Category: RECOVERY

Dear Jurline,

I have watched you mature so much in the last year.  You are truly one amazing woman.  I admire your compassion as well as your passion.  I love that you always look a the positives versus the negative.  I love your ability to give so much of youself to help make this world a better place.  I love your generous spirit. I have watched you share your last to help someone else. I love your sense of social justice, girl you take care of business.  I love your faith, your tenacious spirit, your courage, your ability to take a stand for what is right.  I love that you love your family.  I love that you care about your community and willing to make positive social changes against the odds.   I love your energy, your creative and active mind.  I still can’t believe you are sixty.  I love your pretty brown eyes so big and expressive.  I love your ability to sell yourself. You are so confident.  You are so friendly and outgoing.  I love your ability to communicate.  Public speaking is your gift.  I love that you value education. Working on a second Master’s Degree? I love your sense of committment. You are a good friend.  I love your ability to encourage others.  I love your honesty and your Pollyanna attitude.  I love your faith in God! I love your relationship with your children especially your daughter. I love that they both love and respect you so much.  I love your sense of humour. I love to see you dance.  I love the girl in you.  I love your positive spirit! I love your walk, your talk, your ability to command attention without hardly trying.  I love that you are one intelligent woman with an inquisitive mind.  I love your inner and outer beauty.  I love the color of your skin, your hair, your body! You are truly a beautiful and vibrant woman.  I love your passion for life and your passion to love.  I love that when you are in love with someone you give them your all.  I love your integrity.   I love that you will fight for what is right, regardless of the consequences.  I love that you are a great parent and a terrific grandparent.  I love that you have so many good friends that love and support you.  I love that you are fearless! Is there anything you will not try? I love your sense of adventure. I love that you love spending time being alone with you.  I love that you are respected by your family, friends, and colleagues.  I love that you do not hold onto the past, you press forward.  I love that you are learning to cope with your illness and recovery is a possibility for you.  I love you for working hard to leave a meaningful legacy to your children and grandchildren.  A legacy of greatness.  I love your loyalty.  On the other hand, I love that you know how to walk away from a negative situation with dignity.  Yes I love that you are a sexy and dignified woman.  You are not afraid to embrace your sensuality.  I love that you are well read, educated, fearless, true blue altruistic woman!!!!! I love you for acceptance of others, the underrepresented and underserved.  I love your appreciation of nature.  You are truly a special person.  God’s gift to the world. Jurline,  I am thankful that you are my best friend.   I feel blessed when I am with you. 

Love always,



Yesterday, I was  invited to attend a community outreach meeting   to learn more about  Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa’s’  Summer Night Lights,  Gang Reduction and Youth Development  Program.  It was my first time visiting Los Angeles City Hall and I had no idea it was such a beautiful and historical building.  I was in awe as I traveled through the corridors hardly able to contain my excitement.  I felt like a school girl on my first field trip!!!!   The City Hall is a beautiful building and our meeting was held on the 26th floor in the Mayor Bradley’s Conference Room.  It was a small group of faith-based community partners and we spent time networking and enjoying the continental breakfast.  I shared a table with a lovely woman from Venice California and we were chatting away.  To my amazement, I looked up   to the  front of the room and  Mayor Villaraigosa was standing at the podium.   I did not see him come into the room.  I had seen him many times on television however it was only my second  time seeing him in person.    I tried not to make a spectacle of myself as I snapped a picture of him with my camera phone.

  It was obvious that this program was important to him. He talked about the success of the gang reduction program as well as extended an invitation to Faith Based Organizations to partner with LA County to help reduce gang violence.  I was impressed  with the program and look forward to volunteering this summer.   As Executive Director of New Impression,  my function is to attend meeting .  When I received this invitation to the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development community outreach meeting, never in my wildest imagination did I expect to see the Mayor. He humbly apologized that he could not stay due to the fact that he was en route to a funeral.   However he took the time to share a little about the program. Mayor Villaraigosa indicated that    The Summer Night Lights program was launched in 2008 in eight recreation and parks facilities to offer fun-filled positive opportunities for young people living in the most crime ridden communities.  In 2009, the program was expanded to include housing developments and a school throughout the City of Los Angeles.   He emphasized that  SNL is a violence reduction strategy which provides an extended programming between the hours of 7pm to midnight, 4 days a week throughout the summer months. I learned that the summer is when gang violence is at the highest resulting in many homicides. Consequently, the purpose of SNL is to create safe environments during the peak times for violence and in communities most affected by violence. This programming is for the entire community which includes those who are potential victims and potential perpetrators of violence.   

