YEAR OF THE OX

One of the greatest things about growing up in California was the opportunity to embrace and learn other people’s cultures firsthand. 

With Black History Month impending, I need to recognize another cultures’ very important day that’s approaching. 

I remember Soleil Moon Frye’s mother taking us to a Chinese New Year festival when I was a young girl. The fireworks, the dragons, the street parade and paper lanterns always had me in awwww. I was mesmerized by all the beautiful colors. She took us to eat dumplings and bought us toys from Chinatown.

Then when I got a little bit older, I had a friend, Jenny Yang who invited me to her house for a traditional Chinese New Year dinner with her family. It was much like Christmas. People sat around talking and laughing, cooking and drinking, just enjoying a wonderful time with their family. 

This year, the Lunar New Year is coming Friday, February 12th. February 11-17th is the holiday. 

Social distancing and COVID-19 will damper some of the traditional celebrations I’ve adopted into my own life, but some will carry on. One thing I’ve done every year since I was a teenager is buying a new red wallet. Red is energy, so I believe it helps keep money in my wallet and I buy myself new underwear too! 

If you have never celebrated, here are a few things you need to know! 

The celebration lasts 15 days

The dates change every year (like Easter)

1/6 of the world celebrates it

AKA Spring Festival 

Everyone wears new clothes

Kids receive red envelopes as gifts (lucky money)

Red is a good luck color believed to scare away spirits and bad fortune. 

Like Americans eat turkey, the Chinese eat dumplings. Dumplings are a traditional Chinese food, especially in northern China. The Chinese believe when you are eating dumplings, you will bring prosperity in the coming year.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! 

www.TherealCherie.com

HISTORY YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW: MLK’S FAMILY FEELS VINDICATED

This article was published by CBS and all rights belong to them.


MLK’s Family Feels Vindicated

BY CBSNEWS.COM STAFF CBSNEWS.COM STAFF

DECEMBER 8, 1999 / 5:25 PM / CBS

The widow of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. says she feels vindicated by a jury’s finding in December 1999 that her husband was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin, and says it is the duty of the Justice Department to look at the information presented in the Memphis case.

“I think that if people will look at the evidence that we have, it’s conclusive and I think the Justice Department has a responsibility to do what it feels is the right thing to do, the just thing to do,” Coretta Scott King, told CBS Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel a day after the trial.

The jury of six blacks and six whites deliberated only about three hours before returning the verdict in a civil lawsuit brought by the King family, reports CBS News Correspondent Jennifer Jones. They had sued Lloyd Jowers, a 73-year-old retired Memphis businessman who claimed six years ago that he paid someone other than James Earl Ray to kill King.

The Kings were awarded $100 in damages, but they weren’t after money. What they wanted was a verdict that would lend support to their call for a new investigation of the killing.

“It’s been painful and also has been bittersweet,” said King’s son, Dexter, who led the family’s pursuit of the truth. “Bitter because of the tragedy, obviously, but liberating in the sense and sweet that we have been vindicated and ultimately that the significant of this historical verdict that really rewrites history is liberating. Now we can move on with our lives, have a sense of closure and healing.”

William Pepper, the Kings’ lawyer, told jurors Jowers was part of a vast conspiracy involving the Mafia and agents of the federal government. He said King was targeted because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and plans for a huge march on Washington.

A cover-up following the assassination in Memphis in 1968 involved the FBI, CIA, the media and Army intelligence, as well as many state and city officials, Pepper said. He told the jurors they could rewrite history with a conspiracy verdict.

“We’re asking you to send a message…to all of those in power that you cannot get away with it,” Pepper said during his closing argument.

Ray confessed to the murder in 1969 but recanted and spent the rest of his life trying to get a trial. He died from liver disease last year.

Ray’s guilty plea was upheld eight times by state and federal courts. A U.S. House committee concluded in 1978 that Ray was the killer but he may have had help before or after the assassination. The comittee did not find any government involvement in the murder.

“The jury also heard a great deal of evidence which exonerated James Earl Ray,” Pepper said Thursday. “That should be made clear because there are spins coming out indicating that James was part of this conspiracy. That’s not what the jury found or heard. They heard strong evidence that James was an unknowing patsy.”

Jowers owned a small restaurant, Jim’s Grill, across the street from the Lorraine Motel, where King was killed. On the day of the murder, Ray, a prison escapee from Missouri, rented a room under an assumed name in a rooming house above Jim’s Grill.

In 1993, Jowers said on ABC-TV that he hired King’s killer as a favor to an underworld figure who was a friend. He did not identify the purported killer, but said it wasn’t Ray.

Jowers, who has never repeated the claim, was sick for much of the trial and did not testify.

Lewis Garrison, Jowers’ lawyer, told jurors they could reasonably conclude King was the victim of a conspiracy but said his client’s role was minor at best.

He said it was hard to believe that “the owner of a greasy spoon and an escaped convict” could have pulled off King’s assassination.

Pepper said King was killed because of his opposition to the war and his planned “poor people’s march” on Washington. Those activities angered big-money defense contractors and threatened a redistribution of wealth in America, he said.

King planned to assemble thousands of protesters at a tent city in Washington and those in power “were afraid that mob would overrun the capital,” Pepper said.

The order to kill King, Pepper said, came from the head of organized crime in New Orleans to a Memphis produce dealer who got Jowers to handle the payoff and murder weapon. An Army sniper squad was in place to shoot King if the Mafia hit failed, Pepper said.

John Campbell, a prosecutor with the Shelby County district attorney general’s office who has investigated the assassination but was not involved in the Jowers trial, said the conspiracy claims have no merit.

“We looked at this off and on for five years … and I’ve still seen nothing that would change my opinion” that Ray acted alone, Campbell said.

Last year, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a limited investigation by the Justice Department into two allegations of a conspiracy in the King murder. One was Jowers’ claim. The other was a statement by former FBI Agent Donald Wilson that he found papers in Ray’s car that might support a conspiracy.

Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder says the report is almost complete and could be released within weeks. But Holder says he doubts the report or the Memphis case will lead to any criminal charges.

But at a news conference in Atlanta, Dexter King said his family was just happy to have resolved decades of doubts. “We don’t care what the Justice Department does,” Because of inforation that came out in the Memphis trial, he said, “We believe that this case is over. … We know what happened. This is the period at the end of the sentence.”

First published on December 8, 1999 / 5:25 PM

© 1999 CBS. All rights reserved.

I DON’T MAKE RESOLUTIONS, I MAKE MEMORY BOARDS

Happy New Year to you and your family! New Year’s to me is a clean slate. It’s the opportunity to take the lessons that were learned the year prior and apply them to being greater this year! I had a laundry list of things I wanted to accomplish last year much like many of you, but as we know… COVID!

I took my time and started preparing for when the time had come for life to return to normal. Now I will spend my day putting together my vision board. After my vision board is complete, I will take a picture and it will become my screen saver on my phone. I have no choice but to look at it several times a day, no matter where I am.

For those of you who haven’t heard of a vision board, it’s also called a dream board. A dream board or vision board is a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of one’s dreams and desires, designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation, and to use the law of attraction to attain goals.

Inspiration and Motivation leads to Manifestation. I am a huge believer in Manifestation because I have been able to manifest my whole life. Great things happen for me because I simply believe they will. I know several of you will find this concept crazy, but it’s true. The most successful people will tell you; their life is completely what they made it. While unsuccessful people will tell you life just happened to them.

So, what’s your choice? Are you going to make things happen this year or are you going to let them just happen? It’s all up to you. Happy New Year!!

THE MONDAY AFTER

I’m over it: the trees and decorations have to go! I’m tired of looking at them and starting to feel like they are just clutter! I don’t like clutter. I hate knickknacks everywhere, it’s time for it to all go. 

It was cute, but I’m over it. This is the part I really don’t get assistance with, but it’s my fault I am extremely anal and organized with the way I take ornaments off the tree. Thanks to my ex’s mother, Bobbi! Bobbi Lockhart taught me a treasure I will not ever forget! Keep your decorations organized and it makes it easier and faster to put them up! See here’s the thing, I put every single ornament back in the original box it came in. For those ornaments who came without a box or the box was damaged, NO sweat I have ornament containers! Thank you, Bobbi! BTW, that lady is the Queen of decorations for every holiday and she’s so sweet because she truly enjoys every single minute of it. 

While my family enjoys the festive look of the holiday season, I want my house back! I want these presents put away and these decorations gone, so by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, I’m chilling to make manifest my desires for 2021! It’s been a hell of a year, I’m ready for it to be all the way over!

Waving bye to these decorations make me realize 2020 is OVER and it’s going away! I can’t help but to cheer!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS

2020 has been a crazy year! I’m so thankful you are here to read this blog. WE MADE IT! Unfortunately, many love ones are no longer with us, but it doesn’t mean we are not holding them in a special place in our heart and they are not here with us today.

If 2020 taught me nothing else, it taught me the importance of family and keeping my family together. Thanks to quarantine, this year really defined quality time for us. I want to say thank you to each and every one of my loved ones for figuring out ways to stay in touch and connected through these times.

Technology has truly been God sent. We had Zoom Birthday Parties and FaceTime play dates with our children. My daughter discovered Roblox as a way to play with her cousins while on FaceTime. It has kept them connected so they didn’t have to miss a beat, no matter where they live.

2021 is going to bring new challenges, a new way of life. More opportunity for whatever our journey brings.

Christmas to me is about the spirit of Christ and love, love for my family, my neighbors and the brothers and sisters who have yet to cross my path. It’s beautiful to see people with smiles on their faces. It’s been a long, hard year. As our year is winding down, I want us to take the lessons that we learned this year, while leaving the old experiences behind. Ima keep it short and sweet, so you can get back to your families.

Lots of love always. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!

