Wednesday, December 30, 2009

VISIONS - Jan-Feb 2010

"We each have a calling that if left unanswered
will become a challenge unmet,
a problem unsolved, an opportunity missed,
a dream and a legacy unfulfilled, a link missing in the chain of events
that were meant to form the history of the world."

Permission to Win - In 2010 "You Are a Champion"

By: Willie Johnson - "The Ambassador of Potentiality"

As you enter into this new year of 2010 – I challenge you to continue harnessing the power of a Positive Attitude and give yourself “Permission to Win”, in life! You have greatness within you. Therefore; I firmly believe that you were born with the ability to overcome the problems and obstacles fate throws at you. Be the natural champion in life that you are, or are destined to become…..

It doesn’t matter where you may be in your life. It doesn’t matter who you are or what troubles you have. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. It doesn’t matter whether you were brought up in the ghetto or in a rich suburb. It doesn’t matter if you live on a farm, in a small city or in a major metropolis, like New York or Atlanta. It truly doesn’t matter. There is indeed a champion within you – that cannot be defeated. Just open yourself up so that you can realize your full potential. In short - give yourself “Permission to Win” - In life – In 2010.

I submit to you that “winning” is a birthright. Failing to recognize this and applying a positive attitude, can rob you of many things, such as, happiness in life, success, and continued, upward progress. Therefore; do not develop negativity within. Negativity will deny you the ability to be more productive; not only in your professional life, but your personal life as well. Look around you – you can readily see the destructive forces of negativity at work. People, for whatever reason, lose hope, give up on their dreams, and convince themselves that they can’t get through tough problems and situations. You are better than that! You have greatness within you! Therefore; give yourself “Permission to Win” In life - In 2010.

This then, is my New Year’s message to each “VISIONS” reader. Be the champion in life that you really are or are destined to become. Develop and maintain a magnetic and positive attitude. Open yourself up and realize your full potential, and never lose sight of your hopes and dreams.
Give yourself “Permission to Win”
– in Life – In 2010…

A BIG THANK YOU to Guest Writer Willie Johnson for this issue’s front page message. Willie is a long-time contributor to VISIONS, who brings valuable experience, insight and inspiration, despite the high demand for his services as a speaker across the nation. For more information visit or E-mail Willie at

One Young Man's Definition of "Cool"

One Young Man’s
Definition of “Cool”

"Cool is my own definition of cool," he says. "That's what's important. Cool to me is getting straight A's. Cool to me is scoring three touchdowns. Cool to me is shaking the hand of our mayor," he said. "Cool to me is helping out at the nursing home. Cool to me is playing in the jazz band, and playing the lead role in 'Fiddler on the Roof.' I like to define my own path and my own journey." -Myron Rolle

Myron Rolle was a star football player at Florida State University. He earned his undergraduate degree in pre-med after two and a half years, and was taking graduate courses at Florida State this past year. While he was excelling on the football field and in the classroom he also created a program for fifth graders that encourages healthy lifestyles and physical fitness.

He's currently in Oxford, England taking part in a one year Master's program in medical anthropology.

Information obtained from the blog of our good friend Wayne Hicks. Read this and many more positive stories by following Wayne’s blog, the Electronic Village at


CONGRATULATIONS to William Lett for making the Merit Roll with a 3.0 Average. The Euclid High School 9th Grader also played Freshman Football during the Fall Semester. William is the son of Andrick and Seleana Hudson, and also our nephew.

Do They Laugh At You In School?

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain


“The small world laughed at the colonists who declared independence from the most powerful nation in the world, but the big world smiled as the United States was born. The small world laughed as Thomas Edison failed thousands if times, but the big world smiled when they saw the light.”

“The small world laughed as the young man from East 87th and Cedar Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio challenged the so-called Super Race, but the big world smiled as Jesse Owens received four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.”

From the Book Success is YOU!


Happy Birthday Eleanor Askew

One look at Eleanor Askew’s face and you can be assured that it was a Happy Birthday. Eleanor was joined at Beethoven’s in Warrensville Heights by her Birthday Club members, other friends, family, associates and those who were fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the festivities. Once Eleanor and her friends go into high gear, laughter and good times become contagious, so all are caught up in the mood.

With six birthdays a year between the six members of the Birthday Club, one might imagine that they are in a near constant state of celebration. Well, one would be right, because as the group photo above shows, each of the club members are capable of drawing their own crowd and creating their own party. And that is what life is about, celebrating often and intensely. So even though your Birthday has passed, Happy Birthday Eleanor, because we expect you to be celebrating someone else’s birthday soon.

