My Tribute to Maya Angelou

Mayo Angelou 2On April 4, 1928, the world was introduced to Marguerite Annie Johnson, known as Maya Angelou. She was a native of St. Louis, Missouri with humble, simple and similar beginnings like many of us. As I began to study her life closely, it didn’t take me long to realize why she’s endeared by so many. When we can relate to someone, it’s makes it easy to love them.

Life was not easy for Ms. Angelou. She suffered at the hand of others and had to deal with the consequences of decisions made by her. But she wasn’t afraid or ashamed to share her truth. Ms. Angelou presented her life as a classroom for the world to learn and glean from. She didn’t let pain and hardship keep her from moving forward and being the woman she was born to be.

In spite of it all, the good, the bad and the ugly, Marguerite Annie Johnson was a poet, civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress and professor. As I think about all she went through and all she has accomplished, I can’t help but hear the echo of her poem “Still I Rise!”

Although sadden by her death, I’m encouraged by her life. It is my hope that Maya Angelou’s life will encourage, motivate and strengthen you also. We can move beyond what has happened to us and pursue our dreams. We don’t have to just exist, we can live! Yes you can rise above the harshness of life. Maya Angelou did it and so can we!

I leave you with two poems, I especially like written by this “Phenomenal Woman”. Until next time, Be Blessed….


When we come to it 
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe 
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger 
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace 
We, this people on this mote of matter 
In whose mouths abide cankerous words 
Which challenge our very existence 
Yet out of those same mouths 
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness 
That the heart falters in its labor 
And the body is quieted into awe 

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet 
Whose hands can strike with such abandon 
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living 
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness 
That the haughty neck is happy to bow 
And the proud back is glad to bend 
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction 
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines 

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body 
Created on this earth, of this earth 
Have the power to fashion for this earth 
A climate where every man and every woman 
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety 
Without crippling fear 

When we come to it 
We must confess that we are the possible 
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world 
That is when, and only when 
We come to it. 

Maya Angelou


We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Maya Angelou

First Lady Alita Bruce


Words: To Inspire You To Win! Get Your Copy Today…


As I’ve watched my husband over the years, I’ve noticed his zeal for helping people become all they can be. As God motivates and pushes him, he in return does the same unto those he comes in contact. It’s no wonder God trusts him to impart WORDS to inspire others, because He knows how He has wired Thaddeus.

God has gifted each and every one of us. We are specifically made for a particular task that no one else can do. Although we may share the same type gift as someone else, it will never be executed in the same way. Thaddeus is fully aware of how God has made him and embraces it wholeheartedly. He accepts his uniqueness and flows in it. That’s one of the things I admire about him. He doesn’t mine being himself!

You see, he loves to encourage others to live victoriously and develop their personal ministries.  Thaddeus views trials as opportunities to produce personal growth. He accepts people as they are without judging them and prefers to witness with his life. He really does have a positive attitude. God graced him with the gift of exhortation. I thank Him for doing so because I’ve been helped in so many ways. He continues to encourage, motivate and strengthen me. Because of his faith, self-confidence and determination, I believe in myself. I appreciate how God has made me. I move with boldness in pursuit of my goals and dreams. I’m committed to being all that God has ordained me to be. I haven’t always been able to say that.

IMG_3506 I encourage you to purchase and read this book with an open heart. Because of Thaddeus commitment to help bring out the best in others, you will be exhorted to pursue your purpose, thereby fulfilling your destiny. Within these pages you will find words that were birthed right from Thaddeus prayer closet unto you. I can’t begin to tell you how many early mornings the Lord has awakened him out of a good nights sleep instructing him to speak a specific word unto His people. This book is a compilation of some of those early morning impartations. God not only blessed him, but allowed him to be a blessing unto you. It is my prayer that as you read through these chapters, filled with life changing words, you are motivated, strengthened and inspired to win in this thing called life. IMG_3507

I say again, the words penned within these pages have helped me to appreciate who I am and how God has made me. I’ve stepped out on faith to pursue dormant dreams simply because they’ve been spoken too. Visit  to get your copy of this life changing read today. You won’t be disappointed! Until next time…Be Blessed

First Lady Alita Bruce

Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

2005 Stanford Commencement Speech by Steve Jobs

Recently, I was reading a book which made mention of this particular speech. I immediately stopped and looked for it online and I’m glad I did. Thought I would share it with you…

IMG_3270“You’ve Got to Find What You Love.”

