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I hope you and your family are well and looking ahead to a fun and relaxing weekend or maybe even some solitude. I’m looking forward to completing my expense reports to get my taxes done and a manicure to celebrate!

Before I do any of that here are three refreshing lessons I’ve learned over the past several days. Learning through every experience is personal growth.

First off it was exciting co-facilitating two workshops titled: Put Some “Respeck” aka Respect On It, with my BFF La’Verne R. Webb, for the Jefferson College of Biomedical Sciences. The  objective was to strengthen the importance of showing respect to all human beings no matter appearance or ethnicity. We used Hip-hop/rap artist Birdman’s song Put Some Respeck On My Name as the impetus for the conversation.

The swirl of activity continued at the Urban Art Gallery in West Philly while promoting my book, Gratefully Disappointed. Meeting Spoken Word Artists, clothing designers, culinary artists and media moguls, in an environment that was supportive and encouraging. Darcel  Laurie, Moguls in Media, CEO reminded us to remain focused on doing the work necessary to make this world better and to rid ourselves of the naysayers in our lives – delete them from social media accounts and the contact list.

Then there was a celebration for the 30 year career of Kenneth J. Parker a SVP at Pepco Holdings. Connecting with community leaders and learning about the extensive contributions of this very humble human being who has had a major personal impact on a number of people in the room and throughout the global community.

In life there are always lessons, some painful, some thought provoking.  Reflecting on each of the experiences above I walked away with these three actions:

Value Humanity
Focus on Your Vision

Pass the Baton

When we Value Humanity, Focus on Our Vision and Pass the Baton we build a world community that is built on respect.

Gratefully Yours,

Read more about how I applied this mantra in my own life and what I learned from it

FORGIVE:  Learn & Move On


Writing a memoir forces you to journey back to a period long ago. A vivid memory of learning my spelling words came to mind. My mother had a mantra: Say it – Spell it – Say it again. So I would write the word, say it aloud and spell it and then say the word again.  This evening, while out taking my evening walk, I thought about Forgiveness and a mantra I could devise for my readers and forgiveness advocates like me and I came up with this: Forgive – Learn – Move On. Continue reading “FORGIVE:  Learn & Move On”


…Now I have a forgiving heart….I forgive them and move on.” That’s what Gabrielle Douglas said during a recent interview with the SunHerald (

Forgive and move on. These are powerful words that give all of us something to ponder.  The NOW shows a shift.

Think about it. We’ve all said and done something we regret – minutes, even days after.  Perhaps we used harsh words to someone during a time when we were angry about something else. Or, because someone hurt us we lash out at everyone.  Yet as difficult as it can be to forgive someone who has hurt you – it’s something that we all need to do in order for us to be free and move forward with our lives.  Being the bigger person and saying – I forgive you, gives you your freedom.  Holding on to the anger and bad feelings is an unhealthy time bomb. Your blood pressure rises every time you replay the situation in your mind. And guess what, the person we are angry with has MOVED ON!

So do a Gabby on the person who has hurt you:  forgive them and move on. You’ll feel better and the world will be a better place.

Sabrina Umstead Smith is available to speak to your group/organization on Forgiveness. Contact Sabrina for more information.


Journaling is a good way to capture your thoughts and feelings. You can work out problems, have a conversation with yourself, develop your ideas just by writing them down in a notebook or on a piece of paper. When you write them in pencil, you can erase anything you don’t like; when you type them in a word document you can save them and edit them at a later time or you can even delete them. I just came across some of the many journals I’ve kept over the years reviewing the entries. From those entries I recalled some really dark times in my life. The pain, anger and discontentment I was experiencing at the time is very evident in my words and tone. I thought to myself — WOW I have come a mightly long way since then. As I read through the entries some of those feeling were stirred up again, and I thought hmmm, I thought I was over that. Then I remembered something I read just a few days ago about putting the past behind and forgiving: I have to do my part to forgive the person and God will heal my emotions.

Experience – The Best Teacher

The other day on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) there was a special featuring some of this year’s Oscar nominees: Viola Davis, Best Actress for The Help; Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress for The Help; and Jonah Hill, Best Actor for Moneyball.  Oprah interviewed all three thespians.  Viola Davis made a statement about forgiveness that really resonated with me (I’ll paraphrase):  Forgiveness is embracing everything that has happened to me.  Surely, our past is part of who we are, and no matter what our past was like, we learn from our life experiences.  The peaks and valleys of life are what mold us; making us wise and informed.  We either learn from them and grow or lament over them and suffer.  Learn the lessons and move forward to a better you – forgive4u!