4 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

Christmas season is a happy, joyous time for those who are happy. Please check on your friends who have suffered major loss this year. The death of a love one is not easy to heal from, if you ever heal at all. Something about the holidays sparks up those feelings and reopens wounds like you just lost them yesterday. Depression sets in, as the world we once knew is majorly different. Loneliness sets in and the realization that they are not coming back hits hard. Stress brings on anxiety and it becomes a hard cycle to battle.

Since Christmas is about joy and love, this is a great time to reach out and just let them know they are not alone. Invite them to Christmas dinner or just lend them an ear and a warm hug. A simple smile and a warm hug go a long way with someone battling depression.

64% of people who suffer from mental illness report that the holidays make their condition worse.

Help your friends create new memories to hold onto, so they aren’t stuck just thinking of the old ones.

Also, self-care gifts can do amazing things for the ones busy taking care of everyone else but themselves.

*For those who are suffering, you are not alone. Help is available. Speak with a counselor today: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day. 1-800-273-8255

ALL THE COLD WEATHER AND CHRISTMAS POSTS SO FAR

Now’s the time to get caught up on all the posts about Christmas and cold weather so far. Let me know which one is your favorite!

  1. It’s Official – I share one of my Christmas traditions with my daughter.
  2. Gingerbread House – Our very special Christmas tradition honoring my grandfather
  3. Make S’mores Outside – Outside equals better than stove
  4. It’s Tembleque Time – Time to shake your way to a delicious dessert
  5. Christmas Tree Time – Christmas decorating details
  6. 30 Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Under $10 – Need some ideas for how to fill up your child’s stocking?
  7. There’s Nothing Better to Eat When It’s Cold Outside Than A Big Bowl of Sancocho – A soup recipe to warm things up
  8. Gift Giving Anxiety – My solution for dealing with people who are difficult to buy for
  9. It’s Coquito Time! – It’s not eggnog, it’s coquito!
  10. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows – A delicious crockpot recipe

IT’S OFFICIAL!

The Christmas countdown has begun. One of my favorite ways to count down the days until Christmas is to pull out her holiday book collection and read a different one every night. It’s my version of an advent calendar.

People often ask me what program I used to aid my daughter in becoming a strong reader. She was 5 years old reading at a 4th grade level. Now she is 6 years old reading at a 5th grade level. There was no curriculum used and no quick fix. To be honest, it was simply the fact that I have read to her every day of her life. Even when she was in my tummy, I read everything out loud. When she got bigger, I would read to her and point at the words as I was reading. By the time she was 2 years old she was recognizing words and reading them back to me.

Because she is a big reader, I make sure to put seasonal books away so she can’t get to them year-round. This keeps the excitement going for her and the anticipation of rereading some of her favorites. This year I will be pulling out:

Snowy Day

The Nutcracker in Harlem

Too Many Tamales

All Of A Kind Family Hanukkah

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Piñata in a Pine Tree

Llama Llama Holiday Drama

Grace of Christmas

Hanukkah Bear

The Night Before Christmas

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa

The history of Kwanzaa

Li’l Rabbits Kwanzaa

All titles can be found on amazon.com

What are some of your favorite holiday children books or early chapter books?

MAKE S’MORES OUTSIDE

Making s’mores outside is always more exciting than doing it over the stove in the kitchen. For some reason, my daughter’s excitement builds when we take it outdoors. I’m not much of the camping type, (I will just be honest, I prefer hotels.) so the closest we get is the backyard at night.

Christmas traditions are what my daughter gets most excited about around the holidays. Even more than presents, she wants her family around to do the things she remembers us doing the year before. Her favorite candy bar is a Hershey’s. (I rub it in to her father that it is her Pennsylvanian roots coming out.)

I pull out a few of our favorite Christmas storybooks and read them while everyone makes S’mores. We spend a few hours outside laughing and talking and just enjoying each other’s company.

S’mores pair perfectly with the Cherie’s Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe, which was posted in October.

1 little fun fact is marshmallows date back to ancient Egypt, they were originally made out of the marsh mellow plant!

This tray I purchased from Etsy store ReclaimandRefurbish for $165.

IT’S TEMBLEQUE TIME

One of my favorite childhood memories is when my Tia use to make Tembleque around the holidays. Tembleque is a traditional Puerto Rican coconut dessert. It gets its name from the Spanish word “tembla,” which means to shake. So, you know my family has jokes. As we would get ready to eat dessert, the only way we would get it is if… “Yup,” we would shake. For some reason we all thought it was funny, so of course as an adult I have the same sick sense of humor. I make the kids dance before they get a serving.

Who doesn’t love pudding? It’s a pudding that is thickened with cornstarch that results in a slightly firm pudding with a custard texture that has a little jiggle for your wiggle. If you have never had it, you need to try it. Attached is my Tia’s recipe.

Ingredients

4 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup of cornstarch

2/3 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

Ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Wet the inside of six 4-oz ramekin molds, set aside.
  • In medium saucepan combine all ingredients except cinnamon and whisk until well combined. Place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a slow boil and is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the pudding into prepared molds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Enjoy in the ramekin or to unmold, run a thin knife around edge. Invert mold onto serving plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Remember to Shake, Shake, Shake!