Additional photos from Eleanor’s Birthday Party can be seen at

Opportunity Disguised as Change - Connecting with us On-Line

Strangely nearly everyone agrees that change is inevitable and in many cases there is agreement that it has advantages. Very often a great part of the agreement takes place after much controversy and after many opportunities have been missed or delayed.

I am not unaccustomed to the “controversy of change.” As I promoted community involvement as a member of REACT and NAIC in the mid-seventies, I received those “sideways glances.” Now that everyone from former President Jimmy Carter to Colin Powell has spoken of community service, I am in good company. When I passionately spoke and wrote of Investment Education in the late seventies and early eighties, there again were the “sideways glances.” Now that “experts” tell us that we should look beyond what is stuffed in our mattress for our future, I am again and suddenly in good company. Fortunately I am either more blessed (or luckier) than I look!

This time it is Social Media’s turn. Several weeks ago I embarked on a mission of learning more about what has been termed Social Media. It seemed to me that any place that millions of people were flocking to was a logical place to connect with potential clients and re-establish valuable relationships. That belief led me to on-line webinars that shared ideas for utilizing technology, while minimizing the always present criticism of any and every thing that exists (that is in our nature).

The results have been astounding, even to one who typically visualizes opportunities within perceived obstacles. I won’t spend a lot of time or space trying to be convincing, but if you are using your computer for Internet access, I would suggest . . .

CONNECTING WITH US on the World Wide Web

A few of the places you can find us include:

Business Web Links (Yours Can be Included!):

Events Web Page (Your Events can be included!):

Inspirational Quotes Weekdays:

Inspirational Web Page:

VISIONS Newsletter (We could use YOUR Story! - Readers in over a dozen countries):

FACEBOOK Page (184 connections):

LINKEDIN Page (95 connections):

TWITTER Page (422 followers):

From the Pastor's Daughter, Aundria Hawkins Ford

When I think of Aundria Hawkins Ford, I am reminded of Russell Cromwell’s Acres of Diamonds. As I reach across boundaries of race, religion, gender, age, and national borders to grow in knowledge and understanding, just miles from where I live and in my own family, there is a “diamond in the rough.” And if the truth be fully told, she is more like a polished diamond.

Aundria is the wife of my lucky (though I must admit very polished himself) Cousin Emmett Ford. He is a young man that always impressed me as having a lot of strength and character. As I begin to learn more about Aundria, I see equally yoked power, passion and purpose. Alone each of them is strong, and together they are powerful. Anyway, for the purpose of this article, let me get back to Aundria.

Aundria is the daughter of a Cleveland area Pastor whose long time service in the city is legendary in its own right. Aundria may well be on her way to creating her own legacy as she reveals the good, the bad (she would describe it as teachable), and all in between as the life as a Pastor’s Daughter. Aundria’s recently released and aptly titled book From the Pastor’s Daughter is revealing, entertaining, impactful, and potentially life-changing.

As an author myself, surprisingly, I am not the world’s most patient reader. Whether due to long days and short nights, the numerous items I read in a typical day, the challenges of age, or just my propensity to want to get to the next challenge, it usually takes me weeks to complete reading a book. This was not the case with From the Pastor’s Daughter. I literally tore through the book with the appetite of a starving dog chewing on a meaty bone.

One of the many things I enjoyed about the book was Aundria’s ability to involve the reader by sharing events, thoughts and feeling in the form of questions. That may explain why while watching my favorite program, Jeopardy, I would use the commercial breaks to read one, two or three additional paragraphs of the book. Sharing information in the form of a question causes one to engage in the age-old, nearly lost art of . . . . THINKING!

As one should expect from any true story, From the Pastor’s daughter contains moments when things are well, and moments when things are not so well. But through it all Aundria finds the lessons life has to offer, she learns from them, and offers valuable insights about life and the importance of faith. Ironically, the book is not just for the faithful, not just for First Families, not just for Deacons and Church Staff. From the Pastor’s Daughter is crammed full of insightful and thought-provoking content that can cause us all to become more reflective, more considerate of others, and ultimately learn more about our own feelings, strengths and weaknesses. The book can become a valuable and one-of-a-kind resource in this journey called life.

From the Pastor’s Daughter:

A testimony of life in the ministry through the eyes of the Pastor's child.
by Aundria H. Hawkins Ford

"Everyone knows one, and maybe you even are one. Preacher's kids (PKs) always seem to be the hot topic! It seems that most of the time they get a bad rap and are forced to uphold almost impossible standards because of their positioning in the body of Christ.

Author Aundria Hawkins Ford offers a firsthand look into her life as a PK. She highlights the good times of fellowship and growth along with the bad times of being human and failing, and outlines the pressures of living life in the spotlight.

