Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Night Journey Into Freedom

Ok, time to share some fictional writing from the past. I originally shared this with the public at a reading several years ago. I have somehow come down with a spring cold (feels like walking pneumonia!) which is odd, because I never, ever get sick. So my brain is in a non-creative mode right now, hence the dredging up of old work.

Night Journey Into Freedom?

I opened my eyes after a fitful sleep. For a moment in the darkness, I forgot where I was. The stench and the overwhelming heat pull me rapidly back to the present. I am crouched down in a small area of a very large truck. My muscles are tight and aching and I feel the tiny pin pricks of a thousand needles tracking the blood flow as I try to stretch out my legs. Hot, dripping bodies are pushed up against me on all sides. Sweat oozes from their pores- large, wet and oily like fat drops of dripping wax on an oversized candle.

I had scraped together the money for this ride to freedom by selling tacquitos at a roadside stand to the laborers in the cornfields. Twelve hours a day in the broiling sun I stood calling and cajoling the men to come to me. When the tacquitos were not enough to fill my rusty Crisco can with pesos, I sold my kisses to them along with my soul. I would have done anything to leave that God-forsaken place.

Now here I sit, pesos having been spent on this nighttime ride with passengers from other villages, other cities, other countries. All of us with the same dream: to discover the gold-paved streets of opportunity in the United States of America. I have left my mother, father and three little brothers behind, promising that I will make a new life and send for them after I have dug my share of the golden nuggets. All at once, the smell of urine and vomit rise up and I cover my mouth to stifle the gag that rises to my throat..........


Friday, May 23, 2008

Post 1 - A Good Place for Women

Another link to the female movers & shakers in Cincinnati.

Post 1 - A Good Place for Women

Posted using ShareThis

The Enquirer - Women of the Year

Check out the accomplishments of the following 10 Cincinnati Women who have left their footprint on our fair city:

The Enquirer - Women of the Year

Posted using ShareThis

What are YOU doing to make a difference????

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I recently uncovered an interesting correlation between time capsules and old personal development plans. The maxim is that sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. My 8th grader came home the other day very excited about opening a time capsule from his 1st grade year. It contained letters that his dad and I wrote to him detailing his life in the 2000/2001 school year as well as some other memoribilia. The interesting thing is that most of the characteristics that he exhibited back then are the same characteristics that he is known for today: intelligence, big reader, history lover, talented musician, enjoys playing sports that require little running (Golf, Golf, Golf!), loves to sell- used to be lemonade stands and home grown veggies, now it's selling us a story on why he "can't" do something that we ask him to do. My time capsule note ended with the following words:

"I think you are quite charismatic, as many people are drawn to you and I think you will make an excellent leader one day. My hope is that as you get ready to graduate from 8th grade, you have fulfilled all the things that are important to you and most especially that you have grown into a loving, respectful, intelligent, caring young man. You are always my special guy and the light of my life. Here is an Eskimo kiss for you: Love, Mom. p.s. No one writes letters any more; everything is done by email. I can only guess what you will be doing in 2008!"

Note to self: mission accomplished, as today he is all of what I had hoped for and so much more and I have to say that I never imagined back then that he would be "talking" to friends via the use of texting in an abbreviated language about the most mundane things. It simply didn't exist back then................................................


While cleaning out my office, I found a Personal Action Plan for myself from 1999. It is one of those computer-based profiles that agencies/universities do to assist with career planning. In one section I had to list my core values and I am happy to report that like 13 yr. old Cameron, not a lot has changed in the past 8 years and for the record, that's a good thing!

Here they are:

  • Family-focused
  • Committed to giving back to the community
  • Highly Authentic
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Doing the Right Thing
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Private Time (for personal pursuits)
  • Recognition
  • Achievement
  • Challenging Opportunities
  • Learning Environment
  • Organizational abilities
Here's to hoping there is consistency in your life, if not, take steps to make a Personal Action Plan that gets you to where you want to be in life. There's no time like the present.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Cameron Dedication

Here's a quick blurb on my own corporate project: Cameron C. Cameron has exceeded all objectives set for his launch into the big bad world of high school. He has remained a straight A student throughout his junior high years; he played on his school's basketball, golf and volleyball teams. He is a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Project- his goal is to help the elderly and he is a buttoned down prep 24/7. No lie, this kid practically sleeps in his khakis and Hilfiger polos. He is going to St. Xavier High School next year, and we are excited because it is an excellent fit. This is a kid who truly loves to learn!

