles and handshakes.  It was a complete honor to meet such dignitaries as Susan Taylor of National CARES Mentoring (Essence Magazine), Roland Martin, Emmanuel Lewis, Andrew Young and his wife, Frank Ski and his wife Tanya, April Woodard, Dawn Lewis and to work alongside those who ‘know’ folks like Jeff Johnson, Mike Phillips, Xernona Clayton and Fmr. Pres. Bill Clinton.  As I observed and embraced this moment that was mine, I had to wonder what had I gotten ‘right’ that put me in this place at this time?  And then I began to contemplate the careful planning these great people must have done in order to do and be these things.  Then I began to ponder what could be the driving factor behind their ambition when this word ‘legacy’ seemed to permanently imprint itself in my mind.

To observe this ‘highfalutin’ crowd, it’s easy to see the legacy being built for all of these named folks as well as all the ‘unnamed’ folks.  You see, for me to be placed in the very center of ‘all that glory’ meant that my own glory was evident too and that I am doing something worth being repeated and recalled in my own family. Legacy is a word that has been in my family – on both sides – for several years now.  My great cousin, Mary Anna Neal Bradley, a wise counselor, retired teacher and now author, penned her first book, “A Legacy of Inspiration” nearly two years after her retirement from the school system in which she gave over 30 years of service to.  She chose me – all wet behind the ears and eager to put my latent talents to test, as her publicist to get her book published and marketed.  It was thrilling and scary at the same time, but from taking on that first challenge and absorbing every iota of her book project, not fully realizing the divine nature of it all, I launched my public relations firm shortly afterwards that has now morphed into a wonderful partnership in TWS.  Even if I couldn’t quite understand or articulate what that experience meant – the influence and the irony of that moment shaped my heart and mind for legacy building.

It’s important to note when a person moves forward with legacy in mind, miracles happen.  So as I gathered with my family this past weekend to say our final goodbyes to this strong and magnificent woman who influenced us in one way or the other and looked around in awe of the beauty, strength, boldness, flair, style, Grace (her name), proud-ness filled my heart, as I inhaled my grandparents and their legacy.  It was simply miraculous to me to realize that two people made a decision to partner in marriage and from their union 29 grand children and 25 great grand children were conceived – WOW! We all are these different expressions of my grandparents in all their glory.  We have a right and the responsibility to carry out, in grandeur style, the legacy that has already been laid forth.  The entrepreneurs, the artists, the chefs, the storytellers, the fashion icons, the business professionals – we all have such great talent and so much to give to our communities and the global world around us.  My hope is that we embrace the fullness of what this word legacy means – no matter what color we are – and continue building upon it and proudly pass on a worthy legacy to the next generations.

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