Wendy's Window
Wendy's Window
Monthly Newsletter Archive

December 2011 - Merry Christmas
October 2011 - Swift Transitions
July 2011 - Settle in to Summer
April 2011 - Let's Spring Forward
February 2011 - 2011 is Off to a Great Start!
January 2011 - Happy New Year from Wendy Gladney

December 2010 - Season's Greetings
November 2010 - Daylight Savings Time
September 2010 - Celebrating Life & Another Year
August 2010 - Over The Summer

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From Whence We Come

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 03/02/15

This past summer I received a call from a lady by the name of Helen Viser Fitzgerald.  Ms. Helen was the manager of the Lubbock, Texas City Library, Patterson Branch and she was trying to locate a family member of Nathaniel Reed in California.  Nathaniel Reed was my grandmother, Rebecca Ruth Reed Harris, brother.  He had a daughter that he named after my grandmother and she had passed away. The family was looking for a descendant from my our side to possible attend the funeral. 


When I first received the call I was not able to connect all of the dots.  Although I met several of my relatives over the years, I did not know or remember how we were exactly related.  In 2003 when my grandmother passed away, Dorothy McKever, Nathaniel's other daughter came out from Texas for the funeral and she and I connected.  Over the years I would send her cards and occasionally we would talk, but I did not remember exactly how we were related, I just knew we were family. 


Cousin Dorothy was the connection how Ms. Helen had originally reached out to me.  After our first call during the summer, Ms. Helen and I began communicating and as she learned more about the work I do she invited me to come and speak at their Black History Program that would be held February 28, 2015.  Months would go by and our communication became hit and miss.  For a period of time I did not hear from her and I thought they decided to go in another direction, then I received another call from Ms. Helen and she told me she had been in the hospital and was sorry she had not gotten back to me to make the arrangements for my visit.  She advised me she would be calling me soon to book my flight and take care of the necessary paperwork. 


Then during the Christmas holidays, I received a call from Jane Clausen from the Patterson Branch Library advising me that Ms. Helen had passed away in November.  My heart was saddened, I had no idea that she had been so ill.  She was a woman that had such life and vitality over the phone, I just could not wait to meet her.  During my conversation with Jane, I thought that the trip was going to be canceled and of course I would have understood.  To my surprise, she told me no, Ms. Helen definitely wanted you to come and she left explicit instructions to that effect.  I said okay it would be my honor and my pleasure. 


This past weekend I traveled to Lubbock, Texas through the sleet and snow to share a message on the meaning of celebrating our heritage.  I am grateful to the people of Lubbock for their kindness and hospitality.  Many of us do not stay connected to our families and communities from whence we came and then we have no idea who our people are and how we are connected.  I am truly grateful that I have pieces of the puzzle about my family and where my roots are planted.  I am encouraged to work harder putting the pieces together even more to leave a map and footprints for those that will come behind me so they will know from whence they have come.  I am truly sorry that I was not able to meet Mrs. Helen Faye Viser Fitzgerald.  She definitely left her footprint on a community that stretched clear to California.


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Is It Really Just Black Or White?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/23/15

I recently went to see the movie starring Kevin Costner, Academy Award Winner Octavia Spencer, and Jillian Estell about a young biracial girl who is being raised by her maternal white grandfather and all of the challenges that come from that situation.   This movie caught my attention because I too am a biracial child of a white mother and a black father.  I was a product of forbidden love of 1961.  


The movie starts by showing the granddaughter, Eloise, being raised by her maternal grandparents due to the death of her mother during childbirth.  The opening scene shows that her maternal grandmother is killed in a car accident and her grandfather, Kevin Costner, is faced with raising his granddaughter alone.  Eloise’s paternal grandmother, Rowena, Octavia Spencer,  feels that she will be better equipped at raising Eloise now that both her mother and maternal grandmother are gone and teaching her more about her black roots.  The rest of the movie deals with issues of race, forgiveness and coming to a better understanding of each other.  When a child is born from a union of two different cultures or races is there a question of which side is better fit to raise that child?  In society today we are experiencing more multi-cultural families. 


During my childhood my mother, due to reasons I may never understand, actually walked away from me when I was just a little girl around 3 or 4 years old. I was then raised by my father and his  family with no real knowledge of my mother and her family, culture or heritage.  As with most children, I longed to know who my mother was, what she looked like and to learn why she left me, so when I was in college I set out to find her.  When I met my mother I also met my grandparents, aunts and cousins, but it would still be another twelve years when I was 30 years old before my mother would become a part of my life.  One day she called me and told me that her husband died and left her homeless and would I help her.  Of course I said yes. 


My paternal grandmother, also known as Mother Dear, was first born free in our family.  Her father was born a slave and freed as a little boy. Once she completed college and married, she migrated from the South with her husband and children in the hopes of a better life.  My grandmother believed in God, family and the importance of an education.  She also taught me to love and forgive others. This philosophy gave me the foundation that I live by today. 


Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I was raised by both my mother and father. I know I missed a lot by not spending time with her and that side of my family growing up, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to not only meet my mother and even take care of her before she died, but also to now have a relationship with members of my maternal family.  This was healing not only for me, but for generations to come on both sides of my family.  In spite of it all, I am proud of who I am, where I come from and the legacy I will be able to leave for my children and grandchildren.    Forgiveness helped my family mend and have the ability to look forward with hope and love.  #coach #forgiveness #family


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Are You Processed Oriented Or Outcome Focused?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/16/15

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.  Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with my son Freddie to catch up and see what has his attention these days.  My son has a very charming and outgoing personality and after he graduated from the University of California Irvine, he moved to Australia where he studied abroad and then returned back to Southern California a little over three years ago to pursue opportunities in the entertainment industry. 


