A Fresh Look at Diversity

Dr. Wiggins is a highly respected presenter and facilitator, in addition to being an educator and author. In today’s post, she shares about her most recent experience.

Redefining the Role of Libraries Through the Lens of Diversity with Dr. De'Andrea Wiggins

Redefining the Role of Libraries Through the Lens of Diversity with Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins

A few years ago, my colleague, Joseph Weertz, and I developed the “25 Types of Diversity”. These 25 types are broken down into primary and secondary characteristics of diversity. It includes visible, the most commonly referred to, and invisible characteristics. This is in an effort to explore the individual and the specific experiences which shape each person’s perception.

Since that time, I have had the opportunity to present that model many times, both in the public and private sectors. Each time, I have been able to fine-tune the focus of the presentation to fit the audience. Most recently, I presented the model at the Michigan Library Association’s annual conference. The workshop was entitled “Redefining the Role of Libraries through the Lens of Diversity“. This 60-minute workshop brought together librarians, full and part-time library staff, as well as administrators from public, academic and government libraries. As each of the 25 types of diversity was explored, participants engaged in the interactive presentation to gain a better sense of how to use their new view of diversity to become more inclusive in their own library settings.

While I got a thrill from just sharing with a new audience, I was even more surprised by the feedback following the event. Some of the comments are below:

  • “Awesome and thorough”
  • “Wonderful speaker, very knowledgeable and effective.  I learned a lot.”
  • “I was wondering if you ever would want to present at any additional MLA events?  Not only did you get rave reviews on our surveys, but I just had a few conference calls with two of my workshop planning groups and your name got mentioned…several times. I don’t necessarily have one in mind currently, but I know a good presenter when I see one!  Just thought you’d like to know that you’re still being talked about!”

For information on having Dr. Wiggins present for your institution or group, please click on the “Book Dr. Dee Today” page to submit your request.

Three Books that Will Enhance Your Writing

In today’s post, Dr. Wiggins reflects on her recent presentation for the Motown Writers Network as she shares tips for writers.

At my recent presentation for the Motown Writers Network, I shared three books that are invaluable resources to authors. These three books are game changers, regardless of your genre. Any writer would be wise to have them in their resource library. They are:

  1. Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book (Volume 2) by Dan Poynter
  2. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writers Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman
  3. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K. M. Weiland

Additionally, I shared 25 Things for Writers, or more specifically, 25 Things Every Writer Should Know. As a presenter, I’ve found that you don’t have to be an expert in the field. (I’m not!) You just need to stay at least one step ahead of those with whom you are sharing your knowledge and/or what you have learned. I’m happy to share these resources with you. If you own any of these books or use any of these writer tips, please leave a comment below.

 

The Key to Moving Ahead

In today’s blog post, Dr. Wiggins shares a comparison of life to a rowboat versus a motorboat as the key to moving ahead.

There is a Jewish proverb that says “Life is to be lived as a man (or woman) in a rowboat”. A motorboat has the motor behind you. You’re facing in the direction that you’re going; however, you’re moving at a fast pace, never taking the time for self-evaluation. At some point, you have to analyze where you’ve been and what you’ve learned from it.

With a rowboat, you have to face where you’ve already been while moving in the direction that you’re going. It’s time to learn the lessons from the hurt, pain, and disappointment in your past to use that as motivation for where God is taking you. Those lessons become fuel for the future.

Running from your past doesn’t make it go away. At some point, you need to deal with the pain of the past. Those valuable life lessons are the key to moving ahead…and a reminder of where you cannot afford to return.

If you enjoyed this post, please share on social media and leave a comment below.

Almost Doesn’t Count: Meet Doris Mae Jenkins

Today’s post is a character synopsis for Doris Mae Jenkins, the maternal figure in D. C. Wiggins’ upcoming novel, Almost Doesn’t Count.

