We Celebrate Dr. King and You

Video

Dear Readers,

From time to time, we each need to be reminded just how important our contributions are.  We may not have a public platform, but what each of us has to offer has a greater impact than we could ever realize.

As we recognize the 86th birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to share this video on the Dignity of Labor with you.

As you go about your plans to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, please remember to celebrate yourself, and each other!

IMG_0160

Marketingartfully.com via the Seattle Times

Fondly,
Monique

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Lasting Legacy

Dear Readers,

On Monday, January 19, 2015, America will commemorate the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, beloved husband and father, who is regarded by many to be one of America’s favorite sons.  If he were alive Dr. King, who was born on January 15, 1929, would be 86 years old.

Many public tributes have been planned in Dr. King’s honor, especially in Brooklyn.  If you are still contemplating what to do on this day, we have a few recommendations for you.

Have you considered spending the day at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)?  There is always tremendous buzz around BAM’s tribute to Dr. King, which is one of the largest tributes in New York.  Brooklynites are always excited to be a part of this annual celebration which is co-sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Medgar Evers College.  

This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. Cornel West, noted author professor and activist.  What would a celebration be without music?  In addition to Dr. West, guests will be treated to performances by Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter, former lead singer of The Family Stand, and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir led by Rev. David Wright, son of Rev. Timothy Wright, who is also known as Brooklyn’s Godfather of Gospel who died in 2009.  After his address, Dr. West will sign copies of The Radical King, his new collection of Dr. King’s writings.  Sound interesting?  For additional information, please be sure to visit BAM’s website.

Brooklyn is New York City’s largest borough and celebrations in honor of Dr. King will take place in several neighborhoods.  When making your plans, please remember to look for events that are scheduled for Saturday, January 17th and Sunday, January 18th.  For a complete guide please click here.  We encourage you to celebrate with your fellow neighbors from Bedford Stuyvesant, Sheepshead Bay, Central Brooklyn and downtown.

Nationalservice.gov

Nationalservice.gov

Each year President Obama and the First Family join Americans throughout the country in recognizing Dr. King’s birthday as a National Day of Service.  If there is a favorite cause you would like to take consider, this weekend will provide a perfect chance for you to get involved.  Lastly, if you are out and about, and love to take pictures, may we ask you to share them with us?  We would love to see how the day unfolded through your eyes.

We at Brooklyn Legends are proud to join the world in this year’s celebration of Dr. King’s birth.  We celebrate his legacy.

Have a great day.

Monique

A Toast to the New Year – “Here’s To All Of Us”

Dear Readers,

The past couple of posts have focused on various New Year‘s traditions; and I have one more to share with you – the New Year’s toast.  On this occasion, my husband and I are thrilled with a glass of perfectly chilled champagne.  There have been times when we have been just as content with a glass of sparkling apple cider.

If you are thinking of champagne, and need some ideas, I hope this post will come in handy.  I have also included a few food suggestions for your consideration.  Whatever you decide, remember there is only one rule – please have fun.  So here’s my toast to you my friends.

In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship,
but never in want.
Traditional Irish Toast

With Peace & Blessings,
Monique

May Grace Greet You in 2015

Dear Readers:

As we prepare to usher in another New Year, I wanted to send this note of encouragement as we continue our journey.  Despite the many challenges, its been a wonderful year.  It has been my great fortune to make many new friends and business alliances, that I look forward to nurturing.  I am also pleased that my inner circle has remained intact.  Everyone that I began the year with, is still with me.  And, equally important, I am able to count everyone who follows Brooklyn Legends as a member of my circle.  What a tremendous blessing!

chicagotribune.com

chicagotribune.com

As I woke up this morning, I realize that only by Grace have I been able to endure.  Only by Grace have I been able to see my vision come unfold before me.  I am excited about the future, even with its uncertainties.

I found it interesting that the word Grace cropped up several times during the past couple of weeks — from kind and encouraging words I received from friends and colleagues, to countless notes and articles that I have come across.  In every instance, I have been reminded that Grace always meets us right where we are.

In the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, author Michelle Wildgen wrote an introduction to this month’s feature article Moments of Grace.  As we prepare to bid farewell to 2014, and welcome to all that life has in store for us in 2015, I have decided to share Michelle’s introduction with you for today’s post.