While celebrating the awesome legacy left by her father, founding pastor of a prominent church in the community, she retells her journey of discovery. This candid approach just might change what comes to mind when you hear PK. Moreover, it may alter your perspective of first families in all walks of life!"


Observation: One of the few things that can compete with Aundria’s talent and spirituality is her compassion and popularity. Within days of establishing an account on FACEBOOK, she connected with an astounding 165 people, and had easily surpassed me in the first ten days. I’ve attempted to “get angry” with her, teased her, taunted her and “threatened” her, and she is too smart to respond and get into a “gutter fight” with me (I’m convinced I would lose anyway!). The result is that I have to do what 165 (and the number is growing) other people are doing, and JUST LOVE HER!

Other Feedback from Aundria’s Blog: From the Pastor's Daughter is enlightening and inspiring. Aundria shares information that is at times heartwarming and at other times almost heartbreaking, but always informative. As she entertains, she builds bridges and closes gaps of misunderstanding. She challenges not just the reader, but also herself to answer to the higher calling of faith and service.

Additional Information: The good words spoken and written about From the Pastor’s Daughter are not isolated opinions or idle chatter. Several weeks before Christmas the books were SOLD OUT, but hopefully by now new supplies are available.


To find out more about Aundria Hawkins Ford or to order copies of From the Pastor’s Daughter, visit her blog at, her web site at or try Barnes & Noble, or Target.

You don’t want to be the only one in your crowd to benefit from this great book, so order copies for the special people in your life. And lastly, don’t even think about sharing it with someone after you’ve finished reading it. When you refuse to give it up, or they conveniently “forget” to return it, a valuable friendship may be in jeopardy, and that IS NOT in the form of a question. If they are that special, just order them a copy when you order yours!

Success is Geoffrey Taylor

For Geoffrey William Taylor, success is a practice, an achievement, a habit, and a family affair. Geoffrey recently received his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Communication from the University of Akron. A Magna Cum Laude graduate, Geoffrey’s concentration was in marketing, and his class projects included integrating multi-media concepts in advertising/marketing programs for diverse businesses. He has already put his education to good use by developing the popular web site

Geoffrey has leveraged his assets by utilizing professional and social networking tools to extend his positive impact upon others. In addition to his achievements, he already has a more than respectable following on FACEBOOK, LINKEDIN and probably some sites that I didn’t check. I had to do some research, because in addition to Geoffrey’s other qualities, being humble and quiet are near the top of the list. Geoffrey’s talents, abilities, persistence and achievement find good company at home. His wife Geneva is also a University of Akron Honors Graduate.

Geoffrey’s proud parents are Charles & Brenda Taylor of Streetsboro, Ohio. A big thank you to them and thanks to Brenda for sharing this inspiring information with us.

Happy Birthday Roy Richardson - Tuskegee Airman

Roy Richardson began blessing us over sixty years ago as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Those blessings have continued for a lifetime as Roy continues to give back, to inspire others, and to take it all in stride. We were blessed to be among those who gathered to help Roy celebrate his birthday recently.

Roy is actively involved in many projects to share the history of America's underrated but famed fighting force that earned great respect during World War II. Roy was kind enough to allow us access to documents that confirmed much of the underpublicized history of the Airmen. Among those most impressive were autographs of many World War II heroes and historical legends around a photo of Roy in the center. Top and center was the autograph of Lt. Col. Clarence C. Jamison. Just looking at the copy of the document in a historical context can give one chills. It gives the feeling of you being there in that time and circumstance.

Because Roy’s party was scheduled to start around 7:00 PM and I mumbled a little about the party starting late for us seniors, Dianne and I decided to arrive long before the party started, share our good wishes whenever Roy arrived, and get home early. Surprisingly, even with our premature arrival, we found the party in high gear. When we questioned Roy about the time, he explained that some of his friends complained that they didn’t like being out so late, so he was actually giving two parties, one for those who like us, have trouble keeping up with Roy, and a party for those who like himself, have endless energy that is only rejuvenated by the lateness of the hour. So now that I understand that I cannot keep up with someone who was serving his country while I was in elementary school, I have once again been “taken out back to the woodshed.”

Dianne and I have known Roy for several years and admire him not just for what he has done for his country, but for his unending involvement in sharing with others. We admire him not just for his sacrifices, but for his service. We admire Roy because his warm and outgoing personality dwarfs even his heroism. He is truly as noted, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROY, and may you be blessed with many more, so that in our own selfish way, we will continue to enjoy the blessing that you are to ourselves and others.

Additional photos can be seen on-line at