Bound Up in the Bog


But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time,

O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your

 saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be

delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.Let not the

flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up,

or the pit close its mouth over me.

Psalms 69: 13-15


I have a brother who is homeless. Having lived out most of his journey drifting in and out of shelters, jail and other unfavorable situations— his choices have accumulated into an ineffective yet settled way of navigating his avenues. People I’ve shared his story with always basically say the same thing: “Every family has one.”

As his sister, I pray for him and when I do see him make sure he has money to eat, as does the rest of the family. Through the years I’ve purchased bus tickets to get him to another shelter location if that was in his best interest. Other money has also been sent his way to help for clothing, jail bail or other incidents. It doesn’t feel great, but that’s all we can do. He has vices we can’t accommodate.

When our mother was alive she’d let him stay with her for a while, then he’d move on for various reasons. He won’t work and his life has been a quagmire of excuses. Asked why, he’ll say that growing up without a father is the cause of his position in life— his justification not totally without merit as there are acidic effects to some degree for anyone who shares this life fact. There are parts of that issue that affect all of us in some way as his siblings. At over 50 years old my brother has been unable to break out of that pattern of thinking and can’t seem to drag himself out of the hole he’s in. I have tried talking to him about making a change, as have others. We remind him that our mother isn’t here to throw him a life preserver any more.

The Salvation Army has a six-month effort designed to help their homeless clients eventually move into responsible living. Other family members and I have suggested to my brother to try and at least stay within that type of shelter program for his own safety and well-being. He would be fed and have a bed to sleep in every night in addition to the other skills services this Salvation Army program offers. He hasn’t stuck with it—gotten as far as four months. Then my brother returns to the streets for a while—gets tired and then finds another temporary shelter (sometimes). There are those that won’t let him return.

Having dealt with my own limitations, which have at times bound me emotionally, I do identify with certain aspects of my brothers condition. Unchecked, bad habits can take us down deeper and deeper—sucking us into an awful hole. But God’s power is stronger than that negative gravity. He has cables of love, grace and mercy that can pull us out of those bottomless pits. When it’s time, the wheels of His power go to work. I keep hoping for my brother—and for me. While writing this book, I shared with my brother this part of my story about his life. He was okay with it and wished me the best in my endeavor.

Praying for each other to be released from those things that keep us dangling over the muck, in the ‘acceptable time,’ helps the release.


Excerpted from my motivational autobiography, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey in print and Kindle eBook

Posted in faith, Family, Motivation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Information Sources: Building Your Reserve




“Those that don’t got it can’t show it. Those that got it can’t hide it.”
Zora Neale Hurston, Writer

  As we march forward in reaching our goals, professional and personal, there are stakes to put in place. Stocking these attributes constantly will keep us be built to last, whether we’re operating in a paid or volunteer situation or managing our lives.

  • A Little But Good Attitude

The rules and conditions will keep changing. There will be failures and setbacks.         It’s easy to become bitter. Staying focused and positive is essential to present              ourselves well and concentrate for the best decision-making. There may be times        to fight the –isms noted earlier. Gratitude, for whatever the situation, is necessary as well.

  • Get It Together—Organizational Skills

Rounding up all needed documentation, such as résumés (old and new), transcripts, evaluations, job descriptions, and letters of recommendation may be time consuming, but it has a huge return on investment (ROI). You don’t want to go on a fishing expedition when something is needed right away. Next, put them in some type of logical order. The same tactics work for tracking any financial expenditures, especially for tax purposes.

  • Who Knows You? References

Have you ‘done good’? Can anyone attest to that? Compile a list of people   who’ve known you in a professional setting, such as supervisors or co- workers. Also include those who can speak to your character. Include personal friends with a solid background; teachers, professors, or family friends.

This who-knows-you concept isn’t just for job situations. Many community and professional associations may also require references. Due to the worst of human nature (molesters, scammers, and the like) background checks, of the financial and character type, are now the norm.