By Michelle Wildgen, O Magazine, December 2014

Say you hear about a job you’re not interested in – but your friend insists that you interview.  “Trust me,” she says.  Which is how you end up talking to a woman who is bright, funny, bracing.  You feel a shift: I want this job, you think, I belong here.  There follows a gradual unfolding: the boss who becomes a mentor, the coworkers who become friends, the work you didn’t know you’d love.  Only years later, do you see how far one person’s benevolent influence rippled, growing from small rings to the rolling waves still beyond your sight.

Life sends us serendipities; it drops like little miracles into our laps.  You hear your college sweetheart’s favorite song, turn the corner and run into him.  You lock your keys in the car at the gas station and see your roommate at the next pump.  That’s grace, but there is another kind, too – a subtler kind that heralds the beginning of something, or simply brings unexpected delight.  That bad restaurant?  The guy in line for the bathroom will turn out to be the many you marry.  That vending machine?  Its going to give you an extra Kit Kat.

Who offers these gifts?  God, the universe, a metaphysical entity that occasionally rigs a vending machine?  Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: The world is marvelously mysterious.  Grace shows up now and again to remind us of this.

It is a blessing that can’t be earned, only received.  You’d get nothing done if you went around watching for miracles all the time.  But you’d do well to stay alert enough to see them out of the corner of your eye.

_____________________________________________________________

Thank you for your support.
Wishing you all the best in 2015.

Fondly,
Monique

A New Year’s Eve Tradition – Watch Night Service

Dear Readers,

Recently I shared with you some popular New Year‘s Eve celebrations that many will observe.  For this post, I will focus on Watch Night, a tradition that is deeply rooted in the history of people of African descent throughout the United States.

As a child growing up in Savannah, Georgia, I remember my grandparents would make their way to church every New Year’s Eve.  This was a solemn time for them.  Looking back on those days, I also remember how their voice would change as they recounted the painful stories their parents and grandparents shared.  I would also grow to appreciate how they were able to quiet their spirits whenever they heard the song “How I Got Over”.  When I look at my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  There has never been a day when I have not said I’m grateful!

The summary below is reprinted from the African-American Registry.  This site is a wonderful resource for African-American history and culture.  I am including the link to the site for your reference.

Date: Wed, 1862-12-31*
* On this date in 1862 the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in Black communities in America.

The Watch Night service can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.”  On that night, Black slaves and free Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.  At the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863; all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free.  When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as many people fell to their knees and thanked God.

The article goes on to explain that Blacks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.  It’s been over a century since the first Freedom’s Eve and tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over.”  This celebration takes many African-American descendants of slaves into a New Year with praise and worship.  The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.  Some people come to church first, before going out to celebrate, for others, church is the only New Year’s Eve event.

There have been instances where clergy in mainline denominations questioned the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year’s Eve. However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year’s Eve services in the black experience in America.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2015!

Monique

________________________________

Reference:
The African-American Desk Reference, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc The New York Public Library John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishing

Happy New Year 2015 – A Few Time-honored Celebrations

Dear Readers,

In a few days, we will say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, and I am so excited.  2014 has been filled with moments of great challenge and promise.   At several points this year — due in large measure to extreme doses of grace and mercy — I have been able to “review, revamp and relaunch” many of the projects I have been working on.  I cannot wait to share them with you in 2015.

I would also like to take this time to say “thank you” for supporting me and Brooklyn Legends.  This has been a wonderful journey and this blog is only the beginning.  I value your commitment and encouragement.

Last year, USA Today published an article on the origins of some of the world’s most cherished New Year‘s traditions;  from the familiar to customs that may be unfamiliar.  In the spirit of the season, I am pleased to share this list with you again this year.

Celebrating in New York City’s Times Square

Before the ball, there were fireworks. The first New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square in New York City was held in 1904, culminating in a fireworks show. When the city banned fireworks two years later, event organizers arranged to have a 700-pound iron and wood ball lowered down a pole, according to the Times Square website. In the years since, it’s become a tradition for Americans to watch the ball start dropping at 11:59 p.m. and to count down the final seconds before the new year begins.