So here's looking at you kid!!!

Social Networking- Not Tonight!

Well, I was going to post my essay on Social Networking here today, but after looking it over I think it is way too long to post on here. Lol- it's four typed pages and I only scratched the surface with my discussion. Suffice it to say that I am a HUGE fan of social networking and of professional networking site LinkedIn. I have met an incredible number of people I now count as friends and have reconnected with others from my distant past all through use of the site. I am a "Connector" in the Malcolm Gladwell sense and enjoy the opportunity to bring people together.

Here is an article on the LinkedCincinnati Group that Jennifer McClure started. I was featured in the article written by fellow LinkedCincinnati member and former Business Editor for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Stepfanie Romine who is now an editor at I enjoy people, learning about them and discovering what they do. People and data fascinate me so I'm sure they will become recurring themes in my future posts.

Above , is a picture of me giving the graduation address at the Xavier University, Williams College of Business "Back to Business" Program in October of 2007. BTB was a post-graduate certificate program for women with MBAs who had left the corporate world and desired a return. It was a life-changing event for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Just wanted to add a little blurb that I wrote last year. Mackenzie has had it taped to her door ever since, so I figure it must be worth sharing-

Courage is standing up for what you believe in the face of others who dont share your same views. It is forging forward into the darkness because you know that you have to. Courage is putting on a smiling face in the center of tragedy because you know that you have to stand strong for others when you really just want to collapse on the floor and sob uncontrollably.

Courage is putting others needs before your own and believing that humankind will be better for your efforts. It is believing in yourself and actually becoming the person that God intrinsically calls you to be. If we all showed even an ounce of courage, imagine what a wonderful world this would truly be. There would be absolutely no need for the small, rotund man from Kansas with the big booming voice.

All original material copywrite "Michelle Beckham-Corbin"

Want To Share a Frappucino??

I recently received this note from my cousin Marelda and wanted to pass it on here. If you have time for a cup of coffee, then you have time to share. So sit down, get comfy and begin here.....

"As you know, we are currently experiencing a worldwide surge in fuel costs. This has led to a global food crisis. In the Americas, no place has been harder hit then Haiti where “dirt poor” takes on a literal meaning. Mothers assuage their children’s hunger pangs with mud cookies, made of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening. Just yesterday the Miami Herald reported on food riots in southern Haiti. Today news bring reports of riots spreading to Port au Prince.

In such circumstances, we would like to introduce you to the work of our friends at What If Foundation, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti ( ).

Eight years ago Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, who works in the Tiplas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, was talking to one of our friends, Margaret Trost. He described the numbers of children who were coming to him every day, starving, asking if he had any food they could eat. He wanted to be able to start a food program but didn’t have any resources to realize this vision.

Margaret’s response was… ‘What if there is a way to make this happen?” When she returned to the States a few days later, she talked with family and friends, folks started putting their money together, and within three months the first meal was served – 500 children began to receive one wholesome meal every Sunday. Today, 1,000 children and 250 adults receive a nutritious meal five days a week. A scholarship program also funds the education of 140 children a year as well as a fun-filled summer camp.

This is a very small simple program, funded totally by individuals, families, and a few churches. Our family has had the privilege of helping to support the work of this superb little program for a number of years now. What If really works; it delivers on what it says it will do.

But right now, for the first time since it began, the program may not be able to deliver as usual. There's just not enough money left in the budget to cover the massive increase of the cost of food over the past several months. So the immediate short term goal of What If is to try to get more donors so that children’s meals will not be interrupted.

We’re writing to ask you to consider helping us out in a very particular way – click on the website donation link, and donate the cost of one frappucino! That’s about four bucks. It costs about 65 cents to feed a child a meal of rice, beans, veggies from the farmers market and a piece of chicken. With each frappucino donated, a child can eat five meals, more or less.

And then….if you feel so moved, you can forward this email to your family and friends, and we can see what happens!

