Recently I celebrated 45 years of being on the planet. To be honest, in the past I would barely pause to acknowledge the date I entered into the earthly realm. This year was different. Not only did I pause, but also I literally stopped and contemplated my life and the life of those I deeply love–and you were included.

I came to the realization that if I’m assigned to a 90-year voyage, I was entering the second half of the passage. Since I don’t know my date of departure, my only gauge is genetics and past generations.

In total transparency, not only did I think about my own mortality, I thought about the transience of my parents, siblings, inner circle of friends and all the divine faces and personalities that I’ve been blessed to see, hear and experience over the years.

Sitting in my meditation room, I laughed, cried and pondered the lessons I learned over the years. Observers, undoubtedly, would have said, “She can’t be alone.” Thanks to the presence of God–I wasn’t.

As you know, you aren’t alone either. That’s why two years ago we launched the William J. & Rev. Shirley M. Smith, Sr. Scholarship Fund. The intention is to show the community that our lives matter. We also desire to remind our young people that they are not alone by providing them with financial support.

Please forward this information with everyone you know and tell them that we are accepting applications for a $3000 scholarship ($1000 for 3 years).

The application deadline is May 18. The criteria and online application can be found at

Stay tuned for the announcement of our dynamic, nationally recognized 2012 Inspired to BE Smith Legacy Dinner keynote speaker.

Here’s a hint: Colin Powell is his mentor.

There Is More,

S. Renee

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