 Auld Lang Syne

The song literally means “old long ago.” The work by 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns has endured the ages and spread beyond Scotland and throughout the English-speaking world. The song is about “the love and kindness of days gone by, but … it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future,” according to Scotland.org, a website of the Scottish government.

Kissing at Midnight

Perhaps you’ll have a New Year’s Eve kiss that was the defining moment in a sweeping love story – like the one Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan shared in the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally. Or maybe you’ll pucker up with the person who happens to be standing next to you because, well, that’s just what people do. But why? Not doing so will ensure a year of loneliness, according to tradition. The custom may date to ancient European times as a way to ward off evil spirits, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Black-eyed Peas

It’s a tradition to eat Hoppin’ John, a stew made of black-eyed peas, in the American South. “Many Southerners believed that the black-eyed peas symbolized coins and eating them insured economic prosperity for the coming year,” wrote Frederick Douglass Opie, a food historian, in his blog Food As A Lens.

Colorful Lingerie

In some Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, it’s believed the color of your undergarments will influence what kind of year you’ll have. Tradition holds that yellow underwear will bring prosperity and success, red will bring love and romance, white will lead to peace and harmony and green will ensure health and well-being, according to Michael Kleinmann, editor of The Underwear Expert website.

12 Grapes

In Spain and some other Spanish-speaking countries, one New Year’s custom is to eat 12 grapes for 12 months of good luck. But here’s the catch: to bring about a year’s worth of good fortune, you must start eating the grapes when the clock strikes midnight, then eat one for each toll of the clock. The best strategy? “Just take a solid bite and then swallow, pips and all,” writes cookbook author Jeff Koehler on NPR’s blog.

Molten Lead

Instead of reading tea leaves to tell the future, some in Germany and Austria read the molten lead. Here’s how: Heat up some lead in a spoon. When it’s melted, pour the molten lead into cold water. The shape of the lead will tell you what’s ahead of you in the coming year (although the shapes are open to interpretation). If you don’t want to actually melt metal, there’s an app to do it for you.

Fireworks

It’s not surprising that China, the country that invented fireworks, also makes setting them off a central part of New Year’s celebrations. It’s believed the noise scares off evil spirits and misfortune. The Chinese observe the lunar New Year on February 19, 2015.

Polka dots

Many in the Philippines wear polka dots because the circle represents prosperity. Coins are kept in pockets and “are jangled to attract wealth,” according to Tagalog Lang, a website about Filipino language and culture.

On behalf of everyone at Brooklyn Legends, have a wonderful New Year!

Monique

___________________________________________

Credits:
This article was published by Jolie Lee, Dec. 26, 2013 – news10.net.
Time Square Images: Timessquarenyc.org, wikipedia.org, madamtussauds.com, babble.com
Auld Lang Syne: chivalry.com, en.wikibooks.org, grumpyvisualartist.blogspot.com, squirrelqueen2.blogspot.com
Black-eye Peas: New York Time, blog.appliancefactory.com, foodandspice.blogspot.com
Grapes: commons.wikimedia.org
Fireworks: blog.livingonhudson.com, nyhabitat.com, retenna.com

The Wonder of It All – Welcome Christmas 2014

Dear Readers,

Happy Holidays!  It is hard to believe that in a couple of weeks, it will be Christmas.  I absolutely love this time of the year.  This is also the time of the year when sparkling lights, and other decorations, seem to rule the night!  I am amazed to see how easily some of New York City’s iconic buildings are transformed.  For me, simply walking and listening to all of the compliments is priceless.

With this in mind, I thought, why not do something different for today’s post?  So, I have assembled some of my favorite holiday photos from my Pinterest account to share with you.  For full disclosure some of the photos that you will see are from past years.  Other photos come from some of my favorite places outside of New York City, but the sentiment is still the same – Joy!

In case you missed the reference, Brooklyn Legends is also on Pinterest.  When you have a moment, please visit us at Brooklyn Legends on Pinterest.  Once there, please look for the board Happy Holidays 2014 – Here Are A Few of My Favorite Things. 

Have a great day and remember to enjoy the splendor of the season.

Fondly,
Monique