“Piti piti n a rive” is one of the frequently overheard Creole sayings around Tiplas Kazo. It means “little by little we will arrive.” The What If? Foundation believes that every act of love makes a difference. Every prayer. Every gift is meaningful, no gift too small. The Foundation is built in trust that all things are possible and that step by step, caring people can make a difference.

Thank you so very much for reading thus far! God bless and keep you,"

David, Marelda, Erin and Rach

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Vision can be a powerful force in our lives. Just as we develop vision and mission statements for our organizations, so too must we create vision for our own personal lives. Measurable goals and objectives flow from our view of who we are and where we want to go creating the blue-print for the journey of our lives. Sometimes the journey takes us on paths that are twisted with hair-pin turns and shrouded with darkness. It is during these times that we need to be prepared by carrying the light of trust within us. Trust is the lantern that lights the way and keeps us on the true path to our vision. How wonderful is it when the path is clear and unobstructed? When the results of our objectives match neatly to our goals and align perfectly with our vision, then the time arrives to reach higher and deeper. Do we create a new vision or do we expand what we have and ask how we can make a difference in something greater than ourselves by applying these results?

The key to creating vision is being open to the possibilities. If we shrink within ourselves in order to make others more comfortable, then we are not letting our true gifts (strengths) come through and thus run the risk of limiting the potential that exists within us. Stand up and be who you truly are- we are all meant to shine in our own way.

I attended a recent Lecture entitled “Celebrating What is Right With Our World” It featured Leisa Anslinger, author and the Pastoral Associate for Evangelization, Catechesis and Stewardship for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in the Cincinnati Archdioceses and Dewitt Jones , well known free lance photographer for National Geographic. There were several key take-aways that I received and want to pass on.

1. Change is good; ACCEPTING change is key.
2. Be authentic and your eyes will be open to the possibilities.
3. Switch your focus from being the best in the world, to being the best for the world.

These points all refer to vision work. The challenge is to create a personal vision for yourself that reaches far beyond the boundaries of your own life. We feel such a heightened sense of purpose when we have a plan that aligns with who we are intrinsically and when we can expand the plan so that others benefit from the gift of our labors, then an exponential explosion occurs which reaps advantages for countless others.

Use today to create your own version of vision. When you do, you will find a path that will start you on the journey to the rest of your life. Good luck!

Nothing Like Springtime in Cincinnati

Nothing signals Springtime more than the seasonal parade of SUVs and mini-vans laden with young, eager soccer players enroute to one of the many fields in our area for a weekend game. To top off an afternoon of giving it your all, nothing compares to grabbing some Graeters to go! Mackenzie and Emily wholeheartedly agree!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Bones, brittle, breaking

Caking into grayish particles of dust

Jagged fragments stick up through the oozing bronze mud

Who walked these steps?

Who’s voice quivered with disbelief at the

Scene that was about to unfold?

Did he scream, voice reverberating across the ancient trees

Or did his face contort in a voice-less shriek

Like the painting made famous by Norwegian Edvard Munch

And what of the witnesses- were they the cause of his demise?

Or did they hide, afraid that a similar fate would befall them?

Bending down among the patches of moss

My bones encased in flesh, I dig into the soft sludge

My nails fill with the matter beneath them-

Containing living organisms and retired DNA

My eyes close and I bring to life the man who lost his here

Here on this very spot- I see him tall, muscular with wild eyes

And torn clothing

I hear the pounding of his heart, I feel the heat of his hot tortured breath

I reach out to grab his hand

And my hand comes up


I dig more furiously now that I have seen him

Tears sting my eyes as I travel deeper into the earth

Finally my forefinger reaches something hard and round

I pull it out and pour the last of my bottled water over it

To clear away the muck

It half-sparkles in the sunshine, more of a glint

It is a gold wedding band

I rub it with the tail end of my shirt and see the words engraved inside:

“You are the love of my life. Forever. 0620-1114 .”

A deep sadness overtakes me as I feel the loss of this great love

A cloud passes over the sun and the world goes dark

For a moment

Sprinkles from the errant cloud rain down lightly upon my head

I close my eyes and feel the power of love radiating from that band of gold

And when I open them, I see a partial rainbow in the heavens

It is a sign and I know then that I have a job to do

The power of love reaches from beyond the grave

All original material copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin