Monday, April 27, 2015

How to Find True Love

The Happy couple, Lucy LoMedico Jenkins and Billy Jenkins
Bless Your Space with Love

Last week my good friend Lucy called with a simple request; would I officiate at her wedding. I shouted with joy that love was igniting our village of family and friends. Lucy and Billy had found each other over miles and military assignments and then had lost each other in the day-to-day stuff we call life.

They had found one another again and didn’t want to waste a moment dwelling in the blame game of the past.  I knew that Lucy and Billy were going to be getting married in Ireland, a place they had enjoyed visiting, but Lucy’s father would be working and not able to take the trip.

I danced and told Lucy yes, figuring that I had time to get deep and cute, but Lucy said it would be soon, possibly that very week.

“I’m in,” I said, still happy, but somewhat nervous. I’d officiated for the weddings of friends before, but always with a little time to calm my nerves and theirs. We’d meet for lunch and talk about challenges, vows and the mood they wanted to set for both their wedding and lives together.

This time, I’d have to be ready quickly. Lucy and Billy worked long hours and so as soon as they had a license and time off, we’d have a wedding. I asked Lucy where she wanted to get married and she wasn’t sure, so I volunteered my home.

I knew and understood what the old folks had said about how sharing your home for special occasions, like a wedding or baby’s blessing would add joy to your space.

Still, I was caught off guard when Lucy called again and said that the wedding should take place in one day.

The day of the wedding I woke up with a sore throat and headache that would not stop. When I opened my mouth to speak, nothing came out. I’d lost my voice and was shaking with fever. I decided to go back to bed and sleep through the day. The wedding was to be at 8 that evening and I figured that by then, I should have some strength. I didn't want to tell the bride that her years of waiting for the right person would be put on hold yet again.

My trooper of a kid Fatima handled details like cleaning and the small reception she and I decided to surprise the couple with.

By 7, I was shaking but had enough voice to speak words of love and by 8: 15 the couple was married.

The feeling of love that now floats over my home is tangible. My flu symptoms are finally subsiding, but I am more whole than I’ve been in months.

Love conquers ALL. It removes doubts and fear and the pain of loss. Love wipes away the memory of the past and it replaces any concerns for being alone. Love unites it heals it blesses and it makes happy those who surround themselves with it.

Love never fails. Let love bless your space and place of living, working, dancing, praying and healing and you will always be whole.

Be you, be joy, BE LOVE.

Bertice Berry, PhD.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pride Care Love


This theme may sound like New Age Monday, but it’s not. Last week, I had the chance to be with the folks from Whataburger. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s just because you don’t live where they are.

65 years age, Harmon Dobson had a simple goal. He wanted to create a burger so big that you had to eat it with two hands. He wanted that burger to be so good that when you bit into it you would say, “Whatabuger.” He and his wife Grace built a company that is still family owned and the 8th largest burger business in the US.

Fortunately for me they are open 24-7 and will make your sandwich however you like. They have biscuits that still make me think of my mother. It’s not that my mother’s biscuits were delicious, it’s because whenever we were on a road trip and she saw the orange W she made sure we stopped to get them.

My children still laugh at how she thought every burger place had biscuits, 24-7 and would demand to know why they didn’t.

I’m a vegetarian, so I’m not writing about burgers and I really don’t need another biscuit, but what the folks at Whataburger are serving we all need.

Pride, Care and Love are not words to a conference theme; it is their mission. The family, as they all call themselves are devoted to take pride in their work, care for themselves and one another and love what they do and the people they serve. WOW!

I am still moved by the folks I met and by the family teams that gathered to honor one another. They were every color, orientation, age and gender, often led by women and they were united.

I’m sure they have their difficult days and weeks, but the very fact that they elevate the food service industry with Pride, Caring and Love is enough to make you feel like things are going to be okay.

I’m hoping that this thing spreads. I hope the very thought elevates us all to make something other than money our mission and goal. Money follows the mission.

What can your simple goal be? Can you be so loving that folks say Whatawoman?

Can you care so much that your team says Whataboss?

Can you smile so hard that folks say Whatjoy?

I want to do better. I want to take even more pride in my work, love what I do and the people I serve and I want to care and be compassionate about every encounter I have.

If we all strive to be a little bit better, we will be able to say “WHATAWONDERFULWORLD.”

Be you, be better, be love

Bertice Berry, PhD

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dance Outside of Yourself

Get Outside of Yourself

Every year, the city of Savannah, Georgia hosts one of the most amazing music festivals on the planet. For 17 days there are about 8 concerts a day. No two are alike and that exact concert will never happen again. Artists of different genres and backgrounds appear on the same stage jamming together, playing everything from the music of Appalachia to the sounds of South Africa.

I heard music from Persia and Brazil; there was Cajun and Creole, Reggae and Chamber and I was renewed.

On the last night, a group called DakhaBrakha ( was to perform. The festival’s creative director, Rob Gibson had introduced each performance with a brief history of the music and the land from which it originated.  This musical mad genius had informed us that we didn’t want to miss the last night of Ukrainian dance music.

My friends and I chuckled at the fact that we should ever be caught dancing at a Ukrainian dance party, but we also admitted that we didn’t know what we were laughing at.

I grew up to the black music of the 60’s and 70’s. When I became the only one of my family to attend a Pentecostal church, my music took another turn and gospel was all that I believed I could hear.

I went away to college and was introduced to all of the famous musicians I had completely missed; folks like the Rolling Stones, and practically everything else that wasn’t black gospel.

I joined the jazz band as a vocalist and had a voice major as a roommate so my musical taste began to expand. I love and listen to music from all over the world and yet the thought of a Ukrainian Dance Party made me wonder what the organizer was up to.

In that instance of my own stupidity, it hadn’t occurred to me that I was the one who should be laughed at. I’m old enough and degreed enough to know that I don’t know what I don’t know.

So my friends and I went to the party, but we didn’t dance; hardly anyone did. We were all paralyzed by the brilliance of the group before us and so we could barely move or even breathe.

DakhaBrakha, sounded African, American, Native, and Latin. They were Europe rolled into Japan and jazz, hip-hop and gospel. Their harmonies were as powerful as their drumming and the accordion is now a favorite instrument.

I sat in awe of the music, in awe of my own ignorance and in awe of a life that gets bigger with each new awakening.

There is so much more to see and hear.

Step outside of yourself and the comfort of the ignorance you have created and you will see that there is so much more to dance as well.

Be you, be open, be new.

Bertice Berry, PhD.