Ensure that your social media presence reflects an image that’s aligned with who you are professionally, especially on LinkedIn. Recruiters and others, including plain nosy folks use Google to check out prospective hiring candidates. Censor your tweets and Facebook posts based on the type of opportunities or community positions you seek.


Excerpted from my book, For People of Strength, Soul, and Spirit: Seven Guidelines for Life & Career Success: Deborah L. Parker: 9781479237012: Books



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2016:Focused and Sweet


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Chopping and Assessing: Size Your Assignment


Mary working in the soil


Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

Richard Wright

One of the other necessary acts my grandfather, Joe, who was Mary’s father,  performed for his garden was the construction of poles for which the butter bean vines would grow. A wood source was needed for this effort. So this required him to venture into the woods adjacent to our house, with his power saw in tow, to use for cutting down a tree. After this massive focused labor, he hauled the tree back to the yard, then used his axe to size the pieces for the poles. So he drew from two implements in the tool shed to use in this effort.

The right chopping movements helped Joe shape the cut tree for its purpose, which was to harness those vines so they could sprout strong. He knew the ‘force was with him’ as he handled the axe, relentless toward his purpose. My grandfather knew he had the ability of physical strength in using this tool, but if needed he used the power saw again, to further bring muscle to this process.

Joe was on assignment, splitting up this timber. As he yielded the axe, he’d occasionally stop to assess if the sizes and numbers were correct—a fit of the poles needed for the rows. Once done with this part of the task, the leftover pieces of wood were stacked as fuel for the stoves or for him to use in rigging up something else needed for the house or yard. So the tree and the axe had multi assignment purposes to help my grandfather with his calling of responsibility.

How do we size up our essential abilities for the assignments in our life roles, careers, and community efforts?  Where do we go to find meaning in where we’re supposed to be—our assignment?

Oftentimes, we respond to a calling, whatever that looks like for each of us. As Dr. King also stated, everybody can serve in some capacity. Whatever that is for each of us, we should strive to be the best at it. How do we get shaped for our purpose?

We are all bestowed gifts through our DNA, our “delivered natural ability,” to be shared with the world. These assets or skills stand to make our actions complete and we tow them around. Coming from our innate talents, good and bad experiences, formal and informal education, these traits sprout forth as our achievements. All of these pieces shape us and eventually we whittle them down to what’s useful for our designed goals.

Parts excerpted from my  book: Tools to Cultivate the Promised Land: Working Wisdom From My Grandparent’s Garden

Posted in Motivation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Up: Moving On After Disappointment


My mother Mary with her two granddaughters at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in DC, July 2008

People disappoint. Situations don’t always turn out the way we’d like. Folks don’t always do right or treat you right. Family and others take advantage. Whether it’s a friend reneging on a promise, a client cancelling an engagement, a manager not following through on a personnel action or a family member not living up to expectations— these occurrences can sear your soul. Disappointment can shake the foundation of trust and sometimes dealing with it is hard.

It’s also difficult to explain these types of emotional jabs that come with the territory of our trek to kids, but we must try.

My youngest niece wanted to have a 13th birthday party in August of 2010 and posted her invitation on Facebook. Only a few friends responded ‘yes’ and when they saw that others weren’t coming, they withdrew their responses to attend.

She cancelled the party.

Upset, my niece then went on Facebook the afternoon the party would’ve happened and saw that some of the invited kids were online. She was very hurt, posting comments to that effect and lashed out angrily. If they were online that meant they weren’t busy and could have come to the party. The reasons why some of the kids couldn’t attend were probably varied, but it didn’t matter to her. This was a huge disappointment at a special yet challenging time in her life. Turning 13 is a big deal, marking the teenage transition. This disappointment added to the loss of her “Nanny’s sunset” a few months earlier—those emotions still tugging at her heart’s core—made this even tougher on her. I tried to encourage her and she put up a brave front. We also talked about her comments in reaction to the disappointment on Facebook. I pointed out that a forum as large as Facebook was probably not the best place to vent and suggested she put her special emotional thoughts in her journal instead.

How will we settle our spirits after disappointment?

