POSITIVE CREATIVITY, POSITIVE PEOPLE, AND POSITIVE BOOKS will keep you blossoming in 2019. A Play, A Person, and A Book helped me start 2019 off with just the right vibe! In these tough, divisive times, we must pay attention to our well-being and be around positive people and engage in positive activities that will keep […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.


A Play, A Person, and A Book helped me start 2019 off with just the right vibe!

In these tough, divisive times, we must pay attention to our well-being and be around positive people and engage in positive activities that will keep us advancing forward. You’re reading Thrive Global, the most positive magazine on the planet, so you’re on the right path.

In these times, we can’t just read any old books or see just any play. We can’t give our precious commodity of time to just any old body. No, we must be intentional.

We must intentionally feed our souls and minds with the best, positive creative activities that we can find. We must seek out positive people who lift us up, rather than tear us down. We must read books that as we finish the last page, we feel better and more positive than we did when we opened the book.

And since today is the first day of African American History Month, I must take a moment to say to other African Americans, be mindful of what you allow into your space. As the great Martin Luther King said,

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

And so, have I!

Here are my favorite three, which include a play, a person, and a book that have fed my soul, helped me to start 2019 off with a positive attitude. My favorite three made me smile and SHOUT, I’m carrying on in 2019”: This is me. This is America, the best country on the planet, and we, Americans will flourish in 2019 and beyond!

Betty Buckley as Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello Dolly at the Pantages

A PLAY: Hello Dolly, now at the Pantages in Hollywood

Hello Dolly, which opened at the Pantages Theater on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019. Betty Buckley was amazing as Dolly Gallagher Levi. Buckley, age 71, with an air of Broadway and Hollywood royalty, serenaded us with dance, words, and song. She didn’t miss a beat. She smiled graciously at those us lucky enough to be in the front row of one of the best plays and productions I’ve ever seen.

It’s a period piece, and I don’t care to know anything about the politics behind its author or the production. The creativity of the production is, pure, genius and transcends the politics of current times.

At the Pantages, the ensemble was amazing, the dance was graceful and smooth, and it was so refreshing to see mature stars, like Betty Buckley joined by Lewis J Stadlen, with so many credits under their belts, put us under their spells. The production was, absolutely, riveting. The costumes were beautiful. The choreography perfect, and the songs heart-warming.

And just being at the Pantages on Hollywood Boulevard, makes you feel that the stars are aligned in your favor. Sure enough they were aligned for the publicist of Carol Channing, who is resting in peace, after winning a Tony for Best Actress when starring in Hello Dolly in 1964. She recently passed at the age of 97 on January 15, 2019. He was able to place flowers on her star, which happens to be right in front of the Pantages.

Finally, because it’s the first day of African American History Month, I must SHOUT OUT to Hello Dolly’s only African American ensemble member, BRANDON L. WHITMORE. I saw you Brandon. I get that it’s a period piece. But, since I was in the front row, my eyes met Mr. Whitmore’s as I stood and gave him two fingers up and clapped so hard that my hands hurt!


Keala Settle, Actress in The Greatest Showman, on the red carpet at the Pantages Opening of Hello Dolly!

When life is good, there’s synergy and the stars really do align in your favor. I sat directly near to Keala Settle at Hello Dolly (I’m sure there was a mix up with our seats). The Keala Settle, who sings one of my favorite songs and is one of my favorite actresses. The Keala Settle who suffered a mini stroke in 2018, before being diagnosed with a rare cerebrovascular disorder known as Moyamoya disease and before undergoing a 10-hour double-bypass brain surgery.

And there was a special vibe happening between us, although I never said a word to her. But our spirits were connecting, causing us to say at the very same time, “Stand Up!” after a great song and dance had been performed in Hello Dolly. We were chiming in, spontaneously, as if we were Black women in a Baptist church listening to a choir singing just the right song and to a preacher who had taken us to the mountain top. It felt like we led the audience in standing ovations, encouraging those around us to stand and applaud for this amazing performance.

Thinking back on the night, brings tears to my eyes because her song, This Is Me, touches my heart and resonates in the soul of my autistic son. His birthday was on January 31st, the day after Hello Dolly opened. The day after Carol Channing’s publicist placed flowers on her star, which is directly in front of the Pantages Stage. And here come the goosebumps and the raised hairs on my arms, my autisitic angel shares a birthday with Carol Channing.

Keala Settle’s song, This Is Me, in the Greatest Showman, symbolizes my journey with him, and how I instructed him to show up in the world.

This week a friend asked me why I refer to him as my autistic son and I responded: “Because his autism is a badge of honor for us. He turned 34, and he’s done everything that doctors told us he COULDN’T do! He’s flourished, because I raised him to accept his disability, accept himself, just as he is. I taught him to, silently, sing in his heart, “This is Me!”

So, thank You, Keala Settle, for manifesting my autistic son’s theme.
We love you. We cried, together, as we watched you sing it.
Let’s, you and I, continue to stand, no matter what we face!

I’m so glad you’re doing well.

And Happy Birthday RK, Jr, my Autistic Angel!


I listened to Becoming Michelle on Audible while taking long walks during the holidays. With crisp, winter breezes brushing my cheeks, golden leaves underneath my feet, and Michelle’s soothing voice in my ears, my soul felt full. I knew that her book was advancing me in all the right ways into 2019!

The book starts when Michelle is in Kindergarten and, out of no-where, a boy tries to knock her block off with a hard punch. The lesson learned is that we don’t have control over other people’s negative, bad actions and that we must pick ourselves up and carry on.

She gently carries us through her journey of being a South Side of Chicago girl, where my Husband was raised, and meeting Barack. She lifts us through the journey of surrendering to God’s call on her and Barack’s life of being our first Black First Lady and Barack being our first Black President of The United States. Barack and Michelle were the answered prayers of Martin Luther King, as he kneeled in prayer.

Martin Luther King leading a Civil Right’s March

American people of every color and hue voted for Barack Obama because we are a great country, filled with wonderful white, Black, Asian, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian, LGTBQ people and more who blossom like flowers when we focus on our commonalities and surround ourselves with positive creativity, people, and books.

America will turn the page from this dark time in history. Thank you, First Lady Michelle. You are a Queen.

I’ve decided to share my favorite three: A Positive Creative Activity, A Positive Person, and A Positive Book monthly to help me blossom and flourish through 2019.

Join me in February, African American History Month, and let me know what three you pick.

    You might also like...


    Wellness Is A Verb: Action Is Required

    by Dr. Tomi Mitchell

    Gracey Cantalupo On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

    by Karen Mangia

    Dr Maha Hosain Aziz On Redefining Success

    by Karen Mangia
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.