Doris Mae Jenkins is a retired school teacher who worked for 38 years in Detroit Public Schools. She is a senior citizen who owns her home, and continues to live in Detroit, Michigan despite pleas from her son to relocate to a safer place. Doris is the central maternal caregiver in Almost Doesn’t Count. She mentored Lorenzo Carter from 4th grade through his senior year of high school when he was killed in a car accident. He never received his high school diploma. 

Lorenzo, despite her warnings, had become a teen father. Doris was convinced after a conversation with God to “adopt” his newborn son, Zelman, so that he would not fall prey to the temptations of urban life. Doris is determined to have at least one young man in her life complete high school on time and graduate college. Doris’ relationship to Lorenzo, Zelman, and the neighborhood at large where she has spent the majority of her adult years make her vital to the story. She is intricately involved in all the other character’s lives.

Doris’ greatest fear is for Zelman to get caught up in the extracurricular activities witnessed daily while living in the inner city. Becoming a teen father, selling drugs, or gang violence are very real dangers for Zelman that she must prevent at all costs. Doris prays to be able to see him graduate, but understands that she may die with unresolved desires if she does not act quickly.

Doris has a personal struggle with her own biological children. She is very compassionate about helping Lorenzo, and then Zelman, but it is as if she is trying to compensate for not doing the best with her own sons. She feels shame and guilt in that her sons are not college graduates; it is a personal failure for her as an educator that she was unable to get her own children to see the value of a college education. Doris desires to repair her relationship with her remaining son, but does not want to reveal her inner turmoil, or appear vulnerable and weak. As such, her defense mechanism is not to let anyone past the brick wall she has erected to keep these issues suppressed.

In order to repair her relationship with her son, Doris must open up. For a woman in her 60s who was taught to be seen and not heard, it is a challenge. She has never had to verbalize her feelings, but she must in order to be a part of her grandchildren’s lives before it’s too late. Taking care of Zelman is a learning process for them both. He is a much different child from her sons, but her ultimate goal remains the same: help him graduate high school on time and earn a college degree.

Follow the hashtag #AlmostDoesntCount on social media and visit Dr. Dee’s author page on facebook for more information on this and other novels.

Almost Doesn’t Count: Who is Zelman?

In today’s post, Dr. Dee shares a character synopsis on Zelman Carter, the central character around which the story line of “Almost Doesn’t Count” is built. Almost Doesn’t Count is the second book in the Overcomers Series by D. C. Wiggins.

Zelman Xavier Carter is the son of Lorenzo Carter, a former mentee/”adopted” son of Doris Jenkins. Zelman is introduced as an infant of teen parents following the death of his father. The reader follows Zelman from infancy through his young adult years. It is important to watch his social, emotional, academic, and financial acumen develop throughout his life denoting its impact on the ultimate goal: college graduation.

Zelman’s relationship to his guardian, “Grandma Doris”, is key. Doris is working through her own feelings of inadequacy as a parent while rearing Zelman. Zelman is Doris’ last chance to prove that she can be instrumental in the life and development of a young African-American man seeking a better life, in spite of their inner city struggles.

Zelman wants to fit in. He wants to be accepted by his peers and fails to understand why he continues to stand out. Not knowing his biological family does not keep Zelman from making similar poor choices. It makes him susceptible to repeat history. The longing to be accepted forces him into multiple brushes with the very things Doris is trying to protect him from. 

Zelman must decide whether to follow the carefully laid out path that Grandma Doris explains will guarantee him a life away from the ills of the inner city or to follow his desire to be a part of the “in” crowd. Zelman doesn’t want to disappoint Grandma Doris, yet doesn’t want to miss out on the “fun” his peers are always talking about. He has to overcome the volume of the masses to determine what is at the core of his heart.

For more information on this book, follow the hashtag #AlmostDoesn’tCount on social media and “like” Dr. Dee’s author page

Almost Doesn't Count, the second book in The Overcomer Series by D. C. Wiggins

Almost Doesn’t Count, the second book in The Overcomer Series by D. C. Wiggins

on Facebook. 

Almost Doesn’t Count – an excerpt

Almost Doesn't Count, the second book in The Overcomer Series by D. C. Wiggins

Almost Doesn’t Count, the second book in The Overcomer Series by D. C. Wiggins

In today’s post, Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins, who uses D. C. Wiggins as her pen name for fiction works, gives readers a sneak peek at her next literary release.

Just in time for the Christmas 2014 season, I will be releasing my second novel, Almost Doesn’t Count. This fiction novel will explore the obstacles faced by inner city youth, particularly African-American males, as it relates to education, socialization, and empowerment.

Synopsis:
While mentoring a young man named Lorenzo, Doris is grief-stricken from an accident which changed the course of his future. Doris, a retired school teacher, refuses to allow the hard work that she has done in turning his life around go to waste. With fierce determination, Doris assumes responsibility for ensuring that Lorenzo’s infant son, Zelman, does not succumb to the pressures of urban life. Doris becomes adamant that giving up is no longer an option, and almost doesn’t count.

Excerpt:

I get home from the PTA meeting to find Zelman with cuts all over his face. “Boy, what are you doing to yourself?!” “I’m sorry, Grandma Doris, I was just trying to shave. I know that’s what men do and I wanted to show you that I’m a man now.” Lord, how do I explain that the external characteristics, the facial hair, the deeper voice, and the taller frame are only a part of what it means to be a man? “Zelman, you’d better sit down.” He already knew it was going to be one of what he called those ‘long spiritual conversations’. Not much spirit, this time, I thought. There’s too much flesh to explain for it to be spiritual tonight, I say to myself. “Zelman, it’s hard to explain good work ethics in a house when you don’t see anybody getting up going to work in the morning. This ole bird hasn’t worked in many years now, and it ain’t been a man in the house for much longer than that. You see, a man maintains the house, both financially and physically. When something breaks down that needs fixin’, a man sees to it that it gets done. He goes to work and makes sure the bills get paid on time and the family’s needs are met. At the same time, a man’s life should be more than accumulating green pieces of paper with dead presidents on it. I want you to be the type of man who questions what you’re exposed to find out why it exists that way. I want you to look at the big picture instead of just seeing the picture within the picture. Every politician or candidate for office has a great slogan with feel good promises, but if they don’t have the character to sustain them in office, why bother? The society you and I live in promotes isolation. Everywhere you look, you see privacy fences, bullet proof glass, tinted windows on cars, dark sunglasses…you name it, and it’s out there; yet a man knows that he is the backbone of the family and a beacon of hope in the community. That can never be done in isolation.”

For more information on this book, follow the hashtag #AlmostDoesntCount on social media or contact Dr. Dee directly through her About Me page.

 

Stuck in a rut: The spiritual significance of winter

snow

In today’s post, Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins explores the spiritual and physical characteristics of being stuck in a rut.

As I drove down a residential street in the city of Detroit, I couldn’t help but notice the defined groove that had been carved out by the cars which had driven the same snowy route many times before. The icy path allowed drivers the opportunity to remain on the well-trodden road to avoid any unexpected occurrences that often plague the winter driving experience. The problem with traveling the same route as others is when it comes to making a turn. As I approached the street that I needed to turn, it was increasingly difficult to rise out of the rut that others had created in order to make the necessary adjustment to maneuver my vehicle in a different direction.

There has been record snowfall in the state of Michigan this winter, which in turn has built up layers upon layers of ice and snow. This creates deep grooves as cars maintain the status quo daring not to drive anywhere other than the path laid before them. I began to think on how easy it is to follow the path that others have laid out; diverging from that path can be treacherous, if not deadly. The same is true of our spiritual life. The path well-traveled may seem easiest; however, when you are called to move in a different direction, it can cause a spinout, collision with another, or being stuck with no one to rescue you.

The winter season is the time of preparation. It may appear cold and dreary, but beneath the surface, there are some seeds that are ready to spring forth. Do not get discouraged when you find that you are on a different path. The snow and ice will melt and fade away just like your distractions and those who would seek your fall. Keep moving ahead, spring is on its way!

The Power of Affirmations

LOVEIn today’s post, Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins talks about the power of positive affirmations as seen through the eyes of a child.

“She called me sweetheart!”

That was the response of a little girl who attended one of our church’s outdoor events. I don’t even recall the type of event that the church was having, but I do remember this little girl’s response. She came to visit my table and when she was about to leave, my farewell included the word “sweetheart”. Her grandmother was walking up as she skipped happily away and exclaimed to her grandmother “She called me sweetheart!”

Why is this response so important to remember? It was the smallest, simplest gesture of affirmation that the young lady was not expecting, but lit up her world. Thinking back on the scenario, a few things stand out:

  1. The community where the church was serving is home to one of the poorest zip codes in the city.
  2. The little girl was being raised by her grandmother.
  3. People in impoverished situations hear criticism more than they hear affirmations. Many don’t know how to praise others because they rarely received it themselves, if ever.

As I look back, I am convicted. Too often, I have allowed myself to fall prey to the spirit of criticism. Perhaps it’s the bills outweighing the income. Perhaps it’s the stress of being a working parent with little energy left to complete the tasks of motherhood. Perhaps it’s not taking enough time to appreciate the great honor that I have been given to be able to parent five gifted children. Whatever the reason, today, I choose to affirm…again.

If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and share with friends.

The Surrendered Soul by Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins – a sneak peek

ImageHave you been wondering what literary project Dr. Dee has been working on? Well wonder no longer. This week’s post gives readers a sneak peek at Dr. Dee’s first full-length non-fiction work.

As promised, my faithful blog followers are the first to get a sneak peek at “The Surrendered Soul: Aligning The Five Parts of Your Soul with the Will of God”. Now you’re probably thinking, “wait, five parts? I thought there were only three?”. Most people are familiar with three parts of the soul: your mind, your will and your emotions. In this book, I will establish that your memory, and your imagination are also a part of your soul.

Using the Bible as my primary source to understand my own struggles and find my way to a “healthier place”, I’ve decided to share my findings with the world in this book to be released later this year. So if you’ve ever:

  • struggled with negative or “crazy” thoughts
  • justified behavior that you knew was wrong
  • built a fortress around your heart to keep from getting hurt
  • repressed emotions that were difficult to deal with
  • allowed your imagination, or what you thought to be true, to land you in a compromising position

…then this book is for you. Let me know that I’m not alone by commenting below, then share this post with your friends across social media. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Where is Dr. Dee?

For those of you who follow Dr. Dee’s blog, you’ve probably been wondering why there haven’t been any posts in a LONG time. This article lets you know what has been going on in her life and what you can expect next.

Have you ever experienced a season where one thing after another seemed to invite catastrophe into your life? The four F’s sometimes come at different times, but then at others, they come in rapid succession. I have been experiencing one of those seasons where the four F’s were attacked in rapid succession.

Over the past few months, my family has experienced the deaths of two patriarchs in our family. In addition, my health seemed to have been on a rapid decline – from a lumpectomy in March, to arthritis in my knees and subsequent physical therapy, to a bacterial infection that mimicked the flu and literally had me on my back for weeks. At the same time, my finances were in a state of flux, but in spite of it all, I never lost my faith. My faith in God helped me to cry out for healing when my body refused to cooperate. My faith kept me when grief was my constant bedfellow. My faith is what has allowed me to experience joy in the first few days of this new year and to maintain hope that I am about to enter the best season of my life.

For those of you who have experienced a similar situation, don’t give up hope. Hold on to that glimmer of faith that lets you know you have purpose to fulfill. As an educator and author, I know that a part of my purpose is to edify or build up others. I cannot effectively build up others until I have been built up myself. This process has renewed my vigor to study and share via published books information that will help you to grow spiritually and excel professionally.

Thank you for continuing to follow my blog, in spite of the infrequent posts. You can expect to hear from me more often this year, starting in two weeks with a sneak peak at the non-fiction book that I’m currently working on. I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please comment below.

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