Thoughts such as “well, it happens”, “this too shall pass”, “I may be down but not out” or “every dog has his day” may provide some temporary relief. In my niece’s situation, the venting of her feelings served a purpose—she got the emotions out. I also encouraged her to think about the lessons her “Nanny” had shared with her about growing up. I wanted to support her during this time of need soI gave her a birthday card with a monetary gift enclosed in memory of her grandmother and I took her on a day trip to Virginia Beach. She was elated over my gestures. We had a fun aunt-niece day at the beach. Nothing like playing in the ocean to wash our sorrows off— we both needed it. When we got back from our trip my niece wrote on Facebook about her “awesome time” at the beach.

After school started my niece took another step forward to shake off the birthday disappointment; she ran for and won an election for eighth grade class senator.

You go, girl!

When we feel letdown, wait for the energy to mount up and conquer. The sun will rise again!

Excerpted from my motivational autobiography, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey in print and Kindle eBook


Posted in Determination, Family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day: Honoring The Ancestors of a Different Battle


With my grandfather Joseph in 1982 at family's 50th wedding anniversary celebration With my grandfather Joseph in 1982 at family’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration

I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.” Harriet Tubman

  My maternal grandfather, Joseph (Joe) Everett Parker, Sr., honored our history and this holiday in a different way. On Memorial Day during the 1960s, the children of the family accompanied him on an ancestral voyage. We went to the burial grounds of his parents and other relatives, some who were born slaves or in the reconstruction era. Here he honored their service. Because they had fought for racial freedom, persevering and sacrificing in the most horrid of conditions. I call them ‘old soldiers’ too, experienced on the battlefield of life.

The grave sites were located way back off a rural road, some 15 miles or so…

View original post 309 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seek & Know: Your Story as a Way Station



Teachers of my life- the elders- grandparents, mother, aunts and uncles

“He who learns, teaches.”

~ Ethiopian Proverb

             How does life speak to you? Tell you it’s time to move or pause?

Usually an event happens to alert us; there are signs that evoke an awareness and call to take action. These signs are spiritual messages. Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, “Spirit is an invisible force made visible in all life.” Clarity revealed.

Our ancestors relied on these spiritual signs as they walked through the bush of Africa, followed the drinking gourd of the Underground Railroad and marched the trails to freedom of the Civil Rights Movement. Having found purpose in Reconstruction, they trekked beyond their bondage and were led to way stations. There they had time to pause and gather energy, a way to return to their own strength. Passion for freedom continuously drove them forward. Migration up north in search of a promised land, ignited the prize of opportunity in their eyes. They steadfastly recognized these messages and felt the enormity of their power. Risks were taken. Weary, but confident, they forged on. So many stories, plenty of grit, goals achieved.

Do we have to reach that far back for these inspirational narratives? Today our current POTUS and FLOTUS possess significant melanin doses originating from the continent (they’re black y’all). Gabrielle Douglas, gymnast extraordinaire, got Olympic gold. Steve Harvey tells his listeners everyday that he “got a radio show.” John H. Johnson came from his rural upbringing in Arkansas to starting an awesome reading staple of the Black community, Ebony magazine. Venus and Serena dominate tennis from L.A. to London. Ursula Burns went from a NY housing project to heading Xerox.

Your mama, granddaddy, aunt, cousin, YOU did…

Everybody has a story of their past to present, with the mess and miracles in between.

From peanuts to politics, the power of strength, soul, and spirit have covered and propelled our community.

We know these stories, don’t we? Shared through media, family gatherings or books, these precious narratives are plain for us all to see. Can we be guided by this awesome energy of their potent accounts in our life and careers?

Are you attuned to the station to hear the message?

I view myself as someone who uses the wits and gifts God has given me, so I can be of service. The oldest child of a very determined single mother, I was raised in the home of my wise grandparents, and they all embedded in me the importance of a strong belief system. Watching them all persevere with hope for better times that would include more opportunities for our race is not something I will easily forget.

Excerpted from my book  For People of Strength, Soul, and Spirit: Seven Guidelines for Life & Career Success   On Amazon….







Posted in African American, Education | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment