The wife of a Capital Gazette shooting victim finishes and publishes the book her husband started

(CNN)John McNamara was a sportswriter for the Capital Gazette when his life was cut short by a gunman who attacked the newspaper’s office in 2018.

His wife of 33 years, Andrea Chamblee, decided to keep her husband’s memory alive the best way she knew how — by finishing and publishing his book.
“I knew how hard he worked on this book, I couldn’t let it go unfinished,” she said.
    Chamblee, who said she was so impressed when she saw McNamara’s boxes of files organized by district, school and player, immediately got to work, recruiting local sportswriters to help.
    She recalled the particularly difficult feat of identifying the players in 178 photos that her late husband left behind.
    “He didn’t save the captions, so I didn’t know who they were or what game it was,” she said. “I printed them all out and carried the file around with me for about three months and found people who can identify them for me. I cross-referenced with yearbooks.”
    What resulted from Chamblee’s determination was a 300-page book recounting the century-long history of basketball in DC, with stories featuring legends such as Edwin Henderson and Dave Bing.
    “The Capital of Basketball” is now on shelves in the DC area, a year after Chamblee set off to complete her husband’s passion project.
    “It’s awfully bittersweet, I keep wanting to show it to John,” said Chamblee. “Part of me wants to keep it as our last love letter together, but on the other hand, I want people to know these stories.”

    A romance rooted in journalism and sports

    Chamblee, who, like McNamara, majored in journalism at the University of Maryland, is a sports enthusiast herself. She describes their relationship as a romance rooted in journalism and sports, adding that they met for the first time at a football game in 1981.
    Chamblee described McNamara’s enthusiasm for sports as infectious, noting that his passion came through in his three books, including “University of Maryland Football Vault.”
    She remembers McNamara as a devoted man.
    “He was devoted to writing, he was devoted to basketball and baseball, and for some crazy reason, he was devoted to me,” Chamblee told CNN. “He would get up early to scrape snow off my car, and make me coffee even though he never touched the stuff.”

    A life and career cut short

    On June 28, 2018, Jarrod Ramos stormed the Capital Gazette newspaper’s office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five employees: McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.
    It was the single deadliest day for journalists in the United States since 9/11.
    Last week, a judge postponed an insanity trial for Ramos at his defense’s request, according to a spokeswoman for the Maryland Judiciary. He pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts, including murder, in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, the spokeswoman said.
    The next phase of his trial will be to determine whether the shooter was mentally competent when he committed the crimes.
      Chamblee, who is now an active advocate of gun control, said “the time to have justice for John is gone, we missed it.”
      “We had the chance to protect John and his coworkers and we didn’t take it, we still haven’t taken it.”

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/06/us/wife-finishes-book-for-capital-gazette-victim/index.html

      The Way This Guy Made Sure He Got His Lost Camera Back Is Genius

      Have you ever lost your camera? If so, you know how awful it can be. Not only have you lost an expensive piece of hardware, but often some of your best and most precious memories too, if you didn’t happen to download them yet.

      So what to do to maximize your chances of getting your camera back? Well, you could just take a photo of your business card and leave it in the picture roll, hoping that somebody will find it and respond. Or, you can do as Australian author Andrew Mcdonald suggests, and make a much more memorable and persuasive plea for magnanimity.

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      “Have you lost your camera recently? Mislaid it somewhere in a national park? Left it in a taxi? Dropped it in the gorilla pit? Anyone can be a victim of the thoughtlessness and/or sleepiness that can lead to Camera Loss,” he writes. “‘How can I prevent Camera Loss?’ I hear you ask, wishing I’d get to the point. Well, you can’t prevent cameras from getting lost, but you can do something so your camera can be found very soon after it has vanished.”

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      “All you have to do is take some photos – which you never delete from your camera – so when someone finds your camera at the bottom of the gorilla pit they are able to locate you and return the lost property to its rightful owner. To illustrate just how you can safeguard your camera from the crippling effects of Camera Loss, here are the pics that I always keep on my camera.”

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Who could resist such a creative way of requesting help? I would be straight down the post office to get that camera back to its rightful owner.

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Andrew is an Australian blogger and author of the hilarious children’s series ‘Real Pigeons,‘ which is already out in some countries (and about to be out in others – it’s being published in the US in January 2020).

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      “The books are about a squad of crime-fighting pigeons, so as I’m sure you can tell, I’m still telling silly, irreverent stories. Just not on my blog anymore,” Andrew told Bored Panda.

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      “I never actually lost my camera. The whole thing was always just a lark, just me having fun in my backyard,” he explained about his post, which is still just as popular today as it was when he first created it 10 years ago.

      “I’ve had a few people ask me if I ever got my camera back. But I’ve had A LOT of people message to say that the post put a big smile on their face and made their day. Hearing that feedback is just the best. I always think that if you’re making another human smile, then you’re doing something right.”

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Although Andrew hasn’t heard of any examples of his technique actually working, he would love to hear from people who gave it a try!

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      Image credits: Andrew McDonald

      What do you think? Could you use this handy tip to getting a lost camera back? Do you still have a separate camera, or do you just use your phone now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

      Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/prevent-camera-loss-tip-andrew-mcdonald/

      Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Ordered To Pay Father Of Victim

      A man who has claimed that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax has been ordered by a jury to pay one of the victim’s parents $450,000 for publishing false claims in a book.

      James Fetzer, a retired college professor who co-authored a book called “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” was ordered in Dane County, Wisconsin, on Tuesday to pay damages to Leonard Pozner, who filed a defamation lawsuit against him in November 2018. Pozner’s 6-year-old son, Noah, was one of 26 victims killed in the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

      Fetzer has accused Pozner of circulating fabricated copies of his son’s death certificate and also claimed that Noah was not Pozner’s son.

      A mourner grieves at the entrance to Sandy Hook village in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012.

      Pozner, who has been a target of conspiracy theorists and stalkers since his son’s death, thanked the jury for “recognizing the pain and terror that Mr. Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, like the Sandy Hook shooting,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

      He went on to say that Fetzer and others like him have a right to believe what they’d like as part of their First Amendment right. But, Pozner said, that doesn’t mean they should be free to harass and terrorize others.

      Fetzer reportedly called the damages “absurd” and said he would appeal. The attorneys listed as his representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

      People participating in the March on Washington for Gun Control in 2013 hold signs memorializing those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

      Pozner has filed similar suits against other conspiracy theorists, including against Alex Jones, who runs the website Infowars. In August, a Texas judge turned down Jones’ attempt to toss a defamation suit brought against him by Pozner and Noah’s mother, Veronique De La Rosa, who are seeking more than $1 million in damages from Jones, who has reiterated his belief that the shooting was a hoax and the parents are “crisis actors.” This led to victims’ families receiving death threats and online harassment from Infowars followers.

      Fetzer has maintained that the shooting was a staged federal emergency drill to promote gun control.

      A Star of David for Noah Pozner is seen amongst 25 crosses at a memorial for those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

      Fetzer’s co-author Mike Palecek and their publisher were also named in Pozner’s lawsuit. Both later reached out-of-court settlements, details of which were not disclosed, according to the State Journal.

      The publisher stopped selling the book and Dave Gahary, the publisher’s principal officer, issued an apology to Pozner.

      “My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Gahary said. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

      But Gahary later told Splinter News that he has no “discomfort” selling such books and that it’s up to readers to decide what they want to read. He said he also continues to have questions about the Sandy Hook attack.

      Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sandy-hook-conspiracy-theorist-ordered-damages_n_5da75ff0e4b0a9a0f1d0b4b6

      Online, no one knows you’re poor

      Shauna M Ahern used to make her living by writing a food blog. But when times got tough, she realised keeping up appearances can make you lose sight of lifes meaning

      I arrive at six in the morning, two hours before the store opens. Awaiting me is an aisle of boxes, stacked up. One last sip of my coffee, then I put on my gloves and take a big breath. Time to go in.

      I lug boxes, slash open tops with my cutter, put new packages of wholegrain seeded bread, naan and seasonal sugar cookies on the shelves, and then haul the overstock to the back freezer. It takes me nearly an hour to stack all the boxes in the right places, label them and leave the freezer clean. Then I walk to the bakery department and make sure the doughnuts are glazed and set in the case, waiting.

      By eight oclock, when the store opens, I have made an inviting space for the first customers. At 10, during my lunch break, I meet my husband at the sports bar down the street for a plate of hash browns, sausages and eggs over easy. I am hungry. I have worked hard.

      I am a James Beard awardwinning glutenfree cookbook author. And for nine months, I worked in our local grocery store for $15 an hour.

      It is the best job I have ever worked.

      .

      Online, no one knows you are poor. No one is posting photos of the basket of bills overflowing, some of the envelopes with urgent stamped on them. Very few people write about the choices they make out of fear of going bankrupt, like selling expensive camera lenses that feel less important than rent. And few of us want to admit that we are struggling with money, even though we live in a culture where the rich have grown astronomically rich and the rest of us have grown anxious about health insurance. As my friend Ashley Ford wrote online one day: Im trying to choose an insurance plan, but Im pretty sure the only good insurance is wealth.

      I never shared online the time that my husband Danny and I looked at our bank account and saw $85 left for the last week of the month. We didnt have a savings account. We didnt have a 401(k) to drain for emergency funds. I had already done that eight years before. Our credit score was shot by the medical bills we couldnt pay after my daughter Lucys terrifying time and the hospital stay for my ministroke.

      We had only $85 and no way to charge anything on a credit card. Luckily, we were expecting a $6,000 check from a freelance gig, but it had been delayed. Still, we were like most Americans living paycheck to paycheck (almost eight out of 10 Americans, according to reputable studies) and unable to pay for an unexpected bill of more than $500 (nearly six out of 10 Americans). We were struggling. And we were terrified. I realized that the mindset of worrying that we might go broke was damaging us.

      I was no longer interested in following my bliss. I wanted to pay my bills.

      Several artist friends recommended I find a manual labor job, one that would require none of my mind. I had never worked a job that merely asked me to show up. I found out that working parttime at the grocery store three days a week would give me health insurance for the entire family. And maybe putting premade pies on a display table would give me some time to think. So the next time I took a case of our glutenfree flour mix into our grocery store, I delivered an invoice and a job application. They hired me that week.

      They put me in the bakery. Since I have celiac, I cant eat even a bit of gluten. But the bakery section in the grocery store is almost all packages, and Im not allergic to plastic. It was a bit of a shock, at first, not being able to stop what I was doing to work on an essay or take photographs. Or check Twitter. After years of being a freelancer, I couldnt believe how wild my mind was when asked to do a task and then check back with my supervisor (a former student of mine) to ask what task she wanted me to complete next. I noticed that my mind balked. I kept working. And after a few weeks of shelving bags of croutons and cleaning out the cake case, I started to enjoy the wildness of my mind. At the store, I had to show up on time, do my work, then leave it all behind. I didnt know work could be that easy.

      Friends came into the store and we would talk in threeminute bursts as I stocked frozen pizzas. Customers asked me questions about where we kept that one brand of wholewheat bread, since it was the only one their kids would eat. I answered dozens of little questions a day. I realized that I liked feeling useful.

      And all day long, I saw people, in tiny bantering interactions and questions. I developed a daily routine with fellow employees: a checkin at the cheese counter, a quick conversation about politics in produce. I would never have met any of these people I came to like, any other way. I started to feel like part of the community of my town.

      On my lunch hours, I sat at the front of the store, taking notes. On the backs of papers that read Grainfree flatbread, $6.49 each, I started writing lists. I look back at them now and realize I was clearing my mind of how I had lived. I wrote lists of what I wanted to accomplish in our house, our medical appointments, our taxes. I jotted down ideas for how to let go of my blog, GlutenFree Girl. And I started taking notes on what I noticed about customers who had less money than most.

      I noticed that the people who lived on the dayold breads looked around furtively to make sure no one saw when they reached into the discount bin. I led one woman to the back of the store to find the package of dayold rolls I had put in there, the gravy packets on sale, and some croutons for stuffing. Thank you! she said before she put her arms around me. Im going to have Thanksgiving because of you.

      I found out that 22% of all students in our communitys schools qualified for free or reduced lunches. That didnt account for the 10% of families who were above the official poverty line but still scrambling, or the single people or couples who did not have enough. That meant that nearly one out of three people who came into the store struggled to make ends meet.

      Each day, at about two, I walked to the back freezer with a laminated list and a tall cart. I pulled boxes down from the top of the back freezer. Methodically, with plastic gloves on, I pulled the doughnuts raspberry-filled, Bavarian cream, chocolate glazed and put them on black trays in a specified pattern. I was in the freezer by myself, pulling the doughnuts, humming a little. And then I wheeled the cart to the cooler, ready for the morning crew to bake them the next day.

      Years before, I would have disdained these doughnuts: full of sugar, premade months before in a factory.

      In the second year of my blog, I wrote a silly little piece about how Danny and I stood in line at the store and wondered at the crap in other peoples carts. I received emails telling me I was being a food snob. At first defensive come on, America eats lousy food! I came to understand how wrong I had been. A woman shared with me how little she makes on her teaching salary in Oklahoma, how she visits the food bank to make it, and how a trip to the grocery store for cheap cake is an experience only reserved for once in a while when she cant stand the shame any more. I was chastened and changed. And now I try to do better. How do I know that the woman buying the 99cent doughnuts at our store isnt giving her two kids the only treat she can afford that week? And who am I to say that they shouldnt eat those doughnuts?

      One day, I had a long conversation with the stores owner. At 89 years old, he had owned the store for 53 years. His grandson had taken over managing the store, but the owner still clocked in 20 hours a week. Mostly, he spent that time in the city, at a store in a lowincome neighborhood. He consulted a list of the 20 topselling foods at our store. If the price in the city was lower, he called his grandson and told him to lower the price on ours. I stopped him one day to thank him for all that he did for our community. He told me: It befuddles me that people put their focus on what is happening across the country and the world. There is enough to do here.