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories…

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

I, Alita, conclude by saying, discover what you love and do it! Until next time…Be Blessed!

First Lady Alita Bruce

Black History Nuggets 2014

Looking out the window and enjoying the view, the only word I could utter is “Wow!” I’m literally able to take pleasure in many things simply because of the numerous inventions by my ancestors. I share with you again Black History Nuggets for the year 2014. I enter the month of March commemorating the past, embracing the present, with great expectation for the future.

Did you know…
IMG_3070Don Barden started his empire with just $500 to open a record store. He later founded the first black owned cable company named, Barden Cable Vision which he sold to Comcast for $100 million. At one time, Barden Companies was the tenth largest black owned business in the country with over $400 million in revenue.

George Crum is the inventor of the Potato Chip! Whichever brand you prefer, my personal favoriteIMG_3082 Frito Lays, you should thank Mr. Crum. The birth of potato chips was purely by accident. Irritated by a patron who kept sending his fries back because they were too wide, Mr. Crum decided to be smart and get a little revenge. He sliced the potatoes very wide and thin and seasoned them with extra salt. The patron, much to Mr. Crum’s surprise, loved them! They soon became a regular item on the menu under the name “Saratoga Chips.”

Who is Aunt Jemima? Meet Nancy Green, known as one of the first (…if not the first) blacks to become a corporate model! Born into slavery, Nancy was a storyteller and performer. She was hired to be the face and promote the company. Her warm and appealing personality made orders shoot through the roof; thus making the Aunt Jemima pancake brand the most successful pancake brand of that time. Her endorsement of that brand made her the first in the world to become a living trademark!IMG_3087

IMG_3090Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland…names of familiar cities in Califonia. But you’ve probably never heard of the town of ALLENSWORTH. Allensworth, CA was formed and built in 1908 by Col. Allen Allensworth, the first African American to reach the rank of Colonel in the United States Armed Service. Allensworth was the first community to be founded, financed and governed by African-Americans. It was built with the intention of establishing a self-sufficient, all-black city where African –Americans could live their lives free of racial discrimination.

Do you feel safe knowing that someone can’t just easily walk into your home because of the locks on your door? If so, you have one man to thank African American inventor A.W. Martin invented the door lock back in 1778! Note: I couldn’t find a picture of him.

Fred Jones was an often overlooked inventor. However, he deserves big thanks for the snowmobile, portable x-ray machine and the automatic cooling machine for long haul trucks that allowed shipped food to remain frozen. Despite having very little formal education, Mr. Jones is one of the most prolific inventors in history. He was the first black to receive the National Medal of Technology. By the way, the next time you’re watching a movie, thank Fred Jones. It was he who invented the device that allowed silent movies to have sound. IMG_3137

Alexander MilesAlexander Miles was the first black member of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, Duluth, Minnesota. He built a three-story brownstone building which inspired him to work on the elevator door mechanisms. He’s best known for being awarded a patent for an automatic/electric opening and closing elevator door design in 1887.

Garrett-A-MorganGarret Morgan’s career began as a sewing-machine mechanic. He patent several inventions, such as the improved sewing machine, the traffic light, hair straightening product and what is currently known now as the gas masks.

Richard SpikesIn 1932, Richard Spikes received a patent for an automatic gear shift for cars. His invention was welcomed by major companies. He also invented automobile directional signals, a drafting machine for blind designers and a beer keg tap which Milwaukee Brewing bought.

I know what you’re thinking and probably saying, “Wow!” My sentiments exactly!

Until next time, be blessed!
First Lady Alita Bruce