After the Mayor left, we spent two hours learning more about the program.  For example, that the youth are fed while at the parks and given opportunity for employment as well.   We were a small group however the energy in the room was electrifying.  I met some terrific people.  New Impression will be volunteering to help work with the youth this summer.  I truly needed this motivation as it is hard work, developing a grass-roots organization.  However yesterday’s meeting reminded me that the work we do(community activist) is important.   Many of us live in high crime areas and are aware of the dangers associated with gang violence.  We are all affected by gang violence in one way or another.  If  the violence is not contained, it will and has spilled into other communities as well.  I am excited and committed to doing my share to help promote the Mayor’s Summer Night Lights Program.

When was the last time you reached out to a youth?  Or made a trip to  a Boys or Girls Club? Thought about mentoring a youth? It is time to focus on our future before we end up in a Clock Work Orange Society.  The youth is our future!   If you don’t have the time.  Consider donating to a local homeless shelter program  or inner school program.  Yes, I know first hand, it is better to give than to receive.

Maya Angelou at the Discovery 2000 conference.

Image via Wikipedia

Originally, I was going to write that I wanted to lose 30 pounds and the reason was that since I promote diet and wellness, I should practice what I preach.  However, today, I went to see my tax accountant.  It was a depressing reminder of how little money I made this year.  Further, I have been actively pursing employment.  If you have followed my posts, you know that I suffer from PTSD.  I am sick and tired of being the victim.  Therefore, I hope to change  the way I feel about myself and work harder to improve my emotional  health.  Prior to my injury, I was a confident professional social worker.  I had been recently promoted to supervisor and I was making good money.  I had a great retirement plan, insurance benefits and finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  I  purchased my first house,  a long-awaited dream and was  feeling great to finally be a homeowner!    However, in 2006, the pressure of working in a hostile work place finally took its toil on my physical and emotional health.   I applied for worker’s compensation  and was to be reassigned to a less stressful  job.   Of course, this did not occur and I took an early retirement, with the  plan of  seeking employment elsewhere.  For a short time, I worked for my church and believe it or not, due to the stress of that place, I found myself back medical leave.     Consequently, I suffered an emotional set back and found myself back on my therapist’s couch.  I quickly regrouped, at my therapist’s suggestion, applied to the California State  Department of Rehabilitation for retraining.   I qualified for state help due to my job related injury.  My rehabilitation plan  was approved for me to return to  college to get a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy.  In spite of my best efforts, I continue to suffer periods of self-pity and shame for suffering an emotional breakdown.  I truly thought, I was going to quickly recover and get back to my old confident self.   Consequently, this year’s goal is to work harder on putting the past behind me.  I continue to send  applications, go on job interviews,  attend college and self-improvement workshops,  and hope for the best.   Overall, I think I am making good progress, however I am my worst critic.  For example, yesterday, I was on an emotional high, I  interviewed for my dream position  and  it appeared that I was making  a good impression on my interviewers.  However, today, I received a follow-up email indicating that they would keep me in the loop however they were continuing their search.  It was an encouraging email, however I feel they were letting me down gently.   So, I feel emotionally drained and somewhat defeated.  I love Maya Angelou‘s Poem, Still I Rise , especially the verse, “and still I rise”.   Therefore, I must work harder to embrace the future, and to let go of past disappointments.   I downloaded the Bible app on my Blackberry and have started a daily Bible study.   Today’s lesson was so timely  and so encouraging that I have posted it here for all to read.  Whenever you feel that the world has treated you unfairly, remember, they too will have a judgment day!

The “”Knower

God is many different things. He’s a Father, a Creator, a Shepherd, a Husband, a Healer, and a Provider. And each of these names highlights a certain aspect of His nature and character. As a Father, His compassion is expressed. As a Creator, His creativity is expressed. And it goes on and on.

There’s another way in which He is known, and that’s as the Just Judge who presides over earth. As such, another angle of His character is seen. Although the injustices and wrongs of this world may seem to go unpunished, God is the keeper of justice, and He will be faithful to execute it and uphold His righteousness.

It doesn’t always seem like that, especially when we’re personally affected by someone else’s sin. Sometimes it appears that injustice will prevail. But in His own perfect timing, and according to His own perfect way, injustice will be brought into the light, tried, and judged. Nobody truly gets away with anything. One way or another, justice will be served. And this is one of the many ways God’s incomparable character is expressed.

How? We all have a “knower” inside us that responds and resonates when we see the right thing happen. It’s been placed there by God so we would have an internal witness that gives an “amen” to His standards for right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15). And when we see justice served, when God executes judgment, there’s a connection that happens inside us. It puts us on God’s wavelength and can even serve as a catalyst for a deep and intimate relationship with Him.

Lord, continue to reveal Yourself as a righteous and perfect Judge over all things, and deepen our understanding of your heart as you continue to do so.

What does this passage reveal to me about God? He is the judge over my life and is in control of my destiny.

What does this passage reveal to me about myself? I need to develop a stronger faith walk and realize God is in control.

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?  Seek a spirtual mentor,  continue to seek balance in my life, be still and wait patiently on the Lord!!!!

What is my prayer for today? 
Sent via BlackBerry by AT


Cover of "And Still I Rise"

Cover of And Still I Rise

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou


Current Seal of the County of Los Angeles, Cal...

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I hate to admit that I have thought of giving up on life many times.  It seems like a direct dichotomy with my earlier posts which I talk of my faith in God and why I am still alive.  I am not ashamed of my human weakness, after all Jesus was human and according to scripture he did not want to die.  Therefore, unlike many Christians, I am truthful in regards to my human weakness.   Christmas Eve, 2010, I felt like taking all of my xanax and going to asleep.   I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is a complex emotional disorder.   The difficulty is in my case, I seem high functioning, in reality I don’t feel that I function well at all.   My problems started when I accepted an early retirement to avoid further discrimination.  The years of discrimination and humiliation at the hands of my former employers has taken a tremendous toil of my psyche, emotional, and mental health.   Overall, with the help of my therapist, family support, and my faith I have being making good progress.   Those of us that suffer from this disease really are unable to fully recover.  We relive the trauma over and over again. We are susceptible to flashback and triggers associated with the original trauma  which in my case causes me to experience feelings of despair, depression, and hopelessness.  My former supervisors seem determined to punish me for seeking compensation for my injury.  I filed a lawsuit and my attorney and I accepted a modest settlement.  In retribution they are making  my recovery a living hell.  For example, as a retiree I am able to work for LA County on a part-time basis. I have applied three times and been turned down each time.  This last time was particularly cruel because I received an inquiry from Personnel  asking if I wished to return to work on a part-time basis.  Of course, I replied that I was in fact interested in working on a part-time basis.   Furthermore, I really needed the money as the money awarded from my lawsuit had run out.   I anxiously waited to complete the process and made many calls to Personnel.   Finally, after months of calling and emailing, the human resource assistant informed me that I was not selected to return to work.  The irony of it all was that she was unable to give me a reason why I was not selected.  I received this news on December 2, 2010 and I cried like a baby.  Needless to say, all the negative feelings resurfaced.  I felt sad and truly hurt that one agency has wrecked so much havoc in my life.  Early retirement, cut my salary in half.  I retired with the realization that I would have to return to work.  I truly felt that I would have no problems finding a job with my educational and professional background.  In reality, I am over qualified and still I am unemployed.  Additionally, I figured that I could work half time as a retiree  as well.  This last slap in the face was a rude wake up call.  The Department was still punishing me.  I was now feeling anxious, depressed, worried, hopeless, pitiful  all negatives.  I could only see the negatives, losing my house, already losing my mind.  It’s funny when you lose you sanity you lose a great deal of “so-called friends”.   So Christmas Eve, I found myself contemplating ending it all.  I made a video of myself.  I looked so sad and dejected.  Typing this post is causing me to feel sad and weepy.   I truly did not want to go on.  If it had not been for my two grandchildren, Nelson and Naomi, I could have just ended it all.  I felt shame that my daughter is carrying the financial burden for our family.  I worried about her health as I realized she was worrying about me.  I just felt so hopeless and alone.  Christmas Day, we opened our presents.  I confessed that I almost took all my pills to end it all.  My daughter is such a trooper, she looked at me and said, “We need you”.  Okay, tears are falling now!!!!! I am glad that she loves me through my madness.  I am glad that I am still here. I pray that no matter what happens the though of ending it all will never surface again.   I struggle with my illness .  The good news is after my relapse(from life), I made a pledge to stay clean.   The good news is 2011 is for another opportunity to try to get it right.  After all, I am only human.

The Compassionate one, My mother Ola M. Johnson!

  I am no Mother Teresa, however I honestly feel that I am still alive because God has a special plan for my life.    I will be celebrating my 60th birthday next month.  I have been through so many changes and so many adverse circumstances that I should really be dead.  I should have been strung out on drugs, a whore , prostitute,  and homeless bum.   My faith in God has sustained me.  I survived against all odds.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a God.  My life is a living testimony of  God’s grace and mercy.  This is a personal post and I really do not care whether people believe it or not.    I have prayed and asked God to forgive me and he did.   My life is a journey and a testimony of faith.  Divine intervention is something that you have to experience for yourself.  I am sure many of you have read about people experiencing “near death” or being brought back from the “brink of death”.  Many of which had never really believed in God however became born again Christians. I have always had a spiritual and deep relationship with God.   The mere fact that my mother choose to have me is a miracle.  I am thankful that she did.  I was her love child, born out of an affair.  The one time in her life that she did something wrong that turned out  right.  She fell in love with my biological father and they created me.  So I feel that it is my life’s destiny is to  bless others.  God has special plans for my life.   I am an exceptional person. I have experienced exceptional highs and exceptional lows.  This is my personal testimony. I am here simply because of my unyielding faith in God.  He is my rock, my prince of peace, my heavenly father.  I did not know my biological father and had a strained relationship with my stepfather.  It gives me great comfort to realize that my heavenly father loves me and he is keeping me alive for his purpose.  It has taken me 6o years to realize this truth.  I pray for twenty more to years to of his love and mercy.   Consequently, I have dedicated the rest of my life to doing his will not mine.

Mu Sochua Receives Eleanor Roosevelt Award

Image by US Mission Geneva via Flickr

When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.   Eleanor Roosevelt

To stand alone is admirable.     Being the advocate, taking a stand, and holding one’s ground is a good thing.   I just wish that someone would take a stand for me and allow me to rest.   It is amazing how many people have simply walked out of my life and never looked back.   Maybe I offended them is some way.  If so, that was not my intent.  Taking a stand comes with risk such as being misunderstood.  I suppose, taking a stand, also has a tendency to alienate and intimidate.  In retrospect, if taking a stand has caused  people to walk away I accept their decision.  Moreover, I respect their decision.   I am learning much about myself as I approach my 60th birthday.  I am truly excited to embark on this second phase of my life.  I am hopeful that God will send me a strong-minded as well as strong-willed companion.  I would love to have someone rescue me for a change.  I  typically find myself extending  the olive branch when there has been a misunderstanding of some sort.  I am usually the peace maker and the mediator.   Life is about taking risks.  Taking a stand for whatever reason is also a risk.   My mother used to say, “I you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.  Well, mama, I am still standing!

Savage Inequalities

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Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, changed my viewpoint on education, class, race, and equality. Prior to reading this book, I honestly believed that if we all worked hard it was possible to achieve the “American Dream”.  Whatever that has become, only God knows.  Education in America, is based on a political formula, I am going to call it taxation without any type of representation.  I have been forever changed as a result of Mr. Kozol’s in-depth look at the inequalities associated with being poor.  Growing up, I was told that education was free.  Go to school, my  parents’ refrain.  They said, “We could not go to school, you can go and it is free.”   Attending a public school is free!  However, I did not realize that the quality of the education received is` based on how much property tax is paid.  A poor child residing in a inner city community attends a public school and based on this legal formula receives a poor education.  Their parent’s live in housing projects home ownership is limited in such communties.  Mr. Kozols’ books changed my viewpoint on life in general.  I realized that Race in America is a sad state of affairs. I am one of the fortunate ones.  Due to God’s grace, only his grace, I am a inner city girl who beat the odds.  I grew up attending public schools.  In the 60’s my parents bought a house in a middle class neighborhood. I received a good education.   Education has always been important to me.  I  eventually earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California.  Reading this book, generated a social consciousness  within me, about the importance of giving back.  It also generated a profound feeling of  sadness for the countless American children that will not receive an adequate education, due to their race and socioeconomic status.   This book also changed my views on American racism.  The reality that no matter how many African-Americans excel, there will always be savage inequalities.  It made me sad that so many low-income  Black and Brown  American, children will never have access to a quality education.  I do not believe that we will ever be equal in this color based society. Education is a basic right, however, the government supports this tax  system that punishes the poor and rewards the rich.  Public schools that are free but not equal. 

Mary J. Blige performs at the Neighborhood Bal...

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DRAMA.  It gives me the hives.  I am going to lead a drama free life.  I don’t need the extra baggage that comes along with other people’s drama.  My best friend calls it nonsense and I agree.  Some people thrive on drama. In my opinion, it is a totally waste of precious time.  My life reads like a “Lifetime Story”.   Therefore, I do not need extra drama to my already complex life.  I enjoy periods of solitude, no cell phone, no tv, and no internet.   The one positive of  being unemployed  is that I am able to  support my drama free lifestyle.  Therefore,  I did not miss it(drama) and plan to live without it!!!!! NO MORE DRAMA! THAT’S MY THEME SONG by my girl, Mary J. Blige!!!!!! I feel you, girl, cause I don’t want no more drama in my life!!!!!!!

Women With Both Diabetes And Depression At Higher Risk Of Dying From Heart Disease, Other Causes.

This is a serious health problem.  Our agency New Impression is looking to conduct free Diabetes Awareness Workshops in the Los Angeles Area. Please contact me if you are interested! Save the Date! Second Annual Walk April 23, 2011. Compton High School!!!1