      A few months after I started working there, I switched away from the bakery to bagging groceries. I loved the rhythm of fitting in food like a Jenga game. I have a lot of friends on the island. People who recognized me from my website came through my line. It took me a while to stop talking so much and focus on my work instead. (The assistant manager had to reprimand me in his office for that. I learned fast.) So I had the chance to do what I have always loved most: observe people when theyre not watching me.

      I learned that very few people make the highly styled dishes offered on Instagram. Oh sure, about every two weeks someone would come through with a bag full of vegetables, determined to juice for 30 days to lose weight. A few people bought jojo potatoes from the deli and an energy drink. But both of these were the outliers. Instead, most people bought meats, cheeses, some fruits and vegetables, three to five packaged crunchy foods, cat litter, toilet paper, beverages, butter, pads and some kind of sweet thing or two. Maybe three people a day were buying ingredients for a specific recipe. Over and over, I saw that what my fellow recipe developers and I hashed out to make ourselves relevant Vegan treats for the whole family! How to use hempseed! was not being made in most homes. It humbled me.

      I started paying attention to the people who shopped for the entire week with a plan. I took note of their food as I bagged it and how much it cost. I compared it to the people like my husband and me who shopped at the last moment. We were spending too much money on food. I started buying our meat from the discount bin and giving ourselves a limit on how much money we could spend each day. Our grocery bill started to grow smaller. Shopping was no longer a decadent pleasure for us but a mindset for being able to cook and eat without stress.

      I left the job, eventually, because another opportunity worth more money walked into my path. And then, when that fell through, the next step arrived. Danny is the one working three days a week now, expediting in a restaurant, mostly for the connection with our community. I no longer earn any money online.

      When I go back to the store, every Sunday, my daughter skipping next to the cart, I hug my friends who work there. As I pass the front counter on my way out, I remember the urgency of those lunchhour breaks writing notes on the backs of recycled sale signs, where I first imagined the idea, then created the structure, and jotted down some of the first sentences for this book.

      2019 By Shauna M. Ahern. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Enough: Notes From a Woman Who Has Finally Found It by permission of Sasquatch Books

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/oct/08/online-poor-part-time-job

      Humans can land on Mars by 2035, NASA chief says

      Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/science/mars-landings-2035-nasa

      Perfect and Forgiven by Zach Maldonado

      Book Summary:

      What do you do when you feel unworthy? How do you find freedom from shame, guilt, and sin?

      We’ve boiled down the message of Christianity to being imperfect people who have been forgiven. But what if the message isn’t just about what Christ has done for us–forgiving our sins so we can go to heaven one day–but also about what He has done to us?

      Life is filled with shame, guilt, sin, and hurt. These things have convinced us that we’re flawed, we’re not enough, and that something is uniquely wrong with who we are. And quite honestly, we look to Christianity for help and the message we often hear leaves us disappointed, doubtful, and disillusioned.

      Zach Maldonado has experienced this firsthand. But he’s discovered that who we truly are is not found in what we’ve done or what we’ve gone through. In Perfect and Forgiven, Zach takes us into his own journey of identity, and with humor, vulnerability, and a unique story-driven format, reveals how to live free from shame, guilt, and sin.

      Through understanding who you are in Christ, you can begin to live free from the shame that condemns you, the guilt that riddles you, and the sin that entangles you.

      Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2VlduIS

      Review Quotes:

      “Zach Maldonado has been radically and authentically undone by grace. He is also gifted to communicate like few others. Those realities combined allow truth, lived out, to jump from the page. He is smart, vulnerable, and funny, funny, and funny. I think you will love this book.”
      –John Lynch, Author of “On My Worst Day” and co-author of “The Cure”

      “Zach unpacks powerful Biblical truths, raw and transparent stories from his own testimony and many inspirational examples to help you unlock the God-given potential lying dormant inside.”
      –Dave Willis, Best-selling author of “The Seven Laws of Love” and TV and Podcast Host for MarriageToday.

      “‘Perfect and Forgiven’ is a wonder of practical beauty and theological truth! I laughed, gasped, marveled and cried when reading Zach Maldonado’s book, because the God I know, who speaks to me and motivates me, moved through its’ pages. If you know–or have yet to know–the God of all grace, get this book. You’ll be deeply moved.”
      –Ralph Harris, Best-selling author of Life According to Perfect, and God’s Astounding Opinion of You

      “This book is such a beautiful reminder of God’s relentless, radical grace. It inspires and challenges us to reject the narrative of shame, accept that we are accepted, and live out our identity as sons and daughters of God.”
      –Dominic Done, Lead Pastor at Westside: A Jesus Church and author of When Faith Fails

      Author Bio:

      Zach Maldonado serves as a pastor at Church Without Religion and with Andrew Farley Ministries. Zach is also an author and speaker with a passion to proclaim the gospel and to help people believe Jesus is enough. He holds a Master of Arts in Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. You can follow him on social media at @ZachMaldo or visit his website ZachMaldonado.com

      Princess Beatrice engaged to property tycoon

      Image copyright Princess Eugenie
      Image caption Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi got engaged in Italy earlier this month

      Princess Beatrice is engaged to her boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, her parents have announced.

      The 31-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, got engaged to the 34-year-old property tycoon in Italy earlier this month.

      The princess, who is ninth in line to the throne, will marry Mr Mapelli Mozzi next year.

      “We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together,” the pair said in a statement.

      “We share so many similar interests and values, and we know that this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness,” they added.

      Image copyright Princess Eugenie
      Image caption The couple said they were “extremely happy” to share the news of their engagement
      Image copyright Princess Eugenie
      Image caption Mr Mapelli Mozzi designed Beatrice’s ring in conjunction with British jeweller Shaun Leane

      Beatrice said on Twitter she was “so excited” by the announcement, while her fiance said on Instagram: “You will never be alone my love, my heart is your home.”

      The Duke and Duchess of York said: “We are thrilled that Beatrice and Edoardo have got engaged, having watched their relationship develop with pride.”

      “We are the lucky parents of a wonderful daughter who has found her love and companion in a completely devoted friend and loyal young man. We send them every good wish for a wonderful family future,” they added.

      “I know what a mother feels so I have tears of joy,” the duchess added on Twitter.

      “I am so proud of this sensational news,” she said.

      “Andrew and I are just the luckiest people ever to have two great sons in law.”

      Mr Mapelli’s parents, Nikki Williams-Ellis and Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, said they were “truly delighted” by the engagement.

      “Our family has known Beatrice for most of her life. Edo and Beatrice are made for each other, and their happiness and love for each other is there for all to see,” they said.

      “They share an incredibly strong and united bond, their marriage will only strengthen what is already a wonderful relationship.”

      Image copyright PA Media
      Image caption Princess Beatrice and her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at singer Ellie Goulding’s wedding last month
      Image copyright Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
      Image caption Beatrice (right) and Eugenie at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011

      Beatrice’s sister, Princess Eugenie, married her long-term partner Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle in October 2018.

      “I’m so happy for you my dearest big sissy and dear Edo,” she said in an Instagram post congratulating the pair.

      “It’s been a long time coming and you two are meant to be,” Eugenie added.

      Who is Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi?

      Mr Mapelli Mozzi – known as Edo – is descended from Italian aristocracy, according to AFP.

      He is the son of former alpine skier Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, who competed for Britain in the 1972 Olympics.

      His mother, Nikki Williams-Ellis, was formerly known as Nikki Shale, from her marriage to the late Christopher Shale – Edoardo’s stepfather.

      Mr Shale – who died from heart disease at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 – was a senior Tory and close friend of former prime minister David Cameron.

      Mr Mapelli Mozzi has been a friend of Beatrice’s family for some time.

      The BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, said he believed the pair had been together for about two years – and that they have only been seen together in public a handful of times. He said things have “moved pretty quickly”.

      Read more here.

      Beatrice is the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s granddaughter, and a cousin of the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

      Her parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, divorced in 1996. The duke, Prince Andrew, is the third child of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

      Image copyright Peter Summers/PA
      Image caption Royal Family fans will be preparing to celebrate another royal wedding.

      In addition to his royal engagements, Andrew served as a special trade representative for the government until 2011, when his links to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein forced him to step down.

      Since their separation the duchess has been involved in various charitable projects, appeared on British and American TV and published several children’s books.

      Further details of Beatrice’s wedding will be announced in due course, her parents said.

      Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49839390

      Possessed: From Darkness to Light by Cordelia Lee

      Book Summary:

      Cordelia Lee has experienced something few in the Western world have even witnessed: exorcism. Demonic possession brought her to a Taoist shaman who could drive out her tormentors, but only temporarily. Cordelia’s problems were multifaceted: a troubled childhood, molests, rape attempt, black magic, anorexia, unfulfilled maternal instinct, failing marriage, and depression. Given the severity of her experiences and the return of the evil spirits, Cordelia had to dedicate her life to healing if she was ever to recover.

      She had earlier experienced an unexpected kundalini awakening; it awakened her to the spiritual realm and the unseen energies that fill the universe. Things she used to think were illogical and nonexistent. But the spiritual realm that promised answers also held the ghosts that flooded her—and a much more human danger.

      Not everyone had the kindness of the shaman who exorcised Cordelia. She met other teachers on her journey, and some of these gurus wanted to manipulate her with black magic. Discerning between helpful guides and wolves in sheep’s clothing proved challenging. Yet the promise of healing through earthly and spiritual means urged her forward. With the support of trustworthy friends, Cordelia would become a healer in her own right.

      Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2p2vXxI

      Review:

      Possessed: From Darkness to Light by Cordelia Lee is a memoir that reads like horror, and it’s hard to believe this is a true story, but the narrator’s voice is so real that the reader is compelled to accept the extraordinary events narrated in this memoir. Readers are introduced to a protagonist with a heap of problems — difficult childhood, molestation, attempted rape, black magic, anorexia, marital issues, and depression. Possessed, a shaman exorcises her, but is unable to completely banish the evil spirits. While Cordelia Lee seeks healing, she has an unusual experience of awakening — transported to a spiritual realm where she experiences the different energies in the universe. She could find answers to her quest for healing in this dimension, but this realm is also the dwelling of malevolent spirits. Can she beat the ruses of manipulative spiritual teachers who would use black magic to get what they want, find the tools she needs for her battles, and win her inner freedom? This is a story that exudes a rare kind of pathos and as the reader encounters young Cordelia Lee — a once happy and exuberant child — they become keen to find out what could possibly happen to her. They quickly learn to care about her.

      The author has a unique narrative voice and knows how to make readers feel what she has felt. You’ll touch her fear; you’ll feel the chills run down your body as you connect with the images she conjures. While the writing might not be exceptional, the story is confidently told and the author has a voice that is original. Possessed: From Darkness to Light is a true story that gives hope to readers, making them understand that they can be masters of their destiny and that no matter how horrific their experiences in life, they can always choose to seek the light at the end of the tunnel. This is an engrossing story that will awaken all kinds of emotions in readers.

      https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/possessed

      Author Comments about the book:

      My personal memoir as a survivor of black magic and demonic possession, on top of other life challenges like troubled childhood, molests, rape attempt, anorexia, unfulfilled maternal instinct, failing marriage, and depression

      This is the only personal memoir in the market of a real person who came out triumphant, positive and healed after a harrowing experience as a black magic victim and that of demonic possession.

      Not to mention becoming a healer who helps others who suffer such torment.

      Most victims end up diagnosed as schizophrenic and having to medicate themselves for life or end up being committed to a mental institution. Or they live a life of suffering till they are able to find salvation.

      Author Bio:

      Cordelia Lee lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband and their son. After overcoming depression and anorexia in her teens, Cordelia experienced a spontaneous kundalini awakening in her thirties. Although she had no prior training, she found herself able to perform vocal sound healing, which she has used to help others handle stress and heal.

      Together with her husband Ket, they are meditation teachers. Their practice is nonreligious and not mainstream. The most important aspect of their work is to help and empower people to heal, especially those who have gone through ordeals like hers. Their work has taken them around Asia and Australia as they lead meditation sessions, retreats and workshops.

      Cordelia is a firm believer in second chances and their availability to anyone who seeks them.

      Humongous (& Cool) Words For Kids by SB Hilarion

      Book Summary:

      After immersing themselves in mantras in I AM Manifesto, young siblings Hao Finley and Sabine Yi Lee are on their journey of seeking knowledge from around the world. In Humongous (& Cool) Words For Kids, these philomaths not only learn about words from their own and other cultures and countries, they absorb new facts about stuff they thought they knew. Name the subject, they’re sharing: science and math (big, uncomplicated check!), different languages (“oui, sí, shì” check!), environmental awareness (layered-atmosphere check!), etiquette (thank you, check!), music (treble clef check!), international cuisine (lots of yummy checks!), and many more. Shared with wit.

      Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2OvMJzZ

      Review:

      Readers’ Favorite:

      Humongous (& Cool) Words For Kids is a nonfiction educational book for children written and illustrated by SB Hilarion. Hao Finley Lee (HF) and his little sister, Sabine Yi Lee (SY) are philomaths, and they really enjoy it. What’s a philomath, you may wonder? According to the definition provided at the beginning of this book, a philomath is “a seeker of knowledge; a person who loves learning and studying new facts and acquiring new knowledge.” And by even picking up this book and reading through the first page or two, kids and adults alike will find themselves suddenly appreciating the concept that they might already be philomaths themselves.

      Each chapter in this quite engrossing book covers a letter of the alphabet. No big deal, you say? Actually, it is. Along with learning the pronunciation and meanings of words that will dazzle parents, teachers and fellow students alike, readers are treated to entertaining snippets, drawings, and even some science as they read through this book. And while the thought of learning vocabulary usually makes even the most dedicated student yawn and start to feel drowsy, this book will achieve the exact opposite reaction in all but the truly undead zombies out there.

      I love words and have always considered that I have a fairly strong grasp of vocabulary, at least English vocabulary, that is. SB Hilarion’s uniquely mesmerizing vocabulary primer had me questioning my actual credentials as a philomath from the very first page. I love this book! I enjoyed the presentations my two hosts, HF and SY, gave in each chapter, and I had to slow myself down to adequately digest all the data, drawings, humor and knowledge found on each page. This book is a sheer delight and will, no doubt, convert even the most abject despiser of vocabulary drills into a fellow philomath, one who easily uses the most amazing words and actually knows what they mean. Each word presented is given glorious, multicolor life, making learning an interactive and simply amazing experience. I hope that Hilarion, HF and SY are planning further books and eagerly await further learning adventures with them. Humongous (& Cool) Words For Kids is both humongous and cool — it’s also most highly recommended.

      Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
      https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/humongous-cool-words-for-kids

      Author Bio:

      SB Hilarion is the author and main illustrator of the narrative nonfiction children’s books in the Raising Young Scholars Series. The author of I AM Manifesto, Hilarion holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a law degree from Harvard University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, plus some deer who refuse to pay rent.

      Gentrification Comes For Harriet Tubman House

      BOSTON ― The Harriet Tubman House stands tall in the South End, one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. In the afternoon, the sun hits the front of the three-story brick building, entering its atrium and halls through picture windows and shining on art dedicated to Black history and culture. A mural, wrapped around the front and right side of the building, celebrates the building’s namesake, other trailblazers and a community with a rich history hidden in plain sight. 

      Since 1976, the Harriet Tubman House’s rooms have been filled with multiple generations of people, mostly Black, who wanted to be fed, nurtured and understood.

      The cherished building, which sits at 566 Columbus Ave., is owned by a 127-year-old community institution, United South End Settlements (USES). Among its tenants are six community organizations that aim to help Boston’s most disempowered. Through those nonprofits, families have been able to find affordable housing, get child care, obtain their GEDs, acquire job training and find solace. The Harriet Tubman House, in a neighborhood unlike many of the homogenous parts of Boston, helped bring a community together.

      But in recent weeks, the building has been mostly empty. It is nowin the process of being sold, news that has sparked protests from community members who wish to preserve an icon of Black history in Boston. But USES told HuffPost that selling the Tubman House was necessary in order for the organization to survive, per publicist Sean Hennesey. 

      The interior of the Harriet Tubman House in Boston.

      Tenants Divided

      In February, USES told its tenants that it was planning to sell the building to real estate development group New Boston Ventures, which would demolish it to make way for a six-story commercial and residential space with a “social enterprise café” for community gathering, according to New Boston Ventures principal David Goldman. The new building will keep the Tubman House’s mural and designate some workspace for USES programs, changes Goldman said were made after listening to community members.

      In May, leaders at USES told tenants that they had 90 days to leave the building (the original deadline was since extended to Nov. 30). Four of the nonprofit organizations under USES’ lease — Multicultural AIDS Coalition, Boston Prime Timers, Boston Debate League and Montessori Parent Child Center — agreed. USES and the development company worked to permanently relocate the four groups to new buildings close to the neighborhood.

      But the remaining two groups, housing rights organization Tenants Development Corporation and reproductive rights group Resilient Sisterhood, refused and stayed behind to fight for the legacy of the Harriet Tubman House and against efforts to gentrify a neighborhood full of Black history. And they brought other community members and alumni of USES programs with them.  

      Demonstrations commenced ahead of community meetings, including two in August that engaged the broader community beyond just tenants. Protesters chanted to let the facilitators of the sale know “we will not be erased.”

      It became a battle to save their home and their history.

      A Legacy Of Black History In Boston

      The Harriet Tubman House is now facing its fourth move in its history. In 1904, six Black women — including one of Tubman’s friends Julia O. Henson — rented the first Harriet Tubman House at 37 Holyoke Street in the South End to help other Black women who had just moved from the South and were looking for a place to stay. Later, Henson donated her home, located on the same street, for the house’s expanding programs. Along with Cornelia Robinson, Annie W. Young, Fannie R. Contine, Jestina A. Johnson, Sylvia Fern and Hibernia Waddell, she organized a settlement house to feed, clothe, shelter and provide community for Black women transitioning to a new city, going on to officially incorporate it in 1906. Tubman was named honorary president of the house just four years before her death in 1913. In 1960, the house was merged with other local settlement houses to form USES.

      In 1976, 566 Columbus Avenue was erected to serve as a modern home for USES’ programs and to honor Tubman’s legacy. It sits on land that was home to Boston’s historic Hi-Hat jazz club, the famed venue where icons like Miles Davis used to play. Behind it was a former Pullman porter meeting place where Black workers would organize. Across the street on Massachusetts Avenue sits the building where W.E.B. DuBois held some of the first NAACP meetings. Just a block away on the same street is the home in which Martin Luther King Jr. lived while attending Boston University.

      Arnesse Brown, head of I Am Harriet, a group formed out of the fight to save the building, often went to the Tubman House as a child. She told HuffPost that the building is one of the last standing pieces of Boston’s Black history that hasn’t been relegated to a mere plaque. She is also the corporate relations manager of TDC, the Black-owned housing and development companyfounded in the Tubman House that won a case that helped secure tenants’ rights across the country. She said she finds it ironic that her nonprofit is being displaced from the building that gave birth to it. 

      “This particular place, where it sits, and it was done purposefully, it sits in a tremendous amount of African American history, some known, some unknown, and it’s still needed,” Brown said. “This is creating more condos in an area that is overwhelmed by condos. But it’s also one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods and has been celebrated as such and it’s becoming more and more homogenized, less and less people of color and more and more wealthy and affluent whites.”

      Murmurs about the sale permeated the walls of the Tubman House for more than two years, but nothing had been confirmed. USES leadership met with tenants in December 2017 to discuss a “strategic plan implementation and real estate options for the future,” saying they were “in a period of hearing from the community at large (including you) on these options,” according to an email sent to tenants. 

      A Financial Bind

      In November 2018, tenants received a letter from USES President Maicharia Weir Lytle and board chair Julia Johannsen stating that the organization was “exploring the creation of a new Harriet Tubman House” at one of its other buildings located at 48 Rutland Street, less than half a mile away. The letter also stated that they were “seeking proposals for 566 Columbus Avenue to fund the expansion.”

      Around the same time, USES leaders notified tenants that their spaces would transition to month-to-month leases until June 30, 2019, at the earliest, despite not having a buyer at the time. 

      “Our strategic planning process clearly indicated that … in order to financially survive, we needed to consolidate our programs under one roof,” Weir Lytle told HuffPost. “We knew we were going to enter a real estate process. We did that with as much transparency as we were able to do.” Weir Lytle said USES held community meetings about entering the real estate planning process and after the organization decided it would consolidate to the Rutland Street building.

      Some tenants and community members, however, say that USES wasn’t transparent about the sale. Rachel Goldberg, a real estate investor and community member opposed to the sale, said the organization’s process didn’t actively engage the community. 

      “The process itself was flawed. People were not aware of it,” Goldberg told HuffPost. She suggestedeither repurposing it or changing the position of the property in the market as alternative solutions. “Demolition is really the last and final option and in this case not necessary at all.”

      Weir Lytle told HuffPost that USES explored other options but were left with the decision to either sell the Tubman House or risk shuttering their organization. She and Johannsen told HuffPost that parting ways with the building was hard for them, too, but said that it was necessary for the survival of USES and its programs that benefit thousands. They noted that the building on Rutland Street is not only in better condition than the Tubman House but also old enough to be considered “historic” by law, which would qualify for a tax credit. 

      Since the early 2000s, the organization has had difficulty fundraising and hasn’t been able to recover, said Weir Lytle.

      “We spend over $400,000 a year just to keep the doors open and the lights on. So being able to offload that on our budget and take that money and actually invest it into our programs is really necessary,” she said of the Tubman House.

      Though the building isn’t old enough to be deemed historic by law, community members and the two nonprofits who are against the sale feel as though one of the last pieces of Black history remaining in the South End is being ripped away from them. 

      “This is yet another one of the major Black institutions in Boston that is being bulled over and in this case torn down for condos,” former city councilor Tito Jackson told HuffPost. “To lose these institutions is not only an institutional loss but it’s also a loss of services and a loss of history in particular.”

      Brown and the rest of I Am Harriet know this is about more than a building. They fear what will come of the people who severely needed the Tubman House’s programs, especially those that could be cut because of USES’ new vision.

      “The most people who are going to be impacted are the underserved, the low-income families, the low-income people who lost all of their services,” Brown said, noting that many of the people who benefited from the GED, ESOL and job training services at the Tubman House came from other Black neighborhoods in the city like Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury. “This is a center that served the entire city of Boston, low-income white, low-income Asian, but predominantly low-income Black and Latino.”

      Goldman of New Boston Ventures said the new building will host workspace for displaced USES nonprofit organizations on its ground level. According to Goldman, 17% of the condos in the building will be affordable housing units for local artists, 4% higher than the city’s requirement for new condo buildings. 

      Lilly Marcelin, a member of I Am Harriet and the founding director of the Resilient Sisterhood Project, said that this compromise is not enough. 

      “They’re taking away our properties and they’re giving us crumbs and the crumbs are in the form of units,” she told HuffPost. “But they’re really pitting the community against one another and if you resist the crumbing of luxury condos, it’ll appear as though you aren’t supporting these artists in getting access to the apartments.”

      Weir Lytle apologized on behalf of USES “if people did not feel listened to or heard” in the process of the building’s sale.

      “As a woman of color leading an agency that predominantly serves people of color, I think that’s really unfortunate,” she told HuffPost. “USES is in the business of making sure that our communities that have been traditionally left out and oppressed, which has been the Black community of Boston, have access to services. That is the sole purpose of our organization. And I will continue to tell people that that is what we do.”

      Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/boston-harriet-tubman-house_n_5d94ec70e4b0da7f6620b152