In one of our conversations, he asked me a really interesting question.  He said mom do you think you are process oriented or outcome focused?  I had to stop and really think about that question.  When one is process oriented they tend to be caught up in the way something is done, or the process.  The dictionary defines process as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.  Whereas if you are focused on the outcome it means you are primarily interested in the way a thing turns out.  Is one better than the other?  Are they mutually exclusive? 


As I reflect on what role both of these questions mean to me in my life, I feel to achieve the outcome one desires, a process must be identified to help  get to the destination.  It is of my opinion the two go hand in hand.  Of course with my son being strong willed he was determined to make me select one or the other (for the purpose of debate), so I had to go with being more concerned with the process than the outcome.  At the end of the day I believe if we are clear with our process, what we do, how we do it and why we do it, achieving our desired outcome will be accomplished.


Oftentimes people can become fixated on achieving a certain goal.  Goals are great, I actually talk about their importance in some of my presentations, however, when we become more concerned with the outcome and not weighing the costs, we must consider the consequences.  Professionals from different walks of life and fields of discipline believe when a person goes through the necessary steps or process, they discover a lot about themselves. When we skip steps or get so focused on just the finish line, we may miss some real jewels along the journey that may prove to be a better path for us.   


Being disciplined and focused to achieve the goals we desire is necessary, but at the end of the day we must really look at the journey we take to get where we want to go.  When we look back at our life or when history looks back at the choices and decisions we made, did we help someone in need even if it meant we got you off course for a minute?  Did we help make the world a little better for someone coming behind us?  Did we even take time to smell the roses along the way? So yes, being focused on the outcome is important, but as the saying goes, life is a journey and not just a destination!


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/09/15

We often hear people say it is important to protect your heart.  This statement is true both literally and figuratively.  When we think of the word heart many things come to mind.   This time of year the first thing that probably pops up in the minds of most are heart shape boxes of chocolates, flowers and other symbols of love representing Valentine’s Day. There are people that even get married on Valentine’s Day because they feel it is the most romantic day of the year. 


Why is love associated with the heart?  The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system.  What is so crucial about this process is that blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients which keeps the body running.  Love is important because it provides us with the oxygen so to speak to stay motivated, happy, and oftentimes provides us with air to breathe.  When our hearts are broken, we lose faith, we lose motivation and some even give up.  How do we heal when our hearts are broken?  I believe we have to go back to the basics and remember our purpose and focus.  Sometimes we can never replace a lost love, but we can learn to love again.


Just as with the external expression of love our internal physical hearts also need attention.  People are dying every day from various forms of heart disease.  There are various links to heart disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity to name a few.  It is important that we protect our love heart as well as our physical hearts.  When our physical hearts seem to be broken, we must go back to basics and make sure we are eating healthy, exercising and getting regular check-ups. If we do not protect our hearts early and keep up a healthy lifestyle our hearts may experience damage that is irreversible. 


The Heart Association promotes Go Red For Women during February to help fight heart disease in women.  Heart disease has hit my life personally in a drastic way.  My biological mother, my father, and my Aunt Dolores all died from one form of heart disease.  It is important that we promote prevention wherever possible.  For families that have a history of heart disease, there may be higher risks, but that does not mean we can’t take precautions and live a healthy life.  It must start with us.


Let us encourage all of our loved ones to take the necessary steps to protect their hearts, both literally and figuratively.  I believe that forgiveness and love play a crucial role in all healing. Be kind to yourself as well as to others.  Nelson Mandela shared that a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.  The best way to mend a broken heart, is to use your head wisely in the first place!   


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Black History is U.S. History

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 02/02/15

Most of us are aware that February is Black History Month.  We have so many things going on around the Southland to commemorate the accomplishments and triumphs of the African American Community.  Just this week Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Our Authors Study Club will kick off the month by honoring local heroes.  Corporations and organizations will also hold dinners and special events where the community can come out and participate.  This coming weekend the 46th NAACP Image Awards will be celebrating and uplifting those who project positive images across the screen.  I encourage everyone to check out the Calendar Section in the paper to find out where you can get involved. 


Also making history this week, newly elected Assemblymember Mike Gipson from the 64th District, will hold a Community Swearing In Ceremony at California State University Dominguez Hills on Saturday, February 7th at 10:00am.  The event is free and open to everyone in the community.   The Honorable Jerome Edgar Horton, Chair of the California State Board of Equalization and former California State Assemblyman for the 51st District who served from 2000 until 2006 will officiate the oath of office.  This is a time where you can come out and meet newsmakers first hand. 


As we celebrate the accomplishments of those who came before us and the work being done today, it is also very important to understand how we got to this point.  Historically, African Americans contributions to society were ignored and definitely not chronicled.  However, Carter G. Woodson an African-American writer and historian decided to change all of that and became known as the Father of Black History Month Dr. Woodson had many accomplishments, but he knew the power of the pen and he formed the African-American-owned Associated Publishers Press in 1921. He went on to write more than a dozen books including the book, Mis-Education of the Negro (1933).


Dr. Woodson knew the importance of everyone learning about the contributions made by Black people so he lobbied schools and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history, which began in February 1926 with Negro History Week. The program was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. Dr. Woodson chose February for the initial weeklong celebration to honor the birth months of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.


It is important for us today to continue in this tradition of keeping our history alive while continuing to pave new paths.  Take time out today to read African American newspapers, books by African American authors, and then share what you learn with someone else.  In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book.  Just United States History!


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.